Sunday, July 30, 2006

Truely Shameful : Congressman John Doolittle

From the Sacramento Bee. Opinion. July 30.

Editorial: Truly shameful

Doolittle tries to whip up anti-immigrant sentiment with a bogus e-mail 'poll'

Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, July 30, 2006

With congressional elections just three months away, politicians across the country are hoping to whip up a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and ride it to victory. Few are pushing this distasteful strategy as hard as John Doolittle, the Republican congressman from Rocklin.
In a recent e-mail to constituents on his congressional letterhead, Doolittle is conducting what he calls a "poll" on the question, "Should illegal immigrants be allowed to vote in our elections?"

This is nothing but scaremongering and electioneering. The question itself is silly, and Doolittle knows it.

Of course illegal immigrants should not be allowed to vote, and they are not. There are laws against it and stiff penalties for those who break those laws. And all of the available evidence suggests violations are rare.

Doolittle's "poll" ignores all that. In bold print he asserts flatly that "many illegal immigrants" are voting in our elections. He asserts, again in bold print, "Some estimate that thousands of illegal immigrants are allowed to vote each year."

Doolittle, the e-mail declares, intends to "stop this outrageous and illegal activity." He invites recipients to "participate in a districtwide poll I am conducting," which he says he will present to his colleagues in Congress.

The e-mail is clearly intended to convince Doolittle's constituents that hordes of illegal immigrants are voting in U.S. elections. But is that so? A June 22 hearing of the House Committee on Administration, which Doolittle attended, made it clear that the evidence of illegals voting is minuscule and anecdotal.

At that hearing, much was made of a Department of Justice report of vote fraud prosecutions from October 2002 through October 2005. But a look at the report shows that a grand total of 13 noncitizens were convicted of voting in U.S. elections. That is 13 ballots out of 196,139,871 cast between October 2002 and August 2005. Most of those who voted illegally were legal residents, not "illegal immigrants".

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Mexican Elections were stolen; Like Florida in 2000

Here are the details.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

NY Times and the Mexican elections

What a strange, one sided story ,” Video, Doubts and Backlash in Mexican Vote,” by Ginger Thompson in the New York Times of July 14, 2006.
The writer used a very selective use of examples, each chosen to support the PAN election rather than providing a balanced story. Given that there is substantive evidence that the Mexican election of 1988 was stolen, the effort of Lopez Obrador to demand election integrity and a ballot by ballot count of the votes is appropriate.
The Bush regime’s contact with PAN through Choice Point is even more troubling. I wish that Al Gore would have challenged the elections in Florida 2000 with this vigor.
Defending elector democracy, opposing electoral fraud is well worth fighting for – even when it reveals a deeply divided country.
The Obrador campaign is demanding democracy- the respect for the right of a majority to win elections.

Dr. Duane E. Campbell
Sacramento, Calif.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Latinos and Aztlan

Right wingers create a story and the press repeats it.

Capital Weekly: Sacramento, California

Latino pols dream of Aztlán, anti-immigration groups charge
By Malcolm Maclachlan

(published July 13th, 2006)
It sounds like paranoid plot of a suspense novel: a conspiracy by Latino politicians and activists to re-conquer the American Southwest and expel all non-Latinos.

But a loose coalition of groups has used renewed interest in immigration issues to launch a campaign to draw attention to what they say is evidence of just such an agenda. This includes an ad campaign designed to make people aware of what they say are treasonous statements by some of California's most prominent and respected Latino politicians.

"They are all reconquistas," said Evelyn Miller, describing the Democratic Latino Caucus. Miller is a spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach-based California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR). The group said that many powerful Latino Democrats support Aztlán, a Latino homeland that would be formed by the secession of several Western states that were once part of Mexico.

"Aztlán is an old concept that holds little meaning to many Latinos,"
countered Abel Valenzuela, a Chicano Studies professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Most Latinos/Chicanos--and undocumented immigrants--don't even know what the term means."

