Friday, August 18, 2017

On Antifa...


There's just so much happening, I didn't want to miss the chance to post this so I'm doing it now while I'm thinking about it.

Anyone who knows me, knows I find Trump and his ardent supporters (in contrast, at least a little, to those who reluctantly tolerate him) to be morally and rationally and societally repulsive. I vomit a bit in my mouth anytime I think about him.

And his defense of "some" nazis and racists ("some were nice guys," or whatever) is atrocious, as is his false moral equivalency of Nazis and racists to the counter protestors. The man is a pig.
That being said, I have problems with the antifa movement. And I'm not the only one (amongst progressive and rational types). I'll post an article that goes into it some more, but in brief, here is my problem:

* They are anarchists, not liberals.

* They place themselves above the law, appointing themselves judge, jury and judgment against those THEY think deserve it. If they THINK you are a Nazi or sympathize too much with Nazis (again, in their head, not necessarily in reality), then they have been known to act against you.

* I hear that they even attacked some in the press this last weekend in their anarchic and self-appointed vigilantism against "the enemy."

I certainly sympathize with the notion of being against fascists and racists, but we do that within some boundaries. It's not every man (and mostly, I believe we are talking about men) for himself, everyone deciding who needs to be punched and who doesn't.

For one thing, it is counterproductive. It gives the idiots and racists like Trump some room for doing just what he has done. It undermines our efforts to stop fascism and racism, rather than supporting it.
But also, it is illiberal. It is not progressive to live outside the laws and make yourself the One True Decider for everyone else.

This is not to say that they are in anyway comparable to the actual fascists, but just to note that they are troubling and need to rein themselves in (and we need to help them rein in).

Read the article. Important stuff...

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/what-trump-gets-wrong-about-antifa/537048/

One excerpt:

"for all of antifa’s supposed anti-authoritarianism, there’s something fundamentally authoritarian about its claim that its activists—who no one elected—can decide whose views are too odious to be publicly expressed. That kind of undemocratic, illegitimate power corrupts. "

"We do not feel safe..."


Just because these stories need to be heard... from a Latino family/friend's Facebook page:

"Last night I had to comfort my youngest who has heard enough about recent events to be terrified that someone may target his father for being Latino.....he no longer wants his father to [go to work] for fear that he will be attacked or arrested. He kept asking me what we will do if his papa doesn't come home one night........and I don't know what to say. I don't know what we will do. I don't want to think about it, and yet, we have to.

Many members of our own family voted for, and still openly defend and support, Trump. My son does not feel safe. He stays awake worrying, crying, begging for all of this to stop.

I am at a loss for how to protect my children when even those who love us cannot see how much hatred is being stoked by the president they voted for, and continue to defend him.

I am not calling out people by names, and my anxiety runs high even as I write this. But if you love us, if you love my children and husband, then now is the time to help us feel loved, safe, and supported. Because even if you do not mean for your politics to be personal or include us, it IS very personal when it means that my kids do not know who they can trust, and that they might be hurt for being Latino, or. even for not fitting the traditional "male" stereotype with their long hair and preferences for artsy or sparkly things.

I am not interested in fighting.....I just want folks to know where we stand, how we feel, and how my heart breaks with this reality. If you need to unfollow me or unfriend me, feel free."

And for those who worry about shit like this, this is a "documented" family. This is how team Trump is making regular citizens of these United States feel, how they're terrorizing children and families. Shit like that's got to make you feel like a Big Man, right?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

RESIST.


Let's pretend:

I'm going to start a group: The Neo-Ted Bundians! It will be based upon the wit and wisdom of famous serial killer, child murderer, rapist and corpse molester, Ted Bundy.

But please, understand, I am only talking about the positive parts of what Ted Bundy stood for, not any of the negative stuff...

...What do you think of that notion? Do we offer sympathy and understanding for this person starting this "fan club," or do we recognize the horror involved in the suggestion?

I think the latter. Of course. (Why does it even need to be said?)

Look, these "neo-nazis" and "KKK" people don't need understanding. We understand just fine.

I understand that they are just regular guys (white guys, to be sure). That they have their concerns and reasons.

However, they have made a fatal flaw if they wanted to be treated as just regular guys: They deliberately chose to self-identify with some of the worst killers, rapists, racists and general awful people in history.

If they just wanted to celebrate "southern culture," they could have started a club about Sweet Tea and Cornbread. They could have started a "Friends of Alabama" support group. But no, they deliberately chose to identify with historical monsters. Of course, Nazis and KKK members were just regular guys, too, with some concerns that they no doubt thought were legitimate. I have no problems with legitimate concerns. BUT, there is a line that must be drawn.

That line is harm, oppression, killing, abuse, terrorism, spreading fear. Those embracing these tactics must be opposed.

Why? (Seems to be a stupid question, but okay, I'll play).

Because just as they might have some concerns, the rest of the world has concerns about justice and safety for all, about human rights. Because we value human rights, good people everywhere must stand opposed to those opposed to human rights. We can be inclusive as hell (or heaven, if you prefer), but IF you have a concern for human rights, then yes, that means we will exclude those who are opposed to human rights.

It's like all these conservatives who try to mock those who value tolerance for being intolerant towards some. But who are we being intolerant towards? The intolerant. IF you are supportive of tolerance, then by definition, you will oppose those advocating intolerance. It's nothing to be mocked, it's just rational.

