Technorati Profile

Hillary's Halloween Moment

Since it's Halloween and one of my girls dressed as the cutest Wicked Witch of the West in all of the East, I just couldn't resist posting this last (i.e., for the week) photo of Hillary from last night's Philly Debate.

The photo is humorous by itself, but rabidl bad boy McCullough made it hilarious when he added this caption:

"I'll get you my pretties.... heeehaaahaa haa haa!"

I'm still laughing.

Don’t Look to Democrats for Immigrant Rights

Latinos Democrats looking for constructive change on the issue of immigration should pay close attention to what Roberto Lovato is saying in Don't Look to Democrats for Immigrant Rights (New America Media, October 31, 2007).

Lovato's point? That Democrats may not have the stomach to fight the good fight on behalf of immigration reform.

Nativism sells in the current anti-immigrant environment--and it sells just as well for Democrats as it does for Republicans. Consider the popularity of New York's Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. A popular Democrat, Levy is about to win re-election with upwards of 95% of the vote.

The evidence? Not only links Hillary's equivocating on immigrant licenses during last night's debate to honcho Rahm Emmanual's declaration that immigration is the new third rail, but also to Bill Clinton and his post-Oklahoma bombing efforts at what some call "crimmigration”, the criminalization of immigration.

The bottomeline? The GOP is horrendous and getting worse on Latino immigration, but the Democrats may be no better--and could be worse.

Philly Debate Photo of Hillary and Obama

It's so true that a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is also priceless.

The Philly Debate: The Boys Grow Up and Hillary Stumbles

Last night's democratic presidential debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia was refreshing.


Two reasons:

1) Hillary's male competitors finally stopped their silly game of not engaging her for fear of being viewed as mean. (Of course, their deference to Madam Hillary did not protect them from being pummelled by the Clinton War Machine and their media allies.)

2) Tim Russert and Brian Williams put away the sexist approach to Hillary and actually asked her tough questions.

This was welcomed progress.

The result was that Hillary, the Democratic Party front runner and likely nominee, was challenged on a number of important points which are sure to become major issues during the next year's general election. Hillary stumbled on all three.

The Iran Vote

Hillary voted this week to allow the Bush administration the first step towards war with Iran. Her response? That something needs to be done and that her vote somehow puts pressure on the Bush administration to do the right thing. What?

Social Security

Hillary's official position on Social Security is that it should not be touched, but privately she has said that payroll tax should be expanded. When asked by Russert to resolve those conflicting views, Hillary herself dug a deeper hole. She said something to the effect that while it's her position that nothing should change, a number of proposed changes will be on the table. What?

Licenses for the Undocumented

This was perhaps the most disturbing response of the night. When asked whether Hillary supported or opposed New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's plan to give undocumented workers drivers licenses, she punted.

What was strange was that the question seemed to take Hillary by surprise. But how could it? After all, Hillary is a senator from New York and it's New York's governor--and Clinton political ally/supporter--who's proposal was being discussed. Either Hillary is so accustomed to the MSM's white glove treatment and expected Russert to not question her non response, or her debate preparation was lacking.

Clinton camp knows that the Republicans plan to use immigration as a wedge against the Democrat nominee, so they want to neutralize it as much as possible. Their strategy is to say little publicly on immigration, while conducting a below the radar outreach to Latinos. The latter explains the recent spate of softball interviews by Latino bloggers.

The question I have is not for Hillary...she and Bill are pretty good at the game of slicing, dicing and parsing in order to win political elections.

The question I have is for all of the Latino politicians, nonprofit CEOs and bloggers that have thrown themselves onto Hillary bandwagon: Do you really want a president who is publicly mute on these most important of issues?


Obama, Edwards attack; Clinton bombs debate
Clinton feels heat after testy debate


Lopez's post-World Cup goal: NCAA title for Portland

Lopez's post-World Cup goal: NCAA title for Portland (by Andy Gardiner, USA TODAY)

Stephanie Lopez's whirlwind year hasn't ended yet, but it has returned her to a place where she can catch her breath and begin to sort out the experiences of the last 12 months.

Lopez is back at her familiar spot on defense for the seventh-ranked University of Portland women's soccer team, transforming a very good club into one with a shot at the national championship.

She returns after competing on this year's U.S. World Cup team that finished third in China in September. She was the national team's youngest member and its first player of Hispanic origin.



Giving License to Minutemen: The GOP In the Driver's Seat by Michael O'Neill

The following is a letter of hope for those fighting the good fight during this ugly period of American nativism. Its author is Michael O'Neill of Long Island's Sag Harbor and a champion of immigrant rights. It is respectfully presented here with his permission.

