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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2005|10:54 am]
Grand Old Party News

Mexico drug war result of NAFTA?
Experts see violence, instability, narco-terror as unintended consequences of regional treaty

Posted: June 14, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

With federal police and military units forced to secure the border town of Nuevo Laredo, U.S.-trained anti-drug commandos now protecting the drug cartels and Mexican narcotics pouring into the America, some experts are suggesting Mexico's instability is a direct result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the economic pact meant to be create a border boom.

NAFTA has driven many legitimate Mexican farmers out of business, and many have turned to drug cultivation, charges Charles Bowden, author of "Down By The River," and other acclaimed books about the drug business.

"It's one of the unintended consequences of NAFTA," he says.

He is not alone. Ask many Mexican illegal aliens why they make the trek north and they will tell you about their inability to make it in their own country as small farmers – since NAFTA and the increase of duty-free U.S. products into the country.

In effect, some economists see the cheap labor flooding into America helping the U.S. agribusiness concerns squeeze out Mexican family farmers. The more that smaller farms collapse, the more migrant workers trek north and the more cheap labor is available to big U.S. farmers. It's a vicious cycle, they say.

In addition, with the drug crisis raging in Mexico and even threatening its national security, some are pointing to the "protections" NAFTA has provided to the drug runners.

Up to three-quarters of cocaine entering the U.S. now comes via Mexico – as well as most of its marijuana. In 1996, the U.S. and Mexican governments agreed to start training Mexican soldiers in the U.S. for the "war on drugs." These elite commandos were called "Los Zetas." They have now switched sides and are working as a paramilitary security detail for the drug cartels.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, over the past decade, Colombia-based drug groups have allowed Mexico-based trafficking organizations to play an increasing role in the U.S. cocaine trade. In the 1980s, Colombia's drug dealers used the drug smugglers in Mexico to transport cocaine shipments across the Southwest border into the U.S., but retook possession of the narcotics once the transporters arrived in the U.S. After the seizure of nearly 21 metric tons of cocaine in 1989, the Colombians changed the way they did business and allowed Mexico-based transportation groups to receive up to half the cocaine shipment they smuggled in exchange for their services.

According to the DEA, "virtually all heroin produced in Mexico and South America is destined for the U.S. market." This reflects a big increase since NAFTA.

Analysts estimate that Mexican drug gangs make $3 billion to $30 billion annually by smuggling cocaine to the U.S. and have police, politicians and judges from both sides on their payrolls.

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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2005|10:52 am]
Grand Old Party News

Court Denounces Race Bias in Capital Cases

Jun 14, 9:07 AM (ET)
Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision that warns against bias in death penalty cases is the latest indication that the high court may be losing confidence in Texas, the state that executes more people than any other, legal experts say.

In Monday's 6-3 decision, the court sided with black murder suspects in Texas and California who said their juries had been unfairly stacked with whites. It was the fourth time in two years that the court has intervened in a Texas death penalty case.

"I think that probably one term ago a critical mass of justices on the Supreme Court lost confidence that the state courts in Texas or the federal courts reviewing cases in Texas were doing what they were supposed to be doing to correct constitutional errors," said David Dow, director of the Texas Innocence Network and a law professor at the University of Houston.

The Supreme Court used the cases to bolster its landmark 1986 decision barring prosecutors from disqualifying potential jurors based on their race. Justice Clarence Thomas, the only black member of the high court, voted against both suspects.

In the Texas case, the court ordered a new trial for Thomas Miller-El, who had been convicted for the 1985 murder of a 25-year-old Dallas motel clerk.

Miller-El contends that Dallas County prosecutors had a long history of excluding blacks from juries and pointed to training manuals that were distributed to prosecutors from the 1960s into the early 1980s. The manuals advised prosecutors to remove blacks or Jews from death penalty juries on the theory that those groups would be more sympathetic to criminal defendants.

At trial, Miller-El was convicted by a 12-member jury that included one black. Prosecutors struck 10 of the 11 blacks eligible to serve.

The Texas attorney general's office, which takes over death row appeals when the cases get to the federal courts, referred comment to the Dallas County district attorney's office. District Attorney Bill Hill, who was not in office when Miller-El was convicted, said his office does not tolerate illegal discrimination during jury selection.

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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2005|10:51 am]
Grand Old Party News

Bolton Nomination May Get Senate Vote Soon

Jun 13, 10:41 PM (ET)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's embattled pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations could face a confirmation vote in the Senate within days. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has privately indicated to the Democratic leadership that he wants a vote on John Bolton's stalled nomination this week, congressional aides say.

The White House has predicted repeatedly that Bolton eventually will win confirmation.

Before the Senate broke for a brief recess last month, Republicans had fallen short of the 60 votes they needed to stop debate on the nomination and move to an up-or-down vote.

Republicans hold a 55-44 majority in the Senate, with one independent. That means several Democrats would have to side with Republicans to move Bolton forward.

Last month, Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were the only Democrats to break ranks and support the move to have an immediate final vote.

Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada "is not aware that anyone is preparing to switch their votes" from last month's tally, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Monday.

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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2005|10:50 am]
Grand Old Party News

Schools defend polling 6th-graders on oral sex
Massachusetts district center of firestorm over probing health education curriculum

Posted: June 14, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

Shrewsbury, Mass., school officials are defending as a vital way to stay informed about health risks a survey passed out to 11- and 12-year-olds that included questions about oral sex.

But the father of one 12-year-old student said his daughter is too young to be asked how many oral sex partners she's had.

"This is not something for the schools,'' said outraged dad Mark Fisher. "This is something between parents and children, not children and teachers. It seems like parents are purposely kept in the dark about this.''

School committee President Deborah Peeples said parents were allowed to view the survey ahead of time, but were not able to take a copy home to review before their children answer it.

"It might be misinterpreted or misunderstood or they could use it to direct their children's responses,'' she said. "The responses we get here are very accurate.''

Fisher would not allow his daughter to take the survey and is asking the schools to change their policy about how it is issued. Parents now must request their child not be given the survey. Fisher wants sch.ools to require parental permission before it is issued.

Shrewsbury students in grades 6, 8, 9 and 11 took part in the survey. The state Department of Education randomly selected high schools to participate in every odd-numbered year.

The survey contains questions about alcohol and tobacco use, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors and other issues. The state Department of Education compiles the information to see what issues are affecting students to plan health education and risk-prevention programs.

School districts that participate in the survey can add and delete questions. Results from a particular school district are not made public. Shrewsbury was among 59 districts chosen this year to participate in the survey.

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I hate teachers and elected officials that act as though all children are sexually active. They are not. You know why they become so? Because you allow them to. Because you encourage it and tell them that "Everyone's doing it." They weren't doing it until a) Clinton was and made us question our values and what sex truely was and b) until you told them every single other student on earth was.
-Matty N
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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:40 am]
Grand Old Party News

A Dickensian View of Mr. Spitzer

June 13, 2005

The chairman of the state Republican Party, Stephen Minarik, recently told me he feels as though he's the "only one out there" going after the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor next year, Eliot Spitzer.

Mr. Minarik's confidence in Mr. Spitzer's vulnerability was fortified last week when a jury handed the attorney general his first defeat in a long series of broadsides against the financial services industry. A Manhattan jury acquitted a former Bank of America broker, Theodore Sihpol, of charges related to the after-hours trading of mutual funds. It was the first such investigation by Mr. Spitzer that has made it to trial.

Mr. Minarik was pleased by the verdict. But the name Theodore Sihpol is not likely to make it out of the current news cycle and into next year's campaign. In the coming Republican attack on Candidate Spitzer, Mr. Minarik has already made clear which of the attorney general's alleged vulnerabilities he is looking to exploit. And it is not last week's decision in the Sihpol case, or others like it that may be in the offing.

Trial lawyers are an unpopular group, and Mr. Minarik knows it. Indeed, a look at the news clippings posted on the Web site of the state Republican Party suggests that strategists there have channeled the spirit of Charles Dickens, who summed up his contempt for attorneys thus: "If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers." Dickens may be the Republican mascot in the contest against Mr. Spitzer next year.

The strategy is not a novel one. Republicans tapped into antipathy for trial lawyers during last year's presidential election. The Democratic candidate for vice president, John Edwards, won malpractice judgments totaling more than $50 million before his election to the U.S. Senate. Republicans seized on that record in casting the North Carolina populist as a hypocrite who made health care and insurance more costly while amassing millions for himself and his cronies.

Mr. Minarik is readying a similar attack on Mr. Spitzer, whose list of campaign contributors reads like a who's who of prominent attorneys, including two of the most notable class-action lawsuit artists in America, David Boies and William Lerach. Mr. Boies, who defended Al Gore following the contested 2000 presidential election, is the architect of one of the largest antitrust class-action settlements in history. Mr. Lerach's firm has filed dozens of lawsuits connected with Mr. Spitzer's investigations into the mutual fund industry.

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:39 am]
Grand Old Party News

June 12, 2005

June 12, 2005 -- Eliot Spitzer's fast-track ride into the governor's mansion hit a serious speed bump last week.

The acquittal Thursday of ex-Bank of America broker Ted Sihpol may have shattered illusions about Spitzer's invincibility, while casting doubt on his tactics and his motives.

For better or for worse, Spitzer's success in winning changes in various industry practices was based on a strategy of charging executives, denouncing them publicly, squeezing a settlement and then announcing "reforms."

Some of the reforms were warranted: His probe of Wall Street firms' research staffs led to greater transparency and new safeguards against conflicts of interest. Given Wall Street's outsized role in the New York economy, that is a good thing.

But he's New York's attorney general not the Supreme Regulator of this sector or that.

Plus, in seeking a tough sentence 30 years for Sihpol, a relatively small fish, Spitzer might have won headlines, but instead came out looking zealous.

And beatable.

Now the question is: Will others be so quick to settle? And were the settlements he won reflective of real wrongdoing or simply a need to make an ambiguous case go away quickly?

The issue in the Sihpol case was "late trading": Mutual-fund transactions are barred after the market close, according to a ruling from the judge. In Spitzer's view, late-trading is akin to betting on a horse after the race is over.

But no one had ever been prosecuted for late-trading violations before, and it had become an industry-wide practice.

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:35 am]
Grand Old Party News

Good Government Groups Want to Sweep Albany Clean
May 09, 2005


Despite an on-time budget, a coalition of reform groups feel legislators should do more to improve laws, rules and regulations.

The coalition, which included organizations such as Save New York and Common Cause/NY, lobbied for measures that might reform several things including elections and the budget.

Rachel Leon, executive director for Common Cause/NY, said it was not enough to pass a budget by April 1. Legislators have only so many days to get moving and that they should be focusing on other areas, such as elections, since the state is one of the last to implement the Help America Vote Act, she added.

“We’re calling this our clean sweep Albany day,” Leon said.

According to a press release, the coalition wants to improve other areas such as redistricting, public authorities, campaign contributions, legislative reform and constitutional conventions.
The group offered specific solutions such as having an independent commission draw districts instead of the Legislature. According to Doug Israel, Advocacy Director for Citizens Union, only 3 percent of incumbents were defeated in 2,100 state elections. He said the district lines were deliberately set so legislators would be re-elected and maintain control over their respective houses.

Another suggestion is to place more limits on campaign contributions and have more competitive elections. For example, political parties can accept contributions as high as $84,400 and incumbents get a lot of “donations.” Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, D-Harlem, said there were many incumbents and not enough challengers because they don’t have the resources to compete. He wants a more diverse government with many ideologies.
“The adversarial form of government is the best one we can ever have,” Paterson said.

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:33 am]
Grand Old Party News

Economic Issues Move to Top of Priority List
Rasmussen Reports

June 13, 2005--The voting priorities of the American people have shifted dramatically since George W. Bush was elected last November. These changes help explain some of the difficulties encountered by President Bush early in his second term.

Most dramatically, the number of people who rate National Security Issues as most important has fallen from 41% in November to 22% today.

Today, more Americans(29%) rate economic issues as their top concern. That's up from 26% on Election Day, 2004.

An even bigger jump was found in the number of people who consider Domestic Issues like Social Security and Health Care most important. Today, 19% hold this view up from 11% last November.

Only 9% of Republicans consider Domestic Issues their top-priority. However, this is the top priority for 27% of Democrats, a dynamic that presents challenges for the President's Social Security proposal.

Ten percent (10%) of Americans now name cultural issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion most important, unchanged from Election Day.

Nine percent (9%) now cite fiscal issues such as taxes and government spending as most important. That's up from 4% on Election Day.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of Democrats rate Economic Issues most important. Thirty-four percent (34%) of Republicans rate National Security Issues most importan

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:31 am]
Grand Old Party News

46% Say Supreme Court Too Hostile Towards Religion
Rasmussen Reports

June 11, 2005--Forty-six percent (46%) of Americans say that the U.S. Supreme Court is too hostile towards religion. Half that number, 23% believe the Court is too friendly towards religion. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 25% say that neither perception is accurate.

By a 73% to 15% margin, Evangelical Christians believe the Court is too hostile to religion. Among all Christians, 52% say the Court is too hostile while 20% say it is too friendly. Non-Christians are more evenly divided--34% too hostile and 29% too friendly.

Republicans, by a 57% to 15% margin, say too hostile. Democrats are more evenly divided with 38% saying too hostile and 31% too friendly. Among those not affiliated with either party, 43% say too hostile and 23% too friendly.

A plurality of pro-choice Americans (35%) say the Court is too friendly towards religion. Just 28% say it is too hostile. Thirty-three percent (33%) say neither.

Among pro-life Americans, 71% say the Court is too hostile and just 10% too friendly.

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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2005|11:24 am]
Grand Old Party News

Mexico's blind eye to al-Qaida activity
Intel sources see porous border posing major terror threat to U.S.

Posted: June 13, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

Al-Qaida "communities," like the one busted in Lodi, Calif., have direct ties to other networks in Mexico and Central America, where jihadi terrorists are not viewed as a local threat, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

"South of the Rio Grande Valley there exists a dire situation," said an intelligence researcher who took part in an academic meeting in west Canada.

Intelligence sources and researchers agree there is hardly any effective cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence establishment of Mexico's President Vicente Fox.

Mexican agencies charged with intelligence and counter-terrorism, such as the Office of Coordination of the Presidency and the Center for Research on National Security, CISEN, do little more than offer half-hearted monitoring of militant Islamic activity, say G2 Bulletin sources.

Mexico is facing a national crisis in dealing with drug lords who are killing elected officials, police chiefs and innocent civilians. Officials there have little interest and fewer resources to devote to law enforcement and intelligence activities that threaten the U.S., not Mexico.

As WND reported last week, Islam is on the move in Mexico and throughout Latin America, making dramatic gains in converting the native population, increasing immigration, establishing businesses and charities and attracting attention from U.S. government officials who have asked their neighbors to the south to keep an eye on foreign Muslim groups.

While Mexico has pledged to monitor these activities on behalf of the U.S., those familiar with the recruitment practices and the Mexican government's oversight say the U.S. has reasons for concern

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