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Hundreds Of Climate Scientists Urge Trump To Withdraw From UN Climate Change Agency

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors agree that climate change policies cause economic harm with ‘no environmental benefits’

Hundreds of scientists have urged Trump to pull out of the UN's climate change agency, claiming its policies are outdated and harmful.

More than 300 climate scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its climate change policies cause serious economic harm and exacerbate poverty — without providing the claimed environmental benefits.

In a letter to President Trump, delivered Thursday, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen calls on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

 

Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Restricting access to fossil fuels has very negative effects upon the wellbeing of people around the world,” he says in his letter. “It condemns over 4 billion people in still underdeveloped countries to continued poverty.”

Washington Times reports:

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

Mr. Trump said during the campaign he would “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, which was ratified in September by former President Barack Obama over the objections of Senate Republicans, who argued that the accord requires Senate ratification under the U.S. Constitution.

Myron Ebell, a Competitive Enterprise Institute scholar who led the Trump transition team on the Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters last month in London that the president would pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Advocates for climate change policies have called for Mr. Trump to honor the agreement, under which nations agree to enact policies to keep the increase in global temperatures this century under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reaffirmed its support for the Paris Agreement in a letter to Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, saying the agreement is “urgently needed if we are to meet our common and differentiated responsibilities for the effects of climate change.”

More than 700 companies and investors have signed onto a statement urging Mr. Trump to abide by the Paris accord coordinated by nine environmental groups, including the American Sustainable Business Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.

Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost US competitiveness,” said the statement on LowCarbonUSA.org. “We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realize the Paris Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.”

Challenging the catastrophic climate change narrative, Mr. Lindzen describes carbon dioxide as “plant food, not poison.”

Restricting access to fossil fuels has very negative effects upon the wellbeing of people around the world,” he says in his letter.

“It condemns over 4 billion people in still underdeveloped countries to continued poverty.

It’s Official: Trump Opens Bidding On Border Wall Construction

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

The Trump administration has opened the bidding for private companies to construct the border wall between the US and Mexico.

The Trump administration has opened the bidding for private companies to construct the border wall between the US and Mexico.

The request for bids, published by the Department of Homeland Security on February 24, states that bidding for work on the wall is to be conducted in two phases, with the first requiring companies to submit plans and prototypes by March 10, 2017 – less than two weeks away.

 

By March 24, the selection process will require the selected companies to propose prices, and multiple awards are expected to be granted by mid-April, as President Trump continues to confound his critics by fulfilling his campaign promises in record time.

Published on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the request is listed under ‘Design-Build Structure.’ The full text is as follows:

Solicitation Number: 2017-JC-RT-0001
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Office: Customs and Border Protection
Location: Procurement Directorate – IN

The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico.

The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017.

The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort.

Fearing Trump, commission drops Miami-Dade’s ‘sanctuary’ protections

February 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Mattis SLAMS our European “allies”

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Horn News

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis just issued a sharp ultimatum to NATO — start funding your own defenses, or else.

Mattis delivered the harsh news Wednesday in Belgium, telling the NATO allies they must start increasing defense spending by year’s end or the Trump administration will “moderate its commitment” to them.

The news sent shock waves through the numerous countries whose defense has been largely paid for by U.S. taxpayers for decades.

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Echoing a demand made repeatedly by President Donald Trump, Mattis said NATO must adopt a plan this year that sets milestone dates for governments to meet a military funding goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

The Pentagon chief called it a “fair demand” based on the “political reality” in Washington.

“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” Mattis told the alliance’s 27 other defense ministers, according to a text of his remarks. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do.”

Attending his first NATO defense ministers’ meeting, Mattis made his case by citing the threat from Russia, noting Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the Islamic State group’s hold over parts of Iraq and Syria, and said that “some in this alliance have looked away in denial of what is happening.”

“Despite the threats from the east and south, we have failed to fill gaps in our NATO response force or to adapt,” he added.

The warning reflects Trump’s wish for greater sharing of military costs. Trump has rattled European nations by suggesting the U.S. might not defend allies unwilling to fulfill their financial obligations as NATO members.

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British’s defense chief, Michael Fallon, said Mattis also appeared to welcome a British proposal to create a road map for increased spending by other countries.

Along with the U.S. and Britain, the only other countries that reach NATO’s minimum for military spending are Estonia, Poland, and debt-ridden Greece.

“I have called today in the plenary session for those countries that haven’t met 2 percent to agree to at least increase their budget annually,” Fallon said. “An annual increase that we’re asking them to commit to would at least demonstrate good faith.”

