Story 1: Will A Greece Default On Debt Trigger A World Recession? — Bubbles Bursting? — Greek Odious Debt Default On The Brink — Jump! — Greece Defaults! — Videos
Greece misses 1.5 billion euro IMF payment 01:12
Greece officially defaults 02:28
Greece defaults on $1.7 billion payment
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Greece’s bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment
By ELENA BECATOROS and DEREK GATOPOULOS
y to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.
After Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout, eurozone finance ministers decided in a teleconference late Tuesday that there was no way they could reach a deal before the deadline.
“It would be crazy to extend the program,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbleom, who heads the eurozone finance ministers’ body known as the eurogroup. “So that cannot happen and will not happen.”
(AP) An elderly man passes a graffiti outside an old bank in Athens, Tuesday, June 30,… Full Image
“The program expires tonight,” Dijsselbleom said.The brinkmanship that has characterized Greece’s bailout negotiations with its European creditors and the IMF rose several notches over the weekend, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he would put a deal proposal by creditors to a referendum on Sunday and urged a “No” vote.
The move increased fears the country could soon fall out of the euro currency bloc and Greeks rushed to pull money out of ATMs, leading the government to shutter its banks and impose restrictions on banking transactions on Monday for at least a week.
But in a surprise move Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.
The government decided on the referendum, he said on state television, “and it can make a decision on something else.”
(AP) A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during a rally organized by supporters of the YES… Full Image
It was unclear, however, how that would be possible legally as Parliament has already voted for it to go ahead.Greece’s international bailout expires at midnight central European time, after which the country loses access to billions of euros in funds. At the same time, Greece has said it will not be able to make a payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF.
With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.
The agency said the breakdown of negotiations “has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honor its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector.”
Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt “probable.”
(AP) People stand in a queue to use an ATM outside a closed bank, next to a sign on the… Full Image
Hopes for an 11th-hour deal were raised when the Greek side announced it had submitted a new proposal Tuesday afternoon, and the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers held a teleconference to discuss it.But those hopes were quickly dashed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she ruled out further negotiations with Greece before Sunday’s popular vote on whether to accept creditors’ demands for budget reforms.
“Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new,” the dpa news agency quoted Merkel as saying.
Greece’s latest offer involves a proposal to tap Europe’s bailout fund — the so-called European Stability Mechanism, a pot of money set up after Greece’s rescue programs to help countries in need.
(AP) The word “NO”, referring to the upcoming referendum, is written in red paint outside… Full Image
Tsipras’ office said the proposal was “for the full coverage of (Greece’s) financing needs with the simultaneous restructuring of the debt.”Dijsselbloem said the finance ministers would “study that request as we should” and that they would hold another conference call Wednesday, as they had also received a second letter from Athens that they had not had time to read.
Dragasakis said the new letter “narrows the differences further.”
“We are making an additional effort. There are six points where this effort can be made. I don’t want to get into specifics. But it includes pensions and labor issues,” he said.
European officials and Greek opposition parties have been adamant that a “No” vote on Sunday will mean Greece will leave the euro and possibly even the EU.
(AP) Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote… Full Image
The government says this is scaremongering, and that a rejection of creditor demands will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.In Athens, more than 10,000 “Yes” vote supporters gathered outside parliament despite a thunderstorm, chanting “Europe! Europe!”
Most huddled under umbrellas, including Athens resident Sofia Matthaiou.
“I don’t know if we’ll get a deal. But we have to press them to see reason,” she said, referring to the government. “The creditors need to water down their positions, too.”
The protest came a day after thousands of government supporters advocating a “No” vote held a similar demonstration.
(AP) Demonstrators gather under the rain during a rally organized by supporters of the… Full Image
On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a new offer to Greece. Under that proposal, Tsipras would need to accept the creditors’ proposal that was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the offer would also involve unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load of over 300 billion euros, or around 180 percent of GDP. The Greek side has long called for debt relief, saying its mountainous debt is unsustainable.
A Greek government official said Tsipras had spoken earlier in the day with Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.
Meanwhile, missing the IMF payment will cut Greece off from new loans from the organization.
And with its bailout program expiring, Greece will lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support it has not yet tapped, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks about the program were still ongoing.
On the streets of Athens, long lines formed again at ATM machines as Greeks struggled with the new restrictions on banking transactions. Under credit controls imposed Monday, Greeks are now limited to ATM withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) a day and cannot send money abroad or make international payments without special permission.
The elderly have been hit particularly hard, with tens of thousands of pensions unpaid as of Tuesday afternoon. Many also found themselves completely cut off from any cash as they do not have bank cards.
The finance ministry said it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days beginning Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit would be set at 120 euros for the whole week.
With negotiations have broken off in dramatic fashion last week, a cacophony of voices on Syriza’s Left have vowed to prioritise domestic obligations unless creditors finally unlock the remainder of its €240bn bail-out programme. Greece only avoided going bust earlier this month after the government has asked for a Zambia-style debt bundling which will now be due on June 30.
The rhetoric is a far cry from February, when Greece’s finance minister pledged his government would “squeeze blood out of a stone” to meet its obligations to the Fund.
Although no nation has ever officially defaulted on its obligations in the post-Bretton Woods era, Greece would join an ignominious list of war-torn nations and international pariahs who have failed to pay back the Fund on time.
What happens after a default?
In choosing to bundle up four separate June repayments, Greece avoided triggering an immediate default.
But in the event of a delayed repayment, according to IMF protocol, Greece could be afforded a 30-day grace period, during which it would be urged to pay back the money as soon as possible, and before Ms Lagarde notifies her executive board of the late payment.
However, with talks have broken down in acrimonious fashion between the country and its creditors, Ms Lagarde has said she will renege on this and notify her board “immediately”.
Having spooked creditors and the markets of the possibility of a fatal breach of the sanctity of monetary union, Greece may well stump up the cash if an agreement to release the country more emergency aid is reached (that’s looking increasingly unlikely however).
But should no money be forthcoming however, the arrears process may well extend indefinitely.
Greece’s other creditor burden would also start piling up, with the government due to pay another €6.6bn to the European Central Bank in July and August.
Stopping the cash
Although the exact process is uncertain, falling into a protracted arrears procedure could have major consequences for continued financial assistance from Greece’s other creditors – the European Central Bank and European Commission.
“If Greece defaults to the IMF, then they are considered to be in default to the rest of the eurozone,” says Raoul Ruparel, head of economic research at Open Europe.
“Such a scenario would risk the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) cancelling all or part of its facility or even declaring the principal amount of the loan to be due immediately,” say analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Should the EFSF take such a decisive move, it could activate a range of cross default clauses on Greek government bonds held by private investors and the ECB. These clauses state a default to one creditor institution applies to all.
The political and market damage that may ensue would be substantial. Popular sentiment in creditor nations would turn against the errant Greeks, while the position of the ECB in particular could quickly come under the spotlight.
The central bank has kept Greek banks on a tight leash, maintaining that it would only restore normal lending operations to the country once “conditions for a successful completion of the programme are in place”.
A wave of defaults may force the ECB into finally pulling the plug on the emergency assistance it has been providing in ever larger doses since February.
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Scrambling for funds
Whatever the outcome, Greece on many measures, is all but bankrupt.
In addition to the half a billion euros plus it owes the Fund this month, the Leftist government will still be paying back the IMF until 2030. In total, its repayment schedule stretches out over the next 42 years to 2057.
Greece makes new aid proposal, seeks debt restructuring
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has submitted to creditors a new two-year aid proposal calling for parallel debt restructuring, the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, in what seemed like a last-ditch effort by Athens to resolve an impasse with lenders.
The statement came hours before Athens was set to default on a loan to the International Monetary Fund. It was unclear how creditors would respond.
“The Greek government proposed today a two-year deal with the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) to fully cover its financial needs and with parallel debt restructuring,” the government said in a statement.
“Greece remains at the negotiating table,” the statement said, adding that Athens would always seek a “viable solution to stay in the euro.”
If Greece defaults on its debt, it will be the biggest default by a country in history.
Greece is expected to miss a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) debt payment on Tuesday. That won’t be enough to put it in the record books yet, but it could eventually make Greece default on its entire debt load: €323 billion ($360 billion).
This isn’t the first time Greece has been on the brink. Greece already holds the record for the biggest default ever by a country from 2012 when it went into technical default and had to restructure about $138 billion of its debt. Back then, Greece was quickly bailed out by its European peers. That’s unlikely to happen now.
The Greek government pulled its negotiators from talks with European officials Friday after little progress was made on a debt payment plan and economic reforms. Greece has called for a referendum vote on July 5 on the latest proposal from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece already holds the record: Greece’s 2012 technical default shattered the previous record set by Argentina in 2001, when the South American nation defaulted on $95 billion in debt. While there are parallels between the two countries, experts say this potential Greek default could be much worse.
“Things are incredibly dire,” says Anna Gelpern, a Georgetown University professor. “For political reasons and market-confidence reasons, they need to deal with the debt…It’s not clear to me how they deal with it without defaulting on anyone.”
Greece won’t officially be in default right away. The International Monetary Fund generally gives countries a month after missing a debt payment before it declares a country in defaulted. However, the markets will most likely judge Greece to be in default by July 1.
Greece’s debt is spread out across the board. Greece owes money to the International Monetary Fund, Germany, France, Greek banks and several others.
But consider this: Whatever happens to Greece, it’s likely to be a long process. Argentina is still in default. But a key difference is that Greece has four times the debt load of Argentina — the next worst default — but Greece’s economy is only half the size of Argentina’s.
While Greece would be the biggest sovereign default, Lehman Brothers had over $600 billion in assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. A Greek default would be smaller and unlikely to rattle the global financial system like Lehman, but it would have a long-lasting impact on the Greek people.
Here are some of the worst sovereign defaults since 2000.
1. Greece — $138 billion, March 2012. Despite going into a technical default, the Greek government is propped up by bailout funds from its European peers. Those bailout funds eventually lead to the current dilemma.
2. Argentina — $95 billion, November 2001. Argentina’s currency was “pegged” or equal to one U.S. dollar for years — a currency exchange that eventually proved to be completely inaccurate. Like Greece is doing this week, Argentina also clamped down on Argentines trying to take money out of the banks. It didn’t help. The country’s economy was nearly three times smaller just one year later, according to IMF data. In July 2014, Argentina went into a technical default after it missed a debt payment to its hold out creditors.
3. Jamaica — $7.9 billion, February 2010. Massive government overspending for years and rapid inflation pushed Jamaica into default five years ago. At the time, over 40% of the government’s budget went to paying debts. Its economy, which depends on tourism, suffered when the U.S. recession began in late 2008.
4. Ecuador — $3.2 billion, December 2008. Ecuador pulled a fast one on its creditors. With a debt payment looming, the Ecuardor’s government, led by President Rafael Correa, just said no to its creditors. He claimed the debt, some which was owned by American hedge funds, was “immoral.” Rich in resources, Ecuardor could have made debt payments, but intentionally chose not to.
Despite Lagarde’s initial reluctance, IMF on the hook for Greece
By By Anna Yukhananov | Reuters – 21 hours ago
By Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As French Finance Minister in 2010, Christine Lagarde opposed the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in Greece.
Now as the country stands on the edge of defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) payment to the Fund, Lagarde’s tenure at the head of the IMF since 2011 will be shaped by Greece, which holds a referendum on Sunday that could pave the way to its exit from the euro.
By its own admission the Washington-based institution broke many of its rules in lending to Greece. It ended up endorsing austerity measures proposed by the European Commission and European Central Bank, its partners in the troika of Greece’s lenders, instead of leading talks as it had done with other countries such as Russia and in the Asian financial crisis.
“I think the IMF has missed the opportunity (on Greece), because it has not fully leveraged the lessons it learned from the previous crises it was involved in, due to this asymmetric relationship within the troika,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board member.
That the IMF lent to Greece at the behest of Europe, which has nominated every IMF Managing Director since the inception of the Fund in 1946, may expose the institution to greater scrutiny, especially as it has $24 billion in loans outstanding to Greece in its largest-ever program.
“When it was clear that the Greek program was underperforming, they did not push back sufficiently against the euro zone, which had at the time a misguided policy emphasis on only austerity,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a fellow at the Peterson Institute in Washington.
The involvement of the Fund in Greece and its continued support for decisions driven by eurozone governments caused a deep split in the institution.
Some IMF economists had misgivings about lending to Greece in 2010 within the constraints of the so-called “troika” of lenders, where the Fund would be the junior partner to the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
IMF board members also protested the “exceptional” size of the program, as Athens did not meet the Fund’s criteria for debt sustainability, meaning it would have trouble repaying.
Yet swayed by the fear that contagion in Athens could spread to French and German banks, the IMF agreed to participate in a joint 110-billion-euro bailout of Greece with the Europeans.
“The Europeans have a third of the voting rights (at the IMF), and they have appointed the managing director since the beginning, so essentially it is the governance that has driven the Greek program,” said Lombardi who is now with the Canada-based Center for International Governance Innovation.
Later, the Fund admitted that its projections for the Greek economy had been overly optimistic. Instead of growing after a year of austerity, Greece’s economy plunged into one of the worst recessions to ever hit a country in peacetime, with output falling 22 percent from 2008 to 2012.
While the euro zone’s insistence on drawing a direct link between euro membership and Greece’s debt sustainability and the negotiating tactics of the Greek government have exposed both to questions of credibility, the Fund stands charged as well.
“The IMF’s reputation, too, has been shaken from widespread criticism of the Greek program, including its own admission of its failures,” said Lombard Street Research economist Konstantinos Venetis.
TEMPTATION TO GO BIG
If Greece does default on all $24 billion it owes to the Fund, that will dwarf previous delinquencies from countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Somalia.
While the IMF was worried about contagion when it made the loans, it also had institutional incentives for wanting to bail out troubled countries, said Andrea Montanino, a former IMF board member who left the Fund in 2014 after participating in reviews of Greece’s second bailout in 2012.
“The IMF is in a preferred creditor status; the more you lend, the more you earn,” said Montanino, now with the Atlantic Council.
The IMF’s heavy involvement in large bailouts for euro zone countries, which included Ireland and Portugal, have enabled it to build up its reserve buffers in recent years. It is now aiming to store away some $28 billion by 2018.
From interest and charges on the Greek program alone, the IMF has earned some $3.9 billion since 2010, according to figures on the IMF’s website.
“I think the Greek lesson is in the future, the IMF will be much more careful,” said Montanino.
Greece is widely expected to miss a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday—hours before its bailout officially ends at midnight and the country is left with few, if any, financial lifelines.
Greek officials have already warned the country is unable to pay the 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) due to the IMF by 6 p.m. ET, after reforms-for-aid talks with creditors broke down at the weekend.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup, subsequently tweeted on Tuesday that there would be a teleconference to discuss an “official request” from the Greek government “received this afternoon” at 1 p.m. ET.
The Greek government on Tuesday proposed a new, two-year bailout deal with the European Stability Mechanism. This would be to “fully cover its financing needs and the simultaneous restructuring of debt,” according to a translated press release from the office of the Greek Prime Minister.
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
A protester waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament building during a rally in Athens, Greece, June 22, 2015.
This comes at a time when Greece’s financial future is in jeopardy. The country will potentially have no access to external sources of cash, once its funding from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) expires at midnight.
Meanwhile, Greece’s banking system is being kept afloat by emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the European Central Bank, which is up for review on Wednesday.
Against a backdrop of uncertainty, Tsipras has called a referendum on July 5 of the Greek people on whether to accept the bailout proposals—and accompanying austerity measures—proposed by creditors.
Tsipras has urged the public to vote “no” to more austerity.
“The Greek government will claim a sustainable agreement within the euro. This is the message of NO to a bad deal at the referendum on Sunday,” the translated statement from the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.
‘Running out of notches’
Meanwhile, credit ratings agencies are increasingly nervous about the country’s solvency.
Fitch Ratings downgraded Greek banks on Monday to “Restricted Default,” after Athens imposed capital controls to prevent an exodus of deposits from Greece.
In addition, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) lowered Greece’s credit rating to CCC- from CCC, saying the probability of the country exiting the euro zone was now 50 percent.
Moritz Kraemer, chief rating officer of sovereign ratings at S&P, told CNBC on Tuesday that the group was “actually running out of notches” for Greece.
“We have the rating at CCC- and that’s pretty much the lowest rung that we have on our scale,” he told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box.”
If Greece misses its payment on Tuesday, then the IMF will consider it in “arrears” – a technical term used by the IMF, which is similar to default.
If a country is in arrears to the IMF, it means it won’t get any future aid until the bill is repaid.
Although the IMF payment is dominating headlines, S&P’s Kraemer said that Greece’s bailout program ending at midnight was just as significant.
“Basically after that we’re back to square one,” he said. “So even if there was to be a change of heart in Athens and they did decide to take the creditors’ offer, that’s legally no longer possible as the program would have elapsed.”
Greece’s debt crisis: It all started in 2001…
Yannis Behrakis | Reuters
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.
When a despotic regime contracts a debt, not for the needs or in the interests of the state, but rather to strengthen itself, to suppress a popular insurrection, etc, this debt is odious for the people of the entire state. This debt does not bind the nation; it is a debt of the regime, a personal debt contracted by the ruler, and consequently it falls with the demise of the regime. The reason why these odious debts cannot attach to the territory of the state is that they do not fulfil one of the conditions determining the lawfulness of State debts, namely that State debts must be incurred, and the proceeds used, for the needs and in the interests of the State. Odious debts, contracted and utilised for purposes which, to the lenders’ knowledge, are contrary to the needs and the interests of the nation, are not binding on the nation – when it succeeds in overthrowing the government that contracted them – unless the debt is within the limits of real advantages that these debts might have afforded. The lenders have committed a hostile act against the people, they cannot expect a nation which has freed itself of a despotic regime to assume these odious debts, which are the personal debts of the ruler.
There are many examples of similar debt repudiation.
Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian environmental and public policy advocacy organisation and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World’s Environmental Legacy, stated: “by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served.” In a Cato Institute policy analysis, Adams suggested that debts incurred by Iraq during Saddam Hussein‘s reign were odious because the money was spent on weapons, instruments of repression, and palaces.
A 2002 article by economists Seema Jayachandran and Michael Kremer renewed interest in this topic. They propose that the idea can be used to create a new type of economic sanction to block further borrowing by dictators. Jayachandran proposed new recommendations in November 2010 at the 10th anniversary of the Jubilee movement at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.
In December 2008, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa attempted to default on Ecuador’s national debt, calling it illegitimate odious debt, because it was contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He succeeded in reducing the price of the debt letters before continuing paying the debt.
Story 1: Gay Hollywood Mafia Money and Propaganda Succeeds — Supreme Court Ignores States Rights, Will of American People, United States Constitution And Bill of Rights and Rules in Favor of Same Sex Gay Marriage — Betrayal of Oath of Office — End The Two Party Tyranny — Videos
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
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Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in the historic decision, said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off celebrations across the country and the first same-sex marriages in several states. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.
The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.
In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.
“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
In a second dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation’s most important judicial champion of gay rights.
“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague’s work. “Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”
As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion from the bench on Friday, several lawyers seated in the bar section of the court’s gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision, and many of the justices’ clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced. The decision made same-sex marriage a reality in the 13 states that had continued to ban it.
Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory.
Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court’s previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 10 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.
In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” he wrote on Friday. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”
This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the Constitution according to the original understanding of those who adopted it.
“They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Scalia wrote of the majority, “a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
“These justices know,” Justice Scalia said, “that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.”
Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” he said, and of special importance to couples raising children.
“Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers,” he wrote, “their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion.
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said the majority opinion was “an act of will, not legal judgment.”
“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” he wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”
In his own dissent, Justice Scalia said the majority opinion represented a “threat to American democracy.”
The majority and dissenting opinions took differing views about whether the decision would harm religious liberty. Justice Kennedy said the First Amendment “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” He said both sides should engage in “an open and searching debate.”
Chief Justice Roberts responded that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in his dissent, saw a broader threat from the majority opinion. “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” Justice Alito wrote. “In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”
Gay rights advocates had constructed a careful litigation and public relations strategy to build momentum and bring the issue to the Supreme Court when it appeared ready to rule in their favor. As in earlier civil rights cases, the court had responded cautiously and methodically, laying careful judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.
It waited for scores of lower courts to strike down bans on same-sex marriages before addressing the issue, and Justice Kennedy took the unusual step of listing those decisions in an appendix to his opinion.
Chief Justice Roberts said that only 11 states and the District of Columbia had embraced the right to same-sex marriage democratically, at voting booths and in state legislatures. The rest of the 37 states that allow such unions did so because of court rulings. Gay rights advocates, the chief justice wrote, would have been better off with a victory achieved through the political process, particularly “when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”
Justice Kennedy rejected that idea.
“It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process,” he wrote. “The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Later in the opinion, Justice Kennedy answered the question. “The Constitution,” he wrote, “grants them that right.”
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples. Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry
From Miller Lite to Maytag, here’s how popular brands reacted to the SCOTUS ruling this morning.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown|
Not very long ago, even the token gay television character could cause an uproar, and while popular brands may have voiced unequivocal support for some sort of nebulous gay “pride,” many avoided staking a position on the controversial political question of same-sex marriage. Today, with the U.S. Supreme Court declaring “the right of same-sex couples to marry” throughout the country, brands from Miller Lite to Maytag were quick to react in support the decision on social media. It all may be a bit hokey and opportunistic, but the extent to which iconicly American brands aren’t worried about alienating customers with pro-gay-marriage messages perhaps shows us more than anything that America is ready for marriage equality to be the law of the land. Here’s a sampling of brand tweets this morning about the SCOTUS marriage decision:
@MillerLite: As long as you are you, #ItsMillerTime. #LoveWins
@TheMaytagMan: Here’s to finding the one who completes you. #SCOTUSMarriage
@Cheerios: And now, no one can tell you otherwise. #LoveWins
Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry
By Robert Barnes
The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.
The court’s action marks the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence. Advocates called it the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.
“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.
How same-sex marriage became legal across the country VIEW GRAPHIC
Reading a dissent from the bench for the first time in his tenure, Roberts said, “Just who do we think we are? I have no choice but to dissent.”
In his opinion, Roberts wrote: “Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening.”
[It’s the first time Roberts has had such a bold statement from the bench]
Scalia called the decision a “threat to American democracy,” saying it was “constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine.”
In a statement in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama hailed the decision: “This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are truly treated as equal, we are more free.”
Obama said change on social issues can seem slow sometimes, but “sometimes there are days like this when that slow and steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. This morning the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law. . . . Today we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect.”
How people outside the court reacted to the gay marriage ruling
View Photos A sea of cheering, rainbow flag-waving people filled the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court to celebrate the decision.
There were wild scenes of celebrations on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court, as same-sex marriage supporters had arrived early, armed with signs and rainbow flags. They celebrated the announcement of a constitutional right to something that did not legally exist anywhere in the world until the turn of the new century.
Jim Obergefell, who became the face of the case, Obergefell v. Hodges, when he sought to put his name on his husband’s death certificate as the surviving spouse, said: “Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across the country already know to be true in our hearts: that our love is equal.”
“It is my hope that the term gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past, that from this day forward it will be simply, marriage,” he said. “All Americans deserve equal dignity, respect and treatment when it comes to the recognition of our relationships and families.’’
But Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-traditional marriage group, said: “Today, five lawyers took away the voices of more than 300 million Americans to continue to debate the most important social institution in the history of the world. That decision is truly unfortunate. . . . Nobody has the right to say that a mom or a woman or a dad or a man is irrelevant. There are differences that should be celebrated. Millions of Americans still believe that.’’
[Opponents of gay marriage are divided on whether to resist the ruling]
This country’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages took place just 11 years ago, the result of a Massachusetts state supreme court decision. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, according to estimates.
The Supreme Court used cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, where restrictions about same-sex marriage were upheld by an appeals court last year, to find that the Constitution does not allow such prohibitions.
Kennedy has written the Supreme Court’s most important gay rights cases: overturning criminal laws on homosexual conduct, protecting gays from discrimination and declaring that the federal government could not refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed where they were legal.
He often employs a lofty, writing-for-history tone, and Friday’s decision was no different.
Referring to the couples who brought the cases before the court, Kennedy wrote: “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.”
Kennedy did not respond directly to the court’s dissenters, but he addressed the argument that the court was creating a new constitutional right. The right to marriage is fundamental, he said. The difference is society’s way of thinking who may marry, he said.
“The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest,” he wrote. “With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter.”
Scalia declared that Kennedy’s writing style was “as pretentious as its content is egotistic.”
And Roberts, in a biting dissent far more harsh than his usual style, said the decision was “an act of will, not legal judgment” with “no basis in the Constitution or this court’s precedent.”
“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” Roberts wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”
The questions raised in the cases decided Friday were left unanswered in 2013, when the justices last confronted the issue of same-sex marriage. A slim majority of the court said at the time that a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act — withholding the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages — was unconstitutional. In a separate case, the court said procedural issues kept it from answering the constitutional question in a case from California, but that move allowed same-sex marriages to resume in that state.
Since then, courts across the nation — with the notable exception of the Cincinnati-based federal appeals court that left intact the restrictions in the four states at issue — have struck down a string of state prohibitions on same-sex marriage, many of them passed by voters in referendums.
When the Supreme Court declined to review a clutch of those court decisions in October, same-sex marriage proliferated across the country.
Public attitudes toward such unions have undergone a remarkable change as well. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll showed a record 61 percent of Americans say they support same-sex marriage. The acceptance is driven by higher margins among the young.
[Interactive: See how gay rights have spread around the world over 224 years]
When the justices declined in October to review the string of victories same-sex marriage proponents had won in other parts of the country, it meant the number of states required to allow gay marriages grew dramatically, offering the kind of cultural shift the court often likes to see before approving a fundamental change.
The Obama administration had urged the court to find that the Constitution requires such restrictions be struck down, and Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. made the case on behalf of the administration at the court’s oral arguments in April.
“In a world in which gay and lesbian couples live openly as our neighbors, they raise their children side by side with the rest of us, they contribute fully as members of the community . . . it is simply untenable — untenable — to suggest that they can be denied the right of equal participation in an institution of marriage, or that they can be required to wait until the majority decides that it is ready to treat gay and lesbian people as equals,” he said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling followed a swell of courts striking down state bans on same-sex marriage and a surge in public support for such marriages. Still, the high court’s 5 to 4 ruling was a historic and narrow victory for gay rights.
The court’s four most conservative members dissented, and each of them wrote a separate opinion decrying the decision. Justice Antonin Scalia, unsurprisingly, wrote the fieriest dissent, needing just two sentences to say that the majority’s decision is a “threat to American democracy.”
He the decision a “judicial Putsch,” says it is delivered in a style “as pretentious as its content is egotistic” and — at one point — follows a quote from the majority opinion with “Really?” and another with “Huh?” In a footnote, Scalia says that if he ever joined an opinion that opens the way the majority opinion does, “I would hide my head in a bag.” He then adds: “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.” Scalia was not a fan.
For more on how Scalia explained his decision and how the other justices explained theirs, head to Post Nation.
The paragraph gay marriage supporters will never forget
Kennedy is responding to opponents of gay marriage who argue that it undermines the traditional sanctity of an ancient institution by redefining it. The point of same-sex unions is not to weaken marriage, he argues, but to expand it in the nation as a whole and honor it more fully in their own lives.
These lines echo the final paragraph of Loving v. Virginia, the case in which the Supreme Court threw out laws banning interracial marriage in 1967.
And the passage is also reminiscent of the conclusion of Griswold v. Connecticut, an important case from 1965 on contraception among married couples.
“Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred,” Justice William O. Douglas argued. “It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.”
One issue receiving considerable attention in the popular press is same-sex marriage and the current loosening of social constraints against gay marriage. Same-Sex Marriage , defined as marriage between two people of the same biological sex and/or gender identity, is a new social phenomenon, “leading to a new type of family formation. In modern times same-sex marriage did not exist until the twenty-first century when an increasing number of countries began permitting same-sex couples to marry legally. In addition, beginning in the late twentieth century there has been a growing global movement to regard marriage as a fundamental human right to be extended to same-sex couples. These events are extraordinary given that even during most of the twentieth century, homosexuals were closeted and the concept of same-sex marriage was inconceivable, perceived by nearly all as an oxymoron.” (Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Pppulation Council37(3): 529-551)
Marriage equality has made significant gains with public opinion and within state legislature, since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage within its borders in 2004. A result of the change in legal status in same-sex marriage is the growth in the marriage industry for gay men and lesbians. “Currently, as of 15 October 2014, 29 states and the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions allow and fully recognize same-sex marriages: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There are 21 states, and 2 territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin islands), that explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages in their constitutions and/or by statute, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Of these states banning same-sex marriage, the following states have been declared that same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, but the rulings have been stayed: Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas.” (“Same-Sex Marriage Fast Facts.” 2014. CNN U.S. October 14. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/us/same-sex-marrage-fast-facts/))
“As a result of successful legal challenges and related social and policy developments, same-sex marriage is generating a combination of elation, controversy, and opposition in many countries around the world, notably in the United States. Indeed, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has emerged as one of the most socially, politically, and legally divisive issues of the day. While most reactions to this new form of marriage and family formation have been intense and vocal, many commentators as well as the general public have little factual knowledge about same-sex marriage. All too often, public opinion and attitudes concerning same-sex marriage are based on apprehension, misconception, and hearsay.” (Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Pppulation Council37(3): 529-551)
Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Marriage
During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably, and national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it.
“On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.” ( Stein, Sam. 2012. ” Obama Backs Gay Marriage.” Huff Post Politics, May 5. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html))
“Support for same-sex marriage jumped 21 percent points from 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, to 2014. Currently, a majority (55%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. In 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing same-sex couples to legally marry, compared to nearly 6 in 10 (59%) who opposed.” (“Survey A shifting Landscape: A decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues.” 2014. Public Religion Research Institute, January 26. (http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/02/2014-lgbt-survey/))
Prevalence of Same-Sex Households
“According to the Census Bureau, the same-sex couples households in the US in 2010 were 646,464.” (Amy Roberts and Caitlin Stark. 2014. “By the numbers: Same-sex marriage.” CNN Politics, October 6. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/politics/btn-same-sex-marriage/) One study demonstrated how using linked micromaps can improve mapping of same-sex couples household data. This study found that “an estimated 1 percent of US couple households, from 2006 through 2010, were same-sex couples households, and the percentage of same-sex couples household is much higher in metropolitan areas than in non-metropolitan areas. It found that the reason that Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of same-sex households because Washington D.C. itself is a central city.” (Mast, Brent, D. 2013. “Visualizing Same-Sex Couple Household Data With Linked Micromaps.” US Department of Housing and Urban Development15(2):267-271.)
Same-Sex Marriage Experience
Aine Marie Humble examined married older same-sex couples’ experiences of transitioning into marriage in order to explore how and why these couples in mid-to later life decided to marry and the characteristics of their weddings and wedding planning. She found that getting married for many older same-sex couples is even harder than for younger same-sex couples, because older cohorts of same-sex couples could not easily dispel the internalized beliefs “such as same-sex couples could never marry and marriage was not for them due to the fact that they have lived most of their lives through years of homophobia and heterosexism, which has affected their worldviews. Moreover, some older same-sex couples, particularly those in long-term relationships, may already view themselves as married and thus do not initially see the need for the legal marriage.” (Humble, Aine, M., 2013. “Moving from Ambivalence to Certainty: Older Same-Sex Couples Marry in Canada.” Canadian Journal on Aging 32(2): 131-144)
Pamela J. Lannutti examined the ways in which legally recognized same-sex marriage has affected the lives of same-sex couples in order to see how same-sex marriage is benefiting and challenging these couples on the individual and interpersonal levels. She found that “all of the couples that she had interviewed with expressed some way in which same-sex marriage improved or strengthened their romantic relationship, and others expressed that it contributed to a closer emotional bond between them. However, some participants expressed that they were stressed out during their marriage decision process or planning their weddings, because they lacked support from their families-of-origin.” (Lannutti, Pamela, J. 2007. “”This is Not a Lesbian Wedding”: Examining Same-Sex Marriage and Bisexual-Lesbian Couples.” Co-published simultaneosly in Journal of Bisexuality 7(3/4): 237-260; and: Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage 7(3/4): 237-260.)
Pamela J. Lannutti’s another study examined same-sex couples’ attractions to marriage and obstacles that challenged them when considering marriage. She found that the primary reason why same-sex couples decide to marry is because it would offer greater legal protections and civil benefits for their committed relationship. Another reason is that it would make it easier to bring children into their lives or protect their relationships with the children they already had. In terms of obstacles of same-sex marriage, the majority of these couples (41%) expressed that family disapproval, usually parental disapproval, was an obstacle to their marriage.
Chamie, Joshph, and Barry, M. 2011. “Same-Sex Marriage: A New Social Phenomenon.” Population Council 37(3): 529-551.
Mast, Brent, D. 2013. “Visualizing Same-Sex Couple Household Data with Linked Micromaps.” US Department of housing and Urban Development 15(2): 267-271.
Humble, Aine, M., 2013. “Moving from Ambivalence to Certainty: Older Same-Sex Couples Marry in Canada.” Canadian Journal on Aging 32(2): 131-144
Lannutti, Pamela, J. 2007. “”This is Not a Lesbian Wedding”: Examining Same-Sex Marriage and Bisexual-Lesbian Couples.” Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Bisexuality 7(3/4): 237-260; and:Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage 7(3/4): 237-260.)
Democratic donor Steve Elmendorf said he believes Obama’s announcement will “energize people for Obama at all levels. It’s not just about the LGBT community…everybody all the way up to the maximum [donors] will be excited.”
“It’s going to create some real energy for the campaign, not just for the donor community, but among people who care about this issue,” he added.
Obama already had significant financial support from LGBT donors. About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post analysis. But the president’s reluctance to publicly come out in favor of gay marriage was a sticking point for some potential donors.
“It’ll be a big boost for donors,” one gay lobbyist said of the Wednesday announcement. “It’s been very frustrating to the gay community that he’s done so much that there is just this one issue. It’s the civil rights issue of our generation.” The lobbyist added that independents are the most likely donors to be swayed by Obama’s new stance, since many gay donors have already been supportive of Obama.
One gay bundler told Capital City New York that it will be “immeasurably easier” for him to raise money for Obama in the LGBT community and among progressives more broadly.
“Whether it’s for shoe leather or whether it’s for financial contributions, I think it will engage people,” said Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, noting that much of the community’s support and financial donations already go to Obama. Obama has helped usher in a new era of gay rights at the federal level, helping pass the controversial repeal of the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.
A heightened enthusiasm for the president in the LGBT community following this announcement could spur donors to shell out big bucks for his campaign, especially given conservative Republicans push on this issue in other states like Minnesota and GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney’s opposition to gay marriage.
Obama’s public announcement came just a day after North Carolina, a swing state for the presidential election in November, voted on a state ballot measure that prohibits marriage or rights to same-sex couples.
Elmendorf dismissed critics of Obama’s timing.
“We’re in a presidential campaign so everyone is going to say it’s politically motivated,” Elmendorf said. “I take him at his word. It’s not unusual for people of his age and demographic.”
The vast majority of money from gay and lesbian rights groups goes to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the 2010 election cycle, 96 percent of the $1.3 million given to federal candidates by LGBT organizations’ PACs and employees went to Democrats.
Still, some LGBT advocates say there’s been a lull in enthusiasm since last year’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military.
“There’s been a drop off in participation and enthusiasm and even knowledge that we’re not done,” said Denny Meyer, a spokesman for American Veterans for Equal Rights.
But the shift on gay marriage could energize voters as well as donors who have burned out, he said. “The president making a policy change like that could result in people realizing … you have to make this happen by voting for people who will pass this.”
Obama’s decision to publicly support gay marriage didn’t appease all gay activists, and Republicans accused the White House of trying to have it both ways on the contentious issue.
Clarke Cooper, head of Log Cabin Republicans, wrote in an email that “LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.”
Futher, Cooper said that the administration has, “manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week Obama does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.
Story 1: Supreme Court Obamacare Attack On American Consumer Sovereignty and Individual Freedom — Big Government Tyranny and Coercion — Videos
“The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”
“Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.”
~ Frederic Bastiat
“Liberty is always freedom from the government.”
“The fact is that, under a capitalistic system, the ultimate bosses are the consumers.
The sovereign is not the state, it is the people.”
“The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.”
“It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action.
The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation.
And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers.
They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless.
As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend.
Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.”
~Ludwig von Mises
“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
~Chief Justice John Roberts
“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”
“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
~Justice Antonin Scalia
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The Truth About Obamacare
In Upholding Obamacare’s Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again
Time to start calling the Affordable Care Act SCOTUScare.
By Peter Suderman
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the law to save Obamacare—again.
Roberts’ majority opinion today in King v. Burwell, which ruled that the Obama administration’s decision to allow health insurance subsidies flow through the law’s federal exchanges, leaves no doubt that Roberts considers it his duty to keep the law afloat.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he writes. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
And so Roberts decided that a law which explicitly and repeatedly states that subsidies are limited to exchanges “established by a State,” and which defines “State” as one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, actually allows subsidies in exchanges established by a State or the federal government. Roberts’ decision does not interpret Obamacare; it adds to it and reworks it, and in the process transforms it into something that it is not.
Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means. Why include the phrase “established by a State under Section 1311″—the section dealing with state-based exchanges—except to limit the subsidies to those particular exchanges? Roberts’ opinion reconceptualizes this limiting language as inclusive.
The Chief Justice frames his decision as a form of respectful deference to congressional intent. As my colleague Damon Root noted earlier, his opinion cautions that in “every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.”
But Roberts’ opinion is far more than a fair reading of the legislative plan; it is a Court-imposed decision as to what that plan must be.
As Justice Antonin Scalia writes in a scathing dissent, Roberts presumes, with no definitive evidence, that his interpretation is the one that Congress intended. “What makes the Court so sure that Congress ‘meant’ tax credits to be available everywhere?” Scalia asks. “Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges.”
Roberts’ opinion declares its intent to uphold the law’s basic policy scheme, arguing that there would be adverse insurance market effects to a decision in favor of the challengers. In other words, there would have been policy implications to a ruling for the plaintiffs. That is almost certainly true, but it is not an excuse to rewrite the clear language of the law.
