Friday Night at 8: Wielding the Sword

In From Strom to Barack buhdydharma asks the question:

As we prepare to take this next step (hopefully) what do you think the ramifications will be on our society in general….and on the attitudes of the remaining, dwindling, but still large….population of both the casual and the more vehement racists in our nation as….

“The world is about to roll over them?”

In response, I’d like to link to two different diaries posted over at Daily Kos today, one on immigration by Duke1676 and one on the further shenanigans of the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans by mcbrid35.  I consider both these bloggers top notch in quality and credibility, excellent examples of true citizen journalists when it comes to analyzing facts, law and the ethical and moral consequences that we all will experience.

Duke1676 talks about how although we have come a step or two forward when it comes to exposing the federal government’s horrible handling of both labor issues and undocumented workers, we may have forgotten a big piece of the puzzle:

But just yesterday, once again reality strikes us in the face:

House OKs seizing vehicles from illegal immigrants

A bill that would allow police to seize cars from illegal immigrants was approved by the House Thursday.

Bill sponsor Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville) repeatedly told House members Thursday the measure would protect Georgia citizens from the “epidemic” of illegal immigration. “The state of Georgia’s door is being kicked down,” Mills said. Immigrants are coming from “Iraq, Iran, Irania(sic), Jordan. We don’t know where they’re from,” Mills said.

The measure passed 104 to 51, and will move to the Senate for consideration.

The bill would allow police to seize any vehicle involved in a traffic violation or accident if it’s driven by an illegal immigrant. That includes rented and leased vehicles if the owner knew, or should have known, the driver was an illegal immigrant. It also includes bank-owned cars if the interest-holder actually knew the driver was an illegal immigrant.

The bill prompted a healthy floor debate. Some legislators asked how police would be able to determine whether a driver was an illegal immigrant during a traffic stop. Some wondered if it would create an atmosphere for racial profiling of drivers who police think might be illegal immigrants.

The legislation is part of a package of about 10 Republican proposals introduced this legislative session aimed at discouraging illegal immigration in Georgia.


Week after week – month after month – states and municipalities around the country take up similar anti-immigrant measures. And with each one passed, the lives of millions of people are changed – undocumented migrants, legal residents, and anyone else who just happens to look “foreign” or rolls their r’s just a little too prominently when stopped at a traffic stop, applies for a job, or tries to rent an apartment.

There’s a whole lot of bad laws being put on the books and to add insult to injury, being enforced in Guantanamo like ways.  Yep, we now have family prisons.

Republican ideas have not just failed on a national level.  They’ve also failed on a local level.

Duke quotes a recent study (warning: pdf) that finds something interesting (though of course not surprising) on the local and state level:

… Cities in Republican areas are about twice as likely as those in Democratic areas to propose restrictionist legislation, and four times as likely to have passed such measures.  On the passage of pro-immigrant legislation, Republican areas are about half as likely to consider or pass such measures (another way to say this is that Democrat areas are about twice as likely as Republican areas to consider and pass pro-immigrant measures).

So we have a problem here, I’d say.  And it’s one that also can be tied in with all of the actions in our country that have evoked, over and over, feelings of intense disgust, pain, sadness, fear and horror in any thinking American citizen when confronted accurately with these actions.

George W. Bush and his gang of criminals may well be leaving the White House in January 2008.  (I won’t believe it until I see it!)

But the tentacles of the Republican poison-fanged monster that have infected our land for far too long are still waving about, we have not yet confronted and defeated the forces of hatred and division.

We may indeed break barriers by electing either the first woman or African American to the highest office in the United States of America.

But the Republican-crafted hate legislation and abuse of power will still be going strong … and now towards brown people.  Always good to have someone to hate, they think, after all, look how quickly they found an enemy (Iraq) after the Cold War ended.  They’re very good at finding enemies.


They will also continue to try to exploit and profit from poor people and folks who have suffered disasters, be they natural or man-made, as in the case of New Orleans’ Federal Flood.

Matt McBride (diary linked above) has been covering the corruption, incompetence and other shenanigans of the Army Corps of Engineers for a long time.  He keeps us updated as to the latest SNAFU:

Those of you that follow such things may remember that last year, the Corps of Engineers tried to shift $1.3 billion around in its work in the New Orleans area rather than just asking for the extra funds. It had the effect of pitting one area against another, and was a craven move to save dollars at the expense of protection.

People at all levels were outraged, and the extra $1.3 billion was eventually appropriated. Senator Landrieu said at the time, “Casting aside the lessons learned from years of underfunded levee protection to devastating results, the administration seeks now to shuffle $1.3 billion from one set of projects to another rather than pay the bill for each.”

Believe it or not, they are unapologetically trying the same maneuver again.

I’m not going to go into the details of this diary — although it is good to know just what’s happening in New Orleans, as it’s a bellweather for what’s going to happen to our other great cities, the optimism I felt at Matt’s ability to persevere and accurately report this story gives me great encouragement, even though he needs help and there’s so much more to be done:

This time around, the reaction (ed note: from the press) has been a Stockholm Syndrome-like active burying of the story. I put all the facts together just before a public Corps meeting on Tuesday night, at which there was a reporter for the Times-Picayune. I had a friend ask the right question, and get the right answer. That T-P reporter put up a brief article on the website the next morning:

In a very unusual move, none of that article made it into the print edition on Thursday, nor on Friday. This despite the Corps confirming the whole thing in front of the Jefferson Parish Council and the camera for three local TV stations and the same newspaper reporter on Wednesday. Its like the story just disappeared, just like the $800 million.

Why am I optimistic?  It’s sort of insane to be optimistic right now, in answer to buhdy’s question.  Racism isn’t going to collapse … and more urgently, the kinds of laws of our land and mores of our culture will continue to be poisoned by this kind of power-mad greed long after Mister Bush leaves town.

I’m optimistic because we have folks like Duke1676 and mcbrid35 to tell us what’s going on.  I’m optimistic because we can now see very clearly what’s going on locally and state-wide, and we recognize the Rovian game and the Abramoff dance and the Cheney Ring of Darkness.

We will at least now have the opportunity to join in battle.  I hope Obama or Hillary will lead.  But either way, we know what we are fighting now.


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  1. … we gotta aim it!

    Happy Friday to those for whom that means something!  Yay!

  2. flickers through the cracks of my dried of brain mainly because…. a few other people are being so. I can’t quite jump in the lake yet but I will be happy to hold your towels until such time arrives.

  3. Clinton faces Kenya cattle fine over Obama photo

    Kenyan elders may impose a fine on U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, payable in livestock, after a photo of her rival Barack Obama in robes dragged their people into the race for the White House.

    • Alma on March 1, 2008 at 05:55

    Dukes diary got rescued at the orange place.  🙂

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