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April 13, 2006

Wholesale Rape And Slaughter Keeps My Pool Clean!

Jonathan Tasini (a union activist who's running against Hillary Clinton for the NY Democratic senatorial nomination) makes this important point about immigration to the U.S.:

What has been lost in the debate about immigration is this fact: our country's foreign and economic policy is largely to blame for the flow of people who come here illegally...If you think about the hundreds of thousands of people who have come here over the past several decades from countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, many of them fled to the U.S. because they would have been killed or imprisoned by their government's repressive regimes or forced to live as refugees. These were often regimes that our government supported for many years, if not decades, with large infusions of weapons and money...

When I was growing up near Washington, DC it was hard not to notice the upsurge in people there from Central America, particularly El Salvador. This was right when the Reagan administration was trying to do for indigenous people in Latin America what our forefathers did for American Indians: i.e., wipe them off the face of the earth.

The neat thing was that after Washington policymakers did this, they were then able to hire people who'd fled those countries for $$$cheap$$$. During that time you'd see Central American refugees all over the wealthy DC suburbs, working as nannys, gardeners, etc.

I've always thought that was one of the greatest geopolitical bankshots in history.

Hey, Rosa—did you like the way I finalized that deal to send attack helicopters to the folks who cut off your father's balls and stuffed them in his mouth? I bet you did! Now, do the laundry and change my kid's diapers!

But the story doesn't end there. If things continue to go well, Stephen Hadley will soon be able to afford a entire squad of strapping young Iraqi lads to edge his lawn.

Posted at April 13, 2006 06:53 PM | TrackBack

Tiny Revolution:

Because if you're not having nightmares, you haven't been keeping up with the news.

Posted by: Sully at April 13, 2006 07:42 PM

Don't forget Bangladesh--and the same might apply to Iran and Nigeria on the slightly higher end of the labor market.

Posted by: Saheli at April 13, 2006 10:00 PM

Oh, and Chile too, again, on the slightly higher end of the labor market.

Posted by: Saheli at April 13, 2006 10:01 PM

Yet ain't it strange how all these co-opted Latinos contain folks that grow up to be patriots over the generations?

There seems to be something about the American way of life in general that does this: it does horrid things (but a nation-state is by nature an amoral construct, built to sustain its own life even at the expense of others so I will exempt the US from that) yet its wealth and relative freedom breed tremendous admiration for it that seems to ensure that ANYONE that comes into it soon ends up extolling the overall establishment line...whether you're from a third world shithole or a surviving Native American.

Just think about it:

It is a Vietnamese (Viet Dinh) that drafted the Patriot Act, an Arab-Lebanese (John Abizaid) who is the Commander of CENTCOM, a girl who grew up in the Racist South (Condi Rice) that now serves as the United States Secretary of State, and a Filipino who wrote a book defending internment.

Can someone tell me how America brings together the people it screws over and over again so well, so that they may screw other people?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at April 13, 2006 11:40 PM

In agreement with Cal, does anyone remember that NAFTA debate between Gore and Perot wherein Gore promised that after NAFTA all Mexicans would be little entreprenuers driving Caddies?

As we used to say in the military, BOHICA.

By the way, everyone see the next spying scandal info at:

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at April 14, 2006 08:48 AM

Well, Cal, other than self-interest, as a foreigner I frankly DO THINK that to make you screw your own kind for it, the American Way of Life has to have something so utterly attractive about it, have you ever wondered what's going to happen to those Central and Latin Americans?Sure, they're LOW on the food chain now, but soon they're gonna start playing baseball, drinking Buds, going to McDonalds and in time their children will all be singing praises of America. It's already happened to the damn Eastern Bloc immigrants, dammit, it's gonna happen to these guys sooner or later.

I am just very fascinated by what the American Way of Life has to offer, I fear I may not be able to resist the siren song the day I finally get out of college (in two years time) has GOT TO offer something VERY GOOD to those within its borders as far as I am concerned...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at April 14, 2006 09:32 AM

Prior to last Monday's protests, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) had sent out instructions that one should wear only white, and exhibit only U.S. flags. They also claimed that the protests were in support of McCain-Kennedy. I responded in an e-mail to fellow activists here in El Paso, large parts of which are reproduced here. Pardon the length and the anger, but I was, well, ticked.

"LULAC can support whatever the hell they want to support. I think that once again they are on the other side of history, as they were in opposing the Chicano Moratorium during Viet Nam. First of all, it is not their march, it is the peoples' march for meaningful immigration reform with the immigrant community's rights being first and foremost. I am surprised they didn't insist that everyone wear unisex white chastity belts. LULAC and others, and in particular the Church, should understand that McCain-Kennedy is a piece of trash.

Here is what a decent bill would do, and why: first, get rid of this 'lawbreakers' mindset and accept responsibility for the actions of the United States. As regards Central American immigration, the direct (in lawyers' talk, the 'proximate cause', and no other) cause was the terror unleashed by U.S. intervention most notably in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala from the 60s on, and to date, Colombia under cover of the war on drugs. Recent immigration from Honduras can also be traced back to its role as a client state of the CIA during the latter part of the Carter years and all of the Reagan years. Literally hundreds of thousands of people displaced by our support for the dictators' terror fled north. We also have a fair amount of Chileans and Argentinians for the same reasons.

As regards Mexico, the NAFTA nonsense rammed through by Clinton has decimated the emerging Mexican middle class and has terribly hurt the campesinos: Mexico, more or less playing by the rules, does not subsidize agriculture as it once did prior to the free trade thing. The U.S. continues to subsidize mostly the huge corporate farms, read agribusiness, allowing them to flood Mexico with corn, for example, that the Mexican farmers cannot compete with.

Result? Massive movement north. And who to blame? Three guesses.

'Why is the supply of decent-paying jobs in Mexico so low? Therein lies an issue neither Democrats nor Republicans want to address, because it touches on public policies both have supported.'

LULAC at this late date should have learned some history, and should be leaning on Dems and Reps both for the mess they have created and should be pushing them to enact meaningful reforms along the lines suggested below.

'Hundreds of thousands of people are saying no o Washington's repressive bills, but Congress and its coterie of beltway lobbyists clearly aren't listening. It's time for Washington to face reality. A huge outpouring of people is demanding real equality. They won't be satisfied with second-class status.'

Now, here's what a decent piece of legislation would do.

1. Immediately approve green cards for people whose applications are on file, whether they have been on file for one month or ten years. The last time I handled an immigration case, the wait was about ten years, and this was in 1987. I am told that it has only gotten worse.

2. Approve green cards for anyone currently in the country, working or not (little kids or kids in school) without documentation within six months. There's not that damned much to investigate. As for those claims that there are 'criminals' among applicants, well, that's no different than the situation with citizens. There are criminals all over, and in time most of them are caught.

3. Make it possible for families to be united, including at least parents, siblings, children.

4. Bring all workers, whatever area of employment they may be in, under the minimum wage and allow them employment benefits across the board.

5. Cool the rhetoric, abolish the concept of the so called fines' and 'rewards' for 'lawbreakers'. Understand that undocumented status in this country has always been subject to administrative sanctions, at least in the first instance. Understand that the undocumented have already been 'fined' enough, so to speak, given the abuses they labor under, the sales and other taxes they pay, and the money they bring into the economy notwithstanding what they send home to support their own. We would fine them for doing what citizens who don't support their kids get away with?

6. Do not subject them to criminal sanctions, deportation, nor blackball them from ever being able to legalize their status, for having obtained false SS cards. This is the price of finding work. They are already being fined by paying into a system whose benefits they will, under the current situation, never enjoy.

7. Immediately lower the length of time to attain citizenship to say, two years max.

Return to what used to be more or less a humane society, at least in the dreaming.

And finally, we should all recognize the humanitarian efforts of people who help others to escape death. And the damned government through its repressive Border Patrol should stop prosecuting them.

Lately, the 'El Paso Times' has been printing a slew of anti-immigrant letters, many from people with Spanish surnames. I was taken by one this morning where some silly woman was bragging on her sainted grandmother who is in her nineties, and who, of course, came over 'legally' and who was incensed with the 'illegal criminals.' Hell, my maternal grandfather came over legally, paying 50 cents to cross a bit earlier than the woman's grandmother, I think in 1902. A year later he sent money he had saved to my grandmother in Santa Rosalia, Chihuahua, who then came over with the five or six kids he had left behind. She waded across the river, kids and all, and used the money to rent two rooms in south El Paso, dragging my grandfather out of his rented room.

This was the grandmother who gave me a cigarette when I was seven, along with a beer, to the consternation of my mother, who did not share her belief that one was a man at seven. And she was the one who taught me never to kneel, apart from church, and to always deal with people with blue eyes and fair skin at arms length, because it was her belief that there was a reason that God did not give wings to scorpions, and while not all of the blue eyed ones were bad, it was best to be safe than sorry. Never forget the scorpions. And, to always remember that my Indian ancestors had fought the good fight.

Not like some of the current apologists for a misguided gringolandia who have forgotten where their parents and grandparents came from, and what they came for. It used to be called in search of freedom to work, to live, to worship, and not to become spokespersons for repression nor to step on those least able to defend themselves. Pendejos.

I will walk with a group of veterans, Korea, Viet Nam, peacetime, Gulf War, who will meet with the farmworkers near the bridge. We should arrive at the Placita at about 4 or so, wearing white, red, green, or whatever color shirts we damned well wish to wear, waving whatever flags we wish to wave, and carrying whatever signs we wish to carry - as free Americans. So try the following on for size:

'If you had any doubt what this faux-debate on illegal immigration has been about, or who has orchestrated it, this poll tells you all you need to know. The Big Brown Alien Frenzy was created by right-wing think-tanks who have studied the strategies of dictators throughout time. They are purposefully and incorrectly using Latinos - and they have convinced the public that we are ALL illegal immigrants, even though 60 percent of us were born here and the majority of the other 40 percent are legal - as scapegoats and distractionary hate-targets so that no one pays attention to the real reason for our nation's economic destruction: George W. Bush and his idiotic fiscal policies.'

Wolcott quoting Alisa, who is regarded in some quarters as being batshit crazy. Well, as a Cuban-American physician friend is fond of stating, it may indeed be difficult to find a sane Cuban American - but Alisa is right on the money, big time.

If I had one, I would wear a red shirt. At the moment, I cannot see my way clear to buy one, but I will do so for the next march on May 1, along with as couple for my girls.

And, by the way: better the Mexican flag, as Bush is waving below in Los Angeles, prior to the election in 2004, than the Bars and Stars and the Nazi flag, both of which were on exhibition at a Minutemen rally late last year in Costa Mesa, California. But the 'Times' sure didn't tell you about those, did it?"

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at April 14, 2006 11:10 AM

En Ming Hee:
A NEW SUV ( 8 mpg of middle east gas or Venezuelan)
A NEW APARTMENT (built with $$$cheap$$$ immigrant labor)
A WALL MOUNTED PLASMA SCREEN TV ( circus incluced on every channel)
A BIG MAC (bread?)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 14, 2006 11:38 AM

I seem to recall from history class that the Romans did the same thing, for a while.

If the parallel is meaningful, I note that it seems we're getting ready to build our own wall. After Hadrian came the decline, and there are a lot more Mexicans than there were Scots. What's next for us?

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at April 14, 2006 01:31 PM

I dunno...Romans had a lot less use for Haggis than the US has for the wall may be further than reality perceived.

Mike Meyer: Yeah, the American way of Life is sure intoxicating huh? So that's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (At the expense of everyone else)...I guess this is what happens when you have "the pursuit of happiness" written into your national goals. Nearly every other geopolitical entity in the world is just built to ensure its own survival...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at April 15, 2006 09:50 AM

En Ming Hee:
Nothing wrong with the pursuit of happiness or even wealth unless your pursuit is immoral, oppressive and deliberately keeps you fellow man down. Believe me, the majority of AMERICANS do not want or desire such things, ask around. Congress realizes that it is able to get away with it's corruption and both party leaderships ensure corrupt electorate. Congress polices itself. AMERICA is an experiment in governance and needs changes from time to time, we now live in one of those occasions. The ONLY ONES who can effect that change, LEGALLY, IS YOU AND I AS CITIZENS. Times have been good in the past and we have not been vigilant, and that must change. Discussion and COURAGE are the answers as change is never easy. Changes will come and we as CITIZENS must be diligent to have the changes we desire to live peaceful and prosperous lives. Talk to your family, friends and neighbors, from the voice of many comes WISDOM. Oh, Yes- STOP PAYING THESE PEOPLE.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 15, 2006 12:35 PM

If you pay retail for your rape and slaughter, then you don't have money left over for servants.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at April 17, 2006 11:59 AM

Jonathan, you're the first prominent person I've seen pointing this out. I agree that the US sounds hypocritical when seeking to bar immigration, while making life unliveable in the nations of these people who seek to immigrate as a way to escape the misery the US is helping to inflict or exacerbate.

On a similar note, I remember clearly being galled, just after Sept.11, 2001, to find hucksters at every corner in Los Angeles, selling 2 things:
• Chinese-made flags with which to festoon ones oil-sucking SUV, and
• T-shirts emblazooned with jingoistic slogans and imagery, with which to costume oneself and parade around and let everyone know that the wearer considered himself a victim of terrorism. I checked the tags of quite a few of these shirts, and without exception, every single one of them was made in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras: precisely the places the U.S. had sent/funded/trained terrorists & death squads throughout the Reagan years.

Posted by: grant at April 18, 2006 07:28 PM


I will always be grateful to you to for referring to me as "prominent."

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at April 20, 2006 03:37 PM