As Scalia says in the dissent, “The Court protests that without the tax credits, the number of people covered by the individual mandate shrinks, and without a broadly applicable individual mandate the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements ‘would destabilize the individual insurance market.’ If true, these projections would show only that the statutory scheme contains a flaw; they would not show that the statute means the opposite of what it says.” The majority has decided how Obamacare’s policy scheme should work, and redrafted the statute accordingly.
If Roberts had truly wanted to defer to Congress, he could have ruled that the law means what says rather than what it does not, and effectively handed the issue back to the legislature, letting Congress decide whether and how to update the law in accordance with its own wishes. Instead, Roberts made the choice for Congress—taking its power to craft law for itself. As Scalia writes, “the Court’s insistence on making a choice that should be made by Congress both aggrandizes judicial power and encourages congressional lassitude.”
This is not the first time that Roberts has rewritten the law in order to uphold it. In 2012, he declared that the law’s individual mandate to purchase insurance was unconstitutional under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause—and yet upheld it by declaring that the law’s penalty was instead permissible as a tax. In the same decision, he also found that the law’s threat to revoke all federal Medicaid funding from states that decline to participate in Obamacare’s expansion of the program was unconstitutionally coercive. But rather than strike the whole thing down, Roberts rewrote it, allowing the Medicaid expansion, and the rest of the law, to continue but without the same threat to state budgets.
In his dissent, Scalia argues that there’s a pattern to these rulings. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
If anything, it’s even worse. What Roberts has saved is not the law so much as the Obama administration’s dubious, textually unsupported interpretation and implementation of Obamacare. This is not judicial restraint. It is judicial hubris.
And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court, it certainly reflects on the legacy and status of the law. As even Roberts admits in his opinion, the law “contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting” and generally “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” It is a shoddy, messy piece of legislation, held together, barely, by Supreme Court duct tape.
At this point, then, the law is as much a joint project between the administration and the Roberts court as it is a creation of Congress. As Scalia snarks at the end of his dissent, “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” Regardless of what we call it, that’s effectively what it has become.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” the court’s majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that “petitioners’ arguments about the plain meaning … are strong.”
The majority opinion cited the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” but added, “the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”
Roberts was joined by the court’s liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as by Anthony Kennedy.
In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” an apparent reference to the fact the Supreme Court has now saved the Affordable Care Act twice. Scalia called the majority’s reading of the text “quite absurd, and the court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”
As NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported in March, opponents of the law contended “that the text of the law does not authorize subsidies to make mandated insurance affordable in 34 states.”
At issue were six words in one section of the law. As Nina pointed out: “Those words stipulate that for people who cannot afford health coverage, subsidies are available through ‘an exchange established by the state.’ ” She added:
“The government [contended] that those words refer to any exchange, whether it is set up by the state itself or an exchange run for the state by the federal government in accordance with individual state insurance laws and regulations. The challengers [said] the statute means what it says and no more.”
The court agreed Thursday with the government’s position.
The decision comes three years after a bitterly divided high court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional by a 5-4 vote.
President Obama made a statement on the ruling late Thursday morning, saying the Affordable Care Act “is here to stay.”
SCOTUS rules 6-3 in favor of administration in major defeat for critics of the health law.
Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies will live, thanks to the Supreme Court.
The High Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of the administration to uphold the subsidies in Obamacare’s federal exchanges. The case challenged the administration’s decision, through the Internal Revenue Service, to allow subsidies in the 36 exchanges run by the federal government under the law.
The challengers argued that the plain text of the law, which states that subsidies are only available in an exchange “established by a State,” defining “State” to mean the 50 states or the District of Columbia, prohibited subsidies in the federal exchanges. The administration argued that the IRS rule allowing those subsidies was consistent with the overall structure of the law, and with congressional intent.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the administration’s position, saying that although the health law contains “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” the Court nevertheless believes that the relevant section of the law “can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.” The complete ruling can be read here.
Basically, the Supreme Court, decided they’d rather squint at the law and look at its general shape rather than bother too much with the plain meaning of the relevant text.
This is a major victory fo the administration and backers of the health law, whose decision to ignore the plain text of the law has been blessed by the Court. It’s also a big loss for critics of Obamacare, who hoped to see the law’s implementation restrained by its legislative text, and for straightforward interpretation of congressional statute.
What it means is that the crazy array of post-King scenarios that many had speculated about over the last few months will never come to pass. Obamacare stays the same, in terms of both policy and politics. It’s a ruling for the status quo.
Reason will have much more on this throughout the day.
Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies
The Supreme Courtruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017. For the second time in three years, the law survived an encounter with the Supreme Court. But the court’s tone was different this time. The first decision, in 2012, was fractured and grudging, while Thursday’s ruling was more assertive.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a united six-justice majority. In 2012’s closely divided decision, Chief Justice Roberts also wrote the controlling opinion, but that time no other justice joined it in full.
Demonstrators expressed their support for the Affordable Care Act outside of the Supreme Court on Thursday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
In dissent on Thursday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
He announced his dissent from the bench, a sign of bitter disagreement. His summary was laced with notes of incredulity and sarcasm, sometimes drawing amused murmurs in the courtroom as he described the “interpretive somersaults” he said the majority had performed to reach the decision.
“We really should start calling this law Scotus-care,” Justice Scalia said, to laughter from the audience.
In a hastily arranged appearance in the Rose Garden on Thursday morning, a triumphant Mr. Obama praised the ruling. “After multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” he said, adding: “What we’re not going to do is unravel what has now been woven into the fabric of America.”
The ruling was a blow to Republicans, who have been trying to gut the law since it was enacted. But House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed that the political fight against it would continue.
“The problem with Obamacare is still fundamentally the same: The law is broken,” Mr. Boehner said. “It’s raising costs for American families, it’s raising costs for small businesses and it’s just fundamentally broken. And we’re going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the American people back in charge of their health care and not the federal government.”
The case concerned a central part of the Affordable Care Act that created marketplaces, known as exchanges, to allow people who lack insurance to shop for individual health plans. Some states set up their own exchanges, but about three dozen allowed the federal government to step in to run them. Across the nation, about 85 percent of customers using the exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay for coverage, based on their income.
The question in the case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, was what to make of a phrase in the law that seems to say the subsidies are available only to people buying insurance on “an exchange established by the state.”
A legal victory for the plaintiffs, lawyers for the administration said, would have affected more than six million people and created havoc in the insurance markets and undermined the law.
Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that the plaintiffs had strong arguments about the plain meaning of the contested words. But he wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”
This was challenging, he said, in light of the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” a consequence of rushed work behind closed doors that “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”
But he said the law’s interlocking parts supported a ruling in favor of the subsidies, particularly given that a contrary decision could have given rise to chaos in the insurance markets. A ruling rejecting subsidies in most of the nation would have left in place other parts of the law, including its guarantee of coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty, and its expansion of Medicaid.
Without the subsidies, many people would be unable to afford insurance, and healthier consumers would go without coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker, more expensive pool of customers. That would raise prices for everyone, leading to what supporters of the law called death spirals.
“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, referring to the challengers, “because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any state with a federal exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the act to avoid.”
In dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that the majority had stretched the statutory text too far.
Copies of the court’s ruling in favor of nationwide health insurance subsidies were rushed to television news reporters.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
“I wholeheartedly agree with the court that sound interpretation requires paying attention to the whole law, not homing in on isolated words or even isolated sections,” Justice Scalia wrote. “Context always matters. Let us not forget, however, why context matters: It is a tool for understanding the terms of the law, not an excuse for rewriting them.”
“Reading the act as a whole leaves no doubt about the matter,” he wrote. “ ‘Exchange established by the state’ means what it looks like it means.”
Justice Scalia said the decision had damaged the court’s reputation for “honest jurisprudence.”
The court, he said, had taken into its own hands a matter involving tens of billions of dollars that should have been left to Congress.
“It is up to Congress to design its laws with care,” he added, “and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion.
Chief Justice Roberts rejected the argument that Congress had limited the availability of subsidies in order to encourage states to create their own exchanges, a notion that had occurred to almost no one at the time the law was enacted.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have established their own exchanges. Under the law, the federal government has stepped in to run exchanges in the rest of the states.
“The whole point of that provision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is to create a federal fallback in case a state chooses not to establish its own exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering states a deal they would not refuse — it expressly addressed what would happen if a state did refuse the deal.
The case started when four plaintiffs, all from Virginia, sued the Obama administration, saying the phrase meant that the law forbids the federal government to provide subsidies in states that do not have their own exchanges.
The plaintiffs challenged an Internal Revenue Service regulation that said subsidies were allowed whether the exchange was run by a state or by the federal government. They said the regulation was at odds with the Affordable Care Act.
Judge Roger L. Gregory, writing for a three-judge panel of the court, said the contested phrase was “ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” That meant, he said, that the I.R.S. interpretation was entitled to deference.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was more forceful. “This is not a case for the I.R.S.,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead our task to determine the correct reading.”
In a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that subsidies are available on the federal exchanges. Those voting in the majority were Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.
Had the court ruled otherwise, it would have put all of Obamacare in jeopardy, since 38 states do not have exchanges and Obamacare is too expensive for most people without a subsidy.
The issue was whether only state-established exchanges could issue tax credits, or whether the federal exchanges could also. Challengers to IRS regulations pointed to the words “established by the State” in the legislation as clear and unambiguous that subsidies were limited to state exchanges.
The Court rejected this assertion:
These provisions suggest that the Act may not always use the phrase “established by the State” in its most natural
sense. Thus, the meaning of that phrase may not be as clear as it appears when read out of context. [at 11.]
As he did in upholding an Obamacare constitutional challenge in 2012, Roberts found a way to read the law so as to save the law:
The upshot of all this is that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]” is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits. If a State chooses not to follow the directive in Section 18031 that it establish an Exchange, the Act tells the Secretary to establish “such Exchange.” §18041. And by using the words “such Exchange,” the Act indicates that State and Federal Exchanges should be the same. But State and Federal Exchanges would differ in a fundamental way if tax credits were available only on State Exchanges—one type of Exchange would help make insurance more affordable by providing billions of dollars to the States’ citizens; the other type of Exchange would not.2 [at 12-13]
The Court found Obamacare so “inartfully drafted” that the Court essentially wrote the law for Congress through “statutory interpretation.”
The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative
History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167. As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one mightexpect of such significant legislation….
Anyway, we “must do our best, bearing in mind the fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.” Utility Air Regulatory Group, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 15) (internal quotation marks omitted). After reading Section 36B along with other related provisions in the Act, we cannot conclude that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [Section 18031]” is unambiguous. [at 14-15]
Nowhere in any of the opinions is the term “Gruber” mentioned. Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law, stated on numerous occasions that there was a specific purpose of the language to exclude the federal exchange, so as to pressure states to get subsidies for their citizens by establishing exchanges.
Architect of Obamacare: Only get tax credits if buy on state exchanges
The Court rejected the Gruber view of Congressional intent:
The whole point of that provision is to create a federal fallback in case a State chooses not to establish its own Exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering States a deal they would not refuse—it expressly addressed what
would happen if a State did refuse the deal.
Having found the term “established by the State” ambiguous, the Court read it in a way such as to save Obamacare and prevent a “death spiral” of the law:
Given that the text is ambiguous, we must turn to the broader structure of the Act to determine the meaning of Section 36B. “A provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of the statutory scheme . . . because only one of the permissible meanings produces a substantive effect that is compatible with the rest of the law.” United Sav. Assn. of Tex. v. Timbers of Inwood Forest Associates, Ltd., 484 U. S. 365, 371 (1988). Here, the statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very “death spirals” that Congress designed the Act to avoid. [at 15]
Reliance on context and structure in statutory interpretation is a “subtle business, calling for great wariness lest
what professes to be mere rendering becomes creation and attempted interpretation of legislation becomes legislation itself.” Palmer v. Massachusetts, 308 U. S. 79, 83 (1939). For the reasons we have given, however, such reliance is appropriate in this case, and leads us to conclude that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid. [at 21]
Roberts and the majority did not want to be the ones to take down Obamacare, and that drove everything:
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt. [at 21]
Scalia’s dissent, joined by Thomas and Alito, was stinging, and in my opinion correct as to the absurdity of the Court contorting itself to save the law (as Roberts did in the original Obamacare challenge):
The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so. [at 1]
Scalia points out that the words have a plain meaning:
This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.
Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” …. [at 2, italics in original]
Scalia argued — persuasively — that the overriding goal seems to be saving Obamacare, not exercising normal judicial interpretation of plain language:
“[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved. [at 2-3]
Scalia wrote that the majority opinion rewrote the law “with no semblance of shame”:
The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the “most natural sense” of the phrase “Exchange established by the State” is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that “it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.” Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) [at 3]
Scalia then delivered the best line of the day. Looking back over multiple decisions from the Court to rewrite Obamacare in order to save it, Scalia insisted that the law now should be called SCOTUScare:
Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act. That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congress passed provides that every individual “shall” maintain insurance or else pay a “penalty.” 26 U. S. C. §5000A. This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 15–45).
The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to accept an expansion of its Medicaid program, or else risk losing all Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. This Court, however, saw that the Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 45–58). Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.” This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere.
We should start calling this law SCOTUScare. [at 20-21, emphasis and hard paragraph breaks added.]
The legacy of this Court, Scalia wrote, will live on just as Obamacare, but in infamy:
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.
From ‘Jiggery-Pokery’ to ‘SCOTUScare,’ Read the Best Quotes From Today’s Obamacare Ruling
Justice Antonin Scalia’s flair for the dramatic shines through, while Chief Justice John Roberts plays it straight.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act react with cheers as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday .
By U.S. News Staff
Thursday’s 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the validity of tax credits that help millions of people afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act came down to a literal matter of interpretation.
At issue were words in the law that subsidies could be distributed for health coverage purchased through “an Exchange established by the State.” The plaintiffs argued the law should be read literally, nullifying subsidies provided through exchanges that relied on the federal government. The Obama administration countered that the law never intended to limit subsidies in such a way.
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion, and was countered by Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent. Here are some select quotes from both.
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion.
“The upshot of all this is that the phrase ‘an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]’ is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits.”
“It would be odd indeed for Congress to write such detailed instructions about customers on a State Exchange, while having nothing to say about those on a Federal Exchange.”
“The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through ‘the traditional legislative process’ … As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”
“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the Act to avoid.”
“In petitioners’ view, Congress made the viability of the entire Affordable Care Act turn on the ultimate ancillary provision: a sub-sub-sub section of the Tax Code. We doubt that is what Congress meant to do.”
“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
Justice Antonin Scalia authored the court’s dissenting opinion.
“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”
“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
“The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”
“Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.’ (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)”
“The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”
“Much less is it our place to make everything come out right when Congress does not do its job properly. It is up to Congress to design its laws with care, and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”
“The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (‘penalty’ means tax, ‘further [Medicaid] payments to the State’ means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, ‘established by the State’ means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”
Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals in states that expand and Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of the poverty line. Baseline estimates show that over 41 million individuals were uninsured in 2013, prior to the start of the major ACA coverage provisions, and early evidence suggests that the ACA has reduced this number. This brief describes trends in coverage leading up to the ACA, reviews early estimates of the impact of the ACA on the uninsured, examines the characteristics of the uninsured population, and summarizes the access and financial implications of not having coverage.
Summary: Key Facts about the Uninsured Population
What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?
Trends in the uninsured have historically tracked economic conditions, with the number of uninsured people increasing during recessionary periods when people lost their jobs. Public programs provided a safety net during the Great Recession and prevented many from going uninsured. On the eve of the ACA, as the economy stabilized, coverage losses slowed. However, over 41 million people were still without coverage in 2013.
What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?
As of 2014, the ACA helps expand coverage to millions of currently uninsured people through the expansion of Medicaid eligibility and establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces. The ACA also includes reforms to help people maintain coverage and make private insurance affordable and accessible. Early evidence on coverage in the first few months of 2014 indicates that the number of uninsured has declined since the availability of these new provisions.
Why are so many Americans uninsured?
The high cost of insurance has been the main reason why people go without coverage. In 2013, 61% of uninsured adults said the main reason they were uninsured was because the cost was too high or because they had lost their job. Many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and gaps in eligibility for public coverage in the past have left many without an affordable option. Even after ACA coverage expansions, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in states that did not expand their programs.
Who are the uninsured?
Most of the uninsured are in low-income working families. In 2013, nearly 8 in 10 were in a family with a worker, and nearly 6 in 10 have family income below 200% of poverty. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults have been more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.
How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?
People without insurance coverage have worse access to care than people who are insured. Almost a third of uninsured adults in 2013 (30%) went without needed medical care due to cost. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.
What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?
The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. In 2013, nearly 40% of uninsured adults said they had outstanding medical bills, and a fifth said they had medical bills that caused serious financial strain. These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.
What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?
The number of uninsured people steadily increased throughout most of the past decade due to decreasing employer sponsored insurance coverage and rising health care costs. The recent recession led to a steep increase in uninsured rates from 2008 to 2010 as a high jobless rate led millions to lose their employer sponsored coverage.1Medicaid and CHIP prevented steeper drops in insurance coverage, as many Americans became newly eligible for these programs when their income declined during the recession. From 2011 to 2013, uninsured rates dropped as the economy improved and early provisions expanding coverage under the ACA went into effect.
The share of the nonelderly population with employer-sponsored coverage declined steadily between 2000 and 2010, dropping nearly ten percentage points over the decade.2 In 2011, this trend ended as the share with employer-sponsored coverage held nearly constant at around 58% between 2011 and 2013. This break in trend was likely due to uptake of the ACA provision that allowed young adults to continue as dependents on parents’ private plans until age 26. It also reflects improving economic conditions. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2009. From 2010 on, the unemployment rate improved steadily, corresponding with a drop in the uninsured rate from 2010 to 2013 (Figure 1).
The share of people covered by Medicaid increased significantly during the recent recession due to the weak economy and loss of jobs, which led to declining family incomes and decreasing employer-sponsored coverage among families. Between 2007 and 2013, over 10 million people—primarily children—gained Medicaid coverage. These gains offset some of the loss of employer coverage over the period.
In 2013, the uninsured rate among nonelderly individuals was at 16.7%, a level comparable to pre-recession uninsured rates (Figure 1). Still, many uninsured individuals had been uninsured for long periods, often five years or more,3 indicating that their lack of coverage was related to forces outside the recession. With the major ACA coverage provisions going into effect in 2014, many are newly-insured.
What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?
Under the ACA, as of 2014, Medicaid coverage is expanded to nearly all adults with incomes at or below 138% of poverty in states that expand, and tax credits are available for people who purchase coverage through a health insurance Marketplace. Early data suggest that the ACA has helped expand coverage to millions of previously uninsured people, but some—particularly poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid—are still left without affordable coverage.
