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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Freedom and the assertion of the true self

JeSuisCharlie
I started this blog ten years ago, this month, in reaction to the reelection of George W. Bush. Although I did some campaign work for the Democrats in 2004, I felt that I didn’t do enough, say enough, risk enough, to have a part in changing the direction of a government lassoed by our cowboy president and his chortling arms tycoon, Cheney. I could no longer “sit there and say nothing.”

That brings me to the tragic events in Paris, Wednesday, when St├ęphane Charbonnier, the editor of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hedbo, and a team of committed cartoonists were murdered, just for presenting a wry view of the relationship between fundamentalism and a free society. He refused to stop, even after the paper’s offices were firebombed in 2011.

They had something to say, these journalists. They could not say nothing, even though it was obvious their government could not protect them.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ferguson fallout: justice dancing on the head of a pin

By (Kane Farabuagh/VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

People in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country marched this week for a cause deeply rooted in the story of America - the fight for equal treatment under the law, and a fair shot at justice. Through the smoke of burning businesses and lost jobs and racial epithets and Klan threats it may be hard to discern the silhouettes of purposeful people looking to wrest reconciliation from the restless mobs. Attacking the status quo with bricks, bats and bottle glass only maintains it, while power's grip hides behind riot shields and rolling clouds of teargas.

When the rabble rouses to anger, only real change appeases. It then falls to the earnest and purposeful to calm both sides and find a way to mediate peace through mutual respect.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A line too long: no choice but action on ‘Broken immigration system’

President Obama speaks at Del Sol High School, Las Vegas. Nov. 21, 2014 (whitehouse.gov)

A year ago, according to the State Department, there were 4.3 million people with family sponsored visa requests. The latest bulletin from Foggy Bottom says that the last family visas for siblings it was considering from Mexico were applied for in February, 1997. For married children of U.S. citizens, the last visas approved for Mexicans were applied for in November, 1993. If you are a citizen and want a visa for your sister in the Philippines, the last visas granted were for people who applied in May, 1991! 

And just because someone applied for a visa back then doesn’t mean they are next on the list, because only a limited number of employment based and family requested papers are available every year to applicants from each country. 

“The idea that the people can simply get in the back of the line is a little bit simplistic in practice,” Madeleine Sumption, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan immigration policy think tank supported by philanthropic and government policy advocacy groups, told the Fiscal Times, this past spring.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Democrats’ mutual denial society

President Obama holds a press conference at the White House after the 2014 midterm  elections, Nov. 5, 2014 (whitehouse.gov)

If the Democrats running statewide in North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky had not tried so hard to distance themselves from Obama, by not meeting with him, not having him campaign for them, touting his economic record and and his call for a raise in the minimum wage, the successes of Obamacare and the efforts at fair pay and immigration reform, they might have won.

They disavowed the leader of their party by refusing to say if they voted for him, by stammering through questions about his policies and even by omitting their party affiliation from their campaign ads. They could not run away fast enough. 

The problem for the Democrats in states the president recognized he lost in 2012, was that they became blatheringly and disingenuously defensive. Rather than assert, “Yes, I support these policies. They are good for the middle class and for the American people,” they sought to distinguish themselves from President Obama with ineffective TV ads.

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