Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August 23rd, 2006

https://i2.wp.com/www.indybay.org/olduploads/sb1160rallymadera.gif
For those who believe that all of the illegal immigration protests of late last Spring and early summer were not detrimental to the pro-illegal immigrant movement, aside from the obvious evidence, one need only look to the recent smack down that transpired with Assembly Appropriations Committee in the Democratic Assembly last week concerning the re-up of the always-doomed-to-fail drivers licenses for illegal immigrants bill (SB1160), brought to the floor once again, and for the seventh time by Senator, moron, and illegal immigration supporter, Gil Cedillio. Well, at least he’s persistent.

Senate Bill 1160 died earlier than anyone expected. The fact that it died in the AAC must be a huge slap to the face of moron Cedillio, especially since the previous iteration of the bill made it all the way to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk the preceding year before it was terminated by our state leader. There wasn’t even vote. Oh yeah, Cedillo’s pissed. See?

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Senator Moron, sorry to burst your the little bubble you live in where illegals dance in gumdrop fields with cotton-candy clouds and rainbows where leprechauns stash their pots ‘o gold, but that isn’t going to happen, at least before elections in November, and most likely until the end of the year. The Republicans and the Democrats both know that this is the politically charged issue in California this year. They will not jeopardize their positions, especially for your moronic propositions.

From the SacBee

…in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Another interesting comment came from Cedillio’s fellow moron, Assemblywoman, Judy Chu, a Democrat from Monterey Park.

She said, “I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Um, the debate on illegal immigrants’ right to apply for a California drivers license is a passionate one. Judy, there will never be a time when this issue can be discussed sans passion. Rationally perhaps. But minus passion? Of course not.

And here’s a suggestion. Upon finding illegal alien unlicensed drivers, arrest them. Maybe even, god forbid, deport them. If there’s one thing I and many other Los Angeles residents noticed during the Day Without an Immigrant protests, the freeways ran smoothly and efficiently. Congestion was no where to be seen on most LA highways. It was a glorious day. I say, bring on more protests.

Moron Cedillio was of course pissed at his fellow Dems including Judy, and the infamous Speaker Moron, illegal alien lover, and general insano, Fabian Nunez who surprisingly sided with the majority in this instance by agreeing to shelve SB1160, at least for the time being. Nunez may be a moron, but he isn’t entirely stupid. He knows as well as anyone, even though, and especially because he’s a member of the Green Party, that elections are swiftly approaching, and if he wishes to maintain a hold on his position some political acquiescence will be prudent.

But ultimately, why did the Dems decide not to vote to pass this if-you’re-in-support-of-it-you’re-insane bill? Because even though they know that if it were to find its way to the governor’s desk, there would be no way in hell Schwarzenegger would ever sign into law such a ridiculous bill. He’s already proven as much by vetoing the same bill last year. And those legislators who support the bill in their little illegal alien loving hearts, fully understand that the majority of California voters, not to be confused with California residents, are adamantly opposed to licenses for illegals.

Oh, but isn’t the governor’s seat up for grabs this November as well? Don’t illegal immigrants and their supporters have a hope that this bill will be passed if someone else were to become the new California Governor? Hardly. Despite the fact that the moron Phil Angelides supports driver licenses for illegals, the issue is moot because there’s no way in hell he will win in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The man is too out of touch. Of course, there’s a chance I’ll be proven wrong, but somehow, I seriously believe that I will be proven right in the end. The incumbent will continue his reign as Governor, and as a result, no drivers licenses for illegals.

More from the SacBee…

…Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

Hello! Cedillo, you are truly a moron. How can this bill have “the broadest support it has ever had” if it didn’t even make it to a vote on the assembly floor? It was scooped like poop from a litter box and flushed down the toilet. How much less support can there possibly be for your precious SB1160?

Apparently, and as I’ve said, there was an enormous backlash due to the illegal immigration protests and marches last Spring as was made evident concerning this issue and how quickly it was stamped out on the Assembly floor.

And speaking of marches, protests, rallies, and circus sideshows, it looks as if we’re in for more this coming Labor Day, courtesy of, once more, “Larry” Nativo Lopez. Again, I was very pleased with all of the protests/marches because they managed to illuminate to many Californians and Los Angeles citizens how detrimental illegal immigration is and continues to be to this state and this country. So bring on more protests, because you’re only hurting yourselves.

https://i2.wp.com/www.johnandkenshow.com/blogimages/ArnoldLicense.jpg

Immigration politics stall license bill

By Aurelio Rojas — Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:01 am PDT Friday, August 18, 2006

Fearing a voter backlash this fall, Democratic lawmakers Thursday derailed legislation to allow illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses.For the eighth consecutive year, legislation pushed by state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, that has provoked deep emotions on both sides of the immigration debate has apparently failed.

