Millions of Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas: Precisely How many? No One Seems to Know; Does Obama Care?

In the wake of terrorist activity in Europe and mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 people dead and 22 wounded, some may be wondering: Are we tracking those in the US on Visas, and if so, how?
The answer, despite Federal laws that require tracking visa entrants, is the U. S. Doesn’t Know How Many Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas.
The question from the congressman to the Obama administration official was straightforward enough: How many foreign visitors overstay their visas every year?
The reply was simple too, but not in a satisfying way. ‘We don’t know,’ the official said.
The testy exchange during a recent congressional hearing between Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, and Alan Bersin, the assistant secretary for international affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, highlights what some law enforcement officials call a critical weakness in the United States foreign visa program.
Nearly 20 years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to develop a system to track people who overstayed their visas. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an entry and exit tracking system was seen as a vital national security and counterterrorism tool, and the 9/11 Commission recommended that the Department of Homeland Security complete a system ‘as soon as possible.’ Two of the 9/11 hijackers, Satam al-Suqami and Nawaf al-Hazmi, had overstayed their visas.
Since then, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on the effort, yet officials can only roughly estimate the number of people in the United States illegally after overstaying visas.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on January 01, 2016.

Obama To Unveil “Multiple Gun Control” Executive Actions Next Week

A month ago, after the mass San Bernardino shooting, we predicted that “the US will see increasingly more escalating “attacks” until ultimately Obama’s crackdown on gun sales and possession hits its breaking point and the president’s gun confiscation mandate is finally executed.”
Without a Democratic majority in Congress, and faced with a GOP that is firmly against any form of gun control measures, Obama has repeatedly warned that he would act on his own. Next week he will do just that, and his “gun confiscation” mandate will get a substantial boost on Monday, when according to the WSJ Obama will meet with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch “to consider measures aimed at reducing gun violence, a conversation that comes as he prepares to announce new executive actions in the coming days.”
The president has directed administration officials to explore any steps he could take on guns without lawmakers’ help, and he said in his weekly address that he would sit down with Ms. Lynch on Monday ‘to discuss our options.’
Once he has Lynch’s “blessing”, the WSJ adds that Obama “could lay out multiple executive actions as soon as next week, and administration officials have confirmed that recommendations for the president are nearing completion.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/01/2016.

There’s No Such Thing As a Neutral Government

Peter Simpson is a distinguished classicist and philosopher, known especially for his work on Aristotle’s ethics and politics. (He is also, by the way, a mordant critic of Leo Strauss and his followers.) In Political Illiberalism, he poses a fundamental challenge to philosophical justifications of modern liberalism, culminating in the vastly influential Political Liberalism (1993) of John Rawls. Though Simpson cannot be classed as a libertarian, his bold arguments will be of great use to all of us who, like Lew Rockwell, are Against the State.
According to a familiar tale, states before the inception of liberalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were fatally flawed. They sought to impose on their subject populations a political and religious orthodoxy. The Protestant Reformation brought some progress, but all too often, control by the monarch replaced dominance by the Catholic Church. Premodern illiberal states ‘taught and imposed on society a distinctive view of the good life. … Those who disagreed with this view of religion imposed by the state had to be resisted or expelled or incarcerated or killed.’
What was the distinctive contribution of liberalism? According to this view, the state must not rule on the basis of what Rawls calls a ‘conception of the good.’ By this he means a comprehensive view of the good life for human beings. Religions are prime examples of conceptions of the good, but not the only ones. The all-embracing theory of life taught in Soviet Russia in the glory days of Lenin and Stalin would be a secular example of what liberalism deplores and seeks to eradicate.
Instead, liberals maintain, the state must remain neutral in the battle between such competing conceptions of the good. People must be allowed to work out their own salvation, religious or secular, as their own consciences dictate.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on DECEMBER 23, 2015.

Why CIA’s Richard Helms Lied About Oswald: Part 3

This is a rumination on lies – layer upon layer of lies – told by US intelligence agencies and other officials about what Lee Harvey Oswald, or someone pretending to be him, was allegedly doing in Mexico City just weeks before the Kennedy assassination. The original goal, it seems, was to associate Oswald, in advance of the events of Dealey Plaza, with the USSR and Cuba.
The essay focuses on tales told by Richard Helms, a top official of the CIA in 1963 who later became its director – and is based on a talk given by Peter Dale Scott.
Scott is the popularizer of the expression, ‘Deep Politics,’ and a virtuoso when it comes to what sometimes seems like grabbing smoke – capturing proof, however elusive, of motives and objectives that could explain the machinations of US intelligence agencies – and then analyzing the residue.
Not all of the chicanery Scott describes is subtle. For example, in an apparent attempt to bring the Russians into the picture, someone delivered to the FBI’s Dallas office a purported audiotape of Oswald calling the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. That failed, though, when FBI agents decided that the voice did not seem to be Oswald’s.
Then, two days later, the FBI joined the subterfuge by falsely reporting that ‘no tapes were taken to Dallas.’ Because of this lie, an investigation more than a decade later by the House Select Committee on Assassinations would erroneously declare that there was no ‘basis for concluding that there had been an Oswald imposter.’ (The existence of an Oswald impersonator in the months before the president’s murder would in and of itself have been prima facie evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.)
And then there was the attempt to set up a Soviet agent…

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on January 1, 2016.

George Soros Regrets Supporting Obama, Eagerly Awaits President Hillary

Several weeks ago, we presented a list of CEOs and corporations who have had the highest number of direct visits to the White House and, by implication, president Obama. As we said, these are the corporations (and CEOs) who own the White House, and the US presidency .
One name oddly missing was that of George Soros: the billionaire liberal donor whose fundraising efforts have been critical for the Democratic party in recent years. Which is surprising considering the substantial backing, mostly financial, Soros provided in 2007 and 2008 to a then largely unknown Senator from Illinois.
Or perhaps it is not surprising: a 2012 New Yorker profile of the relationship between the US president and one of the left’s most generous donors reveals stormy clouds:
“although he still supports Obama, Soros has been disappointed by him, both politically and personally. Small slights can loom large with wealthy donors. When Soros wanted to meet with Obama in Washington to discuss global economic problems, Obama’s staff failed to respond. Eventually, they arranged not a White House interview but, rather, a low-profile, private meeting in New York, when the President was in town for other business. Soros found this back-door treatment confounding. ‘He feels hurt,’ a Democratic donor says.” Fast forward to December 31, when in the pre-New Year’s lull, the State Department released its latest dump of Hillary Clinton emails, amounting to some 5,500 pages, a move Trump promptly slammed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/01/2016.

Turkey’s Erdogan Praises “Hitler’s Germany” As Example Of Effective Government

Back in August, Nationalist opposition leader Devlet Bahceli took to Twitter to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a’locally produced Hitler, Stalin or Qaddafi’:
Ynetim sistemi bir kiinin eline kaldysa vay halimize! Bizim yerli retim Hitler’e, Stalin’e, Kaddafi’ye tahammlmz olmaz, bu iyi biline
— Devlet Baheli (@dbdevletbahceli) August 15, 2015

That comment came as Erdogan was busy undermining the coalition building process on the way to calling for new elections. “Accept it or not, Turkey’s governmental system has become one of an executive presidency,” Erdogan said, the day before the tweet shown above was published. “What should be done now is to finalize the legal framework of this de facto situation with a new constitution,’ Erdogan continued.
For anyone in need of a refresher, Erdogan’s plans to make Turkey an executive presidency were derailed in June when the pro-Kurdish HDP put on a better show at the ballot box than expected, robbing AKP of its absolute majority in parliament.
The President effectively nullified the election results by calling for a November redo ballot.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/01/2016.

Reason Enough to Vote…

…for Trump or Cruz? Yes, because George Soros tells me not to:
That is why, as 2016 gets underway, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of open society and resist the siren song of the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, however hard that may be.
Why? He says we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Not exactly, but that is what he says.
Trump and Cruz offer an irrational, fear-based response to Muslim terrorism, according to Soros (he is right, but not for the right reasons). We must not let this irrationality control how we vote (I suspect Rubio or Clinton are preferred).
He also comments on the ‘existential threat’ of Muslim immigration to Europe (again, he might be right about the threat, but not for the reason he wants you to read into his statement):

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 31, 2015.

