one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Saving America from Dangerous Mexicans
Duke 1676 has put a lot of thought and work into his proposal for a plan to thwart the Minute Men and others who worship at the Lou Dobbs Altar of MuslimMex phobia. I do not know if Lou and Sam Huntington know each other, or if either of them knows Daniel Pipes, but they should make it a point to get acquainted. Now Lou is particularly insidious, as is Huntington, in that both are right about some things. I have seen Lou cover stories about the phasing out of the American middle class with which I cannot disagree.
Yes, every once in so often he does a piece that does not lay the US's transition to feudalism at the feet of the MuslimMex Menace. And no I do not mean "outsourcing," since Lou, like almost everybody else who ascends soapbox to decry this phenomenon fails to employ Occam's razor and simply propose that any company that does business in the US will pay employees the same wage for a particular job regardless of where that employee or independent contractor may be located, and in no case will compensation fall below the federal minimum wage, or the minimum wage in the state in which the company is registered, whichever is higher.
Lou has done some fine pieces for instance, on companies doing away with health care benefits for retirees, weaselling out of pension programs, and even occasional rants on the subject of corporate welfare and giveaways that would certainly be considered "anti-business" by the boardroom class.
Huntington, also cannot be said to be entirely wrong about the Clash of Civilizations. It marches apace, inexorably. He just never bothers to point out that it is unnecessary, and is nothing but a particularly Apocalyptic byproduct of the insatiable and unchecked greed of certain key US business interests.
Now Duke1676 is no Dobbs, or no Huntington, nor is he a fan of both. His intentions are honorable, and unlike most people with an opinion on how things ought to be, including myself, he has put his keyboard where his mouse is and burned midnight oil to hash out a plan every bit as detailed and complex and convoluted as anything cooked up by the corporate staff who write detailed and complex and convoluted legislation for the United States. Not that the corporations would want anything to do with Duke's plan, for reasons I will get into shortly. In short, he has worked hard, and made a valiant effort, but there are some fundamental things wrong with it.
If you haven't read it yet, go do so, then come back here. Wait. Get a snack first. Duke may be the only blogger on the internets who is more brevity-impaired than me......
Read it all? Good. Keep it open in another window if you are the obsessive type. I will now have the kindness to tell you what is wrong with it:
Before commenting further I will confess my bias. I do not consider that the US has any authority to tell the sons and daughters of the indigenous people of the Americas that they cannot move from one part of their continent to the other.
I'm not sure how anxious most people coming to the US from Mexico and Central America would be to fill out forms. I do not think that, due to history, there is a great level of trust in US officialdom, and if you remember, during the Amnesty, those who bought letters to arreglar were in the minority. While Amnesty turned out not to be a trick, in my opinion, that single event, especially again, considering the history, both before and since, has not elevated that level of trust sufficiently to make some aspects of his plan practical.
Another bias I will confess. I am not an "assimilation" fanatic. In fact, I can't even claim to consider it particularly desirable, aside from things like driving on the right side of the road, and if one has papers purchased from Washington, waiting for the police in the case of auto accidents, or matters of convenience, like practicing "hora de aqui" when going for job interviews, and calling in sick when one is sick, as opposed to showing up once one is well. :)
I see a lot of areas for improvement in his idea of forcing everyone who fills out these forms and pays the fees to learn English.
First, as a practical matter, it is not necessary any more to speak English in the US if you speak Spanish. One or the other will make life much easier. I am reminded of a guy I saw a couple of years ago on CNN who made the very good point that if your children do not speak Spanish, and they are not learning it in school, you should demand to know why. If you have hopes that they will one day be employable.
Being bilingual is a distinct advantage in the workplace, though Duke does not mention anything about requiring employers to learn Spanish.
Nor does he address what is, in my experience, the major obstacle faced by people who actually want to learn English: They tend to work 18 hours a day, and as anyone knows, learning a second language is not something that happens in a classroom anyway. A class can be a great help, but the determining factor in whether one learns a second language or not is how much one hears it outside the classroom.
So a program designed to obligate people to learn a second language is essentially a non-starter. One, it's not something that can be done unless there is a sincere and strong desire for the language for its own sake. Two, anything that requires people to forfeit hours of work in order to attend a class will simply reduce even further the number of people who fill out the forms, and three, it will make little difference even if someone attends a class if the class is the only place the person hears English, Which brings us back to my original point that it is not necessary to speak English to live and work in the US.
This aspect of the program also appears to make the assumption that everyone who arrives in the US seeking to work is literate in Spanish. I have seen too many English as Another Language classes that quickly evolved into adult literacy classes to express much optimism that Duke's program participants will fit so readily into the slots he desires.
On the whole, the program looks complicated to me, and I cannot imagine that it would seem any less so to someone from a small village in Guerrero who may or may not be able to read and write in Spanish or have a positive prior history of exposure to electric light, though he may, and probably does have many other very valuable skills.
It appears to be a rather bulky process whose main purpose is to weed out criminals, which, while admirable, is just not applicable commensurate with the sheer volume of requisitos and tramites he would inflict on his indigenous brothers when weighed against the incidence of dangerous career criminals who have crossed masquerading as just another worker.
People who come to the US to work, who cross deserts without water, who endure beatings, sexual assault, robbery, and risk their lives and the possibility of never seeing again those loved ones back home for whom they do all this, are not interested in committing crimes. If they were, they would be more likely to go to Cancun or Acapulco, where the white folks are more likely to be carrying cash and/or valuables, and/or be careless with them.
The last thing someone whose family back home is food insecure, and has undertaken such a dangerous process in order to feed them wants is problems. Filling out forms, paying fees, all that rigamarole are problems not too far down the scale from problems with the law or with the migra. Nobody wants to get caught by the migra, get deported and have to do the whole process over again. Which they do, another factor that I wonder if Duke is aware of. When people are caught by the migra and returned to Mexico, they simply come back, often the same day.
I do agree that some sort of accountablility is needed. The majority of people who come to work are young men between the ages of 16 and 25, most away from home for the first time. They drive cars. Thus it is better for road safety if people are issued drivers licenses, complete with fingerprints, without regard to immigration status. The prints can then be checked against the famous US databank of fingerprints of dangerous criminals, and no matter whether the individual is using his real name or not (most don't) he will be using his real fingerprints.
I am also opposed to the practice of witholding from peoples' pay, social security taxes when they will never receive any social security, and the overtaxing of these very low income workers, most of whom do not know how to manipulate their W-4 forms, therefore making the government a gift of the money, as they cannot apply for a refund, because they are using Barbara Bush's social security number. While this is not a problem for the majority, who work as independent contractors, or informally and in cash, it is still an injustice that needs to be corrected for the benefit of the ones who are exploited in this way.
Especially since the future of the social security program is now somewhat shaky, to say the least, it would make more sense in my opinion, to make participation in this program optional, and make this known to the immigrant community using every means possible, from signs in Spanish posted in several locations in the workplace, radio and TV ads, etc., as well as information on how to complete the W-4 form so that only one's actual tax is witheld.
I am also in favor of requiring employers to pay people in accordance with the minimum wage laws, which God knows are minimal enough, and require strict adherence to rules of breaks and overtime, and encourage reporting of any violation, which will be taken, investigated, and prosecuted without regard to the immigration status of the worker who made the complaint, which can be anonymous.
With all the money that Duke's program would cost, these simple measures that would actually benefit the workers could be employed, and there would be plenty left over to outfit US borders as they should be, with free coke machines, rest rooms, including changing tables for moms, and big signs saying "Bien Venido! Toma Coca-Cola bien fria en botella."
People who have been in the US for ten years, working at the jobs Duke refers to, low paid, etc., their children have grown up bilingual, and in a few years will be able to assume their own role in the political process, thus relieving those who struggle with what they perceive to be a problem of that burden. And almost any plan, Duke's or anybody's, that involved any substantial change, would, in the absence of tens of millions of Minute Men supporters storming the capital, take at least that many years to "adjust" in order to provide a corporate incentive for endorsement.
I agree that it would be wonderful if employers would provide on-site English classes, adult literacy (both reading and writing and computer) literacy classes, paid time off to take them, etc. so that their employees would be able to mobilize upwardly. However, this would hardly be in the employer's interest. In fact, leaving immigrants out of the picture entirely, you cannot have failed to notice that the entire education of the underclass is focused on training individuals to sit quietly until an appointed hour, and follow instructions.
Employers whose profits depend on cheap labor are not likely to be inclined to sacrifice the contents of their own pockets in order to expedite that cheap labor becoming more expensive.
Add to that the fact that tomorrow's cheap labor construction worker, regardless of where he purchased his papers, if he can learn bricklaying, can earn more money per hour than he would if he went to college and became a teacher. And considerably more than if he merely gets a liberal arts degree where if he is lucky, he may get a job in a posh department store selling footwear. This is one of the challenges faced by teachers, when they try to convince the older children of immigrants to remain in school.
Fostering language skills would, in an ideal world, take precedence over fostering per hour earnings, but this is a cultural issue that cannot be addressed by having immigrants fill out forms. And the money that is paid into the social security system going into the cost of the forms and their processing, while I think many would support just about anything that would keep it out of the pocket of the immigrant, I'm not sure that would be the best selling point for the target audience themselves.
I don't mean to suggest that Duke would not have any takers, I just don't think the chances are good that there would be enough to make a difference to either the anti-immigration people or the politicians, who of course serve the corporations, and I just do not see any extra money for the corporations in Duke's plan, which makes it a non-starter politically.
The status quo basically sucks, however it does provide certain benefits, and certain trade-offs, for both worker and employer. The main objection to this status quo, at least to the more intelligent of the anti-immigrant sector, is that they realize that it is the employer who has the short term advantage, as mentioned previously, the children of the people who come to US to work will not be limited to low paying jobs, nor taxation without representation, and every time a white lady has a baby, 5 indias have babies, who will grow up bilingual, and with as much chance for upward mobilization as the children of native born parents in all but the most affluent classes have, which I will grant you is next to none, but if you talk to the Minute Men and friends, they are not unaware of the changing demographic, and the changes in other things that will surely come with that, barring explosion of course, which is far from certain.
There is also the fact that a man who has had only 3 or 6 years of formal education, unless someone is going to pay all his family's expenses and put him through a 4 year degree program, even if he learns English, is not going to be able to come out of his English class, put on a Brooks Brothers suit and get a white collar job on the fast management track. The increased hourly wage he will get for learning English, once it is taxed, is not going to mean that much to his family's lifestyle, but multiplied several hundred times it will mean something to his employer's profit, so the employer would be better off firing him, and hiring someone who does not speak English for fifty cents or a dollar less an hour.
I'm aware of the programs, both current and in the pipeline to exterminate various sectors of the population. And I'm aware of Sensenbrenner's horrendous bill, and the neo bracero crap, as well as KBR's new contract to build domestic concentration camps.
I don't think Sensenbrenner's bill will get very far, for the same reason I think Duke's plan wouldn't, leaving every other consideration or issue aside, neither of them would benefit the corporations.
And all the various neo-bracero proposals also fall short in that regard, and also share with Duke's plan another disadvantage - most people would simply not sign up for it. They cannot make the wage low enough to suit the corporations, nor can they make it high enough to be worth the hassle versus the risks, not to mention the public relations aspect, and the politicians would still be arguing over the details long after our ten year old has grown up and married your daughter.
I know that those concentration camps are ostensibly for a "sudden influx of aliens" or some such wording, but I don't think so, and that is another show, and I won't even go there now.
Regardless of the racist rants and Minute Man Mania, in the US, cheap labor is not going to be refused.
Now it is a fact that as US transitions to a single industry feudal state, there will be a surplus of serfs. Already some changes are evident, as the number of "white collar" and even the higher paying "blue collar" manufacturing jobs, those jobs that come with a union, the jobs that made it possible for so many of the Baby Boom to go to college and learn about Brie and the importance of thread count in linens.
The "jobs of tomorrow" are first and foremost, Wal-Mart and leash games at the Ghraib, and other than that, largely "service" jobs: food service, janitorial service, etc. They don't pay much, and we will at some point see, to an extent, the beloved meme of the Dobbs come true - immigrants will be taking jobs away from "Americans."
These may be jobs that "Americans" don't want now, but as more are downwardly mobilized, at a last mad grasp at remaining in housing, they will want them. But they will not get them, for several reasons. One, the immigrants will work for less. Less even than the minimum wage, which is currently aroung 25% of the price of housing. Two, Americans cannot do these jobs as well. They are not able physically, emotionally, or any other way capable of competing with people who have grown up in an essentially non-industrial, agrarian society. I do not mean that all immigrants come from the countryside, but a great many do, and even immigrants from cities find it hard to compete with these super-workers. "Es bien dificil doblar un ranchero."
Immigrants will remain for a time the new slave class with or without any programs. The new poor may blame them initially, but as other programs and pogroms are implemented, it will soon be apparent that it is not the Mexicans who deny the presciptions, who cleanse them from their new homes under the expressway, it is not the immigrants who have the guns. They don't need them.
And there is more than one way for nature to take its course. Can you imagine what would happen if some mystical little pajarito whispered into the ear of every human being working in the US with papers not purchased from Washington, and just for one day, none of those people went to work.
Think about it. Nothing to lose but one day's low pay, and possibly something quite more substantial than another few cents an hour or a card or the opportunity to fill out forms to be gained. Even if their employer fires them, they can easily obtain similar work somewhere else the next day. And many can, thanks to the fun and exciting features of racism, return to the same employer the next day, give a different name, and not even be recognized.
But what do you think would happen that one day, a sort of life imitates art Day without a Mexican?
How would it affect the US economy to have restaurants, hotels, all those "service industries" unable to function?
Whether that happens or not, for reasons mentioned above, the domestic conflict in the US will have an ethnic element, US already had a conflict with an ethnic element coming even before the process of reclaiming the continent intensified. But that will not be the whole of it. There will also be a religious element, political element, but as history has shown us, these things filter down to the age old have vs have not.
Kind of like the correction that occurred in Venezuela recently.
Anyway, if you have read this far, you have a gift for listening to the ramblings of old men, and you should consider a career in this field.
My point, and yes, I have one, is that the demographic shift in the US, as in Europe, is an issue. Say the word "issue" out loud. Whisper it, and you will hear the sound of the gentle twin zephyrs of Mendel and math. But it is only *an* issue, it is not *the* issue, for all the sound and fury of those who bat helpless wings, moth-like, against the twin zephyrs, as nature, like events set in motion long ago, take their course.
I think the plan would be most appealing to more "elite" immigrants, usually from South America, who for reasons best known to them find it expedient to depart their homelands as changes occur in the region, individuals who have advanced degrees and could probably get visas, but prefer not to remain in the home country for what can be a somewhat lengthy process. There are many individuals of this sector, who have been arriving with regluarity in the US since the early nineties, many have relatives already here, with ample resources to help them get on their feet (some have been so patriotic as to arrive in the United States bringing their homeland's national treasure with them, even going so far as to make the sacrifice of holding these assets in their own personal bank accounts for safekeeping). These folks are indeed an English class or two away from, if not the boardroom, at least a corner office, and they love to fill out forms.
But at this time, by far the largest group of people coming to the US to work are people from Mexico and Central America, who enjoy resources neither monetary nor educational, at least in the sense of education recognized in the personnel offices of the sparkling office parks, where they are more likely to find themselves replenishing wilted beds of pansies than arranging the schedule of the Sixth Vice President for Project Implementation.
These are stalwart, courageous young men (and some women) who come from little blink and you'll miss it towns in Guerrero and Oaxaca, from even smaller mountain villages in Michoacan, from the countryside of Nayarit and Chiapas, who may introduce themselves in the old style, Juan Lopez, para servirle a usted y la Virgencita de Guadalupe, men, and soon-to-be men with little brown felt scapularios around their necks, made by their grandmothers, put over their heads when she blessed them for the journey north, as also blessed them their mothers, their fathers, men and soon-to-be men who can work faster and better and harder than any native born Estadosunidense, and yes, they will do it for 90 hours a week for next to nothing, and live 12 in an apartment, sleeping on the floor and eating nothing but beans and tortillas, because in this way they can send money back home to their viejos, and if they scrimp even more, in a year, maybe less, they can buy paisage for la verdadera, and once she is there, and their child is born, your son's boss, maybe his Senator, his President is born. (Not that you will mind by then, as you learn Spanish from your grandchildren who call you Lito, even though not a single one has their mother's blue eyes) And back in the pueblito, where once leaned a stick and leaf house now stands a sturdy house of concrete blocks, two whole rooms, and outside are goats. Their parents and little sister will be OK. She is even going to school now, since 3 of the brothers have come. She will be able to work in Mexico, and care for the aging parents, meet an educated man, and her children will also go to school.
The process of reclaiming the continent is well underway.
No special card, no set of initials, not even 50 cents more an hour, can compare with that. posted at
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill