A Disclaimer

March 31, 2015 § 1 Comment

The friend who sent me the funny notice from an Indiana shop keeper has suggested that my sarcasm may not have been obvious enough.  The imaginary notice from an Indiana business person was a joke – a fiction.  I thought that was understood.  I don’t want to be responsible for initiating some urban legend.  I don’t want some reporter to start trying to identify the business person.

Hey!  It was a joke. It didn’t really happen.

This teaches me a lesson:  Don’t write a joke without plainly labeling it:  Warning!  This is a joke.

Bob

The Reluctant Discriminator

March 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

This is sort of an addendum to the Lipsticked Pig item I posted a few hours ago.  A friend from Guatamala emailed to me this sorrowful reaction to the Indiana RFRA.  I thought you, dear readers, might be empathetic with this poor Hoosier business person.  Here is his or her lament:

From a christian shop owner in Indianapolis:
“Dear Valued Patrons.  
Due to my sincerely held religious beliefs, and in light of the RFRA, recently signed by our Dear Leader Pence, I will no longer doing business with the following persons; nor permitting them in my establishment:
1.  Divorcees.  Matthew 19:9: “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.”
2.  Anyone who has ever read their horoscope or called a psychic hotline.  Leviticus 20:6: “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.”
3.  Anyone with a tattoo.   Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”
4.  Anyone born illegitimately.  Also, anyone who, back to ten generations, is descended from someone born illegitimately.  If you can not PROVE, using appropriate church sources, that ten generations of your family were born in wedlock, I will have to err on the side of caution and not serve you. Deuteronomy 23:2 “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD.
5.  Anyone who makes a practice of praying aloud, or in public.  Matthew 6:5-6  “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
6.  Any woman with braided hair or gold jewelry.  Just to be on the safe side, NO jewelry at all.  1 Timothy 2:9 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.”
7.  Any man who has ever, by accident or not, had his genitals damaged.  (Current interpretation of this scripture is under debate, so just to be safe, if you’ve had a vesectomy, or testicular cancer, I can’t serve you.  I apologize for the inconvenience but I am worried for my soul.)  Deuteronomy 23:1 “A man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off may never join the assembly of the Lord.”
8.  Please don’t bring your kids in if they have a bowl cut.  Leviticus 19:27 reads “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.”
For those of you complaining that some of these scriptures are from the Old Testament, and that Jesus came to redeem us from these laws, I refer you to Matthew 5:17-19, where Our Savior himself says:  “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18″For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19″Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”
Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience.  It’s nothing personal, “love the sinner but hate the sin,” and all, but I simply can’t serve anyone who would blatantly disregard God’s sacred law in such a fashion.”
Bob

The Lipsticked Pig

March 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

I watched Indiana Governor Pence’s press conference this morning.  It will be interesting to see what kind of “fix” he and the bigots in the Indiana legislature produce.  As I watched his shucking and jiving, I couldn’t help recalling a picture a friend of mine in Corpus Christi sent me a few days ago.  Jack Cooper is a talented internet scavenger who keeps me supplied with both serious and humorous postings that comment about current social and political issues.

The picture I recalled was a shot of the signing ceremony when the Governor signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”.     Here is an annotated part of that picture:

11084271_10153728948584745_2590624114394309493_nI apologize for the blurry print.  I had to “embed” it from a Facebook posting and it obviously suffered some in the process.

Here is a link to an internet site where the native Hoosier has been waging a vigorous war against this law.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/31/3640801/conservatives-indiana-discrimination.  His name is Wilson Allen.  If you go to his Facebook site, you will find some excellent commentary concerning every aspect of this conflict.

I am posting this for two reasons:  First, I think it illustrates the damage the Supreme Court did when they ascribed religious beliefs to a corporation in the Hobby Lobby case.  There seems to be no limit to the grotesque results of equating corporations with human beings.

