Immigration - The Thorn in America's Political Side

by Mark  


This week President Barack Obama took unilateral action to provide delays in immigration proceedings which could result in deportation of up to five million immigrants who are in our nation illegally.

Republicans are up in arms. Some conservatives are calling for impeachment of the President. Some liberals are complaining the President did not go far enough.

The stage has been set for a very rocky and tumultuous final two years of the President's Administration.

Legal immigration is of no issue - except:

Legal immigration is too costly and should be revamped.

Legal immigration wait times are beyond the pale to obtain legal residence/citizenship and need to be revamped.

Except for legitimate political refugees, we must find a way to both keep our borders open and secure the borders from those who refuse to play by the rules.

Xenophobia is a sickness - not an acceptable way of life. We must find the middle ground between being proud Americans and accepting neighbors.

When many people's great-grandparents, grandparents and millions of others crossed both ponds, one of the primary goals was making sure the children (if not themselves) learned English as quickly as possible.

There was an intense desire to renounce allegiance to the Old Country and pledge firm solidarity with the Land of Promise.

Those days are gone.

In some areas raising and flying the flag of the former country takes prominence over that of the American flag. This use not to be.

In some areas parents refuse to allow their children to learn English and insist on education in the home country language rather than the predominant language of their new homeland.

This all adds to the issue and problem especially in the border states and with many rural Americans unexposed unlike their urban neighbors to immigrants - legal and illegal.

Then there is the issue of how to secure our borders and keep our borders open. We have long prided ourselves on not having troops amassed along either our border with Mexico or with that with Canada.

Immigration is an interesting subject matter with no one-size-fits-all or easy fix.

I don't have the answers which will provide the cure for a broken immigration system. I do know to do nothing is the wrong move.

From my studying and research, the President skirted along the edge of the law without crossing over into impeachable territory. However, the President has made working with Congress between now and 2016 almost impossible.

In his speech and subsequent order, the President was very careful in choosing his words. He walked right up to the edge, but did not move into territory outside his domain. Claiming a national security issue, the President kept his action within his wheelhouse - barely.

The President, from where I sit in the Cornfield, may have acted within the scope of his authority. But - the President acted foolishly and irresponsibly.

Per the Constitution, immigration falls under the direct authority of the Congress - NOT the Executive Branch.

Yes, the Executive Branch administers the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. However, it is Congress that determines the laws and requires the Executive Branch to fully enforce the will of Congress.

With all the criticism of the mainstream media, it should be noted that none of the four major networks aired the President's speech on immigration. All four (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) refused to preempt regular programming and give the President a stage from which to perform.

From the Cornfield, while immigration reform is sorely needed, it is not up to the President to take unilateral action on the issue.

Congress - Republican lawmakers - must stop its dawdling and stonewalling on immigration. The next Congress MUST fix what is broken.

The message from voters during the last election: Find some way to work together, Mr. President and members of Congress.

You may have heard both those voting and those not voting, but are any of you listening?

Location: Indiana, United States

In Honor of Our Veterans

by Mark  

Tomorrow, November 11, we stop and give thanks for all those who have served the nation in uniform, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to ensure that we have the life we so proudly proclaim.

Their sacrifice is honored with each election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land, the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

The ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds, the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought for peace, justice and freedom.

None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to each of our veterans and to those who still serve.

On a more personal note:

Normandy Award to Luther C. Powell

In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

Three made it back home at the close of World War II. The one who didn't return was my Uncle Hobert. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

First Sergeant Jack L. Hollifield

My step-father, a fresh-faced kid from Sullivan County, Indiana didn't wait to be drafted. He went to the recruiting office and signed up to be a soldier for Uncle Sam. He survived, though wounded once, three tours in Viet Nam. He remained in the US Army to retire after 20 years as an E-8 First Sergeant.

USN veteran Allen Powell

My grandfather's only son, my uncle, later followed in his father's footsteps and sailed off on the ocean blue with the Navy. He served around the world, then came home.

Allen's Honorable Discharge

All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.

AFC Mark after USAF Basic Training

Their service made it possible for me to join the US Air Force in 1976. My time was spent at Grissom AFB, right here in the Cornfield.

It also allowed my step-brother a few years later to join the US Army. Unfortunately, we lost him in a drunk driving incident after he did his duty and was home.

The sacrifice of my grandfather, great-uncles and step-father also allowed all of us to still be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is why I am always appreciative of those who choose to serve in our military. This is why I always have an empathy and a connection to the families left behind to keep the home fires burning to shine the light to lead our service members home.

Each November 11th, we celebrate, not just the veterans of that long ago war that was to be the war to end all wars, but the holiday has evolved to celebrate and to show appreciation for all who have served our great nation and those who continue to serve.

From the Cornfield, veterans, I salute you and thank you!

2014 Midterm Elections: The Aftermath

by Mark  


Fog layered the Cornfield as I sat on the porch of Mark's Den drinking my coffee. Visibility was at a minimum.

Was this indicative of the political climate in Washington today?

Republicans added governors' mansions, took control of the US Senate and picked up at least a dozen seats in the House of Representatives in yesterday's Midterm Elections.

There was a tidal wave of red that swept the nation.

As President Barack Obama recently stated, he was not on the ballot, but his policies were. Those policies were soundly repudiated by voters.

Will the President be able to cut through the fog today to see a way to govern in the last two years of his Administration without a Democratic Senate to play defense?

Will Republican lawmakers in Congress understand that the electorate was also telling them it was tired of obstruction and an aura of "do nothing"?

In the Republican primary elections, voters clearly rejected the more stubborn candidates offered by the Tea Party for the more moderate, establishment-appoved candidates to face statewide balloting. This was a clear signal that Americans wanted senators and representatives to find working solutions to the issues and concerns which faced the country.

Now comes the hard part.

The President must learn to communicate and work with a Legislative Branch controlled by the opposition.

The GOP-held Congress must find a way to come to a meeting of minds with the President for the good of the people.

Time for grandstanding to cease.

Time to govern.

If Republicans do not govern and govern wisely, the Grand Old Party will find itself back in the wilderness come the 2016 presidential election.

If the President does not find a way to compromise with the Republican Congress, his legacy will be reduced to being "the Warring President".

From the Cornfield, will voters once more be disappointed?

Will the President and the Congress correctly read the message from voters?

Vote - Make Your Voice Heard

by Mark  

No sunshine across the Cornfield today as voters head to the polls. Rain will dominate along with dark, gray clouds dot the sky.

Before he goes to work, Iohn and I will go three blocks to the community building to cast our votes. Though there is no outstanding issues or noteworthy races in the Hoosier State, we will take advantage of our right to make our voices heard. In so doing, we retain the right to both criticize and boast over the next two years.

With today's Midterm Elections across the nation, it signals the start of the 2016 presidential race. Expect to hear in the next month or two, if not sooner, from would-be-presidents declaring their candidacies. Probably the first to announce will be the junior Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul.

As usual the squeakiest wheels are from both the far left and the far right. Will extreme liberals and ultra conservatives determine the outcome or will those more toward the center be the deciding voters?

There is nothing wrong with being a liberal if you apply common sense. There is nothing wrong with being a conservative as long as you utilize common sense. The same goes for moderates.

There are examples of the detriment of both fringes. Kansas shows the devastation on the people of ultra conservatism. Detroit is a study in how extreme liberalism can lead to demise and destruction.

The most skillful governors, legislators, mayors, council members and commissioners understand that to govern effectively, you must govern from the center, not too far right nor too far left.

This is why every vote counts.

Get out and vote today.

From the Cornfield, are you listening 2016 presidential hopefuls?

Healthcare Workers at Grave Risk from Ebola Virus

by Mark  


As I have watched, listened, read and researched while the Ebola virus has claimed victim after victim, primarily in West Aftica, I have become increasingly concerned over the grave risk healthcare workers face in treating those infected with the fatal disease.

With the second nurse in the US of A this week infected with the Ebola virus after treating Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week in Dallas, the concern is hitting much closer to home.

How many more nurses and staff or even non-medical personnel in Dallas will become infected?

While healthare workers daily face risk with a myriad of illnesses and diseases - the confusion, the uncertainty, the untried protocols in dealing with Ebola virus - seem to be upping that risk by a wide margin. In most cases of infectious dieseases, there is a defined treatment or even a vaccine.

With Ebola virus, though the disease was discovered over 40 years ago, we are still in the dark.

I am not the only noticing the unprecedented exposure and infection to those Bartons and Nightingales treating Ebola patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted:

"The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died."

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/25-august-2014/en/

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has become the focal point of the disarray in which our medical authorities appear to be. At times it is like watching an old film reel of the "Keystone Cops".

We seem to know so little.

Several nurses' associations are blaming the lack of training and equipment. Nurses are saying they aren't being told proper ways to cover up and prevent infection. Nurses are complaining that hospitals do not yet have protocols in place in the majority of the nation to treat Ebola patients.

Yet, I wonder.

How much would it really help?

Look at the number of healthcare workers in West Africa who are being infected and dying from Ebola.

Three healthcare providers from the US came back from Liberia infected with Ebola. Thankfully, all three have recovered and survived.

These American aid workers would have been better equiped than their African counterparts. Yet, still, these three American medical professionals were infected with Ebola.

What is the answer?

I do not claim to have a solution. But I do know there are those brilliant souls in medicine or other sciences who can develop the proper protocol or design the life-saving uniform.

From the Cornfield, how can average people feel safe, secure and trusting the doctors telling us there is little risk and chance of an outbreak in the US of A, when healthcare workers can't be better protected from infection?

More information:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Lukewarm Response Nauseating

by Mark  


President Barack Obama met with the military heads of 22 countries today.

What was accomplished?

A continuation of the tepid response and action currently ongoing to the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is stomach churning, but not much else.

It is time for decisive and strong leadership by the President. His current military policy in dealing with the terrorists wanting to return to centuries long gone does nothing but to allow him, the US and coalition partners to say, "At least we tried."

Mr. President, either unleash the hounds and let them do what needs to be done or pull back completely to our own shores, hoping the fires now raging will burn themselves out. The current course is futile and profits nothing.

Either we go in full force and wipe this scourge from the Earth or we bring all our troops and forces home, prepare for the attacks that will come.

I've asked before, "Did We Learn Anything from Viet Nam?"

From what I have been watching play out for the last year, the answer is apparently not.

Let the military do its job or bring them home to defend the homeland, letting centuries' old conflicts resolve without us.

Why put our brave men and women in harm's way unless willing to do what needs to be done to eliminate the threat?

From the Cornfield, watching this minor league display on the world stage has me ready to head for the doors and demand my money back.

I am not advocating war or loss of American lives. I am advocating that we must do or get out of the theater.

To use more blunt language, Mr. President, either crap or get off the pot.

Inaction Expands Equality Map

by Mark  

On Monday, October 6, the US Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from the states of Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah on rulings from the 4th, 7th and 10th District Courts of Appeals which had ruled bans on equaliy in those states unconstitutional.

The inaction of the Supremes resulted in equality being the law of the land in those five states. That increased the number of states where same-gender couples are granted the same rights and benefits of opposite-gender couples from 20 to 25 plus the District of Columbia.

The map is expected to expand to 35 of the 50 states after a ruling by the 9th District Court on Tuesday which overturned bans in Nevada and Idaho. However, the waters were muddied after swing Justice Anthony Kennedy granted a stay to the State of Idaho pending its appeal of the decision.

Question is whether Kennedy may have granted the stay to goad the other Justices to take on the issue of equality. Is Kennedy expecting the conservative 6th District Court to rule for the States of Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky who have appealed adverse rulings on those states' bans on equality?

If the 6th District judges rule for the states against equality advocates, it would be a break in the trend where every other Appeals Court, thus far, have deeemed those bans unconstitutional. This would set up a reason for the Supremes to intervene and decide the issue for all 50 states.

Monday's inaction means that bans in the 4th District in the States of West Virginia, North and South Carolina will fall in the coming days. It also means that bans in the 10th District in the States of Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming would also be overturned.

In the 7th District, all three states (Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) are now on the equality map. Illinois began recognizing same-gender couples without court action in June of this year.

A ruling from the 6th District Court is expected almost any day now. Should the Court uphold the rulings of the district judges that ruled equality bans unconstitutional, that could expand the map to 38. In addition to Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, that district includes the State of Tennessee.

For my life partner, Iohn, and me, the refusal to hear Indiana's appeal, thus making equality the rule in the Cornfield, it is a great day.

We are now discussing how soon we will make honest men of each other. There is no longer an urgency to make the move to legal recognition before the window closes. We can now take our time and plan a nice reccognition ceremony of our commitment to  one another.

From the Cornfield, the march toward equality continues. There is still a ways to go, but the outcome appears to be certain barring the unlikely adverse ruling by the Supremes if or when the Justices decide to finalize the issue for the entire nation.

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