Friday, February 29, 2008

Should Democrats Stop Bashing NAFTA?

NAFTA NOT TO BLAME: (The - summary):
On the Democratic campaign trail, the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has become a punching bag representing all of the ills of free trade, responsible for destroying middle class jobs. The populist rhetoric reached a fever pitch in Ohio this week, even though both Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) have spoken favorably of NAFTA at times and recently supported the Peru Free Trade Agreement.
NAFTA is NOT to blame. The Congressional Research Service noted .. four studies had been released studying the economic effect of NAFTA:
. It had a very modest effect on trade growth between the U.S. and Mexico.
. It had nothing to do with widening trade deficit between the U.S. and Mexico.
. It slightly increased growth and productivity in the U.S.
. It had little or no effect on aggregate employment in the U.S.,
. It had a small effect on real wages.
Democratic demagoguery on NAFTA proves to be misplaced.
Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, a Brookings Institution expert on international finance, says: "NAFTA has become shorthand for the general effects of trade and globalization." The markets in both China and India dwarf the economies of Canada and Mexico. Companies like Wal-Mart and Target depend almost wholly on manufacturing in China..the Democrats use "clever rhetoric" on NAFTA. On the one hand, they express concern for the bitter sentiments of loss felt by American workers, and on the other hand signal to those who favor free trade that they have no plans to move away from free trade agreements. The Democrats' nuanced position presents a problem in the general election, because like their case on taxes, Republicans have a simpler, emotional appeal. On free trade, Sen. John McCain will lambast the Democrats for flip-flopping: "They voted for free trade before they opposed it..the bashing of free trade leads to protectionism and tariff wars." Protectionism has been strongly viewed as a negative economic force, as some have blamed the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 for causing the Great Depression. This will hurt the Democratic nominee, as a recent Gallup poll showed that the economy has supplanted Iraq as the top issue in the campaign.
The Democrats need to stop the negative attacks on NAFTA and focus on a brighter future. Brookings' Martinez-Diaz says: "Free trade always creates winners and losers. The Democrats must force those in favor of free trade to recognize something has to be done to help the losers." Timothy Canova, professor of international economic law at Chapman University School of Law, said via email that freer trade in agriculture, combined with U.S. farm subsidies, has contributed to more than 600,000 farm families losing their livelihoods in Mexico. "This, of course, contributes to the increase of illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States," Canova says. "Likewise, there are certainly factories in the U.S. that have been closed down as a result of freer trade with Mexico, and even more so with China."
Robert Reich Blog:
It’s a shame the Democratic candidates for president feel they have to make trade – specifically NAFTA – the enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties. NAFTA is not to blame. Consider the numbers. When NAFTA took effect, Ohio had 990,000 manufacturing jobs. Two years later, in 1996, it had 1,300,000 manufacturing jobs. The number stayed above a million for the rest of the 1990s. Today, though, there are about 775,000 manufacturing jobs in Ohio. What happened? The economy expanded briskly through the 1990s. Then it crashed in late 2000, and the manufacturing jobs lost in that last recession never came back. They didn’t come back for two reasons: In some cases, employers automated the jobs out of existence, using robots and computers. In other cases, employers shipped the jobs abroad, mostly to China – not to Mexico. NAFTA has become a symbol for the mounting insecurities felt by blue-collar Americans. While the overall benefits from free trade far exceed the costs, and the winners from trade (including all of us consumers who get cheaper goods and services because of it) far exceed the losers, there’s a big problem: The costs fall disproportionately on the losers -- mostly blue-collar workers who get dumped because their jobs can be done more cheaply by someone abroad who’ll do it for a fraction of the American wage. The losers usually get new jobs eventually but the new jobs are typically in the local service economy and they pay far less than the ones lost. Even though the winners from free trade could theoretically compensate the losers and still come out ahead, they don’t. America doesn’t have a system for helping job losers find new jobs that pay about the same as the ones they’ve lost – regardless of whether the loss was because of trade or automation. There’s no national retraining system. Unemployment insurance reaches fewer than 40 percent of people who lose their jobs – a smaller percentage than when the unemployment system was designed seventy years ago. We have no national health care system to cover job losers and their families. There's no wage insurance. Nothing. And unless or until America finds a way to help the losers, the backlash against trade is only going to grow.Get me? The Dems shouldn't be redebating NAFTA. They should be debating how to help Americans adapt to a new economy in which no job is safe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Domino Effect: Cutting wages in half not fair, workers say

GM, Ford and Chrysler Wage Cuts are not only impacting their own workers, it is also impacting related businesses and their families. The Detroit Free Press Reports on what is happening at American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit:

Cutting wages in half not fair, workers say
GM, Chrysler report no disruption in production

