The family of a highly decorated U.S. Navy Seal veteran who died of cancer two months before his wedding is fighting the deportation of his Thai fiancee, the mother of his 11-year-old daughter.
Tim Farrell served 21 years for his country before moving to Thailand in 1998. There, he met Bao, and in 2004, the couple welcomed their daughter, Thawan.
Tim, a North Andover native, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June, and, by August, he had bought a house and moved his family to Derry, New Hampshire, so that Thawan could continue the education she started at a prestigious English-language school in Thailand. Tim had always planned to move his daughter to the United States for school, but hastened his plans as he became sick.
Tim died on Dec. 26, two months before he and Bao were to marry and get Bao a green card. Now Bao’s visiting visa has expired and she has filed for an extension through August, as Tim’s siblings reach out to attorneys and politicians in the hope of securing her a green card.
Thawan is a U.S. citizen and can stay in the country, but, at just 11 years old, the fifth-grader needs her mom.
“It’s been really hard without my dad, and my mom is here for me. So that’s why I really want her to stay with me,” Thawan said, through tears. “I want to ask them, ‘Why she can’t stay here with me?”
But attorneys and the offices of elected officials have told the family the situation is bleak and there may be no avoiding deportation.
“I literally was standing by his bed when he died, and I told him, ‘I’ll make sure your family stays here,'” said Tim’s sister Janice Moro, who started an online petition to help her sister-in-law stay in the country. “I can’t expect that anyone would want to separate mom and daughter.”
Immigration attorney Randall Drew, whose office is in Bedford, New Hampshire, told FOX25’s Christine McCarthy that the family’s situation is dire, but there are some possible options.
“It’s a pretty tough spot to be in,” Drew said. “What needs to happen is the government needs to execute some prosecutorial discretion and allow her to stay, grant her something called deferred action or perhaps humanitarian parole.”
That outcome is rare, Drew said, but the family’s situation is extreme.
Another possibility, Drew said, is to apply for a green card through a common-law marriage after death.
“There is a section in the New Hampshire law that states, if you’ve lived together as a married couple and held yourself out as such for the past three years or more and one of the partners dies, under that limited set of circumstances, the person can be recognized as the spouse of the deceased,” Drew said.
If Bao qualifies as a common-law spouse, she would then need to self-petition for her green card as the spouse of a service member. That, in conjunction with proof that Tim’s time in the service might have contributed to his illness or aggravated it, could help her.
Drew recommended the family reach out to elected officials and appeal for help, while also working with both an immigration attorney and a family law attorney.
“It doesn’t seem fair,” Moro said. “Twenty-one years he gave for this country. They should be able to do something.”
Amy and Esther Juárez were edgy with excitement as they boarded the bus full of seasonal workers heading for a farm at the other end of Mexico from their home in the poverty-stricken southern state of Chiapas.
Although their brother Alberto,18, had made the same journey the previous year, it was the first time Amy, 24, and Esther, 15, had left the tiny indigenous community where they had grown up.
But about half-way there, immigration agents boarded the bus, and after checking all the passengers’ papers, ordered the three siblings to get off.
The officials accused them of carrying false documents and lying about their nationality. Then they told the youngsters that they would be deported to Guatemala, a country none would have been able to place on a map.
The baffled youngsters – who speak the Mayan language Tzeltal but very little Spanish – were transferred to an immigration holding centre in Queretero CITY.
Alberto, 18, was taken into a separate room by four agents who told him that unless he signed documents admitting he was Guatemalan, would die there.
“One pushed me, another was kicking my leg, and a third who was very fat gave me an electric shock here, on the back of my right hand,” Alberto told the Guardian through a translator.
“I really thought I was going to die, so I signed lots of sheets of paper – but I can’t read or write so I didn’t know what I was signing.”
The three siblings were held for eight days before a lawyer from an activist group filed a legal complaint and eventually secured their release.
A growing number of indigenous Mexicans are being detained and threatened with expulsion by immigration agents looking for undocumented Central American migrants.
The trend comes amid a crackdown on migrants driven in part by political pressure and financial aid from the US. Deportations have already risen exponentially since summer 2014 when Barack Obama declared the surge in Central American child migrants a humanitarian crisis. Campaigners say that Mexico migration officials are running a secret quota system to increase the number of expulsions.
Activists say that Mexico’s National Immigration Institute is increasingly operating like an unchecked police force – and say that that like the country’s security forces, it appears to be systematically using torture against detainees.
“The order appears to be to detain Central Americans at any cost, even if that means violating the constitution, picking up people based on racist criteria and detaining and deporting Mexican indigenous youth along the way,” said Gretchen Kuhener, director of the Institute for Women in Migration (IMUMI), which launched legal action to secure the siblings’ release. The Mexican constitution states that citizens can move freely within the country, and do not need to carry ID.
Kuhener added: “This case demonstrates the power and impunity of the National Migration Institute. They can get away with it because it impacts highly vulnerable populations who may not speak Spanish, don’t know their rights, and are unlikely to complain.”
The Juárez family live amid the picturesque rolling hills in eastern Chiapas, where all seven children – aged six to 24 – help their parents eke out a living from a few plots of land.
Food is plentiful, but money is scarce, and to top up their incomes, thousands of people, many of them indigenous, travel by bus from Chiapas and other southern states to work on farms in northern Mexico.
In Chiapas, casual farmhands earn 60 to 80 pesos (£2.40 to £3.20) a day cutting coffee, whereas last season Alberto earned 200 pesos (£8) a day harvesting squash, watermelons and tomatoes in the northern state of Sonora.
Gently swinging in a hammock, Alberto said his first time away from home was thrilling.
“We worked hard, but went out every evening. I tried hamburgers for the first time, and there was electricity where we lived. When I came home after seven months, I bought a horse with the money I’d saved. This year I wanted to buy motorbike.”
Encouraged by Alberto’s stories, his sisters and Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, 27, also signed up when the contractors returned looking for workers. All four asked not to be identified by their real names, for fear of reprisals from the Mexican authorities.
“I just wanted to have my own money so I could buy my own clothes at the market, maybe some earrings,” said Amy, 24. “But even as we got on the bus, I had a bad feeling.”
The privately contracted bus left on 2 September 2015 at 2pm from the local petrol station. The following afternoon, at a tollbooth just south of the border with Queretaro state, immigration agents boarded the bus.
Mobile immigration teams were introduced as part of the crackdown – known as the Southern Border Plan – launched amid US pressure to stop Central American migrants reaching its border.
