Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

Oh joy…another immigration flame-fest

So, new RPV Executive Director Shaun Kenney (full disclosure, close friend of mine) takes some time to sit with center-left activists on the immigration issue. Much of his talk centers around thanking them for stopping by, talking about how it’s important to talk to folks who don’t necessarily agree with them, and an observation on the debate that was miles above anything discussed on the matter since…

I genuinely believe that both sides of this debate want to do the right thing; it’s just a matter of getting those wires to touch.

It didn’t take long for the wires to vehemently protest. Soon Greg Letiecq (also a friend) was slamming Shaun for advocating amnesty – something which, I confess, I didn’t catch in the video excerpt Greg provided, although Greg and Shaun have made clear their disagreement on the issue for years. Soon Jeanine Martin and Brian Schoeneman (whom I would also call friends, but as I’ve never met either of them in person, I don’t know what they would think), joined in the fray, with Martin claiming Shaun would hurt poor people and Brian calling Jeanine and Greg racists (in the comments).

Yeah, it’s that kind of party.

Sadly, as both sides spent their time reminding themselves how wonderful they are – hey, we’re bloggers; it’s what we do – the questions I raised almost two months ago remain completely outside of the discussion:

  • What are we doing to encourage entrepreneurs to come to America?
  • What labor shortages in the American economy (such as, health care) can be alleviated via immigration reform?
  • How can we use our immigration policies to take advantage of capital flight in areas around the world, so that those who own that capital will feel more welcome here (along with their capital, of course)?
  • In other words, how can we use immigration reform as a supply-side economic opportunity, rather than merely an argument about Keynesian “aggregate demand”?

As I stated in that post, anything that doesn’t address the above subjects is just noise…which is exactly what we got from nearly everyone concerned – a lot of heat, but very little light.

As for Shaun, I’m glad he’s willing to talk to folks outside his political comfort zone. At the very least, we all need to remember how to disagree without being disagreeable.

I would have been much happier if he and Mr. Sajur had spent some time talking about the above topics….

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

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17 Responses to “Oh joy…another immigration flame-fest”

  1. Riley

    Under the rules of the Internet, Schoeneman automatically loses the argument by invoking the imagery of the KKK. (It is a corollary to Godwin’s Law relating to the invocation of Nazis.)

  2. Brian W. Schoeneman (@BrianSchoeneman)

    DJ, here’s the bottom line for me – Shaun was doing his job and he was unfairly attacked by people who have an ax to grind against him.

    I know what it’s like to do your job and be unfairly attacked by people who have an ax to grind against me, so when I see that happening to somebody else, I’m not going to sit by and watch it happen without trying to do something about it. So I did.

    Jim, that rule doesn’t exist on the internet, but even if it did, you’re misunderstanding the point of Godwin’s Law – it’s not to stifle discussion, it’s to stop people from making inappropriate references to Nazis. My comments were cogent to the discussion and I wasn’t making an analogy. I was flat out calling those two racists, because that’s what they are.

    • Riley

      Brian, calling someone a racist is just as bad as calling someone a Nazi (and in fact, using the white sheets reference implies the Ku Klux Klan and nothing else). It IS intended to stifle discussion.

      If you think your argument is that strong, then stick with the merits of your case and don’t engage in ad hominen attacks.

    • Riley

      You do realize that last sentence you wrote could subject you to legal action for libel, don’t you? It would then be up to you to prove in a court of law that those two individuals are in fact racists. Are you prepared to do that?

  3. Jim R

    What I find hilarious about Schoenman is that he is the idiot advocating policy positions that are devestating to African-Americans while trying to smear those who have the timerity to disagree with him as racists. The economic impact of the sort of wide spread amnesty he and Kenney are advocating has been examined at length by a variety of economists. Even the most fervently “open borders” amongst them admit that amnesty almost certainly drives down wages for the working poor with the largest impact falling on African Americans. Now, it may very well be that the benefits derived by entrepreneurs and the upper and upper middle classes who may realize savings on labor costs outweighs the devestating impact on the working poor (although this point is hotly debated amongst those same economists) but nobody seriously argues that it doesn’t crush the earning prospects a majority of African American workers for the next two decades or so.

    I would like to know why Schoenman and Kenney are completely indifferent to the plight of the working poor in general and working poor African Americans in particular. I can’t say that Schoenman is a racist as I have the wisdom to know that I can’t see into his soul. With that said, I am more than comfortable asserting that he is (a) not very bright; (b) an abysmal writer; (c) boring and (d) doing more to hurt his position than any arguments an anti-immigration absolutist could muster.

  4. Brian W. Schoeneman (@BrianSchoeneman)

    Jim, no, I’m not opening myself up to a defamation claim (you’re a lawyer, use the right terminology) because I am expressing an opinion, not stating a fact. I won’t bother going into the elements of a defamation claim, but needless to say, they don’t apply here.

    I am also not trying to stifle discussion, I am pointing out what I believe to be bad behavior that is harming the reputation of the party and countering baseless attacks against my friend.

    Jim R is demonstrating an appalling lack of reading comprehension. Nowhere have Shaun, me, or anybody that I aware of on the Republican side of the aisle advocated amnesty. As for the arguments about harm to African Americans and the working poor, how exactly is creating a path to legal citizenship for illegals going to impact these folks worse than the status quo? If these folks are already being hurt, how will this hurt them more? The reality is we need to be doing a better job on helping the working poor better their condition, and those issues are separate and apart from the immigration debate.

    The whole “they’re stealing our jobs” meme is nonsense. It’s not supported by the data, especially anecdotal evidence.

    As for the rest, /yawn.

    • Riley

      I prefer the classic terms, not the lazy catchall of “defamation” for those who can’t discern between libel and slander.

      And your exact words were:

      “I was flat out calling those two racists, because that’s what they are.”

      Doesn’t matter if you now state that is just your “opinion.” That has no impact on what constitutes defamation. You’ve written what these two individuals would consider to be a false statement about them that has been “published” to a third party here and is damaging to these two individuals, particularly to one who runs his own business.

  5. Brian W. Schoeneman (@BrianSchoeneman)

    The classic terms aren’t the proper legal terms. Virginia no longer recognizes libel and slander as separate concepts.

    My exact words still represent an opinion. And yes, it does has an impact on what constitutes defamation because language that is objectively clear to an outside observer as being opinion – like whether someone is or isn’t a racist – is going to be treated like an opinion. I just went through this entire review a few months back when Greg was doing his last hit job on Bearing Drift, so I’m pretty clear on the law.

    Both federal precedent, in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Company, and Virginia law in Chaves v. Johnson have held that opinions aren’t defamatory. The Virginia Supreme Court in Chaves said “[p]ure expressions of opinion . . . cannot form the basis of an action for defamation.” My characterization of those two is simply my opinion. For it to be a fact, it would have to be capable of being demonstratively proven false – that’s also from Milkovich.

    In Virginia, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove the falsity of the statement. That’s kind of tough here.

    Regardless, like I said, I’m not trying to stifle discussion. But when I see people attacking Shaun because he had a meeting with people, I can’t help but question their real motives.

  6. minpin06

    What is being missed here is the fact that it wasn’t that Shaun Kenney met with some people in his office that has added so much fuel to the already raging flames between the differing factions in the Republican party, it goes back to Mr. Kenney’s article from a while ago where he called those that didn’t see eye to eye with him on his ideas of immigration reform “nativists” and outreageously said that they needed to get out of the Republican party. That is absolutely what has caused more than a little stir. Mr. Kenney’s article was posted on the Daily Caller yesterday, along with direct quotes from that article. Brian Shoenman’s recent article titled something like the Nattering Nabobs of Nativism was also linked, along with his comment where he claims that “he too is trying to get rid of the new generation of those that were wearing white sheets 50 years ago. ” This has now hit WMAL talk radio. This morning the question was put to the listening audience as to how those felt about a guy, Shaun Kenney, who is now the face of the Republican party in VA, calling those that don’t agree with him on immigration reform nativists, and that they need to be purged from the party. Fair question to be sure, as the words are Mr. Kenney’s. The DC article was also linked at WeaselZippers website.

