Immigration

This Week in Doom June 25, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 25, 2018

“We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

 ― Donald J. Trump, June 20, 2018


This was a week for visceral outrage in the face of unspeakable human rights atrocities. The Orange Lout signed an executive order countering the effects of his previous decision separarting children and infants from their parents, then scattering them to the winds.  The Trump message, scrawled clear as day and quite literally on  the back of Melania Trump, was that the Trump administration could not care less. Independent artists, students, and even actor Jim Carrey, created striking visuals that surfaced on covers of TIME and the New Yorker. (See examples.) The U.S. withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council, Trump ordered the creation of a new Space Force. The gnomes running the Dow Jones Index removed General Electric, the last 19th century holdover, from its ranks. Open season on black Americans by cops continued, in an episode with personal relevance. 

In spite of the wholesale revulsion expressed by a distraught populace, over the weekend Donald Trump continued to use fear of MS-13 to justify his ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy, but only 180 of the 187,000 people apprehended at a major border crossing are connected to the violent criminal group.

It is essential to remember that Trump’s executive order was not a reversal or a capitulation. The administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, under which everyone crossing the border illegally, even those who present themselves as seeking asylum, is subject to criminal prosecution, remains in place. Only the kidnapping of children has been held in abeyance. For now.


Creating a Crisis

Time Magazine Cover, July 2, 2018 Edition New Yorker Magazine Cover, July 2, 2018 Edition          

In pursuit of his singleminded objective to control each day's narrative and the news cycle, thus to suppress his pending exposure of the world's largest money-laundering operation, the current White House incumbent doubled down on crazy. Trump’s inhumane "zero-tolerance" policy forcibly removed children, toddlers and babies as young as three months old from their immigrant parents attempting to enter the United States at our southern border, even those seeking asylum. The Trump ruling junta executed this policy in a move designed to outrage, to alienate, and most important, drive the name "Robert Mueller" from the front pages. Trump reverses course, signs order to keep families together

This heinous operation has been condemned by everyone from the Pope to Fox TV producers to foreign leaders like  Theresa May to top corporate CEOs like Apple’s Tim Cook to U.S. airlines (who learned they may have unwittingly transported such children to destinations hundreds of miles away from their parents.) 

The outcry and revulsion from kidnapping without due process, and incarcerating them in internment camp conditions caused schisms in the solid Republican Congressional majority. Even longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt threw in the towel.

“Make no mistake about it when you’re ripping breastfeeding children away from their mothers and putting them in detention facilities, that’s an evil policy. To see the Republican Party break up the way it has, to lose its moral compass, it is tragic. It’s tragic for me personally, but I won’t be part of it. I won’t share a party label with people who think it’s all right to put babies in internment camps. My fidelity is to my country, not my political party. Country first.”

The optics were terrible, and the sound was worse. News networks played the sounds of crying infants ripped from their mothers. Outrage mounted across the country, and burst into flame in Portland, where an Occupy-style protest shuttered the local ICE facility. Oregon Public Broadcasting:

“Demonstrators have also been camping outside the building and festooning the area with signs with slogans like “Kick out ICE” and “Will trade racists for refugees.” Two tents on Monday evening had increased to six by Tuesday morning. Twenty-four hours later, nearly 30 tents had been erected…

Tents line trolley tracks outside the ICE facility in Southwest Portland, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Dirk VanderHart/OPB

“The encampment — largely grassroots, but supported by a coalition of local groups — also has a medical tent and a kitchen area overflowing with donated water and food.”

Classic Occupy. The facility reopened, but the backlash continued to grow. The policy credited to Goebbels cosplayer Stephen Miller started to smell like dead fish within 24 hours, and by Wednesday Trump had signed an executive order modifying his earlier decision.

Here is what the executive order does: It keeps families together, keeps them under DHS control, does nothing to reunite families already separated, seeks indefinite detention with a DOJ challenge to Flores v. Reno, a consent decree that limits government detention of immigrant children to 20 days. If successful, they’ll be able to hold families indefinitely. It enlists military facilities as concentration camps. It also blames Congress, since Congress failed to pass immigration legislation, leaving the administration no choice, even as it reversed course.

If these policies seem irredeemably cruel, and the characterization of would-be immigrants as "insects" and "vermin" spectacularly racist, remember that from the beginning, cruelty was the whole point.


Trump Administration Withdraws U.S. From U.N. Human Rights Council

On Tuesday, The FSoA withdrew from the world’s most important human rights body in protest of that body's frequent criticism of Israel’s brutal and genocidal treatment of Palestinians. In other words, for telling the truth. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, that counter of sustaining votes, scrivener of dissenters and settler of scores, announced this latest effort by the Trump administration to withdraw and diminish those international organizations and agreements it finds unsuitable to the reward of cronies and punishment of opponents.

It was the first time a member has voluntarily left the United Nations Human Rights Council. With one deft foreign policy stroke, the US now joins other rogue states such as Iran, North Korea and Eritrea, as the only countries that refuse to participate.

“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and shield countries that abuse human rights, then America should not provide it with any credibility,” Ms. Haley said.

Human rights advocates denounced the decision. 

“All this administration seems to care about when it comes to the council is defending Israel,” said John Sifton, an advocacy director at Human Rights Watch “If the Trump administration’s complaint is that the council is biased and flawed, they’ve just made it more so.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel welcomed the decision. “The U.S. decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough,” he wrote on Tuesday.

