Friday, March 28, 2008

FORMER Congressman Soliciting Donations

I love the first word of this article.
Former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth is asking for donations to help pay his legal bills.

The Arizona Republican says the "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of bills stem from a preliminary federal inquiry. That inquiry concerned campaign contributions connected with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and didn't result in charges against Hayworth.

linkage (emphasis mine)
In honor of Vigilante* Hayworth's money woes, here's a link to the contribution page for Congressman Harry Mitchell (AZ-05).

*Once a minuteman, always a minuteman

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Was ThisClose To Finding A Pony

I've been waiting for a news story to flash across my screen that doesn't involve human beings of the brown persuasion getting rounded up like cattle at their places of employment.

"Finally!!!" I exclaimed a moment ago. I thought that I had, at long last, gotten lucky with a tag line that mentioned employees of an Italian restaurant. Alas...
The workers, who were escorted into a van after their arrest, are from Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala, authorities said. The workers' names and the charges they face have not been released.

ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said the individuals will go before an immigration judge who will consider deportation. He said their immigration status is not public record.

The daughter of one woman arrested said her mother had worked at the restaurant for eight years. Adriana Sanchez said her mother, 56-year-old Amalia de la Cruz, was from Mexico.

Sleep well, América. Your wine goblets are becoming safer from the brown menace, everyday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tomatoe, Tomahtoe, Tomater

No matter how you choose to say tomate, the fact is they are withering on the vines.

CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. (AP) — Saying the nation's immigration system is broken, Pennsylvania's largest grower of fresh-to-market tomatoes announced Monday he will no longer produce the crop because he can't find enough workers to harvest it.

Keith Eckel, 61, a fourth-generation farmer and the owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms Inc., said he saw a dramatic decline last summer in the number of migrant workers who showed up to pick tomatoes at his 2,000-acre farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

He said Congress' failure to approve comprehensive immigration reform had hindered his ability to hire enough workers to get his crop to the market. Most of Eckel's workers came from Mexico.

"There are a number of workers hesitant to travel, legal or illegal, because of the scrutiny they are now under," said Eckel, whose tomatoes have been shipped to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the eastern United States. "So there are less workers crossing state lines."

Eckel, who planted 2.2 million tomato plants last year, said he also will stop growing pumpkins and will plant half as much sweet corn as usual, resulting in a loss of nearly 175 jobs.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Wetback" Making A Comeback

There are some words that have rightly been banished out of the lexicon of everyday conversation. They are loaded with hate, xenophobia and ignorance. Those who choose to use them are quite aware of their volatility, but have seen an opening lately to allow their bigoted views to be trotted out.

Charles Laws, a water company executive whom local officials are calling on to resign, on Friday defended his decision to characterize a proposed detention facility for illegal immigrants as a "holding pen for wetbacks."

Laws said "wetback" is widely acknowledged to mean immigrants who swim the Rio Grande and enter the United States illegally, not American citizens. Laws said the term is not racial, an assertion that others dispute. He said he wishes he had not used the wordin an agenda item for the Creedmoor-Maha Water Supply Corp.'s board of directors but will not resign over it.

He said he thinks the politicians calling for his resignation are in effect defending criminals who should not be in the United States.

Mr. Laws, who is the Mayor Pro Tem of Mustang Ridge, TX, remains indignant and uses the old "I'm sorry if I offended anyone" excuse for a term that has a dark history in the U.S.

In 1954, even the federal government used the term. The Immigration and Naturalization Service launched Operation Wetback, which sought to remove vast numbers of undocumented immigrants and focused heavily on California and Texas, particularly the Rio Grande Valley.

Historians say thousands of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Mexican descent were rounded up in the mass deportations.

Immigration agents routinely approached working-class Mexican Americans and questioned them, said Jose Limón, director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas.

"A lot of people who remember that must surely take offense that they are characterized that way, as people who are here illegally," Limón said.

"In saying 'wetback,' you're saying Mexican of a lower and marginalized and illegal class. I think that's why a lot of Mexican Americans would take offense. ... Some of them were born here."

Plascencia said that both inside and outside the immigration debate, that slur and other labels serve to objectify the subject as less than human.

"They all function the same way: All are intended to distance (the user) and at the same time assert superiority," Plascencia said.



Monday, March 24, 2008

Video: Through the Plexiglass

A humorous look at the absurdity of the current immigration system:

Adobada Hangover

Semana Santa came and went with a flash this year. The familia gathered for our annual Easter picnic all weekend at a rancho that sits nestled in the Superstition Mountains. Carne adobada, carne preparada, pollo, elk, deer, cebolletas and tripas de leche were scattered across the three placas for most of the day. I'm still feeling the effects of a food hangover.

