Something for the DREAMers

1982

Years ago I did cartoons for the Dorchester Community News. I did some cartoons dealing with the U.S. involvement in Central America back in 1982-83

This is one I did related to Alexander Haig claiming there were Nicaraguans involved in things although he had no concrete proof at that time.

A few years later when I taught in Los Angeles, there were students at Carnegie Junior High that had come from Central America through Mexico before getting to the United States.

Their journey wasn’t an easy one as some were victims of rape, and some were victimized by the unscrupulous the coyotes who had escorted them to this country after having led their parents to believe that for a price they could get their children here safely.

Knowing there was really no one they could turn to, or with whom they could communicate along the way, the coyotes made more money by pimping some of the girls along the way.

Although we were never told specifically who they were, we were informed to be sensitive to all students as some would be these.

The Republicans in the State House came up with the idea that all teachers must ascertain who in their classes were here illegally and report them under threat of loss of certification with a further threat being that if it was discovered that we had such kids in our classes and failed to turn them in, regardless whether we willfully withheld the information or could not prove we were ignorant of it if someone else discovered it, a teacher could be decertified. There was no room for innocence.

The state teachers’ union fought this as it was obviously very wrong, would create an adversarial atmosphere in the classroom, and could scare kids into avoiding school as they might be legal, but some relative might not be, and would be discovered through them.

Later in Oklahoma City I was certain that some of my students may not have been born in the U.S.A., but had been brought over the border so young, that as far as they knew, they were always citizens.

Some found out when applying for college as the end of their senior year approached that they actually weren’t.

But they had played with their classmates, worked hard their whole school careers so they could be the first to graduate from college, and had jobs to help support their families.

They were for all intents and purposes real Americans.

When the dream act was discussed, I knew it would affect kids I had had in class, and I was glad that conditions they were not responsible for would not turn around and bite them in the butts just when they became adults and thought they would have good lives in the only country thy ever knew and thought was theirs.

I was glad when President Obama made it possible that children who were brought here by their parents prior to 2007 could stay here. It made the lives of former students so much better.

And I was glad that it was clarified that kids fleeing horrendous conditions and possible death in their home countries could find asylum her.

I knew kids who fell into this category.

Now we have our infighting, do nothing GOP congress finally getting together to, on one hand, vote to provide emergency funding to deal with the border crisis, but, on the other, to rescind President Obama’s authority to decide whether to deport certain undocumented immigrants.

Basically, even as it is obvious that the White House will not agree to this, The GOP can say, ”Hey, see? We took action on the crisis, so now it is okay for us to go on vacation”.

Just the other day when they failed to overcome themselves and come up with a way to address the problem at the border, John Boehner and other Republicans said Obama should handle things on his own.

So, “I’m going to have to act alone,” was Obama’s response.

Members voted 223 to 189 to approve $694 million in additional funding for federal agencies dealing with the influx of immigrants.
They also voted to adjust the 2008 anti-trafficking law and make it easier for the government to deport Central American minors who have entered the United States illegally, and to give money to the border states to pay for using the National Guard.

They also voted to remove the Obama administration program that provides protections to about 500,000 immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

So the DREAMers need to stop dreaming, and the children need to realize that they are just going to be sent right back into the jaws of what they were fleeing.

In a bit of irony senators failed to confirm the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala where much of the immigration crisis originates.

Maybe when they are on vacation the members of the House will think of ways to deal in a substantive way with what is going on in Central America, and, perhaps undo some of the mess this country is responsible for and which makes it necessary for the kids to flee.

 

dreams

 

My border solution

texas

In 2012 more than 125,000 people In Texas signed a secession petition which said,

“The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government”.

They wanted the White House to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”

Texas Railroad Commissioner, Republican Barry Smitherman, when running for Texas Attorney General said,

“Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart … Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system”.

In 2009, coincidenaltly after President Obama took office, Rick Perry pushed the idea of secession.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” he said at a Tea Party rally, “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Although he was incorrect he also said, “When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation. And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”

Individual politicians in Texas have also brought up secession on more than one occasion.

So, here’s my idea.

Since the United States is dealing with border crossings between Mexico and Texas, and to defend that border using United States taxpayer money, and considering that people see this as an “invasion” of our country by 10 year old terrorists who will take our jobs and vote for Obama, we let Texas go.

They have been talking about leaving, so, let them (except Austin that doesn’t want to).

Then when these refugee children cross the Mexico/Texas border, they will not be coming into the United States, but into a foreign buffer country.

