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Friday Talking Points [289] -- Avoiding Immigration Traps

[ Posted Friday, January 31st, 2014 – 18:21 PST ]

It was "roll out the agenda" week in Washington, which means we've got a lot to cover, so let's get on with it, shall we?

Republicans in the House have announced they are now ready to do something on immigration. I only mention this in passing here, because the entire talking points section is going to be devoted to a warning for Democrats: there will be traps laid by the Republicans, so Democrats have to be vigilant about defusing each one as it pops up.

There was big news from the White House this week, of course -- Big Block Of Cheese Day! Just kidding. The real news was made by President Obama's State Of The Union address, where he laid out his fairly-realistic agenda for the upcoming year. This didn't please everyone, as evidenced by the wish lists of some in his own party (which amusingly included "announce the resumption of manned space flight, starting with a trip to Mars by Arne Duncan and Bill Gates, where they will try out their education experiments on any inhabitants they find there"). Oh, well, you can't please everyone.

Of course, any momentous week in politics now regularly brings out some real doozies on the national stage. One Republican congressman, immediately after Obama's speech, threatened to throw a reporter over a balcony, or perhaps break him in half "like a boy." On camera. Way to stay classy, GOP! Not to be outdone, another Republican has apparently taken to referring to Hillary Clinton as the "Anti-Christ." Nothin' but class from the GOP, this week, it seems.

In other Republican news, the War On Women continues apace in Louisiana, Alaska, and in the House of Representatives. Republicans have apparently settled on the talking point "War on women? What war on women?" which I'd personally like to encourage, because it shows better than anything else just how truly clueless the Republican Party has become on the issue. Senator Barbara Boxer pointed this out rather well in a fantastic open letter to Republicans in which she asks them bluntly: "What century are you living in?"

This is all getting to be too much for some, including former Lieutenant Governor of Nevada Sue Wagner, who just announced she's leaving the Republican Party. Or, as she put it, "the Republican Party left me" with their insistence on lunacy instead of debating public policy. Fellow ex-Republican Chad Brown was even more eloquent (emphasis in original): "My opinion is the "Duck Dynasty Wing" of the Republican Party has taken over the GOP, and they're not about to retreat in their war on science and common sense."

Continuing our coverage of what is shaping up to be the Year Of Marijuana Reform in politics, New Jersey introduced legalization legislation this week, joining a growing number of states where the possibility is being seriously discussed in state government.

Some politicians have woken up and realized the new day we're living in, such as Heather Mizeur, who is running for governor in Maryland and who welcomed the endorsement of the state's NORML organization. Her statement said, in part: "Maryland's marijuana laws have ruined lives, been enforced with racial bias and keep law enforcement from focusing their time and resources on more violent crime. We're proud to have NORML's support in the effort to make Maryland the next state to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana." Marijuana is also going to be a big issue in the Florida governor's race, now that a medical marijuana ballot initiative has been approved for the voters to consider.

One person definitely not on board with this new reality is the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Michele Leonhart, who definitely doesn't agree with President Obama's characterization of marijuana being "less dangerous than alcohol." She ripped into Obama's remarks in public, which has led to calls for her to resign (or be fired) from both marijuana activists and at least one member of Congress (Representative Steve Cohen), who said resigning would be the "honorable thing" for her to do.

Meanwhile, the recent farm bill seems to have legalized at least trial cultivation of hemp in 10 states.

The discussion of marijuana was inevitable in this year's Super Bowl, seeing as how both teams are from states where recreational use is now legal, and now the debate has moved to billboards outside the arena. Both pro-pot and anti-pot billboards will greet the fans on Super Sunday.

What else? The American economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, which was good news indeed but kind of got lost in everything else that was going on. Other news that the mainstream media ignored: Edward Snowden was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this week. Henry Waxman announced he will not be running for another term, and immediately afterwards Sandra Fluke expressed an interest in running for his seat, so this could be a fun race to watch in the midterms.

Pete Seeger died, and will be missed by millions. Most obituaries I saw just flat-out ignored his history of being blacklisted from television and standing up to the un-American activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee, so here's one that did point it out, in case you missed any mention of this important part of Seeger's life this week.

And, finally, the Macintosh computer celebrated its 30th birthday, which is indeed a milestone worth noting.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

President Obama deserves an Honorable Mention for his speech this week, and for following through on it by taking his act on the road. It'll be interesting to see what executive orders emanate from the White House this year, that's for sure.

Also deserving of an Honorable Mention was Representative Earl Blumenauer, who sent a letter to President Obama this week asking him to reschedule marijuana so the federal government doesn't treat it as more dangerous than crystal meth. As he points out, to Obama:

You said that you don't believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol: a fully legalized substance, and believe it to be less dangerous "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer." This is true. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification, along with heroin and LSD. This is a higher listing than cocaine and methamphetamine, Schedule II substances that you gave as examples of harder drugs. This makes no sense.

He ends up calling for marijuana to be taken down to Schedule III. Bravo, Congressman!

