Tag Archives: immigration

Shorter Weppner: #BlameTheHelp

31 Jul

In regard to “infected poors”, our intrepid candidate dons a new pair of clownshoes

You may remember Laura Yingling from a few weeks ago. Weppner chided Yingling  for soliciting photographs of blighted parts of the NY-26 district to “use against Brian Higgins on Twitter and Facebook”

Now, we’re meant to believe that the “infected poor” – actually, it read “infected poors” – Tweet from Weppner’s own Twitter account was actually published “accidentally” because Yingling thought it came from the Heritage Foundation.  

In other words, referring to unaccompanied minor refugee human beings as “infected poors” is ok, so long as the Heritage Foundation does it first?

Weppner then goes on to write about her love of Mexico, despite the fact that the unaccompanied minors at issue are not coming from Mexico, but through it, from places like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Weppner does, however regale us with pictures of her and her husband enjoying Mexico, apropos of just about not a goddamn thing. Except perhaps to transmit the message, ‘some of our best friends are brown and speak Spanish.’ 

“Mariachi Kathy” Via Facebook

Unbelievable is that this is the third or fourth major embarrassment for the Weppner campaign.  First it was the Jerry Zremski piece in the Buffalo News where all of Kathy’s wild and wacky conspiracy theories came to the fore. She subsequently – quickly – scrubbed all evidence of her former, WBEN-cultivated self from the internet. Next, Weppner chided Yingling for the solicitation of blight photos, and now this. 

I went back to the article Weppner/Yingling linked to, and although a bunch of quite hateful people wrote shit about “extortion”, nowhere did I see the words “infected” or “poors”.  I call bullshit. 

For someone running for a serious federal legislative office, this is beyond bush league. I expect better from school board candidates, much less congressional ones. Why on Earth would someone vote for a person whose campaign stumbles from embarrassment to embarrassment, with the staff taking the fall for it? Why would you want to elect someone who makes “careless errors” that are vicious and insulting about young kids coming here for a better life? 

Hell, even though Weppner writes that Yingling tendered her resignation, we don’t know if it was accepted or what. Presumably, Yingling is still in charge of bravely re-Tweeting hateful bullshit she pulls out of the deepest depths of the ultra-right blogosphere under her candidate’s name. 

That “infected poors” Tweet went out because someone affirmatively cut it, pasted it, and hit the publish button. See below – they went so far as to add two hashtags to it, including #NY26. One would suspect that the person who did it bothered to read it first. One would expect that a candidate would have her name on a Google Alert, and find out that the “infected poors” thing was the subject of a post and might be problematic. 

Make no mistake – the “infected poors” Tweet was sent because someone liked it and agreed with it.  It was not a careless error – it was the deliberate and thoughtful endorsement of its sentiment. 

UPDATE: It looks like this is from where Yingling / Weppner got the “infected poors” line: 

Beats me how someone is too dim to figure out that “Populo Iratus” isn’t the same thing as the Heritage Foundation. 

This is what happens when a terrible, ignorant tea party candidate retaining the free services of an ignorant tea party activist. Hilarity would ensue, if it wasn’t all such a sad example of inhumanity. 

Are you an immigrant who sought refuge in America from violence or oppression? How about your ancestors? Denigrating foreigners as diseased subhumans is all too common throughout our history. Kathy from Williamsville is just letting you know how she really feels. 

Amateur-Hour Weppner can’t mariachi her way out of this one. 

Second-Generation Americans Against Refugees

31 Jul

Once again, Tony Fracasso from the long-running broad-comedy show “SpeakupWNY” weighed in, this time on immigration, in my most recent Kathy from Williamsville thread

So Alan,

Do you support mass migration of people from other countries to the USA? Yes or No.

Do realize this cost the net tax payers tens of millions of dollars?

80 years ago when people immigrated to the USA they still followed the rules on the books plus we didn’t have the costly social programs we have today.

