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  • here. Native Americans

    A friend (alas, recently deceased) who was part Cherokee contended that the situation between Europeans/Americans and Native Americans was an very good analogy for Israel-Palestine. Yes, the Native Americans might attack and “massacre” a relatively few white settlers and/or soldiers in very nasty ways, causing great outcry by whites about “savages” and such, and which would inevitably be followed by retaliation by the whites sending soldiers to slaughter thousands of Native American men, women, and children. But as said latter slaughter was being done by people wearing the color-coordinated garments, it was deemed “civilized” and thus a-ok.

    Then there was the discrimination of ‘good Indian/bad Indian’; the former willing to be in the pay of whites and/or accommodate white wishes and/or fight with whites, while the latter was “unreasonable” and “intractable” and wasn’t.

    All of this of course ignoring the fact of (ahem) who the land originally belonged to, and (ahem) who was dispossessing whom.


  • It is really worse than the above.

    What can you say about the morality of a country where a good portion of the citizenry wants thinks that children fleeing for their lives from violence is a “threat” to be turned away at gunpoint?


  • How many times do you have to be reminded that terrierism only goes in one direction?

    Remember the ole conservative objection about ‘moral equivalency’ when comparing our murders vs those of [fill-in-the-blank-bad-guys]? Apparently those “moral absolutes” they’re so fond of espousing cut in only one direction too.


  • But I thought they supported the Bush/Cheney ticket.

    The leaders with “blood on their hands” bit also aptly describes Israel, and thus undercuts Rosenbaum’s entire “argument” (‘sneer quotes’ fully intended).


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Cigarette Taxes and What They Mean for Legal Marijuana

    2014-07-22 07:07:46View | Delete

    The Native American Indian tribes considered tobacco sacred and used it regularly.

    I would counter that they used it *ceremonially* and *medically*, but less so *habitually*. The truth is, inhaling any kind of smoke–tobacco, cannabis, campfire, you name it–means you inhable a witches brew of toxins.

    As for its health effects, what we see with tobacco use is that its histogram of death vs age reaches a broad maximum c. 60-75 years old. While Native Americans could live to be that old, from statistics with (by and large) healthier hunter-gatherers observed, that’s at the edge of their expected life expectancy at age 19. So any tobacco use would be competing with other causes of death.


  • stewartm commented on the blog post Cigarette Taxes and What They Mean for Legal Marijuana

    2014-07-22 06:47:35View | Delete

    Alcohol prohibition had very little to do with drinking.

    Simply factually untrue. According to the deaths from cirrhosis, drinking fell by a factor of three. People by and large *did* stop drinking during Prohibition, and it was popular at first (after all, it did take a Constitutional Amendment to pass!!). In fact Prohibition depressed US drinking rates such that per-capita consumption did not reach pre-Prohibition levels until 1960. Finally, Prohibition was the work more of long-time liberals/progressives than of reactionaries; there was a considerable overlap in the campaign for Prohibition and the women’s suffrage, the anti-child labor, the civil rights, the “better government” and other progressive movements.

    Drinking rates fell despite the fact that Prohibition was in no way comparable to today’s drug prohibition. It was never illegal to possess or consume alcohol, just to sell or distribute it…when the police raided a speakeasy, the customers could just go home unmolested. Compared to cannabis today, alcohol was already “decriminalized”–people could brew their own (up to 200 gallons a year!) and buy it with doctor’s prescription, so there was “medical alcohol”. You could wave to a cop while drinking a beer all quite legally; there really is no comparison with today.

    The UCLA professor Mark Klieman (himself a cannabis legalization advocate) has written about the myths of Prohibition, repeated all-too often by drug law reform advocates) and its implications for people advocating drug law reform. Klieman shows that while Prohibition was a failure, Repeal was not a success insofar as eliminating or even mitigating the problems that alcohol cause. These are questions I believe that reform advocates really need to tackle honestly.

    Back to the article: everything I’ve read is that taxes on both cigarettes and alcohol lower consumption; though I suspect more with alcohol than with cigarettes (because cigarettes are universally addictive, while alcohol is selectively so). One thing the article left out is that the “sin” industries fight them tooth-and-nail because they know this; with alcohol very successfully in that inflation-adjusted taxation has actually substantially declined due to industry lobbying. If we end up with mega-corporate Cannabis, Inc.s from legalization they will likely do likewise, for good or ill.


  • stewartm commented on the diary post If Iraq Were in Central America by David Swanson.

    2014-07-16 17:51:32View | Delete

    I just don’t understand myself why America doesn’t sometimes blunder into doing actions where the good far outweighs the bad. How come our actions in the Americas south of the US have had so many awful results?

    Well, *somebody’s* got to make the world safe for United Fruit and Exxon, right?? /s


  • People complain about Reagan but Obama exceeds Reagan. Obama is a radical. Reagan never tried repeatedly to cut social security. Reagan did not privatize public schools as ruthlessly and radically as Obama. Reagan did not institute those draconian attacks on “freedom and democracy” (NSA, net neutrality through appointment of Wheeler etc.)

    Don’t cut Reagan any slack. [...]

  • stewartm commented on the diary post God Save the Queen … Why America Has Always Been A Disaster by cmaukonen.

    2014-07-16 15:20:56View | Delete

    Explain to me again how our system is superior to theirs.

    I’d say that a plus for us is that our constitution (and its protections) is written and things spelled out in writing. Of course, courts have a way of interpreting those away. Their system is better (and worse) in that there’s no gridlock, things can [...]

  • So the crucial question for people at FDL is how was it they were so enthusiastic about being seduced with such obvious lies – since unless that blindness is corrected and responsibility is taken for wanting to be seduced nothing will change.

    Solhenitsyn said it best when he showed how hope could work against you. [...]

  • Oh, come on now. This is more than a bit over the top. The “worst president in history?” Really? I know that there’s that poll , but public opinion surveys of people who believe the Parson Weems story about G. Washington don’t cut it. (The same poll has Reagan, who is probably the worst president in the [...]

  • Also missing from US press coverage of this: this isn’t just the US seeing this flood. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico also have reported a 712 % surge, according to the UNHCR.

    My grandmother is the one who told me to leave.
    She said: “If you don’t join, the gang will shoot you.
    If you do, the rival gang or the cops will shoot you.
    But if you leave, no one will shoot you.”
    —Kevin, Honduras, Age 17


  • stewartm commented on the diary post China to buy entire Fortune 500 by Synoia.

    2014-07-13 14:39:40View | Delete

    Actually, sadly, the truth be known, at least the Chinese leadership has an engineering rather than a finance background. So at least they know how to make stuff; our genius Masters of the Universe don’t have a clue.


  • stewartm commented on the diary post China to buy entire Fortune 500 by Synoia.

    2014-07-13 14:38:15View | Delete

    You realize that this means Apple is doomed.

    Maybe they’ll make Apple products in the US for Chinese buyers now? :P


  • The economic incentive and prospect for the kids are a lot better here than what these kids face in Honduras for example. This despite our own economic problems.

    Why would then the adults not come? Wouldn’t their economic plight be equally as desperate, and their job prospects better? The fact that it’s the kids, not the adults, who are coming–and–that the parents are often paying smugglers to get their kids into the US. They are paying smugglers because their kids’ lives are being threatened by criminal gangs who attempt to extort the children into service into the gangs by telling the parents that they’ll murder their kids if they don’t allow this.

    Hence, though I’ve not seen anyone break the data down thusly–the kids coming here might be the kids from families who are somewhat better-off, not the ones deepest in poverty, as they are the ones who can afford to pay the smugglers.

    As for turning themselves in, that makes complete sense. Wih so many claiming fear of violent gangs,they will be allowed to stay till their court date for a hearing. Some may not even show up.

    How can they not “fail to show up” when they are being detained?

    Mind you also, the Border Patrol is not an employment agency. If you’re coming here to work illegally, it makes thus no sense whatsoever to voluntarily turn yourself into them if you know that you’ll be detained.

    I don’t begrudge them being sent or looking for a better life. Let’s just not paint this as something it isn’t.

    People have studied this, and they report that it’s not economic rational that is the primary driver of this exodus.

    Moreover, to give the lie to this, the US isn’t the only country experiencing this. There’s also been a flood of children seeking asylum into Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. Even though Nicaragua is a very poor country, it’s seen a 240 % increase in asylum requests in the last two years.

    In addition, fleeing to the US is often the last resort:

    mportantly, the U.S. is not always the first option. Many move within El Salvador, and there are whole neighborhoods that have been abandoned. According to the Central American University’s Institute of Public Opinion (IUDOP) 2012 Survey, approximately 130,000 Salvadorans were forced to relocate within the country in 2012. One-third had moved previously, because often, the same threats to life re-surface. For example, one adolescent male who had been beat three times for not joining the gang in his neighborhood has already moved three times, and each time, the same gang has found him. Another adolescent male fleeing his neighborhood’s gang had even greater problems with the rival gang when he arrived to his new neighborhood, because they assumed he was already a rival member. An adolescent girl who witnessed her mom’s, brother’s and boyfriend’s murders by gang members has lived in six different parts of El Salvador—and even Guatemala—and each time, the same gang tracked her down.

    The article then goes on to explain that those who have returned from the US face legitimate risks–they often are targeted.

    At least once a month, local news report the homicide of a recent deportee from the U.S., and several of the Salvadoran families I have met here indicated that they were extorted because of the remittances they receive from relatives in the U.S.


  • Well, see, psalongo, many people are so very generous with our slowly diminishing resources: capitalists, vote-hungry politicians, and Democratic Party liberals mostly come to mind. They all seem to be able to afford it, unlike working men and women scrambling for jobs and maybe a little bit of a safety net in this country.

    I would say that what’s really being bought here is the austerity meme that “we can’t afford it” to do the right thing when we actually can. Easily.

    As for the plight of working people in this country, that is a totally unrelated matter. Our economic plight is entirely due to said austerity meme, that we can’t afford jobs for everyone, or healthcare and old-age pensions, when we actually can. When the refugees on the St. Louis showed up in 1939, opponents likewise said we can’t afford it in the Depression. Come a couple of years later and the government opened up the checkbook, we were at 1 % unemployment and 2 % inflation. Same deal here.

    Sending back those kids won’t help working families and kids here one iota. It is a delusion to think that people with a stone heart towards refugee children will suddenly grow a big heart when it comes to American children.


  • Well, let’s be real here. I’d be willing to bet most are here for economic reasons, incentivized by talk of amnesty.


    Economic reasons would explain why entire families or working-age people would move here. But as I wrote, net immigration of Latinos overall is zero, or less, not positive. That’s because our economy sucks, for reasons entirely of our own making.

    These children, by contrast, are not working-age and moreover are unaccompanied by adults. They don’t have the know-how and resources (and I suspect, connections) to navigate markets for housing or jobs or much of anything else. Moreover, there would be little economic incentive for them arriving to a country with suck a sucky economy awaiting them–if their elders can’t find jobs here, then why should we expect them to? They in fact turn themselves quite willingly over to the border patrol upon arriving. That doesn’t fit with them coming here for economic reasons either.

    Studies have been done on this, and they conclude:

    Recent studies suggest that most of these unaccompanied children aren’t economic migrants, as many Americans might assume — they’re fleeing from threats and violence in their home countries, where things have gotten so bad that many families believe that they have no choice but to send their children on the long, dangerous journey north. They’re not here to take advantage of American social services — they’re refugees from conflict. Understanding the nature of the violence pushing them north is crucial for figuring out what to do about the child refugee crisis on our southern border.

    As much as you don’t seem to believe it, they are fleeing violence, and this is very much akin to the problem of Jewish refugees in 1939 that we turned away due to very similar, largely bogus, arguments.


  • Should we just continue the status quo with 10s of thousands showing up from various parts of the world?

    The cheapest and humane thing to do is just to grant these kids a blanket asylum for the duration of the hazard. I think we can do that, and provide them with food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and education far more cheaply than it will cost under Obama’s proposal (over $70,000 per kid in administrative and lawyer fees).

    As I have written earlier, this is the MS St. Louis all over again. The St. Louis was a ship that showed up filled with Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany, to ports in the US, Cuba, and Canada, all of which denied them landing, even though (like these kids) they had a reasonable fear that their lives were in jeopardy if they returned. And people made the same (largely bogus) arguments against accepting those Jewish refugees as they do against these kids today.

    Maybe you would counter that if we did that, more kids will come. So? If we had accepted the St. Louis‘s refugees, maybe more ships would have followed…but would you use that to argue that saving lives from Hitler’s Holocaust was a *bad thing* that we shouldn’t have attempted? It’s the same with the kids; there are enough obstacles in-place for them to reach this country, I very much doubt that they’ll be more kids than we can handle, particularly because I rather strongly suspect that kids are cheaper to house and feed than are bureaucrats and lawyers.

    Besides, I’m not saying we should give them residency let alone citizenship–just asylum, until the situation in their home countries improves. This is especially true as smaller countries than we somehow seem to be able to afford to take in more asylum seekers than we (we’re only 21st in the world by that metric–we’re beating out *Bulgaria* by a hair at last count). So, no, I don’t see this as really isn’t a problem.


  • So are you saying we have no problem at the border?

    Well, insofar as the southern US border is concerned, the net immigration of Latinos is actually *ZERO*, or even slightly negative (as in they’re emigrating, not immigrating).

    So–unless you’re contending that we’re not doing a good enough job of keeping them here and they’re getting away (which is actually true in a way, they’re leaving because of our sucky ‘recovery’) the answer is “no, we don’t have much of a problem with our southern border.”


  • Hmm, $3.7 billion divided by 52,000 yields over $71,000 per kid.

    Wouldn’t it be far cheaper to do the humane thing and just give those kids amnesty instead of paying all that money to lawyers? I doubt amnesty would cost half that much, maybe not even a quarter.


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