Wednesday, July 28, 2010


FIRST OF ALL, there are not just 11 million illegals in this nation. There are that many in Los Angeles alone!
Jobs Americans won’t do? Or in reality jobs American won’t do for poverty wages, which is still 8 times what the illegal would have made in their own country.
Picking strawberries? La Raza Barbara Boxer, and Feinstein has twice worked up a “special amnesty” for a mere 1.5 million illegal farm workers on behalf of their BIG AG BIZ DONORS, presumably one of which is WINE BARONESS NANCY PELOSI, who has long hired illegals at her $20 million St. Helena, Napa winery!
Feinstein has also illegally hired illegals at her S.F. hotel!
The Feinstein Boxer “special amnesty” was pushed by these corrupt lifers despite the fact that one-third of all illegal farm workers end up on welfare. How many end up in Mex gangs?
Court ruling unlikely to change politics of immigration
The equation spelling gridlock in Congress remains unchanged: The comprehensive overhaul promoted by Obama — and Bush — lacks any GOP support in the Senate, and therefore cannot pass.
By Ken Dilanian and Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau
5:35 PM PDT, July 28, 2010
Reporting from Washington

A federal judge's rejection of the most controversial elements of Arizona's immigration law is unlikely to change the entrenched immigration politics in Washington, where not a single Republican senator supports the overhaul that many experts say is needed to fix what President Obama calls a "fundamentally broken" system.

The contours of the problem are no mystery: An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S., and more are drawn every day by untold numbers of jobs — from dishwasher to strawberry picker — that Americans find unattractive. Deporting them all is impossible, and without a tamper-proof national ID card, there is no sure way to prevent businesses from hiring them.

There also is little hope of rendering a 2,000-mile border with Mexico impenetrable to illicit crossers as long as there is economic opportunity on the U.S. side.

To upend this troubled reality, the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has proposed "comprehensive immigration reform" that seeks a grand compromise: combine tough border and workplace enforcement with a process to legalize the 11 million. The Senate sponsor, Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York, also has proposed a national biometric ID card intended to make it difficult to hire illegal immigrants, and a guest-worker program to allow low-skilled workers to enter the U.S. temporarily and legally.

Republicans, even those who backed President George W. Bush's failed effort in 2007, have been unwilling to support the measure, meaning it can't pass the Senate's 60-vote threshold. They respond with a mantra: Secure the border first. There can be no talk of "amnesty," they say, until the flow of illegal immigrants is stanched.

That is not realistic, Democrats and many independent experts say. If the U.S. military couldn't secure the borders of Iraq from militants crossing from Syria and Iran, they say, it is unlikely that the Border Patrol or the National Guard can stop every hungry worker or kilo of cocaine moving out of Mexico.

"Unless and until Washington steps up and enacts a coherent, comprehensive and national immigration policy, we will continue to see this debate roil local and state politics from coast to coast," said Frank Sherry, executive director of America's Voice, an immigration rights group. "It can only be solved by Congress and the administration. Comprehensive immigration reform that combines targeted enforcement with a legal workforce is what the American people want."

Yet many Americans reject that premise. They believe that what's needed is tougher enforcement, and they argue that the federal government simply lacks the will.

"Instead of wasting taxpayer resources filing a lawsuit against Arizona and complaining that the law would be burdensome, the Obama administration should have focused its efforts on working with Congress to provide the necessary resources to support the state in its efforts to act where the federal government has failed to take responsibility," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who once supported an immigration policy overhaul but now, facing a tough challenge in the Republican primary, backs the law in his home state.

Recognizing the desire for tougher enforcement, Obama dispatched 1,200 National Guard troops to the area. The administration also is on track to deport 400,000 illegal immigrants this year, the most in U.S. history. Authorities say their top priority is to remove criminals and those who have been previously deported.

"Over the past 18 months, this administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border," Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said in a statement responding to the court decision. "DHS will enforce federal immigration laws in Arizona and around the country in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor, as well as continue to secure our border."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has accused Republicans of demagoguery.

