Stating that Lutheran Social Services "receives $850 per arrival" is misleading. Refugee resettlement is very profitable, and money is earned in many ways. If a volunteer spends time with an LSS refugee or donates, say, a used couch, LSS submits a bill to the feds for the volunteer's time or the used couch and receives cash from the misnamed federal Match Grant program.
If LSS's parent organization collects the airfare from the refugee — which was provided by the taxpayer to the refugee as a loan — the organization pockets a full 25 percent of the amount as a collection fee. This relatively small program alone means millions for the larger refugee contractors.
There are many grant programs providing an opaque stream of money from almost all departments of the U.S. government. As a state refugee coordinator notes in a 2012 GAO report, "local affiliate funding is based on the number of refugees they serve, so affiliates have an incentive to maintain or increase the number of refugees they resettle each year rather than allowing the number to decrease."
It is hardly the case that "refugees receive a one-time federal grant of $1,125" and "after that, refugees are on their own." Most refugees are placed into one or another federal assistance program by the refugee resettlement contractors.
Just in the past few weeks Congressional Research Services provided data about welfare usage among refugees. Among refugees who had arrived in a recent 5-year period, 56 percent were receiving Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance, 74.2 percent were on food stamps, 22.8 percent were in public housing, and 47.1 percent were on some form of cash assistance.
Unfortunately, it is the refugee resettlement contractor, such as LSS, which leaves the refugees "on their own" — abandoning them to the care of the taxpayer.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen… These may not be countries you would expect to feature in a pro-Israel campaign.
Even in Egypt and Jordan, which have treaties with Israel, you’re not likely to find much pro-Israel sentiment among the general public – at least not in public
However, a recent poll of the Arab world, released last month, revealed something surprising: unlike their elders, young Arabs are increasingly abandoning the paradigm of Israel as the root of all evil. The Arab Youth Survey showed that faith in that doctrine, which has long-dominated the Arab discourse, is being eroded, as a new generation with access to information beyond the “official” channels which dominated life before the social media age takes stock of the challenges it faces – from ISIS to dictatorships to unemployment – none of which have anything to do with Israel.
Just how much those attitudes may be changing was inadvertently discovered by one Israeli Arab, who uncovered a hidden wellspring ofsupport for the Jewish state in those countries and more.
The Muslim-Arab IDF soldier – who identifies only as “M.” due to concerns over his safety – recounted to the AI Monitorwebsite how a campaign to encourage other Israeli Arabs to enlist in the IDF led him to his remarkable discovery.
He said he was motivated to begin his online campaign after being angered by anti-IDF campaigns run by the radical Arab political parties – themselves a response to a slowly growing movement of Israeli Arabs joining the army.
“I saw the signs that were hung in Arab villages, and I kept track of the Facebook campaign being run by activists of Balad and the other Arab parties under the name ‘TZaHaL ma bistahal’ [‘The IDF isn’t worth it’]. It infuriated me,” he told AI Monitor.
“Activists would show up in the main square of Shfaram with bits of rubble, as if the rubble were from Gaza. They carried big signs too, as if they were trying to say, ‘Look what the army that is calling on you to enlist is actually doing in the Gaza Strip.’ Some of the activists would even paint their faces red, as if they were injured, while they tried to relay their message of ‘Don’t enlist!’ to young Bedouin, Druze, Christians and Muslims.
“I decided to respond to them on Facebook, so I made a page called ‘TZaHaL bistahal’ [‘The IDF is worth it’], but instead of getting responses from the young Arabs to whom I was directing my personal campaign, I started to get photos and texts from young people around the Arab world. My jaw dropped.”
The Saudi woman claimed to be “a member of one of the better-known tribes of the Hijaz”, and sent her message of support for Israel from the center of the Saudi city of Jeddah.
“I’d like to send a message of peace and love to Israel and its dear citizens. I know it is surprising that a Saudi Arabian citizen sends a message to the people of Israel, but it is a basic principle of democracy that everyone is free to voice an opinion. I hope the Arabs will be sensible like me and recognize the fact that Israel also has rights to the lands of Palestine, or the Holy Land.””
M. also received dozens of photos, including one apparently from an Egyptian policeman which displayed a note saying “We love, love, love Israel and its army” next to his police cap.
He said the project was also inspired by a Coptic Christian he met who fled Egypt due to persecution from the country’s Muslim majority.
