DON’T LET ME INTERRUPT you from feeling proud, fellow Latin@s, knowing that your votes are being sought more than ever before, but…
West Lafayette, Indiana – Immigration issues were a divisive force in the 2004 election, so this year’s candidates are taking a quieter, more direct approach to reaching the Latino population, says a Purdue University political scientist.
“What we’re seeing instead is microtargeting the Latino demographic,” says James McCann, a professor of political science who is surveying Mexican immigrants regarding political participation and other civic issues.
“Instead of mass appeals, commercials and speeches, the candidates are airing Spanish commercials in specific cities with large Latino populations. The Republican and Democratic parties also are reaching Latinos through surrogate leadership and outreach through the local grassroots levels and politicians. The emphasis on the demographic is there, but it’s not visible to everyone.”
McCann says this political strategy also is focusing on the candidates’ character issues instead of how they stand on issues such as immigration reform.
So, “microtargeting” in this case means “hiding your support and positions” for Latino issues from the masses of people you feel you need more. Much like the moves John “Chickenshit” McCain has mastered! Neato. Sort of like when you tell a person you are realllly into them, but then make sure to hide all evidence from your friends. Sort of like when you wear that ugly sweater for your nana when she visits, but then stick it back into a back in the back of your closet once she’s gone.
And as if the fluffed-up bios are somehow a substitute for staking out a position and promising action on issues integral to community and family and the health of children, such as immigration?
Feel the pride.
Oh, and feel this, too:
San Ysidro, California – A 30-year old Los Angeles woman driving a pickup truck from Mexico was arrested late Friday night at the San Ysidro, Calif. port of entry after U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered three undocumented Mexican females, two of them children, hidden in a compartment under the bed of the truck, CBP officials announced today.
The three females, including a 22-year-old and her 11-year old sister, as well as a 14-year-old, appeared to be unharmed and were detained as material witnesses. A 10-year-old female who was a passenger in the truck was released to a family relative.
The truck entered the port just before midnight on Friday and was referred to the secondary inspection lot for a more comprehensive examination after officers became suspicious of the driver and the vehicle.
During the secondary inspection, officers discovered a non-factory compartment under the truck bed and noted what appeared to be clothing and strands of a woman’s hair coming from cracks in the compartment.
Once the truck bed liner was removed, the box-shaped sheet metal compartment was exposed. Officers cut out the center of the truck bed and found the three females lying on their backs.
The driver was transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment on the alleged smuggling attempt.
The case was part of a busy week for CBP officers at San Diego area port of entry that included the processing of 36 narcotics smuggling attempts totaling over 3,500 pounds of marijuana, 31 pounds of methamphetamine and 11 pounds of heroin.
CBP officers at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports also processed 16 alien smuggling attempts and apprehended 24 fugitives wanted for various sex offenses, robbery, burglary, larceny, fraud, counterfeiting and assault, among others.
That’s pretty clever, eh? How the article tells us of these women so desperate to make a living and eat food and have just a chance to earn money (they aren’t even asking for a 300 billion dollar bailout, not even a $100 bailout, just a chance to earn meager wages) and ends the description of the event with the words “smuggling attempt”. Then the writer segues immediately into talking about drug smugglers and “aliens” who are “wanted for various sex offenses, robbery,” etc. Isn’t that smart? Isn’t that just so snazzy? Now we can avoid the thoughts that must come when you think that women are smuggling their daughters in a tight, unsafe, oxygen-starved compartment across the border. Now we can think of them as trash, vermin, lawbreakers.
Mmmm. Feeling that Latin@ Pride™.
Oh, Senator? Can I interrupt your well-managed, well-lit, well-scripted campaign for un momento? I really, really, really dig your handsome biography photo and the poignant life story thing. But I have just a tiny little question. I know you don’t want your fancy friends to hear this, but…do you care about women starving to death? And do you care when instead of being helped they are stuck away in jail and exploited there, and maybe killed there, and yet…ignored or slimed in the papers? And would you do anything about this? Maybe another laser fence can fix this? Maybe a big concrete wall with machine guns can feed these women and their children?
Oh, I know, I know. Your friends are here. Well, oye, you can lean down and whisper in my ear if you want. We can keep it a secret. We can stuff it down deep away from the light and board it up like a hungry knot of girls and women shut inside a dark box or even a jail cell or a grave—if you want.
I WANTED TO WRITE TODAY OF MARCELLA GRACE EILER’S LIFE and not of her death. I wanted to talk about how she was young—only 20 years old—and already interested in serving as protection for indigenous rights; of how she was from Eugene, Oregon, where I live. I wanted to write about her being a social activist, of what she was doing in Oaxaca, and what kinds of things she was interested in, about her being a dance teacher.
But I can’t write any more than that about her life. For pages, Google is chattering about how a machete was used to murder her, how it was done in Mexico, how it was a man who claims he had consensual sex with her and left her body in a shack…and that’s enough. If I read through another U.S. article about drugs or crime or murder in Mexico I think I will lose my ability to think. And there are no others on google. There are no images of her face that I can find. None of her smiling, or dancing, or living. Just of her alleged killer.
[update: below, to the right, I have since found and included an image, which I found in this post through a link left by a reader below. Thank you both.]
But I wanted to remember her, you see. At first I recoiled from writing about it at all. Because I don’t like to feed that bullhorn that is used—like keeping a Wanted Black Man foto in the newspaper at all times—to indoctrinate US citizens with anti-Mexico sentiment or reinforce it. (And it’s not like things like this don’t happen…it’s the focus, of course.)
But then I thought this woman should be remembered. She was a young person already dedicating herself to protecting others and caring about indigenous rights…an area with few fighting for it.
“She was really trying to spend her energy as an observer for an indigenous rights organization,” [her father] John Eiler said in a telephone interview.
It only makes me suspicious when I read that she was another person only a few degrees from insight into Brad Will’s murder.
She also had lived for about a month with the family of a witness in the killing of Bradley Roland Will, a volunteer for Indymedia.org, Cruz said. Will was fatally shot in October 2006 in Oaxaca City while filming protests by activists demanding the ouster of the state’s governor. […]
Cruz said Eiler had complained that police in civilian clothes often sat in a parked car outside the witness’s family’s house and that they followed her.
Perhaps in some way, the corruption of the Government of Mexico is unwinding yet another infected tendril. Who can say. I don’t put anything past them, but that’s for another day. It’s a sad, ugly tragedy no matter how you think of it.
So today I’m not thinking of those parts. I’m not reading through pages of ugly, grisly articles or scanning mug shots of deranged human beings or soaking up all the dank, dark energy that the news media loves to nibble at and feed back.
I’m thinking of the sun hot on my arms as I type now. I’m thinking that the goodness in the world is due to people like Marcella Grace Eiler. I’m thinking it sure is good to be alive to feel this sun, and even this sorrow. It is good to be alive.
