Nothing to worry about:
according to the US Treasury, America has closed the books on 2011 with debt at an all time record $15,222,940,045,451.09. And, as was observed here first in all of the press, US debt to GDP is now officially over 100%, or 100.3% to be specific, a fact which the US government decided to delay exposing until the very end of the calendar year. We wonder, rhetorically, just how prominent of a talking point this historic event will be in any upcoming GOP primary debates. And yes, technically this number is greater than the debt ceiling but it excludes various accounting gimmicks. When accounting for those, the US has a debt ceiling buffer of… $14 billion, or one third the size of a typical bond auction.
Nothing at all. 😦
And speaking of Nothing to worry about…
Probe reveals feds pressuring agents to rush immigrant visas – even if fraud is feared.
Higher-ups within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are pressuring rank-and-file officers to rubber-stamp immigrants’ visa applications, sometimes against the officers’ will, according to a Homeland Security report and internal documents exclusively obtained by The Daily.
A 40-page report, drafted by the Office of Inspector General in September but not publicly released, details the immense pressure immigration service officers are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security.
One-quarter of the 254 officers surveyed said they have been pressured to approve questionable cases, sometimes “against their will.”
The report does not call out any particular officials and indicates that the agency has had a problem with valuing quantity over quality since at least the 1980s.
But high-ranking USCIS officials said the pressure has heightened after the Obama administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as director in August 2009 during an effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, bringing with him a mantra of “get to yes.”
Internal communications provided to The Daily indicate that the new leadership seemed to fundamentally clash with career agency employees over when to afford the benefit of the doubt, culminating in a whistle-blower investigation into a senior appointee and, ultimately, the agency-wide inspector general inquiry that produced the report.
“We recognize their right to interpret things as liberally as possible, but you still have to follow the law,” said one high-ranking official who was unhappy with the current push.
At least five agency veterans seen as being too tough on applicants were either demoted, or given the choice between a demotion or a relocation from Southern California — where their families were — to San Francisco and Nebraska, according to sources and letters of reassignment provided to The Daily.
Those kind of threats have caused lower-level employees to fall in line, sources said.
“People are afraid,” said one longtime manager, who requested anonymity for fear of being fired. “Integrity only carries people so far because they’ve got to pay the rent.”
A rank-and-file officer who was not involved in the investigation claimed he was demoted to working on less technical cases because he had a high denial rate. “They don’t reprimand you, they just move you,” he said.
“They attempted to basically get me to come into line and approve a bunch of cases. And I just wouldn’t compromise myself because the approvals they ordered, they weren’t in line with the laws,” said the officer.
These employees’ claims are reflected in the inspector general report, which found that 14 percent of respondents had “serious concerns” that employees who focused on fraud or ineligibility were evaluated unfairly. The report also found that supervisors sometimes take cases away from an unwilling officer and assign them to someone else, against agency rules.
Recommendations for improvements in the report included raising the burden of proof and doing away with the popular informal and special appeals practices, which immigration lawyers said would only lengthen an already onerous process.
Attorney David Leopold, who was recently president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the formal appeals process can take up to two years.
“When you’re dealing with business visas, those visas cannot wait around a year, or two years, for review. They needed an answer yesterday,” said Leopold. “I think when they’ve [the officers] made a mistake at that level … sometimes you can just reason with people and ask them to take a look at it again.”
Nevertheless, USCIS approved 86 percent of the 3.9 million immigration cases it reviewed between October 2008 and October 2009 — a 4 percent drop from the year before, according to the most recent data provided to The Daily.
And immigration attorneys complained that it seems like officers are just looking for reasons to deny a case, and already demand a higher standard of proof than what is required. That standard is now considered a 51 percent likelihood that a fact is true.
“We’re getting ridiculous denials and requests for evidence on things that should be approved very easily,” said immigration attorney Deb Notkin, adding that it’s particularly tough for specialty industries like fashion, software development and graphic design.
The attorneys applauded Mayorkas’ more open dialogue with them, and other proponents of immigration reform, who had previously felt shut out of the bureaucracy. “Mayorkas, to his credit, is very accessible, so we are able to express our concerns about the adjudication process,” said Leopold.
But sometimes, the openness led to a perception that private attorneys were “running” the agency, according to the inspector general’s report, which cited emails in which individual cases were granted special review after private attorneys complained to management.
Mayorkas and Homeland Security press officers said yesterday they could not comment on the allegations.
The Daily has exclusively obtained a Homeland Security Office of Inspector General draft report on fraud detection issues within the agency’s immigration arm. The inspector general interviewed 147 managers and staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, and received 256 responses to an online survey. Here are some of the findings in the report.
“63 of 254 Immigration Services Officers (24.8%) responded that they have been pressured to approve questionable applications.”
“Several USCIS employees informed us that officers have been required to approve specific cases against their will.”
