Tag Archives: xenophobia

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. 

Losing the Narrative, Always

29 Aug

I don’t understand how or why normal people cede the narrative on cultural issues to the cynical-hysterical ultra-right. I’m thinking specifically about the Park51 non-Ground Zero non-mosque, but it happens all the time. The right wing noise machine starts out with its daily talking points, Drudge, Fox News, which then morphs to talk radio and occasionally blogs. By the time the day is over, many people repeat the lies as fact, and they become the basis of the debate. All normal people are left to do is to try and rebut the lies, but the damage has already been done – the narrative has been set.

That’s why we’re busy rebutting the notion that this is an evil victory mosque set up by an extreme terrorist sympathizing imam who is taking money from al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Muslim terrorist groups that don’t get along at all. It’s why the Republicans who are demagoguing this nontroversy frame it as not so much a question of religious freedom, but one of feelings. Oh, sure it’s legal and they can’t be legally stopped, they argue. But that’s hallowed ground, near the Amish Market deli, the OTB, and the topless bar. That place is sacred! – it’s two blocks from Ground Zero, around the corner from two extant mosques in the neighborhood. It’s not that all Muslims are terrorists, but all the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim!

It’s a load of reverse-political-correctness bullshit. Hell, Carl Paladino – the forwarder of horse porn and emails containing the word “nigger” – the guy who idiotically calls the Governor a “drug addict” – the guy who wants to herd the poor and unemployed into decommissioned penitentiaries – the tea partier who wants to create a nouveau New Deal make-work program – the guy who (also) called Shelly Silver the anti-Christ – the guy who thinks the poors are so dirty that the state should teach them hygiene – the family values bullshit artist who has cheated on his wife, and fathered a child she didn’t give birth to – the candidate who wants to turn “three men in a room” to one man in a room – the guy who likened health care reform to 9/11 (I thought 9/11 was too sacred to sully or politicize).

Aside: Just look at that list – it says a lot that an admitted madman (see Beale, Howard) who has said, done, and advocated the things listed above in just four or five months is gaining traction in the Republican primary race. Then again, Lazio is MIA.

I’m sick and tired of the center-left being on the defensive from the get-go on these types of nontroversies, and it makes me quite depressed about the state of our republic that this kind of bullshit can happen so easily, and with such formulaic regularity. Whatever we’re doing isn’t working.

Meanwhile, a New York cabbie with 15 years’ experience named Ahmed Sharif was slashed by alleged drunken douchebag/asshole/slasher Michael Enright of Brewster, NY. Sharif had answered “yes” when Enright asked him if he was Muslim. It may have been alcohol-fueled, but it was also fueled by hatred and fear. That hatred and fear, in turn, was fueled by vicious demagogues like Carl Paladino, Pamela Geller, and other fascists like the little peasant on WBEN at 9am.

The Park 51 Nontroversy Is Now the Singular Gubernatorial Campaign “Issue”

20 Aug

I just watched Rick Lazio tell me on the teevee how horribly awful a “Ground Zero Mosque” (it’s neither) is, and what an affront to American Americanness and feeling feelingness a Muslim-run equivalent of a YMCA in a densely populated lower Manhattan would be.

Lazio has zero traction, and less money, so it was fascinating to see that this ad was “paid for by the NYS Conservative Party”.

We have a state that’s $9 billion in the hole, a horribly dysfunctional governmental structure, skyrocketing spending and costs, layer upon redundant layer of governments, authorities, and special taxing districts, unfunded mandates hurting counties, school cutbacks, and myriad other big, serious issues that concern serious people throughout New York.

But Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino want to talk about the Muslim hordes riding roughshod through ‘Murrka, vying to be the xenophobic, paranoiac King Richard to defeat the Saracens.

Both of them should be ashamed of themselves, and I’m sincerely interested to see how this new Republican campaign strategy of quite literally demonizing religious and ethnic minorities. Except Cubans.

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Terrorist-sympathizing Imam? Seriously? They’re not just going to lie about this project, they’re going to libel Rauf? I know Tom “I love cats and gardening” Bauerle will stoop to endlessly repeating – almost in a loop – a call a 9/11 victim made just as one of the Towers fell that morning. Bauerle is perfectly ok exploiting a man’s death to libel an entire religion. But why is Rick Lazio, the ostensible “serious” Republican candidate for New York State Governor using images from 9/11 to sell his campaign? If New Yorkers have had “enough”, why would he deliberately evoke the memories of the greatest tragedy to befall New York to win a campaign against a fellow New Yorker? Does Lazio think that the regular, hardworking Muslims who live, work, and pray in Manhattan destroyed those towers?

Obviously, the Republicans don’t want (or deserve) a single vote from Muslim New Yorkers. To them, Muslim New Yorkers don’t count. They are disposable. Lazio and Paladino would not deign to represent them should they ever be elected.

Because 9/11 wasn’t perpetrated by a Muslim stockbroker, banker, lawyer, doctor, shopkeeper, waiter, restaurant owner, or straphanger who prays in lower Manhattan every day, several times a day. Yet that is who is being libeled and demonized by the Republicans not just in New York, but nationwide.

After 9/11, the country was not only unified as seldom before, but the Bush Administration continuously made it clear that the US was not at war with Islam or Muslims – just against the terrorists who perpetrated these crimes and promote violent expansionist Jihadism. That has now changed, and the Republicans do now perceive the US to be at war with Islam – including those who pray to Allah and were born in this country, love this country, pay their taxes, and attend their kids’ soccer games.

That must be why the Bush Administration retained the services of that “terrorist sympathizing” Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf to promote interfaith peace and understanding.

Every day the Republican Party and its leadership becomes, quite frankly, more and more fascistic. To base an entire campaign for Governor on hating an entire religion is a very ugly thing indeed. It’s a thin line between that and advocating for Muslims’ expulsion from America and exclusion from American life.

UPDATE: From Rob in comments:

‘In 2003, Imam Rauf [the imam behind the Cordoba House project] was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.

“We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic
faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.” ’

Here.

This guy definitely shouldn’t build an Islamic cultural center 3 blocks from the WTC site, if it would hurt someone’s feelings.

Chop Suey?

14 May

I wonder why this person chose the words he did when writing about Chris Collins’ perfectly reasonable desire to want Erie County to do more business with China? Strictly 30s-era Charlie Chan stereotypical garbage. Fuck him and his xenophobia.

Certainly greater trade ties between China and WNY could benefit the companies that still do actually produce stuff here.

An American

20 Oct

HT Sullivan

He Knew What Was Coming

10 Oct

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Unloading What’s Left at the Bottom of the Bag

7 Oct

The Pennsylvania GOP sends out a release entitled “A Terrorist’s Best Friend“. See if you can find the punctuation mistakes in said release.

When McCain asks “who is the real Barack Obama” someone in the audience yells out “terrorist”. McCain pauses, but keeps going without commenting on the accusation.

When Sarah Palin mentions that Barack Obama is an acquaintance of William Ayers’, someone in the audience yells out “kill him!“.

Palin also goes after that mean, old, nasty media that – you know, asked her questions.

Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

If you vote for McCain and Palin, change is comin’, alright. But it’s change backwards. Far backwards.

The Fear Talk Express

6 Oct

When John McCain questions the patriotism of Barack Obama by asking, who is the real Barack Obama, he is questioning the patriotism of every American with a weird background or an ethnic surname that ends in a vowel.

And I’m not the only person who thinks that.

Shorter Lou Dobbs

20 Jun

Political Picture - Lou Dobbs
see Obama pictures