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Bring Me Those Yearning to Breathe Free, But Hold Off on Mexicans

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The phrase, "that class of people" was spoken by Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce in an interview on Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO. Pearce sponsored SB 1070, and made it his mission to leave a legacy.  He seemed to be referring to illegal immigrants, namely Mexicans, whose violent crime rate is said to be twice as high as the Native American crime rate.  He wasn't referring, I don't think, to all Mexicans.  He also had no problem passing on an email that he received to stop the "anchor baby racket."  The constitutional issue seems to be the interpretation with respect to citizenship of the meaning of  "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" in the 14th Amendment. Senator Pearce seeks re-election this year, and he'll undoubtedly win.  He also seeks the Legislature's President of the Senate leadership position, and will probably get it.

Yet, SB 1070 also addresses the hiring of Mexican laborers, who simply hang out on certain intersections where they can be picked up to earn a living working as day laborers.  They are not drug dealers or violent criminals, why would a drug dealer or violent criminal be looking for day work?  And then there's Sheriff Joe Arpaio, everybody should know Sheriff Joe by now, who does his "raids" in predominantly Mexican areas, because, as he says, that's where the illegals are.  But, I haven't heard of any employer being arrested for hiring illegals, which is also against the law.  Somehow police enforcement, and the tipsters who phone in the illegal violators, can spot these illegals, but the employers seem deaf, dumb and blind. Is any illegal going to tell others, "Hola muchachos, soy inmigrante ilegal" (remember, illegals are not supposed to know English). 

Now, I am not against protecting our borders from illegal aliens, especially drug runners and violent criminals, but does that require harming innocent people like the children of illegal aliens?  Separating them from their parents?  Many of these parents, the media reports, are illegal by virtue of expired visas and not their illegal entry. Some 5 million expired-visa-holding aliens are still here in America.

What happened to the  fundamental belief in justice and individual rights, values strongly held in this country?  Don't the children have rights, in the name of justice, to remain in America?  Haven't many illegal immigrants earned the right to remain in America?  What has happened to America since,


Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Oh yes, sorry, what has happened is that our value system has changed.  As Jim Wallis writes in his book, Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street,

The cultural messages over the last several decades have clearly been: greed is good; it's all about me; and I want it all, and I want it now…What has been deliberately and carefully made 'socially acceptable' was, not too long ago, thought to be irresponsible — both financially and morally…

Do we want the market and market values to prevail everywhere and in all things? . . . Are there some areas of life where market values should not determine what is most important — personal and family relationships, ethics and religion, community and public service and social justice?

Why not grant them amnesty, which is hardly mentioned in the media?  The immigration reform bill of 2007 died, it would have granted amnesty to many illegal immigrants.  I am not talking about granting amnesty to terrorists or to perpetrators of violent crimes, just to those immigrants whose visas expired or who entered the country illegally, but who have been productive, law-abiding residents of this country for an extended period of time; immigrants who have proven their worth and who have earned their right to become a citizen.  What's wrong with that?

I believe that many innocent immigrants who are yearning to breathe free would be harmed by deportation, and should be granted amnesty.

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About HOAGOV

  • Mac

    “illegal by virtue of expired visas … Some 5 million expired-visa-holding aliens are still here in America.” – what, in those statements, makes those people NOT illegal? Why can’t they abide by the rules of renewing, or obtaining new visas, and stay legal?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Since the distinction between what constitutes a “legal” versus an “illegal” immigrant is essentially arbitrary, a move to deny citizenship to the US-born children of illegals based on a particular interpretation of the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction of” is a dangerous path to take.

    For instance, I’m a foreign national and a legal US permanent resident. I happen to be married to a US citizen, but let’s pretend for a moment that I’m not. Let’s pretend that my spouse is also a legal resident and that our child is born in the US. Remember, although we’re here legally, neither of us has given up our foreign citizenship.

    What makes our child “subject to the jurisdiction of” the US while the baby in the next crib born to illegal aliens is not?

  • Clavos

    I don’t think that anyone born of non-citizen parents should be granted citizenship under any circumstances.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    …Which (correct me if I misinterpret your meaning) would mean that no-one would ever be a citizen…?

  • zingzing

    heh. don’t bring up facts, doc. history means nothing. the past is irrelevant.

    anyone born outside of this country is foreign to us. we are, therefore, going to slowly intermarry and become a nation of drooling, big-eared english royalty.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc and zing – LOL!

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    God Save the Queen.

  • Clavos

    I think you get my meaning Doc.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    [diabolical chuckle]

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Legalize pot. Canada and Mexico get export taxes. U.S. and states get import taxes. Heroin and hard drug use go down and everybody’s mellow.

  • Irene Wagner

    Good idea, Silas. And as an added bonus, the prison population goes waaaaaaaaay down.

