Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Inner City Culture


Over 21,000 people lived in Ferguson Missouri, and over 67 percent of them are African-American.  One out of every four residents live below the poverty line. 

The people running that city don’t reflect the demographics of the majority of the people living in the community.  For example 50 out of 53 police officers are white.  Six out of seven school board members are white, and the city council has only one black member. 

According to Missouri attorney general, 93 percent of the people arrested in Ferguson are black.  And, court fees account for the nearly one-quarter of the city’s revenue.

Congressman Paul Ryan insists: “We have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.  And so there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders response to the situation in Ferguson: “If we are going to address the issue of crime in low-income areas and in African-American areas, it might be a good idea that instead of putting heavy equipment into police departments on those areas, we start creating jobs for the kids there who desperately need them.”

Apparently, Republicans want to distance themselves from a conversation about race, because they’d have to talk about job opportunities, education and fairness.  Most Republican leaders have not commented on the protest or the police activity in Ferguson.  With the exception of Ryan Paul, no one has been willing to talk about it.  

Race is the underlying issue.  Beginning with the fact that a young African-American teenager is shot by a white policeman six times.  Being shot twice in the head appears to be more of an execution than an act of self-defense.
Racism is an original sin of American history, and a literally mortal sin in too many police departments.

Paul Ryan is contemplating a run for the presidency in 2016, and he doesn’t want to suggest that the real problem in Ferguson is race, because that is not a message that resonates in the Republican party.

Ryan talks about the culture in the African- American community, but the real culture that needs to be analyzed is the culture of those police forces who see themselves as an over-militarized occupying army.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Culture of Corruption

On 2/23/09, “Time” magazine presented a list of those responsible for the 2008 economic crisis.  Ranked at the top of their list was Angelo Mozilo the chief executive of Countrywide Financial.  The ranking was the consensus of opinion of 10 business and economics columnist.

In the “Financial Times,” Chrystia Freeland wrote, that it wasn’t Countrywide alone, but in fact part of a system, where the banks, as they did historically, no longer held the mortgage.  Therefore, investment banks no longer had a direct financial incentive to care whether people were going to pay their mortgages back.

In 2009, Preet Bharara became the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.  As the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, he announced mortgage fraud charges against three former employees of Credit Suisse, after the collapsing value of their investments nearly destroyed the global economy.

In 2011, Angelo Mozilo was fined $67.5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Nevertheless, Bank of America Corporation purchased Countrywide Financial to create the nation's leading mortgage service.

The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group includes both State and Federal prosecutors.  As a member of that group, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman deserves credited for the $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over accusations that it duped investors into buying troubled mortgage securities.  It’s the single largest government settlement by a company in American history.

That was another major victory in the fight to hold some of the largest banks in the world accountable for the misconduct that contributed to the global financial crisis.  The settlement surpasses the $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase that was secured by this same task force in 2013.

Prosecutors are preparing a separate civil case against Angelo Mozilo, who came to embody the risk-taking for which Bank of America is paying dearly.

Democrats passed Dodd-Frank financial reform.  What has Rep. Chris Gibson done to hold those responsible for the global financial crisis accountable?

The Bank of America settlement includes $800 million in relief for New York.  The money will be used for homeowner relief, foreclosure prevention services, land banks, community revitalization, and the creation and preservation of affordable housing.  In total, Democrats have won nearly $37 billion from banks that helped cause the mortgage crisis.  That includes more than $4 billion in cash and consumer relief for New Yorkers.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Limiting Transparency


According to the 2010 U.S. census, just over 21,000 people lived in Ferguson Missouri.  Over 67 percent are African-American, and one in four residents, live below the poverty line.  Per capita income in the city is $21,000.
The people running Ferguson don’t reflect those demographics, 50 out of 53 police officers are white.  Six out of seven school board members are white.  The city council has only one black member.
The Detroit Free Press reported African American voter turned out in Ferguson in 2013 was only 6 percent.  To make matters worst, the over policing in Ferguson is funding the city.  Court fees account for the nearly one-quarter of the city’s revenue.
According to Missouri attorney general, 93 percent of the people arrested in Ferguson are black.  The underlying problems in Ferguson run deep, and the only way to fix these issues is for more African Americans to get involved in their community, take control, open a dialogue between residence and authorities.
The St. Louis County police department’s autopsy found that Michael Brown had died of gunshot wounds, but wouldn't say how many times he’d been shot.
Michael Brown was killed on August 9 by Darren Wilson.  According to the preliminary results of an autopsy that his family requested Michael was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.  The bullets that struck Michael Brown were not fired from close range, as indicated by the absence of gunpowder residue on his body.  According to the autopsy report, the last two shots were likely the ones to his head.  A bullett entered the top of Brown's skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he was struck.  The other bullet shattered his right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone.

At the request of Michael Brown’s family, Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, flew to Missouri to conduct the separate autopsy.   Dr. Baden said the bullet entering the top of Michael Brown's skull was "likely the last of bullets to hit him," which also supports statements by eyewitnesses.  It suggest that the teenagers head was bent forward when a bullet fired by Darren Wilson struck him and caused the fatal injury.

An eyewitness testified:"As he runs the police get out of his vehicle and he follows behind him, shooting.  And the kid's body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turns around and puts his hands up like this, and the cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete."


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Open and Transparent


Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed has initiated a petition to Robert P. McCulloch, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, which points out the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer has caused unrest across our community, state, and nation.  That petition demands an independent, impartial investigation, that according to State Senator Nasheed the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office cannot provide.

The petition sites McCulloch's decision not to charge police officers who shot two unarmed African-American men in 2000 by shooting into their car 20 times.  A subsequent U.S. Attorney's independent investigation found that those officers lied about their actions.  McCulloch’s office doesn’t provide confidence for an impartial investigation.  His recent participation in one of the most racially polarizing elections in the history of St. Louis County suggests that his office's continued oversight of the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer will only spread further distrust and in the St. Lewis community.