“Another 35 ISOs (13.9%) had serious concerns concerns that employees who focus on fraud or ineligibility were evaluated unfairly.”
“Cases are sometimes taken away from us and given to officers who the supervisor knows will approve the case … Another survey respondent was threatened with a formal reprimand if a case was not approved as the supervisor required.”
“… data confirm that USCIS was more likely to grant O visa status [for aliens who have extraordinary ability in science, arts, business, or athletics] incorrectly than to deny a legitimate position.”
Source: Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, “The Effects of USCIS Adjudication Procedures and Policies on Fraud Detection by Immigration Service Officers,” September 2011. (The Daily)
As I have said often in the past, THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA and everything else in the universe be damned.
That is the Liberal way.
“Part of what 2012 is about is both reminding the American people of how far we’ve traveled and the concrete effects that some of our work … but part of it is also framing this larger debate about what kind of country are we going to leave for our children and our grandchildren,” Obama said.
As part of that reframing effort, Obama caricatured the GOP’s free-market policies as “a different theory that says, we’re going to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, and roll back regulations on things like clean air and health care reform and Wall Street reform, and that somehow, automatically, that assures that everybody is able to succeed.”
“I don’t believe that” theory, said Obama, who has described himself as a progressive.
Progressives, generally speaking, believe that university-trained managers should manage people’s economic and social lives. Conservatives, including social conservatives and libertarians, object to government-imposed management of the economy and society.
Obama also framed his progressive goals in the populist language chosen for his Dec. 6 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, saying he was fighting for “an America where [government ensured] everybody had a fair shot, everybody did their fair share; that responsibility was rewarded and that the game wasn’t fixed.”
Only he wants to fix the game in HIS favor, and for the pet projects, like solar panels and “green tech” that get’s the Obama stamp of approval. Pick the Winners and Losers, that’s “free market” to socialists like him. But he’s not going to tell you that. And neither is the media.
It’s all about soaring rhetoric and meaningless double talk about how government should run everything and everyone because after all, government bureaucrats are vastly more “fair” and being dependent on government largess and it’s beneficence is all that you really need in life after all.
Nothing to Worry about.
“If you want to compete in a free market,” he told the campaign workers, “then you should compete on the basis of price and service and quality, not on the basis of somebody not being able to understand what they’re buying,” he declared.
Unless you’re a Non-Union employer, like say, Boeing in South Carolina….
Translation: You were too stupid to understand that when the government forced the banks to lend to anyone with a pulse (because that was more “fair”) and they did it and when the people couldn’t pay it back (as everyone already knew) that was the banks fault!
Capitalists are evil, greedy, tricksters out to screw you and I’m not. 🙂
Government control of everything is much more “fair”.
Nothing to Worry About. Trust Me sssssssssssssssssssssss…….
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
Republicans are determined to “end Medicare as we know it,” she intoned. When the moment presented itself, Katie jumped in to ask why Democrats continue to insist on repeating the political “lie of the year,” as determined by the typically left-leaning fact check organization, Politifact. Wasserman Schultz, visibly perturbed, interrupted the question and launched a meandering answer that hinged on an empty distinction. Off camera, I chimed in with two quick follow-ups — to which DWS was substantively unresponsive. Here’s the full exchange, culminating in the Florida Congresswoman throwing in the rhetorical towel.
After reciting a few platitudes, DWS pivoted back into attack dog mode, bitterly demanding that Republicans “sit down and compromise” with Democrats to help preserve Medicare. Well, as it happens, the very Republican she regularly demonizes has recently done exactly that. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin teamed up with lefty Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to introduce bipartisan legislation that incorporates many elements of Ryan’s original proposals, while maintaining “traditional Medicare” as an option in market-driven exchanges. It also offers a more generous benchmark for spending increases than Ryan’s 2012 budget called for — a concession to the Left. Although many conservatives have voiced significant concerns about some of the compromise’s elements, the Wyden/Ryan plan does precisely what DWS claims to crave. Nevertheless, the White House instantly dismissed it out of hand — they’re too invested in Mediscare as a political strategy to abide any plausible solution. Does DWS share the president’s opposition to the break-through, consensus-building reform plan? As the clip reveals, she wasn’t interested in answering that question. What a surprise.
THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA!
Nothing to Worry about. As AG Holder famously said, Lying is “complicated”. 🙂
Definition of Marxism: The economic, social, political, pseudo-scientific philosophy, theory, belief, or system based on the works of Karl Marx of Germany. The theory seeks the elimination of the notion of private property in order to gain control of the economic “means of production” by taking it from the bourgeois (the wealthy or propertied class) for the benefit of the proletariat (working class.) His philosophy of history was called “historical materialism” in which his goal was to bring about the end of history, by means of an eventual perfect, classless, utopian society he called Communism.
Nothing to Worry about….