“Thankful” November 22, 2012

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have lots to be thankful for.  I was just in San Diego last weekend and flying back on Sunday, circling Salt Lake City, the Airbus 319 we were in took a lightning bolt on the left engine.  The large blue fire ball, sparks, and sudden heave of the plane unnerved us all.  Originally in a holding pattern, the captain immediately made a beeline for the runway, also causing us concern back in row 9 that something bad was about to happen.

The plane landed without incident except for a eerie scorch mark outside the window opposite my seat in 9D and a memory of a possible fateful outcome.  I felt good to be alive and texted my wife that I was alive, not sure if she understood why.  Immediately I had to hoof it to my next gate for a plane to Fargo and forget about the experience and as it turns out it is just protocol to land right away after a strike.  On average, each plane is struck every one or two years, so it looks worse than it usually is, but I was thankful anyways.

While I was in San Diego, I found myself between there and Yuma a few miles north of the Mexican border, hiking in the desert.  I came across an abandoned passenger train set on an abandoned railway track.  The train is used by illegals as a way station in their trek north to working for agricultural interests and multinationals at below market rates.  Without this shelter many of these illegals would succumb to the whims of the desert and the forces of nature.

So why is it there?  It is worth an estimate half a million dollars in scrap steel, on a rail line with over ten million in scrap value.  The illegals have the State of California to be thankful for.  You see a few years ago, this was put here for storage and without warning, California in probably a worthy gesture, banned rail transportation over wooden trestles, of which this line has all sorts of them including one a hundred feet from this spot.  The railroad could not go up the track and get these cars nor pull up the railbed, as is customary for abandoned lines.  So here these cars and the line sit forever to slowly decompose in the southern California desert, trapped by a well-meaning law on safety, but wasting away in an eco unfriendly sort of way.  It seems odd for such a ‘green state’ to cause something so wasteful.  How many of Mexicans have used this spot, by the footprints outside…thousands.

I found more governmental idiocy driving back to San Diego, on I-8 I got stopped in some sort of a US Customs inspection area firmly on US soil.  I ponder, why would you go to all of this effort to put in a fixed inspection station here, where everyone knows of it and mostly hastle Americans, and leave this train ten miles back?  Why would illegals go through here?  They are not that stupid…are they?  While in line I noticed something odd, no trucks.  I bet they were up on I-10, and now I understood why all the border trucks on a previous trip were apparently driving through Phoenix and avoiding this route. It seemed a waste of effort to be here.  I bet the illegals were also thankful for our US conflicting policy as were the agents here thankful for their jobs.

We all should be thankful for cheap food that our government’s stupid policy on immigration gives us.  These people end up working in virtual slave situations for a fraction of what it would cost.  Union activists talk of workers rights but I guess, not these workers. Tyson Foods and other processors and fruit farmers are thankful for cheap labor and more profits just as we are thankful for cheap meat, produce, and even cheap construction.  The rich are thankful for the servants that wait on them.  As it was told to me, “it is so difficult to find a good maid or gardener these days” and the person who said that, hopes that they don’t change the immigration policy.  The Mexican government is thankful that these people leave so they don’t have to promote any economic activity or have to bear the costs of feeding or supporting their own poor.  I would not be surprised if they secretly support the bus services to get them to the border.

So here we are now talking about immigration policy yet again.  Does anyone really want a change?  We talk smart, but I don’t think we truly understand the dimensions of this.  People say they are taking jobs from Americans.  No Americans can handle these jobs for the pay that is offered.  Read a book called “Methland,” it will make a good Christmas gift.  Nobody wants to pay more for food or construction, or actually see living wage for servants.  These jobs are also usually cash and as such there are no tax benefits from them to our society.

I ponder an even more aggressive tactic.  Open the borders, wide open.  Make all of these people legal but non-citizens except they have to be in America ten years for any welfare or any benefits or for citizenship.  Slap a ten million dollar fine per offence to companies to not pay these immigrants payroll taxes and something I almost cringe at saying….make all berry pickers and meat workers unionized.  Put the union dues for this as a surtax on food, yes tax on food hurts the poor but we are supporting the poor here.  You can’t have it all.  Yes, food prices will go up.  Yes, maybe the rich will actually have to pay their maids social security and not in cash.

Maybe this would move the plants in Mexicali north of the border so we get some benefit to it, I don’t know.  I’d be thankful if we just did something and wouldn’t just talk about it.  The faux caring for the poor by the left, or the xenophobia of the right isn’t solving the problem, hell we were all immigrants to this land once.  Maybe lightning will strike twice and we won’t continue this problem another twenty years.

at least be thankful my friends…that you didn’t have to sleep in that train

Olaf

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