GOP Voters Oppose Legalizing Aliens; British Plan Curbs Disability Scams; Palestinians Reject Hamas Rockets

Sunday, 14 Apr 2013 03:07 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Survey: Legalizing Illegal Aliens Risky for GOP
2. U.S. Oil Production Set Record in 2012
3. British Plan Could Curb U.S. Disability Claims
4. Palestinian Support for Rocket Attacks Plunges
5. Puerto Ricans Want Statehood, Not Independence
6. Jim Graves to Oppose Michele Bachmann — Again

1. Survey: Legalizing Illegal Aliens Risky for GOP

Nearly 80 percent of Republicans would be less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports giving legal status to undocumented aliens, a new survey reveals.

The poll of more than 1,440 likely voters by Pulse Opinion Research asked respondents if they support reducing the illegal immigrant population "by enforcing immigration laws including requiring employers to check the legal status of workers, fortifying the border, and getting the cooperation of local police."

Overall, 54 percent of respondents "strongly support" this approach, and another 18 percent "somewhat support" it.

But among Republicans, 88 percent said they strongly or somewhat support the approach, compared to 56 percent of Democrats.

They were also asked if they support giving legal status to aliens who pay a fine, study English, and undergo a background check. Only 29 percent strongly support that approach, while 31 percent somewhat support it. Among Republicans, just 18 percent strongly support the approach and 29 percent somewhat support it, for a total of 47 percent, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.

And when respondents were asked which of the two approaches they preferred, 58 percent chose the enforcement approach and 31 percent preferred legalization with conditions. Republicans, however, favor the enforcement method by a wide margin, 82 percent to 12 percent for conditional legalization, while just 37 percent of Democrats opted for enforcement.

When asked which political party they would be more likely to vote for, 82 percent of Republicans said a party that supports enforcing immigration laws, and just 12 percent said a party that supports legalization.

They were also asked: "If your member of Congress supported legal status for illegal immigrants, how would it affect your vote in the future?"

Results: 79 percent of Republicans would be less likely to vote for that member, including 59 percent who would be "much less likely" and 20 percent who would be "somewhat less likely."

A paltry 5 percent said they would be "much more likely" to vote for that member.

Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, examined the poll results and observed: "GOP leaders who support legalization risk alienating not only the general public, but the overwhelming majority of their own party."

Editor's Note:



2. U.S. Oil Production Set Record in 2012

While advocates of solar, wind and other "green" energy sources say renewable energy is the wave of the future, technological advances in the oil and gas industries will lead to abundant supplies well into the future, a leading expert predicts.

U.S. oil production rose by an average of 790,000 barrels per day in 2012, the largest annual increase in American oil production since it began in 1859, according to Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Energy Policy and the Environment.

This year the Energy Information Administration expects production to rise by 815,000 barrels a day, setting another record.

What has led to these dramatic production increases is "innovation in the drilling sector," Bryce says.

"The convergence of a myriad of technologies — ranging from better drill bits and seismic data to robotic rigs and high-performance pumps — is allowing the oil and gas sector to produce staggering quantities of energy from locations that were once thought to be inaccessible or bereft of hydrocarbons."

Thanks to those technological advances, today about 100 offshore rigs are capable of drilling wells in more than 7,000 feet of water, reaching oil deposits more than 20,000 feet below the sea floor.

In 1980, the world had about 683 billion barrels of proved oil reserves. Between that year and 2011, about 800 billion barrels of oil were consumed worldwide, yet proved reserves stood at 1.6 trillion barrels, observes Bryce, whose books include "Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future," and "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of ‘Energy Independence.'"

As for natural gas, it is estimated that there is now enough extractable gas to last more than 300 years at the current rate of consumption.

"Despite the advances in oil and gas production, government policies continue to be skewed toward renewable energy," Bryce writes.

He points out that in 2011, the non-hydro renewable-energy sector received tax preferences worth $12.2 billion while producing about 2 percent of America's total energy needs, and the hydrocarbon sector, which provided about 87 percent, received just $2.5 billion.

Editor's Note:



3. British Plan Could Curb U.S. Disability Claims

The tremendous surge in the number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits in recent years has been well documented. But the United States could take a cue from Britain in reducing the rolls of disability beneficiaries suspected of gaming the system.

In 2012, 8.8 million disabled workers and 2.1 million of their dependents received disability insurance payments totaling $137 billion — an increase of 1 million new beneficiaries over three years. That outlay doesn't include the additional funds for Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing, and student loan forgiveness that disability recipients can qualify for.

In 1960, just 0.65 percent of workforce participants between the ages of 18 and 64 were receiving Social Security disability insurance payments, but now 5.6 percent get benefits, Jonah Goldberg discloses in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times.

In 1960, there were 134 working Americans for every officially recognized disabled worker. Five decades later, the ratio is about 16 to 1.

By 2016, disability expenditures are expected to rise to $170 billion a year. And by 2018, it is projected that nearly 1 in 14 working-age Americans will be receiving disability payments, according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

She points out that Social Security disability insurance was originally designed for workers over age 50 who became physically incapable of performing their current job or any other job compatible with their skills. But the program has been expanded over the years, and now covers workers under age 50, disabled spouses of deceased workers, and disabled adult children who were never able to work.

It also now includes Americans diagnosed with mental impairments, and more than 30 percent of disability cases involve mental disorders — half of them considered "mood disorders."

Another factor to consider: Villarreal cites reports from Social Security that less than one-half of 1 percent of disabled individuals ever return to work, due in large part to what Villarreal terms a "lack of accountability."

That's where the British plan comes in.

Goldberg describes how Britain asked everyone receiving an "incapacity benefit" — similar to a disability benefit in the United States — to submit to a medical test to confirm they were in fact disabled and couldn't work.

One-third of recipients dropped out of the program rather than be tested — nearly 900,000 people. Of those tested, 55 percent were found fit for work and one-quarter were found fit for some work.

Noting that the lack of jobs is encouraging Americans to increasingly seek disability status, Goldberg concludes: "There are those who are quick to argue that there's nothing amiss with the disability system that greater funding and a better economy won't fix. Maybe they're right. One way to find out would be to ask every recipient to get a thorough examination, just as they did in Britain. Maybe the results here in the United States would be interesting too."

Editor's Note:



4. Palestinian Support for Rocket Attacks Plunges

Support among Palestinians for rocket attacks by Gaza militants against southern Israel has fallen to just 38 percent, down from 74 percent as recently as December, a new poll reveals.

"Support for firing locally made rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli regions has dropped," said the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, a Palestinian nongovernmental organization that conducted the poll.

The survey also disclosed that Hamas is losing its popularity among Palestinians.

The poll in December came several weeks after an Egyptian-brokered truce ended an eight-day operation that saw Hamas militants in Gaza fire more than 1,000 rockets across the border and Israeli jets attack sites in Gaza.

The new poll of more than 1,175 people in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, and the West Bank, controlled by Fatah, showed that 60 percent believe "military action" harms Palestinian national interests.

And the percentage of Palestinians supporting military operations against Israel has dropped from 51 percent in December to 31 percent in the new poll.

The popularity of Hamas fell from 28 percent in December to 20 percent today, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinians, 90 percent, believe Fatah and Hamas should pursue national reconciliation, and 59 percent say both Fatah and Hamas are acting in their own interests rather than national interests.

And if elections were held today, the poll discloses, 42.6 percent would vote for Fatah and only 20.6 percent would choose Hamas.

Another recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research also found Hamas losing popularity, with only 29 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Hamas in elections, down six percentage points since December.

Editor's Note:



5. Puerto Ricans Want Statehood, Not Independence

A surprising new poll reveals that Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly prefer statehood rather than independence.

In the survey by the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston and Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico, 70 percent of respondents said if the U.S. Congress allowed Puerto Ricans to choose between independence and statehood, they would choose statehood. Just 14 percent chose independence, while 13 percent were undecided and 2 percent refused to answer.

"This finding has historic and political implications beyond the composition of our flag," said David Paleologos, director of the center.

"Whether President Barack Obama's popularity would translate into Puerto Rico having blue-state status remains to be seen. However, the impact of these numbers on the political conversation should not be ignored."

Puerto Rico, with a population of nearly 4 million, has been an unincorporated territory of the United States since the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship in 1917, but they cannot vote for the U.S. president and have no voting representation in Congress.

Obama has proposed including funds in the 2014 budget for a federally sanctioned plebiscite in Puerto Rico on options for the island's future political status, according to a release from Suffolk University.

In the poll, just 37 percent of respondents said the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico should remain the same, while 56 percent believe it should change.

Other poll findings include:

  • 83 percent have a favorable opinion of Obama, 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion, and 1 percent "never heard" of Obama. A majority — 65 percent — "never heard" of Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Asked what is the most important issue facing Puerto Rico today, 40 percent said "Crime/Drug Trafficking," and 38 percent said "Economy/Unemployment." No other issue received a double digit percentage.
  • 24 percent said Puerto Rico is headed in the "Right Direction," and 58 percent said it is on the "Wrong Track."
  • 33 percent said they are considering leaving Puerto Rico and moving to the United States in the near future.

    Editor's Note:



    6. Jim Graves to Oppose Michele Bachmann — Again

    Minnesota hotelier Jim Graves, who narrowly lost in his 2012 bid to unseat Rep. Michele Bachmann, announced on Thursday that he will seek a rematch with the Republican congresswoman in 2014.

    The race in Minnesota's 6th District is expected to be one of the most closely watched contests of the midterm election, Roll Call reports.

    Bachmann, who was first elected in 2006, outspent Graves by a margin of 10 to one in the 2012 campaign, but garnered just 50.7 percent of the vote and beat Graves by just 4,297 votes.

    She sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2011, and her time on the road campaigning was blamed for hurting her re-election bid last year and could make her vulnerable again next year.

    Bachmann was among the first Republicans listed as a top target of the Democrat-aligned House Majority PAC, and Democrats are expected to strongly back Graves in his election bid next year.

    Graves said in a statement that Congress today is all about "scoring political points rather than actually solving problems, and Minnesota's 6th District — my home — is losing out because of that more than anywhere."

    Following Graves' announcement that he will run again, Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman pointed out that voters already picked her over Graves once.

    And Bachmann released a fundraising email saying Graves announced his 2014 plans "after receiving his marching orders from the Pelosi-Obama campaign machine."

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    Editor's Note:



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