Politician, Represent Thyself

copyright © 2010. Jerry Northington. Jerry Northington.com

For years now I have been a blogger and avid reader of political blogs.  A recent post by an immigration blogger used the title of today’s pondering.  The point of the other posting was to make politicians (and other people in the nation today) stand up for what is right against what is wrong.

In my childhood, people in my hometown did not allow other people to be mistreated the way we see on the news today.   People were allowed to live their lives and work to sustain their families without lots of questions.  When people had trouble, they were given aid.  If a farmer was ill or injured and unable to plow or harvest his crops neighbors pitched in to take care of the job and insure the success of the farming community.

 Too often today, we hear politicians and others railing about one subject or another in ways that are often empty rhetoric without supporting evidence or real substance.  The fear card is often played these days by politicians hoping for election or reelection.  The pols twitter about and change positions like a bird on a live wire.

The mental and personal deficiencies of too many politicians and other public figures today leaves them unable to represent with any degree of fairness the millions of people in our nation today.   Fear drives human beings to strange corners and unreal belief systems.  Fear drives politicians to say and do whatever it is that promises reelection and continued exposure to the public eye.

As a nation, we need to stop the current course of always blaming the underprivileged or the weak for our ills.  We need one and all to take a real stand and let others around us see just who we are and for what we stand in this life.  We must be true to ourselves first if we are to be true to any other person.  Our politicians need the same reminders and directions if they are to be fair and reasoned in their public lives.  


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Jerry Northington

National Public Radio Lowers the Volume [Boom] On Dennis Kucinich

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Dear National Public Radio . . .

Well over a week ago, I was elated when I first heard broadcasters on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition state they would host a Democratic Debate. I thought; finally, Presidential hopeful, and an authentic Progressive, Dennis Kucinich would actually have a chance to speak.  People would hear the words of the most mainstream candidate for more than a minute.  Congressman Kucinich could truly discuss the issues in some depth and possibly detail.  Perhaps, a publicly supported media service would at least grant Dennis Kucinich equal time.

The announcer encouraged audience members, nationwide, to submit questions.  I raced to my computer and eagerly typed my query.  As I clicked the button to post, I realized I neglected to do as the instructions advised.  I did not include my hometown.  Troubled by my error, I telephoned the main National Public Radio switchboard.  I was transferred to the person in-the-know.  The producer and I discussed what I had done, how I could correct my mistake, and my excitement for the upcoming debate.  I was told to resubmit my question and I did as directed.

Expectant as I pondered the possibilities, I wondered.  Might this be the debate of my dreams?  I hoped this panel discussion would be as the Heartland Presidential Forum.  During that event, citizens of the region had an opportunity to hear from each candidate.  With the exclusion of one unscripted, unforeseen technical glitch, that allowed Hillary Clinton to speak for moments more, every Presidential hopeful had equal time to address what matters to the common man.  Aspirants stood unaccompanied by adversaries.  Face-to-face with real people, contenders for the Office of the President heard the tales folks told and answered their questions.  It was a beautiful assembly to behold.

Then, on December 3, the day prior to the National Public Radio Democratic Debate, my dreams were shattered.  I listen to a lengthy program, where the journalist discussed their plans.  My heart sank.  As the correspondents described the format, I was certain, this get-together would be as all those seen or heard on “popular” media, slanted towards the supposed front-runners.

I chatted with a friend that was also looking forward to the transmission.  We shared our sorrow; yet, we hoped we would be wrong.  Indeed, my interpretation for what was to come was accurate.

On December 4, 2007, I scheduled my life around the National Public Radio debate.  As I listened, again my heart sank.  The speakers were as they have been in each mainstream program.  Hillary, Obama, and John were the focus and featured prominently.  The powerful three are so well known, Americans recognize and address them by their first names.  Joseph Biden was the sometimes foil.  Mike Gravel was the candidate not-to-be-taken-seriously, and Dennis Kucinich was to-be avoided-at-any-cost.  If the Congressman were allowed to speak, he might connect with the listeners in an authentic manner.  Then, what would this nation’s powerbrokers do?

What, a listener might say, National Public Radio is pure.  It is the people’s choice.  Are there not studies or polls that state this is the least biased broadcast service.  Perhaps there were or are; however, we must consider an image built in the past may linger.

[L]ittle evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources-including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants-Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

Partisans from outside the two major parties were almost nowhere to be seen, with the exception of four Libertarian Party representatives who appeared in a single story (Morning Edition , 6/26/03).

Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge, individual Republicans were NPR ‘s most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance. George Bush led all sources for the month with 36 appearances, followed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (8) and Sen. Pat Roberts (6). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer all tied with five appearances each.

Might we consider another  account; NPR Touts Pro-Nuke ‘Environmentalists’ Network’s own nuclear links undisclosed.  In August 2007, a likely too scant readership learned of what some sharp listeners surmise.

One factor that is relevant to NPR’s cheerleading for nuclear power is its own financial links to the industry.  According to NPR’s website, between 1993 and 2005, the public radio service received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Constellation Energy, which belongs to Nustart Energy, a 10-company consortium pushing for new nuclear power plant construction.  During the same period, another nuclear operator, Sempra Energy, donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to NPR.  This potential conflict of interest was not disclosed in the August 15 segment, or in any other of NPR’s recent largely industry-friendly reports.  (NPR has, in the past, insisted that the corporate “underwriting” money it receives has no bearing on its coverage–a defense that would seem to undercut the rationale for NPR’s existence as a noncommercial broadcaster.)

To think, no one, no organization is influenced by those who allow them to survive is an interesting notion, although common sense would tell us this is quite a stretch.  Without money to endure, there is no National Public Radio.  Do listeners not hear that claim during each fund drive.?

National Public Radio may hope we will believe that the evidence is only circumstantial; however, there is ample reason to believe “Public” radio leans towards monied moguls. Curious souls who search, further discover there is much to call into question.  Why might the once six-year Wal-Mart Board member,, Hillary Clinton be allotted so much more time to speak than a less well-connected candidate?  Perchance it is because National Public Radio receives major, as in Million Dollars Plus, donations from this corporation.  Wal-Mart, a company that more than profits from the National Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], obviously would not wish for Congressman Dennis Kucinich to speak.

The people’s candidate, Dennis Kucinich advocates an end to the “free” trade agreement, just as the American workers do.  Representative Kucinich understands the harm this contract caused and the hazards that will befall laborers in this country if the policy continues.  However, Dennis, a lifetime Union member was not given an opportunity to speak on the topic, although he tried to.

Inskeep:  Candidates, we’ve just been doing some reporting in the last few days from Marshalltown, Iowa, a city that I know many of you have visited. This is a city with a lot of immigrants, a number of illegal immigrants. There have been immigration raids there. And that raises questions about citizens in places like that all over America.

Some citizens in Marshalltown turn in illegal immigrants, some take them in. There’s actually a person who’s been indicted for sheltering immigrants, which raises a question that I’d like to put to you: What obligations do American citizens have when it comes to illegal immigrants?

And let’s start with Senator Obama. Would you expect Americans, if you’re president – January 2009, immigration reform, whatever you want hasn’t happened yet. Would you expect Americans to turn in illegal immigrants when they come across them?

Of course, let us begin with Barack Obama.  He is in the same league with National Public Radio backers [bankers].  Time Warner is among the corporations that fund the broadcasters and Barack.  The Illinois Senator loves their financial support [contributions or backing], as does NPR.  Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase & Company, and Morgan Stanley, who contribute to the Obama campaign, certainly, these institutions are sensitive to the immigration situation.  Barack Obama takes the expected strong stance against immigration, and then reminds the business brass they need not fear a loss of laborers.  The individuals already in the States will realize a pathway towards citizenship.  

Corporations are consoled and the candidate confident all will be well.  As long as we do what has been done there will be no change, and after all, is that not the truest issue.  Profiteers do not wish to relinquish power.

Mister Inskeep understands this idea.  What is ideal for the powerbrokers is perfect for his employer.  Thus, in the spirit of judicious journalism the moderator moves on to an aspirant not thought a likely nominee; however, Christopher Dodd is not a threat to the system or the status quo.  Inskeep inquired.

Inskeep:  You interview a number of applicants. They all seem very nice. They seem like they would take care of the kids, but it would appear that their documents may not be in order. What would you want an American to do?

Senator Dodd responded.  As he spoke, he dared to include the unthinkable issue.  He referred to trade agreements and how as a nation we must consider what we do on both sides of the border.   Christopher Dodd offered . . .

Instead of improving the quality of working conditions that would give people in these countries a chance to stay in their own nations, which most of them would prefer to do, we’re encouraging people to come here by not having trading agreements that don’t insist upon –

Corporate sponsors may not wish to discuss that topic.  Low wages, high profits, that seems sensible to those that benefit from such inequitable practices.  Aware of the delicate balance between big business interests and that of the immigrant and American worker, moderator Steve Inskeep redirected the discussion.

Inskeep:  We’re going to talk more about that, those issues, as we go along here.

Unexpectedly, the host dared to turn to Dennis Kucinich; however, he carefully crafted his approach.  National Public Radio must broach the discussion of trade with caution, if at all.  Inskeep, as he posed his inquiry, reminded Congressman Kucinich of the limits.  He was kind enough to acknowledge that Dennis might know of real people.

Inskeep:  But sticking with real people, Congressman Kucinich, the real person in that situation, what should they do?

Representative Kucinich: Rely on the Constitution.  You know, we don’t encourage vigilantism in this country.  We have a Constitution, we have due process, we have equal protection, we have habeas corpus.  This administration, as – like – you know, would like to shred the Constitution and deny people all those rights.  But when we get into that, what we do, we take the path of denying constitutional rights, and we’re back to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and all those other violations of rights that we’re ashamed of now.  And I’m saying that we have to realize that these are economic refugees from NAFTA.

You know, I’ve said it over and over.  Cancel NAFTA.  Negotiate a new trade agreement with Mexico based on workers rights, human rights, [and] environmental quality principles.  Give a path to legalization for the people who have been here.  You can’t send them home willy-nilly.  You have to have a way in which our immigration policy resonates with the deeper principles of inclusiveness in America, as symbolized by our Statue of Liberty.

Inskeep: We may get to NAFTA as well, time permitting.

However, astute listeners grasp there are only moments enough for what works well for the corporate sponsors and contributors that offer enough cash to shape the agenda.  Perceptive persons acknowledge time is a fascinating construct.  Man makes time for what he or she thinks a priority and has not a second for what might cause great concern.  Correspondents understand conflicts of interest are ill-advised.  Sponsors would not wish to air dirty laundry.  Hence, if National Public Radio broadcasters are to direct a question to the one Presidential aspirant that could provide the people with a voice, they must remember, Dennis Kucinich must be silenced swiftly.

Norris: Representative Kucinich, very quickly.

Dennis responds speedily.  He reminds the audience that he was not late to realize we are a global community.  Every nation is connected to the other.  We must understand the effect of every given decision.  Our actions cause reactions.  Dennis Kucinich helps us understand that we can no longer react belatedly.  We must do more than read briefs.  Before a President devises a plan, he or she must look at the broader picture.

Representative Kucinich: Yes.  And I may be the only one up here who actually voted against China trade because of the concerns I had that the U.S. was not going to be able to maintain its manufacturing base, which is central to maintaining a middle class.  What we’ve seen is that without solid trade policies, we’re undermined.  Without a strength-through-peace doctrine of rejecting war as an instrument of policy, we’re going to keep borrowing money from China.  Let us not forget we’re borrowing money from China to finance the war in Iraq.  And in addition to that, the speculation on Wall Street has weakened our economy.

