Saturday, September 5, 2009

Breaking News: Former top ICE Agent arrested in Drug-Smuggling, Corruption Case

azcentral reports:
Richard Cramer, a former agent in charge of ICE's Nogales, AZ office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been arrested on charges of cocaine trafficking and public corruption for allegedly aiding Mexican drug cartels. Cramer, who retired in 2007, was arrested Friday at his home in Green Valley, AZ, and appeared before a federal judge in Tucson, who denied bail. The charges stem from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation dating to 2006. In a criminal complaint, agents say Cramer helped a large-scale drug-trafficking organization move cocaine through the U.S.

Cramer's arrest comes amid a rise in criminal corruption cases involving U.S. law-enforcement officials along the border, where smugglers increasingly are using money or sex to buy protection or to get authorities to look the other way as they move drugs and illegal immigrants into the country. More than 80 officials who worked along the border have been convicted on corruption-related charges since 2007, according to a recent investigation by the Associated Press. The spike in corruption on the U.S. side of the border appears related to the war on drug cartels that Mexican President Felipe Calderón announced in 2006. Calderón has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to combat the cartels. Federal authorities in Mexico also have arrested hundreds of law-enforcement and public officials with ties to drug trafficking.

The U.S. has pledged $1.4 billion for a three-year program to help Mexico equip and train law-enforcement officials to fight drug trafficking. The first $214 million was released this week. The complaint accuses Cramer of using his position to persuade DEA agents to run database checks under the guise of drug investigations. They say he was checking to ensure that drug traffickers he worked with were not confidential informants with law-enforcement agencies.

According to DEA agents, Cramer was stationed in Mexico when he offered his services to an unidentified cartel and invested $25,000 of his own money in a shipment of 300 kilograms of cocaine from Panama to Spain that was seized by agents. In an attempt to identify who tipped off authorities to the shipment, the complaint says, members of the cartel reportedly discussed using Cramer to determine the names and locations of sources and how Cramer had "very powerful friends," including DEA agents.

In the complaint, agents say the cartel tried to buy back the seized cocaine in Spain with a smaller shipment of cocaine that was smuggled from Mexico to Miami. In subsequent discussions, the complaint says, members of the cartel reportedly said that Cramer quit his job with the government to work directly for the cartel. According to the DEA, Cramer was allegedly responsible for supplying information on the workings of U.S. law enforcement, including how it conducts records checks, investigations and the turning of informants.

The complaint said that Cramer was linked to the cartel through e-mail addresses and a direct push-to-talk phone line that connected traffickers to his home in Green Valley. Records show Cramer was the resident -agent in charge of the U.S. Customs field office from at least 2001. Vincent Picard, an ICE spokesman, said Cramer was still in Nogales in 2004 but could not say specifically when he went to Mexico.


Vicente Duque said...

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?
By PAUL KRUGMAN - New York Times

The Foolishness of Total Rejection of Keynes : How Reagonomics, anti-FDR, anti-Keynes produced a Big Party Bubble of Economic Imbecility, not only in Wall Street but in many "prestigious" Universities.

How they became Keynes-Illiterate. And the mess after everybody got drunk in the Party.

New York Times
How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?
Published: September 2, 2009

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?

Some excerpts :

During a normal recession, the Fed responds by buying Treasury bills — short-term government debt — from banks. This drives interest rates on government debt down; investors seeking a higher rate of return move into other assets, driving other interest rates down as well; and normally these lower interest rates eventually lead to an economic bounceback. The Fed dealt with the recession that began in 1990 by driving short-term interest rates from 9 percent down to 3 percent. It dealt with the recession that began in 2001 by driving rates from 6.5 percent to 1 percent. And it tried to deal with the current recession by driving rates down from 5.25 percent to zero.

But zero, it turned out, isn’t low enough to end this recession. And the Fed can’t push rates below zero, since at near-zero rates investors simply hoard cash rather than lending it out. So by late 2008, with interest rates basically at what macroeconomists call the “zero lower bound” even as the recession continued to deepen, conventional monetary policy had lost all traction.

Now what? This is the second time America has been up against the zero lower bound, the previous occasion being the Great Depression. And it was precisely the observation that there’s a lower bound to interest rates that led Keynes to advocate higher government spending: when monetary policy is ineffective and the private sector can’t be persuaded to spend more, the public sector must take its place in supporting the economy. Fiscal stimulus is the Keynesian answer to the kind of depression-type economic situation we’re currently in.

Such Keynesian thinking underlies the Obama administration’s economic policies — and the freshwater economists are furious. For 25 or so years they tolerated the Fed’s efforts to manage the economy, but a full-blown Keynesian resurgence was something entirely different. Back in 1980, Lucas, of the University of Chicago, wrote that Keynesian economics was so ludicrous that “at research seminars, people don’t take Keynesian theorizing seriously anymore; the audience starts to whisper and giggle to one another.” Admitting that Keynes was largely right, after all, would be too humiliating a comedown.

I collect similar articles here :

Vicente Duque

Vicente Duque said...

Immigration and Republicans: "Get rid of the issue, and go back to what Ronald Reagan believed: that Latinos are Republicans, they just don’t know it"

Washington Independent
Immigration a Tough Issue for Both Parties
By Daphne Eviatar
August 25, 2009

Immigration a Tough Issue for Both Parties

Some excerpts :

That was the overall message of a panel of immigration experts, pollsters and advocates who convened for a lunchtime talk on the subject at the Center for American Progress today.

On one hand, as CAP fellow Ruy Teixeira pointed out (and has shown in a recent study), the growing Latino population, the aging of white conservatives and the increasing political role of the Millennial Generation (born between 1978 and 2000) suggests that the culture wars should become a thing of the past — and so should the opportunity for conservatives to use immigration as a wedge issue.

But it’s not so easy. In recent elections, conservative Republicans have continued to use fears of immigration to galvanize voters against Democrats, though they were rarely successful, noted Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. Still, both Democrats and Republicans this year haven’t been willing to advance an immigration reform bill, and President Obama, despite election promises to Latino voters to advocate for reform in his first year in office, has admitted that’s not going to happen. And experts say it will only be more difficult as midterm elections approach.

“If immigration reform doesn’t get approved, it will it become a wedge issue,” predicted Anna Navarro, national co-chair of John McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council and the lone Republican on the panel. “It will make a comeback. Not anti- and pro-, but rather, ‘you promised, and you didn’t deliver.’ It would be a good issue for Republicans.”

Perhaps, but it won’t lead to “a rush to the Republican party,” predicted Sharry. Still, it could dramatically reduce turnout among Latinos for Democrats in future elections.

Republicans are still identified as the restrictionists, though, said E.J. Dionne, columnist for The Washington Post. “As long as the loudest Republican voters are identified as restrictionist, the message Latinos get is that the Republican party is broadly hostile to them.”

“I think Republicans are waiting for this White House and this Congress to lead,” said Navarro. “The best thing Republicans can do is come up with an agreement and get rid of the issue once and for all. Get rid of the issue, and go back to what Ronald Reagan believed: that Latinos are Republicans, they just don’t know it yet.”

Vicente Duque

Vicente Duque said...

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy : Cheerleading for Racism, Sadism, Brutality and Violence against Latinos - The Enabler of Violence, Murder and Hatred.

Not even the horrible brutal acts of Murder and Violence in Patchogue, Long Island, New York have stopped Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy from his career of Hatred and cheerleading for Sadism, Racism and Brutality.

He also tried to establish the "Minutemen", famous coward terrorists inside Long Island. They killed a 9 year old girl and her father in Arizona on June 2009 during a Home Invasion.

By being in Sympathy with the Worst Thugs of the Zone he enables Murder and Violence.

On November 2008, Marcelo Lucero was brutally killed in the street by a gang of Coward Terrorists. Steve Levy tried to minimize this horrible execution. Sympathy with coward bastards. He has continued making stupid jokes about harassing Latinos.

Southern Poverty Law Center
Climate of Fear
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy - The Enabler
By Mark Potok, Editor
September 2, 2009

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy - The Enabler

Some excerpts :

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy isn't the only Long Island politician bashing immigrants. But he is the most important

As misguided young men have engaged in violent attacks on Latino immigrants in Suffolk County, N.Y., some local politicians on the sidelines have been playing the role of cheerleaders. Far from acting as peacemakers, they have fed the atmosphere of hostility with rhetorical attacks of their own.

County Executive Steve Levy isn't the only public official engaging in the verbal immigrant-bashing, or the most extreme. But he is the highest-ranking, and since he was elected to his first term in November 2003 after promising a crackdown on illegal immigrants, Levy has been acting like the enabler-in-chief.

Soon after taking office, Levy proposed that Suffolk County police officers be empowered to detain Latinos solely on suspicion of being undocumented immigrants and turn them over to federal authorities for deportation. Police unions blocked the proposal, arguing that it would compromise public safety by making immigrants all the more wary of providing information about criminal activity.

Vicente Duque

Page Hits