GOP Leaders Reverse Course on President Obama’s DACA

Regardless of what Republicans said and how much they bemoaned and criticized President Barack Obama’s agenda and policies, they know he was fundamentally right nearly all the time because he governed from a centrist position and always for the benefit of the people; it is why he easily won two consecutive presidential elections. Interestingly, Republican leaders are now supporting an Obama immigration policy they screamed like banshees was an atrocity, and an abuse of his executive power, and they are using Obama’s reasoning to convince their racist hero Trump to preserve the immigration executive order protecting the so-called “Dreamers.”

Americans have been hearing that Trump is on the verge of canceling President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows “undocumented” immigrants who were brought to America as children avoid deportation and acquire work permits. A move by Trump to end DACA will not go over well with the public, or the business community, and now it is not going over well with leading Republicans. Most Americans believe that undocumented children who were hauled over the border by their parents through no fault of their own and have no legal or criminal issues in their records should be shown compassion and allowed to stay, work and thrive in America.

In fact, the business sector employing roughly 800,000 people authorized to work through DACA are opposed to Trump ending DACA, and it is most likely that they are putting pressure on “business friendly” Republicans to rein in Trump’s threat to end the program. On Friday, the business sector pressure to save DACA apparently inspired two “prominent Republican” legislators to publicly appeal to Trump to allow Congress to come up with a long-term resolution to DACA instead of canceling it unconditionally.

One of the prominent Republicans was House Speaker Paul Ryan who, after criticizing President Obama for initiating the program, actually used President Obama’s exact reasoning for creating it in the first place. Ryan said regarding Trump’s threat to eliminate DACA and deport at least 800,000 people:

“I don’t think he should do that. This is something Congress has to fix. President Obama did not have the authority to do what he did. Having said all that there are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. So I really do believe there needs to be a legislative solution, that’s one we’re working on, and I think we want to give people piece of mind. I think the president Trump ‘mentioned’ a humane solution to this problem, and I think that’s something we in Congress are working on and need to deliver on.”

Now, if Ryan really believes his own sophistry about DACA being something Congress has to fix, then why did Republicans in Congress throw a fit when President Obama appealed to them to “do something” to fix the problem? And why did they work tirelessly to defeat “the Dream Act” that would have eliminated any need for a Presidential executive order? For dog’s sake, President Obama’s executive order creating DACA was in June 2012 and Republicans have had over five years to “do something to fix” it with a permanent solution; including re-introducing and passing the Dream Act.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reiterated Ryan’s appeal to Trump, and used President Obama’s reasoning for “providing a workable path forward for the ‘Dreamer’ population.” Hatch said in a statement:

“I’ve urged the president Trump not to rescind DACA, an action that would further complicate a system in serious need of a ‘permanent legislative solution.’ Like the president Trump, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here. And that solution must come from Congress. Over the coming months, I’ll be working closely with my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform … that will provide a workable path forward for the Dreamer population, and ensure that employers have access to the high-skilled workers they need to succeed.”

The same question that Paul Ryan must be compelled to answer applies to Orrin Hatch; why did Republicans in Congress vote against the Dream Act on at least three separate occasions over several years? Nothing changed for the undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children “through no fault of their own, are in limbo, know no other country, and don’t know another home.”

It is noteworthy that Hatch was a co-sponsor of the bill’s first iteration in 2001, and that five Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the last version in 2011. But the point is that if it is so important to Republicans now for Trump to allow Congress to pass a version of the Dream Act as a permanent solution to DACA, it is glaringly apparent that the only reason Republicans opposed it when President Obama appealed to their compassionate side was because it was President Obama.

It was also reported that Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General, Herbert H. Slavery III, had signed on to an “ultimatumletter with nine other GOP attorneys general and one Republican governor warning Trump that if he failed to kill DACA by September 5, they would “sue to block it in court.” However, yesterday, Friday, Slatery “publicly withdrew his demand” and urged Trump to not only keep DACA in place, but to work with Congress to protect young undocumented immigrants.

In a letter to Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Slatery wrote, in part:

Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country. There is a human element to this …  that is not lost on me and should not be ignored.”

It is nearly impossible to imagine Republicans have had a change of heart, and are serious about “the human element” in seeking a permanent fix for Dreamers; these are Republicans and they are bereft of compassion as a matter of course. It is more likely they were pressed by the business sector to publicly appeal to Trump to let them resolve the issue for the sake of profits, not compassion. They had several stellar opportunities over the course of several years to pass the Dream Act and avoid this DACA controversy altogether, particularly in 2011 when Barack Obama appealed to something they never display for the people, but have in abundance for their business special interests – compassion.

Farmers’ Crops Are Rotting in the Fields Thanks To Trump

At this juncture it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list the myriad ways Trump has hurt America and, more importantly, Americans. Whether it was his actions such as devastating executive orders abolishing protections for the environment, or his threats to withhold funding that sent the insurance industry into a panic-driven increase in healthcare insurance premiums, he has proven himself to be a friend of no-one but Nazi fascists, white supremacists, and Donald J. Trump. However, although the media is being swamped with outrages against decency committed by the occupant in the White House on a daily basis, they should show a bit more interest in the plight of the agriculture industry and Americans’ access to its produce.

Back in late April after a farcical “Roundtable on Agriculture” and executive order signing ceremony, Trump did what was expected and lied through his teeth about his high regard for “agriculture and rural prosperity in America.” For those of us who have been keeping score, Trump has singlehandedly wrought more damage on the agriculture industry with a couple of ill-advised moves than any administration in history. And the American people are going to pay the price; many, many farmers have already paid the price.

After praising himself at the “Roundtable on Agriculture” Trump announced:

They [farmers] had a very good day.  We’re doing well, very well.  Things are turning around.  I know they’re turning around for you folks, so I just want to welcome you very much to the White House.

So this is promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America.  And, now, there’s a lot of words I won’t bother reading everything.  But agriculture and rural prosperity in America, that’s what we want.  And we don’t want to be taken advantage of by other countries — and that’s stopping, and that’s stopping fast.”

Kind of like “getting tired of winning,” the only thing that Trump is stopping is agriculture and rural prosperity that is indeed turning around; but it is going in the wrong direction for the American agriculture industry and in the ‘winning’ direction for the rest of the world. And, what that wrong direction amounts to for farmers is watching their crops rot in the fields because they are facing an impossible task of finding field laborers with expertise to harvest and process the crops to get them to market in a timely fashion.

In the third or fourth report in a couple of months about how Trump’s immigration and trade policy is singlehandedly hurting an already struggling agriculture sector, farmers are crying, literally crying, that they cannot find the people qualified to harvest their crops. Unlike most other industries, agriculture is an extremely time sensitive industry where harvesting crops at precisely the right time is the key to success. But harvesting in a timely manner is an issue many farmers aren’t even having to face because they cannot find field workers to harvest at any time due to Trump’s immigration policy.

Farmers in California have continued reporting that they are having extreme difficulty in finding, much less hiring, enough experienced people to do the dirty work during harvest season causing crops to rot in the fields. According to a report by NBC News, that difficulty has already “triggered losses of more than $13 million in just two counties;” and the harvest season is just getting underway. What that means for American consumers is that vegetable and fruit prices are going to rise substantially because the migrant farm workers with expertise to harvest quickly and efficiently are nowhere to be found.

All of the blame for the shortage of field workers is being attributed to “the ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policy” since Trump won the election; the troubles started months before he was in the White House. Although migrant farm workers are integral to agriculture nation wide, “the vast majority of California’s farm workers are foreign born, with many coming from Mexico.

As noted in a report from the PEW Research Center, not only are migrant workers not making the trip North to work and help feed Americans, after Trump’s election more Mexicans are fleeing America than are coming here. And it is noteworthy that because of Trump, there is nothing farmers can do to entice immigrant labor to risk working in the fields; even if they are American citizens or are authorized to work in the United States; and who can blame them?

The blame certainly is not on the farmers, unless it is for voting for the imbecile who did tell them his raison d’être in the Oval Office is purging Mexicans from the nation that won him the unwavering support of the white supremacist cult. Now those farmers who admit they supported Trump have to take extraordinary steps to lure migrant workers to the fields with no success.

Those extraordinary steps include trying to make the dirty jobs more appealing and worth the risk of being hunted down, arrested, and roughed up by Trump’s ICE brown shirts. Farmers are offering actual “salaries” well above the minimum wage as opposed to “piece work,” offering paid time off for vacations and illness, and 401(k) retirement plans. Despite those benefits and higher salaries, it is not nearly enough. And the travesty is this issue is plaguing farmers across the nation.

Despite what Trump says, the American agriculture sector is in big trouble due to his racist immigration policy and isolationist trade incompetence. In July, it was reported here that Trump’s threat to pull out of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) prompted Mexico to shift to its “plan B” that entails making trade deals for its agricultural products with other nations.

Just talking about scuttling a trade pact since he took office prompted Mexican farmers to go to their Plan B and has driven “American soybean exports to Mexico to decrease 15 percent, corn has dropped 6 percent; and chicken dropped 11 percent; it is the largest decline of 14 years.”  Trump’s big mouth is making those “rural states” that helped put him in the White House worried sick that their primary industry will take more significant economic hits than have already occurred.

Add to that terrible farm news was Trump’s unilaterally withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP). It was an incompetent error that incited Japan and the European Union to reach a monumental trade deal that leaves America’s agriculture sector with crushing tariffs on its products that were slated for extinction under TPP. Now, the tariffs remain on American products while the EU, Japan, and remaining signatories to the “free trade” agreement will eliminate tariffs for participating nations putting America’s farmers in a horrible position; inability to compete.

Although it appears Trump’s immigration and trade incompetence will only have a deleterious effect on the agriculture sector, and it is already costing them dearly, it is the American consumers who are going to pay a healthy price, literally, for fresh fruit, vegetables, and livestock products.

Every time a farmer has to watch their crops rot in the field, or our former trading partners ship their products to other nations with competent trading policies, the price of food for Americans is going to rise significantly. And it is noteworthy that all of this is down to the incompetency of the Trump administration; not the farmers, not the migrant farm workers, and not America’s trading partners.

Image: TheGuardian

Trump Is Sending Christians to Their Deaths in Iraq

As this column has noted often as of late, no-one likes a liar and it’s seemingly apparent that should particularly apply to Ten Commandment-loving evangelical Christians. Donald Trump certainly has accrued quite a record as a pathological liar, and still, the white evangelical sect flocked to the polls to put the serial liar and corrupt television celebrity in the White House. Trump won the support of the religious right on a solemn pledge that he, and only he, could protect them and bring an immediate halt to the so-called persecution they bitch about ad nauseam.

Trump also pledged to protect Christians in the Middle East and went so far as to exempt Christians living in “travel-banned” majority Muslim nations and allow them to emigrate to America. Silly Christians, you thought that your “orange messiah” would never lie to you, the spiritually devout, but his mendacity is pathological; he lies to everyone including you ignoramus evangelicals.

One of the pledges Trump made repeatedly throughout the campaign for president was that he would “champion the cause of persecuted Christians, especially those from the Middle East.” Now, due to his nasty immigration policy, Trump is sending Christians to their deaths in Iraq; a nation many of the deportees know nothing about.

Many of the Christians Trump is deporting to Iraq, a nation many fled as young children to escape persecution, have lived in America for decades. Apparently, some even have criminal records for such abominable crimes as allowing someone else to drive a car they rented, or were caught with a small amount of marijuana – decades ago. Their real crime, though, is not that they may have an infraction or misdemeanor criminal record, but that they are from the Middle East.

It is noteworthy that Trump actually made “costly” concessions to the Iraqi government to be able to “send Iraqi Christians living in America to their death,” so it must be something near and dear to his black heart. Trump agreed with the Iraqis that if they would grant him “permission” to deport Iraqi expatriates in America, Christian, Catholic, or otherwise, he would remove Iraq from the dreaded “banned nations list.

Ponder that for a minute; Trump must really hate Iraqi Christians if he forfeited the right to ban Iraqis, 99 percent whom are Muslims, from entering America just for the “privilege of deporting” Iraqi Christians out of “his America.

Although it wasn’t always the easiest life for an Iraqi Christian, they faced increased persecution after America invaded Iraq and allowed a sectarian war to begin in earnest. When the Islamic State (ISIS, IS, ISIL, Daesh) emerged as a force in Syria and Iraq, they immediately targeted Christians and other minority religions for instant extermination. It was such an issue that in 2014 the Republican-majority House of Representatives and Obama Administration State Department recognized the Iraqi Christians as “victims of genocide.”

Now Trump is sending them to be victimized further and it should be a signal to America’s religious right that Trump is not only a pathological liar, he is not going to protect Christians in the Middle East from being persecuted. That also means that he conned the faithful again when he promised to give priority to Iraqi and Syrian Christians who wanted to emigrate to America.

It isn’t just Trump who lies at the rate humans draw breath.  Barely a month ago the lying pretend preacher Mike Pence gave a speech at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians pledging that,

Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign policy priority of the Trump administration.”

Pence promised, specifically, that protecting Christians in the Middle East was of enormous importance to the Trump White House and the administration was all about taking action. 

The suffering of Christians in the Middle East has stirred Americans to action, and it brings me here today.”

The roundups, detentions, and deportations that began this week in Michigan are an indication that Trump has been stirred to action, but it is not to stop the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. It is to increase their numbers with Iraqi Christians who lived peacefully in America, many of them for decades until Trump lied his way to the White House and began deporting them to a country that doesn’t want them.

According to the Huffington Post, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class-action lawsuit to stop the detentions and deportations. The Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, Kary Moss said:

Not only is it immoral to send people to a country where they are likely to be violently persecuted, it expressly violates United States and international law and treaties. Our immigration policy shouldn’t amount to a death sentence for anyone.”

This latest example of Trump breaking a promise to the faithful should be a wake up call to all of Trump’s supporters that no-one is safe. The promise to protect Christians from persecution, particularly those in the Middle East, was a major reason the religious right flocked to vote for a self-admitted unrepentant sinner.

Trump doesn’t care about protecting Christians any more than Mike Pence does or they would have done precisely what they promised when issuing a ban on immigrants from mostly Muslim Middle East nations; give priority to Iraqi and Syrian Christians. Instead, they are rounding them up in America and sending them back to the Middle East to face serious persecution if they are fortunate enough not to be killed for being Christians.