Monday, July 30, 2007

Grijalva Should Apologize For Nothing

My ears perked up when I read this over at Arizona Congress Watch
Until now, members have not revealed earmark requests, usually waiting until funding was approved to disclose "winning" projects. Before the July 4 recess, Grijalva told Giffords and other Arizona colleagues that he had no plans to change that.

But on July 5, Grijalva released his complete list. On his Web site, he posted a list of 42 projects for which he is seeking $327 million.

Giffords immediately was asked for her list, and she demurred. After a spate of negative newspaper articles and accusations of secrecy, she posted her list on her Web site a week later. The impression was that she was forced to do something she didn't want to do.

Grijalva said he made a mistake. He didn't intend to release his earmark requests, but was repeatedly asked about them during meetings around his district. So "I changed my mind," he said this week.

Grijalva said Giffords told him she wished she had known he was going to release his list. "I apologized to her," Grijalva said. "I accept that. I got criticism from all my Democratic colleagues."

Why is Raúl apologizing to a novice on the Hill for something that, I'm sure, has widespread support among the people? Earmarks, while sometimes ridiculous, can be extremely beneficial methods of support that remind districts that the federal government is still concerned with the machinations of local communities. But, really, that's beside the point. Here's the real one:

Taxpayers fund the government.

I know that's a shocking revelation. I'll give you a few seconds to allow you to catch your breath (especially if any Congressional staffers happen to stumble into this online cantina). Bottom line is: It is our right to know how the government spends or wastes the revenue that is collected from our pockets everyday.

I find it highly amusing that Grijalva, who decided to release his list of earmarks after speaking to constituents, took flak from within his own Majority party for forcing their hand on transparency. It is one of those rare moments of public nudity where the populace can gawk in horror at the exposure of the entire political system that flaunts itself on the stage due to the pimping efforts of the Corporate Bosses.

Republicans and Democrats look the same when they're in the buff, that's why legislation to make the system more transparent and therefore, accountable to public scrutiny, have been thwarted or slowed-down since the mantle of power (supposedly) switched hands last November.

Gabrielle Giffords has only been a Congresswoman for a few months - it's unsettling that she is learning the ropes that would better serve this country if they were bisected with a machete. She should be gladly receiving advice from Raúl, not apologies.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"She Had It Comin"

Last week, the trolls over at the TucsonCitizen message board were feeling particularly fiesty; especially with respect to the human rights crisis that exists along la frontera. Regarding a Guatemalteca woman's body being recovered from the blistering, arid desert, one such troll spat forth:
She had it comin'. Not only for violating out soverignty but for irresponsibly endangering the life of a 10-year-old child she deserved to die. Good riddance.
Comments such as these play well to a populace that lives their lives in search of a target on the lower rungs of society. It is a fear and loathing that is nothing new for the United States.

This particular strain is nasty, though, because instead of the scary hordes of invaders being Catholic Irish, German, etc etc etc that at least had the decency to cross an ocean to get here, these modern day economic refugees are lazily trotting across 120 degree waterless wastelands. It makes them more dangerous (supposedly) because they are violating the Good Neighbor Rule.

Imagine the outrage if I were to suggest that these people had it coming too
Worse yet was the knowledge that at any moment disaster could strike in the form of fire, shipwreck or epidemic. On a wooden ship, lighted candles and open cooking fires were a constant hazard. It was not unusual for more than 100 people to die of shipboard fires in a single year. Shipwrecks, too, took their toll. In the terrible winter of 1853-54, 200 German immigrants drowned when their ship was driven onto the New Jersey shore, and 480 emigrants and their ship out of Glasgow disappeared altogether.

or, perhaps, that these victims of human trafficking networks had/have zero sympathy from me, a law abiding citizen?
Another large but unknown number arrived in Liverpool with their tickets or their fares only and were completely unprepared for even slight setbacks. The routine delays in sailing dates were especially dangerous for these and accounted for the thousands caught in the gauntlet of official and criminal coercion from which few emerged unscathed and many totally penniless. Many were also vulnerable to the devious practices of the freelance banditti who infested the lower levels of the emigrant trade, being as unused to complicated transactions as they were to schedules or lodging houses. These easily fell afoul of money changers, offering to "dollar" their English coin into American currency of less or no value, or of lodging-house keepers who might keep a family "on the cuff" for food and shelter and strip them bare when payment came due, by force if threats failed.

Coyotes of the past - and they say prostitution is the oldest profession...

So what can be done in this modern day age of digital databases and unmanned drones patrolling our borders to avoid the exploitation of new arrivals? Well, for starters, let's ditch any idiotic ideas to launch telephone hotlines
Since it began Friday, the hotline has received about 300 messages, which include tips about family and friends, employment, day laborers, drop houses and crank calls. Officials are analyzing the tips, Arpaio said, and officials have not acted on any of the calls.