    Opposition will come from those who have a vested interest in keeping the prison population waaaaaaaaay up, though. Be ready for it. :(

  • Irene Wagner

    Good article, Hoagov. I sure hope the next election sends a lot of brainy AND compassionate people to DC.

  • Cannonshop

    #3 Then you’re out of step with the definitions, Clavos- you’re born here, you’re a citizen.

    Now, me? I think if the parents are illegal, send them back or make them go through the hoops to GET legal, but the kid’s American, and we’ve got thousands upon thousands of couples (gay and straight) waiting for the chance to foster and/or adopt.

    Maybe growing up with ‘father of the week’ has made me callous, but I don’t see much sanctity in allowing someone to break the law because they have a kid, even if it means breaking up the family unit.

  • Clavos

    #3 Then you’re out of step with the definitions, Clavos- you’re born here, you’re a citizen.

    I realize that, Cannon. My point was that I think that should be changed; only those born here with at least one American citizen parent should be granted citizenship.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Pretty soon it’s going to become a moot point; we’re all be “citizens of the world.”

  • Clavos

    Not in your or my lifetimes, Roger.

  • zingzing

    “aww look at the cute baby. deport that criminal’s ass. what a fucking slacker. just sitting there all day, pooping itself and BEGGING for food. whine, whine, whine, you little crybaby. go home to mommy! well, she’s in jail right now, awaiting deportation. … i don’t know where. why are you asking me? now get out of here? what’s the matter with you? can’t walk? and put on some fucking clothes. what are you, stupid? that’s not how you button a shirt. my god, no one ever taught you how to tie a tie? where’s your father? oh, right. jail. gotcha. well, alright, it’s like this, then this, then this and whalla! now get your brown ass back to mexico, you fucking leech.”

  • Les Slater

    Immigrants are being scapegoated for the ills of the capitalist system itself. It isn’t workers, with or without papers, that have caused the crisis. From a working class perspective these workers are part of our class. An injury to them makes us all weaker. We need to defend them.

    The real criminals should have their control of society taken away from them.

  • Les Slater

    No raids, no deportations. Documentation to all workers who work here and their families.

  • Clavos

    Documentation to all workers who work here and their families.

    Not until they’ve gone back home for a specified period of time, and then returning only under a guest worker program.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In other words, we want to hold on to a semblance of “legality.”

    I suppose in the interest of preventing all hell from breaking loose.

  • Les Slater

    All hell breaking loose?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m thinking of backlash, Les, from the conservatives and the Tea Party crowd.

    America is still inviolable in their eyes.

  • Les Slater

    Too formal. None of this can happen overnight. It would require a much stronger and organized working class. The Tea Party, if it’s still around, will have other things to worry about.

  • http://pvtgov.wordpress.com George Staropoli

    I think we will see the 1873 US Supreme Court Slaughter-House Case (83 U.S. 63) surfacing in any constitutional challenge. This case dealt with restrictions on the use of slaughter houses in Louisiana, raising issues of the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th amendment. However, it required that “a citizen of the United States” be first defined. “Citizen” is not defined in the Constitution.

    Subsequently, US Revised Statutes, sec. 1992 (precursor to the US Code), declared that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” excluded those with allegiance to other countries. “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power . . . are declared to be citizens of the United States.” This issue can be now found in Title 8, sec. 1401 of today’s USC, which reads: “The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: (a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;” Note that the “foreign power” clause has been removed.

    So, what does “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” mean? The 64-dollar question. If it means that illegal immigrants are not subject to the US, then that implies no duty to obey the laws of Arizona, for example, or the US. Now that presents a problem, doesn’t it? Even diplomats and embassy personnel, although by international law and treaty are not subject to US jurisdiction per se, they do agree to abide by the laws of the country in which the embassy is found.

  • Les Slater

    “…much stronger and organized working class.”

    On both sides of the border.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was talking about policy of appeasement, Les, as practiced by the government, not about what ought to be done.

    In fact, I view the welfare state, especially in this day and age, as another variant of “the policy of appeasement.”

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Well, we are entering the era of the Third Right. It started with Goldwater, went to Reagan and now we are poised to see a more oppressive conservative regime usurp political power in Washington. Once again, I submit, legalize marijuana and watch this escalation in Mexican violence fall. Take money away from the drug war and put it where it needs to go — job development and the deficit.

  • Mark

    …the Third Right…

    Not bad, Silas.

  • Les Slater

    Hey, I voted for Goldwater.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The pun intended or not, Silas drove the point home. Except for drug legalization. That’s window dressing and doesn’t address the structural stresses.

    You seem to vacillate, Silas, between the profound and the banal. Make up your mind where you is!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The 64-dollar question.

    Has anyone else noticed how the value of that question seems to fluctuate more wildly than the Dow?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sixty four dollars? It’s a farce. It won’t buy you a decent meal in a good restaurant.

  • Clavos

    Once again, I submit, legalize marijuana and watch this escalation in Mexican violence fall.

