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[ 3 ] February 12, 2017 |

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Talking general strikes (extremely skeptical) and building trades’ snuggling with Trump (sigh) with Joshua Holland.

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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 70

[ 78 ] February 12, 2017 |

This is the grave of Virgil Earp.

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Born in 1843 in Hartford, Kentucky, Earp joined the Union army in 1863, serving with the 83rd Illinois Infantry. He was married at this time with a baby daughter. His wife was told he had died. She then married another man and moved to Oregon. He left the army in 1865 and went to Iowa, where he thought his family resided. But they were long gone. He remarried in 1870 but the woman disappeared from all public records so we don’t know what happened. Earp and his brothers Wyatt and Morgan moved all around the West for a long time, doing a variety of jobs, including law enforcement. He eventually found himself in Dodge City, Kansas with his brother but it’s unclear if he served in law enforcement. He did however hear through friends about opportunities in Tombstone, Arizona, and convinced his brothers to move there with him. In 1880, Virgil was appointed town marshal on and off for the next couple of years.

It was here that he played a critical role in the Shootout at the O.K. Corral. After a series of threats by outlaw cowboys known as the Cochise County Cowboys, Tombstone passed a law requiring people to turn in their guns. The Earps had tried to crack down on the Cowboys organized crime activities and their lives were frequently threatened. On October 26, 1881, the two sides battled in Tombstone and 3 of the Cowboys were killed. Virgil, his two brothers, and Doc Holliday were originally charged with murder but a judge quickly exonerated them. That was not the end of their travails. On December 28, the Cowboys attempted to kill Virgil, shooting him three times in the back. They failed, but they destroyed his left arm. Morgan Earp was assassinated in March 1882. While Wyatt led a posse to kill the Cowboys, Virgil went to recover at his parents house in California.

He took two years to recover from his wounds. After that, he served in a variety of law enforcement positions in California. He later ran a saloon, moved to Colorado and then Arizona, where he got involved in mining and ranching. It was not until 1898 that he discovered his first wife and daughter were alive. They made contact and he became close with his daughter and grandchildren he did not know he had. He died in Goldfield, Nevada in 1905.

Earp has been portrayed many times in popular culture. Among the highlights are Tim Holt playing him in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine, Guy Wilkerson in Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73, John Hudson in John Sturges’ Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Frank Converse in another Sturges production, Hour of the Gun, a far too old for the part Sam Elliott in George Cosmatos’ Tombstone, and Michael Madsen in Lawrence Kasdan’s Wyatt Earp. Also, Charles Maxwell played him in an episode of Star Trek, which I guess I have never seen.

Virgil Earp is buried in River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.

This Day in Labor History: February 11, 1903

[ 10 ] February 11, 2017 |

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On February 11, 1903, the Japanese-Mexican Labor Association formed to build racial solidarity among workers against sugar beet farmers near Oxnard, California. This was the first major cross-racial, non-white agricultural union in California. The following strike and victory was a sign of the possibilities of cross-racial organizing in the United States, but the aftermath and its eventual defeat a sad story about how white racism within the labor movement has undermined labor organizing in American history.

On the West Coast, and especially in California, a complicated labor situation developed soon after the United States stole it in the Mexican War. With the discovery of gold, white men rushed to what soon became a new state. But so did other people from around the world. This created immediate tension, as the white working class preferred to labor for themselves than do the hard service labor required, but also deeply resented any competition to them in what they saw as a white man’s state. So while the Chinese and Mexicans soon became banished to service labor and the most dangerous labor such as building railroads, the state’s burgeoning union movement wanted to eject Asian labor from the state entirely. They succeeded with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. But employers, especially in the state’s growing agricultural sector, quickly found other sources of cheap labor, both from Japan and Mexico.

Japanese workers soon gained a reputation for breaking contracts to force wage increases. One farmer complained to an investigator with the Department of Labor, “Every Japanese gang is a trade union; they come and quit together.” When one farmer hired a group of Japanese to pick his almonds in 1901, he thought he had a great deal because he hired them for $1.25 a day when he was paying whites $1.50. But after being on the job for two days, the Japanese demanded a raise to $2.50 and had to find a new labor force for that year, switching to hiring Japanese contractors in the future so he didn’t have to deal with it. As a whole, Japanese laborers found themselves earning steadily higher wages each year after 1900.

In response, the farm owners formed their own organization to collectively push down wages. The Western Agricultural Contracting Company sought to take control of the labor situation by undermining the Japanese contractors, forcing them and all other non-white contractors to subcontract through the WACC. They had a Mexican Department and a “Jap Department” to do this with the individual racial groups. This was effectively a racist labor monopoly. The prices paid for the thinning of the sugar beets were reduced from $5-6 an acre to $3.75. The promised $1.50 wage a day the reality became a brutal piecework system. It was this that spurred the organization of workers, not only the Japanese, but the smaller number of Mexican workers caught up in this system.

On February 11, 500 Japanese workers and 200 Mexican workers formed the Japanese-Mexican Labor Association. They named Kosabura Babo, a Japanese labor contractor, as president and then had a Japanese and a Mexican secretary for each ethnic group. The union soon grew to 1200 members. Their primary goal was eliminating the WACC. Believing the employer labor monopoly artificially suppressed wages, they wanted the end of the subcontracting system as it required workers to pay both the contractor and the subcontractor to work and they wanted to be paid in cash instead of company scrip, always a classic way employers sought to steal from their workers in rural areas. The one thing the workers had going for them, as farmworkers always do, is that crops must be planted and/or harvested within a short and very specific amount of time, before they go bad. In this case, the critical thinning of the sugar beet seedlings was just around the corner.

On March 23, white farmers struck back, as they would against organized labor so many times in their sordid history. A group of them shot into a crowd of strikers, killing a Mexican worker named Luis Vazquez and wounding four other workers, two Mexican and two Japanese. The media blamed the JMLA for this, even though the workers were innocent. The Los Angeles Times, ever an anti-union outfit in these decades, wrote that “agitation-crazed Mexicans and Japanese” had attacked “independent workmen.” Charles Arnold was soon arrested for Vazquez’s murder but even though he was obviously guilty, the all-white male jury was not going to convict him. So the JMLA upped the ante, engaging in more aggressive actions to win the strike. In one action, 50 Mexican strikers wearing masks went to a scab camp, cut down their tents, and forced them to leave the farm. They also managed to win a lot of the scabs being brought from elsewhere over to the strike by just talking to them.

In the aftermath of the violence, with the JMLA showing continued success and the beets needing their trimming, the farm owners finally agreed to a deal, which the union made more likely by threatening to take all their workers out of the county if they did not agree. On March 30, they signed the agreement. The wages for thinning were reset to $5 and then up to $6 an acre. The JMLA won union recognition and the right to represent workers on 5000 acres of farms through Ventura County, excluding only one large farm. Japanese and Mexican contractors retook control over the hiring process.

So this is a happy story, right? They even won union recognition at a time when that was pretty rare, especially for low wage, low skill workers. Nope. That’s because Samuel Gompers denied their AFL charter since the organization would not allow Japanese members. After the JMLA’s victory, J.M. Lizarras, secretary of the Mexican branch of the new union, petitioned the AFL for a charter. This would have made the JMLA the first agricultural union in the AFL. The California AFL was extremely anti-Asian. This was only a couple of years before the San Francisco population, including many unions, went ballistic over the idea of Asians going to school with white children and tried to institute a Jim Crow system of segregation that forced President Theodore Roosevelt intervene to avoid an international crisis with a growing power, leading to the Gentlemen’s Agreement that ended Japanese immigration. So the willingness of California white workers to accept even the idea of unionized workers of color was pretty fleeting. Some labor councils were better than others and the Los Angeles County Council of Labor adopted a resolution to favor the unionization of all unskilled workers regardless of race or nationality, even at the same time also opposing further Asian immigration. But most would not go this far. Neither would Gompers. He turned them down after heavy lobbying against them by the San Francisco Council of Labor. Without that official support, the JMLA declined quickly and there is little evidence of it existing even by the end of 1903. There was more agitation over labor exploitation in 1906, but no documents mention the JMLA. Once again, racism got in the way of an effective American labor movement.

This would be far from the last time the different races in the California fields and other agricultural sectors of the U.S. organized to help each other, although as the marginalization of the Filipinos within the United Farm Workers demonstrates, such cross-racial solidarity was never easy to maintain. It would not be the last time by any means that California farmers would resort to violence to bust a strike. It would also be far from the last time that white unionists hurt their own economic interests by opposing the unionization or employment of people of color.