"There's nothing unconstitutional about putting up a hotline," Arpaio said, pointing out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have similar hotlines.

Sheriff Joe "My Pink Boxers are Secksy" Arpaio is correct that it's constitutional - but does it foster true justice? Racial profiling is rampant in this country, just look at prison statistics or the latest rundown of ethnicities of workers rounded up by ICE. These hardliners like to pretend that "things are different now" and not comparable to prior waves of immigration. True to form, however, they inadvertently fall into the same role as inquisitors past.

The 1882 exclusion act also placed new requirements on Chinese who had already entered the country. If they left the United States, they had to obtain certifications to re-enter. Congress, moreover, refused State and Federal courts the right to grant citizenship to Chinese resident aliens, although these courts could still deport them.

When the exclusion act expired in 1892, Congress extended it for 10 years in the form of the Geary Act. This extension, made permanent in 1902, added restrictions by requiring each Chinese resident to register and obtain a certificate of residence. Without a certificate, she or he faced deportation.

"She had it comin'" - the sentiment echoed through the ages that have been aimed at the ears of every group of Other imaginable. It was inhumane then, and it remains so today.

Stop the hate

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bush Lackeys Held In Contempt

Here's some forward movement on accountability.
The House Judiciary Committee voted contempt of Congress citations Wednesday against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and President Bush's former legal counselor, Harriet Miers.

The 22-17 vote — which would sanction for pair for failure to comply with subpoenas on the firings of several federal prosecutors — advanced the citation to the full House.

A senior Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the House itself likely would take up the citations after Congress' August recess. The official declined to speak on the record because no date had been set for the House vote.

As you will note in the last paragraph, this is only a baby step. I don't understand why Congress will now wait until after their August vacation recess to push forward with something actionable. It's not as if the White House will suddenly have an avalanche of remorse for using the Constitution as toilet paper. They have become quite the experts at defying democratic precedents.

BushCo is going to run out the clock unless things start moving more quickly up on the Hill. Comity be damned - the only way the checks and balances will be restored is if Congress exerts its Constitutionally mandated powers con ganas.

Excuse me while I go on about my day instead of holding my breath.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Body A Day...

Today is July 24th. That is the same number of bodies that have been found in Southern Arizona. A body for every day.

Think about that.
The Border Patrol has recovered at least 24 bodies in the Tucson Sector in July, bringing its fiscal-year total to at least 140.

From Oct. 1 through June, the agency had reported 116 border deaths in the Tucson Sector, down slightly from the 119 at the same time the year before. The sector runs from New Mexico to the Yuma County line.

The number of border deaths is higher, according to records kept by the Pima and Cochise counties' medical examiners. Combined, those agencies had handled 184 bodies of illegal border crossers from Oct. 1 through July 23.

While the primary campaign for the 2008 Presidential Election rages on, Senators Biden, Brownback, Clinton, Dodd, McCain, and Obama are too busy campaigning and raising obscene amounts of money instead of working to formulate some type of resolution to their failed attempts at comprehensive immigration reform (not to mention Iraq, universal health care, global climate change, disaster preparedness, you get the point).

How do any of these people sleep at night?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Bud Blogging

I told him not to watch that videotape...

This has been a rough week, to say the least. The news is horrifying to me on many levels. Macro-wise, the Iraq All-Nighter was a (expected) disappointment. It seems like there's a lot of talk and no action when it comes to stopping the warmongering in the Middle East. What's it going to take to see meaningful change? I wish I knew.

On the micro-level, the daily drumbeat of announcements regarding border deaths has sent my nerves into a horrified state of shock. It's easy to dismiss the loss by blaming the victim, "no one forced them to come here", but takes a true act of humanity to mourn and take action that will hopefully stop future fatalities in the desert. Acts that are done in a humane way* Unfortunately, these types of musings do not bode well for my sleep reservoirs.

So how have I been avoiding dealing? Well, one evening I spent making tortilla-flavored snacks. The intention was to make proper tortillas, but they did not even begin to resemble them so I stole a term from an old friend and declared them "tortilla-flavored snacks" (at least they taste good!).

Another tactic was to totally disrupt my status quo of information input and trot off to the local theatre that features indy films. Caught a showing last night of La Vie en Rose. Believe it or not, it was my first proper French film and, although a depressing storyline, was a welcomed addition to my routine. Even more welcomed, was the realization that the monsoon was dumping buckets of rain while the story of Edith Piaf played out before me on the big screen. The scent of a desert deluge is something that never gets old.

