TAXPAYERS LIVING IN STATES WITH STATE INCOME TAXES TAKE IT UP THE BUTT

Do you like paying taxes on taxes? I thought you did! Tax reform is now the focus. Of course there are the losers and winners; focus can also be pronounced differently. The proposal on the table is to reduce the rates for individuals, but with a higher deduction, eliminating state and local tax deductions for those who itemize.

The theory is to increase efficiency having more people file a standard deduction return. But for those who itemize the mortgage interest reduction will remain. However, they want to give the boot to the deduction for real estate taxes and state income taxes. This will hurt those who live in states dependent on real taxes that fund school systems. States like New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California. These states voted for Hillary (jail the bird) Clinton. So they will be punished for doing so. But wait, there is something more common with these states, for by and large, they pay into Uncle Sam more than they receive. OK, now you get the picture. They are receiving it up the butt in more ways than one. Fair is fair – there is no equity here just because in those states almost 38% voted for Trump.

Mathematically speaking, lets look at the dollars. For instance if you live in New Jersey, which has a 6% state income tax, losing the deduction will be very costly. For example take a homeowner with a real estate tax bill of  $10,000 and a state income tax of $4,500; loosing these deduction will be very costly because according to the new proposal the taxpayer will no longer be able to deduct them when itemizing, that is if they can itemize at all because of the new proposed higher deduction. But wait, the deduction comes nowhere near those who itemize in the above states.  The cost to them will be closer to $2,500. Notice we did not take into account the deduction for a taxpayer who purchases a new car.

Again, as we shine the light on the winners and losers,  The above states representatives and senators have a right to protest this major inequity and they should. Fair is fair.

THE WELFARE ISLAND

THE LATEST NEWS

The head of an international engineering firm in Puerto Rico said in an editorial Saturday that when the time came to send 50 of his engineers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, he bypassed local officials and went straight to FEMA.

The reason, said Jorge Rodriguez, the CEO of PACIV, in an editorial in the New York Post, is that “for the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don’t see it functioning in a crisis like this one.”

Puerto Ricans elected a new governor last November but, Rodriguez charged, he was inexperienced and had never been responsible for a budget.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello cannot exactly count on those around him either, Rodriguez asserted.

“His entire administration is totally inexperienced and they have no clue how to handle a crisis of this magnitude,” said Rodriguez, who has a graduate business degree from Harvard Business School and was named a “Most Distinguished Graduate” by the University of Puerto Rico.   

The WARNING FROM MR.Rodriguez who also had a word of caution for the U.S. Congress: “Watch out what relief funds you approve and let our local government handle. Don’t let the Puerto Rican government play the victim and fool you. They have no clue what they are doing, and I worry that they will mishandle anything that comes their way.”

AND WE ARE GOING TO POUR GOOD MONEY INTO PUERTO RICO!   THE LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHING WELFARE LEACHES WILL BLOW IT LIKE THEY HAVE FOR THE PAST CENTURY!  THIS IS THE WELFARE ISLAND. 

Hey Guys (this includes Girls-no offense, but guys is now a generic term) do you, a taxpayer, want to pay for a stranger’s new house ? Bigger and better than the one you own or rent?  Yeah, we are talking about those poor souls who lived in shanties down there in Puerto Rico. The ones with no flood insurance; to top it off 60% had no wind insurance. In the great majority of cases these houses (pmuds to say the least) were worth, maybe if you stretch it, $8000-$10,000. You have seen them before on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico – you say you don’t know what a pmud is, for heaven’s sake it is a dump spelled backward.

Well, let’s get to the point! The welfare island territory has leached off us long enough – now is their time to carry the water.  We are sick and tired of being being sucked dry. They are clamoring for us to give them new houses for free, yes those who had theirs destroyed by Maria. These former homeowners are surging into FEMA’s offices. Of course they have plenty of time on their hand, none work. They rely on you, the taxpayer, for money.  We are talking about the drug and gangster infested island. Audacity. They are also DEMANDING RESPECT. People with no job, but oh yeah, they are on SS disability, food stamps, welfare, medicare and whatever program they can suck dry. You don’t believe us? And the mayor of San Juan, she too opened her big fat trap. Trump had none of it. 

Flag of Puerto Rico.svgPuerto Rico’s bloated government also bears much of the blame. Around 30% of the territory’s jobs are in the public sector. Among other things, a big and coddled bureaucracy undermines Puerto Rico’s educational achievements in two ways. First, nearly half those on the education department’s payroll are not teachers; quality has fallen because of low accountability and mismanagement.

