Monday, June 30, 2014

Boehner donor Zurich Insurance Group closing its US Climate Change Office-E and E Climate Wire

In 2012 alone $1 billion a day was invested in the notion of "global warming."

6/27/14, "Leading insurer to close its climate change office, leaving the industry 'mute'," E and E, Climate Wire, Evan Lehmann

Zurich Insurance Group is closing its U.S. climate change office six years after opening it to help persuade companies to press public officials for solutions to climbing disaster losses, according to several sources.

[Ed. note: Zurich is a 2014 John Boehner donor. Zurich was also a 2012 John Boehner donor. In 2011-2012 Boehner received $13,000 from Zurich subsidiary Farmers Insurance (#94). In 2010 Boehner wasn't among Zurich's top recipients.] 

(continuing): "Zurich's decision comes amid a flush of visibility for the office and its director, Lindene Patton, who in recent months helped write the National Climate Assessment, testified before a Senate panel and spoke at the White House.

In some circles, that has distinguished Patton as an unusually credible advocate for climate action who speaks from the suit-and-trouser world of the financial sector, where crunching numbers outpaces environmental ideology. One observer described her as a "dynamo."

But behind the forceful public presence is a choppier business environment for Zurich, sources say. Patton and her small team of employees were also tasked with creating new types of insurance policies that would be used by climate-concerned customers, ranging from hybrid car owners to utilities that store carbon dioxide underground. Zurich may have seen those products as not popular enough to justify a standalone climate office, some observers say. The products will instead be folded into the company's traditional lines of business.

The move has gained greater attention for its potential reverberations on climate policy. While many observers believe that the insurance industry could help depoliticize the climate debate, there's little evidence it's willing to do that. And it appears there may be less now.

Some observers described Zurich as perhaps the only company that had both a household brand in the United States and a willingness to talk openly about the risks of climate change. (Farmers Insurance Co. is a subsidiary.) That has placed Zurich at the top among insurers who portray rising temperatures as a business threat that could harm the economy, as opposed to an environmental, and often partisan, peril, advocates say.

When Zurich announced its "climate initiative" six years ago, it was an effort, in part, to rally other members of the massive industry to get involved in shaping public policy. It warned of worsening climate risks that foretold of more than just sharpening damage from floods and storms: The industry also faces increased pressure from regulators and, in the eyes of customers, reputational risk if it doesn't act, the company said.

In a white paper from that period, it noted that only "a fraction" of insurers were taking the threat seriously, adding that the industry is "still a long way from meeting the enormity of the challenge."...

Now, after failing to persuade other insurers to join it in crafting public policy, Zurich appears to be shifting strategy in a political atmosphere that has gotten more divisive on climate issues, not less.

"The internal meaning could be that they don't want to stick their neck out, that they want to be less visible with regard to climate change in general," said Walter Stahel, director of risk management research at the Geneva Association, a Swiss think tank funded by the insurance industry. "And they want to break it down into much more concrete [efforts] to impose adaptation measures."

Zurich might be stepping back from its public policy role because lawmakers hadn't responded to its efforts, Stahel said. He said it's "a pity" that the dialogue between Zurich and lawmakers could slacken, but he noted that the company could be testing other strategies to force changes.

That might have been revealed in a lawsuit filed by Farmers this spring that sought to make Chicago and dozens of other municipalities update their flood infrastructure to reduce growing damages from heavier rainfall. Farmers later withdrew the lawsuit.

"I think insurers would have a number of other hammers to hit the nail" on climate change, Stahel said.

A Zurich spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the climate office is being closed. But she strongly rebutted assertions by industry observers that it represents a de-emphasis on climate change. She pointed to increased investments and bolstered research efforts that are meant to address warming.

The company, for example, recently launched an effort to measure the value of flood protection measures like sea walls, elevating homes and absorbent surfaces. The $30 million program is meant to make it easier for communities to justify upfront costs for resiliency, leading to less damage.

Zurich also announced last year that it would invest $1 billion in green bonds issued by the World Bank and other institutions for clean power and other projects that are specifically tailored to address climate change.

"Zurich's commitment to addressing climate resilience and extreme weather has not changed," Zurich spokeswoman Jennifer Schneider said in a statement. "We have integrated the knowledge and expertise generated through this [climate] office into every aspect of our business. We will continue to work passionately to help our customers and communities understand and protect themselves from risks and become more resilient and sustainable to natural disasters and extreme weather."...

Others say the announcement falls heaviest on public policy, not on climate-related research. The industry generally has handled the complex issue of climate change cautiously, they say, refraining from becoming heavily involved in risky legislative tussles.

"Wow, what a loss," said Andrew Logan, who follows the industry for Ceres, a group of investors that's pushing for action on climate change.

"We've lost a major voice who consistently brought insurer perspectives to the climate debate," he added, referring to Zurich's Patton. "So with them gone we end up with an industry that is surprisingly mute given the scale of economic risk that they face."

Zurich's climate office will be shuttered Monday, less than a week after a top Zurich executive attended a meeting at the White House about climate change with nine other industry officials. The closing also intersects with a flurry of publicity over the bipartisan "Risky Business" report, which predicts that coastal damage in the United States could rise by $7 billion annually from sea-level rise and hurricanes over the next 15 years.

Still, as some observers see a retreat by Zurich, others see a shifting strategy that embeds research and product development in the guts of the company, rather than being held in a stand-alone climate office.

"I don't think the company is de-emphasizing climate," said one industry official who supports climate action.

