Peeking at the Eegians
We were this <----> close to having another petition this week, but someone got in right under the wire! We won't say who (but we can't resist rolling our eyes towards our honorary great grandpapá - but that could be anybody! Almost).
Ductape has updated his site! Ways to participate in tomorrow's Big Event, something everyone can do. And scroll down a bit... and go sign the petition, this time from the ACLU!
Still, even if we didn't get to do our petition, I think there are probably treasures on that site that were written before we even knew we had an honorary great grandpapá, so... *looks at the sky and whistles*...
Guess what!? Well, yes, it is true that I have a cat that is apparently stuck underneath my fireplace, but that wasn't what I was going to say... deano - art crit... 3 pictures in a row that I know what they are! That has got to be a first... but I still love the comments. Even when I know what it is, it's interesting to see how much I am not actually seeing. If you know what I mean. Go look!
In between amending the US Constitution to include health care for all, katiebird is keeping up with her commitment, and helping to provide support for others keeping up theirs.
By the way... if you are coming here from somewhere else, and you've not read this blog this week... scroll down and do so! Our Manny has been on fire... that fire in the belly in support of equal justice and human rights that comes through so clearly. You don't want to miss a word! Well, maybe you can skip Bud... but only if you can resist those eyes!
[UPDATE!]So, back to Olivia... we have a poll! What do you think... "petal pr0n"? (dada), or "flowerotica" (AndiF)? Amazingly enough, I had nothing to do with these names! I wasn't even there... really! Of course, we could just say "pretty flowers", cuz they are! Ahem.
Speaking Truthiness to Power? catnip has something to say about Stephen Colbert's little bombshell last night. And scroll down! She, like everyone else who pays attention, has a little trouble believing that Bush is suddenly concerned about torture.
James posts about the marches tomorrow, and then has an article whose title begs you to read it... Brownshirt Barbie Incites Local Fascism. Bet you can't guess who it's about!
[UPDATE AGAIN!] XicanoPwr is on a roll! This will have you ready to march on Washington!
Plus, the tragic story of that vile attack on that young boy and more. Lots of passion, lots to read!
Duke also has lots of stuff! There is Manny's "Why May 1st Matters" (also posted right below), and theboz found something at the US State Dept that Bush might want to take a look at before brainlessly spouting again. Or, maybe not. Duke himself talks about the California lege doing something right for once. I wonder what brought that on.
Man, it's a good thing I went to Family Man's site towards the end, cuz this quest for slackdom is wearing me out! However, in between all the work toward slackdom, we get a visit to where Family Man never lived, and a great trip with mom, and more! It's still a new blog, so just go read the whole thing! (whatever you didn't read last time, ;)
Now that dove has realized that we are still peeking, she's unearthed some amazing stuff! All new to me, and I suspect to others as well. And all thought provoking and relevant, so you know what they say... or at least I've been saying all day... go read the whole thing!
All done! (I think - if anyone notices any missing Eegians... or some who should be Eegians, let me know!)
Why Monday, May 1st Matters
No, not all immigrants are latino or Mexican, but there is enough hostility being thrown in our direction that to stand in solidarity on Monday, May 1st, is to fight back against future acts of violence like this.
Prosecutors won't immediately seek hate-crime charges against two white teens accused of brutally beating and sodomizing a 16-year-old Hispanic boy, who was clinging to life after being left for dead, authorities said.The United States is a culturally diverse land, there is not one monolithic norm for Americans, no litmus test that says, "You act like an American." Not even the English language can be used, because there are countless U.S.-born citizens who don't speak a word of it. It's not like that tongue was native to these shores.
The two attacked the boy after he tried to kiss a 12-year-old girl at an unsupervised house party Saturday night in suburban Spring, authorities said
The attackers apparently were offended at the age difference between the victim and the girl, who is also Hispanic, and shouted racial slurs at him during the 10- to 15-minute attack, investigators said.
Authorities said the two dragged the boy from the party and into the yard, where they sodomized him with a plastic pipe from a patio table umbrella and poured bleach on him.
I'm utterly disgusted by what happened to that young boy in Texas. It is a symptom of the larger problem of demonization and xenophobia being preached by groups like the Minutemen, National Alliance, and some of the Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. I'm aware of the rising tension because it is starting to affect me personally when I'm out in public. There are more sideways looks and clutchings of the purse as I walk by. I wish I was joking... If leadership is not shown at a national level against this form of hatred and violence, then I fear a large and wide-spread problem in the future.
To participate on May 1st is to show solidarity for human rights and human dignity. It can be done in many forms, whether you participate in a full-scale boycott as is being called for by groups nationwide; or it can be done symbolically by wearing a white shirt on Monday with some type of ribbon that will draw the curiosity of your co-workers and family.
The Green Party of the United States gives a great example of what it will mean to stand with the immigrant population in the United States. Take it to heart as you decide on your form of protest.
Universal Health Care: A proposal for an Amendment to the United States Constitution
Does everyone have a right to Affordable Health Care?
Since over 40 million of us don't have access to Affordable Health Care, it seems obvious that they don't have that right.
So I'm proposing that we draft an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting the right to affordable health care to everyone.
With this call to action, I'm asking for help drafting the amendment, naming it and finding sponsors to introduce it.
Cross-posted to Man Eegee, The Daily Kos and The Booman Tribune.
Friday Bud Blogging
Mariachi Open Thread
This is one of my favorite times of the year:
The Tucson International Mariachi Festival
Mushroom Clouds for Peace
Taking another cue from Orwell, the blast test has been named Divine Strake.
The DIVINE STRAKE full scale test is planned to be a large-yield, buried burst detonated at the Nevada Test Site. Divine Strake would appear to be associated with the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator RNEP, or possibly the B61-11 Earth-Penetrating Weapon, a fact that is obscured in most press coverage. Divine Strake is a high-explosive (HE) test sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The test is a detonation of a 700 ton buried heavy AN/FO charge above a tunnel structure. The main purpose of the test is to study ground shock effects on deeply buried tunnel structures. Of secondary interest is the airblast produced by a buried charge and its modification as it propagates over the local terrain. Scheduled for the summer of 2006, as of 01 April 2006 the test was planned for 02 June 2006.All signs point to this blast being a clear message to the Iranian government that the United States will not hesitate to use the full horror of our military arsenal against them, specifically nuclear weaponry. I would like to echo Real History Lisa's commentary on this terrible possibility.
linkage to GlobalSecurity.org
The entire world outside the Bush administration and a few defense contractors opposes the use of any and every kind of nuclear weapon. But Bush and his cronies are determined to try out their new toys, even if they have to destroy the last shred of America's credibility as a compassionate nation to do so.
