Archive for February 17th, 2009

Ramos, Compean Freed From Prison

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Finally!!!

Convicted former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were released from federal prison this morning and are en route to join their families in El Paso, Texas.

Characterizing Ramos and Compean’s incarceration as a “political prosecution,” Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, called for a congressional investigation into alleged prosecutorial misconduct by El Paso U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton under the direction of Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Poe also called for an investigation into the alleged role of the Mexican government in demanding that Ramos and Compean be prosecuted.

“As soon as President Bush commuted Ramos and Compean’s sentences, the Mexican government registered a large protest,” Poe noted.

“In their protest, the Mexican government admitted their involvement in the case without specifying what their involvement was,” he added.

“So I think the first order of business is for the U.S. Congress to investigate what role the Mexican government had in demanding the Bush administration prosecute this case,” he insisted. “Mexico should not be meddling into U.S. criminal cases.”

Poe also told WND his office intends to petition President Obama to pardon Ramos and Compean in the administration’s first round of presidential pardons

After serving two years in federal prison in solitary confinement for shooting a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler who had brought 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., Ramos and Compean are being released into home confinement until March 20, the end of their commuted sentences.

As WND reported, the agents’ original sentences of 11 and 12-years respectively were commuted by President Bush on his final full day in office, Jan. 19.

Until March 20, both are restrained from speaking with the press. After their release from home confinement, Ramos and Compean will be on “supervised release,” similar to “probation,” for a period of up to three years.

Ramos was incarcerated in Phoenix and Compean in Elkton, Ohio.

“At last, Ramos and Compean have been rightfully reunited with their families,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., another member of the House of Representatives at the forefront of the fight to free the men. “I wish the Ramos and Compean families the best as they now try to pick up the pieces and begin to heal from this terrible ordeal.”

Poe charged Ramos and Compean “were incarcerated as political prisoners of our own country.”

“Both Border Patrol agents were doing their jobs on the border,” he told WND.

Poe had harsh words for prosecutor Sutton and Attorney General Gonzales.

“Our own government took the side of the drug dealer, found him in Mexico, brought him back and treated his wound at taxpayer expense,” the congressman said. “The government made a back room deal with the drug dealer by telling him that in exchange for his testimony against Ramos and Compean, he would be given immunity for that offense.”

Poe charged that Sutton’s office intentionally misled the jury at the trial.

“The prosecution misled the jury and the American public by not allowing the jury at the Ramos and Compean trial to know that the government had reason to believe the drug smuggler in the case, (Osvaldo) Aldrete-Davila, had been implicated in a second drug smuggling incident before the trial began,” Poe stressed.

Original Link.

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

“Just so I have this straight, under your pork-free stimulus bill I’ll get 13 extra bucks a week and a mouse in Nancy Pelosi’s district will get $30 million.”
-Glenn McCoy

Original Link.

Obama Promises Palestinians He’ll Protect ‘Biblical Heartland’

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

The Obama administration has pledged to the Palestinian Authority it will closely monitor Jewish construction in the West Bank and will protest any new housing developments in the biblical territory, a top PA negotiator told WND.

“They told us the White House will watch for any Jewish construction,” said the PA negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Obama knows that if [Likud Chairman Benjamin] Netanyahu is the next prime minister, he will try to expand the settlements. They pledged to us this will be strongly protested,” the negotiator said.

Although Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party captured one more seat that Likud in last week’s elections, Netanyahu is considered most likely to form the next government, since he is reportedly able to forge the most stable coalition with other parties in the 120-seat Knesset.

Earlier this month, WND quoted top PA officials stating they received a guarantee from Obama’s administration that understandings reached with Israel during U.S.-backed negotiations while President Bush was in office would be utilized as starting points for current and future talks with the Jewish state.

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
—Zechariah 12:3

The PA officials said they were enthusiastic about the new tone of the White House and about recent meetings with Obama’s Mideast envoy, former Democratic Sen. George Mitchell. They said they believe that under Obama the Palestinians can extract from Israel concessions reaching “much further” than during talks held under the previous administration.

“Regarding all understandings achieved between the parties, the Obama administration told us they will give guarantees to carry them out,” said a top PA official.

“With Obama, the number of settlers to be removed from the West Bank will much be more important than 60,000,” said the PA official, referring to previous negotiations in which Israel expressed a willingness to withdraw from up to 94 percent of the West Bank and move about 60,000 settlers into central settlement blocks closer to Jerusalem.

WND reported exclusively in November that then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice collected notes and documents from Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams to ensure the incoming U.S. administration would not need to start negotiations from scratch. PA sources said Rice’s notes are being used by Obama’s team as the starting points for new Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Documents noting agreements during previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been used in subsequent talks, sometimes as starting points. According to both Israeli and PA sources, American officials took detailed notes of talks at U.S.-brokered negotiations at Camp David in 2000 and then used points of agreement on key issues, such as borders, during recent rounds of intense Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Israeli and PA sources said Rice’s notes document agreements that would seek an eventual major West Bank withdrawal and would grant the PA permission to open official institutions in Jerusalem.

A top source said the PA requested that the Obama administration threaten sanctions against Israel for any new Jewish construction in the West Bank.

The source told WND that Obama is said to favor Israel withdrawing from nearly the entire West Bank.

Israel recaptured the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. The territory, in which about 200,000 Jews live, is tied to Judaism throughout the Torah and is often referred to as the biblical heartland of Israel.

The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at the West Bank city of Shechem (Nablus) and received God’s promise of land for his offspring.

He was later buried with the rest of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, except for Rachel, in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The West Bank’s Hebron was site of the first Jewish capital.

The nearby West Bank town of Beit El – anciently called Bethel, meaning “house of God” – is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In the dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory. Earlier, God had promised the land of Israel to Abraham at Beit El. In Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested just north of Beit El in Shiloh, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

(wnd)

Original Link.

Obama Sides with Wall Street over Joe American

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Cliff Kincaid, the president of America’s Survival, does not believe that President Obama’s economic policies are going to help pull the United States out of the economic recession. But he claims there is a connection between Obama and the U.S. banking industry, which has been the focal point of the economic crisis.

“We’ve argued for quite some time that, yeah, Obama is a Marxist, he is a socialist, whatever you want to call it. But interestingly enough, he also has the backing of the Wall Street bankers,” he notes. “And for people who somehow think this is incompatible, I would tell them to just consult the classic book by Antony Sutton, Wall Street and Bolshevik Revolution, in which he documents how certain banking interests played a role in the Soviet Revolution. So this has happened before; it is happening now.”

Kincaid contends these are dangerous times for America. “It’s going to be the fight of our lifetimes. I never thought it was going to come to this point. [I’ve] been in Washington for over 30 years. I’ve never seen anything this desperate, this tragic,” he contends. “But hopefully, and with the support of the Almighty, we can fight our way out of it — because we have to, because there is nowhere else to go. Where are we going to flee to? Where are we going to hide?”

Original Link.

“Kitchen-Table Budgets Meet the Stimulus Package” by Lee Wishing

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

My wife and I tag-team to get our four kids ready for school in the morning. She manages the lunch-packing process and I make a hot breakfast. Rarely does a lively morning pass that I don’t gaze upon my children at the kitchen table and silently lament Washington’s economic decision-making. I agree with President Obama, who says, “The situation could not be more serious.”

It has taken years of toxic economic decision-making to create the cracks in America’s economy: an annual deficit of one-trillion dollars, a national debt of $10 trillion, unfunded Social Security and federal healthcare liabilities of $40 trillion, a rickety devalued dollar, and a Federal Reserve Bank that enables all of this, including the subprime mortgage debacle that proved to be the tipping point of our current troubles. As my kids start their morning each day at breakfast, I wonder about their future.

President Obama has young children as well. He was born August 4, 1961. I was born August 3, 1961. His children attend private school and mine attend a private school that rents space in two small churches. We’re both concerned about America’s future and want the best for our kids. President Obama says he wants change, and I, too, want change. President Obama and I are similar in many respects, yet he and I are a microcosm of the polarity of American economic thought.

With last Friday’s announcement of another 598,000 lost jobs in mind, President Obama chided his political opponents for not yet acting on the stimulus legislation. “The situation could not be more serious,” he said. “It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual while millions of Americans are being put out of work. Now is the time for Congress to act.”

But how does President Obama want Congress to act? During his first press conference on Monday evening, President Obama said, “But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.”

What?

After breakfast, my wife said she doesn’t understand how the government can keep spending money it doesn’t have. Of course, the answer is that the federal government has a printing press to print money and, as mentioned earlier, we have borrowed ourselves into an incredibly deep and dangerous hole. The stimulus plan now calls for another $789 billion. My wife said we’ve got to stop. I think she’s right. The federal government may be the only entity that doesn’t have the resources to jolt our economy back to life. Lessons from the Great Depression teach us that the kind of action that President Obama advocates will cause more and protracted economic pain.

Ironically, as he announced his Economic Advisory Board last Friday, President Obama said, “The American people did not choose more of the same. They did not send us to Washington to get stuck in partisan posturing, or to turn back to the same tried and failed approaches that were rejected in the last election. They sent us here with a mandate for change, and the expectation that we would act.”

If this is true, why is President Obama not changing? Why is he following in the footsteps of earlier administrations, including that of George W. Bush? “An historic crisis demands an historic response,” he said last Friday. No, this historic crisis demands a historic change.

So far, President Obama is pursuing “tried and failed approaches”—but only bigger—that have created our historic economic crisis. Like my wife and much of the American electorate, I would like our elected officials to truly change their ways; to get spending, deficits, and monetary policy under control. President Obama has assembled a small team of economic advisors to help him manage the economy. I hope that his team will encourage him to change course, rein in government, and rely on the collective wisdom of millions of Americans who make hundreds of millions of informed economic decisions each day to manage the economy.

Although President Obama and I are only one day apart in age and both have young children, our economic thinking represents very different views for solving America’s historic economic crisis. Just a few days into his presidency, he is demonstrating that he wants to pursue old policies in a much bigger way. I’d like to see change—responsible budgeting, like the kind that Americans do for themselves around their kitchen tables. Washington is just now learning what my wife and kitchen-table-budgeters know: we can’t spend more than we take in without getting into more trouble.

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Lee Wishing is administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

Original Link.

Upgraded Website

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. We outgrew our old web hosting plan and had to upgrade to a larger one. The process takes about 24 hours to complete and in the meantime, various parts of the website are not available.
It appears that the process is complete and everything should have been moved by now.
If anyone notices anything out of the ordinary, please let me know.
Thanks for the patience.
-Steve