Chatted with a tío who was going on about Obama and his "racist S.O.B. pastor" - that was fun. He (my uncle) hadn't listened to Barack's speech on race and knows nothing of his background and story. It was frustrating, trying to give a bigger-picture view to someone who is locked in to their caricatured version of a least I didn't hear the m-word come out of his mouth - that would have unleashed a bout of verbal violence. Although, I did hear the term "illegal" used as a noun in a later plática. There's something to be said about consistent offensiveness, I suppose.

This was the first time that most of the conversations I had with friends and family was about politics. Perhaps it was due to my recent trip to Washington D.C. Lots of 'why were you there', 'who did you meet', 'website? what website?', etc. Obviously, I need to do a better job of self-promotion.

One of the problems I see, at least here in Arizona among a sampling of relatives, is the cultural amnesia that is prevalent. There is a need to educate ourselves on the history of our people. Beyond that, seize the orgullo that comes from knowing our roots and celebrate their legacies that we blaze each day in our own ways. I see far too many who have allowed a media and social narrative to dominate their thinking that demeans Mexican-American/Xicano identity as thuggery, laziness, and lacking in Good Ole American™ Assimilation. How anyone could allow a cultural oppressor to define their existence is dumbfounding to me.

I see figures like my padre who has never voted and refuses to vote anytime soon as an example of the other extreme. He is quite aware of the history of this region and my family's chord within the greater melody, but sees the government as completely worthless in addressing the ills of our communities in a way that is meaningful or non-intrusive to a way of life that has been cycled for generations. "It's politics - nuthin' but a load of B.S." - can't say that I disagree a lot of the time, but unfortunately for every human rights-oriented voice that stays out of the civic engagement game, a notch is turned up on the megaphone to figures like Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe.

Don't know about you, but I can't in good conscience let that happen.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sheriff Joe Crucifies Human Rights on Good Friday

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez attended a press conference today by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In true McCarthy form, he threw out reporters from the Phoenix New Times, who have worked diligently to fight back against Sheriff Joe's un-American tactics in the Valle del Sol. Unfortunately, they are among the few journalistic voices willing to take he and his posse to task for the terrorizing they've unleashed in Latino neighborhoods.
I am here as an editor, as a reporter, and as a citizen observer. But I don’t go inside the roped off area with most of the other reporters. They’re here from all the TV stations, from the newspapers. Sheriff Joe Arpaio farts in Phoenix, and many in the corporate media here come running to celebrate it against a backdrop of American flags and tough-guy scowling. There has never been a more lauded scoundrel than this, I think. Question is: Will they celebrate this day as well? After all, Arpaio is here today, on Good Friday, to tell the people of Maricopa County that he has begun another weekend of “patrols” in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. For Easter Weekend. The last time he did this, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Nice timing, from a man who bragged on CNN that he found being compared to the KKK to be a compliment. Ah, Arizona.

more from Alisa

Text and Video of Richardson Endorsement

Video (hat tip to Pam's House Blend)

Released text of remarks:

My friends,

Earlier this week, an extraordinary American gave a historic speech.

Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of race with the eloquence and sincerity and decency and optimism we have come to expect of him.

He did not seek to evade tough issues or to soothe us with comforting half-truths.

Rather, he inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility.

Senator Obama could have given a safer speech.

He is, after all, well ahead in the delegate count for our party's nomination.

He could have just waited for the controversy over the deplorable remarks of Reverend Wright to subside, as it surely would have.

Instead, Senator Obama showed us once again what kind of leader he is.

He spoke to us as adults.

He asked us to ponder the weight of our racially-divided past, to rise above it, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.

Senator Obama reminded us that cynicism is not realism, and that hope is not folly.

He called upon us not just to dream about a less racially-divided America, but also to do the hard work needed to build such an America.

He asked every American to see the reality and the pain of other Americans, so that together we can rise above that which has divided us.

He appealed to the best in us.

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words.

I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country.

Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences—and place blame on others not like them.

We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!

Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race.

He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.

His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

And, after 8 years of George W. Bush, we will desperately need such a leader.

Our national security and our global standing have been gravely damaged by the divisive partisanship of recent years.

We need a President who can bring us together as a nation so that we can face urgent global challenges and repair the damage done in the last 7 years.

Barack Obama will make the historic and vital investments into renewable energy, to help create clean energy jobs and fight global warming.