"Their position has evolved to be, 'We don't even want to talk about immigration reform unless you secure — read: seal — the border,' " she said in an interview last month. "And the definition of what securing the border means keeps changing, and that then becomes a reason not to address the real underlying issue, which is immigration reform."

The GOP sees it differently. But both sides agree on the state of play: political gridlock.

"Nothing's going to happen before the election," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), though he held out hope for some action in a lame-duck, postelection legislative session.

"In this atmosphere I don't see anything going anywhere," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).


Reactions over Ariz.
law ruling range
from relief to rage

Posted 14m ago

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

PHOENIX — Leticia Espinoza's neighbor was ready to
go. The illegal immigrant from Mexico was terrified
of the Arizona law set to go into effect today that
would have granted police officers unprecedented
powers to stem illegal immigration.

Within an hour of learning that a federal judge had
blocked enforcement of the most controversial
aspects of the law, Espinoza said her neighbor came
running into her house.

"She screamed, 'I'm not leaving anymore,' " Espinoza
said. "She's such a great person, so I'm happy she's

The law, known as S.B. 1070 after the bill that
created it, would have required police officers to
question the immigration status of suspects stopped
for another offense if there is a "reasonable
suspicion" they are in the country illegally.

Word of the judge's ruling spread quickly,
prompting passionate reactions here on both sides
of the debate.

Rick Gray, a member of the Greater Phoenix Tea
Party Patriots, said he was not surprised by U.S.
District Judge Susan Bolton's decision. He
paraphrased a quote from Mahatma Gandhi to
explain the position he and other supporters find
themselves in: "First they ignore you, then they
laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win," he

Gray said he remains stunned at the federal
government's inaction over illegal immigration.
Bolton's decision Wednesday, based in part on a
challenge filed by President Obama's Department of
Justice, only reinforced what he called a troubling
double standard.

"They don't want to do their job, but they don't want
us to do it," said Gray, who is running for the state
Legislature. "It's illogical and disappointing."

Phoenix resident Tom Trujillo, 68, called the ruling
a "travesty."

"I was hoping it would be upheld and our country
would be protected," he said. "I'm hoping at some
point the courts will uphold S.B. 1070 or that the
federal government will take action and protect and
secure our borders."

In heavily Hispanic western Phoenix, celebrations
were muted, but the sense of relief was widespread.

Imelda De La Cruz said people had grown anxious
in the three months since Republican Gov. Jan
Brewer signed the law.

"People were scared to take their children to school.
They were scared to go to the store," said De La
Cruz, 41, a Mexico native who is now a U.S.

Maria Teresa Gonzalez said a local grocery store
had started delivering groceries to people's homes
because they wanted to minimize their time outside
the house.

"A lot of people were doing that. It was a growing
business," said Gonzalez, 50, a legal U.S. resident
who has several cousins who are illegal immigrants.

UNEMPLOYMENT RISES IN 75% OF METRO AREAS - Hey, We Only Need Amnesty 38 Million Illegals!

Unemployment rises in 75 pct of metro areas

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(07-28) 13:50 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

The unemployment rate in about three-quarters of the nation's largest metro areas rose last month as nearly one million teenagers entered the work force looking for summer jobs.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the unemployment rate rose in 291 of 374 areas in June from May. It fell in 55 areas and was flat in 28. That reverses the trend of the previous three months, when joblessness fell in most metro areas.

But the report does not adjust the figures to take into account seasonal trends, such as high school or college students looking for work during the summer. As a result the figures tend to be volatile from month to month.

The economic recovery has spurred some hiring, with private employers adding an average of 100,000 jobs each month this year. But the pace of hiring slowed in May and June and isn't nearly fast enough to bring down the unemployment rate.

Earlier this month, the government said the nation's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 9.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent in May. But before adjusting for seasonal factors, the rate actually rose to 9.6 percent from 9.3 percent.

The government seasonally adjusts most of its economic indicators to reflect broader economic trends.