We’re All Fascists Now

After decades of bitterly partisan acrimony, a consensus has been forged. Americans on all sides of the political compass finally agree on something: Donald Trump is a ‘fascist.’
And they say our country is too divided politically to see eye to eye on anything.
Liberals, who are more apt to liken someone they disagree with to Hitler than any other group, get their rocks off pinning the fascist label on Trump. The Week’s Ryan Cooper is the biggest perpetrator of this linguistic stratagem. He’s written numerousarticles on why Trump is a fascist threat to the nation. Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley is also fond of calling the Donald the F-word.
Fascist-mongering is not exclusive to the left. A national security advisor for illegal-alien-loving Jeb! Bush is guilty of the verbal slander. One of Ohio governor John Kasich’s super PACs is subtly linking Trump to fascism by comparing him to Nazi Germany. Marco Rubio’s war cheerleader Max Boot called Trump a fascist while admitting it’s not a term he ‘uses loosely or often.’ Libertarian writer Jeffrey Tucker says that Trump’s ideology ‘is best described as fascism.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/31/2015.

Office Pool 2016

1) The Republican nominee for president in 2016 will be
Donald Trump by unanimous acclamation of the Republican National Convention. Ted Cruz by unanimous acclamation of the convention. Mitt Romney after a contested, bitter, brokered convention. none of the above. 2) The Democratic nominee for president in 2016 will be
Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders. Al Gore after a contested, bitter, brokered Democratic National Convention. not Hillary Clinton, because she will be indicted by a federal grand jury for various crimes. 3) The voters will elect in a landslide
whoever promises to give them the biggest piece of the federal pie. whoever scares them the most.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 31, 2015.

No, We don’t Need This Bloated Military

I got a couple emails that asked me, ‘Hey, don’t you think we NEED a military?! What are we going to do if we’re attacked?!’ Very well. I’ll play. Pay attention, boys and girls. Get up and make coffee and settle in for a nice winter’s chat.
NUMBER ONE: The reason we end up being ‘attacked’ in this day and age is because we stick our rather big nose into everyone else’s business. Listen, we all cannot stand neighbors that do that, so how much more would another country hate that behavior? Especially when it comes in the form of killing their citizens for vague political objectives none of them signed up for, wanted, or asked for. Most people on this planet want the following: Food, clean water, shelter, and safety. Ok, now, if Bashar al-Assad provides all of that, so what is that to us? We didn’t vote for the man, but the Syrians did. So butt out of it. There’s a lot to be said for minding your own business. Every war we’ve been into could have been avoided had we done so. I wonder how many MILLIONS of lives would have been saved had we just minded our own business? Right, we’re always the poor, innocent little waif minding his own business and we got blindsided. Sure. But when America does that, we call it a ‘decapitation strike’ and high-five all the way to the press conference where we gloat about it for weeks. Or we call it a ‘pre-emptive strike’ as if we’ve got The Psychic Hitline, er, Hotline working for us in the Pentagon.
NUMBER TWO: This isn’t a re-make of ‘Red Dawn’ over here, got that? No one is going to invade America. Not when we have enough nuclear weapons to literally destroy the entire planet and have enough left over to work on obliterating the entire solar system itself, just for kicks. The interstellar Circle K’s would be talking about that for eons. Extraterrestrial rockhounds would be collecting pieces of the Earth for their collections for billions of years to come.

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 31, 2015.

Why CIA’s Richard Helms Lied About Oswald: Part 2

This is a rumination on lies – layer upon layer of lies – told by US intelligence agencies and other officials about what Lee Harvey Oswald, or someone pretending to be him, was allegedly doing in Mexico City just weeks before the Kennedy assassination. The original goal, it seems, was to associate Oswald, in advance of the events of Dealey Plaza, with the USSR and Cuba.
The essay focuses on tales told by Richard Helms, a top official of the CIA in 1963 who later became its director – and is based on a talk given by Peter Dale Scott.
Scott is the popularizer of the expression, ‘Deep Politics,’ and a virtuoso when it comes to what sometimes seems like grabbing smoke – capturing proof, however elusive, of motives and objectives that could explain the machinations of US intelligence agencies – and then analyzing the residue.
Not all of the chicanery Scott describes is subtle. For example, in an apparent attempt to bring the Russians into the picture, someone delivered to the FBI’s Dallas office a purported audiotape of Oswald calling the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. That failed, though, when FBI agents decided that the voice did not seem to be Oswald’s.
Then, two days later, the FBI got on board the subterfuge by falsely reporting that ‘no tapes were taken to Dallas.’ Because of this lie, an investigation more than a decade later by the House Select Committee on Assassinations would erroneously declare that there was no ‘basis for concluding that there had been an Oswald imposter.’ (The existence of an Oswald impersonator in the months before the president’s murder would in and of itself have been prima facie evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.)
And then there was the attempt to set up a Soviet agent…

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on Who.What.Why. / December 31, 2015.

Turks Warn “We’re One Step Away From Civil War” On Erdogan Crackdown

‘When Justice and Development won by a landslide – a result that Mr. Erdogan interpreted as the public’s demand for stability – many had hoped it would lead to the revival of peace talks.’ That’s from The New York Times, who is out on Thursday with a look at Turkey’s escalating civil war.
To be sure, we haven’t been shy in our assessment of the conflict. We’ve branded the fighting a ‘civil war’ since the summer, when HDP’s strong showing at the ballot box derailed Erdogan’s efforts to transition the country to an executive presidency, a move which would help to strongman consolidate his power.
A subsequent suicide bombing in Suruc prompted the PKK to kill two Turkish policemen the group says were cooperating with Islamic State (which was blamed for the initial attack). That was more than Ankara needed to justify a crackdown on the PKK in the name of the war on ‘terror.’ From there, it was an all-out war between Erdogan and the Kurds, a conflict which quickly transformed cities like Cizre, into warzones.
As al-Jazeera wrote in August, government attacks ‘have put Cizre, a long-defiant bastion of pro-Kurdish sentiment, back on the front lines of a conflict that has cost more than 30,000 lives since 1984.’ Here’s some useful color from Vice:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/31/2015.

DANGEROUS: MARCO RUBIO SAYS FIRST THING HE’LL DO AS PRESIDENT IS AMEND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

This guy is such a slick fake. If the Powers that Shouldn’t Be didn’t in some way really want him and his terrible politics in office, even as a potential VP, he wouldn’t still be in the running.
If you watched the last debate, it’s a good thing you finally got to see how authoritarian Rubio really is. He drooled all over the NDAA and begged for more NSA surveillance state to fight the turrurists. He was roaring for boots on the ground and more war in the Middle East. Don’t forget, not only was Rubio ‘totally committed’ to Obama’s unconstitutional immigration bill, but he’s also Israeli billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s favorite GOP lapdog. In fact, while he’s perfectly fine with even more spying on Americans here at home (to keep you safe), he’s apparently somehow outraged that spying on Israel may be worse than reported (just so you know where his allegiances truly are first and foremost).
Well now he’s saying if he becomes president, the first thing he’s going to do is call for a Constitutional Convention to amend the U. S. Constitution:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 30, 2015.

The Oligarch Tax Bracket – How the Tax Rate for the Wealthiest 400 Americans Plunged from 27% to 17%

I never liked the saying: ‘We are the 99%.’ While admittedly catchy and effective as a slogan, I think it is ultimately divisive and counterproductive. The reason I say this is because the statement itself alienates much needed allies for no good reason.
In a country with a population of 320 million, the 1% represents 3.2 million people, which is a pretty big number. While the 1% certainly have far superior material lives compared to the 99%, that doesn’t mean a particularly large percentage of them are thieves, cronies or oligarchs. In fact, it behooves people interested in transitioning to another paradigm to court as many of them as possible to the cause. It is very useful to have well meaning people with resources and connections on your side. To blithely assume there aren’t plenty of potential allies from a pool of 3.2 million is committing strategic suicide.
– From the post: Charting the American Oligarchy – How 0.01% of the Population Contributes 42% of All Campaign Cash
Much of my focus throughout 2015 was on the pernicious influence of the 0.01%, i.e., the American oligarchy. Indeed, nothing would please oligarchs more than to define a struggle as the 99% vs. the 1% in order to shift attention away from the real root of the problem, themselves.
As I’ve mentioned time and time again, 99% of the 1% doesn’t bribe politicians, write tax laws, or influence U. S. foreign policy. To discover the real players, the people who drive American domestic and foreign policy, as well as make all of the important decisions, you only need to focus on a hand full of people.
Today, the New York Times published an important article that proves the point. Here are the key paragraphs in the entire lengthy article:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Dec 30, 2015.

Why CIA’s Richard Helms Lied About Oswald: Part 1

This is a rumination on lies – layer upon layer of lies – told by US intelligence agencies and other officials about what Lee Harvey Oswald, or someone pretending to be him, was allegedly doing in Mexico City just weeks before the Kennedy assassination. The original goal, it seems, was to associate Oswald, in advance of the events of Dealey Plaza, with the USSR and Cuba.
The essay focuses on tales told by Richard Helms, a top official of the CIA in 1963 who later became its director – and is based on a talk given by Peter Dale Scott.
Scott is the popularizer of the expression, ‘Deep Politics,’ and a virtuoso when it comes to what sometimes seems like grabbing smoke – capturing proof, however elusive, of motives and objectives that could explain the machinations of US intelligence agencies – and then analyzing the residue.
Not all of the chicanery Scott describes is subtle. For example, in an apparent attempt to bring the Russians into the picture, someone delivered to the FBI’s Dallas office a purported audiotape of Oswald calling the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. That failed, though, when FBI agents decided that the voice did not seem to be Oswald’s.
Then, two days later, the FBI got on board the subterfuge by falsely reporting that ‘no tapes were taken to Dallas.’ Because of this lie, an investigation more than a decade later by the House Select Committee on Assassinations would erroneously declare that there was no ‘basis for concluding that there had been an Oswald impostor.’ (The existence of an Oswald impersonator in the months before the president’s murder would in and of itself have been prima facie evidence of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.)
And then there was the attempt to set up a Soviet agent…

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on Who.What.Why. / December 29, 2015.

WHAT IF POLITICIANS HAD TO WEAR THE CORPORATE LOGOS OF THEIR DONORS?

When we watch NASCAR, the corporate sponsors of the drivers are clearly visible. When we watch a movie, the product placements are hard to ignore. And when we watch a TV show, the unavoidable commercials reveal who is really paying for the show’s production. So why is it that when we see a politician, his suit isn’t plastered with the logos of his corporate sponsors?
As hilarious as that sounds, it may become a reality in California in the very near future. An advocacy group known as ‘California Is Not For Sale’ recently submitted a potential ballot measure to the Attorney General, that would not only force lawmakers to wear the logos of their top ten sponsors when they speak in the state legislature, their political ads would also have to disclose their contributors. According to the group:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 29, 2015.

Democratic Senator Calls For Extra Tax To Fund “War” Against ISIS

If you’re already furious about the fact that Washington’s efforts to destabilize the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria have resulted in a five-year conflict that’s cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and triggered the worst refugee crisis in European history, prepare yourself, because you’re about to become even more furious.
On Sunday, in an Op-ed for the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) proposed a war surtax to pay for the fight against ISIS which is costing US taxpayers some $11 million every 24 hours. Below, find the full piece followed by some commentary.
* * *
“If We Must Fight, We Must Pay”, by Chris Coons as originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer
America is at war with the Islamic State, but we are failing to confront the cost of this war.
Deployments of American special operations forces to Syria and Iraq in recent months have rightly revived calls for Congress to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS. A war worth fighting is a war worth debating, authorizing, and funding, so Congress should consider the proper scope and strategy of the mission, vote to authorize that strategy, and find a way to pay for the conflict.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/29/2015.

Erdogan Says Assad “Mercilessly Killed 400,000 People”, Accuses Opposition Of “Treason”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no fan-o’-Kurds, so to speak. Well, unless the Kurds you’re talking about are assisting in a lucrative business that involves the trafficking of illicit crude from Iraq to the port of Ceyhan.
Back in June, AKP lost its absolute majority in parliament after the pro-Kurdish HDP put on a surprisingly strong showing at the ballot box. We won’t recount the entire series of events that unfolded thereafter here as we’ve covered the story extensively, but suffice to say the democratic election outcome wasn’t allowed to stand because it imperiled Erdogan’s bid to transition the country to an executive presidency. In short, Erdogan blamed HDP and took it out on the PKK with whom he reignited a long simmering conflict on the way to scoring a better outcome at redo elections in November.
The opposition in Turkey is acutely aware of the fact that Erdogan is essentially running a thinly disguised autocracy and dissident voices are getting louder even as Ankara tries to suppress them with brutality and threats of imprisonment.
Over the weekend, HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas said that Turkey’s largest ethnic minority had to decide whether to live in autonomy or “under one man’s tyranny”. Needless to say, the ‘one man’ in question wasn’t pleased and on Tuesday the President called the remarks treasonous. On Monday, prosecutors in Diyarbakir and Ankara opened an investigation into six people including Demirtas.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/29/2015.