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Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Senator Martin Heinrich Makes Case For Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Will Rest of New Mexico Delegation Follow?

March 18, 2013 2 comments

Today I participated on a call with United States Senator, Martin Heinrich from New Mexico, along with various organizations from across the state, many of which are involved on issues related to social justice, human and immigration rights.

The Senator’s office invited many community leaders to participate on this call because it was around a hot topic that could finally mean something in the coming weeks and months: comprehensive immigration reform.

Following the plight of immigrants in my own family and as an activist for the last ten or so years, this call was important in a lot of ways.  First, it tells me we might see some results this year.  Second, it says that as a border state, New Mexico is at the forefront of the conversation on border security and that our opinion on the issue should matter.  Finally, despite the horrendous record of our own Governor (must I remind you), our congressional delegation (minus the guy who’s last name rhymes with fierce but is not) have an opportunity to be leaders in ongoing discussions around the issue.  By contacting those of us on the ground to participate in a dialogue, my hope is that we can help the Senator frame his policy on this very important matter.

I had an opportunity to pose a question to Senator Heinrich prior to the call and the question was repeated almost verbatim throughout today’s conversation and that question was, “what is the Senator’s stance on deportations and the separation of families?”

His answer was simple.

“Illegal crossings [on the border] are down 90%. We must recognize what works and we must have real consideration for our communities”

An activist from Santa Fe made it clear, “the border is already secure,” Senator Heinrich may have confirmed it with this very simple statement.

But why does the Obama administration, Democratic Senator’s like Charles Schumer and those on the right continue to insist that we have to incorporate an overhaul in border security in order to make comprehensive immigration reform happen?

At the local level, we have seen horrible injustices to families who have been separated because of a horrible immigration system.  Actually, “system” is giving the federal government too much credit.  Instead, what families are experiencing, and have been for many years, is a bottle neck of uncertainty. Laws at the local and state level continue to deprive individuals of basic human rights, being subjected to intolerance and racial profiling at the hands of law enforcement who have no idea how to handle culture-sensitive issues or any immigration issue for that matter. More importantly and you would think this was common sense, but law enforcement should not be dealing with these issues.

Calls (and visits) with congressional leadership should continue and while Senator Heinrich was very happy to continue this dialogue from now on, it is important the we continue to push the same debate with the rest of the New Mexico delegation.  It is obvious that if the President is talking “border security” and continues to deport millions of people by separating millions of families, those of us working on the ground in New Mexico should be facilitating this debate and encouraging our leaders to do the same.

But we’ve been here before.  The question though is what will we do to make sure that promises made are no longer broken?  We must no longer rely solely on the a broken system of checks and balances.  We must demand that these promises be fulfilled by organizing our communities.

The Senator ended the call with, “este es el año.”

We must make it so.

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How Did We Allow MTV To Stop Playing Music? And Other Sad Things Going Through My Head

Today I was watching Portlandia’s newest episode, “Take Back MTV.”  In it, two characters played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, discover that MTV no longer play’s music videos and instead is being run by a bunch of tweens obsessed with reality shows like, Teen Mom.  Google it.  I refuse to link it from my blog.  Anyway, strategizing, they decide to take MTV back to its original form.  You  know?  Playing “music videos” and talking about “music” and “artists?”  With the support of all major public radio funders (which was hilarious), and the help of past VJ’s, Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren and Matt Pinfield (the loud, bald guy), the goal of putting the music back into MTV, was set.

Spoiler alert:  After a successful coup d’état by Fred, Carrie and the old school MTV VJs, an older gent wakes up to find on this television this amazing and historical occurrence, from the comfort of his living room couch,…to only fall back to sleep.

I tend to complain about MTV myself.  Geez, it’s not what it used to be!  I mean, aside from watching Nev on Catfish religiously (what can I say? I find him incredibly smart and handsome!!!) the whole channel is such a waste.  But the reaction the guy on the couch gives on Portlandia…a reaction of “who cares?”, is the same reaction I picture from your typical person who hates politics and would rather not participate in any civic duty or local action.

