Category Archives: Immigration

No Irish need apply

Now that my three years of watching Donald Trump swallow the Republican Party whole has finally given way to a ray of hope in a Democratic controlled House of Representatives I can’t promise to blog with the enthusiasm I have shown up to know. If I am true to myself I will direct my fingers to typing up one of the dozens of books my decade old blog has regularly threatened that I will churn out.

Today for the third or fourth time in the last few years I’ve begun a history of my Grandfather George Robb (No stranger to this blog.) This attempt’s tentative title is How to be an American.

While looking for confirmation of some general historical facts I ran across this History Channel article about Irish Catholics in the United States. Reading it I couldn’t help but wince at the naked opportunistic, nativism of our jackass President. Every slander he slung at the pathetic people stumbling along a thousand miles south of our border was once thrown at Irish Catholics escaping Ireland in 1847 for America in some 5,000 “coffin ships.”

20,000 Irish Catholics died on their month-long voyage that year. Although of greater magnitude that’s not unlike the thousands of Mexican and Central Americans who have died crossing our desert border in recent years to enrich our economy if, however, illegally.

I did take some solace in looking at the election returns. The word was that the Iron Range was going to go for Pete Stauber big time. It didn’t happen. Democrat Radinovich got almost 20,000 more votes from St.Louis County than Pete Stauber. Leading up the election I couldn’t help but reflect on the disdain that the Trumpians of an earlier era directed at the Serbian and Croation miners who made the Iron Range hum and Minnesota prosperous. The thought that their grandchildren would hand Trump another vote in Congress turned my stomach.

All the Catholic Republicans ought to read this passage below from that article before they reaffirm their support for Donald Trump in 2020. There was good reason why the Kennedy Klan were Democrats.

A flotilla of 5,000 boats transported the pitiable castaways from the wasteland. Most of the refugees boarded minimally converted cargo ships—some had been used in the past to transport slaves from Africa—and the hungry, sick passengers, many of whom spent their last pennies for transit, were treated little better than freight on a 3,000-mile journey that lasted at least four weeks.

Herded like livestock in dark, cramped quarters, the Irish passengers lacked sufficient food and clean water. They choked on fetid air. They were showered by excrement and vomit. Each adult was apportioned just 18 inches of bed space—children half that. Disease and death clung to the rancid vessels like barnacles, and nearly a quarter of the 85,000 passengers who sailed to North America aboard the aptly nicknamed “coffin ships” in 1847 never reached their destinations. Their bodies were wrapped in cloths, weighed down with stones and tossed overboard to sleep forever on the bed of the ocean floor.

Stauber seconds Trump by…

by blaming the parents for breaking the newly criminalized immigration law:

“This policy is absolutely heartbreaking and an unfortunate consequence of when parents disregard the law.” The GOP endorsed 8th Congressional District candidate told Eyewitness News. “Congress needs to leave labels behind and come together to solve this problem and make sure nothing like this has to happen.”


A family member recently Facebooked a Fake news story about the 700 Club’s smarmy Pat Robertson. In it Pat was accused of disparaging a sleveless dress worn by Michelle Obama while heaping praise on a semi nude pic of Melania Trump. Didn’t happen!

I thought I might have referred to a similar story in a previous blog post although it might have been a reply to an email. There was a story about Trump’s wife starting her career in America as an escort. If I mentioned it on my blog a cursory search doesn’t seem to have revealed the allegation.

Melania was born in the old Yugoslavia of my youth. After I moved to Northeastern Minnesota I became aware of the various slavic peoples of that nation who settled in the Iron Mining regions. When, after Rudy Perpich’s term as Governor, Yugoslavia broke up the first area to secede was Slovenia the most prosperous part of the nation. The Range had is share of Slovenes.

I regard our new first Lady as an interesting, if nontraditional, addition to the roll-call of First Ladies. She came here to take advantage of the beauty industry and she married a rich man I’ve never respected. The latter point is irrelevant to this discussion although not to my blogging in general.

Because my Father inculcated a love of Geography in me early on I was aware of “Trieste” the major city of Slovenia which has been contested between the Italians and Slavs for a very long time. Before I set out for Duluth forty years ago one of my Mother’s best friends and a business partners was a woman whose Mother was an Italian woman born in the City. In fact, Daria’s Mother never learned English and spoke Italian in her inner city Italian neighborhood for the rest of her life.

