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The Eight Banditos

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SAT prep guru Stanley H. Kaplan,
Schumer’s teacher, boss, and mentor

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of the Gang of Eight is almost universally said to have gotten a perfect 1600 on his SAT score in the mid-1960s. Yet, single-sitting 1600s were vanishingly rare before SAT scoring was made easier in 1995: annually, perhaps single digit or very low double digit numbers of students in the entire country.

Schumer seems like a very, very smart guy, but what were the odds he was really Top Ten in the USA smart? 

The only voice I can find online that says that maybe Schumer didn’t score 1600 is the late test prep entrepreneur Stanley H. Kaplan, who wrote in his autobiography:

“Charles Schumer, now the senior U.S. senator from New York, worked in my printing office while he was in high school. I should have known then that he would aspire to high office because he would read the materials as they came off the copy machine to check to see whether I had made any mistakes. He studied while he worked. His SAT score was close to a perfect 1600.”

So, Kaplan says Schumer scored “close to a perfect 1600,” which sounds more likely.

The Kaplan businesses keep the Washington Post afloat these days, so we’re supposed to treat Kaplan’s big breakthrough as a great thing, but test prep is pretty much of a negative sum game. We’d be better off if test prep had never been invented.

Also, didn’t Kaplan start out as kind of a scam where he had high school students who worked for him write down immediately after the test all the questions they could remember, and thus Kaplan overwhelmed the Educational Testing Service, which was unprepared at the time to vary questions often enough for Kaplan-groomed test-takers? (It’s much the same system of cheating in essence as the one that South Koreans have perfected recently.)

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the New Yorker in 2001:

So Kaplan would have “Thank Goodness It’s Over” pizza parties after each S.A.T. As his students talked about the questions they had faced, he and his staff would listen and take notes, trying to get a sense of how better to structure their coaching.

That seems more than a little bit of naive way to phrase this activity. Kaplan and his employees were writing down the questions. You know what’s a better way to structure their coaching? Tell students what a lot of the questions and answers are going to be.

“Every night I stayed up past midnight writing new questions and study materials,” he writes. “I spent hours trying to understand the design of the test, trying to think like the test makers, anticipating the types of questions my students would face.” His notes were typed up the next day, cranked out on a Gestetner machine, hung to dry in the office, then snatched off the line and given to waiting students.

Hey, Schumer was a high school student who worked for Kaplan! In fact, he ran the Gestetner duplicating machine.

From a 2007 New York Observer summary of a not-on-line New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin about Chuck Schumer:

In high school, he helped a teacher of his, Stanley Kaplan, get his test-prep business off the ground.

From NPR:

Senator CHUCK SCHUMER (Democrat, New York): Stanley believed that these tests could overcome all the other barriers that, you know, America was ultimately the Ameritocracy. And even if your last name was different and you went to a large, you know, 5,000-person Brooklyn public school, if you could do well on these tests, you could get somewhere. 

SMITH: For Senator Schumer it was a very, very good score and admission to Harvard. 

From the WSJ:

“It was a mom-and-pop operation in those days,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat, who worked for Mr. Kaplan for three years while in high school. The future politician operated a mimeograph machine in a small office in a former dentist’s suite in Brooklyn. “It was my first job,” Mr. Schumer said. “I would go get him dinner at the cafeteria.” … 

“He was regarded as a rebel trying to bring down the whole system,” Mr. Schumer said. “It was almost religion that you couldn’t study for the aptitude test; that it was like an IQ test. Kaplan believed differently, and he proved them wrong.”

From an article in The Forward on Stanley H. Kaplan’s funeral:

Across from us sat Schumer, who later confided: “At 14, I worked for Stanley, running a mimeograph machine…. My nickname was ‘Four 800s’ [for acing SAT tests], but don’t quote me!”

“Four 800s”?

From the Washington Post:

He scored “four 800s” on his SAT, he says, including two achievement tests.

So, Schumer is on the record claiming 800s. But does that imply a single-sitting 1600? What we don’t know is how many times he took these tests. As Kaplan’s protege, Schumer may have taken several tests so he could so he could write down test questions immediately afterwards.

From Schumer’s recent book:

“After Madison, I got into Harvard (in part because of those endless hours spent staring at SAT prep material spinning around the mimeo drum).”

The ETS didn’t change questions all that often back then. Before Kaplan, gaming the SAT was considered unsporting. As Schumer has explained, he read the SAT questions over and over running Kaplan’s mimeo machine. So, he had a huge advantage over other high school students in that more trusting, less cynical, more honor-bound America that Stanley H. Kaplan helped undermine.

Okay, that might explain a lot. You know, sometimes it almost seems as if the world isn’t quite as random as we’re supposed to believe it is.

In summary, Chuck Schumer may or may not be one of the few hundred smartest people in America as his “Four 800s” self-proclaimed nickname would imply.

But, even more tellingly, he spent the formative years from age 14 to 17 working for Stanley H. Kaplan, the man who built a big business by out-conniving the College Board and the Educational Testing Service.

Graham, McCain, and Rubio ponder how high immigration
will turn out to be under their new bill.

Do you really think Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and 76-year-old John McCain are going to out-connive Schumer?

The devil is in the details of a bill that is now over 1,000 pages long. Who do you think has mastered more of the details: Stanley H. Kaplan’s prodigious protege or the GOP’s Three Amigos?