It doesn't take much looking to find people who are openly supportive of the reconquista concept.
Much more. Read the story.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NCLR and immigrants rights

From Javier Rodriguez H. Media & Political Strategist for March 25th
Coalition of Los Angeles July 9, 2006

Yesterday Saturday July 8, at the NLCR National Conference, at the close
of the first immigration panel, in the most diplomatic fashion, I
extended an invitation to Angelica Salas, CHIRLA's Executive Director a
long time committed defender of immigrant rights, but also supporter of
the present compromise on immigration reform for a concerted public
debate. The basis for my proposition, I told her, are the major
differences we exhibit daily in our approach to resolve, one of the most
pressing issues in this country, the regularization of the estimated
twelve million immigrants in the US. I conveyed the idea that it was
time to communicate with civility and that we could converse over the
details and the rules of conduct in the public encounter. She agreed we
would talk over the venture and we exchanged cards.

As you are also aware, yesterday, our March 25 Coalition staged a
protest at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the NCLR Conference site.
It was over that organization's support of the S2611 Hagel- Martinez and
the Sensenbrenner Bills. Both which our coalition, as well as over four
hundred national organizations oppose. In this column we have the
AFL-CIO, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and most
of the coalitions that were galvanized to the mega marches and the
boycott during these last four months. Additionally we protested the
inclusion of 1) former President Bill Clinton, the Operation Keeper
signee which has brought us over 4,000 deaths and continuing, plus the
unbearable pain for hundreds of thousands of immigrants having to cross
in the most dangerous desolate areas of the border. 2) The presence of
Karl Rove, the Bush Administration Rasputin and war monger, 3) the US
Marines sponsoring Latino Leadership, a no brainer, with deaths of over
2,500 American soldiers and more dramatic over 100,000 Iraqis dead, in a
fabricated war for Corporate America, the unmistakable enemy of Labor.
Furthermore, NCLR is one of several Latino Establishment national
organizations (who were co-opted by the Mexican Government of Carlos
Salinas de Gortari) who brought us NAFTA, vehemently opposed by Labor
and signed by Clinton in 1993. NAFTA was supposed to have elevated
Mexico to the First World and was to also end immigration. Predictably
the opposite ensued: mexico's poverty rate has increased fifty to sixty
million people, thanks to NAFTA's savage exploitation of Mexican
resources and labor and US protectionist trade. The result has been the
escape valve, more immigration.

Amazingly, except for the AFSCME speaker, none of the above was
addressed by LA County Federation-Maria Elena Durazo, UFW-Arturo
Rodriguez, SEIU-Eliseo Medina, John Wilhelm-HERE, or CHIRLA's Angelica
Salas. No analysis of capital and the globalization of labor, nor the
concentration of wealth and the expansion of world poverty and misery.

And it was clear from the panelists, both for the morning session as
well as the afternoon "Town Hall" gathering sponsored by SEIU, that the
hot topic was immigration reform. Over three hundred people attended the
Town Hall meeting. And of course the panel was stacked five to one in
favor of the more conservative Change to Win Labor Coalition and the
NCLR facilitator, Cecilia Munoz. The program was absolutely orchestrated
with handpicked floor participants and SEIU and HERE members were herded
in as cheer leaders or "acarreados by their Charro leaders" as we
Mexicans say. Opposing views were almost obliterated. After UTLA's Sarah
Knopp spoke against the "compromise" I was finally going to be given
the floor, but then the red alarm sounded and that old UFW icon, who got
a standing ovation minutes before, hurried to the isle, took the
microphone and attempted to divert the topic. Then, according to
Yucatan's Federation President Gladys Pinto, the NCLR floor worker had
been instructed by SEIU Mike Garcia to not give me the floor.

