08 May

Do we really want a War on Immigration to parallel the War on Drugs?

in Capitalism, Immigration, Racism

The newest installment of Tom the Dancing Bug reminds me of a recent discussion I was having about supply and demand in the (illegal) immigration debate.  At its base, this is an issue of supply (what the U.S. has to offer) and demand (who stands to gain from the risk) and I reject the notion that demand side efforts, such as increased border control and deportation controls, can ever do much to address the problem.  Such 'solutions', much like the war on drugs, play well with the electorate because they have the appearance of being proactive while diverting attention away from the ruling class and keeping people from questioning the obvious - that if there were no jobs for illegal immigrants, then there would be no illegal immigrants.

It would be cheaper and more effective to crack down on the supply-side (employers) but that would be targeting our economic drivers (if I'm feeling gracious) or white people (for when I'm feeling a bit more cynical).
Employers in the U.S.are already numbered, tagged and monitored - they are finite in number and easy to regulate. The same cannot be said about immigrants who the U.S. will never, ever be able to stop until the costs of illegality outweigh the benefits. 

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20 Apr

We have to get out of LA - it's all comin' down!

in Animation, Capitalism, Corporatism, Intellectual Property, Products, Video

Welcome to Logorama - quite simply the most enjoyable and provocative short I've seen in Donkey's years!  Logorama was directed by the French H5 collective and debuted at last year's Cannes festival.  It later won an Academy award under the “animated short” category.

It's a bit long (about 16 minutes), and definitely NOT suitable for work, but totally worth it.  I watched it and then watched it again.  I think I might grab a third showing after I post this.  Enjoy!

06 Apr

Tea Partiers unified by anger, but what about the devil within?

in Capitalism, Elections, Politics, Tea Party

Gary Hart picks up on a meme that has been troubling me for a  while – namely that the common denominator among the disparate cells of the Tea Party is anger.  But who the hell are they to claim a monopoly on anger?

One thing needs to be made clear. If anger is the admission dues for membership, then I qualify. I'm as angry as any tea-partier. So tea-partiers have to get over the notion that only they have a right to be angry. A lot of Americans are angry who don't necessarily therefore want to impeach Barack Obama, or spit on congressmen, or scream at town hall meetings, or bring down the government of the United States. No one, including the tea party, has a corner on anger.

One of the reasons I think that people have a difficult time taking teabaggers seriously is that, despite boasting a national sympathy of somewhere 

<div id="attribute">Image: <a href="">If Karl Marx was alive...</a>, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from binaryape's photostream</div>
Image: If Karl Marx was alive..., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from binaryape's photostream

between seventeen and twenty-eight percent of Americans, they lack any unifying platform.  More specifically, their grasp of what they don’t like has not, to date, extended into a coherent articulation of what they would do differently.  Shouting a cacophony of nebulous buzzwords – free-market, small government, anti-socialist – lends the appearance of a political ideology without actually having to engage with any of the intellectual rigor mandate in proffering an alternative.

Like Gary, I am no Palin-come-lately myself.  I became so angry in 2000 at the Supreme Court’s Gore v. Bush decision that I’ve spent the better part of a decade working to dismantle the opportunistic, corporatocratic policies that are being jammed down our gullets.  Am I a touch less angry with Obama behind the wheel?  To quote Palin, ‘you betcha’.  But let’s be clear – we’re talking about a kinder, gentler machine gun hand here.  I have my eyes on the real problem  - the usurpation of global democracy by an unchecked oligarchy of free-market ideology

And herein lies the ultimate irony – after years of voting against their economic self-interest, the angry masses are being crushed by the free-market ideologies they so fervently supported, yet remain zealous enough to believe that the answer lies in greater commitment to a free-market.  I would say that Palin and her ilk would do well to read a little bit of the Marx they claim to so despise as I would imagine they would find a great deal of themselves in his work.

I know that may be too much to ask, but I do hope the Tea Party soon learns that the real problem is far bigger than a single politician or party.  And I hope they learn this lesson before somebody gets shot.