Marcella Grace Eiler, vaya con Dios and you are remembered.
UPDATE: Marcella’s Flickr Album and a Narco News Post that gives more detail to her life and talks about the bind that women activists are in, always living where sexual violence and political violence intersect.
IN ALL WAYS it pays every day to turn our backs on the corrupt, corporate, soulless and mediocre messaging being pushed down our throats and into our ears from almost all of the dominant culture’s offerings. Hypnotists and salesmen for the Murkan SleepDream are working fulltime behind the glossy televised scenes, and they can shift from disaster to pablum to syrupycheer quicker than you can move your hands to plug up your ears. And all this presentation and flagellation and pixelporn manipulation of media is devised to take a toll, is constructed unwhole, made to siphon the soul…to push an agenda of commerce or war or profit and control…very rarely is there a drop of water for the soulgarden, very rarely is there a ray of light shone solely for the wide open eyes del alma. More often all this sound and imagery and textual effort is to gain something from us, or to introduce confusion or negativity.
Support artists, poets, and raza. Support la cultura, support media that feeds you, that seeks to uplift you and irritate your sense of satisfaction, that seeks to undo, to redo, to build anew. With each conscious footstep, create a new path through this half empty lot of sunshine, shattered glass and nascent vine.
And more specifically, if you are in NYC, get ready for mass love warfare waged by poetry guerrillas on your streets! It begins today!
En la semana del 27 de septiembre al 4 de octubre del presente 2008, se llevará a cabo el Quinto Encuentro “Poetas en Nueva York” donde se harán presentes cerca de 50 poetas y otros artistas. Los participantes de diferentes orígenes, en su mayoría son residentes en la ciudad, además de un grupo de poetas que vienen desde la isla Puerto Rico.
Respaldados por el lema: ‘Cultura con Todos’ esta jornada se iniciará –como ya es tradición- con la ‘Masa Alegre’, una caminada con música, cantos y lectura de poemas en las esquinas, por el sector de la ciudad donde se hace el primer evento de la jornada poética. El encuentro se lleva a cabo en español durante ocho días en locaciones de Queens, Brooklyn y Manhattan. En una de las fechas se convoca de forma abierta a “Poesía en todas las lenguas” donde participan poetas de diferentes países del mundo residentes en la ciudad con textos en sus idiomas nativos.
Which (roughly) says that during the week of Sept. 27 – Oct. 4 the fifth meeting of Poets in Nueva York will be held, where roughly 50 poets and artists will gather, most NYC residents, and a group of poets who come from the island of Puerto Rico. Unified by the theme of “Cultura con Todos” the day will begin, as is the tradition, with the “Masa Alegre”, a walk with music, songs, poems read aloud. The event is in Spanish and for eight days in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
Visit the page if you can read Spanish to any degree (no translation provided there) and much more is said about the event, who comes together for it, what it means, how it is a multi-lingual, multi-national, multi-ethnic stew, what organizations are involved and supported by this, and what it means in the context of the city, and over the time this event has been held.
XOLAGRAFIK PRODUCTIONS releases a Fight All ISMs Venture:VENEER AND LOATHING, The Pollatix of Grain and Periphery, a 25 minute documentary of the Democratic National Convention as seen through the eyes of a few bloggers, officially credentialed and traveling the fringe.
I CALL IT VENEER BEER AND LOATHING for a couple reasons. (Video below, this title card is just a screenshot.) One reason is to remind myself not to take the whole thing too seriously, as when you invest weeks of your life—between shooting, editing, and all the inbetween activities and heavy thought and emotion process that goes into making a film that is 25 minutes long—it would be easy to get very serious and self-important about it. And you can watch the rest to understand the other reasons that went into taking a Hunter Thompson title and pouring hops over it. (I was naive to not realize that a handful of other people would upload videos online with the same main title, but ah well! update: the edit of this will be retitled “Veneer and Loathing” as i like the symbolism better and i hate to have a film that is titled the same as tons of other ones. But I’ve been on this long enough, that will have to wait a bit.) update 2, 1 yr later: Done.
I also don’t mean to belittle the effort either, thought, as I did try my best to sketch out some of the reasons the trip and the convention was important to me and to mis blogmig@s.
IF anyone wants a DVD of the full-quality version for their own library and sense of historicality hit the paypal button and send $9 plus your shipping addy and I will send one out. Please note when sending $ what that it is for the DVD of the DNC08. Because soon I’ll be putting out the RNC08 video REPUBLIKANATION, too, and also use that PayPal for a few things. Alternately, if you just want to support these kinds of efforts, feel free to donate. Really. Totalllly free.
(PS: This will probably play smoother if you pause it and let it load first before playing…especially as it’s a long-ish piece. If you want, here is a dark room for better viewing.)
WITH ALL THE TALK OF THE SANCTUARY’S SURVEY ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS, I never formally posted the answers. I did link to them, but in a way that “buried the lede.” [slider]Note: I don’t always care for worrying over Burying of Ledes and such…sometimes I end up writing an emotional or experientially-based post that was inspired by a story or press release, and I”ll slip the link in at the end or toward the end and let what I feel is the timeless heart of the issue be centered, rather than more specific factoids. That’s a shape of blogging I’m fine with. But this survey was a Thing in its own right, and I want to present it up front, center stage.[/slider]
Here is the information, taken directly from the Sanctuary post on same.
Since the deadline for responding to The Sanctuary’s questionnaire on immigration reform and other issues of concern to Latino voters has long passed without any word from the McCain campaign, today we are releasing in full the responses graciously provided to us by Senator Obama.
While our original intent was to present a meaningful side-by-side comparison of the policies and positions of all presidential candidates in order to better inform voters, Senator McCain’s unwillingness to answer our questions, or to go on the record with his positions on the specific details covered in the questionnaire, has made this impossible. Senator McCain’s reluctance is all the more troubling in light of the fact that his previously published positions, available on his website, appear to directly contradict those in the official platform coming out of the Republican National Convention earlier this month. This has left many of us who are concerned about immigration reform at a loss to know exactly where the Senator actually stands on vital issues.
The editorial board will address the specifics of Senator Obama’s responses in a forthcoming post, which will include a thorough analysis of his positions … which in some cases are troubling and raise serious questions about his commitment to true change of the current immigration paradigm.
But without Senator McCain’s responses for comparison, for the time being we release Senator Obama’s survey without commentary, to let his words speak for themselves.
And I just want to point out, at this specific juncture wherein John “Chickenshit” McCain has laughingly backed out of campaigning and debating because he’s skurred of the smart n sessy black man, that we see more of the same with the contrast in how he has handled our survey. That means we have a pattern here. And you and I are not surprised, eh? The Republicans—known recently for dirty IMs with underage interns, bathroom sex-signalling, bribing cops with fellatio, meth-fests in motel nests, self-asphyxiation scuba suit setups and other seemingly-unending arrays of Republican Family Values—are always projecting. It’s a Republican Government trademark. Do what you scream others should not be doing…accuse others of doing what you are dimple-deep into.
