Will the Crazy GOP Shut Down the Department of Homeland Security?

For those old enough to remember, The US Department of Home Security (DHS) was borne in the aftermath of the horrific Al Qaeda attacks on the USA on September 11th, 2001, and was created in 2002.  The agency is a collection of former smaller, independent federal organizations as well as newer functions and responsibilities, ALL of which are designed to help protect the USA from another terrorist attack.

Shortly after the November 2014 mid-term elections, president Obama issued an executive order sparing certain non-criminal illegal immigrants with families the horror and fear of being ripped apart via deportation.  He also provided a framework for the issuance of renewable three-year work permits so that these families would neither starve to death nor need public assistance for their survival.  In California, with the highest population of any state in the USA affected by this executive order, the news was well-received by the undocumented workers,as well as by the large mega-corporations which hire these people at low wages to work jobs such as harvesting fruit, something that most Americans simply refuse to do.

Other beneficiaries included tax-dependent state and federal budgets, which will now be collecting state and federal taxes from these workers.

Of course, the anti-immigration ultra-extremist Tea Party faction of the GOP had a hissy fit over this.  They deeply believe that America is ONLY for Americans, and that the legal immigration is the only (flawed) way into this country.  They ignore facts, such as their own ancestors, immigrants themselves, were allowed to enter the USA by just showing up at the immigration desk at ports of entry, such as Ellis Island, NY.  They ignore the fact that mega-corporate America LOVES these hard-working, low-pay undocumented workers, who make enormous profits for them.

They also ignore the fact that the USA’s immigration system is hopelessly flawed, underfunded, and understaffed, and archaic.

So last December, the GOP agreed to fund every government agency through FY 2015 (September 30th, 2015).  All…except DHS, which administers immigration matters.  DHS was funded only through February 28th, 2015.  The next day funding ceases, and roughly 30,000 federal DHS workers face furlough, unless a new funding bill is approved by the GOP-dominated congress and the president signs it into law.

The sticking issue is Obama’s executive order on immigration.  The GOP wants the  DHS funding bill include have language which would reverse the president’s executive order.  Of course, the president would veto such a “dirty” bill.

Interestingly, the GOP-dominated senate is prepared, after numerous “dirty” bills were filibustered by the minority senate democrats (a maneuver perfected by the republicans when they were the minority party…which is why you don’t hear much GOP criticism of it), to pass a clean bill and send it to the House of Representatives, where no such filibuster rules exists.

The House GOP congresspeople are divided regarding whether pass the senate’s “clean” bill or simply insist on their own “dirty” bill which has NO chance of becoming law, allowing DHS to partially shut down.  The wiser mainstream republicans KNOW they will be blamed by the American people if the agency responsible for protecting the homeland against terrorism is weakened, especially at this time of increased concern over the Islamic State and other brutal extremist terrorist groups.

Assuming DHS remains unfunded as of close of business (COB) on Friday, 85% of DHS personnel would NOT be furloughed.  But they will be forced to work for free as long as the furlough lasts.  Eventually they will get their delayed paychecks if/when the furlough ends, but during the furlough they will not get paid.  Their only choices would be  to work as modern day slaves, or resign their jobs, which isn’t going to happen.

The 30,000 or so DHS employees who WILL be furloughed will obviously not receive their paychecks.  And while they probably get paid for that lost time if/when they return work, how do they pay their bills in the meantime?

Perhaps the worst affect will be from the parts of DHS that WILL shut down.  Though not DIRECTLY involved in protection services, they do provide critical support functions for the front-liners. That support will not be there.

The mere thought that the right wing of the GOP would use DHS as their political football is irresponsible and stupid at best, and dangerous and incredibly delusional self at worst.  It is also the most self-damaging action the GOP could take possibly take against ITSELF, particularly at a time of increased threat against the western civilized world. That’s the reason the democrats can afford to stand their ground on the insistence of a “clean” DHS funding bill.

So stay tuned.  The smart money, if there is such a thing in this crap shoot, says the GOP House will publicly shoot itself in foot before all is said and done.  If it lasts long enough, maybe THEY will be done.  🙂

Ed. note 2-28-15:  So the GOP House passed a one week extension before they face the inevitable.  Meanwhile, 32,000 federal employees continue to live in uncertainly because of the infantile actions of at least 60 ultra-conservative House republicans. Any have any doubt how this is going to end (BADLY for the GOP, no doubt)…?