Second, this episode neatly illustrates the dilemma facing the GOP:  How to maintain allegiance to corporate money while honoring the bigotry and ignorance of the so-called “social issue” oriented mob.  The corporate lobbyists are experts at using race and religion as wedges to weaken political coalitions of working class Americans, but when their efforts threaten the profits of their corporate business clients, they always react with acute awareness of which side of their bread is buttered.

Bibi’s Pyrrhic Victory

March 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Day of Bibi’s Victory

On March 18, 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu was declared the winner, by a significant margin, of the Israeli election.  During the last days of the campaign, he made two dramatic appeals to Israel’s right wing political forces:  He declared that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he was prime minister.  He warned that “foreign money” was financing the transportation of busloads of Arab Israeli citizens to the polls to vote against him.

The first appeal amounted to a repudiation of his earlier public commitment to peace with Palestine based on a “two state” end to Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.  The second appeal was generally perceived as a racist attack on twenty percent of Israel’s citizens.

The Day After Bibi’s Victory

On March 19, 2015, Netanyahu was interviewed by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.  He denied having rejected peace based on a “two state” arrangement with Palestine.  He claimed that, when he, without consulting with the White House, addressed Congress and deliberately tried to sabotage efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he did not mean to “disrespect” the President of the United States.  He denied having made a racist attack on Israeli Arab citizens.

He couldn’t deny having said what he said.  Instead he insisted that he had been  “misunderstood”.

Two Days After Bibi’s Victory

On March 20, 2015, Netanyahu was interviewed by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.  He again tried to claim that his “no two state” promise was “misunderstood”.  This time, Mr. Inskeep was ready.  Here is a partial transcript of his telephone conversation with Bibi:  “SI: You said in this interview you were asked, “Are you saying if you are prime minister, a Palestinian state will not be created.” Your answer was, “Indeed.”  Nentanyahu, responded that what he meant was that “circumstances would have to change” before a two-state solution would be acceptable.

When Mr. Inskeep asked Bibi about his pre-election day warning about Arabs coming to vote, he responded with the hackneyed response of bigots:  His version of “Some of my best friends are _________”.

Here is an excerpt from the transcript:

SI: I want to be clear, Prime Minister. I was in Israel during the election campaign. It is a democracy; it was a very free and open debate. I didn’t read your remark as suppressing the Arab vote. I read it as a warning that you were afraid that Arabs were going to flood the polls. Are you in some way suspicious of Arabs who are citizens of your country?

N: No. In fact, I had a meeting 10 days ago with Arab Likud supporters, and we got quite a few votes, by the way, from them. I have invested billions, billions, in my last two governments in trying to close the gaps, social gaps, infrastructure, education, in the Arab communities in Israel. I’m proud that I did that, I’m going to do that again, I’m committed to that. I’m the prime minister of all of Israel’s citizens, Jews and Arabs, alike.”

Here is a link to the entire interview:  Inskeep

My Comment

This is the guy who claims that negotiations with Iran are impossible because you can’t trust them to keep their word.  His words have a “sell by” time period of about 72 hours.

Bibi’s Win – Israel’s Loss

Ari Shavit is an Israeli writer whom I regard as trustworthy.  His allegiance to Israel is unquestionable, but so is his commitment to the truth.  His book, My Promised Land, is a well written but evenhanded account of recent Israeli history.  I have written about it.  See The Broken Promised Land.  So, when I wanted a reaction to last week’s election, I sought him out.  He has written two interesting reactions.

The day after the election, he labeled Netanyahu’s victory a disaster.  Here is a link:  Disaster

Next day he wrote a second article.

Here are links:  Is Israel Losing Its soul?

Here is link to page 2 of that story:  Page 2

This week’s New York Times Magazine has an interesting article assessing the damage done by the  alinement of Netanyahu’s Israeli politics with the Republican Party’s opposition to the Obama administration.  Here is a link to that article.

A Second Comment

This last article features quotes from Elliott Abrams.  You remember him.  He and Ollie North helped Reagan support the Contras in Nicaragua and then lied to Congress about it.  Abrams pled guilty to a misdemeanor in a deal to avoid going to the pen for having committed felonies.  Then he was granted a “Christmas Time pardon” by Daddy Bush.  George W. Bush appointed him as a senior adviser for “global democracy strategy”.  As one writer put it, he will be “the architect for how Bush will fix the world”.

In the above-cited article concerning the future of Netanyahu and the Democratic Party, the writer quoted Ron Dermer, appointed by Netanyahu as Israeli Ambassador to the United States, expressing unconcern  about younger, college age, voters opposing Israel’s right wing policies.  Here is an excerpt:

Like Abrams, Dermer wasn’t worried about liberal Jews. He argued that ‘a lot of the fissures’ in the American Jewish community would seal up the moment Israel came under attack. But when I asked him about the broader liberal antipathy toward Israel on college campuses and among Democratic voters, he said: ‘Israel is a symptom of a problem, but it’s not actually the problem that’s on campuses. It’s not an anti-Israel thing. It’s a problem of moral relativism. And we are low hanging fruit.’” (emphasis added)

I find it interesting that Dermer speaks disparagingly of “moral relativism”.  I wonder if he has talked with his friend Abrams about that.  Did Abrams think it was ok to lie under oath?  Did he hesitate about illegally supporting and protecting military and paramilitary forces who were committing atrocities in Central America?  In fact, I wonder how Dermer feels about a political candidate who makes public promises to gain votes and then, a day or two later, repudiates them.

Moral relativism is a serious subject.  It opposite, moral absolutism, in my opinion, leads more often than not to oppression and abuse.  Based on their credentials, I doubt either Dermer or Abrams are reliable sources of philosophical wisdom on that subject.

The GOP/Israel’s Dear Leader Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire, has bankrolled both Israeli and U.S. right wing politicians.  His main requirement for handing over large checks is blind allegiance to Israel.  I mention Adelson because Israel has successfully countered all efforts to negotiate peace with other nations by demanding, as a precondition for any negotiation an agreement that Israel’s right to exist as a nation is acknowledged.

This has proved to be a powerful defense for every action taken by Israel toward the Palestinians.  It is in the first sentence of almost every explanation of Israel’s unwillingness to negotiate with Iran.

This has a long history.  Here is a link to a discussion of several episodes in this history.

There are some obvious flaws in the logic of this argument.  For example, why does it matter if Iran cherishes a wish that Israel would disappear, If, since that plainly is not going to happen, Iran is, nevertheless, willing to agree not to develop nuclear weapons?  If Palestine is willing to negotiate a boundary with Israel and is willing to agree not to engage in a war with Israel, what does it matter that a majority of Israeli’s hate Palestinians and a majority of Palestinians hate Israelis?  Granted that is sad and not an optimal situation, but isn’t it preferable to an endless war without boundaries?

Fareed Zakaria’s article in the Washington Post casts this whole argument in a different light.  Here is his interpretation of Khomanie’s anti-Israel rhetoric.  Khamenei proposes a referendum to decide Israel’s fate and use Israel’s commitment to democracy to justify his proposal.  Here is a link:  Zakaria

Which brings me to Mr. Adelson.  Here is what one of the most revered supporters of Israel and its GOP idolizers had to say about Iran at a public meeting in 2013.  Adelson

By contrast, I have found an address by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Non-aligned Summit in Teheran, published September 2, 2012.  Address

This is a tedious item because it is in either Persian or Farsi.  I couldn’t find an English translation.  It has English sub-titles, so you can tell what he’s saying.  Unfortunately, because you are dependent on the sub-titles, skipping around through the speech is difficult.  I listened to the whole speech.  Late in the speech, he states plainly that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons because, his words:  “It would be a sin”  He remonstrates with the U.S. for aligning itself with Israel and refers to Israel  as an “usurper” because it occupies Palestine.  There is no “great Satan” and no “wipe Israel off the face of the map” language.