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award goes to none other than (are you sitting down?) Attorney General Eric Holder. This week, Holder made some concrete moves towards ratcheting down the War On Weed in significant ways. Late last week, Holder signaled that the Justice Department would be revising its rules so that marijuana businesses (in states where such are legal) can use banks just like any other business (rather than be barred from banking because they are "drug traffickers"). This week, the Justice Department launched an effort to free from jail and provide clemency for people locked up for nonviolent drug offenses under severe "mandatory maximum sentence" laws that have since been revised. This is a tangible effort that will positively affect thousands of prisoners, and Holder deserves applause for his leadership.

Holder has previously been rather ambivalent on the subject, but it appears he's had a real change in attitude lately. He also publicly praised a Senate bill which just made it out of committee this week, stating:

I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the Smarter Sentencing Act with broad, bipartisan support. This important, common-sense legislation would provide judges with more discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain low-level federal drug crimes. By ensuring that the most severe penalties are reserved for serious drug traffickers, we can reduce unfair disparities in our criminal justice system and reduce the burden on our overcrowded prison system. It is my hope that the Senate will adopt this measure without delay.

That's a lot of commonsense reform in one single week from Attorney General Holder, and it may signify a lot more welcome changes in the months ahead. Holder could have taken a very hard line on the legalization experiment in Washington and Colorado, but since the law changed Holder seems to be steering the Justice Department toward a much saner and more-reasonable policy.

For doing so, he wins our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Since he doesn't provide direct contact information, you'll have to congratulate Attorney General Eric Holder via the White House contact page, to let his boss know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

You know what? We just couldn't come up with any Democrat who was disappointing enough to merit the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award this week. The only one even close was ex-mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin, whose corruption trial just began. But that's really pretty old news, so until he's convicted the most we could do was hand him another (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

Of course, we could have missed somebody -- it was an eventful week, after all. If you've got a candidate for MDDOTW let us know about it in the comments.

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 289 (1/31/14)

OK, we're changing the format this week, as we are occasionally wont to do.

This started out as a talking point, grew exponentially, and wound up being nothing more than a free-form rant. Hey, it is what it is, folks.

This week Republicans rolled out their new-and-improved agenda on immigration reform. This is going to be an enormous fight within the Republican Party, as the hardliners ("Send them all home tomorrow!") battle with Republicans smart enough to read demographic and Electoral College numbers ("Guys, our party is disappearing before our very eyes!"). One Republican even admitted (anonymously, but still...) that the real problem within his party is nothing short of racism.

Even with these headwinds, though, the chances of the House passing immigration reform have got to be seen as much better this week than last week. John Boehner released a two-page statement after a party confab, which laid out the priorities for the House on immigration. But what got me wasn't the fact that Boehner is moving forward on what will be a very contentious issue within his own party, but the things he obviously tossed into the mix to sabotage the entire effort before it even begins (this is assumably in order to convince House Republicans that it'd be OK to vote for the concept). Which led to the following rant. Perhaps it's too alarmist in nature, but then these are House Republicans we're talking about, keep in mind.

 

Avoiding The Immigration Traps Republicans Are About To Set

While I certainly welcome John Boehner's newfound support for doing something to fix immigration, I remain skeptical that the entire effort isn't just an attempt by Republicans at improving their brand without any intention of passing a viable fix to the problems. In short, I see several traps being laid, in how Republicans are presenting their new ideas.

The first trap is the insistence that the House pass several small bills rather than one comprehensive bill. This isn't being done because Republicans are afraid of a large bill, as they claim to be. It is being done so that Republicans can pass all of their priorities first, leaving what is important to Democrats for later -- perhaps much later. Perhaps even "never." This is the whole point of having a comprehensive bill in the first place -- because each side gets a few things in such a bill, but neither side gets everything they want. House Republicans are going to pass what they want -- bigger, higher fences, more Border Patrol, things like that -- and then are going to stall the rest of the reforms into oblivion.

Even if Republicans do allow all the pieces of immigration reform to be debated and passed, there are still plenty of other traps they are planning, as evidenced by the very careful language they're now using to describe the scope of immigration reform they'd be willing to accept. The first of these is setting unreachable "triggers" before life changes for any immigrants. Watch for the bar to be set very high in these triggers, when bills actually appear. In fact, watch for Brobdingnagian-sized hurdles to be proposed before any trigger is reached. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Republicans demanded that before any immigrants see any relief, we would have to have a wall which reaches up to the troposphere and down to the Earth's core on our southern border -- such a daunting barricade that the Border Patrol would know when even a tiny ant crossed the border. Republicans think they can get away with impossible triggers, because then they can never be met, and the rest of immigration reform will just automatically not happen.

Watch for the next trap when such triggers are introduced, because Republicans will demand that Congress certifies that the triggers have been met -- before anything else happens. This means a future Congress can just never agree that any trigger has been met, once again automatically stopping the rest of the reforms. If Democrats agree to any trigger mechanism at all, it must be certified by either an independent agency or by the president. Because otherwise, immigration reform will only happen at the whim of future congressional votes, which we find unacceptable.