    But probably not by much, Roger, because the Mexican cartels deal in coke and heroin to a much greater extent (and for much greater profits) than Mary Jane.

  • Clavos

    Hey, I voted for Goldwater.

    So did I, Les.

    In fact, that was my first presidential election as a voter. I was in basic training in the army at the time, and had to vote by absentee ballot. Florida then required absentee ballots to be countersigned by one’s CO, and when I presented mine to the Lt. who was CO of my basic training company, the SOB had the balls to look to see who I was voting for. He said to me, “You’re voting for Goldwater? You vote for Goldwater and you’ll wind up in Vietnam within a year!”

    And you know what? He was right — I didn’t change my vote, and I wound up in Vietnam almost exactly a year later.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    See, that’s where we get caught up in the semantics debate. Is marijuana a drug? Let’s be serious here. Hemp is a versatile plant with a compendium of uses. It is the modern age tobacco or cotton. It’s a cash crop. Marijuana production outpaces lumber in British Columbia which is more about US government policies than it is about what Canadians want.

    Hey, I voted for Goldwater.

    Well, if Barry Goldwater were alive today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. I hunger for a political leader who will say it like it is, and not resort to issues which detract from that which is most important in the national debate. I’ve been getting slammed by folks in the Bay State because I continue to support Sen. Scott Brown. Sure, there are issues where my Senator and I differ. But he hasn’t been a GOP or Tea Party sellout. He’s a simple guy who hasn’t developed that Washingtonian political mentality yet. So long as he isn’t seduced by K Street, he’s got my support.

    Like it or not, the view of America around the globe is arrived at thanks to American foreign policy, NOT the behavior of rank and file citizens. Our government has strong armed foreign governments for decades in our name, and most of the time outside our scope of attention. Technological advances have caused the planet to be psychologically smaller. Blogcritics is the perfect forum for citizens around the globe to come together and debate issues we share. Perhaps if more people in the trenches opened up lines of communication we could actually impact our respective governments. What politicians must accept is that the “nationalist” concept is dying. We’re global. We’re citizens of the world. We can still preserve local cultures and contribute to the greater scheme of things. When we enter the voting booth we assign our officials the responsibility of taking the helm and demonstrating the leadership they claim to possess. There’s a leadership vacuum. Those who are in positions of leadership today govern by polls and public reactions. They’re gutless to do the right thing and take the hits because they don’t want to watch their respective treasure chests to be depleted.

  • Clavos

    #34 should have been directed to Silas, not Roger.

    My bad, and apologies to both of you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Les has repented of his former sins, Clavos. Have you?

    BTW, I haven’t made that marijuana remark. My only contention was that legalizing drugs at this stage of the game is too little and too late. We’re too much in a hole.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Posted serendipitously.

  • Clavos

    Define “sins,” Roger.

    Some I repent, some I gleefully continue to practice.

    Voting for Goldwater is not in the “repent”
    column, however.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    My only contention was that legalizing drugs at this stage of the game is too little and too late. We’re too much in a hole.

    Then what have we got to lose?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Define “sins,” Roger.

    Wouldn’t even know where to start.

    As long as we can all agree that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Strictly metaphorical. And no, we’ve got nothing to lose. All I’m saying, it’s not going to solve structural problems. Just another source of revenue.

    But consider. Now we shan’t be able to incarcerate people anymore for possession. They’ll be loose on the street, there being no way of engaging them productively. We’re letting go of a safety valve. Another major leak up and coming.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And yes, it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Or to do a variation on the theme, it’s a sin to kill an elephant.

    Black Hunter, White Heart, Clint Eastwood, director, John Huston starring.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Clavos, imagine if CO’s had the right to look at ballots today. Or do they?

    In my mind the GOP has gone way over to the Right of Barry Goldwater. This guy was a patriot. He had vision. But above all, Barry Goldwater had respect not only for his country but for its citizens. In many ways I see Barack Obama as “the other Barry”. He’s not the antithesis to Goldwater either. Progressives whine that he’s not being “progressive” enough. But what did he say during the campaign to cause Progressives to believe he was so liberal? Nothing. The Progressive drive to get Obama elected is another offshoot of racism. If you were against Obama — you’re racist. If you’re for Obama, you’re Progressive because you support a “Black” candidate. Sorry, that just don’t cut it with me. Barack Obama is capable of better. He’s had experiences in this world which make him ripe for the office he commands. Where he fails is the staff he cobbled together to assist his stewardship. When one surrounds himself with political hacks, pollsters and ruthless cut-throat back-room politicians one tends to get tainted. It’s time for Barack Obama to clean house. Forget the election in the Fall. He needs to spend the summer reassessing the performance of his staff beginning with Rahm Emmanuel. The President has a very small window of opportunity to shift the paradigm. The true test of his leadership will be the configuration of his White House on Labor Day.

