Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Behind the Lace Curtain

Helen Rittelmeyer
Author Archive Latest
March 17, 2009 4:00 A.M.

Behind the Lace Curtain: How the GOP blew it with the Boston Irish

In 1938, John Danaher of Connecticut became the first Irish Catholic elected to the U.S. Senate as a Republican. When word got out that Danaher had joined the GOP, one Irish grandmother was incredulous: “It can’t be true. I saw him at Mass just last Sunday!”

Continue reading, click below:

The Real Che Guevara

The Real Che Guevara

Immigration Realpolitik

Teddy is gone, and Hillary will not be president! McCain in fact may be going. That Teddy is gone means you no longer have to create visas for Tijuana and Tanganyika.

A month is a long time in politics and several months a lifetime, but it looks like the Dems are going down in November.

O’Dowd is moving towards reality. If he is not, his Irish Government financial backers are.

Small is the way to go right now, especially when we are in a big time recession.

The Dream Act beneficiaries could petition for their parents in due course.

The IIRM knew one thing that escaped O'Dowd's notice. To help the Irish, if that was really his object, you must engage the Irish American Community in all its diversity.

I think the amnesty folks looked upon O’Dowd as what the communists used to call a “useful idiot.” He helped to put a white face on the problem. That was helpful to the cause.

Now I suspect it would be harder than in 1987-88, much harder to do any good for those Irish who did not get visas last time out of the chute. The ties are more tenuous. Americans have been fed the Celtic Tiger stuff for a long time and times here are tough all around.

The Irish used to take up about 9,000 to 10,000 of their 16,000 visas each year in the 1950s and 60s. They spoke English and were virtually unnoticeable.

Nowadays, we are talking millions of immigrants who are quite noticeable and it does not go unnoticed that some of them take sojourns in Afghanistan.

IIRM Veteran

Immigration Reform is Dead - ILIR

Courtesy of AOH leader

Immigration reform is dead

Comprehensive immigration reform for 2010 and beyond is dead. There, I've said it. It is time to concentrate on alternative strategies. As the founder of the Irish Legal Immigration Reform Movement, a movement that took thousands of Irish to Capitol Hill to lobby for reform, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say this. I know first-hand of many Irish undocumented who live in fear that the knock on the door will come. They are very much in my thoughts as I write this. But the math does not lie. There is no chance in hell that a filibuster-proof majority exists in the U.S. Senate for most anything right now, let alone immigration reform.

The Senate is where American legislation goes to die. It might be possible to squeak a bill by the House, but there are more than enough anti-reform votes in the Senate to block any hope of passage. That will not change. For fifteen years or so, a great effort was undertaken to pass a comprehensive reform bill. It looked like the promised land when the Kennedy/McCain bill looked certain to gain passage in 2007, but a filibuster-proof majority never existed. Now, there are even fewer votes despite a Democratic majority. It is time to ditch comprehensive reform and focus on parts of immigration reform that can pass.

The Dream Act is one, which would allow undocumented people who were brought here as children to become legal. It is cruel and unusual punishment to deport such people who, through no fault of their own, were brought here often as infants, and have known no other life. Start by passing that, let's then look at what other areas we can address and adopt a piecemeal approach rather than a grand sweeping plan which has brought us nowhere. The definition of madness is that we continue to do the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. It is time to stop the madness. First, we must be honest and admit that there is no political future for comprehensive reform. Only then can we actually start to get legislation passed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pete King - St. Patrick's Day Fundraiser

March 13th St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Fundraiser
Pete King

A St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Fundraiser for Congressman King will be held on March 13th from 2-5pm at Mulcahy's Pub in Wantagh.
For more information
click here.

Brendan 'Darkie' Hughes biography eagerly awaited

The Pensive Quill
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Light From The Dark
During the Blanket protest the blanket men, most barely out of their teens or still in them, would sing a song: ‘we’ll follow the old man wherever he wants to go, wherever he wants to go.’ It was a song that was really sung from the cells, not a spoof about a song being sung in the H-Blocks before the song was ever written as one well known Walter tried to dupe us into believing a while back.

