John Hawkins: Do you think it’s time to consider actually walling off the border, manning it with armed guards, etc., between the US and Mexico?
Michelle Malkin: At the very least, we should close the three-and-a-half mile hole in the fence at Otay Mesa between Mexico and California, which has been a playground for drug runners and human smugglers. The incomplete fence there is a triple steel, 15-foot-tall barrier that runs into the Pacific Ocean. Finishing the fence would free up Border Patrol agents who have had to man the gap.
As an aside, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who has pushed hard to get the fence built, points out that it would also help protect an endangered plant-the Maritime Succulent Scrub-getting trampled over by all the “willing workers.”
Strong fences: Good for security, good for the environment!
My question for those who oppose increased physical policing and barriers at the border is this: What is your alternative? If you oppose fixing the fences, flying drones, stationing armed guards, fingerprinting border crossers, and deporting the “undocumented” people who are already here, how exactly do you propose to make our borders matter?
John Hawkins: In your opinion, what do we need to do to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the United States and get rid of the illegals who are here?
Michelle Malkin: In the short run, we need to increase detention space, stop the deportation revolving door (see here), withhold homeland security funding from sanctuary cities, and encourage more federal-state-local cooperation on immigration enforcement (see here). Oh, and stop Congress from passing another amnesty disaster.
The ultimate solution to both problems is to enforce federal employer sanctions. The current system is a farce. Illegal aliens present fraudulent documents and employers pretend to believe the documents are valid. Employers are almost never fined because law enforcement officials can’t prove the employers knew the documents were phony. If we required employers to confirm each employee’s Social Security number with the Social Security Administration via a nationwide employee verification system, the fraud that now permeates the current system would virtually disappear overnight. Thousands of employers, faced with the possibility of real sanctions, would immediately fire any employee who is not here legally. Most illegal aliens, unable to find work, would quickly self-deport, and the jobs magnet would be turned off. But I dream.
John Hawkins: What do you say to people who grant that there were Japanese citizens who were disloyal to the US, but say there was no military threat of an invasion from the Japanese military and very little if anything Japanese spies could have done to hamper the war effort after Pearl Harbor?
Michelle Malkin: Yes, the risk of an invasion of the continental United States was negligible. But FDR’s Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, was concerned that Japan would launch hit-and-run attacks on West Coast cities, and that such attacks would be assisted by ethnic Japanese who resided on the West Coast. While Stimson’s concerns may seem overblown now, they certainly were reasonable then. Ethnic Japanese in Hawaii had gathered information for Japan that was used to plan the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the day of the attack, all three ethnic Japanese on the Hawaiian island of Niihau sided with an invading Japanese pilot. Ethnic Japanese who lived in the Philippines and other Asian countries sided with invading Japanese forces as well. It would have been reckless to dismiss the possibility of similar activities taking place in the continental U.S., particularly in light of the MAGIC messages (top-secret Japanese diplomatic cables intercepted and decoded by U.S. cryptanalysts) that revealed extensive Japanese espionage activities on the West Coast.
You allude to the idea that Japanese spies could do no harm after Pearl Harbor. Sorry, but this is absurd. It would have been a disaster if Japan’s military leaders knew the whereabouts and activities of our troops, ships, and planes. The element of surprise was key to our victory at Midway, a pivotal battle that changed the course of the war. “Loose lips sink ships” wasn’t just some empty slogan.
John Hawkins: What’s the biggest thing that you think critics of “In Defense of Internment” get wrong about the book? Also a related question, what’s the thing those critics tend to get wrong about the Japanese internment?
Michelle Malkin: Some of my critics accuse me and my supporters, such asDaniel Pipes, of supporting internment of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans today. It’s a complete misrepresentation of my position (and that of Pipes).
The threat we face today is serious, obviously, but it is fundamentally different from the threat we faced from Japan in late 1941 and early 1942. Remember, Stimson was worried about attacks on a specific geographic area: the West Coast. He wasn’t worried about Japan attacking New York City or Washington DC. You can agree or disagree with what was done, but you can’t deny the logic.
Let’s consider the situation now. Islamic terrorists have targeted Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York City and are capable of launching an attack on any city in between. The September 11 hijackers resided all over the country, from Florida to Arizona. They launched their attacks from several different airports. Forcing Muslims or Arab-Americans to live outside the West Coast or the East Coast or any particular geographic area would accomplish nothing.
My critics get many things wrong, but their biggest mistake is their almost religious belief that Roosevelt’s policies were solely or primarily a product of racism and wartime hysteria. I don’t think any fair-minded person who has read the MAGIC messages and intelligence memos of the day can come to that conclusion.
John Hawkins: I’ve noticed that “In Defense of Internment” was copyrighted “Michelle Maglalang”. Can you explain why that is?
Michelle Malkin: Michelle Malkin is my professional name; Michelle Maglalang is my legal/maiden name. I hate bureaucracy and never bothered to change it after I got married. Further explanation here. Note especially the unhinged liberals’ glee at poking fun of the sound of my ethnic surname. Would they do that to Kweisi Mfume?
John Hawkins: Has Chris Matthews or anyone from his show ever gotten back to you and apologized for his despicable behavior when you were on his show?
Michelle Malkin: No. If he were a man, he would publicly apologize to John O’Neill, Larry Thurlow, and all the Swift Boat Vets for continuing to malign them without having bothered to read their book.