As of mid-April 2014 (after the first open enrollment period), over 8 million people selected plans through the federal or state Marketplaces.4 The vast majority of Marketplace enrollees (85%) were eligible for premium tax credits. Many Marketplace enrollees are newly-insured. A survey of people with private non-group plans after open enrollment found that nearly six in ten (57 percent) of those with Marketplace coverage were uninsured prior to purchasing their current plan.5 Other data from insurers suggest a large increase in the individual market in the first quarter attributable to the ACA.6
Enrollment data also show that as of July 2014, Medicaid enrollment has grown by 8 million since the period before open enrollment (which started in October 2013).7 This growth is an increase of 14% in monthly Medicaid enrollment.8 Enrollment increases were higher (20%) among states that chose to expand Medicaid eligibility. These data suggest that Medicaid enrollment growth is related to ACA expansions.9
Early survey data suggest that the uninsured rate is falling. The early release of estimates from the first quarter (January through March) of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey indicates that the uninsured rate dropped for nonelderly individuals in the first quarter of 2014 by a full percentage point relative to the first quarter of the previous year.10 However, the NHIS early results were not likely to have captured most or all of the ACA’s effects, as many people enrolled in coverage after survey data were collected. NHIS early results also show that states that chose to expand Medicaid saw significant declines in uninsured rates among adults from 2013 to the first quarter of 2014 (Figure 2). States that did not choose to expand Medicaid did not see corresponding declines. Several private polls and surveys also indicate that the uninsured rate has been decreasing since the period prior to ACA open enrollment. While these surveys have different methodologies and often have high error margins that make point estimates unreliable, they are all in agreement that the uninsured rate has dropped in 2014.
Even with the availability of new coverage options, millions remain uninsured. Previous analyses show that many poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid will continue to be at risk to be uninsured.11 People of color, people living in the South,12 and individuals living in rural areas are especially at risk to be left out of ACA coverage expansions.13
Why are so many Americans uninsured?
Insurance is expensive, and few people can afford to buy it on their own. Most Americans obtain health insurance coverage through an employer, but not all workers are offered employer-sponsored coverage. Also, not all who are offered coverage by an employer can afford their share of the premiums. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover many low-income individuals, particularly children. However, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in some states, and few people can afford to purchase coverage on their own without financial assistance.
Uninsured individuals report that cost poses a major barrier to purchasing coverage. In 2013, 61% of adults said that the main reason they are uninsured is either because the cost is too high or because they lost their job, compared to 1.7% who said they are uninsured because they do not need coverage (Figure 3). Under the ACA, financial assistance is available to help many uninsured people afford coverage.
Not all workers have access to coverage through their job. Most uninsured workers are self-employed or work for small firms where health benefits are less likely to be offered.14 Low-wage workers who are offered coverage often cannot afford their share of the premiums, especially for family coverage.15,16
Workers usually enroll in employer-sponsored health insurance if they are eligible.17 However, it has become increasingly difficult for many workers to afford coverage. In 2014, the average annual total cost of employer-sponsored family coverage was $16,834, and the worker’s share averaging $4,823 per year.18 Between 2004 and 2014, total premiums have increased by 69%, and the worker’s share has increased over 81%.19 Starting in 2015, under the ACA, employers with 50 or more workers will be penalized if they do not offer affordable coverage. As of 2014, the ACA provides Marketplace tax credits or Medicaid coverage for many employees without access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance.20
In 2013, over 51 million nonelderly individuals were covered by Medicaid and CHIP.21 Historically, Medicaid was only available to low-income children, parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. While states have increasingly expanded eligibility for children over time, eligibility for parents remained much more limited before ACA coverage expansions.22
As of September 2014, 28 states are moving forward or will be moving forward with expanded Medicaid eligibility for most nonelderly individuals under 138% FPL.23 This expansion will fill in historical gaps in eligibility for public coverage. However, in states that do not expand their Medicaid programs, eligibility for adults remains limited: the median eligibility level for parents is just 47% of poverty, and adults without dependent children are ineligible in nearly all states not expanding.
Who are the Uninsured?
The majority of the uninsured are in low-income working families. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults are more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.
Based on the most recent data that is available (which reflects coverage prior to the major ACA provisions), over six in ten of the uninsured have at least one full-time worker in their family, and 16% have a part-time worker in the family (Figure 4).
Individuals below poverty are at the highest risk of being uninsured, and this group accounted for 27% of all the uninsured in 2013 (the poverty level for a family of three was $19,530 in 2013). In total, almost nine in ten of the uninsured are in low- or moderate-income families, meaning they are below 400% of poverty (Figure 3).
While a plurality (46%) of the uninsured are White, non-Hispanic, people of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than White non-Hispanics. People of color make up 40% of the population but account for over half of the total uninsured population. The disparity in insurance coverage is especially high for Hispanics, who account for 19% of the total population but more than 30% of the uninsured population. Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks have significantly higher uninsured rates (25.6% and 17.3%, respectively) than Whites (11.7%).24
About eight in ten of the uninsured are U.S. citizens and 19.7% are non-citizens. Uninsured non-citizens include both lawfully present and undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants residing in the U.S. for less than five years are ineligible for federally funded health coverage.
Uninsured rates vary widely by state and by region, with individuals living in the South and West the most likely to be uninsured (Figure 5). This variation reflects different economic conditions, availability of employer-based coverage, demographics, and eligibility for public coverage.
How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?
Almost a third of uninsured adults (30%) in 2013 went without needed care each year due to cost (Figure 5). Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.25, 26, 27, 28 Research also has suggested that insurance can decrease likelihood of depression and stress.29
Health providers can choose to not provide care to the uninsured. Only emergency departments are required by federal law to screen and stabilize all individuals. However, the uninsured are not necessarily more likely to use the emergency room than those with insurance.30 If the uninsured are unable to pay for care in full, they are often turned away when they seek follow-up care for urgent medical conditions.31
The uninsured receive less preventive care and recommended screenings than the insured. In 2013, only 1 in 3 uninsured adults (33%) reported a preventive visit with a physician in the last year, compared to 74% of adults with employer coverage and 67% of adults with Medicaid.32 Uninsured older adults (ages 50-64) were far less likely than their insured counterparts to report having been screened for cancer in the past five years.33
Receiving needed care is especially important for the uninsured since they are generally not as healthy as those with private coverage. The uninsured are at higher risk for preventable hospitalizations and for missed diagnoses of serious health conditions.34 After a chronic condition is diagnosed, they are less likely to receive follow-up care and as a result are more likely to have their health decline.35 Lack of follow-up attributed to being uninsured can delay the detection of certain cancers, which can result in adverse outcomes.36 It follows that the uninsured also have significantly higher mortality rates than those with insurance.37,38
The uninsured report higher rates of postponing care and forgoing needed care or prescriptions due to cost compared to those enrolled in Medicaid and other public programs (Figure 6). A seminal study of health insurance in Oregon found that the uninsured were less likely to receive care from a hospital or doctor than newly insured Medicaid enrollees.39A follow-up study found that newly insured Medicaid enrollees were much less likely to delay care because of costs than the uninsured.40
What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?
The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.
Those without insurance for an entire year pay for one-fifth of their care out-of-pocket.41 They are typically billed for any care they receive, often paying higher charges than the insured.42
Medical bills can put great strain on the uninsured and threaten their physical and financial well-being. The uninsured are significantly more likely than individuals covered by employer coverage, non-group insurance or Medicaid to have trouble paying medical bills (Figure 7). Almost 40% of uninsured adults have outstanding medical bills.
A study based on the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment found that the uninsured were more likely to experience financial strain from medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses than those with Medicaid coverage. The uninsured were also more likely than the insured to have to postpone care because of costs.43
The uninsured live with the knowledge that they may not be able to afford to pay for their family’s medical care, which can cause anxiety and potentially lead them to delay or forgo care. Almost three-quarters (70%) of the uninsured are not confident that they can pay for the health care services they think they need, compared to 13% of those with employer coverage and 37% with Medicaid.44
The average uninsured household has no net assets.45 Without sufficient income or assets to pay their medical bills, uninsured individuals often see their debts accumulate while their credit ratings are compromised. Medical debts contribute to almost half of all bankruptcies in the United States.46
Over 41 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured in 2013. This figure represents the baseline against which most changes in the ACA will be measured. While we do not yet know the full effect of the major coverage provisions of the ACA, early evidence indicates that it is working to expand insurance to those who need it.
Going without coverage can have serious health consequences for the uninsured because they receive less preventive care, and delayed care often results in more serious illness requiring advanced treatment. Being uninsured also can have serious financial consequences. The ACA holds promise for many people who will gain access to health insurance coverage, but monitoring how coverage changes and who is left out of coverage expansions is also important.
Story 1: Is Pope Francis The First Watermelon Pope? – Green On The Outside, Red On The Inside — Trying To Convert Catholics To The Religion of Anti-Scientists Alarmist Socialists — Skeptical Capitalist Heretics Unite — Pope Francis Wrong On Science, Wrong On Economics, Not An Authority — Good Intentions Are Not Enough — Videos
Galileo – “Faith can never conflict with reason” –
~Pope John Paul II – November 4, 1992
Pope Francis: “Bold Cultural Revolution” Needed to Save Planet from Climate Change & Consumerism
Did Pope Francis go too far on global warming?
Pope Francis’ stand on climate change
Cardinal Suggests Rush Limbaugh Doesn’t Understand What Pope Is Saying On Environment
60 Minutes on Pope Francis (Why the Pope is unlike any pontiff of modern times)
Socialism vs Capitalism: Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman – Is Capitalism Humane? (Lecture)
Murray Rothbard: Free Markets Again?
Pope Francis Gets Owned by Alex Jones
Pope Francis Now The New Face of Climate Change
Rush Limbaugh, Fox Host Attack The Pope
Global Warming: A Religion of Anti-Science – Journalist James Delingpole
ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole
Climate Change in 12 Minutes The Skeptic s Case By Dr. David M.W. Evans
Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015
Freeman Dyson: A Global Warming Heretic & Denier
“…Professor Fred Singer presents the Report “Nature, not Human Activity, Rules the Climate by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”‘(NIPCC) at CFACT’s International Climate Eco-Summit (I.C.E.), held on December 11, 2009 at the Center for Political Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark. …”
Interview with Professor Richard Lindzen
The experts explain the global warming myth: Richard Lindzen
Richard Lindzen at International Conference on Climate Change
Richard Lindzen, Ph.D. Lecture Deconstructs Global Warming Hysteria (High Quality Version)
Global Warming / Climate Change Hoax – Dr. Roy Spencer (1)
Why Climate Models Are Wrong
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 1 of 6
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 2 of 6
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 3 of 6
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 4 of 6
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 5 of 6
Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 6 of 6
Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (1 of 2)
Global Warming Debate – Dr. Fred Singer (2 of 2)
Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 1
Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change pt 2
Unstoppable Solar Cycles
Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (1 of 5)
Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (2 of 5)
Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (3 of 5)
Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (4 of 5)
Prof. Fred Singer on Climate Change – CFACT (5 of 5)
MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN CARBON EMISSIONS ARE NOT WORTH THE MONEY 4 /14- Intelligence Squared U.S.
The Current Pope’s Advisor On Climate Change (Really?)
Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Climate change: state of play
UC San Diego Professor Advises Pope on Climate Change
How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight
By Anthony Faiola and Chris Mooney
Pope Francis was about to take a major step backing the science behind human-driven global warming, and Philippe de Larminat was determined to change his mind.
A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions.
After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there.
“They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.
The incident highlights how climate-change doubters tried and failed to alter the landmark papal document unveiled last week — one that saw the leader of 1 billion Catholics fuse faith and reason and come to the conclusion that “denial” is wrong.
Wearing a yellow raincoat, Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in Tacloban, Philippines, in January. (Wally Santana/AP)
It marked the latest blow for those seeking to stop the reform-minded train that has become Francis’s papacy. It is one that has reinvigorated liberal Catholics even as it has sowed the seeds of resentment and dissent inside and outside the Vatican’s ancient walls.
Yet the battle lost over climate change also suggests how hard it may be for critics to blunt the power of a man who has become something of a juggernaut in an institution where change tends to unfold over decades, even centuries. More than anything, to those who doubt the human impact of global warming, the position staked out by Francis in his papal document, known as an encyclical, means a major defeat.
“This was their Waterloo,” said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has been tracking climate-change deniers for years. “They wanted the encyclical not to happen. And it happened.”
By InfinitiGrowth in the Internet of Things promises to transform life, work and industry.READ MORE
Papal advisers say Francis signaled his intent to draft a major document on the environment soon after assuming the throne of St. Peter in March 2013. His interest in the topic dates to his days as a bishop in Buenos Aires, where Francis, officials say, was struck by the effects of floods and unsanitary conditions on Argentine shantytowns known as “misery villages.”
In January, Francis officially announced his goal of drafting the encyclical — saying after an official visit to the Philippines that he wanted to make a “contribution” to the debate ahead of a major U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December.
But several efforts by those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change to influence the document appear to have come considerably later — in April — and, maybe, too late.
In late April, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market group that serves as a hub of skepticism regarding the science of human-caused global warming, sent a delegation to the Vatican. As a Heartland news release put it, they hoped “to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”
It was meant to coincide with the same April meeting that de Larminat was trying to attend. Heartland’s activists were not part of the invited contingent, either, Heartland communications director Jim Lakely said.
“It was a side event,” he said. “We were outside the walls of the Vatican. We were at a hotel — literally, I could throw a football into St. Peter’s Square.”
Seven scientists and other experts gave speeches at the Heartland event, raising doubts about various aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change, even as several also urged the pope not to take sides in the debate. It’s impossible to know how that influenced those in the Vatican working on the pope’s document — which one Vatican official said was at “an advanced stage.” But Lakely said his group did not see much of its argument reflected in the final document.
“We all want the poor to live better lives, but we just don’t think the solution to that is to restrict the use of fossil fuels, because we don’t think CO2 is causing a climate crisis,” Lakely said. “So if that’s our message in a sentence, that message was not reflected in the encyclical, so there you go.”
The father of conservative movement-building through direct mail, Richard A. Viguerie, issued a forceful denunciation of Francis, his encyclical and his priorities, calling the pope’s message on climate change “a confusing distraction that dilutes his great moral authority and leadership.”
Mr. Viguerie’s post does not address the substance of the encyclical; rather, it argues at length that the pope should not be writing about climate change “at a time when Catholics, indeed Christians of all denominations, are facing persecution” as well as “a host of moral and spiritual challenges”:
While the pope fiddles with one controversial political issue that is not at the core of spiritual matters, our spiritual culture is burning.
He goes on to assert that the Catholic clergy has “abandoned the teaching of morals” and “sees, hears, and knows few sins,” while “the liberals’ true agenda is to destroy religion” and, he says, the environmental movement has socialist roots.
Those who most fervently deny the scientific consensus on climate change have ridiculed Pope Francis. Steven Milloy, who regularly denounces climate scientists on his website and on Twitter, posted a series of strident messages after a draft of the encyclical leaked earlier this week. Mr. Milloy is linked to the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute and has also argued against the scientific studies that suggest that secondhand smoke causes cancer.
In recent Twitter posts, he called some of the leaked portions of the encyclical “adolescent, insipid, primitive, embarrassing,” as well as “a stumbling, bumbling PR disaster for Red Pope.”
Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change
By JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, blending a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.
The vision that Francis outlined in a 184-page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He describes relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and says apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness are to blame.
The most vulnerable victims, he declares, are the world’s poorest people, who are being dislocated and disregarded.
Francis, the first pope from the developing world, used the encyclical — titled “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You” — to highlight the crisis posed byclimate change. He places most of the blame on fossil fuels and human activity, while warning of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us” if corrective action is not taken swiftly. Developed, industrialized countries were mostly responsible, he says, and are obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis.
“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” he writes. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
The Vatican released the encyclical at noon on Thursday, three days after an Italian magazine posted a leaked draft online, to the fury of Vaticanofficials. The breach led to speculation that opponents of Francis in the Vatican wanted to embarrass him by undermining the release.
Even so, religious figures, environmentalists, scientists, executives and elected officials around the world awaited the official release, and scheduled news conferences or issued statements afterward. News media interest was enormous, in part because of Francis’ global popularity, but also because of the intriguing coalition he is proposing between faith and science.
“Humanity is faced with a crucial challenge that requires the development of adequate policies, which, moreover, are currently being discussed on the global agenda,” Cardinal Peter Turkson said at a news conference at the Vatican. “Certainly, ‘Laudato Si’ ’ can and must have an impact on important and urgent decisions to be made in this area.”
In his encyclical, read by a nun at the Vatican on Thursday, Francis focused on the harm climate change poses to the poor.CreditMax Rossi/Reuters
Francis has made it clear that he hopes the encyclical will influence energy and economic policy and stir a global movement. He calls on ordinary people to press politicians for change. Catholic bishops and priests around the world are expected to discuss the encyclical in services on Sunday. But Francis is also reaching for a wider audience, asking in the document “to address every person living on this planet.”
Even before the encyclical, the pope’s stance against environmental destruction and his demand for global action had already thrilled many scientists. Advocates of policies to combat climate change have said they hoped that Francis could lend a “moral dimension” to the debate.
“Within the scientific community, there is almost a code of honor that you will never transgress the red line between pure analysis and moral issues,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and chairman of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “But we are now in a situation where we have to think about the consequences of our insight for society.”
Francis has been sharply criticized by those who question or deny the established science of human-caused climate change, and also by some conservative Roman Catholics, who see the encyclical as an attack on capitalism and as political meddling.
Governments are now developing domestic climate-change plans to prepare for aUnited Nations summit meeting on the issue in Paris in December. The meeting’s goal is to achieve a sweeping accord in which every nation would commit to new policies to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Many governments have yet to present plans, including major emitters like Brazil, which has a large Catholic population. The encyclical is seen as an unsubtle nudge for action.
“It gives a lot of cover to political and economic leaders in those countries, as they make decisions on climate change policy,” said Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation.
Catholic theologians say the overarching theme of the encyclical is “integral ecology,” which links care for the environment with a notion already well developed in Catholic teaching: that economic development, to be morally good and just, must take into account people’s need for things like freedom, education and meaningful work.
“The basic idea is, in order to love God, you have to love your fellow human beings, and you have to love and care for the rest of creation,” said Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, a Catholic college in Ohio. “It gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.”
Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, left, and Cardinal Peter Turkson presented the 184-page papal encyclical on Thursday.CreditAndrew Medichini/Associated Press
He added: “Critics will say the church can’t teach policy, the church can’t teach politics. And Francis is saying, ‘No, these things are at the core of the church’s teaching.’ ”
Francis tapped a wide variety of sources in his encyclical, partly to underscore the universality of his message. He cites passages from his two papal predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and draws prominently from a religious ally, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He also cites a ninth-century Sufi mystic, Ali al-Khawas.
“This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church,” Francis writes. The Bible teaches human beings to “till and keep” the garden of the world, he says. “ ‘Tilling’ refers to cultivating, plowing or working, while ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving.”
His most stinging rebuke is a broad critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society. He praises achievements in medicine, science and engineering, but says that “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”
Central to Francis’ theme is the link between poverty and the planet’s fragility. The pope rejects the belief that technology and “current economics” will solve environmental problems, or “that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”
“A huge indictment I see in this encyclical is that people have lost their sense of ultimate and proper goals of technology and economics,” said Christiana Z. Peppard, an assistant professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University in New York. “We are focused on short-term, consumerist patterns.”
Encyclicals are letters to the clergy and laity of the church that are considered authoritative. Catholics are expected to try to sincerely embrace their teachings. But more specific assertions in them can be categorized as “prudential judgments,” a phrase that some critics have invoked to reject Francis’ positions on issues like climate change or economic inequality.
