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Texas Ranch Takeover – After the Hoax

On the night of July 24th, all hell broke lose on the internet about some ranches in Texas supposedly going through hell.  Well, there was no hell in Texas, we gave the hoaxers hell, and my guest in this follow-up interview just said hell no.

After having posted the Laredo article, a link-back showed up from what seemed to be an inflammatory attack on the Tea Party titled, Mexican Drug Cartel HAVE NOT Seized Texas Ranches – Tea Bagger extremists move to incite more fear and hatred of Mexicans. I read the article and found that the article itself wasn’t what it sounded like.  The article was seeking the same outcome as mine, but the comments after the post demonstrated the set-in-stone attitudes from both sides.

The author of that article, Porter M. Corn, agreed to my request for an interview.  His bio lends credibility to his position and his post.

Rich: Tell us a little about yourself

Porter: I’ve been living in Mexico for the past 15 years. First in Cd. Juarez and now in Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey where I split my time when not working.  I spent 35 years in the transportation industry and 10 years doing web design and development.

I got into the immigration debate quite by accident. The debate over the US fulfilling our obligation under NAFTA to allow Mexican trucks equal access to the US was heating up in 2007. Various organizations and their allies in talk radio were portraying Mexico and its trucking industry as something out of the 18th century. Their arguments devoid of facts. I established http://mexicotrucker.com to refute their allegations and to provide documented and photographic proof to counter their propaganda.

Because of their including illegal immigration in their arguments against allowing the trucks into the country, I begin investigating that also. Accompanying a female acquaintance through the process of trying to obtain a visa and being denied after waiting 8 months and my wife and step kids not being qualified for laser visas to cross the border, simply because she married and American, caused me to become politically active.

And then seeing all the vitriol and hatred directed against Mexicans by people whose lives in no way intersect with illegals, strengthened my resolve to try and do something to expose many of the untruths and out and out lies the extremists on both sides of the issue use.

I’m a fiscal conservative and a social moderate who does not vote the party line rather who votes for the person I think could best serve the people they are running for.

Rich: What did you want your readers to take away from your piece on the Laredo hoax?

Porter: That’s a hard one. First and foremost, the absurdity of the claims and the credibility of those making them. There are those among us, where the illegal immigration debate is a source of great profit. Anything to spread the fear and hysteria people have about our country being “invaded” by Mexico, they’ll do without qualms or second thoughts.

Fortunately, I was home at the time that this broke and I immediately knew there was nothing to it. And when the conspiracy nuts started talking about news blackouts, I tried to jump in to set the record straight, from an eyewitness point of view. But as you can see on the comments on our respective site and others, people are going to believe what they want to believe.

Rich: Why were you so sure that the Diggers Realm story wasn’t real?

Porter: First, the fact that I happened to be home during the time this “invasion” allegedly occurred. Contrary to what some may believe, our law enforcement resources actually enforce the law here in Texas and across the southwest border. Has something like this occurred, every TV station from San Antonio to Corpus Christi would have been here boots on the ground. Not to mention CNN and FOX. That would have been a newsworthy event, wouldn’t you say? I also have friends who own trucking business’s located close to where this happened and the area the ranches in question are located actually is owned by these friends, the Garza family.

And finally I considered the source(s), and their credibility, associations and other factor. And finally, did it pass the smell test. It didn’t!

Rich: Clearly this internet story was handled poorly by some bloggers.  If someone came to you and said, hey, I have an unnamed source in the border patrol that says they just caught a group of tea party types beating and robbing illegal aliens as they crossed the desert – how would you handle that lead?

Porter: First off, I would dismiss it out of hand and if I did anything, I would ask several BP agents I know or one of the CBP officers at the border crossing if there was any truth to it. But we don’t have to worry about 99.9% of Tea Party members. They’re no different than you or I. It is the extremists who have tried to align themselves with the TP to push their own agendas that is giving the group as a whole, a bad rep.

Rich: Do you believe that blogs should have government regulation or oversight to prevent this kind of thing from creating panic?

Porter: Strange you should ask this as it is something I’ve been thinking about heavily abut of late. In a nutshell NO, we don’t need regulation that would interfere with our First Amendment Rights. With that being said, what is the limits of free speech? Obviously, you can’t go into a crowded theater and shout fire, are yell Hi Jack on an airliner in flight. How are those examples any different than say, this story and others designed to prey upon peoples prejudices and fears.

But you know, the internet has given a new and anonymous medium to us that some use for no good, protected by the anonymity of their keyboards. They can spread false or malicious information about anything that comes into their minds without fear of repercussion.

Rich: Did the anti-stories posted on sites like TexasFred.net, Immigration Clearing House, and ours provide a kind of self-governance or could more have been done by the community?

Porter: To answer that, I would suggest taking a look at the comments on my site, yours and TexasFred.net and decide. Also look at the comments on Dvorak’s original story. They’re probably running 50/50. Did we do enough? I think we tried. Could we have done more? Possibly but some minds can’t be changed. Especially those who believe the bunk about North American Unions, the Reconquista, the birther movement and all the other trite crap being peddled out there by the “Patriots for Profit”.

You know, our country has survived 234 years, survived numerous wars and 43 Presidents. This country is resilient. We have a President now, who I did not support nor vote for, who scares the hell out of people as being one of the few Presidents in memory who actually is trying to do what he promised. And of course everyone has their own opinions of what should be done and how. Then you have the big buck lobbyists on both side that try to skew the issue.

Rich: ALIPAC put up a post confirming the ruse, should they have done more?  If so, what?

Porter: The only reason ALIPAC put out that press release is to give Amato another slap in the face. Had that story not been so prominent on Amato’s site, I believe Gheen would have allowed the bashing to continue on his site until such a time as he decided it would benefit him to speak out. Gheen is a nasty piece of work. He regularly tries to take credit for the work of others, and takes credit for things benefiting his agenda that would have occurred whether he existed or not.

Gheen and Digger had a falling out over the June 5 Phoenix Rising Rally. Read about it on Diggers site or mine by searching for the article titled “ALIPAC & William Gheen Exposed”

Everyone he befriends is his friend as long as they are of some value to him. Afterwards, he goes on the attack.. Some examples? Jim Gilchrist, Barbara Coe, Dan Amato Jim Deakins, Lou Dobbs. Anyone who is critical of him or his positions on things. Hell, I’ve got emails passed around from him to those named that I could share. The man’s got a nasty mouth and attitude.

His 36,000 supporters consist of an email list containing that number of addresses. I find it strange that with alleged 36,000 supporters, you never find more than 3 or 4 dozen online to his forum at any given time, and about the same number who are regular posters

And finally, you look at his FEC reports, especially when he is whining for donations so he can singlehandedly STOP “amnesty”! 1/3 of his donations go for his salary and the rest goes for phone bills, internet access and server space. Also a media consultant in Florida he pays to get his opinions published everywhere he can.

I simply have a problem with a man who has been quoted as saying “If there was no money to be made in the immigration debate, I would have nothing to do with it”

His press release was totally self serving.

Rich: If the story had been real, what would you like to see happen (Law enforcement, feds, military, citizens, bloggers, etc)

Porter: If the story had been true, I would have wanted to happen what would have happened. A strong response by Local, State and Federal law enforcement. That is how we handle things in Texas. There would have been no reason to involve the military in something law enforcement is well equipped to handle.

Citizens would have needed to stay the hell out of the way and let the authorities do their job. As evidenced by some of the militias putting out a call to arms, claiming the Texas DPS has called them to come to the border to assist them, we don’t need citizens itching to pop a cap on someone.

Bloggers and MSM would have needed to report it as it happened and not how they wished it would happen. The impression that people have of our southern border being overrun by terrorists, and the Mexican border cities a lawless free fire zone Is sensationalism by the media and by bloggers who have no idea of what is happening here. El Paso Texas, across from Cd Juarez is the third safest city in America. Sure, violence flares up and is ongoing, but it is not a constant threat here in Mexico. I would venture to say it is safer here than some neighborhoods in Chicago’s southside or parts of Atlanta.

Rich: What actions would like to see on immigration?

Porter: First off, people need to think for themselves and quit letting others think for them.

First, we need operational control of the borders. Secure borders is a catch phrase for those who are oppose to any type of revamping of our nations broken system. You can’t lay mine fields, sniper towers or station troops on the 2000 mile + border with shoot to kill orders as some suggest. Building a physical fence throw mountainous and rugged terrain is cost prohibitive and will only slow down, not stop, the smugglers. And without someone to watch the fence, the fence is useless. And if you have the personnel to watch the fence, then obviously you don’t need the fence. We have more operational control of the borders than at anytime in recent years.

A re-examination of our worker visas and a guest worker program to fill the jobs Americans refuse to do. And yes, those jobs exist and we have it within our laws to fill those jobs, except the visa quota system stands in the way. Americans are soft and have no desire to do back breaking menial labor. Look at Arizona with the exodus of Hispanics. If they held these jobs Americans want and will do, why haven’t we seen a decrease in unemployment. All we are seeing is businesses shutting down because their customer base is leaving. Parts of Phoenix is beginning to look like a ghost town.

Our government needs to get it out of its head that 100 million Mexicans are chomping at the bit to get into this country and look at the manner in which they issue laser visas and I-9’s. The laser visa is nothing more than a border crossing card. It permits the holder to cross and shop, visit family but they are limited to 28 miles of the border without the I-9. Canadians don’t have this requirement. They can cross at will with only a passport and go wherever they desire.

It’s interesting about the Laser Visa. Mexicans apply for it, submit their documents showing ties to Mexico and proving ties enough that they will return, pay the $100 dollar application fee and are given an appointment at the closest Consulate 4 to 6 months in the future. When they arrive for the appointment and stand in line for a couple of hours, most are denied with no reason given nor any avenue for appeal. It’s solely the decision of a low level Consular employee whose word is final. That needs to change. Rules need to be established for eligibility. Not the choice of an employee who might have had a fight with his wife or something that morning or simply didn’t like the looks of the applicant.

We need to identify who is here and who they are. That would involve giving all some form of legitimacy. Not a path to citizenship although they wouldn’t be prohibited years down the road if they desired,. Identify who is here. The criminal element, identify and deport after any pending charges against them were resolved, and I know this will cause the civil libertarians to raise holy hell, but insert and RFID chip in the cheeks of their butts. We have them in our new passports. Mine can be read electronically 2 blocks from the border according to CBP officers. Then sensors along the border to detect when they try to re-enter.

There is a lot of good hardworking families who have crossed illegally They’ve built lives here, paid their taxes and been good citizens except for the 9 digit number they lack. We can’t deport the estimated 6 million Mexicans in this country. It is impossible

There is no good solution or perfect solution to the problem of illegal immigration. But the “no solution” is people sitting around and being obstinate in their views.

William Gheen, when he got into his pissing match with Lou Dobbs over the Dobbs suggestion we needed a national dialogue on the subject and asked Gheen if he would be interested in participating in a round table discussion. Gheen refused basically saying it was :”my way or the highway”. That attitude which is prevalent in most of the anti-immigrant crowd will continue to stymie any meaningful debate and solution of the issue.

It is also interesting to note, until 9/11, when it seems this issue exploded, it was a non issue. We had cyclical migration for more than 75 years. Sure, most of it was illegal. People would cross, work a few months, go home to Mexico for the holidays and maybe return, maybe not. But the majority always returned at some point. Sure to be replaced by others, but it helped drive the economy on both sides of the border.

So I guess after that rambling reply, in a nutshell, we need to put a stop to this hysteria being spread that illegal immigrants are coming here to wallow in the public trough and acknowledge the contributions they make. We can’t have it both ways. Either they come here and take all the social services available, (which they can’t do) or they’re taking jobs Americans won’t. We can’t have it both ways. That is what is so illogical from the extremist point of view on both sides.

I want to thank Mr. Corn for this interview.  While I may not agree with all of his positions, I do believe in listening.

*update 7/27/10*  We have been contacted by Mr. Gheen of ALIPAC claiming that Mr. Corn is providing “false and derogatory information”.  I always like to listen to both sides and have offered Mr. Gheen an interview.

#update 7/28/10* Mr. Gheen has declined to comment or be interviewed.

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  1. [...] Party crowd.  In fact, even some conservative bloggers denounced the story as a lie.  Check out this conservative blog that conducted an interview on this [...]

  2. [...] Historically, accepting endorsements or being seen as connected to ALIPAC or William Gheen has been toxic for candidates who align themselves with this nasty, mean little man. [...]

  3. Good says:

    Good to see dialogue in the interest of finding the real facts. Too often people on both sides get caught up in spinning and don’t do enough reporting.

  4. MdeG says:

    Thanks for a good interview. I really appreciate Porter’s clarity and his understanding of the subtleties of the anti-immigrant movement. I’m not personally a fan of temporary work visas (tied to 1 employer = license for abuse, in way too many cases) but really appreciate the search for a just and balanced solution. And thank you for listening to someone who’s trying to calm hysteria & debunk rumors! We need more effort in this direction.

  5. TexasFred says:

    Good job Rich!!

    I am simply amazed that Dan *Digger* Amato has continued to stand behind this BS… Admittedly, I don’t know the *back story* concerning him, Gheen, Jeff Schwilk or Kimberly Dvorak but I am astounded that ANYONE would continue to try and justify this sham of a story…

    People were frightened when this story broke, people got angry when this story broke, then they got even more angry when folks such as ourselves called bullshit on it… Even the guy at The Cypress News stood beside it and said he was “waiting for the TRUTH to come out”… What more TRUTH is he possibly waiting for??

    Oh well, Jeff Schwilk and Kimberly Dvorak have shown themselves for the moonbats they are, Digger has shown himself as a gullible, and less than highly investigative reporter, as did The Cypress News…

    It’s really funny if you look at it and think, the Conservative blogosphere took a hell of a hit over this, but some of us actually stood and gave the LEFT a look at what REAL Conservatives are all about and have shown them that JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY is not dead…

    Kudos to you Sir! I am honored to be linked here and I have your page linked on my site as well! Keep up the good work and never hesitate to call on me if I can be of assistance…

  6. Dee says:

    Rich,
    I want to commend you for having the courage to publish this interview.
    We need more civil discussion in this debate.
    The majority of Americans want to talk about this issue.
    We don’t need the zealots to spread lies.
    We need bloggers to tell the truth. Dialogue. Share ideas.
    All for the sake of a better America and resolution to the broken Immigration issues we are all facing.

    Resolution begins with discussion.
    Discussion brings Understanding.
    Understanding brings Positive Change.

    May God Bless America and May God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change;
    courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference

  7. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PM Corn, PM Corn and Editor of CDNews, Editor of CDNews. Editor of CDNews said: Texas Ranch Takeover – After the Hoax: http://bit.ly/9LdwGz #tcot #tpp #ocra #tlot #p2 #az #cspj #twisters #acon #teaparty #sgp [...]