Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Living In The Promised Land


This ugly sour puss is Blue Dog Brad Ashford, the only "Democrat" to co-sponsor the anti-refugee bill

In regard to last Thursday's ugly anti-immigrant vote in the House, we've mostly been concentrating on the 47 coward, craven Democrats who voted with the GOP on that shameful 289-137 roll call. The cowards from the Steve Israel wing of the party, your Patrick Murphys, Kathleen Rices, Pete Aguilars, and John Delaneys, many of them Republican-lite Dems that Israel helped recruit for just these kinds of votes. But that 289-137 wasn't always 289-137. At one point it was 288-138 and instead of 2 Republicans voting against Michael McCaul's vicious anti-refugee legislation (co-sponsored by 102 Republicans plus one rot-gut Blue Dog, Nebraska "ex"-Republican Brad Ashford), there were 3 Republicans voting no.

Iowa racist Steve King voted against it because he wanted a more strident and overtly anti-Muslim bill. Walter Jones (R-NC) told his constituents that he voted against it because the bill would do nothing to cut off the funding for Obama’s plan to import tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees into the U.S. Maybe he was listening to too much Trump on Fox News. "Defunding President Obama’s refugee program," he said, "is the only way to ensure that America can actually stop a refugee influx until we can determine without question that we are not giving terrorists a free pass into the United States. Congress can defund the program in the appropriations bill which will come to the floor in early December. To ensure our safety, Congress must seize that opportunity and use its constitutional power of the purse. Short of that, even if today’s bill were to pass the Congress and be signed into law, the President would still retain the power to let in whoever, and however many, refugees he pleases. And given the President’s unwavering support for open borders, unchecked illegal immigration, and mass importation of foreign refugees, we know he can’t be trusted with that authority." GOP hardliners usually call him a "moderate," a "squish" and a "RINO." Tough crowd!

But the third Republican who voted against the bill, Oklahoma City wing-nut Steve Russell, has a whole other take on how the GOP has been using the Paris terrorist attack for narrow partisan gain. The video of him speaking on the floor last week (just below) doesn't sound anything like what you've been hearing from partisan hacks like Paul Ryan, let alone the sociopaths running for president. It's short; listen to what he said:

So when he voted against McCaul's ugly bill, no one should have been surprised, right? Yeah, they shouldn't have been-- but they were. In fact, Russell-- a proud combat veteran-- says after he voted against the bill he was "surrounded" by angry Republicans demanding he switch his vote like the rest of the herd, claiming the bill wouldn't be "veto-proof" if he voted against it. That isn't even true but, despite the high-sounding rhetoric about how we should "not become the America that ISIS wants us to be," tough Steve Russell meekly informed the clerk that he was changing his vote to "aye." He's the opposite of cowardly coke freak Pete Aguilar, a corrupt New Dem from San Bernardino, who has been bragging that he only voted with the Republicans against the refugees because his constituents are too dumb to understand the nuances and that he'd switch to opposition if Obama vetoes the bill and he's needed to sustain the veto. One cowardly New Dem to pair up with one cowardly Republican. No wonder Americans hate Congress so much!

The progressive Democrat running for the seat Russell hold, Tom Guild, who Blue America has endorsed, told us that "My opponent Rep. Clyde 'Steve' Russell debated against a bill making it virtually impossible for Syrian refugees to immigrate to the U.S. to escape persecution and death.  He debated against the GOP-sponsored bill by saying it was xenophobic and a "knee-jerk" reaction. Then after being pressured by Republicans in the House he voted for the bill he had just characterized as xenophobic and a "knee-jerk" reaction. He has shown the entire world that he can say one thing now and vote the opposite way minutes later. We can't count on him to keep his word. I support the current system that takes up to two years to vet Syrian refugees before they are approved for immigration to America. I will be true to my word and not do a bait-and-switch on voters when voting on issues before Congress."

Alan Grayson, a candidate for the open Florida Senate seat, is running against 3 right-wing cowards, Republicans David Jolly and Ron DeSantis and "ex"-Republican New Dem Patrick Murphy, all of whom voted against the refugees. Grayson, as you can probably imagine, had something to say about that-- and immediately.
Earlier today, Patrick Murphy chose fear over humanity when he voted in favor of a Republican bill that will make it nearly impossible for Syrian refugees fleeing terrorism in their homeland to come to the United States.

We’re not sure whether it was Patrick Murphy’s fear of orphans and widows with brown skin that caused him to vote for this atrocious bill, or if it was his fear of going against the Republican Party. But, either way, he chose fear over humanity. Hate, over love. He has proven once again that he doesn’t have the courage to do what is right when times are hard. And we can’t have another person like that in the US Senate.

This bill does nothing to punish the terrorists who have killed so many. It does nothing to make us safe-- all it does is deliver Daesh (ISIS) another victory because Congress is giving in to the fear they’re peddling.

This bill punishes the homeless, stateless refugees whose only mistake is believing that when we say we are a nation that welcomes the huddled masses, we actually mean it. Many of these refugees are trying to escape the same terrorists that we’re trying to stop. It would be inhumane to deny them safe passage to the United States based on the color of their skin and their religion.

In the past few days Republicans have called for a religious test for refugees, talked about closing down Mosques and shutting our borders to refugees. Now Patrick Murphy has shown once again that he stands with Republicans in all of their fear-mongering craziness.

We don’t need a Senator that thinks, acts, or votes like Donald Trump or Ben Carson.
His campaign concluded by reminding his supporters that "Alan Grayson will always fight for equality, justice, and peace. He’ll always fight for the most vulnerable amongst us, and he will never back down in building an America we can be proud of."

The next day he wanted to make sure everyone got the message about what a worm Murphy is. "What do terrorists want? To change people’s religions?" he asked rhetorically. "No" he responded to his own question.
They want to cause terror. And this week, when my opponent Patrick Murphy voted to block Syrian refugees from entering our country because he was terrified, he gave them exactly what they wanted.

We will not end terrorism with fear, nor closed borders, nor bombs. We will end terrorism when we are able to overcome our fear, and have the courage to be humane. Without terror, there can be no terrorism.

Our country chose fear over compassion when we rejected refugees from Europe fleeing Nazism. Fearmongers said that there might be Nazis among the masses. We know what happened after that.

We’re supposed to be the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We’re supposed to welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, the homeless, the tempest-tost. And in the past, we haven’t been.

But now, we have an opportunity to live up to these ideals and values that we’ve claimed for so long. We can choose to be courageous and compassionate.

Patrick Murphy and his Republican friends want our country to be scared into submission by these terrorists. That’s the easy thing to do. But we don’t have to let them, or the terrorists, win. We can do what is hard, and what is right. We can prove once and for all that we are the land of the free, and the home of the brave, and that we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

And most importantly of all, we can help those who need it the most. We can lift our lamp beside the golden door.
And then on Monday, Grayson shared a moving experience he had had right after the vote, an event at Constitution Hall honoring Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson did something magical. Something I’ll never forget. After that miserable anti-refugee vote earlier that day, he found the perfect way to honor our common humanity.

Willie received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, bestowed by the Library of Congress. In his honor, a packed auditorium listened to covers of his great songs, performed by Neil Young, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper, and a dozen other amazing performers. At the end of that incredible show, Willie himself took the stage, with his two sons and a few others, and he performed three wonderful songs.

Willie could have played “On the Road Again,” “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and “Crazy,” and left it at that. It was his night, receiving one of the highest honors America can bestow. But he knew that the House of Representatives had passed a terrible slam-the-door-in-their-faces bill just a few hours earlier, and that a number of Congressmen who voted for that awful piece of offal were in the audience. In fact, one of them, Kevin McCarthy, was sitting almost right next to him.

So Willie Nelson saved his best for last. He reached deep, deep down in his personal playlist, and pulled out a song from three decades ago. His last song that night was a musical slap in the face to those who had voted, just a couple of hours earlier, to turn away people in danger, in desperate need. The song is called “Living in the Promiseland,” and it starts like this:
Give us your tired and weak,
And we will make them strong.
Bring us your foreign songs,
And we will sing along.
Leave us your broken dreams,
We’ll give them time to mend.
There’s still a lot of love,
Living in the Promiseland.
The audience went wild. Absolutely, totally wild.

And I felt proud that I had voted against that stinking meadow-muffin of a bill, that putrid cow pie in the form of legislation. Proud to be in the audience, honoring that great man. Proud to be part of the worldwide community of decent human beings.

After the show, I went to Willie’s tour bus, joined him and his wife Annie, and thanked them both.

Willie Nelson, November 18, 2015: It could have been his night, and his night alone. But he made it our night.
Here's some of that performance Grayson was lucky enough to see:

And here's the whole song:

Suggestion: help Grayson win the Florida Senate seat Rubio is giving up instead of electing someone every bit as bad as Rubio. Please contribute what you can here.

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