07 August 2007

A Re-Post Triple Shot

Ruben Navarrette On The Immigration Debate

Am reproducing this op-ed piece by Ruben Navarrette Jr. that had been posted in a bulletin a friend of mine here sent out this evening.

I think it very concisely and nicely spells out the two major factors driving the immigration debate, and the extremely nasty turn it's taken in this country.

As for the Morris Dees quote about Joseph McCarthy, I think Mr. Dees was talking squarely out of his arse.

McCarthy's demagoguery was aimed, first and foremost, at Americans, whether "native-born" or immigrant, who were Communists, thought to be "fellow travelers" with the Communists, or who simply opposed McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Robert Kennedy(That's right. THAT Bobby Kennedy), and the rest of HUAC's activities.

Make no mistake: the above-named were, and remain, swine for what they said and did.

But, they didn't, to my knowledge, make the kinds of anti-immigrant statements, nor advocate the kinds of anti-immigrant policies that, for instance, A. Mitchell Palmer, US Attorney General during the second Wilson and Harding Administrations, did, though he was able to combine that with anti-Communist fear during the "Red Scare" of 1919-21.

It'd be one thing if Dees were someone like you or me, and made that kind of historical boo-boo.

But, Dees is the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been fighting racism for around 30 years now, and should know his history better than that.

A niggling point??? Maybe. But, when people, on whatever portion of the political spectrum, fudge or completely screw up portions of the historical record for their own gain, even accidentally, I see(no pun intended)red.

Historical distortions, however accidental, garble people's understanding of history, and, consequently, their understanding of their culture and themselves, and leave them open to more distortions, exaggerations, and out-right lies.

Sorry for the extended rant about Dees' little historical whoopsie, but I really can't stand it, when someone who does, or at least should, know better than that, makes a dubious historical allegation to score some political point or another.

As for Dobbs, well, he may have made some good points about out-sourcing and its effects in the past, but, as for his stand on immigration, I have to say that he's so full of shit, his eyes should be brown, if they aren't already.

Anyhow, enough blather from me.

The article's directly below.

Thanks to ST for originally posting this in her bulletin, and be seeing you.


Ruben Navarrette Jr.

The winners write the history. And now that border restrictionists have won the battle to scuttle immigration reform, the history that many are desperate to write is that the debate was colorblind.

Really. The restrictionists and those pundits who have taken up their cause claim that race and ethnicity aren't even part of the discussion and that those who oppose giving illegal immigrants a shot at legal status would feel the same way if the immigrants were coming from Canada instead of Mexico. They say their concerns are limited to border security and the rule of law, and have nothing to do with nativism or xenophobia. And they reject any suggestion that the debate was hostile to Hispanics.

This is the fable being spun by CNN's Lou Dobbs, a commentator labeled by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt as "the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans." In recent days, Dobbs has argued that the Senate compromise died because Americans of all colors dispassionately concluded that it was bad for the country. Racism played no role, he insists.

Most Hispanics feel differently. I've seen three different surveys, including one by the Pew Hispanic Center, where majorities of Hispanics say that the immigration debate has led to an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment. And, as I travel the country speaking to Hispanic groups, one thing I hear is that "anti-immigrant" rapidly morphed into "anti-Hispanic" and specifically "anti-Mexican."

I get evidence of that every day in my e-mail. Just last week, after I defended the prosecution of two Border Patrol agents, a reader called me a "dirty Latino" who needs to get "back to Mexico." Another writer called me an "anchor baby" – the term used by nativists to describe the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States.

Never mind that I was born in the United States and my parents were born in the United States. What I see here is racism.

That's also the view of the National Council of La Raza, which recently wrapped up its annual conference in Miami Beach. Speakers included Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton said the immigration debate has become "venomous."

Obama, quoting from a 1968 telegram that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sent to farm worker leader Cesar Chavez, said that Hispanics and African-Americans were "brothers in the fight for equality" and decried the "racism" that crept into the immigration debate.

