Tag Archives: Immigration

Let’s Clean Our Own House!

I posted the following on Facebook late yesterday, partly in response to all the angst that’s being spit out by the chattering class about Bernie and Fidel:

How come, when we talk about the suffering of Cubans, Venezuelans, and others from dictators and (horrors!) socialism, we don’t also talk about the role of U.S. Imperialism and historical colonialism?

So far it’s been liked by over thirty of my friends and it’s received nine comments and four shares. As of now, that’s after 14 hours since I posted. I don’t know if it will get more, but the response is interesting. What I was attempting to point out is something that really chaps my hide about my fellow Americans. A lot of y’all are really uninformed; either that, or you’re abysmally stupid and incapable of understanding history, economics, and society.

Now . . . to temper what I just wrote, let me add that I’m of the opinion most of us can’t be blamed for this ignorance of our history and what we’ve wrought in the world wherever—and whenever—we’ve put our grubby little money-making hands to work. As I was writing this, I noted another post by a friend who had liked the post I refer to here. She shared a comment from someone else and I think it’s quite relevant to the point I’m making here. Here’s what he said:

“There’s been a lot of criticism of Bernie Sanders for his praise of the Cuban literacy program that was initiated very soon after the 1959 Revolution. Under this program, young people who had been fortunate enough to learn to read and write were sent out into the rural areas, where most people hadn’t, armed with literacy materials and a kerosene lantern. During the day they helped their host family with whatever needed to be done; at night, they taught reading and writing. Cuba became one of the most literate countries in Latin America.

“According to the critics, this was a bad thing. The people learned to read, but they couldn’t read anything they wanted, and what they were given was propaganda extolling the virtues of the Revolution. So there’s 60 years of this evil stuff going on in Cuba. I’d just like to point out that we in the US have a much longer history of propagandizing, extolling the virtues of our system of predatory capitalism in classes like ‘civics’ and ‘social studies.’ The virtues include denying health care to many, keeping many from full involvement in the political and economic life of our country, enculturating people into the happiness that is being less-than-living-wage laborers at the mercy of shareholders and CEOs.

“Nobody in the US has any business calling what other countries do ‘propaganda’ unless they are willing to acknowledge our own long history of it.

~ Ronald Kephart

I’d like to point out that, although I am a Marxist (i.e. a socialist) I’m not much of a Bernie Sanders supporter. Nearly four years ago I posted my reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary of 2016. That post is located here. I just voted in the California primary for this year’s election and, again, I did not vote for Bernie. However, as I stated back then, should he secure the nomination I will vote for and support Bernie with gusto. Despite my misgivings, he’s head and shoulders better than Trump or any Republican currently in office. I’d even vote for him if he was running against Bill Weld.

So . . . the point of this post is not necessarily defend Bernie but, rather, to point out the incredible hypocrisy of those politicians (including Democrats running for POTUS) and pundits who are criticizing him for what he said about Fidel and the Cuban revolution.

There’s a doctrine in equity called “The Clean Hands Doctrine,” which states that one can’t complain about, or seek equitable relief from, an offense when one has participated in or supported actions that are as offensive as the action being complained about. I think it fits rather nicely into the common trope about socialist countries and leaders who have wrongly punished their opponents.

I shouldn’t even have to list anything the United States has done to make this point . . . but I will list a couple of the most egregious ones:

  • Our treatment of native Americans
  • Slavery & Jim Crow
  • The Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Japanese internment camps

I would also suggest that anyone who wants to really understand how the United States, by its actions (mostly done to protect predatory economic interests) has created most of the problems we’re now dealing with, especially those issues related to immigration from the southern half of our hemisphere, should read “The Enemy: What Every American Should Know About Imperialism,” which can be found here.

We may not like what Fidel did after the revolution in 1959, but we drove him into the hands of the Soviets back then by being indecisive in our dealings with Cuba. We later initiated an economic blockade that was unwarranted and immoral, IMO. There are literally dozens of other actions we’ve taken over the years throughout Central and South America that resulted in the deaths of thousands and that kept the economies of numerous countries from thriving. Felix Greene spelled it out a half century ago. He wasn’t wrong then . . . and his analysis is still instructive today.

PS – I’m leaving out the effects of our Imperialism in the Middle East, as that’s another clusterfuck that’s likely going to come home to haunt us. Perhaps I’ll address it at a later date.


Something Different

I’ve been blogging longer than I’ve been on either Facebook or Twitter, yet I spend much more time on the latter two, especially Facebook. I think this is because I think of blogging as being more about writing essays or articles than posting memes or the published work of others.

On Facebook I can post a meme without comment and, depending on how well it resonates, get a fair amount of engagement, whether in the form of reactions, comments, or shares. Twitter is understandably different, so I far less frequently receive the same level of engagement.

At any rate, thought I would share this to see what kind of reaction I get.


El Paso Gunman’s Fear of “Invasion” Echoed Trump and Fox

Donald Trump and his deplorable sycophants are trying desperately to pin the blame for this weekend’s tragedy in El Paso on anywhere but where it belongs. It’s not video games. It’s not the lack of prayer in schools. It’s not parents who aren’t paying attention. It’s the constant drumbeat of racist hatred toward (primarily) Latinx people and any form of immigration, no matter how useful or benign. Click on the below link to see where of The Intercept lays out his analysis of how this rhetoric has created a climate of hate and fear that’s obviously toxic as hell.

 

El Paso Gunman’s Fear of a Migrant “Invasion” Echoes Donald Trump and Fox NewsRobert MackeyAugust 5 2019, 4:36 p.m.The white supremacist who killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas on Saturday appears to have been driven by a racist conspiracy theory — that the United States is under “invasion” by migrants and asylum-seekers from Central America — which has been repeated again and again on Fox News broadcasts, and amplified by that network’s most powerful viewer, President Donald Trump.

Source: El Paso Gunman’s Fear of “Invasion” Echoed Trump and Fox


Be Safe! ¡Cuidate!

This weekend Trump is threatening mass deportations . . . again! It may not happen. However, if it does here’s some information you or someone you know may want to have available. One of the hallmarks of our nation is the concept of the rule of law, which means nobody is above the law; neither is anyone outside the law. Every “person” enjoys the rights afforded them by the Constitution of the United States. We’re all entitled to due process and the equal application of the law. Know your rights . . . and be thankful we have an organization like the ACLU that fights for them, incessantly. They’re one of five organizations I donate to monthly. Please consider sending them a few bucks to support their work. And please consider sharing this info with someone you know who might benefit from it. Thank you.


‘Zero-tolerance’ immigration policy is big money for contractors, nonprofits

What truly sickens me (pisses me off as well) is that we are witnessing the transfer of billions of dollars of our tax money to the coffers of these very sick, hateful, and exploitative organizations. They are profiting handsomely off the misery and suffering of people whose lives have been upended in large part because of policies of the U.S. that have been carried out in Central and South America over decades.



I recommend reading Felix Greene’s excellent book, “The Enemy: What Every American Should Know About Imperialism.” Despite its being almost 50 years since it was published, it is still a wonderful exposition of how insidious imperialism is and how thoroughly our country (the U.S.) has infiltrated the economies and governments of many of the countries in the southern part of our hemisphere.


President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is big business for U.S. companies — from private prison and tech firms to defense and security contractors — as well as nonprofits.Under bipartisan pressure, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the administration’s controversial child-separation policy. But Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, in which individuals who enter the U.S. illegally are prosecuted, will continue. All this comes as the country grapples with harrowing images of babies stripped from their mothers’ arms and children playing soccer on the grounds of abandoned Walmart stores along the Southwest border.

Source: ‘Zero-tolerance’ immigration policy is big money for contractors, nonprofits


What I Want To See

The following is making its way through Facebook right now, and I want to share it here. These are not my words, but they track pretty closely to how I feel and what I’d like to see happen with respect to all the children being herded into what this Jew believes are accurately called concentration camps. They’re not death camps . . . yet. Actually, several children have died and, if we don’t somehow put a stop to this, it will only escalate. Here’s what is on FB:

Sharing (I am not the author)…

Here is what I want:

I want all 24 Democratic candidates for President to convene a joint press conference outside the worst of the facilities where toddlers are being held in their own filth with no blankets, no beds, no soap, no showers. I want all the candidates, with no exceptions, to demand the doors be opened. I want them to demand a tour.

I would like the candidates to show up with people from the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF. I want the candidates to personally render aid to the children — on camera. At the very least, I want it on camera when officials refuse entry to a federal facility by senators, congress people, governors and the national press. I want to see the guards showing their guns to block them.

I want this planned carefully. I want it publicized before, during and after. I want Fox News shamed into being there, then I want Fox News shamed into showing it. I want the candidates to agree to stand together, unified, and be prepared to stay for hours. I want them to only grant interviews in teams and I want them to keep on topic. I want no self promoting words from anyone. I want them to allow their actions to speak.

I want the DNC to set up everything necessary for a rally — refreshments, stands, shelter — and make sure this event is open to the public and well publicized beforehand. I want to see everyone unified in naming this part of the USA’s new Concentration Camp system. No equivocating. I don’t want any more lip service to outrage — I want us to SEE the outrage in such a way that anyone who is turning a blind eye to the outrage can no longer deny its existence.

The logistics for this would be hard, but you cannot convince me it cannot be done, if there really is a will to save these children, there is a way.

Would that be blatantly using children for political props? Maybe, but it would definitely be an attempt to rescue children who are already being used as political props.

I want someone to do something for those babies. Now.


Concentrating on the Border | The Weekly Sift

Testing a bit of WordPress’s functionality; in this case, the “Press This” widget I installed in Firefox that allows me to share just about anything. Here’s a blog post shared by a friend of mine on Facebook, whose judgment I trust more than most. At least, in terms of her politics, historical and contextual understanding, and her humanity.

With respect to historical and contextual understanding, as well as (perhaps, most especially wrt) humanity, I would argue the Trump administration possesses none of these admirable qualities.

Additionally, what comes across loud and clear is that most of the media is fucking clueless. Their quest for clicks and profit has made it impossible for the majority of them to pay attention to what’s really happening or to help do something about atrocities such as this. Link to the full post at the bottom.

This week America’s talking heads argued about a label: Should the places where the Trump administration is detaining immigrants be called “concentration camps”? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the term (she wasn’t the first), and then pundits inside the Fox News bubble began demanding she apologize: to Trump, to Jews, to history, and so on.

As so often happens, the perpetrator became the victim. The media hasn’t devoted nearly as much time to the real victims — the immigrants (many of them asylum-seekers who have followed the law and done nothing wrong) being herded into camps of dubious safety and hygiene — as they have to the Trumpists howling with outrage. Instead of “What is happening on the border?” our focus has been on “Is it fair to call them concentration camps?”

I will not get snarky about this, because Alexandra Petri has already done that very well. (“If we do not use the right words for this, we might think that something terrible was happening.”) But I will point out that we had a very similar debate (including some of the same people, i.e., Liz Cheney) during the Bush administration: Should “enhanced interrogation” techniques (water-boarding, beatings, stress positions, sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold — sometimes resulting in death) count as torture. Instead of discussing exactly what our country was doing to people we had captured, we argued about a word. Those who felt injured by that word often got more sympathy than the people they were (or were not) torturing.

Source: Concentrating on the Border | The Weekly Sift


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