August 2010


It appears that the GOP — with the help of the Tea Parties, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Devil — is out to revise the 14th Amendment to the point of meaninglessness. Maybe even write the amendment out of the Constitution itself — if not discard the Constitution completely. And all so that poor foreign newborns, who have never hurt a fly, won’t be awarded with free American citizenship upon first seeing the light of day. Makes you sick, doesn’t it? Continue Reading

By Rowan Scarborough

As U.S. military forces continue to stream out of Iraq, formally ending combat operations on Tuesday, one of the most effective elements of those forces missed the drawdown completely.

There are as many special operations forces in the country now as there were when the exit began last year.

President Obama, who as a U.S. senator opposed a 2007 troop surge and called for withdrawing all troops from Iraq, is set Tuesday to tell the nation that combat missions by Americans are officially over. There are now fewer than 50,000 American troops in Iraq, down from a surge-high of 168,000 in late 2007.

New challenges begin. An Iraqi security force of about 670,000 troops will have to shoulder the brunt of attacking insurgents, while Iraqi politicians seek an elusive deal to form a new parliamentary government.

“In reality, the Iraqis have been doing the majority of the security work for some time now,” Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told PBS last week. “And so I feel very confident that they will be able to continue. There will be ups and downs. There will be bad days, but they will continue to provide adequate security.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki underscored the “bad days” on Sunday, as he put the fledgling democracy on its highest terror-alert level. Stepped-up attacks are expected from al Qaeda and groups still loyal to the Iraqi Ba’ath Party regime of Saddam Hussein to show that government forces cannot contain violence.

“The lack of a government obviously makes people nervous, and it provides some uncertainty,” Gen. Odierno said. “But what I’ve been proud of is the Iraqis’ security forces have remained neutral. They’ve done their job according to the constitution.”

There is wiggle room in the status-of-forces agreement with Baghdad that was worked out in 2008, in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. Pentagon officials expect some U.S. forces to remain, even though the agreement calls for all troops to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

Those holdovers may include some of the 3,000 Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force and other specialized warriors who remain locked in combat.

With regular U.S. ground combat brigades leaving, special forces commandos have become the key to successfully handing over all military duties to the Iraqis 15 months from now.

The commandos train Iraqis to do the jobs of American soldiers. They also make up joint terrorist-hunting units with government troops to rid the country of al Qaeda operatives tied to Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

The U.S. no longer conducts any unilateral operations, said Army Lt. Col. Terry Conder, a spokesman for special operations force units in Iraq.

“There was no reduction of SOF during the drawdown,” Col. Conder said. “The U.S. special operations mission has not changed.”

Special operations troops working in the background have been credited with capturing and killing scores of al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, including the 2006 raid that killed al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi.

The burden is falling not only on special operators. The Iraqis will rely heavily on CIA officers, who will remain for the foreseeable future to help identify and eradicate insurgents.

A big part of the 2007 troop surge was an emphasis on intelligence collection to locate and then kill or capture insurgent leaders.

“Challenges are substantial, and I suspected they will increase,” said Bart Bechtel, a former CIA operations officer in the region.

Mr. Bechtel said that if CIA officers lack protection from the U.S. military, it will be more difficult to find human intelligence sources.

“As we draw down our troops, one effect will be fewer eyes and ears on the ground and out in the countryside,” Mr. Bechtel said. “I fear that [recruited spies and informants] will suffer greatly, if our intel collectors are significantly confined within the Green Zone. Already, there are substantial threats to any asset cooperating with the U.S. Those threats can only increase. Validating intelligence from human sources becomes more difficult if our officers are unable to get out amongst the population obtaining ground truth directly themselves.”

He added that “a great deal will depend on how unstable the country becomes as we withdraw. Increasing instability means less freedom of operating. It is not impossible to operate in very hostile environments, it is just very limiting. I only hope that management [at CIA headquarters] in Langley, Va., and in the field do not become risk-averse to the extent that it is unwilling to do what is needed to succeed in our missions.”

