Archive for the ‘Illegal Immigration’ Category

UPDATE:  Regarding the e-mail incident between a U of Berkeley student and Sachi Landscaping–the guy is completely denying it was him but hasn’t provided one iota of proof that it wasn’t (details here).  And Mr. Zeiser contacted me via Twitter and said

Nice little passive aggressive compliment along with an insult.  But whatevs….I have not yet responded but my inclination is no. My thinking is that the kind of tripe he is pushing is already being blasted at the populace by really large media outlets like Fox, The Heritage Foundation, the American Spectator (for whom he has written in the past), the Daily Caller and dozens of other venues. Why should I let him use my little blog to broadcast his viewpoint when the entire Twitter conversation is all one really needs to know.  So I suggest you all read the entire Twitter conversation and make up your own mind.

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So, earlier today I was watching my Twitter scroll with one eye while trying to program in C# with the other and a couple of things jumped out at me.  The first was a Storify* from @AngryBlackLady (one of my favorite writers, commentators and all around smart people online) about a conversation between her and a conservative supposed PhD  who insisted on debating her about Obamacare regardless of whether she wanted to or not.

From @ABL’s Twitter Feed

If you don’t want to read the long exchange (you really should just for the giggles, the image above is a summary of his worst statements) it boils down to her getting angry at him for pestering her for days and telling him to leave her alone.  So he resorts to using some misogynist and racist terms to refer to her and finally he refuses to acknowledge the ugliness behind what he said or apologize for it.  At the end, of course, he claims to be the victim of the whole thing. It will make you feel all fuzzy inside–not.

Not long after reading that I saw a Tweet by @LaloAlcaraz, a man of many talents (you might have seen his comics in your local newspaper if you live in the Southwestern U.S.).  He shared an email exchange between a University of Berkeley student and the owner of a local business.  The student is a member of CASA (Chicano Architecture Student Association) and asked very respectfully if her organization could get a tour of his business.  His response?

You can see Lalo’s photo of the full email exchange and the explanation here.    Not only is the business owner’s response ugly he also claims to be victimized by the request for the tour.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing a rash of white males (just one example) running around crying about being victims to us “delicate flowers” and/or “savages” and/or “illegals”.  The irony is that anybody with a brain can see that white males, particularly older ones, still run this country and pretty much the entire fucking world.  This is serious “crazy making” behavior . It’s like women and minorities are in an abusive relationship with the rest of U.S. society.  They keep kicking us and then telling us that it’s our fault and we made them do it.  And then we when we legitimately confront them over it, they tell us that we’re the racist/bigots trying to stir up ill feelings that disappeared the moment the Black Marxist Muslim Usurper was elected in 2008.  And us wimmin folk, once we got the right to vote back in 1920 it’s been easy pickings since then, amiright my fellow delicate blossoms?   It’s all unicorns shitting one hundred dollar bills, rainbows and cotton candy, dontcha know!  Except, of course, for that painful black eye and those sore ribs we keep getting.

But there might be some hope.   Take for instance the revenge that has been enacted against ABL’s harasser.  If one were to Google his name (I highly recommend it, click this link and it will do it for you automatically) you will find a link to the Storify item I mentioned earlier about 4 or 5 results down.   The more people click on it, the more this will rise in Google search results whenever anyone searches for Mr. Zeiser.   And in so doing, it will air his statements about how much fun it is to “collect scalps”, how he called people of color and anyone who disagrees with him “savages”, and other various lovely things.  Note this isn’t harassment or libel or slander**.  He really did write these things and by doing this on Google we can ensure that even if he tries to deny it, the proof is easy to find.  As a side benefit whenever someone looks him up to find out more about him, one of the first things they will learn is that nature of his character is less than desirable.  Also do not Tweet about this conversation and mention ABL’s Twitter nom de plume. She’s over it and I don’t blame her–keep her out of the discussion unless she chooses to rejoin it on her own.

The other little bit of good news is that the Berkeley student has approached her College’s faculty in hopes that they will address the matter but many people have seen this exchange online now and I’m hoping it will descend squarely on this guy’s head so that he loses his license to practice.  However, the student has asked people online not to interact with the company directly so DO NOT contact the business owner or the company.  Nevertheless, if you live in Southern California (and I know a few people that do) keep this guy and his business in mind because if he or his company tries to get your business (or anyone you know) you can tell him to “piss off”.  If he wants to know why tell him it’s the “Free Market” coming back to bite him in the ass.

The ugliness of these kinds of exchanges is why I have to take a break from the Internet on occasion.  Then again, people like ABL and Lalo pull me back in because they are never afraid to point it out, call it what it is, and they don’t let it make them crazy.  I don’t have their coping mechanisms yet but I’m getting there.

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*For those who don’t know, Storify is a way to document a series of Tweets over a long period of time.  It puts them in the proper time order which can be very hard to do on your own without such an app.

**I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.  However, libel/slander is propagating something you know is untrue.  And it don’t get any more real than that there Twitter exchange.

The link to the Spanish version of this post

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Some quickies for you:

  • Dinesh D’Souza, asshat extraordinaire, is a big whiny child.  Those evil prosecutors are doing their job and trying to put him in prison.  How dare they?!  He’ll get probation and we’ll probably still have to see his idiocy on Bill Maher.
  • Conservatives are freaking out because the President saluted with a coffee cup in his hand.  I would rather have a latte in the middle of my salute than a Scottish Terrier.  And never mind about the real problems this country has because the paranoid, desperate, white, male base eats up this shit up.
  • Can I just say how much I admire Gabby Giffords?  She is absolutely amazing to have come back from that horrible tragedy in Tucson AND launch a PAC to fight against NRA extremism.  What’s even better?  It’s working.
  • If I hear one more liberal complain that the President isn’t liberal enough, is ineffectual and that Congress sucks, I’m going to go nuclear and remind them that it’s probably because they didn’t vote in the f*%!ing 2010 mid-terms.  Here’s just one very good example of how that has hurt and will continue to hurt us for years to come.
  • How effed up is that Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, gave a speech to the U.N. on feminism and as a result was threatened with sexual violence and having nude photos of her posted online. This kind of terrorizing online is getting worse, not better.  I don’t know the solution but I really feel for any woman who is harrassed and terrorized because she speaks her mind on the Intertoobs.
  • Love the fact that big tech companies are divesting themselves of ALEC.  If you don’t know who they are, they’re what’s wrong with America.  A group of corporate representatives and conservatives who draft “model” legislation that they then push using vast resources in multiple states.  Their laws which include gems like SB1070, Stand your Ground,  Voter ID, and many more are nightmares and they’re making headway in many state legislatures because people aren’t paying attention to what’s happening on the state level. They’re too busy hating the President (see “Coffeegate” above and Congress (lowest approval ratings ever) on the national level and worrying about things that aren’t immediate threats (Ebola, Isis, etc).
  • And speaking of ISIS, don’t you just love that we’ve gone to war and there was absolutely no debate in Congress?!  They’d rather have yet another vote on appealing Obamacare.  Never mind that the rising cost of healthcare has actually slowed down as a direct result of the law, which was one of the main points of it in the first damn place.  Who needs facts….right?

I’d better stop while I’m ahead.  Methinks I’m getting my mojo for political blogging back and it’s about damn time!

“Find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause.”

—-William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

There is something rotten deep inside the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It’s some kind of infection that permeates the entire agency and results in pustules that force the public and the larger justice system to take notice. Sometimes those pustules burst and leave no doubt that something is terribly wrong. Rank problems include too many poorly explained and poorly handled inmate deaths, charges of racial discrimination, profiling and harassment, and 6,300 lawsuits that have cost County taxpayers over $50 million and counting. Just to put that into perspective for you….take Harris County, Texas (which includes Houston)….over the last 17 years Arpaio’s MCSO has had 6 times as many lawsuits against it. Yes, I said 6 times. Something is indeed rotten…we should just call Sheriff Arpaio “Cousin Fester” and be done with it.

Not as if we need any more convincing but there’s yet another sad and infuriating story coming out of Joe’s jail hellscape.  Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an illegal document with forged papers, was arrested in 2009 and she was pregnant.   What she says happened to her is a nightmare that no human being should ever have to endure.  Here’s a list of her charges:

  • They put her in jail while she was in active labor instead of keeping her in the hospital.
  • The purposely ignored her cries for help because they were in Spanish and not English (The Justice Department has confirmed that this was a common pattern of behavior for the guards.)
  • After being taken back a day later to the hospital to give birth via C-Section, she was not allowed to hold her son or nurse him.
  • She was shackled to her hospital bed immediately following the C-Section.
  • They took her out of the hospital early before she could be given pain medication and even before the hospital had officially discharged her.
  • When taking her out of the hospital, they had her shackled at both the hands and feet.  Her attorney said in an interview that I heard on KJAZZ this morning (can’t find the actual transcript) that she was bleeding down over her ankle shackles.

I don’t know about you, but I have had a C-Section and you can’t walk for quite a while afterward–like a full day afterwards. It’s major surgery and it hurts like hell.  It takes a minimum of 12 weeks of rest to recovery from. The fact that they had her up and walking out of the hospital (without doctor sign off) within hours not only violates hospital rules but the fact she had no pain medication is just plain cruel and unusual.

The lawsuit against MCSO was filed on Jan. 21st and one day later U.S. District Court Judge Joe Campbell threw it out of court saying that since she was not shackled during the actual labor her lawsuit cannot show that a constitutional rights violation occurred.  See the law says you can’t shackle a woman during labor but says nothing about before or after.  Industry practice, even in Arizona Corrections, is to never shackle a pregnant woman at any time unless she is a danger to herself and others.  So even though MCSO was violated their own industry practices, they weren’t technically violating the law–according to the judge.  A quick note, Judge Campbell is a well-known conservative.  In other words, there was little hope that this case could get past the patriarchal firewall of misogyny here in Arizona.  Thankfully, that’s what appeals are for.  Her attorney plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Until then, when will Maricopa County residents realize that this “effect defective comes by cause” and the cause is the guy at the helm of the rotting body that is MCSO.

From the land of the truly nuts:

  • As I said in a post the other day national focus has turned to AZ again primarily due to Senator McCan’t and his Border charades.  The Senator’s antics were no doubt timed to coincide not only with the state GOP’s vote of no confidence, but also to the appointment of the newest Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, who has only been in office since Dec. 23, 2013.  Sec. Johnson is getting familiarized with the gargantuan task of running such a massive department, so it must be the perfect time for Sen. McCain to start hammering said department on the efficiency and effectiveness of their border security program.  Sec. Johnson will be visiting the Tucson sector of the Arizona border with Mexico this week.  Let’s hope the press leaves him alone so he can get to work sooner rather than later…although if Sen. McCain has his way, Johnson will be hounded every step of the way, I’m sure.
  • Since it is MLK Day, there will be lots of stories about his legacy such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is fitting.  It should also be a day to remember that the fight for those Rights did not end in 1965 and recently has heated up.  Just this past year, a US Supreme Court case gutted the law, so states like Arizona went right back to their old shenanigans.  Since then States controlled by Republican governors and/or legislatures been involved in attempts to limit access to polling stations, remove methods of voting, and limit who can vote (mainly using new Voter ID laws or outright removing people from the state’s registration lists).  Of  course, these all target traditionally Democratic voters like African Americans, Native Americans, the urban poor, women and the young.  Today, of all days, we must remember that we’re still in the ring and the other side is throwing a lot of unanswered punches.
  • Another inmate has died in a Maricopa County jail under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign.   Even though the MCSO is being monitored by the U.S. District Court (because of the pattern of abuses and unethical behavior spotlighted in the Melendres v. Arpaio Civil Rights case), I doubt anything will come from this latest death investigation. After all, who cares about another dead inmate—except their family of course.  They’ll get paid off like they always do and Maricopa County residents will forget and re-elect Arpaio yet again .
  • The incredibly stupid bill to allow people to carry weapons on school campuses is being proposed in the AZ State Legislature again.  It failed to even reach committee last year so let’s hope it suffers a similar fate this time as well.

As an astute reader pointed out yesterday*, Senator McCain who has represented Arizona for 30 years is being challenged from the right.  The Maricopa County Republican Committee voted by a wide margin to censure Sen. McCain for not representing conservative issues.  The final count was 1,150 to 351.  Contrast this with his 100% conservative rating by the American Conservative Union and in 2011 his voting record made him one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.  McCain is not a RINO…he’s not even a moderate conservative.  He is to the right of Attila the Hun.

However from the Tea Party’s extreme positions, he is a liberal.  So they’re using the local Republican committee to flex their muscles and falsely label McCain as a liberal because he dared to compromised with the President and, you know, help to govern the country.  They’re so blind and adamant in their condemnation they had this to say:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until he is consistently champions our Party’s Platform and values, we, the Republican leadership in Arizona will no longer support, campaign for or endorse John McCain as our U.S. Senator.

Sounds like another Tea Party hostage situation to me.  And the timing is funny (as Alopecia pointed out).  As the censure vote was going down, the news of McCain’s letter to Homeland Security expressing his concerns with Border Security came out.  A careful reading of McCain’s letter and Immigration Reform position (which is also currently at odds with the Tea Party members in the House) seems to indicate that McCain is actually closer to the middle position on this particular issue now than local Republicans would probably like him to be.

But this is nothing new.  McCain has a pattern of moving left and right on this issue depending on whatever he thinks is in his political interests.  A couple of years ago he was virulently opposing everything the President wanted.  He and Senator Jon Kyl (since retired) refused to address comprehensive Immigration Reform until the Border had been made secure against “violence” supposedly spilling over into the U.S.  Now he wants to deal with comprehensive Immigration Reform and is concerned that there are too many ineffective assets deployed on the Border and that they are too militarized.

This is all part of a power play.  The old school Republicans are fighting with the Tea Party and this is one delightful result.  I don’t think they’ll hurt McCain come 2016 because he doesn’t need their money or their support really. The geriatric vote will keep McCain in office until he is mummified by the Arizona climate (similar to Sheriff Arpaio).  But I can always dream.  In the meantime, get out that frosty beer mug and pop some popcorn because it’s going to get  interesting in the wild wild far right west.

*Via commenter Alopecia (via ThinkProgress who go it from local station ABC15)

It’s anotherSunday morning breakfast at IHOP before I launch into another project. My sig other has finally decided to move out of his place and I am helping him get started today. He helped me move out of my apartment and saved me hundreds of dollars so it is the least I could do.

I have been real slack on blog posting lately so I’m going to use the time while I am waiting on a table to let you know about the latest high jinks by Senator McCan’t on Immigration Reform.

Over the last few months he has been frozen out of leadership on this issue because the Tea Party members of the House have hijacked the Congressional ship. They’d prefer to cause our economy to crash rather than actually govern. Anyway Senator McCan’t has sent a letter to Homeland Security posing some interesting questions about the effectiveness and methods of US Border control. Pundits think the letter serves two purposes. First it gets the Senator back in the news and we know how much he loves being on the Sunday talk shows.. Second, it is supposed to be a wrist slap for the Congressional Teahadists who are making noises about doing something but ultimately don’t want a real solution preferring to deport everyone instead.

Not that Senator McCain’s position all that different. Instead of offering comprehensive reform to deal with all aspects of this very complicated problem he has spent the last decade demanding that border security be dealt with before anything else can be discussed. This is a lovely Catch-22 because no matter how much money we pour into Border Security it will never be truly secure for many practical reasons and that lack of perfect security can be used as both a cudgel against Dems in Congess and the White House AND as an excuse to never really deal with the problem comprehensively. It doesn’t matter if the Teahadists propose absurd reforms or if McCain and his cabal propose increased security….the sum effect is the status quo will be maintained. And the conservative employers who are also McCain donors and who depend entirely on the slave labor of immigrants are simply thrilled.

As part of the cudgel, McCain’s latest press release/letter of inquiry shows concern for a couple of things. First he is worried about effectiveness. He says that the increased number of apprehensions means that what we are doing isn’t working. That sounds kind of counterintuitive since better security should mean increased apprehension rates, logically speaking. The truth is the experts don’t know if the increase is the failure of preventative efforts or if it is due to a simple increase in illegal immigration having nothing to do with border security or if the numbers were always higher than we knew or if the new security is over zealous. Like I said its a very complicated issue. of course McCain jumps the gun and assumes it is a lack of effectiveness because that is the politically expedient thing to assume.

The second concern is a monster of his own making, which cranks the irony factor to 11. He is worried about the militarization of the US Border Pattol. He has pressured for and received from this Administration and the previous one billions of dollars in manpower, weaponry, equipment, fortifications, walls, high tech unmanned gadgets like drones (here is just one example). He and other AZ politicians have been banging on the fear drum about beheadings in the desert, Mexican drug dealers crossing over to kidnap Americans, and Muslim terrorists using the supposedly wide open border as a highway to the heartland. But now, NOW, he wants to get his panties in a bunch about the militarization of border patrol? I gotta call BS on this one.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for an actual Senator doing actual work on behalf of his constituents in Congress. I think we will have to wait until he passes. Unfortunately he will probably live longer than Strom Thurmond and we will just get another old, white guy who cares more about his Q score than his state and his country.

George Orwell, author of 1984, has been rolling in his grave for nigh on 20 years now because the modern conservative movement in the US have become so masterful at using “doublespeak“.  I was trying to write a post about immigration reform when I stumbled across a Fox News article (WARNING:  clicking and reading Fox News may be hazardous to your health) about a group that wants to build a wall all the way across the U.S./Mexican border–all 2,000 miles of it.  Not only is that impractical in both terms of construction costs and the nightmare of logistics in maintenance, it’s not who we should be as a nation.  Anyway, the name of the group advocating the fence?  “Let Freedom Ring, Inc”.  Is it just me or does a wall represent anything but freedom.  Walls force people to stay in and stay out.  It forces someone in authority to monitor that situation and restrict the flow of people through it.  That’s not freedom, it’s increased governmental control.  It’s authoritarianism.

These thoughts prompted me to create a list of my all time favorite “doublespeak” phrases from the GOP and their true meaning.

