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Immigration

Hodge-Podge: Branstad For Bishop!

branstad jobs numbersI understand Terry Branstad is a Roman Catholic. I never knew this because I never cared before. As one who truly believes that the separation of Church and State must as wide as a galaxy it really irked me to see him leading the phony-baloney “day of prayer” last Monday. Terry, if you want to be bishop go for it. I think you would make a lousy one after cutting food aid for the poor 2 years in a row and doing all you could to stop Medicaid in Iowa before making the poor pay for it. You may be religious, but you sure as hell are not moral.

Sending The Refugees Home
Would be like telling fire fighters to take the people they just rescued back into the burning house. Really, Branstad? Really Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman? You both claim to be Christian, yet in a true test of your Christianity you turn your backs on those in need.

I do believe in the separation of Church and State. This is not a religious question, it is a question of morality. Here are two governors who proudly fail that test and want your vote. Morality and government should not be separated.

How To Pay For The Lawsuit Against Obama
The whole concept of the House suing President Obama is so ludicrous it is beyond laughter. Boehner and his sycophants think they have outsmarted both Dems and the far right with this one. But one thing Tea Baggers insist on is that the cost be offset. I have a humble suggestion and shall send it to Mr. Boehner.

Mr. Boehner, I recommend that this epitome of frivolous lawsuits be paid for by taking the salary, travel costs, staff salaries and any other perks from any member voting for this suit. If they truly believe this is a legitimate and necessary suit, they will gladly give up a few years of pay and perks. You may also need to ask them for donations. I see no reason why I or any other taxpayer should pay so much as a nickel for this tomfoolery!

Science On The March
Holy Moley is science ever marching forward at breakneck speed. Couple of really interesting developments these past couple of weeks. Too bad the Tea Party hates science, because they are truly missing some fantastic advances. When they come back to earth they will have a lot of catching up to do. Here are a couple that really caught my eye:

1) Researchers may have found a way to stop type 2 diabetes. Very preliminary, but very promising.

2) Future farming in a high-rise? Taking place now in Japan. Takes up less surface space while making it much easier to recycle, control pollution and farm darn near anywhere. My son-in-law and I have been talking of this for years.

Christie Running!
At least as well as he can run for president while carrying around tons of corruption. Hobbled by many major corruption stories in his administration in New Jersey, Chris Christie has time to take a trip to Iowa and New Hampshire. At least in Iowa he will be able to compare corruption notes with another scandal plagued governor, our own Terry Branstad.

Putin, Plane Shot Down and Republicans
When My wife and I heard of the tragedy in the Ukraine with the speculation that Vladimir Putin may be responsible either directly or indirectly we could not help but remember that only a few weeks ago Republicans from the US Senate to the Us House down to the state house were expressing such admiration for Putin. They used Putin as an example of a “man of action” and someone who gets things done. Wonder how they feel about their hero now. My teachers used to tell to be careful when you pick heroes. Most are not anything like what they appear to be.

I also recall how our last President Bush implied he was a good guy:
“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Raise your hand if you are really glad Obama is President and not Bush or any other war hungry Republican.

Branstad Admin Nixes Solar Power Grant
Like a good corporate Tea Party governor the Branstad administration rejected a $1 million grant based on corporate lobbyists objections.

They wanted changes to the grant that the energy office were unwilling to make, since they were making them for no one else and they would gut the purpose of the project.

Terry, you can’t stop progress forever. If Iowa’s voters have a lick of sense it will only be for another few months. Jack Hatch will move Iowa forward!

Keep it up and Iowa Republicans will be irrelephant:

irrelephant

Mid-July Hodge-Podge

Things I love to hear

Things I love to hear

Paula Poundstone tweets:
“CNN headline said Sarah Palin calls for “impeachment,” but it did not say of whom, and there is no evidence that she knows.”

Joni Ernst also favors impeachment and will be willing to waste your time and your money to seek the ideological dream of impeaching the black guy. Someone please ask her specifically what the charges are?

BTW here is a short video that gives a little history of the reactionaries now called conservatives:

Proven in Murietta, Cal.:
Republicans believe a fertilized egg is a child but a refugee child is not. In fact once a baby is born, they no longer care.

Per NPR Report Wednesday:
“Republicans chose Cleveland for its 2016 convention. They hope they can demonstrate their “minority outreach” in Cleveland.” No that was not from the Onion. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Just To Drive Home A Point
The Justices(?) who decided the Hobby Lobby case (corporate religious belief) were doing just what their party wanted. Any veneer they ever had of impartiality was smashed by that. Appointed for life, they are driven to represent the Republican party – the Tea Party on the highest Court in the land. Justice is not a consideration.

