Tags: Troops | Needed | to | Seal-Border | Fuel Economy Standard | China | Debt debate

U.S. Customs: 500,000 Troops Needed to Seal Border

By    |   Sunday, 07 August 2011 12:36 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Fuel Economy Standard 'Kills People'
2. China Attacks U.S. on Debt Debate
3. Environmentalists Blamed for Deadly Bedbug Plague
4. Iran's Revolutionary Guards Commander to Head OPEC
5. U.S. Customs: 500,000 Troops Needed to Seal Border

1. Fuel Economy Standard 'Kills People'

The Obama administration on July 29 announced a new fuel economy standard that requires automakers to boost their fleets' miles per gallon by 5 percent a year until they reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The standard is designed to save thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the life of a vehicle, but critics say it will have another effect: a rise in motor vehicle deaths.

The president reportedly has secured agreements from General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Hyundai to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35.6 in 2016 and to the higher figure nine years later, although the standard will be reviewed in 2018.

To increase their vehicles' fuel economy, automakers will have to reduce their weight.

"So prepare to say goodbye to sport utility vehicles, pickups and minivans, the very vehicles millions of American families and businesses must rely upon every day," the Washington Examiner observed in an editorial.

"By far the worst result, however, will be the fact that thousands will die because Obama, fanatical Big Green environmentalists, and their allies in the federal bureaucracy care more about removing micro-amounts of emissions than they do about the safety and convenience of people on the roads."

Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit think tank, called CAFE "a regulation that, plain and simple, kills people."

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study in 2003 estimated that for every 100 pounds of weight removed from a car weighing under 3,000 pounds, the death rate rises more than 5 percent.

A study by the National Academy of Science found that lighter vehicles required to satisfy CAFE — which was first enacted in 1975 — were responsible for up to 2,600 highway deaths a year.

And data from the government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, analyzed by USA Today, concluded that 7,700 people died for every one additional mpg attributed to CAFE regulation.

The Examiner concludes: "If CAFE standards were produced by a public corporation or small business instead of the federal government, the families of those killed by the regulations would have a prima facie case for a class-action lawsuit."

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2. China Attacks U.S. on Debt Debate

The Chinese government's official mouthpiece has published a commentary attacking the United States for its handling of the debt crisis.

The opinion piece published on Xinhua, the state-run news wire, chided the U.S. for its "debt addiction" and said it was "time for Washington to revisit the time-tested common sense that one should live within one's means."

The commentary went on to say that American politicians need to "conduct an in-depth self-examination" and decide how to "shake off electoral politics and get difficult jobs done more efficiently."

The article also called the battle between Democrats and Republicans over how to resolve the debt ceiling crisis "dangerously irresponsible."

The prospect of a U.S. debt default unnerved global investors because it would hobble the global economy and roil financial markets by raising bond yields and borrowing costs, a point stressed by Xinhua.

China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, with an estimated 60 to 70 percent of its $3.2 trillion foreign exchange reserves in American assets.

The Financial Times observed: "China has little choice but to continue investing in U.S. assets because no other market is big enough to support its purchases."

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3. Environmentalists Blamed for Deadly Bedbug Plague

Government policies on the use of pesticides have led to a resurgent population of bedbugs — including some that carry a deadly antibiotic-resistant germ.

Bedbugs had been almost completely eradicated in the United States for half a century through the use of the now-banned pesticide DDT, but their population has grown rapidly during the past decade, overwhelming hotels, hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings, according to a report from the Heartland Institute.

Canadian researchers have recently discovered bedbugs carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics and can be deadly if it reaches the bloodstream.

H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, blames the bedbug resurgence on "poor policy decisions."

He told Heartland Institute: "Most households have never seen a bedbug before now. But in the early 1970s, the government banned the pesticide DDT, and now we're seeing bedbug infestations in European and North American cities.

"This is another legacy of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring,' the 1962 book credited with starting the environmental movement, leading to the ban of DDT.

"By banning DDT, we've killed people in developing countries through the spread of malaria. Now we're subjecting the U.S. population to bedbugs and other pests and vermin.

"Government should lift the ban on DDT and other pesticides that are effective in treating pests like bedbugs."

Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, agrees.

"We had eradicated bedbugs in the past, then we banned DDT for home use, and now they're back. I think this policy needs to be reevaluated."

She also said, "We need a better regulatory environment. Rather than removing products from the shelves, which is where we are today because of the precautionary principle, more evaluation and experimentation is needed."

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4. Iran's Revolutionary Guards Commander to Head OPEC

In what Iran is touting as a "blow to the West," a senior official with the nation's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is taking over as the new head of the OPEC oil cartel.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad named as his oil minister Brig. Gen. Rostam Ghasemi, who heads Khatam al-Anbia (KAA), an industrial giant owned by the Revolutionary Guards, and he was approved by Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday.

Ghasemi's position as oil minister means he will preside over OPEC meetings this year, because Iran holds the rotating presidency of the 12-country cartel.

KAA has been targeted for international sanctions for activities relating to Iran's nuclear program, the Guardian reported.

Ghasemi himself was added to the U.S. Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Nationals whose assets are frozen. Ghasemi cannot do business with Americans.

A Revolutionary Guards spokesman called the approval of Ghasemi as oil minister "a meaningful and crucial response to the attacks against the Guards from the West's media empire."

And an Iranian lawmaker was quoted as saying a vote for Ghasemi would be a vote for Iran's "history of resistance."

Britain's Telegraph observed that "the fate of world oil prices could rest in the hands of a man who has devoted his whole life to opposing the West. Oil prices are high enough as it is, and the prospect of Iran using oil prices to hold the world to ransom is something that should give all of us sleepless nights."

OPEC's 12 nations, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, account for about 79 percent of the world's crude oil reserves and 44 percent of world production.

In 1973, Arab members of OPEC placed an embargo on oil exports to the United States and Western Europe in response to the West's resupply of Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

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5. U.S. Customs: 500,000 Troops Needed to Seal Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin has essentially thrown in the towel on efforts to completely seal the U.S.-Mexican border, saying that would require up to half a million troops.

Speaking at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP) on Thursday, Bersin said: "We would need on the order of about 400,000 or 500,000 border patrol agents to seal the border."

Those agents would have to be stationed "25 yards" apart along the entire length of the border, he said, adding that Americans would not want to pay "the costs that would be involved."

CAP immigration policy director Marshall Fitz said for "the average American, who doesn't think a lot about this and considers the United States the most powerful country in the history of the world," it might not seem "unrealistic to think that we could actually seal the border," CNS News reported.

He said Congress' passing of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 "suggests that that is viable," but called that aim unrealistic.

Bersin said he favored "satisfactory" control of the border.

But he insisted that the border is safer than it ever has been, and a CAP report authored by Fitz was cited to back that assertion.

In the Tucson, Ariz., sector, which has the highest number of illegal crossings, 616,346 people were taken into custody in 2000, the report noted.

In 2010, "only" 212,202 were taken into custody.

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Fuel Economy Standard 'Kills People' 2. China Attacks U.S. on Debt Debate 3. Environmentalists Blamed for Deadly Bedbug Plague 4. Iran's Revolutionary Guards Commander to Head OPEC 5. U.S. Customs: 500,000...
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Sunday, 07 August 2011 12:36 PM
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