Thursday, October 29, 2009

PRINTING ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

“What are they so upset about? What’s wrong with these folks?” That’s the typical news spin put on the Tea Parties that sprang up across the country this spring—climaxing in the huge September 12, Washington D.C. march that was undercovered and diminished by the mainstream media.

The North County Times has provided prominent coverage of specific local events, but the paper’s natural reliance on AP for national news means that folks who don’t follow talk radio or Fox News probably don’t have a clue about much of the hostility directed toward the Obama Administration.

Case in point: The Oceanside rally on September 3 had several signs denouncing former Green Jobs “Czar” Van Jones, but most of the paper’s readers, thanks to AP, would have to faithfully scan the Letters Page to obtain any detailed information about this “special advisor” to the President.

For those still in the dark, Jones’ radical background included a stint in the early 90s with a Bay-area Maoist group called STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement). His more recent rhetoric is available on Internet videos and clearly displays a political persona that blends racial animosity, green rhetoric, and statist (arguably Marxist) objectives.

That image isn’t part of the initial biographical overview on Wikipedia, which has been scrubbed to give the impression of an idea-rich activist instead of a “Truther” whose name was number 46 on a petition that clearly implied the Bush Administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. Jones’ convenient claim that he didn’t know what he was signing should be viewed alongside this pre-czar remark: “I am willing to forego the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of the radical ends.”

Now comes White House Communications Director Anita Dunn with a stunning reference to one of her “favorite political philosophers,” Chairman Mao—in a high school graduation address no less. There’s a good chance that most of the public knows nothing about this revelatory blunder, thanks to the mainstream media.

Granted that Dunn’s appreciative citation of the world’s most prolific mass murderer is more a vestige of dilettantish campus socialism than of conviction, it’s still a matter that deserves wide dissemination—especially in an administration whose Commander in Chief chummed around with former Weatherman Bill Ayers, sat in a pew for two decades absorbing Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” invectives, and had significant ties to an organization called ACORN.

It’s likely that those angry folks carrying signs at Tea Parties know a good deal more about these and other troubling stories than individuals who rely on the mainstream media for their news. What’s even more troubling, however, is the attempt of Obama (and many of his Letters-page fans) to marginalize or silence critics like Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Michelle Malkin—sources whose importance is magnified precisely because most mainstream journalists are little more than administration lap-dogs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

WHY WAS JOHN MONTI "NIFONGED"?

Almost two years ago to the day my column in the North County Times asked whether a Montebello schoolteacher named John Monti was being “Nifonged” by then San Diego City Attorney, Mike Aguirre.

“Nifonged” is the verb coined to describe the prosecution of an innocent individual for political purposes—as the North Carolina D.A., Mike Nifong, did to three Duke lacrosse players. Nifong’s brazen misconduct not only cost him his job, it also cost him his law license. Aguirre is now out of office but only because he was defeated at the polls last November.

A jury acquitted Monti in September of 2007 of the assault charges brought against him—a prosecution whose motivation seemed designed to punish Monti for attempting to expose the underage sex-trafficking he believes occurs in illegal migrant camps like those in Rancho Penasquitos’ McGonigle Canyon.

At least four 9-1-1 calls identified Monti as the victim, not the perpetrator, of an assault at Highway 56 and Rancho Penasquitos Boulevard where he was taking pictures of laborers. Those lost, suppressed, or ignored calls made on November 18, 2006, did not deter Aguirre’s team—whose case against Monti was in no small measure organized by the Executive Director of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Claudia Smith.

Smith apparently spoke with migrants after the initial police investigation and discovered the laborer (a previously deported felon) whose arm was allegedly injured by Monti. According to a sworn statement by private investigator Robert Harris, Smith also interfered with his subpoena service of laborers who were being summoned to testify on Monti’s behalf. Harris said that Smith apparently called in a false police report in which she said he had threatened workers with a gun—a report the San Diego Police couldn’t subsequently locate.

Monti’s legal problems didn’t end with his acquittal. A civil suit was brought against Fox News and Monti on behalf of the migrants whose reputations and job prospects had been damaged by the network’s “Manhunt on the Border” story--a piece that featured Monti’s pictures of men that had allegedly attacked him.

The defamation suit against Monti and Fox was recently dismissed by the California Supreme Court, upholding a prior Appeals Court ruling. But the question remains why Monti, and not his apparent attackers, was targeted for prosecution by Aguirre and SDPD.

Aguirre’s political connections might account for some of the “inverted justice” aspect of this case, but a good deal of malfeasance appears to lie with SDPD. The most benign explanation of this misconduct is that SDPD doesn’t want to be bothered with illegal immigration issues. One can also imagine more sinister motivations for ignored 9-1-1 calls and what appears to be activist-inspired reshaping of reports and testimony.

Such actions were indispensable to putting on trial a bilingual elementary school teacher whose Colombian wife and in-laws speak the same language as many of his students--some of whom (Monti told me) possess intimate knowledge of cross-border sex-trafficking.

Friday, October 02, 2009

OBAMA'S "LESSON PLANS" FOR SCHOOL KIDS

Plans for President Obama’s nationally televised back-to-school speech had local superintendents and board members scrambling to come up with various opt-out compromises that might satisfy parents who feared the worst.

After the speech, however, there’s been a lot of back-pedaling by school officials who found the address innocuous and heavy on personal responsibility. Several Letters to the Editor have ridiculed these officials for needlessly politicizing an uplifting event about which only deranged conservatives could have qualms.

This finger-wagging indignation might be tempered if one conducted a thought experiment and asked what these lefties would have done had George Bush made a similar address. My experience-based opinion is that the President’s opponents would have to be scraped off the ceiling.

I say experienced-based not only because of the hate that was constantly directed toward the former president (without media concern) but also because George Bush did, in fact, make an address to school children—George H. W. Bush, that is.

The after-speech response to Papa Bush’s less-ballyhooed talk in 1991 included denunciations by the National Education Association and an investigation of the speech’s production costs. Indeed, the Democrat Congress summoned top administration officials to defend this supposedly outrageous use of 26,000 government dollars.

I was teaching high school in 1991 and can safely say that the President’s speech was on none of our curricular agendas. And I seriously doubt that the White House mailed lesson plans for teachers in conjunction with this lightly-covered address.

By contrast, it should be remembered that the tripwire for the Obama controversy was the politically charged “lesson plans” created by the Department of Education. It asked young children to “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president”—a directive omitted after the uproar it precipitated.

Revised lesson plans still contained questions like these: “What do you think the President wants us to do? Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?” and “Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?”

One commentator recently opined that teachers are fair-minded folk who don’t inject their own politics into the classroom. Anyone who believes that assertion should be confined to a home for the criminally na├»ve—or sentenced to attend an NEA convention.

Schools have been politicized for decades and are full of passionate leftists eager to indoctrinate youngsters on everything from global warming to the evils of capitalism. A recent example is the infamous Youtube video of New Jersey elementary students learning to praise Barack Hussein Obama: “He said that all must lend a hand, to make this country strong again…Barack Hussein Obama. He said we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay…Barack Hussein Obama.”

The song goes on, as does the cult of personality that surrounds this President—a Dear Leader mentality deeply embedded in government lesson plans and in Obama’s staunch NEA supporters.

Note to local school officials: Stop back-pedaling!