Facing a life of slavery
As the twigs are bent
Another dirty deal
FOLLOW THE MONEY, if you can
Soft Money's New Power
Special Interest Groups
Let voters see whose bucks stop where
This morning, Holy Saturday, April 22, 2000, federal agents seized 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint. The hypocritcal mouthings of the White House about the rights of Elian's father are an attempt to deceive the American people. Cuba is a Communist dictatorship where parents have no rights. Under Communism, children belong to the State.
This photo was transmitted worldwide by The Associated Press. It was taken by free-lance photographer Alan Diaz in the bedroom where Elian was hiding in a closet with Donato Dalrymple, a fisherman who helped rescue him from sea in November, 1999.
So what is Castro's real deal with the White House? We should ask where the bucket brigade of drug-laden airplanes from Nicaragua landed, and who was THEN governor of THAT state.
How can the United States sink so low as to even consider throwing Elian back over the Berlin Wall? In these best of times, is the last year of the 20th century to be remembered as the year of the ultimate sellout? a year to be remembered for a dirty deal in human flesh? Perhaps what needs to be done is another Oberlin - Wellington Rescue.
EDITORIAL by PETER SCHWARTZ, 1-00, Chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute
"Elian Gonzalez faces a life of slavery if he is returned to Communist Cuba. While it is true that a parent has the right to determine a child's upbringing, a parent does not have a right to violate a child's individual rights by keeping him imprisoned in a cell, or in Communist Cuba.
The Rights of Elian Gonzalez
Parents have no right to consign their children to the slavery of totalitarianism -- and Castro should let the father go free.
Is Communism physically harmful to human life?
That should be the fundamental question in the Elian Gonzalez case. Elian is the six-year-old boy whom the Immigration and Naturalization Service has ordered back to Cuba.
Elian's mother and stepfather fled from Cuba with Elian almost two months ago, [11-99] but they (and eight others) drowned at sea. Elian was rescued and taken to live with relatives in Florida. His father remains in Cuba and has been demanding custody of the boy. The [Immigration and Naturalization Service] INS ruled that in the name of ``family reunification'' Elian must return to Cuba. And most media commentators have praised this decision ...
But would such a decision be tolerated if it involved, say, a young black boy who had escaped to the North from a Southern plantation 150 years ago? Or a Jewish boy who had come to America from Nazi Germany during the 1930s? Would he have been sent back if the father -- with a gun to his back -- declared his desire to have his child returned to slavery or to a concentration camp? Would editorialists argue that the child's best interests are served by ``family reunification''?
Certainly not. Why, then, is Elian's situation any different? Life in totalitarian Cuba, after all, is life in slavery.
Yes, a parent has the right to determine his child's upbringing -- but not to inflict physical harm. A parent has no right to beat up a child, or to keep a child imprisoned in a cell. That becomes a violation of the child's individual rights. But a Communist state is simply one huge jail, where the citizens are under the physical control of their wardens. That is what Elian faces if he goes back.
It is absurd for the INS commissioner to assert that the father is ``expressing his true wishes'' regarding his son. Mr. Gonzalez is not free to say anything else. If he displeases the state, his job, his home -- his life -- can be summarily taken from him.
If Castro orders him to ask for the return of his son -- or, conversely, to renounce any interest in the boy -- the father has little choice but to obey. Like the slaves on a Southern plantation, the citizens of Cuba exist at the whim of their rulers.
Some make the accusation that Elian's plight is being ``politicized'' by outdated ``Cold Warriors.'' But it is actually these accusers who are using Elian to push a destructive, fossilized ideology. It is the INS and its supporters who are still trying to pretend that Communism is not a system of enslavement, and that the difference between America and Cuba is merely one of ``lifestyle.''
It is this Administration that orders the Coast Guard to physically repel Cuban refugees who approach our shores, resulting in the disgraceful sight of American officials firing water cannons upon Cubans to keep them from reaching U.S. soil. It is the zealous advocates of Elian's deportation who are clinging to a discredited philosophy that refuses to acknowledge the tyrannical nature of life under socialism.
Keeping Elian in America is no violation of the rights of the father (who -- if he has any genuine affection for the boy and were free to express it -- would announce his fervent desire to have his son live in freedom). Anyone concerned with the actual rights of the father should be demanding, not that Washington return Elian , but that Havana let the father go.