McCain is always talking about how fearless and selfless he is. But my Republican Decoder Ring tells me it means he is scared and egocentric. And his actions back that up at every turn.
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Anyway, here are Obama’s answers to the Sanctuary’s survey.
Name: Barack Obama
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Address: xxxxxxx Chicago, IL60601
Campaign Phone Office: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Office Sought/Opponents in:
If you are a State candidate, please indicate your State Registration Number:
The Sanctuary is a multi-issue organization working in the service of human rights, human reasoning and progressive discussion. Therefore it is critical for us to understand your position on the following issues.
Please give specific answers to the questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible. Please type your
answers. Use additional sheets as necessary.
1. Could you please articulate what you think are the most pressing issues for the U.S. immigrant community, at home AND abroad, and how you would hope to address those issues as President?
At home, the immigrant community faces a real challenge from the tension our inability to fix our immigration system has engendered. Abroad, not enough is being done to encourage job creation and economic development and to decrease the pressure to immigrate without authorization to the U.S. in search of work.
2. Do you support comprehensive immigration reform?
3. What policy conditions would comprehensive immigration reform have to meet in order for you to support it? Please be specific.
I fought in the U.S. Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as president. Not just because we need to secure our borders and get control of who comes into our country. And not just because we have to crack down on employers abusing undocumented immigrants. But because we have to finally bring the 12 million undocumented out of the shadows.
We should require them to pay a fine, learn English, abide by the law, and go to the back of the line for citizenship – behind those who came here legally. But we cannot – and should not – deport 12 million people. That would turn American into something we’re not; something we don’t want to be.
4. Do you support the establishment of an expanded guest worker program?
I would support a new guest worker program to meet worker shortages in some sectors of the economy, but it must have strong worker protections and not exclude people from ever becoming Americans. It must also take into account that some workers will wish to earn a right to stay in the U.S. permanently.
5. Do you support the expansion and construction of a virtual border along the U.S./Mexico border?
I want to preserve the integrity of our borders. Physical fencing alone is not a solution to our immigration crisis nor should it be the Secretary of Homeland Security’s first recourse. However I support physical fencing along the border under very specific circumstances, where it makes sense as a matter of security and to act as a deterrent to unsafe undocumented entry. Securing our borders will not solve the immigration problem in isolation, but combined with an earned path to citizenship for the undocumented and new legal alternatives to unauthorized entry, some additional fencing could help get the border under control.
Sensor technology and additional personnel should be used as a first option and additional fencing should only be built where necessary and agreed to in coordination with local governments, Indian tribes, and done in an environmentally sensitive manner. I will work with local officials on the border and in consultation with border communities to make sure that any additional fencing is not economically or environmentally destructive.
6. Do you support the switch from family based immigration standards to the merit based system put forth in the last round of Senate CIR?
I do not support the reduction of family based visas in order to create a new points based system. I would consider supporting such a system outside existing quotas.
7. Do you support the “touchback” requirements of previous comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation that would require undocumented immigrants to return to their countries oforigin in order to normalize their status?
I am disinclined to support touchback requirements because they are symbolic and likely to discourage participation in an earned legalization program.
8. Would you support the addition of funding for stricter enforcement of general labor standards such as wage and hour or safety regulations as part of CIR legislation?
9. Would you support an increase in the cap of low-skilled employment-based green cards issued each year from it’s current level of 5000?
10. Would you favor raising the 65,000 cap on high-skilled H-1B temporary work visas, in light of the fact that in the last two years, H-1B visas were quickly filled in a matter of days?
As part of comprehensive reform, I will consider multiple proposals for increasing access to the world’s best and brightest to work inAmerica.
11. Do you have a position on providing materials concerning health care and public benefits programs in languages other than English?
I believe that we should ensure that government programs are accessible to hardworking immigrant populations. In 2003, I was the chief co-sponsor and voted for the technical bill making the provisions of the Language Assistance Services Act, which provides assistance to limited or non-English residents in health care facilities, mandatory rather than discretionary. At the same time, I also believe that we must invest in education programs to help immigrants learn English so they can participate fully in American society.
12. Do you support lifetime eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled and/or elderly refugees and asylees who are eligible for SSI except for a lack of U.S. citizenship?
I support SSI eligibility for elderly or disabled refugees and asylees. I am a cosponsor of S. 821, which expands SSI eligibility for refugees, asylees, and other humanitarian immigrants.
13. What are your feelings on immigrant detention?
Detention is a necessary part of enforcement, but it must be humane, safe, and respectful.
14. Do you support family detention centers?
We will review family detention centers for their utility upon entering office.
15. Do you support private companies profiting off of immigrant detention?
Contracting services across government will come under review early on in an Obama Administration.
16. Do you support the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, the bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop procedures to ensure adequate medical care for all detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
The bill is currently pending before Congress. I have staff reviewing it and following hearings on the subject, but I strongly support ensuring that detainees held by ICE are safe.
17. Do you support the Uniting American Families Act, the bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow permanent partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including same-sex partners, to obtain permanent residency? Yes.
18. Do you support the community service requirement of previous DREAM Act legislation that would grant provisional (conditional) legal residency to immigrant graduates who perform 910 hours of volunteer community service? Yes.
19. Would you support an immediate moratorium on community and work site raids by ICE?
I support a review of enforcement practices for their effectiveness and strongly support comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration raids are not a solution to our broken immigration system. Workplace enforcement of our laws is, however, important. Employers should not get away with willfully hiring people unauthorized to work here. But spending money on these raids to catch a couple of thousand people is not a long term strategy for dealing with the millions of people who are here. At a minimum, when these raids are executed, we have to make sure that social service agencies are notified and that kids who are in school or at home while their parents are in detention are not left without adult supervision.
20. Do you approve of ICE’s use of excessive force to conduct immigration raids as seen recently in Postville, Iowa?
Excessive use of force is never acceptable. That specific case is currently under review.
21. Do you support the Families First Immigration Enforcement Act, the bill that would provide for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations?
I will consider the proposal as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
22. Would you support the incorporation of requirements that would tie both future economic aid and trade agreements to substantive benchmarks in sender nations that would alleviate some of the economic and humanitarian conditions that foster continued migration?
I will pursue a trade and foreign aid policy that will promote development and democracy abroad. I believe we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico and other sender nations to decrease the pressure to immigrate without authorization to the U.S. in search of work. That means increasing U.S. assistance to these countries, but it also means making it easier and cheaper for private capital – particularly family remittances – to flow into Mexico, for example.
23. Would you renegotiate the NAFTA last phase that just went into effect that lifts restrictions on more US agricultural products, particularly poultry, imported into Mexico?
I have committed to reviewing NAFTA and improving on the text in the agreement in cooperation with Mexico and Canada.
24. Do you support canceling or renegotiating NAFTA?
I will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers. NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. It has not created the jobs and wealth that were promised. I believe that we can, and must, make trade work for American workers by opening up foreign markets to U.S. goods and maintaining strong labor and environmental standards. As president, I will work to amend NAFTA so that it lives up to those important principles.
25. Do you support providing subsidies for corn-based ethanol?
Yes. Corn-based ethanol has been an important bridge technology in helping make America more energy independent. However, it does have limitations. That’s why I am committed to accelerating the transition to advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol. I support broadly revisiting the current subsidy and tariff policies for renewable fuels to ensure that incentives are targeted toward new production from ultra-clean and sustainable sources.
26. Do you support the farm bill, more specifically the agricultural subsidies it contains?
I supported the farm bill but also supported measures to reform subsidies so that they help family farmers, not big vertically integrated corporate agribusinesses.
27. Do you support a restructuring of trade-distorting US farm subsidies?
I support fair trade practices for American farmers. We can compete effectively if the world community will open agriculture trade. Exports are critical to our farm community.
28. Do you support a significant shift in subsidies to help farmers adopt conservation and renewable energy practices on farms? Yes.
29. Do you support Plan Colombia (the Plan that was meant to combat the principal threat to the nation’s political and economic elite: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)) even though after closer examination of Plan Colombia, it has been revealed that the Plan states that public companies and banks are to be privatized leading to massive layoffs and further increasing unemployment at a time when cutbacks in government spending has removed any vestiges of providing a social safety net for those affected?
I support Plan Colombia. However, it is important to take a hard look at whether our assistance to Colombia reflects the right mix of combating drug trafficking and supporting legitimate agriculture efforts. The bottom line is that the drug trade has a devastating impact on the United States and Colombia, and we must continue to do more to reduce the drug trade.
30. Do you support Plan Mexico, which has been considered to be a duplicate of Plan Colombia, which has entrenched violence and corruption in Colombia while failing to reduce drug flow? Do you support canceling or renegotiating Plan Mexico?
The U.S. has a significant stake in Mexico succeeding in defeating and dismantling its destabilizing drug gangs. U.S. assistance, properly targeted, could play an important role in such a process. We need to carefully examine the Administration’s recent request for Plan Mexico, particularly given the secrecy that has surrounded the formulation of the proposed package.
31. What would you do to address the racist and nativist rhetoric that is becoming mainstreamed and that is tied to a rising crime wave fueled by the same sentiment?
I have spoken out against hateful rhetoric and will continue to do so. I’ll keep fighting and work for a civil debate about immigration where we begin to recognize ourselves in one another.
32. What are you going to do to take a more global approach to the issue of migration?
I will engage multilateral institutions and promote economic development in migrant sending nations.
33. What would you do to provide opportunities in the countries that migrants are fleeing from?
We need a combination of trade, aid, and cultural exchange efforts to provide opportunities in these countries.
34. How do you address the overwhelming amount of money the U.S. federal government spends on defense and military expenditures, at home and abroad, and would you see to it that less money is spent on militarization and more money is spent on social programs?
Federal spending for our national defense is important to protect our homeland and national security interests. I understand we are facing a different set of national security challenges in our post-September 11th world, and that our defense budget should reflect this reality. But I also believe that the goal should be to spend responsibly, as unrestrained defense spending could lead to high deficits and undermine our efforts to invest in pressing national domestic priorities, such as health care and education. And cutting domestic spending directly affects programs that benefit Latinos. We need to maintain a sensible budget that allots sufficient funds for both national defense spending and domestic priorities, like education, Head Start, and Food Stamps. These are mutually obtainable objectives.
35. What leadership have you taken on immigration issues, including but not limited to the issues addressed in this questionnaire?
I participated in the immigrant marches, have attended naturalization workshops, introduced legislation to make the naturalization process more affordable and accessible, and worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to support comprehensive reform in the Senate.
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36. On what immigration issues will you take leadership?
As president, I am committed to passing comprehensive reform and fixing our immigration system to ensure that both immigration enforcement and immigration services are better executed.
again, as Kyle (of citizenorange.com and promigrant.org) notes:
Already Obama’s decision to answer The Sanctuary’s questionnaire has paid dividends for the campaign. It’s been covered by About.com, Reuters, and New America Media, CNN, as well as by the Latino and pro-migrant netroots in a way that paints McCain very negatively. Most importantly, this message is getting to the Latinos that will decide this election, with Spanish language newspapers like El Planeta reprinting Obama’s answers in full.
It is too bad that there is still much ignorance, apathy, and inaction on the very crucial issues of immigration, human rights, and family when applies to humans from south of the “border.” It is too bad that there remains pressure on someone like Barack Obama to cater to certain interests on some of these, pressure to backpedal or introduce ambiguity where none was needed. I will leave it to you to compare the revisions to the originals and what has been changed.
UPDATE After publication of the survey, the Obama campaign requested we take it down in order that they could forward us an alternate version. . .We have chosen instead to leave the original intact, and have made the following revisions available as an addendum to the original survey
3. What policy conditions would comprehensive immigration reform have to meet in order for you to support it? Please be specific. I fought in the U.S. Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as president. Not just because we need to secure our borders and get control of who comes into our country. And not just because we have to crack down on employers abusing undocumented immigrants. But because we have to finally bring the 12 million undocumented out of the shadows. We should require them to pay a fine, learn English, abide by the law, and go to the back of the line for citizenship – behind those who came here legally. But we cannot – and should not – deport 12 million people. That would turn American into something we’re not. ….
17. Do you support the Uniting American Families Act, the bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow permanent partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including same-sex partners, to obtain permanent residency? I strongly support equal treatment for LGBT bi-national couples under our immigration laws. Equal treatment means equal rights, equal obligations, and equal standards. I would sponsor legislation that accomplishes all three goals. I believe that changes need to be made to improve the Uniting American Families Act so as to clarify the “permanent partner” standard that will be applied to same-sex couples — both to ensure fully equal treatment and to minimize the potential for fraud and abuse of the immigration system.
Again, though, I’d stress: Senator Obama may have revised two answers, but McCain is not Abel to walk in the light of day with his convictions visible in the first place! The deceptive, decrepit, dying ghoul tucks his political intentions out of sight as deftly as he hides his medical records from the public.
A side note: Remember that the Nixon administration invented this term “Hispanic.” Also know that it is a word most of us don’t care for. You know who is the epitome of a “Hispanic”? Alberto Gonzales! That ought to tell you all you need to know about who dons that word with pride. Related, signing a petition in support of that lying pendejo is one of HAPI’s action items! Please. Nobody ought support that sellout coconut sadist puppet foo’. He wouldn’t even go to bat for his own familia.
Anyway. Kick it, Duke.
In the heat of last weeks discussions of the Spanish language air wars going on between the two presidential candidates, a little tidbit of info started to show up with some frequency in my in-box.
It seems that a “Hispanic” advocacy group was weighing into the fray with not only an admonishment of both candidates dirty little war of words …but an endorsement of Sen. McCain.
In fact this “grassroots” group picked up on McCain’s discredited “Obama killed reform with poison pill amendments” statement as one of its chief reasons for throwing their support behind the Arizona Senator. […]
I had heard the views of many of the leading Latino and pro-migrant advocacy groups who were involved in last years negotiations over reform, and knew for a fact that they were not standing by McCain’s re-writing of history. I wondered exactly who thisHispanic Alliance of Prosperity (Progress) Institute was.
A quick look at their webpage showed that this was unlike any Latino advocacy group I had seen before.
I suggest reading the entire post. Duke lays out the names of who is in the group, and lays bare the façade of this “Hispanic” sham.
But here’s the meat:
Although some of the more traditional advocacy issues were covered, for the most part, the positions taken were not exactly those of the more mainstream Latino organizations.
Trade* – (Free Trade) – ” HAPI supports Free and Fair trade and believes it fosters economic benefits to U.S. businesses and U.S. consumers. …. HAPI was a key advocate and major player supporting and voicing the Pro-Business and Hispanic Pro- CAFTA positions and a leading advocate for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement currently pending before Congress.”
Education- (School Choice/Vouchers/Assimilation ) – ” HAPI supports empowering parents with the authority to make decisions related to the allocation of tax dollars for the education of their child and placing their children in the school best suited for the needs of the family…. Through enhanced economic and social assimilation, enhanced self sufficiency is fostered.”
Immigration- (Enforcement/Guest workers) – ” HAPI supports strong national security measures without jeopardizing the U.S. economy. HAPI advocates for a balance that will accommodate both critical interests. A vital component of legislation should include a guest worker program that is realistic to deploy”
Media, Technology, Information Platforms (Deregulation) – ” HAPI believes that the enhanced use of media, technology and information applications must be included in a 21st Century Hispanic agenda. …HAPI supports regulatory environments that ensure consumer access and affordability to these platforms and supports products and services that best serve the needs of the community.”
Homes and Communities – (Ownership Society) – “HAPI supports ownership society tenets vital for asset creation, and ensuring access to affordable housing. Research validates the connection between housing stability as a cornerstone to family stability.”
OK, this was not what I expected from an advocacy group. Since when is telecom and broadband deregulation a top issue on anyone’s issue list, outside of possibly those who own them?
A little more checking around found some other odd activities from the Hispanic Alliance for Progress.
In 2004 they sponsored a “Hispanic Safety and Health Summit” with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and OSHA that was boycotted by every major worker safety advocacy organization, labor group, and Hispanic organization because they claimed it was organized by the Bush Administration as a blatant election year play for Hispanic votes.
Okay? This is not our people. This is Republican operatives wearing masks that have a John McCain face painted on the outside, and blood of nuestra gente on the inside, where they can sniff and lick at it in privacy, feeding their vampiric lifestyles and political agendas.
Sorry, Johnny and friends. Chale.
And while we’re on the topic, Mister McCain, seems that for a POW vet type, you sure are lacking in the cojones department, eh? Sorry about that. Maybe that’s why your wife needs to be stoned all day? It must be hard for her to deal with your raging cowardice and fake bravery and I know I’d need to be tranquilized to stay in range. My condolences to Cindy McCain.
Already Obama’s decision to answer The Sanctuary’s questionnaire has paid dividends for the campaign. It’s been covered by About.com, Reuters, and New America Media, CNN, as well as by the Latino and pro-migrant netroots in a way that paints McCain very negatively. Most importantly, this message is getting to the Latinos that will decide this election, with Spanish language newspapers like El Planeta reprinting Obama’s answers in full.
I’m betting, Mister McCain, given your cowardly approach to life and to taking a firm stand on issues (that don’t melt away in the heat of an election cycle), that you are thinking like your nativist friends. You avoid stating your jello-positions, and while Obama walks into the light to say to the People what he is for or not, you get to lurk in the vaguery of dim or two-faced obfuscation, sniping at him from the shadows. Like some Turrorist planting IEDs or shooting from nooks and crannies, while the brave soldiers walk in the light. You like that metaphor, StraightSquawkExpress?
You bigmouth chickenshit liar. Keep chuckling on the TV but you don’t fool us, and you don’t fool anyone. The only people backing you are filled with the same fears you run on. Fear of truth, fear of change, fear of Other, fear of losing your part of the pile.
Bet you miss the days you were actually brave, eh? That’s why you live in the past. There ain’t no future for you in this nation.
OKAY, at first I was in pain listening to this guy sing. But by the time I got to “perdoname” and his throaty rose number singing, I was cracking up. Here’s a little YouTubeness to take off the heavy edge we sometimes get into round here. With much thanks to Donna, mi amiga. Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday night!
YESTERDAY I WROTE ABOUT the Iraq-style crowd explosions that were timed to injure and scare people during the height of the Mexican Independence Day. I talked about a shape that is manifesting in more than one place, this increase of aggression and oppression and intrusion on the People by their Governments in the name of security. (Whose security is the question! And what is being secured.) Russia, USA, Mexico. All these places that the Corruptos shush the fears and awarenesses of those who pay their salaries, telling us that for our own good they are chaining us to the bed at night. I talked of FeCal signaling increased aggression and oppression with all this nonsense about “an end to a culture of “impunity and tolerance” of crime,” which (I’ll repeat) is sort of a laugh in the face of his illegitimate presidency, and all the other blatant corruption in Mexican government.
The crowd-bombings that pop up in so many places—ever since the USA invaded and occupied Iraq in its latest quest for other nations’ and peoples’ resources—are not typical to Mexico. And FeCal’s self-important Whoop-Ass I Am Der HistoryMan proclamations smeared with a thick helping of militarization or increased policing are not foreign to the eyes and ears of those who have been inundated with the Decider’s masturbatory rhetoric either:
At a meeting of his Security Cabinet and the nation’s governors in Mexico City, Calderon declared that the government’s response would define his generation for posterity.
“This is a moment of historical definition,” he said. “What we do or leave undone after this 15th of September will forever mark the way in which Mexicans will remember this moment in our history.”
The Security Cabinet and the governors agreed on an anti-kidnapping strategy that includes a specially trained police unit that will operate in every state and the Federal District of Mexico City, improved communications systems and toughened prosecution of criminals.
Mexico’s Defense Ministry also approved supplying local police forces with automatic weapons.
Authorities said the attack had the earmarks of a terrorist bombing, designed to sow panic and insecurity among the public to pressure Calderon into scaling back his campaign against the gangs of Mexico. Polls suggest that public support for Calderon’s 21-month crackdown against the gangs is flagging.
And perhaps this:
Acting on an anonymous tip, police in central Zacatecas state Thursday arrested three men suspected of involvement in the Morelia attacks. But the federal attorney general’s office said investigators had determined that the men were not involved.
The elites in so many nations lie and steal and cheat their way into power. And then once there, they do nothing to alleviate the imbalances and injustices that drive so many less-empowered humans to find other ways to support themselves or find tenable ways and places to live. These lying murdering richmen only help obscure the causes of so many of the world’s illnesses because it is inescapably tied to what feeds them in many ways! These elites only increase punitive and violent means because they have no faith in truth or collective wisdom or openness—or they know instinctively that these things would mean their undoing. These power-grabbers only have faith in weaponry and force and violence because they suspect it is all that can protect them and their means. Just like rich men living behind gates with guard dogs, always fearful others will steal their treasure.
The primary difference between the drug cartels and the government to my mind, is one has more money for better advertising.
LET THE MUSIC of the powerful and inspiring and beautiful musician Lila Downs soothe and lift you into the start of this weekend. And may your moments today and tomorrow be as harmonious and energizing as her voice and talents are (but I hope not as sad as this song’s story).
ON MEXICO’S INDEPENDENCE DAY, and just as the celebration was full swing, two grenades exploded among the crowd.
The latest [violence] during the traditional “grito,” or shout for independence, late Monday night. Michoacan Gov. Leonel Godoy had just finished shouting “Viva Mexico!” from a balcony, when the two grenades exploded simultaneously in the crowd, blocks apart.
At first, the throngs of families thought the explosions were part of the fireworks display. Then thick, black smoke rose from the crowd, people started screaming and the cathedral’s bells fell silent. As the crowd cleared, rescuers attended to the wounded and dead.
Both state emergency officials and state prosecutors said seven were killed, although there were earlier reports that the death toll had risen to eight.
Godoy, who was unhurt, said witnesses saw a heavyset man wearing black throw one of the grenades, then beg forgiveness for what he had done. But he provided no more details, and there were no immediate claims of responsibility. Authorities made no arrests.
“Without a doubt, we believe this was done by organized crime,” he said. The governor’s office later said he was traveling to Mexico City late Tuesday to meet with Calderon.
The attack targeted a cherished tradition that brings millions of Mexicans together in public plazas each year, and cast an immediate pall over Tuesday’s parades, held in cities and towns across the nation to celebrate the 1810 start of Mexico’s 10-year war of independence from Spain.
US papers make sure to remind us, or imply, immediately what is behind that violence. (My emphasis:)
MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — Assailants threw two grenades into a huge crowd of Independence Day revelers, killing seven and injuring more than 100 in a brazen attack that escalates the war between Mexico’s army and drug gangs.
Clever, eh? But sadly, it is true that this escalates the ongoing and escalating violence, even if it is not true that the “drug gangs” caused it. Even if this was done by the CIA or related people (a very popular trick of governments not only in the USA, but recently in Oaxaca, and historically, such as in Tlatelcolco), it will (and already is) being used to justify more violence by the Mexican government, more military presence, and more repressive tactics. It ain’t no new story.
MORELIA, Mexico (Reuters) – Mexico’s president called for an end to a culture of “impunity and tolerance” of crime on Wednesday after suspected drug traffickers killed seven people in a grenade attack during independence day celebrations.
But not an end to tolerance of stolen elections, corrupt governors, police instigating violence to blame it on la gente, no! That crime is okay. But clearly, this is a signal that things are about to change even more for poor madre México.
As I (and many others) write often, this “GWOT” is a front for more government control and militarization of culture and more juice to the corporate forces now sucking up loot and fuel in Iraq and all over.
Aqui, they scare us with brown people from poorer nations. Alli, they use the threat of Cartels to justify more intrusive methods of control. They don’t care what the ‘reason’ is. But they respond the same. More wiretapping. More weapons. More police. More jails.
They lie about what is really going on most of the time, and if justice or truth begins to surface, then people are simply erased, kidnapped, or killed.
And all this is coming down and revving up because while you and I are busy making a living from day to day, the fat cats in the government living on our taxes and other stolen monies have the time to sit around and look ahead. And what do they see?
They see the increasing shortage of resources. This massive imbalance that fuels the illusion of this Pile we can all have a part of and in reality is but a class war cannot continue forever. They fear turmoil in their Green Zones.
They know that if they are to continue to hoard and exploit the people and the workers of the world, they need to be more violent and forceful as supplies get low, and as the People resist more and more.
They do not trust the people, they do not trust Democratic process, they fear gente who are used to standing up. They are instilling fascism in degrees, because we’ll all take that. We’ll blog about it and talk about it, but for the most part, go on with our lives.
They continue to to normalize increased and unwarranted police presence, they instill fear of Tasers and detainment centers by using them abusively and meting out no justice that would punish the police; they sell us fear and false flags and react against the people’s gatherings with violence; they need to make us feel we are doomed unless they are marching in the streets with weapons.
There are simple ways to end so many conflicts playing out today. Very very simple. We could take the bite out of the drug trade by being honest about it. We could make profit from the massive amounts of marijuana that people smoke and will always smoke, just like we profit from Paxil, Prozac, Ambien, Xanax, and on and on and on. We could lessen prison time for non-violent offenders, we could offer help instead of harm to people who need healing. We could stop seeking punitive and harsh measures as a way of addressing human and natural reaction to economic imbalance and hardship. We could change our fearful, reactive, greedy, other-ing philosophies.
Sure, we could do all of that. We could lessen the violence in the world and the fear in the world by focusing on helping, giving, healing, growing. Not bombing, fearing, hoarding, killing.
But sadly, amigos, they do not want that. These government agents who profit from our pain and fear do not want a world of peace. That’s not hyperbole. They fear Peace Tshirts, they fear the talk of a “Departnment of Peace.” They fear small groups of college students who simply plan to hold signs in the streets! These goons with fecal-flecked hearts and massive bank accounts fear everything except the justice which will one day find them. And it will find them.
Meanwhile, be strong. Seek your joy today, it is a greater power than any they wield. Share some with others. And don’t believe what the TV tells you.
THEY ARE KILLING US OFF in the dark. ICE, these raids, these politicians who spray fakery or hate, these trapdoors swinging open, these cells swinging shut. These are not just “Latinos,” not just “my people.” These are, in fact, all of our people. That is why this is important. Not even because it is gente from Mexico, from Central and South America, or raza from Chile, El Salvador, Cuba, or Puerto Rico.
But because a “migrant worker” or an “immigrant” is just a word. An “illegal alien” is a human being just like all of us. A living, eating, working, hoping, fearing, dreaming human being.
Here is one, her name was Ana Romero. She was working cleaning houses. That was her crime, that she was here with no citizenship, trying to earn the big US dollar so she could support her 92 year old mother and two full-grown sons enrolled in college in El Salvador. What a criminal. This….this WOMAN. Working so hard in an area that could pay her enough to support four people. What an ALIEN. What an ILLEGAL.
Scooped up and put into jail, and then, oddly, into solitary confinement. No reasons given or documented. Ana reports to people on the phone that something is wrong with her food, it smells wrong.
Later, she complains of great stomach pain. Stops eating. Starts vomiting. Loses 35 pounds.
Is found hanging, dead. Her family is shocked. They don’t see suicide in her makeup.
Oddly, no preliminary autopsy report is given in the normal time frame.
Suspiciously, her jailers refuse to speak to anyone about her death.
Officials won’t say what happened at the Franklin County jail last month to cause the death of Ana Romero, a Salvadoran immigrant awaiting deportation.
Family members say that, shortly before her death Aug. 21, Romero was placed in isolation for refusing to eat. Mario Aguilar said Romero, his sister-in-law, had telephoned several times from the jail saying her stomach hurt and she was vomiting.
Matthew Pippin, a Louisville attorney representing the family of the 44-year-old woman, said an autopsy was performed more than 10 days ago, but a preliminary report has not been released.
“We are befuddled about not having preliminary autopsy results,” said Pippin, who added that he is “certainly concerned about the circumstances surrounding her death.”
The silence mirrors dozens of cases nationwide in which little information is released about deaths in jails and prisons among those awaiting deportation. Congress has recently demanded that more information be made public.
The New York Times recently reported that at least 71 people set for deportation died in custody from 2004 to May 2008. Advocates are now calling for improved health care and suicide prevention measures for the detainees.
And much of my circle of blogmig@s are organizing to gather signatures for a petition to look into this death and to stop the raids now because this is not an isolated case, as horrible as it is. Like deaths on the border or in the desert, America’s ideals lag when it comes to acting or giving attention to these particular tragedies.
If you are concerned at all with this please do act to send in a signature, electronic or otherwise, to send an email. Instructions are below at the bottom of the petition and bolded. They are simple. (Or you can click “Sign the Petition” button at this site.)
The reason I invite you specifically to act on this one (pero I know how much there is to do in a day, really I do!) is because there are very active people online who can read about this woman supporting herself and her entire family and then being locked up in a dark hole and being ill and vomiting and end up hanged—
“Life is a series of choices. This woman made hers. Would she be alive had she made only one choice differently? Possibly, but I can say that even Paul Witte, Minister noted above, will agree that it’s all in the hands of God.”
“If this woman had not entered our country illegally she would be alive today. Unlike most illegals who are ordered deported, she was given 90 days to settle her affairs and leave the county. She refused to obey orders which is yet another crime. There is little that can be done if a person refuses to eat. She thought by not eating she would be released from jail and not be returned to her country. She was WRONG and she paid the price. It was her choice.
Deaths of illegals in custody HAS NOT become a national issue as the New York Times, Delahanty and extreamist advocates for illegal aliens in congress have suggested. This is only in their minds. You have to look at who is is talking. The Times is a joke. Delahanty is an advocate for law breakers. None have any credibility.”
“Her religious convictions didn’t prevent her from entering the United States as an ILLEGAL! How could her religious convictions be very strong or did she just cherry pick her convictions?”
“I agree with David. The Herald-Leader just doen’t get it when it comes to illegal aliens. It’s unfortunate when anyone dies, but this woman should not have been here in the first place.”
These are sick, inhumane, weird people. They are hardly human, let alone “American.” They cheer on pain and death of such a good-hearted person and then hide behind a “god” to excuse their sociopathy.
Let us not allow these unfeeling, strange, disconnected humans determine our world. Let’s you and me, who have hearts and rational minds and empathy, be the ones to make up this moving, acting world.
Thank you so much if you do have the time.
Justice for Ana Romero Petition
We,___________ the undersigned family members, organizations, and individuals, motivated by our consciences and our faiths, demand answers to these questions.
We demand justice and a transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ana Romero’s death.
We demand a full reporting of all the information learned, so that her family and loved ones can get an honest and complete explanation of how and why she died in the Franklin County jail and so they may have spiritual closure.
We demand moral, decent, and humane treatment for all persons in jail, regardless of their legal status, national origin, skin color, or language.
We demand the due process rights guaranteed in United States Constitution.
Finally, we ask all public officials involved in this situation, from the federal government, to the Kentucky state government and all other state governments, to the county and city governments all over this land to implement a moratorium on the raids and deportations of immigrants until such time as we obtain a fair, humane, and comprehensive immigration reform that our country so badly needs.
Recently such a moratorium was granted to all immigrants in Louisiana that rushed in after Katrina to do the back-breaking work of helping clean up New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. This moratorium should be implemented nationally and immediately to stop the terror, the destruction of families, and the economic disruptions causing so much fear and grief in our communities.
Let’s solve our broken immigration system in a way that benefits all and treats all fairly, in accordance with national and international standards of justice and human rights.
September 14, 2008
We are requesting your organization and/or you as an individual consider endorsing the petition. To sign, just reply to one or both of these two email addresses
stating “We [organization] / I [name] endorse the petition”, including organizational name, personal title, city, (and state if outside of Kentucky), and country (if outside U.S.), as you wish them to appear on the petition.
POOR JOHN MCCAIN. First he says he cares about migrants and their plight, and then he doesn’t. First he is for comprehensive and humane immigration reform…and then…I mean, really. Who the hell knows what he’s saying anymore. I smell the lust for power rolling off of him, and the stink is overpowering my ability to even listen to his empty words anymore.
John McCain continues to pound Obama in Hispanic media, launching a new radio ad in Nevada that says McCain is a friend of Hispanics who “stood up” and “spoke out” during last year’s debate on comprehensive immigration reform while Barack Obama did little. The new Spanish-language radio commercial is paid for by the Republican National Committee and is somewhat less aggressive than a television commercial released Friday arguing that that Obama and Senate Democrats derailed last year’s attempts to reform the nation’s immigration laws.
Firstly, he’s not “pounding” much of anything. He’d break his damn wrist if he started trying to “pound” something. (Remember: he’s so fragile he can’t take being questioned on the way he exploits his POW status, let alone skin his own moose!)
But I just want to prompt Cindy McCain that next time she’s bringing her husband his plateful of morning meds, she may want to remind the ole boy that when given the chance to simply state his immigration positions in a tangible way, he opted not to.
Of the two major campaigns, only one has responded by the deadline we established. Only one, so far, has given us answers to our questions. And only one has continually stalled before finally meeting our repeated phone calls by hanging up on us and disconnecting the line without so much as a “One moment.”
