Friday, April 28, 2006

US: Immigration, Idiotic Article "Why Simper to Fidel"

Among the stupidest things I have read in a while....

Why Simper to Fidel?
By Jay D. Homnick

Published 4/11/2006 12:06:19 AM

NORTH MIAMI BEACH -- Life is rife with little misunderstandings: look what happened when President Bush told Seymour Hersh that he was going to try to win over Ahmadinejad with a "new Koran"! Hersh reported that we were going to "nuke Iran," so we're off to the races. And poor Cynthia McKinney thought that detector was out to test her mettle, so we're off to the racism.

We need to be sympathetic. Haven't we ever made mistakes? All of us have once looked for our glasses when they were on our foreheads or our watches when they were on our wrists. So why can't we be more understanding of a Mexican who went on a bender and wound up on the wrong side of the border? Or a South American who gambled away his return ticket at a casino and had to overstay his visa by twenty years? There's eleven million of them, but they work hard: we're thinking of moving Labor Day to Sept. 11th.

So I'll tell you what. Here's my deal. If you guys in the Senate want to ram through an immigration bill to reach out and bring all these folks into the Big Tent of the Republican Party, I'll bite my lip and go along. I won't be legalistic or puristic or a nudnik. You want me to give you your short-order cooks and your lawn guys and your house painters, you got it.

But I want something in return. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door, right here in Miami. Give me your Cubans. (No, not the cigars. Apparently Babbin copped all of those.)

HERE WE HAVE one of the great ironies. The one group of emigres with the most legitimate claim for asylum is the Cubans. The one law-abiding cadre that doesn't make large demonstrations is the Cubans. The one enclave that never presses for bilingual education but works to master English without complaint is the Cubans. (You would never hear them yelling "March!" in April.) And -- here is your full daily USDA RDA of irony -- the only reliable clique of Hispanic voters for the Republican Party is Cuban. Well, guess what? As things stand, the proposed immigration bill leaves the Cubans missing the boat.

These folks are living ninety miles from our shores under the longest-ruling dictator on the planet. While he jubilantly closes in on his jubilee, defiant in his autocracy, oppressive and restrictive and vindictive, we not only refrain from interfering in his internal affairs, we turn away his escapees. Plenty of hardy Cubans would hot-foot it here, but they get cold feet because of our "wet foot - dry foot" policy. This means that after days of baking in the sun on a makeshift raft made out of a car fender and a few pickle barrels, then swimming with labored strokes toward shore, throat parched, breathing stertorous, spirit flickering, if the Coast Guard can intercept you a foot from shore, back you go to the Communist paradise. Foot on shore, more sure of foot, you stay.

Whichever spineless State Department wonk thought that up in time immemorial has long since ossified and become fossilized in his chair. The original memo probably sits in a dusty, musty file somewhere in the National Archives under one of those classic one-word titles. It's undoubtedly called "Rapprochement" or some such elegant evasion, instead of its true name: "Tergiversation." What a sorry face to put on our noble nation!

The most recent travesty to emerge from this approach came a few months ago, when a few desperate Cubans managed to guide their ersatz craft onto shore at the base of a bridge in the Florida Keys. The Coast Guard turned them back anyway, because that bridge was no longer in service and they did not view that as an active extension of American soil. A court later reversed that ruling, but -- oops, too late -- the people are back singing "Havana, hold your hand."

The Cubans themselves are reluctant to press their case at this juncture, because they do not want to be thought of as being on an equal plane with illegals. They wonder, as we do, why the illegals are stealing the march on them, why the inmates are getting the asylum. We need to be courageous and advance their cause.

The old Cuban joke goes like this. Castro tells his people there are only wood chips to eat. They shout: "Give us wood chips! Give us wood chips!" Then he says they are down to the stones. "Give us stones! Give us stones!" Finally, one day he announces that humanitarian aid has arrived and there is food. "Give us teeth! Give us teeth!" How about a bill with some teeth?

Jay D. Homnick is a columnist for and a contributor to the Reform Club.

What a dumbass.

Where to even start?

"The one law-abiding cadre that doesn't make large demonstrations is the Cubans.

Ummm. remember the collective meltdown in Miami during the Elian Gonzalez situation?. The Cuban-American civic and business leadership actively called for large demonstrations, leading to shutdowns of parts of Miami. This was further fueled by prominent elected officials, including the Mayor of Miami, publically stating that they would disobey Federal Officials, and others called for massive civil disobedience. Lets not even get into people flying the American flag upside-down as a sign of protest.

"The one enclave that never presses for bilingual education but works to master English without complaint is the Cubans. (You would never hear them yelling "March!" in April.)"

That is beyond wrong, it is retarded. In the 1960's, Miami (with ample use of Federal funds) became the first major city to experiment with billingual education. Miami-Dade has been officially a "Billingual County" since 1973. And this was done by pressure placed largely by Cuban-Americans.
When non-Latinos have launched "English-Only" initiatives, Cubans have been among its loudest opponents.

The largely Cuban-American congressional delegation have also been the most ardent proponents of legalization of undocumented immigrants, sentiments that are also shared by many residents of Miami.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Coca Cola in Colombia - Weird Campus Protest

Normally, I'm all for publically shaming corporations, by among other things by calling for boycotts of their products when they do really shady things in the US or abroad.

But these things have to make sense, and this protest on UCLA's campus, aimed at Coca Cola, for actions it allegedly did in Colombia, does not.

Alec Mouhibian, a columnist on UCLA's highly regarded student newspaper The Daily Bruin took on the issue in his recent column.

The student group Coke-Free Campus wants to ban Coca-Cola products from UCLA because some of the casualties of the ongoing civil war in Colombia have allegedly included union leaders and Coca-Cola factory workers.

So he probes deeper and asks some student leaders at the protest about their reasoning:

I asked James, between his many speeches, why he's mad at Coke and what evidence he has of its guilt. "Direct your conversation to one of the organizers," he said. "I'm just here in support." Minutes later he was leading the chant, "Coca-Cola stop your lying! Because of you people are dying

Another protest leader interviewed:

Villagrana admitted "(Coke isn't) the one doing the killing. ... The paramilitary in Colombia is the one causing all these deaths, massacres and tortures." Two minutes later, she was chanting: "Cherry, diet or vanilla: Coca-Cola is a killa."

She admitted Coke was giving Colombians jobs they otherwise would not have. Two minutes later, she was chanting: "We support workers, we don't support Coke."

After these admissions, all that remained was the complaint that Coke hasn't provided enough protection for its workers. Any sensible person dreams of a world in which corporations have armed battalions guarding their factories from government intrusion. Sadly, we have yet to achieve that ideal.

Mouhibian does a great job of showing how the activists were short on knowledge but full of slogans.

turns out other folks who knew first hand about Colombia's situation had some things to say:

Her fellow riders who actually attended the meeting were jolted off their horses when a young Colombian refugee emotionally testified to the heroism of the Coca-Cola Company in her native land. She begged Coke to stay and hold its own, as the thousands of jobs it and other corporations provide help those who would otherwise probably end up joining the paramilitaries.

Colombian Professor Miguel Ceballos, of Foundation for Education, Colombia, said that no Colombian lacks a friend or family member – union or nonunion, Coke worker or non-Coke worker – who's been killed in the violence. He bashed the protestors for knowing nothing about the violent context in Colombia, where Coke is a rare force for saving lives.

So if the students did not really have a clue, why protest in the first place? Obviously it is great fun to yell at corporate pr hacks and annoy stuffy administrators. Campus "solidarity" groups like to collect like-minded groups, and organize "fronts" to raise hell over "progressive" issues.

Bigger issue is why get so fired up over Coca Cola in Colombia, in the Los Angeles area with a small Colombian community, but which also happens to be a major media market? Maybe because they won't be challenged???? Try that in a Miami school where there is a large Colombian presence, and a Colombian Institute.

I wonder (pure speculation) if this is nothing more than the "solidarity network" trying to embarrass Colombia's government. More emails from PR firms linked to Chavez????

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bolivia: Morales And His Justice Minister - Who Isn't A Lawyer

Washington Post profiles one of Morales most stupid cabinet picks.

Actually this goes beyond stupid, it is retarded. It makes Bush picking the lottery lady look like an act of genius.

Ok.. we have Justice Ministry, that presides over a legal system that has major systemic weaknesses, and where some reforms have been implemented. The criminal side is a mess -- people still languish in jail for long times, on the civil side cases can go on forever.

So Morales then goes and picks a non-lawyer to run it. Who cares if she is an ex-maid or activist. Point is, she is not a lawyer, much less a practicing attorney with experience before the major Courts.

She is an activist who suffered injustice in a Bolivian Court. Fine, there are tons of aggrieved hausfraus with "some college" in the United States, who got screwed in small claims, divorce court, or in domestic violence Court, but that does not make them qualified to be Attorney General.

She allegedly is "studying anthropology". She says silly things too. The blather about communal justice is one, people get lynched. Any serious efforts to incorporate that kind of justice into the judiciary system, requires having someone with some legal training.

This is a joke. It is like a caricature of post-Colonial Africa.

For one, a jury system introduced in the last decade isn't working very well.

It doesn't help that Bolivia spends a meager 1 percent of its national budget on the judiciary _ one of the lowest allocations in Latin America, according to the Organization of American States.

"The vast majority of (legal) conflicts don't reach the system," said Cristian Riego, academic director of the OAS's Justice Center of the Americas. Those who suffer most are indigenous people and workers in the informal economy.

Rodriguez says she'll fight to boost spending for the judiciary and make it work for the poor, who account for more than 60 percent of Bolivians.

She also wants greater respect for traditional Indian justice systems, still used in much of the country, where community elders hear cases and decide on sentences that can include corporal punishment.

"Community justice is so different from the ordinary justice system," said Rodriguez, "because you don't spend money and even though it's not legally recognized, it resolves cases in hours, or at the most in a week and doesn't add to the quarrel, it's more fraternal."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mexico: Mexican Bloggers Take on Lopez Obrador

Mexican friends have pointed out interesting internet activity about Mexico's upcoming elections. PRD candidate, Antonio Manuel Lopez Obrador has a lot of people online fired up, with chain emails circulating, and several anti-AMLO bloggers. Some are fairly clever, others slightly cruder. Many of them are plays on the nickname for the PRD candidate, El Peje, which is pretty close to a certain naughty word in spanish whose first letters are p...e...n..d..

When AMLO appeared on TV, and said he would not answer questions about "general culture" the clip was downloaded and spread on the web pretty quickly on Your Tube. It was at one point the 51st watched clip in the world with 300,000 hits, which as Mexico en Peligro pointed out that was probably more than saw that morning program.

There are emails also circulating widely, which provide links to that, and other videos.

According to a recent poll Lopez Obrador and the PAN candidate are in a dead heat in the student vote, and among voters who consider themselves "upper middle class" and "upper class" the PRD has virtually no support. This kind of "virtual" campaigning might actually be a factor in this election.

General Anti-Obrador site



Mexico En Peligro

Peje Populista Y Marranadas Extra

Falso Mesias


Galeria De Pendejos

General Article

Blog Economista - Why To Vote Against AMLO

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Random Thoughts On Immigration, Immigration Reform and What Not

Big Protests

The size of these massive protests all across the nation was breathtaking. Of course, the haters in the media were quick to throw out accusations about how "carefully orchestrated" and "planned" these demonstrations were. Anyone with half a clue about the main Latino organizations in many large cities would know what nonesense that is. Groups like La Raza and MALDEF are very good at lobbying on single issues, in fundraising, for educational campaigns towards communities, they do not have the mobilization ability, they are credited with. This all happened within such a short period of time.

The momentum for this came totally from below, at most the national organizations, Spanish media, churches, and sympathetic groups channelled this energy. This was some of the most well behaved mass protests seen anywhere, period.

Amazing, how the usual idiots in the media continue to smear the protestors, by inferring they were mostly "illegals". Rubbish, there were a lot of US residents and citizens. As The Economist pointed out, a big percentage of Latino school children in Calfornia had one or more undocumented parents. This issue tears across families, talks of making their relatives criminal really riles people up, and specially in close-knit Latino families. You can tell both political parties damn well know that there are many voters there, from the way the Republicans were backpedalling after the protests.

The Flag

Spanish radio and TV should be commended for strongly recommending that marchers carry the American flag. While TV was quick to show foreign flags and some flags flown upside down, there were more images of people -very proudly- waving the US flag. Many members of the armed services too.

Speaking of flags, in the end what is the big deal? The know-nothings complain endlessly of protestors carrying the Mexican and other Latin American flags. But then again, that seems to be a tradition among immigrant groups in the US. During the Civil War entire battalions of Irishmen, many fresh off the boat, marched to their deaths waving the Irish flag. Speaking of flags and the Civil War, lets not even get into the whole Confederate thing.
Loyalty to countries of origin? How about FDR failing to aid Ethiopia from Mussolini's attack, because he did not want to offend Italian-Americans. Or Irish-Americans, generations removed from Ellis Island, raising money for certain shall we say "violent" groups fighting the British. In the end it is no more than hypocrisy and selective history.

Assimilate it.

And then, there are the cultural bigots. Thinking that these new "hordes" will not assimilate....
As Linda Chavez has argued for more than a decade, Mexican and Latin American immigrants and their children, do indeed "assimilate", in terms of learning English and increasing their educational levels. They do so in a pattern that is remarkably similar to that of Italian-Americans.

But, what really annoys me endlessly because it is so damn obvious is the following:

Outside of the United States, people complain continually about how US culture, available through mass media are "Americanizing" their youth. HOW ABOUT IMMIGRANT KIDS LIVING IN THE US!!! The tug of English mass media is (duh!) much more powerfull when you live in the US, than outside. Geez, I do not care if you are in Miami or Brownsville, kids of immigrants or new immigrants are going to watch US TV, and lots of it. They deal daily with kids who do the same thing. The numbers bear this out, young Latinos watch English language TV much more than their parents. This is a force for not only learning the language, but also "acculturation. " Call it the MTV Effect, the one that produces remarkably similar teenagers, who talk the same lingo no matter if they live in Des Moines, Ventura, or Orlando.