Barack knows that the safety and future of every American child requires that we restore our shared sense of national purpose, so that we can then set about the hard work of rebuilding our alliances and rehabilitating our image in a dangerous world.

By uniting our nation, we can reverse America's global decline.

We need a realistic, principled, and bipartisan foreign policy again.

We must restore our international reputation, our influence and our capacity to lead others.

America must become the beacon for the world again.

We need a foreign policy based upon American ideals, and not upon the mere ideology of a President.

A foreign policy of diplomacy and respect for international human rights.

We prospered and prevailed in the Cold War because both our friends and our enemies knew that containment of the Soviet Union and the promotion of democratic values was not a Democratic or a Republican policy – it was an American policy--the very essence of what America was.

Senator Obama understands the importance of realism, principle, and bipartisanship in foreign policy.

He opposed the Iraq war from the beginning because he knew that, despite what the Administration claimed, this war would not be easy.

He also opposed the war because he saw President Bush's rush to employ military force, and to do so without the support of most of our allies, as dangerous and unwarranted.

And he saw the war also for what it so quickly became – a terrible source of partisan political division -- and a catastrophic distraction from the war that had united us against the real threat posed by Al Qaeda.

Now, I trust him to do what is so long overdue—End the Iraq war and bring our troops home!!

I know Senator Obama well.

I first got to know him when I chaired the last Democratic National Convention, where he gave that wonderful keynote address.

And then, last year, as we campaigned against each other for the Presidency, I came to fully appreciate his steadfast patriotism and remarkable talents.

I also felt a kinship with him because we both had one foreign-born parent and we both lived abroad as children.

In part because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation's special responsibilities in the world.

Barack Obama, you are an extraordinary leader who has shown courage, sound judgment and wisdom throughout your career.

You understand the security challenges of the 21st century, and you will be an outstanding Commander in Chief.

Above all, you will be a President who brings this nation together and restores American global leadership.

You will make every American proud to be an American, and I am very proud indeed to endorse your candidacy.

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to say that we are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President.

My great affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver.

It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the Fall.

The 1990's were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward.

Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.

I know that all Democrats will work tirelessly to get him elected.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce to you the next President of the United States, my friend, Barack Obama.

MALDEF Launches New Immigration Website

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has launched a new website - Truth in Immigration. It is a welcomed addition to the efforts of human rights advocates that are fighting hard against the propaganda and demonization found extensively throughout the media.

Truth in Immigration’s mission is to rebut legal and factual inaccuracies about immigrants and/or Latinos.

Anti-immigrant and anti-Latino stereotypes currently abound in the public arena. Political pundits, candidates for elected office, media networks, anti-immigrant organizations, and hate groups consistently disseminate negative myths about immigrants that poison the atmosphere for immigrants and all Americans. Dehumanizing anti-immigrant stereotypes generate increased bigotry and violence that threatens the safety and well-being of everyone in the United States. Moreover, this hateful dialogue threatens to drown out reasonable and thoughtful perspectives on immigration reform and other key policy issues.

Therefore, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), has created Truth in Immigration (TII) to serve as a watchdog for communications about immigrants and to research, collect, and rebut legal and factual inaccuracies about immigrants that are disseminated and promoted in the media, the public messaging of anti-immigration organizations, and political campaigns.

Click the image to access Truth in Immigration

Richardson Endorses Obama

As we continue through the lull in primary chaos, this is great news for the Obama campaign.
SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a "once-in-a-lifetime leader" who can unite the nation and restore America's international leadership.

Richardson, who dropped out of the Democratic race in January, is to appear with Obama on Friday at a campaign event in Portland, Ore., The Associated Press has learned.

The governor's endorsement comes as Obama leads among delegates selected at primaries and caucuses but with national public opinion polling showing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pulling ahead of him amid controversy over statements by his former pastor.

I had a hunch that Gov. Richardson was contemplating an Obama endorsement. Conventional wisdom was that he would support Clinton since he had/has extensive ties with the DLC wing of the party and served in the cabinet of former President Clinton - but it made no sense for him to remain silent on an endorsement...unless he was considering a surprise.

Let me just say that it grates my nerves a bit when I hear that this will "help Obama shore up support in the Hispanic/Latino community". Do you ever hear anyone say that about the white community when a white politician endorses a candidate? It belittles minority voters' ability to think for themselves and choose candidates that speak a message and offer a platform that resonates.

Of course, this will probably make some of the teevee pundits' heads asplode as they see their fictitious Black-Brown Ultimate Death Match in the Barrios-Ghettos continue to crumble under the reality that our communities have far more issues that serve as seeds of solidarity than division. Good.