    It wasn’t bad enough that those flames were already raging, Mr. Kenney was a guest on the Charlottesville Coy Barefoot talk show at just after 4 PM. He did nothing to walk back his nativist comments, he doubled down on them. He again repeated that those that didn’t agree with his position on immigration reform were nativists who function from anger and animous, and I quote “they need to get out of my party.” He talks about those that see some as “the other” clearly implying that those that do not agree are racists. Then he goes on to say that his job is to grow the Republican party in VA. Yet he just told a huge number of those already in the party to get out and leave.

    It’s unfortunate but I do believe that Mr. Kenney will in fact get his wish. So to will Mr. Shoenman who had the temerity to call those that disagree the KKK. Apparently Mr. Shoenman doesn’t seem to remember that it was in fact the Democrats that started the KKK, Jim Crow laws and who stood in the school house doors all those years ago.

    I humbly have a suggestion to make. When you are already in a deep hole, stop digging.

    • Lovettsville Lady

      Shaun has done more to harm our candidates in the last week than anything the democrats have done this year. He wants those who believe in supporting our laws, and those who care about the poor who are being displaced by illegal immigrants to leave the republican party. Sadly for our party, he’s getting his wish as many ‘nativists’ look elsewhere for a candidate they can support. They don’t see it as leaving the party, they see the party under Shaun’s leadership having left them. It’s all very sad.

      My biggest fear is losing the 10th district seat as dispirited republican ‘nativists’ stay home. We cannot win with those voters who believe in the laws of country and support enforcement of our laws. We need fiscal conservatives who understand the economic realities of 11.5 million illegals to vote republican if we are to keep the 10th district seat. We’re fast losing both groups, those who believe in the rule of law and those who are fiscal conservatives. Our party’s in trouble.

  7. Jim R

    I guess it is now safe to say the Schoenman is dishonest to go along with being an intellectual lightweight. I don’t want to give page views to a couple of stooges but anyone who is interested in seeing Kenney and Schoenman’s positions as it relates to amnesty need only google them to find that collected wit and wisdom. And to ask how flooding the marketplace with millions upon millions of low skilled, cheap laborers damages the economic prospects of the working poor requires a level of obtusiveness that one can only usually find in the offices of Jim Moran.

    As the MIT study noted, in the event amnesty is granted, statiscally speaking we should expect several million more “free riders” who will enter the US for the sole purpose of reaping the benefits of the amnesty. So where you might have had 6 million of these laborers under the status quo–if the experiences of the 80s amnesty are any indication you should expect 2-3 million of the free riders. The effect on the working poor is something similar to taking a row boat that is already swamped and foundering and to dump another couple thousand gallons of water on it.

    Anyway, the lesson that ought to be taken from this disgraceful chapter is that when going about planning a purge one ought to take care to remember that very often the would be purgers become the purgees. Kenney and Schoenman should have studied a little bit of Kremlinology.

  8. djb

    DJ,

    To address your article and suggestions that remain outside discussion – won’t work, i.e., USCIS must be cleaned up first. Also for the EB-5 program, put Commerce and the FBI as lead agencies. There’s a guy sittin in the Gov mansion right now who should be residing in Allenwood PA , not Richmond VA.

    As for the rest of this – there was a time when Americans enjoyed solving problems now they seem to accept just wallowing in them as long as they have an audience.

  9. Pillsbury

    Hopefully, Mark Levin will get on the case soon and expose this to conservatives across the nation. He’ll have a field day with Brian ShoneyMan.

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