“I quickly learned that she also speaks Hebrew, like many young people who studied Hebrew at Cairo University.
“So I said to her, ‘Why don’t you do a little something to spread the message, so that people in other countries will see and hear that there are other voices in the Middle East?’ She sent a photo of her passport, and pretty soon I started getting pictures of passports from all across the Arab world. The very next photo came from Iraq.”
According to M., the messages he has received – including a great deal of private correspondence from people afraid to go public – may be just the tip of the iceberg.
“After I got the video from Baghdad, I asked the person who sent me the clip what it was that caused him to express support for Israel,” he said.
“He responded, ‘You’d be surprised. I’m not the only one. There are a lot of young people here who think like me. Everything that is happening to us here in Iraq — the killings, the terrorism, the veritable bloodbath — showed us that Israel has nothing to do with it. There are many young people living in Iraq today who have no religion. They are fed up with the religious wars between Sunnis and Shiites and want to live their lives without religion.'”
A MAN has appeared in court charged with threatening to behead a Ukip election candidate for Newcastle East.
Aftab Ahmed, 45, is accused of making the threat to kill on the phone to David Robinson-Young during a conversation about the Middle East.
The 44-year-old, of Winchcombe Place in Heaton, pleaded not guilty at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and will return to the dock on July 3.
In a short hearing before district judge Gary Garland, Ahmed - dressed in a black jacket, dark jeans, black shoes, glasses and a white shirt buttoned up to the collar, but no tie - spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Solicitor Kieran O’Neill said his client denied any threats to kill had been made. Ahmed was bailed until his trial with the condition not to contact Mr Robinson-Young.
German authorities think they "have thwarted an Islamist attack," and a married couple has been arrested in a town near Frankfurt in connection with the case, the interior minister for the German state of Hesse told reporters Thursday.
The couple was arrested Wednesday night in Oberursel, a town near Frankfurt in west-central Germany, said Peter Beuth, interior minister for Hesse. "We suspect that there was a Salafist background," Beuth said, referring to ultra-fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. "Police investigations at this stage indicate that we have thwarted an Islamist attack."
Hesse's top public prosecutor, Albrecht Schreiber, told reporters in Wiesbaden that an array of dangerous items were seized from a couple's apartment overnight; the two suspects were arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.
Schreiber confirmed the discovery of a completed pipe bomb, police found three liters of hydrogen peroxide, 100 rounds of live 9-milimeter munitions, a training projectile for a rocket-propelled grenade, methylated spirits, diesel, other "unknown fluids," and also "meaningful parts of a G3 assault rifle." The rifle was disassembled, Schreiber said, and police were working to ascertain whether the complete set of parts was present in the flat
The overnight arrest of a 35-year-old German with Turkish roots and his 34-year-old wife is believed to have prevented a terrorist attack in the region. Friday's cycling race around Frankfurt had been identified as a potential target in the press; police president Stefan Müller said investigators had not ruled out the possibility, but did not yet know.
That is, of course, a soft target, it would be relatively easy to attack," Müller said. "And since the Boston Marathon [attack of 2013], such events are closely watched - which also applies to cycling races."
Schreiber explained that the male suspect was seen in recent days surveying parts of the route of the cycling race, around Germany's financial capital on the Mayday public holiday. This intensified police attention on him.
The suspects had been seen in a local hardware store purchasing the hydrogen peroxide,(three litres, using a false name) Schreiber said, adding that the wife's presence in the store was one of the reasons for her to be arrested along with her husband.
Deputy chief prosecutor Stefan Rojczyk said: " This hydrogen peroxide triggered an alert. Police figured out who had bought it and it was decided to act fast."
Newspaper reports claim that the man is trained in chemistry.
Schreiber and Müller said it was too early to comment on reports that a conservative Islamic text was seized in the flat.
A successful financier, that is adept at seeing how to make money, George Soros has also been adept, perhaps even more adept, at finding ways to avoid paying taxes. He is, outwardly, as outraged at the injustice of the system as Warren Buffett, but has made no sign, unlike Buffett, of wanting to give away his fortune, or much of it. He likes to think of himself as an intellectual, and has been an ostentatious admirer of Karl Popper who wrote, among other works, The Open Society and Its Enemies. But he hasn't answered, or even given signs of having thought about, this question: Is George Soros someone who in his works and days has furthered the Open Society, or has he been, all along,as a self-satisfied plutocrat pretending to be something more, one of its Enemies?