Also, Cindy, since I know you pay for everything and most likely run everything over at tu casa and this is why I’m addressing you, that post I just linked? It is the most popular post on El Machete. By double the numbers of any other post. So people are reading it. And let me remind you (::cocks head::) that according to at least politicshome.com theunapologeticmexican.org is a place to be read.
The PoliticsHome Online 100 Panel consists of the 100 leading online voices in the United States. Each day until November 4th, the ‘Online100′ panel will answer 5 strategic questions anonymously and the results will be posted on PoliticsHome. Find out how the blogosphere is calling the election on PoliticsHome.
The panel includes Arianna Huffington, Karl Rove, Joe Klein, Joe Trippi, Mike Allen, Mark Halperin, Mark Blumenthal, Dana Milbank, Jonah Goldberg, John Fund, Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd, Marc Ambinder and Andrew Sullivan.
I am a member of this panel, though not listed here. And I’m sure they invited me because of all the Latino issues blogs out there, UMX is pretty damn delicious, but getting that? “Latino blog.”
Now let me connect another dot for you. The Sanctuary, a project I have been involved with since its very first day, is the group that sent you the survey, that called your campaign various times, that was hung up on by your campaign, that was interviewed by both radio and TV on this survey you ducked and dodged.
You hung up on us! You couldnt even give us the respect of sending boilerplate. You gave us instead, utter contempt.
To my mind, what is The Sanctuary’s primary focus? Human rights and true progressive values—the kind that aren’t reliant upon triangulation, Rovian doublespeak, centering Whiteness as a standard for all, or hemming and hawing in hopes of scoring goody bags. That is our overreaching agenda as I act upon it.
And under that? Specifically and relevantly?
Migrants. In fact, you can find us at http://www.promigrant.org, dig that.
And Cindy, your husband’s campaign hung up on us.
The Sanctuary Group is not a few people living in their mother’s basement, fool. The people on this list and in this group include HARDcore activists very well-informed on policy, people willing at any moment to jump out in the fray for gente, well-known academics, well-read journalists, smart-as-hell techies, accomplished bloggers, lawyers, media makers, and so on. And we are either Latina/Latino or otherwise committed to the rights of human beings, which definitely includes migrants.
Anyway John, you want to burn up some more of your wife’s money on advertisements that throw out lies about yourself and your positions, but when it came to real life action, you were nowhere to be seen. Nowhere to be found. Hanging up on us.
My friends—or I should say—Mis Amigos, that is not change we can believe in. That is (yawn) yet one more rich white member of the old guard elite, using us for votes who can’t even mention the word “immigration” let alone “redadas” when he speaks. So he cares???
Vato! McCain! You are so full of shit it is not even funny.
Especially not funny when you consider who is suffering while you tell your lies.
WE CAN LET THIS ENERGY RESONATE AND RISE within us today. We can break free of oppressive thought, habit, or desire. We can choose, even for only one moment if need be, to return to the powerful and timeless and unexpendable core of energy that animates and motivates all peoples who seek freedom from tyranny, abuse, control, or harm. The same energy that nudges us toward beauty and growth. An energy that sees those thought weak through all their struggles, an energy that can never be extinguished or vanquished or destroyed, a vision that inspires us any time we choose to nurture it.
Feliz Día de la Independencia, amigos. And have a beautiful and powerful day.
AND SO BEGINS “HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.” As I said to an amiga on Twitter esta mañana, I better post on it or they will come and take my name away. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel for a month. I celebrate Latino Heritage Month every month. I celebrate mi Mexicanidad every day, tu sabes? Hell yeah! So what of this month? This month that includes “Columbus Day” of all things? This 15th to 15th “month” that derives its name from the Nixon Administration’s labeling of “Hispanic”? No se.
Mi abuelo was a campesino who worked the fields and died doing so, felled by diabetes (which runs in the bloodline of many Mexicans). He and mi abuelita (fist up for Lucha Quintana!) worked the fields and my bloodline runs all across the borders, like a river of time and a nature-bestowed rite of passage. Mi familia’s sweat and blood runs through the crisp veins of your lettuce, through the meat of your tomatoes, shines bright in the gem-heart of your grapes; our music and tears and laughter are in the hot wind, and our quiet and joyful connection with el mundo, con la tierra, pools in the cool waters for thousands of years here.
Today, mi familia is in politics, has made art that stands in Califas to New York, has written books in your library and book store, teach in schools some of your children attend, has made history, and are passionate bloguer@s to be found online. Mi familia sees our name on signs and rivers and stone and buildings and it is in a language that was spoken here ever since the King and Queen’s minions acted on dreams of felling Indians.
Soy Indio y Euro, soy mestizo, soy Latino. I am the conqueror and the conquered, I am the field and the worker and the hungry consumer; I am all these things, but my heritage is and will always be la lucha. And that is why I am here many days. For mi gente are still in the fields. It is not a thing of the past. I do not work the fields, though I spent over a decade working labor, on roofs, in the soil, in factories, and with a hammer. I have since gone to pricey schools (that are crushing me with debt) and am grateful that I live a pretty comfortable life in that I make art for a living. Not comfortable financially. But I owe this comfort to mi familia and their sweat and their sueños, all of them. It is on their shoulders I stand. The border hoppers, the ship stowaways, the dreamers, the do-ers. We came here looking for autonomy, looking for sustenance, wanting to live free and have pride in who we are.
And I do. And we do.
Understand: my heritage includes those who are still not free, who are still being exploited, still sweating from dawn to dusk, invisible to many and under the yoke of the conqueror who makes the laws still, makes the rules still, sucks up the labor and sweat and monies of weakened and long-exploited populations to build her empire higher.
And I now live in the empire.
But don’t you think for un momento that I do not, también, live in the fields, in the slaughterhouse, in the factories, in the desert. This is my heritage, and there is no looking away. La lucha continua. Until there is justice for all.
I’VE BEEN DEEP IN THE MIX for days and putting together the first video to come out of my DNC/RNC experiences. It will be about 20 – 25 minutes, a longer documentary than I’ve ever released to others, and probably not strict “documentary,” as really for that I would have needed to be shooting alllll the time, and would need a couple more weeks to finish it, which I don’t have as this editing time is time I am not getting paid. (I’m already veering into red areas and this is the struggle always when your thing is art.) Anyway, enough of that same old story, my point is that I’m almost done and I’m pretty happy with how its turning out. I can do short form, as you know, but in all honesty, I prefer to make videos at least 10 minutes long. I just feel you need a little time to get into people’s heads, into their hearts. Not that I have huge ambitions for this 20 minute doc. It’s more fun than momentous or masterful or anything. And of course, we know that short and simple can very often be strong, too.
On that note, I offer you a slideshow of the DNC trip as put together by one of mis blogmigos. Video by Kai Chang.