The GOP Hates Children

President of advocacy group criticizes Republican politicians

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Janet Murguía, president of the largest Latino advocacy group in the United States, has a formal warning for Republicans: Help the child refugees at the border and act on immigration reform, or say goodbye to the idea of winning the White House.

Murguía, the head of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, delivered her remarks Monday afternoon at the Los Angeles Convention Center during day three of the NCLR’s annual conference. On the subject of the current border crisis, Murguía said she was “sickened” by the hostile reaction of many Americans to the child refugees and blamed House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for Congress’ inability to pass immigration reform.

More than 57,000 children escaping poverty and violence in Central America have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border since October, overwhelming local resources. Many of the children, upon arrival, are turning themselves in to authorities and attempting to seek asylum.

In late June, overcrowding at the Texas-Mexico border prompted the Department of Homeland Security to transfer many of the children to California facilities, where they were blocked by anti-immigration protesters in Murrieta.

“The plight of these child refugees has sadly brought out the worst in a lot of people,” Murguía told an audience of hundreds on Monday. “I was sickened by the sight of angry protesters this month in Murrieta, California, blocking busloads of refugee children and shouting ‘Go back to where you come from!’ and ‘No illegals!’ … When they cloak their hatred in patriotism, shouting ‘USA! USA!’ it made me angry.”

“In fact, I was outraged,” Murguía continued. “There is nothing more un-American than denying compassion and decency towards a group of young children in need. There is nothing more un-American than deliberately frightening an already traumatized group of kids — some of them were still in diapers. There’s nothing more un-American than a mob taking the law into their own hands and preventing authorities from doing their job processing these refugees. What we saw in Murrieta is not patriotism. It is ugly, divisive and yet another low in a debate that I thought could not get much lower.”

Murguía said that politicians like Murrieta Mayor Alan Long, who urged his constituents to complain to elected officials about the influx of children, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who said the children were carrying ebola and other deadly diseases, were the most “shameful.”

She also cited Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and his recent decision to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, although Perry has said the soldiers will be there not to challenge the children, but to stop criminals from taking advantage of the situation and crossing illegally.

“Soldiers with guns confronting children seeking refuge,” Murguía said. “What is wrong with these people? How can they talk about children like this? Who treats children this way? Every one of the elected officials I just quoted consider themselves people of faith, but there is nothing godly in their words. It is disgraceful.”

This border crisis — part of what Murguía called an “international humanitarian emergency,” echoing Pope Francis’ recent words — will define how the rest of the world perceives the United States, she said.

“We will not let the faces of hate define America to the rest of the world on how we address this emergency,” Murguía said. “We will uphold and we will live our values when it comes to these children. That is our promise.”

Murguía recalled how in March, during remarks at an awards dinner, she called President Barack Obama “the deporter-in-chief” because he had not used his executive power to give relief to families being torn apart by his administration’s record-high number of deportations. Murguía said she now had some choice words for Boehner, accusing the speaker of a “dereliction of duty” on the issue of immigration reform.

“The reason immigration reform is not going to happen this year is because of Republican extremists in the House of Representatives and the willful neglect of Speaker John Boehner,” said Murguía, noting that Boehner has blocked every immigration bill to come through Congress and has been unwilling to compromise while blaming Obama for the lack of progress.

Murguía then called the crowd to action, asking Latinos to hold their elected officials accountable in November’s midterm elections and in the 2016 presidential contest. She said that while Republicans still had time to correct their course, the country’s Latinos will be watching to see how they address the child refugee crisis and immigration reform.

“I promise you this,” Murgsuía said to a cheering crowd. “The road to the White House runs right through the Hispanic community, and you will not see a Republican become president without it.”

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PressTV

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/23/372470/nclr-slams-gop-over-child-refugees

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An Order From Col. Sheena Johnson

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by Rawclyde!

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The legendary Col. Sheena Johnson, errant U.S. Army

Notes after some observation & navigatory calculation

That Capt’n Chuck Fiddler’s Afghaneeland Sufi Bubble

Is floating over Murrieta, California, U.S.A.

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The despicably beautiful colonel also notes

She is entrapped inside this orb

Manufactured out of unreal soap from the captain’s mind

But she is of higher rank & can issue orders thusly

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However neither her or he is officially of the U.S. Army now

Each in actuality is a free moral agent of world reality now

But then again once a soldier always a soldier

So Capt’n Fiddler, although retired, will take an order

(From the devastatingly beautiful colonel)

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She stands over the comatose body of the captain

Lain so wounded on the mat in a back room of her house

In the village of Pluckame on the Nuristan Province mountain ridge

That is enclosed inside Fiddler’s impossible bubble

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Complication on top of complication has arisen

How can she issue an order to one in a coma?

Well, she simply verbalizes outloud, “Capt’n, blow this bubble back

To Afghanistan or I’ll cut off your balls.”

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Text Copyright Clyde Collins 2014

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Afghaneeland Adventure Series | Old Timer Chronicle II

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Vote Audit Getting Tricky

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Afghanistan Express Daily Newspaper

July 21, 20014

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The process of vote audit resumed a day after differences emerged between the two election camps. According to the IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor, the differences emerged between the two sides whether votes with voter signatures and finger impressions should be considered as valid or not. With the suspension of the process last Sunday, the two teams and the United Nations started negotiations for reaching an agreement over the problem. According to the IEC officials, the stakeholders have agreed to count the votes with signatures as valid…

The differences over the process of vote audit indicate the challenges that lie ahead of the process. It proves the democratic experiment in the country a very immature and flawed one. Lack of commitment among the Afghan political spectrum discredited the democratic process for power transition and is continuing to harm Afghanistan’s long-term interests. And the responsibility for this situation lies mainly on the Afghan government that failed to lead a sound and transparent process. The aftermaths of the runoff election was almost a total failure for the country as it led Afghanistan on the brink of a potential abyss of violence and civil war. Along with the government, the Independent Election Commission and its audit branch Electoral Complaints Commission played a terribly flawed role in the process.

Given that the process has been almost derailed from its constitutional ground there are now immense distrusts among the public regarding the whole political process. John Kerry’s mediation which produced an agreement of power-sharing between the two candidates was deemed as an outlet from the crisis. As a result of the agreement, election tensions deescalated and the process of vote audit got underway. With the agreement, a potentially dangerous crisis was averted and Afghanistan closely missed another chapter of instability and violence. The irresponsible approach of Afghan statesmen and national institutions towards the country’s election process harmed the country in a way that can be compared to the Taliban insurgency.

Despite the US-mediated agreement that saved Afghanistan from a potential instability and brought it back to the consititional course, the election camps still are pushing for their narrow-sighted interests while national institutions such as the electoral commissions have lost the legitimacy in the eyes of the public to judge differences and make decisions for the process. Seemingly, the candidate’s camps have been engaged in differences over whether votes with fingerprints and signatures shall be invalidated or not. This raises the question that while the two teams are not able to commit to their agreement when it comes to the relatively clean votes from Kabul province, how they would be able to handle the process and stick to their commitments when the election bodies start auditing votes from other controversial provinces.

Anyway, the election camps must remain committed to the agreement made recently. And the government and electoral bodies need to learn from past experiences and lead a sound process based on democratic principles and Afghanistan’s long-term interests.

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http://theafghanistanexpress.com/the-tricky-process-of-vote-audit

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The Unified Gov’t Concept

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by Abdul Haleem

Xinhua News

July 21, 2014

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KABUL, July 21 (Xinhua) — The agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry between two Afghan presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on July 12 has not only broken the election deadlock but also paved the way for formation of national unity government in the ethnically- divided country.

Under the agreement, there is no loser in the elections since the candidate who can secure the majority of the votes in the recounting process would become the country’s president and his opponent to serve as chief executive, which is tantamount to the position of a prime minister.

The reconciliation between the two presidential hopefuls occurred at a critical time when the militancy-plagued and ethnically-divided country was sliding towards its worst political crisis and has raised concerns of returning Afghanistan into 1990s devastating factional fighting and civil strife.

Welcoming the John Kerry-brokered agreement to end the election deadlock, Afghans from all walks of life believe that the country has been rescued from plunging into crisis and chaos.

“I am happy that the election standoff has been broken and I can sit in my shop and continue my business free of any fear,” a shop-keeper, Zabihullah, told Xinhua.

The prolonged election process and election impasse had caused concerns among the war-weary Afghans and slowed down business activities.

With the election stalemate, there were reports that capital flight from the war-torn country has reportedly begun and the wealthy Afghans have started to siphon their resources to safe places in the Middle East, particularly Dubai.

Since reaching the agreement, both presidential candidates Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai have visited each other’s houses and discussed the modalities of the national unity government.

Abdullah, who claimed victory in the April 5 presidential elections and June 14 runoff, had threatened to form a parallel government if his demands for recounting votes and ensuring transparency are not met.

He, however, has since softened his stand and welcomed the Kerry-brokered agreement. Last week, he said that “a united, democratic government will be structured after auditing 100 percent of the votes.”

The auditing of 100 percent of the votes that began on July 17 will be completed within three to four weeks.

All Afghans including those in government and ordinary people, such as roadside vendors, have shown support to the Kerry-brokered agreement between the two candidates on formation of national unity government, believing that the roadmap can lead to a viable peace in Afghanistan.

The national unity government, according to Afghan observers, should represent all Afghans irrespective of their ethnic, cultural or religious background.

Although the post of chief executive is not in the constitution, observers believe it will be formally changed into post of prime minister within two or three years by amending the constitution.

Since Afghanistan’s international friends and neighboring states including U.S. and China have been supporting ways and means that could lead to durable peace in Afghanistan, the formation of national unity government, endorsed by major parties, would enable Afghans to finally unite and embrace lasting peace.

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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-07/21/c_133500233.htm

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Unease In Nitwit U.S. Congress

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by Deb Riechmann

Associated Press

July 20, 2014

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WASHINGTON — Afghanistan’s disputed election and Iraq’s unraveling are giving members of Congress and U.S. allies in the region reason to think President Barack Obama should rethink his decision to withdraw virtually all Americans troops from Afghanistan by the close of 2016.

The White House says Afghanistan is different from Iraq, mired in sectarian violence since shortly after U.S. troops left, and that the drawdown decision is a done deal.

Some lawmakers, however, are uncomfortable with Obama’s plan, which responds to the American public’s war fatigue and his desire to be credited with pulling the U.S. from two conflicts. Ten senators, Republicans and Democrats, raised the drawdown issue at a congressional hearing Thursday.

They argued that it’s too risky to withdraw American troops out so quickly, especially with the Afghan presidential election in the balance. They don’t want to see Afghanistan go the way of Iraq, and they fear that the Afghan security force, while making substantial gains, won’t be ready for solo duty by the end of 2016.

Under Obama’s plan, announced in May before Sunni militants seized control of much of Iraq, some 20,200 American troops will leave Afghanistan during the next five months, dropping the U.S. force to 9,800 by year’s end. That number would be cut in half by the end of 2015, with only about 1,000 remaining in Kabul after the end of 2016.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, testified this past week before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He spoke highly of the 352,000-strong Afghan security force that assumed responsibility for the country in June 2013 and lauded them for keeping violence down during the recent election.

“We had over 300 campaign events involving thousands of people, some as large as 20,000,” Dunford said. “The Afghan forces secured all of those campaign events.”

The U.S. withdrawal plan, however, is based on being able to fix the Afghan security force’s shortcomings by the end of 2016.

Dunford described gaps in planning, programming, budgeting, delivering spare parts, fuel payment systems — things the U.S. military takes for granted. Afghanistan also needs to brush up its intelligence operation and develop the nascent air force.

Dunford laid out his best-case scenario under the current plan:

—The Afghan presidential election is resolved.

—Afghan security forces continue to improve and are sustainable by 2017 so a small U.S. presence inside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul — a “security cooperation office” — is sufficient.

—Shortfalls in the Afghan forces are addressed.

—The U.S. and other donor nations continue to fund the Afghan government, security forces and development projects.

—Afghan-Pakistani relations improve and the two nations have adequate capabilities — and the will — to counter terrorism.

His worst-case scenario: The election remains unresolved; Afghan-Pakistan relations sour and both countries fall short of battling extremist militants; al-Qaida or other militant groups regain their footing in the border region and plot attacks against the U.S.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a critic of Obama’s plan, said trying to meet the goals for a successful outcome was like “kicking a 65-yard field goal into the wind.”

“There’s a disaster in the making to our homeland and to losing all the gains we fought for inside of Afghanistan by drawing down too quick and not being able to help the Afghans in a reasonable fashion,” Graham said.

Earlier this month, Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that despite declining security in Iraq, the president was not “presently disposed to reconsider the decision.”

“Afghanistan isn’t Iraq,” Dobbins said. “In Iraq, the people didn’t want us, and not a single Iraqi politician was prepared to advocate our staying. In Afghanistan, the people overwhelmingly want us to stay, and every single contender in the presidential election said they would sign the bilateral security agreement” with the United States.

“In Iraq, they could get along without us, at least temporarily, because they had plenty of money. In Afghanistan they can’t possibly get along without us,” he said.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the committee chairman, said it was still hard not to draw the comparison.

“When the administration announced plans to completely draw down forces from Afghanistan by 2016, I was concerned about the plan, and I still have concerns,” said Menendez, D-N.J.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the committee, said he was happy that Obama had decided to leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan next year. But Corker was against putting a two-year timeline on a virtual complete withdrawal.

“It’s amazing. When we talk to people within the administration that know things like this — and are pretty tuned in — they say, ‘Hey guys, don’t worry about this, this is just a plan, we’re going to reassess.’ But you’re telling me, as a special envoy, this is concrete — right now this is not just a plan, but this is the way it’s going to be.”

“I think this reflects the president’s intentions,” Dobbins said. He acknowledged that other countries in the region support the continuation of a U.S. and NATO military mission in Afghanistan for at least several more years.

“Pakistan, Uzbekistan and China all fear Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for their own hostile militant groups,” he said. “India fears Afghanistan again becoming a training ground for terrorist groups targeting them. Russia remains concerned about the flow of narcotics. Iran and Pakistan fear new floods of refugees.”

A senior Pakistan defense official, visiting Washington last week, told The Associated Press that the entire basis of the drawdown has not been met.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment publicly on U.S. policy, said the withdrawal plan was based on having a peaceful transition from outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to a new government, Afghanistan signing the security agreement and assurances the Afghan security forces will be able to hold the country together once the international forces leave.

“Tell me, has any one of them been met?” he asked.

He said he had come to Washington carrying a message: Pakistan wants the president to take another look.

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http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2014/jul/20/unease-congress-obama-afghan-plan

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