Sunday, June 30, 2013

Letter to the editor

Thanks to the leadership of the gang of eight John McCain and Jeff Flake we will have 40,000 border patrol agents, miles of fencing and drones. That should be enough to protect us from the Mexican people coming across. We only have 37,000 troops in S. Korea. They have done a wonderful job keeping out the million or more N. Korean troops from entering S. Korea. It appears to me that Mexicans are more feared than N. Koreans. The only difference is once they enter our country then they will be granted citizenship. I don’t believe that option is available in Korea. A thousand page bill costing $40 Billion. Kind of makes you proud that these great Arizona men have found a solution, doesn’t it? Now if only the House Republicans join in, victory is at hand. (In case you don’t understand this is meant as sarcasm.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Chicken Trail by Kathleen Schwartzman

Following Workers, Migrants and Corporations across the Americas I offer my complements for an outstanding overview of these most complex issues. She did a great deal of research, included many sources and made personal trips to processing plants in the USA as well as Mexico. She talked with Mexican farmers, illegal immigrants and union organizers. She chose the radical changes in production of Chicken as a perfect example of the effect it had on labor in this country and loss of the family farm in Mexico which led inexorably in the increase of illegal immigrants to America. She is very careful in not wanting her book to become political. She tries to state the facts and let them speak for themselves. I, on the other hand enjoy jumping in and calling a spade a spade so I am going to write this review from what I gleaned after reading. Chicken processing advanced rapidly in the 90’s impelled by innovation and technology. The largest plants are located in N.C., Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi. The workers were black for the most part. Chicken processing as well as manufacturing in general made great strides in the South due to the anti-union sentiment. The States were all right to work States. As the processes sped up there were increased injuries and fatigue resulting in the attempt to establish unions. The companies exhibited ingenuity in finding ways to avoid including going bankrupt and re-opening with a new name and firing all employees. The Company officers decided to replace with immigrants from Mexico and other countries. They advertised, paid bonuses, provided false papers, etc. No executive was ever found guilty of these most obvious offenses. In the meantime the black unemployment rate doubled. The new undocumented employees didn’t complain about wages, working conditions, nor did they report injuries, all out of fear of being deported. I refer to this as the South discovering a new group of people to exploit as they did with the blacks as slaves many years ago. While this was going on NAFTA made its mark in Mexico. By 2008 all tariffs were removed. Millions of farm families, who had subsisted, albeit poorly, were no longer able to support themselves. Not only Chicken but corn and grains in general. The highly subsidized agriculture in America was too great for them to compete and so the great migration sped up in the 90’s continuing today. Many would have stayed in their own country if they could have. We must add that the Mexican government leaders allowed this to happen impoverishing the countryside without concern. They should be held to account for allowing this to happen. Exporting young men relieved the need to provide employment, with the added benefit of Billions returned each year in support of families left behind. I know that other nations have protected their farmers such as Europe and Japan. I would also like to add my own comments about how American subsidies to agriculture benefited the largest farms effectively driving off the family farmer. I saw this in person the 23 years I lived in Iowa. As far as I can see the new discussion in Congress about changing immigration laws will not address any of these issues. The Corporate Giants including Monsanto will still dictate policy and the little people; Americans and Mexicans alike will be used to their benefit. Just look at the recent farm bill. The farm bill should be used to encourage family farms not mega farms owned by the rich but worked by those who once had owned farms themselves. Jack B. Walters June 13, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Forgotten Conservative-a book report

Rediscovering Grover Cleveland By John M. Pafford I have been on a personal voyage of filling in the lapses in my memory of the decades before and after the Civil War. I found this book at Barnes and Nobel while visiting family in Anchorage. It was interesting to learn that he was a Democrat who believed the government should not interfere with the private sector. He defended the Constitutional limits of federal power with resolve. He vetoed more bills than all the previous predecessors combined usually on the grounds that Congress had acted without a clear warrant in the Constitution. He was the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms. He was a man of high integrity. This trait was why the voters respected him. All through his life that was his mantra. His rise to the Presidency was extremely quick, just three years after being elected Mayor of Buffalo, N.Y. There were no wars or crises to make him famous; he just did the job with prudence and skill. The biggest concern in those years was whether to base our currency on the gold or silver standard. Not a very interesting topic to read about. He was a devout Christian and believed that divine law was the foundation of human law. The following is a quote describing his view. “It is right that every man should enjoy the result of his labor to the fullest extent consistent with his membership in civilized community. It is right that our government should but be the instrument of the people’s will, and that its cost should be limited within the lines of strict economy. It is right that the influence of the government should be known in every humble home as the guardian of frugal comfort and content, and a defense against unjust exactions, and the unearned tribute persistently covered by the selfish and designing. It is right that efficiency and honesty in public service should not be sacrificed to partisan greed; and it is right that the suffrage of our people should be pure and free”. . Compare his philosophy to our current leaders. I rest my case. This not an exciting book but pertinent in comparison to where we are today. Jack B. Walters June 7, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Destiny of the Republic- a book review

A tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a President By Candice Millard I had the highest respect for Mrs. Millard after reading “The River of Doubt, so I looked forward eagerly to reading this book. I was not disappointed. The research that it must take to collect the information must be a massive undertaking. She is obviously very qualified in doing so. I, like most other Americans had little knowledge of President Garfield. His tenure as President was limited. He was shot after three months on the job, just getting his policies in order when it happened. He did linger on for a number of months but was incapacitated as to performing his duties. The author weaves in Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone and his attempt to invent a device to locate the bullet in Garfield’s chest. She also gives us the history of the assassin Charles Guiteau and the American medical community who did not believe there were germs. The premise is that had they done so Garfield would have recovered on his own, as he was a fit person, quite strong. All of the above were intertwined gradually ending with the shooting and then his painful death. Garfield was born in a very small log cabin, the last President to start this way. His father died while he was just a boy. His mother did everything she could to see that he became educated and could improve himself. This part of the book is fascinating. I proves the old adage that you can become what you want to be if you put forth the effort. From her account of his writings and life it assures me that he could have been a great President. In his inaugural address he spoke with passion about the legacy of the Civil War. He said, “The elevation of the negro race from slavery to the full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both”. How much might he have been able to accomplish had that madman not decided to make himself famous by murdering this wonderful man. We will never know, but what we do know is that the black race suffered for many years trying for equality in the face of bigotry, that I might add continues today. I highly recommend reading this outstanding book. Jack B. Walters June 6, 2013