GOP: Deport Dreamers

House GOP Votes to Block Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

The above article is from Huffington Post.  The fact that the House GOP are again trying to stick it to immigrants would be funny, if it weren’t so hateful.  The reason it would be funny is that they are unknowingly creating their own doom.  Not only is it wrong what they are doing, it makes no sense politically if you look at the demographics that are coming down the pike.  They have only been able to hold on to power as long as they have because of all of the gerrymandering that they have done to protect their seats.  Eventually this tactic won’t work.  As America becomes more and more of a multicolored nation, they are dooming themselves to eventual irrelevance.

Now that explains why it is stupid.  Why is it wrong?  Spend some time reading what immigrants go through in this country all of the time:  How they live in fear, how families are broken up, how they are thrown into a labyrinthine injustice system that makes no sense.  These are people.  These are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, that mostly just want to live a life of decency and follow their dreams.  Immigrants, dating all the way back to before the Civil War, have long been the scapegoat for America’s problems.  Read about the American Party (or The Know Nothing) or if you don’t want to do that much work, watch Gangs of New York to see a fictionalized version.  Here is the wikipedia page for The Know Nothing Party:

The Know Nothing Wikipedia Page

Hispanics are the targets now, but before it was Germans, Irish, Italians, whoever was the latest group of huddled masses looking for a new start.  Well yes, going forward there needs to be some kind of sane immigration policy that actually works to keep people out that enter illegally, but these people are here and they aren’t going anywhere.  We can either treat them with kindness or surrender to the powers of hate and ignorance.  I know which side I would rather be on.

The Fall of Man and Accidents of Birth

Every single day that I decide not to fashion a flute out of another human being’s femur bone is a small victory.  I know that I am a flawed human being that occasionally has an unreasonable temper.  I know that I can occasionally let my self-interest overcome the good of the group.  I, like most people, am neither a saint nor a sociopath.  Most human beings are complicated characters that are somewhere in between.  I am no different.

However, it is exactly because I am very consciously aware of these traits that I feel that we should be kind to other people when we can overcome our own chemicals and tribal biases.  As long as human behavior is not hurting others I believe it is the height of self-righteousness to try to control other people through the law.  There is a huge difference in my mind between stating your beliefs and trying to impose your will on others through the power of law.

In your personal life, again as long as you are not hurting others, you can be as ignorant as you wish, though I would advise against it.  But when people try to prevent others from experiencing their own journey towards happiness and meaning, it makes my head spin.  Most of us human beings, I’d say 99% of us, have our own shit to sort out and should be concerned with that before trying to impose our will on others.

Being gay doesn’t hurt anyone.  In fact being gay, being of a different race, being male or female, being from another country, are all accidents of birth.  Show me someone trying to ban gay marriage and I’ll show you a motherfucker with too much time on their hands that should be looking in the mirror first.  And if you don’t want to spend time looking in the mirror, go down to the local orphanage or something else that will be of some good to people.  If you believe that gay people shouldn’t have the right to marry, that women shouldn’t be in control of their own bodies, that new immigrants are somehow less deserving than the less recent immigrants of your ancestors, I may disagree with you, but that is your right.  However, again, actively campaigning to have these beliefs codified by law is exactly where I feel the line should be drawn.

Although I don’t believe in the Fall of Man as having actually happened, I love it as a story.  We are all flawed.  We are all on a daily struggle to overcome our chemical makeup and our imperfect knowledge and this strange ocean of absurd culture that we are born into.

There is only one place in life we should be trying to reach.  As the great Kurt Vonnegut said:  “Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Hey Don’t the Wars Come Easy, Hey Don’t the Peace Come Hard

Love junkies wanna change the world:
It quickly stays the same
Money junkies hire all the smart ones
Power junkies run the game

One step at a time
Polarity Hill
If the bad guys don’t get you, baby
Then the good guys will
With angels on the take
And the gangsters in the yard
Hey don’t the wars come easy
Hey don’t the peace come hard

– Excerpt from the song The Big Ones Get Away by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Ever since the election I’ve wanted to bite someone’s throat out like a werewolf.  That is, until tonight.  I was listening to the great Buffy Sainte-Marie and those last two lines struck me.  Buffy Sainte-Marie is a singer who politically is also the real deal.  She was blacklisted personally by President Johnson.  She was an activist that put herself on the line numerous times.  When she sings the lines, “Hey don’t the wars come easy, hey don’t the peace come hard”, she knows what she is talking about.

I played a festival in Canada this year where I got to see Buffy Sainte-Marie perform.  She talked about how not enough people were saying how we treat each other is what’s important, and not the almighty dollar.  Such a simple message, but something we can’t seem to learn in America.

I worked hard to try to get Prop 1 passed here in Austin.  Prop 1 was a bill that was going to put in the first stage of urban rail in Austin and it also included road projects.  When I was canvassing I mostly talked to Democrats.  When I went into the more middle class and working class neighborhoods people seemed to get that this would help make the city a better, more livable place.  The richer the neighborhoods, the more people seemed to claim that we couldn’t afford it.  This was going to raise taxes a total of about $20 a month, and this was not even going to take full effect until 2020.  The price of four beers a month turned people off to doing something that was not only going to make the city better, but was also good for the environment.  And it seemed to be those that could most afford it that were the most against it.

The state of Texas elected Dan Patrick, a former conservative radio host, who makes Sean Hannity look like a Rhodes Scholar, as our new Lieutenant Governor.  That position actually holds power in the state of Texas.

The country as a whole seemed to vote for the most insane politicians possible, at a time when, especially environmentally, we can least afford it.  The oil and the gas industries won big, when we need to be electing people that will help us end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.  Women and gays are under attack through proposed policies.  Minorities and poor people are under attack at the polling stations.  I had to show an ID to vote in Texas, a move that some estimate might have disenfranchised 600,000 Texans.

