Friday, October 12, 2007

Invasion PA: Metcalfe revs the disinformation machine

Yesterday the people of Hazleton got a wake-up call about the benefits of their immigrant population, and it was Lou Barletta whose disinformation was exposed. Today, it's state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (Cranberry) who's been exposed trying to manipulate the public.

Metcalfe's report (available online for lovers of disaster fiction) compiles 120 apocryphal tales of Pennsylvanians "whose lives have been unnecessarily lost or irreparably damaged due to the federal government's outright refusal to honor the constitutional obligation of securing America's borders against foreign invaders."

What the report really consists of is Daryl Metcalfe's personal thoughts and feelings on stories he read in the newspaper. "Innocent until proven guilty" goes right out the window as he treats arrests and convictions the same. That's a safe practice in a state notorious for racial profiling, right?

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, even John "foreign criminals" Morganelli, Northampton County district attorney and one of PA's most vocal immigration opponents, is giving Metcalfe's scary story a bad review:

"The report was, in my view, poorly constructed ... it was a compilation of opinions and inferences drawn from arrests that really did not support the conclusion that an 'invasion' is occurring in Pennsylvania. It also seemed to treat 'arrests' and 'convictions' as the same without noting the important distinction that an 'arrest' is only an allegation.

"Although I have noted arrests in public statements, it is important to note that an arrest is NOT (emphasis original) a conviction, and everyone arrested is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Dimitri Vassilaros at the Trib offered Metcalfe the chance to defend his work, to which Metcalfe responded that he had no interest in fact-checking or follow through. "You have your spin on this story.... Obviously, you are trying to pick apart every word being used. I don't agree with you. I am done with ... your nitpicking."

A note to the people of Pennsylvania: YOU ARE BEING MANIPULATED.

No one's saying that 'illegal immigration' is just okey-dokey, but how can we come to a reasonable solution when our leaders are aligning themselves with racists and white supremacists and pumping out disinformation?

Thomas Jefferson believed that the most essential ingredient in a free country was a well-informed citizenry.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be... if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed."
Herman Goering, Nazi leader, shared a similar belief, albeit expressed differently:
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Chris in Philly

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Blogger radar pangaean said...

"No one's saying that 'illegal immigration' is just okey-dokey"

Are you so sure? I have been a faithful reader of this site for some time. I appreciate the work of the ACLU. I'm most certainly a liberal by any reasonable definition. But on this topic my reading of your blog seems to imply that the ONLY reason anyone ever objects to the presence of illegal immigrants in this country is because they are an open (or closeted) bigot of some sort. You seem to dismiss out of hand any objection at all, implying that it's really just a cover for hatred of hispanics.

While i understand your frustration with the hate-mongers that do mask their bigotry in their calls for the removal of illegal immigrants, it's my opinion that you've been using too wide of a brush in your responses to them.

I blogged about your attitude on this issue recently. If you are interested in the specifics, see

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't think that economic migration would be much of an issue at all if it were not for the fact that the migrants are showing up in "small town America" and don't look like, speak like or have the same customs as the local population. If they did speak, look and behave more like the local population, nobody would even notice.

This happened in the '80s when the Asian-American population started to expand past its traditional locals. People who never expected it saw their neighborhood's and town's demographics change. The result was the same sort of ethnic paranoia under the same pretext - illegal immigration. After people got used to Asian Americans, they calmed down. It isn't any big deal.

Obviously we want to address any national problem in a rational, humane manner that respects social, economic and geo-political reality. To the extent that illegal immigration is problem, what stands in the way of doing so? The racist, bigoted, proto-fascist activists whose only reality is their ethnic identity, and who have found a public outlet for their hate. So, take them out of the debate, and we can focus on a reasonable solution to what probably isn't too big of a problem.

ACLU is right to insist that we proceed in a manner that FULLY respects the rights of ALL mankind. That is, after all, the American way.

6:10 PM  
Blogger James said...


And it may have happened even before that--to a point.

7:19 PM  
Blogger ACLU of Pennsylvania said...

radar, you make a fair point. I think we tend to focus on the racists, neo-nazis and bigots because they're the most outspoken, and often the ones we hear from most frequently. That, and because it allows us to bring a little levity into these posts.

It is of course possible to make a reasoned AND Constitutional argument that 'illegal immigration' is a problem and needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, we don't hear those arguments very often. Most of the time, we hear foundless accusations about rising crime rates and diminished quality of life - accusations that are frequently proven wrong by one quick look at the real world.

For our part, we are not favoring amnesty or open borders; we don't really have a position on either of those issues. Our interest is in a Constitutional solution.


4:32 PM  
Blogger radar pangaean said...

