NewBlackMan: What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew): The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement

What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew):

The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement

by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan

Kids have made their way back to school, with many writing and reporting about what they did last summer. I thought I would do something similar, writing about what I have learned about “conservatives” in the last few weeks.

Lesson (1) At a recent Republican Debate, audience members made their support for state-sponsored executions clear. What I learned is that they think it is a beautiful thing that Texas executes so many people; the mere mention of execution resulted in cheers and ovations. They must think that being part of a group of nations (including China, Iran, North Korea and Yemen) that carries out a great number of the world’s execution is worthy of applause. I guess some find pride in the fact that Texas executed more people in 2010 (17) than Bangladesh and Somalia and as many as Syria (one less than Libya and about 10 behind Saudi Arabia). While I am appalled by the barbaric practice of state-sponsored murder, I am equally disgusted by the reaction that I witnessed that day. I would guess many of them are unhappy with the U.S. Supreme Court, who issued a stay of execution for Duane Buck, who was convicted of double murder in 1985. According to Tim Murphy:

In order to “secure a capital punishment conviction in Texas they needed to prove “future dangerousness”—that is, provide compelling evidence that Buck posed a serious threat to society if he were ever to walk free. They did so in part with the testimony of a psychologist, Dr. Walter Quijano, who testified that Buck’s race (he’s African American) made him more likely to commit crimes in the future. (Quijano answered in the affirmative to the question of whether “the race factor, [being] black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons.”)

Governor Perry’s death penalty record (particularly questions raised about his execution of an innocent man) and the applause given for executions give me pause. It is yet another reminder of the hypocrisy in the term “compassionate conservative.”

Lesson (2) The members of the Republican Party think a person without insurance in need of health care should be left to die because “choices have consequences.” Danielle Belton, from The Black Snob, describes the situation in the following way:

The most startling moment was during a hypothetical question posed by Wolf Blitzer about a 30-something, once healthy uninsured guy who didn’t buy insurance when he could afford it, but got really sick and might die. Should we let him die? While Ron Paul was trying to give his “go to a church for help if you’re uninsured and dying of an illness answer” (more on that later), the crowd got a little restless and cheered for letting the dude die.

On top of the last debate where folks cheered Gov. Rick Perry’s death penalty rate in Texas — even when some of those folks killed were likely innocent — has demonstrated a bloodlust among the conservative, “pro-lifer” crowd. Once again proving, the best thing you can do as a human being with these folks is stay a fetus as long as possible.

I guess executions (of some people) are good and allowing some people to die is also fine. These first two “lessons” were just from this month, followed-up on lessons learned throughout the summer

Continue reading at NewBlackMan: What I Learned This Summer (or What I Already Knew): The Uncompassionate Conservative Movement.

Huffington Post (Gabriel Lerner): Jailing Undocumented Immigrants Is Big Business (VIDEO)

Jailing Undocumented Immigrants Is Big Business (VIDEO)

by Gabriel Lerner

LOS ANGELES — At dawn on July 19, nearly 40 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Immigration (HSI) agents burst into the home home of Carmen Bonilla, 44. The agents were searching for “Robert” an alleged drug dealer, but ended up terrifying Bonilla and her son Michael, 16, daughter Josefina, 23, daughter-in-law Leticia, 28, and two of her granddaughters.

According to Jessica Dominguez, the family’s lawyer, and Jorge Mario Cabrera, spokesperson of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), the family was subjected to “different levels of physical and verbal abuse,” including screaming, “kicking, beating and aggression.” Their treatment was documented last week by HuffPost LatinoVoices’ Jorge Luis Macías.

What happened to the Bonillas has happened to thousands of immigrant families. Immigration authorities — both local police and federal ICE agents — have embarked on a program to seek out “criminal illegal aliens” and, whether they find them or not, have often rounded up entire families for deportation.

Even though the Bonilla family members do not have criminal records, they face removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The family was able to find legal representation and general public support, enabling their release from ICE custody, but undocumented immigrants who are less lucky are routinely sent to prisons and detention centers where ICE will process their paperwork and decide whether they may be released.

“If they have a criminal record, particularly a drug or security-related conviction, or a felony or violent crime, or crime of moral turpitude, they will likely have to remain in custody until their trial before the [immigration judge],” explained Aggie R. Hoffman, an immigration attorney.

The Department of Homeland Security pays between $50 to $200 per day per person to local, county and state prisons to house apprehended aliens. A few years ago, a series I wrote for La Opinión showed how prisons in general, and California’s prisons in particular, benefit from the largesse of the federal government and vie for a piece of this lucrative business. At that time, I visited a detention center in Lancaster, Calif., run by the Sheriff of Los Angeles, where immigrants rounded up in raids were housed until their deportation or legal proceedings. The process is supposed to take just a few days, but some of the detainees rushed to tell me that they had been kept there for more than two years.

Continue reading at Huffiington Post

via Jailing Undocumented Immigrants Is Big Business (VIDEO).