GET IN TO A
STATE OF MIND
Odessa and I are both either too conservative to be liberal and too liberal to be conservative. So what does that make us? For me I look not at the party, but at the policy behind the politician. I see myself as a truth seeker. How Odessa, a truth seeker in his own rite, sees it? We’ll come to it shortly, and return yet thereafter.
As I’ve observed, currently, President Obama left the White House right in the hands of President Trump. And the apocalypse will ensue!!! Yes…No…Maybe?
What many don’t realize is the Executive and the Legislative branch have been at odds with each other for decades. Between 1980 and 1991 the branches were split. Back in 1993, Clinton and the democrats took control of both Branches. From 2003- 2006 Bush Jr. had control over both branches. In 2009, Obama and the democrats had control of both executive and legislative branches. Now 2017, Trump and the republicans have control. Thinking back, for nearly the last 35 years, there were only 6 years when one party had complete control of both legislative and executive branches. The other 30? For additional information, the following link provides well: (http://wiredpen.com/resources/political-commentary-and-analysis/a-visual-guide-balance-of-power-congress-presidency/)
Moreover, because of the way elections are run in this country, there is no time when the whole of the government switches over. This is how legislation from one year is continued into the next. Standard practice, unofficial protocol almost, has been for both sides to blame each other for failures and take credit for successes. However, to really know what each side is doing, one needs to look beyond what a politician says, his party affiliation, their credos, to what policy he actually writes, supports, chooses to oppose, support, or abdicate from. Then, after it is enacted, provided it ever is, to look at how the policy is implemented. Hence, one must do what few ever bother–to actually read beyond the title of a bill to its content and context.
What I have found, surprising to some, less so to others, though seldom contemplated, let alone said so succinctly, as Odessa remarked, is that politics, not just American, are not really about right and left, republican and democratic, it is more about up and down. This is true, not just East to West, nationally, within a country, it is true, East to West, internationally, across the globe. To show what I mean, let's look at some right and left policies that have been misconstrued.
Obama was supposed to be the left’s savior. i.e. to some, the next JFK. As a point of fact, unlike Obama, JFK actually had both branches backing him. To date, the left saw many successes of Obama but still were not pleased with him. In general, saying he didn’t do enough. The right say Obama left office just in time. Hence, any more of his type of presidency and the US would fall apart. Oh..Ah… insert insults here. But what of the truth, minus the initial adulations with the proverbial pissing contests which follow? So, taking personal tastes aside, along with media spins of the time, the truth of the matter? Is this even possible? And if it is, is it possible that, yes, Obama was liberal, but not nearly as liberal as everyone wants to believe? This, right or left included, be it for opposite reasons?
Immigration is a hot topic right now, with Trump’s two executive orders on the issue. I’ll get back to this, and yes, there were two. But for now, Obama also had a number of executive orders on immigration, as well as, interpretation of policy and federal rule making under his watch.
As executive orders are such a ‘hot’ topic in the mass media spin machine, I will start here, with Obama’s immigration policy. Looking at 2012 executive orders, one can see, hopefully clearly, that this is not a remnant of the Bush era but a well thought out and established policy put forth by the Obama administration.
Executive order 13606 April 2012, Blocking the Property and Suspending Entry into the United States of Certain Persons with Respect to Grave Human Rights Abuses of the Governments of Iran and Syria via Information Technology
This executive order, is one that focused on the human rights abuses happening in Iran and Syria. On the surface, this seems to be a good thing. After all, for the most part, who wouldn’t want to stop human rights violation, especially by governments? Digging into the order, section 4 states, in part, “I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons…”
In tally, this order did two things: First, it suspended immigration from Iran and Syria for the most part. Second, it enacted a sort of asset forfeiter rule that allows any of assets held by such persons, that come within the possession, custody, or control, of the United States.
This was not the only Executive order in 2012 that blocked the entrance of people coming into the U.S. The list of Countries is Yemen, (13611), Burma (13619), and Somalia (13620). Each of these immigration bans, whilst seeming broad, was more narrow, hence specific, than people who are even aware of it, realize. As well, each was touted under the idea of protecting the underlying country from Human Rights Violations. I agree whole heartedly; we don’t want people who commit Human rights violations Stateside. Yet, no one was speaking of this in 2012. Why?
There are a couple of websites which bring this trend up now, with Trump’s immigration debacle. These websites, in one breath, tout how Trump’s policies are the correct course, yet Obama’s were in the wrong. But, in reality, how truly different are they at their core?
As a little known fact, throughout his stay in office, Obama admitted the fewest number of refugees since Roosevelt turned away the Jews. So, whilst human rights violations have come in and out of fashion for main stream media. Hence, inadvertently, at least some of the public’s conscious if not quite conscience, they had remained muted amongst more ‘popular’ concerns, until recently. Now, after having once been addressed to China, resurfacing yet again, to some of the countries, Yemen, Burma, and Somalia, mentioned already. Why repeat this?
At the risk of opening up yet another can of worms, not that we don’t have a lot on the plate already, (feast of worms—ha, ha), I would like to mention the following: Whilst some folks are genuinely concerned over the wellbeing of others, there are those who will simply jump on the bandwagon of what is advertised as being relevant at the time. Much concern becomes less philanthropic or altruistic per se, at least longer term. Short run, more media contrived, for political leveraging. And to some, egotistic, as in, for people who really believe they give a damn, perhaps beyond the next flavor of the month for what then turns into the latest ‘issue’ worthy of concern—but again, only at that time. Once that time is gone, the victims, or anything else, is/are forgotten. Sordid as it sounds, time to use or feel sorry for someone else.
Considering all above said, human rights abuse, as a concept, to many, is still little more than a slogan. When slogans become expressions, not of concern, but slang to be churned, reused or disposed, if necessary, how real are they? Real, not in terms of their existence, for they do in fact exist. Rather, real as in anything beyond the virtue calling of the moment? And once the moment’s gone? Well, we figured that out already.
Is this why, human rights abuse, as many other issues, whilst seemingly ubiquitous on a personal level, were not quite always a public point of major concern, at least for long? Rather, depending on what sort of ephemeral ‘limelight’, if such a word is applicable, was accorded this problem? This in turn, being dictated by the political climates and their inherent requisites of the season? Games have their seasons, as do the times. Have victims, refugees included, like many issues, been turned into political footballs, regardless?
Historically, to the tyrant(s) of police states, human rights abuse is not a problem. Rather, a given practice. To them, the problem is people in other countries, not so much giving a damn, for they would gladly rub their nose in it. Occasionally, superficially denying it, with a smirk. To them, the problems is when the U.S, or anyone else, actually sends in troops, funds local oppositionist, or both, to topple their regimes. If someone actually applied commandos to swat their tyrannies, whether banana republics, puppet regimes, hermit kingdoms, or the axis of evil--hell, it’s all been marketed many ways—that’s when the problem was solved. Or was it? Is this why the U.S is often accused of playing policeman to the world? Does everybody like the police? I guess it depends on who and where you are, not to mention why. Again, playing policeman to stop tyrannies, a.k.a police states?
In the end, why even mention all this, what some might call, the ‘marketing’ of foreign manifests at home? Is this a ‘primer’ for something else? If so, then what? Is it also for precisely this reason that the U.S has been perceived as savior or sinner, seldom saint, by countries abroad? Not to mention, back home, whether source of the problem(s) or solution to them? Once thrown into the equation(s) of foreign relations, along with indignations that follow retaliations, marketed to the nations, as many things are, does this all serve as the aforementioned ‘primer’ for sanctuary on home soil(s) thereafter?
Leaving this behind, but keeping it in mind, Obama’s Executive orders, though in plain sight, were not covered by the media. No, instead the media, right and left included, shouted about Obama’s executive order on DACA and Dreamers. Some praised, others condemned him, for such policy.
Were they mistaken, or even deliberately misleading, in what they called an ‘order’, coming from the President? In reality DACA, i.e. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as misrepresented by media labeling, was neither executive nor order. What was it then? In reality, it was an example of federal rule making—no more, no less. In short, it was neither created nor enforced by the President. In actuality, President Obama, on many occasions, said that this was beyond the power of an executive order to implement.
On June 15, 2012 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an announcement stating they would not deport certain undocumented youths. Such action was done under already enacted legislation which gave Judicial Discretion and Prosecutorial Discretion to immigration courts. Though Obama could have encouraged this action, it was implemented under the current power and authority of DHS, and not an expansion of power per se, via executive order.
