Obama’s Immigration Overhaul

President Obama announced a package of intended executive orders that will extend temporary legal status to millions of undocumented illegal immigrants. The executive orders contain actions relating to border security and business related measures but the main focus is on the new immigration reforms.

Under these new laws parents who are undocumented but have children who are either legal US citizens or residents will be able to apply for a temporary legal status. In order to gain this status the parents must be classified as low-priority for deportation and have documentation that proves they have lived in the United States for at least three years. Along with this they must pass a background test and pay fees for the service, once this has been completed they will be protected from deportation and given work permits. Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez says that this temporary legal status will last for 3 years at a time.

According to USA Today this will allow current immigration officers to focus their attention on a smaller pool of immigrants that need to be deported such as criminals or those with records. Republicans have promised to block the law with some even calling for the presidents impeachment. However this is not the first time executive orders have been used on immigration, both Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush issued executive orders in relation to immigrant amnesty. This is a giant step forward in relation to immigration in this country.

Miss Honduras Found Dead

Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado (19), and her older sister Sofia Trinidad (23) went missing Thursday after leaving a local party. Miss Alvarado was a contestant in the Miss World Contest that was supposed to start in London this coming week. This story was passed along to me by Darius Fisher Twitter.
Four people have been arrested and placed in questioning by the police. Aris Maldonado and Plutatco Antonio Ruiz (Sofia Trinidad’s boyfriend) are two of the four that have been arrested. At first police believed that the two women might have survived, but their dead bodies being found put an en end to the police’s optimistic thoughts.
The two women were found dead days after being reported missing. The family of these two women are in mourning pain right now. The police are working very hard to find out who killed these sisters, how it happened, and who was involved in the crime.

President Obama to Unveil His Extra-Constitutional Amnesty Plan Thursday Night

President Obama plans to deliver a major speech tomorrow night before the country. I first saw this story when my Facebook fan Darius Fisher shared it… why isn’t it being more widely publicized? It is widely expected that he will unveil new immigration laws and policies enacted without Congressional authorization in what he terms is “Executive amnesty”. He estimates that as many as 3.5 million people illegally residing the United States will now be shielded from deportation and given permission to work in the country. However, there is no way to know exactly how many millions of people will be able to take advantage of the president’s amnesty plan.

Thus far, the president maintains that the current immigration system is “broken”. At the same time, he states that Congress has been unwilling to pass legislation to reform the system which has compelled him to create a new one using the legal means afforded to him. It will require a leap of faith for the general public, who were deceived by his health care plan, to believe that his new amnesty legislation will be free of the same mislabeling, lack of transparency, and reliance upon “voter stupidity” which were used to gain passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Following Thursday night’s prime time address, he will lead an event in Las Vegas on Friday to further elaborate on this plan. Democrats will be dining with the president tonight. He is expected to lay out the plan for them. It was only two weeks ago that voters empowered the GOP to shift the nation away from the president’s policies. Now, the president will impose a new major policy via fiat.

The Silent Majority

In yet another shocking but not so shocking turn of events, only 36% of registered voters in America exercised their right to enfranchisement this November. According to the United States Election Project, this missing 64% caused the lowest midterm election turnout in a few decades. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders believes that this sad electoral watershed illustrates American disillusionment with its political system.

The outspoken Independent has hopes of running for President in 2016. Perhaps he is a suitable choice, as he hopes to campaign on raising the minimum wage, enacting a jobs program, dealing with climate change, and fighting for equal pay for women.

On Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, Sanders said that what he thinks “really happened is about 64 percent of the American people rejected the two-party system.” He isn’t the first, nor will he be the last, political commentator to posit that the American two-party system is rigged for democratic failure, which Brad Reifler definitely agrees with. The Senator believes the billionaire class is calling the political shots and the American people have finally caught on. He went on to say that, “we may have reached a tipping point, where candidates who are fighting for the working class and the middle class of this country may not be able to do it anymore, because of the power of the billionaire class.” Over half of America’s voters seemed to have invoked their right not to vote and this silent majority’s message seems to be quite loud and clear.

Keystone XL Pipeline Fails Senate Vote

Following a long controversy, Democratic Senators voted down a proposal to build the long-disputed Keystone XL Pipeline between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

First proposed in 2008, the Keystone XL Pipeline has emerged as a frontline in the battle between conservatives and liberals over the environment. The project is meant to pump oil from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf Coast. As pointed out by animal rights activist Keith Mann, objections from environmentalists and their supporters in Congress have held up the pipeline for years.

Republicans blamed Democrats for the failure of the vote, which passed in the Republican-dominated House. President Obama was widely expected to veto the bill had it passed the Senate.

After winning the mid-terms, Republicans proposed the bill partially as a way to derail the election chances of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who is in an upcoming Louisiana Senate run-off against a Republican Congressman and whose state would benefit from the pipeline’s construction.

The vote was the first time liberal senators demonstrated their ability to shut down legislation, similar to the tactics practiced by the Republican minority from 2010 until the recent midterm victory. Battle lines are rapidly being drawn between the shrunken liberal wing of the Senate and the emboldened conservatives, fresh from electoral victo

Sen. Elizabeth Warren begins campaign against Walmart’s treatment of its employees

As if Walmart’s reputation, when it comes to how the mega-corporation treats its employees is not already bad enough, it is beginning to look like Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren is about to make it look a whole lot worse.

Senator Warren is hosting a Capitol Hill event today to point out Walmart’s atrocious employment practices and its abysmally low wages. Wages that see the majority of its employees making less than $25,000 a year, and employment practices that force most of them to remain as ‘part-time’ workers, even though they want full-time jobs.

This while the Walton family, the owners of Walmart, continue to sit at the top of the list of the world’s richest people.

What is even more shocking about Walmart’s business practices is the fact that a large percentage of the 600,000 lowest-paid Walmart workers rely on food stamps just to get by. This is something Igor Cornelsen really can’t understand.

Of course, this is not the first time this month the news media is covering Walmart’s treatment of its employees. Walmart employees across the country were involved in large demonstrations against the employment practices of the company last week, and tens of thousands are expected to come out either on strike or in protest at thousands of Walmart stores over the Black Friday weekend.

As for Senator Warren, she intends to start a debate on Walmart’s employment practices, and is pushing for new legislation that will be designed to aid Walmart workers in their fight.

GOP to Attempt to Balance the Budget – Major Hurdles Remain

A growing number of GOP Senators and Congressman are making calls to come up with a balanced budget in ten years. Needless to say, they face skeptics both within the government and from outside groups. This is because of the sheer depth of the national debt following the Obama administrations trillion dollar annual deficits. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that to achieve a balanced budget in ten years will require skimming a total of $5.5 trillion in spending. The committee believes that $4.7 trillion would come from tax increases & budget cuts and the $800 million balance from savings in interest payments.

However, this presumes that the Roosevelt-era practice of baseline budgeting is continued. This is where every government agency’s budget increases annually regardless of the need or justification. In 2010, Lee G. Lovett remembers that Congressman Paul Ryan demonstrated that freezing most federal agencies at their 2008 spending levels would help contribute to a balanced budget within 10 years. As far as the tax increases, the GOP eschews any further extraction of money from the working economy that needs the funds for business growth and investment.

Also essential to the Ryan plan was a repeal of Obamacare which would save $2.1 trillion in spending. Ryan also proposed savings from Medicare that would save $730 billion. Part of those savings delt with expanding Medicare Part C health care plans over the traditional Medicare fee for service. Arriving at a balanced budget will require entitlement reform. The United States based its Social Security plan from the Swedish plan. In the late 1990s, Sweden abolished the old entitlement plan and moved to a new model that has resulted in a ten yeas straight of balanced budgets and surpluses.

Election Day May Become a Holiday

The last elections saw the lowest voter turnout in decades. Voters were frustrated with the direction of the government and the least productive Congress in history. Additionally, voters dissatisfied with the president did not come out to vote which led to a Republican sweep. Beginning in January, Rod Rohrich points to the fact that Republicans will control the House and the Senate. Many people think of it as an American duty to vote in all the elections, for the health of the democratic process.

Legislators have now come up with a proposal to improve voter participation in all future elections. The Senator, Bernie Sanders, is an independent from Vermont. He has proposed that Election Day is made into a national holiday so that citizens will not be required to work and will therefore have no excuse to not vote.
The voters who did show up were mostly older, white and more male than female. The expectation is that in order to allow for more workers to vote, they need the day off to make it to the polls. Typically, polling has extended hours, early voting and absentee ballots are available for those voters who won’t be able to make it to their home polling location. However, conservatives in many states have been proposing and passing legislation to restrict early voting and create more identification restrictions in an effort to protect the country against voter fraud. There have been two cases of voter fraud in the last few decades.

This Week’s Forecasts by CNN’s Political Pundits

The crew of “Inside Politics” have made their five political forecasts for the week and one of them is a possible deal between Obama and Senate leaders to hasten the confirmation process. Thanks to friend of the site Igor Cornelsen for sending in these tips. The forecasts issued by the panelists were:

  1. The Louisiana Runoff Election for December 6: GOP Candidate Bill Cassidy has opened up a 16-point lead after getting the endorsement of the Tea Party candidate. Incumbent Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu is being heavily outspent with 9 out of every 10 political ads being in support of Cassidy. Barring a miracle, the Senator will become the 6th Democrat incumbent ousted in the mid-term elections.
  2. Political Cronyism – New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone wants to be the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He has the seniority and normally this would be enough for him to win the position. However, California Democrat Anna Eshoo, a BFF of Nancy Pelosi, fancies the job. As a result, Pelosi is deploying an array of tactics to stymie the candidacy of Pallone including personally whipping votes for Eshoo and barring proxy votes from Democrats unable to vote in person.
  3. Obama Nominee Deal – Elections have consequences and President Obama may withdraw nominees the GOP objects to in order to expedite the nominations of career diplomats to a number of posts.
  4. President Obama may soon be using his veto pen if the Senate passes the Keystone Pipeline XL.
  5. The GOP captured the New Hampshire House chamber. Now infighting has emerged over the position of House Speaker between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans. GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is up for reelection in 2016, is siding with the establishment GOP to stave off an “extremist” label ahead of the 2016 general election.

Sullivan Unseats Begich in Alaska, Republican Senate gains grow

A little over a week after the midterm election, the state of Alaska is finally ready to declare a winner in the senate race between Democrat incumbent Mark Begich and his Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. As absentee ballots continue to be counted, NBC News, Fox News and a litany of other news organizations are prepared to call the race for Sullivan, although Begich is yet to concede.

 

Sullivan’s projected victory would give Republicans an eight gain in the U.S. Senate. Last Tuesday, Republicans were able to flip control of the Senate after six years of the chamber belonging to a Democratic majority. Republicans will now hold a 53-45 advantage in the Senate when the new session rolls around in January.

 

The most recent development only serves as an exclamation point on a disappointing November for Democrats, as they watched a number of close races fall to Republicans in both governor and senatorial campaigns. Some like Bruce Karatz were shocked about the outcome being the way it was. Even worse for Democrats is the fact that they may not be done losing ground in the upper chamber. Despite edging out Republican challenger Bill Cassidy, Democrat incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana will face a runoff election for her seat after she failed to get over the 50 percent needed to win reelection per Louisiana rules. The runoff in Louisiana is on December 6th.