Can I Have A Refund?
I see that Darryl Issa wants some big bucks for another snipe hunt on Benghazi. This follows his previous waste of money and such other Republican money wasting schemes such as suing the president, voting against the ACA every weekend of course their three major money wasters Iraq, Afghanistan and a deeply flawed Medicare drug bill they forks money over to big Pharma.

Can I have a refund? Or at least relief from taxes until the amount wasted per person on these boondoggles equals what I should have paid. I figure the people who benefited from this crap should be the ones paying – the uber-wealthy who seek to destroy our government from the inside with their puppets and their corrupt money.

Gohmert Calls For Invasion Of Mexico
Just remember that Republicans think Louie is a clear thinking human. To them his views are not extreme.

Once More- Why Elect Republicans?
The Republican Party of today is a party that has been calling to make government useless and impotent. As humans we need government. In the US our forefathers set up a system where all citizens (eventually) have some say in how that government is run. Since Ronald Reagan the Republican Party has made no bones that they want to greatly alter our government and had it over to the oligarchs.

Remember when you vote for a Republican you are voting for someone who wants to take your voice out of government, someone who wants to hand your government over to the rich and well-born. Is that what you really want?

liberal - conservative

Immigrants In Iowa – From IPP

Once more, the folks over at Iowa Policy Project take an hot button issue, take the emotion out of it and give us a sober fact based report. I certainly wish some of our politicians would take a cue from IPP in their actions. This month they look at the effect of immigrants in Iowa.

As an aside, in today’s parlance “immigrant’ has seemed to become synonomus with “Latino.” IPP in no way designates a specific group of immigrants in their report. This is some interesting reading for the Fourth of July weekend in a land built on immigration.
IPP-webbanner-draft5
Immigrants in Iowa
What New Iowans Contribute to the State Economy

Immigrants are important to Iowa and its economy:
- generating income as workers, spending money as consumers, and contributing to state and federal revenues as taxpayers;
- starting businesses that contribute to local economic development and job creation; and
- contributing to the vitality and culture of Iowa communities.
In fact, immigrants make up about 4.3 percent of the Iowa population, account for 4.5 percent of the state’s economic output and represent 1 in 20 Iowa workers.

These contributions would increase further if immigration reform were to make work authorization or a path to citizenship possible for the subset of Iowa immigrants who currently lack such documents. That subset — undocumented immigrants — pays an estimated $64 million in state and local taxes, and another $37 million in federal payroll taxes.

In a new report for the Iowa Policy Project, researchers Heather Gibney and Peter Fisher explore the facts that should be part of an accurate understanding of Iowa’s immigrant population and its relationship to the state’s economy. Read our new report — or the two-page executive summary here.

immigrant contribution chart

Did you know? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over half of undocumented workers have federal and state income taxes withheld from paychecks, along with payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Yet they are unable to access benefits that they are helping to fund. Learn more in our new paper.

Questions For Candidates In 2014

We have Questions

We have Questions

As we pass Independence Day and inch closer to the heavy political season (it never stops anymore) we need to get ready for the real job of a democracy. The past two years in particular have resulted in gridlock caused by Republican politicians at all levels. This is not what government is about. If those Republican politicians want our vote, they need to answer some questions. Here are some I would love to hear asked and answered honestly, especially by the four Republican candidates for the US House.

1) Do you agree with John Boehner’s action to sue the President?
– Will you join in the lawsuit if elected?
– What are the specific issues (be specific, not “he acts like a king”) for which Mr. Obama should be sued?
– Will you push for impeachment? On what specific grounds?

2) Do you support the SCOTUS ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius?
– If so, what other issues do you believe should be brought to the SCOTUS on religious grounds?
– Should discrimination against gays based on religious beliefs be allowed for closely held public businesses?

3) What specific legislation will you push to address the inequality in pay and conditions for women?
– Please cite Republican legislative action to address this issue in the past?

4) What specific action or legislation will you propose to address income inequality in this country. Please be ready to explain exactly how your proposal will directly affect the working class poor.

5) On immigration, particularly from Latin American countries. Some in your party have described such immigrants as “drug mules with cantaloupe calves.” Do you agree with this assessment?
– What is your proposal to practically deal with undocumented immigrants? What are the ramifications of your proposal?