Like Derek Noakes loves animal videos on YouTube, Fracasso loves to demand “yes or no” answers and to use the phrase “net tax payers”. My response

Do I support “mass migration of people from other countries to the USA”? Absolutely. Immigrants like the Fracasso family helped make this country what it is today. Never mind that Italian immigrants found it hard to assimilate, were discriminated against, subjected to hatred and bigotry, and tended to live amongst each other in homogeneous neighborhoods, now Italians are considered to be just like our WASP founders.

Of course, it’s also a complete lie that immigrants are a net drain on the economy. For instance,

Via Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Immigration grows the economy and helps enhance local cultural vitality. Immigrants also create jobs for native Americans here in WNY:

Via Buffalo Niagara Partnership

So, if you’ll notice above, I pointed out to Fracasso that, 100 years ago, Italians were treated rather horribly by native-born Americans, and like new immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries, they found it tough to assimilate and kept to themselves in insular communities. Fracasso responds

That was then and this is now. To different scenarios. When are families came over a 100 years ago the country was in a different economic state. We also didn’t have the social programs we have now compared to 100 years ago. This has nothing to do with bigotry or hatred. Is that a tactic in the Democratic Playbook? When someone doesn’t agree with you call them a hater or a bigot?

I’m also rather sure the mass of immigrants that came over 100 years ago came into the states by following the laws.

Why do we have borders and laws Alan?

So, here’s my response: 

Right. YOUR playbook is to shout about how YOUR ancestors came here “legally” at a time when immigration from Europe was essentially unrestricted, save for the “not an anarchist” box that needed to be ticked before you could get tested for syphilis on your way through Ellis Island.

But when it comes to brown, Spanish-speaking tweens from Central America who are escaping social, economic, and political problems that are not dissimilar from, say, turn-of-the-century Italy, all of a sudden it’s an “invasion”. Yet you want to sit there and tell me that’s not bigotry or hatred – or that the bigotry and hatred that was hurled at Italian and Irish immigrants 110 years ago was not just as disgusting and sordid.

We do have borders, Tony. When was the last time you actually crossed the southern border? Have you ever crossed the Rio Grande or taken a day trip to TJ? Ever? Have you ever witnessed the interminable lines, super-tight security, and state-of-the-art anti-drug and human trafficking measures put in place at even remote crossings in the desert Southwest? Have you seen the miles and miles of barren wasteland out that way?

Yes, we have borders and they are reasonably protected, and here’s the reason why this is all about bigoted hysteria and not at all about facts:

While illegal immigration of kids 12 and under has shot up by 117%, theoverall number of people of any age crossing illegally is at a 40 year low, and even the number of kids crossing has dropped.

Most of the anti-immigrant hysteria stems from a conscious or unconscious belief that Obama is a foreign Manchurian candidate who is here to destroy America as we know it. If you don’t believe me, just look at Weppner’s own birtherite hysterics.

Furthermore, the kids are mostly from Honduras: “The fact that Hondurans represent the highest percentage [27%], followed by Salvadorans, makes clear that the major push factors are violence,” said Susan Terrio, an anthropology professor at Georgetown University who has interviewed dozens of unaccompanied immigrant children.”

“Invaders” my ass.

Yes, we do have borders and they’re being reasonably defended, and we also have laws. I don’t know why you’d so quickly invalidate your own argument, but the law states that undocumented unaccompanied minors cannot be deported before they have a court hearing – due process.

What you’re really saying is, “why won’t Obama disobey the law?

Here is a Forbes list of 7 myths about immigration

Myth 1: There are more immigrants than ever and these immigrants break the mold of previous waves.

Between 1860 and 1920, fourteen percent of the population was foreign-born. The average for the 20th century is 10-plus percent. The proportion is not different today—about 13 percent. Until the 1880s immigration originated in northern and western Europe but in subsequent decades they came from southern, central and eastern Europe, which was culturally, politically and economically different. Not to mention Asians, who arrived in significant numbers.

The difference seems to be national origin, not numbers. 

Myth 4: Present-day immigrants do not assimilate, unlike previous waves.

