Truth and Democracy

Inviting those who live in the right-wing alternate universe to join the rest of us out here in reality.

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Location: Hackensack, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Mr. President, (Grow a Pair, Quick!)

Dear Mr. President,

Even after working for your primary opponent, I voted for you Mr. President. I made tons of phone calls to other New Jersey voters, asking them to join me in electing you. It’s coming up on two years since those days and, quite frankly, I’m getting really frustrated with the White House I chose. This isn’t the inane ranting of some right wing lunatic; I personify your base of support. I am sick to death of watching you not stand up and fight for your principles.

You can begin later this morning by firing Gen. Stanley McChrystal. No career military officer since Douglas Macarthur has been in more dire need of unemployment. He has kicked the US Constitution to the curb and violated rule number one for an officer dealing with his superiors. It’s time for him to go. He’s had ample opportunity to privately discuss any concerns he has with you. Instead he chose to publicize them, inject himself into partisan politics in which he has no business, and possibly provide “aid and comfort” to our enemies. Trust me, if any General had been guilty of this kind of conduct while still in George W. Bush’s chain of command, FOX News and the rest of the right wing machine would be calling them a “traitor” and crying out for court-martial proceedings. Firing McChrystal is the least you can do. Do it. It would, for the first time in too long, indicate to your supporters (as well as your critics) that you are actually in charge in Washington.

I’ve watched you try to compromise too much for too long now. Enough. You sought bipartisanship on healthcare and you were accused of wanting to “kill grandma”. Then you let Senators from your own party kill much of the principled good the reform could have done. You compromised endlessly in the name of getting a bill done and it resulted in passage of a questionable law. Don’t confuse our happiness at making things a little better with a triumph. Attempting compromise with an uncompromising opposition is an unsettling pattern into which you have fallen. Republican minorities in the House and Senate are historically small. Yet, pending legislation on climate change and energy independence is dead because of their opposition. Immigration reform is dead at their hands as well, even as they blame your government for “inaction”. And financial reform still lacks the real and obviously necessary teeth.

Time and time again you have sought cooperation from a Republican Party which has been largely in partisan campaign mode since the beginning of last summer. Consider this a friendly intervention. There is an appropriate time for compromise and there are times when you have to fight for your principled beliefs to the bitter end. The GOP has shown you the path which they have chosen. What path will you choose? It’s time for clear, uncompromising and principled leadership. Will you “call the bastards out” and force them to defend their untenable ideology or will you continue to fight with at least one hand tied securely behind your back? Will you join the Republicans in partisan campaign mode from this very morning through Election Day in November? Don’t kid yourself that doing so would be “beneath” a president. They are currently slaughtering you, when it comes to defining your presidency. The only way you can wrest control of the debate away from them is to make clear to America the things you refuse to compromise on AND THEN STICK TO WHAT YOU ADVOCATE, no matter what they throw at you!

You are frittering away a golden opportunity even as I write this letter. You began it when you offered the right wing an olive branch by announcing an end to the moratorium on offshore drilling. You never begin a negotiation by compromising on principle. Now it is exponentially worse. Now, in the face of a disaster of epic proportions, one which cries out to be built into a whole new American approach to energy and a complete house cleaning of incestuous government regulators, one which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that lack of regulations and enforcement literally KILL, your approach has been lukewarm at best and downright conciliatory at worst. I watched your Oval Office Address last week. I wasn’t impressed. Your opponents are laughing at you and your supporters are no longer sure that you’re the same guy they gave their all to elect. Even the devout centrist Bill Clinton, when the chips were down and principle was on the line, stared down the GOP Congress and forced their hands. The Republicans blinked.

Take a lesson from the history books. Look at Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman and even the above example of an otherwise bipartisan Bill Clinton. You own the “Bully Pulpit”. Show them where the “Buck Stops” and stare them down with Clinton’s “Eye of the Tiger”. The odds are stacked in your favor, if only you’d exhibit the backbone.