Many conservatives will be pleased with the encyclical’s strong criticism of abortion, and its dismissal of arguments that population control can be an answer to poverty. However, Francis sharply criticizes the trading of carbon credits — a market-based system central to the European Union’s climate policy — and says it “may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”
Above all, Francis frames the encyclical as a call to action. He praises young people for being ready for change, and said “enforceable international agreements are urgently needed.” He cites Benedict in saying that advanced societies “must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency.”
“All is not lost,” he writes. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
St. Francis of Assisi’s hymn Laudato Si’ spoke of “Brothers” Sun and Fire and “Sisters” Moon and Water, using these colorful phrases figuratively, as a way of praising God’s creation. These sentimental words so touched Pope Francis that he named his encyclical after this canticle (repeated in paragraph 87 of the Holy Father’s letter).
Neither Pope Francis nor St. Francis took the words literally, of course. Neither believed that fire was alive and could be talked to or reasoned with or, worse, worshiped. Strange, then, that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican named Hans Schellnhuber appears to believe in a Mother Earth.
The Gaia Principle, first advanced by chemist James Lovelock (who has lately had second thoughts) and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, says that all life interacts with the Earth, and the Earth with all life, to form a giant self-regulating, living system.
This goes far beyond the fact that the Earth’s climate system has feedbacks, which are at the very center of the debate over climate change. In the Gaia Principle, Mother Earth is alive, and even, some think, aware in some ill-defined, mystical way. The Earth knows man and his activities and, frankly, isn’t too happy with him.
This is what we might call “scientific pantheism,” a kind that appeals to atheistic scientists. It is an updated version of the pagan belief that the universe itself is God, that the Earth is at least semi-divine — a real Brother Sun and Sister Water! Mother Earth is immanent in creation and not transcendent, like the Christian God.
What’s this have to do with Schellnhuber? In the 1999 Nature paper “‘Earth system’ analysis and the second Copernican revolution,” he said:
Ecosphere science is therefore coming of age, lending respectability to its romantic companion, Gaia theory, as pioneered by Lovelock and Margulis. This hotly debated ‘geophysiological’ approach to Earth-system analysis argues that the biosphere contributes in an almost cognizant way to self-regulating feedback mechanisms that have kept the Earth’s surface environment stable and habitable for life.
Geo-physiological, in case you missed it. Cognizant, in black and white. So dedicated is Schellnhuber to this belief that he says “the Gaia approach may even include the influence of biospheric activities on the Earth’s plate-tectonic processes.” Not the other way around, mind you, where continental drift and earthquakes effects life, but where life effects earthquakes.
Although effects such as the glaciations may still be interpreted as over-reactions to small disturbances — a kind of cathartic geophysiological fever — the main events, resulting in accelerated maturation by shock treatment, indicate that Gaia faces a powerful antagonist. Rampino has proposed personifying this opposition as Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.
Mother Earth gets the flu and instead of white blood cells and a rise in temperature to fend off the infection, it sends white ice and a decrease in temperatures. How? Geophysiologically! I remind the reader that our author, writing in one of the world’s most prominent science journals, does not use these propositions metaphorically. He proposes them as actual mechanisms.
Schellnhuber echoes the theme of a cognizant, i.e. self-aware, planet in another (co-authored) 2004 paper in Nature 2004, “Climbing the co-evolution ladder,” suggesting again that mankind is an infection, saying that mankind “perturbs … the global ‘metabolism’” of the planet.
Schellnhuber, a one-time quantum physicist who turned his attention to Mother Earth late in his career, was also co-author of a 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper “Imprecise probability assessment of tipping points in the climate system,” which asked select scientists their gut assessment about the arrival of various “tipping points.” Tipping points are a theme of Schellnhuber’s research (see inter aliathis and this).
Tipping points are supposed moments when some doom which might have been avoided if some action had been taken, is no longer possible to avoid and will arrive no matter what. Tipping points have come and gone in climate forecasts for decades now. The promised dooms never arrive but the false prophets never quit. Their intent is less to forecast than to induce something short of panic in order to plead for political intervention. When the old tipping point is past, theorists just change the date, issue new warnings and hope no one will notice.
One of the tipping points Schellnhuber asked about was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, depending on what the temperature did. All of the selected experts (who answered the questions in 2004 and 2005) gave moderate (~15-25%) to quite high probabilities (50-80%) for this event to have occurred by 2015. The ice did not melt.
Schellnhuber presented more tipping points to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2014 in the co-authored paper, “Climate-System Tipping Points and Extreme Weather Events.” In that paper, Schellnhuber has a “scientific” graph with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Adam “flicking” a planet earth over a methane tipping point, such that the earth would roll down into a fiery pit labeled the “Warming Abyss.” Hell on earth.
The Problem of People
Schellnhuber is most famous for predicting that the “carrying capacity” of the earth is “below” 1 billion people. When confronted with this, he called those who quoted him “liars.” But he then repeated the same claim, saying, “All I said was that if we had unlimited global warming of eight degrees warming, maybe the carrying capacity of the earth would go down to just 1 billion, and then the discussion would be settled.” And he has often said that this temperature tipping point would be reached — unless “actions” were taken.
The man is suspicious of people. In that same interview he said, “If you want to reduce human population, there are wonderful means: Improve the education of girls and young women.” Since young women already know where babies come from, and since this knowledge tends neither to increase nor decrease population, the “education” he has in mind must be facts about how to avoid the consequences of sex. Austin Ruse discovered a 2009 talk in which Schellnhuber said the earth “will explode” due to resource depletion once the population reaches 9 billion, a number that the UN projects in 2050. Presumably he wants earth to avoid that fate, so he mustsupport the population control that Pope Francis so clearly repudiated in his encyclical.
Confirmation bias happens when a scientist manipulates an experiment so that he gets the outcome he hoped he would get. When Schellnhuber invites only believers in tipping-points-of-doom to characterize their guesses of this doom, his view that the doom is real will be confirmed. And when he publishes a paper that says, “Scientists say world is doomed” the public and politicians believe it. Scientists skeptical of the doom are dismissed because they are skeptics. This isn’t good science. It’s really bad religion, and a pagan one at that.
Global warming research is characterized by an insider’s club. If you believe, you’re in. If you doubt, you’re out. This is also so at the Pontifical Academies of Science where Schellnhuber was appointed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The bishop locked scientists with contrary views out of the process, scientists he has repeatedly dismissed as “funded by the oil industry.” Given this, how likely is it that the Holy Father was fully aware of the views of the chief scientist who advised him?
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change
“…On June 2, as Congress debated global warming legislation that would raise energy costs to consumers by hundreds of billions of dollars, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released an 880-page book challenging the scientific basis of concerns that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects.
In “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso and 35 contributors and reviewers present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals.
The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.
The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCC’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006.
The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change. Because it is not a government agency, and because its members are not predisposed to believe climate change is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, NIPCC is able to offer an independent “second opinion” of the evidence reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). …”
SSRI Stories is a collection of over 6,000 stories that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including violence.
This updated site includes the stories from the previous site and new ones from 2011 to date. We have used a new “category” classification system on the new stories. We are working back through previously SSRI Stories to bring them into the new classification system. In the meantime use the search box in the upper right column to search through both the old and the new stories.
SSRI Stories focuses primarily on problems caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac (fluoxetine) was the first. For more see About SSRIs. Other medications prescribed as antidepressants that fit the “nightmares” theme of the collected stories are sometimes included.
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit (Grace Slick, Woodstock, aug 17 1969)
Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to love
Dylann Roof makes first South Carolina court appearance
Bond Hearing For Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof (Full Unedited): First Court Appearance
New video shows church group moments before shooting
Who is Dylann Roof?
Dylann Roof: Charleston Church Shooting | True News
Obama in 2004 on His Personal Drinking/Drug Use
‘I Got High': Obama Talks About His Use of Drugs
Obama Says Legalizing Drugs is Worthy of Debate
The REAL Reason for the Mass Shooting Epidemic in America
The Marketing of Madness: The Truth About
Is Depression a Mental Illness? No.
Psychotropic Drugs: The Hidden Dangers
SSRI Drugs are Dangerous!
SSRI Withdrawals – Do Natural Products Help?
Silent Side Effects of SSRI – Mass Murders and Suicide
Medicated to Death: SSRIs and Mass Killings
SSRI’s Behind Mass Shootings – Psych Speaks Out!
Friend: Dyllan Storm Roof Took Gun from His Mom – She Didn’t Trust Him With It (VIDEO)
Witnesses: Shooter said he was there ‘to shoot black…
Charleston Church Shootings: Special Report
Best 7 minutes on gun control I have ever seen!
In this segment of his Virtual State of the Union, the Virtual President talks about why politicians want to talk about gun control rather than crime control, and delivers the factual evidence and historical truths that make the case for the Second Amendment self-evident.
Dr Susan Gratia-Hupp – Survivor of the 1991 Kileen TX Lubys Shooting Massacre
Hupp and her parents were having lunch at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen in 1991 when the Luby’s massacre commenced. The gunman shot 50 people and killed 23, including Hupp’s parents. Hupp later expressed regret about deciding to remove her gun from her purse and lock it in her car lest she risk possibly running afoul of the state’s concealed weapons laws; during the shootings, she reached for her weapon but then remembered that it was “a hundred feet away in my car.” Her father, Al Gratia, tried to rush the gunman and was shot in the chest. As the gunman reloaded, Hupp escaped through a broken window and believed that her mother, Ursula Gratia, was behind her. Actually however, her mother went to her mortally-wounded husband’s aid and was then shot in the head.
As a survivor of the Luby’s massacre, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws. She said that if there had been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.
The Animals – The House of the Rising Sun
“House Of The Rising Sun”
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m oneMy mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a gamblin’ man
Down in New OrleansNow the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk[Organ Solo]Oh mother, tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising SunWell, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chainWell, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m one
The Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin
Charleston shooting: c’s stepmother defends ‘smart’ boy ‘drawn in by internet evil’
The stepmother of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with nine counts of murder for the shooting at a church in Charleston, has spoken out in his defence.
Paige Mann, who was married to Mr Roof’s father for 10 years and helped raise him, said that her stepson was so smart that he became bored in school and was a germophobe for some time.
“He went to catechism, he went to church,” Ms Mann said. “He was locked in his room looking up bad stuff on the computer.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News, she said: “Something on the computer drew him in – this is Internet evil. We just thought he was a lazy, this-generation kind of kid.”
Mr Roof’s manifesto, published online, shows how the 21-year-old’s views hardened after the shooting of Travyon Martin in Florida in 2012. Ms Paige claimed that it was only after her step-son began living with his mother over the past few years that he became a recluse.
Mr Roof sat with members of the Emanuel African Methodist Epsicopal Church for nearly an hour before he allegedly shot nine of them dead, including the pastor.
Divorce papers filed by Ms Paige in 2008 claim that Franklin Roof had hit her and that any hope Dylann had of a normal home left with her, it was reported by the Inquisitr.
According to the manifesto, which was updated just hours before the fatal attack, he believed that he had no choice but to carry out the attack on the church and “chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state”.
CHARLESTON SHOOTING – Disaster Being Used to Forward Gun Control Agenda
Charleston Shooting: “Hate Crimes” and White Fear
Fox News Host ‘Surprise’ as Obama ‘Quick’ Invoke Gun Control on Charleston Mass Shooting
Fox’s Steve Doocy and Guest Wonder Whether Charleston Shooting Part of ‘War on Christians’
O’Reilly Battles NC Victim’s Friend For Blaming Fox ‘Hate Speech’ for Charleston Shooting on CNN
Mass Murders caused by Pharma Meds… Not Guns!
Medicated to Death: SSRIs and Mass Killings
Chris Greene “SSRI Drugs are responsible for School Massacre”
Michael Savage, caller on how massacres occur at “gun-free” zones, not in armed places like Israel
Ft. Hood Shooting Reactions And The Horrors Of SSRIs
Affidavits spell out chilling case against Dylann Roof
As a subdued Dylann Roof made his first official appearance Friday on charges of killing nine people at a historic black church, police affidavits offered grim details of the murder case, including an allegation that the gunman fired multiple shots into each victim and stood over them to issue “a racially inflammatory statement.”
The documents also said that Roof’s father and uncle contacted police to positively identify the 21-year-old as the suspect after authorities issued photos of the gunman within hours of the attack at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston Wednesday evening.
As those details trickled out, the suspect’s family issued a statement expressing sadness and offering condolences to the families of the victims:
Dylann Roof’s father, according to the court documents, told investigators that his son owned a .45-caliber handgun. The documents note that .45-caliber casings were found at the scene of the shootings.
The affidavits allege that Roof, wearing a fanny pack apparently to hide a weapon, spent an hour with the parishioners before opening fire on the group. Before leaving the scene of the carnage, he allegedly “uttered a racially inflammatory statement” over the bodies to a witness who was apparently allowed to survive to convey the message.
Roof was returned to South Carolina after waiving his extradition rights following his arrest Thursday near Shelby, N.C., about 245 miles northwest of Charleston.
He appeared at ease when he allegedly told investigators shortly after his capture that he had launched the attack that left nine dead, a federal law enforcement official said. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said that the suspect expressed no remorse and appeared “comfortable” with what he had done.
Authorities have determined that Roof legally obtained a .45-caliber handgun earlier this year, using money likely provided as birthday gift from his family, the official said. The weapon was purchased at gun store near Columbia, S.C.
Statements made by some family members of victims were particularly powerful.
Charleston shooting: What is a ‘hate crime’?
Appearing by video link from jail, the 21-year-old Roof, who was handcuffed and wore a striped jail jumpsuit, often pursed his lips, closed his eyes, or stared at the floor as the relatives of five victims spoke to the court at the bond hearing.
“You took something really precious away from me, I will never talk to her again, never hold her again, but I forgive you,” said the daughter of one of the victims, Ethel Lance. “You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people but God forgive you and I forgive you.”
Roof appeared wan and subdued, his distinctive bowl hair, shown in surveillance photos outside the church on the night of the killings, stringy and unkempt. He stood with his hands cuffed behind his back. Two heavily armed guards stood behind him.
Bethanee Middleton-Brown, sister of another victim, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, addressed the hearing amid sniffles and sobs in the tiny courtroom.
She said her sister “taught me me that we are the family that love built, we have no room for hate, so we have to forgive. And I pray to God for your soul and I also thank God that And I also thank God I won’t be around when your judgment day comes with him.”
Although the court legally could not issue any bond in on the murder charges, Magistrate James Gosnell Jr. set Roof’s bond on a related weapons possession charge at $1 million.
Roof, who often swallowed hard as the judge asked questions, spoke only three times, answering “yes, sir” and “no, sir” to questions about his employment status. Roof is unemployed.
At the opening of the emotional, 13-minute hearing, Gosnell addressed the court, saying Charleston is a strong, loving community with “big hearts.”
“We are going to reach out to everyone, all the victims, and we will touch them,” he said. “We have victims — nine of them — but we also have victims on the other side.
“There are victims on this young man’s side of the family. No one would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into … We must find it in their heart to also help his family as well.”
In Washington, meanwhile, Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said the federal inquiry into the church shooting is ongoing.
What happens to mass killers: the data behind the crimes
Pierce said the investigation will not only consider possible hate crime violations, but prosecutors also will review the shooting as a possible “act of domestic terrorism.”
“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles,” Pierce said.
Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph Riley said although he doesn’t condone the death penalty, he thinks prosecutors will seek it in the Emanuel AME church shooting. VPC
Gov. Nikki Haley, speaking on NBC’s Today show on Friday, said that “we will absolutely will want him to have the death penalty” for the fatal shooting of nine members of a Bible study group at the Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday evening.
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., said at a news conference Friday that though he’s not a proponent of the death penalty, it’s the law in South Carolina and he expects it will be sought in the church shooting. “If you are going to have a death penalty, certainly this case would merit it,” Riley said.
Shelby police officials did not interview Roof formally, according to WBTV, a Charlotte TV station, which quotes an unidentified source as saying the suspect was videotaped during the entire time he was at the Shelby police department.
The source told WBTV that Roof spoke freely, told investigators he had been planning the attack for a period of time, had researched the Emanuel AME Church and targeted it because it was a historic African-American church.
According to WBTV’s source, Roof told investigators he had a Glock handgun hidden behind a pouch he was wearing around his waist. He also told investigators he thought he’d only shot a few people and when told he actually had killed nine people, he appeared to be somewhat remorseful, according to the source.
During the recorded conversation, Roof reportedly told investigators he actually thought he would be caught in Charleston before fleeing and was headed to Nashville when he was captured. When asked why he was going to Nashville, he reportedly told investigators “I’ve never been there before.”
Police alleged that Roof opened fire on worshipers after sitting with them for at least an hour. The victims included the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, 41, who was also a state senator.
The 21-year-old man accused of killing nine people as they worshiped at a Charleston, South Carolina church has a criminal past. Dylann Roof was arrested twice this year and images of him posted to social media seem to show a racist ideology. WCNC
Roof allegedly told police he “almost didn’t go through with (the shooting) because everyone was so nice to him,” other sources told NBC News’ Craig Melvin.
Police say they thought Roof was the lone gunman within hours of the bloody attack on the church, which was founded in 1816. Asked whether authorities believe Roof had acted alone, Mullen said: “We don’t have any reason to believe anyone else was involved.”
A one-time acquaintance of Roof’s told the Associated Press that he would rant that “blacks were taking over the world” as the pair got drunk on vodka.
Roof railed that “someone needed to do something about it for the white race,” said the former friend, Joseph Meek Jr., according to the AP.
Story 1: Obama Trade Promotion Authority Put On Hold For Next President? — A Dirty Deal For American People In 38 Business Sectors Under The Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) — The Coming Legal Immigration Invasion of United States of America! — Videos
SR 379 Fast Track Dead – Until July 31
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Free Trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trade Deal Deadline for TAA Do Over Extended to July 30
Rand Paul wants TPP fast tracked without READING IT.. Corporate shill disguised as FREEDOM LOVER
Ron Paul Opposes Treasonous TPP Trade Deal
Why Is Obama Pushing The TPP?
WikiLeaks exposes new batch of secret US, EU trade negotiations
Mark Levin: Fast Track trade bill massively expands Obama’s executive authority over immigration!
The Glenn Beck Program Beck Blitz: The Trade Agreement w/ Rep. Dave Brat 06 11 15
The history and geopolitics of trade in services
EU Parliament to vote on EU-US trade agreement on June 10
Truthout Interviews with Mike Ludwig Mike Ludwig on TISA and Julian Assange
What’s in the TISA and why it’s a secret?
Trade in Services Agreement Moves Forward, But How Will It Affect Consumers? Pt.1
Who is Behind TISA? Pt. 2
A Plan Only Banksters Will Love: WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial Deregulation
It’s Illegal to Disclose the Details of “Obamatrade”
Congressman Grayson on The TPP and Its Evil Cousin TISA
What the TiSA Leaked Documents Reveal About Negotiations
Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘88 seconds to Debate the TPP’?
