Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Brooklyn College, where he taught Puerto Rican and Latino Studies for more than three decades and directed the program in religious studies.  His doctorate is in Catholic Theology and has served as consultant to several US Catholic bishops.  Author of a dozen books and more than 100 scholarly articles, he has been a frequent contributor to Op-Ed pages, Letters to the Editor in a host of newspapers in the US and abroad, in addition to his featured role as author of the blog “Catholic America” for the Washington Post.  Professor Stevens-Arroyo has spoken before the United Nations and committees of the US Congress on issues of human and civil rights.  He is a community activist whose present energies are directed towards the Latinos and Latinas of Monroe County.

The Words of Donald J Trump

Examination of media statements reveals 10 reasons voters choose Donald Trump.

1. His approach to terrorism is clear direct: “Bomb the s--- out of them and take their oil.” Contrast this with Democrats' gibberish about “multi-polar diplomacy.” Trump will definitely kill more Muslims than Hillary.

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Judging the Judge: Why Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration Works

 

         The house of straw erected by the Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen who froze President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration came tumbling down April 17th, as the rule of law forced him to surrender his February injunction to the scrutiny of the Appeals Court.   Reading all 123 pages of Hanen’s injunction, I can state that those who “shopped” for this Texas judge overpaid for his truckload of claptrap.

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Right-Wing Crusade against Truth-Telling

Right-Wing Crusade against Truth-Telling

President Obama’s comments against extremism in religion at Washington’s annual Prayer Breakfast in February stirred up a hornet’s nest of the usual suspects from the right-wing hate machine.  The President’s follow-up analysis later in the month at the three day conference on extremism at the White House provided a refutation of the complainers that was magisterial.  Here’s why.

            President Obama’s initial observation that religion has been used as an excuse for terror contained examples not only from Islam but also from Christian history: the Crusades, the Inquisition and slavery with Jim Crow in America.  The complainers’ vitriol, it seems, was directed not against the undeniable truth that “religion has been used an excuse for terror,” but against the comparisons of Islam and Christianity.  The complaints fall into three categories.

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Winning on Ideas: Losing in Votes

            In the 1972 motion picture, The Candidate, a youthful Robert Redford plays a community activist enticed into a campaign against a seemingly invincible sitting Senator.  The campaign manager doing the convincing is the late Peter Boyle who argues that running for office against impossible odds will nonetheless allow the Redford character to voice his progressive ideas to the public.  As Redford reluctantly agrees to run, the Boyle character hands him a slip of paper to remind him of the principle on which the campaign is based.  It consists of two words: “You lose.”

            In Hollywood, the impossible happens and Redford wins.  This did not happen in Monroe County or Pennsylvania or the US last November 4th.  Here at home, I witnessed to Mark Aurand’s demolishment of Mario Scavello in two debates.  The flustered Scavello chickened out of any further embarrassment by shafting the League of Women’s Voters.  Likewise, Maureen Madden exposed the shallow Mr. Parker as a pretender rather than a contender.  Liz Forrest dogged endurance reduced Rosemary Brown to spouting the most meaningless mish-mash of platitudes and bloviation since Warren Harding.  Hope Smith’s logic was buried under a pile of lies on glossy paper from Jack Rader who ran on a platform of raising the income tax (to get rid of the property tax for real estate bigwigs like him) and complaining that his opponent would raise the income tax (for the rich) to lower property taxes for the middle-class. 

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Why Rosemary Brown is 'Poison’ to Latinos and Latinas

Mrs. Rosemary Brown is impeccably groomed, wears smart business suits and is blessed with a charming disposition.  She is also pretty poisonous to Latinos and Latinas in Pennsylvania.  She should not be allowed to return to Harrisburg as a representative in 2015.

            I strongly object to her reelection because of the way she sought to take away the vote of U.S. citizens at the election booth.  I refer, of course, to her enthusiastic defense of the so called “Voter ID Law” that was found unconstitutional by the courts.  At a session held before the 2012 election at the Monroe Public Library, Brown sat alongside her busy-body mentor, Mario Scavello, and tried to defend the indefensible.  The conversation was focused on Latinos and Latinas as made clear by the session’s sponsor, the Hispanic Republicans of the Poconos.  I was one of a committed group of Democrats confronting these two about the error of their ways. 

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Guest — Ms. Delgado
If you'd left out the "pretty" part, you'd look like less of a chauvinist; and perhaps NOT alienate voters who may have agreed wit... Read More
Saturday, 18 October 2014 10:17
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Push-Pull Polls and Mario S.

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I recently was victim of a telephone survey.  A very sweet woman with inflections in English that betrayed Chinese as the first language, posed question after question about the 2014 PA elections, each prefaced with the qualifier: “Would it make you more inclined or less inclined to vote if you knew ….”  This was a classic push-pull poll.  For those unfamiliar with the term, the effort was not seeking truth to report on voter preferences.   A push-pull poll is a propaganda device intended to test which phrases or issues provoke the voters.  Sociologists and Political Scientists look down on push-pull polls because they are really advertisements and negative campaigning.  They provide a candidate with a way of spending money supposedly for “research” but also as a means of influencing voters.  It is two-for-one stuff and a sign of a candidate’s desperation.

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Pro-choice is Not the Equivalent of Pro-Abortion

For the good of the Democratic Party it is important to state that being “Pro-Choice” is not the equivalent of being “Pro-Abortion.”  I do not speak for -- but I am one of -- the tens of millions of Democrats who believe elective abortion is the unnecessary taking of human life and is a sin.  Our numbers include elected officials like Congressional Representative Matt Cartwright.   We support the Democratic Party, therefore, not because it is Pro-Abortion, but because it is Pro-Choice.  Our presence in the party of the “big tent” can make the difference between winning elections and losing them.  In fact, Catholics form 61.9% of the faith-confessed voters of Monroe County http://www.city-data.com/county/religion/Monroe-County-PA.html and our voices need to be heard.

Because “Pro-Choice” does not mean our party opposes parenthood, we ask our fellow Democrats to avoid statements that could be interpreted so as to deny that motherhood is one of the most sacred of blessings in the human experience.  Motherhood is included in -- not rejected by -- the definition of “Pro-Choice.”  We do not deserve bias or condescension as if we were second-class Democrats.  We are modern and tolerant people who know the difference between abortion as a necessary medical procedure that saves lives and elective abortion for less weighty reasons.  We recognize that Roe v. Wade prohibits abortion on demand and that the Hyde Amendment reconciles issues of public payment and individual private choices.

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MORAL CLARITY AT THE BORDER

            In the winter of 1938 the passenger ship, MS St. Louis with 937 German Jews fleeing from Hitler’s persecution, was refused entry into Cuba.  The ship sailed towards Florida hoping for an executive order from President Roosevelt to lift the limit on German immigrants and allow entry to the USA as refugees.  Instead the ship was forced to return to Europe and 25% of the passengers would die in the Holocaust.

            Every humanitarian refugee crisis tests America’s moral values.  Instead of German Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938, those seeking refugee status today are Central American children trying to escape the narco-trafficking terror in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.  This US president has acted to alleviate suffering in the tradition of the message of Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free…”  Religious groups like my Catholic Church have taken up the cause of the child refugees.   Sadly, instead of uniting the nation behind this moral response with the best of the country’s traditions, the result has been partisan bickering and xenophobic hostilities from Republicans.

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The Hobby Lobby Case

            The 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision of the activist Roberts’ Court has written a new law that will allow private for-profit corporations to invoke religious beliefs when determining benefits for their employees.  Like all judicial decisions, this one must be analyzed for both its short-term practical and also its long-term ideological effects. 

            In practical terms, the decision is restricted to only a few family corporations falling within the Court’s narrowly drawn parameters. Although some 90% of US corporations are held by five or fewer owners that is only one part of the requirements imposed by Justice Alito’s majority decision, who added the need for a demonstrated history that the corporation’s economic policy is guided by religious belief.   In the shark-infested economic waters of corporation competition, there are few such religiously defined companies to complicate application of the Affordable Care Act. The court indicated that the Obama Administration has already provided a blue-print for protecting conscience rights while still securing to workers the same access to birth control medical coverage as the majority of the nation.  The implication is that there will be no immediate change to applying the ACA.  

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The Tea Party and Nativism

             Many labels have been put on the tea party since the 2010 election when its members first dressed in 18th century garb and promoted themselves as modern-day patriots.  A look at American history, however, suggests that the best label for the tea party is “Nativist.”  Far from constituting some new movement in American politics, the tea party is a throw-back to a black hole in 19th century social movements.

            Nativists first crawled into American history in the 1840s when second and third generation Anglo-American descendants from the protagonists of the War for Independence found that their social status and political influence were being diminished during the dawn of industrialization.  Low-skill jobs in mines and on railroads were gobbled up by the incoming cheap labor working for starvation wages and their presence in cities created ethnic enclaves of poverty.  But the immigrants could vote, creating new clusters of political power.  A more serious threat came in economics.  Artisans and shop-keepers were threatened by nascent corporations that feasted on exploitation of these immigrants.  Unlike the established Anglo-American tradespersons, the immigrant labor sustained a new crop of factories that mass-produced commodities as different as cloth, candles and cables.  Factory production undercut the traditional model of a trade that made its product in the back-room and sold it over the counter in the shop.  Rather than cast blame upon the capitalist elites who were benefitting from this modernizing industrialization, Nativists denounced immigrants instead.  “If they were not here, change would not be here!” ran the argument. 

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