Could they really be that insane? Iran does not have nuclear weapons. It will not have them for many more years even if we did nothing at all in the immediate future. There is plenty of time to seek diplomatic solutions.
[snip]Translation: They really are that insane. They are hellbent on using their nuclear weapons. They think if they make them smaller they will be okay.
And why should that be a surprise? This is the team that doesn't believe in science, that believes that reality is whatever they want it to be.
And if they lived in a padded cell, that would be perfectly fine.
But their belief now imperils hundreds of thousands if not several million, because make no mistake - if we use nuclear weapons offensively for any reason, they will be used on us. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives, because radiation is forever, nearly. Just ask the people from Chernobyl.
Aside from the fact that this impending mushroom cloud is being staged on stolen land from the Winnemucca Indian Colony, it should be obvious to any sane person that this is the worst possible type of weapon to be in the queue under Rummy and George's
I will bet that the majority of Americans have no clue that this test is occurring. RenaRF alerts us to the plees being made by Air America's Randi Rhodes to draw attention to this blatant form of warmongering. (from a recent appearance on Lou Dobbs' CNN show)
Crooks and Liars has the video clip. RenaRF continues with a request from Kossacks who will be attending YearlyKos in Las Vegas, scheduled for a couple of days past the blast date, to make sure they have cameras and videos rolling so the mushroom cloud is certain to make its way into the public consciousness; hopefully scaring them into the reality that such great and terrible power will be in the hands of a madman and his band of goons. She also offers this practical advice for those who can't be physically present for the bombing.
RHODES: ... I did not come here to be partisan. I came here today, Lou -- I swear to you -- I came here today to ask you to do something. Seriously! My callers -- my listeners -- yours, too, I'm sure -- always get to this point and they go, well, then, James, what do you want us to do? What do we do? What do we do?
If every single camera that's available in the media -- cable- wide, network-wide -- is not in Nevada at the nuclear test site on June 2nd to watch 1.4 millions pounds of explosives be blown up so they can do the math and figure out how to make a tactical nuke, a smaller nuclear weapon that will represent that much firepower for Iran -- if we don't show America this mushroom cloud that will explode in Nevada on the 2nd of June, there is no hope for the American people, there is no hope for the media.
I also would urge a letter to the President, to Don Rumsfeld (as suggested with contact information via links found below) [here], and your Senators as a good starting point to vehemently oppose this blatant move in the direction of nuclear proliferation.As I said yesterday with the posting on torture and rendition flights, "we have to start somewhere". The alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.
Tags: divine strake, nuclear weapons, nevada, Iran, mushroom cloud
Old Pueblo Oddities
Turns out, it wasn't a tanker truck at all, but rather a large fire at a roofing company in the area of the Conressman's office. Here's the kicker: it was started by a dust devil. Apparently the force of the wind blew some of the roofing materials into power lines and ignited a spark.
That's weird enough on it's own, but within minutes of the fire, two water mains busted clear across town in a busy intersection and caused a 50 foot sinkhole. It has now been discovered that the two events were directly related. How? The water company increased the pressure in the water lines to help fight the fire which caused the break in the lines and water to bubble up in the middle of the street.
At first they told us that it would take weeks to fix (I have to drive through the intersection to get to work everyday), but now they are saying it should only be a few days.
Why am I telling you all this? It's simple. I haven't had my coffee yet :)
International Pressure Building Against Torture Policies
As is usually the case with this subject, we have to look to the media outside of our borders to get the lowdown. From the International Herald Tribune.
Investigators for the European Parliament said Wednesday that data gathered from air safety regulators showed that the CIA had flown 1,000 undeclared flights over Europe since 2001, sometimes stopping on the Continent to transport terrorism suspects kidnapped inside the European Union to countries using torture.The end of the IHT article mentions Khaled al-Masri, who was kidnapped wrongfully by U.S. agents and tortured in a prison for several months in Afghanistan. I profiled him back in February The operation used the same group of U.S. agents and the same fleet of secret planes over and over, the investigators said. It also concluded that European countries, including Italy, Sweden, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, had been aware of CIA abductions or handovers in their territory and therefore may have been complicit in allowing human rights to be breached.here if you need a memory refresh.
The report released Wednesday - the first of several planned by the Parliament - grew out of three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by human rights advocates and individuals who said they had been kidnapped by U.S. agents and flown to other countries, including Egypt and Afghanistan, where they were tortured.
I bring him up, because according to the BBC, tomorrow a full investigation is being launched in Germany regarding the German government's involvement in spying for the U.S. in Iraq prior to the invasion as well as the details of the nightmare endured by Mr. al-Masri.
The wheels of justice are finally starting to turn in countries who have conspired with the United States to denigrate and violate the human dignity of people like Maher Arar and Khaled al-Masri. The peace and justice movements within the U.S. are slowly building, but it will take a lot more public outrage and political activism to stop the screams in secret prisons all across the globe.
The government has tried to avoid the inquiry, arguing that it could compromise the intelligence service.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has dismissed claims that agents of the German intelligence service, the BND, had helped the US military to select bombing targets.
He said they had remained in Baghdad during the hostilities merely to keep the government in Berlin informed.[snip]
Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer will be among the witnesses.
Mr Steinmeier - who was Mr Schroeder's chief of staff at the time - will also face questions.linkage
If you feel helpless against this ongoing stream of horrific news, you can start being more active by signing the ACLU petition entitled Torture is UnAmerican, which will be delivered to Condoleeza Rice. They are shooting for 100,000 signatures by May 5th. The numbers should be exponentially larger than that, but we have to start somewhere.
Tags: khaled al-masri, maher arar, torture policies, rendition flights.
