Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

I'm A Wetback

No, I didn't cross the Rio Grande to the Promised Land. I was born here in this region of the modern United States, just like seven generations (at least) of my family before me. But it doesn't matter to some people. Like that woman I accidently bumped into at Food City last month.

"I am SO sorry"

"Ugh! Go back to where you came from!" - she muttered as she stormed off with her grocery cart with the gimpy wheel.

I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. While she didn't call me a wetback, I've been called it before. Along with a host of other names that I've learned to absorb and transform into something untouchable by the hate of the speaker - orgullo - pride - in who I am and where my roots lie.

There is much gnashing of teeth and swallowing of tongues by anyone who consider human rights something more than a "quaint" notion. It's justified and certainly the response I share in solidarity.

It is also a reaction that is becoming more and more commonplace as the election nears and the rhetoric is ratcheted up. I cringe everytime I hear an elected official or a candidate espouse policy recommendations that are anathema to me. And I think that's a good thing. It's a reminder that I still have a functioning conscience.

People like Arizona GOP State Reprentative Russell Pearce, however, have long been devoid of compassion and fundamental decency. Lofty Donkey fills us in:



In an interview on KJZZ Wednesday, Republican legislator Russell Pearce called for the reinstatement of Eisenhower’s 1953 immigration plan, “Operation Wetback.” The program, which was abolished a year later, sought to round up and deport all undocumented workers.

On "Morning Edition,” Pearce explained his vision of a pre-civil rights era immigration policy of mass deportation: “We know what we need to do. In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower, put together a task force called ‘Operation Wetback.’ He removed, in less than a year, 1.3 million illegal aliens. They must be deported.”
Operation Wetback was a devastating tragedy in the history of the U.S. but you won't hear much about it in the textbooks. It's too raw in its hatred and bigotry for the American palate.
It is difficult to estimate how many Mexicans were driven from the U.S. by Operation Wetback, but the INS claimed 1,300,000, five times as many immigrants as were displaced during the Great Depression. The San Antonio district of the INS, which included all of Texas outside of El Paso and the Trans-Pecos area, officially reported that it had apprehended more than 80,000 undocumented Mexicans, and officials estimated that an additional 500,000 to 700,000 immigrants in the district fled the country in fear of the Mobile Task Force. The exact toll of Operation Wetback will never be known, but the impact on the Mexican community was destructive. Again, as in the 1930s, families were uprooted and ruined and immigrant communities were destroyed. And again, as during the Great Depression, deportations to Mexico helped defuse the political time bomb of mass unemployment in the U.S. and rescue American capitalism.

Houston Institute for Culture
This particular program targeted Mexicans, but as can be expected from Minutemen-style tactics, many others were ensnared in the round-up
The object of his intense border enforcement were "illegal aliens," but common practice of Operation Wetback focused on Mexicans in general. The police swarmed through Mexican American barrios throughout the southeastern states. Some Mexicans, fearful of the potential violence of this militarization, fled back south across the border. In 1954, the agents discovered over 1 million illegal immigrants.

In some cases, illegal immigrants were deported along with their American-born children, who were by law U.S. citizens. The agents used a wide brush in their criteria for interrogating potential aliens. They adopted the practice of stopping "Mexican-looking" citizens on the street and asking for identification. This practice incited and angered many U.S. citizens who were of Mexican American descent. Opponents in both the United States and Mexico complained of "police-state" methods, and Operation Wetback was abandoned.

PBS.org - The Border
Rightfully so; but if you listen to the screeching tirades from a growing number of (mostly) Anglo politicos/extremists, Operation Wetback may see a comeback.

It crossed my mind for a nanosecond that there could be a strong blowback to a repeat of that dark history, but I have little hope for widespread concern for human rights with respect to border policies. After all, the U.S. Congress just removed habeus corpus as the law of the land and endorsed torture.

It's gone from worse to unconscionable in a short amount of time. Next on the list is tyrannical.

What can we do to stop it? It's clear that the political system is a failed route.

[UPDATE] Okay, maybe not a failed route, that's alittle harsher than I intended; but forgive me for the dillusionment after seeing so many rabid extremists using their bully pulpits to send this country further down the path to hell.

The question remains: What can we do to stop it? (the downward spiral)

Crossposted at Migra Matters

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dark Thoughts on a Dark Day

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume;
when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...

As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only,
but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all:
but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....

No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne
There are times in one's life when all that can be seen are shadows. It has nothing to do with depression but rather the true existence of such vast darkness that one can't help but pause and stare into the abyss.

While I'm relatively young, many events in my life have been secured as these types of moments. Deaths of very close family members and friends, direct assaults on my personhood as a brown-skinned human being in a society that sneers at diversity, and of course world tragedies that are reminders that "no man is an island."

September 11th was one of those dark days that has unfortunately been replayed emotionally inside of me for the past five years. How could it not? We're constantly reminded that the bloodshed and carnage wrought by our military forces are to "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here". The "them" has never been accurately defined and, in fact, you'll probably receive a different answer for every person you ask - especially among the atrocity supporters.

Today, September 28, 2006, will also be cemented in my soul as a day I will not soon forget where I was nor what I was feeling - utter despair
The Senate today rejected an amendment to a bill creating a new system for interrogating and trying terror suspects that would have guaranteed such suspects access to the courts to challenge their imprisonment.

[snip]

The bill’s ultimate passage was assured on Wednesday when Democrats agreed to forgo a filibuster in return for consideration of the amendment. Any changes in the Senate bill, however, would have made it impossible for Republican leaders to meet their goal of sending the bill to the White House before adjourning on Friday to hit the campaign trail.

Underscoring the political stakes involved, White House spokesman Tony Snow said today that President Bush will emphasize Democratic opposition to the bill in campaign appearances.

linkage
The very fabric of the United States has been altered by the actions of Congress today. While it had already morphed into something totally unrecognizable due to pResidential signing statements, it has now been endorsed by the very people who are supposedly representatives of all Americans.

The political system of this country is dead.

The electorate is changeable with a few computer keystrokes, the corporate citizen carries more weight than the average voter, and at the helm of this ship is a man who will stay the course even if "Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting" him.

That sound carried on the wind is more than just a bell, it's the promise of destruction on the rocks; and today, the U.S. Senate extinguished the lamp in the lighthouse forever.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Open Thread

In a foul mood. This should help

Torturing the Country to its Demise

Just a quick recap on what the government has already admitted doing to other human beings:

The CIA sources described a list of six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 and used, they said, on a dozen top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques:

1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.

2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.