    It’s like the Statue of Liberty. All we hear is “Give me your tired…” blah, blah, blah. Here’s the WHOLE inscirption:

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    ‘ With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Sadly, the lamp has run out of oil and the golden door has been purchased and dismantled by Goldman-Sachs. Mr. President, yes YOU can.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    But probably not by much, Roger, because the Mexican cartels deal in coke and heroin to a much greater extent (and for much greater profits) than Mary Jane.

    No problem, Clavos. If you have a second listen to my discussion with Mike Archer last night from Abbotsford Today in British Columbia. It was interesting to see what the Canadian point of view is on this debate. I also didn’t realize that the U.S. pretty much destroyed the corn trade in Mexico which was the heart of their economy at one point. What Americans do have a direct impact on our border countries. If there is to be a war on drugs then let’s make it the hard stuff like coke and heroin. If we need to continue a drug war, let’s redistribute the drug war wealth into areas where it needs to be.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Fuck, Silas. The whole idea of “War on Drugs” is insanity, nothing but a subterfuge. Just like “War on Terror” or “War on Crime.”

    The underlying idea is to instill moral fiber in us and make us into law-abiding citizens, to make it appeared as if they cared. And thus, to divert our attention from high crimes and misdemeanors in high places.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “When one surrounds himself with political hacks, pollsters and ruthless cut-throat back-room politicians one tends to get tainted.”

    No excuse, Silas. He is tainted precisely because he surrounded himself with such people.

    Or are you saying now his hands were tied?

  • Les Slater

    “‘You’re voting for Goldwater? You vote for Goldwater and you’ll wind up in Vietnam within a year!’

    “And you know what? He was right — I didn’t change my vote, and I wound up in Vietnam almost exactly a year later.”

    It took me a while, but that irony finally sunk in. I never voted for a major party candidate since.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    No, I don’t think his hands were tied. I think he was advised by Democrat hacks that the only way he would win the Oval Office was by going the route he chose. Perhaps he is tainted, Roger, but I still think he’s capable of doing better. He was raised by a single white mother. He’s lived in Indonesia. In all I have read, it seems that Barack Obama was raised in a family where social responsibility was core. Were this 40 years ago, you know right well that his mother would have been skewered like a guinea pig in Peru. And, there’s no doubt in my mind there are those on the Right who whisper plenty of disparaging things about his genealogy. Again, the President’s background supports the notion that he is a man who has a more keen global view than that of his predecessor. It works to his disadvantage in the sense that he’s surrounded himself with people who have no global view as they are too busy maintaining a stranglehold on their respective piece of the political pie.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In that case, what does it say for his judgment.

    I don’t want to idealize Kennedy now, he surely had skeletons in his closet, but he was a person of vision. And however much you approve or disapprove, “Camelot” was the end product.

    True, McNamara was a dark horse, but even he repented. But surely, the Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy, was someone you could believe in. He was in earnest against mafia, Jimmy Hoffa, and graft.

    Perhaps we were too naive back than to see through the lens of the corporate structure and the hold it had on the government, but no longer. Which is why Obama is being judged with a far greater scrutiny. But by Jove, he ought to. And thus far, he is nothing but another political opportunist. He got elected on a sly, because the Democrats wanted to prove to themselves and the country at large that they were indifferent to issues of color, and how “enlightened” they really were, and he was the beneficiary after eight years of Bush. But that doesn’t make him into what he is not.

    As far as I am concerned, he always was and will be a symbol.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It wasn’t Goldwater who got us into Vietnam. It’s debatable whether he would; I think the cards were stacked.

    So let’s not lose sight of the facts, guys. The Democrats are the ones who usually get us into war (because they want to prove to the nation at large they’re not Communists) and the Republicans are the ones who get us out (because they don’t feel they have to prove anything, and are therefore free to make peace with the Communists). — Norman Mailer’s observation on The Firing Line show, 1968; I don’t need the credit.

    The Bushes are the exception. But they’ll always be the exception.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Very interesting article by Mark Brzezinski in today’s Washington Post about the Administration’s getting tough on business corruption overseas. Gee, why can’t we do the same domestically? Again, is this yet another manifestation of the American government’s propensity to be empirical in its approach to other countries?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    The Bushes are the exception. But they’ll always be the exception.

    Do you really think both Bush Presidents are the exception? I always viewed George H.W. Bush as being one of our more intellectual Presidents who was capable of more but tied by the system he inherited. I still wonder if the entire rigmarole all began with Richard Nixon. We haven’t been right since the days of Watergate.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Exactly, why can’t we do it domestically? The Minerals Management Service agency was corrupt from the very start, the head just resigned. Why was the administration complacent about cleaning house?

    Ken Salazar also doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. But these assholes – have you seen his stupid, bloated picture – are our decision-makers – fucking whores, all of ‘em. So keep on defending them, Silas, until the cows come home.