The next trap is a framing issue. Republicans have decided that the only acceptable term for what the Senate voted for (in a huge bipartisan vote) is a "special path" to citizenship. They are rewording this path to citizenship for a reason. "Special" is a rather ugly word in American politics, as evidenced by the term "special interests." Putting the language aside, though, the Republicans are saying in essence that anyone here without papers has to, as they put it, "go to the back of the line" to become a citizen. There are two things wrong with this approach.

The first is that Republicans haven't said whether "gaining legal work status" is the same thing as "getting a green card." This is a trap. Watch for Republicans to propose a "third-class" status -- lower than citizen and lower than green-card-holder. This "legal status" would mean not having to fear being deported, but it would also create an endless limbo status if there was no way for such people to ever achieve citizenship. Watch, in other words, for Republicans to offer no path to citizenship at all. By calling any path to citizenship for these people a "special path," they will effectively deny any path at all. This is unacceptable for Democrats.

If Republicans relent and let people have green cards (and get in line for citizenship), then there is an already-existing trap -- the huge backlog of cases waiting their turn. This has to be addressed in any bill. If there is money to double the amount of Border Patrol -- which is already in the Senate version -- then there is money to double the number of federal agents processing immigration applications. Double one, double the other -- nothing short of this is acceptable. There are people who have been waiting for over two decades to have their paperwork processed. This is flat-out unacceptable. This backlog must be erased, completely.

Republicans have realized (or most of them seem to have, at any rate) that children brought here by their parents should be treated more leniently than others. The "DREAM Act kids" or "dreamers" should be allowed to become citizens, almost everyone now agrees. The trap here is that Republicans will point to the dreamers as evidence of their compassion, while ignoring the need for their parents to also have a path to the same status as their children.

There will be many of these traps laid when House Republicans finally put their ideas to paper and introduce legislation. Democrats need to be wary of all of them, to avoid getting suckered in to nothing more than a political exercise which is meaningless for the people it is supposed to be helping. But the biggest trap of all isn't even in the legislative language, but rather in the legislative process.

Republicans have been whining for about a year or two now about how they want Congress to return to what they call "regular order." Except, of course, when regular order means even the possibility that they might not get everything they desire. To put this in less-wonky terms, the Republicans have blatantly announced -- at the very beginning of the process, no less -- that they are most interested not in passing a law that President Obama will sign, but in being able to say to voters "Republicans passed immigration reform, but Democrats killed it." That may sound cynical, but only because it is an awfully cynical approach the Republicans have decided to take.

Most Republicans don't actually want immigration reform to pass. But the smarter Republicans realize that they need to defuse the issue if they're ever going to have any hope of winning a national election again. Not changing their politics on immigration means a future with Democratic presidents as far as the eye can see, to be blunt. Which they don't want, obviously. But they are cynically figuring that passing immigration reform in the House -- and then never agreeing with the Senate on a compromise -- will be just as good for them politically as actually putting a bill on Obama's desk.

Don't believe this trap exists? It's right there in what John Boehner had to say about the issue: "[The immigration problem] cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate's immigration bill."

Got that? The Senate can just pass whatever the House passes, or nothing is going to happen. The House won't even go to conference committee with the Senate over the issue, because they are terrified of any compromise that might be reached. House Republicans' bills will be the final word on the subject, with no Senate input whatsoever.

This is an attempt at a massive power grab, and it is downright laughable. The Senate is not a rubber stamp, no matter what John Boehner thinks. They will indeed be able to have their say, as they well should in (to borrow a favorite Republican phrase) the regular order of things. The Senate bill, remember, had overwhelming bipartisan support -- 68 senators voted for it. That is the starting point in this conversation, whether John Boehner likes it or not. The House can pass whatever the House wants to pass, but after they do the Senate and the House will sit down and work out something that can pass both houses. Just as they are supposed to do.

By signaling that doing so is unacceptable, John Boehner is all but admitting that he really doesn't want immigration reform to become law. He knows he's got to get the House to do something on the issue, because Republicans are getting beaten up so badly on the campaign trail over it. But he wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He wants all Republicans to be able to say "we passed immigration reform" -- which is not at all the same thing as "our immigration reform became law." He would be very happy to pass something out of the House and then just have the whole issue die between the House and the Senate. He is signaling this cynical posture quite loudly, in fact. All Democrats have to do is point it out to the public.

Loudly and repeatedly. Because if Boehner doesn't back down on this key point, then he is guilty of doing nothing more than attempting to lay a gigantic trap for Democrats. Nancy Pelosi should tell Boehner that she will be instructing her caucus not to vote on any proposed Republican bill if he does not agree to a conference committee with the Senate afterwards. This is a big lever, because my guess is that none of the bills Republicans come up with will pass with only Republican votes. So, right from the start, Democrats should demand the "regular order" be followed, and avoid the biggest trap of them all.

