The 62-year-old Tucson native and unrepentant leftist was re-elected this month as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the most liberal group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
He immediately denounced a tax cut deal between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders that appeased Republicans by maintaining tax cuts for the wealthy. The deal passed earlier this month. Grijalva was the only Democratic member of the Arizona congressional delegation to vote against it.
“I’m not coming back to Congress with a new sense of caution,” said Grijalva, who survived a surprisingly close re-election campaign to win a fifth term in November. “I haven’t changed.”
Grijalva, a former community organizer and social worker, sees his role in the new Congress as standing up against conservative efforts to slash federal education funding, weaken environmental protection and shrink Social Security benefits.
“I think we have to be effective and thoughtful opponents,” Grijalva said. “We can’t just say no without proposing good, common-sense alternatives. And we have to pick our fights to focus on those in which we can make an impact.”
While he hasn’t tempered his populist views, Grijalva said he was humbled from what he admits was the biggest mistake of his political career: Calling for a boycott of Arizona after Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070, which cracks down on illegal immigrants. He narrowly won re-election just two years after he cruised to re-election in the 7th Congressional District, which he has represented since 2003.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district nearly 2 to 1, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Independents make up the second largest group of voters after Democrats. The district’s urban center contains the central, south and west sides of Tucson and is made up predominantly of working-class families, including the majority of the city’s Hispanic and African-American residents.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Grijalva is a strong advocate for immigrants’ rights and thought the boycott by conventiongoers would be an effective way to protest SB 1070. But his stance backfired in a state reeling from recession.
“The boycott, let’s be honest, was the hammer over my head in this election,” Grijalva said, sitting in an office decorated with Native American textiles and Mexican Day of the Dead figurines. “I should have thought about that more. I should have listened to the people who told me there would be consequences.”
Such unrelenting adherence to principal is risky and somewhat rare in Washington, especially in an election year.
But even as Grijalva’s blunt style got him in trouble back home, it earned him some surprising admirers among his Republican colleagues.
“You know where he stands,” said Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who represents California’s Central Valley farm region. “He doesn’t put a finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. There’s no bull with him. That’s very unusual in Washington.”
Rep. Mike Simpson, a conservative Idaho Republican, said he has worked with Grijalva on wilderness bills and sees him as a serious legislator who tries to get things done.
“He’s also got a great sense of humor,” Simpson said. “He likes to joke, especially about himself. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.”
Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., who is Grijalva’s best friend in Congress, said Grijalva is above all a man who hasn’t forgotten his humble roots as the son of a Mexican laborer.
“There’s no facade around him,” Honda said. “What you see is what you get.”
Arizonans can expect to get more of the same liberal advocacy from Grijalva despite a new GOP majority in the House, a bigger Republican minority in the Senate, and a president who is pushing compromise.
“Unrepentant is a good word,” Grijalva said. “I like that. I have nothing to apologize for.”
A 1977 Senate Hearing found that U.S. government had infected hundreds of cities with biological agents…
A mass die off of birds and fish in Arkansas which prompted a response by U.S. Environmental Services has residents asking questions about the cause – could secret government testing be responsible for the carnage?
Officials with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission flew over the area and determined it’s a one mile stretch. There are a variety of dead black birds, mostly red winged and a duck was also found.
No one has been evacuated because the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) air test came back clean for toxins.
Weatherly is skeptical, “They’re walking around in masks and I’m wondering do we need the same thing because what makes that happen for them to drop out of the sky like that.”
Katherina Yancy with Today’s THV found one bird still living. It was confused, injured, continuously walked in circles and didn’t make a sound or attempt to fly.
Officials will confirm their findings when they get the test results, until then they are giving these possible scenarios: lightning, stress, high altitude hail or startled by fireworks, but neighbors just want answers.
Around 2,000 red-winged blackbirds, as well as ducks, fell to their deaths over a 1-mile area of Beebe, Arkansas on Friday night. U.S. Environmental Services workers wore hazmat suits and gas masks as they picked up the dead birds on Sunday.
An area used by the birds to roost was unaffected, leading officials to conclude that the birds could not have died from an illness or have been targeted for poisoning. Lightning, fireworks and high-altitude hail have been forwarded as possible culprits.
“I’ve been to Iraq and back and not seen nothing like this,” Beebe resident Jeff Drennan told local Fox16 News on Sunday.
“You know my kids are out here playing and you don’t know, is it safe?” he added. “They’re walking around with chemical suits picking them up with gas masks and everything.”
In a related story, 100,000 fish were found dead in Northwest Arkansas. “They were found along a 20-mile stretch between the Ozark Dam and Highway 109 Bridge in Franklin County,” reports Today’s THV 11.
~ As of this posting, FNC JUST announced about the fish. How can they possibly now insult our intelligence that ‘lightening’ or fireworks are responsible for the dead fish?! ~JP
Scalar weapons that can artificially manipulate the environment could be responsible for the mass die offs. We know for a fact that over a decade ago the U.S. Military Industrial Complex was aware of and involved in the testing of such technology.
In 1997, Defense Secretary William Cohen stated, “Others [terrorists] are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves… So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations…It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our [counter terrorism] efforts.”
The fact that illness or poisoning has been ruled out points to some form of secret testing being behind the mass die-offs.
The U.S. government has been repeatedly caught engaging in illegal bio-weapons tests over American skies that have maimed and killed not just animals, but humans. The history of US government biological testing includes deliberately infecting Americans with syphilis, malaria and other bacteriological agents.
From the 1950′s onwards, the U.S. government deliberately engaged in open air tests, spraying major cities like San Francisco and New York with Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii. In 1955, the CIA also released a a bacteria withdrawn from the Army’s biological warfare arsenal over Tampa Bay, Fl in order to test its ability to infect human populations with biological agents.
In 1966, the U.S. Army dispensed Bacillus subtilis variant niger throughout the New York City subway system. 1977 Senate hearings on Health and Scientific Research confirmed that 239 populated areas had been contaminated with biological agents between 1949 and 1969, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Key West, Panama City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis.
In August 1994, residents in the Oakville, Washington area reported tiny blobs of gelatinous goo raining from the sky, and in 1997 residents in the Everett area of Washington State reported similar a phenomenon.
~ Obama at it AGAIN! Crying Wolf & expecting us to listen!
The top White House economic adviser warned lawmakers Sunday that the United States faces a catastrophe if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, as spend-averse Republicans indicated they’d be willing to support the increase so long as certain conditions are met.
The debt ceiling debate is one of the first major legislative clashes on tap as lawmakers return to Washington this coming week for the start of the 112th Congress. The $13.9 trillion national debt is creeping closer to its $14.3 trillion ceiling, and a vote to increase that limit is expected in the spring.
Though lawmakers will no doubt use the vote to extract promises over future spending cuts, White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee urged Congress not to “toy with” the issue.
“This is not a game,” Goolsbee said on ABC’s “This Week.” “If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history.
“The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008,” Goolsbee said. “I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling.”
He suggested that if the vote collapses, “that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.”
But some lawmakers argue that what’s insane is to routinely raise the ceiling without changing Washington’s spending habits. Republicans on Sunday indicated they could support the increase, but made clear the administration would have to meet their demands.
Allen West, a newly elected Republican congressman from Florida, said that while he doesn’t think the government will shut down, a serious discussion about controlling spending must be a condition.
“It’s not going to be a blank check that comes from Allen West,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on “Meet the Press” that he would not vote for the increase until he sees a plan to deal with long-term debt reduction — including a plan that addresses Social Security and a commitment to return to 2008 spending levels.
Pat Toomey, a newly elected Republican senator from Pennsylvania, said he wouldn’t vote for the increase unless he sees “substantive progress” on spending cuts. He said Congress should approach the debt limit by holding votes periodically for small increases and extracting a “major concession” on spending cuts every time.
“We are on a disaster track,” he said.
Goolsbee cautioned Congress not to go too far in tightening the budget belt while the nation is still recovering from a recession.
“If you’re going to go skimp on important investments that we need to grow, you’re making a mistake,” he said, arguing that the recession itself was the biggest driver of the deficit over the last year.
As he prepares to take the helm of the top House committee tasked with watch-dogging Washington, Rep. Darrell Issa has made it no secret that he’s ready for ‘constant’ battle with the White House on everything from the WikiLeaks debacle, corruption in Afghanistan and government regulation.
The WikiLeaks debacle, corruption in Afghanistan and Obama administration regulation are all on the agenda as Rep. Darrell Issa prepares to take the helm of the top House committee tasked with watch-dogging Washington.
Fox News has obtained a tentative outline of the hearings Issa plans to hold when he takes over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The California Republican’s game plan is being closely watched as Democrats worry about the lengths to which he’ll go to pull back the curtain on the alleged missteps of the past two years.
Issa has tried to tamp down concerns about his agenda, but does not deny he’ll be in a state of “constant battle” with the White House. He said in an interview Sunday that he views the administration as one of the “most corrupt” in modern times.
According to the tentative agenda provided by Capitol Hill sources, the first hearing on Issa’s list will be targeted at the administration. Leading the agenda is a hearing on the “impact of regulation on job creation.”
“We need to start by asking a very fundamental question: Why hasn’t the economy created the private-sector jobs the president promised?” the memo said.
That hearing would call business leaders to testify about how government regulations are doing “harm to job-creation efforts.” The hearing falls in line with what Issa talked about Sunday, when he told “Fox News Sunday” that administration regulation is hurting American competitiveness.
According to the agenda, Issa also plans to hold hearings on the role played by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis. For that, he intends to call the Federal Housing Administration chief to testify, along with non-government experts. Along those lines, Issa is planning a hearing examining the “failure” of another government panel to find out more about the financial crisis — he wants to dig into the work of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which he claims has done a “biased” and “highly partisan” job of looking for the root causes of the financial crisis.
Issa also plans to detour into foreign policy. According to the memo, he’ll hold a hearing on how to combat corruption in Afghanistan. He also plans a hearing on WikiLeaks, examining ways the federal government can plug the disclosure of more sensitive information in the future. He plans to call National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to testify.
Issa said on “Fox News Sunday” that Attorney General Eric Holder needs to either do more to crack down on the WikiLeaks document dumps or leave the administration.
However, Democrats have pushed back against Issa’s agenda. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in line to be the ranking Democrat on the committee this year, released a statement Monday saying he looks forward to working with Issa to ensure government efficiency.
“However, I will reiterate that I will draw a line at any witch hunts or hearings that are conducted purely for political gains,” he said. “Like Mr. Issa, I want to ask tough questions and ensure the highest standard from our public employees. However, I will ask him not to prejudge any of these issues, nor seek answers only to confirm political leanings.”
Wheeler lived in New Castle and he was chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund during the Ronald Reagan era. He also held many high-profile government positions after graduating from West Point in 1966. He was also an experienced business turnaround consultant. Police believe Wheeler’s body had been placed inside one of the bins in Newark before a disposal truck arrived.
The Newark Police Department is asking anyone with information regarding Wheeler to contact them at 1-800-TIP-3333.
John Parsons Wheeler 3rd, a Vietnam veteran officer who served in three GOP Presidential administrations,(Both Bush’ & Reagan) and who chaired the committee that raised funds from businesses, agencies and prominent Americans to get the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built on the Washington Mall, was found dead in a landfill a few miles from his New Castle Delaware home this weekend. Newark Del. police say this is a homicide.
Wheeler, a Yale Law School graduate, was a defense industry consultant whose last government job was assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force in the last George W. Bush administration. He had lately campaigned to return ROTC to Ivy League campuses, writes James Fallows of the Atlantic here. He’d quarreled with neighbors, says the Wilmington News-Journal here.
* He was also a West Point graduate. Per FNC he had been arguing with neighbors. ~JP