Tags: Iraq | Rebuffs | Obama | Frees-Terrorist | Calif. Cities Ban Smoking at Home | Half of Deported Criminals Sneak Back | Young Voters

Iraq Rebuffs Obama, Frees Terrorist; Calif. Cities Ban Smoking at Home; Half of Deported Criminals Sneak Back

By    |   Sunday, 25 November 2012 02:31 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Iraq Rebuffs Obama, Frees Accused Terrorist
2. Half of Deported Criminals Had Been Deported Earlier
3. Young Voters Swung Away From Obama in 2012
4. Angela Merkel, Hillary Named 'Most Powerful Women'
5. California Cities Ban Smoking — at Home

1. Iraq Rebuffs Obama, Frees Accused Terrorist

The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has ignored entreaties from the Obama administration and freed a top Hezbollah operative accused of murdering American soldiers.

Vice President Joe Biden phoned Maliki on Nov. 13 and urged him to hold Ali Musa Daqduq accountable for his purported crimes; the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, made a similar appeal that day.

But the Iraqis released Daqduq two days later, saying Iraq had run out of legal options to hold him, and he is now in Lebanon, according to The New York Times.

American military prosecutors have accused Daqduq of murder and terrorism, among other crimes. They say he planned a January 2007 attack on the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center, and advised the Shiite militant group that carried it out.

The group killed one U.S. soldier in the ambush attack and abducted four others. Their bodies were later found in the militants' abandoned vehicle, according to CNS News. They had been shot to death.

Daqduq, a Lebanese national, was captured in March 2007 and held in American custody until December, when he was handed over to Iraqi authorities on the eve of the final U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

At the time, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Iraqis had assured the United States that Daqduq would be tried for his crimes.

But earlier last year, 20 Republican senators and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman had written to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, voicing concerns that Daqduq would eventually be released and return to terrorism.

After his release, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said: "Many of us warned that the transfer of Daqduq to the Iraqis would result in his release. The administration ignored these warnings, and now a terrorist with American blood on his hands is walking free in Lebanon. There is little doubt that Daqduq is again collaborating with fellow members of Hezbollah in anticipation of their next terrorist attack."

And Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham said in a statement: "The United States now has so little influence that it could not prevail upon the Iraqi government to extradite Daqduq to the U.S. to stand trial for his crimes.

"We now face a similar situation in Afghanistan as we did in Iraq as America draws down troops and hands over detainees to the Afghani government."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "We are going to continue to pursue all legal means to see that Daqduq sees justice for the crime of which he is accused."

She did not specify those means. But the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Daqduq, barring Americans from doing business with him and freezing any assets he might have in the United States.

Editor's Note:

2. Half of Deported Criminals Had Been Deported Earlier

Some 188,380 criminal illegal immigrants were deported in fiscal 2011 — and 86,699 of them, or 46 percent, had been deported earlier and had illegally returned to the United States.

According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, 23 percent of the criminals deported that year had committed drug-related offenses, 20 percent had committed criminal traffic offenses — mostly DUI — 12 percent had committed a violent crime, and another 7 percent committed larceny, fraud, or burglary.

"It cannot be ascertained from the available data how many of the 86,699 previously deported criminals committed new crimes other than their illegal return, but unless they were detained shortly after re-entering the United States, it is likely that they came to the attention of the immigration authorities as a result of new crimes (committed after their illegal re-entry) for which they were convicted or arraigned," stated a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

"The 46 percent may also be understated due to reclassification of criminal deportees. Thus existing data indicate that a minimum of 46 percent of the 2011 criminal deportees were previously deported and returned to the United States."

Another 43,307 deportees who had been deported earlier and returned were not categorized as criminals, even though illegal re-entry to the United States by a deportee is a felony under federal law.

"The high percentage of repeat deportees is due in part to the ease of re-entry to the United States for earlier deportees and the knowledge that if apprehended there is only a small chance that they will serve any prison time for illegal re-entry," the CIS observed.