The ‘old man’ was Brendan Hughes who was in fact anything but an old man. Only 29 when he embarked upon the blanket protest, Brendan was in the prime of life and brimming over with radical vitality which he never allowed slip into fanaticism. The Dark would laugh at the thought of us who were so willing to follow him as he led us through those daunting arduous years of prison protest, no longer being as eager today to follow him – quite prepared to wait our turn or put it off for as long as possible. ‘Such is life’ would be his summing up of our sense of contentment to remain where we are. We can face death when it comes – so long as it doesn’t come for a while.

A republican icon in those heady and challenging days he possessed charisma and charm in abundance but was never flash. He had an unassuming character which saw him shun the bright neon for the quietude of ordinary people. Now dead two years, it is those same ordinary people who are flocking to his memory. On web forums, chat rooms, in bars, on the street and in the workplace Brendan Hughes and his views are discussed with more than a passing interest. An upcoming book about his role in the republican struggle by the journalist Ed Moloney is awaited with great anticipation.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Irish passports are a spook's best friend

Courtesy of 'Narrowback', Irish American GOP activist, NYC

Nice and neutral: Why Irish passports are a spook's best friend
Sat, Feb 20, 2010

The use of Irish passports in the execution of a Hamas figure in Dubai may have surprised, but it has always been a popular document, writes TOM CLONAN

AS TRAVEL documents – fake or otherwise – Irish passports are highly prized by a wide and disparate range of groups and individuals. Col Oliver North is believed to have travelled to Iran on a forged Irish passport in 1986, during the Iran-Contra affair. It is widely acknowledged in intelligence and security circles that fake Irish passports have been used by both CIA and Mossad agents travelling throughout the Middle East and Africa. Exploiting Ireland’s reputation as a neutral state with little or no colonial baggage, it is believed that international intelligence agencies have on numerous occasions employed false Irish passports as cover for spies and agents transiting through territories otherwise hostile to powerful nations such as the United States or Britain.

International terrorist organisations are also known to have used forged Irish passports in the past. Members of the Provisional IRA are believed to have used fake passports during the 1970s and 1980s on trips to Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East as part of their endeavours to source weapons and explosives during the Troubles. More recently, as minister for justice, Michael McDowell alleged that members of the Colombia Three had travelled to South America on forged Irish passports.

Genuine or legitimately held Irish passports are also the envy of international journalists operating in hostile environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan. As foreign correspondents, Patrick Cockburn of the London Independent , Maggie O’Kane of the Guardian and Orla Guerin of the BBC have all reported from war zones while travelling on their Irish passports. Cockburn has cited at least one occasion in Iraq where the possession of an Irish passport probably saved his life. He produced it when taken at gunpoint from his car by Sunni insurgents on the outskirts of Fallujah in 2004, and was released unharmed. Many international journalists operating in war-torn countries where militant Islamism is a feature regard holders of Irish, Swiss and Swedish passports as fortunate, in that their perceived neutrality confers upon them some measure of protection. Unfortunately, many journalists acknowledge that US and British passports can often provoke hostility in parts of the Middle East and Asia, as a consequence of the US and Britain’s participation in the so-called War on Terror.

The current Irish passport is a machine-readable electronic ePassport which contains a biometric chip for security purposes. It also incorporates a range of other security features, including holograms and a greyscale digitally printed photograph of the passport holder.
It is fully consistent with the security requirements of the US visa waiver programme. The currently configured Irish passport – while considered highly desirable by legitimate users, terrorists and international security agencies alike – is no easier or more difficult to forge than other EU or US passports.

It is significant to note that the five forged Irish passports used in Dubai in January were all dated prior to 2005 – the new security-enhanced Irish passport was first issued in October 2006. The sheer volume of forged passports estimated to have been involved in the execution of Hamas’s Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month suggests that state assets – rather than criminal or terrorist elements – were employed in their manufacture and forgery.

Whatever the outcome of the investigations into the affair, one unfortunate outcome will be the closer and perhaps hostile scrutiny that Irish citizens travelling abroad on genuine Irish passports may be subjected to at foreign airports and points of entry in the coming weeks.

Dr Tom Clonan is the Irish Times Security Analyst. He lectures in the School of Media at DIT

© 2010 The Irish Times

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'Hit Squad' used fake Irish passports

'Hit squad' used fake Irish passports
Tuesday February 16 2010

At least three members of a suspected hit squad blamed for the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai were using fake passports, it emerged today.
Police in Dubai released details yesterday of 11 people they believe were involved in killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, including six British passport holders and three Irish passport holders.
But the Department of Foreign Affairs said today in a statement: "We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens. Ireland has issued no passports in those names."

Dubai police chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said yesterday an 11-strong hit squad using European passports was behind the murder of al-Mabhouh, a founder member of Hamas's military wing, in a hotel last month. The police chief also released the names and photos of the alleged gang, along with their apparent nationalities according to the passports.
It prompted a flurry of activity in London and Dublin as officials sought to clarify if nationals from the two countries were involved.

The British Government has yet to comment on the validity of the passports other than to say that it was "seeking further information". But officials in Dublin cast serious doubts that the group were travelling with bona fide documents. They said they had no record of passports being issued under the "Irish" names released yesterday in Dubai - Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron. Furthermore, the government said the passport numbers publicised by the Dubai authorities appeared to be counterfeits, as they have the wrong number of digits and contain no letters.

Al-Mabhouh died in his luxury hotel room near Dubai international airport on January 20. It is claimed he was suffocated. Hamas has pointed the finger at Israel, blaming Mossad - the country's secret service - for carrying out the hit. Lt Gen Tamim did not go as far as directly blaming Israel, but said it was possible that "leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill" the Hamas man. It is alleged that the hit squad flew into Dubai on separate planes and booked into different hotels wearing wigs and fake beards to disguise their appearances. At least two of the alleged gang watched the Hamas commander check in to the hotel and booked a nearby room, it was further claimed.

Around five hours after setting foot in the city state, al-Mabhouh was ambushed and killed. It is not known if he opened the door to his alleged killers himself. All of the suspects left the United Arab Emirates within 19 hours of their arrivals, it was claimed. All but two of the alleged gang travelled on British and Irish documents. Dubai also released details of suspects with French and German passports.

Hamas officials have so far failed to state why their commander was in Dubai amid suggestions that he was on his way to Iran. In a statement released last month, the militant group acknowledged that al-Mabhouh was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989, adding that, until his death, he had played a "continuous role in supporting his brothers in the resistence inside the occupied homeland".

Press Association

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Irish Shot, Woodside, NYC

Two shot in US bowling alley row
Wounded pair and security guard face charges after fight caught on CCTV
By Barry Duggan and Shane Hickey
Tuesday February 09, 2010

THE parents of an Irishman who was shot outside a New York bowling alley after he was thrown out for smoking inside the venue have flown to the US to be at their son's bedside.
Gerard Hourigan (29), from Upper Grange, Bruff, Co Limerick, was one of two Irishmen shot at a Queens bowling alley during an altercation with a security guard after the pair were escorted from the building for smoking. Mr Hourigan was shot in the stomach in the early hours of Saturday after he and his companion, Justin Donaghy (29), were brought out of the AMF 34th Avenue Lanes and a fight ensued with the security guard.

Mr Donaghy, from Meath, was also shot in the stomach, but both men are expected to survive the incident. They are also being charged in connection with the incident.
The men were out with their wives at the time.

A spokesman for the New York Police Department (NYPD) said both were in a stable condition in hospital. The bowling alley security guard, Michael Iavecchio (54), is a retired New York corrections officer. He has since been charged with two counts of second-degree assault after the altercation in the Woodside area of the New York borough. Both of the assaulted men live in Woodside, which is well-known for its large Irish population. The violent confrontation unfolded after Mr Iavecchio, who was armed, asked the men to leave the bowling alley because they were smoking cigarettes in a vestibule. The security guard escorted the men outside, where the ensuing fight and shooting were captured on CCTV. According to investigating police, words were exchanged and a fight ensued before two gunshots were discharged, striking both friends. The incident happened at 1.50 am.

