kyledeb: November 2008 Archives

Happy Thanksgiving

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There is much to be unhappy about in the world, but today is a good day to count your blessings.  It is gratitude, not guilt, that inspires much of the work I do.  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, today is a good day to reflect on what you're thankful for.  I'm in Michigan with family preparing to eat a delicious meal and watch the Lions lose.  Stay well everyone.  When Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world" he was speaking as much about taking care of yourself as he was about making change.  
Hearing Virgil Goode rant against anchor babies months ago inspired me to write an indictment of nativist attacks on the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution.  I'm happy to report that another nativist Republican has lost his congressional seat to a more moderate Democrat.  While Tom Perreillo is not the most pro-migrant candidate, I'll take him over Virgil Goode any day.

Virgil Goode isn't alone in illustrating that nativism is a losing electoral strategy.  An analysis by America's Voice (pdf) shows in "battleground" races for House and Senate seats pro-migration reform candidates beat nativists 19 out of 21 times.

So, not only is nativism a despicable electoral strategy, it's a stupid one too. 
The blogger from Damn Mexicans emailed me tonight pointing me to a news item on Peter Thiel.  Thiel is on Facebook's board of directors and is a major investor in the social networking company.  According to Vallewag, it appears that Thiel might have donated $1 million to NumbersUSA, an anti-migrant group we are all very familiar with. 

A source within Clarium Capital, Facebook investor Peter Thiel's multibillion-dollar hedge fund, claims that Thiel has just donated $1 million to NumbersUSA, the largest anti-immigration group in the U.S. Another source denies that Thiel made the donation -- but Rob Morrow, a principal at Clarium and close Thiel associate, has backed the group with a small donation of $1,000 or less.
Owen Thomas - ValleyWag (5 Nov 2008)
Anonymous sources making allegations and denials certainly aren't the most credible, but DM dug up something else that certainly makes this more probable.  Peter Thiel coauthored a book, "The Diversity Myth", in 1998 which argues that "multiculturalism" is used to promote intolerance on campuses.  With a views like that I wouldn't be surprised if Thiel was in the anti-migrant crowd.

If Thiel really did donate $1 million to NumbersUSA, Facebook should kick him off the Board of Directors.  If Thiel didn't, it's important that Thiel and Facebook publicly deny the affiliation and denounce NumbersUSA.  Until either of these two things happen, I'm disabling advertising on the Facebook, and I've created a Facebook group to ask others to do the same.  Facebook won't get my advertising dollars while nativism like this is tolerated.
Those watching closely will have noticed some changes on Citizen Orange.  Most notably the authors page has been updated, and soon we'll be releasing a regular schedule for bloggers that will be posting here. 

In the meantime, I wanted to encourage everyone interested in writing at least once every two weeks for Citizen Orange to contact us here.  Citizen Orange is one of the most widely read migration blogs in the United States, maybe even the world, and it certainly has a tangible impact on the U.S. migration debate. 

Through Citizen Orange, I've been able to meet some of the biggest movers and shakers in the U.S., and what's even more surprising to me is that most of them have heard of Citizen Orange.  It's a testament to what can be accomplished through blogging.
Whoop. Di. Do. 

I applied for a $10,000 blogging scholarship a little while ago since I'm back at school and I've been selected as one of the finalists.  You can vote for me here.

I guess this is when I'm supposed to mobilize everyone I know to vote for me, or I could just use the tricks that the nativist folks at ALIPAC are fond of which allow you to vote multiple times in polls like these.  That's just not me though.
I'm reading Legalizing Moves: Salvadoran Immigrants' Struggle For U.S. Residency, by Susan Bibler Coutin, for a class I'm taking here at Harvard with Dr. Sarah Willen.  I can't comment on the whole book, since I'm only reading the first two chapters, but I came across this powerful metaphor for mass migration to the U.S.:

Jorge Lima, a Salvadoran who had been active in opposition groups in both the United States and El Salvador, attributed [denying asylum to individuals] to the lack of responsibility regarding the consequences of U.S. policies that destroyed lives in El Salvador. 

Jorge told me that the situation of Central American immigrants "is like when a woman has been raped and is pregnant, see?  Then there's a reality! Understand? She has conceived, and however you try to exterminate that fact, it's a reality!  You can't keep it a secret.  You may not register it in your structures, as though it never existed.  But yes, it did exist!" 

In this graphic image, El Salvador is a raped woman, the United States is the rapist, Central American immigrants are the illegitimate child, and U.S. immigration law is a means of denying the child's existence.
Susan Coutin - Legalizing Moves (2000 : pp. 40-21)

It would be a fair criticism of my writing to say that I dwell too much on doom and injustice.  That's not the best way to attract converts to your cause.  Still, I believe graphic imagery like this metaphor Jorge Lima expressed in an interview is useful for putting migrant rights in perspective. 
I think RicTresa's comment was a first for me the other day:

Hey Kyle.. Come on buddy. Time to get it going! New week and all. Write something good so I can use my brains again.
RicTresa (10 November 2008)
While I'm sure others have been unhappy with my absences, RicTresa (who has a user blog at Salon.com) is the first to express it in a comment and ask me to come back, I believe.  It means a lot.  In many ways it is an expression of the importance of pro-migrant spaces like this.

Time for Reflection

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Citizen Orange has been a little silent since the election.  Perhaps this is a good time to take in the historic significance of what has just occurred.  There is still much work to be done, especially when it comes to the rights of migrants, but for now, I'm going to take a step back from the outrage and just reflect.
You know it's over if The Crimson says so.  Let's see how the other races turn out.

UPDATE: New York Times calls it for Obama.  It's over.
Here's the report.  Here's the map.  Here's the state.  With McCain relying almost exclusively on a Pennsylvania win to pull his strategy off, I would say it's look like an early night for Obama.  The House and the Senate races will make the night interesting.

I Wish I Could Say More

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Get out and vote, tomorrow.  If you think democracy is a sham, you're not doing it right.  I started my pro-migrant blogging with the quote, "the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality."  Silence is neutrality.  Get out and vote. 

There's no such thing as a wasted vote.  Fivethirtyeight.com gives Obama a 98.1% chance of winning this election.  It doesn't matter if Obama has it locked up.  If you're pro-migrant, I've got news for you.  It's the local elections that matter.  That's where a few hundred votes can often make the difference.  So I'll say it for a third time:

Get out and vote.
The way the mainstream "progressive" netroots have handled the story of Obama's Aunt is a complete embarrassment.  I wrote about it earlier this morning.  First, I was told several times by commenters on Daily Kos that "this is a non-story".  Wrong.  It has been on the front page of memeorandum all day.  If you have turned on your TV, it has been blaring all over the 24-hour cable news networks.

The silence is deafening on the front pages of major "progressive" blogs like Daily Kos and Firedoglake.  My only conclusion can be that they agree that this is a non-story.  It's to be expected from blogs that exist to elect "more and better Democrats."  If it helps Democrats to be silent on one of the most important social justice issues of our time, U.S. migration policy, you can expect that the "progressive" blogs will follow.  It's to be expected from those that have called migration a "pet issue.

The few that have covered the story, like, Matt Stoller of Open Left, Digby, and Josh Marshall and Zachary Roth of Talking Points Memo, have completely ceded the U.S. migration debate to nativists.  The debate over this story has devolved into one of Republican nativism and Democrats and their allies either describing this as smear or running as far away from this as they can. If having an unauthorized migrant relative is a smear, than smear me too.

Obama's Aunt Is "Illegal"

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Two days ago, on October 30, the London Times reported that Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt, Zeituni Onyango, was living in public housing in Boston.   This Saturday morning, the Associated Press reported that Onyango is an unauthorized migrant. 

Nativist bloggers are already foaming at the mouth.  Michelle Malkin has highlighted a typical nativist comment, capital letters and all:

Obama's aunt is here ILLEGALLY living in poverty, and is a deportation FUGITIVE. She's collecting WELFARE and has DONATED to Obama's campaign, ILLEGALLY! Obama. Family in poverty as he makes millions. Complete lawlessness. Giveaway your hard earned tax payer money to illegal fugitives. CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.
Ace of Spades - Commenter (1 November 2008)
Is it even possible for nativists to make an argument without using ALL CAPS?  Nativists want you believe that Onyango's immigration status makes her a criminal.  Not true.