Monday, November 24, 2008
We interrupt this Blog to bring you an important commercial announcement from our boss, Ed Asner, the Head Elf at Santa’s Workshop:
A WORD ABOUT FRUITCAKE
In recent years (alright, recent decades) poor Mister Fruitcake has been made the butt of one joke after another. The Fruitcake has been kicked like a dog from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Waters. It has been battered ‘n’ bruised under spacious skies in amber waves of grain and across purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.
It is unfortunate that Fruitcake has not been duly honored for all it really brings to the table. For one thing, not only are some Fruitcakes absolutely scrumptious, but they are nutritious, too, including in the ingredients all of the major food groups: sugar, butter, cherries, sodium benzoate, red dye #40, and sometimes y.
Even so, as The Declaration Of Independent Fruitcake Bakers sagely observes, “Not all fruitcakes are created equal.” Yaaaz, itz true, some fruitcakes be better’n others. And some are WAY BETTER than others.
I consider myself a Fruitcake Connoisseur and so I’m here - just in time for Christmas - to tell you about the best I’ve ever found. It’s not the famous Collin Street Bakery Deluxe Fruitcake from Corsicana, Texas that you’ve heard so much about.
Yes, that fruitcake (probably the most delicious “looking”) is purchased by all sorts of fancy actors and diplomats and “high on the hog” people like that; and yes, it is a good fruitcake despite the fact that some people believe the only good fruitcake is a dead fruitcake. And fruitcakes are hard to kill; they stay good for years, which I’ll confess is a little unnerving. My Ma (may she rest in Peace) bought the Collin Street Bakery fruitcake for family members for many years, and I still give it to a couple of them at Christmas to honor her memory.
But the very best fruitcake I’ve ever forked, shoved, or shoveled into my mouth is the Assumption Abbey Fruitcake made by those hip Trappist monks in their monastery “nestled in the foothills of the Missouri Ozarks.” [www.trappistmonks.com] Man do them monks know how to bake! How great is this fruitcake? Well, it’s “heavenly” (sorry, but I just HAD to say it). While I’m eating the Assumption Abbey Fruitcake, I make the same happy little humming noises that Winnie-The-Pooh makes when he’s eating honey, or on his way to eat honey, or just thinking about eating honey.
For years, I was in the habit of trying just about every fruitcake I came across, always in search of that “perfect one.” Well, in about, oh, maybe 2002, I saw the Assumption Abbey Fruitcake advertised in the Leaflet Missal catalog and decided to give it a try, even though I thought it was going to be somewhat dry based on the photo in the catalog. So, I wasn’t really expecting much when I popped that first small slice into my mouth. Try then to imagine the surprise when my mouth just exploded in a rhapsody of fruit, spice, wine and rum.
Uh, yeah, those monks – the sly little devils – include a splash of wine and rum in their fruitcake recipe. Woo!-Hoo! Me an’ Rudolph be catchin’ a glow TONIGHT! (And here you thought Rudy came by that red nose naturally, didn’tcha?)
Well, I’ve been buying the Assumption Abbey Fruitcake exclusively ever since that first bite. I haven’t bothered to even try another brand since then. What’s the point since I’ve found “the perfect one”?
Here’s what the Trappist monks say "ABOUT THE FRUITCAKES":
When Assumption Abbey was first developing its bakery, the monks sought the help of world class chef Jean-Pierre Auge, who at one time served in the royal employ of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Mr. Auge’s assistance, and his generosity in providing the recipe and ideas for production, gave the monks the impetus to go forward with the Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes.
Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes are the dark, rich, traditional style of fruitcake. They are baked slowly and aged under the careful supervision of the monks. Everything, from marinating the fruit, to mixing, to baking, to packaging, to aging, to mailing is done right at the monastery by the monks.
Assumption Abbey is not a commercial enterprise. It is a way of life, and that way of life, combined with the careful work of the bakers, insures a dedication to high quality that makes Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes among this country’s finest.
Now, if that sounded purt dern good to you, then hear this: Ain’t NUTTIN’ wrong with yer ears.
So, until you’ve tried this one, no more beating up on fruitcakes from you, because you’re not just making a bad joke but you’re knocking a whole way of life!
Click here for fruitcake, Fruitcake: here
And now . . . . .
A SYLLABLE ABOUT SOAP
On Tuesday, October 7th of this year, in a message on my “STUFFS” Blog titled FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THEIR “SUDS”, I told you folks a bit about a friend of mine who makes and sells superior soaps and lip-saving lip balms. (One lip balm is Ginger/Peach. Yeah, Ginger WAS a peach, but actually, I’m a Mary-Ann man myself.) The name of her little company is FIREFLY ESSENTIALS.
Well, as with fruitcakes, so with soaps: Not all soaps are created equal. And here’s what my fantabulous friend has to say on the subject:
I became interested in the whole process of soapmaking, and did a lot of research and found that homemade soap is far superior to most of the soaps you buy at your local supermarket.
Did you know that one of the naturally occurring products in soapmaking is glycerin? Most of the 'big' companies extract the glycerin from their soap, and sell it off as a separate product. Glycerin is a great humectant (attracts moisture). Since I began using homemade soap, I don't have to use lotion on my body anymore! It's been wonderful! Our whole family also uses the soap on our hair. We no longer use commercial shampoo. Since using the soap on my hair, I no longer have to use a separate conditioner after washing to be able to run a comb through my hair. If you had told me that I would be able to give up hair conditioner, I would never have believed you, BUT it's the truth! Turns out, glycerin is pretty darn good for your hair too!
Also, there are no added chemicals, or detergents in homemade soap, but you will find these chemicals in many of the soaps you find at the store.
OK.....after doing research, I decided that I would try to make my own homemade soap, since the guy I originally bought the soap from was all the way in Georgia. Once I started, I was absolutely hooked! I kept making more and more soap, and it began piling up around the house. Bill and I decided that we would see if others would love my homemade soap as much as we did. We began to sell our soap at the local Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. Well, the feedback was WAY better than I could have hoped for! We have had so many people come back and tell us how much they LOVE the soap! We had one lady come back and say she was buying it for her friends in Italy, and another lady who was visiting from England who bought a bunch of bars to take back with her (so we're International, heeheehee).
Drumroll.....Bill has come up with a website, and we have decided to make this our own business called Firefly Essentials. We are a small operation at this point. I make soaps and lip balms.
I wanted to share this with everyone, in the hopes that you will be curious to try out one or two of our soaps to see for yourselves. These soaps also make lovely gifts (and Christmas is right around the corner!)
We have some new limited edition soaps that will be here for the Christmas season:
Frankincense & Myrrh
These limited edition soaps are not yet on the website, so I wanted to tell you about them. They are all delicious smelling!
Please check us out at: www.fireflyessentials.com
I have tried my friend’s Frankincense & Myrrh soap, and I would describe it as a rich and manly scent. Nice stuffs! My friend even raised the “coolness factor” about 33% by adding Gold Mica (along with the standard “Love”) to the soap bar. I’ve been calling it Jesus Soap, for obvious reasons.
If you don’t see it mentioned on her product page, then just click where it says “Contact Us” and inquire about it.
Give Jesus Soap (a.k.a. Frankincense & Myrrh) to someone you love this Christmas, and not only will they get clean as a whistle and smell like a prince, but you’ll make them feel like the King of kings.
Click here for soap, Soap Scum: here
OK, I’ve written in defense of Fruitcakes on this Blog, and as if that wasn’t UN-P.C. enough, I now want to wish each and every one of you . . . . .
. . . a very “MERRY CHRISTMAS.”
Wow! How politically incorrect is THAT?!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Blog . . .
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Saturday, November 22, 2008
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”
Then the righteous will answer Him saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”
And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
I was meditating one day when the words of Jesus from that passage in Matthew 25 suddenly came into my mind and it inspired me to work for two years as a volunteer correspondent for a spiritual organization’s Prison Outreach Program. [By the way, click here to see the best letter I ever received from a prison inmate while I was working in that capacity: A Christmas Letter From “Fred”]
Over a year ago, I wrote letters to that “evildoer” currently tainting the White House, wrecking America, and riding our country to destruction like Slim Pickens on an atomic bomb – you know who I mean: that Brainless Scarecrow, George
W(ish I had a brain) Bush. I requested that the Scarecrow commute the prison sentences of the unjustly prosecuted border patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. No reply.
Look, anytime you find Extreme Left-Wing Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein in agreement with Republican Senators Sessions and Cornyn, and also with Christian pastor Don Swarthout, Lou Dobbs, and The John Birch Society, then you have to KNOW that something is REALLY wrong with this picture! You’ve got to KNOW that an outrageous travesty of justice has occurred. Oh, yes indeed, when Dianne Feinstein and Stephen T. McCarthy are harmonizing on the chorus of “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” then somebody REALLY done somebody wrong!
Who done what to whom? The Bush administration dogged border patrol agents Compean and Ramos in order to make an example of them and to cunningly discourage other border patrol agents from taking too seriously the job which they were hired to perform. “Why?” you ask? Well, several reasons. For one thing, business owners love the cheap labor that illegal aliens provide; they boost the businessman’s or businesswoman’s profit margin. But more importantly for the Bush administration is the goal of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve never heard of the NAFTA Superhighway, then it’s pretty much a given that you voted for either Obama or McCain this year.
The idea, you see, is to create a North American Union, similar to the European Union. In order to do so, it is important that The Elite (of which Scarecrow George is just one member, although perhaps the dumbest) need to dilute our traditional cultural values and our belief in national sovereignty; they want us to think of ourselves not so much as an independent country, but as part of a global region. Allowing the United States to be overrun by illegal aliens from south of the border transgresses not just our physical barriers, but also breaks down our mental barriers and gradually alters our cultural values year after year. It changes the way we collectively perceive ourselves. The diversity undermines unity.
Anyone who thinks this is wacky conspiracy talk needs to find a solid, rational answer to this question:
If we are truly at war against Terrorism, and if we are truly susceptible to terrorist attacks, why has the Southern border still not been secured? Why was a man in 2006 – five years AFTER the 9/11 attacks! – able to successfully ride an elephant across the border into the United States, accompanied by two other elephants and a six-piece mariachi band? Hmmm? Why are there STILL spaces in our Southern border wider than the gap between Michael Strahan’s two front teeth which any illegal emigrant, or Islamic radical armed with a bomb and a plan to contaminate a city’s water supply, could stroll across any ol’ day he chooses to? Riddle me that!
