Archive for January 31st, 2007

Homeland Security Memos Contradict U.S. Attorney

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

More information trickles out about two U.S. Border Patrol officers imprisoned after shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler.

In the high-profile case of two U.S. Border Patrol officers imprisoned after shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler, two Department of Homeland Security documents apparently contradict the version of events put forth by the U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted the case.

The internal Department of Homeland Security memoranda – which have been denied Congress despite repeated requests by two House members – show that within one month of the shooting incident involving Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, government investigators had identified the smuggler as Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila.

But this seems to contradict U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s claim that Aldrete-Davila came forward through a Mexican lawyer who offered to identify his client in exchange for immunity.

A March 14, 2005, memo notes that Aldrete-Davila’s mother had contacted the mother-in-law of a U.S. Border Patrol agent to talk about the shooting and a memo from four months later talks about an interview with that Border Patrol agent. Also, the immunity agreement offered to Aldrete-Davila promises no prosecution against him will result from his testimony and reveals that it was signed on March 15, 2005.

Andy Ramirez, chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, says the documents raise questions as to why Sutton chose to prosecute the Border Patrol agents rather than the drug smuggler.

Sutton defended his prosecution in an interview with WND.

He said he had no choice. “You have to understand that we could not turn our backs on this,” he told WND. “Two Border Patrol officers shot 15 times at an unarmed man who was running away and posed no real threat.” The Bush administration continues to argue on background that Ramos and Compean lied to Border Patrol officials and covered up evidence, asserting the drug smuggler was not armed and had attempted to surrender peacefully.

The documents further reveal Aldrete-Davila and his Mexican drug associates wanted to organize a “hunting party” to kill Border Patrol agents in retaliation for his being shot. The revelation raises the possibility Aldrete-Davila violated the terms of his immunity by concealing material information from the prosecutor and the jury at trial.

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GOP Blocks Lawmakers’ Cost-of-Living Increase

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Sometimes I think that Congress forgets that us “working” people can’t vote ourselves pay raises. At least the Republicans are on base with this one.

(CNSNews.com) – After being pounded by Democrats last year for accepting pay increases while not boosting the minimum wage, Republican congressmen Tuesday returned the favor by preventing an annual 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) from taking effect this year.

“There will be no COLA adjustment,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday after GOP members of Congress, led by House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), promised to block the annual $2,800 pay hike.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) “ran their own ads attacking [Republican] members on this,” Blunt explained. “Because of that, their members are going to suffer in terms of not being able to have a COLA.”

Blunt said that Democrats broke the agreement after last year’s pay raise-related vote had already taken place.

“The agreement always was that the parties would not use the COLA issue in the campaign,” he said. “It was as formal as anything not signed is.”

As a result, federal lawmakers’ salaries will stay at $165,200 for the year instead of receiving an increase due to a law passed in 1989 in which legislators got a pay boost in exchange for giving up honoraria for personal gain.

The annual vote on the pay raise is usually taken on an obscure procedural move instead of a direct up-or-down vote, and the Democratic and GOP whips each deliver a roughly equal number of votes to shut off any move to block it.

But as Cybercast News Service previously reported, Democrats used the issue to their advantage during the 2006 midterm elections.

After the GOP-led House voted down a minimum wage increase last June, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Republicans of standing with “Big Oil” and their “pharmaceutical cronies” instead of with working families.

“That’s immoral,” Pelosi said at the time.

In the years since Congress approved the $5.15 minimum wage in 1997, “the price of gas has skyrocketed, the cost of health care is astronomically high, and America’s working families are feeling the pinch,” she said.

Pelosi said Republicans “have the opportunity to do the right thing” by joining Democrats in passing a minimum wage increase – “for America’s working families.”

“If Republicans continue to block increasing the minimum wage – which a strong majority of Americans support – Democrats’ New Direction for America means that on the first week we control Congress, we will pass a minimum wage increase,” she noted.

While the House voted earlier this month to “give Americans a raise,” the measure was tied up in the Senate until Tuesday when Democrats agreed to Republican demands to include $8.3 billion in tax breaks for small businesses to cover the extra costs associated with the minimum wage boost.

A vote in the Senate on the minimum wage measure is expected in the coming days.

The Democrats had hoped to attach the COLA measure to a spending bill expected to pass the House on Wednesday, but negotiations with Republicans during the past week were unsuccessful.

Also expressing disappointment at Tuesday’s developments was Senate GOP Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who told reporters there’s no shortage of wealthy lawmakers – such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) – using the pay raise issue as a political sword.

“It’s very easy for the multimillionaires … to demagogue this issue,” Lott added.

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Why Were Anti-War Protesters Allowed to Spray-Paint US Capitol?

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I wondered this as well. So much for “security”.

(CNSNews.com) – A group of anti-war protesters spray-painted anarchist symbols on the steps and pavement outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, and police did nothing to stop them.

A conservative advocacy group says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should order an investigation into what happened and why.

“Surely, the tens of millions of dollars the American people have invested in the security of their Capitol means there is videotape that will assist in the identification and arrest of the perpetrators,” the Family Research Council said in a message to supporters.

The Hill newspaper reported on Sunday that rank-and-file police officers had formed a security line to keep protesters away from the Capitol.

Those officers “were livid when they were told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse and Deputy Chief Daniel Nichols,” the newspaper reported.

Morse told The Hill that a “splinter group of anarchists” had engaged in “minor instances of spay-painting” in an attempt to force a confrontation with U.S. Capitol Police.

“It is the USCP’s duty and responsibility to protect the Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercise their First Amendment rights… [and] at the end of the day, both occurred without injury to protestors or officers,” the Hill quoted Morse as saying.

Morse said the protesters failed in their attempt to rush the Capitol’s doors; and he told The Hill that the spray paint was “easily removed” by staffers from the office of the Architect of the Capitol, who came in on Sunday, their day off, to clean up.

Imagine the response if pro-life demonstrators had swarmed onto Capitol grounds simply to pray last week, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. If the pro-lifers had “trespassed,” Perkins mused, “the outcome would have been quite different.”

“Unlike last Monday’s peaceful pro-life protest, this mob of liberals was given access and leniency to commit criminal acts on government property. This special treatment is unacceptable,” he added.

The U.S. Capitol chief of police reports directly to the speaker of the House, the FRC noted, and therefore it is up to Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) to order an investigation into the anarchists’ behavior and the police response.

The FRC also noted that last week’s March for Life, which attracted many more people than last weekend’s anti-war protest, “earned little more than a footnote in the nation’s news,” compared with the front-page coverage given to the anti-war, anti-Bush forces.

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Funeral Disruptors Face Court Setback

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Well this is good news.
Now, I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again for those people who haven’t read my views on this group before.
The Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas are more cult than church. Calling them Baptist is even a further reach. These people are not representing or preaching the same Bible I know.
Let me clarify…
God will not accept sin. Homosexuality is a sin. But murder is also a sin. In God’s eyes, sin is sin.
As a Christian, it is our calling to oppose all sin. With this in mind, that is why I will always oppose making homosexuality “normal” and “good”. According to the Bible, it is not “normal” or “good”, it is a sin.
Now with that said, Jesus taught us how to minister to people who need to hear God’s word. I assure you that it is not the way the so-called Christians of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church are doing it.
I rebuke them and advise them to reexamine the Bible.
God hates sin. All sin. God loves us. All of us. He does not hate “fags” and he certainly did not invent IED’s to kill American soldiers because the nation somewhat supports homosexuality. Sinful people, not following God, make IED’s and use them to do sinful, evil things to other people.

(CNSNews.com) – Members of a Kansas church who protest homosexuality at military funerals suffered a setback Tuesday in their case challenging Missouri’s “funeral protection law” when a federal judge ruled that the law could be enforced while under review.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers representing the Westboro Baptist Church asked the U.S. District Court in Western Missouri to prevent the state from enforcing the law, which prohibits demonstrations near military funerals.

The controversial church is known for demonstrating outside military funerals, proclaiming that God allows U.S. soldiers to be killed because they are fighting to defend a nation that tolerates homosexuality.

In a ruling handed down Tuesday, Chief Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled that the Missouri law resembles federal law upheld by the Supreme Court enough to deny the motion for injunction.

“This Court finds that plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of her claims regarding the constitutionality of [the law],” Gaitan wrote.

“We’re pleased the court seems to recognize the right of funeral attendees to mourn those who died defending our country without being disrupted by protestors,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a press release. Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, filed briefs in the case in support of the restrictions.

“Unlike the ACLU, most Americans believe that mourners should be able to engage in quiet and reflective prayer at funerals,” Fitton said.

While the ruling is seen as a victory for the state’s attempts to protect mourning family members from the protests, it is not a final judgment of the law’s constitutionality. The court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on Jan. 22, 2008.

The church has seen similar “funeral protection laws” overturned. In September, a federal judge in Kentucky struck down the commonwealth’s ban on military funeral protests, saying it went too far in restricting freedom of speech.

Representatives from Westboro Baptist Church were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

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