Thursday, September 3, 2015

Global Greed, Global Suffering, and Americans Can't Connect The Dots To Our Southern Border?

Migrants Clash With Police After Budapest Train Station Reopens

An estimated 3,000 people have been camping outside the station, hoping to immigrate to Western Europe.

By Marton Dunai
BICSKE, Hungary, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Hungarian police halted a train packed with migrants bound for the Austrian border and tried to force them to disembark in a town with a detention camp on Thursday, a confrontation that has become a focus of Europe's migration crisis.
After shutting migrants out of the main train station in the capital Budapest for two days, authorities allowed exhausted and confused migrants to board a westbound train. Hundreds crammed aboard clinging to doors and squeezing their children through open carriage windows.
But instead of proceeding to the Austrian border, the train was stopped just west of Budapest in the town of Bicske, where Hungary has a migration reception center, and police ordered the migrants off.
Police cleared one carriage, while five more stood at the station in the heat. Fearing detention, some migrants banged on windows chanting "No camp! No camp!"
One group pushed back dozens of riot police guarding a stairwell to fight their way back on board. One family - a man, his wife and their toddler - made their way along the track next to the train and lay down in protest. It took a dozen riot police wrestling with the man to get them up again.
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Thousands of people have died at sea and scores have perished on land in Europe's worst migration crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.
European public opinion was galvanized by images of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy face down in the surf on a Turkish beach which appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the continent on Thursday.
"He had a name: Alyan Kurdi. Urgent action required - A Europe-wide mobilization is urgent," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Twitter of the boy, one of at least 12 people who died out of a group of 23 who attempted to reach a Greek island.
The influx has strained the European Union's asylum system to breaking point, sowing division among its 28 nations and feeding the rise of right-wing populists.
The major EU countries have taken sharply opposing positions on whether to offer welcome. Germany plans to receive 800,000 refugees this year, while Britain has set up a program to allow in vulnerable Syrians that has admitted just 216.
"As one of the world's richest countries, with good infrastructure, a viable welfare state and a solid budget surplus, we are in a position to rise to the occasion," German Labour and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles said at a briefing ahead of a G20 meeting in Turkey.
By contrast, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday the problem could not be solved by Britain taking more refugees.
Nearly all of the migrants arrive on the EU's southern and eastern edges but press on for richer countries further north and west, creating havoc for a bloc that normally allows free movement internally but restricts it for undocumented migrants.
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The train's departure from Budapest followed a two-day standoff with police barring entry to the station to more than 2,000 migrants. On Thursday the police stepped aside and the crowd surged past. Some were wary of boarding trains, unsure where they were headed.
"We want to go to Germany but that train in the station, maybe it goes nowhere. We heard it may go to a camp. So we will stay out here and wait," said Ysra Mardini, a 17-year-old from the Syrian capital Damascus, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.
As the train departed, lawmakers in Budapest were debating a raft of amendments to Hungary's migration laws that the ruling party said would cut illegal border crossings to "zero."
They provide for the creation of holding zones on the country's southern border with Serbia, where construction crews are completing a 3.5-meter-high fence.
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Hungary has emerged as a flashpoint, as the primary entry point for those traveling overland across the Balkans.
Its right-wing government is among the continent's most outspoken voices against encouraging mass immigration and says European officials have made the matter worse by failing to enforce rules.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in Brussels for talks with other EU leaders, said Europeans were "full of fear because they see that the European leaders ... are not able to control the situation."
In an opinion piece for Germany's Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, he wrote that his country was being "overrun" with refugees, most of which, he noted, were Muslims, not Christians.
"That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots," he said.
The image of the drowned toddler on the Turkish beach could shift opinion on the continent, just days after 71 dead bodies were discovered in the back of a truck in Austria.
Even Britain's right-wing Sun tabloid, criticized by the United Nations for a column in April that referred to migrants as "cockroaches," demanded action from its prime minister, who has refused to accept an EU quota of refugees.
"Mr Cameron, summer is over.... Now deal with the biggest crisis facing Europe since WW2," read a headline on its front page above the image of the lifeless boy being carried away in a red T-shirt, blue shorts and tiny sneakers.
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The boy's relatives said the family were trying to reach Canada via Europe when they set off from the Turkish coast for the Greek island of Kos. His 5-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan, 35, also died. His father, Abdullah, was found semi-conscious and taken to hospital.
An aunt in Vancouver, Teema Kurdi, said she heard the news from another aunt: "She had got a call from Abdullah, and all he said was, my wife and two boys are dead," she was quoted as saying in Canada's National Post newspaper.
The crisis has confounded the EU, which is committed to the principle of accepting refugees fleeing real danger but has no mechanism to compel its 28 member states to share the burden.
German Prime Minister Angela Merkel has emerged as a leader on the issue, arguing that providing refuge for those fleeing persecution and war is a fundamental obligation.
Germany has begun accepting asylum claims from Syrian refugees regardless of where they entered the bloc, suspending rules which normally require them to register and remain in the first EU country they reach. More than 100,000 asylum seekers arrived last month alone in Germany.
But Berlin's openness has raised questions about the future of Europe's Schengen system, which abolished border controls between 26 states but still requires them to prevent undocumented migrants from traveling.
Germany's neighbors have alternated this week between letting migrants pass through and blocking them. Hungary allowed thousands to board westward trains on Monday but then called a halt to the travel, leaving migrants camped in the summer heat in central Budapest.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to unveil proposals in an annual state-of-the-union address to the European parliament next week. Interior ministers hold an emergency meeting five days later. (Additional reporting by Krisztina Than and Sandor Peto; Writing by Matt Robinson and Peter Graff; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Do You Really Want To Know Why Washington Won't Fix Illegal Immigration? This Won't Be Found In Their Narrative

New face of the war on immigrants?: US immigration reform

The reform plays a balancing act for a stable supply of cheap labour and a viable system of state control of immigrants.

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An immigration reform that’s inclusive of 11m undocumented people passed the US senate June 27 [Getty Images]
An immigration reform that’s inclusive of 11m undocumented people passed the US senate June 27 [Getty Images]

About the Author

William I. Robinson

William I. Robinson a professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Story highlights

After years of false starts, the US Congress now seems set to pass some version of long-awaited immigrant reform legislation.  On June 27 the Senate passed a bill that observers have referred to as the “most monumental overhaul” of US immigration laws in a generation and the House is set to begin debate on reform legislation later in July.
But immigrant rights organisations are deeply divided. Some groups have given critical support to the proposed legislation as the “best bill possible” under current conditions for the estimated 11-12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States to normalise their status. Many others, however, have rejected what they see as a punitive Faustian bargain. They condemn the bill as an attempt to deny rights, codify repression, legitimate the
After years of false starts, the US Congress now seems set to pass some version of long-awaited immigrant reform legislation. On June 27 the Senate passed a bill that observers have referred to as the "most monumental overhaul" of US immigration laws in a generation and the House is set to begin debate on reform legislation later in July.
But immigrant rights organisations are deeply divided. Some groups have given critical support to the proposed legislation as the "best bill possible" under current conditions for the estimated 11-12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States to normalise their status. Many others, however, have rejected what they see as a punitive Faustian bargain. They condemn the bill as an attempt to deny rights, codify repression, legitimate the criminalisation of immigrants, further the militarised control of their communities, and reproduce a system of de facto labour peonage.
Although the bill supposedly provides a "pathway to citizenship" for immigrants, the conditions under which undocumented immigrants can legalise their status are so onerous that it is estimated that between one-third and two-thirds of the undocumented will be unable meet the criteria. This criteria includes having an income of 125 per cent of the federal poverty guideline, which would make millions of immigrants who now work for minimum wage or less ineligible, as well as no lapses of employment for more than 60 days during a decade of provisional status, paying hefty fees and fines, passing a criminal background check, learning English and US civics and history.
The bill denies immigrants access to public services. It does not lift the repressive "Secure Communities" and "287g" government programmes. These two federal programs establish broad collabouration between the federal government and local and state law enforcement in policing immigrant communities, in raids, detentions, and deportations.
More ominous, the bill hinges on so-called "border security". If proposes to increase spending by nearly $50bn on militarising the 2,000 mile US-Mexico border (some 3,200 km), doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to some 40,000 (one agent for every 88 yards or 80 meters), to add 700 miles of fencing, to deploy drones, Blackhawk helicopters, surveillance towers, sensors, and former army soldiers to the border.
It would mandate a universal "E-verify" system, by which workers must prove they are eligible for employment before being hired, introduce biometric ID for immigrant workers, stipulate unprecedented collabouration between local and state police agencies and the Department of Homeland Security for database sharing, detention, and transfer of detainees, and sets up a "guest worker" programme that amounts to little more than indentured servitude.
It is no wonder that National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights board member Hamid Khan described the bill as a model for the "surveillance industrial complex." Under the guise of public safety and security, "the bill is a political investment in the further strengthening and legitimisation of the police state," he said.
Global capitalism and immigrant labour
The reform...meets the interests of the immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex. Military contractors, Silicon Valley, law enforcement, construction and private prison companies stand to earn billions in profits.
The larger story behind immigration reform is capitalist globalisation and the worldwide reorganisation of the system for supplying labour to the global economy. Over the past few decades there has been an upsurge in transnational migration as every country and region has become integrated, often violently, into global capitalism through foreign invasions and occupations, free trade agreements, neo-liberal social and economic policies, and financial crises. Hundreds of millions have been displaced from the countryside in the Global South and turned into internal and transnational migrants, providing a vast new pool of exploitable labour for the global economy as national labour markets have increasingly merged into a global labour market.
The creation of immigrant labour pools is a worldwide phenomenon, in which poles of accumulation in the global economy attract immigrant labour from their peripheries. Thus, to name a few of the major 21st century transnational labour flows, Turkish and Eastern European workers supply labour to Western Europe, Central Africans to South Africa, Nicaraguans to Costa Rica, Sri Lankas and other South Asians to the Middle East oil producing countries, Asians to Australia, Thais to Japan, Indonesians to Malaysia, and so on.
In all of these cases, it is repressive state controls that create "immigrant workers" as a distinct category of labour that becomes central to the whole global capitalist economy. As borders have come down for capital and goods they have been reinforced for human beings. While global capitalism creates immigrant workers, these workers do not enjoy citizenship rights in their host countries. Stripped either de facto or de jure of the political, civic, and labour rights afforded to citizens, immigrant workers are forced into the underground, made vulnerable to employers, whether large private or state employers or affluent families, and subject to hostile cultural and ideological environments.
Neither employers nor the state want to do away with immigrant labour. To the contrary, they want to sustain a vast exploitable labour pool that exists under precarious conditions and that is flexible and disposable through deportation and therefore controllable. This super-exploitation of an immigrant workforce would not be possible if that workforce had the same civil, political and labour rights as citizens, if it did not face the insecurities and vulnerabilities of being undocumented or "illegal".
Driving immigrant labour underground and absolving the state and employers of any commitment to the social reproduction of this labour allows for its maximum exploitation together with its disposal when necessary. In this way the immigrant labour force becomes responsible for its own maintenance and reproduction and also - through remittances - for their family members abroad. This makes immigrant labour low-cost and flexible for capital and also costless for the state compared to native born labour.
In sum, the division of the global working class into citizen and immigrant is a major new axis of inequality worldwide. Borders and nationality are used by transnational capital, the powerful and the privileged, to sustain new methods of control and domination over the global working class.
The US economy has become increasingly dependent on immigrant labour. There are an estimated 34 million immigrants in the United States, 20 million of these from Latin America, and 11-12 million undocumented, most of them of Latin American origin. 
This is, however, a contradictory situation. From the viewpoint of the dominant groups the dilemma is how to super-exploit an immigrant labour force, such as Latinos in the US, yet how to simultaneously assure it is super controllable and super-controlled. The push in the United States and elsewhere has been towards heightened criminalisation of immigrant communities, the militarised control of these communities, and the establishment of an immigrant detention and deportation complex.
The immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex
But there is another less evident dimension to the criminalisation of immigrants and the militarised control of their communities and the border.
The immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex is one of the fastest growing sectors of the US economy. There has been a boom in new private prison construction to house immigrants detained during deportation proceedings. In 2007 nearly one million undocumented immigrants were apprehended and 311,000 deported. The Obama administration presents itself as a friend of Latinos (and immigrants more generally) yet Obama has deported more immigrants than any other in the past half a century - some 400,000 per year since he took office in 2009.
Immigrant labour is extremely profitable for the corporate economy in double sense. First, as noted, it is labour that is highly vulnerable, forced to exist semi-underground, and deportable, and therefore super-exploitable. Second, the criminalisation of undocumented immigrants and the militarisation of their control not only reproduce these conditions of vulnerability but also in themselves generate vast new opportunities for accumulation.
The private immigrant detention complex is a boom industry. Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest growing sector of the US prison population and are detained in private detention centres and deported by private companies contracted out by the US state. As of 2010 there were 270 immigration detention centres that caged on any given day over 30,000 immigrants. Since detainment facilities and deportation logistics are subcontracted to private companies, capital has a vested interest in the criminalisation of immigrants and in the militarisation of control over immigrants - and more broadly, therefore, a vested interest in contributing to the neo-fascist anti-immigrant movement.
It is no surprise that William Andrews, the CEO of the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, the largest private US contractor for immigrant detention centres, declared in 2008 that "the demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts…or through decriminalisation [of immigrants]." A month after the anti-immigrant bill in Arizona, SB1070, became law, Wayne Callabres, the president of Geo Group, another private prison contractor, held a conference call with investors and explained his company’s aspirations. "Opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what’s happening," he said, referring to the Arizona law. "Those people coming across the border being caught are going to have to be detained and that to me at least suggests there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do."
Containing the immigrant rights movement
The "war on terror" paved the way for an undeclared war on immigrants by fusing "national security/anti-terrorism" with immigration law enforcement, involving designation of borders and immigrant flows as "terrorism threats," the approval of vast new funding and the passage of a slew of policies and laws to undertake the new war.
This war has further escalated in response to the spread worldwide of an immigrant rights movement to fight-back against repression, exploitation, exclusion, cultural degradation and racism. A major turning point in this struggle in the United States came in spring 2006 with a series of unparalleled strikes and demonstrations that swept the country.
The immediate trigger for these mass protests was the introduction in the US Congress of a bill, known as the Sensenbrenner bill, that called for criminalising undocumented immigrants by making it a felony to be in the US without proper documentation. It also stipulated construction of a militarised wall between Mexico and the US and the application of criminal sanctions against anyone who provided assistance to undocumented immigrants, including churches, humanitarian groups, and social service agencies.
The protests defeated the Sensenbrenner bill and at the same time frightened the ruling class, sparking an escalation of state repression and racist nativism and fuelled the neo-fascist anti-immigrant movement. The backlash involved, among other things, stepped-up raids on immigrant workplaces and communities, mass deportations, an increase in the number of federal immigration enforcement agents, the deputizing of local police forces as enforcement agents, the further militarisation of the US-Mexico border, anti-immigrant hysteria in the mass media, and the introduction at local, state, and federal levels of a slew of discriminatory anti-immigrant legislative initiatives.
Anti-immigrant hate groups had already been on the rise in the years prior to 2006. The FBI reported more than 2,500 hate crimes against Latinos in the United States between 2000 and 2006. Blatantly racist public discourse that only a few years earlier would have been considered extreme became increasingly mainstreamed and aired on the mass media. The paramilitary organisation Minutemen, a modern day Latino-hating version of the Ku Klux Klan, spread in the first decade of the 21st century from its place of origin along the US-Mexican border in Arizona and California to other parts of the country. Minutemen claimed they must "secure the border" in the face of inadequate state-sponsored control. Their discourse, as well as that of the Tea Party and other such groups, beyond racist, was neo-fascist.
Lifting national borders for capital and simultaneously reinforcing these same national boundaries is a contradictory situation that helps generate a nationalist hysteria by propagating such images as "out of control borders" and "invasions of illegal immigrants". Racist hostility towards Latinos and other immigrants may be intentionally generated by right-wing politicians, law-enforcement agents and neo-fascist anti-immigrant movements. They may be the effect of the structural and legal-institutional subordination of immigrant workers and their communities, or simply an unintended (although not necessarily unwelcomed) byproduct of the state’s coercive policies.
The crisis, cooptation, and reform legislation
White middle and world class sectors in the US faced downward mobility and heightened insecurities as the welfare state and job stability have been dismantled in the face of capitalist globalisation. These sectors have been particularly prone to being organised into racist anti-immigrant politics by conservative political groups housed inside and outside of the Republican Party. Anti-immigrant forces have tried to draw in white workers with appeals to racial solidarity and to xenophobia and scapegoating of immigrant communities.
The scapegoating of these communities reached a zenith in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse and the onset of crisis. The crisis intensified anti-immigrant hysteria, fueled by a right-wing, racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant movement. Dozens of state and local governments around the country passed repressive anti-immigrant legislation, among them, Arizona’s SB1070 and Alabama’s HB56, both of which institutionalised racial profiling and the terrorisation of immigrant communities.
The magazine Mother Jones built a database of hundreds of repressive local and state level anti-immigrant laws introduced around the US in the wake of SB1070, including 164 such laws passed by state legislatures in 2010 and 2011 alone. The database as well uncovered the extensive interlocking of far-right organisations comprising the anti-immigrant movement, other neo-fascist organisations in civil society (see above), government agencies and elected officials (local and federal), politicians, and corporate and foundation funders, lobbies, and activists.
If there is a broad social and political base for the maintenance of a flexible, super-controlled and super-exploited Latino immigrant workforce, the immigrant issue presents a contradiction for political and economic elites: from the vantage points of dominant group interests, the dilemma is how to deal with the new "barbarians" at Rome’s door. The state must play a balancing act by finding a formula for a stable supply of cheap labour to employers and at the same time for a viable system of state control over immigrants.
It is widely recognised that Obama’s 2012 reelection hinged heavily on the Latino vote, and that this voting bloc is expanding rapidly, something that has caused important sectors of the Republican Party to reconsider immigration reform. It may be that the 2012 vote gave the necessary impetus to bringing together a critical mass around the reformation of the strategy and methods for reproducing and controlling a reserve army of immigrant labour.
The reform legislation passed in the Senate on June 27 meets the interests of the immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex. Military contractors, Silicon Valley, law enforcement, construction and private prison companies stand to earn billions in profits. Agribusiness and the corporate sector will continue to exploit a largely captive labour force, racialised and relegated to second class status, especially among the millions of immigrants who will be unable to legalise their status, among new immigrants, and among those brought in as "guest workers". It is no wonder that along with corporate lobbyists staunch anti-immigrant conservatives such as Arizona governor Jan Brewer, FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly, and Tea Party icon Rand Paul, have endorsed the bill.
The Obama strategy may prove to be quite successful in establishing the conditions for a reformulation of strategies and methods of immigrant social control and political co-optation. In the wake of the 2006 mass immigrant rights protests and the fierce state repression that ensued, Washington DC-based foundations broadly funded the more moderate and mainstream of the Latino and immigrant rights organisations, while the Democratic Party set about to separate the "establishment" Latino leadership from the radical organisers at the mass grassroots base and to recruit this leadership for the Obama project.
These diverse developments - state repression, anti-immigrant politics, establishment and Democratic cooptation - all came together in recent years and paid off by throwing the grassroots movement onto the defensive, bolstering Democratic Party hegemony among immigrants, and generating a critical mass for exactly the kind of conservative and repressive immigration reform legislation now in Congress.
William I. Robinson a professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Monday, August 24, 2015

After Brutal Murder Of Photojournalist, Mexico City No Longer A Safe Haven For Reporters - Dolia Estevez

After Brutal Murder Of Photojournalist, Mexico City No Longer A Safe Haven For Reporters

I cover Mexico's billionaires, politics and U.S.-Mexico relations
I’m a native of Mexico who lives and works in Washington D.C. as a Foreign Correspondent. From 1989 to 2005, I was bureau chief for El Financiero, Mexico’s leading financial newspaper. I am currently Washington correspondent for Noticias MVS, Mexico’s #1 radio news station. My book, U.S. Ambassadors to Mexico, published by the Woodrow Wilson Center, looks into three decades of U.S.-Mexico relations from the unique perspective of Washington’s men in Mexico. The book is also available in Spanish under the title El Embajador (Editorial Planeta, 2013). Follow me on Twitter: @DoliaEstevez or write me:

Mexico City, the nation’s capital, was long considered a safe haven for journalists compared with the rest of Mexico. However, it is no longer safe. This became clear after Mexican photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, who fled the coastal state of Veracruz after receiving threats, was murdered in Mexico City  on July 31.
Veracruz is a particularly dangerous state. At least 11 journalists have been killed and three have disappeared there in the past four years since ruling PRI party’s Javier Duarte became the governor of Veracruz, which tops the list of Mexican states with most reporters murdered.
Four women, among them human rights activist Nadia Vera, were also murdered along with the 31-year-old photojournalist Espinosa in what Francisco Goldman in The New Yorker called “The Colonia Narvarte massacre” after the name of the middle-class neighborhood were they were killed, execution-style.
Photojournalists wearing t-shirts with characters that form the words ‘Justice For Ruben’,  who was killed along with four women in Mexico City.  (Photo credit: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
“Rubén Espinosa fled after being threatened in one of the region’s deadliest states for journalists and was murdered after six weeks in a place once seen as a safe haven in the country,” Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement.
The last time a reporter was killed in Mexico City was in 2006. The victim was José Manuel Nava, the former Washington correspondent for Mexican newspaper Excelsior.
Espinosa told the CPJ in June that he had been threatened repeatedly in the past few years and that he ran away from Veracruz after he noticed people outside his home in Xalapa, the state capital, three separate times who made intimidating glances and gestures. 
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Espinosa also told the CPJ that in 2012 an unidentified man “grabbed me by the shirt, threw me up against a metal curtain and told me, ‘Stop taking photos…if you don’t want to end up like Regina Martínez.’” Regina Martínez Pérez, the Veracruz correspondent for the national magazine Proceso, was killed in April 2012 after she wrote articles that were critical of state officials.
The Colonia Narvarte killings triggered a wave of condemnations in Mexico and abroad. Several thousand people took to the streets in Mexico City soon after the murders, carrying banners reading “Killing journalists won’t kill the truth.”
Protest for the murder of Ruben Espioosa and four women in Mexico City (Photo credit: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
For the demonstrators the murder of Espinosa shattered the idea that Mexico City could be a haven for journalists fleeing violence in other Mexican states. There is also the sense that impunity will continue unabated and that Espinosa’s murder, like the vast majority that have preceded it, will remain unsolved. According to the CPJ, 90% of all murder cases of journalists in the past 10 years in Mexico have not been resolved.
Lauría, the CPJ coordinator for the Americas, said that it is time for Mexican federal and local authorities to take action to combat the “serious press freedom crisis facing Mexico.”
The assassinations put the international spotlight back on the plight of reporters in Mexico. In an open letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on August 15, 500 renowned journalists, writers, creative artists, and free expression advocates from around the world, expressed their “indignation” over the deadly attacks against reporters in Mexico.
With the support of PEN and the CPJ, the group reminded Peña Nieto that an “attempt on the life of a journalist is an attack on society’s very right to be informed” and urged him to guarantee a credible investigation of the assassination of Espinosa and all other assassinations of reporters, and to protect freedom of expression in Mexico.
Their concern was echoed by The New York Times. In an August 15 editorial titled “The Murder of Mexico’s Free Press,” the paper called on Peña Nieto to take “forceful action” to end attacks on the press.
Peña Nieto did not respond to the letter, but asked the Ministry of Government to answer on his behalf. Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Roberto Campa said on Tuesday August 18 that the government condemns attacks against the press and human rights advocates and is collaborating in the investigations of the recent killings which are being conducted by Mexico City’s authorities.
Twitter: @DoliaEstevez

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Corruption: Why Washington Will Never Successfully Address Illegal Immigration

Placing Their Bets Early, DC Lobbyists Put Biggest Money on Clinton

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Placing Their Bets Early, DC Lobbyists Put Biggest Money on Clinton

True to form, K Street firms offer backing to the two most established candidates
Among K Street funders and bundlers so far,  Hillary Clinton is the safe bet for influence peddlers in Washington, DC. (Photo: Getty)
Though the presidential election is more than 14 months away and competitive primary races for both major parties are in full swing, lobbying firms in Washington, DC and the people who work for them are so far placing their political bets on the establishment campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton and to a slightly lesser degree Republican Jeb Bush.
According to an analysis of filings from registered K Street firms by The Hill, Clinton and Bush combined have received approximately $1 million so far this year from professional influence peddlers who play such an outsized role on Capitol Hill – substantially more than other candidates in the field.
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As The Hill reports:
While many lobbyists are holding their pocketbooks in the early stages of the 2016 election cycle, Clinton — the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination — received at least $625,703 from 316 registered lobbyists and corporate PACs during the first half of the year, according to disclosure forms.

“She’s going at it for the second time, and there is a list of people who are very committed to her from eight years ago,” said Al Motteur, senior Democratic lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and longtime Clinton supporter. Motteur has not only given to the campaign, but is also bundling cash from other donors.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ranks as a distant second in the influence industry, collecting $444,500 from 140 lobbyists.

The more than $1 million shelled out to Clinton and Bush in the first half on 2015 represents the lion’s share of contributions from K Streeters to presidential campaigns, as lobbyists, at least for now, appear most comfortable giving to establishment candidates.

The donations are a shift from the last couple election cycles, especially on the Democratic side. President Obama made campaign promises in 2008 and 2012 not to take money from registered lobbyists — in addition to vowing to ban them from the administration — so the early donations signal that K Street hopes to be back in good graces when the next administration takes over the White House.
With Clinton the clear leader among candidates from either party, her Democratic rivals have garnered little support. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Mally so far has raised just over $50,000 from lobbying firms.
Meanwhile—though his campaign has eschewed corporate PACs and now reports surging campaign donations with approximately 350,000 individual small donors—Bernie Sanders has received a grand total of $420 from the K Street crowd.