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 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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Nov 172014
 

I’m  writing for tomorrow, day 12.  It’s been a terrible day.  I feel like I’ve been ravaged by a bunch of horny sheep.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Agony:

1116-Broncos7-Rams22

Three key players were injured early in the game.  It was their worst outing this season.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip JL A): The U.S. Supreme Court’s unprecedented, highly politicized and extremely activist decision to take on a challenge to the structure of subsidies for people enrolling in Obamacare threatens to fatally undermine the law. But, there is a work around the White House could employ that could maintain subsidies for people who’ve purchased insurance on both the state exchanges and the federal exchange. At issue in the King case, which the court is hearing, is whether subsidies can be provided to the people in the three dozen states which are using the federal exchange.

The specifics would need to be worked out, but the crux is this: States could continue to use HealthCare.gov as their technical backdrop, but they would be considered state-based exchanges. That would allow the law’s tax subsidies to keep flowing, even if the Supreme Court were to invalidate them on the federal exchange, as the lawsuit’s plaintiffs argue it should…

…Politically, though, putting the onus on Republican governors and legislatures to maintain insurance for well over four million people is a pretty good idea. All of those people with their new insurance—and all of the insurance companies with their new customers—certainly have a stake in this, and could exert a great deal of pressure. This effort by Republicans—and the conservative justices—could end up biting them in the ass.

I like this. There would be Republican governors who will refuse to do this is the Republican Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) kick them of their ACA subsidized plans. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to have health care, but they would need to understand that to keep it, they would have to dump their state level Republican Reich.  Then they would avoid the RepubliCare Death Benefit.

From Crooks and Liars: Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday asserted that President Barack Obama had refused to restrict immigration from countries that were being invaded by ISIS Islamic radicals because giving social welfare benefits to terrorists was "exactly the policy" of the United States.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

The country is overrun with terrorists. Most are employed by the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise or are elected Republicans.

From Blue Oregon: …Nonetheless, as Democrats back in DC are trying to figure out the lessons learned, some are pointing to Senator Jeff Merkley’s success as a model for how a progressive and populist campaign can actually connect with voters. From the NY Times:

There were a handful of bright spots in an otherwise dismal year for Democrats, and progressives are holding up as models the success of three Senate candidates who ran as populists: Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Senator-elect Gary Peters of Michigan.

Mr. Merkley won by 19 percentage points with a campaign centered on the loss of well-paying jobs, the spiraling cost of college tuition and his opposition to trade deals that he said send jobs overseas. While Democrats nationally were losing whites without a college degree by 30 percentage points, Mr. Merkley narrowly carried that bloc of voters.

“We didn’t lose them here in Oregon because we talked about what they care about,” Mr. Merkley said.

What do you think? Is Oregon an anomaly? Or should the rest of the country learn a lesson from what happened here?

If Democrats everywhere follow Oregon’s example, we can send the Republican Party the way of the Whigs.

Cartoon:

1117Cartoon

He’ll never find his way.  He would have to turn left.

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Nov 162014
 

In spite of his occasional intolerance while proselytizing for evangelical atheism, Bill Maher remains one of the finest comedic wits in political satire, so I bring him to you, whenever I get the Opportunity.  On Friday’s show, he nailed the stupidest Americans.

Maher2

Real Time's Bill Maher took aim at everyone who couldn't be bothered to make it to the polls and the various excuses we heard for not voting during his New Rules segment this Friday…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

 

I’d say that makes up for his anti Muslim rant.  There is no more self-defeating act than choosing not to vote.

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