Sunday, February 17, 2019

Anything to Get Trump


As I predicted a few weeks ago, Trump agreed to sign the Democrats' budget bill -- and thereby keep the fed. govt. fully open and working -- but he also declared a "National Emergency" at the US/Mexico border in order to get the remainder of his Wall built.  And of course the Democrats have gone into a feeding-frenzy of lawsuits, bills, persuading border states and land-owners to refuse to let their land be used for the Wall, and anything else they can think of.  The problem with all those lawsuits and bills is that, by the time they're settled, the Wall may already be finished.

The trick, which the Dems seem to have forgotten, is that the POTUS is also the supreme commander of the US armed forces.  Trump doesn't have to re-route money from one allocation to another to finish the Wall;  he can simply order the Army Corps of Engineers to do it, using money already allocated to the military.  Those Engineers have a history of amazingly fast construction, and part of the Wall is already up, so they only need finish it.

First, understand that at least half of the US/Mexico border is can't be built on;  it's the whole meandering length of the shallow, narrow, Rio Grande.  No, there won't be a wall there -- only drone, aircraft, vehicle and foot patrols.  Then again, whatever wall does get built will require tight patrolling too;  a wall is only as effective as its watchers.  But of course, Congress already allocated money for that -- despite demands by the new Socialist/Democrat fringe for total abolition of the border patrol.  Still more of the border can't be built on because it's fiercely jagged mountains and deep canyons that even mountain-goats have trouble crossing. 

Another section of the border, right here in Arizona, lies across Tohono O'Odam land, and those "nativist" Natives won't want to give up a yard of their land -- but they're quite willing to patrol the border themselves, as they've been doing quire effectively for the last couple decades, to keep the "Aztecs" out.  They'd also be quite happy to see the border swing a mile or two southward to take in lands which they've claimed for centuries, even if that takes a chunk out of Mexico.  This isn't so impossible as it looks;  the last accurate survey of exactly where the border lies -- right down to the yard, or foot, or inch -- was done by the US, and simply accepted by Mexico.  Since those Native lands are technically a sovereign nation, Mexico would have to complain to the Tohono O'odam, and I don't see Mexico going to war with the Native tribes, seeing who their ally is. 

In any case, there already are stretches of wall across several miles of the border;  they only need to be improved and extended, and the military engineers can easily do that.  If any land-owners or states complain, the border can easily be relocated southward, as in the case of the Natives.  Besides, a lot of those states and private landowners would welcome the Wall, having had more than enough of illegal immigration across their lands already.  And yes, there is an "emergency" at the border -- and has been for decades -- as the Border Patrol, and those landowners, and those Natives, can readily tell you. 

So yes, I predict that the Wall will be built, and patrolled, despite the antics of the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi's determination to stop Trump from doing anything that might possibly get him re-elected. 

The problem for the Dems is that, in their frenzy to Get Trump, they've encouraged their members and allies to run further and further out into the weeds.  The mainstream media, and even some of the more reasonable Democrats, have already begun pointing out the idiocies of Alldyslexia Occasional-Cortex's so-called Green New Deal, though that hasn't slowed her down any.  Reps. Tlaib and Omar have been caught in public spouting obvious Jew-hatred and showing their fondness for friends of known terrorists.  Sen. Booker's insistence on making the whole country Vegan is already a national joke.  It's one thing to claim that we've got to stop burning coal and petroleum for fuel (they're much too valuable for their use in chemical reactions to burn, anyway), but it's another to insist that the US give up all cars, airplanes, and livestock-raising.  It doesn't help that various Dem supporters are also pushing some truly astounding social and racial theories --  such as demonizing all White males as "privileged" and "racist".  The DNC's policies have stopped looking merely radical and are looking downright delusional to the majority of American voters, who are generally centrist and practical.

