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Aside from Keith Olbermann‘s ridiculous anointing of Geraldo Rivera as “The Best Person in the World” (as opposed to his regular segment, “The Worst Person in the World” where in Bill O’Reilly regularly manages that honor) for his “noble” defense of illegal-alien Alfredo Ramos of Virginia Beach due to his successful extermination of two teenage girls in a drunk driving incident, the simple fact remains that Ramos would not have killed those young women had he not been in the country illegally in the first place.

Rivera’s deluded perception the accident had nothing to do with illegal-immigration goes beyond the pale. It at least has as much to do with illegal-immigration as it does with drunk driving. In fact, I would say it is about illegal-immigration first and driving while intoxicated second. Had our border been far more secure than it is now in its current revolving door state, Ramos might have never been allowed to enter this country illegally. He might never have made his way to Virginia Beach. He might never had decided to get drunk the night of the fatal crash. He might never have recklessly bumbled his way behind the wheel of a vehicle, and he might never have killed two innocent people as a result. Had Alfredo Ramos not been allowed to enter this country illegally, those two girls would still be alive today. It’s a simple fact that no one, not ever Geraldo Rivera can, or should deny. To do so, as he did on The O’reilly Factor last week, is shameful and deserving of scorn.

Instead, Keith Olbermann praises Rivera and such insipid statements as “illegal immigrants commit less crime than American citizens.” To Keith and Geraldo: well duh! When you have a country whose population sits at around 300 million individuals with 12 to 20 million more illegal-immigrants, it is not difficult to understand that fewer crimes are committed by illegal-aliens than infractions by legal residents. Geraldo’s case is a hasty generalization bordering tu quoque. The obvious reigns supreme–there would be less crime in this country were our borders secure, meaning there would be fewer rapists, pedophiles, murders, gang bangers, drug dealers, thieves, and drunk drivers. How difficult is that to comprehend? Obviously, for Olbermann and Rivera (and this preposterous article at Salon.com), it’s beyond comprehension.

Also last week here in Los Angeles, another ugly drunk driving incident made headlines across the country with yet another illegal-alien drunk driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava who happened to snuff out the lives of another two American citizens–this time renowned film director, Bob Clark and his 22 year-old son Ariel Hanrath-Clark. Even though Velazquez-Nava has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, he still wished to express his condolences and sorrow for their deaths. Didn’t I just mention he pleaded not guilty?

Because two high profile incidents such as these occured in a relatively short time frame, by no means should this indicate that all or most illegal-aliens are as ignorant and careless as were Ramos and Velazquez-Nava, but their cases acutely bring to light, in the most tragic of circumstances, only one reason as to why we must gain control of our southern border. Drunk drivers, regardless of citizenship status, are ticking time bombs. But if we were to competently disallow entry to a group of people who accept driving while under the influence as simply a degenerate yet acceptable aspect of their peasant culture–their “manliness” is defined by how much they can drink and not fall down, or not kill people with a car apparently–then that would rightly reduce the amount of unnecessary deaths. Is that too difficult to accept? Of course not.

There are far too many reasons as to why the illegal-alien population is detrimental to the United States, and I’ve covered those many times before throughout this site. The problem that arises from the opposition, including activists, is their lack of reasons as to why we should allow them free access, other than the fact that the wealthy, whether they’re liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans simply want as much access to an easily exploitable labor base (i.e. modern slavery) as possible. Those who desire the unrestricted admittance of illegal-aliens only desire their exploitation without heeding the concrete consequences, even when those consequences end up killing American citizens.

If only Alfredo Ramos had been deported the first, or even the second time he’d been apprehended for DUI.

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Hispanic DWIs rooted in immigrants’ culture
Lifestyle, isolation figure in driving drunk

 

When Eliseo Hernandez came to the United States 30 years ago, he thought he drove better after a few beers. Driving drunk had been normal back in Mexico, he said. But Hernandez, 54, learned of its perils firsthand. He quit the practice after falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a tree 18 years ago.Then, last year, a young Hispanic man who authorities say was drunk nearly killed Hernandez’s only son, Diego, in a crash on a rural Johnston County road. Eliseo Hernandez’s daughter, who was nine months pregnant, lost her unborn child in the accident.

Hernandez has spent the past year following Diego through four hospitals and 14 brain surgeries. Diego only recently began to smile again and might never walk.

Hernandez said he hopes his painful journey will teach his friends and family a lesson. Car accidents are the top killer of Hispanics in North Carolina, and the disproportionate number of alcohol-related arrests and wrecks are an embarrassment to a minority already beleaguered by hard feelings over illegal immigration.

“It makes the Mexicans look bad, very bad,” Hernandez said. “The American people say ‘Oh, it’s just another Hispanic, the same as the others.’ ”

In 2005, there were 37 alcohol-related crashes caused by Hispanic drivers for every 10,000 Hispanics in the state, according to the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. That is more than three times the rate of alcohol-related crashes among non-Hispanics.

Hispanic leaders are struggling to stem a problem that they say is rooted in the waves of young men who leave the calming influences of church and family to labor alone in a new country.

“It’s difficult because you’re trying to compete with the loneliness,” said Tony Asion, public safety director for El Pueblo, an Hispanic advocacy group. “Then, as some learn, more come, and we start again.”

Carnage continues

Last month, a Johnston County father and son died in a fiery crash authorities say was caused by Luciano Tellez, 31, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Dwane Braswell, 35, and his son Jerry, 9, were riding in a tractor-trailer cab on N.C. 210 in the Cleveland community of Johnston County when Tellez struck the tractor and rolled it into a ditch, where it caught fire.

Empty beer cans were found in Tellez’ car, but authorities say it is impossible to know whether he was drunk.

It was the latest in a string of such accidents caused by Hispanic men. In February in Salisbury, a woman who was eight months pregnant and her unborn child were killed. In October, it was two college students and a high school boy. In January 2006, a man from El Salvador killed a Hillsborough woman in a head-on crash and fled, leaving an injured passenger in his own car.

Researchers say drunken driving among Hispanics is at least partially explained by demographics. As in many places where immigration is fairly recent, the Hispanic population in North Carolina is young and dominated by men — both factors that make them statistically more likely to drive drunk.

Men in their 20s and 30s made up more than half the people charged with DWI statewide in the year ending last July. Nearly 40 percent of North Carolina Hispanics were 21- to 39-year-old men in 2005, according to census estimates. This same age range accounted for only 18 percent of blacks and 16 percent of whites.

Bobby Dunn, who counsels Spanish-speaking DWI convicts in Johnston and Wilson counties, said his clients are often young men far from home with money in their pockets for the first time. Many were too poor to have cars in Mexico, so they have little experience behind the wheel.

They also see drinking as a way of showing their manhood.

“The magic number is 12,” Dunn said, or “un doce” in Spanish. “If you can drink 12 beers, you’re a man.”

Others say heavy drinking is part of a lifestyle dominated by long work days building homes, painting or picking crops.

Walking down Buck Jones Road to his apartment in West Raleigh, Alberto Gonzalez figured he would drink most of the 12-pack he had just bought that night, even though it was a weeknight.

Gonzalez, 29, said he hadn’t given much thought to spending a night without a beer in hand. “I just sit and drink,” he said. “Maybe a friend will come by. Other than work, this is what I do.”

Hernandez was part of an early wave of young men who came to North Carolina to pick tobacco. There were so few Hispanics in North Carolina then, he said, he couldn’t find a store that sold hot peppers or corn tortillas.

He had been a drinker in Mexico, he said, but it got worse in the United States. He didn’t have a family to tend to, and he felt very alone in a place where no one understood him.

“When you are young, you don’t think anything will happen to you,” he said. “When you have a family, you care more about your life.”

In fact, the increasing number of Hispanic women and children in North Carolina may explain why the prevalence of drunken-driving accidents and arrests among Hispanics has not grown with the population.

By some measures, DWI accidents and citations among Hispanics are actually diminishing.

Hispanics made up 18 percent of the 75,000 DWI arrests last year, while they accounted for 6 percent of the population. The portion of DWI citations going to Hispanics has crept up slightly since 2000, even as the growth in the state’s Hispanic population has outpaced overall population growth by more than 500 percent.

Since 2000, alcohol-related crashes among Hispanics have dropped from 9 percent of all crashes that involve Hispanics to 7 percent.

The pressure to reverse the trend is intense. Each fatality brings calls for deportations and tighter immigration controls.

Luke Steele, 49, adds up the deaths and sees a growing problem that stems from immigration. He said his daughter lost her college roommate to a Hispanic drunken driver in October.

Steele, a longtime fire rescue worker, also remembers a 1991 wreck in which a teenage girl was killed by an illegal immigrant who “skipped town before the case ever went to trial.”

“We’ve still got plenty of stupid white, black, pink and purple people that drive drunk. That’s plenty to go around,” he said. “The reality is if they weren’t here, they could not kill people [while] driving drunk.”

After the March wreck in Johnston County, U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, reintroduced a bill that would require the deportation of all immigrants convicted of drunken driving.

And anti-immigration groups have seized on the issue as an effective marketing strategy for their cause.

“The effect on the labor force is real, but it’s indirect,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter controls on immigration. “Whereas, an illegal alien who drives drunk and kills some newlywed couple is tangible.”

Asion, who leads El Pueblo’s effort to curb drunken driving, works to separate the DWI problem from the immigration debate.

Many Hispanics have not grown up with anti-drunken-driving messages, and it will take time for the ideas to take hold.

“It’s not something that you can do easily,” Asion said. “If it was, then the U.S. population would have already done it.”

News

Hispanics wary of fallout from deadly crash in Virginia Beach

Manuel Ayala, at right, has been in the United States nearly 20 years. He said many people automatically assume he's an illegal immigrant. Now,
Manuel Ayala, at right, has been in the United States nearly 20 years. He said many people automatically assume he’s an illegal immigrant. Now, “the discrimination, it’s going to show more,” said Ayala, owner of San Jose Mexican Mini Mart. STEPHEN M. KATZ/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

By GILLIAN GAYNAIR, The Virginian-Pilot
© April 7, 2007
VIRGINIA BEACH – Because one Hispanic person is accused of causing a tragic accident, Monica Restrepo said, she now frets that many will be judged and be the brunt of insults.

“We’re very worried about what’s going to happen to all of us in the community,” said Restrepo, who owns the decade-old La Tapatia, believed to be one of the first Latin American grocery stores in the city.

Restrepo and other local Hispanics this week expressed their sympathy for the families of two Virginia Beach girls killed in a car crash March 30. But they also couldn’t mask their concern over a possible backlash against both legal and illegal immigrants.

They fear that because of Alfredo Ramos, people will categorize all Hispanics as drunken drivers and unauthorized immigrants. Ramos, 22, is charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16. He had a record of three alcohol-related convictions in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and had entered the country from Mexico illegally.

Many Hispanics said the public response to the incident has been incorrectly centered on Ramos’ immigration status instead of on drunken-driving laws and penalties.

“When someone has committed a crime, it doesn’t matter what legal status they have, what ethnic group – you’ve committed a crime,” said Mavel Velasco Muñoz, chairwoman of the Hispanic Leadership Forum of Hampton Roads. “We are not condoning it,” but, she said, the public is wrongly lumping together immigration issues and DUI laws.

Beatriz Amberman, a Virginia Beach resident and vice chairwoman of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, agreed.

“I wonder how many people are driving under the influence of alcohol and have been let go with a slap on the hand… and whether the system is actually working in that regard,” she said. “Rather than that… because of this one individual, we’re judging all undocumented workers.”

The tragedy gained national attention Wednesday through Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” when host Bill O’Reilly blamed the city of Virginia Beach and accused local officials of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants. O’Reilly and TV personality Geraldo Rivera traded verbal punches on Thursday (video).

Locally, rumors swirled Friday among some Hispanics that federal immigration authorities were coming to Virginia Beach to raid establishments that employ illegal immigrants.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington said that such rumors are no t surprising, given the amount of attention the Ramos case has received.

“I can’t tell you that no investigation is going on, because that’s something we do on a daily basis,” Ernestine Fobbs said. “I can’t confirm or deny whether we have an active investigation going on at this time. It’s not something that we’d reveal.”

Ramos had worked briefly at Mi Casita restaurant on Bonney Road, according to Gary C. Byler, an attorney representing El Toro Loco Inc., the corporation that owns Mi Casita. Byler said Ramos was told not to come back to work when his documents appeared to be invalid. He was not working at the restaurant at the time of the car crash, Byler said.

It wasn’t unusual to see Ramos and other employees walking along Bonney Road and visiting establishments in Thalia Village Shoppes, business owners there said.

In the week after the car crash, there has been less foot traffic overall, said Junior Garcia, who owns La Tienda International Foods and Mi Tierra Restaurant.

Garcia said that since the incident, he has also noticed more police in the area and suspected that “we’ll probably have more police officers stopping Latinos on looks.”

Like others, Garcia was concerned about the response to the tragedy.

“I haven’t heard once that it was an accident,” he said. “White people also drink. I feel people have blown out of proportion his status and where he’s from. It could have been anybody.”

While he and his friends talked about the Ramos case at Mi Orgullo Latin Accessories in the same plaza, Jonathan Rodriguez wondered whether there would be such a public outcry had an intoxicated white citizen been accused in the girls’ deaths.

“Now they want to punish every Latin person out there,” he said. “Now it’s going to be harder for us…. You could be a citizen, but they’re still going to hate you.”

Local Hispanic leaders say they hope to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to educate more people about the dangers of drunken driving, push for tougher penalties for it and work for immigration laws that can be respected as fair.

Amberman, of the Coalition of Latino Organizations, said she is worried that “people want to look at only one side of the picture.”

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I have a few catch-up items for everyone today in honor of Al Gore’s appearance yesterday before the House Committee on Global Warming (hasn’t congress heard it’s called ‘Global Climate Change’ now? ‘Global Warming’ is so last year.)

The VP has been recently dubbed “The Goracle” by his army of the faithful. [Because let’s be clear, despite varying evidence for and in opposition to global climate change/warming, it is a matter of faith. Just as Christians have faith that Jesus is God and he will return to judge the quick and the dead, and just like Buddhists have faith they can work to expunge all bad vibes in order to obtain enlightenment, and just as Muslims believe they can subjugate the entire world and establish sharia law throughout the land, the global climate change religionists believe man is primarily responsible for global warming and the fate of the planet due to our actions and/or inactions–science can often be another form of provable and improvable doctrinal creed.] The faithful seem to overlook The Goracle’s obvious and environmentally damaging hypocrisies, most recently evidenced in his egregiously wasteful personal energy policies at his own mansion in Tennessee, and including the plane zips from state to state, country to country in a private jet delivering his Academy Award winning slide show to the eco-zombies of the world, when he could just as easily travel commercially much of the time.

But oh, as he claimed in yesterday’s hearings, and as he’s previously self-extolled, he’s living a ‘carbon neutral’ lifestyle through the purchase of ‘carbon offsets,’ or credits, from an enviro-friendly company that specializes in that sort of nonsensical diddle.

But even an organization that specializes in carbon offsets has no clue how they actually function to reduce specific amounts of carbon dioxide (human only I assume despite that fact that humans are not the leading cause of CO2 production.) Dan Skopec, Undersecretary for California Environmental Protection Agency, is a man who represents the cheerleading effort behind carbon footprint reduction, while ensuring that Arnold Swarzenegger’s and Dianne Feinstein’s environmentally unfriendly lifestyles are made to look much less horrific than they actually. Recently interviewed for the John and Ken Show on KFI 640 in Los Angeles, Skopec confessed, after repeatedly dodging the question, that he, and the scientific community as a whole (at least the tree-hugger variety), have no idea how many trees it would take, and how long they would need to remain standing, in order to offset the billions of tons of C02 we produce. The concept of Swarzenegger and Feinstein and The Goracle spending $10 to buy the right for a single tree to offset the gobs of carbon dioxide they produce in just one private jet trip is comedy. The fact that they obviously spend more (probably) for multiple trees with no clue as to what is officially necessary in order to actually reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ is an absurdity to the point of tragedy.

So send me $10 and I’ll nail the bill right to the tree in my back yard (if I did in my front yard, someone might steal the money and you wouldn’t gain anything)–you’ve just purchased the right for my tree to reduce your CO2 emissions. How much? Like Mr. Skopec above, I have no clue. But it can’t hurt can it? Yet that’s how most scams seem to function, and stating that global warming is the major emergency of our time as Gore claimed yesterday lends more credence to those who do not question what they’re told and their willingness to buy into a scam without thinking for themselves.

But all this matters little to the mindless legions who follow The Goracle. Like an apoplectic discharge, they punish those who don’t exactly buy into the global warming theory, while choosing to ignore billions of years of undocumented, unrecorded evolutionary earth history–ice core samples, yeah–that has shown the earth transforming, evolving, metamorphosing, and arguably transmogrifying (yes, Mother Nature, you can be an ugly bitch sometimes) throughout the eons, warming and cooling.

Of course, what all of this really boils down to here are new taxe increases for everyone courtesy of the Al Gore global warming conspiracy and his next bid for President of the United States in 2008. Still, I’d vote for him over George W. Bush any day of the week (of course, I’m kidding.  I would simply abstain.)

Anyway, here’s a fantastic documentary produced by the UK Channel 4 titled The Great Global Warming Swindle. Proceed further down the page for more news stories.

 

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Here’s a NYTimes piece from a week ago. Though a little old, it’s interesting.

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.

“He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”

“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, was released last May and took in more than $46 million, making it one of the top-grossing documentaries ever. The companion book by Mr. Gore quickly became a best seller, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times list.

Mr. Gore depicted a future in which temperatures soar, ice sheets melt, seas rise, hurricanes batter the coasts and people die en masse. “Unless we act boldly,” he wrote, “our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes.”

He clearly has supporters among leading scientists, who commend his popularizations and call his science basically sound. In December, he spoke in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union and got a reception fit for a rock star from thousands of attendees.

“He has credibility in this community,” said Tim Killeen, the group’s president and director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a top group studying climate change. “There’s no question he’s read a lot and is able to respond in a very effective way.”

Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James E. Hansen, an environmental scientist, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a top adviser to Mr. Gore, said, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees,” adding that Mr. Gore often did so “better than scientists.”

Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.

“We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. “On the other hand,” Dr. Hansen said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”

In his e-mail message, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. “Of course,” he said, “there will always be questions around the edges of the science, and we have to rely upon the scientific community to continue to ask and to challenge and to answer those questions.”

He said “not every single adviser” agreed with him on every point, “but we do agree on the fundamentals” — that warming is real and caused by humans.