Full text of the statement by Governor Richardson:
During the last year, I have shared with you my vision and hopes for this nation as we look to repair the damage of the last seven years. And you have shared your support, your ideas and your encouragement to my campaign. We have been through a lot together and that is why I wanted to tell you that, after careful and thoughtful deliberation, I have made a decision to endorse Barack Obama for President.

We are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President. My affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver. It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall. The 1990's were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward. Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.

Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech. that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him. He inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility. He asked us to rise above our racially divided past, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences--and place blame on others not like them . We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!

Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race. He understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.

His words are those of a courageous, thoughtful and inspiring leader, who understands that a house divided against itself cannot stand. And, after nearly eight years of George W. Bush, we desperately need such a leader.

To reverse the disastrous policies of the last seven years, rebuild our economy, address the housing and mortgage crisis, bring our troops home from Iraq and restore America's international standing, we need a President who can bring us together as a nation so we can confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad.

During the past year, I got to know Senator Obama as we campaigned against each other for the Presidency, and I felt a kinship with him because we both grew up between words, in a sense, living both abroad and here in America. In part because of these experiences, Barack and I share a deep sense of our nation's special responsibilities in the world.

So, once again, thank you for all you have done for me and my campaign. I wanted to make sure you understood my reasons for my endorsement of Senator Obama. I know that you, no matter what your choice, will do so with the best interests of this nation, in your heart.


Bill Richardson

linkage - emphasis mine
The speech that continues to resonate:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Legislative Alert from Border Action Network

Arizona residents, please call your state reps and urge NO votes on these measures.

March 19, 2008
URGENT Legislative Action Alert!

On March 20, the Committee of the Whole, which is the Arizona House of Representatives, will likely be voting on three bills that have dire consequences for border and immigrant families. Please take a moment to TAKE ACTION and tell your representatives to VOTE NO on these bills and support Human Rights in Arizona!

HCR2041 Discrimination; Preferential Treatment; Prohibition
Sponsor: Representative Pearce

Hearing: House of Representatives - March 20, 2008

HCR2041 would put on the ballot a measure to eliminate affirmative action in Arizona. The bill sounds admirable, but if read carefully it eliminates affirmative action in employment, education and public contracting. Arizona, more than many other states, needs programs that attempt to create a level playing field for people of color, women, refugees, immigrants, and others who are at a marked competitive disadvantage.

Take Immediate Action on HCR2041!

HCR2039 Illegal aliens; enforcement & trespassing
Sponsor: Representative Pearce

Hearing: Committee of the Whole - March 20, 2008

HCR2039 would put on the 2008 general election ballot a measure to require that all governmental units in AZ must assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Further, anyone unlawfully present in this county is guilty of trespass, with a first time punishment of being transferred to federal authorities. A second offense is a class 4 felony punishable by a prison sentence of 2.5 years.

Take Immediate Action on HCR2039!

HB2807: Immigration; Local Law Enforcement
Sponsor: Representative Nelson

Hearing: Committee of the Whole - March 20, 2008

HB2807 Requires county, city and town law enforcement agencies to fully enforce immigration and bars local governments from passing ordinances prohibiting immigration enforcement or sharing information with immigration agencies.

Take Immediate Action on HB2807!

Monday, March 17, 2008

'Ask A Chola' Meets Her Blogger Compadres

This was hilarious - Ask a Chola is not at this conference but chronicled her experience at Bloggers Lounge at a techie gathering

Feliz Día de San Patricio

You know it's Saint Patrick's Day when one of your fellow Metro travelers is wearing radioactive green pants and a shamrock vest over a black dress shirt with green tie. Good stuff.

As part of the commemoration, I thought I'd highlight this piece from the USA Today about Mexico's annual remembrance of the solidarity they received from Irish American and Irish Immigrant soldiers during the U.S./Mexico War in the mid 1800s. To this day, Los San Patricios are honored in Mexico City with bagpipes and merriment.

The deserters became known as the San Patricios and were led by John Riley, an artilleryman who had fought in the British army. They were joined by a few Swiss, French, Scottish and German recruits, most of them also Catholic.

Called los colorados, or "the redheads," by their Mexican comrades, they fought against the Americans at the key battles of Monterrey, Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo.

The Americans eventually reached the outskirts of Mexico City on Aug. 20, 1847. Mexican forces, with the remaining San Patricios handling the artillery, pounded the Americans from a monastery-turned-fort on the Churubusco River until they ran out of ammunition. Thirty-five San Patricios died in the battle, 85 were captured, and another 85 retreated with the remnants of the Mexican army.