Most of the cities with the largest increases in unemployment last month are college and university towns. Tuscaloosa, Ala., home to the University of Alabama, reported the second-largest jump in unemployment in the country, from 9 percent to 11.3 percent.

Bismarck, N.D., where Bismarck State College and several other institutions are located, had the largest proportional increase in unemployment, from 3 percent to 3.8 percent. Still, the city remained the metro area with the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

The unemployment rate in Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University, rose to 5.8 percent from 4.8 percent, the sixth-largest rise. Grand Forks, N.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Columbia, Mo.; and College Station-Bryan, Texas, all have major universities and all were among the areas with the 10 largest increases in unemployment.

Among cities with more than 1 million residents, Las Vegas reported the highest jobless rate, at 14.5 percent. That was up from 14.1 percent in May.

The Washington metro area, bolstered by widespread federal government hiring, reported the lowest unemployment rate among large metro areas, with 6.4 percent. It was followed by Oklahoma City, Okla., which has benefited from the oil and gas industry, at 6.7 percent.

El Centro, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz. posted the highest unemployment rates in the country, 27.6 percent and 26.4 percent respectively. The two areas have large populations of seasonal agricultural workers.

Twelve areas recorded unemployment rates of 15 percent or higher, the government said, with 10 of them in California.


CONTACT: Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC)
(866) 703-0864

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC has been conducting TV, Radio, and newspaper interviews all day about the group's "Safe Departure" request for Obama to allow illegal immigrants to leave the nation unhindered at border checkpoints when news of the court ruling on the Arizona law came in.

ALIPAC issues the following official statements.

"There is a sense of extreme anger sweeping America today, in reaction to the news that Obama and US District Judge Susan Bolton thwarted Democracy in America. We are appealing to Americans to remain calm and to channel that anger into sweeping politicians, business leaders, and special interest groups that support Comprehensive Immigration Reform out of power in the elections. ALIPAC stands ready to lead that effort."

"President Obama and Judge Bolton just sided with illegal aliens against the American public. The will of the American public has been usurped."

"The President is required by the US Constitution to protect all states from invasion, while assuring states a Republic form of governance. With this court case Obama has deprived Americans of both!"

"It is hard to find the words to express the anger and dismay this decision brings. It is a sad day in America, when part of our own government has turned against the American public on behalf of invaders."

William Gheen
President of American For Legal Immigration PAC
Post Office Box 30966, Raleigh, NC 27622-0966
Tel: (919) 787-6009 Toll Free: (866) 703-0864
FEC ID: C00405878


OBAMA'S STEALTH AMNESTY by Investors Business Daily



Stealth Amnesty Creeps Ahead
Posted 07/27/2010 07:06 PM ET
Immigration: Even with time running out, Democrats haven't dropped the idea of ramming through illegal-immigrant amnesty to create more Democratic voters. Their new push shows an array of underhanded tactics to sneak that in.

After passing major programs that most Americans don't want — from a wasteful stimulus to a health care nightmare — Democrats know it's time to pay the piper with voters.

But another touchy issue — immigration — looms large on their to-do list. And because 70% of Latinos backed Democrats in 2008, a lot of mischief could be in the works — including an amnesty for illegals that would serve both as political payback and a way to create a new voting bloc.

The outlines of a plan can be seen in several ways, the first of which is Congress' mixed messages on the question of action during the lame-duck session.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told the Hill Tuesday that House Democrats don't plan to use that pocket of time after elections in November and the seating of a new Congress in January to pass any major new legislation.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't so sure, saying Tuesday she was "hopeful" Democrats would wrap up their work before that so a lame-duck session wouldn't be necessary.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was even more straightforward. "We're going to have a lame-duck session, so we're not giving up," he told the leftist group Net-roots Nation over the weekend.

All of this suggests the lame-duck period could be prime time for unpopular measures such as amnesty. Democrats could reward their immigration lobby supporters but evade fallout from angry voters after the elections.

It's also worth noting that immigration lobbyists have gotten bolder this week. On Tuesday, groups in Washington told Democrats that they want a "down payment" for their past support.

