Fox & Friends hosted William Gheen, president of the anti-immigrant Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), to attack the DREAM Act. Gheen not only rehashed falsehoods about the bill, but also levied several absurd claims, such as that the bill would "displace and replace" millions of American citizens and that its passage would mean that Americans can "kiss the borders of the United States goodbye." Gheen and ALIPAC have a long history of extreme nativist rhetoric and have been linked to white supremacist groups.
During the November 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts brought on Gheen to discuss the DREAM Act, a bill currently pending in the House and Senate that would grant legal status to some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Gheen and Doocy agree: "[T]ens of millions of...illegals in the country" could become citizens if the DREAM Act passes. Introducing the segment, co-host Steve Doocy said, "You are talking about tens of millions of Americans if this thing passes -- or, illegals in the country as Americans." Gheen echoed the number, repeatedly referencing "millions" and "tens of millions" of illegal immigrants who could be "turned into citizens" by passage of the bill. [Fox & Friends, 11/30/2010]
Doocy claims students' "siblings" and "parents" would automatically be eligible for citizenship under the bill. Doocy led the segment by asking, "But, if [the bill] passes, will it open the door to...all sorts of illegal immigrants?" Doocy introduced Gheen and then said, "In reading the materials today, I didn't realize that not only would the students be able to become legal citizens, buy then they could have their siblings come in, their parents, you are talking about tens of millions...of illegals in the country as Americans" if the bill passes. [Fox & Friends, 11/30/2010]
DREAM Act beneficiaries could not automatically become citizens. As Media Matters for America has previously documented, the DREAM Act legislation pending in both the House and Senate would allow eligible undocumented immigrants to obtain "conditional permanent resident status," which would be "valid for a period of six years" and subject to termination should the individual violate the requirements. To apply for this conditional status, an undocumented immigrant must have been under 16 years of age when they came to the U.S., must have "good moral character," and must have earned a high school diploma/GED or have been admitted to an institution of higher education:
MPI: Applicants can become permanent residents after meeting several criteria. According to a July report issued by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI), this status would only become permanent after applicants "successfully complete at least two years of post-secondary education or military service and if they maintain good moral character during that time period." Those granted permanent legal status would then need to apply for naturalization if they wished to become citizens. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, these requirements include being a permanent resident for at least five years and being able to read, write, and speak English. [Migration Policy Institute, July 2010]
While slightly more than 2.1 million youth and young adults could be eligible to apply for legal status under the legislation, historical trends indicate that far fewer are likely to actually gain permanent (or even conditional) status, due primarily to the bill's education attainment requirements. We estimate that roughly 38 percent of potential beneficiaries -- 825,000 people -- would likely obtain permanent legal status through the DREAM Act's education and military routes while as many as 62 percent would likely fail to do so. [Migration Policy Institute, July 2010]
Around 800,000 students could ultimately benefit under the DREAM Act, and even if those students jump through numerous hoops and become U.S. citizens, they can never sponsor distant family members--such as uncles and cousins. Immigration law doesn't allow it.
Most of the parents of DREAM Act beneficiaries will also be ineligible to adjust their immigration status. Students who fulfill all of the requirements prescribed in the DREAM Act may eventually (after years) apply to become U.S. citizens. If they meet the requirements and become citizens, like other U.S. citizens, they can petition for their parents when they turn 21. However, if their parents originally entered the country without being inspected by an immigration officer, they will not be eligible to get relief. While parents who entered without inspection may apply for an immigrant visa at a consulate abroad, they will likely be barred from entering the U.S. for ten years if they have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for over six months. [National Immigration Law Center, November 2010]
Gheen uses extreme rhetoric, calling the bill "a political teddy bear with a hand grenade in it." At the beginning of the segment, Gheen said, "The DREAM Act amnesty, or nightmare act amnesty, is a political teddy bear with a hand grenade in it." [Fox & Friends, 11/30/2010]
Gheen nonsensically rants that "tens of millions" of American "workers," "voters," and "the political influence of...Fox network viewers" will be "displaced and replaced." During the segment, Gheen repeatedly claimed that the bill would "displace and replace" American "students," "workers," and "voters." He also said that passage of the bill would "nullif[y]" "the Tea Party movement" and would result in the "displaced and replaced" "political influence of Fox network viewers." From the segment:
GHEEN: If these illegal aliens, millions of them are turned into citizens, what it's going to do, it's going to displace and replace millions of innocent American college students, it's going to displace and replace tens of millions of American workers. It's going to displace and replace eventually, as you said, tens of millions of American voters. If the DREAM Act amnesty passes, they're on the same format to try to pass it as they did the health care bill about a year ago, over the Christmas holiday. You can count on the Tea Party movement being nullified. The political influence of most of the Fox network viewers being replaced and displaced and replaced, or any of the millions of Americans like me that favor the enforcement of our existing immigration and border laws instead of any form of amnesty, all of us are going to be displaced and replaced. [Fox & Friends, 11/30/2010]
Gheen bizarrely links DREAM Act to the health care bill. During the segment, Gheen asserted, "If the DREAM Act amnesty passes, they're on the same format to try to pass it as they did the health care bill, about a year ago, over the Christmas holiday." The final vote on the final health care bill in the Senate, H.R. 3590, took place on December 24, 2009.
Gheen claims that if the bill passes, "you can kiss the borders of the United States good-bye" and that Americans will "lose the country." At the end of the segment, Gheen referred to outgoing members of Congress who support the DREAM Act and said:
They're trying to punch holes in the bottom of the boat on their way out the door and if they succeed, you can kiss the borders of the United States good-bye. We have to get Americans to understand the threat is very real and illegal aliens and their supporters are calling the U.S. Senate today, calling the U.S. Congress, playing the, you know, 'Oh all these poor innocent students, please give us what we want' routine. If Americans do not mobilize immediately, they're going to lose the country.[Fox & Friends, 11/30/2010]
ALIPAC is SPLC "nativist extremist group." The Southern Poverty Law Center featured ALIPAC on its 2009 list of " 'Nativist Extremist' groups."
Gheen attacked GOP Senator Lindsey Graham after he supported bipartisan efforts at immigration reform. In April 2010, Gheen launched personal attacks Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) after Graham worked on bipartisan efforts at comprehensive immigration reform.
McCain spokesperson called on primary opponent to "disavow" the support of "extreme" groups like ALIPAC.During the Arizona senatorial primary, Sen. John McCain's campaign called on his primary challenger J.D. Hayworth to disavow the endorsement of ALIPAC after the epithets "wetback" and "pepper bellies" appeared on the group's website.
Gheen referred to Mexicans who contend racism is driving U.S. immigration debate as "brown Nazis." In 2007, as a guest on talk radio host Peter Boyles' show, Gheen responded to criticism of Mexico's former President Vicente Fox, who reportedly said the U.S. allows racism to shape immigration policy, by labeling Mexicans who make such arguments as "brown Nazis."
Gheen accused Media Matters, La Raza, and others of lying "by trying to claim that illegal aliens do not pose crime risk...[or] disease risk." In a 2008 post on the conservative Christian site OneNewsNow.com, Gheen said Media Matters for America, La Raza, and the Hispanic Caucus were among groups "lying to claim that illegal aliens do not pose crime risk. They are lying by trying to say that illegal aliens do not pose disease risk. They are lying by trying to say that there's no significant anti-American or separatist movement within the ranks of the illegals..."
ALIPAC is tied to several white supremacist groups. According to the Anti-Defamation League, ALIPAC has been supported by white supremacist groups and members of those groups.
The Senate last week finally approved the multi-billion-dollar funding for the Pigford II and Cobell settlements, which will allow the government to pay out claims to African-American farmers and American Indians who were discriminated against in recent decades by government agencies. Now, the House -- which has passed the funding several times over -- will have to approve it, probably this week. The House, in fact, was voting on procedural motions surrounding the bill as this post was written.
That means the opponents are coming out of the woodwork.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who's been one of the most vocal opponents of the Pigford settlement for black farmers, has taken to cable news and the floor of the House to speak against the settlement. King's argument is that the bulk of the Pigford II claims are fraudulent because there are fewer black farmers than claimants -- a flimsy argument when you consider that many African-Americans lost their farms over the past few decades due, in part, to USDA discrimination that denied them loans -- which is the point of the settlement program.
On Monday night, he suggested that President Obama, as a senator, may have been prejudiced to help the black farmers.
"Figure this out, Madame Speaker: We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he's going to run for president, and what does he do?" King said. "He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim."
He then said the claims -- which stem from discrimination against black farmers in the 1980s and 1990s -- are "slavery reparations."
"We've got to stand up at some point and say, 'We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,'" he said. "That war's been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially. And there's no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one's filing that claim.
The Pigford claimants, he said, "They're just filing a claim because they think they can get away with it." Standing up against the settlements, while unpopular, he said, is "a matter of justice and equity."
King's anti-Pigford cohort, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), has also spoken out. She told the House that Pigford is "pure and complete fraud" and would be a "perfect" place to start cutting the federal budget.
Right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, who famously got USDA appointee and Pigford claimant Shirley Sherrod fired from her job earlier this year after posting a highly-edited video, has joined the fray, criticizing the settlement because it's funded, in part, from a surplus in the Women Infants Children food stamp program.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack insisted to reporters yesterday that no one will see a WIC benefits cut because of the settlement, saying there's been a "slight decrease" in the number of people receiving benefits and, therefore, a surplus.
Obama tasks Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew to negotiate with congressional leaders on how to resolve Bush tax cuts impasse.[...]
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Talk about a bad return on investment for taxpayers.
Was the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, Majid Shahriari, and the wounding of his colleague Fereydoon Abbasi, a case of "targeted non-proliferation?" Was it a case of taking out the brains behind the program instead of bombing its facilities? The Iranian government says yes, blaming the United States and Israel. The Israeli and U.S. governments deny involvement. We may never know who was behind the attacks, unless one of the participants comes clean at some point down the road.
Whatever the source, the attacks are not an auspicious lead up to next week's talks between Iran and the European Union regarding Iran's nuclear program. Making Ahmadinejad more paranoid than he already is can hardly help matters. In any case, even paranoids sometimes have enemies, as suggested by the recent cables unveiled by Wikileaks.
The suggestion that prominent Arab leaders may now support an attack on Iran, at least as a last resort, will be seized upon by the "attack Iran" crowd as another reason to move forward on that ill-considered path. One of the sanest voices to be heard in all of this is U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is reported in the cables to have said that an attack on Iran "would only delay Iranian plans by one to three years, while unifying the Iranian people to be forever embittered against the attackers." So, the hawks should cool down, if they really care about curbing Iran's nuclear program and supporting the democratic aspirations of its people.
The people at PBS have a twisted sense of humor, pairing for a Wikileaks deep-dish discussion Zbigniew Brzezinski, who helped Jimmy Carter arm the Afghans we're now fighting, and Stephen Hadley, who put the claim about Iraq's nuclear material into Bush's 2003 State of the Union.
As experts on diplomatic disasters, they provide perspective on the leak, with Hadley nodding agreement to Brzezinski's wise-man surmise: "I wonder whether, in fact, there aren't some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments."
It starts the rest of us wondering not how all those foreign agents manipulated the soldier who dumped the documents but how America survived 12 years with Abbott and Costello in top White House positions.
To round the comedy turn into a Three Stooges routine, along comes reliable Sarah Palin to blame it all on Obama in a Facebook post, wondering how a ?22-year-old private first class could get unrestricted access to so much highly sensitive information? and ?copy and distribute these files without anyone noticing that security was compromised.?
Palin asks why the U.S. didn?t ?use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? and suppress the document spill:
"The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again...But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?"
Someone may get around to explaining the Constitution to Palin before she starts running for President in 2012, but until then, there's no urgency in keeping her from mouthing off. At least she's supplying her Fox boss, Rupert Murdoch, with material for his Wall Street Journal blogs and late night comics for their standups.
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Chris Matthews talked to the SPLC's Mark Potok and The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins about the recent designation of Perkin's FRC as a hate group for their anti-gay rhetoric.
From the SPLC's web site -- Active U.S. Hate Groups:
The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 932 active hate groups in the United States in 2009. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2009 are included.
All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.
This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.
Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.
Here's more from TPM -- Family Research Council Labeled 'Hate Group' By SPLC Over Anti-Gay Rhetoric:
The Family Research Council is perhaps the most prominent voice in conservative social politics and the hosts of an annual rite of passage for many Republicans who hope to run for president. And now, FRC is on the same Southern Poverty Law Center list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan.
The SPLC gave the Family Research Council the designation due to anti-gay speech from its leaders, which the SPLC says includes calls for gay men and lesbians to be imprisoned. Read on...
Perkins needless to say isn't happy about it. I say good for Mark Potok and the SPLC for putting these hate mongers in the type of company where they belong.
So the first post-election meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders from both parties has come and gone and everything is pretty much as it was beforehand. In a statement after the meeting, President Obama characterized it as the beginning of an ongoing dialogue and expressed his hope to be able to work to be able to work with both Democrats and Republicans to find a resolution on issues like tax cuts and the START treaty.
Of note: Obama said he had tapped OMB chief Jack Lew and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to work on tax cuts. Obama again repeated that his goal was to extend middle-class tax cuts and said he opposed extending tax cuts on income over $250,000 because it would add $700 billion to the national debt.
Meanwhile, Republicans continue to howl in protest over the prospect of limiting tax cuts to the first $250,000 of income. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post announcing their opposition to such a policy and Eric Cantor said it was a nonstarter on Bloomberg TV. In addition, House Republicans are making it clear that they really, really, really don't want to be forced to take a vote on the Democratic tax cut plan:
House Republicans said they were disturbed that Democrats might try to pass a portion of the Bush tax cuts under a House procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for passage – a move that would likely set up the tax vote for failure.
Speaking after a Republican Conference meeting Tuesday morning in the Capitol, Republicans said they would not be content with anything other than an extension of all tax cuts for all income brackets.
It's worth a reminder that when Republicans vote against this tax cut, they'll be voting against a tax cut that goes to every single taxpayer. The only difference between their proposal and the Democratic plan is that Republicans want to tack on an extra tax cut on income over $250,000 -- a tax cut that would go exclusively to the wealthiest Americans and would add $700 billion to our national debt.
No wonder Republicans don't want to have to vote on that. The only question is whether Democrats realize just how strong their negotiation position is.
Extended unemployment benefits are about to run out today. If al Qaeda really wanted to hit[...]
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