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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Blogatelle -- 15 Nov 2005

Welcome to the inaugural blogspot called Blogatelle, an on-going series on Sundries which will document various news stories world-wide, from the vantage point of their news media not ours.

Here are the stories making the rounds on Tuesday, 15 November 2005:

Mexico City -- Coming on the heels of the contentious Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, today the war of words exchanged then by President Vicente Fox of Mexico and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, escalated in diplomatic terms. Both countries simultaneously broke off diplomatic relations, leaving only business links between the two Latin American countries. The row? Well, Hugo Chavez called Vicente Fox "the puppy of the US". Vicente Fox then asked for an apology, with a deadline of Monday at noon. Then Hugo Chavez recalled his Ambassador from Mexico City, saying on national TV in his weekly address on Sunday, that Mr. Fox should be careful. "No se meta comigo, caballero". (Don't mess with me, mister!). He then added, "Your moustache sucks". Okay, this last bit didn't happen, but you feel it COULD have because this row is just too silly. I love Latin Americans a lot, but this type of situation reeks of banana republicanism -- it's an unthinkable situation between, say, the US President and the Canadian Premier, or even Berlusconi versus Zapatero. It's a question of Hispanic-Americas "hombria", that special term for masculine honour, taking centre stage, because it's been insulted, and "satisfaction" must be met before anything else. Even between countries. *sigh* They'll never change.

Paris -- President Chirac went on national television in an address to the nation on Monday, saying that France was experiencing a "national identity crisis". Many people judged it a good speech, conciliatory and tough in turns, but many others thought it was a penny short, and a pound too late. It is, after all, almost 18 days since the riots began. How much more effective would a speech have been, with more decisive strength, the kind which can only be shown by a national leader, if he had done it, say a week after the riots began. It took Bush 3 days to respond to the NOLA levee break crisis, by personally visiting the area 3 days after. But 18 days for Chirac, and world media say nothing... this with over 300 cars having been torched last night, considered the beginning of "a lull" by the police. Until I saw the France2 reportage today, I had no idea that on an ANY GIVEN NIGHT IN FRANCE, 90 CARS ARE TORCHED BY VANDALS, ON AVERAGE. 90 cars around the nation! Good grief. That shows an undercurrent of rage against material possessions, the kind mostly exhibited by vandals or graffiti artists against monuments or graves in other countries, but for reasons of being anti-control, not of what is truly a manifestation of envy. I'd love for you to watch President Chirac's address, which I'll try to get on video later. Every time I look at him, I wonder what the French see in him, because his manner is so oily, and slick to the nth degree that he's like a caricature of the typical smooth-talking but duplicitous Frenchman in the worst imaginings of Anglo culture everywhere. His gestures, his tone, his facial moues. Blech.

WATCH: Video of Jacques Chirac's address to the nation about the riots. It's 45 minutes long.

(Will Update after Blogger's Break at Midnight PST)

14 Comments:

  • hugo chavez is fidel castro's bitch and sends castro tons of free oil that never even reaches the Cuban people.
    As castro's puppet, chavez is demonizing the USA while actively destabilizing Latin American democracies. I am glad that President Fox has taken a stand against him.

    The link to the Chirac video did not work for me. Probably good since he makes me sick!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Tue Nov 15, 08:36:00 am GMT-5  

  • I've always thought Chirac reminded me of a snake, and I only had facial expressions and translations to go on. He is the best stereotypical example of a used car salesman, so good in fact, that no one would possibly buy a used car from him; he is so transparent.
    Except to French voters, I suppose. Gee, I didn't mean to use cars as an example - but that was pretty good, huh?
    Ninety cars on an average night? The insurance rates must be through the roof.
    I think the car burning numbers are going down simply because the easily torchable cars have been put to flames. They're running out.

    I do not trust Vincente Fox, I do not trust any Mexican leader who refuses to help get our border under control and instead puts out pamphlets on it's safe crossing.
    I've heard all the justifications - it remains they are illegal.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Nov 15, 11:42:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm surprised in how much Chavez can get away with, and I'm very happy with Fox's response. It was about time somebody stood up to Chavez.

    As for the illegal aliens, Paul, I hope you are prepared to not eat anything grown in California, or to go to any restaurants, since must of the people doing those jobs are ILLEGAL. Take a stand if you feel so strongly about it. Oh, and when you finish getting rid of all the illegal aliens, be prepared to pay much more at the supermarket.

    By Blogger Jorge, at Tue Nov 15, 02:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Laws stand for something or they mean nothing. Change them or live with them but illegal is just that. And until we define which laws mean nothing and which mean what they say, I'll pay the consequences or until I'm allowed to pick and choose what laws I want to follow.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Nov 15, 02:36:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Paul, that is my point, change the laws, because we are not willing to enforce them (immigration laws that is). It's not Fox's job to protect the border, it's the US Government job to do it. It's the US Government job to go to Walmart and the fields and get illegal aliens arrested. Are they doing that? You tell me.

    I came illegally to this country. Went to school illegally, went to college illegally, never got a cent in aid. You want to send me back? (well, technically you can't anymore) Well, Brooklyn would miss a damn good pharmacist and you better be prepared to support my american wife and kids.

