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Are you a sucker?

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

This is a short anti-fascism film from 1947. How soon we forget the lessons we paid such a high price to learn.

So, the next time some politician, pundit, media personality, or spokesperson for the rich or powerful tries to divide us by blaming our problems on some minority, will you be a sucker? Ask yourself, what’s in it for them?

For example, when the governor of Arizona pushes a law that requires the police to detain anyone they suspect of being an illegal alien, should it surprise you to find out that her staff has close ties to the private prison industry, who will make money from the extra detainees?

The only thing that has changed is the groups that are being blamed for our problems. In addition to traditional scapegoats, like jews and blacks, the people who want to divide us are now going after other, easier targets that are harder to defend, like “muslim terrorists”, “recreational drug users”, and “illegal aliens”. It doesn’t matter that these new groups are actual problems, since by blowing up the problem they can use it to divide us and gain power. Why else would the Arizona governor tell lies about decapitated bodies, drug mules, and rising crime? Not because these things are actual problems, but because it increases her political power and puts money into the pockets of her supporters. And while she claims to be protecting you from these illegal aliens, the real result is that the law is found unconstitutional and the economy of her state is worsened by scaring away tourists.



  1. patriotsgt wrote:

    I agree with the philosophy of the argument in that there have always been abuses played upon irrational fears of some percieved extreme group ie. facist or communists (Mcarthy hearings). However, the example “a law that requires the police to detain anyone they suspect of being an illegal alien” is spun to prove a one sided point. There are many states that have similar laws including Arizona prior to the current law. Many states have partnerships with ICE and regularly apprehend and turn over illegals to ICE for deportation. In Arizona and most other states the only “papers” you need to prove you legally reside in the country are a US issued ID such as a drivers license, or state ID. Many white, black, asian citizens have to have state ID’s when they don’t drive if they want to cash a check, open a bank account, etc. If I’m driving a vehicle in my state, get pulled over without a license, no other Id, can’t answer a single question in english and you are the police officer, whats your call? What would you ask? What is your duty, no matter what state you live in?

    For the Drug mules crossing Arizona’s border, they are real and cross every day. Plenty of video to support that. It is true that overall crime is down in Arizona, but that does not tell the whole story in that many violent crimes are up like kidnapping. Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of our country and ranks 2nd only to Mexico city in the Americas.

    Lets not pray on fears ourselves when making points by spinning it to tug emotional strings and keeps us divided.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Brewer claimed that ALL illegal aliens are drug mules. And her claim of decapitated bodies was pure fantasy.

    And the Arizona law is unconstitutional. I sure hope other states don’t have similar laws.

    Arizona already had laws to cover the situation you describe. Even law enforcement organizations recognize that laws that criminalize illegal aliens actual make crime worse, by keeping illegal aliens from reporting crimes against them.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    Please check out

    It speaks to the claim re Phoenix as the #2 kidnap capital.

    The comments above re the creation of fear and the ulterior motives of some (many?) of the people mongering that fear is right on and well put.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Good point Don. PolitiFact rated the claim that Phoenix is the #2 kidnapping city as False. And as they point out, almost all of the kidnappings are people involved in the drug trade or human smuggling — if you aren’t involved in one of those, then your chances of being kidnapped are the same as in any other American city. I would argue that if we managed to replace our current “illegal aliens” with “guest workers” who weren’t afraid to report crimes against them to the police, then these kidnappings would decrease. Not to mention if we ended our current stupid drug prohibition, which isn’t working and only funds organized crime.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  5. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Except for the littering at the end of the film, I thoroughly enjoyed this and do agree that it’s message is pertinent to what’s been happening the last 20-30 years. This should be shown at primetime on Faux News…my guess is that 25% of the viewers would see it as Communist propaganda, 65% as Socialist propaganda and 10% would wonder where and what Germany was.

    There are so many parallels in the film with our current political climate….I hate to say this but I can easily see Rove, Armey, Limbaugh and several other mainstream Republicans fitting in very well with Hitler’s movement. What really struck me though was that the current Republican Party has a history of demonizing science and education.

    My only hope is that as we slip into Facism (and we are) that we have the courage to face it down before it’s too late…

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I meant Fascism….Facism is also bad but not in the same league as Fascism.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  7. patriotsgt wrote:

    There are good points of all sides. What I caution all pundits is to tell both sides. The border states need help. Arizona has cried for years (even under Napolitano) for more federal help. It’s unfortunate that when she became DHS Sec it has been regurgitaion of the admin’s stance. She’s clearly intersted in keeping her job, not serving the welfare of a constituencey she knows well. I’ll ask you one question, if you had 100’s of people trespassing through your yard every day, dropping trash, carrying guns, and breaking into your house when you are not there to defend it, would you be as for illegal immigration? Who is supposed to protects your rights?
    When the President spreads the same fear mongoring like his famous quote about “if your illegal and you take your family for ice cream you’ll all be arrested” in Arizona, how can we criticize the right for doing the same thing.
    By the way Rhode Island has a very similar law to Arizona’s, but their too blue to get called to the carpet by DOJ or the President.
    I just want equal treatment, impartiality and fairness in this issue. It is very important. Legalizing heroin, cocaine, methamphetimine and other dangerous drugs is ludicrous. Also, Mexico is the leading producer of Meth that is brought into the US, as they can import unlimited quantities of sudafed from Canada and other sources which is now highly controlled in the US. I can somewhat understand the pot issue and could probably bend on that issue, but not the others, i’ve seen the effects of those.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    PatriotSgt, you are changing the subject. Nobody here said they were “for illegal immigration”. As I have said, a purely law enforcement based solution will never work, as long as companies can get away with hiring illegal immigrants.

