Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Why we can't have nice things

I had an interesting vest-pocket insight into the problems of U.S. politics this morning when a Facebook pal of mine posted a link to an article critical of the Trump Administration's migrant-kiddie-internment policy.

Because the VERY first "comment" was from some dude (an in-law of hers, as it turned out) snarling that "if you don't want your kids taken away, don't break the law!"

This was met (unsurprisingly, since my friend is pretty lefty) with a barrage of "Seriously, dude?" replies. Said dude's defense was that he was all in with lurrrrving him some immigrants, provided they "did it legally".

Said dude was then forcibly reminded that U.S. immigration law, as currently constituted, 1) makes it practically impossible for a simple campesino from the Mexican hinterlands or anywhere else in Latin America to obtain legal residence in the United States, and 2) makes it a misdemeanor to try and enter any other way, so that, in effect, the choice for a poor person from the hemispheric midsection is to be immiserated or imprisoned. That's kind of the language of an abuser; "If you just stop making me mad, honey, you would stop forcing me to hit you..."

Things went downhill from there, with said dude whipping out every chuckleheaded "conservative" Internet meme (Clinton did it too/first, it's The Law, Liberals are Immigrant Cucks, etc, etc...), concluding with the suggestion that imprisoning latino kiddies without their families was not as big a hardship for said kiddies as the hardship suffered by military dependent kiddies whose absent mommies and daddies were fighting for your freedoms, dammit!!!

Finally, after getting hammered for his combination of dopey memes, untruths, strawman arguments, poor analogies, and the sort of "repeating-the-same-idiot-thing-is-the-same-as-rational-argument" style of "debate" you run into in places like Breitbart, or the comment sections of your newspaper all the time, he pulled the original comment and ended the debate.

Which, frankly, is a problem. Because we SHOULD be discussing the issue of the United States and its southern neighbors.

Starting with the premise that the wingnuts aren't entirely wrong.

Oh, don't get me wrong; they ARE wrong, because they aren't actually arguing rationally. They're not really debating the ISSUE, but, rather, shrieking their fears of racial pollution, cultural submergence, the potential loss of white supremacy that are wrapped up in the idea "Press One For English".


The notion that it is not healthy for a republic to have in its midst a significant, indigestible mass of people who are outside the civil contract, who are outside the protection of civil and criminal law, and are locked out of the public square is not ridiculous. It is not good for the people, who are prey to the worse elements of that polity. It is not healthy for the republic, which is forced to make choices and enforce them on a populace that has no voice in making those choices.

It's not even good for the polities those people are fleeing, because it allows those nations to avoid making changes that might help those people want to stay where they are.


Treating this as the problem solely of those people fleeing those places (or seeking a better life here in the U.S.) IS ridiculous. That's my issue with the Trumpkins here. They're trying to take a complex problem with a multivariate and difficult history - including some VERY bad behavior on the part of the United States and its people - and simplify it into making it about the MS-13 rapists with calves like cantaloupes.

If we lived in a United States governed by rational people - left or right - we'd be talking about a sort of "Grand Concert of North America", which would address things as disparate as the impact of American gun and drug laws, the dysfunctional legacies of Spanish colonialism and native Latin American caudilloism, trade and infrastructure relations...even things as arcane as "could a hemispheric solar power initiative create jobs and raise incomes along with addressing the cost of fossil fuel production and importation..?"

IMO the problems with trying to do that here are overwhelmingly in dealing with the Right.

The Left needs to accept that there ARE problems with migration from Latin America. No, just taking a shit-ton of people in from troubled Latin countries doesn't help them, or us. There needs to be SOME rules, and some limits. And there needs to be a reasonable "process" that, if you try and go around it and get caught, puts you out on the mat like the Flintstones' sabertooth cat.

But the Right...shit, where to start?

