Tag Archives: melting point

NSA Game Snooping Predicted in Novels

In Melting Point 2040, survivalist gaming and weapons development company New Rite tries to protect its on-line gamers from government snooping and control by building its own highly encrypted global server and connection network. Even with this, the government uses New Rite and other survival and war games as recruiting sites and methods to identify potential criminals and terrorists. Pete Roote, hired by New Rite to take out drug cartel leaders, escapes government detection of his actions by completely avoiding on-grid contact through New Rite’s training and advanced detection-interference technology. Based on what we found out yesterday, should the book have been Melting Point 2014?

Government Games Snooping

My Deleted Words Deemed a Threat by CNN

An article popped up yesterday on CNN.com with good news about the arrest of Mexican cartel boss Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino. As I do from time-t0-time under the alias “Mike Bushman” (I don’t hide my identity well), I posted a comment that quickly gained enough of CNN’s version of likes and no dislikes to be the top comment. Moments later, I turned back from watching “Cutthroat Kitchen” to see the comment was gone. Deleted.

Given my introspective nature, I wondered what I’d said that was so threatening to require removal. Fortunately, more than half of what I’d written was contained in an email alert of a reply to my comment about the difficulty of stopping cartels when “Fast and Furious” guns are still turning up.

Here’s my offending statement, with the second half recaptured to the best of my memory:

“The fates of the U.S. and Mexico are intertwined. We must defeat the drug cartels, who otherwise will eventually combine, strengthen and wreak even greater havoc on our society. It will get even worse once radical Islamic terrorists figure out how to team up with drug cartels to attack us.”

Perhaps, I thought, the statement was deemed racist by the thoughtful administrators at CNN. I did say our fate was intertwined with Mexico and my picture shows me clearly as white, but I couldn’t believe this was the reason. The comment simply acknowledges that the cartels are a scourge to both of our nations. I thought that was clear. Maybe CNN opposed my reference to “radical Islamic” terrorists? Perhaps I should have just mentioned terrorists, rather than identify the dominant type of terrorist attacking America in recent decades.

In commenting on the potential combination of cartels and terrorists, I simply reacted to the fact that terrorists and cartels have already been caught linking together on low-level activities. My concern is that these relationships will expand. Readers of Melting Point 2040 and Secession 2041 will recognize that cartels and terrorists play plot roles in these novels, though I didn’t mention my writing when commenting on CNN.com.

There is one other explanation. Removing my comment allowed it to be replaced by a new top comment: “Legalize Marijuana and those drug cartels will be pharmaceutical reps. Problem solved.” That must be it.

Border Security, Immigration Reform and Dennis Michael Lynch

Unless border security issues are resolved, Senate passage could prove the permanent plateau for immigration reform efforts in the 113th Congress. More importantly, if border security is not substantially improved from a current state in which even immigration reform advocates believe at least 11 million undocumented workers are inside U.S. borders and many believe the number is much higher, America faces a largely unconsidered threat to its existence in today’s shape and form. (This challenge serves as the premise to my novels.)

With border security so critical to a much-needed immigration reform process, I spent last night listening to Dennis Michael Lynch, a filmmaker who has invested his own time and money investigating border security and immigration issues far more deeply than 60-second puff pieces typically spewed as investigative reporting on border security. A link to the web site for “They Come to America” and “They Come to America II” is below. I recommend these films for anyone interested in immigration and border security issues. If you haven’t considered why the U.S. government has signs posted in Mandarin Chinese along human trafficking routes from Mexico, you’ll be certain to consider new questions after watching the movies.

Border Patrol in Texas from theycometoamerica.com
Border Patrol in Texas from theycometoamerica.com

They Come to America

I was hopeful at the start of the year that real immigration reform could move forward, even though such reform might temporarily and partially negate the premise for my books. The principles by the Senate Gang of Eight included a path to citizenship for those here illegally that would be “contingent upon our success in securing our borders and addressing visa overstays.”

When recently resigned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said repeatedly in recent months that the border is already secure, she uttered an absurdity that made clear this Administration could not be trusted to use fact to assess or pursue border security. If you watch Lynch’s films, you’ll have no doubt the notion that we have secure borders is beyond reasonable belief.

Recently, congressional debate has centered around who can be trusted to accurately assess whether our borders are secure before triggering the path to citizenship for those who entered or overstayed illegally in the past. Without secure borders, passage of an immigration reform bill now would just be another “rinse” in a series of “rinse and repeat” processes on immigration that date back to President Reagan. Continue reading

Language Segregation a Tough Barrier, Study Finds

Growing racial diversity in the U.S. student population is not preventing a spread of segregation, with African American and Hispanic students attending “more segregated schools than at any time in the past 20 years,” notes University of Texas at Austin Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig in his Cloaking Inequity blog post referencing his new co-authored study: “Nearly 50 years post-Jim Crow: Persisting and Expansive School Segregation for African American, Latina/o and ELL students in Texas.”

One finding of the study highlights the risks of language isolation, an issue that drives societal upset in my novel Melting Point 2040:

“Some policies that have been adopted with the intent of improving language acquisition, as in the past, have the effect of increasing linguistic isolation: for example, research has found that school systems that are racially diverse often adopt “clustered bilingual” programs in an effort to best serve the linguistic needs of ELL students. As in the past, a linguistic rationale used by school districts in terms of meeting the needs of ELL has the effect (intentionally or unintentionally) of increasing isolation of ELL students and reducing exposure to native speakers during the school day.”

Creating a melting pot society in which immigrants integrate into the broader community is an important component of creating national stability, longevity and, ultimately, elements of unity. It turns out that integration also improves success rates for individuals integrating into broader society, making the efforts of some to promote racial, ethnic, religious or language segregation as part of self-serving political agendas all the more troubling.

See the link below for more on this study’s findings:

Troubling Segregation Trends Continue

 

Immigration, Segregation, Mothers and National Survival

In recent weeks, issues of race, language, immigration and the potential for broader conflict have elevated considerably following a national report showing that  racial segregation is expanding at a dramatic pace. That this study took place and subsequent consternation is taking place in the United Kingdom should offer no relief to those of us worried about the long term impacts of segregation in the United States.

A recent column in Express laments Britain’s move toward looking like America: “In such places as Detroit and Baltimore a white person is as rare as a truthful politician. There are entire school districts that are white, black or Hispanic. It is important to stress this is wrong for everyone involved, from black to white and every colour in between. Segregation is not the way forward; integration is, yet we are further away from that in this country than ever before.”

The Express columnist noted former Equality and Human Rights Commission Chairman Trevor Phillips saw accelerated segregation coming eight years earlier when he warned Britain was “sleepwalking into segregation” and allowing “ghettoes” of different races and faiths to flourish. “Predictably he was shouted down and bizarrely even branded a racist,” the columnist wrote.  (Segregation is Madness.)

Long-term segregation, along racial, language or religious lines, has led to violent confrontation in nearly every country through human history where it has been allowed to flourish. Those who suggest it won’t happen here believe the conditions for conflict won’t exist in their lifetime. I believe we are merely awaiting the final demographic shifts and ascension of exploitative, self-serving politicians to turn growing divisions into conflict if we don’t begin acting to create more integrated experiences.

There is no greater gift that we can give to mothers on this day than to ensure their children do not end up fighting in senseless conflicts driven by divisions we saw coming, but then allowed to happen.

 

 

Thoughtful concerns about re-segregation

In Melting Point 2040 and Secession 2041, I focus on the consequences to the nation from re-segregation and politically exploited division. The attached article does a nice job of explaining the nearer-term consequences of re-segregation on America’s children.

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/04/19/4191812/school-inequality-hurts-all-kids.html

 

Integration Reversing into Segregation

In a recent discussion at a local high school, we talked about concerns with the re-segregation of America and how not sharing a common language and some elements of common culture and experience makes it difficult to solve community problems. From an overall perspective, America looks more diverse today than 50 years ago. That diversity, however, is not evenly spread. Our melting pot is coagulating into separate spaces.

Much of our divide, as Bill Bishop writes in The Big Sort, is driven by demographic choices families are making to live in communities where other residents look like them and share their political and economic interests. To compound this segregation, race is a primary characteristic used in establishing legislative and congressional districts around the nation with majority-minority districts created to elect officials of a particular race or ethnicity. Racial gerrymandering had the positive purpose when promoted in the Voting Rights Act of ensuring that minorities had electoral power. Too many politicians, though, recognize this Act means they will never represent a diverse constituency. They then proceed to mock the Act by fostering racial divides to enhance their reelection prospects at the expense of solving real problems.

The linked article, from the Richmond Times Dispatch, provides background on another growing issue worth understanding, the issue of segregation within communities and even within individual school districts: http://bit.ly/13Yd9wV

How do we ensure that America has enough of a common culture to be united? How do we encourage integration, while maintaining respect for various cultures and differences? Not easy questions. But it’s clear we have yet to find the right answers.

Re-segregating America a Troubling Trend

The linked story below provides more evidence of America’s move to re-segregate, a trend that brings with it troubling implications for our future.

Families increasingly live in places where neighbors look and sound like they do. The absence of school choice in most of the nation prevents many children from pursuing better schools where they might experience multiple cultures. Race is used as a critical factor in drawing congressional and legislative districts. A troubling number of politicians use racially divisive tactics to win elections, often criticizing people who disagree on issues as traitors to their race.

Given all of this, can we be surprised that school segregation is becoming more pronounced than during civil rights days? Melting Point 2040 is a story of what the future holds if we don’t take action soon.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50694523/#.URurPaVc_ww

 

An Argument Against Official English (Not Mine)

Iowa State Associate Professor Warren Blumenfeld argues in the linked column against having a shared national language. He creates a number of spurious assertions that official English:

1) Marginalizes non-native English speakers,
2) Decreases the likelihood of supporting multi-cultural programs, and
3) Suggests that other languages are not important to learn.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/warren-j-blumenfeld/english-only-laws-divide-_b_2141330.html

The professor recounts the racist behavior of a playground monitor and quotes an unnamed individual that “no true patriot could support or tolerate this hateful law” as evidence of the accuracy of his message against “cultural genocide.”

I think the Professor is missing the point.

America needs to be multi-cultural and multi-lingual; on that he is correct. However, we benefit as a nation by sharing a common language that allows us to communicate effectively with each other. A common language also minimizes the risk of being torn apart. (See other posts on this blog for comments about ongoing secession efforts around the world.) Continue reading