Kaplan and Schumer in the mid-1960s were attacking a testing system that assumed that people wouldn’t be so unsporting as to try to methodically exploit its weaknesses. Schumer’s stated view (see this video) is that he’s not all that innately brilliant, he just had a huge advantage in being one of the first in the country to fully exploit Kaplan’s system. This was before ETS erected a lot of defenses around their tests due to Kaplan-style prepping.

The question of whether Schumer would have scored “four 800s” without these advantages is less important than the realization that Schumer has just under a half century of experience (going back to when he started working for Kaplan around 1964) of the huge payoffs from methodically exploiting complex but naively constructed systems, such as college admission testing or immigration legislation. This should come as a wake-up call to Republicans who think they can rely on the Republican members of the Eight Banditios to defend GOP interests from Senator Schumer.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Trust me on immigration, guys — no way
could Mr. Schumer put one over on me.
Do l look like some kind of doof?
Would I mislead you, Marco?

One way to get a sense of the likely political effects of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill is to think of it as a contest of brainpower between Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). In the long run, either the Democrat is going to have proved to have outsmarted the Republican or vice-versa. Which one would you bet on, Schumer or Rubio?

Commenter Zoink looks up the biographical evidence about the two main men of the immigration bill. From Wikipedia:

“Schumer attended public schools in Brooklyn, scoring 1600 on the SAT, and graduated as the valedictorian from James Madison High School in 1967. 

“Schumer competed for Madison High on the It’s Academic television quiz show. 

“He attended Harvard College … After completing his undergraduate degree, he continued to Harvard Law School, earning his Juris Doctor with honors in 1974.” 

Before recentering [SAT scores in 1995], only around 5-7 people a year got 1600 on the SAT each year. [In 1985-86, for example, nine students in the whole country got a 1600]. If Schumer isn’t lying about this, he is certainly one of the 1000 or so smartest men in the USA.

Schumer has a career won-loss record in general elections of 15-0. Add in primaries, and he’s 30-0 lifetime. He represents Wall Street’s interests while also claiming to represent the middle class: that’s not easy but his customers appear satisfied with his high-wire balancing act.

“Rubio attended South Miami Senior High School and graduated in 1989. He then attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship from 1989 to 1990, before enrolling at Santa Fe Community College … He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1993, and his J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996.” 

Rubio did not graduate from Tarkio College because it was shut down by the federal government for acting as a “front” to scam the student loan system: 

New York Times,
A College Acts in Desperation And Dies Playing the Lender
April 17, 1991

“Auditors found that the college was so desperate to increase enrollment and stay alive that it had dealt out loans and grants to ineligible students until it owed the Federal Government more than $22 million.  

‘Acting as a Front’ 

“In a scheme more often connected with beauty academies than accredited institutions of higher education, Tarkio set up illegitimate off-campus programs and signed up thousands of unprepared students, many of them whisked right off city streets. Most of these students dropped out and never repaid their loans, leaving Tarkio at one point with the highest loan default rate in the nation. 

“‘Basically what you had was a small college acting as a front,’ said Kent Kraus, Dean of Institutional Advancement at Tarkio.”

In conclusion, Schumer attended the most competitive college in the USA and 2nd most competitive law school and plausibly claims to have a 99.999 percentile IQ, while Rubio attended what by one measure was the single worst 4-year colleges in the USA: 

“In 1986 Tarkio’s loan default rate was 79 percent, the highest in the nation for four-year colleges. The average default rate is about 6 percent.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the Washington Post:

Schumer: Immigration overhaul will pass Senate by July 4

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Joe Green, a Harvard roommate of Mark Zuckerberg and head of Zuck’s cheap labor lobby, National Association for the Advancement of Billionaire People, emails:

Steve –
Yesterday was a great day for comprehensive immigration reform.
In a major step forward, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 in support of reform.This bill contains all of the key principles that we’re fighting for, and we need to show our support for it.
Share this graphic on Facebook to thank the Senators who voted for reform:
There are several more steps before the full Senate votes on immigration reform. But this is the most encouraging sign yet.
Share our thank you card online. We’ll be in touch soon with updates on the next steps. Let’s keep up the good work.
Joe Green
Founder and President, 

To commemorate this historic accomplishment by The Gang of Eight, iSteve brings you an exclusive photo of a key moment in the deliberations of the inner circle of The Eight Banditos:

Bipartisan Senate committee negotiates immigration reform.
From right to left:
a perhaps puzzled but still game John McCain;
Lindsey Graham, looking, as always, languidly stunning in leather;
the Gang of Eight’s idea man, the persuasive Charles “1600 SAT” Schumer,
and Marco Rubio, who is more of a Big Picture than a details kind of thinker.
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The bipartisan Gang of Eight

Mickey Kau s explains at the Daily Caller an idea that Dave Weigel at Slate suggested a few days ago:

An idea so crazy it just might … Opponents and supporters of “comprehensive immigration reform” (i.e. amnesty) agree it doesn’t do well on the front burner of public debate. Excessive attention exposes flaws and contradictions in the legislation and focuses the anger of opponents. Back in March, I didn’t see how the Obama team, however brilliant, was going to protect its amnesty bill from this threat of publicity, given that the mainstream press was “commmitted to overcovering this issue.” 

