I am the grandson of dreamers, and this country needs more like them

As the grandson of immigrant coal miners, I stand squarely and strongly with the President on his decision to change the way immigration laws are enforced and to offer undocumented people a way to come out of the shadows. It is the right and moral thing to do.

My grandparents were treated as indentured servants by the coal companies who employed them. They were exploited in the same way that employers exploit today’s undocumented people. I don’t know what people think it means to come to America legally, but it’s probably nothing like most people believe. I wonder how many Americans could even pass the Naturalization Test (http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test).

My grandparents had to overcome their fair share of bigotry and hatred, too. From the stories I heard, it was a lot like what some Americans are doing to this generation’s immigrants, but make no mistake. My grandparents came here for the same reasons people still come here today – for a better life.

What was different then was that this country had Ellis Island instead of barbed wire and border patrols and idiots screaming at children on buses. There was a port of entry, and the world knew where it was. They came and they stayed and they became citizens – not right away, mind you, and only because their employers “sponsored” them as citizens. They were uneducated. They didn’t speak English and they never really learned to speak English all that well beyond “broken” English.

Despite all of that, they stayed. They became part of the people who built what would become the greatest country on Earth as the 20th century dawned. Without them, who knows what America would have become and what it would be today? What would America be without people like them willing to risk it all and to leave absolutely everything and everyone they knew behind to come here for a better life? Sure, they had grand plans to “go back” some day, but they never did. They stayed, and they became America.

How is it that some of us either can’t or choose not to see precisely the same kinds of people with the same kinds of dreams and aspirations coming here today?

How is that some of us have come to think that today’s immigrants are so very different from my grandparents?

And, how is that some of us think the definition of being an American is to embarrass ourselves and this great country by demanding that our government tear families apart for nothing more sinister than the “crime” of coming here to build a better life for themselves and their families?

That’s not who I am, and it’s not how I define what it means to be an American. I am the proud grandson of dreamers, and someday the kids whose parents and grandparents followed their dreams and came here despite the hatred and despite the fences and despite the lack of a modern-day Ellis Island will say the same things I’m saying. That is what America is about, and that is what it means to be an American.

Posted in illegal immigrants | Tagged , | Leave a comment

AFLCIO

Visit the AFL-CIO for the latest updates, including news, videos and information on how you take action and get involved in your community.

Source: act.aflcio.org

TELL CONGRESS TO STOP FAST TRACK

Any trade deal is going to have a huge impact on America’s workers. And we want to make sure that future trade deals protect U.S. jobs, don’t give multinational corporations unfair advantages, don’t harm the environment and don’t turn a blind eye to countries that abuse workers. But Fast Track legislation allows power brokers to shape trade deals to their advantage and shields the details from the public and policy experts alike. Fast Track legislation is undemocratic and trade deals should not be crafted behind closed doors.

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

The Dirty Little Secret of #Libertarianism: They’re Really #Corporatists.

First, the obvious. Not all libertarians are alike. The same, of course, is true for conservatives and liberals.

That said, I’ve had my fill of libertarians acting like they are the only ones who believe in a free society. That’s total bullshit, of course. I don’t know anyone who likes “state oppression,” do you? The debate needs to be – oh, eff that. I’m done debating strawman arguments like that.

from http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/FreeMarket.html

Murray N. Rothbard, who died in 1995, was the S. J. Hall Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. (Image and text from http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/FreeMarket.html)

Where I really part company with libertarians is in their naive belief that markets operate in the way that Murray Rothbard describes them. They don’t. That “philosophy” requires a belief in something called, “Equal and simultaneous information.” It’s actually how the financial services industry is supposed to operate but doesn’t. And, why doesn’t it? Because of the lack of vigorously enforced and sensible laws and regulations.

What’s worse is when libertarians use phraseology like “state oppression.” They come off sounding like they have a tinfoil fear of the state.

Yes, of course, there are things about “the state” that libertarians and I want to change; from NDAA to NSA to KXL. Their incessant vilifying of “the state,” however, without including corporations and Big Money as the driving forces is, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, revealing of their libertarian naivety or outright corporatist obfuscation.

Remember this. WE ARE THE STATE.

Unlike government, corporate boards – and let’s not be naive about whatever paltry shares we as individuals may hold – are not elected by we ordinary citizens. We have no way of holding corporations accountable EXCEPT through the state regardless of the fantasy of the Invisible Hand libertarians may worship.

We do – or, rather, we’re supposed to, but too many of us don’t – elect those who are supposed to represent us in our government. We can control that.

Milton Friedman, the University of Chicago economist who, it's now known, was discoveed by the Buchanan Committee in 1946, to have arranged along with with George Stigler, an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout. (http://www.alternet.org/visions/true-history-libertarianism-america-phony-ideology-promote-corporate-agenda)

Milton Friedman, the University of Chicago economist who, it’s now known, was discovered by the Buchanan Committee in 1946, to have arranged along with with George Stigler, an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout. (http://www.alternet.org/visions/true-history-libertarianism-america-phony-ideology-promote-corporate-agenda)

For me and for as long as I’m able, I’m going to try to influence my fellow Americans to vote against libertarians (and conservatives) because of how their philosophies manifest into their policies; policies that put all but a few wealthy and powerful individuals in real peril because they stem from beliefs based on the fallacy perpetuated by people like Rothbard, the Kochs, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and all the devotees of Milton Friedman.

