Sunday, May 29, 2016

UW's Trump support might be "small" but their "message" is not

Donald Trump supporters at the University of Washington have gained some minor league notoriety locally and nationally (if Fox News nutbag Ann Coulter qualifies) from a “wall” erected on campus that is supposed to be a stand-in for the wall that Trump claims he will build on the Mexican border, to be paid for by Mexico. Alright, so 10 students stupid enough to expose their racism showed up at a “rally” last week, accompanied by 50 protestors. And this is “newsworthy”? 

Is it “news” that what unites Trump supporters is their racism against Hispanics? All that other stuff Trump talks about hardly registers with them; even his politically-incorrect comments about his many female detractors only bothers the media.  We know that “the wall” is a symbol of racism, nativism and xenophobia, but is denied as such.  How do we know this? Because we know from the likes of Pat Buchanan that “Hispanics are out to destroy America”—which is what he said to colleagues on PBS’ McLaughlin Group some years ago; he wasn’t talking about illegal immigrants, but Hispanics in general.  None of his colleagues reacted at all to this—not even the two “liberals.”

I know I am repeating myself, but this is further evidence that this is racism specifically against Hispanics and not simply against illegal  immigration, because of the failure to include Asians in the discussion, for whom a “wall” won’t stop. According to a recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, while Hispanic illegal immigration has remained stagnant since 2000, illegal immigration from Asia has tripled; going back to 1990, the number of illegal immigrants from India has increased a mindboggling 28,000 to 284,000 today. Unlike Hispanics trying to escape poverty and violence, immigration from Asia has occurred despite the dramatic increase in income and living standards (thanks to the migration of electronic, apparel and large machinery jobs to those countries, not to Mexico). In fact higher income has only made it easier for Asians to migrate illegally to this country. At current rates, the number of illegal immigrants from Asia will likely equal that of Hispanics in another two decades. Will anyone care about that then?

Of course people will “excuse” all of this saying most of these immigrates came here “legally” from work or tourist visas and overstayed their time, which still makes them illegal. I suppose Microsoft isn’t asking anyone they brought in initially on H1b visas what their current legal status is, and obviously immigration authorities and the Obama administration don’t care, either.  The truth is that because Asians are stereotyped as the “model” minority, there is much more political capital in rounding up impoverished people in the fields and sweat shops than the protected atmosphere of the corporate and academic environment. 

At UW itself, the foul stench of mendacity couldn’t be more offensive. White students whine about the handful of black and Hispanic students who are barely visible on campus; if you “eliminated” all of them, who would those other 6,000 or so white students who don’t get admitted every year have to blame? The vastly over-represented Asian presence—especially “international” students that the university craves more than native-born American students because of the astronomical tuition they pay (no thanks to the state’s failure to adequately fund education for the “natives”)? Yet if anyone suggests reducing the Asian presence in favor of white Americans, you will no doubt hear complaints of “racism” and “discrimination”—especially difficult to stomach because Asian students tend to ape the racism of whites against blacks and Hispanics, and sometimes worse. 

And one more thing: after agitation by white feminists, LBJ agreed in an executive order to list females as an “underrepresented minority” in need of affirmative action support in 1967. The result was Title IX, which is an affirmative action program in all but name which has benefited almost exclusively white women. And yet in every recent anti-affirmative action case, the chief “victims” have been presented as white females (most recently, Abigail Fisher). As I said, the stench of hypocrisy is too much to bear.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On the road to moral and ethical ruin?

I cast a vote for what is likely the only time this season, in the “meaningless” Democratic Washington primary. Since moral and ethical principles are important factors to me in this year’s presidential election, there was only one choice available to anyone who also holds those factors with any regard. After winning 72 percent of the caucus vote last March, and in view of his convincing victory in Oregon last week, I expected Bernie Sanders to win the “meaningless” Democratic primary vote, if by a smaller margin, last night.

It didn’t happen. Clinton won 54 percent of the “unofficial” Democratic primary vote. How to explain this? It certainly wasn’t “meaningless.” What did it mean? Despite the fact that the number of registered voters increased since in 2012, and mail-in ballots make it much easier to vote, there was less than two-thirds of the vote count that there was in the 2012 presidential election. Did Sanders supporters expend all their energy at the March caucuses? Did angry Clinton supporters come out in force to make a “statement”? Was there the lethargic view that Clinton had already “won” the nomination and that it was time to just follow the “herd” rather than make a categorical statement about the state’s alleged “progressiveness”? 

