20 May, 2006

Home security system

Lousy contractors try to plug drafts by feeling for them and plugging them with caulk and foam. Good contractors pressure-test a house to see whether running the HVAC will make the building suck (see #9). They then strategically plug holes in both the ducts and the house's "pressure boundary" (which isn't always the same as the house envelope) so that air pressure in the house remains close to that outdoors. Magic -- no more drafts.

Hibiscus, in comments, has speculated for hundreds of words about the whether Mexican truckers are bringing off-the-books migrants into the USA. I don't much care about the mechanism of travel -- by train, plane or surfboard, they come. Stopping Nafta trucks is like plugging holes with caulk. The only way to change migrations in the long term is to equalize the pressure inside and out of the borders.

A wonderful, if unfootnoted, essay on what motivates the Minuteman Project includes this paragraph:
The most significant cause of migration of Mexicans to the United States is not the "pull" factor, the lure of relatively well-paying jobs in this country. Far more significant is the "push" factor: the devastation of the Mexican economy that has made it nearly impossible for many Mexican families to secure their livelihood within the borders of their home country. The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in effect since 1994, has been a main contributing factor to the devastation of the Mexican economy, and the collusion between big business and both the US and the Mexican governments in realizing NAFTA is undeniable.
Dude -- she said Nafta. Heh-heh. (That's an unfunny joke. See, Beavis and Butthead snort-laugh when people say one of the dirty words you can't say on television.)

But I thought Nafta was supposed to reduce migration! Would Warren Christopher lie to us?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: In the longer term, the problem of illegal immigration is importantly related to the success of the economy in Mexico. If they have a vibrant economy with good jobs in Mexico, it will remove one of the principal factors causing illegal immigration. It's not the only one, to be sure. The question of family ties, cultural ties, other things tend to draw Mexicans to the United States; but I think a major factor in reducing illegal immigration to the United States will be the improvement of the economy in Mexico. I think that NAFTA gives a great opportunity through the free trade, which will improve their economy as well as ours, to reduce the push factor.

I saw a piece in the Los Angeles Times this morning that estimated that there would be a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration to the United States, or immigration to the United States, after ten years' operation of NAFTA. I think that is the promise of NAFTA as far as reducing the push factor in illegal immigration.
Problem is, those push factors persist:
Prior to its entrance into NAFTA, and as a condition for entering into the terms of the free trade pact, the Mexican government came under pressure to reform laws and even constitutional provisions that had supported key sectors of the Mexican economy, especially an agricultural sector that was bolstered by policies designed to meet the food needs of the domestic population. In the wake of these reforms, Mexican agriculture has been hit by a wave of privatizations, cutbacks in credit to small farmers, the removal of tariffs and price supports that had encouraged the production of staple crops, and the deterioration of the ejido sector, small farms whose land had been held collectively by communities. As a result, there has been a growing wave of campesinos who have lost access to the land that had provided for their subsistence, to wage-labor opportunities in the agricultural sector -- a sector that provided a full one-quarter of all employment as of 1990 -- or both.
Given my perspective, you can understand why I think borders are a waste of time and energy. Maybe I shouldn't have spent so long in the HVAC.


to me the how is revelatory, along lines of journey as destination. poetic, whether or not it's accurate, that the freighters themselves be the only vehicle to a better future offered under NAFTA, and that profiteers would pave that path, both literally and figuratively. if this hole exists, it will persist because there are no people of near value to the goods flowing along that route. poetic. 

Posted by hibiscus

i get some points for imagination. here is a creepily familiar article  published just after the horrible horrible thing, and before the republican emperor was found naked and virtually dead in the street.

other things i have supposedly learned or made up:

--> the great and virtually uncountable numbers of people trying to cross the border have masked a nifty effect. militarizing the border has made successful  crossings of the border a matter for professionals, which has increased the success rate greatly, by most counts. increased because of a dedicated funding stream for professional development of people-smuggling skills and technology.

-----> NAFTA trucks can get searched but NAFTA is a player in the crossing drama because... well... nobody likes to talk about the smuggling. anyway everything will be solved if we can just expedite the trucks until they're so fast the criminals and terrorists can't catch them, torture them, and turn them against us and all we stand for.

---> i got an impression from some texts that "mexicans" are doing a little ethnic cleansing of "mayans" with this arrangement. a strong picture of the USA as one big (rich) indian reservation.

-> in some minds the purpose of a wall would be to make there be a border. currently there is no border. there are legal entities and languages and infrastructure and guns. the purpose of the border would be to keep out nightmares. siesta, sleeper cell, same thing.

---> "it created jobs" may or may not include work given to absolutely nobody if you press the employer for details. that, i liked.

------> plans for the reunification of north america should be drawn up at once before everyone goes completely insane. 

Posted by hibiscus

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