3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.

5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

linkage
I can't imagine what else happens after they make sure there are no cameras around. Porter Goss, while director of the CIA, had this to say:
"This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work. We use lawful capabilities to collect vital information, and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture."

linkage
The problem with that false statement is that at least one of the techniques administered by CIA interrogators was used as evidence for war crimes trials in the aftermath of World War II. cookie jill, over at skippy the bush kangaroo, shares some of the intel:

interestingly, the united states has long since answered that question. following the end of the second world war we prosecuted a number of japanese military and civilian officials for war crimes. including the torture of captured allied personnel. at one of those trials, united states v. sawada, here’s how captain chase nielsen, a crew member in the 1942 doolittle raid on japan, described his treatment, when he was captured, (and later tried for alleged war crimes by a japanese military commission):

q: what other physical treatment was administered to you at that time?
a: well, i was given what they call the water cure.
q: explain to the commission what that was.
a: wthey poured water on this towel until i was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let me up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again.
q: when you regained consciousness would they keep asking you questions?
a: yes sir they did.
q: how long did this treatment continue?
a: bout twenty minutes.
q: what was your sensation when they were pouring water on the towel, what did you physically feel?
a: well, i felt more or less like i was drowning, just gasping between life and death.
Since both of my lockstep Republican Senators have capitulated on the TORTURE issue, I'm once again having to rely on Democrats from other states to make my objections heard regarding any compromises with the Abu Ghraib White House.

So far it's been nothing but crickets and sideline kettle corn eating by the Dems while the GOP hashes out the details. It would be nice for a human rights coalition to start leading instead of reacting. Thanks to Chris over at Booman Tribune, I find I'm not alone in my disillusionment:

Digby

Makes a tear come to the eye, doesn't it, the way men like McCain and Lieberman keep evoking Lincoln and the Bible as they work to institutionalize torture and continue a bloody, useless war that kills thousands and thousands of people? It's all very inspirational.
I'm with the snarky Digby. Inspirational Torture - God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Text of Nat'l Intelligence Estimate

Major tip of the sombrero to AMERICAblog for transcribing the original .pdf so quickly

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Declassified Key Judgments of the National
Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism:
Implications for the United States” dated April 2006

Key Judgments

United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

• Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.

• If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.

• Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.

We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse. New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.

• We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalized cells will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad but also in the Homeland.

• The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.

We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.

• The Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.

• Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq “jihad;” (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims—all of which jihadists exploit.

Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists’ radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.

• The jihadists’ greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution—an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari’a-based governance spanning the Muslim world—is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists’ propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.

• Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.

• Countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.

If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.

Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role.

• The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements. We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qa’ida.

• Should al-Zarqawi continue to evade capture and scale back attacks against Muslims, we assess he could broaden his popular appeal and present a global threat.

• The increased role of Iraqis in managing the operations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq might lead veteran foreign jihadists to focus their efforts on external operations.

Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al- Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.

• We assess that such groups pose less of a danger to the Homeland than does al-Qa’ida but will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies and to US interests abroad. The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local regime targets and regional or global ones.

We judge that most jihadist groups—both well-known and newly formed—will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics.

• CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.

While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists.

Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.

• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meeting at the Sacred Mountain

Etched into the headstone of Urbici Jose Francisco Soler Y Manonelles is the outline of a mountain. A mountain which is within driving distance from his grave in El Paso, Texas - Mount Cristo Rey.

It's fitting that the image of can be found on his tombstone. Here's why:
[In the 1920s/30s] A parish priest dreamed of a white cross on the top of a mountain and from this dream grew the monument of Cristo Rey, the largest of its kind in North America. Father Lourdes F. Costa, pastor of the San Jose de Cristo Rey church in Smeltertown, northwest of El Paso, arose with the sun each morning and turned in the direction of the conical peak outside of his window. He always thought that was a perfect setting for a monument to Christ the King, the Prince of Peace.

The Pope called parishes throughout the world for spiritual or material monuments for the 19th Centennial of the Redemption, and Father Costa saw Cristo Rey as a “divine inspiration.” With a few hundred of his parishioners, he began the main action of carving out a trail up the steep mountain to the highest point. They put in position a small wooden cross and prayed that a bigger monument might some day be made there.

...

Although the mountain geographically is in New Mexico, the base also lies in Texas and Old Mexico. The cross of Cristo Rey is 33.5 feet high resting on a nine foot base with an overall height of 42.5 feet. The statue of Cristo Rey was chiseled out of Austin limestone, a product of the Texas Quarries. The sculptor was Urbici Soler, of international fame, who also helped construct the Christ of the Andes.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Back in July, the border community of Sunland Park, New Mexico, made headlines by rejecting the popular calls for militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. They refused to issue permits allowing the National Guard to patrol their sacred space - their sacred mountain.
And, on July 18, the City Council distinguished Sunland Park from other border communities by voting 4-2 to keep the National Guard away, by denying a right-of-entry permit to the mountain.

Demonstrating that border communities can have a say in how their borders are secured, Border Patrol officials decided to heed the decision.

"For us, it's a sanctuary, a place of worship," Sunland Park Mayor Jesus Ruben Segura says. "Having troops on the mountain is not appropriate."

Sunland Park is a community of about 16,000, but each fall on the last Sunday of October, a pilgrimage up Mount Cristo Rey attracts 25,000 to 35,000 people, Segura says. The mountaintop, which offers views of New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico, is 1,000 feet above the surrounding valleys and deserts and nearly 4,600 feet above sea level. Pilgrims go up the mountain singing hymns and reciting the rosary. Fourteen stations along the trail represent the way of the cross.

linkage
When the Spanish conquistadors made their way through this area centuries ago, they brought with them the Catholicism that would ultimately dominate the spirituality of the indigenous people; but the forces of synergy have produced something in the modern era that endures.

It is in our blood to be connected to the land - la tierra sancta. It is a deep respect and knowledge of our commonality with the life that surrounds us in all forms.

In the context of pilgrimage and prayer, it goes beyond a simple gathering as a group in a special place - it is about familia, nuestra fe y la paz - family, our faith and peace. Mount Cristo Rey, which I didn't know much about until elRanchero mentioned the permit denial in July, is a symbol of the bi-culturalism that is deeply rooted in the borderlands.
Each year since the first pilgrimage in 1934, faithful worshippers have climbed the path, which begins at the end of McNutt Road at the base of the mountain. Some worshippers carry wooden crosses, rosaries and flowers in the tradition they learned from parents or grandparents. Still others walk barefoot over the rough path; some climb on their knees, fulfilling a promise made during the year. The winding dirt trail is 5,650 feet up the mountain. Young or old, an individual in good condition can walk up to the summit in about two hours.

