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Grass Hoppers and Frost

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

[from Ellen Greer Rees, compiled by Helen Thackeray Rees Berger, modern day arrangement by Lynn C. Rees]

On September 22, 1859, Edmund Rees, wife Margaret, and their five children ages 12-18 months (the 12-year old was my great-great grandfather) arrived in Great Salt Lake City, twelve-year old capital of the nine-year old Utah Territory. Edmund and Margaret were natives of Monmouthshire, located in the southeastern corner of Wales. While they’d joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1850s, they didn’t gather to Zion until Edmund developed asthma after years spent cutting coal in the Monmouthshire mines that fueled the early Industrial Revolution.

The Rees family started their journey with $500, the results of selling their home. $100 got them from Wales to Iowa: they left the old country on April 11, 1859, sailed across the Atlantic on the William Tabscott, landed at New Orleans, and sailed up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to Council Bluffs, Iowa by steam boat. Another $100 got them two oxen, a covered wagon, a milk cow, and safely across the Great Plains to Utah.

Edmund was unfamiliar with handling livestock: the first time he put the yoke on the oxen, he put it on upside down.

Margaret took over.

(more…)

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More Thoughts on Mexico

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

From John Robb:

JOURNAL: Mexico’s Mercado of Violence Heats Up

Open source warfare often combines market-based functions to accelerate its innovation rates and expand its operations beyond the primary players.  These markets, or bazaars (as I called them) are very efficient.  For example: the price of violence plummets as the number of entrants increases and the capacity for violence improves as the market’s participants specialize and hone their skills.  

Usually, the military/law enforcement response to the surge in the sophistication and quantity of violence is to assume some outside source of training or support rather than something that is the natural byproduct of rapid marketplace development.  

So, it’s no surprise with the growing availability of the street/prison gangs (Barrio Azteca and the Artistic Assassins) as sources of cheap, violent labor the marketplace is heating up. Note the excellent quotes below from a WaPo article on the growth of the market for contract killings

From Joseph Fouche at The Committee of Public Safety:

Containing Mexico

….Mexico, showing more concern for its sovereignty than their northern neighbor, has launched a brave if thus far futile attempt to win control of its territory from large and powerful narco-traffickers. Large parts of Mexico are in disorder and large parts of Mexico threaten to descend into chaos. The Mexican Army has been brought in to take over from Mexico’s corrupt local and federal police. The well-armed and well-equippednarcotraficantes have counterattacked against the police and even the Mexican Army. The government is riddled with gang informants and corrupt officials. An already uninspiring government has pulled off the unique trick of becoming even more uninspiring.

In the long run, I believe the Mexican state will win. Colombia was in a similar pickle ten years ago but eventually found enough institutional resilience to fight back and win control of most of its territory. But the road back is long and, in the meantime, Mexico’s troubles will inevitably leak north, involving and corrupting American law enforcement even more than it already is, drawing entrepreneurs on both sides of the border to profit from America and Mexico’s shared misery, and applying negative pressures on Mexican residents in the United States to cooperate with the narcotraficantes¿O plata o plomo? (silver or lead?) the Colombian drug gangs used to ask their victims. Profit or death, a choice will be put to many Mexican Americans in the years ahead, or as Mexico’s own Porfirio Diaz put it, ¿Pan o palo? (bread or a beating?). Illegal immigration, perhaps deliberately induced by Mexican drug gangs in an ironic echo of the strategy of  Mexico’s incumbent elites, will destabilize American local governments and drain their resources. Violence in Mexican communities in America will increase and inevitably spill over to non-Mexicans. Political correctness and diplomatic niceties will paralyze American responses.

The historical significance of the War in Iraq will be revealed: COIN on American streets. Containment, if it can be described as such, will occur house by house, block by block, city by city, state by state. The traditional American response to crisis, the inspired muddle, will produce more corruption of American institutions and society, already weakened by the last round of containment….

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“This is For the Mara Salvatrucha”

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Samuel Logan, security specialist, author and sometime ZP commenter has a new book that will be released in early July, This Is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang.

Sam sent me an advance copy and I have read the first few chapters, which begins at the most granular level of an outlier cell or street crew of MS-13 and a crime committed that ultimately allows law enforcement to penetrate what had been a highly secretive, as well as extremely violent, transnational street gang rooted in Central American immigrant communities.

The book is tightly written with an edge for gritty reality and will be of great interest to readers interested in criminal networks and insurgency; I will be looking to see how, from Logan’s depiction, MS-13 meshes with John Sullivan and Robert J. Bunker’s concept of 3rd Generation gangs.

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Monday, July 2nd, 2007

A VOICE OF REASON ON IMMIGRATION

One of my older blogospheric associates, TM Lutas had some sage observations on immigration:

“Assimilation is the process of “clearing the job queue”. The immigrants of today are tomorrows’ citizens most capable and most inclined to help out with assimilation because they’ve gone through the process. It’s not something you can really demand because this sort of thing is true charity work. Few people are actually paid to help others learn english, find a job, navigate the political, economic, and social system that is the USA. Most of the people who do it do so part time, often unconsciously.

The common sense outline of the solution for immigration is not too hard to figure out. You need to determine what the inflection points are, set immigration numbers that are above all the “too low” inflection points and below all the “too high” inflection points and make sure that your assimilation machinery works well so that you end up clearing the queue quickly and allow the next round in.

Now is anybody talking like this? I haven’t found any and thus my disgust with the present debate. I haven’t found anybody who’s properly defined assimilation in all its political, economic, and social glory in a way that everybody can agree on. I haven’t found anybody doing the hard work to identify all the relevant inflection points so that we can identify a safe range of immigration where we can set numbers without getting this country into trouble.

Instead, what I find are posturing and falsity up and down the entire range of mainstream debate. Restrictionists don’t want to look to closely at our ability to absorb new immigrants because they’re afraid that the numbers are going to be higher than they’d like to satisfy their interests. The free borders crowd doesn’t want to look at assimilation either. The multiculturalists don’t believe in assimilation at all while others in that camp are too afraid that the numbers will come out as being too low to further their interests.”

Check out the questions that should be asked.

Dan of tdaxp emphatically agrees.

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