I've been enjoying the conversation that has played out amongst blog friends at a myriad of sites. The neighborhood is growing (check the blogroll to the right for additions) and each place has its own character that is borne out of its host's or hostess' personality. I love it and appreciate the ability to stay connected to friends.

Speaking of friends, this weekend I'm planning to head to Cochise County for some quality time with kindred spirits. I think the pensive, introverted persona within me has gotten quite enough attention to last a long while, so it will be good to shift gears and just be - only the be will include the me that is drawn out in the company of others who 'get' me. Needless to say, I can't wait.

Have a great weekend, everyone. paz

*acts that don't include guns, handcuffs or fortifications

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bodies - Bodies Everywhere

Keep stalling, Congress. You seem to have no problem having blood flow from the result of your inaction (see Iraq)
Officials discovered three bodies of illegal border crossers late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, including a 33-year-old woman whose 10-year-old son was with her.

With the latest three bodies found, the Border Patrol has recovered at least 16 bodies in the Tucson Sector in July, bringing its fiscal-year total to at least 132. From Oct. 1 through June, the agency had reported 116 border deaths in the Tucson Sector, down slightly from the 119 at the same time the year before.

With everything in limbo, it appears that women and children are making the trek north in greater numbers to unify their families. My deepest condolences and prayers to those left behind that will suffer from the losses.

Please consider a monetary donation to No More Deaths and Humane Borders

Open Thread

Just 'cause

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Smells like Hispanics?

Nope. Not racist at all.
Five women have sued the makers of the popular Fi-Bar and Tiger's Milk energy bars, claiming they were singled out for racist abuse and fired for not speaking English.


The lawsuit said problems began when the plaintiffs got a new supervisor who ordered them to pass an English proficiency exam as a condition of continued employment. According to the suit, the supervisor openly expressed his disdain for Latino workers through derogatory comments, such as "Spanish people stink," and the work area "smelled like Hispanics."

The real question is: why does this modern-day slave owner hate America™? Cinnamon and freshly roasted chile are just as much a part of this society as anything else you'll find wafting out of the windows of the gated communities.

Oh wait, he was being rude? I wonder why...

Iraqi All-Nighters

A flash of light. A violent twitch in my left leg. And I awoke.

That was how I spent most of my night yesterday. My thoughts kept floating to a dear friend of mine who is currently on his third tour in Iraq. A gentle soul with deep conflicts within him regarding this and all wars. He, like other soldiers I've heard say in various interviews, know not why they are there; only they feel an obligation to answer deployments because of their fellow military brothers and sisters.

"I can't let them down. I took an oath."

It's very hard for me to remain calm when faced with words such as these. I disagree vehemently with the entire premise of the framing, yet what does one say to a loved one who is strapped firmly to a Battle Chess chessboard?

"Break the cycle of death altogether," my heart says unsuccessfully to my lips.

"I'm here if you need to vent," is about all I can muster audibly.

Realistically speaking, the conversation about warfare and militaristic foundations woven greedily into the fabric of the United States is far from reaching the point of acceptable discourse. At least, in the sense where someone like me who argues against it is not labeled a traitor or UnAmerican.

So how is this dilemna met? Time will tell. Sleepless nights will continue as I pray for some wellspring of peace within me and even but a drop for my friend who finds himself in a different desert, half a world away. Meanwhle, the elites will have to suffer* too.
Senate Democrats refused to flinch Tuesday as the chamber moved toward a rare, all-night session of debate on legislation to bring troops home this fall.

They called for sleeping cots to be rolled into a room off the Senate floor and told members to prepare for repeated votes throughout the evening. Senators even left open the possibility of dispatching the sergeant at arms to summon colleagues from their homes to the floor if lawmakers ignored the debate.

*suffering, it is not; but hopefully it is a start to breaking the spell of war that has been cast upon these insulated powerbrokers

Monday, July 16, 2007

Who Am I?

I am...

...the scent of fresh bread in the breeze that dances its way through the barrio;
...shrill chattering of locusts in the mesquite tree;
...a rainbow of life that ignites like fire when the sun dips below the mountain giants to the west;
...chortles of laughter among a circle of friends, gathered at the table wielding quarters at shot glasses;
...a cumbia beat, summoning the crowd to their shared stage on the dance floor;
...smoke rising out of the conch shell, hoping to draw a sense of spirit out of those who slumber;
...a phone call out of the blue, prompted by a dream from the night before;
...fragranced tierra borne of the oils of nature and the stew of desert rain;
...the solemn tune rising out of wooden flutes;
...tales shared around the flickering warmth of campfire;
...a Wizard, a Hobbit, and Prophet;
...posole at the end of a long night;
...the frustration that rises when a puzzle piece remains elusive;
...change under the cushions, always willing to repay debts;
...that knot tied in the middle of a tug-of-war rope;
...gray mist rising out of the mind between Snooze buttons;
...a bark, a snuggle, a lick;
...cardboard and marker, walking shoes and bullhorn;
...the accent that disguises its origins;
...both life and vida.

