Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MEXIFORNIA ( a book review)

By Victor Davis Hanson

This is a very important book to read by those in a position do solve the problems our country faces with the flood of illegal immigrants entering every day.
Mr. Hanson has the credentials to explore this subject. He is a life long resident of what was once a small town near Fresno, California. His family owns a small grape orchard and he holds a PhD and teaches Classics at the California State University at Fresno. He grew up with Mexican-Americans. He has them as nephews, nieces, sisters-in-law, and prospective sons-in-law as well as friends and neighbors.
This is not a hate book. It is a rational analysis of all the various factors involved in the process. He does strongly condemn the past and present government of Mexico for its lack of leadership in providing opportunities in Mexico for its citizens who are then forced to risk their lives trying to enter America so that they can better provide for their families left behind. It is estimated that $15 billion is sent back to Mexico every year. This is the greatest source of income even surpassing their oil industry. His research has shown that since 1990 the number of poor Mexican-Americans in America has climbed 52%, half of all births are illegitimate, half of all Hispanics do not graduate from high school, less than 10% nationwide have graduated from college with a bachelors degree.
When young Mexicans arrive they are exploited by all sorts of people including fellow Mexicans. It all starts with the Coyote cost to get here. He states most do hard work for cash at $10/hr. and most of that is sent home. They live frugally. Because they keep their cash on them they are sometimes robbed and there are all sorts of fringe players sucking their money from them. Once they reach the age of 45 the backbreaking work becomes more difficult and they become demoralized. It is no wonder that their children have no interest in following in their footsteps. Their children’s collective lack of a good education often leads to crime as their way out.
He blames much of the education problems to misdirected efforts which detract from learning the basics. Instead many feel good courses are offered which tend to create in their minds a feeling of being exploited and discriminated against; all the while vast sums are being spent but wasted. The single greatest detriment is their lack of knowledge of English. Finally States are beginning to immerse them in learning English which he hopes over time will correct this problem.
He tries to make the distinction between America which is a melting pot and bi-lingual nations. Over our 200+ years of existence many different cultures have entered and been assimilated. Almost always with difficulty and resentment from those already here, but it was done. A bi-lingual society wherever found in the world has difficulty maintaining continuity. Until these Mexican immigrants master the English language they will never really enjoy the benefits of living in America. The other major theme he espouses is the lack of instruction about our history. If they do not learn of the leaders who created our unique form of government and those who fought and died in the many wars to preserve our freedom, how can you expect them to feel apart of it all. In the various ways used to teach them their Mexican heritage, they cling to a fantasy of how wonderful Mexico is when in reality their parents fled from there to create a better life for their children. He singles out La Raza teaching in colleges and universities that California is an utterly racist state and that only thru protest, agitation and violence can changes be made.
He paints a number of scenarios on where all this may end up, most of them unacceptable. The huge increase in illegal immigration has only occurred over the past 30 years. With leadership, it could be restored to the orderly process that was the norm before this time. He is hopeful that this will occur sooner rather than later.
Please understand that I cannot in this short review cover the content of this book. You must take the time yourself. I am positive if you do you will have a clearer understanding of the scope of the problem and possible solutions. We always seem to throw up our hands and give up. That is not the American way, is it?
I always feel compelled to add my own thoughts when reviewing some one else’s work. Europe has open borders between countries that many times are smaller than our States. They do it by verifying legal status when applying for employment. We have the E-verify program which has proved its accuracy. Arizona requires employers to use it. Just this week President Bush signed an executive order making all contractors doing business for the Federal Government to use it as well. It has been reported that 69% of employers nationwide are now using it voluntarily. If this trend continues there will be no work for illegals and they will be forced to return home or fight for menial cash paying jobs. Of course there will be consequences as needed work will not get done. A verifiable guest worker program would fill the gap.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Censorship is promoted by the editorial staff of the Arizona Daily Star
Ann Brown, the Editorial Page Editor published a major editorial today (6/8/2008) entitled, “Hispanic group right to stand up to hatemongers”. She attacks Mr. Lou Dobbs in particular and others including Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and a local radio program on Tucson radio station 104.1-FM, “The Jon Justice Show”. What she advocates is that the owners of the networks put pressure on their talk show hosts and censure their comments.
I certainly can agree that any group or individual can boycott as they wish. That is their right. I, in fact have a number of products, stores, stations and countries that I boycott. None of them are aware of my pitiful gesture, nonetheless I feel better for doing it and showing my concern.
What bothers me is the strident attack by the editor stating that Lou Dobbs has lied deliberately. I do not believe this for a minute. He may make a misstatement but I have heard him make a correction when brought to his attention. The truth of the matter is that illegal immigration is totally out of control and mostly from Mexico. You obviously have your mind made up but if you want to be considered an informed editor then you should read other points of view. I refer you specifically to a book entitled,”Mexifornia” by Victor Davis Hanson published in 2007. You will probably assume it is racist and hateful. I am half way thru reading it and I find he is very sensitive to the plight of illegals and how they are mistreated and cheated out of their hard earned wages by one and all.
Their only protection can come by having a viable foreign worker program to give them legal status to work in this country and be paid the going wage and pay all taxes accordingly as Americans must do, instead of cash payments which are the norm today. The policy of the Mexican Government is to export the lowest of their citizens, those with little education. In this way they defuse resentment and minimize the risk of rebellion for their continuing mistreatment in their own country.
How would you like it if the owner of the Star told you what to write in your editorials or worse read them before publishing and amending to their thinking? That is what you are asking CNN to do. Shame on you.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
June 8, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Douglass and Lincoln ( a book review )

By: Paul Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick

This is a very informative book. I found it at the Tucson Public Library. It filled in a lot of blanks for me during the critical years of our civil war. I had known about Frederick Douglass but I was not aware of the great influence he had on President Lincoln.
He was born into slavery in Maryland, endured harsh treatment from his owners and at the age of 18 was finally able to escape and settle in New Bedford, Massachusetts with his wife Anna who he met in Baltimore. She had been freed and provided the funds to secure his freedom. He read everything he could get a hold of and developed oratory skills which he used everywhere he could reach an audience across the Northern States. He, of course, was an ardent abolitionist who could never be satisfied until the four million Negroes were released from slavery and allowed the advantages of citizenship equal with the white population. He lived a long life until 1895 and through all that time struggled to accomplish his goal without achieving it in total.
He was extremely disappointed with the incremental steps taken by President Lincoln. It was not because Lincoln abhorred slavery, as he did, but because of the tenuous situation of the Southern States breaking away after his election and before he even took office. His main goal always was to preserve the union. If that entailed a continuation of slavery he was willing to accept it. He would have tried to keep it from extending into the new Western States as they were formed with the idea that if contained then it would eventually die of its own accord. Once the Confederacy was established and war began again all of his efforts were directed to restore the country. One of Lincoln’s first concerns was to keep the Border States from joining the Confederacy. They were Slave States. Any move to eliminate slavery could have lost them and the North would not have had the people or the resources to restore the Union.
Bit by bit as the war dragged on, the citizens in the North were able to accept incremental steps towards freeing the slaves. One of the first steps was to outlaw slavery in Washington, DC. This was another awakening for me as I did not know that slavery had existed in the North. Mr. Douglass deserves credit for continuing to speak and write. He finally came to understand Lincoln and became an ardent supporter. He met with the President on four separate occasions. He found Lincoln to be very open and doing all he could. Had the war been concluded before it did, with a settlement, it would be done with slavery still intact. In September 1862 Lincoln announced “The Emancipation Proclamation” which stated that effective 1/1/63, all those held in slavery within any State rebelling against the government would be “forever free.” It was a temporary solution at best as the Border States were excluded and any that re-entered the union would have their right to slavery restored. It also authorized Negros to be admitted to the Armed Services. Thus, as weak as it was, it was a huge step forward, which Douglass realized was monumental in scope.
During the first years the Union Army would actually return escaped slaves to the Rebels. Finally, a regiment was formed in Massachusetts in February, 1863, the 54th. If you have seen the movie, “Glory” it depicted the plight of these Negro recruits as they trained and then fought so bravely at the battle for Fort Wagner, S.C. From this beginning with Douglass’s urging more and more Negros enlisted, fought and died. It was now accepted that allowing slaves to enter the North accomplished two goals. The South was deprived of their labor and the North added those capable into the Army. As the war progressed finally Lincoln declared that all slaves who reached the Union lines and enlisted would be forever free. By the end of the war over 200,000 Negros were in uniform, roughly a fourth of the entire Army. Thirty Eight thousand gave their lives. If captured by the Rebels they were killed in brutal fashion. Lincoln threatened to retaliate in kind but could never do so.
Slavery came to an end in Maryland on 11/1/1864. Douglass immediately returned to the State where he had been a slave, looking for and finding relatives. It was a joyous time.
January 31, 1864, the House passed the 13th Amendment by the three fourths required. It would finally and completely eradicate slavery. There was no doubt that the States would quickly approve.
Lincoln won re-election; the war was winding down but not over when he gave his inauguration speech. It lasted only seven minutes. It was as powerful as the Gettysburg Address, in my opinion. He referred to the fact that both sides prayed to the same God for victory. He stated, he believed that “American Slavery” was an offence to God. He said,” God gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came.” He concluded with these powerful words,” With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a first, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” Douglass was overwhelmed. Even in his highest expectations, he had not imagined Lincoln’s speech having this kind of power.
April 10th the war ended with General Lee surrendering to General Grant. Four nights later Lincoln was assassinated and with his death his fine words came to naught.
On April 14, 1876 there was a ceremony to dedicate a memorial, The Freedman’s Monument, dedicated to the martyred President. It depicted President Lincoln with a gentle hand on the head of a freed slave. Douglass was the only speaker. He began bravely by telling the mostly white audience that Lincoln was first and foremost one of them, a white man, and that he would have sacrificed the blacks if necessary to preserve the union but he finished by saying, “We came to the conclusion that the hour and the man of our redemption had somehow met in the person of Abraham Lincoln. See this man. He was one of you and yet became Abraham Lincoln.”
With the death of Lincoln his successor Johnson and the rest to follow in his lifetime did little to provide opportunity to the freed slaves. They were denied the right to own land, vote, have access to education and held down by every means possible. He died in 1895 with only a partial victory.
What is strange to me is that Negros were allowed to fight in the Civil War but never again until President Truman desegregated the Armed Services during the Korean War. It took Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to finally integrate the country. Their struggle for equality continues but great strides have been made. Frederick Douglass, I believe would be satisfied.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
June 4, 2008

Douglass and Lincoln ( a book review )