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Tags: Immigration | Fueling | US-Wage | Drop | Al Jazeera America Sued for 15M | Global Warming Data Challenged | Feds Cant Take Credit for Natural Gas Boom

Immigration Fueling US Wage Drop; Al Jazeera America Sued for $15M; Global Warming Data Challenged

By    |   Sunday, 03 May 2015 03:25 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. As Immigration Rises, US Wages Drop
2. Feds Can't Take Credit for Natural Gas Boom
3. Support for Death Penalty at 40-Year Low
4. UN Agency Condemns Israel Over Jewish Religious Sites
5. Top Scientists to Question Global Warming Claims
6. Al Jazeera America Facing $15 Million Lawsuit


1. As Immigration Rises, US Wages Drop

Wages for the overwhelming majority of Americans have fallen below 1970s levels as the percentage of the population that is foreign-born has surged.

A memo from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), released in response to a request for data from the Senate Judiciary Committee, shows on the other hand that in the decades prior to 1970, when the percentage of foreign-born Americans dropped, wages for most Americans rose.

From 1945 to 1970, the foreign-born population in the United States decreased from 10.97 million to 9.74 million, a decline of 11.2 percent.

During that 25-year period, the reported income of the bottom 90 percent of tax filers rose from an average of $18,418, in 2013 dollars, to $33,621 in 1970, an increase of 82.5 percent.

The share of total income held by the bottom 90 percent also rose during this period, from 67.4 percent to 68.5 percent.

The CRS also disclosed that from 1970 through 2013, the foreign-born population in the U.S. increased from 9.74 million to 41.34 million, a rise of an astounding 324.5 percent.

During that period, the income of the bottom 90 percent of tax filers fell from an average of $33,621 in 1970 to $30,980 in 2013, and the share of income they held sank from 68.5 percent to 53 percent, a decline of 15.5 percentage points over this 43-year period.

The CRS report "questions claims that native Americans are economically helped by greater immigration," The Washington Examiner observed in an article about the report.

"The report could throw cold water on congressional efforts to expand immigration for tech and other jobs. One bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and backed by presidential candidate Marco Rubio, would boost guest worker levels and remove any cap on green cards for certain foreign graduates of American colleges and universities."

The U.S. each year already admits a million immigrants, half a million immigrant students, 700,000 guest workers, and 70,000 refugees and persons seeking political asylum.

The CRS report follows an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) estimating that in the next eight years, the foreign-born population will reach a record high of 51 million.

Another CIS analysis disclosed that since 2000 all net employment growth among working-age adults went to immigrants, while the number of U.S-born adults not working rose by 17 million.

In an op-ed piece for The New York Times last year, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, wrote: "It defies reason to argue that the record admission of new foreign workers has no negative effect on the wages of American workers, including the wages of past immigrants hoping to climb into the middle class.

"Why would many of the largest business groups in the United States spend millions lobbying for the admission of more foreign workers if such policies did not cut labor costs?"

Editor's Note:


2. Feds Can't Take Credit for Natural Gas Boom

Not too long ago, energy experts predicted that the United States would become a major importer of natural gas. Now it appears that America will be a major exporter instead.

Thanks to fracking and other improved drilling techniques, the U.S. will transition from a net importer of 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2014 to a net exporter of 5.6 trillion cubic feet in 2040, according to a report from the Institute for Energy Research.

"Technology has brought about the shale gas revolution in the United States with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology combining to make the U.S the number one natural gas producer in the world," the report states.

"Instead of needing to import natural gas to meet our domestic needs, which many thought would be the case not too long ago, the United States is expected to be a net exporter of natural gas by 2017."

The latest estimate from the Potential Gas Committee shows that the U.S. has natural gas resources of 2,515 trillion cubic feet. At current levels of consumption, the committee's assessment indicates that the U.S. has more than a 100-year supply of natural gas.

But government policies can't be credited with bringing about the huge increase in natural gas production.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), natural gas production on federal lands has decreased by 31 percent over the past five years, while production on private and state lands has risen by 37 percent.

"Our federal government likes to take credit for the production increases that the oil and gas industry has made possible," the institute's report notes. "But federal government red tape and excessive permit approval times have turned producers toward private and state lands that are under the jurisdiction of state and local governments."

Data from the CRS shows that natural gas production on federal lands dropped from 5,074 billion cubic feet in 2010 to 3,521 billion last year, while production on non-federal lands soared from 16,850 billion cubic feet to 23,158 billion.

Crude oil production on federal lands has also fallen over the past five years, from 1.98 million barrels per day to 1.77 million barrels.

According to the CRS, 34.6 million onshore acres of federal land were under lease in 2014, but just 12.7 million acres were actually producing oil and/or gas. And the number of applications for permits to drill that have been processed by the Bureau of Land Management has dropped from 8,854 in 2006 to 4,924 last year.

Editor's Note:


3. Support for Death Penalty at 40-Year Low

A majority of Americans favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder, but support for capital punishment has dropped to a 40-year low, a new survey reveals.

This year 56 percent of Americans favor the death penalty, while 38 percent are opposed, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center. The rest are not sure.

During the 1980s and 1990s, support for the death penalty often surpassed 70 percent. In 1996, support peaked at 78 percent, when just 18 percent opposed the death penalty. But by 2011, support for capital punishment had dropped to 62 percent.

Support for the death penalty has fallen sharply among Democrats — from 71 percent in 1996 to just 40 percent today, and to just 29 percent among those who describe themselves as liberal Democrats.

Among Republicans, 77 percent favor the death penalty, down from 87 percent in 1996, while independents' support had fallen from 79 percent to 57 percent over that period.

A majority of Americans, 63 percent, believe that when someone commits a crime like murder, the death penalty is morally justified, while 31 percent say it is not morally justified even in cases of murder, Pew found.

But 71 percent of Americans believe there is some risk that an innocent person will be put to death when the death penalty is in place, including 63 percent of those who support capital punishment, and only 26 percent say there are adequate safeguards in place to assure that innocent people are not executed.

About six in 10, 61 percent, say the death penalty does not deter people from committing serious crimes, and 35 percent say it does deter serious crime.

Currently there are 18 states that do not have a death penalty statute, although one of them, Vermont, retains the use of capital punishment for treason.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in the U.S. in 1976, Texas has carried out the greatest number of executions, 524, with No. 2 Oklahoma far behind with 112.

Editor's Note:


4. UN Agency Condemns Israel Over Jewish Religious Sites

In yet another anti-Israel move at the United Nations, a U.N. agency has slammed Israel for claiming sites whose religious significance for Jews goes back thousands of years.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board adopted two resolutions "by consensus" after a subsidiary commission voted earlier to recommend their passage.

The only countries that had voted against the resolutions were the United States, Germany and the Czech Republic in one case, and the U.S. alone in the other.

The commission sided with Palestinian claims to a site in Hebron and a site in Bethlehem, CNS News reported.

The Hebron site is the Cave of the Patriarchs, the traditional burial place for the Jewish patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Bethlehem site is the traditional burial site of Rachel, Jacob's wife.

Hebron and Bethlehem fall within the area claimed by Palestinians for a future state. A resolution adopted by the UNESCO board maintained that the sites "are an integral part of Palestine."

When Israel included the two sites on a register of 150 national heritage sites in 2010, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that it could spark a "religious war."

The Cave of the Patriarchs is divided into Jewish and Muslim sections, with a mosque at the site named for Ibrahim (Abraham), according to CNS News.

Paris-based UNESCO has 195 member states. Back in 2011, it became the first U.N. agency to admit "Palestine" as a member.

As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, that action triggered a United States cutoff of funds to the agency mandated by a 1990 law barring financial support for an agency that "accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states."

Before that, American taxpayers accounted for 22 percent of the agency's operating budget.

The Obama administration has repeatedly but unsuccessfully sought waiver authority to resume funding.

Editor's Note:


5. Top Scientists to Question Global Warming Claims

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), March of this year was the hottest March since record-keeping began in 1880, and 2014 was "the hottest year ever."

NOAA's figures were based on data compiled from a network of weather stations by NOAA's Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN).

But two other officially recognized entities measuring temperatures, Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama, are based on a different method of measuring, by satellite. And these "give a strikingly different picture," Christopher Booker discloses in The Telegraph.

"Neither shows [March] as anything like the hottest March on record, any more than they showed 2014 as 'the hottest year ever.'"

According to Booker, analysts have found hundreds of examples of how the data recorded by some 3,000 weather stations in the GHCN have been "adjusted" to exaggerate how much the planet has actually been warming.

Figures from earlier decades have frequently been adjusted downward and more recent data adjusted upward to show the Earth having warmed much more dramatically than the original data indicated, he explained.

Now the Global Warming Policy Foundation has assembled an international team of five top scientists to determine how these "adjustments" of data may have distorted what is in fact happening to global temperatures.

The five are Dr. Petr Chylek, a physicist from the National Los Alamos Laboratory; Richard McNider, founder of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; Prof. Roman Mureika, a statistics expert from Canada; Prof. Roger Pielke Sr., a noted climatologist from the University of Colorado; and Prof. William van Wijngaarden, a physicist at York University in Canada with many papers on climatology.

The team is led by Terence Kealey, until recently the vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham in Britain.

Their goal is to establish to what extent original data has been "adjusted" by the three main keepers of surface records: the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the U.S. National Climate Data Center, and the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain in conjunction with the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

"All three of them are run by committed believers in man-made global warming," Booker notes.

"Only when the full picture is in will it be possible to see just how far the scare over global warming has been driven by manipulation of figures accepted as reliable by the politicians who shape our energy policy."

Editor's Note:


6. Al Jazeera America Facing $15 Million Lawsuit

Already dealing with disappointing viewership and staff layoffs, Al Jazeera America is facing a new headache — a former employee has filed a $15 million lawsuit alleging discrimination against women and a manager's offensive remarks about Jews.

Matthew Luke, who joined the network before its August 2013 launch and served as supervisor of media and archive management, filed the suit in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday, Politico reported.

The lawsuit alleges that Osman Mahmud, who became Luke's supervisor as senior vice president of broadcast operations and technology, removed female employees from projects, excluded them from emails and meetings "relevant to their assignments," and made "anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks such as 'whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell,'" the complaint maintains.

Luke alleges that Mahmud had important contacts in the upper reaches of the company, specifically with Mostefa Souag, acting director general of the Al Jazeera Network. Al Jazeera is owned by the ruling family of Qatar.

He also charges that soon after he went to human resources to report on Mahmud's behavior, he was fired. He filed suit for workplace retaliation, seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

In an interview with Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, Mahmud called the allegation that he mistreated women "a pack of lies."

As for Luke's charge that he sought to replace an Israeli cameraman with a less qualified Palestinian cameraman, he said "nah, never."

Al Jazeera said in a statement that it does "not comment on pending litigation."

After the lawsuit was filed, the network announced that two top female executives were leaving the company.

Parent Al Jazeera paid $500 million to take over Current TV, whose backers included former Vice President Al Gore, to gain a distribution foothold in America.

Al Jazeera America has run through an estimated $2 billion trying to build viewership in the United States, the New York Post reported. But AJA has averaged only 27,000 viewers in prime time over the past year and has struggled to attract ad dollars.

Insiders told the New York Post that AJA is laying off staffers "and watering down its U.S. editorial voice while programming from sibling Al Jazeera English occupies more air time."

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Editor's Note:


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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. As Immigration Rises, US Wages Drop 2. Feds Can't Take Credit for Natural Gas Boom 3. Support for Death Penalty at 40-Year Low 4. UN Agency Condemns Israel Over Jewish Religious Sites 5. Top Scientists to...
Immigration, Fueling, US-Wage, Drop, Al Jazeera America Sued for 15M, Global Warming Data Challenged, Feds Cant Take Credit for Natural Gas Boom, Support for Death Penalty at 40-Year Low, UN Agency Condemns Israel Over Jewish Religious Sites
Sunday, 03 May 2015 03:25 PM
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