Tell Secretary Kelly: Bring DACA-recipient Juan Back from Mexico!

Juan Manuel Montes
Juan Manuel Montes

Return Juan Manuel Montes to his home and family immediately.

On February 17, Juan Manuel Montes was walking to a taxi stand in his hometown in California when he was approached by border officials and asked for his papers. Though Juan was legally authorized to live and work in America through the DACA program, he was deported to Mexico just hours later.

This is a direct consequence to Donald Trump’s mass deportation agenda and the acts of an unaccountable agency. Juan Manuel must be reunited with his family in California as soon as possible. Join us in demanding Secretary Kelly take immediate action.

Daniela Vargas Released From ICE; SPLC, Others, Celebrate

Daniela Vargas
Daniela Vargas

No doubt to the consternation of President Donald Trump (it still aches to type that, to say it), Daniela Vargas has been released from ICE. The freedom of the 22-year-old #Dreamer was heralded by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

We’ve just won an important legal victory.

Today, Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old aspiring math teacher, was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. A week ago, she had been detained by immigration agents moments after speaking publicly about immigrants’ rights.

It was a transparent attempt to chill free speech and intimidate immigrants who speak up. We filed a habeas petition to force her release and to stop her deportation.

“We’re joining the community in celebrating the release of our client, Dany Vargas,” said SPLC Deputy Legal Director Naomi Tsu.

“But we will continue to challenge the unconstitutional actions of ICE agents in this case and will not rest until she is no longer under threat of deportation. It is counterproductive and harmful to our communities for ICE to be targeting aspiring young people in this country and we urge ICE to release other immigrant youth held in detention.”

Read more about Dany’s case and the SPLC’s efforts to ensure detained immigrants have access to counsel.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the SPLC

“A transparent attempt to chill free speech and intimidate immigrants who speak up” indeed. This was ugly and wrong.

As is the Trump-declared war on immigrants.

It must stop.

More about Dany’s case here. Read. Celebrate tonight. Remember the many, many who do not make the news.

Video: Republicans in Congress are Blocking Immigration Reform

Immigration reform. Another GOP lie?

From Democrats.org:

While the majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans continue to stand in its way. They have had more than enough time to get this done but continue to hide behind excuses.

And the worst part is that they could make a choice to pass immigration reform tomorrow. There’s a bipartisan bill that has been in the House for nearly 5 months, which already has enough support to pass — all we need is a vote but Speaker Boehner refuses.

If we want to move forward with immigration reform and the rest of President Obama’s agenda, we need to elect a new Democratic majority. Watch this video on immigration, then donate so we have the resources it takes to make John Boehner an ex-speaker come 2014.

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Smug and Crafty Politician

Donald Wuerl, smug politician
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is a crafty, smug pol. (Catholics for Equality)

Donald Cardinal Wuerl has come a long way.

From John Cardinal Wright’s secretary, to bishop, to cardinal.

He’s come far.

But, in his heart, at his best, he’s just another pol.

Unelected, mine you.  But a pol nonetheless.

Our friends at Catholics for Equality are trying to talk some sense into him, but his sanctimoniousness won’t listen.

Here’s their release, where they note His Eminence’s blatant electioneering:

Catholics for Equality, the country’s largest national political organization of pro-LGBT equality Catholics, joined hands today with several fair-minded and faithful Catholic social justice groups in organizing a peaceful protest outside the Archdiocese of Washington, DC’s rally promoting the U.S. bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” election year political campaign. The Catholic groups came together with prayers and hymns under one giant united banner which read, Bishops: We Need Pastors, Not Politicians, Your Antics are Hurting the Church.

The peaceful protest took place outside a rally held at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Center. The special event presided over by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl was billed as a prayerful service, but was in fact a political campaign rally to motivate Catholics to vote against the re-election of President Obama because of the Health Care Reform Act and his support for LGBT equality. Wuerl and his fellow bishops claim that the exemptions provided in the Act are not sufficient for the Catholic Church and that they are being victimized by the federal government. Furthermore, the bishops claim that the Act is the greatest infringement upon religious liberty in American history and see themselves as martyrs like St. Thomas More, St. John Fischer, and others in church history.

