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Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MAY DAY....Conservatives are plenty pissed over the massive boycott planned for May 1 to highlight immigrant demands for "nothing less than full amnesty and dignity for the millions of undocumented workers presently in the U.S." But where, Chris Kromm asks, is the progressive blogosphere?

In sharp contrast to the right-wing websites, a glance at today's front pages of DKos, Huffington Post, Eschaton, Talking Points Memo and Think Progress to pick some progressive heavyweights reveals they have nothing to say about May 1....What's going on? Why is the progressive blogosphere so completely out of touch?

For better or worse, I've been taking some of my cues on this subject from Los Angeles lefty Marc Cooper, who's been following the immigration debate for years and has sensibilities roughly similar to mine. Here's what he says:

There is a definite time and place for this sort of tactic, and it isn't here or now. Boycotts are powerful and volatile weapons used as a last resort to bust open dams of dogged resistance. You don't use them when the political tide is even vaguely flowing in your direction.

....That's why the larger institutional players in the pro-immigrant movement prefer an after-school (and after-work) rally over an intentionally punitive boycott and walkout. They argue that such an escalation could alienate lawmakers and the public just when political sentiment is shifting more toward immigrants. The positive message of demanding inclusion in the United States would be replaced by a more negative and divisive signal.

I'm cautious by temperament, so I don't really trust my own reaction to the boycott. Still, there's no question that backlash is a real concern, and a militantly confrontational strategy strikes me as pretty risky right now. More importantly, though, I figure that if Marc, who shares neither my caution nor my inexperience at political protest, thinks the boycott is a bad idea, then there's a good chance it's a bad idea. So for now, that's where I stand.

Kevin Drum 1:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (155)

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Comments

Just because the right has its panties in a bunch over the spanish National anthem and the boycott, why does the left have to hop in line? Maybe we just don't think it's that big of a deal?

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on April 29, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's really stupid if you ask me, what is the real threat? That they will all go back to thier home countries if the American government doesn't do something about thier illeagal situation?

Posted by: Rick on April 29, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ah hell Kevin, lets just give em Texas and southern California. Create border states populated by Mexican immigrants. And then see how soon they clamp down on illegal immigration.

Posted by: lou on April 29, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Still, there's no question that backlash is a real concern

Good point Kevin. As reported by Rasmussen, Americans hate illegal immigration and support a wall to prevent Mexican criminals from sneaking into America.

Link

"However, while Democrats have gained ground, they still trail among the 53% of Americans who say that immigration is very important in terms of how they will vote this November. Among this group, 43% trust the GOP more and 33% trust the Democrats. To the degree that intensity matters, that's good news for Bill Frist and his GOP colleagues in Congress.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Americans still favor building a barrier along the Mexican border (a number that jumps to 73% among those who consider the issue very important)"

If Democrats aren't willing to support building a wall along the Mexican border, there's a very good chance there will be a landslide victory for Republicans because they are more trusted to do everything possible to eliminate illegal immigration.

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

The lack of discussion on this may be because the progressive/left blogosphere agrees with W on the issue. If you can't bash Bush with the issue, it is of no value.

Posted by: Chicounsel on April 29, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if it will be a fizzle? A lot of people will be reluctant to join in ("hmm, let's see. I'm here illegally. I'd like to advertise that?")

I wonder who it will inconvenience most?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I have mixed feelings as well. I think the tide is turning in favor of finally having a real policy, including a path towards citizenship for those illegals who have been here for some years, closed and secure borders which we must have and severe penalties enforced for employers who hire any illegals. I'm afraid the boycott will rub too much salt in wounds and abort the whole effort of fairness. We are a pretty reactionary country these days with a lot of political pandering.

Posted by: Rain on April 29, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's time for all confrontation all the time. Also, it's time to choose sides. It's either Bill "Piss-on-Working-People-for-the-sake-of-Rousing-Rednecks" Frist or the immigrants. I choose the immigrants.

Posted by: dennisS on April 29, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

WAKE UP!!!! This issue appeared out of nowhere at a time congressional Republicans needed to divide the country. Think back two years to the gay marriage assault and the divisiveness that engendered. This is a trumped up issue, solely put out by Republicans (with a justified response to some degree), to bring out single issue voters who are afraid of Mexicans...

I agree there are items that need to be addressed. This issue, though, is being used as a cudgel to divide the country and distract from the real problems of the Republican "leadership" in Washington.

We cannot allow this issue to distract from the real issues of corruption, malfeasance and downright ineptness of the cadre that's currently in charge...

Posted by: bigcat on April 29, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I am hoping that some Americans who are looking for a job will take Monday, May 1, as "Look for a job to displace an illegal alien" Day or "American jobs BACK to Americans" Day.

As a liberal wacko, I prefer to see unemployed Americans, teenagers and other persons who need an entre into the job market get low quality, crap jobs.

Posted by: POed Lib on April 29, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The question wasn't "why isn't the progressive blogosphere backing us?" it was why it has had little or "nothing to say": "a glance at today's front pages of. . . some progressive heavyweights[] reveals that they have nothing to say ablout May 1."

So the big problem isn't that y'all aren't supporting the cause, it's that their cause is by and large staying off your radar screen.

I, personally, enjoy blogs generally, including the majors, but I think this points to a major demographic issue. Blog readers are overwhelmingly white, middle-aged, middle class, salaried men. Now when the blog readers are also xenophobes (Little Green InstaMalkin), they'll care about issues like proactive immigration movements. Other (liberal) bloggers won't be so interested.

I sympathise wholeheartedly with Kromm's point, though. Simply search liberal archives for coverage of the French student protests (whites discussing their own economic future), and compare it to that of this planned protest (not strictly numerically, obviously).

There are no rules about what must be blogged about, but not acknowledging a protest of this magnitude until you are asked to, reveals a small blind spot in your view of the current political landscape, whether you agree with its position or not.

(By the way, we all have blind spots. Mine for example: environmental policy is something I can't get a real interest in, and as a result, I never advocate for or against any change in it).

Posted by: dunno on April 29, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm cautious by temperament

"Namby-pamby" is how I think of it.

Posted by: anonymous on April 29, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Marc Cooper is the Pajama Medias "liberal" journalist that says that 300,000 is not enough to live on in Los Angeles.

Why this guy still has any credentials left is completely beyond me.

And $300,000?

Posted by: jerry on April 29, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone (Kevin) with Lexus/Nexus access come up with the first (in the most recent cycle) reference to immigration reform. Might it have something to do with the Republican Party's torpedoeing poll numbers?

Where was the concern in the last election cycle? Why should we have it now? This is an issue that is being used to distract from real issues. We need to hammer the total incompetence, corruption and venality of the Republican party.

Posted by: bigcat on April 29, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs happens to be correct to the extent that he states that the United States cannot have a coherent immigration policy unless it first controls its borders. ( That is not to state that Dobbs is morally correct but rather that his analysis is logical. )

Unfortunately for Dobbs, he is attempting to shut the barn door after the horse has already escaped. There simply are too many illegal immigrants already inside the United States and too much support for them both from fellow hispanics both inside the United States as well as throughout Latin America. That, simply, is a 500 pound gorilla that Dobbs can't out-wrestle.

The result increasingly shall be that the United States as a political entity shall grow less and less coherent. Talleyrand once said of the Holy Roman Empire that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Ultimately, we shall say of the United States that it is neither united nor are they states.

This has many implications for liberals because - while governmental programs (such as healthcare)remain important - they should be advocated on the non-federal level, such as state, local, or even international or transnational. It also means that which party controls Congress, the Courts, etc., shall decline in importance.

Posted by: Thinker on April 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"It's really stupid if you ask me, what is the real threat? That they will all go back to thier home countries if the American government doesn't do something about thier illeagal situation?"
--rick

We didn't ask you, but in any case, rent the movie "A Day Without Mexicans" to see what the consequences might be...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 29, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

You raise a good point. As an old-fashioned liberal I have been watching and waiting as conditions reached critical mass and is now about as inevitable as a baby at full term. Many of us were not happy during the civil rights era with the manner in which doctrinaire Marxists (read SDS in its various manifestations) and others were successful grabbing the movement away from leaders whose motives derived from more spiritual and/or humanitarian roots. Fortunately, in the case of civil rights the inborn patriotism and religious foundations of our black brithers and sisters trumped politics. And thanks to the vision and example of MLK and other leaders of faith the movement was transformed into one of America's proudest achievements, the end of legal segragation and institutional discrimination.

Monday's events, unfortunately, do not derive from U.S. roots. But the same political forces seeking leadership are hard at work shaping events into a latter-day resurgence of class-conflict and polarization. They are doing so with the benign neglect of the Left and the active (unwitting) encouragement of the Right.

At this point I do not like what I see. The time is almost past when responsible leadership should stop holding fingers in the political wind and start speaking up for what is right. Otherwise, there will be in our midst a large identifiable group that no longer wants to join the ranks of those of us privileged to pay taxes.

Posted by: Hootsbuddy on April 29, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody know anything about these immigrantsolidarity.org folks? There is no substantive information about who/what they are on their site.

I get skeptical about actions that seem designed to piss off people and not make a direct point against the object of the boycott.

Boycott the entire economy? "No Work, No Schools, No Sales, and No Buying". Is this supposed to be some left-romantic May Day fantasy?

My bet - this boycott will fall on its face - although there will large rallies on May 1st. Any takers?

I think the left blogosphere is doing the right thing not supporting something that makes little sense.

Posted by: pebird on April 29, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Marc Cooper is just another Mickey-Kaus-cum-Joe-Klein backlash liberal troll and adolescent narcissist prick who happens to have leftist pretensions and a genuine preoccupation with the immigration issue (much as Andrew Sullivan is a backlash liberal troll with conservative pretensions and a genuine preoccupation with gay marriage).

This doesn't preclude Mr. Cooper from making accurate observations on occasion, including this one, but he is a loathsome human being.

A boycott now is nuts, and to put it on *May* *Day* (which most Americans had damn near forgotten about after the fall of the Wall to the extent that they ever knew anything about it) is double nuts.

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on April 29, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

You can't ust think about the rally as a short term, narrow event to influence this legislative cycle. The rally is as much about building solidarity in the Lationo community. They are building a long-term political movement. They have been disengaged, that will change and will change politics in the border states. Liberals should be supporting the rallys as an organizational opportunity. Do we already think that the web is the only way to organize?

Posted by: ecoboz on April 29, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

This from the LA Times:

Schwarzenegger Careful on Immigration By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press Writer
Fri Apr 28, 2:01 PM ET

"Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed a federal plan to build a border fence between San Diego and Tijuana. This week, he said walling off hundreds of miles of the California-Mexico border is a strategy from the Stone Age.

It is not the only example of his complex and sometimes shifting views on illegal immigration, an issue that has become especially volatile in recent weeks with mass protests around the country by immigrants.

Schwarzenegger's complicated stand reflects both California's immigration politics and his own political vulnerability, as he seeks a second term with his approval ratings in the cellar.

Where California's governor stands on immigration is closely watched, both because the Austrian-born movie star is the best-known immigrant in U.S. politics, and because California has more illegal immigrants than any other state an estimated 2.4 million, more than the entire population of Nebraska.

In the 1990s, Schwarzenegger supported a ballot measure to deny illegal immigrants many basic services, including public schooling and non-emergency health care. Today, Schwarzenegger says the fight over illegal immigration is at the borders, "not in our schools and not in our hospitals."

Recently he stressed that the economy needs "a free flow of people" to thrive; he also embraces the Minuteman border-patrol movement, which warns of a nation "plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens."

The governor's "schizophrenic view" mirrors divisions among the voters and within Schwarzenegger's own party, said independent pollster Mark DiCamillo.

As a GOP candidate in a state where only about one in three voters is registered Republican, Schwarzenegger needs to lure Hispanics, a traditionally Democratic-leaning group and California's fastest-growing voting bloc.

But he also must take into account the state's business interests, particularly the multibillion-dollar agriculture machine a powerful political force that relies on a steady supply of low-priced immigrant labor.

In addition, he has to consider GOP conservatives who want a border clampdown.

"There's a great deal of frustration in the Republican ranks right now about the fact that the Republican leadership whether Arnold Schwarzenegger or George Bush is not making it a priority to close the border to illegal immigration," said GOP consultant Karen Hanretty, a former chief spokeswoman for the California Republican Party.

Shortly after taking office in 2003, Schwarzegger repealed legislation enacted under his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, that would give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

The governor, himself a naturalized U.S. citizen, has said he favors a temporary worker program, but has said little about how such a plan should work. He does not support blanket amnesty, and has said he thinks it is impractical to consider deporting millions of illegal immigrants.

While the governors of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have shifted more money, equipment or personnel to help the federal government secure the border and contend with illegal immigrants, Schwarzenegger has asked Washington for help but has not marshaled substantial state resources at the border.

Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the governor has laid out a consistent proposal on immigration, but stressed that ultimately it is Congress' job to work out the details. She said the governor considers fences of use in some instances, coupled with increased patrols and surveillance.

The governor is "doing everything he can to pressure the federal government to provide a comprehensive solution," she said.

One statewide survey Thursday ranked immigration as the most important issue in the state, overshadowing even education. But a survey released the same day by the Public Policy Institute of California found that only two of 10 Hispanics approve of the governor's leadership.

This week, Schwarzenegger took steps to make an impression with the Hispanic community. On Monday, he made a point of saying how troubled he was by anti-Hispanic threats against Bustamante and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He has also endorsed the mayor's plan to take control of city schools, an issue that has strong appeal in Hispanic communities.

His campaign has also recently hired a media representative who speaks Spanish.