Their Dream Act would give green cards to immigrants brought here as children by their parents, and their AgJobs bill would do the same for hard-working but low-paid farm workers.

Instead of full-blown "comprehensive immigration reform," which activists know is a loser, their new strategy is to slice off just a bit of the immigration salami over the summer, with hopes of getting more later.

The Dream Act gives illegal immigrants who arrived here with parents before the age of 15 access to green cards if they complete college or two years of military service.

Once they get their green cards, they can turn to extend entry to the parents who brought them here — effectively becoming anchor babies. As for the parents who used their own children as fronts while they broke the law, they pay no penalties whatsoever.

The AgJobs bill would bring about a million farmworkers over ostensibly as guest workers. They too will get their green cards — after working less than half a year each year for three years in agriculture, and we suppose anywhere they like for the rest of the year.

That too will draw illegals — at a bad time for places like California's Central Valley, where arbitrary environmental rulings have shut off the water supply and left unemployment as high as 44% in some counties. Call it what it is: a bid to bring in Democrat voters.

Looking to the future, a spokeswoman for the League of United Latin American Citizens told the Washington Post that these bills are "critical building blocks" for assuaging Hispanic groups who are otherwise frustrated with Democrats.

Both are being billed as bipartisan and no reward for lawbreakers, giving them a veneer of what voters demand to build political support.

The White House too is playing the amnesty game. But instead of sending mixed messages like from Congress, or disguised messages like from K Street lobbyists, it's putting up a stone wall.

Twelve senators led by Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, charge that the administration may already be using its executive powers to grant "parole" and "deferred action" to high numbers of illegal immigrants under little-known presidential power designed for exceptional humanitarian cases.

"The administration has yet to answer our letter about reports that it may be planning a large-scale, de facto amnesty program though deferred action and parole," Grassley said in a press release Tuesday.

It all points to possible action among the Democrats to get amnesty passed by any means necessary before a new Congress is seated.

Why don't they just admit that amnesty is odious to law-abiding voters and try to win over the electorate by offering the border security, rule of law and reasonably rapid naturalization process Americans want?


One day after WikiLeaks exposures of US war crimes
Congress ratifies Obama escalation of Afghanistan war
By Patrick Martin
28 July 2010
Little more than 24 hours after the release of 91,000 documents detailing US military atrocities in Afghanistan, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives gave final approval to a funding bill to pay for the escalation of the war.

By a margin of 308-114, well over the two-thirds majority required under an expedited procedure known as “suspension of the rules,” the House backed a $60 billion supplemental funding bill passed by the Senate last week.

More than half the Democratic caucus joined forces with a near-unanimous Republican minority to pass the bill. The comfortable two-thirds majority was significant since 162 Democrats voted earlier this month for a resolution to require the Obama administration to begin significant troop withdrawals by July 2011. If that many Democrats had opposed the funding bill, it would have failed to win a two-thirds vote, but as always in such parliamentary maneuvering, just enough Democrats switched their votes to provide the margin required to sustain the war policies of American imperialism.

The bill includes more than $33.5 billion for the additional 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and to pay for other Pentagon operational expenses, $5.1 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund, $6.2 billion for State Department aid programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Haiti and $13.4 billion in benefits for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Domestic spending initiatives added to the supplemental bill to win passage through the House earlier this month were removed in the Senate after they failed to win even majority support, let alone 60 votes. Among these were $10 billion for state governments to avert mass teacher layoffs.

In a public statement in the White House rose garden, after a morning meeting with congressional leaders of both parties, President Barack Obama appealed for the House to pass the emergency funding bill.

Obama addressed the release of documents by WikiLeaks for the first time, while deliberately evading the evidence of war crimes by US forces in Afghanistan. Instead, he joined in the pretense that there was “nothing new” in the leaked documents, the line peddled by the White House to the American media and adopted by newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the television networks.

“While I’m concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations,” Obama said, “the fact is these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan; indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall.”

Given that the WikiLeaks documents include reports on hundreds of incidents in which US forces killed innocent Afghan civilians, many of which were covered up or censored in the US media, Obama’s claim is a flat-out lie. These atrocities have not “already informed our public debate on Afghanistan,” since the public was not allowed to know about them.

There is no doubt that Obama himself, his top aides in the White House and Pentagon and the leading circles in the media were well aware of these atrocities. That makes all the more criminal the president’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan, pouring in 47,000 troops over the past year and a half and authorizing a major increase in the level of violence—knowing that thousands more innocent lives will be destroyed.

Obama reiterated his determination to stay the course in Afghanistan, declaring, “We’ve substantially increased our commitment there, insisted upon greater accountability from our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan, developed a new strategy that can work and put in place a team, including one of our finest generals, to execute that plan. Now we have to see that strategy through.”

He described Afghanistan as “the region from which the 9/11 attacks were waged and other attacks against the United States and our friends and allies have been planned.” This repeats the hoary mythology of the Bush administration, which sought to use 9/11 as an all-purpose pretext for US military aggression around the world.

US officials have conceded that the total number of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan is less than 100, an estimate that makes nonsense of the claim that the war is being waged to avenge the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

There are more than 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan because Obama, like Bush, is pursuing an agenda of using American military power to seize control of key strategic regions, particularly in the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Central Asia, to uphold the world position of American imperialism against its major rivals.

Public opinion in the United States and in most of the countries participating in the NATO intervention has turned decisively against the war in Afghanistan. But this shift in mass sentiment finds no reflection within the two parties of big business that control Capitol Hill.

The so-called antiwar faction of the House Democrats issued an open letter Monday decrying the removal of social spending from the bill and citing the WikiLeaks material as a reason to oppose the funding bill—but only because the leaked documents show the difficulties facing the U.S. occupation, not because they provide evidence of war crimes.

The open letter of the “antiwar” Democrats—signed by, among others, former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Raul Grijalva, chairman of the House Progressive Caucus—criticizes the war as a failure in a good cause, not an atrocity in a bad one.

The letter does not call for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Instead it credits the US military and the Obama administration with “trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities,” only expressing regret that this mission is unlikely to succeed. This is not genuine opposition to imperialist war, but rather an effort to save American imperialism from a humiliating defeat.

Kucinich & Co. want a gradual pullback of US forces before the entire operation culminates in a Vietnam-style debacle, with American helicopters plucking the frightened remnants of a US puppet regime from rooftops in Kabul. In the meantime, their participation in the congressional charade gives a “left” cover for the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.

Two Senate committee hearings Tuesday demonstrated the all-out support for the Afghanistan war in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The Senate Armed Services Committee rubber-stamped the nomination of Marine General James Mattis to succeed General David Petraeus as the head of the US Central Command, which oversees military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the question of whether and under what circumstances it would be possible for the US to negotiate with the insurgents in Afghanistan. Committee chairman John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 and an erstwhile antiwar activist during the Vietnam War, dismissed the significance of the WikiLeaks exposure of US atrocities in Afghanistan.

It was “important not to over-hype or get excessively excited about the meaning of those documents,” he said. “To those of us who lived through the Pentagon Papers, there’s no relation to that event or these documents. People need to be very careful in evaluating what they read there.”

The lead witness at the hearing, former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, warned that US public opinion was turning against the war. “Impatience is on the rise again in this country,” he told the committee, warning that a collapse of domestic political support for the war was “what our adversaries are counting on now.” In that context, he expressed reservations about the July 2011 date set by Obama for beginning a limited drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan.

Australian counterinsurgency specialist David Kilcullen, a key adviser of US General David Petraeus during the Iraq “surge,” called for the Obama administration to “stop talking about 2011, start talking about 2014.” He added that the main necessity is “a big tactical hit on the Taliban,” inflicting “very significant damage.” The bloodshed would be “unpleasant, but unavoidable.”

This view was echoed by Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the senior Republican on the committee. “For the negotiating to be successful, we have to demonstrate strength,” he said. “As bloody as this sounds, it’s critical that we kill a lot of Taliban.” He called for inflicting “a rather significant casualty toll, observed by all parties including the Taliban and those we’re negotiating with.”

The leading Democrat in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, came to Obama’s defense over the WikiLeaks documents, saying, “they do not address current circumstances. A lot of it predates the president’s new policy.”

Actually, of course, Obama’s “new policy” calls for much more killing, not less. The after-action reports of the slaughter of civilians through bombing, missiles, artillery and small arms have no doubt doubled and tripled as the US military has gone on the offensive in the Taliban strongholds in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Another House Democratic supporter of the war, Adam Smith of Washington state, openly defended the operations of Task Force 373, the military death squad whose brutal activities caused much of the devastation detailed in the WikiLeaks documents.

“This is a war. The enemy is shooting at us, and we’re shooting at them,” Smith told the Associated Press. U.S. troops are “aggressively targeting” the insurgents, he said, but “condemnation of our troops is completely wrong and brutally unfair.”

The bloody-minded consensus in official Washington was summed up in an editorial Tuesday in the Washington Post, which denounced claims that the WikiLeaks documents constituted “evidence for war crimes prosecution.” The newspaper dismissed the tally of 144 cases where US and NATO forces killed civilians, concluding “the 195 deaths it counts in those episodes, though regrettable, do not constitute a shocking total for a four-year period.”

CORPORATE PROFITS RISE! So Do Foreclosures & Unemployment!

Confidence falls even as corporate profits rise

AP Retail Writer

The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street is growing.

Americans' confidence in the economy faded further in July, according to a monthly survey released Tuesday, amid job worries and skimpy wage growth. That's at odds with Wall Street's recent rally fueled by upbeat earnings reports from big businesses such as chemical maker DuPont Co. and equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. That's because the pumped-up profits are being fueled by cost cuts like layoffs and overseas sales. In fact, big companies have shown few signs they're ready to hire.

The Consumer Confidence Index came in at 50.4 in July, a steeper-than-expected decline from the revised 54.3 in June, according to a survey the Conference Board. The decline follows last month's decline of nearly 10 points, from 62.7 in May, and is the lowest point since February. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy - a level not seen since the recession began in December 2007.

"Consumers have a much different view of the economy than the stock market does, and their views matter more to the economy," said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo. The index "tells me the economy is heading for slower growth in the second half. We have low expectations for back-to-school."

Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, agreed, noting that the fatter profits have shown that companies have been able to squeeze out higher productivity from workers, but that also means that "households are not benefiting."

The profit picture is "good news for Wall Street, but not good for workers," he added.

The survey was taken July 1-21, beginning just before the Standard & Poor's 500 index hit a nine-month low of 1,022.58 on July 2. It had risen 4.5 percent by July 21 and has since climbed an additional 4 percent as upbeat earnings reports from key manufacturers have made investors more convinced that the economic recovery isn't stalling as much as they had originally thought.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12 points Tuesday, although broader stock measures slipped, after three days of big gains, as investors digested the confidence data as well as a slowdown in regional manufacturing reported by the Richmond Federal Reserve. Stocks rose moderately at the open because of strong earnings from chemical maker DuPont Co. and European banks UBS and Deutsche Bank.

DuPont, which has announced thousands of job cuts over the past year, reported that second-quarter income nearly tripled, as revenue surged in most of its businesses. The results were led by revenue gains in the Asia Pacific region. DuPont didn't announce any hiring plans.

A rapid, sustainable recovery can't happen without the American consumer. And the second straight month of declining confidence following three months of increases is worrisome, economists say.

Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound.

Both components of the index declined. They measure how people feel about the economy now, and their expectations for the next six months.

The index - which measures how Americans feel about business conditions, the job market and the next six months - had been recovering fitfully since hitting an all-time low of 25.3 in February 2009. The index typically falls before the economy slows down, and on the way out of a recession, the expectations component, which accounts for 60 percent of index, rises sharply, said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

"It's all about jobs. That's still the primary source of income," Franco said. "Until we see the pace of job growth pick up and consumers are confident that this is sustainable, we are not likely to see a significant pickup in confidence."

