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Tags: Muslims | Flocking | to | US | Retiree Healthcare Poses Debt Bomb | 37 Abortions an Hour at Planned Parenthood | 1700 Private Jets Fly to Global Warming Conference

Muslims Flocking to US; Retiree Healthcare Poses 'Debt Bomb'; 37 Abortions an Hour at Planned Parenthood

By    |   Sunday, 25 January 2015 02:43 PM

Insider Report from Newsmax.com

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Muslim Immigration on the Rise in America
2. Retiree Healthcare Benefits Are the 'Other Debt Bomb'
3. Planned Parenthood Head 'Proud' of Its Abortions
4. 9 US Cities Have 'Severely Unaffordable' Housing
5. Supreme Court: Inmate Can Grow Beard for Religious Reasons
6. 1,700 Private Jets Fly to Global Warming Conference

1. Muslim Immigration on the Rise in America

The United States could be traveling down the same path as France regarding Muslim immigration — a path that ultimately led to the Islamic terror attack at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

For several decades France has invited Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa to enter the country, in part to bolster the labor force following World War II. Other European countries have seen large-scale Muslim immigration as well.

"The United States seems increasingly to be turning toward Western Europe's most undesirable demographic trends," writes Ian Tuttle, a William F. Buckley Fellow in political journalism at the National Review Institute.

In 1992, 41 percent of new permanent residents in the United States came from the Middle East and North Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, or sub-Saharan Africa. In 2002, the percentage was up to 53 percent.

Over that period, the number of Muslim immigrants coming to America each year doubled from 50,000 to about 100,000.

The number of Muslims in the United States is uncertain because religious affiliation is not tracked by the Census Bureau, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations claims there are about 7 million Muslims in the country.

"Whatever the exact level, it can hardly be considered surprising that as the Muslim population in the country has expanded, so has the incidence of radicalism," Tuttle states, citing several examples.

Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan entered the country as refugees in 2002 and Tamerlan was radicalized at a mosque in Cambridge, Mass.

That mosque was also attended by Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was raised in Yemen and in 2004 was sentenced to 23 years in jail in part due to his role in a plot to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Also attending was Aafia Siddiqui, sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for attempting to kill a U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan.

In 2003, six naturalized citizens in Lackawanna, N.Y., were convicted of providing material support to al-Qaida.

In March 2014, Mohammad Hassan Hamdan of Dearborn, a Michigan city where 40 percent of the population is of Arab descent, was arrested in Detroit on his way to join Hezbollah in Syria.

Last October, Mohammed Hamzah Khan of Bolingbrook, Ill., son of Muslim immigrants from India, and two siblings were arrested in Chicago on their way to enlist in the Islamic State.

Nidal Malik Hasan, whose parents came to the U.S. from the West Bank, fatally shot 13 people at Ford Hood in Texas in November 2009.

It should also be noted, of course, that the 9/11 hijackers were allowed to enter the country with visas.

"Whatever the percentage of Muslims who support or would ever consider supporting jihadism, the raw number obviously increases along with the total number of Muslims," Tuttle points out. "One percent of 10 million is much larger than 1 percent of 1 million."

The most obvious remedy for the increased threat of Islamic militancy in the United States would be to reduce the numbers of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, he suggests — noting, however, that the move would meet with "fierce opposition from some quarters."

Or, the United States could shift immigration priorities toward English-speaking nations and liberal democracies.

"The potential problems associated with massive Muslim immigration, and potential solutions, must be addressed now," he concludes.

"The attack on Charlie Hebdo was not inevitable, but years of permissive immigration policy made it more and more likely. If we want to reduce the probability of a similar attack inside America's borders, we should recognize France's mistake, and reform immigration policies that simply do not add up."

Editor's Note:


2. Retiree Healthcare Benefits Are the 'Other Debt Bomb'

Much has been written about underfunded public pension funds, but a potentially greater economic threat has received less attention: vastly underfunded healthcare obligations for retired public workers.

State and local governments usually pay most of the insurance premiums for employees who retire before they are eligible for Medicare, and some workers can retire as early as age 50. Many governments also pay a portion of Medicare premiums once retirees reach 65.

In Massachusetts, public employees qualify for retiree healthcare benefits after just 10 years of part-time work.

