Sunday, November 18, 2018
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Republicans Kill the “DREAM”‘ and Now Will Pay the Consequences

Other than Bill Kristol's flailing, incoherent idiocy, I agree with all the commentators on this one: the Republicans (and 5 Democrats) who voted down the DREAM Act yesterday made a huge mistake, both morally and politically, and deserve to pay a major price for it in 2012 and well beyond. So much for the "Party of Lincoln." So much, for that matter, for the the Party of Ronald Reagan, who signed a law which "legalized 2.8 million undocumented workers."  Reagan also said proudly that people "from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American." And, Reagan added:
"It makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do?" Reagan asked. "One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters."

Or how about the Party of George W. Bush, who said:

Latinos come to the US to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: they want a better life for their children. Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande. Latinos enrich our country with faith in God, a strong ethic of work, community & responsibility. We can all learn from the strength, solidarity, & values of Latinos. Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is the sign of a successful nation. New Americans are to be welcomed as neighbors and not to be feared as strangers.
What happened to the party of Lincoln, Reagan, and even George W. Bush when it comes to immigration, when it comes to Latinos who come to America "seek[ing] the same dreams that have inspired millions of others?" Sadly, that party is toast, with the once proud GOP now taken over by a bunch of xenophobes, yahoos, ignoramuses and demagogues like Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, John BONer, Eric Can'tor, and John McCain. It's utterly pathetic, and Republicans richly deserve to pay the political consequences for their anti-Latino intolerance.

Whipple Clips Dozen: Sunday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Sunday "Clips."


UPDATE: Also, here's video of (Arlington County School Board member) Libby Garvey's brief speech last night at her holiday party. Garvey is one of three likely Democratic candidates - the other two being Del. Adam Ebbin and Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka - for the State Senate seat of Patsy Ticer (D-30th), widely believed to be retiring at the end of her current term in office (note: Ticer was mayor Alexandria and has served in the State Senate since 1996). Also, check out the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund here.

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Heads to the Dustbin of History

Good riddance!
In a landmark for gay rights, the Senate on Saturday voted to let gays serve openly in the military, giving President Barack Obama the chance to fulfill a campaign promise and repeal the 17-year policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Obama was expected to sign it next week, although the change wouldn't take immediate effect...

A great day in American history, and as usual it was Democrats leading the way. Next stop: full equality - including marriage - for all our citizens under the law.

Not to be a party pooper, but as happy as I am about DADT repeal, I'm very unhappy - and angry - that Republicans overwhelmingly blocked the DREAM Act from becoming law. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, if Republicans are truly hell-bent on pushing a generation (or more) of Latino voters into the solid-Democratic-voter camp, that's cool with me. Still, their vote today against the DREAM Act - and also, overwhelmingly, against ending DADT - was a disgrace, and should be remembered as such.

One more point I really need to make. President Obama has taken a LOT of crap from his "left" over his sincerity and commitment to repealing DADT. I always thought it was misplaced, given that the problem was always Republicans, and a few conservative Democrats, and NOT President Obama. Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to President Obama, as well as to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and even Joe Lieberman (can't believe I just wrote those words!), for pushing so hard on DADT repeal. Also, THANK YOU to Obama, Pelosi and Reid for their efforts on the DREAM Act.  As for John McCain, well...GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!  

UPDATE #1: Looks like a lot of progressives feel the same way as I do right now! :)

UPDATE #2: It can't be emphasized enough how badly John McCain - the 2008 Republican nominee for president - disgraced himself today. From the happy "maverick" of 2000, he has morphed into an angry, bitter, nasty old man. Compare and contrast to another conservative Republican Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, whose views went in the opposite direction as he got older. Of course, McCain's got about half the IQ of Goldwater, and the Republican Party has lurched far FAR to the right since Goldwater's days, so maybe that helps explain it.

UPDATE #3: I've already stated this, but thanks again to Jim Webb and Mark Warner for voting the right way on both the DREAM Act and DADT repeal. I've had my "issues" with both of these guys, but I'm proud of my two U.S. Senators today, and also feeling REALLY good about "drafting" James Webb back in 2006! :)

Senate Debates DREAM Act, Ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

I've been watching some of the Senate debate this morning on the DREAM Act (HR 5281) and on ending "Don't Ask Don't Tell." So far, a clear pattern is emerging: Democrats almost unanimously are speaking out against discrimination, bigotry and intolerance; Republicans almost unanimously are either in favor of discrimination, or certainly not for ending it anytime soon. John McCain is typical of this attitude, claiming that ending the discriminatory, flawed, broken, counterproductive policy known as "Don't Ask Don't Tell" would somehow harm unit cohesion and our military's war-fighting ability. In addition, McCain claims that we shouldn't change this policy during wartime, conveniently ignoring the fact that we are likely to be at war against "terrorism" indefinitely, most likely for decades to come. Which, of course, means that we would never repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, at least for many years to come. See how that works?

As for the DREAM Act, there are so many lies being spread by its opponents - mostly Republicans - that it's hard to know where to start. Fortunately, the Center for American Progress has done our work for us, demolishing the myths (aka, "lies") put out by Republicans on this bill. In addition, I'd just point out that it's incredibly foolish, politically speaking, for Republicans to alienate the fastest-growing voting bloc in America - Latinos.  If the former "Party of Lincoln" really wants to turn itself into the party of intolerance, that's their choice, but it's an incredibly bad one.

In the end, both of these pieces of legislation are, in their own way, about the American dream - to go to college, to serve in the military, to work hard and make a great life in America, to pursue happiness, to be true to one's core nature. The question today is simple: who is for the American Dream, and who is against it? Stay tuned for the voting, and don't forget how each member answered that simple but crucial question.

UPDATE: Jim Webb and Mark Warner both voted "aye" on the DREAM Act, as did the vast majority of Democrats (Max Baucus, Kay Hagan, Jon Tester, Mark Pryor, and Ben Nelson voted no; we will not forget this!). However, with the vast majority of Republicans voting no (exceptions: Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Robert Bennett), the bill dies (55-41 to invoke cloture). A pathetic day for our country, and particularly for the Republican Party. Oh, and so much for Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Scott Brown being "moderates."

UPDATE #2: Now, on to the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" cloture vote. Warner and Webb both voted "aye" - I'm proud of our two U.S. Senators today, thank you!  The vote is 63-33, and "Don't Ask Don't Tell" will shortly be toast!

UPDATE #3: In sum, we got one piece of terrible news today (failed cloture vote on the DREAM Act), one piece of great news (sayonara DADT!). With a few exceptions, Republicans have shown themselves to be the party of bigotry and intolerance. Also, with a few exceptions, Democrats have shown themselves to be the opposite. Do not forget this day come 2012!

Chap Petersen on Bob McDonnell’s Phony “Surpluses,” VRS Shenanigans

Over at Ox Road South, State Senator Chap Petersen slams Bob McDonnell for fundamental dishonesty on two interrelated fronts.

First, Petersen dings our fine governor for his proposal "that certain state employees will need to start contributing the 5% match to their Virginia Retirement System (VRS) account."  This, Petersen points out, comes after "the Assembly's investigative arm (JLARC) issued a report  which stated that VRS is underfunded by $17B in order to meet its obligations through 2020." Brilliant.

Second, Petersen takes on McDonnell's phony "surpluses."

Last week, the Governor informed us that Virgnia would spend "its surpluses" on improving transportation.  Surpluses?  After borrowing $700M from VRS to balance our books?

Then this week the Govenor is announcing initiatives to spend an extra $50M on higher education, $30M on economic development and more money on behavioral health.

Are these worthy goals?

Of course.  But let's not pretend that these new spending items are unrelated to our VRS shortfall.  Or that the Commonwealth is in some sort of surplus.

We are asking our state employees to take an effective pay cut on the VRS issue, after not giving them a pay raise since 2007.  We owe money to our pension fund.  Our roads are in disrepair.  The House will oppose any tax increase, even increases in user fees dedicated for transportation.

How are we in a position for new spending programs?

Exactly right, well said by Chap Petersen. I'd just add that repeating something over and over again, in this case Bob McDonnell claiming repeatedly that Virginia has a "surplus," doesn't make it so. Note to Bob McDonnell -- a lie is still a lie if you say it 1 time, 10 times, or 100 times. Oh, and Governor? If you ever get a grip on this concept, you might want to explain it to your science-denying Attorney General and your "pants on fire" Speaker of the House as well.

President Obama: “National Security Over Politics on START”

"President Obama urges the Senate to heed the calls from Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, every living Republican Secretary of State, our NATO allies, and the leadership of the military: ratify the New START Treaty with Russia."

The full transcript is here.

WTOP: “Sen. Webb could support overturn of ‘Don’t Ask'”

Great news!
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said Friday that he could support changing the military's ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

The senior senator from Virginia, with a background steeped in distinguished military service, said he would support repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy, provided there is "sensitivity" toward how change would be applied, particularly to combat units.

The announcement marked a shift from earlier in the year when Webb voted against repealing the policy.

In other news, Webb says he'll make a decision on whether or not to run for reelection "in the first quarter of next year." As was the case in December 2005 when I first met Webb, he continues to cite "the 'incredibly difficult process' of fundraising as one of the main issues affecting his decision." And, he adds, "If I'm not going to run we need to make sure we have a strong candidate who can." This should be interesting to watch...

UPDATE: A transcript of Sen. Webb's WTOP comments is on the "flip."

UPDATE #2: In other Webb-related news, check out this article on Webb's criminal justice commission legislation.

PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: GOP’s “government takeover of health care” claim

PolitiFact has selected its "lie of the year," and it's a whopper. That's right, "The decisive winner [in the poll of PolitiFact readers] was the same one PolitiFact editors and reporters selected for the Lie of the Year: the claim that the new health care law is a 'government takeover.'" According to PolitiFact, this Frank Luntz special was "a brilliant and powerful attack line" which did a lot of damage, particularly since the corporate media completely failed to do their job in challenging it. Only one problem: "The phrase is simply not basis in reality."  Other than that, it's brilliant! Heh.

Other "big lies" of the year, as voted by PolitiFact readers, include: 1) the insane claim by Michele Bachmann that "The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day;" 2) the absurd claim by Republicans like Eric Can'tor that "The stimulus has not created one private sector job;" and 3) another crazy Republican claim, that "the stimulus has not created one private sector job." And that's not even counting the ongoing Big Lies about Barack Obama being a Muslim and/or not being an American citizen; Sarah Palin's infamous (but completely fictional) "death panels;" all the lies about the conservative, free-market idea known as "cap and trade;" etc.

Here in Virginia, you can check outwhat's true and what's false at  Politifact Virginia. Particularly bad ones - "Pants on Fire" - include Speaker William Howell's claim that Congress is "now about basically confiscating your private 401(k) or IRA plan and rolling it into Social Security" (WTF?!?); George Allen's mistaken assertion that "President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi passed a "$1.2 trillion stimulus bill;" and Eric Can'tor's math-challenged charge that "In the past two years, Democrats have 'spent more money than this country has spent in the last 200 years combined.'" No, Eric, but perhaps it's true that you've told more lies in the past two years than most people will tell in their entire lifetimes.

Time to Pass the DREAM Act

America's Voice reports "a Saturday vote that will determine whether the DREAM Act becomes law this year, and whether thousands of bright and talented young people who grew up in America can get on a path to legal status and achieve their dreams." At this point, "The only thing standing in the way of the DREAM Act becoming law is a handful of Republican votes in the Senate." And, America's Voice points out, Republican Senators have run out of excuses to obstruct DREAM. If you want to urge wavering Senators to vote "yes" on this important legislation, please click here or use these phone numbers. Thanks.
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