I appreciate your response here and on my blog. I certainly understand your focus, i'm just trying to remind you to choose the correct size brush when you discuss this issue, or you may alienate reasonable people along with putting the jerks in their place. I see from your responses that you understand my point.

I'm all for levity. I believe that one does not have to be all serious and formal to be taking something seriously.

I have my own soapbox issues, as you would see if you spent any time on my blog as i do here. I'm very much opposed to religious fundamentalism and their attempts to merge church and state in this country, but i walk a narrow line on that topic because my own wife is a very devout Christian :-).

I appreciate the courtesy of both replies. I have been, and will continue to be, an active supporter of the ACLU. I can't help that, it's just part of being a damned liberal :-)

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck said...

"ACLU is right to insist that we proceed in a manner that FULLY respects the rights of ALL mankind. That is, after all, the American way."

The rights of all mankind? I'd be more content if your agenda only addressed the rights included in the Constitution. Some would construe the rights of all mankind to include the right to migrate, regardless of the sovereign rights of a host nation. My impression from you is that the ACLU is actually in favor of this. There are many so-called "rights" that Americans wouldn't accept as legitimate, as they require a forced transfer of wealth from a productive part of society to a part that is less productive. Communism include rights that are anathema to our American way. I probably should refrain from the term "American Way", as it is almost undefinable, because it means different things to each of us.

I'm afraid that radar is right, your prejudice is fairly blatant. From all appearances, the ACLU, by its singleminded obstruction of federal and state efforts to overcome loopholes in the law, is actually aiding an abetting illegal immigrants, its claims to impatiallity notwithstanding.

Andy, as radar indicated, you tend to condemn anyone who opposes illegal immigration as racist. It is apparent that you are using the earlier experience with Asian immigrants as a pattern to judge the present. The comparison with today is inappropriate, as those immigrants were legitimate, and your so-called undocumented immigrants are not. There is a big difference in the minds of millions of citizens, who you seem to condemn outright as bigots. I contend that you're no longer objective on this issue, and others apparenly agree.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: The rights of all mankind? I'd be more content if your agenda only addressed the rights included in the Constitution.

This was my phrase ("all mankind"), not the ACLU's. I'm a member, but I don't speak for the organization.

Normally I would have said "the rights of all citizens", but we are not talking about citizens so I broadened it. From a legalistic point of view, I might have said "the rights due everyone under the Constitution."

However, I don't think the legalistc verbage captures the spirit of our heritage. Our Declaration of Independence asserts that the unalienable rights of "all Men" are endowned upon them "by their Creator". This remarkable conception leads us towards the recognition of universal human rights which all mankind are obliged to recognize and respect. And so I think there is some justification, especially in the context of America, to speak of the rights of all mankind.

One more point - You are right, there is no Constitutional right to cross our boarders. There are many different legitimate points of view on what our policy should be. None-the-less, however restrictive our policy might be, we must proceed in a manner that FULLY respects the rights of ALL mankind.

That is, after all, the American way.

8:23 PM  
Blogger radar pangaean said...

Well, i suppose i opened myself up for this :-).

I have a fairly strong policy on my blog: anonymous posts are not welcome, regardless of their content. It's been my experience that, in general, this policy does not cost me very many posters whose opinions i care to have there. It does, however, spare my few readers from the inane rants of people who generate much more heat than light.

While the anonymous person who has posted here may be somewhat correct in quoting my opinion that there's some bias showing in the posts here, that doesn't mean i prefer to be quoted by name by anyone who doesn't have the gumption to sign their own name to the message which contains the quote, or to have my comments used to support a position which goes farther than my own intent.

For the most part, i'd rather read the output from the ACLU and this blog's author... even where i may disagree with part of their reasoning or a conclusion... than people who hide behind anonymity in a public forum.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And radar is your real name? Radar Jones, Smith or Doe?

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the difference between pseudonyms and anonymous when it comes to taking the moral high ground, Mr. Radar?



6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it makes you happy, I'll call myself Chuck E. Cheese.

6:46 PM  
Blogger radar pangaean said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:26 PM  
Blogger radar pangaean said...

Trying again.

My real name is radar. You can verify that by visiting my blog, for which i posted a link in my original post.

I have no interest in participating in petty discussions, much less so in doing Chris the discourtesy of doing so on his blog.

I have no more to say on this issue, in spite of any subsequent goading that may occur :-).

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck said:

I went to your web site, radar and came away no more enlightened that before my visit. This was you explanation you gave for the name radar pangaen...

"About my name: ‘radar pangaean’
Page 1. What’s in a name?
This set of pages is in work. Please just skip it for now.
I’ll make an entry on the main page of the site when it is completed."

Real name, phoney name, neither convey or deny legitimacy. In a blog, unless you post a picture and a biography, you remain behind an identity firewall.

9:13 PM  

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