Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A letter to an illegal immigrant between the ages of 18 and 29

Dear Illegal Immigrant,

I’d like to discuss the DREAM Act with you. Actually, just keep your head down and try to remain anonymous as I dust off the ol’ soapbox, peel my trousers down to my ankles, and thoughtfully describe what you should expect from the piece of legislation should it ever pass, though it won’t because its passage would be perceived as a win for President Obama during an election year, and making a clown out of our first black president has become a part of the Republican ethos.

As you know, the DREAM Act (The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) has been looping for 10 years like a face plant in some hilarious GIF file, failing and changing, failing and changing, until now it’s a warped twist of impossible hoops that is supposed to entice people with legitimate hope for a better life to lift their heads from their shovels, brooms, and fruit baskets long enough for the great government eye to zero in on them and rattle their lives into nervous conformity. Wow. I really didn’t mean to sound so opinionated right out of the gate. Whatever. Change the channel if you like. Oh, and go fuck yourself while you’re at it (Not you, Illegal Immigrant, the assholes who’re listening to us. YOU stay). Anyway, the DREAM Act is designed to allow a path to citizenship for illegal “minors” who have arrived here before the age of 16 and have graduated from an American high school or received a GED.

Is that you? Good. Let’s move forward.

That part is great. I agree with it. Here’s where things get hairy for me and no one seems to be talking about it: The DREAM Act as it stood in its 2010 failed form didn’t give illegal immigrants immediate legal status. We’re talking legal status. Not citizenship. Legal status was only extended after two years in the 2010 bill. Even then, you’d still have to meet very specific conditions (that I’ll get to in a minute) within five years before you could even apply for citizenship. That means people who have already established their lives here are being prodded to identify themselves in a society that not only views their presence as a major factor of our shithole economy, but is openly hostile towards them, so that they can begin a process that won’t have a clear resolution for at least five agonizing years. If not approved, you’d have to pack up your world and move to a country you perhaps know nothing about because you were raised in shit-kickin’, red-neckin’ Dallas or something. Excuse me, Illegal Immigrant, while I address my fellow countrymen: how would you fare in Mexico or El Salvador?

Fine. Let’s ignore all that for a moment. The provisions for citizenship is what really claws my fingers and makes me hiss, anyway. Listen up, Immigrant, if you want to become a citizen, you have to either a) enroll in and be in good standing at a higher education institution and/or b) enlist two years in the military. Now, if you enroll in school, you can’t get any Pell Grants nor are you allowed to pay in-state tuition (A not-so-ironic, “big government” Republican provision). You are, however, eligible for student loans and work study. Let’s hope you’ve kept all your under-the-table pay stubs so that you can show proof of qualification for a loan that you’ll be chained to for a long time to come. Oh, and I hope you can already/still remember how to speak, read, and write in the English language because college is going to be a hell of a lot pricier when you have to take Composition I three times at out-of-state tuition (Cross your fingers that your failing grades don’t hurt your “good standing” status). Ah, all that’s too hard. Let’s just enlist in the military. You’ll fit right in with all the other legal minorities there and it will only be for two years. There’s no way the American government would institute a backdoor draft to capture enlisted men and women at the end of their term of service in order to continue the occupation of, say, two foreign countries. Just know that you might be asked to shoot someone in the face. Oh, oh! And if you come back maimed, remember that you’re still not a legal citizen, you’re not even a legal resident, so don’t go expecting long-term medical help because your case will still be pending. I you die, I’m assuming you’ll get a folded flag at your funeral (probably) but I’d be surprised if you managed any bugles. In fact, the only reason you’ll likely be buried on U.S. soil is ‘cause there’ll be no one to claim your alien corpse because your parents, who don’t qualify for the DREAM Act, will have been deported while you were away.

If you’re still interested, here’s what you need to know:

How To Qualify Under the DREAM Act

Eligibility Requirements:
1) Have good moral character (which according to Homeland Security’s definition
excludes anyone who, and I paraphrase, has been or nailed a prostitute, has a gambling problem, or, and I quote, “[i]s or was a habitual drunkard.” Was? Jesus. That eliminates three quarters of the swinging dicks in my extended family. Oh, and no extramarital affairs and if you hold or once held “[m]embership [or affiliation] in the Communist Party,” forget it.), pass a background check and are not ineligible for criminal or national security reasons.
2) Must have entered the U.S. before turning 16 years of age and been physically present in the U.S. since 2005.
3) Graduated from high school, earned a GED, or admitted to an institution of higher education.
4) Pay a $525 fee.
5) Paid all taxes owed. (Back taxes. Good luck with that.)
6) Be under the age of 30.
7) Learn English and demonstrates an understanding of U.S. history. (To be fair, that’s after the five years of wondering if you’re going to get to stay or not. Feel free to study between wrings of your hands or sweeps for IEDs)

Reasons for Ineligibility:1) Possesses a criminal background
2) Presents a national security or terrorist threat
3) Commits a felony or more than 2 misdemeanors
4) Is likely to become a public charge
5) Engages in voter fraud or unlawful voting
6) Commits marriage fraud
7) Abuses a student visa or
8) Poses a public health risk.