The anniversary mass each October is observed at noon on the mount's summit. It is said in both English and Spanish so everyone can understand the ceremony. The celebration ends with the proclamation, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long live Christ the King!"). Celebrants respond with, "Viva!" which resounds softly over the valley below.

linkage to El Paso Community College Borderlands Project
I'm glad that the people who join the pilgimage each year will be able to do so again this year without armed National Guard troops standing on the sidelines. This past Saturday marked the beginning of the 13th Annual Celebration of Our Mountains - it's a reminder that while politicians play games with respect to immigration reform and border rhetoric - this land is still our home and no one can change that.

More resources:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia,
Georgia,
No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

2006 Edit: And not in a good way
A Georgia Republican says he'll apologize to a national Latino advocacy group he accused of supporting racism and illegal immigration if the organization agrees to a list of conditions.

In a press release this week, Rep. Charlie Norwood called the National Council of La Raza a "radical," "anti-American" organization that "supports racist groups calling for the secession of the western United States as a Hispanic-only homeland."

[snip]

In offering a conditional apology, Norwood asked NCLR to sever all ties with a leftist student group and its "racist doctrines," to repudiate all claims that any American territory belongs to Mexico, and to seek outside supervision to ensure that NCLR-sponsored programs do not discriminate.

linkage
Oh boy, looks like the "leftist student group" MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) got under the ignoble Congressman's skin. Let's see what these scary Aztlanistas really stand for:
What is the purpose of MEChA? MEChA's main purpose is to encourage more Latinos to enter and finish college. MEChA is also where Chicano/Mexicano and other Latino students organize for political purposes such as fighting for latino student rights and other progressive political causes.

Does MEChA want the Southwest part of the US to become part of Mexico? This is probably the most ridiculous question and the biggest untruth put out by the racist anti-immigration groups. No MEChA group wants to overthrow the US or put the Southwest under Mexico. In fact, most Chicanos and Mexicans know that Mexico is a country suffering from serious political and economic problems. Why do you think Mexicans are leaving their country? The US has its problems but it is still the country that has a very fair political system and does a fairly good job in respecting human rights. Most MEChA members are just trying to get an education and stay politically active to help other latinos. These days with the universities getting more expensive it is hard enough just to hold some part time job and go to school. The overwhelming number of Latinos are struggling economically in college. There is no time, let alone desire, to overthrow the US. Most Chicanos find it astonishing that anyone would believe that MEChA members are really actually thinking or are making plans for overthrowing the US. MEChA members do not participate in or plan any violent protests. Ask the racist organizations out there to offer any kind of proof that MEChA has participated in violent acts. MEChA is a peaceful and law abiding organization.

linkage to MEChA FAQ
Someone must've slipped in some powdered stupid into the Republican caucus' meeting room coffee because Jeebus! It seems like everywhere you look, another one forgets to keep their white sheet in the closet. Speaking of supremacists, the original article continues:
John Stone, a spokesman for Norwood, said it is significant and drew an analogy with a conservative think tank: "If the Heritage Foundation gave one small donation to the Aryan Brotherhood, I think that would cause quite a stir."
MEChA = Aryan Brotherhood = WTF?

Gotta luv projections of inadequacy. Let me take the opportunity to remind any readers of this blog whom happen to be a member of the majority race that the advocacy groups within the minority populations exist as means of equalizing centuries of bias. There are also no calls for domination and oppression of other groups of people (you) in exchange for political or social power. No, it's usually about human equality and dignity, ideas that I'm sure are completely foreign to the lizard-brained among us like Rep. Norwood.

So where could this (regrettably) elected nut be getting his information from? Ah ha! Here's a trailhead that leads one down the path to the true racist organizations in the U.S. It is just one example of many hit pieces that have been fired from the right towards groups like MEChA and NCLR.
Sher Zieve -- The American Conservative -- May 25, 2006
MEChA -- the Mexican Nazi Movement
MEChA ("Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan" or Chicano Students Movement of Aztlan) is neither a fraternity nor a "good-natured and altruistic college campus organization". Rather, it is the Hispanic version of the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan or Islamic Jihad- take your pick or mix 'n match.
You almost have to give credit to the political right for their message coordination. They have a series of vultures parrots all over the place harping on the same stuff, over and over again until it penetrates (eew) the public psyche.

So why the fear and vitriol in Georgia, aside from general ignorance?

I'm sure this has alot to do with it. This too, which provoked responses like the following:
"We need to run you out of this country. You are destroying it," said the caller, according to a tape of the call made available by the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, which is leading the voter registration drive.

Since then, the volunteers in 10 Georgia counties that are working to register Latinos have been told to work in teams for their safety, said GALEO's director Jerry Gonzalez.

"It demonstrates the dangers of political rhetoric fanning the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment," he said.
Political rhetoric? You mean there's more bile to be found? You betcha
Civil rights advocates charged Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday with seeking to score political points on the illegal immigration issue at the expense of Georgia Latinos.

During a news conference at the Capitol, Hispanic and black leaders criticized remarks Perdue made recently in announcing an initiative targeting criminals who use false documents to obtain driver’s licenses.

“It is simply unacceptable for people to sneak into this country illegally on Thursday, obtain a government-issued ID on Friday, head for the welfare office on Monday and go to vote on Tuesday,’’ the governor said.

Such incendiary comments both oversimplify the issue and foster racism, said Teodoro Maus, an advisor to the Coordinating Council of Community Leaders, one of the groups that organized Monday’s news conference.

“It has opened a Pandora’s box for direct discrimination,’’ he said. “We have to stop it. We have to come back to reality.’’

linkage
That's exactly it - Pandora's Box; and they are trying to nationalize the issue to make sure it's a big box.

Not to be outdone by the GOP Governor of his state, however, Rep. Norwood decided that he would also use this whole voter i.d. thing to trot out the tired "activist judge" meme. From a tantrum he threw on your floor of the United States House of Representatives:
Yesterday, State Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. ruled that requiring a photo ID, in his opinion, is unconstitutional, because it imposes a duty on the voter not specifically required in our state constitution.

He did not address the fact that without a photo ID, the illegal votes of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens could negate the legal ballots of hundreds of thousands of our citizens.

[snip]

Our Governor and state legislature must fight this tyrant in Georgia.

But we can speak loud and clear against those who show this contempt against the right of American voters across our nation.