I am me.

Who are you?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bush Threatens Border Communities

This was attached to a story about kayaking protesters near Roma, Texas who are opposed to the construction of the Great Wall of America™

Under a bill President Bush signed last year, 700 miles of fencing is slated for the U.S.-Mexican border, of which the Homeland Security Department has said will include at least 370 miles of physical fence supplemented by a "virtual" barrier of sensors, mobile towers with cameras, agents and other technology.

Homeland Security officials say the fence is needed in urban areas where smugglers and illegal immigrants can quickly fade into the surroundings.

Bush has since said he would veto a bill that required officials to solicit input from communities about fencing. White House officials said that the government had already conducted extensive outreach and that the mandate would impede the securing of the border.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Add this to the long list of grievances that communities across the country must endure at the hands of corporate legislators. The same list that outlines the brokenness of the political system in the United States.

We, the People?

More like: We, the Politically Expendable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another ICE raid in Cactus, TX

Here's a clip from (subscription required):
CACTUS - Most days during the week, the Cactus Branch Library has 30 to 40 children reading books or playing on the computer.

But Tuesday, only about four children were inside the now quiet library.

It's usually not this quiet, said Lety Lara, the branch librarian.

This day, it was different.

Most people hid in their homes, keeping their children close to them, Lara said.

That's because Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials came to town, she said.

Their return to town came almost seven months after a December raid that led to the arrests of 295 undocumented immigrants.

ICE officials entered the Swift plant in Cactus before 9 a.m. and arrested at least two people. Government and company officials said Tuesday's raid was part of a continued investigation into illegal immigration and identity theft that spurred the Dec. 12 raid.

Lara, who was outside the plant early Tuesday, and other Cactus residents described seeing two white vans along with about 10 to 14 ICE officials at the plant. A plane circled overhead while agents were at the facility.

"Everybody is stopping everybody," Lara said. "Everyone is making sure the word is out."

Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, said Tuesday's action was part of an ongoing look into undocumented immigrants at the plant.

Rusnok did not say how many employees were detained, and no specific details on what spurred Tuesday's enforcement action were released. ICE officials said more details should be forthcoming today.

Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift, confirmed the two arrests but did not immediately know the employees' names. He said that there were no disruptions to the operations at the facility Tuesday.

ICE officials also descended on Swift facilities in Greeley, Colo., Marshalltown, Iowa, and Worthington, Minn., McHugh said. At least one person was arrested at the Marshalltown pork facility, McHugh said.


Lara said the streets of Cactus have been noticeably quiet since the raids and a devastating tornado in April that destroyed at least 70 homes in the town.

"This morning it has been quiet, even the streets are quiet," said Lara, whose house and five cars were destroyed in the tornado.

"I am crying now that I know that they (the ICE officials) are gone. I hope they didn't take anybody."
At this point the story is still pretty fresh (I don't recall news coverage from yesterday evening, but have noticed televised coverage as of this morning). Last time ICE was in town, not only was the Swift meatpacking facility raided, but anyone looking even remotely Hispanic was being stopped and hassled by authorities. If you read through the rest of the article, you'll find that ICE officials are still using the same spin they used last time around.

As time permits I'll try to update y'all with any news that might make its way to me. Obviously, if by chance a person from Cactus is reading this blog and would wish to contact me with an account of what went down I'd be more than willing to help spread the word.


Originally posted at The Left End of the Dial v2.0.

Ruining the American Dream

Somewhere, a nativist faerie gets its wings
"When we moved to this area, it was just a regular American community," said Greg Letiecq, the leader of the group Help Save Manassas, which has lobbied strongly in support of the measure. "Six years later it's transformed into something different. It doesn't resemble the American dream that I bought or that I wanted to raise my children in."

The audacity of immigrants coming to this sovereign land and foisting their culture upon their new surroundings! Don't they know they're supposed to spend every waking moment watching reality tv shows and studying for the final exam on the intricacies of baking the perfect apple pie?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Carmona Fires Another Arrow at BushCo

The former Surgeon General (and Pima County resident) is flipping yet another rock that shows the decaying filth that permeates federal government operations

"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.

"The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona added.


Time and time again, we have seen how politicized the entire machine has become under BushCo rule. It has become a mass of festering rot as the Good 'Ole Boys Club keep scratching each other on the back. Meanwhile, the rest of us are stuck reaping their unholy whirlwind.

Hopefully Carmona's testimony and the continued investigations involving the Attorney Purge in the Department of Justice will yield some concrete accountability for these crooks and liars. If they are allowed to leave office unscathed, it will be a travesty of democracy.

happy 5th blogiversary to skippy!

::sniff:: it seems like only yesterday the snarky roo popped out of the pouch*
that's right, this site has been blogging continuously at this space for 5 years today! we can hardly believe it ourselves! one would think we'd have something useful to do, but no, we've been disseminating news and snark for the past 5 complete turns of the calendar.

many thanks to skippy and the rest of the crew who provide endless laughs and light-bulb moments on any given day. also, muchas graz for the occasionally linkage to posts here and the addition to the skippy blogroll. you've all helped smaller blogs get tons of exposure. your support is appreciated in a big way.


*skippy was already a toddler when we discovered him, but the nostalgia remains

St. McCain to the Gallows?

Looks like the Pander Bear Express has taken another detour - should we be concerned again for his well-being?
John McCain's campaign manager and chief strategist resigned Tuesday in a major staff shake-up for the struggling Republican presidential candidate who is all but broke and trails in opinion polls.

In statements, Terry Nelson, a veteran of President Bush's successful 2004 re-election effort, said he resigned as campaign manager effective immediately and John Weaver said he stepped down from his post of chief strategist.

But other officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid discussing private conversations, said Nelson was fired. Several people close to Nelson disputed that characterization.

This outta be good. In preparation for the McCain Campaign Death Watch, you'll need the following ingredients - courtesy of the Food Network's Rachael Ray (yeah, yeah)
Hot N Sweet Kettle Corn

1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon salt
Place popcorn, sugar, oil, chipotle and salt in a large kettle or pot with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When corn begins to pop, shake the pot constantly. When popping slows, remove from heat and transfer popped kettle corn to a bowl.

To keep the kettle corn sweet, omit the chipotle powder and adjust sugar to 1/3 cup.

Monday, July 09, 2007

'Till the Cows Come Home...

...That's how long I'll be pointing out journalistic laziness when it comes to the human rights crisis along la frontera
Two more suspected illegal immigrants were found dead in the desert west of Tucson, one Friday and the other Saturday, and nearly 1,650 pounds of marijuana were seized in separate incidents, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said Monday.

linkage (emphasis mine)

The 'War on Drugs' and the deaths along the border? They are not the same thing.

First, it was Brady - now David. Someone needs to adjust the Splenda intake at the Citizen's staff lounge.

Beware the Voting Kitchen Staff!

And you thought the era of the pitchforked crowds in the streets were over. Pffft.

We'll show you forks!
Until this summer, the cooks, waiters and housekeepers of Las Vegas usually didn't see many contenders for the White House until well into an election season.

These days, though, members of the Culinary Workers Union are entertaining repeat visits from Democratic candidates. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) lyrically praised the role of service workers at the group's recent rally. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) promised to walk a picket line with them.

The scrupulous attention is testament to the rising influence of Latino voters, who make up almost half of the union's membership of 60,000, as well as almost 9 percent of Nevada's electorate.

If anyone is looking for the ridiculously inept journalist who wrote this story, she can be found in the kitchens and pantries where she knew could find some Latinos. 'Cuz, you know, that's what makes us so important - we clean your toilets, dress the beds, and wash your wine glasses so the terrorists don't win.

Of course, that's only one side of the familia. The rest of our primos are dealing drugs, dropping out of school and brainwashing your kids into espeeking da españoley.



Stereotypes. Only effective when they're intended to reinforce an acceptable status quo to the elites.

The Best and the Brightest?

This is rich
A federal employee who took bribes to boost test scores for Arizona National Guard applicants is believed to have helped dozens of soldiers enlist under fraudulent circumstances.

Christine P. Thomas, formerly of Sierra Vista, is set to be sentenced in federal court in Tucson later this month under a plea deal she struck with prosecutors.

Thomas took bribes to boost test scores for Army Guard applicants between 2000 and 2002, court records show. About 70 test scores for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery were rigged in a conspiracy that involved local Guard recruiters and Thomas. The test scores help determine what job a recruit may be assigned.

And for your daily dose of irony.
The National Guard applicants involved in cheating will not face any consequences.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Sky Opened and the Clouds Wept

It began with the wind.

At first, just a small whisper with a morsel of heat that remained from the fiery day before. It was enough to make one pause, wondering if the long-lost visitor had finally knocked on the door. Then, the howl rang out and it was apparent - change was on its way.

That was last night around the witching hour.

Temperatures had soared around 110 in the Tucson Valley for most of the week, which was most unpleasant. We've been hearing the call for patience by the weather(wo)men, but I know I was turning the fourth-corner of my wits and debating whether or not to research some rain dances.

Well, the signs that I noticed in the air were not telling a lie - as if they ever do. The monsoon season is upon us in Baja Arizona.

The 4th of July was orchestrated as a time for human-made fireworks, now Mother Nature will show us some real power.

As I listen to the drops hit the ground around me, I can almost sense the earth taking a deep gulp of sustenance. The air fills with the sweet kisses of the creosote, a scent of ancient gods and goddesses that call on all creation to respect, love and preserve all the beauty that surrounds us.

I love this time of year.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

As a reflection, I offer the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a document that binds our humanity in love.

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

    Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.


May this day be a recharging of batteries for activists and their supporters, and a wake-up call of consciousness for a society that needs to be more assertive in opposing this government.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

KeithO Speaks For Me!

His most powerful Special Comment yet

Crooks and Liars has the transcript

16 Bodies in 18 Days

Heat Advisories are in full-effect across the state, and the deaths continue.
Border Patrol agents found the body of a 26-year-old Mexican woman Monday afternoon about 60 miles southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Reservation, the 16th body of an illegal border crosser found in the past 18 days.

Humane Borders and No More Deaths could use some support to fight back against this humanitarian crisis.

4th of July Message from the NY Times

I thought it was the lack of caffeine, but no, these words really did appear in the New York Times
As we celebrate another Fourth of July, this picture of American intolerance clashes sharply with tidy schoolbook images of the great melting pot. Why has the land of “all men are created equal” forged countless ghettoes and intricate networks of social exclusion? Why the signs reading “No Irish Need Apply”? And why has each new generation of immigrants had to face down a rich glossary of now unmentionable epithets? Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.

It's always interesting to read the introspection that goes on by the dominant side of society. You can almost hear the light bulb illuminate.

The irony is that in order to get them to move on any type of justice, the idea has to appear to come from within them. Sure, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters/families can march in the streets asking for humane treatment, but until the power-brokers have some type of 'Come to Jeebus' moment or feel the pinch in their stock portfolio, nothing but the broken status quo is offered to the victims of this never-ending cycle of racism and xenophobia.

There is very little listening by politicians on what it means to be on the receiving end of policies that make attaining, let alone keeping, a legal immigration status harder than George Bush's thick skull.

It's refreshing to see the historical narrative coming out of the Gray Lady's pages today, but until that realization strikes like lightning at the rotunda of the Capitol, the suffering of today's latest wave of unwanted Others will continue. It's the American™ Way.

Employer Background Checks?

Oh, this should be good.
A government program that is stymied by data errors and isn't designed to stop fraud is the keystone of enforcing the nation's laws against employing undocumented workers.

The online system, called the Basic Pilot Program, automatically matches names and Social Security numbers when people apply for jobs. But the 11-year-old system is hardly foolproof.

A congressional audit last year found that the system erroneously identified people 4 percent of the time. Given the vast trove of computerized government records, that meant 18 million people were incorrectly flagged as being ineligible for work because of data mismatches. The error rate has improved, but Basic Pilot is still fallible.

linkage (emphasis mine)
So what we have now is a Democratic Governor caving to pressure exerted by folks like vigilante leader Chris Simcox, who is overjoyed at her decision to sign the employer sanctions bill, and putting the fate of Arizona workers' status in the loving embrace of an online/hackable database that is already proven to be flawed.

Since the current round of workplace raids have yet to net any sizable percentage of racial groups outside of those with brown skin, I think the level of outrage felt is justified.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Janet Signs Employer Sanction Bill

Further proof that neither party can be trusted to deal with immigration in a comprehensive manner
Gov. Janet Napolitano signed a bill Monday which experts say will create the toughest sanctions in the county for companies that "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants, breaking from some political allies in the business community who have opposed the measure.

In a statement Napolitano said, "Immigration is a federal responsibility, but I signed HB 2779 because it is now abundantly clear that Congress finds itself incapable of coping with the comprehensive immigration reforms our country needs.

This sets us further down a dangerous path of immigration becoming a state-enforced issue instead of the traditionally national way of going about it. Of course, this is also a calculated political move - she is afraid of the hardliners who are out for blood.

Meanwhile some of the hardest working people in this country's borders will be shat upon. Again. This action is vile without any corresponding action to help set laborers on a pathway to legalized status. It's only going to increase the volatility of an already volatile situation.

Brace yourselves, Arizona. Things are going to get ugly.

David Ritcheson is Dead

I recall quite vividly the reverberations of fear and anger that shook through my body when I first learned of this hate crime last year.