Let me leave you with a personal anecdote. Yesterday I had a knockdown, drag out debate on a political internet page with a self-described “Southern, Christian, Conservative”. I am a Northern, Atheist, Liberal. To say that he and I differ in our views would be putting it mildly. We argued back and forth for some time. I offered facts to back up my opinions and clear, concise and logical arguments. In the end we came to understand each other’s experience and viewpoints a little better but neither surrendered his core beliefs. In his last comment, he told me that he had gained a newfound understanding of my world view and respected the consistent passion I have in my beliefs. I had never compromised an ounce. The moral is that the GOP will never like you. They will probably never agree with you on policy. But if you stand firm and consistent with them, if you show them no mercy when engaged in debate, if you communicate and act with nothing short of the utmost passion in your principles, they will come to grudgingly respect you. More importantly, you will win back all of the 53% of the American people who chose you in the first place. Please heed this message.


Paul Roth, Jr.
Hackensack, N.J.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Facebook Files: Arizona, Leave it or Love it?

I offer a recent exchange with an actual self-described Arizona conservative, from a friend's Facebook page; his post first (identity protected, obviously), followed by my response:

Actual AZ. Conservative - I live in Arizona and i am a conservative. I like the present law. If an indiviudual is born here then they should have all of the rights of any U.S. Citizen. If their parents are not, then they get to go home. MOST Mexicans i work with want a strong border. I do not have enough space here to fully ask all of the questions. BUT just a few. 1. If your child had a special need and the district could not afford enough aids to help WHILE spending money on ESL (English as a second Language) would you be upset. 2. If your daughter was murdered and the guy ran back to Mexico to safety would you be pissed. 3. If you only had 5K of un-insured driver coverage and your car was totalled by an illegal and you got stuck with the bill would you be pissed. This is happening in my community. Fremder is correct, immigrants provide a ton of services and are very valuable. I just need to know Who they are, why they are here, they pay taxes, FOLLOW ALL LAWS, Including MV insurance and immigration. Pretty Simple. No amnisty, Go home and come back when you do it properly. I have said this many times before, the Scumbag Republicans want the cheap labor and the Scumbag Democrats want the votes. Pretty Simple. I have given far more to help immigrants through my church than most, I pay more taxes than average, I have Spanish speaking instructors to help save lives of Mexican workers. trust me, I get it.

It troubles me deeply when our idiot president comments on the AZ law that neither he, nor his Atty General nor his HM Security sec. have read. That is completely un-acceptable.

I understand everyones heartfelt emotion to this issue. I just need all of the facts to be presented. Yes SOME Illegals pay taxes and YES that can be alot of money. However, They also send back truckloads of CASH to MEXICO. When the country of Mexico brutalizes anyone caught coming across their southern border, NEVER NEVER NEVER let them comment on a legally approved state law such as AZ's. AND then stand and apploud his biassed comments like the embarrasing display from the Dems. That was shameful. That piece of shit Calderon needs to get his own economy in shape then less illegals will want to come here.

I will vote against any measure to deny legal citizenship to ANYONE BORN in the USA. I do and will support a sealed border and deportation of anyone caught here illegally. Lets stick to the constitution and be the example for all who want to come here legally. I truly feel for all of the people. BUT unless we keep sending them back more will think that if they can just get here, then they can stay. THAT is what makes it dangerous this time of year in the desert.

Please visit us in AZ. The beers and sodas are on me.

p.s. ROCKS are DEADLY weapons. the 15 yr old fucker that got shot by border patrol while tossing rocks deserved it.

My Response:

Paul Roth - Where do I begin? First, because the recent post was done in a pretty civilized manner, I will endeavor to maintain that tone. I should say, as a disclaimer, that I don't condone people entering the country illegally any more than the next guy, even if he's an Arizona State Senator. But I can understand the reasons why they do it and I don't hate them for it.

SB 1070 was a terrible law, as originally passed and signed. It was then ammended, barely a week later, after the entire nation went apoplectic over it and many Arizona law enforcement officials publicly refused to enforce it (which would have given private citizens the right to file suit against them). Defenders of the original law now want you to forget about this.

The proposal **** linked us to here simply violates the US Constitution, as someone quickly pointed out. That is as clear as day. I want to pose some questions of my own as well and I also want to make a couple of statements. Here goes...

The three questions above are "trap" questions. They're designed to evoke an emotional response which can only lead you to agree with Mr. ********'s point. Anyone can do this. If we were debating healthcare reform, for example, I could ask you how you would feel if you had a seven year old daughter dying of cancer and could in no way afford a potentially life-saving surgery. How could you say, "I wouldn't care if it meant a government takeover of our healthcare system"? Ever since CNN's Bernard Shaw asked Michael Dukakis how he would feel if Kitty were raped and murdered, this has been politics 101. And yes, I'm guilty of doing it elsewhere.