Or is it something far worse? Unlike most people, I remembered the disquieting fact that rather than merely being the “First Lady” of the Clinton administration, Hillary Clinton seemed to be personally involved in every Clinton scandal over a 35-year span, and lying over and over again that she knew “nothing” or there was ever anything to them. Even Bill Clinton’s infidelities didn’t seem to faze her, in fact, if the “rumor” mill is correct, Hillary was an equal opportunity adulterer herself. But it was in “true crime” that was more her game. Whether or not she felt bound to “man’s” laws or felt in her warped mind that they were designed to thwart her personally is anyone’s guess. What is clear to people who value truth (and let’s be “fair” to Trump—he speaks “honestly”), is that something ugly is happening in this country, and that is that there is no value place on truth; if there was, Hillary Clinton would more likely be a disbarred felon than on the cusp of making “history” as the first female president—at any cost. 

One of my favorite films is John Boorman’s 1981 Arthurian adaptation Excalibur. In it there is a scene where Arthur asks Merlin what is the best trait in man; Merlin replies that it is “truth” above all else—for when a man lies, he murders something inside him. Lancelot—who realizes that Merlin is referring to him for denying his lust for the queen--immediately leaves the chamber. But Guinevere soon follows him, and when they complete the act of adultery, Lancelot does in fact not just “murder” his honor, but the act bcomes the catalyst that eventually brings Arthur’s kingdom and the “fair time” to ruin.

Elevating someone as wretchedly dishonest and pathologically contemptuous of truth as Hillary Clinton is may not bring the country to immediate “ruin,” since “change” is slow and in the eye of the beholder. But for those who actually care, it represents a denial of the existence of the cancer spreading within the body politic. Whether or not it is too late to stop it depends on those we have entrusted to keep us “informed,” and they have failed us miserably up to this point. On one side of the Janus-face is fraudulent “history”; on the other side, pure evil—the kind that sleeps well at night knowing that a decent, honorable man could not live with himself and continue to serve evil. To choose the former is to accept the latter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

That misused word, "respect"

I always thought that Aretha Franklin's hit "Respect" rang false; that is probably because the song is clearly from the male perspective, in this case that of its composer and original performer, the great Otis Redding. When I was in the Army, the first sergeant of one company I was assigned to declared that he respected no man, because it was in violation of  commandment ‘Thou shalt not worship false gods before me,” or something like that. It didn’t make much sense then back then. I suppose he meant, as it applied to him, “respect” the rank, not the man.

However, there are some people who talk an awful lot about “respect” and don’t know a thing about it. For example, I might be wiping down some machinery using a stack of rags I put on a shelf behind me, since there wasn’t any other place close by to put them. When I turned around, they were nowhere to be seen. I made inquiries, and was told that one of the janitors had taken them out of the room. I found one of those big, burly guys with a self-conscious need to extract “respect” from people much smaller than they are, since they don’t perceive it forthcoming from the dominant demographic, He was hiding with the rags in a maintenance closet. I confronted him. Why did he take the rags when he saw that I was using them? He “respected” that, but they were in the way of his janitorial responsibilities, he asserted. Why didn’t he ask me if I still needed them, so to put them out of his way? Why should I ask you?, he said. 

So let me count the ways he showed me no respect: he took the rags even though he knew they were being used at that moment, he took them out of the area completely, he tried to conceal them (likely for his own use), and he disrespected me as a human being (the emphasis, as indicated, was on the “you”). Yet this was the same person who lumbered around daring you to “disrespect” him, with the threat of physical intimidation (although he did “assure” me that he wasn’t going to “kill” me merely for putting the rags where I did). I, on the other hand, was expected to respect his right to disrespect me. 

There are others, of course, who have no use of “respect” at all. This might be a white person who is full arrogance and conceit, and treats those “beneath” him or her like the lowest forms of life on Earth. I pay these ignorant bigots no mind (unless, of course, they are really stupid about it); when they shuffle off this mortal coil, they take their in the end meaningless conceits with them, and the lowest forms of life will have the last laugh on what remains of them. 

There are others, however, are more difficult to ignore. Take for instance your typical donut shop managed by a Southeast Asian. I go in one of these shops, and the proprietor calculates that this is a customer who he doesn’t have to waste perfectly good donuts on; he has the old, shriveled-up ones that he won’t just throw out hidden in the back for “special” customers. I always have to remind myself to pinpoint the donut I want him to give me, or check to see what is hidden in the bag that he gave me and demand a replacement if it is the runt of the litter. It isn’t just the disrespect shown me and my money which is as good as any white man’s, but the realization that one of the faults of this country is that it allows people who barely speak understandable English, and come from homogeneous societies to import more bigotry (as if we don’t have enough of it already), practicing it on a native-born citizen. 

Some people just don’t understand that “respect” is more about what you do than what you say; being raised a Roman Catholic, it isn’t just “faith” that “saves” you, as some philosophies posit, but “good works.” Michael Brown, the man shot by a police officer in Baltimore, a case was another cause celebre for the media, went around demanding that people “respect” him as someone easily offended by any failure to adjust to his intimidations, but did he show respect for that scrawny convenience store clerk he strong-armed and robbed a carton of cigarettes from, because a female companion desired it? Did she “respect” his “chivalrous” act on her behalf? Did he show “respect” for the police officer and his authority by attacking him?  He conducted his daily life proving that he did not deserve to be treated with respect. To be feared, maybe; to be respected, not at all. 

Sometimes I am amazed by the people for whom respect is accorded. Three or four times a week I stop at some fast food joint before I go home, and it never fails that I see a certain individual literally camped out in one of the window seats; he doesn’t look much older than 45.. On one side is this man, whose recent hair and beard cut made him look slightly less disheveled, with a cup of coffee and what appears to be a portable DVD player in front him, and on the other side of the table one of those huge Arctic backpacks, designed to carry the weight of the world (or whatever is needed to stay suitably comfortable day or night on the tundra). Draped over the frame are two winter coats (it is late May at the moment, I think), so I suspect that he carries his entire earthly belongings with him. He also “camps out” in the restaurant the several times I stopped in the morning; however, I believe takes a “break” in order to make his “living.” When I’ve caught him buying his cup of coffee, he typically pulls out a few wrinkled dollar bills balled-up in his pocket, which he must have obtained from the art of acquiring sympathy for his sad situation (or maybe tells people he is a “veteran”).

And apparently this consideration is the case for the employees of this franchise, who have presumably never informed this gentleman than there is a policy about loitering, even for those making the most tepid show of being a paying customer. But what I find even more remarkable is the “respect” the employees show for him; he has become a “regular,” spoken to with reverence, a man of  “experience” to be venerated.  He no doubt has a “story,” although probably one that need not be examined too closely when it is not embellished in the telling.

Alright, yes, the problem of homelessness is real, and the lack of sufficiently livable wages is as well. I have been living on the edge my whole life, but I have come to the conclusion that some people deserve less sympathy than others. I feel less a sense of “sympathy,” than one of mild disgust for this individual. Maybe it is because I have a greater appreciation of “culture,” which  the expansion of my collection of books, old movies and television shows, and music  requires me to have some source of dependable income, and that it is easier to acquire what I want by earning a wage of some sort, rather than “finding,” panhandling or stealing for it. I never “waited” for work to come to me, like many people who sit on their fundament for months living on unemployment checks or the help of social services (if you are an “able-bodied, single male” you are wasting your time there in any case). 

I have never been “unemployed” for longer than a month since I left school. When I attempted graduate school, my day went as follows: I woke up at 6 AM, attended classes from 8 to 3 PM, caught a light rail to a job from 3:30 to Midnight, put on a jogging outfit and ran to the light rail station to catch the last train at 12:30 AM, arrived home and hit the cot by 1:30, and awoke again at 6 AM. I did this five days a week for six months until I told myself that all I wanted to do was write, and this wasn’t any use to me in that regard; so I sold most of my belongings and move to Seattle. I eventually quit doing the route of sending in resumes and sitting around waiting for someone to respond, since the rare times I was asked in for an interview I always seemed to get the impression that the recruiter was expecting someone else. I always found it more useful to pick out one of  a dozen temp work agencies in the telephone book, and would pick one that seemed more “reputable”—and closer by—and I eventually found fulltime work through that process. That I had to accept low-paying work was due mainly to the fact that both I didn’t have any “choice” if I wanted to earn money right away. 

But the “kids” working at the restaurant apparently hold someone like Sir Bum in high esteem,, showing “respecting” his “space” until closing time; perhaps he must be one of those urban “mountain men.” I just call them vagrants who have long lost notion of self-respect; they have no need of it from anyone else.

Now I wonder if that sergeant had a point after all.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Recent study on illegal immigration demographics again proves that it is an anti-Hispanic "problem"

I recall a day when a colleague offered me a ride for a few blocks after work. Something was on his mind that he wanted to get off his chest, and he wanted to talk to someone who didn’t merely offer affirmation, but the allaying of guilt. He said he didn’t like Donald Trump’s attitude toward China, but although he didn’t think building a wall on the Mexican border was a “good” idea, nevertheless he agreed with a policy of mass deportation. The “surprising” thing about this was that this was not a white American, but an Asian immigrant speaking barely understandable English. Perhaps he thought that this “ethnic” person speaking Midwest English was not sympathetic to immigrants; unfortunately for him, he was seeking support for these views from the wrong person. 

I told him that I believed that the focus on Hispanics was because they were the group most vulnerable to racism in this country (not blacks), and I found the failure to acknowledge the growing problem of illegal immigration from Asia an indicating the favoritism shown to them. Needless-to-say, these observations were contrary to what had been hoped for; if one sows the racist wind—especially someone from white America’s “preferred” immigrant group—they should expect their hypocrisy to fly back in their face; some "dogs" do bite back. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get any more offer of  ride from him again.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that Trump’s rhetoric “inspires” even those who are also fall under the purview of his bigotry;  those self-conscious of the attitude of the “natives” toward them find it convenient to insure that some more vulnerable group is the focus of prejudice. Interestingly, while an Internet search can come up with what seems like 1,000 to 1 stories that portray Hispanics negatively to positively, seemingly the opposite is true of Asian immigrants.

This is unfair beyond any logical explanation. More evidence that scapegoating of Hispanics is race-based is the revelations of a recent study released by the Migration Policy Institute. While the Obama administration is making mock of the Hispanics who voted for him, and his regime is stepping up deportations at an accelerated rate—exclusively targeting Hispanics—the Institute found the following to be the facts about immigration in this country:

Mexicans account for just over half of all illegal immigrants in this country, not “most” as many people assume, and their numbers have remained largely unchanged since 2000. 

Because demand for manual labor is decreasing, it is likely that illegal immigration from Latin America has “topped out” and will continue to decrease.

On the other hand. 

Illegal immigration from Africa has doubled since 2000.

Illegal immigration from Asian countries has more than tripled since 2000.

Illegal immigration from Asia has increased dramatically despite the fact that income and standards of living have increased sharply in the countries of their origin due to migration of manufacturing jobs to those countries; thus illegal immigration from China has increased 2 ½ times, and from South Korea 3 ½ times, since 2000. It is believed that higher income in those countries only made it easier to illegally immigrate to the U.S.  from those countries, rather than stay. None of this is true in the case in Mexico or Central America (no thanks to NAFTA). 

Today the number of foreign-born Asians is equal to the number of foreign born from Mexico.

Asians represent 14 percent of illegal immigrants in this country, and if current trends continue—including solely focusing on Hispanic immigrants, and allowing illegal immigrants from Asia to go unmolested despite being as “criminal” in accordance with current anti-immigrant rhetoric—they will likely at least equal or surpass the number of “illegal” Hispanics in the next few decades. 

But while illegal immigration from Pacific Rim countries tend to be “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” in this country, that isn’t true of another Asian immigrant group, those from India.

In 1990 there were 28,000 illegal immigrants from India. Today there are 284,000 illegal aliens in the country from India—a 914 percent increase. 

Over half of the recipients of H1-B and L visas are from India, and like immigrants from Asia generally, they receive preferential treatment in public and private programs that aid them in “getting ahead” in this country (unlike Hispanic immigrants, who just receive the prejudice “program”). These are not the impoverished people from the country with the largest concentration of poverty in the world, but that country’s better-off. They don’t come here to hone skills to use in their own country, but to stay here and make a lot of money. An amazing 10   percent of physicians in this country are from India, but they have no plans on returning home and addressing the needs of the half-billion impoverished in that country. Many simply overstay their visas and remain in the U.S. illegally, but no one is asking them what their legal status is, especially the ICE. 

Still, you have to tip your hat to immigrants of India—whether legal or illegal—they know how to take advantage of a good thing, courtesy of white America’s desire to “prove” it’s not “prejudiced” against all “minorities,” which Indians probably would not consider themselves to be (even Adolf Hitler acknowledged them to be of “Aryan” origin). They have a massive presence in Silicon Valley (which explains why you have at least one Indian in tech-based comedy sitcoms), and Indian households possess nearly double the annual household income of the average American household (this isn’t of course, the case in India itself). All that money in their community must explain those frequent “conventions” at Kent’s Showare Center. I’m sure a lot of people notice how many convenience stores are run by Indians, but less obvious is their vast over-representation in ownership of “economy” motels and hotels. While I acknowledge that most of these people are courteous to customers, the discourtesy and contemptousness (especially to those who are not white) of some is particularly grating for a native-born citizen.

Of course, it isn’t just Asian immigrants who have taken advantage of programs designed to benefit only them; the Russian immigrant community also has established its own self-serving enclaves of privilege. Years ago I recall finding in a Laundromat a rather thick Russian-language version of the Yellow Pages; apparently they have significant private or government-sponsored resources available to them. While I was working at the airport I discovered that workers for another vender doing less demanding work actually made considerably more money than I did, and they weren’t even union; I discovered on a government website encouraging airport companies to employ immigrants from Africa and eastern Europe, for which these companies would receive subsidies to help pay the wages for those immigrant groups.

Meanwhile, just because Trump (and, unfortunately Bernie Sanders as well) don’t know the names of places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Macau and Pakistan as well as they do Mexico, it doesn’t mean that people should be allowed to be ignorant of the fact that this country has far higher trade imbalances with those aforementioned countries than it does with Mexico, because those are the countries where nearly all of the major manufacturing and apparel jobs have gone. It just means that people have anti-Mexico feelings imprinted on their brain, thanks mainly to the Right political decision to use it to excite its racist base.