Texas, which has been very vocal about the sanctity of borders will, of course, take every step to prevent any violation of the borders between them and New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, basically, the United States.

They get what they want, sovereignty, and we get what we want, a buffer nation that will not let the undocumented immigrants get any further than their country.

The only disadvantage they may face is when they will have to give back or pay for any federal lands, like military installations and the equipment that was placed there at the expense of the taxpayers of the United States, or buy all that from us, since they didn’t pay for it originally.

If they were involved in payments, Texans certainly realize they only paid, at best, only a 1/50 part.

It’s a win/win solution.

 

Contradiction? What contradiction?

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Yep.

The president did what the GOP wanted when he delayed that part of the Affordable Care Act that they demanded he delay, and now they have voted to sue him for doing that.

He acted on his own without the approval of congress, although in  response to the demand of congress.

That’s serious enough to sue him over.

John Boehner was hoping to pass a Republican spending bill that would provide $659 million to deal with the child migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Well, he couldn’t get the votes he needed to do that, so in response to congress’s failure to act, Mr. Boehner and his fellow travelers demanded the president act on his own because he has the power to act unilaterally “without the need for congressional action”.

“There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.”

This would seem to go against the law suit that was based on the GOP claim that the president had bypassed “the legislative process to create his own laws by executive fiat”.

Now they want him to do just that because,  just like in the other cases when he acted on his own, they cannot get the job done.

A spokesperson for Harry Reid announced, “Senator Reid agrees with House Republican leaders’ statement that President Obama has the authority to take steps on immigration reform on his own. He’s glad Republicans have come around and hopes this means they’ll drop their frivolous lawsuit against the President instead of continuing to waste the American people’s time and money.”

Remember, congress is willing to spend taxpayer money to sue the president for doing what they now demand he do.

When he did what they demanded with the ACA, the GOP sued him.

If President Obama does what the GOP is demanding now, will they turn around and sue him?

 

At least they’re consistent

jobs back

Days ago when I read about the upcoming vote on the Bring The Jobs Back bill, I drew this cartoon.

I just knew that if it came to a choice between doing something that would benefit citizens over corporations, the corporations would win out.

On Wednesday when the act come up for a consideration, Senate Republicans filibustered the bill that was intended to cut corporate tax breaks for moving jobs overseas.

Harry Reid explained, “Today in the United States, any time an American company closes a factory or plant in America and moves operations to another country, the American taxpayers pick up part of that moving bill. Frankly, a vote against this bill is a vote against American jobs.”

The Republican excuse was that this was just a pre-midterm election stunt, and their proof was that Democrats had tried to pass a similar bill two years ago just before congressional elections.

In order to justify the filibuster, the Republicans had to remind us that this is the second time they have made it possible and easy for companies to move overseas leaving our citizens jobless.

So they showed us.

They were not going to play along with what they call a stunt, and, so, U.S. companies who move out of the country will continue to get the tax breaks that help pay for the move and laying off  U.S. citizens, and will be allowed to continue deducting expenses related to moving their operations to a foreign country.

Conversely, this bill would have given tax credits to companies who moved back, or foreign companies who moved here for the first time.

The vote was 54-42 to end debate on the bill which made it 6 votes shy of ending the filibuster

Somehow Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky attempted to justify the vote by saying that the bill is “designed for campaign rhetoric and failure, not to create jobs here in the U.S.”

Yeah, because opening factories in this country would not call for people to work in them.

Had the bill passed, U.S. companies that move overseas would lose $143 million in additional taxes over the next decade, while , Companies moving into the U.S. would have seen their tax bills drop by $357 million over the same period.

$214 million, the difference between the two, would have been applied to the budget deficit.

The White House and some Democrats in Congress have been making the case that a growing number of U.S. corporations are using international tax loopholes to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Companies like Walgreens are involved in “Inversion” which means that they reincorporate overseas and lower their U.S. tax bills even if they keep their headquarters in this country.

Obama put it this way, “You know, they are renouncing their citizenship even though they’re keeping most of their business here. They shouldn’t turn their back on the country that made their success possible”.

Presently, although companies complain that at 35% they are taxed more than in any other industrialized countries, and people here accept that bit of whining and get all sympathetic, they conveniently gloss over the many credits, deductions and exemptions they get.

Walgreens gets 25% of its profits from the American government coffers, but will not contribute to it.

John Boehner said that it is as important to repeal bills as it is to pass them, and repealing equals passing.

He also said that all bills are job bills.

Would that mean that preventing a bill that would have created jobs was actually passing a jobs bill?