The old, the white, and the scared showed up in large numbers, while the young, who have the most to lose, stayed home.  It’s discouraging that people that should know better allowed themselves to be duped, while those that need to know better were so apathetic.  All around no one comes out of this clean, for different reasons.

However, the one of my pet peeves is those that say there is no difference in politicians.  There is an ancient ocean of difference between Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Warren, for one example.  Those that have become so cynical that they are blind to that, I will never understand.

The thing is, even those that voted the opposite of what I believe they should have, are people that I think should be included in the dream.  I don’t want anyone to go without healthcare.  I don’t want anyone to go to a war that is senseless.  I don’t want anyone thrown in jail that doesn’t deserve it.  I wish these people could see that the things that we liberals want don’t just benefit us.

Meanwhile there seems to be nonstop attacks on those most vulnerable.  Why is there so much hatred for immigrants or homosexuals?  The lizard brain is running wild right now.  But at the center of all this are people that value money over other human beings.  And they know how to get those lizard brains in motion.

This week was a huge setback for this country, and because of our power, for the world.  But as Buffy sings:

Hey don’t the wars come easy
Hey don’t the peace come hard

 We on the left must dust ourselves off and get motivated.  There is a dark train coming down the tracks.  I don’t blame anyone for being depressed or discouraged.  Christ, I am.  But to do nothing is to give in to despair and desolation.  There is only two years until the next election.  Not that much time, but enough to get reorganized and hungry again.

Last time our people showed up to vote it led to 10,000,000 people getting healthcare that didn’t have it, to gays being allowed to serve openly in the military, and to the first Latino on the Supreme Court.  That is real and meaningful change.  I benefited from the healthcare law, but I’m a white male that likes girls.  I was happy to see people that were different than me realize their dreams.  in this interconnected world it has to be about more than your own tribe.  We sink or swim together.  There is water in the boat, but we haven’t drowned yet…

The Only Lasting Sin

I don’t think they hate Mexicans
Because they have darker skin
I think they hate them because they are poor
If Mexicans drove across the border
In European sports cars
While dressed in Brioni suits
They would probably kiss them
On the mouth
Sure there would be a some holdouts
A few dumb white mutants
With mixed up ideas
But the only lasting sin in this country
Is being broke

Austin 7/29/14

The Dance of Dumbness Goes On…

Steve_Scalise

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/27/gop-impeachment_n_5624554.html

The above article is about how new incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is claiming impeachment won’t be taken off of the table if Obama signs an executive order limiting deportations.  Fucking hell!  I feel like swearing and playing a kazoo at the same time.  I feel like running through the streets naked with only a gorilla mask on.  There is no sense to anything.  As Leonard Cohen sang, “Things are gonna slide in all directions.”  

One cretin replaces another.  The dance of dumbness goes on.  Impeachment, for possibly showing empathy towards the less fortunate?  Read Matt Taibbi’s The Great Divide and learn what immigrants really go through in this country.  The Klansmen that were my target in my previous post, while being hateful figures of comic absurdity, are at least honest about the way they feel.  This manicured douchebag hides behind patriotism and a fancy suit.  What was that about patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel….

 

The Anti-Immigrant Industrial Complex

Often you can feel something is wrong before you know that it is.  You hear about our prison industrial complex but it doesn’t completely register, unless you are one of the unfortunate poor caught in it, until you really read in depth what is going on.  I was arrested once for a DUI and thrown in jail for 24 hours after passing my breathalyzer!  Apparently this is just day to day bullshit that African Americans and Latino immigrants put up with.  Anyone that wants to know the cruel injustice that is a part of day to day American life for many should read Matt Taibbi’s book The Divide.   As with most things in this country the problem can be traced back to greed.  There is one company called, I shit you not, Corrections Corporation of America.  Here is a just a little piece of Taibbi’s book on this corporation, that makes its money off of detaining immigrants:

The big influx of cash impressed investors on Wall Street.  Back in 2000, when the federal government began housing immigrant detainees in mostly privately run prisons, CCA’s share price hovered around a dollar.  today, as I write this in the summer of 2013, CCA’s share price is $34.34.  It was at $23 just two years ago.  The company’s revenues went from just around $300 million in 2000 to an astonishing $1.7 billion in 2011.  Overall, the corrections industry is one of the soundest stock/equity bets in the world, with soaring revenues – the industry as a whole pulled in more than $5 billion in America in 2011.  

The jailing-Hispanics business is the perfect mix of politics and profit.  Companies like CCA donate generously to politicians everywhere, particularly at the state level.  The firm has spent as much as $3.4 million lobbying in a single year and on average spends between $1 million and $2 million a year.  Its lobbyists are everywhere, and in every major anti-immigrant bill, you can usually find a current or former CCA lobbyist lurking in the weeds somewhere.  Arizona governor Jan Brewer, for instance, had two ex-CCA lobbyists on her staff helping write the legislation when she pushed through her notorious 1070 law, which essentially legalized racial profiling in the cause of catching illegal immigrants.  

Most of the time when the press talks about illegal immigration it is an abstraction.  We might even feel for people that are ripped apart from their families, but we have no clue what their experience is really like.  Apparently a good many of the people that we deport, especially ones that have families in the U.S., are kidnapped in Mexico and held for ransom until their families can pay that ransom.  Once they are captured by law enforcement in our country, unlike violent criminals that are citizens, they have absolutely no rights.  Often after being treated like animals here they are exploited again once they cross the border.

If you have a strong stomach, read Taibbi’s book.  Even though they entered our country illegally, you will find yourself sick at how we treat our fellow human beings.  Why can’t people see that everyone only has one life?  A flag and an imaginary border should not allow us to strip other people of their dignity.