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November 21, 2014


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Well... What part of ILLEGAL don't people understand...AND...The Constitution does NOT give the President the right to "pick and choose" what laws he will enforce..

Everyday that this problem does not get fixed in whole, it gets worse. The tough decisions will only get tougher and the universe of people it will effect expands.

It's a complete and epic failure at every level. Right, left, center. Federal, State, County, City.

And to think that there are those who would want these lunkheaded "leaders" with more influence over healthcare.......

The Constitution gives the President "executive power" and precedent does give the President leeway to interpret, and how and when to implement law. Here is your primer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order --

"Congress has the power to overturn an executive order by passing legislation in conflict with it. Congress can also refuse to provide funding necessary to carry out certain policy measures contained with the order or to legitimize policy mechanisms. In the former, the president retains the power to veto such a decision; however, the Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds majority to end an executive order. It has been argued that a Congressional override of an executive order is a nearly impossible event due to the supermajority vote required and the fact that such a vote leaves individual lawmakers very vulnerable to political criticism."

NAFTA and our War on Drugs is reaping the whirlwind in Mexico. Get ready for a massive US intervention in Mexico if the unrest expands (let's think of history: the US was ready to go to war with the UK in 1845 but punched out Mexico instead; the US was avoiding war in Europe in 1916 but punched into thin air against Pancho Villa; the US declared a War Against Drugs and destabilized Mexico in just recent memory). What part of MILLIONS OF REFUGEES DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

A phenomenal speech by Mr. Obama: Pointed, crafty, succinct, wonderfully painted, masterfully delivered. With just enough emotion at the proper places. Brilliant to the nth power.

It so thoroughly won the day and the debate...

That is: it left absolutely nothing for the Grand Old Poops to crap on today. They've were so thoroughly reduced by his words, logic and compassion, --- all they got left are a few dim incandescent bulbs like Sherif Joe Ape suing the President over his policy.

That's like an old toothless flea trying to jump high enough to bite the Statue of Liberty's copper toe. So stupid. So aimless. Joe Ape hasn't looked this small since he killed his mom at birth...

Once again Mr. Obama totally satisfied me. Every cent I gave over the course of his two campaigns returned with interest.

Good to see Hillary chime in too. That puts counter-spin to Talton's: So it's a political loser. In no way would Hillary go there if her shrewd team didn't see this as a winning position.

I kind of suspect that heavy fines against employers would be enough to deter them from hiring undocumented workers (knowingly, that is). Heavy enough that the risk and cost clearly outweighed the potential benefit. Americans wouldn't have the stomach to incarcerate their neighbors and friends, but they might be willing to see a few ruined financially, and all it would take would be a few. The employers are and have always been the root of the problem, everyone knows it, and the nativists just dance around it. Of course, should such legislation ever make its way into congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would kill it so dead legislators would fear to ever mention it again. it's surreal to hear newly arrived, pasty-faced retirees fresh from Michigan proclaiming that they just hate those Mexicans (rarely differentiating between Mexican Nationals and old family American citizens, which is like moving to Africa and complaining about black people.) It seems like the Goldwater myth, combined with the catastrophic accessibility of AC, began attracting the largest waves of undesirables around the late sixties, and really got out of control by the seventies. The invasion really killed whatever potential Phoenix had to become a great oasis city, which is truly a great tragedy.

To be blunt about it: if you are both anti-union and anti-immigrant, you are an idiot. The "kiss up, kick down" attitude of what used to be middle America (most of it simmered in the racism of old school white male union members who couldn't handle the rise of women and people of color among their ranks, and so voted against their own interests) has destroyed us.

The American economy has been this huge magnet the past several decades pulling Latinos up to it like millions of iron filings. Agriculture was the main sector in the beginning but soon every other labor-intensive, low wage sector was pulling them just as hard. The economy wanted these workers and got them. If you love freedom when it comes to global capital flows, foreign imports, and all manner of unrestricted economic investment BUT hate it when it comes to a free flow human capital, you're what we call a "Republican". Love the green, hate the brown.

