Tag Archives: deconstruction

Menstrual Blood Banks – Viable?

It turns out that scientists, from a culture that derides the menstrual cycle of women, have discovered that ‘period blood’ is “a good source of stem cells…that can develop into any nine different types of cells, including heart, lung, nerve and muscles.” So now, there are talks of ‘banking’ menstrual blood.
The full article is here.

The article says ‘Unclean,’ which denotes ‘menstrual.’ Are the men skirmish yet? I don’t think the biological dichotomy between clean and unclean blood is why the headline screams ‘UNCLEAN’ blood–clean blood is supposed to carry oxygen from the heart to other areas of the body via arteries whereas unclean blood is usually found in veins and carries ‘by-products.’ A Biology major can clarify, but in the article headline, ‘unclean blood’ is ‘unclean’ simply because it is menstrual blood. In other words, it has little to do with any artery/veins dichotomy and more to do with the fact that ‘only women bleed’ if I may borrow those Alice Walker song lyrics.

HA! I wonder how popular this news would be if men had periods. In all likelihood, it would make CNN, Fox, MSNBC headlines, spur all sorts of discussion and pride amongst men about how they are ‘natural saviours,’ give birth to a whole new ‘menstrual bank’ industry, and maybe even knighthood for the men who bled the most. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get what I am trying to say. If you don’t get what I am trying to say, Gloria Steinam says it better here.  Alas, if you search for this news piece on “Google News” only one newspaper carried report of these findings–the Times of India.
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Critique of Borders – Canada no longer visible from Derby Line, Vermont

Since this site is called ‘No Borders and Binaries,’ lets revisit the philosophy behind that term. The creation of a bordered world is a deliberate attempt to divide, contain and isolate communities, to forget about arbitrary and ‘disorderly’ origins, in order to create a ‘more ordered, more secure world’–an impossible goal. See the case of Derby Line in Vermont below.

One library, two countries by Soul of Beer.

The border fence between Canada and America in Derby Line, Vermont is spreading hatred and discontent among residents. The United Press International reports:

Derby Line, which has a shared library with the neighboring Canadian community of Stanstead, has had lettering painted on three side streets: “Canada” on one side, “U.S.A.” on the other. Then came an influx of U.S. Border Patrol agents who chased motorists who ignored signs telling drivers to use official entry points.

The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported Sunday that there was a proposal last year to erect fences on the town’s small streets to officially barricade the United States from Canada.

“They’re stirring up a little hate and discontent with that deal,” said Claire Currier, who grew up in the border area. “It’s like putting up a barrier. We’ve all intermingled for years.”

See NPR for more coverage of this issue.

The residents are told that it is a matter of national security, that our borders are porous, that terrorists could enter the border through these unsecured places. It doesn’t seem to matter that the people living in harmony across the border, intermingling often, don’t like the idea of a fence that would create barriers amongst them, deny them access to golf clubs, libraries, shopping malls and other activities they share together. And then there are those that think that Vermont should belong to Canada.
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The Invisibles that Made the Beijing Games – Dark Side of the Olympics

I mentioned earlier that the computer-generated 55-second video footage of giant fireworks on film at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was pure simulacrum–with no relation to ‘reality.’ It turns out that there was more “staging” than meets the eye at the 2008 Beijing games.

First, a 9-year old lip-synced the song “Ode to the Motherland” because the original singer was not considered pretty enough.

Then, we had reports of a pre-recorded “live” fireworks display as aforementioned.

Chinese officials also admitted to deploying cheer squads (legions of spectators wearing matching yellow shirts) to ‘create’ atmosphere and hide the empty seats. (Why were there empty seats at this major world spectacle? We will come back to this point soon).

Now Beijing officials are admitting that children dressed in different ethnic costumes in China who carried the Chinese flag were not actually from those ethnic groups.

