Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Bud Blogging

"It's time for a nap, what's the holdup?"

Ozomatli Returns to Arizona

Los Angeles-based latin/funk gurus, Ozomatli, are returning to the Grand Canyon State in December for two shows that are not to be missed. They'll be in Tucson at the Rialto on Monday, Dec 10th, and Flagstaff on Tuesday, Dec 11th at the Orpheum Theatre for the Ozo on Ice Tour

I've seen them perform at both venues and they rock out, as they always do, in live shows that are high energy fiestas of música con ritmo sabroso bearing messages of peace and solidarity. If you've never been to an Ozomatli concert, this is your chance to find out why there are countless "Ozoheads" across the world that follow these guys loyally.

Their latest album released earlier in the year, Don't Mess With The Dragon, takes on topics such as the Iraq War (en español), the immigration marches of 2006 and Hurricane Katrina. In true Ozo-fashion, the disc is a mezcla of funk, rock, latin, and Old School beats. Their CDs are nonstop parties, but are only a taste of what you'll get at one of their live shows. I'll be at the Rialto on the 10th.

Mas información

Extreme Blog Makeover - ePluribus Media Edition

Congratulations to mis amigos over at ePluribus Media for the relaunch of their newly designed hub on the web. You can now find their online gateway at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Remembering the Sand Creek Massacre

One hundred, forty-three years ago:
At dawn of November 29, 1864, a force of some 700 soldiers, the majority 100 day volunteers who had been chided in Denver as the "Bloodless Third" Regiment, attacked a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.


Throughout the day, soldiers, many in small unorganized groups, continued to hunt and pursue Indians up Sand Creek and across the adjacent plains. By evening, about 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho lay dead - many of the victims women, children, and elderly.

More available via winter rabbit's post at Native American Netroots

Nursing Mother Released From Jail

Good news - and a follow up from yesterday's post regarding Danielle Ferreira, who was refused the ability to nurse her two month old son while detained. She was released from the North Carolina jail after officials removed their heads from their asses consulted the rules they're supposed to follow.
Spokeswoman Julia Rush said jail officials did not know about the new federal guidelines for nursing women until late Monday night.

"Had we known, she would have been released on Friday," Rush said.

h/t to commenter Skye at the Women of Color Blog

Rainforests In Crisis Blog

How can I pass up an opportunity to post about a tapir?
NORTHEAST VALLEY [Phoenix area, for the non-natives] - Blogging this week from a Central American rainforest, a Northeast Valley television crew, says photographing jaguars in the wild is "amazing."

In Belize, the bloggers describe that country's national mammal, the tapir: "A cross between a cow, an anteater, and a pig, the tapir was most interested in eating the video camera. :)," they say, at

The mission of Paradise Earth:
Each week, over one million acres of the earth's rainforests are destroyed. The mission of Paradise Earth is both Conservation and Education. We will achieve this by creating a Rainforest Habitat that functions as a genetic pool of plants, birds, and wildlife to both preserve the species and repopulate them outside of captivity. The habitat will also be an educational center, focused on sharing a variety of ways that humans can live in a more environmentally-friendly manner.
Check out their blog here, where there are a few posts showing their encounters in Belize.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Detained Mother Unable to Breastfeed

This is outrageous, but also known as par for the course.

A Brazilian woman, held in the Mecklenburg County jail since Friday on an immigration violation, is not being allowed to provide breast milk for her son, who is less than 2 months old.

Ezequiel Oliveira, who is helping care for the woman's two children, said he spent hours at the jail Monday trying to get a breast pump to 29-year-old Danielle Ferreira. He said Ferreira's baby, Samuel, is crying incessantly and keeps spitting up baby formula.


Oliveira, who is Ferreira's pastor and also from Brazil, said he saw her Sunday and she complained of a fever and soreness in her breasts because she hasn't been allowed to express milk. He said Samuel doesn't seem to feel well, has a rash and spits up every time he drinks formula.

Jan Ellen Brown, a Charlotte lactation consultant, said it's not good for a mother or baby when nursing stops abruptly. She said breast milk is best for infants and an infant who has been nursing for two months could have a reaction to formula or trouble drinking from a bottle. Mothers who stop nursing without weaning are in a lot of pain and are susceptible to breast infection.