Two anecdotes from my Phoenix working life: I was just out of the Army and I was looking for a job. I went to a swanky restaurant at Uptown Plaza called Navarre's hoping to land a job as a busboy or waiter. There was a group interview where the manager told us what he needed. I was the only Anglo there. Guess who didn't get the job. Years later I was working at an auction house where the security, an off-duty Phoenix cop, was telling me about his sideline landscape business and the Mexicans it depended on. He said he had never seen such reliable workers. He hated that they couldn't speak English but that they worked harder than any Americans he had ever seen. He said if he could hire a dozen more he'd be a millionaire in 10 years.

What would you do, fair-skinned defenders of everything Godly and American, if you were hungry and someone was waving thousand dollar bills in your face if you would only move to a foreign country? Not seize the opportunity? Because there's nothing that angers you more than working hard and getting paid for it? Hey, Skip, what part of STUPID don't you understand?

I noticed in the avalanche of opinion following Obama's speech that Pat Buchanan - the same guy who used to defend Nazis coming to America, thereby eluding justice back in der Vaterland - called Obama a "rogue president" for his executive action. Since False Equivalencies are the rule of our discourse, let that sink into your lily-white crania.

Law is the most high-toned rationalization of brute force we have. It's a dulcet sigh to the white and well-to-do, and a fist to the jaw of the poor and brown. If your white ancestors came to this country without papers back in the 19th century, you apply a post-hoc justification for your own status as a Real American. But the humble peasants with brown skin who pick your food and slaughter your steers, who make your beds and mow your lawns, who build your cities and cook your food, are somehow beneath your contempt. Working While Brown is a bit like Driving While Black. Don't get caught.

Some random thoughts on immigration from a historical viewpoint.
"No Irish need apply". "Italians are all gangsters." The Chinese exclusion act.etc. A program similar to the "Braceros"of the 50' and 60's might alleviate some problems. Americans, unfortunately, have always been afraid of anyone who doesn't look like them. Too bad the native americans didn't have a better immigration policy in the 1600's

I read this in a NYT opinion page: The reality of the status quo is paralysis, in which nobody is ever legalized and most people are never deported. That is another form of amnesty — the amnesty of inaction — though none on the right who oppose reform would ever admit it.

And when you have a community in which no one is ever legal, always living with the fear of being deported, you have opportunities, to exploit and depress that population (as Rogue pointed out in #5). Inaction becomes like a pock that festers but never heals. We have become so cynical that we sit and watch and wait, while the disease spreads.
It is time for House Republicans to move on a ‘clean’ Immigration Reform bill.


If one man in Washington more than the others is abusing his power, if that abuse seems dictatorial, the finger should be pointed to the man who has prevented Congress from acting on immigration. The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill. There are sufficient votes in the House from both parties to pass the same bill. The president will sign it. One man has acted to make Congress a failed institution, and that man is of course Speaker Boehner, who refuses to allow a vote.

@Soleri Re: "Two anecdotes from my Phoenix working life: I was just out of the Army and I was looking for a job." Thanks for serving - and I mean that.

wkg, thank you but don't bother. What was I serving? A country that gladly swallowed lies served up in bunting-clad barrels? Vietnam was a rusty knife twisted in our nation's soul. Those peasants in black pajamas were never a threat to us anymore than Saddam Hussein was. The chickenhawks in Washington and their merchant-of-war buddies love to thank losers like me for our "service". Do you know why? That's how they keep Americans stupid with fake patriotism. They won't even fund the VA at adequate levels but they'll talk as if some tinpot dictator 10,000 miles away is a threat to The American Way of Life. These wars had nothing to do with freedom. At best, they were horrors of stupidity. At worst, they were the evil of knowing liars like LBJ, Nixon, Bush and Cheney who knew how to administer the perfect hand-job to every dimwitted stooge at the American Legion hall. You want to "thank me for my service"? Don't believe chickenhawks or puffed-up narcissists like John McCain. Then do the most patriotic thing any citizen can: curse this toxic empire that is strangling our democracy.

Soleri I thought I recognized you in
"from Here to Eternity?

Before I have mentioned Jeffery Kaye and his book Moving Millions". It starts at the beginning on migrations and why. If you do not have time for his book (I have a copy)here are a couple of posts.
A review of the book and an excerpt from that review.