And all the while, the CCP has cracked down on Olympics piracy–the sale of ‘inauthentic’ Olympic gear. In order to move away from the perception of China as a “low class pirating country” according to CNN,

On April 26, World Intellectual Property Day, cities across China demonstrated the country’s commitment to quashing piracy by staging public exhibitions and destroying pirated goods.

This is the essence of hyper-reality, the fake crackdowns on pirated goods (the brand names also representative of nothing) to allude to a China that is indeed unreal; it does not exist.

Maybe these reports do not bother average viewers who understand that they are consuming images that are not necessarily representative of reality.  And this post is by no means condemning China for “faking” the Olympics–that would be far too juvenile and hypocritical and I will leave that to the Orientalists and hate-mongers.

In ‘postmodern’ society, the simulated copy has preceded the real and while I am not asserting like Jean Baudrillard did that “the real no longer exists,” I do hold that the mass profusion of images for consumption–the systemic act of the manipulation of signs–play a major role in masking and convoluting our perceptions of reality.

The most disturbing part of the Olympic spectacle does not have to do with the 55 second CGI, lip-synching or child actors; it has little to do with the spectacularly grand banquet of scrolls, drums, processions, songs and dances that were supposed to reflect 5000 years of Chinese civilization. This hyper-reality and idealized transposition blanketed the ‘real’ people of China, the people that would ideally occupy those empty seats, the ones in rural areas who would never even see the games but have their land taken away in an attempt to create the facade, those that toiled behind the scenes to make these Olympics a success, the ‘undesirables’ that China was all too eager to eliminate from the screens before the games begun even while appearing to extoll the values of its own historical laboring past and present during the staged simulation.

The migrant laborers that toiled hard with little-to-no legal and health protections, and built the Bird’s Nest are nowhere to be seen. They came, they built, and they left knowing that they would never have access to the amazing sites that they have put together, that the world may never recognize their amazing feats and reward them with medals. After all, we are glued to our screens watching and applauding people running, swimming, cycling and jumping for medals, sponsorships, and fame. But the true achievers are the migrant workers, the unsung heroes who made these games possible.
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Scary New World? Minority to Become Majority in 2040s

An older and more diverse nation by mid-century – Report released by the Census Bureau

minorities to overtake majority

What predictions can we make from a majority-ethnic minority population in the future?

More liberal politics? Increase tolerance of difference? An end to white privilege, institutionalized discrimination and racism?

IT tells us nothing. Women are the majority-minority and yet that fact is not reflected in electoral politics, the gender make-up of Fortune 500 CEOs or reimbursement of the ‘second-shift‘ for that matter. A sheer majority in numbers cannot make much of a difference without institutional power and/or support.

But it is clear that a majority-minority population cannot be ignored:

But the mere numbers require that Latinos move beyond low-wage and low-skilled jobs, said Mark Salling, a demographer at Cleveland State University.

“When they are a third of the population, you can’t ignore them,” Salling said. “I don’t care if they’re citizens or not, you can’t ignore them.”

The Center for Immigration Studies did not pass up an opportunity to use the projected figures to trump up their hue and cry over immigration:

“The point here is what does it mean for the quality of life, the quality of the environment – profound questions,” he said. “It’s not the weather – this isn’t happening because Americans are choosing to have large families. It’s happened primarily, not entirely, but largely because of a federal program, immigration – that is, the toleration of illegal immigration and very generous legal immigration.”

What they failed to mentioned is that the percentage of people that would require social security and medicaid in 2040 would necessitate a larger percentage of the working age population than currently projected. We either need to redo our health and pension plans, ensure that people don’t live past 64 or allow more legal immigration.

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Immigration leads to Global Warming? Nonsense!

That was the response from a friend over IM when I mentioned the latest anti-immigrant CIS report that foresees immigrants as a major cause of global warming. The report is titled Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions and available on the CIS website.