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Now we know the answer! In its most fiendish strategem yet, Team Obama has launched a series of not-quite-devastating but press-obsessing scandals against itself! The confluence of the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi and AP stories means that dreadful details of the Schumer-Rubio bill will get pushed off the front pages. Reporters who might otherwise cover it  will be temporarily sent to Cincinatti to interview IRS whistleblowers. Meanhwile, the scandals give Sen. Rubio and other Republicans a chance to bash Obama about something new, giving them the anti-Obama cred that might allow them to quietly sell out on amnesty and hand Obama his greatest second-term triumph! 

Senators Rubio, Schumer, Graham & McCain negotiate immigration reform

Similarly, the scandals give conservative activists an alternative, substitute target for their outrage, all the more so because the anger is legitimate. As Greg Sargent put it, the scandals could “distract right wing base for long enough for Graham and Rubio to slip immigration reform past them.” (Dem strategist Joe Trippi tweeted in response: “Shhhhh …”)

Mark Zuckerberg’s probably feeling relieved, too.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From The Hill:

Rubio: Recent controversies ‘things you typically see in the third world’ 

By Justin Sink – 05/14/13 05:48 PM ET
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday blasted controversies over the Obama Administration’s handling of the terror attack in Benghazi, IRS targeting of conservative groups, and subpoena of reporter phone records as “embarrassing to the country.” 

“These are things you typically see in the Third World from unestablished republics and other places,” Rubio told Fox News in an interview set to air on the “O’Reilly Factor.” “You don’t see that here.”

But, don’t worry, Senator Rubio has a plan to fix that!

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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The Eight Banditos (minus five):
McCain, Schumer, and Rubio

As I’ve long been saying, political journalism is increasingly turning into marketing criticism. The dominant instinct of today’s Washington press corps is that not only do the best spinmeisters tend to win, but that they deserve to win.

From the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” column:

Why is 2013 different than 2007? 

By Jennifer Rubin, Published: May 10, 2013  

The 2007 immigration reform effort under George W. Bush faltered. 

As did, Bush’s Pushes in 2001 (pre-9/11, by the way), 2004, and 2006.

So it is natural to wonder if the effort in 2013 won’t collapse as well. But much has changed in six years, and those changes work to the benefit of immigration reform. 

Then: A president commanding an increasingly unpopular war and having lost the House was losing altitude, especially with his own party. 

Now: A Democratic president desperate for some win — any win — is in office. 

Then: The GOP had the White House and was busy constructing (so it thought) a “permanent majority.” Bush had been successful with Hispanic voters, even absent immigration reform. 

Now: The GOP has now lost two presidential elections, understands (by and large) that it has a problem with minority voters and is eager to claim an accomplishment for which President Obama’s main contribution will be remaining quiet. 

Jen is so infatuated with her own Machiavellianism that it doesn’t occur to her that as soon as the bill Obama wants is laid on his desk, he will be all over the Hispanic media claiming credit.

Then: Maverick Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), bane of the right wing, led the charge for the Republicans with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the poster boy for liberalism, at his side. Republicans were not disposed to do them any favors. 

This time: It is the darling of the GOP, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) who is leading the charge, charming the base and going over the heads of talk-show hosts to reach GOP voters. … 

Then: The conservative base was relatively monolithic and dominate in think tanks and talk radio. 

Now: The conservative base is more heterogeneous, with heavy doses of libertarianism. A plethora of think tanks, pundits and activists are now pro-immigration. 

Then: The president rolled out a policy initiative and got cut off by right-wing activists.

Well, the President back in 2007 (and 2006, and 2004, and 2001) was a Republican.

This time: Rubio is running a campaign-style effort, employing social media and old media, working both in public and behind the scenes. 

None of this means that immigration reform is sure to pass. But it does suggest that the chances for passage are better this time around and that immigration opponents were caught flat-footed (on everything from Rubio’s effectiveness to the Heritage catastrophe), seemingly unaware how strongly a segment of the party had become more ideologically flexible and diverse. The opponents also lack, for the most part, telegenic, capable spokespeople for their cause who are media-friendly and can go toe to toe with pro-reform voices such as Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) 

Meanwhile, for once, Republicans on the pro-immigration side laid out a game plan and organized themselves. Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform, the Cato Institute, the American Action Network and many evangelicals have joined together with high-tech executives to run a full-blown campaign for immigration reform. 

Marketing uber alles!

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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It’s a commonplace that modern political journalism focuses too much on personalities and horse race analysis rather than on the real world impact of proposed policies. Less widely noticed is that political journalism is increasingly turning into “marketing campaign criticism,” with reporters obsessing over how seamless are attempts to manipulate voters, with the more sheen the better. 

For example, from the Washington Post:

Marco Rubio, salesman 

Posted by Sean Sullivan on April 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has embarked on a high-risk, high-reward mission. His goal? Convince conservatives to support the bipartisan immigration reform measure he and his “Gang of Eight” colleagues have drafted. The success or failure of his effort will go a long way toward determining both whether reform passes, and where Rubio fits into the conservative movement going forward. 

As last week showed, Rubio has his work cut out for him. 

