Democratic Commerce Committee chair, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and former health care holdout, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) have ordered large businesses who say their health care costs will increase under Obamacare, to appear in front of the committee and prove their claims.
As the details of the health care costs trickle out, large companies like AT&T, Verizon, John Deere and Caterpillar began the process of alerting their shareholders of billions in added health care expenses that will affect their bottom line.
This small group of CEOs has been summoned by Democrats to appear in front of a Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on April 21, 2010. Democratic lawmakers are demanding these corporate CEOs gather their health care documents from this year and prove their “analysis related to the projected impact of health care reform.”
The business leaders are also expected to produce any emails or documents related to the impact of health care they circulated throughout their corporate hierarchy.
The inquisition into added health care costs came as a stunning revelation once the President signed the partisan legislation into law.
According to the Commerce Committee, “these assertions appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”
Each CEO received a letter from Waxman requesting the documents and their presence in Washington D.C. after the Easter recess.
The letter reads in part; “After the President signed the health care reform bill into law, your company announced that provisions in the law could adversely affect your ability to provide health insurance. AT&T stated in its March 26,2010, filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it intends to take a charge of approximately $1 billion in the first quarter of 2010.”
Many CEOs have implied companies may be forced to reevaluate its health care packages for retirees. Waxman further contends the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), costs were supposed to decrease, not increase costs as AT&T reports.
However AT&T stands by their claim and says they are filing the change in bottom line profits with the Securities and Exchange Commission because laws on the books require large companies inform investors of changes that directly affect the balance sheet.
A Business Week article reports “Companies like AT&T, that have large employee bases, are going to have higher health-care costs and, therefore, lower earnings unless they can negotiate something or offer less to their employees,” said Chris Larsen, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York.
The fact that Congress has demanded CEOs who informed their shareholders of the upcoming changes to appear in front of committees is viewed as another form of intimidating businesses to go along with the Obama Administration health package.
According to a recent Bloomberg Poll, only four in 10 Americans support the new health care legislation Obama signed into law last week. These numbers prove that Democrats have an uphill battle ahead of them as the details of the health care plan continue to see the light of day.
As new details emerge from the shooting death of Arizona native, Robert Krentz, it appears the rancher tried to flee the murder scene in his Polaris ATV vehicle before he succumbed to his fatal injuries.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s office released new details today regarding the murder of the third generation Arizona rancher. Concerned residents of the Southeast Arizona community are fearful of the brazen attacks from illegal aliens well inside the U.S. borders.
The Sheriff’s office says Krentz went missing sometime after 6:00 p.m. on Saturday while working on his 35,000-acre ranch. The victim’s brother reported he communicated on Saturday with his brother using hand held radio phones.
Krentz’s brother said the last transmission from his brother was distressing and all he heard was “illegal alien” and “hurt.” The Cochise Sheriff spokesperson, Carol Capas says it was not uncommon for Krentz to assist illegal aliens who were in trouble on his property.
When Krentz failed to meet his brother at the predetermined location a call was made to the Sheriff ‘s office. The Cochise Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team deployed six mobile units and two ATV’s and air support immediately to the ranch.
“Shortly before midnight the helicopter crew advised that they had located the missing subject who was deceased inside his Polaris ATV and his dog was with him and appeared to be injured,” Capas said. “Investigators tracked the Polaris path back 1,000 feet to where the incident began and detectives were able to determine that Krentz apparently came upon at least one subject in the area.”
Authorities suggested that Krentz and his dog were shot while still in the vehicle when they attempted to drive away from the scene. “The ATV vehicle was driven at a high rate of speed before the victim became unconscious,” Capas said.
Border Patrol was alerted once the murder was known and BP trackers embarked on a search for the perpetrator. The Border Patrol Agents followed (foot) tracks that headed south towards Mexico.
After the victim was found, Krentz and his dog were taken to the Cochise County Medical Examiner to determine the exact time of death, according to Capas.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever admitted they don’t have a motive for the murder at this point, but said it could have been a retaliation killing.
According to a story in the Arizona Daily Star, the victim’s brother reported drug smuggling activity in the area to the Border Patrol the day before. “Agents found 290 pounds of marijuana on the ranch and followed tracks to where they found and arrested eight illegal immigrants,” said Border Patrol Tucson Sector deputy chief Robert Boatright. “None were prosecuted because of a lack of evidence. They were all in custody when the shooting (of Mr. Krentz) occurred,” he said.
It was not uncommon for Krentz to call Border Patrol and report the location of illegal aliens or help them with food and water if they required assistance.
Sheriff Dever also reported there was another incident in the past 24 hours of the murder that could possibly be connected to the crime. This event involved a stolen gun, but Sheriff Dever would not elaborate on the details surrounding the possible theft.
Local Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) released a statement today regarding the murder of the Arizona rancher.
“The cold-blooded killing of an Arizona rancher is a sad and sobering reminder of the threats to public safety that exist in our border communities,” said Giffords. “It has not yet been determined who committed this atrocity or why, but I know that federal and local authorities are mobilizing every possible resource to locate and apprehend the assailant.”
