The Olympics are over and the Russians won. Let the games begin.
Judging from the howling headlines and breathless blatherings of the Western media and the harrumphing of politicians from Washington to Warsaw in recent days, we are on the verge of World War III (or IV or V if you count Iraq and Afghanistan). But who do you root for in a war between the old Bolsheviks and the new Nazis?? And should we even care?
In the words of the late great Marvin Gaye: What's goin' on? What's goin' on?
Ukraine, orphaned in Eastern Europe by the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, corruption-encrusted and now dead broke, has suddenly become the dry tinder firing up the old Cold War. Or maybe it is just the most recent floundering sovereign state ripe for a big time Shock Doctrine looting?
On February 22nd (a date that was once George Washington's birthday) ongoing protest demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan (Eurosquare), mimicking Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring, but spearheaded by armed and hooded thugs from Ukrainian neo-Nazi organizations and not so secretly egged on by the European Union, the IMF and the Washington/Wall Street Axis of Evil, ran the elected Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, longtime Russian ally, out of Kiev. He was last seen heading for the Russian border. "Revolution", "Democracy" and "Freedom" became the fluffy buzzwords bandied about by its perpetrators to misdescribe this coup d'état-by-crowd.
In fact this latest international version of “regime change” was provoked and stoked by the West, the EU, its bankster cronies and the Obamacons in the White House.
Hapless Ukraine has always been ethnically, culturally and linguistically schizophrenic. Most of the people in the eastern half speak Russian and look to Russia as the old Mother Country. The western half gazes longingly at Europe from its back porch. Despite being politically corrupt and deeply in debt, Ukraine has historically been the "breadbasket" of Russia and is criss-crossed with pipelines pumping vital Russian natural gas to Europe.
Late last year, with the West’s bankster bandits and cannibal capitalists drooling to get their greedy paws on Ukraine’s potential financial assets and its unenlightened, unrepentant Cold Warriors looking to push their political influence right up to the Russian border and drive Putin nuts, the EU dangled an offer to Ukraine of some distant future membership in their Community along with the usual Shock Doctrine debt relief “reforms”. Reduce subsidies and increase gas prices. Cut workers’ pay and pensions. Eliminate tariffs, restrictions and red tape to enable foreign “investments” in agricultural land and infrastructure. Devalue the currency. Privatize industries. In short: Say goodbye to Russia. Say hello to the New Greece.
Washington’s smudgy fingerprints were likewise all over this connivance. The neocon cult of war worshipers, who lied us into the Iraq debacle, hope to keep us in Afghanistan/Vietnamistan until the last dog dies, loved hating the old Soviet Union and still wet-dream about those good old days, quietly cooked up this coup attempt when nobody was looking. Front organizations like the so-called National Endowment for Democracy and USAID greased the skids to the tune of at least $5 billion. But who’s counting?
When President Yanukovych rejected the EU deal he had originally okayed and instead accepted (no doubt under heavy Putin pressure) an $18 billion “bailout” from Russia, the Western coup-mongers turned up the heat on the slow-boiling frog.
In early February a Russian wiretap surfaced (take that, NSA!) revealing a telling conversation between Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, and Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, both longtime neocon fellow travelers. "(Eff) the EU," Nuland told the Ambassador, obviously annoyed that misplayed card had failed to win the pot of gold. She also advised Ambassador Pyatt on which of the Ukrainian political stooges waiting in the wings was best cast to perform leading roles in the ensuing government-as-puppet-theater once the old regime was toppled.
One can easily imagine, judging by the YouTube version of that extraordinary conversation, the high-fiving in the White House and the State Department the night three weeks later Yanukovych hightailed it out of town.
But within a week what had looked like a cakewalk, quickly turned into something more like a pie-in-the face. Revolution as slapstick. Bring on the bear!
The new Ukraine "government" of political opportunists and neo-Nazis nobody elected had barely been assembled for their close-ups when the big bad bear on the border growled: "Not on my watch you don't!! Nyet!!"
