in response to the embassy attacks…

To the members of the Muslim community who saw fit to attack the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya —

This is what you were protesting:

This god-awful, piss-poor, wretched excuse for film-making.  That is what compelled you to protest.  Granted, I think it warrants protest as well, but in my case it’s because, as a struggling artist, I consider it a crime against nature that any money, time, or energy was actually expended creating such a pathetic and worthless pile of cinematic horse-shit.  Speaking only for myself, if I’m going to bother protesting a film, I’m going to at least make sure it’s well-made.

Now, I realize that the quality of the material is irrelevant to you.  What matters is that your prophet was depicted (and pretty pejoratively, fair enough), which is against your religion.  Fine.  But here’s the thing — your reaction is wholly, in every way possible, without justification.  Because whether you like it or not, you are now a part of the modern world.  And there are consequences, as you’ve probably noticed, to being a part of the modern world:

1.)  Your religious beliefs are fair game.  Any beliefs, for that matter.  Fair game.  For anyone.  The president and secretary of state have made nice statements about how we “reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” but the fact of the matter is we do it all the time.  And again, it’s not just religious beliefs.  We reserve the right to mock, belittle, impugn, and just plain laugh at anyone’s opinions, beliefs, and worldviews that may or may not agree with our own.  It’s called freedom of speech.  While you may still try to infringe upon that right in your neck of the woods, we in the United States will treasure, defend, and exercise it to the very end, so you should probably get used to that.  Religion has its own protections, of course.  We are equally (if not more) devoted to our freedom of religion.  And that leads me to my second point.

2.)  Freedom of religion means freedom of belief, as well as the free exercise thereof.  Your exercise.  Not anyone else’s.  You do not get to force individuals of other faith communities (or no faith community at all) to abide by your religious precepts, and you certainly don’t get to exact punishment on them if they don’t.  Don’t worry, I get what’s going on.  We have religious zealots here in the United States who don’t understand that distinction either.  And, every now and then, they engage in their own violence and blow up an abortion clinic or two.  But would you like to guess how much additional respect they earn for their religious beliefs by engaging in the violence?  Absolutely zero.  In fact, they become that much more marginalized, ridiculed, and dismissed as being unfit for society (in addition to being criminals, of course).  Because we recognize in a liberal, democratic society that no amount of moral offense is a justification for violence.  Furthermore, we acknowledge that we have our own individual responsibility to avoid and shield ourselves from things likely to offend us.  My mother does not visit seancody.com.  I do not read Focus on the Family newsletters.

There’s a popular meme that surfaces every now and then on Facebook that follows the general rhetorical setup of “Against gay marriage?  Don’t get one… Against abortion?  Don’t have one…” and so on and so forth.  Perhaps we should add to the list “Against crappy movies that portray a religious figure in a negative way?  DON’T WATCH THE GOD-DAMN MOVIE”

As a final thought, please consider this:  even as derogatory as the portrayal of Mohammed is in that film, I can pretty much guarantee you that not a single American’s view of Islam was going to be influenced by it.  Why?  Because the film sucks.  And if any American was influenced by that film, my guess is that their own worldview is so warped they probably watched it while preparing a homemade bomb for their neighborhood abortion clinic (see how I brought it full circle there?).

But do you know what does have a very real, immediate, and lasting impact on the world’s perception of your religion and those who practice it?  Your decision to react to every perceived threat to the holiness of your faith with violence.  Every time you react in this way, you justify the prejudices of everyone in this world who views your culture as immature, volatile, downright medieval, and not worthy of being treated as an equal partner on the world stage.

And while you may not care much now about how esteemed you are in the non-Islamic world, you might stop and think of what that will mean for you the next time an American president decides he needs to invade your country for oil.

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religious freedom and the job market…

I recently had a short exchange with a Facebook friend 0ver a Washington Post column — “HHS Mandate: An Attack On All People of Faith” — that she had shared on her page.

While I found my friend’s defense of the column troubling (and I’ll get to that in just a moment), the piece itself — authored by Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, of theNational Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — is rife with problems.

Take, for instance, their explanation of what conditions religious organizations must meet to be exempt from the contraception coverage mandate —

In order to pass the strict guidelines of the exemption, our services as religious institutions must be provided primarily to people of our faith, and we must primarily employ people of our faith to perform these services. Most religious organizations, including hospitals, social services organizations, publishing houses, schools and more, will fail to meet the required provisions and will thus be subject to this mandate.For the first time in our country’s history, we will have to impose religious tests on those we employ and those we help, in order to maintain our status as exempt religious employers.

It is interesting to me that Harrison and Rodriguez focus on just these two criteria for religious exemption, and that they do so in order to suggest that the criteria place an undue burden on the types of religious organizations they mention.  This is misleading.  According to the final rules,

…for purposes of this exemption, a religious employer is one that:  (1) Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profit organization described in section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033 (a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the [Internal Revenue] Code… [these sections refer] to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.

Taking a look at the four criteria as a whole, it becomes clear that any organization meeting the first and last are almost certainly going to meet the remaining two (the converse being true, as well).  In other words, the criteria seem to operate on the assumption — and a pretty solid one, I would argue — that a house of worship for a particular faith community is going to employ and primarily serve fellow members of that faith community.  Meeting the two criteria Harrison and Rodriguez cite would, then, be a natural consequence of meeting the two criteria they duly ignore.  Thus, their concern that they will have to execute a “religious test” is not only completely unfounded, but intellectually dishonest.

After attempting this argument, Harrison and Rodriguez then present the reader with the following awful prospect:

A multitude of religious organizations will be forced to carefully consider if they can in good conscience continue to provide services because they cannot and will not go against their fundamental convictions to provide service to all regardless of whether those served share their beliefs… Nursing homes, hospices, counseling and rehabilitation centers, after-school programs, food and shelter efforts for the poor, homes of refuge for victims of violence and abuse, hospitals, schools, thrift stores and more would no longer be able to contribute to our society. The care provided by these organizations, which are currently operating out of faith communities in every state, city and town, provides a vital web of life-sustaining support for people in need.

This, too, is grossly misleading, and in a far more insidious way.  They go to great length to portray religious institutions as having a terrible choice thrust upon them — do we continue in our noble mission to serve all who come to us, regardless of their faith; or do we restrict those whom we serve so that we may retain a religious exemption?  But this is a manufactured dilemma.  The Obama administration has made perfectly clear that even non-exempt religious organizations will not be subject to the contraception coverage mandate, and that, instead, the employees will be offered this coverage directly by the insurance issuer.

And yet, religious organizations (the Catholic Church, in particular) have rejected this compromise as being not good enough.  Perhaps it’s because Catholic hospitals and universities don’t even want the insurance issuer they contract with offering contraception coverage, even if said coverage is not provided by the specific plans they contribute to.  But surely this begs the question:  just how many degrees of separation are we supposed to establish before the Catholic Church is satisfied that its religious liberty is sufficiently unmolested?

*****

Now, after reading this piece, I commented on my friend’s page:

[O]ne question I am still trying to wrap my head around is why it is more important that a Catholic employer be able to refuse coverage of a certain service than it is that a non-Catholic employee have access to that service. In other words, is it necessary, and just, that a non-Catholic seeking employment at a church-affiliated business would have to waive their equal protection under the law (in this case, access to health services) in order to be given a job?

She replied:

That person knows the beliefs of the Organization for which they are intending to work, if they don’t agree with those beliefs they have the freedom to seek employment elsewhere. These are not life or death issues. This is contraception, which is a moral choice, and, not that expensive if the cost has to be born on their own.

There are a couple of major problems with this argument, not least of which are the legal implications.  What my friend is essentially advocating is a de facto “non-[insert faith here]s need not apply” sign outside any religiously affiliated organization, which would be a blatant violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  While religious liberty in hiring practices recently received a vigorous defense from the Supreme Court, the right of an organization to hire according to religion is still quite narrowly defined.

The most obvious qualification, of course, is that the nature of the organization’s work must be religious, not secular.  Granted, this is not always a cut-and-dried distinction to make, but I wholeheartedly disagree with those who would argue that Catholic hospitals and universities are engaging in primarily religious activities.  While I accept that, for instance, Catholic hospitals are founded in order to put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ, it does not follow in any way that one must be an adherent to those teachings to be an effective employee in that hospital.  One need not feel motivated by the Sermon on the Mount in order to be a good and caring nurse.

Beyond the legal ramifications of the attitude expressed in my friend’s comment, there is the troubling fact that it is rooted in hypocrisy.  It says that, on the one hand, an individual who makes the choice to seek employment at a religiously-affiliated institution must submit to that institution’s creed (whether or not the creed is necessary to fulfilling the job) or else seek employment elsewhere; whereas, on the other hand, a religious institution that makes the choice to engage in the wider world of secular activities (all those services listed by Harrison and Rodriguez above, and more) should not have to submit to the rules and regulations governing those activities.

That is not an arrangement I accept.

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in which i make a stir…

I seem to have touched off quite a mini-storm on the Occupy Wall Street forum — you can read my post and the fascinating responses here.

Here’s what has happened:

I have stopped paying my credit card bills.  All of them.  Just stopped paying them.

This wasn’t initially my plan.  I mean, yes, I sort of threw up the idea for argument’s sake over the summer.  But I never took the idea too seriously.  I’d been thinking for some time about how to tackle my credit card debt more aggressively (transferring them to a zero-interest card, taking a debt consolidation loan, &c) because, frankly, I simply don’t make that much and, being self-employed, my income is incredibly variable.  Thus, throwing four to five hundred dollars a month at balances that simply refused to go down —  due to obscenely high interest rates and my inability to make more than the minimum payment — was quickly becoming unsustainable, and just plain stupid.  My intention was still to pay down the debt I had accrued, just hopefully on better terms.

Occupy Wall Street changed all that.  It became clear that it was time — past time — to start thinking more creatively about how to reclaim my — our — financial future.  So I decided, after much discussion and with the support of my spouse, to deliberately default on my credit cards and let the chips fall where they may.

I should reiterate, I did not take this course lightly.  Taking into account the impact on my credit rating, our ability to borrow in the future, and the sheer aggravation of collections calls, we still decided it was the best way to go.  If my goal had simply been greater financial flexibility, I probably wouldn’t have come to that conclusion.  I can’t deny that the extra four hundred a month has made it easier to meet our household expenses, and I don’t regret having the ability to put money into the local economy.

But it’s about more than the money.  It’s about protesting a fundamentally unjust system that I, and millions of other Americans, have become completely fed up with.

As I have argued on many, many occasions, it is simply absurd that American taxpayers essentially fronted seven-hundred billion dollars to the banking industry so that it could clear its books of bad assets while at the same time those same taxpayers have been left on their own.  Banks have been all but washed clean of their reckless behavior, but individual Americans are expected to nobly suffer the consequences of their own.

When I say that, am I implying that individuals engaging in reckless behavior should face no negative repercussions?  Quite the opposite.  What I am saying is that is absolutely intolerable that we must watch while the industry that drove our country to near-ruin has not borne its share of the punishment.  And if they are getting off scot-free, then why, in any sort of just world, are Americans not offered at least some shot at redemption?

We live in a two-tiered world, where a class of people (by which I mean corporations, who are considered people in the eyes of the law) are able to engage in practices so risky as to bring the economy to a screeching halt, and then essentially be rewarded for those practices with bailouts, while the rest of us are left no option but to suffer not only for our mistakes, but for theirs as well.

I have argued in the past, and will continue to argue, that across-the-board debt relief is the surest route to economic recovery.  Unleashing the consumer potential of the American middle class is an option that remains untapped.  And why?  Because there is simply no political will to force the banking industry to take a loss.  No political will to do this, in spite of the fact that, to put it bluntly, the banks owe us one.

There is a way to do this — simply, orderly, and responsibly.  I would much prefer to do it that way.  But in the absence of any assistance offered to individual Americans like myself, I am declaring my own debt-relief program.

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the richest man in town…

I realize that it’s likely the height of sacrilege to be writing a political post on Christmas Eve.  But I’ve just had an unexpectedly unsettling reaction to that most wholesome and uplifting all-American yuletide film, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

You see, when I watched it as a young child, I understood the whole I-wish-I-was-never-born conceit, and how it was foolish to wish that, and how we all touch innumerable peoples’ lives in ways we can never possibly know. But, being a young child, I never quite got why George Bailey was all suicidal in the first place (it might also be because I’ve only ever watched it on Christmas Eve, in bits and pieces, amidst the madness of Christmas-present-wrapping, and Christmas-treat-baking, and so on…).

At any rate, I began to see a whole new side of the film tonight — one that had probably registered before, but never with such disturbing clarity.

We all know that George is the hero, and Mr. Potter the villain.  This is because George lives a life of quiet dignity, silently sacrificing his dwindling hopes and dreams for a life outside of Bedford Falls in order to fulfill the duties and responsibilities life has placed on him.  While, by contrast, Mr. Potter enjoys a life of great, though presumably miserable, wealth, putting business, profit, and greed above all else.

What I realized tonight, and what I found so unsettling, is that this movie could never be made today.  No, the Mr. Potter’s of our time are the heroes — revered as “job creators,” their immense wealth protected from progressive taxation by politicians who decry all taxes as “legalized robbery.”  The rest of us, the residents of Bailey Park, are lazy, entitled, socialist-commies just looking for a hand-out.

Now, the reason the film is so uplifting, of course, is that despite Potter’s incredibly criminal act of holding onto the Savings & Loan money Uncle Billy was to have deposited, George’s friends come through with more than enough cash and credit to make up for it.  Lesson learned:  if you’re a good person, and treat everyone with kindness and generosity, you will be taken care of in your time of need.  All of us in Bailey Park, we’re like family.  And we look after our family.

That’s all well and good.  But what about justice?

Left inexplicably unresolved at the end of the film is the fact that Potter is still holding onto the eight thousand dollars that rightfully belongs to the Bailey Savings & Loan.  As far as we know, that fact never even comes to light.  We’re simply left basking in the glow of family and friends singing “Auld Lang Syne”.  Good, decent, hard-working people, who’ve got each others’ backs, pooling their resources to help a friend in trouble is beautiful and inspiring, sure.  But, to be perfectly Frank (Capra… get it?), it’s ultimately a distraction from the fact that Mr. Potter has committed a serious crime (the very kind of fraud he was all set to accuse George Bailey of!) and, to our knowledge, is never held to account.

Okay, I promise I’m not getting this worked up over a work of fiction.  I’m getting this worked up because this story is, in many ways, our reality.  The vast majority of us have paid for this recession — in jobs lost, homes foreclosed, and opportunities diminished.  But we have yet to see a single major figure from the world of finance brought to justice for the gross mishandling of mortgages that led directly to this situation in the first place.  At the very least, chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are facing serious charges from the SEC.  But that bit of news just makes me think of that old joke about a lawyer at the bottom of the ocean — it’s a good start.

I guess, ultimately, I just want our story to be one where we can happily sing Christmas hymns and still throw Mr. Potter in jail.  Something along the lines of what Saturday Night Live so insightfully suggested here —

http://www.hulu.com/embed/Sw1TLtPVU6mgQT5aI1fIKQ

Joy to the world, with liberty and justice for all.

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occupying wall street…

I’ve been watching the growing Occupy Wall Street movement with a growing feeling of excitement.  Finally — FINALLY! — as Paul Krugman put it, a significant number of Americans is expressing anger “at the right people.”

Granted, at the moment, the voice of the Occupiers remains muddled, chaotically varied, and at times even contradictory.  Nevertheless, I have my own views that I’d like to put out into the cosmos.

I can’t possibly speak for an entire movement.  Certainly not a movement as organic and evolving as Occupy Wall Street.  But what I can do is explain why I support it, and why I hope it succeeds.

For me, the source of the anger is very simple to undersatnd:  three years ago, we spent seven-hundred billion dollars in the first of many rescue packages that were put forward to save the financial industry and allow them to return to normal function.  And those efforts have been wildly successful.  Banks report record profits.  TARP funds have been repaid, with interest.  At the same time, no similar effort has been made on behalf of individual Americans.  Nothing done to help them return to normal economic function, save for a half-assed mortgage assistance program that has been, at best, an abysmal failure.

If the Occupiers are after anything — to the extent I can accurately generalize — it’s a similar commitment on the part of our government to help individuals recover from the recession.  Saving the financial sector didn’t help.  The president’s first stimulus bill — because it was too small, and because it relied more on tax cuts than direct hiring programs — didn’t help.  Solutions — the kind of innovative, imaginative, out-of-the-box ideas that would have freed the American public to fuel the economy — have been wholly, conspicuously, and painfully absent.

What might some of these solutions be?

For starters, and most importantly:  across-the-board debt relief.  We gave the banking industry billions of dollars so that they could wipe bad assets from their balance sheets.  Nothing even remotely similar has been offered to the American people.  Only the most rigidly right-wing thinkers still deny that the path forward is made the most clear by increasing aggregate demand.  But that increase will never come as long as Americans are using this time of economic contraction to spend their diminishing dollars paying down mountains of debt.

For a moment, let’s leave aside arguments regarding the responsibility, or lack thereof, of having taken on the debt in the first place.   Because that argument is just disingenuous.  Irresponsibility abounded in the decades leading up to the 2007/8 crisis.  But the financial industry has been largely absolved of their sins, while average Americans continue to labor under the weight of decisions they — rightly or wrongly — made before the recession.

The question, then, is this:  why is right and just to use taxpayer money to relieve the burdens of the industry that contributed so significantly to our current crisis, but not of the individual Americans still suffering from that crisis’s fallout?

That is a question no conservative — certainly no Tea Partier — has, to my knowledge, been able to answer in any sort of acceptable way.

It is my great and sincere hope that this movement manages to grow, and mature, and develop into an effective machinery to effect real political action.  In the meantime, it has my sympathy and my support.

We are the 99%.

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storming the barricades…

Around the middle of the fourteenth century, French peasants, angered by the corruption and all-around uselessness of their country’s ruling class, erupted in violent revolt.  In one especially infamous incident, an angry mob roasted a knight on a spit, in full view of his wife and children, then proceeded to force-feed them the flesh of their husband and father, respectively.  After which, of course, a dozen or so of the mob’s men took turns raping the new widow then submitted her and her children to their own torturous deaths.

Now that’s class warfare.

Clearly, Congressional Republicans set the bar much lower, at least judging by the repeated accusations flung at the president in response to his plan to get Americans back to work and the federal budget back to black.  From their alarmed protests, one could almost be led to believe that President Obama went forth from the Rose Garden Monday leading a charge on the Hamptons, pitchfork in hand.

But when cooler minds take a look at the president’s plan, what they find instead of raw, red-meat populism is a reasoned, rational, comprehensive approach to righting the country’s fiscal course.  Indeed, what the president has managed to deliver is what economists across the political spectrum have been calling for all summer:  short-term stimulus (in this case, the American Jobs Act) coupled with a long-term deficit-reduction strategy.

You can almost hear the screaming hordes, lustily demanding agricultural subsidy reform and radio spectrum auctions.

But of course, sensible minor reforms like these aren’t the holdup in the plan.  What really has Republicans stoked – and their wealthy supporters along with them – is that the president’s vision of tax reform actually includes making them pay a little more.  It is truly shameful, they claim, to correct the federal budget’s imbalance by asking a greater sacrifice from the one segment of our society that has sailed through the Great Recession practically unharmed.

At best, one could possibly argue that, by proposing to increase taxes on the wealthy, the president is merely stoking class resentment in a desperate attempt to improve his reelection chances.  But arguing this ignores two facts.

First, the president didn’t create this resentment.  But he is – at last – acknowledging it.  Americans aren’t stupid, and they’ve known for a long time that their incomes have stagnated, if not altogether disappeared, while the rich have continued to get richer.  And they don’t approve.

In a study by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely conducted in 2005, and published earlier this year, it was shown that while Americans assume wealth distribution to be more equal than it really is, their ideal distribution is even more equal still.  In fact, the study’s participants preferred evil, socialist Sweden to the US in a blind side-by-side comparison.

But second, and more relevant to the petty politics of the moment, is the fact that accusing the president of waging class warfare would be a rather (amusing-if-it-weren’t-so-tragically) hypocritical charge on the part of Republicans.

They are the party, after all, who held the middle-class hostage last December in their battle to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the richest among us – and the entire country hostage this summer, repeatedly walking out of debt-ceiling negotiations over any mention of raising taxes at the top.

And it was during those very negotiations that Senator Cornyn declared on the floor of the Senate that 51 percent of American households didn’t pay any income tax in 2009, saying “to show how out of whack things have gotten, 30 percent of American households actually made money from the tax system by way of refundable tax credits.”

Now that’s injustice.

Right?

The fact is, those of us in the bottom ninety-percent have already paid dearly for this recession – in jobs and wages lost; in tax dollars bailing out a financial industry that is now turning record profits; and in facing down a future that is less secure, and less promising, than before.  If the top ten want to complain about raising their marginal rates and taking away their estate tax protections, let them.  Then raise their taxes anyway.

And to Senator Cornyn:  I was one of those Americans who paid no income tax for 2009.  The reason being my adjusted gross income was just over $3000.  In fact, I received a small refund due to the Making Work Pay and Earned Income Credits – money you can be sure I put right back into the local economy.

If, however, you feel that some of those hard-earned dollars should have gone to the government rather than stayed in my pocket, feel free to suggest a ballpark figure.  I’ll be happy to write a check.

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campaign stupidity, and immigration policy…

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I have a penchant for writing public officials on issues that matter to me.  Below is my — what I’m sure will be inconsequential — email to the Obama for America 2012 campaign.

It turns out, on August 1, an email was sent to Obama supporters in New Mexico — by OFA New Mexico’s state director, Ray Sandoval — which encouraged them to read a blog post stridently defending the debt ceiling compromise.  It also turns out that –in an act of such political brilliance you can’t possibly shield your eyes from its glory — the blog post ridicules the Nobel-laureate economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as a “political rookie”, as well as calls to task the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.”  You can read the original HuffingtonPost reporting here.

Now, not to make this personal, but some of mine and my husband’s most intense arguments are inevitably waged over the subject of the president’s liberal credentials and his commitment (or, rather, lack thereof) to progressive causes.  Personally, I tend to come down on the pragmatic side.  I count myself among those who are not suffering from buyer’s remorse — thank you very much — and feel like I got exactly the president I voted for.  That does not for a second mean I don’t have any complaints whatsoever with the man’s job performance.  But I continue to believe that he is doing the best he can under incredibly trying circumstances, and that a little disappointment is par for the course in politics as messy (downright ugly, really) as ours.

That being the case, I don’t exactly appreciate it when an individual who acts as the face of the president’s re-election for an entire state is so incredibly tone-deaf and obtuse as to “hippie punch” (which I’ve learned is the current expression for liberal-bashing) in this way.  So, naturally, I make my non-appreciation known in writing:

To whom it may concern,

I am a proud and steadfast supporter of the president and his re-election. And it is out of my feelings of support that I offer my two cents: the campaign would be well-advised to dismiss Ray Sandoval as soon as possible.

I don’t consider myself “far left,” and I share the frustration of many in the president’s administration with the constant stream of criticism from that end of the political spectrum. But it is one thing to concede that you’ll never satisfy your most liberal base — it is entirely another to actively bash them.

I appreciate Katie Hogan’s statement that the views expressed in Mr Sandoval’s email do not represent the views of the campaign. But as long as Mr Sandoval is a part of OFA, he represents the campaign, and, by extension, the president. And that is a matter of fact whether he is a canvassing volunteer or the national campaign manager. It is certainly within Mr Sandoval’s responsibilities to defend the president and his record against criticism. But surely he understands that the president is best served when actions on behalf of his campaign are executed with good sense, reasonableness, and dignity.

The campaign must reflect the values and character of its candidate. I assume OFA knows this, which leaves you with a choice: either Mr Sandoval is dismissed; or his actions, in fact, do represent the president and his views. If the latter is indeed true, then even a political rookie can tell you the president is in for a rough re-election.

I appreciate your time and attention,

Eric Anderson, Jr

*****

In other news — and on another subject that led to a heated argument with my husband — the Obama administration announced today a new policy regarding immigrant deportation.  I haven’t had a chance yet to delve too deeply into it, but it’s at least initially encouraging.

Essentially, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will exercise broader discretion in determining “low-priority” cases.  In other words, cases that don’t ultimately have an impact on national security.

The majority of responses to the new policy had to do with the DREAM Act and renewed hope for its passage.  But I was celebrating the new policy for another reason — the very good chance that Anthony John Makk may not face deportation after all.  And that would be a wonderful thing.

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