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Weekly Immigration Wire: Obama Can’t Play Centrist on Immigration Crisis

February 26th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

by Nezua
TMC MediaWire Blogger

The Obama Administration seems quite capable of centrist positioning on many issues, including immigration reform. While some argue centrist position allows Obama to effectively reach consensus, immigration reform is an issue that he cannot play sides with.

While immigration reform advocates cheered the passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill (SCHIP), there is also considerable upset concerning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano’s “finessing” of crackdown tactics begun under President Bush. And more trouble is brewing.

While President Obama speaks of improving our approach to immigration, he has yet to call for a moratorium on the ICE raids that are devastating the communities and economies where they take place. And he has yet to address the detention crisis specifically. The first raid of the new administration occured in Bellingham, WA on Feb. 24. As Hatty Lee writes for RaceWire, “In these times of economic hardship, detaining hardworking men and women and dividing families is just perpetuating more fear in our communities. We need to bring the people together not push them further apart.”

One wonders how much supervision ICE is actually operating under, as Secretary Napolitano was surprised to hear about the raid:

Napolitano told lawmakers during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that she did not know about the raid before it happened and was briefed on it early Wednesday morning. She has asked U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducted the raid, for answers.

“I want to get to the bottom of this as well,” she said.

Statements like this do not jibe with recent actions that indicate Napolitano’s desire to overhaul U.S. detention practices, such as creating a new advisory position to focus on these issues.

Through a more cynical lens, the gap between statement and action can be seen as typical political maneuvering, and specifically, Democratic doublespeak. There are factions on the left that disagree on many issues. Even among immigration advocates there is a rift regarding how to present the issue to the voting public. This conflict may be what we see playing out before our eyes.

The division among liberal advocates of immigration reform came into focus after 2006 and 2007‘s failures to pass immigration reform. Democratic party leaders have adopted Right wing stances on the issue, just as they have regarding National Security. Party leaders are using words that imply harsh and punitive action, and eschewing morality or heart in the name of strategy.

These stances are based on the advice of a number of immigration advocacy groups such as the National Immigration Forum (NIF), and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), who felt that the focus must come away from what was best for migrating human beings and onto what was in the national interest. This stance was outlined in a confidential report called Winning The Immigration Debate, which was given to Democratic party leaders in 2007.

The report calls for tougher language, but 2007’s McCain/Kennedy bill contained more punitive wording and it failed. Are we now to repeat this error, even while the Democrats hold such power in Washington?

It will not do to simply “require” immigrants to “come out of the shadows,” to borrow lingo from 2007, and let the Department of “Homeland Security” continue its traumatizing actions on the community. ICE has not lived up to its promises, and worse, resorted to unethical means to justify its continued operations. Already, we’ve read many heartbreaking stories about those who suffer greatly or die in ICE’s custody. As AlterNet reports, we can now add those suffering from mental illness to the list of those impacted.

The number of mentally and developmentally disabled detainees in South Texas federal immigration detention centers has surged during the past year, according to area attorneys who call the trend “alarming.”

The AlterNet report details the Kafkaesque case of Pierre Bernard, a Haitian immigrant ordered to undergo six months of psychiatric treatment but who ended up, instead, in an ICE detention center.

Women migrants are also subject to exploitation, rape, and other abuse. But now, as Kevin Sieff writes in the Texas Observer, women in U.S. dentention centers are now being denied basic reproductive rights. “For pregnant women in immigration detention facilities, it is virtually impossible to obtain an abortion,” Sieff writes. In 2008, nearly 10% of detained women were pregnant.

Yesterday, Janet Marguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, responded to the Bellingham raids, and the challenges now facing the Obama administration.

Escalating immigration raids and local police crackdowns over the past eight years have spread indiscriminate terror among millions of people who pose no threat to the United States and who have lived peacefully and productively within our borders for years. Most have worked hard, paid taxes, lived productive lives, and been good neighbors. Many have children and spouses who are U.S. citizens. Many have served in our nation’s defense. Yet over the past eight years, U.S. policies have sought to criminalize this population, raid their homes and workplaces, suspend their civil liberties, put them in chains, and ultimately deport them.