So the young lady in the Washington suit, confused, looked at me, as if
to apologize, turned and walked to Cecilia Munoz and obviously informed
her of the uncomfortable developments and suddenly the "Town Hall"
discussion came to a stop. Of course I was going to add to Knopp's
intervention and emphasize that experts, dozens of them, including
Constitutional Atty. Peter Schey and our own Atty. Isabel Rodriguez,
estimate that under the Martinez-Hagel three tier legalization plan over
6 of the 12 million targeted immigrants will be left out of and probably
worst in the compromise with HR4437. But also as important I would have
pointed out the super long wait for the five year or more qualified
undocumented applicants. Initially with the earned legalization concept,
they will get 6 years of consecutive permits and then after apply, if
they still qualify, for permanent residency. It will not be automatic
for they will then be placed in back of the line of the 3.3 million
other would be immigrants in process. Because the reform does not
address this long waiting line, ahead are another 6 to 8 more years, of
course with permits, to obtain the coveted "Green Card". And further,
another five years to qualify for citizenship.

This hard reality can not be hidden. The 2.5 million that were left out
of the IRCA Amnesty of 1986 will have had a 42 year wait to vote. For
remembrance, with the 1986 legalization, the immigrant population
applied immediately and was given a one year permit for $150.00 and at
the end of that year, the applicant received the Residency Card. Five
years after, citizenship. . As simple as that.I know, our Esat L.A.
center processed over 10,000 applicants.

These and dozens of other reasons are why over four hundred national
organizations, including us the March 25 Coalition of Los Angeles and
San Diego, are campaigning to derail the draconian compromise. We
believe these bills are totally corporate designed to continue the
modern enslavement of the immigrant population. We definitely know the
millions the people, who marched and boycotted, did so, for full
legalization and family unity. Not for more border deaths, walls,
increased militarization or the criminalization of working people.

Interestingly, the NCLR gatherings showed the superficial depth of the
compromising faction in this historic movement. The LA March 25th one
million plus demonstration, the galvanization of the country's immigrant
population and the massive May 1st Gran Paro Americano/ The Great
American Boycott, were not mentioned period, zilt, in the compromiser's
presentations. And this campaigns, without a doubt, are both a People's
American Story. March 25th was hatched in three weeks, with a $15,000
budget and a much heralded but masterful media and political strategy.
All this in spite of the attempts to co-opt it, divide it, derail it,
clearly sabotaged by the SEIU and County Fed Pit Bulls, in addition to
the government and corporate funded immigrant rights organizations
mercenary "Media Consultants". This massive mobilization, the largest in
the history of this movement, made history and injected the immigrant
community and its allies unto the national scene as never before. Then
came April 10th -which directly was not ours, but by then we were
organizing the national boycott. Another first. And we shut down
Southern, Central and Northern California and many parts of the country.
Again, in spite of this gigantic grass roots efforts being "Scabbed
on", by all of the above, plus Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Mayor Antonio
Villaraigoza, Gov. Shwarzenneger, and President Bush, never the less, in
large and small cities, millions were mobilized. It was absolutely the
dream of "A Day without Immigrants" made a reality, a militant reality.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lou Dobbs and immigrant bashing

Inter Press Service News Agency
Wednesday, July 05, 2006 21:27 GMT

Lou Dobbs' Dubious Guest List

Bill Berkowitz*

OAKLAND, California, Jun 30 (IPS) - On the May 23 edition of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight", the generally affable talk-show host, who has become the network's go-to-guy on immigration issues, used a graphic provided by the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens to pound home his point about a racist anti-immigrant conspiracy theory.

During a piece about "illegal immigrants" in Utah, reporter Casey Wian pointed out that Utah was "part of the territory some militant Latino activists refer to as Aztlan, the portion of the southwest United States they claim rightfully belongs to Mexico."

As a backdrop for Wian's report, CNN ran a map of the United States with the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas browned out, and labeled "Aztlan".

Over the past several months -- perhaps as a response to a series of massive pro-immigrant demonstrations held in dozens of cities across the United States -- critics say that Dobbs has repeatedly crossed the line between fair-minded debate and fear-mongering.

