Friday, June 02, 2006

Max's Morning

I normally listen to BBC World Service radio in the morning whilst getting ready to go to work. I often hear things that grab my attention, but by the time I am at a computer and ready to do some research and write about them, I have forgotten what they were.

This happened yesterday or the day before, when I listened to a US ambassador being interviewed, and what he was saying and how he was saying it really rubbed me the wrong way. By the time I was ready to write about it, all I could remember was that either his first or last name was William(s), he was ambassador in a Latin American country (no idea which one) and he was talking about the “war on drugs” in a manner that was really condescending and patronising towards the government and the people of whichever country he was ambassador to. I made a perfunctory effort to find a US ambassador called William(s) in a Latin American country, but then I just gave up.

So today I made a real effort to remember things - for example, scratching the word Texas into my arm with my fingernail while I was in the shower. It worked because I can now recall 4 things from this morning’s news that upset me (aside from the mess with Arsenal and that Belgian football club).

I am not going to write about one of them, which was the revelation of another possible My Lai style massacre in addition to Haditha. As I discussed with my contact in a major media enterprise yesterday, that certainly deserves its very own post and I am currently negotiating with said contact for a guest blog.

Instead I am looking to the land of the free and the home of the brave - The America.

First stop, new New Orleans or, more specifically, the Renaissance Trailer Park, which houses 2,500 or so former residents of New Orleans. The BBC went there and interviewed some “temporary” trailer park people. FEMA erected the trailer park on the grounds of a juvenile correctional facility or, as the BBC interviewer translated it for a worldwide audience, a youth prison. The trailers are small, but FEMA has furnished all of them with large colour televisions – the opiate of the masses. I couldn’t see on the radio, but I would guess that the majority, if not all, of the trailer park’s residents are black, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is making any effort to get them out of there and back into real homes. That last part is conjecture, based only on what I heard in the interviews. I will not say that it is the government’s responsibility to get the trailer park people back into real homes, but the trailer park people seem to be waiting for the government to do something. Therefore, the least the government should do is to communicate with them and let them know they are waiting for something that is not going to happen so that they will know that they should start making things happen on their own.

Second stop, the border between Texas and Mexico. The state of Texas announced yesterday that it is planning to install hundreds of video surveillance cameras along its border with Mexico. The video footage will be broadcast live on the internet so anyone anywhere can fulfil his or her fantasy of being a border policeman/woman. Governor Rick Perry sees his plan “as no different than the neighbourhood watches that we’ve had in our communities for years and years.” But I see it more as a “spy on your neighbour” scheme, a “be a good citizen and be the eyes and ears of the police state” programme. The Electronic Surveillance Curtain – the new and improved 21st century Iron Curtain.

And the final stop for today, my home state of California. Muscle-boy Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has given in to the fascists in Washington and has agreed to send the California National Guard to the border with Mexico. The four southern border states will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the DC dictatorship which includes provisions on costs and rules of engagement, amongst other things. For example, Guardsmen are prohibited from handling detainees, but they are allowed to carry guns. Call me cynical, but that looks to me like they will be allowed to kill but not touch. Odd.

So, in summary, just from this morning’s BBC radio news, we have black people in concentration trailer parks, average Joes being called upon to spy for the police state and a southern border that is about to be militarised along its entire length. Nice.


Anonymous said...

I really need to send you some of the articles I found while researching the "Border Control Crisis." You would love them. For example, it clears up a few misunderstandings...for instance, the misconception that tightening border security is the brain child of Washington only. Bush did push the House last year to pass legislation for border security (as well as a guest worker program, which the House ignored for better or for worse) but what sparked a hotter debate this spring (February?) was the governors annual meeting at the White House and their insistence that border security should be tightened immediately. You can trace their meeting with the president as the precurser for all the debate and Senatorial bickering we dealt with from March to today.

It gets so much more sordid and ridiculous once you realize where the pressure is stemming from, and why the two parties are having more interesting internal strife than normal.

But the borders will just have to wait, I have work to do. Taa taa for now!

Anonymous said...

PS: Just scrolled down and saw a previous post you did about immigration/border security. You said, "First question – if we need to keep illegal aliens out so badly, why are 12 million of them being offered the chance to stay in our country?" Being a brat, I wanted to point out that we AREN'T giving 12 million the chance to stay. If the legislation isn't changed in the House, that turns overstaying a visa into a criminal offense (when it has always been considered a civil action), making unlawful presence a felony, and writing into the legislation that no one with a criminal record can apply for citizenship/extended stay, etc., most of them aren't eligible anyway.

What I find the most brilliant and disturbing about all this is how the House Republicans turned this all around on the House Democrats, saying it was their fault it was upgraded to a felony, because the Democrats voted down an amendment to this legislation to make unlawful presence a misdemeanor. The Democrats did this because unlawful presence wasn't a criminal offense to begin with, and they didn't want it to be a felony OR misdemeanor PERIOD.

And now the Republicans are purchasing advertisement time on Hispanic radio stations across the country showing their "proof" that the Republicans are the ones really looking out for these peoples interests, and the Democrats are evil and want all of them to be expelled from the country.

You know me, I'm not Republican or Democrat, and have a hard time with both sides, but I HATE lies and this fiasco made me want to scream.

I really do have work to accomplish today, so I will leave you be. Let me know if you want all the research I found.

OH, and when you make comments about Texas and Texans, think of me fondly!