The CIS also noted that once a deportee re-enters the country illegally, "in nearly all cases the deportee will go undetected unless charged with another crime or if the deportee returns to his old neighborhood and is recognized by local law enforcement officials. Thus the number of deportees who make an illegal re-entry is possibly much higher than indicated."

The CIS concludes: "The extent of our revolving door for deported criminal illegal immigrants points to failures in securing our nation's borders. These failures do not bode well for our future ability to intercept known and unknown terrorists who try to gain access to our country."

Editor's Note:

3. Young Voters Swung Away From Obama in 2012

Voters ages 18 to 29 supported Barack Obama by a huge 34 percentage-point margin in 2008, but the youth vote swung 11 points away from the incumbent in this year's election.

Obama won the youth vote 66 percent to 32 percent when he ran against John McCain, but his margin dropped to 60 percent to 37 percent against Mitt Romney, according to exit polling conducted by Edison Research.

That was by far the largest swing among any demographic group. Obama's margin dipped 4 points among voters aged 65 and over, and 5 points among those 45 to 64, and he lost in both demographics. Obama did gain one point among voters 30 to 44 and won that group.

And despite predictions to the contrary, the 18-to-29 turnout actually increased from the 2008 level, accounting for 19 percent of those who voted compared to 18 percent four years ago.

This year "saw the largest drop in support from the 18-to-29 demographic for any incumbent president who won re-election in history," Generation Opportunity, a grassroots organization focusing on young Americans, said in a statement.

"Underneath these numbers, young Americans are fundamentally reshaping how they think about issues like unemployment, job creation, taxes, and regulation.

"The fact that young Americans will represent 38 percent of the electorate by 2020 makes this all the more relevant."

Editor's Note:

4. Angela Merkel, Hillary Named 'Most Powerful Women'

Hillary Clinton may be eyeing an exit from her post as U.S. Secretary of State, but she remains No. 2 on Forbes' new list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, behind only German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"For nine years Forbes has ranked the 100 most powerful women in the world. These are the women who adhere to the traditional classifications of power (political and economic might) and those who have risen to the top of the social and cultural landscape," Forbes notes.

"It is our annual snapshot of women who impact the world.

"This year the list features eight heads of state, 25 CEOs who control $984 billion in revenues, and 11 billionaires personally worth nearly $80 billion.

"We feature some dozen entrepreneurs and 10 celebrities who do more than look good: they're philanthropic do-gooders and entrepreneurial go-getters."

After Merkel and Clinton, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is No. 3 on the 2012 list, followed by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Abramson, executive editor of New York Times Co.

Rounding out the top 10 are Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress; first lady Michelle Obama; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

The top show business celebrity on the list, Oprah Winfrey, is No. 11. "Musician and philanthropist" Lady Gaga is No. 14, and newswoman Diane Sawyer is No. 23, ahead of actress-singers Beyonce Knowles (No. 32) and Jennifer Lopez (No. 38).

Others on the list include Queen Elizabeth II (26), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (28), and "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling (78).

Of the 100 women on the Forbes list, 61 are American

Editor's Note:

5. California Cities Ban Smoking — at Home

In what may be taking the "nanny state" to the extreme, 18 cities and counties in California have banned residents from smoking — in their own apartments and condominiums.

The communities have banned smoking in all existing and new multi-unit housing, according to the American Lung Association's Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, which calls the effort "the next frontier in California's ongoing efforts to protect its citizens from secondhand smoke."

A report from the organization states: "Although California has made great progress in getting secondhand smoke out of workplaces, for the many Californians who live in multi-unit housing breathing secondhand smoke which drifts from neighboring units, balconies and outdoor areas has become a real health problem."

In all, 33 California cities or counties are cited in the report as having some kind of smoking ban on multi-unit housing. Some require that smoking is banned in a certain percentage of units, or that a certain number be designated as smoke-free.

In the city of Albany, smokers can be fined up to $500 for a third smoking offense.

For current residents who smoke in Belmont, there is a 14-month grace period "during which time they are still allowed to smoke in their unit."

Many of the cities and counties' bans include declaring secondhand smoke a "public nuisance."

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Editor's Note:

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Sunday, 25 November 2012 02:31 PM
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