American Axle & Manufacturing workers trudged through wet, sticky snow as day broke this morning to picket after talks broke down between the UAW and the company. A General Motors spokesman said that as of this morning the strike had not disrupted production at the automaker's plants. GM makes up nearly 80% of American Axle's revenue. A Chrysler spokeswoman said the automaker had stocked up on parts for three assembly plants that use American Axle parts, and had not seen a disruption this morning. ..
Carl Gill's grandfather, mother and three aunts are among many of his family members who worked in these plants when they were a part of GM. Gill said he is financially ready for a long strike. "This is our lives," he said.Talks broke down Monday, with the UAW and the company far apart on a number of issues, including health care, retirement and wages, which management has said it would like to cut by about half. Kevin Dennard has been with the company for 13 years. "I am striking for fair wages and a fair contract, " Dennard said. "If we were to take the cut, even standard living would be impossible. I would lose my house. I will strike until we can compromise, but it doesn't look like the feeling is mutual." ...“This will affect not only our children, but our children's children," Norm Blagec said. "Once a contract is signed, it will take years to change it. That's why we are out here. Fighting so when the contract is signed, it will show fair wages and benefits. I will be out here as long as it takes to reach an agreement." ..Cherisse Ellington, a maintenance worker at the plant, echoed Beauchesne’s sentiments.“They wanted to cut our wages in half. I don’t feel that’s fair,” she said.One striking worker said economic factors make the company’s demands unreasonable.“Look at the price of gas now. Who can afford a cut in pay?” said Henry Nelson, 56, of Southfield.Nelson has worked for American Axle for 36 years.
When we last discussed this issue, we all agreed these wage cuts had nothing to do with illegal immigration. Ultima said, ""GM was going bankrupt. It's not just the economy and business, it's competition from Japanese and other auto manufacturers who apparently enjoy a cheaper labor contract. I believe in a strong middle class with middle class wages and benefits but I also believe in a level playing field and since in a free society there is little the government can and should do about this, it is up to GM and other companies to do whatever is necessary to competitive. It serves no one's interests for GM to go belly up."
So given Ultima´s response, and I believe it is a good one, many American businesses can only survive if they go Global, and in a Global economy, they must pay competitive wages. Not competitive to American wages, but competitive to what their competition in other countries are paying. The question then becomes, if our corporations are to survive and they most go global, outsourcing and paying reduced wages, then how do we as an American Society adapt? What are our choices?

Student Says: Humanity NOT Deportation (... the PRO View Increases)

Every human deserves humanity
by Kyle Szarzynski, Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Xenophobia, like all bigotries, requires either an inability or refusal to recognize the humanity of the targeted cohort. Otherwise, our inherent altruism would get in the way, making it impossible to feel prejudice toward an entire group of people. A diatribe against the scourge of illegal immigration would probably have to be written by one of a certain race and class, and to advocate deportation would need many layers of human callousness.
Such a diatribe — so unsympathetic toward the plight of a poor, oppressed group — would look something like Sam Clegg’s in last week’s Herald.. In the piece, Mr. Clegg admits it is “unrealistic to assume we can magically whisk away the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently residing in this country.” Since we can’t just get rid of them all .. we should instead focus on those who find their way to the Dane County prison system. Deporting those who commit a crime of some sort, according to Mr. Clegg, is economical, constitutional and, most importantly, a fulfillment of the law.
Perhaps. But he forgets to reflect on the humanitarian implications — a consideration that Mr. Clegg’s worldview apparently doesn’t hold in much esteem. Deporting people who receive a DUI citation, try to organize a union illegally or steal an extra can of beans to feed the kids can only be described as quite monstrous. Most people commit crimes not because they’re innately bad, but because they’re poor — this is especially true of a group of people who are notoriously forced into the kind of employment the rest of America would just as soon forget about. Knowing that crime is the unwanted child of poverty and oppression is obvious to anyone who cares to look beneath the surface of things, and most people who are aware of that fact tend to view perpetrators of petty theft or drug offenses in a more sympathetic light. But punishing the most disenfranchised because they can’t play by all the rules is precisely what Mr. Clegg can’t wait to do.
People like Mr. Clegg have this idea that undocumented workers have less of a right to be here than the rest of us. The Puritans, after all, went through all the right paperwork before acquiring citizenship. And who does Mr. Clegg think he is? An accident of birth is a pathetic justification for arguing that he or I have more of a right to be in the United States than anyone else, and I find it despicable that anyone would lecture to the most vulnerable in our society that there are certain stipulations attached to staying here. It’s as if Mr. Clegg is telling a poor Mexican worker, “You can continue to clean the shit off our toilets, but only if you keep quiet and don’t make trouble.” Perhaps Mr. Clegg would think twice about advocating a lower status for undocumented immigrants if he would have given a thought to why so many of them are forced to come here in the first place. The effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement are estimated to have bankrupted 1.5 million Mexican corn farmers and lowered wages down to 1937 levels. American-owned “maquiladora” sweatshops have created unbearable living conditions by our standards, with people living in polluted shantytowns on wages that rarely pay for anything more than basic subsistence. Under such an economic situation, is it any wonder that so many impoverished Mexicans are willing to risk everything to come to the United States? I, for one, applaud their courage. The so-called problem of immigrant crime is a farce anyway, one with a long history in this country. Today’s Mexican criminal is yesterday’s Italian Mafioso, Jewish gangster or Irish pickpocket — all are stereotypes that apply to only a small minority within the group. While Mr. Clegg never explicitly states that such a problem exists, the very topic of his article gives credence to the Bill O’Reilly notion that immigrants are a crime-ridden bunch — an insinuation about as untrue as it is offensive. But beyond that, basic human decency should be reason enough to treat the undocumented as equals. The proposed witch hunt in our county jails will tear apart families and hurl people back into the unlivable periphery of impoverished Mexico. Deportation is ostentatiously cruel, and it is for this reason apolitical human rights groups and religious organizations — including Mr. Clegg’s own Catholic Church — from across the country are actively protecting those who are targeted. Active struggle is the only way to overcome the current wave of xenophobia; more marches, protests and strikes are needed to force open the gate of equality that is currently closed to those who don’t have the necessary papers. But for now, I commend all those who aid and abet resistance to immoral deportation orders.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Special Message from Guest Blogger: Barack Obama

As I have shared with my frequent commenters, I am very, very proud to present a very Special Guest Blogger this evening:
Special Guest Blogger: Barack Obama
I am honored to be asked to contribute to a blog that encourages citizens to think critically about a number of issues related to immigration, border security and the economy. I commend those who raise attention to these issues and who realize that we truly gain from hearing different perspectives and engaging in dialogue with one and other.
As I am sure many of you will agree, we are at a defining moment in American history. At this moment, we have the chance to choose between the same partisan bickering of the past or a change in the way Washington does business. In order to bring about that change, we need a leader who will focus on bringing people of all parties together to solve our country’s problems and reach our common goals.

I often talk about why I am running for president by citing what Dr. Martin Luther King called “fierce the urgency of now.” There are policies we must address now that will determine the future of our country, and immigration reform is one of them. I plan to address immigration reform as soon as I become president and look to individuals such as yourselves to continue to bring attention to this topic and promote a respectful and reasoned debate – a debate that focuses on solutions rather than slander.

While some of us may disagree on how to go about immigration reform, we all understand its importance and understand the value of having a debate that does not use rhetoric to vilify undocumented immigrants, immigrants in general or the Latino community. Since this last debate we’ve had on immigration, hate crimes committed against Latinos have increased by 20%, as immigrants and children of immigrants are increasingly being targeted. That is not what this country stands for. This rhetoric also threatens to undermine our relationships abroad, in Mexico, Latin America and around the world.

Instead of blaming others for our problems and distracting ourselves from the real issues we face, let us stand together with a common resolve to make the United States of America both a country of laws and a country of immigrants. Together we can work toward comprehensive immigration reform that will ensure we have stronger border security, a pathway to citizenship to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and an overhaul of our current legal immigration system. Instead of targeting immigrant families, we can create a system that punishes employers exploiting undocumented immigrants in order to incur greater profits.

By confronting the issue of comprehensive immigration reform here at home, we can begin to focus on creating strong partnerships with Mexico and the rest of Latin America. As those of you in Texas understand, it is crucial that we work with the Mexican government and take on issues of importance to communities on both sides of the border, such as narco-trafficking, human smuggling and cross-border crime.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PROs Rallying for Equal Rights and Immigration Reform!

More and More American Citizens rally against States´restrictionist Immigration Bills being pushed by ANTI groups:

Hundreds Protest Maryland Immigration Bills
Mon February 25, 2008 - Annapolis, Md.
Hundreds of immigrants protested Monday night for equal rights in front of the Maryland State House, as lawmakers are considering dozens of bills that would crack down on those in the state illegally.Some of the bills would cut off benefits to people who can't prove they're in the U.S. Legally. From Mexico, El Salvador and beyond, Maryland's latino community wants equal rights for all immigrants.
Angelo Solera, who came to the U.S. 27 years ago from Spain, was in the crowd. "Most people in this country are immigrants. They came at one point or another. All of a sudden the new immigrants, which are latinos, are supposed to be bad and we don't want them here."Solera is now a U.S. Citizen, but knows it could be tougher for those who are trying to follow in his foot steps. Nearly two dozen bills have been filed in the Maryland General Assembly, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants. An increasing number of anti-immigration groups have helped put pressure on lawmakers to do something about illegal immigration.
"They themselves are frustrated, but their parents also, because they come here for a better future for their kids. Gets frustrating for them not to be able to have that," said Maryland resident Karla Lopez. Organizers of events, like the protest in Annapolis, are staying optimistic. "As the evidence of how broken the immigration system is becomes more immediate and direct, we also have many more allies supporting the issues that we're working on," said Kim Propeack with Casa de Maryland.Solera hopes even the toughest critics will look at all sides of the often divisive issue. "We always talk about the latino community and what it is taking from this country. What about the contributions that we are making to this country?"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Issues Influencing Latino Voters in the Next Presidential Election!

I, like most Latinos, like most Americans, am interested in:
. Ending the war in Iraq
. The Economy, Jobs, Education, Family
. Comprehensive Immigration Reform
. Universal Healthcare
. Human Rights
. Global Warming

Beyond these very important issues, I think it is very important we elect a President who will be respected throughout the world. Not as a war-monger, but a President who is respected for their diplomacy.

We want a President who will respect us as citizens and respect the Bill of Rights.

When we talk about Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we need to change the us vs them mentality. We need to understand the History of Immigration over the past 100+ years and how we arrived where we are today.

We need to stop the scape-goating of Latinos and the Racial Profiling.

We need a President who will unite us and not continue to divide us.

We Latinos must vote. When I say this, I say this because we have a history of low voting ratios. If we want our voices to be heard, we must vote, stay informed of the issues and participate in this great, national discussion. We can do so on the internet, through our schools, through local government and by staying involved. That is

"YES WE CAN... make a Difference!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Texas Democratic Debate Winner: Democratic Party!

The Democratic Party won the Texas Democratic Debate last night!

Last evening´s debate showed us two intelligent, dynamic candidates. Whichever candidate is selected will be a vast, vast improvement versus our current Administration.

As millions of Democrats have said, WE will support the Democratic Candidate in November! We must win back the Presidency!

1. Where we have War, they will bring Peace.

2. Where we have a Healthcare Crisis, they will bring Universal Healthcare.

3. Where we have Immigration Chaos, they will bring Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

4. Where we have War Mongering, they will bring Diplomacy!

5. Where we have Economic Crisis, they will bring Economic Stability and Growth!

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama shook hands at last night’s Texas debate.

I am proud of our 2008 Presidential Candidates!
Texas is going blue with your help!

PS: I am hoping to have a surprise Guest Blogger visit my Blog within the next few days! These are exciting times, my friends!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Soap Opera Politics Vol 1, Issue 6: Why Kennedy´s Support Hurts Obama!!

(Click here if you are NOT Afraid of seeing an Embarassing Big Fat Guy!!)

Why Texas Latinos are AFRAID to back Barack Obama!
There is still time to vote for Hillary!!
Note: Every time I watch this video, why do I keep getting this creepy feeling of him thirty years earlier having a drunken night with some young, innocent seƱorita? EEEuuuuwwww!!!!

Soap Opera Politics Vol 1, Issue 5: Is John McCain Still Up for the Job?

John and Cindy McCain Meet the Press to defend against accusations of McCain´s marital and lobbying indiscretions.

The New York Times Reports:
For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk
Published: February 21, 2008

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator
John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers. A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity. When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.
note: The NY Times says this story has been a long time in the works. The story speaks for itself. No one has challenged what their report says.

Wikipedia Reports:
McCain Spouses:
1. Carol Shepp (1965-1980) (divorced)
2. Cindy Hensley McCain (1980-Present)
In April 1979, while attending a military reception for senators in Hawaii, McCain met and fell in love with Cindy Lou Hensley, 17 years his junior, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona who was the daughter of James Willis Hensley, a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor, and Marguerite Smith Hensley...McCain filed for and obtained an uncontested divorce from his wife Carol in Florida on April 2, 1980. He gave her a generous settlement, including houses in Virginia and Florida and financial support for her ongoing medical treatments resulting from the 1969 automobile accident; they would remain on good terms. McCain and Hensley were married on May 17, 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona, with Senators William Cohen and Gary Hart (another well known cheater) as best man and groomsman. McCain's children were upset with him and did not attend the wedding.
3. Ms Vicki Iseman (illicit affair) (1990´s)
NY Times reports said affair with Ms. Vicki Iseman. reports that during this same period, Cindy McCain confessed her Percocet and Vicodin drug addiction to Jane Pauley on Dateline and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America and the fact that she stole the drugs from her own nonprofit medical relief organization.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eagle Pass, TX - Quiet Sleepy Little Border Town

Last year, my sisters, sister in law and I decided to take a road trip to Eagle Pass, Texas. My sister in law´s family is from Eagle Pass. Since her husband, my brother, died a few months earlier, we wanted to spend some time together and visit some of her family members. While I had visited other border towns, I never visited Eagle Pass before. I read all the articles about border towns so I wasn´t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.
Eagle Pass is a sleepy little town just across the border from Piedras Negras, MX. Many of the homes in town were over 100 years old. There were many large homes with sprawling porches. There was very little traffic in town. They had an old fashioned downtown. There were plenty of palm trees and the weather was beautiful.

We stayed at a nice hotel with a very friendly and welcoming staff. There was also a nice casino just outside of town. It was a bit out of the way on an Indian Reservation. It was kind of different. You drive down, twists and turns out in the middle of nowhere, then all of a sudden, you enter the Indian Reservation and you see a huge casino with bright lights and a huge parking lot.

The second day, we drove across the bridge to Mexico with the rest of the tourists. On the US side, there is a beautiful golf course on the left and on the right is a children´s play area with carnival rides for the children. Across the border there were colorful shops, a shopping mall, and a park in the middle of the city. Tourists were everywhere.

Checking Texas City Data, I see that Eagle Pass's property crime levels tend to be lower than Texas's average level. The same data shows violent crime levels in Eagle Pass tend to be much lower than Texas's average level.

Additionally the cost of living is much lower in Eagle Pass. One of those nice older homes costs about $50K, or about 1/10 the cost of the same home in California.

I think about Eagle Pass every time I see some ludicrous comments such as this one making its way around the ANTI Blogs: "Trouble is, those living areas resemble Bombay and Calcutta with grinding poverty, filth, diseases, drugs, crimes, no sanitation and worse. " These comments are similar to comments made by Tancredo about Miami being a 3rd World Country.

I have lived in Detroit, Kansas City, Chicago and lived near St. Louis. Many of these areas have extreme inner city poverty. In fact, in many of these cities, the office parking ramps close at 7:00pm to ensure office workers return home before dark. I have never seen any ANTI Blog call these cities Bombay or Calcutta. I don´t believe any of these bloggers ever visited Eagle Pass. They couldn´t have. It is a quiet, sleepy little town! And, by the way, the population is 90% Latino! (Always was this way!)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Labor Shortages in Oklahoma and Arizona

A number of people from other blogs have been asking me about Labor Shortages in States that have passed restrictionist Immigration Laws. Here are some news reports from Oklahoma and Arizona.

In Oklahoma, it appears the stricter the enforcement, the more pronounced the Labor Shortages: Reports:
As immigrant workers flee the state, immigrant-heavy sectors such as construction have seen varying declines of skilled workers. In Tulsa, where enforcement has been more pronounced, so have labor shortages. The distress it has caused in the construction sector in Oklahoma County has been only slight. Overall, the blow of immigration enforcement appears to have been softened by less building, experts said. "I would say in Tulsa, it has been as devastating as they had expected,” said Mike Means, president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. By contrast, Means said, builders in Oklahoma County have adapted to working with fewer crews and are still getting the job done.
...People such as William Triplett, a Mesa truck driver, bristle when told Americans won't work some jobs. "I know they would. You have to advertise for them and make transportation available," he said. The business community maintains it has done what it can to fill jobs with Americans, and that a labor shortage hurts the state's growth. "We must find a way to ensure Arizona businesses have access to a sufficient number of legal workers. Relying on our broken federal immigration system makes this nearly impossible," said Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a statement. Joe Sigg, the director of government relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau, said raising wages would not fill growers unmet needs."Just paying more doesn't increase the size of our native-born labor pool," he said.

Make A Difference!

Why do I blog? As my Mission Statement says, I blog “To provide a forum where people, both PRO and ANTI, can discuss American Immigration Issues civilly, freely and safely thereby reducing the hate, anger and misunderstandings currently inherent in most of these discussions.”

I think it is important that both sides have an opportunity to read articles from reputable, neutral sources which provide up to date Immigration (legal and illegal) news reports. I also include Politics and articles about the Economy since these topics are closely related to Immigration.

The vast majority of my commenters are ANTIs. Some of them give me a hard time, but overall, we remain civil and sometimes we change each others´minds. Many of my PRO viewers email me and send me kind words. Many do not post because, as they say, they don´t want to be attacked by the ANTIs.