I cite this item, not to express admiration for Iran.  Its support of terrorist groups is well known.  Its suppression of minority groups is reprehensible.  But, I must say that, compared to Adelson’s speech, the Ayatollah sounds more like a man with whom one could reason than Adelson, who sounds like a billionaire thug right out of The Godfather.

Conclusion

If any of you are intrepid enough to have read this far, I’m surprised.  This post is a way for me to catalog the information I have been able to compile about an event I regard as very important.  I fear we are watching some reckless people making decisions that could lead to WWIII.  Our media technology and modern communication technology have enabled us to be emotionally stirred by images and rhetoric coming at a pace too fast for reasoned analysis.  Fear is being used by demagogues to gain popular support without enough thought given to the possible consequences.

I trust Barack Obama and John Kerry, but  I fear they may win the logical and rational solution too late to forestall the war apparently sought by their irresponsible detractors, here, in Iran and in Israel.

Shameless Ignorance and Forty Seven Republican Senators

March 9, 2015 § 3 Comments

Forty-seven Republican Party Senators dispatched a letter to the Nation of Iran warning them that any agreement between Iran and the United States negotiated by the President of the United States would be worthless and revocable in two years when a new president is elected.   Iran responded to the letter with a classic example of politely, but firmly, labeling the Senators’ letter for what it is:  Ignorant meddling into serious business being conducted by competent responsible agents of six nations.

Jay Bookman, columnist and blogger for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has commented on this episode in a blog post.  It expresses my reaction better than I could.  Here is link to his blog post.  I urge all readers of this blog to read it.

Oh, by the way, I assume that it is superfluous for me to satisfy your curiosity:  Both Texas Senators signed the letter.  Texas has replaced Mississippi as a haven for jackasses and launching pad for every stupid governmental policy idea floating around.  We have not one, but three Texas Coo-Coo Birds readying themselves for campaigns to become President of the United States.  Stay tuned.

Here is a link:  Jay Bookman

Bob

 

 

A Prophyfactic Look At Our Enemies

March 8, 2015 § 3 Comments

Summary

Prophyfactic is not a word.  I made it up.  Prophylactics protect from harmful physical sex.  Prophyfactics protect from harmful  mind-sex, not imaginary sexual fantasies, but rapes of the mind  – lies, half-truths and rhetoric designed to generate fear and hate.  The motives for both kinds of sex are various, limited only by the range of human imagination.  The patterns and techniques of mind-sex are, instead,  well known, lacking in originality and generally  repackaged tools borrowed from previous events.

Mind-rapes are usually based on false equivalencies and exaggerated fears .  In the following essay I will offer some  prophyfactic protection from mind-rape.

How To Start a War

One example of mind-rape is a time-tested solution to an age-old problem:  How can a nation be goaded into a war?  America has experienced several examples of this process.

The Spanish-American War was cleverly engineered by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, proprietors of the New York World and the New York Journal, who published sensational stories; based on questionable facts,  about the sinking of the U.S battleship  Maine in Havana harbor.

Our entry into WWI was preceded by lurid newspaper accounts of rapes by ruthless Huns; slaughter of Belgian babies; expressions of outrage at the U-boat sinking of the Lusitania, an ocean liner carrying American passengers; and portrayals of the Kaiser as a power mad international predator.

WWII was our only war requiring no manipulation.  The Japanese took care of that at Pearl Harbor.

We went to war with Vietnam  based on a phony account of Vietnamese torpedo boats attacking the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin and an elaborate metaphor about falling dominoes.

Our last war, an invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, was contrived by fanciful stories of sinister meetings with an Iraqi spy known as (I’m not making this up!) Curveball; false claims of “weapons of mass destruction”‘ hidden in Iraq; scary tales of mushroom clouds; and the cynical abuse of Colin Powell’s reputation for integrity.

All of these wars except WWII have been followed by bitter reactions, like hangovers after a bender, when the deceptions and manipulations become known and understood.  Every time we swear that never again will we be so stupid and naive as to sacrifice innocent lives based on faulty reasoning and false claims.