License to Minutemen: The GOP In the Driver's Seat

In the noisome living room of the nativist hard right, for the GOP Militant today, there is only a cesspool darkness of the future of our nation. A darkness threatening to overtake the U.S. by a demographic ascendancy and territorial conquest; this darkness has replaced that traditional vanquished enemy, godless communism, by a far more subversive danger spreading over America's interior, throughout its breath and width. There is no longer any lip service to "Morning in America" given the future framed by a permanent Midnight in America where darkness descends upon our culture as a dark people of color rise to become the democratic majority.

The GOP is now mainstreaming extremists into the body politic of the U.S. to drown out the fearful, the timid, the intimidated with the effluence of their wedge politics. With our country in the middle of a catastrophic military and diplomatic defeat of unforeseeable consequence; with the drums of war again reverberating through our land, in a seeming effort to plunge the world deeper in the mire of blood as a Hail Mary desperation pass to pull victory out of defeat. The economic prospect of the middle class looks even grimmer as a war with Iran will cost a staggering amount.

It has not been so difficult for the GOP to maneuver extremists into channeling anger into blaming terrorists—the swarthy invaders. If it was simple enough to convince the majority that Iraq was responsible for 9/11, there should not be any obstacle to faulting illegal immigrants for all our economic and social problems. There is little doubt the GOP now see very well how they can muster and use angry racist mobs to further enflame a citizenry, as we saw today in Albany, primed to blame and scapegoat the "illegal immigrant," the brown invader, for outsourcing jobs, falling wages, record foreclosures, rising homelessness, unaffordable health care and a bleaker future, with no retirement, working till you are dropped in a hospital to expire...

The GOP at every level of government, national, state and regional, has been flushed into this seemingly fixed midnight of darkness where shades of reality are masked by their blinding affiliation with white supremacist, anti-immigrant, neo-con hard right organizations. Fueled by enormous wealth coming out of the Bush Administration protection racket for the likes of Ari Fleischer, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Coors family's tax-free billions, the Eric Prince (head of Blackwater, the mercenary group that has put in a bid to patrol the Mexican border) extended family, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, Coulter, Roger Ailes, and all their other glum warriors who repeat clichés to each other that privilege must be controlled, just as the cream rises to the top. Just as they, themselves are rewarded, praise the Lord.

They astutely see the threat to Christian white Western Civilization by the non-white hordes from the south, the invaders who corrupt even our language, refusing to speak English, which the right claims with a straight face unites us as a people, as if they so highly value unity with those outside their own identity. This is the trajectory mapped by Samuel Huntington, who understood that the Roman Catholic Latino is culturally incapable of understanding the true nature of democracy, because their tradition of being ruled by an all powerful caudillo, an elite, a hierarchy of papists. This anti-Catholicism has been a significant, popular belief in the U.S. since colonial times when U.S. was surrounded by Catholic enemies, their economic rivals to the North and the South, with their French and Spanish rulers.

Today in the rotunda of the State Legislature in Albany, bands of Minimen, American Border Patrol, their gun-obsessed buddies, pious acolytes of Lou Dobbs, Tank-credo & his grotesque clone Tedisco, bonded in the happy glue of despising Latino illegals, screamed in a tantrum of mob fury for the head of Spitzer, for the passage of a meaningless gesture that will reinforce their certainty they are riding the powerful steed of the headless horseman, to wreak terror in the hearts of legislators who ignore their Halloween cartoon of what our democracy means and what it looks like when we ship them back to Africa, Haiti, Mexico...

Yes, I know there are also Dems, like Levy, and there are a few progressive Republicans, like Chafee, Bloomberg, but they are anomalous, the exception. The grand ole party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, LaGuardia, Lindsay, Rockefeller, even Reagan, and Bush pere have been widened to include and welcome those in the resurfacings of this amalgam of anti-government and violent squads of posses militati, NRA John Birchers, Christian Identity, states' militias, neo-Nazi minutemen rallying around the red, white & blue of anti-immigrant patriotism. While they open wide their tent to this flotsam of lunatics, they demand we close entry to hard working immigrants. The lunatic fringe appears to be in the driver's seat, on their way to becoming the mainstream of Republicanism.

Don't be demoralized by their appearance of power that seems to leave so many Dems cowering, as in our Suffolk County legislature. Remember that the Know Nothing Party was the largest 3rd party in the history of American politics, holding a majority in several state legislatures, including Mass. & Penn. and a powerful force in others, with several senators elected to Congress and dozens in the House of Representatives. Yet, they were completely defeated in just 10 years by a nation undergoing unprecedented economic boom, finding pursuit of business, innovation and wealth to be more rewarding.

This nativism flares up periodically throughout our history in times of national stress; but has always been finally defeated by progressive forces building coalition, usually with a resulting expansion of a more inclusive definition of our democracy.