One might indeed ask why "few have read and fewer understand" a bill which the Senate passed last summer. You've had plenty of time to read the thing, Speaker Boehner. You'll have even more time to read it in the upcoming months (because the House is not going to move immediately on immigration reform). I'd advise that you have someone on your side of the aisle read the Senate bill, because whether you like it or not, it's going to be an important part of this debate.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic UndergroundCross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

47 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [289] -- Avoiding Immigration Traps”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    This comment seems more appropriate here than where I posted it..

    On the stupidity of Republicans..

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/31/democrats-in-freefall-and-destructive-stupidity-gop-leadership-is-on-full/?intcmp=HPBucket

    I could NOT have said it better myself...

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW - Avoiding The Immigration Traps Republicans Are About To Set is right on the mark!

    Especially this part:

    "Most Republicans don't actually want immigration reform to pass. But the smarter Republicans realize that they need to defuse the issue if they're ever going to have any hope of winning a national election again."

    No Immigration Bill will come of this Republican blueprint, it is pure posturing, and even the posturing will probably have a short self life.

    In anticipation of Michael's response, yes both sides do this kind of thing.

    Republican's don't have good presidential hopes at this point in US history. Their best payoffs are to be found in House, Senate, and state government races. That's where most of the smart effort and money are destined to go. Republican's will treat the 2016 Presidential race as a diversion. Resurrect Romney as the candidate? He seems to be signaling that he is willing.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Republican's don't have good presidential hopes at this point in US history.

    Where is Jack Ryan when ya need him....

    I had thought that Obama was our Ryan..

    Boy was I ever wrong...

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    So what, exactly, do you think Boehner's up to? I'm curious.

    TheStig -

    WashPost has a pretty good wrapup:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-face-2016-turmoil/2014/02/01/143fe17e-8a91-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

    Best comment: "Republicans are going to need a stretch clown car this time around."

    Heh.

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    So what, exactly, do you think Boehner's up to? I'm curious.

    I dunno..

    The only thing that makes sense is that Boehner wants to take away a blunt force weapon from the Dems.. Don't give Democrats a tool to bash the GOP over the head with..

    It's the only possibility that makes any sense..

    However, I believe it's mis-guided.

    Because the HARM to the GOP (and this country) by minting millions and millions of new Dem voters far outweighs ANY benefits that I can see..

    Boehner is not stupid. So, hopefully, he has some plan up his sleeve..

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/how-the-gop-lost-middle-america/

    Can't argue with the logic...

    Ironically enough, Corporate America owns BOTH Partys..

    And it's the middle class Americans who get screwed??

    Democrats are warriors for the Middle Class??

    I saids it befores and I'll says it again..

    "MY ASS!!!"....

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i just lived nine years among an immigrant community of mostly republicans. although they do tend to "fall in line" on partisan issues, they aren't nativist paleo-conservatives in their views on immigration, which is why there is pressure on republican leadership to begin with. it's certainly not because house republicans have any fear of being voted out of their gerrymandered districts.

    JL

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW - (4)

    "Republicans are going to need a stretch clown car this time around."

    As I posted a while back, what kind of presidential candidate runs against 4:1 odds? To elaborate a bit:

    Type 1: The deluded who don't believe the odds. Type 2: The ideologues who want a soapbox. Type 3: The marketing entrepreneur who sees it as a money making enterprise. This is not an exhaustive list, but you get my point. Weak odds attract weak candidates.

    M - Why the fascination with the fictional Jack Ryan? Three real Republican Presidential Greats: Lincoln. T. Roosevelt and Eisenhower. Could any of them run as Republicans today?

    Tom Clancy didn't invent the lterary/film genera of Warnography, but he very successfully broadened it to include the entire military industrial complex. Target audience: Male, White, Baby Boomer.

    Best War Novel Ever (IMHO): War and Peace. Emotional, historical and philosophical depth. All lacking in Clancy.

    PS, nothing wrong with a little pornography now and then :).

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M-

    Ironically enough, Corporate America owns BOTH Partys..

    Even more irony, they own the Tea Party too.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Even more irony, they own the Tea Party too.

    Not entirely accurate. They started the TP, thinking that it would make a useful tool in their arsenal to channel populist leanings among righties. What they didn't count on is that quite a few of their convenient tools wouldn't behave as planned; that right-wing populists might occasionally have minds of their own.

    JL

  11. [11] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M-

    "minting millions and millions of new Dem voters"

    Halting a path to citizenship isn't going to save the GOP bacon. The more fundamental problem is that illegal immigrants already in country are a young demographic, and young people reproduce at a high rate, especially when compared to old white people, the core Republican demographic.

    All those children born in country are American citizens, who can vote at age 18. This will tilt the balance further Blue, unless Republicans figure out how to win over Latino children while simultaneously demonizing and deporting their parents. That is a tough sell.

    Smart Republican operatives know this, but they also know this long term problem is balanced by the short term demands of the Republican cores: Establishment Republicans and Tea Part Republicans.
    Neither will stand for a "path to citizenship" option.

    Combine demographics with the US Constitutional structure and you get a regional Republican Party, with poor Presidential prospects, but strong near term prospects in Congress. In other words, more gridlock.

    CW- Boehner's recent remarks are an indication of thinking out loud about a vexing problem with no clear solution, often illustrated in classic cartoon shorts by bulging eyes and/or steam coming out of a characters ears.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    Halting a path to citizenship isn't going to save the GOP bacon.

    Neither is allowing millions and millions of Undocumented Democrats to legally vote..

    Look at it logically..

    Anyone who is NOT going to vote GOP because they halt amnesty is NOT going to vote GOP anyways...

    Given that fact, there is NO DOWNSIDE to GOP to stop the amnesty push..

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that amnesty simply rewards criminal behavior.

    Put another way...

    If someone owns a summer home in Miami... In March, someone breaks into the house, lives there for months, eats the food and generally makes a mess..

    What Democrats propose is the same as saying, "Well, the guy was down on his luck and was just looking for a better life. Therefore he can stay in the house he broke into"

    Which of course, means that the people who actually OWN the house (Middle Class Americans) are royally frak'ed over...

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    M - Why the fascination with the fictional Jack Ryan?

    Simple..

    Ryan always did what was right, regardless of what was popular...

    Granted, sometimes it was TOO MUCH.. Ever read PATRIOT GAMES?? My gods, the guy was nauseatingly perfect!! :D

    Bush's actions in the aftermath of 9/11 was as close to a Jack Ryan as we have come...

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M,

    Look at it logically..

    I agree, but I don't think the logic is as simple as you make it.

    Republicans could fight for the Latino vote. Gingrich was in favor of this, arguing Latinos are a conservative, Republican leaning demographic. This may be wishful thinking (generalizing Florida's pro GOP Cuban block with Latinos in general), but in any event it clearly risks offending a large chunk of core Republican activists forcing their party into ever more extreme conservative positions. Mollifying the Core is key to keeping the Red State Republican Congressional Incumbents in their seats. This is the way the Republican party has chosen to go.

    The problem with this strategy is that it tends to lock Republicans out of the White House and probably shrinks the party in the long term. How many blocks can a party write off and still remain viable?

    Overall, the Republican's problem isn't any one demographic group, it's relentless US urbanization. Republican ideology captures greater land mass (rural states), but Democrats attract more people from densely populated states. If Republicans don't adapt to changing urban:rural balance, they risk extinction as a national party. Go big or go home? Republicans seem to favor going home, at least for now. Losing Texas might finally change their minds, but that's a while off.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Republicans could fight for the Latino vote.

    To what end??

    Democrats are the Party Of Free Stuff...

    What can the Republicans offer to counter that??

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Seattle is brutalizing Denver... Manning won't recover from that embarrassing safety...

    Quickest score in Super Bowl history. 3 seconds....

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the Broncos should have stayed on the field for the half-time show! Heh.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes, that was a premonition. :)

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is just getting embarrassing for Denver...

    Maybe too much pot, eh?? :D

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Sea Hawks are looking like a far superior team, in all respects.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yea, my wife just said the same thing. Although Denver has had some bone headed turnovers, it's clear that Seattle is simply outplaying the Broncs...

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    game over.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... but the party is just beginning!

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    game over.

    In hindsight, I think the game was over after that Manning SNAFU/Safety 3 secs into the game..

    That was so amateur and it went downhill from there...

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://sjfm.us/temp/manning.jpg

    That about sums up the game for the Broncos...

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    dsws wrote:

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Republicans demanded that before any immigrants see any relief, we would have to have a wall which reaches up to the troposphere and ...

    That should say "tropopause" or "stratosphere". The existing wall reaches up to the troposphere.

    That is, the troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere, so it starts at ground level.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Republicans demanded that before any immigrants see any relief, we would have to have a wall which reaches up to the troposphere and ...

    Yea, security's such a downer, right?

    Always interfering with people's ability to wantonly violate the laws of the land...

    {/sarcasm}

  29. [29] 
    dsws wrote:

    If people no longer have to live in fear of deportation, that's a substantial improvement even if there is no path to citizenship.

    Even if you care absolutely nothing about immigrants' human rights (and this country doesn't), immigrants must be given civil liberties. Because if they don't have them, no one does. If the authorities can disappear an alleged illegal immigrant, they can disappear anyone. Poof, detainee 24601 is now an un-person no matter who he or she was before.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Even if you care absolutely nothing about immigrants' human rights (and this country doesn't), immigrants must be given civil liberties.

    With rights comes responsibilities..

    First and foremost, the responsibility to OBEY THE LAW...

    Put another way. If you come home from vacation and you find a bunch of scumbags have broken into your home and lived their, making a mess and eating your food and breaking and selling your things...

    Are you going to be concerned about their liberties???

    Or are you going to have them arrested??

    The is no difference in the two concepts..

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another note..

    http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/02/03/coca-cola-super-bowl-ad-stirs-controversy-with-multilingual-singing-of-america-the-beautiful/

    I have to admit. I was a tad perturbed that such a song representing our country, I didn't have a clue what was being sung...

    For all I know, they could have changed the wording to DEATH TO AMERICA!!!!

    There can be a thing as too MUCH diversity, don'tcha know...

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Overall, the commercials weren't all that great..

    Often years, I want to tune into the SB JUST for the commercials..

    This year was not one of those years..

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    dsws wrote:

    Illegal immigration is a civil infraction, not a crime.

    Immigration law is radically immoral. The whole project of drawing a line on the earth, so as to keep opportunity on one side and poverty on the other, is one of the great evil ideas of human history.

    The rights of the accused apply specifically to those who are accused of an offense. If men were angels, or if angels governed men, they would not be necessary. If my apartment is broken into tomorrow, and the perpetrators are caught, I absolutely hope that they are arrested without unnecessary force and subjected to legal process that respects all their rights. What can be done to them, can also be done to me.

    Responsibility to obey the law is not absolute. You can't be shot on sight for driving 56 mph in a 55 mph zone. The program of "self-deportation" -- turning the United States into a place refugees flee from, instead of to -- is not a suitable response to violations of immigration law.

  34. [34] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [5] -

    I've heard it suggested that this is part of the continuing Establishment GOP v. Tea Party fight. Boehner is smacking the Tea Partiers in the face with the immigration thing.

    Don't know if I totally buy into that, but it sounds at least plausible. Boehner's on his way to taking back control of his caucus, and if he wins on this he could really marginalize the Tea Party members. Like I said, has the ring of plausibility at least...

    -CW

  35. [35] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [8] -

    Best war novel I've read? Well, being more of a sci-fi guy, I have more than one answer.

    Starship Troopers (RA Heinlein) -- MUCH better than the movie. Lots of interesting theory at the start of the book (like: only veterans can vote... and other interesting governmental theories...).

    Ender's Game (OS Card) -- nice fantasy, great storytelling. Much better than the movie, I assume (haven't seen it yet). Nice original view of "society sending its youngest into battle." First sequel was pretty good, too.

    The Forever War (?? forget, something like Haldeman??) -- excellent book based in the hard science of time dilation in "warp" voyages. Thousands of years of a single war. This is the "anti-Starship Troopers" book, as it were. Shows the mindlessness of war itself.

    Battlefield Earth (LR Hubbard) -- MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the movie! This is actually a great book, like reading two Star Wars movies in a row (two of the original three, mind you). Rip-snorting good action, aftermath considerations, and not a word about Dianetics or Scientology or all the rest of that nonsense. Forget all about John Travolta, read this book, it's worth it!

    :-)

    -CW

  36. [36] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [11] -

    I'd put it as the cartoon Wyle E. Coyote standing in mid-air, just realizing there's no rock underneath him anymore, and whipping out a sign "UH-OH!"

    Heh.

    Michale [12] -

    there is NO DOWNSIDE to GOP to stop the amnesty push.

    Except, you know, 2016 and all that.

    If Dems continue to get 70+ of Latino vote, then GOP is toast in national elections as soon as Texas goes blue... maybe Boehner realizes this and is trying to do something about it?

    Michale [14] -

    OK, 'fessing up, here, I just read I think my third Ryan book. It was called "Debt of Honor" and was written in the anti-Japan 90s. Wasn't as good as the other one I've read ("Clear And Present Danger"), I thought -- took forever for the action to get started...

    AS for the Super Bowl...

    Michale [20] -

    Don't forget, weed's legal in Seattle, too...

    Heh.

    I read it as you folk did: 22-0 was bad, but once the Seahawks ran the kickoff in for a TD to make it 29-0, the game was essentially over.

    I was unbiased, as the Ravens weren't playing (having won, last year, as you all recall...).

    Jay Leno had the best commentary tonight on the game: "The last time I saw a Bronco moving that slow, OJ was driving it!"

    Heh.

    dsws -

    Now, see, every time I write a Friday column, I only have a limited amount of time to fact-check. Some things I let go by, and some I check (every politicians' name, for instance, I've blown too many of them in the past). I was feeling shaky on troposphere, but went with it.

    It has been changed to "Stratosphere." Mea culpa.

    Michale [28] -

    OK, when, exactly, is the right wing going to give Obama credit on this one? Obama has done more than ANY OTHER president to secure the border. He has beefed up Border Patrol, he has deported more than any other president, he is the most awesome border-controller to ever inhabit the White House. OK, so he's not perfect, but he is one hell of a lot better than anyone else (including, by the way, the post-9/11 Bush), so where, exactly, does the right wing get off in trying to paint him as standing on the border with a "welcome!" sign?

    Sorry, but that one's been bugging me for a while... it's fact versus FOX spin...

    dsws [29] -

    If people no longer have to live in fear of deportation, that's a substantial improvement even if there is no path to citizenship.