Take the last week for example.  All over Facebook and Twitter you had “those” people complain when they got their paycheck last week and noticed that it was shorter than previous months.  “That Obama is taking my money!”  is all I heard.  Except that this was not the case at all.  Had they been paying attention to the politics they so despise, they would have realized that we’ve always had this thing called a “payroll tax” which is deducted from our checks each pay period to pay for Social Security.  However, in 2010, President Obama signed off on reducing the amount of this payroll tax through the tax bill, by two percentage points so that the working middle class would have some change left over each month, to pay for stuff, so that in turn, would stimulate the economy and get things going again.  But people don’t get that.  They just think it’s something that was just thrown at them (or taken from them)

Instead, what they should be concerned about is that like every other year since the President has been in office, the Republican party has been doing something we all like to call, “obstructionism.”  In the case of the fiscal cliff, in order to save stuff like, unemployment benefits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and surviving the Dairy Cliff, among other things, the payroll tax was allowed to expire, thus raising the the payroll tax back to 6.2% instead of 4.2%.

Imagine if the President was allowed to keep everything he wanted on the table?

Yes, many other things were saved because of the fiscal deal…but despite all of that, many are still very upset about the payroll tax and the $1000 that will be taken from them this coming year.  I mean it’s a cable bill for crying out loud!!!

Yes, the President could have fought harder…he had the leverage like many progressives have said, some continuing to say that the guy is just not a closer when it comes to negotiations.  The President may have also given up enough leverage as he counters GOP BS in two months when we have to endure this torture again with the debt ceiling debate.

But think about it?  President Obama and the Democrats are putting policy on the table to help the working poor, the middle class and the 99% who don’t make a gazillion dollars, and the Republican’s are saying no to everything so we’re having to compromise and yet we still have some working poor, middle class and 99%ers defending the Republican party and their obstructionism?

Does this make any sense to you?

When will American’s finally wake up to the BS?  Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are spewing misconceptions about everything to the very people that these policies are affecting and yet people don’t think for themselves.

American’s remind me of the guy waking up in the middle of Portlandia’s MTV takeover.  He awakes to find the original VJs back to what is right in the world, with music being played and awesomeness being shown, to only go back to sleep because, you know what?  Who cares?

This attitude of complacency is what allows our leaders and lobbyists to take advantage of our communities across the country.  Until American’s begin to think critically, understand what is really going on and fight back, there will continue to be injustices…including your hard earned cash being used to pay for something your Congressman prefers rather than you putting food on the table.

DON’T GOOGLE SANTORUM!!! And other things the GOP should worry about.

January 3, 2012 3 comments

Really, Republicans? Here we are, the day of the Iowa Caucus and days away from the New Hampshire primary and we have Rick Santorum rising in the polls and perhaps the next flavor of the week. Did we just not have this conversation a few weeks ago with Newt Gingrich?…and Herman Cain?…and Donald Trump? I’m seeing a pattern here and it is obvious. GOP supporters have absolutely no confidence in their leaders and appear convinced that if it’s not this candidate, it has to be the next one. It has to be!

People. Mitt Romney will win the GOP nomination. This is a given. The man has the money and the backing from those at the helm of the Republican Party. Although this is obvious to those of us spectating the entertaining drama unfolding, there is a serious situation within the Republican Party and its base. The voters participating in the GOP primaries are not entirely comfortable with the idea of having Mitt Romney as “their” candidate of choice going up against President Obama in November. But what is the alternative? The other candidates surrounding him have not done it for the voters and like those before him, neither will Rick Santorum, today’s Republican sweetheart.