If nativists appear to be in the Republican driver's seat, you can be certain that with the putting of our shoulders to the wheel, the coming together as we speak, of progressive forces building a grassroots coalition, we will win out. We have history as our peloton* at our backs and the future in our reach. These minimen losers of GOP reaction are running on fumes. They are in the driver's seat for but a very short trip.

Michael O'Neill

Peloton is a fancy word, but useful. The peloton travels as an integrated unit, like geese flying in formation of a V, each rider making slight adjustments in response to the riders around them (particularly the one in front of each). When developed, riders at the front are exposed to higher loads, and will tend to slip off the front in order to rejoin the pack further back where there will be less aerodynamic resistance, thus able to conserve energy as they move, in turn up to the front. In some cases, with sufficient room to maneuver, this will develop into a fluid situation where the center of the peloton appears to be pushing through its own leading edge, exactly like the UFW tactic of the boycott.


It's Bobby Jindal!!!! Son of Indian Immigrants Wins Louisiana Governorship


Proving that America's future truly is being shaped in its Southern tier, voters in Louisiana elected Bobby Jindal as the state's first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction.

Representing the almost forgotten promise of America to today's immigrants, Jindal is the Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants.

My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana.
At 36 years of age, Jindal is also the youngest serving governor of an American state.

Jindal's election is also a dramatic break from Louisiana's past of corrupt, incompetent and single party rule--a legacy fully on displayed for the nation and the world in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Congratulations to Bobby Jindal and the Jindal family. But more importantly, congratulations to the courageous people of Louisiana who voted for change, and in so doing put down a clear marker in the emergence of the New America.


Indian immigrants' son new La. governor
Go, Bobby, Go! II
Go, Bobby, Go!
Latinos & African Americans Gain in the New America
Obama Rises: Is A New America Close Behind?


Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriquez Takes Fight for Historical Accuracy to PBS and Ken Burns

University of Texas professor, Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, is pressing PBS to produce historically accurate programs--beginning with Ken Burns' The War.

Unbelievably, it's been uphill fight.

Dr. Rivas-Rodriquez has been given lip service by Ken Burns and the empty suits at PBS regarding the inclusion of the Latino experience and contributions in The War, but little action.


Thankfully, Dr. Rivas-Rodriquez has worked diligently since 1999 to collect the stories of the nation's quickly diminishing WWII veterans. She's captured and preserved their stories in A Legacy Greater Than Words: Stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas of the WWII Generation. (See the write-up below)

Dr. Rivas-Rodriquez will NOT allow Latino veterans to be written out of the historical record of WWII.

Dr. Rivas-Rodriquez has taken her cause national. She founded Defend The Honor, an online campaign to get the word out about the disgraceful actions of Ken Burns and PBS. And this week, in the nation's capitol, Dr. Rivas-Rodriquez convened a meeting of leaders concerned about the disrespectful actions of PBS and Ken Burns towards Latinos and Latino WWII veterans. The group committed to a number of actions which will unfold over the next months and years.

Stay tuned.

In the interim, sign this petition letting PBS and its affiliates know that you support the Defend The Honor campaign to include the rich history of Latino service during WWII in Ken Burn’s documentary, The War.

A Legacy Greater Than Words: Stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas of the WWII Generation(by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, University of Texas Austin - May 1, 2006)

Since 1999, the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin has captured the untold stories of this WWII generation. Altogether, the project videotaped more than five hundred interviews throughout the country and in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

This volume features summaries of the interviews and photographs of the individuals. Among the people included are Mexican American civil rights leaders such as Pete Tijerina and Albert Armendariz of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Virgilio Roel of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Others are community leaders such as Pete and Elena Gallego of Alpine, Texas, and military leaders such as Colonel Hank Cervantes and flying ace Richard Candelaria. Women who served in the military are also included. There are academic trailblazers, too, such as Frank Bonilla, who became a major figure in Puerto Rican studies. And there are a few Latinos who describe serving in segregated "colored" units during the war, as their physical features placed them in African American communities.

Overall, the vast majority of the men and women interviewed in A Legacy Greater Than Words led private lives, and their stories chronicle the everyday existence of Latinos in the 1930s and 1940s—stories that generally have been omitted from historical accounts of either the Great Depression or World War II.


Fight for inclusion gets Latinos in 'The War'
Hacen justicia con libro a veteranos

Defend the Honor: A National Latino Town Hall Meeting
Salute Latinos for defending America
The Final Say: Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez


Commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez: Iraq War is a nightmare with no end in sight

Retired Iraq War Commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo , spoke out for the first time since leaving the military in 2006.

Speaking to a group of war reporters, the general said that the U.S. mission in Iraq is a "nightmare with no end in sight" because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today.

Additionally, Sanchez criticized national leaders for “[c]ontinued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy [which] will not achieve victory. The best we can do", he says, "with this flawed approach is stave off defeat.”


