Category Archives: U.S. Capitol

#TrumpShutdown Achieved, Now What?

As much as shutting down the government is an exercise to show Trump’s and Republican Congressional leadership’s ineffectiveness, I wanted to see where Democrats stand, too. And my hope is that the five Democratic Senators who voted to continue debate, thus pushing the stopgap measure forward without DACA or CHIP, isn’t an indication of what is to come for a DACA/DREAM fix.

The latest version of the #DeportationCaucus, Manchin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and now, the new guy, Jones voted to support the stopgap bill last night. Manchin and Donnelly voted against the 2010 DREAM Act, McCaskill has run anti-immigrant re-election campaigns for votes but has supported DREAM Act in the past, Heitkamp has always been iffy on immigration, and Jones is showing fears of not getting re-elected in a few years. Some think a fix would have an easier, more bipartisan, time in the House.

It’s always been said that DREAM or DACA is a bipartisan issue, but when it comes right down to it, Senate Republicans have not come through. Last night, at least four of them did. Is this an indication of something? If it is, we’ll still need every single Democrat to seal the deal.

Obviously a clean DREAM Act is a lot harder to achieve. But as long as Trump and the Republicans’ starting point in negotiations is a wasteful wall and an end to family reunification, The DREAMers (and the Democrats) really don’t have to budge either. We know where the impasse begins. Republicans who want to move forward need to stop their leader’s bigotry and get the job done.

Meanwhile, 122 DACA beneficiaries lose their status everyday, despite the shutdown, Trump’s deporation force is still very much employed, and hate toward immigrants still exists. It’s really in the Republicans’ court to make the country move forward–at least for 800,000 of the 11 million undocumented folks.

A friend of mine called all of this “political theater.” Well, the political theater of immigration will still go merrily along if there is a fix to this. As always, we’ll deal with the theater. But let’s try to finish DACA/DREAM.

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#DeportationCaucus Ignores DREAMers, Votes For CR

DREAM activists were all over Washington, DC and the US Capitol this last week, some even thrown in jail, attempting to persuade Democratic representatives and Senators to vote against a continuing resolution which left out relief for DACA beneficiaries (aka DREAMers). The CR passed with 66 votes, including a whole mess of Dems.

Specifically, activists were asking for a clean DREAM Act, but since Republicans and Trump failed to move the needle on it, activists then called on the only group they thought would be allies–Democrats–to vote against the continuing resolution with the hopes of a shutdown or at least a show of strength. Instead, a list of electeds now called the #DeportationCaucus was created, and a whole lot of Democrats are on it. And there’s also a list of Dems in the House.

Needless to say, negotiations are supposed to continue in January; however, what “enforcement” and “border security” provisions will be added by Trump are still not known. Certainly, it won’t be a clean DREAM Act given Trump and the Republicans’ hell-bent attitude toward immigrants. The Dems on the #DeportationCaucus are certainly a list of Senators to lobby, though, it’s probably too late to target them in the Primary.

So, here are the Democrats on #DeportationCaucus:

depcaucus2

 

No Politics in Disasters? ¡Por Favor!

It’s been said that there are no politics when disaster strikes. But there sure seems to be politics in creating a disaster. For example, Trump’s rescission of DACA.

There’s a lot of talk about its effects on the economy, on schools, and communities. Oh, yeah, there’s also that separation of families thing that no one seems to talk about. ¡

And talk of family unity is avoided when discussing any new “DREAM” act that will be considered. It’s all about the 800,000 DACA kids, but what about their parents? You know, the original DREAMers who wanted a better life and are somehow faulted for “breaking the law” by both sides of the aisle in the current narrative. Yes, I’m concerned about an entire immigration system continuing in its disastrous state, but we gotta start somewhere, I guess.

I don’t care if it’s a hurricane or inhumanity by man, politics exists in everything. Hell, if you signed online petitions to honor a right-winger-turned-humanitarian with a day at city hall, or you want to name a highway that floods all the time after a humanitarian football star who raised $20 million for flood victims, well, congrats, you just got involved in politics. So, maybe it’s time for something meaningful?

Since Trump has punted to Congress on this, the DREAM Act of 2017 is now in conversations. And about how there is bipartisan support for DACA amongst the voters. But what about the people the voters elected?

Back in 2010, and I’ll always remind you, when Democrats were in charge of the White House, the Senate, and the House, we came up short in the vote. Specifially, in the US Senate. 60 votes were needed to support the DREAM Act of 2010, but a 55-41 vote killed it. And I will also remind you that five Democrats voted against, while three (3) Republicans voted for it. (I guess this counts for bipartisan?) And one Democrat, an announced NO vote, didn’t bother to show up.

