Nov 222014
 

Last night, I Watched Barack Obama address the nation on temporary immigration reform.  I had hoped that his solution might be more inclusive, but I understand that he wanted to leave no question that his action was legally sound.  On that he succeeded.  Republicans have lo legal basis on which to challenge him, and resorted to filing a frivolous lawsuit against him over the ACA, a clear demonstration of their impotence.

1122ObamaPresident Obama’s unilateral  overhaul of the nation’s immigration system is bittersweet.

On one hand, it blocks deportation and grants work permits—for the rest of Obama’s term in office—to 5 million unauthorized people who have been in the country for at least five years. These mostly are the parents of children who were born here (and are citizens) and young people who arrived as children and grew up as typical Americans. It also ends some of the more punitive practices in federal policing, such as the Secure Communities program, where local cops turned people over to federal agents, starting the deporation [sic] treadmill, even if the undocumented person had not been convicted of a crime. Now, police will only refer cases to immigration authorities if there was a prior criminal conviction.

“Felons, not families. Criminals not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” Obama said Thursday in a nationwide  address. “We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

But there are big disappointments as well, such as  leaving out the parents of Dreamers (undocumented children raised as Americans), and not taking any action on unauthorized farmworkers. The White House, which knows that Republicans in Congress and many red states are vowing to block its actions, explained that trying to shield those categories of people from deportation was on shakier legal ground. The parents of Dreamers, like their children, are non-citizens, they  said. Helping farmworkers would single out one industry, while many others also rely on undocumented workers. The ongoing prospect of many families still being split up remains a real and inhumane threat…

Inserted from <AlterNet>

Lets be clear about that.  Obama’s action was never intended to solve the immigration issue.  It was an attempt on his part to do what the law allows to prevent some of the suffering that Republicans are causing through their refusal to pass a comprehensive solution to the problem.

If you missed the speech, here it is in its entirety.

Or if you prefer, here is a link to the transcript.

The noise I’m hearing from Republicans is that they would love to be able to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Really they would and they would surely do so right away, if only the evil emperor Obama had not poisoned the well and deliberately sabotaged any chance at a bipartisan solution, making it impossible for them to do so now.  I’d call that a big pile of horse shit, but I don’t always know what’s in my cat food, and I don’t want to insult a horse that could become my kitty dinner some day!

Here are the facts.  Democrats made huge concessions to Republicans to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, breaking the Republican filibuster with eight votes to spare.  I remember the anger from my fellow progressives at those concessions, so the bill that came out of the Senate was an authentic compromise.  That was one year, four months, and 24 das ago.  John Boehner has refused to hold a vote on it.  House Republicans have refused to take up the issue at all.  Obama summed up his policy in three words, and if Republicans don’t like his modest reforms, those same three words will shut them down in a heartbeat.  Pass a bill!  Legislate comprehensive immigration reform.

I don’t think that will happen, and the reason is Racism.  Not all Republican politicians are racists, but the racists hold so much power, that the leadership fears them.,

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Nov 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 17.I’m feeling quite tired, because I was up late last night and early this morning.  In addition, another storm is setting off my COPD.  Fantasy football players, the Jets – Bills service in worship of the Holy Ellipsoid Orb has been moved to Detroit and will be played on Monday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 5:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In a sharp Republican rebuke to President Obama’s proposed actions on immigration, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President, on Thursday night, of “flagrantly treating immigrants like human beings, in clear defiance of the wishes of Congress.”

McConnell was brutal in his assessment of the President’s speech on immigration, blasting him for “eliminating the fear of deportation, which is the great engine of the American economy.”

“Fear is what keeps immigrants working so hard and so fast and so cheap,” McConnell said. “Remove the fear of deportation, and what will immigrants become? Lazy Americans.”

Dang Andy! Next he might treat them like white folks!!  EEK!!

From NY Times: Former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has announced a presidential exploratory committee, becoming the first candidate in either party to take such an overt step toward a White House bid. He called for economic justice and a restrained foreign policy, and vowed to “re-establish a transparent, functioning governmental system in our country.”

Previously I have called myself an ABH Democrat (anybody but Hillary). I stand corrected.

From Think Progress: About one in four American workers will have to go to work this year on a holiday, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Given that no American worker gets the guarantee that they can take a paid holiday off, their options are limited. Employees at Kmart and Target even tell ThinkProgress that they aren’t allowed to ask for holidays off and face being fired if they don’t come in.

1122Black_Friday_full_graphic

This may help you decide where not to and where to do your holiday shopping.