Others struggle to see how the company could achieve the same public profile on climate after it closes the office and releases Patton, who holds lofty appointments with the World Economic Forum, National Academy of Sciences and National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.

When Zurich unveiled its climate initiative six years ago, it also formed a Climate Change Advisory Council to give the company new ideas about how to prepare for the impacts of warming on its business. The council's co-chairman, Ernst von Weizsäcker, lauded Zurich at the time as a company others would emulate.

Now Weizsäcker, a former college dean and German lawmaker, expressed disappointment -- and a little concern -- with the insurer's new direction.

"I deeply regret that Zurich like several other global companies have lost interest in the issue of climate change," Weizsäcker said.

"I pray that [the] effects of global warming will not lead to more dramatic disruptions of farmland and coastal areas, falling back on the feet of insurance companies."" via Climate Depot, via GWPF


Citations for 17 year pause in global warming:

2/21/13, "IPCC Head Pachauri Acknowledges Global Warming Standstill," The Australian, Graham Lloyd

"The UN’s climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri, has acknowledged a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, confirmed recently by Britain’s Met Office."...


July 2013, "The recent pause in global warming: what do observations in the climate system tell us?" UK Met Office


9/30/13, "Climate Scientist: 73 UN Climate Models Wrong, No Global Warming in 17 Years," CNS News, Barbara Hollingsworth


Some of Zurich donations and lobbying activity:

Below, Zurich's top 3 individual recipients in 2012--Boehner was second only to Mitt Romney:


Below, a few bills Zurich lobbied about in 2013:

Zurich spent more lobbying House committees in 2014 than Senate committees:


Zurich Financial Services
"LOBBYING: $2,860,000 (2013)"
(scroll down)

20 out of 27 Zurich Financial Services lobbyists in 2013 have previously held government jobs. See their employment history by clicking on their RevDoor icon here"


It was only after evil Tea Party extremists made John Boehner House Speaker that the cash rolled in:

Chart from Open Secrets

Mississippi College Republican Chair Alvarez quits to join Democrats, supported Cochran, says GOP taken over by "cruel, ignorant, extremists"-Clarion-Ledger

6/30/14, "College GOP chairman resigns, joining Democrats," Clarion-Ledger, Sam R. Hall

Evan Alvarez
"The chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans has resigned his post and "will be changing my party affiliation to Democrat in the next few days."

(Evan) Alvarez resigned his post this morning, which was made public by a release sent out by MFCR with a copy of his resignation. In the letter, he says that tea party activists have too much of a voice in the party, "and because of that, the platform of the Republican Party has shifted too far to the right in my opinion." In a separate email to me, he says he has already begun talking with Democrats about joining their party.

First, here's the background:

Alvarez's resignation comes after the MFCR board decided not to remove Kolby Busby from the organization. Busby faced impeachment charges because he issues two robocalls on behalf of Chris McDaniel in the Republican Party primary and primary runoff for U.S. Senate. In the robocalls, Busby affiliated himself with MFCR, which violates the organization's policy of remaining neutral in primaries.

Alvarez came under scrutiny from McDaniel supporters and some members of MFCR who criticized him and others for openly supporting incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Alvarez defended individual members' support of either candidate so long as they were not doing so in an official capacity with MFCR.

The impeachment hearing was scheduled for Saturday at the downtown Jackson headquarters of the Mississippi Republican Party. Approximately 35 McDaniel and tea party supporters showed up to protest any impeachment of Busby. In the emailed statement to me, Alvarez described the decision not to impeach Busby as follows:

"When we informed him there wasn't going to be an impeachment, but simply a reprimand and apology his attitude became more ignorant and cruel. He said he was not apologizing for anything and refused to be reprimanded for the two robocalls. At that point myself and the staffer at the GOP decided to cancel the meeting that day, and push it back to another Saturday in the coming month. We came to that conclusion because there was no way we would be able to have an effective meeting with roughly 35 yelling tea partiers in the lobby of the building, that were feeding Busby's ignorant attitude."

At the end of his written statement to me, which was in response to my asking about the outcome of the impeachment hearing, Alvarez wrote:

"After that whole event and a lot of thought up to know, I am leaving my position in the organization and have begun to speak to members of the Mississippi Democratic Party and will be changing my party affiliation to Democrat in the next few days. I have attached my letter to this email explaining the reasons that I can no longer be Chairman, and why I can no longer standby and identify with the Republican Party."

You can read Alvarez's full resignation letter below:

"I over the last 48 hours or so, I have been in deep thought about the future of MFCR and of the Republican Party. I have come to the conclusion that I no longer want to be the leader of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans. I refuse to simply let people break the rules and think they don't have to answer for their actions, admit they were wrong, or even apologize. When I ran for Chairman in the spring, I ran to be Chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College REPUBLICANS, not the Mississippi Federation of College "Tea Partiers". Also, I believe that the Republican Party has allowed these groups of extremist to have too much of a voice and because of that, the platform of the Republican Party has shifted too far to the right in my opinion. For example, the drastic cuts on needed federal funding that these groups of Republican extremists support would leave society weak and crippled. Secondly, their far right stance on immigration is not only ignorant, but it is cruel. After all our country is a nation of immigrants and should welcome immigrants from every country. My father was an immigrant from Cuba and came to America in 1959 because of the freedom that this nation offers. This freedom should be available to each and every individual that wants to come work hard and pursue his or her goals in America. Finally, I believe the Republican Party has not done enough to put a stop to the hatred and cruel words and actions of the far right extremist in the party. The Republican Party consistently says they are trying to appeal to minorities, but this will never happen when we allow members of party to say cruel and ignorant things about Women, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities in our country. I simply cannot be apart of organization that have members who support these far right extremist views, much less be the Chairman of the organization. So in conclusion, I, Evan Alvarez, am hereby resigning my position as Chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, as well as my membership at the Mississippi State Chapter of MFCR. This change is effective immediately!"" image above from Facebook via Clarion-Ledger


Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup 2014: Algeria coach angry at Ramadan questions, says his players are free to take time off and it's no one's business-BBC

6/30/14, "World cup 2014: Algeria coach angry at Ramadan questions," BBC Sport, David Ornstein

"Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic refused to divulge which of his Muslim players are observing Ramadan ahead of Monday's World Cup last-16 meeting with Germany.
The 30-day dawn-to-dusk fast began on Sunday and Halilhodzic, 61, bristled at a routine question about the subject in his pre-match news conference. 

"This is a private matter and when you ask this you lack respect and ethics," said the Bosnian. "The players will do as they wish and I would like to stop this controversy." 

Ramadan is mandatory for Muslims and one of the five pillars of Islam, although there are exemptions for the sick, pregnant, infirm or elderly. 

Individuals who are travelling or going to war are also permitted to avoid it and this is the provision under which most athletes will delay the fast until a more suitable time. 

It is an issue that Halilhodzic did not take kindly to being quizzed
about, adding: "Ramadan is here and I read in some Algerian newspapers criticisms about me, about my image, about my honour.
"They are trying to raise hatred against Vahid, against my family, and this is really disgusting. 

"It is not the first time I have Muslim players in my team, I myself am a Muslim, and I've always left them totally free. This is a private issue - it has to do with private freedom of expression. 

"Those who continue criticising our team and my actions, I think it's shameful. But I will continue [as coach], I will continue working with this team. I'm sorry that you continue criticising what I do. 

"Stop asking me about Ramadan, otherwise I will get up and leave." 

Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra has indicated he will observe the holy month, but Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil  and France defender Bacary Sagna  have said they will not. 

Halilhodzic's squad were accompanied to Brazil by Hakim Chalabi, a sports medicine specialist and one of Fifa's leading experts on fasting footballers."


Latest poll on Kentucky race finds Grimes leading McConnell by 2 points, 48-46. Grimes also leads McConnell in independent voters 56 to 30-The Hill

Poll dates June 20-22 among 682 "Kentucky voters." PPP doesn't say whether "voters" are "likely" or "registered."

6/27/14, "Poll: Grimes leads McConnell by 2 points," The Hill, Rebecca Shabad

"A new poll shows Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) slightly leading Senate Majority Leader* Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the state's Senate race. 

Grimes leads McConnell 48 percent-46 percent among voters leaning toward one of the two candidates, according to a survey released Thursday by Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP). 

Breaking down that division of support, 41 percent said they feel strongly they would vote for Grimes if the election were held today, 5 percent had a weak feeling they’d vote for her and 2 percent leaned toward Grimes.

Thirty-seven percent, by contrast, said they had a strong feeling they would vote for McConnell, 7 percent had a weak feeling they’d vote for him and 2 percent said they lean toward voting for him. 

Six percent of voters said they are undecided. 

Among independents, 56 percent said they would likely vote for Grimes, while 30 percent said they would back McConnell.

Just over half of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to stop President Obama from “waging a war on coal.” Grimes has said she opposes those efforts, and has even blamed McConnell for the administration’s coal rules. 

Nearly half of voters said they would be much more likely to vote for the candidate who wants to raise the minimum wage. McConnell has opposed hiking the minimum wage, while Grimes supports it....

The race between Grimes and McConnell is shaping up to be one of the year's most competitive contests.

The poll surveyed 682 Kentucky voters from June 20-22 and had a 3.8 percentage point margin of error." 

*McConnell is Senate Minority Leader. He's never been Senate Majority Leader and probably never will be. Ed. 

Alison Lundergan Grimes campaigns in Kentucky, getty


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gallup poll finds more Americans favor decrease in immigration than increase, sharp change in national view in past 12 months, June-July 2014 poll

6/27/14, "More in U.S. Would Decrease Immigration Than Increase," Gallup Poll, Lydia Saad

"While illegal immigration typically dominates debates over immigration policy, the issue of legal immigration came to the forefront in the recent Virginia Republican primary when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was soundly defeated by Tea Party favorite Dave Brat....Brat's case may have been a fairly easy one to make, as new Gallup polling finds fewer than one in four Americans favor increased immigration."...

In the past 12 months Americans clearly say "immigration" as it's construed today is bad for our country. (For example, there's no Ellis Island). In Eric Cantor's case it was about much more than "legal" or "skilled" immigrants. Cantor remained silent in the face of the attack on our southern border by unaccompanied illegals many under age 18. Cantor was asked for his response to the current invasion of our southern border by unaccompanied minors, and said he told Obama, "we can work together on things like the Kids." It didn't matter whether he meant past or present "kids." His "kids" statement was reported on June 6 and June 7 and on June 10 he was gone.


6/7/14, "Eric Cantor on border crisis: Let's work with Obama to give 'Kids' Amnesty,"Breitbart, Tony Lee

"Illegal immigrants have been pouring into the United States, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) suggested he is willing to work with President Barack Obama to give them amnesty. 