So, of the five “NO” Democrats, four now go by the title of “former” US Senator (Hagan, Baucus, Pryor, and Nelson). Left are the beloved by lib-labs Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin (the NO no-show). Has anyone checked on these guys as they check to see how many Republican votes are needed?

So, I’ll be asked why I don’t just criticize the Republicans. Well, hell, I’ve been anti-Republican all of my life, as were my parents, and their parents. I know what to expect from Republicans. In the peak of my most recent Democratic involvement, unfortunately, I spent more time fighting with Democratic apologists for anti-immigrant Dems, or worse, Dems who used the issue for their political benefit, reminders of whom would cause some great Facebook fights.

2.5 million deportations, hundreds of thousands warehoused in private prisons, millions of families affected, and a continued broken immigration system later, nothing has changed. And it’s really tough to be hopeful under a meaner regime with their own majorities. But there’s always hope, right?

Which is why this next fight should be led by the DACA/DREAMer activists themselves. Not the corporate-funded national Latino and immigration groups, not Democratic groups, not Mark Zuckerberg, or any 2020 hopefuls. The Activists. The same activists who called out President Obama for years, who pressured him to finally sign the DACA order after he denied he could for so long. The same activists who fought in 2010 and the ones coming up the leadership pipeline since then. The ones who fought for what was right, and not for political expediency. And the rest of us should follow, fund, and support them.

PS – My last post on the topic, I mentioned that Republicans would remind us that President Obama had failed to pass the DREAM Act in 2010. Well, guess who reminded us?

Update:  Kuff doesn’t like what’s going on, either.

 

Hillary Counting on Bernie’s Demographic Challenges

bernieIt didn’t take long for the other side of Bernie (Hillary) to come out telling us that as the states get browner, their candidate will win more. Talk about taking voters for granted!

These are the same kind of Democrats who’ve wanted to rely on demographics to win elections. And when nominated, it’s all about, “Yeah, let’s move to the right on certain issues, they’ll be with us anyway, right?” It’s the sort of mentality that has kept turnout rates low and mediocre candidates on our ballots.

Bernie Sanders’ platform is as close a match to how Latinos respond to issues based on most polling. And people are listening to the issues, instead of just blindly following. No doubt, Sanders’ showing in Iowa will cause more eyes to open. Will it be enough? Well, there’s still time to convince folks that we need to get behind a people-driven agenda, rather than the same ol’ tired messaging.

Latinos have much to think about:  34% of Latinos are still uninsured and it will take more than the ACA to get it done. Latino unemployment is higher than the national average. 2.5 million deportations later (and more on the way), Latinos are tired of being kicked down the road on this issue. Lack of access to college because of cost is wearing on the Latino demographic. The same ol’ message doesn’t motivate voters, especially those of us with much to think about.

The Sanders message is one of hope. We’ve learned from President Obama’s hope and change message that not everything gets put in place during an 8 year period, but we’ve also learned that how we attempt to push a legislative agenda can be cause for a deflated base. I doubt a President Sanders will start at the middle and move to the right on hot issues. If you want to have a powerful base that backs you up, then you have to fight for that base. The “No Se Puede” message of the other side is not something that is exciting, that’s for sure.

But if a campaign wants to ride on demographics, well, I guess that’s their prerogative. I’ll stick with Bernie Sanders.

 

Clinton Changes Mind, Obama Deportations Were Harsh

Hillary-Send-Them-Back-ClintonAfter defending Obama’s deportation policies for so long, Hillary Clinton has conveniently admitted that they were actually harsh. Clinton stated the reason for Obama’s hardheadedness:

“The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced, you know, very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform,” she said. “That strategy is no longer workable. So therefore I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer.”

Some of us have argued from Day 1 that it was never workable and that there was a better chance of getting Latinos engaged on the issue if we went for broke on the issue–fighting for the best reform possible. Instead, we have theatrical gridlock, a pissed off Latino electorate, and, unfortunately, the same politicians vying for the Latino vote.

Sure, the Republinuts will pounce on this as a flip-flop (I call it primary politics), but that means they’d have to defend Obama’s 2,000,000 deportations, right? No doubt, Republicans are the worse, but it’s about time Democrats were better than usual, don’t you think?

It seems too many people on both sides of the aisle want to have it both and all ways. Some Dems want the Latino vote, while Republicans want a cheap Latino workforce. Either way, Latinos get kicked around and the issue gets kicked into the future, as always.

And just a reminder, there wasn’t much mention of Central American children escaping violence and poverty whom Clinton wants to deport without due process.

The Jorge Ramos Thing

Ramos Crosses the Borderline

Talk about shock value!

Jorge Ramos did the unthinkable at a press conference:  He started asking questions without being recognized by the guy giving the press conference, thus, pushing the level of Trump assholability to all new highs. “Go back to Univision,” gave many of us flashbacks of being told by bigots to “Go back to Mexico.”