We need a policy of constructive engagement with China, stop the arms race with them, work to make sure we have a global climate change treaty with China, get them to transition out of nuclear and coal and oil.  You know, I’m talking about a whole new direction that’s based on a doctrine of strength through peace, and I have a voting record up here to back it up, unlike some of my esteemed colleagues.

The hosts listened without much enthusiasm or interest.  Each knows which side of the bread holds the butter.  Without any caution or concern for the minutes the Senator from New York might need to make her point, moderator Michele Norris offered Hillary Clinton more than enough moments to explore as she might.

Norris: Senator Clinton, do we need them more than they need us?

Apparently, in the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of National Public Radio and its corporate sponsors, America needs the Former First Lady Clinton more than we need, [or want] Dennis Kucinich.  Regardless of The Nation Magazine Poll, the Democracy for America (DFA) survey, or the Progressive Democrats of America sample each of which places Dennis Kucinich as America’s first choice among those that gather information from more than mainstream sources, citizens of this country are told Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are the only candidates of note.

Indeed, Dennis Kucinich is not a recognized name.  Many Americans ask, “Who?”  We need not wonder why.  When the media does mention Presidential hopeful Kucinich, they frequently misrepresent the Congressman.  Rarely, was our possible President, Dennis Kucinich, given an opportunity to speak during this skewed NPR Democratic Debate.  In truth, there were very few occasions in which Presidential hopeful, Kucinich, was granted a chance to speak.  Once more, we might muse, do the Journalists at National Public Radio think America might wish to hear from Congressman Kucinich, or will these broadcasters tell us what the Representative believes, that is, if they have the time.  Perchance, the former Senator Edwards will articulate for Dennis Kucinich, or ensure that the Congressman cannot express himself.

Mister Edwards: Well, everyone – everyone at the table would acknowledge that Iran represents a serious issue for the Middle East and for us –

Representative Kucinich: No, I do not acknowledge –

Inskeep: Congressman Kucinich does not, but –

Mister Edwards: Let me finish, if I can.

Representative Kucinich: Let me characterize my own remarks.

Mister Edwards: If I can just finish, Dennis, for just a second . . .

Siegel: And I’m Robert Siegel. We’re discussing Iran, the lessons learned from the war in Iraq.

A moment ago when Congressman Kucinich objected to or interrupted the statement from Senator Edwards that everybody agrees Iran is a threat, you say, Congressman Kucinich, I misinterpreted your earlier remarks that Iran is not a threat.

Representative Kucinich: All I did was raise my hand.  I wanted a chance to respond.

Siegel: Yes.

Representative Kucinich: Thank you.

The point that Senator Clinton made was a valid point with respect to the comments of Senator Obama and also the comments of Senator Edwards at the Herzliya conference. See, when people say all options are on the table, as the three senators have, they actually encouraged President Bush and licensed his rhetoric.  And what I’m saying is that I’m the only one here who in Congress repeatedly challenge, in every chance and every legislation, repeatedly challenge this mind-set that said all options are on the table and that Iran had nuclear weapons programs.

Siegel: OK. Cleared up.

Representative Kucinich: I’m the only one who can make that claim.

Siegel: Clarified . . .

What is clear to me is Americans are not able to hear an open, honest discussion between the candidates, not even on National Public Radio.  If the people are to truly know of the one and only candidate for change, they will have to find a source of information that is truly fair and accurate, one that is not sponsored by corporate bigwigs [Archer Daniels Midland Company, Wal-Mart, AT&T], insurers [Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America Allstate Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company], financial institutions [Prudential Financial, T. Rowe Price, The Hartford Financial Services Group], energy companies [Sempra, Constellation Energy], car manufacturers [Acura, Honda, Ford Motor Company, Saturn Corporation], petroleum interests [ConocoPhillips Company] all of which have an interest to serve, other than the American people.

Oh dear, National Public Radio I had such hopes.  I still do, although I realize the media giants and the conglomerates that give them life have substantial clout.  

Nevertheless, I continue to believe as Dennis Kucinich espouses when he quotes Spanish Philosopher and Writer, Miguel de Unamuno  . . .

“Only he who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.”

Thankfully, Progressives such as I, and Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich will continue to create opportunities.  We will challenge conventions and accomplish what many think not viable.   National Public Radio  perchance, we might meet again at the Kucinich inauguration.  I look forward to your interview with President Dennis Kucinich.  I will tune in on January 20, 2009.  My hope is then, you will have the time to speak with the people’s President.

References and Reasons for this Reaction . . .

The Death of Miss Liberty

copyright © 2007 Judith Moriarty

We’ve been programmed to hate.  I can’t remember when I didn’t hear someone spewing abusive words towards another.  My grandma hated Italians, Blacks, and Protestants.  I suppose she would have hated Jews, except none lived in our town.   I remember my excitement at age seven, going to my Grandmas after Sunday School.  I told her that I had good news.  I learned that God was a spirit and that we were all made in the image and likeness of God.  I explained to her, since spirits don’t have any color you can stop hating.  It seemed logical to me.  

I think she kept hating because when my Aunt Betty married (Bob) a Protestant, she made an awful scene and marched out of the church.  Later when my Uncle Bob bought her a house, she stopped hating Protestants.  Besides, my Grandma hating, it was coming home from school, and seeing the terrible scenes during the Civil Rights era that showed me how evil hatred could be.  

I couldn’t believe that people were being knocked over with fire hoses and dogs were being set on them.  I asked my dad why they were doing such awful things.  He said, “People pass hatred on from generation to generation.  They’re acting out what they’ve been taught.  Men aren’t born with prejudice it’s an acquired trait.  A bitter root will spoil a spring and that’s what happened to them.  The bitterness grew until it consumed them.  They don’t know how to stop hating.  They were never taught what loving their neighbor really means.  Their lives are consumed with hate.”

We’ve been programmed to hate from one generation to the next.  Today its Mexicans and Arabs.  We’ve hated American Indians, Germans, the Japanese, Black folk, the Irish, etc.  Anybody who didn’t fit our idea of proper white society.  If we didn’t have a convenient minority to hate, we created bias and prejudice against our neighbors.  This hate is fluid.  It may focus on the poor, the homeless, trailer trash, or intruders, into our communities from other states or countries.  What we hear little about are the Chinese (coolies) immigrants.  The first documentation of the Chinese in the U.S. began in the 1800’s due to the California Gold Rush.  When large groups of unskilled laborers, usually working for very little pay, migrated to the U.S. American attitudes became negative and hostile.  

These Chinese clustered into groups, working hard and living frugally.  Many Southern whites joined the Gold Rush and brought along their hostile racial attitudes.  Miners in the area often used violence to drive the Chinese out of various mines.  While impatient gold-seekers would abandon prospective rivers, the Chinese would remain, painstakingly panning through the dust to find bits of gold.

They did not only mine for gold, but took such jobs as cooks, peddlers, and storekeepers.  In the first decade after the discovery of gold, many had taken jobs nobody else wanted or that were considered too dirty.  However in 1870, hasty exploitation of gold mines and a lack of well-paying jobs for non-Asians spurred sentiment that the ‘rice eaters’ were to blame.  We can thank the Chinese for building the western leg of the Central Pacific Railroad.  

This worker’s average pay was 20.00 per month after food was deducted.  The work was backbreaking and thousands died.  Although nine-tenths of the railroad workers were Chinese, the famous photograph taken, where the golden stake was driven connecting the east and west by railway, no Chinese workers were included!  We are famous for using and discarding people.  But then, we are a disposable society.  We treat people (those we see as inferior) much like litter.

Acts of violence against the Chinese continued for decades, mostly from white urban and agricultural workers.  In 1862, eighty-eighty Chinese were reported murdered.  Though large landowners that hired Chinese, railroads, and other large white – owned businesses, and Chinese workers themselves pushed against a growing anti-Chinese legislation, the forces opposing the Chinese prevailed, issuing laws that excluded or harassed them from industry to industry.

Finally, the Naturalization Act of 1870 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted immigration of Chinese into the U.S.  They were excluded until 1943.  They were the first significant culture to be prohibited to freely immigrate.  With China becoming allies with the US during WWII – attitudes changed.  Perhaps because newcomers took their place to hate The Chinese when they did immigrate were kept for months on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay (like Ellis Island in NYC).

Families could not stay together.  I imagine, like NYC, few in the San Francisco area have visited this place Many that I spoke to in NYC had never visited Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building nor the numerous museums!  I doubt that this sordid part of our history is taught in today’s schools It’s kind of ironic that the despised Chinese of yesterday are those who loan us billions upon billions to support our newest industry – war.  The rail lines where they died – now carry their products across our nation.  The ‘coolies’ of yesteryear are the today’s industrialists, scientists, and builders.

The Industrial Age of yesteryear (unlike today) absorbed multitudes of unskilled labor.  Then there were the war years.  There were no guest visa programs, no welfare, no entitlement programs, or trade agreements; closing down factories, the auto industry, textile mills, and manufacturing.  A man could find work if he needed it.  The lack of a college degree was no hindrance.  Many choose to farm and fed a nation.  It saved the nation during the Great Depression.  

Today large corporate farms and trade agreements have driven tens of thousands off the land.  Cities are rusting, echoing, memories of a past era never to be seen again.  We now import most of our clothing, goods, and food from foreign lands.  We no longer produce anything of merit.  Our biggest industries are war, box stores, prisons, garbage, and gambling Mecca’s.

We are a service economy – which makes nothing!  Rusted mill towns build condos, malls, and hotels (which produce nothing) to attract tourists, and shoppers.  The immigrants of today are working for cheap wages: doing construction, dock work, labor, maids, grounds keepers, etc.  Imported professionals on guest visas, are replacing Americans for lower wages, with no benefits or job security.  

Work today is mostly contractual.  Gone are the small hometowns where foundries and paper mills were located.  A man would pass his job down to his to son.  A family didn’t need both parents working.  We are fast becoming an echoing wasteland of echoing rust and abandoned farms.

None of the candidates rushing to and fro, trying to grab the golden ring, give a hoot about the multitudes left jobless because of their votes.  They are well cared for medically and are secure in knowing that they’ll see yearly (thousands) cost of living increases and lobbying jobs for their families and themselves (Trent Lott) when they decide to ‘cash in’.  That’s what it’s all about.  Let’s have us a no – bid contract.  That’s what today’s vote really means.  The owners of the world have already chosen the next overseer!  There’s no secular savior coming to save the day and turn the clocks back.  Anybody promising this is lying for votes!

Miss Liberty passed away Sept 11, 2001.  Few heard her final gasps amidst the implosion of the towers – the screams – and sounds of blasting sirens.  Her song disappeared in the volcanic ash that rushed through the concrete canyons of NYC.  She welcomed multitudes over the years and watched as they built a nation.  Her lamp lit the way, for the young off to war after war, never to return.  She witnessed the graft, corruption, and materialistic excesses of the moneychangers in the banks and on Wall Street.  Some said she died of a broken heart.  Me, I think she died of melancholy.  She just couldn’t bear the weight of the hatred that had men committing such heinous barbaric acts upon one another.  

It was the hate, lies, fear, apathy, and indifference that overtook a once proud people.  It was the liars in high places that sold out a nation for profit.  It was the multi-national corporations that sold their allegiance to our nation for a bowl of pottage.  It was the pollution of politics that prostituted their oath of office.  That’s what really killed her.  She didn’t want to witness the death of a nation so she left quietly with the ashes.  Her silent song is scattered across the land (except for Washington, D.C.).


The Myth Of Hard Work

It is my honor to introduce Forgiven.  I believe his thoughtful, reflective treatise speaks volumes.  As I read it, so much of the information resonated within me.  I hope you too will appreciate the missive and the message.

copyright © Forgiven The Disputed Truth

There is a common myth that runs through America, propagated by the wealthy for mass consumption.  This myth has been one of the most dangerous and divisive instruments used against the American working class of all races.  This myth has been a part of Americana from the beginning and continues today unabated for the most part and constantly being reinforced by the media, corporate America, and the talking heads.  The myth is simply this: that if an individual will work hard, follow the rules, and be patient that they can be successful.  The biggest determinate to a person’s rise in this society is hard work and personal responsibility.

On the surface, this myth seems plausible and almost logical.  The harder one works the more successful one will become.  It is simple cause and effect, right?  It is precisely this logic that allows the constant criticism of our poorest citizens as being lazy, irresponsible, and foolish to go unchallenged.  If asked, the majority of Americans of all races will state unequivocally that most people are poor because of a lack of personal responsibility and hard work.  The truth is that in accumulating wealth hard work plays a very small role.  The wealth and income gaps between Americans is not based on the fact that one group worked harder than another.  If that were in fact the case in American history, no group has worked harder than the slaves that built this country, the Chinese that built the railroad, or the Mexicans that continue to do the menial labor that drives our information society.

Today, as Tim Wise writes in “The Mother of All Racial Preferences” white baby boomers are benefiting from the largest transfer of wealth in American history as they inherit their parents’ estates.  Some of that wealth dates back to the years of slavery, when Blacks were forced to work for free while their white owners and the American economy accumulated the benefits of their toil.  Another large category of the transferred wealth is land, much of it stolen by the American government from Native Americans and Mexicans and sold for a pittance to white settlers.  For the average white family, however, some of the largest sources of wealth are the result of racial preferences in government policies that were started in the 20th century.   Focus On Affirmative Action

As I was researching this essay, I began to look back on my own work experiences and it was a fact that I worked the hardest on the jobs that paid me the least.  There is something wrong with a system that pays a person more who is actually doing less and not only are they paid more but there is a great disparity in those earnings.  How can we in good conscious claim that the person working for minimum wage or working two menial jobs is not working hard enough and are therefore responsible for their lack of wealth?  Unfortunately for them and most other poor minorities, wealth is the accumulation of advantages or disadvantages.  If we are honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge the discrepancy of labor to income, except for labor intensive trades.  These low end wage earners work very hard and yet despite their efforts they continue to be poor.

The problem I have is simply this, I want the opportunity to be successful based on the premise that all are equal and therefore have equal access to the tools of success.  The issue is not whether everyone will take the opportunity provided, the issue is that the opportunity be provided to all equally.  Not every white person takes advantage of all of their advantages, but I don’t hear any talk that they as a group are not worthy to have opportunities.  For some reason, if some blacks choose not to take advantage of their opportunities, it is an indictment against all blacks and therefore we do not deserve any opportunities.  The point is this, if not one black takes advantage of an equal education or employment opportunities, so what.  Equality is the key, not what one does with it.  These opportunities should still exist and be equal for all, because that is what is right.

Critics of affirmative action lean heavily on the myth that people make it on their own in the United States based on hard work and individual effort.  They also maintain that government intervention in the wealth creation process is not just unprecedented, but un-American.  Simply put, they ask: Why should the beneficiaries of affirmative action be the recipients of preferential governmental policies when whites acquired their wealth through hard work?  The answer is simple: in reality governmental policy has played an absolutely crucial role in determining the racial character of the haves and the have nots in America.  Focus On Affirmative Action

Since the beginning of America, the government has provided the tools for one group to have advantages at the exclusion of other groups.  The majority of wealth in America is based on the government policies that favored one group over another, for anyone to say that the government should not now show any favoritism is either being blatantly dishonest or ignorant to the history of America.  The majority of personal wealth in America is based on home ownership, if governmental policies provided funds for one group and not all groups equally then that is favoritism.  With the government condoning and encouraging “red-lining” in mortgage loans by the FHA, it allowed whites to receive low interest loans on their mortgages thus providing them with the needed equity to begin the process of wealth accumulation.  This is just one of many government policies that helped to decide who was going to be well-off in America and who wasn’t.

I want to state that I believe that personal responsibility is important.  It is important however not for accumulating wealth, its importance lies in the health of the society.  The health of a society is based on the principle that everyone in that society is personally responsible for their actions, not because it leads to wealth but because it leads to a better society.  Whether you are a low wage worker or the CEO of a Fortune 500, it is incumbent upon all of us to do what is right and to do our best.  Again, the point is not that we base opportunity on a given person’s response to it, but on equal access.  When we reach the stage where everyone has equal opportunity for success, then we can talk about who is taking advantage and who isn’t.  Until that time it is a moot point, because the myth will still just be a myth.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic – John F. Kennedy

Immigration In America. The Past; Grass Is Always Greener

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

During this Thanksgiving Holy Day observance, we, the citizens of this nation say grace for all that G-d, and country, have given us.  We celebrate the harvest.  Our countrymen venerate the Native Americans that kindly shard their food and grain-filled lands with our European ancestors.  We revel in what we reap.  With thanks to our ancestors, the mavericks of the past, we, the children of immigrants, grew gloriously.  Yet, while white Americans, descendants of the foreign born, rejoice, the darker complected grieve.  

For many citizens more native to the terra firma, than the pale skinned emigrants the traditional Thanksgiving memorial is a National Day of Mourning.

To some, the “First Thanksgiving” presents a distorted picture of the history of relations between the European colonists, their descendants, and the Native People. The total emphasis is placed on the respect that existed between the Wampanoags led by the sachem Massasoit and the first generation of Pilgrims in Plymouth, while the long history of subsequent violence and discrimination suffered by Native People across America is nowhere represented.

Aggression and repression are American legacies.  However, menacing misrepresentations of this nation’s past are touted.  In this country we speak of a “melting pot” and call ourselves the “United’ States of America.  Americans read, hear, and believe what we see as the beauty our fore-bearers.  We embrace the documented accounts learned in Elementary School.  Caucasian countrymen wholeheartedly endorse the legends passed down from mother to daughter, father to son.  We, the citizens glean the gems grandparents bestowed upon us.  

The yarns are as gold, woven into a tapestry that is his story, hers, and now ours.  In our youth, we clung to the narratives Nana and Zayde told.  These were and are still treasures.  For most who reside in the United States, the folklore of our kin is our truth.  

We in this prosperous nation trust, before “they” the current crop of new arrivals came, Americans were content.  Life was good.  Most individuals, comfy and cozy in their reality forget, generations ago “we” Americans, were “them,” the unwanted, unwelcome, uninvited, undesirable émigrés.  

Our Moms, Dads, Grandpapas, Grandmamas and Greats were labeled shiftless, lazy loafers.  Your mother, my father, was the wrong color.  They were the olive, yellow, red, pink, or pinko problems.  Those with large noses, slanted eyes, or loud boisterous voices gestured profusely.  Migrants to America were too quiet, too manipulative, and certainly engaged in criminal practices.  Centuries ago, according to the persons who defined themselves as American, migrants, then [as now,] brought on all the ills of society.  These uncouth clans without refinement, or culture, were completely uncivilized.  

Our ancestors were not as the Black slaves shipped to the New World solely to serve the needs of the elite without hope or reason to believe they could or would become wealthy.  These newer non-natives had the audacity to think this land was theirs.  Here they believed they could thrive.  The European and East Asian immigrants invaded and attempted to make the American Dream their own.  The English poor, Irish, the German, Greeks, Italians, Russians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Turks, Czechs, French families, and even Chinese came to this pristine territory, only to soil the countryside.

Those that first arrived on the shores of this North American continent soon wondered, what did any one that was not like them contribute to society.  Other than being crass, the émigrés in the earlier century certainly served no real purpose.  Individuals who thought themselves native to this region said, sure immigrants helped build the nation.  However, they took more than they gave.

Granted. the goodly migrants, desperate to find solace in the New World were willing to accept wages so low that they could not possibly survive.  Nonetheless, in the minds of the earliest elite “Americans” the migrants were nothing more than the scum of the Earth.  These [insert the racist, bigoted, xenophobic label of your choice] needed to go back where they came from.  Although “Americans” benefited from the greener grass of what they called home, they did not want the same for those that came after them.

Old fears over new faces

By Michael Powell ?

The Washington Post

September 21, 2006

New York – They were portrayed as a disreputable lot, the immigrant hordes of this great city.

The Germans refused for decades to give up their native tongue and raucous beer gardens. The Irish of Hell’s Kitchen brawled and clung to political sinecures. The Jews crowded into the Lower East Side, speaking Yiddish, fomenting socialism and resisting forced assimilation. And by their sheer numbers, the immigrants depressed wages in the city. As for the multitudes of Italians, who settled Mulberry Street, East Harlem and Canarsie? In 1970, seven decades after their arrival, Italians lagged behind every immigrant group in educational achievement.

Inhabitants of the civilized country called the United States disgustedly remark, ‘immigrants must know “English’ is spoken here; yet, they never bother to learn “the” language.  “They” take jobs from eager Americans.  Migrants form gangs.  “They” are the criminal element in every urban center.  Few adjust or adapt.  Émigrés do not assimilate; nor do they try to.  Migrants associate only with their own kind.  Refugees send money to the relatives in their home country.  Thus, these non-natives further destroy the economy.  Economic refugees do not live as we do.  

They do not eat, as Americans know is best.  The smell of foreign foods fills the air and oh, the stench.  “Exiles” have no ethics.  “They” are not as “we” are.  Yet, it is “Us,” the “Americans” that provide for their needs.  Emigrants do not care for themselves as our vaunted ancestors did.  

Persons proud to be American blame those desirous of the status for a past long gone.  As citizens of this country give thanks for all they have, they bemoan all they lost.

Much that was said of migrants a century ago is stated today, over, and over, and over again.  As we walk through our day we discuss the woes imposed by immigration.  Individuals that arrogantly call themselves Americans remember. ‘When great-grandma and great-grandpa were but lads and lasses they toiled.  Our courageous fore-bearers endured numerous trials and trepidations.  Loved ones became successful despite any challenges.’  “Americans” believe those we cherish were courageous, unlike the brave souls that cross borders in search of greener grass, golden streets, and a chance to achieve, today.’

Throughout the “melting pot” known as the USA we hear “My family came to this country by boat.  Once here our parents pounded the pavement for work.  They took odd jobs.  They scrimped and saved.  Children studied diligently.  Education was everything.  Now, we are doctors, lawyers, corporate moguls, multi-millionaires, and even billionaires.  Relatives of mine made it.”  

Hence, Americans ask with a distinct note of scorn, “Why can’t these people do as we did?”  Actually, few are authentically interested in the differences or the similarities.  Those that title themselves Americans do not genuinely inquire.  Solid citizens see and hear what they expect and believe to be true.  What is most important to the native born is their personal want; the new émigrés must leave immediately.  Empathy for those outside our purebred American bloodline is rarely expressed.

As toddlers we learned to appreciate all that our ancestors went through to make this country great.  In our teens we were told that without the sweat and tears of Opa and Oma our lives would not have been so good.  This nation was built on the backs of our ancestors.  Decades ago our predecessors could not afford the luxuries we have today.  They had no telephones, televisions; nor was the technology advanced enough to encompass telecommunications. Much that we take for granted in the twenty first century was conceived through the efforts of our forefathers.  For these, late in the month of November, and everyday, we give thanks.

The bitter arguments of the past echo loudly these days. Most concerns voiced today – that too many immigrants seek economic advantage and fail to understand democracy, that they refuse to learn English, overcrowd homes and overwhelm public services – were heard a century ago. And there was a nub of truth to some complaints, not least that the vast influx of immigrants drove down working-class wages.

Yet historians and demographers are clear: New York and the United States owe much of their economic resilience to replenishing waves of immigrants. Descendants of those Italians, Jews, Irish and Germans have assimilated.

Now another wave washes over. Fully 38 percent of New York’s 8 million residents are foreign-born, nearly the same percentage as a century ago.

“It would be easy to say the short-run costs of immigration outweighed the benefits,” said Joe Salvo, a director at New York’s City Planning Department. “But the benefits are longer term. We wouldn’t be the superpower we are if we hadn’t let them in.”

If we had not let the immigrants in we would not be the nation we are today.  Few would have reason to give thanks for the prosperity that envelops the masses.  Had it not been for émigrés, Thanksgiving might be a Day of Mourning for more than the Native Americans.  Perchance, if the citizens of this nation wish  to fabricate a festivity they might celebrate immigrants and the America those from foreign lands help to create.  However, sadly, that is not what we do.

In this country, we devote infinite airtime to xenophobic broadcasters that tell us to build walls, deport our labor force, or jail anyone suspected of being without legal papers.  Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, to name a few, promote plenty of bigotry.  Interestingly, no one requires these crass celebrities to show their papers.  Might their kin have entered before documentation was required or have we merely forgotten that there was a time when . . .

It is fitting to forget or to romanticize the hard times.  In retrospect individuals often interpret history as idyllic.  Arrogant Americans embrace embellishments.  Those that reside in the Western Hemisphere like to think of themselves as rugged individualists, mavericks with a mighty will.  Older Americans recall a time when our antecedents had no automobiles.  Motor vehicles were costly.  Great grandmothers and great grandfathers walked to school in snow, sleet, rain, and hail storms.  Our ancestor worked when they were very young.  Every member of the family had to help secure income for the whole.  Those that preceded us pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.  “My family earned their just rewards.”  The implication being, newer immigrants do not.  They merely live off the current social welfare system.

The early system,

Advocates of stricter enforcement argue that those who came a century ago were different because they arrived legally. Movies and novels depict agents at New York’s Ellis Island – that keyhole through which 16 million immigrants passed from 1892 to 1922 – examining immigrants and their papers with an eye toward shipping back laggards.

Yet, as we study further we understand the definition of a slacker, a shirker, a straggler, or an undesirable was fixed.  Few needed actual papers.  Most were allowed to pass into this nation and become Americans because they appeared stalwart, or at least they were not too strange, too dark, or their eyes were properly placed on their faces.  Money was also a means for eligibility.

Immigration legislation since 1790

The Naturalization Act of 1790 established rules for naturalized citizenship, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The law provided the first U.S. rules for granting national citizenship. Citizenship was allowed only to free whites.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first race-based immigration act. It excluded Chinese laborers from the United States for 10 years and barred Chinese from citizenship. The act was repealed in 1943.

For sixty-one years, Americans proudly enforced another action that ensured separate and unequal.  Discrimination was sanctioned in the land of the free and home of the brave.  Throughout our existence Americans endorsed intolerance.  Frequently, European and Asian in eras past, packed their bags and headed for the land of opportunity.  Once on the shores of the United States immigrants frequently found the borders were closed to them.  Restrictions greeted those determined to come to a country where the streets were paved in gold.  In 1939, in an attempt to flee from the Third Reich, Jewish refugees boarded the transatlantic German ship, the Saint Louis.  Near one thousand filed  for visas and did all that they could to ensure safe passage.  However, quotas forbade their entrance into the United States.

American public opinion, although ostensibly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and critical of Hitler’s policies, still favored immigration restrictions. The Great Depression had left millions of Americans unemployed and fearful of economic competition for the scarce few jobs available. It also fueled anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism. A Fortune Magazine poll at the time indicated that 83 percent of Americans opposed relaxing restrictions on immigration.

Few politicians were willing to challenge the mood of the nation. At about the same time that the St. Louis passengers were seeking a haven, the Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have permitted the admission of 20,000 Jewish children from Germany outside the existing quota, was allowed to die in committee. On the Wagner-Rogers bill and the admittance of the St. Louis passengers, President Roosevelt remained silent. Following the U.S. government’s refusal to permit the passengers to disembark, the St. Louis sailed back to Europe on June 6, 1939. Jewish organizations (particularly the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) negotiated with European governments to allow the passengers to be admitted to Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Many of the passengers in continental Europe later found themselves under Nazi rule.

Restrictions imposed before the Nazi [German National Socialist Party] began their reign of terror, could not, and would not be rescinded more than a decade later, regardless of the fact that people were being annihilated seemingly because of their race, religion, color or creed.  The law is the law.  Americans felt it more important to uphold rigid regulations that restricted entrance into the land of the free than it was to provide sanctuary for those destined to die.  In America, there are standards to keep out the riff-raff.

The Immigration Act of 1924 established a national-origins quota system and was aimed at restricting southern and eastern European immigration. Also known as the National Origins Act, Johnson-Reed Act or the Immigration Quota Act of 1924.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the McCarran- Walter Act) established the basic law of U.S. citizenship and immigration. Immigration was restricted by nationality but not by race.

Finally, little more than five decades ago, embarrassed Americans began to realize their racist ways and decided to change.  Newer legislation was passed.  Although requirements were loosened, prejudice remained the rule in America.  Only workers deft in a field considered honorable were [and are] welcome.   Marriage or means might grant a ticket into this wealthy and “wonderful” nation.

The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 (also known as the Hart-Celler Act or the INS Act of 1965) abolished national-origin quotas and gave preference to those whose skills were needed and close relatives of U.S. citizens.

The obsolescence of a law and obfuscation allowed more migrants to stay.  However, stipulations remained.  Those that escaped dire circumstance in countries abroad were frequently shunned when they arrived on American shores.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who had been in the United States before 1982 but made it a crime to hire an illegal immigrant.

The Immigration Act of 1990 established annual limits for certain categories of immigrants and eased immigration for skilled foreign workers.

Sources: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, University of Massachusetts, Center for Immigration

However, although there is ample evidence to the contrary our countrymen continue to glorify their ancestors’ existences as they diminish the efforts and challenges of those new to this country.  Political pundits and speechwriters posture; citizens believe.  We all recall the grandeur of the Reagan years.  It was the era of the elite, and attitudes of decades gone by became more prominent.

Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for President Reagan, wrote about her Irish forebears in a Wall Street Journal column: “They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come.  . . . They had to get through Ellis Island  . . . get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge.”

Fiction and fantasy is far more appealing than the brutal facts.  The reality is we love our relatives.  We trust what those we treasure tell us, even if it is exaggerated.  While certain characteristics of those we value may trouble us, there is an inexorable bond that cannot be denied.  We love those we know intimately, even if we do not like them.  Oh, if we only bothered to envision the recent immigrant as family, or among our kin. If we cherished to our core that no matter the country of origin, émigrés and we the American people share a familial name, human, then we might understand.  Currently, few recognize that we are all related.  

Thus, we admire only those we recognize as our antecedents.  Our familiarity with our bloodline solidifies the appreciation for their saga, their struggle and their successes.   Their story is ours.  We have firsthand knowledge.  We know what we know; hence, we never consider . . .

[T]hese accounts are flawed, historians say. Until 1918, the United States did not require passports; the term “illegal immigrant” had no meaning. New arrivals were required only to prove their identity and find a relative or friend who could vouch for them.

Customs agents kept an eye out for lunatics and the infirm (and after 1905, for anarchists). Ninety-eight percent of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island were admitted to the United States, and 78 percent spent less than eight hours on the island. (The U.S.-Mexico border then was unguarded and freely crossed in either direction.)

“Shipping companies did the health inspections in Europe because they didn’t want to be stuck taking someone back,” said Nancy Foner, a sociology professor at Hunter College and author of “From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration.”

“Eventually they introduced a literacy test, but it was in the immigrant’s own language, not English.”

At the peak of that earlier wave, 75 percent of immigrants landed in New York. Some, such as Germans fleeing failed revolutions, sought democracy. Others, such as the Jews fleeing Russian pogroms, sought safety.

But perhaps half of Italian immigrants returned to Italy, often with cash to buy a farm or own a business. Greeks, too, returned in large numbers.

“People complain about Mexicans coming for economic reasons, but they don’t realize how many earlier immigrants just sojourned here,” said Richard Wright, a geography professor at Dartmouth College. “The rates of return are staggering.”

When Congress enacted immigration quotas in the 1920s, it left the door ajar for northern Europeans and Mexicans, even then sought by U.S. businesses as cheap labor.

European immigrants found plenty of backlash.  Nativist sentiments ran strong, and white Protestant reformers championed English-language instruction and temperance, the latter reflecting the Establishment’s disdain for hard-drinking immigrants.

When we were very young we heard our Nana was strong.  Papa braved the signs of prejudice placed in his path.  Our Mom and Dad immersed themselves into the culture.  They wanted to assimilate.  The individuals nearest and dearest to use learned quickly.  Speaking English and being American was important to them.  Learning the language and pursuit of citizenship is equally important to those that wish to stay here in America today.

In fact, contrary to what “English Only” advocates assume, the vast majority of today’s Asian and Latino immigrants are acquiring English proficiency and assimilating as fast as did earlier generations of Italian, Russian and German immigrants.  For example, research studies show that over 95 percent of first generation Mexican Americans are English proficient, and that more than 50 percent of second generation Mexican Americans have lost their native tongue entirely.  In addition, census data reveal that nearly 90 percent of Latinos five years old or older speak English in their households.  And 98 percent of Latinos surveyed said they felt it is “essential” that their children learn to read and write English “perfectly.”

Much to the dismay of “Americans,” or easily dismissed by smug “natives” immigrants have a deep desire to understand and utter meaningful phrases in English.  Migrants en masse work to expand English language skills. In recent years the aspiration is more profound.  Perchance, the reason is the newer economic refugees find themselves in diverse communities.  According to a Pew Charitable Trust Study this cohort of people newly transplanted are less likely to live in ethnic enclaves.

Dispersal and Concentration: Patterns of Latino Residential Settlement

Pew Charitable Trust

Contact: Cindy L. Jobbins

Washington, D.C. – 12/27/2004 – Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Latinos do not live in densely packed, highly homogenous, Spanish-language communities dominated by immigrant cultures. Rather, most live in neighborhoods with non-Hispanic majorities.??

And many neighborhoods where Latinos make up the majority are surprisingly diverse. Those neighborhoods contain a mix of native-born and foreign-born Latinos, Spanish speakers and English speakers, the poor and the middle class, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center.??

The study reveals that some 20 million Hispanics-57 percent of the total-live in neighborhoods in which Hispanics make up less than half of the population, according to an analysis of data from the 2000 Census. In the places were these Latinos live, only an average of seven percent of the residents are Hispanic.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century immigrants intermingled and intermarried.  Most insulated them selves from a world that did not accept them, and perhaps was frightening to them.  Situated in homogeneous settlements few of the refugees of old felt a need to acquire English language skills.

The “new” immigrants, mostly poor, unskilled, non-Protestant laborers between the ages of 15 and 40, clung to their native languages, religions, and cultural traditions to endure the economic and social stresses of industrial capitalism. Between 1877 and 1890, 6.3 million people immigrated to the United States, most from southern and eastern Europe. Much of mainstream society found these “new immigrants” troubling, resulting in a rise in anti-immigrant feeling and activity . . .

Immigrant families were mostly close-knit nuclear families, and they tended to marry within their own ethnic groups. They depended on immigrant associations for their social safety net, native language newspapers for their news and political views, and community-based churches and schools.

When the émigrés from abroad needed assistance they often relied on families, friends, or familiars. Neighbors watched out and worked for those in close proximity.  Religious sanctuaries and clergy comforted those that suffered hardships.  Rabbis, priests, pastors, any patriarch would do.

Political “machines” provided some needed services for these immigrants while also enriching themselves by exploiting the dependency of the cities’ new residents. William “Boss” Tweed and his Tammany Hall in New York was the most infamous of the political machines.

Migrants were often dependent on others for support.  Just as the immigrants of today, they could not make it on their own.  Émigrés of the past were treated with disdain.  They did the dirty work and lived in filthy hovels.  Refugees were to be seen only when it served those that were born in this nation.  Rarely did the two “classes” have reason to mingle.  “Americans” lived far from inner city ghettos where the foreigners resided.  Urban home life was waning.  Green grass and graceful lawns did not grow in concrete.

Between 1870 and 1900, cities expanded upward and outward on a base of new technologies including metal-frame skyscrapers, electric elevators, streetcar systems, and outlying green suburbs. Cities were no longer “walking cities.” As the middle class moved out, immigrants and working class people poured in, creating urban slums through overcrowding. The city produced what was an increasingly stratified and fragmented society . . .

Immigrants from abroad joined rural Americans in search of jobs in the nation’s cities. These newcomers to the city were often forced to live in hastily constructed and overcrowded tenement houses with primitive, if any, sanitation facilities. The “dumbbell tenement” was the most infamous housing of this type.

The history of immigration is as these early tenement houses, not pretty. As they lived a life of hardship few of the early emigrants expressed the sentiment of the green, green grass of home.  Racism towards those that built this nation was rampant.  Today, those that serve and shape this country experience similar bigotry.  Then and now, immigrant families are separated without a care.  

Two undersized old people stand before the commissioner. They are Hungarian Jews whose children have preceded them here, and now, being fairly comfortable, have sent for their parents so they can spend the rest of their lives together. The questions, asked through an interpreter, are pertinent and much the same as those already asked by the court which has decided upon their deportation. The commissioner rules that the children be put under a sufficient bond to guarantee that this aged couple shall not become a burden to the public, and consequently they will be admitted.

A Russian Jew and his son are called next. The father is a pitiable-looking object; his large head rests upon a small, emaciated body; the eyes speak of premature loss of power, and are listless, worn out by the study of the Talmud, the graveyard of Israel’s history. Beside him stands a stalwart son, neatly attired in the uniform of a Russian college student.

His face is Russian rather than Jewish, intelligent rather than shrewd, materialistic rather than spiritual. “Ask them why they came,” the commissioner says rather abruptly. The answer is: “We had to.” “What was his business in Russia?” “A tailor.” “How much does he earn a week?” “Ten to twelve rubles.” “What did the son do?” “He went to school.” “Who supported him?” “The father.” “What do they expect to do in America?” “Work.” “Have they any relatives?” “Yes, a son and a brother.” “What does he do?” “He is a tailor.” “How much does he earn?” “Twelve dollars a week.” “Has he a family?” “Wife and four children.” “Ask them whether they are willing to be separated; the father to go back and the son to remain here?”

They look at each other; no emotion yet visible, the question came to suddenly. Then something in the background of their feelings move, and the father, used to self-denial through his life, says quietly, without pathos and yet tragically, “Of course.” And the son says, after casting his eyes to the ground, ashamed to look his father in the face, “Of course.” And, “This one shall be taken and the other left,” for this was their judgment day.

~ Edward Steiner

The individual that can “pass” is often more acceptable in a society where white and academically bright are perceived as wonderful.  You dear reader may recall the earlier references to immigration law.  For centuries, light skinned laborers were considered up to standard.  Permits and papers were awarded to pale persons with skills.  At times, some Caucasians were shunned for reasons of race, religion, and age.  Many were deported before they were able to prove themselves.  The American bureaucrats separated blood relatives without a care.  Even if a person was granted entrance to the country, there was no assurance they would be allowed to associate with those that thought them less than.

By the 1950s, Germans, Irish and Jews had abandoned immigrant enclaves. Although barriers of prejudice remained – Ivy League schools and white-shoe law firms in New York maintained stringent “Jewish” quotas well into the 1960s – the sons and daughters of these immigrants moved quickly into white-collar professions

Less than a half a century ago, institutions of higher learning held many at bay.  Although most Americans wish to think themselves colorblind, in June 2007, we witnessed that even today, separate and unequal is sanctioned by the highest court in the land.  Consider the case of Parents Involved in Community Schools versus Seattle School District Number 1 Et Al. As a result of this Supreme Court decision, not only will Black Americans, our enslaved émigrés who have never been given the opportunity to reach socio-economic equity, feel the wrath of racism, so too will dark-skinned immigrants.

In its June ruling the Supreme Court forbade most existing voluntary local efforts to integrate schools in a decision favored by the Bush administration despite warnings from academics that it would compound educational inequality.

“It is about as dramatic a reversal in the stance of the federal courts as one could imagine,” said Gary Orfield, a UCLA professor and a co-author of the report.

“The federal courts are clearly pushing us backward segregation with the encouragement of the Justice Department of President George W. Bush,” he said in an interview.

The United States risks becoming a nation in which a new majority of non-white young people will attend “separate and inferior” schools, the report said.

“Resegregation … is continuing to grow in all parts of the country for both African Americans and Latinos and is accelerating the most rapidly in the only region that had been highly desegregated — the South,” it said.

The trend damages the prospects for non-white students and will likely have a negative effect on the U.S. economy, according to the report by one of the leading U.S. research centers on issues of civil rights and racial inequality.

Part of the reason for the resegregation is the rapidly expanding number of black and Latino children and a corresponding fall in the number of white children, it said . . .

School desegregation is a sensitive issue in the United States because of resistance to it from white leaders in the decade after a 1954 Supreme Court decision saying segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

One of the chief complaints of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s was that black-only public schools were inevitably starved of resources by local government with the result that black children received inferior education.

Latinos are the fastest growing minority in U.S. schools and for them segregation is often more profound than it was when the phenomenon was first measured 40 years ago, according to the report, “Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation and the need for new Integration Strategies.”

“Too often Latino students face triple segregation by race, class and language,” it said.

Once more, we see that in recent years laws invoked and reforms rendered help to solidify segregation.  Today, Brown immigrants are more severely punished than others might be.  Creamy chocolate, coffee colored individuals, cannot and will not be acculturated, in part because the legal system allows for separation.  The lily white, with the cute little button noses, and proper training are again afforded privileges and opportunities, just as they were a century ago.  Migrants [and Afro-Americans] who appear different no matter the year, 1650, 1750, 1850, 1950, or 2007 will, once more, be relegated to the back of the line.  

[Black persons are in a class of their own.  While not necessarily new to this nation, and for the most part native born, these persons, by virtue of their skin color alone are perpetually separated from the “mainstream” of society.  It seems the darker the complexion, the slower the climb to equality.]  

Be it in the nineteenth, twentieth, or twenty-first century, those who noses are a bit too flat, whose faces are a trace too full, whose eye color is less transparent are thought to be less worthy of a decent education, job, home, or chance.  They may learn the language, work hard, and diligently.  Nonetheless, in America, an immigrant is inferior and treated as such.   Experiences are far from excellent.  Still, immigrants, try.  They endeavor to achieve and succeed.

I [was] born in Mexico City, in 1969.  When I was child used to be a good boy and a good student, my parents were proud of me.  My father is a teacher who has taught mathematics for 25 years. He spent all his time studying and fixing his car.  My mother is a retired secretary. We are two brothers and one sister, they live in Mexico and are married, I am the only one who is still single.

I was studying before come this country, and working for a paper company for two year. Then I thought “I want to go to USA” the life in my country is difficult because there aren’t enough opportunities for getting better lives. I planned to come here for [a] couples [of] year, save money and go back, but every day I have been living with my friend for many years, he and I, we are as brothers. I keep going to school until I reach my goal, if it is possible never stop studying.

When I was a student my major was mathematics and physics. At first when I immigrate to United States, I had many struggles. One of them was I did not know anybody here, did not have enough money for rent, a place to live, and pay for food, I did not understand and speak English. I began to live on the streets and looked for food in different places where people give free food and clothes for everybody who want to. After two weeks I got a job and my life changed, I started to earn money and rented a place to live. Then I saw that it is important to learn English, and two months later I started school.

~ Valdimir

Years from now, hopefully, Valdimir’s children will sit by his side.  They will hear his tales of toil and success.  His offspring will see that their father thrives. They too will idealize, romanticize what was a painful reality.  The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the now young Valdimir will recount as “Americans’ do now.

Survival, upon reflection illustrates we are a success.  Trials and tribulation taught our forefathers much. These same struggles will secure certain edification for the newer émigrés..  They endeavor to reach a novel triumph.  I have faith they will.

Just as our families flourished, no matter the obstructions, so too will the relatives of the twentieth-first century economic refugees.  Let us give them time before we build more physical and psychological walls.  Perchance, the migrants will show us the grass was not greener in the past.  Today, our lawns are lush, our country grows, all with thanks to those that migrate to America.

The Immigrant Story . . .

  • The National Day of Mourning.  Pilgrim Hall Museum.
  • Old fears over new faces. By Michael Powell.  The Washington Post September 21, 2006
  • Immigration.  Stories of the Past.  Immigration.  The Journey to America.
  • Voyage of the Saint Louis.  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Return To Europe of the Saint Louis. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union Briefing Paper Number 6, English Only.  Lectric Law Library.
  • Dispersal and Concentration: Patterns of Latino Residential Settlement, Contact Cindy L. Jobbins.  The Pew Charitable Trusts. 2004
  • Toward an Urban Society, 1877-1900.  Chapter 19.   Pearson Education.
  • Dumball Tenements.  By Andrew S. Dolkart. Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
  • Parents Involved in Community Schools versus Seattle School district Number 1 Et Al .
  • Report: Segregation in U.S. Schools is Increasing, By Matthew Bigg.  Reuters.  Washington Post. ?Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 8:42 PM
  • pdf Report: Segregation in U.S. Schools is Increasing, By Matthew Bigg.  Reuters.  Washington Post. ?Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 8:42 PM
  • Forget the Green Grass of Home

    copyright © 2007 Judith Moriarty

    In America, you are not permitted to discuss the great migration of immigrants into this country in a reasoned rational manner.  The well funded PR by corporate interests; has Americans labeled as racist, bigoted, and intolerant.  The immigration of old – is held up as a banner of ‘give me your tired and huddled masses who yearn to be free’.  Since few know history, you can tell them anything today.  Everybody can identify Ronald McDonald but only a small fraction of the population can name the Secretary of State, discuss a trade agreement with you, or give the year of the Civil War.  None that I personally know can describe our monetary system or the history of the Federal Reserve.  Few realize that these numerous trade agreements, written for the benefit of multinational companies (absent any loyalty), are the reason for this great worldwide dislocation.  Including the victims!   

    It is not the immigrant (illegal or otherwise), or the American out of work, and burdened down with taxes, who is to be fully blamed.  People (deliberately so) are being propagandized into taking their frustrations, anger, and fears out on one another.  Daily we hear the drumbeat of violence on the border, Mexican gangs, schools overrun with illegal students, hospitals going bankrupt, and small town America being overrun with thousands of immigrants.  The owners of the world want to keep the victims attacking one another.  They certainly don’t want this being identified as a ‘class’ issue!  The few – ruling the many for their own good pleasure and profit!

    The truth of the matter is – the America of old is no more.  While the immigrants of yesterday  (exploited though they were) helped build a nation (bridges, railroads, highways, steel mills, textile mills, manufacturing, farming etc).  These are all things of the past.  Yesterday’s immigrants built a nation.  Today’s immigrants are meant to labor for cheap wages, on the new corporate plantation.  Someone has to serve the rich and fight their ungodly wars for more and more gold, oil, timber, water, etc.  The immigrant of today, unlike yesteryear, is afforded all kinds of assistance, relocation funds, housing allowances, job assistance counseling, stipends, etc. 