Trade Treachery by Alan Grayson
John Birch Society Predicted 10 Steps To America’s Destruction 55 Years Ago
U.S. House votes to buy more time to revive Obama’s trade plans
BY ROB HOTAKAINEN
McClatchy Washington BureauJune 16, 2015
The U.S. House voted Tuesday to give itself more time to try to salvage President Barack Obama’s faltering trade agenda.
House members will now have until July 30 to reconsider a vote on trade-adjustment assistance that failed last Friday. House leaders originally planned to bring up the issue early this week.
The House voted 236 to 189 for the extension, including it in a rule for debate on the 2016 intelligence authorization bill.
The measure is linked to Obama’s bid to win trade-promotion authority to help him pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed 12-nation trade pact that would rank as the largest in history.
While trade backers said the postponement would give them more time to regroup, opponents said it was unfair to delay a vote for so long and to make it part of an intelligence bill.
“This is one more attempt to play games with the future of hard-working families,” said Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of the leading opponents of Obama’s trade plans.
Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas said the delay would allow House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to bring up the issue for a vote at any time in the next six weeks, with no notice. He said Republicans are looking for “the ideal time to muscle through a broken trade policy.”
Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said that 95 percent of the world’s customers now live overseas and that 1.2 million jobs in her state rely on trade. She said that passing trade-promotion authority, or TPA, is in the best economic interests of her state.
“The allegations that TPA is something for President Obama is false,” she said.
In a big loss for Obama, the House voted overwhelming last week to reject trade-adjustment assistance for American workers who lose their jobs as a result of global trade.
A majority of House Democrats fell in line behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who said that voting against trade-adjustment assistance was the only way to defeat trade-promotion authority.
The Senate passed trade-promotion authority, also known as fast-track authority, last month.
Under fast-track rules, Congress could not amend or filibuster a trade pact once it’s negotiated and submitted for approval.
Critics say that would give too much authority to Obama, while backers of trade-promotion authority say it would be the best way to gain concessions from foreign governments at the negotiating table.
Boehner told reporters Tuesday that he has talked with Obama several times, “trying to find a way to move ahead.”
“No decisions have been made, but when we have one, we’ll let you know,” he said.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has stated in an interrogatory with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and via letter that nothing is being negotiated in the TPP that “would require any modification to U.S. immigration law or policy or any changes to the U.S. visa system.”
For many years, Congress has made it abundantly clear that international trade agreements should not change, nor require any change, to U.S. immigration law and practice…
The Committee continues to believe that it is not appropriate to negotiate in a trade agreement any provision that would (1) require changes to U.S. immigration law, regulations, policy, or practice; (2) accord immigration-related benefits to parties to trade agreements; (3) commit the United States to keep unchanged, with respect to nationals of parties to trade agreements, one or more existing provisions of U.S. immigration law, policy, or practice; or (4) expand to additional countries immigration-related commitments already made by the United States in earlier trade agreements.
Congress’ intent could not be any clearer, but there’s strong evidence to doubt that these assurances will be upheld. If you read these statements closely, you’ll see that most of them concern only the TPP and its lack of impact on immigration policy. But the Trade in Services Agreement, or “TiSA”—another trade deal being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration—is another story; there is little doubt that it will constrain the future ability of the United States Congress to regulate U.S. immigration policy. In fact, deregulating the U.S. work visa system, and therefore opening it up to foreign corporations that provide services (as opposed to goods) is the explicit purpose of an entire annex (section) in TiSA, entitled “Movement of Natural Persons.” The text was heretofore secret until Wikileaks published it on its website last week.
It should be noted that much of the text is a proposed draft for negotiation, and within the text, numerous parts of specific provisions are bracketed to denote which countries support or oppose particular sections or language within sections. But the thrust of the text in the annex is clear. For example, Article 4 is about the schedules (i.e., lists) of commitments that countries will have to put together regarding the “Entry and Temporary Stay of Natural Persons,” and a proposed version of Article 4, Section 2 would prohibit member states from “maintain[ing] or adopt[ing] Economic Needs Tests, including labor market tests, as a requirement for a visa or work permit” in the sectors where commitments are made. (In other words, U.S. laws or regulations limiting guestworkers only to jobs where no U.S. workers were available would violate the terms of the treaty.)
Proposed draft Article 5, Section 1 then requires that “Each Party shall take market access and national treatment commitments for intra-corporate transferees, business visitors and categories delinked from commercial presence: contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.” Section 3 gets more specific about the sectors of the economy where member states will have to allow access to intra-corporate transferees, business visitors, contractual service suppliers, and independent professionals:
3. Subject to any terms, limitations, conditions and qualifications that the Party sets out in its Schedule, Parties shall allow entry and temporary stay of [contractual service suppliers and independent professionals3] for a minimum of [X%] of the following sectors/sub-sectors:
Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services (CPC 862)
Architectural services (CPC 8671)
Engineering services (CPC 8672)
Integrated engineering services (CPC 8673)
Urban planning and landscape architectural services (CPC 8674)
Medical & dental services (CPC 9312)
Veterinary services (CPC 932)
Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel (CPC 93191)
Computer and related services:
Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware (CPC 841)
Software implementation services (CPC 842)
Data processing services (CPC 843)
Data base services (CPC 844)
Other (CPC 845+849)
Research and Development services:
R&D services on natural sciences (CPC 851)
R&D services on social sciences and humanities (CPC 852)
Interdisciplinary R&D services (CPC 853)
Other business services
Advertising services (CPC 871)
Market research and public opinion polling services (CPC 864)
Management consulting services (CPC 865)
Services related to management consulting (CPC 866)
Technical testing & analysis services (CPC 8676)
[CH propose: Services incidental to manufacturing]
Related scientific and technical consulting services (CPC 8675)
Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment) (CPC 633 + 8861-8866)
Specialty design services (CPC 87907)
Construction and related engineering services:
General construction work for buildings (CPC 512)
General construction work for civil engineering (CPC 513)
Installation and assembly work (CPC514+516)
Building completion and finishing work (CPC 517)
Other (CPC 511+515+518)
Sewage services (CPC 9401)
Refuse disposal services (CPC 9402)
Sanitation and similar services (CPC 9403)
[CH propose: Financial Services]
[CH propose: Financial advisors]
Tourism and travel related services:
Hotels and Restaurants (CPC Ex. 641)
Travel Agencies and Tour Operators services (CPC 7471)
Tourist Guides services (CPC 7472)
[CH propose: Transport services
[CH propose: Other services auxiliary to all modes of transport CPC]
Recreational, cultural and sporting services:
38. Sporting and other recreational services (CPC 964)
In the United States, this means the L-1 intra-company transferee, B-1 business visitor visa programs, and any other applicable visa programs could be used to permit temporary employees from abroad to work in the United States, and no economic needs tests (i.e., testing the labor market) could ever be imposed by Congress. To translate, that means that foreign firms would not be required to advertise jobs to U.S. workers, or to hire U.S. workers if they were equally or better qualified for job openings in their own country. (It should be noted that the L-1 is already restricted in this way, as a result of the United States’ commitments under the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATS).) These visa programs are already under-regulated and abused by employers, but since neither the L-1 nor the B-1 visa program is numerically limited by law, this means that potentially hundreds of thousands of workers could enter the United States every year to work in these 38 sectors.
This is worrying and problematic, not because there shouldn’t be any foreign competition from service-providing companies in the United States, but because the competitive advantage foreign companies will get from TiSA is the ability to provide cheaper services by importing much cheaper labor to supplant American workers. They’ll do this by paying their workers the much lower salaries they would earn in their home countries (as they often already do in the L-1 and B-1 visa programs), and the United States might even be prohibited in future from imposing minimum or prevailing wage standards (at present, neither the L-1 or B-1 visa program has a minimum or prevailing wage rule).
There is clear precedent for this. The multilateral GATS agreement, to which the United States is a party, includes limits on the U.S. government’s ability to change the rules on H-1B and L-1 guestworker visas. That’s why when Congress wants to raise visa fees, as they did in 2010, the Indian government cries foul and threatens to formally complain to the World Trade Organization. The U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore trade deals also included new guestworker programs similar to the H-1B and constraints on the U.S. government’s ability to set rules on L-1 intracompany transfers.
The TiSA draft annex on Movement of Natural Persons would also likely restrict the ability of the current and future administrations to continue some of the basic immigration procedures it currently follows, such as requiring an in-person interview with L-1 applicants. The draft treaty might even prohibit common sense legislative proposals that Congress has considered over the past few years, including minimum wage rules for companies seeking to hire guestworkers in the L-1 visa program. This is particularly disturbing since the L-1 visa program has been a primary vehicle to facilitate the offshoring of high wage jobs and for replacing American workers with cheaper guestworkers.
TiSA has been written in secret by and for major corporations that will benefit greatly if it becomes law. If the House of Representatives grants the Obama administration the fast-track trade promotion authority it seeks, the authority will be valid for six years, which means TiSA (like TPP) would also get an up-or-down vote in Congress without any amendments—making it very likely to pass and become law without the necessary democratic deliberations on immigration that such major changes should have. The leaked TiSA text makes it clear that contrary to the claims by proponents of fast-track trade promotion authority, the reality is that those voting for fast track are ceding key powers to make immigration law and policy to an unelected group of corporations and foreign governments.
TPP/TISA Will Give Barack Obama Vastly Expanded Immigration Powers Experts Say
The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is an international trade agreement between the U.S. and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel. The agreement aims at liberalizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, health care and transport.
TISA is the sibling of the TPP and the TTIP. All are being negotiated in absolute secrecy and it appears that TISA is covered by TPP fast-track authority. TISA has immigration requirements that would allow Barack Obama to play fast and loose with our immigration laws.
Breitbart reported that inside the Obamatrade being debated on Friday, is a chapter that vastly expands Barack Obama’s power over immigration.
The documents released by Wikileaks had not been examined thoroughly but Breitbart brought in experts and they uncovered a serious problem with fast track. Their findings agree with VDare and Immigration Reform who reported on this last week.
TISA (The Trade and Services Agreement) is covered by fast track authority under TPA. The “implication” is that the U.S. intends to be a party to all or some of the provisions of this agreement. The U.S. would be required to “change its immigration laws”, according to Rosemary Jenks of Numbers USA.
Ten pages of TISA deal exclusively with immigration.
Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at Numbers USA, said those 10 pages make it absolutely clear that the administration is negotiating immigration.
Since 2003, a Senate resolution said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements. Hillary Clinton voted for this resolution.
The U.S. Trade Representative who wrote TPA told Congress that the “U.S. is not negotiating immigration– or at least is not negotiating any immigration provisions that would require us to change our laws.” That appears to be inaccurate.
On page 4 and 5 of the agreement, about 40 industries are listed where potentially the U.S. visa processes would have to change to accommodate the requirements within the agreement.
There would be no requirement to show there aren’t U.S. workers available for the job.
On page 7 of the agreement, it suggests, “The period of processing applications may not exceed 30 days.”
There wouldn’t be enough time to vet the visas and the U.S. would end up rubber stamping visa approvals.
The application process has a footnote that says face-to-face interviews are too burdensome, yet we know from experience that they are invaluable and the best opportunity to vet the applicants..
On page 4 of the agreement. It only provides an “[X]” where the number of years would be filled in for the entry or temporary stay. That means our 7-year limit would have to change and Obama could do it constitutionally if he has fast-track authority.
On June 4th, Immigration Reform also saw red flags throughout the document. In addition to the ones mentioned by Breitbart, they found that the deal creates “a presumption that all spouses of L-1/B-1 visitors who stay for 12 months should also get visas.’
TISA also has “language about “independent professionals” that is very non-specific and it could be an attempt to allow self-petitioning.”
“Finally, the total impact is uncertain because even after the agreement is signed every signatory needs to publish a schedule of industry sectors that they will allow business visitors, contractual service professionals and independent professionals to enter.”
Senator Sessions said that the administration could use the fast-track authority to expand immigration but Paul Ryan said it was an ‘urban legend.” Ryan chairs the House Ways and Means Committee oversees trade. Right now it looks like Senator Sessions was correct.
Barack Obama is a serious and dangerous globalist. If there is any way that he can use these trade agreements to violate our laws and our sovereignty, he will.
REVEALED: THE SECRET IMMIGRATION CHAPTER IN OBAMA’S TRADE AGREEMENT
Discovered inside the huge tranche of secretive Obamatrade documents released by Wikileaks are key details on how technically any Republican voting for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would fast-track trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would technically also be voting to massively expand President Obama’s executive authority when it comes to immigration matters.
The mainstream media covered the Wikileaks document dump extensively, but did not mention the immigration chapter contained within it, so Breitbart News took the documents to immigration experts to get their take on it. Nobody has figured how big a deal the documents uncovered by Wikileaks are until now. (See below)
The president’s Trade in Services Act (TiSA) documents, which is one of the three different close-to-completely-negotiated deals that would be fast-tracked making up the president’s trade agreement, show Obamatrade in fact unilaterally alters current U.S. immigration law. TiSA, like TPP or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) deals, are international trade agreements that President Obama is trying to force through to final approval. The way he can do so is by getting Congress to give him fast-track authority through TPA.
TiSA is even more secretive than TPP. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can review the text of TPP in a secret, secured room inside the Capitol—and in some cases can bring staffers who have high enough security clearances—but with TiSA, no such draft text is available.
Voting for TPA, of course, would essentially ensure the final passage of each TPP, T-TIP, and TiSA by Congress, since in the history of fast-track any deal that’s ever started on fast-track has been approved.
Roughly 10 pages of this TiSA agreement document leak are specifically about immigration.
“The existence of these ten pages on immigration in the Trade and Services Agreement make it absolutely clear in my mind that the administration is negotiating immigration – and for them to say they are not – they have a lot of explaining to do based on the actual text in this agreement,” Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at Numbers USA, told Breitbart News following her review of these documents.
Obama will be able to finalize all three of the Obamatrade deals, without any Congressional input, if Congress grants him fast-track authority by passing TPA. Fast-track lowers the vote thresholds in the Senate and blocks Congress from amending any trade deals—and also, since each of these three deals are pretty much entirely negotiated already, it wouldn’t lead to any more congressional involvement or transparency with each.
The Senate passed the TPA last month, so it is up to the House to put the brakes on Obama’s unilateral power. The House could vote as early as Friday on fast-track, but may head into next week. By all counts, it’s going to be a very tight vote—and may not pass. It remains to be seen what will happen in light of leaks about things like the immigration provisions of TiSA—which deals with 24 separate parties, mostly different nations but also the European Union. It is focused on increasing the free flow of services worldwide—and with that, comes labor. Labor means immigration and guestworkers.
“This Trade and Services Agreement is specifically mentioned in TPA as being covered by fast-track authority, so why would Congress be passing a Trade Promotion Authority Act that covers this agreement, if the U.S. weren’t intended to be a party to this agreement – so at the very least, there should be specific places where the U.S. exempts itself from these provisions and there are not,” explained Jenks.
She emphasized that this is a draft, but at this point “certainly the implication is that the U.S. intends to be a party to all or some of the provisions of this agreement. There is nothing in there that says otherwise, and there is no question in my mind that some of the provisions in this Trade and Services Agreement would require the United States to change its immigration laws.”
In 2003, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that said no immigration provision should be in trade agreements – and in fact, former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) voted for this resolution.
The existence of these 10 pages is in clear violation of that earlier unanimous decision, and also in violation of the statements made by the U.S. Trade Representative.
“He has told members of Congress very specifically the U.S. is not negotiating immigration – or at least is not negotiating any immigration provisions that would require us to change our laws. So, unless major changes are made to the Trade and Services Agreement – that is not true,” said Jenks.
There are three examples within the 10 pages of areas where the U.S. would have to alter current immigration law.
First, on page 4 and 5 of the agreement, roughly 40 industries are listed where potentially the U.S. visa processes would have to change to accommodate the requirements within the agreement.
Jenks explained that under the agreement, the terms don’t have an economic needs based test, which currently U.S. law requires for some types of visa applications in order to show there aren’t American workers available to fill positions.
Secondly, on page 7 of the agreement, it suggests, “The period of processing applications may not exceed 30 days.”
Jenks said this is a massive problem for the U.S. because so many visa applications take longer than 30 days.
“We will not be able to meet those requirements without essentially our government becoming a rubber stamp because it very often takes more than 30 days to process a temporary worker visa,” she said.
Jenks also spotted another issue with the application process.
“The fact that there’s a footnote in this agreement that says that face to face interviews are too burdensome … we’re supposed to be doing face to face interviews with applicants for temporary visas,” she added.
“According to the State Department Consular Officer, it’s the in person interviews that really gives the Consular Officer an opportunity to determine – is this person is a criminal, is this person a terrorist … all of those things are more easily determined when you’re sitting face to face with someone and asking those questions.”
The third issue is present on page 4 of the agreement. It only provides an “[X]” where the number of years would be filled in for the entry or temporary stay.
Jenks explained that for example, with L visas under current U.S. immigration law, the time limit is seven years – so if the agreement were to go beyond seven years, it would change current U.S. law.
This wouldn’t be unconstitutional if Obama has fast-track authority under TPA, as Congress would essentially have given him the power to finalize all aspects of the negotiations, including altering immigration law.
“I think this whole thing makes it very clear that this administration is negotiating immigration – intends to make immigration changes if they can get away with it, and I think it’s that much more critical that Congress ensure that the administration does not have the authority to negotiate immigration,” Jenks said.
Breitbart News’ Matthew Boyle contributed to this report.
On June 3, WikiLeaks released parts of the TISA (Trade in Services Agreement), which is related to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. However, it is still a separate agreement and would be ratified separately. One of the TISA annexes/sub-sections they posted covers “Movement of Natural Persons”, linked here: https://wikileaks.org/tisa/
The focus of the Movement of Natural Persons annex appears to be business visitors and intra-company transfers. Most of the proposed agreement deals with standards for visa applications (30-day deadlines for processing, fee schedules, etc.).
There are red flags throughout the document including:
A prohibition on “Economic Needs” testing, aka, labor market certification on B-1/L-1 visitors;
Creating a presumption that all spouses of L-1/B-1 visitors who stay for 12 months should also get visas;
The proposal appears to forbid mandatory face to face visa interviews as burdensome;
The language about “independent professionals” is very non-specific and it could be an attempt to allow self-petitioning;
Finally, the total impact is uncertain because even after the agreement is signed every signatory needs to publish a schedule of industry sectors that they will allow business visitors, contractual service professionals and independent professionals to enter.
Republican leaders in Congress have opposed President Obama at almost every turn, but they supported his push for fast-track trade authority and, through months of meticulous work within their caucus, formed a strong coalition of support around the issue.
Republicans got on board with the legislation because they felt it contained enough safeguards against executive overreach and that ultimately, fast-track trade authority would benefit the U.S. economy.
And, as it turned out, it was House Democrats who turned their backs on the president. In the days leading up to the House’s failure to pass that trade legislation Friday, the conversation was not about Republican opposition to the president, but the resistance from progressive Democrats. And when it came time to vote, Republicans banded together to pass the half of the trade legislation that they generally support, while Democrats banded togetherto defeat the half of the legislation that was intended to bring them on board.
The measure that passed – Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA – grants the president the right to submit trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without any amendments. The White House says fast-track authority is crucial to successfully completing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP, the 12-nation trade deal currently being negotiated.
The measure that failed – Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA – was intended to aid workers who may lose jobs because of international trade deals. Though TPA passed narrowly, 219-211, it cannot go to the president’s desk without TAA because of the way the legislation was packaged.