1. ESL is not exclusively for the benefit of illegal aliens, it's for very legal ones as well. Is this a veiled argument for mandated English-Only Everywhere? Should legal immigrants be forced to speak english BEFORE entering the US? If all Arizonans are as sympathetic to others as you seem, then why the need for banning cultural studies, soccer in public parks, or devising arbitrary standards for terminating teachers with "strong accents"? Why are they writing racial slurs on newspaper websites or yelling them at a bunch of kids helping to paint a mural? What's going on down there? It seems as if an awful lot of your neighbors don't share your liberal sympathy for our fellow human beings. Hate makes for bad legislation and even worse politics.

2. Of course you'd be pissed, you'd be murderously angry! If immigration laws were based solely on these kinds of tragedies, no Scandinavian would ever again be allowed to vacation in the Islands. We could use it as justification for banning interracial dating in the US too, if we wanted (See OJ Simpson). What you describe is a tragedy. But how many cases have fit this exact description?

3. Is this even an immigration issue? Again, I have little doubt that it happens. It also happens every day involving uninsured drivers who are 100% American citizens. And, be careful, you are coming dangerously close to confirming the foolishness of states which are trying to sue the federal government to block the new healthcare law, based on the constitution. Is Jan Brewer's AG engaged in this partisan waste of your tax dollars as well?

I agree with your assessment of Bush's "Amnesty" proposal, vis-a-vis "cheap labor" (See, Republican Scumbags). However, I have done GOTV with the Democrats, including areas with large hispanic populations, and have yet to see evidence of a single illegal alien casting a vote. I believe this to be another tin-foil hat right wing, "I can't accept that Obama actually won", conspiracy theory. It places right up there with ACORN causing the global economic meltdown and those FEMA Detention Camps.

And our "idiot" president doesn't read any entire law. No more than any other politician in America. They all have staff who both write and read the exact language for them, then brief them on the details. The idiot president, his bonehead Attorney General and the dimwitted Director of Homeland Security, just disagree with you on the wisdom of the law and the agenda behind it. You should really stop pretending that the law Brewer originally (and happily) signed is the current law of Arizona (as ammended).

We're all aware that part of the story of SB1070 and also the current racial tensions in AZ., is a lack of action and leadership by the federal government. But saddling Obama, or the Democrats in general, for that problem is focusing on less than half the story. The GOP had full control for six years not too long ago and the best they could muster was Bush's "Amnesty" and the far right wing's White Elephant "Wall" idea. Obama's first year got bogged down on more urgent matters and current Repubs have made a "no bipartisanship" pledge through November. Nothing's going to happen soon on immigration, like it or not.

As for the Mexican president (and Mexico in general), that is some seriously selective outrage you have toward them. Calderon's comments, their laws, their economy? Really? If American conservatives hate Mexico so much, then why are they trying so hard to remake America into Mexico's identical twin? Let's compare our southern neighbors with the right wing's vision for us here at home:

Democracy accessible only to the wealthy and most powerful individuals and entities?
Mexico - check
Right Wing - check

Rampant corruption caused by small, poorly funded and ineffectual government institutions?
Mexico - check
Right Wing - check

Nonexistent labor and safety standards?
Mexico - check
Right Wing - check

Nonexistent environmental regulations?
Mexico - check
Right Wing - check

Little protection for accused criminals?
Mex. - check
RW - check

Brutal immigration enforcement?
Mex. - check
RW - check

No safety net for the poor?
Mex. - check
RW - check

Two standards of education/ healthcare/ justice?
Mex. - check
RW - check

One religion recognized and promoted above others?
Mex. - check
RW - check

Well, I could really go on like this for hours but I can't believe how long this post is already, even for me! A closing query; Why is it that our northern border with Canada is so darn quiet? Why aren't millions of desperate Canucks risking life and limb to come here? Aren't they dying to escape all that "socialism". Why are the residents of Mexico, your model for America's future, flooding here by the millions?

Oh, and they're sending those "truckloads of CASH" back mostly to their starving families.

Paul Roth, Jr.