Tag Archives: immigration

My Shithole Surgeon

President Trump recently was reported as having referred to people who have immigrated from Haiti and African nations as “having aids” and being from a “shithole ” countries.  They are not welcome here. There were at least 2 independent sources for the statement.

Trump is quoted as saying: Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.

Reached for comment about the article, White House spokesperson Raj Shah did not deny the “shithole” remark, but instead said in a statement that Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/11/politics/immigrants-shithole-countries-trump/index.html

Then, this morning, Trump denied he said he used those words.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Friday denied describing certain nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting in which he rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

So, take your pick.

Which brings me to my cancer surgery. A few years ago I had an unusally high score on my PSA test (A test for prostate cancer). So, I had a biopsy. A biopsy which found that I did have cancer and it was near one of the walls of my prostate gland.

After careful consideration I decided to have a radical prostatectomy. It would be done with the robotic da Vinci method. The surgeon makes to small incisions and using the robotics is able to perform very delicate surgery. With minimal post operative issues.

Because of where I live, I was able to have a surgeon who is recognized as an expert in this field. He went to Boston University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He studied laproscopic surgery at the University College in London (England) and Paris (France). He also holds an MBA.

He is well known as an expert in his field. In 2010, he was one of the only 2 surgeons selected to perform a live demonstration as a teaching video. He has published articles in professional journals and books on the technique and outcomes. He has done thousands of surgeries.

Physically he is imposing. He is tall and has huge hands. (Which becomes apparent when he gives the digital exam we all love) When he shakes hands you can feel the gentleness you would expect of a surgeon. Yet, he is so soft spoken that sometimes you need him to repeat himself. And he has a subtle sense of humor.

So, I am happy with my surgery and my surgeon.

Which leads me back to Mr Trump and his remarks: Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.

My surgeon, you see, is an immigrant. He is one of those immigrants who has come to the USA for a better life for himself and his family. At the same time making life better for other Americans, like me. He is black.  He speaks not only English but also French and probably some Creole.

Too bad Mr Trump has never met my surgeon. My doctor is a “Shithole Surgeon”  from the “Shithole” nation of Haiti. Why do we need more Haitians? To save American lives.

 

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Filed under healthcare, immigrants, Politics, POTUS, Trump, United States, US

Incidents of Travel Abroad

Now that we have returned from our 3 weeks in Andalusia (Spain) and a couple days in Dublin (Ireland) I can reflect on some of the experinces and lessons learned.

  1. Andalusia is everything I thought it would be and more. This area of Europe was controlled by Muslims until 1492. For hundreds of years , under Muslim control, memebers of all three religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) lived in relative harmony. Non-Muslims had to pay a special tax, but that was it. They could worship how they wanted. Then, some fundamentalist Muslim leaders started persecuting the Jews and Christians and things went downhill. Eventually the Christians (Ferdinand and Isabella) took over and things went off a cliff. The Spanish Inquisition was instituted and Jews and Muslims were tortured and murdered. End of Al-Andalus.                           https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus

2. The customs official in Dublin. Friendly. Wished us a happy holiday. The customs official in Malaga, Spain. Friendly. When he saw that I had been born in Chicago and my wife in Detroit he decided to have a chat. He had been to the US and we talked about our travels and his travels in his broken English and our broken Spanish. We chatted for about 5 minutes before he stamped our passports and welcomed us to Spain. The customs official in the USA. Unfriendly. Unsmiling.

3. Pants. I bought 2 pair of travel pants which made travel so much easier. Three pockets within the pockets that zipped close. Wallet in front right. Passport in left front. All zippered in. Another zippered pocket in the back and another small pocket for a flip phone. No worries about getting anything lifted . ( I had my passport and money lifted by a very proficient lady on the Rome subway a few years ago).  These pants took the worry out of walking around. Nothing hanging around my neck.

https://shop.bluffworks.com/pages/travel-pants

4. Transportation in Spain. Reliable, clean convenient train service between cities. Fast. Reserved seats. Trains on time. Same with the buses. Clean, comfy.  At least the long distance ones that we took. When I think of train and bus stations in the US I think of the “other side of the tracks”. In Spain they are central and packed with people. The bigger ones have restaurants. It is possible to have decent public transport. Spain proves that.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

5. Taxis. Dublin, Cordoba, Malaga and Grenada were fine. But in Seville the taxi drivers, noticing that we were tourists, always managed to fine the “scenic route” to our destination. Padding 1 or 2 euros to the bill. The fastest distance between 2 points is the one that gave the taxi driver a little more loot!

