5 Quick Political Facts for Today (2/15/15)

  • John Boehner apparently has no idea what goes on in Congress despite being the Speaker.  Boehner stated it was important to investigate Benghazi again because some questions haven’t been answered, like these:

“Why wasn’t the security for our embassy in Libya given to our ambassador after repeated requests the night of the event,” Boehner continued. “Why didn’t we attempt to rescue the people that were there? Why were the people there told not to get involved?”

All of those questions have already been answered and answered multiple times by the Congress Boehner allegedly leads.  Maybe he didn’t notice the last report since the Republicans strategically released it on a Friday late in the day so the news cycle wouldn’t pick it up.  This was done, of course, since it debunked every argument they’ve made about questions still existing about the attack.  Regardless, the propaganda machine continues…

  • Republicans further show their immoral and disgraceful position on hard-working immigrants.  The GOP is out to stop immigrants with children who have worked jobs and paid taxes to the government for years from getting proper benefits for their contributions.  And it should be noted that many illegals have paid taxes and been a boost to federal tax coffers, particularly since they get little out of federal programs.  Some other commonly believed myths are busted in the article and should always be pointed out when discussing the issue:

Over the past decade, immigrants in the U.S. illegally have paid an estimated $100 billion in Social Security payroll taxes, even though few will ever be able to collect benefits…At least half are paying income and payroll taxes…Even if these immigrants pay taxes, they are ineligible for most federal programs. They cannot legally get food stamps, unemployment benefits, Pell grants or federal student loans. They cannot get Medicaid, except for emergency medical services, and are ineligible for subsidies under Obama’s health law.

  • Shiites are now reacting to ISIS brutality with brutality of their own, which has been going on since “Mission Accomplished”.  If people chose to ignore the fact that Shiite death squads were executing Sunnis in Iraq as soon as Saddam Hussein was out of power, that’s their choice to be ignorant.  But violence begets violence and that situation forced people to turn to more violent groups like ISIS so they could take revenge for the countless murders of their friends and families.  This isn’t to say it was/is right for anyone to join an extremist group or death squad.  But it does show how horrible the U.S. plan for post-invasion Iraq was just an absolute disaster and there is little that can be done by the U.S. to fix this bloody situation now.  And with this vicious reaction by Shiites against Sunnis, this situation is continuing to get worse.
  • The West is still disgracefully and inexplicably supporting the brutal monarchy in Bahrain.  Great piece by one of the activists for change in Bahrain who recently had his citizenship taken away from him after years of punishment, including torture, for expressing his opinion and calling for a better government in his home country.  It is a very reasonable question to ask why the West continues to display such hypocrisy on democracy when it comes to certain areas of the world.  (Spoiler alert: it’s oil.)
  • Egypt purchases military planes from France at the expense of its people.  I mentioned the purchase of the Rafale fighters a few days ago but this article points out two further realities of the purchase.  First, it’s not needed: “One thing is very clear,” says (Jon) Alterman (senior vice president and director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies). “On the basis of national priorities there is no military urgency to buy more combat aircraft.”  Second, by spending the money on the military instead of infrastructure or social programs (clearly taking a cue from the U.S., unfortunately), this means the spending won’t go to put Egypt’s unemployed to work, which includes more than half of its citizens under the age of 25.  Stupid priorities now will equal a bad situation in the future.

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

JPBORDER-master675A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers.

Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, according to the CIA World Factbook) and were mostly transported here by human traffickers.

The problem here is that our usual laws and resources cannot handle this number of illegal immigrants as current immigration law stands. It’s just like what Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in front of Congress yesterday, “Although we have made progress, that progress is oftentimes disrupted when we see sudden influxes of kids coming in faster than we can discharge them, and we back up.”

Now the President has asked for funds to add more judges and Border Patrol Agents, increase detention facilities, conduct more aerial surveillance, help care for the kids, and pay for programs in Central America to try to keep them from coming. This would be a good initial, and multi-pronged attempt to help these children who have suffered extreme trials and often unnameable abuses to reach here. They should not have to suffer any longer in the world’s wealthiest nation mythologized as “The Land of Immigrants.”

But the GOP is fighting against these humanitarian efforts with claims that it is too much money and would not solve the problem. I just keep hearing the phrase from the Republicans that we need to “secure the border” first, like House Majority Leader Rep. John Boenher said to reporters yesterday,

“If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change. And if you look at the president’s request, it’s all more about continuing to deal with the problem”

I simply do not know what all “securing the borders” entails for the Right-wing. Should our Mexican border look like the coast of Normandy in June, 1943, before the D-Day invasion? Should we shoot at the small boats, rafts, inner tubers, and single children floating across the Rio Grande who get too close to the American shore? What does it mean?

We need to provide the aid Pres. Obama needs and cut it away from the real wasteful programs that Washington spends on, say, on a few more drones in Afghanistan.

 

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Dispelling the Myth a Higher Minimum Wage Equals Job Loss, Microchips in Your Body, and Other Tidbits of Info for the Day

Minimum Wage Myth

Pulitzer Prize-winning economist David Cay Johnston penned an op-ed crushing the myth that raising the minimum wage would equal a loss in jobs.  There is no proof of this and he does a phenomenal job laying out the realities.  Nicely summarized here:

The idea that a higher minimum wage would destroy jobs is powerfully simple and intuitively appealing. The problem is that it is contradicted both by economic theory and the facts…Apart from the abundant evidence and economic theory, there are powerful business interests deploying PR strategies to confuse the public. (Emphasis added)6221571650_2ff1e8413c

Paul on Immigration

Rand Paul voiced his fear that Texas may be on its way to becoming a blue state in the near future because of the growing Hispanic population and stated the Republican party should consider a more open position on amnesty for immigrants.  This shows that even the hardest right-wingers are beginning to realize they are going to have to pull themselves to the left to save their own necks come election time.

Then Paul quoted his fellow Senator Mike Lee by stating, “We were all immigrants once.”  To which every Native American replied, “What?!”

Voting Rights for Former Prisoners

Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his support for changing voting laws so people who have served their time and reformed themselves can rightfully participate in elections again.  This is simply yet another aspect of the American justice system disproportionately affecting African-Americans and is long overdue for change.  And with the increasingly fast change we are seeing regarding marijuana legalization, these changes should quickly follow.

Microchips in Your What?!

A fascinating op-ed appeared on the BBC describing some of the advancements and possibilities of microchips being implanted in the human body.  An interesting read to see where the technology is going:

Amal Graafstra…is a double implantee – he has a microchip in each hand.

In his right hand is a re-writable chip, the same kind used in Oyster travel cards, which can be used to store small amounts of data. By pressing his hand to his phone, information can be downloaded from his body or uploaded into it. The left contains a simple identity number that can be scanned to unlock his front door, log into his computer or even start a motorbike

The Wealthy are Actually the Job Destroyers

Reuters reported that Barclays will be cutting 12,000 jobs and has already begun the process because the company is struggling so badly…so badly they are increasing bonuses for their top earners even though they stunk it up last year. 

It said it paid 2.4 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) in incentive awards last year, raising bonuses at the investment bank by 13 percent despite a slump in its profits. (Emphasis added)

So, with the logic that the wealthy are the “job creators” and they need more money to create the jobs (mythological idea, by the way), we can only assume Barclays will be hiring, let’s say, 24,000 in the near future because the top earners are so much better off.  Can’t wait for that to pan out for the people who they are about to lay off and prove all the right wingers correct on that myth.  Maybe it will happen guys.  And maybe pigs will be cruising through the air on their newly grown wings to celebrate.

Romney & The Right’s Ideological Strait-Jacket

A good editorial by Fareed Zakaria in the Post on how Romney has avoided specifics in his campaign on issues such as taxes and immigration amnesty because they are such taboo subjects amongst the Republican base.

Read Here.