But unlike pension plans, governments are not required to contribute to separate trusts to support promised healthcare benefits. That’s a crisis in the making, Robert C. Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, discloses in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal headlined "The Other Debt Bomb in Public-Employee Benefits."

Just 11 states have funded more than 10 percent of retiree healthcare liabilities.

And only eight of the 30 largest U.S. cities have funded more than 5 percent of their obligations, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. New York City has the most unfunded liabilities, nearly $23,000 per household.

Total U.S. unfunded healthcare liabilities surpassed $530 billion in 2009, according to the Government Accountability Office, but the current figure could be as high as $1 trillion, according to a 2014 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Some states are already taking steps to deal with the problem, according to Pozen, who is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of "Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours."

Since 2010, more than 15 states have passed laws to reduce healthcare cost-of-living adjustments. Nevada and West Virginia have raised deductibles and reduced premium subsidies. Pennsylvania changed early retirement eligibility from 15 years to 20.

Pozen suggests that "states and cities should set up separate trusts with enough investment assets to support over time whatever healthcare benefits they have promised." Then "governments can avoid a time bomb that could explode on future budgets."

Editor's Note:


3. Planned Parenthood Head 'Proud' of Its Abortions

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told reporters on Tuesday that her organization takes pride in providing millions of abortions at its affiliated clinics around the country.

"We proudly provide safe and legal abortion," Richards said.

"For young women in America, the idea that pregnancy alone would determine their destiny is unthinkable today. They fully expect that birth control and safe and legal abortion will be available to them, and they should."

Planned Parenthood clinics performed 327,653 abortions in fiscal year 2014, according to Planned Parenthood of America's latest annual report — 487 more than the previous year and an average of 37 abortions per hour.

Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements last year, accounting for 41 percent of its revenue.

The federal government is barred from paying directly for abortions through Title X family planning grants and reimbursements, but federal funds do pay for Planned Parenthood operations, including the clinics where abortions are performed, CNS News reported.

Richards added that "politicians who are trying to erase women's progress are on the wrong side of history."

Documents filed with the IRS for 2012 showed that Richards received total compensation of $492,200 that year.

Also on Tuesday, Rep. Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat, would not say whether a 20-week-old fetus is a human being.

Asked by CNS News whether "an unborn child [is] a human being 20 weeks into a pregnancy," Tonko said: "I just want to see how it's defined in the bill," referring to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act introduced in the House.

The bill, which has been shelved temporarily, would ban abortions after 20 weeks in all 50 states in cases other than incest involving a minor, rape, or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.

The White House said in a statement that the administration "strongly opposes" the measure.

Editor's Note:


4. 9 US Cities Have 'Severely Unaffordable' Housing

First the bad news: Nine American markets with populations of at least 1 million population have housing that is deemed "severely unaffordable."

The good news: The United States is the only nation among eight major developed countries surveyed, plus Hong Kong, that has any major markets with housing that is considered "affordable."

The newly released 11th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey uses a "median multiple" to determine housing affordability. The median multiple is calculated by dividing the median house price by the median household income.

A median multiple of 5.1 or more indicates that housing is "severely unaffordable." A multiple of 4.1 to 5 indicates that housing is "seriously unaffordable"; 3.1 to 4 means "moderately unaffordable"; 3 and under means "affordable."

The United States has nine markets that are severely unaffordable and six that are seriously unaffordable, for a total of 15.

The United Kingdom has 16, including six severely and 10 seriously unaffordable.

Australia has five markets that are severely or seriously unaffordable and Canada has four, while Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore each have one.

But by far the most unaffordable of the localities surveyed is Hong Kong, with a median multiple of 17, more than twice as high as No. 2 New Zealand. The United States has an average multiple of 3.6.

According to the survey, the median price of a house in Hong Kong is $4.89 million, while its median household income is $287,000.

The nine least affordable markets after Hong Kong are Vancouver, Canada; Sydney, Australia; San Francisco; San Jose; Melbourne, Australia; London; San Diego; Auckland, New Zealand; and Los Angeles.

The median house price in San Francisco is $744,400.

Other American markets on the list of the least affordable are, in ascending order of affordability, New York, Miami, Boston, Seattle, and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.

Honolulu could join the list when its population reaches 1 million, as is expected this year, according to a report on the New Geography website by Wendell Cox, a demographer with the firm that compiled the survey.

But the United States has 14 major markets that are considered "affordable," with a median multiple of 3 or less, and 23 that are "moderately affordable," while no other country of those surveyed has more than two moderately affordable markets.

The U.S. market that is most affordable, with a multiple of 2.1, is Detroit, followed by Rochester, N.Y. (2.4), Buffalo, N.Y. (2.6), and Cleveland (2.6). Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and the Grand Rapids, Mich., metro have a 2.7 multiple.

Editor's Note:


5. Supreme Court: Inmate Can Grow Beard for Religious Reasons

Following a years-long battle between a Muslim prison inmate and the state of Arkansas, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the state's prohibition against inmates' beards violated the prisoner's religious liberty.

Gregory Holt, a practicing Muslim who goes by the name of Abdul Maalik Muhammad, was convicted in 2010 of domestic battery after cutting his girlfriend's throat and stabbing her in the chest, Business Insider reported. He is serving a life sentence.

Five years earlier he had pleaded guilty to threatening to kidnap and harm the daughters of President George W. Bush.

Holt insisted that his religion obliged him to grow a beard, but the Arkansas Department of Corrections said he could not do so.

Holt offered to keep his beard at a half-inch in length, but the prison refused to allow an exemption from its rule banning beards except for dermatological problems.

After a lower court ruled against Holt, he sent a 15-page handwritten petition to the Supreme Court, citing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). That federal law, passed in 2000, limits states and localities from imposing a "substantial burden on the religious exercise" of an institutionalized person unless the government demonstrates that the burden "is the least restrictive means of furthering" a "compelling governmental interest."

The Supreme Court said in March 2014 that it would hear the case, Holt v. Hobbs.

The state of Arkansas argued that its no-beards policy prevented the smuggling of contraband and kept inmates from disguising their identities by, for example, shaving off their beards to facilitate an escape.

In a unanimous ruling, the court held: "The Department's grooming policy violates RLUIPA insofar as it prevents petitioner from growing a ½-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs."

Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion, stated: "We readily agree that the Department has a compelling interest in staunching the flow of contraband into and within its facilities, but the argument that this interest would be seriously compromised by allowing an inmate to grow a ½-inch beard is hard to take seriously."

Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom and a co-counsel in the case, told CNN: "This is a huge win for religious freedom and for all Americans. What the Supreme Court said was that government officials cannot impose arbitrary restrictions on religious liberty just because they think government knows best."

Editor's Note:


6. 1,700 Private Jets Fly to Global Warming Conference

Some 1,700 pricey, fuel-guzzling private jets flew into Switzerland carrying billionaires and world leaders to a conference taking up issues including global warming and income inequality.

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos began on Wednesday and ran through Saturday.

So many private jets delivered passengers to the airport in Zurich and two other airports that the Swiss Armed Forces for the first time opened up its Dubendorf military airport to private jet passengers, according to CNN Money.

One private jet company, VistaJet, charged between $10,000 and $15,000 per hour to use its planes. Some passengers got a free helicopter ride from the airport to Davos, a town in the Swiss Alps noted for its ski resort.

Former Vice President Al Gore was among the people scheduled to attend the conference, along with 40 heads of state, Newsweek reported, and he stressed the importance of dealing with climate change.

Other issues discussed included economic growth, geopolitics, the Internet, and gender equality.

Co-chairing the event was Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the international aid agency Oxfam, who highlighted the huge economic gap between the world's rich and poor.

A report from Oxfam disclosed that last year the most affluent 1 percent of the world's population owned 48 percent of all wealth, while more than a billion people lived on less than $1.25 a day.

Oxfam also reported that the 80 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people.

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider Report from Newsmax.comHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories): 1. Muslim Immigration on the Rise in America 2. Retiree Healthcare Benefits Are the 'Other Debt Bomb' 3. Planned Parenthood Head 'Proud' of Its Abortions 4. 9 US Cities Have 'Severely Unaffordable'...
Muslims, Flocking, to, US, Retiree Healthcare Poses Debt Bomb, 37 Abortions an Hour at Planned Parenthood, 1700 Private Jets Fly to Global Warming Conference, 9 US Cities Have Severely Unaffordable Housing, Supreme Court Inmate Can Grow Beard for Religious Reasons
Sunday, 25 January 2015 02:43 PM
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