Does the Constitution Still Matter?

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Americans right and left tend to give up on the Constitution whenever it gets in the way of policies they like.

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The Constitution serves the nation; the nation does not serve the Constitution. That’s what the framers would say.

When it was written, Ben Franklin said the Founders gave us a republic, “if you can keep it.” Few people thought the republic would last another 227 years, but it has, and then again, it hasn’t. The Constitution’s supposed limits on government power helped create the illusion of the “most free and prosperous country on earth.”

But now, some Americans, right and left, give up on the Constitution whenever it gets in the way of policies they like. Some on the right defend anti-obscenity laws or want more mingling of church and state, while those on the left want endless economic regulation.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) asked President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Elena Kagan, “If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said, Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day, does that violate the Commerce Clause?” Amazingly, Kagan wouldn’t say, “Yes, of course!” She dodged the question.

Once on the Court, Kagan was part of the 5-4 majority who concluded the government can force us to buy something much more expensive than fruit and veggies: Obamacare can force us to buy health insurance.

Progressives have no problems with that. On the TV show, Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress.com said government making you buy vegetables isn’t so strange: “I don’t know how to tell you this, but government already makes you buy things like broccoli. What do you think food stamps are? What do you think school lunches are? The government has the power to tax you and buy things with it.”

Even creepier than wanting government to have so much power is the way progressives shift their arguments to get policy outcomes they want.

In 2009, Obama said that while Obamacare imposes a penalty on anyone who doesn’t buy health insurance, “Nobody considers that a tax.” The next year, when it appeared the Supreme Court would allow a tax but not a penalty, The New York Times reported, “Administration, Changing Stance, Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax.”

How effective is the Constitution if the Supreme Court itself is willing to help the President and Congress weasel their way around the constraints on federal power that the document was intended to impose?

big govMillhiser said that Congress has broad power to regulate commerce, to control things like hiring and firing, but can’t pass laws against rape and murder. I’m glad Millhiser recognizes some limits, although he seems to suggest that the feds can do whatever they want except pass laws that might actually protect people.

Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation rebuted Millhiser, saying the Founders didn’t expect government to control everything that goes on in the economic realm any more than they expected it to control speech.

“The Constitution is a promise about how government power is going to be used. It’s a promise written by people who had experienced life under tyrannical government,” says Sandefur. “The lesson they learned from that and from their knowledge of previous tyrannies was that the most important issue is to wall off government power from our private lives and to make sure that nobody—not elected officials, not a king, not a dictator—gets to dictate how we live our lives.”

The Constitution doesn’t get the respect it deserves, but it can still slow the growth of government. In 1895, Congress passed an income tax, but the Supremes said, no, the Constitution does not give you that power—and the income tax was struck down. America at least avoided a national income tax for the next 18 years, until Congress and state legislatures approved an actual Constitutional Amendment.

supremes96The Constitution has also limited the power of politicians to ban handguns and political campaign contributions. Each time the Supremes say “no,” that may make the next crop of politicians a bit humbler.

The Constitution reversed President Harry Truman’s nationalization of the steel industry. Maybe that deterred Presidents Bush and Obama from nationalizing America’s banks after the collapse of the housing bubble. Maybe.

We benefit from the Constitution’s existence nearly every time it stymies politicians’ ambition to control us.

 

Related:

 

Resources:

TIME Magazine: Does The Constitution Still Matter?

Clayton McCleskey: The other side of the American Revolution

Teddy Bear Suicide

Would You Vote If Your Liberty

Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone

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Supreme-Court-of-the-United-States

The Government’s Duty to Protect the Lives of its Citizens under the Due Process Clause

The Issue: In what situations does the Constitution demand that a government protect the lives of its citizens from bad private actors?

The Supreme Court has generally declined to find that the Constitution imposes affirmative obligations on the government to help citizens. For example, the Court has rejected claims that the Constitution obligates the government to provide welfare benefits, housing, or a public education. Instead, the Court has viewed the Constitution as restraining government from depriving persons the right to pursue various liberties, such as freedom of speech or a life free from unreasonable searches or cruel punishments.

This principle, it turns out, applies even to something so basic as human lives. Clearly, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government itself from taking lives or liberty, except in a manner consistent with due process, and the Fourth Amendment specifically prohibits the government from unreasonably seizing persons. When it comes, however, to a government duty to protect persons from bad private actors, the Court has been reluctant to find one–even when reasonable government actors could easily have saved lives or prevented serious bodily harm.

1police stateOn June 27, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation. 

The decision, with an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia and dissents from Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, overturned a ruling by a federal appeals court in Colorado. The appeals court had permitted a lawsuit to proceed against a Colorado town, Castle Rock, for the failure of the police to respond to a woman’s pleas for help after her estranged husband violated a protective order by kidnapping their three young daughters, whom he eventually killed.

For hours on the night of June 22, 1999, Jessica Gonzales tried to get the Castle Rock police to find and arrest her estranged husband, Simon Gonzales, who was under a court order to stay 100 yards away from the house. He had taken the children, ages 7, 9 and 10, as they played outside, and he later called his wife to tell her that he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver.

Ms. Gonzales conveyed the information to the police, but they failed to act before Mr. Gonzales arrived at the police station hours later, firing a gun, with the bodies of the girls in the back of his truck. The police killed him at the scene.

The theory of the lawsuit Ms. Gonzales filed in federal district court in Denver was that Colorado law had given her an enforceable right to protection by instructing the police, on the court order, that “you shall arrest” or issue a warrant for the arrest of a violator. She argued that the order gave her a “property interest” within the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s due process guarantee, which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process.

The district court and a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit dismissed the suit, but the full appeals court reinstated it and the town appealed. The Supreme Court’s precedents made the appellate ruling a challenging one for Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers to sustain.

DeShaney v Winnebago CountyA 1989 decision, DeShaney v. Winnebago County, held that the failure by county social service workers to protect a young boy from a beating by his father did not breach any substantive constitutional duty. By framing her case as one of process rather than substance, Ms. Gonzales and her lawyers hoped to find a way around that precedent.

Jessica Gonzales sued Castle Rock, alleging that the restraining order created a claim of entitlement to protective services under the Due Process Clause, a right which the city violated by failing to follow up on her calls.

The failure of Castle Rock police to respond did violate Jessica’s right to fair procedures, and should have constituted a due process violation.

But the majority saw little difference between the earlier case and this one, Castle Rock v. Gonzales, No. 04-278. Ms. Gonzales did not have a “property interest” in enforcing the restraining order, Justice Scalia said, adding that “such a right would not, of course, resemble any traditional conception of property.”

Although the protective order did mandate an arrest, or an arrest warrant, in so many words, Justice Scalia said, “a well-established tradition of police discretion has long coexisted with apparently mandatory arrest statutes.”

DeShaney CaseBut Justices Stevens and Ginsburg, in their dissenting opinion, said “it is clear that the elimination of police discretion was integral to Colorado and its fellow states’ solution to the problem of under-enforcement in domestic violence cases.” Colorado was one of two dozen states that, in response to increased attention to the problem of domestic violence during the 1990’s, made arrest mandatory for violating protective orders.

“The court fails to come to terms with the wave of domestic violence statutes that provides the crucial context for understanding Colorado’s law,” the dissenting justices said.

Organizations concerned with domestic violence had watched the case closely and expressed disappointment at the outcome. Fernando LaGuarda, counsel for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said in a statement that Congress and the states should now act to give greater protection.

In another ruling, the court rebuked the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, for having reopened a death penalty appeal, on the basis of newly discovered evidence, after the ruling had become final.

The 5-to-4 decision, Bell v. Thompson, No. 04-514, came in response to an appeal by the State of Tennessee after the Sixth Circuit removed a convicted murderer, Gregory Thompson, from the state’s death row.

After his conviction and the failure of his appeals in state court, Mr. Thompson, with new lawyers, had gone to federal district court seeking a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that his initial lawyers had been constitutionally inadequate. The new lawyers obtained a consultation with a psychologist, who diagnosed Mr. Thompson as schizophrenic.

