Category Archives: Financial

America Is On The Same Glide Path As The Fatal Germanwings Flight

America Is On The Same Glide Path As The Fatal Germanwings Flight

Germanwing airplane plane

The pilot was locked out of the cockpit. That phrase finally revealed the full horror of the crash of Germanwings flight 9525.

Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz waited for the pilot to leave the cockpit then locked the door to prevent his re-entry. After which Lubitz, for reasons unknown and perhaps unknowable, deliberately steered the jet into a harrowing 8-minute plunge, ending in an explosive 434 mph impact with a rocky mountainside. One hundred fifty men, women and children met an immediate, unthinkably violent death.

Lubitz, in his single-minded madness, couldn’t be stopped because anyone who could change the jet’s disastrous course was locked out.

It’s hard to imagine the growing feelings of fear and helplessness that the passengers felt as the unforgiving landscape rushed up to meet them. Hard, but not impossible.

ISIS Tweet: We Are Coming to America
ISIS Tweet: We Are Coming to America

America is in very deep trouble and we feel the descent in the pits of our stomachs. We hear the shake and rattle of structures stressed beyond their limits. We don’t know where we’re going anymore, but do know it isn’t good. And above all, we feel helpless because Barack Obama has locked us out.

He locked the American people out of his decision to seize the national healthcare system.

He locked us out when we wanted to know why the IRS was attacking conservatives.

He locked us out of having a say in his decision to tear up our immigration laws and to give over a trillion dollars in benefits to those who broke those laws.

Obama locked out those who advised against premature troop withdrawals. He locked out the intelligence agencies who issued warnings about the growing threat of ISIS.

He locked out anyone who could have interfered with his release of five Taliban terror chiefs in return for one U.S. Military deserter.

And, of course, Barack Obama has now locked out Congress, the American people, and our allies as he strikes a secret deal with Iran to determine the timeline (not prevention) of their acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Was Andreas Lubitz depressed, insane, or abysmally evil when he decided to lock that cockpit door and listen to no voices other than those in his head? Did he somehow believe himself to be doing the right thing? The voice recordings from the doomed aircraft reveal that as the jet began its rapid descent, the passengers were quiet. There was probably some nervous laughter, confusion, a bit of comforting chatter with seat mates, followed by a brief period in which anxiety had not yet metastasized into terror. It was only near the end of the 8-minute plunge that everyone finally understood what was really happening. Only near the end when they began to scream.

Like those passengers, a growing number of Americans feel a helpless dread as they come to the inescapable conclusion that our nation’s decline is an act of choice rather than of chance.

The choice of one man who is in full control of our 8-year plunge. I wonder when America will begin to scream.

Dr. RICHARD S. WELLS

Robots Can Mix You a Drink. But Will They Listen to Your Problems?

Robots Can Mix You a Drink. But Will They Listen to Your Problems?

By TIMOTHY AEPPEL

The Makr Shakr, a bartending robot, is the creation of an Italian company and consists of robotic arms that mix cocktails, then place them on a conveyor belt to be carried across the bar to the waiting customer or a server.

Robots aren’t about to elbow bartenders out of a job.

But versions of them could start showing up at your favorite watering holes. Indeed,some are already out there.

The Makr Shakr is the creation of an Italian company and consists of robotic arms that mix cocktails, and then place them on a conveyor belt to be carried across the bar to the waiting customer or a server. The first two installations are on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, where they’re the centerpieces of “Bionic Bars.”

The goal isn’t to do away with bartenders, who are still needed to tend the machines and, when necessary, deliver the drinks. Carlo Ratti, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and cofounder of Makr Shakr, says the project began when he was asked to design a machine that would allow people to interact with robots in an unexpected setting. “It started as something to shock people in a tangible way,” he says, to show them “what the third industrial revolution is all about.”

Another example is the “Bartendro,” a box with hoses and flashing lights that can mix an array of drinks—but it too needs to be tended by a human, who among other things puts the glass into position under the pour spout and then delivers the drink to the customer.

Machines like these are designed to work alongside humans, not replace them.

But just because something can be automated doesn’t mean it should be. At Tryst, a Denver bar that bought one of the $2,500 Bartendros through a Kickstarter campaign last year, the verdict is clear: It’s an oddity people quickly lost interest in after a few months. “Visually, it’s eye-catching,” said human bartender Richie Hadley. “But on a busy night, will we use it? Not at all, unless someone asks about it.”

Another machine is aimed at the self-service and home market. The Monsieur was created by a team of engineers from Georgia Tech after a frustrating night watching basketball finals in a crowded restaurant. “It wasn’t until halftime that we got our first drink,” says Donald Beamer, the company president. “As engineers, we saw there was a problem.” Automation speeds up assembly lines, so why not use it to accelerate cocktail making?

Mr. Beamer’s device comes in two versions—a table-top model that sells for just under $4,000 and a $10,000 kiosk that looks like a Coke machine. The kiosk has a cup dispenser and ice reservoir. The idea is to “offer self-service” in places that might not otherwise have a bar, he says.

Still, MIT professor Scott Stern, who studies the diffusion of new technology, is among those who doubt bartending machines have a big future. “When I’m in a different city, having a drink of wine at a bar, I don’t want to talk to a robot,” he says.

But while bartending jobs may be safe, many others are at risk.  Even some technology entrepreneurs like Bill Gates are worried about what a surge of automation could mean for the future of work. Those worries have been magnified by the slow recovery of the job market after the last recession.

New Book, ‘Clinton Cash,’ Questions Foreign Donations to Foundation

New Book, ‘Clinton Cash,’ Questions Foreign Donations to Foundation

By

Hillary Rodham Clinton at a small-business round table on Wednesday in Des Moines. CreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The book does not hit shelves until May 5, but already the Republican Rand Paul has called its findings “big news” that will “shock people” and make voters “question” the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer — a 186-page investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities — is proving the most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle still in its infancy.

The book, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.

“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes.

His examples include a free-trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a major foundation donor’s natural resource investments in the South American nation, development projects in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake in 2010, and more than $1 million in payments to Mr. Clinton by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline around the time the project was being debated in the State Department.

In the long lead up to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign announcement, aides proved adept in swatting down critical books as conservative propaganda, including Edward Klein’s “Blood Feud,” about tensions between the Clintons and the Obamas, and Daniel Halper’s “Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine.”

But “Clinton Cash” is potentially more unsettling, both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author  to pursue the story lines found in the book.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which includes Mr. Paul and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have been briefed on the book’s findings, and its contents have already made their way into several of the Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns.

Conservative “super PACs” plan to seize on “Clinton Cash,” and a pro-Democrat super PAC has already assembled a dossier on Mr. Schweizer, a speechwriting consultant to former President George W. Bush and a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution who has contributed to the conservative website Breitbart.com, to make the case that he has a bias against Mrs. Clinton.

And the newly assembled Clinton campaign team is planning a full-court press to diminish the book as yet another conservative hit job.

A campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, called the book part of the Republicans’ coordinated attack strategy on Mrs. Clinton “twisting previously known facts into absurd conspiracy theories,” and he said “it will not be the first work of partisan-fueled fiction about the Clintons’ record, and we know it will not be the last.”

Mr. Schweizer and a spokeswoman for HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corporation and is publishing the book, declined to comment.

The timing is problematic for Mrs. Clinton as she begins a campaign to position herself as a “champion for everyday Americans.”

From 2001 to 2012, the Clintons’ income was at least $136.5 million, Mr. Schweizer writes, using a figure previously reported in The Post. “During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions” with foreign governments and individuals, he writes. “Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”

The Clinton Foundation has come under scrutiny for accepting foreign donations while Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state. Last week, the foundation revised its policy to allow donations from countries like Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and Britain but prohibit giving by other nations in the Middle East.

Mr. Schweizer’s book will be released the same day former President Bill Clinton and the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, will host the Clinton Global Initiative gathering with donors in Morocco, the culmination of a foundation trip to several African nations. (A chapter in the book is titled “Warlord Economics: The Clintons Do Africa.”)

There is a robust market for books critical of the Clintons. The thinly sourced “Blood Feud,” by Mr. Klein, at one point overtook Mrs. Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” on the best-seller list.

But whether Mr. Schweizer’s book can deliver the same sales is not clear. He writes mainly in the voice of a neutral journalist and meticulously documents his sources, including tax records and government documents, while leaving little doubt about his view of the Clintons.

His reporting largely focuses on payments made to Mr. Clinton for speeches, which increased while his wife served as secretary of state, writing that “of the 13 Clinton speeches that fetched $500,000 or more, only two occurred during the years his wife was not secretary of state.”

In 2011, Mr. Clinton made $13.3 million in speaking fees for 54 speeches, the majority of which were made overseas, the author writes.

ATF Decided Banning Ammo A Mistake, Now Democrats Want To Buy Back Guns With Federal Money

ATF Decided Banning Ammo A Mistake, Now Democrats Want To Buy Back Guns With Federal Money

AR-15-not-an-assault-rifle

Since the ATF decided it was a mistake to ban certain ammo, U.S. House Democrats have once again come up with a scheme to come after certain guns. This time, they want to pay you to turn them in.

The director of the ATF quietly resigned on March 31 amid the controversy of the failed “back door ammo ban” for certain AR-15 ammunition. The proposed ban of M855 ammunition validated the NRA’s claim that the administration was willing to even go behind the back of the U.S. Congress to impose gun control on the American people. When the ATF failed, certain Democrats from both the Senate and the House of Representatives proposed legislation that would restart the ammo ban. So far, all those measures have failed.

Now, Democrat Representatives have a new plan to get the “scary looking guns” off the street.

The Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Education of our (SAFER) Streets Act will be re-introduced next week by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn). This act works with the IRS to provide monetary incentives for gun owners to turn their firearms in to their local police departments.

“Assault weapons are not about hunting, or even self-defense. There is no reason on Earth, other than to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, that anyone needs a gun designed for a battlefield.  These weapons were used in Newtown, Aurora and countless other mass shootings across America.  And they have been disproportionately used to kill law enforcement officers in the line of duty.  They have no place on the streets or in our homes.” (Rep. Rosa DeLauro)

While DeLauro is not above admitting she favors strict gun laws and weapons bans, she states this measure should be passed because it doesn’t “force” gun owners to turn in their weapons. This bill instead provides up to a $2000 tax credit — $1000 a year for two years — for anyone willing to surrender their “assault weapons” to local police.

She originally proposed this bill in January 2013, just one month after the Newtown tragedy. The legislation fell short of the votes needed to pass, as the Republicans gained control of the House that same month. Still upset her measures didn’t pass, she plans on re-introducing the same bill next week when Congress returns from recess.

“Just days after the Newtown tragedy, President Obama asked ‘Are we doing enough to protect our children?’ And he admitted the answer is no.  That must change.” (Rep. Rosa DeLauro)

Her announcement of this legislation was in conjunction with the beginning of National Public Health Week.

The definition of the term “assault rifle” is not the same thing used by the military or law enforcement as the term used by Democrats in Congress. Automatic weapons are already banned and have been for many years. The high capacity magazines used in Newtown and Aurora were already banned in Connecticut and Colorado. In fact, the Pentagon defines assault rifles very different from Congress.

As the United States Defense Department’s Defense Intelligence Agency book Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide explains, “assault rifles” are “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.” In other words, assault rifles are battlefield rifles which can fire automatically. (Journal of Contemporary Law)

While the .223 round is similar to the U.S. Military ammunition and used by the most popular “assault rifle” targeted by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Rosa DeLauro, it is not exclusive to the AR-15. Many hunting rifles use this type of ammunition. If you were to use a magazine, put a hand hold, or customize the stock on any of these classic rifles, they become targeted by legislation such as this. These laws are not after “assault rifles,” but “military style” or “scary looking” guns.

She is not alone in wanting to pay you to hand over your weapons voluntarily. The co-sponsors include Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).

39,000 illegal immigrant kids coming to U.S.

39,000 illegal immigrant kids coming to U.S.

By VÍCTOR MANUEL RAMOS  victor.ramos@newsday.com

border illegal immigration immigrants children crossing

Many of the children coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala likely will be resettled where there are established Central American communities, such as Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties, said Marc Rosenblum, the report’s author.

“They are coming from similar communities and are headed to similar communities,” said Rosenblum, deputy director of the institute’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program. “The local impact is that whatever challenges school districts and local health care systems are under already are likely to increase.”

The second wave of immigrants, as some are calling it, is expected even as localities and school systems struggle to absorb about 53,500 children who arrived in the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2014. Those minors continue to move through a multistep immigration court process to decide whether they can stay or are to be deported.

More than 3,000 of those minors moved in with relatives or sponsors on Long Island, making the region one of the top places in the nation to receive the children.

Some Long Island school districts saw enrollment spikes from the recent arrivals and felt pressured to give them needed classroom instruction and other educational services. At the same time, immigrant advocates and other groups, including New York Communities for Change and the Long Island chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, mobilized to protect the children’s rights.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Wednesday that he and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) will reintroduce a proposal to send emergency funding to school districts that are receiving the young immigrants. The two co-sponsored a bill that stalled last year.

“Because of a failed federal policy, financial responsibility must fall on the federal government and not the Long Island taxpayer,” King said in a statement.

Israel Wednesday called the bill to reimburse schools “common-sense, bipartisan legislation to provide emergency relief.”

So far this fiscal year, 12,065 unaccompanied minors have been referred for resettlement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said a spokesman for the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, which shelters the children until they are released to relatives or sponsors. About 620 of those had come to Long Island and New York City as of February — 178 in Suffolk and 113 in Nassau.

In addition to unaccompanied minors, children also arrive in the United States with their mothers or other relatives, a trend that is expected to continue. Those children are counted separately in federal statistics as being part of family units.

Victoria Campos, an immigration attorney with offices in Huntington Station, Bay Shore and Riverhead, said she has about 25 newcomers among her clients, but most of her cases are from 2013 and 2014. She has seen a decline recently, noting there is a months long lag until attorneys see new cases.

“I tend to agree that there is going to be a second wave,” said Campos, adding that “a lot of the minors that have come are here because something traumatic has happened in their lives,” and conditions in their countries haven’t improved in the past year.

They are fleeing a host of ills, including high crime, gang violence and poverty in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Cities in those countries have some of the highest murder rates in the world.

The recent surges in border crossings have been felt more acutely where there were established immigrant populations.

The Hempstead school district became the focus of investigations by the state attorney general’s office and the State Education Department after advocates complained that newly arrived children were turned away from school last fall.

There are larger concerns for the region’s affected school systems, now in the midst of figuring out budget plans for the 2015-16 school year.

border illegal immigration immigrants children crossing gang ms13

The US’s ‘open border’ policy has allows numerous ‘children’ into our country who while technically are children under the age of 18, are part of the extremely violent gang MS13 plus part of many drug cartels.  Many Americans will be victimized and killed because of Mr. Obama’s blatant disregard for securing our border.

Treasury Debt Has Been Frozen For 21 Days

Treasury Debt Has Been Frozen For 21 Days

Debt Has Been Frozen at $18,112,975,000,000

National Deficit Federal debt

According to the Daily Treasury Statement for Friday, April 3, which was published by the U.S. Treasury on Monday, April 6, that portion of the federal debt that is subject to a legal limit set by Congress closed the day at $18,112,975,000,000—for the 21st day in a row.

$18,112,975,000,000 is about $25 million below the current legal debt limit of $18,113,000,080,959.35.

The debt first hit $18,112,975,000,000, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, on March 13, which was the day Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders saying that he was planning to declare a “debt issuance suspension period.”

national debt obama debt deficit budget

This was necessary, Lew explained, because in 2014 Congress enacted legislation that “suspended” the debt limit until March 15 and then reinstated it on that date at whatever level the debt had reached by then.

“As you know, in February 2014, Congress passed the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, suspending the statutory debt limit through March 15, 2015,” Lew said in his March 13 letter. “Beginning on Monday, March 16, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit. In anticipation of reaching that date, Treasury has suspended until further notice the issue of State and Local Government Series securities, which count against the debt limit.”

State and Local Government Series securities, the Congressional Research Service explains, are “customized securities available for state and local governments to hold proceeds of bond sales,” and are considered part of the federal government debt that is held by the public.

“Because Congress has not yet acted to raise the debt limit,” Lew said in his March 13 letter, “the Treasury Department will have to employ further extraordinary measures to continue to finance the government on a temporary basis. Therefore, beginning on March 16, I plan to declare a ‘debt issuance suspension period’ with respect to investment of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and also suspend the daily reinvestment of Treasury securities held by the Government Securities Investment Fund and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan.”

Lew noted that these same actions had been taken “during previous debt limit impasses.”

For example, as CNSNews.com reported, when Secretary Lew declared a debt issuance suspension period in 2013, the Treasury reported the debt subject to the limit was frozen at $16,699,396,000,000 for 150 days, running from mid-May to mid-October of that year.

On March 16 and 17 Lew sent additional letters to Congress further explaining the actions he would be taking during the “debt issuance suspension period” that began on March 16. The Treasury also postedFrequently Asked Question sheets that explained the actions and their statutory basis.

“Under current law, if the Secretary of the Treasury determines that the issuance of obligations of the United States may not be made without exceeding the debt limit, a ‘debt issuance suspension period’ may be determined,” the Congressional Research Service explained in a report published on March 27. “This determination gives the Treasury the authority to suspend investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund, Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund, and the Government Securities Investment Fund (G-Fund) of the Federal Thrift Savings Plan.

“In addition,” said CRS, “this gives Treasury the authority to prematurely redeem securities held by the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund and Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.”

“The total federal debt consists of debt held by the public and intragovernmental debt,” the CRS explained in a report published in 2011. “Debt owed to the public represents borrowing from entities other than the federal government, and includes borrowing from state and local governments, the Federal Reserve System, and foreign central banks, as well as private investors in the United States.

“Intragovernmental debt,” said CRS, “consists in debt owed by one part of the federal government to another, which are mostly held in trust funds.”

The net effect of the Treasury’s actions is that although the publicly held debt of the government continues to fluctuate–as the Treasury redeems maturing debt held by the public and issues new debt held by the public—the overall debt subject to the limit set by Congress closes each business day at $18,112,975,000,000.

As of March 13, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, the federal debt held by the public was $13,083,880,000,000. By April 2, it had risen to $13,096,592,000,000; and, by April 3, it had risen to $13,113,626,000,000.

But on all days from March 13 through April 3, the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress was 18,112,975,000,000.

Illegal immigrant children surge across border at highest rate since last summer’s peak

Illegal immigrant children surge across border at highest rate since last summer’s peak

illegal alien children border

The second wave of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children has begun, with more than 3,000 of them surging across the Mexican border into the U.S. last month — the highest rate since the peak of last summer’s crisis and a warning that another rough season could be ahead.

Immigration officials warned that they expected another surge as the weather improved. Although the numbers are down some 40 percent compared with last year’s frenetic pace that sparked a political crisis for the Obama administration, fiscal year 2015 is shaping up to mark the second-biggest surge on record.

Authorities report having captured 15,647 children traveling without parents who tried to jump the border in the first six months of the fiscal year. Through this point in 2014, they had apprehended 28,579.

Just as worrisome is the rate of whole families — usually mothers with young children — who are crossing. So far this fiscal year, authorities have captured 13,911 “family units,” down 30 percent from last year.

“These statistics show that the surge of illegal arrivals from Central America was never really over,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

She said the Obama administration and Congress have not taken steps to end the “pull factors.”

Among those is the policy that requires children from Central America to be released into the U.S. rather than quickly returned to their home countries. Once released, those children usually fail to appear for deportation proceedings.

The Congressional Research Service told Congress in late March that 62 percent of the children failed to show up for their cases before immigration judges from July through February. All of them were ordered deported, but the workload of officials made deportation unlikely in most cases.

The Obama administration last year initially blamed bad economies and growing gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala for sparking the surge, but later acknowledged that human traffickers were marketing the journey by pointing out a loophole in U.S. immigration system that requires non-Mexican children to be released into the U.S. while they await final immigration decisions. That gives them a chance to abscond and disappear into the shadows with the more than 11 million other illegal immigrants in the country.

“Those are pretty bad outcomes for immigration hearings,” Ms. Vaughan said. “Lots of no-shows and few people getting relief. These statistics show that the administration’s response has been a failure.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, didn’t return a message for comment Monday, but Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said the Obama administration has poured manpower and resources into trying to secure the border and vowed to update plans “to ensure we are as prepared as possible for any potential scenario.”

She said agencies now have more detention beds to hold families, which means they can be deported at a faster pace. She also pointed to a new program that will allow Central American children to apply from their home countries to join their parents in the U.S., including those who are gaining tentative legal status under Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty.

“We will remain vigilant and continue working aggressively to address underlying causes of unlawful migration,” Ms. Catron said.

Analysts have been debating what other steps are needed to stem another surge this year.  Really? It’s that complicated?  Secure the border!  Stop offering any government handouts!

Poll: Yes to more aggressive deportations, no to welfare, citizenship for kids of illegals

Poll: Yes to more aggressive deportations, no to welfare, citizenship for kids of illegals

Despite President Obama’s efforts to cool the nation’s views on illegal immigrants storming over the U.S.-Mexico border, Americans have reached a new level of anger over the issue, with most demanding a more aggressive deportation policy — and reversal of a law that grants citizenship to kids of illegals born in the U.S.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday also finds Americans questioning spending tax dollars on government aid provided to illegal immigrants. A huge 83 percent said that anybody should be required to prove that they are “legally allowed” to be in the country before receiving local, state or federal government services.

Overall, the poll is bad news for the White House because it shows sustained, and in some cases, elevated anger and frustration over the surge in undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Immigration protesters march near the Georgia Capitol in 2013 holding a sign encouraging President Obama to deliver on his promise of immigration reform. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

For example, 62 percent told the pollster that the U.S. is “not aggressive enough” in deporting those illegally in the United States. Just 15 percent believed the administration’s current policy was “about right” and 16 percent said it was “too aggressive.”

That 62 percent number is a jump from a year ago when it was 52 percent.

RELATED: Here’s where illegal immigrants in the U.S. work

When asked if the baby of an illegal born in the United States should automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the law, 54 percent said no versus 38 percent who said yes.

In another area that seems to test American patience with the administration, 51 percent said that illegal immigrants who have American born children should not be exempt from deportation.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted atpbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

‘Gun Letter’ Informs Pawn And Gun Shop Owner His Bank Accounts Are Being Closed

‘Gun Letter’ Informs Pawn And Gun Shop Owner His Bank Accounts Are Being Closed

Andy Raymond, gun store owner
Andy Raymond, gun store owner

A gun and pawn shop owner in Florida received what he was told is “one of the gun letters” from his bank last month informing him that his business is no longer welcome.

Steve Champion, who opened American Gun & Pawn in Brooksville last year, received a letter from SunTrust on March 20, stating that he’ll have to close his accounts by April 20.

“At first I thought it must be a hoax,” Champion told WFLA. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” he wrote on his Facebook account, where he also posted the SunTrust letter.

Related: Homeland Security Stockpiling ‘Special Ammunition’ For Riots

The letter matches others sent to pawn shops and gun store owners across the country. Though banks and the federal government have remained tight-lipped about the closures, they are believed to be related to Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice initiative ostensibly aimed at ending bank fraud. Choke Point has identified nearly 30 types of businesses as being at “high-risk” for fraudulent and illegal activities. The “high-risk” list includes gun shops, pawn shops, coin dealers and payday lenders.

“SunTrust continuously reviews its products, markets, and client relationships to ensure that we are able to provide the best possible client services,” reads SunTrust’s letter to Champion.

“As a result of a recent account review, we regret to inform you that SunTrust is no longer able to provide some of the financial services you require. We respectfully request that you immediately begin closing all of your SunTrust deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and credit cards by 4/20/2015,” the letter continues, noting that the decision cannot be reversed.

While Operation Choke Point does not explicitly force banks to end relationships with “high-risk” companies, it is believed that maintaining those relationships opens banks up to more scrutiny. Rather than deal with more oversight, some banks seem to have chosen to stop doing business with such companies altogether.

Naturally, Champion is not happy with the decision and has vowed to spread word of SunTrust’s actions.

“I’ve worked my whole life to open a business,” he told WFLA. “I have a near-perfect credit score. I have zero debt.”

“There is no reason other than they don’t want to do business either with a gun store or a pawn shop, period,” he said. “So they’re discriminating.”

“We’re a legitimate business that’s licensed through the federal government so why am I being singled out and why is my account being canceled?” he continued. “It’s just unacceptable, and I told them I will tell everyone that wants to listen.”

A spokesman for SunTrust told WFLA that the bank began severing relationships with pawn shops last year. He said that gun stores are not being targeted. Many pawn shops across the U.S. also sell guns.

But Champion questions the accuracy of that statement, given what a SunTrust customer service representative told him.