    Bush senior, an intellectual? Give me a break. Don’t mistake class for intellect. He didn’t even know what supermarket scanners were about.

    Are these the kind of people to represent you and me. And I’m not even talking about the cowboy.

  • Les Slater

    The Watergate scandal was the culmination of the U.S. losing the Vietnam war and the end of the post war (WW-II) economic boom. The ruling class was divided, the military was in shambles and the population had been greatly radicalized.

    Getting rid of Nixon cleared the slate for the beginnings of a serious long term attack on the working class. All the presidents since then have contributed to this attack with the biggest escalation under the two terms of Clinton.

    Neither of the two Bushes nor Obama being exceptions.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting take, Les.

    Even Clinton with his “I feel your pain” mantra?

  • Les Slater

    End welfare as we know it. Major increase in prison population and police. Federalizing more crimes, many pushing death penalty. He was the one that set up the mechanisms for militarizing the U.S. and laid the foundations for the Patriot Act. Did I mention financial deregulation under his tenure?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Interesting, Les. Never quite viewed it that way. I do agree that the ramification of Clinton’s policies reverberate today. It may have been a “golden era” but truth be told Bill Clinton sold Washington to the highest bidders with the hearty assistance of the GOP.

    Roger, as far as I am concerned anything less than criminal prosecution of oil executives and MMS officials is insufficient. We’ve allowed this rampant raping of our natural resources to go on too long without regulation. This is a situation where government intervention is appropriate.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Regulation, Silas, is no longer sufficient. It only mobilizes all the resources to countermand the regulation. (Richard Wolff).

    Actually, Les, I happen to think it would be a great idea to disallow unemployment benefits and let all welfare recipients to fall flat on their face. Only then will the shit would hit the fan, not before.

    Of course, the Democrats and the Republicans, for all their posturing, are scared shitless to effectuate such an outcome. It would mean the doom.

    They’re also scared shitless of the multinationals. They can’t imagine a future without ‘em. That’s why they’re courting them, not because they love the cocksuckers, only because their own life and blood is on the line.

    And so doing, they stay married to the devil.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Roger? Are you saying that civil war is the inevitable outcome here?

  • Clavos

    It wasn’t Goldwater who got us into Vietnam

    True, it was Eisenhower, and later, Kennedy, who set the ball rolling for escalation, which of course, was LBJ’s doing — a year after the election in which Goldwater was defeated.

    I know. I was there.

    [Personal aside: It has always pissed me off that the man who sent me to that war-torn nation couldn’t even pronounce its name correctly, he always said “Veetnam.”]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Actually, Clavos, I liked LBJ. He had redeeming virtues. Never mind the Texan accent, he was bigger than life. Plenty of chutzpah.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not recommending it, Silas, but I can’t see how things won’t come to a peak.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I agree there, Roger. Just another solid reason to insure our right to bear arms.

  • Les Slater

    Bear arms? Better figure out which way to point them first.

  • Clavos

    At each other. Where else?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    LOL. I think I’m gonna buy me a boat and live on the high seas like Kevin Costner in Waterworld. This country is as disastrous as the movie.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I just hope it isn’t not going to come to that. How about the whole nation going on strike?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Can’t have a strike when nobody has a job.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Greece had done it and brought a country to a standstill. Imagine our bureaucrats doing the same – a toll order, I admit!

    Perhaps you’re right. We’re still pigs.

  • Les Slater

    Legalize drugs? Think about what that might do. First, the banking system would collapse. And the poor cops, they’d have to find some other endeavor to supplement their income. And of course, one of the biggest growth industries, prisons, would go into a tailspin.

  • Les Slater

    Florida might lose some very visible, very public industries, who’s primary reason to exist is to launder money. And of course, it’s not limited to Florida.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You don’t need cops if you don’t have criminals. Besides, we’d lose the pretext for being a force to the good. And you can’t have pretensions to being good if you legalize what’s bad.

  • Les Slater

    “You don’t need cops if you don’t have criminals.”

    It’s the criminals that need the cops.

  • Les Slater

    And these criminals aren’t petty drug dealers either, they’re the ones that own the government.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sounds like a Foucauldian stance.

    For example – rationality and madness need one another, just like the notion of health is defined in terms of, and by means of, illness.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So the meaning of your #75 is: criminals need cops to go after the small fish.

  • Les Slater

    You really believe that cops are there to protect us from petty criminals (small fish)?

  • Les Slater

    And… all of this is quite rational.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We don’t, the system does; and in so doing, it makes us all feel cozy and safe.

    Of course it’s very rational. If it wasn’t so rational, not only it wouldn’t work. We’d see right through it.

