Arizona, USA and Illegal Immigrants

Arizona’s law against illegal immigrants is probably more of an expression of frustration than a law than can be comprehensively enforced. There has been nationwide condemnation of the law, but at the very least, it has put focus back on the pressing issue of illegal immigration.

Part of the outcry against the law is that it will lead to racial profiling. But the racial profiling, in this case, is mostly due to the “accidental” circumstances; after all, practically all the illegal immigrants come from south of the Arizona border with Mexico. Profiling is inevitable, whether there is racial bias or not.

Arizona’s frustration is understandable, even if one regards the law as extreme. US policy on illegal immigration is presently ineffective, and in many ways ambiguous. After making allowance for refugee and guest workers status (however the exceptions may be determined), it is absolutely imperative that the United States adopts a hard, consistent policy that the country sticks to – inflexibly! This would include no more amnesties, no way for an illegal immigrant to to legalize his status from within the United States, and in all cases, after due process, immediate deportation. Other countries do it. Why don’t we?

Take Australia, for example. Australia does have an advantage over the USA as regards immigration. The ocean forms a virtual moat around the country, but it still has its share of illegal immigrants, including a surprising number from the United States. Whenever the Department of Immigration identifies an illegal alien, after due process, that person is immediately flown out of the country back to his land of origin. There is no messing about as here with court hearings to see if he has bought a ticket, a situation that costs as much as a ticket and is nothing more than a waste of time.

If a child has the luck to be born in Australia and is therefore a citizen and the illegal parents are not, there is no way that the parents can stay. They are illegally in the country and have to be deported. They can leave the child or take him with them. (He will always have the citizenship in his back pocket, should he wish to return when he is older.)

The Department of Immigration discovered a Chinese family living a small town in conservative, rural Queensland. They were illegal immigrants and in due course, they ended up on a plane to Hong Kong, despite pleas from the residents of that town, for the family operated the town’s only Chinese restaurant. Since they were illegally in the country, there was no way that they could get their status changed to legal residency. The town’s people then followed the right procedure. They filled immigration applications, guarantees and sponsorship papers, and within a matter of months they were able to bring the family back to the town, now as legal immigrants. The town had a big barbecue for them and pretty soon, the Chinese restaurant was back in business.

Arizona’s move has signaled to the federal government that it is high time for real action. The government should look to other countries where there are immigration policies that work, some of the European countries and Australia for example, to help formulate a workable immigration policy.

America’s Cup: Fun and Games

It seems to be in the nature of America’s Cup competition that, every now and then, the race for the world’s oldest active sporting trophy becomes nothing less than a farce. The most recent competition, held this last February, was another instance.

The match amounted to three racing days, two races, and two and a half years of legal wrangling. In addition, there was no international competition for the right to challenge, and the race (traditionally a monohull competition) was between two ridiculously large and expensive multihulls.

Despite this, the 2010 challenge was not the most farcical. That “honor” is still held by the 1988 mismatch between a huge New Zealand monohull and Dennis Conner’s 60-foot American catamaran. So ridiculous was the race that Conner held back the speed of the multihull to help the American position in the court case that he knew would follow.

These one against one matches are called “Deed of Gift” matches. More appropriate, I think, would be to call them “Court of Law” matches.

Fortunately, the 2010 campaign was won by the right team, BMW Oracle (racing as USA 17). Larry Ellison of Oracle wants to return the cup to the traditional format of competition between potential challengers to determine the eventual challenging boat and competition between boats from the defending country (currently USA) to determine the defending yacht.

I hope Ellison also returns to monohull competition. We already have a multihull regatta, modeled on America’s Cup, the Little America’s Cup. It was here in the Little America’s Cup that the wing type sail that BMW Oracle sported was first used in competition.

America’s Cup racing is traditionally between monohulls. America, the schooner that started it all, was an innovative monohull design in 1851. The best competition has always been between monohulls of similar design, with room in the rules to allow for innovation.