Daria was not a supermodel and she wasn’t “Slovenian.” She was a wonderful person and, like Melania, I would never blame her for anything her husband might have done.

But Melania is on a ride she never planned for. After reading the Snope’s correction I got curious about the much talked about photo shoot in GQ. I wondered if the January 2000 Issue with Melania on the cover had raised in value since November. I checked Ebay out. No Kidding! I’ll bet they only get more expensive as the Trump year’s continue.

America, America

On our last night of the recent vacation Claudia and I were watching a PBS presentation on Elia Kazan. He’s one of the handful of great directors who produced a handful of great films, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Face in the Crowd among others.

He was a controversial figure in 1960’s Hollywood because he had named names. His movies often hinted at his reaction to the disapprobation by his liberal colleagues. Double A may have too by providing an explanation for his naming names. The protagonist in his movie suffers such deprivation that he’ll stop at very little to achieve his goal of reaching America. Perhaps Kazan wanted to show that sometimes you can’t let niceties like not ratting out your friends get in the way of your life’s goals. I’m glad I was never in Kazan’s shoes. Oops! That’s almost a spoiler.

I told Claudia that I’d seen America America when my folks took us to see it when I was in junior high school. It was apparently his favorite and something of a family biography. I only recalled the part where a rich woman took him as a lover on shipboard as he finally sailed to America. That turned out to be a very small part of a movie which was not unlike the book Warmth of Other Suns which we’ve been reading.

It reminded me of the movie Zorba the Greek which was made the following year 1964 black and white with bouzouki music and even a few dance scenes. It was long. It was also the best depiction of the travails of immigration to America. I don’t remember much about the Bergman film the Immigrants either, other than the tortured death of the hungry Swedish child who ate the unleavened bread before it has risen. Death and sex. Just the kinds of things adolescents obsess about. Too bad I haven’t grown out of that phase.

The Peopling of British North America

If, as I speculated recently, all the books, news, magazines and video materials I’ve been reading are a sneaky way for me to avoid returning to my book they at least have the salutory affect of reminding me about the importance of keeping clear eyed vision. I’ll deal a little of that out in a post later today one my favorite subject the Red Plan and the future of the Duluth Schools. But for now I’ll retreat to my reading last night from the book Barbarous Years.

The title of this post is part of that book’s subtitle. After a tough slog through chapter one on the nature of the Early American (Indian) tribes of the Atlantic seaboard prior to the first British invasion I’ve managed to get page 100. The last chapter was pretty gripping much like a slasher film.

I’ve long known that the early British “settler” of Virginia dropped like flies. I didn’t know all the details until last night. Much is still left to my imagination but the numbers make D-Day casualties look like a picnic. Continue reading

The chickens are coming home to roost…

…and leave a lot of droppings in the GOP’s coup.

I find it ironic that the GOP which in the Reagan years once vilified (correctly) the Democrats for being a bunch of special interests is now suffering the same fate having become a party of its own special interests. This point was brought home by two stories in the press today on how the public has retreated from two central guideposts of the GOP cannon.

From the DNT’s first Page – “Support for legal abortion continunes to grow”:

As if to further bolster the argument that liberalism is having a resurgence in the United States, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans – 54 percent – now believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Even more broadly, a full 70 percent believe that Roe v. Wade – the controversial decision that, 40 years ago, guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion, at least in the first trimester of pregnancy – should not be overturned.

Darned DNT doesn’t have their story on its site. I got this from the Christian Science Monitor (A paper that my Dad subscribed to for years) The DNT’s story mentions that ten years ago rather than 54% it was only 44 percent of the public that believed abortion should be legal. More critically the number of Republicans who feel intensely about this issue is shrinking.

The other poll issue was on page three and was about making it easier for illegal immigrants to enter the US. Once again the DNT’s story is only in newsprint. This comes from ABC:

“More than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a major increase in support driven by a turnaround in Republicans’ opinions after the 2012 elections.(the story goes on to say that two years ago instead of 60% support it was only 47% support.

Two more GOP special interests that have taken a big hit are the NRA’s no compromise Second Amendment enthusiasts and the religious lobby that wants to keep gays closeted or make them normal. Expect the GOP’s Global warming and science deniers to fall from grace next.

I’ve waited for this all to happen since 1992 when I made my first break with the GOP and ran a quixotic independent campaign for Congress. I returned to the fold afterwords for about ten years but was kept on the margin by the new leaders of the party that were happy to go to conventions and explain that folks like me were the worst butchers in the history of the world. I guess they were accommodationists because after publicly announcing that I was worse than Papa Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao combined they were always very nice to me.

As my buddy (who seems to have given up emailing me) often says I’ve got my undies in a bunch over Republicans when Democrats can be expected to overreach with their rhetoric. It makes me think that before I die I should start attending GOP caucuses again (since my political future went over the cliff twenty ago) on the off chance that I can bring a little Lincoln pragmatism back to the party.

I have some personal theories about both parties and their excesses during my lifetime. I think that the GOP was overrun by College Republicans who all majored in business and decided that ethical considerations were a waste of time when short term tactics like stomping out independent thinking would lead to better election results and paychecks. In this regard they were as amoral as the mortgage industry’s specialists who approved unjustified home loans or Vatican priests who preferred to cover up and pay off the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The book I hope to write someday will chronicle a different age when a similar sort ran the DFL in Northern Minnesota – political hacks with their hands out for government dollars.

Thus it was and ever shall be. Don’t believe me? Watch Spielberg’s Lincoln and enjoy the comic performance of James Spader as the 13th Amendment’s amoral, arm-twisting lobbyist.

I’m ready for a new set of racketeers to take over America. I just hope we get a long interim where idealists reign before they succumb to the pleasures of power.


Tonight’s PBS program about William Still was a truly excellent telling of one of the principal conductors of the Underground Railroad.

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Abe Lincoln’s hero Henry Clay made Canada all that much more important to Americans who valued freedom.

Some facts that complicate illegal immigration

Boneheaded ideas infect all ideologues.  Fifteen years ago “liberals” wanted Spanish-speaking children in public schools to be taught in Spanish.  These are the years when their brains are most ready to learn English.

Today ideological conservatives want to deport all the illegal immigrants.

I’ve said that solving this will be immensely complicated. A recent news story makes clear how impossible this will be. Mexico’s economy would tank then much of America’s economy would tank. The story doesn’t say this explicitly but its hard to conclude otherwise.

Remember the Alamo

Today’s story about how all 16 US intelligence agencies have concluded that the Bush Administration’s War on Terror has undermined American security shows what happens when you mix the American traditional “can do” spirit with an intermittent no-nothingism which sweeps the land. I’m reminded of an old joke:

There is a Brit a Frenchman a Texan and a Mexican sitting on a plane which is experiencing mechanical problems. When the pilot reports to his passengers that the plane will go down if it can’t get lose some weight the Brit gets up, salutes, and says “God save the Queen” and jumps off. A short time later when told that more weight must be removed the Frenchman stands, salutes and says “Vive la France” and jumps out.

When this still doesn’t solve the problem the pilot makes the announcement yet again. This time the Texan stands up salutes and says “Remember the Alamo.” He picks up the Mexican and throws him off the plane.

Non-standard labor

After the BBC news it was off to breakfast in the hotel and the complimentary copies of the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune. While I read the Tribune’s story about the Danish police breaking up an alleged terror plot in Hans Christian Anderson’s home of Odense, which we passed through two days ago, Claudia read about Europe’s answer to illegal immigration in the Times. Non-standard labor. This is the new world threat and the origin of the alleged Danish terrorists – illegals who work dirt-cheap under threat of constant arrest in barrios or slums, with no government protection for things like mistreatment or loss of life and limb.

Then I read about the poor child workers in India who now face being liberated from the slavery of middle-class Indian families who employ them as domestic help. It seems India has now passed a law making such employment illegal and threatening a two-year jail term to any middle-class Indian family who takes such a child off the streets. Now these middle-class families will have to bribe police to keep the kids or send them back to the streets.

What challenges for the brave new world. Fortunately there were some stories about silly stuff like the birth of the boy to Japan’s royal family and the escape of the Austrian girl from the man who put her in an underground cell for eight years. It’s nice to have distractions from the real world.