The United States is by far NATO’s most powerful member. It spends more on defense than all the others combined. The U.S. spent 3.61 percent of American GDP last year, according to NATO estimates — more than the rest of the world combined.

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Germany, by contrast, spent only 1.19 percent of its overall budget on defense. Ten countries spend even less, and seven — including Canada, Italy and Spain — would have to virtually double military spending to reach the target. One, Luxembourg, would require a four-fold increase to get close.

In a brief public statement, made while standing alongside Stoltenberg, Mattis called the alliance “a fundamental bedrock for the United States and for all the trans-Atlantic community.”

The allies’ interest and concern about the latest furor in Washington was evident as officials crowded around televisions at the NATO meeting to watch Mattis’ initial appearance with Stoltenberg. Ministers immediately clustered around the retired Marine general as he entered the meeting room.

Stoltenberg said he has spoken to Trump twice by telephone, and received similar reassurance from Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“They have all conveyed the same message,” he said, adding: “That is, that the United States will stay committed to the trans-Atlantic partnership.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article

Hundreds Arrested In Nationwide Pizzagate Raids

February 14, 2017 1 comment

Hundreds arrested in Pizzagate raids across the country

A massive nationwide sting has seen over 500 individuals connected to child sex offences arrested in the first of many Pizzagate raids. 

Officials from police departments, fire departments and local government are said to be among the hundreds arrested, as the FBI ramp up efforts to arrest everybody connected to a Washington D.C pedophile ring.

 

The raids involved 23 law enforcement agencies spanning 14 states over the last 3 weeks, and targeted child sex offenders and sex traffickers across America.

The first wave of arrests comes just days after Jeff Sessions signed an executive order giving permission for authorities to begin arresting anybody connected to the Pizzagate scandal in Washington D.C.

Sheriff Thomas J. Dart  from the Illinois Sheriff’s Department, said in a press release:

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message”

“It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

In Houston, where the Super Bowl LI was hosted, 183 sex offenders, including two firefighters, a retired police officer, and a Houston city employee were among those arrested.

I’m exceedingly proud to lead the nation in targeting sex buyers and traffickers during this annual initiative,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told a press conference.

“Houston was home to Super Bowl LI. As we welcomed the world to our city, we made it clear that there is no place for victimization and sexual exploitation.”

According to a whistleblower working for the FBI, prominent high ranking politicians in Washington D.C. connected to Pizzagate will also soon be arrested after the agency have finished gathering all the necessary intelligence.

Investigators say they have held files on high-ranking politicians for years. However, they didn’t find a concrete lead until November 2016, when they monitored three suspects after they were allegedly caught using coded language in an internet forum created by the FBI to trap pedophiles.

Do you think this first wave of Pizzagate raids marks the beginning of more high profile arrests to come? Comment below and let us know what you think.

77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries

February 9, 2017 Leave a comment

 

The State Department has more than doubled the rate of refugees from Iraq, Syria and other suspect countries in the week since a federal judge’s reprieve, in what analysts said appears to be a push to admit as many people as possible before another court puts the program back on ice.

A staggering 77 percent of the 1,100 refugees let in since Judge James L. Robart’s Feb. 3 order have been from the seven suspect countries. Nearly a third are from Syria alone — a country that Mr. Trump has ordered be banned altogether from the refugee program. Another 21 percent are from Iraq. By contrast, in the two weeks before Judge Robart’s order, just 9 percent of refugees were from Syria and 6 percent were from Iraq.

“There’s no doubt in my mind they would be doing whatever they could to get people in before something changes because, from their perspective, their motivation is to resettle these folks. It would not be the first time that State Department officials have prioritized facilitating someone’s entry to the United States over security concerns,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Mr. Trump issued an executive order Jan. 27 putting in place the early stages of his extreme vetting policy, including an immediate 90-day pause on admitting visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — all countries where the government says it can’t be sure of its vetting procedures.

The executive order also called for an immediate 120-day halt to admitting refugees from anywhere around the globe. Mr. Trump singled out Syria in particular, saying refugees from there are halted indefinitely.

Late last week Judge Robart ruled Mr. Trump had likely overstepped legal boundaries and issued a temporary restraining order for most of the policy. An appeals court ruled Thursday to uphold the “TRO,” as it’s known in lawyer-speak.

Immediately after Judge Robart’s decision the State Department and Homeland Security agencies kicked back into gear, beginning to accept both refugees and visitors from the suspect countries.

The State Department and Homeland Security agencies quickly kicked back into gear, beginning to accept both refugees and visitors from the suspect countries.

Numbers weren’t available on the effects of the broader travel ban, but 1,110 refugees were admitted in the days since the program was restarted — and of those, 849 were from the seven danger countries the president singled out. A whopping 346 were from Syria alone, and another 232 were from Iraq.

The surge has also meant a major jump in the number of self-identified Muslims admitted: 64 percent of the new batch of refugees are from some sect of Islam, compared to just 31 percent in the first weeks of the Trump administration.

“It would appear, based on the numbers, that there is an effort within the refugee resettlement program to rush in as many of the nationals of these seven countries as possible before a ruling is made on the TRO,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations manager at NumbersUSA.

Mr. Trump himself seemed to be aware of the changes, posting an oblique Twitter message on Wednesday asking the courts to issue a new decision overturning Judge Robart and reinstating his extreme vetting policy.

“Big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas, while our people are far more vulnerable, as we wait for what should be EASY D!” the president tweeted.

The State Department, in a statement to The Washington Times explaining the numbers, said it was focusing on “rescheduling those whose travel had been suspended the previous week.”

Nine organizations in the U.S. are chartered by the government to help with resettling refugees here.

Several of them didn’t respond to requests from The Washington Times, but Erol Kekic, executive director of the Church World Service’s refugee program, said it might be a coincidence that so many refugees from the seven countries were being admitted.

He said the cases that have been prioritized are those with urgent medical needs or those whose immediate safety is in question if they remain outside the U.S.

Mr. Kekic said the refugee program has been maligned by the ongoing debate, and he pleaded for a chance to make his case to Mr. Trump.

“What I would hope for is we find a way to communicate with this administration and find a way to sit down and understand why are these, what I’ll call alternative facts, about the danger of refugees being presented, because it’s just not correct,” Mr. Kekic said.

Of the refugees his group was supposed to be handling when the pause was declared, some 100 cases have been derailed. Some of those cases are facing expiration dates when one of their certifications is set to expire soon, which could force them to go further back in the process.

“One hundred twenty days can easily turn into 12 months or longer — or never,” he said.

Mr. Kekic bristled at allegations that the refugee program is a security problem for the U.S., saying the chance of being killed by a refugee in the U.S. was less than the chance of being struck by lightning.

“Refugee is not a dirty word,” he said.

He said refugee advocates are rallying to defend the program, including a plea he expects to be issued later this week by mainline Protestant churches asking their congregations to approach members of Congress and to collect money to support refugees.

One part of Mr. Trump’s order that hasn’t been blocked in the courts is his reduction in the number of refugees to be accepted this year. President Obama had set a 110,000 cap for fiscal year 2017, which runs through Sept. 30. Mr. Trump cut that to 50,000.

Some 34,000 refugees have already been admitted, meaning that even if the courts do keep the program operational, the number of people that can be admitted is severely constrained.

There has been no slowdown in processing cases of asylum claims, which are refugees who manage to make it to the U.S. and claim protection once here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security agency that first judges asylum claims, said that program wasn’t affected by Mr. Trump’s order.

In a Feb. 2 memo, USCIS Acting Director Lori L. Scialabba said they would also continue processing applications for family members of those approved for refugee or asylum status who were already in the U.S., even if they were from the seven countries Mr. Trump had singled out.

She also said: “USCIS will continue refugee interviews when the person is a religious minority in his or her country of nationality facing religious persecution. Additionally, USCIS will continue refugee interviews in jurisdictions where there is a preexisting international agreement related to refugee processing. USCIS will not approve a refugee application for an individual who we determine would pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.”

How Trump Could Win the Currency War

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

President must clean up Obama’s economic messes

How Trump Could Win the Currency War

The present currency war started with the Great Monetary Experiment under the Obama administration.

This triggered a devaluation of the dollar through 2010–12. Since then the launch of similar and in some ways more radical monetary experiments in Europe and Japan have fuelled big devaluations of the euro and the yen. Meanwhile a combination of bubble credit policies and intensified repression has caused the Chinese currency to slide.

So far the Trump administration has not formulated a clear message concerning the currency war. Instead there has been a series of sound bites about particular aspects of the war which miss the key source of this conflict — the flawed global 2% inflation standard. In turn the German chancellor and Japanese prime minister have made indignant responses to Trump’s sound bites, pretending that the ECB (European Central Bank) and BoJ (Bank of Japan) respectively are institutions independent of the government, and so the German and Japanese governments are not responsible for currency consequences of monetary policies.

The Donald Trump Factor

Let’s start with the comment by President Trump’s top trade advisor Peter Navarro that “Germany is using a grossly undervalued euro to exploit the US and its EU partners.” The underlying reality is that Chancellor Merkel in the defence of the European status quo (including European Monetary Union [EMU] in its present form) has backed ECB chief Draghi pursuing policies of radical monetary ease. She could have said no. She did not.

Indeed the evidence points to a war conspiracy. Finance Minister Schaeuble admitted in a recent newspaper interview (inTagesspiegel) that Berlin agreed (back in 2014) not to express in public its disquiet about radical monetary policies of the ECB on the understanding that the ECB would take responsibility for the widening German trade surplus. In effect Berlin would plead innocence on the basis of ECB independence and Chief Draghi would back that plea. The conspirators did not reckon with the rise of Donald Trump.

German and Japanese Monetary Scheming

No doubt the government in Berlin did reckon correctly that radical ECB policies would become growingly unpopular with big sections of the German public. Points of resentment would include the substantially negative real rates on savings and the transfer of huge volumes of capital via the ECB into weak sovereigns and banks (most of all in Italy). There are also, however, many citizens who have gained from the export boom (fuelled by the weak euro) and the property construction boom.

In effect, the cheap euro has provided an essential political lifeline to Europe’s present-day Chancellor Metternich (Merkel). Undeclared currency warfare by the unloving Merkel-Draghi couple has been the means of restraining the forces of domestic political resentment in Germany against the growing costs of EMU.

Yet if the only way for Berlin to sustain the European status quo is to permit ECB chief Draghi to effectively manipulate the euro downward, then we should conclude that monetary union in Europe as presently designed and implemented is inconsistent with global free trade and a liberal global order. The challenge for the European elites or their successors who might want to retain the union would then be to open up another channel of survival — most plausibly featuring de-regulation, smaller government, and sound money.

Turn next to PM Abe’s retort against President Trump’s comment (January 30) that “Japan and China use monetary policy to pursue devaluation and that they play the money market whilst we sit here like a bunch of dummies.” It has been an open secret from the start that a key purpose of PM Abe putting Japan on the global 2% inflation standard (from January 2013) was to get the yen down from its lofty highs reached under the US currency offensive of 2009–12. And now the extraordinary BoJ policy of potentially unlimited money printing to hold the long-term interest rate at just above zero when US long-term rates have been rising sharply is a continuation of that same currency policy. Beyond winning the verbal tit-for-tat with Europe and Japan, Washington has yet to put the world on notice that the days of the 2% global inflation standard are over. Yes, this standard has lasted twice as long as the effective life of the Bretton Woods System (from 1959 to the two-tier gold market’s introduction in 1968) but it is manifestly rotten — as powerfully illustrated by the currency war which it has spawned and also by the succession of asset price inflations and busts.

What Trump Should Do

The Trump administration could show leadership here by signalling that it intends to nominate successors to Yellen and Fischer who would take the US off the 2% inflation standard and that it would back legislation in Congress that would prevent the Fed from interpreting the mandate of price stability as perpetual inflation at 2% per annum.

Senior US international economic officials would make absolutely clear that the pursuance of currency devaluations under the camouflage of breathing inflation back into the economy (whether Europe or Asia) to reach a 2% inflation target is no longer acceptable. The premise should be that non-standard monetary tools (QE, negative rates, long-term rate pegging) are evidence of currency manipulation intent.

The Trump administration would foreswear the use of these tools by the US (introducing legislation for that purpose). Most importantly it would publish a charge sheet of monetary and other policies which should be under suspicion as a form of currency manipulation.

Chinese Financial Repression

The sheet would include first, sustained intervention in foreign exchange markets and exchange restrictions; second, monetary experimentation in pursuit of inflation targets; and third, “financial system manipulation and repression.” The third point would have obvious relevance to US-China negotiations.

Beijing enforces a regime of financial repression which essentially steers bank credit to favoured state enterprises whilst reducing rates of return on secure savings; its credit policies induce one bubble after another (and many together); political repression adds to the fears regarding safety of domestic assets. And so Chinese citizens seek safety and income on their non-gambling funds (domestic real estate and credit products are huge wagers) outside China. The resulting massive capital flight presses the Chinese currency downward.

Armed with its charter of prescription against manipulation, the Trump administration could take the high road in its coming trade confrontations with Beijing, and also more widely with Europe and Japan. Infringement of the charter would be grounds for the start of “action” by the US under existing trade legislation.

In Tokyo, PM Abe is likely to get the message, given the importance of good relations with Washington at a time of rising geo-political tension, especially regarding China and North Korea. But what if Frau Merkel and her central banker fail to get the message? German citizens fortunately have the chance to vote for currency peace and against trade war this autumn. For the Chinese there is no such potential exit from war danger via the ballot box.

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