Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Republican Past" Coming Home to Roost! Gingrich Backstabs McCain, Boehner & America!

"Republican Past" is coming home to roost! In Public, Newt Gingrich said he supported the Bailout Plan (oops , I mean "Recovery Plan"). In private, he called Republican members of Congress to defeat the bill. Why? Insiders are saying Gingrich wants McCain to lose this year´s election so he can run for Prez in 2012!
Some of these Congressmen who said NO are saying they are fashioning themselves as the next generation of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 revolution. All of this Republican politicizing and backstabbing, at the expense of the American people!
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was working aggressively behind the scenes to defeat the Wall Street rescue plan minutes before he himself released a public statement in support of the package, NBC's Andrea Mitchell reported on Tuesday. Gingrich was whipping up votes for the opposition, Mitchell said, apparently without the knowledge of the current GOP leader, John Boehner, who was responsible for recruiting enough support from his caucus to help ensure the bill's passage. Ultimately, the GOP was only able to rally roughly a third of its members. "Newt Gingrich," she said on MSNBC, "I am told reliably by leading Republicans who are close to him, he was whipping against this up until the last minute, when he issued that face-saving statement. Newt Gingrich was telling people in the strongest possible language that this was a terrible deal, not only that it was a terrible deal, it was a disaster, it was the end of democracy as we know, it was socialism -- and then at the last minute [he] comes out with a statement when the vote is already in place." Indeed, as Mitchell noted, shortly before the bill's failure, Gingrich "reluctantly" came out in favor of its passage: "Therefore, while I am discouraged at the final collapse of the Bush Administration, and frustrated by the Democrats' passion for the taxpayer's money, I would reluctantly and sadly vote for the bailout were I still in office." The rest of the set of Morning Joe had some interesting takes on the news nugget. Joe Scarborough called Gingrich's backstabbing of John Boehner "undercutting his own." Mike Barnicle offered his own bit of reportorial insight: "Andrea, I could hug you for saying that, because I was told last night by two or they members of Congress that this was the opening salvo of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign four years hence."
NEWT is now poo-pooing the facts and now claiming bias my MSNBC.
(The Politico) Former Speaker Newt Gingrich strongly disputed Andrea Mitchell's report on MSNBC this morning that he had privately moved to dissuade House Republicans from voting on yesterday’s bailout bill while publicly endorsing it.Speaking before the National Press Club today, Gingrich called MSNBC a “stunningly dishonest network.” While critical of many parts of the proposed legislation, Gingrich said he had nevertheless supported its passage and made that clear to Minority Leader John Boehner and others in the House.Still, Gingrich said that there was good that could come from the bill failing and encouraged what he regarded to be the long-run view of the matter stating, “Do you really want to get over a headache by giving yourself cancer?”

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Bill Fails! Stock Market Plunges! McCain & Republicans are Teetering!

The $700B Bailout Plan initially proposed by President Bush failed! This evolved plan was a compromise. It was better than what was originally proposed by the President. This new plan incorporated recommendations provided by both Obama and McCain, including accountability, an oversight committee, payback to taxpayers and no golden parachutes for corporate CEOs.
Obama and McCain helped leaders of Congress in contacting nervous members of Congress, up for re-election, who were worried about supporting this bill, afraid of losing in November. The Dems said this was a Republican proposed bill and they needed 100 Republican votes. The Dems delivered their numbers. The Repubs could not even obtain 80, they were 15 votes short from 80! The reason: these last 15 that promised to vote "yea" were up for re-election and they were afraid that their angry constituents would vote them out of office.
I´ve been checking out some of the ANTI bail-out sites. It´s funny. Most of the people actively opposing the bailout also oppose Immigration Reform, including AM Shock Jocks. One site in particular, alipac.us, has been raging an active war against the bailout. Their leader, William, does not like McCain. I believe half of their group´s motivation was to make McCain look bad. This morning, after McCain spoke out about the success of his postponing his campaign to help support this bailout plan, alipac ratcheted up their campaign against the bill. As in the past, they provided free faxes and encouraged all of their numerous retiree members, to call, call, call and email, email, email to a list of members in Congress to vote against the bailout. They rejoiced at their victory, both against the plan and against McCain. You would think the Repubs in Congress would get it by now. When their emails, phones and faxes are deluged, it is by this same small group of 100 or less.
However, the Repubs in Congress didn´t get it. This calling campaign worked! The plan failed!
If I were to give credit (or blame) to any one group for stopping the Bailout plan from passing, I would give these ANTI groups the credit. They know members of Congress are afraid of losing in November and will not take the chance to vote for this bill. The ANTI groups tipped the scales!
After the bill failed today, the stock market dropped 800 points.
Now, we are told, Congress will not vote on the bill until after the Jewish Holiday on Thursday.
I expect the stock market will continue to drop another 800 - 1000 points a day.
The pundits are saying the Bailout Plan will pass on Thursday or Friday, mostly because the country, afraid of a Depression and the losses in the stockmarket, will pressure the holdouts into voting for the plan.
Who has been hurt the most by the plan failure today?
1. The American People, especially the retirees who have their goose eggs locked into a retirement account invested in the stock market. They cannot remove or trade their stock because they risk taking a huge penalty. They will probably ride this out and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. This will make them angry! Very angry! Many of these types of investors voted Republican in the past.
2. McCain. He gambled and rolled craps. He postponed his campaign. Took credit this morning for the Bill Passing and it Failed! He looks like a fool!
3. The Republican holdouts who voted No today. They are sure to change their votes. They will be categorized as Flip Floppers!
4. Republicans in General. Americans know this is a Republican sponsored Bailout Plan. Now, most Republicans are ashamed to say they are Republican. I have heard several of them are claiming they are GOP Candidates vs Republicans on the ballots in November. (silly)
5. The word CHANGE. Republicans running from this president and this administration are sadly, sadly misusing this word!
I heard my friend Robert Reich say today, regardless of what happens, this is NOT an economic armageddon. He said Americans will find it harder to get credit and borrow money. He said we will be in a Recession. Why? Because consumers will no longer have the piggy bank - the ability to refinance their mortgages. This is what has kept the economy up for the last several years.
Do you know who is NOT a loser? Wall Street!
They will continue to reap the gains! People like Donald Trump and other zillionaires will continue to manipulate the market all to their benefit!
A lesson for Americans to learn? We need to vote in CHANGE! We cannot afford more of the same!
We cannot afford to gamble on Republicans running our country again! We need a change! Not just Republicans changing their names, but changing parties, changing this administration. It´s the Economy, Stupid! And we need to CHANGE from this current Administration and stop voting for Republicans as a whole!

Friday, September 26, 2008

1st Presidential Debate - LIVE BLOG Obama-McCain 2008 Presidential Candidates at Ole Miss!

The 1st Presidential Debate is Over!
My first thought, good debate.
It was like a boxing match. They both took hits. Obama was bashed a bit in the 1st half hour. I would give the first 30 mins to McCain.
In the 2nd half hour, Obama came back. Still lots of punching. McCain seemed rough and contentious almost dismissive, like a grumpy old man. It didnt work. I give the 2nd half hour to Obama.
The last half hour, Obama hit back hard. McCain still punching away.
What I took away from this, if this Campaign is about CHANGE, Obama won the debate.
Obama appeared Presidential, positive, diplomatic and able to take a punch. If America wants change, they will vote for Obama.

Obama talked about the future, his plans for Diplomatic solutions, a timeline to the end of war, economic plans for the future, tax reductions for 95% of Americans, oversight for the Bailout to ensure the taxpayers are paid back and the WS execs do not receive million dollar bonuses. He also talked about the need for Education for our children and Healthcare.
Even though McCain was loud, angry and forceful, he said nothing new. His plans sounded like four more years of the last eight years. He talked about staying in Iraq until the war is won, not backing down to Russia or Iran or any other enemies of our country. He talked about setting up a separate group vs the UN to sanction countries that are our enemies. He did not talk about economic solutions, instead McCain said nothing about Education and laughed at Healthcare solutions. His economic plan even includes taxing employers-workers for employer sponsored healthcare benefits. (That hits MY pocketbook!) Some might say McCain was strong on the War. Some would say he won from a Defense-Military perspective. However, to me, that is scary. It sounds like he advocates War with Iran, Russia, and everyone else who makes him angry and he will not seek diplomacy. His last words were the scariest, "I know what to do and I will take care of it." Sounds like he is running for Dictator, NOT President!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

National ID Cards: Should we have them? Should they contain Biometric Data? Will they Violate our Civil Liberties?

Britain is unveiling a new National ID card. This card includes an electronic chip containing biometric data of the holder, including fingerprints and digital facial images.
Question to viewers: Should we have a new National ID card in America for all Americans, Immigrants and Guest Workers containing fingerprints and digitial facial images? What about DNA? What do you think? Would these cards have a down side? Example: Infringe on our Civil Liberties? Make us a Police State? What do you think?
Britain unveils ID cards for foreign nationals
2008-09-26 05:59:46
LONDON-- Britain's Home Office unveiled on Thursday the identity cards to be issued to foreign residents in the country. The plastic wallet card shows the holder's photograph, name, date of birth, nationality and immigration status. A secure electronic chip holds their biometric details, including fingerprints, and a digital facial image, said a Home Office press release. The first cards are scheduled to be issued in November 25. Within three years all foreign nationals applying to enter or remain in Britain will be required to have a card. And by 2014, 90percent of foreign residents in Britain should have identity cards. The introduction of national identity cards for foreign residents will be followed by the first ID cards for British citizens from 2009, targeting workers in sensitive roles such as airports. One year after that, ID cards will be available to young people who want them, and from 2011, cards will be available to the general opulation. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the announcement of the cards for foreign residents shows the government is fulfilling its commitment to protect identity.

Sarah, the Word is Caricature! The Palin Couric Interview

Here is the transcript of the Palin-Couric Interview. We can see why McCain-Palin are doing everything possible to avoid the VP debates, including suspending the campaign.
COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--
PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.
COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.
PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--
COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.
(see video in upper right hand side of page)

McCain´s Trick or Treat! Cancelling the VP Debates!

Now we are seeing the REAL REASON McCain is suspending his Campaign. His PLOY: Cancel the VP Debates. How dare McCain utilize this National Economic Crisis for Political Reasons, and to continue to HIDE Palin! Deplorable!!
McCain camp to propose postponing VP debate 10:44 AM ET
Biden and Palin are set to debate October 2.
(CNN) — McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis. In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday. Graham says the McCain camp is well aware of the position of the Obama campaign and the debate commission that the debate should go on as planned — but both he and another senior McCain adviser insist the Republican nominee will not go to the debate Friday if there's no deal on the bailout.
Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to ya.
I think the McCain campaign knew the Couric interview would be a disaster as soon as it was done taping and spent much of the day frantically trying to think of a way to push it out of the headlines. The clincher for me is the fact that McCain cancelled his Letterman appearance at the last second and instead sat down for an impromptu interview with, of all people, Katie Couric. The hope was to bump the Palin interview even on the CBS Evening News, which otherwise would have hyped and teased the Palin interview all afternoon and used it to lead the broadcast. Instead, CBS devoted most of its coverage to McCain and played segments of the Palin interview almost as an afterthought. Mission accomplished.
Now the McCain campaign is trying to reschedule the Vice Presidential debate. Undoubtedly they'd like to move it back as far as possible to give Palin more time to prepare. And it wouldn't shock me if they tried to cancel it all together or at least move it to a date where it can only dominate one or two new cycles before being eclipsed by other events (like a presidential debate).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain, President of Schooner Tuna, Politicizes the Bailout Problem! Cutting and Running from Debate on Friday!

John McCain came out today and said he is stopping his presidential campaign. I think we should honor his decision and allow him to cut and run from running for President.
McCain certainly is an odd duck. This morning, Obama called him and asked him to join him to issue a joint statement, knowing they agree in principle in how they wish to support the Bailout crisis. In short, the two agree on:
1. Setting up an independent, bi partisan board to provide oversight for the 17B.
2. American Taxpayers treated like investors (like Buffet). The $$ will be paid back.
3. Help people stay in their homes
4. Not one dime to CEOs who got us in this Mess. (No welfare for Wall St execs)
McCain returned Obama´s call this afternoon and was in agreement. He mentioned the thought of stopping the campaign. Obama thought the American Public deserves to be informed with the election so close. They deserve the debates. No decison was made on this, however, they still agreed to a joint statement.
McCain Cut & Run for the media, backing out of the bi partisan statement for the Good of the Country and instead chose to make a "Hail Mary" pass to try to save his deteriorating numbers in the polls. What a Disgrace! When McCain made his announcement, he reminded me of the guy who played the President of Schooner Tuna in the movie "Mr. Mom" Remember the commercial gimmick they used to convince people to buy more tuna? Mrs. Mom (Terri Garr) convinced Schooner he could sell more tuna by showing people “we care." In the commercial Schooner read the prepared statement in front of an American flag with “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” echoing in the background. Schooner said, “during this period of economic crisis, Schooner will drop the price of each can of tuna 50 cents. When these difficult times are over we will return to our regular pricing, but until that, remember, we’re in this together.” As Mrs. Mom puts it, this marketing campaign was a return to Americanism when Americans need it most and you will sell more tuna! While the ad company was initially skeptical by her recommendation, they quickly changed their minds when Schooner said, "I love this Shxx!" That´s McCain! The schmoozer! He is using this crisis to SELL More Tuna! To Sell Himself!! All on the backs of the American People! Shame on Him!!
As Dave Letterman says, "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."
McCain´s Policy "CHANGE.....The Subject!"
Is the REAL REASON to delay the VP debates next week with Palin? We know she won´t talk to the press. Now she has an excuse NOT to Debate!! Ahhh! Now we see the Root Cause!!