President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown.  The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation.

Obama cautioned: “I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward.  When something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities. Now is the time for healing.  Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.  Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Militarized Police


Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern that the law enforcement response to protests over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown an unarmed black teenager, by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri shows the extent to which local police departments have become overly militarized.

Senator Rand Paul noted: “If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off.  But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.”

Senator Paul added that the outrage by the community is understandable, but it is not an excuse for rioting and looting as has been seen since the killing of 18-year-old.  He pointed out, that the police do have a duty to keep the peace, but that there is a difference between a police response and a military one.  

He blamed "big government" for "incentivized the militarization of local police precincts" by providing money to help local governments build "what are essentially small armies."  

Senator Paul believes, that the wars on drugs and terrorism are typically cited as the reason for such things as full riot gear and even tanks.  And, they’ve able to obtain military gear that is beyond the needs of what most consider to be simple law enforcement.

Paul warned: “Americans in general feel targeted by their own government, and considering the racial disparities of the criminal justice system, it isn't surprising for blacks to feel they are especially targeted.  Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention."

In recent months, Senator Paul has worked with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker to end racial disparities in sentencing.  


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Killed A Lot


Police officer Dan Page of the St. Louis County Police Department was involved in maintaining security in Ferguson, Missouri during the violent protests calling for the arrest of the white police officer who repeatedly shot and killed African-American teenager Michael Brown.  Recently, Page was put on administrative leave after a video surfaced showing him complaining about the Supreme Court, Muslims, and remarks about his past as "a killer."

St. Louis County police officials reported that Page was removed from his post and that they’ve started a process that will likely include the department's internal affairs unit investigating and a psychological evaluation of this police officer.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar has apologize to the community and wants those offended by officer Page’s remarks to understand that Page doesn’t represent the rank-and-file.

A YouTube video shows the military veteran talking for about an hour to an Oath Keepers group.  In his rambling remarks on the video, Page talks about what he describes as a draft replacement for the U.S. Constitution, the "four sodomites on the Supreme Court," and a visit to Kenya "to our undocumented President's home."  He refers to Barack Obama as "that illegal alien who claims to be our President."

Speaking about Muslims, he said: "They will kill you."  On domestic disputes, he said: "You don't like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with.  Problem solved.  Get it done."  On urban violence, he predicts that "when the inner cities start to ignite, people are going to start killing people they don't like."

Page boasted: "I'm also a killer.  I've killed a lot and, if I need to, I will kill a whole bunch more.  If you don't want to get killed, don't show up in front of me."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Liberalism


Definitions of the word liberal include: “radical, tolerant, progressive and not traditional.  Advocating progressive political reform; representative forms of government as opposed to monarchies; and maximum individual freedoms, which are secured by government protecting our civil liberties.”

Without liberals this county wouldn’t exist, because our founding fathers were radicals, who weren’t satisfied with the status quo and declared their independence from the English monarchy by establishing a representative form of government.  The founding fathers, who were most radical insisted on specifying our individual freedoms in a Bill of Rights.

Radical abolitionist were tolerant of differences in skin color.  They asserted that it’s intolerable for white Americans to consider men from Africa their property and treat them as slaves.  The radical suffragette movement advanced the status of women by demanding the right to vote.  More recently radical members of Congress insisted that we ensure the security and dignity for our senior citizens, by creating Social Security and Medicare programs.

A liberal isn’t interested in controlling other people's behavior unless those people are infringing on the rights of others.  We don’t have a problems with homosexual behavior or with access to contraceptives, abortion rights or even the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Religious conservative extremist appear to be control freaks, because they insist that every American abide by their religious doctrine.  They’re intolerant of homosexuals and believe a woman's right to use contraception or have an abortion is something that should be limited by a bunch of men in Congress or on the Supreme Court.  

Liberals believe women should receive equal pay for equal work, and insist that every American start paying their fair share, especially those very profitable corporations that don't pay any taxes.

We support the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, because it makes health care a basic cornerstone of middle class security.  It prohibits insures from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and canceling coverage when someone gets sick.  It keeps premiums low, because insurance companies must justify rate hikes. and provide rebates if they don't spend at least 80% of consumers' premiums on care instead of overhead, marketing and profits.  It gives parents the comfort of knowing their children can stay on their insurance until they're 26.  It expands care to millions, who will be able to afford insurance for the first time, 95% of Americans under the age of 65 will have insurance.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Eric Schneiderman


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is an important member of  The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group.  Recently, this group that includes both State and Federal prosecutors announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America.  
This is another major victory in the fight to hold some of the largest banks in the world accountable for the misconduct that contributed to the global financial crisis.  The settlement surpasses the $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase that was secured by this same task force in 2013, making it the largest settlement in history.
Our Attorney General has been taking on these tough fight to make sure that there's one set of rules for everyone.  He is not only holding the banks accountable, he is also ensuring that this money gets used to support those New Yorkers who were hurt the most when the economy crashed in 2008.
The Bank of America settlement includes $800 million in relief for New York.  That money that will be used for homeowner relief, foreclosure prevention services, land banks, community revitalization, and the creation and preservation of affordable housing.  In total, The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group has won nearly $37 billion from banks that helped cause the mortgage crisis.  That includes more than $4 billion in cash and consumer relief for New Yorkers.
This announcement builds on Eric Schneiderman’s strong record of providing support to communities and homeowners across our state.  His Homeowner Protection Program has assisted over 30,000 families who were hit hard by the financial crisis and has helped secure more than $2 billion in mortgage benefits for New Yorkers.  He has also been funding nine land banks from Suffolk to Broome to Buffalo that are buying abandoned properties and converting them for public use.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Getting Worst

Damage from tornadoes and severe thunder storms are on the rise.  Last May and June were the warmest since records started being record back in 1888.

The Republican party refuses to acknowledge that climate change even exists. Americans are loosing their homes and property, but House Republicans refused to approve more funding to fight wildfires.  The number of wildfires this year has forced the forest service to use mitigation funding to fight fires.  Mitigation programs are measures taken in advance to minimize the damage done by natural disasters and is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives.  Using mitigation funds to fight fires this year will result in wildfires costing even more next year.

A White House report reveals delaying climate policies could cause our economy a $150 billion a year.  Larger storms are threatening our coast, sea levels are rising, and drinking water is at risk.  We’re having more wildfires and droughts.  We also have a do-nothing Congress, that is basically telling us that we’re on our own.

Notably, 196 Democratic members of Congress signed a discharge petition to bring a bipartisan bill out of committee that would set up a special fund so that the fires could be fought this year and next year.  Mitigation funds have be set aside to manage forest lands, build access roads, and to reduce the fuel supply. 

California is drying out, and wildfires and drought are getting worse every year.  It’s estimated 17,000 agricultural jobs could be lost to these wild fires and droughts, and remove over $2 billion from California’s economy.

In my opinion, most congressional Republicans are pretending to be climate change deniers, because they’re totally dependent for political campaign contributions from the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, who created the Tea Party movement.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Timothy Gibson


The following letter to the editor by Timothy Gibson was published in the Oneonta Daily Star.
“My response to Mr. Spaccaforno’s July 24 letter to the editor would begin with declaring congressional candidate Sean Eldridge anything but desperate.  Spaccaforno’s assertion that Mr. Eldridge was drumming up false assertions about congressman Gibson’s military service flies in the face of what I have heard Mr. Eldridge say on more than one occasion.  He holds Chris Gibson’s military service in high regard and has said so in a gathering right here in Oneonta. Anything to the contrary is pure fiction.
“However, Sean Eldridge very much intends to hold Mr. Gibson’s feet to the fire on his many votes that have perpetuated the “do-nothing” Republican House majority in the U.S. Congress.  A Republican Party that has been hijacked by the Tea Party Express has yet to rid itself of its shackles (in fact, the cuffs are getting tighter) — the same tea party that Chris Gibson rode into office on.
“The fact that Mr. Eldridge is a person of means tells me that someone who could do whatever he wishes with his life, and goes into public service, is demonstrating the integrity of the type of person I want in Congress representing me.  There will be no distasteful, underhanded quid pro quos when Sean Eldridge takes office.  Lobbyists trying to soften regulations of “fracking” or extremists trying to strengthen their already-offensive positions on what women can and can’t do with their bodies, will just have to go down the hall to their Republican friends.
“No, the only desperate candidate in the upcoming election for the New York 19th Congressional District is Chris Gibson: A man who barely eked out a win in the last election and who has been sitting next to and holding the hand of John Boehner for the last four years.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Diversion


Speaker John Boehner and his do-nothing Republican House caucus are by far the least productive majority caucus in our nation’s history.  Only 125 laws have been passed since January of 2013, because the Republican playbook calls for obstruction.  

After rejecting a plan to extend unemployment benefits, House Republicans went home for Christmas and allowed unemployment insurance to expire for 1.3 million Americans.  Polls showed that 55 percent of voters supported extending unemployment insurance.

They refused to bring minimum wage up for a vote, because it most likely would have passed.  A national poll shows that 91 percent of Democrats and overall, 71 percent of voters want the minimum wage increased.  

House Republicans could have helped the economy by rebuilding our nation infrastructure, while creating  jobs.  They refused to pass a long- term infrastructure bill, but had no problem defaulting on the debt, which cost our treasury $25 billion.  

President Obama pointed out: “There’s no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects.  There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs.”

At current spending levels, it would take 80 years for our country to address all of the 70,000 bridges that are in need of work.  In 2007, thirteen people died when a bridge in Minneapolis suddenly collapsed.  More tragedies caused by crumbling bridges are avoidable if Republicans agree to invest in the future of America.  House Republicans shouldn’t wait until after the election to work with President Obama to pass a $302 billion highway trust fund bill.

Instead, House Republicans took a different path.  They decided to divert attention from the fact that they’ve done nothing on behalf of the average American worker, by suing Obama on the last week before they went home for the August recess.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fast and Furious


Kurt Holcherr insisted President Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for: “Fast and Furious.”

The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ “Fast and Furious” program was first called “Wide Receiver.”  It was started during the Bush administration.  The Obama administration didn’t created it as scheme to send guns to Mexico in order to create more gun control. In fact, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Obama, or top officials in the Justice Department knew about it.

Although, the ATF operation was started in the Bush administration, Congressman Darrell Issa, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform didn't feel compelled to go right to the heart of the issue and get the head of the program from its inception to find out if these weapons were traced, because there was conflicting information.  He refused to call Bush’s Attorney General Mukasey, who was involved in the gun-running from the beginning.

Congressional investigations are suppose to make sure that there is as much positive information as possible, but Issa sought to manufacture negative news.  He claimed: “This is not a partisan hearing.  I will not have it accused of being a partisan hearing.”  Self-styled prosecutor, Issa has actually made accusations against Obama and then said: “We’re getting to proving that.”  Politics has been polluted, by so much hatred of Obama that all it takes to make a charge is the obsession to do it.  

A contempt charge against Attorney General Holder helped to fire up the right wing base.  Congressman John Mica was one of the committee members who voted for the contempt charge against Eric Holder claimed: “This administration is a gun control administration.  They tried to put the violence in Mexico on the blame of the United States.  So they concocted this scheme and actually sending our federal agents sending guns down there and trying to cook some little deal to say that we’ve got to get more guns under control.  That’s how it started.”