And yet his caution was evident in an appearance just days after a half-million people jammed Los Angeles streets to protest a threatened federal crackdown on illegal immigrants. Schwarzenegger met dozens of Hispanic business leaders near Los Angeles and talked at length about the economy and small businesses, but he didn't say a word about the protest."

Posted by: susan on April 29, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the progressive blogosphere so completely out of touch?

In my case (not blogger but consider myself a liberal) it's because I don't support the aims of the rally (i.e., unrestricted immigration), but I support the people who want to racially profile and mass-deport them even less.

It's called ambivalence. Don't know if the right has ever heard of it.

Posted by: kth on April 29, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think you have gauged the situation wrong, and this probably embodies the left as a whole in a nutshell. This 'Wait and let's protest later' approach to politics doesn't work. Latinos are obviously pissed off by the blatant race baiting from the right, and I think they would be just as disturbed from the left about the pats on the head and being told to wait their turn in line. If they sat back it's highly possible that some backroom deal is brokered that does nothing to address the issue but does more to make it go away temporarily(do you have that much faith in the Democratic caucus) and I'm glad the Hispanic organizations are pulling out the guns so to speak. Boycotts and marching rarely have much effect other than empowering those being organized and if there is going to be a backlash, I say so be it. If taking one day off and marching is something you consider too revolutionary for those on the left, when do you suppose they should do so? Once the wall is up and the Halliburton camps are filled to capacity?

Posted by: kdub on April 29, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, a couple of things:

Kevin, I'm glad that you finally overcame your mixed feelings enough to at least talk about the issue. I don't feel like the left blogosphere should reflexively support this, but it should definitely be talked about. I mean, it's going to happen whether you blog about it or not, eh?

the other thing is that, while a boycott like this could drum up a backlash, that's not the only thing it oculd do. Internally, it could help catalyze a move towards progressive causes among immigrants. But most of all, it might help challenge the facile equivalence that most well-off Americans make between the low economic status of immigrant labor and it's (conversely high) importance to the economy.


Posted by: URK on April 29, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"We didn't ask you, but in any case, rent the movie "A Day Without Mexicans" to see what the consequences might be..."
You mean a "day without slaves" don't you?
I didn't ask for your comment either, what gives you the right?

Posted by: Rick on April 29, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"There simply are too many illegal immigrants already inside the United States..."

Question: How do we know how many people are here in the US illegally? By definition, they are here without any documentation. So how can they be counted?

I've been watching the numbers creep up over the past few weeks, from 8 million to 9 to 10. I've seen estimates of 12 million recently.

The population of Mexico is ~100 million. We're saying that ~10% of the Mexican population is living in the US illegally?

Where did this number come from?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Notion that Marc Cooper knows anything worth knowing on the subj. sorta speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Throw in how the May 1 strike is the result of a conscious political strategy that did more or less what its initiators intended (get folks involved), and it's sorta pitiful for those same folks to say, gee, now what?

Immigration isn't THAT hard to understand, but it does take some effort.

So why don't more progressives make that effort?

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 29, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

bigcat has the only take on this that resonates with me. Nobody was talking about this issue 2 months ago, or last year, and now all of a sudden, it's a crisis? The power of the White House to set the news agenda is revealed once again...

Posted by: craigie on April 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with bigcat; this is just another attempt by the GOP to create an issue with which to scare and distract the American public from its utter failures in so many urgent and pressing matters, e.g. Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare, gas prices. Immigration reform should be carefully debated and discussed, not used to scare people with racist undertones. The timing is just suspicious. Kevin, please comment about the immigration debate in the larger context of Bush's diving poll numbers.

Posted by: JL on April 29, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

bigcat: "This issue appeared out of nowhere at a time congressional Republicans needed to divide the country."

craigie: "bigcat has the only take on this that resonates with me"

I'll second that. But how do they do it? It is so fiendishly clever, yet when it matters (Iraq, the budget, Katrina, the environment, energy) they can't do anything competent.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, JL beat me to it by two minutes. I'll third bigcat's observation....

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Put me on the bigcat bandwagon. This is yet another diversionary tactic in an election year. Once 5/1 is over [and the real important day - cinco de mayo have a margarita day] the incompetence, deceit, and putrid culture of corruption of those currently in power should take center stage. I know i'll do my part to keep it in conversations.

Posted by: jcricket on April 29, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Col Bat Guano: "Just because the right has its panties in a bunch over the spanish National anthem ..."

I bet that they'd feel a lot better if the Rev. Pat Robertson's Hallelujah Tabernacle sang it in German, a language obviously more comforting to them.

What a bunch of nonsense.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 29, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Col Bat Guano: "Just because the right has its panties in a bunch over the spanish National anthem ..."

I bet that they'd feel a lot better if the Rev. Pat Robertson's Hallelujah Tabernacle sang it in German, a language obviously more comforting to them.

What a bunch of nonsense.
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 29, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what our cousins across the pond think when they hear America The Beautiful sung to the tune of God Save The Queen? Why are conservatives getting their panties in a knot when usurping patriotic tunes is nothing new?

Posted by: jcricket on April 29, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I bet that they'd feel a lot better if the Rev. Pat Robertson's Hallelujah Tabernacle sang it in German, a language obviously more comforting to them.

What a bunch of nonsense.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

I am sure you lefties will enjoy it even more when they add the lyrics crititcal of America in the next month or so. It will be interesting watching you defend it then.

I hope every illegal Mexican in America stays home on May 1. Then everyone will see that life does not come to a schreeching halt when the bottom unskilled 3-5% of the workforce is not available. In the 46 states where Americans do the so-called jobs that Americans won't do no one will even notice the illegal aliens stayed home.

In CA the businesses that are closed because their illegal workforce is not available on that day make easy for those of us concerned about illegal immigration. We will know what business to stay away from and the ones to turn in to ICE so they can be prosecuted for hiring illgal aliens. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on April 29, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

RE: A.P./Los Angeles Times article, "Schwarzenegger Careful on Immigration" (Courtesy of susan at 2:37 p.m. -- thanks for posting)

What a difference an election year makes!

Funny, but Herr Gropenfrauen really didn't seem all that cautious or concerned about immigrant-bashing when he publicly endorsed the efforts of the Beer Belly Patrol, a.k.a. The Minutemen, while appearing as a guest on a right-wing talk show in Los Angeles last year.

You'd like to think that this pandering piece of Aging Austrian Beefcake -- of all people!! -- would be able to demonstrate some genuine compassion and heartfelt understanding for the plight of undocumented and exploited immigrants, without any prior prompting from his latest political poll numbers.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 29, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm w/bigcat as well - this feels a lot like intentional polarization (the whole drive to immediately solve our "immigration problem" that is) - this is a page from any rightwing Euro-nationalist's playbook.

Posted by: gifthill on April 29, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Thinker:

Unfortunately for Dobbs, he is attempting to shut the barn door after the horse has already escaped. There simply are too many illegal immigrants already inside the United States...

Your analogy doesn't really stand up. There are still a hell of a lot of "horses" waiting on the other side of that open barn door.

Security first, deal with the ones already here after that.

And for all of you who see this demonstration as a vast GOP conspiracy, able to somehow marshall tens of thousands of Bush-hating liberals, leftist organizations, and Hispanics to do their bidding: At what point does this kind of thinking become a clinical problem?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK


FAT WHITE GUY: I am sure you lefties will enjoy it even more when they add the lyrics crititcal of America in the next month or so.

Is there some inherent immorality in criticizing America?


Posted by: jayarbee on April 29, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

pebird:

Does anybody know anything about these immigrantsolidarity.org folks?

A subgroup of ActionLA.

A.N.S.W.E.R. is also driving it.

I think the source of much of this activity is pretty obvious, as if the May 1st date wasn't enough of a clue. The Far Left has found itself some promising new political cannon fodder.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure you lefties will enjoy it even more when they add the lyrics crititcal of America in the next month or so. It will be interesting watching you defend it then.Posted by: Fat White Guy on April 29, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

FWG - you are delusional. Imagining in your pea brain this weird set of circumstances is priceless. And in the next month or so, too.

BTW, if you are going to piss and moan about sad circumstances re: the national anthem, then start with the fact that 2 out of 3 'Murkins don't even know the words to it (Harris Poll) this is the foundation of the National Anthem Project. So if someone were to ...oh..say...make up lyrics critical of America even in english, most of our citizenry wouldn't know the difference. And THAT is the hypocrisy of so many right wing-nuts complaining about spanish lyrics - 2/3 don't even know the words themselves. So FWG, why don't you follow your concerns and enlist in the National Anthem Project instead of pissing and moaning about someone with brown skin singing the praises of the USA in their primary language? Once all of wingnuttia are able to sing the damn tune correctly in english, you will have my ear when you complain about spanish.

Oh, and another BTW, The Star Spangled Banner is sung to the tune of an old Brit drinking song called To Anacreon in Heaven. Bottoms up.

Posted by: jcricket on April 29, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

This will come as a shock to many a complacent gringo, but a substantial portion of the illegals in this country aren't from Mexico. A lot are from Central American countries with much poorer economies than Mexico. A lot are from Asia and Russia.

And stop with the paranoid conspiracy theories about how this is all another Rovian plot already. The right wing thought this issue would be a winner for them when they introduced draconian legislation last fall; now the issue is blowing up in their face, but in typical fashion many a latte liberal would prefer to run away from it than fight the Minutemen and the rest of the racist bastards who are trying to whip up fears of a brown horde.

Posted by: Annoyed Mexican American on April 29, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Fat White Guy: "I am sure you lefties will enjoy it even more when they add the lyrics crititcal [sic] of America in the next month or so. It will be interesting watching you defend it then."

My ex-wife is a direct descendant of a famous Californio, Mariano Vallejo, the governor who welcomed Americans into his country prior to the Mexican-American War (1846-48), and did so much to encourage peaceful co-existence between the latinoand the gringo after California was ceded to the United States.

I would bet good money that her family has been in this country far longer than yours has. She's justifiably proud of her heritage. Your xenophobic attitude toward Latinos is at once offensive, ignorant and pathetic.

"I hope every illegal Mexican in America stays home on May 1. ... We will know what business to stay away from and the ones to turn in to ICE so they can be prosecuted for hiring illgal aliens."

Then I hope you don't eat fruits or vegetables, or patronize Wal-Mart, among myriad other places.

If your GOP friends in Congress and the administration ever did bring themselves to prosecute their corporate sugar daddies over what are admittedly questionable hiring practices on their part, then no doubt you'd promptly start whining about unnecessary government regulation of private enterprise.

Latinos are both loyal citizens and productive residents. On their worst day, they will still contribute far more to the beautiful multi-ethnic tapestry that is our country than your mindless jingoism and ruinous debt-incurring consumerism ever will.

Aloha y adios.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 29, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

The number of voters for whom immigration is a make-or-break issue is exceedingly small, and most of them are either hardcore Democrats or hardcore GOP. In other words, neither the march itself nor blog coverage of same will make much difference overall.

The GOP tried to use the anti-immigration card when the issue came up - and that's what triggered the demonstrations. It also triggered a debate on the issue that didn't do the GOP any good, since people quickly realized the hypocrisy of the GOP's appeals to racism versus the GOP's love for cheap, easily exploited labor. When the GOP claims that "illegal immigrants are stealing your jobs," it makes people think about other factors affecting employment - like outsourcing, jobless recoveries, and economic growth that's only benefitting the top 5%. None of these are winning issues for the GOP.

At this point that the GOP has no credibility on economic issues, and no credibiity on immigration issues. We don't need the blogosphere to emphasize what people already know, or make connections people have already made.

Posted by: CaseyL on April 29, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious.
The people whom mostly hire the Illegals are the ones crying about the Illegal May Day?

But who hires the Illegals?
Me? Nope.
You?
But Everyday I see these Illegals, Mowing Yards, Maids, Restaurants, Construction sites...

Posted by: Mach Tuck on April 29, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Annoyed:

The percentages on illegal immigrants are given in this news article.

Some statistics on legal immigrants, also mostly from Mexico, can be found here.

Streamlining the legal immigration process and maybe adjusting the quotas might help a lot. This is a part of the issue that isn't really being addressed.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

f Democrats aren't willing to support building a wall along the Mexican border, there's a very good chance there will be a landslide victory for Republicans because they are more trusted to do everything possible to eliminate illegal immigration.
Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

AL I have lived in Texas for a very long time, I can tell you that many a tunnel has been dug UNDER the border.Many gone unfound for years, Drugs, Weapons, Illegals. Not to mention the people smuggled on trains and trucks. How so would a Fence stop these tunnels?

Posted by: Mach Tuck on April 29, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Annoyed Mex-Am:

Substantially agree. Put me in the not-with-bigcat camp. Obviously, Bush had immigration in his playbook from way back, being a border-state governor. Whatever the current mega-intensity's about, illegal immigration assuredly is *not* another wedge non-issue like gay marriage or flag burning.

The right-wing reaction wasn't planned, though. Bush actually intended to do the opposite; the guest worker proposal was a Rovian plan to bring Latinos into the Republican Party while throwing a bone to his base.

It backfired in a big way. Just like Social Security "reform" -- because Bush has dumped every last shred of his political capital into that sucking sinkhole called Iraq. Since nothing gets the base more pissed off than having to end-run around the president, this is where the special self-righteousness is coming from. Now we can hate the Brown Horde(tm) with *impunity*, because our president is an appeasing, compromising asshole on the issue.

Add Lou Dobbs (who's probably a Lieberman Democrat) pulling a career move by aping Anderson Cooper's "passion" and going hog-wild as a non-ideological freelancer, and you've got the perfect firestorm.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 29, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Mach Tuck ~ Our resident trolls (Al, FWG, et al) can't answer direct questions. They dutifully copy and paste the flame-of-the-day from their right-wing mentors (blogs, e-mailed "newsletters"). Please give them time to scroll through past issues and archives to copy and paste something that will seem remotely related to your question, but don't be surprised if it is a Strawman response.

Posted by: jcricket on April 29, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

annoyed: "This will come as a shock to many a complacent gringo, but a substantial portion of the illegals in this country aren't from Mexico. A lot are from Central American countries with much poorer economies than Mexico. A lot are from Asia and Russia"

Again, how do you know? How do we estimate numbers when illegal residents are, by definition, here without documentation?

tbrosz: thanks for the links! I, for one, am still wondering where these numbers come from.

"Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez said the latest figures are believed to be more accurate than previous ones because they reflect new methods used to determine trends in the entry and departure of undocumented residents."

What are these new methods? They can track trends in entry and departure, but they can't enforce the existing laws related to employers?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's only one day, right?

So it's really just a symbolic boycott - most likely people will make up for it the next day. The week's sales probably won't change much.

An actual, lasting boycott would be damaging. But that's not what this is.

Posted by: Jon H on April 29, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum:

If I understand this correctly, you support foreign citizens marching in our streets demanding rights to which they aren't entitled. You also support foreign citizens attempting to shut down our cities and harm our economy.

However, you're just opposed to the boycott because it might backfire, and those borderline belligerent foreign citizens might not get the rights that they demand?

Related: the California state senate Democrats support foreign nationals marching in our streets, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin supports illegal aliens marching in our streets, and Links between the Democratic Party and the Mexican government.

Patriots all, it's just a "different kind" of patriotism.

Posted by: TLB on April 29, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

CaseyL:

The number of voters for whom immigration is a make-or-break issue is exceedingly small, and most of them are either hardcore Democrats or hardcore GOP.

Maybe. The first part of this Rasmussen Poll got a lot of play on liberal websites. The second part, not so much. Check the other poll in the link, too.

***

Mach Tuck:

AL I have lived in Texas for a very long time, I can tell you that many a tunnel has been dug UNDER the border.Many gone unfound for years, Drugs, Weapons, Illegals. Not to mention the people smuggled on trains and trucks. How so would a Fence stop these tunnels?

The proper sensors near the fence would do that, but that's not really the point. People might manage to break through the fence, too, or come around via the ocean. Still, a fence or wall would stop a lot of the movement across the border. A cop doesn't refuse to wear a bulletproof vest just because he thinks somebody might shoot him in the head.

***

PTate:

I, for one, am still wondering where these numbers come from.

Estimates, census work, other sources. The numbers vary quite a bit, as do the numbers for what illegal immigration costs the Federal and state governments. A lot depends on what axe the source has to grind.

You have to work within the ranges, and within those ranges, even the low end numbers aren't good news.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

My perspective is that, looking back, successful and now-respected movements of the past caused annoyance, anger, and tsk-tsk-shouldn't-do-that reactions within the mainstream. Consider Women's Suffrage before 1920 and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, both of which upset business-as-usual practices but ultimately prevailed and changed social & political relationships.

The Immigration Rights demonstrations have brought into the open that there are large numbers of de facto permanent residents in the U.S., whether or not they came with pre-approved paperwork. The U.S needs to establish an appropriate new balance, adhering to the highest, most cherished American values, that recognizes that the U.S. is not geographically isolated and attracts immigrants with economic motivations.

Kevin, I really like your blog. Its one of the best. However, on this post your conclusion, So for now, that's where I stand, is weak. The conventional wisdom hardly ever approves of disruptive events. That does not mean that those events are necessarily out of line. Project yourself 20 years into the future and look backwards. From there is a demonstration a good or bad idea, or is it just another bump along the road of civilization? Its the latter.

Posted by: Closet Independent on April 29, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,

Then I hope you don't eat fruits or vegetables, or patronize Wal-Mart, among myriad other places.

I will pay extra for fruits and vegetables grown and harvested by people legally hired.

If your GOP friends in Congress and the administration ever did bring themselves to prosecute their corporate sugar daddies over what are admittedly questionable hiring practices on their part, then no doubt you'd promptly start whining about unnecessary government regulation of private enterprise.

Oh. "Admittedly questionable hiring practices." You mean, like they were flagrantly breaking the law and everyone damn well knows it? If it's unquestionable law-breaking, I don't see how it's "questionable" anything.

Latinos are both loyal citizens and productive residents. On their worst day, they will still contribute far more to the beautiful multi-ethnic tapestry that is our country than your mindless jingoism and ruinous debt-incurring consumerism ever will.

Loyal citizens of where, and productive residents of what? On my own worst day, I suppose I will be contributing exactly zero to "the beautiful multi-ethnic tapestry," but at least I won't be energetically ripping holes in it.

Aloha y adios.

Y tu tambin.

Posted by: waterfowl on April 29, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

If the leftie bloggers don't want to post, you can't stop them.

Posted by: Yogi Berra on April 29, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

plight of undocumented and exploited immigrants

Huh? If you mean illegal immigrants then why not simply write "illegal immigrants" rather than engage in obscurantism? They've got plenty of documentation, most of it forged.

Posted by: TangoMan on April 29, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

What I don't get about the boycott is one day won't really make a difference. On May 2nd business will resume as normal, and everyone will go back to their jobs. Just like post-Million Man March. Everyone comes to DC, talks real big, makes a complete mess of the Mall, then goes back home. Rah rah. Nothing really changes.

Posted by: G Chord on April 29, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm late to this. but here's some stuff.

For those who need the numbers (11 million plus) try this and hit link to the full report:
pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=53

bigcat is seductive but I go with those who think the repubs thought they could have their own xeno' debate on this. To a degree they're right as the Dems are not throwing up a coherent, simple message because, as usual, . . .

(kth got it) ambivalence. "On the one hand we like immigrants, they're OK; on the other, they are exploited by the wicked repubs. On the one hand, etc., etc. . ."

I don't think it's just the illegals going to be demonstrating Monday. Surely their legal friends and relations, plus sympathetic whities, et al might come out? Why didn't they plan for the 4th and make a real party of it?

The lower level (majority) of residents are unsettled by the rapid growth in numbers (and concentrations, see figures in pew polls), undermining of pay/jobs on top of already uncertain security, perceived and real burdens on schools and other local resources. The lack of control both at the borders and in employment markets heighten these.

We can blame the repubs for much of this,but no one had really enforced the laws. How about starting there?

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am against illegal immigration.

I am against building a border wall.

I am against rewarding illegals with citizenship.

I am for legal immigration that aims directly toward the most oppressed and most prescuted and most in need of protection and relief. The Hatians fleeing a dicatorship that we round up every year from the sugar fields in Flordia and send back are a better example of poor and huddled masses than the Mexicans.

I am against all politicans and officals who have not enforced the immigration laws for the past decade that have led us to the point of having 12 million illegal residents in the country and making it a problem.

I am for a country upholding it's own laws.

I feel sorry for immigrants that have to leave their own country for a job.

I feel sorrier for the little girl working "legally" at the local trade mart for $6.00 an hour and paying taxes, SS and unemployment insurance to this goverment on her low wage job.

The illegals should be putting their "demands" and energy and protest toward their own country for relief, not demanding right's in a "country not their own."

Their militant "demands" instead of respecting our national laws and working legeally and waiting their turn into America aren't acceptable to me.

And my disgust at the special interest in this movement using simplistic slogans such as "racism" and "we are all immigrants" as tools to cover for illegality and squelch debate on the real pro and con economic issues and ramifications of million of illegals/turned legal .. is now complete.

If one assumes there was good reason behind our immigration laws then you have to admit that the illegals, the politicans, the corps, the unions, the churches and all the champions of the illegals "demands" that have something to gain..are saying we should ignore the laws of the country because it suits "their" own purposes and gain this time.

When a country ignores it's own laws and welfare for special interest, profit and political gain it's toast sooner or later...because it will ignore more and more and more...and for all the illegals militancy now, they are nothing but fresh meat for various organizations purposes and they will be nothing but fodder when they become troublesome or they no longer serve a purpose for big bizness,politics, unions, ect... and then another law will be ignored/enacted to put them down...along with all other labor in this country.

I am not with minute men and I am not with the progressive flower children who think the world should be one big stateless, borderless hippy love camp...

But the dems have lost me on this issue.

Posted by: Carroll on April 29, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, darn! Try this:

http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=61

and click report. You should end up here for illegal immigration:

pewhispanic.org/files/reports/61.pdf

Sorry!

Posted by: nothere on April 29, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Carroll:

If it's not applying the laws of the country that concerns you, and the dems have lost you, where are you going?

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Carroll:

For the record, I am entirely in favor of making the entire globe one big stateless, borderless hippy love camp :)

Wouldn't that be, like, awesome?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 29, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but is "pro-immigrant" progressive really supposed to mean indulgence of people who enter the nation illegally? Would you like someone walking into your yard and camping out there without your permission? And they are here mostly because businesses want cheap labor. (Ironic note: Mexico is very harsh against illegal immigrants into Mexico!)

Posted by: Neil' on April 29, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Neil':

I not only have no problem with this, but I'd welcome a cute little illegal Mexican family to pull down my pants, climb through my anus and take up permanent residency in my lower GI tract.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 29, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: "...A lot depends on what axe the source has to grind."

Indeed--those who argue that we must give illegal residents a path to citizenship have a reason to inflate the numbers, and those who argue that it is a terrible, terrible problem also want to inflate the numbers. I agree with you that the number must be large, but I'm always suspicious of estimates.

notthere: thanks for the link.

What Pew does is subtract legal foreign-born residents from the total foreign-born population counted in the Current Population Survey. They include an allowance for immigrants not included Census figures. The residual is their estimate of the number of undocumented migrants. They admit the variance is high.

According to Pew, 30% of foreign born residents in the US are here illegally. 56% of illegal residents are from Mexico and another 22% from Central America--78% in total.

According to Pew, ~85% of Mexicans migrants have been undocumented since 2000. That's flabbergasting.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome to the new Liberal, same as the old Liberal.

Yes, they have vague good intentions, but when push comes to shove, May 1st is Law and Order Day, not May Day.

This thread reminds me of the old story about the guy who goes to prison and finds they've all been telling the same jokes so long, they've just assigned numbers to the jokes. One guy will say "Number 37" and everyone else will laugh.

So here we have the concern about the "backlash" etc etc.

The rightwing has so got your number. Yes, liberals genuinely wanted segregation to end, but when all has been said and done, a third of the black males are in prison or on probation, most to be forever denied the vote, and their children, of course, are being raised in poverty-stricken fatherless households, usually in a part of town soaked with industrial poisons.

Now George Bush has decided, to heck with Laura and Jeb's goofy wife, it's time for a little rascist whoop-ass. And Liberals, as usual, are afraid that if they talk back there's going to be a backlash.

Well, here's a newsflash- the employers of illegal immigrants are Republicans. A "backlash" against them would be what is otherwise known as "exposing the internal contradictions". That would be a good thing.

But I suppose that, as usual, it will be up to the people of color to do the heavy lifting. Da*n, where's that northern European Protestant work ethic when you need it?

Posted by: serial catowner on April 29, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

And for all of you who see this demonstration as a vast GOP conspiracy, able to somehow marshall tens of thousands of Bush-hating liberals, leftist organizations, and Hispanics to do their bidding: At what point does this kind of thinking become a clinical problem?

You know, after all this time I still can't decide if you do this on purpose, or if you just lack some critical reasoning function.

The claim is not that the GOP is putting these people on the street. The claim - indeed, the fact - is that 2 months ago, nobody was talking about immigration. Then Bush went to Congress and said "Let's start talking about immigration."

Why? To distract everyone from the string of disasters that is this presidency. It's just that simple.

(by the by, I am amused by Bush's "let's make immigration my legacy." So "mission accomplished" isn't cutting it any more, eh? And then it's Iran that's supposed to be his legacy. I suspect he keeps throwing out legacy topics because he knows, deep down inside, that right now his legacy is already secure - as the worst president who has ever existed throughout all time and space).

Posted by: craigie on April 29, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and a handy tip: "Bush-hating liberals" is now too narrow. There are plenty of Bush-hating conservatives too. Keep up.

Posted by: craigie on April 29, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

marc cooper! allying yourself with marc cooper tells me things about you that i hate to know.

marc cooper revealed his stalinist inclinations during the attempted theft of the pacifica foundation as orchestrated by lynn chadwick, and then mo'fu berry and her band of thieves.

i put marc cooper in the same corral as bill kristol, doug feith, elliot abrams - and all the others who believe that censorship is legitimate in a democracy.

but marc cooper's stalinism was uglier. he chaired a show, RADIO NATION[the nation magazine on air] that was produced at pacifica's los angeles station, KPFK. i first encountered his censorious ways during a visit i made to LA during a fund drive.

at the time, i was living in metro-Houston and had noted how our pacifca station, KPFT, was devolving under the lynn chadwick regime. the news, the documentaries/reports, that Pacifica[KPFT]aired during the reagan/bush presidencies were being eliminated.

during those years, one of my favorite shows was in foci latino. if you wanted to know what was happening during the reagan/bush wars in central amerika, it was essential - martha honey/tony avirgan were regular correspondents from the front.

by the time gary webb started his dark alliance series in the san jose mercury news, KPFT had no news...it had become muzak. according to garland ganter, who was the md at the time, the pacifica foundation had decided to take money from the cpb. as a condition of that financing, the cpb insisted upon arbitron ratings for the pacifica affiliates.
hmmmmm.

and according to ganter, the only way that KPFT could meet the arbitron levels that the cpb insisted upon to justify its grant, KPFT had to become a music only, commercial-free broadcaster.

Radio Nation was not aired by ganter's kpft. as i said, i was in LA during a fund drive. listening to radio nation. the premium was gary webb's soon to be published book. i called in to donate $500.

as a pro forma for the donation, i was asked if i wanted to be identified as a donor, did i have anything to say concerning my gift. i told her that i did. and i gave her my name, the fact that i lived in houston, and that i was making this contribution because the houston station had ceased airing shows such as this one.

i think i know that my pledge was the largest one for that show that day. much to my surprise, it went unmentioned on the air. i thought that very strange.

during that radio nation fund drive show, marc cooper was accompanied by kpfk's gm - mark schubb[sic].

the next day, in a driving rainstorm, i drove to the kpfk studios to give 'em the cash, and to try to talk to mark schubb. oh, they took the money, but schubb couldn't be bothered to come out of his office to talk to a contributor from outside of his listening area.

i was visiting the bay area, listening to kpfa - the founding pacifica station - when nicole sawaya, kpfa gm, was fired. the hour when the pacifica foundation board defenestrated free speech radio. the hour when the precepts of pacifica were buried.

if my memory serves me accurately, a black, female, fascist took/had taken control of the pacifica foundation board. mary frances berry. she immediately imposed speech restrictions on pacifica news.

traveling down the coast to LA, tuning into KPFK, i caught marc cooper's radio nation broadcast. sitting alongside him was mark schubb. and they were telling their audience how they believed in the censorship, how it would be that kpfk would report no news concerning the opposition to the pacifica foundation board and its decisions.

i could say so much more. i could tell you how i wrote peter kornbluh at the nation demanding that he repudiate cooper. he refrained from responding.

to summarize, marc cooper ain't no "lefty". and there are many days when i wonder about THE NATION as well.

VENCEREMOS.

Posted by: albertchampion on April 29, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

notthere..

To answer your question...I have no idea of where I am going.

As it stands now my disgust level with dems is almost equal to my disgust level with repubs.
If any third party candidate shows up who is not totally batshit crazy I may vote for him/her. A useless protest perhaps....but you gotta start somewhere.


Carroll:

If it's not applying the laws of the country that concerns you, and the dems have lost you, where are you going?


Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 7:58 PM

Posted by: Carroll on April 29, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

do these people not know that doors and gates swing in both directions. come tuesday morning the hordes will be moving on the shopping districts like little french man and dafurer's armies leaving russia. hell iwas going to get a hair cut monday , but i forgot the barber shops a always closed on monday . like the fat man said , blue monday and my head is bad , so roll ovver and go back to sleep. maybe i'll catch y'all wednesday.

Posted by: MR. PEABODY on April 29, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

At a local McDonalds, the employees were given a letter with their paychecks that said that they would be terminated if they didn't show up if scheduled to work May 1st. This particular restaurant has legal (and perhaps illegal) hispanics employees.

Email came out of the blue and said to protest the high price of gasoline by boycotting gas on May 1st.

May 1st
Are you with us or against us?
Clearly a wedge, divide and conquer, issue.

Posted by: slanted tom on April 29, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

If they worked for airtraffic control , would they be fired from their jobs ?

Posted by: UNCLE REGAN on April 29, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: "Bush's "let's make immigration my legacy." So "mission accomplished" isn't cutting it any more, eh?"

Speaking of time and space, the mission to Mars never got off the ground either.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Boycotts are powerful and volatile weapons used as a last resort to bust open dams of dogged resistance. You don't use them when the political tide is even vaguely flowing in your direction.

Yeah? Where does it say that? In the "Appropriate Political Tactics Etiquette Guide?"

Can we see the entries for impeachment for blowjobs? How's about party headquarters break-ins? Phone jamming? Bribery? Lying?

Posted by: Lanco Yokel on April 29, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have to admit the posts on this site are, for the most part, hysterical and is good tension release.

"...a third of black males are either in prison or on probation.....and their children are being raised in poverty stricken, fatherless households....." - serial catowner. Seriously implying that it is someone else's fault for this situation other than the father. Probably George Bush's.

"...employers of illegal immigrants are Republicans" - serial catowner. That's true, you have to swear to an oath for joining the party.

And this one I love. "..as usual it will be up to the people of color that will have to do the heavy lifting" - serial

But aren't a third of black men in prison? That's gotta suck for other 66%.

Posted by: Jay on April 29, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie:

I think it goes to your first point, brain function. Somehow new information, abstraction, reasoning and logic all go to hell. That's why they get so upset that the majority of intellectuals at universities are "liberal". And probably why at the last election more university trained people voted Dem rather than Pub, and vice versa for blue collar. There's a study here for brain function.

Secondly, I can't outright disagree with a plot to divide, but, now, the repubs are totally split over bush's line. So distraction may have been the plan but I don't think they thought this through. Just like everything else. The more I compare this bunch to Hitler's path the more it jives. They so much believe their early success and propaganda, when the truth or reality intrudes they have no idea what is going on; and the acolytes are so sycopohantic it's a . . . KING (Bush) with no clothes!

Thirdly: Bush, legacy? Ask him for a definition. I once heard him talk about his place in history; he wasn't interested. Not that he doesn't want it, he's just not engaged.

So, results show this group to be the worst executive losers the US has seen in, what, 75 years? They are just not as clever as they claim.

Can the Dems claim the open ground?

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

I am not with the progressive flower children who think the world should be one big stateless, borderless hippy love camp...

It's not the hippies that are doing that, it's the politicians and capitalists who brought you things like NAFTA and GATT. Perhaps they were too naive to think that when capital crosses international borders that people wouldn't follow suit. Most likely, they didn't give a damn.

There will come a day when international borders will be of no more economic or political significance than county lines, and there ain't a thing any of us can do about it. It won't be because of any world peace movement; it will be because capitalism will demand it.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 29, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

it will be because capitalism will demand it.

I agree, and this is a great irony, because this is the same capitalism promoted by the Black-Helicopter, United-Nations-is-a-Sneaky-World-Government freakout crowd.

Be careful what you ask for, I guess...

Posted by: craigie on April 29, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

re "Boycotts are powerful and volatile weapons used as a last resort to bust open dams of dogged resistance. You don't use them when the political tide is even vaguely flowing in your direction."

Robert Altemeyer's research on the authoritarian personality would predict that a boycott is likely to encourage a more conservative/authoritarian position.

It could get worse: authoritarian personalities have "an aggressive attitude towards individuals or groups disliked by authorities; particularly those who threaten traditional values." Given that 85% of Mexicans who have come to the US since 2000 are here illegally, the step to prejudice and discrimination against all Mexican-Americans is a tiny one.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, my link didn't work. My quote is from wikipedia.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus..

You have no idea how aware I am of this, because I was actually "at" the GATT conference in Geneva in 1966. And for the past forty years I have watched everything the American business interest testified to and warned against come true, right down to all the closed up, defunct manufacturing plants, mills and former businesses that now litter my state in the hundreds.

"It's not the hippies that are doing that, it's the politicians and capitalists who brought you things like NAFTA and GATT. Perhaps they were too naive to think that when capital crosses international borders that people wouldn't follow suit. Most likely, they didn't give a damn.

"There will come a day when international borders will be of no more economic or political significance than county lines, and there ain't a thing any of us can do about it. It won't be because of any world peace movement; it will be because capitalism will demand it."

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 29, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Carroll on April 29, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

curses! wikipedia.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus and craigie:

I wish I could remember all the science fiction I inundated my brain with as a teenager, but some of them had it so right. Here we go, at the moment, in a corporate/greed driven tail spin, and where the world ends (and it it looks like it might) nobody knows!

How does the world's left brain hemisphere get engaged?

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

BTW

We no longer have any international borders where it regards "bizness" right now.

The erasing of borders for labor is the second part of the slippery slope.

Say hello to the Universe of Corporations...got a wage/labor gripe, take it to the UN, got a business gripe, take it to the WTO...you want your human right's, take it up with your new goverment...the Goverment of Multinationals R'Us.

Posted by: Carroll on April 29, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I think these arguments, which ultimately come down to the preservation of national sovereinghty, are futile. We already have a one-world economy. Either we are going to have to develop a one-world government to regulate it, or else give in to unregulated capitalism and let the chips fall where they may. Which is the future that the GOP anarcho-capitalists are trying to prepare us for.

Who knows; in the end it could end up looking like this...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 29, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus: "This is why I think these arguments, which ultimately come down to the preservation of national sovereinghty, are futile. We already have a one-world economy"

How will the one-world economy be affected by peak oil and global climate change?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus

Hurray! There are a few people here who look to the future. Most gripe about the present.

All the money is against it. The corporations, the governments, the rich (how ever relative)self-interest. Is that why the UN is such a target of the corporate interests?

How do we avoid "soylent green" (can't remenber how it's spelled).


By The Way:
How did "INSOMUCH" get to be one word. Was I asleep? How about "IFYOUWILL" (whateverthatreallymeans, going for a while now and seeing a resurgence), or "THEPERFECTSTORM".

No! NO! NNOOO!

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK
It's not the hippies that are doing that, it's the politicians and capitalists who brought you things like NAFTA and GATT.

Its both; the difference is, the hippies want that one big borderless world to be governed by transparent democratic institutions that protect rights globally, and the capitalists want it to be governed by a byzantine array of unaccountable institutions whose principle purposes are to limit the power of governments to interfere in with the interests of the capitalists.

Its not a question of whether we are going to progress toward a de facto single world system, its a question of who that system is going to serve.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 29, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

I think you should put something out there before asking questions.

Posted by: notthere on April 29, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK
How did "INSOMUCH" get to be one word. Was I asleep?

If by "asleep" you mean "not yet born", then I'd say that's likely the case, since it is found that way in the 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (see here, and be sure to click through the "Source" link on the first entry.)


Posted by: cmdicely on April 29, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

PTate: How will the one-world economy be affected by peak oil and global climate change?

notthere: All the money is against it. The corporations, the governments, the rich (how ever relative)self-interest. Is that why the UN is such a target of the corporate interests?

The two thoughts seem to compliment each other. The one-world economy has no long-term answers for Peak Oil, since it has no long-term answers to anything. The short-term answer seems to be in waging resource wars, of which GWB's excellent Iraq adventure will likely be just the first of many.

The UN is being targeted because it is the only institution on the planet that can take on the US and its plans for world domination. The US has no real objections to one-world government, so long as it is administered out of Washington. No single nation can challenge the US individually at this point, but if a number of nations were to join in a coalition to take the US on as a bloc, we would be in a heap of trouble. What the America-first, get us out of the UN types don't understand is that the main reason the US stays in the UN is to keep an eye on the bastards.

cmdicely:the difference is, the hippies want that one big borderless world to be governed by transparent democratic institutions that protect rights globally, and the capitalists want it to be governed by a byzantine array of unaccountable institutions whose principle purposes are to limit the power of governments to interfere in with the interests of the capitalists.

One other difference: The capitalists have political power; the hippies don't.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 30, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

notthere: I have a particular peeve of my own concerning words. I'd like to know how "noone" got started as a means to say "no one"? I had never seen that one before the rise of the internets.

Here's what I was taught: "No one" means basically the same as "nobody". "Noone" was the lead singer of Herman's Hermits.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 30, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Thankyou somuch. Click on your link and be sure to click "Source" too. Not directly useful.

So I didnt see any direct link, but I'm feeling lazy and it didn't seem like common useage.

Bytheway, ifyoudontmind, Id like to speak on the idiocy of linking common phrases as words, because, ifyouarenotcareful it might lead to a slipperyslope where precise meaning mightbe lost to ahousedivideduntoitself.

Not only that, but the beauty of the language itself.

The 'pubs and how they define beauty are all against it. Too liberal! 1913 0n not.

Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

notthere: "I think you should put something out there before asking questions.

Why?

dr. sardonicus: "The one-world economy has no long-term answers for Peak Oil, since it has no long-term answers to anything. The short-term answer seems to be in waging resource wars, of which GWB's excellent Iraq adventure will likely be just the first of many."

Yeah, good answer. It seems likely.

It seems to me that the one-world economy depends on cheap oil. Right now, peasants in China can make stuff, the stuff is shipped to WalMart, the American consumer buys it and drives it home. Higher and higher gas prices will make those long supply lines more expensive--though the most expensive part will always be the last five miles to the individual consumer's house. Still the advantage of distant cheap labor will be eaten up by the cost of shipping goods. I am assuming no good energy substitutes for oil.

And if incomes continue to fall in the US, as nature forces us to accept a sustainable lifestyle, presumably American consumers will buy less stuff. Eventually, local economies will begin to produce more goods locally as we reorganize locally to live without oil. The pressure will be for smaller units of government--perhaps based more on climate & regional interests. I could see the US, for example, devolving into six or seven regions. I assume that it will be hard for humans to be persuaded to share their resources with strangers.

Meanwhile, in the absence of zero population growth (though AIDS is going to continue to take a toll) resources-food, firewood, water, gold, uranium--will become scarce. Forests will continue to be cut down which will just exacerbate the climate feedback mechanisms. In the absence of leadership, genocide could be an answer to group differences and competition for scarce resources.

If I understand the impact of global warming, drought, heat waves, and weather turbulence will cause famine in some parts of the world. Rising water levels will make some densely populated parts of the world uninhabitable. The parts of the world that have more arable land, supplies of fresh water and more temperate climates (Europe, the US & Canada, Russia, Japan, Australia, NZ) will experience tremendous immigration pressures from hundreds of millions of desperate people. And we think we have illegal immigration problems now.