The Urban Dictionary defines LEACH; is a type of person who does their best to suck your personal wealth out of you, without actually causing pain, but just extreme annoyance after you notice it is happaning. Trump voters are sick and tired of being leached to death. Aren’t you?

As he walked through Aguadilla’s town hall recently, Mr Méndez, the mayor,  boasted about each employee’s university or graduate-school credentials as he introduced them. The trouble, he says, is that “All they want to do is find security only. They have no ambition...Everybody wants to work for the government.” Manuel Reyes, of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, also sees little hope that the government’s role will shrink. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel,” he says, “because we are still in denial.”  

The federal government spent more than $2 billion to provide food stamps to residents of Puerto Rico in 2012, up to 25 percent of which is untraceable because it is distributed in cash and there is “no way to verify that funds are spent on food,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funds are used to supply more than one-third of the population of Puerto Rico with food stamps. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) for Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, received $2 billion in Nutrition Assistance Block Grants in fiscal year 2012.  Folks this was back in 2012, today it is approaching $3 billion dollars. Why work when you can eat like the burger King.

Unemployment: 48% of those eligible to work don’t, counting those that don’t seek work the figure explodes to 55%. One in six working-age men in Puerto Rico are claiming disability benefits and the figure is expect to rise to 12% because of Maria. People from the Dominican Republic do many of the jobs in Puerto Rico that pay too little to attract the locals because the huge amount of government payments they collect while on the dole. What do Puerto Rico’s men do all day? Some get into trouble. But many others hang out in pleasant places that require little money, such as beaches, shopping malls and the armchairs in Borders bookstores. They also watch plenty of television. Satellite dishes sprout from many rooftops. People always have money for that bill.

PUERTO RICO wins the Leach award hands down. Advice to President Trump, “do not give them one red cent.” The government is defunct, the people who live there rely on the United States for handouts. They have reneged on $125 billion in debt. Their economy never was functional, relying on tax breaks to bribe mainland companies – for the most part big pharma – to relocated there. They determined their fate; they shall have to live with it. Estimates of damage are close to $100 billion, why bail them out? For the United States taxpayer this is a travesty. To bail out a bunch of low lifes on social security disability is an affront to those who work, to the American taxpayer. The highest percentage of Social Security disability cases are in Puerto Rico. Now we expect a million more (because of depression) to apply for disability. IT IS A WAY OF LIFE IN PUERTO RICO. Live high, but don’t work, on other peoples money. READ ON FOLKS AND YOU WILL BEGIN TO COMPREHEND THE REAL SITUATION IN PUERTO RICO.

Puerto Ricans who can’t speak English qualify as disabled for Social Security

Hundreds of Puerto Rico’s residents qualified for federal disability benefits in recent years because they lacked fluency in English, according to government auditors. The Social Security Administration’s inspector general questioned the policy this month in light of the fact that Spanish is the predominant language in the U.S. territory. Under Social Security regulations, individuals are considered less employable in the United States if they can’t speak English, regardless of their work experience or level of education. AND THAT IS NOT ALL!

Puerto Rico is red meat, let the vultures come in and devour it. Clean it up and make it what it can be. But no this won’t happen because Big Government will get involved continuing their largess. LET THEM SINK OR SWIM. Why should the mainland BAIL them out?

According to the Consolidated Federal Funds Report compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, Puerto Rico has received more than $21 billion annually in federal aid from the United States. A substantial portion of this amount is earmarked for public welfare, including funding educational programs (such as Head Start), subsidized housing programs (such as (Section 8 and public housing projects), and a food stampsystem called the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal entitlement program that provides cash assistance to low-income aged, blind, and disabled individuals. Individuals receiving SSI benefits are eligible for Medicaid coverage in all states except “section 209(b)” states, which have opted to use their more restrictive 1972 criteria in determining Medicaid eligibility for SSI recipients. Section 209(b) of the 1972 amendments to the Social Security Act allowed states the option of continuing to use their own eligibility criteria in determining Medicaid eligibility for the elderly and disabled rather than extending Medicaid coverage to all of those individuals who qualify for SSI benefits. As of 2001, eleven states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Virginia) had elected the “209(b)” option to apply their 1972 eligibility criteria to aged or disabled individuals receiving SSI benefits for purposes of determining Medicaid