Burning to Death: BARBARIC, Regardless Who Does It

Last Sunday, President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, and proceeded to infuriate conservatives and the Christian religious right.  It seems that this group does not like to have their religious history, in all its historical glory, aired for all to see,

Obama did demonstrate a huge amount of guts to speak against some of Christianity’s darkest historical realities, such as the brutal Crusades and even America’s history of slavery.

Specifically, Obama reminded the audience that the Islamic State’s (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) burning to death of a captured Jordanian pilot on January 3rd, 2015 (but not reported until almost a month later when the video was released online) was barbaric and awful, but that IS is not the only group that has murdered and brutalized in the name of religion.

He spoke about the Crusades, which were 10 or more imperialistic missions launched by the Roman Catholic Church, which was the precursor of virtually all modern-day Christian religions.  These missions involved inhuman brutality, barbaric torture and the horrific death of countless helpless victims, as well as the acquisition of land and riches for the church.

He also spoke to the Inquisition, which was an action by the Holy Roman Catholic Church to “cleanse” Europe of heretics, Jews, Muslims, and even Christians who challenged the teachings of the church.  Torture, long-term imprisonment under horrific conditions, and death by burning or drowning, among other barbaric and inhuman acts, were rampant during this era.

Obama also mentioned slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws in the USA as another example of people acting in the name of their religion and/or religious beliefs, despite the fact that those actions were often on a par with what the IS is doing today.

The president’s point, which he made clearly, was:

“We see faith driving us to do right,….We also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge, or worse, sometimes as a weapon…..We have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, profess to stand up for Islam, but in fact are betraying it,”

Everything Obama spoke to was the historical truth, and his point about using faith to justify brutality and barbarism as being a religious distortion, the sole purpose of which is to justify the unjustifiable, was spot on.

So why are conservatives and religious right extremists so upset with Obama for making these comments?

Andrea Mitchell, who works for NBS News, said ““He’s the president and you can’t really go back to 1095.”

Dr. Ben Carson, a religious right extremist republican who believes that every word in the bible is true, and who is running for president (no less!) had nothing good to say about Obama, In true Sarah Palin style, Carson’s days as a presidential candidate are number, anyway.

Various other right-wing pundits have alternatively said that Obama insulted Christianity (by telling the truth), adding that they, personally, are all hugely insulted by his (truthful and historically accurate) remarks.

Then there are those who say that his remarks prove that Obama is really a Muslim Kenyan.  Donald Trump, who STILL believes that Obama was born in Kenya, must be having the time of his life right now.

Wait a minute!

Didn’t Obama call the Islamic IS a “terror organization” that must be eradicated from the Earth?  Didn’t he label the IS as a brutal and inhuman group of thugs who commit unspeakable atrocities?  Hasn’t he ordered punishing airstrikes against IS for mouths now, and provided over 3000 US servicemen to assist in the effort to destroy his “fellow Islamists”??

Didn’t he send to congress just today a draft proposal to wage war against the IS?

It seems that the more into religion one is, particularly those who favor biblical stories over the science that disproves them, the more offended and insulted over Obama’s truthful remarks at the Prayer Breakfast they are.  That actually parallels IS’s belief that any action is justified by their warped religious faith.  Even though burning people to death is prohibited by their Qur’an, they believe that their mission is in line with the teachings of, and justified in the name of, the prophet and true Islam.

This form of thinking is much in line with the belief system of people who refuse to vaccinate their own children because they believe that God owns all of us and will take care of us, and vaccinations are an interference with God’s ownership of us.

A belief system such as that can justify ANY action, whether its torturing innocent people to extract a confession, burning them at the stake in the name of righteous faith, or setting them on fire in a cage to suffer an unimaginable, inhumanly painful death,  And by the way, that was the same action committed against many African-Americans all the way into the 20th century by righteous Christians, including those in the KKK.

People who ignore the past are condemned to repeat it…That’s why Israel is such a strong country despite it’s tiny size…Its motto is NEVER FORGET.