Mr. Gore added that he perceived no general backlash among scientists against his work. “I have received a great deal of positive feedback,” he said. “I have also received comments about items that should be changed, and I have updated the book and slideshow to reflect these comments.” He gave no specifics on which points he had revised.

He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”

While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”

Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.

Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and political scientist in Denmark long skeptical of catastrophic global warming, said in a syndicated article that the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, had refrained from scaremongering. “Climate change is a real and serious problem” that calls for careful analysis and sound policy, Dr. Lomborg said. “The cacophony of screaming,” he added, “does not help.”

So too, a report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.

Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”

Other critics have zeroed in on Mr. Gore’s claim that the energy industry ran a “disinformation campaign” that produced false discord on global warming. The truth, he said, was that virtually all unbiased scientists agreed that humans were the main culprits. But Benny J. Peiser, a social anthropologist in Britain who runs the Cambridge-Conference Network, or CCNet, an Internet newsletter on climate change and natural disasters, challenged the claim of scientific consensus with examples of pointed disagreement.

“Hardly a week goes by,” Dr. Peiser said, “without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,” including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”

Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming’s effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.

“For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,” Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. “We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.”

Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton who advised Mr. Gore on the book and movie, said that reasonable scientists disagreed on the malaria issue and other points that the critics had raised. In general, he said, Mr. Gore had distinguished himself for integrity.

“On balance, he did quite well — a credible and entertaining job on a difficult subject,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “For that, he deserves a lot of credit. If you rake him over the coals, you’re going to find people who disagree. But in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”

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Returning as the ‘Goracle’

Gore brings his message on global warming — and a reincarnated image — to the Capitol.

By Faye Fiore and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
March 22, 2007
WASHINGTON — The doors swung open and he made his entrance with cameras clicking, the wooden politician denied the presidency and derided as “Ozone Man” was coming home to the Capitol. But this time they called him a movie star and likened him to a prophet.

Al Gore left Washington seven years ago bowed by the 2000 presidential election and a little disgraced in the eyes of his party — couldn’t he at least have won his home state?

 

But he returned Wednesday reincarnated: the subject of an Academy Award-winning film, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, a 58-year-old guy who, slightly grayed and a little puffy, can share a stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and still manage to be the center of attention.

The onetime congressman, senator and vice president was back, this time to testify about global warming. The Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth” — the documentary about his traveling slide show on the ravages of climate change — doesn’t even belong to him; it’s the director’s. But it has pushed Gore into another orbit in Washington’s universe. People started lining up as early as 7 a.m. to get a glimpse of him.

“This is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced,” Gore told a joint meeting of two House panels in an impassioned appeal for bold action. (He later repeated his case on the Senate side.) “This problem is burning a hole in the top of the world…. We need to turn the thermostat back down before that melts.”

Gore, who arrived in a new hybrid Mercury, sat beside a stack of brown boxes filled with 516,000 messages — collected over the last few days on AlGore.com — urging “real action.”

“There is a sense of hope in the country that this United States Congress will rise to the occasion and present meaningful solutions to this crisis,” he said. “Congress is a repository of hopes and dreams of people all across this Earth.”

As the morning hearing convened on the House side, the repository of hopes and dreams spent several minutes bickering about where the committee members should sit and how much time they had to speak.

They appeared to divide pretty much along party lines. Democrats hailed the “Goracle,” who saw this coming 30 years ago, and Republicans dismissed him as an alarmist.

Among Gore’s ideas: a pollution tax, an immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions with sharp reductions in future years, stricter vehicle miles-per-gallon rules, a moratorium on construction of highly polluting coal-fired power plants, a strong global climate-change treaty and the creation of a federally operated “carbon-neutral” mortgage association that would serve as incentive for building energy-efficient homes.

“I listen to you sometimes in wonderment,” said Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), predicting that Gore’s proposals would cost “tens of thousands of jobs and more empty factories.”

Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas) complained of an “all-out assault” on energy sources that are crucial to economic and national security.

In the confrontational camaraderie for which Washington is famous, Hall and Gore happily reminisced about the time they went to a meeting on Hall’s boat, then Hall accused Gore of “flirting with the death of the energy industry.”

Gore acknowledged his proposals faced serious obstacles.

In calling for a pollution tax, he said, “I fully understand this is considered politically impossible, but part of our challenge is to expand the limits of what’s possible.” He urged his former colleagues to “walk through that fire.”

The day will come, he said, when future generations either ask, “Did they think it was perfectly all right to keep dumping 70 million tons every single day of global-warming pollution into this Earth’s atmosphere?” or “How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics?”

Gore spoke mostly without notes and seemed more comfortable in his skin than when he was as a presidential candidate, even with a clot of photographers squatting in front of him. A notorious policy wonk, he touched on subjects such as light bulbs and the Arctic ice cap, which, he said, is melting even faster than previously thought and could “completely disappear in as little as 34 years.”

“If it goes, it won’t come back in any time scale relevant to the human condition,” he warned as his wife, Tipper, nodded in agreement behind him.

Members of both parties, who generally poke at their BlackBerrys during long committee hearings, appeared to pay attention.

The exchanges were sometimes confrontational, especially at the Senate hearing, where Gore dueled with one of the chief congressional skeptics on global warming, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).”It seems that everything is blamed on global warming,” Inhofe said. “Last summer we had a heat wave and everyone said, ‘Oh, that’s proof it’s global warming.’ Then we had a mild December. ‘Oh, that’s proof that global warming is taking place.’ … How come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold?”

But Gore held firm, noting that a manatee showed up off Memphis last summer.

“First time ever,” he said. “It got too hot in southern Florida. I’m not making this up. Another one showed up off of Cape Cod, first time ever. Nature is on the run.”

Later, Gore invited Inhofe to breakfast to discuss the issue “without the cameras, without the lights.”

Much as he did in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore reduced the science to simple metaphors.

When asked whether the United States should be taking drastic action when China and India were greater polluters, Gore explained that the U.S. accounted for 23% of carbon emissions and “like a bucket with a hole in it, you can still use the bucket, but it’s a lot more efficient if the hole is plugged.”

Outside the House hearing room where Gore spoke, a crowd waited for him to emerge. Three high school girls from New Jersey snapped his picture for their school newspaper, saying that he looked taller, older and more confident than they expected.

Gore left through a side door, missing an impromptu ditty by what sounded like a Dixieland band and members of the antiwar group Code Pink, attired in boas and assorted hats. He was nonetheless mobbed by photographers and squeezed into an elevator to escape.

“Run for president!” somebody hollered, just as the doors closed.

At the end of the day, after Gore finished his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman, called Gore a “role model for us all.”

Gore thanked her and asked, “Now, you don’t give out any kind of statue or anything?”

Dan Skopec, Agency Undersecretary

Dan Skopec – California EPA

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It’s been recently established that ex-VP and ecological warrior Al Gore uses over 20 times the amount of energy than the average American consumes, thereby illuminating a copious magnitude of hypocrisy on a man who had freshly been honored with the best documentary feature Academy Award for the runaway hit that is his global warming-cum-environmental treatise slash slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth.

Again, I’ve always been rather partial to Gore, and I really don’t mind inherent hypocrisy because honestly, as I expounded upon in this post, everyone is a hypocrite (myself included) and all hypocrisy is inherent. My central problem with Al Gore’s particular brand of hypocrisy is the fact that he’s fucking Al Gore: politician, celebrity, activist, and self-proclaimed internet architect. If he were just some guy spewing vomitous, mindless, unsolicited, insipid, and uninformed opinions in a blog on the internet that is rarely read by anyone (hmm… sounds sort of familiar), then his hypocrisies wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But because he’s Al Gore (and not just any run-of-the-mill Al Gore mind you, but prognosticator and grand soothsayer to the follies of mankind in regards to global warming) we as the people of the world, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, expect the mighty almost-president to damn well practice what he damn well preaches. If he doesn’t commit to his publicly broadcast enviro-ideals, then I simply expect him to shut-up about this particular issue.

That’s not too difficult to ask, is it? It’s not like I’m pushing Mr. Gore to go live in a cave. Far from it. I would never expect that. I’m simply suggesting that as a result of his hypocrisy, he’s irreversibly cast-adrift some serious respect many have held for him, including myself, and he earnestly needs to sit down and think about how he can live his life by the code he’s urging everyone else on the planet to adopt. I would suggest looking towards Ed Begley Jr. as a good role model, and I’m being completely serious here. If you want to live your life as environmentally politically sound as possible, then you can’t do better celebrity-wise than Mr. Begley Jr. Here’s a man who would rather drive cross-country in his electric vehicle (which he does quite often) than pollute the atmosphere with copious amounts of jet plane causing carbon dioxide.

And speaking of jet planes, it appears we have a new enviro-hypocrite in the political/public arena. My own California Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently uses her wealthy husbands’ private jet to ferry her back and forth across the country–from Sacramento, California to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. According to the L.A. Times article below…

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

That’s almost twice as much carbon dioxide produced in just one cross-country trip. It would take me almost two years to produce as much CO2 that Feinstein craps out in one trip to the D.C. and back. So assuming she were to fly hither and thither say, around 100 times a year, which would not be out of the realm of possibility for someone like Feinstein who works in the nations capital but calls California her home, our senator would excrete close to 9 million pounds of CO2 in only one year. Ack! How can my poor, defenseless atmosphere stave off such a fiendish attack?

