I just don't understand the Democratic leadership
Mighty Mouse

Time after time we see the leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress water down and weaken bill after bill in order to appease Republicans in a foolish attempt to garner their support only to have them vote NO on the bill regardless of what form it eventually takes.  This is not a new argument.  We have heard it over and over.  But I am baffled to know to whose benefit these appeasements are.  It can't be to the benefit of the people because a stronger bill that contains all the elements that Democrats believed would be of benefit would certainly be better for the people than the resulting weak one.  And it can't be to the benefit of their political careers because I don't think anyone would think "Well, they enacted some pretty wimpy legislation but at least they were bi-partisan so I’ll vote for them."  It is an unfortunate truth that people are judged more by results than by their approach to the work.  When Republicans are in power they get things done.  They don't compromise.  They threatened to eliminate the filibuster if any attempt is made to thwart them and the Democrats gave in.  The resulting legislation may be bad for the people but it is touted as being good for the country (read: corporations and the wealthy).  With the Democrats in control, we are bombarded by reports of one valuable element of a bill after another being removed because "there weren't the votes".  It points out the fact that the Democrats are, indeed, NOT in control.  It leaves us with the impression that Republicans get things done and Democrats can't.  That may not be the facts but with the Republicans blocking vote after vote and then publicly proclaiming "the Democrats have the majority", that is how it appears.  And, in these days of 24 hour media, people vote based on appearances.

Another thing I don't understand is why the filibuster rule was ever changed from it's original concept where members of congress had to continue to talk until a two-thirds majority voted to end the filibuster.  I can understand not wanting to use the so called "Nuclear Option" to eliminate the filibuster but why not return it to it's old glory make members of congress stand up for what they believe by continuing to talk until cloture is voted.  The people would see who was blocking a vote on a bill because of how long it would go on.  Now, it costs nothing to filibuster.  One or more members just has to say they are filibustering and they can all go home until a vote for cloture is passed.  I think if you really believe in something you should be willing to sweat for it and we should see that you are.   

Oh no you don't
Mighty Mouse

It appears to me that there are people who have been given the job of writing and enacting our laws who REALLY hate someone getting away with something.  It doesn’t matter if it benefits our country or detracts from it; whether hurts or helps the people of our country.  It just matters if they are getting something that they shouldn’t.  Then, as with all zealots, they make up “facts” to support their position.  In the current illegal immigration frenzy, I hear the same arguments being posed which all sound plausible but don’t stand up to scrutiny.  The problem is they don’t often get called on the fallacy of their supposed “facts”.


The foremost of their arguments is that illegal immigrants are "taking our jobs" and are a contributing factor to high unemployment.  My favorite answer to this is I have never seen white folks standing outside Home Depot looking for work.  Not even college students and not even in this economy.  The United Farm Workers have the right idea in this regard.  They have offered anyone who wants to to come and do the work in the fields that is currently being done by many illegal immigrants.  To date you can count the number takers on one hand.  One of them is a politician who, to her credit, wanted to see what it was like and another is Stephen Colbert who has his own reasons.  You can go to takeourjobs.org if you would like to partake in their offer.  There are towns in the Midwest that were on the verge of becoming ghost towns, because the youth of the town were choosing to move away rather than work in the local meat packing plant, until immigrants, most of them illegal, migrated to the town and returned it to a thriving community.  The reality is that our youth, bombarded by the media's image of the "American Dream" have come to feel the the their status as U.S. Citizens makes certain jobs beneath them.


Another argument is that the “illegals” are putting a drain on our economy because of all the social services they get which we all pay for while they send their money “back home” to their native country.  Study after study has shown that the amount that illegal immigrants take out of the economy is more than offset by the amount that they put in.  Contrary to the claims of the zealots, most illegal immigrants have taxes withheld by their employers but they cannot file for refunds nor can they claim social security benefits.  This while estimates range from 65 to 125 BILLION dollars being spent to round up and prosecute illegal aliens. 


The fallback argument is always “they are breaking the law” and that is true.  However, it is the nature of our social and legal system that laws have different severity levels.  That is why we have classifications such as felony and misdemeanor.  That is why we don’t treat jaywalking in the same way as we treat murder.  Even within the classifications there are different levels of penalty and enforcement based on severity and the limited resources available to provide that enforcement.  It is my opinion that the perceived severity of illegal immigration as been hyped out of proportion in order to increase the validity of a political position.  I listen to the rhetoric coming out of Arizona: stories of beheadings, of kidnappings and murders attributed to illegal immigrants.   As each of these stories is proven to be false, it makes me wonder: why would they have to make up stories if they have so many really severe problems to report that require the enactment of a new law.   I listened to a supporter of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 telling of four kidnapping/murders, two of which were committed by “illegal aliens” and saying “What do we tell the families of those two victims?  That we could have stopped this but didn’t”.  My answer was immediately: what do you tell the other two families?  Yes, two of those crimes were allegedly perpetrated by “illegals” but the other two weren’t.  Are you going to propose new laws to curtail the rights of non-illegal aliens under the premise of preventing crime?


Since its birth, the United States has been a melting pot and has taken pride in that fact.  It is why France gifted us with the Statue of Liberty (remember: “Give me your tired, your poor, you huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”) and we have taken pride in that distinction.  Over the decades the immigration laws have been systematically changed to exclude certain types and nationalities to prevent them from becoming too dominant in the society of the U.S. (initially it was the Chinese).  This resulted in the current quota system which assigned limits of how many immigrants will be allowed per year by type, nationality or country of origin.  The problem with this system is that the U.S. Government (the very group that includes the zealots I speak of) has not funded sufficient resources to handle the applications to enforce these limits resulting in extremely long delays in the approval process.  So we have gone from being the "land or opportunity" to the land of those who wish to protect those opportunities from those who would covet them.  And the zealots are perfectly willing to frighten you into thinking that those opportunities will be stolen from you because you and your immigrant ancestors deserved them and "these people" don’t.        

Pharisees among us
Mighty Mouse
Why is it that those who are most vociferously Christian are the most un-Christ-like in their attitude?  The more they expouse Christ as their savior the more they are biggoted, insular, exclusionary and against anyone who is not like them.  


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