On Sept. 13, 1847, the Americans seized Chapultepec Castle in the war's last major battle. San Patricios who had deserted before the war were branded by the Americans with the letter "D" on one cheek. The rest were hanged, including 30 who were executed at the foot of Chapultepec Hill.

"They were hanged at the moment that the American flag was raised over the castle of Chapultepec, so that they would take that sight to hell with them," Mayer said.

Mexico lost nearly half its territory as a result of the war, while the United States gained California and the Southwest. Even today, many Mexican school textbooks portray the war as an unjust land grab by the United States that led to the divergent economic paths followed by the two neighbors.

That ought to wake things up around here :)


mas información:

Take Back America Conference, Day 1

Things are moving fast around here at the Omni Hotel in Washington, D.C. The room where Bloggers Row is situated has a full media center with access to video editing, radio plug-ins and lots of brochure-wielding activists pushing for their various organizations and causes. My only gripe is the lack of power outlets for the bloggers. These three-prong cosas are not gonna cut it for the weekend. Seeing 'Man Eegee' printed on a huge placard was almost enough to incite some forgiveness :) :) :)

I attended a session earlier with AZ State Representative Kyrsten Sinema from LD15. She gave a fantastic presentation on the campaign that has, so far, been the only successful defeat of a so-called marriage protection ballot initiative. It was launched in response to Prop 107 in 2006 and was done in a systematic way to be able to communicate clearly to voters the downside to repealing health care and other benefits for chunks of the populace. Her grasp of reframing and taking the time to see where voters are at in their heads as a tool to better crafting messages was very insightful and well-received by the audience.

Hopefully in the future we as AZ bloggers will be able to assist Rep. Sinema and other Democratic legislators as they keep the nativist-led GOP movement from totally perverting our state's legislative protections.

This evening I'm planning to attend a mixer that will put me in the room with many of the progressive leaders in the country. Look for more updates as the Take Back America conference continues through Wednesday.

Hasta tarde, Man Eegee

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fiesta at the UMX Blog

Blog 'Mano Nezua gave me a key to The Unapologetic Mexican, so come over and get ready to practice your washing machine moves to the cumbia beat. I'll be there during the weekends along with a whole other bunch of bandit@s.

The Perks of Being in D.C.

Met with some congressional staffers yesterday and took the opportunity to ask about the SAVE Act, which the GOP is itching to get pushed through the House for a vote to create a wedge issue for the election campaign. Pro-migrant bloggers have been concerned that the enforcement-only campaign would be pushed forward with this egregious piece of legislation - continuing to separate parents from their children, incarcerate entire families without due process, etc.

According to my primary source, who asked to remain anonymous, the Dem. leadership is pushing back hard among members of the caucus to prevent additional signers to the discharge petition - going so far as to characterize defiance on this issue as defiance against the will of the Speaker's office. This is good news, though I encourage people to continue to contact their congresswomen and men to ask them to avoid the trap that is being laid by the GOP.

Enforcement-only initiatives are the modern day versions of Operation Wetback. They create situations that encourage human rights abuses, racial profiling, and political divisiveness. It's encouraging to hear that the House leadership sees the Orwellian-named Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE) Act for what it is, but pressure should continue to be put on them to keep it off the floor for a vote.

Here is a link to the ACLU's letter-writing tool to contact your member of Congress.

[Editor's Note] Reworked the post a bit

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Opportunities on the Horizon

Ya know, it's amazing how quickly things can move. This site is quickly approaching three years old and, while I've been blogging a lot longer than that at other places, there's always a special place reserved for your own site in the heart.

I leave to Washington D.C. today to do some major networking with other blogging activists around the country. I'm deeply grateful for this opportunity and was flattered to be invited. Hopefully I will be able to add to the discussions that are planned on how to build a better online progressive/liberal presence that translates to change in the streets and throughout the electoral process.

As part of my trip, I'll also be attending the Take Back America Conference, which you will see linked at the top of the right sidebar. I'm looking forward to spending a week in the District of Colombia, but more importantly, getting better versed on how to come back and build a better network of activism.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and it's easy to get discouraged, but I am hopeful that with a more engaged electorate sprouting up all over the country, we can finally get this system of injustice and inequality on a more forward-looking trajectory.

I'll try to check in throughout the week, but until then, feel free to lay around and slack.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

When Dog Whistles Become Sirens

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you, that the Clinton campaign has decided that now is the time to move from racist dog whistles to sirens.
"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says, 'Let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world,' you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

- Geraldine Ferraro, former VP Candidate for the Democratic Party and current Clinton Campaign finance committee member.