What’s Behind Iran’s Piracy in the Persian Gulf over an Unresolved Cargo Claim?
Source: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg News
Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard s Corps (IRGC) naval patrol boats fired warning shots across the bow of the Maersk Tigris container vessel, hailed the vessel’s master ultimately boarding and diverting it into Iranian waters. The Tigris was boarded by IRGC troops while it transited the Strait of Hormuz en route to Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The vessel’s master got off a distress call alerting Fifth Fleet command in Bahrain which dispatched the USS Farragut, a destroyer, to the vicinity of the boarding by IRGC naval troops. The Farragut is presently in international waters in the monitoring possibly movement of the Maersk Tigris. The seizure of the Maersk Tigris was the second such incident in less than a week. Last Friday, Iranian navy vessels surrounded another Maersk container ship, the Kensington, flying a US Flag and then departed, perhaps a trial run for Tuesday’s seizure of the Maersk Tigris.
M/V Maersk Tigris M/V Maersk Kensington
The Maersk Tigris box ship is a Marshall Islands republic registered 5,470-teu container vessel. The Maersk Tigris crew of 35 is largely composed of Eastern Europeans , south Asians and one Briton. According to the Islamic Republic’s Ports and Maritime Organization the Maersk Tigris seizure by the IRGC was court ordered because of an alleged old cargo civil claims dispute.
Marie Harf, Department of State press spokesperson, in response to a question at Wednesday’s press briefing, indicated that the Maersk was presently anchored off the northeast coast of Larak Island, Iran. The Marshall Islands Embassy in Washington issued a statement saying that under a treaty with the US, the latter ensures the safety and security of the tiny Pacific island group. Ms. Harf in further clarification said, “Under the U.S.-Republic of Marshall Islands Compact of Free Association, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for security and defense matters in or relating to the Marshall Islands, including matters relating to vessels flying their flag.” The Marshall Islands has apparently requested assistance from the US under the authority of the Compact, which raised the question of possible military assistance. However, Ms. Harf indicated that the Administration would prefer to have the matter "settled peacefully."
The Islamic Regime has used hostage taking for political gain since its inception with the US Embassy takeover in 1979 and later seizure of Royal Marines in the Shat –al Arab waterway in 2007 during the Iraq War. The current Maersk Tigris episode looks eerily familiar; recall the Somali Pirate seizure of the Maersk Alabama in 2009.
Watch this Wall Street Journal video report with columnist Bret Stephens discussing “The Pirates of Tehran” seizure of the Maersk Tigris:
The Maersk Tigris went into service in 2014 and is owned by New York-based private equity, Oaktree Capital Management, LLC (NYSE-OAK), a major investor in ocean specialized shipping. The Maersk Tigris is managed by Rickmers Shipmanagement , the Singaporean subsidiary of the Rickmers Group of Hamburg. AP Moeller Maersk A/S(Maersk. B CSE) , headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, the charterer, operates the largest container vessel fleet in the world. Maersk has asked both Rickmers and the Danish Foreign Ministry to undertake suitable inquiries with the Iranian government.
Thursday, Maersk clarified the nature of the Iranian cargo dispute. The New York Times reported:
Stopping a cargo ship at gunpoint to resolve a legal claim, however, is highly unusual. Maersk officials said in a statement on Thursday that the ship had been stopped because of a dispute over 10 containers that were shipped from Iran to the United Arab Emirates in 2005. The 10 containers, which were sent by an Iranian company, were never picked up. After 90 days, “the cargo was disposed of” by local government authorities in line with local law, Maersk said.
The disposal of the crates led to court battles in several Iranian courts since then. Maersk said that on Feb 18, one court ordered Maersk to pay $163,000, which the company said it was willing to pay. But Maersk said it was told Thursday that a higher court had ordered it to pay $3.6 million.
“As we do not have the details of the ruling, we are not able to comment hereon, nor at this point speculate on our options,” the company said.
The Iran port agency’s statement identified the Iranian company that sued Maersk as the Pars Talaee Oil Production Company. The statement said the agency had been notified of the verdict in the court case and that it “was implemented by the operational forces.”