One has to wonder why the Dems are shooting themselves in the foot like this.  Are they so blinded by Trump-hatred that they really believe these stupid policies themselves?  Don't they realize that every time their cadre of cute/young/female/"ethnic" Reps open their mouths, the Democrat party hemorrhages votes?  Do they really believe that they can use their vast influence with the media to sell these out-of-the-ballpark policies to the voters?  Or do they believe that they can censor all the media -- including the Internet -- so that the public never hears a discouraging word? 

If so, then they should remember that even in China, or North Korea, word manages to get around.  They should remember the 2016 election, which they thought they had in the bag because all their polls and experts and media pundits predicted an overwhelming win for Hillary.  They should remember that information is like water;  the more you try to squeeze it, the more likely it is to leak out -- or burst out, sometimes with explosive force.

The irony is that the same "liberal" pundits who preach that "hate" is self-destructive and self-defeating don't apply that idea to their own hatred of Trump, his cronies, and all his voters. 

Of course my solution, as always, is: "A plague on both their houses: vote Libertarian", but that's looking a lot more popular as the Democrats continue cutting their own political throats.

--Leslie <;)))>< 

 

         

   

Monday, February 4, 2019

They're Everywhere


Bear in mind that my hometown, Buckeye, is some 20 miles west from the center of Phoenix, Arizona.  It was a sleepy farming and ranching town of maybe 7000 inhabitants until about 20 years ago, when its city council decided to "upgrade" the town by giving over the northern half of its territory to real-estate developers.  In short order, a lot of old ranch-land and some undeveloped desert became a "bedroom town" of close-built overpriced houses, which raised the town's population to 40,000 -- without increasing the number of local businesses.  Apparently the inhabitants of the New Town all drive into Phoenix for their jobs.  They don't spend much of that income here in town, which is why the city government is always putting on fairs and festivals to attract spending.  The town's actual industry hasn't increased any.

Another effect of this social engineering has been an influx of the homeless.  There's a stretch of land owned by the railroad, less than 5 miles from my house, that's turned overnight into a tent/shantytown full of homeless folk.  The neighbors, whose back yards back up to the railroad, have tried giving the homeless folk flyers listing the local social services available, and also calling the railroad HQ to ask that the "squatters" be removed.  In any case, the homeless can't stay there;  winter, even in Arizona, is a bad time for living in a tent.  Besides, there's no running water out there, or sanitary services.

Obviously our town, and county, need to create more homeless shelters.  They could also reinstate the institution known as the "poor farm";  this being farming and ranch land, such a farm could actually support itself -- and possibly even turn a profit.

But beyond that, the problem of  homelessness is becoming visible all over the country.  Regardless of what the media may claim, average people can see from looking that there are a lot of homeless poor clustered around our cities and even small towns. 

The first question is, where do they all come from?  It's also visible that a lot of them are drunks and druggies;  the number of empty booze-bottles and needles obvious in the trash around the homeless encampments make that clear.  Certainly some of them are victims of their own weaknesses.  Others are victims of bad luck and economic "downturns", though the unemployment numbers have been going down for more than a year.  But there are more who are visibly illegal immigrants.  Seriously, this isn't hard to see.  Regardless of skin-color or clothing styles, people who cannot speak the local language are obviously from somewhere else.

Federal  agencies admit that the US's population right now is 327 million that we know about.  That alone gives the US the third largest population in the world -- behind only India and China.  There are also an estimated 12-20 million "undocumented" that we don't know much about.  The obvious solution is, as the old saying goes, Throw The Bums Out.  This is why Trump's Wall is gaining in popularity down here in the border states.

More to the point, the citizens were dissatisfied with the govt. long before Trump was elected (which is one of the reasons he was elected).  The growth of our economy since he got into office has mitigated the dissatisfaction somewhat, but not entirely.  The number of those homeless has only added to the problem.  Worse, anyone who chooses to look -- the Internet being not entirely censored yet -- can see that the homelessness problem is worst in those towns and counties that have given themselves "sanctuary" status, thus attracting more illegal immigrants.  It's no secret that these govts. have primarily Democrat administrations.  Not that Republican govts. look much better;  most of them are notorious for doing nothing.

