Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Breitbart rebuttal

The following a..rticle appeared on the Breitbart website and was linked to me in a comment on my Facebook page. The original FB post decried the pending (now announced) elimination of DACA, a program which was instituted by President Obama to provide temporary relief from the threat of deportation to undocumented young adults (ages 15 - 33 years old) who were brought to the United States as young children and have resided continuously in our country, grown up as Americans in every sense. I told my friend I found the article flawed in many ways and she invited me to detail those flaws. Here goes - 

14 Things the MSM Won't Tell You About DACA

"Whenever a Republican wants to move forward — you know, pass some legislation or even enforce the law as already written, they always, always, ALWAYS have to run through a mainstream media propaganda gauntlet dedicated to the status quo, loyal only to the Democrat cause and by extension opposed to anything resembling progress."
Breitbart doesn't indicate whether a piece on their site is editorial or factual reporting. Apparently they assume the reader will accept EVERYTHING they publish as fact. This first paragraph immediately reveals itself to be opinion. Dr. Peter Lynch or Dennis Lobo, both well regarded and beloved teachers in the Social Studies department of the  high school I attended, would have returned this to me with red marks all over were it to have been submitted as a news article. Exaggerations, absolutes and lack of anything factual in this paragraph. It's purpose is 100% to establish a slant.

Obamacare is an objective disaster [while there are problems with the ACA, recent data released by the federal government indicates the program is not in a death spiral, that every county in the country DOES have an insurer offering coverage and the number of uninsured Americans continues to decline]; nonetheless, the media fights tooth and nail to save it [as do many American citizens who've attended town hall events held by GOP lawmakers]. Our tax code is a backwards, prosperity-stifling haven for corporatist special interests; nonetheless, the media will do everything in its power to ensure not a single word is altered [not sure how this plays into Democrats' plans. Typically Democrat call for higher taxes on "corporatist special interests" and the wealthy. But by including this after telling the reader all the problems in America which Republicans are trying to solve are caused by Democrats, a number of readers are apt to internalize this fiction as fact while Republicans actively work to further reduce the tax burden on the wealthy].
Then there is illegal immigration [we're getting closer to subject which the headline of the article led you to believe the article was about, but we're not there yet], which, like abortion [in case the author missed any flash issue the reader might react emotionally to], the MSM [the use of coded phrases promotes an us versus them scenario. Remember when your kids knew what lol, stfu, and smh meant but you didn't?] treats as its own personal sacrament.  Flooding America, primarily Red States, with illegal Democrats [an oxymoron. Undocumented aren't allowed to vote. How can they  be Democrats? Also, notice the writer structures the sentence so it is the media being credited with bringing illegals into the country] who also serve the interests of a Big Business Complex desperate to keep wages low and unions non-existent, there is nothing our corrupt media will not do to keep that illegal flood flooding. [the use of the adjective "corrupt" without providing any factual basis for this characterization also makes it clear this is an op-ed piece, not reporting]
And so, as President Trump prepares to keep one of his biggest promises and end President Barry’s [use of a derogatory nickname for the previous President reinforces the idea that the black man wasn't REALLY qualified to be President, both do to his race and his birth status - did Breitbart EVER retract any birther articles?] un-constitutional  [more opinion as the program wasn't litigated] Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program, all we are seeing from our establishment media is the usual-usual propaganda: flat-out lies [none articulated],  half truths, the ignoring of vital pieces of information and points of view, and most of all, emotional blackmail.
Man alive, the .emotional blackmail.
If your only understanding of this complicated issue comes from the MSM [which of course none of the usual readers of Breitbart would admit to, as they've mostly decided not to even bother reading or listening to ANY MSM. But the writer is going to inform the reader of how those who DO listen or read MSM - more us/them strategy], of course you are outraged over the fact that Trump is about order an army of jackbooted ICE agents to kick in daycare center doors, snatch up all the “brown children,” and then hurl the angelic toddlers (with actual rings of gold hovering over their heads) into cattle cars headed south. [Really? That's what the Breitbart reader thinks those opposed to the reversal of DACA believe is going to happen? Well, they DID fall for the bullsh*t about Jade Helm a couple summers ago and believe it was only due to their vigilance that the government's secret plan was revealed and thwarted, so I can imagine they might think liberals believe in another fantasy]
Hopefully the list below will offer some clarity and context. The first point, I think, is the most important. 
  1. This Is Only the Fault of the Parents
My wife was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and came to America as a small child. But she was brought here by her parents legally and remained here legally until she obtained her citizenship, something she prizes above most everything else. This is how immigration is supposed to work. If you ask my wife about DACA, she blames the parents of these children who, unlike her own parents,  broke the law and put their children in this situation.
If your parents don’t pay the rent, is it the landlord’s fault when you are evicted, or is it the fault of your parents?
If your parents sneak you into Disneyland without paying, is it Disney’s fault when you are booted out, or is it the fault of your parents?
If your parents sneak you into a country illegally, is it the country’s fault when you get deported, or is it the fault of your parents?
Blaming America or Trump or anyone other than the parents for any of this, is a ruse, a con, a rhetorical trick. [DACA has nothing to do with assigning blame, nor is it an attempt to excuse the parents' behaviors or misdeeds. Most DACA supporters lay the responsibility for the situation at the feet of the parents but also would ask the question "if your father robbed a bank, would we send the child to prison?"]
2. DACA Recipients Are Illegal Aliens