We can stop election fraud today by voting for this magnificent restoration of our Constitutional rights by my friend and colleague, Chairman Hyde.

Defend the Republic. Support this bill. Thank you, and I yield.”

linkage (emphasis mine)
It would sorta be amusing to see these rabid hardliners screech like gouls in the graveyard, if their actions didn't lead to sad faces like that of Victor Perez-Lopez, a two year-old Georgian with more dignity in his pinky than Perdue and Norwood combined/multiplied exponentially.



That face is sad for a very good reason, and it has nothing to do with Values™.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Amnesty - A Dirty Four-Letter Word

Jim Pederson, who's running for the Senate seat here in Az against Jon "Round 'em all up" Kyl, penned an Op/Ed in the Arizona Republic over the weekend. Here's the opening salvo
I am no Pollyanna. When I got into this Senate race, I knew it would be tough. The philosophical differences between my opponent and me are stark, and I expected those differences to be fodder for television ads.

There's a big difference, though, between highlighting my positions in a negative light and simply fabricating them.

That's why I'm writing to set the record straight: I oppose amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

I have always opposed amnesty, and I always will.

linkage
Blah, Blah, Blah.

Look, nothing would make me happier than to see Kyl permanently retired in November. He is among the worst of the worst - especially with respect to immigration reform; but I'm sick of dragging myself to the polling station and touching the hackable choice that's the lesser of two evils.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Sen. Kyl supports amnesty today. If fact, I think that word cheapens the discussion. It's used to elicit an emotional response, which is exactly why Kyl included it in his ad.
I agree, Jim. That word does cheapen the discussion. I hope someone on your staff brings it to your attention that you just published a 493 word column and used it 10 times.

Much love,
A Concern Troll

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Come One, Come All Delurk for a Day Tour!

That's right! There were confessions of extreme lurkdom (not to be confused with slackdom) in the previous thread, so this week it's incumbent on everyone to delurk! And we have just the tool to make sure you do... it's something so terrifying, so monumental that the thought of being the focus of it just fills people with dread.

But we can't allow that to deter us this week... it's time to break out the wonderful, the terrible, the most effective tool in our online arsenal...

It doesn't matter if you are new or old, or even if you are just visiting! I'm very sorry but no one escapes....

THE PETITION:

Dear Everyone,

Please say hi.

Thanks!


Whew! Sorry to have to do that to y'all, but sometimes you just gotta do what a tourguide's gotta do. If you agree with the petition, please sign your name. This includes dove.

If everyone has recovered from the shock, we'll go on to the tour now!

ILJ has another podcast interview, this time with Thom Hartmann! A dynamic voice for the aggrieved middle class, he says (and boy, is it ever!). Go listen and read!

Buenos tardes! Oh... what? That'll get me put in jail? The way things are going, I wouldn't wonder... XP highlights the attempts to criminalize all Spanish speakers and immigrants. Also a poignant mourning for and activist attempts to save historic ethnic districts from "gentrification".. this time, El Paso's historic El Segundo barrio!

I think supersoling needs a hug! Or at least a hi... it's been a time of music and drama queens, it seems!

James thinks it's time to embrace connectiveness... he has a neat compiliation of reasons, too! Also, read more banned books! It's good for you.

[UPDATE!] Gasp. deano is running on empty! He has no art! And you know what they say happens when deano has no art.... -- yes, exactly! And we don't want that to happen, do we!? So, if you know of artists, know of people who want to get their art out there (and have it critiqued... the site IS, after all, the art crit), then send them to deano! Or deano to them! Let's band together to end artlessness!

Ahem.

Family Man is being the strong, silent type and is giving us photos (of that gorgeous pond, some in the rain, some in the fog... I am jealous) instead of updates on Family Mom! We'll just assume that things are pretty much going along as these things do... healing, but taking its time to do so. Also, he's compiled the recent wonderful series on labor that was on BooTrib.

Congressman Peter King is apparently a friend only until the chips are in his pocket... then, watch out! Duke highlights his perfidy. Also, racist endorsements of this guy were apparently too much even for Republicans!

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Guess what! It's about katiebird... should I tell? hmmm. Yes! Not only has she been delurking, and not only is she firmed daily, and not only is she still nosy, wanting to know what you are going to do today... but now she she wants to tax your brain! On Sunday! No, no... not that kind of tax, a penny for your thoughts... she has a crossword puzzle! That she made herself, and it's really fun. Go see!

Olivia is brazenly displaying awkwrightii's inner bits! And that's all I'll say about that. Also, greedy (and lovely) delicacy, and replacing the sun on a bright day!

Well, I was beginning to think that everyone was gruntled, serene and all was right with the web... but, I was wrong! Whew! There is finally more META at Mo Betta!

Speaking of catnip, she speaks of the voices of the tortured and wonders what it will take? Also, she wonders if the RCMP Commissioner is being muzzled? Seems more than one person thinks so, regarding the Arar case. It wouldn't surprise me, if so!

[UPDATE THE LAST! I think] Boran has made progress on our car! It's taking on depth and the background is coming into focus. Soon, we'll have the finished product! Also, those pesky judges keep saying "uh uh... no you don't!" to Bushco and foiling their plans! Yay for them! And I bet you can't guess who was voted off the island this time!

Facts on the ground - dollars in the pocket... Arcturus ties some loose threads together and comes up with quite a tapestry!

And right here, our Manny's a concern troll! Yay for him, I am too! And a purity troll as well, of course. Would there were more of us, eh? Plus I think some may have missed scribe's excellent other hate piece (cuz of deep in lurkdomness) so go see it this time around!

All done! I think... some haven't updated and let me know if I've missed anyone.

Use this as an Open Delurking and Saying Hi Thread!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

I forgot to turn off the flash, he wasn't amused

I'm A Concern Troll

Starting this blog last year was the best thing I could've done because I don't have to worry about dealing with diarrhea diatribes like this.

It is 48 days until the elections. Our slate of candidates are set. We have alot of ground work to do to get out the vote. So now is the time for you to work on that, for surely you would rather Democrats win in 48 days than Republicans, no matter what your disagreement.

If I see any type of "concern troll" comments talking about how the Democratic Party has lost it way or that certain candidates are either too liberal or too conservative to garner their support, I will not investigate whether such sentiments are genuine or not. I will assume they are Republican or Green concern trolls who wish us ill. And I will troll rate them. If I see a diary entitled "I hate the Democratic Party," I will troll rate the comments supportive of it therein. Whether the "concern" comes from the right or left, such comments have no place on Daily Kos this close to an election. Such comments aid the Republicans and do not help the Democrats.

I've never been much of a partisan. In fact, until the 2000 elections I was registered Independent and only switched my affiliation to Democrat to be able to vote in the primaries. I figured that if I wanted to have candidates whose policy stances were in line with mine - decidely liberal - and solid enough to resist infection by the 'finger-in-the-wind' disease, then I needed to support them with a vote in the primaries against corporate centrists.

It didn't take long for me to realize that the pool of candidates that get me truly excited was/is evaporating faster than the Santa Cruz River. Rep. Raul Grijalva, my congressman for the past year or so, is an exception and someone whom I admire greatly. That being said, how fucking arrogant do you have to be to tell someone to STFU when they are raising their very valid and very real concerns?

I get politics. I understand that in order to succeed in this "game" that you have to play along with the rest of the jokers in power. The problem is - that is exactly what is sending the country and the world down the gawdamned path to hell.

By silencing people who are on the receiving end of the shit sandwich being served in abundance by Washington, you are basically telling them to inform the chef that they would like a fourth and fifth serving - with a Please and Thank You added in for good measure.

Fuck. That.

Here's an example of one of the entrees being served this year: The Democratic Party annointed a candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate Race that has the exact same stance on abortion rights as Man on Dog Santorum, along with a whole other slew of policy-stance similarities. If you can't see why a pro-"I make my own medical decisions, not you" female in Pennsylvania is railing against the Dems - then I suggest you get up from your cena de mierda mole and make your way to the optometrist.

Here in Arizona, I'm sick - SICK - of hearing Democrats take the Republican frame on immigration and run with it. It has now become conventional wisdom that we have to SECURE THE BORDER NOW!!!™ in order to move forward with any comprehensive reform and don't forget to say you OPPOSE AMNESTY!!!™ for good measure.

Nevermind taking the offense by shaming the hardliners for their dismissal of human rights and redirecting the blame where it belongs - economic policies that have devastated any form of balance between U.S. and non-U.S. corporate bank accounts. No, no. It's a much easier path to pander to the worst of human emotions and score your wins that way.

And it's all about winning, right? That's the end game if you follow the logic of the STFU Brigade. "Your concerns matter, wink wink, but we HAVE to get control of Congress first until we can work on those issues. Now, if you don't mind, please go sit at the back of the bus so we can strategize our route with the driver. Thank you, and don't forget to vote for Candidate X."

Hugo Chavez, aside from the hilarious diablo and sign-of-the-cross routine at the U.N. this week, had this to say
As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs
Indeed.

When the Democratic Party decides that they're done with passive-aggressive opposition to the imperialism displayed by the Bush-led government, then you will see miraculous conversions of concern trolls to strong allies. For now, tenemos mal aire de todos lados.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

International Day of Peace


A holiday well-worth celebrating.

The Day was established in 1981 by A/RES/36/67 [PDF, 112K] of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session every September. The General Assembly in 2001 voted unanimously to fix observance of the Day on 21 September as a day of non-violence and ceasefire by A/RES/55/282 [PDF, 91K].

The United Nations works in a wide cross-section of areas to address the root causes of conflict, including in poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention, humanitarian assistance, promotion of human rights, development of international agreements and legal instruments, peace operations, electoral assistance, support for democratization, preventive diplomacy and economic and social development.

On 21 September, the Day will be observed at UN Headquarters with the traditional ceremony in which Secretary-General Kofi Annan will ring the Peace Bell for the last time during his term in office. Numerous commemorative events and activities are planned around the world by United Nations offices, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and civil society and religious groups to promote the ideals of peace and non-violence.

This year, the UN will use the Day to note the many ways it works for peace and to encourage individuals, groups and communities around the world to contemplate and communicate thoughts and activities on how to achieve peace.

linkage
More Resources:

AZ8 - David Duke Endorses Randy Graf

HA HA
The Democratic party is upset that former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana State Rep. David Duke put a link on his Web site to District 8 GOP congressional candidate Randy Graf's site.

Graf's campaign swiftly denounced Duke after the Arizona Democratic Party sent out a press release Wednesday afternoon suggesting Graf is associated with the controversial figure. The link on Duke's Web site is the only evidence offered to support the allegation.

"We have no ties nor have we ever had ties with David Duke or any of his racist crazies," said Graf campaign manager R.T. Gregg.

linkage
I would post the news blurb from Duke's website but my Websense feature blocked it for "Racism and Hate". Again - HA HA

Here's the deal. People like Randy Graf and Supervisor Ann Day should do some major soul-searching on their ridiculously inhumane and irrational stances on immigration reform when their views are endorsed by "racist crazies" like David Duke and Roy Warden. If they don't want to be labeled the same, then perhaps they shouldn't advocate for the same policies supported by groups like the KKK and the Minutemen.

I'm a big believer in the whole "Rotten seeds = Rotten fruit" philosophy. If someone like Graf gets into Congress and ushers in a radical immigration reform platform, this country will see families torn apart, door-to-door searches and verifications of citizenship for anyone who is suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, and widespread fear that will not be reserved solely for the immigrant community. That is a dangerous path and one that has far more destructive consequences than a sane, comprehensive approach to an overhaul of the immigration system.

I can't help but smile today knowing that the Graf campaign had to play defense on this issue. What a nightmare for them to have it blown wide open that their views are in line with the Klan. The truth hurts - hopefully the blowout he receives in November will hurt even more.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Special Thanks to Pima County Supervisors

Well, except for one of them (surprise, surprise - it's a Republican)
Pima County will continue to pay for water stations in the desert to aid illegal border crossers.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to give $25,000 from the contingency fund to Humane Borders, which maintains 80 water stations in Southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

This is the sixth year Pima County has funded the stations.

Most of the money goes to maintain and operate a fleet of water trucks, driven by volunteers who test, sterilize and replenish water supplies every day.

Supervisor Ann Day voted no.

linkage (emphasis mine)
I just finished sending of a thank you note to the four Supervisors who voted for humanity. As for the other one, she is getting a Howler.
Dear Supervisor Day:

I was appalled to learn that you voted "No" recently to continue county funding for water stations that serve as last-resort lifesavers for undocumented border crossers. How can you sleep at night knowing that you put political calculation and cold-hearted hate above basic human decency?

Comprehensive reform of the U.S. immigration system is something that is sought by all involved parties in the debate, but everyone should be united in the fact that humanitarian aid be provided and offered to anyone in distress who's in our area regardless of legal status.

