Willie Colon, Bronx-born of Puerto Rican grandparents, has fused his musical talent, his passion for humanity, and his community and political activism into an extraordinary, multifaceted career.
His achievements in all his activities are widely recognized. As musician, composer, arranger, singer, and trombonist, as well as producer and director, Colon still holds the all time record for sales, he has created 40 productions that have sold more than thirty million records worldwide.
EXTORTION OF AMERICAN STINGS BOLIVIAN OFFICIALS
By CARLOS VALDEZ and FRANK BAJAK
— Dec. 10 7:42 PM EST
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FILE – In this June 11, 2012 file photo, Jacob Ostreicher, U.S. businessman, center, arrives to attend his court hearing in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In an unlikely tale, the Orthodox Jew from New York City came to Bolivia to rescue a rice-growing venture, was thrown in jail on suspicion of money laundering and, with the aid of actor Sean Penn, winds up triggering one of the biggest scandals of Evo Morales’ presidency. The saga came to light 18 months ago when Ostreicher was arrested while trying to salvage a multimillion-dollar investment he was managing for Swiss partners. After Penn directly interceded on Ostreicher’s behalf, it could now be reaching its end game. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – In this Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, U.S. actor Sean Penn leaves the presidential palace after meeting with Bolivia’s President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia. In an unlikely tale: Jacob Ostreicher, an Orthodox Jew from New York City comes to Bolivia to rescue a rice-growing venture, gets thrown in jail on suspicion of money laundering and, aided by Penn, winds up triggering one of the biggest scandals of Evo Morales’ presidency. The saga came to light 18 months ago when Ostreicher was arrested while trying to salvage a multimillion-dollar investment he was managing for Swiss partners. After Penn directly interceded on Ostreicher’s behalf, it could now be reaching its end game. (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)
FILE – In this March 21, 2012 file photo, U.S. businessman Jacob Ostreicher, right, talks to his attorney Abel Montano at a local courthouse in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In an unlikely tale, the Orthodox Jew from New York City came to Bolivia to rescue a rice-growing venture, was thrown in jail on suspicion of money laundering and, with the aid of actor Sean Penn, winds up triggering one of the biggest scandals of Evo Morales’ presidency. The saga came to light 18 months ago when Ostreicher was arrested while trying to salvage a multimillion-dollar investment he was managing for Swiss partners. After Penn directly interceded on Ostreicher’s behalf, it could now be reaching its end game. (AP Photo/File)
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LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — It is an unlikely tale: Orthodox Jew from New York City comes to Bolivia to rescue a rice-growing venture, gets thrown in jail on suspicion of money laundering and, aided by actor Sean Penn, winds up triggering perhaps the biggest scandal yet for the country’s president.
It all began 18 months ago when Jacob Ostreicher was arrested while trying to salvage a multimillion-dollar investment he was managing for Swiss partners. After Penn directly interceded on Ostreicher’s behalf, it could now be reaching its end.
The Oscar-winning actor, who has forged friendships with President Evo Morales and other leftist Latin American leaders, presented Morales on Oct. 30 with evidence indicating the American was unjustly jailed and being fleeced.
A high-powered corruption probe moved quickly, bringing eight arrests so far in what authorities described as a band of shakedown artists, extortionists and thieves led by the No. 1 legal adviser in the Interior Ministry and including two prosecutors.
“I took the evidence to the president and the president was highly responsive,” Penn told The Associated Press by phone on Sunday from Haiti, for which he serves as a goodwill ambassador.
He would not discuss details of his meeting with Morales but praised the “excellent investigation” that ensued.
Ostreicher has a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday before a three-judge appeals panel that he hopes will order him released on the grounds that no credible evidence has been presented against him.
After a surprise Halloween visit from Penn, Ostreicher was immediately transferred from prison to a private medical clinic. A feisty, full-bearded man, the 54-year-old Ostreicher had been badly debilitated by a liquids-only hunger strike.
Less than a month later, the arrests began.
Investigators say the band had been preying for five years on captive targets with plunderable assets: people jailed for crimes such as drug trafficking and unlikely to make a public fuss. The alleged ringleader was Fernando Rivera, who had been managing Bolivia’s most important prosecutions in the Interior Ministry since 2007. Among the eight people arrested was the former chief prosecutor in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, where Ostreicher and his partners grew their rice.
As Rivera was hauled off on Dec. 1 to the same prison where he’d kept Ostreicher confined, he told reporters that “with my head held high and my conscience clear I declare I am innocent.”
Investigators say Rivera frequently attended court hearings for his most important victims, including Ostreicher, to ensure they were not released.
In Ostreicher’s case, the band allegedly sold 18,000 metric tons of rice worth several million dollars seized from Ostreicher’s venture, along with confiscated heavy machinery and cattle. Ostreicher says the group demanded a $50,000 get-out-of-jail payment that he refused to pay, and intimidated a judge into reversing himself after initially ordering Ostreicher freed last year.
In another case, the daughter of a close associate of former right-wing President Hugo Banzer says she paid the band $20,000 to transfer her father from a prison to a medical clinic. The man, Guillermo Fortun, died in August at age 73 of a heart attack. He had had been accused of embezzling public funds. Like Ostreicher, he was never charged.
Bolivia’s news media have wondered how Morales and his ministers could not have known about the ring.
“This case is affecting Morales’ credibility,” said analyst Jim Shultz of the Center for Democracy.
But another Bolivia-watcher, Kathryn Ledebur of the Andean Information Network, predicted no political fallout save “a lot of cursing and screaming at the next Cabinet meeting …” And Penn said both Morales and Interior Minister Carlos Romero should be lauded for pursuing the investigation with such vigor.
The Associated Press publicized Ostreicher’s case more than a year ago and asked both Romero and Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca about it in April. They said they would look into it.
A U.S. congressman, Chris Smith of New Jersey, has lobbied hard for Ostreicher’s freedom, visiting Bolivia several times and holding congressional hearings. But Washington has had little clout in Bolivia since its ambassador was expelled in late 2008.
Morales has said he was tipped off to the extortion band via anonymous messages on his cell phone. Romero, meanwhile, told Bolivian reporters the investigation began three months ago. Smith said from Washington Monday that Romero told him last week that the probe began in June — the day after Smith complained to him about “rogue prosecutors” persecuting Ostreicher. He said Romero made no such commitment in June.
Rivera initially oversaw cases against political opponents of Morales, many of whom fled the country, rendering the opposition weak and fragmented. Later, he moved into major drug-trafficking prosecutions.
He didn’t just shake down people for money, Romero said.
The wife of a former police officer on trial for drug trafficking, Esther Gorena, told the AP Rivera began driving her husband’s late-model Honda after it was seized.
Another alleged victim, the former mayor of the town of Warnes in Santa Cruz state, said he spent three months in prison rather than pay the $50,000 the band demanded after accusing him of links to a drug trafficker.
The ex-mayor, Mario Cronembold, said he complained to the president and Morales told him to “stick it out.”
Morales has called the band’s activities “reprehensible,” but says corruption was worse in Bolivia before he was elected.