Days before what has turned into a contentious June 10 primary against Dave Brat, who has been surging in the polls after centering his campaign on countering amnesty, CBS6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald asked Cantor what the country could do about its illegal immigrants and the children "coming across the border now." 

Cantor first falsely insinuated that he was not for amnesty because he was against passing the Senate's bill without changes. He then pivoted by saying if Obama, who enacted the Deferred Action program that has given some illegal immigrant children temporary amnesty and has threatened to unilaterally ease deportations, could demonstrate trustworthiness on immigration, he could work with him on granting amnesty to illegal immigrant children

"But I have told the President there are some things that we can work on together," Cantor said. "We can work on the border security bill together. We can work on things like the Kids."

Cantor was referring to what has commonly been referred to as his "Kids Act," which, as Breitbart News reported, would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought to America through "no fault of their own"--like many of the illegal immigrant children who have been pouring into the country in recent weeks."...


Friday, June 27, 2014

Gen. David Petraeus says "After America" will be North America with US, Mexico and Canada set to be a force together despite Mexico's "rule of law issues"

6/18/14, "Petraeus: USA Needs Immigration Reform, Washington D.C. is A Security Threat to the Country," Breitbart London, Raheem Kassam

"General David Petraeus, the former CIA director and head of the international forces in Afghanistan (ISAF), has today said that the United States is suffering deeply because of partisanship, and said that the country needs immigration reform."...

[Ed. note: Petraeus says immigration reform is about "human capital." Near end of article.]

(continuing): "Gen. Petraeus was speaking on the "After America, What?" panel at the Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Liberty Conference at the Guildhall in the City of London.

"After America comes North America," he said, discussing how Canada, the United States and Mexico are set to be a formidable force together, "notwithstanding Mexico’s rule of law issues".

"Clearly China is gong to continue to grow and develop, he said, but the former CIA chief was optimistic about America’s future. 

"The United States does faces challenges, we do have to get immigration reform… our debt-to-GDP ratio… the deadlock in Washington, etcetera etcetera."

Petraeus, who now works for the KKR Global Institute, spent much of his time discussing how America’s Shale Gas revolution was the most positive thing to happen to the country in a long time.

But he noted of the challenges that face America: 

"Gerrymandering in the House of Representatives… has [made it] less bipartisan because of the policy divide… what has happened because of the redrawing of districts... there has become a tendency for the red districts to be bright red and the blue districts to be bright blue. This is a real problem.

"The primaries are more important and the general elections are a foregone conclusion. That’s a concern because it does make it more difficult to do what Ronald Reagan cold do with Tip O'Neill…reach across the aisle. It was ultimately what led to the closing of government…to the implementing of sequestration."...

Petraeus refused to be drawn in detail on the situation in Iraq, though he did note that "The United States cannot be the air force for the Shia militias."

The conference in London was organised by the Centre for Policy Studies in honour of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan sent a message of congratulations to the event organisers, who also attracted keynote speakers such as Niall Ferguson, Roger Scruton, Jonah Goldberg, Daniel Hannan MEP, Dr. Art Laffer, and John O’Sullivan."


5/30/13, "Petraeus Back in Spotlight, via Wall St." NY Times Dealbook, Mark Mazzetti

"Kohlberg Kravis Roberts announced on Thursday that it had hired David H. Petraeus, a retired four-star general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as chairman of the new KKR Global Institute.

The institute will focus on economic forecasts, communications, public policy and emerging markets. 

It will also help the firm’s portfolio companies expand globally, K.K.R. said. Mr. Petraeus’s team at the institute will include Ken Mehlman, the onetime chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Henry McVey, K.K.R.’s global head of macro and asset allocation....

Mr. Petraeus drew criticism for his role in developing the notorious “talking points” in the days after the September 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

When the Obama administration this month disclosed a trove of e-mails sent among officials discussing the talking points, some expressed the belief that Mr. Petraeus had appeared overly concerned with protecting the C.I.A.’s image at the expense of the State Department."...


Added: Petraeus' wife Holly is employed by the US government at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


War at US Southern border is the most dangerous in our history because our government is leading it-Diana West

6/27/14, "Saving the Border When the Cavalry Isn't Coming," Diana West,

"About those 300 U.S. military advisers that the Obama administration has ordered to Iraq. They belong on the United States border with Mexico. They are urgently needed to assess what U.S. military force should be deployed immediately to secure our own border, not Iraq's border, from what is surely the most unconventional and, I believe, the most dangerous war in our history. As tens of thousands of so-called unaccompanied alien children (UAC) crash our southern border, we are undergoing a war against the existence, the concept of the USA as a nation-state.

After all, a nation-state doesn't exist unless it controls its borders and protects its citizens. We, the People, do neither. But the existential danger here comes not from the assault itself. Nightmarishly, it comes from the Obama administration, which, in its greatest betrayal, is leading, or at least supporting, the aliens' charge.

That's why the cavalry isn't coming.

A normal government -- one with the best interests of its own citizens at heart -- would have taken immediate steps to 1) halt these border crossings that pose a dire threat to public health and safety, and 2) set in motion the deportation efforts necessary to return these illegal aliens to their home countries.

But the Obama administration is not a normal government. It saw these veritable columns of minor aliens forming, and, rather than stop them from entering the country, actually sought to help them, borrowing a phrase from Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., wipe their feet on our "welfare welcome mat" and stay.

How do I know this? Every American should examine the Department of Homeland Security solicitation notice that appeared six months ago at the federal business opportunities site The notice seeks "Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children," describing exactly the services now required to process, not deport, this massive influx.