Makes the vision statement for Mecklenburg's Sheriff seem pretty ironic, eh?

Our vision is to be recognized by the people we serve as a professional organization dedicated to customer service and committed to improving the quality of life in our community. Together, my staff and I work to make this vision a reality.

I hope you will take time to explore our website and see how we serve you, our most important customer.

I'm going to put a phone call in to their press office to see what their justification is for detaining this woman for an "immigration hold" when she can already verify that she's signed a statement of intent to return to Brazil and already purchased plane tickets. This child - this U.S. citizen - could die due to the actions of officials at that prison.

Violence Against Latinos Rises

The Southern Poverty Law Center's HATEWATCH has compiled a horrific listing of hate crimes that have been launched against Latinos over the past couple of years that can be directly traced to the increased nativist rhetoric of the immigration debate.
The FBI released its latest national hate crime statistics last week, and while these numbers are shaky they do indicate hate crimes directed at undocumented immigrants — and Latinos in general — are up 35% over the last four years.

View the listing here
Stuff like this happens when charges of traitor-ism are commonplace and a collective blind eye is turned to the human rights violations that are occurring everyday under the current system.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Final Jalapeno Harvest

It was a good year for my jalapeño plants

Am I A Traitor or Illegal?

Let's ponder the mindset of random commenter #6 at my YouTube post on Pat Buchanan's recent call for Operation Wetback to be reconstituted. Here are a couple of gems:
Thanks for the video. Buchanan is a great patriot.

Which of course people like you (whether a traitor or straight illegal) find offensive. Thanks for the video.
And this:
To the idiot that created this video, you talk about communities "terrorized" but what about the communities that came before, populated by American citizens, that were first terrorized and driven out of the town, city, state by illegal aliens that created these new enclaves? Why no sympathy for them?
There are more, but you get the picture.

How does one rationalize with someone that equates the ethnic change of neighborhoods and cities with ICE agents that wield guns and bust down doors in the dead of night? I'm thinking that you can't, but there's a lot of this type of mindset thriving across America™ and clearly can't be ignored.

Had to laugh, though, it's been a couple of months since I've been called a traitor.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, Monday

Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time

I hope you all had a good, long weekend. Mi familia y yo bonded, ate, laughed, vegetated, decorated cooked and baked. It was a well-needed lull in the chaos for me. Hope yours was, too. Blogging shall resume shortly. Thanks to James for holding down the fort over the long weekend.

Now about that coffee...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NAFTA causes mass human displacement, so why repeat it in Peru?

Chalk it up to greed. Some executives will undoubtedly make out like bandits. As David Bacon notes, NAFTA boosted the profit margins of some corporations who could cut down labor costs, and yes, Mexico now has more billionaires than ever. Unfortunately, Mexico (and also the US) has merely become even more stratified since NAFTA went into effect. Funny how none of that wealth ever seems to "trickle down." Just a few clips from the article for your consideration:
By November 2002, the US Department of Labor had certified 507,000 workers for extended unemployment benefits because their employers had moved their jobs south of the border. The Department of Labor stopped counting NAFTA job losses, but the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC, estimated that NAFTA had eliminated 879,000 jobs. That was five years ago.

But US job loss didn't produce job increases in Mexico - it eliminated them there too. In NAFTA's first year, more than a million jobs disappeared in the economic crisis NAFTA caused.

To attract investment in Mexico, the treaty required privatization of factories, railroads and other large enterprises, leading to more layoffs of Mexican workers.

On the border, Ford, General Electric and other corporations built factories and moved production from the United States to take advantage of low wages. But more than 400,000 maquiladora workers lost their jobs in 2000-2001 when US consumers cut back spending in the last recession, and companies found even lower wages in other countries, such as El Salvador or China.

Before NAFTA, US auto plants in Mexico had to buy parts from Mexican factories, which employed thousands of local workers. But NAFTA let the auto giants bring in cheaper parts from their own subsidiaries, so Mexican auto parts workers lost their jobs, too.

The profits of US grain companies, already subsidized under the US farm bill, went higher when NAFTA allowed them to dump cheap corn on the Mexican market, while at the same time it forced Mexico to cut its agricultural subsidies. As a result, small farmers in Oaxaca and Chiapas couldn't sell corn anymore at a price that would pay the cost of growing it.