Bell v ThompsonBut the psychologist’s report was not included in the file of the habeas corpus petition in district court, which denied the petition. It was not until the Sixth Circuit and then the Supreme Court had also denied his petition, making the case final, that the Sixth Circuit reopened the case, finding that the report was crucial evidence that should have been considered.

In overturning that ruling in an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the majority said the appeals court had abused its discretion in an “extraordinary departure from standard appellate procedures.” Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Sandra Day O’Connor joined the opinion.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the majority had relied on rules to the exclusion of justice. Judges need a “degree of discretion, thereby providing oil for the rule-based gears,” he said. Justices Stevens, Ginsburg and David H. Souter joined the dissent.

Estate of Sinthasomphone v Milwaukee (1992) is a federal district court decision involving another tragic set of facts. On a night in 1991, Milwaukee police received a 911 call informing them that a naked and badly beaten young man (who turned out to be a 14-year-old Laotian named Konerak Sinthasomphone) was at a specific address and needed help. The police responded to the call, as did the fire department and paramedics. When the police arrived, Jeffrey Dahmer, was trying to reassert control over the boy while two private citizens were trying to prevent him from doing so. The police ordered the two citizens and the fire dept to leave.

KonerakSinthasomphoneThese officers intentionally and deliberately refused to listen to the following specific information conveyed by Nichole Childress, Sandra Smith, and others: that Sinthasomphone was a child; that he was trying to escape from Dahmer, that Dahmer had referred to Sinthasomphone by various names; that Dahmer was attempting to physically control Sinthasomphone; and that Sinthasomphone was drugged, hurt, naked, and had been sexually abused. The officers threatened to arrest Childress and Smith if they persisted in trying to help Sinthasomphone or to provide information.

But because those two women had called 911, there were records of conversations between the police officers, their dispatcher, and the women involved.

The police ultimately delivered Sinthasomphone into Dahmer’s custody, without obtaining consent from Sinthasomphone or his parents. The police concluded that Dahmer and Sinthasomphone were “adult homosexual partners” who, at least at that time, were staying together in Dahmer’s apartment. By returning young Sinthasomphone to Dahmer, the police prevented any potential rescue of Sinthasomphone.
Jeffrey-dahmerThe name Jeffrey Dahmerwas largely unknown at the time. Today, everyone knows the story of the 31-year-old chocolate factory worker, a killing machine who committed the most appalling string of homicides in this city’s history.. Sinthasomphone became one of his seventeen victims, with his body dismembered and stuffed into Dahmer’s refrigerator.

Sinthasomphone’s family and estate sued, alleging Konerak’s constitutional rights were violated by Milwaukee police. 

 

On March 5, 1992, decision that “having dissected these cases, the Sinthasomphone plaintiffs alleged that “the police officers failed to protect Konerak Sinthasomphone from Jeffrey Dahmer.”

Sinthasomphone_ProtestThe three police officers in this case were entitled to “Qualified immunity” unless their conduct violated Konerak Sinthasomphone’s clearly established constitutional rights.

“Qualified immunity balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their duties reasonably.” Specifically, it protects government officials from lawsuits alleging that they violated plaintiffs’ rights, only allowing suits where officials violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right. When determining whether or not a right was “clearly established,” courts consider whether a hypothetical reasonable official would have known that the defendant’s conduct violated the plaintiff’s rights.

Another claim based on a violation of the equal protection clause would violate clearly established law: “the cases uniformly emphasize that if police action — or even police inaction is a product of intentional discrimination, it violates the Equal Protection Clause.”

The district court dismissed the city’s motion for summary judgment on the
equal protection claim, finding that although many facts are not in dispute, there is a dispute over the relevancy of certain facts and the proper inferences to be drawn from these facts.

That motion was a rule 12 motion to dismiss based on the inadequacy of the complaint.

 

 

Related:

In Archie v. City of Racine, 847 F.2d 1211 (7th Cir.1988), the court of appeals for this circuit upheld my dismissal of claims that a Racine Fire Department dispatcher had failed to send a rescue vehicle to a woman who later died. In Ellsworth v. City of Racine, 774 F.2d 182 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1047, 106 S.Ct. 1265, 89 L.Ed.2d 574, the court of appeals upheld the dismissal of a claim that the Racine Police Department, after agreeing to provide protection to the wife of an undercover narcotics officer, failed to protect her from a beating by a masked assailant. Losinski v. County of Trempealeau, 946 F.2d 544 (7th Cir.1991), concerned a woman involved in an intense domestic violence situation who, accompanied by a deputy sheriff, returned to her estranged husband’s trailer to retrieve her belongings and was killed by him. The court of appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against the county that deputy, relying on two factors: the State did not create the danger and it did not subject her involuntarily to an existing danger.

A few cases reach a contrary result in situations in which there is little room to misunderstand what the results of one’s actions or inaction will be. In White v. Rochford, 592 F.2d 381 (7th Cir.1979), a pre-DeShaney case, the court of appeals for this circuit determined that Chicago police violated the Constitution when they left three children, unattended, in a car on the Chicago Skyway after arresting the adult who had been driving the car, in which the children were riding. After exposure to the cold, the children left the car, crossed eight lanes of freeway traffic, and wandered around on the roadway at night searching for a telephone.

In Ross v. United States, 910 F.2d 1422 (7th Cir.1990), a 12-year-old boy slipped into the water of Lake Michigan. A friend summoned help, and within 10 minutes two life-guards, two fire fighters, one police officer, and two civilians, who were scuba-diving nearby, responded. However, before any rescue attempt could begin, a Lake County deputy sheriff arrived in a marine patrol boat. He insisted on enforcing an agreement between the city of Waukegan, Illinois, and Lake County, Illinois, which required the county to provide all police services on Lake Michigan. Pursuant to that agreement, the sheriff had promulgated a policy that directed all members of the sheriff’s department to prevent any civilian from attempting to rescue a drowning person and contemplated that only divers from the city of Waukegan Fire Department could perform rescues. The deputy ordered all rescue attempts to stop. When the civilian scuba divers offered to attempt a rescue at their own risk, the deputy threatened to arrest them. Twenty minutes later, 30 minutes after the first would-be rescuers had arrived, the officially authorized divers pulled the boy from the water. He later died. The court found that the complaint stated a claim against both Lake County and the individual deputy.

Horton v. Flenory, 889 F.2d 454 (3rd Cir. 1989), should now be added to the mix. Defendant Flenory was a former police officer and the owner of a private club. When his club was burglarized, he called a police officer with whom he had formerly served. Before the officer arrived, Flenory interrogated a former employee named Powdrill, whom he suspected to be the burglar, and Powdrill suffered a beating. After he arrived, the police officer did some investigation, but ultimately left Powdrill in the “good hands” of defendant Flenory. Powdrill then suffered another beating and died.

The police officer, in leaving Powdrill with Flenory, was acting under an official policy of the police department. The policy was to maintain a hands-off policy with respect to events transpiring in private clubs.

The court determined that DeShaney is “limited … to situations in which the state is not involved in the harm, either as a custodian or as an actor.” The court goes on to find that the defendants in that case were entitled to judgment notwithstanding the verdict “only if Mr. Powdrill’s death occurred at a time when he was entirely outside state custody and only if that death was not the result of an official policy.” At 458. The court found that Powdrill was in the custody of defendant Flenory, who was exercising a “delegated state function.”

Reed v. Gardner, 986 F.2d 1122, 1127 (7th Cir.1993), involved an intoxicated person whom a patrolman had allowed to have possession of a car and the car keys. Two hours later, that person slammed head on into another car, killing one of the passengers and injuring several others. Reversing a dismissal at the pleading stage, the court stated that “[s]ome dangers are so evident, while their victims are so random, that the state actors can be held accountable by any injured party.” (Emphasis added.) The court focused on the nature of the danger: is the danger sufficiently evident that a reasonable officer should be held accountable to have understood it.

The danger in Ross was undeniably evident: anyone has to know the inevitable result of leaving someone under water for 30 minutes. On the other hand, one does not inevitably know that getting a naked person off the streets, taking him to an apartment where his clothes and near-naked pictures of him are present, and leaving him there with a person who convincingly presents himself as a friend will result in death and dismemberment.