It’s likely Romney loses Iowa, but unless there is some freak of nature it appears he could go on to win New Hampshire and then gain momentum to take the nomination. But at what cost? Mitt Romney is currently fighting Ron Paul and RICK SANTORUM for first in tonight’s caucus! Yes, Iowa means nothing to us. It is more of a symbolic electoral event than anything else. But unfortunately for Mitt Romney, after a year long campaign, he is still not the GOP favorite. He may go on and win this thing in the end, but right now it’s not such a flattering position to be in.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Mitt’s lack luster candidacy and how it was better for Mitt Romney to just drop out of the race. I knew then what I know now which is, Mitt will not drop out, but gawd…he really should! Yes, he pretty much has this thing in the bag and he just has to coast through until it’s all over, just like he’s done for most of the last year. And while politics isn’t about “feelings” I can’t help but wonder what the man must be feeling right now, especially today as Rick Santorum becomes the next best thing for Iowans and the Republican base. For a man that has been at this for almost a decade…seems to understand the ins and outs of the campaign trail, wouldn’t you feel a bit… inadequate? You’re obviously not your bases number one choice and I doubt he cares…but I think he should and this should worry him going in to the general election. If you’re own base doesn’t like you, what makes you think the rest of the country will?

The Mitt Romney of today is not the same guy we knew early on in the 2000s. He was not the guy we knew as Governor of Massachusetts and he’s definitely not the Mitt from 2008 when he had a pretty good chance of winning the nomination then. Today’s Mitt is desperate. He knows the Republican base has moved very far to the right in the last three years…so far right that I’m sure even he’s uncomfortable with it. Yet he wants this presidency so bad, he’s willing to look as ridiculous as this guy.

Mitt knows that if it’s not this presidential election, there will be no other and if so, Mitt is done and so he is panicking and doing and saying things that perhaps in the back of his mind he too realizes it’s too over the top. But let’s gain some perspective here. This is where today’s GOP is in general. Over the top! But in the end…when all has been said and done and the GOP nomination is handed down, Mitt will be the guy — despite the bases reservations the Republican leadership (if one exists) will not allow someone like Rick Santorum or Ron Paul take on President Obama…where they will lose and they will lose big.

Despite the disappointment people across party lines have had with President Obama’s administration (especially emoprogs), Barack Obama will win re-election. The GOP has no one and this primary has solidified that conclusion by the numerous flavors of the week in the last 12 months. There is also the massive shift to the right by the party, including Mitt Romney who has catered to the fringe and no one…and I mean no one, will take him seriously in the general election. Unlike what the Beltway media would like you to believe, the rest of the country does not think like the Tea Party, this is the truth. Additionally, with the growing populist movements across the country in the last year starting in Wisconsin and Ohio in early 2011 and Occupy Wall Street last summer, the right’s fringe is dilapitating in a huge way and will cost Mitt in the long run. While the turnout may not be as large as it was in 2008, the Republican’s are going down.

This is a GOP implosion. When 2011 began, progressives like myself were concerned about the future of our democratic ideals, wondering if perhaps we had missed our chance. What we didn’t see coming, however, was the strong turnout from the working class and the working poor who have voiced their disapproval in a way I could not have imagined and have proven how out of touch today’s Republican Party is. This, while a strong statement, in my opinion could result in their inevitable ideological demise. The Republican leadership like Speaker Boehnor and Rep. Cantor have done very little to exasperate the chaos not seen in Congress in a long time. Since winning the House in 2010, this uncertainity has spilled over to their presidential candidates, where there is no clear winner. Now it’s up to the Democrats to jump on this opportunity…that is, if they are tough enough to do so in 2012.

Planned Parenthood, Socialism, Fat People, Oh my!

Normally, I get my inspiration to write from information or news I read online.  Other times, I am inspired by some of the

Little Texas

conversations I am a participant of or overhear something crazy from some random person at the restaurant or bar.  Yesterday I went to  lunch with my sister and my parents.  While we chatted and ate our food, two couples of Senior’s were seated in a booth right behind us.  Not to be nosey, but I could not help but overhear the conversation between these four individuals.

I need to give you a quick update on where I actually spend most of my days.  I live in southeast New Mexico and for the most part, it is the most conservative region in the state.  If you study New Mexico politics, you will learn that this area of the state is called, “Little Texas.” Simply put, it is an area rich in oil, little men who drive around in large pick-up trucks and girls like me are looked down upon for their “hippie” politics.  One reason why this region is so conservative (other than the oil conglomerates) is because it a place where many retiree’s come to settle.  Fortunately for me though, this conservative demographic is gradually losing its strength in numbers and I am beginning to see an increase in faces that look my age and people with the complexion I should probably have if I stopped wearing cardigans in the summer.  

Back to lunch…

These four individuals were discussing issues related to health care reform and the ongoing debate taking place throughout the country, on this one year anniversary of #HCR passage.  The way I heard the discussion was how I envision the Tea Party discussing the overall issue, with death panel fear behind each and every spoken word.  They discussed the direction President Obama had taken on the debate and their belief that health care should not have been passed because it is not the government’s responsibility to take care of the matter.  Instead, we should blame all our health care problems on fat people. (cough, cough)

Me being awesome!

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I do not fit the description of a super model.  Yes, I could use to lose weight and perhaps exercising should be the first goal in doing so, but hearing these couples look down on others and not looking at the underlying reasons as to why we really need health care for all, made me think that the Republican Party and those on the conservative side supporting the Tea Party, are really out of touch with reality and definitely on the wrong side of history.

I can see the frustration people have with heavy people (talk to my sister, the exercise fanatic)  But rather then just blaming “fat people” for all our problems, why not look at the overall picture?  If you identify those with the greatest weight issues across the board, studies show that communities of color, primarily those in low income communities, have a higher percentage of obesity because they lack access to services or resources then those in affluent communities.  When you look at low-income communities you will find more fast food eateries and liquor stores at every street corner, and very few grocery stores with fresh produce creating this phenomenon we call, “food deserts.”

Let me give you a visual.  I lived in Los Angeles for five years and 2.5 of those years, I lived in East Los Angeles, in a neighborhood called Boyle Heights.  Going to the grocery store in Boyle Heights was always a chore and I dreaded the day I needed to go because the lines were always dreadfully, long.  The vegetables and fruit were never of good quality and most if not all the time, I had to get into my car and drive to Silver Lake and shop at Trader Joe’s in order to get what I really needed.  I never had problems finding good produce there.  The thing is though, I could get in my car and drive to Trader Joe’s.  For families living in Boyle Heights, where poverty is high and public transportation is unreliable, options for traveling up Sunset Blvd and on to Hyperion to grab some fresh produce is never an option.  Furthermore, the country faces an epidemic of lacking preventive health care, where  it is almost non-existent in many communities of color.  What is even more scary is the fact that organizations like Planned Parenthood, (currently being targeted by GOP) an entity doing so much for women’s health, is now

"I stand with Planned Parenthood!"

under attack.  For agencies providing services to the poor.  If the Republican Party has it’s way, Planned Parenthood could be forced to stop providing preventive exams, prenatal care and disiminating information to countless women all over the country.  Instead of focusing on these groups and cutting real pork (like the Defense budget) Republican’s are attacking a woman’s chance of living.

Looking back and dissecting in my head the conversation held by those two couples yesterday makes me so angry because there are thousands if not millions of people in this country, blaming certain groups for the ills of this country.  Although it is easy to find a target and use them as a scapegoat to make a point, the overall picture is ignored and we  never accomplish anything when we ignore the root of the problem.  Why not really look at the issue, like “food deserts,” for example, or supporting the First Lady, Michelle Obama in improving school lunches for children?  We should work to improve the overall access of health care for all, rather than limiting it to just a few and letting those few judge the rest of us for not having the privilege to afford health insurance.  Yes, we should work to improve our health and take personal responsibility for our own progress, but we should not ignore the millions of people who have no access to the resources that could help them make better choices.  When we find solutions to those issues, then the idea of universal health care for all will not sound as scary as the Republican’s have made it out to be.

Is Governor Walker, like…for real?

 

Wisconsin University educator under attack by GOP

Wisconsin "Union Busting" Governor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lot’s going on in the world right now, but tonight I am baffled by Governor Walker.  Is there some brilliant, political strategy he is pursuing that perhaps we don’t know about?

Well…whatever it is, good luck with that.