And while Hilda Solis, the daughter of immigrants, has been confirmed as Secretary of Labor, and Obama has given another straightforward speech to congress and the nation (critiqued here by The Real News), DHS appears to be still mucking through the Bush agenda.

The so-called “Enforcement first” or ICE-centric approach to immigration is not a solution. It asks too much of ICE, it is not practical, and it is not going well. Such an approach is egregiously incongruent with the nation Obama asks us to envision under his administration. We truly are a “nation of immigrants,” and we must rethink our current treatment of migrants. To continue this destructive approach while speaking eloquently and carefully to the Press is a line the President cannot successfully straddle.

The administration is now faced with a confluence of reality and ideals. Some things you cannot split down the middle.


This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

Also featured at The Sanctuary, Open Salon, Firedoglake, Huffington Post, Open Left, MyDD, Daily Kos, TPM, Alternet

Let’s Give Joe Arpaio the Attention He Craves.

February 26th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

8,000 signatures have already been gathered, and only 2,000 more are needed to get to 10,000. Please help demand an investigation from the Department of Justice.

On Immigration, We Need A Change We Can Believe In

February 25th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

nclrON IMMIGRATION, WE NEED CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN

Washington, DC—On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a workplace in Bellingham, Washington, reportedly arresting 28 people. This is the first major workplace raid since President Obama took office. The following is a statement by Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

“We are better than this, and our nation deserves better than the continuation of a failed immigration policy that contradicts American values and civil liberties. Our community understands the federal government’s pursuit of hardened, dangerous criminals and our country’s need to protect its borders. But the systematic demonization, detention, and deportation of peaceful immigrant workers and parents under the pretense of homeland security is an assault on our values as a country. At a time when messages of change and hope abound, we are left to wonder how change will come to these failed policies.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and we are indeed a nation of laws, yet when our government engages in practices that violate the very laws we hold dear, it is a clear indication that we must evaluate the course. The zeal with which federal and local law enforcement agencies have applied these policies has violated the rights and civil liberties of many in various communities, including legal residents and U.S. citizens. Latinos specifically have been racially profiled, arrested without warrant, detained without counsel, and in some cases even deported out of the country although legally present. Such policy is an abrogation of civil rights, common decency, and human dignity.

“Escalating immigration raids and local police crackdowns over the past eight years have spread indiscriminate terror among millions of people who pose no threat to the United States and who have lived peacefully and productively within our borders for years. Most have worked hard, paid taxes, lived productive lives, and been good neighbors. Many have children and spouses who are U.S. citizens. Many have served in our nation’s defense. Yet over the past eight years, U.S. policies have sought to criminalize this population, raid their homes and workplaces, suspend their civil liberties, put them in chains, and ultimately deport them. In the process, families are torn apart and children are separated from their parents, despite the fact that under U.S. law, immigration violations are a civil offense.

“Billions of dollars have been allocated over the last decade to such ill-conceived tactics, yet the undocumented population has continued to grow. While some may claim that these techniques have staunched unauthorized migration, the reality is that the most powerful factor in that equation has been a slowing economy. Restoring the rule of law to our immigration system requires systematic change and smart enforcement strategies that do not blur the line between innocent workers and those who mean us harm. An urgent response is needed, and it should include a thorough examination of Department of Homeland Security practices and policies to provide a cost-benefit analysis in terms of the effectiveness, security, resource efficiency, and ethics of these operations. We also need clarification from the administration as to its plan to reform our immigration system in a manner that protects families, workers, and our nation’s ideals.

“Let us not forget that how we resolve the status of the undocumented will say much about who we are as a country. We would do better to listen to the better angels of our nature.”

From email Press Release

Classic Oscars Moments

February 24th, 2009 § 5 comments § permalink


(sombrero tip to amigo kai)

Olvídalo

February 23rd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

THIS VIDEO (and her dancing calavera majesty, who I am instantly in love with) makes me nearly explode with joy. Dante Spinetta, Olvidalo (feat. Julieta Venegas). Get up and move it about.

Simple Division

February 22nd, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Mural of the Mexican Revolution by David A. Siqueiros

THE RICH PEOPLE ON TELEVISION work very hard to convince us that we need to stay poor. They spend tireless hours under hot lights and thick makeup as they play their roles each day. As they spin the drama, and create the impression that we need to keep mowing their lawns and watching their babies and sewing their ties and walking in line. That we like things the way they are, and that it’s a fair place because we have the lottery, American Idol, and the illusion of possible millions one day if we just keep working hard.

And all you really need to do to stay clear on this is remember that every single one of those fools on the set working as an anchor makes so much damn money in a day that you’d be hard pressed to spend it. Unless maybe you got the work on your teeth done that would if you could afford it. I’ve worked in (NYC) TV only a little, but enough to know what kind of salaries these mouthpieces pull, and they are phenomenal. But they are just flunkies for the even bigger rollers, of course. People like Rupert Murdoch (who has been busy rehabilitating his image to the Left after finishing help BushCheney destroy almost everything in the world). And people like him manage, support, and groom the faces on TV and together, they all work hand in hand with the executive and judicial and legislative branches to keep Their World safe.

rich-people

The Press probably meant something a long time ago. Probably something like what blogs mean now. I do believe that. Which is why we have to be ever vigilant now to guard the integrity of our voices and agendas. The TV Stations and the Papers have been co-opted by greed, by those who profit from a world fueled by greed. And the same fever is now causing so many TV people to lose their minds. Glenn Beck, O’Reilly, putos like Rick Santelli, this dandified jerkoff in the image to the left—all these idiot uppercrusters. The unmitigated stones they have to rant about us, about our fate, to argue so intensely for the system that now threatens to fall upon you and me. And sucking up space in the current cacaphony, they have the nerve to raise their voice to sell us a spot hoisting their tassled seat across town so their nose can be up in the sun while we breathe in their fetid high-class omelette and espresso fart fumes. 

Why would we trust them? They are nothing more than rich brats who see a scary juncture ahead of them, and more importantly, in front of you and me. They see a possibility that the great imbalances that keep them on a sunny crest and so many of us in sodden rooms at the foot of the hill may be whittled away. And they are scared. Terrified. Watch them contort! It’s tremendously educational, though not how they may imagine.

These pendejos were never scared one bit of dropping cluster bombs where children would find them. They were not in the slightest bit scared that entire communities were being drowned in New Orleans and poisoned in the govt trailers given them afterward. They are not scared one bit of our nuclear facilities, still not properly guarded or protected from their imaginary global jihadalicious food fights. They are not scared of floating secret prisons and torture being undertaken in the name of the US.

No. But they are actually freaking the hell out over the idea that their superdestructive hyperadvantages and well-practiced manipulations of the system may be tamped down a bit. I listen to them in this light, and grin.

So flurries of articles are written assuring us that The People support them. That we support the crumbling status quo. They lie about polls. They lie about everything. In their mind, they fight in the service of a holy divide and so every last con job is sanctified. And with the fire of End Days blazing in they ojos, they come on TV in hordes, spitting passionate palabras ’bout the end of time. 

lazarusandtherichmanstable-vandenhoecke

The end of their time. Just add that word in when you listen, if you are unfortunate enough to listen to them or read these modern missives mailed straight from the royal reading room. The end of their time. Measures that finally push back against the disgusting profit motive run amok sans soul or wisdom are not an indicator of the end of anything but perhaps a modicum of serious imbalance. Not the end of your and my world or THE world. They are scared of the end of their world. The world that allows them soft, fluffy cushions for all their well-powdered parts and a high buffshine on their gold accoutrements while at the same time, through labyrinthine mechanisms and legal device, profiting from our being charged ungodly amounts of fees and interest for barely keeping up on payments that don’t even touch the principal. The world that keeps them well stocked with cutting edge sunroofs and skylights, air and water purifiers, top-notch linens and school systems while the rest of us muck about in the polluted water, underfunded schools, and whatever is left over. These well-manicured and well-fed and well-suited scarecrows scream to preserve a way that keeps a doctor by their side and an overcrowded emergency room in town for us. They come on TV and yell and wave their arms about so that they can keep a world in place that insures them a fifty thousand dollar smile while we suffer with broken teeth for want of some medical attention that doesn’t compete with the cost of a small car.

barriertohealthcare

And many listen to them! It’s quite the caper they’ve been pulling over time. It’s time it ended.