The citizens are still dissatisfied.  This explains why the shiney-new Democrat majority in the House of Reps. is losing its glamour so fast.  The best propaganda-engine in the world (which, arguably, the Democrats have in the US news media and academia) can't outweigh what the citizens can see for themselves every week if not every day.  The citizens are also losing trust in the media, which explains why so many of them are losing circulation.  The laboriously-constructed wave of pro-Democrat enthusiasm that swept those new Reps into power three months ago can fade faster than it rose.

And where will those cynical and disgruntled voters go then?  Not to any political party that wants to import or allow more floods of immigrants, and not to any party that has done nothing about the problem.

If the Libertarian Party can reconsider its "open borders" policy, it just might take a much bigger chunk of the vote than it's had before, and that alone could change the political game seriously.

--Leslie <;)))><

    

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Speed of Gossip


Rudyard Kipling worked for newspapers in his younger days, and he once wrote a poem called "The Press" in which he described the news media of his time as "king over all the children of pride".  He also described how "the old black art" worked in politics: "The bubble is blown and the bubble is burst by us and such as we."  I've worked on three magazines, two newspapers and a radio station, and I can tell you personally that the only major change between Kipling's day and ours is that electronics has made the bubble-blowing -- and sometimes the bubble-bursting -- a lot faster.  For example, I give you the case of the Covington Kids.

It started with a 10-second (at most!) video/sound-bite on MSNBC, on Saturday morning.  There was a three-second shot of some high school kids in sports-team clothes (except for one boy who had pulled off his shirt and was dancing like a cheerleader) standing in a line, giving sports-team chants.  This was followed by another three-second shot of a kid in a team shirt and a MAGA hat, smiling with almost-desperate politeness while an old man with an Indian (ooops, mea culpa -- "Native American") look chanted and pounded a drum less than a foot from his face.

By themselves, these two shots wouldn't have meant much -- sports team chanting, team-kid smiling at drummer -- but the ten-second-or-less voice-over from the reporter "put it in context", that is, explained it all for us in a quick headline-blurt: "Covington Catholic School Trump Supporters Harass Native Americans at the Lincoln Memorial!"  Never mind that we didn't see any "harassment";  the reporter said it, so it must be true.

Almost instantly, the word spread to Democrats everywhere, who responded -- on the media and the Internet -- with righteous indignation.  A thunder of Twitter-tweets called for beating the kids, expelling all of them, burning down the school, and Disney film producer Jack Morrissy posted a cute meme showing "MAGA kids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper".  SNL writer Sarah Beattie offered a blowjob to whoever would first punch the MAGA-capped boy in the face.  The Native American drum-beater, described as Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips, only called for expelling the kids.  He also claimed that the boy whose face he was drumming in, Nicholas Sandmann, mocked and taunted him for his race (though in the video we never saw the boy's mouth moving), and the other boys surrounded him, chanting "Build the Wall!!", and that he felt threatened and intimidated.

He forgot one thing;  there were other people there with cameras, cell-phones, and Internet connections.

By Sunday the counter-story came rolling in, backed up by other videos, witnesses' statements, and Internet research.  First, the kids had shown up early that morning for their annual anti-abortion protest (what do you expect?  It's a Catholic school), where they marched around with their signs for about an hour, then lined up at the bus-stop to go home.  They were approached by a bunch of Black protesters who called themselves the Israelite Hebrews(?) who started yelling "homosexual insults" at the boys.  The Covington kids responded by chanting their school sports-cheers so as to drown out the yells.  Then all of three Indians approached the boys, beating their drums.  Since the drums were in time with the chants, the kids thought the Natives were sympathizing with them -- until they got closer, and the kids could hear that the Indians were calling them "White beasts" and yelling at them to go back to "the caves of Europe".  Nathan Phillips pushed into the line of students until he was right in the middle of them, nose to nose with Nicholas Sandmann.  Sandmann stood his ground, put on a nervous smile, stopped another kid from getting in an argument with one of the Black protesters, and just waited while the Blacks and Indians threw insults at the kids.  Meanwhile the bus pulled up and stopped, and the schoolkids started climbing on it.  When the last of the students got on the bus, the Black and Native protesters turned away and started chatting with reporters.

