Immigration Update From The Front.

Whatever happens to Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 in the courts, I believe the real problem with illegal immigration is that corporations continue to hire undocumented workers. (After all, why pay $10/hour to a US citizen, when you can hire an illegal for $6/hour or less? And the illegal won’t complain about the hours, demand benefits or expect raises.)

To deal with this problem, the tough-talking AZ State Legislature passed the “Legal Arizona Workers Act” in 2007 which then-Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law.  This law demands that all Arizona employers verify a prospective employee’s status before hiring. The penalty for hiring an undocumented worker is a fine for the first violation and the revocation of the company’s business license for the second offense. Yet two and a half years after the law went into effect, The Arizona Republic states that “only about half of new hires in Arizona have been vetted by a federal system that checks their status.” And lest you government-haters start blaming Obama, the newspaper also found that only “about a third of the state’s estimated 100,000 employers have signed up for the E-Verify program.”

So where is Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe, the so-called “nation’s toughest sheriff” when you need him? He’s big on arresting and deporting illegal workers. But, apparently, he could care less about the businesses that hire them. In Maricopa County (the county that encompasses most of the Phoenix metro), only two businesses have been sanctioned for hiring illegals. And none have lost their licenses. This despite Homeland Security estimates of more than 460,000 illegals living (and working) in the state.

So the magnet that draws illegals to Arizona is still in place.

But if, like me, you’re thinking that preventing businesses from hiring undocumented workers would be more effective and less costly than building multi-billion dollar fences along the border, or maintaining a force of 10 border patrol agents per mile, Gov. Brewer and Senator McNasty would tell you that’s Socialist thinking. Like most Republicans, they believe businesses should be unencumbered by regulations to feed their greed.

BOO (Blame it On Obama).

Even before President Obama took the oath of office, Republicans and racists were making absurd claims about him. Never in my lifetime (and I’ve lived through 12 administrations), have I seen so many false and unsubstantiated charges against a President. Yes, there were many accusations about George W. Bush, but the vast majority of them were based on policies and facts. On the other hand, most of the charges against Obama defy logic. So, with the mid-term Congressional elections on the horizon, I thought it might be interesting to take stock of the Republican charges:

Obama was not born in the U.S., therefore his presidency is illegitimate.
Obama stole the election with the help of ACORN.
Obama is embracing our enemies.
Obama pals around with terrorists.
Obama’s fist bump with Michelle is a terrorist greeting.
Obama takes orders from his racist black Christian minister.
Obama is a Muslim.
Obama hates Christians.
Obama hates America.
Obama is an elitist.
Obama is a Facist.
Obama is a Communist.
Obama is a Socialist.
Obama is a racist.
Obama is responsible for the Great Recession.
Obama bailed out Wall Street.
Obama favors Wall Street over Main Street.
Obama is responsible for the national deficit.
Obama is trying to indoctrinate your children.
Obama’s health care reform is socialized medicine.
Obama wants to “kill Granny”.
Obama is going to take away your MediCare.
Obama refuses to talk with Republicans.
Obama wants to take away your guns.
The Census is an Obama plot to place conservatives in internment camps.
Obama is weak on terrorism.
Obama has refused to help create jobs.
Obama wants to raise your taxes.
Afghanistan is Obama’s war.
Obama is anti-Israel and anti-Jew.
Obama refuses to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Obama wants to ruin our military with openly gay soldiers.
Obama is not doing enough to contain BP’s gusher.
Obama has refused to protect our borders from illegal immigrants.
Obama doesn’t want to stop illegal immigration because he wants their votes.
Obama refused to indict members of the new Black Panthers.
Obama is anti-business.

Of all these charges, only one is partially true. (Obama does want to raise taxes on the wealthy by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for Americans making $250,000/year or more.) In fact, many of the charges contradict others. And, despite all of the rhetoric, Obama is no wild-eyed liberal. He is a centrist who has strived to bring the country together and end the divisiveness of political extremes. He even tried to appoint centrist Republicans to his cabinet.

On numerous occasions, he reached across the aisle for Republican input on his legislative agenda. Then, after Republicans were allowed to insert amendments into the legisation, they refused to vote for it. In most cases, Senate Republicans have refused to even allow a vote on the legislation. If the current trend continues, Republicans will set a record for the number of filibusters. But, according to Republicans, that’s not their fault. The blame belongs to … (wait for it) … Obama.

Hey, Climate Change Deniers, Deny This!

You simply don’t want to make changes to our economy because you’re selfish. You’re a bunch of angry anti-government, “conservatives” who want to be able to drive your gas-guzzling cars. You want to leave your energy-gobbling incandescent lights on all night, keep your thermostats at 72 degrees in the summer and crank them up to 78 degrees in the winter.

You want to burn carbon and pollute the planet like your parents and your parents’ parents. You want to continue to use up a disproportionate share of the planet’s resources – to hell with the environment. You want to continue to carry your groceries in plastic bags because it’s too much trouble to remember the reuseable ones. You want to use disposable everything because it’s too much work to recycle. And you certainly don’t want Al Gore and a bunch of pointy-headed liberals to tell you what you can and can’t do.

You look at the findings of the scientific community and scoff. After all, you won’t be around to suffer the consequences if the scientists are right.

Who cares if the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate? Who cares if the planet’s CO2-consuming forests are dwindling? Who cares if hundreds of species are becoming extinct? (You’ve seen plenty of videos of them on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel anyway. Right?) Who cares if our sources of fresh water are disappearing or becoming polluted?

Think I’m exaggerating? In my community of mostly retirees, this is the attitude I hear all the time. The only environment that concerns these people is the condition of the golf course. Of course, it’s terrible that those poor people in Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas are suffering more floods and severe weather. But the weather is cyclical. It’s God’s will. (Until it affects them or their families.)

I find this degree of selfishness insufferable. Don’t you climate change deniers ever ask yourself, What if the scientists are right? What will happen to my children and grandchildren and all of the millions of young people I don’t even know?

What makes the position of the deniers so unfathomable is that, rather than disrupt our economy, climate change legislation could be good for it. Providing real incentives for the development of solar, wind, wave, biofuels, nuclear and other alternative energies could provide tens of thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. We could create even more jobs by developing new infrastructure to recharge electric cars and to develop high-speed rail. We would have cleaner air and water. And we could stop sending billions of dollars to places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Iran. We might even avoid a few wars.

Seriously, folks, what do we have to lose?

Yes, I know you deniers don’t like change. I know it would be painful to admit that the liberals are actually right. And I know that the heads of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly would likely explode. But that, alone, would leave the planet a better place.

© LaMaster Propaganda – All rights reserved.

Brewer And McCain Telling Racist Lies For Political Gain.

You know how Gov. Jan Brewer and teabagger wannabe, John McCain, talk about the “illegal immigrant crisis” in Arizona? You know how they portray the state as the most dangerous in the nation as a result of illegal immigration?

Well, I hate to get in the way of a good political campaign theme, but the facts tell a very different story.

Truth is, violent crime has been dropping in AZ for decades. In 2009, violent crime was the lowest since 1983. And property crimes were the lowest since 1968. Some crime wave, huh? By comparison, for 2007, there were 177 more violent crimes in Sarah Palin’s Alaska than in Arizona. And there were 241 more violent cimes in neighboring Nevada.

In Nogales, AZ which sits on the border with Mexico, there were 23 violent crimes in 2000 and only 19 in 2009. In fact, the Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, has been quoted as saying “…the border has never been more secure.” Statistics back that up. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, there are nearly 10 federal agents per mile of Arizona border – more than any time in our history. And President Obama just dispatched more than 500 National Guard troops to the Arizona/Mexico border – twice what Gov. Brewer requested. Yet she continues to say that the current administration has done nothing to curb illegal immigration and violence along the border!

Brewer and McCain also imply that illegal immigrants commit a disproportionate percentage of crimes. Although the state and federal government do not track the number of crimes committed by illegals, there is one indication that’s another lie. In Cochise County, which borders Mexico, only 4 percent of the crimes are committed by illegal residents – roughly equal to their proportion of the population.

So, as it turns out, you have little to fear from illegals by coming to AZ. And though I believe we must do even more to curtail illegal immigration, there are many other things of more pressing concern for our state – like Arizona traffic. There were 1066 traffic deaths in the state for 2007. But many of the same people who are screaming about illegal immigration have demanded that the state remove its photo radar cameras which target those who speed and run red lights. Now those people are scary!

Where Are The Climate Change Deniers Now?

Last winter, those who refuse to accept the science of climate change used the blizzards in Washington, DC and New England to “prove” their point that global warming doesn’t exist. By that same logic, shouldn’t those people be sounding the alarm for global warming now? After all, much of the U.S. has suffered through weeks of extreme hot weather.

It would appear that the only “proof” they will accept is something that supports their own uninformed opinion.

Who Are We Afraid Of? (Part II)

It was recently announced that the U.S. military budget ($692 billion for FY 2010) now exceeds military spending by all other nations combined. That’s right. We now spend more on defense than all 194 of the other countries in the world! And that doesn’t even include the money we spend on Homeland Security, or most of the money we spend on intelligence gathering. (A recent expose’ by the Washington Post reported an estimated 854,000 people work in the secretive information gathering business in the U.S. No one knows how much money is being spent on the endeavor.)

There can be only two conclusions from that data: We are the most powerful nation in the world. And we are the most paranoid; maybe with good reason.

According to Wikipedia, “as of March 31, 2008, U.S. armed forces were stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries.” Of course, we have large numbers in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. But we still have 52,440 in Germany, 9,660 in Italy and 35,688 in Japan more than 60 years after WWII. We have 28,500 in the Republic of Korea more than 50 years after the Korean Conflict. We have 9,015 in the United Kingdom (are we expecting a repeat of our Revolutionary War?), 47,236 in East Asia, 3,362 in North Africa … the list goes on.

Given the state of our economy, what could possibly justify the expenditures? If they’re not needed, we’re wasting an incredible amount of money. And if they are, we need to change our foreign policy, because we must be the most hated people on Earth.

Shirley Sherrod Story Reveals Much About Both Republicans And Democrats.

When a right wing blogger edited a speech by a USDA worker describing an event that took place more than 20 years ago, he made it appear that she had committed a racist act against a troubled white farm family.

Of course, Fox Noise Channel and other right wing media megaphones jumped on the opportunity to make yet another charge that the Obama Administration favors blacks over the long-oppressed white majority (sarcasm intended).

When confronted with the Fox Noise story, Secretary Vilsack immediately asked for her resignation. Even the NAACP censured her. However, one day later, the unedited video was released showing that Ms. Sherrod had simply (and graciously) been using the story of her long ago, racist reaction to make an object lesson that racism against any group has no place in our society.

So why not use Ms. Sherrod’s story as an object lesson for 21st century politics?
It is, after all, very revealing about our weaknesses. It reveals the mean-spirited and deceptive practices of the right wing. It reveals the lack of journalistic standards being practiced by Fox (and the much higher standards of CNN and MSNBC). It reveals the weak knees of Democrats whenever they are confronted by right wing charges. And it reveals the human tendency to believe the worst about someone even before we know the facts.

We should all vow to do better in the future.

$3.4 Trillion Reasons To Not Vote Republican In November.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), that’s the amount tax cuts being proposed by Republicans will add to the national deficit over 10 years.

The proposed tax cuts include permanently extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts which represent $2.3 trillion. Of course that’s just an estimate. But the CBO found that the unfunded Bush tax cuts, which primarily benefit the wealthy, added $539 billion to the deficit in 2005 alone.

On top of that deficit-ballooning idea, Republicans want to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax along with Estate Taxes and Gift Taxes which, according to projections, will add another $1.1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. Again, these tax cuts are aimed at benefitting the wealthiest part of our society.

Just to be clear, the $3.4 trillion would be added to the annual deficit over the next ten years and the effect on the total national debt would be cumulative. In other words, they would likely add another $3.4 trillion to the national debt each and every decade after their passage!

In case you’ve been living in a vacuum, the people promoting these tax cuts are the very people who claim to be so concerned about adding to the deficit that they’re willing to filibuster the extension of unemployment benefits for people who are out of work.

What’s particularly fascinating about this debate is that the Republican leaders don’t think cutting revenue will have an impact on the deficit.

Senate Minority Dimwit, Mitch McConnell is on record for saying, “There’s no evidence that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue.”

Hmmm…if you believe that, maybe you should try this experiment at home: If your household expenses exceed your income, then look for a job with a lower salary. According to McConnell, fellow Senate Dimwit, Jon Kyl, and other Republicans, that will reduce your debt!

That’s the kind of thinking that took us from an economy that generated 22 million jobs and a budget surplus in the Clinton administration to an economy that almost entirely collapsed under the Bush administration and gave us a huge deficit.

Yeah, who wouldn’t want to put those people in charge again?

Another Fox Feargasm.

Heard about the new “Black Panthers?” Have you heard that three members of the Black Panther Party allegedly tried to intimidate voters in one Philadelphia precinct in 2008; one with a police-style baton? Have you heard that the Department of Justice refused to press charges against the individuals involved and, instead, banned the individual with the baton from Philadelphia polling places until 2012?

Of course, the “fair and balanced” nitwits have gone ballistic. They claim that it demonstrates racism by President Obama and his administration. And they have the “news” story on a loop, repeating it hourly.

Nevermind that there are no accusations that these members committed acts of violence or kept anyone from voting. And nevermind that, for decades, white supremacists have intimidated African-Americans to keep them from voting. Indeed, in 2000, there were many reported instances of voter intimidation in Florida to keep African-Americans from voting for Al Gore. And as many as 10,000 registered voters were denied their right to vote in several Florida counties. Where was the outrage by Fox Noise then? Where were the indictments by the Bush administration? Where was the outrage by Fox when their viewers appeared at Congressional forums with threatening signs and assault rifles? And what if the Obama administration had indicted teabaggers for trying to intimidate Congressional representatives?

It appears that the Faux News treatment of the Black Panthers story is merely intended to create more fear toward President Obama amongst the uninformed, the misinformed and the unintelligent.

While the actions of a few people in Philadelphia are deplorable, they are nothing new. And they certainly don’t warrant 24/7 media coverage. But then, neither did the Fox Feargasm that led to the closing of ACORN.

Fox led its viewers to believe that ACORN had helped “steal” the 2008 elections and that employees of ACORN provided advice to a “pimp” and a “prostitute.” After several investigations, it’s now clear that the only prostitution was by the producers of the videos and the idiots on Fox who sold their integrity in order to attack an organization they viewed as a political opponent.

Based on Fox’s version of the news, one can only wonder when, or if, its audience will ever realize that the network that claims to be “fair and balanced” is neither.

© LaMaster Propaganda – All rights reserved.

What’s The Real Reason There Are More Women In The Workplace?

For the past several years, there has been much publicity over the increase of women in the workplace. The hiring of women has greatly outpaced the hiring of men in certain jobs. Advertising, marketing, healthcare, and many other industries are becoming dominated by women. The statistics would lead you to believe that the U.S. has finally become gender equal.

But before you begin applauding American corporations for their enlightment, you may want to consider another, not quite so flattering, reason for the change. In their never-ending quest to increase profits and pump up stock prices, corporations may simply be hiring more women because they can pay them less.

That’s right. American corporations have cut employee-related costs by increasing productivity, automating production lines, and shipping high-paying jobs overseas where workers are paid less and receive virtually no benefits. Many have hired illegal immigrants to replace workers at the lowest end of the pay scale. They’ve utilized independent contractors to replace full-time office workers in order to avoid paying Social Security, health care benefits, disability insurance and unemployment insurance. They’ve even come up with ways to use the Internet to pare the cost of marketing, advertising and design. So what’s left?

Women have always been able to do most jobs as well as men (and many better). But their salaries have long been suppressed. (A recent study found that female attorneys in elite law firms were paid an average of $66,000/year less than their male counterparts.) So why not take advantage of them once again?

Hiring more women is a sign of progress toward gender equality. But the reason for it is not necessarily one that corporations should be proud of.