Posts Tagged ‘current-events’

There is a lot of misinformation out there. I actually teach this stuff and know what the facts are. You can google my points below:
1. The flow of undocumented workers has been from and not to the U.S. since 2005. Thus, building or making the border more ‘secure,’ something that is impossible anyway, would actually keep the undocumented from leaving the U.S.
2. Obama has deported more undocumented than any other president. That is why Latinos call him the “Deporter in Chief”
3. Yes undocumented get some health benefits. But this happens because of actions at the local level rather than by federal policy. See the article below.
4. Why do cities and counties provide such services? First, because it is cheaper to do preventive care than pay for undocumented using hospital emergency rooms. Second, because the undocumented provide essential cheap labor for many local industries, from restaurants to crop harvesting to house cleaning to construction. Local economies need their labor. Trump has used undocumented Polish labor at some of his construction projects. And documented labor will not do those jobs at those wages. Third, undocumented labor contribute enormous amounts of tax revenue, often using other people’s Social Security numbers, but do not collect any unemployment, housing, disability, public housing, or retirement benefits. In fact, the revenue they contribute to social security has kept that program afloat financially and makes possible the retirement of documented Americans. This is a fact. Finally, the U.S. Offers very few immigration opportunities to Latin American countries as opposed to European countries. Thus, the economic demand for cheap labor, the destruction of economies in Latin America by American companies investing there, produce pressures which result in people having to come here without papers. It is a complex process where the U.S. is just as responsible for what is happening as the people sneaking in. http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/illegal-immigrants-get-public-health-care-despite-federal-policy/ar-BBqT8Xo?ocid=fbmsnmoney

All of the opponents to the Iran deal are confused and delusional.

Is Iran a dangerous state and not to be trusted? Yes. But they are trustworthy on some things. They are, in fact, our allies in the fight against ISIS. Without them, we could not keep ISIS in check.

iran20a  Is it possible that Iran will use some of the funds released by the agreement to fund terrorism? Yes. But no one knows how much and it is already funding terrorism now. And our allies, the Saudis, also fund terrorism. 9/11 being the most glaring example. We do know that this agreement is something that will support the rising population of young Iranians who are looking towards the west for inspiration. This group can serve as a bulwark against the Iranian right wing and the Ayatollah.

Is the inspection process something that provides Iran with some ability to hide what they are doing? Possibly. But right now we have no inspection process and they can do whatever they want. With this agreement we have some way of monitoring what they are doing.

Will our not signing tDiplomacy-NIAC-infographiche agreement stop the deal? Nope. Other nations have signed on and will no longer punish the Iranians. So, Iran will be able to do whatever the opponents say they will do even if we do not sign. Is there a possible better deal out there that we can get if we persist? Possible, but not likely. This deal took years to make and faced opposition in our country and Iran. This is the best possible deal we can make at this moment.

How do we get Iran not to build nuclear weapons?  If you know anything about selling, we have already won by getting them to sign the deal. What we all want is for Iran to join the fraternity of nations who abide by international law and decency (something the U.S. has not always done, btw). By getting them to say YES to this deal, this deal has created a situation where they will likely say yes to those larger goals. That is what salesmanship is all about.

Here are some thoughts on racism and how it plays out for Blacks and Latinos in the U.S. after hearing about, but not yet reading Coates much celebrated book on being Black in this country.  I think the experience of racism is a little different for Latinos.

It was the first time that Coates, who writes for The Atlantic, had held a copy of his latest book, Between the World and Me.

This book is personal, written as a letter to his teenage son Samori. In it, we see glimpses of the hard West Baltimore streets where Coates grew up, his curiosity at work on the campus of Howard University and his early struggles as a journalist.

Coates also reflects on what it meant, and what it means, to inhabit a black body in America. He gets at the physical consequences of slavery and racial discrimination, and he brings to bear his big fear that his life and the lives of his loved ones might end unnaturally.

This is exactly what it felt like growing up in Harlem and East New York…you walk around the streets with a fear that goes to your bones, a fear of others around you who were also traumatized. They and I walked around posturing tough, with a little jive, to hide our fear, walking among zombies, ready for battle, ready for death…and knowing deep inside that the world outside not only did not care, but wanted you dead…and yet we found comfort in the grace, beauty, and support of the people you lived with and who, at bottom, loved you…

The experience of racism is different for Blacks and for Latinos. For Blacks, it is about their bodies… those desired and despised bodies. For Latinos, it is about their space, their land…and the desire and demand that they move off that land. Blacks get adored in sports and destroyed by police in the streets. Latinos get in the way of American profit making machines in Latin America and in U.S. cities.  People build physical and imaginary walls built to keep them out of the U.S. or displace them from desired neighborhoods.