 

Resources:

No Duty to Protect: Two Exceptions – Police Chief Magazine

Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to

Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by the

Government’s Duty to Protect the Lives – UMKC School of Law

NYPD: Police Had No Duty to Protect Hero Who Stopped

Gun Owners of Vermont | Justices Rule Police Do Not Have

Major Lawsuit Filed Against The Salisbury Police Department

FBI — Qualified Immunity

Qualified immunity | Wex Legal Dictionary

Could Police Have Saved Young Victim?

Leagle.com

Equal Protection for Victims of Same-Sex Domestic Violence

Warren v. District of Columbia

White House Won’t Say How Much Taxpayers Pay For Obama Fundraising

lisaleaks:

When President Barack Obama takes Air Force One on a fundraising swing, he is required under the law to reimburse taxpayers for certain travel expenses.But as Mark Knoller of CBS News reports, the White House has made it a practice of not publicly releasing specific reimbursement figures, making it impossible for the public to see exactly how much they pay every time the president goes on a political trip.

Originally posted on BLOGGING BAD w/Gunny G ~ "CLINGERS of AMERICA!":

White House Won’t Say How Much Taxpayers Pay For Obama FundraisingDaily Caller ^ | 7:22 PM 10/12/2014 | Alex PappasPosted on 10/13/2014, 12:09:31 PM by Olog-hai

When President Barack Obama takes Air Force One on a fundraising swing, he is required under the law to reimburse taxpayers for certain travel expenses.But as Mark Knoller of CBS News reports, the White House has made it a practice of not publicly releasing specific reimbursement figures, making it impossible for the public to seehttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v73/gunnyg/th_big-1.jpg exactly how much they pay every time the president goes on a political trip.

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The EU’s Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreements

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EU TradeAccording to IMF estimates, over the next years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That is why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European business by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. If we were to complete all our current free trade talks, we could add 2.2% to the EU’s GDP or €275 billion. This is equivalent of adding a country as big as Austria or Denmark to the EU economy. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or additional 1% of the EU total workforce. Below is an overview of the most important on-going and concluded free trade negotiations.

Main partners
In the first quarter of 2014, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the EU28 recorded external current account surpluses with the USA (+€25.1 bn), Switzerland (+€16.5 bn), Hong Kong (+€6.4 bn), Brazil (+€5.5 bn), Canada
(+€2.4 bn) and India (+€0.4 bn), and deficits with China (-€26.9 bn), Russia (-€16.3 bn) and Japan (-€3.2 bn).

United States of America The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks started with a round held on 8-12 July 2013 in Washington, D.C. Negotiating groups set out respective approaches and ambitions in twenty various areas that the TTIP is set to cover, including custom duties and technical standards for goods produced on both sides of Atlantic.

The second round, which took place from 11-15 November in Brussels, focused on trade rules and the regulatory component of the TTIP that will feed into a political review in January 2014 (IP/13/1091).

The initiative of a transatlantic agreement is based on the recommendations of the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth that steered the deliberations on the future EU-US relations since late 2011. According to an independent study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, an ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership would bring the EU economic gains of €119 billion a year once the agreement is fully implemented.

Agreement on investment with China Investment negotiations were officially launched on the occasion of the EU-China Summit held in Beijing on 21 November 2013 (IP/13/1099 and MEMO/13/1012). The first round of talks took place at the end 2013. The Commission will negotiate on the basis of the mandate approved by the Council on 18 October (MEMO/13/913).

FDIThe current level of bilateral investment is way below what could be expected from two of the most important economic blocks on the planet. Just 2.1% of overall EU Foreign direct investment (FDI) is in China. The main purposes for these negotiations are the progressive abolition of restrictions on trade and foreign direct investment as well as promoting the overall objectives of EU policy in the world. The EU-China investment agreement will improve access to the Chinese market and provide EU investors in China a high level of investment protection in a single, coherent text.

CanadaOn 18 October 2013, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (IP/13/972). It will be the first free trade agreement between the European Union and a G8 country. It will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment. Based on the political agreement, technical negotiations will have to be completed so as to finalize the legal text of the agreement.

In 2012 Canada was the EU’s 12th most important trading partner whereas the EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. In 2012, the value of bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Canada was €61.8 billion. An economic study jointly released by the EU and Canada before the negotiations showed that a comprehensive trade agreement could increase their bilateral trade by another €25.7 billion.

JapanThe EU and Japan launched negotiations for a free trade agreement in April 2013 (MEMO/13/348) and have held so far three rounds of talks. The third round took place from 21-25 October in Brussels (IP/13/998) and progress in negotiations was discussed at the EU–Japan Summit in Tokyo on 19 November (MEMO/13/1015).

Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China. An FTA could increase EU GDP by 0.6% and boost EU exports to Japan by a third. 400,000 additional jobs are expected in the EU as a result of this deal.

The Commission is aware of concerns in some Member States and industry sectors, particularly as regards non-tariff barriers in Japan. This is exactly why the Commission agreed with Japan – even before potential negotiations started – that Europe could ‘pull the plug’ on negotiations after one year if Japan does not demonstrate that it is removing certain non-tariff barriers.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – The EU negotiates currently with four countries of the ASEAN region. The negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore, launched in 2010, were concluded successfully in December last year (IP/12/1380) and the agreement was initialed in Singapore on 20 September 2013 (IP/13/849). However, the talks on investment protection that started only after the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, giving the EU new competencies in this area, are still on-going. On 18 October, the Council adopted also a mandate which will allow the European Commission to start investment negotiations with other ASEAN countries (MEMO/13/913).

In the meantime, the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement continue with Malaysia and Vietnam. The 5th round of FTA negotiations with Vietnam took place in Hanoi on 4-8 November 2013. The negotiations have entered a substantial phase and the sixth round of negotiations will take place in Brussels in the week of 13 January 2014. Thailand started bilateral negotiations with the EU only later, in March this year (press release). The third round of these talks will take place in Brussels during the week of 9 December.

The EU remains open to start negotiations with other ASEAN partners and hopes one day to integrate these deals into a global region-to-region trade agreement. As a whole, with €191 billion of trade in goods in 2012 and €51 billion services in 2011, ASEAN is today the EU’s third largest trading partner outside Europe, after the US and China and well ahead of other partners.

Southern MediterraneanThe EU has completed so far two rounds of negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Morocco and the third round of talks took place in January 2014. The deal should strengthen EU-Morocco trade relations building upon existing agreements, including the Association Agreement of 2000 and the agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products of 2012. Morocco is the first Mediterranean country to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. The Commission has also a mandate to start a similar process with Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.

IndiaSubstantive progress has been achieved since the beginning of the negotiations in 2007. Now both sides need to go the final mile to put the package together.  India combines a sizable and growing market of more than 1 billion people and is an important trading partner for the EU as well as an emerging global economic power.

MercosurNegotiations of an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement were launched in 2000, but suspended in 2004 due to substantial differences on the Trade part of the agreement. Negotiations were resumed in May 2010 (IP/10/496). Since then, nine negotiating rounds were held between the EU and Mercosur, which have focused on the trade rules rather than customs duty reductions.

At the EU-Mercosur trade ministerial meeting held in Santiago on 26 January 2013, the EU and Mercosur agreed to exchange offers on market access concessions for goods, services and government procurement not later than in the last quarter. Work related to preparation of the offers on both sides is on-going.

Gulf Cooperation Council – Negotiations for a free trade agreement were suspended by the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2008. Informal contacts between negotiators continue to take place.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) – Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development partnerships between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), based on the Cotonou Agreement concluded in 2000. The aim is to consolidate free access to the EU market for products from our ACP partners, foster trade-related cooperation and attract investment, in order to promote sustainable development.

The negotiations started in 2002 and have covered seven regional groups: West Africa, Central Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), East African Community (EAC), South African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group, the Caribbean (CARIFORUM) and the Pacific. The EU continues the talks with all of them except CARIFORUM that signed a full Economic Partnership Agreement already in 2008.The EU Negotiations are now entering a decisive phase in the Eastern African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group. In the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa progress is uneven.

From 15 to 19 July 2013, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht traveled to four African countries: Kenya (part of the EAC) and Namibia, Botswana and South Africa (members of the SADC EPA Group) (IP/13/686). Commissioner De Gucht used this opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen trade and investment relations with the African regions, in particular through comprehensive trade and development partnerships under EPAs. Commissioner De Gucht returned to the region in November, visiting South Africa again, and then Cameroon (Central African region) and Côte d’Ivoire (Western Africa) (IP/13/1057).

The EU has twelve trade negotiations under way and several more trade and development negotiations (EPAs) ongoing.

Free Trade Agreements finished but not yet applied

Eastern Neighborhood The EU has recently concluded negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Moldova, Armenia and Georgia. The DCFTAs are part of the Association Agreements with these three countries. The official initialing of the Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia took place during the Eastern Partnership Summit on 29 November 2013 in Vilnius.

Given the decision taken by Armenia in the beginning of September to join the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the steps required for the agreement with this country to become effective are not pursued at this moment.

The EU is the main trading partner for each the three countries. In 2011 trade with the EU represented more than 50% of total trade flows for Moldova, 32% of overall trade for Armenia and 26% for Georgia. Once implemented, the DCFTAs would provide for a significantly improved mutual access for goods and services between the EU and its eastern neighbors. Furthermore, they will ensure an open, stable and predictable legal environment for the benefit of businesses and consumers on both sides.

Ukraine – The EU and Ukraine concluded the negotiations for a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in December 2011. On 15 May 2013, the Commission adopted the proposals for Council decisions on the signing and provisional application of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement , including its trade part (IP/13/436). Ukraine decided to suspend temporarily the preparations for signing but the EU offer is still on the table (Presidents’ statement).

SingaporeThe negotiations for a Free Trade Agreements (FTA) between the European Union and Singapore were concluded in December 2012 (IP/12/1380) and the agreement was initialed in Singapore on 20 September 2013 (IP/13/849). The procedures allowing the agreement to become effective are expected to be completed by late 2014.

This is the EU’s second ambitious agreement with a key Asian trading partner, after the EU-Korea FTA, and the first with a member of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Once fully implemented, the deal will open up markets on both sides in a number of sectors.

Singapore is by far its largest EU trading partner in the South-East Asia, accounting for about a third of EU-ASEAN trade in goods and services, and for more than three-fifths of investment stocks between the two regions. Over 9000 EU companies have set up their regional hub in Singapore.

There are also five interim Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific States that have been negotiated but have not yet entered into force.  These are with Cote d’Ivoire, Central Africa (Cameroon), the Southern African Development Community, Ghana and the East African Community.

In total, the EU has finished negotiating ten trade agreements that have yet to enter into force.

Free Trade Agreements already in place

Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) – The Association Agreement between the European Union Central American (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) was approved by the European Parliament on 11 December 2012 (IP/12/1353). The trade provisions of the agreement apply with Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama since 1 August 2013 (IP/13/758), with Costa Rica and El Salvador since 1 October 2013 (IP/13/881) and with Guatemala since 1st December 2013 (IP/13/1183).

This agreement opens up markets on both sides, helping to establish a stable business and investment environment and foster integration between the EU and the whole of the Central America. The agreement is also meant to reinforce economic integration between the members of the Central American region.

The EU is Central America’s second biggest trading partner. In 2012, the total trade flows in goods amounted to €14 billion, including almost €1.4 billion worth of trade with Honduras, €1.2 billion with Panama and €0.4 billion with Nicaragua. Benefits of the agreement will be particularly tangible for the Central America’s economy that is expected to grow by over two and a half billion euros annually once the agreement applies to the entire region.

Colombia and PeruThe FTA with members of the Andean region, Colombia and Peru, has been provisionally applied with Peru since 1 March 2013 (IP/13/173) and with Colombia since 1 August 2013 (IP/13/749).

The EU is the second largest trading partner of the Andean region after the US.  It is expected that, once fully implemented, the deal with both Andean partners will result in total tariff saving for European and Andean companies of more than €500 million per year. The improved, more stable conditions for trade and investment are expected to boost trade and investment between the two regions. The aim of the agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru is also to foster regional integration. Therefore, the door is still open for the other Andean countries – Ecuador and Bolivia – to enter into the partnership.

South Korea – The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force in July 2011. This has been the first of a new generation of free trade agreements that went further than ever before at lifting trade barriers and making it easier for European and Korean companies to do business together. As the FTA has lowered import tariffs for European products at the Korean border, EU exports to the peninsular country have grown strongly giving the EU a trade surplus with Korea for the first time in 15 years. Marking two years since the start of the implementation phase, the state of play was discussed, Inter alia, on the occasion of the EU–South Korea Summit held in Brussels on 8 November (IP/13/1046 and MEMO/13/959). On 11 November the parties initialled an Additional Protocol to the EU-Korea FTA to take into account the accession of Croatia to the EU.

MexicoSince the entry into force in October 2000 of this comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, total bilateral trade has doubled, passing from €21.7 billion in 2000 to €47.1 billion in 2012. In the margins of the EU-CELAC 1 summit in Santiago in January 2013, the EU and Mexico agreed to explore the options for a modernization of the EU-Mexico Agreement. The new talks should deepen the existing provisions but also cover areas not included in the existing agreement, such as services, investment, public procurement, trade rules, etc. Following-up on the decision taken by Presidents Barroso and Peña Nieto in the summit, a Joint Working Group, tasked with a reflection on the modernization of the agreement, met on 22-23 October 2013.

Economic Partnership Agreements are being implemented in with three regions:  the Caribbean (fifteen CARIFORUM states), the Pacific (the only country currently applying is Papua New Guinea) and Eastern and Southern Africa (four ESA countries – Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Madagascar, the Seychelles).

South Africa - South Africa is the EU’s largest trading partner in Africa.  The Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement, in force since 2000, established a free trade area that covers 90% of bilateral trade between the EU and South Africa. Liberalisation was completed by 2012. South Africa is now involved in further negotiations with the EU as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group.

ChileThe EU and Chile concluded an Association Agreement in 2002, which included a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that entered into force in February 2003. The EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement is broad and comprehensive and covers all the areas of EU-Chile trade relations. EU is Chile’s second largest source of imports, after the USA. The EU is also Chile’s third largest export market, after the recent rise of China as an important export market for the EU.

On top of these “classic” free trade deals, Free Trade Agreements are a core component of many Association Agreements as well as Customs Unions (Andorra, San Marino, Turkey). Hence the EU also has free trade deals in force with a number of countries and territories in Europe (Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) and the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia) and three with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (Caribbean, Pacific and Eastern and Southern Africa). Trade provisions of the agreement with Syria are currently not applied.

The EU therefore has already in place trade agreements with some 50 partners.

Related:

Further Eurostat information

Main tables

Database

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)

Other information

External links

Resources:

EUROPAPRESS RELEASES

Centre for Economic Policy Research

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

EU-CELAC Action Plan 2013-2015 – the European External

EU provides new support to help migrants and – Europa

 

EUROPAPRESS RELEASES – Press release – “Regional

Who’s scripting the EU-US trade deal? | Corporate Europe

Pacific Alliance and Mercosur will Attempt Convergence, Sponsored by Chile

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mercosul_em_sintesis_es_set2014A first meeting to assess opportunities for accords between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur will take place next November in Santiago de Chile confirmed, and confirmed by Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz.

The meeting is scheduled for 24 November and the objective is to establish a road map that could lead to a convergence of the open market Pacific countries, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico with Mercosur Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, which have a more restrictive approach towards the private sector.

“The idea is to discuss different forms for specific accords between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, on the understanding that at this stage it is not realistic to think about a tariffs and regulations convergence, given the existing differences,” admitted Muñoz.

The November meeting will be held at foreign ministers level plus representatives from regional organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN economic office Economic Commission for Latin America and the

(ECLAC), ALADI, Latin American integration association plus academics.

The idea of a possible integration was first announced by Chile last June during the summit of Pacific Alliance presidents in Mexico. The Alliance only has three years and its main objective is to promote trade and investments with Asia and the Pacific. Contrary to Mercosur, the Alliance promotes free trade, open markets, a strong private sector with governments limited to regulatory tasks.

MercosurChile also admitted that in the event of a possible convergence between the two blocks a ‘two speed’ approach should not be discarded.

“If some countries can move faster towards integration and are willing to do so, they should be encouraged and be facilitated to move in that direction, while the rest can move at a slower pace but with a common horizon,” said Muñoz.

“You can argue that the Pacific Alliance will move faster and Mercosur has its own rhythm, in a way it meets its own commitments, but we must be aware that a convergence is needed, almost imperative for a strong regional architecture,” added the Chilean official.

Alliance members have a trade agreement with significant tariff reductions for 92% of items traded, represent 36% of the region’s GDP, and over 50% of exports. Uruguay and Paraguay are observers of the Pacific Alliance and have publicly announced they want to join the group, but are limited by the consensus clause that binds all Mercosur members regarding third parties.

EU bilateral free tradeThe EU is currently negotiating a trade agreement with Mercosur as part of the overall negotiation for a bi-regional Association Agreement which also cover a political and a cooperation pillar.

These negotiations with Mercosur were officially relaunched at the EU-Mercosur summit in Madrid on 17 May 2010. The objective is to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement, covering not only trade in industrial and agricultural goods but also services, improvement of rules on government procurement, intellectual property, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade.

Nine negotiation rounds (the last one from 22 to 26 October 2012) have taken place since then.

Until now, rounds have focused on the part of the agreement related to rules and the two regions are still working on the preparation of their market access offers. No date has been set yet for the exchange of market access offers.

In 1995, the EU and Mercosur countries signed an Inter-regional Framework Cooperation Agreement, including cooperation on trade-related matters. This agreement is pending ratification to date

Trade picture

Mercosur countries:

  • The EU is Mercosur’s first trading partner, accounting for more than 20% of Mercosur’s total trade in 2012. EU-Mercosur trade in that year was €112 billion.
  • Mercosur is the EU’s 8th most important trading partner, accounting for 3% of EU’s total trade. EU’s exports to the region have steadily increased over the last years, going up from € 28 billion in 2007 to €57 billion in 2013
  • Mercosur’s biggest exports to the EU are made of agricultural products (43% of total exports) and raw materials (28%), while the EU mostly exports manufactured products to Mercosur and notably machinery and transport equipment (46% of total exports) and chemicals (22% of total exports) [data of 2013].
  • The EU is also a major exporter of commercial services to Mercosur (€18.5 billion in 2012), as well as the biggest foreign investor in the region with a stock of foreign direct investment that has steadily increased over the past years and which amounted to €285 billion in 2012 compared to € 130 billion in 2000.

EU-Mercosur (5) “trade in goods” statistics

EU importsEU exportsBalance201120122013Years050-50100Billions

EU-Mercosur (5) “trade in services” statistics

EU importsEU exportsBalance201020112012Years01020Billions

Foreign direct investment

Inward stocksOutward stocksBalance2012050100150200250300

More statistics on Mercosur

EU and Mercosur

• Mercosur was established in 1991 and encompasses Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela which officially joined in July 2012. In December 2012,the Protocol of Accession of Bolivia to Mercosur was signed. This Protocol is pending ratification by all Parliaments in Mercosur countries. The EU has bilateral Framework and Cooperation agreements with Argentina , Brazil , Paraguay and Uruguay .

The EU has bilateral Partnership and Cooperation agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

All Mercosur countries, with the exception of Paraguay, will no longer benefit from the the GSP scheme, as of 1 January 2014, due to their classification as high middle-income countries. However, they will remain GSP eligible countries.

Trading with Mercosur

 Related:

On Thursday, October 9, at 11 a.m.:
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MERCOSUR Education
Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of MERCOSUR Women (RMAAM)
Production Integration Group (GIP)
SGT No. 4 – Financial Affairs
SGT No. 7 – Industry
Specialized Meeting on Family Agriculture (REAF)
Special Meeting of Cinema and Audiovisual Authorities (RECAM)
Special Meeting on Science and Technology of MERCOSUR (RECyT)
Special Meeting of Cooperatives of MERCOSUR (RMSE)
Special Meeting of MERCOSUR Statistics (REES)
Consultative Forum of Municipalities, Federated States, Provinces and Departments of MERCOSUR (FCCR)
Migration of MERCOSUR Specialized Forum (WEF)
Coordination Centre for Police Training (CCCP)
Macroeconomic Monitoring Group (GMM)
Environmental Information System of MERCOSUR (SIAM)
Database of Fuel Prices and Rates

 

Resources:

Mercosur

Portal Oficial MERCOSUL / MERCOSUR

Member states of Mercosur

Pacific Alliance and Mercosur

Mercosur – Trade – European Commission

Mercosur: South America’s Fractious Trade Bloc

MERCADO COMÚN DEL SUR (MERCOSUR) – Casa Asia

Mercado Comun del Sur – Financial Dictionary

Brazil wants to speed Mercosur/Pacific Alliance free trade

Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, Legalization and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Legacy of the IRCA AmnestyAn amnesty is a reward to those breaking the law

Giving amnesty to illegal aliens forgives their act of illegally entering the United States and in addition forgives related illegal activities such as driving illegally and working using false documents. An amnesty results in large numbers of foreigners who illegally entered the United States being given legal status as a reward for breaking the law. Amnesties encourage additional illegal immigration into the United States.

Politicians and the mainstream media often use code phrases to refer to amnesty for illegal aliens, such as “legalization for undocumented immigrants”, “earned legal status”, “earned path to citizenship”, “pathway to citizenship”,  “comprehensive immigration reform”, and “legal status for illegal immigrants.” This terminology is used to obscure the issue.

Indeed, the first objective of incremental amnesty proponents is basic legalization of illegal aliens. Even though a full amnesty may not be granted, allowing illegal aliens to live, go to school, and work in the United States – legally – achieves the fundamental objective of giving illegal aliens legal status. Thus, when questioning elected public servants on their position on amnesty, one must really ask them for their position on legalization for illegal aliens in order to get a definitive reply.

ImmigrationThe 2013 version of amnesty for illegal aliens is the “Gang of Eight” Senate Bill 744 , Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, introduced on April 16, 2013. This is the worst amnesty bill in United States History.

The United states, for over 200 years, gave amnesty only in individual cases and never to large numbers of illegal aliens. Then in 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) giving amnesty to all illegal aliens who had evaded law enforcement for at least four years or who were working illegally in agriculture.

The 1986 amnesty resulted in 2.8 million illegal aliens being admitted as legal immigrants to the United States. Because of chain migration, those granted amnesty subsequently brought in an additional 142,000 dependents – relatives brought in to the United States to join family members now amnestied.

The amnesty of 1986 was clearly stated by Congress to be a “one time only” amnesty. Yet including the 1986 amnesty, Congress has passed a total of 7 amnesties for illegal aliens:

ICE-Fines-and-Forfeitures

  • The Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) Amnesty of 1986 – the “one-time only” blanket amnesty for some 2.8 million illegal aliens. The Act amnestied long-term illegal aliens who paid fees, passed criminal background checks, and took English classes and classes on US history and civics. This Act for the first time prohibited employment of illegal aliens. Enforcement was specified in the Act, but was virtually ignored. Indeed, in 2004, only three employers in the entire nation were fined for hiring illegal aliens.
  • Section 245(i) The Amnesty of 1994 – a temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens.
  • Section 245(i) The Extension Amnesty of 1997 – an extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994.
  • The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty of 1997 - an amnesty for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America.
  • The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA) of 1998 – an amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti.
  • The Late Amnesty of 2000 – an amnesty for approximately 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty.
  • The LIFE Act Amnesty of 2000 - a reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty to an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens.

In 2007, Ted Kennedy and John McCain floated yet another amnesty for illegal aliens under the Bush administration. It collapsed due to conservative Republican opposition and immense pressure from the American people who saw it for the sham that it was.

In 2013, the Gang of 8 are trying to force yet another gang amnesty for illegal aliens upon the American People. As the Russians say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

An amnesty benefits neither our society nor those being amnestied, but it does benefit employers who hire low-wage immigrant labor. An Immigration and Naturalization Service study found that after living in the United States for 10 years, the average amnestied illegal alien had only a seventh grade education and earned less than $9,000 a year. Amnestied illegal aliens have no sponsor to support them financially. Instead, by enacting an amnesty, Congress places a staggering financial burden on American taxpayers to support those amnestied.

The total net cost of the 1986 IRCA amnesty (direct and indirect costs of services and benefits to the former illegal aliens, less their tax contributions) amounted to over $78 billion in the ten years following the amnesty. (Center for Immigration Studies study).

Congress has paved the way for more amnesties. In 2001, Mexico’s President Vicente Fox began to lobby the United States to “regularize” the status of millions of illegal aliens from Mexico living in the United States. Both U.S. political parties, in attempts to pander to the Hispanic vote, speak of amnesties in various forms for illegal aliens. The Democratic Party wants the immigrant vote and the Republican Party wants cheap labor. Neither wants what is best for our country – to uphold our rule of law.

Latino votersBy granting amnesties, Congress has set a dangerous precedent that threatens homeland security. Our normal immigration process involves screening to block potential criminals and terrorists from entering the United States. Yet millions of illegal aliens have avoided this screening and an amnesty would allow them to permanently bypass such screening.

Census Bureau 2000 data indicate that 700,000 to 800,000 illegal aliens settle in the U.S. each year, with approximately 8-11 million illegal aliens now currently living in the United States (up to 12 million, according to Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge). Note that the stale and deliberately underestimated government figure of 11 million is not reliable. Researchers have estimated up to 40 million illegal aliens to be living in the United States.

In January, 2004 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)- an amnesty in disguise. He revived this proposal in November, 2004, just after the election. President Bush’s announcement directly caused at least a 15% to 25% increase in illegals entering the United States. (See The Promise of Amnesty.)

Numerous polls showed that nearly 70% of Americans oppose amnesty for all illegal aliens and that Hispanics were less likely to reelect President Bush because he supported amnesty.

Amnesty is but one aspect of the Congress’ policy of opening US borders to foreign job seekers. Deliberately not enforcing immigration law is another. See Enforcement of immigration law – or lack thereof.

MUST SEE VIDEO IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND!

The following video reveals how dangerous our porous US-Mexico border is and the danger that cartel operations pose to America. In this 40 minute NAFBPO video, Zack Taylor of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) reveals critical information about our porous border. It is well worth watching.

 More videos Here:

The two fundamental ways to protect America from unauthorized aliens entering our country, evading apprehension at our border, and displacing American workers in the workplace are to:

  1. secure our border – particularly the US – Mexico border, and
  2. enforce existing laws which make it illegal to aid, abet, and hire illegal aliens. Mandatory use of the federal E-verify and IMAGE programs would go a long way toward achieving that objective.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 called for at least 700 miles of double layered fencing along the US – Mexico Border.

As of February, 2009, The Department of Homeland Security had constructed only 5% of the border fence called for by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, yet in locations where the fence was built it has significantly cut illegal immigration.

This following video reports comprehensive research conducted by American Border Patrol on the Border Fence, Where it is, and How it Works.

This interactive map allows you to view the border fence – or lack thereof – at various locations. It is evident that only small portions of our porous border actually have been secured with appropriate fencing.

This video explains how the Department of Homeland Security has misled the mainstream media and the American people on border fence security. Border Fence Fraud – This is Not a Fence.

The video reports that on December 18, 2008, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated that “we now have over 500 miles of fence”. On December 10, 2008 and January 7, 2009, American Border Patrol flew survey missions along the border, concluding that 527 miles of “something” were built, but it was not fencing. A December 20, 2008 DHS press release explained that the government was counting 248 miles of vehicle barriers in the total. Excluding vehicle barriers, only 274 miles of fencing had been built as of January 6, 2009. When old existing mat fencing is subtracted from the total, only 199 miles of new fencing had been built by DHS, not the 700 miles as demanded by Congress.

Indeed, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported that drug smugglers were now using portable ramps to get over the vehicle barriers. Flimsy vehicle barriers do not count as a fence and do not follow the mandate of Congress.

In the following video, American Border Patrol explains how near San Diego, a 10 mile double layer fence has cut illegal entry by 90%. Unfortunately, hundreds of miles of old, broken fence still exist along our border.

Border Fence Cover Up.

The video The Fence and the Mexican Drug War explains that secure fencing actually works.

The video documents Customs and Border Inspection reports that when 6.07 miles of pedestrian fencing was completed near the Columbus, New Mexico port of entry, apprehensions in that corridor also dropped more than 60 percent from 2007 to 2008. Narcotics transport dropped by 100 percent during the same time period. The video shows that as of September 24, 2007, a new fence had cut off hundreds of vehicle trails across the border.

Recommendation

In order to secure our nation from illegal entry, Congress should reinstate the Secure Fence Act of 2006, extending fence construction to 1,000 miles of double-layered fencing. Construction and maintenance must be fully funded. A 1,951-mile full-length border fence would cost only 3.2 percent of the $104 billion spent on highway construction annually.

Advanced technology

Advanced technology has been developed by ABP to detect traffic across the border. The system, named IDENTISEIS, uses seismic detection equipment used by major oil companies, modified to detect surface disturbances. It can detect people walking at a distance of 600 feet, as compared to sensors used by the Border Patrol, which detect traffic only at a distance of 30 feet. IDENTISEIS also detects vehicles and low flying airplanes.

Integration of US border technology and IDENTISEIS intrusion detection.

References:

1. “Illegal immigration invasion numbers analysis“, Fred Elbel, www.DesertInvasion.us, August, 2004

2. “How many illegal aliens are in the U.S.?” The Social Contract (Summer 2007).  The issue includes the following articles:

3. “Introduction: How Many Foreign Nationals Actually Live in the U.S. Illegally?“, Diana Hull, Ph.D., Summer 2007

4. “Illegal Aliens: Counting the Uncountable“,  James H. Walsh, Summer 2007

5. “The Challenge of Accurately Estimating the Population of Illegal Immigrants“, Nancy Bolton, Summer 2007

6. “Racing Backwards – The Fiscal Impact of Illegal Immigration in California, Revisited“, Philip J. Romero, Summer 2007

7. “How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the U.S.? – An Alternative Methodology for Discovering the Numbers“, Fred Elbel, Summer 2007

8. State Immigration Data Profiles

Resources:

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

Immigration Issues – Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

Solution Found to Faulty Border Sensors — IDENTISEIS

California Legislature Approves Bill Enabling 15 Community

Landmark bill allowing community colleges to offer four year

Democrats Want Votes; Republicans Want Cheap Labor

Obama might allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay

Obama on Illegal Immigrant DREAMers Demanding Legalization: ‘What America Is About’

Government Education: The Worst Mistake Ever Made In America

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educationgraphThe Federal Government ’s takeover of education followed the usual pattern.

First, politicians complained that local school districts didn’t have enough
money. They decided the federal government could help in a “limited” way —
without interfering with local educational policies.

Secondly, education has become more about playing politics than educating our kids. Over the last forty years or so, we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount we’re spending on education — the bulk of which goes to salaries and benefits and an increasingly bloated administration.

When you’re getting less out of what you put in, something’s wrong.

As with every other area they touch, politicians become alarmed when
federal education money isn’t spent in the way they want. So the federal
government has long since attached rules and more rules and still more rules to
its subsidies — even though only about 10% of the money spent on education
comes from the federal government.

Have federal money and federal control helped American students learn more?

Hardly. As the next graph shows, learning, as measured by Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, has steadily declined.

Trends-in-american-Public-School-Since-1970Teaching non-academic topics is cause of declining SATs

The federal government’s heavy hand transformed the government schools
and the private schools that became dependent upon it. Yesterday’s schools
focused on reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography. Today’s schools
spend much more time teaching children:
· To be citizens of the world,
· To be sensitive to people who are different from themselves,
· To embrace transgender issues
· To report their parents if they catch them using drugs, and
· To practice safe sex.
Since none of those subjects shows up in the SAT tests, it’s not surprising
that SAT scores declined so much.

Money Not the Problem

No matter how much the federal government appropriates for education, no
matter how many bond issues your school district approves, you hear over and
over that there isn’t enough money for schools.

But, as this graph shows, education has declined while the money spent on it
has increased dramatically.

Fed-Spend-Ach-Pct-Chg-Cato-Andrew-Coulson1Obviously, lack of money isn’t the problem.

Why Hasn’t Education Improved?

Many explanations are offered for the decline in education. But by focusing
on the decline, we may have the issue upside-down. The correct question should
be: Why hasn’t education improved?

Look at the tremendous progress made in computers, cell phones, and many other tools of communication.
Such things are ten to twenty times more efficient today than they were 40 years ago. Computers, for example, are literally thousands of times more powerful per dollar-cost than they were in the 1960s.

With the advancements made in communication technology, children should
be learning much more than their parents and grandparents did. Literacy levels
should be much higher than in previous generations, and so should SAT scores.

But just the opposite has occurred. Today’s children know far less than their
parents.

public-educationNow education is dominated by government. And politicians and bureaucrats don’t need to show a record of success; in fact, the worse the schools become, the more money they can ask for. So long as government runs education, no significant improvement is possible. Even without the federal government’s intrusions, local schools are fighting a losing battle simply because they’re government institutions.

But why must schools be run by the government?
Is it because education is so important? If so, all the more reason to keep it
away from government. The U.S. Postal Service wastes only our time and
money. But we suffer a much greater loss when so many children graduate from
high school with little more than an elementary school education.

If Only Government Would Feed Us

If important things must be handled by government, why doesn’t
government provide free food for everyone — as it provides “free” schooling for
every child?

One could live without knowing how to read — as many public school
graduates manage to do — but no one can live without food. So why doesn’t
government operate the supermarkets?

Imagine what it would be like. The food stores would become what the
schools have become.

Political battles would decide which foods are available. If you didn’t like
the choices, you’d have to attend “food board” meetings and lobby state
legislators to change the menu.

Food would become more and more expensive, even as the quality
deteriorated. Wilted vegetables, stale bread, and inferior meat would be the
norm. So would vandalism and gangs.

 A Better Dream

Now let’s reverse the picture. Imagine instead that schools were operated
like today’s supermarkets.

Most school systems would offer a variety of approaches to any one subject
— just as a supermarket offers a variety of brands for any one food item. And if
you didn’t like what one school offered, or if you didn’t like the way you or your
child were treated, you could take your business to another school.

If you wanted prayer in the school, you wouldn’t have to pray to Congress to
get it. You’d just take your child to a school that permitted it. If you didn’t want
prayer, you’d find a school that didn’t have it.

You’d be able to choose between science or social engineering, calculus or
condom use. If you wanted, you might even find a school that would teach your
children how to nag you about recycling, or that had other special programs to
undermine parental authority and encourage moral smugness.

Some schools would offer inexpensive, no-frills education. Others would
offer additional (gourmet) classes in music, art, accelerated mathematics,
physical education, and other subjects that government schools like to cut when
taxpayers turn down new bond issues.

If there were violence or drug-trafficking at your child’s school, you
wouldn’t have to complain endlessly and in vain. You’d simply move him to a
school where such things don’t happen. And with competition, any school that
tolerated such problems probably would go out of business.

How would poor children get an education? Most likely the same way many
of them get private educations now — through scholarships, church schools,
foundation grants, and outright charity. Today many inner-city children get good
elementary-school educations at low-cost parochial schools and through
scholarships at non-religious schools. And if government no longer levied heavy
property taxes for schools, the poor would be less poor and the donors would
have more to donate.

Choices

The success of private schools — even private schools on skimpy budgets
— has inspired the idea of “school choice” or “vouchers.” This plan has the
government giving the parents of each child a voucher to be spent at a school of
the parents’ choosing — government or private.

I understand the attraction of this approach. And it might seem to be an
improvement over today’s poor schooling.
But government doesn’t work. And giving government control over
education — in any form — is dangerous.

VouchersA Voucher program requires a government bureaucracy to administer it and
government “experts” to decide which schools are “qualified” to accept the
vouchers. In no time at all, private schools could become hooked on government money and required to adhere to all sorts of rules designed to make them clones of government schools — in order to keep getting the government money they’ve become dependent on. That’s exactly why most private colleges are very little different from state colleges today.

It is especially dangerous to have the federal government administer such a
program or set the rules for it. But then, if you like what the Feds have turned
government schools into, you’ll probably love what they’ll do to private schools
once they start administering more vouchers.

It is far better to lower the tax burden so that parents are financially able to buy the education they want with their own money — with no rules imposed by government.

Then each family could send its children to a government school, a church
school, or a non-religious private school — or even teach them at home. When
there’s no subsidy from the government, there are no government strings attached. Parents could do what they think best.

Are Parents Competent?

Would all parents make the best choices for their children?
Of course not. We don’t live in a perfect world. But we should live in a free
country — one in which each of us is free to make his own choices, good or bad.
And those parents who are capable of making good choices shouldn’t have their children held hostage in government schools because other parents are less competent.

WHAT MUST BE DONE

Lowering the tax burden to leave parents with enough money to pay for a
good education for their children.

Two important changes that must be made to improve education:

1. The federal government must get completely out of education! It
has made a bad situation much worse. And it has no Constitutional authority to meddle in education in any way — even if it were capable of helping.
2. Federal taxes must be lowered dramatically so that parents have
the ability to finance their children’s education directly.

Once we make these reforms, it will be up to the people in each state to decide what educational system is best.

1. Some states will revert to the kind of education provided before
the federal government took over — with government schools
that reflect local values and circumstances, and that might be
more receptive to parents’ needs.
2. And maybe some states will withdraw from education entirely
— reducing taxes accordingly so that parents have the funds to
buy whatever education they want for their children, and making
education completely insulated from government interference.

In the states in the second group, schools would become truly “public” —
responsive to the choices of their customers, the parents. They would necessarily be economical, and yet effective, places of learning. And you would never have to endure a school that was bent on indoctrinating your child.

testtodaySchools would compete to acquire the best teachers from today’s government and private schools. Good teachers could finally teach — instead of having to quell violence, “Teaching to the Test,” and obey politically correct rules.

Education is one of the most important things we give to our children —
much too important to allow government to tamper with it. Letting government educate our children was the worst mistake ever made in America.

****

Related:

Education today

Race to the Top
• Race to the Top: R2T is the education initiative funded by the Obama Recovery Act in 2009. States submit competitive bids for educational reform, and the highest-scored plans are awarded funding in the range of $100 million to $500 million. Emphasis in scoring is on teacher support, statewide reform, and student testing.
• Common Core: The Common Core State Standards Initiative, begun in 2009, has been adopted fully by 32 states and partially adopted by 13 others. The Obama administration provided competitive ‘Race to the Top’ grants as an incentive for states to adopt the Common Core. The Common Core defines standards for math and English, with standards to come in the future for science and social studies. Because the standards are copyrighted, critics consider them to be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model, and a step towards nationalizing America’s schools.
NCLB – No Child Left Behind                                                                               • NCLB is the 2001 bipartisan law intended to improve K-12 schools, under the theory of standards-based education reform.
• States are required to establish standardized testing, so that all high school graduates meet the test criteria.
• States are also required to give options (school choice) to students who attend schools that fail to meet NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
• The controversy over NCLB currently focuses on funding: Opponents of NCLB argue that states are provided inadequate federal funding for implementation of NCLB, and that therefore NCLB represents an “unfunded mandate” on states.
• Proponents of NCLB argue that the law provides accountability for schools; fights against incompetent teachers; and provides alternatives to failing schools.
• Progress is measured in the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly knows as the “Nation’s Report Card.”
Education Buzzwords
• STEM: “STEM” refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the components of K-12 education which are considered the most lacking in the United States. Governors and candidates of both parties insist that they will improve STEM education; it is an official designation when foreigners apply for immigrant visas (those with STEM degrees can get special visas).
• Common Core: The Common Core State Standards Initiative (begun in 2004 and formalized in 2009) defines what students should know, in terms of language and mathematics, at each grade level K-12. As of 2014, it has been adopted in 44 states (not TX, VA, AK, NE, IN, and MN). Because Common Core is a national standard, it has become a lightning-rod for states’ rights activists (usually Republicans who oppose Obama), who claim the purpose is to override state educational norms and standards.
Intelligent design: refers to species development run by intelligent designer (implying God, without the explicitly religious terminology). In contrast, evolution teaches a random process for natural species development. Critics have called intelligent design a thinly disguised version of creationism, which takes a literal approach to the creation account in Genesis, that the earth was created in six days and is less than 10,000 years old.
• Social Promotion: Candidates debate whether students should advance a grade merely to keep up with their peer group. 90% of K-12 students are promoted (10% per year are retained).
• Teacher Pay: K-12 Teachers’ salaries average $34,200; college instructors average $63,000; compared to $50,700 for similarly educated non-teachers. Public school teachers earn 25% to 100% more than private school teachers. Generally, any reference to ‘increasing teacher pay’ implies opposition to vouchers while negative references to teacher’s unions implies support of vouchers.
• Teacher Testing: Current law is that states certify teachers and decide what their requirements are; there are currently no national standards nor testing. Liberals favor raising teacher pay and oppose teacher testing on the grounds of treating teachers more ‘professionally’.
• Student Testing: Many conservatives advocate for national testing standard or other forms of ‘standards-based education’. Generally, any reference to ‘standards,’ or especially to dealing with ‘failing schools’, implies support of school vouchers.
• Smaller Class Size: Many liberals advocate for smaller class sizes, and/or building more schools to achieve them. Generally, any reference to ‘smaller classrooms,’ or especially to ‘building public schools’, implies opposition to funding private schools.
• School Prayer: Current law is that schools allow religious groups to organize on school grounds as if they are any club. Schools are not allowed to conduct prayers at the beginning of school, but neither are they allowed to stop a student from praying.
• Bilingual Education: Schools may conduct classes in Spanish or other languages using federal ‘Title VII’ funds, which totaled $380 million last year (1% of total spending). 13% of K-12 students speak a language other than English at home. Generally, liberals favor bilingual education while conservatives favor ‘official English.’
• DOE: The Department of Education spent $38 billion last year (2% of the federal budget). But federal spending only accounts for 9% of education spending; most of the annual $600 billion comes from state & local sources. Hard-core conservatives favor abolishing the Department of Education, which was a Republican Party platform plank in the 1980s.
• Phonics: Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by sounding out phonemes (groups of letters that represent sounds). Generally, a favorable reference to ‘phonics’ implies a conservative viewpoint on all the other education issues listed here.
School Choice
‘School Choice’ generally refers to a school district allowing parents to decide which school within the district to send their kids to. The political issue is whether to allow the choice to include private schools, parochial schools, and home schooling at taxpayer expense. Taxpayer funding of parochial schools potentially violates the Constitutional separation of church and state. Taxpayer funding of private schools is controversial because it subsidizes parents who are currently paying for private schools themselves, and are usually more wealthy than the average public school family.
Charter Schools
• ‘Charter schools’ are publicly-funded and publicly-controlled schools which are privately run. They are usually required to adhere to fewer district rules than regular public schools.
• By 2011, there were 5,600 public charter schools enrolling more than two million students nationwide. More than 400,000 students remain on wait lists to attend charter schools. Over 500 new public charter schools opened their doors in the 2011-12 school year, an estimated increase of 200,000 students.
Vouchers
‘Vouchers’ are a means of implementing school choice — parents are given a ‘voucher’ by the school district, which entitles them to, say, $4,000 applicable to either public school or private school tuition. The value of the voucher is generally lower than the cost of one year of public education (which averages $5,200), so private schools (where tuition averages $8,500) may require cash payment in addition to the voucher.
Education Buzzwords
Generally, any reference to ‘standards,’ or especially to dealing with ‘failing schools’, implies support of school vouchers. Generally, any reference to ‘smaller classrooms,’ or especially to ‘building public schools’, implies opposition to funding private schools.
K-12 Education Statistics
• Total spending is $260 billion, (7% federal; the rest split state & local) rising by 5% per year.
• Student population is 50 million, rising slowly (1 million per year) since 1984.
• Public school spending is $5,200 per student, staying about even with inflation.
• Parochial school costs $4,200 per student, not discounting church-provided buildings & other subsidies.
• Private school costs $8,500 per student, not discounting scholarships or other financial aid.
• 90% attend public schools; about 6 million attend private & parochial schools.
• 78% of schools have Internet access; 97% plan to by the year 2000.
• 27% of classrooms have Internet access; lower in poor and minority schools.
College Education & Cost Statistics
• 61% of high school graduates continue on to some post-secondary education.
• 43% enroll at 4-year colleges; 33% graduate college.
• Race strongly determines the percentage enrolling at college
(49% for Asians; 38% for Blacks; 28% for Hispanics).
• Socioeconomic status even more strongly determines percentage enrolling at college
(19% from the poorest ¼ of families vs. 70% from the richest ¼ of families).
• Tuition plus room and board at public colleges averages $6,700, and at private college $18,500.
• Public college costs 15% of the average family’s income, and the percentage is holding steady (tuition rises are keeping pace with median income rises).
• Private college costs 42% of the average family’s income, and the percentage is also holding steady.

Resources:

lisaleaks » Education – Rssing.com

Independent Media Center

Education Without Representation | lisaleaks

Public School Students – Prisoners of the State | lisa’s leaks

Rethinking Public Schools | lisa’s leaks

Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline | lisa’s leaks

Creating Innovators: Why America’s Education lisaleaks

Communitarian Education Agenda | lisa’s leaks

Common Core‘ For Private and Homeschools | lisa’s leaks

Common Core Curriculum and Agenda 21 | lisa’s leaks

Thirty-Five Largest U.S. Cities Saw Increase in Child Poverty .

Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform

Education Freedom Committee | Abolish the Department of

States Must Reject National Education Standards

The Role Of The State Government In Public Education

U.S. GOVERNMENT > Introduction to the U.S. System

Rankings of the States 2013 and Estimates of School

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

ESEA—A Tough Act To Follow Infographic – ASCD

How Standardized Testing Damages Education

Race to the Top

SAT scores – Fast Facts – U.S. Department of Education

Background documents:

Your Saturday Morning Cartoon

lisaleaks:

The CW has aired its last batch of Vortexx programming, leaving American kids without any animated broadcast TV to start their weekends for the first time in decades.

Originally posted on The Dish:

Sadly, a half-century-long tradition of Saturday morning cartoons has come to an end:

The CW has aired its last batch of Vortexx programming, leaving American kids without any animated broadcast TV to start their weekends for the first time in decades. From here on out, young ones glued to the tube will mostly be watching educational shows.

As for why this longstanding television staple has vanished? It’s a combination of regulation and technological progress. A 1996 FCC rule required that stations offer at least three hours of educational programming every week; to avoid interrupting affiliate programming, the networks scheduled most of that content on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, kids’ viewing options have increased dramatically. On top of dedicated cable and satellite channels like the Cartoon Network, they can now watch plenty of animation on Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services. In that sense, today’s children aren’t missing out —…

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Twitter Agent Provocateur “Ahimla Jihada” Exposed As Fake

lisaleaks:

There are dubious forces from an increasingly belligerent political Right who are out to brainwash, by hook or crook, the American public into hating their fellow citizens of the Muslim faith and to justify a foreign policy in the “10/40 Window” that has tarnished America’s reputation globally and needlessly puts our men and women in uniform in harm’s way. It’s high time we fight misinformation with information.

Originally posted on The Ugly Truth:

Ahimla_Jihada_ISIS

ed note (Tony)…Nothing surprising here. All part of their game plan.

Remember these fake Al Quada; Joseph Cohen ‘AKA’  “Joseph Al Katab”

                                                                 Adam Perlman ‘AKA’  “Adam Ghadan”

                                                                 Zachary Chesser ‘AKA’  “Abu Al-Amrikee”

Link here

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