Also, more information surfaced about Nathan Phillips.  He wasn't a Vietnam veteran after all.  He had pulled stunts like this before, to the point where police were obliged to escort him away, and... his story about the Lincoln Memorial incident kept changing, and his every claim was refuted by other videos of the incident.

More, the same media pundits who puffed up Phillips and his cronies in the first place were suspiciously silent on real attacks against Native protesters at Standing Rock, and when Jordan Stevens was beaten to death -- on video -- by ten cops in Yuma, and when Native women were kidnapped and sold into sex-slavery in North Dakota.  Other media outlets have begun wondering why the big news companies ignored these real abuses, but raised a nationwide howl about a smiling schoolboy in a MAGA hat.  Likewise, lesser pundits have apologized for jumping the gun on their assumptions about the schoolboys, while the major media -- CNN, MSNBC and ABC -- only backpedaled, claiming that the boys' chanting and Sandmann's stoic smiling were "insensitive".

What this reveals is not only the blatant anti-Trump bias of the major media, but their unwillingness to learn the whole story, or check the facts -- as shown in last week's scandal about "Buzzfeed".  They're willing to toss out the basic rules of journalism for any chance to attack Trump, or his followers, or even a kid in a MAGA hat.

How can any sensible person trust them, really?

--Leslie <;)))>< 

                

Sunday, January 6, 2019

In Victo Veritas


The media turned the swearing-in of the new Congress into a frenetic victory-party for the Democrats -- including an hour-long puff-piece on MSNBC adoring Nancy Pelosi.  Apparently, it's possible to get as drunk on political victory as on booze -- drunk enough to lose common sense and admit to truths that do not automatically please the voters. 

There's no other explanation for Rep. Rashida Tlaib's happily obscene anti-Trump rant, at a victory party thrown by MoveOn.org last Thursday, in which she promised: "We're gonna impeach the motherf*cker", among other things.  It didn't occur to her that along with all the supporters who cheered and clapped for her there were other witnesses with cell-phones, who made video-clips of her and put them up on YouTube, so that she had to do some quick and fancy explaining the next day.  She couldn't have been drunk on booze;  she's a loudly proclaimed Muslim. 

Likewise, Ilhan Omar -- another well-advertised Muslim who has made several borderline anti-semitic comments in public -- whose first day's work in Congress was to sponsor a bill allowing Reps to wear head-coverings, such as her hijab, in the House.  She also denounced the "PayGo" rule -- originally proposed by Nancy Pelosi -- which requires that the federal govt. must come up with a spending cut for every spending increase.  This did not look like a good first day's work to many of the voters, and a lot of them were watching.

And then there are the amazingly ignorant statements by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which have impelled the DNC to tell her outright to please stop making speeches in public lest she embarrass them further.  None of this is concealed from the public.  It's clear that the flush of victory is encouraging the shiny-new cluster of socialist-Democrat-young-minority-women Reps to reveal too much of themselves, and too soon.  If they keep talking, they'll make Trump look good -- even on CNN and MSNBC. 

The gods know, we've seen over-eager politicians hang themselves with their own mouths before this.

The Democrats mounted a truly epic campaign to elect lots of socialist-young-minority-women to the House of Reps in the midterms election, thereby giving themselves a more-than-slightly stereotyped public image.  Now they have to live up to the stereotyping, and cracks are already appearing in the image -- and the supposed unity. 

Now this is the age of the ubiquitous camera, the all-seeing public eye, where everybody has a camera and a phone to transmit what they've seen.  This universal public eye is not controlled by any central authority -- and public manipulations, even very good ones, can't last long against the attrition of a steady rain of publicly-displayed facts.  The steady storm of daily revelations that the media has been using on Trump can be -- is already being -- used on the Democrat favorites too.  Any political weapon is a two-edged sword.

