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Political

Biden’s Immigration Plan and ICE FUD

I just finished reading another poorly done conservative piece in the Savannah Morning News; this one full of hearsay and innuendo. It was published at the same time as another piece that formed the point of this particular point/counter-point.
 
Both writings are supposedly about Biden’s immigration plan, but only the positive one really discusses it. The conservative opinion, written by Ryan Smith, a communications professional, seemed to be more focused on ICE, as defined under Trump, rather than Biden’s plan. He writes:
 
‘Many of these changes are cosmetic. But according to Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a fundamental change in immigration is underway, a change that members of America’s border security agencies say could bring even more changes to our immigration system.
 
“I’ve heard from multiple sources that dismantling ICE and ending its enforcement role was discussed by [Department of Homeland Security Secretary] Alejandro Mayorkas at a town hall meeting for ICE staff in San Antonio,” Vaughan told InsideSources. “The apparent purpose of this reorganization is to abolish immigration enforcement by starving the agency of resources, personnel, and authority, and at the same time stifle internal resistance by busting the deportation officers union.”’
 
Hearsay and innuendo.
 
Hearsay from multiple sources about dismantling ICE and ending its enforcement role. There could actually be truth to half of this: there has been significant discussion about dismantling ICE. ICE was a knee jerk reaction to 9/11 that was hastily contrived, and has been poorly managed ever since. Even many ICE agents have recommended it be dismantled.
 
But then we get the innuendo: the sole purpose for dismantling ICE is to abolish immigration enforcement, something that no one with any intelligence should find credible. Even less credible is a asserted secondary purpose: to bust the deportation officers union. We assume the writer picked this up from an article published by the Center for Immigration Studies, about a nefarious plot to abolish deportation officers.
 
(How does one abolish deportation officers? Does one wave a magic wand and with a “bippoty boppity boop” they vanish in a sparkly cloud?)
 
ICE was originally intended to be a small organization whose sole purpose was to prevent acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money, and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities. It then morphed into this large blob of an agency that is re-defined by whoever is President to do whatever the President deems it should do.
 
Under Trump, it became such a symbol of hate and fear that the officers within ICE who are actually tasked with enforcing ICE’s original duties cannot do so because police agencies would no longer work with them.
 
As we have painfully discovered over the last several years, no agency with sweeping police powers should operate with such ill-defined boundaries. The potential for abuse is enormous.
 
I can truly believe that there was a meeting in the DHS about dismantling ICE. There have been meetings in the DHS before Trump was President about doing the same. And there have been calls from groups outside the government, both conservative and liberal, to eliminate the agency and return both people and duties to the agencies originally tasked to manage both.
 
But this opinion was supposed to be about Biden’s immigration plan, wasn’t it?
 
As if reminded of the fact, Smith casually tosses in a couple of indifferent paragraphs about the plan, but only after he’s sufficiently stirred up enough fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) to ensure a negative reaction to anything anyone might read about it. He also manages to work Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s into the piece, because you can’t have a conservative writing without mentioning her least once.

 

Categories
Political

The Software Ate My Vote

I had no idea when I moved to Georgia that I’d be moving to the center of the political universe. Nor that I would be spending my time deflecting vicious comments away from a Republican Secretary of State. But here I am.

Sample from SoS Raffensperger Facebook Page comments

I’m not surprised that Trump is spending his time crying “Fraud!” when the election didn’t go his way. I am surprised that Georgia’s senators, Perdue and Loeffler, would parrot him; especially considering they’re up for a special election come January 5.

Consider this: Perdue and Loeffler are spreading baseless rumors, attempting to discredit the votes of people they need in order to hold on to the Senate seats that have been such a lucrative bonus for them. They turned against Georgia state Republicans to do so, standing firmly behind Trump who lost by over 12,000 votes in our state.

Trash the voters you need in defense of a man the voters don’t want. It boggles the mind.

Perdue and Loeffler put themselves into this position because they’re terrified of the Trump supporters, such as the mental wizards displayed in the comments in the image at the start of this writing. I’d feel sorry for them if I weren’t enjoying watching them try to fancy foot their way off the ice of their own making.

Categories
Places Political

On my way to writing there was a pandemic. And we moved to Georgia. And Trump.

I had such good intentions at the start of the year. I was going to lose weight, get in shape, and most of all, return to writing on a regular basis. And then the rest of 2020 hit.

It started with COVID and it ends with COVID and a parade of masks and hand washes and furtive outdoor trips. We made it worse on ourselves by deciding come hell, high water, or pandemic, we were still going to follow through on our decision to sell our home in Missouri and move to Savannah. And we did make the thousand mile move, though it’s not something I would recommend to anyone else during a pandemic.

 

Moving truck about to leave Missouri

Categories
Political

It’s 2020 and the fun is about to begin

I spent New Year’s Eve as usual: in bed before midnight with noise cancelling ear plugs stuffed in my ears and my favorite thunderstorm and fireplace sound file playing.  Only a few firework explosions last night; my neighbors must be slipping.

Speaking of thunderstorms and explosion, this is the year we kick Trump, McConnell, Nunes, and as many other Republicans as possible, out of office. When we do, I may actually stay up to midnight next year.

Categories
Political

New Yorker piece on Al Franken

I should write a follow-up to my earlier piece on Al Franken, but time flies, writers plod.

In the meantime, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker has an excellent piece on the entire fiasco, albeit she’s more sympathetic to Leeann Tweeden than I am.

Senators who regret their hasty and pandering decision: too damn late.

A remarkable number of Franken’s Senate colleagues have regrets about their own roles in his fall. Seven current and former U.S. senators who demanded Franken’s resignation in 2017 told me that they’d been wrong to do so. Such admissions are unusual in an institution whose members rarely concede mistakes. Patrick Leahy, the veteran Democrat from Vermont, said that his decision to seek Franken’s resignation without first getting all the facts was “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in forty-five years in the Senate. Heidi Heitkamp, the former senator from North Dakota, told me, “If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation. It was made in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was.” Tammy Duckworth, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, told me that the Senate Ethics Committee “should have been allowed to move forward.” She said it was important to acknowledge the trauma that Franken’s accusers had gone through, but added, “We needed more facts. That due process didn’t happen is not good for our democracy.” Angus King, the Independent senator from Maine, said that he’d “regretted it ever since” he joined the call for Franken’s resignation. “There’s no excuse for sexual assault,” he said. “But Al deserved more of a process. I don’t denigrate the allegations, but this was the political equivalent of capital punishment.” Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, told me, “This was a rush to judgment that didn’t allow any of us to fully explore what this was about. I took the judgment of my peers rather than independently examining the circumstances. In my heart, I’ve not felt right about it.” Bill Nelson, the former Florida senator, said, “I realized almost right away I’d made a mistake. I felt terrible. I should have stood up for due process to render what it’s supposed to—the truth.” Tom Udall, the senior Democratic senator from New Mexico, said, “I made a mistake. I started having second thoughts shortly after he stepped down. He had the right to be heard by an independent investigative body. I’ve heard from people around my state, and around the country, saying that they think he got railroaded. It doesn’t seem fair. I’m a lawyer. I really believe in due process.”