Showing posts with label Government Regulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government Regulation. Show all posts

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ICE is Terrorizing America

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="728.0"] © Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel/USA TODAY Network/Sipa USA April 9, 2018; Morristown, TN, USA; Esmeralda Baustista holds a photograph of her brother Luis Bautista-Martinez, who was one of the workers detained when ICE raided… © Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel/USA TODAY Network/Sipa USA April 9, 2018; Morristown, TN, USA; Esmeralda Baustista holds a photograph of her brother Luis Bautista-Martinez, who was one of the workers detained when ICE raided… [/caption]

This is a story that keeps getting lost in the shuffle because of how Trump has institutionalized a racist, xenophobic reaction to something that really comes down to basic human dignity:

Jessica Bailiff looked out at her class and saw empty desks where her students were supposed to be.

The physics teacher's heart sank. She knew why they weren't there.

The day before,federal authorities had swept through a nearby meatpacking plant, rounding up nearly 100 people they accused of being in the United States illegally.

Immigrant rights groups say last week's operation in eastern Tennessee was the largest workplace immigration raid in a decade.

More than 500 students stayed home from school the next day.

Now, a week later, most are back in class. But the community is still reeling, Bailiff says.

Kids who are supposed to be learning about light waves, radio waves and the electromagnetic spectrum, she says, are instead wondering if they'll ever see their loved ones again.

"There's just fear and sadness written all over their faces," Bailiff says.

In a just society, no kid goes to bed afraid that their parents are going to be hauled away by the government.

This hits home to me. I was raised by a single mother who worked in a meatpacking plant. If she hadn't worked there, we would not have had a home or anything else. This is a very real struggle for survival, and I don't give two shits for any argument that says that these people have to follow "the law."

You know who isn't following the law? The goddamned meatpacking industry operates, for all intents and purposes, without serious regulation. Safety is a joke. Wages are a crime. Standards are whatever a GOP-controlled state legislature can pass into law, courtesy of some sleazy lobbyist. 

The overall working experience is so bad that working class white people won't take the jobs that are available. The work has to get done, so the owners exploit people who are trying to get a foot in the door in this country. This is happening everywhere and has been going on for decades. The law means nothing if you're a plant owner who wants to pay people $9 an hour to render hogs into bacon, unless it is used to keep workers terrified of unionizing and striking to improve their conditions.

So, fuck all this. ICE is straight up terrorizing people who are on the margins. Instead of sending 100 ICE agents to round up the poor, send four FBI agents into the office of the big boss and have a conversation about running roughshod over every existing labor regulation and every business rule on the books. Better yet, let's put the blame where it belongs--on anyone who has normalized the terrorization of people who are trying to come here and make a better life for their families.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Schlitterbahn and Lax Government Regulation

Someone had to write about this, and it is beginning to percolate through the media that when a state like Kansas throws government regulation out the window, people die. In the case of what happened at the Schlitterbahn water park near Kansas City, a tragic death should serve as a wake-up call for everyone who bitches about safety inspectors and government oversight:

"Safety is our top priority at Schlitterbahn," it reads. "All rides are inspected daily before opening." 

But that's not because any agency, state or federal, requires it to do so. 

Under Kansas law, "permanent rides" at amusement parks must be inspected only once a year — by a qualified inspector hired by the amusement park itself. 

The state Labor Department, which administers the regulation, said Monday that it is "reviewing the matter." 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn't had the power to oversee amusement parks for 35 years, after Congress stripped its authority in 1981 as part of a package of deregulatory budget cuts.

Kansas law, which I will guarantee you was written at least in part by lobbyists being paid by the theme park industry, says that a ride can be inspected once a year by someone hired by the park itself. That's more insane than the Goddamned ride itself.

You cannot trust the marketplace to police itself. You have to have someone watching and verifying and ensuring that public safety is being protected. Senator Elizabeth Warren has been telling us this for years--we need protections for consumers that are not wink-wink imaginary attempts at keeping people safe. We need advocates that are unbiased. We need someone with brains enough to look at the big, scary ride and say, "why were those test dummies flying off the thing and would you put your own kid on this thing?" We need really tough standards and we need to push back against this mentality that government oversight stifles competition and hurts the marketplace. 

No, dummy. It keeps kids alive.

The difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump couldn't be any clearer. Trump wants to end regulation and Hillary champions it as a way of keeping people safe. Kansas has experimented with the kind of crazy de-regulation that actually harms people and it has turned into a waking nightmare. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is Why I Love Rummage Sales

Teddy Bear and Friends Magazine, a mustWhen I found this issue of Teddy Bear and Friends at a rummage sale in Maryland last year, my heart leapt for joy. I am a huge Teddy Bear collector. I have in the neighborhood of 6,000 Teddy Bears, many of which are worth at least five or six dollars apiece. Apiece!

I like rummage sales. Nothing says "oh my God, we have to sell our crap and run NOW" like a good rummage sale. I think this is a bit sad, however:

Nicaraguan mother Lorena Aguilar hawks a television set and a few clothes on the baking sidewalk outside her west Phoenix apartment block.

A few paces up the street, her undocumented Mexican neighbor Wendi Villasenor touts a kitchen table, some chairs and a few dishes as her family scrambles to get out of Arizona ahead of a looming crackdown on illegal immigrants.

"Everyone is selling up the little they have and leaving," said Villasenor, 31, who is headed for Pennsylvania. "We have no alternative. They have us cornered."

The two women are among scores of illegal immigrant families across Phoenix hauling the contents of their homes into the yard this weekend as they rush to sell up and get out before the state law takes effect on Thursday.

The law, the toughest imposed by any U.S. state to curb illegal immigration, seeks to drive more than 400,000 undocumented day laborers, landscapers, house cleaners, chambermaids and other workers out of Arizona, which borders Mexico.

I'm convinced that people who want to work hard without whining will do fine. This is a forehead-smacking moment. You don't expel law-abiding citizens who work hard, pay their taxes (yes, they do pay taxes and that's a fact), and raise nuclear families without so much as a complaint. You kick out underproductive college boys who can't hold down a job for more than three weeks because they can't give up their addiction to beer, hotties, and chicken wings.

How about passing a law that says that any man, aged 22 and older, who lives with his parents, is to be forced to join the military? I'd vote for the clown who could pass that law. Wouldn't you?

Arizona is quickly going to rue the day that this law was passed. When everyone who does the so-called "menial" tasks leaves the state, a lot of fat white boys with backwards baseball caps and fatboy shorts are going to get food poisoning eating off dirty plates in restaurants with terrible service. One minute, that hale and hearty fellow who is 80 pounds overweight will be spooning up some sauce from his plate and the next thing you know his unshaven mug will be heaving six oversized meals into a toilet that hasn't been cleaned since the Bush Administration.

I've been to Arizona, mostly as it pertains to my work as a Gentleman Bounty Hunter. If you want to know what is going to happen, think of an Outback Steakhouse running at 20% capacity, barely able to find someone to dunk the veggies in tepid rainwater. Think of hundreds and hundreds of businesses forced to operate without enough hired help. Think of Manhattan, in other words, only without the ambience and the subways and the ability to function without a car.

My friends, let me speak to you as if I were a saner, healthier version of John McCain. Arizona, you're going to be hurting in about three months. Broken-down cars will soon litter your freeways for want of basic maintenance. Sales of Pepto Bismol are going to be through the roof. Oh, yes. McCain warned everyone about this nonsense. But then, he sold his soul to the devil and now the devil is taking him for a ride on the one bus that doesn't have windows that open. It's over for him. McCain is rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi from his state, and he's being forced to actually campaign and shake hands, which for him is like eating a shit sandwich, served on a bun no one was qualified to toast.

Which reminds me--I have to dump a little investment money into whoever makes that pink bismuth stuff. Their sales are going to surge once people in Arizona start consuming thousands of pounds of rancid fast food. Shamble off to the pay toilets, you rotting carcasses. You did it to yourselves. 

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