It is Castro who is preventing family reunification by keeping his borders closed to those who wish to flee his dictatorial rule. Let Castro permit Mr. Gonzalez to leave Cuba permanently and unconditionally (along with all his relatives, so that none can be held hostage against him). He can then live here, or in any free country he chooses, and take custody of his son. Both his and his son's rights would thereby be upheld.
Elian's mother willingly risked death on a desperate voyage to liberty -- not on a ``migrant smuggling trip,'' as a N.Y. Times editorial despicably described it.
She was drawn by the American principle that each individual has an inalienable right to be free. It would be tragic if the politicians and the judges in America failed to grasp the essence of this country as well as she did.
Elian's future ... should be decided by the standard of individual rights -- a standard that precludes anyone from sending a six-year-old into slavery."
For More Information: MediaLink
ARTICLE from the JEWISH WORLD REVIEW, 4-25-00, By MONA CHAREN
TWO WEEKS AGO, several television pundits, when asked about the Elian Gonzalez case, shook their heads sadly and pronounced: "There are no winners here. No winners." Of course there's a winner --- Fidel Castro.
For the first and only time in 41 years, Castro has succeeded in pulling the strings of none other than the head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the attorney general, and the president of the United States. Surely this is a triumph beyond his wildest dreams -- the U.S. Marshals Service taking orders from Havana!
Regarding poor Elian, Reno and Clinton have utterly misrepresented the applicable law. There is no law that required them to give Juan Miguel (i.e., Castro) the sole right to speak for this child. Janet Reno chose to exercise her discretion on that matter. She could just as easily have given the Miami relatives that right, or appointed a guardian, ad litem.
... the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the INS has violated its own regulations and very possibly the law by failing even to consider whether Elian has an independent right to seek asylum.
It was always a travesty to pretend that Juan Gonzalez was free to speak his mind. From the beginning, those familiar with communist tactics, such as Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., recommended that the entire Gonzalez clan, including all possible hostages, be offered visas to come to the United States and work for Elian's best interests. Only in those circumstances could the father possibly speak freely.
Instead, we have the creepy spectacle of the president's impeachment lawyer, Greg Craig, claiming to represent Gonzalez pere, while actually serving the interests of Fidel Castro. (He is being paid by a left-wing group.) What is most disgraceful is that Juan Miguel has been every bit as much a prisoner in the United States of America as he was in Cuba.
In addition to the Cuban "diplomats" with whom the Gonzalezes reside, Castro's dirty work has been handled by the entire American government. Since his arrival, Juan Miguel has not so much as taken a walk unescorted.
Reno and Clinton argue that Elian needed to be reunited with his father for his psychological health. They even ordered up an old fellow-traveling pediatrician, Irwin Redlener (a member of Hillary's health-care task force), to offer fatuous nonsense about "abuse" by the Miami relatives.
A gun in the face must be a new kind of therapy. It took the '60s flower children reaching the White House to give us a picture of such "psychological" hygiene.
Everything about the way this administration operates is suspicious and sinister. Juan Miguel could have traveled to the Gonzalez home in Miami at any time and picked up his son. The Miami relatives had invited him repeatedly.
Why then did Clinton's soldiers break in with tear gas blazing and shouted threats? Was it because Castro forbade Juan Miguel to step foot in Miami? Even though the grandmothers are held hostage in a "government facility" in Cuba, was the threat of defection too great?
It seems that to keep Juan Miguel from embarrassing Castro, this administration has obligingly kept him under lock and key. And now little Elian too will be controlled by Craig, the Cuban "psychiatrists" and others ...
No doubt we will next hear that Elian, who signed his own petition for asylum, is withdrawing it. And Elian will slide back into tyranny, as his mother slipped into the Atlantic.
The Miami relatives were seeking a reunion of the Gonzalez family at a neutral site with no lawyers, press or goons present. They wanted the transfer of custody to take place over several days or weeks. That's what they were requesting when the door was broken down. We know why this scenario was anathema to Castro. But why in the world was that not acceptable to the government of the United States? [a dirty deal in human flesh?]
This is a shameful, shameful time ..."
For more information: Mona Charen
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 4-30-00, By Mark Wolf
"It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
The Dispatch ran three picures of Elian Gonzalez on April 24, for which the value is immeasurable. Two of these pictures, taken by news photographers at the time of the Immigration and Naturalization Service raid of Lazaro Gonzalez's house and the seizure of the boy, show an Elian Gonzalez with short hair and a missing tooth.
The third photograph, reportedly taken a few hours later at Andrews Air Force Base, shows a smiling Elian reunited with his father. In this photograph, Elian has substantially longer hair and is no longer missing a tooth.