Yet the former coca-growers’ union leader has been hounded by plenty of scandals since taking office in January 2006 as Bolivia’s first indigenous president.
In January, the former president of the state-owned hydrocarbons company, YPFB, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking bribes. Last year, former Col. Rene Sanabria was sentenced to 14 years by a U.S. judge for trafficking in cocaine while heading Bolivia’s police counterdrug intelligence unit.
Drug-trafficking has long been the leading source of corruption in Bolivia, the world’s No. 3 coca producer and an increasingly popular transit and refining country for Peruvian cocaine.
After several scandals, Morales has sacked ministers only to later reinstate them or put them in different, powerful positions.
In 2009, Morales fired his right-hand man, Juan Ramon Quintana, as minister of the presidency after a top Customs official accused Quintana of business dealings with smugglers. Quintana was never investigated, however, and Morales instead put him in charge of the powerful office that manages Bolivia’s borders.
Two years later, Quintana was back in his old job.
Associated Press Writer Frank Bajak reported from Bogota, Colombia.
Frank Bajak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fbajak
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POLICE CANNOT ADMINSTER A DEATH SENTENCE FOR A TRAFFIC VIOLATION
This really needs to be looked at. when we give someone a badge and a gun it’s not for personal grudges. Minimally, this incident shows lack of judgement and possibly criminal intent.
LA POLICIA NO PUEDE FUSILARTE POR UNA INFRACCIÓN DE TRAFICO
Esto precisa una investigación. Cuando le damos una charola y armas a una persona no es para su chismes personales. Por lo menos, este incidente demuestra falta de de sentido común y posiblemente inteción criminal.
For marijuana smokers in the right neighborhoods, there is no need to go out for supplies. A dealer-businessman will come right to the door, sit at the dining room table and open a box that looks as if it could be used to display herbal tea choices in restaurants. This particular case, however, is used to show varieties of cannabis — weed — and the businessman will annotate the flavor and potency of his offerings. Bought and smoked behind closed doors, the pot in such transactions has almost no risk of attracting attention from law enforcement.
That was not the system used by Joseph Griffin, then 18, one summer night in the East New York section of Brooklyn. He walked a few blocks down Herkimer Street, made a purchase and headed back to smoke it at home.
“The plainclothes officers pulled up, and they asked me where I was going,” Mr. Griffin said. “I said, ‘Home.’ They jumped out. They was patting me down. He went into my pocket and found it. Then they put the handcuffs on.”
Mr. Griffin spent the night in one jail or another, taken from the precinct station to central booking and then to the courthouse in Brooklyn. Up to that point, his case had absorbed the energy of two police officers, a desk sergeant, a clerk who processed his paperwork and fingerprints, a driver who transported him to booking, other officers to secure him in the pen awaiting his appearance, a Legal Aid Society lawyer, an assistant district attorney, a court clerk and a court reporter to transcribe the proceedings.
Also, a judge, who instantly dismissed the case.
How much pot did Mr. Griffin have in his pocket that night?
Original Reports said Lanza left the assault rifle in his car, that he was found with handguns and large capacity magazines. Four months later, with support for the Gun Ban waning we have a Presidential press conference and right after that, an announcement that the WAS an assault rifle. Just in time to pressure for an assault weapon ban. An assault weapon fires high velocity projectiles that would pass through many bodies at close distance. The wounds described ilustrate a slow heavy bullet as from a handgun. You know me, I grew up with assasination conspiracies: Kennedy, King, Malcom X. The facts kept getting juggled around, nobody ever found out the truth, even up to today.
CBS, NBC, ABC Admit No Assault Rifle Used at Sandy Hook
Authorities Say Newtown Shooter Did Not Use Assault Weapon – Katie Pavlich:
In New York State & across the country, there are legions of law abiding legally armed citizens. In NYC, a concealed weapon holder must be interviewed with the Police department, then you must have letters from three people who will vouch for the applicant to carry a pistol. He must then be checked out through the FBI’s NICS system (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). Then you must take a gun safety course, and then you must be familiar with the law for where you cannot legally use your weapon and sign off on this agreement. Then you must register each pistol.
There are thousands of legally armed citizens in NYC & state. The vast majority of these citizens have been armed for many years without incident.
Contrary to the hysteria, in the face of a situation where a life is in danger, they offer a layer of safety, to themselves, their family, friends & neighbors.
A tragedy like New Town occurs in CONNECTICUT and these people who have jumped through all of these hoops are exposed in the newspapers like rapists and made criminals by an ill-conceived, law put together by an overly ambitious governor.
Although horrible shooting incidents like New Town, make us all emotional and indignant. Directing the peoples rage at Assault rifles, which comprise 3% of guns deaths and making all gun owner’s guns illegal by outlawing their magazines is not going to affect the lion’s share (97%) of gun deaths in this country.
The problem is ILLEGAL GUNS; just like drug dealers and the people who go to certain states to buy fireworks for 4th of July; there are gun dealers, who bring illegal guns into these states and sell them at over ten times what they buy them for in these other gun lax states. That’s where our approximate 12,000 yearly gun deaths are coming from. Legally licensed gun owners donot commit gun crimes. The one or two that do are an infinitely miniscule percentage of gun crimes.
I know that some folks are shocked at what a “right wing fanatic” I have become. I’m really not. I’m against “Stop & Frisk” and I believe in decriminalizing drugs. But at the ripe old age of 63 (almost), I am tired of being pissed on and told that it’s raining.
I am tired of being afraid of my government. I am tired of worrying if I am going too fast on the road or if I haven’t paid my taxes or if I might say something on the plane or that I can be stopped and frisked because I look like a criminal, just name a few things.
This country was created by men and women seeking to flee from the oppression of Kings and their minions who made life unbearable in Europe.
200+ years down the road we’re back to the same place. As in the days of Robin Hood, when the Sherriff of Nottingham would demand tribute for the king, we must fork up our tribute to the IRS, State and City government or GO TO JAIL.
This brings me to the 2nd amendment issue. If the government really cared about saving lives they would totally stop the sale of tobacco. In the United States, smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure).
I know you’re going to say “People choose to smoke” but do they really? Smoking is so addictive that once snared people can’t stop, they even add ingredients to make them more addictive.
While these shooting incidents are horrific and truly tragic, they are as rare as getting struck by lightning or bit by a shark. Of 11,000 gun deaths annually in the US, 350 happen with assault rifles. That’s less than 3%. Banning assault weapons is not going to solve the gun violence problem.
We have a people problem not a gun problem. How will banning a gun that’s almost NEVER used in murder, solve the high murder problem? You think that mass shootings can only happen with assault rifles? Unfortunately, for some unknown reason there are a lot of sick people out there today. People who will kill with hammers (which is the most common weapon), knives, push others in front of trains, use meat cleavers, bombs (Timothy McVeigh) even airplanes. Are we to ban all of those things too? (Sorry, I know this is horrible)
Virginia tech, Columbine, and the worst one in Killeen, Texas at the diner, were not committed with assault rifles. By the way, all of these shootings had serious warning signs. The Killeen shooter had sent a strange letter to his neighbors. Jane Bugg, was unnerved enough to take the letter to Belton police, but got little response. Gun owners are upset because banning assault weapons does nothing to alleviate the problem of gun murders or mass murders.
