Ramos-Villalta Update

I originally commented on Cpl. Ramos-Villalta HERE.  Tody on CNN, there is an article updating his quest for citizenship.  You can read it HERE.

Cpl. Mario Ramos-Villalta has officially become a citizen.  Congratulations Corporal!  It is a well deserved “reward” for your service.  It is dubious that it took a CNN report to expedite your request, but it is now one less thing for your to worry about.

Yours is a story that should serve as an example to others.  You did things the right way, and with honor, as evidenced by your service record.  Your story is proof positive that those who wish to come to this country, and to do so legally, will reap the benefits (such that they are) of citizenship, and for having done things the right way.  People need not enlist in the military to follow your example (but it is one way), they just need to follow the rules.  There is no issue with people wanting to come here, just do so under the rules, and we will welcome you with open arms.

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And People think Florida and Ohio were bad..

Such naivete really.  You want electoral fraud?  Look at Iran, where the opposition was limited in where they could run, and thus limited their ability to compete openly and fairly.  Not to mention insuring that the hard liners would retain power in parliament.  But better yet, look at the former darling of the western liberal leftists, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

In 1980, when he assumed power from the apartheid Ian Smith government, he was hailed as the next great leader of Sub-Saharan Africa.  He in herited an economy, and economic base to rival that of South Africa.  They were exporting excess food, were attractive to outside investment, and help stabilize the economies of their neighbors.  Fast forward to 2008, and it’s all in ruins, yet Mugabe is still in power.  He has single handedly destroyed what coulod have been the cornerstone for a vast economic improvement in Southern Africa.  He has fallen into the same pattern as his predecessor, effectively disenfranchising a section of the population, and dismantling the basis of the economy.  Zimbabwe has gone from a vibrant expanding economy, to one where they can’t produce enough food to support themselves (where a even a few years ago they were a net exporter of food), and an inflation rate some where north of 1800%. 

Now, there are elections going on for nearly every position in the country.  How scared is Mugabe and his ruling thugs?  They’ve banned most international press from covering the elections (as previously posted), including SKY TV and CNN.  The police and army have been deployed to polling stations, not to insure free and fair elections, but to discourage opposition voting and voters.  They use paper ballots, and with so many candidates and offices up for election, it has slowed voting in the urban areas, probably to the point of denying some people voting before the polls close.  Not to mention the time limit on voting will inevitably cause problems.

CNN story HERE

Can you imagine this happening anywhere in Europe or North America?  Think of the outrage that would be engendered by such an action.  Yet when it comes to places like Zimbabwe, the Western Leftists remain curiously silent.  If this was Florida, or Ohio, or Sussex, or  Quebec, or anywhere else, there would be protests in the streets, calls for sitting government to step down, and new elections to be held.  Oh wait…

But when it happens in places like Zimbabwe, or Iran, or Cuba, or Venezuela, or Nicaragua back in the day?  Nothing.  Nada.  Complete, and utter silence.  And these people used to complain about US support for the likes of Ferdinan Marcos.

Around the World

Well, it looks like Zimbabwe is heading for another sham election process.  Not only have they denied several news outlets access (per CNN), but are already trying to intimidate the opposition.  The arrest (for unspecified charges), of the private contract pilot for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai, is just the latest.  The army and police, personal thugs for Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF ruling party, have denied permits for opposition rallies, have violently moved against opposition meetings, and have openly threatened a coup if Mugabe loses.  As if the economic melt down precipitated by Mugabe hasn’t been bad enough.

NIcholas Sarkozy is just bouncing around politically.  Yes, he took a hit in some local elections recently.  But not a bad or irreperable hit.  But now his second wife is stirring up some controversy.  How some 15 year old nude photos of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy are more important than the new French deployment plans for Afghanistan, or Sarkozy’s threatened boycott of the Beijing Olympics is beyond me.  Then again, in this day and age of tabloid press, and the more salacious the story the better, it really shouldn’t. 

Oh those fun and games with China.  We’ev got Tibet and the Olympics.  The leftists talk about our presence in Iraq as an “illegal occupation.”  If you want to see a real illegal occupation, one tacitly approved by the world, look at the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet.  For over 50 years, the PRC has attempted to subjugate the people of Tibet, taking over thier religion (imposing a pro-PRC Dalai-Lama), trying to eliminate their language, and generally trying to destroy their culture.  Despite several risings over the years, the Tibetan people have been up against a juggernaut, one that continuously has rolled over them.  This latest upsurge in dissent in Tibet is well timed for international coverage, but probably ultimately fruitless. 

Meanwhile, across the Taiwan Straights, an “oopsie” on the part of the US DOD has generated quite a bit more controversy.  Seems the DOD “accidentally” sent some missile parts to Taiwan (aka Republic of China, aka Nationalist China).  This would be in “violation” of some treaties, and certainly a tweak at the nose of the People’s Republic of China.  Arms sales to Taiwan are always sticky when it comes to the PRC.  A now 80 year old struggle is still a sore spot for the Communist Chinese, and US policy has been muddled as regards it (at best).  For some reason, I don;t think this was a “mistake,” except in that it became public.  All parts “mistakenly” shipped to Taiwan have been “recovered.”  Again, for some reason I doubt this, but then again, I have no problem with it. 

A US vessel fired on some small boats that ignored warnings while transiting the Suez Canal.  So what?  The security detail on the cargo vessel did exactly as they were supposed to.  After what has previously happened (USS Cole), such measures are necessary, more so to avoid a USS Cole type situation in a vital choke point such as the Suez.  The reports are contradictory, much like the incident with the Iranians in the Persian Gulf.  Neither US Navy, or Egyptian authorities had any indication of any casualties.  From the Navy and Egypt, all shots fired were warning shots, and all shots were accounted for, all hitting the water, not any boats or individuals.  But not to let an opportunity pass, some people jumed up with reports of deaths and severe inuries.  Have yet to see any offical word on this, or any reputable reports from outside sources confirming this.

Just Say No Mr.Jones

Rumor is rampant that Dallas Cowboy’s owner and GM Jerry Jones is looking at possibly trading for troubled CB “Pac-Man” Jones (currently the property of the Tennesee Titans).  Please, please, Mr.Jones, don’t do it!

Yes, the ‘Boys could use a shut down corner.  Yes, Pac-man has a world of talent at the position.  But, he’s not worth it, even for a late round pick.  He’s too much trouble off the field, and the chances of him managing to stay active for an entire season, let alone into the play offs, are slim.  He’s proven himself to be a serious liability off the field, and for all his talent, the risk reward benefit is just not there.

Some people will say “what about Tank Johnson?”  To them I would say that the two situations are completely different.  Tank got busted for a questionable charge, and a non-violent one at that.  Even so, Tank owned up, did his time, followed the rules, and got reinstated.  Tank, unlike Pac-man, has walked the straight path since his arrest and conviction.  He worked hard to get back into the NFL, worked hard to get back into shape, and proved to be a worth while pick up for the Cowboys this past season.  Tank wasn’t a distraction to the team, doing what was expected of him, both on and off the field.

Pac-man on the other hand, just can’t get himself straightened out.  He goes and tells Commissioner Roger Goodell that he’s gotten control of his life, then goes out and gets busted.  He’s sleezed his way through his entire life.  He was trouble in college, which is why several teams passed on him in the draft, despite his talent.  Tennesee took a shot on him, and he rewarded him with all sorts of bad press, and a suspension. 

No, this deal, if it even happens, is a bad one.  Until Pac-man shows that he has gotten control of his life, he should not be allowed anywhere near an NFL roster. 

Time for a Special Prosecutor

The depth of the morass that is Eliot Spitzer’s “dirty tricks” scandal keeps getting deeper and deeper.  With reports from various sources (legitimate and not so legitimate) indicating a wider “conspiracy” than just Spitzer’s operatives, and rumors running rife, I think it is now time for AG Andrew Cuomo to appoint a Special Prosecutor, with full powers, to properly, and independently investigate this mess.

The latest, coming mainly from the NY Post and Daily News, has not only Albany County DA David Soares being complicit in a cover up (that went south once Spitzer got caught in the prostitution sting), but that Albany Times Union Editor Rex Smith and reporter Jerry Odato were also complicit in fostering and aiding in the dirty tricks.  This could be, if even 1/10th of what is rampant rumor is true, it could be very damaging to a lot of folks and institutions here in the Albany area.

Even if neither accusation is proved to be true, they still need to be thoroughly investigated.  It has become obvious that the Albany County District Attorney’s office has been compromised in this, and needs to be taken off the case.  The State’s “Public Integrity Commission” also is so compromised as to be a potential “co-conspirator” in a cover up.  Nor can the Senate’s Investigations Committee handle this, as the specter of political pay-back (no matter how well deserved), will taint any and all efforts they make.  The only answer is to get a Special Prosecutor in to wade through it all, and produce a full and comprehensive report on the matter.

It is in the best interests of the State to do this.  As anyone who has watched Albany politics for any length of time knows, stuff like this usually ends up as “back page news,” if it gets reported beyond the initial scandal at all.  This one is worse, in that a major, and previously well respected newspaper, the Times-Union, has been implicated in this scandal.  We need a proper, and full accounting of what transpired, who was involved, to what degree, and when.  We know that Albany politics is dysfunctional, and this is an opportunity to do a little house cleaning, and get rid of some people with more ambition than integrity, and to restore some degree of “trust” in institutions such as the DA’s office, and the local press.

A couple of interesting articles

Not much out there I could get jazzed about writing about.  Iranian elections?  Semi-fraudulent as was expected.  The “reform” candidates were limited as to where they could run, and did well in those areas.  But in areas where the establishment needed to secure victories, they banned the reformists from competing.  Any wonder the hard liners won?

Prosecutors are pursuing a new indictment against Barry Bonds.  As he doesn’t have a job at the moment, he’ll have plenty of time to deal with this.  On a semi-related note, it seems Brian McNamee, of Roger Clemens fame, was involved in a head on crash with a NYC Transit bus.  No charges or serious injuries have been reported. 

So, I went searching for something to read, and possibly pass along.  On CNN, I found a couple of articles of interest.

First is this article: HERE

It’s about an immigrant from Germany, who enlisted in the US Army, while still only holding a green card.  Guy finds out he can enlist in the US Military with only a green card “by accident,” and still having feelings unresolved from 9-11, joins up.  He ships off for Iraq, where he takes one on the chin, literally.  This guy shows more honest feelings for this country than many who were born and bred here.  Amazing really.  And check out some of the comments, they go off the wall.

The other one is HERE.  This one is obviously far more political than the first.  This one tries to tie in a lot of other issues, and puts a definite political spin on the story.  The best part of this, beyond LCP. Ramos-Villalta’s personal story, are the links and numbers for non-citizen’s serving in the military to get assistance in processing their paper work for getting their citizenship.

Non-citizens serving in the US Military is nothing new.  As Chris Rhatigan of US Citizenship and Immigration Services said, “We have had immigrant members of the military going back to the Revolutionary War.”  The US Military has had citizens, here legally, with green cards (or the equivalent for the time), serve proudly and with distinction.  Even as late as the Vietnam conflict, we had Canadians, Irish, British, Mexicans, Phillipinos, and others enlist and serve.

The expedited path to citizenship is the least that can be offered to these immigrant-soldiers (and Sailors and Marines).  Legal immigration is a boon to the country, and this is just one of many ways to achieve citizenship properly.