... why does the Clinton administration feel compelled to lie about the aftermath with a photograph ...
The price of liberty is still eternal vigilence."
Mark Wolf, Columbus
NEWS ARTICLE From THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 5-2-00
"Lorain Bar Association gives out Elian essay awards
ELYRIA -- Four students earned recognition Monday [5-1-00] by the Lorain County Bar Association for writing skills.
Thirty-four students from area high schools submitted essays about whether Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father or remain in the United States with his Miami relatives.
The Chronicle-Telegram has excerpted the first paragraph of each of the four winning essays. They are:
FIRST place to Diana Buchanan of Vermilion, a senior at Open Door Christian School in Elyria.
'' ... I believe that Elian Gonzalez should be allowed to be returned home to his family in Cuba. ''
SECOND place to Chad Treboniak of Lorain, a senior at Lorain Catholic High School.
''... Regardless of Elian's age and tragedy the facts remain the same. A Cuban illegal immigrant was found off the coast of Florida and the law requires him to be sent back to Cuba. ''
[What about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?
What about the Dred Scott decision of 1857?
What about the Underground Railroad?]
THIRD place to Aryn Karpinski of Lorain, a senior at Lorain Catholic High School.
''... the so-called "wet-feet-dry-feet" ruling by INS, which still sends back to Cuba those Cubans apprehended at sea, but allows those who reach shore to stay. In the case of Elian Gonzalez, he reached the shore. However, he has no standing before INS to petition for permanent residence because he is a minor ...''
Honorable mention to Amanda Krol of Lorain, a senior at Lorain Catholic High School.
''Julie "Butterfly" Hill was quoted as saying that "Those things of real worth in life are worth going to any length in love and respect to safeguard." This simple truth can be perfectly applied to the much debated case of young Elian Gonzalez.
Two branches of his family, but even more so two countries, are at war over what is in the best interest of this little Cuban refugee. But who is right? Who is really working out of love and respect? This has surfaced as the ultimate question in the case, and it is a question with a very clear answer. That answer involves keeping Elian here in the land of freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and freedom of life.'' "
[As twigs are bent, so grow the trees. Should we despair for American liberties? Amanda -- Last is not least!]
COLUMN from THE PLAIN DEALER, 5-25-00, By DICK FEAGLER,
''Kucinich casts vote for what is right
... Congressman Dennis Kucinich held firm yesterday and voted against granting normal trade relations with China. His vote, as it turned out, was cast on the losing side. But that doesn't matter. He did what he thought was right and tried his best to represent the people who had sent him to Washington.
The issue on the table was pretty simple. Everybody agreed that China is an ugly and repressive country. It smothers human liberties we take for granted here. There's nothing about the communist Chinese form of government we like. But there's one thing about communist China that makes us lick our chops. There are a lot of people there. And they work very cheap.
So, despite the fact that we despise China's totalitarian rule, we smell the perfume of profit there. If we crack trade barriers wide open, American manufacturers can open plants in China and take advantage of what is nearly slave labor. Goods can be manufactured by workers paid obscene wages. And then those goods can be shipped back here and sold at a tremendous profit.
Naturally this scheme would cost American jobs. And a lot of the wrangling over the trade bill centered on that fact.
But there is a principle involved more precious than money. Congressman Kucinich mentioned it to me yesterday before he went to the floor to vote against the China trade bill.
"Americans have shed their blood for liberty," he said. "We have fought in other countries to maintain a certain level of human rights. Now we're talking about rewarding a country that throws priests and nuns into jail. This isn't just about American jobs. This is about what America stands for."
And what does America stand for -- if anything? ...''
Akira Kawasaki (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
August 10, 2,000
I believe China, with its economics more capitalist oriented in recent years, is a country driven by the communist doctrine. And China has not disavowed communism or the original Communist Manifesto: they just made it look flexible.
I am certainly no expert on this but I believe one of the basic movements within communism is belief in the ultimate superiority of its form of government and society. Toward achieving this end, ANY MEANS CAN BE USED ... A tactic tool often used is 'ONE STEP BACKWARD, TWO STEPS FORWARD'...
So it goes for massive exports products based on unimaginatively (for us) cheap labor costs. This helps destroy or weaken greatly, ultimately, the human resources, social values, and industry upon which capitalistic (us and others) are based on.
As to what form of government, economy, or society is ultimately correct, (or wins)? 'Capitalism' and 'free' society have not won yet by a long shot.