In fact, the average American is not anti-semitic nor Islamophiliac, not misogynist nor snowflake-feminist, not racist nor globalist, does not automatically hate Latinos and does not believe in open borders either -- and therefore neither falls into the Liberal stereotype nor falls for it.  Those shiny-new Reps have already revealed their real attitudes, which are not as popular as they -- and the DNC -- like to think. They won't be able to conceal their intentions constantly, and they'll be revealed, repeatedly, soon enough. Then the public disillusion will set in.  The only question is, how fast?  How long before the voters say "A plague on both your houses"?

2020 just might be a great election year for the Libertarian Party.

--Leslie <;)))><             

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Santa Claus is Real


I've told this story before, but it deserves retelling

Santa Claus is real.  I know, because I was Santa Claus once -- and no, I don't mean just putting on the costume and ringing a bell for the Salvation Army or handing out presents at a kids' party, o sitting in a chair in a store listening to kids tell their Christmas wishes.  I mean the real thing.  No, not the 4th-century bishop of Myra, who was famously generous to children, or the north European "Old Man Christmas", whose attributes and image owe so much to Odin, nor Clement Moore's "Jolly Old Elf", nor the Thomas Nast illustrations that refined his image.  No, the concept that comes closest is Francis Church's explanation in his famous editorial, "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" -- written sincerely, although Church himself was a cynic and an Atheist.  Church had been a correspondent who covered the Civil War;  as such, he must have seen some of the strange things that happen in war for which there is no easy "mechanical" explanation.  He'd seen, and he knew;  spirits -- energy beings -- are real.

Santa Claus is a spirit -- the spirit of Christmas (and Hannukah, and Solstice, and Bodhi Day, and Ganesha's Birthday, and all the rest).  He/She/It/They is the accreted spirit of kindness, generosity, joy, love, fellow-feeling, and delight in the happiness of children, which has collected over the centuries and millennia, attached to this time of the solar year.  The mystic-scholarly Buddhist monks of Tibet might call it a "tulpa" -- a thought-form or energy-being which has absorbed enough psychic energy from humans to become visible, or more.  The ancient Greek and Roman mystics called the process of creating a tulpa "theogenesis", or "god-making" -- and they didn't do it often.  My old psychic-study group back in Chicago did it once;  we created Randy the Alley-God, the lesser god of recycling, which is a story in itself.  And Randy worked.  To the best of my knowledge, he's still there. 

And so, of course, is Santa Claus. 

The way Santa Claus works is by "benign possession".  Think: if an evil spirit can possess a person, then so can a good one.  All you have to do is be willing, ready and agreeable to welcome the spirit in.  Once housed, though you might not feel it right away, the spirit will guide you along its natural path.  And that's what happened to me.

This was back in the early '90s, when I was still living in California, going to celebrations with the local Pagan crowd -- which included the family of Paul Zimmer.  I had a spare drum -- a chased metal dunbek -- which I'd planned to give to his son Ian, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.  On the day before Christmas I'd been to a local Solstice party, for which I wore a pant-suit in the seasonal colors -- red and forest-green, with touches of white.  When I got home and finished dinner I was ready to sit back and watch TV, fueled on eggnog, when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't given away the last of my cards and presents: there was still that drum for Ian.  Well, it was after dark but not too late for driving, so I grabbed up the drum, hurried out to the car, and started driving up to the Berkeley hills and Greyhaven, the Zinmers' house.

That's when the snow started falling.  It was a light fall: few flakes, big and soft, drifting down lazily, not enough to make driving dangerous -- just enough to make it a bit hard to see.  I made half a dozen wrong turns on the way, and finally spent another quarter-hour finding a parking-space, and then another walking all the way back to Greyhaven.  When I got there and knocked on the door, it was exactly midnight. 

The door opened, and there stood Ian.  I handed him the drum, saying, "Merry Christmas".

Ian gawked for a moment and then asked: "Are you Santa Claus?" 

"Huh?" I replied.   

"Think," he said.  "Who  else shows up at midnight on Christmas Eve, wearing the Christmas colors, giving gifts?"