    None of this existed for those who first immigrated.  Today, the small farm is being put out of business by the corporate farms with their genetically altered Frankenstein crops.  Mexicans are flooding across the border due to a failed NAFTA (Hillary says she just remembers graphs and lines).  The small village farms in Mexico can’t compete with the tons of corporate farm produce flooding their market.  Besides, China has underbid them in cheap labor, so now even their factories are leaving.  China also is building huge ports in Mexico thus bypassing American ports (dock workers – warehousing etc).  The Mexican trucks (who cares if they’re insured or safe) now pouring in by the thousands should end the jobs for our truckers.  Fishing is already gone (visit New Bedford).  Now we’re buying seafood from China!

    The auto plants, textile mills, manufacturing plants, steel mills, paper mills, and supporting industries in America, have all gone belly-up.  Maytag (no breaking news) laid off thousands, a few weeks back and left for foreign shores!  With the help of federal subsidies etc, (helpful politicians) these industries have all been shipped to foreign lands; that accommodate the corporate hucksters of today with a larger profit margin.  They don’t have to contend with bothersome health, safety, or environmental protections in third world countries.  Labor standards – ha, work till you drop -is the corporate mantra.  Americans meantime, cannot compete with slave labor, making 32 cents to a dollar an hour!  No matter that the junk coming in; is inferior, laced with lead, or other poisons.

    China now holds America hostage, with its funding of our perpetual war- that goes about the world, bombing -shattering – melting, and shredding.  The borrower is always slave to the lender.  It’s pretty lamentable knowing that a Tiger Woods makes more for endorsing NIKI, by wearing their logo on his cap, than all the slave labor combined making these costly shoes.  What a world.  Same with the other gladiator sports stars.

    Our prisons (our newest growing industry) are filled with millions (largest incarceration in the world).  A for profit industry, needs products (prisoners), thus many imprisoned today, are there for non-violent crimes.  Would that they were in government, they’d get a pardon for their crimes.  Corporate America, has found that producing their product with prison labor; saves them the bother of a livable wage, health insurance, or maintaining a facility.  Best of all no unions and no strikes.  Old Joe Hill (early labor activist) would be put in solitary confinement.

    While the news today is filled with announcements of the invasion of Mexicans, the truth is, thousands – upon tens – of thousands; are being imported from distant war torn lands.  Then we have the multitudes of guest workers  that Congress has voted to bring in – to keep their corporate funders happy.  These visas cover everything from help for the various tourist Mecca’s, (once a place where youth worked in the summer to earn money for college) to the professional fields (teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, and information technology).

    Since all of this is happening incrementally and insidiously – the full scope of the problem is not seen.  News is kept localized, thus those who live in Kansas have no idea of the thousands of Somalians who’ve relocated to an old mill town in Maine, nor do folks in Oklahoma, know of the paper mills closing in New Hampshire.  Who’s talking about the closed textile mills, or Detroit, that resembles a wasteland out of a Mad Max movie?

    You’ll not hear ‘breaking news’ of American workers having to train their replacements.  If they refuse, they risk  losing any chance of severance pay.

    When building a global plantation, with the ultimate goal being a redistribution of the wealth (leveling in quality of living standards); rest assured that this redistribution is our money they’re talking about, not those raking in the profits, and banking offshore, or maintaining their money in ‘hidden trusts’.  China now imports tons of contaminated products; yet, these various trade agreements disallow any inspections – recalls – or refusals.  Least we forget, globalists (not democrats) Hillary and Bill gave us NAFTA (thus the exodus from Mexico) and Most Favored Nation trading with China.  Hillary, meantime,  promised those in Silicon Valley that she would see to it,  that more guest  visas would be given, to import thousands of more foreign workers.

    Republican or Democrat, makes no matter, we now have a corporate controlled government.  One can see that those ‘working’ (I use the word lightly) in Foggy Bottom, are; merely treading water.  They have accomplished zero in the few days that they work per week.  They are punctual in voting their yearly cost of living raises and  other perks (millions in earmarks for their corporate friends back home).  Remember, the name of the GAME, is to stay in office (get that obscene pension) not to serve the people.

    Over these past several years, our governmental agencies have been quietly decimated, with corporate appointees replacing those in key positions.  Privatization of governmental services (such as the military) is being contracted out.  Thus, the disgusting mess at Walter Reed – and having to prove (true);  that your missing face, missing arm, and brain damage, is a total disability!  It’s ‘be all you can be’ till you come home all smashed up.  Everything is broken in this country – everything!

    The  fort like department of education,  meantime,  throws out new social engineering mandates  to the states on a regular basis.  Thus, the children of today can ‘feel’ good about being failures, unable to read, write a coherent paragraph, discuss a work of  literature,  or the  history of our nation.  The workers of tomorrow (cannon fodder for war) are being conditioned to groupthink – non-think – and passive, servile, compliance.  We’re not training the next Hawkins,  Eisenstein, or Mark Twain.  A look at America’s rating with the rest of the world proves my point.  The children of the elite – well connected etc, are isolated from tomorrow’s servile masses, and are being educated in private schools, with the best of equipment, teachers, and courses.  No bathroom classrooms for them, or having to contend with gangs, drug addicts, or antiquated books.  Their schools aren’t prisons with fences, security, metal detectors, and barbed wire.  They have hundreds of acres of sports, fields, science buildings, computer labs, and libraries that would put many a town’s to shame.

    The schoolroom of today with its special needs students,  and children of various ethnic backgrounds (many not speaking English) are nothing more than holding pens.  The emphasis is on passing the TEST not understanding the subject.  I can study the driver’s manual – why I could memorize it.  To what end?  If I have never sat in a car,  let alone started it up – what does it matter that I got a passing percentage!  I am still stupid in the ways of the road.  The point is, that I can ‘feel’ good knowing that I can’t drive!  Furthermore, it is a great disservice, to mix special needs/handicapped children,  into a regular classroom.  A point for another discussion – in the end all the students are being  robbed of reaching their full potential – but then maybe that’s the objective?

    What we are seeing across the nation, from Georgia, to Oregon, to the heartland, and northeast, is an ethnic cleansing of small town America.  Various cultures, languages, religious ceremonies, dress, foods, etc, make strangers of us all.  But then strangers are less apt to be unified or untied in any solidarity should there be a crisis or grave injustice that needs addressed.  The approximate 192,000 homeless veterans (including the Iraq War),  and hundreds of thousands of other homeless; living in tents (the Gulf – Seattle) and in shelters, abandoned cars etc, many displaced from their jobs by immigrant labor, are naturally angry,  seeing immigrants afforded every kind of help with housing, jobs etc.

    Texas (Houston): “There are parts of Houston where if you didn’t know better, you’d think you were in Mexico.  In Sugarland our homeowner taxes are through the roof – our schools are rife with ESL classes.  My grandchildren are in the minority in their ‘wonderful diverse student body.  Muslim students are given special accommodations while Christmas can no longer be celebrated.”  Bud Hamilton

    Like Maine – Emporia, Kansas is preparing for an influx of Somali refugees.  Emporia is a small city near the eastern Flint Hills in the sunflower state.  Emporia has a major beef processing plant for Tyson Foods.(the Clinton’s buddies).  Thousands are needed for cheap labor – thus, aha, refugees.  Because Somalis are certified as ‘humanitarian refugees’ under out State Department rules, they are to be supported by social services provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (Dept of Health and Human Services).

    This agency in turn contracts via state Department of Social Services with providers such as Catholic Charities to deliver services.  U.S. Taxpayers pick up the tab (this is nationwide).  Food processors like Tyson couldn’t be happier, given the tightness of the low skilled labor pool in the area.  Emporia  (as is most of the heartland) is becoming a major destination for these foot soldiers of Islam.  Because of its size (Emporia), not unlike Lewiston, Maine, will see this influx have  a substantial and taxing impact.  Other cities that have seen this influx are Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Lincoln, Kansas  City, and Nashville, to name a few.  In New Orleans,  (Gulf) thousands of immigrants were  imported for the work of  clean up.  Meantime, the tens of thousands dislocated Katrina victims,  across the nation, remain in limbo  unable to return with no housing or jobs.

    These immigrants (from Bosnia – Somalia etc) are being recruited for the lowest of low-end jobs – butchering and meatpacking.  At Swift and Company (beef processor) in Lincoln, Nebraska, butchers and meat packers quit their jobs because of insufficient ‘prayer time’.  This was accommodated and they returned.  Imagine this happening in the coalmines, steel mills, or rail line employment of former immigrants to this country.  These low paying jobs are further subsidized with the ‘earned income tax credit’  monies.  This has low earners compensated, with thousands more per year (a subsidy really for corporate owners).  This is taxpayer money.

    And so it goes across the land.  The Democrats want the votes of these immigrants, and the Republicans want the cheap labor.  The immigrants, really our new slave labor class, are mostly unskilled and illiterate.  When my husband’s family immigrated here from Newfoundland and Ireland;  they had to have a sponsor and medical clearance.  My grandparents from Russia settled in Pennsylvania.  There were no relocation agencies or housing vouchers etc.  My grandfather worked as a skilled stonemason, saved, and bought a farm.  Also a skilled carpenter, he built his home and barn (helped neighbors with theirs).  Farming his acreage,  he was totally self sufficient, and sold the excess, which they took to market by horse and wagon.  When he dropped dead in the field at age 43 my grandma and her eight children, ran the farm.

    The language of the old country was not spoken in their home.  The one room school house my aunts and uncles attended  had no remedial language classes.  Somehow, despite the hardships of rising early to attend to  chores, and walking four miles to school, they all graduated,  and went on to various professional jobs, including a doctor, nurse, newspaper editor, engineer etc.  NO – they didn’t have the excuse of being too ‘stressed out’ to excel.  It was the same thing in the mill town where I lived as a youngster.  The population were mainly immigrants.  The number one priority of parents was education.  Disrespect in the classroom was not heard of.  There were no gangs, no graffiti, no designer clothes, no violent videos, or TV.  Teachers were allowed to teach.  Parents didn’t park their kids in a nursery school at age two and have strangers raise them.

    The politicians and special interests groups, who are championing this importation of immigrants and refugees, from all corners of the globe, are not in the work a day world,  having their jobs taken over by a guest worker, or having a job underbid by an unscrupulous contractor  who employees cheap immigrant labor.  Sometimes they get paid (immigrants) and sometimes not.  Being illegal has them rendered voiceless.  They live in wealthy, gated, or removed villages that are absent needed; social services, or they vote in zoning protections to keep out  cheap housing.  Their children are educated in private schools.  Their children won’t be competing with immigrant labor for that nursing job, IT worker, carpenter, or meatpacking job.  A man could once earn a decent living (thanks to Sinclair’s The Jungle) at a meat packing plant.  No more – these dangerous jobs now pay an approximate $8.00 an hour.

    Sociopaths (or their lap dogs) are running most of the major governments of the world, and most of the major industries and financial institutions.  Sociopaths are not much interested in mutual uplift and global benefit for the great bulk of the human race.  They are primarily interested in war, plunder, destruction, cruel domination, violent subjugation, and ruthless social control.  So much to plunder; so much to loot and so little time.  Meantime who cares about Mexico emptying its land of the poor, dispossessed, illiterate, and sick.  More for the few hogs that run that corrupt country.

    Meantime – home on the range, we have these  theatrical cartoon characters running for office (the winner has already been anointed – duh).  The corporate media has  programmed  the mindless masses  to the next Clinton regime.  True, some people are so ignorant they’d vote for someone just because of gender!  Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton – why,  in a country of some 300 million + we’ll have 28 years of the same elitist appointed dynasty.  Meantime, few are aware of the implosion of America, and the massive plantation that is being constructed.  Now for the ‘chip’ to keep track of all these ‘human resources’.  Hey, isn’t that what all this fuss is about over licenses and immigrant ID?  In days of old it was unsightly branding!  The old Hegelian Dietetic – works every time.  See article below of Iowa going global!