This simple fact has been so downplayed and memory-holed, it just needed to be spoken out loud.
[nd speeders are illegal drivers, as are those who text or do email while driving in most states. Civil violations, not criminal offenses]

3. DACA Is a Massive Amnesty Program

Although the DREAMers are in the country illegally, DACA allows some 800,000 to stay in the country legally without any kind of penalty. Qualified DREAMers are not only given a two-year deferment from deportation, they are eligible for a work permit, which means they can legally take a job in America. [Ok. I'll give them this one. It's EXACTLY what it is. Although I'd argue that to say they've lived in the shadows without penalty of any kind is pretty naïve]

4. DACA Recipients Are Not the Children

DACA is eligible only to those aged 15-32.
A very large percentage of DACA recipients are adults, not children or even minors. [Well, duh! Does this even require any comment?]

5. DACA Recipients Take Jobs Americans WILL Do

The idea that illegal aliens take jobs Americans won’t do is, of course, a lie. Plenty of Americans, most especially young Americans, would love the opportunity to work on a construction site or some other manual labor job [How many of these young Americans can pass a drug test? Why  aren't they signing up for apprentice programs? How many parents are encouraging their kids or their schools to teach trades?] . Moreover, if the wages were better, plenty of American would be willing to work in the fields [this is a true statement but are you prepared to pay the higher prices such wages would result in? Most readers would be opposed to an increase in minimum wage, so the idea that higher wages would result is ludicrous]. An untold number of young Americans who live in farm communities already do [if this were true, why are the rural areas of our country witnessing population loss due to the exodus of the younger generation?]. But when you flood the country with illegal and/or foreign workers this — by design — suppresses wages to a point where only those willing to be exploited are willing to do this work for almost no money.

Nevertheless, even this lie does not apply to DREAMers, many of whom have a high school diploma or a GED, and a work permit. These are not field workers, these are hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens competing for the same jobs against the 4 million young Americans who enter the workforce every year. [Until I entered 5th grade, I was usually picked in the first two or three for teams during gym class or recess. But the pool went from 15 boys to 50 boys and I wasn't a top athlete any longer. But the presence of those better athletes lifted my game and made me a BETTER athlete, even though I wasn't a top two or three any longer. America is about competition, about doing your best and living with the results. To claim that an additional 2 or 3% in the pool is doing irreparable harm to young Americans is both disingenuous and disparaging to your young Americans (participation trophy, everyone? Sounds politically correct to me...]

6. Some DACA Recipients are Criminals

Over 5 years, between 2013 and 2017, a total of 2,139 DACA recipients lost their amnesty benefits “due to criminality or gang affiliated concerns.”
The DACA screening process is in reality a joke, a rubber stamp. [another Duh comment. Are the young Americans devoid of any criminals? BTW, this means 0.2% (two tenths of a percent) of DACA recipients have received traffic tickets or been convicted of a crime (from shoplifting to heinous murder) - no distinction is made of the type of crimes committed. In the meantime, 1 out of 10 Americans have  a criminal record. Still afraid of the immigrant?)

7. DACA Is Not a Law, It Is the Violation of Law [see my earlier comments about this not being an adjudicated fact]

President Obama’s DACA program is not a law or even a policy. Rather, it is a brazen violation of the immigration law as written and passed by the American people’s representatives in congress. 
People in the country illegally are supposed to be deported and repatriated into their own country. That is the law here in America. That is the law in every country in the world, including Mexico.