RATZ: JOHN McCAIN, SUSAN COLLINS, LISA MURKOWSKI

The (click here for the latest) three sewer RATZ sit in the Senate under a Republican banner, but for all intents and purposes, these three are part of the Republican lunatic fringe who carry water for the Democrats. McCain still has not gotten over his presidential defeat including Trump’s remark concerning his time in Viet Nam. Therefore he has held Trump hostage regarding the rollback of Obama Care. Susan Collins, listen to her for a moment, if you can, will cause you immediate pain. Murkowski, she should not be there. Ted Stevens was the Senior Senator until trumped up charges by Democratic partisans caused him to be arrested and convicted. These charges were later dismissed under appeal, but too late as he lost the Senate seat. Murkowski is now an Alaskan Senator because of that.

THE NUCLEAR OPTION IS ON THE TABLE

You can’t deny empirical evidence; it teaches us that belligerent countries who sign on to treaties of appeasement do so to buy time. Those who deny history are doomed to repeat it. In most every case before the ink is dried they have violated the agreement. History is fraught with examples of countries run by rogue regimes who rule by threat. It is no different with Iran and North Korea; the fight they are itching for will inevitably occur; it has to occur. Provocation has a price.

The Boy-man of Pyongyang is in for a desperate need of gelding. To let him develop a nuclear capability any further is a grave mistake. Trump must take military action now, tomorrow is too late. The maniacal suicidal lunatic has cast the die. To bring him to heel, the only way he will understand, is by a show of force. What will this entail? A quick surprise attack from all sides targeting military installations – using our most powerful weapons, including MOABs;  bringing the fight to a quick end before it gets out of hand is the only way.

Pulverization and saturation are the key. Sand must be turned into glass. Electronic infrastructure, including power plants and military installations are the main targets. The United States has hundreds of thousands of ICBMs, medium range missiles and star war type munitions at the ready. Submarines fitted with the newest in warheads, warships fitted with the infamous rail gun are at stand-by, waiting for orders from the President of the United States.  This is not his fight, for he inherited the situation from Obama. A mess that owed its beginning to Slick Willie. Turning back is not an option.

And to Iran, the carpet weavers did a number on Obama. Or can we say that Obama did a number on the United States. Obama had no love affair for America. His biases are well known, documented in black and white. A Mullah lover of first resort, he gave them what they wanted. He was warned but to no avail, signing away the ability of a rogue regime to become nuclear in ten years. What happened? They stuck a missile in our eye. Gratitude! Now this serious situation is in Trump’s hands. However, Israel waits on the sidelines because they have no option. Their country is at stake. Iran will be the first battleground; will Israel go nuclear is the question?

 

KURDS GO TO THE POLLS TOMORROW

A new day for the Kurdish Independent movement starts tomorrow. Voting for independence is a long time coming. The Kurds, numbering 30 million have been subjugated to the likes or dislikes of their home countries over the past centuries; Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey are now coming face to face with the grave divisional error of the Sykes-Picot agreement ending WWI.

The Kurds

An ethnographic map of Eastern Turkey after WW1

As originally cast, Sykes-Picot allocated part of Northern Kurdistan and a substantial part of the Mosul vilayet including the city of Mosul to France in area B, Russia obtained Bitlis and Van in Northern Kurdistan (the contemplated Arab State included Kurds in its Eastern limit split between A and B areas). Bowman says there were around 2.5 million Kurds in Turkey, mainly in the mountain region called Kurdistan. The Kurdish Peoples doesnt have any own State since the fall of the Zand dynasty

Partitioning of Ottoman Turkey according to the aborted Treaty of Sèvres

Sharif Pasha presented a “Memorandum on the Claims of the Kurd People” to the Paris peace Conference in 1919 and the suppressed report of the King-Crane Commission also recommended a form of autonomy in“the natural geographical area which lies between the proposed Armenia on the north and Mesopotamia on the south, with the divide between the Euphrates and the Tigris as the western boundary, and the Persian frontier as the eastern boundary.”

The subsequent Treaty of Sevres potentially provided for a Kurdish territory subject to a referendum and League of Nations sanction within a year of the treaty. However the Turkish War of Independence led to the treaty being superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne in which there was no provision for a Kurdish State.

The end result was that the Kurds were included in the territories of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.

