Friday, May 02, 2008

Digging the future

Oh, lord, people.

I think Bush is like officially now the least popular president EVAH, and yet I can barely muster up an “I told you so, you fucking stupid wankers.”

Sometimes I find myself wondering why I don’t get more upset over horrible news like, oh…the millions of girls that will never be born in India. So, couples are using ultrasound to find out the sex of their baby, and then aborting the girls. Fine. Because you know why? Eventually, girls will become just rare enough that they will finally be valuable. Maybe even to the point where families will no longer have to pay grooms huge dowries to take the poor useless females off their hands. Ugh. I’m sorry, dear memory of my favorite Beatle, but Indian culture sucks ass. It seems like if they’re not immolating brides, they’re pushing untouchables into fires. Plus, they really overreacted to the whole Richard Gere thing.

And thankfully, LA made it through our annual May Day rallies without our municipal marine corps, AKA the LAPD, getting all medieval on the participants. Yeah, cops are found of saying that when you throw perps up against the wall and go through their pockets, you don’t find a lot of MENSA cards, but let me tell you, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you shouldn’t wail on reporters right in front of their camera crews.

My city has quite the vested interest, as you might imagine, in the whole immigration issue. And I guess, after much turmoil, I have come to the conclusion that the only way it will ever get fixed is to first get it really really good and broken.

I am therefore all in favor of enforcing current immigration policy. We’ll never enact any meaningful change to the existing laws until we first see exactly how ridiculous they are. Because tolerance of illegal workers allows businesses to avoid the paying the kind of wages that U.S. citizens quite rightfully demand. And illegal workers cannot complain about hazardous or unhealthy conditions, either, and the consequences of that is the creation of a corrupt, dangerous, immoral third world-type sub-economy right in the middle of our own country. If you don’t believe me, visit the place where your meat comes from.

Go on, I dare you.

So what am I saying? I guess that it’s hard sometimes to believe in change happening in a healthy way, when it only seems to come about after we get ourselves into a serious “oh, shit” situation. Like where we finally are now with 43’s administration. Finally, 71% of us are deeply into “oh, shit” mode. What do alcoholics call it? Rock bottom. Or, as one ex-husband used to say, what’s the first thing you do when you’re trying to get yourself out of hole?

Stop digging.

Sure, it sounds simple enough, and yet, according to Gallup, McCain is currently running at 48%.

(Credit, or, I'm sorry,
blame for prompting this post goes to my sweet Joshua, formerly of LA. Come back, ya wicked sorry-ass bastard. Hating on W ain't the same without ya.)


Grant Miller said...

I don't eat meat!!!

'Bubbles' said...

I just love that picture of you, vikki!

I thank you for the take on the immigration issue. I makes me think.

Its just that right now we have this crazy f*ck sheriff in our county that is violating civil rights in his crusade to rid us of those terrible people that work hard to feed their families. It makes me crazy, and for one freaking time in my life I haven't taken the time to analyze it. I just know I like the people that I have had do work for me, I doubt they are legal, and I think they were always happy our paths crossed. I hate the idea that some a-hole white guys treated them badly. I hate that LEGAL immigrants have been harassed because of the color of their skin.

I'll shut up now. You are so kind to let me blog in your blog, you know.

Distributorcap said...


did you see this "fun" event in India ---

Dad E said...

When Obama is nominated,his election committee should be able to build a significant majority for him. Two caveats--Racism and the media sucking up to McCain's military POW experience as a qualification to be commander in chief, instead of understanding the impact of his vision and policies.

Doc said...

Friday I saw a white-haired older man driving his white Lincoln Towncar with the "W'04" sticker on the back glass and I wondered if he was sorry about it now. I guess not. He hadn't bothered to remove the sticker.

Stupid Bastard.


Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder what will be included in Jenna's dowry. Will a few half empty bottles of tequila and some old bass lures be enough to keep her in-laws from grabbing the kerosene?

mary catherine said...

you COMPLETELY--as always--make a very sane point. depressing as it may be. thanks, as always, for the education :)

I just ignored derby, as i couldn't stand to face the lack thereof... then the eight belles thing. 2 years after barbaro. what do you make of it????? deeply sad.

miss you lady :) xoxoxoox

mary cat

Madam Z said...

Regarding the aborting of female fetuses, that was common policy in China too. If they could have only one baby, it sure as heck better be a boy. Of course, now they have a lot of young men looking for scarce women.

As for illegal immigration depressing domestic wages, I think of it as being similar to free trade. We, as consumers, be it of products or of labor, look for the cheapest price for a given quality of goods/services. If you can buy a pair of shoes at WalMart, made in China, for $12, why would you want to go to May Co. and pay $100 for same quality shoes made in the U.S.? If you can hire a Mexican gardner, who will work hard and skillfully for $8/hr, why would you want to pay an American $20/hr to do the same work?

I believe that, unless we manage to blow ourselves up in a nuclear war first, eventually Americans will be forced to understand that there is nothing inherent in our country that makes us deserving of the highest wages and highest standard of living in the world, unless we show ourselves to be WORTH more in terms of superior education, work ethic, skills and every other measure. Right now, we seem to be slipping behind China and India and who knows how many other countries in those areas.

vikkitikkitavi said...

DCap: Exactly.

MCat: Yeah, I'm still churning the whole 8 Belles thing over in my mind. One thing I do know, is that the coverage of it was atrocious.

Madam Z: I wouldn't express it in terms of us "deserving the highest wages in the world" like it's some kind of goddamn beauty crown. What American workers deserve, in the very lowest level jobs, is a wage that affords them a place to live, and food, and medical care. In higher level jobs, they also deserve enough to raise a family and educate their children. And I'm sorry, but I don't buy the idea that American workers are inferior. Have you ever had a service you used outsourced to another country? Fuck that shit. I don't care how much attitude American customer service people may have, it still beats talking to some idiot in Bangladesh. And it's not just because the don't have the language skills, although god knows that should be enough, but time after time, in my experience, I have been shown that there is simply no accountability. They are there to read on their screen what their screen tells them to say to you and outside of that they just don't give a shit.

Meat processing jobs are just one industry in the US where illegal workers are being used to displace legal workers and allow industry safeguards and worker protections to lapse. The restaurant industry is another area. I worked in it for many years, and I can't count how many times I saw a legal worker passed over for an illegal one, simply because the restaurant manager or owner knew that an illegal worker would make their job easier (because the other illegals and relatives of the illegals will pressure and manage those employees for them, so they don't have to bother) and/or improve their bottom line.

Where Americans are being outpaced by foreigners are in jobs that require technical degrees, hence the need for the government to constantly expand our H1-B Visa program. Why are Americans falling behind in this area? Because their children aren't going to college and getting those degrees. Why are they not? It couldn't be because their parents can't afford it anymore, could it?

And look at the auto industry. They aren't closing down plants in the US and opening them up in Mexico because they workers have more skills, or a better work ethic, they're doing it because they can pay them crap and make them work longer hours and in unsafe conditions. They can, in one fell swoop, undo everything that American unions have struggled to gain for a hundred years.

Why are American wages so high? Because it's expensive to live here!!!! We need that money if we are going to keep elevating the standards of the American workforce generation by generation. And if our government allows every single protection the workers have to be eroded away, then we will continue down this same road we are currently on, which, in case you haven't noticed, is slowly destroying the entire middle class.

Our middle class, and the possibility of escaping poverty and making it to the middle class, has been what drives the innovation and industry that has made America an economic and technological force to be reckoned with in the world. If our middle class disappears, we'll become just another second-rate shithole of a country full of tweakers and thugs on the bottom, and fucking Imelda Marcos/Manuel Noriega/Saddam Hussein clones on the top. So, enjoy that $12 discount on gardening while you can.

dguzman said...

Vikki--just how much more broken can shit get? Or should I not dare to ask that question?

vikkitikkitavi said...

If we enforce current immigration policy without providing for more realistic quotas and also for amnesty, I think you'd see some severely broken shit.

sv said...

Nice hat, Spooney!

Madam Z said...

Whew! You sure gave me a "talking to!" I am truly sorry that I gave you a wrong impression of my beliefs. I did not mean to degrade or insult American workers. I am speaking from the standpoint of basic economics, as I understand it. Most humans tend to look for the lowest price for a given quality of goods and services. Do you refuse to go to Wal-Mart or KMart, and search for small, family owned businesses and insist on only American-made goods? If you had a small business, would you pay your workers more than you had to, so they could have better lives? Maybe your answers to both questions is "yes," but I believe most people, including Americans, would say "no."

I agree with you that it is bad business to outsource telephone customer service. But that is NOT an example of getting similar quality for less money, which was what I referred to. An example to demonstrate my point would be that there are excellent computer programmers in India, who are delighted to work for $20k per year, while in the US, a company must pay a programmer 3 or 4 times as much.

You ask, "Why are American wages so high?" And you answer, "Because it's expensive to live here!" And I would say, It's expensive to live here, in part, because American wages are so high! Look at the auto industry, which you mentioned. American unions such as the UAW have made labor costs so extreme that cars now cost what HOUSES cost 30 years ago. The Steelworkers union destroyed the American steel industry.

In my opinion, we cannot seal ourselves into a protective bubble, keeping out foreign competition and ignoring the basic laws of supply and demand. We cannot, and should not, legislate against outsourcing. We cannot decide "what Americans deserve" and pass laws requiring employers of all stripes to provide that degree of compensation. We can, should and have passed legislation to protect workers from unsafe working conditions. But I don't think we should depend on the gov't to improve our lives. We have to work hard, get as much education as we can and learn to manage our money responsibly. Oh dear, I better not get started on that!

I know that you feel as strongly as I do on this subject, and that neither of us will change the other's mind. I do respect your opinions though, and I admire your strong writing skills.