Different sectors have their motives for demanding this appeal to ban assault weapons. Politicians can’t resist the sexiness of the trend as the flavor of the year, politically ambitious Governor Cuomo couldn’t wait to make that touchdown before president Obama after New Town. New York’s new law was so unnecessary; we already had an assault weapon law.
Cuomo’s new law made the police criminals, they were all carrying banned weapons! They had magazines that carried more than 7 rounds. It had to be amended, that tells us how well thought out it was.
Some people don’t believe in bearing weapons because it’s just wrong even if nothing ever happened, they just don’t want anybody armed. The government wants its citizens to be docile and pliable and live in fear so that they can demand their tribute without question, they want to be able to come in and do what they need to do without any resistance. They know damn well that law abiding citizens who have registered, fingerprinted and paid for a license are not the people that use guns to commit crimes but they will use every opportunity to disarm us “to save lives”.
Other countries are jealous of our freedom and independence. We are the only country in the world with the Right to Bear Arms in the Constitution. It was the 2nd thing the Founding Fathers thought of while amending the Bill of Rights.
Some bring up countries like UK and Japan and point to their ban on guns but first of all, both of these countries would fit in California so the comparison is pretty lame.
England as an example with it’s gun ban statistics against the USA does not really hold water. California: 163,696 square miles England: 50,346 square miles Great Britain aka United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland): 94,526 square miles. What works for a small parcel of land does not really apply to a large country like US.
I travel all over the world for a living, and the US, despite all of the horrible news they dish up to scare us, is one of the safest countries in the world. The truth is Britain is considered the most violent nation in Europe. It has a violent crime rate much higher than the US.
If banning guns means less crime, then why is the British crime rate so much higher than the US, even higher than South Africa?
The US has the most guns, yet we are not number one in gun crime. Places where people have concealed carry see a much lesser gun crime rate than the areas in the US where guns are prohibited completely. Chicago and NY have higher gun murder rate then Houston. 6000 crimes are stopped everyday by good decent human beings with guns.
Switzerland trains and arms every adult male and every female who wishes, with an assault rifle and yet there aren’t mass shootings there. There HAVE been mass shootings in the UK AFTER the gun weapons ban; It’ easy to kill a lot of people when no one else has a gun.
When there is a good possibility that others are armed as in Switzerland or Texas, people think twice about knocking on someone’s door and getting violent or letting road rage take over, even if the other person seems physically less imposing.
Vice President Biden says “Get a shotgun”. Not a very good answer to the problem or a good reason to ban assault rifles. There would have been little difference in the results in New Town if the shooter used a shotgun.
Gun ownership is not an evil act. It is the same as owning a car. You must assume certain responsibilities with both. 1.) Learn how to use them safely so that you do not injure or kill anyone 2.) Keep it from children and others who may want to use it without your permission.
People are confused about the role of the Police. They have a false sense of security because they can call 911. They are called Law Enforcement Officers because their main duty is to enforce the law. They are not Crime Prevention Officers or Public Protection Officers.
Cops are people too, they want to get home alive and they’ll show up as soon as they can (or should) considering the circumstances. They will usually wait for backup or until the shooting subsides. Police usually show up show up to make the chalk marks around the bodies or take a report or to come and arrest you.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a person who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent spouse making an arrest mandatory for a violation. Police protect the public at large. In other words “You’re on your own”.
I recommend if you can, get a gun. Stop the hysterical assault gun bans. Do the background checks, register handguns. But let’s not fall for the disarming of America. It will make us vulnerable to all kinds of abuse.
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch On Obama’s Hagel Nomination: Obama Betrayed Israel “Earlier Than I Thought He Would”…
If you knew he would throw Israel under the bus then why the f*ck did you endorse him and campaign to the pro-Israel community on his behalf?
Via Commentary Magazine:
I admire former Mayor Ed Koch’s willingness to break with his own party on issues of principle, but his comments to the Algemeiner today are mind-boggling. In between some very strong denunciations of the Chuck Hagel nomination, Koch casually let it drop that he suspected Obama would abandon his pro-Israel positions after the election. The former mayor, of course, endorsed Obama’s reelection and served as one of his surrogates to the pro-Israel community:
“Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when [Obama] would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” said Koch, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”
“It’s very disappointing, I believe he will ultimately regret it,” Koch said, “and it undoubtedly will reduce support for him in the Jewish community, but I don’t think he (the President) worries about that now that the election is over.” …
Koch explained to The Algemeiner why he decided to back the President’s re-election even though he says he suspected that Obama would backtrack on his pro-Israel overtures. “I did what I thought was warranted and intelligent,” he said, “He was going to win! There was no question about it. I thought it would be helpful to have a Jewish voice there, being able to communicate.”
Publicado por José R. Cárdenas Viernes, 11 de enero de 2013 – 11:37 parte
Aun cuando Venezuela se sumerge en una crisis constitucional sobre inauguración perdida de Hugo Chávez ayer, funcionarios del Departamento de estado evidentemente todavía piensan que es un momento ideal para continuar presionando para una normalización de relaciones diplomáticas con el Gobierno venezolano.
Desde que mi colega, el ex Subsecretario de estado Roger Noriega, divulgó el mes pasado (y en política exterior aquí) que funcionarios de alto rango del Departamento habían iniciado conversaciones discretas sobre el intercambio de embajadores con Vicepresidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro y el Embajador de EEUU, Roy Chaderton en noviembre, funcionarios del Departamento han comenzado a hablar abiertamente (aquí y allá) sobre el esfuerzo y no han dejado que los acontecimientos recientes en Venezuela han humedecido su entusiasmo.
De hecho, han duplicado hacia abajo en él y ahora están presentando sus propuestas como una forma de adelantarse a la curva de post-Chávez, dada la creciente probabilidad de que el populista feroz nunca volverá al poder. Así, en palabras del Washington Post, se “puedan enganchar Caracas en una variedad de preocupaciones que ha tenido el Departamento de Estado sobre las políticas del gobierno venezolano.”
Una pregunta, a continuación, en noviembre fue la justificación para intentar normalizar las relaciones, ya que Chávez fue su habitua, ampuloso y no mostró signos de la gravedad de su enfermedad. (Pronto viaja a Cuba para su cuarta cirugía para el cáncer y no ha sido visto o escuchado de desde el 8 de diciembre.)
En cualquier caso, la idea de incondicionalmente restablecer relaciones diplomáticas con el Gobierno de Chávez en noviembre fue suficiente preocupante; Hoy, es simplemente inexplicable.
Como se ha informado ampliamente, Chávez perdió su investidura esta semana, lo que significa, según la Constitución venezolana, que ha terminado su actual mandato presidencial. Ya no juró para su nuevo mandato, poder es entregado luego al jefe electo de la Asamblea Nacional. Sin embargo, el Tribunal Supremo lleno de Chavistas dictaminó que todavía es Presidente y que su inauguración se puede posponer indefinidamente. Eso significa que el jefe nominal del Gobierno de Venezuela es elegido Vicepresidente de Chávez y heredero, el Nicolás Maduro no elegido.
Pero la oposición democrática de Venezuela protesta esta usurpación del proceso constitucional y mantenen que el jefe de Gobierno es la cabeza de la legislatura, Diosdado Cabello, otro compinche de Chávez. Sin embargo complicando aún más las cosas es que Maduro y Cabello cabeza a diferentes facciones dentro del Chavismo probablemente se disputarán por el poder, una vez que Chávez se ha ido.
¿Es este el escenario más atractivo para intentar restablecer las relaciones diplomáticas con un país que ha sido tan radicalizado, desinstitucionalizado y polarizado en más de una década de Hugo Chávez? Pienso que no.
Nadie duda la preocupación de la administración con alianzas de Venezuela con pícaros internacionales como Irán y Siria, su complicidad con el narcotráfico a través de su territorio, y su postura no es útil en la guerra de Colombia contra el narcoterrorismo, pero esperar progresos diplomáticos sobre esas cuestiones, mientras que los venezolanos no están siquiera seguro que estará en el poder cuando se despiertan por la mañana es simplemente locura.
La administración haría mejor en inmediatamente suspender oberturas a funcionarios venezolanos, que el proceso de transición incierta a jugar y apoyar llamadas de la oposición para una solución abierta, transparente y constitucional a la crisis–, así como una elección limpia y transparente cuando Chávez sucumbe al cáncer. Por otra parte, el Departamento contará pronto con un nuevo Secretario de estado, presumiblemente de John Kerry. Por el tiempo que él y su equipo están en el edificio más probable será que tengan una mejor comprensión de quién está a cargo en Venezuela, y si el ambiente es más invitando a intentar avanzar con los sucesores de Chávez en los asuntos que son importantes para la seguridad de Estados Unidos
Posted By José R. CárdenasFriday, January 11, 2013 – 11:37 AM Share
Even as Venezuela plunges into a constitutional crisis over Hugo Chávez’s missed inauguration yesterday, State Department officials evidently think its still an ideal time to continue pressing for a normalization of diplomatic relations with the Venezuelan government, whoever that may be.
Ever since my colleague, former Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, disclosed last month (and at Foreign Policy here) that high-ranking department officials had begun discrete talks about exchanging ambassadors with Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuelan Organization of American States Ambassador Roy Chaderton in November, department officials have begun to speak openly (here and here) about the effort and have shown no indication that recent events in Venezuela have dampened their enthusiasm.
Indeed, they have even doubled down on it and are now presenting their overtures as a way to get ahead of the post-Chávez curve, given the increasing likelihood that the firebrand populist will never return to power. That way, in the words of the Washington Post, they “can engage Caracas on a variety of concerns the State Department has had about the Venezuelan government’s policies.”
One wonders then what the rationale was in November for seeking to normalize relations, since Chávez was his usual bombastic self and showed no signs of the severity of his illness. (He soon decamped to Cuba for his reported fourth surgery for cancer and hasn’t been seen or heard from since December 8th.)
In any case, the idea of unconditionally restoring diplomatic ties with the Chávez government in November is troubling enough; today, it is simply inexplicable.
As has been widely reported, Chávez missed his inauguration this week, which means, according to the Venezuelan constitution, that his current presidential term has ended. Since he was not sworn in for his new term, power is then turned over to the elected head of the National Assembly. However, the Chávez-packed Supreme Court ruled that he is still president and that his inauguration can be postponed indefinitely. That means the nominal head of government in Venezuela is Chávez’s hand-picked vice president and heir, the unelected Nicolas Maduro.
But Venezuela’s democratic opposition is protesting this usurpation of the constitutional process and maintaining that the head of government is the head of the legislature, Diosdado Cabello, another Chávez crony. Yet complicating matters further is that both Maduro and Cabello head different factions within Chavismo that will likely vie for power once Chávez is gone.
Is this really the most appealing scenario to attempt to restore diplomatic relations with a country that has been so radicalized, de-institutionalized, and polarized under more than a decade of Hugo Chávez? One thinks not.
No one doubts the administration’s concern with Venezuela’s alliances with international rogues like Iran and Syria, its complicity with narco-trafficking through its territory, and its unhelpful stance on Colombia’s war against narco-terrorism, but to expect any diplomatic progress on those issues while Venezuelans aren’t even sure who will be in power when they wake up in the morning is simply folly.
The administration would do better to immediately suspend overtures to Venezuelan officials, allow the uncertain transition process to play out, and support the opposition’s calls for an open, transparent, and constitutional resolution to the crisis — as well as a clean and transparent election when Chávez succumbs to cancer. Moreover, the department will soon have a new Secretary of State, presumably John Kerry. By the time he and his team are in the building the more likely it will be that they have a better understanding of who is in charge in Venezuela, and whether the environment is more inviting to attempt to make real progress with Chávez’s successors on those issues that are important to U.S. security
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Vive tu vida, de modo que el temor a la muerte nunca pueda entrar en tu corazón. No juzgues a nadie por su religión. Respeta a los demás y sus puntos de vista y exige que ellos respeten los tuyos. Ama tu vida, perfecciónala. Embellece todas las cosas en tu vida. Trata de hacer tu vida duradera y de servicio a tus semejantes. Prepare un himno de muerte noble para el día que te marches para el más allá.
Siempre da una palabra o un saludo cuando te reúnas, o veas de paso a un amigo, incluso a un extraño, cuando te encuentres en algún lugar solitario. Muestra respeto a todas las personas, y no discrimines a nadie.
Cuando te levantes por la mañana, da gracias por la luz, por tu vida, por tu fuerza. Da las gracias por tus alimentos y por la alegría de vivir. Si no vez razón alguna para dar las gracias, el fallo se encuentra solo en ti mismo. No abuses de nadie ni de nada, que el abuso entorpece a los sabios y roba el espíritu de sus ojos.
Cuando llegue tu hora de morir, no seas como aquéllos cuyos corazones están llenos de temor a la muerte, de modo que cuando llega su momento lloran y rezan por un poco más de tiempo, para vivir sus vidas de una nueva manera diferente. Canta tu propia canción de muerte y muere como un héroe que regresa a casa…
Willie Colón Desgraciadmente no hemos evolucionado suficiente para contar con la buena voluntad de nuestros hermanos. Ideológicamente sus argumentos son muy bonitos. Desde los principios las armas han sido necesarias. Para cazar y para defenderse de todas clases de fieras. Irónicamente, el martillo, la pala, el bate de beisbol y el cuchillo también son instrumentos mortiferos comunes. Cualquier cosa puede ser un arma mortal si es su intención: un salten, un rollo, una piedra, las vías del tren, un camion, fertilizante….. Etc.
Incidentes como Sandy Hook son horríficos, son trágicos pero son raros. Si se justifica tener guardias o policías armados para cuidar nuestros bancos, tiendas y departamentos, cual es el problema de tener proteger nuestros hijos en sus escuelas. Sabiendo lo inocentes e indefensos que son? Yo bien se como deberían ser las cosas pero tenemos que reconocer como son.
HIPÓCRITAS DE LA SEGUNDA ENMIENDA: SENADORES SCHUMER Y FEINSTEIN ANDAN ENCAÑONADOS
P.O. Box 579
Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
30 De diciembre de 2012 Vol. 12, no. 364 Hipócritas De La Segunda Enmienda: Senadores Schumer y Feinstein Andan Encañonados
Por Jim Kouri, CPP
Una reciente encuesta realizada por la Asociación Nacional de Jefes de policía indicó que casi el 64 por ciento de los comandantes de policía y alguaciles están a favor de una ley que permite portar armas de fuego ocultas para la protección de los ciudadanos. Casi el 73 por ciento dijeron que los ciudadanos no deben ser restringidos de comprar más de un arma, y 96 por ciento dicen que creen que los delincuentes obtienen sus armas de fuego de fuentes ilegales.
Lamentablemente a mayoría de estados – especialmente aquellos Estados azules llamados debido a sus inclinaciones liberales – continúan prohibir a los ciudadanos llevar oculta armas de fuego.
Al mismo tiempo, hay abiertamente opositores de posesión de armas, como los senadores Chuck Schumer (D -NY) y Diane Feinstein (D -CA), que cargan ocultas armas, según Mark Levin de la Radio WABC. Levin, un reconocido experto constitucional, dirige la Fundación Legal Landmark. Objetivo de la LLF es proteger de America de intrusiones de Gobierno irracionales e ilegal y violaciónes de la Constitución, incluyendo la segunda enmienda.
Los principales medios de noticias han sido conscientes de que varios defensores anti-arma llevan ocultas armas de fuego pero hab decidido no exponer esta hipocresía. Los esfuerzos de este escritor para descubrir cuántos otros anti-armeros también están embalando cañones – un derecho que desean negar a otros ciudadanos – con resultados limitados.
No sólo Schumer tiene un arma de fuego, el Departamento de policía de la ciudad de Nueva York también ofrece escoltas armadas para este buen senador. De hecho, la Oficina de contabilidad del Gobierno — el brazo de investigación del Congreso estadounidense — criticó el uso de Schumer de recursos de la policía para su protección personal. Está claro que Schumer cree que él es especial. Quiere prohibir el accesos privado de los ciudadanos de armas de fuego, mientras disfruta de varias capas de protección.
“No es de extrañar que Chuckie Schumer dispara su boca desprende tanto – es capaz de protegerse a sí mismo,” dice un veterano policía de 25 años.
También, permiten un control de licencia pistola registros muestra que el senador Schumer posee una pistola “sin restricciones”, una rareza en la ciudad de Nueva York. Licencias se distribuyen en diferentes categorías en la gran manzana: destino permite sólo el uso de un arma de fuego en un campo de tiro con licencia; Permisos locales permiten armas para mantenerse en una casa o un apartamento; Permisos restringidos permiten portar sus armas de fuego ocultados pero sólo en el ámbito de su trabajo (seguridad, joyeros, guardias de vehículos blindados, etc.). Por lo que es evidente que el senador Schumer tiene dos conjuntos de reglas: una para los cuidadanos y uno para sí mismo.
Hasta Chuckie Scummer
Y luego tenemos la Senadora Diane Feinstein en la costa de izquierda (Oeste) que posee algo más raro que un republicano conservador en San Francisco – permiso para armas ocultas sin restricciones. Aparentemente sin vergüenza, participó en un programa donde armas entregadas fueron fundanadas en uns especie de estatua de los cañones donados que iban a ser fundidas. Uno de sus guardias del cuerpo de policía se le safó decir que Feinstein contribuyó un modelo barato de la debacle, conservando su revólver.357 magnum para su propia autodefensa personal.
Hipocresía no se limita a los políticos cuando se trata de la segunda enmienda. Por ejemplo, el conocido columnista basado en Washington, Carl Rowan, escribió a menudo sobre los males de la propiedad de armas de fuego. Hasta que, tiro y había herido a un adolescente que traspasados en su propiedad. El chico adolescente blanco afirmó que quería probar la piscina de Rowan. Rowan, un afroamericano, reaccionó con fuerza letal con un arma de fuego. Ahí fue cuando las noticias salieron que Carl Rowan, Gran defensor del control de armas, poseía una licencia para armas de fuego.
Otro ejemplo es la animadora de bocazas, Rosie O’Donnell, que una vez despellejó conservador actor Tom Selleck debido a su postura de apoyo a la segunda enmienda. Aunque la Sra. O’Donnell no lleva un arma, pero ella tiene tres guardaespaldas armados que protegen, su esposa y sus hijos, algo que la mayoría de los trabajadores estadounidenses no podrían darse el lujo. ¿No es reconfortante saber que todos estos liberales están cuidando por nosotros?
~ Sobre el autor ~
Jim Kouri es profesional certificado protección, escritor, comentarista y editor colaborador de Jefe de la revista de la policía. Un ex jefe de un proyecto de vivienda en el distrito de Washington Heights de Nueva York – llamado Crack City – se desempeña como Quinto-Vicepresidente de la Asociación Nacional de Jefes de policía. Posee más de 25 años de aplicación de la ley y seguridad experiencia y escribe una columna regular para KingNewsMedia.Com. Es autor de delito Talk: conversaciones con tapa nueva y asumir la posición de Estados Unidos: Ciencias policiales novelistas, guionistas, periodistas y sus artículos de revista aparecen en muchas publicaciones. Es un invitado frecuente en muchas estaciones de radio y televisión como Fox News, CNN, CBS, ABC, CNBC y otros.
El archivo de Kouri al observador Federal
P.O. Box 579
Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
December 30, 2012 Vol. 12, No. 364
Second Amendment Hypocrites: Senators Schumer and Feinstein Pack Heat
By Jim Kouri, CPP
A recent poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police indicated that almost 64 percent of police commanders and sheriffs favor a law allowing private citizens to carry concealed firearms for protection. Almost 73 percent said that citizens should not be restricted from purchasing more than one weapon, and 96 percent say they believe criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources.
Unfortunately most states – especially those called Blue States due to their Liberal-leanings – continue to prohibit private citizens from carrying concealed handguns.
At the same time, there are outspoken opponents of gun ownership, such as Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who are carrying concealed weapons, according to WABC Radio’s Mark Levin. Levin, a recognized constitutional expert, heads the Landmark Legal Foundation. The LLF’s goal is to protect American’s from unreasonable and illegal government intrusions and violations of the US Constitution, including the Second Amendment.
The mainstream news media have been aware that several antigun proponents are carrying concealed firearms but have failed to expose this hypocrisy. This writer’s efforts to discover how many other anti-gunners are also packing heat – a right they wish to deny other citizens – met with limited results.
Not only does Schumer carry a handgun, the New York City Police Department also provides armed escorts for the good senator. In fact, the Government Accounting Office — the investigative arm of the US Congress — slammed Schumer’s use of police resources for personal protection. It’s clear that Schumer believes he’s special. He wishes to ban private citizens’ ownership of firearms, while he enjoys layers of protection.
“No wonder Chuckie Schumer shoots his mouth off so much – he’s able to protect himself,” says a 25-year police veteran.
Also, a check of Pistol License records shows that Senator Schumer possesses an “unrestricted” pistol permit, a rarity in New York City. Licenses are distributed in different categories in the Big Apple: Target Permits allow only use of a firearm at a licensed firing range; Premises Permits allow weapons to be kept in a home or apartment; Restricted Permits allow the gunowner to carry their firearms concealed but only within the purview of their job (security, jewelers, armored car guards, etc.). So it’s evident that Senator Schumer has two sets of rules — one for Americans and one for himself.
Up Chuckie Scummer
And then we have Senator Diane Feinstein on the Left Coast who possesses something more rare than a conservative Republican in San Francisco – an unrestricted concealed weapons permit. Apparently without shame, she participated in a citywide gun turn-in program that was intended to create some kind of statue from the donated guns that were to be melted down. One of her police body guards let it slip that she contributed a cheap model for the meltdown, while retaining her .357 magnum revolver for her own personal self-defense.
Hypocrisy is not limited to politicians when it comes to the Second Amendment. For Example, well-known Washington-based columnist, Carl Rowan, often wrote about the ills of firearms ownership. Until, that is, he shot and wounded a teenager who trespassed on his property. The white teenaged boy claimed he wanted to try Rowan’s swimming pool. Rowan, an African-American, retaliated with deadly force using a firearm. That’s when the news came out that Carl Rowan, gun-control advocate, actually possessed a license to own firearms.
Another example is the loudmouth entertainer, Rosie O’Donnell, who once ran roughshod over conservative actor Tom Selleck because of his stance supporting the Second Amendment. Although Ms. O’Donnell doesn’t carry a gun, she has three armed bodyguards who protect her, her wife and her children, something the vast majority of hardworking Americans could never afford. Isn’t it comforting to know all these Liberals are looking out for us?
~ About the Author ~
Jim Kouri is a certified protection professional, writer, commentator and contributing editor for Chief of Police Magazine. A former chief at a housing project in New York City’s Washington Heights district – dubbed Crack City – he serves as Fifth-Vice President of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He possesses over 25 years of law enforcement and security experience and writes a regular column for KingNewsMedia.Com. He’s the author of Crime Talk: Conversations with America’s Top Crimefighters and Assume The Position: Police Science for Novelists, Screenwriters and Journalists, and his magazine articles appear in many publications. He’s a frequent guest on many TV and radio stations including Fox News, CNN, CBS, ABC, CNBC, and others.
28 De diciembre de 2012 PANDEMIA DE ENFERMEDAD MENTAL
Algo está pasando en este país. Es insidiosa y lentamente corroyendo nuestra calidad de vida. Hordas de gente psicópata proliferan la población. Ionicamente pareciendo las películas de zombsi que nos encantan. ¿Somos responsables por crear este problema?
Anoche una mujer murmurándose empujó un hombre a su muerte delante el tren del metro, la segunda vez este mes que alguien ha matado de manera tan grotesca.
El hombre estaba de pie sobre la plataforma elevada del El Tren 7 en Queens sobre las 8:00pm cuando fue empujado por esta mujer, testigos dijeron que ella lo había seguido de cerca, balbuceando a sí misma, cuenta el portavoz Jefe de Departamento de policía de Nueva York Paul Browne.
Cuando llegaba el tren, la mujer se levantó de un banco cercano y empujó al hombre. Las autoridades dicen que la mujer esperó hasta el último segundo posible antes de empujar al hombre, informa la emisora CBS Nueva York WCBS-TV.
Comentan que Naeem Davis de 30-años- fue acusado de asesinato en segundo grado por la muerte el 4 de diciembre de un padre de familia de 58 años de edad, Ki-Suck Han. Dicen que Naeem Davis fue uno de los 100 enfermos mentales sin hogar que no pudieron conseguir refugio debido a la afluencia de tantos refugiados del huracán Sandy. Davis dijo al New York Post en una entrevista desde la cárcel, que Han tomó su brazo y le amenazó anteriormente. Dice que él fue forzado empujarlo por voces en su cabeza que él no podía controlar.
Entre los casos más sonados de este tipo fue la muerte en enero de 1999 de la aspirante a guionista Kendra Webdale, que fue empujada por un ex paciente mental. El estado legislatura aprobó ley de Kendra, que permite a las autoridades de salud mental supervisar a pacientes que viven fuera de las instituciones para asegurarse de que están tomando sus medicamentos y no existen amenazas a la seguridad. Pero aparentemente fue solo un gesto simbólico.
Recientemente, 24 de dic, WILLIAM SPENGLER un hombre condenado por matar a su abuela con un martillo hace décadas, emboscó los bomberos el lunes, con un fuego y fatalmente tiroteó a dos de ellos cuando llegaron a batallar el incendio.
Se cree que también asesinó a su hermana antes de salir a la escena del incendio. Spengler no tenía permisos, como delincuente no había manera legalmente para que pueda obtener un arma de fuego. Este hombre fue puesto en libertad condicional supervisada a pesar de haber asesinado a su abuela en una manera horrífica.
Tampoco olvidemos que este mayo, Rudy Eugene asesinado por la policía después de que fue visto atacando a 65 años Ronald Poppo, masticando su cara, fuera del MacArthur Causeway de esa ciudad.
NO SE NECESITA UN ARMA PARA SER UN ASESINO EN MASA:
Timothy James “Tim” McVeigh, terroristas Americano doméstico utilizó fertilizantes cuando detonó un camión bomba delante del edificio Alfred P. Murrah Federal en Oklahoma City el 19 de abril de 1995. Conocido como el Atentado de Oklahoma City, el ataque mató a 168 personas e hirió a más de 800. Fue el segundo más mortífero acto de terrorismo dentro de Estados Unidos, el primero más mortífero fueron los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre de 2001. Estas dos fueron cometidas sin armas de fuego.
Un factor predominante en cada vez más de estos crímenes atroces es enfermedad MENTAL; se ha convertido en nuestra política permitir enfermos mentales peligrosos que deambulan por nuestras calles porque tienen “sus derechos”. Esto es una manera conveniente para evitar el costo de proveerle cuido medico a las legiones de enfermos mentales que habita en cada parte de este país.
El público no entiende que el papel de la Policía no es prevenir crimen sino esforzar las leyes. Ellos llegan después de hecho e investigan y arrestan los presuntos. Están más a lado del castigo que le prevención. Esto fue ya ratificado varias veces por la corte suprema. Tú no puedes demandar la policía si tú llama porque te están matando y ellos no lleguen. En otras palabras la letra de la ley dice. “Sálvese que pueda.”
Desarmar otros porque Ud. no cree en las armas de fuego no dejará de criminales y mentalmente enfermos que no obedecen la ley ni les importa su opinión.
Los políticos nos alcahuetean. Saben que la prohibición de “armas de asalto” es un chiste – prohibición de las armas de fuego basados en su ASPECTO, no funciona. Suena bien y se siente bien pero es simplemente una pérdida de tiempo.
Estos incidentes son trágicos y crean titulares, pero tiroteos tipo (Newtown) son muy raros y una prohibición es inútil en la lucha contra la violencia armada. Estos enfermos sólo elegirán un método o arma diferente.
Un periódico de Nueva York publicó los nombres de los personas con permisos de portar armas. Esto muestra cómo no tienen ni idea sobre el problema. Personas con permisos de portación han pasado por el sistema. Ellos han sido investigados, sus huellas digitales entregadas, presentaron referencias y registraron sus armas. Mediante la publicación de nombres y direcciones de estas personas ha eliminado el elemento de sorpresa. Un maleante ahora vendrá a asesinarles a tracción sin conseguir una pelea.
La gente está presa del pánico, se sensacional izan por los medios y los políticos explotarán el problema. Pero estamos ignorando el creciente problema obvio de una epidemia de salud mental.
Somos máximos hipócritas en los Estados Unidos. Condenar la violencia, pero las más exitosas películas son sobre todo las de matar a otros seres humanos. Permitimos que nuestros hijos se sienten ensayando cometer caos y asesinando otros seres humanos todo el día con juegos de video que nosotros mismos le compramos como niñeros electronicos, replazando el calor del cariños de un padre. Entonces estamos indignados cuando vemos que el fruto de esta programación se desata.
Encontrar una solución para el problema de salud mental es muy difícil y complejo problema.
Decir deshacerse de las armas es una solución de curita que ignora a la persona que realiza la matanza y culpa a las armas. Después, de la prohibición de armas debemos poner barandales a lo largo de todas las estaciones de tren, supervisar la venta de fertilizantes, no vender nada de lo que puede ser un arma en las ferreterías, etc..
Tenemos que encontrar una solución mejor que intentar barrer estas personas debajo de la alfombra.
Something is going on in this country. It’s slowly and insidiously eating away at our quality of life. We are witnessing hordes of psychopathic people exploding within our population. Almost like in the zombie movies we love. Are we responsible for creating this problem?
Last night a mumbling woman pushed a man to his death in front of a subway train on Thursday night, the second time this month someone has been killed in such nightmarish fashion, police said.
The man was standing on the elevated platform of a 7 train in Queens at about 8 p.m. when he was shoved by the woman, who witnesses said had been following him closely and mumbling to herself, New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne said.
When the train pulled in, the woman got up from a nearby bench and shoved the man down, he said. The man had been standing with his back to her.
Authorities say the woman waited until the last possible second before pushing the man, reports CBS New York station WCBS-TV.
It was said that Naeem Davis 30-year-charged with second-degree murder in the Dec 4 death of 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han. Was one of 100 seriously mentally ill homeless people’s not able to get shelter because of the influx of so many refugees from Hurricane Sandy? Davis told the New York Post in a jailhouse interview, that Han had grabbed his arm and threatened him earlier. He says he was coaxed into shoving Han by voices in his head that he couldn’t control.
Among the more high-profile cases was the January 1999 death of aspiring screenwriter Kendra Webdale, who was shoved by a former mental patient. After that, the state Legislature passed Kendra’s Law, which lets mental health authorities supervise patients who live outside institutions to make sure they are taking their medications and aren’t threats to safety.
Just recently, on DEC 24 WILLIAM SPENGLER A man convicted of killing his grandmother with a hammer decades ago, ambushed firefighters on Monday, fatally shooting two of them as they arrived to battle a blaze in upstate New York, police said. He set a fire and waited in ambush. It is believed he also murdered his sister before leaving to the fire scene. He had no permits, as a felon he had no way to legally have a firearm. This man was on released on supervised parole despite having heinously murdering his grandmother.
Let’s not forget this May, Rudy Eugene who was shot dead by police after he was seen attacking 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, chewing off his face, off the city’s MacArthur Causeway.
YOU DON’T NEED A GUN TO BE A MAS MURDERER:
Timothy James “Tim” McVeigh, an American domestic terrorist used fertilizer when he detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 800. It was the second deadliest act of terrorism within the United States, the #1 deadliest was the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
A prevailing factor in more and more of these heinous crimes is MENTAL ILLNESS; it has become our policy to allow the dangerously mentally ill to roam our streets because they have “their rights”. I believe this is a convenient way to avoid the EXPENSE of treating the legions of mentally ill that inhabits every part of this country.
We as a people are confused as to what the role of the Police is in our society and government. Police are LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS not Crime Prevention Officers. They usually arrive AFTER THE FACT, investigate and arrest the suspect. They are more a part of the punishment side than the prevention side. This has been corroborated by the Supreme Court several times. You cannot sue the police for not showiing up because you called for protection and they don’t show up. The letter of the law says. “You’re on your own kid.”
Disarming others because you don’t believe in firearms will not stop criminals and mentally ill who won’t obey the law or even care what you think.
Politicians are pandering. Deep down they know “assault weapons” ban is a joke – banning firearms based on how they LOOK, does not function. It sounds good and feels good but is simply a waste of time.
These shootings are tragic and make headlines, but (Newtown) types of shooting incidents are very rare and a ban is futile in combating gun violence. These sick people will only choose a different weapon or method.
A New York newspaper even published the names of permit holders. This shows how they don’t have a clue about the problem. People with carry permits have gone through the system. They have been background checked, fingerprinted, asked for people to give references and registered their weapons. By publishing these people’s names and addresses they have eliminated the element of surprise. A bad guy will now come hard on those people and try to assassinate them without getting a fight.
People are panicking, the media will sensationalize and politicians will exploit the problem. But we are ignoring the obvious growing problem of a mental health epidemic.
We are the ultimate hypocrites in the U.S. We condemn violence but our most successful films are all about killing other humans. We allow our children to sit practicing committing mayhem and killing other humans all day with video games that we buy them as electronic babysitters in place of the warmth and love of a parent. Then we are outraged when we see the fruit of this programming is unleashed.
Finding a solution to the mental health problem is very difficult and complex problem.
Saying let get rid of guns is a Band-Aid solution that ignores the person doing the killing and blames the weapons. After, the ban we must put rail along all train stations, monitor the sale of fertilizer, not sell anything that can be a weapon at hardware stores, etc.
We have to find a better solution than trying to sweep these people under the rug.
WHEN Willie Colon was an 11-year-old busker on the streets of the Bronx in the 1960s, he didn’t see his trumpet-playing as a ticket to musical superstardom or an entree into politics. He needed the spare change to help his grandmother meet the rent. His father was in and out of prison, his mother had given birth to him at 16; surviving in the concrete jungle was a daily battle against poverty, racism and gangs. ”It’s just the way things were. Instead of going to school on the street, we’d say, ‘Let’s go through the alleys, come out on 140th street and hope we don’t get beaten up [en route].”
At 13, Colon, who by then had switched to the trombone, started his first band. At 15 he recorded his first album – the record company went broke before it was released – and at 16 he started performing with Hector Lavoe, a ”fresh-off-the-boat” 15-year-old from Puerto Rico. ”It was the boogaloo era, but Hector spoke no English, so we decided to use his huge repertoire of [traditional Caribbean] songs and styles.”
The two signed to a record label known as Fania, a name that became a byword for modern takes on traditional Afro-Caribbean sounds: a genre later labelled salsa (Spanish for sauce). It was music to dance to, but in the ’60s and ’70s, at the height of the American civil rights movement, it was also music that conveyed a specifically Latino story of living between cultures.
Colon assumed the tough-guy El Malo persona from the start of his career.
”Sure, there were musicians singing about ‘dance to my drum’ and all that, but we were also growing up at a time when Martin Luther King was marching across the bridge to Selma and you would see the [police] sicking German shepherds on them and tear gas. [Soldiers] were coming back from Vietnam and they’d be like zombies. They’d discover narcotics, and the streets were full of people who were strung out. We sang about life on the block.”
Colon’s message was as playful as it was pointed. From day one, he cultivated the image of El Malo, a gangster tough guy. Album covers picture him standing over a body ready to be dumped into a river, with a trombone case in hand rather than a gun (buy my record or I’ll kill this guy). The cover of his La Gran Fuga album depicts its creator in mugshots on an FBI poster that promises a hefty reward for his capture. The image had a purpose, but it was also clever marketing.
”I was the man of the house, so from very young I had to protect my mum, my gran and my sister. I did a lot of fighting. I needed to build up a rep, so I created El Malo. But it was always tongue in cheek. [The cover] looks like a ‘Wanted’ poster but it’s also full of gags.” Its promotion involved posting flyers around the Bronx.
”Since they were in English and a lot of people couldn’t read English, they’d be calling the FBI to see how much money they could get to turn me in,” Colon says. ”They were like, ‘I know this guy. I just seen him on 139th Street. How much do I get?’ The FBI did not appreciate that. The police called Fania.”
Next week, the 62-year-old founding father of salsa tours Australia for the first time, bringing a repertoire of songs from a career spanning 50 years, a period in which the salsero has also run for both public advocate of the City of New York and a New York State Congressional District primary, he served on NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s arts advisory board and he received a fellowship from Yale. His involvement in politics, which most recently involved fiery Twitter exchanges with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez during his election campaign, developed naturally, he says.
”You know, we were singing about social problems and, as we toured from town to town and through Latin America, I got called to speak to kids in schools, then the city and borough council,” Colon says. ”I got called to be on this board and that board. When we were kids, we saw [musician] Tito Puentes or [congressman] Bobby Garcia or [Bronx-born politician] Herman Badillo on posters, and they really served as role models. They showed us we could change things. Politicians only respect a [minority] group that can come along and get them voted into or out of office. If you don’t participate, it goes right down the line: funding to schools, the street. You get a lower priority.”
Colon is being brought to Australia by Gift Abroad, which runs humanitarian projects throughout Latin America. Its views on music as a community-building tool are close to his heart.
”At the time [we were growing up], it was all about Cuban music, [but] I wanted to make a statement about Puerto Rican culture, our beats and instrumentation, and we were usually scoffed at. It was considered hillbilly music. I decided to make it hip, incorporate a lot of Puerto Rican sounds, and it worked really well. But it was all basically about my grandmother, to make her happy and make her proud of me. When she was treated badly [by white people], my hair stood on end.”
Music has a power to educate, he says, that’s unchanged since the ’60s, when people who couldn’t speak or read English relied on the radio for information.
”Music can insidiously provide information to people who can’t or won’t read. By its very nature, music unites people. Musicians must co-operate to make music, dancers must socialise to dance, and audiences must congregate to enjoy a concert,” he said in 2009.To see 40,000 fans enjoy Willie Colon, hunt for footage of the Fania All Stars playing Yankee Stadium in 1973. It’s a riot of music, costumes and dancing. The live album of the concert was later recognised by the Library of Congress as one of the 50 most important albums of the 20th century.
Colon is writing a book on the history of Latinos in New York based on his diaries. ”It’s a fictionalised biography, I guess,” he says. ”Reading old diaries can get you blue; a lot of folk are no longer with us. But sweet memories, too. One of the purposes also of the music is to take your culture, your message, your music and your times and preserve it for future generations. The book is another way to do that.”
■Willie Colon plays The Palace Theatre on October 28.
Obama dejara que Bernanke, presidente de la Reserva Federal imprima más dinero para pagar la deuda de nuevo. (plan QE 3) ¡Ojalá yo pudiera ir a mi copiadora y realizar dólares para pagar mis cuentas! Míralo de esta manera. Contamos con un pastel y yo doy 8 cupones para un pedazo de la torta. De repente, 16 personas más se presentan y escribo más 16 cupones (Dólares). Ahora, en lugar de 8 rebanadas tenemos que cortar 24 rebanadas. Ese mismo cupón ahora solo te consigue un trozo finito como un papel. No podemos seguir gastando y sólo imprimir dinero nuevo. Esto hace que el precio de TODO suba. En 1977 me compré un Cadillac nuevecito de la sala de exposición por 7.000 dólares. Ese coche es hoy en día más de 30.000 dólares no porque sea un coche mejor, sino porque nuestros dólares valen menos.Hubo un momento en que uno de los padres pudiera trabajar y el otro dedicarse a la familia. Esos días han terminado por causa de nuestro gobierno viviendo más allá de sus presupuestos.Cuando se imprime más dinero cada dólar que usted posee vale menos. Esto tiene que parar, porque no es la solución del problema, sino que lo está posponiendo para otra administración. Mientras tanto, quedamos en la estacada. Si bien nos dicen “sube los impuestos a los ricos” son los que están acaparando la riqueza. ¿Sabes una cosa? Ellos no los que están imprimiendo más billetes. Todos sus dólares encogen también
Obama will have Fed Reserve Chief Bernanke print more money to pay the debt again. (QE 30 plan) I wish I could just go to my copy machine and make dollars to pay MY bills! Look at it this way. We have a birthday cake and I give out 8 coupons for a slice of the cake. All of a sudden 16 more people show up and I write out 16 more coupons (Dollars). Now instead of 8 slices we have to cut 24 slices. That same coupon I gave is going to get you a paper thin slice now. You can’t keep spending and just print new money. Because the PRICE OF EVERYTHING GOES UP. In 1977 I bought a brand new Cadillac out of the showroom for $7,000. That car today is over $30,000not because it’s a better car but because our dollars are worth less. There was a time when one parent could work and the other raise the family. Those days are over because of our government living beyond its means. When they print more money every dollar you own is worth less. This has got to stop because it’s not solving the problem; it’s postponing it for somebody else to deal with. Meanwhile, we get left holding the bag. While they tell us “Tax the rich” they are the ones who are hoarding the wealth. Guess what? They aren’t the one printing more money. All their dollars shrink too.