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Weekly Tracking Poll: "On The Right Track" Hits High-Water Mark

Saturday, May 02, 2009

By Arjun Jaikumar
Daily Kos

Our latest weekly tracking poll results are in...along with a couple of fascinating national poll results testing the possibility of investigations into possible illegal activity by the Bush Administration.

Perhaps most significantly, 46% of Americans now think the country is on the right track. While "wrong track" is still a plurality, Americans appear to be more optimistic about the direction of the country than they have been in several years.

First off, let's check in with the fearless leaders of the two national parties:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 4/27-4/30/2009. All adults. MoE 2% (4/20-4/23/2009 results):

PRESIDENT OBAMA 70 (68) 25 (26) +3

PELOSI: 38 (37) 45 (44) +0
REID: 35 (34) 49 (48) +0
McCONNELL: 21 (22) 60 (58) -3
BOEHNER: 16 (17) 62 (61) -2

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS: 44 (43) 49 (50) +2
CONGRESSIONAL GOPS: 14 (15) 71 (70) -2

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: 54 (53) 40 (41) +2
REPUBLICAN PARTY: 22 (23) 68 (67) -2

El Presidente de los Estados Unidos is polling higher than he has in quite a while, enjoying favorables of 77% or higher in all regions except the South. He's at 76% with independents, and at 77% even with nonvoters: it's only the Republicans who raineth on his parade....(Click for remainder.)


Mormon Lawyers, Psychologists Had Hand in Torture

Looks like the magic underwear crowd is at it again. Why won't these freaks just go away?  Isn't there some planet that they're all supposed to go to where they can spend there days fellating Tom Cruise?

By David R. Irvine
The Salt Lake Tribune

An overheard conversation among several women at a local deli: "I can't believe this country elected Obama as president; it must be a sign of the end times when the Constitution will hang by a thread." The irony of this uniquely Utah political thread about church elders saving the Constitution might have shocked the lunch bunch had they read The Dark Side by Jane Mayer (Doubleday, 2008).

Reading Mayer's disturbing book is likely to lead to the conclusion that the Constitution is more imperiled than ever; but it also reveals the troubling fingerprints of several of my fellow Mormons whose handiwork, not the Obama election, did so much to create the present crisis.

Although the decisions which put us in the grim business of torture, body-snatching, extraordinary renditions, making people disappear, indefinite confinement without charges and warrantless wiretapping were made by the president and vice president, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints served as helpful enablers. Not only did they provide the legal architecture, they provided the "scientific" patina for the plunge into the barbaric business of torture.

Take Latter-day Saint Timothy E. Flanigan, deputy White House counsel, who, along with David Addington, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and Jim Haynes comprised the secretive "War Council" of lawyers -- a self-appointed group Mayer describes as having virtually no experience in law enforcement, military service, counterterrorism or the Muslim world.

Together, they were the brain trust that devised the legal cover that Vice President Dick Cheney needed to work his will. They secretly crafted the warrantless surveillance program which allowed the National Security Agency to intercept telephone calls and e-mails to and from American citizens within the United States. They secretly devised the Bush military commissions, which were essentially kangaroo courts and legally insufficient to satisfy the minimal adjudicatory standards required under the Geneva Conventions, which, as provided by the Constitution and Congress, constitute the supreme law of the land. They secretly conspired to ignore the law and frame interrogation techniques around the methods of the Spanish Inquisition, the Soviet KGB and Chairman Mao....(Click for remainder.)


Hate-Crimes Bill's Passage in House Get the Right-Wing Lie Machine Whirling

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

The nation's first real federal bias-crimes statute -- the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act -- just passed the House Wednesday, and is now on its way to the Senate:
On a vote of 249-175, the House passed and sent to the Senate a bill backed by the new Democratic White House to broaden such laws by classifying as "hate crimes" those attacks based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity or mental or physical disability.

The current law, enacted four decades ago, limits federal jurisdiction over hate crimes to assaults based on race, color, religion or national origin.

The bill would lift a requirement that a victim had to be attacked while engaged in a federally protected activity, like attending school, for it to be a federal hate crime.
As Ali Frick at Think Progress says, the religious right is freaking out because hate-crimes legislation has been one of their cornerstone bugaboos of the past decade, and it's about to slip out of their grasp after all these years.

