According to the Congressional Budget Office information (see below), it appears that if the “do-nothing” Congress actually does nothing the nation’s long term debt outlook would significantly improve. As it stands, temporary tax cuts are set to expire and automatic budget cuts already passed by Congress with bi-partisan support are set to take effect. As a result of laws already on the books our long-term debt problem is about to be fixed. But Congress will have none of this! Nor should they!
The 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook: Infographic
Thanks to the great reporting of Katherine Eban at Fortune magazine we now know that the “Fast and Furious” scandal was largely manufactured for political gain. The “Fast and Furious” operation by the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) in Arizona was never designed to include the tactic of “gun walking”. Gun walking is the practice of intentionally not ceasing illegally purchased firearms in order to follow the subsequent chain of possession back to higher level criminals. It seems a few rogue ATF agents did engaged in an incident of this type on their own initiative, which does make it the AFT’s problem, but the specific guns the ATF is accused of allowing to walk across the border, one of which was used to kill a border guard named Brian Terry, could not be ceased by the ATF because the Arizona federal Prosecutors decided these weapons were legally purchased. Federal prosecutors in Arizona were broadly interpreting Arizona’s gun laws which are among the weakest gun laws in the nation.
The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal
June 27, 2012: 5:00 AM ET
The article begins:
FORTUNE — In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth’s ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico’s vicious drug war.
The Supreme Court struck down some but not all parts of SB1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law. What follows is an abridged syllabus to help make the ruling more readable. It is re-posted here as a reference site for the day that these issues resurface during the anticipated immigration debate to come. You can read the unabridged opinion here.
An Arizona statute known as S. B. 1070 was enacted in 2010 to address pressing issues related to the large number of unlawful aliens in the State. The United States sought to enjoin the law as preempted. The District Court issued a preliminary injunction preventing four of its provisions from taking effect.
- Section 3 makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor;
- Section 5(C) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State;
- Section 6 authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person “the officer has probable cause to believe . . . has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States”; and
- Section 2(B) requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person’s immigration status with the Federal Government.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed, agreeing that the United States had established a likelihood of success on its preemption claims.
1. The Federal Government’s broad, undoubted power over immigration and alien status rests, in part, on its constitutional power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and on its inherent sovereign power to control and conduct foreign relations, Federal governance is extensive and complex.
Among other things,
- federal law specifies categories of aliens who are ineligible to be admitted to the United States,
- requires aliens to register with the Federal Government and to carry proof of status,
- imposes sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers, and
- specifies which aliens may be removed and the procedures for doing so, removal is a civil matter, and one of its principal features
2 ARIZONA v. UNITED STATES is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials, who must decide whether to pursue removal at all. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for identifying, apprehending, and removing illegal aliens. It also operates the Law Enforcement Support Center, which provides immigration status information to federal, state, and local officials around the clock.
3. The Supremacy Clause gives Congress the power to preempt state law.
A statute may contain an express preemption provision, but state law must also give way to federal law in at least two other circumstances. First, States are precluded from regulating conduct in a field that Congress has determined must be regulated by its exclusive governance. Intent can be inferred from a framework of regulation “so pervasive . . . that Congress left no room for the States to supplement it” or where a “federal interest is so dominant that the federal system will be assumed to preclude enforcement of state laws on the same subject.” Second, state laws are preempted when they conflict with federal law, including when they stand “as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.” (a) Section 3 intrudes on the field of alien registration, a field in which Congress has left no room for States to regulate. In Hines, a state alien-registration program was struck down on the ground that Congress intended its “complete” federal registration plan to be a “single integrated and all-embracing system.” That scheme did not allow the States to “curtail or complement” federal law or “enforce additional or auxiliary regulations.” The federal registration framework remains comprehensive. Because Congress has occupied the field, even complementary state regulation is impermissible.
Pp. 8–11. (b) Section 5(C)’s criminal penalty stands as an obstacle to the federal regulatory system.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), a comprehensive framework for “combating the employment of illegal aliens,” makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire, recruit, refer, or continue to employ unauthorized workers, and requires employers to verify prospective employees’ employment authorization status. It imposes criminal and civil penalties on employers, but only civil penalties on aliens who seek, or engage in, unauthorized employment.
IRCA’s express preemption provision, though silent about whether additional penalties may be imposed against employees, “does not bar the ordinary working of conflict pre-emption principles” or impose a “special burden” making it more difficult to establish the preemption of laws falling outside the clause. The correct instruction to draw from the text, structure, and history of IRCA is that Congress decided it would be inappropriate to impose criminal penalties on unauthorized employees. [emphasis mine] It follows that a state law to the contrary is an obstacle to the regulatory system Congress chose.