About forty percent of newcomers speak reasonable English anyway, but the three-generation pattern echoes that of previous immigrants: the second generation is bilingual but speaks English better and the third generation speaks only English. By the third generation, out-marriage is strong among immigrants. A century ago, seventeen percent of second-generation Italian immigrants married non-Italians while 20 percent of second-generation Mexicans marry non-Hispanics today (even though, given the numbers, it is easier for them to marry another Mexican.) Second-generation immigrants do better than their parents, as in the past.

That proves my point about Italians, supra

Myth 5: Low-skilled workers take away jobs, lower salaries and hurt the economy.

As producers and consumers, illegal immigrants enlarge the economic pie by at least $36 billion a year. That number would triple if they were legal—various studies point to a $1 trillion impact on GDP in ten years. Low-skilled workers fulfill a need by taking jobs others do not want, letting natives move up the scale. Without them employers would need to pay higher salaries, making those products and services more expensive. They have a tiny negative effect on wages at the lowest end that is offset by a rise in the wages of those who move up—the net effect is a 1.8% rise.

That’s right – even undocumented immigrants help to grow the economy

Myth 7: Immigrants don´t pay taxes and cost more than they contribute. 

Immigrants pay many local and state levies, including real estate and sales taxes, and about $7 billion in Social Security taxes. Between the 1970s and the 1990s they represented $25 billion more in government revenue than what they cost. They would contribute much more if they were documented. Most immigrant children have at least one parent who is a citizen, so counting all of them as part of the cost of immigration is deceptive. The welfare state was never a “pull” factor: until after World War II immigrants were not entitled to relief programs. Immigrants did not cause government spending to grow by a factor of 50 in one century.

These myths are further confirmed and expanded upon in this Washington Post article, and this article from the Southern Poverty Law Center

If people like Fracasso are so concerned about facts and the law, then it would likely behoove them to educate themselves not only about the facts about immigration – legal and not – and what laws apply. 

Immigrants do not harm or destroy America – they make America stronger. 

With Apologies to Al Jaffee

8 Jul

In recent months, I’ve taken to quietly deleting comments that I find to be ad hominem, off-topic, and belligerent. If you can’t be bothered to argue an opinion or position, then it’s gone. Repeat or exceptionally egregious offenders are sometimes blacklisted from the site altogether. In any event, it’s wholly within my – ahem – executive discretion what stays and what goes. 

Recent posts about Hobby Lobby (here and here) and the “12th Man” trademark (here) have generated some lively and unusually on-topic discussions, and I’ve only gone back and deleted one or two comments. 

But sometimes, a comment is so thought-provoking – or stupid – that it merits a post of its own. I used to do this quite frequently, but as blogging as a medium has been replaced with newer, terser platforms, it’s been rare lately.

But today, we’ll play “snappy answers to stupid questions”, with apologies to Mad Magazine’s Al Jaffee

Tony, aka “wnyresident” is the showrunner of the longstanding cult comedy hit, “SpeakupWNY”. It’s a ragtag collection of Obama haters and other low-information voters who parrot a distinctly right wing weltanschauung. Think Breitbart without the spelling and grammar, or Ann Coulter without the wit. 

Now, it’s not a secret that I’m a partisan Democrat, and a proud one at that. I’m a registered Democrat and town committeeman because I believe that the platform and values of the Democratic Party match my own, as compared with the other major political party – the Republican Party.  I finally made the switch from the GOP to the Democrats in order to help Wesley Clark run for President in 2003-2004, but I had felt that the party had abandoned voters like me in 2000. That year, I volunteered and phone banked for John McCain as he battled George W. Bush for the Republican nomination.

McCain energized me on two occasions – the first was at a Republican candidates’ debate somewhere in the midwest in late 1999. The candidates were asked to name their most influential political philosopher. George W. Bush replied first with an astonishingly unresponsive, “Jesus Christ, because he changed my heart,” whatever that means. Jesus might be a lot of things, but I don’t think he was a political philosopher. (Not that I would necessarily quibble with a candidate who was arguing that, say, Jesus was the most influential figure in his life in general – that would be a valid response. But political philosopher?)

Then one by one, every other candidate parroted – oh yeah, Jesus for me, too. Except for one. 