Russian President-for-life (?) Vladimir Putin, no Pooty-Poot (W's childish nickname) where Russia's deepest national interests are concerned and when his manly bare-chested tough guy image is challenged (can you say: Pussy Riot?), sent Russian troops and hired goons across the border into the Crimea region of Ukraine. No one should have been surprised.
Never mind the artificially concocted international borders of Ukraine. Crimea is Russia and has been since the days of Catherine the Great. It was the scene of the fateful Charge of the Light Brigade into the mouth of the Russian guns in the Crimean War 160 years ago. It endured the brutal Nazi siege of its port city Sevastopol for 6 bloody months in World War II. Today Sevastopol is the most important city of the Ukraine Crimean region and home port for Russia’s Black Sea Naval Fleet. Indeed, Crimea is the most valuable part of Ukraine and the gateway to Russia. To Putin, the Kiev coup d’etat was a flagrant foul by the other side in the long-running East-West Great Game.
After suffering a momentary dose of the vapors, the Kiev government-without-trousers issued a series of loud but laughable diktats and edicts. “Putin’s a war criminal! Bring him to the Hague!” The perpetually war-mongering old coot John McCain and his faithful sidekick Lyndsey Graham saddled up their pantomime horse and galloped to the teevee cameras. “Bomb bomb bomb Iran…uh…the Russkies,” McCain yelped. “Benghazi! Benghazi!” squealed Graham. Secretary of State John Kerry scurried off to Kiev for a photo op and a blustery Churchill impersonation. “This unprecedented invasion based on lies will not stand!” he bellowed. Did somebody say WMD? Gulf of Tonkin? While Field Marshal Obama, America’s usually most accommodating Commander-in-Chief drew yet another line in the sand. “The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future…There will be costs for violating international law,” he droned, without a trace of irony.
The old Cold War playbook had been hauled out of mothballs and the wall-to-wall media campaign of double-think, propaganda and lies (fine-tuned during the runup to the Iraq War a decade ago) was once again cranked up to speed. The Kiev coup d’état, the casus belli, was flushed down the memory hole and the public noisily prodded to beware of the Commies, the defiers and deniers of “democracy”. It is the Orwellian 1984 dystopian nightmare thirty years on: We have always been at war with Eurasia.
The Russians are now threatening to re-annex Crimea. The West is threatening sanctions on the Russians. Will anyone be surprised when the price of natural gas skyrockets and the Defense Department budget is soon increased by $100 billion? And by the way, whatever happened to the never-ending War On Terror?
To paraphrase philosopher/poet George Santyana: “Those who cannot remember (or refuse to forget) the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), has made available an immigration courts’ 800 Phone Number, which allows anyone to obtain information about their case though its automated system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This system has bee named by EOIR as the Immigration Court Information System.
Step 1 – Find a document has your 8 or nine digit A# on it. It is the number that begins with the letter A, Such as A123 456 789.
Step 2 - Dial 1(800) 898-71080
Step 3 - Press 1 to hear the instructions in English; Press 2 to hear the instructions in Spanish;
Step 4 - The system will ask you to input you’re a#. The number should have 9 digits, but if it only contains 8 digits, just as a 0 to the beginning of the string;
Step 5 – You will be asked to press 1 if your a# was inputted correctly or 2 is you would like to input the number again;
Step 6 - Once you number is inputted correctly, the system will spell out your name;
Step 7 - You will be asked to press 1 to confirm or 2 to input you’re a# again.
Step 8 – Once your name has been confirmed, you will be given there choices (1) the next hearing date (2) Decision Information, (4) Case Appeal information (5) Filing information
A lawyer cannot rely just on this 800 system. We have had clients that come to our immigration office for a consultation, but are unsure if they had an immigration hearing. ((When we investigate further, it is revealed that the individual was stopped at the border and fingerprints taken by the CBC (Customs and Border Patrol))). In these cases we submit the individuals fingerprint to the FBI to discover if there is or is not a record. If there is an arrest record, then the correct A# is stated in the FBI report. At which point we are to obtain the full record though the Freedom of Information Act.
You can follow this link:Find out More on How the Immigration Court Works.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brazilian Singing Star MARIA RITA Debuts “Voice & Piano” Show in Six U.S.Markets With More Latin Grammys than any other Brazilian Artist, Singer Returns after 8-Year Absence. A Challenging, Intimate Program with Pianist Tiago Costa, Covering Hits from her Four CDs including her 2013 Latin Grammy winner “Redescobrir”.Tours Ends with Special Tribute to Bossa Nova Legend Oscar Castro-Neves in Los Angeles.It should be clear by now that Brazilian singer Maria Rita marches to her own drummer. She resisted pressures to sing until she decided it was time. Then she went out and exploded onto the international music scene ten years ago. Numbers never tell the whole story, but in the decade since she has won a shelf full of awards including seven Latin GRAMMYs (more than any other Brazilian artist), has sold more than 2.5 million copies of her four recordings, and has performed in some of most important festivals and venues around the world.
She gracefully negotiated treacherous, impossible comparisons with the late Elis Regina, one of Brazil’s greatest singers -- who happens to be her mother. And then, when she decided it was time, she addressed Elis’s shadow in her stunning show Redescobrir (Rediscover). Its success was complete last year when, Redescobrir Ao Vivo, the live recording, won Maria Rita her latest Latin GRAMMY for the Best Album of Brazilian Popular Music (or MPB in its Portuguese acronym).
So what to do as a follow up? A very personal, stripped-down show of voice and piano. For a singer, it’s the equivalent of doing a high-wire act without a net.“It is a challenge, but I like challenges,” she says with a laugh, speaking in barely-accented English, partly the result of her years living and studying in the United States. “I’m not a woman who shies away from a challenge. To the contrary, I get excited. It kind of gets me going. If I do the same thing the same way for a long time, I get bored, so I look for different challenges in my career as well as my personal life.”“I’ve been playing with my pianist, Tiago Costa, for a long time and we kind of breathe together on stage. But these types of performances are a challenge. As a singer, in this setting, you are totally exposed,” she says. “There is very little room for mistakes. You breathe in the wrong place, you hold a note too long, and it all gets magnified. In a way, everything is much louder than when you are on stage with a lot of people around, a lot of noise. And it’s a great challenge not only for the artists on stage. It demands a lot from the audience, too.”Born September 9, 1977 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Maria Rita Camargo Mariano is the daughter of singer Elis Regina, who died in 1982, and pianist and arranger Cesar Camargo Mariano, whom she has often cited as her greatest influence.Bloodlines notwithstanding, Maria Rita resisted what to many seemed her preordained path. “I always wanted to sing,” she once explained. “But the issue was not the ‘wanting’ but the ‘why.’ I don’t like to do anything without a reason. It gets easier when you have a goal. The reason became clear when I realized I would go crazy if I did not sing. "Still, in an interview with National Public Radio in 2004 she noted that “There was this pressure. It was a kind of obligation. I had to sing. It was hard to deal with it at times.” So, instead, at 15 she moved to Chatham, New Jersey with her father, finished high school and enrolled at NYU, graduating with degrees in Communications and Latin American Studies in 2000.The following year -- she was then 24 -- Maria Rita began singing professionally. Her impressive debut CD, Maria Rita, earned her three Latin GRAMMYs in 2004, including Best New Artist, Best Song in Portuguese (for her interpretation of Milton Nascimento’s “A festa”) and Best MPB Album.It was followed by Segundo (2005), which earned her two more Latin GRAMMYs; Samba Meu (2007) which also won a Latin GRAMMY and had such an extraordinary popular reception that it toured until 2010; and, in 2011, Elo. Then came Redescobrir (Rediscover), which started as a tribute concert to Elis Regina on the 30th anniversary of her passing and, by popular demand, grew into a touring show and CD. Maria Rita says the project happened at the right time to address her mother’s music and her iconic presence. “I had been on stage for more than 10 years; I had a number of albums and awards, so I felt I had nothing to prove,” says Maria Rita. “If there is anybody out there who still thinks I’m only a singer because of my mother, poor you. There is nothing else I can do for you. I’m just doing my thing. I admire my mother too much. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to start my career singing her songs, I didn’t want to intrude in her place. Her place is there and is untouchable. She is immortal.“As far as the experience, every night I sang I told the audience that I was there not just as a singer but as a daughter. I could see the reaction of the people, how much they felt, how much they miss her. Honestly, to see that was a gift for me. It was a beautiful thing.” Fast forward to 2014, with Maria Rita celebrating the success of Redescobrir and ready to move on to the upcoming “Voice & Piano” tour, her first in the U.S. in eight years.As usual, Maria Rita will be keeping things a bit unpredictable and fresh. “There will be songs from the various albums, some songs I have not recorded and I’m sure we will be doing some songs from Redescobrir,” she says. “Singing in the United States is for me very special. I still have many personal friends there. So I am very excited -- and I also have butterflies in my stomach because it’s a huge challenge,” she says with a chuckle. “But we’ll see what happens!” January 2014
While Congress languishes on agreement to comprehensive immigration reform, a pro-immigration movement is sweeping the individual states. According to NCSL report for 2013, 184 laws were enacted and 253 resolutions adopted, for a total of 437. This number is significant as it is a 64 percent increase from the resolutions enacted in 2012 and an 18% increase in laws ratified.
In 2013 there was expansion in in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon. This brings a total of 15 states that now offer in-state tuition. California sanctioned the state Supreme Court to admit applicants who are not documented to the practice of law. As well permitting driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, and the prohibition for notaries public from the practice of law by calling themselves immigration consultants.
Driver’s licenses and IDs persistent as a principal issue for states, with a total of 35 laws passed in 21 states. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont accorded driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Ann Morse, author of the NCSL report opined that “We seem to go through these waves of different kinds of legislation,” The emphasis on driver’s licenses “reflects the changing attitude in America about young immigrants who are here without making the choice to be here.”
In New York, politicians and community leaders are occupied in a concerted effort to ease the immigrants’ difficult condition by permitting the undocumented to legally apply for a driver’s license.
“A driver’s license will provide undocumented immigrants much more employment flexibility,” stated state Sen. José Peralta who, accompanied by Sen. Adriano Espaillat and with the backing of Make the Road New York and other community groups, introduced legislation last October to allow undocumented New Yorkers the right to driver’s licenses.
The federal government seems to be cruising towards a comprehensive immigration reform, sooner than late. Two women in what appears to be diametrically opposed political position are coming together to the rescue. Esther Olavarria, a Democrat, who as a child immigrated from Cuba, functioned as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s principal immigration lawyer and now holds a position in the White House. Rebecca Tallent, a Republican from Arizona and was Senator John McCain’s chief of staff and worked on immigration reform in 2006, has recently taken the position as policy advisor to Speaker of the House, John A. Boehner..
Well it seems that we are in for a wild political ride as the battle over immigration reform as it takes center stage sometime in 2014.
Source: NCSL Report
CALABASAS, Calif. It seems that the more famous you are, the greater the chance of screwing up. Such is the case of Justin Bieber, a Canadian citizen, who is facing felony charges for allegedly egging a neighbor’s house in Calabasas California. The damage done allegedly reaches some $20,000. Deputies even searched Bieber's Calabasas mansion yesterday, looking for, What? And found some drugs belonging to his friend?
Immigration Attorney Moses Apsan tells jornal.us : “If Bieber is convicted on a felony charge, such as assault, battery or weapons charges, he most surely will be subject to deportation. However, I don’t believe it will ever come to this. Bieber can certainly afford a good criminal lawyer, who would probably reduce the charge to a disorderly person. This charge would have no affect on a foreigner, such as Bieber.”
But it’s worth noting that non-citizen residents have faced deportation for much less than the charges than at Bieber. In the past these are the kinds of exceptionally minor violations of the law, that the government used as a ruse to deport thousands of non-citizens and undocumented immigrants each year. Actually, the preponderance of those the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) deported in the last few years had no criminal record.
All I can say is Bieber Beware.