Reading the remarks earlier, I couldn't help but laugh at the irony. I wouldn't be surprised if anti-affirmative action initiatives start popping up all over the country now to drive up the "persecuted" white voters in the fall. Classism certainly factors into a lot of the shafting that people feel in the system, but the audacity of people like Geraldine Ferraro and the like-minded to ignore the racial wars that still rage is amazing to me.

The day our schools are funded at the same levels as affluent white neighborhoods, our drop-out rates are not soaring above the 50% mark, incarceration levels balance out and prisons are not full of black and brown inmates - then, only then can we talk about how the United States has moved beyond the offensive history that has perpetuated throughout the generations.

I think this whole switch from passive to outright racism was calculated to coincide with Mississippi's primary today. The cynical minds behind the trotting out of a former party hack to unleash venom into the narrative was given in the context of a likely Obama win that would surely be attained by overwhelming African American voters. The polls bore out, with Barack receiving something like 91% of the black vote. How convenient for the Clinton campaign that they can now pigeonhole Obama as the black candidate.

The media is licking its chops to make it so, too. We have Pat Buchanan howling about censorship and "political correctness" - which is really just a tantrum that has a purpose to give a green light to the divisiveness he and other hate mongers offer everyday as pundits. The true irony is that many commentators are saying that it's the Obama campaign's problem that he is only yielding something like 30% of white voters in Mississippi.

How did the onus end up on the minority? It seems to me that it should be placed squarely on the shoulders of a society that continues to make assumptions about candidates based on the way they look. Racism has a purpose rooted in oppression. A sense of loyalty among African American voters has no such root - they are not trying to oppress the white people, or any others - it is a statement of solidarity with the possibility that some semblance of equal representation lies on the horizon. Barack Obama has run a brilliant campaign, and to suggest that he has received the wins he has over the past few months based on "luck" is the pinnacle of offensiveness.

The indignation by people like Geraldine Ferraro when she gets called out on racist tripe is reminiscent of the vigilantes the Latino community has had to deal with over the past few years. Their heads explode at the mere mention that they are pushing along a long-standing racist system, but unfortunately they are either too ignorant or too angry at their own concocted sense of being shafted to see that maybe, just maybe, the brown folk are tired of being served platters of mierda - for good reason.

Another Premio to Incite Link Sharing

Thanks to fabooj for tagging us with a "you make my day award"!

The reglas:

“Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

  • Blog Amigo James at the Mahatma X Files is one of the hardest working peeps on the tubes when it comes to shining a light on the atrocities and raising the signal for justicía
  • House of Nezua - because it's just different enough from UMX that gives it its own identity. It's like horchata to arroz con leche - both delicious and similar in taste but never mistaken for the same thing.
  • fabooj deserves a reciprocal pat on the back because I love reading her site and am glad that she popped back up at BooTrib over the last few months to remind me to check out her writing more often.
  • White Knuckles - click on the link and you'll see why I am a loyal captive to knucklehead's posts and humanity.
  • Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster because I love to laugh and they. are. funny!
  • Tomás over at Hispanic Tips because he kicks nalgas when it comes to compiling links from all over the brownternet.
  • Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - ¡Viva la queen sucia!
  • dove - though the last post was many months ago, I check in regularly to re-absorb the connection that I feel to el alma when I read what's offered there.
  • Maegan la Mala and the rest of the crew at Vivir Latino - great offering from different aspects of latin culture, updated several times each day, what more could I need each day?
  • kangaroo snark, of course
Who makes your day?

Monday, March 10, 2008

When Technology Strikes

Ever have one of those days when you knew from the moment you gained consciousness that it would be akin to passing a gallstone? Yeah, having one of those special events today.

It all started at 5:30 this morning, after only being asleep for 4ish hours due to a 100-mile drive home from hanging out with friends and family north of the Gila River for the weekend. The noises that blared out of my iPod dock/alarm clock thing-a-ma-bob could only be described as offensive to the ears. We humans think that we've got everything figured out on this earth - except that we've created things too smart for our own good.

My alarm clock, which should count its electrode blessings that it remains in one piece, decided that it didn't give a flaming cowpie that Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time. No, no - in fact, it was so stubborn to its routine that on the first Monday after DST kicks in (today), the alarm was given a shot of Jagger and Red Bull to make sure its lowly human servant didn't miss his morning appointments. So there it screeched, an hour earlier than its usual morning tantrum, having automatically changed its time zone so I wouldn't have to bother...

How kind of it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Love My Blog, but...

Hay Sue Crease Toe!
A 15-year-old boy told Mesa police he shot his father in the back of the head last month because he wouldn't let the teenager use the Internet, saying My Space was his outlet.

When Hughstan Schlicker heard officers talking about the investigation, he responded, "Dad came home, I shot him in the head, what investigation?" according to a Mesa police report released Wednesday.

Almost laughing, the teen told police, "along with murder, can you put me down for truancy, I ditched today," the report said. "Can we clean up this before my mom gets home, I don't want her to come home and see my dad dead."

Later, he told detectives he was angry with his father but couldn't remember the reason. "But I was mad at him very much and I wish I could take everything back; I wish this was a bad dream but it's not."

This is yet another example of why we need more guns.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Corbett Trial: Closing Arguments

In yesterday's testimony, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett took the witness stand to testify about the shooting on January 12, 2007.
Agent Nicholas Corbett told jurors that he shot 22-year-old Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera of Puebla because he was about to hit the agent in the head with a rock. He said he was facing Dominguez, holding him off with his left arm outstretched and handgun in his right hand pointed downward when he fired.

Corbett is more than a foot taller than Dominguez was.

Prosecutors contend that Dominguez was on his knees surrendering when he was shot.

Here is more information from observers with the Border Action Network:
Woods finished his cross-examination by thoroughly going through all the officers testimonies, previously heard earlier in the week, that were the first ones to hear Corbett’s account of what happened that afternoon. Woods pointed out that each testimony varied drastically—where one involved Corbett telling them that he saw Francisco “throw” the rock, another agent testified that it was his impression after talking to Corbett that there was a “stand-off” for which the vehicle was used as cover. All 3 accounts by these agents varied from one another, including the account that Agent Corbett himself gave on the stand. Woods effectively ended by pointing out that there seemed to be 4 different accounts made by Corbett of what happened that afternoon—and only one consistent account from all 3 of the family members. Chapman’s redirect was brief, but nonetheless revealed another inarticulate answer from Corbett. When asked by Chapman why he shot in a downward direction, Corbett responded yet again with “uh, uh…really wasn’t looking, I uh, uh, I had center mass.” Corbett was then excused from the stand.

linkage to full report

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Moratorium and March Called by Tejas Border Activists

Repeated violations of property rights and environmental laws has united a growing group of Tejanos in opposition to the Great Wall of America™. They are mobilizing to make sure that the voices of residents along la frontera are heard in the continued hysteria of the immigration debate.

The groups are also calling for an immediate suspension and repeal of section 102 of the Real ID Act of 2005, which gives DHS Secretary Chertoff the power to waive all laws in order to build the border wall. Such power concentrated in the hands of an unelected official makes a mockery of democratic processes. Texas border resident Scott Nicol said of Chertoff’s waivers, “The only reason to waive the laws is because you intend to break them.”

In the hurricane-prone Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, as well as in Presidio, Texas, the border wall is planned to be constructed on or near the flood control levees. Yet, there have been no studies published that describe what impact the proposed wall would have on flooding or on the integrity of the levee system.

DHS has continued to operate under the false assumption that the harsh conditions of the desert are a deterrent for people seeking entry into the U.S. As DHS build walls in populated areas, desperation drives more people into remote desert areas where they are more likely to die from dehydration and exposure. The General Accounting Office found that as walls have gone up, the number of people who have died attempting to enter the U.S. doubled between 1995 and 2005. This is an ongoing humanitarian crisis that requires an immediate solution.

It is irresponsible to erect a permanent wall without full knowledge of what those consequences will be. DHS’s blind rush to draw lines on a map, heedless of the consequences on the ground, makes a moratorium on border wall construction imperative. Congress must take the time to evaluate the serious costs and impacts of the border wall and to determine whether it is in fact the best way to address the complex issues of immigration and national security.


Via the No Border Wall - Take Action blog, the following locations will play host to a human rights march in the coming days:
March 8- SATURDAY- Roma to Rio Grande City
March 9- SUNDAY- Rio Grande City to La Grulla
March 10-MONDAY- La Grulla to La Joya
March 11- TUESDAY- La Joya to La Lomita
March 12-WEDNESDAY- La Lomita to Las Milpas
March 13- THURSDAY- Las Milpas to Progreso
March 14- FRIDAY- Progreso to Los Indios
March 15- SATURDAY- Los Indios to Ranchito
March 16- SUNDAY- Ranchito to Brownsville

More information here

Corbett Trial Updates

This is ongoing information sharing about the murder trial of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett. The defense is now working to accuse the Mexican Consulate of interfering with the judicial process.
To make their point Monday, defense attorneys called a Border Patrol spokeswoman, who said she saw the Mexican consulate official give the three witnesses "blatant" hand cues while they testified last summer at a hearing in Bisbee.

But during an intense cross-examination, prosecutors challenged how blatant those signals were, noting no one else, not even the judge at the hearing, saw them.


"You are saying this went on for hours . . . and the judge missed the whole thing?" he said.

[Border Patrol spokeswoman Dove] Haber said yes, and after she was aware of it she told her superiors, who in turn told the judge.
An admonition was read to the courtroom, restricting any hand signals. But Haber said they continued.

However, when Woods read testimony from René Domínguez Rivera, a younger brother who testified after the admonishment, Haber said she couldn't remember any hand signals being used.

Observers with the Border Action Network filed this report on a different portion of the proceedings:
The following witness to be called to the stand for the defense was Agent Peter Hermansen, the current Patrol Officer in charge at the Casa Grande station. Part of his resume included being an integral part to the formation of the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) use of force policy in D.C. Defense council Chapman displayed for him the CBP use of force continuum that revealed a rainbow colored chart that showed the proper escalation of use of force by an agent. While the chart first appeared rather complex, Agent Hermansen basically boiled it down to a rather catchy mantra of “means, opportunity, and intent”, and that if each one of those are present—that is if the officer perceives that each of those are present, deadly force is authorized.

Chapman gave Agent Hermansen a few scenarios, including one that involved a person with a rock at a distance of 100 yards, and asked him whether the use of deadly force would be authorized, for which Agent Hermansen replied that no, deadly force would no be authorized. Chapman continued asking questions in the vein of clarifying the Border Patrol’s policy of use of force, which Hermansen summarized that warning shots in the air are not authorized, nor is aiming to disable their assailants authorized—meaning aiming to shoot in the leg or arm.

The questioning then turned over to the prosecution, where Woods began taking up questions in regards to the scenario of an assailant at a distance of 100 yards with a rock where Agent Hermansen testified that the use of deadly force would not be authorized. Woods rather helpfully reminded the witness that he himself was involved with another case where he testified that deadly use of force was acceptable—a case where an assailant holding a rock at a distance of 127 yards on the other side of a metal fence was shot. Additionally, the agent who fired the shot was himself fired by the Border Patrol, and the Border Patrol itself disagreed with this incident and the use of force—as Woods effectively relayed to the entire courtroom that the Border Patrol itself is not clear when the use of force is acceptable or unacceptable.

linkage to full report

Monday, March 03, 2008

David Archuleta's Performance of 'Imagine'

A dirty little secret of mine: I love American Idol, but only after the contestants get whittled down to the power voices. This season has David Archuleta, who gave this amazing performance of John Lennon's 'Imagine' last week. Powerful enough for me to share it here without thinking twice about it.

Louis Mendoza Completes 31 State Bike Trip

Chicano studies profesor Louis Mendoza was honored at an assembly last Friday at the University of Minnesota, where he shared about his six month-long bicycle trip across the U.S. to raise awareness about the complexity of migrant workers' lives.

Mendoza said he couldn't pick just one highlight of his trip.

"Part of the highlight was talking to so many people who were working really hard to make a living," he said. "I was humbled by the fact that these people who work so hard were willing to take time and share things with me."

Going on a trip like this is a great way to put a face on immigration, Marianne Bueno a visiting Chicano studies professor, said.

"I think it's an important way to get a chance to hear and listen and see the everyday stories and the everyday lives," she said. "Being on the ground in the way that he was with his bike will help put faces to the language, to the talking, to the policies."


Monday News Bits

  • Mr. Calavera Head worries about terrorist Canadians
  • Roger Barnett still owes $98,775 for holding brown border crossers U.S. citizens hostage with a shotgun.
  • St. McCain is still hated by the haters for "trying to shove amnesty down our throats". This is what I like to call the Operation Wetbacker crowd. They won't be satisfied until the military is mobilized and mass deportations enacted.
  • The hate-group San Diego Minutemen are still throwing a tantrum after having their Adopt-A-Highway segment moved away from the border. I'm guessing that they're not all that interested in the environmental aspect of it.
  • When will we see hundreds of undocumented non-brown workers rounded up?
  • Huckabee trotted out Chuck Norris and vigilante Jim Gilchrist to make sure that everyone thinks border crossers are terrorists with bombs in their suitcases; forgets about mochilas.
  • Excerpt of the day: 'Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha says the governor is, quote, "riding a crest of racism."'
And one for fun: