Tags: Obama | Gives | Illegals | Posh-Detention | Study Refutes Manmade Warming | US Biz Tax Is Worlds Highest

Obama Gives Illegals Posh Detention; Study Refutes Manmade Warming; US Biz Tax Is World’s Highest

By    |   Sunday, 01 April 2012 02:53 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Santorum Needs 70% of Remaining Delegates
2. Most Foreign Postal Services Are Profitable
3. Bob Kerrey Trails All Republicans in Senate Race
4. Manmade Global Warming Refuted by New Study
5. U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Now Highest in World
6. New Rules Make Illegals' Detention a 'Holiday'


1. Santorum Needs 70% of Remaining Delegates

A new briefing memo from the Mitt Romney camp shows he is still far from collecting the number of delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination, but it also shows the seemingly insurmountable challenge Rick Santorum faces in seeking to wrest the nomination from Romney.

According to the memo, which uses figures from the Associated Press, the former Massachusetts governor currently has 568 delegates committed to vote for him. The total includes the Republican National Committee delegates who have told the AP which candidate they support.

Santorum has so far collected 273 delegates, while Newt Gingrich has 135 and Ron Paul has 50.

A candidate needs to win 1,144 of the 2,286 available delegates in order to secure the nomination.

So far, 1,028 delegates have committed to a candidate. That leaves 1,258 who are not committed. In order for Santorum to reach the 1,144 total, he will have to win 871 more delegates — 70 percent of the remaining total.

To date, he has won only 26 percent of the already committed delegates.

Adding to Santorum's woes, recent polls cited in the memo show the former Pennsylvania senator trailing Romney by double-digit margins in California, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

The memo also refers to a new national Rasmussen poll showing that Romney leads Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup, 45 percent to 43 percent, while Obama beats Santorum, 47 percent to 42 percent.

Editor's Note:

2. Most Foreign Postal Services Are Profitable

With the U.S. Postal Service drowning in red ink so deep that it's planning to close nearly half of its processing centers and lay off thousands of workers, observers are questioning whether a "snail mail" service can survive in the Internet age.

A look at postal services in other high-income countries provides the answer: Yes, they can.

The USPS has lost $25 billion in five years, including $5.1 billion last year, and forecasts a $14 billion loss this year.

One major factor cited for the fiscal woes — in addition to generous retirement health benefits and pensions — is electronic diversion, the shift from traditional mail to email and other Internet services. American households paid 75 percent of their bills by mail in 2002, but the figure fell to 47 percent in 2010.

Foreign postal services are also dealing with electronic diversion. But a study by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations agency, shows that most services in high-income nations — those with a per capita gross national income over $9,205 — are avoiding the consistent red ink of the USPS.

The study of high-income nations and territories' postal services found that only three out of 34 reporting posts lost money in 2007 (9 percent), eight out of 32 suffered losses in 2008 (25 percent), 11 out of 29 lost money in 2009 (38 percent), and 12 out of 33 lost money in 2010 (36 percent).

The USPS lost money in all four of those years. Only one other jurisdiction's postal service lost money in all four years — Macau.

The countries reporting positive returns in most recent years include France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.

In medium-income jurisdictions — with per capita gross national income from $746 to $9,205 — only two out of 34 reporting services lost money in all four years.

The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, a nonprofit economic policy research and educational organization, issued an "Advisory" on the UPU report and concluded: "The study's findings are simultaneously heartening and discouraging.

"The results are reassuring because foreign posts demonstrate that postal operators can remain financially viable despite electronic diversion and the after-effects of the Great Recession. Posts can continue to deliver the mail and supply the public with postal access while still breaking even or turning a profit.

"The results are disturbing, however, because they emphasize how poorly the U.S. Postal Service is doing in terms of meeting its expenses.

"The U.S. Postal Service is among the world's great posts in many respects, but it is badly underperforming financially."

Editor's Note:

3. Bob Kerrey Trails All Republicans in Senate Race

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey at first said he was seriously considering a run for fellow Democrat Ben Nelson's Senate seat in Nebraska after Nelson announced in December that he would not seek re-election.

Then on Feb. 7 Kerrey announced that he had decided not to run for the Senate. But three weeks later he said he had reconsidered and decided to run after all.

It might now be time for Kerrey to reconsider once again: The latest poll shows him trailing by double digits against all three leading Republican candidates seeking Nelson's seat.

According to the new survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Kerrey trails leading GOP contender Jon Bruning, Nebraska's attorney general, by a margin of 54 percent to 37 percent. He also trails Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg, 52 percent to 38 percent, and State Sen. Deb Fischer, 49 percent to 38 percent.