Creating a War Zone at the Borders
The Senate voted Wednesday to divert some of the money President Bush requested for the war in Iraq to instead increase patrols against illegal immigrants on the nation's borders and provide the Coast Guard with new boats and helicopters.Maybe I've become fatigued with outrage over the past several years and can't think clearly anymore when exposed to such radioactive stupidity, but does anyone really think George would use his first veto power to strike out funding for his Great Adventure? He's so focused on his legacy that I doubt his Texas-sized ego would allow it.
An amendment cutting Bush's Iraq request by $1.9 billion to pay for new Border Patrol agents, aircraft and some fencing at border crossings widely used by illegal immigrants was adopted on 59-39 vote.
While the border security funds had sweeping support, Democrats and Republicans argued over whether the cuts to Pentagon war funds would harm troops on the ground in Iraq. The cuts, offered by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., trim Bush's request for the war by almost 3 percent but don't specify how.
The vote came in the wake of a toughly worded promise by the White House to veto the $106.5 billion measure unless it is cut back to below $95 billion.linkage
In the meantime, the Rubber Stamp Congress is conforming to their Master's commands and paring down the International Warmonger Fund to shift it to the Domestic Warmonger Fund. I have to wonder: how many Senators and House Members have actually been down to this area? Do they even know what the geography is like?
Probably not. Instead they would rather fix the problem from a distance by pontificating on the best way to "protect the homeland". Here's an idea, stop building a warzone and write policies that work to restore some balance between the two economies separated by la frontera.
The Congress' ineptitude is on full-display, it's as if they are modeling the behavior of one of the border patrol's unmanned spy drones.
Racism and Hatred in American Culture
On May 20, 1961, Jim Zwerg and 21 others boarded a Greyhound bus in Birmingham, Ala., bound for Montgomery, and ultimately, New Orleans.Some on the bus were white, like Zwerg. Most were black. All were Freedom Riders, testing interstate bus segregation in the Deep South, which had long ignored a 1946 Supreme Court decision outlawing the practice.Arriving from Nashville, then arrested and let go in Birmingham without incident, they were now about to feel the full fury of hate bearing down on them in Montgomery.Out of nowhere, the howling mob descended — men, women, children — carrying bricks, hammers, baseball bats.
Many Americans pretend that the days of lynch mobs are over, but I beg to differ. They are alive and well, but have taken a more subtle and sinister form. Since September 11th, 2001, the populace of the U.S. has been radicalized in such a way that the hatred and racism needed to commit such horrific violence is always boiling below the surface, waiting for a perfect moment to lash out. Here's an example from today's Star.
According to the article, this is the third time in three years that this particular office building has been defaced. I first learned about the incident via the 10 o'clock news last night and it got me thinking (scary, I know).The office building of a black Tucson attorney was vandalized, including having swastikas and a racial slur spray-painted on an outside wall, police said.The vandals also broke a window and started a fire on a window sill, causing further damage, police said.Doris M. Reed, a contract lawyer for the Juvenile Court, who also privately handles family law cases, arrived at her office on Speedway near North Stone Avenue about 7:30 a.m. Monday and found three swastikas and a racial slur painted on her building, said Joann Thompson, Reed's assistant office manager.
The political establishment in Washington, D.C., specifically the Rovian GOP and White House, has spent so much time pitting everyone against each other that the days of bipartisanship and reconciliation are a long shot away. They have bred so much distrust and disgust at anyone who holds a different viewpoint than them ("Other-ness" in the Eegian vernacular) and been so successful at it that we all model their behavior in some form.
I can see it everwhere. Even within the liberal blogosphere. It's nearly impossible to disagree with someone on an issue without feeling like a line has been drawn in the sand. The Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that I've been guilty of harsh words plenty of times, but there are moments when I'm left speechless by the lack of compassion and willingness to listen from the other direction.
All emotions exist in varying degrees. I have found that the key to a healthy lifestyle is striking a balance that feeds the good ones such as compassion, love and humility while not completely ignoring the latent shadows of hate, xenophobia and racism that exist inside of me. To deny that they are there in some form allows them to grow and fester without my knowledge. While I may never spray paint hate messages on the building of a perceived enemy, or beat up another human being until they were unrecognizable, I could make statements or observations that are damaging towards the dignity and respect entitled to all human beings; even those, and perhaps especially those who refuse to show me the same courtesy.
Personal responsibility is one of those things that is bipartisan and universal. There will always be others who have no concept of that type of individual accountability, or outright reject it, but I have to be willing to hold myself to the highest standard if the tide is ever going to rise again in this country and flood out the toxins.
Fiesta Time - Celebrating 10,000 Hits
at my humble blogspace.
Ya'll are the best.
Tony Snow Tapped to Replace Scotty
Dueling with Dubya
Reporter: What do you say to the critics who believe that you are ignoring the advice of retired generals and military commanders who say there needs to be a change?
Bush: I say I listen to all voices but mine's the final decision and Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror - He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation but I'm the decider and I decide what is best and what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of defense.
Not only has an 8th general called for Rummie's ouster since George threw that public temper tantrum last week, even the Republican leadership is starting to take pot shots at him under the guise of anonymous quotes. Steven D has the details
From the bowels of the right wing organ Insight Magazine (a Moonie Times production) comes a story about the latest people calling for Rumsfeld's resignation: GOP Congressional Leaders . . .I don't get this cabal's fascination with human sacrifices. You would think the children were enough to satisfy their need to shed blood. To be honest, this is one duel I'm growing tired of waiting for in the town square. Someone's gotta flinch sooner or later.
Several prominent Republicans in the House and Senate have urged President Bush to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of an administration shakeup.
GOP sources said many in the congressional leadership have warned that growing opposition against Mr. Rumsfeld could result in the loss of the Republican Party’s majority in the 2006 elections. They said Mr. Rumsfeld has become the lightning rod for the public discontent with the administration.
"The leadership wants a sacrifice to show the American people that the president is listening to them on Iraq," a leadership source said. "The most obvious choice is Rumsfeld."
Join the Revolution this Saturday
He is living up to that promise, but needs our help.