You're gonna have to press one for English. Any solution WILL involve migration, and so just like Mrs. Van Schuyler shopping at the Lower East Side in 1899, you're gonna hear Spanish like she heard Italian and Russian and German and Polish and Yiddish. Relax. Just like those Fagolinis and Kropotkins and Drumpfs and Solokowskis and Cohens, the second generation will be bilingual, and the third will be wearing Jordans, talking GenZZ slang, and playing Hong Kong hip-hop way too loud on Friday night

You're gonna have to accept that your Wonder Bread brand of "conservatism" probably won't resonate with those folks. You're gonna have to find another not so fully invested in Being White. Oh, and maybe a trifle less sucking-up-to-the-rich might be nice.

Just sayin'.

A sane conservative America would be willing to go there.

The current "conservative" America will not, because it cannot. It's Trump, in all his insanely vituperative, libtard-hating, social-justice-warrior-cucking, anti-everything-not-seen-at-the-last-NASCAR-race-meeting glory. To change would be to deny its very essence.

So, it's pretty simple, and, no, it doesn't really involve "both sides".

The existing Left needs to think about "immigration" a little deeper.

The existing Right must be Destroyed.


  1. I have never been able to understand politics (and American Politics especially). I think this post discusses the reasons why. Rather than words being used to persuade people, they are used as rituals in elaborate territorial dances between large flightless birds (er mammals). Furthermore the territory isn't some conveniently located chunk of dirt, rather it is an invisible abstract symbol space tied to tribal and social connections.

    1. I don't think that if you like the idea of taking some poor dirt farm family from Sinaloa, ripping them apart, and throwing them in jail for the "crime" of trying to find life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that words will persuade you otherwise. THAT's the problem; that 40 years of nonstop lies and propaganda have created a hardcore 20-30% of the U.S. public that are for all practical purposes irredeemable.

      Look at another issue; taxes. The GOP base has been brainwashed with the words "tax cuts". Peace dividend? Tax cut! War in SW Asia? Tax cut! Recession? Tax cut! There's now way to "debate" something like that - it's not a rational political position, it's fucking magic words. Explain the the top marginal rate was 90% under Eisenhower? Tax cuts! Ask how the new Space Force will be funded? Tax cuts!

      The U.S. system of government is stuffed full of "veto points"; places where a hardcore minority can stop governmental action if they don't care about anything but their own interests (tax cuts!) and the GOP has learned to use them when they're out of the Executive seats of power. They're brilliant politically, they've captured a shit-ton of state governments, and they learned Stalin's lesson; ni shagu nazad - not one step backwards. They will not compromise, and they will not negotiate.

      So trying to use words to persuade them is useless. Seriously, what words could you possibly use on someone who thinks it's a nifty idea for little kiddies to cry themselves to sleep in a fucking cage in a fucking empty Walmart? What sort of alleged human being could be persuaded not to want that, just because that kid was born in another country?

    2. History is clear. Every single one of us is capable of behaving that way (and worse!). It is a matter of socialization and group identification. Them vs us. The way to improve behavior is to expand the definition of "us".

      This is the revolutionary idea about universal human rights. We are bound by our common humanity. However, that logic faces constant pressure from our natural tendency to identify with our immediate social group.

    3. It would seem likely that if you're okay with the notion of imprisoning innocent children that you have already concluded that they are not us.

      I know the impulse to try and find good in everyone...but I can't see how you "persuade" those people to change. I mean, this isn't exactly a tough judgement call here. If the "right call" isn't brutally obvious you're some kind of moral leper.

    4. Ael,

      Things are currently very tribal here in the US. Everything has become a culture war issue and virtue signalling is the norm. Or, put another way, the Venn diagram for the political class contains very little overlap.

      The masses that don't pay attention to politics seem much less entrenched, but their views obviously don't get any play in the media and they are also not the types to engage in divise arguments on social media.

    5. Or, to describe it more accurately, the general political orientation of the U.S. public has remained remarkably similar since the 1970s. In particular, the "Left" (the Democratic Party, what pretty much anywhere else in the world would be a "center-left" organization) has moved very slightly more "tribal", that is, moved slightly to the left.

      OTOH, the GOP has moved massively "right". The "Rockefeller Republicans" have been exterminated, and the Right is dominated by the sort of people who approved of imprisoning immigrant children by something like a 55-35% margin.

      So don't be kidded. This hasn't been a case of "both sides do it". The Left hasn't moved significantly since the 70's (or, really, much since the 1950s). The Right has gone all-in on Trumpism.

    6. Interesting chart, but it only shows data for those elected to the House and is based on an analysis of roll-call votes. That's a pretty narrow slice of the political pie and I don't think serves as a useful proxy for conclusions about "right" vs "left" or even "GoP" vs "Democrat."

    7. C'mon, Andy, seriously?

      You're going to tell me that there's a "left" equivalent of the Teabaggers? That there's a liberal constituency for the equivalent of the 3%, the soverign citizens, the Tenthers, the Freedom Caucus? Goddamn, man, the "left" couldn't even agree to nominate a seriously-no-shit-old-school-New-Dealer in the last presidential election!

      I mean, you've got the "left" trying to push for tax policies less "radical" than the Eisenhower Administration's...and the "right" is trying to abolish the damn EPA and you've got GOP Congresscritters suggesting that the real problem is child labor laws.

      I mean...freaking Paul Ryan had to pull his immigration bill yesterday - that was plenty restrictive and punitive to the immigrants - because his own caucus was foaming at the mouth because it didn't knuckle the beaners ENOUGH. Trump has an 85% approval rating among Republicans, and whatever is left of a non-wingnut GOP appears terrified to say anything when Trump says he wants "his people" to sit at attention like the North Koreans because they're going to be hammered from the right.

      That's totally my point. There's a "salvageable" Left - Sanders showed that; it's not all DLC/neoliberals all the way down.

      But where the hell is the "salvageable" Right? Where's the Republican who would be willing to accept Reagan Era "conservatism", let alone the policies of the GOP back in the Fifties and Sixties?

      So to hell with the chart; look around you. Where are the sane Republicans?

    8. "You're going to tell me that there's a "left" equivalent of the Teabaggers?"

      Well, I never actually said anything remotely like that, but it's interesting you made the assumption.

      What I would say is that the claim that the left "hasn't significantly moved since the 1970's" has little basis in fact. If you want evidence, I'm happy to provide it.

      And yes, to some extent "both sides" actually do do it. There is a creeping normalcy in our politics that ratchets toward a lowest common denominator. However I agree with you to the extent that the GoP and/or the "right" is the vanguard on this ratcheting and is pulling harder at the string than are the Democrats and the left.

    9. If you guys don't see Pelosi, Schumer, That black idiot from CA with James Brown hairdo (Waters), etc as die hard radical nut jobs, fully the lefty equivalent of whatever extremism exists on the right, then you have your heads so far up your ideological ass that you'll never see the light of reality again.


    10. Tell them the most extreme things or statements these three people have ever done in your opinion, and source them from a not right wingosphere source for further discussion, please.

    11. Sven -

      Please don't feed the trolls. Ignore him. Guys like him hate Grandma Maxine and Nonna Nancy because the right wingosphere you mentioned told him they were baaaad. I never could figure out why right wing whackos hate grandmothers. The thing smacks of witch-trials that we did in Salem and your country did in Wurzburg. A way to get rid of smart women. Clinton, another grandma, was also called a crone who should have stayed in the kitchen baking snickerdoodles and gingerbread.

      Maxine Waters is a special case. They think she is not only an uppity woman but also an impertinent and biggety black. She may be uppity but she earned it the hard way: bussed tables in an all-white restaurant when she was 13 years old, but still manged to finish high school. She worked in a sweatshop garment factory, while raising two children and going to college at night graduating when she was in her mid 30s. Elected to Congress when she was 50 or so, and where she has advocated for women, the poor and minorities. She has been re-elected in her district 14 times so she is doing something right for her constituents. That despite the slander from the right, which is probably what drives them batshit crazy.

    12. What Mike said. This "avedis" joker shows up now and then to prove the comedy Teabagger cartoons are actually documentaries. You'll note his utter ignorance of the Pelosi-Waters spat. That's because his Fuhrer, Rushbo, tells him All Dhimmicrats Are Commie Cucks and if our boy avedis has an actual principle, it's "fuhrer befiel, wir folgen!"

      However, he DOES serve a purpose here...which is to illustrate my point. How the hell can you reason with that? With someone who believes Pelosi = Waters = Lenin? That's tinfoil-hat time, but that's your Republican base.

    13. Well, either he didn't read the reply or is still researching (thus admitting that he hadn't based his opinion on knowledge, but on judgment of others) or he understands he's lacking munition or he's coming back soon with his case.

      I'm fine with doors 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    14. Whatever it is it is likely to be pure wingnut comedy gold. I mean..."whatever extremism exists on the right"? How the hell do you even think that without giggling hysterically?

      These really are the Mole People.

    15. Well, "extremism" is a question of political distance.

      There are also a couple actually legitimate complaints that friendly partisan media don't report (or highlight) about politicians and readers who avoid hostile partisan media don't know or don't pay attention to.

    16. I don't think that was his point; it was more along the lines of "Extremisim? Moi? There's no cannibalism in the British Navy...or extremism in the alt-right...I mean Tea Party...I mean 3%ers...I mean neoconfederates...I mean Birchers...I mean Tenthers...Pizzagaters...Trumpkins..."

      He knows perfectly well these people are his pals, and that his party would be toast without them. He's just trying not to admit to the GOP wingnut elephant in the room the same way he's trying to turn paleoDem voted-for-every-reauthorization-of-the-USAPATRIOT-Act Pelosi into Emma Goldman.

    17. Hit and Run tactics. Chuckling now and imagining that he has struck a blow for Trump. Hoping to feast on libtard outrage.

    18. I'm never sure with him. He often seems like a True Believer, rather than a carnival freak of the Ted Nugent/Steve Bannon variety, the sort of bro-dick who just wants to troll the libs. The conned, not the grifter, IOW. Still worthless to try and "debate" him, tho.

  2. I think the fundamental problem is that our immigration law is incoherent and under-resourced, but more than that, there is little agreement on a national level on what our immigration policy should be (in terms of who should be allowed in, under what circumstances and, how many, etc.). We have one faction that essentially wants near-open borders and another faction that wants to strictly curtail immigration. Most of the country falls somewhere in between.

    1. Not sure about incoherent; the process is fairly straightforward. It IS understaffed, and if the GOP has it's way and further starves the Beast in order to drown it in a bathtub I can't see how that changes for the better.

      My point here, though, is that the problem with a national agreement is that:

      1) I'd buy that the "faction that wants to strictly curtail immigration" was really interested in simply curtailing immigration if ICE was arresting the employers of the undocumented workers at the Tyson processing plants in Alabama and tomato growers in Stockton. That faction seems to want to knuckle darkies more than actually worrying about how to actually "curtail immigration", and

      2) The "open borders" faction is effectively tiny and powerless. Most of the Left is at least open to the notion of some sort of immigration policy that would, perforce, require some discrimination and restriction on who gets in and who doesn't.

      Trump has made it clear that the Right is plainly all-in on Making America White Again by restricting immigration to Danish nuclear engineers and Croatian trophy wives. No Latins Need Apply

      So to have an agreement there'd have to be something to agree on. 95% of the Left would be willing to accept "restrictions". 95% of the Right is "Lock Them Up, Fence Them Out" (and the other 5% is pretty much "Shoot Them On Sight")

      I'd love to have an agreement. But "ni shagu nazad"; there's no hope that the GOP as presently constituted will accept anything but "zero tolerance".

    2. I don't really know what the "right" or "left" actually wants since they never actually say - or, they tell supporting advocates what they want to hear which might or might not be what they actually want, but based on what they actually say the right is nativist and the left wants amnesty and few restrictions. What's frustrating for me is that these two sides see things solely in terms of political advantage.

      What do they really want? Who knows, that's never actually talked about.

    3. Ah, that must be the key to what is going on. In Canada, we have our fair share of partisan bickering, but I perceive less "hidden agendas". (Maybe our agendas are better hidden?). We just went through a bunch of tough political questions (pipelines, legalization of pot, trade) and while opposing positions were taken on various issues, there wasn't a lot of "we'll say this to the rubes and say the opposite to the upper crusters". I wonder if it is because we have a strong publicly funded broadcaster (the CBC) which is run by faceless bureaucrats who are able to offer some resistance to whoever is momentarily on top of the greasy pole of politics?

    4. I'd disagree.

      The "left" in this country wants - to the extent it can get it's shit together enough to "want" anything as a group - to continue the social compact of the New Deal, and to extend it to the groups originally left out of that compact; black and brown Americans. The left also believes that commerce, unregulated, will fuck up your land, air, and water, and should be eyed with the sort of wary suspicion that my McMillan forebears would have keeked at a Campbell, and an armed one, at that.

      The "right" wants - at least, the "right" that matters politically - to return to the America of 1929, when White was Right and when (to paraphrase Thuycidides) the rich did what they could and the poor suffered what they must. Unleash the "job creators", fuck your wind farms drill-baby-drill, and if you want the faggots and darkies to take their business elsewhere and you want your kids to learn the Bible instead of Sesame Street in kindergarten, go for it.

      There's some gray areas there - mostly on trade, where there's little consensus on the left as to whether "free trade" is an unalloyed good and where the right is bigly divided between the moneymen who like it and the deplorables who don't - but that's pretty much the bright line.

      The Trumpkins make headlines because of their open racism and general "suck it, libs!" nastiness, but in actual policy matters they're just conventional "conservatives" - look at what Ryan and McConnell are doing in Congress, Pruitt is doing at EPA, or what deVos is doing at Education.

    5. To be fair, "drill baby drill" proved to be much more of a success than was anticipated by critics. I remember how it was ridiculed as a hopeless effort to reduce crude oil prices, but it was indeed a major input to the price reduction (which also happened to cause much fiscal trouble to Russia's military modernisation plans).

      So "drill abby drill" is in part one of the few and rare factual right wing success stories.

  3. Fred Clarke at Patheos has a good summary of the problem We the People are going to have with this asymmetric polarization of our citizenry:

    "...when people are voluntarily caught up in lies, education and corrective information won’t work as a solution. People choosing to believe the white nationalist anti-immigrant lies promoted by Trump and by Fox News will not be receptive to the actual facts of the matter. They will regard those facts — and anyone attempting to stand by them — with hostility.

    Soerens’ attempts to inform these Christians won’t be perceived by them as the sharing of information. It will be perceived as an attack, as the rescinding of that permission to think the worst of others and therefore the best of themselves. The propaganda they’ve embraced didn’t work because it was credible or convincing. It’s not. It’s about as credible and convincing as Mike Warnke’s tales of being a Satanic high priest. But the propaganda was persuasive to them because it gave them permission.

    And it maintains its hold on them because, by accepting that permission, it makes them complicit.

    More information will not address the cause of their problem. They’re not misinformed due to a lack of light, but due to an aversion to it — due to a preference for staying in the dark."

    It's very human to want to think that people who do evil aren't "evil", but misinformed, or misguided, or misled. Back in 1944 there were Americans who insisted "It's not the Germans, it's the Nazis!"

    But in 1944 Germans WERE the Nazis. We now have a choice to decide who we want to be, and I can't see how - regardless of what you think about immigration and immigrants - that imprisoning families and children is likely to make us Great Again.

    But maybe that's just me.