We are presently, in my estimation, in the midst of a new test:  Will these mind-rapes prove again that we have not learned the value of prophyfactics?

Iranian Mind-Sex

Here is Iran as described by Israeli Prime Minister candidate Bibi Netanyahu, speaking two weeks before election day in Israel:  Iran’s Persian history and culture includes efforts to kill Jews, citing Haman, an Iranian official from Persian history.  Iran is like Nazi Germany and its drive to develop nuclear weapons is motivated by its intention to destroy Israel with a nuclear Holocaust.  Ayatollah Khomeini is committed to the same kind of anti-Semitism that shaped the policies of Nazi Germany.  Iran has sponsored terrorist activity directed against both Israel and the United States.

President Obama is like Neville Chamberlain, the naive British leader who foolishly believed he could make peace with Hitler.  In fact, there are some who believe that Obama may harbor unexpressed, but nevertheless present, anti-Semitic views.  This accusation has appeared in an Israeli press article supporting candidate Netanyahu.

Given these facts, the only rational policy toward Iran must be a demand that it change its policies and abandon its nuclear program.  [Which will happen when pigs fly.]

Some Iranian Prophyfactics

     Prophyfactic One

Last Wednesday and Thursday Jews all over the world celebrated Purim, a holiday commemorating the thwarting of a plot to kill all Persian Jews.  The Biblical story of how Esther, the queen, adopted daughter and cousin of Mordecai, both Jews, warned Ahsuerus, the King, of his vizier Haman’s plot to kill him.  Haman was hanged.  Persian Jews were forewarned of Haman’s plot to kill then.  They responded by overpowering the killers.  Mordecai was rewarded by becoming the Prime Minister of Persia. [This brief summary is not even close to an adequate summary.  The Biblical story has everything:  Sex, violence, deceit, intrigue, heroism and the ultimate triumph of right and justice.  It is a marvelous story.]

Netanyahu, speaking to Congress the day before Purim, referred to this story as evidence of the anti-Semitism of  Persian history and culture.  He mentioned Haman, but neglected to mention that the Persian King had Haman hung, was married to a Jew, Esther, and appointed her Jewish adopted father Prime Minister of his Kingdom.

He also might have mentioned that Mordecai and Esther are buried in elaborate tombs, maintained as revered shrines, in Iran.  Here is a link to pictures of the tombs.

Prophyfactic Two

There are an estimated 20,000 Jews living in Iran.  Here is an excerpt from a Wikipedia account of current Jewish Persian culture:  “Today Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools.  It has two kosher restaurants, an old-age home and  cemetery.  There is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles.  Iranian Jews have their own newspaper (called ‘Ofogh-e-Bina’) with  Jewish scholars performing Judaic research at Tehran’s ‘Central Library of Jewish Association’.  The ‘Dr. Sapir Jewish Hospital’ is Iran’s largest charity hospital of any religious minority community in the country; however, most of its patients and staff are Muslim.”  Here is link:  Persian Jews

Phrophyfactic Three

Although Persian Jews are not numerous enough to be entitled to a member of the Iranian parliament, the Iranian government, based on a policy toward minority populations, accords one seat in parliament to a Jew as well as a seat in parliament to a Christian, the other principal minority group in Iran.

Phophyfactic Four

So far as concerns the Iranian attitude and policy toward the Jews, there is complete difference between the ethnic/religious body of world Jewry and the nation of Israel.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution deposed the Shah and established the present government of Iran.The Imam, Ayatollah Khomeini, returned from exile in Paris.  He met with representatives of Iranian Jews at a conference at Qom.  At one point during that conference, he is reported to have said, “In the holy Quran, Moses, salutations upon him and all his kin, has been mentioned more than any other prophet. Prophet Moses was a mere shepherd when he stood up to the might of pharaoh and destroyed him. Moses, the Speaker-to-Allah, represented pharaoh’s slaves, the downtrodden, the mostazafeen [the poor people] of his time.”  At the end of the conference, he said,  “We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking Zionists.’ and issued a fatwa decreeing that the Jews were to be protected.”  This is from the earlier link to a Wikipedia entry.

Prophyfactic Five

Here is a link to a website subpart entitled “minorities” from a pro-Iran website entitled “The Other Iran”.  This site includes items related to Christian/ Iranian friendship as well as Jewish/Iranian friendship.  If you scroll through the Christian items, you will find information about the tomb of Daniel located and honored in Iran; a memorial dedicated to the Iranian Jews who lost their lives during the Iran/Iraq War; a tribute to a Jewish lexicographer and other items concerning Iranian Jews.

Jews and Israel:  A Prophyfactic Comment

Prime Minister Netanyahu and many of his political agents and lobbyists in America claim there is no daylight between the world’s Jewish community and the nation of Israel.  So, if one opposes an Israeli policy or action, that amounts to anti-Semitism.  When he spoke to the U.S. Congress, he spoke, as he put it, for “the Jews”.

This is stunningly bombastic arrogance.  Here is a link to an op/ed article that thoughtfully considers the problems with this idea.  Haaretz  Israel is a Middle East nation, not a commune inhabited by the world’s Jewish population or their proxies.  Like any democratic nation, its policies shift and change, not only in response to the acts and policies of its neighbors, but also in response to the ebb and flow of its domestic politics.

I discussed this process in 2009, when I posted my reaction to Ari Shavit’s book, “My Promised Land”.  See my blog post entitled “The Broken Promised Land”.   In the last two paragraphs of that essay I compared Israel’s progress from colony to national status with American progress from east coast colonies westward through Indian country.  Both expansions involved and, in the case of Israel, are still involving some violent and morally questionable policies and actions.  It is unreasonable and unrealistic to assume that all Jews would agree with all of the policies and actions of any nation undergoing those kinds of changes.

Conclusion

There are serious and real differences between the United States and Israel and Iran.  Iran did not join other Arab nations in the three wars following the establishment of that nation.  Iran has, however, supported opposition to U.S. policies and Israeli policies in various parts of the Middle East, notably Lebanon as well as other places.  Asymmetric warfare has raged in the form of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Buenos Aires and other locations.  The “Hostage Crisis” that plagued the Carter administration was part of that conflict.

These conflicts were not trivial nor can they be forgotten.  But they were not based on anti-Semitism.  They were based on national rivalries, economic issues, territorial disputes – the usual issues that ignite conflicts between nations.  Such conflicts are rarely, if ever, based on pure virtue versus pure evil.  The Nazis and the current groups called ISIS come close to pure evil,  according to my standards.  But the German nation is now populated with the survivors and offspring of many who surely supported Nazi leaders.  They no longer embrace Nazi ideas.  So even evil people can change their minds or, at least, their behavior and thus qualify for peaceful coexistence with others.

The United States and five other nations are trying to make peace with Iran based on assurance that it will not start a nuclear proliferation contest in the Middle East.  We should not allow ourselves to view Iran as a nation of evil people with whom we cannot conduct reasonable negotiations.  I believe a necessary step toward that goal is to regard them as people much like ourselves:  Flawed, biased, impatient, judgmental, but more interested in living normal lives among families and friends than engaging in conduct that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.

We need prophyfactic protection from words designed to convince us that Iranians are different from us — evil fanatics with whom neither negotiated promises nor reasoned relationships are possible.

Some Common Sense Constitutional Law: The DACA Issue

March 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

I am tired of watching and listening to politicians with serious looks on their faces repeating the asinine claim that Barack Obama has violated the Constitution of the United States by issuing an Executive Order entitled “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, usually abbreviated as DACA.

What is DACA?

Here is what DACA provides:

“You may request consideration of DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
  • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
  • Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;
  1. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  2. Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”  [Copied from posted online information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services]

What does the Constitution Provide?