6) The cost of college has skyrocketed while government support has fallen to all time lows. Thus the cost of college is out of reach for more and more Americans. Soon America will not have the human resources to maintain its lead in many economic categories. Does the cost of post-secondary education feel about right to you?
– Do you have a proposal to alleviate the crushing burden of debt for students? Please be specific on details and ramifications.

7) If elected will you support the House continuing to bring up legislation to end the ACA?
– If so, what would you propose to replace the ACA? Please be specific on coverage and on how the costs will be covered, especially for the poor.

8) Finally, many Republicans are coming to believe climate change is happening. What is your belief in this area?
– Please give specific documented sources for your supporting arguments.

That is a good start. I would really much rather know what an representative believes before I vote. Don’t you?

JFK: What It Means To Be A Liberal

 

JFK explains what kind of liberal he is, and presents his vision as a candidate.

Acceptance of the New York Liberal Party Nomination
September 14, 1960

TEXT

“What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

But first, I would like to say what I understand the word “Liberal” to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a “Liberal,” and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.

In short, having set forth my view — I hope for all time — two nights ago in Houston, on the proper relationship between church and state, I want to take the opportunity to set forth my views on the proper relationship between the state and the citizen. This is my political credo:

I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.

I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities. Government is an art and a precious obligation; and when it has a job to do, I believe it should do it. And this requires not only great ends but that we propose concrete means of achieving them.

Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor. I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. Its strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends and peacefully striving to meet them. Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies. And the only basic issue in the 1960 campaign is whether our government will fall in a conservative rut and die there, or whether we will move ahead in the liberal spirit of daring, of breaking new ground, of doing in our generation what Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson did in their time of influence and responsibility.

Our liberalism has its roots in our diverse origins. Most of us are descended from that segment of the American population which was once called an immigrant minority. Today, along with our children and grandchildren, we do not feel minor. We feel proud of our origins and we are not second to any group in our sense of national purpose. For many years New York represented the new frontier to all those who came from the ends of the earth to find new opportunity and new freedom, generations of men and women who fled from the despotism of the czars, the horrors of the Nazis, the tyranny of hunger, who came here to the new frontier in the State of New York. These men and women, a living cross section of American history, indeed, a cross section of the entire world’s history of pain and hope, made of this city not only a new world of opportunity, but a new world of the spirit as well.

Tonight we salute Governor and Senator Herbert Lehman as a symbol of that spirit, and as a reminder that the fight for full constitutional rights for all Americans is a fight that must be carried on in 1961.

Many of these same immigrant families produced the pioneers and builders of the American labor movement. They are the men who sweated in our shops, who struggled to create a union, and who were driven by longing for education for their children and for the children’s development. They went to night schools; they built their own future, their union’s future, and their country’s future, brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, and now in their children’s time, suburb by suburb.

Tonight we salute George Meany as a symbol of that struggle and as a reminder that the fight to eliminate poverty and human exploitation is a fight that goes on in our day. But in 1960 the cause of liberalism cannot content itself with carrying on the fight for human justice and economic liberalism here at home. For here and around the world the fear of war hangs over us every morning and every night. It lies, expressed or silent, in the minds of every American. We cannot banish it by repeating that we are economically first or that we are militarily first, for saying so doesn’t make it so. More will be needed than goodwill missions or talking back to Soviet politicians or increasing the tempo of the arms race. More will be needed than good intentions, for we know where that paving leads.

In Winston Churchill’s words, “We cannot escape our dangers by recoiling from them. We dare not pretend such dangers do not exist.”

And tonight we salute Adlai Stevenson as an eloquent spokesman for the effort to achieve an intelligent foreign policy. Our opponents would like the people to believe that in a time of danger it would be hazardous to change the administration that has brought us to this time of danger. I think it would be hazardous not to change. I think it would be hazardous to continue four more years of stagnation and indifference here at home and abroad, of starving the underpinnings of our national power, including not only our defense but our image abroad as a friend.

This is an important election — in many ways as important as any this century — and I think that the Democratic Party and the Liberal Party here in New York, and those who believe in progress all over the United States, should be associated with us in this great effort. The reason that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson had influence abroad, and the United States in their time had it, was because they moved this country here at home, because they stood for something here in the United States, for expanding the benefits of our society to our own people, and the people around the world looked to us as a symbol of hope.

I think it is our task to re-create the same atmosphere in our own time. Our national elections have often proved to be the turning point in the course of our country. I am proposing that 1960 be another turning point in the history of the great Republic.

Some pundits are saying it’s 1928 all over again. I say it’s 1932 all over again. I say this is the great opportunity that we will have in our time to move our people and this country and the people of the free world beyond the new frontiers of the 1960s.”

Bullying The Poor And The Weak

bullyMost of us woke up to the news that once more the poor had benefits cut. Since they have few advocates anywhere in our governmental system this is hardly a surprise. As a group the poor are beat up day in and day out on right wing media. One thing they always point out is that a job is the best poverty program. What they fail to point out is that Republicans in congress have obstructed multiple jobs bills. Yesterday Paul Krugman pointed out in his New York Times column that there is an out and out war on the poor. After discussing the current state of Republicans shredding the safety net, Krugman goes on to say:

“So what’s this all about? One reason, the sociologist Daniel Little suggested in a recent essay, is market ideology: If the market is always right, then people who end up poor must deserve to be poor. I’d add that some leading Republicans are, in their minds, acting out adolescent libertarian fantasies. “It’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now,” declared Paul Ryan in 2009.

But there’s also, as Mr. Little says, the stain that won’t go away: race.

In a much-cited recent memo, Democracy Corps, a Democratic-leaning public opinion research organization, reported on the results of focus groups held with members of various Republican factions. They found the Republican base “very conscious of being white in a country that is increasingly minority” — and seeing the social safety net both as something that helps Those People, not people like themselves, and binds the rising nonwhite population to the Democratic Party. And, yes, the Medicaid expansion many states are rejecting would disproportionately have helped poor blacks.

So there is indeed a war on the poor, coinciding with and deepening the pain from a troubled economy. And that war is now the central, defining issue of American politics.”

It is not just a war on the poor but also a war on those who may be loosely affiliated with the poor or subgroups within the poor.
- There is a very open and ugly war on women. This includes the war on abortion which just adds to the need for a safety net.
- War on the elderly that has been in the background for many years is slowly coming into the open.
- War on immigrants. This has really escalated. The immigrant group is one group that is fighting back.
- There has been an almost open war on workers for a long time which has lead to lowering wages in general and many full time positions not even earning enough money to get out of abject poverty working for major corporation ( hint: McDonald’s and Walmart)
- And the granddaddy of them all – the war on unions that is well into its second century. Strong unions could help in resolving many of these problems.
- Finally the new war on those groups likely to vote for Democrats. These are the new restrictions on voting that seem to be aimed at groups mentioned above.

As I mentioned, the immigrant group is showing signs of working as a block. One of the tactics that Republicans have perfected over the years is to split groups apart with wedge issues to keep them from forming a block to go after their issues. If they are to have any form of success, they need to get by the wedge issues and join with other groups to elect representatives to work for all the “other” groups.

If you take all those in this country that either are a member of one of the groups mentioned above or have a loved one who is a member of one of those groups, I would estimate it would cover nearly 80% of Americans. Imagine, just imagine if 80% of Americans banded together to focus on electing and pushing representatives who would work for a better life for all. Those votes would speak very loudly. So loud they could win the Wars!

Who Owns the Earth?

email inboxThis article by Noam Chomsky, emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came from Truthout this month. It is relevant to the current conversation about immigration, borders, and protecting the commons. Read the entire article here. Following is a brief excerpt.

“Few borders in the world are so heavily guarded by sophisticated technology, and so subject to impassioned rhetoric, as the one that separates Mexico from the United States, two countries with amicable diplomatic relations.

That border was established by U.S. aggression during the 19th century. But it was kept fairly open until 1994, when President Bill Clinton initiated Operation Gatekeeper, militarizing it.

Before then, people had regularly crossed it to see relatives and friends. It’s likely that Operation Gatekeeper was motivated by another event that year: the imposition of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is a misnomer because of the words ‘free trade.’

Doubtless the Clinton administration understood that Mexican farmers, however efficient they might be, couldn’t compete with highly subsidized U.S. agribusiness, and that Mexican businesses couldn’t compete with U.S. multinationals, which under NAFTA rules must receive special privileges like ‘national treatment’ in Mexico. Such measures would almost inevitably lead to a flood of immigrants across the border.”

For more of Noam Chomsky’s article, click here.

Don’t Build the Danged Fence

immigrationThe U.S. Congressman from Iowa’s fourth district made some comments about immigration recently. Actually, he’s made a lot of them over the years. We can’t let him frame the discussion or worse, re-distribute his memes. For why, read Mark Karlin’s interview with George Lakoff, “Progressives Need to Use Language That Reflects Moral Values.