John McCain said, “Teddy Roosevelt” and explained how this earlier “maverick” had been a Republican who broke up the trusts and believed in conservation. It was a valid response to tendered question, and one that was well-reasoned and insightful. I was impressed, mostly because here was a Republican presidential candidate who was unafraid to not do the easy thing and just say, “Jesus”. 

It showed that McCain was willing to stick his neck out, but more importantly that he had taken the time and brainpower to actually listen to the question – a sign of intelligence and respect. 

The second time? I traveled up to Peterborough, New Hampshire and caught the tail end of a town hall speech he gave.  He was saying all the right things – all the things that a young, sane, Northeastern Republican wanted to hear. 

As we know, John McCain went on to verbally assail the right-wing theocrats Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell shortly before dropping out of the race.  It was a last gasp to attract the sane, secular, Bill Weld Republicans to his team. It failed, and McCain later went on to run a shambolic campaign in 2008 with an unvetted embarrassment of a running mate, whose moronic pronouncements poison our political discourse to this day. In the last 14 years, the GOP has become only more reactionary, theocratic, and unreasonable. 

So, as the Republicans continued to lurch right – especially after the country elected, and re-elected, Barack Obama – its values and platform has gone farther and farther away from my own personal and political values and beliefs. 

I default to Democrat, just like Tony from Speakup, WBEN listeners, and many of you default to Republican. There are exceptions, and I have backed Republicans whom I believe to be exceptional in some way, or somehow better than the Democratic alternative. 

In the case of my own New York State Senate District 61, I am represented by Mike Ranzenhofer.  Mike’s a nice guy, but I think he’s been wholly ineffective in his two decades in public service. So much so that I ran against him unsuccessfully in 2007. He’s now just another Republican footsoldier in the feckless state Senate, and it would be good for SD-61 and New York for his tenure in public office to end. You can’t name anything Ranzenhofer has ever stood for in 20 years, except maybe for his push to make Chobani yogurt the state snack

One big statewide issue is the implementation of the Common Core education standards, and the extent to which kids are overtested in New York schools. I don’t feel particularly strongly about the Common Core because I think that tougher standards are needed to get kids learning at a 21st century level.  I agree, however, that the tests have been poorly implemented and administered, and that teacher autonomy should be respected.  We can strike a good balance here if we retreat from our bunkers and listen to each other, as McCain did at that 1999 debate. 

Elaine Altman is running against Ranz, and she’s a teacher. The Common Core is one of her biggest platform planks because she is uniquely qualified to address it and come up with ways to make it better. Admittedly, the race hasn’t begun in earnest, and we still have about three months to find out more about Altman and her positions. Nevertheless, as a Democrat, I default to Altman over her Republican opponent. As someone who thinks that Ranz has been an ineffective seat-moistener as a legislator, I choose Altman. As a Democratic committeeman in SD-61, I choose Altman over the career politician who’s done little to earn his fat state pension. 

So, regard

That’s a fascinating insight, isn’t it? Sure, Altman would probably be a great teacher – is a great teacher – but she’s now taking her experience as a citizen and a teacher and looking to take that to an insular, corrupt Albany that has no clue how the world works outside of its own decrepit bubble.

For as much bleating as the right makes about “career politicians”, put a professional teacher up against a career politician, and they beat a partisan retreat. By Tony’s own logic, professional gun fetishist David DiPietro would “really make a better dry cleaner” than Assemblyman. 

But this one popped up just the other day – a solid two weeks after the original post went up. 

There are no “open borders”, and anyone who suggests that is being willfully ignorant. There aren’t any candidates who want “open borders”, either – at least, not from the mainstream parties. The United States has, in effect, an army of agents along the southern border and anyone who’s actually tried to cross it knows that the process makes crossing into Canada from WNY seem as easy as a drive into Pennsylvania. 

But even more critically, immigration, the border, customs, and international affairs are wholly within the province of the federal government. The states have little, if any, power or control over policymaking or enforcement of federal immigration statutes and regulations. 