6. Food. Eat the local food. Ham is big in Andalusia. And “tapas”, those small servings of bread and ham or sausage or cheese that come with your beer. My favorite: Bull’s tail stew. Unlike Mexico, where I get sick for a day or 2 whenever I try to eat, in Andalusia neither of us had any problems. Food was great and fairly priced.

http://awanderingcasiedilla.com/2017/02/03/awc-guide-best-tapas-granada/

7. The reason I went to Andalusia. The Alhambra  in Grenada. The Mezquita in Cordoba. The Alcazar in Seville.  (google them) The ocean in Cadiz. The architecture from the Islamic period was not only monumental, but was decorated without using any human figures. So, intricate geometric patterns  were carved into walls, celings, doorways and tiles. The skill of the craftsmen is awesome.

https://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/nasridpalaces/alhambranasridpalaces.asp

https://mezquita-catedraldecordoba.es/en/

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/english-version/

8.  Final note. Leaving Dublin heading for the USA. Unbeknownst to us, all travelers to the USA have to go through a double security system. First, the Irish system which is very thorough and relatively pleasant. Empty your pockets, walk through the body scanner, pick up your stuff. OK. But then, there is another sign with a big USA flag on it.

So, walk downstairs and go through a special US security system. Which is the same as the Irish system. Except for one difference. They don’t do a body scan. Now, understand this. We had to go through the Irish system to get into the departure section, then we had to go through a second system just for the USA.  After going through the US system we then got in line to go to the computer terminals. At these terminals you put in your passport. Then you either get on your tiptoes (if you are short) or crouch down (if you are tall) and have your picture taken. This picture then comes out of the machine on a long strip of paper. It gets better.

You now take this picture that you just took and walk 30 feet to the waiting US security station. Remember, you just walked 30 feet to this new station with the picture you just took. The security person looks at the picture  and looks at you. Remember you just took this picture in full view of the security personnel just 30 feet away. He then verifies that the picture you just took of yourself is actually you. To my undying relief the picture I just took of myself WAS, in fact, me! So, I was allowed to continue.

I am not sure what the purpose is of putting people going to the US through this senseless process. You have already been checked by airport security. You passport has been checked. And the silliest part, showing security the picture you just took of yourself. I am guessing in most cases the photo you just took  is usually going to be you. Unless you metamorphasize in the 30 feet between stations. If a would-be terrorist takes a picture of himself will he no longer resemble that photo 10 seconds later? (By the way, you still have to through US security when you land in the US) .

My conclusion: Theater. Adding some processes to play to a fantasy  that this somehow makes travel to the US safer, when in fact it just makes it annoying. Or perhaps the manufacturer of the computer/photo systems made sizable campaign contributions ?

Travel is great fun. Except for the airlines. And security. Can’t wait until they perfect the transporter beams. Beam me to Spain, Scotty!

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Filed under border control, Christianity, government, Immigration, Islam, Judaism, Society, United States

Who Was That Old Lady, Anyway?

When I was little we had an old lady living with us. We called her “Busia” (boo-shah). She had been born in Poland and came to the USA in 1913 by boat, two small kids in tow. In steerage. She was meeting her husband, who was already in the USA working in the mines.

When I knew her she was already pretty old. She didn’t speak English because she had had a stroke. It also left her right arm partially paralyzed so the time I accidentally slammed the car door on her she didn’t feel a thing. Small favors.

Her husband, who I never met, was long dead. Her only son went to war against the Nazis. He was shot down and killed over Germany. She had a flag. The US government had sent her a flag.

She cheated at cards. And when you tried to call her on it she could not (or pretended she could not) understand what you were saying. Hopeless. But she made the best potato pancakes I ever have had. Been trying to duplicate them for 50 years. Haven’t succeeded.

Who was this old lady? For a long time I thought she was a close family member with a “bone fide” relationship. For a long time I treated as though she was a member of the family.

The other day I found out I was wrong. The USA’s new, improved “travel ban ” from a number of countries has gone into effect. No longer can anyone emigrate to the USA. The only exceptions are people from these countries who are close family members. Who have a “bona fide” relationship to a citizen or legal immigrant. I think that is not such a bad idea.

So, who is included as a “close family member”? Parents, spouses, siblings, fiances and children.

And who is specifically EXCLUDED from the category of “close family member”? Who cannot claim a close family relationship. Who is, for purposes of sponsoring immigration, a “stranger”.

