Friday, February 27, 2009

Sean Hannity's Conflicted Love for Revolution

Sean Hannity has a longstanding case of Montezuma's Revenge of the Mouth. That's no secret. It's gotten even worse on his Fox hate show since he gave his sidekick Alan Colmes the kicked-to-the-side treatment. He's winning premios, but not the good kind:
From Countdown with Keith Olbermann's February 26th Worst Person in the World Segment:

But our winner is Sean Hannity. Next time he or Bill-O talks about liberal hate speech on the web remind them about this. This is a poll posted late Monday night and remaining at last check in the forum section of Hannity‘s website. It asks his listeners what kind of revolution appeals most to you, military coup, armed rebellion or secession. To his credit, the poster is saying any form of revolution would be treason. He said he started the poll because there has been so much talk on Hannity‘s website supporting revolution or secession, a topic which one Hannity poster says produced 3,000 responses. There have been 22 votes, with armed rebellion comfortably in the lead, 11 to eight to three.
Pobre Sean, doesn't he know that Ron Paul already has a lock on the RevoLution Loco caucus in the Republican Party? You know, the people who are actually talking about guerrilla warfare in the streets of EEUU?

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the only member of the senate to earn a perfect rating from the American Conservative Union, called President Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism” on Friday in describing his prime time speech earlier this week.

DeMint, a fierce opponent of government expansion, told the CPAC crowd that conservatives might have to “take to the streets to stop America’s slide into socialism.”

CNN Political Ticker

Contrast that with the long-standing accusation against the Xicano community that someday our inner-Aztec will resurrect like those alien chupacabras out of our pechos with an insatiable urge to start caring about borders again so we can raise the TriColor throughout Aztlán.


Pero facts don't mean anything to Sin Verguenzüero Sean. He's accused our friends at National Council of La Raza (which does NOT mean race) of the thing that has actually been given plática time on his website:

Here's the response from NCLR President Janet Murguía to John Moodey of FOX "News":
Dear Mr. Moody:

On the February 25, 2009 edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity stated that my organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), “has called for Mexico to annex southwestern states.” NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States and last year celebrated its 40th anniversary as an American institution.

NCLR has never made the statement and does not support the views Mr. Hannity attributes to us, as even a cursory review of our public statements or website would substantiate. Such conspiracy theories would be silly if they were not so often used to create fear and distrust of all Hispanics living in America. While Mr. Hannity is well within his rights to disagree with the views of our organization, he is not entitled to lie about us. In light of this, we are asking in the strongest terms possible for an immediate on-air correction.
Let's see if Sean takes a siesta from plotting an actual revolution to apologize for accusing NCLR of inciting an imaginary one. Meanwhile, I'm gonna go practice my grito for the day my President is someone who was punished at school for speaking spanish at recess.

Latest Example of Border Policy Hypocrisy

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano:
"I am very cognizant of the balance that must be struck between good security measures and trade and commerce. Things like having to wait in long lines to get into a port are very problematic for supply chains," she said.
Of course, she is referring to the Canadian/U.S. Border. Can't have any disruption there.

Protest Sheriff Joe Arpaio This Weekend

Phoenix, Arizona has been a hotbed of activism recently. With spending cuts gutting education and social service programs, many people have taken to the streets near the state capitol complex to make their voices heard. This form of raw democracy continues on Saturday (tomorrow) as many pro-human rights groups unite to protest the abuses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Who: National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Puente Arizona, and Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine

What: March to Stop the Systematic Persecution of Migrants and Latinos in AZ.

Where: March Start Location for Feb 28th: 300 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012

When: March to Stop the Hate in Phoenix to be held 9:00 am on February 28.

(More info available from the Arizona Advocacy Network at

For many years, Arpaio has taken any opportunity to exploit state law and his 287g agreement with the Department of Homeland Security so he can target undocumented workers in Maricopa County, and because of his racism, the greater latino community. Pressure has been building against the sheriff, who is already under investigation by the FBI for abuses. The scope widened recently when the chairman and several members of the House Judiciary Committee issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano raising many of the same concerns of latinos in the Valley.

This Saturday is an opportunity for bottom-up politicking by those of us who feel threatened by Joe Arpaio's control of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. We are already seeing the national spotlight move in his direction, and while he loves to be flogged by the media, it's only a matter of time before the greater Phoenix area realizes that the sheriff is bringing attention that is not welcome; hopefully tightening the leash around Arpaio's neck.

If you can't make it to the protest tomorrow and would like other ways to get involved, our friends at America's Voice have several starting points. The petition is just shy of our goal of 10,000 signatures, so please spread the word.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Have A New Labor Secretary

By a vote of 80-17, Hilda Solis was confirmed as the next Labor Secretary of the United States. Thanks to everyone who signed petitions, emailed, faxed, called and rowsed a rabble on behalf of the California Congresswoman's candidacy. Working people and their families will have a true champion in President Obama's inner-circle.

Here is a sampling of reactions:

Service Employees International Union
As SEIU President Andy Stern stated in his previous endorsements of Solis, she is the embodiment of the American Dream. "As the daughter of two immigrant workers and union members who met in a citizenship class, today's vote to confirm Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor proves the American Dream is still alive. Working men and women now have a Department of Labor they can count on to stand up and fight for them because Secretary Solis personally understands the challenges workers face in a global economy. For Secretary Solis this is not just another job, but the culmination of a lifetime of action serving as a voice for people who work," said Stern following today's bipartisan vote by the U.S. Senate to confirm Hilda Solis as the next Secretary of Labor.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
“As a Member of Congress, Hilda Solis has been an advocate in labor and environmental issues, and a trailblazer in healthcare and women’s issues. Her confirmation as our nation’s 25th Secretary of Labor is a moment of pride for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Latinos across the country,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Chair of the CHC. “The influence of the Latino community continues to grow, and today, Hilda Solis helps pave the way for generations of Latinos to come.”
National Council of La Raza
“Nearly one in ten Latinos is unemployed, and last month alone almost 300,000 Hispanics lost their jobs. The economic stimulus package approved by Congress is a bold step toward putting the nation on the road to economic recovery—but the true test will come when this legislation is implemented at the community level,” continued [NCLR President Janet] Murguía. “Hilda Solis has been at the forefront of finding innovative ways to expand job opportunities and knows what it takes to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to obtain safe jobs with decent wages and benefits. Having a Labor Secretary who is a strong and tireless advocate for workers will be an asset both to the Obama administration and to the nation,” concluded Murguía.
United Farm Workers
Secretary Solis worked in collaboration with the United Farm Workers for years to bring basic protections and dignity to one of the most vulnerable segments of our society. As a life-long supporter of union representation and as an advocate of worker's rights, we are confident Ms. Solis will help restore what was the initial mission of the Labor Department. We know we can trust her. Now we can start working on rebuilding this great nation."
League of United Latin American Citizens
“We are elated that Hilda Solis will serve as the next Secretary of Labor,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “At a time when hundreds of thousands more workers each week file initial jobless claims, a 26-year high this comes at the right time. For Latino workers facing an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent and small businesses struggling to make payroll, confirmation of Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary cannot come soon enough.”

Congresswoman Hilda Solis speaks for the voiceless in our society. Working men and women need her leading the Department of Labor at this critical time. The confirmation of Hilda Solis as the Secretary of Labor is critical to American workers -- especially now when there is so much economic turmoil. If ever there was a time for a fully functioning Department of Labor, now is it. We trusted the full Senate would do the right thing for the American people.
America's Voice
Secretary Solis (doesn't that sound good?) understands how our dysfunctional immigration system leads to worker exploitation. When millions of undocumented workers are without the protection of the law, it encourages unscrupulous employers to undercut the wages and working conditions of all workers. These bad actor employers also undercut honest competitors who do play fair. Strong labor law enforcement combined with immigration reform that brings undocumented workers out of the shadows will restore integrity to both the labor market and the immigration system.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prayer Vigil Tonight at El Tiradito

From the inbox:
Prayer Vigil for Renewal and Action on Immigration

Thursday, February 19, 2009
7:00 pm
El Tiradito Shrine
400 S. Main Ave.
Tucson, AZ

Join the weekly vigil that has met at the El Tiradito shrine for over 8 years and be part of a national campaign for reform organized by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition during the first recess of Congress!

Pray for
  • Protection for immigrants
  • Empowerment of people of faith and conscience to speak out more boldly for immigrants
  • Moral courage for Members of Congress to show leadership in enacting humane immigration reform

For more information, contact
BorderLinks at: 520.628.8263
Derechos Humanos: 520.770.1373

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicano Veterans Organization Seeks Clarification of DHS Policies

Longtime friend to this blog, Jaango, of the Chicano Veterans Organization has alerted us in the comments that they have received a response from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) regarding inquiries related to the tone and scope of work within the Department of Homeland Security; specifically the role of Joe Leiberman, who is supposed to provide oversight [cough] and investigate the violations of human rights that have been experienced by our families during the workplace and home raids across the country.

Senator Reid writes:

Dear Mr. ____________________ [Chicano Veterans Organization]

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns. I appreciate hearing from you.

I appreciate your concern about the manner in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has conducted worksite raids and other enforcement actions. While ICE must enforce our immigration laws, ICE also has the responsibility to exercise this authority in ways that are effective, humane, and minimize potential disruption to American communities and vulnerable populations. ICE officials must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Constitution, our laws, and our great American tradition of treating all people--regardless of race or national origin--with respect and humanity.

You may be pleased to know that Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has asked that the Department review the conduct and policy regarding worksite raids. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as this review takes place or if any related matters come before the full Senate.

Again, thank you for your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my roles in the United States Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my web site http://reid, I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. My best wishes to you.


Harry Reid
United States Senate

Jaango plans on following up with Secretary Napolitano. I know I'd love to hear her thoughts on the raids now that she oversees DHS. She loved to kick the reponsibility can in Washington's direction when she was Governor of Arizona. That tactic is no longer applicable.

Read more about the advocacy work of the Chicano Veterans Organization at this Cactus Juice Commentaries link, including the full correspondence between them and Sen. Reid's office.

Hip-Hop Community Rallies Against Arpaio

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

The pressure continues to build against the shameful actions of Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio. A week ago, hundreds of community members gathered in the Valley to promote human rights and make it clear that too many lines have been crossed by the sheriff.

Dan Weiss, writing at Imagine 2050, says:

Hours before “Stop The Circus” was to begin I paced nervously in the empty venue. I wondered how the night would end up; if Terrorist Joe would send trouble our way. I imagined the worst, but hoped for the best. I thought to myself ‘if we can pull this off, if the Hip-Hop community can pull this off, we can do anything’.

Thousands of hand shakes and hundreds of signatures later Hip-Hop proved to the world that it can be called upon as a voice of reason in America again. New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Phoenix stood together and let their voices be heard. While Sheriff Joe continues to use violence and terror to spread his message of fear,”Stop the Circus” on the contrary was a peaceful gathering built on respect and tolerance. On February 10th, 400 people met in one room on a few days notice, because they do not tolerate hate or violence, and will not fall victim to fear.

Here is a two-minute YouTube video of the event:

A populist campaign is rising from the streets of nuestra gente. Gritos of ¡Ya Basta! rising like the phoenix in a metropolis of the same name; where a city of tents signal a beacon of darkness and injustice just blocks away from the state's seat of power. If only more people would recognize this familiar evil.

Human beings deserve to be treated like human beings. No exception. When the music starts to play this melody, our human hearts can only futily resist the rhythm.

Let's dance.

Monday, February 16, 2009

NPR Interviews Sec. Napolitano on Immigration Issues

Secretary Napolitano defers a lot of the answers to whatever Congress decides to do for an overhaul of the system. The thing I'd like to know, however, is what will she be planning for DHS in the meantime...
As governor of the border state of Arizona, Janet Napolitano was on the front line of the immigration debate. As the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, she inherits a department that was recently blasted by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. The New York Times called the institute's scathing report a "portrait of dysfunction."

Napolitano joins Madeleine Brand to discuss what's in store for federal immigration policy. A transcript of the conversation follows.

Madeleine Brand: As governor of Arizona … you signed the toughest law in the nation against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. How will you change federal immigration policy?

Janet Napolitano: We're going to do a few things. First of all, the rule of law applies on the border, and we want to make sure that that happens, No. 1. That means manpower. That means technology — things like ground sensors. It means interior enforcement against those who intentionally are going into the illegal labor market and creating a demand for illegal laborers, so that's all going to continue. How we do that may change with me as a new secretary, but we want to make sure the rule of law is applied, and it's applied fairly and forcefully across the border. And then we'll look for ways to, through our administrative process, facilitate the applications of citizenship for those who are entitled to become citizens. Are there things we can streamline, some red tape we can cut? Those are the kinds of things we want to look at as well.

More from NPR

Dobson High School to Host the President

President Obama will be in Arizona-proper on Wednesday:

An “extremely limited” number of tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at 10 a.m. Monday at the main entrance of Dobson High, 1501 W. Guadalupe Road. There is no school on Monday, due to President's Day.

There will be a one-ticket limit per person.

East Valley Tribune

Friday, February 13, 2009

BREAKING: Conyers Calls for Investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Breaking News from the office of Rep. John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:

Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his "tent city" jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and "ritual humiliation." Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, "Smile… You’re Under Arrest!", Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

"Racial profiling and segregation are simply not acceptable." said Conyers. "Media stunts and braggadocio are no substitute for fair and effective law enforcement."

This move comes on the heels of Sheriff Joe's latest stunt where he segregated and paraded migrant worker detainees in Phoenix like chained animals. Latinos in Maricopa County are well-aware that the sheriff gives the wink-wink/nod-nod treatment to racial profiling so this is definitely welcomed news. Arpaio has repeatedly abused his authority under the 287g agreement between the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and DHS. Frank Sherry of America's Voice writes:

The Joe Arpaio approach to law enforcement is un-American and ineffective -- not to mention expensive. Joe's actions are the perfect example of why local enforcement of federal immigration law is inherently flawed, and they point to the increasing need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Arpaio is a modern day Bull Connor and his publicity-seeking crusades have made the Latino community scared and Maricopa County less safe by prioritizing racial profiling over executing the felony warrants that have piled up on his desk. His most recent scheme, rounding up immigrants and shipping them off to separate "tent cities," is just the latest in a career filled with dangerous and anti-Latino demagoguery.

America's Voice Blog

The letter (.pdf warning) from the congressional committee is addressed to both Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. It will be interesting to see what Napolitano does now since Arpaio hails from Janet's home state. Conyers is suggesting that the 287g agreement be terminated altogether, which is fine by me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

President Obama Coming to AZ

Looks like the President will be in the Grand Canyon State next week to stump for the economic recovery plan currently winding its way through Capitol Hill. We're still waiting to get a visit in Tucson, but I digress.
After hitting four states in four days this week, Obama will continue to visit with Americans next week to try to convince them that his economic stimulus plan will get the job done. The president is planning stops in Denver and Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday.
hat tip Democratic Diva

Seattle Times Gives Hate Group A Megaphone

The state legislature in Washington has a proposal before it to expand the opportunity for higher education to undocumented students. Ahead of the national curve, a form of the D.R.E.A.M. Act was advanced in the state a few years ago, qualifying some for in-state tuition. The new plan would extend eligibility to financial aid programs. All good things - we should want to educate as many people in our midst regardless of which piece of earth they happened to be born upon.

In its coverage today of the new proposal, however, The Seattle Times allowed the spokesperson for the hate group FAIR to give a rebuttal.

But those concerned about the impact of illegal immigration in this country say it's also not fair to ask families struggling to educate their own children to subsidize the education of those whose parents broke the law in bringing them here.

Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, asked: "What about that kid you'll never hear about, who also worked hard, who has dreams and aspirations ... a kid who may not be able to go to college because the money is going to someone here illegally?

"I guess the Legislature and governor can't find enough ways to spend all the surplus money they have."

The Seattle Times

The staff writers at The Seattle Times are just one of the many hydra heads that give these extremist groups a megaphone to share their rancid form of nativism. Those of us who follow media coverage of the immigration debate know the names Ira Mehlman and FAIR well, but it should be repeated each and every time their viewpoints are masqueraded as credible that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated their operations as proponets of hate:

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is almost certainly the most-quoted immigration restriction organization in America. In just the last few weeks, its leaders have enlightened cable viewers with their views on such topics as "American 'Intifada' in Our Future?" "Driving While Illegal," "Should ALL Illegal Aliens Be Deported?" and "Economic Impact of Migration." In the past six years, FAIR officials have testified at least 30 times to Congress. Day in and day out, FAIR is taken seriously as a mainstream commentator on the immigration debate.

The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics - the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories. Its political ads have caused numerous politicians, Democratic and Republican, to denounce it.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The topic of immigration reform is highly complicated because the status of undocumented workers differs from person-to-person. We, the People, deserve an assessment and plan to move forward that involves grown-ups who are capable of understanding nuance. It would also help that they have a functioning human heart that recognizes the importance of family unity and basic human rights.

Ira Mehlman and FAIR do not meet this criteria. They do not behave as adults in the conversation; rather, they are tantrum throwers that deserve to be sent to their room to think over their unacceptable behavior.

Are you listening, Seattle Times? Stop allowing hate to be broadcast through your pages.

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

Welcome Back
was taken out yesterday by an unknown source, pero nuestras amigas han vuelto hoy. Good to see things back alive over there. If the attack turns out to be something nefarious, I hope the pendejos left enough fingerprints to be identified and prosecuted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rally in Phoenix on Saturday to Preserve Education

Craig has two important and related entries over at Random Musings:
Arizona needs YOU now!
Statehood Day


Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009
11 a.m.—1 p.m.

Arizona State Capitol
Governor’s Tower Parking Lot,
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix

Random Musings
Why is this necessary? Lots of reasons. 1) The craptacular economy 2) the uber-craptacular state legislature in Arizona and 3) lack of a firewall in the form of a Governor (thanks for nothing, Janet!) to veto these neanderthal urges to drown our education system in a bathtub.

Here's the dire outlook, also relayed by Craig:
A summary of some of the cuts that the state's universities have implemented (list courtesy Solutions Through Higher Education) -

Enrollment capped, freshman applications close March 1, five months early

More than 550 staff positions and 200 faculty associate positions eliminated

Ten- to 15-day furloughs for all employees Closing of approximately four dozen academic programs Reduction of administrative operations at Polytechnic and West campuses

A reduction in the number of nursing students the university can admit


100 positions cut

Suspension of the development of new health professions programs in occupational therapy and physicians assistant, two critical area needs for the state

Closing of the Center for High Altitude Training and Social Research Laboratory Furloughs in FY09-10

Budget reductions for all departments


600 position cuts (through layoffs, attrition and permanent vacancy savings)

5-day furloughs for all local and state-funded employees in FY10

Further consolidation of colleges and mergers of 50 academic and administrative units

Severe curtailment of public outreach programs, including near-closure of public access to Flandrau Science Center, Arizona State Museum, and the UA Mineral Museum

Suspension of significant portions of the UA's extension and statewide outreach programs
I would gladly have my state taxes raised to keep away the most extreme cuts to these vital programs. Unfortunately, Republican state legislative leaders here don't believe in the "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" creed by JFK, they'd rather slash and burn educational and social service budgets to the point that all are children is learning throught home schooling and uneligible for werk that payes liveable monie.

Hopefully there's enough of a showing on Saturday that the GOP rethink this ridiculous long-term strategy...

Hilda Solis Nomination Advances to Full Senate

Good news:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Hilda Solis edged closer Wednesday to winning confirmation as the nation's next labor secretary, after more than a month of delays over questions about her husband's unpaid taxes and her work for a pro-union group.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee cleared her nomination in a voice vote with only two Republicans voting against her. The action sends the nomination to the full Senate for a final vote likely this week.

AssPress via teh Google
Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Tom Coburn (R-BatshitCrazy) were the only committee members to vote no. I'm surprised given the upcoming fight for the Employee Free Choice Act which will show clearly who cares about the working majority in this country.

Hint: It's the crew that would actually nominate a pro-labor Labor Secretary instead of the alternatives.

Sign The Petition to Confirm Hilda Solis

From our friends at SEIU (Service Employees International Union):

Tell the Senate: Confirm Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor

More than 10,000 people have called for Hilda Solis to be confirmed as our next Secretary of Labor. Watch this video to find out who Hilda Solis is, then sign the petition to the right calling for her nomination.

We're delivering the petition to the Senate on Thursday, February 11 - sign now and tell your friends!

Sign the petition here

[UPDATE] The vote to advance Secretary-Designate Solis to the full-Senate is scheduled for 3PM Eastern today. She is expected to pass through this initial hurdle towards confirmation.

Monday, February 09, 2009

TUSD Considering Snow Day Tomorrow

I am much amused:
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Snow may cause the Tucson Unified School District to close schools on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service is forecasting up to an inch of snow in the Tucson area.
A whole inch of snow! The horrors!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

NYTimes Takes on Sheriff Joe Arpaio

We have truly come a long way in getting some balance in media coverage when Sheriff Joe's despicable actions this week in Phoenix get called out by the Editorial Board of the New York Times. It gives me hope.
It has come to this: In Phoenix on Wednesday, more than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence. They were inmates being sent to await deportation in a new immigrant detention camp minutes from the center of America’s fifth-largest city.

The judge, jury and exhibitioner of this degrading spectacle was the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, the publicity-obsessed star of a Fox reality show and the self-appointed scourge of illegal immigrants. Though he frequently and proudly insists that he answers to no one, except at election time, the sheriff is not an isolated rogue. As a participant in the federal policing program called 287(g), he is an official partner of the United States government in its warped crackdown on illegal immigration.

Read the full editorial at

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Concentration Camp

There's not much difference between this:

and this:

What's the endgame, America?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose jurisdiction includes the Phoenix Metro area (the 5th largest city in the United States), continues to inch closer and closer to neon lines of historical unacceptability. Do undocumented workers need to be shot dead or baked in an oven en masse for public outcry to reach levels that bring Arpaio's terrorism to a stop in Maricopa County?

Yesterday, Sheriff Joe staged a media orgy with a grin on his face. He welcomed the attention, in fact sought it, with a press release:

Electric Fence to Minimize Escape Risk

(PHOENIX, AZ.) At 1:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4, 2009, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will order of approximately 200 illegal aliens to be chained and marched into a separate area of Tent City, their new place of incarceration until their sentences are served and the illegal aliens are deported to their home countries.

The move to Tent City frees up much needed space in the Sheriff's hard facilities serving as a management tool for potential jail overcrowding, Arpaio says.

More importantly, the move is a financially responsible alternative to taxpayers already over burdened by the economic drain imposed by a growing number of illegal aliens on social services like education and healthcare.

The move also facilitates security and transportation issues as well as provides easier and quicker access for foreign government visits to these inmates, the Sheriff says.

The move to Tent City also makes room for the future. Now that the Arizona state government has given Arpaio back his $1.6 million dollars slated for fighting illegal immigration, more arrests by the Sheriff's human smuggling unit and crime suppression operations are anticipated.

Read the full release at The Sanctuary
The time has come to wipe the smile of the face of this racist and inhumane goon for good. Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox gives us a call to action:

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox has vowed to seek a federal investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's decision to segregate illegal immigrants in his Tent City Jail.

"It's a brand new Washington, and we're going to have to use the Justice Department to look into this abuse," Wilcox said after Arpaio moved about 200 convicted illegal immigrants from the Durango Jail to a fenced area at Tent City Wednesday afternoon.

"You don't have to make us the laughing stock of the United States by doing stunts like this, and you don't have to abuse people. And that's what everybody is feeling," Wilcox said in the latest of several clashes between her and the sheriff.

Arpaio was not fazed.

"I would highly recommend that she volunteer to spend some time in the tents before she starts yapping away," he said. "How about spending a couple of nights in the tents like I did? I slept in the tents with all these inmates."

It's time to light up the switchboards in Washington, D.C., demanding Arpaio's leash be yanked so actions like this will not be repeated. Here is a preliminary listing of numbers to call:

  • Attorney General Eric Holder: (202) 514-2001
  • Dept. of Justice Office of Intergovernmental Affairs & Public Liaison: (202) 514-3465
  • Department of Homeland Security Comment Line: (202) 282-8495

America's Voice also has a petition on its Arpaio page, calling for an investigation of human rights abuses to be conducted by the Department of Justice.

Enough is Enough. ¡Ya Basta!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

When An Inauguration Becomes A Deep Breath

It's been over two weeks since I had the honor to attend the swearing-in of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. It was a trip that I promised myself to make the night of November 4th. That night, tears of joy escaped my eyes for only the second time in my life.

The first time was when I was a small child. We were living in Oklahoma and had to make a sudden trip back home to Arizona in order to visit a dying grandmother. The town I grew up in, and most of my family's roots sprout from, is nestled in a breathtaking valley of mountains that are aptly named Superstition. When we turned the corner after the drive up the pass that leads to the valley, the familiar and yearned-for sight of the rock sentinels sent me into a fit of tears. It was a release, and one that was deep enough to not be repeated until a few months ago.

I have been horrified by the direction taken by my country over the past decade. On September 11th, 2001, I was not one of the countless who went into a revenge-fueled blood lust for war, rather I felt compelled to pray. And pray I did, along with hundreds of others who gathered for a candlelight service we planned on the lawn of my church.

"There has to be another way" - it is a silent and sometimes spoken aloud musing of mine. It is something that guides me in my everyday dealings, even when I put on the macro lens and ponder the world around me.

You can imagine my blood pressure levels during the Bush regime as torture became sanctioned, habeas corpus rights dashed, and political maneuvering signaled a declaration of war against latinos through the not-so-subtle tying of border security with the fight against terrorism. Sadly, just the tip of the iceberg that also involved the beginning of the current economic nightmare unleashed for many of us.

When tears flowed down my face on election night, it was a moment to finally let go of all the anxiety, fear and anger that has been my constant companion as latino culture and latino identity has been under assault. We all have felt the repercussions of Bush policies in our own way, I've written many times here about my own dealings with the fear-based reality that was created.

Inauguration, and the swearing-in of President Obama, was meant to be a clean break. Change. And in many, many ways, things are already starting to move in a more sane direction, but there has been so much pain wrought and the seeds planted for future hardship, that it is hard to remain patient and trust that justice will someday be served or that government will begin to work for the people rather than against it.

I am barely sharing my thoughts now because the past couple of weeks have been utterly horrendous in Arizona. Former governor Janet Napolitano's exit has presented the real possibility that education will be thoroughly gutted at all levels in our state. As a longtime employee of schools, this is something that I've obviously monitored closely. We are bracing ourselves for destructive cuts that will violate the long-term strength of our society. How can education be the thing that motivates saliva of uber-conservative legislators who are given the sacred trust of holding political office yet govern on the premise that government should be defunded and destroyed? I will never understand it. There has to be another way.

So reality has slapped me across the face painfully since my return to the desert. Instead of being able to bask in the amazing experience I had in Washington, D.C., the entire eight days has now turned into a deep breath. One that I must have known I was taking at the time. A deep breath of preparation for what was undoubtedly on its way. An oasis of solace that I fear makes our lawmakers too comfortable and insulated from the horrors that are lived in the streets as jobs are lost, tuition rates double, and concentration camps rise in our cities.

It is why we must hold our elected officials accountable to what is happening in our lives. We need to continue calling, faxing, marching and voting so that our system of democracy returns to its rightful place of assistance not a roadblock to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is another way - and if I learned one thing after being in that gigantic sea of humanity on Tuesday, January 20th - it's that we are not only on this journey together, we are also the makers of the map that will ultimately lead us to treasure.

Realizing this all over again, each day, I can only take a deep breath and then take a small step forward.

The view from the Key Bridge between Georgetown and Rosslyn

The extremely long line to the Purple Gate

The Washington Monument, as viewed from the FDR Memorial

There was snow on the beach, but I had to make a pilgrimage!

Yes We Can Netroots Nation Party

Mariachi Los Camperos De Nati Cano at the Latino Gala

The Great Hall at Union Station for the Latino Gala