 

I think I found an explanation

noah4

Okay.
Thinking it was just me, I endeavored to find out why people who insist they are Bible believing Christians in a Christian Nation would demand that the refugee children from Central America be sent back when it is clear some will be facing certain death.

These same people, who now demand the government support our veterans and the children already in the country,  seem to be the same ones who supported those in congress who voted against things like child nutrition in schools, Public Assistance programs that parents use to feed and clothe their kids, programs to train veterans for a civilian life, programs to prevent or end the egregious number of homeless veterans, and money for the VA to improve conditions in those hospitals.

Suddenly, what they turned their backs on before is the motivation for their anti-refugee children now.

They cheered on and voted for those people who did the above, but they ignore that now as they grasp for justification for their, to say the least, ant-refugee children rhetoric

So, I reviewed the Bible in my mind the other day while walking the dog so that perhaps I could find their justification.

I found it in the story of Noah.

God made two statements to Noah justifying the flood.

“I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” . Genesis 6:13

And

“ I am going to bring flood waters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it”. Genesis 6:15

This did not just apply to adults, but the kids were included; kids too young to be evil, or violent. We are talking even kids newly born and those still in the womb.

Totally innocent children.

The GOP back in 2009

seer3

Since the moment President Obama took the Oath of Office, the Republicans began doing whatever they could to bring him down.

They even had a meeting while all the inaugural balls were going on where they set up the game plan to that end.

The Right Wing media began immediately talking about the need to remove Obama from office, and if it looked like the president might have made a mistake that could play into that Fox jumped on it.

It started with Michael Savage of Fox who, within 50 days of the president stepping into the Oval Office, claimed he was out of control. “I think it is time to start talking about impeachment.”

He was followed within a year by Sean Hannity.

Just after Obama’s reelection a Fox reporter had tweeted, “the first order of business should be a full investigation of Benghazi — followed by impeachment proceedings”.

Other reasons to justify impeachment offered were sequestration, the Boston Marathon bombings, and Obama’s “dictatorship”. Now add Central American children, the Ukraine, and Israel vs Gaza.

If something George Bush did turned out to be a real whopper of a mistake, like two wars, an economic disaster, laws like the one that says kids who come across the border from non-contiguous countries had to be given medical attention and an assessment of their condition, Dubya was written right out of the list of presidents and all his mistakes were put on Obama.

His mistakes were so bad, even the GOP knew if applied to Obama, they would make him look real bad.

When John Boehner talked of suing the president for over use of executive power politicians and pundits demanded more.

They demanded impeachment.

Darrel Issa, meanwhile, jumped from alleged scandal to alleged scandal at times holding firmly to a “scandal” until all he held on to was smoke.

GOP members of both houses and wannabes like Sarah Palin demanded impeachment.

But in spite of documented reality, the Republicans and conservatives in general have now started to claim that the Democrats and the White House are the source of all the impeachment talk.

As the law suit and impeachment talk are beginning to backfire both in the form of public opinion and fund raising to deal with it, the GOP needs to change the story.

Representative Steve Stockman of Texas even told conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi that President Obama wants the move for impeachment because “his senior advisors believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat. Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.”

The new House Majority Whip, Representative Steve Scalise, even claimed, “this might be the first White House in History that’s trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president.”

Martha MacCallum of Fox News ignored what has been going on at Fox when she said, “The White House itself has been talking a lot about this potential impeachment, even though a lot of members of the GOP want nothing to do with it.”

She carefully danced around the number of the GOP that have been speaking of it, and demanding it.

Fox’s own poll claims that 56% of Republicans support impeachment. .
Rep. Steve King told Brietbart that if President Obama enacts executive actions regarding immigration, “we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives.”

Impeachment is obviously a bad move for the Republicans, so it is no surprise that when he was asked about it, John Boehner in attempting to fool the American people while assuming we are too stupid to have understood what the GOP and its allies have been pushing for a while now, explained away the GOP’s own actions by saying it is a “a scam started by Democrats at the White House. We have no plans to impeach the President. We have no future plans”.

The whole thing comes from “the President’s own staff” and from congressional Democrats.

“Why? Because they’re trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year’s elections”, Boehner now claims.

A Fox pas

50c

When a Channel like Fox News runs around making issues out of non-issues, promoting stories as if they are real, grasping onto debunked scandals because all of this fires up the people who will most likely continue to watch and raise the ratings because you are telling them what they want to hear, there is always the possibility that you will lose control and forget a complicated story, or may forget, as you introduce a new story with all the hype, that you spoke differently about the same topic under other circumstances.

