Dear Senator Rubio

This afternoon the Senate passed its version of Immigration Reform, 68-32.  14 Republicans voted for the bill, including my Senator, Marco Rubio, severely damaging his chances for the Republican nomination in 2016.

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House a...

English: Former Speaker of the Florida House at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As frequent readers to this blog know, I strongly oppose the current Senate Immigration Bill and the concept of blanket amnesty in general.  I’ve contacted my Congressman on this and am satisfied that we are of like minds on the issue.  However my Senators are another story.  Bill Nelson is Harry Reid’s lapdog so he does whatever he’s told.  Marco Rubio on the other hand, is one of the architects of this immigration proposal.  If there has been a bigger Tea Party disappointment in both the House and Senate, I can’t think who it would be.

I tried calling the Senator’s office this week and got a voicemail to leave my comments after the beep.  Unsurprisingly, the box was full.  Apparently I’m not alone.  So I wrote this letter and emailed it to the Senator.

Dear Senator Rubio,

As your constituent, I have to say that you’ve profoundly disappointed me.  But what really bothers me is that you’ve managed to fool me.   I remember your debate with Charlie Crist in which you took the risky position (in Florida) that Social Security may have to be trimmed in order to save the program.  You took a difficult and courageous political position while Crist looked like a weasel in comparison.  “That’s a guy I can get behind.”  I thought to myself.

And I did.  I voted for you and was proud to do it.  I had heard you speak enough times that I felt sure of your Tea Party bonafides.  You sir, were the real deal.

Or at least that’s what I thought.  I knew you had a special interest in immigration, but you had spoken out against amnesty enough in the campaign that I didn’t think that you were secretly harboring that as a legislative goal.  I was sympathetic to your Dream Act proposal.  Those kids didn’t commit crimes.  They were brought into this country when they were too young to have any moral responsibility for what their parents did.  Some sort of accommodation should be made for them.

After the border was secure of course.

But instead you rolled me.  Me, and many others who had voted for you.  After the experience of Obamacare, I wouldn’t have thought a Republican, let alone a Tea Party “darling” would support any bill that is billed as “comprehensive.”  The purpose of comprehensive bills is to smuggle in what you really want by covering it with tons of other things.  That’s certainly what your comprehensive immigration bill does.  Every day I’m reading of new revelations of Easter eggs buried in your bill.  You know them of course, since you helped put them there.

I’m not opposed to cooperating with Democrats; that’s politics after all.  I’m upset that you are not representing a Republican or conservative position in immigration reform.  This wasn’t a compromise; this is a Democratic / liberal bill.  You’ve merely provided cover for a liberal bill.  I can’t tell where you begin and Chuck Schumer ends.  Do you have any differences on this issue?

Frankly, I can’t see that I’ve gotten anything different from you than if Charlie Crist had won the senatorial nomination.  Oh one thing; Crist was honest about his support for amnesty.  He didn’t lie about it like you did.  You may argue that technically you weren’t lying, “go back and check the transcript!”  But if you were parsing your words from the beginning, then what other conclusion can I draw but that you intended to deceive?

Virtually everything you’ve promised has already been promised in the Simpson-Mazzoli bill.  Since we didn’t get any of the border security promises then, why should I think we would get them now?

I can see both the political and policy benefits for the Democrats.  It will over the long run provide millions of Democratic voters, effectively neutering the Republicans as a national party.  Policy-wise it creates an ever expanding underclass that will need the entitlement services that the Democrats will be peddling.  The Democrats have been at their strongest when, as FDR said, “one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-fed.”

That’s what you are importing.

Your position doesn’t even make sense on its own merits.  It goes without saying its bad politics.  It’s a slow motion suicide of the Republican Party as a national contender, but I could forgive that if it was good policy.  But it’s not.  It’s bad policy too.  It lowers the wage rates of the native working poor, it increases income inequality, it increases by millions the numbers of American poor, it inflicts long term financial stress on our entitlement programs, and creates a massive new underclass.

Your bill is unfair.  It grants sweeping immunity for crimes that would throw a citizen in jail.  And no, I’m not talking about merely crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa.  Using,  false identification and Social Security numbers aren’t minor misdemeanors, they are felonies.  How can that possibly be justified?

Since you seem committed to this dangerous course of action, you’ve left me and many others no choice but to support your primary opponent for your re-election, whoever that may be.  And there will be a primary opponent.  Don’t think that your former supporters will shrug and figure better you than a Republican who can’t will the general election or a Democrat.  If your bill becomes law, in the long run there won’t be a real future for Republicans anyway.  So if you are going to burn down the house, I want to at least make sure you don’t get re-elected to collect the insurance money.