The State Department is taking steps to make sure its contingent of some 5,000 diplomats and staff is protected. It plans to hire more private-security bodyguards to replace its military protectors, in effect creating its own army of protectors.

And there is a second enemy: Iran.

Gen. Odierno said that Iran’s intelligence and special operations agents continue to help insurgent Shiites launch attacks.

“I would just say they continue to be involved in violence specifically directed at U.S. forces, in direct-fire attacks, things like that,” he said. “In some areas where there are some intra-Shia issues, I believe they’re … influencing some action by intimidation. So they are behind this. They are training people. They are supplying people with weapons. They continue to be involved in this.”

John Pike, who directs Globalsecurity.org, said the challenges remain daunting, as they did before the surge.

“Iraq faces pretty much the same challenges post 31 August as it has for the past couple of years,” he said. “Al Qaeda has not been suppressed, corruption is rampant, the political system is deadlocked, Iran has significant political influence, high levels of violence persist, their military remains incapable of either operating without U.S. support or defending the country against external enemies.”

But Baghdad can persevere.

“Belgium’s government is also deadlocked,” Mr. Pike said. “Caracas has violence comparable to Baghdad, and yet the sun still comes up in the east every day. Seriously dysfunctional countries can muddle through somehow, even if they are not attractive vacation destinations.”

By Daniel Martin

Thousands of Eastern European citizens are given council houses every year, leapfrogging millions of Britons languishing for years on waiting lists.

The Daily Mail can reveal that last year some 4,000 homes were allocated to applicants from countries which have recently become part of the European Union, such as Lithuania and Poland.

Thousands more go to other European migrants and others without British citizenship even though the waiting list for social housing stands at 1.8million, with the average wait lasting more than six years.

Better lives: The seven Horvatova children (see Can we have a bigger house? below)
Better lives: The seven Horvatova children (see: Can we have a bigger house? below)

Now the Coalition has pledged to let British people jump the queue. Social housing allocation has previously been entirely ‘needs based’. Councils will now be free to acknowledge ‘local connections’ in their policies.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘It causes a great deal of concern and is very problematic for social cohesion when people find they aren’t provided with any preference when they are actually in the area they have lived in for a very long time.

‘People who have made contributions to the system deserve to benefit from the system.’

The move was welcomed by Edward Lister, the Tory leader of Wandsworth council in South London. He said: ‘We want to give a measure of priority to local residents. It builds stability in the community and keeps families together.’

No fewer than 310,000 council and housing association homes – around one in 12 – are now headed by someone who is not a UK citizen.

Some towns claim they are being overwhelmed by immigration from eastern Europe, putting pressure on hospitals and schools.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: ‘Immigration from Eastern Europe is putting a massive strain on local authorities, especially at a time when everyone is having to cut costs.

‘It helps build up resentment that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

‘It is not the fault of the people who are offered these homes, it is the fault of the system.’

The shortage of social housing has become a hot political issue in recent weeks, with David Cameron suggesting ending the right to council housing for life as a way to make more homes available.

He said it was wrong that tenants should be able to keep state-subsidised homes if they get a well-paid job when others were in need.

Figures seen by the Daily Mail show that in 2008/09, at least 3,350 homes were given to new tenants from countries which have recently joined the European Union.

The figures are collated by the Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales in Social Housing in England, a body funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

But Richard Capie, policy director of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: ‘It is likely that only a small proportion of these are new migrants.

‘Most of these lettings are likely to be to long-standing residents of the UK who have kept their foreign nationalities.’

CAN WE HAVE A BIGGER HOUSE?

Helena Horvatova is grateful for her council house. Her only complaint is that it has just three bedrooms for herself, her husband and their seven children.

The 27-year-old was allocated the property by Peterborough council in March, days after the family arrived from the Czech Republic.

Her 29-year-old husband does not work. Their youngest child, born six months ago, is named Kevin.

‘It is a very British name,’ Mrs Horvatova said. ‘We want him to grow up British.

‘We came to Britain because we wanted a better life for all our children.’

She added: ‘My husband is claiming the Jobseekers’ Allowance. Back in our country he was a school cleaner, but in Peterborough they say there are no vacancies.