The idea of building a fence around the U.S. border is as lame as a joke about corn at a 4-H meeting, funny though those jokes may be. Proponents of what Senator John McCain of Arizona called the “dang fence” across the southern U.S. border, don’t get the humor. In 2010, I wrote about immigration,

The author believes that as long as we maintain borders, we create a form of apartheid where the haves (in the U.S.) will use the have-nots (in Mexico, China, India and Africa) to do their menial work here or in their countries, largely without social justice. The borders serve to keep them out, when we should be letting them in. America will grow stronger with open borders, even if most Americans and some Arizonans don’t believe it.

Troll activity on Blog for Iowa was heavy after that post, mostly from organized groups who favored restricting immigration, illegal immigration particularly. The same folks who gave us Arizona’s SB 1070.

To deny the global reality of population growth is plain dumb. To think the U.S. can keep everything to ourselves reflects a lack of understanding about who we are as a people, and how we fit into the global village.

To deny the effects of our wars on the creation of conflict migration is to ignore the vast amount of U.S. blood and treasure invested in our endless wars.

To deny climate change is to lack an understanding that it will impact not only small island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives, but will result in tens of millions of people needing someplace to go.

To deny the economic reasons why undocumented people from Mexico, Guatemala, and other places in central America come north is evidence of a misunderstanding of the role U.S. policy and the North American Free Trade Agreement played in creating economic reasons for the migration.

There is nothing new in these denials and a lot to learn.

What we learned in grade school that applies is from the Great Wall of China. Our teachers taught us that while the wall may have been successful in keeping nomadic groups and warlike people out of China, the unintended consequence was that Chinese culture calcified during the period. Whether what our teachers taught us is historically accurate, I can’t say, but it makes sense. The United States will be the less for building a fence to keep people out.

So as we hear outrageous comments about immigration in the media, and in conversations in society, I urge you to refrain from repeating their memes. Instead, work toward solutions. There is no single resolution to the need for immigration reform in this country. But it begins with each of us, individually and collectively.

While you’re at it, and while I’m being a bit preachy, read Derrick Jensen’s article in Orion Magazine, “Forget Shorter Showers: Why personal change does not equal political change,” and get involved in local politics.

Dream For ALL Rally Immigration Reform

banner_basic_aflcio_626aflciorallyfordreamers

 

Ok – Steve King Is Nuts

object of Steve King's fear?

object of Steve King’s fear?

With a common name like Steve King, you would think a headline like that might cause some confusion. “Which Steve King” you might think, “there are many of them.” But in conjunction with the word “nuts” the likely Steve Kings are narrowed down to one. That is the King of the Crazies from Northwest Iowa, the one and only congressman Steve King.

Now, one would think with a reputation such that the words nuts and crazy are frequently associated with your name it would be somewhat difficult to first be elected and then be re-elected several times. But King’s constituency is such that getting re-elected is not that hard. In his area he is considered a moderate. At least 50% +1 or more think so. So he actually represents the majority of his district. Think what that says about his district.

One of his major quests has been to keep our borders safe. Well at least one of them anyway. The southern one. Not sure if I have ever heard him call for closing the northern border. If he has, I apologize and thank him for being consistent. But for some reason I think there is only one border he is interested in closing. Anyone want to venture a guess as to why?

Over the years King has made some truly memorable statements. His suggestions for an East Berlin style wall between the US and Mexico was a thing of - well I would say nightmares – when dealing with a country that is one of your two major trade partners. King speaks in code words and thinly veiled racial terms. His tweet Wednesday – “brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office. Obama’s lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law” (10:42 AM – 13 Jun 2013) shows with little left to the imagination the total disgust with which he holds humans in contempt who are not like him. Simply stated, King was the original tea party before anyone else had even conceived the idea.

He also claims to be Christian, but where Christ taught love for your fellow man with a command to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, heal the sick and visit those in prison, King dumps on that with little but scorn for the hungry, the naked, the sick and the poor in general. He is what I term a christianist – someone who claims to follow Christ but only uses the facade of religion to further his or her own goals.

Whenever the name King is invoked in the news you can bet it will be another big embarrassment for Iowa. As pathetic as Chuck Grassley has become, he at least makes a cogent statement every now and then. King doesn’t even try. He is the arrogant middle school bully who is in a position of being almost untouchable. His district seems to love his little bully act. They seem to live in a bubble where reality seldom penetrates and Steve King is a hero.

Iowans in the other 3 districts can’t defeat him. So in the mean time I wish newscasts could somehow run a disclaimer prior to a story about Steve King something to the effect that “Steve King only represents a very small section of Iowa. The rest of Iowa is sane and wants nothing to do with him.”

"aliens" in Rep. Steve King's office

“aliens” in Rep. Steve King’s office