Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Megaload of Unintended Consequences

By Bill Wilson
After an outpouring of opposition by millions of Internet users and tens of thousands of websites against the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” (PIPA) in the House and Senate, congressional proponents of the bills have delayed votes on Capitol Hill.

That is not stopping the Obama Administration, however, which has been acting as if the proposals have already been passed. The most recent example is the shutdown of Megaupload.com, a web-based data storage company that boasted over 150 million users, by the Justice Department and New Zealand law enforcement officials.

According to the indictment, the company was accused of facilitating the distribution of pirated movies, television shows, music, and other copyrighted material. Allegedly, the company refused to process Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests, and falsely told copyright owners materials had been removed when members of the company took steps to keep the pirated material on their servers.
Finally, according to the indictment, the company allegedly “made payments to uploaders who were known to have uploaded infringing copies of copyrighted works” and that members of the company itself were uploading infringing works.

If true, the members of the company would certainly be in a lot of trouble. However, this case has broader implications that should be considered.

Over 150 million users worldwide — millions of whom were premium subscribers — have lost access to their data files. By some estimates, there were over 8 billion files stored on Megaupload, just a fraction of which contained infringing material according to the indictment, which only claims that “many millions” of the files were infringing. Like many alleged criminal enterprises, Megaupload carried on several legitimate business dealings.

So, whether the company is guilty or not, Megaupload had millions of users who were using its servers for legitimate purposes — and they’ve just had their data seized without cause.
Get full story here.

Woman Gets 8 Years Prison for Saying Black Men Kidnapped Her



  by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World

You may remember Bonnie Sweeten out of Philadelphia from about a year ago.  Sweeten is the woman who made a fake call to police from the trunk of a Cadillac, claiming that she’d been kidnapped along with her daughter.  The truth?  They’d actually taken a trip to Disneyland.

A judge put an end to Sweeten’s antics, at least for a while.  She has been sentenced to 100 months in federal prison, equivalent to eight years, four months.   U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. made things very clear for Sweeten.
“You’ve done great wrong, and you have to pay the price,” Yohn said. Yohn called Sweeten a “master con woman,” and guessed that she’d committed 2,000 acts of fraud over a five year period.

“I’m very ashamed of myself,” Sweeten said.

Sweeten’s actions not only initiated an unnecessary manhunt for innocent black men, she also stole over a million dollars between 2004 and 2009.  Roughly $640,000 was taken out of law firm accounts, and another $280,000 was taken from the account of an elderly relative.  She forged a drivers license, court order and passport, and also convinced her second husband that she’d graduated from law school.
Sweeten was finally caught in 2009 when she spent money on an expensive house, car and in-vitro fertilization.

There isn’t much to say about Bonnie Sweeten other than the fact that she is clearly a sociopath.  It’s hard to imagine that she has any remorse for the harm she’s caused her human beings, and it’s very difficult to feel sorry for her.   What’s also interesting is that Sweeten the con artist was smart enough to know that she lives in a society where it’s easy to convince others that a black man did something harmful to her.  She’s not the first, nor the last, person to make such a claim.

Sweeten’s actions are a reminder of the collective image problem shared by black men all throughout America, as media continues to portray us as entertainers, athletes and criminals.  This misrepresentation spills over to impact law-abiding, normal, hard-working black men who rarely stand a chance when compared with the presumed innocence of kind, sweet-looking white women.  When it was all said and done, Bonnie Sweeten, the con artist, was able to use America’s racially-biased perceptions against it.  I shudder to think about how many innocent black men throughout history have served long prison sentences because of the lies of all the Bonnie Sweetens of history.

While there is plenty of reason to be angry at what happened in the Bonnie Sweeten case, there are also plenty of reasons to celebrate.  The same society that is racist enough to believe Bonnie Sweeten’s story was also the one that investigated the holes in that story and arrested her.  Thirty years ago, Sweeten likely would not have gotten caught.   Also, I dare say that if she were in the south, she would have gotten away with her crime with flying colors.  But the fact that there are officers who truly believe that justice is color blind gives us hope that there is a better day for our justice system in the future.

 Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Teens Charged with Beating Black Teen for Having a White Girlfriend



We might expect that decades after the notorious murder of the late Emmett Till that some of us might have become more civilized. But this wasn’t the case when a 17-year old boy was beaten for having a white girlfriend.  Joshua Merritt of Chicago was beaten in a hate crime in December, 2011.  Police say that the student of Brother Rice High School was attacked by three white teenagers at the same school.

The beating was allegedly motivated by Joshua’s new relationship with a white girl.  The girl was a cousin of one of the perpetrators.  The boys were charged on January 10th for their attack on Joshua.   Matthew Herrmann, 18, was charged with misdemeanor battery, a hate crime, and unlawful restraint. Herrmann will be charged as an adult and the other two offenders will be cited with delinquency.

“The 16-year-old was also charged with aggravated assault for pulling a knife,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Merritt was kept from being able to leave the home after he was beaten.  He escaped and told his family what happened.  William Merritt Jr., Joshua’s father, says the family is upset.

“He’s just hurt by it. He’s still really trying to deal with it,” Merritt told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s real cautious of who he lets be his friend.”

“I feel they were being serious, and that if I didn’t get out of the house when I did, I might not even be here,” Joshua Merritt told the newspaper. “I might be dead.”

African American Community in Dallas Boycotting Korean Businesses


For a little over a month, African-Americans in Dallas have been boycotting a Korean owned gas station in a mostly black community.

It all began when an African-American customer requested that the Korean-American owner lower the minimum purchase amount since the gas prices at the Korean gas station were higher than in other areas. The gas station owner refused. In response, the customer told the Korean owner to go back to his country, to which the owner responded “go back to Africa.”

This confrontation triggered a boycott of Korean and Asian businesses by the black community. This is not the first time that tensions between Asian business owners and their African-American consumers have reached a fevered pitch. Twenty years ago, there was a massive Los Angeles  riot by African American consumers over their mistreatment by Korean merchants.

At issue is always the treatment of black consumers by Asian business owners, many of whom don’t seem to respect African American consumers and are perceived as takers; people who use the black community to make a quick buck, all the while despising the very community they serve. It would seem that the real and lasting solution isn’t these on again, off-again boycotts, but to grow black businesses in black communities.

Michael Vick Says Someone Stole His Publicist’s Identity

Michael Vick says he’s aware that someone’s been posing as his agent and calling around in search of New York Fashion Week tickets on his behalf. But Vick says his publicist,  Chris Shigas, has not been making calls to secure Fashion Week tickets for him. The Philadelphia quarterback goes on to say that he doesn’t even have a desire to attend fashion week.

No report yet on who’s been masquerading as Vick’s rep to snag a couple of Fashion Week tickets.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reagan and Obama: A Tale of Two Visions for America

By Rick Manning


In the last State of the Union address in 1988, President Ronald Reagan used the opportunity to remind Americans and Congress of the greatness that America aspires to, not through increased government, but through increased liberty.

In 1988, he said, “I don't buy the idea that this is the last year of anything, because we're not talking here tonight about registering temporary gains but ways of making permanent our successes. And that's why our focus is the values, the principles, and ideas that made America great. Let's be clear on this point. We're for limited government, because we understand, as the Founding Fathers did, that it is the best way of ensuring personal liberty and empowering the individual so that every American of every race and region shares fully in the flowering of American prosperity and freedom.

“One other thing we Americans like — the future — like the sound of it, the idea of it, the hope of it. Where others fear trade and economic growth, we see opportunities for creating new wealth and undreamed-of opportunities for millions in our own land and beyond. Where others seek to throw up barriers, we seek to bring them down. Where others take counsel of their fears, we follow our hopes. Yes, we Americans like the future and like making the most of it.”

Just 24 years later, we will have another of the annual State of the Union addresses, this time by a President desperate for re-election trying to justify policies that have shredded liberty and economic freedom.
A President who has made class warfare the hallmark of his presidency and through his philosophical intransigence has created a debt burden on our nation unparalleled in history.
Get full story here.

Our Preview Of Obama's 2012 State Of The Union


Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

Newt Gingrich is a member of the GOP establishment and a D.C. insider

By Adam Bitely


If I told you that I had been the Speaker of the House of Representatives, author of numerous books on public policy, paid $1.6 million by a government sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac for my “services” and a special contributor to Fox News, would you believe it if I then said I am not a part of the D.C. establishment or a Washington insider?

Probably not.

In the past week, Newt Gingrich has probably had one of the most roller coaster experiences of his entire life. He had a come-from-behind double-digit victory in South Carolina, evaded a potentially campaign-ending interview from his ex-wife, and appears to be consolidating the anyone-but-Mitt crowd behind his campaign. In other words, Newt Gingrich had the best week of the campaign cycle so far and is beginning to turn this primary season in a direction that no one thought was possible.

Newt pulled off this miraculous feat by whining and screaming at CNN’s John King for being biased against Republicans. While Newt is probably right about that, it does nothing to change the fact that Newt is biased against limiting the powers of government. Yet it appears that many voters are ready to forgive Newt for a career of compromising the principles of limited government.

I wrote back in December that I was surprised that many considered Newt Gingrich a reasonable alternative to Mitt Romney. It made sense that voters who sought real change to the Obama administration would want someone that had a different history than Mitt. But when Newt became the poster boy for opposing Obama for a brief few days a month before the Iowa caucuses I was blown away.
Get full story here.

IMF admits $1 trillion not enough to bail out Europe

By Bill Wilson


Sometimes, government officials tell the truth, and when they do, watch out. It might be a good idea to hold on to your wallet.

A recent example is International Monetary Fund Managing Director Chrstine Lagarde commenting on the European debt crisis in Berlin on Jan. 23. Even though the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) has already committed €440 billion, the European Central Bank (ECB) €220 billion, and the IMF €78.5 billion to propping up troubled sovereigns Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) — some €738.5 billion, or almost $1 trillion in total — Lagarde said, “these moves form pieces, but pieces only, of a comprehensive solution.”

If Spain and Italy enter the equation, said Lagarde, all bets are off, saying a “larger firewall” was needed. Without it, Italy and Spain “could potentially be forced into a solvency crisis by abnormal financing costs.”

“I am convinced that we must step up the Fund’s lending capacity,” Lagarde declared, adding, “The goal here is to supplement the resources Europe will be putting on the table, but also to meet the needs of ‘innocent bystanders’ infected by contagion, anywhere in the world. A global world needs global firewalls.”

Saying the world’s financing shortfall “[i]n the coming years” could be as much as $1 trillion, the IMF chief proposed a dramatic expansion of her agency. “To play its part, the IMF would aim to raise up to $500 billion in additional lending resources,” she said, alluding to a proposal already on the table to double the Fund’s $364 billion of quotas. That includes doubling the United States’ quota in the fund to $128 billion.
Get full story here.

Will the real anti-establishment candidate please stand up?

By

Newt Gingrich is now claiming to be the “anti-establishment candidate.”  That’s right, folks. The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, a 20 year veteran of Congress, is claiming to be “anti-establishment.”

What a joke.

On Meet the Press on Sunday, Newt amped up his establishment rhetoric, saying “the Establishment is right to be worried about a Gingrich nomination, because a Gingrich nomination means that we’re going to change things, we’re going to make the Establishment very uncomfortable.”

I hate the establishment vs. anti-establishment argument. In most situations, it’s complete nonsense, used only by those who are trailing in the polls, as noted by my colleague Jim Hoeft in the Daily Press last week.  But for some, it seems to resonate.  Despite the apparent potency of the argument for some Republican voters, at least in this situation, it’s a hollow theme.

It makes perfect sense that Newt would adopt the establishment vs. anti-establishment rhetoric – it fits completely into his playbook. That book, which is by now dogeared and cliched, has the candidate speak in semi-memorable soundbites that sound smart as you hear them but don’t stand up to more than a few seconds of serious scrutiny.  This strategy was pointed out by the pure establishment, notorious RINO and flaming liberal Ann Coulter on Fox News this weekend.

Regardless of whether you think the establishment vs. anti-establishment argument is a good one – it isn’t, but folks are entitled to their opinions – Newt is the farthest from being an outsider of anybody left up on that stage. Does anybody honestly think Newt is the man to muck the stables of DC?

There’s really only one candidate in the race left who can honestly claim to be anti-establishment, and it’s not Ron Paul. It’s Mitt Romney. The man served one term as governor of Massachusetts, never held elective office before and has not held elective office since. He’s been out of office since 2007. He’s never served one day in Washington. He was never in the Republican leadership, never ran the Republican Governors Association or had any high ranking positions in the RNC.

Ron Paul has spent 24 years in Washington – longer than anybody else on the stage, including Gingrich. While his ideas may put him outside the mainstream, that doesn’t make him anti-establishment. It just makes him really bad at legislating.

Rick Santorum is a former two term Senator and two term Congressman, with 16 years of experience in Washington under his belt. In the Senate he was Republican Conference chairman, the number 3 leadership position, behind leader and whip.

Newt is not the anti-establishment candidate. He defines establishment. He was Speaker. He ran the NRCC. He was in the leadership for much of his career. Nobody was more inside Washington than he was. He had 20 years to clean this town up, including 4 as arguably the second most powerful person in DC and he failed miserably. In fact, if anything, he made things worse, by destroying the collegial atmosphere that had characterized Washington politics outside the glare of the TV cameras and reporters notebooks for most of the previous two centuries. He made politics in Washington an “us vs. them” phenomenon and was the true originator of the “permanent campaign” mentality (frequently attributed to Karl Rove). He has caused lasting damage to the fabric of our politics. He argues that he wants to change Washington, but he already has – making it far worse than it ever was before. But that “change Washington” theme won him the Speakership and helped propel us to a majority in the House of Representatives.So it makes sense, then, that he’d try the same routine again. It’s never failed him in the past.

But it has failed America.

For those out there who like the establishment vs. anti-establishment argument, Mitt Romney, not Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich, should be your candidate.

Washington needs reform, especially after the damage the Obama Administration has caused. And much of that reform has to be in restoring competence to government, rebuilding trust between the parties, and a renewed focus on true bipartisanship – not the Democrats get what they want while Republicans get hosed style bipartisanship that has become the new definition of the word. That will take a fresh persepective and the only fresh perspective left on that stage is coming from Mitt Romney.

Red Tails Rakes In $19.1 Million Over The Weekend, Fox Exec Says ‘George Lucas Was Right’ Read more: Red Tails Rakes In $19.1 Million Over The Weekend, Fox Exec Says ‘George Lucas Was Right’


Last week, George Lucas announced he was retiring from blockbuster films but he may want to rethink his decision seeing as though ‘Red Tails’ pulled in a hefty $19.1 million at the box office its opening weekend, The action movie based on the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, snagged the #2 spot behind ‘Underworld 4′, after George Lucas was very vocal about the various struggles of getting support and financing in Hollywood for the film. According to Lucas, even though he’s had success with films like Star Wars and Indian Jones, he had a hard time convincing Hollywood that their was a market for the film that features a majority black cast. After repeatedly being snubbed despite his track record, he finally decided to invest $60 million of his own money to get the film made and released.

The prequel and the sequel are already in the works, and Lucas had already said the only way that those will get off the ground would be if ‘Red Tails’ could have a $20 million opening weekend. The movie was just shy of what he hoped for, but better than the flop that most people expected, so he is now hoping to snag Spike Lee as the director of the prequel and possibly Lee Daniels for the sequel.
“If we can get over $20 million in our first weekend, we’re kind of in the game. We’re in The Help category. If it gets $30 (million) in the first weekend,” he continued, “then those guys [Spike Lee, Lee Daniels etc] get to make their movies without even thinking about it.”
After all the grief that Lucas went through to get this movie made, FOX, who marketed ‘Red Tails’ in America but outright refused to invest any cash into the film, now admits that Lucas taking a gamble on his “passion project” that no one else wanted to touch was the right thing to do.
“I couldn’t tell you how right he was,” Fox’s Chris Aronson said. “…This is why he’s George Lucas. He was right.”
Sidenote: According to reports, George Lucas decision to retire was provoked by the many complaints he received from Star War fans who were disappointed in the prequels as well as studio execs who wouldn’t even show up to the ‘Redtail’ screenings. He was quoted as telling the New York Times:
Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are? “I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.
Another interesting tidbit: Aaron McGruder, creator of the Boondocks, assisted in writing the script.
Did you see Redtails this weekend? What were your thoughts?

George Lucas and Tristan Wilds

Spike Lee Unleashes Expletive-Filled Tirade At Sundance Screening



Not too many directors are pleased with Hollywood executives when it comes to green-lighting films. Famed director Spike Lee let his feeling be known at Sundance Film Festival while screening his latest project ‘Red Hook‘.
In an expletive-laced Q&A, the veteran filmmaker said that Hollywood executives know nothing about black people and that he wanted the audience to spread the word that the film “is not a mother f—ing sequel to ‘Do the Right Thing.’”

And it was Rock who set Lee off on the night’s biggest fireworks. After Lee talked about how the movie had been shot in 19 days within a 10-block area of Brooklyn, the comedian and actor stood up and asked a question.

“OK, so you did it. You spent your own money, right?” he said. “What would you have done differently if you’d actually gotten a bunch of studio money? What else would have happened? Would you have blown up some shit?”

We never went to the studios with this film, Chris,” he said. “I told you, we’re gonna do this motherf—ing film ourselves! The plan was to make the film, bring it to Sundance, and … “
He stopped, looked over at Sundance chief John Cooper and quickly corrected himself. “Sorry, John, we were gonna show it to you first,” he said, backtracking from the implication that Sundance would have taken anything Lee gave them.

And then he waded back into the fray. “I didn’t want to hear no motherf—ing notes from the studio telling me … about what a young 13-year-old boy and girl would do in Red Hook. F— no.

“They know nothing about black people. Nothing!”

Spotted: The Wrap

by Rahiem Shabazz

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stop Bailing Out Europe

By Howard Rich


Contrary to the rhetoric of our leaders, U.S. taxpayers are still subsidizing an ongoing bailout of the flailing Eurozone. This expansive financial commitment — components of which have been cleverly disguised as currency swaps — comes at a time when our country can least afford it.

Entering 2012, the federal government’s debt stood at roughly $15.2 trillion — an amount that is projected to climb to at least $16.4 trillion in the coming year. This will be the fifth consecutive year in which the federal government has spent more than $1 trillion in money that it didn’t have – and yet lawmakers in both parties are still refusing to make long-overdue cuts. Even worse, they’re still refusing to address the unsustainable entitlement excess that's fueling this soaring debt.

In such an environment Washington simply cannot afford to pump more taxpayer money into bailouts at home or abroad — whether through loans, direct appropriations or clever “liquidity swaps” like the one exposed recently by Gerald O’Driscoll of the Cato Institute.

“The Fed is, working through the ECB, bailing out European banks and, indirectly, spendthrift European governments,” O’Driscoll wrote, noting that these swaps are nothing but thinly-veiled loans that the Federal Reserve has no authority to make.

Such opaqueness and hypocrisy is commonplace coming from this administration. Two months ago, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “we do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States and from taxpayers” to prop up the Eurozone. Hours later, however, Barack Obama emerged from a meeting with European leaders pledging that America would “do our part to help them resolve this issue.”
“Our part?”
Get full story here.

The Week Ahead: European Bailouts Are An Issue As We Head Into State Of The Union

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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NDAA, EEA, SOPA, PIPA…when will the government STOP trying to control us?

By Rebecca DiFede


As recently reported by NetRightDaily, both the Senate and the House passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); a $662 billion Defense bill. It broadens the military’s power to arrest and detain any and all people as suspected terrorists without due process protections, whether captured here or abroad. Despite veto threats from our illustrious president, the bill passed and was signed into law.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, another bill was introduced into Congress that threatened the safety and security of not just Americans, but nationalized residents as well. It is called The Enemy Expatriation Act or EEA (H.R.3166) and it is something out of a fascist’s playbook.

Introduced by Charles Dent [PA-15], and co-sponsored by Jason Altmire [PA-4], Robert Latta [OH-5] and Frank Wolf [VA-10], this bill allows the government to remove the nationality of anyone who participates in any terrorist activity, or activity that seems to be of a terroristic nature, or even something that only sort of has loosely to do with the subject of terrorists. As NetRightDaily also stated recently, this means that an American’s citizenship rights and the constitutional protections those rights infer can be stripped away merely based upon an allegation.

Both of these bills send shivers down the spines of the average American, and yet somehow the powers that be saw fit to draft yet another horrific piece of legislation that will haunt our dreams for generations to come. A bill that goes beyond our physical security and national status, and begins to threaten our First Amendment rights, the very foundation on which our country was built.

This bill is called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its Senate ugly cousin, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). SOPA and PIPA would give the government the power to obliterate the most important aspect of the internet that separates it from all other media: its freedom.

Essentially what these acts set out to do in the name of preventing copyright infringement is to target the host site itself, rather than simply removing the copyrighted content and prosecuting the illegal downloaders.
Get full story here.

Up in Smoke 2?

By Rick Manning

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that government-owned General Motors’ showcase electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt does not have a problem with catching on fire in spite of two test vehicles becoming engulfed in flames weeks after being subjected to test crashes. With 8000 Volts out there, and at least one mysterious fire in the garage of an owner to go along with the fires in the NHTSA garages, one has to wonder if the findings have more to do with the Obama Administration’s desire to promote the Volt rather than a real concern about consumer safety.

That is the kind of question that would never exist if the government did not own more than one third of General Motors. Remember, the NHTSA is the same agency that fined Toyota millions of dollars for an alleged acceleration problem that caused accidents, only to discover months later that the problem was a trial lawyer fabrication in order to fleece the corporate giant.

During the extensive media coverage of Toyota’s “safety” problem, General Motors vehicle sales jumped as the Japanese automaker struggled to keep its reputation for making a reliable vehicle intact.

And that is ultimately one of the practical problems of the Obama General Motors bailout. Every action by a regulatory agency dealing with the company comes into question, and every action against a competitor gets scrutinized as potentially being motivated by self-interest rather than public safety.

The Chevy Volt itself should survive or fail based upon the marketplace of consumers. However, the seeming regulatory push to save the brand must have Ralph Nader spinning in his grave. Okay, Nader isn’t dead, but his silence is certainly deafening.
Get full story here.

Could Mitt Romney be America's first Hispanic president?



Mitt, we hardly knew ye.
Or should I say, "primo!" As much as it embarrasses me to admit it, given some of his views and how he expresses them, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and I could be distant cousins. Romney's father, George, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and so was my grandfather, Roman.
first Hispanic president. Don't laugh. Technically, Romney is just as "Mexican" as former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was born of a Mexican mother and American father. When Richardson ran for the White House in 2008, he was often touted by the media as someone who would become the nation's first Hispanic president.
Que? You didn't know that Mitt Romney was half-Mexican? It's true. In fact, if he makes it to the White House, in addition to becoming the first Mormon in the Oval Office, he could also be the nation's
That changed this week when Romney -- in talking about his father, a self-made man who worked his way up from nothing to become head of American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan and a Republican presidential candidate in 1968 -- told a crowd at the Rochester Opera House in New Hampshire that his father was born in Mexico and came to the United States at 5.
Yet, I would imagine that a lot of Americans aren't aware of this branch of the Romney family tree, and that's because it is not a detail that Romney usually talks about publicly -- and especially not on the campaign trail.
Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, fled the United States and crossed into Mexico in 1885 to escape religious persecution. He helped build the Mormon enclave of Colonia Juarez in Chihuahua.
Miles Park Romney never became a Mexican citizen, and neither did his son, Gaskell, or grandson, George. They were all denied Mexican citizenship because statutes on the books in Mexico denied that right to American settlers and their offspring.
Speaking to the crowd in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney compared his father's story to those of countless other immigrants who have come to this country seeking economic opportunity.
My grandfather, a Mexican citizen, also came to the United States legally as a child in the early 1900s with his family, trying to escape the chaos of the Mexican Revolution. It was during the same time that Romney's grandfather, Gaskell, returned to the United States with his family, also legally and presumably for the same reason
Now, hold on to your sombrero.
I'm an American, born in the United States to parents who were born in the United States. In fact, three of my four grandparents were born in the United States. And yet, growing up, people in my hometown in Central California referred to me and other Mexican-Americans like me as "Mexican." That was the shorthand. But comparing bloodlines, you could say that Romney is more "Mexican" than I am. After all, Romney is just one generation removed from our ancestral homeland; I'm two.
This is ironic given that I've spent the last 20 years criticizing politicians who twist the facts, propose simple solutions and pick on those who don't have a voice.
And Romney has spent the last several months doing precisely that, just like he did during his failed 2008 presidential bid. He has used illegal immigration as a weapon against Republican opponents who propose reasonable solutions and in the process portrayed illegal immigrants, most of whom come from Mexico, as takers who come to the United States for free public benefits and ought not be rewarded with "amnesty."
We can expect Romney to continue that theme over the next week as he campaigns in South Carolina, where Republican primary voters will cast ballots on January 21 and where illegal immigration is a bigger issue than in Iowa or New Hampshire.
Lawmakers in the Palmetto State recently passed a tough Arizona-style immigration law that requires local and state police to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect to be an illegal immigrant (read: Latinos).
It's an approach that is wildly unpopular with Latinos and which has the blessing of most of the Republicans running for president, including Mitt Romney.
And that's one reason why Romney, even if he is the GOP nominee for president, doesn't have much of a chance with Latino voters. Political experts say that a Republican would have to earn at least 30% of the Latino vote to win the White House. Given how he behaved in the primaries, Romney will be lucky to get 20%.
In fact, a recent poll of Latino voters by the Pew Hispanic Center put the figure at 23%. While it found a high level of anger with President Barack Obama among Latinos over his aggressive deportation policies, the poll also found that -- in a Obama-Romney matchup -- the Democrat would easily beat the Republican, 68% to 23%. That's saying something given that, according to the survey, Obama's job approval rating with Latinos is just 49%. The takeaway: You want to make Obama more popular with Latinos? Easy. Pit him against Romney.
Listen to Lionel Sosa, a San Antonio-based advertising executive and Republican strategist who has advised George W. Bush and John McCain. A few months ago, Sosa told The New York Times that Romney had blown his chance with Latinos.
"(Romney) can make as many trips to Florida and New Mexico and Colorado and other swing states that have a large Latino population," said Sosa, "but he can write off the Latino vote."
It was Romney who recently promised to veto the Dream Act if he's elected president and if Congress passes the bill. The legislation, which would allow undocumented students to stay in the country legally if they complete a college degree or join the military, is extremely popular with Latinos.
It was Romney who first attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing a law that allows illegal immigrants who live in Texas to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. And it was Romney who later attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for declaring that the GOP shouldn't support splitting up families and proposing a pathway for the undocumented to work legally in the United States.
It was Romney who, in the debates, came across as naive by suggesting that the illegal immigration problem could be solved by simply putting more "boots on the ground" and as dishonest by not acknowledging the contributions that illegal immigrants make to the local, state and national economies.
And it was Romney whose campaign put up, in New Hampshire, anoffensive television ad that attacked Perry by linking him to Mexico and former Mexican President Vicente Fox, because Fox happened to agree with the Texas governor on letting illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition.
So the candidate who winds up vilifying Mexico is the same one whose father was born in Mexico? Who can make sense of this?
Listen up, Primo Mitt. You've made your bed. You're persona non grata with Latino voters, and it's your own fault. You can't win without them, but they can help make sure you lose.
We don't care where your family's from. What matters is where your heart is.
Posted 5 hours ago by carlos perez

Rand Paul blocked at airport after refusing TSA pat-down



by admin on January 23, 2012 
Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican and son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, was blocked at Nashville airport Monday after refusing a TSA pat-down, his spokeswoman said.

“Just got a call from @SenRandPaul,” his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley, wrote on Twitter Monday. “He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Paul said that the incident occurred after an alarm went off when he passed through a scanner at Nashville Airport Monday. Paul said the alarm had apparently been triggered by his knee, though “the senator said he has no screws or medical hardware around the joint,” the AP said.

TSA agents refused his request to walk through the scanner again to reconcile the anomaly, and he refused their demand for a pat-down, Paul said.

The Kentucky Senator said that “he asked for another scan but refused to submit to a pat down by airport security,” the AP reported. Paul “said he was ‘detained’ at a small cubicle and couldn’t make his flight to Washington for a Senate vote scheduled later in the day.”


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This article was written by the Associated Press; full article at Yahoo! News

By www.conservativeactionalerts.com

Gaddafi loyalists attack Libyan town



Forces loyal to Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi attacked the former regime stronghold of Bani Walid today, killing at least four fighters from the new government, officials and residents said.

The fierce clashes in the town, 90 miles south east of Tripoli, came as Libya's new leaders struggle to stamp out lingering resistance from pro-Gaddafi forces and unify a deeply fractured country after eight months of civil war and more than 40 years of authoritarian rule.

Mahmoud al-Warfali, a spokesman for the new regime in Bani Walid, said up to 150 pro-Gaddafi fighters raised his old green Libyan flag at the northern gate of the town and were battling revolutionary forces in the streets with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

"These are Gaddafi remnants who tried to take over the city," Mr al-Warfali said. "They have tried to do this before and take over the interim government's office, but thank God we have been able to fight them off."
He said four revolutionary fighters were killed. He did not know how many people were wounded.
Bani Walid resident Moussa al-Warfali said the clashes began when Gaddafi loyalists angry over the arrest of one of their men attacked revolutionary fighters in the town.

The fighting was centred around the revolutionary brigade's base, but has since spread to other parts of the town.

The clashes are considered serious enough that dozens of revolutionary fighters from Tripoli have been dispatched to Bani Walid to help, said brigade commander Saddam Abdel-Zein.

Revolutionary commanders in Tripoli also said "sleeper cells" loyal to Gaddafi opened fire in the capital in an attempt to take advantage of the fighting in Bani Walid. There was no word of casualties.

Abdel-Rahman al-Soghayar, a commander from the new regime in the capital, said shooting took place in several neighbourhoods of Tripoli, forcing people to remain indoors and stores to close early.

There were also reports of shooting in the western Nafusa mountains, according to Mr al-Soghayar, who was in touch with fellow fighters there. No further details were available.

The outbreak of violence prompted revolutionary fighters in the western city of Misrata and the eastern city of Benghazi to declare a high alert, setting up checkpoints and securing entrance points to the cities, according to Benghazi military officials and Misrata's revolutionary brigade spokesman, Walid Khashif.
The main flashpoint remained Bani Walid, where pro-Gaddafi fighters have long tormented Libya's revolutionaries.

After the fall of Tripoli to anti-Gaddafi fighters in August, loyalists of the ousted regime took refuge in the town and held off revolutionary forces for weeks, using the surrounding mountains and valleys to pick off revolutionary forces.

Even after Gaddafi's capture and killing in October, the city and its surrounding region have troubled Libya's new leaders.

In November, 15 soldiers were killed in an ambush by Gaddafi loyalists just outside the town. Revolutionary fighters in Bani Walid have complained that the country's interim government has done little to help secure the city.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Iran warns region against “dangerous” stance on Hormuz

Posted by
(Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister warned Arab neighbors on Thursday not to put themselves in a “dangerous position” by aligning themselves too closely with the United States in the escalating dispute over Tehran’s nuclear activity.



Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, if pending Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports cripple its lifeblood energy sector, fanning fears of a descent into wider Middle East war.

Tehran, which denies suspicions it is seeking nuclear weapons, was riled earlier this week when Saudi Arabia asserted it could swiftly raise oil output for key customers if needed, a scenario that could transpire if Iranian exports were embargoed.

“We want peace and tranquility in the region. But some of the countries in our region, they want to direct other countries 12,000 miles away from this region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in English during a visit to Turkey.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry ends GOP Presidential race, endorses Newt

Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his campaign for president Thursday morning. “This mission is greater than any one man,” Perry said at a South Carolina press conference announcing the decision. Perry immediately endorsed Newt Gingrich, calling him “a conservative visionary who can transform our country.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

Breaking News: Marines urinating on dead Taliban identified



Washington: Two of the soldiers appearing in a shocking video showing marines urinating on corpses of the Taliban militants have been identified, even as top US officials strongly deplored the incident.

"Two of the culprits and their unit involved in the shameful act have been identified," CNN reported quoting a Pentagon spokesman.

"We cannot release the names of the unit as well as the culprits at this time as the matter is being investigated," a Marine spokesman told CNN referring to the video which has gone viral sparking outrage and unrest in Afghanistan and the wider Muslim world.
The unit was deployed to Afghanistan mainly in Helmand province in early 2011 and had returned home in September or October, the TV channel said.

Marines urinating on dead Taliban identifiedThe US cable network quoted a Marine officer saying that the military was "confident that troops involved in the inflammatory video were from the third Battalion of the second Marine regiment based at Camp Leteune, North Carolina."

The video appeared to show four servicemen urinating on three bloodied corpses and one of them apparently aware that they were being filmed saying "Have a great day buddy", referring to one of the dead.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said those found engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.

"This conduct is entirely inappropriate for the US military and does not reflect the standards of values our armed forces are sworn to uphold," he said in a statement.

Earlier, the White House deplored the video.

"We find this - we've seen the video, and what it depicts is - or what it apparently depicts is deplorable, reprehensible and unacceptable," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, is a big embarrassment for the Obama Administration, especially at a critical time of holding peace talks with the Taliban.

The Department of Defence has ordered a probe into the authenticity of the video as well as those who were responsible for this.

"The alleged action is obviously under investigation," Carney said in response to a question.
He referred to the telephone call made by Defence Secretary Panetta to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in this regard, in which he vowed to hold accountable to all those responsible for this, if the video is found to be authentic.

"I don't know whether or not the President has actually seen the video. He is certainly aware of it and shares the sentiment expressed by Secretary Panetta," Carney said.

"Certainly what is apparently occurring in that video is deplorable and does not live up to the very high standards set for the US Marines or, broadly, the US military," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Panetta in deploring the video, saying "it is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behaviour that we expect from our military personnel."

In a statement Gen Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is deeply disturbed by the actions in this video.

"Actions like those are not only illegal but are contrary to the values of a professional military and serve to erode the reputation of our joint force. The Marine Corps has asked NCIS for a thorough investigation and I am confident that there will be accountability, as appropriate," Dempsey said. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Natalee Holloway justice? Joran Van der Sloot gets 28 years

Natalee_Holloway_Joran_Van_der_Sloot_

Natalee Holloway is a name likely to haunt a generation of U.S. parents. The teenager from Mountain Brook, Ala., went to Aruba in 2005 as part of a senior high school trip to celebrate her graduation — and was never heard from again. Many believe she was killed by Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot or, at the very least, that he knows what happened to her.

Van der Sloot was sentenced Friday in Peru to serve 28 years in a prison for fatally beating another young woman, Stephany Flores, 21, in his hotel room in Lima. It’s unusual for such a murder case in a foreign land to make headlines in America. But U.S. media have covered this case because it gives a bittersweet measure of solace to the grieving Holloway family — and to all parents who can feel their suffering.

Flores and Holloway’s parents never met. But Flores possibly met her end while trying to help Natalee Holloway’s family.

Investigators have long believed that Van der Sloot violently turned on the Flores after she found something, perhaps a clue, related to Holloway on his computer.

Flores’ murder took place May 30, 2010. That’s precisely five years to the day that Holloway was seen leaving a nightclub in Aruba with Van der Sloot and two other men on May 30, 2005.
After that night, Holloway vanished.

Her disappearance made international headlines and triggered a massive, multiagency search that included sifting the bottom of the ocean floor off Aruba in a bid for clues.

Over the years, Van der Sloot has told law enforcement officials, as well as the media, conflicting stories about Holloway. In one scenario, he politely dropped Holloway off at her hotel. In another, he left her, alone, on the beach after she collapsed. He also claimed at one point that he sold her into sexual slavery. And, of course, he has said that he had nothing at all to do with Holloway’s disappearance.

While U.S. authorities did not have the jurisdiction to charge him in Holloway’s disappearance, they have not given up hope that he will someday be forced to face charges in a U.S. courtroom.

In another turn of events, Van der Sloot allegedly contacted Holloway’s mother, Beth, and promised to reveal everything about his daughter’s disappearance — in exchange for $250,000.

The FBI, which became involved in the alleged 2010 extortion plot, set up a sting to capture Van der Sloot. But he fled to Peru with a down payment of several thousand dollars that was wired to him as part of the negotiations.

In a sad coincidence, Holloway’s family was in court this week for a previously scheduled hearing. The matter? A formal declaration of her death, necessary so that her parents can tend to matters related to the teen’s meager estate.

John Edwards Has Life-Threatening Heart Condition

Just in from CNN:
A federal judge disclosed that former presidential candidate John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition, a court source tells CNN.
Edwards had sought a delay in his criminal corruption trial, scheduled to begin later this month.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mitt Romney May Suffer the Same Fate as Monty Python’s ‘Black Knight’


By Richard A. Lee

In one of the most memorable scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a character known only as the Black Knight engages King Arthur in a swordfight and quickly loses his arm in the duel. Undaunted, he continues the battle, even as the king chops off his other arm and then each of his legs. The Black Knight survives, but is reduced to a bloody stump of a man.

I found the scene from this 1974 British comedy replaying in my head this week as I followed the New Hampshire Republican primary. Although former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the contest and strengthened his frontrunner status, he suffered plenty of bumps and bruises in the Granite State. Unlike the Black Knight, he did not lose any limbs, but his victory did not come without a price.

Romney’s GOP opponents raised questions and concerns about his record at Bain Capital, charging that he actually cost Americans jobs while leading the Boston-based asset management and financial services company. The charges not only weakened Romney’s ability to tout his business experience in the campaign; they also provided Democrats with ammunition to use against him in the general election. Romney also suffered self-inflicted damage through his poor word choices at campaign events in New Hampshire.

Nevertheless, barring an unforeseen development, Romney likely will win the Republican nomination and run as the GOP candidate for president in the fall. He may have won Iowa by just eight votes, but a win is a win. Likewise, as a former Massachusetts governor, he went into neighboring New Hampshire with an advantage and was expected to win. And he did win -- by double digits and despite sharp attacks from his fellow Republicans, as well as the damage he did to himself.

The problem confronting Romney is his inability to deliver a knockout punch to the rest of the GOP presidential field. Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and a re-energized Jon Huntsman all will be back for South Carolina’s January 21 primary, which is shaping up as the most brutal contest in the early stages of the campaign. And all five of Romney’s opponents could very well still be in the hunt when Florida holds its primary on January 31.

Like the Black Knight, Romney will survive through Florida and beyond, but he will continue to get beat up every step of the way and could end up as a virtual bloody stump of a candidate by the time the Republican National Convention takes place in Tampa this August.

Such a scenario has Democrats salivating, but it’s unlikely to happen. As the primary campaign continues, Romney holds a distinct advantage over every candidate in the Republican field. By far, his campaign is better funded and organized than any of the others. He has the ability to outlast every other candidate ; he just needs to do so with all of his limbs intact.

# # #

Richard A. Lee, who has more than 30 years of professional experience in journalism, government and politics, is an assistant professor in the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Read more of Rich's columns at richleeonline and follow him on Twitter @richleeonline.

93-Page FBI File on Rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard Released; Allegations Include Violent Crimes

By Danny Fenster

It appears some detectives in New York have been paying attention to their hip hop.

Newly released files on Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard reveal a thick FBI profile of the Staten Island, New York MC. ‎”The detectives have documented, in their case files, that the [Wu Tang Clan] is heavily involved in the sale of drugs, illegal guns, weapons possession, murder, car jackings, and other types of violent crimes,” the files say. All of which might more or less be gleaned from listening to a Wu-Tang Clan album or two.

The 93-page file shows more than 15 arrests for the rapper, legally named Russell Tyrone Jones, with charges ranging from resisting arrest to assault, attempted police murder, refusal to pay child support and the illegal possession of body armor, the Guardian newspaper reports. The files connect Jones to at least two specific murders and an involvement with the Bloods street gang.

Rich Jones of the website Gun.io filed a FOIA request for the files, which was responded to within a week.
To read more click here. To read the file click here.