Respecting the DREAM

June 19, 2012


President Obama did what he could to show people the way this last week on how to deal with the massive immigration dysfunction that our US system has become.  In years past, it has been far easier than present day to enter the US and immigrate.  All the way through the late 70s, immigrating to the US was a process that had a finite beginning and end.  Today it is a maze of bureaucracy hampered by pre 911 prejudices and post 911 paranoia.

Homeland Security is a department in the executive branch and thus under the authority of the President.  The policy change is fairly simple.  Children of illegal or undocumented residents could gain at least a 2 year stay on their deportation if they :

• Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the U.S. on the date of this memorandum;
• Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
• Are not above the age of 30.

This announcement has been widely criticized as a political move by the President, but  ask the GOP and Mitt Romney for their vision of how to handle illegal immigration.  They do not have a plan on how to deal with the millions of illegal and undocumented residents.  They do not have a plan on how to change anything from the current status quo which is onerous, cruel and unusual punishment to people for simply wanting a better life but not necessarily committing other crimes.

The children of families caught up in the ICE and Homeland Security bureaucracy are truly innocent in the situation and blameless for the choices of their parents.  This is a bad situation where the government truly needs to reorganize and restructure.

The overall policy is misguided and unrealistic as well.  If we wish to stem the tide with illegal immigration we need to address the rules of employment and the enforcement of hiring and documentation.   As long as illegal immigrants can get a job in the US, they will continue to come.    So far, it appears that Mitt Romney and the GOP want to close their eyes and continue to pretend the current state of our immigration policy is just fine.

The day that President Obama announced the change to deportation policy which is only to be a two year trial, the President was heckled during his opening statement by Neil Munro, an online reporter-blogger for the Daily Caller, a GOP newsite.   As the cameras were trained on the heckler to capture the exchange between President Obama and Mr Munro, you can see the frustration and even seething hatred as Mr Munro appeared to be trying contain himself and allow the President to speak.   Mr Munro, if nothing else is just the latest symbol of the unthinking raging hateful angry opposition which believes that the office and functions of the President is not worthy of high respect, no matter who is in that place.  Mr Munro is just another zombie of the right blinded in their rage.


English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personal Note to the President of the United States, Monday, 6/4/2012

Dear President Obama,

I got the tweet from you the other day.  Something or other about the election in Wisconsin.  Honestly, my first reaction was, really? Your first comment on Tom Barrett in a tweet?  I know Wisconsin only has 10 electoral votes, but democrats across the country have been watching and wondering where the love is for the grass roots of the party.  Wisconsin put a lot on the line and there is barely any acknowledgement from the leader of the party.

When Bill Clinton came to Wisconsin, I was thinking, wow, President Obama must be busy.  But for once, I have to say that Scott Walker was right when he wondered why you would come so close to Wisconsin and yet remain so far away.   The hardworking folks in Wisconsin who have put lives and reputation on the line to protect their rights deserve more than 140 characters.

I don’t know who is going to win the Wisconsin recall.  I just know how good it felt to have some old figures in the party come and advocate for the people.  I just wish you could see how it would only give you the high ground in the debate if you would just take the political upper hand in this situation.  The people of Wisconsin are correct to rise up and demand accountability from their elected officials.  In an era where a few anonymous wealthy contributors can tip the playing field 25 to 1, you have a responsibility to get in and play hard for the team .

I don’t know the entire situation you face of course.   It just seems though that by visiting the neighboring states at such a crucial time, you appear to be ‘nibbling at the edges’ and avoiding going for the goal.  If you are going to face criticism, however, it is better to face it for doing the right thing.

Addendum, Tuesday 6/5/2012

The depressing results have come in and I’ve listened to the concessions and acceptances and the pundits analyses.  I don’t blame you for not playing in the campaign.  I do think GWB would have come into the fray had the shoe been on the other foot.  Ah, but then comes back up the shoe metaphoric thing.  It’s easy to see a coldness in the regard of the President toward the Unions of Wisconsin.  I hope  we don’t see a replay of the 2010 election where a dejected progressive electorate fails to turn out.   I just think you missed an opportunity to fight the good fight and even if it was a loser, be on the correct side and help shine a spotlight on the truth.

Then again, maybe you have already decided that you cannot fight the mass of cash and media arrayed against you.

Still hoping for some change, fellow citizen, Joe Blunt



Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Universi...

Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week was remarkable for the United States.  President Obama made the case for allowing marriage rights to same sex couples.   I think by doing so he expanded the boundaries of freedom and established the notion of an equal playing field for same sex orientation.  Even so, this announcement does nothing but allow the nation to see where Barack Obama believes the line should draw on this issue.

It was the beginning of a step that follows a long line of steps to bring more equality to humanity and allow equal sets of rules to be applied for an oppressed group in our nation.   Not only does it signal a greater move, but it also signals to the world that under Obama, the US is still a land of opportunity for everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.   Of course, discrimination still exists throughout the world in these areas, yet the US can still provide a guiding light for all.

I’m heterosexual, but I can still appreciate President Obama’s position staked out this week.   First off, it is a bold declaration on his part.  It is politically risky.   Not only does this fire up the right wing, it pokes a stick in the eye of all the backwards goobers out there who compensate for their closeted gayness with mindless homophobia.  Some people do not understand or derive any pleasure from Obama’s revelation.   The reigning wisdom is that the people who are adamantly opposed to same sex marriage will vote against the president in November anyway.    Also, this move illustrates that President Obama’s base is ripe and receptive for this kind of an activation.  Signals like this during the campaign will continue to activate his base.   Beyond the political calculus, by taking up the struggle of LGBT people, other forms of discrimination become more outdated and barbaric.   The fight in this area only makes the injustices of racial and gender discrimination more undeniable under the law.

Personally, I’m inspired by the pronouncement because it is morally correct in the context of freedom and equal rights.  Also it is a risky move and that also gives me some new respect for the President that he could take an outspoken stand on what is right.  Pretty exceptional stuff, all in all.  It’s nice to get inspired over what has always been an American value during my lifetime, equal rights.  Much better than complaining how the GOP continues to monkey wrench economic recovery and the will of the people.  I hope this fires you up to get out and make everyone you know cast a vote in all of the years elections.




Elmer Fudd vs Coyote

February 8, 2012

I don’t envy conservatives who have to choose between Newt and Mitt.  I was posting on another blog tonight and hit on the notion that choosing between them is like having to choose between Warner Brothers antagonists Elmer Fudd and Coyote.

Now don’t get me wrong, both Elmer and Coyote have some endearing qualities, but ultimately, Fudd never gets Bugs Bunny and Coyote never catches the Roadrunner.

Take Elmer,

Elmer Fudd

He makes good use of known method.  He is a dogged hunter but has no staying power because he is not very smart and always misses his prey by a misstep or two.


Then you have Coyote.

CoyoteHe has yards of faith and inches of food.  Mitt

He is a simple humble genius who can architect the most epic methods of falling flat and far behind the Roadrunner.  Everytime he comes close to the roadrunner, something blows up in his face or an elaborate trap backfires.





Oh, yeah don’t forget.

Sylvester the cat.

Sylvester is always ready to pop that Tweety in his mouth when no one  is looking.

Sylvester ends up taking a wailing from a boxing kangaroo.  Karma is real.

Elizabeth Eckford goes to school

President Obama goes to work

Thanks Melissa Harris-Perry!  Smart cookie!

General Motors automobile mural

Image by Toban Black via Flickr

note:  This started as a reply to the last comment from spreadeagle72 but it became so long and full of import that I had to post it.   Thanks for the conversation Spread, you spawned a post!  

Here is his last comment so you can get the gist:

‘I hate to see anyone lose their job. I’ve lost a few jobs in my life but didn’t need the government to “bail” me out. If the feds would have stayed out of the automobile industry in the first place and allowed the free market to fend for itself there would have been more than 3 or 4 manufacturers in the country and we would not be in this mess to begin with.
It doesn’t have anything to do with democrats or republicans…..
Bad business is just that….whether you do it with the burden of union pentions, labor costs, or the Hill with all it’s taxes and regulations it’s always bad business practices that end jobs.

All you have to do is look across the pond to figure out that bailouts no matter how small are never the answer. It always bites you one way or the other.’