Of all the political issues I’ve researched, I’ve never understood how someone on the right could support blanket amnesty.  If there is an intelligent argument to be made on its behalf, I’m still waiting to hear it.  Instead, I hear insults to my intelligence like the kind your fellow gang member, Senator Graham offers.

You really had a promising political future and I’m flummoxed at why you decided to throw it away in order to help Democratic political ambitions.

Sincerely,

A Republican Primary Voter

If I get anything more than an automated response to this, I’ll be sure and post it, but won’t expect any sort of response.  Rubio, even if ever read this, which is unlikely, won’t have an answer for it.

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Snowden’s Snow Job and Left-Right Inconsistency

Well it looks like the government finally went ahead and filed charges against Edward Snowden under the Espionage Act.  To me, that’s good news, although I think the odds of the US ever getting its hands on Snowden again are vanishingly small.  I’m pretty sure that Snowden will get to stay somewhere, whether it’s in China,  Iceland, or  Russia, where he is now.  Putin made a sanctuary offer to Snowden.  I’m pretty sure there are plenty of folks in Russia’s intelligence services that would love to sit down with Snowden and have a chat.

When I wrote about Snowden’s release of classified information a few weeks ago, I was reveling in the liberal hypocrisy that saw nothing wrong about these NSA programs, even though similar disclosures during the Bush era sent the left into a state of rage overload.  But I shouldn’t have laughed so quickly. As more information about Snowden came out, the right began to anoint him a hero.  How could the same people who (rightly) called Bradley Manning a criminal now call Snowden a hero and patriot?

Snowden violated his nondisclosure agreement, released classified documents to a foreign newspaper, and then promptly fled to Red China, where he revealed the extent of US spying on China, and then off to Russia.  That sort of description usually describes a hero to the left, not the right.  But I was pilloried on political forums for simply pointing out that Snowden betrayed his country…by the right.

That could have just been my own anecdotes that have no bearing on the national conversation, except the switcheroo is made clear in polling.  More Democrats support the phone metadata program than Republicans.

That tracks pretty closely to whether Americans think Snowden was right or wrong to release information on the NSA programs.  Democrats think Snowden was wrong by 49% to 39%.  Republicans?  They think Snowden was right 49% to 38%. Besides the embarrassment I have that most of the right now supports a traitor, it makes clear that for most people, they are supporting their team, not necessarily their principles.  I’ve always prided myself on my consistency, but I didn’t really think I was that unique in being supportive of principals rather than whether the other guy was wearing a red shirt or a blue one.

I will have to reconsider that.

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Star Trek Wrath of Darkness

I went to see this movie the first weekend it was out but I held off on posting this to avoid violating any sort of unwritten rule on spoilers, but at this point, enough time has passed  that knowing that the character Benedict Cumberbatch plays is Khan is either already well known, or totally irrelevant.  If you’re not familiar with the Star Trek Universe and are just interested in an action movie in space, whether the villain is named Khan or John Harrison is hardly a spoiler to anything important to the movie.  If you are a long time Trek fan, the fact that the villain is named Khan is… frankly it’s not a spoiler either way.  Unlike Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the villain’s real identity isn’t really important to the plot of this movie, and he could really just been named John Harrison without really adding or subtracting from the story.  Khan’s identity is more of an Easter egg than a spoiler for this movie.

But that’s fine if JJ Abrams secrecy on this point seems a little overdone.  That is part of how Abrams markets his movies.  I liked the Easter eggs in this movie and makes me feel as though the people who made the movie really care about the source material, and they are winking, just to me, that “Hey, we really get Star Trek!”  Even though Abrams probably didn’t know the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars before he took over the project.

As movies go, it was a thoroughly entertaining film, and it both answered some old questions and raised some new ones in the new Star Trek universe.

One of the things that had bugged me from Abrams first Star Trek film was how quickly Kirk went from cadet in trouble to Captain of a starship.  Really?  Even if you save the world, I’m thinking that Starfleet still doesn’t want to give a relative newbie the command of one of its top of the line starships.  How do you skip all of those ranks anyway?  Surely there are some Starfleet regulations having to do with time in service.  In this movie, that’s rectified by how quickly Kirk loses his rank and position when he’s caught violating the Prime Directive.  Kirk, busted down to First Officer, held the rank of Commander.  So just extrapolating here, but that leads me to believe that Captain was only a brevet rank, meaning he was assigned to the rank of Captain based solely on his position as skipper of the Enterprise, not as a rank he had actually earned and been promoted into.  So Commander was probably Kirk’s permanent rank.  Still, that’s not bad for someone who skipped most of the junior officer rank structure.