Anticipating attacks by the pro-migrant lobby, the report claims to not “blame immigrants” but also not dismiss the large role that immigrants are playing in increasing CO2 emissions worldwide:

Some may be tempted to see this analysis as “blaming immigrants” for what are really America’s failures. It is certainly reasonable to argue that Americans could do more to reduce per capita emissions. And it is certainly not our intention to imply that immigrants are particularly responsible for global warming. As we report in this study, the average immigrant produces somewhat less CO2 than the average native-born American. But to simply dismiss the large role that continuing high levels of immigration play in increasing U.S. (and thus worldwide) CO2 emissions is not only intellectually dishonest, it is also counterproductive. One must acknowledge a problem before a solution can be found.

The issue cuts through the heart of migrant rights and environmental justice. Why is it alright for the United States to export its pollution but not import people from the countries it is polluting? What about travel and tourism, even food exportation from lavish countries to poorer ones–does that not contribute to global warming? Trade liberalization under GATT, NAFTA and CAFTA keeps chipping away at environmental protections, re: Tuna/Dolphin case.

Immigration and Global Warming are not zero-sum games. The equation Immigration ==> Global Warming does not hold up under scrutiny. As a Pacific Islander, I can say for a fact that global warming is directly leading to immigration from the “Third World” (South) to the “First World” (North). Islands like Kiribati and Tuvalu are going under water as a result of emissions by countries such as Australia and the United States (facing lawsuits in the World Court). Developing and underdeveloped countries are facing more climatic variations leading to increased agriculture and crop loss, not to mention devastation from higher magnitude hurricanes that does encourage migration to countries in the North. So instead of a definite immigration –> global warming, we also have a global warming —> immigration.

The argument assumes that if these immigrants stayed in their countries, they would not get the chance to consume like most Americans, and hence not increase their carbon footprint. Is the CIS implying that improving standards of living for people through immigration or development in their own countries leads to global warming so improving their quality of life is wrong? How honorable. It does absolutely nothing to propose solutions to the very real problem of global warming (a fact that right wingers choose to overlook till they can use it against immigration), and is yet another means of immigrant scapegoating.

Furthermore, the report completely looks over the fact that the countries which contribute the most immigrants–legal or illegal–to the United States (India, China, Mexico) are developing countries where consumption rates are likely to explode in the future–another fact that right-wingers always point to themselves when told to rein in consumption by the G-8 nations. Again, the United States can take the lead in this matter and do something about its own consumption rates before it starts blaming population growth for the problem. If we rein in consumption patterns, our ecological footprint decreases and hence population growth–from immigrants or otherwise–becomes a less important issue. (I= PAT, Re: Paul Ehrlich).

For so long the scientists sounding an alarm about global warming were labeled as “Chicken Little” by the right-wing. Now right-wingers are using the arguments by their “Chicken Little” to sound alarms about so-called high immigration? How ironic.

I am not kidding. See this comment by rabid nativist Tom Tancredo:

I have no doubt that global warming exists. I just question the cause and what we can do to ameliorate it. But I wonder why the Sierra Club isn’t going crazy about the environmental aspects of massive immigration into the U.S. The fact is, Americans consume more energy than anyone else, so if a person moves here from another country, they automatically become bigger polluters.

Besides the fact that the assumption overgeneralizes the issue, it’s as ludicrous as saying that since greater gender equality encourages women in developing countries to improve their standards of living, thereby consume more and contribute to the ecological footprint, we must discourage gender equality.

The CIS admits that immigrants pollute less than their American counterparts. And for all we know, importing immigrant lifestyles and scientific innovation–especially by highly-skilled educated migrants–might just help to decrease global warming. For example, Indian migrants are more likely to use economical Japanese imported cars with less emissions than gas-guzzling SUVs.

The mainstream media needs to quit giving the CIS credibility by quoting their anti-immigrant based ‘findings’ and excuses for ‘research’ in actual articles unless it is as farce or satire:

Q: How do you make a conservative believe in global warming?
A: Blame it on immigrants!

Just a sidenote: CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas–so is methane and the production of beef and veal, oil and natural gas, and biomass energy all positively affect methane emissions intensity.

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The Real Does Not Exist – Individuality is an Illusion and Now Pure Science Jumps on the Bandwagon

“…furthermore there is no separation between people. Everything is interconnected and the biggest secret of all to me, is the extent to which individuality is an illusion…”

That is an integral philosophy of this site but this time quantam mechanics are the ones confirming it through “pure, hard science.”

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Undocumented Immigrants and Crime – Dispelling Myths

Kyle asked via email whether there are any studies which show that undocumented immigrants commit less crimes than American citizens. The one study we should be familiar with is the one from IPC last year, which is here. This was the summary of their research:

  • At the same time that immigration—especially undocumented immigration—has reached or surpassed historic highs, crime rates have declined, notably in cities with large numbers of undocumented immigrants, including border cities like El Paso and San Diego.
  • Incarceration rate for native-born men in the 18-39 age group was five times higher than for foreign-born men in the same age group.
  • Data from the census and other sources show that for every ethnic group, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are least educated and least acculturated.

There is also one from this year (2008) –
Immigrants and Crime: Setting the Record Straight <http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc080313a> (Immigration Policy Center – March 2008) – Dispels myths about immigrants and criminality.

Washington-based nonprofit Immigration Policy Center, found that on the national level, U.S.-born men ages 18-39 are five times more likely to be incarcerated than are their foreign-born peers. And, while the number of illegal immigrants in the country doubled between 1994 and 2005, violent crime declined by nearly 35% and property crimes by 26% over the same period.

One 2005 study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens.

Another study, which examined data from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that among men aged 18 to 39, the incarceration rate for native-born citizens is five times higher than for the foreign-born individuals. This held true within ethnic and national-origin groups; native-born Latinos, for example, were more likely to be incarcerated than foreign-born Latinos.

A more recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California  is limited to California but also focused on all immigrants. The report summary follows:

Immigrants are far less likely than the average U.S. native to commit crime in California, according to this issue of California Counts. For example, among men ages 18-40 – the age group most likely to commit crime – the U.S.-born are 10 times more likely than the foreign-born to be in jail or prison. Even among noncitizen men from Mexico ages 18-40 – a group disproportionately likely to have entered the United States illegally – the authors find very low rates of institutionalization. Such findings suggest that longstanding fears of immigration as a threat to public safety are unjustified.

The PPIC even determined that on average, between 2000 and 2005, cities such as Los Angeles that took in a higher share of recent immigrants saw their crime rates fall further than cities with a lower influx of illegals.

While we can win the arguments using the data sets from the studies above, the bigger problem is media and public perception of “illegal immigrant.” Usage of “illegal” as a noun functions as prima facie evidence of “criminality” for most people. We have to counter the false perception that “illegal presence” in this country is a crime–it is NOT.

Secondly, even if there are high rates of institutionalization amongst undocumented immigrants, we can turn to sociological premises and studies. A great analogy can be drawn with the case of African American males — just because they make up the majority of our prison populations, does not mean that African Americans are bound to be “criminal.” Rather, it points to the racism in our criminal justice system, socio-economic conditions such as poverty and lack of opportunity.

Similar conditions apply to Hispanic populations in prisons. Here is another great sociological paper countering the mythology of Hispanic immigration and crime. It is almost a decade old but the premises of the study still hold.

The USA also has the highest rates of incarceration in this country and with the rise of the migrant-prison complex (increased crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, detentions, border security), the focus is indeed on jailing immigrants for profit.

The following is from http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/ referring to the incarceration of undocumented immigrants:

1. The government doesn’t keep statistics on the breakdown of
documented and undocumented immigrants.

2. The 270,000 number is probably an estimate. If so, it’s probably an
estimate of the number of undocumented immigrant prisoners *during the
course of the year.* The 2.1 million figure is the prison population
on a give date, like 12/31/05. You can’t compare the two numbers.

See these links for more:

http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2008/04/undocumented-com…

http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/2008/05/so-what-about-th…

If I find any other relevant studies, I will update this post.

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