Sunday, January 31, 2010

Comprehensive Immigration reform ?

As the son of poor Mexican immigrants, I'm skeptical about comprehensive immigration reform aimed at helping undocumented workers in this xenophobic climate.
While both Republicans and Democrats speak about America's dysfunctional immigration policies and the desperate need for immigration reform, the primary consensus between both political parties focuses on the need for tougher enforcement. The focus here is to criminalize undocumented immigrants, deporting them and preventing future low-wage immigrants from entering this country.
Where's the humane discourse in this political debate? Are we not talking about human beings with ambitions and dreams to better themselves and their families? Are we not talking about vulnerable individuals who sacrifice so much with their bodies and labor power so that Americans can live more comfortable lives?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Obama Admin. and Latin America

Muscling Latin America

By Greg Grandin
The Nation
February 8, 2010

In September Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa,
delivered on an electoral promise and refused to renew
Washington's decade-old, rent-free lease on an air base
outside the Pacific coast town of Manta, which for the
past ten years has served as the Pentagon's main South
American outpost. The eviction was a serious effort to
fulfill the call of Ecuador's new Constitution to
promote "universal disarmament" and oppose the
"imposition" of military bases of "some states in the
territory of others." It was also one of the most
important victories for the global demilitarization
movement, loosely organized around the International
Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases,
since protests forced the US Navy to withdraw from
Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 2003. Correa, though, couldn't
resist an easy joke. "We'll renew the lease," he
quipped, "if the US lets us set up a base in Miami."
Funny. Then Washington answered with a show of force:
take away one, we'll grab seven. In late October the
United States and Colombia signed an agreement granting
the Pentagon use of seven military bases, along with an
unlimited number of as yet unspecified "facilities and
locations." They add to Washington's already
considerable military presence in Colombia, as well as
in Central America and the Caribbean.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cornel West calls out Barack Obama

On Truthdig

Report on aid to Haiti

 A news report of Paul and Leisa's aid to Haiti is up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mexican union workers seek solidarity

Humberto Montes de Oca, ( left)  of the Mexican Electrical Workers,  spoke to workers in Sacramento and Stockton California on Jan. 24, 2010, as a part of a tour of California unions sponsored by the San Francisco Central labor Council, LACLAA,  and endorsed by the Sacramento Central Labor Council.
 Montes de  Oca described how the 44,000 Electrical workers in Central Mexico have been locked out of their jobs since October 10, 2009  when the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, took control of the company and closed it. The conservative government  used the economic crisis of last year to seize a valuable resource that belonged to the people of Mexico.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cuba, Venezuela help Haiti,

Ironically, corporate media in the United States, because
they are monolingual and do not read Spanish or Creole, are
cheerleading the arrival of Canadians and U.S. planes late on
Wednesday, the fact is that the first responders came from
Venezuela, which sent its air force with medics, food and
equipment a few hours after the tragedy. Cuba, which already
had 344 medical doctors on the ground, sent more teams with
151 more specialized medical doctors (including the Reed
brigade that was offered to the Bush administration to help
in New Orleans) that arrived (Cubans already had two tent
hospitals serving 800 wounded), the Dominican Republic which
sent a 20 member Urban Rescue team, and through which Puerto
Rico attempted to coordinate and sent a team of three
helicopters, dozens of urban rescuers (who had earlier served
in New York during 9/11 attack) and 20 structural engineers.
However, Puerto Rico was unable to send them as quickly as
they wished; at least until last night (1/16/2010) teams of
technicians with water purifying systems, communications and
military police did not receive permission from the Southern
Command. As a colony of the United States, they had to wait
for approval from the U.S. Southern command. God forbid
Puerto Ricans and Latinos upstaged the U.S. rescue efforts.

[Victor M. Rodriguez Domínguez is a professor of sociology of
race and ethnicity in the Department of Chicano and Latino
Studies, California State University, Long Beach, his most
recent book is Latino Politics in the United States: Race,
Ethnicity, Class and Gender in the Mexican American and
Puerto Rican Experience (Kendall Hunt, 2005)]


Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Journal #4

Our allies Leisa and Paul got in to deliver relief supplies. Here is a report.
Help us raise emergency funds for medical supplies to Haiti! Checks can be sent to CHILDREN's HOPE at the address below.
saving lives.

2010 Haiti Journal #4 January 17, 2010

Matthew 25 House

We got in!

What a relief! And the miracles keep happening. Neil Kopple, (yes, a relation) donated his time, his jet and his bagels to the cause. After "Clean The World"'s Shawn Seiple connected us with Neil, a humanitarian/benefactor who generously flew us into the U.S. Air Force controlled Port au Prince airport, then handed us bag after bag of fresh bagels and cream cheese.

The tower was down, the terminal in shambles and coated with a layer of water, and yet things ran with amazing success and a chaotic sort of precision. Though there was a moment just before landing that our co-pilot (Paul Burke) later reported to us that we lost audio connection with ground control. Our hats are off to Neil for volunteering to fly us in his amazing little jet with just a 20 minute window each way, for meeting the challenge of getting us there safely, and as the volunteers at Matthew 25 House would say was his shinning moment, got the bagels here intact.

Such a trivial thing seems almost frivolous, but for the team of 20 who have been working without sleep treating the earthquake victims, it made for just a moment of relief from the non-stop emotions that come with staving off death against all odds.

I worked the afternoon away in the drug room, organizing and dispensing meds. Everyone had their niche. But at the end of the day, our reward was to be welcomed at a circle gathering service performed by the local priest. Beautiful voices filled the air as sunset brought a cooling breeze, and we were transformed for a moment out of the soccer field full of the wounded and their families. We saw the stars again for a moment, and were reminded of one of the beautiful things about Haiti, their endless spirit and courage. Around the long table as we shared soup and bagels, I heard such a story. The woman to my left held out a small bill and said she had a story to tell...we grew quiet as her moist eyes signaled we should. She said she was given this money by a woman who had suffered a bad foot injury, and without treatment was now expected to die of gangrene. She had lost her home and her husband, but not her spirit. She told my new friend that this was the last of her money, and asked her to take it, and writing her name on a small bit of paper, along with those of her children, asked my friend to find her children. She was kind and up to her last name: Tenderness. Not a bit of self-pity, though she earned it, not expressing any anger though she could have justified that...she actually tried to cheer up those around her. My friend was scheduled to return home soon, but after she shared this story, she turned to her husband, and said, this (showing the paper wrapped small bill) is why we can't go home.

Peace, always and all ways, leisa

Leisa Faulkner,Founder
Children's Hope

3025 A Cambridge Road,
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: Relief needed

Dear Friends,

As you all know, Haiti's capital city of Port au Prince has been devastated by a catastrophic earthquake. Children's Hope, our humanitarian organization, has been serving the poorest of the poor in Port au Prince for several years. As I type this, Leisa and I are making arrangements to travel to Port au Prince to deliver medical supplies to a clinic we support in Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest and poorest slum. We hope to leave this Friday morning and arrive in Port au Prince Saturday.

If you would like to offer your solidarity as we support our Haitian sisters and brothers, please respond to this message with a monetary pledge for CHILDREN'S HOPE -- then drop a check in the mail to us at CHILDREN's HOPE, 3025A Cambridge Rd., Cameron Park, CA 95682. Any amount you can afford to contribute is very much appreciated. If you would prefer to donate online you can support our good friends at The Lamp for Haiti at their website: We have worked closely with them for some time and know that every dollar you donate will go to those most in need.

From the botom of our hearts we thank you for your solidarity and generosity at this difficult time. As they say in Haiti, many hands make the burden lighter.

In Peace & Solidarity,
Paul & Leisa

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: Relief needed

Dear Friends,

Help us raise emergency funds for medical supplies to Haiti! Checks can be sent to CHILDREN's HOPE at the address below.
saving lives.

As you probably have seen today, a huge earthquake (7.3) has hit Haiti just 10 miles southwest of the center of Port-au-Prince (PAP). Children's Hope needs your help. Three of the major centers of our humanitarian work in Haiti are centered in PAP, are still not responsive and we are very concerned for the children and families: the boys home (St. Josephs) is located on Delmas, PAP, Sopudep School (for street children) is in PAP, and "The Lamp" free clinic is in low lying Cite Soleil, PAP. Early reports have many structures down on Delmas, the presidential palace in collapse, and the large local hospital is down. Fear of rising water may further threaten the low laying Cite Soleil, where our clinic "The Lamp" is located. I have not been successful in getting through by phone. We here are sick with worry at early reports like the one below. If you have a few dollars to spare, lives will be saved. We are sending emergency funds starting tomorrow, and then as soon as pledges come in, since the need is urgent. We also really need to raise shipping money for the supplies already donated by a local hospital here (Marshall Hospital of Placerville) to send these supplies to Haiti. 
If you pledge, please remember to then send the check to Children's Hope. But please pledge now, so we can get new medicines ordered now, and help on the way. 

peace, always and all ways, Leisa Faulkner

U.S. Embassy employees reported seeing a number of bodies in the street, but the extent of casualties is unknown, State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said in a briefing today.

“There’s going to be serious loss of life,” Crowley said. (Bloomberg News)

Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Port-au-Prince, told U.S. colleagues before phone service failed that "there must be thousands of people dead," according to a spokeswoman for the aid group, Sara Fajardo. (Mercury
Leisa Faulkner, Founder
Children's Hope
3025 A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Legalization would create jobs

Legalization of the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs and generate more tax revenue, two policy institutes say in a joint report Thursday.
The report by the Center for American Progress and the American Immigration Council estimates that “comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently unauthorized immigrants and creates flexible legal limits on future immigration” would yield at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over a 10-year period.
“This is a compelling economic reason to move away from the current ‘vicious cycle’ where enforcement-only policies perpetuate unauthorized migration and exert downward pressure on already low wages, and toward a ‘virtuous cycle’ of worker empowerment in which legal status and labor rights exert upward pressure on wages,” study author Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda writes.