  • “No Child Left Behind” is really “Every Child Left Behind”–it was a resounding failure and until it was recently reformed, and now it’s only mildly failing.
  • “Compassionate Conservatism” is really “Fuck you, I’ve got mine but I might occasionally donate privately to non-governmental charities so long as I can claim it on my taxes”
  • “Clearing the market” is really “Foreclose on those houses and get it done, quickly so we can get back to making profits”
  • “Class warfare” is really “Any challenge, legitimate or not, against the rich”
  • “All of the Above Energy Policy” is really “No policy, no plan, no diversity, just drill”
  • “Activist Judges” is really “Any judge that makes a decision that doesn’t follow a literal interpretation of the Constitution unless the judge is a conservative, then he/she can do whatever they want”
  • “Patriot Act” is really “The government can spy on you and violate your civil rights and if you don’t like it, you’re not a patriot”
  • “Discovery Institute” is a conservative think-tank.   One might think from the name that they are scientific, looking into new and exciting things that would better society or exploring new frontiers.  Nope.  Their primary purpose is to force Christianity further down the throats of their fellow Americans by advocating for Creationism in Science classes, instructing conservative voters how to vote as God would, etc, etc.  That’s the opposite of discovery.
  • “American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research”  You might think that the term Enterprise refers to Capitalism, so you might expect that their main focus is economic policy.  Nope.  You might expect to see research coming out about what policies worked and what didn’t and then recommendations on what policies the public should implement.  Nope.  See research (in the Social Sciences and Public Policy) is where you start out with a hypothesis, then you do a survey of what’s been implemented and the results, to see if that hypothesis is true or not.   Then you base your recommendations off of that study.  Example Hypothesis:  Alternative sentencing by Drug Courts reduces the rates of incarceration and recidivism (i.e., re-offending).  Example Survey:  There are tons of states who have tried this over the years and in most cases, they found that yes, Drug Courts were helpful in getting drug users out of the system because they increase the odds of the person getting treatment and not just punishment alone.  Example Conclusion:  Drug Courts are recommended and here are some best practices to follow.  The Enterprise Institute does the EXACT opposite. They start with a premise:  defend conservative principles like capitalism and limited government.  So they go out and find examples that support that premise and ignore the ones that don’t.  If they can’t find anything to support their premise, they make stuff up or lie about what they find.  So, no research and no real enterprise.
  • “PEPFAR – President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” – A G.W. Bush-era law that provided $15 billion to African nations for the relief of AIDS.  What most people don’t know is that there were three VERY big impediments built into the law.  First, the law barred funding for organizations that operate programs overseas but do not have a blanket policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.  On the face that seems reasonable.  But NGO’s (like the Red Cross) don’t have policies like this because those statements alienate the people they are trying to help and gets in the way.  For example, in Africa one of the primary means of HIV transmission was through prostitution.  Such policies would be like setting up a Red Cross tent and then putting a neon sign out front that says, “we hate prostitutes”.  Not too many prostitutes would come to them for medication or counseling and the source of the problem would not be addressed.*  Second, the law required that one-third of all the monies be directed toward abstinence-until-marriage programs and excluded comprehensive approaches, i.e., the NGO’s couldn’t discuss male and female condoms.  Why was this a problem?  Again, it’s societal.  In Africa one of the primary ways that AIDS/HIV was spread was through heterosexual intercourse (this is not true in most other parts of the world).  Not offering condoms and counseling on those methods and telling the average male to simply abstain in most cases means that man will have sex, contract HIV and will pass it on.  Third, the law did not provide any funding for needle exchange programs.  This is a BIG deal and is one the key strategies to preventing the spread of HIV.   So, in essence there was very little actual relief going on and a whole lot of imposition of American Christianist** religious values.  In the end, this law did little to actually help prevent the spread of HIV in Africa and most likely has resulted in more people dying as a result.  Probably should have just called it “PEPFSA – President’s Emergency Plan for Spreading AIDS”.
  • “Mission accomplished” in May 2003, was……do I need to spell it out for ya?

    Mission NOT Accomplished

    Mission NOT Accomplished

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Notes:

*Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this provision of the law by a vote of 6-2 in June 2013.

**I’m going to start referring to the conservative Christian movement in the US as either Christianist or the US Taliban, because they certainly not real Christians.  There are multiple instances in the Bible where Jesus helped someone first without questioning their moral choices in life.  He also looked at people as humans capable of great love and not as just a bundle of past sins that predict future behavior.  We’re all so much more than our past failings, thank goodness!  One of my favorite stories is the time he had dinner with a Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50) where a prostitute attended Jesus by washing his feet and anointing him with oil, doing him great honor, whereas the Pharisee did nothing.  Jesus concludes:

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Luke 7:47