I borrowed from Mark Wyman, Hoboes: Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, and the Harvesting of the West and Tomás Almaguer, Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California for the writing of this post.

This is the 208th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

The Worst Run Administration in the United States

[ 62 ] February 10, 2017 |

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I mean, you want to say it’s the Trump administration, right?

Carl Higbie has interviewed for the position of White House press secretary, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the matter.

“Well, I can say that I’ve offered my services,” Higbie confirms for Washingtonian when reached by phone. “I haven’t heard back from the administration yet. I’m honored to be even considered for this.” Higbie says he has spoken with “a number of people” in interview rounds for the post.

Higbie interviewed for the position on Thursday, according to the sources. Higbie declined to confirm this.

Higbie, a former Navy SEAL, is close with the Trump family, particularly Eric Trump, whom he met in the green room after appearing on the Kelly File last year. He was one of the first official surrogates for the president on the campaign trail. He was also spokesman for the Great America PAC, which purported to earmark donations “from the grassroots” for the Trump campaign.

Higbie sparked the wires this week after stating on CNN that Senator John McCain — with his own history of “crashing planes” in Vietnam — should apologize for suggesting that the Yemen raid was “unsuccessful.” He found himself in a heated Twitter exchange with Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter, over his comments.

It’s unclear what this means for the future of Sean Spicer’s post as press secretary, or whether he will take on the role of communications director. The post has been vacant since Jason Miller, dogged by allegations of an affair with a fellow aide, stepped down before Trump’s inauguration.

And it’s a strong case. But then there’s the Knicks. Holy moly.

Sometime Wednesday — as I watched Charles Oakley go face down on the Garden floor and get handcuffed, or maybe it was the next day when I read another of the Knicks president’s cryptic, emoji-laden Twitter posts that might read better if I were stoned — this thought occurred:

Start running, because this building is coming down.

I don’t mean that just because of this Knicks season. The team of my youth lets go of seasons like a lobsterman tossing underweight crustaceans back into the Gulf of Maine. I mean the entire Kremlin by Seventh Avenue apparatus run by the glowering James L. Dolan.

The Garden’s insistence in this case on not just booting Oakley — who no doubt behaved badly, pushing security guards and cursing — from his seat at the game, but gang-tackling and handcuffing him on national television, was bad optics raised to high art. The Kremlin printing press swung into motion. A Knicks Twitter post arrived: “Oakley behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner.”

It ended: “We hope he gets some help soon.”

Let’s turn now to the confounding Zen Phil. He was there Wednesday night and, as so often is the case, he appeared to be looking in, bemused, on his own absurdist theater show. I applauded his hiring two years ago. He was an older man trying to learn a new trick: running an N.B.A. franchise. But he was a brilliant, iconoclastic coach and author who motivated and needled and massaged the prickliest of stars into one-for-all championship runs. And he had the ego and sense of self to make Dolan back off.

As it turns out, I was demonstrably correct only on the last point.

Jackson’s most fateful decision was to re-sign Carmelo Anthony and to grant his star’s demand for a no-trade clause. Anthony is forthright in the locker room, after infrequent wins and more frequent losses. Anthony was the pillar of the team’s one true playoff run of his time here. And he has a social conscience, speaking out on gun control, among other issues.

He is well into his 30s, however, and some nights his legs look as heavy as dining table staves. Too often he slows the offense to a torpor.

A savvy team president might go to his aging star and work out an amicable parting. A savvy team president might keep those talks private, seeing no point in running down an asset.

Jackson is not that man. No longer forced to meet with the news media daily, as when he coached, he prefers to cultivate an air of mystery, the enigmatic Captain Beefheart of this hair-on-fire administration.

Honestly, I’m surprised Trump hasn’t brought Dolan into his administration. He has the level of competence that Donald Trump loves!

How’s Embracing Trump Working Out for the Building Trades?

[ 64 ] February 10, 2017 |

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I and many others have excoriated the building trades for embracing Trump. Not only is it betraying the rest of the left and betraying the interests of many of their own members who are black, Latino, and/or Muslim, but it’s not even going to work out for them. Trump is going to sign a bill repealing Davis-Bacon if it gets past the Senate. And now he’s brought the former head of the construction industry’s chief lobbying group into the Department of Labor.

Last month, President Donald Trump hosted the chiefs of several building trades unions at the White House in a meeting notable for how friendly it was given that they had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the campaign.

In a particularly glowing statement after the meeting, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said Trump “has shown that he respects laborers who build our great nation, and that they will be abandoned no more.” That was in response to the administration’s effort to restart two controversial pipeline projects.

But the recent hiring at the Department of Labor of Geoffrey Burr, the former chief lobbyist of the construction industry’s trade group, has worker advocates alarmed.

It also highlights the dilemma of the building trades unions, the segment of organized labor that has been most friendly to Trump: They largely support his agenda on infrastructure and trade even as he is assembling a Department of Labor team that is hostile to unions and cherished wage standards on government contracts.

“What does it mean that we are putting people in charge of the Department of Labor, which is meant to be the strongest advocate for workers within the administration, who built their careers around advocating dismantling protections for workers?” asked Karla Walter, director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Burr, now a member of the Trump beachhead team at the Department of Labor, spent seven years as the vice president for government affairs at the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The group is a fierce opponent of the law that gives workers on government construction contracts the right to be paid in line with local prevailing wages — a rate determined by the Department of Labor. The idea of the Depression-era law, called the Davis-Bacon Act, is to protect workers from being undercut by lower-paid, less-skilled workers from other areas of the country.

But hey, the Laborers will get to build the Dakota Access Pipeline before their union is destroyed!

Uber: “Maximum Evil Is Our Goal”

[ 27 ] February 10, 2017 |

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Oh Uber. Whenever it comes up in the news, you know it’s going to be because they are doing something awful again.

Late last month, Uber sued the city of Seattle, challenging the city’s authority to implement a landmark law allowing drivers in the gig economy to unionize. It was an opening shot in what is likely to be a long and costly legal battle.

Uber’s legal challenge comes at an awkward time for the ride-hailing juggernaut. The company recently named 2017 “the year of the driver” and has said it will devote energy and resources to improving its relationship with the hundreds of thousands of people who drive on its platform. But the company’s bungled response to a taxi strike during the recent JFK protests led to a grassroots #DeleteUber campaign that saw 200,000 riders canceling their accounts. This latest situation in Seattle may further complicate Uber’s attempts to reverse the negative effects of that campaign.

After its passage in December 2015, Uber and Lyft declined to challenge it outright, instead supporting a lawsuit brought by the pro-business, anti-union US Chamber of Commerce. But then in August, a judge tossed the chamber’s lawsuit, calling it premature until the city moved forward with implementation.

That implementation began in December, when Seattle’s department of Finance and Administrative Services published rules online that cover issues like which drivers get to unionize, working conditions subject to bargaining, and how an organization gets certified to represent drivers exclusively.

Shortly thereafter, Uber filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s rulemaking authority, calling it “arbitrary and capricious” and inconsistent with “fundamental labor laws,” according to court documents. “The City must follow a lawful rulemaking process and adopt rules which properly consider the facts and circumstances of drivers and the industry, and labor law precedent,” Uber argues in the suit.

LGM has exclusive live coverage of Uber headquarters.

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How Far Can They Take the Grift?

[ 149 ] February 10, 2017 |

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With Ivanka’s Nordstrom contract and Melania’s lawsuit evidently more important than national security, jobs, or any other problem the nation is having, one wonders how far the Republican Congress will put up with the open, lawless grifting. I imagine really far, but Conway’s actions is at least forcing Jason Chaffetz to pretend like he cares. I mean, it’s not an e-mail server of a Democrat or anything, so it’s not really important…

Hey, It’s Something Not Terrible!

[ 27 ] February 9, 2017 |

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Here’s something not terrible: a previously unknown picture of Harriet Tubman, showing her at a significantly younger age that the famed picture of her. Pretty cool. This reminds me of the days, lo all those 3 weeks ago, when everything wasn’t truly horrible and something like this would be a nice topper to a pretty good day. Those days were better than the president giving new powers to law enforcement to do whatever they want to black people. Although at least we received a major victory against the Muslim ban today. What Trump will do when the Supreme Court either ties and sends it back to the 9th or outright rejects it, which may happen just so Roberts and Kennedy can put Trump in his place if nothing else, is a whole other question.

Anyway, new photo of Harriet Tubman!

West Virginia Democrats

[ 114 ] February 9, 2017 |

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We had a good discussion last night over what to do about Joe Manchin. It’s worth noting in context of that conversation that the other statewide elected Democrat, Governor Jim Justice, is the type of Democrat who zeroes out state funding of public television and radio. Half of West Virginia’s public broadcasting comes from the state. What is the upshot of this?

But if state funding is completely eliminated, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the state of West Virginia stand to lose much of those matching funds – hurting our economy even more.

Many of our costs are fixed (programming, tower leases, electricity.) This state cut would translate into layoffs of up to 75 percent of our staff, which would endanger our ability to operate.

These proposed cuts are even more damaging because the Justice Administration did not consult anyone at West Virginia Public Broadcasting for advice. Currently, there is no transition plan for WVPB.

Eliminating all state funding endangers our ability to provide PBS Kids programming to low-income children who need it the most. WVPB’s main PBS channel provide 67 hours per week of educational children’s programming. And the station just launched a new 24/7 PBS Kids Channel.

The elimination of funding also hurts more than 6,000 educators and homeschoolers who depend on videos and curricula on our West Virginia Learning Media website.

This budget also eliminates all funding for WVPB’s Mountain Stage, West Virginia’s calling card to the world. More than 13,000 people attended a Mountain Stage concert in West Virginia last year, leading to more than $1 million in direct economic impact.

What does the Governor’s proposed elimination of all funding for Mountain Stage save? $300,000.

None of which is to say that you can’t try to primary Manchin if you want. But I’d like to see at least the tiniest bit of evidence that West Virginia voters are interested in any candidate who is not a right-winger from either party before we commit resources to it.

Talking About Buy American Campaigns

[ 144 ] February 9, 2017 |

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One of Trump’s strongest appeals to the white working class is his aggressive economic nationalist rhetoric that seeks to punish other nations for sending goods to the United States instead of having them made here. Trump doesn’t actually care about any of this of course. He pals around with capitalists, the very people who are responsible for this. He tweets at union leaders when called out on his actions, blaming them for the loss of jobs. But it doesn’t really matter to a lot of these workers. Finally, someone is speaking their language. And when combined with other forms of white resentment, this is very powerful for large swaths of the white working class. Even if he fails to bring the jobs back (and of course he will fail because that’s not actually his goal), for white people who remember buying a new car every 3 years, they don’t believe that Democratic politicians are any better, even if they provide them with better health care options and want to save their Social Security. After all, they see those things, especially the older retirement-based benefits, as their rights as working Americans, not gifts from liberal Democrats.

Moreover, it’s simply reasonable industrial policy to create employment in industrial jobs in the United States. It’s necessary on a number of levels. First, it’s smart politics. Second, it stabilizes areas in decline by attempting to build jobs in struggling areas. Third, we have to provide a dignified life with good-paying jobs for working class people of all races. We can’t simply say, “Automation is inevitable. Tough luck. Here’s a little money to get some education to do some other job that will pay not very much, 52 year old worker with maybe a high school diploma.” This is a recipe for social disaster, as we are already seeing with the 2016 election and its horrifying aftermath. Moreover, there are good reasons to produce goods in the United States. The access to clean energy is one of them. If we want to create industrial policy that is going to be useful in mitigating climate change, then considering the whole cost of a project, including its climate costs, may well be a really good reason to produce goods in the United States, even if that costs more up front. Moreover, there are good reasons to not support or allow the labor and environmental exploitation of the world’s poor, and I have long called for international courts and national laws to regulate this, taking away some of the incentive for capital mobility.

One of the areas undergoing a lot of outsourcing right now is industrial food production. Companies like Mondelez, which sounds like a fancy French company but is actually just a renamed Kraft, bought up Nabisco at some point. It has now moved Oreo production out of Chicago to Mexico. The Nabisco workers are doing a national tour, talking to college campuses and other workers, about their plight. These are workers who are suffering. Their good jobs are gone and they don’t have any other options. As part of this, they have produced an animation explaining their position in a very simple way. It’s worth your time.

Unfortunately, this video and therefore the workers’ message, is a little bit racist. It starts out OK, playing on a very important point–that Nabisco factories in Mexico pay workers very little and have lax regulatory standards. These are good reasons to say, I don’t want my cookies exploiting others. But it’s a feint. The rest of the video doesn’t care one whit about the Mexican workers. Talking about bad regulatory standards and low wages is an excuse to say instead that we as Americans should want our products made in the United States. It says you should go into the grocery store, find products with Made in Mexico labels, and confront store manages to tell them you don’t want those products. And that’s a level of economic nationalism I’m not real comfortable with. But trying to thread a needle of wanting products made ethically no matter where they come from is going to be a hard sell to these workers. For them, it’s not just about saving their own jobs, it’s about AMERICA! And given that we on the left don’t really have an answer to their particular problems, you can see the appeal Trump would have to the white workers in these plants, as well as of course why black and Latino workers would be deeply disturbed by that appeal. In a global era, the answer to our problems is not AMERICA!, it’s ethical production that raises standards around the world while also seeking to keep good union jobs in the United States. But given how hard it is to articulate precisely how that happens, good luck communicating that to everyday workers. And good luck getting the white everyday workers to think the Democratic Party has an answer to their problems.

The Small Farm

[ 126 ] February 9, 2017 |

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The mythology of the family farm goes deep in American history. It’s only recently that presidential elections stopped using this mythology for endless ads (if there’s one thing neither candidate cared about in 2016, it was farmers in Kansas or Ohio). Remember how tied up into being a small farmer the Carter campaign was. But the family farms have been stressed and declining for nearly a century, as automation and global commodity markets made efficiency the only thing that mattered. Despite the U.S. propping up these farmers through Nixon-era crop subsidies, they continue to decline. Given the relatively small number of people involved, I can’t get too worked up over the routine stories like this about their continued decline.

That said, this is part of the larger American problem that we have not come up with any sort of long-term industrial or employment planning to figure out what these people do when they lose their farms. Where do they go? What kind of dignified life can they lead? That’s even more true if they want to stay in small-town Kansas or Iowa, but not really that much better for most if they move to the cities. The lack of such a policy is really at the core of a number of our problems right now, including the sharp reaction to right-wing white nationalist politics with its very strong economic message of “screw brown people.” With millions of people about to lose their jobs due to automation in trucking and restaurants, this is not getting better as we on the left aren’t even articulating any good ideas on this point. We are at the starting point, ceding the rhetorical field to fascists. At least we can have some great songs about it.

Of course, no one epitomizes the Trump voter more than the white farmer, so it’s not like they would support any big programs to help themselves out anyway, unless it was more cash payments that went directly to them. As Donald Worster pointed out years ago in his excellent book Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, farmers of the western Plains were big fans of the New Deal precisely up to the point where a) they saw an outsized amount of the benefits and b) the economy was so bad that they had no other choice. As soon as the New Deal was seen helping those people and the weather turned so they could be productive again, they turned back to the environmentally disastrous farming methods and hatred of the government that got them into trouble in the first place.

So there is no little irony that the California farmers who so strongly supported Trump and now worried about acquiring their cheap, exploitable labor force that has driven their agenda for more than a century.

Jeff Marchini and others in the Central Valley here bet their farms on the election of Donald J. Trump. His message of reducing regulations and taxes appealed to this Republican stronghold, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest bases of support in the state.

As for his promises about cracking down on illegal immigrants, many assumed Mr. Trump’s pledges were mostly just talk. But two weeks into his administration, Mr. Trump has signed executive orders that have upended the country’s immigration laws. Now farmers here are deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for their workers, most of whom are unauthorized, and the businesses that depend on them.

“Everything’s coming so quickly,” Mr. Marchini said. “We’re not loading people into buses or deporting them, that’s not happening yet.” As he looked out over a crew of workers bent over as they rifled through muddy leaves to find purple heads of radicchio, he said that as a businessman, Mr. Trump would know that farmers had invested millions of dollars into produce that is growing right now, and that not being able to pick and sell those crops would represent huge losses for the state economy. “I’m confident that he can grasp the magnitude and the anxiety of what’s happening now.”

Mr. Trump’s immigration policies could transform California’s Central Valley, a stretch of lowlands that extends from Sacramento to Bakersfield. Approximately 70 percent of all farmworkers here are living in the United States illegally, according to researchers at University of California, Davis. The impact could reverberate throughout the valley’s precarious economy, where agriculture is by far the largest industry. With 6.5 million people living in the valley, the fields in this state bring in $35 billion a year and provide more of the nation’s food than any other state.

Yeah, like he cares about you Mr. White Farmer.

Between this and $3 tomatoes in January thanks to whatever restrictions they are going to put on products coming in from Mexico, the reemergence of nutrition-based diseases among the American poor is sure going to work out for all of us!

Make America White Again

[ 147 ] February 9, 2017 |

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Today the annals of the United States embracing naked 19th century versions of racism. Example A:

Fadwa Alaoui is a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen living in Brossard, Quebec. Like a lot of Quebecers, she sometimes drives down to Vermont to take advantage of the deals. But on Saturday, when her family pulled up at the border, Alaoui encountered something new.

After the usual set of questions, Alaoui was asked about her religion and her thoughts on U.S. President Donald Trump. Border agents took her phone and fingerprints. Four hours later she was told that her family wasn’t welcome and she was forced to turn back.

HM: And you answered all the questions?

FA: Yes. I answered all the questions, the best that I know. I was calm. I collaborate. I give him all the answers he wanted to know. He told me: Are you part of any group? Muslim group? I told him no. I told him it’s not my first time that I’m going to the United States. I have family there. I have my parents, my brothers, everyone is there. Today, especially, I want to bring my son with me because he is sick. I want to change his mind and give him a treat because he was sick, he had cancer. He asked me about the mosque: Do you know the last name of the imam? If he is always present? If someone replace him? The name of the person who replaced him? He told me: What do you think about the shooting in Quebec? Do you have relatives in Quebec that was one of the victims?

HM: I understand he also asked your thoughts on President Donald Trump?

FA: Yes. He asked me: What do you think about Donald Trump? I told him, what? He told me: [What’s] your opinion about his policy. I told him, listen, he has the right to do whatever he wants in his country. I don’t expect that. I’m not following the news. I’m not following what happened. I have a busy life. I have busy schedule with my son, with all these appointments at the hospital, with my kids.

Example B:

For eight years, Guadalupe García de Rayos had checked in at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office here, a requirement since she was caught using a fake Social Security number during a raid in 2008 at a water park where she worked.

Every year since then, she has walked in and out of the meetings after a brief review of her case and some questions.

But not this year.

On Wednesday, immigration agents arrested Ms. Rayos, 35, and began procedures to send her back to Mexico, a country she has not seen since she left it 21 years ago.

As a van carrying Ms. Rayos left the ICE building, protesters were waiting. They surrounded it, chanting, “Liberation, not deportation.” Her daughter, Jacqueline, joined in, holding a sign that read, “Not one more deportation.” One man, Manuel Saldana, tied himself to one of the van’s front wheels and said, “I’m going to stay here as long as it takes.”

Soon, police officers in helmets had surrounded Mr. Saldana. They cut off the ties holding him to the tire and rounded up at least six others who were blocking the front and back of the van, arresting them all. The driver quickly put the van in reverse and rolled back into the building.

Ms. Rayos was one of several detainees inside the van. It was unclear whether officials planned to take them to Mexico or to detention.

By midnight on Thursday, her husband said he was not sure where she was. A vehicle had just left the building under police escort, and he said he suspected she may have been inside.

Ms. Rayos was arrested just days after the Trump administration broadened the definition of “criminal alien,” a move that immigrants’ rights advocates say could easily apply to a majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants,” Ms. Rayos’s lawyer, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, said Wednesday after leaving the building here that houses the federal immigration agency, known by its acronym, ICE.

Example C:

House Republicans blocked a resolution advanced by Democrats on Tuesday declaring that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. From the Washington Examiner:

Led by [House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe] Crowley, Democrats tried to force the House to vote on the resolution he introduced last week calling on the White House “to affirm that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust.” More than 100 House Democrats co-sponsored the measure.

During debate on the rule for the House to consider three resolutions disapproving of three Obama administration rules concerning the Bureau of Land Management and Education Department, Crowley tried to defeat a procedural vote as a way to force Republicans to consider his resolution. But Republicans rejected the Democrats’ plan in a party-line vote.

The resolution, a shrewd effort to pin Republicans down on something the Trump administration has needlessly made an issue, condemned the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which failed to mention Jews or the anti-Semitism that led to Adolf Hitler’s genocide against them. It also called for the House to reiterate “the indisputable fact that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust,” condemn Holocaust denialism, and demand acknowledgment from the White House that Jews were targeted.

At some point in the future, when the United States has moved out of this phase of its deeply racist history, future people will look back upon us like they look back upon slavery and Jim Crow, as a period of deep national shame, wondering how we could let this happen. And the answer will be that if they are not vigilant, it will happen again to them.

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