To ask what a candidate for the New York State Senate thinks about “illegal immigration” is as pointless as asking Ms. Altman her position on Burmese ethnic strife or Taiwanese independence. It would be like asking a member of the Amherst Town Board their considered opinion on fishing rights in the Georges Bank

Now, as to my “view” on “illegal immigration”, I believe that the federal government should overhaul the entire immigration system to simplify the process for people wanting to live here, and to enable businesses here in the US that depend on migrant labor to hire the people they need under a modernized guest worker scheme.  

But the current headlines are due in large part to right wing propaganda and misinformation. 

http://mediamatters.org/embed/199990

I don’t know what Ms. Altman’s position is on “illegal immigration”, nor is it in any way relevant to the duties and responsibilities of a New York State Senator. 

Three Things for Friday

6 Jul

Here are three observations for you to consider: 

1. I’m not a regular follower of the almost Vaticanesque intrigue that regularly plagues the Buffalo school system, and happily remind Buffalo boosters regularly that the schools’ mismanagement and disarray is a massive impediment to people choosing to live within city limits. The Buffalo News’ Mary Pasciak does a fantastic job chronicling the school board’s goings on. If Carl Paladino is right about the allegations he makes in an Article 78 action he filed this week (to force a municipal entity to act lawfully), then he should be commended for being the only one willing to take on that battle.  The school board should act transparently, with lawful public input. 

2. The term “illegal immigrant” was first coined by Palestine’s British masters in 1939 to describe Jews fleeing Nazi genocide. It is a term recommended by not only the AP stylebook, but also by Orwellian Republican language guru Frank Luntz. Latino businessman Charles Garcia argues here that the term is a slur that serves only to dehumanize and denigrate people who are really just economic refugees. Most deportable immigrants have that status because they’ve overstayed valid entry visas –  not because they crossed a river in the middle of the night. I’m guilty of using “illegal alien”, and will stop using the phrase, because if Elie Wiesel says it’s improper, I’ll go along with that. Here’s some additional information you’re probably not aware of, coming from the recent Supreme Court majority decision arising out of the Arizona immigration law. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and three other justices, stated: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain present in the United States.” The court also ruled that it was not a crime to seek or engage in unauthorized employment.

As Kennedy explained, removal of an unauthorized migrant is a civil matter where even if the person is out of status, federal officials have wide discretion to determine whether deportation makes sense. For example, if an unauthorized person is trying to support his family by working or has “children born in the United States, long ties to the community, or a record of distinguished military service,” officials may let him stay. Also, if individuals or their families might be politically persecuted or harmed upon return to their country of origin, they may also remain in the United States.

Perhaps our rhetoric on this issue is a bit overwrought and needs to be re-examined. 

3. The only person more gratingly annoying than Billy Fuccillo is his blonde sidekick, Abby Sommers. These two have been polluting my television for weeks now, and are even featured in a lengthy occasional infomercial. It’s all screaming and sexual innuendo from the two least appealing people on the face of the planet. They don’t appear to be in any sort of relationship other than a commercial one, but from their carrying on, you’d think they were married. 

Immigraniada

3 Nov

Courtesy my old college friend Rob, “Immigraniada”, which touches on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. Immigrants come to this country to start a new life out of whole cloth, oftentimes with nothing. Ladies & gentlemen, Gogol Bordello:

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Shorter Wingnut Media on Rodriguez-Flamenco

2 Nov

On the alleged stabbing murder of an innocent Wal*Mart shopper in Albion the other day:

Knives don’t kill people. Visa statuses do.

Let’s be clear – the accused Honduran didn’t come to Albion in some vacuum. He came here because there’s a demand for farmhands, and astonishingly, not many people locally want to do that work. Reform the immigration laws to allow for guest workers to come here legally for temporary assignments, and you solve the visa issue.  As for crazy people stabbing women in parking lots, I’m sorry to inform you that illegal aliens don’t have the market cornered on violent crime, anywhere.

Colbert on Immigration

24 Sep

Stephen Colbert testifies before Congress to discuss – in character – migrant farmworkers in America.  My favorite line, “my grandfather didn’t travel 4,000 miles across the Atlantic to come to this country only to have it overrun by immigrants.”

Also,

I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa, where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.”

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The questioning that followed isn’t in the embedded video, but when asked why he cared about this issue, Colbert gave this reply:

I like talking about people who don’t have any power. It seems like some of the least powerful people in the U.S. are those who come to the U.S. and do our work and don’t have any rights when they’re here. And then we ask them to leave. … I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish [the widespread effects of the recession] … but migrant workers suffer and have no rights.

Immigration – and Immigrants – Deserve Better

12 Jul

I am a loss to understand why a shrinking region struggling just to maintain its current population numbers is so bloody concerned over illegal immigration. WBEN demogogued the issue during the entire morning news today, and the whiny, phony parallels attempted to be drawn between Arizona and New York as border states were as appalling as they were weak.

First, let’s turn to the Arizona immigration law that the Federal Government has sued to strike down as an unconstitutional state usurpation of federal power to set and create immigration policy.

Two things have been brainlessly repeated without a smidgen of balance on local talk radio in Buffalo. The Arizona statute in question gives state law enforcement the power to demand – upon “reasonable suspicion” of undocumented status – that anyone present their papers to prove their identity and legal right to be present in the United States. Although racial profiling is expressly prohibited by the bill, it’s not shocking or deniable that this law is targeted squarely at Latinos. Arizona is rightfully petrified that the drug wars that have rendered Mexico an almost failed state might escalate on this side of the border.

Proponents of the law, when confronted with the fact that “papers, please” has not generally been used positively in the American vernacular, retort that legal immigrants must carry their visas or Green Cards with them at all times.

But citizens don’t. (That includes you, Puerto Ricans). Because this law in its implementation would specifically target one particular ethnic group at the exclusion of all others, and because it unfairly requires some US citizens – Latinos – to carry their passports or other proof of legal status in the US on them at all times, but not others, I believe it to be unconstitutional on equal protection grounds, as well as federal supremacy grounds.

But to hear our local talk radio goons describe it, bingo-playing grannies get harassed at the Peace Bridge whilst Mexicans on the southern border are untouchable due to liberal bleeding-heartism. Have any of these cretins tried to cross a Mexican border post ever? In the last 10 years? The major border crossings into Mexico, and especially into the US are horrifically backed-up all the time. The scrutiny given to inbound motor vehicles at the southern border makes the trip in and out of Canada seem like a run through an EZ-Pass booth. And yes, you must present the same types of ID in El Paso as you do in Niagara Falls. The difference is that most of the Arizona – Mexico border has no natural boundaries and is an arbitrary construct of treaty. You don’t get a lot of swimmers from Canada into the US because the Niagara River is wide and has a nasty current.

But to compare our situation in WNY to the situation in Arizona is simply idiotic for another major reason. Canada isn’t a third world backwater with wave after wave of economic refugees swarming into, say, Buffalo for our wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright homes and chicken wings. And the reason why we treat the occasional bingo-playing granny to long lines at the border have to do with the fact that there is a distinct history of jihadist terrorists using the US-CDN crossing as a low-key entry point.

No, Tom. Sorry, Sandy. Regrets, Dave. Comparisons of legal border crossings at WNY bridges to illegal crossings in Arizona is so patently stupid and improper that I question your intelligence and that of anyone who agrees with you.

And chances are, the Bauerles, Pesolas, and DiPietros of yesteryear most likely came to the United States as economic immigrants – they came to this country to find their fortunes, or at least a better life. Oh, they’ll undoubtedly self-righteously proclaim that their ancestors came to this country as legal immigrants, as if the situation at the turn of the last century was somehow even vaguely analogous to that at the most recent turn of century.

During the time of Ellis Island, there was no such thing as applying for an entry visa at a US consulate abroad. Immigrants would come to the US on boats and basically apply on the spot for legal entry. If they weren’t mentally or physically disabled, chances were they’d be allowed to stay in the US. Our immigration laws throughout history have oftentimes been little more than shameful cesspools of racism and eugenics, aimed to control not so much numbers, but specific numbers of particular origin. But at the time of Ellis Island’s heyday, European immigrants could literally hop a boat and take their chances.