"The problem with Lou Dobbs isn't so much that he puts people with connections to hate groups on his show without revealing those ties, or even that he seems to endorse racist conspiracy theories and describes anti-immigration vigilantes as 'great Americans,'" Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Centre told IPS.

"The problem is that Dobbs' unrelenting nativist propaganda is presented to the American public, in primetime and on the leading news channel in America, as actually being news. That's a sorry commentary on the state of the media and, in particular, reflects the Foxification of CNN," he said, referring to the network's conservative rival.

CNN did not respond to IPS requests for comment.

But Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a longtime media watchdog group, notes that Dobbs regularly stirs up anti-immigrant sentiment on his nightly programme.

"Dobbs' tone on immigration is consistently alarmist; he warns his viewers of Mexican immigrants who see themselves as an 'army of invaders' intent upon re-annexing parts of the Southwestern U.S. to Mexico, announces that 'illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures,' and declares that 'the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans' through 'deadly imports' of diseases like leprosy and malaria," the group said.

In addition to hosting his own show, Dobbs has appeared on other CNN programmes, and he co-hosted -- along with the network's lead anchor, Wolf Blitzer -- the coverage of President George W. Bush's recent prime time speech on immigration.

Dobbs has been an aggressive supporter of "citizen border patrols" since the Minuteman Project's April 2005 "paramilitary effort to seal the Arizona border", Potok and his colleague, Heidi Beirich, reported in the Winter 2005 issue of the Southern Poverty Law Centre's Intelligence Report.

During the run-up to the Minuteman's first campaign, Dobbs gave the organisation "millions in free publicity, plugging it for weeks and turning over large segments of his air time to directly promoting the project," observed Marc Cooper, a contributing editor of The Nation magazine.

And while Dobbs still brings on guests that oppose his position, he continues to refuse "to present mounting and persistent evidence of anti-Hispanic racism in anti-immigration groups and citizen border patrols," note Beirich and Potok.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Intelligence Report catalogued a number of occasions when Dobbs overlooked controversial statements, inflammatory websites, and white-supremacist connections of some of his anti-immigration guests.

Glenn Spencer, the head of the anti-immigration American Patrol, has been interviewed at least twice on the programme. His website contains "anti-Mexican vitriol" and he "pushes the idea that the Mexican government is involved in a secret plot to take over the Southwest".

Both the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League list Spencer's organisation as a hate group. Spencer has spoken at events sponsored by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens and American Renaissance, a group that contends that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Spencer has also predicted that "thousands will die" in a supposedly forthcoming Mexican invasion.

Virginia Abernathy served as the head of the national advisory board to Protect Arizona Now, the anti-immigration organisation that sponsored that state's anti-immigration referendum. Dobbs, who repeatedly reported on the measure, never mentioned that Abernathy was a long-time white supremacist and an editorial adviser to the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

Last year, during a segment on the Minuteman Project, Joe McCutchen, who the SPLC reports heads an anti-immigration group called Protect Arkansas Now, and wrote a series of anti-Semitic letters to the editor and gave a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens, was quoted. Dobbs, who described the Minuteman Project as "a terrific group of concerned, caring Americans", made no mention of McCutchen's connections to white supremacist groups.

On Oct. 4, Dobbs hosted Paul Streitz, a co-founder of Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, on his programme.

"Streitz denounced Mayor John DeStefano Jr. for 'turning New Haven into a banana republic' by favouring identification cards for undocumented workers. Two days later, newspapers revealed that two of the group's other founders had just quit, saying Streitz had led it in a racially charged direction. Dobbs has never reported this," say Potok and Beirich.

Barbara Coe, leader of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, was quoted on a show last March bitterly attacking the retail chain Home Depot for "betray[ing] Americans", mainly due to the fact that "Hispanic day laborers often gather in front of the store looking for work." Dobbs never reported that her group is listed as a hate group by the SPLC, "or the fact that she routinely refers to Mexicans as 'savages.'"

It isn't everyday that the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is cited as a source by CNN, or any other credible news outlet for that matter. Therefore, it was surprising that Dobbs trucked out the CCC-sourced graphic to illustrate the Aztlan conspiracy theory.

The CCC, which had its 15 minutes of fame a few years back when it was revealed that Republican Senator Trent Lott had a long-term relationship with the group, prefers to keep a relatively low profile.

The organisation was founded in the mid-1990s as an outgrowth of the Citizens Councils of America -- groups formed in the mid-1950s as part of a white segregationist response to federally mandated integration of public facilities.

Leonard Zeskind, an author who has researched white supremacist groups for more than a quarter of a century, has observed that the CCC had "a several-year track record of successfully marrying the white supremacist fringe types with local and state Republican politicians and thereby having an influence in the mainstream discourse."

Dobbs, revered in anti-immigration quarters, won the 2004 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration, given by the Centre for Immigration Studies, an organisation that SPLC says claims to be a nonpartisan research institute, "but in fact is a thinly disguised anti-immigration organisation".

On May 25, the St. Louis CCC Blog posted a shout out to Dobbs, discovered by The Huffington Post's Alex Koppelman. Under the "Welcome Lou Dobbs" headline, the text read: "I knew you were one of us all along. Also, thanks for the proper citation, on CNN, no less."

*Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative Watch" documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the U.S. Right. (FIN/2006)

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Mexican elections : July 4 Delegation report

Just a few points- since we still don't have a lot of data.

1. An overwhelming majority of Mexicans voted against the failed policies of the Fox Administration. 6 years ago, Fox won with 42% of the vote; right now Calderon is holding at 36% and would have no mandate if he's the victor.

2. While historically, the PRI was the only national party, the PAN is ahead of the PRD in becoming one. Although the PRD was very proud that it had managed to appoint party pollwatchers in 96%of the 130,000 polling places (casillas).

3. While there is a general north/south divide in the results, it appears the PAN came in first in two southern states, and the PRD came in first in 3 northern states.

4. The PRI failed to come in first in a single state, even though it still controls the governorships in 17.

5. The IFE did a good job in setting up the actual balloting structure (Although, I'm going by US Standards and maybe the Palm Beach County bar is set too low.) Only 8 casillas failed to open at all. Their major screwup was sending only 480,000 ballots to the special casillas for people traveling out of their home county on Sunday. The IFE underestimated the transitory nature of this nation of 100 million and the specials ran out of ballots very early and couldn't get more. It appears that perhaps 200,000 to 400,000 voters were disenfranchised.

6. The Congress faces a massive change. The Chamber of Deputies sees the PRI drop from 203 to a likely 110; the PAN goes from 148 to over 210; and the PRD goes from 97 to over 160. In the Senate (where half the seats were up) the PRI looks to drop from 58 to 35; the PAN goes from 47 to maybe 54; and the PRD goes from 15 to 37. Even with the expectation that the PRI "technos" vote with the PAN, it is a very different Congress, as some of the PRI are likely to break from their near powerless cacus and vote with PRD proposals.

We'll have more analysis later.

Skip Roberts
Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mexican election dispute

Election in Dispute, Mexico Braces for Violence
by John Ross

Mexico City

When US voters consider electoral fraud, George W. Bush's questionable victories
in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 are paradigms of a stolen election. But
here the reference point is the presidential election of 1988 when, on election
night, government officials announced that the "system has fallen," alluding to
the alleged crash of vote-tabulating computers. When the "system" came back up
after a ten-day ellipse, Harvard-educated neo-liberal and fair-trader Carlos
Salinas de Gortari, the candidate of the long-ruling Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI), was declared the winner over leftist Cuauhtemoc
Cardenas. Few believed the results and hundreds of Cardenas supporters were
killed in the political violence and street protests that followed.

On Monday, the Mexican electoral system did not collapse--it simply went to
sleep. In a dramatic pronouncement near midnight, Federal Electoral Institute
President Luis Carlos Ugalde called the preliminary count too close to call and
declared that no further results would be available until Wednesday at the
earliest--and perhaps for many weeks to come.

Under the PRI's seven-decade reign, the period between election day and the
official declaration of a winner--always a member of the PRI--was utilized to
cook the final results. Now under the right-wing National Action Party (PAN)
and with outgoing president Vicente Fox calling the shots, the abuse of state
power is once again evident.

Sunday's presidential balloting was perhaps the most consequential election
since the 1910 Mexican revolution. Felipe Calderon, Fox's would-be successor,
stands with the fat cats. His leftist opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,
often referred to by his initials AMLO, is an unabashed champion of the poor.
Calderon is a fervent believer in neo-liberal globalization and advances
policies that would deepen Mexico's political and economic servility to

Lopez Obrador is demanding renegotiation of the North American Free Trade
Agreement and seeks to strengthen Mexico's ties to Latin America where leftists
in various shades now govern much of the continent--a scenario that Washington
has sought to avoid at all cost. Lopez Obrador is perhaps more ideologically
aligned with Chile's Michelle Bachelet, a free-market "socialist", than he is
with Venezuelan firebrand Hugo Chavez, as Calderon and the PAN have often

Even since Lopez Obrador became the front-runner for the presidency in 2006
three years ago, Fox and his accomplices in the PRI (which ran a dismal third
July 2) have tried to disqualify his candidacy and have even sought to bar him
from the ballot; the campaign was dropped after Lopez Obrador put a million
protestors into the streets of Mexico City, a megalopolis of which he was a
wildly popular mayor. Similarly, the Federal Election Institute has exhibited
a striking bias against Lopez Obrador and favored the PAN's Felipe Calderon in
one decision after another. Mexico's two-headed television and radio
monopoly--Televisa and TV Azteca--have tilted towards Calderon from the onset
of the campaign, transmitting the message that Lopez Obrador is a danger to
Mexico in nightly newscasts and an array of "Get AMLO" spots designed by such
carpetbaggers as Fox News comentator Dick Morris and Antonio Sola, hit man for
Spain's former right-wing prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Nonetheless, Lopez Obrador went into Election Day with a small lead in reputable
polls; exit polling seems to have confirmed a slender victory, although the
Federal Electoral Institute has been reluctant to discuss the numbers. Whether
Fox, the Electoral Institute and their handlers in Washington will accept Lopez
Obrador's victory is what is likely being discussed behind locked doors at Los
Pinos, Mexico's White House, and the US Embassy on Paseo de Reforma here in
downtown Mexico City.

The similarities to 1988 are positively eerie. On election night, tens of
thousands of Lopez Obrador's supporters gathered in the dark on the great
Zocalo plaza and remembered that terrible time. "Fraude electoral!" they
chanted over and over again and AMLO himself pledged that 2006 would not be a
replay of 1988.

While Fox, the PAN and the business and political classes call for Mexicans to
remain calm until the results are finally known, Lopez Obrador will not have an
easy time containing his supporters if Calderon is declared the winner. On the
morning after Sunday's election, a US reporter out for coffee in the old
quarter of this city spoke with a hotel handyman, a local street sweeper, a
newspaper vender, a cab driver, and two senior citizens like himself. All of
them, with more or less vehemence, considered the election to have been stolen.
"They won't get away with it this time--this isn't 1988," an elderly gentleman
in a straw sombrero rumbled while wolfing down breakfast at the Cafe La Blanca.

Or will they? After the election was stolen from Cardenas in 1988, hundreds of
his followers were gunned down by PRI pistoleros. On election eve 2006, two PRD
poll watchers were shot and killed in conflict-ridden Guerrero state in what
public officials called an "attempted robbery." That is exactly the way the
killing began in 1988.

This article can be found on the web at: