Saturday, July 22, 2006

Minutemen not so vigilant when it comes to watching funds

Originally posted by Duke1676.

At the end of May when perennial electoral failure Alan Keyes went to Palominas, AZ to join Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder Chris Simcox at the groundbreaking ceremony for Minutemen's newest border fence project, everything looked promising in the world of border vigilantes. The immigrant marches and raging congressional debate only brought increased media coverage of the immigration issue that gave the Minutemen not only increased publicity, but a huge influx of cash from their base of disgruntled xenophobes. Now it appears that much of the money raised for fence building, binoculars, and beverages never reached the average minuteman on the street.

Apparently much of the $1.6 mil raised over the past fifteen months by Simcox is unaccounted for. Now leaders of the vigilante group want to know where the money is, and why it was funneled through Alan Keyes' Virginia based charity organization, Declaration Alliance.

Over the Memorial Day weekend about three hundred border vigilantes gathered in the hot Arizona desert to listen to rousing speeches and begin their "work" securing the borders. Joining them was a who's who of the anti-immigration movement including Rep. Steve King of Iowa, sponsor of the effort to scrap the renewal of the Voting Rights Act due its bilingual provisions, and Arizona governor candidate Don Goldwater who recently called for using incarcerated immigrants as workers to build border walls. One address they heard was that of failed presidential candidate and conservative commentator, Alan Keyes. Keyes spoke before the cheering crowd and thanked them for doing Gods work in saving America.


"And right now as America faces what I think is the greatest crisis of our institution in its history ... When a country loses the will to defend its borders, when a country loses the will to assert its identity, when a country loses the will to stand in defense of its way of life, that country is doomed....Now, I'm here to tell you right now that however we may sometimes feel discouraged, that however we may sometimes think that there is no hope, you need to remember that when we pray to God for a blessing, you have come forward to be the answer. You have come forward to be the defenders."
Link

Now it appears that Keyes and Simcox may have had more on their minds than defending America against the "invading horde" from south of the border as they riled the faithful that weekend. Members of the vigilante group have raised serious question about where all the money raised since the groups founding in April of 2005 has gone.


The members say money promised for supplies like food, fuel, radios, night-vision scopes and binoculars never reached volunteers staffing observation posts to spot and report illegal border crossers.

“This movement is much too important to be lost over a question of finances,” Gary Cole, the Minutemen’s former national director of operations, told The Washington Times. “We can’t demand that the government be held accountable for failing to control the border if we can’t hold ourselves accountable for the people’s money.”

The organization has not released any financial statements or fund-raising records since it was created. Several of the group’s top lieutenants have either quit or threatened to do so, saying requests to the group’s president, Chris Simcox, for financial accountability have been ignored, The Times reported.

Mr. Cole said he personally collected “tens of thousands of dollars” in donations during the Minutemen’s 30-day April 2005 border vigil in Arizona. But he said that despite numerous requests, he was never told where the money went.

Mr. Cole said Mr. Simcox removed him as a national director of the border campaign “for asking too many questions about the money.”
NYT


Mike Gaddy, a retired Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada and Beirut who helped organize the Minuteman's April 2005 border watch as a field coordinator, said he and other volunteers challenged Mr. Simcox on numerous occasions to come up with a financial accounting and are suspicious of the need for hiring outside consultants.

"When we heard he was hooking up with outside consultants, I pleaded with Simcox that he had to keep this thing squeaky clean because the Minuteman movement was essential to this nation's sovereignty," Mr. Gaddy said.

He said Mr. Simcox rejected his offer last year to personally pay for an audit to answer growing concern among the ranks about the group's finances. "He told me what he did was his business."

"Something is seriously wrong," he said. "I saw firsthand the dedication of the men and women who volunteered to stand these border watches, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, and proudly came to the conclusion that this is what America was all about. But a number of people I thought I could trust have since disappointed me."

Mr. Gaddy said he did not know how much money the organization had collected, but said, "It would be a substantial sum."
Washington Times

Both Keyes and Simcox deny any financial wrongdoing.

Keyes claims his organization handles the MCDC's finances through his organization because he "wished to do all in (his) power to assist the Minutemen's growth into a national civic movement as quickly as possible -- as the public exposure of the lawless state of our southern border is a matter of utmost urgency," he adding that his "organizational team has an established history of effective issues advocacy, grass-roots activism, political campaigning, financial accountability, regulatory compliance and fundraising." Additionally Keyes claims that the MCDC is still in the process of applying for IRS nonprofit status so it was advantageous to funnel the funds though his established organization.

