North Korea tries to hustle America- again

August 16, 2017

For those who thought North Korea was yesterday’s news, theeey’rrrre back! The tiny isolated country that most American’s can’t find on a map intensified the beat of its war drums Monday by threatening Americans with the old “we are on the standby” ready to lob nuclear missiles at the US “mainland.”

WATCH ONE AMERICA NEWS TV SEGMENT HERE

Of course, no one in America actually saw the “Dear Leader” of North Korea make the threat because the international pariah typically hurls his “send America back to the Stone Age” diatribes on the state-run news. On the other hand, the ratcheted up rhetoric from President Trump, (“fire and fury or locked and loaded”) has some world leaders rattled, but some, like Australia, say they will stand with America even if it’s a pre-emptive strike by the US.

To which Secretary of Defense, General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis said, “If they fire at the United States, it could escalate into war very quickly.” He continued to explain that the US would know the intended target of a missile “within moments (and) we will take it out.”

Kim Jong Un warned President Trump that the nuclear weapons were “on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack.” Good news for Americans is that if there were missiles on a launch pad, the US military could destroy them. In fact, if the US wants to end this “end of the world” talk right now a preemptive strike might be the best plan because if you can’t launch nuclear weapons, they are not worth the billions used to build them!

But right on cue, the North Korean dictator hesitated and realized his nuclear bluff was being called and according to North Korean state media he cancelled the attack on Guam while he “would (rather) watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.” Perhaps Trump’s unpredictability gave the young N. Korean leader pause, this time. Kim went on to say “that he wants to advise the US to take into full account gains and losses with (sic) clear head whether the prevailing situation is more unfavorable for any party. In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean peninsula, it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first and show it through action.”

Nevertheless, it’s typical for N. Koreans to portend threats of war whenever they are seeking to generate more money for their cash-strapped non-existent economy. Unfortunately, the world falls for it every time.

“For Pyongyang, it pays to provoke,” Sung-Yoon Lee, a Tufts University professor, told CNBC. “Whereas good behavior buys only indifference from its richer neighbors, being a bad apple buys leverage and billions in aid… Exporting insecurity is [Pyongyang’s] time-tested means to reaping concessions.”

In fact, the tiny reclusive state has accumulated more than $20 billion from its neighbors and Western countries, including America; gullible nations continue to pay up. Back in the nineties, President Clinton gave the current dictator’s father $15 billion if “he promised to not make nuclear weapons.” Predictably they didn’t listen and have followed the Iranian push to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

“North Korea wants to use its nukes to be better positioned to extort and bully the South. Pyongyang will blackmail the Moon government, which remains very much pro-appeasement … hence the cycle of provocations-negotiations-concession will continue,” Lee finished.

In the end it looks like President Trump’s tough talk, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s quiet behind the scenes diplomacy and China’s announcement that they would ban “several imports from North Korea, including coal, iron ore, lead concentrates and ore, lead and seafood,” brought Kim to his collective senses and diffused the latest, but probably not the last, war mongering pastimes.

If there is a perspective to be applied to this latest round of ransom threats from North Korea, perhaps it’s al-Qaeda’s message in Inspire magazine claiming that they have a new tactic to defeat the West, “bleed America dry.” If one looks at the $20 trillion federal debt, it seems to be working.

Trump’s justification for ending US involvement in Afghanistan?

August 2, 2017

America’s longest war may be coming to an end. So far the Trump administration has been reluctant to add to the 8,400 troops currently serving in the tribal nation of Afghanistan and has asked the Pentagon to consider scaling back its role.

“It is becoming clearer and clearer to people that those are the options: go forward with something like the strategy we have developed, or withdraw,” according to a senior Trump administration official. “It doesn’t work unless we are there for a long time, and if we don’t have the appetite to be there a long time, we should just leave.”

Over the past few years, the Afghan security forces are giving up large swaths of land to the Taliban. A January 2014 article from this reporter predicted America’s longest war had the potential to be an endless war. (Link here)

During the campaign, President Trump said America should start charging countries that want US warriors to fight the “very bad guys.” That thinking has percolated ideas from Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist to seek alternative ways for America to retain one foot in the sand. Enter Blackwater founder, Erik Prince. Quietly he has briefed members of the White House, like DoD’s General James Mattis and CIA’s Director Mike Pompeo, that the US could use military contractors instead of US forces to train the Afghan security forces. However, no price tags have been bandied about just yet.

Curiously, Senator Bob Corker (R -Tenn.) has also met with Prince, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I’m all for continuing to try to come to a conclusion that is something that will change the trajectory there,” the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said. “We’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, and the Taliban has gained significant territory in the interim.”

It continues, “The proposal, seen by The Wall Street Journal, outlines ways for the U.S. to quickly replace most US troops with contractors who would help carry out airstrikes and work side by side with Afghan forces across the country… ‘The goal is to provide a clear exit lane and provide a clear end to the longest war in US history,’” Prince said.

But should America continue to spend taxpayer money in a nation that Genghis Khan bypassed?

Today, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction or SIGAR released its 36th Quarterly Report to Congress. Its continued reports highlight massive corruption in Afghanistan using US taxpayer money.

The latest findings:

— From March 1 through May 31, 2017, the UN recorded 6,252 security incidents, a 21% increase from last quarter.

— From January 1, 2017, through May 8, 2017, there were 2,531 ANDSF service members killed in action and an additional 4,238 wounded in action.

— SIGAR is concerned that US officials, whether at State, USAID, Justice, Treasury, Commerce, or elsewhere, cannot oversee the billions of dollars the United States is dedicating to Afghan reconstruction if, for the most part, they cannot leave the U.S. embassy compound. Hunkering down behind blast walls damages not only the U.S. civilian mission but also handicaps the U.S. military mission.

— In the long run, such extreme risk aversion and avoidance may even contribute to greater insecurity, since it limits U.S. diplomatic reach to the very Afghans necessary to foster stability, rule of law, and economic growth, while sending an unintended but dangerous message to friend and foe alike that the terrorists should be feared and may actually be winning.

— As of May 15, 2017, the struggle between the Afghan government and insurgents remains a stalemate, with the number of districts and the portion of the population under Afghan government and insurgent control unchanged since last quarter’s February 15 assessment.

— USFOR-A reported 12,073 MOD personnel had been identified as “unaccounted for” in the Afghan Human Resources Information Management System (AHRIMS) as of May 11, 2017, some of whom could be ghosts.

— In the first six months of FY 2017 (which began December 22, 2016), Afghanistan’s domestic revenues declined nearly 25% year-on-year and covered about 40% of total government expenditures.

— The estimated value of opiates produced in Afghanistan increased to $3.02 billion in 2016 from $1.56 billion in 2015. The value of opiates is worth more than two-thirds of the country’s entire illicit agricultural sector.

— According to SIGAR analysis, the United States has obligated an estimated $714 billion for all spending—including war fighting and reconstruction—in Afghanistan over more than 15 years.

— SIGAR this quarter issued a classified report to Congress on DOD and State’s implementation of the Leahy Laws in Afghanistan. The report concerned allegations of sexual abuse of children by members of the Afghan security forces, and discusses the extent to which the U.S. holds Afghan security forces accountable. SIGAR has requested that DOD declassify the report so that it can be released to the public.
Hopefully, SIGAR’s sobering reports will convince the Trump administration to avoid making the mistakes of the last two administrations and bring our troops home to rebuild America first!

Under Trump, ICE melts sanctuary cities

July 25, 2017

The Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan announced his agency would beef up agents in so-called sanctuary cities. He told the Washington Examiner that he would begin implementing President Trump’s immigration policy starting with sanctuary cities.

“In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law… What I want to get is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business.”

The acting director made it clear that the rule of law would return to America under his leadership. “We’re going to enforce the laws on the books without apology, we’ll continue to prioritize what we do. But it’s not OK to violate the laws of this country anymore, you’re going to be held accountable.”

Homan says illegal border crossings have decreased by 70 percent since President Trump took office in January. He also said that arrests are up 40 percent. “You can like President Trump, not like him, like his policies, not like his policies, but one thing no one can argue with is the effect they’ve had,” Homan concluded.

The director also participated in the White House’s forum concerning those Americans killed by illegal immigrants, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, (VOICE).

So far, “More than 400 calls from victims have been referred to our community relations officers and victim specialists for assistance with accessing resources, getting more information about a specific case, and how the immigration process works.  Sanctuary jurisdictions pose a threat to the American public by refusing to work with ICE and allowing egregious criminal offenders back into the community to put the lives of the public at risk.  Not to mention the fact, it also puts my law enforcement officers at risk because they have to go back on the street to arrest somebody they could have arrested in a county jail,” he said.

These actions are consistent with ICE’s mission statement: “ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security, our public risk, public safety risk, and a risk to border security.  ICE conducts targeted enforcement operations in compliance with federal law and regulation.  We do not conduct sweeps, raids, roadblocks -this is important to know.  This is a targeted enforcement operation, which means we look for a specific person at a specific location based on intelligence and criminal investigative work.  They’re not raids.  They’re not sweeps.” The director also said some illegals that are not the target of the arrest could and would be deported if they have broken US immigration law.

Other negative consequences from sanctuary policies are the financial burdens taxpayers are forced to cover each year.

According to the Federation for Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) May 2017 immigration report, approximately 12.5 million illegal aliens live in the US. Another 1.5 million minors reside in the US under DACA or Dreamers, and estimate that another 4.2 million are born to illegal immigrant parents; they are commonly referred to as “anchor babies.”

The watchdog group assesses that every year taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $116 billion per year. This figure includes education, where states spend approximately $47.8 billion to educate those illegally in the country. On top of that school districts are forced to employ another 82, 000 “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP) teachers at a cost of $4.8 billion.

In addition to education costs, the American health care system treats those in the country illegally for nearly free if not outright free.

The misnomer that the US government does not provide welfare benefits is just that- false. America’s food stamp program (SNAP) is open for business with $74 billion each year. It’s estimated $1.4 billion goes to ineligible aliens every year, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report.

Lastly there are legal costs for those going through the court system as well as those imprisoned or detained.

Additionally, FAIR contends most new jobs in America go to foreign-born residents. “100 percent of new female job gains since 2007 have gone to foreign-born residents, while jobs held by US-born women have dropped by approximately 64,000. As of 2014, 71 percent of all new jobs since 2000 have gone to foreign-born residents.”

Here are some important Facts from FAIR 

  • How many sanctuary cities/jurisdictions are there in the US? About 300 cities provide sanctuary status for illegal aliens.
  • How many criminal aliens with deportation orders are at large in the US? About 180,000 criminal aliens remain at large in the US.
  • What percentage of US births are to illegal aliens? About 1 in 10 births are born to those illegally in the US and another 36,000 per year to birth tourism.
  • How many states use E-Verify for employment applicants? Sadly, only 20 states enforce E-Verify and 26 are compliant with the “REAL ID” Act.
  • How many states give in-state tuition to illegal aliens? There are 20 states that provide those illegally in the country financial aid, while Americans are forced to pay out-of-state tuition costs.

When it comes to US immigration law, the 30 year ICE veteran said plainly, “The moment law enforcement starts carving out exemptions is the moment the rule of law starts to erode.

H-1B visa holders, the “Big Enchiladas,” maybe heading south of the border

July 19, 2017

Healthcare for millions of hardworking Americans took a hit this week when the do-nothing Republicans failed to fulfill their seven-year promise to repeal Obamacare and finally solve the nation’s skyrocketing medical premiums.

While life in the nation’s capital represents “Easy Street,” the middleclass continues to be mired in rising costs, stagnate wages and dwindling good paying jobs.

According to an American Community Survey report, the tight employment market has only improved for maids, yes housekeepers. From 2007 to 2015 those employed in the housekeeping industry saw their paychecks rise 6.7 percent. Keep in mind that in 2007 maids earned just over $19,000 and now in 2015 they are making, on average a whopping $20,600. No offense to maids, it’s hard work, but it’s hardly the path to economic freedom Americans can build a career on.

Careers that many college-bound students look to are the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEMs.

If this is America’s future we are in big trouble according to Steven Camarota at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). “The whole idea that wage increases justify increased immigration to reduce or hold down future wage growth is highly questionable. After all, these occupations are often filled by the least-educated and poorest Americans — immigrants and natives alike. Allowing wages to increase can be seen as a positive development because it reduces social inequality and encourages work.”

Careers that many college-bound students look to are the STEMs. However, Camarota says reaching for the “STEMs” leaves some citizens at a competitive disadvantage as most tech firms advocate for increased competition from H-1B visas.

“[If we] assume that rising wages are a negative development that must be addressed by increased immigration, there is still no evidence in the wage data that workers are in short supply. So the stated reason for the increase in the H-2B program is unsupported by ACS wage data,” he explained.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, a product of US schools and colleges like Harvard, has taken his self-proclaimed political clout to Capitol Hill in an effort to pressure Congress on immigration reform, specifically H-1B visas.

“The future of our economy is a knowledge economy. And that means getting the most talented people into this country is the most important thing that we can do to make sure that the companies of tomorrow are founded here,” he told ABC News.

He also quipped, “Young people are just smarter,” something he later apologized for. However, Zuckerberg also recognizes the profitably of hiring H-1B visa holders over American kids. Critics call it the immigration lottery, as most foreign students will work twice the hours for half the pay as their US counterparts in order to gain legal status in America.

“I’m fundamentally an optimistic person, as an entrepreneur,” Zuckerberg says. “The vast majority of Americans want this to happen. People often talk about two parts of the issue. The high-skilled H1B visas for the high-tech companies and the full comprehensive immigration reform as if they are two different issues, but anyone who knows a dreamer knows that they’re not.”

Zuckerberg, along with tech giant Bill Gates would have Americans believe that there is a scarcity of high-skilled tech industry job applicants, however, 50 percent of STEM graduates will NOT find work in the high-tech sector.

Why? Nobel prized economist Milton Friedman said the US government is stocking Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and others with much cheaper H-1B visa holders. “There is no doubt that the H-1B program is a benefit to their employers, enabling them to get workers at a lower wage, and to that extent, it is a (government) subsidy.”

So where will the supposed-“good paying” jobs go? Maybe Mexico, no, really, Jalisco, Mexico Governor Abel Martínez Durán said, “Given the restriction and threat of President Trump to H-1B, Jalisco raised its hand. Listen, they are not wanted there, here [we] do… We want brilliant people here and if all those who go from India, Japan, China, Israel to the U.S. and Canada are almost half the developers of the main international firms, I say ‘come here,’ here they have everything and are three and a half hours away [flight from San Francisco].”

If they can dodge the bullets (Mexico is the second most violent country behind Syria), the governor said he would love to make Mexico the “Silicon Valley” of the south and encouraged H-1B holders worried about their future in America to migrate to Mexico.

In an interview with the Spanish outlet EFE, Martínez said, “Many companies are generating their developments in Guadalajara; they already have a base here.” Jalisco is also home to their version of “Hackathon,” a college competition that highlights a certain skill set the worldwide intelligence community is on the lookout for.

Back in the US, President Trump promised to end the overlooked H-1B visa subsidies and penned executive order “Putting American Workers First: USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse.”

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release: USCIS announced, “Multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.”

Will America see its errors or will the next great tech migration head south of the border? Stay tuned!

Trump looks to gain momentum with “Kate’s Law”

July 11, 2017

After a surprisingly successful G20 Summit in Germany, President Trump will push the do-nothing Senate to pass “Kate’s Law” this week. The bill passed the House with bi-partisan support but has taken a second seat to the GOP’s unfavorable repeal/replace Obama healthcare legislation that continues to get pushed down the legislative agenda.

“Kate’s Law” was written after an illegal alien; Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez (a multiple count felon with six deportations) murdered Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The murder cut short the life of a 32-year-old woman and sparked nationwide condemnation when it was reported that the City by the Bay, considered a sanctuary city, released Lopez-Sanchez knowing he had an outstanding ICE detainer.

Passage of Kate’s law by the Senate will fulfill another campaign promise that President Trump made shortly after Steinle was murdered in 2015.

The Law also shares broad support with the American people. A new Rasmussen Reports survey found that 63 percent of likely voters favor the law that increases criminal penalties for illegal aliens who reenter the country unlawfully.

Meanwhile, on the southern border President Trump’s “winning strategy” continues with the number of illegal aliens crossing into the US illegally reporting well below stats under former President Obama.

According to government data released Friday from Customs and Border Protection, approximately 21,659 individuals were arrested in June of this year. The figure represents a 53 percent decrease, year-to-year.

That being said, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that some prosecutors are reducing or modifying charges filed against illegal aliens in an effort to keep them from being deported. The article says, “For noncitizens, minor crimes like shoplifting can result in deportation. But a growing number of district attorneys say they offer immigrants accused of crimes (favorable) plea deals to help them avoid that fate.”

So much for Lady Justice’s “blindfolded” view of the application of the rule of law, as it is a certainty legal residents are unlikely to get the same favored treatment.

WSJ continues, “The prosecutors, including at least six in jurisdictions on the East and West coasts, purposely avoid reaching plea agreements or sentences that might trigger a noncitizen’s (illegal alien) deportation or prevent his or her re-entry into the country. It is an arrangement that proponents say protects some noncitizen immigrants from the disproportionate consequences of minor convictions.” Critics like US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says this practice is unethical and treats legal residents and nonresidents contrarily. “These local prosecutors, who have significant discretion in how they charge crimes, say they are also promoting public safety by courting immigrant constituents’ trust.”

Of course, under the Rule of Law, all defendants are treated equally, but many sanctuary cities are openly interpreting federal law to suit their politics. Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “I saw what were, in my opinion, many miscarriages of justice.” His office has hired two immigration lawyers, at taxpayer’s expense, to rework policies to reduce the charges for those facing deportations for crimes like shoplifting.

Critics argue these are the policies that are responsible for making America less safe. Attorney General Sessions described his worries, “It troubles me that we’ve seen district attorneys openly brag about not charging cases appropriately under the laws of our country, so that provides an opportunity for individuals not to be convicted of a crime that might lead to deportation.”

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch acknowledged that these policies are “dangerous and arguably unconstitutional.”

Adding insult to injury, President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said, “You don’t give people special treatment for prosecutorial decisions based on country of origin or immigration status. The logic here is American citizens might be prosecuted more harshly for the same crimes.”

With weekly headlines like: “Illegal Immigrant Isabel Martinez murdered her husband and four of five children; A repeatedly deported criminal alien from Mexico allegedly ran down three women with his car; Prosecutors in Wyoming charged a criminal alien from Peru with homicide and assault in connection with an alleged drunk-driving; An illegal alien is one of three teenagers who are accused of scalding a Georgia woman with hot water and raping her in front of her children;” it’s easy to see that middle America is fed up with Beltway politics.

In addition to those egregious crimes, many illegal immigrants act as drug mules to pay “coyotes” or cartels for safe passage into the US. Many of these illegal aliens are simply “seeking a better life,” but transnational crime syndicates are always looking to exploit vulnerable illegal border crossers to move drugs into America.

Unfortunately, those illicit drugs are eroding American communities. According to government data, the majority of the drugs enter the US through the southern border and wreak havoc in poorer neighborhoods. As a result, law enforcement is forced to prioritize what crimes are more important to protect communities.

Leading the charge to change that narrative is retired Marine General and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The General ended his 45-year military career as Chief of Southern Command, a unit that combats the flow of illicit drugs from Central and South America. He worked alongside DEA, FBI and CIA in an effort to combat transnational drug cartels.

During his tenure as DHS Secretary, Kelly has worked quietly to implement President Trump’s priorities of protecting the homeland from terror attacks, eradicating drugs and yes, building that wall.

Last week, the General traveled to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss the violence and cartels.

In a statement Kelly said, “We are actively discussing how we can jointly combat illicit traffic across our shared border, such as illegal immigration coming north, and bulk cash and firearms flowing south. We are also examining how we will use technologies, data-sharing, joint training and harmonized business practices to improve trade and legal travel between our countries, making it faster, more efficient and more secure… Yesterday, I had the opportunity to travel to the southwest part of the country, to meet with General Cienfuegos and Admiral Soberon. There I had the chance to talk with the soldiers and Marines working to eradicate mountainous poppy fields. As a former general, it was good to be out talking with the troops. Particularly these troops, who put their lives on the line to stop the production and transfer of drugs that otherwise would make their way into the U.S. bringing the accompanying violence and death.”

The Secretary also pointed out that last year in America 60,000 Americans died of drug overdoses; that figure does not include the number of deaths south of the border who are involved in the deadly cartels’ trade. And that multi-billion dollar a year industry has propelled Mexico into the world’s second most dangerous country behind Syria.

“I acknowledged to my counterparts that America’s insatiable appetite for drugs is the cause of much of the turmoil on their side of the border.  I pledged to continue to work with our government – and anyone else who can help in this fight – to address drug demand reduction in the US,” Kelly concluded.

Illicit Drug business turns deadly for Americans

July 4, 2017

Last week, in San Diego, the US government seized its largest fentanyl bust in American history. According to authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), agents nabbed nearly 100 pounds of the synthetic Fentanyl that is used to feed America’s ongoing illicit drug addiction.

“The opioid crisis the country is facing right now makes this indictment all the more important,” DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman said.  “44.14 kilograms of fentanyl represents more than 44 million fraudulent pills on the street which could be fatal for users.  These dealers are trafficking in death and DEA will continue to hunt them down.”

The steady increase in drug overdoses has compelled Congress to press for more drug rehabilitation programs across the country. While Congress’ concern is noted, the root cause of the Fentanyl problem—China, seems to be ignored.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report assessing how “China’s illicit chemical production and inefficient US and international counternarcotic efforts created the stark increase in fentanyl-related deaths.”

“China is a global source of fentanyl and other illicit substances (like Ephedra) because the country’s vast chemical and pharmaceutical industries are (reportedly) weakly regulated and poorly monitored,” the report says. “Chinese law enforcement officials have struggled to adequately regulate thousands of chemical and pharmaceutical facilities operating legally and illegally in the country, leading to increased production and export of illicit chemicals and drugs.”

According to the DEA indictment, Jonathan Ibarra, Hector Fernando Garcia and Anna Baker were charged with possession of 44.14 kilograms of fentanyl with the intent to distribute after a month’s-long investigation.

According to a search warrant affidavit, “the defendants discussed the transportation of a then-unidentified controlled substance.  On November 30, 2016, Ibarra received instructions to have a female courier, later identified as Baker, transport the narcotics in three separate trips on consecutive days.”

Drug dealers allegedly use pure fentanyl powder to increase the potency of heroin as well as for the manufacture counterfeit opioid painkillers like oxycodone. However, most users do not know that fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin. “Deaths from fentanyl-laced heroin and counterfeit pills are epidemic in the United States.  Just 2 milligrams is enough to kill an adult, and less depending on the tolerance of the user,” the DEA explained.

A long way from the US-Mexican border is the nation’s overdose capital– Ohio. The Drug Enforcement Agency said, “Ohio had 3,861 positive lab tests for fentanyl in 2015, more than any other state. Massachusetts had the second most with 2,556 and Pennsylvania had the third most with 897. Nationwide, US law enforcement agencies seized a record 368 pounds of fentanyl; yet, the drugs continue to pour into America unabated.

America has also seen an increase in “meth” use. “All of a sudden, it’s everywhere again,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel told NBC News.

Schimel ordered a study of meth use that saw a 250 percent increase since 2011, something that could surpass heroin. “We are entering another full blown epidemic with meth.”

Researchers of the “meth” study highlighted, “that meth addiction has always been a big problem in America. What’s changed, they said, is a switch to mass production in Mexico, an increase in potency and affordability, and deeper penetration by drug cartels into vulnerable communities.”

According to the US government, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®. Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.”

Many physicians use Fentanyl lawfully to bring relief for patients with severe or significant injuries. Doctors commonly use an injection, transdermal patch, or sometimes lozenges. Nevertheless, cartel syndicates have seized on the opportunity to hook more Americans on drugs. The fentanyl and fentanyl analogs associated with the increased overdoses is most likely produced in surreptitious laboratories outside America.

A majority of the labs are in Mexico where the murder rate ranks America’s neighbor to the south as the second deadliest nation in the world behind Syria. The Mexican government released its latest monthly murder figures. In May 2017 there were 2,186 murders. This alarming number surpasses Mexico’s former high water mark in May 2011 when 2,131 people were murdered. So far in the first half of this year, 9,916 murders were committed.

The alarming rate of murders represents a 30 percent increase from 2016. Mexican authorities believe “the increase in heroin trafficking and turf battles over heroin production areas and smuggling corridors have contributed to the increase in homicides.”

Oftentimes DC politicos search for a solution by ensuring the problem fits a narrative so their donors can make money and garner more influence.

Those in law enforcement, like Border Patrol, have a different take on the current “war on drugs” phenomena.

“One has to wonder, why the broad governmental solutions to the opioid epidemic are focused on the pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists and doctors and never even mention the transnational criminal element bringing killer heroin and fentanyl to the illegal market in the United States through Sanctuary Cities and Cartel Hub Cities,” Zack Taylor a retired Arizona Border agent and Chairman of NAFBPO.org.

“Could it be that the trial lawyers association figured out they can’t litigate the transnational criminals? So, they are left with shaping and pursuing the case in the court of public opinion first before actually taking the case to court against the drug companies, pharmacists and doctors?  Think about that.”

Taylor logically concludes,  “The only thing certain, is that heroin and fentanyl are not available at Walgreens, CVS or Rite-Aid.”

For more drug cartel-related stories check out my archives:

http://kimberlydvorak.blogspot.com/2011/06/afghan-heroin-and-mexican-cartels-are.html

US payments to Taliban & Afghan warlords threaten American/NATO troops

Drug addiction in Afghanistan brings shame – especially for women

US payments to Taliban & Afghan warlords threaten American/NATO troops

Staying illegally the costs verses compassion

June 28, 2017

Oftentimes the cost of illegal immigration can be invisible, not readily obvious on the front pages of the newspapers, but a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shed light on a cost that ensnares more than a million Americans- identity theft. The IRS Inspector General also revealed that the most common perpetrators of identity theft are illegal immigrants looking to get a job using a social security number that belongs to an American or legal resident.

Two significant findings in the IG report involve employment-related identity theft and that most taxpayers only realize they are victims when they get an IRS letter of discrepancy, and a bigger bill, long after tax season.

TIGTA conducted the audit “to evaluate the IRS’s Automated Under-Reporter (AUR) processes to identify and assist victims of identity theft. In July 2011, TIGTA reported that the IRS was in a unique position to identify cases of employment-related identity theft. TIGTA recommended that the IRS implement procedures to timely alert taxpayers when it becomes aware that their identity was stolen. However, in this review, TIGTA determined that taxpayers are still not notified.”

A statement from the IRS said its February 2011 to December 2015 audit identified nearly 1.1 million taxpayers were victims of employment-related identity theft. The growing problem prompted the IRS to start a pilot program to warn taxpayers they were potential victims of identity theft. However, TIGTA’s review of the pilot program found its program failed to fix the identity theft issue.

The art of identity theft leaves millions of Americans in financial peril that requires countless hours of legwork to recover lost money and repair their credit scores.

TIGTA also reported that the IRS still hasn’t established an effective process to ensure that it promptly sends the notices to alert taxpayers that their SSA earnings don’t match the electronic paperwork and that they are on the hook for taxes they do not owe.

“Employment-related identity theft can cause a significant burden to taxpayers, including the incorrect computation of taxes based on income they did not earn,” said Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

After the IRS studied the growing problem they recommended significant changes to its pilot program. TIGTA made four recommendations that the IRS partially agreed with and Uncle Sam said they would take corrective action for the 2017 tax season.

“The IRS tries to mark the files of the fraud victims when electronic filings are used. But the tax agency misses about half of the victims,” according to the Inspector General.

Further compounding the issue is the IRS’ issuance of 2.4 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers per year. Illegal immigrants often file tax returns to get a refund, however the IRS found the W-2 forms submitted highlight the valid Social Security numbers illegally given to an employer as an authorization to work. Keep in mind that legal visa holders pay $420 per year for the right to lawfully work in America.

In another twist it appears that many immigration attorneys are successfully reducing the crimes that illegal immigrants are committing in an effort to keep them from deportation.

According to a Los Angeles Times story, lawyers for Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, who was “detained by immigration officials after dropping off his daughter at school in Los Angeles.” The father was arrested for two decades-old misdemeanor convictions.

One of Avelica-Gonzalez’s attorneys, Steve Escovar, explained that his client was arrested for convictions for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) as well as receipt of stolen property. The attorney successfully pleaded to vacate Gonzalez’s receipt of stolen property by convincing a judge that his client obtained an auto registration tag not issued by the DMV because he could not legally obtain a driver’s license. This is another common form of identity theft. Even though legal residents in country would never get a similar break, the California judge settled Avelica-Gonzalez’s case as a registration violation to assist his appeal to avoid deportation.

As for his 2008 DUI case, another California judge settled the “matter” as a speeding exhibition. With DUI’s costing legal residents thousands of dollars and steep insurance rates for ten plus years, Mr. Gonzales reduction made him a lucky man.

Avelica-Gonzalez wrote a letter last week saying he deserves to stay with his family in America. “I wouldn’t be able to live without my family in another place.”

While most people can sympathize with a father/husband being separated from his family, that fact remains that everyday Americans and legal residents are arrested and taken to prison when they commit a crime.

According to another Treasury Inspector General report affecting taxpayers, the IG reports that each year the IRS also “pays billions of dollars in ‘child tax credits’ to illegal aliens. The child tax credit, provided by section 24 of the Internal Revenue Code, is a credit against a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability of $1,000 for each of the taxpayer’s children. The credit is reduced for taxpayers whose income exceeds a specified amount.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (PRWOA) specifically states that illegal immigrants are “NOT (emphasis added) eligible for any Federal public benefits. It is a compelling government interest to remove the incentive for illegal immigration provided by the availability of public benefits.”

The term Federal public benefit is defined broadly and includes “any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.”

When legal beagles try to define what exactly the IRS regulation means, oftentimes beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Nevertheless, it appears that the IRS has taken a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to ITINs and Earned Income Child Credit abuse.

In the meantime, as Congress prepares for another vacation, the US debt clock closes in on $20 trillion, leaving taxpayers with an un-payable tab.

 

 

 

The real challenge is immigrant literacy

June 28, 2017

A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies found an alarming number of second generation of immigrants are failing to grasp the English language. “To measure the English ability of immigrants in the United States, researchers often rely on the opinion of the immigrants themselves. For example, the Census Bureau asks foreign-language speakers, ‘How well [do you] speak English?’ and gives them four choices: ‘very well, well, not well, or not at all.”

The study found that the answers are subjective, “as speaking English ‘well’ might mean anything from basic comprehension to near fluency. For objective data, this report turns to a direct test of English literacy administered by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The results raise concerns about the magnitude and persistence of low English ability among immigrants.”

Specifically:

  • 41 percent of immigrants score at or below the lowest level of English literacy — a level variously described as “below basic” or “functional illiteracy”.
  • The average immigrant scores at the 21st percentile of the native score distribution.
  • Hispanic immigrants struggle the most with English literacy. Their average score falls at the 8th percentile, and 63 percent are below basic.
  • For Hispanic immigrants, self-reported English-speaking ability overstates actual literacy. The average literacy score of Hispanic immigrants who self-report that they speak English “very well” or “well” falls at the 18th percentile, and 44 percent are below basic.
  • Even long-time residents struggle with English literacy. Immigrants who first arrived in the United States more than 15 years ago score at the 20th percentile, and 43 percent are below basic.
  • Literacy difficulties brought by low-skill immigrants persist beyond the immigrant generation. The children of Hispanic immigrants score at the 34th percentile, and 22 percent are below basic. In addition, just 5 percent of second generation Hispanics have “elite” literacy skills, compared to 14 percent of natives overall.
  • Consistent with prior analysis of the PIAAC English literacy test, immigrants score substantially lower than native speakers. Specifically, immigrants perform at the 21st percentile of the native score distribution, and 41 percent of immigrants score low enough to be described as below basic or functionally illiterate. With a 63 percent rate of below basic literacy, Hispanic immigrants struggle with English more than non-Hispanic immigrants, who have a below basic rate of 23 percent.
  • This report reveals that Hispanic immigrants’ self-assessed English-speaking ability overestimates their English literacy. Hispanic immigrants who speak English “very well” score 0.42 SDs below the native average, placing them at the 33rd percentile. Therefore, researchers should be wary of citing self-assessments as an indication of English ability among Hispanic immigrants. By contrast, non-Hispanic immigrants who say they speak English “very well” perform much closer to natives on the literacy test.

This report also demonstrated that immigrant literacy skills really make a difference matter for future generations. While the literacy test scores of the second generation usually rises to keep pace with American students, US-born Hispanics are lagging well behind American children.

As a result, the expansion of  low-skill immigrant workers into the US will only exacerbate the multi-generational skills deficit, including the socioeconomic challenges that face a highly technological economy.

The decay of America

June 21, 2017

“School’s out for summer (♫♫)” and many folks will be packing-up their family cars and take to America’s highways to visit national parks as well as relatives. Unfortunately, as many crisscross the nation they will bear witness to a sobering image of abandoned storefronts and infrastructure in serious disrepair.

So how exactly did America get to this point? Well, lots of government mismanagement of tax money contributed to the county’s slow decay as well as the growing gap between rich and poor.

The nation’s richest communities like Silicon Valley, Beverly Hills, New York and Washington DC have witnessed an economic explosion, while rural America has struggled to keep up with inflation, let alone save for the future. According to the Economic Innovation Group, the Distressed Communities Index report; “Most American communities are not distressed, but they are far from flourishing. The Zip codes mere miles apart occupy vastly different planes of community well-being and few people are truly mobile between them. It is little surprise that many Americans feel they have been left behind.”

The report uses zip codes as economic indicators to disseminate poverty rates as well as employment trends. Silicon Valley gurus Sean Parker and Ron Conway, who spend their days investing in promising tech startups, spearheaded the Economic Innovation Group.

The study highlights the dwindling middle class and the creation of two Americas: “one prosperous group of communities where vacant houses, poverty and those without a high school diploma are nearly non-existent, and another swatch of communities where more than a quarter of residents live in poverty. More than 50 million Americans live in distressed communities, where nearly a quarter of residents lack a high school diploma, and employment opportunities have dropped by nearly 7 percent. In the most distressed city in the country, Camden, NJ, the city’s median income is 36.4 percent that of the rest of the state. Other cities topping the distressed list are Detroit, Cleveland, and Flint, Michigan.”

The so-called free trade deals, like the dying Trans-Pacific Partnership, provides more protection to large corporations and their financial assets while trashing average working Americans’ wages.

Contributing to the nation’s downfall is America’s foray into globalization. For example, most large corporation’s CEOs have long believed that free trade would benefit the struggling middle class—it hasn’t. Nevertheless, the CEOs were asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if they still believed globalization was good for all Americans, surprisingly, they revealed they were skeptical. CNBC said in an article “only 38 percent of the public believed globalization has had a largely positive impact on improving the movement of capital, people, goods and information. Public discontent has the potential to erode trust, which is needed for long-term sustainable performance. The real challenge here though, isn’t just one of how CEOs navigate, it’s about the need for CEOs to have a deeper, two-way relationship with stakeholders, customers, employees, and the public.”

The widening gap reveals an absurd concentration of wealth with just eight men possessing the equivalent of half the poorest world’s population. According to Euronews, the men include: “founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, business magnate and founder of Inditex Amancio Ortega, investor Warren Buffett, telecoms magnate Carlos Slim, founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP.”

It’s hard to overlook the common denominator of the greatest redistribution of wealth of all time, politicians. The concentration of political power in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC, is run by a few corporate and financially privileged and well-connected individuals who exert their influence over the economy.

The book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the few says, “this transformation has amounted to a pre-distribution upward. Intellectual property rights—patents, trademarks and copyrights—have been enlarged and extended, for example, creating windfalls for pharmaceutical companies. Americans now pay the highest pharmaceutical costs of any advanced nation.”

While the great American heist has broken the spirit of the workers, the permanent bureaucratic class has quietly changed antitrust policies for corporations with noteworthy market power, like big food enterprises, cable companies, large airlines as well as Wall Street banks. “As a result, Americans pay more for broadband Internet, food, airline tickets and banking services than the citizens of any other advanced nation. Bankruptcy laws have been loosened for large corporations—airlines, automobile manufacturers, tax laws have special loopholes for the partners of hedge funds and private-equity funds, special favors for the oil and gas industry, lower marginal income-tax rates on the highest incomes and reduced estate taxes on great wealth,” the books author reports.

“The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today. Labor unions have been eviscerated. Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker, backed by a strong union, earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Now America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, and the typical entry-level Wal-Mart worker, without a union, earns about $9 an hour,” Robert Reich explained.

One would think that Reich, a huge Democrat supporter, would have been thrilled by a Trump presidency – he wasn’t, even though President Trump won the hearts of the GOP and former blue dog Democrats with his “forgotten men and women” speech.

“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said.

“Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country,” he continued.

“Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capitol, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes — starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment: It belongs to you.”

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own… We’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. … The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

The media and Left went nuts, claiming the President spoke in dark angry tones. But he just repeated what he heard and saw during the campaign. The folks are angry and mad. After another trek across the country, this reporter knows exactly what President Trump meant, the little guy has been forgotten, the rich have gotten richer, and the middle class has dwindled. Until politics returns to individual districts across the country, no amount of biblical words will restore the “greatness” of America.

Stay tuned for a video of the new America!

Comatose mystifies the Senate

June 14, 2017

In a highly anticipated Senate Intelligence hearing the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) James Comey made all kinds of headlines and a startling admission, that he was a leaker of confidential information during the ongoing Russia investigation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Richard Burr, candidly asked Director Comey, “did the President at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 US elections?”

“Not to my understanding, no,” Comey said.

Burr then asked; “Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?”

Again Comey replied “No.”

Once the testimony was finished President Trump’s personal attorney Mark Kasowitz wasted no time in rebuking the former director’s statements. “Comey admitted there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.”

He continued: “Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately, that is that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference. It is now established that the president was not being investigated for colluding with or attempting to obstruct any investigation. As the committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not been leaked during the course of these events. As he said, the president feels completely vindicated and is eager to continue moving forward with his agenda, with the business of this country and with this public cloud removed.”

Perhaps one of the underreported story lines was Comey’s orchestration of leaks designed to ensure a special counsel was appointed to investigate the president.

Kasowitz criticized the former director for “unauthorized leaks of his private conversations with Trump in a retaliatory effort” to ensure a special counsel was assigned to handle the Russian interference probe. “We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether these leaks should be investigated.”

Comey’s alleged private memos appeared in a New York Times article on May 16th. The memos in question, highlighted meetings and phone calls between the president and the director. However, conveniently or mysteriously, the memos have disappeared. The Senate panel has instructed the former director to provide the government documents to preserve the archives.

It didn’t take long for President Trump to call Comey’s disclosure of their private conversations ‘cowardly.’

He tweeted: “I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very “cowardly!’”

The former FBI Director confirmed at the Senate Intelligence hearing that he personally leaked the memos. According to Fox News, he disclosed that he used his Columbia University friend to leak the government memos to the press.

It was Senator Susan Collins’ (R-MA) questioning that led to the bombshell news. She asked Comey “if he had shared his confidential writings with anyone outside the FBI or the Department of Justice.”

Comey candidly replied: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter—I thought that might prompt the appointment of special counsel.”

Comey got his wish, as the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to be the special counsel a few days after the NYT story broke. Critics argue that anytime you install a former prosecutor, you are looking for trouble. On a Sunday talk show one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said the President “would not rule out firing the special counsel,” if warranted.

Of course, that statement set off Trump’s critics and led to many misrepresentations of the account of the president’s true intentions.

It appears that it was all the director’s 2016 shenanigans that led to his firing. Nevertheless, Comey claimed at the hearing that Trump fired him because he didn’t like the trajectory of his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election cycle.

“It’s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change, or the endeavor was to change, the way the Russia investigation was being conducted,” Comey testified to the Senate. “That is a very big deal, and not just because it involves me.”

On top of that Comey accused the administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple.” He continued to allege Trump “chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership.”

The bottom line for Comey was his distrust of the president he was tasked to serve.

“I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document. I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI.”

But are there any wrong doings by President Trump?

Prominent Democrat legal beagle Alan Dershowitz says no. The president’s “statement may provide political ammunition to Trump opponents, but unless they are willing to stretch Comey’s words and take Trump’s out of context, and unless they are prepared to abandon important constitutional principles and civil liberties that protect us all, they should not be searching for ways to expand already elastic criminal statutes and shrink enduring constitutional safeguards in a dangerous and futile effort to criminalize political disagreements.”

Throwing more water on the media firestorm, both prominent Democrat attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley pushed away any illegality by the president thus far. They firmly disputed cable news commentators’ ongoing narrative that the president is guilty of obstruction and colluded with the Russians.

Turley stated: “Former FBI Director James Comey likely knew he would not be allowed to publicize his leaked memos. Comey indirectly leaked memos – about conversations with President Trump – to Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, who sent them to the press on his behalf. Richman could not be found at his Brooklyn Heights, NY home and has ‘gone into hiding,’” according to Turley’s New York Post account. “People are treating [the memos] like it’s a diary entry. He wrote this on an FBI computer about a pending sensitive investigation.”

With all the partisan rhetoric flying one of Trump’s former bitter competitors Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked Comey, “You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”

Comey answered: “I don’t know, I find matters that are briefed to the Gang of Eight are pretty tightly held, in my experience.” (Something the former director should have learned).

Taking to Twitter, Dershowitz tweeted: “There’s No Evidence of Obstruction, and Inventing Crimes is Dangerous.” In an op/ed, he warned of the consequences of the political witch-hunt tactics used by both political parties. “All Americans who care about the Constitution and civil liberties must join together to protest efforts to expand existing criminal law to get political opponents. Today it is Trump. Yesterday it was Clinton. Tomorrow it could be you.”