The Blunt Response:

Today, Chrysler and GM are among the most successful auto companies for the year 2011.  In 2008, Chrysler and GM would have closed down their shops and sold anything of value to the still standing victors and tens of thousands of automotive jobs would now be gone.  We would have been down to one, that’s right, ONE American car company with other FOREIGN owned manufacturers doing some part of their business in the states (especially the states where employers do not have to provide health care or negotiate collectively with employees for better pay).  The banks and right wing conservatives were ready to let them fail but Obama and a Democratic Senate and House saved the American automotive industry with a federal program.

Also, it was not a ‘bailout’.  The banking industry with it’s comparatively small but very well paid staff qualified for massive massive give aways so they could continue the foreclosures and multimillion end of year bonuses.  GM and Chrysler could only qualify for loans.  That’s right, the federal money given to GM and Chrysler were structured as loans and much has already been paid off, plus interest to the US treasury.   Here, we have proof that the government saved jobs and still conservatives scoff and try to spin a success into a failure.  It perplexes me when the facts are in front of people and they do not see them.  Spreadeagle must be seeing ideological smudges on the eyeglasses of reality and thinking the world is cloudy.

Also, it’s perplexing to hear conservatives complain about government ‘bailouts’ yet they don’t complain when we subsidize the oil industry to the tune of billions of our tax dollars per year.  We don’t just give them tax breaks, but we also give oil giants billions in ‘credits’ per year.   Why don’t you ever hear about that on False News or Rushinta Limbo?   You certainly don’t hear them talk about actual bailouts that occurred under former GOP presidents.

You also hear a lot of carping about a free market taking care of things.  A ‘free’ market implies a competitive market with a variety of suppliers competing for customers, not a hand full of players agreeing in private how to set pricing, crowding small businesses out or buying them off.  Conservatives seem to think creating  jobs and a free market means loosening clean air and clean water regulations so the oil business can get down and dirty again.  Why is the US exporting oil overseas if we need it here so much?  We can drill baby drill, but that is not going to lower gas prices like truly free markets protected from a multinational industrial monopolistic trust.

Conservatives speak with a forked tongue when they say they ‘hate to see folks lose their jobs, but don’t let the government do anything to protect them’.  It’s time for people like that to look more clearly at how far backward we have gone in this decade.  It didn’t start with Obama, it started right around the year 2000.

Cover of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

Obama did not get much of anything he wanted despite the emerging right wing talking point to the opposite.   He has had to put a brave face on a record level of congressional obstruction not seen in history before his administration.  Even though the dems held both house and senate for two years, not much happened without huge give aways to the right wing.  This is because nearly every effort to pass bills through the senate was barricaded by the GOP with by procedural delays such as calls for quorum and threats of a filibuster.

The only stimulus bill to help get the economy back on track was passed in the last days of the Bush administration.  After Obama’s inauguration, conservatives have actively blocked any further attempts by the congressional majority to help along a more successful economic recovery.  The GOP needs to have a crisis they can try to blame on Obama.

The 1939 movie with James Stuart,  ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’ dramatized the use of the filibuster as it came into uncommon use.  In a filibuster, senators may hold the floor and speak out on any subject for as long as they wish purely to obstruct the debate on the bill from going forward.

In recent years, the senate leadership has preferred to avoid the filibuster in order to proceed on other business.  For the convenience of allowing debate on other issues, it went from being a process requiring all day and all night speech on the floor to a short procedure, after which the senator may exit the door.

Until the senate leadership changes its policy on avoiding the filibuster, all the senator must do these days is threaten the filibuster and force a motion for cloture and the issue is closed.   Now that it is such an easy process, the GOP has used it to hold off Democratic initiatives such as the various jobs bills.  The cloture process has been used more in the last two years than in all preceding years combined.  This is an abuse of this arcane parliamentary procedure allowing the GOP to obstruct the recovery of our economy.

The current leadership should call the bluff of the GOP threats to filibuster and force them to stand in the well of the senate until their bladders explode and all phone books have been read into the record.   Maybe then we will see a rollback in the use of this procedure.

Filibuster Chart, Talking Points Memo, Brian Beutler