8. Most DACA Recipients are Not Overachievers

It seems as though every time we see a DACA recipient in the media, he or she is the next Albert Einstein, someone on the verge of curing cancer and poverty.
The reality is actually quite different:
“The [DACA] eligibility bar was set very low, explicitly allowing people with multiple misdemeanor and certain felony convictions to be approved. Only a handful of the applicants were ever interviewed, and only rarely was the information on the application ever verified,” said Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies….
“[T]his statistic undercuts the image of DACA that has been spread by the pro-illegal alien groups and the news media, that the DACA recipients are mostly college kids. This is not true. We don’t know much about the population, but one of the few credible studies that has been done, by a scholar at Harvard University, found that at most are more than 22 years old, and only about 20 percent graduated from or attended a four-year college. A significant share never went beyond high school. This is not really all that surprising, since over 72 percent come from a family at or below poverty level and accessing some public assistance.”
While there are some true-life scholars in the DACA program, these are not a representative sample:
For example, one-third of the people in the study sample who are older than age 25 hold four-year college bachelors’ degrees or better. In contrast, an August 2013 report by the pro-amnesty Migration Policy Institute showed that only 7.5 percent of the 800,000 DACA-qualified illegals who were 18 or older had four-year college degrees or better.  An August 2017 study by the MPI showed only 5 percent of 832,000 DACA illegals who were older than 18 had four-year college qualifications. [What percent of 18 year old Anglos have four year degrees? Isn't that when most kids start college?]
Also, the 7.5 percent graduation rate reported by the new study is roughly one-quarter the 33 percent of native-born Americans with four-year degrees. 

9. DACA Is Wildly Unfair to Americans, Most Especially Young Americans Just Starting Out

You followed the rules. Your parents obeyed the law. You are one of the 4 million Americans ready to enter the workforce every year, eager to begin your own life, to pursue the American dream, but you have to compete against hundreds of thousands of line-jumpers for the same entry-level job. [This is pretty much a regurgitation of the earlier made claim above in point 5. Basically what the author would have you believe is that your kid can't get a job after graduation because of the approximately 44,000 DREAMer kids took his/her job. Basically, they're complaining about the combined graduating classes of the University of Central Florida - Orlando, Florida International University, and Texas A& M being responsible for their ills)
Moreover, this flood of labor depresses your wages. [Actually, it's poor career/vocational choices holding down young people's wages. There have NEVER been as many job openings in America and there are MANY well paying jobs going unfilled due to lack of qualified applicants or inability to pass a drug test]

10. DACA Was Already Litigated and Debated in 2016

The American people have already had the DACA debate. Hillary Clinton promised to expand DACA. Trump promised to end DACA.
Trump won. [by the razor thin margin of about 44,000 votes is a few counties in PA, MI & WI which provided the electoral college victory, but he lost the popular vote by about 3 million. But he definitely won and so we need to make sure that responsibility for the actions of the government under his tenure are attributed to him and his party]

11. DACA Encourages More Illegal Immigrants

Although DACA does not officially grant amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants who have arrived after 2007, the message is still clear: America does not have the will to enforce its own immigration laws. Of course that message works as a magnet for illegals.  If you recall
Obama declared his DACA amnesty in 2012. Central Americans saw the announcement, read the details — and roughly 400,000 people headed north during the next four years.
Moreover, making that trek is dangerous, especially from South America. People die of exposure and are exploited, sometimes sexually, by the Coyotes they hire to lead them here. [there are always people willing to exploit fear and anxiousness by getting them to believe their lies - witness who won the last Presidential election]
Illegal immigration is a lose-lose for everyone but Democrats who desire the votes [an ignorant statement since undocumented aren't eligible to vote but read my comment to the previous paragraph ]and business owners who do not want to pay a legal resident a fair market wage.

12. In Most States, DACA Recipients are Eligible for Welfare Benefits
  1. AZCentral:
Once DACA applicants are approved and receive a temporary employment authorization card, they can apply for a Social Security Number. Under this number, they can report wages and pay taxes.
DACA beneficiaries cannot receive federal benefits such as welfare and food stamps. [Doesn't this sentence counter the headline of this section? Seems like more us/them divisive rhetoric] Some states allow for state-funded benefits, but Arizona specifically prohibits it.
13.  Unless It Is Stopped, DACA Will Never Stop Growing

Every year, more and more illegal aliens become eligible for DACA’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty program.
Obama’s deputies low-balled his election-campaign giveaway by initially predicting it would only reach about 560,000 younger illegals who were supposedly brought into the United States by their parents before they turned 16.
But the amnesty has already provided almost 900,000 work-permits and Social Security cards to illegals who say they are aged 36 or less. More than 92 percent of the applicants got their DACA approvals, with a rejection rate of only 7 percent. The amnesty is expected to rise above 1.9 million people as additional younger illegals become adults and try to enroll in Obama’s giveaway. [no dispute that the number will continue to grow. It might be worth pointing out that the program was introduced following the failure of the GOP led Congress to pass the comprehensive, bi-partisan plan and that is was ALWAYS a temporary, stop-gap measure until Congress resolved the issue]
14. DACA Ignores Some Criminal Behavior