When corn farmers couldn't farm, or auto parts and maquiladora workers were laid off, where did they go? They became migrants.

The real, dirty secret of trade agreements is displacement. During the years NAFTA has been in effect, more than six million people from Mexico have come to live in the United States. They didn't abandon their homes, families, farms and jobs willingly. They had no other option for survival.
The same pattern is threatening to repeat in Peru. Apparently, one of the issues that quite a number of Democrats ran on in 2006 was to prevent further passage of these sorts of "free trade" agreements. Flush with success after attaining Congressional majorities, the Democrat party brass then changed their tune. Thus far, the House passed the "free trade" agreement with Peru. Given the leadership (or lack thereof) in the Senate, passage there should be a slam dunk. Miners, factory workers, and family farmers will lose out in Peru. I can imagine that the upcoming decade will be filled with the tragic stories of displaced workers and families making an increasingly treacherous journey northward hoping to simply subsist.

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files.

Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

Check this out via my friend The Unapologetic Mexican:
ONCE AGAIN, a Mexican Being was where he was not supposed to be, and just look at the consequences.
PHOENIX - A 9-year-old boy looking for help after his mother crashed their van in the southern Arizona desert was rescued by a man entering the U.S. illegally, who stayed with him until help arrived the next day, an official said.

The 45-year-old woman, who eventually died while awaiting help, had been driving on a U.S. Forest Service road in a remote area just north of the Mexican border when she lost control of her van on a curve on Thanksgiving, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

The van vaulted into a canyon and landed 300 feet from the road, he said. The woman, from Rimrock, north of Phoenix, survived the impact but was pinned inside, Estrada said.

Her son, unhurt but disoriented, crawled out to get help and was found about two hours later by Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26, of Magdalena de Kino in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Unable to pull the mother out, he comforted the boy while they waited for help.

The woman died a short time later. [...]

As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday, when hunters passed by and called authorities, Estrada said. [...]

Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents, who were the first to respond to the call for help. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy.

The boy and his mother were in the area camping, Estrada said. The woman's husband, the boy's father, had died only two months ago.

Illegal immigrant rescues boy in desert

And for those of y'all needing a refresher course on the parable in question:
Luke 10:30-37 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?" He said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Cross-posted from The Mahatma X Files.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Civil Rights Initiative That Wasn't

I thought I'd follow up on a previous post that has touched a nerve with one our state's "progressive" bloggers who seems to be in support something called the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative. A taste of some of the official propaganda for the initiative can be found here. A quick Google search will turn up more propaganda as well as plenty of right-wing bloggers and pundits who are just giddy about the prospect of ending affirmative action in Oklahoma (three other states are being targeted during the upcoming election cycle: Arizona, Colorado, and Missouri). Of course the same search will also turn up the other side of the story, for those willing to keep a sufficiently open mind to read (for the initiative's die-hard proponents, that won't happen of course).

We learn from one source that since a similar initiative was passed in California, the proportion of women hired at UC Irvine has plummeted - I'm under the impression that similar phenomena can be found throughout California and Washington - the two states with the lengthiest histories of life after the passage of this initiative. The blog Freedom and Reason offers an expose of the folks behind the initiative: Ward Connerly, David Horowitz, the Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation, among others. The McCarville Report Online has Rep. Mike Shelton's statement against the initiative. On a similar note, see this story.

See also Oklahoma Women's Network Blog. On a related note, check Arthur Silber's Racist Nation, to better understand the Zeitgeist that would make such ballot initiatives (along with a host of other policies) acceptable to so many - including those who really should know better. Stay tuned...

Crossposted from The Mahatma X Files

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tohono O'odham Burial Remains Returned

Great news. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition over the summer demanding that the U.S. government return the burial remains of Tohono O'odham ancestors who had their eternal rest violated to make way for the Great Wall of America™.

From the mailbag:
Hello Everyone,

This e-mail is being sent out to you because you signed the "Return the Remains" petition a few months back to have O'odham remains that were dug up during construction of the U.S. Mexico Apartheid wall returned to their ancestors for traditional reburial.

I am very happy to inform you that the remains were returned, and have been given a traditional reburial by the ancestors of those who were dug up.

This just goes to show that sometimes, something as simple as signing a petition really can make a difference.

Thank you all so much!