As for his part, Simcox stated that he receives no salary from MCDC despite the fact that "hours of toil and sacrifice necessary to run this national organization" had taken a toll on his personal life and finances. Simcox claimed that he was forced to sell his newspaper, the Tombstone Tumbleweed due to the financial pressure.

"My present source of income has been the honorariums and fees received from organizations who request me for speaking engagements," Simcox said. "I have also received money from selling my life story for a movie that will soon go into production. Even with those combined sources of income, I have made just enough to keep my head above water." He added that any other information about his finances was no one's business.

Despite their denials of any wrongdoing, many questions remain unanswered.


Earlier this year, Vern Kilburn resigned as director of operations for the Minuteman's northern Texas sector because of what he called "professional differences with the management and business practices" of the MCDC national headquarters.

In a letter of resignation, he said Mr. Simcox and other Minuteman leaders offered "no acceptable answers" to concerns that he had about the management, accountability, ownership and the distribution of money for the Texas operation, adding that they were unable to verify Texas' share of the Minuteman donations.

Mr. Kilburn said that only two checks for $1,000 came from MCDC headquarters in October for the Texas operation and that other Minuteman leaders across the country "are having similar problems concerning money or the lack of."

Although he resigned as director of operations, he said he sought to remain with MCDC to continuing his work with "like-minded patriots" but was fired by Mr. Simcox. He declined to expand on his letter, saying only he "pretty much had my fill of the Minuteman as far as Chris Simcox goes."

Mr. Gaddy, Mr. Cole and Mr. Kilburn are among only a few Minuteman leaders and volunteers who have come forward publicly over questions about accountability. The vast majority declined to be identified for fear of hurting the movement.

"I have no interest in going on the record in this matter," said one top MCDC leader who heads one of the organization's most active groups. "I have a lot of the same questions and have never received answers that are satisfactory. I have been contemplating resigning for a number of reasons, and lack of public accountability is one of those reasons."
Washington Times

It appears that many leaders of the vigilante group have been asleep at the wheel while Simcox and Keyes have had free reign over the MCDC's finances. It is yet to be seen how the financial problems of the fledgling group of border ruffians will effect their ability to further their agenda of intimidation and fear, but I'm sure those who care about true immigration reform will not be shedding any tears over the minutemen's current dilemma.


from: Migra Matters - Progressive Immigration Reform

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How convenient

According to the conclusion of a special investigation, we discover that indeed scores of black suspects were tortured by Chicago police during the 1970s and 1980s. But - yes there has to be a big but - the cases are too "old" to prosecute. Hence the torturers get off scot-free. The message to that sorry mess we call a "justice" system is that its employees can act with impunity. Even if their gross human rights abuses are caught, the investigation will be so long after the fact that it'll be "too late" to do anything. And just what kinds of torture were these suspects subjected to? Here's an idea:
Among other things, the suspects claimed that police beat them, played mock Russian roulette, administered electric shocks with a cattle prod-like device and a crank-operated "black box," and threw typewriter covers over their heads to make them gasp for air.
A nation that allows its own citizens to be tortured is easily veering into "failing" or "failed" state territory. Pretenses of freedom and fairness become just that: pretenses.

Quotable: Douglas Adams

"This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. "
From one of the comments to this post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What our government supports

Via Lenin's Tomb, which has plenty of examples of Zionist racism. It will serve us well to recall that it's Bu$hCo that has given Israel the green light to engage in a bit of ethnic cleansing in Lebanon. More coverage here.

A picture that says it all

Found here.

I've caught bits and pieces of the footage coming out of Lebanon since I left on vacation, and have certainly been dismayed to say the least.

Read Lenin's Tomb's latest post, and look at the top picture. It'll make a sane person ask, "wtf?" A society in which its children write messages on bombs that shall be aimed on children elsewhere is by any reasonably estimation sick.

What am I going to do to prevent this? I'm just one person running an extremely obscuroid blog. At bare minimum, signing a petition is a start, to the extent that a large collective voice can carry more weight than an individual voice.

What passes for a "left" in the US has largely given the Israeli government a free pass, as it has done to the natives to the region much the same as the US government did to its American Indians. It is long past time to view Israel not as a sacred cow, but as merely a nation that has been a notorious violator of human rights.

Perhaps one of the more sane things I've read comes from The Angry Arab News Service blog:
A Note of Caution. It is very important that we don't turn this conflict into an Arab-Jewish conflict, which it is not, and it has never been, and it should never be. I say this not only due to my stiff opposition to anti-Semitism since I got active in the Palestinian cause in my teens, but also because this is partly an Arab-Arab conflict. I mean, there are American and European Jews I know who are more supportive of the Palestinians and their struggle than many Arabs--certainly more than Arab regimes and their paid "intellectuals" and propagandists. So at a time like this, with emotions running high on "our" side, it is important that we don't allow anti-Semitic kooks to infiltrate the ranks of Palestinian struggle, here or there. This is a conflict between Zionism and Arab reactionary forces on one side, and those who are opposed on the other side. Those of us on the left should also not forget our progressive ideals and leftist goals, but Israel is now bombing not fundamentalism or reaction, but the whole of Lebanon. And you should remember--as leftists--that the mother/father of Islamic fundamentalist fanaticism (the House of Saud) is on the side of Israel in this conflict.
We'll keep shining the light of truth alongside other bloggers in the hope that a collective voice of outrage will hasten an end to the killing of innocent civilians.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What a Complete and Utter Embarrassment

Originally posted by Man Eegee.

That's the best way I could describe George Bush's behavior this past week.

First, he started his diplomatic speechifying with words that could potentially make a violent situation in the Middle East more violent - Shooting out blame to other regional countries via verbal bullets
Israel's war planes began striking Lebanon after Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others Wednesday in a cross-border raid into Israel. Since Wednesday, Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at northern Israel.

``The best way to stop the violence is for Hezbollah to lay down its arms and to stop attacking,'' Bush said. ``And therefore, I call on Syria to exert influence over Hezbollah.''

The fighting came at a time of tensions between Iran and Syria and the West. Foreign policy experts suggest that Iran and Syria believe the violence will strengthen their positions in their conflicts with the West and show they hold the key to a settlement of the Arab-Israeli issue.

linkage
Although I shouldn't be too surprised that he salivates at the opportunity to raise the tension around the interactions between Iran and the world, there's no reason his stupidity and lack of communication should usher in military escalation. He's done enough damage.

Did I mention he has horrendous table manners?



Not only that, the fool in President's clothing doesn't have the mental capability to check whether or not his blathering rants are being picked up by nearby microphones. Here's the video courtesy of Crooks and Liars.
Bush: What they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over…
I'm not an angel when it comes to colorful language, but this is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES at a gathering of the world's top eight wealthiest/most powerful nations talking like an idiot through a mouthful of buttered bread. It is not a venue where the words "Yo Blair!" should ever be uttered by one of the heads of state. Call me a prude, but there are times for frivolity and this is not one of them.

Ah, but if you think your cringing has come to it's end, fear not, Junior also felt it was an appropriate time to give the female chancellor of Germany a massage. Idealist Pragmatist reviews the cultural no-no's involved with George's little stunt.


Doesn't he make you proud?

[eyebrow raised in disgust]

Nat'l Rags Profile Immigrant Impact

Originally posted by Man Eegee.

First, the LATimes profiles Hazelton, PA
Standing outside City Hall in the gathering dark, Norman Tarantino felt, for once, that he was lucky to live in Hazleton.

Most of his friends had moved away, over the years, convinced that the old coal city's best days were behind it. But as of Thursday night, Tarantino said, Hazleton once again has something to be proud of: It is the most hostile environment in America for illegal immigrants.
That article is dripping with stories of racial unrest. I get alot of heat for throwing the R card around when discussing immigration, but until I see national guard troops deployed and minutemen vigilantes building razor wired walls along the border with Canada, I stand by position.

Next, the Washington Post takes its readership to Dalton, GA in what is described as a "U.S. Border Town, 1,200 Miles From the Border"
The mass migration of Latinos to this corner of northwest Georgia known as the carpet capital of the world has changed the character of everything from factory floors to schools to superstores. On this night, Wal-Mart's ubiquitous TV monitors alternately promoted arroz and rice, aparatos and electronics.

[snip]

And then there was the longest economic expansion in American history. As buildings rose and homes kept getting bigger, Americans carpeted almost a billion more square yards of floor in 2004 than in 1994, a 50 percent increase. With more than three-quarters of America's carpets made in and around Dalton, a shrinking workforce and 10,000 jobs to fill in a decade, the region was in the grip of a labor vacuum.

And immigration adores a vacuum. Today 40 percent of Dalton, 61 percent of its public school students and half of this region's carpet factory workers are Latino.

I encourage you to take the time to read both articles to get a pulse on where the corporate media stands on the issue. What strikes me is the highlighting of the divisions between the immigrant/Latino communities and their counterparts wherever they happen to find themselves.

Perhaps its different down here [in Tucson], since the roots of the area are more mestizo than anything else, but there is an integration of culture that is a stark contrast to the profiles offered in those two reads.

Crossposted from my humble blog

Monday, July 17, 2006

From the mailbag

Oglala Sioux Women's Clinic Update

Got a letter over the weekend from Emily Bull Bear, one of the founders of Sacred Choices Clinic on the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation. For those who didn't catch it the first time around, Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala tribe,responded to South Dakota's proposed abortion ban by vowing to establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on tribal land, where draconian state laws would not be able to impede a woman's ability to seek either contraception or pregnancy termination. This issue is particularly salient on the reservation, where women are subjected to rape and other sexual abuse at rates four to five times higher than their white counterparts in South Dakota. The original check I wrote was returned by the tribe, fallout from Fire Thunder's impeachment, initiated by council members opposing her stance on abortion.

However, alternate funding outside the purview of the tribal government is now possible. The text of the letter follows:

Thank you for your most recent generous contribution toward the creation of a Planned Parenthood style center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A group of women have since then applied for non-profit corporation [status] along with establishing a bank account. These women are from the same community as the President and each day receive more calls from women across the reservation who want to be part of this endeavor.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is 150 x 50 miles covering 2.7 million acres of land. There are nine district governments across our land and the community of Medicine Root has been selected to be the site for this project. The women all agree that along with reproductive services, the wellness model of mind, heart, body and spirit will be provided. This includes therapeutic services both western and Lakota methods for women who have been raped, sexually traumatized or abused at anytime in their life cycle. Due to the high rates of chronic illness and diseases, the Indian Health Service budget is spent on treatment and overhead for staff and facilities with little left over for education, awareness and prevention.

We are returning the check/money order that you sent and are respectfully asking you to send another check/money order written to Sacred Choices P.O. Box 23, Kyle, South Dakota 57752. In the self addressed stamped envelope enclosed. We can then send you a receipt for your records and ours.

We appreciate your support. Please visit our website at http://sacredchoiceswomensclinic.org/ or info@sacredchoiceswomensclinic.org.

Again, thank you very much for your support.

Wopila Tanka (a big thank you),

Emily Bull Bear


This is encouraging for a few reasons. It's gratifying to see a group of women come together to actualize the vision initiated by President Fire Thunder, after the apparently successful attempt by the tribal council to not only silence her but remove her from power.

Citing the constitution, Peters reminded the council that the president was to carry out all orders of the council and the council shall assist the president in carrying out those orders. Fire Thunder said she had a responsibility to lead the tribe and expand services and a women's health clinic that educated women and men about reproductive choices was part of addressing health issues on the reservation. "In the past everything was about the children. I can't tell you [women] what to do with your bodies, but when you are pregnant the person inside you doesn't belong to you. Women with a baby inside don't have a choice," [council member Garfield] Steele said.

I am also pleased to see the holistic approach and wide spectrum of services the clinic is planning on offering. This isn't just an abortion clinic, but a full health care facility intended to address sexual assault, overall women's health, and education and prevention. Hopefully Sacred Choices will succeed in its mission. Hopefully it can become a model for other groups of oppressed or under-represented women to grab the initiative and exercise self-determination in procuring health care that will otherwise be denied or watered down by political pressure. May this be a fresh start and successful endeavor for the women of the Oglala Nation.

Quick and Dirty News Roundup

Originally posted by Man Eegee.

  • All hell is still breaking loose in the Middle East
  • George Bush is still an idiot
  • RDX emplosives confirmed for the Bombay train blasts last week
  • The first veto by this pResident will be to deny the advance of medical innovation
  • The head of the Hurricane Katrina relief fund organized by Presidents Clinton and Bush the Elder(ly) has resigned along with several top committee members.

And one for fun
  • Nothing says love better than a bunch of eggs from endangered species carefully lodged in your underwear for safe passage across Customs.
What else is going on in your part of the world?