A one world government to keep some kind of order might make sense--I would prefer it to be the US if run by competent people, but it is more likely to be China or India, because so much of the world is already inside their borders. And China owns us.

When I try to reason about the future like this from what we know now, a grim exercise, I think that free market, one-world economy is going to collapse very soon. It won't be able to address the chaos that the human species has unleashed. It's just really grim. Maybe we'll devolve back into agrarian/military states. Like Pollyanna in Hell, I try to find an upside and I can't, short of denial.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Is this really a progressive priority, or even issue?

Seems to me more akin to old-fashioned, liberal interest-group politics.

Why would we just suddenly decide to make all undocumented workers legal? What's the compelling progressive argument?

Other than interest-group benefit seekers, the only group I would see that ought naturally support this would be neoliberals, since free markets aren't really free if capital can move and not labor, but I don't really see too many people protesting out of allegiance to free markets.

I'm a progressive, and I see no obvious reason to endorse illegal immigration - either already committed or in the future. I do see a need to fix our immigration system, and make it softer and more transparent for needed workers to enter the country, and I support amnesty for those who can prove they've worked consistently for at least a year or two in this country, but I won't support blanket amnesty until I hear a compelling argument for it.

Posted by: Jimm on April 30, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus

No one or noone, that is the question.
Whether to fight the reams and pens of outrageous writing,
or, by opposing, re-write them.
To erase, to sno-pake. Ay, to rub.
For in the sleep of construction what dross may come?
What conscience when last word written
might give us pause: there's the respect
that makes calamity of so long life. ...

Noone! Hermits. Going back! 40 years ago this was a debate. I still think every time I type, but have chosen "no one". Makes sense. But I think it is an English shortening of "not everyone" therefore "no'one" would be he best and keep everyone aware of some roots.

Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

PTate: Your analysis makes sense. I think we could, if we were serious, make a decent transition to a more decentralized economy and sustainable lifestyle, were it not for our aversion to large-scale planning. Also, one of the purposes of the resource wars is to convince Americans that a warrior's death is preferable to downsizing.

Of course, GWB and his crew know much more about Peak Oil, global warming, etc. than they care to let on, since a good number of them made their fortunes in the extraction industry. Thus another reason for the resource wars - they figure they can't do much about the supply side, but they can try to do something about demand. The wars, then, provide a way to reduce the competition by either killing them outright or at least keeping them down in the dirt.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 30, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus: "This is why I think these arguments, which ultimately come down to the preservation of national sovereingty, are futile. We already have a one-world economy"

How will the one-world economy be affected by peak oil and global climate change?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

++++++++++++++++++++
notthere: "I think you should put something out there before asking questions.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

We're all busy but, I guess, by putting some opinion out there:

1) there's a reduction of traps out there.

2) from a very broad (like 5 books worth) of answers to the quaestion asked someone can give something more pertinent to the task.

3) You put yourself on an equal footing instead of trying to keep an advantage. You were asking a question about an opinion without any critical feedback.
That's like children. Why?..Why?..Why?... Then they discover they can use it as an annoyance as well as for education. Some people never learn to give it up.

Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

notthere: PTate is a poster of long standing and good repute on this board, to whom I would give the benefit of the doubt.

Your bit of doggerel at 1:31 is good stuff, but it can't hold a candle to "I'm Henry VIII, I Am!"

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 30, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

OK, here is my version of Azlatan.

Azlatan will be a free trade zone extending from north LA to south Mexico city. Any North American can go there.

It is composed of cities with 100 to 200 million people, but mainly single factory workers.

The factory workers live in apartments the size of metal storage containers, but they are air conditioned, have sound proofing and great stereo; good because the commuter train stops within 20 yards of each little apartment.

Workers to go equivalent sized boxes elsewhere and make widgets for 6 hours, straight. It is sort of an early Matrix; or the equivalent of a suicide worker for factories.

But that is OK, because you are allowed to send your wages, eggs and sperm home, to impregnate whatever spouse you may have back there; provided somebody makes widgets for artificial insemination, (ineggiation?)

Families live far away in suburbs, thousands of miles away. Everyone in Azlatan is a temporary worker, a bracero. Hence they pay no taxes. No workers are allowed to have a real social security numbers, and each worker gets a unique, but fake social security number.

We will have these places around the world, like economic green zones. Lotta opportunity for widget trading, and sailors are used to cramped quarters anyway.

The speak Englichinico in Azlatan. Lawyers are shot on sight.


Posted by: Matt on April 30, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

If I understand this correctly, you support foreign citizens marching in our streets demanding rights to which they aren't entitled. You also support foreign citizens attempting to shut down our cities and harm our economy.

Well, obviously, if they're not entitled to whatever rights you're referring to, marches or rallies or boycotts represent possible means of making the case that they ought to be given some of these rights. What's your point? In the end, only the democratic process will grant rights to these non-citizens (like, for instance, the right to stay and work here, or the right to citizenship). It's not like they're going to stage a coup or something. Besides, as you well know, many of the people protesting are in this country legally, and many of them are citizens. And in any event, is carrying placards and staging boycotts any worse than hiring a K Street lobbying firm or a Madison Avenue PR agency? Plenty of foreigners use these more sophisticated methods to influence debates. Are such methods more noble than simple, honest, marches and parades? Perhaps you support a law prohibiting forbidding foreigners from registering opinions? In our open society, we tend not to have a problem with such efforts because often we find that the opinions of foreigners are worth listening to, even if we end up not having our minds changed. Do you feel that someone who happens not to be American is incapable of holding a point of view worth listening to? That's a pretty un-American attitude in my view.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 30, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

what Carroll said at 7:29.

Posted by: hh on April 30, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

dr sardonicus

Thanks for the info. I'm newish an have not come across PTate before. Still think putting an opinion or information forward is useful in clear and even argument rather than Dispute.

Doggerel? Pshaw! Pure Originality.

PTate 1:27 AM:

Your analysis is vaguely right but you go totally wrong in that you seem to imply that what is going on is in the near political time line. It is Not! Also that global warming is here tommorow. Individual events will be, but overall it is still coming. (I tell everyone it will be here sooner the they think.) We're looking 20, 50 100, 200 years ahead, depending upon measure.

Here is my view, also without cites:

Oil is probably at about peak production. Consumption is rising rapidly because of India, China, SE Asia. There is still oil to be found in deep water plus expensive conversions. Price sensitivity will slow growth of petroleum use and help substitution. Also, at high near prices=slower growth nearer term. High prices=substitution, new sources.

Poverty is increasing in the US and will continue so. In the world, with political and agri variations, it will increase because the west does not have the will to deal with it. Extreme poverty and malnutrition will continue even if we have the ability to alleviate.

Water will become the primo concern almost every where. We've been talking since the 70s. Wait 'til CO, NV, AZ, CA get into it, let alone all the other agro states. Then there's industrial use and pollution of water, land and air (air has hardly been in the debate).

LASTLY, for the moment, to make it short(?):

One world government = US dominated! Nice!

Why do you think the majority of world nations do not think that the UN is democratic. Or representaive? We Westerners just love domination, don't we?

Want a view on the NEW Economy. I know what I want. Do You?

Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

We Westerners just love domination, don't we?
Posted by: notthere on April 30, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

BS. Easterners don't love domination?

Show me one civilization that doesn't love domination. (hint: they don't survive long; they get dominated by the ones that DO).
It's human nature, and it's Darwinism writ large. And the problem is, when one tribe finally succeeds and dominates, it factionalizes and splits and eats itself. (as we're seeing in the Republican party, WRT the "Fiscal Conservatives" versus the "Social Conservatives" versus the sheer need to exploit pork to stay funded and get re-elected). Or, if it doesn't factionalize, it suffers the fate of all monocultures. Extinction.

But as far as the Immigration flap goes, the way I see it; we either have a border or we do not.

If we have a border, we have a responsibility, both to protect American workers from unfair competition, adn to protect Mexican workers from unfair exploitation.

If we do not have a border, then there is no sovereign USA and sovereign Mexico, and we better start normalizing our laws, our worker's rights and protections, our safety standards, our quality standards, and our public safety nets.

If that were to happen there would be no incentive for Mexicans to immigrate.

Problem solved.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 30, 2006 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, I am stating a public campaign to restore the honor to Little Black Sambo, that neat kid who could circle tigers and turn them into butterlmiik syrup covered pancakes. The famous chef was unfairly maligned as an Uncle Tom of youth by over zealous Black Nationalists. Sambo has not been allowed in the kitchen since, and I demand his return.

Posted by: Matt on April 30, 2006 at 4:29 AM | PERMALINK

As many posters have already noted, global capitalism already is making borders obsolete.

Borders no longer are a means of protecting sovereignty, but of limiting accountability for global corporations. So you can hire illegal immigrants, for instance, and hold their illegal status over them to keep them in line. Or off shore your operations to countries were human and labor rights are not in effect.

But the point is the borders are already open. So the moral, progressive thing to do is to demand that the rights and dignity of workers be respected. In the US, that means that your country of origin should have no bearing on your ability to receive the full protection of the law. All workers should be expected to make their fair contribution of course (i.e. taxes), but should also receive full legal recognition and protection. These people would not be here did our economy not demand it, after all.

No mass deportations. Make it easier to become legal (and provide a path to citizenship if you work and pay taxes - no taxation without representation, after all). Harsh penalties against employers, not workers.

Those who compalain about "porous borders," unless you start making a serious push to reverse NAFTA and CAFTA, stop buying goods produced overseas, and in general do your best to completely drop out of the global economy, you really have no room to speak.

Posted by: moderleft on April 30, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

If the problem were only Mexicans, who formerly did claim a part of what they had themselves stolen from the Native Americans, things would be much simpler.

From my perspective in law enforcement, what I really see is that every nation in the world is happy to export their lawbreakers and neediest welfare cases to the U.S.A. When we catch the chronic criminals we go through the silly and costly exercise of sending them back, which exile rarely lasts more than a week before they are here again with new papers and a new identity.

Ultimately, we will have most of the world's bad folks in our fingerprint and DNA files. Our state of Washington is one of those which only require a utility bill address and no photo I.D. to vote, so my guess is that Democrats will register and vote a whole lot of illegal aliens and criminals, since anyone trying to stop this practice faces jail themselves if they identify 99 non-citizens voting but get the 100th one wrong due to name confusion, then they face civil or criminal penalties themselves for "intimidating a voter."

Posted by: Mike Cook on April 30, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

"This issue appeared out of nowhere at a time congressional Republicans needed to divide the country." -Bigcat

Oh please.

I've been hearing about the illegal immigration issue since I was a child in the '70s. This didn't exactly come out of nowhere. This has been building for a long time, lots of resentment and anger on all sides. It's about more than illegals, it's about respect for a minority that's been putting up with a lot of crap for a long time. But... It is also about the fact that wages are being driven down across the board, in part by the presence of illegals; this hurts the non-union working class the most, while benefiting the bosses, so it's no wonder this issue dividing Democrats.

The Democratic Party's dependence on corporate and union money is at odds with its principles of supporting the working class, especially the folks without unions. Boy, there's a new one, huh?

If the timing of all this is inconvenient for the Democratic Party establishment, that's just tough shit. Grassroots movements happen from the bottom up, not the top down. You can deal with it, you can choose sides, or you can ignore it. But the DNC can't control it, and that bugs the hell out of them.

The party establishment in DC is also probably more than a little pissed. This grassroots marching and organizing is something they didn't invent, didn't support, and have no control over, but it's going on without them. Like the impeachment movement and the anti-war movement and the 9/11 truth movement, it's happening with or without their so-called leadership.

Well, that's kind of the point of grassroots movements- no Party establishment can control them, though they can use them. The DNC is afraid to use them, but the GOP is not.

Yes, absolutely, you bet your ass the GOP is using the issue to divide people. And it's working, just look how it's dividing Democrats. So they've been building up the story with demagoguery and thinly-veiled racism. It works for them because its dividing the Democrats and distracting their own wandering doubters from the GOP scandals and failure to govern.

Like the Democrats, they don't control it either, but they're too panicked about the coming mid-terms, and the fact that a lot of their own may stay home this fall, to see that they're shooting themselves in the foot for the long term.

The only hispanic Republican voters left after this will be the handful of elderly Cubans in Dade County who still give a damn about Castro- that is, IF the Democrats get off their ass and start, you know, supporting working people...

Now, not everyone who disagrees with the marchers is racist or xenophobic, not at all- but I guarantee you, every xenophobic racist is disagreeing with the marchers.

Again, nothing new here. As someone else here pointed out, the early civil rights movement followed a similar path in the '50s and '60s, with the Democratic Party divided, and their leaders urging the movement to wait, wait, wait.

Let us get through the next election, then you'll see action... Ok, next election, we promise... Next election, we mean it this time... And the movement waited for years and years and finally got fed up and hit the streets, whether the party strategists liked it or not.

And then, too, the GOP used the issue, flamed the flames of hatred, escalated the rhetoric, and took advantage of the resulting division among the Democrats. Ever heard of the Southern Strategy? This was when the GOP used the Democrat's internal division over, and lukewarm support of, the civil rights movement for the express purpose of luring racist Dixiecrats to their party. Sound familiar?

And it worked- they got white Southern voters for the first time since the Civil War, and mobilized the racists in their ranks. But it also cost them pretty much every black vote ever since. Folks remembered which party eventually came around, and who never did.

Fine, let 'em do it again. The Dems became a better party when the Dixiecrats beat it. Now if we could only get rid of Zell Miller, Joe Klein and the other DINOs, this party could maybe stand for something again.

But I'm not holding my breath. Nothing like a few decades of observing politics, and a little study of political history in America to make one cynical as hell...

Posted by: RobW on April 30, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK


Why did the xenophobe* cross the road?