In its ongoing rush to find anything that they can blame on President Obama, Fox has discovered that they can tap into what is a shameful side of America and its less than charitable attitude toward the children fleeing Central America to make Obama look real bad, and one of its most effective tools in this case is to pretend that he has abandoned the Border Patrol, or at least has put them in a dangerous position.

Recently losing control of its own narrative, Fox reported that Border Patrol agents near the Rio Grande River was fired at by someone using .50 caliber weapons, although none were hit.

“Border Patrol sources said the rounds were clearly identifiable because .50- caliber weapons make a distinctive noise when fired.”

In most of the United States the .50 caliber sniper rifle is treated like a hunting rifle.

In an odd turn of events Fox News personalities like Heather Nauert on Fox & Friend used the .50 caliber rifles as evidence that “there is an all-out war on at our southern border”,  while her cohorts like Jon Scott described the rifle as “a weapon of war”,  and explained that “the slugs a .50 caliber weapon fires are so big that body armor really won’t do you much good”.

He called it a battle field weapon.

Steve Doocy pointed out the gun is “powerful enough to kill somebody from more than a mile away”, and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. described it as “multiple times the power of an M-16″.

While the gun is considered “a devastatingly powerful weapon against which most troops, most law enforcement, no civilians, have any means of defense”, it can be purchased by anyone aged 18 or older who passes a background check at a licensed gun dealer.

But Fox’s close friend, the NRA, has long opposed the regulation of .50 caliber rifles.

The inventor of the .50 caliber rifle, Ronnie Barrett, sits on the NRA board of directors, but Fox kept using a picture of the rifle to illustrate its reports on the border shooting.

While Fox admitted for the sake of its story that the rifle is a weapon of war and something that can harm the Border Patrol, the NRA claims that .50 caliber weapons pose no threat to the general public.

When Chris Christie vetoed a ban on the rifle in New Jersey, NRA’s lobbying wing, the Institute for Legislation praised him because “these firearms are used by competitive shooters and collectors, and are not misused in crime.”

The NRA even claimed that those who say it is a sniper rifle are spreading a type of “phony terrorism hype”.

Fox’s reporting would seem to contradict this.

So it would seem that Fox will support not regulating the .50 caliber rile when it wants to pander to the Second Amendment, or should I say the conveniently interpreting Second Amendment crowd, but will say the opposite if it can use that to make it appear that President Obama is somehow complicit in endangering Border Patrol Agents if that helps their created narrative.

Owning poor people

ryan

Paul Ryan has issued the results on his hearings on poverty at which one poor person was allowed to testify.

The major feature is the Opportunity Grant, which would consolidate certain programs that Ryan deems duplications.

Each state would receive a lump sum which they would then mete out to various organizations within the respective states that work with poor people.

As he stated such a lump sum program “would consolidate up to 11 federal programs into one stream of funding to participating states. Each state that wanted to participate would submit a plan to the federal government”.

One obvious problem is that not every state has the most generous of attitudes, and the states’ treatment of the poor would be subject to internal politics.

Once a state’s plan was approved, the state could then experiment with how best to deliver benefits.

This is because, the states “are more effective than distant federal bureaucracies”, having as they do an “intimate knowledge of the people they serve—as well as their ability to take the long view.”

Low income people would have to meet with counselors who will design a “Customized Life Plan” which will have goals, benchmarks, and penalties for any failures to meet any provision of the plan.

Now, having been a teacher for 38 years, and having been a victim of recent “educational reform”, I would have to question if these “plans” would be truly designed with real input from the poor people involved, or if they would be a generic plan that would be somewhat modified to be applicable to individual cases, or left intact and result in a relatively irrelevant program forced on the poor person.

According to my last teacher contract, if a teacher was to be put on a “Plan for Improvement” the teacher was to have some input into the plan, but too often teachers were just handed a plan, told their signing for it was their input, so that Math teachers were expected to improve their approach to literature lessons and literature teachers their approach to mathematical word problems because provisions for both were contained on the POI since every teacher who was given a Plan was given the same one.

Failing to comply with any provision could result in steps to have the teacher dismissed, so improvement had to be measurable.

I know of one case where a teacher with perfect attendance received the generic plan that included a directive to improve her attendance, something that could not be done, and could, therefore, be viewed as “Failure to Comply” if the principal had ulterior motives beyond actually helping a teacher improve performance for the sake of the students.

Judging from follow up actions of the principal there were ulterior motives, and considering that a later investigation showed the principal was not always honest in what he did, these ulterior motives were proven to exist, and were not the defensive imaginations of the teachers involved.