(c) By authorizing state and local officers to make warrantless arrests of certain aliens suspected of being removable, Section 6 also creates an obstacle to federal law. As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States. [emphasis mine]
The federal scheme instructs when it is appropriate to arrest an alien during the removal
process. The Attorney General in some circumstances will issue a warrant for trained federal immigration officers to execute. If no federal warrant has been issued, these officers have more limited authority. They may arrest an alien for being “in the United States in violation of any [immigration] law or regulation,” for example, but only where the alien “is likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained.” Section 6 attempts to provide state officers with even greater arrest authority, which they could exercise with no instruction from the Federal Government. This is not the system Congress created. Federal law specifies limited circumstances in which state officers may perform an immigration officer’s functions. This includes instances where the Attorney General has granted that authority in a formal agreement with a state or local government.
Although federal law permits state officers to “cooperate with the Attorney General in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of aliens not lawfully present in the United States, this does not encompass the unilateral decision to detain authorized by Section 6.
4. It was improper to enjoin Section 2(B) before the state courts had an
opportunity to construe it and without some showing that Section 2(B)’s enforcement in fact conflicts with federal immigration law and its objectives.
(a) The state provision has three limitations:
- A detainee is presumed not to be an illegal alien if he or she provides a valid Arizona driver’s license or similar identification;
- officers may not consider race, color, or national origin “except to the extent permitted by the United States [and] Arizona Constitution[s]”; and
- Section 2(B) must be “implemented in a manner consistent with federal law regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens.”
(b) This Court finds unpersuasive the argument that, even with those limits, Section 2(B) must be held preempted at this stage.
- The mandatory nature of the status checks does not interfere with the federal immigration scheme. Consultation between federal and state officials is an important feature of the immigration system. In fact, Congress has encouraged the sharing of information about possible immigration violations. The federal scheme thus leaves room for a policy requiring state officials to contact ICE as a routine matter.
- It is not clear at this stage and on this record that Section 2(B), in practice, will require state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns. And it would disrupt the federal framework to put state officers in the position of holding aliens in custody for possible unlawful presence without federal direction and supervision. But Section §2(B) could be read to avoid these concerns. If the law only requires state officers to conduct a status check during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision would likely survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives. Without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume Section 2(B) will be construed in a way that conflicts with federal law.
This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect. Pp. 22–24. 641 F. 3d 339, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
C. J., and GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J.,
THOMAS, J., and ALITO, J., filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part. KAGAN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of
The venerable New Jersey Star Ledger newspaper printed an editorial on June 30, 2012, in which it repeated as fact a purely partisan narrative known as the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” scandal. Here below is my full response:
As for the 2000 high powered weapons supposedly lost by the ATF, (as per Republican Congressman, Darrell Issa) virtually all of them were legally purchased according to Arizona’s federal prosecutors. This includes the gun later used to kill a U.S. border guard.
The hard truth is that Federal prosecutors broadly interpret Arizona’s gun laws, which are already the weakest in the nation. In Arizona, an unemployed 18 year old with no criminal record can walk into a gun shop, buy fourteen AK-47 assault rifles, certify they are for personal use, change his mind after walking out of the store and then legally sell them to anyone in the parking lot. It’s as if the gun laws in Arizona were designed for gun traffickers. Frustrated ATF agents believed the weapons in question were going to criminals but were over ruled. It is the system that allowed these guns to walk, not the AFT.
Meanwhile, 55,000 Mexican citizens have been killed in the last five years in the battle among drug cartels and Mexican police. It is estimate that 2000 weapons a day cross our Southern border into Mexico and there’s little the AFT can do about it.
I doubt Eric Holder criminally withheld documents from Congress, but the facts about this haven’t filtered out yet. The whole scandal appears to be a political witch hunt. What has become clear, however, is that the guns needed to support Mexican drug cartels are flooding over the border every day while tons of their illegal product floods back here to destroy more American lives.
Thanks to the great reporting of Katherine Eban at Fortune magazine
Note: Many newspapers around the country are probably relying on Congressman Issa’s partisan narrative when reporting on this story. His commentary has been around for months while the Eban report is just days old. Even so, it is revealing how much journalists must depend on the messages politicians give them. Enterprise journalism (or investigative journalism), is what we need to verify what politicians say. This type of journalism is labor intensive and expensive. Eban’s investigation took six months. Corporate media outlets are profit driven, not truth driven enterprises. Newspapers in particular are in financial trouble. Readership and advertising sales are down. I sometimes wonder if readership is down in part because newspapers no longer provide us with trusted, independently verified news?
A TALE OF TWO NORMS
NORM AS DIRECTOR:
SEC Names Norm Champ as Director of Division of Investment Management
Over population is the elephant in the room than nobody talks about. Take most any crisis we face today, shrink it by 3 or 4 billion people and the problem goes away. Global population has doubled, and just about doubled again in my lifetime. It has fundamentally altered everything. It’s been estimated that there are as many people alive today as have ever lived before. Given our reproductive success as a species, it is easy to forget that population constrain is an unavoidable force of nature. Every species that ever was or ever will be is brought into natures balance. This WILL happen to humans with or without our planning. If we don’t take responsibility for a sustainable world the natural consequence could include human extinction. Natural consequences are seldom humane. Our intelligence has made us successful up till now, but if we don’t apply our ability to reason on this problem we won’t look so smart in the future. (selected reading below)
In the time it takes you to read this post there will be 2,000 more people in the world.
Graph of human population from 10,000 BC – 2,000 AD showing the unprecedented population growth since the 19th century
HERE IS A WORLD POPULATION CLOCK
Work to curb world overpopulation must begin now
Published July 11, 2012
Tuesday morning, the world’s population stood at 7,025,367,636. Some believe that’s already a billion more than the planet can ultimately sustain, but the number is growing annually by 80 million people.
At that rate – about 9,100 new people per hour – the world population increases by roughly the size of Thurston County [Washington State] every day.
This morning, in London, on World Population Day, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation brought world leaders together to kick off a $4 billion fundraising campaign to provide contraceptives for 120 million women who do not have access to birth control, all of them in the poorest countries. [snip]
The World’s New Numbers
by Martin Walker
OVERPOPULATION: A KEY FACTOR IN SPECIES EXTINCTION
As the world’s population grows unsustainably, so do its unyielding demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals. Most biologists agree we’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event; species are disappearing about 1,000 times faster than is typical of the planet’s history. This time, though, it isn’t because of geologic or cosmic forces but unsustainable human population growth.
Today’s global human population is over 7 billion. Every day, the planet sees a net gain of roughly 250,000 people. If the pace continues, we’ll be on course to reach 8 billion by 2020 and 9 billion by 2050.
By any ecological measure, Homo sapiens sapiens has exceeded its sustainable population size. Just a single human waste product — greenhouse gas — has drastically altered the chemistry of the planet’s atmosphere and oceans, causing global warming and ocean acidification.
In the United States, which has the world’s third largest population after China and India, the fertility rate peaked in 2007 at its highest level since 1971 before dropping off slightly due to the recent economic recession. At 2.1 children per woman, the U.S. fertility rate remains the highest among developed nations, which average around 1.6. The current U.S. population exceeds 300 million and is projected to grow 50 percent by 2050.
The mission of the Center for Biological Diversity is to stop the planetary extinction crisis wiping out rare plants and animals around the world. Explosive, unsustainable human population growth is an essential root cause of this crisis.
We can reduce our own population to an ecologically sustainable level in a number of ways, including the empowerment of women, education of all people, universal access to birth control and a societal commitment to ensuring that all species are given a chance to live and thrive. All of these steps will decrease human poverty and overcrowding, raise our standard of living and sustain the lives of plants, animals and ecosystems everywhere.
Bev Harris, Blackboxvoting.com
NEW CERTIFICATIONS, PLANNED EXPANSION: Black Box Voting has been investigating and reporting on this disconcerting trend for nine years now. Everything we’ve been reporting has not only turned out to be true, but is increasing. A press release today about the planned expansion of Unisyn into more USA locations renews attention on foreign ownership of corporations selling voting systems into the United States. Unisyn is owned by a Malaysian gambling outfit.
Another major elections industry player, Canada’s Dominion, purchased the massive Diebold Election Systems division (which it shares with ES&S); Dominion also owns Smartmatic, which handles electronic vote-counting in the Philippines and Belgium.
Military voting is now handled in several states by Barcelona, Spain-owned Scytl. In January 2012, Scytl acquired the largest election results reporting firm, SOE Software. Accenture, now based in Dublin Ireland (formerly headquartered in tax-haven Bermuda), claims copyright over the massive electronic voter registration/voter history databases used in several states, including Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arkansas.
Accenture purchased its voter registration unit from Election.com, a Saudi-owned company based in the Cayman Islands. Because a computer will only do what it’s programmers and administrators tell it to do, whoever issues the commands gains ultimate control over how it receives, counts, and reports votes, voter registrations, and voter histories. UNISYN: According to Barry Herron (formerly of Diebold Election Systems), now Director of Sales for Unisyn, “Unisyn and our business partners are actively supporting installations in the States of Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. We intend to expand into other states in late 2012 and early 2013.” Unisyn also recently made inroads into Puerto Rico.
Another Unisyn election product called “Inkavote” is used in 4 million-voter Los Angeles County (Calif) and in Jackson County Missouri. IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF USA ELECTION SOFTWARE? Not if you don’t mind some unknown guys working offshore controlling whatever they choose to in the software processing votes and voters.
For more on Malaysian, Chinese, Canadian, Spanish, Saudi, Cayman, Irish ownership of USA election software, see full Black Box Voting article with supporting documents and links: http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/8/82176.html * * * * We APPRECIATE the wonderful support many of you have been providing over the years! It is the sole reason we still exist. Permission to reprint or excerpt granted, with link to http://www.blackboxvoting.org