To join the Republican Party.


*xenophobe n. A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.

Posted by: deejaays on April 30, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Progs aren't out of touch, the "Bushies" created this Immigrattion War, they pissed off the Hispanics, and other nationals, in this country, so the Progs are gonna sit by and watch the Democrats and the Neo-Con/Republicans take the heat for what they Created, trying to Polarize or Blame the Progressives, for Immigration Issues that go back decades, of won't work either.
So blaming them for being Silent on the ISSUE, is HILARIOUS!!!! Keep up the Good Work Demo-con-Pubs.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on April 30, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

I live in Texas, and have for a long time, You can't stop them from coming over, its damn near impossible. The only way they will stop coming over is if people stop hiring them for cheap labor.

I am not anti-immigrant, but anti-illegal immigrant. If We get them to come over Legally. Great. They are productive members.

I know people that Hire Illegals for cheap wages, they also call themselves Republicans, his excuse is 'Profit' yet he's the first to cuss Illegal Aliens.
But since he "only" hires a Few, its 'OKAY'.
There are alot of FEWS out there whom think that they don't add to a much larger problem.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 30, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Geeze, people, catch a clue: Bush is on YOUR side on this subject! It's part of why his poll numbers are so low: He's continually pissing off his base by refusing to do anything about illegal immigration, and pushing for an amnesty. Did you somehow miss when he attacked the Minutemen as "vigilantes"?

Apparently you hate the dude so much you can't even see when he agrees with you, and is taking a hit to advance YOUR causes.

The fact is, the Republican party establishment HATES this issue becoming live, for the simple reason that while both parties are absolutely committed to allowing illegal immigration, (Which is why nothing ever happens to stop it.) YOUR base agrees with you, and THEIR base hates their guts for doing it.

The only reason these marches are dangerous, is that it might make the subject so actively important that the Republicans decide that they can't afford to continue screwing over their own base, and force them to actually start enforcing immigration laws. Which would help them politically, no matter how much they'd hate doing it.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore on April 30, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Geeze, people, catch a clue: Bush is on YOUR side on this subject! It's part of why his poll numbers are so low: He's continually pissing off his base by refusing to do anything about illegal immigration, and pushing for an amnesty. Did you somehow miss when he attacked the Minutemen as "vigilantes

Bush is, strangely, among the major public figures on the right side of this debate. In fact, when he won in 2000, that was one of the things I comforted myself with - I figured however bad he turned out to be, at least now there was a half-decent shot at creating a route to legalization. He was talking to Vicente Fox, talking up legalized worker programs... then 9/11 happened and that all fell by the wayside.

So I was happy to see it re-emerge. Too bad he already spent most of his political capital on wars and social security privatization for there to be a good chance of something actually happening now.

Posted by: moderleft on April 30, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

My eyebrow is definitely raised at some of the comments below. Worried about a "backlash"? Ridiculous! One has only to think back to the civil rights marches and sit ins, eventually coordinated by Martin Luther King of sacred memory. There were certainly "backlashes" and worse against the demonstrators, but this did not stop them marching, demonstrating, and calling for America to recognize their rights. If they hadn't, I suppose we would be moviing much slower in the direction of recognizing human rights than we have been. The same goes for the immigrants' call for recognition of *their* rights. Yes, some of these people are "illegal". But many of these "illegals" have been living in the US for *years*! They are *not* criminals! Most of them want to be citizens with citizens' rights. They, too are human beings! Let's not "go slow" on human rights for fear of some conservative "backlash". The buck has to stop somewhere.
Anne G

Posted by: Anne Gilbert on April 30, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ji,,:"Why would we just suddenly decide to make all undocumented workers legal? What's the compelling progressive argument?...I'm a progressive, and I see no obvious reason to endorse illegal immigration - either already committed or in the future."

You raise an important point. There is a kind of moral laziness is saying, "oh, we can't do anything about the undocumented workers who are illegal, so we'll just make them legal." I also consider myself progressive, and, as I have thought about this issue, I have come down on the side of insisting that we enforce our employment laws. We may have to change immigration laws in future, but we shouldn't do it retroactively because the US government has been slack about enforcement for the past six years. A Pew report that was posted last night contained the stunning fact that 85% of Mexicans who have entered the US since 2000 have been undocumented. We certainly shouldn't be mush-heads who think we can secure that latino vote this way. Talk about a lack of principle.

People who are here illegally need to leave and apply for legal immigration visas and wait their turn like millions of other world citizens are doing. It will be hard on some of them, it will be hard on us as we experience increases in food costs, but just because something is hard should not stop us from doing it.

notthere: "You put yourself on an equal footing instead of trying to keep an advantage. You were asking a question about an opinion without any critical feedback."

Apologies for misleading you. I am often only able to post on weekends, so maybe that is why you haven't seen me before. Perhaps it would have helped had I started my post with some additional contextual information, such as "I agree and that's an interesting analysis. What I've been thnking about of late is peak oil and climate change. Have you thought about how one world economy would blah, blah...."

I always find dr sardonicus's posts to be insightful and valuable, and my comment was not meant as a dispute, but respectfully, as an extension, to elicit further thinking. I hadn't thought about a one-world economy, and I have been thinking a lot about peak oil and climate change, so I was actually asking as a learner. I find the most valuable threads are not just opinions being stated, he said, she said, but ones in which posters reflect, consider alternative points of view, provide supporting evidence. On such posts, genuine learning can happen. Of late there have been some snotty trolls, though, who have made that kind of learning hard so I'm not surprised you are wary.

What I wrote about the future is a first pass at formulating my own thoughts. You are correct that my timeline was all over the place, but, in general, I think we need to be thinking in terms of 50-100 years instead of short term. I may well be still around 50 years from now. My children or their children will be around in 100. It isn't so far off, really, as cultures go. As Dr Sardonicus pointed out, the free market economy is not equipped to handle long term thinking and planning.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on April 30, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with those who think Bush is out of touch with his base. Why would Dems be unhappy with that scenario ?
If there was anything worth raising hell over ahead of the immigrant situation, it would be lack of civil rights in America, thanks to the Patriot Act ( good satire, that ) and places like Guantanamo.
The immigration thing is about power over people. Bush wants slavery.
The riots in Europe by "guest workers" ought to run up the caution flag.

Posted by: opit on April 30, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Anne Gilbert: "Worried about a "backlash"? Ridiculous! One has only to think back to the civil rights marches and sit ins, eventually coordinated by Martin Luther King of sacred memory. There were certainly "backlashes" and worse against the demonstrators, but this did not stop them marching, demonstrating, and calling for America to recognize their rights."

In your next paragraph you acknowledge that there is a difference between American citizens demanding recognition of their basic civil rights and illegal residents making the same demand. Some have been here for a number of years, yes, but that does not eliminate the fact that they entered illegally. Backlash will occur because of that difference between citizens and illegal residents.

Compassion is hugely important, but justice has to be considered broadly--how do we treat others in the same situation? Think about the hundreds and thousands of people throughout the world, in India, China, Africa, Europe, who are waiting for immigration visas and following the laws and procedures that the US government has established. Is it fair to those who have followed our laws to propose that the US will make a special exception for those who are already in the US because they ignored our laws?

I don't regard illegal residents as criminals, but they need to leave and wait their turn as others do. We can change the immigration law, we can make visas easier to obtain and we can be compassionate, but we need to insist on obedience to our laws. If we are not a nation of laws, then we have lost the core of what made this experiment in democracy work for 200 years.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum, just like usual, you and most of the pundit class are still drinking the Moderate Kool-Aid. To be more specific, your storyline is always a calibrated reflection of the Republican storyline that is, as always, driving the debate.

Republican (fantasy) storyline: "We're fueled by having enemies - and we watn popular enemies. The Arab thing has no real juice too often, and the economy sucks, so let's go after the Mexicans. They're here illegally. Illegal = depraved, criminal, offense, security risk. Let's build a wall.

Democratic storyline: "Gee, the Republicans are pretty angry about something. Even though all the rest of the crap they've been angry about has backfired on them spectacularly, I still find all tht anger intimidating. So I'm going to decide that they're right and going to win, but phrase it in liberalese where I don't have to intellectually agree."

EXAMPLE: "I don't support building a wall or xenophobia, but hey, I still think those crazy immigrants are crazy to, um, protest, because, um, the Republicans don't like it, and they're rig - um, angry, and they'll probably just punish you."

WAKE UP, KEVIN DRUM!!! Two months ago, the House passed a bill making it a felony to be an illegal immigrant - assumedly a stage-setter for mass incarceration, something we already love and know how to do. The reaction in the media was muted and non-existent - meaning the ReThugs WON. Almost. Then there were massive protests, a lot like this mayday thing, and lo and behold, ordinary people in the media and otherwise came out of the shadows and said, "hey, this bill in the house is crazy."

This walkout is a great idea. People advocate for mass deportation from a fantasy perspective that can't in anyway visualize the impact that a mass solution would have on our economy. With the least safety net of anyone, illegal immigrants are very, very, employed. Take 12 million people out of the workforce and guess what, there won't be 12 million Americans waiting to fit those slots. There will be an economic shock of large proportions.

Illegal immigration is a global edifice of laws that exist only on paper, selective enforcement, and multi-tier black-market economic misery. The best solution would be to **completely** legalize all migration - basically, **Everyone** is legal - while pushing hard for better social welfare programs in Latin America and fairer trade policies (AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES) in the US.

Unlimited legal immigration would result in less immigrants than the current system, because there are less jobs available for legal workers than there would be for cheaper, illegal ones. It's a market-based solution.

Posted by: glasnost on April 30, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Please, let's be clear about this ...

Bush is *not* on the side of the angels here. His position is just *less* evil than Tancredo's and the House's. A guest worker program, if you really think about it for a minute, is profoundly un-American, and there are practical problems with enforcement and getting workers to finally leave, besides.

The Senate bipartisan bill that was DOA out of committee was the best proposal for the issue -- probably something Bush could've signed. But that was a marked improvement on Bush's original guest worker proposal.

I honestly believe that this issue, like Social Security, would have moved if it weren't for Iraq, the Abramoff scandal and the Plame investigation. Bush has *negative* political capital right now, and the House and Senate leaderships are in disarray. Had this not been the case, some discipline could've been exerted on the base so Bush could get an immigration law passed that would attract Hispanic support. That was the whole idea from the beginning -- increase the size of a wedge widening between Hispanics and the Democrats. Pure Rove.

This is, after all, how he managed to get the pseudo-progressive Medicare Reform Act through, despite the ardent kicking and screaming of conservatives. That's what happens when you have some leadership discipline and a modicum of political capital.

The lack of leadership is why the issue has blown up in everybody's faces -- and not in a good way as a simple wedge issue for Republicans. It's the Republican base who's split (business owners in their heart of hearts want no action) and the xenophobes most passionate about it live in 80% Republican districts. Really really bad math for the GOP.

And the Democrats are worried about a backlash? All they need to to is to hang back and watch the GOP cannibalize each other, while asserting that we should merely enforce the laws already on the books.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 30, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I understand the danger in the guest worker program. But once you establish the legal right of folks to be here, it establishes a precedent. I think it'd be great to skip the whole "guest worker" phase and go right to legalization for everyone showing willingess to take up the full obligations of citizenship. But I suspect it's going to take a few intermediate steps, and establishing a legal right to even exist in this country is probaby a necessary initial step.

Posted by: moderleft on April 30, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

To all who equate illegals to Martin Luther King and civil rights...It's not the same thing..and that is a straw arguement that doesn't fly.

To all who think since capitalism has already breeched borders we should also go to one world labor and one world goverment....well, you have no idea what kind a chaos you are asking for....

It would make the world's present day turmoil and instability look like a tea party.

Posted by: Carroll on April 30, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Carroll:

Why?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 30, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Carroll: "...well, you have no idea what kind a chaos you are asking for...."

rmck1: "why?"

Carroll can answer for him/herself, but I will say this. Say we give some kind of amnesty to those who have crossed into the US illegally and made a place for themselves--even if it is just a path to citizenship and a stiff penalty.

We have just established that people who sneak across our borders will be forgiven eventually because we don't have the will to enforce our laws or pay a fair wage to our own citizens. The US government will confirm that employers who turn a blind eye can get away with it. We establish that we are going to stick it to people in other nations who are waiting to emigrate legally.

The consequence will be to increase efforts to enter the US illegally. That's just basic operant conditioning: a behavior that is rewarded is likely to reoccur.

What do I consider chaos? According to the Pew foundation, 85% of Mexicans who have entered the US since 2000 have come illegally. How many more will enter before some native-born Americans start regarding ALL Latinos as "wetbacks?" I use an ugly term to give you a preview of the kind of language that will be used. We've already seen attempts at vigilante action. We will see overt racism and aggression flare up against American citizens. I would much rather figure out how to enforce existing immigration and employment laws and address the hardships caused by insisting on legal emigration than see this kind of hatred inflicted on our body politic because we were tender-hearted when we should not be.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on April 30, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

Well, I should've quoted the part of Carroll's post I asked that question about.

In general, I agree with you. I'm a moderate on immigration. I think amnesty is both morally wrong and sends the wrong signal everywhere -- to potential illegals as well as to immigrants working themselves through the legal residency/citizenship process. On the other hand, illegal immigration is a whopping fait accompli for which most of the knee-jerk "solutions" are horrendously impractical. We're not going to build a wall; we're not going to bus back hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Mexico (many of whom didn't come from Mexico); businesses and private citizens are not going to stop hiring cheap labor.