Prez pays off Cronies before Leaving Office! Chertoff Authorizes Seven Miles of Fence for $37M

As the Prez is leaving office, he is making his list and checking it twice! He wants to be sure all of his friends and cronies are taken care of before he leaves office.
Bush To Do List before he leaves Office:
1. Mortgage Co. Bailout
2. Gas prices through the roof ($5)
3. Nafta-Cafta extended to other countries
4. Filling up Crony Owned Private Prisons
5. Hiring Cronies to build the Border Fence in 3 sleepy little towns along the border! 7.6 miles of fence = $37M to cronies!
(List will be updated as the Prez updates it)
Who will build the fence?
U.S. government awards 3 contracts for border barrier construction -
September 23, 2008 - 10:14PM
Contracts to build the border fence in Cameron County were awarded to three private companies Monday, after Congress approved a $378 million appropriations request to continue the barrier's construction.
Despite longstanding opposition from the county's residents and politicians, construction could begin soon on the Texas border's southernmost stretch. The contracts are for fence segments in Bluetown, Los Indios, El Calaboz and La Paloma, all rural communities established by 18th century Spanish land grants. The communities are now home to some of the border fence's most vociferous opponents, many of whom have been fighting the barrier in court for nearly a year.
Clute, Texas-based Jaco Construction, Colorado-based MCC Construction and Omaha-based Kiewit Corporation were each awarded contracts to build a total of 7.6 miles of fencing for almost $37 million. The government must now clear mounting judicial obstacles in order to meet Congress' mandate to build 670 miles of fencing by Dec. 31. So far, 340 miles of fencing have been constructed along the southwest border. Ninety-seven landowners in the Rio Grande Valley have refused to sell their property to the federal government, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Sept. 10. Some of those property owners, including Eloisa Tamez of El Calaboz, wonder how contracts can be awarded before lawsuits have been resolved. "(Homeland Security Secretary) Chertoff is going completely outside of the Constitution, not allowing the federal court to make its decision before he moves on," Tamez said. Cameron County Judge Carlos H. Cascos said he had always maintained that DHS was going to build "something" if the county did not offer an alternative to them. "I still think that the border/levee combo project was a viable alternative, and I'm just saddened that DHS thought it was not," Cascos said. "For now, we are just going to wait and see what the fence is going to look like." The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not announce when construction is expected to begin in Cameron County.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Bailout, the Economy and Immigration! Why the Republicans are Primarily Responsible!

As I have written in previous blogs, Immigration is not the root cause of the economic disasters our country faces today. The Primary Issue is the Global Economy. Lupita, an old friend of many of the members of this blog said about the US economy, "Our economy is just an illusion of economic growth. Big business has partnered with the Administrations from Reagan forward to develop a method to expand our labor force, push wages down and increase corporate profits." She often predicted we would face economic disasters due to our greed. Lupita´s words came back to haunt me this week as I saw news of the bailouts.
Here are the recent headlines of this crisis:
"WASHINGTON -- The federal government is working on a sweeping series of programs that would represent perhaps the biggest intervention in financial markets since the 1930s, embracing the need for a comprehensive approach to the financial crisis after a series of ad hoc rescues. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced plans Friday to quickly set up a "bold" government program to take over troubled mortgage assets from financial institutions, along with other efforts to step up the purchase of mortgage-backed securities. "The federal government must implement a program to remove these illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy," Mr. Paulson said in prepared remarks for a press conference."
I tend to agree with Lupita. The blame for this economic downfall is Greed, good old fashioned American Greed! Here is my view of why we are in the mess we are in. From 2002 to 2007, countless mortgage companies, many of them "no-name", mailed me and everyone else I know mortgage offers. "Refinance Now!" read the headlines. TV and Radio ads heralded the same "Refinance Now!" Remember the annoying Ditech commercials? Everyone was pushing these loans. I remember my daughter in law speaking of a friend of a friend who was in the mortgage game and selling mortgages from her house. She said anyone could afford a house now and if we were ever in the market for a new mortgage or refinance, they would get us a good "deal." (Everybody and their brother had a friend of a friend like this pushing and pushing these predatory loans).
I also remember a peer from work who lived in a pricey California neighborhood. She and her new husband decided to purchase one of those "interest only" loans for her very pricey $400K, 2B condo. I asked how she could do that. Why didn´t she try to move to a more affordable location. She said her mortgage person persuaded her it was affordable and with property being so valuable in that area, reselling would be easy. I told her I was nervous for her and I would never buy a home without a conventional mortgage. She called me a worry wart. Now I think about her and that balloon mortgage. How many others are foreclosing now because now they can´t refinance their ballooned mortgages and they can no longer afford their tripled or quadrupled monthly rates?
I remember the phone calls from the telemarketers. They were relentless in trying to sell, sell, sell these new mortgages. My mailbox was always full of offers. Again, this started in 2002-2003. I ask everyone to use their own memory on when these changes happened. Don´t rely on someone else who wants to scapegoat.
Why is it important to remember what happened and the timing? Because then you can pinpoint for yourself who is primarily accountable. (besides our greedy selves).
Politicians from both sides are busy trying to point fingers at one another. The most ludicrous accusations were from Republican politicians who pointed to legislation from the Clinton era stopping the heinous act of "redlining." Redlining, for those who may not know, is the practice of denying or increasing the cost of services to residents in certain, often racially determined, areas. The most devastating, mortgage discrimination. So the right wing nuts try to point to the anti-redlining legislation as the root cause. Ludicrous.
If one were to point towards any legislation that most contributed to this turn of economic events they would point to the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000." This legislation provided certainty that products offered by banking institutions would not be regulated as futures contracts. This law creates a LOOPHOLE for many GOP cronies (e.g. Enron) which exempts most over-the-counter energy trades and trading on electronic energy commodity markets. The "loophole" was drafted by Enron Lobbyists working with Senator Phil Gramm (Sen. McCain´s best friend) seeking a deregulated atmosphere for their new experiment, "Enron On-line". The act specifically banned regulation of credit default swaps. These unregulated instruments, insurance policies against default on risky investments like mortgage backed securities.
This is very important to understand. Mortgage companies were NO LONGER REGULATED nor were they accountable for risky mortgages. They often sold these "risks" to foreign lenders.
HR5660 and S.3283 were introduced in December 2000 by Republicans: Sen Phil Gramm, Sen Charles Hagel, Sen Peter Fitzgerald Rep Tom Ewing, Rep Tom Bliley, Rep Larry Combest, Rep James Leach, with some Dem support including Rep LaFalce and Sens Harkin and Johnson. These bills were NEVER debated in the House or the Senate. Since then, several attempts have been made to overturn them. While these bills were championed by the Republicans, they did have some support by some Democrats, so we cannot point blame at one party. Since then however, several attempts (championed by the Dems) have been made to overturn this act. In fact, an attempt to repeal the policy was vetoed by President Bush in 2008.
However, beyond legislation, the plain facts are, the primary root cause is Greed and Corruption. Here is what Robert Reich said about Fannie and Freddie:
Fannie and Freddie, as Predicted
"Apologists will say that Fannie and Freddie exist to make housing loans to low-income Americans, so it was inevitable that the two giants would get caught in the quagmire of the housing burst. But the fact is, Fannie and Freddie -- and the executives who ran them and still run them -- have been out to maximize profits. Period. Just the same as every other mortgage and investment bank. High-risk sub-prime loans offered a higher rate of return, so Fannie and Freddie went into them big time. And because of the implicit government guarantee, Fannie and Freddie could take on even more risks and make even more money. Until now. It's another case of socialized capitalism, folks. The largest, yet. Along with making lots of money for investors and their executives, Fannie and Freddie corrupted our political process. They blocked any attempt to reign in the risks. Their lobbyists were and are the most sophisticated and among the most ubiquitous in Washington."
On Fannie & Freddie Accounting Gimmicks
Accounting gimmicks first came to light at Fannie and Freddie in 2003, at which time Fannie's and Freddie's former CEOs were sacked. Why, then, did they continue for another five years, even under new CEOs, even after policymakers first learned of them? Three reasons: (1) Top executives and shareholders continued to profit from them so there was no incentive to stop them, (2) everyone involved kept expecting home values to continue to rise -- or, when they fell, rise again soon enough -- to make up for the accounting shortfalls, and (3) Fannie and Freddie continued to be in bed with Congress and the administration. Democrats and Republicans alike have been complicit in this outrage.
Now, we are told, we have no recourse but to rescue these companies, otherwise we risk a Depression far worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s. The $700B plan Secretary Paulson is championing should be reviewed by every American. This Rescue Plan will bill the American Taxpayers trillions of dollars. This bail out for $700 BILLION dollars (probably trillions) our children and our grandchildren will be in debt for the next several decades. Additionally, the initial draft of this proposal is only bailing out the companies and their investors, NOT the citizens with mortgages. The Dems are asking that the citizens (who took these risky loans) be bailed out as well. The plans are being put in place now. We ALL should study them so we know what we are asking our grandkids to support.
Final Note:
I find the timing of these events incredible. These crises happen just months before the end of the Bush Presidency. He is bailing out his friends and his cronies now, before the Republicans are out of office. How many more of these type of coincidents will we see?
Bush Legacy:
1. Mortgage Co. Bailout
2. Gas prices through the roof ($5)
3. Nafta-Cafta extended to other countries
4. (I am sure there are many more... we should start a list.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bush Cronies Deny American Latino Soldier´s Medal of Honor! His Mother Cries!

Sgt. Rafael Peralta died a war hero serving his country in Iraq. His mother Rosa cried when President Bush cited Peralta's heroism in a Memorial Day speech in 2005, saying the Marine "understood that America faces dangerous enemies, and he knew the sacrifices required to defeat them." Rosa was told her son would get the Medal of Honor in a November 2007 telephone call from an undersecretary of the Navy, who told her the nomination was to be forwarded to the White House.
Then, last Thursday, her memories of a grateful nation for her son´s heriosm were stolen from her. Rosa was told the nomination was denied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates because of questions about the final act. Gates, during his review, took the unprecented extra step of asking five other individuals to review the case - a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, a Medal of Honor recipient, a civilian neurosurgeon who is retired from the military and two forensic pathologists who also are military retirees. The five were given medical reports that had not been available in the initial review. They thoroughly reviewed the case again, including inspecting the evidence and re-enacting the event, Whitman said. "Each independently recommended to the secretary that the evidence did not support the award of Medal of Honor," he said. Gates made his decision this month.
Details of Rafael´s Herioc Actions:
Peralta was shot several times in the face and body during a house-to-house search in Fallujah on Nov. 15, 2004, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war. According to witness accounts, Peralta lay mortally wounded on the floor of a house and grabbed a grenade lobbed by fleeing insurgents. His body absorbed the blast and he died immediately.
In a rare move, the Marine Corps Thursday released a redacted copy of the Medal of Honor nomination by Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski and an investigative report detailing the "friendly fire" shooting of the sergeant.
The report found sufficient evidence existed to believe that Peralta was probably shot by a fellow Marine and that a gunshot wound to the head and injuries to the head from a grenade caused his death. The nomination, which relies on witness statements, forensics, bomb fragment analysis and an autopsy, concluded that although Peralta was shot in the head, he made "a conscious, heroic decision to cover the grenade and minimize the effects he knew it would have on the rest of his Marine team."
The nomination details Peralta's actions in the final minutes of his life, with several witnesses recounting how the Marine lay face down and used his arm to pull the grenade to him. It also says a forensic analysis of Peralta's clothing and flak jacket show the grenade was underneath him when it exploded.
Rosa plans to appeal to Congress to award her son the nation's highest military honor after learning it was denied. She made the decision after a Marine general told her that her son would be awarded the Navy Cross rather than the Medal of Honor because the nomination was tainted by reports he was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine shortly before an insurgent lobbed the grenade. "I'm going to see what can be done, because I'm not satisfied with what they want to do now," she said. "The president spoke of him. So how is this now possible that they do this," Rosa Peralta said.
About Rafael:
Rafael was born in Mexico City on April 7, 1979 to Rafael and Rosa Peralta. He grew up as the oldest of four siblings, with sisters Icela and Karen, and brother Ricardo. Upon emigrating to the United States, he attended San Diego's Morse High School. After graduation, he began working for the California Conservation Corps, being selected as a crew leader within six months. The day he received his green card he enlisted, as planned, in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Last Letter from a Hero:
"Tomorrow, at 1900 hours, we are going to declare war in the holy city of Fallujah. We are going to defeat the insurgents. Watch the news, it's going to be all over. Be proud of me, bro, I'm going to make history and do something that I always wanted to do.... If anything happens to me, just remember I lived my life to the fullest and I'm happy with what I lived." -- Nov. 6, 2004 letter to brother, Ricardo, then 14
Update: SAN DIEGO, California (AP) -- A California congressional delegation asked President Bush on Friday to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to a Marine who was chosen to receive only the second-highest medal the Navy can bestow for valor. A copy of the letter given to The Associated Press was signed by a bipartisan group of five other representatives and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. It urges Bush to award the nation's highest honor, the same medal he gave to Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who was killed in 2004 after covering a grenade with his helmet.
"Intentionally absorbing a grenade blast to protect one's comrades in arms has been traditionally recognized by awarding the Medal of Honor. The sacrifice of Sergeant Peralta manifests the same devotion to one's comrade's and country as that displayed by Jason Dunham," the letter said.
The White House had no immediate comment Friday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

John McCain - Dazed and Confused About Spain´s Location! Heaven Help Us!!

The World is laughing at us again! This time because Dazed and Confused McCain does not know where Spain is, in which Hemisphere, or the name of the Prime Minister. Then, when his staff attempted to provide an explanation about McCain´s gaffe, they confirmed McCain´s "diss" to Spain, our long time friend and ally! Heaven Help Us IF this geezer is elected the next Prez!
BBC Reports:
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain has raised suspicions in Spain that he thinks the country's prime minister is Latin American. Asked by a Miami radio station if he would meet PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Mr McCain spoke of his record with leaders in "the hemisphere". His answer led some to suggest he thought Mr Zapatero was Latin American. Mr McCain's campaign team denied any gaffe, but did say the candidate had refused to commit to a meeting. Spanish media have suggested that stance could be a sign Mr McCain has not forgiven Mr Zapatero for pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq when he became prime minister in 2004.
Before asking Mr McCain about Mr Zapatero, the Spanish interviewer repeatedly questioned Mr McCain about Latin American leaders, including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales, with whom the US has a fraught relationship. But the interviewer then changed the subject by saying: "Let's talk about Spain. "If you are elected president, would you be willing to invite Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House to meet with you?" "I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us in co-operative fashion," Mr McCain answered, before moving on to talk about US relations with Mexico.
In an effort to draw an answer, the Caracol Miami reported posed the same question three more times. Mr McCain gave more or less the same response, saying at one stage: "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. "And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region." But Mr McCain's answer has itself posed more questions. Did Mr McCain forget which country Mr Zapatero leads? Did he misunderstand or mishear the question? Or was he intentionally signalling a cooling in the relationship between Spain and the US? Mr McCain's foreign policy adviser, Randy Sheunemann, said that there was no doubt about the senator's answers. "The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero, and identified him in the question, so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred," he wrote in an email to the Washington Post. "Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he confirmed.
How on earth can a Presidential Candidate be so un-diplomatic and create more enemies for us in the World? From his words against Spain, then Russia a few weeks ago to Palin´s support for pre-emptive First Strikes, if these two are elected, not only will we be subject to four more of the last 8 years, but most likely even worse!!

Postville Update: Human Resourced Indicted!

As I have said from the beginning, Agriprocessors employers sought, recruited, hired and exploited numerous illegal immigrants, primarily from Guatemala, into their meatpacking plant in Postville. Even the initial Arrest Warrant contained documents proving the Human Resources department was involved.
As I reported on Sept 9, the Iowa Attorney General filed charges against the employer and managers for hiring underage children.
Now the Feds are indicting two Human Resources employees for harboring, aiding and abetting document fraud and identity theft. These are significant charges which should have been implemented with the intial warrant. Hopefully soon, the Employer were also be indicted for these charges.
Agriprocessors human resources employees indicted
The Gazette CEDAR RAPIDS — The two Agriprocessors, Inc. human resources employees charged last week were indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in U.S. District Court.Laura Althouse, 38 of Postville, was charged with aiding and abetting document fraud and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. Laura Freund, 29, of Fayette, was charged with harboring and aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented aliens. Both will be arraigned Sept. 24. Althouse works in the human resources department and has payroll duties, and Freund also works in human resources at the kosher meatpacking plant in Postville. The complaint alleges a plant supervisor was in the human resources department assisting employees with the completion of new applications, in new names and using newly acquired false identification documents on May 11, a day before a immigration raid. Althouse was assisting in the process and knew some of the applicants were current employees. Freund was implicated in helping undocumented alien employees obtain false identification documents, according to the complaint.If convicted, Althouse faces up to 12 years in federal prison and Freund faces up to five years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why the ANTIs are Losing the Argument!

I received another anonymous email from my frequent email commenter "Patriotic Minuteman." The email he forwarded originated from someone by the name of Dick Bucks. Bucks talked about someone by the name of Lil Dog (famous for his ugly video of his shooting a Mexican border crosser) and the Immigration Watchdog site being retired and how he and the loyal MMs needed volunteers to pick up all the stuff left by the Mountain Minutemen from the xxx location before the Sheriff and his department picked up what was left. The Mountain MMs maintained their site near Campo, CA and they were the hosts of a few National Border Watches. They have vehicles and equipment that needs to be picked up. In their heyday, the Mountain MMs were headliners in the MM cause. That was before all of the infighting occurred between Jim Gilchrist, Chris Simcox, Jeff Schwilk and all of the National MM Border watchers. These folks were the leaders of their cause. They craved National attention and they were getting it. Every day, one of them was on the national scene, either on the cable news networks or articles by some national publication. Their quotes followed the ANTI rhetoric including "Rule of Law!" or "Amnesty."
The Beltway Boys saw the attention the MMs were receiving and tapped into their attention, snaring Simcox into the mix. They used and abused poor Simcox. Then abandoned him after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions then wasting the money away. Simcox didn´t realize the Beltway Boys were merely using him for his 15 minutes of fame and to instill fear into every day Americans. Then the Beltway Boys tossed Simcox aside. Now, the MMs are in disarray. There is massive infighting. Lawsuits abound. They are splintered. They rarely or never are on cable news anymore.
Coincidentally, after I received this email message from Patrioitic Minuteman, one of my frequent (and very likable) ANTI commenters asked me to review an Immigration position paper he wrote and to provide my (humble) input (from a PRO perspective). I told him, quite frankly, the ANTI movement is ended.
I explained to my brilliant ANTI friend that his paper will not persuade anyone NEW over to his side. It will only be preaching to the ANTI choir.
I asked, "Who is your target audience?"
I explained the various groups were divided as follows:
1. The ANTIs (like alipac.us, nutzos like KKKobach, the MMs, etc.)
2. Republican party
3. Independents
4. Bi Partisan - the American Public
I said to him "For the most part, it looks like you are targetting the ANTIs. If that is your target audience, no changes for your paper are needed. Of course I think most of your argument is old, tired and used. No one is listening anymore...You need to remove all of the tired old scare tactics. You need a new approach."
I let him know he did make some good points in his paper, however, overall, he was not going to win over any new members.
I also shared with him I think I could write a paper persuading 2 - 4 (above) to the ANTI side, but I was not willing to give him the ammo.
Personally, I have the feeling, especially with the elections underway, that we are advancing into a new era.. a hopeful, positive era! I think all of us, ALL Americans, and the World, is ready for a change in Policy and a change in Leadership in America!
God Bless America!! Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!!
Update: To summarize "Why the ANTIs are Losing the Argument" - -
1. Key leaders (voices) in the ANTI movement are in disagreement. Some National groups have disbanded or splintered off.
2. MSM is no longer covering the MM Movement and minimally covering Immigration issues.
3. Political parties are not discussing Immigration issues.
4. The previous lead ANTI agruments "Rule of Law" "No Amnesty" are no longer being reported and seem to be no longer effective. e.g. the scare tactics and demonizations are no longer working.

Hispanic Heritage Month - September 15 - October 15

America is a country of Immigrants and we have long celebrated our diversity. Examples of Celebrations include:
. In 1926, Negro History Week, which evolved into Black History month (February) was originated. Historian Carter Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
. Irish Americans and all Americans celebrate St. Patricks Day on March 17, as an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa 385–461 AD), one of the patron saints of Ireland. We celebrate with parades, festivals, corned beef and cabbage and green beer.
. Americans celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 Oct 15. We recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988 on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
"September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. They all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively."
Let all Americans take the time to celebrate the rich cultural diversity in our Nation!
E pluribus unum: out of many one. One state made of many states. One culture made of many cultures. One tribe made of many tribes. One clan made of many clans. One family made of many families. Made of individuals as unique and precious as life itself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

McCain´s Hypocrisy: "I am more PRO Illegal than Obama!" Ad to Latinos

McCain-Palin have a new ad out on Latino TV. I posted it in the upper right hand corner of this page. Remember McCain? The politician who told the Young Republicans to "shhhh, put down your ´Build the Fence´ signs until after the election?"
Oh the hypocrisy of this ad! He is pandering and lying to both sides!
English Script For "Which Side Are They On?" (TV:30)
Announcer: Obama and his Congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail.
The result:
. No guest worker program.
. No path to citizenship.
. No secure borders.
. No reform.
Is that being on our side?
Obama and his Congressional allies ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
Announcer: Paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee. Approved by McCain-Palin 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Breaking News: Republican Scandal - Sex, Drugs, Oil - A Culture of Ethical Failure!

Do you wonder why gas prices are so high?
As many of us have suspected for some time, recent reports indicate the Bush Administration is up to its elbows in bed, literally and figuratively, with the Oil Companies, including Chevron, Shell, Hess and Williams Energy. The Office of Minerals Management Service (MMS), particularly the Royalty-in-Kind (RIK) Program (started in 2003) , where offshore drilling meets the U.S. government, has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct. In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.
Financial Self Dealing & Cronyism:
1. Lucy Q. Denett, the former associate director of minerals revenue management, worked with two aides to steer a lucrative consulting contract to one of the aides after he retired, violating competitive procurement rules. Ms. Denet´s husband is Paul A. Denett, who was the top procurement official in the White House Office of Management and Budget.
2. In late 2002, when he was about to retire, Mr. Jimmy Mayberry drafted a “statement of work” for a consulting contract to perform essentially identical functions to his own. He then retired, started a company, and in June 2003 won the contract with the help of Ms. Denett and Milton Dial, another friend at the agency.
3. Gregory W. Smith, program director of the royalty-in-kind program, improperly used his position with the royalty program to get an outside consulting job helping a technical services firm seek deals with oil and gas companies with which he was also conducting official business. The report also accused Mr. Smith of improperly accepting gifts from the oil and gas industry, of engaging in sex with two subordinates (including his secretary) and of using cocaine (which were called "office supplies") that he purchased from his secretary or her boyfriend several times a year between 2002 and 2005. He sometimes asked for the drugs and received them in his office during work hours.
4. A Chevron representative who had won a bid to purchase some of the government’s oil to pay taxpayers a lower amount than his winning offer because he said he made a mistake in his calculations. A report from Mr. Devaney’s office earlier this year found that the program frequently allowed companies that purchased the oil and gas to revise their bids downward after they won contracts. It documented 118 such occasions that cost taxpayers about $4.4 million.
5. One of the officials shared (inside) information about the confidential price a pipeline company was charging the government.
Lavish Expense Accounts:
Two other reports focus on “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” in the service’s Royalty-in-Kind (RIK) program. That part of the agency collects about $4 billion a year in oil and gas rather than cash royalties. Based in suburban Denver and modeled to operate like a private sector energy company, the royalty-in-kind program sells oil and gas on the open market. Its employees are subject to government ethics rules, such as restrictions on taking gifts from people and companies with whom they conduct official business. One of the reports says that the officials viewed themselves as exempt from those limits, indulging themselves in the expense-account-fueled world of oil and gas executives, “a pattern of abuses and mismanagement” costing taxpayers billions. The report also detailed cozy relationships between energy companies and other officials in the royalty-in-kind program office. Some 19 officials — a third of the staff — took gifts from oil and gas executives, some with “prodigious frequency,” it said.
Sex, Drugs, Ethics Violations
The report says that eight officials in the royalty program accepted gifts from energy companies whose value exceeded limits set by ethics rules — including golf, ski and paintball outings; meals and drinks; and tickets to a Toby Keith concert, a Houston Texans football game and a Colorado Rockies baseball game. The investigation also concluded that several of the officials “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”
The investigation separately found that the program’s manager mixed official and personal business. In sometimes lurid detail, the report also accuses him of having intimate relations with two subordinates, one of whom regularly sold him cocaine. The culture of the organization “appeared to be devoid of both the ethical standards and internal controls sufficient to protect the integrity of this vital revenue-producing program,” one report said. The director of the Minerals Management Service, Randall Luthi, said in a conference call with reporters that the officials implicated in the reports had violated the public’s trust.
1. Greg Smith, the assistant RIK program director, who, according to the inspector general's report, referred to "cocaine" as "office supplies" and who moonlighted for an environmental services firm that hired him to set up meetings with MMS clients, comes off as a one-of-a-kind wild man.
2. Two of the officials who marketed taxpayers’ oil got so drunk at a daytime golfing event sponsored by Shell that they could not drive to their hotels and were put up in Shell-provided lodging. Two female employees “engaged in brief sexual relationships with industry contacts.”
They said they did not view socializing with oil company representatives and taking gifts as inappropriate because they said they needed to be part of the marketing culture in order to market the program’s oil and gas.
About the MMS:
The Minerals Management Service is an agency within the Department of Interior, set up during the Reagan administration to manage natural mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf and some federal and Indian lands. MMS generates about $8 billion in revenue from leasing the rights to drill for oil and gas -- that's the single largest non-tax source of revenue for the federal government. MMS has two mechanisms for carving out that revenue. In the Royalty-in-Value program, it gets a cut off the top of whatever the oil companies are able to sell their mineral resources for. In the Royalty-in-Kind program -- which is where all the above abuses occurred -- the energy companies physically deliver oil and gas to MMS, which then pockets the proceeds from selling the goods itself. Of course, MMS does not actually own any transportation pipelines or storage facilities, so it has to contract out for these services from the private sector. Such a scenario carries with it obvious potential for conflicts of interest and corruption.
McCain and the Scandal:
Think about this every time you hear John McCain chant "drill, baby, drill." You might be familiar with the name of one of the oil companies lavishing gifts on MMS employees: the Hess Corp. You may recall that at precisely the moment that McCain recanted his long-held position against offshore drilling, he was showered with campaign contributions from Hess family members and company employees. I guess that's how the oil business works -- you pay off your government officials, and you get the contract.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Young Republicans Silenced by McCain - Why Isn´t Fox (or media) Reporting This?

Young Republicans are saying McCain and his staff CENSORED them at the RNC Convention and made them take their "Build the Fence" sign down! The ANTI Immigration Reform Websites (alipac.us, firesociety, stein, malkin, etc.) are in an uproar that McCain made the YAFers take their sign down! They are even extending their anger to McCain´s running mate, Palin. (see video in Right Panel of this page) Why isn´t FOX or any of the MSM reporting about this?
The McCain strategy has changed. Rather than promoting the "Experience" strategy, their strategy is "Change the Subject"!
McCain DOES NOT want to talk about:
1. The War
2. The Economy
3. Immigration, the Wall, Immigration Reform
4. Bush, his years (and mistakes) in Office - (4 more of the last 8 years)
5. Women´s Issues, Education

Instead, all you hear Fox talking about is, (watching now)"Obama is rattled" "She is the focus of this campaign""Pigs and Lipstick""Obama is going negative"
The video (above right) clearly exemplifies their "CHANGE THE SUBJECT" strategy. They do not want to discuss the Immigration issues or policies. They do want to pander to both sides of the Immigration debate.
I suggest we promote a new strategy for McCain, FOX and the MSM. TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES!!!! Show this Video in the MSM. Talk about it! And let´s HEAR what YOU are going to do about it! Regardless of WHO you offend.
Here is what the ANTI sites are saying:
Young Republicans told to take down “Build The Fence” signs at Republican Convention
September 7th, 2008
Apparently John McCain doesn’t like to lie in his own poorly made bed. At the Republican Convention, a group of young Republicans created their own sign that said “Build The Fence” and soon after, McCain’s security detail ordered them to take it down. Funny how McCain didn’t have a problem with the “Viva McCain” signs or other signs written in Spanish. I think it’s clear what side of the FENCE McCain is on - and it isn’t on the AMERICAN side. I’ve been hearing lots of buzz about Sarah Palin - isn’t it great she is with McCain - now we should vote for McCain - blah blah blah. Well I will NOT soon forget.

Rand Study Mischaracterized by LA Times Op-Ed and Blog

A Rand Study is being mis characterized by an LA Times Op-Ed and LA Times ANTI Blog. The study says "Deportable immigrants released from the Los Angeles County jail system were no more likely to be rearrested than similar nondeportable immigrants released during the same period" yet the LA Times Blog and an LA Time Article say: "Illegal immigrants who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes." The LA Times Op-Ed and Blog took one bullet from the study and spun it in order to create their mischaracterization. See both articles below.
RAND.org Reports:
Recidivism No Higher Among Deportable Immigrants Than Similar Nondeportable Immigrants
Deportable immigrants released from the Los Angeles County jail system were no more likely to be rearrested than similar nondeportable immigrants released during the same period, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today. Researchers say the findings suggest that illegal and other immigrants subject to deportation who are released into the community from a local jail do not pose a greater threat to public safety than non-deportable immigrants released at the same time. Researchers studied nearly 1,300 male immigrants released from jail over a 30-day period and followed them for a year to see whether there were differences in recidivism between the deportable and nondeportable immigrants. Immigrants who were deportable — deemed so because they entered the United States illegally, overstayed their visas or committed other violations — were no more likely to be rearrested during the study period when compared to similar legal or naturalized immigrants. “Our findings run counter to the notion that illegal immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to cycle in and out of the local criminal justice system,” said Laura Hickman, assistant professor with the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute at Portland State University and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

The LA Times took were able to SPIN their articles based on one line in this report.
Hickman and co-author Marika Suttorp of RAND found that a higher percentage of deportable immigrants were rearrested at least once during the following year — 43 percent compared to 35 percent. But when researchers compared deportable immigrants to similar nondeportable immigrants — considering factors such as age, ethnicity, country of birth, and type of criminal arrest — the differences disappeared. Criminal justice research has shown that some groups are more likely than others to be rearrested. For example, younger people and those jailed on drug charges have higher rates of recidivism than other groups.
The results of this study are significant because the researchers were able to show that the difference in the simple percentages of rearrest between the groups (43 versus 35) was due to the influence of the other factors like age, ethnicity, and criminal history related to recidivism. When these factors were accounted for in the analysis, immigration status had no influence on rearrest.

Here is the LA Times Article. It takes one Leap from the point of the article and begins the mischaracterization:
LATIMES.com Op-Ed:
Illegal immigrants who return after deportation commit more crimes, study finds
In L.A. County, 75% of inmates who reenter the U.S. engage in more criminal activity within a year. The rate is less for illegal immigrants who have never been ordered to leave.
By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer September 8, 2008
Illegal immigrants who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes, according to a study by the nonprofit Rand Corp.The data indicated that illegal immigrants, overall, were not a greater crime risk, according to the study, which looked at all inmates released from Los Angeles County Jail for a month in 2002.

Here is the LA Times Blog that totally skews the actual Study:
LA Times Blog writes:
Title: Illegal immigrants in our jails: Fuel to the fire
L.A. law enforcement officials have focused increasing resources on identifying and deporting illegal immigrants in the jail system. Now, there is some fresh evidence on the problem: According to a Rand study, illegal immigrants deported from the jail are highly likely to commit more crimes.
Anna (OpEd Author) did an interesting story this summer going inside the jail and looking at the process for deporting illegal immigrants. The report is likely to add to the debate over Jamiel's Law, which would permit Los Angeles police officers to arrest gang members for breaking U.S. immigration law.

It is no wonder that Arizonian, a commenter on my blog brought the LA Times Blog to me and asked me to blog about it. The entire study is mischaracterized and spun in an opposite direction. If we are going to use studies in our discussions, we need to look at the studies, make sure they are unbiased then discuss them from an open, honest perspective.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Agriprocessor´s Slaughterhouse charged with using child labor
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The owner and managers of the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant were charged Tuesday with more than 9,000 misdemeanors alleging child labor law violations. They're accused of hiring minors and, in some cases, having children younger than 16 handle dangerous equipment such as circular saws, meat grinders and power shears. The allegations are the first criminal charges against operators of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, where nearly 400 illegal immigrants working at the facility were arrested in May in one of the largest single-site immigration raids in U.S. history. The complaint filed by the Iowa attorney general's office said the violations involved 32 illegal-immigrant children under age 18, including seven who were younger than 16. The complaint says in addition to handling dangerous equipment, the children were exposed to hazardous chemicals such as chlorine solutions and dry ice. The attorney general's office said the violations occurred from September 9, 2007, to May 12, 2008, when the plant was raided by federal immigration agents. Charged are the company itself, Agriprocessors Inc.; plant owner Abraham Aaron Rubashkin; former plant manager Sholom Rubashkin; human resources manager Elizabeth Billmeyer; and Laura Althouse and Karina Freund, management employees in the company's human resources division. (Yes!!)
Each defendant faces 9,311 individual counts -- one for each day a particular violation is alleged for each worker.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said at a news conference on Tuesday that he would not elaborate on what evidence led to the indictment.
"All of the named individual defendants possessed shared knowledge that Agriprocessors employed undocumented aliens. It was likewise shared knowledge among the defendants that many of those workers were minors," the affidavit said. The charges are simple misdemeanors, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of $65 to $625.
Miller said the case is the largest of its type he'd handled in his 26 years as attorney general. Chaim Abrams, a manager at the plant, said in a statement that Agriprocessors "vehemently denies" the allegations. He said the underage workers -- not the company -- are to blame. "All of the minors at issue lied about their age in order to gain employment at the company," he said. "At the time of hiring, all of the minors, like all job applicants, presented and signed documents stating that they were over 18. They knew that, if they told the truth about their age, they would not be hired."
Abrams said the state wouldn't be able to back up its case.
"In order to convict, the state is going to have to prove that the defendants willfully violated the child labor laws," he said. " ... The state will not be able to carry this burden of proof. Agriprocessors acted in good faith on the child labor issue. We look forward to our day in court."
Sonia Parras Konrad, an attorney representing more than 20 of the children, said her clients were as young as 14 when they started working at the plant. "We don't need to see any papers to see that someone is a child," she said. "This was not one mistake, two mistakes, three mistakes, but many, many mistakes." Parras Konrad said minors in the plant were treated the same as adults and often worked in the same conditions.
"They were hungry all the time, it was freezing cold or burning hot," Parras Konrad said the children told her.
The attorney general's office said the company encouraged job applicants to submit forged identification documents that were known to contain false information about their resident status, age and identity.
"Each defendant ... hired children, retained the employment of children observed working throughout the plant, and/or participated in efforts to conceal children when federal and state labor department officials inspected that plant," the affidavit said.
The more than 9,000 violations the state alleges fall into five categories: employing a child under age 18 in a meatpacking plant; employing a child under age 18 in an occupation that exposes the child to dangerous or poisonous chemicals; employing a child under age 16 who operated power machinery; employing a child under age 16 who worked during prohibited hours or more hours in a day than permitted by law; and employing a child under 16 who worked more days in a week than permitted by law.
It said the company's records also show that employees were not paid for all overtime worked. Postville resident Dave Hartley, 50, said the allegations were unsettling. "Everything is unsettling because Agri's a huge employer in this town," he said. "So you want to see the town strive and move forward." He said one troubling aspect of the charges is that Postville will again be thrust into the spotlight. "You want things to get back to normal," Hartley said. "I wouldn't say it's turmoil in town, per se, but people are just wondering what's going to happen."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! Only Time Can Change Me, But YOU Can´t THIS TIME!!

When I was a little girl, my parents taught me if I finished my education and worked hard enough I could achieve my dreams. I knew, even as a child, I wanted to be a career woman. It didn´t matter that I was a minority. It didn’t matter that we were migrant workers every summer, picking crops. I knew I could reach for the stars.
My Dad always shared his stories with us. He was a troquero. During the Depression, he trucked workers up to Michigan from Texas to harvest the crops. He served as an interpreter. He was the workers champion. Even after he started working in the factory, he still served as an interpreter, often working for the state. He also worked with the Governor´s Commission to document the Migrant Worker Story. The Governor acknowledged him for his work. Dad always looked out for people. Occassionally, when the workers didn´t have a place to stay, he let them stay with us until they were able to care for themselves.
I learned so much from my parents, Work Ethic, Goals, Dreams, Humanity.
As a teenager, my friends and I marched for civil rights. We believed the words of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King. We were all equal! This is America! We can all achieve the American Dream.
Friends of all colors listened to Motown and Disco, danced, studied, and we knew we would all achieve our goals because we were equal and anything was possible in America! I reminisce about this time of equality and friendship every time I hear a Motown or Disco song.
When I entered the business world, I worked hard, learned my skills, learned office politics and knew I would help the company and my family by working toward our mutual goals.
This all worked so well through to the new millennium. Then a few short years ago, America changed. It wasn´t just a change in politics or economics. The mood of the entire country shifted.
We used to all get along. We used to get angry at the same things. We all became angry at the Oklahoma City Bombings. We all became angry at the 911 attacks. We were all in sync.
Then, suddenly, in the new Millenium, life changed in America. We started getting angry at each other. It wasn´t just the extremist groups getting angry like the Nazis, terrorists, gangs or Militias getting angry at everyone. It wasn´t just the political groups mad at each other during elections. Now the anger started bleeding into the mainstream groups. Every day people were angry at everyone that disagreed with them. We can no longer discuss politics. Many minorities are living in fear of being racially profiled. The word “Mexican” has become a dirty word.
This was a different kind of change. It was very different. It reminded me of the pre-Civil Rights days.
A number of things caused the change. Most of the blame falls to the Bush Administration. We took that left turn to Iraq. The administration has continually tried to divert attention from the war while pandering to multi national corporations through tax cuts and no bid crony contracts. They instilled fear in the American public, teaching us to fear new immigrants (legal or illegal). They painted terrorists as immigrants of different colors.
We Americans are turning into sheep. We follow along with the Administration´s political bidding. We fear what they say to fear. We believe what they say to believe.
These changes reminded me of the pre-Civil Rights days. I thought we were beyond racial anger. Sure there has been some discrimination but that is not the norm nor the mainstream.
I have to tell you here and now. I do not like these changes and neither do any of the minorities I know. This is the reason many of us have gone to the internet and created blogs and joined the PRO Blogosphere.
Now the current candidates for President are talking about Change.
McCain has the audacity to use the word Change when he, over 90% of the time, has been in lockstep with his buddy Dubya. The Republicans have artfully changed the agenda from "ISSUES WE CARE ABOUT " to "WHO Would YOU Like to See In the White House!" That is why they chose Beauty Queen Palin as VP.
The Repulicans are AGAIN attempting to DIVIDE US and making this a RACIAL issue! We are NOW Diverted! We are arguing amongst each other, just as McCain and the Right Wing Extremists planned. It AGAIN is Whites against Minorities. Big City vs Small Town politics. Unfortunately, the Democrats are again falling for their dirty tricks and are responding to their ludicrous agenda vs. sticking to their guns.

I ask for each of us to take a hard look within ourselves.
Why are we letting the Administration and the Republican Party set our own personal agendas.
I ask ALL viewers to stop. Reflect. Ask yourself. What do YOU want for you and your family. Look ahead ten years. Don´t allow the Administration or anyone else to manipulate you. Decide for yourself what do you want. Decide for yourself the real issues in America.

Here are MY top 5 Issues:
1. End this wrongful War in Iraq and stop the deaths of our young people.
2. Work with other Leaders to strive for Peace in the World!
3. Extend the Peace so our children and grandchildren can reap these rewards.
4. Stop the pettiness in America. We should all strive in America to get along
5. Elect a diplomatic President and VP in 2008 who will regain status around the World!

I ask you to make your OWN List. Then decide for yourselves. Who do YOU want as the next President.
Then I ask you, the most important question of all!
Go out today and REGISTER to VOTE!
I KNOW some of you on the political left (PROs) are NOT registered to vote.
I am BEGGING you!!!
Register to VOTE Today or tomorrow! Sometime this week!
Otherwise, if your side is defeated, YOU (and I mean YOU) have only yourselves to blame.
It it ALL up to YOU!! Look In the Mirror!! It is up to YOU!!!

AND, I ask ALL of my Latino sons and daughters, nieces and nephews to think of my Father, your Father, your Grandfather, theirs and theirs. Think of the dreams they bestowed upon you. Think of the Freedoms they fought for! REMEMBER! Remember the Dream! Remember the Dream when YOU Vote this November! Remember their dreams and the sweat and the tears they SUFFERED! FOR YOU! I want YOU to CRY when you Think of Them, of your Grandpa, when you VOTE this November! Remember THEM! And ALL they suffered!! And if you have the Audacity to Pull the Lever that Destroys their Sacrifices or Dreams for YOU.. Remember! Remember ALL of their Blood, Sweat and Tears to bring you the DREAM the American Dream! Vote Obama or Don´t Vote At All!!

God Bless America!

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