The other thing that I had an issue with was what was up with the white Khan?  Don’t get me wrong, I think Benedict Cumberbatch did a fantastic job playing the villain and really upped the ante on the level of acting in this movie, but he’s a man without a trace of melanin in his system, and he was cast to play Khan Noonien Singh, an Indian character.  I understand that in 1960’s Hollywood, you probably wouldn’t even think of casting an actual Indian to play an Indian.  They went with a Latin actor, Ricardo Montalbán instead.  Montalbán turned out to be an inspired choice.  He had not only the acting chops, but the sort of command presence that’s required to successfully play someone who was a deposed leader.  And boy, did the ladies love him!  Check out this clip from the original series Star Trek when he turns on the Alpha game on one of Kirk’s crewbabes.

That’s total Alpha Game, but fair warning; don’t try this at home kids.

It goes without saying that Montalbán steals every scene in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

When JJ Abrams was looking to cast his new Khan, once again he was looking at Latin actors.  Casting a Latin to play Indian in 1967 may have made perfect sense, but why would you do that in the 21st Century?  There are plenty of actual Indian actors who could have played that role.  But instead, the actor who wins the role is the whitest person from an island whose populace is already known for being pasty faced.  I’m not the only one who noticed this, the folks at Racebending.com made a big deal about it as well.

So how does this fit into the overall Star Trek alternate timeline?  Based on 2009’s Star Trek, JJ Abrams made his divergent timeline from Kirk’s birth, so every event from that point on was up to be changed or altered.  But Khan was from the 20th Century.  He preceded the divergent timeline and should have still been an Indian actor with a Mexican accent, rather than an Indian character with a British accent (I know, an Indian character with a British accent makes more sense).  If you allow me to geek out a bit, a couple of possibilities present themselves.

It’s possible that the Original Series Kirk altered the timeline.  The episode Space Seed, established the character Khan, his origins as a genetically engineered superman, and his role in the Eugenics Wars, which took place from 1992 to 1996.  Remember the war years?  Good times…  Within the three seasons that comprise the Original Series, the crew of the Enterprise was involved in time travel incidents that could have altered Earth history on at least three occasions:  Assignment Earth, taking place in 1968, The City on the Edge of Forever, which has Dr McCoy drastically altering events in depression era San Francisco, and Tomorrow is Yesterday, taking place in 1969.  Although all of these incursions were “fixed,” they were fixed via the band-aid approach.  Except in the episode Tomorrow is Yesterday, they didn’t undo the original timeline alteration; they merely made other changes to repair the original changes.  With that method, who knows what differences in the time line seeped through that were not obvious initially?

It’s also possible that the Temporal Cold War, from the Enterprise TV series could have altered 20th Century events.  In the two part Enterprise episode Storm Front, aliens from the future drastically alter the 20th Century by providing assistance to the Nazi’s so that they win World War II.  By the end of the episode, the timeline has been “reset” and things are back to where they are supposed to be, although what exactly that is seems unclear.  The Eugenics Wars and Khan could have all been reset as well.

Just so I’m clear, one of the changes that I’m discussing is whatever DNA that was used to create Khan in the first place may have been altered.  Khan was genetically engineered after all, so different timelines could mean different strands of DNA could have been selected to create Khan.

In other words, the genetic material could have come from a different Cumber-batch of DNA.

Get it?

How about, a whiter shade of Khan?

No?

Anyway… by the time the crew of the Voyager get their opportunity to mess with 20th Century Earth, in the episode Future’s End, the Voyager crew wind up in 1996, supposedly the last year of the Eugenics Wars.  However everything seemed… much like our 1996.  No major world wars featuring genetically engineered supermen.  Nor did the Voyager crew seemed to be expecting a Eugenics War.  Maybe it had been shifted or eliminated from the timeline?

My guess (and really, this is all nothing but guesses) is that the Eugenics Wars did happen, only not in the 1990’s as they did from Khan’s original timeline.  They probably happened some decades later, but they still happened, since the Eugenics Wars were still an issue during the time period of the Enterprise TV show.

This is the type of trivia that only a nerd could love, but it’s important.  That’s why JJ Abrams pulled the alternate timeline trick rather than just do a re-imagining of the series like was done with Battlestar Galactica.  Doing a hard reboot of the series and ignoring what came before would have been the easiest path, but it would drive Trekkers crazy.  Who needs that?

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