Unlike last year, when the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who had vowed to do so again — Democrats in the Assembly pre-emptively shelved Senate Bill 1160.

This time, the measure died without a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“My intention and expectations are to move the bill to the (Assembly) floor and to the governor’s desk as soon as possible,” Cedillo said.

But in order for the legislation to be resurrected, the Appropriations Committee would have to meet again — which is unlikely because that would require a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.

Cedillo blamed Speaker Fabian Núñez and election-year politics for Thursday’s development. A spokesman for Núñez said the decision was made by Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park.

“My understanding is, it was the decision of the appropriations chair not to bring up the bill,” Núñez spokesman Richard Stapler said.

In a prepared statement, Chu noted that she has voted for the legislation several times because it would improve public safety.

“However, it has come to a point where a rational, productive debate on the issue on the floor is now highly unlikely,” she said.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit IDs.”

Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who supported the bill, suggested it might be wise not to give more fodder to Republicans who oppose the measure.

Democrats in tight legislative races also feared they could feel the wrath of voters if they voted for the bill in the charged atmosphere surrounding illegal immigration this year.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic nominee for governor, has endorsed the measure.

But Cedillo argued there has never been a better time for the legislation, comparing it to civil rights laws that passed during the height of passions in the 1960s.

“This is the best year to move this bill, (which) has the broadest support it has ever had,” he said.

“In the spring, millions of people marched for the rights of immigrants, including driver’s licenses.”

SB 1160 would create special driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants that have a different appearance from regular licenses.

The immigrant licenses would not be valid for identification or purposes other than driving.

Republicans contend issuing such licenses would weaken efforts to stop illegal immigration. In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed another license bill introduced by Cedillo that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain regular licenses.

But during the 2003 campaign in which Davis was recalled, Schwarzenegger criticized the measure.

Shortly after he was elected, Schwarzenegger signed a bill repealing it, saying he would sign a revised version as long as it contained stronger security provisions.

Last year, however, Schwarzenegger said he wanted to wait until rules are developed under the federal Real ID Act of 2005, which requires every state to issue driver’s licenses that comply with a national standard.

His administration is still awaiting formulation of the regulations.

Cedillo argues the Real ID Act allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. He maintains that the governor has the authority to come up with a compromise in the interim.

“My bill conforms to federal law,” he said, noting illegal immigrants would not receive regular licenses. “I’m going to keep fighting for it.”

Illegal-immigrant license bill crashes

By Edwin GarciaMEDIANEWS SACRAMENTO BUREAU
Inside Bay Area

SACRAMENTO — California’s illegal immigrants won’t get a chance to apply for driver’s licenses anytime soon, based on the surprising decision Thursday by a powerful legislative committee that effectively shelves the measure yet again.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee, which typically announces decisions with little discussion and without a roll call vote, put the measure on hold. In political lingo, however, the action signifies the bill has all but died — unless committee members agree to reconsider over the next two weeks, which typically doesn’t happen.

This was the seventh time in seven years that Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, tried to pass the measure, which would establish a special license for the state’s more than 2 million undocumented drivers.

His most recent efforts have been passed by the Legislature only to be vetoed by governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis. This time the bill was shot down by a Democratic-controlled committee.

Political insiders suggested the measure was too controversial for an election year. The bill is opposed by Republicans — and a majority of voters — who say it would reward people breaking immigration law.

Republican Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, has said he would veto the bill. His Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, supports the measure.

Appropriations committee chairwoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, said she “strongly supports” the public safety premise behind the bill, but said a “rational, productive debate” on the Assembly floor was unlikely.

“I held the bill with hopes that the Legislature can come back later when the issue can be dispassionately discussed in a way that will allow us to solve the difficult and myriad public safety problems posed by unlicensed drivers and counterfeit ID’s,” Chu said in an e-mailed statement.

“As far as I am concerned, this issue is not dead and I would encourage my colleagues to continue to advocate for a fair and sensible solution.”

The response angered Cedillo.

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “My intention and my commitment is to move this bill to the floor. We have the right to have this bill debated, voted on, and moved to the governor’s desk.”

Assemblyman Chuck Devore, R-Irvine, said the committee made the right move, considering the bill is unpopular with the voting public. Slightly more than half of California’s adults oppose giving licenses to illegal immigrants, according to a Field Poll released in March.

“I think they understand this is a little bit of a political hot potato,” Devore said.

Mike Spence, who has led a statewide effort to bar illegal immigrants from receiving licenses, was surprised the committee held the measure, SB1160, which previously was approved by the full Senate.

“Obviously they know that a majority of Californians oppose licenses for illegals,” said Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly. “And they didn’t want to give the governor an issue in vetoing it, because they know this hurts Angelides because he’s on the wrong side of immigration in California.”

The national president of the Mexican American Political Association chided Democrats for keeping the bill from moving forward.

“They represent themselves as the party of opposition to anti-immigrant politics of the Republicans and they’re demonstrating that they’re no different in essence,” said Nativo Lopez, who belongs to the Green Party.

Jose Sandoval, who has led a San Jose-based drive to gather thousands of signatures in support of licenses, said the effort organized by Voluntarios de la Comunidad will continue.

“The people are going to feel very sad about this situation,” he said, “but they won’t give up.”

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Part 8 • A new enemy

After the Feb. 22 shrine bombing in Samarra, killing Shiites became more important than killing Americans – or guarding Jill.

| Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

(J.C.) Blind again under the black scarves – a now familiar routine after one and a half months in captivity – I was herded into a car, headed for yet another change of houses. I didn’t know who the two men in the front seat were until I heard a voice I barely recognized, due to the speaker’s exhaustion.

“Abu Rasha is very tired. It was a very busy day,” said Abu Nour’s No. 2, speaking in the third person, as night fell like its own black scarf on the world outside.

Abu Rasha was a large man, one of the organizers of my guards. His house in Baghdad – or what I took to be his house – was one of the first places I’d been taken after being kidnapped. I’d spent a lot of time in his presence. But I’d never encountered him in a state like this.

“Today was very, very bad,” he said. “All day, driving here, and driving there, with the PKC and the RPG,” he said, referring to Russian-made machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, which were among the insurgents’ most common weapons. It had been a day of hard fighting. But they hadn’t been confronting US or Iraqi soldiers. Today, they had had a different target: Shiites.

(Photograph)
SAMARRA: On February 22, 2006, a large explosion destroyed the golden dome shrine of Ali al-Hadi, one of Shiites’ holiest shrines.
GETTY

Two days earlier, on Feb. 22, an important Shiite mosque in Samarra, Iraq, had been blown up. Shiites had attacked Sunni mosques in retaliation – the result being a vicious cycle of attack-and-response that had altered the world of my Sunni Islamist kidnappers.

We arrived back at the place I called the “clubhouse,” near Abu Ghraib, later that night. Slumped in a plastic chair in a room lit by the stark half-light of a fluorescent camping lantern, another mujahid told me their new bottom line.

“Aisha,” he said, calling me by the Sunni nickname they’d given me, “now our No. 1 enemy are the Shias. Americans are No. 2.”

• • •

(P.G.) As editor of the Monitor, Richard Bergenheim was the person who spoke to contacts who required special handling. That meant, for instance, that if FBI Director Robert Mueller called, he answered. And Mr. Mueller did call, early on, to ask if the Monitor was getting the help it needed.

It also meant that as the Jill Carroll hostage crisis dragged on, Mr. Bergenheim found himself at the center of the strange case of Daphne Barak and Sheikh Sattam Hamid Farhan al-Gaood (also spelled Gaaod). The Monitor was simply pursuing every lead, but this would be quite a rabbit hole.

On her website, Daphne Barak describes herself as “one of the few leading A-list interviewers in the world.” An Israeli-American syndicated television journalist, her interviewees have included everyone from Hillary Clinton to members of pop star Michael Jackson’s family.

Mr. Gaood, to some US officials, isn’t so much a celebrity as he is notorious. “One of Saddam Hussein’s most trusted confidants in conducting clandestine business transactions,” according to the CIA’s 2004 report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The same report said Gaood was once the director of El Eman, the “largest network of Iraqi front companies” that smuggled oil out of Iraq and foodstuffs into Iraq in violation of the UN oil-for-food program, but “he has stated that he believed this to be legitimate business.”

Sometime in late January, a source at a US television network told the Monitor that Ms. Barak was trying to sell an interview she’d conducted with Gaood – and that Gaood had mentioned helping get Jill Carroll out.

So Bergenheim called Barak. The story was true – or, at least, the part about the interview was.

Gaood had said, in an offhand way, that kidnapping was wrong, and Jill should be released. Pressed, he’d said something to the effect of, yes, he could arrange her freedom, he’d even use his own money, if needed – but so far, no one had asked him to.

(J.C.) The wave of sectarian violence which overtook Iraq following the destruction of Samarra’s Askariya Shrine had a huge impact on the nature of my captivity.

That was because the level of activity of the mujahideen group which had seized me greatly increased. Many of its members were out fighting their new war almost every day.

At first, I thought this was a bad thing for me. It was destabilizing the status quo – and under the status quo, at least I was still alive.

I didn’t want to be killed just because I was now a burden. And I certainly didn’t want to be caught in the middle of a Sunni-Shiite firefight.

But after a while it became clear that this conflict, despite its horrible effect on Iraq itself, might be a good thing for me. Their main mission was now something to which my presence was, politically speaking, only tangential. And they began running out of places to put me, because suddenly, American and Iraqi troops were everywhere, trying to keep the peace.

From my first days in captivity I’d seen evidence that they weren’t just kidnappers but also insurgents actively conducting attacks. They didn’t much bother trying to hide their firearms and explosives.

For instance, one morning at the location I knew as the mujahideen clubhouse I awoke to find fresh dirt in the bathroom, dirt in the shower, and dirt in the washing machine. I didn’t think much of it. Maybe they were washing their shoes.

(Photograph)
JILLIAN TAMAKI

But I quickly learned that the appearance of dirt meant that someone in the house had been out planting bombs – IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices, the mujahideen weapon of choice. I knew from my reporting, and the time I spent embedded with US Marines, that IEDs were now responsible for about half of all US combat deaths in Iraq.

Not all their explosives were offensive weapons. At least one of my guards – Abu Hassan, a serious man – wore a suicide vest inside the clubhouse.

One night, he was leaning over a little gas-powered stove, cooking eggs and potatoes in oil, and then he sat back and pushed the open flame away, saying something like, “Oh, have to be careful!”

The suicide vest was under his shirt, sort of swinging back and forth. He was afraid the fire would ignite the explosives. And if it did, we’d all be dead.

He used to complain about how heavy it was. He’d wear it at night. He would mime for me what would happen if soldiers came, showing how he’d put it on, with shoulder straps, and then how two wires would connect. Then he would move his hands outward in a big motion indicating an explosion, look upward, and go, “BOOM!”

(P.G.) The prospect of help from Sheikh Gaood raised hopes at the Monitor’s offices in Boston at a time when other tracks of investigation seemed to be drying up. But it quickly became a serious source of tension at the paper and among the US agencies who were supposedly cooperating to find Jill.

The Monitor’s Baghdad correspondents Scott Peterson and Dan Murphy didn’t trust Gaood’s motives. Was Gaood trying to win favor with the US government – as it investigated violations of the UN oil-for-food sanctions program? And the FBI wasn’t happy about it either. They wanted to keep Gaood out of the picture.

US and foreign intelligence sources, on the other hand, said that Gaood had indeed been a powerful figure under Saddam Hussein. And, the CIA’s report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction described Gaood as “linked” to an insurgent network near Fallujah that “actively sought chemical weapons for use against Coalition forces” in 2004. It was possible he had the contacts to release Jill, they said, but there were no guarantees.

Which government agency was right? How should the Monitor advise the Carroll family? And how much should the Monitor invest in pursuing this track?

According to intelligence sources, the CIA checked with the FBI, the lead agency in the Carroll case, before providing the Monitor with more background on Gaood. The FBI replied with a blistering e-mail: the CIA should stay in its own lane, and stop talking to the Monitor about the Carroll case. (Today, the FBI says no such message was sent. But Gaood “was assessed as a complete ‘X’ factor, which means undemonstrated credibility,” says FBI spokesman Richard Kolko.)

To try and settle this intergovernmental dispute, Bergenheim called Mr. Mueller, the head of the FBI. You asked if we were getting the help we needed, he said, in effect. Well, we aren’t.

(Photograph)
SATTAM AL-GAOOD: The former senior Iraqi Baath party official, shown here at his house in Amman, Jordan, Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, suggested that he could secure Jill’s release.
NADER DAOUD/AP

The FBI response? The Monitor was given two new, higher-level contacts within the bureau, but from then on the paper’s editor was given less information about the government’s efforts in the case.

Bergenheim decided to tell the Carroll family about the Barak/Gaood connection. Bad move, said the Baghdad Boys. But on Feb. 9, Jim and Mary Beth Carroll went on “Good Morning America” and asked for the help of the “powerful sheikh,” without naming him.

A few days later, Gaood issued a statement from his exile in Jordan, calling for Jill’s release to prove that the Iraqi insurgency “does not kill innocents.”

Nothing happened. And the days dragged on.

(J.C.) There was no mistaking that the mujahideen who held me hated America. “One day, hopefully, one day, America, all of America gone,” said one of my guards early in my captivity. He spread his hands out wide as if to wipe America off the map.

“I don’t quite understand,” I said. “All America?”

My female jailer Um Ali, listening in on the conversation, translated the sentiment into simpler Arabic for me. “No journalists, no people, no nothing,” she said.

I could also see that Shiites were high on their list of enemies. Once, when attempting to explain the historical split between Sunnis and Shiites, Abu Nour, the leader of my captors, stopped himself after he referred to “Shiite Muslims.”

“No, they are not Muslims,” Ink Eyes said. “Anyone who asks for things from people that are dead, and not [from] Allah, he is not a Muslim.”

He was referring to Shiites appealing to long-dead Islamic leaders to intercede with God, asking for miracles such as curing the sick. It’s a practice similar to that of Catholics praying to saints.

But after the Feb. 22 bombing of the Askariya Shrine, and rampant Sunni-Shiite killing, nearly every captor I came into contact with would tell me about their hate for Shiites first. Abu Nour now simply referred to them as “dogs.”

• • •

(Photograph)

(P.G.) The Monitor and the family still talked almost every day, but they had less to say to each other. There were fewer leads and less information to share.

In Baghdad, a new case officer from the British security consultants had arrived and was proving difficult to work with. Correspondents Murphy and Peterson were irritated by prodding from Boston to rotate out for a rest.

Neither Peterson nor Murphy considered themselves particularly religious. But as Peterson notes, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” From the beginning, he drew strength from the book of Psalms, and this passage: “Truth brings the elements of liberty. The power of God brings deliverance to the captive,” written by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this paper.

Some nights, at the end of the last conference call with Boston, the pair would listen to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” performed by Jeff Buckley. It filled the apartment, and lifted their spirits, with a song that Murphy knew to be one of Jill’s favorites.

Eventually, reluctantly, Peterson took a two-week break with his family in Istanbul, Turkey.

In mid-February, Jim notified the Monitor that he had opened a new channel with someone claiming to be an intermediary for the kidnappers. Hopes rose again.

An Arabic interpreter was brought into his home. But under FBI advice, Jim refused to tell Team Jill in Boston or the Baghdad Boys any of the details. Even more frustrating to Murphy and Peterson, Jill’s father told them to shut down any other tracks they were pursuing, including talks with Jordanian officials who had just said they would try to help. The Monitor reporters didn’t want to be working at cross-purposes to Jim, so they reluctantly sat on their hands.

But after the bombing of the Askariya Shrine, fighting surged between Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents, prompting more curfews. Jim’s Iraqi contact stopped answering his phone. Days dragged into a week, two weeks.

Another dry hole.

Discouraged, Jim sent word that Murphy and Peterson could resume their efforts in Iraq. By now, Murphy needed a break and left for Cairo.

(J.C.) On the day in late February that an exhausted Abu Rasha had told me that Shiites were now the mujahideen’s top target, he’d told me something else, something chilling.

“We killed an Al Arabiya journalist,” he said, his face drawn, his eyes hard. “She said the mujahideen are bad.”

It was unclear if he meant that he himself had participated in the killing or if it had been done by men from the larger group of mujahideen.

They’d frequently assured me that I wasn’t going to be killed. But clearly there were times when their rules for jihad allowed them to kill women, and to kill women journalists.

As I learned after I was released, the well-known Al Arabiya newswoman Atwar Bahjat and two colleagues were abducted and killed by gunmen while they were interviewing Iraqis near the bombed Samarra shrine.

I bounced from house to house over the next few weeks – mostly between the clubhouse and a new house west of Fallujah – and the guards grew incredibly agitated. They would bitterly complain to me about being stuck with guard duty. Abu Hassan – the guard with the suicide vest – would sleep and eat little. He was always on edge. He would fiddle with his 9mm pistol obsessively and leap to his feet to peer out a window at the first sound of a helicopter or barking dog.

(Photograph)
ATWAR BAHJAT: Jill Carroll’s captors said they killed this TV journalist on Feb. 22.
AFP/GETTY IMAGES

He spent his time on the phone, checking in with others for the latest news on their campaign to kill Shiites. When anyone came to the house, he pumped them for stories about their “work,” as they all called it.

In his state of agitation and boredom, he began raising suspicions about the Shiite neighbors. They didn’t know I was there. They didn’t appear to know that the men at this house were mujahideen. They’d drop off fresh bread or yogurt, or stop to chat outside, just as Iraqis had done for generations.

They did not yet recognize that those days of amity were over.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »