Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Will Koch cash overcome ideologue trash-talk to sway Latinos to regard GOP as amigos?

I stumbled across a wire service dispatch in the Chicago Sun-Times that I'm sure is meant to shock and amaze many people out there -- conservative activists funded by the Koch brothers are offering English-language classes, health examinations and even help toward a high school diploma for Latinos.


The brothers who head Koch Industries (locally involved in the storage of pet coke in such a sloppy way that it spreads by breeze throughout the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods) are known for being willing to offer financial backing to political causes supportive of their conservative ideological leanings.


THE IDEA OF offering help to Latinos, particularly those who haven't fully picked up on the English language. Most ideologues view these folks as prime candidates for deportation.


They don't want a thing done that would encourage these people to think they can have a life in the United States.


So what's up with the Libre Initiative? That's an effort that helps people in need, offers up guidance on how to develop a business of one's own -- and also mixes in the ideological talk of "limited government" that usually means ignoring the concerns of people who aren't just like themselves.


Personally, this doesn't shock me at all. In fact, if Republicans were more sensible in their approach to life and politics, they would realize this is the way to go if they don't want to bolster Democratic Party strength by turning the Latino voter bloc into something similar to African-Americans (who usually back Dem candidates by about 90 percent).


THERE REALLY ARE those Latinos who aren't eager to do business with Democratic Party officials and would be prime pickings, if only GOP people didn't insist that immigration reform has to focus on increased deportations and ignore any sensible change to policy.


I can't help but think of a recent family event that was a reunion of sorts -- I got to see several distant cousins who I hadn't seen or herd from in years.


It turned into a political squabble -- with one of my second-cousins proclaiming himself a Republican because he doesn't want to be associated with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He also went on a repeated rant about President Barack Obama's "illegal executive orders."


He spent the afternoon being chastised by other distant cousins who told him, "You don't make enough money to be a Republican."


NOW I'M NOT providing identities in part because they didn't know I'd someday write this up. They thought they were ranting in private.


Besides, it doesn't matter. Because I have met other Latinos in many places who will express similar thoughts. There was nothing unique about this conversation.


There are those who are more than willing to listen to a Koch-tainted message; so long as you can get their alleged GOP allies who like to suggest that Latin American kids are going to bring the ebola virus to the United States to shut up for a few minutes!


Because those people are ultimately the ones who will drive the Latino voter bloc into the hands of Democrats -- and make the Republican Party about as meaningful as the Whigs! As in not very!


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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trash talk from the Heartland

There are those people who when it comes to issues that touch on immigration policy try to defend their nonsense-talk as somehow being for the good of the society as a whole, rather than just being borderline bigoted trash.


But invariably, much of the rhetoric comes across as too ridiculous to be taken seriously. The trash reeks too harshly for it to ever be a part of legitimate policy.


WE GOT SUCH an example again on Monday when a member of Congress from Indiana gave an interview to an Indianapolis radio station and managed to combine two issues from the national news reports in such a convoluted manner.


We're talking about the influx of children who have worked their way unattended through several Latin American nations to the U.S./Mexico border, and the outbreak of the ebola virus on the African continent.


That has gained attention because some U.S. citizens in Africa have contracted the deadly virus, and they have been brought back home (to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, to be exact) in hopes of getting treatment that isn't available over there.


The fact is that ebola has never been contracted in the Americas -- north or south. It isn't a virus native to our region of the globe.


YET REP. TODD Rokita, R-Ind., told radio listeners in Indianapolis that he believes some of the roughly 57,000 young people who have come to the United States in hopes of getting a better life for themselves are carrying the virus.


As though they're about to bring on a deadly infection that will kill off many of the "real Americans" already here.


Killer kids!!! Viral Latinos. I'm almost surprised he didn't try to claim that the many people of Latin-American ethnic origins already in this country are somehow carrying a disease.


Then again, there are enough other nitwits out there who will make such claims. It all gets to be such nonsense after awhile.


PERSONALLY, I'M NOT overly offended. Such a claim is just too stupid to take seriously. I'd like to think the majority of our society, the people who are of more sound mind and rational thought, will know enough to disregard this talk.


Because it ultimately just comes down to more partisan nonsense meant to try to back up the efforts of conservative ideologues to use this particular issue to step up their version of immigration "reform" -- which amounts to little more than a boost in the nation's deportation levels.


Which if it ever were truly imposed would cause more harm to our economy and society than the ideologues think is being caused by the influx of newcomers from non-European nations.


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Saturday, July 26, 2014

1/4 the cash, 1/2 the kids staying

President Barack Obama spent his Friday meeting with the leaders of assorted central American nations, hoping to come up with ways to resolve the influx of young people who are showing up from their at the U.S./Mexico border in hopes of being allowed to stay.


This seems to be the way Obama wants to try to cope with the situation -- get those leaders to do something to improve living conditions so that so many families will not feel compelled to send their children away to the United States.


WHICH WOULD MEAN they wouldn't even be here for us to have to deal with.


That seems to be the Obama ideal on so many issues -- he wants to find a way to be conciliatory with the conservative ideologues who I wonder if he still doesn't fully appreciate how much they oppose him.


The ones who are now suing him, and who are stepping up the cheap political talk about impeachment. Not that anybody expects Obama's removal from office prior to January 2017. New polls show only about one-third of the electorate really wants impeachment to occur.


The focus really has to be on the young people who are now here, rather than trying to prevent the number from continuing to increase. There's only so much that can be done about conditions down there from up here.


AND THE IDEOLOGUES seem determined to fight things from being done; clinging to their fantasies of just booting out everybody.


House Republicans are talking about their own bill that offers the alternative to the $3.7 million Obama wants to bolster the Border Patrol so they can adequately cope with the influx of young people to figure out if they literally can qualify as political refugees.


GOPers are talking about a sum of funds under $1 million -- about a quarter of what the president says will be necessary to do an adequate job of assessing, and coping, with the situation.


They also want changes in immigration policy meant to bolster the idea of more deportations. In short, they're using the crisis situation as an excuse to play partisan politics.


THAT IS WHAT Obama and his colleagues need to keep in mind. That is the opposition. They had better be prepared to take up the cause of these young people, and quit giving in to the nonsense-style rhetoric of which we get too much.


What really has the ideologues offended is the fact that these young people can't just all be kicked out. It is estimated that some 57,000 young people have shown up unattended at the southern border. According to the New York Times, a majority is able to stay.


Some 30,000-plus of them have relatives or friends already in the United States who are capable of taking them in. There are others who are being taken into long-term shelters, and may eventually wind up in foster care across the country.


So much for their fantasy of kicking all these kids out because they "don't belong here."


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Will Texas gov's gesture come back to bite him?

It shouldn't be a surprise that someone would decide that the influx of children arriving these days at the U.S./Mexico border ought to be responded to with something resembling military force.


We'd hope that the more sensible elements of our society would go against the concept. But there are those of us who are always willing to live down to our lowest aspirations.


HENCE, THE FACT that Texas Gov. Rick Perry  said this week he's going to send 1,000 troops to the state's borders with Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Coahuila to address the situation.


Actually, we won't (or so he says) have cases of Texas good ol' boys with arms blocking the paths of the 57,000 (and rising) young people who have arrived unescorted in this country.


The governor says those kids will be dealt with by the Border Patrol, as they should be. But he's claiming a magnanimous gesture by saying those kids have the Border Patrol so swamped with work that their other duties are falling by the wayside.


It seems Perry wants us to believe that those national guardsmen, whom the Washington Post reports will be in place in about a month, will be stopping other people -- the kind whom the ideologues of our society desperately want to believe have no place in a U.S. society.


AND YES, I do think their thought process is quite so blunt -- even though I'm sure they'll try to deny it. A couple of days ago, CNN aired interviews of people at a protest march who view the kids as a threat.


One woman went so far as to say the situation is one where Mexicans need to stay in Mexico, while "European Americans" can be in America.


Of course, most of those kids aren't Mexican. It is countless other central American nations where they come from. Not that I'm sure she'd care about that subtle point. They're all alike to her, and to the many other ideologues who have the Republican caucus of Congress all affright at the thought of serious immigration reform policy.


I also suspect she thinks Europeans are all white. I wonder what she'd think if she saw now many people "of color" have settled into European nations and are now a part of that continent.


IT'S A CHANGING world, and some people are just having trouble accepting that thought.


By going along with their desires by giving them the image of the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border, Perry probably hopes those people will turn into voters who will bolster his chances of getting the GOP nomination for president in the 2016 election cycle.


He may well do so.


But he may well also wind up isolating himself to solely those people as voters.


BECAUSE THERE WILL be a significant share of society who will have the queasy thought of having such an armed presence amongst so many young people coming in regularly.


I'm not necessarily predicting the next "Kent State" incident somewhere along the border. But it just seems to me that Perry is playing to the segment of our society that wouldn't be terribly offended if such a thing were to occur!


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

When it comes to central American kids, is everybody at fault?

I found interesting a recent poll for the Washington Post and ABC News, one that found a majority of people think everybody is at fault with trying to figure out how to respond to the influx of children who are showing up unattended at the U.S./Mexico border.


The poll shows 58 percent of people surveyed think President Barack Obama is screwing up the situation.