Center for Immigration Studies:
DACA applies to individuals up to age 31 (as of June 2012, so 35 now) — hardly children; consequently, many Dreamers have long-since terminated their studies and most have committed multiple felonies in order to get jobs — Social Security fraud, forgery, perjury on I-9 forms, falsification of green cards and drivers’ licenses, identity theft, etc. Dreamers continue to commit these job-related crimes right up to the day their DACA status is approved and they obtain work permits and their own genuine Social Security numbers.
In addition, many illegal aliens qualifying for DACA status have previously been arrested and convicted of multiple misdemeanors and some have previously been or continue to be associated with violent gangs, as evidenced by a report in the Seattle Times that states that over 1,500 Dreamers have had their DACA status revoked since 2012 due to their involvement with criminal gangs. [this seems like a rehash of statement 6. Again, 0.2% of DACA recipients have had their status revoked due to criminal behavior. 30% of native born Americans have legal troubles in their past (link in statement 6]
I guess that about sums it up. 14 statements (not facts, as we've articulated) from Breitbart, a couple of which overlap, none of which would be given a passing grade as a news article in a high school social studies class. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

School Vouchers

As I was getting ready for work this morning, my mind wandered into the school voucher arena. I freely admit to sending my children to a private school for elementary school and junior high. It was a decision my wife and I made after reviewing the curriculum for the publicly funded school where we lived. It wasn't challenging enough, in my opinion. Our girls are not geniuses but they're were prepared to learn when the time to start school came. Our family situation enabled their maternal grandparents to act as care providers, nurturing and reading to them. My wife and I were able to spend time with them as well, reading, talking, and playing with them. We had the means to send them to a quality pre-school which focused on early child development and learning skills.
Not once in those years did it occur to me that we shouldn't be paying school taxes or that we should be getting a credit toward the tuition. Tax is NOT tuition.
That being said, I came to what I think could be an equitable solution to the dilemma faced by parents in a similar situation to what we found ourselves in. Here's the idea -
  • Vouchers would be issued equal to the amount spent per pupil by the local school district for the prior school year. The amount is made up of local, state and federal funds.
  • The funds would be paid directly to the school, rather than to parents or guardians.
  • In order for a school to be eligible for ANY funds through the voucher system, it must be licensed as a school, it must meet education standards mandated by the state AND -
  • It must accept the amount of the voucher as full payment (tuition + fees) for any students who would qualify for reduced or free lunch if they attended a public school.
  • The ratio of "free lunch" students and non-eligible students must mirror that of the school district in the which the school operates.
What do you think?

Monday, August 07, 2017

My Stand By Me Boys

The movie Stand By Me is a 1986 film directed by Rob Reiner that is, IMHO, the BEST depictation of how 12 year old boys relate to each other. While tweener girls get the majority of the attention over the angst, struggles with self-esteem and acceptance adolescence entails, boys have their moments.
I've spent the past week relishing in the time I was able to spend with my "Stand By Me" boys while back in Connecticut for my 40th high school reunion. As one of the attendees whispered in my ear, "these relationships are sacred." Indeed.
So, to Cuts, Scotty, Cy, Mark Boardman, Ron Beaudoin, PeeWee, Andy Blair, Urry, Brian Adams, Ian Hay III, Boner, Rico (via Skype from New Zealand) and Fuzzy (in all our hearts forever), I'd say you can't begin to understand what you've meant in my life but I have a feeling you DO have an understanding based on your own Stand By Me boys. (sorry, ladies. Your influences were way different than the point of this post!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Anger of the Electorate