Since signing off two weeks ago on the bill that offers a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, bolsters border security and creates a new guest-worker program, Rubio has been taking to the airwaves to defend the measure against detractors on the political right, who have complained the bill offers “amnesty” and is being jammed through by liberal Democrats. 

On Thursday, Rubio launched a Web site designed to dispel myths about the bill and took his case to a crucial medium in the conservative sphere, talk radio.
“I don’t understand why we’re doing something that the Democrats are salivating over,” declared conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on his Thursday show, adding: “I’m having trouble seeing how this benefits Republicans.” 

Rubio responded that the imperative for action is twofold. The current immigration system is broken, he contended, and the nation’s laws are not enforced. “So, for those two reasons alone, we have to do something,” said the senator. 

Limbaugh, who in a January interview with Rubio seemed warmer to reform, pressed him about securing the border and questioned whether it was politically wise to clear a path for new Hispanic voters, whom data show tend to align more closely with the Democratic Party. And in interviews with four other conservative talkers, Rubio failed to win over the hosts. 

He’s also had to push back against claims in the conservative blogosphere that the bill would give immigrants with work visas free cell phones, and deal with protests from tea party activists. 

Rubio’s most crucial task, Republican strategists say, is to win the arguments on border security and the path to citizenship.

“I think the biggest challenge, and what will ultimately decide this issue, is convincing conservatives that real border security is going to be a part of any package and that there are strong accountability measures and enforcement mechanisms,” said Florida Republican strategist Tim Baker. 

Added Rick Wilson, another Florida-based GOP strategist: “If he successfully explains border security — the provisions of which are really quite remarkable — and the steepness of the path to citizenship, I think he can sway conservative audiences.” 

Rubio appeared well aware of his biggest challenges, addressing conservatives directly during a “Gang of Eight” press conference last week. 

“Let me close with one final point to my fellow Americans who share my commitment to limited government and free enterprise, who helped elect me in 2010,” Rubio said. “I would just remind them, America is a nation of immigrants.” To those worried about “amnesty,” Rubio offered a counterargument: “Leaving things the way they are, that’s the real amnesty.” …

If Rubio fails to win sufficient GOP support and the bill dies, it will be a blow to the political standing of the politician viewed widely as one of the GOP’s best options for the 2016 presidential race. On the other hand, if he succeeds, then his stock in the party is likely to soar to even greater heights. 

Politically, having Rubio on the “Gang of Eight” helps both Democrats and Republicans. For Democrats who have long clamored for reform, having a stamp of approval from one of the country’s most prominent conservatives — who is Hispanic, no less — is a huge plus. And for Rubio, taking part in the effort is an opportunity to be the most prominent Republican to take on an issue many see as a necessity in order to repair GOP’s relations with the Hispanic community. 

“Marco is uniquely situated to do this and he and his team have obviously prepared,” said Florida Republican strategist Ana Navarro, an early supporter of Rubio in his 2010 Senate campaign. “They understand that if misperceptions about this bill are created early and stick, the bill dies and he is whacking at every attempt to mislead.” 

After all, if Rubio can’t sell the conservative base on immigration reform, it would be hard to argue that any Republican can. 

The 20,000 foot political question as this debate unfolds is whether having the ideal Republican on board as a chief advocate is enough to help the pro-reform crowd break through to skeptical conservatives, who hold sway in the Senate, and wield even more clout in the GOP-controlled House. So far, it isn’t clear that it will be.

The notion that Rubio is the ideal salesman to Republicans for adding lots of Hispanics to the voting rolls is very common, but doesn’t anybody notice that a better salesman would be somebody more disinterested? Obviously, Rubio wants to add Hispanics because he is Hispanic and, relative at least to his non-Hispanic Republican rivals, this will help his career. Why in the world should I therefore listen to him?

In general, the concepts of “conflict of interest” versus “disinterestedness” seem to be disappearing from memory. The Democrats have an interest in electing a new people, as does Rubio, both both are unquestioningly presented as the heroes in this drama. Disinterestedness must be some old dead white European male thing we’ll have left behind in the rush to our diverse future.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From Politico:

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer admonished colleagues not to “try to conflate” the immigration reform bill that the Senate is considering with the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the perpetrators of which have been identified as immigrants.

We have a carefully concocted public relations offensive that has been hitting all its marks on the Holodeck of the MSM, and there is no room in the timetable for glitches caused by the intrusion of real life immigrants into our expensively constructed fantasy world.

Pay attention only to the men behind the curtain pulling the levers. We’re bipartisan!

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The downside of Mickey Kaus as a blogger at the Daily Caller is that he doesn’t Feed the Beast anywhere near as often as other bloggers, and unlike more successful bloggers, posts only on a fairly small number of subjects where he knows what he’s talking about.

The upside of Mickey as a blogger is, well, stuff like this:

Marco Rubio was defensive and jargon-addled on ABCs This Week. He was slick and effective on NBC and  CNN and somewhere in between on FOX,  But he was selling BS on all four networks. Here are three examples: 

1. Rubio repeatedly said it would be “cheaper, faster and easier” for illegal immigrants to go back home, wait 10 years, and apply for a green card (under current law) than to go through the longer “alternative” green card path created by his amnesty bill. That’s absurd. If Rubio’s bill passes, how many illegal immigrants are going to go home and wait 10 years versus accepting the bill’s more-or-less immediate legalization and then waiting to get their green cards?  The answer is a number approaching zero. Why? Because under Rubio’s bill they will get to do the waiting while living and working legally in the United States. That’s certainly easier than “self-deporting” for ten years under current law. 