KURDISH PEOPLE attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Momentum for referendum growing on eve of Kurdistan independence vote

MOMENTUM FOR REFERENDUM GROWING ON EVE OF KURDISTAN INDEPENDENCE VOTE

Momentum for referendum growing on eve of Kurdistan independence vote

KURDISH PEOPLE attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Tens of thousands packed a rally in Erbil’s stadium on Friday, waving a sea of Kurdish flags. Among them were also Israeli flags, a display of affection for the one country that has openly supported the referendum.

A Kurdish man holds an Israeli and Kurdish flag during a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 16, 2017. (REUTERS/AZAD LASHKARIG)A Kurdish man holds an Israeli and Kurdish flag during a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 16, 2017. (REUTERS/AZAD LASHKARIG)

Some Kurds say this moment is their 1948 – a reference to Israel’s declaration of independence. They see the challenges Israel faced in its early years as similar to the problems their region now faces.

Iran, Turkey, the Iraqi government in Baghdad, the US, UK, the UN and many other countries have pressured the Kurdish leadership to cancel or postpone the vote. Even up to the eleventh hour the pressure continues, with the UN Security Council expressing concern about the vote and US presidential envoy for the coalition to counter the Islamic State Brett McGurk encouraging Barzani to reconsider.

“There is no Iraq, it is a militia state,” says Hussein Yazdanpanah, a leader of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), who serves a front line commander northwest of Kirkuk.

Yazdanpanah’s Peshmerga soldiers are Iranian Kurds who oppose the regime at home and have come to the Kurdish region of Iraq to fight alongside their comrades against the common threat of the Islamic State. His men have been holding a front line for three years on a line of dusty hills that overlooks Hawija, where the Iraqi army launched an offensive on September 20.

“Iran, Iraq and Turkey do propaganda against the referendum,” he says, sitting in a chair that overlooks the flat plains around Kirkuk. “Kurdistan has enemies, but also friends. The most important thing you see here is that we have all the minorities and ethnicities [and they] want a referendum. Kurds decided not to stay with this country [Iraq] which has discrimination and inequality.”

THE ROCKET MAN – THE EXPLOSIVE RHETORIC MUST BE BACKED UP BY ACTION?

By now the world over knows who the Rocket Man is; provoking the United States with bravo, the boy-man has only one choice – put up or shut up.  Backed by Iran the Rocket Man has now set a trap for himself. Either he backs down or backs up his words with action. The latter is more apparent. To manifest his manhood Kim Jung Un has been gobbling down hundreds of E.D laced tablets a day. The thinking now is that a hydrogen bomb is waiting in the wings. Will it take flight toward Hawaii 50? We don’t know for sure. Does the United States have the capability of destroying it mid-flight? We will find out soon enough.

Hawaii reportedly prepares for nuclear attack amid heated North Korea rhetoric

North Korea’s foreign minister has said the Communist nation may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean after dictator Kim Jong Un vowed he would take the “highest-level” action against the United States, South Korean media reported Thursday. 

Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Kim’s statement indicated that North Korea would respond to Trump with its most aggressive missile test yet. That might include firing a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan to a range of around 4,349 miles to display a capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska.

A word to North Korea, DON’T MESS WITH TRUMP

China is the focus, will they continue to play Chinese checkers and continue their usual rhetoric by playing us us as patsies?

MYANMAR AKA BURMA – ETHNIC CLEANSING

Myanmar, the clash of civilizations? The globalists call it ethnic cleansing, the Burmese (sic) call it necessary. What started as a shootout between Rohingya militants on Myanmar soldiers has turned out to be a flood of migrants into Bangladesh. Myanmar is mostly Buddhist, the Rohingya are Muslim; so too are the Bangladesh. Bangladesh is not throwing a welcome party for the new arrivals. In fact they are locating them in designated camps in order to prevent them from disappearing into the population as a whole.

In what has quickly disintegrated into a humanitarian disaster of historic proportions, a staggering 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh over the past three weeks alone. At least 240,000 of them are children. The Rohingya are fleeing a campaign of indiscriminate violence by Myanmar’s military, whose tactics are being widely condemned as a form of ethnic cleansing. The de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi has particularly been criticized for her inaction and silence over the issue and for not doing much to prevent military abuses.

There is a history of persecution of Muslims in Myanmar that continues to the present day. Myanmar is Buddhist majority country, with a significant Muslim minority. While Muslims served in the government of Prime Minister U Nu (1948-63), the situation changed with the 1962 Burmese coup d’état. While a few continued to serve, most Muslims were excluded from positions of government and army. In 1982, the government introduced regulations that denied citizenship to anyone who could not proved that his ancestors lived in Myanmar prior to 1823. This disenfranchised many Muslims in Myanmar, even though they had lived in Myanmar for several generations.

DESPACITO -“THIS IS HOW WE DO IT IN PUERTO RICO

Despacito, “this is how we do it in Puerto Rico.”  However, this was not the case when it came to Maria, it was a typical hit and run, but when applied to rebuilding it will definitely be despacito. To add insult to injury, the Rich Port has suffered two catastrophes, one man made the other a natural one. The man made job was of their own doing; spending money they didn’t have, living the dolce vita on other people’s money. The island of 3.5 million is dead broke, but the insult is Maria who with a splash literally through water on their parade. According to reports, Puerto Rico is without power – the grid is down – property owners are waking up to the fact that many have nothing left. In these types of situations, for instance Haiti, rebuilding doesn’t come swiftly, but over time. It will be every man for himself type of situation because life or death waits in the wings. Expect a mass migration of Puerto Ricans to the Big Apple, Miami and its suburbs.

In just 24 hours, Maria dumped almost 40 inches of rain on parts of Puerto Rico, where millions of residents won’t have power for months. Most of the island saw more than a foot of precipitation as Maria turned streets into raging rivers. Puerto Ricans might not get power back for four to six months, said Ricardo Ramos, the CEO of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Puerto Rico has been through a long recession and is deeply in debt. Before the storm hit, the state-owned power grid was “a little bit old, mishandled and weak,” the governor said. “The system has been basically destroyed,” Ramos told CNN. He said hospitals and water systems will get priority power restoration

Do not be dismayed those who take flight, yes the airport is opening up for the flight to the mainland, will no doubt go on the dole. After all 50% are on the dole already. The average per capita income in Puerto Rico is $20,000. And don’t forget that only 1% had flood insurance and wind insurance covered only 40% of the casa grandes. You see, most Puerto Rican’s did not have insurance on their flimsy houses, nor did they have mortgages which would have necessitated it. Mold now is a prime concern as air conditioning which relies on electricity is a hope and prayer.  Perhaps Elon Musk will provide solar to those who’s houses are still standing! But Puerto Rico will eventually recover because You will rebuild their haciendas for free. The smell of stench emanating from the island will be with us for a long time.

We must add, to the good people of Puerto Rico who work, pay taxes, support their families, didn’t scam the government, our hearts go out to them. For no fault of their own their life is now in shambles. 

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Before Maria paid them a visit the island was sinking under humongous amounts of debt. Bankruptcy was the only way out, but in so doing the liberal judge screwed the (please click here to get a clear picture of the dire conditions that existed before the cane hit)primary bondholders of the power company. This was an advertisement that Puerto Rico was no longer open for business. The best boat to take now is let the island sink or swim. The vulture capitalists will then come to the rescue, but with life vests attached; that is guarantees that they will not suffer the ignominious defeat the power company bondholders suffered. Advice to President Trump, stay away from the Rich Port. No matter what you give, they will want more and more and more; that is because that is how they do it in Puerto Rico.

The island of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean Island, a seductive island, a welfare island. Puerto Rico is all of these. They are bankrupt, seeking relief from 123 billion dollars in debt; 3 million of their citizens have lived the good life on our dime. Their creditors have been fleeced. For the past thirty years the island’s people have sucked the economy dry by borrowing to the hilt. Now they don’t want to pay. Like Greeks who think it is right to scam their creditors THEY HAVE NO SHAME. One may ask where did the money go? Down the drain. The government payed people not to work, in fact 41% of the workers were government employees.

 

 

PUERTO RICO THE SOCIALIST PARADISE OF THE CARIBBEAN DROWNING IN DEBT

The Greek debacle has been the focus of late on its on again-off again debt restructuring, but that doesn’t mean that the troubles in Puerto Rico are playing second fiddle. Puerto Rico is on the hook for close to $100 billion. That is a boat load of pina coladas. SoBe Smooth Pina Colada Drink - 20-Fl. Oz. Bottles (Pack of 12)Just in case you haven’t been initiated in the Puerto Rico way of doing business we bring you their number one life saver, welfare and social security.  Puerto Rico is a disability fraud paradiseThe top 10 U.S. zip codes tied to people receiving disability benefits, nine are in Puerto Rico. Flag of Puerto Rico

The sharks are circling the waters in the hope of default if and when it happens. The rich island has a dark journey ahead, tourism is in the tank, the economy is in a perpetual depression, drugs are rampant and most of all the government will not do what needs to be done; cut bait.

But Puerto Rico is part of the United States and is a metaphor for liberal bastions like Illinois and Connecticut, both drowning  the sea of debt. Utmost on the minds of the Puerto Rican is not the rising sea levels, but their share of the islands IOU’s. By the way, in case you didn’t notice, Puerto Rico has a population similar to Connecticut, 3,5 million or simply put a debt of $22,000 for each of its citizens. And true to form the Commonwealth’s economy has slowly reached the point of no return being sucked down by a giant whirlpool, even Captain Nemo can’t save this one.Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

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THIS SESSION IS OVER

Gregg Jarrett – FOX NEWS

Jeff Sessions should never have accepted the position of Attorney General of the United States.  His leadership has proven unproductive and ineffectual.

There are two reasons for this.

First, he deceived President Trump by concealing his intent to recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.  Hours after he was sworn in, Sessions began setting his recusal in motion by meeting with Department of Justice officials to discuss stepping aside from the probe.  Failing to disclose such a material matter to the president was an egregious betrayal.

Trump was reportedly disgusted and angry with Sessions when he learned of the recusal – rightly so.  “If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have picked someone else,” said Trump at a news conference.  The president was entitled to know the truth, but Sessions actively hid it from him.  Sessions’ deception deprived him of Trump’s confidence and trust which are essential to the job of Attorney General.  This ethical impropriety renders him unfit to serve.

Second, Sessions appears either incapable or incompetent.  He has resisted producing the documents relevant to the anti-Trump dossier which were subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.  He has failed to appoint a special counsel to reopen the case against Hillary Clinton for likely violations of the Espionage Act in the use of her email server, obstruction of justice for destroying 33,000 emails under congressional subpoena, and potential self-dealing for profit through her foundation.  The evidence is compelling.

Moreover, Sessions has taken no action to investigate the unmasking of Trump aides during intelligence surveillance by the Obama Administration.  Evidence continues to mount that the incoming president was spied upon for political reasons.  Transition officials were unmasked, perhaps illegally.  And in one case, the unmasking was leaked to the media which is a crime.  Yet Sessions is twiddling his thumbs.

And why hasn’t Sessions investigated the possible criminal conduct of James Comey?  The fired FBI Director appears to have falsely testified before Congress, stolen government documents, and leaked them to the media.

Jeff Sessions may have been a fine Senator, but he has proven to be a feckless Attorney General.  He should resign.  But before he does, he can attempt to rectify the wreckage he has wrought by initiating several necessary criminal investigations and/or appointing a special counsel to do so.

James Comey

Comey was asked, under oath, by the House Judiciary Committee if he decided not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton before or after he interviewed her.  He testified, “After.

Yet, a document uncovered by the Senate Judiciary Committee belies his testimony.  A full two months before the FBI ever interviewed Clinton and her top aides, Comey drafted a statement exonerating Clinton.  Absent some extraordinary explanation, it appears that Comey’s investigation of Clinton was nothing more than a charade and that he may have lied under oath.  If it can be proven, it would constitute the crime of perjury under 18 USC 1621 or a false statement under 18 USC 1001.

This document establishes persuasive evidence that Comey predetermined that Clinton would not be charged.  What prosecutor writes a statement absolving a suspect beforethe evidence is fully gathered, especially from the principal witnesses?   No prosecutor I know of.  Unless, of course, the fix was in.  Unless someone instructed him to protect Clinton or he decided to do it all on his own with a presidential election hanging in the balance.

Either way, it might well constitute obstruction of justice.  It is a felony to interfere with a criminal investigation.  It is also illegal to use your public office for a political purpose, if that is what Comey was doing.

But Comey’s misconduct and potential illegality don’t stop there.  As FBI Director, he converted government documents to his own personal use and leaked at least one of them to the media.  As FBI Director, he crafted seven presidential memorandums which are government property, took them into his personal possession when he was fired, and then conveyed one or more of them to a friend for the sole purpose of leaking them to the media.  Under 18 USC 641, this could be a crime.

Under no circumstances were these memos “personal,”, as Comey claims.  They were authored during the course and scope of his employment, composed on a government computer, shared with government employees, and pertained directly to meetings with the president that were central to his job as FBI Director.

Under the Federal Records Act, they are government records.  This is indisputable, regardless of what Comey and his lawyers allege.  They know this because Comey signed an “Unauthorized Disclosure Agreement” promising that, under penalty of legal action, he would not disseminate workplace documents.  If the facts are as stated, he should be prosecuted under the Privacy Act.

Finally, four of the seven memos were “classified,” according to the FBI.  If Comey conveyed any of them to an outside source, this would constitute an Unauthorized Removal of Classified Documents (18 USC 1924) or a violation of the Espionage Act (18 USC 798) under which Clinton should have been charged when Comey was FBI Director.  The irony is lost on no one.  Yet, Sessions appears to have taken no action.

Before he resigns, Sessions must open a full investigation and convene a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against Comey.  In the alternative, he can appoint a second special counsel to investigate the case.  The current special counsel, Robert Mueller, is a long-time friend, ally and mentor to Comey.  Mueller is not likely to include Comey in his current investigation, even though he has authority to do so under the directive he received.

Hillary Clinton

The case against Clinton is, by now, self-evident.  She stored 110 emails containing classified information on her home computer server, an unsecured and unauthorized place.  It is a crime to mishandle classified information under the Espionage Act.

Yet Comey misinterpreted the criminal statute by claiming Clinton did not “intend to violate the law.”  This is not the legal standard, as any knowledgeable lawyer will tell you.  The standard is whether she committed intentional acts, such as intentionally setting up her personal server and knowingly using it for her work documents, including classified materials.  Clinton clearly intended to do these things.

Regardless, the law under 18 USC 793 requires only “grossly negligent” behavior.  Here, Comey insisted Clinton was “extremely careless.”  However, the two terms are synonymous under the law.  Indeed, there is a frequently used jury instruction which explains that gross negligence is extremely careless behavior.  So, in essence, Comey was admitting Clinton violated the law, although he twisted the statute to conclude otherwise.

There is strong evidence that Clinton obstructed justice.  All of her emails were under a congressional subpoena.  She was required to preserve and produce every single one of them.  She did not.  Instead, she deleted roughly 33,000 emails in defiance of the subpoena and cleansed her server of any incriminating evidence.  Destruction of evidence under a lawful subpoena constitutes obstruction.  Under the law, it is no excuse to claim that some of the emails were personal in nature.

Growing evidence suggests that Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to donors and foreign governments in exchange for financial contributions to her foundation and cash to her husband.  If proven, it would support various crimes of corruption.

It has been reported that Clinton helped UBS avoid the IRS.  Thereafter, Bill Clinton got paid $1.5 million and the Clinton Foundation received a ten-fold increase in donations by the bank.  It has also been reported that Clinton’s state department approved billions of dollars in arms sales to several nations whose governments gave money to the Foundation.

And then, there is the infamous Uranium One deal.  After the State Department under Clinton signed off on the U.S. sale of one-fifth of our nation’s uranium production capacity to the Russians, millions of dollars from Russian sources connected to the Kremlin began to flow to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow.  Coincidence?  Or criminal “pay-to-play?”

In his confirmation hearing, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any matter involving Hillary Clinton.  Therefore, before he resigns, Sessions must appoint a special counsel to reopen the Clinton investigation and decide anew whether criminal charges are merited.

Susan Rice

In March, the former National Security Adviser to President Obama insisted she “knew nothing” about Trump transition officials swept up in surveillance at the end of the Obama administration.  Her statement was not true, and not the first time Rice conjured a false narrative.  When confronted with evidence to the contrary, she admitted she knew of the incidental collection and, further, she is the one who requested that names be unmasked.

If Rice or UN Ambassador Samantha Power or any other person requested the unmasking of names for a reason other than national security, it is a crime.  And so too is the leaking of those names to the media which clearly occurred.  Under the Hatch Act, it is against the law for a public official to use his or her office for a political purpose.

Congress is vigorously investigating Rice and others.  Yet Sessions seems detached and unconcerned.  As the nation’s top lawyer, he is duty-bound to pursue such a substantial breach of intelligence operations.

Before he resigns, Sessions should launch a criminal investigation into the unmasking of names or appoint a special prosecutor to do the same.

Jeff Sessions either wittingly or unwittingly bungled his confirmation hearing, which led to the recusal that is said to have angered Trump and alienated the AG from the president.  Regardless, Sessions’ performance as Attorney General ever since has been notable only for a series of failures to act when action is demanded.

The moment the President of the United States no longer has confidence in his Attorney General, it is time for him to submit his letter of resignation.  But first, Sessions can restore integrity to the Department of Justice and salvage his own tattered reputation by taking aggressive action against Comey, Clinton and Rice.

Then he should quietly bow out.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/19/gregg-jarrett-sessions-should-resign-but-not-before-taking-action-against-clinton-comey-and-rice.html

THE H-1B VISA PROGRAM – THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(17)(H) which allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the United States. Effective January 17, 2017, USCIS modified the rules to allow a grace period of up to 60 days but in practice as long as a green card application is pending they are allowed to stay. In 2015, there were 348,669 applicants for the H-1B filed of which 275,317 were approved.

The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum (with the exception of fashion models, who must be “of distinguished merit and ability”). Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

On March 3, 2017 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service announced on their website that starting from April 3, 2017 they would temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions until further notice. On April 18, 2017 President Trump signed a “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order which sets broad policy intentions directing federal agencies to propose reforms to the H-1B visa system.

The raison d’être for American companies to request H-1B visas for foreign subjects is two fold. One, the companies find it cheaper to hire a foreigner and number two, companies can’t find Americans with similar qualifications. This seems odd at first look, but once delved into the reason is crystal clear.

Adding to the chaos are the number of STEM visas which have risen at a parabolic rate during the past couple of years. It is important to note that almost 60% are from China and India. 

On the home front less than 3.5% of college graduates majored in computer sciences and information technologies. These are technologies targeted by foreign countries. This is a sad story, but one that has to be told. Many factors play a part in this dismal statistic, but there is one standout; our education system does not have the discipline needed to keep up with the rest of the world. In fact our college educated barely compete in STEM. In the next thirty years we will see the downside when the behemoths of China and India become hegemonic in the spheres of influence that matter most.  Taking a myopic view one does not see what the future holds, but with foreigners leaping us by leaps and bounds it does not look good at this point in time.

How do U.S. students compare with their peers around the world? Recently released data from international math and science assessments indicate that U.S. students continue to rank around the middle of the pack, and behind many other advanced industrial nations.

One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38thout of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.

Younger American students fare somewhat better on a similar cross-national assessment, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. That study, known as TIMSS, has tested students in grades four and eight every four years since 1995. In the most recent tests, from 2015, 10 countries (out of 48 total) had statistically higher average fourth-grade math scores than the U.S., while seven countries had higher average science scores. In the eighth-grade tests, seven out of 37 countries had statistically higher average math scores than the U.S., and seven had higher science scores.

Another long-running testing effort is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a project of the federal Education Department. In the most recent NAEP results, from 2015, average math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders fell for the first time since 1990. A team from Rutgers University is analyzing the NAEP data to try to identify the reasons for the drop in math scores.

The average fourth-grade NAEP math score in 2015 was 240 (on a scale of 0 to 500), the same level as in 2009 and down from 242 in 2013. The average eighth-grade score was 282 in 2015, compared with 285 in 2013; that score was the lowest since 2007. (The NAEP has only tested 12th-graders in math four times since 2005; their 2015 average score of 152 on a 0-to-300 scale was one point lower than in 2013 and 2009.)

Looked at another way, the 2015 NAEP rated 40% of fourth-graders, 33% of eighth-graders and 25% of 12th-graders as “proficient” or “advanced” in math. While far fewer fourth- and eighth-graders now rate at “below basic,” the lowest performance level (18% and 29%, respectively, versus 50% and 48% in 1990), improvement in the top levels appears to have stalled out. (Among 12th-graders, 38% scored at the lowest performance level in math, a point lower than in 2005.)

NAEP also tests U.S. students on science, though not as regularly, and the limited results available indicate some improvement. Between 2009 and 2015, the average scores of both fourth- and eight-graders improved from 150 to 154 (on a 0-to-300 scale), although for 12th-graders the average score remained at 150. In 2015, 38% of fourth-graders, 34% of eighth-graders and 22% of 12th-graders were rated proficient or better in science; 24% of fourth-graders, 32% of eighth-graders and 40% of 12th-graders were rated “below basic.”

These results likely won’t surprise too many people. In a 2015 Pew Research Center report, only 29% of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM) as above average or the best in the world. Scientists were even more critical: A companion survey of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that just 16% called U.S. K-12 STEM education the best or above average; 46%, in contrast, said K-12 STEM in the U.S. was below average.

Note: This is an update of a post originally published Feb. 2, 2015. It has been updated to include more recent data.

TOPICS: EDUCATIONEDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENTSCIENCE AND INNOVATION

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

     is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.