Last year, a Professor from a California University wrote to me and said, “Your blog is so beautiful that I offer it to my students as a model of what they (and I) can achieve. I'm really trying to encourage them to use the power of the First Amendment and the Internet to enter public discourse and be heard. We've had a couple of flamers from white supremacists groups which briefly intimidated and confused my students, so I was so happy and relieved when an excited student came to my office hours, ... to tell me how you responded to one of her blogs on immigration and encouraged her to keep writing. It meant so much to her to hear positive feedback from a member of the public. Thank you for that, and thank you for your generous gesture to help with advice in business and politics. I'm sure I'll take you up on it.” I am touched each time I read this letter.

I also participate on other blogs and forums. Today, a neutral (neither PRO nor ANTI) commenter wrote, “I highly recommend Dee's blog. She posts articles that show both sides of the issue…..There are plenty of articles on her site in which she quotes employers in the roofing industry, in the ag industry, etc complaining that the exit of the 12 to 20 million undocumented will force them to pay higher wages to the US citizens that remain in the labor pool. Read Dee's site. Also read the links to George's material. If you read everything on Dee's site and you read all George's material you will be well positioned to make your own choice.” His kind words also touched me.

Every once in a while I will get a rather mean or angry ANTI asking me to stop my blog. The very fact that they are asking me to stop tells me that my message is getting through.

All of this feedback reminds me I should never lose my motivation or my drive.

If I can help one person understand there are two sides to the Immigration issue, If I can help one person understand there are good people on both sides of the issue, If I can help one person understand Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a logical solution, If I encourage one person to understand they have a right to their opinion, they have a voice and freedom of speech, then I have accomplished my Mission.

I encourage everyone to start a Blog. Make a Difference!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Border Residents Ask Presidential Candidates to Listen to their Perspective!

As we approach the March 4 Texas primary, all eyes are on Texas. The following are excerpts from area newspapers and advocacy groups.

Texas Border Residents Report:
"If Barack Obama wants to win Texas big, if he wants to win the hearts of the real Texas grassroots, if he wants to garner the Hispanic vote, if he wants to be the champion of the poor, he needs go no farther then the Texas-Mexico border. It is here that the poorest region of all America exists, where hundreds of thousands of neglected Veterans live, where the highest percentage of Texas Hispanics live. He would need to convince us that he will stop the border wall, that he will stop the internment camps (Detention Centers), that he will stop the ICE raids and the ENDGAME, that he will end the militarization of American soil and the harassment of American citizens of color, that he will treat our neighboring country and Number 1 trading partner with love and respect, that he will stop the economic slavery of NAFTA, that he will insure that children are not imprisoned for profit, that he will not allow private and public land to be seized for something as totalitarian as an “iron curtain”. He will have to convince “we the people” of South Texas that that he will stand WITH us in leadership."

Border locals complain DHS uncompromising
By SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press
— Border residents complained to a House panel Thursday that the Homeland Security Department has been unwilling to listen to them as it builds a security fence along the U.S-Mexico border.
The complaints stem from the federal government's effort to build 700 miles of fence along the southern border, required by a 2006 law signed by President Bush. The Homeland Security Department wants to finish about 370 miles by the end of the year. But local officials said the department has ignored them and their concerns in its rush to meet that goal. For example, some landowners want the department to leave in place barbed wire fencing that costs $8,000 to $10,000 a mile. The fencing is being ripped out as vehicle barriers are erected along the border, said Nan Stockholm Walden, an Arizona farmer and rancher. "There's been a breakdown in trust," she said. "There seems to be no willingness to compromise or listen at all and that's where people become suspicious and tell DHS they won't let them on their land." The Homeland Security Department has filed dozens of condemnation lawsuits against landowners in Texas, Arizona and California to get access to their property. Recently, Homeland Security agreed to a local plan to improve levees on the Rio Grande near Hidalgo County in response to opposition to plans that would put homes behind the fence. The hearing was held by a House Appropriations subcommittee that approves the Homeland Security Department's budget.
Last year, Congress required the Homeland Security Department to consult with other government agencies as well as local officials as a condition of getting money for the border fence. Subcommittee chairman David Price questioned how meaningful the consultation has been. He said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is ignoring "the fact that consultation leads to an outcome that may be superior". Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster asked the panel to "use your muscle to bring them to the table and work with us." "We were told that the (Customs and Border Protection) had held 18 town hall meetings that, on investigation, turned out to be meals in restaurants and phone calls," said Foster, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition of elected officials and business owners. Foster's city has been sued for access to city owned property. Eagle Pass has opposed plans for a fence that would run through the municipal golf course. But city officials have agreed to improve a golf cart path so Border Patrol vehicles can use it and have agreed to have light towers erected to illuminate the course. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, speaking to reporters, defended his department's consultation with local officials and communities. "I think it is important to recognize there is a massive amount of outreach going on," he said. He said the city of Eagle Pass is the only land owner in the El Paso, Marfa, Laredo and Del Rio Border Patrol sectors that has refused to allow the Border Patrol on its land. Many residents in the Rio Grande Valley, including the city of Brownsville, has refused the Border Patrol access.
"While DHS certainly has a duty to secure our borders and ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws, the department also has a duty to be considerate of citizens' rights — especially law abiding citizens — while carrying out the mission of securing our borders," said Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the committee's top Republican.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ANTIs Finally Understand It Is the Economy/Business that is responsible for Lower Wages!! (not migrant workers)

GM, Ford and Chrysler announce plans to "buyout" their ENTIRE U.S. hourly workforce so they may hire employees at half the current hourly rate. This is for Economic reasons and has nothing to do with Illegal Immigration.
As PRO reporters continue to highlight the Nation´s Economic News, the ANTIs are finally understanding our nation´s lower wages are due to Economic/Business issues and the root cause is NOT Illegal Immigration.

CNN Reports:
GM offers buyouts to 74,000
Auto giant aims to replace much of U.S. workforce with lower-paid new hires - dangles $140,000 buyouts to UAW members to stem North American losses.
By Chris Isidore, senior writer
February 12 2008: 10:04 AM EST
NEW YORK ( -- In an effort to shave ongoing losses despite strong global auto sales, General Motors offered lucrative buyouts to 74,000 employees - its entire U.S. hourly workforce.
The nation's largest automaker reported the latest round of buyouts as it reported another
loss on its core auto operations in the quarter, as improved performance in some overseas markets was balanced out by a rising loss at its North American plants. The company was helped by a tax benefit in the fourth quarter and a gain on sales of some assets. But problems with the GMAC finance unit and large charges taken in the third quarter related to other tax issues left GM with a company record $38.7 billion net loss for 2007.
...the latest range of offers to the remaining 74,000 GM workers represented by the United Auto Workers union is designed to allow the company to save money by paying new workers significantly less in pay and benefits than its current workforce, rather than lead to the large reduction in staffing sought in previous buyout packages. GM spokesman Dan Flores said the company had no announced target for headcount reduction this time. "We certainly expect to be doing hiring as a result of this package," he said.
Those who leave and agree to sever all ties with the company - including giving up lucrative pension and health care coverage - will receive a lump sum of $140,000 if they have 10 years of service, or $70,000 for those with less than 10 years.
"We've worked with our UAW partners to ensure our employees have a variety of attractive options to consider," GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a statement. "The special attrition program is an important initiative that will help us transform the workforce." Ford and Chrysler also have the provision in their new contracts to pay new hires less in salary and benefits, but their workforces are not nearly as old as the UAW membership at GM, so they may end up seeing less turnover in their hourly staff. Ford has its own
buyout offer out to all its remaining 54,000 hourly U.S. workers. The proposal was announced last month when the company reported a fourth-quarter loss. Privately-owned Chrysler has offered buyout packages to hourly employees at targeted plants, but has not make a companywide offer.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

ANTIs Mayberrian Dream Turns into Downtown Reality

The following are two news articles. The 1st is a news article from Oklahoma. The 2nd is a news article from Arizona.
In November, Oklahoma passed a restrictionist Immigration law which included verbiage indicating transporting illegal immigrants is a crime. This resulted in Racial Profiling. As a result, a vast number of Hispanics, both legal and illegal, are leaving the State. As businesses are going out of business, lawmakers are looking to rescind the law. This law was originally pushed forward by the Minutemen and introduced by Republican Randy Terrill. Arizona´s restrictionist laws go into effect March 1.
Oklahoma: Tulsa World Reports
U.S. Chamber fights 1804 By OMER GILLHAM World Staff Writer 2/2/2008
It's joined other associations suing Oklahoma over the immigration reform law.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers to sue the state over its immigration reform law. The U.S. Chamber filed for an injunction Friday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The lawsuit targets specific aspects of House Bill 1804. Among other things, the new law creates state barriers to hiring illegal immigrants, requires proof of citizenship to receive certain government benefits and makes it illegal to knowingly transport illegal immigrants. Through the injunction, the U.S. Chamber is seeking to stop the implementation of two sections of the measure. The lawsuit challenges a requirement that employers doing business with the state use the federal government's voluntary experimental program for verifying work eligibility. It also challenges require ments for businesses to verify the work authorization status of individual independent contractors to avoid state tax penalties. The injunction alleges that the challenged sections of the law are pre-empted by federal law and are unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In a prepared statement, the U.S. Chamber said: "The organizations supporting the in junction explained that the lawsuit focuses on those provisions of HB 1804 which impose unreasonable burdens on Oklahoma businesses and puts them at a disadvantage compared to competitors in other states, and that HB 1804 puts businesses in the impossible position of having to comply with conflicting federal and state laws."

Arizona - Fox News Reports:
AGIA PRIETA, Mexico — For the first time, Mexican officials in Arizona admit there is hard evidence illegal immigrants are preparing to leave the state because a new employer sanctions law is making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to keep a job. Illegal immigrants are flooding the Mexican consulate in Phoenix for documents that will allow them to return to Mexico to enroll their children in school, the consul to Arizona, Carlos Flores Vizcarra, told FOX News. They are also requesting a document called "menaje de casa," which allows illegal immigrant families living in the U.S. to cross into Mexico without paying a tax on their furniture and personal belongings. Vizcarra said 94 families asked the embassy for students transfer documents last month, compared to only three last year. He said several thousand immigrants asked for the tax document. In a separate interview, Edmundo Hidalgo of the non-profit immigrant support group Chicanos Por La Causa, said 30,000 illegal immigrants said in a survey last week that they planned to leave Arizona sometime before March 1, when the state’s tough new employer sanctions law goes into effect. Under the law, employers can lose their business licenses if they hire undocumented workers.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up a hotline for citizens to report on employers who hire illegals. He has said enforcement will begin when the law goes into effect. Many deputies have also been given arrest authority by Customs and Border Protection to enforce federal immigration law. So in the course of a traffic stop, illegal immigrants without a driver's license could ultimately face deportation.
These factors, combined with a slowing economy, are forcing many undocumented workers to consider leaving Arizona. According to a study last year, 12 percent of Arizona’s workforce is in the U.S. illegally, the highest percentage in the nation. At a immigrant shelter in Agua Prieta, Mexico, just south of the Arizona border, officials say illegal immigrants are leaving the Grand Canyon state because of the employer sanctions law. In the last month, for every five immigrants trying to enter the U.S., four were crossing back in the other direction, said Rosa Soto Moreno, who runs a Catholic shelter that provides food and lodging for illegal immigrants. Soto said illegal immigrants crossing back into Mexico is a new phenomenon, and she attributes it to the new law. "Many of the supervisors are upset by the law, but have told their workers they have no choice," she said.

As the saying goes, "Be careful what you ask for. You might just get it. Not Downtown Mayberry, rather Downtown Reality!"

Sunday, February 3, 2008

WTF Headline: "Geraldo Shills for McCain"

As unbelievable as it may seem, Geraldo Rivera is shilling for John McCain. Geraldo spoke with Brian and the Judge where Geraldo admits he is a "John McCain Republican."

During this interview, Geraldo takes on the Right Wing shock jocks like Limbaugh, Dobbs, Malkin, and Coulter.
Geraldo saying the Moronic Mavens of Maliciousness aren't doing themselves any good with their irrational hatred of John McCain. From what he says, they are simply becoming a laughing stock.

Geraldo goes on to say he believes Hillary will be the Dem candidate because he thinks the Latino Community will vote for Clinton by a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 majority. Geraldo says John McCain is the only Republican that can beat Hillary and the Dems. He says McCain should select Condoleeza Rice as his VP. He says that she will gain him both African American and Female voters.

Many of the Right Wing and ANTI sites are FLAMING with responses to Geraldo. Needless to say, Malkin is beside herself with anger. She has already written several posts on her blog in response and retaliation. The ANTI sites are just as angry.

My view is Geraldo is a blowhard and speaks for himself. I used to be a fan of his when he had his own show and was a Liberal. Since he has been on Fox and turned into a McCain Republican, I don´t often agree with him anymore. Geraldo made one more very controversial statement, "Any hispanic that votes for an anti illegal immigration candidate is an uncle Tom." I totally disagree with this statement. I have some nephews in the military who support ANTI candidates. I don´t agree with who they are supporting but I would not call my nephews by the term "Uncle Tom" either.

My question to my readers is:
I don´t understand why McCain is leading. I read so many blogs and most ANTIs and Republicans hate McCain. Read Rush, Malkin or Coulter. They hate McCain. Read any of the anti sites like alipac or fair or numbersusa. They hate McCain. How on earth is McCain leading? I don´t get it. The only guess I can make is:
1. There actually is a "right wing conspiracy" (RWC) and they believe McCain is the only one that can beat the Dems.
2. If this is true, I would guess someone like Jeb Bush (or as Geraldo suggests, Condoleeza) will be named as VP and McCain will be taken ill soon after the election.
Can someone explain to me how McCain is leading IF there is no Right Wing Conspiracy? And please do not provide the explanation that Huckabee is the Romney "spoiler" because the ANTIs hate him even more than McCain.

Page Hits