That means, of course, the flagrant lies are starting to fly. Like Virginia Foxx's little "slip" in calling Matthew Shepard's murder a "hoax."...(Click for remainder.)


Baby Jesus, aka Sean Hannity, is Still Bitching About Fox Not Getting a Question at Obama Presser


Fox Host, Douchey: Only an "Outright Socialist" Would be to Souter's Left


National Review Whore Kathyryn Jean Lopez, Suddenly in Favor of Consulting with Congress on SCOTUS Nominations

By Blue Texan

K-Lo, back when BushCo was running the world.
SCOTUS is something different—and I think at least some Republican senators get that. I don't think the White House has to compromise on anything regarding this open seat and I don't think anything is really gained by waiting.
K-Lo, this morning.
Someone should be emerging as a legitimate leader on the Right who can say with some clout to the White House, "he we can do, she we can't." Draw some lines in the sand.
All totally predictable, I know.

Still, it's deeply gratifying to note that we've gone from a country where W. gets to do whatever he wants to one where Republicans are scrambling around, looking for a "legitimate leader" to gnaw on Obama's ankles.

Happy Friday....(Click for original.)


Madoff Is a Convenient Distraction for a Bunch of Crooks Who Aren't in Jail

By Michael Moore

Elie Wiesel called him a "God." His investors called him a "genius." But, proving correct that old adage from the country and western song, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

Bernie Madoff, for at least 20 years, ran a Ponzi scheme on thousands of clients, among them the people you and I would consider the best and brightest. Business leaders, celebrities, charities, even some of his own relatives and his defense attorney were taken for a ride (this has to be the first time a lawyer was hosed by the client).

We're clearly in one of those historic, game changing years: up is down, red is blue and black is President. Aside from Obama himself, no person will provide a more iconic face of this end-of-capitalism-as-we-know-it year than Bernard Lawrence Madoff.

Which is too bad. Yes, he stole $65 billion from some already quite wealthy people. I know that's upsetting to them because rich guys like Bernie are not supposed to be stealing from their own kind. Crime, thievery, looting — that's what happens on the other side of town. The rules of the money game on Park Avenue and Wall Street are comprised of things like charging the public 29% credit card interest, tricking people into taking out a second mortgage they can't afford, and concocting a student loan system that has graduates in hock for the next 20 years. Now that's smart business! And it's legal. That's where Bernie went wrong — his scheming, his trickery was an outrage both because it was illegal and because he preyed on his side of the tracks....(Click for remainder.)


ABC's Brian Ross Should Be Fired Immediately

By Bob Fertik

On 12/10/07, ABC's Brian Ross reported as news the Big Lie by John Kiriakou (left) that one session of waterboarding "broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds."

That Big Lie convinced a majority of Americans that torture "works," even though there is not a shred of evidence that it produced life-saving intelligence.

Yesterday, Brian Ross said his 2007 report was "contradicted" by the SASC report that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. But that "contradiction" was mentioned briefly in passing, without any formal correction or editorial explanation, as Greg Sargent notes.

More importantly, Ross did not try to explain the heart of his 2007 story - whether Zubaydah "broke" or provided life-saving intelligence. Dick Cheney, the Republican Party, and rightwing ideologues still cite Zubaydah as Exhibit A that torture "works."

Nor did Ross explain why he failed to do minimal journalistic due diligence in 2007:
  1. reporting that Kiriakou was not present during the waterboarding, therefore was not a reliable source (that fact was added later to Ross's online report)
  2. vetting Kiriakou's sources, whether documents or eyewitnesses
When Dan Rather reported George Bush's 1972 desertion from the Texas Air National Guard, at least he tried to vet the "Killian memos," even if the vetting was inadequate. In this case, Brian Ross failed to do even the minimal vetting.

Brian Ross should be fired immediately. And ABC should do a thorough investigation (like the CBS Thornburgh Report) to expose everyone at ABC responsible for this Big Lie....(Click for original.)


"I'm a Real Democrat!"

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer


The Last Conservative

How Souter ended up disappointing conservatives by being...conservative.

By Gordon Silverstein
The New Republic

The Supreme Court will lose its only true conservative this summer when Justice David Souter packs up his Volkswagen and drives north one last time. Yes, you read that right. His votes may well have upheld and further entrenched liberal results, but Souter has been the court's only true judicial conservative for the past 19 years.

When George H.W. Bush's chief of staff--New Hampshire's rock-ribbed, right-wing former governor John Sununu--urged his boss to appoint David Hackett Souter to the U.S. Supreme Court, joy erupted across the right wing of the Republican Party. Here was an originalist--a quiet, determined, and dedicated conservative. And he would be replacing William Brennan, the court's most determined (and successful) liberal voice.

Within a few years, those same supporters would curse Souter's name. How could this so-called conservative be one of the key votes that upheld the last shreds of Roe v. Wade (in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey)? What sort of conservative would vote against George W. Bush in his Supreme Court battle with Al Gore in the 2000 election? What sort of a conservative rules against prayer in schools (Lee v. Weisman 1992), and votes to end the male-only policy of the Virginia Military Institute (US v. Virginia 1996)?

A conservative justice, that's who. Souter's departure offers a timely reminder that when it comes to the courts, we need to be careful about our terms. Though Souter's decisions were welcomed by ideological and partisan liberals, they were judicially conservative decisions. In fact, his were among the only consistently conservative decisions the court has known for the last two decades....(Click for remainder.)


Maine Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

By Jason Szep

BOSTON (Reuters) - Maine's Senate passed a bill on Thursday that could make the northeastern U.S. state the fifth in the country to allow gay marriage, but the lower chamber and governor have yet to approve it.

The legislation, which will go to a vote in the state House of Representatives next week, seeks to redefine marriage as the legal union of two people rather than between a man and a women. It passed the Senate by a 20-15 margin.

Maine Governor John Baldacci once opposed gay marriage, but said earlier in April he is keeping an open mind on the issue.

Approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate of the rural state of 1.3 million people underlines a concerted push for same-sex marriage recognition in New England's six states by gay and lesbian advocates.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a group of lawyers who led the legal fight for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and Connecticut, has set a target of bringing same-sex marriage to all New England states by 2012.

In November, Connecticut became the second state to allow legal same-sex weddings after neighboring Massachusetts' top court ruled in 2003 that a ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, paving the way for the first same-sex marriages in the United States the following year.

In a single week in April, Iowa and Vermont also legalized same sex marriage. And on Wednesday, New Hampshire's state Senate approved a gay marriage bill, about a month after its House approved it. The bill needs New Hampshire Governor John Lynch's signature to become law....(Click for remainder.)


Republicans on a Bridge to Nowhere

By Eugene Robinson

At this point, I’m almost ready to start rooting for the Republicans.

No, not really. There’s no “mercy rule” in politics. And anyway, the increasingly bitter ideologues who control what’s left of the Grand Old Party are so bereft of new ideas—and so determined to obstruct rather than collaborate—that I could never wish them well.

The thing is, though, that input from an effective, constructive opposition party would be good at this pivotal moment in the nation’s history. If only such a party could be found.

President Obama described this vacuum well at his “100 Days” news conference Wednesday evening. Republicans, he said, “can’t ... define bipartisanship as simply being willing to accept certain theories of theirs that we tried for eight years and didn’t work, and that the American people voted to change.”

Obama was responding to a question about Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democrats and the prospect of “one-party rule” in Washington. If Al Franken is eventually declared the winner of the Senate race in Minnesota—and he’s ahead of incumbent Norm Coleman by a few hundred votes, pending further court challenges—the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to go along with firm control of the House of Representatives.

Specter’s switch seems obviously based on arithmetic, not principle. About 200,000 Pennsylvanians left the Republican voter rolls between 2004—the last time Specter had to run for re-election—and 2008. Specter would have had a tough time in next year’s general election against a high-profile, well-funded Democratic opponent. But the real problem was that he might not have made it past the primary. The Pennsylvania Republican Party is not just smaller but more conservative, and polls showed that Specter’s apostasy on matters of Republican dogma made him all but defenseless against a challenge from the right.

The trend away from the GOP is being seen nationwide. The Pew Research Center reported Wednesday that just 23 percent of voters self-identify as Republicans, down from 30 percent in 2004. Democratic Party identification has increased only slightly, the Pew survey found, but the gap between the two parties has grown from three points to 12 points....(Click for remainder.)


"My Fellow Americans"


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                            May 1, 2009


East Room

1:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  This is a lot of fun.  This makes so much of the hard work we do worth it, to see this ceremony here today.  It is my honor and my personal pleasure to be the first to address you as my fellow Americans.  (Applause.)  And welcome to your White House.  (Applause.)  Now, I know this day carries a lot of meaning not only for you, but for your family members and your fellow service members who join you today.

Each of you has a unique story to tell about the journey that led you here.  You hail from every corner of the Earth -- from Southeast Asia to Central Europe, from West Africa to South America.  Some of you came to this country as young children, because your parents wanted to give you a better life in the land of opportunity.  Others traveled here as adults, enduring hardship and sacrifice, to provide for your own families.

But all of you have one thing in common:  You're here because you have not merely chosen to live in this country; you've chosen to serve this country.

You're here for the same reason that Jeonathan Zapata is here.  Jeonathan recently returned from serving as part of our efforts in Afghanistan.  He actually helped man the 400,000th aircraft landing aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.  And Jeonathan wanted to serve the country he considers his own -- even though he was not yet a citizen -- because America had been so good to him, from the time he came here from Nicaragua as a child.  "By serving in the military," Jeonathan says, "I can also give back to the U.S."

So, Jeonathan, I'd like you to stand.  (Applause.)

You're here for the same reason -- you can sit down now, Jeonathan -- (applause.)  You're here for the same reason that Chryshann Pierre is here.  Chryshann, where are you?  There you are.  (Applause.)  Chryshann is an Army Specialist returning from service in Iraq late last year.  Originally she joined the military because she wanted to provide stability for her three children.  But then she discovered something she did not expect: She loves being in the Army.  (Laughter.)  In fact, she even said that she loved basic training.  Chryshann, you've got to be pretty tough to love basic training.  (Laughter.)

You all have your own stories -- you can sit down, Chryshann -- (applause.) You all have your own stories of how you came to this country.  And you all have your own personal reasons for why you joined the military.  But in the service that you render, in the sacrifices that each of you have made and will continue to make, in the commitment you've shown to your adopted nation, you're part of a larger story -- America's story.

For more than two centuries, this nation has been a beacon of hope and opportunity -- a place that has drawn enterprising men and women from around the world who have sought to build a life as good as their talents and their hard work would allow.  And generation after generation of immigrants have come to these shores because they believe that in America all things are possible.

So you are not only living examples of that promise; you're also serving to defend that promise for future generations.  And your service reminds all of us that much of the strength of this country is drawn from those who have chosen to call it home.  It's not lost on me or anybody here today that at a time when we face an economic crisis born in many ways of irresponsibility, there are those who are actively pursuing greater responsibility.

And one person here today who fits that description well enough is Jeanne Ebongue Tapo -- right here.  She grew up in a poor family in Gabon, Africa, the daughter of a single mother raising five children by herself.  And Jeanne immigrated to the United States to provide for her family and to pursue her dream of becoming a dentist.  And that's why she joined the Navy.  And she hoped she'd have the opportunity to work and see the world and also earn her education.

And that's exactly what she has been able to do.  She has started college; she's had the chance to travel.  And even though she's had to make sacrifices to be apart from her loved ones, the people she's met in the Navy have become like a "family away from home."  And she's had the chance to be a part of what it feels like -- what feels like a small community and, at the same time, to be part of something much larger than herself.  So Jeanne, thank you.  (Applause.)

Despite all the -- all that she's faced, despite all the obstacles that she's overcome, Jeanne has made it her mission to serve others.  "At the end of the day," she said, "the only thing that matters is that I helped."

As our newest Americans, all of you remind us just how precious our citizenship is -- of how much it's worth and why it's worth protecting.  You all remind us that citizenship is not just a collection of rights, it's also a set of responsibilities; that America's success is not a gift, it is hard-won.  It depends on each of us doing our part.

So thank you all for your service.  I am extraordinarily proud of you.  And your nation is grateful to you.

So now it is also my privilege to present a distinguished American with an award in recognition of the many contributions of naturalized citizens like all of you.  It's called the "Outstanding American by Choice" Award.  It's given to -- it's given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and it is my honor to award it to Peter Lemon.  And let me tell you a little bit about Peter.  Peter was just 19 years old, and a citizen for just seven years, when he and his platoon came under fire in the Tay Ninh Province of Vietnam.

Wounded by shrapnel from a mortar that exploded near his foxhole, Specialist Lemon kept fighting to protect his position against wave after wave of attack.  The battle raged for hours.  He was wounded a second time, and then a third.  But he refused to give up, even leaving his foxhole and exposed himself to enemy fire in order to continue to defend his fellow Rangers.

In fact, once the fight was over, Specialist Lemon refused to be evacuated until others had been taken to a field hospital. And Pete would spend a month in the hospital himself to recover from his injuries.  Soon after he returned home, he would be presented with the Medal of Honor by President Nixon.

Today, Peter Lemon is a proud father and a proud veteran -- as well as an author and a filmmaker.  And he has devoted his time and energies to talking about what his own experiences have meant to him and what he has learned -- to encourage each and every one of us that the way to make the most of our talents is to make a difference in the lives of others.

His experience is a testament to the men and women who have come to this country to build a better life for themselves and their families -- and who have, by their commitment and contribution, made America a much better place as well.

So it is my honor to present this "Outstanding American by Choice" Award to Peter Lemon.  Peter, will you please come here? (Applause.)

(The award is presented.)

One of you might win this someday.  You're already well on the way.

1:34 P.M. EDT


RNC Wants Out of Consent Decree Prohibiting Them from Voter Caging

By Project Vote
Open Left

Cross posted at Project Vote's Voting Matters Blog

On the eve of the Presidential election, facing an historic defeat, the Republican National Committee quietly filed a motion to dissolve an existing consent decree in which they'd agreed not to engage in voter caging or other types of voter intimidation. Since 1982, the RNC has been restricted from conducting so-called "ballot-security" measures that have historically been used to deter thousands of Americans--largely low-income and minority citizens--from voting. Now, the RNC wants to be free of these restrictions. A hearing on the RNC motion is scheduled for next Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey.

The case began in the early 1980s when the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC for voter suppression tactics that targeted about 45,000 people in low-income and minority areas. The RNC subjected minority voters in New Jersey to misleading election notices, the intimidating placement of off-duty police around polling places, and the unlawful practice of "voter caging" whereby unfounded voter challenge lists are compiled from returned mass direct mailings.

The case, DNC v. RNC, resulted in a 1982 decree in which the RNC agreed not to engage in voter caging and intimidation activities or to target minority voters.

Despite the consent decree, the RNC began using similar tricks in Louisiana in 1986. Under the guise of fraud prevention, the RNC facilitated voter caging programs and other tactics. Commenting on the program, Kris Wolfe, the Midwest RNC political director, sent a memo to Lanny Griffith, the Southern RNC political director, saying "I would guess this program will eliminate at least 60,000 to 80,000 folks from the rolls...If it's a close race...this could keep the black vote down considerably." The DNC filed a contempt motion to reopen the case and enjoin the RNC from conducting the Louisiana programs. Once again, the RNC voluntarily agreed to a consent decree rather than fight the claims in court. The result was a 1986 decree in which the RNC agreed not to do any ballot security programs anywhere in the country without prior court approval.

More than 20 years later, on November 3, 2008, the RNC moved to terminate the 1982 and 1986 consent decrees. The RNC claims the consent decrees hamstring their efforts to combat voter fraud, despite the fact that voter fraud is less common than death by lightning....(Click for remainder.)


Math Is Hard!

By Dan Savage
Slog @ The Stranger


Red State Douche, Erik Erickson, Writes That Justice Souter is a "Goat f*&king Child Molester"

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

The conservative movement is in shambles and this doozy comes from online conservative blogger Erik Erickson of Red State. Do we need any more proof that they are all certifiable? What's up with conservatives and their tweets? The men in white suits should be called in very quickly because he needs a serious 30-day observation period. Don't forget to bring a straitjacket with you.

pourmecoffee’s posterous finds this tweet for the ages:
Eric Erickson (@ewerickson), Editor-in-Chief of RedState didn't just toss off that gem. He wrote it, then deleted it, then re-wrote and re-sent it adding the proper hashtags ("LMRM" = Let Me Repeat Myself, "TCOT" = Top Conservatives on Twitter, "RS" = RedState). Made sure he got it just right. See for yourself.

This is the leader of the right's most prominent online community, not some carefree flame-throwing commenter or diarist. RedState is not an official GOP site, but it's a center of the conservative movement with a stated desire to take over leadership of the party. I'm not interested in flame wars. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As a matter of strategy, however, I just can't understand why someone in a leadership position would act so publicly self-destructive. This stuff turns states blue. Put simply, a serious leader looking to amass political power does not publicly call a sitting Supreme Court Justice a "goat f**king child molester." A seemingly obvious point.
(Click for remainder.)


Gingrich Insult Rankles RNC Members

I'm all for anything that freaks out the RNC and the Reich-Wing.  Made all the better by the fact that it was done perpetrated by a giant whale of a turd like Gingrich.

By Peter Hamby

Ass-pimple Newt Gingrich.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Several members of the Republican National Committee are miffed at Newt Gingrich for claiming that they’re a small bunch of egomaniacs who need to be coddled by the party chairman.

“Newt needs to take a breath,” New Jersey committeeman David Norcross told CNN.

Gingrich made the assertion on C-SPAN Thursday when asked about a new resolution put forth by some veteran members — including Norcross and RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen of Arizona — that would limit chairman Michael Steele’s ability to control how the committee spends its money.

That resolution has sparked a fresh round of infighting between Steele loyalists on the committee and entrenched members who backed other candidates for the chairmanship and remain skeptical of his leadership.

Defending Steele’s tumultuous start, Gingrich said the chairman might be under fire from some in the committee because he “probably has not yet learned the art of massaging the egos of RNC members.”

“They all think they’re precious, and they all think they should be taken care of, and they all think the job of the chairman, first of all, is to make the RNC members happy,” Gingrich said of the committee’s 168 members.

Tennessee GOP chairwoman Robin Smith objected to that suggestion, saying that “RNC members, on the whole, are committed individuals who sincerely work for the best of our party.”

“Forming circular firing squads only gives aid to the Democrats who are doing quite nicely in undercutting the public trust in our government,” Smith said.

Ada Fisher, committeewoman from North Carolina, said RNC members are not “as ego driven as some professional politicians and pundits would like to believe.”...(Click for remainder.)


An Affordable Salvation

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

The 2008 election ended the reign of junk science in our nation’s capital, and the chances of meaningful action on climate change, probably through a cap-and-trade system on emissions, have risen sharply.

But the opponents of action claim that limiting emissions would have devastating effects on the U.S. economy. So it’s important to understand that just as denials that climate change is happening are junk science, predictions of economic disaster if we try to do anything about climate change are junk economics.

Yes, limiting emissions would have its costs. As a card-carrying economist, I cringe when “green economy” enthusiasts insist that protecting the environment would be all gain, no pain.

But the best available estimates suggest that the costs of an emissions-limitation program would be modest, as long as it’s implemented gradually. And committing ourselves now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump.

Let’s talk first about those costs.

A cap-and-trade system would raise the price of anything that, directly or indirectly, leads to the burning of fossil fuels. Electricity, in particular, would become more expensive, since so much generation takes place in coal-fired plants....(Click for remainder.)


Overblown Swine Flu Rhetoric Part of Broader Anti-Immigration Strategy

By Daphne Eviatar
The Colorado Independent

If the anti-immigrant reactions to the outbreak of swine flu are any indication, advocates for immigration reform are going to have an uphill battle in Congress this year.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship held its first hearing on comprehensive immigration reform. The hearing was full of powerful arguments for why comprehensive immigration reform would boost the U.S. economy, enhance public safety and reinforce American values of hard work, family unity and entrepreneurship.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified to how legalizing undocumented immigrants would boost economic conditions for everyone, while Thomas Manger, Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief and Chairman of the legislative committee for the Major Cities Chiefs’ Association, testified that legalization would improve relationships between local communities and police officers and help law enforcement do its job.

But one witness, Joel Hunter, a church pastor who spoke eloquently of the humanitarian need for immigration reform, alluded to the dark side of the debate that could ultimately torpedo the reform effort: “A broken [immigration] system tempts many to predatory practices,” he said, including “the talk show hosts that increase their fame and fortune by picturing those without the proper papers only as conniving and dangerous parasites…”...(Click for remainder.)



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