Cartoon:

1122Cartoon

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Nov 212014
 

Before this article is published, this will have already happened, but Obama is not due to begin speaking for another hour and a half.  Even though Republicans consider the topic so important that they are threatening impeachment, government shutdown, and sandbox temper tantrums, the big four networks, the so-called liberal media, will be elsewhere.

1121obamaEarly in his first term, President George W. Bush  addressed the nation in primetime about allowing for limited stem cell research in America and his approval for limited medical research. During the weeks leading up to the announcement, there had a been regular news coverage of the topic, as the White House let reporters know the president was deeply engaged on the issue and was meeting with an array of experts to guide him.

As Bush appeared from his ranch in Texas to make the announcement, all of the major broadcast networks joined the cable news channels in carrying his message live.

The stem cell speech didn’t address breaking news and it wasn’t about an imminent threat facing the nation. But at the time, network executives said they were happy to air the address. "I don’t think it was a tough call because it’s an issue that’s received so much attention," CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius told the Boston Globe. ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider agreed: "It’s an important issue and one that the country is following closely." He added that Bush was "going to make news" with the speech.

A decade later the rules seem to have shifted. All four networks  have announced they won’t carry President Obama’s address to the nation tonight about his long awaited plan to take executive action to deal with the pressing issue of immigration reform. (Two Spanish language networks, Univision and Telemundo, will carry the address live in primetime.) … [emphasis added]

Inserted from <AlterNet>

Admittedly, this won’t be the first time the four networks have ducked covering a Presidential address, but considering the import of the topic, I can’t help but wonder what they would be doing, if a white Republican President were addressing the nation on a highly controversial issue.

For those of you who missed the address, I will try to find the complete video tomorrow and post it shortly after midnight on Saturday.morning.

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Nov 212014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 16.  I’m waiting for the President’s speech to begin.  It’s been a busy day.  I planned Thanksgiving dinner and put in my Thanksgiving grocery order at Safeway, as Store to Door is closed next week.  The cat is having bird.  I went to Care2 and uploaded the articles that wouldn’t upload last night.  I check my fantasy football lineup.  What a mess!  I did some housework.  I still have to squeeze in a cat nap.  I’m past due.

Jig Zone Puzzles

Yesterday’s took me 3:47 (average 6:42).  To do it click here.  Today’s took me 3:14 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: How the sausage is made.

[New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie], who traditionally backs off from declaring how he’ll act on pending legislation when asked by reporters, made his intentions clear on a pig gestation crate bill when asked last month about it during a visit to Northwest Iowa, according to a pork producer.

“He indicated to us that he was going to veto the bill,” said Bill Tentinger, an Iowa pork producer and former president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. […]

The bill would direct the state Department of Agriculture to prohibit “the confinement, in an enclosure, of any sow during gestation in a manner that prevents the sow from turning around freely, lying down, standing up, or fully extending the limbs of the animal.”

Christie is now in trouble with many in New Jersey, the state he currently governs, for two reasons. First, the bill is popular in the state, which is why it’s currently sitting on his desk waiting for a signature. Second, advocates of that bill are furious that Christie hasn’t been telling them squat about whether he was going to veto the bill but can travel to Iowa as a maybe-possibly presidential contender and tell the folks there what he was going to do. Especially since it looks like pre-presidential pork producer pandering of the penultimate persuasion.

Frankly, I don’t think this blatant cruelty will help PIGnocchio in his obvious Iowa Caucus pandering. Furthermore, it t wont make him safe in Washington DC. As soon as Iowa’s new Senator, Joni Pig Nuts, gets a look at him, she’ll … snip snip … make PIGnocchio squeal!

From Upworthy: I support the end of corruption in government and pay-to-play politics. Mayday.US is a nonpartisan group using the people’s money to challenge big donors — perhaps the last chance we have to stop the madness. Actor Jason Alexander makes a strong point in this 30-second video: All citizens should keep this in mind every time they hear a political ad paid for by a special interest PAC.

 

I honestly don’t know if mayday.us can help, but we have to do something to counter all those billionaire bucks!

From The New Yorker: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his party’s long-awaited plan on immigration on Wednesday, telling reporters, “We must make America somewhere no one wants to live.”

Appearing with House Speaker John Boehner, McConnell said that, in contrast to President Obama’s “Band-Aid fixes,” the Republican plan would address “the root cause of immigration, which is that the United States is, for the most part, habitable.”

“For years, immigrants have looked to America as a place where their standard of living was bound to improve,” McConnell said. “We’re going to change that.”

Boehner said that the Republicans’ plan would reduce or eliminate “immigration magnets,” such as the social safety net, public education, clean air, and drinkable water.

The Speaker added that the plan would also include the repeal of Obamacare, calling healthcare “catnip for immigrants.”