Despite the failure of TAA, Republican leaders said they were “proud” of passing TPA, which took months of effort and was by no means guaranteed to make it through the chamber.
“We’ve passed the component that’s been the Republican lift, and that’s getting TPA done,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise said after the vote. “We did it with a strong vote on our side and we made it clear we’re not just going to shut this thing down because the president can’t deliver on his side.”
The groundwork for that successful vote on TPA – which passed with 191 Republicans and just 28 Democrats – began months ago, with the intense outreach and vote whipping from Republican leadership and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on trade.
The first obstacle was cutting through the confusion. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I have rarely seen this much confusion surrounding an issue,” Ryan said last week at a Rules Committee hearing about the trade legislation.
Part of the problem was the alphabet soup of trade acronyms – TPA being the fast-track authority, TAA the workers assistance program, and TPP the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Because that confusion came from both outside the halls of Congress and from within Capitol Hill – where many members weren’t around last time TPA was completed more than a decade ago – the process including educating the public as well as fellow lawmakers.
It began with Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee, which had jurisdiction over the trade legislation, said Rep. Pat Tiberi, chairman of the Ways and Means trade subcommittee. Outreach included voluntary “listening sessions,” where lawmakers were invited to come listen to Ryan, Tiberi and others outline what was in the TPA legislation, and to ask questions about it. Members who were more knowledgeable on trade, Tiberi said – either because they’d done it before or represent a district that is heavily reliant on trade – started the ball rolling.
The Whip’s office hosted 23 meetings with members to speak with Scalise and Ryan. They also often reached out one-on-one with phone calls, official meetings or just informal conversations on the House floor. Slowly, members became educated and the count of supporters grew.
“Early on, it was people who just didn’t know what was in it and wanted to find out,” a GOP leadership aide told RCP. “As things went on, certain members who were pro trade and kind of got it, who were very comfortable to begin with, they were good. As you go on, you’ve got fewer and fewer people that you need to make the case for, so necessarily as we’ve gone through this, the audience has turned more from soft-yes and undecided’s to soft-no’s but who really want to do their due diligence on this before they cast the vote.”
Rep. Dave Reichert, a member of the Ways and Means trade subcommittee and the founder of the “Friends of TPP” caucus – a group of lawmakers in support of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal currently being negotiated – called the individual outreach to members “critical.” He added that they had “absolutely” changed minds.
“One at a time. One member at a time,” Reichert told RCP the day before the vote.
For some members, the listening sessions were about determining whether fast-track trade authority, and the trade deals that could follow, were right for their district, and Ryan and Scalise’s offices worked hard to be able to make those individual arguments. For others, it was a blank slate process and they wanted to just learn about TPA. For some, it was about clearing up what many pro-TPA Republicans describe as “misconceptions” about what the legislation does.
The length of time and number of meetings it took before members came on board – if they did come around to supporting TPA – varied significantly, according to one House Republican aide.
“Some people needed more time and more convincing, and some, once they got a few things set straight were like, ‘Okay, I’m all set, I’m on board,’” the aide said. “It all depended on who they were talking to and what their concerns were.”
There was a prevailing feeling – perhaps not helped by the legislation being shorthanded as “fast track” – that it gave Obama sweeping power over trade deals at the expense of Congress’ role. The pro-TPA Republicans worked hard to counter those points.
The argument boiled down to transparency and accountability. Under TPA, Congress would have the ability to vote down a trade deal that didn’t live up to its standards, and the legislation includes 150 parameters for negotiating deals. Also, while Congress couldn’t amend trade deals, the deals would have to be available to the public for 60 days before being signed by the president.
“That’s slow track – that’s no fast track in my mind,” Tiberi told RCP. “Nothing sits in the public for 60 days around here before the president can sign it, before the president can submit it to Congress in bill form, so that everybody can see, including members of Congress, including the public, including the press, and that’s part of what TPA is all about.”
Supporters also had to contend with opponents’ arguments that trade deals hurt U.S. workers and cost jobs. Ultimately, these were chief among the reasons Democrats blocked the trade package – they wanted more protections for workers.
Tiberi called the lost jobs argument a “bumper sticker” about why trade is bad, and said it’s difficult for those who disagree with that position to effectively counter it.
“This is very hard to get your arms around if you don’t spend day after day after day studying this and understanding this,” he said. “The other side is much easier, and that is trade costs jobs, trade ships jobs overseas, trade is all about losing. That’s just not the case.”
Along with the general questions about Obama’s authority and the impact of trade, those whipping the trade bills had to court members with specific problems. Rep. Steve King, perhaps the most vocal congressional opponent of illegal immigration, wanted to insert language preventing trade deals from being used to change immigration laws. King said he laid out exactly what he wanted to Ryan, whom he met with three or four times to discuss the matter. Ultimately, Ryan agreed to place the language in a separate trade bill and King was a “yes” on TPA.
“I can’t measure how it’s been with others, but if [Ryan was] dealing with everyone else the way he was dealing with me, you couldn’t ask for it to be any better,” King said.
Other times, the specific interests of members weren’t met. Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he and some of his fellow conservatives had made three very clear requirements to gain their support: a guarantee not to bring up a reauthorization of the Export-Import bank; elimination of the TAA workers assistance component; and a provision that lawmakers who aren’t on the Ways and Means Committee get equal power in rejecting trade deals.
With those three things, Jordan said he and some fellow conservatives were for TPA. Without, they were against. Though they met with Ryan and leadership, they didn’t get the concessions and Jordan voted against the legislation.
“Conservatives in Congress support free trade,” Jordan said in a statement after the vote. “We have been and still are willing to work with our leadership to make this legislation better. Our leadership tried to compromise with Democrats instead of us, and now we know that strategy failed. We stand ready to work on free trade legislation that is both transparent and consistent with Republican principles.”
Majority Leader McCarthy sighed during a briefing with reporters Monday when asked about Jordan’s comments.
“We’ve listened to everybody in the House,” McCarthy said. “You can’t assume every single Republican is pro-free trade. Some people are opposed to it and that’s a microcosm, that’s when you have a national party, I understand that. People are going to have a difference of opinion, but one thing is that inside this House, everybody had meetings numerous times. There are some things that people asked for that are impossible to get to as well.”
Ultimately, the months of work from Ryan, Scalise, Tiberi and others could be for naught. Democrats overwhelmingly blocked TAA – and thus stalled TPA – Friday, and though a second vote could happen as early as this week, it’s unclear whether the White House has been able to push any Democrats to support its position. Republicans are generally opposed to TAA, and though 86 GOP members did vote for it last week, that number is unlikely to increase. Because the Senate passed the two trade measures together, one can’t go to the president’s desk without the other. And while Republicans could take up TPA on its own at a later time, it’s unclear if that could pass the Senate, where the TPA/TAA combo passed with 62 votes, just barely over the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster.
Despite those question marks going forward, Republican leaders remained confident after the vote.
“I’m very proud of this Congress today,” Ryan said in a press conference. “I’m very proud of the House Republican caucus. I’m also very proud and thankful for the pro-trade Democrats that kept their word and stuck with us in this process. America is being watched by the rest of the world as to whether or not America is going to lead in the world, and I think this sent the right signal. Now the president has some work yet to do with his party to complete this process. This isn’t over yet.”
GOP LEADERSHIP’S LATEST OBAMATRADE PLOY REVEALED: SMALL BUSINESS TAX HIKE THAT VIOLATES GOP’S ANTI-TAX PLEDGE
Establishment Republicans desperately trying to secure the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would give President Obama fast-track authority to secure congressional approval of at least three secretive trade deals, are now willing to increase taxes on small businesses in a way that would violate a pledge almost every Republican Congressman has taken when elected into office.
To secure final passage through Congress of a package that would include TPA fast-track authority—which would ensure finalization of the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), among other deals—the House would need to pass the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) package that was necessary for Senate passage of TPA. The House voted TAA down 302-126 with widespread bipartisan opposition to last week, but House Ways and Means Committee chairman
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
and his allies in House GOP leadership have pledged that they will try to pass it again early next week. The vote would potentially be on Monday, but more likely on Tuesday—and if there is no vote by Tuesday, it’s unlikely that Ryan will be able to succeed in his ploy to revive TPA.
TAA is a big government program usually favored by Democrats—it increases the size and scope of government, and is essentially viewed by Republicans as a welfare program—so their opposition to it during Friday’s complicated and confusing House vote schedule was not opposition to TAA as a specific concept, but opposition to the full Obamatrade package, especially TPA.
House Minority Leader
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
gave a blistering floor speech against the full Obamatrade deal, causing a Democratic rebellion against TAA—and forcing Ryan to push Republicans to vote for that part of the package.
TAA was originally supposed to be financed with Medicare cuts – which sparked major outrage, and cries of hypocrisy in what would have certainly turned into boldly negative campaign advertisements against Republicans by Democrats this next cycle. But under pressure, Republican leadership, mainly Boehner and Ryan, negotiated with Democrats to remove the Medicare cuts from the financial backing of TAA and instead using direct tax hikes by raising the penalties for misfiled taxes.
“A vote for Obamatrade on Tuesday is a vote to give the IRS more power and more incentives to go after small businesses,” said Curtis Ellis, founder of the Obamatrade.com website, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.
Democrats overwhelmingly opposed TAA Friday after Pelosi voiced opposition to giving President Obama fast-track trade authority.
“So while I am a big supporter of TAA, if TAA slows down the fast-track, I am prepared to vote against the TAA because then its defeat, sad to say, is the only way that we will be able to slow down the fast-track,” Pelosi said just minutes before the crucial vote. She concluded: “The facts are these: If TAA fails, the fast-track bill is stopped.”
“It’s pretty outrageous what is called for in this bill that Congress is going to vote on Tuesday – it literally doubles and triples the taxes on small businesses,” explained Ellis.
Ellis spent hours researching this legislation and explained to Breitbart News how it could impact small business taxes if Congress passes the TAA during its vote on Tuesday.
“Small businesses that are already over-burdened with IRS paperwork will be penalized even further if they make a technical mistake on filing informational paperwork,” he said. “There’s a lot of dishonesty going on when the bill is described as raising the fines on tax violations. That’s dishonest because the fines aren’t for people who failed to pay their taxes, the fines are on businesses that for no fault of their own, they forget to fie a piece of paperwork telling the IRS how much someone else owes on their taxes.”
“It’s outrageous that Republicans who complain all the time – rightfully so – about the IRS’s overreach and over burdening small business are actually increasing the incentive for the IRS to spy on people – to spy on small businesses,” he added.
Essentially, as explained by Ellis, any time a small business paid an independent contractor or freelancer a commission or any tips, it must be reported to the IRS with a 1099 form, which a copy is also sent to the contractor or freelancer. If the small business is late in filing this form, then it is fined by the IRS. The proposal Tuesday, as it stands, would double and triple these fines.
“It is the height of cynicism for Congress to plan on paying for a welfare program for unions by increasing the penalties for small businesses,” Ellis reacted.
President of Americans for Limited Government Rick Manning agrees with Ellis about this increasing penalty being a tax increase on small businesses.
“There is no question that raising the penalty on small businesses who commit a paperwork error is a tax increase. It is directly intended to raise revenues, so it can’t be considered anything else. For Republican leadership to ask their members to vote to raise taxes on small business to fund a union bailout that Big Labor doesn’t want is both horrific policy and terrible politics,” Manning told Breitbart News.
This program was so unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans that they removed it from Obamacare.
“This is very similar to one of the ways Obamacare was going to be paid for – as Obamacare was enacted they were looking for revenue to pay for it by increasing the penalties on small businesses who failed to file 1099 forms – that was repealed because it was so unpopular,” Ellis said. “Republicans led the charge in repealing it and now they’re the ones leading the charge to once again increase the penalties in already burdensome paperwork for the IRS.”
Therefore, the Republicans that voted for TAA Friday, essentially voted to finance TAA at the expense of increasing small business taxes – a direct violation of the Grover Norquist tax pledge, which many Republican Congressmen took, pledging to the American public not to raise any more taxes.
Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, a group for taxpayer advocacy to limit size of government, organized the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The pledge asks all politicians for both federal and state office to sign the pledge, committing themselves to oppose tax increases.
“This is clearly a tax increase – and it’s a violation of Grover Norquist’s no tax increase pledge that most of these Congressmen signed,” Ellis said. “This legislation assumes that there are small businesses out there that will fail to file the 1099 form and will therefore have to pay a fine.”
“It assumes small businesses will be forced to pay the IRS and then it goes further and says ‘let’s make them pay more’ – it doubles and triples the fines,” he argued.
Nearly every elected Republican in America—with rare exception—has signed Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. As such, the 86 Republicans who voted to raise small business taxes through the TAA on Friday most likely did as well.
ATR spokesman John Kartch told Breitbart News he doesn’t think TAA as it’s structured now in the House is a tax and that it does not violate the tax pledge—but that ATR is vehemently opposed to the program and is recommending all Republicans vote against it. That means ATR is in agreement with other groups from a more conservative perspective—albeit for slightly different reasons—on this matter, and won’t back down to help Obamatrade across the finish line.
“The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is, like most government jobs training programs, a well intentioned, but flawed program,” Kartch said in an email on Sunday night.
“Americans for Tax Reform opposes the TAA program and any increase in funding for it. The TAA is tied to the Trade Promotion Authority designed to facilitate trade agreements that reduce tariffs. Tariffs are taxes. For most of our nation’s history our national government was largely funded by tariffs. The increases in fines for not filing 1099s are not tax hikes. Tax increases come from changes in tax law. ATR opposes the increase in the fines. Not every stupid move by government is a tax. Civil asset forfeiture is a vicious misuse of government power — but it is not a tax. Excise taxes are taxes and the bottom line of the drive to expand free trade is that — even with silly ‘bribes’ to Democrats like the TAA –freer trade driven by tariff reductions will reduce the taxes paid by American consumers and increase the nation’s economic strength. As has happened with every tariff reduction in our history.”
This is extraordinarily significant, since Norquist and his organization did support the TPA portion of Obamatrade, but the public opposition to its TAA portion means it’s unlikely any GOP votes will budge if and when leadership brings up TAA again next week. In fact, if any Republicans change their votes, they’re likely to switch from voting in favor of TAA to against it so not to violate their pledge.
Ellis, Manning and Norquist are hardly the only influential right-of-center figures opposing TAA.
“Regardless of how TAA is financed, it is a wasteful ineffective program that undermines the virtues of free trade,” Dan Holler, Communications Director for Heritage Action for America, told Breitbart News.
Heritage Action and Club for Growth – a conservative group – both oppose the TAA program saying it’s a wasteful welfare program. Heritage Action scored against TPA and TAA, but Club For Growth supported—like ATR—TPA but not TAA.
When TAA went down in the House last week, only 86 Republicans voted for it—and they were joined by just 40 Democrats.
A whopping 158 Republicans joined 144 Democrats to oppose TAA. To pass TAA this week, the only way to truly keep Obamatrade alive without having to go through a grueling conference committee strategy that would likely lead to even more lost votes on both the House and Senate side when they would vote on an eventual conference report, the establishment would need to pick up 92 votes to get to 218.
That seems highly unlikely, given that the widespread GOP opposition and the revelation that voting for this TAA portion is technically voting for a tax increase. That alone is likely to keep the 158 Republican noes in their column and probably add GOP opposition as several of the 86 GOP ayes are likely to change their votes to oppose it as Democrat opposition is getting stronger too. On Sunday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton—the likely eventual Democrat nominee for president in 2016—urged Democrats to trust Pelosi and oppose granting Obama fast track trade authority until a good deal is assured.
“The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
,” Clinton said in Iowa.
If TAA were to pass—which is even more unlikely now that there’s probably not going to be any Democrat or GOP defections into supporting it—then so does TPA. The bills would move on to President Obama’s desk together, giving him fast-track authority to finalize his trade deals without any amendments to his deals by Congress.
Ryan’s office has not responded to a request for comment in response to these revelations about Obamatrade’s tax increases.
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a proposed international trade treaty between 24 Parties, including the European Union and the United States. The agreement aims at liberalizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, health care and transport. Criticism about the secrecy of the agreement arose after WikiLeaks released in June 2014 a classified draft of the proposal’s financial services annex, dated the previous April.
Parties to Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)
The process was an initiative of the United States. It was proposed to a group of countries meeting in Geneva and called the Really Good Friends. All negotiating meetings take place in Geneva. The EU and the US are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes. The participating countries started crafting the proposed agreement in February 2012 and presented initial offers at the end of 2013.
The agreement covers about 70% of the global services economy. Its aim is privatizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, healthcare and transport. Services comprise 75% of American economic output; in EU states, almost 75% of its employment and gross domestic product.
Once a particular trade barrier has unilaterally been removed, it cannot be reintroduced. This proposal is known as the ‘ratchet clause’.
The EU has stated that companies outside its borders will not be allowed to provide publicly funded healthcare or social services.
Market access for publicly-funded health, social services and education, water services, film or TV will not be taken. Therefore, the ‘racket clause’ will not apply.
Initially having 16 members, the TISA has expanded to include 24 parties. Since the European Union represents 28 member states, there are 51 countries represented. The number of countries represented in each continent are: 32 in Europe, 7 in Asia, 5 in North America, 5 in South America, and 2 in Oceania. The 24 TiSA parties in order of their income categories are:
The agreement has been criticized for the secrecy around the negotiation. The cover page of the negotiating document leaked by Wikileaks says: “Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, five years from the close of the negotiations.” Because of this practice it is not possible to be informed about the liberalizing rules that the participating countries propose for the future agreement. Only Switzerland has a practice of making public on the Internet all the proposals it submitted to the other parties since June 2012. European Union published its “offer” for TISA only in July 2014,after the Wikileaks disclosure.
Digital rights advocates have also brought attention to the fact that the agreement has provisions which would significantly weaken existing data protection provisions in signatory countries. In particular, the agreement would strip existing protections which aim to keep confidential or personally identifiable data within country borders or which prohibit its movement to other countries which do not have similar data protection laws in place.
The agreement bans government mandates for use of open source software, stating “No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory.” The open source word processing application LibreOffice has been deployed by many local governments throughout the EU to save money.
a treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services. The “disciplines,” or treaty rules, would provide all foreign providers access to domestic markets at “no less favorable” conditions as domestic suppliers and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate, purchase and provide services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.
One concern is the provisions regarding retention of business records. David Cay Johnston said, “It is … hard to make the case that the cost of keeping a duplicate record at the home office in a different country is a burden.” He noted that business records requirements are sufficiently important that they were codified in law even before the Code of Hammurabi.
Impacts of the law may include “whether people can get loans or buy insurance and at what prices as well as what jobs may be available.”
“Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services … They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”
Regarding the secrecy of the draft, Professor Kelsey commented: “The secrecy of negotiating documents exceeds even the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement(TPP) and runs counter to moves in the WTO towards greater openness.” Johnston adds, “It is impossible to obey a law or know how it affects you when the law is secret.”
United States Visas were issued to 8.9 million foreign nationals visiting the United States and to 482,000 immigrants in 2012. A foreign national wishing to enter the U.S. must obtain a visa unless he or she is
Immigrant visa – for people to immigrate to the United States. At the port of entry, the immigrant visa holder is processed for a permanent resident card (I-551, a.k.a. green card). Upon endorsement (CBP admission stamp) it serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year.