Former Top General in Iraq Faults Bush Administration
Ex-general: Iraq `nightmare' for US


Notre Dame Forum on Immigration: Barletta is still wrong

I just watched the full 110 minute forum on immigration sponsored by the University of Notre Dame. Finally, a constructive discussion of this most important yet contentious national issue.

Moderated by PBS's Rey Suarez, the panel included Senator Mel Martinez, Cardinal Michael Mahony of Los Angeles, Arizona Governor Janet A. Napolitano and Hazelton, PA mayor, Louis J. Barletta. While framed by the imperatives of Catholic social justice teachings, it was not a one sided open-borders forum. Barletta and three white male students from the audience represented the anti-immigrant side, while really only the Cardinal argued a strong pro-undocumented immigrant line. Martinez and Napolitano represented the more nuanced middle ground.

I highly recommend watching the forum. Why? Because the immigration issue is not going away soon, and given what has transpired thus far in the debate, it'll take a much better educated citizenry before sensible solutions will be politically doable.

I did, however, find it interesting watching and listening to Barletta who tried very hard to sound reasonable and even compassionate. But while he struck an earnest and even soft tone, his tactic was the same: Blame "illegals" for every horrific crime that's occurred in Hazelton, while obscuring his ineffectiveness as a community leader and mayor.

His rap didn't sit well with me, nor apparently with many others, including student Michael McKenna who wrote the following as part of a larger reaction to the forum posted online:

Mayor Barletta painted a fairly pristine picture of life in his town pre-immigrant, while glossing over the fact that Northeastern Pennsylvania has been declining economically for decades, arguably since the decline of coal mining after World War II. To ascribe all subsequent problems to immigrants is a classic case of scapegoating. The crimes he described were indeed horrific, but to suggest that they were committed by undocumented people on a scale disproportionate to their makeup in the population is difficult to believe. Also, a large percentage of the Latinos in Hazleton are Puerto Rican, who are by law U.S. citizens. But by creating a political climate of fear, very likely these U.S. citizens will suffer the social consequences as well.
McKenna makes an important point: Barletta props up his case against undocumented immigrants with distortions and myths about life in Hazelton. And a new study by Zogby International provides the evidence. The study found that on all of the negative conditions attributed to the city's undocumented immigrants--crowded schools, higher unemployment, higher crime levels, etc.,--none are true.

Congratulations to Notre Dame U. for the terrific forum. Now, if only we can get the folks on television, radio and the U.S. Congress to follow suit.


Latinas Having Babies: Thalía, JLo, et al

People En Espanol reports that Mexican-born Thalía Sodi, 35, gave birth Sunday to a little girl who will be called Sabrina Sakaë.

Mama y bebé are resting on their ranch in Colorado.

Today, Us Magazine reports that Jennifer Lopez is expecting twins--although the Lopez-Anthony camp has yet to make it official. However, the Nuyorican couple is busy preparing their Long Island estate for the arrival of their matching bundles of joy.

Congratulations to all--and welcome to the family, Sabrina.

While these growing families may be OK with the likes of Nancy MacDonald, Pat Buchanan, and other rightwingers, they are still part of the larger Latino population surge they so despise.

That is, aside from their wealth and visibility, Thalía, JLo and Marc are reflective of the nation's young and fertile Latino population. While it seems a mystery to MacDonald and Buchanan, Latinos are building families because that's what young people in their prime do.

It's a human thing.

It's also a primary contributor to the U.S. Latino population surge which is giving so many old-timers and racists seizures.

The bottomline? It may be a harsh biological and demographic fact, but Thalía, JLo and Marc are members of a people in their prime; while MacDonald and Buchanan are literally and figuratively members of a quickly fading lot.

BTW: You can't turn back the clock.

The Right's Attack On Latino Parents
Jenny Responds to Heather Mac Donald's Screech Against Latinas


Antidote to Anti-Constitutional Interventionism

Ron Paul's antidote to "anti-Constitutional interventionism" is as follows:

A Paul administration would see Americans engaged overseas like never before, in business and cultural activities. But a Paul administration would never attempt to export democracy or other values at the barrel of a gun, as we have seen over and over again that this is a counterproductive approach that actually leads the United States to be resented and more isolated in the world.
On this essential issue, Paul makes no sense to W, most in Congress (Republicans and Democrats), most in MSM, all of rightwing radio/cable, but he does to me.


I advocate the same foreign policy the Founding Fathers by Ron Paul, Manchester Union Leader - 10.8, 2007

America's Rigged Democracy?

American young people are taught to believe that the United States is a democracy--a government by and for the people, but few of us ever experience such empowerment.

As adults, most of us come to know--even if only in our gut--that there's a huge disconnect between what we were taught in civics and how things really work in America.