The heyday of America’s Cup was when the yachts were of the 12-metre class. These were less expensive than earlier yachts and also less than the class that replaced it, the International America’s Cup Class. If Ellison (as he said) wants to get back to a less expensive format with more countries competing, it should be to something similar, though a different class from standard yacht racing classes to provide for development. The 12-metre rule allowed for considerable flexibility in design, through limiting trade-offs, with a lot for room for innovation. (The yachts were not twelve meters in length; competing plus and minus measurements had to total twelve meters.)

It was in a 12-metre yacht in 1983 that Australia II broke the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year-old stranglehold on the cup. Contributing to the win was an innovative keel design on Australia II. Too much has been made of the winged keel. Australia II was the superior yacht and would have most likely won anyway, though they were up against a formidable opponent in Dennis Conner. The kind of innovation that the winged keel represents would not have been accepted under the rules of standard yacht classes. Indeed, the winged keel was promptly banned from other classes.

The move to 12-metre racing turned out to be a very significant move. It eventually opened up the competition for the trophy. It enabled America’s Cup to spread to other countries and potentially become a truly international regatta of the highest order. Now it has a chance to stay that way—as long as we do not end up with any more “Deed of Gift” or “Court of Law” races.

The Origin of Australian Aborigines: A Speculation

Aborigines have been in Australia for at least 40,000 to 60,000 years. The later time is still the main one given, but there is enough evidence to push that back to the earlier date, perhaps even to 70,000 years. What is intriguing is not where they came from, which is from Asia, but how they got to Australia.

The people in Asia that they most resemble are the original people of India. Although this is not universally accepted, I think they are the most likely ancestors. The peoples who now live in Southeast Asia between India and Australia were later arrivals, supplanting the original inhabitants. The most common assumption is that the Aborigines arrived via a land bridge, like the aboriginal Americans arrived from Siberia. Unfortunately, there was never a land bridge between Asia and Australia anywhere near a time when the Aborigines needed to have crossed (or since). Even at the most optimum, there were 150 miles of ocean that had to be navigated, and this was at a time long before early man took to the sea, before boats, before canoes, before rafts, before anything made to float on. At 150 miles, no land on the other side or loom of land is visible.

It is possible that by accident, a person clinging to a log could drift across to Australia, but even at the shortest distance of 150 miles, it would take many days, assuming a steady progress. One person is not enough; two are needed for procreation. But even that is a stretch. A scientist, whose work I read while still in Australia, writing on this problem, said that it would take a group of at least 27 or 28, for survival to be viable. That figure is the bare minimum. Is it possible that such a large group could have drifted across?

Actually, and here comes the speculation, it is possible, more than 28, possibly hundreds, but they were not drifting. They were washed over. This speculative scenario occurred to me while I was rereading Velikovsky’s Earth in Upheaval.

Velikovsky wrote Earth in Upheaval to counteract criticism that there was no hard evidence for major catastrophes in the past, as he postulated in Worlds in Collision, which was based on ancient records and mythologized remembrances of ancient peoples. The evidence he gathered for Earth in Upheaval does show massive catastrophes that not only suddenly wiped out large numbers of ancient animals, like mammoths, hippopotami, various predators, and so forth, all mixed up and smashed into crevices and caves, so suddenly that the food was undigested and grass being eaten was still between the teeth. Mixed in amongst them were also human remains. Errant boulders were pushed long distances, even uphill, and much, much more.

The part that I focused on was the evidence of vast tidal waves that swept over large areas of the world. There are no precise times for these, but the range of animals involved roughly match our years of interest.  (Later in the book, he focuses on the last millennium BCE.) The cause for the tidal waves may have been some kind of cosmological ping-pong in our solar system, but the cause is not really relevant here. Such a huge tsunami could have swept enough survivors onto the Australian continent. In their new country, these new Aborigines would have found plenty of large game (assuming it survived), and a new environment to adapt to and gradually to make their own.

One final speculation can be made, assuming cosmological origins of the catastrophe. In Worlds in Collision, Velikovsky links the concept of dragons and the like to apparitions seen in the sky during planetary close encounters. For the aborigines, the Rainbow Serpent is the most important concept in their mythology. Is there a corresponding origin here with that of the dragons?

(To give a perspective on the time span involved, I should add that Aborigines were in Australia well before humans got to Europe.)