2. Similarly, Rubio argues that his bill won’t privilege illegals over those waiting in line abroad to get green cards, because it will take longer for illegals to get the green cards through his amnesty. But, again, the illegals–having been more or less instantly legalized–will get to do their waiting while having already achieved what the people waiting in line abroad can only dream of achieving: a legal life in the United States. Illegals FTW!

3. A controversy erupted late last week over the pro-amnesty “Gang of 8?s ambition to achieve a 90% apprehension rate of illegal border-crossers. Rubio’s camp–including his chief of staff, Cesar Conda–claimed this was a “trigger” that, if not met, would block the newly legalized illegals from proceeding down the road to green cards and citizenship. Democrats claimed it was just a goal that, if not met, wouldn’t block anyone. On Fox, Rubio basically admits the Democrats are right. 

WALLACE: You say it’s a trigger, the number, 90 percent apprehension rate has to be certified by the Department of Homeland Security before the 11 million illegals, a decade from now, can begin to apply for green cards. 

But the Democrats on your “Gang of 8?, including Dick Durbin, who will be on in the next segment, saying, no, it’s not a trigger. It’s just a goal that they have to be working towards. 

Now, is it a trigger that has to be met or is it a goal? 

RUBIO: Yes. Let me tell you why it’s a trigger because, basically, homeland security will have five years to meet that goal. If after five years, Homeland Security has not met that number, it will trigger the Border Commission who will then take over this issue for them. So, they’ll have five years to get it done. They have to create these two plans — a fence plan, there has to be a fence component to this, and a border security plan. 

And if at the five-year mark, they have not achieved that 90 percent or 100 percent, then they lose the issue to the Border Commission who has money set aside so they can finish the job and they can get to that number. 

In other words, all that’s triggered is a commission, not any holdup in the march to green cards (which means there will be little incentive to actually achieve the 90% goal). 

Bonus BS: Rubio press aide Alex Conant tweets that 

Without temporary worker program to fill US demand for low-skill labor, people will find way to come illegally despite new fence 

Really? Hasn’t Rubio been busy telling us that his plan would secure the border? Now his flack tells us people “will find a way to come illegally” despite it? Doesn’t this mean that those who can’t get into the guest worker program (maybe because it’s full, or because they don’t qualify) will be able to “find a way” in as well–so the elaborately negotiated limits on the number of guestworkers will be routinely violated and, in practice, meaningless? Doesn’t it also mean that those who are drawn by the prospect of the next amnesty (because, you know, ”we can’t deport them all!” and “Latino voters”) will “find a way” in too? 

How secure is this new Rubio border going to be? Seems like it’s secure when he wants it to be and insecure when he doesn’t. Maybe we should find out before we turn on the amnesty magnet! Just a thought.

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Am I being too cynical here? From the NYT:

Broad Outlines of Senate Immigration Agreement Emerge 


WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators has largely agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be in place before illegal immigrants could take the first steps to become American citizens, according to several people familiar with drafts of the legislation. 

But in a delicate compromise worked out over weeks of negotiations, the bill does not impose any specific measurements of border enforcement results that, if they were not met, would stop the immigrants from proceeding toward citizenship. 

Instead, the bill allows a period of 10 years for the Department of Homeland Security to make plans and use resources to fortify enforcement at the borders and elsewhere within the country before it sets several broader hurdles that could derail the immigrants’ progress toward citizenship if they are not achieved.

Does anybody imagine that in ten years, the Castro Administration’s Department of Homeland Security will announce, “Oh, wow, I guess we haven’t stopped illegal immigration after all. No citizenship for you!”?

This is basically a ploy to delay the switching of Arizona from Republican to Democrat until after Senator McCain is gone, but that’s about it. Those of us who have a longer time frame than John McCain, well, too bad, you should have carpe diemed when you had the opportunity.

… The senators’ compromise allows Republican lawmakers, including Senators John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, to say that they achieved border enforcement advances in the bill as a condition before any illegal immigrants can apply for permanent-resident green cards, the first step toward citizenship. 

But it also allows Democrats to describe the border measures as goals that can be achieved with the resources provided, so they will not become roadblocks that could stop the immigrants from reaching the final stage of citizenship. 

Is this just a good cop – bad cop charade with Rubio claiming to be the good cop who just couldn’t stand up anymore to Chuck Schumer’s Wall Street zillions?

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The term “strange new respect” was coined by Tom Bethell to describe the terms with which Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices are hailed by the prestige media after they arrive in Georgetown and start to Go Native.

Of course, the process works in the opposite direction, too. In the last couple of weeks, our media-appointed Dictator of Demographic Destiny, Marco Rubio, has expressed hints that he’s having cold feet about this whole amnesty/citizenship juggernaut.

Hence, from the NYT:

WASHINGTON — When Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, last appeared with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss their plans for a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, he looked optimistic, apple-cheeked — and slightly nervous. 

Given the disdain some conservatives reserve for Republicans who consort publicly with Democrats, he had reason to be. 

The next time Mr. Rubio is likely to appear with his colleagues in the eight-person bipartisan group could be an even bigger moment, when its members officially introduce joint immigration legislation this month. The probable tableau seems ready-made for problems in the 2016 Republican presidential primary fight in which many expect Mr. Rubio to partake: images of Mr. Rubio, smiling and celebrating alongside Democratic senators and maverick Republicans as he claims co-authorship of an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that many Republicans will reject. 

And so the question percolating on Capitol Hill has become: Will Mr. Rubio, an up-and-coming young conservative elected on a 2010 Tea Party wave, ultimately sign onto the immigration bill that he has been helping to draft ever since the November election? 

“We have to see if the Boy Wonder plays ball or not,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration group.

Can anybody imagine the Boy Wonder won’t ultimately kow-tow?

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Millet, Gleaners, 1857

From Politico:

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Chuck Hagel “almost had tears in his eyes” as he explained to the former Nebraska senator that the expression “Jewish lobby” is rooted in a negative depiction of Jews. 

“He struck me as sincere, and you know, you have to be sitting there at the meeting obviously, but I also told him when he used the word Jewish lobby what it meant to Jewish people,” he added. 

“And I told him what a double standard is. That Jewish people throughout the centuries have suffered a double standard. Everyone could be a farmer except Jewish people.”

I can totally relate to complaints about how great-grandpa wasn’t invited to join the Los Angeles Country Club, so he had to make do with joining Hillcrest CC instead (Hillcrest had the better dining room, but LACC had the better golf course). But, I’m fascinated by how Sen. Schumer (D-Wall Street, 1600 SAT score, Harvard BA, Harvard JD, youngest New York legislator since Teddy Roosevelt, never lost an election) is hurt that when his ancestors 700 years ago were invited by the nobles to move to Poland they weren’t allowed to become serfs, but had to go into finance instead.

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Sen. Marco Rubio and Mr. Lucille Ball
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Cutting taxes and spending, Cuba, Israel, and not one but two names that end in vowels: What more could Mexican-American voters want in a Presidential candidate?

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I recently asked if anybody has checked whether Hispanic voters, the majority of whom are of Mexican background, actually like Senator Marco Rubio (R-CUBA). 

A reader points me to this December survey by Public Policy Polling of 700 registered voters, showing approval ratings for potential 2016 candidates. Among the 90 or so Hispanic voters surveyed, only 24% were favorable toward Rubio, while 42% said they were were unfavorable. (34% were not sure.) 

Rand Paul did slightly better among Hispanics, 28-39, as did Paul Ryan (42-48) and Mike Huckabee (33-39). Rick Santorum, at 24-41, edged out Rubio. Jeb Bush, the Great Brown Hope-in-Law, was at 32-49. To Hispanics, the big man among potential GOP candidates was Chris Christie at 52-22.

Caveat: tiny sample size. 

But still, is there any polling evidence that Rubio Fiebre is anything other than a collective delusion among white Republicans?

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From Ann Coulter:


February 20, 2013 

Don’t anyone tell Marco Rubio, John McCain or Jeff Flake that nearly 80 percent of Hindus voted for Obama, or who knows what they’ll come up with. 

According to the Reuters-Ipsos panel, Hindus went 77% for Obama – 23% for Romney (sample size = 101), despite Romney’s repeated pledges to staple a green card to every advanced STEM diploma.

I understand the interest of business lobbies in getting cheap, unskilled labor through amnesty, but why do Republican officeholders want to create up to 20 million more Democratic voters, especially if it involves flouting the law? Are the campaign donations from the soulless rich more important than actual voters?  

Without citing any evidence, the Rubio Republicans simply assert that granting 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens amnesty will make Hispanics warm to the GOP. Yes, that’s worked like a charm since Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986!  

True, Romney lost the Hispanic vote, but so did John McCain, the original Rubio. (McCain lost Hispanics by 67 percent compared to 71 percent who voted against Romney.)  

President George H.W. Bush created “diversity visas,” massively increased legal immigration and eliminated the English requirement on the naturalization test. In the 1992 election, he won 25 percent of the Hispanic vote — less than what Romney got.  

Although Hispanic politicians, spokesmen and TV networks benefit from Rubio’s mass legalization scheme, there’s no evidence that Hispanic voters care very much about it.  

Amnesty never shows up in polls as a top concern of Hispanics. It’s a top concern of employers, not workers — which isn’t going to do much to help Republicans shed that “Party of the Rich” image. After Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986, unemployment among Hispanics skyrocketed when, suddenly, there was increased competition for low-skill jobs. That’s precisely why businesses want amnesty, not because of their deep concern for the plight of the underclass.  

How’s this for an idea: Why don’t Republicans remind Hispanic voters that the more low-skilled immigrants who are admitted, the lower their wages will be? That at least has the virtue of being untried.

How about Republicans ask Mexican-American voters to demonstrate that they have the best interests of American citizens as a whole at heart by opposing amnesty?
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Okay, so Stephen Colbert had a little fun at the expense of Senator Marco Rubio and his case of flop sweat on national TV, but that can’t hurt the GOP’s Great Tan Hope because, as everybody knows, Spanish-language network Univision is the big dog in the TV ratings these days. And Univision loves Rubio! 