We register, we listen to the candidates and we vote, but it still feels like a sham.

We can't quite put on finger on it, but we all sort of know that our will--the people's will--is not what decides the selection of candidates nor how we're governed.

Simple politics dictates that he who buys/selects the candidates wins the spoils of victory. In others words, the American public is screwed--politically speaking, that is.

But how can that be in a democracy such as ours? Can it be that the world's "leading democracy" is not as much of a democracy as we've been led to believe? Yes!

In The presidential primary scam, Salon's Michael Scherer cuts through the fog to expose "Why the game is rigged, and why true democracy is only a secondary factor in the nation's rush to nominate the next president".

(FYI: University of Virginia's Sabato, who proposes changing the constitution to fix the problem in his new book, "A More Perfect Constitution.")



Bartolomé de las Casas: Witness to Evil

Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566)

Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish colonist, a priest, founder of a Utopian community and first Bishop of Chiapas, was a scholar, historian and 16th century human rights advocate. Las Casas has been called the Father of anti-imperialism and anti-racism. Others take a more guarded or modest view of his achievements. What there is little or no dispute about is that Las Casas was an early and energetic advocate and activist for the rights of native peoples.

Las Casas came to the Indies early, he knew Columbus and was the editor of the Admiral's journal. He knew conditions in the Americas first hand. As the reading in our packet indicates, he was present during Spanish genocidal attacks on the native population of Cuba.

After coming to the realization that the Spanish treatment of the native population was unconscionable, Las Casas became a Dominican priest, and began travelling back and forth accross the Atlantic. He was in part responsible for the repeal of the laws which allowed the Indians to be used in what amounted to slave labor gangs. This was the econmienda system. Government officials were willing to go along with this attempt to end the system for they feared that a new class of feudal lords would arise in the colonies. The Spanish colonists were outraged at this interference. Las Casas attempted to set up a colony on the coast of Venezuala where the native people would be treated properly. It failed largely because of the bad example set by the colony's neighbors.

Because of preassures from the colonists, the encomienda system was restored. Las Casas returned to Spain and was eventually able to bring about the great debate of 1550 in the Spanish capital of Valladolid between Las Casas and the advocate for the colonists Juan Gines de Sepulveda. The excerpt in our packet is from Las Casas' account of the debate.

The advocates of the encomienda system eventually triumphed. When the government realized that it might lose Peru to colonists revolting over this issue, it gave in. Still, Las Casas is a shining example of resistance to the ill treatment of native peoples. His works were translated accross Europe. He likely influenced the French essayist Montaigne's views about the new world.

Las Casas Time Line

1484 Born in Seville to Pedro de Las Casas, a small merchant wealthy enough to send his son to learn Latin in the academy at the cathedral of Seville in 1497. Many older sources give 1474 as the year of his birth.

1502 Leaves Spain for Hispaniola in the West Indies with the governor, Nicolas de Ovando. He earns an encomienda for his participation in several expeditions and then proceeds to evangelize the Indians.

1506 Returns briefly to Europe where he is ordained a deacon in Rome.

1511 On August 15, Pentecost Sunday, listens to a sermon by a Dominican priest, Father Antonio de Montesinos on the text "I am a voice crying in the wilderness," denouncing Spain's treatment of the Indians. As a result Las Casas returns his Indian serfs to the governor and the rest of his life is to be spent in defense of the Indian.

1512 Becomes first priest to be ordained in the New World.

1513 Takes part in the violent and bloody conquest of Cuba and receives Indian serfs for his efforts.

1515 Returns to Spain to plead the Indian cause before King Ferdinand. With the support of the archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros, is named priest-procurator of the Indies.

1516 In November returns to America as a member of a commission sent to investigate the treatment of the Indians.

1519 Returns to Spain once more.

1520 Presents a defense of the Indian to King Charles I (Emperor Charles V) arguing that the time of military conquest of the Indians has passed and that they could be converted by more peaceful means. After much debate the king sides with Las Casas and supports his plan to build a colony of farm communities in present-day Venezuela inhabited by both Spanish and free Indians. Las Casas sets sail in December.

1522 In January, after more than a year of continuous opposition of local encomenderos who incite Indian attacks on the farmers, the experiment fails.

1523 Disappointed in the results of his political activities, Las Casas joins the Dominicans in Santo Domingo and focuses his energy on writing. Over the next several years he will write several works including the treatise "Concerning the Only Way of Drawing All Peoples to the True Religion" and the beginnings of both Apologetica historia de las Indias and Historia de Las Indies.

1530 Returned to Spain and obtained a royal decree prohibiting the enforcement of slavery in Peru which he delivered personally.

1537 Receives some support from the Pope in the form of Paul III's bull Sublimis Deus which declared the American Indians as rational beings with souls and that their lives and property should be protected.

1542 Returns to Spain where he convinced Charles I to signs the "New Laws" which prohibited Indian slavery and attempted to put an end to the endomienda system by limiting ownership of serfs to a single generation. Writes his most influential and best known work, "A brief report on the Destruction of the Indians," which horrifies the court.

1544 To ensure enforcement of the laws he is named bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala and sets sail in July. Upon arrival meets immediate opposition. He declares in his tract Confesionario that any Spaniard who refuse to release his Indians is to be denied absolution. Many members of his clergy refuse to follow this order. A year later the inheritance limitation is rescinded by Charles V.

1547 Returns to Spain and gives up his episcopal dignity. Becomes an influential figure at court and at the Council of the Indies. Begins conflict with Juan Gines de Sepulveda who defends Spain's treatment of the Indians on Aristotelian principles.

1550 At the order of Charles I meets Sepulveda in the famous debate at the Council of Valladolid. While Las Casas convinced the theologians who presided over the debate and received official approval it was Sepulveda's teachings which largely prevailed in the Indies.

1552 Without clearance from the Inquisition, publishes The Destruction of the Indies. Spends the next fourteen years writing and appearing at court and councils in defense of the Indians.

1566 Dies in Madrid and buried in the convent chapel of Our Lady of Atocha.

1875 Historia de las Indias first published.

Time Line Sources

"Las Casas, Bartolome de" Encyclopedia Britannica. 1957

Las Casas, Bartolome. Devastation of the Indies. Ed. Bill M. Donovan. Trans. Herma
Briffault. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Hanke, Lewis. Bartolome de Las Casas. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1952.

Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas (1542)
How Columbus Day Harms American Indians (by Glenn Morris, Indian Country Today - 10.4.07


Jena: Take your nooses down

Jena, a small town in Central Louisiana, exploded onto the headlines as the latest example of an undiminished American racism.

In the case of Jena--as in the many other Jenas of America--a virulent racism, suffered mostly quietly by its victims of color for eons, appears to be a prominent aspect of life. So much so that the local high school had a Tree for Whites Only on its grounds.

Yes, in this 21st Century there are still places in America reserved just for Whites--and the Whites Only Tree in Jena is just one of many such White preserves. It's American Apartheid.

The Tree Whites Only of Jena bore 3 nooses a year ago--and it was probably not the first time the lynching ropes hung there. They were a warning to Blacks to stay in their place, that is, the same place they've been put since they were owned.

The three nooses led to a fight, and in keeping with Jena's heritage, six Blacks teenagers were arrested and charged with attempted murder--a crime punishable in Louisiana with life in prison for Blacks.

Of course, the first of the six was found guilty of aggravated assault against a young white man by an all white jury despite conflicting testimony from witnesses.

White America can't figure out what all the fuss is about--Hannity and O'Reilly empathize, but only for the white dud who was made to pay for a tiny fraction of the sins committed by the good people of Jena.

Outrage broke out--but only in Black America. A march was called and instantly 20,000 young Blacks from across the nation turned out. The White response? Al Sharpton is to blame.

And rightwingers rush to uphold the law: The noose hanging was just boys being boys. The Black boys? They should all get life--'cause they broke the law.

Ya braak duh law, ya doo duh tyme, rot? Dat ders 'Merica!
Seems that the Jena racists and their co-conspirators don't take kindly to people calling them on their backwards ways.


Good Ole Boys around Jena and elsewhere have been spotted dragging nooses from their pick-ups.

And this week the mayor of Jena denounced John Mellencamp. Why? Because Mellencamp--a prominent white songwriter and performer--had the audacity of siding with justice for the Jena 6. He does so movingly in a song titled Jena .

The good thing is that finally many in America are now watching. No longer can Jena just be Jena--and that's a good thing.


Mellencamp song about Jena, La. upsets mayor; calls song's video inflammatory
The Case of the Jena Six: Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder for Schoolyard Fight After Nooses Are Hung from Tree
In La., a missed opportunity ignites a racial uproar
Two arrested in noose incident near Jena, Louisiana


W's Priorities: War, Yes; Children's Health, No

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage for 6 million of America's disadvantaged children. The modest program's costs are shared by the federal governments and the participating states.

Recently, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved a re authorization of the program with an expansion in an effort to reach more of the estimated 9 million still uninsured children--most of which are members of working class families. That is, American families that make too much for government Medicaid and too little to afford private health coverage.

The legislation was sent to the White House for the President's approval and signature. Instead, President Bush vetoed it--putting the program in jeopardy and denying millions of uninsured children health coverage.

We don't have money to insure children but we have plenty for misguided wars. We have already wasted $458,000,000,000 in Iraq--and President Bush has just sent Congress a bill for another $42,000,000,000. An enterprise which most people agree is really dumb war and wasteful. For example, the government's own accounting office reports billions in war funds are missing or stolen.

Think of all the good that could be done with $458,000,000,000.

According to The National Priorities Project, half of the funds spent in Iraq thus far would pay for health coverage for all of America's children. That's right! All of America's 80,000,000+ children. Just a fraction of the war budget would cover all 15 million uninsured children targeted by CHIP.

Is it me or does this government have the most backwards of priorities?


Reaction to Children's Health Veto
Why Bush Was Dumb To Veto SCHIP
States sue Bush administration over children's health insurance
Campaign for Children's Health Care

America Ferrera Named Hispanic Woman of the Year

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The accolades keep coming for America Ferrera.

The Emmy-winning star of "Ugly Betty" is now the Hispanic Woman of the Year, the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard announced Thursday.


Latino Families Scramble to Keep Homes

In an editorial on the looming mortgage crisis, the NYTimes (Myths Spun by Lax Lenders - 7.10.07) noted that...

Mortgage defaults are rising, and worse is yet to come. Between now and the end of next year, the interest rates on $660 billion in adjustable-rate mortgages will increase for the first time. Over half of that is in subprime loans — those made to borrowers with weak credit — and is at high risk of default as monthly payments rise.

That same week, MarketWatch issued this warning (by Ruth Mantell, Minority Families Face Wave of Foreclosures - 7.6.07):

More than a quarter million black and Hispanic families are expected to lose their homes in the next few years due to foreclosure. For many, the financial trouble will be traceable to a mortgage they should never have been given.
The reason? According to Mantell...

The heads of these households signed up for mortgages that appeared affordable, some with enticingly low starter rates. But what they were really agreeing to were loans with ultimately onerous terms, high costs and prepayment penalties that make refinancing the loan difficult.
As predicted, Latinos and Africans Americans have begun losing their homes in large numbers. Enlace's Hiram Soto (translated by New American Media's Elena Shore) captures this evolving story in Latino Families Scramble to Save Homes.

Araceli Flores was so happy to buy a three-bedroom house that she didn’t ask many questions about the mortgage. “Everything I’ve achieved is suddenly falling apart.”
What's encouraging is that Latinos are a spunky people--and many of the homeowners are scrambling to preserve their hard-earned piece of the American Dream. However, the combination of expensive loans, language barriers and the unscrupulous practices of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and lawyers is too much for them to overcome.

Thankfully, a Latino professionals are mobilizing with the goal of providing assistance to distressed homeowners.

With volunteers from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Agents at the forefront, this coalition has begun offering clinics in Spanish to provide one-on-one help for families that have problems paying their mortgage. The workshops have been crowded to maximum capacity, with experts analyzing each family on a case-by-case basis and lawyers available to help with any irregularities.
Of course, much more needs to be done by the government, financial institutions, the real estate industry and by civic organizations to educate and protect new home buyers.

However, it is unconscionable that Latinos and African Americans are 2.5 times more likely than whites to receive risky, high-cost loans--even when they have similar credit. Where are the civil rights groups, prosecutors, Congress and the Courts?


Disparities persist between white, minority mortgage applicants
Foreclosure Wave Bears Down on Immigrants
More minorities denied mortgages
Subprime Loan Sharks
Minority Borrowers Steered Toward Predatory Loans
Mortgage Discrimination Is Alive And Well

US: Banks prone to sell minorities pricey loans
Wealthier minorities still face loan rejection

Defend the Honor: A National Latino Town Hall Meeting

An invitation from Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez of Defend the Honor...

Dear Friends,

Over the past 10 months, we have united to demand recognition of the contributions of the Latino WWII generation to our nation. Our focal point was the PBS/Ken Burns documentary, The War, which initially had NO Latino voices. So many months later, we can point to some progress: because of the pressure brought by many, including our grassroots coalition, The War did include the voices of two Latinos and one Native American WWII veteran.

However, the inherent weaknesses in many systems has been exposed. The fact that this documentary was in development for over six years before any alarms were raised (by Defend the Honor) signals serious and systematic problems. We can no longer tolerate being left out.

Please join us for a Town Hall Meeting next Monday, Oct. 8th, at 6 p.m. East Coast Time (that's 5 p.m. Central; 4 p.m. Mountain and 3 p.m. on the West Coast) for a Webcast live from Washington, DC. Go to defendthehonor.org and see it there...

Defend the Honor Campaign
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP)
National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT)
National Latino Media Council
Hispanic War Veterans of America (HWVA)
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

Invite you to a

Defend the Honor
National Latino Town Hall Meeting

Beyond "The War"
The Latino Battle for
Historical Accuracy and Respect

Monday, October 8, 2007
Gala Hispanic Theater
3333 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
(Columbia Heights Metro, Green Line)

Admission: Free

The Ken Burns 15-hour WWII documentary, "The War," on PBS generated an unprecedented coming together of Americans of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Latino and Hispanic heritages who fought to include Latinos' role in securing freedom for our Nation. Through efforts of the Latino community, Ken Burns finally included 28 additional minutes, including interviews with two Mexican American veterans and one Native American.

In this Latino Town Hall meeting, the public is invited to join Defend the Honor founders Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez and Gus Chavez and others to review how "The War" handled the Latino experience in WWII.

Together, we will begin to answer several questions:

Was this inclusion meaningful enough? Was it tokenism? What of Ken Burns' and PBS' "blind spot" when it comes to Latinos? What can we all do, collectively and individually, to assure that Latinos' contributions to our country are duly noted in books, documentaries, movies and the news media? What is the significance of this movement for the future of the Latino community in the U.S., and of this country as a whole? Where do we go from here?

For further information:
http://www.defendthehonor.org/ or at (512) 471-1924

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez
Assoc. Professor, School of Journalism
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station, A1000
Austin, TX 78712

Also, Director, U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project


Turning off Younger Voters, Too

Latinos will not vote Republican next year.

But neither will African Americans, Gays, a majority of women, political independents, people against a wretched U.S. foreign policy, people concerned about climate change, people concerned about a shinking middle class, most political moderates, and religious people fed-up with "values" politicians that are frauds.

However, the group of voters likely to make the longest lasting and loudest impact on next year's presidential elections are young, independent-minded Americans. That is, eligible voters under 40. Many of whom are fed-up with a baby boom generation of political and business leaders--Republican and Democrat--that has screwed up so much of what it has touched.

Younger voters are tired of the lies, deception and plain stupidity which characterizes so much of today's politics. They're tired of Clintonites as well as the Bushies, the Limbaughs and the Olbermans, the Chairman of Halliburton and the Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They're tired of them all.

With some 90 million srong, representing almost one third of all Americans, Americans 18-40 will shape national politics for years to come.

Here's what one young voter, a person whose online moniker is Shadow and calls himself an independent, wrote in response to Expect less Mr. Nice Guy, an article by Roger Simon on today's Politico:

Most of the progressive blogosphere is against Hillary; they prefer candidates like Obama and Edwards, and think Hillary's cackle is ridiculous.

Rush Limbaugh caused his own problem by opening his mouth and saying something way more offensive than what moveon said; over 70% of the troops gave to an anti-war candidate in the second quarter, so Rush called the vast majority of our armed forces phonies, as opposed to one person.

The fact that the people who went on and on about moveon's ad aren't bothered by Rush shows an incredible hypocrisy to most voters.

Maybe you guys don't realize what you sound like to younger independents like myself. Your entire vocabulary seems to be based on saying words like lefty, socialist, and libs; it seems like you guys can't even carry a conversation without those words, and the posts are ALL the same. That might seem normal to you guys who ingest a regular cycle of far right-wing media where these terms are repeated constantly, but to the other 70% of America, you guys sound NUTS, and you can't honestly think you're winning anyone new over with that language.

The problem seems to be that you guys are stuck in the 60's and 70's, when a Democratic President started an ill-advised war; however, now it's 2007, and we have an ill-fated war started by a Republican President, the biggest national debt in world history, the biggest government in world history, and a foreign policy that increases terrorist recruitment and decreases national security.

All the issues that Republicans are supposed to be useful on - fiscal responsibility, small government, national defense - have come under assault by the modern GOP like they never have since our nation's inception.

So to anyone under 40, relying your arguments entirely words like libs, left wing, and socialist just makes you sound like fringe nutballs; all you're doing is preaching to an increasingly shrinking choir, which will die of old age within a couple generations if no new voters come into the tent.

While I don't know how the nation will fare under the influence of younger voters, one things is clear: They can hardly do worse.

Immigration Losers

Immigration Losers is Richard Nadler's reflections on the findings and lessons derived from Border Wars: The Impact of Immigration on the Latino Vote.

The main lesson for the GOP:

To retain their Hispanic gains, Republicans need to repudiate only the immoral, uneconomical goal of mass deportation.

Good luck!

As I've said before, it's too late--at least for 2008. A rhetorical or minor policy shift on the part of the GOP will not do.

As long as the GOP and its presidential candidates continue bowing at the alter of Nativism, an anti-Latino bigotry propping up the likes of Dobbs, O'Reilly, Savage, Coulter, Tancredo, Buchanan, et. al., Latinos will rightly keep their distance. It's the honorable thing to do.

Related: The GOP's Bitter Harvest to Come

WSJ Photo: The dishonorable and defeated J.D. Hayworth