Much is being of the anger that the outsider candidates are tapping into this election cycle. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both have dialed into the zeitgeist of the disaffected American voter, those who feel angry that things haven't worked out the way they dreamed, who feel the institutions they had trusted have deserted them or failed to live up to expectation. How things are doesn't match up to how they were (or were supposed to be). So they are looking for blame.
So the search for someone to blame is being led to blaming someone/anyone else. It's Muslims or Mexicans, rich bastards or poor freeloaders. It's President Obama or Tea Party obstructionists. It's refugees or white supremacists.
It's anybody/somebody else.
Mostly, I think it's a desire for people over 45 in America for a "do over" or a mulligan. But sadly, that isn't how it works. As I look back over the years, I can see those moments when the responsibility for how things are in my life when set in motion by my own choices.
So to those white, middle-aged Americans who are angry that things are going well for them and blame others, I say this - if you are finding it hard to get ahead in America, look at your own choices. There are tons of jobs in America for people with the proper training. It might be engineering, code writers, truck drivers, specialized trade workers (electricians, carpenters, plumbers) or other specialized positions. If you can't get one of these jobs, is it because you won't pass the drug test? Is it because you would need to relocate? You aren't qualified?
My own experience leads me to believe I squandered the advantages and opportunities I was given at birth. The education provided by my home town was better than most, had I chosen to avail myself of it fully. Instead, I chose the easiest route possible, with many late arrivals my last year of high school (tardy). I did enough to get by (pretty easily, actually). But like one of my classmates has said, no one told me college (and life) was HARD. And that it would require effort on my part.
So, kids, don't waste your time - get to work. Study. Learn. Be early to work and have a good attitude about being there. EVERY paid job has worth. Respect everyone working for a living, don't expect anyone to give you anything (and be grateful if someone does) and be ready to give help to someone who needs it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So, now what?

It's been months since I posted anything here. The last post was the  beginning of my dealing with a health diagnosis which was surprising. But why should I be surprised? I don't recall ever receiving the guarantee of good health and problem free life. But then again, it could be that I DID get such a thing but laid it aside and can't remember where I put it. Or forgot I ever received such.
I've been to an oncologist twice now. I go again in three weeks. I believe he is establishing a baseline and trend for some of the items measured in my blood. I suppose I ought to take the time to learn what they are, what the numbers are, what they mean, etc.
That seems like such an effort.
I'll try to find the papers from the earlier two visits and compare them to the newest. But I probably won't.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 2.

Turns out the oncologist my surgeon wanted me to see isn't on my insurance plan. so now they're checking for which Junior Varsity quarterback will lead the team.
In the meantime, I believe the leukemia is the type called CLL, which is slow growth and sometimes doesn't require treatment. It depends how far into this we already are.
I think a spinal tap is the next step for the biopsy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

well, nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile

It's probably never good when the words spoken by your doctor following his saying the pathologist's report is back are, "It's bad."
My mind sort of blanked a bit when he said that, so I didn't catch the exact terminology he used, but I know leukemia was the last word in the sentence which immediately followed, "It's  bad."
I am pretty sure he said slow growth in there, along with it being a remarkable thing it was even discovered because the type of cancer it is presents no symptoms until it is very well developed. And that it ordinarily wouldn't have been caught at all except for my pre-op blood work being randomly selected by the hospital lab for a manual examination used to confirm the calibration of the computer/electronic equipment which reads nearly all the blood submitted.
See, it started when I noticed a bit of pain in my right groin area after a few weeks of heavy lifting. It was the second week of May and I told my wife I thought I had a hernia. I went ahead and scheduled a colonoscopy (routine) because it's time for an annual physical & Dr. Katie told me to get one last year. The morning of that procedure, the preparation for which is somewhat intense, it was confirmed there was a hernia when the bulge in the pelvic area was readily apparent.
So off I went to see Dr. Park, who assured me there was no problem doing the colonoscopy with a herniated patient. He provided me with Dr. Cione's telephone number and said he was good -"I sent my mother-in-law to him for surgergy."
I still thought I would put off the hernia treatment until June because the end of my health insurance plan year is May 31st, it was already the 9th and I didn't see how I could get all this stuff squeezed in before then.
But @ 2:20 a.m. on Monday, the 13th I awoke with incredible pain in my chest that wasn't going away. It was more on the right side than the left, so I didn't THINK it was a heart attack. It also wasn't like other heartburn or esophigial spasms I have had. So we went to the ER.
Heart attack was ruled out, after I aced a stress test.
But I figured I just spent $2k deductible on that one event, so I better get all the other stuff moving. The next day I called Dr. Cione's office and they were surprised to have a consult time available the next morning. So Wednesday the 15th I went to meet with him and although he suggested I ought to address the enlargment on my prostrate (that appointment with Dr. Katie is the day after tomorrow), I told him I didn't want to waste the month of time that was going to take and would rather not have the pain. So we set up hernia surgery for Monday, the 20th (yesterday), they sent me downstairs to the hospital lab for the blood work.
Thursday morning a rather insistent scheduler in his office called me to say they needed the additional blood work done that day or the next. Definitely before the operation.
As Dr. Cione is speaking with me yesterday morning, I asked him about the second blood work. At first he doesn't seem to remember but suddenly it comes back to him.
"You know, I don't think I've ever gotten a call like that, from the lab," he says. "It could be blessing that your's was selected for the additional screening, depending on what they find."
That was before he knew it was "bad."