  • Les Slater

    Instead, we believe what they tell us are their rules, rule of law and such horseshit, that when it doesn’t meet our expectations, we think IT is irrational. The real irrationality is our belief that their system was ever designed to to meet any of its professed high and noble pretenses.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The rule of law – you’re talking about the mainstay of liberal democracies and their rich history, dating back to Magna Carta,

    Come on, Les. That’s being sacrilegious and a heresy to any right-thinking Englishman.

    Our politicians may be corrupt and we can boot them out of office, they’ll say, but we still have the rule of law, our pride and joy.

  • Les Slater

    The enforcement of class relations.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And appearance of an in-built element of fairness.

  • Les Slater

    It isn’t all one-sided though. Some of the laws are the result of struggle and the relationship of forces at various historical junctures have been codified into law.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    True, but they still all add up to perpetuating the system of exploitation and class supremacy. I think that would be Foucault’s view, even with respect to legislation won as a result of emancipatory struggles. And I tend to agree.

  • Les Slater

    Of course that’s why the ruling class grants concessions, in the form of laws and other mechanisms. They don’t want the struggle to continue for fear of further radicalization and potential threat to the system itself.

    But have we been in a position to refuse those concessions? Have we been prepared to carry the struggle much further? Usually not without consolidating are own forces and moving forward on a higher plane. Objective factors don’t always give us that opportunity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, the women have certainly benefited, and they would have even more from the ERA (remember that?) And so have the gays and the blacks. Of course, these are only partial successes, each liberation movement having been splintered from the rest. But perhaps it wasn’t possible to adopt a larger, all-encompassing platform because the economic injustices weren’t quite as apparent (to most) as they are today: most still believed in the American Dream, with the result that they saw their particular struggle as being the end all and be all. Of course, it’s no longer possible to believe so today, unless one suffers from an extreme case of false consciousness.

    Which is why I’m being optimistic.

  • Les Slater

    Objective factors are changing but it is much more complex than just the economic crisis. It’s what the economic crisis is exposing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m aware of that. We’re undergoing a moral crisis as a consequence, as a people. People’s beliefs are shattered, they’re at their wits ends. All understanding eludes them.

    That’s how I view the Tea Party emergence and the expressions of discontent. Their entire value system is crumbling.

    Is that pretty much what you had in mind?

  • Les Slater

    It’s a question of which class governs. The working class must put forward a leadership that will clearly show what choices we face, further social deterioration, war, fascism… or our class taking society out of the hands of the capitalists, who are incapable of resolving these problems, and building a rational society built on human solidarity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Les, you’re having our government, and the military, standing in the way.

    As I argued earlier, our government is either scared shitless of Big Business, or simply can’t imagine life without it.

    So the question is: do you foresee a political solution?

  • Les Slater

    “So the question is: do you foresee a political solution?”

    Political solutions, above all, have to be based on a clear appreciation of reality, especially as relates to relations between classes and their institutions.

    First and foremost, the working class has to fully understand and internalize to the marrow of our bones, that the government is NOT ‘our’ government. Just like the troops are NOT ‘our’ troops, they are imperialist troops. However the military is composed mostly of our class, our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, neighbors, etc. This means it is composed of us. A political solution will mean winning the majority of those in uniform to join the rest of our class in the fight to take power out of the hands the capitalist class.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So you do see the winning of the military as a major obstacle, then.

    No illusions about electing representatives who are well-intentioned and better able to serve us?

  • Les Slater

    No illusions but I think we can win the majority politically, including electing representative to congress. Winning congress, or even the presidency, is not a revolution, but would give the working class legitimacy and authority to push the revolution to completion.

    The military is an obstacle but no reason to believe it couldn’t be won over.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I had no idea, Les, you meant to proceed by “lawful” means.

  • Les Slater

    All revolutions proceed lawfully.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Say that to Castro.

  • Les Slater

    Fidel? He was a candidate for office, 1952 I think. It was Batista that felt that he would not prevail under the electoral law at the time. It was Batista that broke the law though his coup. Fidel explained the illegality of the government and put forward it was the patriotic and lawful thing to do to remove Batista from power. His ‘History Will Absolve Me’ became the guide to right that illegality. By the end of ’58, the majority of the population was not only supportive but many were active participants. No one questioned the legality of that revolution.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, by legality, don’t you mean anything more than justification?

    Also, violence is not precluded.

  • Les Slater

    “Well, by legality, don’t you mean anything more than justification?”

    Well, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially recognized the new Cuban government after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

    “Also, violence is not precluded.”

    Where did the violence come from? It was from the dictator Batista and his henchmen backed to the hilt by U.S. imperialism.

    Do you think the slave in the south of the U.S. had the right to resist their enslavement, even violently? Of course according Southern statute, the slave had no right. But stepping back, who was the more lawful?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, by “legal” I meant what’s allowable by the rules of the game. Overthrowing an unjust regime may be the right thing to do, but it’s not “legal.”

    I don’t really think we need that term; it’s too context-bound.