The answer is that because our government’s surveillance and terrorism counterintelligence is so effective, only those folks the administration allows to cross into the U.S. will be able to do so… and the administration not only allows, but WANTS, illegal emigrants to continue to swamp our nation! If we are ever again attacked by Islamic terrorists (and we probably will be) it will be as a result of permission granted by The Elite, whether granted officially but on the q.t., or granted by simply looking the other way. If the terrorists REALLY represented the threat to us that our government wants us to believe they do, then you can be certain that George W(ish I had a brain) Bush and the rest of his crafty cronies would have securely sealed the Mexican/American border on September 12, 2001.
The following article appears in the current issue of The New American magazine, and I am urging everyone within the sound of my voice or within view of my words to send a Christmas card to Jose and to Ignacio. Let’s let them know that they have not been forgotten this Christmas and that some of us out here are aware of what that phony “Christian,” straw-headed Scarecrow president has permitted his evildoing administration to do to them.
BORDER PATROL AGENTS STILL IN PRISON
By Alex Newman
Unjustly imprisoned Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos lost their final appeal for a new trial in July. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed only an obstruction of justice count against the men, leaving their 11- and 12-year sentences unchanged.
The agents were charged with a variety of crimes related to an incident at the border with a convicted drug-smuggler who they thought was going to shoot them. The illegal alien, who was smuggling over 700 pounds of marijuana at the time of the incident, was given immunity and a visa so he could testify against the agents, though the jury was barred from learning a lot of this crucial information in what critics are calling a "miscarriage of justice."
"Before we heard about the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, we had a glimmer of hope that Nacho [Ignacio] would be reunited with our family," wrote Monica Ramos in a letter to supporters. "You can only imagine how hard it was for my husband to hear the news from me. He immediately started to cry." Spokesman Ron De Jong of the conservative organization Grassfire said that Patty Compean is concerned that her husband might not ever get to know his children. "He's missed first steps, a first dance — these kinds of things," De Jong said. "So we're trying to keep these guys in the spotlight, even though the major media has obviously moved on."
Their only hope for early release now is either a presidential pardon or the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has still not agreed to hear the case.
But activists and supporters have not given up hope. In fact, Riders Against Illegal Aliens cosponsored a benefit and awareness ride in Arizona on October 4 to help raise money for the families of Ramos and Compean. Many supporters of the Border Patrol agents were in attendance, including T.J. Bonner, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, who said, "Bush pretends there's a procedure that needs to be gone through [to release the officers], that's not true. He proved that with Scooter Libby. All he has to do is pick up a pen and commute their sentences." Representative Russell Pearce was also present, saying, "I will not rest until there is justice for these two men."
Ramos, who is being held at a federal detention facility in Phoenix, Arizona, and Compean, who is jailed in Ohio, are reportedly being held in solitary confinement for their own protection, with Ramos' wife saying that they were stuck in their cells 23 hours a day and only given the opportunity to shower three times per week. Ramos has been beaten severely while in prison. But despite the hardships, Ramos said in a letter that his faith is still strong and that the thousands of letters from supporters were lifting his spirits. A petition to President Bush for the pardon and release of the agents now has over 400,000 signatures.
Prosecutor John Sutton continues to defend the prosecution of the officers despite coming under fire from across the spectrum. Legislators and supporters of the agents also claim that the charge of discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime, which carries a 10-year mandatory minimum, was never meant to apply to law-enforcement officers when in self-defense they fire at a suspect who they believe is pointing a gun at them. As of now it looks like they will be forced to serve their entire sentences.
To let them know that they are not forgotten, send letters to:
Ignacio Ramos #58079-180
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086
Jose Compean #58080-180
PO Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432
* For more information about this case, see our Feb. 19, 2007 cover story "Punished for Doing Their Job."
Please, my brothers and sisters, don’t forget Jose and Ignacio this Christmas!
I am including other articles and links below for those who wish to investigate this issue further.
Bless And Be Blessed!
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
BORDER AGENT’S FAMILY WAITS, WORRIES
By Sara A. Carter / 2006
EL PASO, Texas -- Virginia Orwig stood in the kitchen, preparing homemade apple and cherry pies. With each turn of the crust, tears fell from her eyes.
Cooking is her therapy.
She was baking for her son, Border Patrol Agent Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos, and his family. It might be more than 10 years, even as many as 20, before she bakes for him again, and before the family reunites.
Ramos and his co-worker, Jose Alonso Compean, are to be sentenced Thursday for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican national, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who allegedly was trying to smuggle nearly $1 million in marijuana into the United States on Feb. 17, 2005, when he was shot.
For more than 20 months, the families of the two El Paso Border Patrol agents have been struggling to cope with what they believe was an unjust prosecution and conviction. Both men have proclaimed their innocence.
Ramos' family is numb. At Orwig's home Tuesday, their faces were somber from worry and lack of sleep.
Orwig shuffled through stacks of letters she had written to local, state and federal leaders, pleading for her son's life. Many yielded only canned responses. She also made more than 50 phone calls to her local congressman, Sylvester Reyes, R-El Paso, and never got a return call.
Photos of better times hang from the walls of the home, almost mocking the family with memories of times when life was simpler and sweeter.
