Monday, October 7, 2013

NYC accountant gets 18 years for aiding al-Qaeda

NYC accountant gets 18 years for aiding al-Qaeda

NEW YORK (AP) — A successful accountant who admitted supporting al-Qaeda with money and supplies was sentenced to 18 years in prison Monday by a judge who said it was necessary to deter others from developing similar violent aspirations.
Sabirhan Hasanoff, 37, a citizen of the U.S. and Australia, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court, where he pleaded guilty last year to supporting al-Qaeda and conspiring with others. He was also ordered to forfeit $70,000.
The sentence was two years less than the maximum he faced after striking a plea deal with the government, though it was five years longer than what Probation Department officers recommended.
Prosecutors said Hasanoff provided extensive support to al-Qaeda from 2007 to 2010, including by purchasing an advanced remote control for explosives attacks and by reporting rudimentary information about the New York Stock Exchange. They said he also made regular cash donations to people he thought were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
The judge said the "most important factor" in deciding how much time Hasanoff must serve was the need to deter others from similar conduct.
In a letter to the judge, Hasanoff expressed regret for abandoning his life in America, where he lived in Brooklyn with his wife and three children after graduating from Baruch College in Manhattan and obtaining a job as a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He was working as the chief financial officer for a large company based in Dubai when he was arrested there in 2010 and brought to the United States to face charges.
"I made a good living and my family and I enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle," he wrote. "And then, for reasons that I still have trouble confronting, I threw that all away."
Inspired by radical clerics, he said his desire to strengthen his Muslim faith and fight atrocities committed against Muslims around the world mixed with guilt about his comfortable life.
"I completely renounce any view of Islam that says that violent jihad is in any way acceptable," he said.
Hasanoff told the judge Monday: "I'm very sorry for my conduct. I should have known better, and I don't have any excuses."
An indictment alleged that Hasanoff and met with two men in 2008 to discuss aiding al-Qaeda. It said one of the men paid Hasanoff $50,000 to transfer money and do other tasks for the terrorist network.
The government said Hasanoff and his co-defendant used code words in Internet chats in 2009 about fighting jihad and finding other al-Qaeda contacts. In their coded language, "safari" was used in place of "jihad" and saying a friend was "hospitalized" meant that he was in prison.

Affluent Genocide

Affluent Genocide By: Robert Spencer | Tuesday, October 14, 2003

"At first blush,” says Fawaz Turki of Arab News, “one is tempted to wonder . . . why Hanadi Jaradat, a young law school graduate, who had her whole life ahead of her, would choose to become a suicide bomber.” Jaradat was the Palestinian in her late twenties who murdered 19 people and wounded 40 by blowing herself up in a Haifa restaurant on October 5.
I do wonder. But Turki’s explanation is wanting. He says not a word about Islamic justifications for suicide bombing. Jaradat, he says, “had her whole life ahead of her . . . But what kind of life are we talking about when you have to go through any of the hundreds of checkpoints, manned by foreign troops, to get anywhere — in your own homeland?” Yet one need have no sympathy for the Israelis at all to recognize that the Palestinians are quite far from the first people ever to have suffered in that way — but they are among the first to resort to the wholesale murder of civilians as a plan of resistance.

Jaradat’s father adds: “I can tell you that our people believe that what Hanadi has done is justified. Imagine watching the Israelis kill your son, your nephew, destroying our house — they are pushing our people into a corner, they are provoking actions like these by our people.” Hanadi Jaradat, we are told, turned to suicide bombing after her brother and cousin were killed by the Israelis. But Fadi Jaradat and Saleh Jaradat were not innocent bystanders in a restaurant; they were already at war with Israel as members of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, which recruited Hanadi after their deaths last June. Islamic Jihad, for its part, said the attack was revenge for Israel’s attacks on movement leaders. But again: leaders and soldiers in a movement that is opposed to all negotiations and dedicated to the death of Israel by any means necessary are not equivalent to patrons in a restaurant. To suggest that they are is to do the gravest disservice to the Palestinian cause, by associating that cause indelibly with terror, mayhem, and the intentional murder of innocents.

We are told Palestinians turn to suicide bombing because they are poor. Left-wingers speculate that since they can afford no other weapons, terrorists make themselves weapons against the oppressor. Again, one need have no sympathy whatsoever for the Israelis to recognize the Saudi oil billions that have funded terrorist groups such as Hamas, the blood brother of Islamic Jihad and the chief obstacle to all peace accords.

Moreover, study after study has shown that Jaradat, with her law degree, was no anomaly. On August 19, Raed Abdel-Hamed Mesk, an Islamic Studies teacher who was working toward his master’s degree, murdered 21 people on a bus in Jerusalem. Mesk, a Hamas member, had everything to live for: not only was he professionally successful, but he was the father of two young children. Hiba Daraghmeh, who murdered three people and wounded 48 at an Israeli shopping mall on May 19, was a student of English literature at Al Quds Open University in the West Bank.

Yet when research scientist Scott Atran published in the New York Times findings that showed that suicide bombers were actually most often from educated and relatively affluent backgrounds, he provoked a hail of indignant letters to the editor. “Scott Atran may be right that many suicide bombers are educated, not impoverished and asocial,” huffed one, “but this does not rule out ignorance, poverty and alienation as underlying causes of terrorism. Nor does it mean that religious martyrdom is the main motivation of these attacks.” Another sniffed: “It should be obvious by now that the most effective way to deal with terrorism is to deal with the injustices that motivate so much of it.”

Face it: Jaradat was not poor and ignorant. Most likely she was motivated by precisely the thirst for religious martyrdom that the Times reader above cannot or will not understand. The Times is no doubt listening to moderate Muslims in the United States, who assure them that suicide bombing violates Qur’anic strictures against suicide, and is thus un-Islamic. One of these is journalist Amir Taheri, author of Holy Terror: The Inside Story of Islamic Terrorism. Taheri has noted that “Islamic religious law . . . does not permit suicide under any circumstances. In Islam, suicide is an ‘unpardonable sin’ (zunb layughfar lah), in the same category as denying the Oneness of God. People who commit suicide cannot be buried in a Muslim graveyard and are put to rest away from human habitation and in unmarked tombs.”

But as I explain in my book Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery), Muslim defenders of suicide bombing brush aside such arguments by denying that those who blow themselves up in public places are actually committing suicide at all — since their intention is not to kill themselves but to use their bodies as an instrument to kill unbelievers. As such, the bombers are martyrs. Taheri himself encountered this idea in the person of Seyf al-Islam (“Sword of Islam”) Qaddafi, the son of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. In an interview, Seyf-al-Islam turned aside numerous invitations from Taheri to condemn suicide bombing. About Palestinian suicide bombers he declared: “They are acting in accordance with the holy Koran and the law of retribution.” When Taheri challenged this, invoking the Qur’an’s prohibitions of suicide and the killing of non-combatants, Qaddafi replied: “We obviously have different readings of the Koran.” He also echoed Osama bin Laden’s justification for attacks on American civilians:  “There are no civilians in Israel. All Israelis are either in the army or have been or shall one day be soldiers.”

Such ideas are widespread in the Islamic world. Last year a London-based Arabic-language newspaper carried an interview with Umm Nidal, the mother of Muhammad Farhat of Hamas, who carried out a suicide attack on March 3, 2002. Said Umm Nidal: “Jihad is a [religious] commandment imposed upon us. We must instill this idea in our sons’ souls, all the time. . . . What we see every day — massacres, destruction, bombing [of] homes — strengthened, in the souls of my sons, especially Muhammad, the love of Jihad and martyrdom. . . . Allah be praised, I am a Muslim and I believe in Jihad. Jihad is one of the elements of the faith and this is what encouraged me to sacrifice Muhammad in Jihad for the sake of Allah. My son was not destroyed, he is not dead; he is living a happier life than I.”

Umm Nidal was referring to the Qur’an: “And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: ‘They are dead.’ Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not” (Sura 2:154). Umm Nidal continued: “Because I love my son, I encouraged him to die a martyr’s death for the sake of Allah. . . . Jihad is a religious obligation incumbent upon us, and we must carry it out. I sacrificed Muhammad as part of my obligation. This is an easy thing. There is no disagreement [among scholars] on such matters.”

Didn’t Umm Nidal know that suicide was forbidden in the Qur’an? How did she arrive at this serene certainty that all Muslim scholars agreed with her point of view? She viewed her son’s action from a perspective of deep Islamic piety: “I prayed from the depths of my heart that Allah would cause the success of his operation. I asked Allah to give me 10 [Israelis] for Muhammad, and Allah granted my request and Muhammad made his dream come true, killing 10 Israeli settlers and soldiers. Our God honored him even more, in that there were many Israelis wounded.”

Suicide bombing has a disturbingly wide appeal. According to Mahmoud Al­Zahhar of Hamas, a 2002 call for suicide bombers at the University of Alexandria in Egypt resulted in two thousand students signing up “to die a martyr’s death.” The sheer magnitude of the phenomenon of suicide bombing, the variance in the circumstances in which it is carried out, and above all its theological underpinnings should make clear that this is not simply a last desperate resort of the poverty-stricken oppressed; rather, it springs from an understanding of Islam that is, however much we would wish it away, founded on traditional concepts and rooted in the deepest longings of many Muslims. As such the debate within the Muslim world is at an impasse — and the bombings continue, not only in Israel but also in Kashmir, Chechnya, and other battlegrounds of jihad.

“The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death,” said Maulana Inyadullah of al-Qaeda in the aftermath of September 11. He and Hanadi Jaradat love death so much that they are ready to bring it upon others in line with their understanding of the ways of Allah: “Those who love the life of this world more than the Hereafter, who hinder (men) from the Path of Allah and seek therein something crooked: they are astray by a long distance” (Sura 14:3).

Until moderate Muslims drop their posture of denial about the Islamic roots and appeal of suicide bombing, there will be more and more deaths. Until they recognize Maulana Inyadullah’s strange love and work to eradicate it from Islam, we will see many more Hanadi Jaradats.

Robert Spencer is the author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (new from Regnery Publishing) and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books, 2002). He is an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.

Researchers probe motives of suicide bombers

And find, surprise surprise, that they are motivated by religion, not by poverty -- as we have illustrated here again and again. I suspect that "Scott Atram of the United States," quoted below, is researcher Scott Atran, whose findings I discussed briefly in this article.
From AFP, with thanks to Eric:

PARIS –– Suicide bombers, such as those who attacked tourist targets in Bali last week, are driven by motives close to those of members of religious sects which are hard for outsiders to comprehend, experts said Tuesday. "They are often young people who get together spontaneously in a desire to avenge the injustice of which they feel the Muslim world in general is the victim," said Scott Atram of the United States, professor of psychology and anthropology at the University of Michigan and a senior researcher at the French research institution CNRS.
"A recruiter notices them and begins to indoctrinate them, to persuade them they are going to play a role in jihad (holy war), the only way to get things to move."
At the end of the process they are conditioned, isolated, given moral support, convinced they are giving their lives for a cause greater than themselves, and capable of strapping a bomb to their bodies.
And, like the young man in a black T-shirt caught on an amateur video in Bali last Saturday, capable of walking calmly into a restaurant to kill themselves and as many ordinary people as possible.
In the case of Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), believed to be behind the Bali bombings, recruiters "take young people into the jungle and give them a very special religious education," Atram said.
"The message they give them is that there is no more important thing in life than jihad. It's more important than prayers, than fasting, than the Hajj (pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia). And that the most noble thing in life is to die for the jihad. Then it seems perfectly normal to you.
"It's small groups feeding on themselves: you can get people to do anything you want. It's like a sect logic. They don't think about the target: they just do it.
"These people don't do it out of hate: they do it more out of love for their own group. They're doing it because they believe they're doing good for their people. They are usually fully compassionate people. I never came across one that was a real nutcase," he said.

John Kerry’s Jobs Program for Would-Be Jihadists

John Kerry’s Jobs Program for Would-Be Jihadists

20130301_john_kerry_large_2013Last Friday in New York, at a meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu launched what they called the “Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience,” which said was intended to “support local communities and organizations to counter extremist ideology and promote tolerance.” It will do this essentially by giving potential jihad terrorists money and jobs – an initiative that proceeds from the false and oft-disproven assumption that poverty causes terrorism.
Kerry demonstrated his faith in this false assumption when he spoke about the importance of “providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment” into jihad groups. The GCTF is devoting $200 million to this project, which it calls “countering violent extremism” (CVE).
Kerry said this money would be used for “challenging the narrative of violence that is used to justify the slaughtering of innocent people.” But it doesn’t seem as if any significant amount of time or money will be devoted to any effort to convince young would-be jihadis that the al-Qaeda understanding of Islam is wrong, and that Islam is actually a Religion of Peace.
Rather, the GFCER of the CVE program of the GCTF bears more than just a passing resemblance to the WPA and the TVA and the rest of FDR’s alphabet soup of Depression-era recovery agencies. It is little more than a large-scale jobs program, as Kerry explained: “Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment. In country after country, you look at the demographics – Egypt, the West Bank – 60 percent of the young people either under the age of 30 or under the age of 25, 50 percent under the age of 21, 40 percent under the age of 18, all of them wanting jobs, opportunity, education, and a future.”
This will be $200 million down the drain, for a lack of “economic opportunities for marginalized youth” doesn’t fuel Islamic jihad terrorism in the first place. Is it poverty and a lack of economic opportunities that leads the fantastically rich House of Saud to finance that jihad worldwide? If Kerry were correct and terrorism is simply a byproduct of poverty, why isn’t Haiti a terrorist state? Why isn’t the world plagued with Bolivian suicide bombers?
In reality, study after study has shown that jihadists are not poor and bereft of economic opportunities, but generally wealthier and better educated than their peers. CNS noted that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”
But none of this has sunk in among the political elites. According to CNS, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama talked in October 2001 about “some of the root causes of this terrorist activity,” noting that “for nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, or much of the Middle East, young men have no opportunities. They see poverty all around them and they are angry by that poverty.”
In reality, as the Times Online reported as far back as April 2005, “three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.”
There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000 Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.
More recently, there was Sabirhan Hasanoff, a graduate of Baruch College who was a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then CFO of a large company in Dubai. Hasanoff was sentenced last Monday to eighteen years in prison for aiding al-Qaeda. Contrite at his sentencing, Hasanoff didn’t say anything about lacking economic opportunities – on the contrary, he said: “I made a good living and my family and I enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. And then, for reasons that I still have trouble confronting, I threw that all away.”
Those reasons that he had trouble confronting, according to AP, were rooted in Islam: “Inspired by radical clerics, he said his desire to strengthen his Muslim faith and fight atrocities committed against Muslims around the world mixed with guilt about his comfortable life.”
That would suggest that this new initiative of the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience is not only doomed to fail, as it obviously is, but that it could be actively counter-productive: what if one (or more) of the potential jihadis who find gainful employ thanks to John Kerry and Ahmet Davutoglu start to feel guilty about their “comfortable lifestyle,” and turn to jihad in order to compensate for it, as did Sabirhan Hasanoff?
One thing is certain: John Kerry and Ahmet Davutoglu will never consider that question, and no member of the mainstream media will ever ask them to. Another certainty is that jihad terrorism will continue despite this new financial windfall for young Muslim men, and given the way these throw-money-at-the-problem solutions have worked in the past (cf. the billions we gave the Pakistanis to fight al-Qaeda, that instead ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda), it is likely that some or most of this money will end up financing that jihad terror. One wonders how long this madness can go on without anyone in the loyal opposition in Washington ever getting the clue that it is time for some accountability.
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US interrogators sent to question al Qaeda suspect