The withdrawal came as the administration faced worldwide condemnation from rights groups and governments. Your tax dollars at work. Done in your name.


Victory on Mars

On Monday, the floundering Orange Lout found yet another subject to which to attempt to change the subject from #TrumpRussia.

And this one is really bigly. He ordered the Pentagon to establish a stand-alone Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces.

"We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal," Trump said at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House.

"It is going to be something so important."

"Our destiny beyond the earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security, so important for our military and people don’t talk about it," Trump said. "When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space."

Of course, this order, like so many that bubble from the porcine lips of the Prevaricator-in-Chief, is patently illegal and meant to mollify his base of droolers and window-lickers. Establishing a new military branch requires congressional action and corresponding funding, as pointed out by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio):

"Congress has asked DoD to study how we handle space. We still don’t know what a Space Force would do, who is going to be in it, or how much is it going to cost," Turner said. "After we get the report that we required as a legislative body and the president signed off on, then this issue can be appropriately evaluated for what’s best for national security."

But boy, it changes the hell out of a subject. At least for a news cycle.


And Stay Out!  GE Kicked To Curb, Last 19th Century DJI Member Removed 

General Electric added shame to suffering on Tuesday as overseers of the Dow Jones Industrial Average kicked the company out of the benchmark index it had inhabited for more than a century. GE will be replaced by Walgreens. The slippage is just another trailing indicator for what was once the world’s most valuable company.

“It was an issue not of if, but when,” said Quincy Krosby, the chief market strategist at Prudential Financial Inc. “The GE that was dominant in the Dow in the ’70s and ’80s is no longer the same GE.”

Down 26 percent, GE had been the Dow's worst performer in 2018, as it had been last year. Once an embodiment of American industry and managerial know-how, GE had arguably died some time ago. The DJI announcement was just the first shovel of dirt on an open grave.


State Terror Comes Home

Antwon Rose, 17, was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nickole Nesby via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

On Wednesday, local police executed 17-year-old Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh, PA. The boy was fleeing from a traffic stop and and unarmed when he was shot in the back by a cop who had been sworn onto the force mere hours earlier. This story had particular resonance for me because it happened on the next hill over from where I was raised, and I was visiting friends in the area when it occurred.

A bystander’s video showed the officer opening fire as Rose fled from police. In terms of seeking justice, video is the great equalizer. Video does nothing to stem the tide of summary executions of black Americans by rogue cops, but it marginally increases the likelihood of survivors successfully seeking accountability.  

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, police initially responded to reports of a shooting around 8:20 pm on Tuesday, finding a 22-year-old man who had been shot but was taken to the hospital and survived. Police put out a call for a vehicle that was seen fleeing the scene, and officers stopped a car that they said matched the description. While they were detaining the driver of the car, two people jumped out. An officer opened fire, killing a 17-year-old. 

The 17-year-old was Antwon Rose, a student at Woodland Hills School District, according to Shelly Bradbury and Andrew Goldstein at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Rose was unarmed, although officers found two guns in the vehicle he fled from.

The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was released after he was questioned by police. The third occupant of the car remains at large.

A bystander captured a video of the police shooting and posted it on Facebook. It shows two people running away from police cars, with their backs to the officers, as police open fire. Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating the shooting. 

On Wednesday night, four of us were driving to a pizza restaurant in East Pittsburgh, a favorite from childhood and adolescence. We'd been planning it all week. We drove east in what for Pittsburgh is a serious storm event, but in coastal Virginia is known as "rain." About half a mile from our destination, we came to a red light where several cop cars were parked, lights flashing. A large trailer truck was trying around in the intersection and reversing field. Another cop car drove toward us and against traffic, parked his car at a slant directly at us. WTF? I moved to turn around by moving to the left lane and asked a cop what the issue was. (This area had previously received national notoriety some weeks ago when landslides demolished houses and blocked PA Route 30, so another rain-induced landslide calamity was by no means out of the question.) The cop said people ahead were demonstrating. In a driving rain. I wondered what they could be possibly demonstrating about in such conditions, as we were not yet aware of the shooting.

We tried to reach our destination another way, by navigating through the rain-slicked streets of our old neighborhood and going back down the hill and approaching from the other direction. The cut-through I recalled from adolescence had been removed at some point in the past forty years. With no other recourse, we turned around and left. 

Only when we got back to my friend's house did I learned of the execution by cop. Antwon Rose was from all accounts a good, bright kid. He attended the same high school we did. The cop is reported to be being treated for "shock," a ruse doubtless from the police union manual on how to execute the unarmed black American without consequence. I expect he will be placed on "administrative (meaning paid) leave,"  and receive a vacation for several months, before his pro forma hearing and exoneration a la Ferguson, Cleveland, et al.

The demonstrations in East Pittsburgh have continued for at least four straight days.


Other short takes worth mentioning as they whiz by include the passing of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer,  the introduction of retaliatory tariffs on US goods  by the European Union in an attack on Trump's trade war, Disney raised their bid for Fox assets to $71.3 billion in cash and stock, topping Comcast, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users, SCOTUS punted on its biggest decision of its term so far regarding partisan gerrymandering, and a sporting event called the World Cup began group play.