The Democratic National Committee announced it will hold a National "Neighbor-to-Neighbor Organizing Day" on Saturday, April 29, 2006. The events on April 29th will kick-off a national effort by volunteers across the nation who will go door-to-door to talk with their neighbors about the Democratic Party's bold vision for America based on honest leadership and real security.You can search for local events by zip code at the link provided above. Also, there are talking-point guides, downloads for doorhangers and news from groups being organized in places such as South Carolina and Wyoming.
This grassroots event represents an important next step in the DNC's State Partnership Project to help turn the vision of a permanent Democratic majority into a reality. The April event is the first of three national organizing drives that are a key part of building strong Election Day teams for 2006 and beyond. Democratic volunteers are working in their communities to organize and mobilize volunteers and voters.
If we want to see this country leave the current path of destruction it's on, then we have to wake up our neighbors one by one. Major props to the DNC for organizing this grass-roots endeavor, I'll make sure to wear sunblock on Saturday.
Sunday round about town
katiebird always has something cooking, and now she's taking it on the road! Okay, well maybe just down the road, at the moment, but it's only the beginning. She's official now... even has a cool new announcement flyer!
How can you tell when a blog has gotten out of control? When it becomes a book! Okay, so well it was never a blog in the first place, but what is a novel besides a really big (slaved over, revised, structured, peopled, plotted, edited, etc) blog? Our own kansas's book is out, and I hope it's selling like fry bread!
Did you know that it was jazz appreciation month? Me either! James knew, though and he has a bit of a retrospective on some jazz greats and the jazz community. Good reading, good music...what more could you ask for?
[UPDATE!] I am putting forth our first ever Eegian Neighborhood Stroll Petition! (whew). Here goes:
Sign it as you will! Also, I think she should put her past diary stuff up (don't go look!). I was looking at some of it yesterday, after she mentioned one of them on self-censorship (don't look! wait til she reposts them!) and man... still as powerful today as they were when written. The mentioned one gave me chills, especially with a new understanding of it (DON'T look!... okay, well you can look at just this one- but no more).
[UPDATE IN THE MIDDLE!] Boy, are we good. Our petition has gotten results! And what results it's gotten, too. Wowee... dove has put up a powerful piece that could have been written yesterday (ahem!), but was written the day after the 2004 elections.
Who knew that slackdom was such hard work!? Reading Family Man's accounts of his "slack" days will have you not only giggling, but (almost) completely convinced that maybe there is more rest at the office! It's a new blog, so just read the whole thing, lol.
[UPDATE AGAIN!] Deano... artcrit... what can I say? (nothing intelligent, I assure you.) I do love reading the comments there, though, and the discussions of the various artwork, styles and so on. And of course looking at the art... very interesting stuff.
Hah! Duke doesn't let very high profile hypocrisy fly under the radar. He's holding Arnold to the same standard that Arnold wants to hold others. Here's a quote: "So how did Arnold start on his road to fame and fortune ... the all-American Republican way, he broke the law and took advantage of other peoples suffering.". Heh.
Even in Canada they have flag issues! Slightly different ones, though... catnip tells us all about the flag flap. Grrr.
Xicanopwr slices and dices the latest Malkin sliming and whining. Good job! Never let them get away with it, not even one inch. [A LITTLE UPDATE!] XicanoPwr went and posted an article on that Reconquista nonsense, while we weren't looking! Thank goodness that's being tackled... there is a history of how it came into being and how it's being used by nativists now. Great background stuff.
[HUGE UPDATE!] OMG, I forgot olivia! Don't ask me how, just chalk it up to old age, or something. Because I was just thinking about her site today, and how, through olivia, I have figured out why (some of)the rightwing hates nature... it's because so much of it is...well, a tad risque! But that's not all... she has cookies! Okay, well maybe not real cookies, but the first thing I thought of when I saw these was those little whatever cookies covered with a hard shell sugar icing. Yum! And, of course, she has lots more besides! Including bugs and a most gorgeous calla lily. Go look! (And don't mention my missing brain, thanks).
All done! (I think)
Immigration Reform and the Catholic Church
First, there's a new poll out trying to make sense of the dynamics being played out between the GOP and the Catholics.
The national immigration debate is muddying Republican relations with Roman Catholics — coveted swing voters who comprise about one-quarter of the electorate.The article examines the rightward trending that has occurred over the past 30 years from a decidely Democratic affiliation among the laity to George Bush winning a majority of Catholic voters against a Catholic nominee (Kerry). The tilt has been felt in the pews as we still deal with the backlash against the Second Vatican Council.
While Catholic bishops and many Republican politicians share opposition to abortion, they're often split over the specifics of immigration reform. Church leaders are challenging — and in some cases even vowing to defy — the tougher enforcement proposals by GOP lawmakers.
Catholics in AP-Ipsos polling were more likely than Protestants and white evangelicals to support allowing immigrants to be temporary workers and to oppose making it a serious crime to be in this country without documentation.
Regarding immigration, the U.S. Bishops are virtually united in solidarity with those seeking a better life. Here's an excerpt from the Justice for Immigrants webcenter outlining myths in the debate.
Today’s immigrants are different than those of 100 years ago
The percentage of the U.S. population that is foreign-born now stands at 11.5%; in the early 20th century it was approximately 15%. Similar to accusations about today’s immigrants, those of 100 years ago initially often settled in mono-ethnic neighborhoods, spoke their native languages, and built up newspapers and businesses that catered to their fellow émigrés. They also experienced the same types of discrimination that today’s immigrants face, and integrated within American culture at a similar rate. If we view history objectively, we remember that every new wave of immigrants has been met with suspicion and doubt and yet, ultimately, every past wave of immigrants has been vindicated and saluted.
Most immigrants cross the border illegally
Around 75% of today’s immigrants have legal permanent (immigrant) visas; of the 25% that are undocumented, 40% overstayed temporary (non-immigrant) visas.