In a recent Hugh Eakin New York Books interview, Mark Danner does a masterful job of dissecting the voids, contradictions, and failures of the recent Senate report on the CIA’s torture program.  This interview article, “Our New Politics of Torture,” includes many observations and gems. One comment by Danner, in particular, stuck out because it points to a wider and more profound flaw in modern state sovereignty.  Danner concludes that the major problem with the U.S. torture, or “enhanced interrogation,” program was that it was mostly about our fears and, more exactly, the fears of our officials and leaders in the U.S. state. He states that,

“It’s an epistemological paradox: How do you prove what you don’t know? And from this open question comes this anxiety-ridden conviction that he must know, he must know, he must know. So even though the interrogators are saying he’s compliant, he’s telling us everything he knows—even though the waterboarding is nearly killing him, rendering him “completely non-responsive,” as the report says—officials at headquarters was saying he has to be waterboarded again, and again, because he still hadn’t given up information about the attacks they were convinced had to be coming. They kept pushing from the other side of the world for more suffering and more torture.”

Thus, we tortured because we were so afraid of another attack, of being surprised, of being embarrassed and shamed, of the terrorists! Aside from the idea that our fear is exactly what the terrorists wanted… and achieved, there is another very grave conclusion that we can make. It was not just the CIA that was afraid. The American people were very afraid too. And our state leaders, from Bush to Cheney to Rumsfeld to Congress, were very afraid indeed. Why? Primarily, I think, because terrorism strikes at the achilles heal of modern states, especially Super Powers like the U.S.  All of our weapons systems and armed forces are geared to repel and preempt attacks against us by other nation-states. But this is precisely what terrorism is not.

A Shiite pilrim w flag of martyr Iman HusseinTerrorists have no specific land to call their own. They have no military bases. They have no standing army. They operate without a specific chain of command. They operate like independent cells. There is no easy way to destroy its head, no matter how many drone strikes we deliver to eliminate terrorist leaders. Our missiles sit impotently in their silos. Our ships and planes circle “problem areas” but cannot encounter the enemy. We can spend billions and billions more on Defense, without a noticeable impact on our security.

Global travel, communications, and capital flows makes terrorist location, actions, and intentions so much more difficult to trace and block. The U.S. State is reduced to relying on information, and the CIA, in a much more profound and, ultimately incomprehensible way. The information we need is complicated, dense, unreliable, and often complicated by pesky things like human and constitutional rights. One can sense the exasperation of state leaders. Complaints about constitutionality of the bulk screening of U.S. civilian phone calls and emails are rendered irrelevant by the realization that intelligence officials have no other way of knowing what terrorists are up to. Thus, a recent government report lamented that

“From a technological standpoint, curtailing bulk data collection means analysts will be deprived of some information,” said Robert F. Sproull, the chairman of the committee that examined the problem and a former director of Oracle’s Sun Labs.”

That scares the hell out of state leaders. And thus, like a parent, who cannot get a child to behave with mere words and nagging, state leaders feel compelled to resort to violence. Their hope is that it will deliver the cooperation and information they need to not be embarrassed and shamed… by terrorists. But, ultimately, torture does not work.  It just inflames and expands the terrorism.

Some conservative websites are recirculating videos of a black man giving a rant on how what happened in Ferguson to Michael Brown, and to black men in general, could have been avoided if black men just took responsibility for their lives. In the video, he says things like:

“Black people it is 2014, hate to break this to you if your life is messed up, it ain’t because of slavery. Your a** was never a slave, you probably ain’t know nobody was a slave, you probably don’t know nobody that knew nobody who was a slave.”

“Civil rights about 50 years ago, we won. It was a fight. We sat, they marched, we won.”

Here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPUcA7yrErg

Here are a few of things commentators posted about the video:

  • if the other black males felt the same way as he does,,,, black people would rise up and become overall more successful in a single generation,,,, or quicker.

  • Like he said time to clean up! let’s start from the White House!

  • These are the cracks in the facade that Black people need to free themselves from the racism and control that white liberals and their approved black overseers have.

    If the Berlin Wall could be torn down and statues of Lenin pulled down, then maybe there is hope for the Black community.

  • This man says it in a way that ” ‘da brothers (& sisters)” will relate to. We whites got it when Bill Cosby said it alright, but this needs to go “stratospheric.”

  • Well said, Sir! It’s nice to hear people speaking from their intelligence instead of their posterior. Why isn’t this on MSM? Never mind, we ALL know why … it doesn’t fit their agenda! It’s a shame too. I know many people, of many races, colors, religions, and ancestry who think just like this man. We are special because we are Americans … act like it!

I think that white people want to see this guy say these things because it makes them feel better. It confirms their opinion that they have no role to play in this tragedy. But they DO! They want to believe that black people are so stupid as to want to stay in their misery when all they have to do is change their mindset. Hahahaha… That is a big joke. In the vast majority of these cases of police killings, the black man was doing nothing more than minding their own business when confronted by police. The police, like white people in general, are afraid of black men, even when there is no evidence to support the fear. The same people who applaud this man’s rant, will also walk across the street or shrink when they see him in an elevator. We all have to admit it! There is white people’s justice and black people’s justice, and the latter is severe, unjust, and deadly. Take a look at this article: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article4149075.html

Until we deal with an unjust justice system, we will continue to see these barbaric police crimes.

Recently, some commentators have mused about whether the U.S. would be better off with a queen or king.  These nostalgic murmurs were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth in England this week.  The Queen and her subjects are celebrating 60 years of rule.  Most of the talk has been about whether “Yanks” are “missing out royally without a queen“.

May 12, 1937.  Queen Elizabeth, second from left, and King George VI, second from right, are seen on the balcony of London’s Buckingham Palace following the coronation of King George VI.

What exactly does a queen or king do for a society besides rule?  In most cases, modern royalty don’t make many decisions.  They leave the day-to-day running of the state to elected government officials.  That is the case in England too.  The prime minister makes domestic and foreign policy.  And yet the Queen is still the head of state.

Her contribution goes beyond having her face and name on the nation’s currency, armed forces, and on the taxes levied and the laws written and passed by Parliament.  These are important symbols of her authority but they do not account for the most important function of royalty.  While many believe that the Queen’s most important role is to serve as a unifying force in England, I think it has to do with gathering power for the state.

While unifying the nation is an important role, most seem to forget  that queens and kings serve as heads of state.  What this means goes beyond holding a title.  A head of state has the awesome power to rightfully take life, liberty, and property.  That power has to come from somewhere.  Why would people willingly give the state that right to rule them?  Modern humans lived the majority of time on this earth (35-40,000 years) without needing a state.  It has only been in the last 5-6,000 years that humans began to accept the idea of Leviathan.  Traditionally, many have argued that royalty’s right to power and rule was granted to queens and kings by God.  The people needed to be ruled and God created royalty to do so.  Later, political theorists, like Locke and Hobbes, made the argument that states were created by a contract with the people in exchange for peace or property protection.  These make for a good stories and each story has been historically persuasive for many.  But these stories are also just not true.

What is true is that it is the people being ruled who give a queen or a king or a president the power to rule.  The state is a Leviathan as Thomas Hobbs once said, an artificial monster with enormous powers over its subjects.  And yet that power comes to the state from the subjects themselves.  We do so not through a contract.  We give the monster life.  Every minute and every single day, people give the state it’s power.  They do so by BELIEVING in this abstract body, by RESPECTING it, by giving it CREDIBILITY, and by OBEYING it.  This is, for the most part, not a conscious process.  In fact, it is better if it is not conscious.  Power flows a lot easier to the queen if subjects don’t have to plan or think about how they give the queen power.  The power to take their life, their liberty, or their property is easier to accept and to give to the queen when subjects do so because of habit, faith, or love.

The British continue to support the institution of the Royal Family because it serves the vital function of siphoning power from the people in a way that does not create waves or jeopardize the continuity of state power.  Unlike our president, who has to try to siphon power form the people while also governing them, the Queen’s job is much simpler.  She can simply draw upon the adoration and love the people have for her.  She never has to reject their pleas for help, impose burdensome new taxes, or pit one group against another.

As long as the people love the Queen, the British state can maintain a stable source of power for the Parliament and the Prime Minister to use in governing.  This is what makes the Queen so important to British politics and to the British people.  She represents a unique institution that solves in a gracious and effective manner the modern problem of how to gather power from the people into the state.  If that siphoning of power does not occur, the state cannot embody the power necessary to permit government to rule.