The Conference Board survey, based on a random survey mailed to 5,000 households, showed that consumers' assessment of the job market was more negative than the month before. Those claiming that jobs are "hard to get" increased to 45.8 from 43.5 percent, while those saying jobs are "plentiful" remained unchanged at 4.3 percent.

Michelle Banks, 38, a teacher from Bloomfield, N.J., said she's more worried about job security than she was last year because of rampant state budget cuts. So she started saving money for back-to-school items for her 5-year-old son in January. She plans to spend $200, evenly divided between school supplies and clothing.

"I'm buying clothes that will last, not fall apart," she said.

Economists say the index's expectations component tends to track stock market movements, but Vitner noted that the market's big plunge in May has made such an imprint on consumers that the recent rebound hasn't registered.

Retailers had a surprisingly solid start to the year, but business has been slowing since April. With unemployment stuck near 10 percent, Americans are expected to remain skittish through the back-to-school and Christmas season.

Concerns are also rising about the housing market. While the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday showed a 1.3 percent rise in May from April, the home buyer's tax credit, which expired April 30, helped pull more buyers into the market. In fact, the report warned that the recent gains in home prices are not likely to last.


CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Banksters's Bonuses and Bankster Welfare YOU'RE PAYING FOR IT

July 27, 2010
Bankers’ Pay In 2009, there was a lot of talk about reasonable limits on bankers’ compensation, after some breathtakingly risky lending almost crippled the financial system. A czar was appointed. Politicians said the bankers had better not use their bailouts for bonuses.

Well, they did.

Financial institutions got most of their bailouts in late 2008 and early 2009. A report issued Friday by the White House pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, showed that by Feb. 17, 2009, when Congress established tighter pay standards, 17 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — had paid out $1.6 billion in bonuses, golden parachutes, retention awards and the like. One handed out bonuses equivalent to one-quarter of its bailout.

President Obama’s effort to curb executive pay at bailed-out financial institutions was hobbled from the start. Mr. Feinberg was appointed only in mid-2009. He was allowed to veto compensation packages for top bankers at institutions that had received taxpayer funds, but only until the banks repaid them.

Mr. Feinberg suggested that the banks’ directors give their compensation committees the right, in times of crisis, to void pay contracts and restructure, reduce or even cancel bonuses and other compensation. This is a good idea that should not remain merely a suggestion.

The bankers’ pay will now be monitored by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which issued joint guidelines in June. The aim is to ensure that bankers are not encouraged to make risky decisions at little personal cost that can lead their banks to ruin. The regulators are reviewing incentive practices at large banks. They have started providing assessments of pay policies and asking for changes when they decide too much risk is being encouraged. The Fed expects to publish a report on the issue in 2011.

The guidelines broadly make sense. They suggest deferring compensation as one way to ensure bankers are paid only for investments that pay off; not those that blow up a year or two down the road. But we worry that they still leave too much to the discretion of the banks.


Arizona cops, activists ready for chaotic day

The Associated Press

PHOENIX รข€” The sheriff of Arizona's most populous county is making room in a vast outdoor jail and determined to round up illegal immigrants to fill it. Police from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Grand Canyon are receiving last-minute training. Protests and marches are planned throughout Phoenix.

Arizona's new immigration law is scheduled to take effect Thursday, creating a potentially volatile mix of police, illegal immigrants and thousands of activists, many planning to show up without identification as a show of solidarity.

At least one group plans to block access to federal offices, daring officers to ask them their immigration status.

"Our message for that day is: 'Don't comply, don't buy,' " said activist Liz Hourican, whose group, CodePink, plans to block the driveway for immigration offices in downtown Phoenix.

As both sides prepare, a federal judge is deciding whether to step in and block the law. It requires officers enforcing other laws to check a person's immigration status if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. Illegal immigrants also are banned from soliciting work in a public place.

Police across the state scrambled Tuesday to train officers, including on how to avoid racial profiling, and plan for a potential influx of detainees.