(Source: Department of Homeland Security (http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/index.htm)
Weak U.S. border enforcement has lead to high undocumented immigration
From 1986 to 1998, the Border Patrol’s budget increased six-fold and the number of agents stationed on our southwest border doubled to 8,500. The Border Patrol also toughened its enforcement strategy, heavily fortifying typical urban entry points and pushing migrants into dangerous desert areas, in hopes of deterring crossings. Instead, the undocumented immigrant population doubled in that timeframe, to 8 million—despite the legalization of nearly 3 million immigrants after the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. Insufficient legal avenues for immigrants to enter the U.S., compared with the number of jobs in need of workers, has significantly contributed to this current conundrum.
(Source: Immigration and Naturalization website: http://www.ncjrs.org/ondcppubs/publications/enforce/border/ins_3.html)
Those are government websites backing up the mythbusting Who knew that facts were so important?... [raised eyebrow]
Social justice movements within the Church are also firmly planted on the side of immigrants, as they should be. Here's the link and an excerpt to the policy paper issued by Catholic Charities, entitled Justice for Newcomers.
Just and comprehensive policies addressing the needs of newcomers – as well as the security and economic health of our nation – should be a priority as Congress seeks to reform our nation’s immigration laws. The positions of Catholic Charities USA are deeply rooted in Catholic social teaching and our local agencies’ experiences in providing services to nearly half a million immigrants. Our agencies have been working with immigrants for more than 100 years, and experience first hand the economic and political forces that cause people to seek a better life in the United States, as well as the impact of current immigration policies that keep an estimated 11 million undocumented persons in the shadows, separate families and disrupt family life, and cause undue hardship to those who are working hard and building their own American dream.The fact that the Church is siding with *gasp* the political left on this issue has sent people like Bill O'Reilly into frothing mad tantrums. Who knew that choosing to be non-partisan was such an issue? (I kid, I kid.)
Anywho, two more links that I think are relevant for understanding why the Catholic Church has more power in this discussion than most people realize. The first is a .pdf from the Arizona Catholic Conference, which is comprised of the Bishops in the state as well as Gallup, NM which extends into parts of northern Az, aptly titled You Welcomed Me.
The last linkage is to an interview with Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of the Diocese of Washington D.C. (soon to be retired) and probably the most powerful prelate in the country, with Cardinal Mahoney of L.A. not far behind. My favorite part, for obvious reasons (it discusses economic policies):
I applaud the bishops and cardinals for taking a stand for human rights. For far too long, the pulpits have been used to divide and condemn, rather than empower the people in the pews to treat everyone with the dignity and respect that is deserved and mandated by the teachings of Jesus. Here's a prayer and a candle-lighting from someone who wishes to see a resurgence of the Catholicism that was practiced by admirable human beings like Dorothy Day and Óscar Romero.
What, to you, are the most essential changes to make?
First of all, we need to cooperate with other countries so people can stay where they are. The most important right people have is the right to make it where they have roots planted. If that doesn't happen, often because of economic policies of well-developed nations, that's something we have to look at. We [should] help other countries develop economically themselves, so people aren't forced to look around [for] a place to find a better life.
Paz y amistad por todos.
Tags: catholic church, immigration, Cardinal McCarrick.
Friday Bud Blogging
Minutemen Issue Ultimatum to Bush
Minuteman border watch leader Chris Simcox has a message for President Bush: Build new security fencing along the border with Mexico or private citizens will.Simcox said Wednesday that he's sending an ultimatum to the president, through the media, of course — "You can't get through to the president any other way" — to deploy military reserves and the National Guard to the Arizona border by May 25.Or, Simcox said, by the Memorial Day weekend Minuteman Civil Defense Corps volunteers and supporters will break ground to start erecting fencing privately.
Start with a 6-foot deep trench so a vehicle can't crash through; behind it, a roll of concertina (coiled, razor-edged barbed wire) in front of a 15-foot high heavy-gauge steel mesh fence angled outward at the top.Behind the fence will be a 60- to 70-foot wide unpaved but graded dirt road, along with inexpensive, mounted video cameras that can be monitored from home computers. On the other side of the road will be a second, 15-foot fence, with more concertina wire on its outside.
The U.S. Border Patrol is not situated just at the line, they are located all across the southern parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. There are checkpoints at virtually every single major roadway that connects the cities of our region.
When I drove to San Diego last month for a meetup with blog friends, I went through three separate stops (both ways). At the second checkpoint, located about 30 miles east of the San Diego metro area, I was asked by Border Patrol agents to lift the lid of my hardshell that covers the bed of my truck so they could inspect it. The drug-sniffing dogs were out and about, and I was asked the standard question: "What's your citizenship?"
As I was retelling the story to the meetup folks, one of them couldn't believe that I was asked to clarify my legal status. To be honest, I was surprised at her question because it is a regular occurrence down here, especially for someone like me who looks Mexican. It's just part of the routine to answer "United States" (if you answer "American", they will question you further, because apparently they think you are trying to deceive them since there are North, Central and South varieties of that title).
I don't tell these types of stories to elicit sympathy, rather as an education that there are scores of American citizens like me who get the extra-fun version of routine screenings. Whether it's at the airport or driving in my vehicle to go see friends in Sierra Vista, I can count on extra attention.
It's beyond fucked up.
I am sick of groups like the Minutemen who have invaded my city for the month of April, sitting in their lawn chairs with binoculars, looking out for any brown folk who cross their path. I'm a proud liberal because I stand with groups like the ACLU who are fighting against this entrenched racism and bigotry that has permeated the American culture so deeply that most people don't even recognize it anymore.
It is very tempting to blame illegal immigrants for my woes as a Mexican American living in such close proximity to my motherland. It is easy to say, "get the fuck out, so La Migra will leave me alone," but that is not a path of humanity that honors my ancestry.
The reality is, the policies of the U.S. government have destroyed the balance that will be necessary to build a system of migration that is amicable to all affected nations. The United States of America has become a global empire that holds far too many economies and people of the world in submission. It's outrageous that the Republican leadership gives a wink and a nod towards a "comprehensive bill" while at the same time running blatant lies in the Spanish media blaming the very people who have the power and conscience to fight back against the hate and diviseness. Luckily the Democrats are fighting back, but it is not enough.
The backlash is beginning against those of us who marched in solidarity for human rights on April 10th. I have no regrets for standing up for what I believe - the dignity of every person, no matter what gender, race, creed or nationality. Will the American people do the same or will the United States continue to spiral down the path of global isolation?
The Minutemen know where they stand, do we?
Why do you blog?
One of the coolest things that I think has transpired over the past year was the emergence of blogs by blogfriends that plays to their interests and passions. Katiebird over at Eat4Today is building a great resource of information and fellowship for people who are trying to wrestle with nutrition and health well-being. Deano consistently offers cool and exciting pieces at the Art Crit, allowing readers to share what type of inspiration is struck by viewing it; and not enough praise can be lavished by the amazing photography offered by olivia and Puget4. New blogs are sprouting up each day, such as Mundane Doesn't Describe It and Even Flow. I think it's great that we are able to mix our interests with our politics, because that is how we live our world.
Over the Easter weekend I spent time with my family at the ranch that we have been congregating for the past 25 years to celebrate and relax over the holiday. Every once in awhile a conversation would sprout up about immigration, the spread of war, or that kicker of all issues that affects everyone--gas prices. I'm lucky to have a family that is culturally Democratic, but at the same time there is a widespread belief that both parties are more concerned about money and corporate power than the everyday person™. Ironic how even the folks in the sleepy Copper Belt of Arizona can filter out the media blather and see the truth of our dire situation as a nation.
I realized the importance of my blogging when I had a conversation regarding immigration with an uncle of mine (he's actually my late grandfather's first-cousin, but I digress). He and his wife do alot of exploring and hiking and were disgusted at the trash and destruction happening in parts of Cochise County, where alot of human trafficking occurs everyday. I told them about Operation Gatekeeper and how that has forced the funneling of these people into remote areas, increasing the death toll exponentially, and how the current bills such as HR4437 up for debate will be an expansion of those policies of death.
He began the conversation ready to build the Great Wall of Arizona to ending it thinking about how our government has created a lot of this mess by ignoring the economic stabilization needed to slow the flow of labor. If you read commentary by leaders such as Ted Kennedy, you can see that he "gets it"; but unfortunately the propaganda has been pervasive and his words are shut out of a good chunk of Americans due to a burning fire of hatred fanned by the likes of Rush, Savage and the Faux News goons.
Anywho, I've done enough blathering this morning. Why do you blog?
A Government of Empty Suits
Scotty's replacement will be just another empty suit robot, programmed to parrot the propaganda that Karl Rove will now be spending his full energies on creating and distributing. They have absolutely no will or desire to democratize their circle of influence. It is the same cabal of chickenhawk policy advisors who are advocating for the spread of war. If you disagree with their worldview, you are either a traitor or a terrorist.
I wish I could say with confidence that the American public will correct the destructive path the country is currently being lulled towards by the cooing of Rita Cosby's voice, but that should've happened in 2004. The neocon propaganda is everywhere, and as long as a substantive group of Americans get all of their news from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, there will always be a cushion of supporters for the Empty Suit Brigade.
Karl Rove quipped once, ""As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing."
He wasn't kidding. The reality we face is that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who have an unshakeable faith in their President and government. The idea that deception and manipulation is the modus operandi for their elected officials would disrupt their false sense of security. 9/11 changed everything all right - it turned the United States into a nation of lemmings.
The era of subpeona power to investigate and indict our top leaders will be over if two things don't happen quickly:
- The Democratic party regains control of at least one branch of Congress
- The Democratic party ends its subservience to the Almighty Dollar that is driving all aspects of our government policy
Tags: Scott McClellan, Karl Rove, George Bush
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake Open Thread
and I suspect will garner the same reaction
Courtesy of One Whole Clove
Promote Peace - Send a Flower to a Congressman/woman
Click the image to be transported to the latest Epicenter for Peace. We are organizing a non-violent protest to target congressmen and women who support the spreading of war, asking them to put a stop to George's Great Adventure.
The effort is already attracting the attention of local media in Michigan, where BostonJoe has spearheaded the idea.
"Flower power" may be making a comeback as activists plan to send carnations and other Petals for Peace to the Lansing office of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, in hopes of getting him to reconsider his support for the war in Iraq.Spread the word! Recommends and comments at DKos are greatly appreciated. PAZ!
Mares Hirchert, a Democratic activist in Hartland Township, plans to take part by sending a copy of a painting of flowers and some actual flowers to Rogers.
"It just seemed like something everybody can do," she said.
Hirchert said Rogers should shift focus from his legislation to stop protests at military funerals: "Why aren't we working on stopping the funerals in the first place?"
The flower protest is being organized by Terry Olson, a member of the Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice. He said it's a continuation of a weeklong demonstration in late March.
[UPDATE] Here's another image to use for your faxes for Peace:
Tags: Iraq war, Petals for Peace, antiwar protests, Mike Rogers
So It Begins
YAKIMA, Wash. — While much of the country frets about too many illegal immigrants, farmers in this famed apple-growing region east of the Cascade Range complain they can no longer find enough.Washington State is only one of many examples where the "harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few" to take a Biblical phrase literally (the wingnuts do it, why can't I?) Expect to see conditions strain within the citrus industry, especially as the ink from the Georgia governor's pen dries on their latest "Yoe kind aint welcome hea" legislation.
During the last two years, Yakima-area apple growers were so short of the migrant field hands they rely on to prune and pick their prized crop that a few brought in workers from Thailand.
Others said they never did find enough workers and watched in anguish as precious fruit was left dangling on trees.
This summer, with farmers expecting a bountiful apple crop, they also predict that the worker shortage will worsen, threatening a hand-harvesting industry valued at more than $1.5 billion in Washington state. In the last big-crop year, growers employed an estimated 42,300 seasonal apple workers, according to state officials.
"I hear people saying, 'We don't have enough workers now,' " said family apple farmer Larry Knudson. And April is a slow month, he added. "If that's now, what is it going to be like when we ratchet up our seasonal programs in June?"
Nope, that won't encourcage racial profiling. If there's a silver lining to this all, at least Georgia can ensure for generations to come that they will remain on par with the rest of the country for minority incarcerations levels.
The law requires verification that adults seeking many state-administered benefits are in the country legally. It sanctions employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants and mandates that companies with state contracts check the immigration status of employees.
The law also requires police to check the immigration status of people they arrest.
Bless their hearts...
Tags: immigration, Georgia, minority incarceration, farm workers
Saturday MSOC WaPo open thread w/action
If you've cruised around blogtopia at all today, you couldn't miss the bruhaha about the Wapo frontpage article about Maryscott O'Connor and the "angry liberal left." Since more than enough pixels have been wasted on the topic already, I figured I'd just leave a little LINK here for anyone who would like to send a LTE over to WaPo and let them know what you thought of the article.
now on to the cheesecake... how's your weekend so far. Today was sunny and almost 80 degrees here in NY.
Friday Bud Blogging
Don't eat too many peeps this weekend!
Finding the Center and Washing Some Feet
My passion as a liberal is best expressed when I am true to my center. I am most alive when I reach out to others in tolerance and respect. My soul and spirit are most inflamed (in a good way) when I am fighting for those who are victims of injustices. That is why I have such a strong reaction to real and perceived threats to the marginalized.Many things have changed since I wrote those words. The national debate has shifted from worldwide riots caused by cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to xenophobic outrage aimed at the United Arab Emirates regarding port security; from the continuous drumbeats of war growing ever-closer with Iran to the millions of human beings marching peacefully in the streets to demand an end to hate-filled immigration reform policies.
The past few days have been very difficult for me as I've wrestled with the various emotions that I've allowed to consume me. I'm extremely glad that Lent has arrived, because it forces me to do some inner-searching for peace and listening to my heart. How can I expect to bring peace to the world, when I don't have it fully within me? That is the question that I will be pondering when I receive the ashes on my forehead today, as well as the journey for the next 40ish days.
I hope the outcome for me will mirror that of the Phoenix. That I will be able to sing its song of passion and renewal to the world, rising out of the ashes and signaling growth and new life.
My goal at the start of Lent was to seek growth and understanding in a world that is increasingly hostile towards non-violent forms of protest. I have carried the words of BooTribbers NorthDakotaDemocrat, BostonJoe and others with me as I've fasted and meditated on a way to do my part to end the global violence being unleashed in my name.
The ironic thing has been that the more thinking and internal processing I do, the more I've been motivated towards outward action, actually getting my butt away from the keyboard and into the streets. I've attended anti-war protests and immigrant rights marches since I started on this path, plus the Left Coast BT Meetup which was a major recharging of the battery.
Before, I would spend my time talking about doing those things, now I've actually been out in the crowds and experienced the power of the people in a way that gives me hope and resolve to persevere and help to grow the Movement. Early on, I wrote about the need to do what we could to advance Peace, according to our gifts and strengths. It was that point that I centered my meditation upon last night after the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper, which signals the beginning of the Easter, or Paschal Triduum for the Catholic Church.
The Holy Thursday liturgy is not just about bread and wine, its message is also centered upon service towards others, specifically through the action of washing each others' feet. This gesture of humility and service towards fellow human beings motivates me as a Catholic Christian, not division and demonization of "otherness", which is regrettably being preached from far too many pulpits and platforms.
Washing a stranger's feet? Sure it's uncomfortable, and just a tad disgusting, but that dissonance is mirrored when we shake out of our comfort zones and put our lives and livelihood on the line for a common purpose not shared by the majority of American society. As I find myself reaching the center of the labyrinth, I know that there is alot of danger ahead, but I am also aware that I do not stand alone. The Revolution is here, my friends, the hard part is figuring out which role to play.
Namaste - I bow to the spirit within you
Immigration News Roundup 4/13/06
Two days after a big immigration march in Phoenix, the Arizona Legislature approved legislation to make illegal immigrants subject to the state's criminal trespassing law.The Senate approved the bill on a 17-12 vote yesterday and the House followed with a 33-27 vote, with both Republican-led chambers voting nearly along party lines.
[snip]The bill (SB1157) was sent to Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano. She declined yesterday to say what she'll do with it but her office later released letters from 12 law enforcement groups and officials, including sheriffs of three border counties, urging her to veto the bill.The bill "represents an enormous unfunded obligation for state, county and local law enforcement," Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada wrote.
On to more positive developments, the protests are being deemed successful at forcing moderation in the debate on Capitol Hill.
Even Senator (blech) Kyl is starting to admit that he isn't going to make his wet-dream of mass expulsion a reality.Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., predicted Tuesday that the heavy, peaceful turnout of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Arizona and other cities nationwide will "keep the focus on a possible compromise in the Senate.""The political realities are that those who are pushing a compromise ... have a bit of momentum on their side," Renzi said. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for example, "is feeling a little wind at his back" in continuing to press for compromise, he said.McCain vowed to keep working toward a new Senate agreement that would allow eventual legalization of millions of immigrants now in the United States illegally.
Riiiiiiight, because the participants of the marches support your draconian ideas. Quit deluding yourself Senator. Your time for pontification is nearing its end.Kyl said he's unsure whether his voluntary return idea will survive any compromise that may come when Congress takes up the issue again.There's a good possibility that immigrant rights marches across the country Monday might encourage Democratic leaders to clear the logjam, Kyl said.The senator said a compromise should specify that guest workers can work here only on a temporary basis and not provide an automatic path to citizenship for those who sneaked into the country.
What are you hearing in your local media reports?
Vanilla Cheesecake Open Thread
Courtesy of Gooby's Kitchen
More Saber-Rattling from the Chickenhawk Brigade
"The White House is not an intelligence-gathering agency"The truth manages to find it's way out somehow, eh? That nugget of wisdom from Scotty was in response to today's bombshell news (pun intended) from the Washington Post that the Bushistas knowingly withheld information from the public that debunked their claims of mobile trailers being used as laboratories to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
That lie was just one of many that were used to condition the American people for the expansion of war. The run-up to the Iraq invasion was blatantly full of propaganda, and the division lines of support weren't necessarily partisan, it was whether a person's bullshit meter was calibrated correctly or not. Catnip has more on the power of message-control.
When I recently read an article that appeared on Slate's website, "The Twilight of Objectivity" by Michael Kinsley, which supports the idea of opinion-based journalism over objective reporting, I flinched at the thought. With the advances made on the internet, the presence of newspaper editorial sections and the proliferation of readily available radio and television news pundits, the one thing we cannot afford to surrender is a media that gives us "just the facts, ma'am" - especially when we know that influential, agenda-driven organizations like the Pentagon and the White House have the power to distort the truth every single day by planting stories, opinions and by flat-out lying. We saw it happen with the Iraq war and it's deja vu all over again with the current warmongering about Iran.I've always been one to give a person the benefit of the doubt. When I meet someone new they have a clean slate with me, it's just the way I'm wired. With George though, the 2000 primary election season sealed his fate in my perception of him as a slimy scumbag. He proved capable of going for the jugular either directly or through his well-connected web of goons. It's the reason I don't trust anything that comes from their noise machine.
We've seen blowback against these efforts on the internet, led by the blogosphere, but we must also be careful not to fall into the trap of taking comfort in only those opinions that soothe us. We must be ever vigilant.
It's no surprise that the general public has almost become immune to the ghastly pictures of death we see every night on our television screens or that proven facts about wrongdoings by the Bush administration seem to be taken so lightly by so many who take so long to catch up to reality. It's just too difficult for some to believe that the person who leads their country could be anything but someone who acts for the good of the people which he is supposed to serve.
Especially crap like this
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that it is "time for action" on the international demands for Iran to cease its uranium enrichment activities.Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (that's the correct way to say it, Mr. Chickenhawk in Chief)
Iran said Tuesday it had enriched uranium at a level of concentration high enough to operate a nuclear power plant, defying last month's U.N. Security Council presidential statement calling for Tehran to suspend the program.
"When the Security Council reconvenes [later this month], I think it will be time for action," Rice said. "We can't let this continue."
Tags: Iran, George Bush, Iraq, propaganda
A Second Helping of Brownie
The height of incompetence was on full display as the gulf coast region was battered by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA's bureaucracy ruled the day and the resources needed by the people were not delivered in an effective way (some speculate that it was on purpose). In fact, the response was so bad that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives were lost due to their lack of organization and leadership.
"His strong points as a president were being seen as personally credible, as a strong leader. That has all but disappeared," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, whose latest independent poll found a dramatic decline in Bush's credibility.
A majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe Bush is "out of touch," the poll found. When asked for a one-word description of Bush, the most frequent response was "incompetent," followed by "good," "idiot" and "liar." In February 2005, the most frequent reply was "honest."
"The transformation from being seen as honest to being seen as incompetent is an extraordinary indicator of how far he has fallen," Kohut said.
So tell me, given that horrible track record, why would anyone think that this is a good idea?
Maybe the crazies aren't so crazy after all, this can only mean that the apocalypse is finally upon us.
The leaders of a Louisiana parish devastated by Hurricane Katrina may bring in hired help from an unlikely source - heavily criticized former FEMA director Michael Brown.
Brown, who resigned two weeks after Katrina hit Aug. 29 and has taken the brunt of the blame for FEMA's poor response, is set to make a pitch to the St. Bernard Parish council on Thursday. Brown says he will outline how he could help the parish "get things moving again.""They've been left by the wayside," says Brown, now a consultant since leaving the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Part of Brown's mission, if he is hired, will be to help the parish cut red tape and get help from FEMA.
Tags: Michael Brown, FEMA, hurricane, New Orleans
Legal Defense for Arrested Tucsonan Protesters
Some members of the group Border Guardians, decided to stand in front of the Mexican consulate on Sunday and burn El Tricolor. These are the guys that raised such a stink a month or so back when a Mexican official dared to give a speech in Spanish at the U of A. One of their leaders, a woman named Lawless of all things, said this to the Arizona Daily Star:CNN showed a video of this small group of racists burning the tricolor on Sunday in front of the Mexican Consulate and it has even garnered a heated response from the Mexican government.We're not picking on Mexicans specifically, but we're blaming their government and their citizens who are here illegally in the U.S.We're not picking on Mexicans, but we are burning a Mexican flag. Oh, okay then.
Even their own website says that the burning of the Mexican flag was to protest "Mexican disrespect of American Sovreignty." So, they aren't protesting against Mexicans specifically, but they are specifically protesting against Mexicans.
"We consider any provocation or vandalism of national symbols to be unacceptable," Foreign Relations Undersecretary Lourdes Aranda said in a news conference.
About 12 people from the Tucson-based Border Guardians burned the flag Sunday on the sidewalk in front of the Mexican Consulate. They carried a sign that read, "Defending American Sovereignty."
[snip]Border Guardians director Laine Lawless said the group plans to burn more flags.
"Anytime they take to the streets, we'll burn a Mexican flag," Lawless said.
They kept that promise yesterday as 15,000 peaceful marchers gathered to give a voice to the voiceless in our society. When the flag was burned, a scuffle ensued and a few protesters were removed by force and arrested. I received the following notice a few minutes ago regarding a legal challenge to the charges.
The people arrested, as many of us could see, were brutally assaulted by the police during their detention by the Tucson Police Department. We need FOOTAGE AND STATEMENTS of everything people saw to aid in the defense of these brave people! The deadline is Tuesday, April 11 at 6 pm! Please get all photos and video together TONIGHT and send it to the ACLU legal observer team. The email contact is:Don't let these media reports fool you, the marches and rallies have been overwhelmingly peaceful and positive in message from their beginning a month ago in Chicago. These vigilante groups are starting to mobilize in conjunction with our Justice events and spew their bile with indignation. Considering the horrible hate speech they were shouting yesterday, it's no wonder tempers flared.
In addition to photos and video the observers need statements from witnesses. Write down what you saw during the arrests, describe to the best of your ability the officers and people involved and get it to Karen tonight. No detail is too small. If you have any questions about these statements please email them quickly to help get this needed information together.
Again, the deadline is Tuesday, April 11 at 6 pm! Scan, copy, download and email all photos and video during the arrests to Karen tonight! If you can't email or have developed pictures the observer team will go to you to get this crucial information! Please email Karen at email@example.com with any informaiton you may have.
The A10 Legal Observer Team
Photo courtesy of the Tucson Citizen
Crossposted at BooMan Tribune and Daily Kos
Tags: Immigration, Tucson, protests