Democratic House Leader Pelosi pointed out: “It is no accident, it is no coincidence that the attorney general of the United States is the person responsible for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country, that issues that relate to the civil liberties of the American people are upheld.  These very same people are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Benghazi


Kurt Holcherr made the misleading claim, that Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for “Benghazi.”   

Actually, House Republicans voted against a $300 million request by Hillary Clinton to beef up embassy and consulate security.

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “I think the Accountability Review Board headed by a career ambassador, Tom Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, whom I have a great deal of respect, have looked at Benghazi thoroughly and made their recommendations, which are being implemented.  

“We shouldn’t forget that the host nations are the real security for our consulates and embassies, and the Libyans failed miserably.”

CIA Director David Petraeus testified that the intelligence community got it wrong, and acknowledged that they thought initially that this was a protest that was either hijacked or got out of control, that terrorists and extremists were involved in, but that it began with a protest.  

Susan Rice was criticized for using the word "extremists" instead of "terrorists."  But, that word choice came directly from the intelligence community’s talking points.  She removed the words “al Qaeda,” and according to the Senate committee report, the reference to al Qaeda was removed to protect intelligence sources and methods.

The Accountability Review Board confirmed, that in the hours and days following the attack in Benghazi, there were "no delays in decision-making.  No denials of support from Washington or from our military.”

Career counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke served under four presidents beginning as an analyst on nuclear weapons under Reagan and established a record for continuous service in national security policy positions.  He asserted: “This has been completely examined many times.  And we shouldn’t even dignify this with pretending that it’s a serious effort.  The fact of the matter is everyone in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, knows this is a political stunt, and that’s all that it is.  It’s a political stunt using the lives of dead Americans, and there’s no reason in my mind to give the Republicans or anybody who says that this is serious any credibility whatsoever.  Just call it for what it is.

“Ronald Reagan had a heck of a lot of diplomats killed on his watch.  Nothing like this ever happened, because it used to be that these issues of national security were non-partisan.  And one looked at the facts.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Syria


Kurt Holcherr insists Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for “Syria.”  How so?

Saddam Hussain used chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980’s, and in 1988, he used mustard gas and nerve agents against Iraq’s Kurdish citizens.  An important distinction between those 100,000 deaths that proceeded the hundreds of deaths from chemical weapon used so far, is that both Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez al Assad and Saddam Hussein used poison gas on their people.

Obama asked: “Here's my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?  What's the purpose of the international system that we've built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world's people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?” 

Since, our country didn’t responded militarily for over 2 years to the more than a hundred thousand people that had been killed in Syria, many people around the world believe that our government should continue to ignore the fact that Assad has used poison gas to kill his own people.

An air attack on the Assad regime was being planned, but unintended consequences were likely, since the civil war was already spilling over Syria’s boarders.

Encouraging signs occurred, in part because of the credible threat of military action, as well as constructive talks that President Obama had with President Putin.  The Russian government indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons.  The Assad regime admitted that it had those weapons, and even committed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use. 

President Obama acknowledge: “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments.  But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.”

In September 2013 Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, and agreed to the destruction of its weapons to be supervised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Ahmet Uzumcu, the chief of the OPCW reports the entire arsenal has been removed. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

IRS


Republican propagandist Kurt Holcherr insists President Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for “IRS.”

The Internal Revenue Service is the government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement.  IRS flagged applications from conservative nonprofits for extra review because of their political activity had fallen through the cracks.  Social welfare nonprofits poured more than $256 million into the 2012 federal elections.  They’re known as dark money groups, because they don’t have to disclose their donors.

Congress created a tax exemption for social welfare nonprofits.  The statute defining those groups says they’re supposed to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”  But in 1959, IRS regulators interpreted the “exclusively” part of the statute to mean groups had to be “primarily” engaged in enhancing social welfare.  That change opened the door for greater political spending.  The IRS claimed, that it uses a “facts and circumstances” test to determine whether a group mostly works to benefit the community or not.  

That deliberate vagueness led some groups to claim that “primarily” means they must spend 51% of their money on a social welfare projects such as “education,” which could include issue ads criticizing politicians.  Other groups insist that they’re allowed to spend as much as 49% of its expenditures on ads advocating the defeat of a candidate for office.

The IRS was set up in a way that’s supposed to insulate it from political influence.  A president can only nominate the appointment the two top officials.  Why would Obama allow Doug Shulman, the Republican appointee, to stay as the head of the IRS, if he wanted to be able to manipulate that operation?

Obama insists that there is nothing in the IRS scandal that means that the IRS shouldn’t be asking tax-exempt groups about their activity.  That’s a legitimate part of how tax-exempt groups are supposed to be evaluated.

Everybody seems to agree, that it can’t be done in an ideologically slanted way, where conservative groups or liberal groups have an easier time just because they’re conservative or liberal.

A “Bloomberg” report noted, that even if conservative groups were being singled out for extra scrutiny, all liberal groups weren’t getting a free pass.  Some of liberal applicants got the same detailed questionnaires about political activity, that conservative groups did, but unlike any of the conservative groups, at least one of the liberal groups had its tax status denied.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Iraq


Kurt Holcherr claimed President Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for “Iraq.” 

Actually, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is an al Qaeda splinter group, that is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, that stretches from Iraq into northern Syria.  ISIS has had substantial success in Syria battling President Bashar al-Assad's security forces.

The Shiite Iranian regime is Iraqi’s President al-Malaki's closest ally in the region.  The Obama administration is concerned that teaming up with Iran to fight ISIS would both alienate Iraq's Sunni minority and worry our Sunni allies.

In April 2008, “liberal” Senator Joe Biden, who was at the time the ranking Democrat on foreign relations presented a plan to give regional control in Iraq to Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.  Biden believed the people of Iraq would support the idea of a confederacy which would offer a lot of autonomy to those three separate groups. 

Biden’s plan pointed out that under the existing constitution of Iraq any three of their 18 states could get together and form a region.  The people in a region would have control over the local laws, just like Americans do with the local laws on education and property in our various states.  A region could have it’s own police force, like our state police, but they would have a central government that made Baghdad a federal city like Washington, which would control Iraq’s borders, their national army and the allocation of resources. 

The Sunnis region(s) would get a piece of the oil action, so that they’d have a source of revenues.  That would be the basis for Iraq being able to stay together as a loosely federated republic and not a haven for terrorist. 

Bush was committed to Maliki the new prime minister of Iraq.  But, Biden didn’t see Maliki as the unifying figure, and believed that Maliki would do nothing to get the Sunnis to buy into a democratic government.  Biden predicted that unless, the Sunnis bought into the new government there was no chance of avoiding increasing sectarian violence. 

In 2008, Biden believed Maliki had no intention of doing what had to be done to reach a political solution with the Sunnis in Iraq.  

When we invaded Iraq in 2003, we did Iran a great favor, because Iraq end up with a Shiite dominated government, which wasn’t prepared to make any political concession to have a united Iraq. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ukraine


Kurt Holcherr insists President Obama and liberal Senators are responsible for “Ukraine.”  How so?

Malaysian airline flight 17 was shot-down in the hostile region of Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.  The Boeing 777 went down in territory held by pro-Russian rebels.  It was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 295 people on board, and there were no survivors.

The airline was hit at 33,000 feet while flying at over 490 knots per hour.  Immediately after the crash, a Ukrainian interior ministry official announced, that pro-Russian separatist shot down the plane with a Buk missile.  A Buk missile is Soviet-era surface-to-air missile that can reach altitudes of 70,000 feet.  The leader of the pro-Russian separatist deny they shot down the plane, and claimed Ukrainian armed forces shot the plane the down.

An “Associated Press” journalist reportedly saw a launcher similar to the BUK missile system near an eastern Ukrainian town held by separatist.

Intelligence analysts were working furiously to determine whether Russian officials had any direct involvement in the downing of the jetliner, an accusation Moscow has strongly denied.  Analysts have been examining phone intercepts, social media posts and information gathered on the ground to see what role, if any, Russian officials may have played.

Earlier in the day of the shoot- down, President Obama had spoken to Russian President Putin by phone regarding the new sanctions imposed on Russia.  At the end of that call they spoke about the downed Malaysian aircraft.  In that conversation Obama told President Putin that he wants to see Russia de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.  

This all comes against the backdrop that the day before Obama had announced the stiffest round of sanctions so far against increasing military encroaching by Russia into Ukraine and increasing aid to the rebels.  Apparently, some of that Russian military aid led to the downed Malaysian Airliner.

Secretary of State Kerry announced: “There's no shortage of evidence that pro-Russian rebels shot down the jet.  There's video of a launcher with one surface-to-air missile missing, imagery showing the firing, and intercepted calls with rebels claiming credit for the strike.

"We know from intercepts, that those are in fact the voices of separatists.  And now we have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area into Russia with at least one missing missile on it."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Southern Border


House Speaker Boehner and Kurt Holcherr have decided to abandon our “Southern Border”crises, and instead blame President Obama and liberal Senators.

The reason unaccompanied children aren’t being immediately deported is the William-Wilberforce Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act of 2008.  That law dictates how children caught crossing the border without their parents must be treated.  Children must be turned over within 72 hours to the Department of Health and Human Services to care for them until safe housing arrangements can be made.  Instead, some House Republicans are calling for all of those children to be immediately deported.

President George W. Bush signed the law in December of 2008, in order to protect children from countries who don’t share a border with our country.  It applies to children from Central America, where thousands of children are fleeing violence.  It is a bipartisan law to protect children by giving them an immigration hearing.  Technically it applies only to unaccompanied minors, and it doesn’t provide automatic asylum.  It allows children to stay here while their cases work through the immigration system.  

As of June 15th, 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America had been taken into custody on the Mexican border.  This flood of immigrants has overwhelmed an already severely backlogged system.  The solution is to simply follow the law, by extending the protections in the 2008 law.  The court decisions will further protected children, and do so in a way that honors due process.

President Obama asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to help deal with the influx of minors from Central America.  Half of the money would provide care for children, and the other half would speed up deportation hearings and increase border security.

Obama has suggested: “If House Republicans are really concern about me taking too many executive actions.  The best solution to that is passing bills.”

So far, the Senate and House Republicans are unable to come up with a plan on how to deal humanely with the thousands of children that have been turning themselves in after crossing our border.  Obama is complying with the law, that prevents sending unaccompanied children immediately back to their home country.

Recent studies supports the conclusion, that deadly violence in their home country has caused these children to travel many dangerous miles.  It’s disturbing that House Republicans, who claim to be Christians aren’t committed to relieve the suffering of vulnerable children.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Obama Care


 Kurt Holcherr is correct Obama and liberal senators gave us the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.  

For for the first time in decades healthcare costs are going down.  In January, insurance costs fell 0.4 percent, and Medicare costs fell by 0.1 percent.  Obamacare is working, and Holcherr’s opposition to it is based on partisan ideology.

The average single premium in this country in 2000 was less than $2,471.  By 2008, it had almost doubled to an average premium of $4,704.  Congressional Republicans did nothing to lower costs or cover more people.  Healthcare costs are going down because more people are getting covered, and insurance companies are still making a lot of money. 

Former Congressman Eric Cantor claimed, that Republicans were coming up with an alternative.  That’s the same political party, that was afraid to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies during the Bush administration and wouldn’t allow Medicare to buy prescription drugs in bulk, in order to save taxpayers money.

On April 1, 2014, Obama announced: “Last night, the first open-enrollment period under this law came to an end... 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces.” 

A Rand Corporation study shows that nine and a half million people have gained health insurance from Obamacare.  That number includes Medicaid enrollment, which not every state has taken.  When young people, under 26, who can stay on their parents policy are factored into that estimated, we find that 13 million people have gained healthcare.  Obamacare has created the largest expansion of coverage in healthcare, since Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare legislation, a half a century ago. 

By 2015, the ACA is projected a cover over 13 million Americans, and by 2016, the number could be 22 million Americans.  Who will seek to repeal Obamacare in 2017, when an estimated 30 million voters are expected to be covered? 

As Americans get healthier, the cost of healthcare will come down.  Republicans recognize that Obamacare is taking us down the road to universal healthcare, because that’s what most people want.

Prior to Obamacare, our government spent twice as much on healthcare than other industrialized nations, and still had 50 million people without health insurance.  More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care went for paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, and profits.  A single payer system would eliminate an unnecessary middleman, the insurance industry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

High Gas Prices


Kurt Holcherr claimed President Obama and a liberal Senate gave us: “High Gas Prices.”  Typically, Republican propagandist avoid providing factual evidence to support their claims.

Actually, “High Gas Prices” are determined by the oil futures market, which is controlled by Wall Street speculator, whose function is to make as much money as they can by speculating on oil prices.

Derivatives are financial bets about the future, that offers customers an opportunity to avoid massive spikes in monetary value.  Derivatives on commodities like jet fuel is a factor in determining airline ticket price.  Derivatives are bought and sold in secret, and are worth trillions of dollars.  Only the largest Wall Street financial firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley know how much you’ll pay for them. 

The derivatives market is controlled by nine ultra-rich bankers behind closed doors and they’re accountable to no one.  Some financial experts estimate consumers are paying 60 percent more for a gallon of gas because of Wall Street speculation.

The nine members from the world’s largest financial firms at the Intercontinental Exchange are blocking the creation of open clearinghouses and the addition of other banks who might add some competition to the equation.

Former Massachusetts republican Senator Scott Brown helped water-down the Wall Street reform bill.  “The Boston Globe” revealed, that when his vote emerged as the pivotal swing vote for reform, Brown received $140,000 in donations from financial firms and their executives while other Republicans received an average of just $28,000.

Texas republican Congressman Michael McCall has recently introduced H.R. 4349, the Crude Oil Export Act, which lifts a crude oil export ban in place for 40 years.  He claims: “You know, there’s a crude oil ban that he (Obama) could lift tomorrow to allow Europe and Ukraine to have crude oil to get off this Russian dependence which strangles them and not only would that be good from a stability foreign policy standpoint, it would also create a lot of jobs in the United States.” 

The ban goes back to 1973, when Arab oil producing countries proclaimed an oil embargo, that resulted in an oil shortage and record high gas prices at the pump.  Consequently, Congress passed a ban on exporting crude oil in 1975.  Eventually, gas prices came down and the global oil markets stabilized.

How will sending American crude oil to another country to be refined create more jobs in our country?



Monday, August 11, 2014

Poor Economy


In the Delaware County Times, Kurt Holcherr claimed President Obama and a liberal Senate gave us: “Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Syria, IRS, Iraq, Ukraine, Southern Borders, Obama Care, High Gas Prices and Poor Economy.”  Typically, Republicans avoids providing factual evidence to support their claims.

I’ll begin with the “Poor Economy” claim.  A recent jobs report showed that we’ve witnessed the fastest job growth in the first half of this year since 1999.  That’s also the first time we’ve seen six consecutive months of job growth above 200,000 since 1999, and the quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years.  

In early 2009, we lost 26,000 jobs a day and 826,000 jobs in a single month.  We've seen almost 10 million jobs created over the course of the last 55 months. 

If you’re fortunate enough to have a retirement portfolio the good news is the Dow Jones closed over 17,000, for the first time in history.  Given that we started with the Dow Jones bottoming out at 6,600 points in 2008, we’ve made enormous progress. 

In February 2009, employers slashed 651,000 jobs, and 12.5 million Americans were out of work.  On February 13, 2009, less than a month after Obama took office, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed.  Both Houses of Congress were controlled by the Democrats.  Not a single Republican member of the House voted for that $787 billion economic stimulus package.  

Obama explained: “We could be growing even more jobs if, those of us here in Washington were focused on them, focused on you, the American people rather than focus on politics.

Instead of obstruction, Rep. Gibson and his Republicans colleagues could have brought the minimum wage up for a vote, because it would have passed.  They refused to pass a long- term infrastructure bill, but had no problem defaulting on the debt, which cost our treasury $25 billion.

They could have helped the economy by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and creating  jobs in the process.  Republicans allowed banks to refinance their loans, but refuse to allow students to refinance loans, which would save those families $50 billion.

Instead, Republicans took a different path.  They’ve chosen to divert the attention from the fact that they’ve done nothing on behalf of ordinary people.  Since, they’ve been the least effective House in history, Republicans decided to created a diversion by suing Obama in the last week before they went home for their August recess.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sufficient Regulation


We have got to understand that climate change is real, and it’s already causing devastating problems on our planet.  We need to move toward energy efficiency and sustainable forms of energy such as wind and solar.  Not only will we be transforming our energy system to save the planet, but we’ll be creating more jobs, that can’t be outsourced.

Commonsense suggest that we’ve got to do everything that we can to protect clean, drinking water in our country.  Indications are that global warming is making the situation even worse.  Furthermore, many congressional Democrats and President Obama recognize that we need massive investments in our infrastructure.  Infrastructure that includes roads and bridges, but also includes water plants and wastewater systems.

Building of the kind of quality wastewater plants that we need to prevent polluted water runoff from getting into clean water is a very expensive proposition for small towns, cities and even state government.  Therefore, our federal government has to become more aggressive in making sure we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and
that must include wastewater systems and water plants.

Some states have already recognized that we need more regulation on phosphates, and have begun working with farmers to reduce the amount of phosphorus getting into our  lakes.  Our federal government needs to make sure that we have sufficient regulation in place to control the amount of phosphorus getting into our streams, rivers and lakes.

The Maumee River watershed draines the largest river that flows into the Great Lakes at Toledo, Ohio.  That accumulated runoff from Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan lacks a mechanism to make those regions work in concert with one another.  Eventually the pollution from those states are unloaded into Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay.  And, every year the citizens of Toledo face the same problem that keeps getting worst.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Moving Forward


Former Governor Huckabee insists: “Absolutely.  There’s no doubt that he has done plenty of things worthy of impeachment.  From a governmental standpoint, you’re not going to see it accomplished with this senate.  But I think it’s an important argument to make that there are a number of things that this president has done in the overuse of an executive power, his complete ignoring of the law.”
As usual specific information regarding the “high crimes and misdemeanors,” that Obama has committed is seldom provided by Republicans. 
Huckabee hasn’t ruled out running for the Republican presidential nomination, and has calculated that he has to go hard right early in the primaries and caucuses.  He’s consider by some to be the  frontrunner for the presidential nomination in 2016, because he’s appealing to the most extreme elements in the Republican Party, who control the early primaries and caucuses.  After the midterms, many of those extremist might force House Republicans to actually try to impeach Obama.  
ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked: “Has Congress’ inability to do anything significant given you a green light to push the limits of executive power?”
President Obama responded: “Well, I think that I never have a green light.  I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers.  There are some things we can’t do.  Congress has the power of the purse, for example...But ultimately, Congress has to pass a budget and authorize spending.  So I don’t have a green light... 
“What the American people expect is that, despite the differences between the parties, there should at least be the capacity to move forward on things we agree on.  And that’s not what we’re seeing right now.  So in the face of that kind of dysfunction, what I can do is scour our authorities to try to make progress.”

Friday, August 08, 2014

Terribly Ironic


Yesterday, the following letter that was submitted by John Ryan of Delhi was published in the Oneonta Daily Star.
“Your editorial of July 18, ‘Hamas is the one…’ neglects the history of this tragic conflict and avoids the question ‘why?’ The Palestinian people have been suffering for 65 years, since the founding of Israel and, since 1967, have suffered from the effects of Israeli occupation: Israeli seizure of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and villages, the slow but unstoppable settlement of the West Bank by Israelis, deprivation of water, embargoes and virtual confinement to their own shrinking territory. In its pursuit of “lebensraum,” Israel has been completely indifferent to the Palestinian people and to international law.
“If resistance arises, Israel has been brutal in its retaliation. Its blitzkriegs have left a trail of death and destruction from Lebanon to Gaza. Although you talk of Israel’s effort to reduce casualties, in the 10 days since your editorial the death toll has increased five-fold: 1,035 Palestinians (most civilians) to 42 Israelis, a ratio of 25 to 1. 
“At the peace table, Mr. Netanyahu has constantly bargained in bad faith. While supposedly talking peace, he has expanded the Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, exacerbating rather than easing the situation. 
“Such callous treatment of a people by any other government would cause world-wide demonstrations, protests, boycotts, and calls for divestment like against South Africa (whose apartheid government was far less brutal) but Israel, it seems, is exempt from all but the mildest criticism. 
“Why does Hamas do what is obviously fruitless? Perhaps, like the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto in 1944, it feels that a futile resistance is better than none at all. 
“It’s all so very sad and, also, terribly ironic. For who would have believed that Israel, a nation whose people suffered so much under the oppressor’s boot, would now wear it?” 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Contaminated Water


The city of Toledo, Ohio had to announce a ban on drinking water.  A massive toxic algae bloom on Lake Erie resulted in a tap water ban for over 400,000 people in Toledo for two days.  For decades our drinking water has been at risk across America, due to climate change, crumbling infrastructure, and lax environmental regulations. 

The consequences of drinking the contaminated water could be dire, since bacteria in algae blooms can cause skin rashes, vomiting and liver damage.  Scientists have known for a long time, that a number of man made factors have been contributing to the outbreak of these algae blooms.

In 2011. Lake Erie saw its largest algae bloom in history over 1,900 square miles of the lake was contaminated with the toxic algae, and the situation is getting worse.  The blooms scientist saw in 2011 was two and half times worse than the blooms that were seen back in the 1960’s and 70’s.

After the algae blooms in the ’60s and ’70s, phosphorus was banned in detergents.  That curbed the blooms for awhile but they have resurfaced, and more rigorous regulation are needed. 

The main culprit is phosphorus runoff from farms using fertilizers, but the effects of climate change also plays a role, because rising temperatures and increased moisture during the summer has provided a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria.

Aging water treatment infrastructure can also be to blamed.  Sludge from sewage processing plants, leaky septic tanks, and outdated storm water drains that flow directly into Lake Erie is providing food for the bacteria. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that toxic algae blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states.  However, the problem is that some uninformed, anti-regulation, science denying Republican politicians could care less about our environment. 
 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Gridlock


President Obama announced: “I’ve been pushing for common sense ideas like rebuilding our infrastructure in ways that are sustained over many years and support of millions of good jobs and help businesses compete.  I’ve been advocating on behalf of raising the minimum wage, making it easier for working folks to payoff their student loans, fair pay, paid leave.  All these policies have two things in common.  All of them would help working families feel more stable and secure and all of them so far have been blocked or ignored by Republicans in Congress.”

Americans spend 55 billion hours in stuck in traffic every year.  But, House Republicans refuses to put a long-term infrastructure bill up for a vote, because they know it would pass.  It’s not a surprise as 133th Congress is on track to be the least productive in American history.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said: “This is something almost new in terms of abandoning the debate.  We’ve always had in our country a healthy debate.  If you are anti-governance, what you want people to do is not participate in the electoral process.  The confusion, the negativity that emanates from here, in a congressional election year, is one that is not conducive to people exercising their voting rights and their having a debate.”

Obama has also pointed out: “House Republicans suggested that since they don’t expect to actually pass a bill that I can sign, that I actually should go ahead and act on my own to solve the problem.  Keep in mind that just a few days earlier, they voted to sue me for acting on my own and then when they couldn’t pass a bill yesterday they put out a statement suggesting I should act on my own because they couldn’t pass a bill.”

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Do Nothing Congress


During President Truman’s administration, the most infamous do nothing Congress pass 906 laws.  The last Congress did less than any other Congress by passing only 283 laws.  So far this Congress has passed 142 laws, and it’s on pace to be the new do nothing Congress.

House Republicans have set up their work schedule between now and the November election to have the entire month of August off.  They’ll work 10 days in September, and two days in October.

Their crowning achievement in the House before going on a vacation for the rest of the summer, was to authorized a lawsuit against President Obama.  There’s a fringe elements in the Republican party, who wants to impeachment Obama.  Apparently, the lawsuit to sue the president is a political maneuver by Boehner to keep the impeachment caucus at bay.  It actually took them a couple weeks to figure out what they were going to sue Obama over.  If they had decided to sue him on his immigration executive orders, it would have made more ideological and principled sense.

On the Senate side, 11 Republican senators voted with Democrats on a procedural bill to send more resources to the border.  Financially, the border crisis bill is a drop in the bucket, whether Congress approves the president’s request for $3.7 billion, or whether it passes the Senate number of $2.5 billion.  Even if Congress accepts the House number of $659 million, they can’t even come together for a crisis that everybody agrees is a crisis.

Neither party feels comfortable knowing exactly how immigration crisis will play out politically in the midterms.  There needs to be more resources, but they’re not even close to getting that done.  The humanitarian crisis on our border symbolizes the ridiculously gridlocked, we have in Congress. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

Emergency Meeting


With, the midterm elections approaching in November, Speaker Boehner planned to send House Republicans home equipped to tell constituents they had taken action, on the crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the border.

President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with a humanitarian crisis at our border.  House Republicans cut back that request to $659 million, with most on the money going for border security.  They planned to pass a bill, that would enable them to claim, that they’d done something.  House leaders had spent days making sure they had the 218 votes need to pass that border bill.  They even added a separate bill that would block President Obama from using executive orders like the one he had used in 2012 to defer deportations for adults, who were brought to this country as children. 

The Republican leadership had figured their plan was the perfect way to get their base on board.  They wanted every Republican House member to be on record against Obama’s executive actions.  They intended to sell the whole package to their rank and file members as something that they could brag about.  However, just before those two bills were going be voted on, Speaker Boehner claimed: “Well, in my view, doing something is better than doing nothing.  The crisis on the border is going to continue until the president acts, but he’s clearly not going to act.  That means the Congress has to act.  And so, I believe it’s important for us to act and I’m hopeful that we will.”

John Boehner’s sense of optimism lasted about 15 minutes, because instead of voting on a House Republican border solution, they dropped those bills, because even though they had watered down Obama’s funding request by 80 percent, even though they’d written in language making it easier to send the children back to their home country, even though they tacked on a separate bill aimed at preventing the President Obama from taking more executive actions, it still wasn’t enough satisfy the Tea Party.

Reportedly, more than 20 House conservatives opposed, Boehner’s plan, and those two votes never happened.  Instead, Boehner convened an emergency meeting of House Republican, in which he bent over backward to make the border bill more palatable to the Tea Party right.

Even before, Speaker Boehner dressed up the border bills for the Tea Party, they’d become completely unacceptable to Senate Democrats.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Unprecedented in History


Speaker John Boehner and his do-nothing Republican House caucus are by far the least productive Congress in history.  Only 125 laws have been passed since January of 2013, because Tea Party Republicans insist on obstruction.  They wouldn’t extend unemployment benefits, and refused to bring minimum wage up for a vote, because it would have passed.  They’ve refused to pass a long- term infrastructure bill, but they had no problem defaulting on the debt, which cost our treasury $25 billion.

They could be helping the economy by rebuilding our nation infrastructure and creating  jobs instead of giving companies tax cuts to send jobs overseas.  They could be allowing students to refinance their student loans, which would save those families $50 billion.  If they’d do for students what they did for the banks by letting them refinance their loans.  They could have made sure that women get equal pay for doing the same kind of work as men.

Instead, congressional Republicans have chosen a different path. They’ve chosen to divert the attention from the fact that they’ve done nothing on behalf of the American people.  Since, they’ve been the least effective Congress in the history of our country, House Republicans decided to created a diversion by suing President Obama on the last week before they went home for the August recess.

The only thing that they can brag about is that they think that he’s operating unconstitutionally, 

Actually, Obama's Department of Homeland Security has been deporting more undocumented immigrants than Bush's ever did.  The number of deportations each year had more than tripled.  During the first fiscal year of the Obama’s presidency, 387,790 immigrants were deported, which was almost 100,000 more during the last year of the Bush presidency.  There’s no question that, Obama has been following the immigration laws.