Another week as we spin toward Seneca's cliff.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

This Week In Doom: American Nightmare


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 29, 2017

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” 
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax.”

 


The first full week of the Presidency of Donald J. Trump was both cruel and absurd. Nothing about this should be surprising. Trump is a singular example of the cult of personality, a manifestly unfit individual whose path to power has enabled a hidden phalanx of anti-democratic hedge-fund plutocrats and white supremacists to get their paws on executive power. These political apostates have funneled into the palaces where the wheels and gears of power are kept, like the mob storming Versailles, the better to finger the crystal and steal the silver.

The first week of the Trump administration marks the violent reassertion of the prerogatives of White Males against the legacy of Barack Obama and the Great Arc of History. This crowd's capacity for brutality is unimaginable by middle class Americans who grew up on the legacy of the New Deal and amidst the prosperity engendered by winning World War II. Truly, who among us ever thought we'd have to beat Nazis again in this lifetime?

The first realization of the coming kleptocracy dawned as Trump announced his cabinet choices, resembling nothing so much as the Dread Pirate Roberts naming the plunder all star team to crew a new pirate ship.

Now, the owners of this glittering casino and their gum-toothed spawn are clawing back their presumptive place at the top of a so-called "meritocracy" that rewards their gene pool with the sweet perks of "freedom" and "capitalism," which is political code for one class prospering off the suffering of another. The subsequent rewriting of laws then institutionalizes the grift and makes it like, official, dig?

If you've spent the week under a rock, here's a summary of week one executive actions:

  • An order to “ease the burdens” of the Affordable Care Act, "to the extent allowed by law". On Thursday, Trump cut all advertising to alert Americans that the ACA enrollment period ends on Tuesday.

  • He reinstated the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funding for any international group provides abortion information to women. With NO exemptions for hospitals and clinics that don’t actually provide abortions, or for facilities that treat women with complications from abortions.

  • Trump issued executive memoranda to restart construction on the stalled Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

  • Trump signed an executive order taking action on immigration. He announced plans to build the border wall with Mexico, and insisted Mexico would pay for it with tariffs. He threatened “sanctuary cities” with federal funding cuts, and announced plans to build more detention centers.

  • Politico reports that the executive orders signed this week   were composed by chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and were so hastily wrought they may be unenforcable or even illegal.

  • Trump removed the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation economic agreement supported by none of the presidential candidates, and against which candidate Trump campaigned.

  • Trump’s declared war on the press through his surrogates. At his briefings this week, Press Secretary Sean Spicer called on outlets that peddle fake news and praise Trump ahead of the AP and other mainstream outlets. Stephen Bannon suggested this week the media “should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut.”

  • He announced an initiative to look into imagined "voter fraud" by which the three million votes by which he lost the popular vote were cast by "illegal immigrants." In a CNN interview, VoteStand founder Gregg Phillips said that he can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Clinton received at least 3 million “illegal” votes for president in 2016. Phillips stands accused of being a "revolving door hustler" and a state-level grifter dogged by controversy.

  • On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Trump issued an executive order halting refugee resettlement and suspending travel to the United States from the Muslim-majority countries Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. As I write, refugees and immigrants are being detained at airports all over the world because of the refugee ban. This includes an Iraqi military translator detailed at JFK airport. Crowds of protestors gathered at JFK and other ariports across the country, chanting,

“No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here!”

or a variant

“Say it loud and say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!”

Protesters rally during a demonstration against the Muslim immigration ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty)

The order also bars legal permanent residents of the U.S. from returning home if they are now travelling overseas, even though they already went through "extreme vetting" procedures to get their green cards.

Late Saturday night, Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in New York issued a nationwide temporary injunction, halting the implementation of part of Trump’s executive order on immigration and blocking the deportation of travelers with valid visas detained at airports. This in response to a suit brought by the ACLU.

The judge further ruled that the government must immediately stop deporting travelers from the named nations, including refugees who already went through a rigorous vetting process, and provide a complete list of all those detained. The Intercept published an update.

Suffice it to say that when Michael Moore, Dick Cheney, and the Pope are all on the same side of an issue, and you're on the other side, you've crossed the line: you're an asshole.

Hours after Trump signed this executive order heralding this global descent into barbarism, a mosque in Texas went up in flames.

The Islamic Center of Victoria was set on fire around 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to local reports.

Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler told the Victoria Advocate he had no theories about the cause of the fire, but he is seeking assistance from state and federal fire investigators.

Just week one.

While Bannon writes, Trump tweets and Washington burns, the left continues to squabble about assigning blame for the Trumpenkrieg to various Hillbots or Berniebots or Steinswine. This endless circular firing squad, which obtains any time three of more "progressives" share the same space, is why we can't have nice things. And why we have Trump.

One of the great shortcomings of the age derives from late stage capitalism. It is the keenness of focus on measurement at the expense of all other values. Remember working in businesses when profitability was enough? No more: now profitability must be maximized. How it works: most American industries are mature indistries, which over time become less profitable. These mature industries exist at a time of little real growth and the end of cheap energy. In this environment profitability comes from two sources: 1) squeezing more out of your current operation, and 2) stealing share from your competitors. Our "business leaders" conjure results from these two foci though spreadsheet worship, and concoct strategies by which they can wring the last erg of energy out of a workforce, all in the name of "efficiencies." Enter automation, Amazon, and subcontractors.

