Action Alert: Moral Imperative To Help Afghans Who Helped U.S. Military

I implore my readers to call your member of Congress to help expedite visas for those who aided us in the Afghan war before they or their families are murdered by the Taliban. We must keep our word. (202) 224-3121 is the Capitol switchboard, an operator will connect you to your representative’s offices.

There is no wiggle room on this issue. No two ways to look at the matter. Rather, there is the right way, the moral path, the only one our nation can undertake. And we must take that path. Now.

As the Taliban take their final military steps to control the whole of Afghanistan there are now thousands of people, who were mighty helpful to the American efforts, who now face certain death. The retribution from the Taliban is not a question of if, but only when.

That is why the House, in late June, voted overwhelmingly (366 to 46) to speed up the process that would allow these brave people to immigrate to the United States. There are over 18,000 Afghans who worked for the United States as interpreters, drivers, engineers, security guards, and embassy clerks.

Over the past months as we faced a pandemic we have heard of essential workers in this nation. Well, my readers, these men and women in Afghanistan were ALSO essential workers.

But they are now stuck in a bureaucratic mess that should not be allowed to continue. They did the proper paperwork and applied for the Special Immigrant Visas. Such visas are for people who face threats because of work they have completed for our government.

With each day that passes without a resolution of this matter, the lives of these people become more dire. So to put it into more stark, but accurate terms, every minute counts. And you can help make for a positive outcome.

While I am very aware that we can recount the ways and means of how American foreign policy over the decades has betrayed those who have supported this nation, this is not the time for such academic posturing. The barn is on fire, and the need to extinguish the flames is paramount. The back-biting and sniping can wait until the smoke at least clears.

Therefore, I implore my readers to call your member of Congress to help expedite visas for those who aided us in the Afghan war before they or their families are murdered by the Taliban. We must keep our word. 202) 224-3121 is the Capitol switchboard, an operator will connect you to your representative’s offices.

Say No To Shopping At Any Business On Thanksgiving

Each year Caffeinated Politics makes no bones about the importance of Thanksgiving to our nation.  Equally expressed is the low regard given to those who place profit above family, friends, and national values by finding excuses for opening their doors to make some money.

Thanksgiving has meaning and purpose in America, but businesses would have us think that the foundation of the Holiday does not matter. That only the need for greed and cash matters as stores and places of business gear up for sales.

But there is good news to report, and it is a trend that has been growing over the past years.  A large segment of the nation is not only rejecting the notion of shopping on this Holiday, opting instead to be with family and friends at homes coast to coast, but also voicing their opposition to the attempted destruction of Thanksgiving.

In recent years, the Black Friday craze has inched further and further into Thanksgiving. With stores opening as early as 5 P.M. on Thanksgiving Thursday, it means that festive dinners are being overshadowed by shopping frenzies. But there are still some stores that allow workers to stay home and enjoy the holiday.  I offer that listing below.

These are the stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2019:

Ace Hardware
Barnes & Noble
Burlington Coat Factory
Costco
Guitar Center
Hobby Lobby
HomeGoods
JO-ANN
Lowe’s
Marshalls
Menards
Office Depot
OfficeMax
Petco
PetSmart
Sam’s Club
Staples
Stein Mart
T.J. Maxx
True Value

Vile Video Of Fake Trump “Shooting, Stabbing And Brutally Assaulting Members Of The News Media”

There is no doubt whatsoever Donald Trump is responsible for a climate that is so hateful, so hostile toward journalists that it spawns videos like the one that is at the center of news reports today.

“A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week,” the NYT’s Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reported Sunday night.

The “meme” is simply and utterly despicable.  There is no other way to describe it.  The hosts of the conference, American Priority, say they reject “all political violence,” and “this matter is under review.”  But that begs the questions about the genesis of such a wretched video.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, called the video “Vile. And dangerous.”

New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi tweeted: “How disconnected from humanity must you be to find humor in a depiction of a mass shooting of journalists inside a church — knowing, surely, that Americans have been slaughtered in churches & newsrooms, that it’s not a fantasy for the families that those shootings made incomplete?”

But me most clear about this matter.  This is about so much more than a single video. It is about what happens when you plant seeds of hatred and division. It is about what happens when you give your supporters permission to hate and dehumanize people that Trump views as opponents.  It is what happens when journalists and reporters are debased and treated as traitors. 

As a former radio news reporter, I am most aware of the role that the media and reporters play in a democracy.  I also know from reading history the dangers of what happens when tyrants try to undermine the press.  History proves that point in far too many instances.

So I was very pleased with the many newspapers and media outlets across this land in August 2018 who launched a widespread effort aimed at combating the constant attacks from Trump on newspapers, reporters, and television correspondents.  Trump’s perverse political agenda aimed at ginning up negative feelings about the media’s role in society is not only harmful to the political process, but extremely dangerous to our foundation as a country.

We now have clear irrefutable evidence of that fact with this video.

To combat the outrages and bombast from Trump more than 300 newspapers around the nation joined together last summer to each publish editorials that explained the role of journalists and amplified the positive role journalism plays in society.  It seems sad to me that something like this was even required.

And obviously required again.

But given Trump plays to a certain demographic that does not grasp loud and obnoxious does not equate with erudite and reasoned means we needed journalists around the country to stand up and speak out.  What is making news headlines today about this video is not to be tolerated or allowed in a republic.

And so it goes.

Dr. Seuss, Donald Trump, And Immigration

This item below appeared in my Facebook feed this morning and struck a note with me.  It was a brilliant look backwards while making a solid point about the times in which we live.  The drawing in the lower portion of the image speaks to the absurd behavior Donald Trump is allowing to happen to immigrant children.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, had some points he wished to address in his work of drawings.  Between the two world wars he traveled and studied in Europe.  He was horrified with Nazism.  In Geisel’s political cartoons, Hitler showed up as a villain in many forms: a mad scientist amputating limbs, a bureaucrat giving orders to the devil, a trophy hunter trying to add a Russian bear to his taxidermy collection.

Another of Geisel’s lifelong favorites showed a matronly woman reading a book called Adolf the Wolf. “‘And the Wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones,'” the woman reads to the two horrified-looking children, before adding, “but those were Foreign Children and it didn’t really matter.”

The image struck me as perfectly toned for what is now happening at the southern border.  The cold, callous, and horrifying treatment of children is unconscionable.  The international community now knows the standards we preach to the world are not the ones we live at home.  What is being allowed to happen to these children is simply untenable.

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No Morals In Latest Tweet From You Know Who

So..lets unpack the latest crazy tweet from you know who.

Donald Trump said in a tweet Monday night that U.S. immigration agents are planning to make mass arrests starting “next week,” an apparent reference to a plan in place for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities.

Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.

That would be quite a feat, given that the most people ICE has ever been able to deport in an entire year was 400,000. It’s more ridiculously empty bluster that won’t happen simply because of crowded immigration courts and the lack of housing, food, supplies, medical care, etc. for “millions” of people, let alone the logistics of transporting “millions” of people back to their home countries. Instead, ICE will snatch a bunch of people in some high-profile raids as they have done before, Orange Mussolini will crow about some false victory, and move on to some other deranged and misfired synapse.

Trump did not make any reference in this tweet to the ethical or moral emptiness of his plan. But nether did President Jackson speak to morals and ethics when forcing the Trail of Tears on the Cherokee.

Here is my bottom line. The separation of families should not be a result of any enforcement scheme of our immigration laws. Whether it is ICE forcibly removing the children from their parents at the border, its mandatory detention policies, or this administration’s expanded enforcement priorities, our immigration system must have a moral component at its heart.  Without it we have lost a moral center to the larger policy.

It is most unjust to split families. And we know why there is an effort to do so, as with this latest bombast and bluster. The separation of immigrant families is intentionally designed to destroy people’s hope and break their will so that they forfeit their rights and leave.  That is not the America I know calls to us from our history books.

 

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Saddest Story Of Week—This Is Only Tuesday–‘Infant Daughter Not An American’

How can conservatives countenance such absurd and hate-filled policies?  Is there not enough reasons everyday–all around us–not to grasp the fact that loving and stable relationships should be nurtured and lifted up? That children should have the support from government polices so to allow them every opportunity for a life well lived?

In other words, in the plainest language I can use, what in hell is wrong with some people in this administration?

James Derek Mize, left, and his husband, Jonathan Gregg, are both American citizens. Under a State Department policy, their daughter, who was born abroad, did not qualify for citizenship. CreditCreditJohnathon Kelso for The New York Times

James Derek Mize is an American citizen, born and raised in the United States. His husband, who was born in Britain to an American mother, is a United States citizen, too.

But the couple’s infant daughter isn’t, according to the State Department.

She was born abroad to a surrogate, using a donor egg and sperm from her British-born father. Those distinct circumstances mean that, under a decades-old policy, she did not qualify for citizenship at birth, even though both her parents are American.

“It’s shocking,” said Mr. Mize, 38, a former lawyer who lives in Atlanta with his husband, Jonathan Gregg, a management consultant. The couple received a letter denying their daughter’s citizenship last month.

“We’re both Americans; we’re married,” Mr. Mize said. “We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn’t be able to be in our country.”

Their case illustrates the latest complication facing some families who use assisted reproductive technology, like surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, to have children. For years the techniques have set off provocative legal and ethical debates about what defines parenthood. Immigration and citizenship are the latest frontier in those debates.

At issue is a State Department policy, based on immigration law, that requires a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth. That is generally not a problem when couples have babies the traditional way, but can prove tricky when only one spouse is the genetic parent.

The policy has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid lawsuits arguing that the State Department discriminates against same-sex couples and their children by failing to recognize their marriages. Under the policy, the department classifies certain children born through assisted reproductive technology as “out of wedlock,” which triggers a higher bar for citizenship, even if the parents are legally married.

In one instance, a married Israeli-American gay couple had twin sons in Canada using sperm from each of the fathers. The biological son of the American received citizenship, but his brother, the biological son of the Israeli, did not. In February, a federal judge sided with the couple, calling the State Department’s interpretation of the immigration law “strained.” The department is appealing.

The government is also fighting a similar suit from a lesbian couple in London, who did not use a surrogate. One is American and one is Italian. They took turns conceiving and carrying their two children. Only the child born to the American mother was granted citizenship. Last week, a federal judge allowed the case to proceed, calling the family’s predicament “terrible” and “outrageous.”

Short Example To Show How Far Nation Has Fallen In Trump Era

We are now at a place in this nation where we need to applaud that a GOP member of Congress is NOT supporting a pedophile.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake gave a campaign check to Alabama Democratic senate candidate Doug Jones, and in so doing showed what honor and statesmanship look like.  That he is a lone voice of reason in the GOP shows the disgusting rot that is now layered deep within the party.  Such a deep and new low in politics is simply beyond words.

The bar for acceptable behavior is so dreadfully low under President Trump.

President Trump on Monday strongly endorsed Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat, prompting the Republican National Committee to restore its support for a candidate accused of sexual misconduct against teenage girls.

Simply appalling.

How do self-respecting Republicans not throw up in their mouths on a daily basis when reading the newspapers?

Is It Not Sad TIME Needs To Ask “Is Truth Dead?”

My mom use to say that we will not need to have some foreign power destroy this country.  She said we would do it to ourselves.  She might be right.

This week’s issue of TIME uses an illuminating interview with Donald Trump to examine a topic that’s as current as events get: Trump’s relationship to the concept of the truth. But the “Is Truth Dead?” is but the start of this conversation we need to be having.

Think how far we have slipped when the words of a person who sits in the Oval Office can not be trusted.  When that person goes out of his way to willfully and maliciously lie about things–and does so continuously.

I recall the lessons from home and Sunday School.  I know what was taught in the public school, and the code of conduct one carried out with close friends.  Honesty mattered.  Our good name mattered.  They linked with the other.

What we are now witnessing is the saddest and most deplorable event in our political culture in my lifetime.

Trump’s proud telling of lies and the bold-face use of it for the most base of narcissistic reasoning is damaging not only to the political institutions of this nation but to the core of our culture, too.  How can any parent or minister prescribe one way of living life to only then have on a daily basis the leader of the country act in such a shameless and demeaning way.

I thought the sexual offenses Trump made against women was perhaps the worst character  flaw he brought with him to the White House.  But over the past 60-plus days it is the lack of him being honest, the lack of Trump being a man, in the fullest definition of that word, which most troubles me.

We use to say at times like this the country needed to pray for the ability to get through the crisis.  But evangelicals are part of the problem as they endorsed and voted for the most morally corrupt person to have sat in the Oval Office in many decades.   I am not certain God is there to help us now.

Even God might feel that this time America needs to really learn a lesson.   Let the rains begin.