    By Blogger Jorge, at Tue Nov 15, 03:09:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Jorge, closing the border is not practical, maybe even impossible.
    Shipping illegal aliens back when they will just cross again is a waste of money.
    All I'm really asking is if you want to be here, learn our language and customs and become a part of here. Don't bring there here except as proper respect to your ancestors. Be an American, don't threaten to take our states back into Mexico and don't make me learn Spanish, though it is a good idea.
    Respectfully, just what is it you think we should do?

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Nov 15, 06:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Nov 15, 06:20:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I am glad that President Fox has taken a stand against him.

    In a way, so am I.

    But responsible, "solid" people don't do it this way -- which makes them look ridiculous, bush league, in that Latin American petty-squabbles way.

    As I said, you wouldn't get this type of comportment from a genuine First-World leader.

    It's not cultural-specific either, as again I repeat from my blogpost, it's unthinkable that Zapatero would break off diplomatic relations with anyone for a slur.

    The link to the Chirac video did not work for me. Probably good since he makes me sick!

    Well just in case there is someone who wants to see it:

    1- Don't click on the link.
    2- Open Windows Media Player
    3- Go to your Play/Location area
    4- Right-click on the .asx link I provided
    5- Copy-paste that unto your standalone player

    It was working for me a moment ago. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 15, 06:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Except to French voters, I suppose.

    Both times, it was because he was the better of two candidates. With Jospin, and with Le Pen.

    The latter especially would've been anathema to me personally, had I been French.

    I loathe Jean-Marie Le Pen, and his xenophobic, anti-everything but French stance.

    Ninety cars on an average night? The insurance rates must be through the roof.

    That's exactly what they showed in the programme last night.

    I usually catch it at 6 PM EST, but I just arrived, too late, to watch it tonight. Bah.

    The small businessmen interviewed, were AGAINST THE CURFEW, if you can believe that.

    They think that it doesn't help their business, or ameliorate the situation.

    I suppose they would have the gov't do nothing.

    Also, one mayor stopped municipal funding to the parents of the kids who were arrested under the charge of rioting, after the curfew laws were in effect.

    You can imagine the negative reaction, although I stress, it's municipal funding.

    All the other government assistance (their welfare cheques, etc.) were intact.

    I think the car burning numbers are going down simply because the easily torchable cars have been put to flames. They're running out.

    No, they're not running out. France has a very big automobile industry of their own.

    That's the scary part. There are millions of cars to go...

    I do not trust Vincente Fox, I do not trust any Mexican leader who refuses to help get our border under control and instead puts out pamphlets on it's safe crossing.
    I've heard all the justifications - it remains they are illegal.


    I'll be touching on the topic of immigration later, in a future blogpost.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 15, 06:38:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm surprised in how much Chavez can get away with, and I'm very happy with Fox's response. It was about time somebody stood up to Chavez.

    Hola Jorge, como estas? :)

    Yes, I too am happy SOMEONE stood up to Chavez, and maybe in their region, this is what gets people's attention.

    But as you can see in my previous comments, I find the situation ludicrous, and the manner it has been gone about, all to redolent of business-as-usual in South America -- which I find tercermundista.

    South Americans have EVERYTHING to be part of the First World -- they are not so far behind now, in certain areas.

    But the problem is attitude, and solidity.

    As for the illegal aliens, Paul, I hope you are prepared to not eat anything grown in California, or to go to any restaurants, since must of the people doing those jobs are ILLEGAL. Take a stand if you feel so strongly about it. Oh, and when you finish getting rid of all the illegal aliens, be prepared to pay much more at the supermarket.

    Most people know that, Jorge.

    It doesn't take away the fact that the situation needs to be addressed.

    I'll touch on it later on.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 15, 06:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Paul, that is my point, change the laws, because we are not willing to enforce them (immigration laws that is). It's not Fox's job to protect the border, it's the US Government job to do it. It's the US Government job to go to Walmart and the fields and get illegal aliens arrested. Are they doing that? You tell me.

    I came illegally to this country. Went to school illegally, went to college illegally, never got a cent in aid. You want to send me back? (well, technically you can't anymore) Well, Brooklyn would miss a damn good pharmacist and you better be prepared to support my american wife and kids.


    Jorge, this is obviously a very emotive issue to you, because it's personal to your own history.

    I won't touch that, because first, unlike Paul (I believe), I am an immigrant myself, and for a traditionalist, I am one of the few who has few problems with immigration, or "foreigners" in my country per se (I am also pro-France, etc. -- all attitudes which are not very popular to one particular side).

    However, you are mistaken if you think it's just the US Government who needs to patrol the borders.

    This is a joint task, and it's obvious it behooves the internal problems of Mexico, if many of their poorest labourers are foisted unto the US system, rather than their own.

    Using the argument of being anti-immigrant won't work here.

    A hundred years ago, there was no welfare state ready to help illegal immigrants from the moment they arrived.

    They came here, and it was sink or swim, on their own.

    Their children didn't go to public school. They didn't get free medical care at the local clinic. They didn't apply for Pell Grants to college. They didn't get discounted rates in public housing. And if they got into trouble, they were shipped back to their countries more often than not, and not housed at taxpayer's expense in gaols.

    They got nothing.

    So when an illegal alien comes to the US, today, in 2005, the benefits they get outweight the benefits they give so we can go buy a tomato for 2.99 per lb in the grocery store.

    (On the continent today, their system of guest workers has backfired tremendously, as this thread and others are a testament to. This with all their welfare benefits far better than anyting the US can provide. Coming to a country is more than just settling here. It's about integration, and that's what Paul is most concerned about, as he later explained)

    You came to the US illegally. Okay, it's done. What can we do.

    My parents came to this country legally -- they had jobs waiting for them, and yet their struggle was also very great, culture-wise, etc.

    Every immigrant faces their own challenges when they come.

    But I put it to you, and to others, most humbly, that illegal immigration is not something to be lauding. It's something we need to address, correct, and redefine.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 15, 06:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I want to add that it is a myth that the only immigrants who will accept America's low-paying jobs are from Mexico.
    Much of South America, Asia, Africa and The Caribbean have people willing to accept these jobs and begin an integration into this country. They just need a way to get here.
    I know it is a fact that these countries have citizens entering illegally through Mexico but not in such vast numbers.
    Still, many people are trying to enter legally and I feel sorry for those who watch and wait.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue Nov 15, 07:08:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I know it is a fact that these countries have citizens entering illegally through Mexico but not in such vast numbers.

    I haven't many Central American or Caribbean friends (who aren't Cubans), but in my experience, having heard of many immigration stories here in South Florida, I have never heard one person tell me they came illegally via Mexico.

    Most illegals buy a return ticket (you're not allowed to buy a single, obviously), and when they enter, they just overstay their visa.

    Before 9/11, it was actually relatively easy for a lower-middle class to upper-middle class immigrant to do so -- the computers were not all synched as they are now.

    Still, many people are trying to enter legally and I feel sorry for those who watch and wait.

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    I will be expounding on this topic later in the week. Specifically, about South America.

    Stay tuned! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 15, 10:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • hey Vic, welcome back after the "storm" .

    Let me try to answer in some type of order.

    On the Chavez front, I understand all this bickering sounds thirdwordly, but
    it was Chavez who basically came down to insulting Fox. I put the blame squarely on Chavez. It's the way he always operates, he gets caught doing something "naughty" and he just screams either "Bush is going to kill me" or "you are a pet of imperialism". That's it, that's all his rethoric. He gets away with it more now than ever, because of Bush's low standing, but sooner or later the mask is going to fall off.

    All I'm really asking is if you want to be here, learn our language and customs and become a part of here. Don't bring there here except as proper respect to your ancestors. Be an American, don't threaten to take our states back into Mexico and don't make me learn Spanish, though it is a good idea.
    Respectfully, just what is it you think we should do?


    Who's threaten to take territory back to Mexico? (disclaimer: I'm not Mexican nor have Mexican relatives)

    Learning english is something that first generation immigrants will hardly do, mexicans, cubans, italians or whatever. Just let this current crop of immigrants some time. We will assimilate. Go back to the beginning of the 20th Century. Italians kept their language and still have a TV station here in NYC, after more than 100 years of coming here, they still try to keep their language. So give us time. We won't be trying to take Texas back (it was never mine in the first place)


    Using the argument of being anti-immigrant won't work here.

    Who is? But don't complain about immigration in one hand while enjoying the fruits of their labor in the other one.

    A hundred years ago, there was no welfare state ready to help illegal immigrants from the moment they arrived.

    They came here, and it was sink or swim, on their own.

    Their children didn't go to public school. They didn't get free medical care at the local clinic. They didn't apply for Pell Grants to college. They didn't get discounted rates in public housing. And if they got into trouble, they were shipped back to their countries more often than not, and not housed at taxpayer's expense in gaols.


    If they didn;t go to public school, where all the irish, jewish, etc etc get educated? private school?

    Pell Grants? I don't know about now but I went to college from 1992-96 and I never got a cent out of the government because I didn't qualify, I wish I had known you then.

    So when an illegal alien comes to the US, today, in 2005, the benefits they get outweight the benefits they give so we can go buy a tomato for 2.99 per lb in the grocery store.

    ahhh the neverending argument. I just add that if immigrants didn't benefit the economy, how can the economy keep growing at the same time as immigration?

    You came to the US illegally. Okay, it's done. What can we do.

    gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. :P

    Coming to a country is more than just settling here. It's about integration, and that's what Paul is most concerned about, as he later explained

    Look guys, I agree 100% with both of you, integration is absolutely necessary, but don't expect to happen overnight. LA just got a hispanic mayor in over 100 years. Does he not speak english?

    You just have to give it time, it WILL happen. But don't complain about seeing "jornaleros" at the Home Depot's parking lot, but feel perfectly fine while those same "jornaleros" build your pool at a cheap price.

    will be expounding on this topic later in the week. Specifically, about South America.

    Stay tuned! :)


    I will :)

    By Blogger Jorge, at Wed Nov 16, 05:06:00 pm GMT-5  

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