Of course the article also lists California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as another particularly vocal enviro-hypocrite–the attitudinizer (yes, it’s an actual word) so to speak. But now a new, previously unheard of, pseudo-phrase has been thrown into the mix, created I’m assuming to excuse those who evangelize eco-friendliness while engaging in behavior that is unequivocally eco-hostile, such as Schwarzenegger’s exhortations of energy conservation despite his unbridled love affair with the Hummer–a decidedly mother nature-terminating, gas guzzling behemoth. What is this new phrase? Carbon offsets.

So what are carbon offsets? According to the always reliable Wikipedia

A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common.

Proper to the LA Times article, apparently Feinstein has already been purchasing carbon offsets for a while now, while Schwarzenegger is intending to buy into this scheme imminently. And though it appears purchasing carbon offsets is a relatively inexpensive proposal, allowing the buyer a certain sense of inflated ego and magnanimity, the results are a bit questionable. I don’t mean to imply that planting trees offers no real benefit to the environment, but to offset the damage caused by brutal enviro-terrorists like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, and Gore proves a daunting task indeed.

In order to right the damage done by only one Feinstein trip to Washington D.C., one would have to plant 1,800 trees. So what if the carbon offset organizations simply don’t have enough time or man-power to plant 1,800 trees in one go? Well, one could simply plant a much more manageable number–say 90 trees–but those trees would have to be managed for 20 years before they offered a return on only one Feinstein jet trip. Assuming Feinstein probably makes around 100 Gulfstream IV private trips back and forth, a carbon offset team would be required to plant 180,000 trees per year in order to battle the gross injustice Feinstein commits against the environment.

So are these carbon offset companies actually planting 1,800 trees per every flight Senator Feinstein embarks upon? I somehow doubt it, and this seems nothing more than a deflection scheme designed to allow the powerful and wealthy to continue their environmentally damaging behavior while they persist in preaching and condescending to the rest of us how to live our lives ecologically sound while admonishing us when we stray from their politically correct, beneficent path.

Refraining from what one preaches is harder to cover up than it seems.

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Politicians’ flights called wasteful

Schwarzenegger and Feinstein preach energy efficiency but often fly fuel-gulping small jets.

By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.

But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.

Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.

Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.

“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.

Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.

Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.

“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.

Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.

He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.

“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.

Noncommercial aircraft and other carbon-related indulgences have caused politicians considerable turbulence recently.

A conservative group has condemned Al Gore for racking up an average monthly electricity bill of $1,200 at his Nashville mansion last year while championing the anti-global warming cause. A Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president invests in renewable energy to offset his electricity use.

As part of an ethics push, the House and Senate are toughening restrictions on lawmakers who fly private jets, though exceptions for members and spouses who own planes are under consideration.

Earlier this month, Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of requesting a large military jet to fly her and family members between the capital and her San Francisco district.

Security protocols grant Pelosi occasional military flights because she is second in line to the presidency. Her office said she had only inquired about an aircraft with enough fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, and would fly commercial if necessary.

Pelosi flew on private jets seven times in 2006, her spokesman said. “She made every effort to travel commercially whenever possible,” Drew Hammill said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer says she took four trips on private aircraft last year, one with multiple stops over 2 1/2 days.

“If you can take a commercial plane to get where you need to go at the time you need to be there, you should do it,” she said in an e-mail. “If not, you have to look at alternatives such as trains, fuel-efficient vehicles, buses, and in some cases, private planes.”

For that last option, Feinstein reimburses her husband, Richard Blum, for use of the jet, Gerber said. Blum bought the GIV for about $23 million in 1999. The reimbursements are based on a first-class commercial fare, with more than 90% of the money coming from Feinstein’s personal funds and the rest from campaign coffers, the spokesman said. Last year, the reimbursements to Blum totaled about $73,000, he said.

But a GIV’s operating expenses are much higher than a first-class booking. A round-trip Los Angeles-Washington flight on the Gulfstream burns about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of roughly $20,000, depending on local pump prices, said Jeff Beck, a veteran corporate pilot. And that doesn’t include pilot fees, maintenance and parking bills.

“It’s the least environmental thing that politicians can do,” Beck said. He said Gulfstreams devour so much fossil fuel per passenger that “it’s like they’re throwing dinosaur bones out of the tailpipe.”

A coast-to-coast, first-class ticket on a major airline goes for about $1,200 to $2,500, round trip, according to a sampling of three airlines’ prices Tuesday.

A Boeing 767-200 airliner burns about 1,550 gallons an hour — three times as much as a GIV. But the larger plane typically can seat about 180 passengers, as opposed to a GIV’s 12 to 14.

Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that sells offsets, said it would charge $229 to cover the emissions from the GIV round trip.

Schwarzenegger flies a variety of leased jets, which cost his campaign $733,000 during the three months ending last September. Maile said the governor digs into his own pockets for some flights.

He also said Schwarzenegger has converted one of his Hummers to biodiesel fuel, and plans to install solar panels on his house. His other three Hummers remain gas hogs.

For her part, Feinstein drives a hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle when she is home in San Francisco, Gerber said. But she drives a Lincoln Town Car in Washington.

Not that the eco-crowd is eager to criticize Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, who are generally viewed as key supporters of the growing movement to curb emissions.

Representatives of some environmental groups either would not comment on the two politicians’ penchant for private jets, or suggested that allowances could be made in their circumstances.

“Given the exigencies of the campaign trail, if not the demands of governing of a large state, it may not be realistic to expect elective officials to fly commercial all the time,” said Jon Coifman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, invoked a loftier ideal:

“It is fair to hope that our political leaders will lead by example.”

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As the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean fiasco gains momentum with those who support the two incarcerated agents specifically, the border patrol generally, and the probe into questionable conduct by U.S. Attorney, Johnny Sutton and company, so too does this story gain detractors–detractors who generally have no more than a broad understanding of the incident, the trial, and the recent firestorm of outrage from the public and a growing number of congressmen and senators who are understandably demanding an investigation of Sutton, his office, and the DHS among others for their dubious ethics in regards to the apparent railroading of Ramos and Compean.

First, many question if these men are actually heroes. Here’s a typical, partisan comment from Joshua Holland writing for Alternet.com

So the [right] wingnuts have taken to calling Johnny Sutton an “agent of the Mexican government,” demanded that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez step into the case and generally made a big stink on right-wing talk radio, blogs and on their fake “news” sites like Townhall and WorldNetDaily. It’s all gotten conflated with the rank-and-file rebellion against the Republican Party over immigration. To many on the right, the two dirty cops are “illegal immigration heroes.” [bold emphasis]

And from an Anonymous poster on this piece

Whoa..everyone here needs to chill out. First, shooting someone in the back is not a “heroic” action. I don’t know who taught you right from wrong, but you need to do some serious soul searching if you thing this is alright.

First, the comment by Anonymous is indicative of those who know little about the circumstances of the case. Compean claimed the illegal alien drug runner had a shiny object in his hand and it appeared as if the fugitive was turning to use it. Making the assumption that it was a gun, you simply cannot tell agent Compean that the suspect did not have a gun. If he saw what he thought was a gun, Compean has the right to defend himself. This is basic police policy. What would normal human being do in a similar situation?

As for both comments above, I call them heroes because they do something most of us don’t have the balls to do, and they do it every day. They protect us with their own lives on the line, regardless of their imperfections–the same imperfections many of us have. The same can be said of firemen, marines, policemen, etc. I am a television producer. I am not a hero. Ramos and Compean are heroes.

Holland’s comments are rife with liberal political partisanship when this is simply a matter of justice–left and right should make no difference. Of course, I would be a hypocrite if I said I don’t include opinion in my writing (for crying out loud, this is a blog after all), but Holland even ridicules news outlets for offering information that doesn’t line up with his liberal leanings. The Onion is a “fake” news site. World Net Daily is not. Whether you are uncomfortable with the level of bias World Net Daily delivers, dubbing it fake is odd. Alternet.com takes a similar approach, but I would not pin them as “fake” because of the political bias. Their leading headline, Bush is Screwing Up the War on Terror I couldn’t agree with more. Does this make me a liberal? No (though some neo-cons would strongly disagree.) Does reading World Net Daily make me conservative? No. I never agree with every story a news outlet pushes on any website I visit or any publication I read. To do so would be mindless.

Personally I visit several news sites, conservative and liberal, and while I prefer to think of myself as a moderate, I often find myself leaning toward, what to me is, the more stable and thoughtful stance, and that generally leans to the right.

One thing I can certainly say about the liberal leaning news outlets is their trend to manipulate through emotional, straw-man arguments often devoid of logic. Take for example the cover story in latest issue of The Nation–Lockdown in Greely: How Immigration Raids Terrorized a Colorado Town (Marc Cooper.)

…December 12, the holiday celebrating the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. What materialized in front of the Swift gates that morning was more like a vision of hell. Shortly after 7 am a half-dozen buses rolled up with a small fleet of government vans, which unloaded dozens of heavily armed federal agents backed by riot-clad local police. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sealed off all entrances and exits and formed a perimeter around the factory. Then others barged inside and started rounding up the whole workforce.

Some of the frightened workers jumped into cattle pens; others hid behind machinery or in closets. Those who tried to run were wrestled to the ground. Sworn statements by some workers allege that the ICE agents used chemical sprays to subdue those who didn’t understand the orders barked at them in English. The plant’s entire workforce was herded into the cafeteria and separated into two groups: those who claimed to be US citizens or legal residents and those who didn’t.

Talk about appeals to emotion. The entire article is much like this–one big hyperbolic mess with absolutely no respect for American citizens, native born or immigrant. Vision of hell? A fleet of government vans? They barged inside? What constitutes a vision of hell? I’ve never been there (and hope I never pay a visit), so why the drama? I’m assuming that a fleet constitutes at least two vehicles, but the apparent tone conveyed here is to insinuate a large group of military vehicles filled with nasty-bad government agents, who in reality are simply doing their jobs, much like Ramos and Compean did. And they barged into a facility that was breaking the law by employing illegal immigrants, many of whom were shown to be guilty of identity theft which obviously illustrates why many of the workers initially attempted to hide and flee.

Curiously, pro-illegal immigrant activists, many of whom are liberals, simply don’t understand that they’re in the same boat with President Bush on this issue. You guys actually agree on something–Bush wants a low-paid, easily exploitable workforce and so do you. For many other reasons as well, I do not want to exploit poor illegal aliens. I desire an improved immigration system that starts with sharpened enforcement at the border.

More from The Nation article…

“By saying these raids were about identity theft, ICE and the Bush Administration suddenly changed the rules of the game,” says Mark Grey, director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration. By highlighting the identity-theft angle, DHS officials have cast into a sinister light a common practice, at worst a victimless crime.

Hyperbole is one thing. Fabrication is another. Identity theft is never victimless, and it’s a crime that’s growing as more illegals flow into the country unfettered due to our porous border. I’ve heard illegal immigration apologists attempt to explain it away as an inevitability (and that seems to excuse it for them) but I’ve never heard or read anyone be so bold as to state identity theft is victimless. Tell that Linda Trevino and Steve Millet and the many thousands more victims of illegal immigrants who stole identity information of legal residents.

Earnings in limbo

More from The Nation story…

…says an indignant Robert McCormick, a Greeley immigration attorney representing about sixteen of the workers. “This is indeed a declaration of war on the immigrant community. This is about Republicans trying to appease their core bloc of supporters. Yeah, some people got a big kick out of this. But I think most Americans were revolted by it. Here in town, a lot of people have said they want no part of it. And others, I assure you, are going to wind up being very ashamed of it.”

As someone who supports stronger borders and LEGAL immigration I find particularly infuriating how often illegal immigration activists love to leave out the word illegal when discussing the subject of illegal immigration. I am wholly against illegal immigration. I am completely in support of legal immigration. As cheesy as this sounds, I am filled with joy (yes, filled with joy) when ever I hear “The American Dream” story, particularly centered around immigrants–immigrants who came to this country with little to nothing, and managed great successes for themselves. Whether they became CEO of a corporation, or they simply bought a home in the Midwest, I am always pleased when immigrants successfully weave themselves into the fabric of our society.

Conversely, it saddens me when illegals enter the country and fail to even attempt at integration. This post from last summer clearly demonstrates this problem. As I state in that piece (accompanied with the L.A. Times article, 6+1=1 Tenuous Existence), immigrant assimilation is the best means to achieve success in a foreign society.

From the mentioned post…

[L.A. Times – Neither Magdaleno nor her husband speaks English, though she has been in the United States 22 years and he 28. Even her teenage daughters speak mostly Spanish; their English vocabulary is limited.

Jesus Christ! Twenty-two and 28 years and they still haven’t learned English? None?! What’s even more frightening is the fact that their teenage children barely speak English as well. This is very sad. To me, it speaks volumes on Mexican familial culture–how improving oneself is simply sneaking across the border and continuing a genealogy that one was trying to escape in the first place.]

As I’ve said before, I don’t blame poor Mexicans (or Chinese, or Indians, etc.) their need to come to this country for a better life. I blame this presidency and his administration for their failures to secure our border. When illegals enter the country, bypassing the proper channels to become legal residents, they will almost always fail to integrate. This often translates into large, poor illegal immigrant ghettos that do nothing to support the economy while serving as ethnocentric pools of resentment and anger towards the community, the city, and the country where in they now reside.

Also from commenter, Anonymous

 

It is also a ridiculous statement to say that immigrants are “rotting” this country. If immigrants did not “rot” America for the first 300 years, how are they doing it now? The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

I may have been participating in dramatic license, but it is true, the more unrestricted illegal weight bears down on this country, or any country for that matter (France anyone?), the more damaged it becomes–more rotten. Here are some interesting statistics from the L.A. Times, an infamously pro-illegal immigration, liberal publication…

– 40 percent of all workers are working for cash and not paying taxes. Why would they want to be legal and pay taxes? They would be able to start bringing the rest of their families to the USA.

– 75 percent of people on L.A.’s most-wanted list are illegal aliens.

– Over two-thirds of all births are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by the taxpayers.

– Nearly 25 percent of all inmates in California detention centers are here illegally.

– Over 300,000 illegals are living in garages.

[Anonymous] The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

– The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegals from south of the border.
[Hecubus] Additionally, if our border was more secure, we would be dealing with fewer drug and crime problems. Would we still have crime and drugs? Of course, but it would be diminished.

– Nearly 60 percent of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

– 29 percent of inmates in the federal prisons are illegal aliens.

– The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative.

– They also send between about $15 billion back to Mexico to assist their families and prop up the corrupt Mexican government that keeps most of its citizens in poverty.

– It cost Los Angeles $276 million in welfare costs for 100,000 children of illegal aliens.

[Anonymous] And please don’t get indignant and act like you don’t reap the benefits of undocumented workers. You like your oranges cheap. All of your products that are “Made in America” have most likely gone through the hands of undocumented workers at some point. Deep down you know that these people are benefitting you.

– Less than 2 percent of illegals are picking crops but 29 percent are on welfare.

Add to that California alone spent nearly $8 billion dollars in 2004 to educate illegal alien children and children of illegals. Also, the rate at which emergency rooms in California are closing due to EMTALA and illegal aliens not paying E.R. bills is astonishing. Who ends up footing the bill for these unpaid costs? American citizens.

[Anonymous] I am Mexican, and I don’t believe I have any diseases that are foreign to this country. I don’t believe that I have ever brought any foreign diseases back to the U.S. from my travels. You need to get the facts straight.

Also, many diseases are on the rise due to illegal immigration. I’m not saying you’re disease ridden, Anonymous. I’m simply pointing out facts that many illegals who do not go through proper immigration channels are carriers of communicable diseases. Some illnesses thought to have been nearly squashed are on the rise again because of this–plague, dengue fever, and polio. Even leprosy has seen an alarming rise in regularity because of illegal immigrants.

Anyway, there is a horrible misconception in this country right now, based mostly on what people hear rather than on what they know, that illegal immigrants perform jobs that Americans won’t do (though of late, this has been altered by illegal immigrant activists to “jobs Americans are too qualified for” since the condescending catch-phrase “jobs Americans wont do” was failing miserably.) This is patently false, but it’s been regurgitated over and over so much that people simply accept it. (There was an incident recently in the post-Katrina south where African Americans looking for work at a specific job site were told to go home because “the Mexicans” were coming to work for less pay.)

For those of us living in border states, particularly southern California, keep in mind that Latino workers makes up only 5% the total workforce in the United States, and they don’t make up a majority of the workforce in any occupation in America–yes, not even car washing, gardening, or house cleaning.

Much of the problem lies with employers, such as Swift Co. from The Nation article mentioned above, who hire illegals for a lower wage than actual American citizens are willing to take (well below minimum.) It’s about a fair wage. Pay American citizens a fair wage and they will do those jobs that so many are claiming only illegals will do because we, as American citizens, are too good to get our hands dirty. In fact, if there weren’t as many illegals doing “jobs Americans won’t do” then Americans would be able to fill those jobs, probably promoting a general increase in wages for many Americans altogether.

American citizens are doing jobs throughout the country that illegal immigrant activists say they won’t do. Americans are making livings and getting paid fair wages gardening, house cleaning, building homes, and working at McDonalds. Often views are skewed by where people live (border states) and what they see in the news.

Many legal immigrants (Latino and otherwise) find great offense to the idea of illegals getting any sort of benefits, let alone amnesty, by being in the country without having gone through the proper channels. Most immigrants have waited with great patience, going through those proper channels in order to become American citizens. The general disdain and disrespect pro-illegal immigration protestors and activists have towards the country that they are trying to win favor from is galling.

What needs to happen? Mexico needs to step up to the plate and provide for its citizens, and the United States needs to stop paying their bills without any help from Mexico. Mexico relies on the fact that its citizens emigrate to the US. It even took out full page ads in American newspapers supporting Bush’s guest worker program! It’s what keeps the rich wealthy, and the poor even poorer. The corruptness of the Mexican government is abhorrent, and if it were governed with any sense of responsibility (doubtful there will be any change even with the new leadership), the situation would probably be different, especially considering Mexico is rich in natural resources. What the illegal immigrant demonstrators and activists should do is use that same determination to protest their own government in Mexico to incite change instead of alienating the American audience it’s trying to win over.

Ultimately this is not a racist issue, at least for me. This is about providing American citizens a fair shot and keeping our economy running smoothly. Simply, if you pay people more money, they put more money back into the economy. If you pay them less, they put less back in, which weakens the economy. Add to that, most illegal immigrants send much of the money they make back to their families in Mexico and you can see how much of problem this will ultimately become (and already is.)

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Senate hearings on Ramos-Compean postponed
Democrats who want ‘extreme’ sentences probed blame ‘scheduling difficulties’


Posted: February 20, 2007
7:57 p.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to investigate the prosecution of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean and Texas Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez have been postponed, WND has learned.

Sen. Feinstein’s office told WND scheduling difficulties were responsible for the cancellation of the Feb. 27 hearing and her office anticipates that a new hearing date will be set soon. A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he was disappointed to hear of the postponement, noting the senator’s staff had done extensive work in preparation. As WND reported, Feinstein received permission from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to examine the cases.

The Bush administration has drawn strong criticism from Republican congressmen angry about its handling of a case in which two border agents were given 11- and 12-year sentences after granting a drug smuggler immunity to testify against them.

“I strongly believe that the sentences in this case are too extreme, given the criminal nature of the defendant and his possession of large quantities of drugs,” Feinstein said in a statement. “These men were given sentences that some individuals who are convicted of murder wouldn’t receive.” Leahy’s office did not return WND’s call for comment.

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Why are Mexican officials more concerned about prosecuting Americans (i.e. the Ramos-Compean prosecution) than preventing their citizens from crossing over the border into the United States? This is particularly curious considering Mexico’s own stance on lawbreakers illegally entering their country–admirably strict. If only the Bush administration were as diligent as Mexico concerning illegal immigration.

But alas, we have a broken immigration and enforcement system and an impotent presidency that really should transfer illegal alien and border policing from the federal level to the local level. Considering California is eating millions of dollars worth of state money to house criminal aliens in our state and city prisons with no federal payback funds planned in order to reimburse the cost to accommodate those illegals, it’s an outrage that this state cannot deal with the out-of-control illegal immigration problem ourselves while refraining from demonizing border agents doing the jobs they were hired to perform (I’m looking at you Texas.)

Apparently Mexico has a nice tight hold on the ear of U.S. Prosecutor extreme, Johnny Sutton, particularly in the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean case, but evidently in other cases involving American law enforcement officials as well. It’s obvious Sutton is an agent of Bush, but is he also an agent of the Mexican government?

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Mexico demanded U.S. prosecute sheriff, agents
Documents show role of consulate in cases of Gilmer Hernandez and Ramos-Compean


Posted: February 13, 2007
6:28 p.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas

The Mexican Consulate played a previously undisclosed role in the events leading to U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s high-profile prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences for their role in the shooting of a drug smuggler, according to documents obtained by WND.

And Mexican consular officials also demanded the prosecution of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez, who subsequently was brought to trial by Sutton, the documents reveal.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas – among a number of congressman who have fiercely opposed the prosecution of Ramos and Compean – told WND he has “long suspected that Mexican government officials ordered the prosecution of our law enforcement agents.”

“Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing,” Culberson said.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was equally outraged.

“The Mexican government should do more to keep illegals from Mexico from crossing into the United States, especially drug dealers, rather than be concerned about our border agents,” he told WND. “The U.S. Justice Department should not be working for the Mexican government.”

The White House and Sutton’s office in El Paso, Texas, did not respond to calls from WND asking for comment.

Hernandez’s attorney Jimmy Parks of San Antonio, Texas, told WND the documents “prove that it is wrong for my client to be in jail.”

“The prosecution of my client sends a wrong message to criminal illegal immigrants who are being tempted to cross our borders with impunity,” he said.

Mexico intervenes

WND has obtained a copy of a letter written April 18, 2005, by Mexican Consul Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes in Eagle Pass, Texas, demanding Hernandez be prosecuted for injuring a Mexican national, Marciela Rodriguez Garcia.

[Page 1 of the letter can be seen here and page 2 here.]

The first two paragraphs of the letter set out the facts of the case as understood by the Mexican consul. The letter is reproduced here as written:

I am addressing to you, regarding the case of the Mexican national, Ms. MARICELA RODRIGUEZ GARCIA (DOB 4-11-1979), who based on the information obtained by this Consulate, received a gunshot wound by an agent of the Sheriff Department of Edward County, that caused injuries in her face. As far aw we know, last April 15, 2005, the Mexican national was transported in first insistence to Val Verde Hospital in Del Rio, Tx, and then to San Antonio, Tx., where she was attended at the University Hospital. Today, Mr. Gabriel Salas a member of the staff of this office had the opportunity of interviewed Ms. RODRIGUEZ who confirms the facts of the incident.

The final two paragraphs contain the demands of the Mexican consul:

Based on the Consular Convention between Mexico and the United States and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Consulate of Mexico is entitled to represent, protect and defend the rights of Mexican nationals in this country. Therefore, I would like to point out, that is the care of my Country that this kind of incidents against our nationals, do not remain unpunished. According to the information provided above, I would appreciate your kind assistance, so this Consulate can be informed of the current investigation, and your support, so you present and file a complaint with the necessaries arraignments.

WND has learned the Mexican consul addressed separate copies of the letter to the following parties:

  • Don Lettsinger, Sheriff, Edward County, Rocksprings, Texas
  • Norman Townsent, Supervisor Senior Special Agent, FBI, Laredo, Texas
  • Bobby Smith, Texas Rangers, Del Rio, Texas
  • Fred Hernandez, District Attorney, Del Rio, Texas
  • J.A. Garcia, Attorney at Law, San Antonio,Texas
  • Lieutenant Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, Subsecretario para América del Norte
  • Minister Miguel Gutiérrez Tinoco, Director General de Protección y Asuntos Consulares
  • Emb. Arturo Aquiles Dáger Gómez, Consultor Juridico
  • Emb. Carlos de Leaza, Embajador de México, Washington, D.C.
  • Emb. Martha I. Lara, Cónsul General de México, San Antonio, Texas

WND also has learned that on April 29, 2005, Sheriff Lettsinger in Edwards County advised that the Texas Rangers met with the district attorney in Del Rio and was told the state of Texas had been removed from the Hernandez case because the FBI and the federal government were taking over.

The Mexican national Rodriguez was in a Chevrolet Suburban van full of illegals that attempted to run over Hernandez after he had stopped the vehicle for running a stop sign April 14, 2005, in Rocksprings, Texas. Firing his weapon at the rear tires, a bullet fragment hit Rodriguez in the mouth, cutting her lip and breaking two teeth.

Hernandez, convicted of felony civil rights violations, is incarcerated in a Del Rio prison waiting sentencing.

In the case of agents Ramos and Compean, WND has obtained notes made by a congressional staff member who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with three investigators from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office.

The staff member’s notes indicate the Inspector General’s office briefed the congressmen that the Mexican consul had also intervened in the Ramos and Compean case.

According to the notes obtained by WND, the congressmen were told:

Several weeks later (after the February 17, 2005 event near Fabens, Texas), the Mexican Consulate contacted the U.S. Consulate in Mexico saying that they have a person who claims to have been shot by a Border Patrol agent. On March 4, 2005, the U.S. Consulate contacted the U.S. attorney.

DHS investigative reports filed by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez document that March 4, 2005, is the date on which DHS initiated the Ramos-Compean investigation.

WND can find no evidence the Border Patrol, DHS, or U.S. Attorney Sutton had started any investigation of Ramos or Compean concerning the events of Feb. 17, 2005, prior to March 4, 2005.

‘Dictating’ policy

“The Mexican government should not be dictating United States border policy,” Poe told WND after learning of the Mexican consul’s involvement in both cases.

Culberson agreed.

“We have it in writing,” he told WND, “a letter from the Mexican Consulate in the case of the deputy sheriff from Edwards County and verbal confirmation of the Mexican Consulate’s complaint in the case of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean.”

Culberson told WND it is “outrageous and unacceptable that our government is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government.”

The congressman said the revelations suggest national security may be at risk:

“U.S. national security interests in the war on terror must determine how we protect our border, not the opinions of the Mexican government,” he said.

Culberson called for a congressional investigation, telling WND, “We’ve now got to find out how many other Mexican government complaints have led to the prosecutions of our law enforcement officers on the border, and this intimidation must stop.”

Previous accounts in question

Sutton’s claim he learned about the identity of the drug smuggler in the Ramos-Compean case, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, through consular contacts originating in Mexico apparently contradicts his explanation in an exclusive interview with WND Jan. 19, Sutton said his office learned the identity of Aldrete-Davila from a lawyer in Mexico representing the drug smuggler.

WND: So, Aldrete-Davila ran away, and as you say, at the time you didn’t have any basis to know who he was and there were no fingerprints. But yet, you found the guy. If you found the guy to give him immunity, why couldn’t you have found the guy to punish him? SUTTON: The way we found him is that he came forward and was in Mexico with a lawyer. So, the only way to get him to testify was to give him immunity from being prosecuted. He wasn’t going to agree to come to the United States, he wasn’t going to agree to talk, unless he had some kind of immunity from being prosecuted for that load. So, that puts the prosecutor in the terrible choice of everyone goes free, we got no case against the dope dealer, we cannot make a case against the dope dealer because there’s no evidence, thanks to agents and other factors.

Sutton’s account also appears to contradict the March 14, 2005, memo from Special Agent Christopher Sanchez which claimed the government learned Aldrete-Davila’s identity from Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Willcox, Ariz.

As WND reported, Christopher Sanchez’s memo had claimed Rene Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila grew up together in Mexico. Rene Sanchez, the memo said, learned Aldrete-Davila was the drug smuggler involved in the incident with agents Ramos and Compean after his mother-in-law had a phone call with Aldrete-Davila’s mother in Mexico.

The memo also indicates the shooting was reported to the Mexican Consulate.

Rene Sanchez said that his mother-in-law Gregoria Toquinto went to Mexico to help her friend Marcadia take her son Osbaldo to the Mexican Consulate to report the shooting incident. However, Osbaldo declined to go. Marcadia advised Toquinto that Osbaldo did not want to report the incident, because he had actually been transporting a load of marijuana and was afraid the Mexican and/or U.S. authorities would put him in jail.

Staff notes WND obtained from the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting Poe, Culberson and two other Texas Republican congressmen had with three investigators in the Inspector General’s office indicate the Mexican Consulate knew all about Aldrete-Davila. That conflicts with Sutton’s claim the drug smuggler was so concerned about prosecution he was afraid to talk to the Mexican Consulate.

It also contradicts the DHS Report of Investigation released by Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth Redman to Congress in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Poe. On a page numbered as “4 of 33,” the DHS report appears to have a heavily redacted version of the Rene Sanchez mother-in-law story.

Redman was one of three DHS investigators who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the four Texas Republican congressman. The other two investigators were identified to WND as Tamara Faulkner and James Taylor.

As WND reported, DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner admitted under oath Feb. 6 that Redman and the other investigators had misled the Texas congressmen. Skinner was responding to questioning by Culberson before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Skinner admitted, contrary to previous claims, DHS did not have investigative reports that would prove Ramos and Compean were rogue Border Patrol agents who told investigators they were “out to shoot some Mexicans” the day of the incident with Aldrete-Davila.

Culberson since has called for the resignation of the investigators.

Ramos-Compean trial

The Mexican consul’s role in revealing the identity of Aldrete-Davila also conflicts with prosecutor Debra Kanof’s opening statement to the jury in the Ramos-Compean trial.

According to a copy of the statement obtained by WND, Kanof explained the following to the jury Feb. 21, 2006:

Rene Sanchez is stationed in Willcox, Arizona. He’s actually from El Paso. And sometime in the last couple of days of February he got a phone call from his mother-in-law. And his mother-in-law lives in Mexico, in a little town on the outskirts of Juarez. And she told him that she had been talking to a friend of hers, a girlfriend of hers, and that that girlfriend had told her that her son, the girlfriend’s son, had been shot in back by a Border Patrol agent outside of El Paso, Texas, somewhere near San Elizario.

From there, Kanof explained how Rene Sanchez investigated.

So Rene Sanchez investigated. He made some phone calls to people he knew in El Paso and asked if there was a shooting. First he needed to find out, however, when that occurred and approximately where it occurred. So he immediately reported it to his supervisor in Willcox, Arizona, who told him to get more information, which he did by calling his mother-in-law. And he instructed his mother-in-law to take a cell phone – his mother-in-law actually lives in El Paso – to take a cell phone to Mexico, give that cell phone to the individual who was shot, and have them call me, so I can get some facts. And that, he did.

The individual who shot is an individual by the name of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. And Rene Sanchez spoke with him on the phone, and he gave him information about what occurred that day.

Kanof said nothing to the jury suggesting the information about Aldrete-Davila actually came from the Mexican consul, who contacted the American Consulate in Mexico, who in turn contacted DHS and prosecutor Sutton’s office.

While Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, Aldrete-Davila has found an American lawyer and plans to sue the Border Patrol for $5 million for allegedly violating his civil rights.

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The following story, commencing this past October of 2006 in the city of Long Beach, California (about 30 miles south of where I live in Los Angeles), with a brutal, racially motivated beating and culminating with the severe travesty of justice that is the sentencing doled out to the perpetrators, is nothing short of shocking for a hate crime of this severity.

Last October 31, three black young women were viciously assaulted by nine trick-or-treating white teenage boys and girls. Prior to the ferocious onslaught, the nine assailants ridiculed the three black teenaged victims by hurling racial epithets, pumpkins, and various fruits at their prey. One white teen even was heard to yell, “I hate blacks!” After the aggressors could find no other vegetables to chuck at the targets, they then proceeded to beat the three black girls into another state of mind. The antagonists used their fists, their feet, and their skateboards during the attack, all while continuing their barrage of racist slurs and aspersions at their black female victims. One girl, with dozens of broken facial bones, nearly lost an eye in the attack. Now she must remain in an upright position for three months, not even allowed to recline in order to sleep at night.

While the trial ended in guilty verdicts for all nine villains, the sentences handed out by Judge Gibson Lee stupefied the victims, their families, the community and the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles–simple probation. The first conviction constituted a gross injustice as the young boy was handed a laughable sentence of 60 days, house arrest. For the remaining eight pugilists, much of the same–probationary house arrest. To call this an outrage is to put too light a word to it. This is an atrocity.

In the politically correct age in which we live, one might be stunned into wondered astonishment as to how such a travesty as this could come to pass–three young black women nearly beat to death by nine savage white teens.

How? Well, it did and it didn’t. Read the above story again, only this time, replace nine white teens with nine black teens, and three black girls with three white girls. Do you have more clarity now? Do you know why the judge gave such lenient sentences to the offenders? If you do, explain it to me because I still do not understand.

 

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Halloween beating victims, left to right, Lura Schneider, Michelle Smith and Loren Hyman speak to media outside a Long Beach, Calif., courthouse Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007. The three young women were in court Wednesday to give ‘victim impact statements’ to the judge who last week convicted their attackers. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) ,

 

4 Halloween defendants given house arrest, probation

Victim’s attorney disagrees with sentence

By Tracy Manzer, Staff writer

 

LONG BEACH – Four teens were sentenced to probation and house arrest for 60 days for their roles in the Halloween beatings of three young white women attacked by a mob of black youths in Bixby Knolls on Halloween.

An 18-year-old male, his twin sister, 14-year-old sister, and 16-year-old friend have been in custody since their arrest after the beating.

They faced sentences ranging from probation to time in the California Youth Authority, although most involved in juvenile law agree the disposition will be geared more toward rehabilitation than punishment.

Doug Otto, attorney for the three victims, said he disagreed with Judge Gibson Lee’s verdict.

“The judge said he felt bound by case law and statutes to impose the least restrictive sentence,” Otto said after coming out of the courthouse. Otto said Laura, the woman who said she was knocked unconscious by the boy, was particularly upset by the sentencing.

“We disagree strongly, but we respect the law,” Otto said. “This doesn’t feel like justice.”

All nine defendants, eight girls and one boy ages 13 to 18, were convicted of felony assault last week. A girl, 12, was acquitted.

Lee had scheduled the nine convicted teens’ sentencing, or disposition as it is called in juvenile court, over three days, with four Friday, another four on Tuesday and the final youth on Wednesday.

A hate-crime allegation was found to be true in eight of the cases, and an allegation that gross bodily injury was personally inflicted by the accused was found to be true for six of the convicted teens.

In the attack, a group of 20 to 40 black youngsters surrounded and beat the women to the ground as trick-or-treaters gathered in a Bixby Knolls neighborhood.

The hate-crime allegations stemmed from witness reports that several in the group yelled racial slurs during the assault, which occurred at about 9 p.m. Halloween in the 3800 block of Linden Avenue.

The youngest minor, a 12-year-old girl, was acquitted of the charge.

The Press-Telegram has chosen not to identify by name the victims, accused minors or witnesses in the case out of concern for their safety.

 

Cherrale, the mother of three teens convicted in the Bixby Knolls beating, smiles as she leaves the Long Beach Courthouse on Friday. The Press-Telegram has withheld the names of the convicted teens and their family members because the case has been heard in juvenile court. (Jeff Gritchen / Press-Telegram)

 

 

Four more get probation in beating

Youths’ sentences similar to those handed down to others last week.

By Greg Mellen, Staff writer

LONG BEACH – Four black female minors were sentenced to house arrest, probation and community service on Monday in the beatings of three white women on Halloween.One female defendant, a Cal State Long Beach student and the last of 10 tried in the case, will be sentenced today. Four others received similar sentences Jan. 26, while one, a 12-year-old girl, was acquitted.

A representative of several of the defendants’ families said they will comment after the final sentence is handed down by Long Beach Superior Court Judge Gibson Lee.

District Attorney Andrea Bouas argued for stronger penalties in three of the four sentences on Monday.

The four were convicted Jan. 26 of felony assault on the three victims. A hate-crime enhancement was found true on all four sentenced Monday.

However, Lee handed out the same sentences he had on Friday to four other teens: probation, 60 days of house arrest, 250 hours of community service and classes on anger management and racial tolerance.

Before Lee handed down his sentences to a 13-year-old, two 14-year-olds and a 17-year-old, Bouas recommended that three of the defendants be sentenced to time in California Youth Authority camps.

Bouas said about two defendants, a 17-year-old and her younger sister, that the older had a history of “acting out” and the other may have gang affiliations and a propensity for violence.

Bouas said the 17-year-old, an internationally ranked track athlete, had “a gift” athletically but apparently didn’t appreciate it.

“Why would she risk her gift?” Bouas asked. “Maybe she didn’t value what she has. Sometimes when you have success you don’t recognize the value. Maybe this is the best thing that could have happened to her.”

Bouas also noted the older sister had been struggling academically with a 1.92 grade point average, not including athletics.

“The last chance for her is camp, to get her on track,” Bouas said. “She needs intervention.”

The deputy district attorney also asked the 17-year-old be barred from receiving a driver’s license until she is 21, noting a history of citations for driving without a license, including on the night of the assault.

Bouas said the younger sister showed a “frightening propensity for violence.” Bouas said even when a Good Samaritan intervened, it was the younger sister who continued to kick and seemed prepared to attack the physically imposing Good Samaritan.

Bouas also talked about a MySpace Web page that showed the girl and her 7-year-old brother flashing what she said were gang signs.

Attorney Marc Rothenberg quickly contested the assertion that the hand signals were gang-related, insisting it was merely a “thumbs up.”

“I hope I don’t get shot for giving someone a thumbs up,” Rothenberg said, eliciting laughter from the court audience.

Bouas said the younger sister “has a gift but flirts with danger” and worried the younger brother would be “contaminated” by his older sibling.

Lee, addressing gang affiliations, warned the teens: “A word to the wise. Gang activity while on probation is a straight ticket to CYA.”

Much of the information Bouas related was disallowed from the court case, but was permissible during sentencing.

Lee ruled that the court lacked power to impose the license restriction but said that the Department of Motor Vehicles would be advised.

Like the four teens sentenced Friday – an 18-year-old male, his twin sister, 16-year-old younger sister and his 16-year-old girlfriend – the defendants Monday were ordered to pay restitution.

The Press-Telegram does not identify the victims and their families out of concern for their safety and has withheld the names of the convicted teens because the case has been heard in juvenile court.

The nine defendants were convicted Jan. 26 of felony assault on the three victims, who were taunted with racial slurs and pelted with fruit and pumpkins before being beaten to the ground by a mob of youths trick-or-treating on the 3800 block of Linden Avenue.

The 18-year-old twins and their 16-year-old friend sentenced Friday were also found guilty of the special circumstances of hate crime and the personal infliction of gross bodily injury.

While on probation, the teens cannot leave their homes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. During house arrest, they cannot leave for anything other than school, not even track practice. All four are competitive athletes.

They cannot contact the victims or associate with known gang members and are barred from socializing with their fellow convicted friends – although Lee noted the teens who are related obviously will have contact.

Probation can be until a minor is 21, authorities said, although it rarely lasts that long if the youths abide by the court’s restrictions and stay out of trouble.

After Lee handed down his rulings, parents of the defendants quietly gathered in a hallway outside the courtroom and signed papers to secure the release of their children. One hopeful adult had two paper lunch sacks with the names of two of the girls scribbled on the sides.

While a contingent of media waited for the families of the defendants at the front of the courthouse, the families left via a side door.

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Halloween beating victim Laura Schneider reacts while speaking to media outside a Long Beach, Calif., courthouse Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007. Schneider, Michelle Smith and Loren Hyman were in court Wednesday to give ‘victim impact statements’ to the judge who last week convicted their attackers. Behind Schneider are unidentified family members. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

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Once there was The People – Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People – it shall never be again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), As Easy as A.B.C. (1917)

I own a hybrid gas/electric vehicle–a Toyota Prius.

In fairness, my initial intention when I set out to purchase a Prius a year and a half ago had nothing to do with rescuing the spotted owl, repairing the ozone, putting a stop to clear-cutting of our forests, helping the environment in general, or saving the planet as a whole. I simply wanted to save gas. I’m not a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative (though reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe I was the latter.) I’m a moderate who lives in Los Angeles with a lengthy daily commute to work. In the summer of 2005, at a time when the nation was seeing some of the highest gas prices this side of the 70’s (relatively speaking), I coincidentally fell into the market for a new car. The Prius seemed a sure bet. After nearly two years of ownership, I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I love my car, and more importantly, I love the money saved at the pump.

That being said, the environment and global warming can kiss my ass.

After the preliminary report released last week by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), any credence I maintained in environmentalists’ notions that “doing our part” can help change the course of global warming (which, over the past year, had been severely truncated due to personal investigative research) has been wholly and merrily tossed out of the figurative window.

Hell, if a consortium of top scientists from around the globe all agree on predictions concerning global meteorological phenomenon a century and more into the future, it must be true. Right?

Of course, I wouldn’t even begin to postulate how often my local weather forecast has been divined incorrectly, and I live in sunny Los Angeles for crying out loud. This was most recently evidenced in the prediction of clear skies a few days previous to a good day or two of drenching rain.

Additionally, a consensus of NASA meteorologists and scientists postulated boldly (well, ‘boldly’ might be too strong a word) the previous summer that this current winter season, under the diabolical latino cloak of El Nino, would be a record-breaking season of warm weather and frequent, heavy rains with fewer but far mightier hurricanes that would rival even Katrina in their ferocity. Actually, quite the opposite has taken place. It has been an unusually cold and dry winter during the 2006 and 2007 season, and any hurricane that did make landfall managed to constitute little danger with no serious catastrophe.

While I would not dare consider myself anything approximate to an expert on global warming or weather auguring, could one suppose the conclusions drawn in the 20-page summary on global warming by the IPCC as anything other than simply a weather prediction? Considering how often the experts end up predicting incorrectly, I would say yes, and I (and just about anyone) will maintain that the earth, as has been its tendency for billions of years, goes through cycles of change constantly–some minor, some major, some short, some long–most of that time without modern industrialized human society.

What is most revealing to me concerning this preliminary report is how the IPCC arrived at their percentage–a 90% certainty that global warming is due to human activity. From the LA Times article below…

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

China is the leading consumer of coal produced energy. So despite all of the time devoted to this endeavour, despite all of the money spent through years of research and resources used in order to conduct this program, and despite the idea that these scientists are supposedly the par excellence in their respective fields, politics still managed to barge in and fudge the numbers “as easy as A.B.C.”

How is a layman supposed to trust what the IPCC claims in their report when something as inane as politics can simply waltz in, beat its chest, and ultimately influence a supposedly unbiased report? How? Because it is a biased report.

Honestly though, as a result of their proclamation I have ceased caring about this particular subject. If global warming is a “runaway train” as the IPCC states, then what’s the point of doing anything to attempt regression? “Oh, but we must save the planet for our future children, and their children’s children. We must protect nature. etc. etc. blah. blah,” so preach the environmentalists.

I will say with certainty, and there’s none on this planet who will dispute this fact–human beings are a part of nature. We are the most advanced form of life the world has ever hosted, and we’re intelligent enough to manipulate our environment and work with other of nature’s creations to make our lives more comfortable, which is what we should be doing. I for one do not desire to live in a cave in the wilderness in order to protect the planet, nor do I suspect many environmentalists, especially the wealthy ones (well, perhaps Daryl Hannah, but she’s not wealthy.) Very few would wish to live a life-style reminiscent of pre-industrial era history in order to alter the effects of global warming. Those who would are probably already doing so, deranged to a greater or lesser extent anyway.

So the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown us the way. Global warming is unstoppable at this point, so here’s what I recommend. Since the temperate climates will eventually become intemperate, start looking into and purchasing land in currently remote and inhospitably cold areas of the planet. While it may not benefit the buyer at this point, future progeny will thank you for your prescience.

Alaska and the Yukon Territories of Canada are looking pretty good right now.

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U.N. says there’s no stopping global warming

Report also says climate change is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2007

In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is “very likely” caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

The warming of Earth and increases in sea levels “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” according to a 20-page summary of the report that was leaked to wire services.

The summary of the fourth report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was scheduled for release this morning in Paris. But scientists involved in the final editing process have been leaking bits and pieces from it all week, culminating in the leaking of the full report eight hours before its release.

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

The report also says scientists’ “best estimate” is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees.

The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and perhaps an additional 4 to 8 inches if the recent melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the Larsen B ice shelf in western Antarctica continues at current rates.

That is a decrease from the maximum of 35 inches predicted in the earlier study.

Nonetheless, such an increase would inundate many low-lying areas around the world, including islands such as Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean and marsh areas near New Orleans. Such flooding would affect more than 10 million people.

The report also predicts a melting of Arctic ice during summers and a slowing of the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the report says, for the first time, that it is “more likely than not” that the strong hurricanes and cyclones observed since 1970 have been produced by global warming. The 2002 report said scientists did not yet have enough evidence to make such a link.

The summary is a purely scientific document and does not offer any recommendations on ways to control the problem. Those are expected in a chapter to be released this year.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an “economic straitjacket” and that it failed to set standards for developing nations.

The earlier IPCC report was heavily criticized by conservative critics and a variety of online bloggers who said it exaggerated the effects of global warming. But a new study reported Thursday in the online version of the journal Science said that the IPCC report actually significantly underestimated both the extent of warming and the extent of the rise in sea levels.

An international team of climate experts said in the Science report that data showed global temperatures had increased by 0.6 degree, at the upper limit of the U.N.’s predictions, and that sea levels had risen 0.13 inch per year, compared with the U.N. report’s estimate of less than 0.08 inch per year.

The data show that “IPCC is presenting a consensus view that has been OKd by a very large number of interests, so it tends to err on the side of making cautious statements and not exaggerating,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, one of the authors of the Science study.

The Science study “looks quite solid to me, indicating … that the climate is changing in a very significant way — and model projections are not overestimates, as some charge,” said atmospheric scientist Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, an independent think tank in Washington.

The unexpectedly large rise in sea levels may be at least partially due to the recently observed melting of the ice sheets, the authors of the Science study said.

The increase also may be due in part to a natural variability in sea levels superimposed onto rises produced by global warming, they said. It would be “premature,” they concluded, to assume that sea levels will continue to increase at the current rate.

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