‘Our oldest boy has to go to school five miles away. The schools nearby are full of children who came to Peterborough before us.’

At least 10,000 eastern European immigrants have arrived in the city since the EU expanded its borders six years ago.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor, referred to people who wrongly believe Obama is Muslim as “psychopaths” during a fiery sermon Sunday in Arkansas.

In his sermon at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Wright criticized supporters of the Iraq war and defended former state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen for speaking out against it. Griffen serves as the church’s pastor.

Wright’s only reference to Obama came when he compared Griffen’s opponents to those who incorrectly think Obama is Muslim. The president, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama, is Christian.

“Go after the military mindset … and the enemy will come after you with everything,” Wright told the packed church.

“He will surround you with psychopaths who will criticize you and ostracize you and put you beyond the pale of hope and say ‘you ain’t really a Baptist’ and say ‘the president ain’t really a Christian, he’s a Muslim. There ain’t no American Christian with a name like Barack Hussein,'” he added.

A poll released this month found that nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they thought Obama was Muslim, up from the 11 percent in March 2009. The proportion who correctly said he was Christian was 34 percent, down from 48 percent in March of last year. The poll, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, surveyed 3,003 people.

Obama cut ties with Wright in 2008, after Wright’s more incendiary remarks hit the Internet during the presidential election. At a National Press Club appearance in April 2008, Wright claimed the U.S. government could plant AIDS in the black community, praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrahkan and suggested Obama was putting his pastor at arm’s length for political purposes while privately agreeing with him.

Obama denounced Wright as “divisive and destructive” and left Wright’s church in Chicago.

Griffen lost a re-election bid for the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2008, after high profile battles with a state judicial panel over the rights of judges to speak out on political issues. Griffen was elected in May to a judicial post in Pulaski County, the state’s most populous county that includes Little Rock.

Griffen said he invited Wright to speak at his church as part of a monthlong focus on the relationship between faith and the community.

Wright defended Griffen’s outspokenness on political issues, saying it showed he was willing to speak out even if it would cost him politically.

Wright’s sermon focused on the Old Testament story of the prophet Elisha thwarting an attack by the Aramean Army. Wright repeatedly made references to the war in Iraq and suggested parallels with the Biblical story.

“What was his motivation? Elisha had embarrassed him, like Saddam had embarrassed George Herbert Walker,” Wright said, referring to the former president.

Wright spoke as Arkansas Republicans hope to capitalize on Obama’s unpopularity in the fall election. Obama has not visited the state since 2006, and lost its six electoral votes in the 2008 election.

American Patrol Report Comment

Villaraigosa joined with Mexico and killed CA Prop. 187. Obama joined with Mexico to try to stop Arizona’s SB 1070.

Political Correctness has taken over the anchor baby debate. The left is setting up a straw man – illegal aliens only come to the U.S. to give birth to a U.S. citizen. They then proceed to try to destroy this argument – pointing to lack of irrefutable evidence.
    What is lacking in the debate is the issue of demographic warfare. In 2005 there were 282,823 births to Hispanics in California while at the same time there were 155,900 births to Whites. Mario Obledo said, “California is going to be a Hispanic state and anyone who doesn’t like it should leave.” People are leaving.
    A UC Riverside professor said: “Ladies and gentlemen what this means is a transfer of power, it means control, it means whose going to influence. And it is the young people, the people who are now moving to develop an agenda for the twenty first century that are really going to be in a position to really make the promise of what the Chicano movement was all about in terms of self-determination, in terms of empowerment, even in the terms of the idea of an Aztlan!” [More with audio clip]
    The United States of America is engaged in a demographic war that, if lost, will erase it and all of the progress made since 1776. Should we remain silent?

Related: Kindergartens see more Hispanic students

By Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg–USA TODAY

The kindergarten class of 2010-11 is less white, less black, more Asian and much more Hispanic than in 2000, reflecting the nation’s rapid racial and ethnic transformation.The profile of the 4 million children starting kindergarten reveals the startling changes the USA has undergone the past decade and offers a glimpse of its future. In this year’s class, for example, about one out of four 5-year-olds will be Hispanic. Most of today’s kindergartners will graduate from high school in 2023.

More Hispanic children are likely in the next generation because the number of Hispanic girls entering childbearing years is up more than 30% this decade, says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute. “It’s only the beginning.”

A USA TODAY analysis of the most recent government surveys shows:

• About 25% of 5-year-olds are Hispanic, a big jump from 19% in 2000. Hispanics of that age outnumber blacks almost 2 to 1.

• The percentage of white 5-year-olds fell from 59% in 2000 to about 53% today and the share of blacks from 15% to 13%.

“This is not just a big-city phenomenon,” Johnson says. “The percentage of minority children is growing faster in the suburbs and in rural areas.”

In Lake County, Ind., a Chicago suburb, the under-20 population went from 51.8% white in 2000 to 47.1% in 2008, Johnson’s research shows. In rural Nebraska’s Colfax and Dakota counties, the share of Hispanic youths is rising while young whites are down from 60% to about 45% in the same period.

• Schools face linguistic challenges. The share of 5-year-olds who speak English at home slipped from 81% in 2000 to about 78%. The share of Spanish speakers grew from 14% to 16%.

“That makes issues of language development and how to teach them even more important than 10 years ago,” says W. Steven Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. “In some districts, 40% of their kids are Latino, and 4% of their teachers are. It’s a huge gap.”

Educators are grappling with the challenge, and “we really have a long way to go before we understand what the best methods are,” says Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative at the non-profit New America Foundation. Today’s kindergartners are tomorrow’s high schoolers, and “we need to know what their needs are.”

• Kindergarten enrollment is up, from 3.8 million in 2000 to about 4 million.

By KIMBER SOLANA

About two dozen Salinas police officers are set to take an intensive Spanish-language course to help them interact with, and get information from, non-English speakers.

The 24-hour voluntary course, spread over six weeks, is slated to start in about two weeks. In addition, officers will be asked to study at least two hours a day on their own.

The course is geared towards helping officers get certain information — from the names of people they interview to details that may lead to an arrest — when, for example, they respond to a crime scene or conduct a traffic stop.

“This isn’t like college,” said Salinas police Sgt. Mark Lazzarini. “You can’t learn the language in 24 hours. [The officers] will get what they put into it.”

The program is part of the Police Department’s outreach to the Salinas Spanish-language community.

More than 60 percent of the city’s residents speak Spanish as their primary language, while less than 25 percent of all sworn Salinas police personnel speak it, according to Police Chief Louis Fetherolf’s 180-day report, released in October.

“This is a matter of officer safety as well as positive service delivery ability,” Fetherolf says in the report.

In October, department spokesman Officer Lalo Villegas began a weekly Spanish-language radio program.

The Spanish course is certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST. It is taught by Alejandra Gomez of Public Safety Language Training based in Morgan Hill.

Gomez, who has 20 years of experience teaching Spanish, said the students will attend the classes each week beginning Sept. 15. Participants are provided with materials that allow them to study on their own for two hours every day.

The officers will also learn about Latino culture, she said, and be encouraged to practice the language in their day-to-day lives.

“When you take your lunch, ask the cook for his name in Spanish,” she said. “Learning a foreign language is like exercise. The only way you can get stronger is to work hard.”

The training is paid for by the Police Department. Officers have to take the course on their own time and can’t incur overtime for it.

Lazzarini could not provide the program’s cost Thursday, but said it was “reasonable” per student. Officers interested in taking the course need approval from their supervisor.

Other law enforcement officials, including Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies, will partake in the upcoming session.

The session is about double the size of the department’s first six-week course, held in the spring. Lazzarini said the first set went well, but due to police staffing shortages, several participants could not finish the course.

Gomez said there were times when an officer had to be called to a crime scene and missed a session.

Lazzarini has moved the classes from evenings to afternoons, which he hopes will be a better time for participants.

Gomez, who also teaches English at the Morgan Hill Community Adult School, said learning Spanish is a great tool for Salinas police officers but that it shouldn’t end there.

“Communication is a two-way street,” she said. “The Latino community also needs to learn English.”

———————————————

By Paul Harris

They spotted them off the starboard wing, closing in at 4,000ft.

Even from a distance, the silhouettes were unmistakably familiar – a Spitfire and Hurricane coming out of the sun and pulling up level, one on each side.

Every Battle of Britain veteran on board this special commemorative flight had seen the formation before. But the last time most of them flew in it was 70 years ago.

Poignant: A British Airways plane with 13 ex-RAF pilots on board flies alongside a Spitfire and Hurricane to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle of BritainPoignant:
A British Airways plane with 13 ex-RAF pilots on board flies alongside a Spitfire and Hurricane to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

Back then, in these same skies in which all of them had fought for their country, it was a matter of life and death. Now it was a matter of pride.

And so – as two of the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War made a victory flight alongside an airliner carrying 13 ex-RAF pilots – Britain paid tribute to The Few who risked their lives for freedom.

The British Airways A321 airbus was taking the veterans on a tour of the coastline and mainland they defended so courageously in 1940 against Hitler’s attempt to crush the country into submission. The oldest flyer was 97 now; the youngest 89. But none had forgotten the days when, as teenagers or young men in their early 20s, they overcame seemingly overwhelming odds to change the course of history.

Men like Tom Neil, 89 now, but then a 19-year-old Pilot Officer flying ‘Spits and Hurries’ with 249 Squadron (motto: With Fists and Heels) when the Battle of Britain loomed.

He saw dozens of his friends and colleagues killed, burned or wounded, but survived to fly 141 combat missions in eight months, bringing down 13 enemy aircraft, and winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

Gazing out of the window as the historic aircraft prepared to form their escort, he recalled: ‘I don’t think I was particularly skilled. I was just very good at ducking and weaving. I suppose I was reasonably successful. But I never thought when I turned 20 that I would ever reach the age of 2.’

Nearby, Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson, 91, who piloted Spitfires under the command of legless flying ace Douglas Bader, conceded he must have led a ‘charmed life’ to survive the war without a scratch. Some of his friends, he said, never made it beyond their first mission.

The special flight and historic escort was organised to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, to honour those who survived and to remember those who gave their lives.

Actor Edward Fox, a patron of the Battle of Britain Historical Society, told me: ‘Many of them were simply fun-loving, devil-may-care youngsters. But being told that freedom was at stake, and their country threatened, they became men.’ He added: ‘The debt owed by the whole of the world to them is eternal. It can never be repaid.’

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, who joined the two-hour flight, gave ‘sincere thanks’ for what they did. ‘We live in a society that takes so much for granted, that it can only be a good thing if we remind every succeeding generation how much was sacrificed for the things they have today. It is genuinely very humbling to meet some of those who put their lives on the line for the freedoms that people today all too frequently think have come from nothing.’

Kyle Smith

Left and right can agree on something: America is freakin’ doomed.

Our military-political empire is crumbling, the Union is falling apart, America’s wealthy period is a fading memory (duh) and our political spatting is about to go all Gettysburg.

How do I know all this? Not just from TV and radio blowhards, but from respected analysts. Many of whom have actually gotten these notions printed between hard covers, by major publishers.

Canada — can I crash with you for the next few decades? America is turning into “The Road.”

This year, the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, which is to “hate groups” what Gen. Jack T. Ripper of “Dr. Strangelove” was to flouridation, warns that these sinister bands are at “record levels.” More Oklahoma City bombing-style violence is coming, it says, because “we are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history.”

A conservative writer, Lee Harris, evokes similar imagery in his new book, “The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against the Liberal Elite”: “Once resistance against authority has reached a certain point, it becomes difficult to keep it in check. Eventually a point of no return is reached, when all efforts to govern the society are baffled, so that no other options remain except revolution and civil war.”

Jeez, no other options? I just wanted to attend a lunch-hour rally while wearing a funny tricorn hat.

House Minority Leader John Boehner said passage of the health-care law would be “Armageddon.” This usage is a sarcrilege. Let us not trifle with a consecrated term that should be used only in its proper context: Def Leppard’s “Armageddon It.” (Refrain: “Are you gettin’ it? Armageddon it!”)

There’s a (left-wing) secessionist movement in Vermont. There’s a (right-wing) secessionist movement in Texas. Proposal: Grant them both of their wishes — but only as a joint entity. Oil, maple syrup. What’s the difference? Bernie Sanders and George W. Bush can do joint ads for the new nation of Texmont’s tourism bureau: “You can have my vegan granola when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

Where is the perspective on all of this? The idea of the coming American disaster is even more enduring than the American disaster movie. Today’s fears of the Tea Party/the Fed/Halliburton are just Mad Libs substitutes for 19th-century denunciations of the pope/the gold standard/the Freemasons.

In his 1964 Harper’s essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Richard Hofstadter wrote that the depression of 1893 “was alleged to be an international creation of the Catholics who began it by starting a run on the banks. Some spokesmen of the movement circulated a bogus encyclical attributed to Leo XIII instructing American Catholics on a certain date in 1893 to exterminate all heretics, and a great many anti-Catholics daily expected a nationwide uprising. The myth of an impending Catholic war of mutilation and extermination of heretics persisted into the twentieth century.”

Despite his title, though, Hofstadter concluded that “the paranoid style is not confined to a particular country and time. It is an international phenomenon.” Those disaster movies may be American-made, but they’re internationally beloved. “Armagaddeon,” “Deep Impact,” “Independence Day,” “2012” and their kin sold most of their tickets overseas. Humanity seems to have an unhealthy fascination with the end of the world, with wars and Rapture and worst-case scenarios.

These are troubled times, but even now — or perhaps especially — it’s not optimism that sells. Americans like to be warned that this will only end in tears, then be pleasantly surprised when we survive to brood another day.

Bryan Denson— The Oregonian

More than 100 people crowded Friday into a Portland courtroom that comfortably holds half that many to see whether a lie by their friend, Milenko Krstic, would put him behind bars.

Krstic faced up to six months in prison for lying 12 years ago on U.S. immigration papers about his wartime service in the Bosnian Serb army.

The 53-year-old Washington County man now stood before U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown, with an interpreter’s voice murmuring from the headsets of supporters behind him, and apologized.
I didn’t endanger anybody,” he said, tears welling in his dark eyes. “I saved my family. I ask you to forgive me.”

Krstic had brought his wife and two daughters to the Portland area as refugees in 1998. The couple took jobs they still hold, bought a house and joined a church. They put their daughters through high school and college. Two years ago, daughter Danijela was crowned Miss Oregon — the first foreign-born contestant to win.

Brown now looked around her courtroom, where overflow spectators sat in the jury box or stood quietly outside its open doors.

The judge knew why Krstic lied: He feared that telling the truth about his service in the Bosnian Serb army — and a brigade that played a role in the killings of as many as 8,000 men and boys, acts of “ethnic cleansing” — would cause his application to be deferred or denied.

But Brown knew the government wasn’t accusing Krstic of war crimes.

Krstic’s defense team had just given her an 80-minute presentation on how the Bosnian peace activist had spoken out against the nationalism that sent his homeland into civil war. How Krstic had fled his boyhood village as Muslim Bosniaks burned it to the ground. And how he had been conscripted into the Zvornik Brigade because avoiding service meant going to jail.

Brown told Krstic that many foreigners sneak across the border, some of them criminals who prey on Americans. Others wait in seemingly endless lines to enter the country legally.

Then, she said, there are people like him: a productive and loyal employee, a faithful husband, a devoted father, a man surrounded by friends and family.

“I can only imagine the fear of the unknown is unbearable to you,” Brown said. “A house built on sand cannot stand. … And here we are.”

The judge said her role was to pass a sentence that would discourage others from doing what Krstic had done. She noted, however, that there was nothing to gain by sending him to prison because his felony conviction carries greater consequences: Immigration officials will surely seek to deport him and possibly his wife and daughters.

“That burden is itself a significant consequence here,” she said.

Brown placed Krstic on one year of probation, the lowest federal sentence for a felony crime. She also ordered him to undergo counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and to pay a $100 statutory assessment.

“Mr. Krstic,” she said, “good luck to you, sir.”

By Karen E. Crummy
The Denver Post

While Mayor John Hickenlooper was trying to put on a “world-class convention” for Democrats in 2008, a charity he helped establish was giving money to a left-wing group determined to disrupt the event at every turn.

Re-create 68 was just one of many groups that have received donations from the Chinook Fund over the years. The fund, which now donates to groups it says are considered “too new, too risky or too radical” for more traditional foundations, was established by Hickenlooper and others in 1987.

Over the next 15 years, Hickenlooper’s initial $2,000 donation turned into tens of thousands he gave to the fund, which supported everything from Colorado ACORN to the Gender Identity Center of Colorado and Denver Cop Watch.

He served on the board and was listed as the registered agent for the group.Since 2003, however, when Hickenlooper stepped down from the board during his mayoral run, whether he has continued to donate to Chinook is a mystery. While the Denver mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate recently released 23 years of tax returns showing $2.8 million in charitable donations, he has refused to disclose the names of the charities — and whether he continues giving Chinook donations.

“I don’t want to politicize this. Once you disclose one thing, you have to disclose everything,” he said Friday, adding that his donations are “private.”

The fund’s 2008 and 2009 annual reports do not list Hickenlooper as a donor. They do cite “several anonymous donors.” Earlier annual reports do not include a contributor list.

The Chinook Fund’s founding purpose was to “foster and encourage progressive social change,” according to its articles of incorporation. That mission is essentially the same today, although more specific, stating its commitment to “social justice and freedom from oppression, including but not limited to: racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and ableism.”

Its website notes that the group has transformed in the past few years to focus more on institutional racism. Community activists help determine what groups receive funding.

Grants exceed $2 million

The group has donated more than $2 million in the past 20 years to causes that assist the homeless; mentally ill; low-income women; immigrants; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals; African-Americans; Latinos; American Indians; and Muslim American youth.

In 2007, it gave $4,000 to Re-create 68 in advance of the Democratic National Convention.

Some groups that have received Chinook grants are considered more controversial than others. For instance:

• The Harm Reduction Action Center, which educates, empowers and advocates for the health and dignity of metro Denver’s injection-drug users and affected partners.

• Transform Columbus Day Alliance, formed to support the Colorado American Indian Movement “in its efforts to transform the racist ‘celebration’ of Columbus.”

• Somos America, an immigrant-rights group that has called on Latinos to boycott Budweiser products because its distributor, Hensley Beverage Co., contributed to state lawmakers who voted for the Arizona immigration law.

• Colorado Transgender Rights Legal Defense & Education Project, which protects, defends and extends the civil rights of transgender and gender-variant people in Colorado through litigation, education and advocacy.

• Save Our Section 8 (SOS 8), a coalition of tenants pressing for subsidized housing and the creation of new low-income housing initiatives.

• Rights for All People, an immigrant-rights group that opposes the federal “Secure Communities” program, in which states and federal authorities cooperate to identify illegal immigrants booked in jail.

Doesn’t agree with all

Hickenlooper said he doesn’t agree with all the recipients of all of Chinook’s grants but doesn’t “disavow” the group either.

“I support the principle of giving some small amount of power to small organizations and letting them succeed or fail on what they think is best for the community,” he said.

Hickenlooper would not divulge what grants he agreed with and which ones he opposed. In 2003, however, he said he was “horrified” by some of the positions of Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace, a pro-Palestinian group that received funding from Chinook.

In a typical gubernatorial race, the secrecy surrounding Hickenlooper’s charitable donations, and the liberal bent of the Chinook Fund, could be “problematic” for the candidate, said independent political analyst Eric Sondermann.

“But in this environment, he has more latitude to create his own ground rules and live by those ground rules,” he said. “Not that that precludes an opponent from making an issue out of it.”

Hickenlooper is running against Republican Dan Maes and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo. Both have so far refused to turn over any part of their tax returns to The Denver Post.

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