Andy is back to straight news again, but I have to admit, Republicans have been quite successful at crafting policies to implement this plan.

Cartoon:

1121Cartoon

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Nov 202014
 

I imagine that I am not the only one that has been suffering from post election malaise, that soreness between the nether cheeks that comes when assaulted from the rear with a saguaro cactus, or when Democrats form a circular firing squad in an election year.  For such a malady, Dr. TomCat prescribes a dose of Liz!

1120Liz

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.

"The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more — more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else," Warren said. "Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic."

Warren did allude to the 2014 elections where Republicans replaced Democrats not only in key Senate races but governors mansions and statehouses, but she stressed that didn’t mean Republican calls for deregulation should be taken seriously now.

Warren also reused her regularly repeated line that the American economy is "rigged" in favor of the wealthy.

"We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact," Warren said. "We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street —the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

I tried to find video of her appearance, but I could not.  I did, however fonf the following montage of her best moments.

So, if you suffer from post election malice, you need to remember what an authentic progressive acts like.  Take one Liz and call me in the morning.

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Nov 202014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 15.  Tomorrow is almost here, and I just woke up.  Fortunately I had my research done this morning, but due to unpacking groceries, putting them away, and several other tasks, I just couldn’t get back to it before now.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

The Jig Zone website is currently down.  Assuming that this is a temporary situation, I’ll include today’s puzzle with tomorrow’s.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here in the U.S., lots of politicians have pointed to China as the reason the U.S. should not sign climate treaties. What will opponents of climate change action use as an excuse now? Check out this spot-on video from Climate Desk of what the excuses sound like:

 

This is the 3rd of 8 reasons President Obama and the Democratic Party have made the world a better place by negotiating a greenhouse gasses agreement with China. Click through for the other seven. A must-read article.

From Daily Kos: When Congress voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline they committed an act of war against the Great Sioux Nation. Apparently they completely forgot to check with the Sioux who live on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, who in February adopted tribal resolutions opposing the Keystone XL project. Or maybe Congress didn’t forget but rather chose to ignore them.

Of course the U.S. government has hardly ever taken Native American concerns seriously, so it would be a surprise if that happened now, but Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) Tribal President Scott said his nation has yet to be properly consulted on the project, which would cross through tribal land. Concerns brought to the Department of Interior and to the Department of State have yet to be addressed, he said in a statement.

Kudos and thanks to the Rosebud Sioux. No doubt this will pass the Senate when it reconvenes with a Republican majority. Hopefully, Obama will veto it, but if not, I hope the Sioux sue.

From PRWatch: Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

But, according to the documents, this Canada-centric campaign would actually be run out of an office in Washington, DC. And the digital campaign is being led by a rightwing American political operative employed by the world’s largest public relations firm.

The documents were obtained by Greenpeace.

Ian Austen of The New York Times published some excerpts from the planning documents on November 17 that show how a new PR operation is in the works to persuade skeptical Canadians the "Energy East Pipeline" from Alberta to Quebec and to New Brunswick is a good idea.

Watch out Canada. They should be calling that Pollution East. It will be3 as bad for you as keystone XL would be for us.

Cartoon:

1120Cartoon

We still need one of these for Bush, Cheney, et al.

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Nov 192014
 

As the clock ticks down to Barack Obama’s announcement of immigration reform by executive order, Republicans to continue to howl with such vigor that one might think that a democrat might have fed a hungry child.  Between howls they claim they that the President only has the authority to grant immunity from extradition on an individual, case-by-case basis.  See the picture below for the Republican alternative.  First lets see what Senate Democrats have to say.  They we’l1 take a stroll down memory lane.

1119GOPBorder

With the election safely over, congressional Democrats have regained their courage on immigration and are now urging President Obama to go ahead with an executive action on immigration reform. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that several Democratic leaders in the Senate sent today:

1119immigration_letter

The principle behind most of what Obama plans to do falls under the category of "prosecutorial discretion," which means he can decide where best to use the government’s limited law enforcement resources. Just like previous presidents, he can decide that resources should be directed in a certain way, which effectively means that certain immigrants will be free to stay in the country simply because no one will be targeting them for deportation…

Inserted from <Mother Jones>

To bring you recent history of immigration reform by executive action, Rachel Maddow provided superior coverage.

If the video will not load here, try its direct link.  I could not find it on YouTube, but someone may upload it there within a day or two.

There you have it.  The executive action Obama is planning is absolutely no different from the executive actions on immigration by GHW “We wish he’d worn a rubber!” Bush and the patron saint of the Republican Party, Saint Ronnie Ray Gun.  Where were the Republican howls of outrage when they did it?

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