More Silliness

If this is in fact the Reconquista (or the reconquering of the Southwest), isn't what's good for the goose also good for the gander too? The claim is that the entire Southwest was the "Siberia" of the Spanish America's so basically, the anglo "immigrant" farmers and miners pushing westward, simply took advantage of the situation and in the end put this land to use much more productively than the post-colonial Rancheros.
So, aren't the Mexicans and others crossing the border simply doing what the "pioneers" did before? They are finding opportunities the native-born don't find, and are creating wealth that did not exist before. Then there is the obvious irony of them "taking over" parts of cities with Spanish names, but that obviously eludes the anti-immigrant Lemmings in places like Colorado.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

USA: Answering Questions On Immigration

I am so annoyed at the constant demagougery coming from Lou Dobbs and from Republicans like Tancredo. The rhetoric in public and in the language of the House bill, clearly is aimed at "criminalizing" immigrants both in the Courts and in the court of public opinion.

Check out how this rhetoric and cheap sloganeering plays in the heartland, see this thread at the discussion board at the Indianapolis Star newspaper site.

Just like the anti-globaloney types, claims by anti-immigration lemmings become "true" through sheer repetition and not rationality.

Linda Chavez, who is a Republican, has a good piece demolishing some misconceptions that the demagouges throw around. WHO these so called "lawbreakers" are. The ticle was first posted by Latina Lista.

Answering Questions on Immigration

As the Senate continues to grapple with immigration reform, it's time to
clear the air of some broad misconceptions in the current debate. Since writing about this topic over the last few weeks, my inbox has been flooded
with e-mails raising questions.

Some critics seem especially rankled by my arguments that many illegal
aliens are "otherwise law-abiding" members of their communities. Most detractors point out that illegal aliens can't pay taxes since they aren't entitled to work. But that's only half right. Confusion and ignorance on the immigration issue abound, so, here are a few facts worth considering.

First, illegal aliens are not currently criminals. They have committed a misdemeanor civil offense under current law by entering or remaining in the United States once their visas expire, but the House-passed immigration bill would automatically make these offenses criminal felonies.

Second, illegal aliens, by definition, broke the law to enter the country, but the way they got here doesn't differ all that much from the way most immigrants came in previous eras. Until the success of the immigration restriction movement in the 1920s, people who wanted to immigrate simply showed up at U.S. ports, or in the case of Mexicans and Canadians, just walked across the border.

There were laws in place governing naturalization, which varied over time from requiring that an immigrant live here as little as two years to as long as 14 years before being eligible for citizenship. Indeed, laws requiring registration of immigrants were set up to ensure that immigrants met the naturalization residency requirements.

Unless they were from Asia (Chinese and, later, other Asian immigrants were barred or severely limited from immigrating between 1862 and 1952), immigrants had merely to show themselves to be free of "loathsome or contagious diseases"; demonstrate that they were not likely to become dependent on public assistance (still required to gain admission today); attest that they were not polygamists, convicts or prostitutes; and, later, pay a small fee. These requirements were met after the immigrants were
already on U.S. soil -- in fact, the huge numbers of people immigrating in the early 20th century led to the creation of Ellis Island off Manhattan to process the entrants.

Today's legal immigrants face a lengthy, sometimes decades-long,process, must have close relatives already living in the U.S. to stand any realistic chance of being admitted, or must possess unusual skills much in demand and have an employer ready to hire them.

Third, the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens pay taxes, including Social Security, Medicare and property taxes, not to mention sales taxes. The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration estimates that three-fourths of all illegal aliens have Social Security (and Medicare) taxes deducted from their wages.

How? It's simple.

Since it is illegal to hire someone who does not present a Social Security number (and show other documentation of legal residence), many illegal aliens use phony numbers or cards to get jobs. In 2002 alone, the Social Security Administration reported it had collected $7 billion in payroll taxes and $1.5 billion in Medicare taxes from workers who could not be matched with valid Social Security numbers.

In addition, illegal aliens pay property taxes just like everyone else, either directly, if they own homes (and surprising numbers of illegal aliens do), or indirectly through their landlords' property taxes in the form of rent. Most illegal aliens pay income taxes -- since these, too, are automatically deducted -- but they fail to claim any refunds since they are fearful of drawing attention to their illegal status.

Do these facts mean we ought to ignore the problem of 12 million illegal aliens living in the United States? Of course not. It's bad for all of us when laws are so wantonly flouted. Those who have entered the country should pay some price for having violated the law -- a heavy fine, for example, which is the usual penalty for misdemeanor offenses.

The more difficult question is how to stop more people from coming here illegally -- and the best way to do that is to increase border security and change our current, inflexible laws to make it possible for more people to come here legally.