In a case that drew national attention, Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was severely assaulted last April 23 by two youths while partying in Spring. One of the attackers, a skinhead named David Tuck, yelled ethnic slurs and kicked a pipe up his rectum, severely damaging his internal organs and leaving Ritcheson in the hospital for three months and eight days — almost all of it in critical care.

In an hour-long interview at his home with his parents on Monday, Ritcheson agreed to be photographed and have his name made public. He reflected on his life before the attack, described the lengthy recovery that followed and looked forward to wresting something positive from the experience.

David used his horrific experience as an example to urge the House Judiciary Committee to renew Hate Crimes Legislation with his testimony earlier this year.
I appear before you as a survivor of one of the most despicable, shocking, and heinous acts of hate violence this country has seen in decades. Nearly one year ago on April 22, 2006, I was viciously attacked by two individuals because of my heritage as a Mexican-American.

Less than three months later, his family will have to endure yet another tragic episode to this nightmare.

An 18-year-old was observed by "a bunch of people" jumping over the railing of the upper deck of Carnival Cruise Lines' Ecstasy around 7:35 a.m. Sunday, said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.

A written statement from the cruise line also said an 18-year-old appeared to jump from the ship.

Carnival Cruise Lines officials would not confirm his identity, but Rick Dovalina, head of LULAC in Houston, said Sunday night that he learned through the family's attorney, Carlos Leon, that 18-year-old David Ritcheson has died.

This whole thing has so many ugly facets that its hard to even begin to articulate my thoughts on it. We have an obvious hate crime that was carried out in an environment of potent xenophobic outrage by the likes of Rush, Lou and Tom; but on top of that is the stigma that is oftentimes attached to victims of abuse.

My heartfelt condolences to the Ritcheson family. No one deserves to experience the hell they have had to endure since August 2006.

(thx to mariachi mama for the heads up)

The Idiocy of Fred Thompson

This gentrified hack of an actor is gonna be the savior for the GOP in the 2008 Election?
Noting that the United States had apprehended 1,000 people from Cuba in 2005, Thompson said, "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb." Fidel Castro is Cuba's leader.

A video clip of Thompson's remark immediately circulated on YouTube and has drawn considerable attention in Florida, a key early primary state home to many Republican-leaning Cuban Americans.

While I have a love/hate relationship with the Democrats, I'm actually going to admit some surprise at how blatant the rhetoric is flowing freely out of the Republicans' pie-holes. Do they know that they are on their way to nationalizing the backlash that was unleashed in Califas when Pete Wilson decided to pull the Brown Menace card from out of his blazer sleeve?

Not widespread backlash, mind you, that would require something just-this-side of an apparition of the Virgen de Guadalupe holding hands with FDR to form the solidarity needed to beat back the nativist fever that's all the rage this year.

U.S. immigration policy with respect to Cuba is the greatest example of idiocy in action. Traditionally Cuban-Americans have supported GOP candidates, so this remark by Thompson was a little surprising to me. Perhaps it will finally shake free the last cobwebs of denial from any Latino that thinks they will be treated any different than your run-of-the-mill migrant worker.

We're all the same, you know. [/sarcasm]

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Someday Tour: "Happy, happy birthday, bloggy" edition!

Come one, come all, come new and come old... to the Someday Eegeehood Happy Birthday Bloggy tour! I bet you did not know that time could go by so fast! I certainly didn't. I remember when our Manny first set up shop here, 'lo those 2 years ago - it's been wonderful watching both the blog and Manny grow and find their place in things, becoming known among those who know these things as a place that never loses its focus on inner integrity, compassion, righteous indignation and being a voice for the (sometimes literally) voiceless.

Well done, Manny!

To begin our tour, the first place you should be heading is to this post, right here, to read, comment and add your own memories. And don't forget to give Bud a virtual pat! I'll wait.

Then come back, and we'll go peek at everyone else!

[ UPDATE!] boran2 (you ever wonder who boran1 is?) is not painting a cake for Manny's blog birthday, but all our fun building - that he is painting - needs is a couple of candles! Okay, so maybe they don't have candles on buildings in your neighborhood, but is that so wrong? Also, don't forget... next week is the painting palooza's 100th anniversary edition! Yay boran! Also, snowmen are so passe (not to mention melted)... the new in thing is snow doggies! And it seems that the US govt is confirming that, when it comes to food or product safety (or natural disasters) you're on your own.

Original James has a moving tribute to, and remembrance of, our Ductape Fatwa. It's to be hoped he'll come strolling in someday soon, bearing wisdom, barbs and rhetorical gifts, but... well, we can hope. Also, a blast from the past, some words from Chomsky - setting the record straight. And don't be fooled... just because we don't always hear about them, be aware that the ICE raids and other actions still continue. Also, it's always been so weird to me that so many present and former CIA operatives (such as Plame), agents, whatever are considered liberal heroes by some. What's up with that?

