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Marie26's Journal
Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Apr 02nd 2007, 09:15 AM
That's a good analogy. IMO, it's more like the bank robbers installing a member of their gang as a bank guard. Or installing a fox to guard the henhouse. IMHO, this woman was a corporate mole, who was placed in this position to shut down the Inspector General & assure that the flow of crooked contracts could continue unabated. And also to assure that the Bushies could use the powerful GSA to serve their own political interests. She did her job WELL, as far as what her actual mission was. We keep thinking that these people are supposed to serve the public interest, being that they're in the public sector, but that's not how the Bush Adm. thinks of things at all. They are there to serve Bush's interests & Bush's interests only.

It's interesting that the chief of staff for the GSA, David Safavian, was convicted on felony charges related to his connections to Jack Abramoff. Safavian was also the White House's chief procurement officer. "The jury found him guilty of obstructing an inquiry by the inspector general's office of the GSA and of lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, a GSA ethics officer and the GSA inspector general. He was acquitted of obstructing the Senate's probe." Lying & obstructing a Congressional inquiry. That sounds familiar, doesn't it? After Safavian went on trial in May 2006, I think the White House realized that they needed to control the head of GSA to assure that more dirty contracts & corruption weren't uncovered. Doan was appointed the new GSA head that same month. A Bush Adm. contractor herself, she would make sure these contracts were not investigated further. Her primary mission was stopping the Inspector General's Office - this office had uncovered Safavian's corruption, and audits GSA contracts for fraud, waste & abuse. Doan actually wanted to cut the IG's funding and OUTSOURCE the office to private contractors! Wrap your head around that one. Talk about foxes guarding the henhouse.

Tom Davis, Doan's big defender, got campaign donations from Safavian & Abramoff, and crusaded to fire the prior GSA chief of staff, Angela Styles, who was known for her independence & reluctance to award contracts based on Congressional pressure. Safavian's wife, Jenifer Safavian, is actually an aide in Rep. Tom Davis's office. Of course he defends Doan - if she goes down, she might take him with her. It's all a racket. It's all about the embezzelment of taxpayer money to corporate cronies & campaign coffers. The corruption is so deep & systemic that we might never find the whole truth.

Ex-Aide To Bush Found Guilty

Washington Post
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A federal jury found former White House aide David H. Safavian guilty yesterday of lying and obstructing justice, making him the highest-ranking government official to be convicted in the spreading scandal involving disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian, a former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, was convicted in U.S. District Court here of covering up his many efforts to assist Abramoff in acquiring two properties controlled by the GSA, and also of concealing facts about a lavish weeklong golf trip he took with Abramoff to Scotland and London in the summer of 2002.

This was the first Abramoff-related legal action to go to trial and face a jury. Several legal experts said the case could embolden federal prosecutors to seek additional indictments against cronies of Abramoff, who has been cooperating with the Justice Department since pleading guilty in January to corrupting public officials

Where Did Safavian Work Again?

You wouldn't know it from the coverage of David H. Safavian's conviction yesterday for lying and obstructing justice, but some of his criminal activity actually took place while he was working at the White House.

Safavian managed to avoid being frog-marched out of the White House by resigning three days before his arrest.

And it's true that the underlying acts in his case -- helping to assist corrupt super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in acquiring some properties and accepting a lavish weeklong overseas golf trip -- took place while Safavian was the Bush-appointed chief of staff at the General Services Administration. ...

Oddly, Safavian's White House connection is barely mentioned in most of the coverage today, even though one of the pieces of evidence introduced against him was actually a note he wrote out on White House stationery.

Lawmakers demand answers from Doan on proposed IG cut
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Mar 03rd 2007, 06:59 PM
Cerberus is scary. This hedge company has come out of nowhere to own over $24 billion dollars worth of assets; it's got 28+ companies & 100,000+ employees (more employees then Exxon). They specialize in snapping up "distressed businesses" - meaning bankrupt &/or struggling companies. Cerberus seems to have huge amounts of capital at its disposal - just in the last year, they bought Delphi (for $3.4 Billion), GM's financing company GMAC ($14 billion), Albertsons supermarkets ($17.4 billion), as well as numerous TV stations & government contractors. What's more, RUMSFELD is a major Cerberus investor. ("Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was an investor in 2001, according to government ethics disclosures.") The amount of capital involved is mind-boggling - where is all this money coming from? Even Halliburton is regulated & has to file corporate records, but these hedge funds can operate in total secrecy & privacy, even while they swallow up billions of dollars worth of public property. In my tinfoil moments, I wonder if maybe Cerberus is Carlye - behind all the shells, they're both just huge money pots that allow powerful parties to funnel their wealth w/o public disclosure.

Business Week: "What's Bigger Than Cisco, Coke, Or McDonald's? - Steve Feinberg's Cerberus, a vast hedge fund that's snapping up companies -- lots of them" -

What's even scarier is how Cerberus is using all that money to buy politicians. The company was recently involved w/a big scandal involving Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis. Cerberus's contracting company had a $1 billion dollar contract to run the Navy/Marine's computer network. But the program had major problems - cost overruns, delays, shoddy work & management incompetence (Just like at Walter Reed). In 2002, the House Appropriations Comm. released a report criticizing the company, and voted to cut the contractor's funding by 10%. Lewis, the head of the Defense Appropriation subcommittee, also supported the cut & criticized the contractor's performance.

Suddenly, Cerberus launched a huge lobbying/bribery operation to stop the funding cut. They hired Patton Boggs to lobby the committee for over $1 million dollars. And Cerberus suddenly took a great interest in Lewis's career. In June 2003, Cerberus gave $110,000+ dollars to Lewis's PAC (Future Leaders PAC). The day after receiving this contribution, Lewis suddenly changed his mind. On June 16, Lewis suddenly decided to oppose the funding cut, and his Defense Appropriations subcommittee approved the full $1 billion contract.

Lewis then used this PAC money to fund other Republican's 2004 re-election campaigns & martial political support. He traveled WITH Cerberus executives to Cong. fundraising dinners & almost acted as their agent to direct contributions to other "favored" Republican Congressmen. A month later, in July 2003, Hastert appointed Lewis as the new "chief negotiator" on the 2004 Defense Bill. In that capacity, Lewis managed to increase Cerberus's Navy/Marine contract by another $600 million dollars. And one year later, the Republicans elected Lewis to be the new Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the most powerful committee in Congress. Lewis stated that Cerberus's fundraising "played a very significant role" in his winning the post.

"The congressman & the hedge fund" - USA TODAY, 1/16/2006 -

This is HUGH. Cerebus bribed Lewis to keep giving them gov. contracts, in spite of their incompetence, mismanagement and shoddy work. And then, Lewis used that money to buy influence & create power for himself. Appropriations Chairman is the most competitive position in Congress because the Chairman gets to decide who gets the lucrative pork projects. Republicans elected Lewis, because he was able to buy their vote w/all that Cerberus PAC money he was spreading around. And why did Hastert decide to appoint Lewis as the "chief negotiator" for that bill? Who did they bribe to cover up the Walter Reed negligence? We could find that Cerberus has bribed practically the entire Republican majority.

And here's another piece of the puzzle. Guess who was investigating Cerberus's contributions? CAROL LAM, the US Attorney who was just fired by the Bush Administration! After the USA Today story broke in 2006, a watchdog group asked the Justice Dept. to begin a criminal probe of Lewis & Cerberus. . Carol Lam, the US Attorney in charge of Lewis's southern CA district, opened a new investigation into Lewis & Cerberus a few months ago. She was fired days after asking the new Dem majority for documents related to this case.

Politics and the Corruption Fighter
NY Times Editorial,
Jan. 17, 2007

In its secretive purge of key United States attorneys, the Bush administration is needlessly giving comfort to any number of individuals now under federal investigation. Most prominently, there is Representative Jerry Lewis, the California Republican whose dealings as appropriations chairman have been under scrutiny in the continuing investigation of lawmakers delivering quid pro quo favors for contractors and lobbyists.

U.S. Attorney Carol Lam of San Diego is one of a number of prosecutors (there’s no official tally) being forced from office without the courtesy of an explanation. A career professional, Ms. Lam ran a first-rate investigation of Randy Cunningham, the former Republican congressman from California, who admitted taking more than $2.4 million in bribes.

Ms. Lam then turned her attention to Mr. Lewis as she plumbed Congress’s weakness for “earmarks” — legislation that lawmakers customize on behalf of deep-pocketed campaign contributors. The focus moved to Mr. Lewis — who has denied any wrongdoing — after the disclosure that one of his staff aides became a lobbyist and arranged windfall contracts worth hundreds of millions.

Stymied by the previous Republican Congress, Ms. Lam was negotiating with the new Democratic leadership to obtain extensive earmarks documentation for her investigation when the administration forced her resignation.

Lewis's Future Leaders PAC disclosure form from 2004 - almost half the contributors are Cerebus employees. -
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Feb 07th 2007, 08:49 PM
STRATCOM is responsible for nuclear strikes, not conventional warfare.

"USSTRATCOM combines the synergy of the U.S. legacy nuclear command and control mission with responsibility for space operations; global strike; Defense Department information operations; global missile defense; global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); and combating weapons of mass destruction."

STRATCOM was actually created by Bushco., in 2002. There's nothing in that description about soldiers or ground wars. STRATCOM is all about whiz-bang neocon toys - space warfare, nuclear bombs, high-tech surveillance. It's headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO & Omaha, Nebraska, and I think that's where Cheney goes half the time when he disappears.

Recently, STRATCOM created a new plan for pre-emptive nuclear & aerial strikes. This plan was called "Global Strike", and plans for the US to have the ability to launch against any target in the world. STRATCOM created a whole new division to implement this plan, called "Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike and Integration." This division finally kicked into operation in Sept. 2006.

This article by William Arkin explains just what the "Global Strike Plan" is:

Not Just A Last Resort? - A Global Strike Plan, With a Nuclear Option

By William Arkin
Washington Post
Sunday, May 15, 2005; B01

Early last summer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing the military to assume and maintain readiness to attack hostile countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran and North Korea.

In the secret world of military planning, global strike has become the term of art to describe a specific preemptive attack. When military officials refer to global strike, they stress its conventional elements. Surprisingly, however, global strike also includes a nuclear option, which runs counter to traditional U.S. notions about the defensive role of nuclear weapons.

Global strike has become one of the core missions for the Omaha-based Strategic Command, or Stratcom. Once, Stratcom oversaw only the nation's nuclear forces; now it has responsibility for overseeing a global strike plan with both conventional and nuclear options. President Bush spelled out the definition of "full-spectrum" global strike in a January 2003 classified directive, describing it as "a capability to deliver rapid, extended range, precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic (elements of space and information operations) effects in support of theater and national objectives.

This blurring of the nuclear/conventional line, wittingly or unwittingly, could heighten the risk that the nuclear option will be used. Exhibit A may be the Stratcom contingency plan for dealing with "imminent" threats from countries such as North Korea or Iran, formally known as CONPLAN 8022-02. CONPLAN 8022 is different from other war plans in that it posits a small-scale operation and no "boots on the ground." ...

Couple quick points from the article: First, "Global Strike" allows attacks w/o warning, within minutes after an order is given. Second, the strike plan is launched by presidential order, no Congress involved. Finally, the plan can be implemented w/o using military forces or conventional warfare - so even though we have no military left, this plan is still doable. If they attack Iran, this is how they are going to do it. They'll use "Global Strike", Rummy & Cheney's neocon fantasy.

Federation of Scientists report on "Global Strike" (pdf file) -
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Posted by Marie26 in Latest Breaking News
Thu Oct 12th 2006, 12:47 PM
this resembles the US's own policy of "extraordinary rendition", and our recent bill allowing forms of torture. You'd almost think Putin & Bush had shared their preferred methods of dealing w/the enemy. Ms. Politkovskaya was a true journalist, who was willing to stand up to the powerful & expose the truth.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Sep 11th 2006, 02:51 PM
When Clinton was on Larry King Live, he said that when the second plane hit the WTC, his first thought was that Bin Laden was responsible.

"Clinton said his first thought that day, after the second plane hit the World Trade Center, was: "Bin Laden did this."

His former adviser, Bruce Lindsey, narrated the events to Clinton, who was overseas at the time. "He said, 'How can you be sure?'"

"I said, 'Because only bin Laden and the Iranians could set up the network to do this, and they (the Iranians) wouldn't do it because they have a country and targets. Bin Laden did it.'"

On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Bush cornered his anti-terrorism adviser, Richard Clarke, & shouted that the attacks were Saddam's fault -

"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.

"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'

"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way."

Which leader had his eye on the ball here? Which leader was more knowledgeable about the terrorist threat Al-Qaeda posed?
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Aug 07th 2006, 08:54 AM
I know what Israel is doing is horrible, but it seems like people become very self-righteously angry at the Lebanon conflict w/o recognizing that we are doing all of this, and worse, in Iraq. The civilian casualties in Lebanon are bad, but don't even begin to approach the number of civilians that are dying daily in Iraq. The latest estimate is that 14,000 civilians have died in Iraq over the last 6 months. 100 civilians are dying every day. That's staggering.

In Iraq, many civilians also died as a result of the US's initial invasion. Israel has been criticized for indiscriminate bombing of civilians. W/the new "precision-guided" bombing, it seems like there shouldn't be so many casualties, & some people have speculated that it must mean that Israel is doing it deliberately. I don't believe that. During the 4 weeks of this conflict, 591 Lebanese civilians have died as a result of Israeli bombing. At the beginning of the Iraq War, the US also did "precision strikes" on Iraqi leadership positions during the "shock & awe" campaign. It turns out, none of those bombs hit the intended target. During the first 4 weeks of the Iraq War, over 6000 Iraqi civilians were killed. I think the lie here is that there is ever such a thing as a "precision strike." We were sold that BS by Rumsfeld because it eased Americans' conscience & made it much easier to go to war. They sold it as if we'd only be "liberating" normal Iraqis; we wouldn't be hurting them. It was a convenient lie.

But we won't see the children who died during the Iraq "shock & awe" campaign, & we don't see the results of those "precision strikes." The media never covered the toll on civilians during the Iraq War, because they were controlled by the Pentagon, and were also complicit in stoking Americans' enthusiasm for war. Wouldn't want any dead civilians giving Americans second thoughts. And we still won't see it. The news media has a nice shiny new war to concentrate on so they don't have to cover the spiraling violence in Iraq. And liberals have a new war to get outraged about w/o having to feel the same guilt & shame that we feel about Iraq. But when we see the horrors happening in Lebanon, IMO it's important to keep in mind that the same thing happened in Iraq - we just didn't see it. I think it's just easier for us as a country to avert our eyes whenever possible from the fiasco of Iraq. It's hard for us to face. We are Israel now; we just don't want to admit it.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Jun 13th 2006, 01:06 PM
The Truthout debunking got attention cause the story got attention here. And, also, the story was wrong. So, people pointed out the mistakes & drama ensues. I think that was a good thing, critical thinking is a good thing - whether of the MSM or alternative media. It helps you to find the truth. Alternative media can mislead, just like corporate media, and it's too bad. I think we have to just trust ourselves & our own judgment in this age of media manipulation.

I'm sorry if I thought you were saying that we shouldn't question a liberal newsite - it is important to question the corporate media spin too. But IMO, it's just as important to evaluate our own news sources, especially since most people don't trust the MSM, but do believe what they read in liberal sites. In a similar way, many conservatives also distrust the MSM, but believe implicitly anything they read in NewsMax or hear from Rush Limbaugh. We're better than that. I believe that. I like to think that everyone here is here because they're trying to find the truth about what's going on in this country & we can't do that if we're distracted by lies. We've got to demand total honesty & integrity from liberal newsites, so that the alternative news can find the real news, and inform its readers. It's the only way alternative news (blogs, etc.), have a chance to take over the MSM monopoly. To the extent that we're keeping news sources accountable, I think that helps to preserve that integrity. And IMO, it's a useful endeavor. We, individually, can help to debunk MSM spin, but alternative news sites can do even more to help fight the Bush propaganda. But they need to be credible to do so.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Jun 12th 2006, 07:01 PM
You've got it! It sounds like a perfect hoax for someone to give Leopold a motion from the Libby case as "Rove's secret indictment." The date is even right - this order was issued on May 26, 2006. The order lists 6 motions in order - probably the motions numbered 123-128, & 169? That would make Time's Motion to Quash the 128 motion. The order for that motion gave Time until June 2 to produce the documents to the court. Leopold's "Sealed v. Sealed" article also came out on June 2. The motions citation is a little different, though. Filed motions receive the "MC" label, not "CR", which signals the inception of a criminal case. Motions get a different label (Misc.) and seperate consecutive numbering. (So the full numbers of the motions here are 06-MC-123, 06-MC-124, etc.) These motions aren't contradicting the criminal docket, because that was a list of new criminal cases (w/o anything for 06-CR-128). According to Leopold, the cite here is 06-CR-128, which corresponds w/a criminal indictment, not a motion. And Time's motion to quash would be numbered 06-MC-128. So, the Libby motion citation is a little off, but it's still pretty close to Leopold's Rove citation. I have the sudden image of someone at Time reading Truthout & laughing.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon Jun 12th 2006, 06:08 PM
OK, I used PACER to download a complete docket of all cases filed in the DC District Court between May 10th and June 12th. The case cites have a formula - the first number is the year, the "CR" is the type of case (Criminal), and the last number is sequential & assigned to each case based on when it was filed. So, the first criminal case filed in 2006 would be 1:06-CR-0001, the second one would be 1:06-CR-0002 etc. Even though this doesn't tell us exactly when it was filed, it does tell us what order it was filed in. So, if 06-CR-400 was filed on August 12th, that tells us 06-CR-401 couldn't have been filed until after that date.

The criminal docket doesn't list a 06-CR-128; it's completely missing from the docket. This is typical for sealed cases in the DC courts. However, we can tell when it was filed based on the dates of the surrounding cases. Here's the complete list of criminal cases filed in the DC district court from May 10 - May 23, 2006.

USA v. MANSOER Filed: 05/10/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. DORIUS et al Filed: 05/12/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. ABDOULAYE Filed: 05/12/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. CURRY Filed: 05/16/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. WASHINGTON Filed: 05/17/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. HILLIARD Filed: 05/18/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. MANOR Filed: 05/18/2006 Office: Washington, DC

USA v. GARCIA Filed: 05/23/2006 Office: Washington, DC

No 06-CR-128 listed at all. But the case before it, CR-127, was filed on May 16, 2006. And the case after it, CR-129, was filed on May 17, 2006. Therefore, we know that 06-CR-128 was filed either May 16 or May 17th. According to Leopold's original story, Rove was indicted (secretly) on May 12th. In his new "Sealed vs. Sealed" story, he says "As of Friday afternoon that indictment, returned by the grand jury the week of May 10th, remains under seal.. The case number is "06 cr 128." But based on the dates in the docket, that case cite CANNOT be the Rove indictment. This case was filed on Tuesday, May 16 or Wed., May 17th - NOT May 12th (when Fitz supposedly met w/the grand jury), and NOT during the week of May 7 - May 13th.

Either the case cite he used is wrong, or the date of the supposed indictment is wrong - both cannot be correct. And where is the indictment? There's no missing numbers at all from May 12 - May 16th, when the indictment was supposedly made, no "sealed vs. sealed," and the two cases listed from that time period are not Fitzgerald's. Even secret cases will be assigned a number, even if it doesn't appear on the docket. The first "gap" in numbers comes on May 16th, and then 4 other cases are missing from the docket from May 18-23. My point is that you could pick ANY of these unlisted numbers & randomly decide it's a Rove indictment - but NONE of them fit the supposed date of the indictment. Therefore, the reasonable conclusion is that 06-CR-128 is not the Rove indictment, and no indictment was issued against Rove on May 12th.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Wed Apr 12th 2006, 03:45 PM
Interesting article about the connection between Immigrants & job growth. Cincinnati & other depressed Midwestern cities are actually trying to attract more immigrants in order to spur job growth & economic activity. (I'm waiting on the link to your statement that there's "negative job growth" in the US. I could not find one article to prove that contention).

Can immigrants save city? - As population leaves Cincinnati, there's too few to pick up slack.

The numbers come out year after year, and they are sobering: Cincinnati and Hamilton County lose population faster than just about any other urban area in America. Suburban flight is just one part of the equation - every major city is losing its residents to the suburbs.

There's one key difference between Cincinnati and areas that are growing in population: Immigrants.
Cincinnati lags behind the rest of the country in attracting newcomers from overseas, both legal and illegal. It is a symptom - and possible cause - of the region's slow job growth. ...

Historically, immigrant groups settled in particular cities for jobs, education and an already established ethnic community. But some immigrants also start their own small businesses. A Census Bureau report last month found that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew at three times the national average, increasing 31 percent - to 1.6 million - from 1997 to 2002. In the same time period, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 116 percent in Cincinnati (to 373) and 57 percent in Hamilton County (to 684).

Jobs and immigration are so intertwined that economists and demographers say it's difficult to say which causes which. "I think it's chicken and egg. If an area is generating jobs, it will attract immigrants. And if it's not attracting immigrants, then it probably won't be generating many jobs," said Gary Wright, a former Procter & Gamble demographer born in Toronto. "But you have to make sure the conditions in your city are right so people won't rule you out. You do have to be sure that this is the kind of community that welcomes anyone of talent," he said.

Cincinnati City Council took some baby steps to make the city more hospitable to immigrants in 2003. It unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution - sponsored by then-Councilman David Pepper - asking the city manager to allow Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants seeking city services to use identification cards issued by their consulates.

Here is another interesting article about the connection between immigrants & job growth. The "conventional wisdom" is that immigrants take jobs away & depress job growth. But a major Harvard Business School study found exactly the opposite: Cities with higher concentrations of immigrants are the places where the number of jobs are growing the fastest.

Linking immigration and job growth

Amajor piece of conventional wisdom about immigrants – that newcomers take jobs away from native Americans – has been questioned in a new study of urban job growth by a Harvard Business School professor and expert on inner-city economics.

The study, in fact, seems to show just the opposite: Cities with higher concentrations of immigrants are the places where the number of jobs is growing the fastest.

The research by Michael E. Porter, founder of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, found that about half of the 80 largest inner cities in America had job growth between 1995 and 2003.

Inner cities that lost jobs and those that gained them tended to have similar percentages of minority residents, and their residents had about the same level of high school and college education. But the two groups of cities differed sharply when it came to one demographic measure: immigration. Inner cities that gained jobs had populations that, on average, were 31 percent immigrant. Inner cities that lost jobs had populations that averaged just 12 percent immigrants.

"There is a direct correlation between immigrant populations and job growth in inner cities," Porter writes. "Immigrants clearly and more readily identify the unique business conditions and opportunities that inner cities offer and are able to capitalize upon them. In addition, they are attractive to small and large businesses seeking willing and available labor."

Coyle said that initiative's research has found that about 15 percent of the 100 fastest growing inner-city companies are immigrant-owned, suggesting that entrepreneurship does play a significant role. "We know there's an incredible amount of entrepreneurial activity that comes with immigrants," she said. ...

But the one thing that seems clear is that those urban areas that are gaining jobs rather than losing them are doing so even as they become home to more and more immigrants. And that's definitely an angle worth studying further.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Apr 07th 2006, 10:19 AM
McKinney will be accused of violating 18 USC 111 - "Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees" This is a federal offense, with a three-tiered sentence. If the defendant is found guilty of "simple assault", he may be fined or imprisoned for up to a year; more serious assaults create an 8-year jail sentence. In addition, if the defendant assaulted the officer w/a deadly weapon, he may be imprisoned for up to twenty years.

In order to convict a defendant of this crime, the prosecutor must prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of this offense are:

1.) Forcible assault against a person.
2.) Person assaulted was a federal officer engaged in performance of his official duties
3.) Defendant did such acts knowingly & willfully. (Intent element). .

Taking the elements one by one -

1. "Forcible assault" - Since "assault" is not defined, the courts revert to the common law definition, which is the use of force; or a threat of force that causes the victim to reasonably anticipate bodily harm. "Force" is simply physical action against another person. It doesn't refer to only punches or hits, but can refer to any physical movement to contact another person. The force need not have resulted in actual physical injury or harm. Thus, if McKinney used any physical force against the officer, or threatened/attempted to use force, this element is satisfied. Almost every news story, & McKinney herself, have stated that she used some degree of force against the officer (though accounts differ as to whether she hit him, pushed him, or poked w/her cell phone.) However, these differences do not matter much, because each one involves the use of force when McKinney physically contacted the officer. Therefore, this element is satisfied.

2. "Federal officer" - this element is clearly present in this case. The alleged victim was a Capitol Policeman & stopped her while performing his official duties.

3. "Knowingly & willingly" - This simply means that the Defendant intended to assault the officer. (As opposed to, say, an accidental contact). Note that the Defendant did not have to know that the victim was in fact a federal officer. United States v. Feola This only means that she intended her physical action; she didn't have to intend to harm him. It's pretty clear that McKinney intended to use force in this case, although I guess you could argue it was a reflex. This is difficult, though, because a punch/grab/poke is not a physical reflex, and she must have intended to do these actions.

As far as I can tell, this is a fairly open & shut case against Ms. McKinney, and if this case proceeds to trial, it is likely she will be convicted. She does have one potential defense, however. She can argue that she believed the officer was a private citizen, and acted out of a "reasonable, good faith" belief that she needed to defend herself from assault. I think this is the lawyer's plan, because he keeps mentioning that she acted in "self-defense." However, this defense probably won't succeed either. McKinney can claim this, but the key is that it must be a "reasonable, good faith belief". According to the testimony, the officer "grabbed" her arm from behind. In order to have an altercation, she must first have spun around to "poke, hit, etc." the officer. At that point, she must've seen that he was an officer - the uniform is very distinctive & she's been at the Capitol for years. If she knew it was an officer, it doesn't matter how offensive his actions were - you cannot use force against a fed. officer. She would have to file a complaint instead. Since a jury probably will not believe that McKinney "reasonably" or in "good faith" believed that she was being assaulted by a private citizen, this defense probably will not work. Her actions seem to violate 18 USC 111, and therefore she may be convicted for simple assault against the officer.

So, if she did this, why didn't the officer arrest her on the spot? A very good reason - the Constitution prohibits it. Art. 1, sec. 6 of the Constitution states: "The Senators and Representatives.. shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

This Article was written to prevent the Executive Branch (Capitol police) from interfering w/the duties of the Legislative Branch (Congressmen). Once she showed him her Congressional ID, he had to let her go. The Capitol Police had to go to a judge to obtain a warrant for her arrest later, which they promptly did. I suspect that her lawyers have advised her that she does not have a strong case, which is why she is now apologizing. At this point, McKinney's best hope is that the US Att.'s office simply drops this case. And I believe they should. Prosecutors have discretion to choose what cases they wish to prosecute & I cannot believe that this silly case is the best use of their time. However, if they do bring this to trial, I believe she will probably be convicted.
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Posted by Marie26 in Latest Breaking News
Tue Apr 04th 2006, 11:37 PM
In Nov. 2005, a French company named "Axalto" was awarded the State Dept. contract to create these new "e-passports". . Why this French company? I'm pretty sure why they got the contract, but there's a bit of backstory to the explanation.

France is the world leader in "SmartCard" technology. "Smartcards" ("carte à puce") was invented & developed by a Frenchman named Roland Moreno, and the biggest manufacturers, Axalto & GemPlus, are both located in France. "SmartCards" are small chips that can be embedded into ATM cards, phone cards, etc. to contain information. They are very similar to RFID chips, in that they can be read remotely & contain data, but unlike RFID chips, they also have microprocessors & 64K of writable memory. They're basically mini-computers. ... France has been blowing away the US competition w/this technology. They've been using "smartcard" technology since 1983.

In Jan. 2000, an American equity group named "Texas Pacific Group" invested $500 million dollars in GemPlus, and received a controlling share of the stocks. . At the time, this was the largest equity investment ever in Europe. This was very unpopular in France, where it was rumored that the bid was an attempt by the US gov. to take over French technology. After the buyout, the new board made some odd decisions. First, they decided to "outsource" all development & manufacture of the "Smartcards" to the US. This created a massive outcry in France & labor unions protested & striked until the board eventually backed down. Second, in 2002 the board appointed a new President, an American named Alex Mandl. Mandl resigned his position as a board member of "In-Q-Tel" to take his new job as GemPlus CEO. He is still the CEO today. /

"In-Q-Tel" is an operation of the CIA. They're quite open about this. According to the CIA website, In-Q-Tel is a "public-private partnership to ensure that the CIA remains at the cutting edge of information technology advances and capabilities." / The CIA formed this operation in response to fears that the US was falling behind on spy technology. In Jan. 2000, the project was re-named In-Q-Tel. According to their website - "Venture capital is a valuable tool which In-Q-Tel uses to accomplish its mission. An integral part of the venture community, In-Q-Tel has access to the latest technologies emerging in the market and operates by providing development funding and taking small equity stakes in companies with promising technology." . It's run by a Board of CIA & IT experts who decide what technology the CIA needs to possess. So, it's quite likely that the money for this TPG fund actually came from the CIA's In-Q-Tel, who then turned around & appointed a In-Q-Tel board member to manage the company on its behalf. Sort of a Trojan Horse thing - we don't need to develop the technology if we can control the company that does.

Here's the final piece of the puzzle - In Dec. 2005, one month after the epassport contract was awarded to Axalto, Gemplus & Axalto announced plans to merge their rival companies. ... This merger has been approved by the boards of both companies, & is currently awaiting EU approval. The new, merged company will be called Gemalto, and Alex Mandl will take over as its Executive Officer. This deal will create the largest SmartCard vendor in the world, w/11,000 employees & $2.1 billion dollars in revenues. ( ... ) Despite the global dominance of this company, the US's anti-trust division approved the merger. /. We don't care that a French company will soon control most of the smartcard market? Of course not; we control it. So, I think the company that creates these epassport chips is itself partially owned & operated by the CIA. That doesn't reassure me. Now, all of a sudden, Bush is pushing the need for "hi-tech border passes", epassports, REAL ID's & guest worker passes while the US gov. has a substantial share in the company that creates them. That's billions of dollars being handed to, in essence, the CIA to include smart chips into every passport in the country. Makes you wonder what will be included on those microprocessors. I'd really appreciate any comments on all this, especially since I'm way out of my depth on the technology aspects. Does this make sense? Am I missing something? Is it time to make a run for the border? Or maybe I'm just seeing something that isn't there (hopefully that's the case).
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Posted by Marie26 in Latest Breaking News
Sat Apr 01st 2006, 01:55 AM
Britain is trying to pass legislation to put RFID tracking technology into all its ID cards. At the same time, Sensenbrenner writes a bill to create a "REAL ID" card to identify all Americans & also deport all who are in the country illegally. At the same time, Bush promotes a measure to create a "border-crossing card" for Canadians. But this is no ordinary ID card, it's a souped-up card w/"biometric identifiers". Bush is confident that "new technologies" can deal with the border-crossing issue effectively.

In response to the US measure, Canadian minister has said that Americans will also have to carry the document to enter Canada. By 2008, anyone who enters Canada w/o a passport cannot come back to the US. From the linked story, "The United States is also putting pressure on European countries to speed up introduction of new high-security passports containing a computer chip with a digital photograph." Pretty soon, anyone who wants to enter the US will need these hi-tech cards, and anyone who leaves it.

Bush has very deep ties to many of the info. technology companies that can create these hi-tech cards. One of them, ChoicePoint, was responsible for falsely flagging voters in Florida as felons during the 2000 election. As a reward for that mistake, the database company has boomed under the Bush Administration (Halliburton-style) & it now receives tons of gov. contracts to create TSA "no-fly lists", "preferred flier" lists, "Patriot Act compliance" databases & biometrics technology. It's basically the corporate NSA, in the same way that Blackwater is now a corporate Army. I'd bet $100 that they will also receive the contract to create these new cards.

Why does this matter? ChoicePoint is also part of the "Total Information Awareness" Program that was supposedly shut down. TIA created a huge database of information on all Americans & assigned them a "risk value" for terrorism. Instead of being shut down, it was simply shifted into the NSA, as Gen. Hayden admitted. And this was probably done so NSA could combine the TIA databases w/the info gathered from illegal eavesdropping, as well. Because Congress specifically prohibited TIA, the NSA simply outsourced it to ChoicePoint & other crony companies. OK.

So, if the Bush Ad. (w/Choicepoint) creates one of these "high-security" passport cards; they can combine together all the database info from the TIA, NSA, no-fly lists, & biometric ID & put it on the card's computer chip. Ta-da! Instant 1984. Scanning the ID card reveals everything, just everything about you; from your bank accounts, to your travel history, to your employer, to your dissident activities. And, of course, we would need to carry these ID cards in order to prove our American citizenship. Americans would be tagged & corralled like a bunch of cattle. And, coincidentally, the Dept. of Agriculture is promoting RFID technology to ID domestic animals, as well. This all creates oodles of money for the data-tracking industry, & gives them the impetus to create the technology required for these ID cards & passports. If this flies, they'd not only know who you are, but your entire life history, your genetic & biological features, and your "security risk" score. All that's left is to hit the start button; and start denying travel, banking, employment, & rights to those w/too high of a score. That would chill dissidence & protest better than any detention camp. We'd be imprisoned already, within an authoritarian country that has total knowledge of our movements & activities.

But at least the illegal aliens are gone.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Wed Mar 29th 2006, 11:08 PM
There have been many pictures of immigrants peacefully protesting, asking for change, & fighting to protect their rights in the best spirit of social activism. But people don't seen to care about that; all they focus on is THE FLAG. OMG - why are they waving a Mexican flag??!! Ahhhggg! This just baffled me - why is that so important? But I've been thinking about this & I think I understand why people are so obsessed w/the flags. It has to do w/the conceptual framework you're using to structure the debate.

Flags are used for patriotism, but they are also used for battle - when the armies of one nation squares off against the armies of another for control. Flags help you know where "your soldiers" are & also where the enemy's troops are. People are reacting this way because, in some sense, they see immigrants as an enemy "invading army". Immigrants are not US residents, but part of an foreign "enemy". In this framework, the various comments start to make sense. Ex. - They don't want to assimilate, they want to "take over", they want to "annex" the Southwest to Mexico, they want the US to "become" Mexico, they're "invading" the US, they want to "occupy" the US. When people see the Mexican flag in huge protests, it immediately triggers these anxieties - that a huge enemy army of "they" is trying to conquer "us". So of course it's a "mixed message" to display both Mexican & US flags - in the same way it'd be a "mixed message" for someone to display both British & German flags during WWII. We're at war, here. This doesn't make sense on a rational level, but on the tribal level that flags represent, it makes perfect sense.

It's sort of ironic that Americans are having these anxieties at the same time that we ourselves have invaded & occupied another nation in Iraq. I think that makes most Americans uneasy on some level & we're sensitive to the issues of imposing control, invasion, & occupation. We will tend to interpret things like immigration in a similar framework. We project our desire to "invade" & "conquer" a land onto immigrants who only want to live in it. (Thus, the uproar over raising the Mexican flag over the US) In the backs of our minds, we know we invaded & occupied parts of Mexico, as well. So, when we see the display of Mexican flags, it makes us feel like the Mexicans are "reclaiming" territory from the US; in the same way that the insurgency is now "reclaiming" Iraq from US control. Control is slipping out of our fingers against both insurgents in Iraq, & immigrants in the US. We NEED to re-establish control & defeat these enemy insurgencies - even if we have to deport 11 million immigrants to do it. I think that America is trying to exorcise its demons over the Iraq War by displacing that anger & insecurity onto Latino immigrants. The two issues parallel rather nicely - as we lose control to dark-skinned people in one country, we becoming increasingly worried about losing control to dark-skinned people in the USA.

I know there are valid reasons for opposing illegal immigration, etc., but I'm just talking about how these things operate on a psychological level. On a psychological level, Americans perceive immigrants displaying flags as an invading enemy that must be defeated, before they can defeat us. Someone has said before that the US is using classic defense mechanisms - denial, projection, displacement, to avoid facing the reality of the situation we are now in. IMO, the recent uproar against immigrants is another example of this. The question now is how far we're willing to go down the rabbit hole until we can wake up.
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Posted by Marie26 in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sun Mar 26th 2006, 02:02 PM
I grew up in a blue-collar town in Ohio. Almost everyone worked, or knew somebody who worked, in the big steel mills & automobile factories. In the early 1900's, immigrants came from all over the world to work in these mills. It was dirty work, but they unionized & acheived a living wage & moved up into the middle class. Men could get jobs in the steel mill, and get a good-paying job to support their families. Then, the town steel mills decided to outsource their operations to Japan. In one single day, 25,000 people lost their jobs. The town has never recovered. All those men who had good jobs had to scramble for the other disappearing manufacturing jobs, move away, or settle for low-paying service jobs. My town has the highest unemployment rate, & the highest crime rates in the whole state. And you know what? It's not because of illegal immigrants. Right now, there's not a illegal immigration problem in my town, because nobody is hiring, & nobody is moving there. Instead, young people must move out to find jobs elsewhere.

Outsourcing destroyed that town, just like it's destroyed the industrial working class throughout the country. It's no longer possible to find good, respectable manufacturing jobs - they've almost all moved off-shore. Corporations are moving their operations overseas, paying less $$ w/less regulations, & slashing pension plans for American retirees. And this flood has inspired Americans to finally rise up against... illegal immigrants!! What the hell? It doesn't make sense to me. It makes me think illegal immigrants are a convenient scapegoat for politicians to use to divert middle-class anger that should be directed at corporations. Outsourcing is responsible for the loss of good blue-collar jobs, so why don't we direct our anger & power towards stopping that problem?
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