Tuesday, May 15, 2012

US Has Always Been a Bully

(Permission to re-post this article was personally granted by the author)

by Paul Balles

America has always been a bully. Americans are convinced that they have a God-given right, or destiny, to expand the country’s borders from “sea to shining sea”.

“The land of the free and the home of the brave” was conquered with complete disregard for the rights of America’s original inhabitants.

 Full of expansionist tendencies, Americans engaged in wars throughout the entire world and became involved in foreign affairs where their participation was unwelcome.

 Native American Indians welcomed the Pilgrims with open arms, unaware that increasing numbers of settlers would cost the natives their land and lives.

 With all that stolen land, white American bullies needed slaves that ships brought from Africa to work the land.

 In a war with Mexico, the western settlers stole Texas. Eventually, large northern portions of Mexico, including California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah were occupied and ruled by Americans.

By the middle of the 19th century, America decided to force Japan to trade with the U.S. Japan had to accept the U.S.A.’s terms or face naval bombardment.

 Due to strong U.S. expansionist sentiment at the end of the 19th century, another conflict broke out between Spain and America. This time the U.S. wanted Spain’s territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Philippines, Guam and the Caroline Islands.

 A large part of the 20th century saw widespread hatred and persecution of communists and foreigners with the U.S. engaged in military conflicts in Vietnam in the 1960’s and 70’s.

 America’s history of conquests is beginning to resonate with another, more recent, history: that of Israel.

 When Israel has thoroughly isolated the remaining Palestinians on small reservations by American bullying tactics, where will they expand next?

 Is there any reason to believe that the Israelis won’t continue to use the American model of occupation and rule? What will Israel use as a continuation of “The War on Terrorism”? Israel’s hawks and the Zionists in America want Iran decimated.

 What do Israel and America need to consider before further bloodthirsty expansion?

 First, they rely on proficiency in weapons manufacture and military tactics. In the past, they have always been one step ahead of the nations and people they were trying to conquer.

Next, their conquests have never been based on victory alone, but on total and complete subjugation. Herein have been the difficulties with leaving Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Third, control over their own internal affairs has never been enough. They need to interfere with internal affairs of other countries and exploit potential crises for their own personal gain.

America and Israel have involved themselves in an ever-growing military escapade in the Middle East, spreading it with the help of scare tactics and lies.

 With America, it has been the threat of terrorism. With Israel, the bogus need for greater self-defense.

 Deciding to take military action by disregarding U.N. disapproval and on ridiculous and unproven grounds, America and Israel qualify as the bullies of our time.

 It’s time for America to grow up and let Israel deservedly take the condemnation as the world’s chief bully. What should America do?

 Stop invading, bombing and “regime changing” countries that haven’t attacked us or invaded their neighbors.

Quit supporting Israel’s bullying of Palestinians, Lebanon, Gaza and other neighboring countries.

Cease interference in other countries’ domestic elections.

Stop assassinating foreign leaders.

§     Dismantle our global military empire, withdrawing our troops from other countries and giving up the notion that we should exert military control over the entire world.

§     Join the international community as one member of the family of nations, rather than as the biggest bully.

Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the GULF DAILY NEWS . Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month.   

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Warning to Oppressors Who (think that they) Are Rich!

(Double click photos to enlarge)
We often speak much about the entire sowing and reaping process that God has built into His eternal system, that which governs human action to recognize and experience that God is omniscient, He is omnipotent, that He rewards those who obey His laws and extracts payment from those who don't. You cannot mock God and believe you can get away with it.
I know! I know! People get tired of hearing me rant that specific verse that verifies that there is a price to pay for each one of our deeds: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap, (Galatians 6:7). Oh, we may fool a lot of people and probably get away with certain peccadillos, but God sees every action that has been committed by each and every one of us. And while others may not see our sins, God does, He won’t be mocked, and there will be a heavy price to pay.
We mention this, today, to identify a major culprit of the incendiary immigration debate that hardly anyone mentions: Those who hire undocumented workers! They know who they are!
“It’s those illegal aliens, who broke the law, who are the guilty ones for coming across without papers,” is the hue and cry!
But they seldom complain about those people and companies who get away with committing a crime that may be even more sinister than wanting to work to feed your family. Those who hire undocumented workers know that they are getting practically free labor compared to what they would have to cough up to those law-abiding citizens who complain undocumented workers are taking jobs away from them. We won’t even go down that road; but there are tens of thousands of employers, farmers, factory owners and others who hired these hungry folks, get them to work hard to collect their harvest and then call the immigration service to rid themselves of these workers after the job is done, thereby avoiding having to pay the laborers for their last months of work.
Sin is always an act of wrong judgment! However, as A.W. Tozer has said, “to commit a sin a person must for the moment believe that things are different from what they really are; he must confound values; he must see the moral universe out of focus; he must accept a lie as truth and see truth as a lie; he must ignore the signs on the highway and drive with his eyes shut; he must act as if he had no soul, and was not accountable for his moral choices.”
However much we try to rationalize our acts, blaming it on economic times, increasing operating costs, higher taxes, exorbitant insurance costs, etc.; those who hire undocumented workers have to accept the fact that what they have done is not right, it's against the law, it’s a sin, plain and simple. A bad deed is bad indeed!
The Bible is filled with a myriad scripture that warns people not to treat the alien unfairly; we listed over 250 on this blog just the other day. Whenever we run across not just a verse or two that addresses this issue, but an entire chapter (James 5:1-11), we feel it is our duty to share this with you. Following is an entire chapter that clearly, and succinctly, and leaving no doubt whatsoever, tells us what God is going to do to those individuals and companies who lured aliens into their household or factory to basically get free labor. This includes the rich Beverly Hills woman who hired Maria to cook, clean and even raise her kids, all the way up to that shrewd businessman who operates that sewing factory downtown, the one the INS raided a few months ago. Some who have committed these crimes have already felt the sword of justice from God. Many individuals, companies or major corporations, who used to boast about the vast fortunes they have (amassed by the sweat, sorrow and pain of immigrant labor), sit in awe and amazement how quickly their empire crumbled, never admitting (nor remembering) that it was due primarily to their own nefarious action. For those who have not experienced the sowing and reaping experience yet, keep looking back, it's right around the corner.
However, while God foretells the oppressors what He has in store for them, in this chapter, He also encourages the workers to hang in there. He tells them that their redemption is near. He tells them not to give up hope, that they will be rewarded for their suffering. Pay heed:
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:1-11)
“Gracias A Dios!”

For more information about this blog and the author’s two recently published books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (Author House) please click here>>>> > Joe Ortiz.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

US Betrayal Caused The Birth of Mexican Americans and those who choose to call themselves Chicano!

The following article appeared in HISPANIC Magazine over fifteen years ago, and is probably more important to read today because little has changed for Mexican peoples. As the "anti-immigration rhetoric" increases daily, you should be aware of the revelatory ramifications that led to the ugly political realities that permeate the fabric of today's society. Hopefully, Christian America will return to its home base and admit its great sin

Legacy of a Land Grab
By Lalo López
HISPANIC Magazine - September 1997 Issue

The Mexican-American War, which took two years and cost Mexico a large chunk of territory, will mark its 150th anniversary in 1998. The war, waged under the American expansionist ideology of Manifest Destiny - which proposed that it was the God-given right of all United States citizens to take and rule land, including that occupied by Mexicans and Indians - ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Some promote the idea that the war against Mexico was a pretext for a massive theft of its land, and the treaty, negotiated under military coercion and through a corrupt Mexican dictator, General Santa Ana, Home simply formalized the theft of half of Mexico's territory - something that would violate any international law today. Others say that Mexico simply lost and the U.S. won the Southwest and California as spoils of war.

There's little the debate, however, about the treaty's enduring impact on Mexican Americans, then and now. The dispute began over Texas and its December 29, 1845, annexation by the United States and what the real southern boundary of Texas was - the Rio Grande, as asserted by the U.S., or the Nueces River, as asserted by Mexico. Skirmishes from the Mexican Revolution along both borders that brought with us! complaints from U.S. settlers and the desire to annex California were the catalysts for the war. After a failed diplomatic attempt by the U.S. to arrange an agreement with Mexico over the land, General Zachary Taylor advanced his troops to the mouth of the Rio GrandeMexico considered this an invasion into its territory and retaliated by sending Mexican troops across the Rio Grande, which with President James Polk called an invasion.

On May 13, 1846, Congress declared war on Mexico. The formal ceremony ending the war took place on February 2, 1848, in the Villa of Guadalupe, the site of the revered shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The treaty was signed under the cloud of territorial occupation - American troops held the Mexican capital, Staff of forcing the defeated to relinquish a large part of their northern territories.

This event "sold" the U.S. the territory that included Alta California, Arizona, New and Mexico, and Texas between the Nueces and the Rio plus parts of Utah, Nevada, and Colorado, for $15 million. But the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is more than a bill of sale. Besides guaranteeing the sale of Mexican territory to the U.S., the treaty protected the lands, culture, religion, and civil rights of those wartime residents who had been Mexican citizens, including their descendants. Article VIII professes the sanctity of Mexican property: "In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. The present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said property by contract, shall enjoy with respect to it guarantees equally ample as if the same belonged to citizens of the United States."

More profoundly ironic, however, is Article IX, which covers the social rights of the newly de-Mexicanized citizens, "The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic . . . shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States and be admitted . . . to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the meantime shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction."


Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United States, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at any time to the Mexican Republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without their being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever. . . . In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. The present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said property by contract, shall enjoy with respect to it guarantees equally ample as if the same belonged to citizens of the United States.

While many U.S. courts consider the treaty defunct, others see it as a central contract that governs relations between the U.S. and Mexico. Some firmly believe it is a treaty about the human rights of the Mexican-origin population residing within the redrawn borders of this country. People have not shied away from citing the treaty for use in cultural and social issues. In the sixties, New Mexico land rights crusader Reies Lopez Tijerina and his Alianza movement invoked the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo during their land dispute.

At the height of the Chicano political movement in 1972, the Brown Berets youth organization invoked the treaty in its largely symbolic takeover of Southern California's Catalina Island. Several groups have cited the treaty in their struggle for the human rights of Chicanos in the United Nations and other international venues. Native Americans have also referred to the treaty in legal disputes. In his book The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Richard Griswold del Castillo points out that while many Mexican Americans view the treaty in this context, it's more than just wishful thinking. On paper, it guaranteed Mexicans and their descendants who remained in the transferred lands certain political rights, including territorial rights. Unfortunately, it also established how Mexican Americans would be perceived in the U.S. - as a conquered people abandoned by their own country. In the postwar climate after 1848, hostility, discrimination, and violence against Mexicans spread throughout the Southwest. It set the tone in the region for decades to come and by the end of the century, most Mexicans had lost their land, through either force or fraud.

One case that has been in federal courts is that of Ricky Gonzales and Nick Gonzales, Jr., of Santa Fe, New Mexico. On October 17, 1995, they filed suit against the U.S. government for compensation, citing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as legal grounds for their land claim. They allege that their ancestors, two of the original grantees, "Miguel and Manuel Ortiz (and subsequent heirs)," were defrauded out of a tract of land by local Anglo officials. The grant was an original Spanish land grant known as the Mesita de Juana Lopez Land Grant.

"We got involved in the lawsuit kind of by accident," explains the younger brother, Nick. As a genealogist, he was called in by a family that planned to sue for their lands but needed to prove that their ancestor was an original land grantee. "As I began my research, I noticed a lot of names were very familiar. As it turned out, I proved that my client was not an heir, but that I was."

Although they did ask for financial compensation, the younger Gonzales contends that the decision to sue was motivated not by money but by a larger issue. "For too long, we've been led to think that the land was lost because Mexicans were too dumb to hold on to it, but that wasn't the case. There was a treaty but it was never enforced. We set out to set history straight. This is not a racial issue. It's a matter of right and wrong. I don't believe the U.S. government set out to deceive the Mexican people but certain government officials and several lawyers in New Mexico at the time, did. If we can finally get the treaty enforced, that will be the true compensation," asserts Nick Gonzales, Jr.

The brothers have withdrawn their case because it was unsuccessful in federal courts. Believing their case to be strong, however, they may pursue it at the state level. Even in this century, the government continues to grab land. Unfortunately, its speed and efficiency in doing so does not match its ability to return illegally taken land.

There are currently several land disputes in the Southwest between the government and longtime Latino homesteaders. Maria Ernestina Montoya, 90, has been fighting for 80 acres in Los Alamos, New Mexico. In the early forties, the federal government told Montoya and her husband that it needed the northern New Mexico tract, also known as the Pajarito Plateau, for a government project. The project turned out to be the Manhattan Project, the testing site for the first atomic bomb.

At the time the Los Alamos site was appropriated, the Montoyas were given $750 plus the promise that their property would eventually be returned to them, the original owners. The family was given three days to move to Santa Fe. Today the controversy has been reignited, since the federal government announced its plan to transfer 3,000 acres of unused Department of Energy land to Los Alamos County and the San Ildefonso Pueblo rather than return the land to the families from whom it was taken. New Mexico senator Pete Domenici acknowledged the transfer in June, and the process could start at any time. Charles M. Montaño, the president of Citizens for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Employee Rights, has been working with homesteader organizations like the Los Alamos Homesteaders Association (the vast majority of who are Hispanic).

Although the land acquisition in this case took place in this century, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has been invoked in defense of families like the Montoyas for two reasons - because most of the families affected were Hispanic and because the treaty represents a written document that not only outlines but guarantees the land rights of Latinos in the Southwest. Joe Gutierrez, an employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is a tireless New Mexico homesteader activist and leader of the Homesteaders Association of Los Alamos. The federal government, he says, has made good on compensation in other cases, almost exclusively involving Anglo homesteaders and ranchers. This government largess, he says, has been precipitated by the end of the Cold War. He cites a series of bills, H.R. 806 and S. 339, introduced by New Mexico's congressional delegation, in which non-Hispanic white homesteaders were compensated for land they lost to the White Sands Missile Range. In contrast, "Hispanic homesteaders have been given absolutely no consideration," he says.

Today, Los Alamos' mission has not only changed, it has been scaled down. This downsizing, Gutierrez says, has led to a recent U.S. government report that admonishes the Department of Energy for holding on to appropriated land too long, and for actually "laundering" land. Land laundering is the process that keeps appropriated land out of the reach of the public and transfers it to other governmental entities or special interests. "It's simply another land grab." states Gutierrez.

This month Gutierrez hopes to testify in front of the congressional committee concerning the transfer of the land to Los Alamos County (he has requested an opportunity to speak, but it has not been granted). "We've even prepared a bill of our own and have forwarded a request to President Clinton," he says. What should the president do about the Hispanic homesteaders? Gutierrez offers a solution: "The president wants a national dialogue on racism. Here's a perfect opportunity to make good on his word. They have arbitrarily removed us from our land and our culture and our livelihood. The president doesn't need to convene a special commission. He can level the playing field right here. He doesn't even have to send an apology. We don't want the money, we want the land. We want it back."

The treaty isn't relevant to some current land claims, however. According to Julius P. Arocha, a retired Marine Corps captain from Mission Viejo, California, who researched in detail his ancestor's Spanish land grant, any claim he himself might have was simply out of reach. After serving briefly in the early eighties as president of the Asociacion de Reclamantes, a Texas-based association of land claimants, Arocha doesn't believe the treaty has anything to do with claims in Texas."Texas was a sovereign Republic at the time of the treaty and therefore not to be considered former Mexican territory," says Arocha. His great-great grandfather, Bartolome Treviño, received cuatro porciones (four portions) of land from the Spanish crown in November 1776. Interestingly, Treviño, in addition to being "Teniente de Justicia" overseeing the community of Camargo, Captain in the Royal Spanish Army, and colonista, was an official surveyor.

Arocha asserts that the boundaries his great-great-grandfather established still stand today as portions of Starr County, Texas. For his service to the Crown, Treviño's cuatro porciones came to more than 28,000 acres, on which now sit oil wells, cities, and natural gas production plants.  

Arocha's genealogical and historical research, however, uncovered the fact that a man named Gillespie obtained the title to the land in 1888. "I can't go back and deal with land fraud that may have occurred 100 years ago. The statute of limitations has clearly run out. My efforts couldn't reverse that [fraud]," says Arocha, who now gives seminars on how to win the lottery. He theorizes that the odds are better for winning a jackpot than they are for resolving a land claim, given the muddled and dubious territorial history of the U.S. There may be a glimmer of hope that the treaty could finally be enforced.

Prominent Mexican American, former New Mexico congressman, and now ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson has introduced the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty Land Claims Act of 1997. The act aims to establish a presidential commission to determine the validity of land claims in New Mexico "arising out of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 involving descendants of persons who were Mexican citizens at the time of the treaty."

Since introducing the act, however, Richardson has left Congress, and his seat was filled by a conservative non-Hispanic Republican. Without its author or another Hispanic representative from New Mexico to carry it along, Richardson's bill has an unclear future. For advocates like Montaño, Richardson's efforts were too little, too late. "This [act] was no more than a parting gesture," Montaño contends. "Congressman Richardson had a long time to deal with this issue. He knew he would not be there to see it through." 
The treaty promises to be under dispute for many years to come. Even its contemporaries saw problems ahead. At the time of the treaty's signing, the Whig political party, opponents of President Polk, questioned the morality of a "forced sale" of Mexican territory. They saw that it was problematic to force a defeated nation to "sell" territory under duress, but that was the way of Manifest Destiny.

One Whig wrote an 1847 article in the American Review predicting trouble ahead: "What then follows? An immense national debt-deep taxation - a steady augmentation and extension of the central power-corrupt election - the rapid waste of public funds - neglect of all improvements - moral fanaticism roused and irritated to action - civil war - and that last and greatest of all evils, the disunion of the states." The leader of the Mexican opposition to the treaty, Manuel Crescencio Rejón, also predicted dire consequences in the wake of the treaty.

Rejón dismissed notions that Mexican residents would be treated fairly under American laws. Cannily, he foresaw the inevitable economic dominance of Mexico by the U.S. He argued that if the US-Mexico boundary were redrawn so much closer to the heartland of Mexico, the undue influence of American commerce would eventually Americanize Mexico. Rejón wrote: "We will never be able to compete in our own markets with the North American imports. . . . The treaty is our sentence of death." And, he added, "the North Americans hate us, their orators deprecate us even in speeches in which they recognize the justice of our cause, and they consider us unable to form a single nation or society with them." In the light of today's anti-immigrant atmosphere, Rejón's remarks resonate.

History doesn't repeat itself - it seems to stand in place. The legal ramifications of land grabbing notwithstanding, Latinos cannot help but infer political implications into the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on its 150-year anniversary. The treaty promised to protect Spanish-language customs for Mexican-descended residents, and U.S. officials agreed to these and many other terms. The treaty didn't just create the American Southwest; it also created Chicanos. By definition, Chicanos, or Mexican Americans, are US-born or raised Mexicans. 

With one stroke of the pen, the treaty assigned a new national status to the Mexican residents of the former northern Mexico. That spiritual and cultural dichotomy is alive and well today.

HISPANIC Magazine - September 1997 Issue