American political philosopher Richard Rorty saw this coming. In his 1998 book “Achieving Our Country,” now much quoted in the New Yorker and around the internet, he observed our present circumstances:

"Members of labor unions, and unorganized and unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

"At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. . . . Once the strongman takes office, no one can predict what will happen. "

 

No one can predict what will happen. But if Trump's first week is predictive of the future, the cruelty and absurdity of this week will continue until Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers determine he is too loose a cannon and needs to be impeached. Which will install President Pence. Remove Pence? There's Ryan. With Orrin Fucking Hatch in the on deck circle. Vote them out in 2018? Talk to your Republican governors about who will actually be allowed to the polls in 2018.

By 2020, don't be surprised if the franchise is not restricted to white male property owners with a net worth of $1 million. As God intended. And there are still assholes out there who will argue that voting doesn't matter.

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He has squeezed out numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and once quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be active in the Occupy movement. Where he met the woman who now shares his old Virginia home and who, like he, is grateful that he is not yet taking a dirt nap, and like he, will be disappointed to not be prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.

Donald Trump, Anthony Bourdain, and the Plight of Their (Indentured) Mexicans

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on June 10th, 2016

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(photo by Gage Skidmore)

No doubt you've heard of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's infamous wall, the one ostensibly meant to keep out all those alleged Mexican "criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.," as well as to keep all those 8.1 million undocumented workers Trump intends to (somehow) deport from getting back in. On top of all that, while 3,200 km walls don't just pay for themselves, Trump had nonetheless promised to (again, somehow) make sure that the Mexican government ends up footing the bill for said wall.

After months of the now routine mockery and scorn laid upon Trump, Trump finally came clean with the method of how it was that he was supposedly going to force Mexico to cover the $8 billion tab for his pet wall – by halting money transfers from the nearly $25 billion that (underpaid, overworked) Mexican labourers send back home as remittances every year (a total that actually equates to about 2% of Mexico's GDP). As should go without saying, the vast majority of those 8.1 million undocumented workers are employed in the service industry as maids, cooks, and groundskeepers, as well as in the farming and construction sectors, earning some of the lowest wages in the country to send home to family members in need. In other words, Trump plans on paying for his infamous wall by extorting money from the Mexican government under the threat of confiscating money from the poorest of the poor. As would come as little surprise to many, that Trump "love[s] the poorly educated" was, and is, of course, nothing but a ruse.

Not only then did this zany fiasco to "Make America Great Again" attract its share of derision, but it inherently comes with the threat of "Making Mexico Even Worse": cut out that 2% from Mexico's books, and Mexico could very well be headed for recession, which would probably only stoke antagonism towards the United States. Irrespective of any of this, Trump went ahead and made an offer that Mexico couldn't refuse: "Make a one-time payment of $5-$10bn to ensure that $24bn continues to flow into their country year after year."

(photo by Lwp Kommunikáció)

It turns out though that while pulling all that money out of the Mexican economy would likely be a disaster for Mexico (and particularly for poor Mexicans), pulling out all those Mexican labourers out of the United States' (service) economy would also be a disaster – of sorts – for the United States. As American chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain explained it, "If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people or whatever he's talking about right now, every restaurant in America would shut down." Perhaps Bourdain is overstating it a bit, but his point comes through. In my rough translation, Bourdain seems to be saying that "Mexicans hold the American restaurant industry upon their shoulders – or perhaps better yet, upon their stooped backs," with a side of "Are we really going to let Mr. Trump put our restaurant-hopping lifestyles at risk?"

In case you're like me and don't know your celebrity chef from your celebrity online gamer, here's another statement Bourdain gave while critiquing Trump's shenanigans, conveying a bit of his history and outlook:

I rolled out of a prestigious culinary institute and went to work in real restaurants. I walked into restaurants and always, the person who had been there the longest, who took the time to show me how it was done, was always Mexican or Central American. The backbone of the industry — meaning most of the people in my experience cooking, preparing your food. Twenty of those years in this business I was an employer, I was a manager employer. Never, in any of those years, not once, did anyone walk into my restaurant — any American-born kid — walk into my restaurant and say I’d like a job as a night porter or a dishwasher. Even a prep cook — few and far between. Just not willing to start at the bottom like that.

(Oops. I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to work that dishwasher job back in my university days.)

In other words, count yourself lucky non-Mexican Americans (and you token Mexicans who non-Mexican Americans can refer to as their "but I have a Mexican friend" friend "who isn't an underpaid labourer," or who can be pointed to as having TV shows), because you (like, say, non-Mexican Canadians) get to live the high(ish)-life while Mexicans (and a few others) do the menial work in perpetuity that makes that high(ish)-life possible in the first place.

That raises an even larger point: putting aside the lifestyle crimping notion that the United States' one million restaurants would supposedly shut down upon the deportation of all its undocumented Mexicans, who would be out in the fields planting and harvesting all the food if it weren't for said wage slaves? Who would be working the vines to cultivate and harvest the grapes to make the wine with? Who would be scrubbing those things where the effluents of all that food and wine are deposited into? Surely, one would guess, not the ones living it up(ish).

Hustling and bustling for Trump, Bourdain, and all the acolytes! (photo by Americanspirit)

(Or living it down. In the southern Ontario town next to the one I grew up in, Bradford, a "reclaimed" swamp was drained and turned into Canada's "vegetable basket" some hundred years or so ago. Migrant Mexican workers can be seen working those "fields," and it's not a generally regarded fact (but nor a secret either) that many natively born Canadians would much rather go on the dole than work those "fields," be it alongside (documented) Mexican migrants or not. And with the example that the more well-off Canadians give of avoiding the land like the plague, it isn't exactly easy to blame them either.)

It should go without saying then that without those documented and undocumented Mexican workers, not only would many of the United States' restaurants supposedly shut down, but the United Statesian way of life itself would likely be put at serious risk. Moreover, since fractional-reserve banking and interest bearing debt means that the American economy (like any other) must keep growing (or at least give that impression) in order to avoid imploding in on itself, this requires not only a static supply of Mexicans to keep the pyramid propped up, but an ever-expanding base of Mexicans (and/or equivalents) to do the scoffed at jobs that non-Mexicans generally don't want to do themselves. (That is, until Google's AI department comes up with a fossil-fueled alternative, or Elon Musk bestows upon us an army of benevolent replicas of the Jetsons' Rosie, running, of course, on (ahem) fossil-fueled "renewable energy.")

In other words, whatever would the United States (and Canada) do without their cross-border supply of malleable and readily replaceable Mexicans? Senator John McCain, as was said, suggested an answer to this: "Couldn't the children of illegal immigrants do those jobs?"

Awk-ward.

Fortunately, somebody did respond to that erstwhile comment of McCain's, none other than born-to-immigrant-parents Marco Rubio, a recent member of the Donald Trump love-in and now flop-flipper in that ongoing GOP love-hate relationship. As he was said to have put it, "Pardon me, Senator, but I have to say that the children of those illegal immigrants will be doctors and lawyers." Although there is at least a smidgen of truth to that statement (take Rubio himself as an example), it's mostly a cute sentiment offered by one of the fortunate/lucky few, since many if not most of those children will become burger flippers and, if they have enough pizazz and edgy enough haircuts, perhaps even baristas.

(photo by Eli Christman)

But supposing that said upward mobility were to a rather large extent actually true, that poses a serious problem: If the children of indentured service workers are able to escape the fate of their parents and climb that spiral staircase of the American Dream, who would raise and feed their kids while they're at the office and on all their restaurant jaunts? Who would work the fields harvesting all their food? Who would scrub all those unmentionables? Answer: more Mexicans (and their equivalents), documented or not.

So regardless of what some politicians may say in order to win votes, and what some chefs may say in order to win a larger following from armchair cooks, the United States – the United Statesian way of life – can't do without a steady supply of cheap labour to prop up the lifestyle of its Trumps, Bourdains, and all their acolytes. And when Bourdain states that United Statesians are "just not willing to start at the bottom like that," that "bottom" should refer to the fields, not simply dishwasher jobs at restaurants, and nor should such "bottoms" be something to scoff at as somewhere to merely "start," but a place to dig in and become familiar with, a place to build an affinity with.

Another post will be required to elaborate on that, recognizing the fact that this kerfuffle we face is ultimately an issue of ceilings and floors.

Trump Hits a Bump

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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donald-trump-pinata--ab4d0b6b4fc61b0a
 
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation July 20, 2015
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Was it Donald Trump or the wolverine that lives on top of his head who made the dumb crack over the weekend about Senator John McCain not being a war hero? After all, that ambiguous patch of ginger-colored fur has taken on a life of its own. If I were Trump, I’d simply disown the remark and say that the hair-thing blurted it out, ventriloquist-style, because he (Donald) forgot to feed it that morning.

I just want to go on record to say that if John McCain is not a war hero — what with getting shot down in the Vietnam jungle and spending 5.5 years being thrashed daily by his captors — than Donald Trump is not an asshole, or a pendejo, as the landscaping crew might put it (perhaps even amaricón).

One thing the Trump campaign is proving — to the flustered consternation of the moiling herd of other candidates — is what intellectual chickenshits all mainstream American politicians are. I know it is hard to see through the prevailing rainbow fog of diversity propaganda, but the USA really does have an immigration problem. My peeps in the old Democrat fold are the worst, of course, because they are not even capable of stating the plain truth that an illegal immigrant is something more than just “undocumented,” as if some bureaucratic error were made in God’s intake stack. And the issue of legal immigration policy is simply unmentionable, of course, because being “a nation of immigrants” means never having to say enough is enough.

It’s obvious that much of the developed world is now sore beset by past immigration policy choices and by the current inrush of desperate souls fleeing the evermore general breakdown of societies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). European pols are at least willing to have the debate, unappetizing as it might be. This dreaded political dance is now occurring against the background of a probable financial breakdown across Europe. When the utopian project of the European Union fails, as seems likely now due to the sovereign debt fiasco, I suspect that we will see a renewed effort to defend national cultures — French, German, and all the rest — in a manner that has a great potential for turning ugly. Financial failure means the death of the current banking system and the disappearance of massive notional wealth, and if that isn’t a recipe for extreme nationalism (plus xenophobia) than we are truly blind to the lessons of history.

And then, of course, there is the problem of Jihad. It’s for real, and it’s on the move all over MENA, and quite a few of its faithful agents are in place across Europe to make a whole heap of trouble in the event that the Euroland project falls on its face. This is perhaps beyond the question of merely preserving national identities. I think we will live to see an era of mass expulsions, fair or not.

It is not so easy to explain why America has its head so far up its ass on the issues of immigration, but maybe it is enough to say that sixty-plus years of TV advertising have set us up to be suckers for every sort of paid shill selling a sentimental sob story for one interest or another. This seems to be true most particularly of the educated class that labors in the trenches of advertising and public relations (i.e. propaganda). They have come go believe their own bullshit absolutely. Apparently, these true-blue believers are more hostage to the narratives they are paid to spin than the ragtag followers of Trump. (We’re a nation of immigrants….)

Were I a pol, I would propose a “time-out” from immigration of all kinds. The USA did it before, in the 1920s, after a half-century of prodigious immigration when new states needed to be settled, and new industries needed to be manned, and new cities needed to be built. We are not in the same circumstances anymore. The empty places have been filled (and then some). The factories were banished to China and elsewhere. Some of America’s farming regions aren’t working out so well a hundred years later — Nebraska has been depopulating and God knows what the fate will be of California’s Central Valley as the epochal drought creeps forward. The Chinese may be building super-duper mega-cities, but every fact of coming resource scarcity suggests to me that they are making the wrong bet on that disposition of things. It ain’ happening here, anyway. Our cities (with a few exceptions) face contraction.

Unfortunately, Trump’s antics will make it only more difficult to hold a sane debate about taking that time-out from immigration. So, one alternative is an insane debate about it, one based on sheer grievance and gall rather than the responsibilities of governance. I’ve proposed for many years that we are all set up to welcome a red-white-and-blue, corn-pone Nazi political savior type. I don’t think Donald Trump is it. But he will be a stalking horse for a far more skillful demagogue when the time comes. There’s a fair chance that the wheels will come off the banking and monetary system well before the 2016 election. Who knows who or what will come out of the woodwork before then.

Meanwhile, notice today’s headline from the fabled “newspaper of record” (The New York Times):

Women Who Dye Their (Armpit) Hair

Yes, these are the mighty issues that concern us most.

 

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

The Anti-Empire Report #130

From the Keyboard of William Blum
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  Obama as dictator

Published originally in The Anti-Empire Report July 11, 2014

What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”

Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

Democracy comes to you - bomber

Gallup poll, 2013:

Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

Replies:

United States 24%
Pakistan 8%
China 6%<
Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
Syria 3%
Russia 2%
Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%

The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?

Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”

The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

mushroom cloud

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.”  … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.”  …

In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force.  And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.

my last one

Yankee Blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.

The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.

But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.

Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.

These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.

It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.

hillary-2016M’lady Hillary

Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.

On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.

So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?

The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.

And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.” 

And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”

Notes

  1. Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994
  2. Washington Post, July 18, 2001
  3. BBC, August 14, 2004
  4. Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 23 and July 2, 2012
  5. Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (2007), p.116-21
  6. Washington Post, August 30, 2005
  7. Washington Post, June 6, 2014
  8. Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on the June 21, 2007 edition of Democracy Now!

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

Hard Choices?

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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immigration-nologo-2
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  June 23, 2014

The New York Times editors seem to think that if they tell enough sob stories about illegal immigrants in their ongoing sentimental series “The Way North,” that the national debate will turn into a giant pity party and the nirvana of a human peaceable kingdom will come true, with no consequences — except for more interesting cuisine in states that formerly subsisted on Salisbury steak and pie.

The New York Times, like just about every other institution in the progressive orbit, has surrendered its collective brain to a morass of feelings, longings, and promptings that leads ever deeper into a wasteland of dishonesty. As a long-time registered Democrat who started voting in the year of Watergate, I resent being taken for a ride to the place where anything goes and nothing matters. And especially where nothing matters less than clear thinking and straight talk.

We could start with the practice — especially popular on National Public Radio — by which illegal immigrants are called “undocumented,” as if some unjust bureaucratic mistake was made in their journey across the border and to blame them for it amounts to persecution. It is really too obvious to belabor, except to say that the cumulative effect of such programmatic lying, day after day, will eventually discredit the basic principles of social justice, if it hasn’t already.

The popular story is that America was built by immigrants and that therefore everything about immigration is good and leads to a more successful society. This narrative is so devoid of historical context that it should embarrass anyone beyond a second-grade education. In fact, the surplus populations of industrializing European countries were off-loaded onto a more sparsely-populated New World that also happened to be in the throes of rapid industrialization (including industrial farming), offered a lot of cheap land under plain terms, and held a bonanza of untapped resource wealth in everything from timber to iron ore.

A few things that progressives leave out of the story these days: immigration was rigorously controlled at its ports of entry, and particularly at the height of immigration between the 1880s and the 1920s. A lot of people may have been pouring in from foreign lands, but they were carefully scrutinized on the way in, and not a few were sent back. Secondarily, these immigrants were required to assimilate into a recognizable common culture. There was no handwringing over the question of whether children from Italy or Lithuania should have to learn how to read, write, and speak in the English language. A strong consensus required it of them, and it must be fair to say that most of them were eager to enter that new common culture. We also conveniently forget that immigration quotas were severely restricted in 1924, not out of meanness, as the sentimentalists would suppose, but because the public and its representatives correctly apprehended that the situation had changed in some of its obvious particulars, requiring a consensus about limits.

In the 21st century, The USA is no longer sparsely populated, except in the regions that are typically hostile to settlement anywhere else in the world — places where there is no water, or too hot, or too cold, or too swampy. North America is a settled continent at a moment in history when virtually every nation including the USA can be fairly considered over-populated. It is also too obvious to belabor the point that fossil fuels have produced an algae bloom of human reproduction and that, whether we like it or not, the decline of fossil fuel is certain to lead to a decrease in human population. The question is how disorderly and cruel that journey might be if we don’t make the management of contraction a supreme political priority. And managing the movement of people into this country is a necessary part of that.

Currently, progressive America is pretending that the conditions of the 19th century still prevail here — boundless material resources and land for the taking — and that we can happily accommodate the overflow from our equally overpopulated neighbors, Mexico and the countries of Central America, any way they can manage to get here. The sentimental approach as represented by The New York Times, is exactly what will prevent the kind of hard choices that national leadership is faced with. Both established political parties could founder on this issue.

It’s rather funny that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016 titled her current book Hard Choices, because that is the chief pretense of the party she represents. The last thing Hillary wants to do is take a stand on anything, other than her entitlement to live in the White House.

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

Save Thisaphone Sothiphakhak from Deportation

Off the Keyboard of A.G. Gelbert

 

Discuss this post at the Kitchen Sink of the Diner 

I just signed a petition for a DJ that ICE wants to deport for no valid reason. The kid was raised the U.S. This guy’s dad fought the  Khmer Rouge and the kid got here when he was two. Help this kid that is now 36 by signing the petition to stop ICE from their fascist crap.

Quote from RE: “It is a Good Cause worthy to promote.”  How about it Diners?

(Note from RE:  Damn right it’s a Good Cause.  This is beyond STUPID stuff.   WHD, this fellow is ALSO from MINNEAPOLIS.  You are Designated Point Man  for the Diners on this one.  BRAZOS Diners!

Save as Many As You Can! )

video in the following news release:

Quote

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular disk jockey in the Twin Cities fears he’ll lose one of the things he cherishes most in life – his American citizenship. “I can’t think of anything more American than fighting to be an American,” Thisaphone Sothiphakhak said. “It really hurts you when the country you love has denied you, like a stake to the heart.”

Quote

Sothiphakhak says if he was deported he doesn’t know where he would go, because Thailand would have no record of him either. He was just a baby when his family left the refugee camp

. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/07/27/local-dj-battles-bureaucracy-for-his-citizenship/

Quote

Target: Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken Sponsored by: Chris Strouth Thisaphone Sothiphakhak is a man without a country. Born in Thailand , he has resided in the US since the age of two, when our government welcomed his family to the US in recognition of his father’s efforts against the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Unfortunately, his father apparently never quite completed the citizenship process–a fact Teace was unaware of until three years ago, when he hit a bizarre bureaucratic glitch in the course of securing a promotion at Wells Fargo. He was 30.Never mind that he’d grown up American, that he has a Social Security number and has always paid his taxes, that he’s one of Minneapolis’s all-time greatest DJs: In the course of a few days, he went from from being a gainfully employed, upwardly mobile worker to an unemployable resident alien subject to ICE lockdowns and threats of deportation to a country that doesn’t have any records on him, doesn’t recognize his existence, and all but guarantees a dismal future for an an American artist who speaks on… more

Please sign here:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/614/777/590/save-thisaphone-sothiphakhak-from-deportation/

Timing Matters

Originally Posted  on TBP on 3rd March 2011 by Reverse Engineer  in Economy |Social Issues

Discuss this article inside the Diner

One of the important factors to consider on a Population level here in the FSofA during the Great Depression was what occurred BEFORE it and how the land got settled in the post Civil War years through the Great War and then the Roaring 20s.

First off, the “Sooners” of Oklahoma got their land for free after the Natives had been pushed off the land. These were generally immigrants from Europe, poor Swedes and Germans who homesteaded that land and began to farm it. Under the technology of the day, that land wasn’t really suitable for farming, it was Grazing land. They did not have the massive pumps to bring up the water from the Ogalala Aquifer in place yet. It really only took a couple of generations to deplete the land and set it up for the Dust Bowl. So all these 2nd generation poor immigrants on the poorest land would have been the first ones displaced and formed one itinerant army of Poor People once the Dust Bowl and the Depression set in.

The other army of poor folks were the Refugees from Europe who came over directly after the Great War. My Paternal Grandparents were in that Wave. Grandpa was Russian, Grandma was a Romanian Gypsie. This group of people formed the labor force building the Great Cities of the FSofA during the Roaring 20s. My Grandfather the Acrobat found good paying work on the High Steel in NYC. A smart guy and heavy drinker, he used his money to set up a Speakeasy in Brooklyn during the Prohibition years. My Grandma ran the Still producing fine Vodka and Sour Mash Whisky in the basement of the Brooklyn Brownstone they lived in, which he eventually bought also, for all CASH. I vaguely remember him telling me he bought it for $500. Said Brownstone was worth $100K even when I was in college. Probably worth $1M in the Boom years. He also bought land in Westchester county, then all farms, again for all CASH. When RE building collapsed in the Great Depression and he no longer had work walking the High Steel, his Speakeasy carried the family through, and frankly he did pretty well. He was a funny guy and the local Brooklyn Politicians all frequented his bar. There were guys Running Numbers out of the Bar, he took a Piece of the Action. Grandad was a smart Bizman, though not a very legally correct one. My father’s older brother ran a large Junkyard during the Depression years, he also did OK. My dad was able to go to College at Pace University majoring in Accounting just as WWII ended because they all made it through. Pretty well off actually. This of course is why I am here today writing from the Last Great Frontier. LOL.