This is why I liked the bipartisan Senate bill. It recognizes, first and foremost, the *reality* of illegal immigrants, and addresses the "cutting in front of the line" problem by making them pay both back taxes and a large fine -- and provides a path to citizenship. If I were king, I'd see that bill become law. But I'm *not* king, so unfortnately the bill is dead :(

But Carroll was asking (rhetorically, to be sure) a much larger question about open borders. He's the guy/gal who's worried about the world becoming one great big "hippie love camp" (a wonderful phrase, you've got to admit. Conjures up an image that's a cross between Dachau and Woodstock :) with the open borders implied if globalization is taken to its logical end.

"One world government" is, as we all know, a perpetual right-wing bogeyman. But 20th century history has demonstrated that unbridled nationalism is a cultural disease. If open borders are to an extent made inevitable by a globalizing economy -- what exactly *are* the cultural effects of abandoning some of our more chauvinistic beliefs about the sanctity of American nationalism?

And again -- this is only a question, and one sincerely asked.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 30, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

So maybe I'm just slow, but what, exactly, is immoral about open borders? I mean, assuming a few minimal criteria are met (i.e. willing to pay taxes, not a violent criminal or sex offender), why shouldn't anyone be allowed to move to wherever in the world they like?

Posted by: oneworld on April 30, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Illegal immigrants are only 4% of the population yet the foreign born population is 11.8%. Maybe we should just end legal immigration.

According to Pew, about 52 percent of the nation's foreign-born population is from Latin America, 27 percent from Asia and 15 percent from Europe. That wall isn't going to do much to dissuade illegals from Asia and Europe.

While we are deporting the Mexicans we may want to keep in mind that 7 million million illegals were employed in March 2005, accounting for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force. They made up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories, including 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation. It is going to cost you Californians a lot more for your almonds and apricots, the new addition to the house, your weekly maid service and of course dinner out.

Illegal immigration is not a problem that you can fix on the supply side. It has to be done on the demand side and that means strengthening and actually enforcing laws designed to prevent illegals from being hired. You make it a misdemeanor and a heavy fine for 1-5 and a felony with a ridiculous fine for 6+. Then you have to be prepared to accept the fact things will cost more. What you do with those who are already here, especially the parents of US citizens, is beyond me. A path to citizenship seems to be the best choice.

Posted by: amigo on April 30, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

PTate (an' thanx): People who are here illegally need to leave and apply for legal immigration visas and wait their turn like millions of other world citizens are doing. It will be hard on some of them, it will be hard on us as we experience increases in food costs, but just because something is hard should not stop us from doing it.

Although I can agree with the sentiment that we don't want to reward lawbreaking, I sure can't think of a practical way to get 11-12 million undocumented folks back across the border. They have no incentive to return voluntarily, as the line for current legal immigration here from Mexico is already 6 1/2 years long, and even if we streamlined the process, I doubt that most of them would bother to pick up and re-enter once they're already here. The logistics of a forced removal would be mind-boggling. The last government to attempt relocations of that scale was probably Pol Pot's Cambodia; not exactly anybody the US should be trying to emulate.

We can't use the military since they're already occupied elsewhere. Using domestic law enforcement would take cops off the streets who should be preventing rapes and murders. We could suggest beefing up law enforcement, but in my part of the country at least, nobody is beating down the doors to enter the police academy - not to mention the difficulty of finding enough people with the right temperment for police work. If these demands for manpower at home and abroad keep increasing, we're headed toward some sort of mandatory national service (although it won't happen as long as the Bush bluebloods are in charge). National service, plus a barrier wall, remind me of Israel - another country I don't think it's a good idea for the US to take after.

Rmck, you're making sense, as usual.

Carroll: To all who think since capitalism has already breeched borders we should also go to one world labor and one world goverment....well, you have no idea what kind a chaos you are asking for....

Who's to say that that chaos hasn't already arrived?

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 30, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

oneworld:"So maybe I'm just slow, but what, exactly, is immoral about open borders? I mean, assuming a few minimal criteria are met (i.e. willing to pay taxes, not a violent criminal or sex offender), why shouldn't anyone be allowed to move to wherever in the world they like?"

Open borders, per se, are neither moral nor immoral. But the reality is that humans live in complex social organizations, we have a natural desire to transmit our cultural heritage, and we are have an ugly history of cruelty to strangers that we regard as threatening. Open the borders and you will kiss the social contract goodbye. Places that are rich will be destinations and overwhelmed.

It sounds dire, but we had something similar happen in Minnesota. Twenty years ago, we had some of the most generous welfare benefits in the US because we had compassion for Minnesota families who fell on hard times. Soon the word was out, and we had people moving in from all over the country. Citizens were being asked to pay more and more for welfare and began to resent the demand. Services were cut back. Something similar is happening now in funding for public schools--in St Paul, as many as 40% of children starting kindergarden don't speak English. The parents of children who do speak English are pulling them out and voting down school referendums.

It isn't an attractive feature of humankind, but we like to preserve our tribal communities. That's a species limitation we have to work with.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

Speaking of things culturally Minnesotan, you can really see this dynamic happening in the Nordic European countries as their welfare states learn to cope with a large immigrant Muslim population. All of a sudden cradle-to-grave socialism doesn't look so attractive when it has to support a heterogenous population rather than societies that were until relatively recently close to 80-90% ethnically homogenous.

Welfare is politically palatable when it's "all in the family," as it were. When the people we're helping are enough like us ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 30, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: "On the other hand, illegal immigration is a whopping fait accompli for which most of the knee-jerk "solutions" are horrendously impractical. We're not going to build a wall; we're not going to bus back hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Mexico (many of whom didn't come from Mexico); businesses and private citizens are not going to stop hiring cheap labor."

dr sardonicus: " I sure can't think of a practical way to get 11-12 million undocumented folks back across the border"

Well, this is the problem, isn't it? The wall is one of those desperation-generated bad ideas. I don't think most Americans have the stomach for forced deportation or jailtime. Some of the family situations are deeply complicated--eg, an undocumented mother of American citizens living with her legal immigrant husband.

The goal has to be, as amigo says, to decrease the rewards for coming to the US. That means serious enforcement of employment laws. Many people would not stay if their income vanished and the risk of deportation increased. I personally would like to figure out how to increase investment/growth in Mexico and Central America so the incentives for coming are lessened. I would like the INS to be well enough organized that they can keep track of people who enter on visitor visas and stay overlong. We probably need to reconsider the number and kind of visas that we issue: perhaps a spouse or dependent children should be given priority. We may make humanitarian exceptions rather than a blanket amnesty. There is no single solution, but many decisions based on interpreting the law humanely.

You should read the article in the latest New Yorker about the criminal odyssey of Chinatown's Sister Ping which describes murderers and criminals who were given blanket amnesty the last time around.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: "All of a sudden cradle-to-grave socialism doesn't look so attractive when it has to support a heterogenous population"

Yes, it has been interesting to watch the effect of Muslim residents in Europe. There's a fascinating literature about social capital that finds that humans in homogeneous societies are far more generous than people in heterogeneous societies. I remember one paper that looked at Civil War units--they used age and community of origin as their operationalizations of "homogeneous"--they found that units in which soldiers were about the same age and who came from the same geographic area (homogeneous) were much more likely to re-up and less likely to desert than units that were more heterogeneous in age and who came from different geographic areas.

It is one of those features of humankind that I wish weren't so, but there it is. You have to work with the species you were given.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

I agree with all of that. Americanist makes some good points about instant verification of worker status through the SS database; along with amigo I agree that the solution has to be focused on the demand side. Also, you're right about a humane focus on the specifics; I also agree with Americanist that priority should be given to the immediate family members of residents. It's absolutely brutal to criminalize good samaritanism towards illegals, and it blatantly violates human nature to expect legal residents to turn in illegal family members.

The Tancredo/Sensenbrenner approach really illustrates how the opposition to illegals comes from people who have little interaction with them. The cruelty quotient is so high that it's obvious the supporters of this approach are white surbanites far removed from areas where social services for illegals represents a genuine strain on local resources -- and where the concern is rooted in a genuine problem rather than a grotesquely overinflated fear image.

This is part of why I don't fear a backlash as much as some Democrats. I see the hardcore supporters of a punitive approach to illegals already hard in the Republican camp to begin with.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

I am from now on boycotting businesses that hire illegals and Hispanics, and Hispanic businesses. Screw Tony Marinez and his three Spanish-only taco benders. Screw the McDonald's that only serves bebidas; the one that serves drinks is not much farther. Lettuce is a no brainer; why get e coli from eating Mexican stoop labor fecal matter. Hispanics have shown that they are more loyal to race than our country by joining in rights for illegal alien marches, so let them suffer the consequences.

Our two parties are too corrupt to ever enforce border security. This is a battle we must take upon ourselves. Granting the invasion legitimacy at this stage will result in a complete dissolution of the United States as anything but a borderless commercial zone attracting what has been very aptly described as "the wretched refuse of your teeming shores." I can't imagine the Border Patrol taking its duties seriously any longer if Congress insists on rewarding invasion.

Join with me.


Posted by: Myron on May 1, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Myron:

Woah ... you really are quite the racist sonovabitch, aren't you?

Frankly, I hope you die of lettuce e coli from some quasi-literate white-trash native-born product of the American educational system.

Which obviously produced you, so in this way justice is served.

Since karma is a dothead concept, I wouldn't expect you to elicit much understanding on the subject.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Oh shit ... Myron has a spoofed email.

I hate being taken in by a parody troll ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I do believe Myron has killed this thread stone dead.


I'm Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry
Henry the eighth I am

Second verse same as the first

I'm Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry
Henry the eighth I am

I'm Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She's been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I'm her eighth old man, I'm Henry
Henry the eighth I am

H-E-N-R-Y
Henry (Henry)
Henry (Henry)
Henry the eighth I am, I am
Henry the eighth I am

Yeah!

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 1, 2006 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

PTate,

A population influx does present challenges, but I think the answer is to couple open migration policies with high expectations re contributing to the community you move in to. I think everyone, even the poorest, ought and can afford to pay their share of the social welfare infrastructure. For the very poorest, expecting them to work is not unreasonable. Open migration does not (and should not) mean toleration of freeloaders.

And as far as smugglers, such as Ping, they should be severely prosecuted. Exploitation, whether by unscrupulous employers or human smugglers, should not be tolerated (and in fact, any open migration position, to be just, really must be serious about clamping down on such exploitative practices).

Posted by: oneworld on May 1, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

oneworld: "A population influx does present challenges, but I think the answer is to couple open migration policies with high expectations re contributing to the community you move in to."

I think I understand where you are coming from, but I suspect the resistance and cultural backlash would be huge. Myron may be a parody, but the anger and frustration expressed is not.

Some kind of tipping point is reach when a culture reaches about 15% non-native. We are at that point in the US right now. Humans are not wired to stand by passively while their culture is overwhelmed. The US population is .3 billion (of whom about .045 billion are immigrants) and the population of rest of the world is 5.7 billion. Our 5% of the world's population consumes about 25% of the resources.

If we had open borders, let us just imagine through what would happen? How many people would come to the US? Say, 5% of the world's population would like to try their luck in the US, 5 in a hundred. Not so many, yes? Okay, 300 million people start drifting our way, some who speak English and have job skills, but most of them without job skills, English or means. Some of those people would come to work, some would come to prey. Some would have wealthy sponsors in their home countries. Others would come without resources.

This is not 1850 and the US doesn't have a wide open frontier with spare land to grant to enterprising farmers.

They would have to live somewhere. We would see multiple families in one bedroom apartments and shanties built on peripheral land. The size of our cities might double. Competition for existing housing would increase.

They would have to eat. We would see an increase in food prices and more market kinds of food distribution. They would need transportation--would we increase our public transit systems?

They would seek out communities of like people so we would have Chinatowns, India towns, Africa-towns, and especially Latino-towns. Along with poverty, crime would rise. Groups would conflict--we would see a rise in racism among different racial groups.

Some would be hired for low skill jobs. Some would be hired for high skills jobs. They would be willing to work for much less than Americans so wages would plummet. Living standards would slide down along with plummeting wages. Income inequality would increase.

Their children would become American citizens. Few would come from countries with a liberal democratic form of government. In theory they could learn, but who would teach them? The ratio of native born American to immigrant would be 1:1. Original Americans would hang out together, and many immigrants would rarely meet native Americans. They would replicate the social strengths and dysfunctions of their home countries.

Support for social services and public education would vanish. The original population could not afford it even if they wanted. Those with means would not extend it. The concept of being an "American" as a culture would vanish. The middle class would vanish. Hostility and anger would rise-we would see violence responses. Our resources would be consumed. Clean water, any kind of orderly community would be gone. The degraded quality of life would result in industries relocating in Canada or Europe or Japan where more order prevailed.

100 years from now, perhaps, things would have settled down. Peak oil and climate change would have changed a lot. The US would look like a non-Catholic Mexico or possibly a more heterogeneous US c1900--a mixture of peoples, widespread illiteracy, income inequalities, a stalled economy, regional and group conflicts, high crime, a weak, corrupt central government. Presumably a vibrant new American culture would have been born, but more likely, China would dominate the world.

Metaphorically, the US would not just kill the golden goose, we would eat it and spit out its bones.

At least these are some of the worst-case scenarios I can dream up. How would you propose to avoid these, other than denial?

Personally, I would prefer to work on changing the fact that 5% of the world's population, the US, consumes about 25% of the world's resources. If we used 5% of our world's resources wisely, and the rest of the world had 20% more resources to use wisely, we would all be better off. We would not struggle with illegal immigration.

Sorry this is so long. I don't have time this morning to edit. Thank goodness we're near the end of the thread.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 1, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Although I can agree with the sentiment that we don't want to reward lawbreaking, I sure can't think of a practical way to get 11-12 million undocumented folks back across the border."