John Hawkins: You were the key player in the whole “Easongate” scandal. You got in touch with Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank [and David Gergen], which really gave the story staying power. Why do you believe the mainstream media showed minimal interest in such a big story?
Michelle Malkin: Thanks for the kind words, John. I wouldn’t say I was the key player, though. Rony Abovitz, Jim Geraghty, Hugh Hewitt, Ed Morrissey, Glenn Reynolds, and several others played crucial roles as well. I wouldn’t have heard about the story if not for them. It was a collective effort.
In your question you focus on the failure of the mainstream media to cover the story, but unfortunately, the alternative conservative media avoided or pooh-poohed the story almost as much as the MSM did. One leading conservative media outlet, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, even tried to pour water on the fire. Meanwhile, we saw liberal politicians (Barney Frank and Chris Dodd), apolitical bloggers (Rony Abovitz and Rebecca MacKinnon), and center-left bloggers (Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, and Mickey Kaus) helping to move the story forward.
This stands in contrast to other stories forced into the open by blog swarms. Remember the Swift Boat story? Matt Drudge, Regnery Publishing, conservative talk show hosts, and conservative bloggers were all basically on the same page. Same with Rathergate. Yes, bloggers and FReepers led the way, but they were bolstered by Drudge and other alternative conservative media heavyhitters. This time, some of the biggest guns in the alternative media — Drudge, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh – avoided the story just as much as the New York Times,Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and network news.
The divide between liberal MSM pooh-bahs and conservatives hasn’t gone away, of course. But I think we are beginning to see the development of a new rift that is quite significant: bloggers (and a few media personalities who aren’t ashamed to admit they read blogs) versus everyone else. This will make the upcoming battle between FEC and bloggers extremely interesting to watch.
John Hawkins: What do you say to people who claim that the Patriot Act is a draconian measure that severely curtails our freedom and shouldn’t be extended?
Michelle Malkin: Get real. Even some of the loudest critics in Congress agree that several important provisions of the Patriot Act — extending powers the government already has to investigate drug dealers or mafia bosses to terrorism cases and allowing wiretap warrants to be applied to several different phones employed by the same individual, for example–were long overdue and must be renewed. Patriot Debates is a good resource presenting the best arguments for and against renewing those and other sections of the law.
John Hawkins: In the about section of your blog, you note that you “Received a death threat from the Mexican mafia.” What was that all about?
Michelle Malkin: When I worked at the Los Angeles Daily News early in my career, I received a death threat from someone claiming to be associated with the Mexican Mafia after writing about illegal immigration. I referred the matter to the police, but no action was taken.
John Hawkins: How about dashing off a quick sentence or even just a word or two about the following individuals: George Bush, Kid Rock, Michael Jackson, Wonkette, Andrew Sullivan, & Eason Jordan.
George Bush: I love him, I love him not, I love him, I love him not.
Kid Rock: Sorry, torn-up American flag ponchos are just not a turn-on.
Michael Jackson: Bad.
Wonkette: What would Wonkette be without the liquor, genitalia jokes, and Gawker Media Incorporated-subsidized staff? Choire Sicha did a fine job filling space and snarking things up while Ana Marie was on “vacation” or whatever. Did anyone even notice she was gone? Why not just drop the “-ette” from “Wonkette” and let Sicha take over full time? I hear that men fake-blogging as women is very trendy. See Libertarian Girl and Hot Abercrombie Chick. See also Mary Rosh.
Andrew Sullivan: I can recommend cheaper bandwidth if he’s interested.
Eason Jordan: Release the tape.
John Hawkins: If another big name columnist like let’s say Charles Krauthammer, George Will, or John Podhoretz were to ask you if you could give them any recommendations about starting a blog, what would you tell them? Also, given that you’re a successful columnist and have written a couple of books that have made a pretty big splash, why did you decide to start a blog in the first place?
Michelle Malkin: A blog should not be treated as just another public relations vehicle. Yes, it’s handy for plugging books and media appearances. But unless you are committed to maintaining it after your book promotions are done, unless you are willing to give credit where it’s due to other bloggers who are faster, funnier, and smarter than you, and unless you are willing to put the time, effort, and content into making your blog a daily read, don’t bother. Other must-haves: a blogroll, permalinks, and track backs. Larry Kudlow just started blogging recently. He gets it. Two thumbs up for his blog even if I’m not on his blogroll! (See here for an embarrassing example of how not to blog. Shudder.)
You asked why I started a blog when I already have a column. My columns appear once a week. That’s 52 columns a year limited to 600-700 words each. The column runs without pictures, documents, audio, or video. I started my blog mainly because I wanted to be able to report and publish pieces of any length on any topic at any time without delay. No limits.
John Hawkins: Are there blogs that you read regularly?
Michelle Malkin: I read tons of blogs regularly, too many to list. And I’m always trying to broaden my blog horizons. Check my blogroll. I especially like niche blogs-regional politics blogs, national security/mil blogs, humor/satire blogs, etc.
John Hawkins: Is there anything else you’d like to say or promote before we finish?
Michelle Malkin: When I first started my blog last summer, you were one of my strongest supporters. Your links, plugs, and especially your fine review of my book, were all deeply appreciated. So when I heard about your recent decision totake up blogging full-time, I didn’t hesitate to send a contribution to support your efforts. I enthusiastically encourage everyone who has enjoyed reading your trademark interviews, Democratic Underground posts, blog ratings, and lists, to do the same. Thanks, John, and good luck as you take the plunge.