In order to immigrate, one should either have an immigrant visa or have a dual intent visa, which is one that is compatible with making a concurrent application for permanent resident status, or having an intention to apply for permanent residence.
Entering the U.S. on an employment visa may be described as a three-step process in most cases. First, the employer files an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting a particular type of category visa for a specific individual. If the employer’s application is approved, it only authorizes the individual to apply for a visa; the approved application is not actually a visa. The individual then applies for a visa and is usually interviewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the native country. If the embassy or consulate gives the visa, the individual is then allowed to travel to the U.S. At the border crossing, airport, or other point of entry into the U.S., the individual speaks with an officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ask to admission to the U.S. If approved, the individual may then enter the U.S.
Contrary to a popular misconception, a U.S. visa does not authorize the alien‘s entry to the United States, nor does it authorize the alien’s stay in the U.S. in a particular status. A U.S. visa only serves as a preliminary permission given to the alien to travel to the United States and to seek admission to the United States at a designated port of entry. The final admission to the United States in a particular status and for a particular period of time is made at the port of entry by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. For aliens entering the U.S. in a nonimmigrant visa status these details are recorded by the CBP officer on the alien’sForm I-94 (Form I-94W for citizens of the Visa Waiver Program countries entering the U.S. for short visits), which serves as the official document authorizing the alien’s stay in the United States in a particular non-immigrant visa status and for a particular period of time. Another type of U.S. visa is lottery visa. 50,000 additional visa numbers are available each year under the section of visa lottery. In the last few years more than 9 million people have participated in the visa lottery
The United States and its territories
Visa free countries
Visa Waiver Program countries
Citizens of the following countries, linked with the USA by theCompacts of Free Association, do not require a visa to enter, reside, study, and work indefinitely in the United States:
Visitors may stay for 90 days in the United States which also includes the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is not a visa. Rather, obtaining a travel authorization from ESTA is a prerequisite to travelling by air to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA authorization, once obtained, is valid for two years unless during that time the person obtains a new passport or his/her answers to any of the eligibility questions change.
Citizens of the following countries and territories can travel without obtaining a visa for the United States under certain circumstances:
Bermuda – British Overseas Territories citizens by virtue of their connection to Bermuda can enter the United States visa-free provided they are bona-fide visitors – no I-94 is required. To qualify, they must not have had a criminal conviction or ineligibility, violated U.S. immigration laws in the past and must not be arriving the United States from outside the Western Hemisphere. In addition, they must present a Bermudian passport which fulfils the following criteria: the front cover has printed on it “Government of Bermuda”, the holder’s nationality must be stated as either “British Overseas Territory Citizen” or “British Dependant Territories Citizen”, the passport must contain one of the following endorsement stamps: “Holder is registered as a Bermudian”, “Holder Possesses Bermudian Status” or “Holder is deemed to possess Bermudian status”.
Bahamas – Citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States if they apply for entry at one of the Preclearance Facilities located in Nassau orFreeport International Airports. Bahamian citizens must not have had a criminal conviction or ineligibility, violated U.S. immigration laws in the past and must be in possession of valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document indicating that they have Bahamian citizenship. In addition to a passport, all applicants 14 years of age or older must present a police certificate issued by the Royal Bahamas Police Force within the past six months. All Bahamians applying for admission at a port-of-entry other than the Preclearance Facilities located in Nassau or Freeport International Airport are required to be in possession of a valid visa to enter the United States.
British Virgin Islands – British Overseas Territories Citizens by virtue of their connection to the British Virgin Islands may travel without a visa to the United States Virgin Islands. They may also continue travel to other parts of the United States if they present a Certificate of Good Conduct issued by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Department indicating no criminal record.
Cayman Islands – Whilst residents of the Cayman Islands, as British Overseas Territories Citizens, are eligible automatically to register as a full British citizen under Section 4(A) of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, thereby able additionally to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, they can alternatively enter visa-free using their Cayman Islands passports. To qualify under the latter method, their Cayman Islands passports must confirm their British Overseas Territories citizenship and be endorsed by the Cayman Islands Passport and Corporate Services Office with a Cayman-U.S. visa waiver, issued at a cost of $15–25 and valid for one entry. They must travel directly between the Cayman Islands and the United States and their Cayman Islands passport must also have a validity of at least six months beyond their intended departure date from the United States. If Cayman Islanders elect to enter the U.S. using the Cayman-U.S. visa waiver, they are not required to apply for an ESTA online, since they are not entering under the VWP.
Turks and Caicos Islands – British Overseas Territories Citizens by virtue of their connection to the Turks and Caicos Islands can enter the United States visa-free for short business and pleasure. To qualify, they must not have had a criminal conviction or ineligibility, not violated U.S. immigration laws in the past and must arrive in the United States on a direct flight from the territory. In addition, they must present a Turks and Caicos Islands passport which states that they are a British Overseas Territory Citizen and have the right to abode in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In addition to a valid, unexpired passport, all travellers 14 years of age or older must present a police certificate issued by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force within the past six months. All British Overseas Territories Citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands who apply for admission at a port-of-entry that does not have direct air service to/from the territory, are required to be in possession of a valid visa to enter the United States.
Guam and Northern Mariana Islands Visa Waiver Program]
The U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have a specific Guam-Northern Mariana Islands Visa Waiver Program too. Under this program, first enacted in October 1988 and periodically amended, nationals from several additional countries in Asia and the Pacific islands are permitted to enter the Northern Marianas and Guam as tourists without a visa for up to 45 days. Travel is not permitted onwards to the mainland United States, and because of special visa categories for the Northern Mariana Islands foreign workers, traveling between Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands still requires a full immigration inspection. In addition to the citizens of Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom who are also eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (but do not require ESTA for Guam and Northern Mariana Islands), citizens of the following countries and territories are eligible only for the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program:
Russia – despite not being included in the new Guam-CNMI visa waiver program, as part of a parole arrangement, Russian citizens in possession of a machine-readable passport, a completed Form I-736 (Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Information form) and Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) and a non-refundable and non-transferable return ticket can visit both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands visa-free for up to 45 days.
China – Chinese citizens in possession of a machine-readable passport, completed Form I-736 (Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Information form) and Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) may enter the CNMI only visa-free for up to 45 days (travel to Guam still requires applying for a visa in advance).
The typical process for issuing a United States visa, possibly including aVisas Mantis check
Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The presumption in the law is that every nonimmigrant visa applicant (except certain employment-related applicants, who are exempt) is an intending immigrant unless otherwise proven. Therefore, applicants for most nonimmigrant visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:
The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for a specific, intended purpose;
They plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and
They have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will ensure their return at the end of their stay.
All visit, business, transit, student, and exchange visitor visa applicants must pay a US$160 application fee (up from $140 as of April 2012) to a US Consulate in order to be interviewed by a Consular Officer who will determine if the applicant is qualified to receive a visa to travel to the U.S (additionally, the officer may also ask the United States Department of State for a Security Advisory Opinion, which can take several weeks to resolve). The application fee is increased to $190 for most work visas (up from $150 as of April 2012) and can be even higher for certain categories. If the applicant is rejected, the application fee is not refunded. Amongst the items included in the qualification decision are financial independence, adequate employment, material assets and a lack of a criminal record in the applicant’s native country.
The immigration visa process is even more stringent and costly. After all processing fees have been paid, most immigration visa applicants pay well over 1000 U.S. dollars to become permanent residents in the United States and may be forced to wait several years before actually immigrating to the U.S.
Visitor visa statistics
Issued B-1,2 visas in fiscal 2013
Visa exempt nationalities
Over 400 thousand issued visas
Over 100 thousand issued visas
Over 50 thousand issued visas
Over 25 thousand issued visas
Over 10 thousand issued visas
Over 5 thousand issued visas
Under 5 thousand issued visas
In fiscal 2013 most B-1,2 visas were issued to the nationals of the following countries (listed over 40,000 visas):
In fiscal 2013 most reasons to refuse a visa were cited as “failure to establish entitlement to nonimmigrant status”, “incompatible application” (most overcome), “unlawful presence”, “misrepresentation”, “criminal convictions”, “smugglers” and “controlled substance violators”. Smaller number of applications were rejected for “physical or mental disorder”, “prostitution”, “espionage”, “terrorist activities”, “falsely claiming citizenship” and other grounds for refusal including “presidential proclamation”, “money laundering”, “communicable disease” and “commission of acts of torture or extrajudicial killings”.
Number of non-immigrant admissions for tourists and for business purposes into the United States in fiscal year 2013
Over 2 million admissions
Over 1 million admissions
Over 500 thousand admissions
Over 250 thousand admissions
Over 100 thousand admissions
Over 15 thousand admissions
Under 15 thousand admissions
Highest number of non-immigrant admissions for tourists and for business purposes into the United States in fiscal year 2013 was from the following countries (listed over 700,000 admissions):
A visas are issued to representatives of a foreign government traveling to the United States to engage in official activities for that government. A visas are granted to foreign government ambassadors, ministers, diplomats, as well as other foreign government officials or employees traveling on official business (A-1 Visa). The A visa is also granted to immediate family members of such foreign government officials, defined as “the principal applicant’s spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are not members of some other household and who will reside regularly in the household of the principal alien” (A-2 Visa) and which “may also include close relatives of the principal alien or spouse who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption who are not members of some other household; who will reside regularly in the household of the principal alien; and who are recognized as dependents by the sending government (A-3 Visa).
The most common non-immigrant visa is the multiple-purpose B-1/B-2 visa, also known as the “visa for temporary visitors for business or pleasure.” Visa applicants sometimes receive either a B-1 (temporary visitor for business) or a B-2 (temporary visitor for pleasure) visa, if their reason for travel is specific enough that the consular officer does not feel they qualify for combined B-1/B-2 status. Holders may also attend short non-credit courses. Mexican citizens are eligible for Border Crossing Cards.
US B visa validity period
Under 12 months
Validity of visas by nationality for B-1/B-2 visa:
Taiwan — certain nationalities can obtain an online travel authority if holding a valid US visa.
Turkey — certain nationalities can obtain an electronic Turkish visa if holding a valid US visa.
C-1 visa is a transit visa issued to individuals who are travelling in “immediate and continuous transit through the United States enroute to another country”. The only reason to enter the United States must be for transit purposes. A subtype C-2 visa is issued to diplomats transiting to and from the Headquarters of the United Nations and is limited to the vicinity of New York City.
D visa is issued to crew members of sea-vessels and international airlines in the United States. This includes commercial airline pilots and flight attendants, captain, engineer, or deckhand of a sea vessel, service staff on a cruise ship and trainees on board a training vessel. Usually a combination of a C-1 visa and D visa is required.
Treaty Trader (E-1 visa) and Treaty Investor (E-2 visa) visas are issued to citizens of countries that have signed treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. They are issued to individuals engaged in substantial trade activities in international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism or communications with significant economic impact in the United States. The variant visa issued only to citizens of Australia is the E-3 visa (E-3D visa is issued to spouse or child of E-3 visa holder and E-3R to a returning E-3 holder).
These visas are issued for foreign students enrolled at accredited US institutions. F-1 visas are for full-time students, F2 visas are for spouses and children of F-1 visa holders and F-3 visas are for “border commuters” who reside in their country of origin while attending school in the United States. They are managed through SEVIS.
The G visas are issued to diplomats, government officials, and employees who will work for international organizations in the United States. The international organization must be officially designated as such. The G-1 visa is issued to permanent mission members, G-2 visa is issued to representatives of a recognized government traveling temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization, G-3 visa is issued to individuals representing non-recognized governments, G-4 visa is for those who are taking up an appointment and G-5 visa is issued to personal employees or domestic workers of G1-G4 visa holders.G1-G4 visas are also issued to family members.
Those working specifically for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization require a NATO visa. NATO–1 visa is issued to permanent representatives of NATO and their staff members, NATO-2 visa is issued to a representative of member state to NATO or its subsidiary bodies, advisor or technical expert of the NATO delegation visiting the United States, a member of the NATO military forces component or a staff member of the NATO representative, NATO-3 visa is issued to official clerical staff accompanying the representative of a NATO member state, NATO-4 visa is issued to foreign national recognized as a NATO official, NATO-5 visa is issued to a foreign national recognized as a NATO expert and NATO-6 visa is issued to a member of the civilian component of the NATO. All NATO visas are issued to immediate family members as well. NATO-7 visas are issued to personal employees or domestic workers of a NATO-1 – NATO-6 visa holders.
The H-1B classification is for professional-level jobs that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specific academic field. In addition, the employee must have the degree or the equivalence of such a degree through education and experience. There is a required wage, which is at least equal to the wage paid by the employer to similarly qualified workers or a prevailing wage for such positions in the geographic regions where the jobs are located. This visa also covers fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.H-1B1 visa is the variant issued to citizens of Singapore and Chile.
The H-3 visa is available to those foreign nationals looking to “receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the foreign national’s home country” or ” participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.”.
The I-1 visa is issued to representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries travelling to temporarily work in the United States in the profession.
J-1 visa is issued to participants of work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. The Exchange Visitor Program is carried out under the provisions of theFulbright-Hays Act of 1961, officially known as the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Pub.L. 87–256, 75 Stat.527). The purpose of the Act is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. The Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. Spouses and dependents of J-1 exchange visitors are issued a J-2 visa.
A K-1 visa is a visa issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen to enter the United States. A K-1 visa requires a foreigner to marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry, or depart the United States. Once the couple marries, the foreign citizen can adjust status to become a lawful permanent residentof the United States (Green Card holder). K-2 visa is issued to unmarried children under the age of 21. Foreign same-sex partners of United States citizens are currently recognized by USCIS and accordingly can be sponsored for K-1 visas and for permanent resident status.
K-3/K-4 visas are issued to foreign spouses and children of US citizens.
The L-1 classification is for international transferees who have worked for a related organization abroad for at least one continuous year in the past three years and who will be coming to the United States to work in an executive or managerial (L-1A) or specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B).L-2 visa is issued to dependent spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of qualified L-1 visa holders.
The M-1 visa is a type of student visa reserved for vocational and technical schools. Students in M-1 status may not work on or off campus while studying, and they may not change their status to F-1. The M-2 visa permits the spouse and minor children of an M-1 vocational student to accompany him or her to the United States.
O visa is a classification of non-immigrant temporary worker visa granted to an alien “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1A visa), or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements,” (O-1B visa) and to certain assistants (O-2 visa) and immediate family members of such aliens (O-3 visa).
P visas are issued to individuals or team athletes, or member of an entertainment group including persons providing essential support services (P-1 visa), artists or entertainers (individual or group) under a reciprocal exchange program (P-2 visa) and artists or entertainers (individual or group) visiting to perform, teach or coach under a program that is culturally unique. P-4 visas are issued to spouses, or children under the age of 21, of a P-1, P-2, or P-3 alien and who is accompanying, or following to join.
Q visa is issued to participants in an international cultural exchange program.
R-1 visa is issued to temporary religious workers. They must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years. R-2 visa is issued to dependent family members.
NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico whose profession is on the NAFTA list and who must hold a bachelor’s degree to work in the United States on a prearranged job. Canadian citizens usually do not require a visa to work under the TN status (unless they live outside Canada with non-Canadian family members) while Mexican citizens require a TN visa. Spouse and dependent children of a TN professional can be admitted into the United States in the TD status.
U and T visas
U-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which is set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Subtypes of this visa are U-2 issued to spouses of U-1, U-3 issued to children of U-1, U-4 issued to parents of U-1 under the age of 21 and U-5 issued to unmarried siblings under the age of 18 of U-1 who is under 21.
T-1 visa is issued to victims of severe forms of human trafficking. Holders may adjust their status to permanent resident status. Subtypes of this visa are T-2 issued to spouses of T-1, T-3 issued to children of T-1, T-4 issued to parents of T-1 under the age of 21 and T-5 issued to unmarried siblings under the age of 18 of T-1 who is under 21.
The V visa is a temporary visa available to spouses and minor children (unmarried, under 21) of U.S.lawful permanent residents (LPR, also known as green cardholders). It allows permanent residents to achieve family unity with their spouses and children while the immigration process takes its course. It was created by the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act of 2000. The Act is to relieve those who applied for immigrant visas on or before December 21, 2000. Practically, the V visa is currently not available to spouses and minor children of LPRs who have applied after December 21, 2000.
List of US visa types
All US visa types and subtypes are listed below:
Border commuter student (vocational or nonacademic)
Parent of SK-3 special immigrant
Child of N-8 or of SK-1, SK-2 or SK-4 special immigrant
Principal permanent representative of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies) resident in the U.S. and resident members of official staff; Secretary General, Assistant Secretaries General, and Executive Secretary of NATO; other permanent NATO officials of similar rank, and members of immediate family
Other representatives of member states to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies) including representatives, advisers, and technical experts of delegations, and members of immediate family; dependents of members of a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement or in accordance with provisions of the “Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters”; members of such a force if issued visas
Official clerical staff accompanying a representative of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies), and members of immediate family
Officials of NATO (other than those classifiable as NATO-1), and members of immediate family
Experts, other than officials classifiable as NATO-4, employed in missions on behalf of NATO, and their dependents
Members of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement; members of a civilian component attached to or employed by an Allied Headquarters under the “Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters” set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty; and their dependents
Attendant, servant, or personal employee of NATO-1 through NATO-6 classes, and immediate family
* Persons with H-1B visas, H-4 visas (as immediate family members of H-1B visa holders), K visas, L visas, and V visas are permitted to have dual intent under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Federal regulations also appear to recognize dual intent O visas, P visas, and E visas.
Section 221(g) of Immigration and Nationality Act defined several classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas.
Grounds for denial may include, but are not limited to:
Public charge (charge means burden in this context)
Illegal entrants or immigration violators
Failure to produce requested documents
Ineligible for citizenship
Previously removed from US
The spouse of a US Citizen is almost always denied a visitor’s (B1/B2) visa on grounds that the spouse might want to stay in the United States. However, the spouse of a USC is able to immigrate to the US without much of a hurdle.
Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (also cited as 8 United States Code § 1184(b)) states that most aliens must be presumed to be intending to remain in the US, until and unless they are able to show that they are entitled to nonimmigrant status. This means there are two sides to a 214(b) denial. Either
The applicant didn’t convince the consular officer that he didn’t intend to stay in the US permanently, or
The applicant didn’t convince the consular officer that he was qualified for the visa for which he had applied.
An example of a denial based upon the first ground would be an applicant for an F-1 student visa who the consular officer felt was secretly intending to remain in the US permanently.
An example of a denial based upon the second ground would be an H-1B applicant who couldn’t prove he possessed the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in a specialty field—such an equivalency being a requirement for obtaining an H-1B visa.
In order to thereafter obtain a visa applicants are recommended to objectively evaluate their situation, see in what way they fell short of the visa requirements, and then reapply.
In 2005, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (then Chief Minister of Gujarat) was denied a diplomatic visa to the United States. In addition, the B-1/B-2 visa that had previously been granted to him was also revoked, under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes any foreign government official who was responsible or “directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for the visa. Modi is the only person ever denied a visa to the U.S. under this provision.