"Kaye tells the story of Senior U.S. Border Patrol agents Mario Alvarez and Samuel McClaren, who helped launch a California program that jailed dozens of human smugglers. They believed they were to receive an award. Instead, they were arrested and charged with releasing illegal immigrants from federal custody in exchange for cash." -

See more at:

@Soleri. Regardless of the stupidity of the war – it doesn’t diminish the bravery of our soldiers (and you). I’m a chicken-sparrow. When I got my draft lottery number and found I was certain to be drafted and sent to Nam I joined the Navy the next day. Had to do five years – but three of them were as active reserve.

I’ve written it before and I write it again: I think all our wars except the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican-American were unnecessary.

@Jerry Re “the US was ready to go to war with the UK in 1845…”: Giving you an A plus in US history. Polk was more than ready to duke it out with England over the Northwest Territories. Polk was one of our better presidents.

wkg, the US Mexican War was very popular at the time. It was based on a convenient if popular lie that a provocation at the border demanded that we not only repel Mexican troops but that we acquire a huge chunk of Mexico in the process. It was called Manifest Destiny back then. For Americans, it was clear that God was on the side of the white man.

So, here we are on a thread ostensibly concerned with the vexations of illegal brown skin in our righteous nation and you had to bring up a little matter that throws it into another light altogether. Where many of us are sitting was once, in fact, Mexico. It was conquered and appropriated for white people. Not that we're racist! No, no, no! We're Godly. And white. Plus, imagine if Phoenix were in Mexico. Its name might be Macayo instead. Savor the irony with a Dos Equis draft.

Mestizos, Apaches, the Tohono O'odham, Yaquis, Quechans, Commanches, et al, used to cross that border freely. Then we applied the rule of law that said they were no longer free to do that. Still, we need to remind ourselves this simple fact: they were here first and they didn't have to justify themselves with a lie. That lie is the foundation of the law that leads to a kind of myopic temper tantrum on the right. It's our country. We stole it fair and square. Pick our lettuce and get out.

BTW, did you know there have been more Congressional Medal Honor winners among Mexican-Americans than any other ethnicity?

@Soleri: I agree the Mexican war was entirely trumped up. The US wanted the Southwest and took it. Two points though. First, there were very few Mexicans in the Southwest. Second, the US was just as willing to go to war with those white-skinned Canadians and British over the Northwest.

Re: “It was conquered and appropriated for white people.” I don’t think much of anything was appropriated. The Mexican residents were all granted US citizenship and kept their property and possessions. This included massive Spanish land grant ranches that made their owners fabulously wealthy. A horrible drought ruined many of them later.

Compare this to another trumped up war, the Spanish-American War. Imperialist sentiments at the time saw colonies for the taking. However, these happened to be thickly populated Porto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. This was nothing more than empire envy. All three turned out to be indigestible. By the way, the Spanish are a very white skinned people. And not to rain on Teddy Roosevelt man-love, he was very much in the imperialist camp.

cal, the book review 'Moving Millions' is insightful. I kind of knew what Kaye writes about, but my thoughts were fragmented, not as whole as the way Kaye sees the issue.

wkg, I didn't intend to relitigate history here. I'm not particularly upset that Arizona is in the US rather than Mexico. On the other hand, I'm not sure why some people are upset that Arizona is beginning to look more like Mexico. There really isn't anything we can do about the tides of history. They go in and they go out. Nothing is fixed. The flash points in the immigration debate are complexion, socio-economic status, and language. Law is the fig leaf that covers that unsavory passion. For example, it doesn't worry the right that banks perpetrated wholesale fraud prior thus causing the global economic collapse. While I understand the real reasons why whites are upset, I'm not particularly sympathetic to their complaints. Most of the Southwest used to be Mexico, fer crissakes! If we had seen an influx of "illegal" Irish (as New York City did in the 1990s), no one would be upset.

I am sympathetic to the working class who see the Latino immigrants making their own labor less valuable. But that's exactly why we need unions! If we still had strong labor law in this country, the working class we would be in a much stronger position vis a vis the managers and owners, and the national wealth wouldn't have skewed to the wealthy in such a lopsided manner. The irony is that the white working class is being played by the plutocracy's double game. That is, drive down the cost of labor to third-world levels, and then blame liberals for being sympathetic to brown people. The white working class ends up voting for the very people who ensure that their own economic position stays weak for the indefinite future. We don't need secure borders. We need strong unions.

Guam, btw, is not indigestible. It's as American as can be. You were probably reaching for Cuba in that short list you made.

Teddy Roosevelt was a strong nationalist. He had good and bad points (much like John McCain!). The entire white-man's burden ethos was an artifact of that era. As we've seen our own culture retreat in the onslaught of the shockingly new, we're no longer as hamstrung by the arguments for tradition or religious/racial primacy. We are always evolving. I miss the cultural unities of yesterday but I don't think we can burrow our way into a time-hole and come back to Mayberry. That's over. Enjoy the reruns but don't get trapped by them.

I want to relitigate the Mexican War history a bit, if you will indulge me.

Actually, the war was very divisive and laid bare deeper cleavages in our politics (a la the war in Iraq).

Specifically, most Southerners initially supported the war and its lead-up, the breaking away of Texas. They wanted more land for slave-based agriculture, especially cotton (our most profitable export). Visionary Southerners imagined a slave republic running to the Pacific. Mid-Atlantic slaveholders had a surplus of slaves and made money selling them to slaveholders in the old southwest. Not for nothing was the war begun by President James K. Polk, a slaveholder.

Many northerners, and certainly the Whigs and followers of Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams, vigorously opposed the war. They saw it as a war of imperialism in service of slavery. (Many had also opposed Andrew Jackson's removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the old southwest (Ga., Ala., etc.) on the same grounds.

To be sure, some European experts wondered if the small professional American Army could stand up to Mexican troops. Initially, the fight did not appear as uneven as it turned out to be.

With American victory, some of Polk's advisers wanted him to draw the new boundary at Tampico. He declined. One reason was that prominent Southerners were uncomfortable with the Mexican population that the land grab would bring. The treaty ending the war granted instant American citizenship to all Mexican nationals that chose to stay. It also generally upheld most of the land ownership, some going back to grants from the throne in Madrid (e.g. the Baca Float in Arizona). There were sizable populations in California and around Santa Fe.

The two American sides in the war were having many of the same debates as today. The dominant Jacksonians were tea partiers, at the risk of crass reductiveness. The Whigs advocated the "American System," which would have involved more "internal improvements" and active central government. Too bad William Henry Harrison died and the Whigs never got their chance.

The Mexican War also saw the emergence of the young officers who would be the great commanders of the Civil War: Lee, Grant, Jackson, Sherman, etc.

It was an illegal and immoral war. Many Americans believed that at the time.

There were two excellent posts yesterday on the Neo-Confederarcy's long game, a war that is still not over. The one above and this one here:


We tend to ignore the link between the current Tea Party, mostly based in the South, and the rabid, openly racist politics of the Neo-Confederacy. It may be time to state simply and openly that there is no difference.

Yes! The Washington Monthly is right on point. Evidence of Neo-Con influence in recent history is the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United.
“During Reconstruction, Congress and the states passed three new amendments to the Constitution - - the Thirteenth, Fourteenth , and Fifteenth - - to give the newly freed slaves the full rights of citizenship. Almost immediately, the Supreme Court did much to undermine the new provisions, ultimately permitting the continued oppression of African Americans.
“In simple terms, the majority in Lochner [1905] turned the Fourteenth Amendment, which was enacted to protect the rights of newly freed slaves, into a mechanism to advance the interest of business owners.
Jeffery Toobin ‘The Oath’

Jon, I would have preferred a picture of you and your front pages editor at the Miami Book Fair International. But given the time out signal, I understand.

Meanwhile; The War Next Door:

A break down of the above by
Gordon Housworth via googlegroups.com
Nov 21 (3 days ago)

to Frontera-list
These five drivers cited are actually globally common, i.e., they can be found in all countries that we touch:

#1 can be generalized to smuggling/transporting a high value commodity (can be people, gemstones, ivory, animals as well as narcotics and psychotropics).

#2 occurs when an upper tier cannot exercise control over the suzerain. All too often the sundering is done by an incoming civil or police force that discovers the riches under their feet. The vacuum is filled immediately.