DACA, though not an executive order, did follow federal rule making process for federal agencies. This type of rulemaking, done under agency authority and power, is protected from presidential and legislative efforts to overturn or veto said rules. See INS v. Chadda, which simply put, states that once authority is delegated to an agency, the actions arising from that power, cannot be vetoed; unless, the power that created the authority is revoked. This case, among others, secured agency power within the agency, unless revoked, or the power is specifically limited in the legislation that formed said agency. Many are concerned that any administration (Trump included) can reverse DACA. The answer would be: Yes, if it had been authorized by an executive order. Another words, if it had truly been as presented by the media. As it stands, in reality, the answer is ‘no’. Why? Because this was done via federal rule making, implementing authority and power, as already authorized. But that hasn’t really stopped Trump yet.
In light of all this, it’s understandable why Obama was peddled, misrepresented really, perhaps ultimately himself misunderstood, as the immigrants’ president. In actuality, Obama pushed the agency for more, not less, enforcement of immigration laws. Obama policy incursion seems to focus on deporting criminals, people who were not supporting the United States, and people he deemed a hazard to national security i.e. deporting the right people.
In 2014, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued a Memo regarding the “Polices for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants”. This Memo looks at how DHS cannot remove every undocumented person. As such, they need to prioritize enforcement, detention space, and removal assets. Thus, judicial discretion can, as it should be, used at any stage, the earlier in the process, the better. The question is, better for whom? The DACA kids, will never be citizens, in the end, always being under the supervision of INS. In light of all just mentioned, it seems DACA has created a group of second class citizens, not right or left, coming back to Odessa’s words, “This is all about up or down.” The following link contains additional information for those who may wish delve deeper, should they decide to do so on their own. Indeed, all just said is not an exaggeration: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_prosecutorial_discretion.pdf
As yet more information, to further increase the speed and number of deportations, ones under the Obama administration, DHS reinstated INAs241(a)(5), the prior removal order, which basically states that aliens may be removed without a hearing, before an immigration court, if there was a prior removal order. In other words, people who had an existing history of trouble, not necessarily, but often criminal, would not be given the benefit of the doubt, like those who otherwise had no such problems. The reinstatement of this rule, once implemented, opened the revolving door on deportation. Evidence of this can be seen in the steady increase of removals, which reach an apex in 2012. Afterwards, the number tapered off. Following years of Obama’s policies, the number of unauthorized immigrant population for 2016, was down 9%. The number of apprehensions at the boarder was down 53%. Is it possible, those who were kicked out, if not always, then often enough, were getting the message, ‘If you’ve been kicked out, stay out’. As in, don’t try to come back in? Hence, there were only 240,255 removals in 2016, down from the 2012 high of 409,849. Mathematically, the number of deportations increased to a tipping point where it was no longer cost effective to attempt entry, only to be turned back at the gate, not allowed in, or given due process.
Upon editing Oregon’s work, Odessa, that’s myself (wink, wink), was curious why the press never picked up, let alone labelled, what I would have coined as Obama’s, ‘Assholes Keep Out’ policy to America. Too bad, it would have made a nice Far Side cartoon. https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2016#_ftnref3 .
Clearly, Obama and his administration did not ignore the undocumented immigration problem. However, ask Democrats or Republicans today, and they would say he was universally an immigrant, refugee, friendly president. Friendly? Yes. Universally? No. There are those who say he did a lot but could have done more. yet others, that he let in too many and didn’t deport enough. In reality, the ideal that he put forth, via whom he chose to lead the agency, was that some people can come, some can stay, but others must go, and we can choose who is who. This policy is very open for interpretation, as it is based on discretion, as well as who is making those decisions. Was it perfect? No. Is anything perfect? Was it an Improvement? You decide.
Currently, under Trump’s administration, you are hearing about immigration raids across the country. These raids are not new, or even larger than the ones done under Obama. Why is it then, that these are only now getting media coverage?
The power and authority behind the agency has not changed, nor the policy and rules on how to uses its authority. Trump has not appointed a new Director, nor does he have the power to undo the federal rule making processes. So what has changed? Not the policy but the President. Hence, the public’s perception of what has been going on for quite some time. Next question: Is this really an example of the media’s attempt to raise public awareness? If so, again, why wasn’t this covered before? And even once done, but not accurately so, is this merely a slip, or an attempt to label deliberate misinformation as news? People wake up.
One more bit of fact, regarding DACA, which shows just how the government does not appear to work right or left, but to protect the up and down. There are a projected 2.1 million potentially qualified DACA applicants. What do they qualify for? Citizenship…a pathway to citizenship? No, not even close. They get the privilege of staying in the country. The get to register with INS and report to and be screened every 2 years. They may get a work permit, which allows them to pay taxes, social security, unemployment tax and such. What this doesn’t offer is an end, as this is something they will have to do for the rest of their lives, each time paying a higher fee. Each time they come up for review, they can be deported for any number of offenses or transgressions. Finally, though immigrants pay into a system, the system will never benefit them. Maybe these 2.1 million DACA’s will be able to repay the monies the Federal government have siphoned from social security and bring the program back into budget? Is this truly why they’re being allowed to stay? Is this even going to work, provided somebody doesn’t embezzle or ‘expropriate’ the money for something else? And even if this does work, a long shot, is it fair to exploit people in such a manner?
Looking at the last eight years of immigration policy, one has to wonder how immigrant friendly, I mean truly friendly, were Obama’s policies, choices, and administration? This, with the DACA’s forever being tied to reporting and tracking? To the limitations of immigrants from selective countries? To the limits on the acceptance of refugee’s, even as outwardly, they increase the number from 15,000 per year to 17,000 per year, while admitting less than 10,000 per year?
Some might say, all this adds up to Obama being very conservative, at least when it comes to his immigration policies. With these facts, one has to wonder why the conservatives, even behind closed political doors, didn’t support this immigration policies? And furthermore, tried to put road blocks in the way of these policies at the same time? Though I personally hate the way DACA has been implemented, the other polices do seem to be reasonable. I’ll let Odessa let you know his feelings on these polices.
Well, upon reading, editing, and reediting Oregon’s tremendous blog, I am reminded of seeing the world as a giant canvas of history. The closer you stand, the more you see the details every day, missing the bigger picture overall. The further back you stand, the more you see the picture, missing details, on the side. If we today, becoming yesterday’s tomorrow, as we tomorrow, yesterday become. Is this for all, not some, a time to act, not simply sit, nor borrow? For it is all, in awe, as we, man’s history in sum?
In my other works, I occasionally said it differently, “One who thinks locally won’t see beyond their nose. One who thinks globally, won’t see what’s under it.” How does the U.S, based on its own policies, seem to perceive the world? How does the world, no less, perceive it right back? Does this go beyond just the immigration lawmaking of today? Has the idea of closed borders vs open doors created a strange dichotomy of international politics? One where the U.S, whilst still being accused of acting as policeman to the world, by some, was beginning to be be seen as a paper tiger, by others? Paper or not, tigers are big cats regardless.
How real is this tiger, whether paper or not, perception? Why all the name calling, whilst so few are innocent themselves? And if the U.S is somewhat of an aging policeman to much of the western world, is Russia not more of the same, to the eastern hemisphere? Do the two occasionally play “good cop” “bad cop” scenarios, whilst each one tries to outdo what the other does, so well? Many people seem to dislike America abroad, then why do so many still try to come here? Pretty much, be it on a smaller scale geographically, does much of central Asia and large part of the Ukraine, seem to dislike Russia, yet vies to relocate to Moscow and Petersburg, as well? Do we have to see the U.S, some of us immigrants ourselves, from the perspective of those wishing to enter this country? Should we feel happy or disturbed by what is going on? More importantly, how it is being told, once it is told at all, to the general public?
What is the point, as final agenda, provided one believes in such things, of what is truly going on? Is there something far larger at work here? And if it is, then what, and for whom? Do people even know the Trumps and Clintons have been friends for years? Still are. (More wink, wink)
As I thought about this, the closing words, parting thoughts, as it were, for this blog, I couldn’t help but wonder if Pascal’s famous words, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone”, were at least in part, true. And as immigration laws currently went to odd anthem of loosely quoting the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, once ‘taking the tired, the sick, the poor’, whether or not all immigrants really came for positive influence, and were indeed those poor who simply needed a chance. Surely, if one were to feel bad, it would be for those who fell victim to what would be perceived as a cat call of, ‘Come here, stay back home’, advertising of today.
Pondering all this, I am strangely reminded of the tale of a man who felt bad as he had no shoes. That is, until he met a man with no penis, who could pee in them. Aim is important, make no mistake about it. So, he got a kitty instead. Problem solved. Or was it? Schrodinger Cat ate the shoe laces, and the man had to stay home. Pascal would be happy. I’m calling Far Side. Make of it what you will. Truth seeker. Regards.