This may surprise some of you whose children have had children. Among those not in the category of “close family member” are  “grandparents”. Grandma and grandpa are not “close family members” Fiances are. But not Gramps.

Which brings me back to Busia. Busia was my mother’s mother. Who lived with us off and on for many years. She was my grandmother. Who , at the time, I THOUGHT was a fairly close relative of mine. Not so. My mother’s mother was something else. What was she?

Who was that old lady, anyway?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling-idUSKBN19S08N

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Filed under Foreign policy, heritage, immigrants, Immigration, Iran, Islam, logic, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, United States

The Smuggler

It was dark and chilly near midnight on the Texas-Mexico border. I had a tip that a smuggler was going to cross that night and I wanted to meet up with him. Do an interview.

(In order to maintain confidentiality all the names in this report have been changed. My name is Joe Urban but I call myself Luke. The smugglers name was Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. I will call him Jose).

Jose was driving a small truck. As it pulled up to the border  a customs agent stopped him and they talked. Jose shook the agent’s hand . The agent looked into his hand, slipped it into his pocket and waved Jose through. A bribe. A time-honored border tradition.

I followed Jose and his truck through the night on the long drive north. Sometime near dawn he pulled off into a small town and stopped at Eat Em and Weep Cafe. I went in and found him sitting at a corner table. Well. The only table. I introduced myself.

Luke: Hello Jose, I am Luke. The guy doing the undercover story.

Jose: I thought I was supposed to meet some gringo named Joe. And my name is not Jose,  it is Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. What do you want to know?

Luke: Why do you smuggle?

Jose: Because I like to help people. People have needs and I try to make their lives a little better.  It is my way of giving a little back to the world. And it pays good.

Jose rocked back in his chair and stared at the spiders crawling across the ceiling. He had a faraway look in his eye. The awe-inspiring, starry-eyed look  of a philosopher. Or a sleep deprived trucker. He continued.

Jose: You see. I bring to you North Americanos a little joy. A product that makes your miserable lives a little happier. What is wrong with that? Don’t you have the right to be happy like us Mexicanos?

Jose continues: You may think that you can get the same thing from Colorado. You think the best stuff comes from Colorado? Maybe. But no. Colorado cannot supply the entire nation. The law of supply and demand. Capitalismo!

Jose continues: You are thinking about your own internal supply. But my stuff is pure. Better. No extra junk thrown in . The best in the world. Why take  chance on some local supplier when you can have the best? Why take a chance when you know that my stuff has never killed anyone. Guaranteed pure. Uncut.

Jose continues: And you deserve the best. So I will continue to make the dangerous journey to El Norte. I will slip past the border guards..what?..oh, you saw me give him a bribe. Well,  I will continue the dangerous journey and bribing the border guards. It is worth it to see the smiles on the gringos faces when the delivery arrives.

Luke: Are you worried that President Trump will build a wall and and finally put an end to your smuggling once and for all?

Jose: No worry. My uncle Antonio Juarez Moctezuma Gonzalez owns 4 bulldozers. He plans to start a new business smashing into the wall each night at different places. He has already incorporated as “The Holes in the Wall Gang”.  We are ready.

So there you have it. A law breaking smuggler who justifies his actions by claiming to be a “public servant”. Another smuggler defying US laws. A disgrace to all. But the story has a happy ending for law-abiding citizens.

I followed Jose for hundreds of miles north as he drove through Illinois, Indiana and into Michigan. Finally the roar caused by his lack of a muffler, the black cloud of oily smoke  and sparks generated by a right taillight dragging on the ground caught the trained eye of a Michigan State trooper. He was pulled over. Caught. Nabbed.

When the back door of his truck was lifted , there was the contraband in plain site. BUSTED. Cases and cases of the illegal product. It would never reach the lips of addicted Michiganders.

“Crystal” bottled water from Mexico. Cases of it. In sealed plastic bottles. Direct from the bottling plant. Stenciled across the back of each case: Destination: Flint, Michigan. The jig was up. The uncut, super clean water was found before it could be delivered .

The troopers threw  the cases on to the ground and smashed the contraband into bits, Elliot Ness-style. They slashed the bottles and watched as the liquid gushed out onto the pavement. The pure, clean, fresh water flowed onto the highway. The good stuff. Just before he got in his cruiser and drove away I noticed one of the Michigan State troopers slip a couple bottles into his jacket. I couldn’t blame him. I figured he must have had kids.

 

 

 

 

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A Modern Christmas Story

The line of ragged refugees trying to gain entry into the US winds around the corner. Men in robes and tattered clothes. Women wearing veils and hijabs. Little , wide -eyed children peering out from behind their mothers’ flowing dresses.

The Border Control agent barks .”Next”

A young bearded man, with wife and baby crouching behind, slowly approaches.

“Name”?

“Yusef”

The agent is filling in a form.

“Where are you coming from?”

“The Middle East. We have had to leave our home.”

Agent:” Why did you leave?”

Yusef: “They are killing us. The new government has taken our property and demands that we give up our homes and possessions. We fled from the violence. If we go back they will kill us. Don’t send us back”

Agent: “Do you have any documents?”

Yusef:”No. We had to flee quickly. We left everything behind except what we carry.”

Agent, writing : “How did you pay for the airline tickets?”

Yusef: “We had a little gold, but that is now gone.”

Agent:”How do you intend to support yourself? Do you have any skills?”

Yusef: “I  worked in construction. I can build  things. I work with tools.”

Agent: “I see you wife is wearing a hijab. Are you Muslims?”

Yusef: ” Oh, no. She is just wearing the traditional veil. It means nothing.”

Agent: “Are you Christians? Do you  follow Christ?”

Yusef, looking  confused: ” No. We are simply refugees fleeing for our lives. Please help us.”

Agent, writing down something and looking concerned. “What is in those two boxes?”

Yusef: “Just some perfume and some medicines. It is all we have.”

The agent calls over some security who take the boxes and disappear into another room. “Sorry, those boxes will have to be destroyed. They had some odd looking substances in them.”

The agent looks at the young refugee family , down at his forms, and back up again. “You have no papers. You have no means of support. You CLAIM not to be Muslims, but you sure LOOK  like Muslims to me. You brought in some strange packages. And you claim your life is in danger but offer no  proof. ” He then takes out a big red stamp and loudly stamps the documents, hands them back to the young man and points him to the exit door.

“We will be putting you and your wife and child on the next plane back to the Middle East. Good luck. And Merry Christmas.”

The young man looks down at the document. The big red letters of the stamp are bold: ENTRY DENIED.

They cover the names of the applicants.

Yusef the Carpenter, wife Mary and baby Jesus.

 

 

 

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, government, immigrants, Immigration, Islam, Judaism, Politics, Religion, Society, Terror, United States, US

Desperately Seeking Muslims

Donald Trump continues to be a real treasure trove of ignorance.  I know, I know. What am I talking about ? So much to choose from.

Well, I am referring to his latest..wait, what time is it…his latest comments about banning Muslims.  All Muslims. That will make America safe. Again. Or great again. Or whatever. You know.

So, the next obvious step in the Trump Plan is the HOW to do it? The Donald is always a little close-to-the-vest when it comes to details. (Remember Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War. Ooops) His latest escapade into the unknown is no exception.

So, let’s get practical. How do we identify a “Muslim”. Especially a “Muslim terrorist” which is, after all, the reason for the ban. To keep “Muslim terrorists” out of the US. Now that, in itself, is not a bad idea. After all, we have plenty of “Christian terrorists” already. Who needs the competition? The fewer terrorists the better , I always say.

The problem is simple: What does a “Muslim” look like? In order to ban them, we need to see them first. Seek them out. So, what do we look for?

Well, we know that he could look like a Pakistani or a Turk or a Nigerian or a Russian or an Egyptian or a Chinese (23,000,000 Chinese Muslims) or a Saudi or an Englishmen or an Uzbeki or an Indonesian or an American or a Brazilian…well, you get the idea. Muslims are from every ethnic group and live in every nation on earth. Every one! Nope. I lied. There is one nation that has no Muslim citizens. Vatican City. So, Pope Francis can glide through customs without a body cavity search.

So, I guess just looking won’t work too well. So, let’s ask!

Everyone who enters the US should be asked a simple question: Are you now or do you ever intend to be a Muslim terrorist. If they answer “Yes”. GOT EM. Another victory for The Donald. Unless, of course, a Muslim “terrorist” is smart enough to figure out that he should answer :”No, sir, I am not. And by the way. god bless America !”

So, Donald. We need a few more details. Keeping terrorists out of the US is a unique and fascinating idea. Something no one ever thought of before. But now we need to see the details.

How do you identify a Muslim? How do you identify a”Muslim terrorist”?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_world

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

 

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Filed under Islam, Politics, Republicans, Terror

President Trump

Hello. I’m Donald Trump.

Here’s the deal. Vote for me. Lots of complicated problems. Lots of simple solutions. I will make America strong again. Put us on the right track. Get us back to what made us great in the old days. You want specifics? Here are specifics.

Illegal  immigration. Build a wall. Big wall. Keep out the Mexicans. Now I like the Mexican people. Some are rapists, sure. But that’s in the blood. Can’t blame em. I know some good Mexicans , too. My housekeeper Manuela. Good person. Never steals. Love Mexicans. Build a wall.

Whose gonna pay? The Mexicans will  pay. We’ll build a wall using American labor and make Mexico pay. That is what I’ll do. Simple. Build it. Make em pay.

Putin. Tough guy. I’m tougher. Russia is a wonderful country. Love the Russian people. A lot of my friends are Russian billionaires. They wear fur coats. Real fur. Not the pretend stuff. Real minks and foxes. I love foxes but to be honest they make one helluva coat. But you gotta get a lot of em. Two or three foxes, all you get is a stole.

So I say to Putin. Valerie, here’s the deal. You don’t fly your planes over the US. You don’t bomb our cities or BANG. It’s over. World War 3 . I don’t like war but you have to be tough. Can’t back down. Putin respects that. Russian problem solved.

The Jewish thing with the Arabs . What a mess. Jews want the land. Palestinians want the land. And it’s crappy land. No casinos. How do you solve it. You need a tough negotiator. I’m the man. I bring in the Arabs. I bring in the Jews. I sit em down at table. One of those long oak tables with the carvings on the legs. I’ll have it custom made by my Mexican carpenter. Great guy. I say “We’re gonna do this deal”. That’s  it. We’re gonna do it.

Now, I like the Jews. Tough negotiators. Good business sense. My uncle was a Jew. Wore that cap thingy. Me. Not a religious man but I tolerate Jews, Christians, Muslims, you name it. No prejudice. But you gotta be tough with the Jews. Give and take. I know how to do that. Crisis solved. Bingo. Treaty signed. It’s over. Next problem.

Gay marriage. Who cares.  Let the gays be gays. Love the gays. My hairdresser is gay. I think. I don’t know.  Never asked him. None of my business. That Kim Davis broad says she won’t marry gays. I say. You got a job.  You were hired to do a job. Kim Davis. You’re fired.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Obama. Great guy. White mother. Black father. But he is not tough enough. Let’s people walk over him. Shoulda fired that broad a long time ago. I meant woman. No disrespect. I love women. My wife is a woman. Always respect the ladies. That’s who I am. But if my wife doesn’t do her job. Bingo.  She’s still fired.

Health care. Everybody gets it. End of story. If you can afford it you pay. Hey.  I can afford it. I pay. If you can’t afford it you get it for free. This is America. Nobody should get sick. Like cancer. You want to cure cancer. Let’s do it. I say to my Secretary of Health or whatever. Let’s get on this cancer thing. Today. No more stalling around. Find the cause. Find the solution. Bang. Problem solved. That’s how I operate. Results. You want to get rid of cancer. Let’s do it.

Running mate? Sarah Palin. Beautiful person. Former governor. Great experience. Intelligent gal. Knows how to handle a rifle. Great family. I’m a family values person. I had a lot of families and I still value every one of them. Paid child support. Paid alimony. That’s life. Sarah Palin. What a role model for young girls. Beauty and brains all rolled into one package. From Alaska. Cold there. They ride those snowmobiles and wear orange parkas.  I prefer fur, but that’s life. Each to his own..

Benghazi. A lot of nonsense. People died. Terror attack. If I’m president you won’t see any terror attacks. Terrorists know I won’t tolerate it. Can’t happen. I don’t blame Hillary. She did her best. Love Hillary. Great lady. Would have made a great Secretary of State or something but not tough enough to be president. Came to my wedding. She had to. I donated to her foundation. Bingo. That’s how to get things done. You wash my back, I wash yours.

I go to the terrorist and tell em. What do you need. OK. A new mosque. Some new camels. Couscous. Whatever it is, you got it. Just no more terror attacks. That’s it. Message sent. Message received. You attack. No more camels. No more couscous. You decide. You got to know how to deal with these people.

Congress. Dysfunctional. Shut down the government. Can’t pass a law. When I am president Congress will work. No more vacations. I want a law. They pass it. They don’t pass it. They’re gone. Done. I lock the doors. I say “You’re Fired”. I hire a new Congress. Maybe some Mexicans (the good ones) and a few Jews. We get the job done.

So that’s it. There’s more but you get the idea. I’m tough. I get it done. It is simple.

I will make America great again. You gotta problem. We solve the problem. Problem solved. Vote for me.

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