    When I went to Arizona earlier this year, the same people who were supporting Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants would freely admit that they hired illegal immigrants. They didn’t see the hypocrisy of their positions — their attitude was “the illegals are already here, so I might as well give them a job” (at a lower wage than I could hire an American, of course, and since they are illegal, they won’t be able to complain about that). I have no sympathy for their plight, so don’t give me that line about Arizona people complaining about people trespassing, when they are hiring the trespassers.

    Despite the fact that I don’t want to change the subject, I had to laugh when you said “Legalizing heroin, cocaine, methamphetimine and other dangerous drugs is ludicrous.” Portugal did just that in 2001 — see,8599,1893946,00.html

    Before decriminalizing drugs, Portugal had some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But afterwards, decriminalization was a resounding success by every metric. Usage went down. Deaths related to drug use went down. People seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

    So, now that you know that decriminalizing drug use would lower use, and would absolutely lower drug-related crime across the border, how could you not be in favor of it? We were smart enough to repeal alcohol prohibition. Anyone who wants to keep drug prohibition who doesn’t also want to make alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine illegal is a hypocrite (oh wait, I’m not supposed to use that word, correction, they are a fraud).

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  9. Don wrote:

    Mexico is the leading producer of meth imported into the US. True, but not because pseudoephedrine is legal. Per Wikipedia: “On November 23, 2007, the use and trade of Pseudoephedrine in Mexico was made illicit, as it was argued that pseudoephedrine was extremely popular as a precursor in the synthesis of methamphetamine.” I won’t suggest that pseudoephedrine doesn’t enter Mexico, but to state that it’s legal is incorrect.

    From the 2010 Drug Threat Assessment by DoJ: “Mexican DTOs smuggle ephedrine and pseudoephedrine from source areas in China and India using indirect smuggling routes that include transit through Central Africa, Europe, and South America. In addition, packages containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are commonly mislabeled as other items during transit to avoid law enforcement inspection at air and seaports in Mexico. Methamphetamine producers in Mexico also have begun importing chemical derivatives such as n-acetyl ephedrine and methylamine that are not regulated in Mexico, but can be used to produce methamphetamine precursor chemicals and ultimately methamphetamine. Limited access to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine has also prompted methamphetamine producers in Mexico to increasingly use nonephedrine-based methamphetamine production methods. According to DEA reporting, Mexican DTOs conduct large-scale nonephedrine-based production operations in Mexico, particularly using the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method. In fact, the GOM has reported several seizures of phenylacetic acid, a chemical used to produce the methamphetamine precursor chemical P2P. Circumventing the chemical control laws in Mexico has enabled an upsurge in methamphetamine production in Mexico and increased the flow of methamphetamine into the United States as evidenced by methamphetamine seizures at or between POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border….”

    One of the most porous sections of the Mexico/US border is the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in Arizona. Although state/county law enforcement in Arizona is usually cross-deputized with Federal and tribal law enforcement officials on the reservation, they do not have primary law enforcement authority and generally shy away from police actions on tribal lands.

    As to Rhode Island, law enforcement is working under an executive order signed by the governor in 2008 that directs them to enforce federal immigration statutes and coordinate with the feds. Per an article on carried on MyFox Boston, “…immigrants are not required to carry documents with them in Rhode Island and local police are encouraged but not mandated to enforce it.” Quite a bit different than what has happened in Arizona, I’d say.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’m really looking forward to the day when PatriotSgt, who is clearly a smart and reasonable person, realizes that the right-wing media is feeding lies to him (like the one about Phoenix being the #2 kidnapping city in the Americas).

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  11. ZJD wrote:

    The current misdirection of public ire onto “illegals” and the simple-minded American’s attitude is accurately depicted in this cartoon:

    Monday, August 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  12. patriotsgt wrote:

    OK IK and Don, you guys have ganged up and out researched me. I am not convincesd on the legalization piece however, I’d like to investigate some older liberal trials ie. the Netherlands “do not enforce” policies and more on who and how the drugs are distributed. I know from deep rooted ideals like a decriminalization policy simmilar to Portugal is arguably a long way from getting on the table here. Perhaps it can begin with a serious discussion on Marijuana.

    On the illegal immigration issue, you brought it up in the original argument, but we’ll stay away as it is a whole other complicated ball of tangled mess. I did however post 1 relevent excert directly related to “being a sucker” concerning Obama’s remarks. What say you?

    I am trying to be reasonable, however I will investigate, listen and make my own determination. I’d suck as a politician, they’d kick me out of all the parties.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 7:12 am | Permalink
  13. Sammy wrote:

    I am really enjoying reading reasoned and thought out conservative debating points from PatriotSGT, and his willingness to acquiesce on certain points. Why can’t the right wing be more like you?