Kerrey's favorability rating in Nebraska has plunged to 36 percent, and he is actually losing 18 percent of the Democrat vote to Bruning, according to PPP.

Kerrey left the Senate in 2001 and has spent the last 10 years living in New York City, where he served as president of The New School, and Republicans have sought to brand him as a carpetbagger for returning to Nebraska, The Hill reported.

"Ben Nelson was a lot more competitive in polling for re-election than Bob Kerrey is now," said PPP President Dean Debnam.

"Nelson's retirement seems to have hurt Democratic chances of holding the seat."

Editor's Note:

4. Manmade Global Warming Refuted by New Study

Skeptics of manmade global warming claims can bolster their position with a new study showing that the Earth went through a previous warming period not caused by human CO2 emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has argued that the Medieval Warm Period approximately 500 to 1,000 years ago was confined to Europe and did not affect the entire planet, "which means the worldwide warming we're experiencing now is a manmade phenomenon," the Daily Mail observed.

But a team of scientists led by geochemist Zunli Lu from Syracuse University in New York found the warming was not confined to Europe and actually extended all the way down to Antarctica, affecting the entire planet. The finding indicates that "the Earth has already experienced global warming without the aid of human CO2 emissions," according to the Mail.

Following that period, the Earth cooled down naturally and there was even a "mini ice age."

Professor Lu's study — published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters — relies on a rare mineral called ikaite, an icy version of limestone that forms in cold waters. The water that holds crystals of ikaite together traps information about temperatures present when the crystals were formed.

Lu's team studied ikaite crystals from sediment cores drilled off the coast of Antarctica, and the crystals showed that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to Antarctica.

The Mail observed: "Is this finally proof we're not causing global warming?"

Editor's Note:

5. U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Now Highest in World

The United States achieves a dubious distinction on April 1 when it takes over as the country with the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

The top federal rate is 35 percent, and when additional state rates are added, the average tax rate for U.S. corporations rises to 39.2 percent.

Only Japan's rate has been higher, 39.8 percent. But on April 1, Japan's rate drops to 36.8 percent.

"The change in and of itself is not that important, but there's some symbolism involved in being the highest in the world," Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, told CNN Money. "There's certainly been a long-term trend of our rate getting higher relative to everyone else."

Due to loopholes and special treatment for various kinds of businesses, the effective rate paid by corporations is actually 29.2 percent.

But corporate taxes in America are still too high, according to the Tax Foundation.

"The key to restoring American competitiveness and our long-term economic growth is cutting the corporate tax rate," Tax Foundation president Scott Hodge said in a statement.

President Obama has proposed cutting the top federal rate to 28 percent. Republican challenger Mitt Romney wants a 25 percent rate, and both want to reduce loopholes and other exemptions.

A number of jurisdictions have a zero percent corporate tax rate, including Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and Bahrain. The global average is about 24.4 percent.

Editor's Note:

6. New Rules Make Illegals' Detention a 'Holiday'

The Obama administration's new standards for treating illegal aliens make their detention centers resemble recreational facilities rather than prisons, Republicans complain.

"Under this administration, detention looks more like recess," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said on Wednesday.

Smith spoke at a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Policy Enforcement called "Holiday on ICE" — mockingly using the acronym of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

He said the administration's new manual for detaining illegals "reads more like a hospitality guideline for illegal immigrants."

"While funds for American students' physical education classes are being cut, the new detention standards expand recreation for illegal immigrants.

"For instance, illegal and criminal immigrants in ICE custody will have options such as soccer, volleyball and basketball. It would be nice if all American students got those options."

Early in March, ICE opened the new $30 million Karnes County Civil Detention Center near San Antonio, Texas, the first facility built to comply with the new standards, CNS News reported.

The Center features a library with free Internet access, cable TV, an indoor gym, soccer fields, and a beach volleyball court.

"Instead of guards, unarmed 'resident advisers' patrol the grounds," Smith said.

Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council 118 of the American Federation of Government Employees, has a big problem with that, he said in a statement prepared for the Wednesday hearing.

The union leader charged the administration with "creating a more dangerous detention system, resulting in injury to ICE detainees, ICE officers, and contract employees."

He warned that ICE's new policy of arresting the "worst of the worst" illegal aliens has brought "more violent, aggressive and overall dangerous" detainees into ICE facilities.

The new standards impose "new prohibitions on strip searches," Crane added.

He also accused Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton of excluding ICE officers from discussions leading to the creation of the new standards. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., who chairs the subcommittee, said the standards "unreasonably" put "the interests of removable aliens ahead of the interest of the nation and the American taxpayer."

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Editor's Note:

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