The hardest-line approach is expected in the Phoenix area, where Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans his 17th crime and immigration sweep. He plans to hold the sweep, regardless of a ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton.

Arpaio, known for his tough stance against illegal immigration, plans to dispatch about 200 deputies and volunteers, looking for traffic violators, people wanted on criminal warrants and others. He has used that tactic before to arrest dozens of people, many of them illegal immigrants.

"We don't wait. We just do it," he said. "If there's a new law out, we're going to enforce it."

He said the space he made in the complex of military surplus tents can handle 100 people, and he will find room for more, if necessary.

Elsewhere, police officials said they didn't expect any dramatic events. They were busy wrapping up training sessions this week, with some agencies saying untrained officers will not be allowed on the streets.

Many of the state's 15,000 police officers have been watching a DVD released this month. It notes that a person may be an illegal immigrant if he or she speaks poor English, looks nervous or travels in an overcrowded vehicle. The DVD warns that race and ethnicity are not signs.

Arizona's law gives police two options to confirm whether a detainee is an illegal immigrant.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to comment on preparations or the role federal authorities would play in enforcing the law, except to say ICE "focuses first on criminal aliens who pose a threat to our communities."

Arpaio vowed to arrest all illegal immigrants and make them spend time in his jail. Other police officials said they would try to involve the Border Patrol as often as possible to avoid the time and cost of booking detainees into jail.

Prosecutors are preparing for a potential influx of cases. They are reminding officers they are required to explain circumstances of the original stop and why they suspected the person was an illegal immigrant and to report any comments made by the suspect.


Home Vacancies Rise as U.S. Ownership Falls to Lowest in Decade

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- About 18.9 million homes in the U.S. stood empty during the second quarter as surging foreclosures helped push ownership to the lowest level in a decade.

The number of vacant properties, including foreclosures, residences for sale and vacation homes, rose from 18.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. The ownership rate, meaning households that own their own residence, was 66.9 percent, the lowest since 1999.

Lenders are accelerating foreclosures as borrowers fall behind in mortgage payments after the worst housing crash since the Great Depression. A record 269,962 U.S. homes were seized in the second quarter, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Foreclosures probably will top 1 million this year, the Irvine, California- based data company said in a July 15 report.

"There are a lot of people losing their homes and either moving in with family or renting places to live," said Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. "Foreclosures are still going up."

The share of homes empty and for sale, known as the vacancy rate, was 2.5 percent, matching the year-earlier period and down from 2.6 percent in the first quarter, the Census Bureau said.

Foreclosures are included in a part of the Census Bureau report that also tracks vacant properties under renovation or tied up in legal proceedings. There were 3.7 million such empty homes in the second quarter, up from 3.5 million in the year earlier period, the report said.

Homes for Sale

Foreclosures could also be counted as vacant properties for sale or rent, or as owner-occupied homes if lenders haven't yet evicted previous owners, the federal agency said. There were 2 million empty homes for sale in the second quarter, up from 1.9 million a year earlier.

A record 4.6 percent of U.S. mortgages were in foreclosure in the first three months of 2010, according to a May 19 report by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The combined share of foreclosures and home loan delinquencies was 14 percent, or about one in every seven U.S. mortgages.

Demand for homes has slumped since the April expiration of a government tax credit for buyers. The rate of new-home sales last month was the second-lowest on record, behind May, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. Sales of previously owned homes fell 5.1 percent in June, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

The tax benefit, worth as much as $8,000, spurred a 4.9 percent rise in sales last year, the first increase since 2005, according to the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors.

U.S. home prices retreated 13 percent in 2009 to a median of $172,500, following a 9.5 percent drop in 2008, according to the Realtors' association. This year, prices may rise 0.8 percent, the first gain since 2006, according to a forecast on the trade group's Web site.

The U.S. median home price tumbled 29 percent to an eight- year low of $164,600 in February, according to the Realtors. The median had reached a record high of $230,300 in July 2006.

--Editors: Kara Wetzel, Rob Urban