Would you refuse water to a member of your family who was on the verge of death by dehydration? I would hope not, but your decision to vote against offering that same type of assistance speaks volumes to your elitism. If this type of basic assistance is good enough for U.S.-born Americans, then it should be good enough for any human being in need.

Think about that the next time you side with the likes of Roy Warden, who is an avowed racist and purveyor of hate speech. Your constituents ought to be ashamed that you, their employee, would be so callous with human life.

Signed,

[Man Eegee], an angry Tucsonan
If you would like to contact any of the Pima County Supervisors regarding this vote, their individual web pages can be found here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Immigration News Roundup

I've been feeling pretty crappy lately with another bout of the summer Yuck. Speaking of Yuck, here's some news bits from the past couple of days here
His arms checkered with cuts and scratches, bags under his eyes and wearing soiled clothes, Jorge Ramirez Gonzales stared into the distance.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Border Patrol agents found the 43-year-old from Sinaloa, Mexico, and a group of 20 near Deming, N.M., trying to enter the country illegally. Now, under an overcast July sky, Ramirez Gonzales and his companions await deportation at the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso.

Their trip, which began four days earlier when the group crossed into the United States near Columbus, N.M., didn't go as planned. Summer rains fell on them, leaving them with wet socks and feet. They ran out of food and ate cactus fruit. They ran out of water and drank from cattle troughs.

linkage
If that's not bad enough, assault cases are spiking around the Yuma area.
Illegal immigrants reported 18 assaults to the Border Patrol in 2005 versus about 200 so far this year, said Chris Van Wagenen, a Border Patrol spokesman in the Yuma sector. - linkage
And while the suits and pearls in Washington continue to play politics with the lives and livelihood of human beings, here's what has become a regular occurrence around these parts
Border Patrol agents patrolling on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation discovered human skeletal remains Sunday night, an official said Monday.

The discovery was made around 7:30 p.m. in the desert near Arizona 86 and mile marker 121, said Jesus Rodriguez, a Tucson Sector spokesman. - linkage
It never ends...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Other-Hate

I was raised in a town and a time of open racism and sheer, mindless hatred of all “Others”.

Sixty six years later, I still live surrounded by a sea of white elders, many who remain filled with racism and sheer, mindless hatred of all “Others.” The only difference I see is that it is whispered now, not shouted.

I yearn to believe that when the generation ahead of me, and then my own, finally die off, this will finally end.

It is very hard to hold onto that hope, however, when I see people like the MinuteMen proudly claiming their rights on mass media in 2006. I cannot see an end to it, when, before my disbelieving eyes, I see an administration, (elected by the people of this country!) deliberately feeding the “Fear of Others” every single day, and so many Americans, with open gullets swallowing it whole.

It all leaves me with a lot of grieving to do, and a lot of rage to handle. Grief because my own generation couldn’t do a better job than this, and will leave the same battles to be fought all over again by our descendents. I am so sorry we couldn’t leave you a better legacy.

Rage, because I know my time in limited now, and there is so very little I can still do about any of this. This culture, that has so little regard for its Elders and whatever wisdom gained we may have to leave behind, does not care to hear our voices.

So I write and I write and fling it outward into cyberspace, grateful for that much of an opportunity to speak my heart. I know that writing for places like this is preaching to a very faithful choir, but maybe, who knows, someone else will see too.

This poem was written after seeing a piece on TV about the MinuteMen.

Thank you all for all that you do, and may you all have a weekend of rest and renewal.

ONward!


The MinuteMen

Build a wall and build it high
Keep out the awful Others
Protect our borders, guard them well,
come take a stand, white brothers!

Oil your guns and keep them near
Stand watch through day and night
Let no one come across that wall
Your duty is your right

To kill and starve who ‘er does dare
to cross to this fair land
they might be terrorists, you know
those dead on desert sands

Stand tall with me, my brothers fair
Defend our precious rights
To guard against the dangerous brown
Invading in the night

When your watch each day does end
you lay you down to rest
And thank your fair and righteous God
That you were born “The Best.”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Tour - Late Edition!

Does this mean there was an early edition? Nope! It just means that I'm late! For a very important date! (I'll spare you the rabbit impression).

So, without further ado (but much more to do), let's tour!

Have you seen katie's site since it's all done? Way cool, I love it! Had to figure out where the links are now, but still... some things haven't changed, though! She's still nosey! Now she wants to know if you've been waiting to start a project. Apparently being firmed daily can help with that! Also (now don't be scared, but.. ) she's looking into more ways to getting committed! Maybe you can help :)

James has a post of AG's that is very important, so you'll definitely want to read it! Also, our voting is in Big Trouble. Other stuff too, start at the top and read down to see the funny pictures!

Good news! Family Mom is doing better! whew! Although she's still in pain (hurts like that take time to heal, for sure). And Family Man's back may be improving... no doubt in no small part due to the fact that he was convinced to actually allow a cleaning lady come in and help, even though there is no way she would do as good a job as he does!

[UPDATE!] Be careful when peeking at bugs, cuz the bugs are peeking back at you! Only with tinier eyes! Also, I'm absolutely positive that Olivia wasn't howling, no matter what anyone says! Wave hi!

Janet has new peace vigil pictures! And also links too prior ones, so that you can access them all in one place... cool! Tis an amazing variety of faces and cultures that make up the world of those working for peace.

Intrepid Liberal Journal has an interview with a controversial (and contrarian!) professor. And wishful thinking and dreaming? Maybe not!

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Strawberry postcards forever... oh, that's not how the song goes? Oh well, go look at the art at deano's anyway! See if you agree.

Hmmm.... flowerevangelism? I think Iowa Victory Gardener is trying to balance out Olivia's petalporn! Also, he is impressed with Mina Lobata and I bet you will be too! Lots more there too, if you haven't visited for a while, start at the top and scroll down! (he's got flutterbies).

I think catnip's Sunday Food for Thought is hopeful in the end, but I'm not sure! Also, a good thing! Or, at least a good start... investigations into the Kafkaesque experience of one Canadian who had a plane change in NYC and wound up imprisoned in Syria.

[UPDATE THE LAST ! (i think)] Arcturus has a cool story up (and pics!) about the oldest writing found in America. Guess how old!? I told Arcturus that some of his posts reminded me of what is apparently a video montage.. you know, where snippets of seemingly unrelated pictures and sound and words flash across a screen, the whole of it telling a story? Well, check out this one (whose full title I have to put, cuz it's so neat)- "newspapers which are not real life but real life with the reality left out". Also, Mordechai Vanunu and Bilal Hussein!

Duke is reporting on Republicans! He says they've got the headgear, but not the herd! Also, you know Pat Buchanan? Well, we've always known he was full of it, but now studies have proven it!

Boran is still working on our cool car! Now, it looks almost like a photo from the 50's, with the sepia toning. I kinda like it just like that, but I know there is more to be done! And what do you say when you come across someone wearing this? Whew! I almost thought no one was voted off the island this week, but I was wrong.... So and so... yer outta here! Go see who it is!

Our Manny has been blogging up a storm! And he wonders who broke the blog, duh! Bud says it wasn't him... and it wasn't me either! This time. I love ballet folklorico! Not only are the costumes wonderful, but you just can't keep your own feet still. Also, lots more... scroll down! scroll down!

All done! I think... some haven't updated ... and the petitions for no one in particular are not quite ready yet... maybe next week! If I've forgotten anyone, let me know.

Use this as an Open Thread

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Okay, who broke the blog earlier?

Mariachi y Ballet Folklórico



A Mexico with bundle of tassels. And engraved silver

A Mexico with ears of corn, brown-skinned people.

A Mexico, of fairs, of candy skulls.

Tame, quiet, wild, incongruous, strident, lighthearted.

The Mexico of ancient ruins, churches made of gold and shadows. And gardens of bougainvillea and tropical flowers.

The Mexico from yesterday and today, of beautiful songs and dances, born from ruins created between the black braids of the natives, screams, weeping, silence, songs.

Pure expression of our roots, that convert themselves into reality though the sentiment of a great lady. - Amalia Hernández, director of Ballet Folklórico de Mexico


The YouTube video below features Mariachi Vargas de Tecatlitlan, who are respected as the best of the best. The group has existed for over a hundred years and their rich history is directly responsible for mariachi music being shared across the world.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Preparing for Diez y Seis de Septiembre

[bumped up - Man Eegee]

I had lunch today at Sue's Fish and Chips in the heart of South Tucson and picked up La Estrella de Tucson to read while I was waiting for my food. The publication was all abuzz for the upcoming celebration of Diez y Seis de Septiembre (September 16th) - Mexico's Day of Independence. I couldn't help but smile.

You see, for the Mexican-American community here in the United States, we have two sets of history that tie into our ancestry. Despite the efforts of Nativists to try to eradicate all of our ties to our homeland down south, the Mexican cultura thrives here because it is an undeniable part of many Americans' identity. Mine obviously included.

Across the southwest U.S. and more than likely other places where a high concentration of our people are located, there will be Fiestas Patrias celebrated this weekend. La musica, la comida, y la amistad de la gente Mexicana will blaze brightly like the sun. It is something that can't be killed by legislation or pressure from the prevailing winds of the American media.

Awhile ago I wrote a story about Isidora, whom I admired as a young child as she warmed tortillas for the burrito booth at my hometown's fiestas. This coming Saturday and Sunday I will find myself looking upon the same stove that she hunched over as she worked diligently con una sonrisa (with a smile) for many hours to feed the best food to the warmest people. I can't wait.

This year has seen alot of waves in the ocean of tolerance in the United States. We saw the power of the people in the streets during the immigration marches of March and April and now we're seeing many instances of backlash from "staunch conservatives" as they try to rescue their country from supposed invasion and loss of "American" culture. I'll never understand how so much isolation mentally and emotionally can lead to such idiocy like this.
Proposition 103

English must be designated the official language of the state of Arizona. President Theodore Roosevelt made the simple observation that "we have one language here and that is the English language." English has always been the primary means of assimilating millions of immigrants into American society. A common language promotes unity and understanding and is as vital to the health of a nation as having a common currency. Had our government catered to each new group of immigrants by using their language instead of English, there would never have been any incentive to truly become Americans. Arizonans must recognize these facts and require that all official government actions be conducted in English. By making English the official language, we also eliminate the wasteful spending used to translate millions of state documents into hundreds of languages, although other languages can still be used in a wide variety of key government functions such as trade and tourism. By making English the official state language we provide an even greater incentive for all immigrants to learn English, become empowered and productive citizens, and participate in society as full Americans.
They are trying to stamp out all historical ties that Arizona has to Mexico. It is the ultimate exercise in projection - they think that if the spanish language and all that is tied up in our identity is allowed to flourish that we'll demand that it supplant "American" culture.

Umm. No.

Mexican-Americans have the ability to live bi-culturally, and allow me to be presumptive, but it certainly makes for a richer life. Who else can celebrate more than one Independence Day per year? :)

The biggest problem that we as a bi-cultural people face, however, is resisting the pressure put upon us by the dominant forces of East Coast-based policy making.
A few generations after families move to the U.S. from Latin American countries, fluency in Spanish dies out and English becomes the dominant language, according to a new paper published by sociology professors from New Jersey and California.

The paper counters popular arguments that the size of Latino immigration to the U.S. could create a bilingual society and a fundamental change in American culture.

[snip]

The study suggests that Mexican immigrants arriving in Southern California today can expect only five out of every 100 of their great-grandchildren to speak fluent Spanish.

linkage
That final figure makes me very sad because I'm one of those statistics (and sadly not one of the five in 100). My spanish is very limited and has come about more due to classroom instruction and random phrases used by family members than a constant exposure to the language of my ancestors. I've been working all summer to beef up on my ability to speak fluently, but it's because I feel an obligation to tie myself fully to roots. I fear that I am the exception rather than the norm, especially as I observe my circle of friends and family members of my generation.

It's all bittersweet as the fall elections get closer and the anti-immigrant forces' rhetoric grows stronger. While people like Randy Graf or J.D. Hayworth feel a sense of obligation to "preserve" the United States against an invading force, people like me will just shrug our shoulders and spend the coming weekend listening to las rancheras del mariachi and participate in numerous Gritos del Pueblo to declare our undying orgullo for the roots that bring us a rich life.

They'll never be able to kill the spirit of the people that have deep roots in this land. Its power will never be touched. Confiéme - Trust me.

Part of the Una Identidad Sin Fronteras series, crossposted at Human Beams

Lap Dancing Our Way To Victory

The eternal question has finally been answered, folks.

Where should society draw the line between what government can and can't legislate when it comes to morality? In Scottsdale, the answer can be found at your local strip club.
Morality was at play when Scottsdale voters decided they wanted to protect lap dances at their strip clubs.

The moral for city leaders: Don't impose your values on our businesses.

"I don't think there was a great sympathy for pole dancers," said Jason Rose, a GOP strategist.

Scottsdale voters said "No" to covering up dancers and keeping them 4 feet away from patrons.

The city passed the regulations updating its sexually oriented businesses ordinance in December, a few months after adult-film star Jenna Jameson bought Babe's Cabaret. Upset, strip-club supporters took the issue to voters with Proposition 401.

With an unknown number of ballots left to count, the measure was still losing Wednesday by about 6 percentage points.

Voters seemed driven by a concern that the council had railroaded the clubs and a libertarian distrust of government meddling with small businesses.

"It wasn't a pro-strip club vote," said Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, who said he regrets voting for the new rules last year. "It was an anti-council vote. We overreached. We were wrong."

linkage
Now that it's been established that Republican voters will react in anger when they don't get unfettered access to g-strings and pasties, how many millenia will it take for them to see that it's the same type of iodicy that brings about legislation like this and this?

Arizona voters - before you head out to whatever evening frivolity tickles your fancy, make sure you check out Blog for Arizona's handy guide to the slew of 2006 Ballot Initiatives. You can ponder their implications at happy hour (but watch out for the guy with the gun, it's probably Randy Graf).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Let the GOP Civil War Commence!

Press Release from Jim Kolbe's office:
(Washington, DC) -- Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) released the following statement in response to Randy Graf’s win in the republican primary for the eighth Congressional district of Arizona:

I congratulate Mr. Graf on his victory in the Republican primary. However, there are such profound and fundamental differences between his views and mine on several key issues that I would not be true to my own principles were I to endorse him now for the General election in November."
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) caused a major shitstorm when they started running ads in the district promoting Steve Huffman a couple of weeks ago. It spurred the other four GOP candidates to issue a joint message that basically told Ken Mehlman and the rest of the Republican Powers That Be™ to "Go Fuck Themselves", to quote the #2 man (#1?) in command of their Party.
We call on the NRCC to immediately stop using Republican fundraising dollars to defeat fellow Republicans. This primary campaign should remain above the belt and outside the Beltway.

We want the people of Congressional District Eight to know that this seat is not for sale. We trust the voters to choose their Republican nominee - not Washington special interests."

linkage

According to a local GOP-based blog, Steve Huffman, the beneficiary of the NRCC's money and candidate who still hasn't conceded the race, is refusing to do so until all absentee and provisional ballots are counted. Huffman, who was Kolbe's pick in this fight, will probably follow his mentor's lead and refuse to support Graf - but who knows?

The other big question mark is whether the NRCC is going to funnel any resources to southern Arizona now that they have a Minuteman carrying their banner. It seems they have a penchant for endorsing crazies in the primary season here in the bluer and more tolerant part of the state. Look at Joe Sweeney in neighboring CD7 - he got 40% of the vote yesterday. That's shameful. Although at least he didn't win like last time.

To get some flavor on what the GOP voters are going to be forces to choke on as they go to the polls in November, or not, check out this interview with Randy Graf on the Daily Show (hat tip to the m2powered blog for the linkage).

[UPDATE] Ahhhh, memories.
In a discussion Friday with the Arizona Daily Star editorial board, Graf expressed support for the replacement of the graduated income tax with a flat tax or a national sales tax, and he hinted at curtailing federal involvement in education and health care.

"I don't see a role in the Constitution for a U.S. Department of Education," he said.

CD8 - Giffords vs. Graf

The Tucson Citizen gives a glimpse on the real choice voters will have between the two candidates in Arizona Congressional District 8. This will not be an election where the lines are blurred between party identification. The decision will be clear.
WHERE THEY STAND ON THE ISSUES

IMMIGRATION

Giffords: Opposes amnesty. Naturalization for illegal migrants should include paying fines and taxes and learning English.

Graf: No government benefits for illegal migrants. Migrants should return home and apply for temporary visas or be deported.

THE WAR IN IRAQ

Giffords' goals: Bringing U.S. troops home by 2007 and ensuring Iraqi government is able to to secure the country.

Graf: Opposes "artificial" timetables for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

HEALTH CARE

Giffords: Seeks health insurance for all. Wants to let people over 50 buy into Medicare and mall-business owners buy into AHCCCS.

Graf: Supports health saving accounts and shrinking of medical bureaucracy to cut costs and empower doctors and patients.
A full listing of Gabrielle Giffords' (D) stances on the issues can be found here, while Randy Graf's (R/Minuteman) is here.



Make no mistake about it, immigration reform is going to be the signature issue in this race. While Gabrielle Giffords will be able to offer voters responsible leadership on a number of issues such as health care reform, beefing up educational support systems, and a strong commitment to environmental protections; Randy "Minuteman for Congress" Graf is finally going to get his chance to hold the GOP megaphone and show southern Arizona the extremism they've endorsed by giving him their primary nod.

This campaign is going to obliterate the Republicans' ability to show unity in a district that, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, is diverse in gender and economic status:

General Characteristics - show more >>

Number

Percent

U.S.

Total population

641,329



Male

314,184

49.0

49.1%

Female

327,145

51.0

50.9%

Median age (years)

39.1

(X)

35.3

Under 5 years

38,017

5.9

6.8%

18 years and over

494,546

77.1

74.3%

65 years and over

107,640

16.8

12.4%

One race

622,133

97.0

97.6%

White

536,600

83.7

75.1%

Black or African American

20,109

3.1

12.3%

American Indian and Alaska Native

6,728

1.0

0.9%

Asian

13,595

2.1

3.6%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

945

0.1

0.1%

Some other race

44,156

6.9

5.5%

Two or more races

19,196

3.0

2.4%

Hispanic or Latino (of any race)

116,808

18.2

12.5%


Economic Characteristics - show more >>

Number

Percent

U.S.

In labor force (population 16 years and over)

307,255

60.0

63.9%

Mean travel time to work in minutes (workers

16 years and over)

23.5

(X)

25.5

Median household income in 1999 (dollars)

40,656

(X)

41,994

Median family income in 1999 (dollars)

49,568

(X)

50,046

Per capita income in 1999 (dollars)

22,614

(X)

21,587

Families below poverty level

12,543

7.3

9.2%

Individuals below poverty level

65,475

10.5

12.4%


I think Gabrielle Giffords has a great shot at winning this open seat, she has been endorsed by numerous people from all ideological stripes and can communicate clearly to articulate her points. It will be interesting to see what Congressman Raul Grijalva's involvement will be through November (he endorsed Gabby previously).

Grijalva's CD7 and this open seat of CD8 are the two border districts in the state; and with a Minuteman officially in the running for the general election against Giffords, it's going to get muy interesante en Baja Arizona.

Crossposted at Migra Matters