    1. Well, I'm firmly against what the Trump administration is doing. At the same time I think it is possible to believe the US needs less immigration based on different standards than currently exist and not be a racist.

    2. My question would be...why? Why the concern about immigration?

      When I think of the things that I see as "wrong" here in the U.S., they are, in rough order of magnitude;

      1. Endless cabinet wars with little or no public oversight, to include ridiculous sums spent on military budgets.
      No "immigrants" involved in that one, right?

      2. The desuetude of the lower middle and working class to the benefit of the very wealthy.
      The role of immigration there would seem to be purely as a drag to low-end wages; plutocracy using illegals as a scam to force citizens in the lower-paying jobs to work more for less. But ISTM that the "problem" isn't really an "immigrant" problem as a "unfettered capitalism" problem. Force employers to pay even the lowest-skilled workers decently, provide reasonable benefits, and ensure that they're employing either U.S. nationals or legally domiciled migrants and the "downward pull" goes away.

      3. The fraying of the New Deal consensus; that the wealthy give up some of their wealth and power to give the poor and working-poor hope that they won't end up starving when they're too old and sick to work.
      The only part that immigration seems to play in this is that "conservatives" can sell programs like Medicare and Social Security as "giving away your taxes to THEM", despite the reality that if you're not a legal resident you don't get either one.

      4. Decaying infrastructure, with no realistic plan to replace/repair it.
      No immigrants there, either.

      So, for a nation founded on perhaps the single greatest illegal immigration scam in history outside the Gothic invasions of western Rome to be pissing and moaning about immigration when the biggest challenges facing said nation appear to have a lot more to do with the re-emergence of the Gilded Age and a national indifference to imperial war?

      Seems kinda louche' when you look at it that way, don't it?

    3. "My question would be...why? Why the concern about immigration?"

      Immigration isn't at the top of my list of concerns, but it's still important.

      For your points:

      #1 - I agree.

      #2 - Immigration definitely ties into this. For example, we have tons of examples of the H1b and other employment visa systems being used to reduce labor costs and depress wages in specific industries.

      Secondly, if one is concerned about the lower class in the country, it doesn't really make much sense to import a ton of uneducated foreign workers who will compete with them, especially in the unofficial labor market for low wages and no benefits. That labor sector is already shrinking thanks to off-shoring and automation.

      In short employers are using immigration to depress wages in the labor market and it partly explains why wages haven't risen for almost two decades for people in the middle and lower classes.

      #3. The benefits of the New Deal have only expanded over time, so I don't see that it is fraying. The bigger problem is financing and much of that is due to demographics. More immigration could theoretically help here as long as there are actual jobs with the requisite wages to support the increased labor pool, but that does not seem to be the case to me.

      4. To me the bigger issue is building-out 21st century infrastructure, but otherwise I agree that doesn't have a lot to do with immigration.

    4. The thing about wages is still a matter of dispute in science, but I do side with those who think that immigration depresses wages.

      My really big concerns about immigration policies are different ones, though:
      (1) Rule of law. All too often immigration is rather tolerated than legal, and thus an example of the government not following the rule fo law. Even some legal immigration is legal only because of loopholes, because immigrants 'play' our government - which should not be tolerated as a matter of principle.

      (2) I consider immigration to be largely unethical, especially the "wanted" immigration. There was much talk about recruiting highly educated people from poor countries. This is widely considered to be a desirable immigration. I consider it unethical in most cases. The poor countries shall raise people, give them education, give them higher education and then the best of their best shall come to us and work here? That's us exploiting poor countries.
      It's only acceptable IF
      (a) we give free higher education to lots of poor country exchange students, so the efforts are balanced
      (b) the poor country messed up and does not employ the highly qualified person (this happens, and usually correlates with high youth unemployment - examples Spain and Greece, but it's also widespread in Africa)

      The idea of us enriching ourselves by exploiting foreigners through immigration is unethical.