Please click on the following link to read the statement of appreciation written by the Traditional Leaders of the O'odham Territory thanking you and everyone who signed the petition for helping them get their ancestors remains returned.

Statement of Appreciation
This desecration was unacceptable from the very beginning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the descendants of those buried who endured months of heartache and righteous outrage. You will always find solidarity here at this humble blog.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tom Horne Targets TUSD Minority Studies

Back in June, I responded to the Goldwater Institute's recommendations to the Republican Party on how they should cater to latin@ voters. Towards the end, I mentioned comments by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne as an example of the far-right nativist contigent that currently holds power in the GOP.
These are not the voices of moderation. These are not voices who are even making an attempt to understand where the Latino community is coming from on the various issues of the day. It is a group who has chosen to define us in the most negative way possible. Take the Superintendent for Public Instruction, for example, in a Letter to the Editor to the AZRepublic in February:
In a column dated Jan. 29, 2007 "Let's ditch '50s mentality," Republic editorial writer Linda Valdez criticizes me for one of my lawyer's arguments in the Flores case.

This argument was that Tucson Unified should not be heard claiming that their English-language program suffers from lack of state funds. In fact, they waste huge amounts of the money they do receive on programs like "ethnic studies," including "Raza" studies. ("La Raza" means "the race.")

Well, in what is probably Example #85204 of Why. Elections. Matter. Tom Horne has decided that he is going to do everything he can to dismantle programs that are succeeding at graduating minority students and showing them that they can go to college if they summon the will.
TUSD's ethnic studies program has come under the lens of Arizona's education czar.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has asked the Tucson Unified School District to provide information on funding for its ethnic studies programs.

The request also calls for all training materials used in Mexican-American and African-American studies, syllabuses, videos, films, teachers' guides, reading materials, audio recordings and other instructional materials.

Horne said his inquiry is not based on a question of academics or education, but "values."

Those values - those of Tom Horne and by the growing nativist, WHITE contingency - are made clear by the horse's ass mouth.
Horne was elected in 2002 on a platform that included an anti-bilingual-education stance.

"I have a long history of opposing ethnic studies and gender studies," he said, explaining that he halted a proposed women's studies program in a Paradise Valley high school.
Paging Leonard Clark! Do you think we can add another name to that recall petition?

Thoughts on Last Night's Debate

Let me begin this post by stating that I have not picked a candidate to vote for in next year's primary, though I have a leaner(s). It should also be noted that I thought CNN did a craptacular job regarding presentation. The camera coordination was terrible, the format was run like a Misters and Mrs. America Pageant, and Leslie Blitzer provided plenty of moments of disservice to this country. Now, on to the carne y papas.

Drivers' Licenses

This was the cause of much turmoil for Hillary over the past couple of weeks so it was clear that 1) the topic would come up again, and 2) she would be prepared for it. Luckily for her, the CNN talking heads decided that the amazingly complex issue of immigration reform should be devalued to the status of a "yes or no"-type answer. Ridiculous.

Obama saw the farce for what it was and tried to refocus the conversation to the wider issue of overhauling the country's policies, but Leslie Blitzer wasn't having it, kept interrupting, and thanks to the tag-teaming by the zombie comentators afterwards, are working to spin it as his moment of "tripping up." Not only do I appreciate Obama working to widen the discussion, he's willing to support drivers' licenses for the right reasons and isn't afraid of weathering the attacks that will undoubtedly come from it.

As for the best answer on that issue, I would give it to Gov. Richardson. He understands
this issue perfectly and signed legislation in New Mexico years ago to do it. His citing of the stats in the state regarding reduction of traffic incidents as well as the increase in number of drivers insured showed that he knew the issue was coming that night.

Something like drivers' licenses for undocumented people in this country shouldn't be a dealbreaker - but it is for me because it shows that I can't trust the candidate to have the courage to fight back against the demonization of the people and families in the shadows. If they are going to cave on something so trivial, so fundamental to basic safety on the streets, then I can only imagine what they'll do with respect to further militarizing the southwest, building of additional concentration camps to hold the targets of workplace raids, and reasserting the dumbing down of the U.S. by wearing an English Only pin on their lapel.

So where do they stand?
Support: Kucinich, Obama, Richardson
Oppose: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards
Not surprising that two of my leaners are in the top line.