#3 is what we call a pipeline, e.g., once a distribution channel is stood up for a specific commodity, its owner realizes that the pipe has net value above the initial commodity. And incremental additions are highly profitable at low incremental cost.

#4 almost always has a long tail with many secondary and tertiary impacts, all negative. Women as individuals and heads of family (men gone or dead) suffer notably.

#5 is persistent, corrosive and cooptive as sequential groups are drawn in in order to stay alive. At higher levels we call it a Kleptocracy.

1. Booming Domestic Drug Markets
2. The Fragmentation of Organized Crime
3. Drug Transit Nations Become Crime Hubs
4. Conflict and the Legacy of Civil War
5. Corruption and the Criminalization of Local Government

Suzzane, my point about Moving Millions is that first it is about survival and hopefully better living conditions.
The only people that are doing well in Mexico are the wealthy, high ranking government and military and federal law enforcement officials and cartel leaders.

Since the election of the Hollywood type President Nieto the goal has been the removal of poor folks from the landscape to allow the extraction of resources by foreign corporations. Hence young students that protest to loud get burnt to or death in mass graves and at the least get put by the government in solitary confinement.
Makes me wonder why there are not millions more knocking at our (US) door?

Immigration and the war next door

It should be noted that President Obama did not sign an executive order. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register. It isn't clear to me exactly what powers the immigration executive actions (two were signed) have. I can't find a copy of the signed text online.

"Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do.

"...A good way to think of executive actions is a wish list of policies the president would like to see enacted.

"Presidents favor the use of nonbinding executive actions when the issue is controversial or sensitive. For example, Obama carefully weighed his use of executive actions on gun violence and decided against issuing legal mandates via executive orders, which would have gone against the legislative intent of Congress and risked enraging lawmakers of both parties.

"...Obama was the first modern president to use executive actions in lieu of executive orders or executive memoranda."


Even an executive order would be temporary and could be rescinded by the next president, though it's unclear whether Republicans would take that political risk after two years of improving the lives of Latino immigrants, even if they get a candidate into the White House.

The Pew Center has a nice chart comparing Obama's executive immigration actions with amnesties done by previous presidents, which includes brief details on criteria and the number affected. There is also a short accompanying article,


Note that conservatives' attempts at damage control or spin doctoring, by limiting comparisons to Reagan's executive orders, are quite misleading, since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (which Reagan signed into law) amnestied 2.9 million illegal immigrants legislatively. Given that there were an estimated 3.2 million illegal immigrants in the country at the time, that's a far higher percentage than the 35 percent that Obama is proposing to amnesty.

President Truman acted against the wishes of Congress when he desegregated the armed forces by executive order.

The "Solid South" bloc of southern Democrats were not supportive of legislation to do this and it was not altogether popular elsewhere, since racism was endemic to mainstream American culture. This included the Secretary of the Army who argued that the army is "not an instrument for social evolution".

Truman was also accused at the time of playing politics. Not difficult to see why from the official Truman Library timeline:

November 1947: Clark Clifford presents a lengthy memorandum to President Truman which argues that the civil rights issue and the African-American vote are important elements in a winning strategy for the 1948 campaign.

January 1948: President Truman decides to end segregation in the armed forces and the civil service through administrative action (executive order) rather than through legislation.


Today it seems like a no-brainer, but at the time it was actually far more controversial than the immigration issue is today. On the other side of the coin, as president, Truman was CiC of the U.S. armed forces and as such had a much better legal argument as to authority for change by means of executive order. Still, it has to be remembered that Obama hasn't signed any executive orders granting amnesty (see my comment above re executive action vs. executive memoranda vs. executive orders).

P.S. See "Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986" by the Congressional Research Service online for the 3.2 million figure above.

"Obama still does not appear to have escaped the spell of the neocons who continue to dominate American geopolitical thought despite the bloody disasters that they helped cause in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

A pessimistic note from an old man: If you believe that the democrats are going to take the country back, HA. My prediction is that their is a revolution that ends with the
Neo-Cons in charge of the US and Mexico. And a lot of dead and incarcerated "liberals".

Mexico is on the verge of another revolution, but the USA is firmly in bed with the oligarchs and their lackies (the police, the military, the drug cartels). Zapata will be martyred again. Your prediction may be right on cal.

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