Although immigration officials do not carry weapons, they often work closely with armed private security officers, police officers and soldiers. The joint units have been aggressive in their attempts to stop northward migration, raiding bus stations, motels and buses, and stopping migrants from boarding the freight train known as the Beast, which was once a major route through southern Mexico.
The scale of US financial support for Mexican immigration control is opaque. At least $100m has been spent or pledged for training, new equipment and canine teams, according to Congressional Research Service. There are no human rights conditions attached to this aid. Department of Defence aid is separate and unknown. The INM said it has “never received a peso” from the US.
After being held at the roadside for several hours, the Juárez siblings were driven to the immigration centre. Officials confiscated their belongings, including a cellphone and documents (birth certificates, social security numbers, electoral registration) which the officials insisted were fake.
Months later, the siblings are still shaken by the experience, and asked to be identified with pseudonyms for fear of retribution from migration officials
Esther, 15, said the experience was terrifying. “They kept saying we were Guatemalan, and we kept telling them no, we’re from Chiapas but they wouldn’t believe us and became angrier and angrier.”
On Friday 4 September, after being kicked, pushed and given an electric shock, Alberto signed documents he couldn’t read admitting he was Guatemalan.
Agents told them they would be deported to San Marcos, a poverty-stricken city in western Guatemala. Incredibly, a Guatemalan consul issued certificates “confirming” their nationality.
“Alberto couldn’t stop shaking, we were all crying. How would we return home to Chiapas when we don’t even know where Guatemala is?” added Esther.
Esther’s boyfriend Fernando, who was accused of being a people smuggler but not detained, managed to find help. The IMUMI lawyer arrived on 6 September, and filed a legal complaint, and after eight days, the trio were released.
Their ID documents were not returned because they could not pay the £8 (200 pesos) bribe demanded by officials.
A specialist psychologist and doctor from the Mexico City Human Rights Commission concluded – in a report seen by the Guardian – that Alberto had suffered serious physical pain and post-traumatic psychological symptoms as a result of being tortured.
Carolina Jiménez, deputy director of research for the Americas at Amnesty International, said: “We have documented a truly disturbing pattern of very serious human rights violations against migrants travelling through Mexico. But seeing immigration officials involved in torture against Mexican nationals to make them ‘confess’ they are migrants takes this disturbing situation to a whole more sinister level.”
Concern over the conduct of immigration agents is rising. Advocacy groups were dismayed when Ardelio Vargas, a highly controversial police figure, was named head of INM in January 2013. Vargas was in charge of federal forces when peasant protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco were violently repressed by police in 2006.
Alejandro Martínez, former head of Central American migrants’ issues at the INM, said Vargas runs the institute like a police force.
“The biggest mistake was to mix police and immigration. [The case of the Juárez siblings] makes me even more certain that illegal quotas within the institute are driving the exponential rise in detentions. It doesn’t matter how agents do it, as long as they meet the quotas.”
INM categorically denied the use of quotas. But the huge surge in detentions and deportations is undeniable. In 2015, 190,000 people were detained by INM agents – 120% more than in 2013.
It also appears Mexican nationals with a particular profile are being caught up in the swell.
The National Commission for Human Rights (known in Spanish as the CNDH) recently investigated 15 similar cases – including at least eight other victims from Chiapas – and found 22 immigration agents violated multiple rights.
The victims were detained on buses or on the street solely based on their “physical features, clothes and appearance”. Some were detained for several weeks before convincing officials they were Mexican.
The INM said agents are legally permitted to request identification from anyone.
According to the INM spokeswoman, the Juárez siblings were detained because Fernando said they were Guatemalan, and the sisters’ ID papers raised concerns they could be human trafficking victims. Their detention was prolonged by IMUMI’s legal challenge, she said.
She added: “It’s impossible that anyone could be tortured at an immigration station because they are permanently monitored by the CNDH, international organisations like the Red Cross and NGOs. If he [Alberto] was tortured, why not report it at the time, why wait till later?
“As in all cases of possible abuse there will be an investigation and if we find any evidence of excessive force, those responsible will be reported to the competent authorities.”
A lawsuit over the case is still ongoing, but whatever its outcome, the episode has shattered the dreams of the Járez sibling. Amy and Esther say they will never leave their community again because it is simply too dangerous.
Alberto muses over the future while watching his elegant white mare grazing with her chestnut foal. He had big dreams of building his own house with electricity and internet, and he still wants that motorbike.
“I want to go north again to work, but I keep thinking about what they did to me. It’s best that I stay here.”
In 60 years, the U.S. economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the U.S. economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month…
…but at $454 billion for the headline number, this was the lowest print since the summer of 2011.
Market reaction: stocks rebound on the news and are now well in the green.
What happens if you’re that guy who really likes this girl but she keeps dismissing you? Does there come a time when you finally realize this specific girl will never want you? And then comes a girl, maybe not so gorgeous but she’s attracted to you and sees you as a great guy. What do you do? Do you keep hanging around hoping the dream girl finally realizes you do exist – after you’ve spent forever conveying your desire? Or do you find a relationship with someone willing to be with you?
So, imagine how this little scenario plays out in the world of foreign policy.
As reported by the Jerusalem Post, “A delegation of Iraqi Kurds will visit Moscow in April to discuss Russian weapons supplies, the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday cited the head of an Iraqi Kurd representation office in Russia as saying.
RIA on Wednesday quoted the Russian consulate in Iraq as saying Russia has already supplied weapons to Iraqi Kurds and that the first shipment had arrived on March 14. It said the shipment had included five Zu-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons and 20,000 shells for the cannons.”
Having been in Kurdistan, I can attest that, outside of Israel, you will not find more pro-American, pro-Western people in the Middle East. They wholeheartedly have assisted U.S. forces in Iraq with the defeat of Saddam’s forces as well as Islamic jihadists. They were all in with the new Iraqi government and constitution, yet, with the coming of one Barack Obama, they’ve once again been dismissed.
As a Member of the U.S. Congress I hosted representatives of the Kurdish Regional Government in my office on several occasions and attended many of their sponsored events.
You want an effective ground force to combat ISIS, the spread of Islamic jihadism, and check the hegemonic designs of Iran? There’s no one better than the Kurds. The problem is that while the Kurds were requesting support from the United States, they were rejected. The weapons systems aid was provided to the central Iraq government in Baghdad, and guess what? They were distributed mainly to the Shiite elements, who in turn quickly dropped them as they withdrew, ran away, and then were confiscated by ISIS.
The return on investment for these weapons would have been much higher if they’d been delivered directly to the Kurds. And even worse, after Barack Obama achieved permission from the closet Islamist, his dear friend Turkish President Erdogan, for the use of U.S. military air basing, the Kurds then found themselves being bombed by Turkish forces. These are the same Turkish forces who somehow turned a blind eye as ISIS fighters flowed out of Turkey into northern Iraq and Syria.
So, like the fella who’s been rejected by the girl he wanted, the fella is looking elsewhere to the girl who’s said, “I like you.” Enter Russia and Vladimir Putin…and we all know Putin has some issues with Erdogan and Turkey after they shot down his aircraft.
This week we heard about Russia conducting a partial pullout of forces in Syria. Needless to say it appears Putin is building his coalition in the region. We know Egypt’s President el-Sisi has visited Russia – he’s been rejected by the same girl. Last year, right before the U.N General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russia – he has been rejected by the same girl. So one has to ask, when will Jordan’s leader King Abdullah court the new”girl?”
The game of foreign policy is being lost by the United States under the presidency of Barack Obama. And these nations who were staunch allies and supporters are realizing they must court others. We’re watching the impact and influence of America slip away. Sure, progressive socialists will say, we’re more liked now – but I will counter that we’re not respected, by friend or foe.
We were once the desired date, but now we’re turning into something completely undesirable. We’re not the trusted ally we once were. And thanks to a nebulous and failed foreign policy folks are doing following the advice of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: “You better shop around.”
Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire Swiss citizen and multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor, gave 30 contributions to American political campaigns over a nine-year period, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Federal law has imposed a strict, across-the-board ban since 1966 on foreign nationals giving to U.S. political campaigns. The ban was later included in the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. The only exception is for foreign nationals who possess a green card. The ban applies to all levels of political campaigns.
Wyss donated $41,000 to seven congressional candidates and to four national political action committees from 1998 to 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records under the name of Hansjorg Wyss.
Colorado campaign finance records also report that Wyss gave $50,000 to Coloradans for Responsible Growth in March 2000, a statewide environmental political action committee that closed its doors only two years later, in part because it reportedly never filed the required financial statements.
In April 2006, Wyss gave $10,000 to Jim Baca, a Democrat running for New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, according to the State of New Mexico Ethics Administration.
Wyss has a long-term relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as with John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s present national campaign director and former White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton. Wyss committed $5 million to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” program to empower women and girls in December 2013.
Wyss paid Podesta $87,000 for “consultant” services when the latter served as a top aide to President Barack Obama. Wyss is a major contributor to the Center for American Progress and a member of its board of directors. The center was founded by Podesta and has received $5.1 million from Wyss since 2011, according to Internal Revenue Service filings.
Lawrence M. Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told TheDCNF contributions by a foreign citizen are a “serious violation.” Noble was general counsel at the Federal Election Commission for 13 years.
“If he doesn’t have a green card and he’s not a U.S. citizen, then he can’t give to U.S. elections,” Noble said.
Former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith told TheDCNF that if Wyss gave the donations knowingly and willingly, “the FEC is pretty aggressive in referring this kind of violation to the Department of Justice as a criminal matter.”
Although Wyss has maintained multiple residences in the United States since the 1960’s, he’s never sought U.S. citizenship. He said in a 2014 speech in Bern, Switzerland reported by the Swiss news organization Blick, “I only have a Swiss passport as a proof of identity. No Green Card. No American passport. So here I stand, as a true Swiss, in my homeland,” according to the Swiss media outlet Bite.
Documents obtained by TheDCNF show that Wyss is an E-2 visa holder, and does not have a green card. A Feb. 8, 2010, letter prepared by Wyss lawyer Joseph M. Sedlack said “HJW is lawfully in the U.S. pursuant to a ‘E-2VISA’” and “is not a permanent resident of the US under a ‘green card.’” Sedlack is with the Reed Smith LLP law firm.
TheDCNF also asked Carolyn Short, another Reed Smith attorney who represents Wyss, if Wyss was a U.S. citizen. She did not reply.
Noble said some foreign nationals might plead ignorance but “given his sophistication, he should he have known” that he was not permitted to give to political campaigns. Smith, the former FEC Commissioner, agreed, saying “the guy’s got access to some of the top lawyers in the country.”
In a related development, the Justice Department earlier this month refused to turn over documents sought by Citizens United under the Freedom of Information Act in seeking to understand why Wyss’ top four executives went to jail but he didn’t in a medical scandal in which five patients died as a result of an illegal drug testing program run by his former company.
Wyss was named in 2009 by a federal grand jury as the “Person No. 7” who directed the four jailed executives to ignore federal safety rules requiring the FDA’s prior approval of drug tests on humans. Wyss was CEO of the company, Syntheses, which paid a $22 million fine under the 2011 settlement that sent the four executives to prison.
Justice Department officials claimed release of documents, “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” They also declined to “acknowledge the existence of such records pertaining to this individual.”
Citizens United president David Bossie denounced the rejection, telling TheDCNF “the American people deserve to know what’s going on inside their government, particularly the activities of political appointees at the Justice Department.”
Wyss also now faces racketeering charges in a Washington State civil suit that claims he profiteered in the drug testing scheme that caused the death of 67-year old Reba Golden and four other people.
Additionally, he was at the center of a nasty sexual scandal that allegedly resulted in a private $1.5 million settlement with a former employee. The settlement came to light after Wyss made a $5 million commitment to the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” project designed to protect women and girls.
Dave Skinner, a researcher with the Hydra Project, noted that Wyss preferred giving funds through his private foundation rather than highly visible political donations. “He’s always been low profile. He’s always operated under the radar,” Skinner said.
Wyss has a penchant for secrecy, claiming in a May, 2011 Swiss newspaper interview that “nobody knows me, and I hope that it stays like this.”
With the Fed on the verge of a full relent and admission of policy error, the Fed’s “data (in)dependent” monetary policy once again takes on secondary relevance as we progress into 2016. However, even with the overall job picture far less important, one aspect of the US jobs market is certain to take on an unprecedented importance.
We first laid out what that is last September when we said that “the one chart that matters more than ever, has little to nothing to do with the Fed’s monetary policy, but everything to do with the November 2016 presidential elections in which the topic of immigration, both legal and illegal, is shaping up to be the most rancorous, contentious and divisive.”
We were talking about the chart showing the cumulative addition of foreign-born and native-born workers added to US payrolls according to the BLS since December 2007, i.e., since the start of the recession/Second Great Depression.
As usually happens, it is precisely this data that gets no mention following any job report. However, with Trump and his anti-immigration campaign continuing to plow on despite the Iowa disappointment, we are confident that the chart shown below will soon be recognizable to economic and political pundits everywhere.
And here is why we are confident this particular data should have been prominently noted by all experts when dissecting today’s job report: according to the BLS’ Establishment Survey, while 151,000 total workers were added in January, a number which rises to 615,000 if looking at the Household survey, also according to the same Household survey, a whopping 567,000 native-born Americans lost their jobs, far less than the 98,000 foreign-born job losses.
Here is a chart showing native-born non-job gains since the start of the depression:
Alternatively, here are foreign-born worker additions since December 2007:
Putting the two side by side:
And the bottom line: starting with the infamous month when it all started falling apart, December 2007, the US has added just 186,000 native-born workers, offset by 13.5x times more, or 2,518,000, foreign born workers.
If Trump wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, and storms back to the top of the GOP primary polls, expect this chart to become the most important one over the next 10 months.
The FBI conducted more gun-related background checks this January than in any other January since the system was created.
With 2,545,802 checks processed through the National Instant Background Check System, January 2016 beat the previous record, set in January 2013, by 50,326 checks. Though January’s number represents a drop from the all-time single month record set in December 2015, it is also marks the ninth month in a row that has set a record. It is also the third month in a row with more than two million background checks.
The number of background checks conducted by the FBI is widely considered the most reliable estimate for gun sales in the country since all sales conducted through federally licensed gun dealers and some sales conducted by private parties are required by law to obtain a check.
However, the number is not a one-to-one representation of gun sales. Many private sales are not included in the system. Also, in some cases a single background check can apply to the sale of multiple guns. Some states use background checks for their gun carry permitting process, which does not involve the sale of a gun.
The new record comes in the wake of President Obama’s executive action targeting gun sales. The White House had signaled that those selling even one firearm in their lifetime could be subject to federal licensing requirements, though it was later revealed that the written guidance issued by the ATF was at odds with the administration’s public comments.
A steady stream of comments supportive of gun control by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may also have contributed to record sales.
A move by Virginia Democrats to unilaterally eliminate gun carry reciprocity agreements with 25 states also received national attention in January. The policy was instituted by the state’s attorney general after the party failed to recapture the state Senate despite millions from gun control advocates. The backlash to the plan was strong enough that the state’s Democratic governor reversed it in a deal with Republicans.
The Second Amendment Foundation said the continued spike in gun sales was in line with other indicators from around the country.
“The Boston Globe reported last week that tens of thousands of new gun licenses were issued in Massachusetts last year,” Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder, said in a statement. “In New Jersey, with tough gun laws, applications for gun purchases last year nearly tripled over what they were in 2005. One Missouri county reported a three-month back-up in processing permit applications. A county sheriff in North Carolina is so overwhelmed, he’s asking that citizens make appointments.”
“Add to this the fact that scores of sheriffs and police chiefs have encouraged citizens to arm themselves. Suddenly, gun ownership sounds like a very good idea to people concerned about personal safety,” Gottlieb said.
Amid the so-called “ceasefire” in Ukraine, yet ongoing shelling in many regions, the Donbass news agency reports that more than 20 Ukrainian solders have died and over 200 soldiers are hospitalized after an apparent leak of a deadly virus called “California Flu” from a U.S. lab near the city of Kharkov.
More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers have died and over 200 soldiers are hospitalized in a short period of time because of new and deadly virus, which is immune to all medicines. Donetsk People’s Republic intelligence has reported that Californian Flu is leaked from the same place where research of this virus has been carried out.
The laboratory is located near the city of Kharkov and its base for U.S. military experts.
Leak of deadly virus in Ukrainian side was published first time on 12.1.2016:
“According to the medical personnel of the AFU units (Ukrainian troops) there were recorded mass diseases among the Ukrainian military personnel in the field. Physicians recorded the unknown virus as a result of which the infected get the high fever which cannot be subdues by any medicines, and in two days there comes the fatal outcome. Thus far from the virus there have died more than twenty servicemen, what is carefully shielded by the commandment of the AFU from the publicity”, said Basurin in daily MoD situation report.
Outbreak of deadly virus continues and Friday 22.1.2016 Vice-Commander told new information from epidemic:
“We keep registering new facts of growing the epidemics of acute respiratory infections among the Ukrainian military.
Just since the beginning of this week more than 200 Ukrainian military have been taken to civil and military hospitals of Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk. It is important to repeat that the DPR intelligence previously reported the research being carried out in a private laboratory in the locality Shelkostantsiya, 30 km away from the city of Kharkov, and involving US military experts. According to our information, it is there where the deadly Californian flu strain leaked from,” Basurin said.
It appears it is not just military that is affected, as Radio Free Europe reports a flu epidemic is sweeping through the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk – and the conflict smoldering nearby is making the situation even worse. Doctors are unable to identify the exact strain of the virus, because the laboratory they need is across the front lines in separatist-controlled Donetsk
UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.
According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.
What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.
“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.
Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,
Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.
While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.
Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.
The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company’s 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.
More than 95 percent of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Wal-Mart. The Bentonville, Arkansas, company said it is working to ensure that workers are placed in nearby locations.
The store closures will start at the end of the month.
The announcement comes three months after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon told investors that the world’s largest retailer would review its fleet of stores with the goal of becoming more nimble in the face of increased competition from all fronts, including from online rival Amazon.com.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” McMillon said in a statement. “Closing stores is never an easy decision. But it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.”
Wal-Mart operates 4,500 in the U.S. Its global workforce is 2.2 million, 1.4 million in the U.S. alone.
Wal-Mart has warned that its earnings for the fiscal year starting next month will be down as much as 12 percent as it invests further in online operations and pours money into improving customers’ experience.
Of the closures announced Friday, 154 locations will be in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest-format stores called Wal-Mart Express, which were opened as a test in 2011.
Wal-Mart Express marked the retailer’s first entry into the convenience store arena. The stores are about 12,000 square feet and sell essentials like toothpaste. But the concept never caught on as the stores served the same purpose as Wal-Mart’s larger Neighborhood Markets: fill-in trips and prescription pickups.
Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount stores and four Sam’s Clubs.
Wal-Mart will now focus in the U.S. on supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, the e-commerce business and pickup services for shoppers.
The retailer is closing 60 loss-making locations in Brazil, which account for 5 percent of sales in that market. Wal-Mart, which operated 558 stores in Brazil before the closures, has struggled as the economy there has soured. Its Every Day Low price strategy has also not been able to break against heavy promotions from key rivals.
The remaining 55 stores are spread elsewhere in Latin America.
Wal-Mart said that it’s still sticking to its plan announced last year to open 50 to 60 supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets and 7 to 10 Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. during the fiscal year that begins Feb. 1. Outside the U.S., Wal-Mart plans to open 200 to 240 stores.
The financial impact of the closures is expected to be 20 cents to 22 cents per diluted earnings per share from continuing operations with about 19 cents to 20 cents expected to affect the current fourth quarter. The company is expected to release fourth quarter and full year results on Feb. 18.
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell $1.12, or 1.7 percent, to 61.94 in morning trading.
Over 100 million guns have been sold in the United States since Barack Obama was elected president.
A poster showing Barack Obama is seen in the background as customers line up to look at firearms at a gun shop in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. The Cheaper Than Dirt gun store recorded a record day of gun sales the day after the election of President-elect Barack Obama and is having trouble keeping up with the demand for assault riffles. (Flickr)
William La Jeunesse reported today on FOX News that 100 million guns have been sold in the US since Obama became president. Today’s increase in sales is nationwide not just in California.
La Jeunesse said:
“Americans are not just putting them in their closet and waiting for a burglary. They’re taking classes on how to protect themselves. Background checks on Black Friday topped 185,000 that’s 8,000 guns sold every hour. 2,000,000 in November and and almost 20 million this year.”
Check out this graphic –
Via America’s Newsroom:
This woman looks like she’s on meds. So they will do nothing to prevent it from happening again.
Via Free Beacon:
State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said Friday that the State Department stands behind the visa process that allowed a terrorist into the United States.
“Are you satisfied that Malik’s application process followed the proper protocol?” one reporter asked Trudeau, referring to San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, who had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on Facebook.
“Yes,” she said.
“How can you say that with such assurance?” the reporter asked.
Trudeau said that she is confident that this case followed protocol because the State Department is confident in its visa process.
“Because we stand behind our screening process for visas,” she said.
Tashfeen Malik apparently gave a phony address in Pakistan, which no one checked or figured out.
How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook
In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States.” None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.
The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.
The Goal Of The Trump Plan: Fighting For American Businesses And Workers
America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor.
If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality.
When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.
The Trump Plan Will Achieve The Following Goals:
1.) Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
2.) Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
3.) Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
4.) Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.
Details of Donald J. Trump’s US China Trade Plan:
Declare China A Currency Manipulator
We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field.
Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.
In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America’s massive trade deficit with China would not persist. On day one of the Trump administration the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers, and revitalizes job growth in America. We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair – and far better – trading relationship.
End China’s Intellectual Property Violations
China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history. This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it – without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.
The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market. Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of WTO and international rules. China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous. Going forward, we will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules.
Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages
Chinese manufacturers and other exporters receive numerous illegal export subsidies from the Chinese government. These include – in direct contradiction to WTO rules – free or nearly free rent, utilities, raw materials, and many other services. China’s state-run banks routinely extend loans these enterprises at below market rates or without the expectation they will be repaid. China even offers them illegal tax breaks or rebates as well as cash bonuses to stimulate exports.
China’s illegal export subsidies intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage. From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America.
The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know. To gain negotiating leverage, we will pursue the WTO case and aggressively highlight and expose these subsidies.
China’s woeful lack of reasonable environmental and labor standards represent yet another form of unacceptable export subsidy. How can American manufacturers, who must meet very high standards, possibly compete with Chinese companies that care nothing about their workers or the environment? We will challenge China to join the 21 st Century when it comes to such standards.
The Trump Plan Will Strengthen Our Negotiating Position
As the world’s most important economy and consumer of goods, America must always negotiate trade agreements from strength. Branding China as a currency manipulator and exposing their unfair trade practices is not enough. In order to further strengthen our negotiating leverage, the Trump plan will:
1.) Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore.
2.) Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Federal government, ending redundant government programs, and growing the economy to increase tax revenues. Closing the deficit and reducing our debt will mean China cannot blackmail us with our own Treasury bonds.
3.) Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas. These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China. A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.
A group of 400 U.S. servicemen stationed in Ireland received an unexpected surprise while eating lunch at an airport.
Los Angeles-based philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz was on his way to Israel with his family when he spotted the servicemen eating standard bagged lunches, while other passengers ate at trendy restaurants. Rechnitz went straight to the commander, insisting he pay for all the servicemen to get lunch wherever they wanted.
The commander asked why.
In a video captured of the event, Rechnitz explained exactly what prompted his generosity.
“The reason is that… you guys risk your lives to protect me and my family,” Rechnitz tells the crowd of servicemembers. “If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines. That’s something that makes me proud. I’m on my way to Israel actually now. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’ll take it off my taxes, don’t worry,” he added.
The servicemen applauded.
More than half of U.S. states are now refusing to cooperate with Barack Obama’s insane importation of 200,000 so-called ‘Syrian Refugees’ in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
As public outrage has exploded since revelations that at least two of the Paris terrorists came into Europe as “Syrian refugees,” the number of governors opposing Obama’s plan has increased almost hourly on Monday, from just one – Michigan – overnight, to at least 27 at this hour… including one Democrat in a tight race (Maggie Hassan, NH).
As Top Right News has reported, at least two of the Paris terrorists entered Greece posing as so-called “Syrian refugees” in September – and were able to make their way to France to prepare, arm and execute a massive terrorist attack just 90 days later. This, after a Syrian informant revealed over 4,000 ISIS fighters have already been smuggled into Western nations – “hidden among innocent refugees.”
Obama’s own DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson actually said “we don’t know a whole lot” about Syrian refugees coming into America, and that DHS has “no active protocol” for properly screening them.
Yesterday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced that, to protect the safety of his citizens, he would BLOCK any future importation of Muslim “refugees” to his state. A virtual avalanche of U.S. governors quickly followed suit. And although Federal law gives Obama the ability to import refugees as he sees fit, through the Jimmy Carter-era Refugee Act (1980), the states are essential parts of the settlement process. Without their cooperation, few if any refugees are likely to be moved to those states.
In a press conference this morning in Turkey, Obama said that ‘the United States has to step up and do its part,’ while chiding those in the opposition party for suggesting there be a ‘religious test’ for entry into the United States.
Clearly, the American people do not agree, and the brutal Paris attacks were the critical mass that has spurred massive political action.
White House blasts Republican states for rejecting needy Syrian refugees, says “Xenophobia is not the answer to terror” #paris
11:47 AM – 16 Nov 2015
Here is a map of the states currently defying Obama on his Muslim importation program (updated hourly):
As of 11/17/2015 3:00EST
STATES OPPOSING SYRIAN REFUGEES (27):
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire (D), New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin
UPDATE: Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) is opposed to the resettlement of Muslim migrants. This remains missing from all other internet maps/lists hours later, for some reason.
UPDATE: We have Alaska in green because its Republican Gov. Bill Walker (I, former R) said he “can’t be bothered” to address this issue due to other concerns, angering many Alaskans who want him to oppose it.
UPDATE: Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) has refused to bar Obama’s refugees from Missouri, despite 105 of 114 counties being opposed to it.
Is your state welcoming any of the 200,000 so-called “refugees” Obama is demanding be imported into the heart of America, despite there being no “effective protocol” to properly vet them for ISIS ties?
If so you may wish to contact your governor at THIS link.
A poll released in November but ignored by the mainstream media shows a third of Syrian refugees do not want the Muslim terrorist group ISIS defeated. The survey results buttress concerns by the dozens of U.S. governors who have announced opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to import 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.
The poll shows thirteen percent of Syrian refugees have a completely positive opinion of ISIS with another ten percent having mixed feelings on the terror group, suggesting that nearly one quarter are open to recruitment by ISIS.
Factoring the survey results with the 10,000 Syrian refugees Obama plans to bring to the United States means Obama will bring in 1,300 ISIS supporters and a total of 3,100 who do not want the US to defeat ISIS.
The Obama administration imported about 1,600 Syrian refugees in the past fiscal year. That means around 200 Syrian refugee ISIS supporters and a total of nearly 500 Syrian refugee ISIS sympathizers are already in the country.
The telephone poll of 900 Syrian refugees was conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies as part of a larger survey of six hundred people in each of six Arab nations and the Palestinian territories about ISIS. The group surveyed Syrian refugees in “equal proportion” located in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The survey also covered residents of Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
The poll has a margin of error rate of plus or minus four percent.
The survey result for the other Arab countries show similar levels of support for ISIS which ought to prompt a reevaluation of the U.S. policy for immigrants and refugees from the Middle East. The sole exception is Lebanon where less than one percent have a positive view of ISIS.
At the other end of the spectrum, even more supportive of ISIS than the Syrian refugees, are Palestinians.
The survey shows twenty-four percent of Palestinians have a positive view of ISIS with another thirty-six percent only having a somewhat negative opinion of ISIS. The survey also shows Palestinians as the only group where less than fifty percent (48) support the defeat of ISIS .
A Google News search shows only Investors Business Daily and The Blaze have reported on the survey. In Canada, which has pledged to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees, it appears only The Rebel has reported on the survey.
The former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence says President Obama has no coherent strategy to defeat ISIS, and he alleges one of Obama’s top advisers “lied to the American people” to perpetuate a misguided program allowing tens of thousands of refugees into the U.S.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes appeared on multiples Sunday morning news shows. When asked whether the news that one and possibly two of the Paris terrorists came to Europe as refugees would alter the Obama administration’s plan to accept tens of thousands of refugees, Rhodes said there would be no re-evaluation.
“No, Chuck,” Rhodes told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd. “We have very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who would come to the United States. There’s a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security. So we can make sure we’re carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States.”
Peter Hoekstra spent 18 years in Congress and spent much of his time focused on intelligence matters. He is now with the Investigative Project on Terrorism and is the author of “Architects of Disaster,” which outlines the failure of the Obama administration’s policy in Libya.
“I think (Rhodes) basically lied to the American people,” Hoekstra told WND and Radio America. “He said we’ve got a good vetting process in place where we can vet those that are coming from Syria into the United States.”
He continued, “No we do not. The records don’t exist in Syria, especially after you’ve had five years of civil war. We don’t have a relationship with the regime. It’s an ungoverned area. We don’t know who these people are. Ben, shame on you for even implying that we’ve got a good vetting system. We’re lucky if can get the names right.”
In fact, even before the terrorist attacks in Paris, Hoekstra said the idea of bringing in tens of thousands of refugees was a fool’s errand. As such, he said the announcements from a growing number of governors that they won’t accept refugees is a good sign.
“I think it’s a good decision,” he said. “I wasn’t quite sure why we were ever welcoming these folks in. We are a welcoming nation to refugees and to these kinds of individuals, but only after they’ve been vetted.”
Hoekstra said spreading all these refugees around the Western world does nothing to solve the real problem.
“This problem is not solved by accepting refugees into Europe and the United States,” he said. “This problem is solved by eliminating ISIS and bringing some stability back into the Middle East. You’ve got to wipe ISIS out.”
The issue is taking on additional scrutiny after the European Union revealed only one-fifth of the refugees it has accepted (or about 44,000 of some 213,000 total) are actually from Syria.
But the refugee issue is just one element of the Obama administration’s approach to ISIS that baffles Hoekstra. On Monday, Obama told reporters at the G-20 Summit in Turkey that the Paris attacks would not alter the U.S. strategy toward ISIS. Hoekstra said the existing strategy is a proven disaster, as evidenced by Yemen and Libya turning into lawless wastelands and both Syria and Iraq getting increasingly unstable and deadly to Christians, Yazidis and others.
“I’m not sure what strategy this president is looking at that he believes it working,” Hoekstra said. “When you’ve got at least four countries that are no longer governed and are failed nation-states and are home for the planning and training and preparation for attacks against the West, that is not my view of success.”
Another statement from Obama in Turkey is getting even more attention. After announcing he was sticking with his existing strategy toward ISIS, Obama slammed those who want to America taking a more decisive role.
“What I’m not interested in doing is posing, or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work,” Obama said.
Hoekstra was stunned.
“This message is clear: When the president says, ‘I have no intention of following or implementing a strategy about America leading’ or whatever slogan they may come up with, it is clear that this president does not have a strategy in place for America leading in Northern Africa, the Middle East or, for that matter, any other place in the world,” Hoekstra said.
And he said America’s credibility is taking a beating as a result.
“I hate to be that critical of this president, but America is at risk,” Hoekstra said. “We are in danger, and we’re in danger of losing our influence in the world. We’ve been a voice of stability, security, democracy and human rights. We are just losing all credibility throughout significant portions of the world.”
In addition to his frustrations with the Obama administration, Hoekstra is alarmed at how unprepared the intelligence communities were for the Paris attacks.
“What I’m hearing is that there was some general awareness that there were some attacks or an attack was imminent in Europe,” Hoekstra said. “That was out there, but again no tactical insight into exactly where the attack would take place or when it would take place.”
He said the truth is, it’s really hard to find these small plots before they happen.
“It just tells you that ISIS and these radical jihadist groups in a country of 80 million people or in a country of 300-plus million people like the United States, it’s not that hard to hide and organize and prepare to carry out an attack like this,” Hoekstra said.
So what can be done to improve America’s odds of stopping future attacks?
“We need closer intelligence sharing between our agencies,” Hoekstra said. “We need to push the technology envelope as quickly as we can, and we need to improve our human intelligence.”
Intelligence experts say efforts to infiltrate ISIS have essentially “gone dark,” partly due to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposing tactics for tracking terrorist suspects.
Hoekstra said this confirms what everyone should have known about Snowden from the outset.
“As I said at the time, this was not an American hero protecting American liberties,” he said. “This was an American traitor that was giving away some of America’s secrets that would make us more vulnerable to these kinds of groups and these kinds of individuals and these kinds of attacks.”
Some senior U.S. officials involved in the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal have privately concluded that a key sanctions relief provision – a concession to Iran that will open the doors to tens of billions of dollars in U.S.-backed commerce with the Islamic regime – conflicts with existing federal statutes and cannot be implemented without violating those laws, Fox News has learned.
At issue is a passage tucked away in ancillary paperwork attached to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the Iran nuclear deal is formally known. Specifically, Section 5.1.2 of Annex II provides that in exchange for Iranian compliance with the terms of the deal, the U.S. “shall… license non-U.S. entities that are owned or controlled by a U.S. person to engage in activities with Iran that are consistent with this JCPOA.”
In short, this means that foreign subsidiaries of U.S. parent companies will, under certain conditions, be allowed to do business with Iran. The problem is that the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRA), signed into law by President Obama in August 2012, was explicit in closing the so-called “foreign sub” loophole.
Indeed, ITRA also stipulated, in Section 218, that when it comes to doing business with Iran, foreign subsidiaries of U.S. parent firms shall in all cases be treated exactly the same as U.S. firms: namely, what is prohibited for U.S. parent firms has to be prohibited for foreign subsidiaries, and what is allowed for foreign subsidiaries has to be allowed for U.S. parent firms.
What’s more, ITRA contains language, in Section 605, requiring that the terms spelled out in Section 218 shall remain in effect until the president of the United States certifies two things to Congress: first, that Iran has been removed from the State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism, and second, that Iran has ceased the pursuit, acquisition, and development of weapons of mass destruction.
Additional executive orders and statutes signed by President Obama, such as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, have reaffirmed that all prior federal statutes relating to sanctions on Iran shall remain in full effect.
For example, the review act – sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Foreign Relations Committee, and signed into law by President Obama in May – stated that “any measure of statutory sanctions relief” afforded to Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal may only be “taken consistent with existing statutory requirements for such action.” The continued presence of Iran on the State Department’s terror list means that “existing statutory requirements” that were set forth in ITRA, in 2012, have not been met for Iran to receive the sanctions relief spelled out in the JCPOA.
As the Iran deal is an “executive agreement” and not a treaty – and has moreover received no vote of ratification from the Congress, explicit or symbolic – legal analysts inside and outside of the Obama administration have concluded that the JCPOA is vulnerable to challenge in the courts, where federal case law had held that U.S. statutes trump executive agreements in force of law.
Administration sources told Fox News it is the intention of Secretary of State John Kerry, who negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran’s foreign minister and five other world powers, that the re-opening of the “foreign sub” loophole by the JCPOA is to be construed as broadly as possible by lawyers for the State Department, the Treasury Department and other agencies involved in the deal’s implementation.
But the apparent conflict between the re-opening of the loophole and existing U.S. law leaves the Obama administration with only two options going forward. The first option is to violate ITRA, and allow foreign subsidiaries to be treated differently than U.S. parent firms. The second option is to treat both categories the same, as ITRA mandated – but still violate the section of ITRA that required Iran’s removal from the State Department terror list as a pre-condition of any such licensing.
It would also renege on the many promises of senior U.S. officials to keep the broad array of American sanctions on Iran in place. Chris Backemeyer, who served as Iran director for the National Security Council from 2012 to 2014 and is now the State Department’s deputy coordinator for sanctions policy, told POLITICO last month “there will be no real sanctions relief of our primary embargo… We are still going to have sanctions on Iran that prevent most Americans from… engaging in most commercial activities.”
Likewise, in a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy last month, Adam Szubin, the acting under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, described Iran as “the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism” and said existing U.S. sanctions on the regime “will continue to be enforced… U.S. investment in Iran will be prohibited across the board.”
Nominated to succeed his predecessor at Treasury, Szubin appeared before the Senate Banking Committee for a confirmation hearing the day after his speech to the Washington Institute. At the hearing, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) asked the nominee where the Obama administration finds the “legal underpinnings” for using the JCPOA to re-open the “foreign sub” loophole.
Szubin said the foreign subsidiaries licensed to do business with Iran will have to meet “some very difficult conditions,” and he specifically cited ITRA, saying the 2012 law “contains the licensing authority that Treasury would anticipate using… to allow for certain categories of activity for those foreign subsidiaries.”
Elsewhere, in documents obtained by Fox News, Szubin has maintained that a different passage of ITRA, Section 601, contains explicit reference to an earlier law – the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA, on the books since 1977 – and states that the president “may exercise all authorities” embedded in IEEPA, which includes licensing authority for the president.
However, Section 601 is also explicit on the point that the president must use his authorities from IEEPA to “carry out” the terms and provisions of ITRA itself, including Section 218 – which mandated that, before this form of sanctions relief can be granted, Iran must be removed from the State Department’s terror list. Nothing in the Congressional Record indicates that, during debate and passage of ITRA, members of Congress intended for the chief executive to use Section 601 to overturn, rather than “carry out,” the key provisions of his own law.
One administration lawyer contacted by Fox News said the re-opening of the loophole reflects circular logic with no valid legal foundation. “It would be Alice-in-Wonderland bootstrapping to say that [Section] 601 gives the president the authority to restore the foreign subsidiary loophole – the exact opposite of what the statute ordered,” said the attorney, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations over implementation of the Iran deal.
At the State Department on Thursday, spokesman John Kirby told reporters Secretary Kerry is “confident” that the administration “has the authority to follow through on” the commitment to re-open the foreign subsidiary loophole.
“Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the president has broad authorities, which have been delegated to the secretary of the Treasury, to license activities under our various sanctions regimes, and the Iran sanctions program is no different,” Kirby said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the G.O.P. presidential candidate who is a Harvard-trained lawyer and ardent critic of the Iran deal, said the re-opening of the loophole fits a pattern of the Obama administration enforcing federal laws selectively.
“It’s a problem that the president doesn’t have the ability wave a magic wand and make go away,” Cruz told Fox News in an interview. “Any U.S. company that follows through on this, that allows their foreign-owned subsidiaries to do business with Iran, will very likely face substantial civil liability, litigation and potentially even criminal prosecution. The obligation to follow federal law doesn’t go away simply because we have a lawless president who refuses to acknowledge or follow federal law.”
A spokesman for the Senate Banking Committee could not offer any time frame as to when the committee will vote on Szubin’s nomination.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.
“A1C Spencer Stone has been transported to a local hospital, and is currently being treated for injury,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times. “The incident is currently under investigation by local law enforcement. He is currently in stable condition.”
Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard said Stone was with four other friends – one male and three females – when they got into a dispute with another group of people that culminating in Stone being stabbed.
“He is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening but very significant injuries,” Bernard said during a news conference on Thursday. “The assault does not appear to be a random act. It’s believed to be related to a nightclub incident.”
The incident was not an act of terrorism or a hate crime, said Bernard, who repeatedly declined to answer questions about how the altercation started. Police are looking for two suspects, described as Asian men wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans who drove a gray or black Toyota Camry.
Police have not yet spoken to Stone, so they don’t know if he was drinking before the assault, said Bernard, who added that police believe “folks in his party were drinking that evening.”
On Aug. 21, Stone and two friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, bravely disarmed and subdued a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman stabbed Stone about an inch-and-a-half from his carotid artery and nearly severed Stone’s thumb during the struggle.
Stone later told reporters that he did not hesitate to charge the gunman even though he fully expected to be killed.
“I’m not going to run away,” he told reporters on Sept. 15. “I’m not going to leave everyone to die. I’d rather die trying than sit back and watch everyone get slaughtered.”
Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler all received France’s Legion of Honor. Stone was later awarded the Purple Heart and Airman’s Medal. Four days ago, he posted a picture on Instagram after receiving Belgium’s highest honor from that country’s prime minister.
A Sacramento TV station reported that Thursday’s stabbing happened about 12:45 a.m. on a Sacramento street corner.
The victim suffered “multiple stab wounds to his torso,” ABC10 Sacramento reported. Police initially said he was in critical condition but is now expected to survive.
Although the Air Force has identified Stone as the stabbing victim, Sacramento police have not officially named the person who was stabbed.
Sacramento police said they received a call from about the stabbing from a passerby, a news release says.
“It is believed that the victim was out with a group of friends when a physical altercation led to the victim being stabbed multiple times in his upper body,” the news release says. “Detectives were called to the scene to assist with the investigation and the victim is currently being treated for what appears to be non-life threatening injuries.”
The news release does not include the name of the man stabbed, who is only identified as “a man in his 20s.”
“The Sacramento Police Department respects the identity of all crime victims and appreciates your patience as we work to provide you with further details,” the news release says.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James posted on Facebook on Thursday that she was saddened to hear that Stone had been involved in the stabbing incident.
“His injuries are serious but he is in stable condition,” James wrote. “Many of you know that he risked his life weeks ago to save many lives during a French train attack. The circumstances for today’s incident are under investigation by the local law enforcement. Meanwhile, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The plan by climate alarmists to have other scientists imprisoned for their ‘global warming’ skepticism is backfiring horribly, and the chief alarmist is now facing a House investigation into what has been called “the largest science scandal in US history.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology, has written to Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, in Virginia, requesting that he release all relevant documents pertaining to his activities as head of a non-profit organization called the Institute of Global Environment And Society.
Smith has two main areas of concern.
First, the apparent engagement by the institute in “partisan political activity” – which, as a non-profit, it is forbidden by law from doing.
Second, what precisely has the IGES institute done with the $63 million in taxpayer grants which it has received since 2001 and which appears to have resulted in remarkably little published research?
For example, as Watts Up With That? notes, a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to one of the institute’s offshoots appears to have resulted in just one published paper.
But the amount which has gone into the pockets of Shukla and his cronies runs into the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Shukla and his wife enjoyed a combined income in excess of $800,000 a year.
Steve McIntyre, the investigator who shattered Michael Mann’s global-warming ‘Hockey Stick’ claim, has done a detailed breakdown of the sums involved. He calls it Shukla’s Gold.
In 2001, the earliest year thus far publicly available, in 2001, in addition to his university salary (not yet available, but presumably about $125,000), Shukla and his wife received a further $214,496 in compensation from IGES (Shukla – $128,796; Anne Shukla – $85,700). Their combined compensation from IGES doubled over the next two years to approximately $400,000 (additional to Shukla’s university salary of say $130,000), for combined compensation of about $530,000 by 2004.
Shukla’s university salary increased dramatically over the decade reaching $250,866 by 2013 and $314,000 by 2014. (In this latter year, Shukla was paid much more than Ed Wegman, a George Mason professor of similar seniority). Meanwhile, despite the apparent transition of IGES to George Mason, the income of the Shuklas from IGES continued to increase, reaching $547,000 by 2013. Combined with Shukla’s university salary, the total compensation of Shukla and his wife exceeded $800,000 in both 2013 and 2014. In addition, as noted above, Shukla’s daughter continued to be employed by IGES in 2014; IGES also distributed $100,000 from its climate grant revenue to support an educational charity in India which Shukla had founded.
The story began last month when, as we reported at Breitbart, twenty alarmist scientists – led by Shukla – wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to use RICO laws to crush climate skeptics.
Shukla’s second big mistake was to send the letter not from his university address but from his non-profit, the IGES.
But his first, far bigger mistake, was his hubris in organizing the letter in the first place. It drew the attention of Shukla’s critics to something which, presumably, he would have preferred to keep secret: that for nearly 14 years, he, his family and his friends have been gorging themselves on taxpayers’ money at IGES; and that this money comes on top of the very generous salary he receives for doing much the same work at George Mason University (GMU).
It’s the latter detail which has led former Virginia State Climatologist Pat Michaels – one of the skeptics who might have been affected by Shukla’s proposed RICO prosecutions – to describe this as “the largest science scandal in US history.”
Under federal law, state employees may not be remunerated for doing work which falls under their state employee remit. As a Professor at GMU, Shukla is definitely an employee of the state. And the work for which he has most lavishly been rewarding himself at IGES appears to be remarkably similar to the work he does at GMU as professor of climate dynamics.
If GMU was aware of these extra-curricular payments, then it was in breach of its own policy on “financial conflicts of interest in federally funded research.”
If it wasn’t aware of them, then, Shukla legally may be required to send half of that $63 million in federal grants to his employer, GMU.
For many readers, though, perhaps the biggest take-home message of this extraordinary story is: Who do these climate alarmists think they are?
Perhaps $63 million in federal grants is just peanuts if you’re gorging on the climate-change smorgasbord, but for most of the rest of us, that constitutes a serious sum of money. Especially when we know it is being taken from us in the form of taxes.
Do they really feel under no obligation to spend it well?
Do they actually feel so sanctified by the rightness of their cause that they deserve to be immune from scrutiny or criticism?