For some reason, Dobbs took those remarks personally. He responded by poking at Clinton and Obama on his show, insisting that they were insulting the American people.

And he really went ballistic when NCLR Vice President Cecilia Munoz said that much of the immigration debate was driven by a "discomfort with Latinos," and the Senate had caved into "what was largely a wave of hate." That prompted Dobbs to blast the NCLR as a "socio-ethnic centric group."

I'd quibble with Munoz. I don't think it was just hate that drove the immigration debate, though according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate crimes against Latinos and immigrants are on the rise while hate groups use the immigration issue as a recruitment tool.

Just last week, the SPLC filed a lawsuit against the Imperial Klans of America – an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan – and five Klansmen, claiming that two members were recruiting for the group at a county fair in Kentucky when they beat up and kicked a 16-year-old Hispanic boy and called him a racial epithet. The boy, who suffered cracked ribs and other injuries, is a U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent.

But this isn't really about hate as much as it is fear and ignorance. And ironically, one of the things fueling it is people such as Dobbs.

"America has a long history of men like Lou Dobbs," Morris Dees, co-founder of the SPLC, said during a recent conference call with journalists. "Men like Sen. Joseph McCarthy who prey on the public fears. Often, they're xenophobic demagogues."

The people who buy into this demagoguery say the country is being colonized. That harkens back to what Benjamin Franklin said in the 1700s about German immigrants making up "a colony of aliens."

A lot of what Franklin said about the Germans was rank bigotry. The same goes for what other generations of Americans would later say about Italians, Irish, Jews and other immigrants – even if they came legally.

What poison. Thank goodness we got that out of our system.

Reproduced for educational purposes.

A Message From Senator John Ensign(R-NV)

A few weeks back, I received a response from Sen. John Ensign(R-Nv) regarding an on-line petition, which I'd signed, banning the use of cluster bombs by the US.

Well, this morning, I signed another petition calling on the GOP's Senate leadership to stop filibustering bills designed to mandate a time-table for American withdrawal from Iraq.

This response, and a bloody quick one it was, too, came from his office to-day.

The message's text is reproduced in full below.

Be seeing you.

This is an official communication from the Office of Senator John Ensign. Any tampering or alteration of this communication is prohibited and may result in criminal investigation or prosecution.

July 30, 2007

Mr. Donald Rilea

457 N Lamb Blvd Apt F

Las Vegas, Nevada 89110-3376

Dear Mr. Rilea:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the continued presence of our armed forces in Iraq. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me, and I value the opportunity to address them.

Recognizing that a new direction was needed if we were to achieve success in Iraq, President Bush outlined his new strategy in an address to the nation. He stated that in order for Iraqis to achieve a political solution to the civil strife in Iraq, security needed to be ensured. Approximately 20,000 additional U.S. troops will help this effort, coupled with an increase of Iraqi police and army units. To address the other requirements for success, the Iraqi government has pledged to pass legislation that will distribute oil revenues on a fair-share basis among all Iraqis: Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd. It will also spend some $10 billion of its own money in order to create jobs and improve the country's infrastructure.

I recently met with Army Lieutenant General David Petraeus, the new commander of our forces in Iraq. General Petraeus concurred with the sobering reality that removing U.S. troops prematurely would cause collapse of the government in Iraq and result in chaos, with terrorists groups like al-Qaeda filling the vacuum created by our departure. Anything short of victory would significantly undermine U.S. credibility and motivate the terrorists to wage their war inside our own borders. As such, it is vital to our own national security that Iraq succeeds.

Some in Congress have spoken out against the President's plan without offering any policy alternatives of their own. Empty rhetoric is not what is needed; rather we need to realize that this war against Islamic jihadists is unlike anything America has ever faced. While there is no guarantee that this plan or any other plan will work, I believe that we must make every effort to achieve success. We cannot permit Iraq to become a failed state from which terrorists can launch attacks against the United States.

I fully appreciate the sacrifice American families make when they lose a loved one in this fight to keep America safe. This country was built on the valiant sacrifices made by the many brave men and women in uniform who have answered the call to defend the freedom of all Americans. My prayers are for the safe return of those deployed and a timely, successful end to this conflict. I will continue to work to ensure that these heroes and their families are afforded the very best this nation can provide.

The various resolutions addressing the conflict in Iraq will be debated in the Senate within the next few weeks; please rest assured that I will be sure to keep your concerns, and the concerns of all Nevadans, in mind. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. If you should have further questions or comments or would like to share your thoughts on another matter, please feel free to write or e-mail me via my website at http://ensign.senate.gov.



United States Senator


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Ingmar Bergman and Bill Walsh Are Dead
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

Just saw these obituaries on, respectively, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Chicago Tribune's respective sites.

The link to the Bergman obit. is http://www.smh.com.au/news/film/film-legend-passes-away/2007/07/30/1185647819444.html,
while the Walsh obit. is at http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/sns-ap-fbn-obit-walsh,0,5477816.story.

May both Mr. Bergman and Mr. Walsh rest in peace.

Be seeing you.

Tom Synder Dead At 71

Just read this at the LA Times site. Tom Snyder, whom many of you out there may remember from his '70's late-night talk show stint on NBC, as well as his CBS "Late Show" stint on CBS from '95-98, and even the parodies that Dan Akroyd did of him on "Saturday Night Live" back in the '70's, died of lukaemia, at age 71 yesterday.

I don't recall seeing him on NBC, but I enjoyed his work on "The Late Show", and thought he made a marvelous talk show host.

I, for one, will miss him.

The article can be found here at http://www.latimes.com/news/la-ex-snyder31jul31,0,7566354.story?track=mostviewed-storylevel.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Synder.

Be seeing you.

News Monday: Article Links

Here are a few news article links for you to check out when you get the time.

The first is on the British Army's draw-down in the Basra area of southern Iraq from the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/world/middleeast/29basra.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=2&adxnnlx=1185807864-DdTP8KqFKCVI2rjusTKwvQ.

From the Veterans For Common Sense web-site comes this CNN article on the emergence of Shi'ite warlords in southern Iraq, and why and how that situation's so, at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/ArticleID/8128.

From the Los Angeles Times, comes this article on the divisions inside the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, which is split among as many factions, as there are floors of the Interior Ministry building in Baghdad(There are eleven floors, according to the article, and the top one's occupied by American advisors, so you do the math), at http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-interior30jul30,0,7135292.story?coll=la-tot-topstories&track=ntottext.

Also from the LA Times, comes this article on the increasing number of US-Iraqi tribal(mainly Sunni tribes)alliances, and how that doesn't sit well with many in the currently-Shi'ite dominated Iraqi government at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq29jul29,0,1476598.story?coll=la-tot-world&track=ntottext.

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this article about how current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown denies calling for British troop withdrawals from Iraq at http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/bushs-poodle-turns-bulldog/2007/07/29/1185647743536.html?sssdmh=dm16.271293.

From the Observer/Guardian UK comes this story on the vast numbers of Iraqi amputees, and how the growing rates and numbers of amputations in Iraq are creating a health care crisis there, at http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2137035,00.html.

From the Telegraph(UK)comes this article on just how stormy the relationship between Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Malaki and US forces' Commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus have become, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IGAHG33FIYEL1QFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/07/28/wirq128.xml.

From the New York Times, again, comes this article about how the Iraqi government's failing to take charge of the numerous development projects launched by various US military and civilian agencies once the latter have completed the initial tasks of building said projects, at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/world/middleeast/28reconstruct.html?hp.

Finally, also from the NYT, comes this op-ed piece by Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack, the former a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the latter the director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, which advocates that Gen. Petraeus' surge strategy, along with the local alliances between the US military and various Iraqi tribal and ethnic groups, is beginning to bear fruit in Iraq, and should be allowed to seen through, at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/opinion/30pollack.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.

I personally don't endorse this view, but post it here nonetheless, so that you can see it, and decide for yourselves what you think of it, as well as all of the other articles here.

Thanks for your time and attention, and be seeing you.

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