watch for the unintended consequences – coming soon – a virus that kills most salmon. The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing genetically engineered or GE salmon, which critics have long called “Frankenfish,” in a move that consumer advocates charge “runs counter to sound science and market demand.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the decision on Friday, more than three years after approving GE salmon as […]
By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO
The complete capitulation of Republicans at the feet of Donald Trump was on full display Wednesday when Michael Cohen testified before Congress.
Cohen, as everyone knows, was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and admitted “fixer” for over 10 years before he was charged last year with various crimes, including tax evasion, violating campaign finance laws, and lying to Congress during his previous testimony.
He has admitted he negotiated hush money payments to two women that claim to have had affairs with the married Trump before he was President but in an attempt to protect Trump during the campaign.
Cohen plead guilty and will serve up to three years for his crimes, but during the past several months has met seven times with the prosecutors as part of his sentencing agreement to provide testimony and evidence in on-going investigations.
When Cohen testified before Congress last year, he stated that he worked on developing a Trump Tower project in Moscow between 2014 and 2016. At the time, Cohen testified that they ended those discussions early in 2016 before Trump won the primaries and later the presidency.
Cohen’s testimony was in line with various statements made by Donald Trump, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Donald Trump, Jr. that the project was abandoned before the election.
Later, when confronted with evidence by the Special Counsel, Cohen admitted that negotiations on the Moscow project continued through the end of 2016, right up to Trump’s election as President.
Even Trump and his TV attorney Rudy Giuliani have now had to admitted the Moscow project was still active throughout 2016, during the time that Russians were interfering with the election and obviously helping Trump by hurting Hillary Clinton.
Cohen agreed to testify before Congress this week to provide more details on his experiences with Trump over 10 years of working closely with him. During his testimony, Cohen provided financial documents from the Trump Organization, as well as a check from Trump’s personal account and signed by Trump himself in 2017 as part of the reimbursement to Cohen for the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.
Under Cohen’s sentencing agreement, he must continue to cooperate with prosecutors on various continuing investigations, and, of course, he cannot lie to them without facing additional penalties.
During his testimony under oath and under penalty of perjury, Cohen admitted he had previously lied to Congress in order to protect Trump and that Trump’s lawyers had reviewed and approved his written testimony before he gave it.
Democrats asked Cohen about his interactions with Trump on the hush money payments, and Cohen answered that Trump knew about and directed him to make the payments, directly contradicting what Trump has said publicly.
Several questions and answers centered on fraudulent financial statements Trump’s company provided to banks, as well as Trump purposely understating the value of his properties to illegally reduce his tax payments.
But, every time Republican committee members addressed Cohen, they spent their entire time attacking him and calling him a liar. They directly dismissed Cohen as an unreliable witness because he previously lied to Congress, with one of the Republicans even using the children’s rhyme, “liar, liar, pants on fire!”
They are right; Cohen lied to Congress during his first testimony.
But what did he lie about?
Cohen is guilty of lying to align his testimony with what Donald Trump was saying publicly. He lied to protect Trump. He lied in loyalty to Trump. He lied about lies.
It has now become clear that everyone related to the Trump Moscow project lied, including Donald Trump himself.
Why didn’t any of those people complain when Cohen lied to Congress last year if what he was saying was a lie? It’s clear his lies helped Trump and were even approved by Trump’s lawyers.
This week, as Cohen sat before Congress, he knew exactly what the prosecutors of the Special Counsel and Southern District of New York know and can prove. He knew he could not lie anymore or he would face further prosecution.
Cohen, a hugely flawed man, filed false tax returns and lied to banks for his own financial gain and those crimes were not committed for Trump’s benefit. That’s undisputed.
But Cohen was also convicted of violating elections laws by hiding hush money payments to the two women claiming affairs with Trump. Those clearly were not for Cohen’s personal and financial gain, but for Trump’s benefit. Cohen can prove he was reimbursed by Trump for those payments, and that’s illegal.
Cohen has been convicted for the illegal campaign contributions but Trump has not, even though he was the organizer and beneficiary of them.
Cohen has lied, but, contrary to what Republicans implied this week, Cohen’s testimony was not the first time that a known liar or felon swore to tell the truth before a Congressional committee.
In June 1973, White House Chief of Staff John Dean testified before the Senate Watergate Committee and explained his involvement in providing hush money payments to the Watergate burglars, exposed President Nixon’s “enemies list”, and disclosed private conversations with the President.
Just two months later, Dean was sentenced to up to four years in prison for his crimes. The next year, Nixon was forced to resigned from the Presidency. He was a liar turned witness.
In 1963, Joseph Valachi, a hitman for the Genovese crime family, testified before a Senate committee investigating organized crime.
Although he was a known mafia soldier, Valachi helped expose the organization and inter-workings of the mob that led to the prosecution of several mafia leaders, and he is even credited with popularizing the term “Cosa Nostra”. The mafia called him a “rat” for testifying. (Ironically, Donald Trump has called Cohen a rat for testifying, too.)
And nearly every criminal prosecution of drug dealers, gang members, and mobsters rely on the testimony of criminals, felons, and even murderers. Without the information provided by insiders, or rats as they’re called by the bigger crooks, many more criminals would not have been brought to justice.
Michael Cohen committed financial crimes and tax evasion. His conduct in support of Donald Trump was also illegal. He will report to prison on May 6 to serve up to three years to pay his debt to society.
But Cohen’s testimony this week shouldn’t be dismissed outright just because of his precious bad acts.
Under his conviction and cooperation agreement, Cohen is very tightly monitored by federal prosecutors. Any crimes, perjury, or lies before Congress would only lead to more time in prison, and more personal and financial damage.
So Cohen has no reason to lie to Congress, and instead, a tremendous amount to lose in doing so.
Republicans in Congress squandered their opportunity to try to get to the truth because they were too worried about who would be damaged by the revelations. They have again failed to exercise their independent authority as a check on the Executive Branch. They put party before country.
Congressional Republicans chose to run interference for Trump, and did his dirty work by attacking Cohen in an attempt to discredit him and further protect the President.
Not one asked questions that would or could get to the truth. They sacrificed themselves at the altar of Donald Trump with the same kind of blind loyalty that Cohen himself once practiced.
Those members of Congress should consider what that sort of blind loyalty led Cohen to do for a man that has never reciprocated loyalty to others.
House Republicans had a chance to set partisan politics aside in furtherance of the truth, but instead they expect the public to believe that the little guy who lied to protect his boss is the real bad guy.
Cohen threw away his career and soon his freedom because of his loyalty to Trump, but he may very well not be the last.
By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO
Our nation has serious crises that lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of people each year.
Innocent people are dying and we’re not doing enough to help prevent those deaths.
30,000 killed each year by guns. 45,000 die by suicide. 72,000 overdose on opioids.
Americans are dying in increasing numbers each year yet there is no presidential declaration of an emergency in any of those cases.
During last week’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump instead focused his attention on fighting illegal immigration with his long-promised border wall, falsely claiming that tens of thousands of Americans have died at the hands of undocumented immigrants.
For weeks, Trump has decried a national emergency at the border, and has alarmed people by claiming that 63,000 Americans have been killed by undocumented immigrants since the September 11th terrorist attacking in 2001.
That dubious claim has been debunked by various groups that study homicide statistics but that clearly doesn’t stop the President from repeating it. There is no evidence of any such number of deaths attributed to undocumented immigrants.
The best estimate of such crimes comes from a Cato Institute study released last year that reviewed homicides in Texas in 2015. Of 951 convictions, 93% were committed by US-born assailants, 1.6% were committed by legal immigrants, and 5.3%, or 51, were committed by people in the country illegally.
Yes, that’s 51 too many, but we must look at them in context.
During the same period, 3,776 people died by suicide in Texas, 3,356 people died from gun related deaths, and 2,979 people overdosed. Where’s the outcry about those deaths.
When compared to homicides by undocumented immigrants, Texans were 74 times more likely to die from a gunshot, 65 times more likely to commit suicide, or 58 times more likely to overdose than to be killed by someone in the country illegally.
And of those people in the country illegally, most arrived legally on visas or passports and simply overstayed their legal visit, not by running across an unprotected border, so a border wall or fence would not have stopped them anyway.
Illegal border crossings at near historic lows. Since 1971, we have had more than 15 years with more illegal crossings that this past year.
So what’s the crisis at the border?
The “crisis” is manmade, engineered by Trump to create a powerful political issue. It’s true that caravans of migrants have and continue to make their way toward our border, but that’s been happening for years. And when they arrive, some seek asylum through the legal process, some return home, and some do attempt to cross the border illegally.
But that’s not a crisis, it’s reality of living on the border with the world’s wealthiest country aligned next to a still developing nation.
We have border walls, fences, double fences, barbed wire, and over 20,000 Border Patrol agents on the border now, along with military personal deployed by Trump last year.
No doubt, there are issues at the border that can be addressed with more physical barriers, technology, and personnel, but a national emergency it is not. And spending $5 billion and up to $30 billion on a wall, or barrier, or fence, is not the answer.
Immigration, both legal and illegal, must be dealt with in a comprehensive way that will allow families to stay intact, allow young adults and children brought here as minor to have a sensible path to citizenship, and allow employers to continue providing good paying jobs to hard working immigrants that want to achieve their own American dream. That’s real immigration reform.
We should also be unified in attacking the causes of gun violence that kill thousands each year, including children.
We should be addressing the mental health issues that lead thousands each year to take their own lives, including military veterans returning from service.
We should be fighting the epidemic of prescription drug overdoses that is claiming the lives of fathers, mothers, and children that have gotten hooked on drugs that were intended to help heal, not kill.
If President Trump is truly serious about protecting Americans, and he’s willing to shut down the government to get his way, he should be boldly leading us toward an America where we are safe from gun violence, protected from dangerous drugs, and healthy enough to want to live our lives, not take them ourselves.
That would make American great again.
A border fence? No, thanks, we already have that.
Por Manuel Ocaño
El gobernador de California Gavin Newsom anunció el retiro de la mayoría de los soldados de la Guardia Nacional de California que habían sido desplegados en los límites con Baja California, porque, dijo, fueron enviados a la frontera para responder a “una crisis manufacturada por la Casa Blanca”.
“Este es el teatro del absurdo y California ya ha tenido suficiente”, declaró categórico el gobernador en conferencia de prensa en vivo.
Los soldados serán retirados al final de marzo, cuando concluya un acuerdo con el gobierno federal, pro el que el exgobernador Jerry Brown accedió con condiciones al envío de efectivos a la frontera.
Newsom dijo que California mantendrá en la zona fronteriza un centenar de soldados estatales, principalmente en las garitas, para apoyar la búsqueda de contrabando y drogas hacia California y de armas de fuego hacia a México.
Los 260 soldados que serán retirados de la frontera se reincorporan a preparativos ante la siguiente temporada de incendios –que inicia en marzo– y en la “búsqueda de cultivos ilegales de mariguana” ahora que el consumo de mariguana es legal en California pero se tiene que apegar a la ley.
Newsom recordó que hace apenas unos días el presidente Donald Trump ordenó el despliegue de 3,750 soldados adicionales a la frontera con México.
Cuestionó que “¿si van a desplegar 3,750 soldados más, para qué quieren también a la Guardia Nacional?”.
El mayor general David Baldwin, comandante de la Guardia Nacional de California, reiteró que los cien soldados que permanezcan en la frontera tienen prohibido participar en acciones contra migrantes.
“Ellos pueden monitorear y si descubren que alguien cruza la frontera entre garitas, lo informan, porque eso es ilegal, incluso si lo hacen ciudadanos estadunidenses”, aclaró el comandante.
El gobernador Newsom, quien asumió el cargo el pasado primero de enero, dijo que nadie debe de sorprenderse por este tipo de decisiones de su parte, porque en campaña fue bastante claro en sus políticas.
La semana pasada, luego de que falló en conseguir fondos para construir el muro fronterizo con el mayor cierre de gobierno en la historia., el presidente Trump ordenó enviar más soldados a la frontera y declaró que en tanto no se construya el muro que prometió en campaña, los soldados formarían un muro alternativo.
La semana pasada también la gobernadora de Nuevo México, Michelle Luján, anunció que retirará de la frontera a todos los soldados de la Guardia Nacional de este estado.
En apenas la sexta semana de gobierno, esta es la tercera ocasión en que el gobernador contraviene políticas y decisiones del presidente Trump.
Al tomar posesión del cargo el gobernador anunció el primer plan de salud universal en el país y dijo que deberá de cubrir a todos los residentes, incluidos los indocumentados.
La semana pasada el gobernador Newsom vino a San Diego a anunciar un plan para invertir 25 millones de dólares en apoyo a organizaciones que ayudan a los migrantes que buscan asilo.
By Marielena Castellanos
Participants in the Chicano Movement march in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Courtesy photo
An effort to engage students of color in the state’s high schools is underway with a newly proposed state bill to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement across the state.
Assemblymember Jose Medina from Riverside, who is a former high school teacher, along with five other state representatives including San Diego Assembly Member Shirley Weber introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 331 at the state Capitol at the end of last month.
If approved, the bill would require high school students to take an ethnic studies course beginning in the 2023-24 school year. The curriculum would be developed by the Instructional Quality Commission and would be modified or revised by the State Board of Education.
“Knowledge of our history plays a critical role in shaping who we become. When I was growing up, the history of those who look like me was not represented in the classroom. As a former Ethnic Studies teacher, I saw firsthand how much more engaged my students were when they saw themselves reflected in the coursework,” said Assembly Member Medina.
A similar bill, also introduced by Medina, was almost passed last year, but was vetoed by then Governor Jerry Brown.
Governor Brown said some school districts already required ethnic studies and that he was reluctant to implement another requirement in fear of overburdening high school students, as his reasons for opposing the bill.
The Mercury News reported last August that a pilot program was passed instead, allowing a small number of school districts to choose to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement. The schools will apply for the program this year and are expected to report their findings in 2024.
Governor Brown did approve legislation back in 2016 to develop an ethnic studies curriculum for high schools in the state, but it is not a requirement.
Last year, students of color made over half of the state’s 6.2 million population enrolled in public schools. More than two million of those students speak a language other than English in their homes.
“At a time when the national climate drives divisiveness and fear of otherness, Ethnic Studies can play a critical role in increasing awareness and understanding,” Assemblymember Medina also said. He added, “California is one of the most diverse states in the country and we should celebrate that diversity by teaching a curriculum that is inclusive of all of our cultures and backgrounds.”
A recent review of research on ethnic studies programs and curricula commissioned by the National Education Association (NEA) stated ethnic studies grew from a desire to counterbalance both inaccuracies and the predominance of Euro-American perspectives that underlie mainstream curricula and also as a means to engage students of color.
The NEA’s research also found two studies that showed that lessons teaching about racism and successful challenges to it, improve racial attitudes among white children, allowing them to see how racism affects everybody and offering them a vision for addressing it.
Studies have also shown students enrolled in ethnic studies courses do better at school. One study showed attendance increased and grade point averages improved for students within the San Francisco Unified School District who took ethnic studies courses.
The San Diego Unified School District, the second largest in the state, began exploring ways to include ethnic studies courses in its classrooms back in 2015.
“I think that once it becomes a required policy, districts will take it more seriously. The reason why implementing ethnic studies in public schools has been a long and difficult battle is because it challenges the status quo. Ethnic Studies in order to be implemented with fidelity and to be successful is to be part of the main curriculum and not just an elective,” said Guillermo Gomez, a teacher with the San Diego Unified School District, who has been involved with efforts to implement ethnic studies courses in San Diego’s classrooms.
By Mario A. Cortez
Bahia de Los Ángeles, Baja California (Photo / Gonzalo González)
Despite the negative rhetoric regarding Mexicans coming from the White House and news of violence south of the border, the Secretary of Tourism of Baja California reports 2018 as one of its best years on record for the state’s hospitality industry.
“We saw much success this year with 27 million visitors to our state, who brought in an economic input of $6 billion,” highlighted Baja Tourism Secretariat Oscar Escobedo.
According to statistics published by the State, 84 percent of visitors to Baja came from the neighboring U.S. state of California. This relationship lead to a large portion of the 79 million recorded international entries into Baja California being of a recreational nature.
“Geographically, we are divided by a border, but we function as a whole region,” Escobedo emphasized. “Our cultures are intrinsically connected not just through our economies, culture education, and , of course, tourism, but also through blood, as we have family on both sides of the border.”
Of all foreign entries into Baja, 10 percent of these were reported to be for events such a concerts and cultural festivals or to spectate sports such as Club Tijuana soccer matches or Águilas de Mexicali baseball games.
There has also been a surge in the medical tourism niche, which brings international visitors to Baja in search of highly specialized professionals or services at a much lower cost compared to those in the United States. With sights set on capturing a larger part of this market, initiatives promoting the development of patient recovery centers and hotel rooms designed for people requiring care are being worked on.
Escobedo ended his brief conversation with La Prensa San Diego by focusing on the large number of destinations and activities Baja offers.
“We have over 600 cultural events every year. We have the Baja 100 off-road race, the famous Ensenada Carnival, there is sport fishing, cycling, we have Valle of Guadalupe, we have Corazon de Tierra — one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants — and Javier Placencia — Mexico’s best chef. There are hiking routes through the sierras and the Hanson Lagoon which is beautiful,” he shared.
Ever since the German Nazis committed horrendous mass murders of Jews, homosexuals, Roma, and Catholics, many commentators, analysts and scholars have made the mistake of associating “genocide” with “executions and gassing” of people en masse. The originator of the term “genocide” attorney and author Raphael Lemkin’s analysis essentially explains this error when his analysis points […]
Por Marielena Castellanos
Ayuda para los solicitantes de asilo que llegan a California podría estar en camino bajo una propuesta del recién elegido gobernador de California Gavin Newsom.
Bajo su presupuesto propuesto para el año fiscal 2019-2020, se reservarán $ 25 millones para un programa de respuesta rápida basado en la comunidad para organizaciones de primera respuesta sin fines de lucro que ayudan a las familias migrantes que buscan asilo en los Estados Unidos.
Si se aprueba, el lenguaje en el Presupuesto del Estado dice que los fondos estarían disponibles durante un período de tres años para ayudar a las organizaciones comunitarias calificadas y entidades sin fines de lucro a proporcionar servicios durante situaciones de emergencia relacionadas con la inmigración o la trata de personas cuando no hay fondos federales disponibles.
Los fondos también estarían disponibles para apoyar la reorientación del personal a nivel estatal que asiste directamente en los esfuerzos de respuesta. El presupuesto del estado también incluye fondos únicos de $ 5 millones para abordar emergencias relacionadas con la inmigración que se producen durante el año fiscal actual.
“Toda persona que se presente para la protección de asilo en nuestra frontera o puerto de entrada tiene un derecho fundamental a un trato justo y humano. Felicitamos al gobernador Newsom por su determinación de salvaguardar este derecho humano y su propuesta de asignación de fondos de emergencia muy necesarios para enfrentar la crisis en la frontera”, dijo Norma Chávez-Peterson, Directora Ejecutiva de la ACLU de los Condados de San Diego e Imperial.
La propuesta de financiamiento se presenta mientras una nueva caravana de casi 2.000 centroamericanos se dirige a la frontera de los Estados Unidos, menos de tres meses después de que otra caravana con miles de migrantes más llegaron a Tijuana, la mayoría de ellos de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador en busca de escapar la persecución, la violencia y la pobreza.
También se produce cuando un cierre parcial del gobierno continúa a medida que el presidente Trump presiona por $ 5.7 mil millones para financiar un muro fronterizo a lo largo de la frontera de EE. UU. y México.
Se ha informado que los refugios en Tijuana y en San Diego tienen exceso de capacidad, y se cree que miles de migrantes son liberados en las calles de San Diego por el gobierno federal sin alimentos, un lugar donde quedarse o el conocimiento de dónde buscar ayuda.
Las inquietudes sobre estos lanzamientos han generado quejas y pedidos de ayuda de varias organizaciones comunitarias locales que ayudan a los migrantes en los Estados Unidos.
El Los Angeles Times informó esta semana que una gran parte de los fondos estatales podrían venir a una coalición de organizaciones en San Diego como parte de la Red de Respuesta Rápida de San Diego (SDRRN, por sus siglas en inglés), que brinda ayuda a los migrantes en busca de asilo que han sido otorgados entrada legal temporal en los EE.UU. mientras esperan un procedimiento de asilo.
La Red de Respuesta Rápida de San Diego está formada por una serie de organizaciones de derechos humanos, organizaciones de servicio, abogados y líderes comunitarios, como Casa Familiar en San Ysidro, Casa Cornelia Law Center, Catholic Charities de San Diego, San Diego City College, Local 221 de SEIU, el Proyecto de Justicia de Inmigración ABA, el Grupo de Trabajo de Inmigración del Condado Norte y la Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles de los condados de San Diego e Imperial, entre otras organizaciones.
Desde fines de octubre, SDRRN dice que ha servido a más de 5,200 personas, la mayoría de las cuales son familias con niños. Hace apenas dos semanas, dijo que albergaba a 494 solicitantes de asilo.
SDRRN está aplaudiendo la propuesta del Gobernador Newsom, pero dice que también necesita apoyo privado y ha creado una página en línea para donaciones en GoFundMe.com/MigrantReliefSD o sharejourneysd.org/families.
“Con mucho gusto, California volverá a dar el ejemplo con soluciones proactivas a problemas muy reales causados por las políticas de inmigración insensibles y con fallas de la administración Trump. La ACLU espera trabajar con la administración de Newsom y los líderes de la legislatura de California para garantizar el bienestar y la dignidad de las familias migrantes en nuestro estado”, dijo Chávez-Peterson.
The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. went viral online after a group of high school students from Kentucky mocked an indigenous Vietnam War veteran, Nathan Phillips, outside the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18. The incident was indicative of the racial politics in the United States and around the world that devalues indigenous rights and […]
Onondaga Nation, New York – Angela Ferguson opens a door unveiling thousands of jars filled with corn seeds from across Turtle Island. The color and the sheer number of seed varieties washing over the room is overwhelming in and of itself, but it is what these seeds represent that is truly inspiring. Angela Ferguson is […]