“The bishops no longer represent Catholics in the pews on so many social issues, from contraception to legal equality for LGBT people,” said Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. “We also reject the bishops’ election year campaign that they are now somehow victims of religious liberty, especially as the U.S. Catholic Church receives 62% of its funding for Catholic Charities from federal and state funds — money coming from the taxes of all Americans. Catholics Charities in Washington, DC, receives 68% of its funding from taxpayers. This does not include taxpayer vouchers for Catholic schools and other support for Catholic health care programs. If the bishops want exemption from the law, then they should stop receiving taxpayer funding.”

According to a new report released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute, 57% of American Catholics do not believe that the right to religious liberty is being threatened in America today. The report also notes that 65% of Catholics believe that most employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost and that 63% believe religiously affiliated agencies should not be able to refuse to place children with qualified gay and lesbian couples.

“The bishops’ 2012 “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign is nothing more than election year political posturing,” said Phil Attey, Executive Director of Catholics for Equality. “For the past 10 years the bishops have earned the public branding of abusers, oppressors, and political bullies. They’ve lost the ear of Catholics in the pews and political leaders in Washington … including Catholic political leaders. In order to change this political reality, the bishops know they have to first have to change their public image. But instead of doing so by championing social justice issues — fighting for the poor, the sick the marginalized and the oppressed, as bishops have done in the past — our bishops are opting to run around spending our collection plate money on a campaign to claim they are the real victims in today’s society. Catholics aren’t stupid, though. We know what we see and we’re not buying it. The bishops are only bringing more embarrassment to our church.”

The USCCB’s “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign launched this week consists of events in over 37 dioceses across the country. The campaign officially concludes on July 4th with a nationally televised Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, though the bishops’ election year political activities are expected to continue all the way to election day.

Catholics for Equality empowers pro-equality Catholics to put our faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.

Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom andequality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members.

Will no one save us from these meddlesome clerics? They, who now claim moral authority, after decades of shielding pedophiles.

Will no one save us?

 

Washington Post: Growing Wealth Widens Distance Between Lawmakers and Constituents

From the Washington Post:

The growth of income inequality has tracked very closely with measures of political polarization, which has been gauged using the average difference between the liberal/conservative scores for Republican and Democratic members of the House.

“The proximity of these trends is uncanny,” according to a 2003 paper by researchers Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal. “Remarkably, the trends of economic inequality and elite political polarization have moved almost in tandem for the past half-century.”

Excellent commentary on this from Eric Byler at Coffee Party USA.

Tea Party Leader Joe “You Lie!” Walsh: Build Moats With Alligators to Regulate Immigration

Congressman Joe Walsh, who infamously shouted “You lie!” during one of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses, believes we can solve our immigration problem by building moats, and filling the moats with alligators.

What could possibly go wrong?

From the Daily Caller:

A freshman GOP congressman on the House Homeland Security Committee is telling President Obama he’s “game” for building an alligator-filled moat along the U.S.-Mexico border to counter illegal immigration.

“I actually think a moat might be a very good idea and I’m wondering how many alligators it would take to secure the entire border,” Rep. Joe Walsh says in a May 11 letter to Obama.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com

Here is Rep. Walsh losing it at a town hall meeting in front of his constituents:

Walsh is being challenged by Raja Krishna Moorthi, and I will support him in any way I can.

Ebert Reviews 9500 Liberty: Big Thumbs Up

I had the opportunity to see a preview of 9500 Liberty about a year ago. Met Eric Byler and Annabel Parker. Liked them both.

Roger Ebert just published a review of the film, not yet released in Chicago, although it should be, soon.

Here’s the question to ask yourself: What if all the illegal aliens just left? What if they all left Arizona right now?

Prince William County has been there, and went back. The results were disastrous for the local economy, quality of life. Turns out illegal-aliens were not responsible for more crime in Prince William County. In fact, as the number of illegals grew, crime went down. And when they left, there went the tax base, and legal residents of Prince William County found themselves facing 25% increases in taxes.

So it goes.

From Roger Ebert:

When Prince William experienced a major building boom in the 1990s, a shortage of labor created a demand for workers, which led to an increase in the Latino population. Some of the newcomers were legal immigrants. Some were not. A blogger named Greg Letiecq began to write about his unhappiness with hearing Spanish spoken in public places. Finding an audience, he fomented about rising crime rates, rising taxes to pay for services for the newcomers, overcrowded dwellings, music played too loud, fast driving, and so on. He included Latino crime reports from the local police blotter. He even claimed armed members of the Mexican revolutionary group Zapatistas were moving to Prince William County.

His organization, “Help Save Manassas,” issued saucer-sized red lapel stickers, and soon they were seen around the town. He and Board of Supervisors president Corey A. Stewart created a law that would require local police to stop people for "probable cause" and ask them to show their proof of citizenship. At the time, this measure seemed to have popular support, and there was resentment against a Mexican-American citizen who erected a large sign on his property (at 9500 Liberty St.) to object to it.

About this time, filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park (a Chinese-American and a Korean-American) began to post videos on YouTube that weren’t so much political as the raw material for a documentary. They showed discussions and arguments among local residents, testimony before the county board, Stewart, Letiecq and other pro-law figures and ordinary citizens. As the videos went viral, they inspired another local blog to counter Letiecq and a growing community discussion about the law.

Among the law’s opponents was Charlie T. Deane, the long-serving, widely respected local police chief, who testified the law would cost about $14 million over five years to enforce, who said his officers had more important things to do and who said (along with the county attorney) that without video cameras in every police car, the officers and the county would be open to lawsuits. Cameras would cost another $3.1 million.

Ironically,the law was partly to blame for a tax rate increase of 25% a year. There was another problem. Latinos began to move out of Prince William County or take their business to nearby friendlier areas. There was a retail slump, badly timed to coincide with the collapse of the housing market. As tax-paying “legals” left, the county tax base dropped. Restaurants and shops closed. Prince William County and Virginia have sales taxes, income taxes and other taxes that even non-citizens pay.

Read Ebert’s full review here.

And if you are among those clammoring for laws to protect us from illegals, be carefu what you wish for, my friend.

City Councilman Steve Blair Fired By KYCA Because Of Comments Re: Mural on Miller Valley School

I wrote about the mural controversy in Arizona just a few minutes ago. City Councilman Steve Blair was fired by the radio station he worked for due to his remarks, according to reports.

From prescott enews:

Steve Blair has been fired by KYCA, due to his comments regarding the new mural on Miller Valley School at the corner of Whipple Street and Miller Valley Road.

Besides being a City Councilman, Steve Blair is also a well-known afternoon talk show host for radio station KYCA. Well, make that "was" because he has been removed from his radio talk show as of today, due to a controversy over the mural painted on Miller Valley School.

The discussion about the mural has been controversial ever since the paint began being brushed on the wall. Now it’s a full blown controversy, with statewide and even national media paying attention. Right now, the spotlight is on Blair, who made comments that some interpreted as being racist.

Blair is not backing down, saying that the mural “defaces” the public building.
He says he "doesn’t get it," that the picture looks like a "big old black guy," and maybe that has something to do with the "guy that’s in the White House."

The picture actually depicts one of the children who goes to the school, according to reports.

Here’s Blair in his own words:

And the mural in question:

Arizona’s Gone Wild: Officials Want Dark Skin of Child on Grade School Mural Lightened

What’s wrong with this picture?

From AOL News:

An Arizona school mural designed to promote environmentally friendly transportation has ignited a debate about race and censorship of the arts.

Officials at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Ariz., asked the painters of the mural to lighten the skin of children depicted after a city councilman denounced its prominent portrayal of ethnic minorities. Following protests, the principal apologized today for making the request. "Miller Valley made a mistake when we asked them to lighten the mural. We made a mistake," said Principal Jeff Lane.

The mural shows children walking and cycling in a garden-like scene, with birds flying around them.

"We don’t have a racist town," R.E. Wall, who painted the "Go on Green" mural, told AOL News. "I believe we have racist city council."

City Councilman Steve Blair, who says he "can’t stand" the word "diversity," criticized the mural on his talk-radio show. He particularly targeted the portrayal of the painting’s main figure, a dark-skinned boy in blue jeans and green sweatshirt.

"To depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?’" Blair said on a May 21 broadcast, according to The Daily Courier.

The child in question is meant to be a Mexican-American, Wall told AOL News.

When the Courier published an article online about the unveiling of the mural, readers left comments describing the painting as "tacky," "ghetto" and "ugly." On his radio show, Blair said that he had spoken to locals who are offended by the mural and call it "graffiti."

Welcome to post-racist America. Yes, we’re beyond all that, of course.

Consider for a moment what this kind of ugly rhetoric is doing to children in Arizona. How will the brown-skinned kids be treated now by their lighter-skinned peers?

Jane Elliott, what would you charge to give the entire state of Arizona a Blue Eyes Brown Eyes exercise?