Right? I mean, like most Republicans, my Espanol habloing is a little rusty, but my impression is that all these people whose names end in a vowel are best friends: the Mexicans, the Cubans, the Guatelombians, the Domingoans, the Costa Nostras,  the Guyanese, the New Guyanese, the Philippinos, the Borneoeans, the Burmanese … they’re all amigos, right? And they all watch Univision.

So, because Univision’s got Rubio’s back, he’s a sure thing in 2016.

Oh, wait … From Business Insider:

A top assistant to a Univision news boss trashed Sen. Marco Rubio on his aide’s Facebook page, calling the Republican lawmaker a “loser” and “a token slave boy.” 

It’s the latest attack in a lengthy feud between the Florida senator and the powerful Spanish-language network that conservatives charge is anti-GOP and anti-Rubio. …

“Oh. wow, the loser is going to speak after our President,” Artiles wrote on spokesman Alex Burgos’ Facebook page at 9:33 p.m. Wednesday. “Anything to get publicity. Ask him to do us a favor and stay home that night.” 

Sentiments like that reflect the prevailing political feeling among Univision’s higher-ups at its Doral headquarters, say Univision insiders. Artiles is executive assistant to Daniel Coronell, Univision’s vice president of news. 

The network is owned by a major Democratic donor [Haim Saban, who brought us Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers] who has accused Rubio and other Republicans of having an “anti-Hispanic” stand on immigration that’s “despicable.” 

In August, someone used Univision’s official Facebook account to attack Rubio during the Republican National Convention in Tampa. 

“Beyond his ideology, Rubio is a mediocre politician who contradicts the values he says he represents. Jeb Bush is more Latino and talented than him,” the Facebook posting said. …

And a year before that Facebook incident, Rubio clashed with Univision’s news chief, Isaac Lee, when his news team decided to run a story about a quarter-century-old drug bust involving the senator’s brother-in-law. 

Univision began reporting the drug-bust story after Rubio rebuffed repeated interview requests with the network, which had been critical of Rubio’s opposition to liberal immigration policies that Univision personalities have promoted. 

She then used a diminutive term for Rubio’s first name, “Marquito,” and proceeded to compare him to a Disney dwarf, a “token slave boy” and a “fool” who was passed over by Republican Mitt Romney on his presidential ticket last November. …

“I see that all the mojoncitos ['little turds'] have come out to defend the principal turd, Marquito,” she wrote in Spanish. “I am laughing all the way to the White House :).”  …

Artiles: “Curbelo, the riffraff might be you. I haven’t said anything ‘riffraffy.’ Wake up and join the Democratic Party unless you want to remain losers all your lives.” …

Artiles: “Curbelo, losers are the ones who lost the elections, this is what is called freedom of expression. We are all professionals and being parents is nothing out of this world, nor because of that does one stop being a little turd. And Marquito only wants to talk about immigration NOW because he lost. I know well all his lies and his vanity.” …

In the New Yorker piece, Lee acknowledged the network covers immigration with a bias.

As opposed to …

I’m drawing a blank here on networks that cover immigration without a bias.

“According to Univision’s news president, Isaac Lee, the network is openly committed to ‘pro-Hispanic’ immigration reform,” the New Yorker wrote. 

The owner of Univision, major Democratic donor Haim Saban, was more partisan than Lee and fumed in an email to the New Yorker over the way that the GOP presidential candidates boycotted a proposed Florida debate in January in retaliation for the network’s report on Rubio and his brother-in-law. 

Said Saban: “The fact that Rubio and some Republican presidential candidates have an anti-Hispanic stand that they don’t want to share with our community is understandable but despicable.” 

Our community,” Haim?

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For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been arguing that the only reason anybody in America has the slightest doubts about immigration is because of the malign influence of one man, a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton. 

Now, Sen. Marco Rubio is spreading the SPLC’s line.

From the Washington Post:

Effort to change immigration law sparks internal battle within GOP 

By Peter Wallsten, Published: February 13 

A new battle has flared inside the Republican Party in recent days as supporters of more-liberal immigration laws wage a behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit the influential advocacy groups that have long powered the GOP’s hard-line stance on the issue. 

The campaign, largely waged in closed-door meetings with lawmakers and privately circulated documents, is another sign of how seriously many establishment Republicans are pursuing an immigration overhaul in the wake of last year’s elections, in which the GOP lost Hispanic voters by an overwhelming margin to President Obama. 

Much of the party’s sharp language on immigration during the election campaign, which Republican strategists blamed for alienating Hispanics, was drawn from the research and rhetoric of the advocacy groups. 

Now, Republicans pushing the party to rethink its approach to the issue are accusing those groups — Numbers USA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – of masquerading as conservative. Critics say the groups and some of their supporters are pressing an un­or­tho­dox agenda of strict population control that also has included backing for abortion, sterilization, and other policies at odds with conservative ideology. 

“If these groups can be unmasked, then the bulk of the opposition to immigration reform on the conservative side will wither away,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and a leading organizer of the effort. 

Officials from the groups say they are the victims of a smear campaign that unfairly characterizes their mission. They acknowledge that some key figures in their past held a wide range of views on population growth and abortion, as do some current members, but the groups accuse their critics of pushing guilt-by-association arguments to distract from the merits of the case for restricting immigration. 

The groups have provided the intellectual framework and grass-roots muscle for opposing legislation that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants. 

Well-funded and politically savvy, the groups produce research papers, testify at congressional hearings and appear frequently in the media to push for reducing immigration. Numbers USA reports that its members have inundated the office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with 100,000 faxes this year warning him that his central role in pursuing changes in immigration laws could damage his future political prospects. …

Conservatives who are taking on the groups, including Rubio, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and officials of the Catholic Church, argue that the three organizations are motivated by far different philosophies than many of their Republican allies realize. Among those views: that population growth from increased migration threatens the environment. 

The Republicans orchestrating the campaign against the groups have long rejected their views on immigration, and liberal immigration advocates have long made a practice of attacking the organizations. Now, with such GOP leaders as House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) saying immigration legislation is a priority, some Republicans see an opportunity to loosen what they say has been the groups’ stranglehold on party orthodoxy.

Uh … George W. Bush? Karl Rove? Grover Norquist? John McCain?

I’m fascinated by how impervious the world is to doing simple reality checks on assertions, such as by thinking briefly about the immigration views of recent Republican Presidents/nominees.

How exactly do Roy Beck and Mark Krikorian have a “stranglehold on party orthodoxy” compared to those guys who have all pushed more immigration? We immigration reductionists have managed to block disastrous initiatives by Bush and McCain by having better facts and logic, not by any stranglehold.

Rubio’s aides last week brought one of the organizers of the effort to undermine the groups, Mario H. Lopez, a party strategist on Hispanic politics, to a regular meeting of GOP Senate staffers, where Lopez distributed literature about the groups’ backgrounds and connections. Rubio also raised concerns about the groups’ leanings during a recent conference call on immigration with conservative activists. 

Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, said the senator “has argued that some groups that oppose legal immigration should not be considered part of the conservative coalition,” adding that the “vast majority of Republicans strongly support legal immigration.” 

Kevin Appleby, director of immigration policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an e-mail to The Post that “pro-life legislators should think twice about working with these groups, as their underlying goals are inconsistent with a pro-life agenda.” …

The critics, however, argue that the three groups have misled conservatives. These critics point to reports on the FAIR and Numbers USA Web sites, for instance, that warn of environmental devastation from unchecked population growth, and they are circulating a 1993 report by CIS researchers sympathetic to contraception and the RU-486 abortion pill. 

In the latest issue of an anti-abortion journal, The Human Life Review, the Hispanic GOP strategist Lopez accuses the groups of “hijacking” the immigration debate for their own purposes. He argues that population-control advocates “have built, operated, and funded much of the anti-immigration movement in the United States.” 

“Those who seek to advance the pro-life cause should not allow themselves to be fooled by those whose work is ultimately diametrically opposed to the right to life,” Lopez writes. 

The article has created a stir in conservative circles. It ascribes the vision behind the groups to John Tanton, a controversial Michigan-based leader in the “zero population growth” movement, who co-founded FAIR in 1979 and later helped start Numbers USA and CIS. 

In a 2001 letter by Tanton being circulated as part of the current campaign, he laid out his idea to “move the battle lines on the immigration question in our favor” by convincing Republican lawmakers that “massive immigration imperils their political future.” The goal, he wrote, was to “change Republicans’ perception of immigration so that when they encounter the word ‘immigrant,’ their reaction is ‘Democrat.’?” Organizers of the campaign against the groups found the letter at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, which houses Tanton’s papers.

And, boy, was Tanton ever wrong! Oh, wait …

An aide to Tanton, now 78, said Tanton was unable to speak. But the aide, K.C. McAlpin, said Tanton was an “ardent conservationist” who was being targeted in a “sort of McCarthyism game that the far left has been playing and is now being played by some people who call themselves conservatives.” 

I’ve never met the man, but if the SPLC/Rubio line is right about his influence, we ought to add Dr. Tanton’s face to Mount Rushmore.

The dispute has prompted some tense encounters in recent days. 

When word spread, for instance, that Rubio’s staff was bringing Lopez to the Senate aides meeting last week, other Senate offices contacted the three groups, each of which sent a representative. 

“It was awkward,” said one staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. The staffer described the critics’ tactics as “over the top,” saying the groups have been a “great resource” for data, research and expert testimony. 

Another testy moment occurred recently at the weekly conservative strategy session hosted by Norquist when Lopez stood to present his arguments. Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration who now works at the conservative Heritage Foundation, spoke up to defend the credibility of the Center for Immigration Studies. 

“I haven’t heard folks take on the substantive arguments CIS is making and saying why they’re wrong,” said von Spakovsky, who declined to discuss details of what happened in the off-the-record meeting. “Instead you just get these scurrilous attacks.”

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Here’s the article. Maybe someday I can bring myself to read it.

Here’s the question I have: Does anybody ever notice that there’s something funny (in both senses of the word) in the idea that appears to be universal among both the media and the Republican Brain Trust that, well, of course, Marco Rubio should be one to negotiate amnesty and a path to citizenship because, if he plays his cards right, he could someday ride these lawbreakers-turned-voters to the White House!

I’m not talking about how extremely unlikely that outcome is, I’m talking about how ethically tainted is the Brain Trust’s best case scenario of

Rubio elects a new people –> The new people elects Rubio President

Or is the concept of “conflict of interest” just some old white man’s quibble that we have no use for in the vibrant new United States of Diversity?

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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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