ON THE OTHER hand (or perhaps it's the same hand, the one that we'd like to give the back of across the face to political people of all persuasions), 66 percent of people think the Republicans who are opposing Obama on this issue are at fault.


Some say Obama isn't doing enough to promptly deal with the issue. But his opponents are the ones who don't want him to deal with it. They're the ones who fantasize about Border Patrol agents snatching up these kids the moment they arrive, piling them onto trucks, and driving them back south -- away from the United States.


These are the people who spent their Independence Day at processing stations on the U.S./Mexico border shouting taunts at busloads of children and trying to pass their harassment off as national pride with their "U.S.A./U.S.A." chants!


They're also the ones who object to Obama's desire for some federal funding so as to bolster the situation so that all these kids can be processed and intelligent decisions can be made about which ones ought to have a legitimate place in U.S. society.


TO THE IDEOLOGUES, of course, they don't want any of them remaining here. Which is why they're drawing the opposition from nearly two-thirds of those who were polled.


And as for opposition to Obama, it seems we think he's being a bit wimpish in not standing up to these people. Nobody likes a bully, but we also don't seem to have much respect for the bully's target!


The problem is that this is an issue that's not going away.


It is estimated that some 57,000 young people, many from central American nations, have shown up at the border without adult supervision. It could reach as high as 90,000 by year's end.


THEY WERE SENT by parents who have relatives or friends in this country who they hope will be able to care for the kids and provide a better life than they can back in their homelands.


Which ought to make sense. Even the Catholic Archdiocese in Chicago is offering up its help to find homes here for these kids. Except that to the ideologues, sense is something they flee from at all costs. They're the ones who like the idea of locking these kids up in detention centers often used for adults in violation of immigration policy.


I'm sure they joke about giving these kids a taste of their future lives -- because since they're inherently criminal, they're headed for prison somewhere. It's about as ignorant an attitude as one can have.


One that Obama ought to be keeping in mind as he pushes on this issue for a sensible solution.


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Thursday, July 10, 2014

If Obama is guilty of anything, it is being too weak in fighting off politically-partisan ideologues

President Barack Obama wants Congress to approve some $3.7 billion in federal funds to pay for the cost of properly, and humanely, dealing with the flood of more than 52,000 children who have arrived at the U.S./Mexico border in recent weeks.

Those kids came without any adult supervision, and officials aren't quite sure what to do with them. Except for those ideologues who want to rant and rage and intimidate young children into "going home!!!!"

OF COURSE, CONGRESS (particularly Republicans) are reluctant to come up with the money. Yet some of them are also blasting Obama for not dealing with the situation.

Even though the money is meant to deal with it (particularly by hiring more immigration judges and Border Patrol personnel to deal with the youthful flood). Some people are just determined to say something negative about Obama, even if they're the ones causing the problem.

It will be interesting to see how this situation gets resolved, and who winds up getting hit with the blame. This weblog's sister site, the Chicago Argus, has more to say about the situation.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Are we reliving bussing?


I recall a vacation trip my family took the summer of 1975 – one in which we hit the historical sites of this nation along the East Coast.

Our trip wound up in Boston, and I recall we were there at the time when “bussing” was the key issue irritating the conservative ideologues.

SPECIFICALLY, THEY WERE upset with the attempts by officials to racially integrate public schools despite the fact that many white people had deliberately moved to places to avoid having their kids in schools with black people.

Those plans involved using school buses to transport kids of both races to different school districts – all in hopes of having a racially diverse enrollment at the schools.

The resulting video footage of people pelting school buses, taunting their occupants and using other intimidation tactics to try to get those school buses to “Go Away!!!!” made it on national network news. It was a blot on Boston’s reputation – one I still remember all these decades later.

It also is what comes to mind as I see the footage of ideological twits and nitwits who think they’re showing their patriotism (some of them literally spent their Independence Day holiday in such activities) by picketing the border crossing where buses loaded with children from Latin American nations were to be taken to be processed by the Border Patrol.

THOSE KIDS ARE ones who don’t have a valid visa, or any parent with them. U.S. authorities are merely trying to get a handle on how many kids are now on the verge of entering the United States, while trying to figure out the most practical course of action for dealing with them.

But for those people who are picketing the border, they want to think we can just turn our backs on the situation and ignore them. They think they’re not so incredibly embarrassing to our national image when they gather and taunt school buses – and engage in cheers when the drivers decide the situation is just too risky to try leaving the kids in their care at the border crossing facilities.

Every chant of  “U.S.A., U.S.A.” being used as a weapon against people was a blow to the national unity that was meant when soccer fans in recent weeks were using it to cheer for the national team in World Cup competition.

And it all goes to ensure that the name of “Murietta, Calif.,” is going to trigger bad memories in the minds of many people for future decades all too similar to what some of us remember Boston for today.

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