Time for a petition! So sorry to have to be so pushy and mean, but... a tour guide's gotta do what a tour guide has gotta do. So....

Dear Arcturus and dove,

Please write. Or just drop in to say "hi".

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Nezua has not been writing this week (but just you wait) , as he was moving (yay!) but now he is in his new place and, Nezua like, has expressed his feelings in wonderful art and words. And one good thing about his not writing much this past week is that this "awww" moment is still on the page, and you are still able to see the cutest little budding musician ever! And he tells of David Mas Masumot, a farmer and a great writer and speaker, who brings us the perspective of the ghost at our tables.

Olivia is having Happy Canada Day! Also cloud blogging with nary a cow or a frog in sight. I miss them already! And trust Olivia to figure out (and show us!) that delphiniums have whiskers. I did not know this before...then again, I also couldn't have identified a delphinium before I saw this picture. But wait... while there were no frogs or cows in Olivia's clouds this week, last week she had a bug in them! Whew. There is more there besides, go bask in birthday/Canada Day flowers and bugs!

ILJ wonders if there is light at the end of the tunnel, in a fine and heartfelt rant at his site. I so know the feeling! Also, an interview with Bruce Barry of the ACLU, an organization needed now more than ever, I'm thinking. Go listen and read! There is more there too, read on!

[UPDATE THE LAST!] Over at Family Man's, you've not met a snob until you've met a sheet snob! And just look who was assimilated into the sheet snob borg! Also, I think maybe he needs a yogurt maker... maybe one that doubles as a fudgesicle maker! And has he met his slackerly match? But all is well now!

I cannot load katie's site, but will check back on it later... up above I forgot about Jazzy James, though! He has what looks like wonderful music from idris ackamoor, in three parts! Go download some soon.

Added fun... What kind of liberal are you? I'm a sucker for silly quizzes. Here are my test results... what are yours?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Mostly all done!

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Latino Político

My, how times flies.

Two years ago, this blog was launched and I can barely believe it. I wish I could tell you that the first post was a grand introduction, but it was just a mundane tester-post to get my feet wet with the Blogger format.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that I could put into words what I wanted to do with this humble space in blogtopia (skippy - the coiner of that phrase).
I started this site to get my voice down on "paper". I don't really care if I get five or 500 hits in a day. I'm doing this because I care about my country. I yearn for the days when we can again proudly live up to this inscription that can be found on the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
As the months have stretched into years, I don't think much has changed. Evolved, yes. But the basic foundation that keeps me plugged into the Matrix remains the opportunity to give voice to the voiceless. Those who are forced to dwell in the shadows of this society.

I was talking to domo last week and was explaining to her that I feel an obligation to speak out for those caught in the snare of this country's broken immigration system. Their advocacy in the political system is usually given by lawmakers in a backhanded way. "Sure, we'll help you get legal status, but you better do this, this, this and this first - and don't betray us by rejecting assimilation."

How generous of them...

As the archives continue to grow here thanks to a great team of Plática Starters, some of whom have been quiet as of late (hint hint, wink wink) - I give thanks for the relationships that have been borne. Having the opportunity to meet many fellow bloggers in the realm of real life has been a fantastic experience because the shared solidarity found online can be expressed face-to-face. That solidarity is a powerful thing, which is why we can form bonds with people we've never met. Something internal is tapped-into when we read words from others that inspire, educate and occasionally challenge. I truly believe that.

Things are not always going to be smooth, as evidenced by many flame wars, tussles and outright anger that can be found at just about any blog. But I received some important wisdom from a starry-eyed friend of mine recently, who said, "...know that you are always headed in the right direction when you listen to your own guidance on things."

My compass in real-life and (hopefully) in this sphere of existence is one of compassion and listening. That's not to say that I don't get angry and type or scream off-the-cuff, cuz that would just expose the hypocrisy that certainly lives within me, but when push comes to shove - the lesson I've learned is that the Golden Rule is its strongest when we confront others who treat us in a way that we most certainly do not want to be treated.

I've written before about breaking the cycle of war within in order to be able to truly work for the same goal in society, and the world by extension. We have to figure out what our niche is to raise the status quo out of its current, I believe, unmanageable form. It is not an easy thing to do, and certainly requires vigilance, but it is a worthy path to take in my experience.

So, I'm going to climb off this wooden crate now and, from the bottom of my bleeding liberal heart, thank you for being you. Also, for reading these words, this site, and all of the real-life activism you are doing in your circles of influence.
Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.

--Octavio Paz
Amen to that, and Onward!