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For both of you wondering, I'm surviving a cancer diagnosis; when we come out the other side, we'll have a healthcare story to tell.

Today, however, there is a bit of porchside reminiscing with The Old dad.

We got to talking about the whole Arizona situation, and the first thing he said was:  "It's a scam."

Oh, you bet there's more...

Of course, I had to ask what he meant by this.

"See, the same people calling for all this are the same ones wanting to kill Social Security and welfare, so they make up this bullshit about how the money for this is going to illegals.  That is a crock."

Like Mrs. Old One, I used to work at the local welfare office, so I had to agree; while there was some money set aside for illegals as a matter of public health (TB or other communicable diseases), very little went to illegals except by fraud, which our investigators kept to a near-zero minimum.

But I could not immediately see the connection that he was making. Aside  from the fraud on the gullibility of the common citizen, what "scam" was he referring to?

"Look...illegals don't get squat.  Either they're paid less than minimum wage, or they get deductions taken out that the employer pockets instead of reporting.  And even if they get better than minimum, they don't dare apply with or for any grants or programs, because anyone looking into them is gonna find their papers as 'hinky'."

True enough; my best friend lost his wallet at Santa Cruz in California.  Six months later, my friend, the medical doctor, got a call from a social worker in North Carolina wanting to know why he needed food stamps.  And how did his Irish surname get attached to a heavily-accented Nicauraguan (obviously, he had never heard of the San Patricios)?

Then the IRS got involved.  Five years later, they think they've got his Social Security and tax information fixed.

Still, I wasn't clear on what the Old One was proposing, so he took his dimwitted child down the path.

"When they get rid of the illegals and have to hire replacements, the businesses will say 'I can't pay minimum wage!  I'll go bankrupt!', and so the government will make a slew of 'exemptions' so that they can stay in business."

But, that's crazy, I one working minimum wage will jump ship to take one of these jobs.  Businesses will have to pay more to get people to apply...right?

"You're not thinking like them," The Old One said with a chuckle.

"What the Conservatives are saying is that the illegals are taking jobs away from Americans, when they are really taking jobs no one else will.  Their logic is that you remove the illegals, then Americans will be able to work, but notice that they never, ever say at what kind of payscale."

Suddenly, the logic of his thinking began creeping in on I asked just exactly who it was he thought would fill the vacuum of the illegals.

"At first, its probably going to be prisoners; those are the people that no one will question working the fields.  But then, they have to fill the jobs inside the cities, so the biggest pool of available labor is..."

Children.  The homeless.  Forced apprenticeships or internships.

"Now you get it.  The one thing our society is missing is the permanent and institutionalized underclass which is not beholden to any structure.  Child labor will be allowed first, then the homeless will be given the choice to work or lose their campsites, and when that is exhausted, we'll hire people for a cot and a meal with no money changing hands.

"It makes the perfect Conservative paradise!"

So how do we stop it?

"We can't unless we turn Arizona around.  As much as I loathe Sharpton, he is correct...civil disobedience is the key."

How is that going to accomplish anything?

"Well...they haven't repealed Miranda yet, try as they might, so we need to use that against them in a civil manner.  The law requires you to identify yourself to an officer when they have probable cause, right?"

Well, yes, I said, though "probable cause" is vague of and by itself.

"True, but that's it.  You are not required to tell him where you were, where you are aren't even required to take a roadside sobriety test, though you'll likely lose your license for it."

So what should be done?

"Simple...give them your name and your ID as required by common law.  When they ask for anything more, say 'I refuse to answer without counsel as I am innocent until proven guilty and a citizen until proven not to be under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.' Easy, no?"

Will that work?  Is that even legal?

"I don't know.  All I can tell you is that unless the officer is a failed shaved head Green Beret wannabe, any intelligent officer will either send you on your way with a warning, or call for the shift supervisor rather than spend the next six or seven hours writing the report it will generate.

"At worst, you get shipped back to Sweden like Moroni was.  Still, it's worth a try and should get the courts backed up real fast."

I sat back to digest this latest while he went in for more cheese dip, and I had to admit that while his logic may be a bit conspiratorial, it had that hint of truth to it, enough to start me to watching the rhetoric a bit more closely.

But his advice?  I think that The Old One has nailed this:

I am innocent until proven to be guilty.
I am a citizen until proven not to be.

Let's see if we can put this to use, shall we?

A note:

The Old One is a Korean War vet who was barely a teenager during WW2,but made the extra money for pop, movies and funny books working the fields with the braceros.  He came out of Korea with a passel of skills, was a Union man through several employers as he went from  machinist to detective in a police force, all to provide for his family.  Alas, it was his gardening skills that did him in and forced him to retire early...a story involving a dog, a tree branch, a pair of pants and a hot shower that I'll tell...someday.

Originally posted to flerb on Sat May 08, 2010 at 10:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Internet access by 1955 Underwood Deluxe QuietTab Portable Typewriter.
    As much as 25,000 web pages between ribbons. Be green, be retro.

    by flerb on Sat May 08, 2010 at 10:48:21 PM PDT

  •  Interesting ideas. Don't know that I agree about (4+ / 0-)

    the desire to use American citizens for those jobs: It's one heck of a lot easier to manipulate and cheat poor, illiterate Mexicans (Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Thai, Cambodians, etc., etc.) than whiney, overprivileged Americans.  They don't want to lose the gravy train.

    But the civil disobedience is key, as your dad notes, and it's a great reminder that people should assert those rights more often rather than let them slide in deference to cops who either don't know or don't care.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

    by Vtdblue on Sat May 08, 2010 at 10:59:18 PM PDT

    •  Yes but you are overlooking the fact the US has (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vtdblue, isabelle hayes

      the most prisoners per capita and that many are poor or minoriites. Then look at the number of prisons that are for profit and sell the labor of prisoners who get better slop and an inch more of mattress than those who don't work. This has been sliding this way for ages. It is institutionalized slavery... proposed as a way to cut costs of imprisoning people for victimless crimes. Just because it ain't chain gangs...

      I think the numbers we jail is obscene and having any jails run on a for profit basis is wrong. Too easy to pass a law that makes what one particular group does for thier recreation illegal.

      Example is if they made it against the law to drink tea as opposed to coffee. That is current state of drug laws and so is the fact that those laws are enforced against the minorities more then the white suburnites. The south is trying to get around anti slavery amendment. Just like the drug war was used to get around the "anti- property confiscation' laws that actually were the basis for conflicts in Europe that led to colonizaing the indigenous americans lands.

      Just as the anti terrorist wars are being used to strip us of other rights so too was the drug war (and still is).

      Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Sat May 08, 2010 at 11:54:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can thank the War on Drugs for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes

        the increasing prison population as users and street level dealers make up a significant number of the incarcerated (funny how that correlates with ethnicity and income so that the three seem to coincide within the prison population to the extent it is almost predictive at this point)

        •  Yep at a cost between $30,000 and $100,000 (0+ / 0-)

          per year of taxpayers dollars. So another way we are subsidizing corporations when those prisons are either privately run or have hire out labor. Talk about illegals ... geesh. We create them illegals by  delegitimizing others choices and making them a crime.

          Fear is the Mind Killer

          by boophus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 04:09:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Some good points there. nt (0+ / 0-)

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

        by Vtdblue on Sun May 09, 2010 at 10:16:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  haven't seen many illegal Thai or Cambodians (0+ / 0-)

      "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

      by ban nock on Sun May 09, 2010 at 06:02:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In Los Angeles/So. Cal. there are, among the many (0+ / 0-)

        other various ethnicities represented in the undocumented population (including those from Europe, for that matter)

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

        by Vtdblue on Sun May 09, 2010 at 10:17:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm almost more interested in that other story (4+ / 0-)

    But this:

    give them your name and your ID as required by common law.  When they ask for anything more, say 'I refuse to answer without counsel as I am innocent until proven guilty and a citizen until proven not to be under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments

    sounds like very good advice when dealing with the police in almost any situation.

    Witty phrase goes here.

    by Hayate Yagami on Sat May 08, 2010 at 11:33:59 PM PDT

    •  common police practice for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flerb, Hayate Yagami, isabelle hayes

      people who are too drunk to drive and so sleep it off in the back seat of their car in the bar parking lot is for the cops to ask the person to exit the vehicle.

      My uncle, a professional alcoholic for many years, had this situation and refused. He provided ID and car registration and such and confirmed he had permission to park in the lot (private property and he was not operating the vehicle but using it for a bed) If cops persisted he asked for a supervisor to be called and if they still persisted, he would call his attorney.  If he stepped from the vehicle and he still had blood alcohol level over the limit they would arrest him for public drunkenness. So long as he stayed in his car they could do nothing

      Only once did they pull him out of the car, charging him with public drunkenness, criminal trespass and interfering with a police investigation, and they regretted that when the litigation ended.

  •  Your dad is a smart guy. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, tonyahky, boophus, isabelle hayes

    The one thing our society is missing is the permanent and institutionalized underclass which is not beholden to any structure.

    That's the kicker.

    In the uk, a teen shoplifter is locked up.

    That's because the only teens shoplifting are the above mentioned underclass.

    In Canada a teen shoplifter is offered a psychiatrist.

    Canada has no underclass, and if you started locking up bored middle class kids, institutionalized parents might start paying more attention to what's really going on.

    Good read. Rec'd.

  •  This stuff happens; meanwhile (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz, tonyahky

    corporations kill people on a daily basis through criminal negligence, and no one goes to prison or 'detention'.

    Equal justice for all. Hmmm.

    Repeal the Military Commissions Act!

    by marina on Sun May 09, 2010 at 12:42:28 AM PDT

  •  bringing back poor houses and work houses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, isabelle hayes

    and abolishing the minimum wage and the standard work week and overtime and a mess of worker protection programs such as unemployment have long been winger goals as they seek to restore the early Industrial Revolution and the Gilded Age.
    In their minds, unions are evil and mill towns are a great idea as is paying with company script instead of money.

    However, I don't think we will ever see the homeless for example, employed as stoop labor even if all undocumented aliens disappeared tomorrow. As many as 80% of the homeless are either disabled or are in situations where they are unable to work. Add to this stoop labor is intensive (for those who have never picked strawberries or cucumbers or apples or other crops requiring hand harvesting, trust me, it is very strenuous and requires a certain level of physical ability) so that it is the worse possible fit for those people the wingers want to see working.

    The US is already one of the leading industrialized nations in terms of malnutrition in its population. The wingers want to return us to the golden days of yesteryear where children starved instead of being merely malnourished        

    •  Homeless labor? (0+ / 0-)

      Please re-read; this was one point The Old One and I went into detail on outside the reportage in the diary.

      He sees prisoner labor in the fields; apparently he has knowledge that this was done in the South where there weren't enough braceros in WW2, but I couldn't find specific corroboration of this.  It has the ring of truth to it, though, so I accept it as being a likely means of forced labor.

      OTOH, the homeless would be more "in-city" since there would be no real transport for them, and likely limited to immediately around their encampments in some cities.  Rather than face a Fresno decision, where the city was sued and lost to homeless whose encampment was given 'scorched earth' treatment by Fresno police, you may see businesses open unused expansion property to host such an encampment.

      The quid pro quo is obvious; provide X hours of labor a day, and your encampment can stay.  Might be something as simple as sweeping and clearing trash; might be entry-level machine work; might be handling toxic wastes without protection.

      And the public would see it as a progressive company, helping those poor and destitute bums that panhandle on the corner so annoyingly.

      Internet access by 1955 Underwood Deluxe QuietTab Portable Typewriter.
      As much as 25,000 web pages between ribbons. Be green, be retro.

      by flerb on Sun May 09, 2010 at 11:51:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bless your dad and I wish him long life and (0+ / 0-)


    But he and you are extremely misinformed on how employment of illegals works.

    All people, here legaly or not, English speakers or not are paid the going rate for any paticulur job. If someone else is willing to do it for less, the other is hired. That's why you see college kids working amongst Mexicans. They want the job, they work.

    All employers if they want to stay out of jail pay all employees legaly and with hold and pay taxes, fill out I-9s and W-4s and pay unemployment tax and especailly pay workers comp.

    If not they stand a very high probability of a disgruntled worker making a workers comp claim and they get put out of business. Mexicans are not stupid. Legal they might not be, English speaking nada, but dumb no.

    If you look in your local paper you will see the going rate for various occupations, that's the price paid.

    Millions of workers are not some kind of hidden underpaid subculture. They are ubiquitous and legaly hired.

    "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

    by ban nock on Sun May 09, 2010 at 06:01:14 AM PDT

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      Then perhaps you can explain how so many nominees for higher office lose out when its found they are hiring undocumented workers?

      Or why there are raids on businesses that net dozens of undocumented workers?  Do you recall the sweatshop raids in NYC, LA and SF the past few years?

      Most of these will pay under the table for medical care in workplace injuries so as not to have investigations or, worse, get them home and then call ICE to pick them up while not at work.  ICE won't investigate how someone is supporting themselves unless caught on premises.

      There is far more underpayment and "company store" tactics going on than you intimate.  

      It is not a matter of an illegal being stupid; its one of being practical.  The work is there, with lowered pay; do they take the job and tough it out, or do they take a principled stand and get nothing?

      Internet access by 1955 Underwood Deluxe QuietTab Portable Typewriter.
      As much as 25,000 web pages between ribbons. Be green, be retro.

      by flerb on Sun May 09, 2010 at 11:38:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nominees get embarrased to be caught breaking the (0+ / 0-)


        Do you know what the sweatshops were paying in wages or if they were fully complying with all tax and state laws?

        Illegals get medical care all the time for workplace injuries. Worker's comp doesn't care about your status, just that you got hurt on the job and your employer was paying comp. Of the current 11 million illegals probably at least 8 or 9 million are working. There are no ivestigations for sending someone to the hospital to get care for job related injury. Ask a doctor or nurse, it's common.

        Illegals work like anyone else, wherever they pay is best, and if there is no background check.

        Some large employers hire so  many it's a  joke. So they get busted to make an example. Big deal. One thing I do know, no one is paid under minimum and more likely 8 or 9. Ever go to McDonalds? Burger King? Look in the back of a restaurant? 9 million workers is a lot of people.

        Do you know anyone without papers? I've no idea how many I do, I work with and meet many every day. The construction trades are full of illegals. I go all day not speaking English, I see another Anglo I notice.

        Never fails to amaze how invisible workers have become. We are background noise.

        "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

        by ban nock on Sun May 09, 2010 at 08:40:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting, but (0+ / 0-)

    your father is overthinking this. It's really very simple. Conservatives are playing leapfrog to the right to prove they are each more conservative than the next guy. This is pandering, pure and simple.

    Don't overthink it. The formula is really very simple. We will know people are serious about illegal immigration when they put a major employer, one who makes political contributions, perhaps a meat-packer, in prison for employing undocumented workers.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sun May 09, 2010 at 06:06:24 AM PDT

  •  Contempt of Cop (0+ / 0-)

    If you tried that here in Brooklyn you would be tried, convicted and sentenced by the cop. You would be arrested, searched, interrogated and possibly booked. The cop would lie (Testilie) that you committed some infraction and you would have to waive your right to sue for false arrest in order for the charge(s) to be dropped.

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