Tag: Barack Obama

Salute

Whenever I write about some subtle act of bigotry, I get comments that I am indulging in race-baiting, and that racism is more or less dead (except to agitators like me who keep bringing these issues up).

It’s much harder to make that claim when the act is overtly racist, especially if it occurred in the distant past. As such, I expect no slapdowns over the recent news that President Barack Obama gave the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans, who “if not for the hue of their skin or their ethnicity…would have received the prestigious medals for their valor long ago.”

moh

Yes, it seems that back in the day, the US Army was riddled with bigots who didn’t take kindly to handing out the nation’s highest military honor to anybody but white guys. As such, these men — who displayed “gallantry above and beyond the call of duty for their combat actions in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II” —were denied proper recognition.

The Obama administration ordered a review of the records, which is how the US Army found that two dozen of its bravest soldiers were dissed. So the men are now receiving their medals, decades later.

Sadly, “only three of the soldiers are alive to receive the recognition.

The rest—soldiers with last names including Garcia and Weinstein and Negron—are dead.”

 


The Best of Intentions

President Obama recently held a town-hall meeting to pitch the finer points of the Affordable Care Act to Latinos. And when I say, “the finer points,” I mean that he basically said, “This is driving me nuts. You should be signing up in droves.”

But Hispanics are doing no such thing, and despite the fact that “the Latino population is disproportionately uninsured and relatively young… enrollment hasn’t been going well.” This is because, like all things related to the Obamacare rollout, things were botched and fumbled.

Fumble

For example, “instead of starting with what would resonate with Latinos, outreach campaigns were developed in English for English-speaking audiences,” with the result that Obamacare details and benefits were not “directed particularly at the Latino population.”

Even more alarming, many Hispanics are under the mistaken impression “that signing up for the Affordable Care Act could get family members deported.”

So now some of Obama’s biggest supporters — who also stand to benefit greatly from the ACA, and who are also more likely than most Americans to be uninsured, and who are more at risk for some particularly vexing diseases – are cowering in fear rather than bum rushing the registration desks and swamping the ACA website.

It’s a cruel irony, and one that could have been easily avoided, if the Obama administration had put as much effort into proper outreach as they do in fending off right-wing attacks.

But a quick and easy solution isn’t coming. Indeed, at Obama’s town hall, “as the questions came, some of the challenges the president and his administration face in selling the health care law were brought into focus.”

Hopefully, they got the message.

 


Yeah, Right

So the United States has resumed its wild, impetuous stab at having a functioning government. After this latest farce, internet sites are alive with comments along the lines of the following:

“We need to kick out every member of Congress and start fresh.”

I know we live in a country where nearly half the citizens people can’t name the vice president, but I find it hard to believe anybody is so ignorant of the political process that he or she thinks voting out all 535 members of Congress is a realistic option.

capitol

We’ll start with the fact that elections are staggered (hence the term “midterm election”). As such, I doubt anybody’s rage is going to last another five years or so, which is how long it would take to excise all the offending congressmen and women. And we’ll add on the stat that while most people hate Congress, they tend to like their own reps, so we will likely see most of these supposedly toxic incumbents return.

This idea is even less practical and more insane than the delusional belief, which I’ve written about before, that we can easily deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

In the interest of saving time, here are some other political ideas I’ve heard recently that appear just as likely to happen.

“We need to separate into two different countries. Red states and blue states.” (I’m pretty sure we fought a war about this, and the outcome was rather conclusive. We appear to be stuck with one another for the foreseeable future.)

“We need a task force of really smart leaders who will come up with bipartisan solutions to our problems.” (That’s what Congress is supposed to be.)

“We need to mandate IQ tests to make sure people are smart enough to vote.” (Anyone who thinks an IQ test accurately measures political acumen probably doesn’t have a very high IQ.)

“We need to confiscate every gun in America that’s not in the hands of the police or military.” (It amazes me how liberals think that Second Amendment advocates—many of whom are paranoid and all of whom are armed—will somehow go along with this idea.)

“We need to use Jurassic Park-type technology to reanimate the Founding Fathers so they can tell us their original intent regarding the Constitution.” (OK, I made this one up, but wouldn’t that be cool?)


Up and Running

As we know, the Affordable Care Act went into effect this month.

So-called Obamacare “is particularly critical to Latinos, who have the highest rate of being uninsured in the nation.”

Yes, about nine million more Hispanics will now be eligible for health insurance, and this thought terrifies the Republican Party, which sees nine million more voters who will think positively of the Democratic Party.

So we just had to have this shutdown nonsense, so that the GOP could stop its collective foot and scream, “Socialism!” one more time, for nostalgia’s sake.

boehner

Interestingly, many Americans blame the Democrats for this mess. While I have my own issues with the Democrats, which I’ve written about in the past, I am stumped over how this cannot be construed as a 100% GOP-manufactured crisis.

As many people have pointed out, the ACA passed Congress, was signed by the president, upheld by the Supreme Court, and put into effect. That’s the way our country works.

We don’t say, “Hey, the minority party, which overwhelmingly lost the last election, doesn’t like the law. So we have to negotiate.”

What in fuck’s name is there to negotiate?

It’s the law. Deal with it.

 


Quick Takes

As threatened, new fatherhood has sapped my time and energy to the point that I am barely able to rant and rave effectively. I have no doubt that this will change as my son gains maturity and I gain perspective, but for now my updates will be succinct (which is a nice way of saying that they’ll be really short).

First, as I’m sure you know, President Obama is at long last finished with attempting to compromise with conservatives who would gladly push him into a wood chipper if they could get away with it. The president is moving forward on immigration reform, joined by a few Republicans who insist that they never ever referred to a pathway to citizenship as “amnesty.” Of course, we could have had all this progress years ago, but as I’ve written before, some people always need to scream and fight and threaten to overthrow the government before we just go ahead and adopt the progressive idea. I have no idea why this is the route to reform, but it just is.

Second, I noticed that my infant son is part of yet another growing trend. Apparently, the state he was born in (California) now has more Latinos than white people for the first time since statehood. This was a surprise to some.

This news came out just about the time my son was born. Is it coincidence, or was he the tipping point?

What do you think?

 



An Ice-cold Serving of Reality

As everybody knows by now, uber-nerd Nate Silver called the presidential election weeks ago.  Lots of progressives, like me, watched the returns with a certain sense of calm, well aware that Obama was going to win.

But for some Republicans, it wasn’t just a disappointing loss. It was also a stomach-churning shocker. Many conservatives are so self-deluded that they believe reality and facts and hard data are secondary to their own hopes and opinions.

For them, Romney’s loss created more than just standard depression. It unleashed an overwrought wailing that, to the rest of us, resembled high comedy.

Honestly, how could they be surprised? For months, people like me have been saying that Latino voters would punish the Republican Party, and that this could be the difference in the swing states.

Indeed, Obama won a startling 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Still, some conservatives, even the Latino ones, were predicting a Romney landslide. After the fact, however, even Hispanic members of the GOP had to admit that “Latinos were disillusioned with President Obama, but they were terrified of Mitt Romney.”

Now that the accuracy of that quote has been verified, some of the most xenophobic elements of the conservative movement are saying, “Gee, maybe we should rethink our hatred of immigrants.”

And all it took was getting their asses kicked.

Of course, delusion is still a powerful force within the Republican Party. Many higher-ups in the GOP still insist that Latinos only voted for the president because we’re going to get free stuff.

Well, if that’s their explanation for Romney’s loss, and their plan for the future, I look forward to reading history books about the Republican Party. They will be there, in the section that talks about the Bull Moose Party and the Whigs. And they will be just as relevant.


The Difference

As we careen, cartwheel, and plummet into the finale of this interminable election season, one refrain we hear many times is that Republicans and Democrats are one and the same.

Indeed, there is ample evidence that both parties are indebted to big business and the status quo. And as Latinos know, Obama’s original immigration policies weren’t much of an improvement over Bush’s approach.

Still, there are differences between the two men running for president— besides the fact that one is a communist Kenyan and the other is a money-grubbing fascist (hey, that’s what the internet told me).

 

For those who have inexplicably not paid attention, Obama is pro-choice, while Romney is pro-life. Obama is against the death penalty, while Romney is fine with it. The president has come out in support of gay marriage, while Romney believes marriage is a straights-only deal. And Obama doesn’t share Romney’s opinion that the US government is inherently inept, corrupt, and/or evil.

I have to admit, those seem to be fairly large differences to me.

Even progressive icon Daniel Ellsberg, no fan of Obama, thinks the president is substantially different from Romney.

So who are the people yelling that Obama and Romney are clones? I mean, besides Lupe Fiasco?

Well, there are true believers who think a leftist or libertarian chief exec is a possibility (it’s not). Then there are self-proclaimed radicals who dismiss the entire American system as corrupt or bourgeois or just plain icky. And finally, there are voters who simply say, “It don’t matter none.” 

But of course it does matter. And for Latino voters, it’s crucial.

Hispanics are the least likely ethnic group to have health insurance, a situation that the infamous Obamacare may alleviate.

On immigration, Obama has endorsed the Dream Act (belatedly, of course), while Romney is still trying to explain how self-deportation would work.

And when it comes to economic policy, Romney’s tax cuts would benefit the upper classes, which are not exactly awash in Latinos. Keep in mind that according to some experts, Romney “cannot deliver all the tax cuts he promised to the wealthy without raising taxes on the middle class.” One can presume that Hispanics will not be among the direct beneficiaries of his tax plan.

However, perhaps some Latinos still believe that it doesn’t matter who wins. Well, think back to those distant days of 2000, when Bush was elected. At the time, many Americans voted for Nader because Gore and Bush were apparently too similar. Therefore, we have to assume that under President Gore, the September 11 attacks, the Great Recession, and FEMA’s horrific response to Hurricane Katrina would have all occurred. Those are rather huge assumptions, to say the least.

But the Iraq War, an obsession unique to neo-cons, certainly would not have happened. So for the families of 4,500 dead US soldiers, there was at least one fundamental, very real difference between the candidates.

By the way, approximately 500 of those soldiers were Latino.

 


The Tyranny of…Well, Something or Other

Recently, I wrote about America’s love affair with guns. One argument that Second Amendment proponents use, to great effect, is that an armed citizenry prevents government tyranny.

Indeed, there are many Americans who believe that a “disarmed society is an obedient society…in which, at the extreme, people obey their own government’s orders to follow the line into the gas chambers.”

Well, that certainly is an unpleasant image.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 



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