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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

One had to wonder why the Obama administration decided to pick on a group of immigrants last week, arresting them for “spying” of all things.

This was done the same week the president delivered an important speech about immigration, citing all the swell things immigrants have done for the United States. It was as though the Justice Department and the president simply weren’t on the same page.

To unravel this conundrum, we contacted Howard Bashford, deputy associate senior junior adviser to Barack Obama, and asked him about the apparent contradiction.

His short answer was, “Well, the folks we arrested were Russian.”

“But Russian immigrants have contributed to the United States,” we said. “Why, the president even mentioned Google’s Sergei Brin, who was born in Moscow, as a high-achieving immigrant.”

“He did?” said Bashford. “Anyway, that’s beside the point. The Russians we arrested were lawbreakers …”

“Like everybody here illegally,” we interrupted. “They were living the American dream – responsible jobs, homes in the suburbs, et cetera.”

“Now, that’s the point,” said Bashford. “They were making the big bucks.”

“Isn’t that the American ideal?” we asked.

“Hardly,” scoffed Bashford. “They weren’t doing the jobs no American will do. One of them was making $135,000 a year as a financial planner; another had a $2 million real-estate firm. It would have been another matter if they had been gardeners or slaughterhouse workers or day laborers.”

We added, “Or drug smugglers or kidnappers.”

“Right,” said Bashford, who then flushed and quickly added. “Wait a darn minute!”


Nitpicking the speech: Perhaps lost in Obama’s immigration verbiage was his quiet assertion that “being an American is not a matter of blood or birth.” Perhaps he meant to say “blood or birth certificate.”

We must take issue with the president’s assertion that “the ink on our Constitution was barely dry when, amidst conflict, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which placed harsh restrictions of those suspected of having foreign allegiances.”

Amy Handleman, a renowned ink chemist, tells us that because the Alien and Sedition Acts were enacted in 1798, the ink on the Constitution would have had a full decade to cure and thus was thoroughly dry when President John Adams signed the infamous bills into law.

Next let us consider Obama’s implicit comparison of Arizona’s border-enforcement law with past discrimination against the Irish, Asians and eastern Europeans. We think that’s a tough case to make, given that nobody, to our knowledge, has objected to the annual legal immigration of thousands of Hispanics.

Now, the big one: It may be too much to expect the president’s speechwriters to be literate, but can’t they take the time to look up and quote correctly Emma Lazarus’ immortal poem for the Statue of Liberty?

Obama’s truncated version cited the lines,

Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .”

That should be “yearning to breathe free,” Mr. President. Let’s not even worry whether it should be “tempest-tost” or, as your writers had it, “tempest tossed.”


Random matters: If you’re among those wondering why Obama has pushed so many initiatives against the apparent public will, consider the advice to “The Prince” from Niccolo Machiavelli:

“Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offense; benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop, so that they may be relished the more.”

Fatuous quote of the year: Our candidate comes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who declared, “Robert Byrd’s was one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen.”

Yep. The late Sen. Byrd, who failed to outlive his record as a segregationist, Klansman and anti-civil-rights filibusterer, ranks in Reid’s mind right up there with Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Martin Luther, Edmund Burke … Well, you can extend the list at will.

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