“If, as suspected, this tragedy was connected to smugglers or drug cartels, the federal government must respond appropriately,” said Giffords, who’s 8th Congressional District includes 114 miles of international border. “All options should be on the table, including sending more Border Patrol agents to the area and deploying the National Guard.”
The Congresswoman sent her condolences to the Krentz family. “I can’t begin to imagine losing a loved one in such a tragic way. Rob Krentz was a pillar of the Cochise County ranching community. He will be greatly missed,” she said.
Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer commented on her Facebook page about the tragic murder. “Today I call for immediate action by the federal government to increase public safety at Arizona’s border through the addition of National Guard soldiers and airmen. I made my initial request for additional troops to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on March 11, 2009, followed by a joint letter from four border governors to congressional leaders on April 22, 2009. Since then, federal officials have neither denied the request, nor fulfilled it.”
The Arizona governor has indicated she will sign tough new legislation in the next few weeks making it illegal for immigrants to trespass in the state, essentially making it illegal to be illegal in the state of Arizona.
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An Arizona rancher who was a fixture in the community was brutally murdered by an alleged illegal immigrant on Saturday night. The Arizona/Mexico border rancher, Robert Krentz met a cruel end after he went out in the middle of the night to investigate strange noises.
The assassin killed Krentz and his dog before scampering across the Mexican border, according to authorities on the scene. As of late Sunday night Border Patrol trackers were unable to catch the murderer, but will continue the search throughout the night.
As word of the murder spread on Sunday, former Congressman and border activist Tom Tancredo called for Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano to “reject politics, do the right thing and send the National Guard to the border.”
Tancredo spent the day with distraught family members looking for answers.
“As Governor of Arizona, Napolitano deployed the National Guard to help the Border Patrol do its job. Yesterday’s murder of rancher Rob Krentz on his own land 25 miles from the Mexican border makes it clear that that job remains unfinished,” said Tancredo. “Three days ago, Napolitano told an audience at Arizona State University that the border is more secure than ever,” said Tancredo. “I challenge her-no I dare her to come to this community and try to sell that lie. The residents here know better.”
With the health care debate over, many in the Obama Administration are eying the next prize – amnesty.
“Now that Obama and Napolitano are talking openly of pushing a new amnesty program, the border invasion has resumed. Mexicans and residents in Guatemala and Honduras read those stories,” Tancredo said. “If Congress takes up an amnesty bill, the flood across the border will be unstoppable.”
Tancredo said Border Patrol in the Arizona region confirmed a 25 percent increase in apprehensions over the past three months of which 20 percent of those caught have criminal backgrounds.
“Ranchers and residents all along our southern border with Mexico have been living in fear for years as more armed smugglers and criminals cross their property on their illegal journeys north,” said Jeff Schwilk founder of the San Diego Minutemen. “The murder of Rob Krentz was inevitable as the drug war in Mexico spills across our border. But it could easily have been prevented. Mr. Krentz’s blood is on the hands of Barack Obama, George Bush, Harry Reid, John McCain and all the other traitors in Washington who have refused to secure our southern border after all these years.”
According to the Gila Courier, this crime follows the hissy fit thrown by Tucson area State Representative Daniel Patterson. “Rep. Patterson berated Sen. Pearce over the claim that border violence was crossing over into the U.S. Pending confirmation of the facts in the case, Rep. Patterson may owe Sen. Pearce an apology. He may also want to say a prayer for the Krentz family.”
“It is frustrating to listen to the Democrats whine about the hostile political climate while they continue to do nothing about real violence along the border. I guess for the liberal media, a broken window is more important than a man’s life,” said Ryan of the Gila Courier.
Area border watch groups are equally angry. The Patriot Coalition has been monitoring the Tucson sector for a number of years and has witnessed an increase in the violence residents are subjected to on a daily basis.
“Lawmakers in Washington D.C. have made statements that the borders are secure and they’ve done no such thing,” explains Al Garza vice president of Patriot Coalition. “It’s time to deploy the National Guard along the border and I’m not talking about the office personnel. We need armed guards protecting our ranchers who live along the border.”
It doesn’t look like Washington D.C. got the memo.
“Last March, this administration took decisive action to combat transnational crime and drug-related violence along the Southwest border to help ensure the security of both the United States and Mexico,” said Secretary Napolitano in a press release out on Friday. “Over the past year, our unprecedented cooperation with the Mexican government and sustained security efforts along the border has resulted in major progress in combating the ruthless cartels that threaten the safety of both our nations.”
However, in the last couple of weeks the U.S. has lost three American Consulate employees in Juarez, Mexico and now an Arizona rancher is the latest victim of the out-of-control U.S./Mexico border.
Garza, who is Hispanic, insists lawmaker’s care more about the cheap labor that invites immigrants to make the dangerous trek into America. As illegal border crossers pass through the deserts they leave a wake of damage on private property.
“Local residents are heartsick about the murder of one of their own,” Garza said. “The money that is spent in the Middle East could go a long way in securing our southern borders.”
The discussion about comprehensive solutions is over, according to Garza. “Words are no longer necessary.
The discussion is now human rights and border security. The discussion must be centered on American citizen’s human rights and our government’s unwillingness to secure our southern border. It is not the government’s inability to secure the border, but it’s the government’s desire to continue to allow the United States to be a safety valve supporting Mexico’s desire to remain a peon state.”
Although the fatal shot that killed Rob Krentz was fired by an illegal immigrant, there is no doubt that the United States government is complicit in this horrendous crime.
Local authorities are also concerned about the possible retribution towards illegals in the coming days. Border Patrol agents and Sheriff’s deputies are working to cool the tempers of those who face the onslaught of illegal aliens on a daily basis.
“It’s hard to tell someone to ask questions first when illegals arrive at the door. Now they must be concerned about their lives after the horrific murder,” said one resident who did not want her name revealed. “I went to the region today and I broke down, it’s just awful.”
As far as the search for the perpetrators of the crime, Border Patrol in the Tucson Sector said they are assisting the Cochise Sheriff’s Department who is the lead law enforcement agency, with manpower as well as resources. They did confirm the murder of Robert Krentz happened sometime on Saturday night and Border Patrol trackers were following a trail headed south toward the Mexico border.
This should wake American up to the fact that La Raza (A Hispanic activist group) continues to mock our laws, say Garza. Nowhere is this more evident than the lawsuit against another Arizona resident Roger Barrett.
The Arizona rancher waged a 10-year battle against thousands of illegal immigrants who crossed into the country and onto his property. When Barrett stopped 16 Mexican Nationals at gunpoint on his land, the ACLU stepped in and brought a civil rights lawsuit against the Arizona rancher.
Local law enforcement officers refer to Barrett’s ranch as the “avenue of choice” for illegal immigrants to enter America illegally. Barrett put up with property damage, death of livestock and numerous home invasions.
The ACLU claimed in the lawsuit against Barrett that he inflicted emotional distress by holding the migrants at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose and shooting anyone who attempted to escape.
The Arizona rancher lost his case.
The jury awarded $7,500 each in actual damages to two of the plaintiffs for the infliction of emotional distress and $1,400 each to two others for assault for a total of $78,000. Barnett’s attorney called it an 80 percent victory.
The illegal immigrants, five women and 11 men, had sought $32 million in actual and punitive damages – $2 million each – in the lawsuit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).
It’s worth pointing out that one of the illegal immigrants that filed the lawsuit was a convicted felon who was deported from the U.S. after he was charged and found guilty of possession of a controlled substance for sale and deported to his home country.
The escalating violence along the borders must end. The aroma of amnesty is now fueling an already out-of-control invasion from the South. The tens of thousands crossing the borders illegally from the South are now engaging in criminal behavior.
Garza says his group “is calling on all patriots to remain calm until headquarters has had enough time to probe, evaluate and strategize the senseless murder of another American citizen, one of their own.”
As unemployment continues to rise lawmakers are looking for ways to slow the joblessness rates within cities and states. New Arizona legislation calls for illegal immigrants to be charged with trespassing as a way to tackle the state’s jobless issue and help put Arizona citizens back to work.
The new law, the toughest in the country, would ban illegal aliens from residing in the state without legal papers. The state lawmakers have chosen the battle and will most likely sign into law the first bill that essentially criminalizes the presence of the 460,000 illegals living in Arizona.
The legislation allows law enforcement officers to detain people on the suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, completely outlaws citizens from employing day laborers and makes it illegal to transport undocumented workers anywhere in the state.
Those in favor of the crackdown suggest it’s the large illegal population that is contributing to the high crime and unemployment rates, many of whom say they are forced to enact tough new laws because the federal government has failed to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.
“When you come to America you must have a permission slip, period,” said Russell Pearce, Arizona State Senator who sponsored the bill. “You can’t break into my country, just like you can’t break into my house.”
“It will be, there’s no doubt, the toughest immigration enforcement bill in the nation,” said Pearce.
In a story from ABC News, immigrant right’s groups are already gearing up for a fight.
“The really dangerous impact is the creation of a new state crime related to trespassing. If law enforcement has a reasonable suspicion that someone is undocumented they can be stopped and forced to prove they are a U.S. citizen. If they can’t prove it, they can be arrested,” said Jennifer Allen, director of the Border Action Network, an immigrant advocacy group.
Advocates for the tough new legislation contend law enforcement officers aren’t going house to house arresting illegal immigrants, by creating a law that “eliminates all sanctuary policies,” closing the loophole for illegal immigrants to work or even be present in the state would force illegals to leave on their own, Pearce says.
The new bill will add teeth to current laws and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has affirmed she will sign the bill into law when it reaches her desk.
Pearce said Arizonians deserve and expect to “have a constitutional right to expect their rights and laws to be enforced.”
This past week the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office raided four McDonald’s fast food restaurants looking for 50 illegal immigrants who were working using false identification.
Identity theft is a chronic and widespread problem Americans face. Once U.S. identification is stolen, charges from fraudulent purchases and earnings from a paycheck Americans haven’t incurred begin to demolish credit histories and cause major headaches to citizens. The arduous task of repairing their credit often takes months to fix and could damage their credit history for years.
When it comes to the employment situation, many who steal identities will take 100 percent of their paychecks leaving the taxes to be paid by the unsuspecting victims who find out when the IRS knocks on their door.
The Arizona legislation is expected to be signed into law within a couple of weeks and illegal residents can expect America’s toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, to enforce the new law.
save California from financial ruin, 12 Republican Representatives in California are asking Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Attorney General Jerry Brown to join other states with lawsuits based on Constitutional merits.
Several states attorneys’ general filed lawsuits challenging the federal governments ability to mandate health care insurance and force states to pick up the tab.
Congressional members in California are concerned the new law will add too many financial burdens to the state in a time of deep recession. Lawmakers also contend the federal government will short-change individual states and it would only be a matter of time before state governments would have to enact steep tax increases to pay for the millions of new health care participants.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, said Congress lacks authority under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce and force citizens to buy health insurance. He contends that the bill also conflicts with a state law that says Virginians cannot be required to buy insurance.
In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in 36 state legislatures seeking to limit various aspects of the health care reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“When the Democratic majority in Congress passed their health care bill, they ignored the simple fact that forcing every American to buy health insurance, even if they don’t want to do so, might very well undermine the constitutional rights of Americans,” Congressman Hunter said.
“Of course, we can’t predict the outcome of challenges on this basis, but there is a very good chance the mandate, as well as the legislation itself, is determined unconstitutional. Congress has never before mandated that individuals buy a specific product, so anyone who suggests that the legislation is standing on solid precedent is wrong. But regardless, the federal government has always left these types of decisions to states,” he explained.
According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 55 percent of the voters want the Republicans to repeal the health care bill, while 42 percent say leave it alone. These numbers combined with the lackluster Presidential approval rating in the mid-40s prompted the Commander in Chief to hit the road and campaign in favor of the new health care legislation.
Companies like John Deere and Caterpillar (where Obama made a pitch to employees that health care will help their business) have predicted their health care costs will increase by as much as $100 million under the Democrats new health care bonanza, this will force large manufacturing companies to shed jobs – not add to the payroll. These companies insist the new plan bends the costs of health care up, not down as hoped.
The California Representatives wrote a joint letter to impress upon the Governor and Attorney General that President Obama’s new health care bill could be an “unconstitutional overreach of authority that severely undermines the individual liberty of every American.”
“We need health care reform, but not at the expense of the Constitution. The president must remember that the Constitution comes before politics, and all we are asking is for California to address this in the courts,” said Congressman Bilbray (R-CA).
The federal government will now require all individuals to purchase health insurance or face substantial financial penalties; something many proponents argue is within the purview of the commerce clause.
However, “contrary to this interpretation, we believe such a mandate and coinciding penalties for non-compliance are unconstitutional on the basis that even the broadest interpretation of the commerce clause would not confer on Congress the authority to force individual citizens to purchase health insurance,” the letter reads.
The California delegation points to Virginia and Idaho that has enacted state laws to protect their constituents from any federal mandate and as more details are uncovered by lawmakers other states are weighing their options when considering similar lawsuits.
“We hope you will offer your support for this effort and provide the necessary leadership to help bring a measure forward,” the Congressmen said.
The health care beef with most Americans lies in the constitutionality of the federal government forcing citizens to purchase a service. The Congressmen and the Supreme Court have acknowledged limits when it comes to interstate activities.
However there are also several financial issues to consider when the Health and Human Services Department begins the arduous task of implementing the massive health care program.
Californians’ can expect to pay $2-3 billion annually for the various health care related expenditures as well as growing the state Medicaid program. Currently, California is operating with a $20 billion budget deficit and this new entitlement program is sure to create a wider budget gap.
In an effort to gain support, the President has embarked on his “sell the health care package to the American people” tour and he has taken jabs at the Republican Party along the way by mocking the Armageddon that would happen if health care became law.
“So after I signed the bill I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling or cracks opening around the earth,” Obama said. “Turns out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still had their doctors.”
Most question why the President has to go on the road to sell a bill if it is so popular with Americans? “He has to sell legislation because it is so unpopular.”
The California Congressmen that signed the letter to Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown were; Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Tom Campbell (R-CA), Mary Bono-Mack (R-CA), Wally Herger (R-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
After more than five years of battles in the immigration courtroom, ICE informant “Lalo” escapes deportation orders to Mexico. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) office ruled Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could no longer partake in fact finding investigations seeking to deport the informant they paid more than $250,000 to nab dangerous cartels in Juarez, Mexico.
The Appeal’s board ruled in Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez Peyro or ‘Lalo’s’ favor finding there was sufficient evidence that the ICE informant would be tortured and murdered if he was ordered back to Mexico.
“The decision does not leave open any further fact finding and finally is a determination by the BIA of the Department of Justice that Lalo should be granted Convention Against Torture protection,” said Jodi Goodwin the attorney handling the BIA case.
“This is a super-huge victory that has been five-long years in the making. At this point, Lalo is protected from being removed to Mexico where he would be tortured and killed,” she explained.
The next step in Lalo’s legal plight will be to force the government to finally release him from solitary confinement. He has endured prison for nearly six years with no television, no computer and no contact with the outside world.
“Lalo was happy to hear of the decision today when I spoke with him, however he does not understand the ultra-huge legal victory as it pales in comparison to the suffering he has endured at the hands of the government in solitary confinement over these years,” Goodwin said.
In a telephone interview with Lalo he explained his position on the favorable ruling. “I’m glad there is no more excuses with the deportation charges. There is overwhelming evidence that I would be killed if I returned to my country.”
“I was responsible for more than 60 drug cartel arrests and convictions, including high level cartel members and the Juarez drug bosses have a very long memory,” he said.
The House of Death located at 3633 Calle Parsioneros gained notoriety in Juarez, Mexico in 2004. The house is located in a middle-class neighborhood of Juarez and it is the location of a murder spree, one that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would closely monitor.
This case began the way most do. Lalo would be known as informant 913. His new job was spying on his cartel boss and delivering tape-recorded conversations to his ICE handler, Raul Bencomo.
“The government’s reckless attitude for Lalo’s life was astonishing. Each time he crossed into Juarez his life was in danger. But each time Lalo came in for debriefing he had a lot of credible information for us,” Bencomo explained.
It’s no secret that Juarez is presently the most violent city in Mexico and murders take place on a daily basis. But does it mean the U.S. government should be complicit when said murders are known to take place? This is exactly what happened after the first murder at the House of Death in Juarez.
A full five months would pass before the truth comes out. During those five months, eleven more murders will be committed.
A meeting took place right after the first murder between FBI, DEA and ICE to discuss the Mexican Police corruption matter as well as the murder. However, ICE blew the meeting off, according to Sandalio Gonzalez the DEA agent who blew the whistle on the out of control case and is now retired. “This should have ended at the August 11, 2003 meeting.”
“Once it was known that at least 12 murders had taken place at the house, ICE would not let Lalo give a statement to the Mexican authorities for several weeks,” Gonzalez said. “He finally gave his statement regarding the violence and brutality that took place in Juarez from August 2003 to January 2004.”
Lalo was remanded into custody shortly thereafter. He was told it was for his own protection, little did Lalo know this incarceration would leave him in solitary confinement for six years and counting. “I’m treated worse than the really bad offenders and I did nothing wrong.” Lalo has never been charged with any crimes, yet he remains behind bars for his so-called protection.
In other words he trusted the U.S. government to honor their promises. The management at ICE promised more money (it’s estimated they owe Lalo more than $500,000, according to ICE employees) and they promised is common-law wife and children safety.
“Instead they have taken seven years of my life that I can never get back, I’ve got no job, I can’t see my kids and the suffering inside of me is very difficult to cope with,” Lalo explains.
“I’ve been kidnapped from my life!”
The ruling this week in Lalo’s favor is the first win he has obtained that moves the productive ICE informant closer to freedom.
“The recent decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez Peyro or ‘Lalo’, which follows decisions by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and a U.S. Immigration Judge, is a breath of fresh air that goes a long way towards restoring my faith in our system of justice. We need to monitor the next step in the process which must be Mr. Peyro’s release from custody followed by a Congressional investigation of the cover up surrounding the “House of Death” debacle,” said Gonzalez.
While Lalo feels the victory is a step in the right direction he can’t help but question the validity of the U.S. government. “I always believed this was the most fair country in the world. After all these years I’m no longer sure about America.”
The case will now head towards demanding Lalo’s release. The process contains no guarantees and Lalo says he will turn to a new attorney to get him out of prison. “I guess with my new attorney I’m hopeful of the outcome, but I can say ICE continues to act like cowards.”
Lalo’s case has garnered attention from those in Washington D.C. and journalists alike. “There are many people working behind the scenes for me, I want to thank them for their help. One day the government will realize they are wrong and I will be free to return to my life.”
Understanding the magnitude of the situation Lalo says he is sad he hasn’t been able to be a proper father, to be a part of the daily activities others take for granted. “Just knowing that I have a chance keeps me going. I now know this little victory can lead to me winning the war and walking out a free man.”
A new chance, a new attorney
“I am very pleased to see there is still some flicker of justice in the sense that the government can no longer deport Lalo. Of course, I hope that people realize that the BIA’s decision won’t result in him being released, or preventing them from planting something on him so he can continue to be held. I have seen how our government handles cases when they want to discredit someone or make something go away. However, this is where his new counsel, Steve Cohen, my longtime friend and one of our organization’s Associate Counsels, can step up and bring him even further relief,” said Andy Ramirez.
Ramirez has personally seen Cohen’s work in difficult cases such as U.S. vs. Customs Officer Robert Rhodes a few years back. Officer Rhodes was prosecuted at the request of the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China who personally called then Secretary of State Colin Powell, and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge after an incident that resulted in the apprehension of one drug trafficker who was meeting up with three Chinese Nationals with expired Visas at the Niagara Falls, NY Port of Entry.
Within hours of the minister’s calls to his counterpart Powell and to Sec. Ridge, Rhodes was ordered back to the Port, arrested, and prosecuted. With Cohen’s skill and expertise, Officer Rhodes took on the full weight of the U.S. and Beijing Governments and won the sole 12-0 acquittal in what Ramirez has called the (U.S.) War on Law Enforcement.
The purpose of this case, like those that took place along the U.S. – Mexico border was to give a scalp to a foreign government while sending a powerful message to the agents and officers protecting America.
“However, the Rhodes case, without question, was the most egregious and I would know having investigated as many as I have,” Ramirez said.
“The Bush and Obama Administrations know that this is a torture/murder case and the rule of law clearly went out the window under the knowledge of the highest ranking officials in Washington, DC and Mexico City. That is the very reason why our government continued to fight to deport “Lalo” the ICE Informant as he is a material witness, so they could silence him and as a result, they felt it would all go away,” he said.
The fact remains, those involved and responsible for the case and subsequent cover-up, like former U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, must be brought to justice, and Lalo needs to be released from the unlawful violation of both the U.S. Constitution and basic human rights by the government, says Ramirez.
“While his previous counsel is proclaiming a major victory, I am not convinced Ms. Goodwin did all she could to secure his release. To me it is a partial victory as he remains incarcerated. However, I know Mr. Cohen will go all out to right this wrong. Perhaps Congress will at last do the right thing and not only put a stop into the continued attempts by ICE to deport their informants, but take a long, hard look at both the Justice Department and Homeland Security and clean house once and for all. It is imperative that they restore their oversight role, and equally important – the rule of law itself.”
The only certainty with the House of Death case and Lalo’s unlawful imprisonment is justice has not been served and until those involved are fully investigated, including U.S. officials (retired and active duty alike), will Lalo be able to look back at these dark years and know he did the right thing.
The ink hasn’t even dried on the new trillion-dollar entitlement health care bill and already lawmakers are gearing up with new legislation to curb societies ills. One lawmaker in California is moving to have toys banned in fast food happy meals.
The proposed law comes from Santa Clara Board of Supervisor, Ken Yeager. “Fast food restaurants spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to tempt children into eating unhealthy,” he said.
Yeager points to the one in three children in California who are obese as the reason to regulate restaurants and hopefully guide parents to make better decisions about nutritious meals for kids.
“We’re finding out more and more that if you’re obese as a child, you’re going to have health problems your entire life,” said Yeager. “Ten out of 12 meals that are associated with the promotional toys are the high-caloric, high-fat and high-sodium meals.”
In other words, we know what’s best for your children. Because one third of children in California are pudgy, two-thirds will have to pay the price, according to Yeager. Most parents choose fast food because it’s a treat or cheaper and the toy is just a bonus, says Maggie Thompson a parent of two children.
Supervisor Yeager says his public health ordinance banning fast-food toy incentives may draw a challenge from the California Restaurant Association, but that it would legally fall under the health and safety codes.
However, Jot Condie, the CEO of the California Restaurant Association says this new proposed ban on toys is overreaching. “When the state is operating in the red are they really going to take on another legal challenge? This is ultimately a parent’s decision.”
If this legislation passes, it would be the first time in the nation that lawmakers regulate how restaurants package meals geared toward children. The Santa Clara board will vote on the ordinance next month.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
“March for America” took place on Sunday, March 21, at Washington D.C.’s National Mall and it drew tens of thousands of activists from across the country rallying for amnesty.
They carried banners from their home countries and signs reading, “You need us as much as we need you,” and “No human being can be Illegal.”
Due to the pressure from the health care reform debate Obama did not attend Sunday’s demonstration. However he did record a message of reassurance to the illegal immigrants and their supporters that appeared on jumbo televisions. The jest of the recorded message was that he would fix the “broken immigration system.”
Among the speakers at the pro-amnesty rally was Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, he compared the Latino amnesty quest to the civil rights movement and said, “This is our Selma.”
The Sunday rally in the country’s capitol allowed amnesty advocates to send a clear message that they won’t excuse any delays on revamping the “comprehensive” immigration system and they threatened leaders in Washington they would vote accordingly in the November midterm elections.
It’s worth pointing out that many of the Latino rally participants reside in this country illegally and are not eligible to vote.
The rally took place days after Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced an outline for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The three-page blueprint included a controversial mass amnesty provision; create a national biometric ID tamper-proof card and a guest worker program.
Even though the legislation was drawn up in a bipartisan fashion, Graham warned that the bill would receive little support from Republicans if health care reform were passed. Graham suggested if the White House muscled through health care, “immigration reform will be dead.”
However, many illegals are tired of living in the shadows. Rosy Medina boarded a bus in Dallas that would tack her to Washington, DC, to participate in the pro-amnesty rally. ”We live in uneasiness, with panic, without power to buy a house, without licenses to drive,” said Medina, a Mexican illegal alien who, has lived in the country illegally for eight years.
“We are going to be the voice of millions who only want to be given the same opportunities of everyone, that they be allowed to work and that they not be persecuted,” said Rosa Maria Ramos, a resident of Brownsville, Texas, who emigrated 17 years ago from Mexico.
Liberal Failure Demonstrates California’s Economy is Heading Over a Cliff
Nowhere has the throngs of illegal immigrants been felt than California. The state leads the way for immigrants to set up their casa. The massive illegal problem has resulted in a state with huge budget crisis and higher-than-average unemployment numbers.
In 2009, there were an estimated 2.6 million illegal immigrants – nearly a quarter of America’s total illegal immigrant population – residing in California.
“With our state budget in tatters, millions of Californians out of work, failing schools and a state prison system strained by massive overcrowding, California simply cannot continue to ignore the toll that illegal immigration takes on our budget and economy,” says Steve Poizner a Republican Gubernatorial candidate.
“Steve Poizner is willing to take bold steps in order to stop illegal immigration, while Meg Whitman (also a Republican) wants to continue with the status quo. Ten states have passed laws restricting benefits to illegal immigrants and as governor, Poizner will ensure that California does the same,” said Communications Director Jarrod Agen. “The differences in the Republican primary are clear – Steve is proposing bold reforms to turn off the magnets which draw illegal immigrants to California, while Meg Whitman advocates for amnesty.”
However, a recent Field Poll in California has Meg Whitman with a commanding lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Even if Poizner were to claim all the undecided voters he would be shy of the votes necessary to earn a bid to play ball with Democrat Jerry Brown the left’s frontrunner.
Whitman claims the lion share of most likely voters 63 percent, while Poizner captured 14 percent with 23 percent undecided. In a head-to-head with Brown, the EBay executive Whitman edges out the Democrat.
However Poizner camp is convinced his position on illegal immigration will resonate with the voters especially after the embattled health care fight. The Latino caucus has pushed the President to take on comprehensive immigration reform this year or face the consequences at the polls in November, according to pro-amnesty activists.
If elected governor, Poizner will advocate for the following policies; cutting taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants, holding employers responsible for following the law, ending sanctuary city practices and securing our borders.
One thing is certain, after a bitter health care battle most agree the country is not in a position to take on another contentious issue.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
San Diego Police Department dodged a potentially explosive public relations bullet when it was determined that John Gardner’s DNA was not found on the swab taken from a female “robbery” victim, Candice Moncayo, who was assaulted on December 27, 2009 in Rancho Bernardo Community Park following the homicide of Chelsea King last month.
Local law enforcement agencies failed to test the DNA swab taken from the jogger for more than two months between the December 27 incident and the weekend that Chelsea King went missing.
The SDPD brass must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when the DNA test came back negative.
“Had John Gardner’s DNA been found on the swab taken on December 27, it could have been matched to his profile in the National DNA database and Gardner may have been arrested for the “robbery” which could have prevented the murder of Chelsea King,” authorities said.
Several attempts have been made to determine the DNA backlog in San Diego County Crime Laboratory for this story, only to be denied by San Diego Sheriff’s officials. The Sheriff’s Department claims there are no records readily available to provide documents on the DNA backlog San Diego County.
However, a document recovered from the County of Supervisors office paints a different story. The Sheriff’s Department applied for a Federal Stimulus grant to alleviate the DNA backlog on December 5, 2009, according to the public records.
The nearly $400,000 in federal grant money received from the Department of Justice is to be used for equipment, supplies and overtime expenses to alleviate the current DNA backlog.
Why the reluctance to release DNA data?
Crime labs continue to fall behind due to a number of new laws enacted by states to protect the public at large. In California, records found the backlog at the state crime lab jumped from 35,000 in January of 2008 and almost 46,000 in February 2009 records.
Even President Obama has weighed in on mandatory DNA testing as a way to solve cold cases and protecting the public. “It’s the right thing to do to tighten the grip around folks who commit crime,” Obama told John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted.
Obama told Walsh he supported compulsory DNA sampling of suspects under arrest by the federal government for misdemeanors and felonies. The results would be housed in the state and federal databases. There have been more than 200 arrests nationwide using the results from those DNA tests.
Meanwhile in liberal California the ACLU is suing to block its voter-approved measure requiring saliva sampling of criminals picked-up for felonies. Authorities in the Sunshine State are allowed to conduct so-called “familial searching” which means law enforcement can look to other familiar DNA results to find the possible perpetrators.
The ACLU is likely to lose their case because courts have already upheld DNA sampling of convicted felons, based the theory on the fact that convicted criminals have fewer privacy rights.
Victims across the country waiting for justice
It’s not uncommon for victims to go years without justice. Before DNA testing began it was not unlikely that crimes would go unsolved forever. Alas DNA testing has emerged and technology can now solve new and cold cases alike.
The Connecticut Courant tells such a story about Kellie Greene who spent three years living in fear, waiting for authorities to catch the criminal who raped her.
The lack of urgency ultimately turned to bewilderment over the bureaucratic quagmire that continues to put women at risk of violence.
Green found there was a three-year wait for the crime lab to test the DNA evidence that her attacker left on her leggings. Once the DNA results finally came back, Greene was horrified to learn this was not the first rape the criminal had committed.
The three-year DNA backlog allowed the perpetrator to continue violating other women, one of whom was Greene.
“Had they been able to test the DNA in that earlier case, my rape would have never happened,” she said.
It’s been 15 years since Greene began her campaign to speed-up DNA testing and erase DNA backlogs.
Currently, there are more than 350,000 DNA samples for murder, rape and sexually abused children waiting to be tested. According to the federal government’s best estimates many of these DNA samples remain on the shelves. In 2005 alone labs across the country saw their DNA backlogs nearly double.
The flood of DNA samples has created logjams
The biggest known backlog is in Los Angeles County, where more than 12,000 rape kits remain untested. These kits include envelopes with blood and semen collected from rape victims. In fact, most of these kits remain in police department storage units.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, there is evidence that 500 cases involving adult victims has been backlogged so long that the 10-year time limit for prosecution has already passed.
“This is a betrayal of victims; it’s a betrayal of the public trust,” said Gail Abarbanel, who heads the rape treatment program at the UCLA Medical Center.
Close to half of the 1,000 kits collected at the UCLA center each year are from child victims ranging from 4 months to 17 years old. She admitted that prosecutors must postpone trials because there are so many DNA kits waiting to be tested.
Many of these serial offenders use the delays in DNA testing to seek out more victims. In a recent Justice Department report, 16 percent of state crime labs claim their backlogs have allowed additional crimes to be committed.
California’s Department of Justice lab has the largest DNA backlogs of any state. The backlog spiked once Proposition 69, which mandates DNA collection from arrestees, went into effect in January 2009.
A spokesman from California’s Department of Justice explains the state has approximately 30,000 samples classified as “in process.” The landslide of samples in the state has led to the uptick in hiring more scientists. However the DOJ says they may need to outsource samples to private labs. At this point the state lab has yet to set a target date for reducing the amount of unprocessed evidence.
DNA testing in San Diego solves cold cases
Meanwhile an example of the success of DNA testing in San Diego came when prosecutors were able to solve a 1993 murder case.
The gruesome crime involved two young boys in San Diego who were abducted near the Otay River, raped and killed. It took homicide detectives eight years until a DNA hit linked them to a man named Scott Erskine.
Erskine’s trial began in 2004 and it took prosecutors a few weeks before opening statements to inform the family of the grisly nature of the murders. After an 8-year wait, the defendant, Erskine, stood trial and now resides on death row.
CBS News is reporting that the San Diego Police Department has more than 2,000 untested rape kits in storage.
“The San Diego Police Department has a remarkably good sex crimes unit, so if there’s any chance that testing a kit could lead to a successful prosecution then we test it,” said Michael Grubb, San Diego PD Crime Lab Manager. According to Grubb, “the department has 2,065 rape kits in storage that were never sent to the crime lab.”
“The news of untested rape kits in San Diego is more evidence that the rape kit backlog is a widespread problem across the country that requires a strong national response,” said Sarah Tofte researcher at Human Rights Watch’s US Program. “Untested rape kits mean lost justice for rape victims, and San Diego must move quickly to eliminate their backlog,” she said.
The question remains why are there so many backlog DNA samples sitting on shelves across the country waiting to be tested? Crimes throughout the country have been solved because detectives have obtained DNA samples from victims or the crime scene.
With state labs requesting and receiving grants from the federal government to conduct more DNA testing why do the backlogs remain? And could the speediness of scientific labs prevent new crimes from taking place?
Nowhere is this more evident than details surrounding the murdered teenager Chelsea King. After the attack of a female jogger in the same park two months prior, law enforcement officers obtained a DNA swab from the victim, however it went untested until King’s murder.
The moral of the story is no stone should be left unturned when investigating crimes and justice delayed often results in justice denied.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
Graham told Democrats, if you force health care on the American people you can kiss immigration reform goodbye.
“If the healthcare bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year,” Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said late Friday.
Senator Graham put it all on the line for Latinos. Late backroom deals have led to speculation that President Obama promised Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the author of the Congress immigration bill, his word that if he changed his vote from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ the immigration reform legislation would move to the top of the lawmaking list.
Graham’s statement about moving forward on immigration concerns those on the left, as there are currently no other Republicans willing to step in work with Democrats. Insiders say that immigration reform is a dead issue without some form of bipartisanship.
Battered Republicans are staging their final stand by demanding Democrats actually stand in the House and cast their vote the old fashion way by saying ‘yeah or nay’ on Sunday. Although Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is still threatening to “deem the bill passed” which would prevent members of the House from an actual vote.
Taking immigration reform off the table is just the latest tactic Republicans are using to stop Obama care from becoming the law of the land.
Graham has spent months working with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to draft an immigration bill. The two Senators met with President Obama last week, presenting a three-page blueprint for immigration reform.
“If the Republicans want to be responsible for killing immigration reform, they are going to send an unmistakable signal to the Latino community that they don’t care about them. And the Republican Party will have to take their chances at the polls in November and in 2012,” Eliseo Medina, a union representative who is working with the White House on immigration changes.
However, Republicans say the trillion dollar health care plan racked with new taxes and regulation will all but ensure a sweep in the House and the Senate in November.