    Note – Times Article on Iowa Filling Up With Latinos

  • In This Small Town in Iowa the Future Speaks Spanish, By William Grimes.  The New York Times. September 14, 2005
  • pdf In This Small Town in Iowa the Future Speaks Spanish, By William Grimes.  The New York Times. September 14, 2005
  • Once Upon A Time In Old America

    copyright © 2007 Judith Moriarty

    We are living in a state of selective amnesia or fearful denial? 

    “The easy credit which created the subprime  crisis in mortgage lending has now spread to the hedge fund industry.  The troubles at Bear Stearns prove that Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson’s assurance that the problem is ‘contained’ is pure baloney.  The contagion is swiftly moving through the entire system taking down homeowners, mortgage lenders, banks, rating agencies, and hedge funds.  We are just at the beginning of a system-wide breakdown.” . . .

    “To a large extent, the housing bubble has concealed the systematic destruction of America’s industrial and manufacturing base.  Low interest rates have lulled the public to sleep while the rise in housing prices has created the millions of high paying jobs have been outsourced.  The rise in housing prices has created the illusion of prosperity but, in truth, we are only selling houses to each other and are not making anything that the rest of the world wants.  The $11 trillion dollars that was pumped into the real estate market is probably the greatest waste of capital investment in the nations history.  It hasn’t produced a single asset that will add to our collective wealth or industrial competitiveness.” . . .

    “The Federal Reserve produces all the fact and figure related to the housing industry.  They knew that trillions of dollars were being diverted into a speculative bubble, but they did NOTHING to stop it.  Now the effects of their ‘cheap money’ policies have spread to the hedge fund industry where hundreds of billions of dollars in pensions and savings are in jeopardy.”

    It is advised that citizens (those involved in loans – investments – etc, in local communities), come into the 21st century and get a grasp of the serious implications: 

  • Another Great Depression? The Fed’s Role in the Bear Stearns Hedge Funds Meltdown. By Mike Whitney.  Global research.org. July 1, 2007

    While we are kept dutifully distracted with the drunken antics of Hollywood airheads, breaking news of OJ, and his merry band of thieves, hours of TV media coverage of sexual predators, or Lockup shows of our ‘prison industry’ – millions across the nation are losing their jobs and their homes.

    In case some of the opinion that government will ride to the rescue and retrain former auto workers, textile employees, paper mill/ steel/manufacturing workers, etc, for those high end technological or positions in the health field – get a grip!

    Thousands upon thousands are graduating from college unable to find jobs!  No 50-60 old worker who has worked for decades in a paper mill, or steel plant, is going to compete with those educated in the best of colleges in their early twenties!  Let’s get real.  Besides, we now have hundreds of thousands of professional guest workers (Democrats and Republicans support), being imported to replace Americans, at a third of the salary, no benefits, no pensions, and no job security.  Prison labor is being used by other corporate interests!  Besides, President Bush, who never held a real job in his life (before the Presidency or government position), has cut funds for job retraining: 

  • The Bush Budget:  The Bush Administration’s FY 2007 Budget.  AFL-CIO, American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations.

    President Bush, and career politicians, don’t have to care or relate to their employers (US Taxpayer).  They get lucrative salaries, yearly cost of living raises, and full health coverage (we pay 72% of their premiums).  Their pensions also see yearly cost of living raises!  No severance packages here, of a few weeks pay, no matter how miserable their job performance, or felony convictions.

    Note, when a politician comes down with some health issue, they receive immediate care at the best of hospitals.  No drone in a far away cubicle informs their physician that such and such a procedure is not covered.  They are not advised to become destitute, having no assets, before they can receive medical care!  They don’t die ignored, on the floor of an emergency room (Los Angeles), of a ruptured bowel, with medical staff fully aware!

    Coming home from war, they are not one of the 192,000 veterans left homeless, having to prove their disability.  Note how convenient the troops are for photo ops (in spiffy uniforms amidst flags) going off to war.  You’ll not see politicians posing with brain damaged/blind/faceless/ veterans, advising, “Be all you can be etc.”  You’ll not see presidential candidates shaking hands; with those living under bridges, in abandoned cars, or crowded shelters!  You haven’t seen politicians (whatever the party) addressing the bureaucratic nightmare of today’s medical debacle; written, by the pharmaceuticals, insurance, and HMO interests.  Both parties continue to vote malignant trade agreements, for the benefit of corporate hucksters, in their global plundering of our planet.  Millions upon millions, left dispossessed in their own lands, (due to trade agreements), are exiting their countries seeking employment in the U.S.

    Corporate interests rally the naive, unskilled, and uneducated immigrants, in various protests, against the unemployed, and over burdened U.S. taxpayers being billed for these failed trade agreements!  Victims against victims.  Pretty clever maneuvering.  The top few % responsible for this global plunder are out of sight.  This can’t be identified for what it really is – class warfare.  The few are benefiting obscenely at the expense of the multitudes.  The media (corporate owned) blames this discontent on those not willing to do the work of immigrants or on unions.  Hey, the bigger the lie, the more believable.

    Immigrants are not only (as the media presents) out in the field picking lettuce or beans.  They are standing on street corners all over the nation; being hired on by unscrupulous contractors; for roofing, brick laying, concrete work, construction, etc.  At the end of the day (week) many hired on in this manner, find themselves without pay, or working for slave wages.  If they are injured on the job, that’s their tough luck.  Non-union jobs result in coal miners left underground (Utah), and are not about environmental or safety issues.  This is the face of your new global plantation.  An indentured slave work force.

    Once upon a time, in Old America, there was pride in the workmanship of American Made.  Small town America flourished with manufacturing, tool and die shops, sheet metal, appliance companies, paper mills, steel mills, mining machinery plants etc.  The police did not carry electrocution devices (tasers) nor did we have Ninja troops, breaking down doors, killing innocent citizens, in some ill-founded drug bust.  Meantime, our southern border has tons of drugs entering in unhindered!  The poppy fields of Afghanistan are booming.  What drug war?

    Once upon a time in Old America, the doctor would come to your house.  The President didn’t advise those in need of health care to sit in an emergency room for hours.  A hospital bill didn’t bankrupt a family.  Medicines were affordable.  Children didn’t die of an abscessed tooth because a dentist demanded cash.

    Small town America had downtown streets bustling with hometown businesses.  Wal-Mart with its poison junk from China was not the largest employer in the nation.  The elderly didn’t need to apply for jobs, bagging groceries or as Home Depot Associates to make ends meet.  Schools were not centers of social engineering, teaching alternative life styles, or the intricacies of putting a condom on a banana!  Children were permitted the joy of being a child and not arrested for zero tolerance schemes, thought up by some mindless educators in Washington.  A compliant, obedient, passive workforce needs early intervention and training in obedience.  Group Think is in – individual genius, exuberance and creativity needs drugged.  It takes a village to raise an mindless idiot.

    Once upon a time in Old America a man working in a mill, or auto plant etc, could see his son becoming an engineer, a doctor, or scientist.  Today’s child has his/her career being mapped out in school by social engineers.  College costs are out of sight, with various grants and loans being eliminated.  Youngsters no longer works at paper routes, or at odd jobs.  These are being done by unemployed parents or immigrants.  Those being prepared for a world of Forever War – or placement in the local Wigget factory; don’t need math skills, spelling, or reading abilities.  Thus many graduating today, can’t do simple math (watch what happens when the computers go down in a store), read a newspaper, or discuss a work of literature.  Many have no idea of our history, and think the civil war was the Watts Riots.  Try asking your fourth grader to look up a word in the dictionary or write a short story. 

    The fault of this rests with parents/citizens – who have allowed this madness of indoctrinating their children into stupidity.  Teachers (change agents) are only interested in a paycheck or retirement benefits.  They are not about to rock the boat.  Citizens on the other hand, without a murmur, have their children prescribed mind-altering drugs, without the least bit of research!  Because some bovine drone threatens them – they bleat and obey.  Would that we had some ‘zero tolerance’ addressing the corruption in Foggy Bottom – or in the robbery of war, with billions gone missing.  Meantime, the offspring of the moneyed/well connected, receive the best of private school educations – to prepare them for their secure positions of future hucksters – industry hacks etc.

    Once upon a time in Old America, there was no danger stranger, Amber Alerts, or daily fear advertisements.  True we had Duck and Cover, a silly ass routine of Bert the Turtle, advising us to duck under a desk, to avoid the aftermath of an Atomic Bomb.  At age six, I had enough sense to see the lunacy in this, and received a monthly ‘unsatisfactory’ in deportment, because I wouldn’t participate in acting the fool.  Today I imagine I’d be arrested.

    Once upon a time in Old America, the streets and parks were alive with the laughter of children at play.  Small town America had its fireworks, parades, carnivals, swimming hole, family picnics, concerts in the park, fishing, building forts etc.  Today the streets are silent and echoing on a summer’s eve.  Video games and mindless TV programming have created a generation of lumpkins.  Except in a rare instance, I don’t recall a classroom filled with doughy – dullard overweight children.  But then we had no fast food restaurants, or additive saturated foods, when I was growing up.  To this day, I have never eaten (WHY?) at a McSlop fast food joint.

    Citizens today have been propagandized and programmed to enslaved consumerism.  I can’t imagine that my parents would have paid hundreds of dollars for sneakers, or designer clothing, so that I could fit in with the other kids at school.  ‘TV was my teacher far into the night – it taught me to buy everything within sight’ – this is today’s mantra.  Imagine robbing your children, by sitting them down in front of something called Sponge Bob (or whatever) or violent video games?

    We are for the most part kept ill informed as to the true state of our nation.  Millions are losing their jobs and homes.  One state or region has no idea of what is occurring elsewhere.  Detroit looks like Beirut – with its downtown echoing with abandoned hotels, train stations, and rusted auto plants.  The steel mills and textile plants of Middle America – the South  (never modernized), were allowed to rust into oblivion – with few realizing the implications.  In times of crisis, we could never prepare for war. 

  • Rust Belt in Ohio.  Appalachian Coalfields.

    Once upon a time in Old America, there were real grandmas with aprons and flowered dresses.  Women didn’t feel the need to resort (TV conditioning) to liposuction, face-lifts, breast implants etc.  Our votes weren’t hijacked by computers with no paper trail.  True, there have always been the robber barons exploiting the workers, shooting down strikers (looking for a decent wage), and crooked politicians, only too willing to  sell out their constituents.  The difference today is that these robber barons and corporate hucksters; hold the most strategic positions in government (from the Defense Dept to the regulatory agencies).  Lobbyists for industry now determine legislation.  Government  (politicians) for the most part, are nothing more than props.  No matter the party in power, one can observe, that they are about feathering their own nests, serving their corporate owners, or holding tedious hearings, that result in nothing but filling time.  Anything done for the citizen is by pure accident.

    And now in the New America we can see that our infrastructure, utilities, water, and vast holdings of real estate are being sold out to foreign interests.  Rest assured, that all these supposed protected areas (parks – timber – minerals – grasslands – etc) are mere collateral for our massive debt.  I suspect, that under the guise of paperless ID, we will next be ordered to be chipped (much like pets).  In the days of slavery, this was called branding – the chip is merely updated branding.  One must keep track of one’s human resources on a plantation.

    “Ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking
    The ship is sinking

    Digging up the dead, with a shovel and pick
    It’s a job; it’s a job
    Bloody moon rising with a plague and a flood
    Join the mob; join the mob
    It’s all over; it’s all over

    God’s away, God’s away
    God’s away on business, business”

    God’s Away On Business -Tom Waits

  • An Alert. Activism, Immigration. April 10, Here Again


    Coverage of Spring 2006 Immigration Rally in DC

    April 10 is here again.  We must assess ourselves, our principles, this our nation of immigrants.  As you listen to the voices, you may hear your own voice, or realize that others are thinking as you never have.  Please reflect and revisit the issue of immigration in America.  Events are scheduled in 2007.  Perhaps Immigration laws affect a person near and dear to you.  Might you participate and make a difference.

    Please peruse the details below.  Travel through cyberspace and find a community near you.  They are seeking your assistance.

    April 10 is a day for action.  the Fair Immigration Reform Movement is asking for your assistance.  Activities are planned throughout the country.  Some occur today, others in the days to come.  It is never too late to be involved in Immigration Reform.

    Coordinated by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, the Gamaliel Foundation, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, the Border Communities Alliance for Human Rights and hundreds of grassroots organizations around the nation, immigrant communities and allies will call on Washington to deliver Comprehensive Immigration Reform NOW!!
    Stop Tearing Apart Families!?
    Stop the Raids and Deportations!?
    Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now!

    Find An Event Near You!

    On April 10 – 1-year commemoration of our massive mobilizations against hate, HR4437

    During the current Congressional Easter Recess (April 2 – April 13)- we are calling on organizations from across the country to engage in the following actions:

  • On April 10 kick off of a major letter writing, e-mails, and personal items campaign
  • Organize Town hall meetings with Members of Congress to ask for their commitment to family unity,
    an end to raids,
    to deportations and to pass CIR

  • Organize Marches and rallies with children and families
  • Educate our communities on the immigration reform bills being introduced
  • Display of images of families and children impacted by raids

  • Assist if you are able or spread the word.  Perhaps, a person you know is waiting for this information.  They know an immigrant, are a migrant, speak with émigrés and wish to help reform current laws.  Please share this information with a friend, a family member, or one familiar with the current circumstances.  America thanks you for caring, sharing, and sending your thoughts to our representatives.

    Devil “Bush” Mired in the Details. Immigration and Imperialism Policies

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Protestan por llegada de Bush.

    In early March, the White House let it be known, George W. Bush, the self-defined compassionate conservative, was planning a trip to a South America and Mexico.  Protesters anxiously awaited his arrival.  They said so loudly and vehemently.  Now that the “Ugly American” is in Guatemala, citizens are expressing much anger and distress.  The man referred to as the “devil” by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is witnessing what occurs when our actions are arrogant, words are duplicitous, and ideological illusions rule.  Imperialism is the cry.

    President Bush was hoping to belatedly fulfill his earliest campaign promises.  In 1999 and 2000, candidate Bush stated he would work to improve relationships with countries South of the United States border.  He reiterated this claim when he first took office.  However, he did nothing to strengthen our associations.  In fact, he did much to alienate our neighbors.  Seven years later life in the south has changed, all for the worse. 

    George W. Bush ignored our neighbors and many of the problems that existed within these countries.  He did not nurture relationships.  He neglected the idea of Internationalism once promoted.  The President invoked savage polices that created greater strife within these nations.  People in South America are not satisfied with empty commitments and they are saying so.  They are less pleased with what has happened in their countries with thanks to the world leader.

    Thus, upon his entrance, President Bush did not receive the reception he expected or desired. 

    In his attempt to eliminate “illegal” immigration, George W. Bush has authorized large prison camps.  With little regard, this kinder, gentler President separated individuals from their families.  He and his Administration treat these migrants inhumanely, isolating captives for long periods.  Government officials hold émigrés for days, months, and years in isolation, only to deport them later. 

    Fences are planned and billions are being spent to keep “unwanted” elements, the aliens, out of American society.  Laws are proposed and changes are being enforced.  Americans want  no “illegals” among them.

    Thus, President Bush authorizes means for diminishing the numbers of migrants that reach the border.  He has arranged for deportations.  Those that successfully reach the States cannot stay.

    That done, the President was content.  Apparently, he did not think his policies, practices, and posturing would be a problem for those in foreign lands.  Of course, Mister Bush did not mean to offend those in the South.  Nor did he expect to be judged for his callous course of actions.  Belatedly, the President seeks to make friends with the neighbors he negates daily. 

    The President says he is “committed to soothing strained relations.” 

    Mister Bush does not seem to realize that neglecting the needs of these poorer nations, promotes migration to the Promised Land.  Punishing individuals for their attempts to survive will not serve the United States well, or does he.  Candidate Bush stated in a NewsHour interview in 1999 . . .

    If you’re poor, and you’ve got kids to feed, and you can make 50 cents in interior Mexico and you hear their paying $50 somewhere else in Texas and you love your kids, you’re coming. You’re coming to America. That’s an instinct that is so powerful that people understand.

    However, he then immediately turned and said . . .

    Now, having said that, we need to enforce our borders. The long-term solution is trade with Mexico — because free trade is the best way for Mexico to grow a middle class through the market.

    Invoking his righteous path, George W. Bush pretends to protect Americans from immigration, terrorists, and inequitable trade practices, and then travels aboard expecting to be embraced for his sanctimonious policies and philosophies.

    Bush Meets Anger Over Immigration Issue as He Promotes Free Trade in Guatemala
    By Jim Rutenberg and Jim Lacey
    The New York Times. 

    GUATEMALA CITY, March 12 – President Bush came to this struggling Central American nation Tuesday bearing a message that free trade with the United States would improve conditions for even the poorest Latin Americans.

    But he was also confronted with an angry, outside-in perspective on the immigration debate raging at home, with even his otherwise friendly host, President Óscar Berger, using a ceremonial welcome to criticize the arrest of several hundred illegal workers, many of them Guatemalans, in Massachusetts last week.

    “As is the case in every mature relationship, once in a while differences of opinion arise,” Mr. Berger said in the central courtyard of the grand presidential palace here.  “For example, with regard to the issue of migrants, and particularly those who have been deported without clear justification.”

    The remark, coming during otherwise warm comments by Mr. Berger, reflected the longstanding anger here over deportation of Guatemalans from the United States, which has been stoked by a raid last week in which more than 300 workers were arrested at Michael Bianco Inc., a company in New Bedford, Mass., that provides vests for the military.

    And it gave Mr. Bush a taste of what is to come in the next and final stop in his Latin American tour, to Mérida, Mexico, where immigration is expected to be high on the agenda with President Felipe Calderón.

    But with a much smaller population, Guatemala is also a focal point in the immigration debate – 10 percent of its population has emigrated to the United States, according to officials traveling with the president.

    After Bush leaves, Guatemala priests plan to exorcise the evil spirits from their nation.

    Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit
    By Juan Carlos LLorca
    The Associated Press.

    Friday, March 9, 2007; 12:20 AM

    GUATEMALA CITY — Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate “bad spirits” after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

    “That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture,” Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

    Bush’s seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala.  On Monday morning, he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

    Tiney said the “spirit guides of the Mayan community” decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of “bad spirits” after Bush’s visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace.

    The Mayan’s  want to free their native soil from any satanic spirits George W. Bush leaves behind.  Sadly, they may discover as citizens worldwide have.  Ah, if only it were that easy.

    What might we anticipate tomorrow.  President Bush is flying off to Mexico.  May his experience in Guatemala be replicated.  It appears world thought may now be following another nation’s leader.  Clearly, the words of Hugo Chavez speak to the belief of many.  The Venezuelan President expresses concerns that resonate with more than Mayan priests.  Let us watch and listen.  The world cannot wait.  Americans must take the humanitarian actions their Commander-In-Chief has not, and likely never will.

    Chavez calls Bush ‘the devil’ in his speech at the UN G.A

    References for your review . . .

  • Protestan por llegada de Bush.  YouTube.
  • The “Ugly American” By William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick
  • Governor George W. Bush, “A Distinctly American Internationalism,” Speech at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Simi Valley, California. November 19, 1999
  • Bush aims to build ties with Mexico.  BBC News. February 15, 2001
  • Bush’s Unintended Internationalism, By Jim Hoagland.  Washington Post. Sunday, July 9, 2006; Page B07
  • pdf Bush’s Unintended Internationalism, By Jim Hoagland.  Washington Post. Sunday, July 9, 2006; Page B07
  • President Bush Defends U.S. Record in Latin America, By David Greene.  Morning Edition. March 12, 2007
  • On The Stump,  Interview with Margaret Warner.  Online News Hour.  December 10, 1999
  • Border Policy’s Success Strains Resources, Tent City in Texas Among Immigrant Holding Sites Drawing Criticism.  By Spencer S. Hsu and Sylvia Moreno.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; Page A01
  • pdf Border Policy’s Success Strains Resources, Tent City in Texas Among Immigrant Holding Sites Drawing Criticism.  By Spencer S. Hsu and Sylvia Moreno.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; Page A01
  • Bush Meets Anger Over Immigration Issue as He Promotes Free Trade in Guatemala, By Jim Rutenberg and Jim Lacey.  The New York Times.  March 12, 2007
  • pdf Bush Meets Anger Over Immigration Issue as He Promotes Free Trade in Guatemala, By Jim Rutenberg and Jim Lacey.  The New York Times.  March 12, 2007
  • Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit By Juan Carlos LLorca.  The Associated Press.  The Washington Post. Friday, March 9, 2007; 12:20 AM
  • pdf Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit By Juan Carlos LLorca.  The Associated Press.  The Washington Post. Friday, March 9, 2007; 12:20 AM
  • Chavez: Bush ‘devil’; U.S. ‘on the way down.’ Cable News Network. September 21, 2006
  • Chavez calls Bush ‘the devil’ in his speech at the UN G.A  YouTube
  • President Bush’s last leg of Latin American tour again marred by protests. The Dominican Republic News.  March 13, 2007
  • Chavez Address to the United Nations, By Hugo Chavez.  Address to the United Nations.  September 20, 2006
  • Immigration. Walls at The Borders. Barriers or Buttresses? ©

    On occasion, I am fortunate; I find that an essayist heard on National Public Radio has written a commentary and published the text for all to read.  Thus far, I have yet to locate the transcript for “‘Good Fences’: Misreading Poetry,” an essay I heard this evening on All Things Considered.  However, I will keep searching.  Until then, I am offering a link to the story so you might listen to the author himself.

    Jay Keyser, Professor of Linguistics at MIT is baffled and distressed by the use of a Robert Frost verse in defense of building walls between borders.  He speaks of how the oft quoted poem, “Mending Wall” is misunderstood, if analyzed at all.

    The poem closes with the line we all recall “Good fences make good neighbours.”  When people speak of immigration, or more accurately segregation, they use this declaration to justify their stance.

    However, as Professor Keyser so aptly points out the elegy begins,

    “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.”

    Mr. Keyser offers, Robert Frost thinks there are walls that function as “walls.”  They are practical parapets, or purposeful buttress. However, sadly, according to the poem, Frost recognizes walls and fences can be barriers.

    Keyser, reflecting on history and using the verse to support his belief, surmises countries build “walls” to “keep out the unwanted and keep in the unwilling.”  They build barriers that fight against the blending of people.

    Linguist Keyser objects to these fortifications, as he states Frost does. The academician argues, Frost is questioning the reason for such ridiculous artifacts.  So too is [Samuel] Jay Keyser.  I hope that after listening to his commentary and reflecting upon the famous Robert Frost poem, you too will ask why would we wish to build a wall.  Frost does . . .

    “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know,
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.”

    I certainly have no desire to create fences; I do not love a wall. I love my [thy] neighbors.

    References for your Review . . .
    National Public Radio
    All Things Considered
    “‘Good Fences’: Misreading Poetry” The Xenophobic School: Misreading Poetry
    “Mending Wall,” By Robert Frost
    Robert Frost
    Samuel Jay Keyser, Professor of Linguistics at MIT
    Samuel Jay Keyser, Bibliography