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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Keeping Our Brothers, on Thanksgiving

Uploaded: Nov 12, 2018

“They were fleeing down the road with only the shirts on their backs – many were carrying their children or the family pet.”

So reported a BBC commentator this week, clearly shaken by the spectacle he was witnessing. But what catastrophe was he covering – refugees escaping murderous violence in their homelands, or people running from the raging Camp Fire near Chico? Should it matter?

Granted, the parallels are imperfect. The wildfire struck with the suddenness of a tornado – many of those Californians may have been sitting down to dinner, moments before - whereas the violence in Central America has been building for years to dire, intolerable levels. There are also differences of ethnicity, custom and language – and our species may be constitutionally pre-disposed to appreciate similarity.

But pre-dispositions are only a starting point. After pondering it a bit, are those differences enough to justify withholding empathy – to deny those other people’s very humanity? After all, it’s not where you unconsciously start, but where you consciously end-up that really counts. Where do you end-up?

There might also be a sense that the Hondurans’ tribulations are somehow their fault – man-made and of their own doing, so they should just stay home and fix it. If early indications hold up, however, man-made-and-approved utility lines may once again have sparked our local inferno. Is that so different?

As to staying-home-and-fixing-it, there is polarizing political distress aplenty in our country – whichever side you’re on, are you staying home and fixing it? What’s your plan? Will you risk your life to implement it? And while we’re at it, if things get worse, will you have the desperate fortitude to trek on foot as far as 2,000 miles to Chicago, in this country, to escape its consequences? Those are some brave souls on that slow march north through Mexico.

But what about all those gang bangers and terrorists who may lurk among refugees? Your mileage may vary, but have you asked yourself why the gangsters who control their home turf would choose to leave those comforts and security to trudge 2,000 miles among a ragtag bunch of people they despise and victimize at home? For a likely in-vain chance at asylum at journey’s end? The logic escapes me, as does any sense to deploying five American soldiers for every migrant man, woman and child. How about you?

This is not a plea for ‘open borders’ or any other dismissive semi-solid that anyone may choose to fling at the old RC. Immigration policy needs attention – of a kind that the Senate reached across its aisle and approved in 2013. Even with the House no longer the fatal impediment it was to reform at that time, I despair that such sensible legislation could get past the nationalist in the White House (But who knows? Maybe a trade for another rich-man’s tax cut would do the trick. The lure of that third yacht and fourth mansion might be irresistible to the deal-cutting artful codger).

It’s also a truism that the US can’t solve all the world’s problems. But our self-interests are truly implicated here at the borders. Think of the possibilities, if the cool $Quarter Billion currently being wasted to militarize the border were instead invested preventively, to help the locals upgrade the rule-of-law elsewhere in this hemisphere. Then, think about how we might better devote a further $20 Big Ones than on a wall (or just consider its futility – ask the French).

There is way too much suffering in the world – near to us and far away. Assuming our great good fortune in these valleys continues into next week’s celebrations, please keep and hold the plight of unfortunate victims in your heart – those near to us, and those far away. They’re not so very different.

Comments

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Nov 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm

There was a time when the land was sacred, and the ancient ones were as one with it. A time when only the children of the Great Spirit were here to light their fires in these places with no bounderies...

In that time, when there were only simple ways, I saw with my heart the conflicts to come, and whether it was to be for good or bad, what was certain was that there would be change.

-The Great Spirit


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 13, 2018 at 1:18 am

So, how do we establish the rule of law in lawless countries? (which is a good point to ponder) Furthermore, how do we keep the likes of MS13 and other less desirables out of the U.S. - including militant Islamists - if we don't establish the rule of law at our borders?

Why are the Democrates not screaming about the rule of law when it comes to people illegally entering our country, Mr. Cushing? Or do you believe in open borders? Just wondering.

There are at least 77 walls or fences around the world " many erected after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon - USA Today May 24, 2018. Walls in some countries work well, while in others not so good. The question we have to ask ourselves is: Do you we want a porous border or a secured border? More importantly, how should the rule of law be administered?

Rule of law or no law? That is the question.






 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

Oh MalHex...You haven't changed at all!

2019 is just around the corner...you still time to adjust to a changing world...hahahahahahahhahaha!

your pal,

Cholo


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 13, 2018 at 9:54 am

Oh Cholo... Non-believer in the rule of law. The uneducated unfortunately do not see past themselves. Make your argument noteworthy old man. Give it a go.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:39 am

@Malcolm Hex : “....Mr. Cushing? Or do you believe in open borders? Just wondering."

You apparently didn't even bother to fully read Tom's post because he stated his views on that. He wrote “This is not a plea for ‘open borders'.....". Try listening to and carefully considering the points of the other side. You might even find some common points of agreement.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 13, 2018 at 11:53 am

Doug... Alas... Poor Doug. I read Cushing's all of Cushing's post. I wasn't knocking him insomuch as I was qestioning what we should do about the border.

Look, I know that you are fragile in the thought process Doug, but maybe you should read Tom's post again for the sake of clarity. Here is what Cussing said:

"Think of the possibilities, if the cool $Quarter Billion currently being wasted to militarize the border were instead invested preventively, to help the locals upgrade the rule-of-law elsewhere in this hemisphere."

It's a two-part question, Doug.

1. How do we establish the rule of law in other countries

2. How do we secure the U.S. border?

BTW Doug, There is a total of 20 completed border barriers in the world, seven under construction, 1 planned, and five proposed. This trend is set to go up as more countries are planning to build walls along international borders.

Your high horse Doug needs a little water.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 14, 2018 at 3:24 pm

We are a nation based on the rule of law. When you are sworn in as an attorney, or sworn in as a U.S. citizen after following the legal process of immigration, you take an oath to support the Constitution and the rule of law. We have the rule of law so that there are predictable and established rules if you break the law, with known consequences. The rule of law establishes acceptable and unacceptable behavior, with consequences to persuade people to follow the law. Without the rule of law, we have anarchy, and the breakdown of acceptable behavior. The rule of law keeps peace, order, and stability.

We have rules of law dealing with immigration, and always have. If you are an immigrant and want to come to our great nation, you follow the law, and the procedures legally established. Today, just like always, we legally allow many immigrants to lawful enter our nation, including those who establish if they stay in their native country they will be murdered or face imminent violence.

I have known several Cambodian refugees who legally came to our nation, fleeing death in their country. They followed our procedures, obtaining first green cards, then ultimately citizenship. They are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. One gentleman owns a small donut store, gets up at 3 am everyday, and works 60 hours a week. He put his children thru college, and one is now a doctor. They volunteer in the community, work hard, and achieved the American Dream. They did this legally. They did not simply put together a "caravan and storm the gates", they respected our country, respected our rule of law, and followed the law and procedures to ultimately become U.S. citizens.

If we do nothing, and let the caravan of people simply enter our nation, what do you tell my Cambodian friends, and all the other immigrants who followed the law, followed the procedures, and came here legally? Where is the fairness and due process in making some immigrants fill out forms, pass background tests, pay fees, and wait to become legal citizens here, only to allow others to simply enter illegally?

I agree it is heart breaking to see so many poor people traveling so far with the goal to enter the U.S. I think most of them are coming here not because they face imminent murder in their native nation, but rather they are coming here for better economic opportunities. I also disagree with our President in stereotyping them as "murderers and rapists". Yes, there are probably some gang members and criminals in the caravan, but most are simply people seeking better economic opportunities. I get that. They want to work hard and give their children a better life than they had. I respect that. But they must respect our nation, and our laws, and procedures, and take steps to work here legally, rather than just enter illegally.

What is just as unfair as our President labeling them as "murders and rapists" is people labeling anyone who objects to the caravan entering our nation as "racists". We live in a deeply divided nation, with extremes on both sides labeling people who oppose their beliefs as "bad people", rather than trying to listen to adverse opinions and seek a compromise.

As a compromise, I would suggest the Republicans accept "Dreamers" as legal residents, with Democrats accept building a wall and hiring more border patrol guards. I am sick of hearing my Pope attack our President for wanting to build a wall, while Vatican City is surrounded by walls. If the Caravan was rolling to Vatican City, trust me the Pope would not knock down his walls and just let everyone come on in and stay for as long as they wanted.

And finally, we are living in a different world since 9-11, and there are organized and well trained and funded groups that do seek to come here and implement terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. We have a valid, "non-racist" legitimate interest in vetting those who want to come here, and not allowing caravans of strangers to simply roll on thru. Again, I am not saying that the caravan is full of terrorist, but all it would take is one terrorist blending in, unchecked, to take innocent lives.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by kursi kantor, a resident of Amador Estates,
on Nov 14, 2018 at 11:34 pm

This is thanksgiving meaning, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well. Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Regards,
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var a = document.createElement('a');
var linkText = document.createTextNode("meja kantor");
a.appendChild(linkText);
a.title = "my title text";
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 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

Your pleas for open borders are cryptic - as there appears to be a side-bar behind every thought.

Sillier yet, Cushing's logic about gangs not wanting to come her from Central America is laughable. Hey Cushing, why don't you tell that to the Mexican cartels who have established their trade on BOTH sides of the border? Also, if you don't think there are criminals among the migrant masses, well... I guess you're more naive than I thought.

Most of these migrants are coming here for jobs due to our healthy economy. These folks are not asylum seekers.

The brotherly love thing remains cryptic until proven otherwise.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 25, 2018 at 9:44 pm

Well now, take look here... Hundreds of migrants try rushing toward California port of entry - which proves, once again, THEY don't believe in the rule of law.

U.S. border agents shot several rounds of tear gas after some migrants attempted to penetrate various points along the border and threw what appeared to be rocks at U.S. authorities.

Yup, once again... THEY don't believe in the rule of law.

Notice how Cushing fails to respond when he's hit with cold hard facts?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 7:37 am

@Malcolm Hex

If I were Tom, I wouldn't respond to you. It's pretty apparent that you're just interested in trolling, not intelligent, respectful discussion.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 9:18 am

Yeah Doug, just like your comment - crickets in terms of content.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

Hey Doug, debate this fact (if you can):

In 2013, during the Obama administration, Border Patrol agents reportedly used pepper spray to fend off a group of approximately 100 migrants who attempted to rush the same San Ysidro port of entry.

Care to defend your position now, Doug?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 9:35 am

@Malcolm Hex : “Care to defend your position now, Doug?"

What do you think that my position on this is?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 10:26 am

Obviously on the side of those who do not believe in the rule of law.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 11:16 am

Doug: Some folks who sit in the easy chair of our relative abundance and safety seem to believe that both labels and life are easy. They're not. Labels are easy - life can be hard.

Try this choice: Your little four-year-old daughter is starved for want of any food. You have a chance to steal a loaf of bread. You are destitute - in your desperation, do you do it?

If you say 'yes' - well then, you obviously don't respect the rule of law.

If you say 'no' - well then, you obviously don't love your daughter.

Easy, and simplistic, and a game. And no, I won't be baited into further comment, although someone is very likely to try. Some games aren't worth playing.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 26, 2018 at 8:54 pm

You're right Mr. Cushing, it's not a game - just as human trafficking, gangs, and criminals are are not games. Unlike you, my expertise in these areas - 30 years law enforcement - far exceed your understanding of these problems.

BTW, you also mentioned the words “easy" and “simplistic." Was it not you who said the rule of law should be established in other countries? If you believe that - as do I - then how would you apply it?

Easy to say, harder to prove.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 27, 2018 at 7:13 am

@Malcolm Hex :"Obviously on the side of those who do not believe in the rule of law."

(1) You think that you know my thoughts and position on the border incident according to your way of simplistically pigeonholing people and their views, but you don't. (2) You're obviously either unwilling or incapable of discussing the issue rationally and respectfully with anyone whose views are not a carbon copy of your own views.

We're done. Nothing further to say here,


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Hey Doug, are you Tom's keeper? Poor little fella. However, should you choose to bump your gums and spar with me over this issue, then by all means strut your stuff. But please, stop playing the role of playground monitor.

BTW, my views are shaped by real-world experience working in law enforcement. Can't say I've ever known a PhD that had my back when the shit hit the fan.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Mr. McNish, a resident of another community,
on Dec 7, 2018 at 11:03 am

Well, my goodness, a debate that never became a debate!

So, Tom, based on your analogy regarding the rule of bread, you left out something vitally important: A person must get into the store first before he takes the bread. But what if the store knew of his intention and background before taking the bread? Would he be allowed in the store? Of course not.

These folks coming from the south do not look emaciated from lack of nutrition - which I feel is the flaw in your analogy. If food, or lack thereof, was an issue, then how did all those people traverse thousands of miles to get to the border in the first place?

Just my two cents.




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