Ryan’s plan would include the minimum requirements:
1) A contract outlining specific and measurable benchmarks for success
2) A timeline for meeting these benchmarks
3)Sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract
4)Incentives for exceeding the terms of the contract
5)Time limits for remaining on cash assistance

Although there would be a reward for finding a job before the expiration of the contract, there would be consequences for not having found a job regardless of the present lack of availability of them and the 2 applicants for every 1 job statistic.

The consequences for “Failure to Comply” could include “immediate sanctions and a reduction in benefits” according to Ryan.

Obviously, besides tying the working poor to a program that might not take that into account, Poor people will be signing a contract where the state government would b running their lives, and could cut them off over failing to comply totally with their plan, regardless how much or how little control the individual had over their environment and the nation’s economy.

It could also put the poor at the mercy or larges of their respective state attitudes toward those in need.

 

A thought on Gaza

bb2

When we deal with the Israeli/Gaza situation, most people will claim that whether right or wrong, Israel’s attack on Gaza was motivated by the deaths of three Israeli teens.

What most do not remember, and this does not justify revenge killing, is that the week before these deaths, Israeli police had killed 5 Palestinian kids who were simply out on the street.

Yes, outrage at the deaths of the three Israeli teens was justifiable, but only as long as what was presented to the public was actually the facts.

Presenting this as an act of Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed,  “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay”, and then the present bombing and raids began.

But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas’s handiwork after all, but that of an independent group acting on their own, and Israel knew this for quite some time.

What was ignored was that first, this killing would be a really foolish act by Hamas who would have known a more powerful Israel would act, or overreact, and second, such an act would jeopardize the agreement to form a unity government with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the West Bank.

It has been found that Israeli intelligence knew that the boys were dead shortly after their disappearance, but promoted the idea that they might be found alive. It kept the story on the front page, whereas announcing that they were dead would have ended the story.

Israel’s actions during the supposed search for the three teens kept the public fired up, even though they had already been found, and the search was mere theater.

When the “Aha Moment” came, that point at which the teens were finally “discovered” dead,  public opinion had been manipulated and the public was whipped up to a frenzy that would blindly accept Israel’s “justified” response.

The manipulated suspense had created anger.

But it hasn’t ended. This manipulation and playing the public continues.

I was in Oklahoma City when the Murrah building was blown up.

There was a rumor that ordinance had been secretly and dangerously stored in the basement of the building in the down town area, which explained the severity of an explosion that was bigger than what the known explosives would have produced.

There were discussions about the crater that was left, and questions why the building had to be imploded before those with the questions could thoroughly investigate.

Professional people were asking about the differences between a single bomb on the street creating an explosion and a crater, and the crater that would have been created if ordinance below street level had produced a secondary explosion.

When I have seen the rockets hitting the homes, schools, and hospitals where the Israelis claim Hamas is storing rockets and other ordinance, I have yet to see the secondary explosions that would be cause by igniting what is suppose to be stored at these locations.

And, no one covering the explosions on the news has referred to the secondary explosions that the stored ordinance would cause either.

I admit I am not an expert in this field, but being in Oklahoma City in 1995 and hearing the questions and discussions  that took place does make a person conscious of things they might otherwise not be even remotely aware of.

I also wonder if, after constantly claiming the schools and hospitals were only bombed because they had been places for ordinance storage, the Israeli’s thought they could hide behind that when they bombed a U.N. refuge.

Did they think people would just let it slide?

Leaving Hamas out of the cease fire discussions, and ignoring what they said would make a cease fire acceptable, Israel and Egypt created an agreement they had to know Hamas would reject solely to get that rejection so as to justify Israel’s further actions.

John Kerry is trying for another cease fire, and is including Hamas in the discussions this time.

“We are working toward a brief seven days of peace. Seven days of a humanitarian ceasefire in honor of Eid in order to be able to bring people together to try to work to create a more durable, sustainable ceasefire for the long (term),” Kerry said.

Unfortunately, John Kerry’s plan for a cease fire may also be rejected. Israel, which didn’t get its way with the last cease fire, is opposing this one because it addresses some of Hamas’s demands.

So the outrage and support of Israel’s actions were based on false information and manipulation.

If Israel’s intentions were correct and its actions justified, why did Bebe manipulate public sentiment with a false narrative?

And there is a part of me that wonders if Gaza’s Simply being in the way of Israel getting to the gas reserves under the ocean floor just beyond the beaches of Gaza might have a part in all this?