Both victims were treated at the nearby Elmhurst hospital for their injuries. Mr Iavecchio was armed with a .380 calibre pistol, which he was licensed to carry. The two Irishmen are being charged with menacing. Mr Hourigan's brother Ray flew to New York on Sunday with his parents, Tony and Eileen. "He's improving. Gerard is in a lot of pain, but hopefully he will be fine. It will just take a long time to recover," Ray told the Irish Independent from New York.
"It must have been an awful experience. Gerard works here as an electrician and is married to Julie. He is out here since February 2003. He is in intensive care at the moment, but he is receiving good care. "His friend, Justin, is from Meath and is married to Bonnie. He was discharged from the intensive care unit on Sunday and is in a regular ward. I believe that he is making a good recovery."

Gerard Hourigan played underage hurling and football for Bruff and soccer with Holycross and Janesboro in Limerick. Limerick county councillor Bill O'Donnell said the thoughts and prayers of all in the Bruff and Grange area were with the Hourigan family. "Gerard is a grand, pleasant lad, who would never cause harm to anyone. This seems to be a very isolated incident with Gerard in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery," he said.

- Barry Duggan and Shane Hickey
Irish Independent

Friday, February 5, 2010

Diversity Visas Under Attack

Not that they benefit the Irish anymore!

Let's Abolish the Casino Visas – a Bit of Targeted Immigration Reform
... Why Ireland? Because about twenty years ago the Irish-American organizations noticed that the 1965 Amendments had both ... the country-of-origin quotas that had been so kind to Irish immigrants in the past and had substituted a family-based allocation system which made it very difficult for modern-day Irish immigrants to come to the U.S. legally. Further, the IRCA legalization of ...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where's the justice?

Recently there was a story in the Washington Post about a 39 y/o woman who came here from the Belgian Congo. She was six months pregnant at the time of entry. Supposedly she came here for a "respite" because her boyfriend from another tribe was threatening her as he did not want the baby. ( It isn't explained where she got the thousands of dollars to pay for the trip.)
She has relatives here--who are probably on Medicaid. She came in on a tourist visa, had a very sick baby with heart problems 3 months later-who automatically became an American citizen-his medical bills were over one million dollars, and that is ongoing. Her visa expired when he was a few months old.

Some do-gooders at Georgetown Law School managed to get her asylee status because of the threats by her boyfriend. now she has all of those benefits. Two and one-half years later, at age 42, she is " learning English and looking for a job." This woman and her child are extremely unlikely to contribute to the tax base-ever.

Two weeks later, in the same health-care column, there was a story about an American family, who also had a baby with heart problems. They has Blue Cross insurance, but, ended up owing $90,000.00 dollars because they had to go out of network. As my cousin said, where's the justice?

Irish American Medical Professional
Washington DC, area

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Business and Labor on Immigration

Business and Labor on Immigration
Zogby Poll: DC Lobbyists Often Out of Step with Constituencies

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2010) - A new Zogby poll of senior executives, business owners, and members of union households finds that each of these groups thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country is to enforce the law and cause them to return home.

This is in stark contrast to lobbyists for large companies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argue for legalization. The findings of the survey are consistent with surveys done by the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small enterprises, showing strong opposition to legalization. Among unions, the leadership strongly supports legalizing illegal immigrants, but this survey shows enforcement — not legalization — is by far the option favored by union members and their families. This survey of likely voters uses neutral language and includes 7,046 members of union households, 2,490 executives (e.g., CEOs, CFOs, VPs or department heads), and 9,990 small business owners.

Among the findings: When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home or offering them a pathway to citizenship with conditions, most members of the business community and unions chose enforcement.

Executives (e.g. CEOs, CFOs, VPs etc.): 59 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 30 percent support conditional legalization.

Small Business Owners: 67 percent support enforcement; 22 percent support conditional legalization.

Union Households: 58 percent support enforcement; 28 percent support conditional legalization.
One of the most interesting findings of the survey is that members of the business community think there are plenty of Americans available to fill unskilled jobs.

Executives: 16 percent said legal immigration should be increased to fill unskilled jobs; 61 percent said there are plenty of Americans available to do unskilled jobs, employers just need to pay more.

Small Business Owners: 13 percent said increase immigration; 65 percent said plenty of Americans are available.

Union Households: 10 percent said increase immigration; 72 percent said plenty of Americans are available.

Most members of the business community and union households do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration, as many of their lobbyists argue; instead, members feel it is due to a lack of enforcement.

Executives: Just 13 percent said illegal immigration is caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants; 75 percent said inadequate enforcement.

Small Business Owners: 10 percent said not enough legal immigration; 79 percent said inadequate enforcement.

Union Households: 13 percent said not enough legal immigration; 74 percent said inadequate enforcement efforts.

In contrast to many businesses group and union leaders, most executives and union members think immigration is too high.

Executives: 63 percent said it is too high; 5 percent said too low; 16 percent said just right.

Small Business Owners: 70 percent said it is too high; 4 percent said too low; 13 percent said just right.

Union Households: 63 percent said immigration is too high; 5 percent said too low; 14 percent said just right.

Discussion: The large divide between union members and their leadership on the immigration issue is not really surprising. Union members and their families want higher wages and better working conditions that would likely come from lower levels of immigration. While union leaders also want improved conditions for workers, they see legalized immigrants as potential new members, giving them a different point of view.
The divide between some business lobbying groups and their members of the business community on immigration is perhaps more surprising. The largest business association representing big companies is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber supports 'earned legal status leading to legal permanent residency' for illegal immigrants. But when given the options of a conditional legalization or enforcement and illegal immigrants going home, executives and small business owners choose enforcement over legalization two and three to one. As for future levels of immigration the Chamber has made clear that, 'We face a larger and larger shortage' of low-skilled workers. The Chamber's president argues that more immigrant workers are needed, 'to fill jobs Americans don't want.'

While the idea of improving wages and working conditions to attract American workers does not seem to have occurred to the Chamber, small business owners and executives consider this the best option. Four to one, executives said if employers can't find enough workers they should pay more rather than increase immigration levels. For small business owners it was five to one.

The survey reported here might be surprising to some, but the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) states clearly on its website that, based on its survey of members, 79 percent 'believe undocumented workers should return to their country and seek admis¬sion legally.' Their website goes on to state that 'NFIB will not support legislation that contains amnesty for undocumented workers.' Although the Zogby poll discussed here never uses the word 'amnesty,' when asked about conditional legalization, versus enforcement, small business owners and executives are clear - immigration laws should be enforced and illegal immigrants should go home.

Methodology: Zogby International was commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies to conduct an online survey of 42,026 adults. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the United States, was invited to participate.

For small business owners, Zogby asked respondents if they owned a small business. Executives are those who indicated they were either a C-level executive, managing partner, managing director, or served on the board of directors.

Persons in union households are either a member of a union themselves or live with someone who is a union member.

The survey was conducted by Zogby from November 13 to 30, 2009. The margin of error for all likely voters is +/- 0.5 percent. The margin of error for executives is 2 percent, for small business owners 1 percent, and for those in union households 1.2 percent. The survey is available online at http://www.cis.org/Business-Union-Poll.
# # #

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution that examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Washington Post- Immigration "Reform"

In Monday's Washington Post, page 3, 01/01/10, there was a big article about people (illegals I assume) demonstrating because immigration reform has not been addressed to their satisfaction by Obama. Many parties were quoted, who mainly said there was little or no chance of increasing immigration in a country with a 10% unemployment rate. Frank Sharry was also quoted as saying it was a long shot.

In the same paper there was an article about Pontiac Michigan, which formerly had 23,000 auto workers and now has 3000. Pontiac sold the Dome where the Detroit Lions used to play - which was built for $55 million - for $538,000. In a column on health care, it was noted that Medicaid and Medicare made up 22% of our GNP in 2008; it is expected to increase to 28% by 2020.

I won't begin to address the financial drain that immigrants are making upon Medicaid here in WDC, and how the losses we sustain bleed the hospitals. I can tell you that we are seeing people here who will spend their lives living off of public funds, and never contibute to the tax base.
Courtesy of an Irish American medical professional
Washington, DC area