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  14. Dave TN wrote:

    One thing I found interesting was the immigrant spokesman blended in and no one thought twice. The film maker apparently never thought twice to place him out front for everyone to see and I doubt it was because he worked cheap. He blended in I guess partly of his Anglo Saxon descent but I like to think it was because we the people could be more tolerant. I am myself mostly white but like many in the region have Cherokee Indian decent, the original inhabitants of this country. I find it is bold that immigrants are against other immigrants, essentially a case of “I’ve got mine, keep your hands off my stack”. While I realize this is an over simplification of the issue, it is a place to start and build from. If we first admit that most all of us are either of foreign descent or sons/daughters of immigrants, and that these people are of the same cloth, then we can move on to the next issue of legality. The jobs that are in question are being given by an American citizen and if we choose to hold the immigrant as a law breakers but not the one hiring, then either we fine/jail both parties or find another way. I’ll admit someone working in this country and not paying taxes bothers me so the solution should include this and a path to citizenship. There needs to be an incentive for immigrants to want to pay taxes, and this should take time. In order to encourage this path the employers will have to know there will be a penalty for hiring and paying under the table. The Rand Paul method of ”hands off government” is what got us into this mess, “hands on government” is going to have to be what gets out of it.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  15. @Sammy: If more of the right-wing were more like PatriotSGT, then the more the left-wing would have to listen. As it stands, the silencing of moderate conservatives bolsters

    1) those media outlets that make their money from government-as-circus

    2) the left-wing politicians who can’t respond competently to rational, specific conservative thought

    3) the extreme right-wing, who gain power and prestige as they attempt to dismantle/rebuild the republican party.

    (Full disclosure: social progressive, fiscal conservative here, roughly.)

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    Dave TN: What taxes are illegal immigrants not paying? I believe illegal immigrants pay more taxes than most people. They have income taxes withheld from their paychecks but they (obviously) cannot file a tax return, so they don’t get their refund. Plus the pay sales taxes and all other forms of taxes. And they have social security withheld from their paychecks, but again cannot collect the benefits when they retire.

    By the way, I agree with Sammy. I’m enjoying having PatriotSgt in here. I didn’t start this blog so I could preach to the choir, and I’m happy to have my views challenged, and even changed. I want this to be a place for productive conversations, and all viewpoints are welcome, as long as they are sincerely held.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  17. patriotsgt wrote:

    In defense of Dave TN:
    Part of my full time job is to provide intelligence training and consulting to federal analysts and many of them being ICE. I work only on international drug smuggling cases but lend expertise to those i’m asked within ICE, FBI, DEA and local law enforcement.
    I’ve assisted on many cases involving illegal aliens, both criminally involved in smuggling and those not. There are 2 pay types of non-criminal aliens, those employed on the books under full or partially false ID and those that work completely under the table (some for illegal employers and some for legal employers). Those legal employers tend to turn a blind eye, and many put 10 exemptions for the illegal employee so they don’t have fed/state tax taken out (it takes the IRS about 1.5 to 2 years to catch up and inquire so the employee moves on to another business). They will have SS and Med taxes taken out (along with the employer contribution) which they cannot get back, but by and large pay no fed or state tax and file no return. The other group working under the table of course pay no tax, nor does the employer. There are many of the small construction, landscapers, , painters, day laborer types that work exclusiivly this way. Also, the notion that they are all cheap is not accurate either. Most day labor in our area is $100 day to $150 per day for more skilled. That is a 8 hr day.
    Lost tax revenue is an issue across America, I’d even bet many of the workers affected by the gulf oil spill are having difficulty proving their losses for claims to BP because many don’t report all their income. Just a guess.

    And I appreciate the encourgement and inclusion. Frank open dialogue is the only way to resolve, understand, move forward and make good decisions. I learned a long time ago that I have some good ideas, but far far from all of them.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink
  18. ebdoug wrote:

    Lost tax revenue is what we are getting from those earning over $300,000 a year and those of us getting “qualified dividends” CSM estmated $120 billion a year. Bush’s tax cuts to the rich. How does that compare to the lost revenue from the illegals? And we are always going to have people working off the books.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  19. patriotsgt wrote:

    I agree with the over 300K group being undertaxed along with big business subsidies, but my point is there are many many (maybe 100K) businesses (small) that pay in cash, grossly under report income and if we added it all up would equal a fair chunk of change.

    Thinking through my position about the illegals and tax from yesterday, if we got the illegals on our tax roles it would probably hurt more than help, because their family income being in the 25-50k range would qualify them for no tax paid in, but refunds adding to our tax burden.

    Next, lets close our basses in Japan, Korea and Germany (i think 60-65 years is enough time for them to establish security and gov’t). Next lets close Kosovo, Bosnia and Eqypt(Sinai). Those 6 closures would save us well over 120 billion. I bet these basses alone equal what we spend in Afghanistan and Iraq or pretty darn close to it. We’ll be cutting Iraq funding in half this year as well.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink