Military “Scandal” Du Jour.

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I had so much on my mind to say about this newest “scandal,” but I found that one of my Marine Corps brothers has already said it much, much better. So here it is.

ELMFund

This stupid foot surgery kept me out of the loop on ANOTHER scandal. Apparently, some pictures surfaced of US (and Afghan) Soldiers posing with enemy corpses. Not too long ago we saw video of Marines’ urinating on enemy corpses.

Another story came out which was much more positive. Former Corporal Megan Leavey was reunited with her war dog, former Marine Sergeant Rex. This is a truly inspiring story which I don’t want to cover here because this post is not about fun, but you should read it when you need a boost.

But even that positive story carries a dark undertone. Rex spent 10 years on active duty, inspired a book, and would have been killed upon retirement if he could not have been “untrained” as a war dog. Even then, without congressional interference, he would have been killed.

You’ll note I don’t say put down. This post is…

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The Arizona Law is Already Working

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Anyone else read this article?

New Arizona law forcing hard choices on migrants

(Reuters) – With Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants looming, Guatemalan Samuel Roldan is swapping the family’s battered Chevy Suburban, which he feels marks them out as low-income migrants, for a smarter, more corporate-looking Nissan.

“When you have an old car (covered) with stickers for a Spanish-language radio station … it’s only logical that they will think you are Hispanic and you don’t have papers,” Roldan said.

Roldan is among an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants in the Mexico border state carefully weighing their options on Monday, three days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the United States’ toughest immigration measure into law.

Slated to take effect 90 days after the current legislative session adjourns, the measure backed by Republicans in the state legislature requires state and local police to determine if people are in the country illegally. Critics of the law say it is a mandate for racial profiling.

The law, which also makes it a crime to transport illegal immigrants and to hire day laborers off the street, has sent a jolt through the undocumented workforce in the state, the principal corridor for illegal migrants entering from Mexico.

Some like Roldan, 34, who has a steady job as a warehouse worker and three U.S.-born daughters in Phoenix schools, plan to stay put, lower their profile and wait to see how the law will affect them.

Others, like Mexican day laborer Jesus Aguilar, 52, say the measure leaves them few options but to leave Arizona and try their luck elsewhere.

“Since the law says that people hiring undocumented day laborers will get fined, no-one wants to (hire) us,” said Aguilar, who early on Monday was among some two dozen migrants touting for landscaping and building work at a day labor site in north Phoenix.

“We are thinking of going to Utah or New Mexico … Here it is just too racist,” he added.

‘CREATE HAVOC’

The law has raised fears that Hispanics will be racially profiled and police will actively hunt down illegal immigrants, who are estimated to number about 10.8 million in the nation and are the backbone of the shadow economy.

It is also expected to spark a legal challenge and has become a hot issue in the run-up to the mid-term congressional elections in November, when Democrats will defend their majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The new Arizona state law seeks to “discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity” in the desert state, and Hispanic activists say it is already having a marked impact.

“What is a father to do if, in 90 days, they can be stopped by any police officer and questioned … when their family is at home and their kids in school?” said Elias Bermudez, the founder of Phoenix nonprofit Immigrants Without Borders.

“That’s going to create havoc, so a lot of them are saying, ‘Look, before they pick me up, I’d rather leave the state of Arizona either to another state or back home,'” he added.

Migrants who spoke to Reuters on Monday said they would bide their time and see how the law is implemented in the next weeks and months before making their moves.

During that time, Roldan said he and his wife Gladys would stay home as much as possible, to further minimize their exposure to police, and would decide later whether to move to another state.

“We have already got some boxes ready … so we are prepared,” he added.

For Mexican day laborer Rodolfo Espinoza, meanwhile, it was simply time to go back home to work as a fisherman on the Pacific coast of northwest Mexico, where he has a wife and four children.

“This new law gives us no other option than to leave … I’m going back to Mexico, where I feel more comfortable,” he added.

Some people I know are linking to it to explain their opposition to the Arizona law. Honestly, I don’t get understand that at all, because if anything, the article shows that the law is needed and is already working. Let’s review, shall we?

Some like Roldan, 34, who has a steady job as a warehouse worker and three U.S.-born daughters in Phoenix schools, plan to stay put, lower their profile and wait to see how the law will affect them.

The man is here illegally. And he’s working in a warehouse. So how is his employer paying taxes and reporting his income? He is committing identity theft or he has fraudulently obtained a social security number of his own. Either way, it’s a crime.

Since the law says that people hiring undocumented day laborers will get fined, no-one wants to (hire) us,” said Aguilar, who early on Monday was among some two dozen migrants touting for landscaping and building work at a day labor site in north Phoenix.

No one wants to hire you? Good. Hiring illegals and paying them cash off the books is a crime, and it sounds like the law is having its intended effect.

“We are thinking of going to Utah or New Mexico … Here it is just too racist,” he added.

No, it isn’t racist. It’s the law. And it’s long been the law, only no one was enforcing it.

“That’s going to create havoc, so a lot of them are saying, ‘Look, before they pick me up, I’d rather leave the state of Arizona either to another state or back home,'” he added.

Again, this is exactly the intent of the law. So I’d say it’s already working.

For Mexican day laborer Rodolfo Espinoza, meanwhile, it was simply time to go back home to work as a fisherman on the Pacific coast of northwest Mexico, where he has a wife and four children.

This new law gives us no other option than to leave … I’m going back to Mexico, where I feel more comfortable,” he added.

Yep. It’s working.

Courage Campaign? Smear Campaign is more like it.

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I received this via email:

On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 10:08 AM, Rev. Eric Lee, for Courage Campaign <info@couragecampaign.org> wrote:

Rev. Eric Lee, California president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has a very important message to share with you regarding the new law in Arizona that enables racial profiling.

We stand with Rev. Lee and the thousands of people marching today in 80 immigration rallies across America for the right of every person to live their life free of racial injustice.

Rick Jacobs
Chair, Courage Campaign

Dear John —

I’ve spent my life fighting institutional racism. That’s why it outrages me to see it happening now just across the border from California.

Arizona — the state that for years refused to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday as a holiday — is once again targeting people of color. Arizona’s governor just signed SB 1070, a law which allows police officers to question anyone they believe to be in the country illegally based on nothing more than “reasonable suspicions.”

And now this law could have a devastating impact on California as well. Republican Senate candidate Tom Campbell — who could face Sen. Barbara Boxer in November’s election — just came out in support of this draconian new law that turns Arizona into a police state.

In fact, Californians have already been targeted. According to ABC 30 TV news, a truck driver — a U.S. citizen of Latino heritage from Fresno — was pulled over last week by Arizona police and arrested simply because he didn’t have his birth certificate on him. The same could happen to any of us if the Arizona law is allowed to stand.

Tom Campbell, who wants to be one of California’s two U.S. Senators, doesn’t see a problem with that. On Wednesday he told the Sacramento Bee “ I support [the law]. I don’t believe it deserves the negative attention it received.” Tom Campbell believes the Arizona law to be constitutional. However, there is nothing constitutional about the bigotry of racial profiling.

I don’t support it — and neither should Tom Campbell. That’s why I’m joining the Courage Campaign and the California Federation of Teachers in signing a letter to Campbell showing him that Californians will not accept his support for Arizona’s racial profiling. Sign here now and we’ll hand-deliver your signature to Campbell. DEADLINE: Tuesday, 5 p.m.:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/StopCampbell

Tom Campbell’s support for the law is out of step with the rest of California.

Polls show Californians support President Obama’s plan to secure our borders and provide a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants. That is the just and sensible approach to this issue.

Californians do not support racial profiling, and they do not want law enforcement to waste their time asking for people’s papers instead of chasing down violent criminals. But Tom Campbell does.

We have to hold Tom Campbell accountable. Join me and add your name to the Courage Campaign and California Federation of Teachers’ letter — tell Campbell you won’t let him take California down the dark path of racism that Arizona has followed. DEADLINE: Tuesday, 5 p.m.:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/StopCampbell

Thanks for taking a stand for justice and fairness.

Rev. Eric Lee
California President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference

And this is my response:

Sorry, gentlemen, but this email is appalling to me. “Reasonable suspicion” is not racism nor is it bigotry. It is a necessary and vital part of any police officer’s job. There are hundreds of court rulings defining how and when it should be applied, and law enforcement successfully does just that everyday when engaging the public. Why allege that they will now, suddenly and instantly, lose all integrity and ability to properly evaluate situations? I am truly disgusted by the anti-law enforcement tone of this rhetoric.

You can be sure that I will be volunteering on this issue, but not in such a manner that smears police officers already doing a thankless job.

Please remove me from any future mailings. I no longer wish to be associated with your group.

John Hulsey

It seems opponents to this law must rely on lies to fight it. “Reasonable suspicion” is not institutional racism. It’s a vital tool for law enforcement. Imagine an officer sees someone walking out of a backyard gate holding a television and putting it into the back of a car waiting in the alley. And that person sees the officer, dashes around to the driver’s seat and speeds away, leaving the back gate wide open. “Reasonable suspicion” tells the officer that the person may have broken into the home and stolen the television. Is that the only possible explanation? No, of course not. But the officer must rely on his experience, his training and his “reasonable suspicion” and act accordingly. So why the pretense now, that someone officers are going to lose all sense and integrity?

And the accusation that law enforcement will now “waste their time asking for people’s papers instead of chasing down violent criminals” is ridiculous. This isn’t about verifying immigration status instead of catching criminals. It is about not having to ignore immigration status while trying to serve and protect the public.

This issue is going to heat up no matter what. But attacking the law by insulting the integrity of law enforcement and the intelligence of the rest of us is only going to make it worse.

The Daily Show – Roasting Arizona

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The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Law & Border
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

My friend, Sandra, wanted me to watch this. I did. And here’s my running commentary.

  1. I’ll comment as I watch it. First, allowing citizens to own and carry handguns is a Constitutional right, not evidence that Arizona legislators are smoking meth.
  2. And the requirement for legal immigrants to carry documentation? Already a Federal requirement.
  3. United States Code 8 § 1304 (e):
    Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

  4. The reason the bill includes a provision allowing citizens to sue if the law is not enforced? Sanctuary cities like San Francisco who openly state that they will not enforce federal immigration laws. Why is it unreasonable to expect a city to comply with the law?
  5. Tom Tancredo? No, he does not think the law goes to far. He stated that he does not want the police to use it as an excuse for racial profiling. From Huff Po:
  6. “Tancredo says that he does NOT believe that the Arizona bill “would allow police to simply pull someone over because of the color of their skin,” and that his quote to KDVR has been taken out of context. He reiterated his support for the legislation.”

  7. What would law enforcement consider suspicious? How about running in a group away from a stopped car? How about not being able to produce a drivers license? How about not being able to provide ID when involved in a public altercation?
  8. “They’ll find something else to arrest me on.”
  9. Funny, but not true. Spend a few hours listening to law enforcement tell you about interviewing people involved in traffic accidents, not getting proof of identity, and then having to release them on a promise-to-appear notice and knowing they will never actually show up in court.

  10. And the only reason we can’t depend on the drivers license alone is because eleven states think its a good idea to issue licenses to illegal aliens.
  11. Okay, done now. It’s The Daily Show, and it’s usually spot on with the news and the humor. But this one is just funny… not so accurate.

Immigration Reform That Actually Reforms Immigration

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I wish I had written this, but I did not. I am posting it with permission of the original author, Adam. It can be found here at Not Everything Is Political.

With all of the brouhaha over the Arizona law about illegal aliens, I thought it would be a good time to re-visit what I think really needs to happen with regards to immigration in the US as a whole.

First of all, with regard to Arizona and what they have done legally, I support what the Arizona legislature has done. Despite the hyperbole, I don’t think that this will lead to some sort of institutionalized profiling. The law specifies that this questioning of whether someone is legal will occur during normal police contact. IOW, the police don’t get to just cruise around the “Hispanic” part of town and hassle people in the street or pull someone over for “driving while brown.” That’s the stuff of hyperbole, not reality.

Now, all of that having been said, we DO need comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. The trick is that “comprehensive” does not need to mean “give ‘em all amnesty.” There are better methods available than that. Serial amnesty does not solve the problem; it perpetuates it.

Immigration in the United States is broken. There’s just no two ways about it. We have ridiculous quotas and asinine levels of red tape. This is not the New World our founders envisioned. Can anyone really envision Adam Smith saying “everyone can come to this new great land and prosper as much as they please, so long as they fill out reams of paperwork and wait in line for a decade?” How preposterous. We’ve built our immigration policy on precedent instead of prudence. Dumb. Very dumb.

The right attitude towards immigration here is to say that if someone is willing to come here, work hard, and be productive, then so long as they’re neither a criminal nor a public health risk, they should be welcome to come and do so. That’s not just a philosophical stance, it’s an economic one, as well: something on the order of about 80% of all people who legally emigrate to the United States literally with only the shirts on their backs move from sub-poverty to middle class and above within ten years of arriving on American shores, and there’s simply no doubt that this is an economic good for the country. And it doesn’t matter from whence these immigrants come: immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa are statistically the most likely to succeed, but all groups are wildly successful in aggregate: western Europeans, Africans, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, eastern Europeans, all do well as a group upon arrival in the United States. With little exception, they arrive here, take a risk, utilize our free market economy, and prosper well. So the argument that has often been put forward that “immigrants are killing this country” is simply empty. And that’s not something new with the recent illegal immigration problem: people complained about the Irish and the Jews and a whole host of other groups in the past. “They’re taking all the jobs” and such were the complaints of the past, just as they are today. The difference today is that it’s illegal immigration that is the problem. We just plain don’t know who the hell is coming into the country, and that’s the problem.

So, the problem we, as a country, have to fix, is two-fold:

  1. correct the fucked-up immigration system that we have so that people aren’t “forced” (quotes intentional) into emigrating here illegally in the first place, and;
  2. get the illegals the hell out of this country to correct that problem.

Just giving them amnesty is a stupid and pointless path. That doesn’t remove the problem, it simply ignores it. If we give all these illegal aliens amnesty, do we suddenly know who they are, where they came from, whether they’re criminals or terrorists, or if they are toting around some communicable disease? No, we don’t. We’ve just chosen to turn a blind eye to the problem and legislate the actual problem out of the government’s consciousness when we do that.

What needs to happen is we need to get every illegal out of this country and vet them properly. There’s just no way to vet these people properly unless they are outside of the United States, unless we set up internment camps and go through them one-by-one, and that’s just not politically tolerable in this country. So we need to find another way to get illegals out of this country first, and then vet them accordingly.

So, I propose the following:

  • Make a very public announcement that everyone who is in this country illegally has ninety days to leave. It’s like the bar at last call: you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. Go somewhere else and then come back in the right way. All immigration stops during those 90 days; no one who doesn’t already have a long-stay visa gets to stay here for more than 60 days if they arrive after the 90-day announcement.
  • Simultaneously, we will change the entire immigration system in this country. No more quotas. No more of the Duma in DC deciding how many stone masons or proctologists or ditch-diggers or IT professionals. No more of that. The market will decide who is needed where and when, just as it always does and always has. There have been countless generations of immigrants who allegedly came here to do one thing (say, stone masonry) who wound up entrepreneurs in some other industry all together.

So the right way to handle immigration is to say that if you’re interested in coming to this country, then we’re not going to impose artificial limits upon you, as an immigrant. Qualification for emigration to the United States will be as follows:

  • Not a terrorist. Anyone wanting to emigrate here will have to go through a thorough background check. Every anti-terrorism agency in the world will be checked against names, photographs, fingerprints, etc.
  • Not a criminal by U.S. laws. Anyone wanting to emigrate here will go through a criminal check with every police agency worldwide: Interpol, Scotland Yard, etc.
  • Not a public health threat. Position doctors at every embassy and consulate around the world. Immediately prior to departure to the United States, everyone will go through a thorough check-up to rule out communicable diseases, STDs, etc.

Anyone who gets “red-flagged” in this process will certainly have an appeals process open to them, but unless and until they have been ascertained to be none of the above, then they don’t get to come to the U.S.

Once the 90 days are up, sweep the nation and every single illegal gets deported in very short notice. If you’re illegal and caught here after those 90 days are up, then you’re gone and we’re going to auction every asset you have. You’ll be sent home with the shirt on your back and the shoes on your feet and nothing else. It should take about 90-120 days to sweep the nation of the overwhelming majority of remaining illegals. The vast majority will “self-deport” right away. Only a relative few will be left, and they will be rounded up on short notice.

What we need is both a carrot and a stick approach. So I propose an incentive for the illegals who are currently in this country: you get to be first in line for the trip back, so long as you’re not a terrorist, a criminal, or a public health threat. Meet those criteria and you can go and come back in a very short period of time. So those folks who voluntarily leave get to go to the front of the line. That sucks, because it feels like it’s rewarding bad behavior, but it both creates the big incentive to leave and also brings back in those who genuinely are here to work hard and be prosperous and add to the U.S. economy.

After this sweep, and we’ve removed as many illegals as is practical, then we open up immigration again as described above. Once someone comes here, they have to do the following for five years from the day that they arrive on our shores, subject to regular check-ins with immigration officials (every 60 days or so should work):

  • No going on any form of government assistance. That means no welfare, no WIC, no SSDI, no Section 8 housing, nothing that is direct or indirect financial aid on a federal, state, or local level.
  • Anyone coming here will have to maintain health insurance, enough to cover themselves up to two million dollars per person in their household. They can do this any way they wish: high-deductible and HSA, self-insure through an escrow account, HMO, PPO, whatever. The only requirement is that they have coverage to two million dollars and they have to have the cash on hand to cover any deductible.
  • Anyone coming here who drives a car must maintain liability insurance on that car, at least $75,000 in property damage and a million in medical.
  • No engaging in any sort of criminal activity. Any offense greater than a first-offense DUI shall be grounds for deportation as soon as the prison sentence is up. Shoplifting? Gone. Pot possession? Gone.

Do all of that (and it’s really not all that much, in comparison to current immigration law), and we will have a long-term fix for immigration in this country. It will both adhere to the basic tenets of freedom and opportunity upon which this land (and eventually country) was founded and fix the very real problem we have at hand. It can’t reasonably be called “unfair” by those illegals who will be targeted. It’s a realsolution to a very real problem. THIS is what “comprehensive reform” actually means.

Mexico complains. I don’t care.

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Mexico issues travel alert over new Arizona law

The travel alert from the Foreign Relations Department urges Mexicans in Arizona to “act with prudence and respect the framework of local laws.”

Well, this is a good thing. We should all be expected to respect the framework of local laws. And this?

It says that the law’s passage shows “an adverse political atmosphere for migrant communities and for all Mexican visitors.”

“It says that once the law takes effect, foreigners can be detained if they fail to carry immigration documents. While enforcement details are not yet clear, the alert says “it should be assumed that any Mexican citizen could be bothered and questioned for no other reason at any moment.””

Give me a break. Ask anyone who has traveled in Mexico about being bothered, questioned and yes, shaken down for cash. Perhaps the Mexican government should spend a little more time dealing with its own law enforcement problems before criticizing the US.

Being lectured by Mexico about respecting the rights of foreigners is like being lectured by Jesse James and Tiger Woods on respecting your wife.

Hate Crimes – Gay Men and Meth

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The gay community is under attack. But this time, we’re our own worst enemies.

Maximum speed: Crystal meth’s gay grasp

Crystal Meth has long circulated in a subculture of our community, especially where gay men congregate.

The drug commonly referred to as “Tina” has become so readily available that gay men from all ethnicities and economic backgrounds are lured by its sexual power and tempting highs. But the addiction ruins lives and continues to spread through night clubs, bath houses and at social gatherings.

And more information is available at Life or Meth, a website focused exclusively on the impact cystal meth is having on the gay community. The statistics are staggering and the impact is immeasurable.

The cycle is short and vicious. Someone tries crystal meth, enjoys the rush, and wants more. Worse, the person is no longer concerned with their own personal safety. Safer sexual practices are abandoned and a lifetime of being careful and protecting oneself disappears in the heat of a moment. And just like that, a man once smart and wise is now an addicted tweaker with STD, most likely including HIV.

It’s heartbreaking to see and hear everything that is going on with this. There are too many smart people making stupid decisions, and once they begin the slide, it’s quick and it’s horrifying. Crystal meth will take everything you have. It will strip you of your pride, dignity and every dream you ever had. It will leave you desperate, broken, so fixated on one more rush that you will literally do anything to get it.

Meth is not cool. It’s not a party. It’s just a drug that breaks hearts and destroys lives.

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