Racial Profiling

This issue came up during the audience Q&A period at the end. A gentleman by the name of Khalid Khan spoke in thickly-accented English about the discrimination that is faced in airports and everywhere else since 9/11. It seems like a no-brainer that all the candidates would denounce racial profiling - and they did - but I was proud that he was able to raise it to their awareness. It is happening on a widespread level, and while it's illegal, there is nothing being done to stop it. Paying lip service that "racial profiling won't be done in a Candidate X Administration" doesn't cut it. It's time to lead and it can be done now if they're feeling assertive.

Final Thoughts

One side of me wishes that CNN could return two hours of my life, the other side is thankful that Nevada got some well-deserved attention from the candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire voters are not the same type as those in this part of the country. We have different cultural experiences, different relationships towards the East Coast power sources, and deserve to have a much bigger say in how our lives are governed. The caucuses are approaching quickly and the more "mudslinging" that occurs, the more we'll learn how each person deals with criticism, pivots and recovers if they stumble, and hopefully - we'll understand exactly what type of leader they will be in the Oval Office and what policies they'll support.

[UPDATE] Roberto Lovato has more commentary

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Eight Year Old Separated From Her Mother

The ICE agents at the Hutto Concentration Camp are violating human rights. Again.
DALLAS - An 8-year-old girl was separated from her pregnant mother and left behind for four days at a detention center established to keep immigrant families together while their cases are processed.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they had to transfer the Honduran woman Oct. 18 because she was potentially disruptive, having twice resisted attempts to deport her.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said guards and ICE staff watched over the child after her mother was removed from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, a former Central Texas prison where immigrant families with no criminal records are held while their cases are processed.


Pat Buchanan Calls For Operation Wetback

My first video edit, but the point needed to be made.

Operation Wetback was ended in the 1950s after it was clear that racial profiling was the basis used for neighborhood roundups. It took the outcry from the Mexican American community to rise to a level that got noticed by the powers-that-be.

Moving from the 1950s to today, MALDEF alerts us to Operation Wetback tactics being used in Georgia:
Over the past month, there have been an alarming number of arrests related to immigration enforcement. These arrests raise serious doubts that they comply with the Agreement, which requires, among other guidelines, that immigration-trained personnel provide “an opportunity for subjects with limited English language proficiency to request an interpreter.” (MOA Section XV, at 7)

“Over the last few months several hundred Latinos have been pulled over and are still sitting in jail,” said Elise Shore, Southeast Regional Counsel of MALDEF. “The Cobb County Sheriff cannot assure us that his deputies are carrying out their responsibilities consistent with basic civil rights protections because he has failed to establish the Steering Committee required by the Agreement.”

2007 is seeing a surge of law enforcement agencies carrying out enforcement policies using race as a criteria, citizens being deported and subsequently lost, and white supremacist groups uniting with the nativist movement to push for hardliners in public office.

When will the hate end?

It begins within and flows in our ability to educate others.

That's the work we have ahead of us. No more silence.

Will you help?

*thanks to Marisa M. for assistance with the video

So, HB 1804 was only the beginning

Looks like the individual who authored HB 1804 is at it again. For a little education on HB 1804, which went into effect on Nov. 1, go here. Jim Branum offered a summary of the legislation's implications (along with a call to action that went largely unnoticed) that is also worth reading just to get up to speed.

Via Okie Funk:

Terrill, who authored House Bill 1804, which gave Oklahoma some of the strictest anti-illegal immigration laws in the nation, has started publicly calling his next initiative “son of 1804 bill” in a political stunt that can only be viewed as calculated and mean-spirited. People’s lives are at stake here. Maybe we should ditch the colorful nomenclature.

The new laws essentially make it illegal for anyone to help an undocumented person and cuts off state aid to anyone here illegally. Under Terrill’s new, proposed initiatives, English would become the state’s official language, law enforcement agencies could seize assets used to help undocumented workers and school districts would have to provide more extensive reporting on students here illegally.

Apparently the only criticism that the Daily Oklahoman can muster up is along the lines of, "Terrill is too excited" and should "slow down." Yeah, that's telling him. I'm willing to bet that he'll have next to no opposition from either the GOP (like that even needed to be said) or the Democrats. Heck, Brad Henry had no issues with signing HB 1804 into law, and the apparent progressive (I use the term very loosely) "savior" in next year's US Senatorial race, Andrew Rice, seemed to have no problem with voting in favor of the legislation last spring. These politicians and their supporters have made it crystal clear in words and in deeds that individuals and families fleeing starvation are merely üntermenschen, and shall be treated as such. Our corporate and political elites have historically had a "love" (as in love the cheap labor)/hate relationship with those immigrating to El Norte. These days, in Oklahoma, it is hate that comes to the forefront. As a Christian, I find that entirely unacceptable.

Note: crossposted from The Mahatma X Files

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Word "Illegal" is NOT a Noun

The Associated Press needs to work on their headlines.
Clinton says no to licenses for illegals
That word - illegal - is not a noun, it is an adjective. An adjective that should never be used for human beings. And, ironically, the people that use it frequently as a noun agree with that - only they have no desire to remind the general public that there are, in fact, human beings involved when it comes to an issue concerning the illegals.

Hillary. Well, she needs to work on her.....everything. I'm tired of the triangulation, the cowardice in the face of opposition and penchant for warmongering. As a blog friend of mine's sig line reads:

Clinton '08: Because Bush really needs a third term.

Midweek Meta Open Thread

  • Please don't sign me up for any listservs without asking. I get enough emails each day (averaging over 200), so I'm impatient when it comes to automatic sign-ups for the Peoples' Movement for Ethical Treatment of Roof Shingles.
  • I've created a profile at and Add me as an amigo.
  • Had a scare with Bud, he caught some type of viral infection and is getting better, but the vet says he'll be fine after the antibiotics run their course. No need to tell him to get more rest, he takes more naps than Family Man.
  • I'm contemplating a change in format around here for posts, with more frequent news clips around the tubes and an occasional substantive post. Thoughts?
  • The Haloscan gnomes are pissed, sorry if the comment links disappear on you - just hit the Refresh button until they are appeased.
  • Any sites you'd like to see on the blogroll that are missing? I'm trying to find as many pro-migrant blogs as possible.

Ohio Immigration Poll Numbers

Some interesting data that provides a view of the schizophrenia we're seeing across the U.S. with respect to treatment of the migrant community.
The latest Quinnipiac University Poll, which surveyed 1,231 Ohio voters between Nov. 6 and 11, found that 84 percent believe the government should not issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, while 86 percent of surveyed voters oppose providing illegal immigrants with government-subsidized health insurance. The strongest majority in the poll, 88 percent, came from support for the government requiring employers to verify the validity of Social Security numbers used to gain employment.

Sounds like Hardliner City, right? Well, just to muddle up things, Ohioans also say:
When given the hypothetical power to retain or deport an immigrant who has worked in the United States for at least two years, 55 percent of respondents said they'd allow the immigrant to work toward obtaining legal status while 38 favored deportation.
This piece of equation is something that has been completely lacking as the wedge campaign continues. Congress refuses to address the status of migrant peoples who are ensnared in the current, broken system. While they've stalled, Operation Wetback v.2007 has continued to be carried out across the country.

This is a complex issue, which can't be dealt with in a black-and-white manner - I think that's why there are such conflicting responses from people when polls like this are run. One thing I'll say regarding border policies, however (60% support the Great Wall of America™): build one between the U.S. and Canada first and then we'll talk about whether or not it's a race-based issue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sueños y Pesadillas

In her dream, she wasn't even noticed. Floating silently through the aisles of the mercado, with young child in tow - a boy, barely emerged from toddlerhood. His eyes were the same color as the cacao their village harvested. It was clear that he had inherited them from his mother, only hers were ringed with years of strain and betrayed the fact that she had been crying prior to that walk long ago in the zócalo.

At that time, it seemed like they had been walking all their lives, though in reality, it had only been a week since Magdalena had set out to join Joaquin. After years of doing everything to keep their small home fit for life, there was no more money to make sure food appeared regularly on the table. The envelopes that had come monthly from El Norte contained more words than cash.

She remembered that day clearly enough to shatter the borders between dream and reality. This night, she was reliving a memory.

Already they had found themselves in a different land, far from the burial sites of their ancestral family, but Magdalena knew that she couldn't give up. Rumors had filled the conversations of people throughout the various food stands that a boat full of some of her kinsman had capsized off the coast of Oaxaca. She had made a mental note to take a few moments that night to pray for them. Tinged with a wave of regret, she had also thanked the gods that she decided to move north on foot instead of by the sea.

The memory lifted itself like the mist over the fields. Another hard pounding at the door was all it took to wake up both Magdalena and Joaquin with pulsating heartbeats. Wielding a wooden bat, Joaquin drew the curtains cautiously to see who was interrupting their peaceful night. Before he had a chance to draw in a breath, shouts and panic rang out from the uniformed group, demanding that he open the door.

He turned to look at his wife, who was standing wide-eyed in the doorway to the bedroom, holding their wailing four month old daughter.

"Son ellos."

Joaquin knew they would come sooner or later. The foreman at the slaughterhouse had pocketed another week's worth of wages from the graveyard shift and too many people had complained. His compadres spit at the threats the jefe had issued at them if they made too much noise about it, but Joaquin could see in the gringo's eyes that he could care less and would just replace them with other willing hands after the dust had settled.

The green chiles wasted no time in handcuffing the man that Magdalena had loved for as long as she could remember. Her tears joined those of the baby in her arms, but the sadness was quickly turned to fear as they pointed a gun at them and demanded to see her papers, too. An animalistic instinct rose up in her chest as she screamed and backed up into the bedroom. Little Joaquin had joined the chaos with sleepy eyes and a confused look. She threw him out of harm's way, because all she could see burned in her vision was the barrel of shotguns and flashlight beams. They were not going to harm her children.

to be continued...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lawmakers Want To Slice Yards In Half


A map obtained by The Associated Press shows that the double- or triple-layer fence may be built as much as two miles from the river on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande, leaving parts of Granjeno and other nearby communities in a potential no-man's-land between the barrier and the water's edge.

Based on the map and what the residents have been told, the fence could run straight through houses and backyards. Some fear it could also cut farmers off from prime farmland close to the water.

"I don't sleep right because I'm worried," said Daniel Garza, a 74-year-old retiree born and raised in Granjeno. Garza said federal agents told him that the gray brick house he built just five years ago and shares with his 72-year-old wife is squarely in the fence's path.

"No matter what they offer, I don't want to move, I don't want to leave," Garza said, his eyes watering.

Where are the voices of sanity? The ones that will defend these families who have among them centuries worth of generations that have lived in the same spot under different flags? Who will fight back against the hardliners with words instead of mere politicking?

Democrats stripped the money [for the Great Wall of America™] from the defense bill at a House-Senate negotiating committee Tuesday, leading to an outcry among Republicans.

"It is clear across the country that the American people want to secure our borders first," said Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. "They want to enforce our laws. And this really is an amazing thing that's happened today."

There are no prominent voices speaking out against clueless lawmakers like Dole or Fredrick of Hollywood Thompson* in such a way that silences their ignorance and hate. They are winning the noise game, and unless it is beat back forcefully, the idea of a 15-foot tall steel barrier running alongside the clothesline of families across the desert southwest remains an inevitability. The Democrats are delaying the funds due to politics - not morals - so the trust runs nearly dry here.

*sombrero tip to dada for the Thompson jab

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thoughts on Tucson's Prop 100

I'm such a bad local blogger. We had a city election yesterday and I didn't write a single post on it. I'll sit here for a few minutes while you flick granada seeds to dole out a proper chastisement.

Regarding Proposition 100 that was on the ballot, I have to say that I'm saddened that it didn't pass. Normally, I would be opposed to giving such a hefty raise to public officials, but the annual salary figures for the City Council and Mayor are shameful.
Proposition 100 would have raised council salaries from $24,000 to $36,000 per year and the mayor's salary from $42,000 to $48,000.

We should be paying the people at the top of this area's government better than the current figures. I realize that it's often a reflexive response to deny raises to lawmakers, the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that I've done it on a federal level in the past, but really - there comes a point where we cheapen the value and commitment expected from the council by not paying the position its worth.

Of course, the other thing is that only 25%'ish of voters made the effort to cast a ballot yesterday so there's obviously a lot of work to be done on the civics level.

My dos centavos.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tortured Politics

The U.S. continues to torture unabashedly. That's the only conclusion I can come to when forked-tongue individuals are given a pass.
WASHINGTON - The Judiciary Committee advanced Attorney General designate Michael Mukasey's nomination to the Senate floor Tuesday, virtually ensuring confirmation for a former judge ensnarled in bitter controversy over terrorism-era prisoner interrogations.

The 11-8 vote came only after two key Democrats accepted his assurance to enforce any law Congress might enact against waterboarding.

So here's what will happen next:
  • Congress may get around to outlawing waterboarding
  • Junior Caligula will veto the legislation since he has nothing to lose and already has approval ratings lower than La Llorona.
  • Impeachment will remain off the table.
  • Torturing will continue while the Democrats slap each other on the back for "doing something about it"
Let's see if there's any truth to this:
But Specter, of Pennsylvania, said that outlawing waterboarding rests with Congress. He revealed that he had talked with Mukasey a day earlier and received an assurance that the nominee would back up any such legislation and quit if Bush ignores his opinion.
Since, you know, officials never go back on their word.

Solidarity With Catalina High Student Protestors

We need more of this to raise the awareness that the U.S. is operating under a new era of Operation Wetback.

Some 100 to 125 Catalina High Magnet School students protested outside Tucson police headquarters Tuesday after a fellow student was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and he and his family were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Border Patrol returned the family of four to Mexico because they admitted to being in the United States illegally for six years.

This is just one incident out of many where people are being systematically deported without even a flinch from the U.S. government. That's exactly what the hardliners are salivating over, but they are showing their true colors when the victims of banishment are young people.

Xicanopwr fills us in on another abhorrent example

Kelsey Peterson, a 25-year-old sixth-grade math teacher and basketball coach at Lexington Middle School, accused of running away with an undocumented 13-year-old boy to plan some sort of life together in Mexico was arrested on Friday night in Mexicali, Mexico, on the California border.

The boy was released to relatives in Mexico and is being reported that he will not be allowed to come back to US because of his immigration status. The only way he will be able to allow back is if he is needed to testify. To make matters worse, the family will now be deported according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Tim Counts, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would not say whether Fernando’s parents would come under scrutiny for their immigration status, saying the department does not discuss prospective cases.

more from XP

There should be a moratorium on human roundups and workplace raids until Congress gets off its collective asses and decides what it is going to do about the millions of people living in the shadows of U.S. society who are only looking for an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.

The movement of peoples across this earth is never a crime and the U.S. needs to stop acting like they're a bunch of stuck up country club dwellers that are too arrogant to see how shameful they are acting towards the rest of the world with their policies and attitudes.

My hope is that the students involved in today's protest will grasp deep inside themselves that they have power to end the farce of American Exceptionalism by demanding basic dignity and justice for all human beings no matter which plot of land they were born.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Honoring Lorraine Lee's Legacy

Just got back from the services for longtime community leader and activist, Lorraine Lee. Losing a force of nature like her always reminds me that the work we do as a people to make the promises of equality and justice available to everyone may be difficult, but are always worth the effort.

Lorraine may have lost her battle with the body, but her spirit of inspiration is untouchable - if there's one thing I'm convinced of today, it's that the work she organized and implemented will be carried out by new generations who will look to her as a solid point of reference.

I first met her years ago at a leadership institute I attended with other young Xicano activists. At the time, I was considering a career in politics (heh) and her words of empowerment to build grassroots community mobilization resonated within me. A leader is someone who can inspire all of their direct and indirect followers. A great leader, however, is one who does so for reasons that bring about a better world. Lorraine was, and is, a great leader.

I join the many activists across the U.S. and especially Baja Arizona in honoring the memory and work that Lorraine Lee devoted herself to with Chicanos Por La Causa and many, many other initiatives. If you would like to sign the online guestbook for her services, the link is here.

Más información:

Friday, November 02, 2007

Día de los Muertos Border Photoblog

The altar we built to honor the victims of the human rights crisis along the U.S./Mexico border.

Just a quick reminder as to why this is important to acknowledge:

The spike occurred simultaneously with the U.S. government's decision to launch Operation Gatekeeper in Southern California. More militarization equals more death. It must end.

Santa Muerte, as depicted in a mural at the base of the border wall in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. You can see the obelisk marker above the column that may look familiar to residents along the Canadian/U.S. border - unfortunately our neighbors to the south are given extra reminders of the division of land ownership.