What do they fear? More than us funding a collective pool that helps us all (Social Security, College Grants, Universal Health Care, etc), they fear such philosophies taking root in the public square. They fear actual morality becoming part of our American Way. It’s one thing if we all espouse greed and superficiality and big numbers in the bank. After all, then we are at their gate waving signs that glorify them and their lives! Like the hip-hop artists that settle for validation of the only kind ever dangled in front of their eyes, who get paid and then offer soulless rants praising the motions of the system that crush their own kind. When we are but more hungry capitalists believing in this crooked game, these fatcats can just peek their head out the window as they move a hand through their $300 hairdo and smile to see us moving our sweaty bodies around to the beat of their drum. 

We’re All in This Together and Share the Wealth for the Common Health are philosophies that stalk awful close to their gated green gardens and shiny onyx auction-bought carvings. These elites don’t give a shit about the Common anything. Hell, they don’t even believe in borders. They only get on the border issue because they fear the same thing, once again. Too many poor people, or too many people not interested in upholding “the White Christian Power Structure” pollutes this mix only because it might begin to sway the pillars that keep them high above the mob. But look at how they invest, from where comes their monies, and in what places they jet, and where they own houses. What borders restrain or contain them?

democratiaWe are not even part of the conversation, in reality. We are not in most of the ones that matter. We are to be managed. That’s what all that superblunt talk about what we “watch on our TV screens” and how it should and does influence our thoughts. Bush was very useful in a way. Once we get past the revulsion and clean the puke from the couch cushions, we can sit back and peer into his thought process. Because he was raised on the teat of the stankfoul elite creepshow beast. But never got the silver tongue, see, peeps? This is very useful. Because he spills to us their thinking without the gloss it normally has. Remember him talking about how raising taxes only really hurts the proles? Clearly, I’m borrowing from Orwell for a reason here, but that’s what he said nonetheless. That rich people can afford to hire accountants who keep their money safe.IN other words, our President told us that the most successful in the US understand they have the right to game the system so that we carry their slack.

Instead of refusing to look at the creep because his term in the Oval Office is up, we ought to study the rich punk’s words. Because see, they have a lot to do with the greater problems we suffer now and have suffered behind for years. So we ought to find a way to stop rich people from stacking advantage upon advantage upon advantage when it all means weights on the scales that the rest of us shrink under. Because if that’s really what America is about, what the USA is about? If it’s really all just about getting everything you can stuff in your hands and not getting caught, and not minding who it harms? Well, the proles can play that game too. We might not use accountants, though. But what’s good for the goose is good for the ten wet hens in the caboose, so you choose. Do your philosophies predicate that someone’s gotta lose?

The telescreens work one way only, the conversations are neutered. Even when we discuss such pivotal and worldshaking events such as this economic crisis. We are still not talking honestly. So much dialogue in the service of maintaining so many divisions. And the Dems are afraid. Timid. They need a good strong kick from the left. And then another. What is all this bowing and capitulating and treading soft for the Neoconjobs? Don’t the Dems know the best way to get beat is too come on like a beat dog?

Oh. But that’s reasoning as if those rich people are my neighbor, too. As if they want to run the nation in a way that chips away at their ivory, too. As if what they enjoy every day they want for me and you. 

chasm

I’m glad this class warfare is coming out into the open. Because it’s always been here. And the systemic separations between us, the happiness hoarded by means of stolen and siphoned resources, the entrenchment of philosophies that keep our People Power scattered—these things won’t be healed until the problem has manifested in an undeniable and aggressive fashion. I think we can safely say this has happened. So we ought to make sure the right conversations are happening and that our wants and needs are not papered over again with propaganda.

We arrive at many junctures. The Epic Religious Battles rage on and seem to be crowding each other on a global level. The Petroleum Wars are upon us all. Nuestra planeta has had about enough of our abuse, and it’s important to realize and admit that many of these Elites have already been pouring massive dollars into their own disaster contingency plans. That’s why they want to funnel more money to their own banks and convince us that taxes are a burden and not an investment. They are investing, all right. But not in the People. Only in their small clans. That’s why people like the Bushes and Cheneys and Clintons (let’s remember some of Bill’s great deeds on Welfare Reform) are fine if our foundations fall apart in the coming storm. They can afford not only accountants to see them over tax gaps that trip up the rest of us, but vehicles, properties, and possessions that will allow them to filter out, avoid, and step over the toxic mire they and their kind produce daily, the very swamp fluid that threatens eventually to envelop us if we do not do the simple math and shake up the formula.

UPDATE MARCH 6; Mediamatters says it politely.

Grind it, Grind it, Grind it! You Grind it in México!

February 22nd, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

LILA DOWNS tells you how to drink tu café, Oaxaca style. Then she serves up a few other recipes and who are we to argue with such a menu? Enjoy!

To One Judge, At Least, Migrants Have Rights

February 21st, 2009 § 5 comments § permalink

ice-bedfordIT MUST BE FRUSTRATING FOR ICE when they are reminded that there are laws that protect the vulnerable. After all, moving about under the radar of mainstream concern, it must be easy for them to feel unbound, unchecked, all-powerful, and unstoppable. They swarm on high school valedictorians, cruise 7-Elevens for Latino-looking types, violate even children’s rights, enact a program quite different than the model they sold the nation, and so far have been getting away with most of it. 

But perhaps we see signs now that the honeymoonbucket period is ending.

A judge has dismissed the case of an illegal immigrant facing deportation after ruling that federal agents violated his rights during a work site raid in Van Nuys in 2008.  

Los Angeles immigration Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor issued a written decision that agents failed to follow their own regulations when they detained Gregorio Perez Cruz without reasonable suspicion that he was an illegal immigrant.
The judge also determined that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents failed to advise Perez Cruz of his rights and interrogated him in an “intimidating and coercive environment,” where he was deprived of food and water for 18 hours and forced to sleep on a concrete floor.  

Perez Cruz’s attorney, Ahilan Arulanantham, said the 19-page decision could affect dozens of other immigration cases of workers arrested at Micro Solutions Enterprises.

Illegal immigration case stemming from Van Nuys work site raid is dismissed; ICE agents violated regulations in 2008 raid, judge says in ruling that could affect dozens of other cases.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Feeding Morsels of Migrants to the Economic Maw

February 19th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

by Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

Title of Syndicated Version: Detention Industry Surges in Economic Crisis

The nation’s eyes are fixed upon a trembling economy. It affects our ability to survive, to thrive, and even think rationally. Today’s economic crisis is also impacting the lives of immigrants and immigration reform on multiple levels, be it through provisions to the economic stimulus bill, individual lawmen exceeding the bounds of their office, or a scrambling Pentagon viewing immigrants as easy recruits.

It is understandable, though ironic, that the immigrant community is prey to multiple factions during hard times. Fear of survival makes it easy to point at “the other,” especially when we are worried about our resources. During the Great Depression, Mexican Americans bore the brunt of this type of fear. In light of today’s economic crisis, we haven’t come very far.

Voices are clustering on the Right to encourage this dynamic and immigrants are being scapegoated with no heed to how it might play out amongst a scared citizenry.

As Lisa Navarrete reports for Alternet:

He may have a new gig as a National Review columnist, but … [Mark Krikorian of the National Review] smears pro-immigrant and civil rights organizations, wrapping his divisiveness in the cloak of freedom of speech.

Krikorian is hardly the only example. We are repeating this terrible process without learning from previous experience. It’s tragic that the economic crisis is also helping feed the growing network of detention centers and raids that prey on migrant families, justifying them with talk of jobs and income.

As RaceWire reports, the detention centers sprouting up all over country are an industry that capitalizes on persecution. And the immigrant detainee population has tripled since 1996 according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) own records, as revealed by New America Media. It seems economically unsound and profoundly amoral to remove workers from producing areas of our economy to invest instead in an inflated prison system. Our current prison system includes the detention center industry and the 287(g) agreement, which enlists local law enforcement in enforcing federal immigration law.

ICE’s reach is growing and filling quotas has corrupted their purpose. Public News Service reports on a New York-based investigation that showed ICE “shifting focus” from the “most dangerous undocumented immigrants to just making lots of arrests.” ICE is casting a wider, sloppier net as part of the United States’ broadening security apparatus.

Alternet explains the terrifying relationship between ICE, migrants, the age of terrorism and a bloated detention system in The New Political Economy of Immigration:

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 drastically altered the traditional political economy of immigration. The millions of undocumented immigrants — those who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas — who were living and working in the United States were no longer simply regarded as a shadow population or as surplus cheap labor. In the public and policy debate, immigrants were increasingly defined as threats to the nation’s security. Categorizing immigrants as national security threats gave the government’s flailing immigration law-enforcement and border- control operations a new unifying logic that has propelled the immigrant crackdown forward.

It is understandable that after being attacked, a nation would draw in and lean toward suspicion. But where has this gotten us? Are we more secure? Or are we simply enabling more systems in which the most vulnerable suffer?

As reported in past Weekly Wire articles, immigration reform supporters are coming together and speaking out in greater numbers. Even today, NDN and National Council of La Raza are holding a Washington D.C. event that is open to the public and that will “serve as a platform for identifying strategies that will move immigration reform forward in 2009.”

And yet, as Roberto Lovato writes for Alternet, we should be wary. The Obama administration and some allies, even, will not be as receptive to changing the national response to immigration as many hope.

In a such a dangerous climate, a climate in which economic decline worsens the undocumented condition — death in jail, hate crimes, death in deserts, daily doses of dehumanizing media — it is our duty to reject as extremely dangerous and in the most forceful terms any of the “smart enforcement” and other militaristic language and policy used by Napolitano, GOP & Dems and some “immigrant rights advocates.”

At the same time, the Democratic Party ought to be at least a little wary of the GOP using immigration as a wedge issue, as Angelo Falcón warns in New America Media. And Rahm Emanuel indicates he has “an appreciation for the high Hispanic voter turnout and support for Democrats in 2008 that dramatically shifted the political landscape.”

Which direction will we go? Which America will 2009 show us to be? We both work and wait to find out.

NCLR and NDN Call For Congress to Pass Immigration Reform This Year

February 18th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

nclr
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
 February 18, 2009

NCLR AND NDN CALL FOR CONGRESS TO PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM THIS YEAR

Washington, DC—The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) President and CEO, Janet Murguía, will participate in a panel at NDN—one of the leading U.S. progressive think tanks and advocacy organizations—entitled, “Making the Case for Passing Immigration Reform this Year.”  The panel is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, February 19 at 11:30 a.m.  Simon Rosenberg of NDN, Rick Johnson of Lake Research, Pete Brodnitz of the Benenson Strategy Group, and Frank Sharry of America’s Voice are also featured members of tomorrow’s panel.  Andres Ramirez, NDN Vice President for Hispanic Programs, will moderate the discussion.

This event is open to the public, and it will serve as an opportunity to share opinions on the state of the immigration debate with a diverse, progressive audience from the private and the public sectors.  The discussion will serve as a platform for identifying strategies that will move immigration reform forward in 2009. 

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT:          “Making the Case for Passing Immigration Reform this Year” Panel Discussion

WHEN:          Thursday, February 19, 2009, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

WHERE:       NDN, 729 15th Street NW, Washington, DC

[from an email]

New York Post Pretends to be Tone Deaf to the Times

February 18th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

2009-02-18-cartoon
OH COME ON PEOPLE! Clearly this cartoon is meant to reference JFK! Damn. Must you see race everywhere?

[update: okay then! here’s some context for ya. the preceding page in the Post.]

Mexican Citizenry Rise up to Protest Army’s Violence

February 18th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

resistencia

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T FOLLOW CLOSELY, Mexican President Felipe Calderón (FeCal) stole the last election from Lopez Obrador with help from the same agents who helped George Fugya Bush steal the US election. I’ve blogged on these events for years, feel free to search and peruse El Grito if you want more background. The reason FeCal is president is because he is in line with the same interests who grab power around the world. Lopez Obrador was a populist, talking much in a similar vein as John Edwards did, about the People against the entrenched corrupt forces that rule. Of course, people like this line themselves up against mighty and well-funded forces and so are often killed, or derailed by one undercover move or another. FeCal thinks like those do who want to ignore causes and simply clamp down harder on symptoms and all in the name of profits or increased power of the elites. FeCal continues Vicente Fox’s coverup of corrupt politicians like Ulises Ruíz, and does the bidding of US forces who whisper in his ear, who offer monies to wiretap their citizens, and drag MX into our never-satiated maw of control and surveiilance, and all in the name of a phony War on Drugs. Anyone who stays informed understands this is bullshit, a cover for increased tyranny over la gente, for attacks against minorities, for the increased jailing of minorities, a fake morality that gives cover to violence against citizens by the federal government as well as those who wish to be “uninvolved” and look the other way claiming the government is doing a good job and “if you don’t have anything to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.” 

Meanwhile, almost 50,000 army troops have been dispatched across MX and huge violence is erupting because the cartels, who are often inextricably tied to many communities and families, are being attacked by troops. Behind the smoke and tight lines of black gear, the army and who knows what other forces, kidnap and kill any who stand in their way, be it an independent journo from the US or Mexican children. 

Well, the people of dear madre México aren’t taking it sitting down.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Hundreds of people blocked bridges to the United States in three border cities Tuesday, demanding the army leave in another challenge for the Mexican government as it struggles to quell escalating drug violence.

The protests in Ciudad Juarez blocked traffic for about two hours across three bridges connecting the city to El Paso, Texas. Similar protests broke out on bridges in the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa. Demonstrators blocked city hall and a main avenue in the northern industrial city of Monterrey and roads in the Gulf state of Veracruz.

It was the largest display of discontent against the army’s role in an anti-drug crackdown since President Felipe Calderon began deploying soldiers across the country two years ago to fight cartels. About 45,000 soldiers are now spread out across Mexico.

Marchers block US border to protest army presence

 

We can ignore this for a tiny bit longer, maybe. But the truth is, all these injustices we rail against are connected. No border can separate them. Once we join hands in fighting the crooked elites who trick and rule and exploit us, they have no hope of winning. Meanwhile, you take chunks out of the lurching, hissing, beast of oppression wherever you can.

Still, I am terribly proud of Mexicans today. And every day.

US Border Patrol Smuggles PSYOP-Corridos Into Mexico

February 15th, 2009 § 13 comments § permalink

migrapsyops APPARENTLY, our tax monies are being used not only to grow the prison systems that contain both migrants as well as the abuses they suffer, but also to produce fake corridos that are being secretly sent to radio stations in Mexico to fool the population and seed their minds with the great danger that faces anyone crossing the deserts and harsh terrain between Texas/Arizona/Califas and places like Michoacan.

They are the new secret weapon of the US Border Patrol: toe-tapping ballads with Spanish lyrics that tell of the risks of trying to cross illegally into the US from Mexico.

The songs are on a CD that has been distributed free to dozens of radio stations in northern Mexico as part of a campaign called “No more crosses on the border” – a reference both to the illegal crossings and to those who have lost their lives in the attempt. The songs are all tragic, giving accounts of abuse, rape and death as immigrants embark on the often dangerous journey. …

The US Border Patrol commissioned the CD from Elevacion, a Washington-based Hispanic advertising agency. Elevacion’s president Jimmy Learned told BBC Mundo that the songs had been well received by the public. …

The fact that the migracorridos were commissioned by the US Border Patrol has not been publicised. Mr Learned and Agent Rodriguez both said this was to avoid rejection and make sure the campaign had the maximum impact. Jose Luis Gasca, director of operations at La Zeta, a radio station in Morelia, Michoacan, told BBC Mundo that he did not know where the songs – which are often played on his station – came from. …

It is still too early to assess the effect of the migracorridos. … [Mr Learned] says another two songs are expected to be released in April and that the campaign could be extended to the rest of Mexico and Central America.

“The important thing is that the campaign has found a niche in the community,” Mr Learned said.

US uses songs to deter immigrants

Wikipedia talks about “the ‘decaying’ stage of the genre”—

With the consolidation of “Presidencialismo” (the political era following the Mexican Revolution) and the success of electronic mass-media, the corrido lost its primacy as a mass communications form, becoming part of a folklorist cult on one branch, and on another, the voice of the new subversives: oppressed workers, drug growers or traffickers; leftist activists, emigrated farmworkers (mainly to the USA)… This is what scholars call the “decaying” stage of the genre, which tends to erase the stylistic or structural characteristics of “revolutionary” or traditional corrido, without a clear and unified understanding of its evolution.

I’m not sure how to convey what a huge and gross offense this feels to me. Narcocorridos are one thing. Wikipedia goes on to say that these are this “decay” manifested. Perhaps, yeah. If we go back to how corridos began and what they were used to talk of for so long. And yet, those do not offend me like US lawmen hiring companies to create these musical viruses. Narcocorridos are made by Mexicans. And the reason the cartels are so huge, one very massive reason, is our drug appetite, our nation’s drug appetite and perverse puritan corporate hypocrisy about what drugs are morally okay (the ones that profit Big Pharma and other US corporations) and which ones are EEEEEEvil (the ones that are easy to produce on our own and that do not profit corporate interests). The cartels are not huge because of Mexico’s Deviant Nature® or anything like that. People make money the way they can. Especially when they live under one oppression or another, one corrupt governing body or another.

But the United States Border Patrol? Proliferating Mexican radio on the sly and thinking they can first fool and then scare desperate people into staying where they are so they can starve quietly? Do they honestly think border crossing is all about some kind of vacation? Do they really think this is the best use of US money? Do they really not understand that you can crush a set of works, but that won’t touch the itch under your breastplate that wakes you and shakes you down the street to cop another bundle? That you can step on a million symptoms and if you don’t address the cause, you will be stepping forever?

No, of course they don’t. They are part and parcel of the same backward ignorant Imperialist Western mindset that flooded Iraq with fake news that nobody heeded as if that would right the wrong that brought us there. As if that would cure the problems that speckle and infect our misguided and malicious actions. They are part and parcel of the same mindset that thinks if there is a problem, the way to cure it is by better salesmanship. They are idiots and they insult la cultura.

You want less border crossings? You want less of people trying to level the playing field to improve their lives? Then seek another kind of equilibrium. An economic and moral one. If you maintain the border as a one-way valve meant to swell our nation with cash at the expense of all others, you struggle to maintain a very painful façade and one day it will fall right on top of you.

Blackwater Thinks You Will Ignore Them If You Can’t Pronounce Them

February 13th, 2009 § 6 comments § permalink

blackwaterpatchTO ME, they will always be The Shadowy Mercenary Outfit Formerly Known As Blackwater.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Blackwater Worldwide is abandoning its tarnished brand name as it tries to shake a reputation battered by oft-criticized work in Iraq, renaming its family of two dozen businesses under the name Xe.

The parent company’s new name is pronounced like the letter “z.” Blackwater Lodge & Training Center — the subsidiary that conducts much of the company’s overseas operations and domestic training — has been renamed U.S. Training Center Inc., the company said Friday. […]

The company has operated under the Blackwater name since 1997, when chief executive Erik Prince and some of his former Navy SEAL colleagues launched it in northeastern North Carolina, naming their new endeavor for the area swamp streams that run black with murky water. But the name change underscores how badly the Moyock-based company’s brand was damaged by its work in Iraq. […]

Last month, Iraqi leaders said they would not renew Blackwater’s license to operate there, citing the lingering outrage over the shooting in Nisoor Square, and the State Department said later it will not renew Blackwater’s contract to protect diplomats when it expires in May.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the company made the name change was largely because of changes in its focus, but acknowledged the need for the company to shake its past in Iraq.

Blackwater dumps tarnished brand name

sombrero tip to matttbastard

Dammit, didn’t @guykawasaki just teach you not to name a company beginning with an “X”? Some people!


Related. Blackwater reads danger room.

They Ought to Drag Arpaio Away in Chains and Pink Underwear

February 13th, 2009 § 6 comments § permalink

JUST YESTERDAY I wrote about the Freakshow Arpaio and his disgusting, sadistic, juvenile and ugly treatment of immigrants. And today, we have good news!

We couldn’t be happier to hear that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released a letter today calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a federal investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s enforcement tactics.

Ever since he landed his own reality TV show, we’ve been arguing for Joe to get the attention he really deserves– an investigation by the DOJ. Kudos to Chairman Conyers (D-MI), and other members of the House Judiciary Committee, for publicly speaking out against Arpaio’s tactics, and for demanding the same.

Huffpost

And just to top things off, here is President Obama speaking (admittedly a bit vaguely in spots, though overall positively) on immigration via Spanish Language news:

More, por favor.

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