These people are not imbeciles. They are not unaware of history. They know what the Nazis stood for. They know what the KKK stands for. They understand. And so do we.

That's the problem.

They are seeking to trade in on the horror and fear and oppression of these established groups. These are impotent white boys who are seeking some status and some borrowed power, so they're turning to monsters to try to access it. The thing is, IF you're going to choose to start a white boy's social club and you choose to identify with monsters, you can't ask us for "understanding." At that point, it's your time to understand and understand well:

Good and moral people must always stand opposed to oppressors. Those who choose the tools and symbols of oppressors will be lumped in with them and opposed.

You want to be understood in a moral flattering light? Begin by losing the oppressor, killer, rapist, destroyer identification. Abandon the monster, then we can talk.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

De-Criminalize Seeking Safety



Reflections on immigration, in three parts

I.
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God...

You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt..."

~God, in Exodus

Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

~God, in Malachi

Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.

~God, in Deuteronomy

For IF you truly amend your ways and your deeds, 
IF you truly execute justice one with another, 
if you do not oppress the sojourner,
the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place... 

THEN, I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

~God, in Jeremiah

etc, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on, in the Bible.

https://www.openbible.info/topics/immigration

=======

II.

"What's the "illegal" part of being an illegal immigrant? Is it a crime to simply be an undocumented immigrant residing in the United States? What about sneaking across the border?

The confusion lies in the legal difference between improper entry and unlawful presence. Here's what you need to know:


Improper Entry Is a Crime [a misdemeanor, Dan]

To be clear, the most common crime associated with illegal immigration is likely improper entry.

Under federal criminal law, it is misdemeanor for an alien (i.e., a non-citizen) to:
  • Enter or attempt to enter the United States at any time or place other than designated by immigration officers;
  • Elude examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
  • Attempt to enter or obtain entry to the United States by willfully concealing, falsifying, or misrepresenting material facts."

So, to be clear, crossing the border without proper permission is, in the US, a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor is defined: 

"A misdemeanor is considered a crime of low seriousness, and a felony, one of high seriousness. A principle of the rationale for the degree of punishment meted out is that the punishment should fit the crime."

A crime of low seriousness

The punishment should fit the crime.

What has happened a great deal of the time when someone commits the "crime" of crossing an imaginary line illegally? A good deal of the time, an immigrant and/or his family is...

* In danger
* Being oppressed
* At risk of starving or just barely surviving

...when they leave their usually beloved homes, families and friends to come to the US to stop the threat. That is, they choose to engage in a victimless misdemeanor to avoid starving, death and oppression. Generally speaking, they don't want to leave their homes. They would much rather stay, but sometimes the threat is too great!

How serious is that "crime..."? Is it serious at all? Is it even rationally called a "crime..."?

Or is it only reasonable, moral and prudent?

What would you do if you were being oppressed or your family was starving where you were and there was not a good chance of changing it there... what would you do IF you knew you could escape that threat by committing a minor misdemeanor to save your/your family's life?

Of course, it is a moral and appropriate answer to violate that misdemeanor law to save lives!

Of course it is. If you disagree, then do us a favor: Go to a nation where you will be oppressed, threatened and starved and take the place of someone there, surrender your citizenship to them. THEN, tell us how you'd stay where your life/your children's lives were threatened.

Until then, I don't think anyone who says it is an actual "crime" to cross an imaginary line can be taken seriously.

Also, of course, any law that makes a crime of the victimless action of merely crossing an imaginary line to try to stay alive is an immoral, wrong and irrational (and, if you care about the Biblical examples easily found, unbiblical) law.
=======

III.

Unlawful Presence

"Some may assume that all immigrants who are in the United States without legal status must have committed improper entry. This simply isn't the case. Many foreign nationals legally enter the country on a valid work or travel visa, but fail to exit before their visa expires for a variety of reasons.

But mere unlawful presence in the country is not a crime. It is a violation of federal immigration law to remain in the country without legal authorization, but this violation is punishable by civil penalties, not criminal."

I repeat: MERE UNLAWFUL PRESENCE IN THE COUNTRY IS NOT A CRIME.

Read it and understand.

And how often is it the case that we're talking about unlawful presence, as opposed to the misdemeanor of improper entry?

In fact, a 2006 study showed that roughly 45% of undocumented immigrants originally entered the US legally, but then remained in the country without authorization after their visas had expired.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/24/politics/undocumented-immigrants-not-necessarily-criminal/index.html

Nearly HALF of what are popularly called "illegal immigrants" are NOT "illegal." Overstaying a visa is a civil infraction, like parking in the wrong place, not even a misdemeanor.

And of course, it should not be a crime.

What sort of monsters criminalize people for a victimless crime of crossing an imaginary line in order to stay alive/not be oppressed?

The time has come to recognize that crossing a line to try to stay alive is in no reasonable way a crime. The time has come to stop calling it a crime.

In fact, the only moral crime is in criminalizing people who are merely trying to stay alive. This is something we all should be able to agree with and work towards.

By all means, let's keep it regulated, let's watch out for bad actors and those who would cause harm. I'm not saying let's have an entirely "open" border. BUT, the notion of criminalizing merely trying to stay safe and alive must end.