I thought that over, then wondered how the weather had conspired to put me on his doorstep at precisely midnight, and how I'd been suddenly inspired to go out driving after dark to deliver a present, and I had to agree.  "Yes," I said, handing him the drum, "I guess I am."

So of course he invited me in, and I sat around the lovely decorated tree with the family, eating the ritual foods -- cookies and milk -- and we sang carols, and Paul Zimmer gave me a sprig off the tree, which I tucked into my headband, and it was well after 1AM when the party broke up.  When I came out, the snow had stopped falling;  there was just a fluffy dusting on the streets and houses and lawns.  Maybe it was the sprig of the Christmas tree, but I had no trouble driving home or finding a parking-space.  I poured myself a last cup of eggnog, tuned the radio to a music station, and went to sleep to the sound of Christmas carols.  I never slept better in my life.

The feeling of Christmas lasted beyond New Year's, which is why nowadays I include Twelfth Night on my holiday cards.  I noticed that when the feeling was gone, it was noticeably gone -- and the weird coincidences stopped happening.  Like any sensible Pagan, I started making making plans and lookiing forward to Imbolc, the late-winter festival, which is a fun celebration too, but has a very different feeling from Yule-Solstice-Christmas.

So yes, Virginia -- and everybody else -- there really is a Santa Claus.  And you can be him, if you try.

--Leslie <;)))>< 

 

 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

David's Tower


A couple years ago I posted here an obituary -- "Death of a Railroading Man" -- for my old Chicago buddy, Dave Van Pelt the Fifth.  He was always very particular about that "the Fifth".  Then a couple weeks ago another of my old Chicago buddies, Chris Madsen, found -- completely by accident -- a documentary on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlxwALxfBuc) about the 75th Street Chicago B&O railroad switching yard where Dave worked for most of his life.  There are plenty of shots of the trains coming in and going out on various rail-lines, and how their direction changes with a throw of the switches in the "tower".  The tower, shown in the opening shot, was simply a house-shaped two-story wooden building that contained the manual gears and switches for the entire switch-yard.  75th Street Yard was the last -- and the biggest -- of the all-mechanical railroad switching yards in the country, if not in the world.  There are several shots showing the solid rods and gears spreading out from the tower to all the tracks in the yard -- hundreds of yards of them.  The yard was a gigantic clockwork, with its drive-spring contained in that building, which was Dave's domain.

There are also plenty of scenes of the inside of the tower, and Dave throwing the main switches by hand, himself.  It was startling to see Dave again, doing what he loved best, almost dancing amid the big manual switches that controlled the whole yard.  He looked a bit different from the last time I'd seen him in life;  his beard was shorter, his beer-belly was smaller, and he'd cut his beautiful mane of long black hair.  Still, the sight brought back memories.  I'd visited that tower many a time, bringing Dave his lunch, watching him work.  On a couple of occasions he let me throw a switch or two -- if I could;  those switches were heavy.  And we'd watch the trains roll by, big and heavy as dinosaurs, moving as smoothly as swans on water, almost within touching distance of the tower's windows.  That's where I was inspired to write my song, "The Grain Train".  The regular train to General Mills was an economic lesson in itself: "Every train a hundred cars, Every car a hundred tons, Every ton a hundred sacks, Every sack ten thousand grains -- And that's what cities get from trains".  And there's the constant sound of the trains rolling, ringing and clattering over the joints in the steel rails.  There's no other sound quite like it.  Fond memories, indeed!  And did I mention that Dave was my lover, for a few years, way back then?

Looking back, I wonder: what if I'd stayed in Chicago -- never went out to California, never linked up with Off Centaur, never got into the Sci-Fi convention scene.  Well, I would never have made all those albums, would never have met C.J. Cherryh and never have published my first Sci-Fi story, or novel, would never have met so many of my now-solid friends, including Rasty.  My old band, back in Chicago, wasn't making it in the local folkmusic scene.  The old union, the IWW, was surviving well but not growing much.  I'd made one professional writing sale, a short story in a pulp crime magazine, which folded soon afterward.  I would have had a very different life, and career.  But still I sometimes wonder...

David's tower was built in 1894, deliberately over-engineered, meant to last for a century -- which it did.  The B&O railroad retired Dave and tore down the tower in 1997.  For my  part, I think that was a crime against science.  Seeing how it worked, I realize now that the entire 75th Street Switch-yard was a computer.  Complete with its daily trains, that yard was the biggest mechanical computer ever built.  The Babbage Society would have been happy to buy the gears and switches in that tower, and a good length of the tracks they controlled, just to keep in a technology museum. So much of technological history was contained in that small plain building! 

At least, Dave always kept the blueprints -- for the entire yard -- in a cabinet in that tower.  I'm sure he didn't let the B&O railroad just throw those away!  I hope those wound up with the Babbage Society, at least, and aren't just moldering in the B&O company archives somewhere.

But for now, that documentary is a fine and fitting memorial to Dave and his domain.  Watch it, and think long about what you're seeing.

--Leslie <;)))>< 



  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Send 'Em South


It should surprise nobody who studies recent history of South America that Argentina is the economic powerhouse of the continent.  What is surprising is that Chile is bidding  fair to catch up to it.  As a result, according to "The Economist", 11/4/18, "Chile has become a magnet for migrants.  From 2007 to 2015 the number of immigrants living in Chile increased by 143% to 465,000 people, about 2.7% of the population."  Not that Argentina is slipping behind.  As the Migration Policy Institute notes, "Argentina's strong demand for predominantly unskilled, low-wage labor ensures its role as a regional immigration hub."  More, both Chile and Argentina want agricultural workers to help develop their southern provinces, which have always been underpopulated.

This being so, we might wonder why all those Central American refugees keep pouring north to the US and Canada rather than south to Chile and Argentina, where the people at least speak the same language and share much of the same culture.

Part of it, we can assume, is a physical barrier;  it's much easier to wade across the Rio Grande than to swim across the Panama Canal --even though the Canal does have bridges and ferries.  Another part is simply advertising;  everybody knows that the US is the richest country in the world, and the promise of assured steady work can't hold a candle to the lure of possibly striking it rich. 

And there's also a political consideration;  groups like Pueblo Sin Frontieras have raised considerable amounts of money to fund -- and advertise -- caravans and guides taking migrants across the US border.  The drug cartels plaguing Central America also fund "Coyotes" who smuggle migrants, as well as drug shipments, across the border or under it to supply their assorted business enterprises in the US.  Still other political groups funding, supplying, and assisting the migrants -- according to no less than President Hernandez of Honduras -- include government agents of Cuba and Venezuela, whose intention is to collapse the US immigration system and give themselves easy access to the US.  Still other supporters of the Coyotes an the caravans include wealthy Democrat donors, who clearly want the migrants to get into the US and vote Democrat.  No doubt they also hope for more media coverage, and juicy videos of Children Torn From Their Mothers' (or at least women who claim to be their mothers) Arms in order to make more Public Outcry against President Trump.  None of this is in the best interests of the migrants or the US.

So what's the solution, for the US anyway?  First, Congress must pass a ten-year moratorium on all immigration into the US.  Make it law, and enforce it  -- with more ICE agents or with those already-stationed troops.  Nobody gets in.  Period.

Second, for all those people requesting "asylum", give them a compassionate hearing, and then a compassionate one-way plane ticket to Chile or Argentina, where they'll be far distant and safe from the cartels and gangs in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador -- and where they'll be welcomed by governments and corporations who'll be happy to  have them.  The US could also use that "foreign aid" money that we've been paying to the likes of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras -- and possibly even Mexico -- and use it to bribe Chile and Argentina to take in even more poor asylum-seeking refugees from Central America.  This would be a winner for all concerned.  Chile and Argentina would get the laborers (and money) to develop those southern agricultural and fishing areas, the refugees get safety and guaranteed jobs -- and possibly the free education for their families to become more than unskilled labor, and the US stops having its border overrun with invaders.

--Leslie <;)))><