  • Les Slater

    There is more than one player in these games and there are disputes as to what are the rules, and even what do the rules agreed on, or maybe not agreed on, mean. The ruling class in the U.S. can’t even agree on the basics of what the Constitution means.

    The rules and laws will change as necessary.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re fudging, Les. What’s “legal” doesn’t allow for overthrowing the government. Which is precisely what “laws” and “legality” are meaningless terms here, because they’re instruments of power.

    Overturning the ruling class transcends what the ruling class declares what is legal. And no ruling class would sanction its own deposition in the name of legality.

    Which, again, is why these terms aren’t useful.

  • Les Slater

    Roger, you’re too formal, in the Hegelian sense of the word.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Just to backtrack a tad, legalising drugs would be a huge cultural and economic benefit to the whole world.

    The so called war on drugs is doing nothing but create crime and corruption and it should be stopped.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I just think that “law” and what’s “legal” are not useful terms, because the very notion of legality has got to go along with the ruling class.

    It’s too constricting.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Silas, # 45: Barack Obama is capable of better. He’s had experiences in this world which make him ripe for the office he commands.

    #59:We’ve allowed this rampant raping of our natural resources to go on too long without regulation. This is a situation where government intervention is appropriate.

    As to #45, I’d be curious to learn what experiences President Obama had before becoming the President to make him “ripe for the office.” As far as I know, the only executive experience he had was as Editor in Chief of the Harvard Law Review, which shouldn’t count for much. He doubtless has a world view, principally gained while very young, and from what I have observed thus far, it shows.

    Anyone who has lived abroad and made an effort to understand different cultures doubtless has a world view. Wilson had a world view, although his experiences outside the United States were apparently confined to several cycling vacations in the English Lake District. He also “holds the record of all the presidents for the most rounds of golf . . . over 1,000, or almost one every other day.” His world view didn’t work out very well. General Douglas MacArthur, considered by many as a viable presidential candidate, had lived abroad for much of his life before being relieved of his command in Korea because he did not seem to understand very well who was the Commander in Chief. He was the “viceroy of Japan” from the end of WWII until he was relieved by President Truman during the Korean Conflict, and did an exemplary job as viceroy; I don’t think that experience would have translated well into the United States system of government. Fortunately (in my view), MacArthur did not get the Republican presidential nomination which went instead to General Eisenhower, referred to by General MacArthur as “the best clerk I ever had.”

    As to #59, there are problems with regulation; if there is a solution, I don’t know what it might be. One problem is that the regulators are often dependent upon the regulated. Leaving aside the age-old revolving door problem, most of the young folks employed by the regulatory agencies have very, very little experience if any, practical or otherwise, with the industries they are called upon to regulate. They operate in a bubble of academic ignorance of the consequences of the proposed actions they submit to those higher up, most of whom also have little practical experience but enough bureaucratic experience to live long and prosper.

    There are doubtless many dedicated civil servants who do the best they can and do it honestly and conscientiously. I have met, admired and got to know as friends several of them. Most of them retired as early as they could, disgusted with the system.

    The regulatory agencies in general are, in my view, too many, too big, too powerful and, more often than not, too cumbersome and incompetent to do adequately even what their legislative authority specifies. The FCC, having had its head handed to it not long ago in the Comcast decision, still wants to push beyond the authority granted to it by the Congress in the area of “net neutrality;” there is little support in Congress for augmenting its authority.

    Bureaucracy of any species, business, academic, governmental, political and other, is a cancerous type of growth which, unlike “normal” cells, has few limiting factors to circumscribe its activities. That’s why it metastases and is so deadly. Fortunately or otherwise, I suspect that a cure for cancer will be found before one is found and adopted for bureaucratic metastases.

  • Les Slater

    Justice, laws and legality have always been important to classes that aspire to rule.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Correct, as disguises of power.

    In fact, I was going make the same point, but it failed to post.

    In his discussion with the Maoists in the Power/Knowledge essays, the same argument is advanced against the notion of justice (in this case, bourgeois justice) as a historically-conditioned concept and therefore tainted and less-than-adequate to reflect and represent new social relations and power structure.

    The same point is made at the tail end of the famous Foucault-Chomsky debate.

  • Les Slater

    Chris,

    I totally agree that drugs should be decriminalized. In the short term it would be quite disruptive. A lot of money has artificially inflated some institutions and individuals. Finding meaningful work work for the millions involved in this illegal enterprise will further tax the system.

    Les

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Shoot, Les, I posted those comments on the Mathematics of Oil thread.

  • Les Slater

    “Correct, as disguises of power.”

    I don’t think you can dismiss justice, per se, as bourgeois. Certainly all such notions of justice are historically conditioned. But what good would any new society be without it being just. Even if this is no more than an expectation of being treated fairly.

    Long after any revolution we will have quite powerful legacies of bourgeois prejudices. We will need some agreed on power to arbitrate and even suppress.

    We don’t need to disguise power. It should be fully in the open.

  • http://pvtgov.wordpress.com George Staropoli

    Returning to the content of the article, the Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard (the only Democrat running for Governor), told the Feds that, ?I also told the Justice Department lawyers that I intended to defend any lawsuit that might be brought and that I would fight back vigorously.?

    A number of other groups have already filed lawsuits, and there’s a referendum and initiative that could hit the elections in November, provided enough signatures are obtained by July 29.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That was precisely the Maoists’ argument.

  • Les Slater

    Also Chris, the self destructive taxation via lotteries, casinos and the like do employ quite a few people. But the specter of hitting on gambling addicts to fund schools just goes to show how sick this society is.

    It’s a much broader and deeper problem than just drugs and gambling.

  • Les Slater

    116 – basic Marxism.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, yes of course, but F was offering a critique. This is not the appropriate thread for this. I’ll post a link/response on my thread at a later time.

  • http://www.heloise8@wordpress.com Heloise

    What are you smoking buddy? I want some.

  • Les Slater

    Roger, you’re goin’ to have learn how to speak for yourself, not just provide a link.

    Please, briefly present the critique in your own words.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not a question of that, Les. It’s been a while and I’m rusty (dealt with other topics instead and this one was put on a temporary hold), so I have to re-read it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A good one, Heloise, but you’re a bit late. It’s wearing off.

  • http://www.heloise8@wordpress.com Heloise

    Clearly, this author has never stood in line behind illegals AKA Mexicans (who look Asian to me) wherein they pay cash for transactions ranging from 5 bucks to 500 bucks. They pull out enough cash to choke a horse. That means they ain’t paying NO taxes. While they steer clear of banks the banks do not steer clear of laundrying money for their criminal homies with drug money to the tune of trillions flowing into US banks. Wells Fargo and Wachovia have both paid fines for this criminal activity. And while I am shopping in stores that illegals frequent I have to watch my back. Because they like to walk up and sneak up behind women and get close to them. I have had to literally run from them or scream at them to get back. Neighbors have had to rescue me from walks because they will stalk any women walking alone! Sorry, I digress.

    Also, I note that you do not mention the fact that John McCain and Ted Kennedy both gave the whole damn US of A away…legally! No one in education can ask the legal status of a student or their parents who do NOT SPEAK ONE word of English. You can’t ask what, why or how.

    The 14th amendment is a joke. This is how we got Barack Obama and his criminal dad. We can all thank Ted for the wild population anchor baby boom. But really it was the Rethugs and the Damns who are complicit in turning their heads while the border was jumped by millions. I’ve seen Mexican kids play “climb the border fence.” That means they are LAUGHING AT US, you and me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ultimately, it’s a matter of absorbing all the material before you can put it together into a coherent whole. Hence the work in progress I had started (as per draft I sent you).

  • http://www.heloise8@wordpress.com Heloise

    Roger, I helped make that line popular when I used it years ago in a comment. Now, as then it is a cliche. I know. Read what I really think in the following post.

    Tonight I came up with the daddy of cogent bytes: “The BP Syndrome”. Yes, that’s the ticket. Watch the China Syndrome on Netflix. Mindblowing.

  • zingzing

    such strangeness… insanity is a hell of a drug.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have seen the China Syndrome lots of times.

  • Les Slater

    It’s simple. Do you think justice, fairness, democracy, etc are outdated bourgeois concepts? Not that they are not limited by their current class content, but whether they can transcend that. Can a post-capitalist society be just?

  • Les Slater

    “Because they like to walk up and sneak up behind women and get close to them. I have had to literally run from them or scream at them to get back.”

    Reminds me of a scene from ‘Hairspray’ (1988), where Prudence Pingleton follows her daughter Penny into the Black neighborhood of Motormouth Maybelle.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m undecided about it yet, which is why I want to review the counterargument. The notion of justice (and fairness of course) are the most difficult to discard.

    As I said, I’ll have to get back to you on that. Besides, you’re taking me too far ahead of my present thought. I’ve got to develop this methodically.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger is wearing his Hegelian Tuxedo?

    :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Let’s put it this way, it’s got to be reconstructed on a different basis, other than reflecting the existing social structure(s).

    So yes, thanks for raising this question because I’ve been sitting on the sidelines with respect to it. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I hope not. I wasn’t aware there were any traces of Hegel in me until Les accused me of it. I’d like to believe I’m Nietzschian.

  • Les Slater

    I did not accuse you of any Hegelian traces. My critique of your formalism was based on the Hegelian critique of formalism.

  • Dennis

    Since we know there are so many illegals “5 million visa-expired” living here why aren’t we doing anything to fix that, such as renewing their visas or deporting them, etc?

  • http://www.14thamendmentsummary.com 14th Amendment Summary

    I like this one!