Such irony, to hear descendants of German or Italian immigrants heap scorn on a contemporary influx of refugees from our own hemisphere, who have overwhelmingly come here for the same economic reasons. Why is 2010’s Mr. Velazquez any more or less deserving of an American Dream than 1910’s Mr. DiPietro? Are Mexicans and Central Americans somehow unworthy or undeserving of the same opportunities as Poles or Italians were a century ago?

And let’s not forget that if every single illegal alien in this country was deported overnight, there would suddenly be a large vacuum of available menial jobs. You going to take it? Is your kid going to interrupt his WoW session to earn $7.25/hour cleaning toilets and sweeping streets?

Comprehensive immigration reform that resets the rules to reflect contemporary reality is what’s needed to help move this forward. We in this country are so focused on migrant laborers, that we ignore the fact that our idiotic visa policies help keep brilliant scientists out of this country, and they go to places like Canada, which welcomes them with open arms, opportunity, and free medical.

When the economy goes south, you can be sure that the weak-minded will take advantage of the afflicted, and reassure them that the fault lies not with a housing crash or credit default swaps gone bad, but they instead release that genie of subtly racist xenophobia that still seems to be socially acceptable in the US, and blame the Mexicans.

Clearing it Up

29 Apr

When health care reform is enacted to help insure almost all Americans, and initiate dramatically needed consumer protection into the health insurance industry, there was an outcry against it from the right, blathering about unconstitutionality.

When GM and Chrysler got massive loans from the government collateralized by stock, the right whinged about socialism, as if that somehow represented workers’ control of production.

When the banks got too clever for their own good and found themselves almost insolvent, when the entire economy collapsed and was on the brink of a once-in-a-century downward spiral, the right bitched and moaned that bailouts – many of which have since been repaid, with interest – were the worst thing since Hitler murdered 6,000,000 innocents and Stalin collectivized farms.

When Arizona passes a law that has the effect of requiring natural born United States citizens of Latino origin to carry citizenship papers with them at all times for wholly domestic travel, the right shrugs and tells the brown people, tough shit.

Just wanted to clear up what they do and don’t consider an unconstitutional outrage.  Social programs = bad, unconstitutional police-state-junior = dandy.

Maybe we need to institute the same policy in Florida and direct it at illegal Cuban immigrants. Let’s see how that goes over.  How about it, Mr. Rubio?

More Like This, Please

7 Nov

Tom Tancredo is one of the most detestable xenophobes ever to have darkened the halls of congress.  Lou Dobbs has got nothing on this guy. It’s also quite ironic, given the fact that Tancredo’s last name ends in a vowel.

The other day, Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas was debating Tancredo on MSNBC about health care reform and the recent teabag ruckus on Capitol Hill that attracted literally hundreds of people.  Tancredo did the standard Republican “socialism” nonsense and called the public option – a thoroughly incomplete “reform” – the biggest threat to American freedom they had ever seen; a “threat to the American way of life”.

Talk like that leads to signs like this, seen at the Michele Bachmann Teaparty of Ignorance this past week:

At one point, comparisons were drawn to existing government-run single-payer plans like Medicare and the VA.  Tancredo claimed that veterans begged him to set up some sort of free market insurance system for them because the VA was “too bureaucratic” and didn’t “serve their needs”.

Because everyone who has private for-profit or non-profit healthcare knows just how unbureaucratic it is.  I hate disingenuous, idiotic statements like that.

On the point of the veterans, Moulitsas is a veteran, and Tancredo is not.  Moulistas does what the kids call “pwn” Tancredo:

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Sure enough, Tancredo was in favor of the Vietnam War, but went out of his way to avoid serving in it.

After graduating from college in June 1969, he became eligible to serve in Vietnam. Tancredo said he went for his physical, telling doctors he’d been treated for depression, and eventually got a deferment.

Chickenhawk.  Xenophobe.  Detestable human being.  It’s about time guys like him got called out on their incessant fucking bullshit.