Orwig smiled at pictures of Nacho when he was in elementary school. Then she shook her head in disbelief, and held her husband Wes -- Ignacio's stepfather -- close.
Just then, Ramos' three children came through the front door, their voices carrying from the downstairs to the upstairs kitchen.
"My biggest concern is for the children," said Orwig of her grandsons -- 6, 9 and 13 -- as she continued to bake pies. The house was filling up with family.
"What is left of their childhood?" Orwig cried. "Can you imagine what my son must feel, knowing that he will not be around them to watch them grow up, to share their lives together?
"What has happened to us is more than an injustice. It is a nightmare."
Just then, Ignacio Ramos walked through his mother's front door. He walked up to the kitchen, saw his mother baking pies, and hugged her.
"It will be OK," he said.
His wife, Monica Ramos, came in shortly after.
It was Tuesday. Only two days left before the sentencing. For everyone close to Ignacio, it was as though death was waiting around the corner.
The kitchen fell quiet.
'WE'RE STILL HERE'
Ignacio Ramos relived the day when he went to help his co-worker, Compean, pursue a vehicle that had tripped Border Patrol sensors near the Rio Grande in Fabens, Texas, just 40 miles southwest of El Paso.
Ramos doesn't second-guess himself about leaving his lunch behind to help Compean when the call came through on his radio. Ramos said he had no choice but to protect his partner and himself from Aldrete-Davila, who had what Ramos believed to be a weapon in his hand after ditching the van filled with marijuana.
During the ensuing foot pursuit, as the smuggler reached the Rio Grande, Ramos said Aldrete-Davila turned and pointed what Ramos believed to be a weapon at him. Ramos fired one shot. He hit Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks, but the smuggler made his way back into Mexico and fled in a van on the other side.
"No matter how hard this has been, no matter what anybody has said or thought, we are still here," said Ramos, looking at his wife. "Nobody's thoughts or ideas about that day have torn us apart as a family. Nobody will ever break us -- we're still here."
Ramos remembers seeing Compean on the ground after a scuffle with the smuggler. He didn't know if Compean was injured. Ramos' first thought when the smuggler turned to him was of his wife and three young sons. He shot at the smuggler to save his life and his partner's, he said.
What he couldn't have known is how that day would change the rest of his life, and his family's. And what he doesn't understand is why the Texas U.S. Attorney's office was so adamant about prosecuting him, and why the U.S. government went to such lengths to grant immunity to a drug smuggler to testify against him.
In the past few weeks, Ramos has not slept more than a few hours every night. The lack of sleep is evident on his face, where heavy lines are visible.
His heart is breaking, he said.
He can't look at his children without feeling a flood of tears well in his eyes. His voice becomes choked.
"I know I'm going to have to talk to them soon," he said. "The boys know what's going on, but I don't have it in my heart to look at them and tell them. I have to tell them that now they'll only have each other."
For Monica Ramos, the emptiness has been almost unbearable. Her love for her husband is evident in the way she looks into his eyes and touches his hand.
For months, they haven't even had an hour alone, she said. The children have become so dependent on them that even staying at their grandparents' for the night has ended. Their 9-year-old -- whose name and the names of his brothers is being withheld to protect their identities -- broke down in tears after football practice last week and asked his mother: "Are they really going to take Daddy away? I don't want Daddy going to prison."
"Our son is withdrawing," Monica Ramos said. "He's becoming very quiet. We try to stay as positive as we can around them. But they know that time is drawing near. Nobody can understand the pain we are feeling as a family."
Monica now is the sole provider for her family. They have almost lost their home on several occasions, they no longer have medical insurance, and most of the money raised for them will go to attorneys when they appeal the case on Thursday.
Their families have helped keep them afloat. Joe and Ernestina Loya have taken loans against their home and stopped plans for retirement to provide for their daughter and grandchildren. Ramos' mother quit her job at Raytheon Corp. to help her son with the children. Times have never been tighter for the families.
"This is almost worse than a family death," said Ernestina Loya as she stood next to Orwig in the kitchen. "In death there is closure. This is more like torture, to take innocent men and condemn them for doing their jobs."
Threats from associates of Aldrete-Davila have left the Ramoses fearful for their children's safety. The El Paso Sheriff's Department has had deputies monitoring the Ramos home since the threats came by e-mail and phone.
'IT DOESN'T SEEM REAL'
The wind howled Tuesday afternoon, its force almost frightening, the feeling of winter hanging in the air.
Ramos can barely stand to think of the upcoming holidays. He's already told his wife what he would like to give the children if they can manage to scrape up the money, he said.
"I didn't want them to wake up Christmas morning without anything personal from me," he said. "It doesn't seem real. Everything feels like it's slipping from my hands."
His closest cousin, Peter Valdez of Austin, drove to El Paso this week to be with Ramos. Valdez said his biggest concern is for Ramos himself.
"I really feel that the government has made him a scapegoat for a dysfunctional system," Valdez said. "They have ruined his life.
"But my concern is mainly for Nacho right now. ... I fear for my cousin's safety if he goes to prison. I fear for his safety even if he doesn't go. He is dealing with very powerful criminal forces -- and how will his life ever go back to being what it was?"
Ignacio and Monica understand this as well. They have already written their wills, fixed power of attorney papers and spent months transferring documents into Monica's name.
And although what has happened to them doesn't seem real, their love for each other is unquestionable.
In Orwig's kitchen, they looked into each other's eyes, not saying a word. Their eyes did not move. Each was transfixed, as though appreciating a special gift.
Then Ignacio, Monica's hand in his, smiled.
"I was never willing to sign my life away for anything," he said. "There is nothing they can do to tear this family apart. We have not given up, and we will never give up.
"My children and my wife will always know in their hearts that I did the right thing."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
SENTENCING LOOMS FOR AGENTS, JURORS SAY THEY WERE MISLED
By Louie Gilot of El Paso Times / 2006
Three members of the jury that convicted two former El Paso Border Patrol agents of shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks last year said they were misled into finding them guilty, according to a motion filed late Tuesday, two days before the agents are to be sentenced.Mary Stillinger, the lawyer for one of the agents, Ignacio Ramos, thought the jurors’ statements should be grounds for setting the verdict aside and ordering a new trial for Ramos and fellow agent Jose Alonso Compean.
The men are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and face a 10-year mandatory sentence.
It was not known Tuesday night whether U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone would consider the motion for a new trial before the sentencing. Officials of the U.S. attorney’s office said they had not reviewed the new motion and could not comment on it.The three jurors, identified in court documents as Robert Gourley, Claudia Torres and Edine Woods, said they voted not guilty almost to the end of two days of deliberations.
“I did not think the defendants were guilty of the assaults and civil rights violations,” Woods wrote in a sworn affidavit.Compean and Ramos were found guilty of assault with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, a civil-rights charge and obstruction of justice in the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila near Fabens.
Stillinger said she saw some jurors crying after the guilty verdict and later got in touch with them.
Gourley, a Northeast special- education teacher, and Torres said in affidavits that the foreman of the jury told them that Judge Cardone would not accept a hung jury. And Woods said an affidavit that she heard the same statement but could not remember which juror said it.
“Essentially … they conceded their votes, believing that they did not have the option to stick to their guns and prevent a unanimous verdict,” Stillinger wrote in the motion.
Gourley said that he thought the foreman was relating something he heard directly from the judge, and when he found no mention on hung juries in the court’s printed instructions, “I had no reason to doubt the foreman,” he said in the affidavit.
After the trial, Gourley told reporters that he felt pressured by other jurors who wanted to resume their normal lives after more than two weeks of trial. He also said he thought 10 years in prison was a grossly inappropriate punishment for the agents.
“Had we had the option of a hung jury, I truly believe the outcome may have been different,” he said in the affidavit.
Flores said in her affidavit that she believed the foreman because, “he was very experienced in serving on juries. I felt like he knew something about the judge that we did not know. I did not think that Mr. Ramos or Mr. Compean was guilty of the assaults and civil rights violations.”
The third juror, Woods, wrote in an affidavit, “I don’t remember exactly what it was that made me change my vote to guilty on these charges, but I know I was very influenced by my belief, based on the other juror’s statement, that we could not have a hung jury. I think I might not have changed my vote to guilty if I had known that was an option.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
DEMORALIZING THE BORDER PATROL
By William F. Jasper for The New American Magazine; Oct. 15, 2007
On October 19, 2006, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were sentenced to prison terms of 11 and 12 years, respectively. Their alleged crime? They wounded a Mexican drug smuggler who was fleeing back into Mexico following a hot pursuit and a scuffle with agent Compean. According to the agents, the smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, turned and pointed at them as though intending to shoot. The agents were not aware that any of their shots had struck Aldrete-Davila, as he made it back across the border and was picked up by his drug-cartel associates, apparently unhurt.
That might have been the last of the episode – EXCEPT that the Mexican government learned of the shooting and demanded that the U.S. government punish agents Ramos and Compean for doing their jobs. That was not shocking, in light of Mexico’s increasingly bellicose interference in our border and immigration policies. What WAS shocking was the incredible lengths to which the U.S. government went to accommodate Mexico’s outrageous demands. U.S. prosecutors gave the drug smuggler full immunity and made him their star witness, even though he subsequently was apprehended in ANOTHER drug-smuggling operation while enjoying immunity from prosecution. The prosecutors withheld that and other important information from jurors and the defense team, while conducting an ongoing defamation campaign against the agents, lying to Congress, and stonewalling congressional requests for information about the troubling case.
The same U.S. prosecutors engaged in similar misconduct when they prosecuted Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Gilmer Hernandez for wounding an illegal alien in an incident in which a smuggler was trying to run him down with a vehicle. Documents released earlier this year show that the United States initiated the prosecution of Hernandez at the behest of Mexico. “Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing,” said Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), noting it is “outrageous… that our government is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government.” He says there is reason to believe the Mexican government also prompted the Ramos-Compean prosecution, but the Bush administration refuses to release requested documents. T.J. Bonner, national president of the Border Patrol agents’ union, said the case shows that “the administration is trying to intimidate front-line agents from doing their job … with trumped-up criminal charges.”
Tragically, the case has had a chilling effect on our Border Patrol agents, and it is one more indication that the administration is just giving lip service to securing our borders while pursuing an open-borders policy.”
Lou Dobbs: TIME TO FREE RAMOS AND COMPEAN / 2007
ETHICS COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST U.S. ATTORNEY IN RAMOS-COMPEAN CASE / June, 2008
BUSH PARDONS 14 AND COMMUTES 2 PRISON SENTENCES (No Mention Of Ramos And Compean)
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Sunday, November 16, 2008
[*From the STMcC Archive: 2007, Nov.]
For most of us, Christmas is a time of giving, feasting, visiting, and recalling joyful memories while getting falling DOWN liquored UP. Who isn’t reminded of that special gift? The first bicycle perhaps, or an electric train, a puppy dog, a urinating baby doll that cries “Change me”, or a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist’s dummy. (That last one was MY favorite childhood present. My least favorite gift was a children’s Bible from my Aunt; it made me cry. But “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus said, “for they shall be comforted.” And I was indeed comforted when I saw what my Brother received from my Aunt: one-piece, pink bunny pajamas.) . . .
“Fa-ra-ra-ra-Ra / ra-ra-ra-Ra”
I frequently post lighthearted “stuffs” on my Blogs because life is just darned serious enough already. But this time I want to take the opportunity to remind us all of the realities that we often tend to lose sight of after that eighth mug of hot buttered rum. Not everyone is celebrating Christ’s birth as pleasantly as we are. The following true story of Christian persecution comes from the book “JESUS FREAKS; VOLUME II” by dc Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs, copyright 2002 by Bethany House Publishers:
Pastor Li De Xian speaks about suffering from experience. The man who said “I will preach until I die” has stuck to his word. Despite continued pressure from the Public Security Bureau (PSB), Pastor Li refuses to miss a service unless he is in prison, or change his message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
During the period of October 2000 to May 2001, he was arrested fifteen times for preaching in his unregistered house church in Guangzhou. He has been arrested so many times during the past two years that he has lost count. During one recent detention, jailers tied his arms and legs together and chained his arms and legs to a bedpost for three days. When they finally released him from this torture, he was forced to work on an assembly line in the prison factory PUTTING BULBS INTO STRINGS OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TO SEND TO AMERICA! He and the others had a quota of between 4 and 5 thousand bulbs a day. … Li has seen imprisoned Christians tortured so badly that their buttocks bled through their clothing. He spent 15 DAYS in prison on this particular occasion.
Yet rather than this experience teaching him to be afraid, it has taught him to be prepared. He travels at all times with a small black duffel bag that he keeps packed with a blanket and a change of clothes – the things he will need for prison whenever he is arrested next. “Arrests will come at any time, but we are not afraid, as we have prepared ourselves, and we have not done any crimes.” Whenever possible he will spend his time in prison reading THE BIBLE, something he manages to smuggle in with amazing regularity.
His wife, Zhao Xia, strongly supports him in this and refuses to worry. “God will take care of him,” she says, “so there is no need to worry.”
“Don’t feel sorry for us,” Zhao Xia says of their lifestyle. “At least we are constantly reminded that we are in a spiritual war. We know for whom we are fighting. We know who the enemy is. And we are fighting. Perhaps we should pray for you Christians outside of China. In your leisure, in your affluence, in your freedom, sometimes you no longer realize that you are in spiritual warfare.”
This Christmastime, as we shop for gifts that express our love to others, let’s keep in mind that China embraces Communism - a failed economic/social system responsible for murdering approximately 100 million human beings worldwide and torturing and starving many millions more. Perhaps we shouldn’t monetarily support nations like China (and others) that deny basic human rights to their citizens.
Now before I ruin Christmas for everyone, pour yourself another eggnog (not you, Rudolph! You’ve clearly had enough nose paint already!) and let me attempt to lighten the atmosphere with a few genuine responses that boys ’n’ girls gave to Art Linkletter on his 1950s TV show House Party. These come from the book “KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS”:
Q: Where did you get that scratched nose? Have an accident?
A: It was nothing much. I fell out of the Christmas tree.
Q: Have you written Santa Claus?
A: I’d better whisper in your ear or I’m going to
spoil Christmas for these other kids.
Q: Did you see Santa this year?
A: See him? I fixed him a bourbon and water.
OK, last and least, if you’re interested, feel free to visit my Ghost Of Christmas Reviews Past at Amazon.com by clicking on the linked titles below. These are some Yuletide reviews I previously wrote which prove I haven’t always been an Ebenezer Grinch.
My review for the compact disc
The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection
"Attention! This E-Mail Just In From THE NORTH POLE."
My review for the classical compact disc
The Best of Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride
"BARKING DOGS, WALTZING CATS, AND A RIDE WITH ROCCO!"
My review for the book
It's a Wonderful Christmas: The Best of the Holidays 1940-1965
"Take McQUARTHY'S QUIZMAS QUIZ..."
(Do take the test and learn how little you really know about the Christmas holiday!)
So? . . .
Have you been naughty or nice?
Nice is alright but lacks some of the spice.
Naughty’s heavy on spice but comes at a price.
The price of naughty can be a lot of thrown rice.
Might ah suggest you should maybe—
Ah say, You should maybe think twice.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
POSTSCRIPT: My friend The Flying Aardvark wrote the following:
"Please don't forget to include that WONDERFUL holiday story you sent as a Christmas card to me last year. It was about the correspondence you received from your incarcerated pen pal. That was such an amazing, lump in the throat tale."
So, by special request, here it is:
My Amazon.com 'So You'd Like To' guide titled,
See IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE Come To Life! (A REAL Xmas Miracle)
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"the lesser of two evils"?
Just thought I'd ask.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
<"As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11>
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Saturday, November 8, 2008
Bail out the losses in IRAs, 401(k)s
Let’s have the ultimate bailout this year.
Give all of the people who lost money in their IRA and 401(k) accounts a check to cover the losses. Make it tax-free.
The letter was signed by a man in Phoenix (I’ll call him “Brainless In Phoenix”).
Now anyone with the I.Q. of even a wiener dog can see what’s wrong with this idea. Where does Brainless In Phoenix propose “they” get the money to cover the cost of this check? Does he think “they” should borrow it? In which case it will eventually need to be paid back… with interest. And when payback time comes, where are we supposed to find the money to cover it then?
Or perhaps Brainless In Phoenix thinks “they” should just have The Federal Reserve print the money. Well, if so, we’d still be borrowing it from them, and you DO know what happens to the value of each dollar in your purse or wallet every time The Fed runs its printing presses, don’t you? It’s called “inflation” and it’s a tax on YOU!
In the long-run, ultimately, the cost of the check “they” write will be extracted from the taxpayers – including the very same taxpayers who will be receiving money to cover their IRA and 401(k) losses. That’s like a pickpocket stealing money from you with his right hand while returning the money he stole from you yesterday with his left hand.
The proposal is so stupid that my brother, Napoleon, thinks Brainless In Phoenix was being facetious. Hmmm… maybe, but I have some doubts. I mean, I don’t call this state Airheadzona for nuttin’.
Case in point…
My buddy at work, The Great L.C., said he was watching one of the local stations on election night (possibly channel 3, but he wasn’t certain) when he saw some female political commentator for the station say how proud she was to be living in the first country to elect an African-American to lead it.
She’s right in one respect: We are indeed the first country to elect an African-American to lead it, but as The Great L.C. remarked, “Did she think that Canada might beat us to it? We were also the first country to elect an Irish-AMERICAN.”
Now granted, Airheadzona is well below the national state average in “The Smarts Department”, but even so, ask yourself: “With so many people like these out there voting, is it any wonder the country is in the shape it is?”
Please vote for me for president in 2012 and make me the first “Wisenheimer-American” elected to lead a country! I promise to put Coca-Cola in all of America's drinking fountains!
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008
“YOU THE PEOPLE” have spoken and you’ve chosen for your new “Fearless Leader” the outright Marxist, Obama-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong, over the semi-secret Socialist, John McNeocon. All of those knives that McCain stabbed into the back of true conservatism as well as into the butt of his own pseudo-“conservative” political party through the years have returned to pierce his own heart. The Chicken McNuggets have come home to roost.
[Good riddance, John McNeocon, good riddance! Because I am a Constitutionalist (i.e., a REAL conservative), you couldn’t even win my vote here in your own state of Airheadzona.]
The 2008 presidential race reminded me of a great, old Far Side cartoon: There’s a man standing at the entrance to Hell, struggling to decide which of two doors to walk through. One door is marked “Damned if you do” and the other “Damned if you don’t.” The devil stands at the man’s back, jabbing a pitchfork into him and saying, “C’mon, c’mon – it’s either one or the other.” That was America’s presidential race this year – you were damned if you voted for McCain and damned if you didn’t. A slight variation on the Hobson’s choice.
As I wrote to a friend of mine the night before the election, regardless of which candidate was going to win on November 4th, it was destined to be a sad day for America but a “Red-letter day” for Socialism.
However, in speaking to my friend, The Great L.C., at work last night, I mentioned to him that it suddenly occurs to me that the vast majority of Americans have been so damned dumbed-down by the education system, the politicians, and the media, that they really don’t understand that Socialism is the antithesis of what the Founding Fathers of this country planned and created for us. Americans have become so accustomed to hearing the word “Socialism” that it no longer raises one’s hackles like it should and once did; the word feels so soft and gentle in the mouth and rolls off the tongue wrapped in such warm fuzz (much like “Charmin” sounds nicer and is more appealing than the term “toilet paper”) that it has no effect on the American Mind. The word “Marxism”, on the other hand, still leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth (at least for those who never spent more than ten minutes captive in a United States college). We traditional conservatives have got to stop sugarcoating this dire predicament with kinder, gentler words like Liberalism and Socialism.
I told L.C. last night that seeing as how, for all intents and purposes, Marxism and Socialism are ideological sisters and there is almost no difference between them worth mentioning*, that hereafter, no one will find me using the word Socialism. From now on, I will be calling a spade a spade, a Red a Red, a Socialist a Marxist.
(*other than the fact that, because of the power-mad heart of man, Marxism has never gotten beyond its Communist dictator phase. )
For those of you who have been damned dumbed-down by your college professors, your Time magazine articles, and your Democrat or Republican Marxists of choice, I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page here as I open this book to a new chapter. To that end, let me remind you of what the ten essential planks of Marxism are – just in case you don’t know any more about The Communist Manifesto than you know about the U.S. Constitution:
#1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
#2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
#3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
#4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
#5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. [Can you say “Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the nationalization of the banking industry”?]
#6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
#7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
#8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
#9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of population over the country.
#10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.
~ THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO by Karl Marx (1848); section II, “Proletarians and Communists”
If you have any question about whether or not this is generally the governmental territory in which the American Republic now resides, then make certain you click on this link and read Mark Schmidt's analysis: Marxism, American Style
Hokey-Smoky, Dopey, doesn’t that sound dangerously close to America 2008? Hmmm?
“Wait a minute, Stephen! Do you mean to say that Socialism is basically Marxism and that the United States is well on its way to institutionalizing all of the primary principles of The Communist Manifesto?”
Yup, that’s what I’m tellin’ ya, College-Degree-Boy. You a smart one! And make NO mistake about THIS:
The United States is not becoming a Marxist nation because it has tried Constitutional government and found it unworkable or detrimental to the well-being of the People. Oh, NO, sir! The United States is becoming a Marxist nation because we haven’t adhered to even the most fundamental of Constitutional principles in about 100 years. (Few people alive today can even imagine what a Constitutional American Republic might look like.) We are becoming Marxists because we unwittingly continue to elect Marxist presidents, senators, and congressmen; we are conditioned by a Marxist media 24/7 and by Marxist teachers and professors throughout our structured school life; and when these anti-American forces steer us away from the U.S. Constitution and toward The Communist Manifesto, the Americonned People can’t recognize the difference because they are not near sufficiently versed in their country’s founding documents. We The People are pathetically uneducated in The American Way!
And in a country where The People elect their own leaders, ultimately the citizenry bears full responsibility for the spiritual, social, and economic condition of its nation. We The People are our own worst enemy. We can’t expect Marxists to promote anything but Marxism, but we ought to be able to expect that The People would discontinue listening to them and electing them, for crying out loud!
A Liberal is a Socialist is a Marxist. And so is a Neoconservative. The Neoconservative is a Trotskyite, the Liberal is a Stalinist, and both are Marxists. Comprende, Comrade?
From this day forward, you can expect me to stop using the “Charmin” word and begin using – exclusively – the “toilet paper” term: Socialism goes Marxism. How ya like them (RED) apples?
My prayer for this nation today, which yesterday elected an unabashed Marxist to lead it, somewhat echoes the prayer said long ago by America’s future King: God, forgive them, one more time, for they do not know what they do.
OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, on a lighter note…..
QUACKIN’ PNEUMONIA AND THE MORNING AFTER (Black &) BLUES:
There’s this buddy of mine, a cool dude who goes by the pseudonym WARRIOR POET – that’s a reference to the Old Testament’s King David. Now Ol’ WP is really disgusted with the lies, the deception, and the manipulation of the political process, and he became so dog-tired by this long presidential campaign that he told me he was disinclined to participate.
While I certainly could relate to what my friend Warrior Poet was feeling, I also believe that it is not just our right, but our obligation or responsibility as citizens of this country, to voice our opinions in the elections. So, over the last couple of weeks, I attempted to convince WP that he should vote for someone… anyone (well, maybe not one of those two Marxists who were getting all the headlines). It seemed that I was unconvincing, but to my small surprise, early on the morning of Tuesday, November 4th, an e-mail came to me from Warrior Poet, and in the subject line he’d written, “I DID IT.”
Now what you need to know about Warrior Poet is that he is a forty-something year-old Black man living in Connecticut. (But let me assure you, he was definitely NOT one of those Black Panthers camped out in front of a Philadelphia polling place yesterday attempting to intimidate McCain voters!) Here is what my friend wrote to me:
It's 9:30 am here on the East Coast where I reside in my solidly "Blue State" and I'm just dropping you a line letting you know that I have already voted. For who you ask? That information will stay with me, and me only. The church where I vote is practically next door to me and surprisingly there wasn't much of a line. I was in and out in 10 minutes.
I got your email and will respond when time permits, but I figured I'd put your patriotic mind at ease. : )
Funny sidebar. I'm a watcher, an observer, I walk slowly and try to "take life in" you know what I'm sayin? Anyway, as I was making my way to the polls I found it hilarious that each "Obama campaigner" smiled at me and patted me on the back, handed me some literature (a few of the black ones said "let's do this brotha" and "it's our time"), meanwhile not one of the "McCain people" even looked me in the eye. Seems everyone just knew who I was voting for. Gee, I wonder why that was?
I replied in part:
Now that IS funny! Too bad you don't do any Blogging because that would make a good Blog Bit.
>>[I have already voted. For who you ask? That information will stay with me, and me only.]<<
That's fair enough.
.So, who'd you vote for?
.I'll tell you who I'm going to vote for (in about 30 minutes from now) if you tell me who you voted for.
I'm just kidding, ya, man. You can keep it quiet if you feel you should. Besides, I'm guessing "Jesus" but hoping "Ron Paul." I'm sure, anyhow, that you didn't vote for the Marxist or the Socialist, and that pleases me enough.
Warrior Poet gave me my last good chuckle of the day when he came back with this:
Ok, I wrote in Daffy Duck. He was always my favorite, and I think he can bring profound change to our desperate nation. Plus I figure we're gonna have a Looney Tune in office regardless who wins. It might as well be one that makes me laugh.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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