    That's what scares me. What will the immigrants-rights groups and congressional Dems settle for? Half a loaf is better than none, but American only tackles this issue politically once every generation, so that half a loaf could last for the next 30 years.

    Republicans have (even if Michale doesn't realize it and is beating up Boehner currently for even bringing it up) quite possibly a winning "wedge" issue with this -- Dems and immigrants-rights groups may split fiercely over the question of citizenship, and it could be expertly wielded by Republicans. It is going to be very, very interesting to see how this plays out in the next few months, that's for sure...

    Michale [30] -

    First and foremost, the responsibility to OBEY THE LAW...

    Fair enough. What I always wanted to ask one of these "rule of law" worshiping politicians, though: how many people break the speed limit? What should be done with them? There are millions BREAKING THE LAW every day, and I think they should all pay a steep price.

    In other words: there is breaking the law, and then there is breaking the law. Nobody's 100% perfect, I'd wager.

    The corollary to "rule of law" is: "make the punishment fit the crime." If undocumented immigrants break the law, then let them pay a fine and back taxes, and what is the problem?

    As for super bowl commercials, I thought the Doritos "Time machine" one at the start was the best....

    dsws [33] -

    Aha! Exactly!

    :-)

    OK, finally finished...

    -CW

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Immigration law is radically immoral.

    That's an opinion biased by political ideology..

    If our laws are so "radically immoral" then people can just NOT come here..

    The whole project of drawing a line on the earth, so as to keep opportunity on one side and poverty on the other, is one of the great evil ideas of human history.

    The lines are not designed to keep opportunity on one side and poverty on the other.. If Country A is poverty-stricken on one side of the line, it's not Country B's fault because Country B has unlimited oppurtunity on THEIR side of the line

    It's also not Country B's responsibility to provide opportunity for the citizens of Country A.

    I will grant you that there ARE illegal immigrants who are honest, trustworthy and WOULD be an asset to this country. They likely amount to about 1% of the illegal immigrant population.

    I'll even be overly generous (as I am wont to do) and say 5% of the illegal immigrant population would be an asset to this country..

    But, please. Explain to me the logic of giving the 95% who are simply bent....

    "Dare I say, HELLBENT"
    -Dr Rodney McKay

    ... on breaking our laws and causing as much heartache and pain on our citizens, free reign in this country just to help out the VERY small minority of illegals who ARE decent people..

    It makes no sense whatsoever..

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Except, you know, 2016 and all that.

    If Dems continue to get 70+ of Latino vote, then GOP is toast in national elections as soon as Texas goes blue... maybe Boehner realizes this and is trying to do something about it?

    Do you honestly believe that Latinos will vote Right, even if the House pushes amnesty??

    The Democratic Party is the Party Of Free Stuff..

    Nothing the GOP can do to compete with that...

    OK, 'fessing up, here, I just read I think my third Ryan book. It was called "Debt of Honor" and was written in the anti-Japan 90s. Wasn't as good as the other one I've read ("Clear And Present Danger"), I thought -- took forever for the action to get started...

    You simply have GOT to read EXECUTIVE ORDERS.. It takes place minutes after DEBT OF HONOR ends...

    Jay Leno had the best commentary tonight on the game: "The last time I saw a Bronco moving that slow, OJ was driving it!"

    Now THAT was funny!!! :D

    OK, when, exactly, is the right wing going to give Obama credit on this one? Obama has done more than ANY OTHER president to secure the border.

    With the utmost respect, that is complete and utter felgercarp!!

    ALL Obama did was change the way the Border Patrol counted illegals and arrests and how the BP operated.. Look up the phrase "TURN BACK SOUTH"...

    The border is much LESS secure now than ever before. THAT is what the grunts on the ground, the actual AGENTS who have to live with Washington's boneheaded moves, say...

    At the risk of dragging this topic down, it's why the Left Wing claims that Climate Change is generating more storms. There are actually LESS storms now than ever before. What has changed are the parameters used to call a storm a storm.. They have been lowered WAY down.

    So, there aren't really any more storms. We just lowered the threshold so it APPEARS there are more storms.

    So it is with Border Security. Things are actually WORSE than before. But because Obama counts things differently, the NUMBERS make things look better when they are actually much worse..

    Fair enough. What I always wanted to ask one of these "rule of law" worshiping politicians, though: how many people break the speed limit? What should be done with them? There are millions BREAKING THE LAW every day, and I think they should all pay a steep price.

    In other words: there is breaking the law, and then there is breaking the law. Nobody's 100% perfect, I'd wager.

    If someone "just breaks the speed limit" but, in doing so, causes a wreck that kills or injures, guess what? They go to jail. Reckless Driving..

    If an illegal cause pain or suffering (by omission or commission) than their immigration law violation is NOT a victim-less crime..

    Do you see my point???

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don't forget, weed's legal in Seattle, too...

    Yea, but it seems like Denver has been getting all the Pot Press of late...

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    dsws,

    Illegal immigration is a civil infraction, not a crime.

    Sorry to burst yer bubble there, but Illegal Immigration is a misdemeanor..

    If repeated after deportation, it becomes a felony.

    Entering the United States without being inspected or legally admitted is a misdemeanor and, in some cases, a felony.
    https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/FINAL_criminalizing_undocumented_immigrants_issue_brief_PUBLIC_VERSION.pdf

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M (14) Bush's instincts immediately after 911 were good (leverage the Northern Alliance, don't demonize Muslims, especially US Muslims) but his streak ended at Tora Bora. Iraq 2.0 and nation building in Afgan. were blunders on par with Vietnam.

    CW (35) good SF read list, 'cept Battlefield Earth, which I couldn't finish.

    Star Wars owes a huge debt to the film Lawrence of Arabia, which isn't history, but then neither is TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars, but still a great read.

    I'm fond of the film version of Charlie Wilson's War, which rings true to my own brief stint as a (very junior) military analyst in DC during this era. DC was a surprisingly open community in those early Reagan days. You could get of the subway and walk right into the Pentagon Book Store...which was a really good store! You couldn't go through a day without encountering somebody like, oh Barry Goldwater, pushing on the other side of the revolving door.

    Clancey's books are fun to read, but they're shallow, action hero stuff. Operations go bing, bing, bing, very linear, no real ambiguities, no real fog of war. The major lesson I learned from my DC days is that you can't really plan a war - all you hope is to to not be completely surprised by what develops, and try and keep up with the chaos.

    I was in DC just when Clancey was hitting it big. He gets the prevailing attitude right (he knew his audience) but not the substance. Leaders of Ryan's rank that I knew and worked around (circa Red October) were a pretty reflective bunch - especially the Marines who'd experienced combat up close and personal.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Clancey's books are fun to read, but they're shallow, action hero stuff. Operations go bing, bing, bing, very linear, no real ambiguities, no real fog of war. The major lesson I learned from my DC days is that you can't really plan a war - all you hope is to to not be completely surprised by what develops, and try and keep up with the chaos.

    It's an old military axiom that no battle plan, regardless of brilliance, survives contact with the enemy.. :D

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [41] -

    Star Wars is basically a Western in space. But Lucas admitted that the final scene in the first movie (Ep IV) was stolen directly from Leni Reifenstahl (sp?) -- her epic Nazi worshipping "Triumph Of The Will." I saw this film a while back, and it is true beyond a shadow of a doubt. The whole scene where Luke and Han get medals pinned on them (and R2D2 is revealed to be back in shape and "alive") is straight out of a Neuremberg rally.

    But then, to be fair, so is pretty much all sports filming, like what we'll be seeing at the Olympics for the next few weeks. Reifenstahl was a moviemaking genius, even if she was working for pure evil. Her techniques are widely copied even now.

    I also like Charlie Wilson's War. As for war films, well, the classics of WWII still have appeal (Tora Tora Tora is one of my favorites). Vietnam-era films can be pretty realistic and grunt's-eye-level (Platoon).

    The most fascinating recent thing I've seen wasn't a movie, it was a PBS documentary. They were trying to go for a sort of "reality show" feel, and what they did was to go for a ride on an aircraft carrier, for the ship's whole deployment (I think it was just called "Carrier"). It wasn't overly exciting, but it did show things from a whole lot of different saliors' point of view, and it showed all sorts of very human situations that you wouldn't normally think of as part of a war situation. I think Michale watched this show too, he may even agree with me on this one.

    Last point, I'm not sure exactly what I'd say if I bumped into Barry Goldwater in a bookstore. Heh. But it is fun to think about...

    -CW

  44. [44] 
    dsws wrote:

    Sorry to burst yer bubble there, but Illegal Immigration is a misdemeanor.

    I stand corrected. Nonetheless, it's not a "real" crime: that is, it's a malum prohibitum rather than a malum in se. The existing world order is the crime.

  45. [45] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW- (43)

    Just set the record straight, I passed Senator Goldwater somewhere in the Crystal City complex, Arlington, VA. He had no entourage and was moving briskly. I nodded recognition, he nodded back. I doubt this sort of thing could happen today.

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    I stand corrected. Nonetheless, it's not a "real" crime: that is, it's a malum prohibitum rather than a malum in se. The existing world order is the crime.

    That's an opinion...

    I am sure that Phillip Seymour Hoffman thought that doing heroin was not a "real crime"...

    The "Dreamer" in Oregon didn't commit a "real crime". Until she left the scene of an accident that brutally killed two innocent little girls..

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/immigration-detention-teen-leaf-pile-deaths-22353625

    You can put all the lipstick on the pig you want..

    But the simple fact is, illegal immigration costs this country and her citizens much MUCH more than we gain..

    Let's take care of Americans first. THEN we can see about being the World's Welfare agency...

    Is there anything wrong with that??

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:
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