My mom’s side did not do so well. They were Polish Jews who evacuated Europe just as the Nazis were coming to power. Her father, my maternal grandfather I never knew died shortly after coming to the FSofA of Tuberculosis. My maternal Grandmother kept the family going running a Rag Shop on the Lower East Side of NY, on Delancey Street. They did go through periods of great Hunger, but made it through on the food at the Soup Kitchens and did not starve to DEATH, although my mom was one Skinny 17 year old when my dad met her at a Dance in one of the Settlement Houses. Her brother wasn’t just skinny, he ended up with neurological problems which likely came from malnutrition.

Sadly of course, many others in the immigrant labor force during the years from 1917-1929 weren’t quite so smart and fortunate in how they used their decent wages for those 12 years as my Grandad, they didn’t have a Speakeasy to fall back on when the construction jobs disappeared and the Longshoremen jobs disappeared as Trade came to a grinding halt. The later immigrants from my mom’s side pretty much missed the boom entirely and were impoverished from the time they arrived here.

Together, once the Depression hit in full force in the 1930s, this was the other massive population of poor people besides the rural poor of places like Oklahoma. Basically all at the same time, once the jobs disappeared and poor land was no longer producing, ALL of these folks took to the road in one way or another looking for a Better Place and an Opportunity. For a Decade of time, until we entered WWII in 1941, no such opportunities existed for them anywhere. You see that in the Signs from the period, “Jobless Men KEEP GOING! We Cannot support our OWN!”

Whatever Die Off did occur here in the years of the Great Depression came from this group of itinerants, and this is why they for the most part are not remembered. They were mostly newby immigrants who had no other family ties here, nobody to remember them, how they lived and how they died. People who had family ties here, who were parts of small communities that survived and looked after there own mostly DID make it through, although of course not without much hardship. The ones who did actually die of starvation or starvation related disease, however many of them there were, were the most recent immigrants in the poorest of the poor situations.

As we look into the future here, History is likely to Rhyme in this regard. The folks here in the most precarious situation are the most recent Immigrants, particularly the Illegal immigrants. They are the ones who are going to first be cut off from the SNAP cards and told to “Move ON, because we cannot take care of our own”. How many of them are there? Estimates are around 20M I think, and for the most part this bunch of people are GONERS. Just like the friends and relatives they left behind in their home countries to escape the desperate poverty there.

Quite a bit of LUCK involved in when you were born, when you emigrated and where you emigrated to, both prior to the Great Depression and now as well. My Paternal Grandfather emigrated at the RIGHT time, and hitched a ride on the Prosperity that was the Roaring 20s. Vietnamese who emigrated here in the 1970s similarly are likely to make it through, having established themselves and having family networks to fall back on. My mother’s family is more like the recent immigrants from places like Pakistan and Guatemala. They will not fare so well.

The biggest difference I see between then and now is the difference in potential for rebuilding once the initial Holocaust takes its toll worldwide. Similarly, I do expect a World War and Conscription to commence, but in this case it is very hard to see how the factories hiring “Rosie the Riveter” will be able to both bring jobs to the women not conscripted and the folks too old to fight but still young enough to work on a production line or as a Manager. This because at the time of WWII, the OIL was available locally to run those factories, not so today. Today, that Oil must be IMPORTED from the War Zone ITSELF. I cannot see how enough Oil can be moved from that War Zone to the FSofA to BOTH ramp up the war production machinery AND continue to run the civilian systems we have here that have come to depend on it over the intervening years.

Austerity in the form of Gas and Food rationing in the WWII years was pretty tough, but this time round it has to be much tougher than that to keep fuel moving to the War Machine. I don’t think the integrity of the society can hold together under that much austerity, and moreover I don’t see it possible that enough Oil can be moved from the war zone to even keep the war machinery itself going very long. This adds up to systemic collapse of the Oil conduit entirely.

Once that happens, pretty much all the International War for Oil will stop and at this point all the Wars will be loal ones for local resources amongst the people currently living on particular patches of land around the globe. No rebuild of industrialized society, just further destruction until enough are dead so there are enough local resources for the survivors. It would be at this point you could attempt a rebuild on 1850s era technology, utilizing mostly Coal and scavenging parts from the Age of Oil. Call that a 50 year timeline, then another 100 years perhaps rebuilding with that technology until it also gives up the ghost.1750s after that fo another couple of centuries, back to the Stone Age after that.

There is ZERO on the horizon I can see that will stop this inexorable progression. Nuclear Plants will not do it, neither will renewable Hydro or Solar. However, as long as some people survive, the great experiment that is Human Sentience will continue onward, and then perhaps after all of this we can build a Better Tomorrow. Only time will tell.

RE

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