Libertarians are probably not Statists, whatever they think that’s supposed to mean and whatever is meant by it when the “purists” accuse Rand Paul of it. He and his “mainstream” libertarians are, however, most certainly Corporatists in the mold of his fore-bearers.

And that, dear reader, is the dirty little secret of libertarianism as it’s being practiced today. It is a front for Corporatism, and it’s far more dangerous to our society, to our democracy, and to our planet than some misplaced and misinformed hand-wringing about “the state” somehow holding back “free markets.”

Call them out on it, and vote against every single one of them and their big brother proxies, the Republicans.

That is, of course, unless you prefer to be just another resource used by the rich and powerful to become more rich and powerful at your expense.

Posted in politics | 1 Comment

Progressives and Tea Party join forces, beat big money in Florida

In Tallahassee, progressives and conservatives put aside their differences to wage an historic battle to end corruption in their community.

Source: represent.us

"On Nov. 4th, 2014, voters in Tallahassee, Florida made history by approving the first city Anti-Corruption Act in the United States by an overwhelming 2 – 1 margin."

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

Social Media for #StopFastTrack Week of Action – Citizens Trade Campaign

Sample tweets and memes for the #StopFastTrack Week of Action (Nov. 8 – 14, 2014)

Source: www.citizenstrade.org

Tweets and memes a-plenty

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

Support the Teamsters – Oppose Fast Track

Source: salsa4.salsalabs.com

Fast Track Is the Wrong Track for Teamsters – Sign the Petition Today

Fast Track undermines the authority that we have entrusted to Congress to make sure that trade agreements with other nations are fair and in the best interests of working families – not corporations. If Fast Track is passed, job-killing trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that have been negotiated largely in secret could become law by a simple “yes” or “no” vote, without the possibility of any amendments. Congress will not be able to change a single word of the agreement, no matter how bad the provisions may be!

Please help us tell Congress that Fast Track is the wrong track by signing the Teamster petition today. And please share the petition with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes “Horrific” Trade Deal in Asia

Despite consistent and vocal opposition from organized labor, environmentalists, progressive economy experts and others warning against the damaging impacts of a trans-Pacific trade agreement that remains under negotiations by the U.S. and twelve other nations, President Obama on Monday once again voiced his support for what he said would be a “historic” agreement.

Source: www.commondreams.org

The President, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, and the 600 corporations guiding this effort must be stopped.

 

For more information about these disastrous free trade deals, visit – and please add to – this site.

 

http://didyoucheckfirst.wordpress.com/tppttip-resources/

 

 

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | 3 Comments

Time To Say Goodbye To Judicial Overreach

() The Supreme Court has turned America from a republic into a constitutional monarchy. Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear yet another conservative-fueled challenge to Obamacare.

Source: www.thomhartmann.com

Conservatives are the ones always over-reaching, and that’s never been on better display than in the Roberts Court.

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment

In Response to ‘Unprecedented’ Public Outcry, Obama Goes Big on Net Neutrality

Source: www.commondreams.org

Well, well, well. Look at who opposes Net Neutrality. File this under, "Sad, and no surprise."

 

It’s just more libertarian, right-wing, conservative failure to understand the issues BUT to obediently do as they’re told and ignore the facts. It’s also how people end up voting against their own self-interests and the best interests of society.

 

http://www.lp.org/blogs/michelle/fcc-should-remain-neutral-on-net-neutrality

 

http://libertarianstandard.com/2010/04/07/net-neutrality-developments/

 

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-cruz-net-neutrality-obamacare

 

 

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | 1 Comment

U.S. House results — 2014 Election Center — Elections and Politics from CNN.com

See the latest 2014 elections results from House races around the country.

Source: edition.cnn.com

The GOP won back the Senate and gained seats in the House and in state capitals the only way they still can win any election: when old, white conservatives show up in greater numbers than younger, non-white, and liberal voters.

 

Did you not learn anything from 2008 or 2010?

 

Just because you’re fed up, disillusioned, or disinterested, and decide to stay home doesn’t mean the other side will.

 

Some of us old white liberals are fighting awfully hard to stop our fellow and far more conservative Baby Boomers from effing things up even worse. It would be nice to have you 18-29 year olds take an interest and start making up more than 13% of the voters in a midterm.

 

Staying home is not a protest. It’s surrender. Wearing your Anonymous masks and rallying is all well and good, but the rich and powerful aren’t paying any attention to that in this neoliberal police state we live in.

 

No, the American campaign finance and electoral processes are far from perfect, and some of my fellow old white Baby Boomers are winning – for now – at making it even harder to vote. Yes, those are fights we must keep fighting even in the face of the awfully rich and awfully powerful forces at work against us and against you and your future.

 

So, you can sit idly by and let them do it to you, or you can do the one thing they fear the most. Vote.

 

Vote AND stay active at rallies, Vote and sign petitions. Vote and write emails and go to protests and rail against the old establishment, but for chrissakes, we need more than 1 in 10 voters to be young voters if we’re ever going to dump these corrupt old fuckers out of our government at every level and replace them with people who actually care about us more than they care about money and power.

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Posted in politics | Leave a comment