The shocker was that Trump had security escort Ramos out the door as Ramos became relentless and just wouldn’t wait his turn–if a turn was even going to happen. But I think the whole affair lost its shock-value when Ramos was let back in and allowed to ask all the questions he wanted only to get the same ol’ Trump answers. While Trump may have ultimately gotten his way, he went the route of pissing off an entire group of people…again!

For Latinos, mistreating a media icon like Jorge Ramos was the ultimate insult. Some think of Ramos as the “Latino Walter Kronkite,” while others think of him as just a good news-man who does what he does to get to some truths that people may not want to hear. Right-wing politicians (and perhaps President Obama at various points of his career) have probably thought of Ramos as annoyingly relentless, especially on the topic of immigration reform.

Three-quarters of Latinos are not supporting Trump, while a few self-haters love the guy. Ramos attempting more “gotcha” moments will probably not change those few mindless Latinos. But it made for great social media political drama.

For me, what bothered me the most was Trump’s ability to sound like his white supremacist supporters– “Go back…”

 

 

 

The Myth That Is a Kinder, Gentler Rick Perry

ef6ca-shrp2Much is being made by the media  about Rick Perry’s supposed move to be the kinder, gentler Republican in the race for the GOP  nomination for President. Perry’s announcement that he was “offended” by Donald Trump’s anti-Mexican remarks need to be met with a certain reality:  Perry’s policies prove he is worse than Trump. Perry’s record speaks for itself:

  • The DPS Border Surge in response to children escaping violence and poverty from Central America. (Failures all around)
  • Cutting $4 billion from K-12 and $1 billion from higher education.
  • Anti-Woman policies to close women’s health facilities.
  • Attempts to keep Texans uninsured–would not support Medicaid expansion.
  • And a whole lot more. We know what Rick Perry is all about–destroying Texas.

That’s the problem with the whole Donald Trump BS that has overtaken political news. While Trump will open his big mouth, there are candidates for the GOP nomination with a right-wing record who will now try to play nice offering worthless platitudes. What’s next? Public eating of Mexican food?

Anyway, at this point, it would seem that Rick Perry has as much of a chance for the nomination as Donald Trump (despite Trump’s rise in the polls). What we are seeing because of Trump are the true colors of some in the GOP, and the lengths to which some will go to gain political points; even by attempting to play nice despite the policies they promote. Ultimately, it’s policies that matter and we need to pay attention to the policies (and pronouncements) of every candidate.

In-State Tuition Opportunity Under Attack

Right-wing Republicans in the Texas Lege have already filed a couple of bills to virtually put an end to in-state tuition rates for 16,000 undocumented students (DREAMers) who meet certain residency requirements.

HB 360, by Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, would require individuals to show proof of citizenship or lawful residency to apply for in-state tuition, in addition to meeting requirements outlined in the DREAM Act.

[…]

HB 209, filed by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, eliminates certain provisions in the act under which individuals could qualify for in-state tuition, including the provision for people who graduated from high school in Texas.

Keough whines that in-state tuition is a “magnet” for immigrants.

I seriously doubt whole families are crossing treacherous territory for the express purpose of paying in-state tuition rather than international student rates. If anything, their first purpose is to establish themselves, get jobs, find housing, feed their families, etc. You know, what people do every day in Texas. Years later, after establishing residency, attending our public schools, and, yes, paying taxes, the least we can do is offer in-state tuition to these hard-working students. It’s a n0-brainer.

Obviously, there’s something else going on with these right-wingers than “saving tax dollars” and “protecting” the locals. The current rhetoric and the anti-immigrant amendment to the DHS budget passed on Wednesday to de-fund President Obama’s executive actions tell us a whole lot more.

They’re just bigots. Or else why would GOPers change their minds on a previously bipartisan measure signed by a GOPer governor?

Thankfully, President Obama has vowed to veto the federal measure if it gets to his desk. And hopefully, enough GOPers will vote against it to kill it in the Senate. (26 GOPers voted against it in the House.) Greg Abbott we’re not so sure about regarding killing the Texas DREAM Act.

Anyway, this is just one of the big fights on immigration and other issues that will surely show the world that Texas will dig itself into an even deeper hole, rather than lift itself based on its diversity and deep talent pool.

Eduardo Maldonado, a 21-year-old University of North Texas psychology major, was one of the dozens of dreamers at the rally.

“I’ve been here 17 years, and I consider myself American and Texan. I grew up here. This is who I am,” Maldonado told the Observer. “I deserve the chance to attend college.”

 

#UStired2: The Cost and Consequences of US Govts “Plan Mexico”

 

 

 

 

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Cowardly Republican Series: Rand Runs Off!

And Steve King is a wrist-grabbin’ bigot.

Just watch!