Good luck, Soldier,

Carlos Andres Alderete

P.S. Although I didn’t jab at Democrats, they’re scumbags, too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weiner's ouster, explained; or Phantom PMS

This post was originally going to be a scathing criticism of the United States’ politicians public and theatrical buttfucking* of one another (Not unlike the stars of Jackass sneaking up on each other to buzz a track of hair from unsuspecting heads), but overwhelmed, disgusted, and embarrassed by the thorough enormity of American incompetency, I thought that instead I’d share with you a struggle of equal importance: ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk to be more specific. Every day, on my walk home from work, I pass by my “dealer” resolved to enter his store, reach into the freezer with shaky hands, make my purchase without meeting his eyes, run home to load an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and then berate my ice-cream spattered reflection after I’ve spooned to the bottom of the sugary pint and my space opera is over.** The call of New York Super Fudge Chunk is greatest around the time of what I can only describe as my phantom menstrual cycle and though it’s been five weeks that I’ve managed to resist the commanding whispers of the fiendish Ben & Jerry, every month I pray to Midol for strength.

*This would explain why Idiot Democrat Anthony Weiner was crucified for tweeting his evidently huge wang to some barely legal waitress in conservative America. Tight-assed Republicans across the country clenched in protective alarm as photos of Weiner’s mammoth wiener surfaced and previously molested GOP members emerged from the shadows of humiliation.
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain, between nurse-fed spoonfuls of soft food, is blaming illegal immigrants for starting this year’s Arizona wildfires; Mitt Romney is reinventing his image by prancing around in Mormon duds; Newt Gingrich’s dreams of becoming president are over because Jesus told Rick Perry that it’s time to ruin the education system on a national level and not just Texas; Sarah Palin is riding a bus around the country for no reason whatsoever; and Obama’s support for gay marriage is “evolving” just in time for the 2012 election. Oh, and the economy may still collapse. Sigh. I need ice cream.
**I haven’t finished the Battlestar series yet so don’t ruin it for me, you jerks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Carlos' Renaissance

Thank you, Josh and Chuck of Stuff You Should Know, for podcasting on reincarnation, which led me to this silly platform but compelling story, which led me further to philosophy professor Dr. Robert Almeder’s commentary on Dr. Ian Stevenson’s forty-year research on the subject, which led me to Stevenson’s book 20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.

This godless heretic now feels quite comfortable saying aloud that some people are, in fact, reincarnating. The implications . . . are staggering, and accepting this truth has been as spiritually revolutionary for me as my teenaged rejection of this ridiculous thing called God. I still think that last part is bullish. God, that is, but my understanding of what it means to be human has flipped onto its face then painfully turned its personified head toward Eastern immateriality, which is apparently centuries progressed past dreidels and burning crosses. That’s a fairly unqualified modifier as I don’t know shit about Hinduism or Buddhism but I have noticed that everything the Old Testament has spawned has been a steaming heap of political horse manure, garnished with earthly blood, corpses, and money.

Digression! What was I talking about? Reincarnation.

It’s absolutely flooring to consider because as you’ll come to understand by Dr. Almeder’s brief interview on Youtube (That’s right, all you have to do is watch and listen, you deadbeats, assuming you’re interested enough to clink on all the links that I’ve painstakingly assembled for your enrichment), for all our social and physical sciences, we just don’t know anything.

For instance, the first link is in regards to a boy, a little boy, with detailed memories of a man whose life ended when he was shot down by Japanese artillery during World War II. The occurrence first manifested with the boy’s intense interest in fighter planes. We all have interests but conventional thinking dictates that there’s a measurable reason for them. Perhaps your grandfather first introduced you to . . . basket weaving at a young age and as an adult you’re the Hugh Hefner of wicker; however, if the influence was never there, where was that first exposure? How did little James Leininger develop his attention for airplanes? How did James Huston, the pilot whose plane was downed, develop his? And how the shit did they end up with the same first name?! Let’s leave the psychological half behind for a moment and question the coincidence of how little Ravi Shankar, born with the memories of a murdered child, could have a birthmark that slit across this throat in the same location as the fatal wound of his supposed previous incarnation? And when superimposed, the images of James Leininger and James Huston bear an undeniable resemblance. This blending of the mind and body is perplexing in a way that I haven’t felt for a long, long time.

Now, you may be thinking that, as usual, I’m suffering an existential crisis, and I am, but I assure you that this time it’s completely justified because what I thought I knew turns out to only be dancing shadows on a cave wall. It reminds me of a comic strip I once saw in which a child picks up a rock and excitedly  presents what he thinks is a dinosaur fossil to the paleontologist-esque adult on the field with him. The pompous instructor patronizingly laughs at the boy, and with his hands, gestures bigger. The final frame reveals the child’s find as the last bone in the tip of a massive dinosaur’s tail, still buried as the pair walk away.

James Leininger meeting Jack Larsen, a pilot who flew with James Huston and believed the boy to be an incarnation of the first James . . . or perhaps the second as the boy always signed his drawings "James 3." Veeeeery interesting.

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