FEATURE ARTICLE from THE WASHINGTON POST, 5-15-00, Page A01, By Ruth Marcus, Washington Post Staff Writer
"Flood of Secret Money Erodes Election Limits
The 2000 election is shaping up as a campaign marked by secret money and six-figure checks.
Large sums of cash, much of it from unknown sources, are pouring into politics through a variety of groups and individuals trying to influence the election but who say they are not required to publicly report their activities, sources of income or, in some cases, even their existence.
The groups run television ads, send mailings or make telephone calls to voters that mention candidates by name and promote an agenda clearly tied to a particular aspirant. But the groups say they are not subject to federal election law because they do not explicitly call for the candidates' election or defeat ...
The federal election law "is in serious jeopardy of losing all effectiveness," said Karl Sandstrom, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission.
Some of the groups are controlled by or have ties to members of Congress--meaning that elected officials are benefiting from huge donations, including money from those with important business before them, that the public has no way of discovering ...
Increasingly, the outside groups are turning to a device called a Section 527 committee that not only does not have to report its activities but does not have to disclose anything about its existence or backers.
The 527s include such groups as Republicans for Clean Air, which suddenly surfaced and pumped $2.5 million into television advertising attacking Arizona Sen. John McCain just before the New York and California primaries. The "group" turned out to be two Texas brothers, Charles and Sam Wyly, who have been major donors to Gov. George W. Bush.
"The 527 is rapidly becoming the political superweapon of choice in this year's elections," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), who introduced legislation to require such groups to register and reveal their donors. "Operating as a clandestine political committee, a 527 can secretly accept unlimited amounts of money from unidentified contributors to fill the airwaves with hate and the mailboxes with disinformation."
A few such groups even have ties to elected officials, who help out with raising the undisclosed money. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has promoted a group called the Republican Majority Issues Committee, which works to keep the House under GOP control. Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) has helped launch another group, Securing America's Families Everyday, which plans an extensive Madison Avenue-type polling campaign to tell Republican leaders how Americans "view the brand" of the GOP.
The power of secret money can be seen in places such as Montana, where Democratic Senate candidate Brian Schweitzer, who is seeking to unseat Republican Conrad Burns, has made lowering prescription drug costs the centerpiece of his campaign
A 527 group calling itself Citizens for Better Medicare is running television ads that accuse Schweitzer of pushing for "government price controls." What viewers of the commercials have no way of knowing is that the group receives the bulk of its funding from pharmaceutical companies ...
The emergence of this secret money comes at the same time as a parallel explosion in the amount of large contributions to political parties known as "soft money"--donations made by corporations, labor unions or individuals that are constrained only by the size of the donor's checkbook.
Since the amounts are unlimited, soft money is supposed to be used for general "party-building activities" such as voter turnout, not on individual races. But since 1996 it has become an essential component of campaigns because it is used to pay for "issue advertising" that--like the activities of the outside groups--stops just short of looking like outright campaign ads.
While the growing influence of soft money has been well-publicized, it is increasingly being put to novel purposes. Its use in House and Senate races has dramatically increased this election cycle, allowing candidates in effect to raise donations far larger than the limit for individual contributions of $1,000 per election.
At the same time, more and more individual lawmakers are setting up their own soft money political action committees, often without any effective disclosure of who's doing the giving, and sometimes without any disclosure ...
Soft Money's New Power
The changing role of soft money appears most visibly in the New York Senate campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her presumed Republican rival, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani [now gone]. Both have openly gathered large soft money checks aimed at supplementing their own campaigns, which by law can raise only $1,000 per election from individuals.
Clinton's joint fund-raising committee--the entity that raises the soft money in conjunction with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee--collected about $700,000 in soft money last year, and Senate Democrats will send another $550,000 in soft money donations to the committee this week.
The "Giuliani Victory Committee" has raised close to $500,000, including $100,000 in a single corporate check from the Renco Group Inc., a New York holding company whose Magnesium Corp. of America subsidiary was cited in a 1998 federal Environmental Protection Agency report as the nation's top dumper of toxic chemicals ...
A growing number of individual lawmakers have also set up soft money arms of their political action committees, a new kind of money-raising vehicle that allows them to take unlimited checks from any source--and often not disclose the source. The money can be spent by federal lawmakers to back state and local candidates and to defray the expenses of their federal-level PACs ...
House Whip DeLay also has a soft money arm of his leadership PAC, known as ARMPAC, which once filed disclosure reports in Virginia but then stopped, concluding that it wasn't required by law. DeLay, who has promoted the importance of listing donors but said other campaign finance reforms are unnecessary, declined when asked to reveal his givers, saying, "I don't want to unilaterally disarm." ...
The figures from some of the PACs whose reports were filed with state election authorities show the scope of the giving, which largely escapes public notice. According to filings with Virginia election officials, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's soft money PAC, the New Republican Majority Fund, received $100,000 from AT&T last year. Lott also received $50,000 each from Textron, Union Pacific and Federal Express, $25,000 from International Paper, and $10,000 each from pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough Corp., U.S. Tobacco Co. and Rite Aid--all companies with significant interests before Congress ...
Louisiana Democratic Sen. John Breaux's Mainstream America PAC has collected $20,000 from HealthSouth, $12,500 from pharmaceutical maker Aventis Pasteur and almost $8,000 from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's newly created Illinois PAC, the KOMPAC state victory fund, has received $50,000 each from United Airlines and Citibank, and Washington Republican Rep. Jennifer Dunn's Washington Fund took in $468,000 in soft money contributions last year, including $50,000 from Microsoft and $30,000 from Aetna ...
Special Interest Groups
While outside groups have been major players in previous political cycles, their role in this election is also taking a new, often more secretive, form. The 2000 race represents "a new world of election finance," said Brigham Young University political scientist David B. Magleby, who has tracked outside money in campaigns.
A March  study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center estimated that 60 groups had already spent or announced plans to spend more than $114 million on issue advocacy this election--compared with an estimated $150 million spent by 27 groups for the entire 1996 campaign ...
Americans for Job Security, started in 1997 with funding from the American Insurance Association, expects to spend $5 million to $7 million this year on "issue advocacy ads," but also will not make public its donors ...
The DeLay-related group, the Republican Majority Issues Committee (RMIC), plans to go into about 10 key House districts to combat union efforts. RMIC will place field organizers in the district, targeting conservative voters with a barrage of direct mail and telephone calls to get them to the polls. DeLay has helped raise money for the group, including a fund-raiser on the yacht of Amway President Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy, major GOP contributors ...
At the FEC, Commissioner Sandstrom ... said it had become necessary to avoid a "wholesale circumvention" of election rules. "Without any information on these groups," he said, "it becomes impossible for the public to make informed decisions about the real interests of these groups." ...''
For more information, The Washington Post
EDITORIAL from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Saturday, June 24, 2000
"Campaign cash: Let voters see whose bucks stop where
The key to limiting the influence of money on politics is disclosure, disclosure of who is paying for which campaigns and how much they are paying. Voters who know the players in the money game can go to the polls fully informed as to whether a candidate is likely to be swayed by a special interest, and then act accordingly.
A promising measure to shed light on many of the campaign contributions currently outside the beam of public scrutiny passed the Senate earlier this month and deserves approval in the House.
The legislation, passed as an amendment to a defense bill, would force groups organized under Section 527 of the tax code to reveal their sources of money and amounts contributed and how much they spend on such political activities as issues advertising ...
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., labeled Section 527 "the largest, most disturbing, pernicious loophole in a system rife with backdoor ways to influence government.''
The hyperbole aside, he has a point, and 14 Republicans, including Ohio's Sen. Mike DeWine, agreed ...
The Dispatch has supported and will continue to support campaign-finance laws that demand a thorough accounting of campaign contributions as the only measures that work and do not infringe on the rights of free speech. Spending limits imposed on candidates, even those of a voluntary nature that can pass muster in court, have succeeded only in shifting contributions from official campaigns to organizations that are under no limits, so-called soft-money campaigns.
In Ohio, for example, the soft-money advertising campaigns for Supreme Court candidates keep growing, while the candidates abide by voluntary limits. In 1996, of nearly $2 million spent on the races for two seats on the court, 42 percent came from special interests and political parties, rather than from the candidates' own campaigns.
Ohio and many of the other states, too, need more campaign-funding disclosure laws, as this newspaper has noted previously, so voters can keep an eye on the money. A federal law dealing with the Section 527 groups could set an example for legislation to address similar loopholes in state campaign-funding laws.
Critics of the Senate amendment say that it jeopardizes the defense bill because it deals with the tax code, and the Constitution demands that tax matters start in the House. If so, then the House promptly should pass one of its similar campaign-finance-disclosure proposals, one of which emerged from the Ways and Means Committee this week, and send it to the Senate to confirm.
Congress should get this show on the road and not use procedural mistakes as a cover to avoid dealing with an issue that many of them prefer to avoid ... "