The reaction in Washington was muted, perhaps, because, the Obama Administration doesn’t want any extraneous disturbances that might jeopardize the intricate negotiations with Iran in the P5+1 negotiations headed for a possible June 30 deadline for reaching a final agreement. These moves by Iran in the Persian Gulf are where 30 percent of the world’s oil deliveries exit the Strait of Hormus daily look like piratical behavior. Iran says it respects freedom of navigation in this major world oil chokepoint. The risk of a possible closure of the Straits of Hormuz was partially alleviated by the completion of the $3.3 Billion Abu Dubai Oil Pipeline by the UAE in August 2012. The 290 kilometer long pipeline on the Southern littoral of Persian Gulf connects with a terminal at Fujairah on the Arabian Sea. The pipeline has flow capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day.
Last week Iran tried to breach a blockade by US Naval vessels positioned in the Gulf of Aden at the head of another major chokepoint, the entry to the Suez Canal through which major cargo and oil deliveries pass daily. The Iranian flotilla was endeavoring to supply rebel Houthi forces in war torn Yemen.
The Gulf of Aden has also been the previous venue of Somali pirates who have been engaged in seizing foreign commercial vessels for ransom. Maersk had a major seizure of the Maersk Alabama by Somali Pirates in April 2009-the so-called “Captain Harris affair.” That episode ended when snipers of the US Navy Seal Team Six snipers aboard the USS Bainbridge rescued Harris killing three of the young Somali pirates who seized it, arresting the surviving fourth pirate. He was subsequently flown to New York for arraignment and a subsequent trial where he was convicted and sentenced to 33 years for his actions. An international maritime patrol and private security arrangements of ship operators and crew have greatly reduced those occurrences in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden until now.
The game of chicken played out in the Gulf of Aden last week occurred when the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a carrier, accompanied by a guided missile cruiser, the USS Normandy, steamed out from the Fifth Fleet port in Bahrain through the Straits and into the Arabian Sea bolstering the seven other US Navy ships positioned there. That led to a faceoff against the Iranian flotilla composed of seven cargo vessels accompanied by two Iranian navy frigates. The Iranian flotilla was ordered to return to a position off the Straits.
There were threats by Iran to close the Straits in late 2011 during a naval missile exercise in protest to oil sanctions imposed against the Iranian nuclear program. In July 2012 there was the launch of Shahab missiles on the anniversary of the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655 by a missile fired in error by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988. All 290 passengers and crew were killed. The episode occurred at the end of the Tanker War that occurred near the end of the Iran-Iraq war. We wrote about the December 2011 event:
Does this read like a possible repeat of the tanker wars of 1987-1988 that took place in the final throes of the Iran-Iraq War? In December 1986, the Kuwait government petitioned the Reagan Administration about protection of its tankers against Iranian threats; the vessels were re-flagged and granted American protection. Thus began Operation Earnest Will, the largest convoy operations since WWII. US Navy forces were successful in keeping the oil flowing through the Straits of Hormus. US Navy Seal teams were dispatched to destroy Iranian oil platforms in retribution for attacks on US flagged vessels. During the campaign, the Islamic Republic Navy used small boats to harass US flagged vessels and fired Chinese anti-ship Silk Worm missiles against US flagged tankers, injuring crews.
Could that happen again? Assuming the Obama Administration wanted to avoid a casus belli by the Islamic Republic against the Arab oil producers from Iraq, Kuwait, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. . . the US Navy could “line the straits’ with combat vessels. Further the US could conduct intensive aerial patrols from the Carrier Task Force positioned there. The Fifth fleet also has missile boats, presumably equipped with both conventional and nuclear missiles. Not unlike the Tanker War of the late 1980’s, there would be Seal and Small Boat Teams and night stalker helicopters available for special operations. However, given the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and missile programs, there could be other types of missions launched.
Iran is using any pretext like the seizure of the Maersk Tigris to provoke an international crisis. This raises concerns about its duplicity and aims in the multiple dimension chess games destabilizing the Middle East region and potentially world commerce in both the oil and shipping markets. Unlike the 2009 rescue of the Maersk Alabama, the Administration is caught in a predicament of its own making; pursuing the completion of the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran while “managing” the roiling proxy war between Iran and ‘ally’ Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Maersk paying off an inflated $3.4 million for a hoary cargo dispute claim by Iran to release the vessels from the piratical hands of IRGC must appear to be a cheap solution to the Administration. Problem is Iran could arbitrarily raise the stakes triggering a possible war over freedom of navigation and flow of oil to the worlds markets, thereby spiking prices. Perhaps the reason for doing this. Stay tuned for developments.