immigration

Immigration Myths Debunked

immigration

Immigration is a hotly debated subject with a slew of arguments but experts have debunked some of the myths surrounding it. On Thursday, President Barak Obama utilized the powers of his office to mold the immigration system of the nation. He explained that his administration would overhaul the immigration system and explained who it was projected to affect and not affect.

He addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House appealing to the nation’s compassion that deporting millions of illegal immigrants is not “who we are.” Obama quoted scripture stating that we could not oppress strangers seeing as how all Americans once were strangers. Shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and providing them with work visas brings the scope of presidential authority under further scrutiny.

This decision by Obama has raised a myriad of constitutional and legal questions. Republicans have accused him of imperial overreach. Democrats are worried over the future fallout from these actions.

On Thursday night, the White House released a 33 page memo from the Justice Department detailing the legalities of the executive order. Internal legal documents are rarely disclosed to the public. According to legal experts, Obama has “virtually unfettered prosecutorial discretion” as chief executive.

Obama’s approach has not been welcomed with open arms by the country. It has been a tough sell, especially now with the new Republican controlled Congress. Many arguments have been placed on the table but some experts do agree that some of the arguments are based on misinformation. Many myths that need to be debunked exist in regards to immigration and its effect on the economy.

immigrationMany claim, as migrant workers, illegals do not pay taxes. According to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) migrants have paid approximately $10.6 billion towards state and local taxes in 2010 alone. While actual contributions vary by state, it is estimated on average the immigrants pay roughly 6.4% of their income in state and local taxes. IRS figures indicated back in 2007 50-75% of about 11 million migrant workers filed and paid income taxes each year.

Claims are also made that undocumented immigrants do not pay into Social Security. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that immigrants who are not even eligible for benefits have paid a staggering $100 billion into the fund over the last decade. On average, they are paying $15 billion a year per Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the SSA. Social Security would have entered a constant shortfall of tax revenue to cover payouts without the contribution of millions of undocumented workers.

Another argument would be that illegals place a burden on the American system. That simply is not the case when they do not qualify for government assistance programs such as food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid among others. One of the prerequisites of such programs is proof of legal immigration status and per the 1996 welfare law; even legal immigrants do not qualify to receive benefits until they have lived in the US for five years.

One loophole however would be the children of illegal immigrants. Oftentimes referred to as “anchor babies”, the children do qualify for social benefits. They also qualify for schooling as well as emergency medical care.

A report of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 concluded that proper means towards legalization for immigrants would increase revenue by a whopping $48 billion. There would be a $23 billion increase in costs for the use of public services but still would produce $25 billion in surplus for government coffers debunking several myths on immigration as reported by the Congressional Budget Office.

By Stevenson Benoit

Photo by JvovesFlickr License
Victoria PickeringFlickr License

Sources:
NY Times
NY Times
CNN Money

Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is Ready to Burn up the Box Office

Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is ready to burn up the box office this weekend with the debut of the next installment of the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part1. Based upon the projections, the movie is expected to rake in anywhere between $130 and $150 million. That is well on track with the two previous installments, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, both opening at over $150 million each.

Considering the star power, the third installment stands to do even better with Jennifer Lawrence as the lead protagonist. Last year Lawrence was a big star. This year, Lawrence is one of the biggest most sought after stars and the public isn’t done with her yet. Lawrence is slated to play Mystique in the next X-Men installment. The trailers for Mockingjay have now included the line, “starring Jennifer Lawrence,” which wasn’t iterated in previous installments.

In 2013, Catching Fire became the highest grossing film in the United States. It was the first time in 40 years that a female protagonist graced the top of the annual box office charts. It would appear that the actress is someone to gush over as the “who’s who” in Hollywood are showering her with praise.

Co-star, Donald Sutherland, has made comparisons to Jesus Christ. Sutherland mentioned to E! Online that he realized that she was a child genius and that she was “the right person at the right time in the sense of Joan of Arc or Jesus Christ.” He goes on to compliment her ability as an actress to tell the truth out of the provided material and makes it immediately recognizable. She is “just a real girl,” according to Sutherland.

Her appeal is fueled by her nonchalant approach towards the press. Instead of playing the traditional poised and dignified role, she is more confident in self and out spoken. Her off the cuff remarks are sincere and speak to her character as a person. It should come as no surprise that the box office should get ready to burn with Mockingjay Part 1 starring Jennifer Lawrence.

MTV recently tried to get the skinny on Lawrence by interviewing her cast mates. Julianne Moore and others referred to her as being someone that was “down to earth,” “pure, honest, raw, amazingness,” and lauded her with other praises.

This week has been complete with everything JLaw. US Weekly did a write up on the actress’ short hair style stating that it was inspiration to young women worldwide. Lawrence debuted the asymmetrical hairdo via her Facebook page last year and according to US Weekly, ever since, the star has been giving quite the lesson on versatility.

In the midst of all the commotion, America’s new sweetheart has come out and said that she fears the paparazzi. According to Lawrence, she is more than just uncomfortable with paparazzi but actually fears them. As of late she has been suffering from mild anxiety because of recent interactions with aggressive paparazzi.

Other movies opening this weekend are in for a dogfight as Mockingjay Part 1 featuring Jennifer Lawrence gets ready to burn up the box office. The Hunger Games franchise has already established a core fan base and with America’s sweetheart at the helm, it will take more than explosions and fast cars to stop this phoenix.

By Stevenson Benoit

Photo by Marco MannaFlickr License

Sources:
Forbes
The Hollywood Reporter
Refinery 29
US Weekly
Master Herald

Police

Police Arrest Protesters Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

Police

Police officers in Ferguson have arrested several protesters overnight ahead of the grand jury decision to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown. Protesters were attempting to block a street during a demonstration that drew dozens of people outside of the city police station in sub-freezing temperatures.

Demonstrators were met by officers in riot gear and were advised to disperse. A few demonstrators chanted, “Indict that cop.” The arrests were the first in roughly a week indicating the rise in racial tensions ahead of the trial ruling.

On Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the public response to the grand jury decision to charge Wilson with the August 9th killing of Michael Brown. He also activated the National Guard to provide back up to state and local law enforcement, a move some activists have criticized as being heavy-handed. Over the past week, several protests have been seen, all of which being peaceful.

The National Action Network, a group founded by Reverend Al Sharpton, longtime New York civil rights activist, said that demonstrations would occur regardless of the grand jury decision with protesters calling for federal charges against Wilson if local charges aren’t filed.

Activists around the country are planning to stage their own rallies at federal courthouses from New York to Los Angeles. The FBI has warned law enforcement agencies around the country that the decision will likely lead some extremist protesters to threaten and even attack police officers and federal agents.

Caught in the middle would be peaceful protesters and electrical facilities or water treatment plants could also become targets. Hacktivist group, Anonymous, has already launched a cyber-attack against the KKK for threatening to disturb the peace. Within hours of the FBI releasing their bulletin, police departments across the country were issuing internal bulletins urging officers to review procedures and protocols for responding to mass demonstrations and protesters ahead of the grand jury decision.

Immediately after Brown’s death on August 9th, protests began. People marched and chanted along West Florissant Avenue, not far from where the shooting took place. At times, the protests turned violent with stores being looted and according to local law enforcement demonstrators threw gasoline bombs and attempted to set fires.

Though the confrontations have quieted down, the demonstrations and rallies have continued nearly nightly. An estimated 50 organizations, including Montague Simmons’ Organization for Black Struggle, have joined forces in a “Don’t Shoot Coalition” aimed at preparing for the grand jury decision.

Negotiations are currently underway proposing a “rules of engagement” for when the grand jury decision comes down. Law enforcement has accepted some of the terms of the agreement while other terms have been rejected. Some of the proposed terms include tolerance for more minor law breaking such as thrown water bottles and requesting 48 hour notice for protesters prior to the grand jury decision coming in.

There are conflicting accounts as to what occurred when Wilson shot Brown. Some witness accounts state that Brown had his hands up in surrender like fashion, while other accounts describe a violent confrontation between the two.

“It must be changing how police and citizens relate to one another,” said Michael T. McPhearson, co chairman of the Don’t Shoot Coalition. “We’re calling for police accountability, police transparency, changing how police do their work. If there’s an indictment or if there’s not an indictment, we still have that work to do.”

Written by Stevenson Benoit

Sources:
ABCNews
Time
Reuters
NYTimes

Susan Rice (The Real Story… Maybe?)

Originally posted on Lyrical Elitist:

I’m not going to say that it is a well known fact but, it is disputed that our re-elected commander in chief, President Barak Obama, is a puppet in the grand scheme of what is going on today. Follow me down the rabbit hole for a moment if you will and let’s us evaluate the actions that have taken place.

Worldwide, it is believed that bankers are running the show. It would be hard to argue considering the “bottom line” is money. Who better to manage funds than bankers? A country needs money to run. To go to war, you need money. Many things are centered around the necessity of money to make happen. Let me not get too far off topic here. Do you remember the bailout in 2008? In the essence of time, here is a brief synopsis of the bailout:

The Senate passed the $700 billion bank…

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Pre-Emptive Martial Law in Ferguson

Pre-Emptive Martial Law in Ferguson?

Police Shooting Missouri

Missouri governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard ahead of a grand jury decision about whether white police officer Darren Wilson will be charged in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.  He said on Monday that the National Guard will assist state and local police in case the grand jury’s decision leads to a resurgence in the same civil unrest that gripped the city after the August 9th shooting.

“All the people in the St Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation,” Nixon said in a written statement. “Regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest, particularly given the unrest already experienced in Ferguson and the surrounding area  over the past three months.

No specific date has been revealed for the grand jury decision and Nixon gave no indication that an announcement is imminent. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision by mid to late November.

The grand jury has convened to consider if there is enough evidence to proceed with charges and if so, what those charges would be. Should the jury bring back an indictment, a separate jury would be selected to decide whether or not Officer Wilson is guilty.

The United State Justice Department is also conducting a separate investigation and has not said when its work will be completed.

Mike Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by Darren Wilson after a confrontation when the officer noticed Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street and said stop.

Civil unrest unleashed a day after the shooting leading to police responding to protests with a heavily armored presence widely criticized for continuing to escalate tensions.

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Since October plans were being made as Missouri law enforcement held meetings 2-3 times per week including military and FBI, according to attendees. Missouri law enforcement sought out intelligence from police departments across the country on what they called “out of state agitators.” In actuality, attempts were underway to squeeze out independent media from going to Ferguson.

Charlie Grapski, an independent journalist with PINAC and heads their Open Records Project, was arrested and transported to a mental health facility under Baker Act, Florida state law that allows  for the involuntary detainment of citizens if the show signs of mental illness along with signs they are a threat to themselves or others. Grapski was scheduled to fly out to Ferguson when a SWAT team descending on him and his father sitting in a car detaining him. He was promptly arrested and placed on a mental health hold.

He posted a Facebook status, “I have been falsely accused of threatening violence in Ferguson. I was supposed to arrive tomorrow. I have been unlawfully detained and Baker Acted and locked up. I don’t know when I will be able to communicate further. “

Daily Kos journalist, Shaun King, revealed that a member of the military, speaking confidentially, stated that his unit was told that they needed to prepare for riots in Ferguson and St Louis soon. They had been doing early morning drills to prepare for riots and how to shut them down. He also tweeted that “Someone who attended these secret meetings, which were leaked by Reuters, told us about plans to shut down the airport and highways.”

An organized effort is already in place to destabilize protesters and activists. Doubling and tripling the bail amounts for protesters is one of their means of discouraging them from making their voices heard.

The events taking place echo the tactics employed by the old Soviet Union. Will Missouri be the example of things to come?

Sound The Alarm!!!

The most recent allegations of soldier movement, rocket launchers, tank and missiles from Russia into rebel held eastern Ukraine would seem to fit a familiar pattern of events in the country’s separatist crisis, but for a few troublesome details.

Unmarked convoys seen near the Russian backed breakaway “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk last week are said to consist of advanced weapons systems and radar equipment never before seen during the months-long conflict crippling the nation. Analysts are speculating these supplies could be used to launch a lightning offensive by the Ukrainian separatists. Alleged past incursions near the porous Russia-Ukraine border have occurred while fighting has raged on while supposedly observing a cease fire with Ukrainian forces that Moscow helped to broker, although largely ignored by both sides.

Russia has responded to the recent allegations dismissing them as “hot air”. Wide agreements among analysts claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to destabilize the southwestern neighbor where the newly elected government in Kiev is desperately trying to foster closer ties with NATO and the European Union under “Chocolate King” Petro Poroshenko.

The timing and nature of the latest reinforcements has left diplomats scrambling to figure out just how far Putin might be willing to go to achieve that end.

According to Julia Ioffe and Linda Kinstler, last week’s military buildup has echoes of Putin’s annexation of Crimea back in March of this year. At the time, Putin denied a sudden incursion of unmarked troops into the peninsula was at the behest of Moscow until after a public referendum voted in favor of secession. The same could be in the works for the largely Russian speaking Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Another speculation could be that Russia is arming the rebel allies for an even deeper offensive aimed at opening up a land bridge from the separatist east to isolated Crimea, which could facilitate the transport of supplies and goods to sustain Russia’s newest citizens.

Others are claiming that although Putin continues to refer to the Donbass region as Novorossiya (New Russia) a land grab in eastern Ukraine would be counterproductive to Russia’s main objective. If Moscow were to cut off the largest pro-Russian sector of Ukraine, it would leave behind a smaller weaker state that is almost entirely pro-Western.

Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dmitri Trenin said, “I see Donbass as very different from Crimea. The people’s republics have been important for Putin as a foot in the door in his policy of guaranteeing Russian interests in Ukraine as a whole, such as neutrality between NATO and Russia. Annexation serves no useful Russian interest at this point.”

Most experts have ruled out that Putin would launch a “formal” invasion of separatist held Ukraine even though he has said that steps would be justified on the grounds of humanitarian aid and maintains tens of thousands of Russian troops just across the border. Polls have indicated that Russians generally approve Moscow’s confrontation with the West over Ukraine and of the “volunteer” Russian military units Moscow claims to be fighting on behalf of their separatists brethren however a Levada Tsenter poll did find that 68 percent of Russians are opposed to sending in troops and there are rising concerns over the toll Western sanctions are taking on the Russian economy.

“I think this is basically about deterrence and preparation for defense,” said Trenin. “Russia is sending a message to the West that it should under no circumstances create an impression in Kiev that it would condone a Ukrainian push against Donetsk and Luhansk. Should there be a large-scale war in Ukraine, it may escalate and effect the West.

The OSCE continues to push for a diplomatic and political resolution which most assume would guarantee autonomy for the separatist east while keeping Ukraine intact, but as shelling grows more frequent in the east and heavier weaponry arrives, said Bociurkiw, “We really do feel this is heading toward humanitarian disaster.” U.S., E.U., and Russian leaders must find political resolution soon or face the ever present threat of renewed hostilities between Kiev and the separatist held Donbass region.

Big Krit: The Soul of Hip Hop Revived

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Hipsters and hip hop purists can agree on one thing; Big Krit brings the soul back to Hip Hop. Born Justin Scott from Meridian Mississippi, Krit (King Remembered In Time) is well on his way to being a likely successor to southern rap legends UGK, Scarface, and Outkast. It is evident in his production that he draws his influences from the same stating, “That’s what my iTunes consists of”.

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Big Krit’s career began in 2005 but only recently can he now be found on the margins of mainstream notoriety. With notable features from Bun B, Curren$y, Ludacris, and a host of other acts, Krit brings trunk rattling, ground shaking bass, melodic lines, and country fried living to an old school Cadillac near you.

ludacris-bun-b-big-krit

Although Big Krit has released several free mixtapes, including the See Me On Top series, since he started, it is 4Eva N A Day that will go down as being his “Illmatic”. A conceptual project, Krit takes you on a journey through a regular day beginning with the opening track 8:04 AM going straight into Wake Up. As he “wakes up” he starts his day with thanking God for everything and iterating the need to remain humble. In an industry where speaking life and creation is not promoted, Big Krit, unashamed, references his faith and spirituality openly.

 

Through the course of the mixtape, he touches on various topics of everyday life from the teachings left behind by his grandmother to dealing with the constraints of a relationship while pursuing his dream. Not one to be braggadocios about money and material things, one thing remains constant though which is his homage to the old school Cadillac. From 1986, his born year as he eloquently raps it, to Me and My Old School, Big Krit sticks with his formula of hard hitting bass lines with matching lyrics that demand your attention. In Handwriting, Krit talks about the struggles of staying true to self while still fulfilling label obligations. He gives recognition to Bun B and Ludacris for their support and belief in him during his time in the skeptics’ eyes. Ever the thinker, Big Krit closes out the mixtape sounding the alarm for a generation to wake up and be aware of the traps laid out around them.

 

Big Krit follows up 4Eva N A Day with his debut album Live From The Underground which further lifts him into the public’s eye. After dropping the album, Krit releases King Remembered In Time and Week of Krit as he prepares his sophomore effort Cadillactica. Cadillactica is the birthplace of his musical conscience. Over the summer, Big Krit dropped the first single off Cadillactica, Mt Olympus, decrying the need for his region’s acknowledgement. He lashes out on the DJ Dahi produced track, forcefully grabbing attention as much as pining for it with verses and a hook that airs out his exasperation with not being taken seriously according to HipHopDX.

 

The hook alone sums up his sentiments towards the music industry that is just now beginning to take notice. Krit recently dropped the 2nd single off Cadillactica, Pay Attention ft Rico Love but it is Lost Generation ft Lupe Fiasco that steals the show. Big Krit is not known to have another artist best him on a track but Lupe does just that as he digs at the propaganda of the hip hop industry. His controversial and scathing verse puts in perspective what is fed the mass public.

Is Big Krit the soul of hip hop? Is he rap’s conscience making a comeback? Decide for yourself. Listen to the words in his songs. Or you can turn your 15’s up and break the lever. Either way, like on Big Krit’s song, Dreamin, he has turned so many doubters into believers.

 

***** This is a copy of my article for Guardian Liberty Voice *****

Twitter: @darealsteviebee