      Germany has a 2nd facet to this; the demographic development raises concerns about the working to not working people ratio in the future. One idea is to bring in half a million young foreigners per year to work here and improve the imbalance. This is just another nonsense, for either these people would get a fair deal and thus also retirement pay when they're old or it's exploitation. We've had this nonsense before - politicians favouring worker immigration to serve the corporate bosses (who want plenty cheap labour) and pretending that those people only exist as long as they work. Of course did many of them stay, retire here, have children et cetera. That was never the plan, but the plan was unrealistic to begin with.
      The United states should engage in an updated Monroe doctrine, launching an effort to get together with the Central American and Caribbean countries and develop the economies together. Right now countries like Nicaragua have zero development perspective. They have agrarian goods and a little gold for exports, that's it. The trade balance deficit is almost a law of nature to them. They cannot grow export-capable industries despite having access to two oceans and being close to the huge U.S. market. NAFTA member Mexico is the better choice of location for every conceivable industry other than refinement or packaging of Nicaraguan agricultural products.

    5. On the New Western Hemisphere Co-Prosperity Sphere...yes! Absolutely. The U.S. has been a bad economic actor way too long. I don't have faith it will happen, but I agree it should.

    6. Sven wrote:"Germany has a 2nd facet to this; the demographic development raises concerns about the working to not working people ratio in the future. One idea is to bring in half a million young foreigners per year to work here and improve the imbalance. This is just another nonsense, for either these people would get a fair deal and thus also retirement pay when they're old or it's exploitation."

      That is trivial, if you work you get retirement benefits. The crucial difference is that immigration allows to delay the payments.

      Instead of producing a huge gap due to the retirement of baby boomer and some effects of reunification within a short period of time, the payments can be done over a longer period of time and of course the new immigrants would have to work longer, for baby boomer the retirement age is already set.

      The transitiom from increasing/stagnating population to shrinking population becomes much softer with a nezt immigration of 300.000/a.

    7. No approach that's merely shifting the burden can be considered to be a solution, or at least ethical.

  4. US birth rates are at a record low. Fewer births than deaths in this country. Only immigration keeps the population from nose-diving. A few more babies would be good for business, doesn't matter if they are white babies or brown babies.

    Immigration is good for the US economy. It has positive economic effects on average. Immigrants have lower crime rates than native born in this country. And although not perfect we do damned well at assimilation of the sons and daughters and grandchildren of immigrants compared to other countries with immigrants.

    To remain a viable and dynamic country we should be welcoming these immigrants. Just like we welcomed Trumph's immigrant grandfather and his immigrant mother. The same for his biggest admirers - the great majority of their forefathers probably came through Ellis Island, or entered without the consent of native born Americans long before that. How the holy hell do they get to decide who gets entry? These idiots will end up in as an obscure citation in history books just like the Know-Nothing party of the mid 19th century. Probably many of Trump's fanboys had ancestors that were threatened or tarred and feathered, or even murdered by Know-Nothing goons.

    I have a Gomez for a great grandson. He is smart as a whip and a hell of a lot better looking than Cadet Bone-spurs. His father, the son of an immigrant served honorably in the US Army. His paternal grandfather came from Jalisco, and I tend to fantasize that his skin is the same color as the skin of my half Wabanaki great-great-grandmother from the Madawaska.

  5. I'm going to go mike a step further; we don't HAVE an "immigrant crisis" in the U.S. This entire nonsense has been ginned up by the GOP for political gain.

    There are immigration issues that we should be discussing, but mostly from the perspective of the domestic actors abusing parts of the system like the H1b visa gimmick, or knowingly employing illegals like the agribusiness and meat processing industries.

    But the GOP isn't going there. Scaring white racists with tales of scary Latinos (you'll notice that the EU and Chinese visa-overstayers never figure in this booga-booga tale? Giveaway.) is far too politically lucrative for the white nationalist party the GOP has become.

    The real crisis is in Latin America, and to address it would take all the lucre and political capital the U.S. has spent over the past 17 years fighting idiotic imperial wars in SW Asia and the Middle East. That we should be addressing it is obvious given our culpability in fomenting, or worsening, that crisis going back to stuff like William Walker's filibustering and the Mexican War.

    THAT, even more than the vicious inhumanity of the "zero tolerance" policy, is what infuriates me. We helped ensure our neighbors' houses caught fire, and then we knuckle them as they try to flee the flames.

    As I'd say about us if we were some dick in a dive bar; Christ, what an asshole.

  6. Below quote from the 'hoarse whisperer':

    "I’d much rather live next door to someone who crossed a desert to become an American than an American who wouldn’t cross the street to help a foreigner."

  7. So, seriously, the only ways to be "concerned about illegal immigration" as a genuine political and social crisis are 1) because you're a credulous dope who believes what Trump tweets or what you hear on "Fox and Friends" (but I repeat myself), or 2) you're letting you inner nativist/racist/paranoid out for a walk. There's no crisis, and the problems are either primarily with citizens and citizen organizations screwing w the immigration system to get cheap labor (e.g. Trump at Mar-a-lago) or in Latin America itself...which neither the Left nor the Trumpkins seems willing to stop and address.

    So I'd suggest giving the next "conservative" who suggests you panic about hordes of MS-13 commandos swarming ashore at Coronado a hearty finger and a steaming hot cup of STFU...

    1. No, one can also be concerned about the rule of law as a matter of principle, as the rule of law gets eroded if the government doesn't enforce the law and/or people exploit poor enforcement or rules.

      The U.S. has just sunk so low that such theoretical cocnerns are crowded out by hysteria and desperation.

    2. The problem is that this immigrant foofaraw is less about the rule of law than about the fears of racists; you'll note that Trump is now on record as recommending that his Grenzpoletzei simply round 'em up and ship 'em out.

      Where the U.S. has sunk low is in the choices we have made as to who suffers the rule of law. A poor Honduran villager goes to jail; a banker who ruined thousands gets a fat bonus.

      Sorry, but getting hysterical about a bunch of dirt farmers while ignoring the malefactors of great wealth is pretty much an "equal justice under law" total fail.

    3. And you'll note that I'm NOT ruling out genuine questions and concerns about immigration. What is said was; "concerned about illegal immigration" as a genuine crisis". The GOP is turning what should be a minor political issue into a hysterical ratissage for pure political gain. THAT isn't a "genuine concern", it's race-baiting.

  8. we have the Roberts Court ruling in Trump v Hawaii, in which the majority opinion says the the Korematsu decision was baseless on the merits because it was clearly prejudicial (on race) despite the U.S. being at war with the nation of that race (Japan) BUT that a federal order excluding people from traveling to the U.S. that is clearly prejudicial (based on religion) is constitutional despite massive evidence (including the chief executive's repeated prejudicial statements) the it is based completely on prejudice in a setting where only a cabal of "conservatives" believe the U.S. is at war with that religion.

    That is EXACTLY the sort of partisan hysteria I'm talking about here. There are national conversations we should be having about the Middle East, about religion, about travel and immigration. These are discussions we are NOT going to have with the current incarnation of "conservative" here in the U.S., the sort of "conservative" who issues, or approves of, orders like the Muslim ban and "zero tolerance" at the southern border. You don't start a discussion by sitting down at the table and shouting "FUCK YOU!"

    That's why the FIRST step in being able to have intelligent, reasoned discussions about things like immigration, or cabinet wars in the Middle East, is utterly destroying people like Trump, Bolton, Miller, Bannon, Pompeo, Ryan...pretty much every GOP talking head, the entire FAUX "News" monkeyhouse, and shaming and deriding the people who vote for them. If you're too goddamn stupid to see where your idiot prejudices and fears are putting your nation and your fellow citizens the least you can do is sit down and shut up. Making America 1855 Again is a stupid, self-destructive political agenda...and yet, that's where these people want us heading.

    I cannot see how any of this is even remotely debatable.