According to this notice posted back on Jan. 29, 2014, DHS was already gearing up to receive "approximately 65,000 UAC in total."

How did DHS know this? Something is rotten in Washington, and it starts with the federal government's twisted priorities. DHS, the notice states, has "a continuing and mission critical responsibility for accepting custody of unaccompanied alien children from U.S. Border Patrol and other Federal agencies and transporting these juveniles to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters located throughout the continental United States."

"Resettlement," in other words, means these illegals are staying -- at least if the Obama administration has its way. This may fulfill a "mission critical responsibility" for the Central American countries whose nationals, including gangbangers and drug runners, are crashing our border. There is nothing, however, in the American interest about it. Come to think of it, there's nothing in the American interest in the entire refugee resettlement mission -- literally. According to the UAC services webpage of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the mission is to assist these minor illegal aliens "in becoming integrated members of our global society."

Not our "American" society. Big difference.

This explains why the bureaucracy acts to smash the culture of cowtowns and rural communities by dropping blocs of unassimilable primitive or hostile aliens in their midst, all in the name of "compassion" -- just not for Americans.

Take Lawrenceville, a tiny town in southern Virginia. One day this month, Lawrenceville woke up to discover that Washington was unilaterally about to turn this town of 1,400 citizens into the host of 500 illegal minors (these minors are mainly teenaged and male). Such a massive population transfer of Spanish-speaking, probably mainly young male aliens into the historic town, of course, would have changed it forever -- or for as long as the bloc remained, which could be forever.

In Lawrenceville, a grassroots uproar brought a halt to Washington's designs. In Escondido, California, another show of people-power thwarted a similar Washington housing plan for alien minors. A burgeoning anti-Washington movement is clearly crossing party lines. In Baltimore, for example, Democrats recently nixed the feds' alien minor housing plan. In Springfield, Massachusetts, Democratic Mayor Dominic Barno formally asked the State Department to send no more refugees. His city, he says, is overwhelmed.

I can hear the resettlement crowd asking: "Where is the compassion?" "Where is the charity?" But what they're really looking for is taxpayer money.

As Ann Corcoran, purveyor of the must-read website, Refugee Resettlement Watch, has taught me, population replacement is big business, and the zealous bureaucrats who seek to "fundamentally transform" this country make a good, taxpayer-funded living while they're at it.

So, while your border is in tatters and perhaps your town under siege, know that you are paying for it. 

You're paying for that new illegal minor alien facility now opening in Tucson -- the 17th such facility operated by a group called Southwest Key, with an annual budget of more than $150 million, according to NBC affiliate KVOA, "most of which comes from federal government contracts." (Bonus: the chairman of Southwest Key's board of directors, Victor Garza, is an official of La Raza, which hopes to reclaim the Southwest for Mexico.)

You're paying for the "migration and refugee services" of the very preachy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Citing the USCCB 2012 annual report, Corcoran notes that out of an operating budget of roughly $71 million, about $69.6 million is taxpayer money. As Corcoran writes, "It is not Christian charity when the 'church' is paid by the taxpayers to do charitable work."

No, it's a big Washington con. Don't fall for it. Hold the line. United, maybe we don't need the cavalry." 


Jeb Bush and his entire family should be caged and forced to smell urine and overused toilets for a week and get scabies just like the illegals he invited to flood our border. The entire Bush family should lie on the floor with 1100 people in a facility meant for only 380

6/26/14, "The ‘DREAM Act’ I Saw," CNS News, Brittany M. Hughes

"(Editor’s Note: As part of its ongoing investigation of the surging influx of illegal aliens across the U.S.-Mexico border, recently went to the border in McAllen, Texas. Presented here are our reporter’s personal observations of the detention facility there and the conditions faced by the illegals and the U.S. Border Patrol agents trying to manage the situation.)"

"When you step foot into the control room at the U.S. Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, the first thing that hits you is the smell.

Hovering somewhere between urine and unwashed humanity, the air is thick and hot. The sound inside the circular, glass-enclosed control room is like that of a beehive, humming with the noise of hundreds of voices mixed with buzzers and footsteps.

“This is where we do the processing,” the border patrol agent tells us.

The border patrol officer gestures to a series of white, cinderblock rooms that form a ring around the enclosed control area. Each small space is sealed by a thick gray door, which is kept locked until an officer motions for the switchboard operator to open it.

Beside each door, dozens of tanned faces press against glass windows, watching the movement on the open floor around them. Dozens more lie on the hard floor in the middle of the rooms, or on the wide benches attached to the walls.

Most of the visible faces belong to young children or teens; the adults are usually clustered in the back or tending to toddlers and infants.

The scene is devastating, and it’s only one of several windows into the illegal immigration crisis that’s sweeping across the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. Since October 2013, more than 181,000 illegal immigrants have already crossed this 250-costal-mile area alone, and the McAllen, Texas station has been the hardest hit.

Border patrol officers are doing the best they can, but they simply aren’t equipped to handle the masses that have flooded their facilities.

The people – all Latinos, as far as I can tell – are divided into several groups: family units are crammed into several rooms, teens 14 and under in the next, teens 15 and older in another, and single men and women in separate holding areas on the other side of the circle.

People of all ages and genders – anywhere from young children to old menare systematically brought out of their rooms to be “processed,” which involves taking down any identification, background, where they say they’re headed, anything they can provide. It’s usually not much.

“This is where they start,” the agent explains over the noise. “When they’re picked up at the border, they come here. Once we’ve processed them, they’re taken to the sally port.”
That’s where we head next.

The sally port is a converted bus depot attached to the border patrol station. Typically able to hold upwards of 40 buses at a time, the large, cement-floored space has been converted into a makeshift shelter to house the thousands of illegal immigrants that have been flooding the system since February.

Normally, the border patrol detains people anywhere from 12 hours to three days before turning them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the Department of Health and Human Services, in the case of unaccompanied minors. But a backlog of people is now forcing them to house people for sometimes more than a week, agents said.

“We’ve gotten pretty good at logistics,” one agents told us. “But we’re still only working with what we’ve got.”

The McAllen station is authorized for 380 people, he explains. It’s currently housing more than 1,100.

They won’t let us in the sally port – the “folks in Washington” require a scheduled visit for that, they tell us. But they say we can stand outside the locked gates at the bus entrance and look. I’ve been outside for all of thirty seconds, but sweat is already starting to bead on my neck by the time I approach the gate to peer inside.
If the scene inside the station’s control room is bad, the view into the sally port is appalling.

At first, there doesn’t appear to be a floor. Then I realize that’s only because I can barely see it through the mass of bodies strewn across the massive space. There are people everywhere – lying down, standing, sitting, stepping over others in a strained attempt to move around. Border patrol agents mill about with clipboards, talking to various people and administering basic medicine.

Off to one side, next to a row of blue porta potties, a group of four young girls are curled up together on the floor, resting on one another’s limbs. All four are caked in mud to the knee, most likely from their trip across the border. They remind me of a litter of kittens I once saw, scrunched together in a little ball.

There’s a simple strip of yellow crime scene tape that ropes off a small section of the space, the only barrier that separates the healthy from those who have been diagnosed with scabies.

In the “sick ward,” a mother sits with her back against the locked gate, cradling a small child in her arms. She wipes the sweat from her own forehead before placing a half a dozen wet wipes on the little boy’s face and chest, trying to cool him down. A second toddler sits beside her, sucking on a bottle filled with something that looks like orange juice.

Even standing under the force of five jumbo fans and a strong Texas breeze, the stench of unwashed bodies and well-used toilets hangs heavy, stagnating under the sweltering 100-degree heat and making it hard to breathe.

A border patrol bus pulls up to the gate. The doors open and a dozen more immigrants, mostly children, pile out, having come straight from the banks of the Rio Grande where smugglers ferried them from the Mexican bank to the United States.  An agent ushers them through the door and into the processing room.

This isn’t a dream, and it sure doesn’t look like Ellis Island."

Images from top: 

1. "An illegal alien child drinks from a plastic bottle behind a security fence door inside a bus depot/housing facility in McAllen, Texas. (Photo:"

2. "Illegal immigrants inside a makeshift housing facility maintained by U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. (Photo:"

3. "Illegal immigrants in housing facility in McAllen, Texas, which is on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo:"

4. "Rio Grande River near McAllen, Texas where many illegal aliens cross into the United States. (Photo: Brittany Hughes/"

5. "On the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River in McAllen, Texas,  looking over at Mexico, where people are standing on the shore and where some illegals were taken to the U.S. side by Jet ski and dropped off in the brush at the riverside. (Photo:"

4/6/14, "Jeb Bush says illegal immigration often 'an act of love'," Reuters, Peter Cooney


6/25/14, "Swine Flu Confirmed at Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors," Breitbart, Kristin Tate, Houston, Texas


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mitt Romney's campaign manager, Haley Barbour, John Cornyn, the Chamber of Commerce et al. accomplished in 3 weeks what the GOP has been trying to do for decades: Get rid of the conservative base. It's "Christmas Morning" for the GOP

It would be "Christmas Morning" for the GOP if the conservative base was angry enough to leave the Republican Party for good. Mr. Wright ties the loose ends together:

6/25/14, "Despicable Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Mafia: They’ve no idea what they’ve done….." C. Edmund Wright

"It is obviously karma that Haley Barbour is equipped with looks that resemble Ned Beatty from the “purty mouth” scene in the movie Deliverance - or perhaps his portrayal of the corrupt Senator in the movie Shooter. Given that the former head of the Republican National Committee and Mississippi Governor will evidently wallow in the excreta and politically copulate with just about anyone, it’s appropriate....
Haley Barbour

Consider: Haley’s Mississippi mafia has spent the past three weeks verifying Barbour’s electoral promiscuity in his hysteria to drag old Thad Cochran – and by old, I mean an OLD 76 – across the finish line against challenger Chris McDaniel. And by Mississippi mafia – in this case – I mean Barbour, Karl Rove, John Cornyn, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Mayor Bloomberg, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Facebook’s President, the Chamber of Crony Commerce, liberal black activists, various lobbyists, GOP consultants and Super PACs – to name a few. I would include Cochran himself in this cabal, but it is unclear if he could pass a thorough autopsy – and his presence often seemed irrelevant, if not detrimental.

Rumors have it this is the general attitude among his own Senate staffers too.

Certainly this kind of activity is not a new development for Barbour, now a wealthy lobbyist and power broker – yet what he and his minions did the past three weeks in Mississippi has now set a new low standard for odious campaign tactics practiced by the Republican Establishment. The corrupt, unethical and immoral political cross-dressing that Ned, er, Haley and his team implemented over the past 21 days is simply breathtaking.

To start with, the Cochran camp bragged about polling some 35 thousand mostly African American Democrat votes to their side – in yes, a Republican Primary.

These votes corrupted what should have been about an 8-9 per cent win for McDaniel. Never mind that the 35 thousand Democrats will never vote for any Republican in any general election beyond maybe 15-20% – and that they were motivated by walking around money, the promise of even more pork coming Mississippi’s way – and all manner of other considerations. This was in fact verified by Mississippi’s Democrat Party Chairman Ricky Cole.

To make it worse, one motivational tactic used on African Americans was to parrot the liberal line that Tea Partiers are racists and want to suppress the black vote. Say what you want about political infidelity, but using liberal talking points against other Republicans is as low as you can go Ned.

In addition, the NRSC gave their staff the “week off,” then redeployed them to Mississippi to do whatever it took to turn out Democrats for ole Thad. Keep in mind, the NRSC raises money under the guise that they work against Democrats. In Mississippi, they bribed Democrats. This was an all out effort by Washington Republicans, all the while moaning about “outside groups” polluting the pristine Mississippi electorate on behalf of McDaniel.

And it gets even more contemptible. According to The Hill, Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry was paid by pro-Cochran Mississippi Conservatives PAC to conduct unspecified get-out-the-vote efforts for Cochran. Now rather obviously, this is a smidgeon of a potential conflict of interest between Perry’s duties as county GOP chairman and his work for the Cochran campaign.

So where did all the money for this come from? A bunch of it came from a lobbyist and Senator only fund raiser hosted by Mitch McConnell – who fresh off savaging Matt Bevin – raised some 800 thousand dollars from Washington to do the same to McDaniel the very day after the Primary three weeks ago. This is the same McConnell who has yet to savage Barack Obama over anything.

And then there’s the Chamber of Commerce, who’s cronies dumped 100 thousand dollars a day into media – which goes a long way in this state – behind Cochran. Got to keep that crony capitalism coming.

Moreover, there was never even any pretense that Cochran understands, let alone concurs with, conservative base principles. He ran about as shamelessly liberal a campaign as any Mississippi Democrat would run. He didn’t even pretend to be conservative.

Did I mention that this was a Republican Primary?

Now Barbour is fond of saying that “Mike Castle is the best we can ever do” in Delaware, and has said the same of Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Scott Brown and other moderates in the Senate. He uses this as his justification for working against people like Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle. He self-righteously claims this in his frequent speeches to Republican organizations.

Frankly, he’s right about Brown – but he’s wrong about Castle and maybe about Snow and Collins – but for the sake of argument, I’ll concede Haley’s point for just a minute. If this “best we can ever do” litmus is the guiding philosophy, then are you telling me that 

Thad Cochran “is the best we can ever do” in Mississippi?

Hell no he’s not! It would be hard to do any worse in Mississippi.

By Haley’s own theory, he should have been working to defeat Cochran, not desperately pulling out every trick in the book, and some that aren’t even in the book, to preserve power for a man so clueless that he doesn’t even know what the Tea Party movement is about. Yes, I realize that argument uses logic, and up against the naked aggression of power preservation, logic doesn’t stand a chance.

Obviously, Barbour and his coterie are not concerned with any philosophy or principles other than greed and power. They are much more interested in certain people retaining government power than they are reducing government power in the first place. This is the axis on which the tension between the GOP establishment and the Tea Party / base exists. This intramural battle is of course pleasing to the Democrats. It’s the only thing standing between them and electoral disaster this November." via Free Republic


10/16/13, Rush Limbaugh says it would be "Christmas Morning" for the GOP if it could get rid of its conservative base and that they plan to anger the base enough so it leaves. The GOP wants democrat voters which they see as a group who'll be dependent on them and unable to give them trouble:
10/16/13, "GOP Seeks to Rid Itself of the Tea Party," Rush Limbaugh

"So it's a done deal, and for the conservatives, it's regroup time. I just want you to be prepared.  There's gonna be an all-out assault on the people that you think have done a good job and by extension an all-out assault on you It's gonna come from both parties, gonna come from the media....

There will be a fast move in Republican circles to push "comprehensive immigration reform," to go all-in now.  I can't tell you what the Republicans think they're gonna achieve, except this: I really do believe that some of this is oriented toward driving the conservatives out of the party.  I really think some of this is oriented toward the Republicans actually seeking to get rid of their conservative base.

Even if it takes 15 years in the wilderness to rebuild a new base of people who don't embarrass them, of people who are of the right temperament.  Maybe that's what they're willing to do.  Maybe they've got commitments from their donors to keep 'em afloat if they just get rid of some of these wacko right-wing extremists. "We'll just go all-in here. We'll try to put together a new base of really responsible moderate, temperate, independent-type American voters.

"We'll go out, we'll expand our demographics, we'll get a lot of Hispanics doing this, by throwing away the Tea Party, and we'll get a lot of women voters coming back. We'll throw away our base, and we'll get the transgender and the lesbian, gay, bisexual groups, we'll go out and get the Indians that are ticked off at the Redskins. We'll get them! We'll come out against that, and pretty soon we're gonna own the country."

That is the way they're thinking, and all they gotta do to bring all that off? All they gotta do is throw away their base.  That's Christmas morning for 'em.  Now, the Democrats never stop whipping up their base.  Have you noticed?  There's never any pressure on the Democrats to get rid of their base, and you never hear Democrats ripping in their base. You never hear the Democrats acting embarrassed -- and believe me, their base is genuine Looney Tunes....

But the Democrats never act embarrassed by 'em, never act like they want to get rid of 'em. They never, ever do anything other than whip them up, keep them engaged, and turn them out.  Meanwhile, the Republicans are tamping their base down.  Why? 'Cause the Democrats don't like their (the Republicans') base, and it's more important to be liked by the Democrats within the establishment, I guess, than it is to have the current base they've got."...image from


Daily Kos contributor favors ending open primaries despite how much fun it was watching Republicans implode in Mississippi

6/25/14, "Open primaries: Time to close them?" Daily Kos, cjo30080

"You probably know by now that U.S. Senator Thad Cochran surprised State Senator Chris McDaniel in Mississippi’s Republican primary runoff yesterday. You also probably know that McDaniel’s Tea Party supporters are pissed

Is it fun to watch Republicans fight amongst themselves? Yes it is. But at the same time, I can empathize with McDaniel supporters.

Here in Georgia, we also have an open primary system where we don’t have to declare a party affiliation when registering to vote, and anybody can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries. So I can imagine being just as frustrated if a strong progressive candidate lost a close Democratic primary because the Republican-lite candidate recruited Republicans to swing the election his (or her) way.

The main arguments that I’ve heard in favor of open primaries are that they increase voter turnout and increase the likelihood of electing more centrist candidates. Clearly, open primaries sometimes succeed in meeting one or both of these objectives. But I don’t agree that these objectives are worth pursuing, at least not via open primaries.  

If open primaries do increase the likelihood of electing more centrist candidates, then that can be a double-edged sword. For example, Democrats might be relieved when a less extreme Republican is nominated in a safe red state because of open primaries. But then again, it wouldn’t feel so good if a Republican-lite candidate defeated a strong progressive in a blue state for the same reason.

With regard to increased turnout, if a potential voter isn’t familiar enough with the issues to know the difference between a Republican and Democrat…or…is familiar with the issues, but doesn’t have enough in common to affiliate with either party, then I’d prefer that they stay out of the primaries…even if the result is lower turnout. Encouraging people to help nominate candidates for a party that they don’t participate in or, at least, affiliate with isn’t right.  

Let registered party members select their own candidates. Close the primaries."


Added: In 2014 Utah politicians agreed to "open" Republican primaries. Citations below.


Mitt Romney helps Beltway millionaires and billionaires attempt to silence the Silent Majority once and for all:

2/23/14, "Big boost: Mitt Romney backs Count My Vote," Salt Lake Tribune, Robert Gehrke

Romney backed Utah's "Count my Vote" which is open primaries similar to what Mississippi has and which can be gamed by the rich to silence the voice of the ordinary:

Among comments to Salt Lake Trib:


"offroad999: Nothing new here. More big money politicians trying to buy votes and power. If you value your voice you must go beyond just not signing this petition, you need to educate friends, neighbors and family members."


I believe CMV is about Mike Lee having powerful enemies. Few people in Washington have made any effort to protect our Constitution but Mike Lee has. After the TARP bailouts across the entire nation people said throw them out, but 97% were re-elected. Not Bob Bennett, Utah Republican Delegates fired their Senator who was named in The House of Representatives investigation as being responsible for the mortgage crisis. Talk about having primaries, the Caucus/Delegate system put Senator Orrin Hatch in a primary. Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California because of their direct primary election. CMV is going to end up creating a system where candidates can buy your vote. That's exactly what these wealthy people want."


Utah open primaries were championed by RNC lobbyist types Romney and Leavitt. The lobby class wants to get rid of Sen. Mike Lee and get Bob Bennett back or perhaps get Romney's son Josh in there:

Among comments to Deseret News about Utah open primaries:
"wjalden, Cottonwood Heights, UT

Sweet - the legislature has given us a primary without a runoff, per Buy Your Vote's demands. A candidate can now win with just 20-30% of the vote, if there are enough people in the race.

They have given us a system that will destroy More.."

On Mississippi's recent "open primary:"

6/25/14, "Democrats Put Cochran Over the Top," John Fund, NRO

"You have to hand it to the GOP establishment. When their interests are threatened, they pull out all the stops. They demonstrated that in dragging GOP senator Thad Cochran across the finish line in tonight’s runoff in Mississippi....

Thad Cochran’s allies performed a version of that ploy tonight by openly encouraging liberal Democrats to vote in the primary. Turnout was up by some 15 percent from the June 3 contest between Cochran and Chris McDaniel. The New York Times reported that “turnout increased by 92 percent in Jefferson County, the county where black voters represent the largest share of eligible voters in the country.”
Thad Cochran will continue in the Senate only because the GOP establishment used “walking around” money to drum up minority liberal voters for Cochran. In Mississippi, despite an unenforceable law saying that only voters intending to vote Republican can participate in GOP primaries, there was nothing preventing that kind of primary manipulation....

Austin Barbour, a relative of former governor Haley Barbour, even went so far as to claim of the Cochran campaign:

“We’ve spent a lot of time bringing a conservative message to black voters, as well as to white voters, the old and young, men and women.” Actually, the message was the antithesis of conservatism — that only an aging 76-year-old incumbent can bring home pork-barrel projects that largely benefit a business elite while the state’s voters are saddled with more federal debt.image via NRO

Among comments to John Fund, NRO article about recent Mississippi open primary:


Here in Utah, Republican primaries - once restricted to registered Republicans - have been forced open by the establishment as of this year, in revenge for the GOP kicking Bob Bennett out of his senate seat in 2010.
Who did this? Former Governor and Bush HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt lead the betrayal. He was helped by Mitt Romney, who endorsed the effort.

I won't vote for establishment Republicans ever again."