Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pombo Strikes Out At Immigrants

Yesterday, as the House debated a measure to provide funding for the Justice, Commerce and State Departments, they voted on an amendment offered by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). The purpose of this amendment? To eliminate bilingual ballots.

Just last week, the GOP had to table a vote to authorize renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in part because of internal bickering over the issue of bilingual ballots. So Stearns tried to slide the issue in through the back door of the funding bill. In a roll call vote, the amendment was defeated by a margin of 254-167. Just take a wild guess which way Richard Pombo voted.

Apparently not content with his previous efforts to criminalize illegal aliens, Pombo is now hell-bent on marginalizing and disenfranchising those legal immigrants who have actually become American citizens.
Supporters of non-English ballots reminded colleagues that only U.S. citizens are able to vote and that even those whose native language is English have difficulty with complex ballot initiatives, much less those who learned the language after coming to this country.

An overwhelming majority of Democrats joined with slightly fewer than one-third of House Republicans to reject Stearns' amendment.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said taking away the right to bilingual ballots would "allow states and localities to discriminate against taxpaying American citizens because of their language ability and impede their right to vote. That is wrong."

The Justice Department on Wednesday settled a lawsuit with Brazos County, Texas, for denying Spanish-speaking citizens voting materials and ballots in Spanish and preventing them from getting help in voting.

"The Voting Rights Act has nothing to do with immigration," said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. "One hundred percent (of those benefiting from non-English ballots) are U.S. citizens."
Expect this issue to surface again when the GOP finally buckles down to the task of authorizing the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Stearns has vowed to re-introduce his measure as part of that debate.

So why do you think Richard Pombo, who appears to be heading into the toughest political race of his career, would risk alienating a very large portion of the voters in his district? Well, here’s my theory. I’m guessing that he really doesn’t see non-native English speakers as “his people.” If he can suppress the voter turnout among that group, he’s gambling that it will improve his re-election chances. And if the move to do away with bilingual ballots fails, he’ll just do what he does best: Lie.

All you need to do is look back at HR 4437. Remember how Pombo voted to make felons out of illegal immigrants and levy fines against people who assisted them? And then remember how a few months later, he said this to the Contra Costa Times?
Pombo favors a guest-worker program and disagrees with those that want to criminalize illegal immigrants and the people that help them.

The nation needs the workers, he says, and the criminal prosecution of the nation's 11 million or more illegal immigrants would be physically impractical and politically unpalatable.
There's one thing you can always count on with Richard Pombo. The man really has no shame.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We speak English here dude...time to get with the program...whiner

12:32 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous jbmendel said...

I agree, and I think it would be best for everyone if Pombo went on the floor of the House and said exactly that. In fact, he should put it in his Congressional newsletter... in Spanish.

7:19 AM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

The "English Only" debate is quite interesting. I recommend a book by James Crawford called "Hold Your Tongue". Here is a link to a chapter, Hispanophobia.

In my view, the English Only movement has some legitimate points -- that people who become citizens here should learn English and that they will have better opportunities if they do. But on the downside of English Only are the racial overtones and the fear of the "Brown Menace", that whites are not reproducing as much and the Hispanics are taking over. The whites tend to say, "my father/grandfather/etc. came over from Portugal/Italy/Poland/wherever and he had to learn English. He never asked the people to learn his language. He knew he had to learn English."

After reading Crawford, I tend to take his position -- that while the English Only has some points, there is too much of a fear factor and latent racism involved to adopt it entirely. That they often pander to ignorance and jingoism.

On the other hand, some Hispanic leaders are too quick to accuse anyone opposing bilingual governmental materials, such as these ballots, as racist. White Liberals tend to jump right in on this also, going out of their way to empathize with the "oppressed minority".

The truth, as Crawford points out, is in between. Basically, since most of the country operates in English and that is where the best opportunities are, all ethnic groups, including Hispanics, have a very real impetus to learn English, and most actually do. There is really nothing to worry about and English is not disappearing. The US has a long history of absorbing immigrants. He also notes that the US has a history of bilingual activity, and this has not adversely affected English as the dominant language.

But of course, it is much easier to take a polarized view.

In this case, it seems Pombo is joining the "English Only" crowd and appealing to people's fear of the "Brown Menace". Which seems very stupid of him, since he may be appealing to the conservative whites, but is alienating Hispanic voters. Perhaps Wayne Johnson's polling has shown that the Hispanic vote is not significant in the District, and that appealing to the conservative (and somewhat backwards) red-state mentality of the Valley will benefit him more.