Yes, it's remarkable how hard it is to come up with practical solutions to problems you don't really want solved. People who DO want to solve a problem, however, are normally not so handicapped.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore on May 1, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

PTate,

It is nice to be downthread - less snarking and so forth.

There are a number of steps that could be taken to reduce the likelihood of unmanageable numbers entering (The current entrace of 10 million or so is not unmanageable, IMO, but that came in over time, not all at once).

First, again, anyone exploiting human traffic (be that employers relying on illegals, or smugglers like Ping) deserve the brunt of any prosecutorial crackdown. It's not a magic bullet, and would not of itself end large scale immigration, but it would certainly help. The demand for cheap, unprotected labor is part of what drives the current situation.

The second big driver, of course, is inequality. This comes down to the fact that we are globalizing, but very unequally. We either need to globalize fairly, or not at all. For instance, the US State department and other agencies spend a lot of time, effort, and resources in pushing for US business interests. Why can't we make equivalent outlays to promote labor interests? If we lobby governments to reduce tarrifs, why can't we lobby for increases in their minimum wages? If we are willing to broker deals with global corporations, why not with foreign labor leaders?

Just think, for example, if we took this approach with Iran. At CNN right now:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/01/iran.jobs.reut/index.html

10,000 Iranian workers protesting working conditions. I'll bet war would be less likely, and regional attitudes toward America greatly improved, if we were as concerned with backing Iranian labor as we were with extracting Iranian oil. And I'll be that if Iranians were succesful in securing better labor conditions, fewer would be hoping to get out of Iran. Now apply the same logic to other countries.


Posted by: oneworld on May 1, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It was hilarious watching Bush give his amnesty speech in front of hard core, pre-screen, pre-selected Republican crowd - that were looking at Bush as if he was from another planet.

What can a worms Bush has surely opened. If Bush was suppose to rally his supporters, as NRO suggested in order to bring up his poll number - he sure scew up big time with this amnesty policy.

Posted by: Cheryl on May 1, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

Very interesting discussion. I'd never figure you for someone so gloomy; that was quite a dystopia you spun there.

Honestly ... my perspective just isn't nearly as dire. Maybe the difference is that I live in densely-packed central NJ which has always been heterogenous and an immigrant-magnet and you live in formerly homogenous Minnesota.

I live near a small city culturally sustained by a thriving state university and the corporate headquarters of a healthcare giant. Since I moved here in '81, I've seen that city make a huge demographic transition which took off during the Clinton economy.

The Hispanics who flocked to the core of the city -- mostly Dominicans, followed by Mexicans, both displacing the long-time Puerto Rican power structure -- have been a shot in the arm to this community; there's no other way to put it. Areas that I wouldn't feel safe walking after dark have been revitalized.

How do I put this without casting aspersions by implication at other groups? I'll just say this; I do not fear groups of Mexican guys walking down the street (often inebriated) early in the morning, and I have a good friend who lives downtown that I visit until often late on the weekends, and I don't drive.

Is there crime? Sure. It's a city that's filled with suburban kids during the school year, and the most notorious incidents involve the locals preying on them. There was a nasty rapist who liked to break into off campuse housing whose sketched police picture (he looked Dominican) was all over the bodegas for a while last year before they caught him. But I simply know of no one in my social circle (and I've worked in local progressive political campaigns) who have been menaced by Hispanics -- and two decades ago I was brutally mugged in front of my downtown apartment.

This is all anecdotal, I realize. And you may be right that there's a tipping point beyond which social dysfunction starts to synergize. But I'd lay that at the feet of an economy which is rapidly bifurcating and killing the middle class. I'm still of the view (along with oneworld) that we solve these problems more effectively with better economic policy and urban governments. While I agree with your anthropological observations about group solidarity, aspects of old-time group solidarity are also breaking down and being replaced with chosen affinity -- and that's a cultural process we can encourage. The less hostile we are to immigrants, the less likely they'll isolate themselves into unassimilating enclaves.

I'd say that learning to adjust to globalization and compensate for its worst human costs is a better orientation than simply trying to resist it, as if it were even possible to turn back the clock.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

oneworld: "The second big driver, of course, is inequality. This comes down to the fact that we are globalizing, but very unequally. We either need to globalize fairly, or not at all."

I think this is the money quote: We must globalize fairly, or not at all. You seem to be describing not truly "open borders", such as those the US had c 1850, but increasing the numbers of immigrants that are admitted.

But fairness is what we must strive for. well, that, and getting George Bush and his cronies out of power.

rmck1: "...that was quite a dystopia you spun there."

It was, wasn't it! I spent several weeks travelling in India in January. I drew inspiration from what I saw there--a fantastic country with lovely people in an exciting period of growth and with eye-popping population pressures and poverty. There was one night in Bangalore when I thought it would not be physically possible to put one more vehicle on the road.

Perhaps my view is affected because I live in recently homogeneous, now struggling-with-its-identity-and-trending-mean-conservative Minnesota. But 100 years ago Minnesota was full of immigrants. Our towns are named things such as New Prague and Saint Cloud. German was the first language of Stearns county until the 1960s. We were the European melting pot, back then: German, Czech, French, Irish, Polish, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian.... The WASPs in New England looked down their noses at us.

Everything depends on the rate of immigration, doesn't it? 10 million year, 20 million, 30 million. When oneworld proposed "open borders", I took him/her literally: Anyone who wanted could come. I was going for broke--what would it be like to double the population of the US in ten years. I keep repeating this statisitic because it puts everything in perspective for me: US, .3 billion people. Rest of World, 5.7 billion.

But it turns out the oneworld wasn't really proposing open borders, just a much higher rate of controlled immigration.

You describe the benefits that immigration, particularly Latino immigration, has brought to your community. All of that is true: we've experienced that here as well. But what you describe is a by-product of an orderly immigration policy rather than the open borders that I was brainstorming. The home team is still in control. What I was describing was the consequence of disorderly, even catastrophic immigration. The home team is overwhelmed. It is a variant of the Dilemma of the Commons: if too many people immigrate in too short a period of time, what everyone is seeking could be lost. The Commons can be overgrazed as everyone seeks to maximize their benefit.

I agree totally that "...learning to adjust to globalization and compensate for its worst human costs is a better orientation than simply trying to resist it, as if it were even possible to turn back the clock."

The place I start is with fairness and justice. The world community needs to seek a sustainable future. It is immoral that we use so much of the world's resources as we do in the way that we do.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 1, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

PTate:

Well, as usual we disagree on nothing of any significance; in fact our disagreements are more epiphenomenal of our backgrounds and personal experiences than anything relating to ideas ...

The one thing I'll say is that while absolutely, the Northeast anglophilic establishment looked down on latter 19th century waves of immigrants -- many of them Catholic -- from Eastern Europe ... European immigration generally was a lot easier for this country to absorb, and not merely for reasons of space. The age of a common cultural heritage of European immigrants is gone and is not coming back; today's immigrants are more motivated by economic factors and are culturally a little harder to assimilate than all those German- (and even Slavic-) speaking farmers.

But we will adjust to this. As a fourth-generation Irish American (with eighths of Danish and Swedish), I can only imagine how scourged were Irish immigrants at the turn of last century -- and how anti-Catholic America was until comparatively recently.

Also, the immigration that took place in my city was post-'86 and I'd venture to say that much of it was illegal, driven by the Clinton economic boom. Working in a campaign to get some Hispanic representation on our city council, canvassing those neighborhoods, demonstrated to me how many Hispanics in our city don't speak the language and who have immigration issues. One of our proposed candidates, a well-respected community activist, had to drop out when he couldn't produce documentation to get officially on the ballot.

The system has absorbed this well up until now. And I think you're right that we can't afford as a nation to go past that tipping point -- when the home team's no longer in charge. While mean-spirited conservatism is an outgrowth of this pressure, I don't believe that we as Democrats should allow it to drive our policy reactively -- its assumptions are still driven by ignorance and unreasonable fear.

Primarily, if we're going to use legal pressure, it should be placed on the employers so that the market for illegals dries up. That's the only fair way to do it -- and it strikes the Republicans hard in their sacred economic dogma.

But if Democrats take that approach -- enforce the law, focus on the illegal employers -- I believe we'll weather this storm politically.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

PTate- you have made many interesting observations, but I feel I must point out that while the US consumes 25% of world resources, it produces 35% of "world" GDP. More efficient use of resources than all third world countries and almost all 1st world, certainly of large 1st world countries.

Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech on May 1, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Tassled Loafered Leech:

Well, the salient comparison obviously isn't between resource use and GDP. Economies have no intrinsic value; they are not sentient creatures. They exist and function well or not so well to the extent that they serve human needs.

The salient comparison is resource use to population.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 1, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I thought this was dead...

Brett Bellmore: Yes, it's remarkable how hard it is to come up with practical solutions to problems you don't really want solved. People who DO want to solve a problem, however, are normally not so handicapped.

Well, Brett, I didn't see you offering any solutions...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 1, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Tassled Loafered Leech: "while the US consumes 25% of world resources, it produces 35% of "world" GDP"

You make a valid point. I might feel differently about the share of resources that the US uses so efficiently if a larger proportion were used to produce something of value. I believe a strong argument can be made that concentrations of wealth can produce good for everyone else (we'll call this the Carnegie model.)

We could be using our vast resources to develop alternate fuel sources, to feed and educate the poor, to stimulate development in the developing world, to work towards a sustainable balance between the earth and humans. But that is not what we are doing.

rmck1:"European immigration generally was a lot easier for this country to absorb"

Yep. It was in some ways. But I find the Ethiopian and Somali refugees are thankful to be "in this paradise" (to quote one) and thoughtful & earnest about becoming American. The Latinos I know start from a cultural base that is very compatible with traditional US culture. The Indians are socially adroit and comfortable in a multi-cultural setting. And the Asians also just fit right in. So I am not worried as long as everyone has transition time. The people who have had the most trouble are the Russians--it's as if the trauma of living in Communist Russia makes them all a little suspicious and paranoid.

We look back at the 19th century European immigrants and think it was easy for them, but I wonder. The Gaelic speaking Irish who came after the 1848 famine, the Italians, Portuguese and Greeks, the Polish Jews--I don't know if the absolute difference between them and the old New England WASP stock was any less than the difference between todays immigrants from Africa, Asia and Central America and modern Americans.

rmck1: "But if Democrats take that approach -- enforce the law, focus on the illegal employers -- I believe we'll weather this storm politically."

Agreed. I also think Democrats could be proactive in envisioning what it means to be a US citizen: I think Democrats should propose that every American pass the civics test that are required of naturalized citizen. Have you noticed how naturalized citizens know so much more about the US than native born citizens? Would George Bush be able to get away with all he has done, if citizens were actually knowledgable.

Always pleasant chatting with you.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 1, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is the money quote: We must globalize fairly, or not at all. You seem to be describing not truly "open borders", such as those the US had c 1850, but increasing the numbers of immigrants that are admitted

I think that's a pretty fair assessment, though I think for many people on the right (and even center) this is still, to them, close to "open borders."

And speaking of civics tests, you know what would be cool? If every American embassy and mission gave citizenship classes, and passing them put you on a fast track to US citizenship. Sort of an ACT/GRE for citizenship.

Posted by: oneworld on May 1, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

It won't be hard to send illegal immigrants home. As I said, those who can prove they've worked here consistently for a year or two minimum should be invited to maintain their lifestyles, and encouraged to become citizens (or at least legal, documented workers). Everyone else who cannot show this history should be shown the door and flown back to their country of origin. It will be a massive airlift, and a massively overdue one. If we can spend a 1/2 trillion in Iraq, we can spend a couple hundred million to secure the borders, send home the overflow, and fix up our immigration process so that it's softer, friendlier, more transparent, and more responsive to the market. It's the agenda of Big Business to make borders porous and labor protections obsolete, not a progressive agenda.

Posted by: Jimm on May 2, 2006 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

Well, I'm sorry Jimm; I'm not with this at all. It's not a question of ideology, it's a question of what's doable. We have a couple hundred million dollars for this? Really? Where will it come from -- we'll just, you know, print it? I have an idea -- let's borrow it from the Chinese ...

Nor do we have the LEOs for a massive Israelification of the Mexican border. Nor are we going to tear apart families and pummel the businesses (many of them mom 'n' pop) who hire illegals. The entire downtown of my city shut down yesterday. I couldn't order a cheese steak from my favorite college pizza joint -- the guy employs himself, his wife, another chef, a delivery girl and a Hispanic dishwasher.

The time for sensible, doable, compromise solutions has unfortunately passed. I would've backed the bipartisan bill out of the Senate -- but it's been drowned out, Jimm, in an orgy of populist demagogy.

Now since a decent bill is not going to emerge from either the House or the Senate, we have essentially two choices, Jimm:

We can join in the chorus of populist demagogy. We can chant "send 'em back, build a wall, America first!" along with the Republicans.

Or we can simply argue for better enforcement of the *existing* laws and otherwise step aside as Republican business interests -- who want as little change as possible -- battle it out with the xenophobic surburbanites ...

If it's a choice between doing nothing more than that, to avoid alienating the most rapidly growing bloc of potential Democrats in America, and doing "something" that will never fly to begin with but will be perceived as exclusionary vindictiveness by that community -- the politically wisest thing progressives can do is the former.

I want the Hispanics in our column, Jimm.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 2, 2006 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

"So maybe I'm just slow, but what, exactly, is immoral about open borders? "

Nothing as long as people take care of themselves. Otherwise, you have the phenomena of 200 million Americans going to France for that great medical care and the wonderful Frenchmen.

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