Article II, Section 2.3 provides, in pertinent part, “. . . he [referring to the President of the United States] . . . shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed . . . .”  That’s it.  That’s all it says.  The President plainly has the responsibility for faithfully executing the laws.

So, Has President Obama Violated the Constitution?

Now answering this question requires two things:  a. Some common sense and b. Rudimentary understanding of basic math.  According to FACTTank, a publication of PEW Research, in 2012 there were 11.2 million undocumented aliens living in the United States.  FactTank

President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents, so there are now 21,000 of them.  If everyone of those agents was relieved of his or her duties and assigned to rounding up 11.2 million aliens, each one would have to grab 533 1/3 aliens.  Then, assuming that 200 aliens could be packed into each bus, each agent would need 2.9 buses, a total of 58, 800 buses, to haul those aliens back to Mexico, and various other countries in South America, as well as the other places throughout the world from which they immigrated.

Now, given the apparent IQ of some of these constitutional strict constructionists who have been braying about this, I assume they will promptly direct their staff to begin drafting an appropriate law to carry out this plan.  I hope, however, that we still have enough elected officials with enough brains to recognize that some picking and choosing of rational priorities would be a better idea.  The truth is that laws are not, and cannot be,  enforced without some rational and sensible discretion by the enforcers.  Faithfully executing laws does not mean that law enforcement cannot be done selectively if the criteria for doing so are reasonable and consistent with the purpose of the law.  No court has ever held otherwise because such a holding would impose an impossible degree of blind obedience inconsistent with reason.

Every traffic violation is not prosecuted.  Sometimes you get a warning ticket.  Police Departments make discretionary choices about enforcing criminal laws.  Some criminals are not prosecuted in exchange for snitching on other criminals.  Murders and assaults are given more attention than broken windows due to errant baseballs.  Some states have decided not to enforce marijuana laws and the Justice Department has, so far, not reacted as if they were faced with an insurrection.  There is still a federal law prohibiting possession of marijuana, but no one seems interested in starting Civil War II about the matter.

Prosecutorial discretion is, and has always been, an integral part of the criminal justice system.  I can think of no reason why the enforcement of our immigration laws should be treated with less rationality than our criminal laws.  Discretion can be, and sometimes is, abused and exercised in corrupt ways.  It should be judged, like all governmental action, according to its apparent goals and the motivation for its exercise.

So, what are the obvious goals of DACA?  First, to avoid punishment of innocent children who have done no harm.  Second, to free immigrant families from living in the shadows in constant fear of being torn apart when a child is threatened with deportation.  Is a dangerous precedent being set?   Are we in danger of freeing our President from the limits of a constitutional democracy?  I don’t think so.

President Obama has repeatedly urged the Congress to preempt his executive order by enacting laws that will establish standards for remaining in this country.  It is important to note that DACA defers action.  It does not grant citizenship.  It confers no permanent status.  It is what it states:  A temporary measure to prevent irrevocable damage to innocent people while Congress considers and designs an overhaul of our immigration laws.

Everyone who has given the issue any serious thought recognizes that we cannot expect to deport all undocumented aliens.  Many of them have family and business ties to this country as a result of residence here for decades.  To appreciate the numbers we are considering:  The number of undocumented aliens in this country is near the total number of people mobilized into U.S. military forces at the height of WWII.  Numbers

Conclusion

This is not, at least to me, a difficult or complicated question.  I know a federal judge in Brownsville has ruled that Obama has violated the Constitution.  I have hung around enough courthouses to pay little attention to that fact.  There are Clarence Thomas’s in black robes on lots of benches.  It is only a 50/50 bet that Obama’s lawyers will win this argument.  There are panels of the 5th Circuit just as nutty as the Brownsville judge, and the selection of panels is a crap shoot.  I have no way of predicting how this issue will be decided, or how long it will take to reach a final decision, but I have no doubt about how it should be decided.  Given the facts and the numbers, somebody must and will make choices about which people are deported.  The Constitution grants that authority to the President.

Bob

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