Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto assassination

An ugly action like this doesn't really bode well for Pakistani elections soon... Seems sometimes that both Pakistan and India sentenced themselves to years of difficulties politically, at least in terms of finding themselves a consistent and democratic leader, since partition. At 54, Benazir Bhuitto was killed earlier today at a rally in Pakistan. Needless to say, world attention has been drawn-- and even the US presidential wannabes are weighing in. Here's the basic info:

Pakistan's Bhutto Dies in Attack

December 27, 2007 12:53 p.m.

ISLAMABAD -- Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed today in an apparent suicide attack in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi, according to her aides.

The death of the opposition leader plunges Pakistan into fresh turmoil, jeopardizing the country's planned return to a civilian-led democracy through elections scheduled for Jan. 8 and depriving President Pervez Musharraf of his most powerful potential ally in the battle against Islamic extremists.
The Pakistani opposition leader was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi. Video courtesy of Reuters. (Dec. 27)

Ms. Bhutto was killed after addressing a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, outside the capital of Islamabad. As she was entering her car, Ms. Bhutto was struck in the head and neck with pellets that exploded from a vest worn by the bomber, according to Tariq Azim, former deputy minister of information, who said he had been briefed on the incident from Pakistan's ministry of interior.

Ms. Bhutto, who was 54 years old, was rushed to a hospital where she died from her injuries. More than 20 others died in the blast, and about 45 were injured according to Mr. Azim, who called it a "sad and tragic day for Pakistan."

Before the rally, Ms. Bhutto had met with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the end of his two-day visit here and told him that if she is elected prime minister she will work with him to fight terror. "We, too, believe that it is essential for both of our countries, and indeed the larger Muslim world, to work to protect the interest of Islamic civilization by eliminating extremism and terrorism," she said after their meeting.

Although her killers haven't been identified, political analysts and members of Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan's Peoples Party, or PPP, suspect Islamic militants, who attempted to assassinate her on her return to Pakistan in October and who have condemned her for support of a crackdown on pro-Taliban and pro-al Qaeda radicals and her perceived close relationship with Western powers, particularly the U.S.

Some PPP members are also blaming President Musharraf's government for the attack on Ms. Bhutto, alleging that Islamist militants have close ties to some members of Pakistan's military intelligence service. The party itself hasn't specifically blamed the government or any Islamist group.

As a claim from an al Qaeda-affiliated group zoomed around the Internet, a U.S. official said the claim was "plausible" but unconfirmed. "Militant groups would be in anyone's group of suspects," he added.

If that claim proves to be true, he said, it could strengthen Mr. Musharraf's hand in countering terrorism in the tribal areas, but the official said, "It's simply too early to draw any concrete conclusions."

New Framework

The incident puts Mr. Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in Washington's war on terror, in a tight political corner.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel issued a statement saying: "We condemn the acts of violence which took place today in Pakistan." He added that President Bush himself would make a statement later in the day from his home in Texas. State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters the attack "demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy."

In recent days, many senior Bush administration officials were expressing optimism in the direction Pakistan was taking politically, banking on the power-sharing relationship emerging between Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf.

"It's nothing but bad news, as far as U.S. interests in Pakistan are concerned," said Paul Pillar, a former senior Middle East analyst at the CIA.

Ms. Bhutto, he said, was "the closest thing to a U.S. friend that we had" despite the post-9/11 relationship the U.S. had established with Mr. Musharraf. She represented an alternative to Mr. Musharraf's authoritarian rule, while still maintaining a willingness to work with him, Mr. Pillar said.

At least 20 people were killed in the attack.

Now, some analysts are warning her death will trigger an outpouring of antigovernment sentiment that will endanger other political campaigns and likely force the elections to be postponed. "It will be extremely difficult to hold elections now," says Hasan-Asakari Rizvi, a political analyst in Lahore and recently a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University. "There will be violence, and clashes with security forces," he said.

Pakistan's Army Spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said the country's police were able to handle the security situation. He said that he wasn't aware of any talk of martial law. However, incidents of street violence have already occurred in Pakistan's commercial capital of Karachi, where some roads were blocked Thursday evening amid the sound of gunfire.

Some supporters questioned whether Ms. Bhutto was given adequate protection in Rawalpindi, which has also been the target of several recent suicide attacks. Ms. Bhutto had been the target of another suicide bomb during her tumultuous Oct. 18 homecoming to Karachi. An estimated 140 people died after a blast occurred near her vehicle.

Mr. Azim, the former government minister, said Ms. Bhutto had held several peaceful campaign rallies before the blast. But added, "There's no such thing as 100% full-proof security against suicide bombing."

Return From Exile

Ms. Bhutto returned from eight years in exile after reaching a deal with Mr. Musharraf to help guide the country toward civilian rule. But any prospective political alliance fell apart after the government declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3, detaining thousands of her supporters and thwarting her attempts to lead protest rallies. She was put under house twice, in two different cities. But in recent weeks, she's been largely able to campaign freely -- though under the constant threat of attacks from Islamic militants.

After Thursday night's bombing, people poured into the streets. In Rawalpindi, people vented their rage and grief by pounding on passing cars.

Ms. Bhutto's death is a huge loss for the PPP, one of the nation's largest grassroots political organizations that was once headed by her father, Zulifikar Ali Bhutto, who served as prime minister in the early 1970s. He was arrested by the military and then hanged in 1979, leaving the party mantle to his daughter. She would go onto serve as prime minister twice. But both times -- once in 1990 and later in 1996 -- her government was dismissed amid allegations of corruption.

It's unclear who will now take the mantle of the PPP and possibly run for prime minister in Ms. Bhutto's place.

"In this very personalized politics that prevail in Pakistan, one half of that is gone," Mr. Pillar said. "The Pakistan Peoples Party will still be around, but there is no one quite to fill her shoes."

During her exile, a new generation of PPP leadership was emerging. But there have been charges that Ms. Bhutto marginalized these new voices upon her return.

Ms. Bhutto's chief political rival during the 1990's, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's other two-time prime minister, also returned from exile recently. They both found common ground in their opposition to Mr. Musharraf and emergency rule. After emergency rule was lifted, Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif agreed to lead their parties into next month's national parliamentary elections.

Impact for the U.S.

The U.S. could support a number of new approaches now inside Pakistan. One would be to reach out to some of the PPP's younger leadership in the hope that they could successfully lead the party in next month's election. The other would be to back Mr. Musharraf if he decides to declare martial law, potentially leading to the postponement of the elections.

U.S. officials have voiced repeated concerns that Pakistan's political turmoil could undermine counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban. In recent months, Islamist militants have increased attacks across Pakistan and gained control of territories normally outside their traditional stronghold along the Afghan-Pakistan border. They have also targeted major political figures representing both Mr. Musharraf's government and the opposition.

Intelligence agencies are "monitoring the situation," said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence, who referred other questions of the White House and State Department.
• Bhutto Promises to Crack Down on Militants11
• Blast in Pakistan Tests Stability12
• Inside Pakistan's Drive to Guard A-Bombs13
• Bhutto Tells Musharraf to Resign14
• Bhutto's Reaction to Blast May Set Path for Pakistan15
• Bombs Target Bhutto Procession in Pakistan16

--Jay Solomon in Washington, Zahid Hussain in Karachi and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Felizes Y Prosperos, y'all

Merry and Happy to the blogueros y blogueras out there. It's been a trying last month of 2008, ant not just politically. I've been waiting all year for this year to end, hopefully go out like a lamb, too. Of ocurse, we made it worse by adopting a 4-yr old dog-- but fortunately a small one, barely there. Ofc ourse, she's hyperactive, is miss Bette Marlene Guayabera Miranda Bear-Puppy, but well, what can you expect with those names?

Paz y felicidad! And more on topic posts later, I promise...


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Scottsdale expands! And not just physically!

Something for me to smile about in AZ...

Scottsdale extends equal employment protection to LGBTQ community

And post somewhere ELSE if you have an issue with law abiding and tax-paying American citizens of any stripe being protected from morons.

Even more fun than the naked people at the Scottsdale Chevron! Scottsdale is the place to BE, man! :p

Monday, November 19, 2007

Prison and Hate Crimes! (Get your attention?)

Scroll down to the bottom if you just wanna see how many Klan members might be in your backyard...

According to Reuters today:

THE number of Americans in prison has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to US taxpayers and society, researchers said in a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.

To make its case for reducing the US prison population the report cites examples ranging from former vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby to a Florida woman who was sentenced to two years' jail for throwing a cup of coffee.

Produced by the JFA Institute, a Washington criminal-justice research group, the report recommends shorter sentences and parole terms, alternative punishments, more help for released inmates and decriminalising recreational drugs as steps that would halve the prison population, save $US20 billion ($A22.3 billion) a year and ease social inequality without endangering the public.
You can see the whole Reuters article HERE

Now, what does that have to do with hate crime? Well, according to The Ass. Press,

"Hate Crimes Up Nearly 8 Percent in 2006
Monday November 19, 2007 6:46 PM

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hate crime incidents in the United States rose last year by nearly 8 percent, the FBI reported Monday, as racial prejudice continued to account for more than half the reported instances.

Police across the nation reported 7,722 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property as a result of bias against a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin or physical or mental disability. That was up 7.8 percent from the 7,163 incidents reported in 2005.

Although the noose incidents and beatings among students at Jena, La., high school occurred in the last half of 2006, they were not included in the report. Only 12,600 of the nation's more than 17,000 local, county, state and federal police agencies participated in the hate crime reporting program in 2006 and neither Jena nor LaSalle Parish, in which the town is located, were among the agencies reporting. ..."

You can read more on this at
Guardian UK (why is it the Brits grab them stories so fast?)

You can get a 2 year sentence for assault with a coffee cup in a traffic jam. but around here and in other states, burn a cross and laugh your ass off. It doesn't seem to be of great interest to run down hat crimes, perhaps because it's still a sore spot with people who believe a crime is a crime. If that were true, we'd have Murder and nothing else for that crime. Why nuance it? Because people themselves commit the crimes for various reasons. As is noted later in the article, "What is not reported, however, is the lack of prosecution and serious investigation by the Justice Department to counter this increase in hate crimes."

Is that true? I know cops have a hell of a job in this country, but FBI should seem to have more figured out. Or maybe not. They are a gov't agency.

To find out how your state or area stacks up in terms of potential hate crimes, go to The Southern Poverty Law Center's hate Map. It's a revelation.

How the boys across the way do it: Burma

Is it fair to compare nationalist-idiot fervor along the lines of "America! Love it or Leave It!" to a horrifically violent SE Asian regime in Burma/ Myanmar? Maybe not. But I sometimes wonder how much longer we have to wait in this country for "reeducation" or "repatriotizing" camps spring up to ensure all "Amurrcans" think, walk, and act the same, even as we celebrate individuality. Monks in Burma tried to protest oppression and government scamming, and it's gotten wildly out of control. What would happen if we marched on DC again?

I guess it might seem I'm stretching the definition of solidarity here far outside Arizona, but sometimes i think that while we like to claim being First World, we're actually heading into some dark times. I'm not sure the imminent elections are enough to make me optimistic, either. When simplicity and duplicity are the dominant Cities of our country, I'm not sure we're headed down the right path.

You can also check out the info at : WITNESS

Reuters Monday November 19 2007
By Neil Chatterjee
SINGAPORE, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian nations called on Myanmar on Monday to move towards democracy after facing criticism and sanctions from the United States and Europe.

The Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) said Myanmar should work with the United Nations on democracy and release political detainees, but barred U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari from briefing a summit in Singapore.

The grouping has criticised sanctions on Myanmar and rejected calls for its suspension from ASEAN, prompting some Western officials to put in doubt economic deals.

International division over military-ruled Myanmar, after its September crackdown on pro-democracy protestors, has also overshadowed the group's plan to sign a charter on Tuesday that also aims for free trade and economic integration by 2015.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the Philippines might not ratify the charter if Myanmar did not commit to democracy and release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who met a senior junta official on Monday but is detained.
"Until the Philippine Congress sees that happen, it would have extreme difficulty in ratifying the ASEAN charter," Arroyo said in a statement.

The top U.S. trade negotiator, Susan Schwab, said a free trade deal between Washington and ASEAN was unlikely because of "the political situation".

"The credibility and reputation of ASEAN has been called into question because of the situation in Myanmar. Business as usual can't be business as usual," Schwab told reporters.

"It's impossible to imagine a free trade agreement with ASEAN in the near term given the political situation."

The United States expanded its sanctions against Myanmar's rulers in October and the Senate voted unanimously on Friday to urge ASEAN to suspend Myanmar. The European Union adopted sanctions on Monday against 1,270 firms in Myanmar.
But ASEAN has criticised the sanctions, while members Vietnam and Laos told Reuters they had no plans for democracy. The group said Myanmar had to work for a peaceful transition to democracy and address economic problems.

Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said: "Most leaders expressed the view that Myanmar could not go back or stay put. The process of national reconciliation has to move forward and the U.N. plays a vital role in this process."
Singapore banned all outdoor protests on Myanmar but small groups of international students briefly defied the ban.

Diplomats say the ASEAN charter, which gives the group a legal identity, means that the current option of excluding Myanmar from deals will end.
Free trade talks between ASEAN and the European Union could also stall. Together the U.S. and EU account for 27 percent of ASEAN's exports and a third of its inward direct investment.

Japan, one of the strongest U.S. allies in Asia, said on Monday that it was neither for nor against the sanctions.

"We do not want to side with our U.S. ally nor with Singapore on this. The Japanese position is more nuanced," a Japanese government official told reporters in Singapore, adding Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would demand an explanation for the killing of a Japanese photographer by Myanmar soldiers. (Additional reporting by Koh Gui Qing, Vivek Prakash, Daryl Loo and Geert De Clercq; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

You can also check ou tthe BBC site:Burma, with video

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The pot fiasco.

I'm sure this is all over the blogosphere, but HELL... it's like a new world order, 1984 without the snappy attempts to remake English. This is doubleplus ungood.

A Catalina High School student was busted for possession of marijuana at school last week. When police and the boy's parents showed up, the parents admitted the whole family immigrated to the U.S. illegally.

Police called Border Patrol, which they say is standard procedure. The teen, his brother and both parents have now been deported.

Tuesday the boy's friends at Catalina High School took to the streets, angry at the way it all went down.

They marched from the high school to downtown Tucson in protest.

Over the several mile walk, they march, chant and carry protest signs in support of a classmate sent back to Mexico.

"Yeah it makes me mad," says student Erick Quintero.

"We're protesting because they took one of our classmates," says student Joddy Borrego.

TUSD superintendent Roger Pfueffer says he planned to talk with TPD about what happened.

"The police are required to enforce laws, but we're asking immigration laws be not enforced on our campuses," Pfueffer says.

Border patrol says it doesn't raid schools or churches, but if another law enforcement agency calls, they respond and enforce the law.

"In this instance we were called to assist TPD who were in the presence of the first young man," says Border Patrol Agent Richard DeWitt.

TPD says it's looking at changing its policy where it would still contact Border Patrol but would not ask the federal agency to respond to a school.

"I really need to emphasize we didn't not go out there looking to enforce illegal immigration issues. We were there because criminal activity on the part of the juvenile we took proper action, followed our policies," says TPD Assistant Chief Roberto Villasenor.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tom "Bust em all now!" Tancredo strikes again...

Tancredo being... well, Tancredo

Well, let us not in the days of wonder forget ol' Tom "Turncoat" Tancredo, he of the virulent anti-immigrant stance. Polling no doubt in the low negatives for the GOP, he unleashed the following move:
Candidate Calls for Raid on Immigration Bill Event

Published: October 24, 2007

Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a Republican presidential candidate whose fierce opposition to illegal immigration is the center of his campaign, contacted the immigration service yesterday demanding that agents raid a senator’s news conference.

The afternoon event on Capitol Hill was held by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the leading sponsor of a bill that would give legal status to illegal immigrants who are high school graduates, if they attend college or serve in the United States military for two years. The bill is scheduled to come up for an important procedural vote in the Senate this morning.

Mr. Tancredo announced yesterday morning that he had contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency, calling for the arrest of illegal immigrants he said would attend the news conference.

“If we can’t enforce our laws inside the building where American laws are made, where can we enforce them?” Mr. Tancredo said in a statement.

Participating in the news conference were three immigrant students who would benefit if Mr. Durbin’s legislation passed; two were born in Germany, and one was from Costa Rica. All were in the United States on temporary legal status, said Joe Shoemaker, Mr. Durbin’s spokesman.

Mr. Shoemaker said the senator was surprised and offended by Mr. Tancredo’s effort.

“Congressman, have you no shame?” Mr. Durbin said in a statement, indirectly comparing Mr. Tancredo to Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communist hearings in the 1950s.

A spokeswoman for the immigration agency, Kelly Nantel, confirmed that officials had received a letter from Mr. Tancredo and were reviewing it. She said the agency took no action yesterday.

Now Goddess only knows what he would say if it WASN'T an election cycle. Of course, when isn't it an election cycle. This pedacito de mierda del GOP truly stuns in his capacity for vileness. He manages to simplify immigration and citizenship to a tiny core of xenophobic hate. The son of an orphaned Italian immigrant, Tancredo has been oddly dismissive of his background in terms of his immigration stance:

"Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, one of the fiercest critics of efforts to legalize immigrants, said his orphaned father was about 11 when he arrived at Ellis Island from Italy around the turn of the 20th century and made his way to the Rocky Mountains.

Mr. Tancredo pondered a bit when asked whether his immigrant background had played a role in shaping his views. Then he thought back to his mother's parents, also from Italy.

"I certainly think back on the fact that their greatest desire was to be Americanized," Mr. Tancredo said. "This desire to cut with the old and attach to the new, speak English, stuff like that. If there was anything, maybe that was an influence."


Ay, que pendejismo....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunspots anger China! And fluffy puppies... heh

No offense to the Chinese people, but their government just seems to be the biggest bunch of dopes (ok, ours seem to be too)... among other things, including human rights abuses, environmental terrorism, and incredibly cheesy communist propaganda, there is THIS

Our Fearless Leader met recently with the Dalai Lama, which angered China. His Holiness was awarded the Congressional Gold medal, which angered China. He was well-received in DC, which angered China. Sunspot activity was abnormal yesterday, which angered China.

"The Dalai Lama is in Washington for a week of festivities, including receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony Wednesday at the Capitol and delivering a speech on the Capitol lawn. Bush said he would participate in the award ceremony in his first public appearance with the Dalai Lama during this visit."

What, exactly, has this man done to anger China's government? Other than insist on Tibetan autonomy, not much. Except EVERYTHING seems to anger the Chinese government. It is unfortunate, of course, that we're sucking so hard on the Chinese trade tit that we now seem like a bunch of hypocritical imbeciles when we try to placate Chinese "anger".

If they were constantly that angry, the government of China would have had a heart attack by now. Or at least be on statin drugs.

Can't wait to see what the Olympics in Beijing will bring!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Amasando la masa

Tortillas de harina
I had an odd moment of either inhuman awareness or understanding this morning. I think it might be speaking to modern ethnic/ gender relations, but I'm not sure...

Yesterday, I had my significant other-- a 51-year-old blue-eyed white boy of Irish-Bohemian and English stock-- help me make tortillas de harina. In a fit of "I wanna get this done and be distracted from a death in the family", I just used Quaker masa preparada for the masa, kneading it to a nice smooth mass. I rolled out the first, almost-always-lopsided tortilla, then told him to get to rolling while I tended the cast-iron skillet for cooking them.

Interestingly, he rolled several nicely round ones. Granted, he also rolled a bell-shaped one and together we mangled one into the shape of Nevada, but he really did very well and we munched em all down with bastardized veggie taco filling, pickled garlic and chiles, and butter.

What I found revealing this morning was how easily he slid into the maternal/ Mexiccan role of tortilla maker. He was even good at it, and this morning it returned me to a grad school space in which I worked on la cocina as a site of resistance to overweening racist patriarchal structures. I even read a bit on it this morning while my kids were doing a test: Tey Diana Rebolledo has a nice chapter on it called "Constructing identities as Writers" in her 1995 book Women Singing in the Snow.

Naturally, at least to me, this bears more on Chicana life and writing than it might for males, but watching Bear work that masa and rolling pin revealed that the kitchen space might also be for men, and not just as a place to break open a Bud. Countless political meetings occur with food, around food, or are about food-- remember pie contests? How many of us have seen politicians eating at some Iowa pork roast or something? Just how much embedded in the kitchen and cooking is politics in our country?

I'm still thinking this over. Meanwhile, I leave you with this:
There is nothing
so lonesome
or sad
papas fritas
won't cure.
(Gloria Gonzales, NM poet)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Miss Meeko B Puggula

Miss Meeko Puggula

We had to put our 10-year-old puggie, Meeko, to sleep yesterday. She had advanced cancer and abdominal bleeding, and had lost a good deal of weight. She, of course, was feisty as pugs are, but was so anemic she was shivering and it was not going to get better. We only had her for 8 months, since February, but she made a huge impact on all of us and everyone who met her. Blind in one eye, 10 years old,and arthritic, Meeko fought every step of the way, making sure all our cats and our bigger dog Auggie knew who ruled the home. She wanted nothing more than good food (whatever you were eating, of course), organic shredded wheat or peanut butter for a snack, and to be next to you.

We miss her so very much. At the end, the doc agreed we could hold her while we stood outside the vet clinic under a tree--I didn't want her to be alone in a hospital setting. We brought her a tray of that Cesar food she liked to eat, and she ate it right down. I think she wanted to go home, and I wanted her to go home so much too-- her sweet one good eye really was asking to be picked up and taken home. We let her walk around outside in the sun and petted her. It was a nice day yesterday here, not too hot but clear with a nice breeze. Chris held her while they first put in an anesthetic, and she was of course not having people touching her paws! We spoke to her and loved her up until she went to sleep. It was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do. She knew until the very end, though, that she was adored by us. We held her for some time, and even after we let them take her in, I had Chris ask if we could hold her again. Our sweet little puggie was finally out of pain, but of course the hard part is starting for us.

I hope she's happy and painfree, either in her next life or happily in puggie paradise. Remember to hug your pups and cats today, and spare a moment to remember Miss Meeko B. Puggula.

Monday, October 01, 2007

36 years... wow!

Today I complete 36 years. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I really can't believe I'm still alive! What am I supposed to be doing, anyway??

On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824)

’TIS time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf; 5
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle; 10
No torch is kindled at its blaze—
A funeral pile.

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share, 15
But wear the chain.

But ’tis not thus—and ’tis not here—
Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero’s bier,
Or binds his brow. 20

The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!) 25
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!—unto thee 30
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.

If thou regret’st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here:—up to the field, and give 35
Away thy breath!

Seek out—less often sought than found—
A soldier’s grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.
AT MISSOLONGHI, January 22, 1824.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Business-which-will-hurt-us as usual- more habeus note-us

Now, don't get me wrong here. I understand the need to protect a country, one which I still love. But let me propse the following, which isn't brain surgery-- what exaclty do we gain by this behavior when it comes time for an American soldier somewhere to be questioned by his or her captors? Can we expect our enemies to treat their captives better than we treat ours? We are losing so much international credit it's ridiculous, and frankly dangerous. Perhaps, in the long run, more dangerous than our war for oil-- er, freedom? Land? Oh, whatever.

Senate Rejects Expanding Detainee Rights

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2007; 12:42 PM

A Republican filibuster in the Senate today shot down a bipartisan effort to restore the right of terrorism suspects to contest their detentions and treatment in federal courts, underscoring the Democratic-led Congress's difficulty with terrorism issues.

The 56-43 vote fell short of the 60 needed to cut off debate and move to a final vote on the amendment to the Senate's annual defense policy bill. But the measure did garner the support of six Republicans, a small victory for its supporters.

The Senate then moved to the first big showdown over Iraq war policy of the fall, taking up a measure by Sens. James Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to guarantee that troops receive home stays at least as long as their last combat deployments before being sent back to war. ****I happen to think this is good, and not just because I have students out there right now.****

The detainee rights bill was an effort to reverse a provision of last year's Military Commissions Act, which suspended the writ of habeas corpus for terrorism suspects at the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other off-shore prisons.

The Supreme Court had previously ruled that such detainees did have the right to appeal their detentions in federal court, but the court invited Congress to weigh in on the issue. At the urging of the Bush administration, the Republican-controlled Congress last year voted to sharply limit detainee access to the courts. ******Why did the court ask that stupid question? THEY'RE the highest court!********

The authors of last year's bill staunchly defended that decision this morning, saying advocates of habeas corpus rights for detainees would open the federal courts to endless lawsuits by the nation's worst enemies.

"To start that process would be an absolute disaster for this country," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), an Air Force Reserve lawyer who was instrumental in crafting the provision in last year's bill. "I cannot think of a more ill-advised effort to undermine a war that I think will be a long-standing effort."

But advocates of habeas corpus rights, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and the Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican, Arlen Specter (Pa.), argued that Congress should right an historic wrong perpetrated last year. Leahy charged Congress had acted out of fear and had subverted the Constitution.

The Senate's action "calls into question the United States' historic role of defender of human rights in the world. It accomplishes what opponents could never accomplish on the battlefield, whittling away our own liberties," Leahy said. "This is America?" ***THANK YOU! Hello!!****

When Democrats took control of Congress in November, liberal activists and civil libertarians assumed the new Democratic majority would be quick to tackle what they have seen as excesses in President Bush's "war on terror," including the suspension of habeas corpus rights, wiretapping without court warrants, and the maintenance of the offshore prison in Guantanamo Bay.

But none of those has been reversed. Indeed last month, Congress extended and expanded the administration's wiretapping program for six months.

Still, the American Civil Liberties Union -- which has been highly critical of Democratic leaders on such issues -- praised this morning's vote. Every Democrat voted to break the filibuster, along with Republicans Specter, Hagel, Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and John E. Sununu (N.H.). The only senator absent for the vote was Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

An effort by Specter last September to strike the habeas corpus suspension from the Military Commissions Act garnered only 48 votes, just three from Republicans.

"Today's vote was a victory for those seeking to restore both the rule of law and our nation's Constitution," said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. "The Military Commissions Act of 2006 stripped away one of our most fundamental rights -- to challenge your imprisonment by the government. While the amendment ultimately was not filibuster proof, a majority of senators have made it clear that they want to restore the right of habeas corpus."

After the vote, the Senate moved directly to the Webb-Hagel amendment, which could limit the number of troops in Iraq by stretching out their training and home deployments. A motion to break a filibuster on the measure attracted 56 votes in July, but this time, proponents are tantalizingly close to success.

Webb this morning presented an unusual endorsement of the amendment by the Military Officers Association of America. And he made changes to the measure to ease Republican concerns, giving the Pentagon 120 days to implement the policy, exempting special operations forces from its requirements and allowing troops who volunteer for quick redeployment to return to war.

"We cannot continue to load on to 1 percent of our society all the burdens, all the sacrifices," Hagel said this morning. "It's wrong."

***So much more about all this is wrong, Senator.*****

Monday, September 17, 2007

Will this rat be put on the sinking ship?

Voice of American article on potential new AG

Well, out with the old, in with the (much) older. News is spreading about Michael Mukasey as an Attorney general nominee, bipartisan no less, if there is such a thing. He's got quite the set of chops, much of it with national security issues, and he's got a lot of experience.

Do I think he's a safer bet than Gonzalez? Possibly. I like the idea of more experience, but so little is done without political machinations lately. I agree that SOMEONE needs to buck up the poor folks at Justice, who are beginning to think I believe that "justice" shouldn't be in their name.

Let the games begin!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm alive..

..though completely frustrated and tired of conventional medicine. I'm not going to run out and get rubbed all over with an egg, mind you, but I'm tired of the particular issue I have being such a mystery to doctors. I marvel at how we (most of us, and particularly the Larry Craigs of the world) can be so arrogant as to believe we're head honcho on this here planet,when we can't figure out how a cat purrs, what cures cancer, and why some immune systems go haywire. Even more interestingly, how can some doctors translate lack of knowledge into arrogance?

I've been "diagnosed", for lack of a better word,with seronegative undifferentiated inflammatory polyarthritis, which essentially means 'you have bad arthritis but we don't know what kind because almost all the blood tests are negative". My doc said, and I quote, "It shows like rheumatoid arthritis, so that's how we're gonna treat it" and now I'm on a cancer drug used to treat RA as well. I'll see him again in 3 months.

Anyone know where I can get a dozen eggs cheap?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So why is there even still a republican party?

How many times does the Party Formerly Known As Lincoln's need to show the awful underbelly of its putative moral/family values?

I don't wanna bash any closeted man, for it's not an easy road to be a closet case in a public job, but when bonehead anti-gay-voting Idaho senators act stupid, then pull a Senator's business card and reportedly say "What do you think of that?", I agree with Andrew Sullivan-- he's being a bastard, he's not being persecuted.

Of course, some of us are waiting to see how the Dems will screw up handling all this and put another hawkish repuglican in the White House

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Echoing major concerns/anger

Minuteman idiocy
I leave off blogging to tend to my own self for a while... then this on the joy of you tube.

Does it surprise me? No. You can still find the video game online(see Wired article)in which you get extra points for offing either "minorities" or non-Christians (two separate games, as I remember). Some straight white christian males, frankly the cause of much pain and agony in this world throughout history, still seem to think at times (and yes, I'm generalizing the heck out of the issue here, so big whoop) that the world really is white. And male. And those who ain't, are meant to serve.

I ask you, WHERE do the unenlightened bigots among us still get the idea that it's true? Worse, how is it that the concept gets perpetuated even in places with a majority brown/black/Asian population?

It's beyond time to rise up, people. We can only be killed once, and I at least believe I'll be back in the next life for another round of Paz y Justicia!

An emperor yet again without clothes

A while ago, I linked a pic I found of a nude Bush and Putin playing chess with apparently the world as pieces... and then this today:Putin' on the fish

I ask you-- do we DARE ask our president to be photographed shirtless? Reminds me of the old idea of putting all the world leaders in a boxing ring together and letting the one left over rule. Then again, perhaps Putin is just reminding us that it's good to be the king-- er, Russian leader.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yes, I'm aware I haven't posted much

Let's just say the wheels of education grind on, and often grind right over one.

Notes to remember for the future-- never underestimate bureauocracy; always save!; remember to post on the rats leaving the sinking ship in a panic (Karl Rove, anyone?); remember that I love my job, even if I do not love this state.

There. I will be more political later. Peace out and love to the mundo del blog!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Weary agreement once again with horrors...

Brother ManEegee over at -------> has written several very nice posts about the rising death toll along the border, and the reactionary, ignorant, or just plain STOOPID attitudes of a particularly virulent kind of racist. Sadly, I have to agree again with his take on the issue, in particular the stupidity of "angled-sexless" people whose own relatives hauled their puking, syphilitic carcasses into the new world to end up oppressing other people. Ain't democracy grand?

But truly, we're not a democracy, we're a Republic, and we are also one that at times is prone to hysterical acts of voting via our own punctured sense of invulnerability. We have a piss-poor educational system which tests more than encourages, demands accountability with no support, and frankly couldn't take a poor Polish student in a fair math fight. How can we possibly expect our popluace to vote on issues of incredible importance? Maybe my mama was right, bless her soul, when she voted based on personal appeal. She theorized that at least they would be NICE while screwing ya over.

So, frankly, why DO we care of the voice of the ignorant masses? Because, sometimes they are us, and we know we need to be heard. I would hope, though, that we would endeavor to be a bit more enlightened than those wishing or condoning death of human beings. Hell, I'll challenge that one person to define for me what "riddance" means!

(Just in case: "riddance
• noun- the action of getting rid of someone or something.
— PHRASES good riddance expressing relief at being rid of someone or something."
(Pax The Compact Oxford Dictionary)

Peace and Love, y'all

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Soaking up the...rain

Here in SW crAZy, we're wet. We've been like turkeys or whatever, staring up at the rain in amazement. I mean, it POURED. And it still is coming down. I do love the smell of ozone in the morning...

So far there seems to have been a dampness over a big subsection of the activist/ progressive community as well, and who can blame them? Miss Miers has been ordered to break a law, our national nominees persist in being dingbats, and bodies pile up in Iraq on our border.

We are going to be ejected from the UN, I tell you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Elders

Out in the wide world, an interesting development which gives me some hope. I do love Nelson Mandela's energy and drive.

Elder Statesmen to Use Wisdom On World's Woes

Business Day (Johannesburg)

19 July 2007
Posted to the web 19 July 2007

John Kaninda

EFFORTS made by a small, dedicated and committed group of former world leaders working independently could help resolve the seemingly intractable problems the world faces today, former president Nelson Mandela said yesterday.

Mandela was speaking at the launch of The Elders, a group of former leaders who have undertaken to use their unique skills to achieve peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts and articulate new approaches to global problems that may be causing immense suffering.

The think-tank also plans to "share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world".

Mandela believes the success of the new initiative will stem from the fact that members of the group will not face the same restrictive pressures as do the world's current leaders. "Members of this group have no election to win, have no career to build or constituency to please.

"They can, therefore, speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken," Mandela said.

Mandela's views were echoed by former American president Jimmy Carter, who brushed aside suggestions that the initiative would fail because most of its members were set to tackle issues they were unable to deal with successfully during their former political or administrative tenures.

"Some initiatives we were unable to bring to fruition due to a lack of time," Carter said. "Others could not be achieved successfully because of pressure from our constituencies."

But in the present context, the elders would enjoy a freedom that allowed them a better chance of success in their endeavours, Carter said.

Mary Robinson, an Irish president in the 1990s, said the new group would identify global projects whose implementation had ground to a halt or had not been smooth, and try to mobilise resources and goodwill to give them a new impetus.

Former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan remarked that the group would work to complement, not duplicate or compete with, the efforts of other organisations.

"We would not be able, for instance, to be efficient in solving a burning issue such as the Darfur conflict and humanitarian crisis if we ignored the UN or the African Union," Annan said.


I am moved by this idea. Yes, it's idealistic, but certainly there's a lot of good peolpe who could be called into service to share insight and wisdom. Let's see what they think of now. Here's just how global it really is:

It was only when he met Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin empire, and Peter Gabriel, the musician and human rights campaigner, that the idea was made a reality. Jean Oelwang, who runs Virgin Unite, which co-ordinates Virgin’s charitable ventures, is to be the director of the project.

Sir Richard and Mr Gabriel will be at the launch. The Elders are Jimmy Carter, the former US president, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the anti-apartheid campaign, Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, Graca Machel, Mr Mandela’s wife who was a government minister in Mozambique, Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, and Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who was awarded the Nobel prize for helping the poor.

Four more Elders will be introduced later in the year. Archbishop Tutu will chair the scheme, which is billed as a humanitarian initiative. A supporter of the project said: “Nelson Mandela has talked for a long time about doing something like this. He has had a vision of tapping into the power and influence of former world leaders.

“The Elders will look at global issues and conflict resolution. This will be their first meeting together. They will then decide what projects they wish to become involved with. We think they will be able to bring about real change.”

Strength and courage to them!

Things that have made me go hmm... in class

Well, I don't really have any more to rant about than before, except that I didn't expect at my relatively tender age to have to consider a chronic, pain in in the ass illness which really cuts down on my mobility. Let me just say that I have not yet racked up enough SSA credits to retire in any form, regardless of the fact I've worked on and off (mostly on) since I was about 13. Yes, it is true. I was a child laborer. And my mom worked there too!

Heh. It's true, my family is cursed with Hard Worker Syndrome, which affects virtually every brown person I know. Yes, we work long and hard, and sometimes before we legally can, even when we're born Amurrcan! Why? Well, we like to be able to survive, you know. What's interesting is that even in my generally easy (on the muscles) job now, I give 115 percent. I know I can get by giving about 70 percent, which given the state of some things in this area, would be super great.

I have to admit I was much gratified when a student in a former school said he wasn't sure why people thought Mexicans were lazy: "I see them every morning at 7am riding their bikes to work!" Well, so did I. We're not that lazy. We just get busy so early y'all lazy folk don't notice us! *grin* Or maybe they just stereotype.

In teaching Valdez' Los Vendidos, what I'm interested to see is how quickly everyone is huffy about the exaggerated stereotypes he uses. Naturally, I know satire and parody are the most difficult things I've taught (barring comma usage, ugh), but I wonder if perhaps my students and our modern world are beyond being able to critically examine these ideas. Why, for example, do we all recognize them as such (and certinly my brown students are often giggling about them), are certain we don't like them, BUT STILL KNOW THEM AFTER ALL THESE YEARS? Gee, I dunno. Maybe our inability to have a decent conversation about privilege and race in this country?

I think that the day we decide to have a honest assessment of the F&@&*%# up race relations and privilege resulting from it is the day I will declare and believe we will have grown up in the world. Let's see how long that takes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why oh why... Why do we do this, y'all?

No, not another musing on why Mexico can't get to the finals of a futbol championship.... (see FIFA U-20 World Cup)

Musing more on the sorry prospect of remaining a citizen of this state which seems to me, at least in the area I live, to be rushing headlong into a warm bucket of hell... it's not a pleasant concept. Hell, even though I might have some type of rheumatic arthritis, I'm certain I wouldn't stay here for the warmth. There's warmth, and then there's the warmth of people in community, working together for the betterment of the group-- which frankly SW AZ doesn't seem to be able to do.

Yes, I'm oversimplifying. Yes, there are wonderful people here, blah, blah. But more often, as I go through my day and fail to revel in the experience of being a tattooed Mexican in the eyes of citizens (white and brown?), notice every stupid story in the paper and every single wrong spelling/ word/ phrase etc in the local trash rag, see every silly poster by some halfassed anti immigrant/ antibrown moron, I find that the thrill of being an Arizonan fades fast. Yes, I would like to leave, and yes, there is much work to be done here-- what's an activist to do?

Why, oh why is it that some of us DO care about the world in which we live? Why is it some of us really aren't all that into making money, but more finding a way to make life better for people? And why is it that other people, more the Ayn Rand types, feel it's fine to bash us for exposing greed, corruption, and hypocrisy, or speaking out on issues that touch us? Is it really, fellow poliblogs (like polywogs-- political bloggers, TM me), just that we're oh so much wiser? Why, oh why IS IT SO?

Sigh. Maybe I need to not only think about gettin' out of AZ, but gettin' out of this country for a while. And yes, I have found a better place, if only I could speak the lingo-- I'd move to Iceland!

Land of Fire and Ice, Reykjavik

Monday, July 09, 2007

Globalization, Lou (*&(@$# Dobbs, and unions

Blogger extraordinaire hermano at xicanopwr wrote a nice missive on the effect of the immigration bill losing, and I wanted to riff on this part:

If Dobbs and his ilk were concern, why not go after the price gouging by the oil cartels or mount an attack on the pharmaceutical cartels to lower drug prices to help the average American. They won’t and can’t, because the most dangerous and corrupt elements of these cartels keep them on the air. America has been co-opted by the agendas of large and powerful corporations and nothing will be done to stop them unless we start waking up.

Amen, my brother. Having gone from excellent health care as a unionized grad student to iffy health care as a weak-unionized prof to crappy healthcare as a nonunion prof in AZ, I can attest to the power inherent in combating big bidness. I find it appalling that people who shout most about illgal immigration, the hordes of dem Messkins, and liberalism are also the loudest protesters against unionized work. Fair wage for fair work should be simple to comprehend. Yes, unions can grow so big as to become corrupt, but that doesn't mean we get rid of them all. I was a proud member of UE Local 896, proud to support them and work for justice for workers.

Why isn't it more clear that to fight the rise of cheap Chinese goods, raise wages, etc, that we should heed the reasoning of unions? No, that doesn't mean we'd care only about us-- fair labor practices should be worldwide, and we should be at the forefront.

GAWD! Why is it people are content to hear fallacies, lies, damn lies, and statistics and not have a reasoned conversation about how we're destroying our country with unfettered greed, destruction, and international idiocy? I'ts not the immigrants, stupid....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another view of colonialism...

While quite admittedly a Chicana (no fuckin' "@", please, dont' be so damn lazy) academic, activist, blah blah, I was also born on Guam and have always taken a great deal of interest in the island, the one place on the US occupied by foreign forces in WWII (forgot that? I thought so.. lucky if anyone knew it!). So, I've been keeping a watch on some blogs and news out of Guam, and in honor (belatedly) of the Fourth, here's a Chamorro look at what overweening colonial impulses have wrought in one "amurrcan" outpost: (yes, it's long, but worth it. Italics are mine, my comments follow the post)
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Act of Decolonization #8: I Long to Live Under the Ass of No One!

I received an email the other day from one of the world's finest historians. From the power of this email, I can only assume that this man is one of the greatest and most resepected and revered historians in the world. You might be surprised or shocked once you read his words, but let me give some background first, so you'll understand my point better.

Power is often associated with simplicity, with idea that something arrives with the force of law, or the force of the natural. For Hegel the only ethical and fully developed political community, is not a democracy, but rather is a hereditary monarchy. [...] In democracies, the figure of the sovereign is supposedly filled through a regularly occuring election...

...What the creation of this ruling class does, is it closes off society, leaves the ruling of it to a group which has become developed in such a way that they inherently embody the will of those who they rule but are no longer truly accountable to.


That which is powerful is therefore that which arrives with shock, force, incites awe and stuns those who view it or are ruled by it, into dumbfounded, quiet and complacent silence without comment. My reference to Rumsfeld's infamous statement about "shock and awe" is intentional. The military hardware and conventional war power gap (non-nuclear) between the United States and the rest of the world is huge! [...] When the United States military rolled like thunder and death into Iraq and Baghdad they expected to be felt with the incredible power of that military gap. They intended and expected that the roar of their tanks would be felt as truth and their bombs from heaven be read as the Word of God himself. That is of course why, the planning for the invasion and occupation was so poor. It was not that the Iraqis would actually feel in their hearts that they were being liberated or that the US was bringing freedom to them. It was rather that the force of the invasion would be so massive and imposing that whatever the Iraqis were would melt away beneath the power of this simple strike, leaving behind fawning beings....

I have gone through this long explaination because I received an email the other day, which was delivered with the same "shock and awe" simplistic force. Because of the almost pure and obvious way in which this man made his arguments, it could only be assumed that he was either 1. the world's most incredible historian, so well advanced in the ins and outs of history that what to him was the rich intricate complexity of Guam's history appeared to me just like a lightning quick punch to the face. 2. someone, who expected that because of his position everything he did would be interpreted as such. So that whatever he said, because he was possibly American or possibly in the military, due to the distance from which he hovers above me in history, in technology, in politics, in culture, in wealth and in development, all should feel like a strike from heaven upon poor old me, and therefore he expected his simplistic, stupid statement to be treated as if a high speed transmission from God.
Finally, let me introduce this person who with such force and deftness seemed to feel that history was his to wrap around his finger and shove into my face so that my identity and my resistance, my disgust may fade away and I be re-made in his understanding of the world.

This world-class historian was an anonymous, I'm assuming apa'ka person, named Jeff Kruger, who sent me a one line email, on the history of Guam. This line was:

Who saved your ass from the Japanese?

For the next large conference that Famoksaiyan has, which should be either sometime this November or next Spring, I would really like to either organize or develop a workshop to prepare people for this sort of historically, supposedly indefensible bumrush. Over the past few years I have met many Chamorros and people from Guam out here, who desperately want to speak out on issues such as justice, decolonization, Chamorro activism, or other necessary but risky critiques of the United States. I tend to get worried however, when seeing the energy and drive in the eyes of these young Chamorros, ... nonetheless seem to be little prepared for the hegemonic smackdown that awaits them. Where a digustingly stupid sentence such as "who saved your ass from the Japanese" is not just made with the twisted hope of shutting you up, but also might actually have that effect on you. For many Chamorros, the liberation of the Chamorro by the United States, i magoggue-na, and therefore its eternal dependency on its colonizer is a sort of foundational common sense. When someone says, hayi gumoggue hamyo ginnen i Chapones? its intent is to smack you in the face with that which you as a Chamorro whose legacy is supposed to be loyal subordinate patriotism to the United States, is already supposed to understand as the ways things simply are...

For those of us who have dared tread (hoben yan amko') into the frightening world of questioning the "liberation" of Guam as a political project, ... we know very well, the response meant to snap us back to reality and shove a flag full of patriotic pills into every orifice imaginable. It is this simple, but supposedly terrifying phrase, "Would You Rather Be Under the Japanese?"
The invoking of the brutal occupation of Guam by the Japanese during World War II is supposed to be some sort of magical gesture whereby the sins of anyone else, ko'lo'lo'na the United States must be forgotten or washed away as if nothing. As the spectre of Japanese colonialism in Guam haunts the present, propping up the necessity and liberating aspects of the United States, its role in keeping us happy, healthy, alive and American, then we reach the point that in Puerto Rico can be defined as the "none of the above" complex, where colonialism in whatever banal, racist or comfortable forms it exists in locally, seems to be a much more attractive option than anything else. To bring this to Guam, as one Chamorro, very much a reckless American apologist put it, “If America colonized Guam, then maybe colonialism isn’t so bad."

[snip]This colonizing logic stems from the assumption that the coordinates of Chamorro existence can never leave the realm of colonized. That the Chamorro and its limits of possibility or life are defined by its being passed from one colonizer to another like a "spoil of war." There is here no sovereignty for Chamorros, in any formal or obscene sense. If we critique the current prevailing framework, if we call into question the legitimacy of American rule over us, or the veracity of its claims to benevolence, greatness and exceptionalism, the tangled logic here will never lead us out of the colonial world, but instead lead us to the dubious rule of a former colonizer, or dangerous rule of a new potential colonizer.

To patriotic Chamorros or even to liberal and conservative Americans, if we critique the United States, it is never something which is attached or understood to be related to our own sovereignty. In the most common instance, for those possessing some knowledge about Guam and its history, we are rudely thrown against a wall, and confronted with an angry fist before us demands to know if we would prefer to be under the Japanese again? For without the United States in 1944, that is precisely where we would be, suffering under the yoke of their rule and not basking in the greatness of the United States. The Chamorro, as we all are supposed to know is impossible, and so from the perspective of both a patriotic Guam Chamorro and your average American citizen, the United States has and continues to give you everything you need to exist and prosper, without it you are nothing. The terrible fantasy here is that life without the United States, life without the ability to share in its wishful glories and technologies whether it be democracy, electricity, food or happiness, is akin to the suffering our elders endured during World War II at the hands of the Japanese.

[snip]If critiques are made of the United States from Guam, its very common that someone with a base knowledge of the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region, who is in some way invested in represented, defending or protecting the "greatness" of the United States, will respond that such ideas are bad and dangerous since, if you are not with the United States, then the Chinese will take over you!

[snip]When people use these two phrases to reproach critical speech or to incite fear and dread in those who are attempting to be critical, they are using the heavy emotional and material damage and weight of the war experiences of Chamorros, to continue the colonization of Guam. [...] They use those very real and concrete, raw, angry and fearful scenes and emotions, to create the feeling that to speak ill against the United States,... will bring about the destitution, violence and destruction of World War II. The colonization of Guam through this everyday statement is perpetuated because the fantasy that drives almost any process of colonization and control, is the eventually development and concretization of a relationship between colonizer and colonized, whereby the colonized understands itself as existing solely because of the colonizers kindness, largese, wealth and power.
[snip]As I've put it in other works and posts, we must break the links between negativity and Chamorroness, and positivity and Americaness, which creates the impression that for the most part, as we move closer towards the United States and further away from what is perceived to be Chamorro (laziness, corruption, oppressive family structures, loinclothes, backwardness, violence, etc.) we get better, we exist better, our lives are just all around better. If, even in the smallest and most mundane ways we assume this dynamic to be true, whether excitingly or grudingly, then we condemn ourselves to continued colonization, because we will only be able to perceive decolonization as an acceptance of all the negative, suicidal and corrupting things in the universe. If this is the case, then colonization is necessarily to "fix" or "civilize" the native, and therefore must always be governed, administered and controlled.

[...]when any of us interested in decolonizing Guam are asked the question of "under who ass would you prefer?" it is crucial that we do not respond within the framework of the question, which is narrow and crudely assumes the impossibility of the Chamorro. Instead we must reject the limits of these question, and reject forcefully and in everyway we can that colonizing notion that the Chamorro must be under someone's ass in order to survive.
To loop this in with my own feelings about AZ, I refer to the italics I put in, which deal with the remarkably topheavy US colonial/ "protector" policies which assume everythin non-US is backward, evil, poor, dirty, etc. I would insist that promarily it is used in a lopsidedly colorist sense, in that while we might giggle at Canada, we don't think of it as poor and backwards as we conceive of the entirety of Latin America (maybe excepting Brazil).

Having studied colonialism for a while, it astonishes me when politicians rushing headlong into something or another in another country, ie a country of people dark/ non-Xtian/ non English-speaking manage to simplify the complexities of nations inevitably older and more culturally historic than our own. Not that all culturally old areas I find appealing, but we rarely think of England as a backwater because they have socialized medicine, or wear black socks with running shoes, or simply have a funny accent. We simplify the complexities of Ireland because they're "like us".

I challenge us to find a country like us-- I don't think it exists, which is a positive, and a negative. We have so little concept of the world outside us at times, or at least our leaders seem to. I think we have to deal with the difficult truth that we have tended to be colonizers in a very patriarchal way, insisting that the Amurrcan (tm) Way is the only way. We scare and bully and harass people who challenge the hegemony, by warning of the dire effects of the non-presence of the US.

Why and when did we become such a global bully? Heavens...

*sigh, trudge, sip margarita*

Monday, July 02, 2007

Maybe it was staged, but it was nice.. MSNBC growing a brain??

Well, seems like someone just got tired of whiny heiresses... just in time for the apparent tenth anniv. of Diana's death! And if you haven't seen Network, please do so right away!

PS- the opinion on the bottom of the article I can only HOPE is the truth...

Check it out at the Guardian Online:MSNBC anchor pulls Hilton story

I have a new hero and her name is Mika Brzezinski

Richard Adams in Washington
Saturday June 30, 2007


It was Peter Finch, in the 1976 movie Network, who first played a newsreader suffering an on-air breakdown. Driven to madness by poor ratings, Finch's character snaps and tells viewers to shout: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more."
It's hard not to think of Finch, who won an Oscar for his performance, when watching a similar implosion by the newsreader Mika Brzezinski on the cable news channel MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

Despite goading from her co-hosts, including the former Republican congressman turned rightwing talkshow host Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski stood her ground and refused to read her segment's lead news item on Paris Hilton.

After a media frenzy that saw even arch-publicist Michael Moore elbowed off CNN's Larry King show to make way for Hilton's first post-jail interview, Brzezinski has become a cyberspace star. Clips of her shredding the script were the lead item on the Technorati search, while the blogosphere was alight with praise. "I have a new hero, and her name is Mika Brzezinski," wrote one.

For many people, the Hilton kerfuffle was the first time they had heard of Brzezinski, an experienced newscaster and journalist.

While she does pop up on the mainstream NBC Nightly News, she is mostly confined to acting as Scarborough's sidekick on MSNBC's morning show, which lags in the ratings well behind the major channels as well as its cable rivals, Fox News and CNN.

Hilton and Brzezinski do have something in common, both being blonde, telegenic and the daughters of influential fathers. But any similarity ends there: while Paris is the scion of a wealthy socialite Rick Hilton, the 39-year-old newsreader is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, a foreign policy heavyweight in Washington and a former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter.

In 2001 Brzezinski was working in New York as a correspondent for CBS News, and on September 11 was assigned as the network's "Ground Zero" correspondent. She was broadcasting live on CBS in front of the World Trade Centre when the south tower collapsed.

But suspicions remain that Brzezinski's moment of madness was staged, although the worried reactions from her co-hosts when she attempted to set fire to the script on air suggests she wasn't acting.

Brzezinski's dismissal of Paris Hilton is shared by the majority of Americans.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

Fun with quizzes? Booting Scooter Libby

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are an Eco-Avenger, also known as an environmentalist or tree hugger. You believe in saving the planet from the clutches of air-fouling, oil-drilling, earth-raping conservative fossil fools.

Of course, I might have to change all that after hearing Scooter Libby is scootin' free of jail time. Guess the rich man will just have to suffer the pangs of outsourced fortune.

Was Bush right? Was jail time too much? Iguess we have to think about whether or not lying as Libby did was truly as heinous-- oh what am I saying? It WAS. Me, i'd be headed to KY state pen for the poor, brown, and soon to be fucked over.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I just want to share this pic/ Bush and Putin


I have little to add, except I found it on "", which I believe is Slovenian. Quite the graphic.

But why are they naked?

"US and climate top global fears"

Holee cow, I did a double take on that. That was the small blurb for a part of Guardian UK's latest online world section coverage. The full story is
here at Guardian UK online

One of the interesting parts, when you read the whole story, is that this is based on a 45000 plus interview survey on major issues. We land pretty strongly at the top (bottom?) for many people, along with global warming:

Growing numbers of people worldwide view environmental problems, pollution, infectious diseases, nuclear proliferation and the widening gap between rich and poor as the most menacing threats facing the planet, according to a 47-nation survey published today by the US-based Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The survey, which conducted more than 45,000 interviews, finds that global opinion is increasingly wary of the world's dominant countries but also unimpressed by aspiring leaders in Iran and Venezuela who challenge the international status quo. In contrast, the UN receives strong support.

The UN! Wow! one day maybe we'll find a way to respect international policy/ law/opinion. Further down, the article notes:

The US comes in for sharp criticism. "Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of US foreign policy," the survey says.

"Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq but there is also considerable opposition to US and Nato operations in Afghanistan ... The US image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia and continues to decline among the publics of America's oldest allies."

Now we might expect a certain resentment of the US in some muslim areas, but look at some other numbers:
Nine per cent of Turks, 13% of Palestinians and 15% of Pakistanis take a favourable view of the US. In Germany, the figure is 30%, in France 39% and in Britain 51% - all down on previous surveys. Only in Israel, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya do majorities believe US forces should stay in Iraq.

This might not be all bad news, but it's sobering as many Yanquis are unable to grasp the possibility sentient life (with money, no less, and opinions) might life outside our borders, PR, or Guam:
In an implicit rejection of the Bush administration's "freedom agenda", the survey also finds "a broad and deepening dislike of American values and a global backlash against the spread of American ideas and customs. Majorities or pluralities in most countries surveyed say they dislike American ideas about democracy."

OUCH! Well, at least we can take solace in this:
Rising powers such as China and Russia get mixed reviews. Russia's Vladimir Putin scores worse than George Bush in terms of confidence that he will "do the right thing" in world affairs - 30% believe he will, against 45% for Mr Bush.

Our man George II is more admired than Vlad the Mad Putin. Of course, Putin was the one who said of II, "I hope he's smarter than he looks." He he he... well, who knew Putin knew more than we did, dammit? It's like he some kind of spy or something...

Once more, I implore us, US, U.S. to believe-- there IS life out there! Unfortunately, I think when we think of it we believe that it all comes down to some cuddly, butt-ugly alien with a fat head and a glowstick for a finger. That, my dears, is sad and potentially dangerous to our safety and harmony as a society.
U.S..go.. HOME....

The late great US Constitution...

THe cat, which was never really in the bag anyway, is out-- Dick Cheney is god. Or, so he seems to want to think: Cheney V. Constitution at Slate

Seems herr Dick is claiming the VP is not a part of the executive branch of the government, which means he is perfectly within his satanic, svengaliesque rights to ignore a fairly clear order, as noted on Slate:
In early June 2006, J. William Leonard, the National Archives' director of information security oversight, wrote David Addington, Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, stating that Cheney was "willfully" violating Executive Order 12958, signed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton (see below and on the following page). The order implemented a "uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information." Cheney was also ignoring a 2003 directive by President Bush that specifically requires any agency "within the executive branch" to make records of "security classification activity" available to the Archives.

Of course, Cheney's response was "neh neh neh, you can't make me!" Essentially. The excuse went like this:
Cheney's rationale for noncompliance is that the vice president's office is not an agency of the executive branch. "The reporting requirement does not apply," Cheney's spokeswoman (yes, he has one; her name is Lea Anne McBride) explained last year to the Chicago Tribune, because the Office of the Vice President "has both legislative and executive functions." The vice president's office has made the same argument to keep secret its travel expenses and even the identities of the people who work there.

and even more amazingly, later after several people hadn't respomded to information requests, Cheney's chief of staff "wrote Sen. John Kerry with a new justification for withholding the information: The president's office and the vice president's office are indistinguishable":The Letter

This, my friends, is some shit. You can check out the actual documents at Slate, and wrap your brain around the phenomenal Dude with 'Tude, Dickfield S Cheney.

Monday, June 18, 2007

More musings... pretzels, watches, lies, oh my!

Well, the Spurs won, so that makes me quite happy...

On other fronts, an intrepid reader mentioned the watch story might well be a error, since, and I think I quote, "the White House has video of him removing it".

Now, don't get me wrong, if I'm off I'm off, but two things: 1- why take off the watch? fear of thieves? Wrist pain?

and 2- this is the same white house who declared we had evidence once upon a blue moon of WMD in Iraq, so bedad we're going over.

Would they lie about the watch? I don't know. Have they lied? Sure as hell.

It doesn't make me happy to say that, either-- I'm not going to be watching Lil Bush. I want to be able to trust or at least respect my leaders, hope they have integrity and pride.

Or at least won't nearly choke on a pretzel on a two-week presidential vacation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Searching for Pedro Guzman

LOS ANGELES -- The family of a mentally disabled man claims that the federal and local governments mistakenly had an American citizen deported and said U.S. officials should help find him in Mexico.

Relatives of Pedro Guzman, 29, are suing the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Los Angeles federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit this week over what the civil rights group contends was the wrongful deportation of a developmentally disabled man.

Pedro Guzman was serving time in Los Angeles County's Men's Central Jail for misdemeanor trespassing when he was deported to Tijuana on May 10 or May 11, according to the ACLU.

The family said they've been looking for their loved one in Tijuana for a month. Michael Guzman said his worst fear is that his brother is "no longer living."

He said Michael can't read, gets lost and often can't remember the family phone number.

The suit said Pedro Guzman was sentenced in April to 120 days in jail for a misdemeanor trespassing violation. The suit said that sometime after that the Sheriff's Department identified him as a non-citizen, obtained his signature for voluntary removal from the United States and turned him over to federal authorities for deportation.

More here!

As I read this over on ManEegee's blog, I remembered a student of mine in Chicago who had a schizophrenic brother. His brother, who when he lapsed into another personality only spoke Spanish, was not allowed to return to the US after a family vacation in Mexico. He ended up in a Mexican prison for two months while things sorted themselves out.

Reading this further reminded me why my mother was nervous about going into Mexico, despite her fluent English and frankly pale skin-- she was always worried she would not be let back in by some backwards racist INS agent. Having met several now, I understand that a jo is a job, but some jobs seem to attract some frankly insensitive and underintelligent types. The hysteria fanned by rightwing xenophobes doesn't help either.

I'm still waiting for people to understand if they tell me to go back where I came from, I'm headed home to Texas, where my family has been since before the southern losers invaded it. They were there grillin' out when the Spanish came by to marry into the fam and create the raza cosmica. I'm wishing for any paleface who spouts off about English only and white power remember that the english barely stayed alive in the east,and our ancestors were here a couple of hundred years longer. Hell, we're about two centuries more civilized out here! At least until the Anglos came, no? *grin*

peace n power out

Is no one safe?? Prez gets watch lifted

Thanks to Steve Peralta at Neo Aztlan:

A little off topic, but too good to pass up. For those who don't
already know, Bush was visiting Fushe Kruja, a small farming village
outside of the capital Tirana. After having a cup of coffee in the
local cafe he reached out to greet the crowd and got his watch lifted.

Dutch public news outlet Nos News has video of it here:

Check it out before it mysteriously disappears.

Wow.. doesn't THAT suck...

On the other hand, one more win and the SA Spurs bring home numbah FOUR!! WOO! GO SPURS GO!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D-Day and more

Greetings all on this D-Day, yet another day my students don't remember as they have little history retention.

I was thinking today that there has to have been at one time the sense of a just war, and if there was ever one for Americans back in the day, it was WWII. It seemed so clear to us who was good and who was bad, so very transparent. We know now of course that it wasn't neat or clean, but there did seem to be a sense of universal humanity's need to survive this overwhelming darkness personified most in Hitler. I don't think we were more simple back then, same as I don't believe there was ever a "good ol' days".

Since then, it seems our ability to distinguish "good and bad" on a personal level has lessened, with the rise of newsmedia giants allowing mass manipulation on a huge scale. More often, I hear people responding to a situation with the blindest of reactionary impulses, simplifying what once we knew wasn't so simple, and demonizing anything not like "us".

Is it simply that as a nation we have to grow up? Do we, like the Roman Empire, need to collapse before we can grow? Do we need to be five hundred years old? When in the calendar of human endeavor does a society become, nominally, "civilized"?

I'll settle for civil-- enlightened and fearless we work out later. D-Day reminds me that at one time almost the world had to face fear and mass destruction, and somehow the forces for good seemed to win--for a while, at least.

Go hug one of our WWII vets today, and thanks him or her for the struggle. I feel we could take a moment to try ourselves to be fearless and on the side of "good".

D-Day memorial Foundation

On another, unrelated note, the man arraigned for the murder of Amancio Corrales in the Yuma, AZ area has had the grand jury lessen the charge from murder to manslaughter and abandoning a body. Apparently, there wasn't enough evidence by GJ standards to indict for murder. Yes, they can change it if more becomes apparent, but how wonderfully screamingly loud of a nasty-ass pride month announcement is that?

I can really learn to hate this place...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I dont heart AZ

Well, back at the grind teaching for summer... having just spent time in Tennessee. Green hills, mountains, rivers.. and more funding per capita of education! Yay!

Looking at AZ again after a vacation is... well, it's kinda sad. I'm disappointed in it, and my sister who was visiting for a week from Texas was also disappointed. I came up with "God hated AZ so much he ripped a big hole right thru it!". Ha ha..

Down here, though, a man has been arrested for the murder of Amancio Corrales about 2 years ago. It's about bloody time.

Nationally, I'm not really sure what to make of the new immigration bill news. We'll reform immigration but not before tougher security? When are people gonna remember Oklahoma City and worry about our own homegrown nutcases?

Sigh. I'm back.. and it ain't pretty:)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

UC Davis Illegal Immigrant Catch the Flag game

From a listserv I'm on, about a stupid game. Oy... OY!!! However, in a breezy sense of good news, there was a protest! First, the email... then the news on the protest...


>>>> Dear Faculty and Staff,
>>>> I just wanted to inform everyone on a "game" that the Davis College
>>>> Republicans have decided to play tomorrow, May 1st @ 12pm in the MU
>>>> Quad.
>>>> The "game" is titled "Illegal Immigration Capture the Flag" and
>>>> it's
>>>> purpose is to have a team dressed as INS and another dressed as
>>>> "illegals."
>>>> How ironic that they have chosen to play this "game" during La Raza
>>>> Cultural Days and on May 1st, the day of the worker and of the
>>>> Immigrant.
>>>> MEChA and many many other student organizations that feel this is a
>>>> horrible mockery of everything that immigrants have done for this
>>>> country,
>>>> will be holding a peaceful counter- protest to show that what they
>>>> think is
>>>> "funny" is totally unacceptable. On behalf of MEChA, I invite
>>>> you to
>>>> join
>>>> us in solidarity. Gracias.
>>>> ::Below is an excerpt of what was posted on facebook::
>>>> Hey All!! DCR is sponsoring a rousing game of Illegal Immigration
>>>> Capture the Flag!
>>>> When: Tuesday, May 1st (tomorrow)
>>>> Time: 12:30-2 (drop by whenever you can!)
>>>> Where: The Quad
>>>> We will be playing Capture the Flag with two teams: The INS and the
>>>> Illegal Immigrants. The trick is that the INS will have their hands
>>>> tied behind their backs, the Illegal Immigrants team will vastly
>>>> outnumber the INS team, and every 10 minutes the Illegals caught
>>>> will
>>>> be granted amnesty and set free.

Then:The Protest

'Illegal Immigration Capture the Flag' thwarted by protesters
UC Davis administration 'disappointed' in Davis College Republicans, official says
By: Bo Hee Kim
Issue date: 5/2/07 Section: Campus News

To the delight of some and the disgust of others, Davis College Republicans organized a satirical game of "Illegal Immigration Capture the Flag" on the Quad on Tuesday afternoon.

Members of DCR assembled on the Quad for the game, but never were able to play as protesters surrounded and blocked their paths.

The game was to be played with two teams: "Team INS" and "Team Illegal Immigrants." In a message forwarded to the members of DCR, "The trick is that the INS will have their hands tied behind their backs, the Illegal Immigrants team will vastly outnumber the INS team, and every 10 minutes the Illegals caught will be granted amnesty and set free."

With the cement walkway in the Quad as "the border," teams were to assemble opposite from each other, with Team INS playing defense the entire time, according to the game rules. While DCR was assembling for the game, other protests concerning immigration, military action in Iraq and contracting out food-service workers were in full swing on the Memorial Union Patio.

According to bystander Kyle Flick, a junior political science major at UC Davis, the capture-the-flag game never played out.

"People from the rally came over with concerns with the DCR activity," Flick said. "After the main group of the rally walked straight through DCR, a smaller group stayed behind and surrounded DCR. The smaller group kept growing, though."

Flick went on to say that DCR members were outnumbered more than 2 to 1....
(see full account at link above of the protest)

Well. An interesting day of news! Geez... and people WONDER why I've never really been a Republican voter. Party of Lincoln my ass. I wonder what they were thinking... probably whatever white frat boys in blackface think on their parade floats.

Even down TX way, there are fencin' questions...

I'm impressed. Texas spends more money on education (and executions!) than AZ, AND they're willing to say "hey... you know this fence thing? STUPID!!"

Texas Officials Criticize Fence Plan
Wednesday May 2, 2007 10:16 PM


Associated Press Writer

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - A new map showing President Bush's planned border fence has riled Rio Grande Valley officials, who say the proposed barrier reneges on assurances that the river would remain accessible to farmers, wildlife and recreation.

City officials in the heavily populated valley had anticipated a ``virtual'' fence of surveillance cameras and border patrols.

Instead, a Customs and Border Protection map depicts a structure running piecemeal along a 600-mile stretch of Texas from Presidio to Brownsville, a border region where daily life is binational.

``We were given the impression that they were not going to be building walls, that there would be more cameras, surveillance, boots on the ground,'' said Mike Allen, head of McAllen Economic Development Corp.

``This is going to seriously affect the farmers,'' he said. ``They will not have access to water. It's just going to create bedlam.''

The map, obtained by The Associated Press, was attached to a memo addressed to ``Dear Texas Homeland Security Partner.'' It outlines a plan to build 370 miles of fence and 200 miles of vehicle barriers, such as concrete barriers, by the end of 2008.

Of the 370 miles of fence, Texas is to have 153, Arizona 129, California 76, and New Mexico 12. Most of the vehicle barriers will be in Arizona and New Mexico.

Russ Knocke, a spokesman for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, said that the so-called virtual fence won't work in urban areas and that the federal government has delivered a consistent message to local officials.

``We are utilizing traditional fencing at the border generally in those areas including metropolitan areas where it is easier for an alien ... to conceal themselves in a home or a business,'' he said.

Agents would use technology including sensors, radar and aerial drones in remote border areas, Knocke said.

Environmentalists fear the fence will block Rio Grande water access to endangered cats such as ocelots and jaguarundi and ruin key feeding and resting areas for migratory birds.

Environmental assessments are being conducted, but border security outweighs such concerns, Knocke said.

``For more than two decades this has been a problem that has been bubbling up,'' he said. ``There's an expectation by the American people that we secure our borders.''

Chertoff has already waived requirements to get permits in environmentally sensitive areas in order to expedite construction, Knocke said.

Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas said the fence would damage the regional economy, which thrives on cross-border commerce.

Mexicans cross daily to make bank deposits, buy real estate, shop and work - activities Salinas said would be threatened by the ill feelings generated in Mexico by the fence.

``Irrigation, that's one concern,'' Salinas said. ``The other is the indirect message you're sending to you neighbor to the south.''

President Bush called for 700 miles of fence during his national address last May on immigration reform, and Congress approved it. Of the $1.2 billion Congress approved, at least $400 million has been released.

The new Democratic majority in Congress could modify the law or withhold funding, Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar said.

``It's going to be difficult, but we're sure going to do everything we can,'' he said.

Texas' senators, both Republicans, said they expected federal officials to heed local concerns.

``I would be very concerned if they are not being listened to,'' said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. ``We should have local input, and private property rights should be taken into account.''

Sen. John Cornyn said he would ``insist that local officials, property owners and stakeholders have a voice in how we ultimately secure the border.''

Cornyn said he and Hutchison had tried to require local input in legislation authorizing the fence but failed.

McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez doubts a fence would be effective. He said he has seen people forming human ladders and jumping off international bridges into the United States in full daylight and within view of agents.

``No physical wall is going to keep people from coming in,'' he said. ``The core of the problem is an economic issue. We have integrated all of the markets in North America, but we have failed to integrate the labor market. It's the market forces that are bringing people here to work.''

Officials said Chertoff had assured them they would be consulted before any fence went up.

``We met with Secretary Chertoff and we were given a commitment that he would talk to the locals before building a wall, so we're surprised that this is happening,'' Salinas said. ``We feel there is already a structure there, which is the Rio Grande river.''