Friday, October 3, 2008

Gonzales Allegiance and Social Security Position Erode Credibility of Hispanic Alliance

The credibility of the Hispanic Alliance for Prosperity, a self-described conservative organization of Hispanics, is quickly eroding.
Alberto Gonzales, one of its heroes and a winner of its American Dream award, is under investigation by Congress for, among other things, using political criteria to hire and fire attorneys while he served as U.S. attorney general.
The HAPI website features the following quote from Alberto Gonzales: “When I talk to people around the country I sometimes tell them that within the Hispanic community there is a shared hope for an opportunity to succeed. 'Just give me a chance to prove myself' -- that is a common prayer for those in my community."
In March 2007, HAPI issued a media release in support of the beleaguered Gonzales. “On behalf of the nearly 20,000 members of the HAP Institute, we write to reject calls for the resignation of Attorney General Al Gonzales, and offer our full support for his long-term service to our President, our country, and the Hispanic community.”
“Attorney General Gonzales has achieved what few other Hispanics have been able to accomplish. He is a role model for the entire Hispanic community and his success proves to our children that they too can realize their dreams. General Gonzales should not be used as a scapegoat by those who are against the policies of the current Administration. The Hispanic community will not tolerate partisan politics, with the end result being to sacrifice one of its most respected, and productive members.”
According to RightWing Watch, “As part of the "National Coalition To End Judicial Filibusters," HAPI— in conjunction with the Committee for Justice, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, James Dobson's Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and others— supported the use of the so-called "nuclear option" to eliminate Senator's ability to filibuster against President George W. Bush's right-wing judicial nominees.”
HAPI is a member of the anti-union, corporate-sponsored Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which “is a coalition of workers, employers, associations and organizations who are fighting to protect the right to a federally supervised private ballot when workers are deciding whether or not to join a union. We are opposed to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act because it would strip Americans of that right and replace it with a system where your vote is no longer private, and it is made public to your employer, the union organizers and your co-workers.”
"We believe,” the coalition stated, “the only way to guarantee worker protection from coercion and intimidation is through the continued use of a federally supervised private ballot election so that personal decisions about whether to join a union remain private.”Hopi’s corporate and anti-worker orientation was also evident in its role in organizing the “Hispanic Safety and Health Summit” in July 2004.
The summit was denounced by the Coalition for Hispanic Worker Safety, which included Hispanic groups such as National Council of La Raze and Casa de Maryland as well as the AFL-CIO and numerous unions. Immigrant advocates noted that the only Hispanic organizations listed as conference sponsors or participants are the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a group that calls itself the “Hispanic Alliance for Progress.”
“The latter organization’s only known activities have been promoting the Bush administration’s immigration plan,” said the coalition.In their letter to OSHA, members of the Coalition for Hispanic Worker Safety noted that the conference was organized with virtually no input from major Hispanic advocacy organizations or grassroots worker groups.
“This is clearly not a serious effort to address the epidemic of workplace injuries and illnesses suffered by our community,” said Jayesh Rathod, staff attorney of CASA of Maryland. Planners chose not to invite groups like ours because they knew we would raise serious concerns about the administration’s dismantling of workplace safety rules,” Rathod added.
Not deterred, HAPI organized another Hispanic health conference in July 2008, which featured speakers from food processing and health corporations such as Tyson’s Foods and Hispanic-owned Care Alternative. HAPI’s Leslie Sanchez was the master of ceremonies.
Also, according to RightWing Watch, HAPI is a member of the Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America's Social Security, “an organization formed to promote Social Security reforms proposed by President George W. Bush such as personal retirement accounts.”Its “American Dream” award has gone to such Republican stars as U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico).

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