A team of military, intelligence and Justice Department interrogators has been sent to the USS San Antonio in international waters to question terror suspect Abu Anas al-Libi, who was captured in Libya over the weekend, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Monday.
Al-Libi was indicted in 2000 for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. He is currently being held in military custody aboard the Navy ship under the laws of war, which means a person can be captured and held indefinitely as an enemy combatant, one of the officials said.
As of Monday, al-Libi had not been read his Miranda rights -- which includes the rights to remain silent and speak with an attorney. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
The interrogators sent to question al-Libi are part of a group of interrogators called the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group. The group was created by the Obama administration in 2009 to juggle the need to extract intelligence from captured suspected terrorists and preserve evidence for a criminal trial.  It's part of President Obama's strategy to prosecute terrorists in U.S. civilian courts.
In 2011, the U.S. captured Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali citizen suspected of helping support and train al-Qaeda-linked terrorists. Warsame was questioned aboard a warship for two months before he was brought to the U.S. to face charges. He pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to tell the FBI what he knew about terror threats and, if necessary, testify for the government.
Under interrogation, Warsame gave up what officials called important intelligence about al-Qaeda in Yemen and its relationship with al-Shabab militants in Somalia. Because those sessions were conducted before Warsame was read his Miranda rights, the intelligence could be used to underpin military strikes or CIA actions but were not admissible in court. After that interrogation was complete, the FBI stepped in and started the questioning over in a way that could be used in court. After the FBI read Warsame his rights, he opted to keep talking for days, helping the government build its case.
It was unclear Monday when al-Libi would be brought to the U.S. to face trial or whether there would be additional charges.
The Obama administration has said it can hold high value detainees on a ship for as long as it needs to. During his confirmation hearing in June 2011 to be the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven said the U.S. could keep a detainee on a ship for as long as it takes to determine whether the U.S. could prosecute the suspect in civilian court or if the U.S. could return the suspect to another country.
The FBI and CIA had been tracking al-Libi for years, two former U.S. intelligence officials said. Both former officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak about the case.
Officials said after 9/11 that al-Libi had been living in Iran for several years. He then moved to Pakistan before he returned to Libya prior to Moammar Gadhafi's government falling. He went back to Africa to be reunited with his family.
Once the fighting ended, the U.S. intelligence community began focusing on trying to capture al-Libi, the former official said, adding that the U.S. Army's Delta Force worked with local Libyans to apprehend al-Libi. One of the New York FBI's counterterrorism squads, CT-6 -- that focuses on Africa, played a significant role in the capture.

CBO Projects the Gang of Eight Bill Fails to Stop Illegal Immigration

Nearly 5 million new illegals and their children expected by 2023

By CIS June 2013

Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2013) – The central purpose of the Schumer-Rubio bill (S.744) is to reduce future illegal immigration. In fact, Sen. Chuck Schumer has said that its passage would mean "Illegal immigration will be a thing of the past."
But the Center for Immigration Studies finds that the new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the legislation confirms that the bill will almost completely fail in this regard. According to CBO, if S.744 passes, "the net annual flow of unauthorized residents would decrease by 25 percent." Because S.744 fails to stem a larger portion of illegal immigration, CBO projects that nearly 5 million new illegal immigrants and their children will be living in the United States 10 years after the bill passes.
Among CBO's findings:
  • CBO projects 4.8 million new illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children will be living in the country by 2023 if the bill becomes law, compared to 6.4 million without it – a mere 25% reduction in future illegal immigration (page 23).
  • CBO projections mean that in the first ten years after the passage of S.744, new illegal immigration will add nearly 500,000 illegal residents and their children to the U.S. population each year.
  • CBO projects that by 2033 7.5 million new illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children will be in the country if the bill passes, compared to 10 million without the bill, so even in the very long term S.744 only reduces illegal immigration by 25% (page 23).
  • To be clear, the 4.8 million new illegal immigrants and their children in the country by 2023 and the 6.4 million by 2033 are new arrivals, plus the children they will have once here.
  • One of the reasons that illegal immigration will remain so high, according to CBO, is the bill itself will encourage illegal immigration. CBO states, "aspects of the bill would probably increase the number of unauthorized residents – in particular, people overstaying their visas issued under the new programs for temporary workers"(page 23).
  • None of the costs associated with the 4.8 million illegals and their children in 2023 or the 7.5 million in 2033 are considered by CBO because they are assumed to be part of the "baseline" costs that would exist anyway. CBO only "scores" changes from the baseline. Thus, the projected slight fall off in illegal immigration (25%) is scored as a positive by CBO, no matter how large the actual costs of new illegal immigrants and their children.
Explaining CBO projections of future illegal immigration
On page 23 of its report CBO projects future levels of illegal immigration. Like much in the CBO report, the discussion of future illegal immigration is not particularly clear. However, CBO does state, "the net annual flow of unauthorized residents would decrease by about 25 percent relative to what would occur under current law, resulting in a reduction in the U.S. population (including a reduction in the number of children born in the United States) relative to that benchmark of 1.6 million in 2023 and 2.5 million in 2033." Thus, according to CBO, the total new illegal immigrant population (plus children) would have been 6.4 million by 2023, but will be 4.8 million if S.744 passes, which is 25 percent (1.6 million) smaller than it otherwise would have been. By 2033 the illegal population (plus children) will be 7.5 million which is 25% (2.5 million) smaller than the 10 million it would otherwise have been.
The costs of S.744
CBO also estimates the costs of S.744. But how those costs are calculated is not clearly explained, so they are difficult to evaluate. It is the intention of the Center for Immigration Studies to evaluate these cost estimates in future publications.
See the report from a 2010 Center symposium on "The Politics and Practicalities of Exit Controls" at


Must-Read Articles on the Schumer-Rubio Bill

Highlighting the Flaws of S.744

By CIS June 2013

Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185
Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2013) – Just over two months ago, the Senate's Gang of Eight introduced their far-reaching 844 page immigration bill. Drafted behind closed doors, many have struggled to learn the bill’s details. The Center for Immigration Studies has made available a copy of the now nearly 1,200-page bill, relevant CIS studies, testimony, research, and writings at:
As the bill likely comes to a final vote today, the analysis below should give all Americans pause. The proposed amnesty for 11 million and massive increase in legal immigration lacks any real enforcement and would have serious fiscal and economic implications. It is also loaded with slush funds and stimulus money.

Rubio, McCain, Reid Talk Strategy on Reform Bill
What is it about? The blog covers a Sunday morning "Al Punto" program on Univision, where Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) responded to questions from host Maria Elena Salinas
Why is it important? The explanation from Gang of Eight member, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): "Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization..."

Senate Bill Doubles Annual Flow of Guest Workers
Increase even larger than one proposed and rejected in 2007
What is it about? An analysis of S.744, which finds the bill would admit nearly 1.6 million more temporary workers, in the first year alone, than currently allowed.
Why is it important? If it passes, the Schumer-Rubio bill would shut out even more Americans from job opportunities, especially minorities, whether in STEM fields, agriculture, construction, or health care. Most of these temporary worker increases have no economic justification.

The Fiscal and Economic Impact of Immigration on the United States
Testimony Prepared for the Joint Economic Committee
What is it about? When considering the economics of immigration, there are three related but distinct issues. First, immigration makes the U.S. economy (GDP) larger. However, by itself a larger economy is not a benefit to native-born Americans. Though the immigrants themselves benefit, there is no body of research indicating that immigration substantially increases the per-capita GDP or income of natives. Second, there is the fiscal impact — taxes paid by immigrants minus the costs they create for government. There is general agreement that less-educated, lower-income immigrants are a net fiscal drain; and more-educated, higher-income immigrants are a net fiscal benefit. Third, there is immigration's effect on the wages and employment opportunities of native-born workers. Basic economic theory predicts that immigration should create a net gain for natives, but to do so it redistributes income from workers in competition with immigrants to workers not in competition and to owners of capital. Because the least educated and poorest Americans are the most likely to be in competition with immigrants, they tend to be the biggest losers from immigration.
Why is it important? Immigration makes the U.S. economy larger. However, for the native-born population immigration (legal and illegal) it is primarily a redistributive policy; it does not substantially raise the overall income of native-born Americans. As for the fiscal impact of immigration, the education level of the immigrants in question is the key to understanding their fiscal impact. It should be remembered that it is simply not possible to fund social programs by bringing in large numbers of immigrants with relatively little education. This is central to the debate on illegal immigration given that such a large share of illegal immigrants have modest levels of education.

How Many Amnestied Illegals Will There Be in Your State?
What is it about? Estimates of the likely state-by-state distribution of those to be amnestied should S.744 become law.
Why is it important? The adverse impact of the legalization program will fall heaviest on unemployed legal residents of the country, so the included table shows both the projected number of legalized aliens and the current number of unemployed, state-by-state.

Immigration Bill Contains Slush Funds for Pro-Amnesty Groups
What is it about? The pro-amnesty lobbyists who helped craft the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill included within the bill two "slush funds" amounting to $150 million that may be supplemented with additional taxpayer dollars for years to come.
Why is it important? In addition to providing much flexibility to the grant recipients, the bill does not include any audit or oversight provision.

Promises, Promises
The track record on enforcement guarantees is not encouraging
What is it about? A partial list of the broken promises regarding immigration enforcement.
Why is it important? It suggests concern is warranted on the implementation of promises made in S.744.

CBO Projects the Gang of Eight Bill Fails to Stop Illegal Immigration
Nearly 5 million new illegals and their children expected by 2023
What is it about? According to CBO, if S.744 passes, "the net annual flow of unauthorized residents would decrease by 25 percent."
Why is it important? Although more border enforcement provisions have been added to the bill, the CBO report explains that the majority of future illegal immigrants will come from overstayed visas.

The Life of Julia, Amnesty Applicant
What is it about? In 2012, the Obama campaign released a slideshow titled, "The Life of Julia" which promoted agenda items being critical to the success of a hypothetical female named Julia. The Center has created a new version, which asks, "What would the amnesty bill look like from the perspective of an illegal alien named Julia?"
Why is it important? The slideshow explains the benefits to be received by illegal immigrants, through the point of view of an illegal immigrant receiving amnesty.

Why Less-Skilled Immigration and Amnesty Are so Costly to Taxpayers
What is it about? In the modern American economy those with relatively little education (immigrant or native) earn modest wages on average, and by design they make modest tax contributions. Because of their relatively low incomes, the less-educated, or their dependent children, are often eligible for welfare and other means-tested programs. As a result, the less-educated use more in services than they pay in taxes.
Why is it important? It is simply not possible to fund social programs by bringing in large numbers of immigrants with relatively little education. This is central to the debate on illegal immigration given that such a large share of illegal immigrants have modest levels of education. The realities of the modern American economy coupled with the modern American administrative state make large fiscal costs an unavoidable problem of large-scale, less-educated immigration which means unavoidable costs for taxpayers.

Hoeven-Corker Amendment – Long on Amnesty, Short on Everything Else
What is it about? Discusses the almost 200 page Hoeven-Corker amendment.
Why is it important? Even if 20,000 border agents are hired, and trained over the next decade, there is no assurance that they won't be prevented from effectively controlling the border by elected officials who are beholden to lobbyists and big donors. The focus is totally on inputs, not results.

Foreign-Born Share Would Hit Historic High in Seven Years Under S.744
One in Seven U.S. Residents Would Be Immigrants by 2020
What is it about? Based on the CBO's numbers, it projects that the total size of the foreign-born population would grow to 55.9 million by 2023 and nearly 65.2 million by 2033 if S.744 becomes law.
Why is it important? The increase in the foreign-born population will affect infrastructure, quality of life, and integration issues.

Five Myths about Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants in Senate Bill
What is it about? On close inspection, the hoops illegal immigrants are required to jump through do not amount to much. It discusses five claims about the requirements for illegal immigrants to earn amnesty – none are not what they seem.
Why is it important? Back taxes, fees and other requirements have been routinely used as a spoonful of medicine to help the amnesty go down. It turns out that many of these claims are placebos.
The 2013 Immigration Debate
Opposing Bills in House and Senate

Tracking the arrival and departure of foreign visitors to the United States is an essential part of immigration control. This detailed report confirms that a biometric exit-tracking system for foreign visitors departing by air or sea is immediately feasible at a reasonable cost. Read more...

A new report analyzes the impact of remittances sent by Mexicans living abroad on the behavior of Mexican leaders. These monies that benefit Mexican families take the pressure off local and state leaders to deploy public funds in their jurisdictions. Read more...

In a new video, a former Assistant Special Agent in Charge at ICE examines worksite enforcement and the agency’s neglect of illegal employment. William Riley advocates stiffer penalties, increased resources for ICE, and the expansion of E-Verify for employers. Watch video...

The “chilling effect” immigration enforcement is alleged to have on police trust in immigrant communities is a myth, concludes a new publication, which presents a collection of government and academic research. Read more...

A new analysis of the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278) finds that the bill would improve public safety by getting tougher on illegal alien criminals and will institutionalize cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement. Read more...

An internationally recognized authority on immigration policy and a Fellow of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mr. David North, argues in a new video that the United States immigration policy is “tilted against the people at the bottom of the American labor market.” Watch Interview...

Pakistani Islamists Bomb Polio Vaccination Workers, Two Killed…

Pakistani Islamists Bomb Polio Vaccination Workers, Two Killed…

Islamist Neanderthals.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) – A bomb exploded next to a van carrying Pakistani security guards tasked with protecting workers involved in an anti-polio drive in the country’s northwest on Monday, killing two people, according to officials.
The attack was the latest incident of violence against the government- and U.N.-backed effort to eradicate polio from Pakistan.
The bomb killed a police officer and a member of a volunteer peace committee, said senior superintendent of police operations for Peshawar district, Najeeb ur-Rehman. Police initially reported that six people died but ur-Rehman said that figure was later revised to two.
The attack happened in the village of Malikhel, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the provincial capital of Peshawar. The victims were supposed to be protecting workers administering anti-polio vaccine to local residents.
In 2011, Pakistan had 198 confirmed polio cases, the highest number of any nation in the world. It was able to bring that number down to 58 in 2012 through an aggressive vaccination program.
But the success has come at a steep cost.
Militants who oppose the vaccinations often target workers delivering the vaccine and threaten people who want to get their kids vaccinated.

This is unbelievable. The Obama administration has shut down the Amber Alert website because of the government shutdown and it now renders this message when you attempt to access it:
I’m sure you care about your lost child but Obama doesn’t – at least not while he’s trying to ‘win’ the government shutdown. I understand from twitter that Amber alerts are state level programs with a federal website. Not real sure how all that works but it just seems unfathomable that this website wouldn’t qualify under ‘essential’, especially when most of the government is still operating.
No, this is just Obama putting politics ahead of you finding your lost child. Despicable.
UPDATE: Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move website works just fine. Seriously. (h/t: @kesgardner)
UPDATE: Looks like the administration had a change of heart due to the bad publicity this has gotten. It’s now back online:
I double checked it myself and it indeed works. Chalk another one up for new media.

Exclusive: The Koch brothers' secret bank

Exclusive: The Koch brothers' secret bank

Charles (left) and David Koch are pictured in this composite image. | AP Photos
The group Freedom Partners serves as an outlet for the Koch brothers' ideas and cash. | AP Photos
An Arlington, Va.-based conservative group, whose existence until now was unknown to almost everyone in politics, raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide.
The group, Freedom Partners, and its president, Marc Short, serve as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.

Inside Koch brother's secret bank

Obama holds cabinet meeting on Syria, health care

The 38-page IRS filing amounts to the Rosetta Stone of the vast web of conservative groups — some prominent, some obscure — that spend time, money and resources to influence public debate, especially over Obamacare.
(PHOTOS: 25 unforgettable Obamacare quotes)
The group has about 200 donors, each paying at least $100,000 in annual dues. It raised $256 million in the year after its creation in November 2011, the document shows. And it made grants of $236 million — meaning a totally unknown group was the largest sugar daddy for conservative groups in the last election, second in total spending only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which together spent about $300 million.
Short, a soft-spoken but ferociously conservative 43-year-old operative, provided us a draft of a forthcoming IRS filing that will soon be available to the public. Short, like most in the Koch empire, feels wealthy conservative activists such as Charles and David Koch get a bum rap from the media. So, Short wants to ease his groups and their cause out of the shadows.
“There’s a mystery around us that makes an interesting story,” Short said in an interview in his conference room. “There’s also a vilification that happens that gets exaggerated when your opposition thinks you’re secretive. Our members are proud to be part of [the organization].”
(Also on POLITICO: RGA haul far outpaces DGA haul)
Democrats have their own vast web of secretive funders — and Short is right: Few liberals got as much scrutiny as the Koch brothers over the past few years.
But the “proud” donors are not so proud they will publicly identify themselves as donors. Short refused to open up about the men and women behind the quarter-billion-dollar fund, beyond saying that Koch-linked entities provided a “minority” of the funds and that the largest single donor gave about $25 million.
Freedom Partners is organized under the same section of the Tax Code as a trade association, a 501(c)6, which allows the group to conceal its donors from public release, although the amounts and recipients of its major grants are public.
The filing offers a rare tour of the conservative movement and how it gets its funds:
• Center to Protect Patient Rights, a group that vehemently opposes Obamacare: a total of $115 million, from three grants.
• Americans for Prosperity, an organizing and advocacy group that is courted by Republican presidential candidates: $32.3 million.
• The 60 Plus Association, a free-market seniors group that also opposes Obamacare: $15.7 million.
• American Future Fund, an Iowa group that spent a lot of money on ads in 2012, many for Mitt Romney: $13.6 million.
• Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, which gets involved in a number of social policy debates: $8.2 million.
• Themis Trust, a Koch-based voter database that is made available to other conservative organizations: $5.8 million.
• Public Notice, a fiscal policy think tank: $5.5 million.
• Generation Opportunity, a group for “liberty-loving” young people: $5 million.
• The LIBRE Initiative, which targets a free-market message to Hispanic immigrants: $3.1 million.
• The National Rifle Association: $3.5 million.
• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $2 million.
• American Energy Alliance: $1.5 million.
• And several groups — including the State Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots and Heritage Action for America — got less than $1 million each.
Members are drawn from the Koch brothers’ semiannual conferences, a 10-year-old tradition that draws top politicians — including, last month, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Many seminar attendees also give directly to Koch-approved groups, and the Freedom Partners funds do not include the Kochs’ many gifts to university think tanks.
(Also on POLITICO: Cantor, Ryan headline Koch summit)
Short says his members are “concerned that the nation that they grew up in and that their businesses have flourished in will not be there for their children and grandchildren,” and are “committed to trying to restore what they view are free markets in a free society in America.” Many, he said, are “Horatio Alger-type stories,” most of them not household names, who got rich after starting small businesses, from service to manufacturing to information technology: “They are really worried about the country that’s going to be left for their future generations.”
Freedom Partners now has 48 employees. The executive director is Richard Ribbentrop, a former head of the New York Stock Exchange’s Washington office, who was chief of staff to former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and longtime legislative director to Sen. Phil Gramm, both Texas Republicans. At Hutchison’s office, Ribbentrop hired Short, who succeeded him as chief of staff. Short later was chief of staff to then-Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who was chairman of the House Republican Conference, and is now governor of Indiana. The Freedom Partners vice president of strategic communications is James Davis, who was communications director of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The group has five directors: Short; Wayne Gable, a longtime Koch Industries employee who was the new group’s first director and holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University; Richard Fink, a Ph.D. in economics who is president of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation; Kevin Gentry, a Koch official and vice chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia; and Nestor Weigand, a board member of Regal Entertainment Group and former president of the National Association of Realtors.
We asked Short what he has to show for all that money spent in 2012, when Republicans failed at a within-reach effort to take back the Senate and Romney left the GOP in a deep hole by getting wiped out among some demographic groups, including Hispanic and Asian voters. “Our members are committed to the long term,” Short said, “not to one individual cycle.”
Kenneth P. Vogel contributed.

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Coalition Letter: Congress Must Honor Sequester Savings and Defund ObamaCare Before It Is Too Late

Coalition Letter: Congress Must Honor Sequester Savings and Defund ObamaCare Before It Is Too Late

By Matt Kibbe on February 14, 2013
FreedomWorks has signed on to the following Memo to the Movement by the Conservative Action Project:
Current Event:
The current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government expires on March 27, setting up an opportunity for Congress and President Obama to honor the bi-partisan sequester savings already agreed upon.  It also presents an opportunity to achieve even more savings by defunding and stopping the implementation of Obamacare, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently reported will force 7 million Americans out of their existing health insurance.

  • Conservatives cannot support a CR that is above the sequester level of $974 billion annually.  While many conservatives would prefer reprogramming defense cuts to other areas of discretionary spending (dollar for dollar cuts in the same year), the current sequester savings are better than none at all.
  • Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare.  This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.
A mere “date-change CR” is unacceptable.  Although the Obama administration and others will argue the CR is not the appropriate legislative vehicle to defund Obamacare, it is easily done through a series of appropriation riders.  Because the CR represents one of the best vehicles possible to delay the implementation of Obamacare, it must not be used to bargain on the upcoming sequester.

Issue in Brief:
On October 1, 2013, open enrollment begins for the federally backed health care exchanges. On January 1, 2014, new money from Washington will begin flowing to states and individuals, all but ensuring that these new entitlements will become a permanent fixture of life in America. The window of opportunity to stop the implementation of these massive new subsidies is closing.
Although many of Obamacare's provisions are now the law of the land, many of the law's most damaging and irreversible provisions do not take effect until 2014.

Once implemented, the new spending contained within Obamacare, primarily the Medicaid expansion and exchange subsidies, will cost taxpayers more than $1.6 trillion over the next decade, according to the latest CBO estimates.  Given the history of federal entitlement programs and the back-loaded nature of Obamacare spending, some estimate the full implementation cost could reach  $2.6 trillion over ten years. It will increase the federal government's health spending by 15 percent.

The issue is far from settled in the states, which are tasked with either implementing the wide-ranging mandates and invasive requirements put forth by Obamacare, or deferring such choices to the bureaucrats in Washington.

The fractured opinion amongst the states is one reason the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has continually pushed back the deadline for states to make a decision on the exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

The invasive elements of Obamacare are not set in stone; in fact, elements of the law are already under assault from Republicans and Democrats alike. The CLASS Act was repealed and there is bipartisan support for eliminating the devastating Medical Device Tax.

Blueprint to Defunding Obamacare

Obamacare’s funding mechanisms are as complicated as the law itself, but they can be stopped through the appropriation process, which includes the upcoming continuing resolution.
  • Federally Backed Exchanges.  An appropriations rider must eliminate the refundable tax credits for premiums and the cost sharing subsidies that are essentially used to support insurance purchased in the Obamacare exchanges, which starts January 1, 2014.
  • Medicaid Expansion.  An appropriations rider must eliminate the enhance match funding for the Medicaid expansion, which takes effect January 1, 2014.
  • Permanent Appropriations.  Obamacare contains items called “permanent appropriations” which guarantee funding for the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).  An appropriations rider turns off funds for these so-called permanent appropriations, which are already in effect.
  • Implementation.  An appropriations rider must block the implementation of Obamacare, covering salaries, rulemaking, enforcement, etc.
  • Life and Religious Liberty. Obamacare is an unprecedented attack on life and religious liberty. An appropriations rider must repeal the HHS mandate that attacks the religious values and principles of countless Americans.
  • Miscellaneous Programs.  An appropriations rider must block all funding for newly authorized discretionary programs contained in Obamacare and return reauthorized programs back to their pre-Obamacare levels.
Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan

Chris Chocola
Club for Growth

Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots

Penny Nance
Concerned Women for America

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Constitutional Congress, Inc.

William Wilson
Americans for Limited Government

Duane Parde
National Taxpayers Union

Susan Carleson
American Civil Rights Union

Andrea Lafferty
Traditional Values Coalition

Alfred S. Regnery
The Paul Revere Project

Lewis Uhler
National Tax Limitation Committee

Brent Bozell

Matt Kibbe

Marjorie Dannenfelser
Susan B. Anthony List

David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

The Honorable David McIntosh
Former U.S. Representative

David Bozell
Executive Director

Colin Hanna
Let Freedom Ring

Stuart Epperson
Council for National Policy

Heather Higgins
Independent Women's Forum

Cindy Chafian
The Mommy Lobby

Gary Bauer
American Values

Mike Needham
Heritage Action for America

David Bossie
Citizens United

Mathew D. Staver
Liberty Counsel Action

James Martin
60 Plus Association

Erick Erickson

T. Kenneth Cribb
Former Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan

Becky Norton Dunlop
Former White House Advisor
President Ronald Reagan

Grace-Marie Turner
The Galen Institutue

Myron Ebell
Freedom Action

Craig Shirley
Reagan Campaign Biographer

Rev. Lou Sheldon
Traditional Values Coalition

Richard Rahn
Inst. for Global Economic Growth

Lee Beaman
Nashville, TN

Bob Reccord
Executive Director
Council for National Policy

Angelo M. Codevilla
Professor Emeritus
Boston University

Tom Donelson
America's PAC

Brian Baker
Ending Spending

Kay R. Daly
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

Don Devine
Senior Scholar
The Fund for American Studies

Gary Aldrich
Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Ralph Benko
Center for Civic Virtue

Andresen Blom
Senior Strategist
Center for Civic Virtue

Joe Gregory
Gregory Management Co.

Rebecca Hagelin

(All organizations listed for Identification purposes only)

Government Shutdown Was Planned For Months By Ed Meese, Koch Bros

The plan to hold funding of the government hostage was plan months in the making, planned by former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese and the billionaire Koch Brothers, the New York Times reports.
Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.
Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.
It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.
So, when you are told by Republicans that the shutdown is he fault of President Obama and Democrats, you can now say with certainty that this is untrue.
A defunding “tool kit” created in early September included talking points for the question, “What happens when you shut down the government and you are blamed for it?” The suggested answer was the one House Republicans give today: “We are simply calling to fund the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.”
The current budget brinkmanship is just the latest development in a well-financed, broad-based assault on the health law, Mr. Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Groups like Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are all immersed in the fight, as is Club for Growth, a business-backed nonprofit organization. Some, like Generation Opportunity and Young Americans for Liberty, both aimed at young adults, are upstarts. Heritage Action is new, too, founded in 2010 to advance the policy prescriptions of its sister group, the Heritage Foundation.
The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort. A group linked to the Kochs, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, disbursed more than $200 million last year to nonprofit organizations involved in the fight. Included was $5 million to Generation Opportunity, which created a buzz last month with an Internet advertisement showing a menacing Uncle Sam figure popping up between a woman’s legs during a gynecological exam.