Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), in his opening remarks at the Senate hearing on the controversial DREAM Act, asked all the “DREAMers” — adolescents who would be eligible for citizenship under the Act — attending the hearing to stand. Then, he made the following statement:
“When I look around this room, I see America’s future. Our doctors, our teachers, our nurses, our engineers, our scientists, our soldiers, our Congressman, our Senators and maybe our President.”
The statement was caught on video, which can be viewed below. However, the transcript for Durbin’s opening remarks, which is available on his website, reads:
“When I look around this room, I see the future doctors, nurses, scientists, and soldiers who will make this country stronger.”
As noted on Real Clear Politics, which broke the original story, Article II, Section 1, clause five of the Constitution reads: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
A source revealed Wednesday that a United States drone aircraft recently fired on two Somali militant leaders with ties to al-Qaida, making Somalia the sixth known country where the U.S. is conducting military attacks.
The Washington Post said their source, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation, said the attack apparently wounded the two, which were reportedly senior members of al-Shabab.
The other countries that have reportedly been attacked by U.S. drone aircraft are Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen.
While the White House has not responded to questions about the operation, the article drew attention to a recent counterterrorism strategy speech by White House aide John O. Brennan.
“As the al-Qaeda core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States,” said Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. “From the territory it controls in Somalia,” he said, “al-Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States.”
“The airstrike appears to be one piece of a larger effort to step up offensive action against al-Shabab militants with ties to al-Qaeda in Somalia. Somali media have reported numerous rumors in recent months of U.S. airstrikes on militant camps,” the article read.
A Geneva-based United Nations watchdog group, UN Watch, called on the United States and the European Union Thursday to strongly protest the United Nations’ appointment of North Korea as the President of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.
“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said in a statement. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”
“In his initial address to the Conference as president, So Se Pyong of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that he was very much committed to the Conference and during his presidency he welcomed any sort of constructive proposals that strengthened the work and credibility of the body,” read the U.N. press release about the appointment.
North Korea’s appointment occurred based on the Conference’s rules, which dictate that each member nation be given the leadership position for a four-week period on a rotating basis.
“While the U.N. will likely defend North Korea’s appointment as simply an automatic rotation,” said Neuer in the UN Watch statement, “no system should tolerate such a fundamental conflict of interests. It’s common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world’s arch-villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation, notorious for exporting missiles and nuclear know-how to fellow rogue regimes around the globe.”
A new California law, Assembly Bill No. 28, requires sellers with a significant presence in the State to charge sales tax. This includes “(a)ny retailer entering into an agreement or agreements under which a person or persons in this state, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refer potential purchasers of tangible personal property to the retailer, whether by an Internet-based link or an Internet Web site, or otherwise.”
In other words, small businesses that have affiliate advertising programs with online retailers, such as Amazon.com, are now required to charge sales tax.
“Amazon has already emailed its termination of its affiliate advertising program with 25,000 websites,” The Orange County Register reported. The article quoted the termination letter, which read, in part: “We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.”
The article also reported that experts said A.B. 28, which took effect immediately upon passage, would “immediately cut small-business website revenue 20 percent to 30 percent.”
Board of Equalization Member George Runner told the paper, “Even as Governor Jerry Brown lifted his pen to sign this legislation, thousands of affiliates across California were losing their jobs. The so-called ‘Amazon tax’ is truly a lose-lose proposition for California. Not only won’t we see the promised revenues, we’ll actually lose income tax revenue as affiliates move to other states.”
On Thursday, the United States military announced that three more American soldiers in Iraq had died this week, bringing the combat-related monthly death toll in the Iraq War up to a three-year high.
“The deaths occurred Wednesday in southern Iraq, and the military did not disclose details on how the soldiers died. A military spokesman confirmed that they were killed by enemy attack,” The New York Times reported. “Recently, the increase in casualties has been attributed to rocket or mortar attacks on American bases by Shiite militias. American convoys have also come under increasing threat from improvised explosive devices.”
Military officials say that the increased casualties, which are occurring as the U.S. coordinates the withdrawal of all forces by the end of the year, are the result of “militants’ stepping up attacks so as to claim credit for pushing the Americans out,” the article read.
According to the newspaper, 15 American soldiers have been killed in June, 14 in hostile incidents. The article reported that this was the highest number of combat-related deaths “since June 2008, when 23 soldiers and Marines were killed.”
“According to the security agreement between Iraq and the United States, American forces are severely restricted in their ability to act unilaterally to face threats, a fact that has ratcheted up the anxiety — and the anger — among troops who find themselves under attack but unable to respond,” the article read.
On Wednesday, lawmakers in Athens, Greece approved an austerity package for the country, bowing to the demands of international lenders. The 155-138 vote passed as riots and protests continued in the nation’s capital.
“Greek riot police fired round after round of tear gas to keep small crowds of protesters away from Parliament in the run-up to the vote and as lawmakers one by one said ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’” read a CNN.com article. Police told the news outlet that at least 19 officers were injured Wednesday, and “dozens” of Greek citizens have gone to hospitals with breathing problems from the tear gas.
“Unions oppose the austerity package, but its backers say it is essential to the stability of the Greek economy, the euro, and the global financial system,” CNN reported. Experts say this austerity package should clear the way for Greece to receive its fifth installment of a bailout from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and other lenders.
According to the results of the Harris Poll, President Barack Obama has lost points not only in his overall rating, but also in areas including the handling of jobs, education and healthcare.
In February, about 30 percent of Americans gave president Obama positive ratings on his handling of jobs. Now, that number has dropped below one-quarter, and nearly half of Americans gave the President a rating of poor, the poll’s lowest score.
The President is even lacking in partisan support, as only 42 percent of Democrats gave him positive ratings on the issue of jobs, and only 19 percent of Independents gave positive marks.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, unemployment applications have remained above 400,000 for 12 straight weeks. Although they fell to 375,00 in February, a level that can sustain job growth, they peaked in April at 478,000 and have shown only slight improvement since.
In order for the economy to even keep up with population growth, it needs to generate at least 125,000 jobs per month. At least twice this number is needed to bring down the unemployment rate, the news source stated.
On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed ABX1 28, a bill that allows California to collect sales tax from out-of-state, web-based retailers.
But according to the Performance Marketing Association, instead of additional revenue for the state, Brown’s signature led to the immediate loss of income for thousands of California small businesses.
Even before the bill was signed, retailers outside of the State started terminating their advertising agreements with California website owners, knowing that the signature was imminent, according to the association.
While similar legislation has been seen in other States, it was rejected after elected officials agreed that it would not generate any additional sales tax revenue, and could negatively affect small business income.
Even companies as large as Amazon will feel the effects of this bill, The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to The Journal, Amazon stock is down slightly less than 1 percent, and has said it will cut ties with California affiliates, as it has done with States who have passed similar laws.
“This legislation is counterproductive and will not cause our retail business to collect sales tax for the state,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s global-policy vice president, said in a recent statement.
President Barack Obama had some harsh words for legislators in a recent press conference centering on the debt issue, however, GOP lawmakers were not swayed to adopt tax hikes.
Republicans have refused to allow increases in taxes to be part of the debt ceiling talks, according to Fox News. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that if the ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2, the country could default on its obligations.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the Republicans have been the party that has been serious about solving the financial situation that the United States is currently in, not the Democrats and Obama.
“His Administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending,” Boehner said. “Republicans have been leading and offering solutions to put the brakes on this spending binge. The president has been AWOL from the debate.”
The government has so far been unable to offer much help to the country during its worst financial situation since the Great Depression, with the unemployment rate currently sitting at 9.1 percent.
In India, officials are concerned about a disturbing trend: parents forcing their daughters to become sons through sex change operations.
“Madhya Pradesh state government is investigating claims that up to 300 girls were surgically turned into boys in one city after their parents paid about £2,000 (more than $3,000) each for the operations,” read an article on The Telegraph’s website.
The issue of preferring boys to girls is a serious one in India, where “India’s gender balance has already been tilted in favour of boys by female foeticide — sex selection abortions — by families who fear the high marriage costs and dowries they may have to pay. There are now seven million more boys than girls aged under six in the country,” the article read.
“The surgery, known as genitoplasty, fashions a penis from female organs, with the child being injected with male hormones to create a boy,” the article read. Doctors are accused of wrongly conducting the surgery, which should only be performed in cases where a child is born hermaphroditic (having both male and female genitalia), on normal girls.
“People don’t want to share their property or invest in girls’ education or pay dowries. It’s the greedy middle classes running after money. It is just so shocking and an outright violation of children’s rights,” Ranjana Kumari, of the Centre for Social Research and one of India’s leading campaigners against female foeticide, told the newspaper. “In India we say God resides in that house where there’s a woman but that has evaporated because of all this greed.”