9:06 AM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


What you're missing from this specific debate is that every single person this vote would affect is an American citizen. They ought to be allowed to vote in Klingon if it will help them exercise their franchise and make informed decisions in the voting booth.

It's their right as Americans. Once you are a citizen you are not some Other, you're one of us.

This vote is both a transparent attempt to pander to the worst elements of the Right and to suppress the vote of ethnic minorities. It's a disgusting position IMO. And it just gives us one more reason to want to oppose Pombo.

9:16 AM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Delta said...

VPO, that is not a red-state mentaility. It is a red neck mentality most closely associated with those of limited education not much good sense.

I would like to compare the way I was treated during my five year stay in Japan (on a work visa) with what is being proposed here. I was able to take my drivers test in English. Just the same as those in the US can take their test in Spanish, or Japanese or....

My wife is Japanese, has studies English, and has lived in this country for over 30 years. She still has a problem with the obtuse wording of the driver's test.

The language is a fake issue designed to be devisive, not to solve a problem. I like the phrase attributed to Sinclair Lewis. "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Maybe we all should read Lewis's It Can't Happen Here because is really describes Pombo:
"claims to champion the common man, Windrip (Pombo) is in the pocket of big business (bil oil, big ag), is favored by religious extremists, and though he talks of freedom and prosperity for all, he eventually becomes the ultimate crony capitalist. Boosted by Hearst newspapers (the FOX News of its day), he neuters both Congress and the Supreme Court, before stripping people of their liberties and installing a fascist dictatorship."

Remember: Pombo is the congressman who introduced legislation that would give Congress the right to overrride the decisions of the Supreme Court, whose esteemed and honored Republican member, Sandra Day O'Connor warned us about being on the edge of sliding into a dictatorship. Of couser, you had to get the story from the British Press, it would never have been on Fox News.

9:25 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo babaloo.

Rocky here. Wunce again, you is showin why yer a dealer and Rocky ain't. I dunno where youse guys get all duh good stuff like dis, and I dunno why ButtaPombO hates duh friggin Mexicans so much.

I mean like me and Adrian, usually wit Paulie, try to go out and eat Mexican food like wunce a week, you know, cuz we gotta lotta good Mexican restaurants here in Stock-Town. And duh Mexican waitresses are always real nice and dey hustle too - dese people are good people and dey ain't afraid to woik if youse ask me. Unlike Team ButtWipe, who ain't never woiked an honest day in dere lifes. And dey soitenly ain't nice people.

Instead, dese morons spend dere days prowlin around on our blots as SPIES, tryin to soak up our Democratic wizzdumb, like the anonymous piece of terlet paper who sez he speaks friggin English but den uses woids like "dude" tryin to disguise hisself as a surfer boy. Pathetic. Not to mention dumB, which is what we expect from dese friggin idiots. Yo moron - why don't you go play wit yerself and mebbe Jack-off too in yer own friggin sandbox where youse all belong?

Anyways, duh only problem Rocky has wit Mexicans is Paulie, on accounta duh fact dat he don't handle refined beans or even unrefined beans real well, if youse know what I mean. But from woikin wit 'em in duh meat packin plant, he even knows how to speak sum Es-spain-yol, so duh waitresses always flirt wit Paulie and give him a free Margarita, which seems to slow down tings enough so we can get home before all hell breaks loose. Den its soitenly "Time fer BeanO" over at our house, if youse know what I mean! Heh heh heh.

Yo Mr Mendel! Good to hear from you buddy, I wuz tinkin mebbe you fell off a cliff like a lotta duh udder guys do on dis here blot. Or mebbe you wuz out experimentin, puttin different colored peas in an iPod to see what colors you get when you cross 'em. Rocky tink dat duh more colors you can get in dese iPods duh better, cuz duh all white ones get a little boring if you know what I mean.

Rocky out. What happened to my good friend Nick? Where's Jenny Blue? Rocky misses youse guys, even Ricky and Gibby Boy cuz yer all OK in Rocky's book.

9:35 AM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

But what I said in my post is that Pombo is taking a racist stance, so I think I am agreeing with all of you on this. Personally, I think there is some minor legitimacy to certain aspects of the English Only movement, but that it is too tainted by racist overtones to take seriously. However, on the other side, Hispanic "leaders" try to make more out of this in order to increase their power and standing.

I take a more relaxed and expansive view -- I believe, like Crawford, that non-English speakers are driven to learn English in order to take the advantage of opportunities in the U.S. That having bilingual ballots is not an assault on "American values". That what Pombo and other congress-critters are proposing is small-minded and jingoistic.

They are using fear to activate their base against the "Brown Menace". Just like all the border patrols, where these fat white guys sit there with binos watching the border. How crazy is that?

This brouhaha over bilingual ballots is, as you say, disgusting, because it energizes the worst and most racist aspects of the "English Only" movement. In other words, it is Pombo pandering to his ignorant, redneck base.

I just wonder what political calculation, if any, he and Johnson made where they felt they could freely piss off the Hispanics (and other ethnic groups) by catering to the prejudices of the conservative whites.

And, before I get blasted by Hispanic muchachos, I do not in any way pretend here to know what the alleged "Hispanic community" thinks on this. Maybe they too agree with Pombo that English-only is the way to go. Probably most don't, but I am sure some do. I have no idea, and maybe Pombo is only pissing off white liberals, not the Hispanics. I would like to hear what Stella and others have to say before I go putting words or reactions into their mouths.

10:08 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is outrageous! We're going to need all the illegal votes we can get to defeat Pombo. I consider this a totally political vote by him to deny illegals the right to vote. We stole this country from them in the first place. That's just ethnocentrism, which as we all know, is longhand for racism.

10:46 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Anonym-ASS.

Rocky here again. I told you to butt out of dis blot ButtWipe, or you is cruzin fer a bruzin. Now be a good crybaby and go shed yer Crocoshit tears in yer own friggin sandbox while yer playin wit yerself and Jack-off.

Or Rocky gonna go bust up yer friggin blot, and chop duh friggin Head offa Joachin, like we is gonna do to ButtaPombO in November when we also gonna send all youse ButtWipes to duh meatpackin plant where Paulie is gonna have at youse in more ways den one. Extra refined beans fer Paulie duh night before youse arrive, wit yer heads on a friggin platter.

You know what I mean? Yer duh biggest friggin MORON around. Why don't you go get a job at a Mexican restaurant so you can find out what real woik is? Yer PATHETIC!

Rocky out. ButtWipes in - Jeezus! You can smell 'em a mile away! Yo Ricky! We need you buddy! You know any tricks to get rid of dese friggin dumB-ass SPIES??

10:59 AM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Do you need more proof as to what I am saying than the anonymous postings here? About Pombo geting his base all hot to trot, with hate and ignorance. Geesh, what a moron!

This anonymous is all riled up by "illegals". Seems he is too stupid to know that illegal immigrants can't vote. You have to be an American citizen to vote, you dimwit.

And believe it or not, some American citizens "no speaka the English", dude. So what is your view -- give them all English only ballots? That is fine, because we can just tell them to look for the fat pig's name, POMBO, and vote against him. No problemo, senor.

Meanwhile, anonymous needs to get away from his computer and go hang out in Margariavilla. Find some Mexican cutie. Maybe she can teach him a few thing or two, preferably in Spanish. I am sure that will change his attitude towards "Hispanics"!

11:55 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez, VPO, I was mistaken..I thought I read that freudian slip by Francine Busby down in San Diego as saying that illegals COULD vote. This country is becoming a gestapo outpost because some have even said that voters should be required to show some identification before they vote. That's gotta be unconstitutional. As for Rocky, he doesn't speak english anyway.

1:40 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

It must be nice not caring whether your fellow Americans can exercise their right to vote or not. I imagine it's kind of a causal anti-democratic disposition. If they don't speak English well, if they don't have a photo ID, fuck 'em,. I mean, they're probably not real Americans anyhow. Right?

1:49 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

That's right, Matt, these ignorant Pombo supporters seem to think that liberals, environmentalists, Democrats, gays, Hispanics, atheists, intellectuals, Buddhists, Muslims, anyone who does not speak English, old Berkeley hippies, and all others left of George W. Bush are not "real Americans" and probably should not be allowed to vote. Even Schwarzenegger must be questionable in their minds. That does not leaving many people, except a bunch of conservative white "Christian" farmers and developers from the Central Valley.

Here is an analysis of "English Only" supporters:

Who are these people and what do they want?

A. Citizens who want to preserve our common language and avoid ethnic strife
B. Bigots seeking to roll back civil rights advances for language-minority groups
C. Conservatives hoping to impose a sense of national unity and civic responsibility
D. Liberals who fear that bilingual education and bilingual voting discourage assimilation
E. Nativists trying to fan animosity toward immigrants and build support for tighter quotas
F. Euro-ethnics who resent "unfair advantages" enjoyed by Hispanics and Asians today
G. Politicians attempting to exploit a national mood of isolationism and xenophobia
H. Racists who equate multiculturalism and ethnic separatism
I. Americans who feel threatened by diversity, among other unsetting changes

J. All of the above

Put Pombo in the "G" category and Anonymouse in the "B, E, F, H, and I" categories.

2:25 PM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Mr Anonym-ASS.

Rocky here again. Wit foist his left. And den his right. And den anudder 2 quick lefts and you is left staggerin on duh friggin ropes. Which is where you don't wanna be when Mr VPO gets you - POW! Mr VPO gotta friggin left uppercut dat'll knock you so far left you'll wish you wuz never on duh right wing to begin wit. Dat leaves you poifectly positioned fer an easy moppin up by Matt for duh KO. You sayin carbUNCLE yet?

I mean you gotta obey duh friggin rules of dis blot if you wanna be taken seriously. Right now, you ain't got any incredibility nor is you taken seriously. Seriously.

And jest cuz you might be good at changin diapers, on accounta yer familiarity wit duh practice on accounta duh people you hang out wit, don't mean yer good at changin yer identity from bein a REPUBLICANSPY to bein an Anonym-ASS. All us Dems are smart enough to see right through dis dumB move, which coulda been even dumBBer den tellin us you was duh friggin REPUBLICANSPY to begin wit. You know what I mean?

And dere ain't nobody on dis here blot who don't unnerstand Rocky nor his English, unlike yer English which wuz really a still dumBBBer move on yer part to try and hide duh fact dat you is REPUBLICANSPY tryin to sound like a friggin hip surfer dude supporter of ButtaPombO while signin onto dis blot as an Anonym-ASS. Well it didn't fool Rocky none. And nobody else no way neither. Woo woo woo. Like I sed, you is PATHETIC.

Rocky know why you is here. You know ButtaPombO needs Mr BeanO's and duh Fightin One's votes if he is to have any friggin chance of winnin in November. And you know Mr BeanO's been hangin out on our blot cuz yer bein a ButtWipe and SPYIN, while Mr BeanO is bein honest and friendly in a bi-partisan spirit of tryin to becum a good blotter like duh rest of us. And he's loinin, jest like Rocky. I'm gonna be a dealer sum day, jest you wait and see. On toppa dis blot like I wuz in duh ring. And Rocky don't mean Kevin Ring, or Ring-a-Ding, or Ding-a-Ling or even Steven Ding and duh UOP Avon Ladies. Rocky's a champ while yer a chump.

Anyways, you is here simply tryin to figger out duh strategy we Dems are gonna use to attract dese honest Republican voters, and leave all you crooks to go to hell foist, and den to jail. Directly to jail witout passin go.

But duh Fightin One don't hang out here, and none of his supporters do neither, and as fer Mr. BeanO Rocky ain't sure dat he wuzn't yet anudder friggin spy postin here as Mr BeanO and tryin to get us to trust him so somehow we would open up and spill duh beans. You know what I'm sayin? One of duh biggest rules of blottin is you don't trust no one, except if you is in duh Inner Circle and you ain't. In retrospect, I tink it wuz dumB of Rocky, with only 1 B, to even post duh question about how we Dems can attract Real Republicans on dis here blot as its duh kinda question dat probably shouldn't be answered on a blot butt in private insted by the leadin ineffectuals in duh Inner Inner Circle and the Secret Halls of Duh Dealers which Rocky ain't privvy too. Sum day though, you wait and see.

Not witstandin dat last fact, duh simple fact is us Dems are smarter den you, and our wimmin are smarter and cuter too. Take a look at Adrian and compare her wit Annette, but don't look too long or I'll punch yer eyes out. You know what I mean?

Quit pickin on duh Mexicans - Rocky tink dey oughta have an IQ test fer votin, on accounta duh fact dat 90% of duh Mexicans will pass while 90% of Team ButtWipe will fail.

I mean none of youse guys are havin no trouble unnerstandin Rocky's English, am I right or am I wrong?

Rocky out.

3:36 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Here's a pertinent fact from the 2000 census data that might help to illuminate the issue: 23.2% of the residents of CA-11 speak a language other than English in their home.

8:23 PM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a great 4th, everybody, and remember: Burning Flags may be constitutional, but violative of the Clean Air Act.

4:35 AM, July 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Berkeley flagburners are snippy

11:31 PM, July 04, 2006  

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