Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Brazil behaving like an adult. Dilma ran them out of money now it's time to reduce the power of government.
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May 31, 2016 4:00 pm
Joe Leahy in São Paulo
How do you shrink a government? That is a thorny political question anywhere in the world but especially in Brazil, which has traditionally favoured a bloated state.
Now, however, the new government of interim president Michel Temer is trying to tackle this issue as it grapples with a fiscal crisis that is threatening to unwind the country’s economic achievements of recent decades. Sign up now
Mr Temer’s answer is as bold as it is unorthodox — a constitutional amendment to freeze for the foreseeable future public expenses in real terms at 2016 levels. If implemented, the move could help cure one of Brazil’s biggest ills — a spendthrift budget with constitutionally mandated expenditures that have led to constant increases in government spending. This has been exacerbated by a blowout in spending by the previous governments of the leftist Workers’ Party, or PT.
“I’m very encouraged by this,” said Raul Velloso, an economist and specialist on Brazil’s budget. “If we manage to do this, we will free ourselves of the possibility of future populist experiments.”
Brought to power after congress voted in May to begin impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, Mr Temer and his supporters in congress have staked their rule on solving a deep economic crisis afflicting Brazil.
The economic dip was fanned by a fall in commodities prices but its ferocity is due to a crisis of confidence among investors in the ability of Ms Rousseff to restore Brazil’s sinking public finances after more than five years in power.
If gross domestic product in the first three months of this year declined again as expected when the figures were announced on Wednesday, in just two years, Brazil’s per capita real GDP would have declined by nearly 10 per cent, Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos said in a report.
This would exceed the 7.6 per cent contraction in the economy during the country’s so-called “lost decade” of the 1980s, a period of runaway inflation. He said he expected the economy would start to bottom out during the second half on stabilising sentiment amid hopes “the new administration will be able to boost domestic confidence by showing tangible progress on the fiscal consolidation agenda”.
Mindful of the need to satisfy investors’ hopes, Mr Temer’s first success as interim leader was to pass a new bill this month setting a more “realistic” target for the budget.
The bill envisaged a primary fiscal deficit — the balance before interest payments, considered a key gauge of fiscal health in Brazil — at a record of nearly R$171bn for the central government, or 2.75 per cent of GDP. This was up from R$97bn set by Ms Rousseff.
Once interest rate payments are added, the total deficit for the central government is running at around 10 per cent. This is driving government debt up, placing an enormous strain on the budget with the benchmark Selic rate at 14.25 per cent
To help solve this, the government is proposing a law restricting any future increases in budgetary spending to the past year’s inflation.
To implement the law, the government will need to propose a constitutional amendment delinking certain dedicated revenue streams from health and education. It will also in the longer term have to change linkages between the minimum wage and public sector salaries and pensions, a tough issue with the unions.
The law would help freeze a constant increase in the size of the Brazilian state. Central government spending alone has risen from 14 per cent of GDP in 1997 to 18.6 per cent in 2015. The overall government including states and municipalities spends about 40 per cent of GDP — the equivalent of an advanced economy without the services.
In a report, Moody’s Investors Service described the proposals as short on detail and “arduous” to implement and said it did not see a clear path to implementing structural reforms.
“It’s very across-the-board, you could call it a blunt instrument,” Samar Maziad, a senior analyst at Moody’s said of the budget expenses limit. “The important point is to know what exactly is going to be cut and this is why we don’t have enough information.”
David Beker, an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said the measure looked “aggressive”. One problem was that it did not allow for countercyclical policy for future economic crises.
“Normally, you discuss every single year depending on the situation, what you expect for the following year in terms of expenditures,” Mr Beker said.
However, Mr Velloso said once the economy started growing again, tax revenues would rise at a faster rate than inflation, allowing the government to accumulate ever greater primary fiscal surpluses and pay down debt.
He said the crisis had created an ideal opportunity to pass such difficult measures. Since most of congress had supported the impeachment, members needed to support Mr Temer’s measures to resurrect the economy or risk being collectively blamed for Brazil’s situation.
“Temer can go to congress and say: ‘Listen, if we commit an error here, we’ll all be held responsible for the disaster’. We can’t let that happen,” Mr Velloso said.
Posted By Chuck Ross On 12:26 PM 05/31/2016
The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
Left-wing groups are using taxpayers’ money to advance a “misleading” anti-Donald Trump agenda and are pushing for green card holders to naturalize in order to vote against the GOP front-runner, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions tells The Daily Caller.
“The left has always done this,” Sessions said during an interview at his Senate office last week.
[dcquiz] “The left has always sought to use taxpayers’ money to advance their agenda. So they’ve got some very aggressive left-wing groups, supported by [progressive billionaire] George Soros and Open Society and some of these other open borders groups, and they get money from President Obama.” (RELATED: Obama Admin Funds Blitz To Naturalize Anti-Trump Voters)
Numerous non-profit organizations have been involved in efforts to convert green card holders into naturalized citizens in order to vote against Trump in November. Many are funded, in part, through Soros’ Open Society network of foundations. Some have received help from the Mexican government.
And others are being backed by the Obama administration, which launched a citizenship drive initiative called Networks for Integrating New Americans in 2014, before Trump’s rise. The effort, which is spearheaded by a coalition of pro-immigration groups called the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), is intended to help more green card holders obtain U.S. citizenship.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also has an annual grant program in place to help advance citizenship among immigrant populations. Non-profit groups are given $250,000 to help lawful permanent residents apply for citizenship.
But while the citizenship drives have historically been non-partisan, some groups have seized on a potential Trump presidency to scare green card holders into naturalizing in order to vote against the businessman and his platform of tougher immigration laws.
Sessions, who is perhaps the staunchest advocate of immigration control in Congress, is one of Trump’s closest advisers on immigration issues. The 69-year-old former federal prosecutor told TheDC last week that he is open to running as Trump’s vice president. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Sessions Open To Being Trump’s Running Mate — ‘I Would Consider It’)
Should Trump pick Sessions as his running mate the candidate will have chosen one of the few members of Congress who is willing to assert that the open borders agenda is a huge boon to Democrats. Most Republican critics of mass immigration shy away from making the connection.
“They use it in a way to maximize their political advantage,” Sessions said of the non-profit groups’ efforts to sign up more citizens and voters.
“So they seek to influence immigrants — presumably, these are lawful immigrants — to vote their way. And some of them have difficulty with the language and knowing the complexity of the issues, and a lot of these groups are misleading the people as to what the issues are and they do not deserve federal money.”
Sessions identified recent reporting from TheDC which drew attention to the Obama administration’s funding for the anti-Trump groups.
“Several months ago, [TheDC] wrote a great piece that pointed out funding levels that I was not aware of and I don’t think the American people are fully aware of, but it’s wrong to use taxpayers’ money to openly advocate for one candidate,” said Sessions. “Or to act like a quasi-government agency in telling people you have to register to vote so you can vote against another candidate.”
Millions of dollars in federal funding has flowed to the groups, which include outfits such as Instituto del Progresso Latino, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and The Resurrection Project. All have called for the communities they serve to vote against Trump in November.
Several groups that received or have recently received federal funds for naturalization programs also took part in a May Day rally in Los Angeles in which Trump was likened to a member of the Ku Klux Klan. (RELATED: Federally-Funded Groups Take Part In Anti-Trump May Day Rallies)
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) organized the event, which was noted for a large cartoon balloon of Trump carrying a KKK hood. CHIRLA received a $250,000 citizenship grant from USCIS as recently as 2014.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) and Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles (CARECEN) — which received USCIS funding in the most recent round of grants — also took part in the May Day rally. CARECEN’s executive director, Martha Arevalo, was also front-and-center at the rally.
“Today we fight for justice and we say no to hate,” she told attendees, reminding them to vote in the June 7 California primary.
“Don’t forget there’s much more work to be done in June,” she added.
And earlier this month NPNA — the group that helps lead Obama’s Networks for Integrating New Americans program — organized a conference call with reporters to tout a new coalition it had formed called “Stop the Hate.” The plan, according to NPNA executive director Joshua Hoyt, was to naturalize 1 million green card holders for the purposes of voting against Trump and Republicans.
Also mentioned on the call was an effort by some coalition members to register teenagers to vote at high schools located in battleground states.
One can only hope a jury acquits the husband. Perhaps, they can give him an award for cleaning up the neighborhood.
May 31, 2016 | 9:06am
The enraged husband who beat a man to death with a tire iron for trying to rape his wife inside their Bronx home has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, police said.
Mamadou Diallo, 61, came to his wife’s rescue at their Claremont Village apartment building shortly after 9:30 p.m. Monday after the terrified woman called him to tell him she had just broken free from an intruder who attacked her, cops said.
The attacker, identified as 43-year-old Earl Nash of Foxhurst, broke into the home on Washington Avenue near East 168th Street and hit the woman in the face, causing bruises to her forehead, before ripping off her clothes, police said.
Diallo’s wife of 20 years, Nene Gale, 51, “thought it was her [16-year-old] son knocking on the door so she opened the door and saw the man she did not recognize,” said Diallo’s brother Ibrahima Diallo, 52.
“She went to shut the door and the guy pushed in the door and then punched her,” said Ibrahima, recalling what a shaken Gale told him.
Nash, who has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 1997, hit the woman in the face, causing bruises to her forehead, before ripping off her clothes, police said.
Diallo was outside the building parking his car when his wife, who managed to escape from Nash, called him on her cellphone and told him what happened.
That’s when Diallo ran into the building, where he ran into Nash – who tried to flee – in the hallway on the sixth floor and beat him unconscious, according to police.
Surveillance video shows Diallo bashing Nash with a tire iron in a bloody beating outside the elevator for up to two minutes, sources said.
Emergency responders rushed Nash, who had severe body and head trauma, to Lincoln Hospital, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
Cops took Diallo into custody and charged him with manslaughter for the killing.
A close friend of Diallo’s described him as a “good guy” from Guinea who has worked as a livery cab driver for 20 years.
A close friend of Diallo’s described him as a “good guy” from Guinea who has worked as a livery cab driver for 20 years.
“He’s been in this country 27 years and never had a problem with anyone,” said the friend, adding that Diallo is “innocent.”
Diallo’s neighbor said that “he did what he was supposed to do.”
“I saw him right after it happened. He saw his wife with the blood and screaming for his help and he did the right thing.”
Published: 31 May 2016 07:44 GMT+02:00
- 'Ditching kippah puts our future in France in doubt' (13 Jan 16)
- Racism is 'trivialised' in France, says UN experts (29 Apr 15)
- France unveils plan to fight 'intolerable' racism (17 Apr 15)
When Alain Benhamou walked into his apartment near Paris in July 2015 and saw the words "dirty Jew" scrawled on the wall, he knew it was time to leave.
It was his second such break-in in less than three months and the 71-year-old no longer felt welcome in Bondy, a Parisian suburb he had called home for more than 40 years.
"Until the years 2000-2005, the town was nice and quiet, with 250 to 300 Jewish families and synagogues full on the Sabbath," Benhamou says.
"Now, only about a hundred Jewish families remain."
Benhamou is part of a growing number of French Jews who have effectively become internal refugees, fleeing insecurity and seeking protection in numbers in an atmosphere they say is increasingly hostile, and often expressed in relation to conflict in the Middle East.
He moved a few miles south to Villemomble, where there is a larger and more established Jewish community.
But others have fled France altogether.
A record 8,000 or so French Jews moved to Israel in 2015 alone, according to Israeli figures, in the year that a jihadist gunman linked to the Charlie Hebdo newspaper attackers killed four Jews in a kosher supermarket.
(The victims of the Kosher store terror attack. Photo: AFP)
France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, estimated at 500,000 to 600,000 people.
Half of them live in the Paris region but their numbers have declined steadily over the past 15 years, researchers say.
Jerome Fourquet of polling firm IFOP says the change started around 2000 following a fresh surge of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, known as the second intifada.
With France also home to Europe's largest Muslim community, which counts around five million members, the bloodshed in the Middle East unleashed a wave of unrest, particularly in the Paris region which saw a surge in anti-Semitic acts and threats, he says.
A disappearing community
A disappearing community
Benhamou still lives within the sprawling Seine-Saint-Denis department that sits northeast of the capital and combines run-down immigrant ghettos with trendy new gentrified business districts.
In the last 15 years, it has gone from being one of France's most densely-populated Jewish areas to what the community now considers "one of the lost territories of the Republic".
"The Jewish community is expected to disappear from here," Benhamou says.
In nearby Raincy, Rabbi Moshe Lewin shares Benhamou's pessimism, fearing he could be one of the last Jewish leaders in Seine-Saint-Denis.
"What upsets me is that in some areas of France, Jews can no longer live peacefully, and that just five minutes from my home, some are forced to hide their kippas (skullcaps) or their Star of David," he admits.
Even areas with a strong Jewish population, such as Sarcelles to the north, still have major problems.
Francois Pupponi, the Socialist mayor of Sarcelles, says many Jewish residents come to him for help with stories of being assaulted or having swastikas daubed on walls outside their homes.
Some have been caught in "extremely violent situations" that in some cases required families to be "urgently rehoused", says Pupponi.
He become aware of "a phenomenon of internal migration" about five or six years ago, which he says "is getting worse".
(A synagogue in the suburb of Sarcelles that was attacked during the 2014 anti-Israel riots. Photo: AFP)
Nonetheless, Jews from elsewhere still see Sarcelles as a relative haven.
New arrivals now find "a much stronger police and institutional presence" than before and "they can live out their Judaism here in safety," says Pupponi.
Among the newcomers is Eva Sandler, the widow of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler who was killed in an Islamist shooting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.
Other areas have also seen an influx of new arrivals.
Many say the heart of the Jewish community is no longer Sarcelles but in Paris' western 17th district which has now taken over the moniker of "Little Jerusalem".
Now in his 60s, Robert moved there a decade ago with the northwestern neighbourhood's Jewish population reflected in the wealth of eateries selling kosher foods, from specialised sweet shops to sushi bars.
"Because anti-Semitism is growing, we try and stick together to avoid it," admits Robert, who did not want to give his surname.
Community group the Consistoire Israelite has taken note of the shift in centre of gravity and is currently building a Centre for European Judaism in the neighbourhood which is slated to open next year.
'Becoming less visible'
But across the city in the eastern neighbourhood of Saint-Mande, the wind appears to have changed.
Formerly known for its large Jewish community with two synagogues and a community day care centre, the district has been badly hit by the deadly hostage-taking at the kosher supermarket in January 2015.
"There were about 12 or 13 Sainte-Mande residents among (the hostages)," recalls local mayor Patrick Beaudouin.
"It had a huge psychological impact."
He said dozens of families had since left the area, deciding it was best "to spread out, to be less visible".
For now, most French Jews have preferred to cluster in towns and neighbourhoods where they know a large Jewish community already exists.
But that decision to flock together brings about its own problems.
"We are creating ghettos," Pupponi says. "We are aware of that."
The solution, he says, would be "to achieve social and ethnic integration in all neighbourhoods."
"But France has been trying to achieve this for the past 30 years and it still hasn't happened."
By Pauline Froissart and Benoīt Fauchet
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Most continue to believe likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is a lawbreaker, but half of all voters also say a felony indictment shouldn’t stop her campaign for the presidency.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think Clinton should immediately stop campaigning if she is charged with a felony in connection with her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of State. Fifty percent (50%), however, think she should continue running until a court determines her guilt or innocence. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Voters were evenly divided on this question in January, but at that time we didn’t include the name of any candidate.
Among Democratic voters, 71% believe Clinton should keep running, a view shared by only 30% of Republicans and 46% of voters not affiliated with either major party.
Forty percent (40%) of all voters say they are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the e-mail issue, while nearly half (48%) say it will have no impact on their vote. Just eight percent (8%) say the issue makes them more likely to vote for the former first lady.
Sixty-five percent (65%) consider it likely that Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving e-mails containing classified information through a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of State. This includes 47% who say it’s Very Likely. These findings are unchanged from January. Thirty percent (30%) still say Clinton is unlikely to have broken the law with the e-mail arrangement, with 16% who say it’s Not At All Likely.
(Want a free daily email update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 29-30, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Last August, 46% of all voters - and 24% of Democrats - said Clinton should suspend her campaignfor the Democratic presidential nomination until all of the legal questions about her use of the private e-mail server are resolved. But just 25% think it is even somewhat likely that Clinton will be indicted.
In a report released last week, the State Department’s inspector general, an Obama appointee, concluded that Clinton knowingly broke department rules by using the private e-mail server for official business including top secret discussions. This contradicts her claims that the arrangement had been officially approved.
Just 30% give Clinton good or excellent marks for her handling of questions about her use of the private e-mail server while secretary of State. Forty-nine percent (49%) rate her performance as poor. This is little changed from voter perceptions last September.
Democrats are happier with Clinton’s answers than Republicans and unaffiliated voters are. But then 73% of GOP voters and 53% of unaffiliateds say it is Very Likely that Clinton broke the law with her use of the private e-mail server during her years as secretary of State. Only 18% of Democrats agree.
Women are slightly less critical of Clinton's handling of the situation than men are and are more supportive of her staying in the race if indicted.
Those under 40 are less convinced than their elders are that Clinton broke the law and are more supportive of her staying in the race even if indicted. But roughly 40% of voters of all ages are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the e-mail issue.
Black voters are much less likely than white and other minority voters to think Clinton broke the law and feel much more strongly that she should keep running if indicted.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of all voters believe the Justice Department should name an independent prosecutor to decide whether criminal charges should be brought against Clinton in the e-mail case.
Ninety-two percent (92%) of Democrats believe Clinton is likely to be their party’s presidential nominee, with 62% who say it’s Very Likely.
Clinton is essentially tied with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly White House Watch survey. We will update those numbers Thursday morning.
Voters tend to think Hillary Clinton will work better with the United States’ allies if elected president but are evenly divided over whether she or Trump will be tougher with this nation's enemies.
Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.
Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.
'It was like it came out of Jurassic Park!': Monster alligator stuns golfers by casually strolling across Florida golf course
- Gator was spotted at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Florida
- Locals say he is 'like a mascot for the course' and is often around
- 'He doesn't bother anybody and they don't bother him,' a staffer said
- Players estimate the gator to be between 15 and 16 feet long
PUBLISHED: 16:19 EST, 30 May 2016 | UPDATED: 20:35 EST, 30 May 2016
Golfers in Palmetto, Florida, could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled off the course and into Jurassic Park at the weekend.
While playing a typical Sunday game at Buffalo Creek Golf Course, Charles Helms was able to get a video of a monster alligator casually strolling across the course.
The dinosaur-like gator looked even bigger when another man came into the frame to take a picture - but apparently he is quite a regular sight in the area.
Scroll down for video
Monster: While playing a typical Sunday game at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Charles Helms was able to get a video of a dinosaur-like alligator casually strolling across the green
According to locals, the gator is a common sight around the course and does not bother the players
Charles Helms posted a video on his Facebook page, after posting the enormous gator roaming a golf course in Palmetto, Florida
Huge: The biggest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 14 feet long, weighing 780 pounds
'People people have heard that he is out here and that is all they want to see so they will bring spectators to ride so somebody can get a picture,' golf course employee Wendy Schofield told News 3.
'He doesn't bother anybody and they don't bother him, he's like a mascot for the course, which is owned by Manatee County.'
'He has been here for a very, very long time, he's not new at all.
'There have been guesses that he's 15 to 16 feet long.
'The word has spread that this is a great place to come and play. He is the highlight, but we are worth the price too.'
Locals at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Florida, say the gator is often seen on the grounds Share
As one Facebook user commented: 'It looks like it came out of Jurassic Park!'
If the estimations of the gator's size are close to correct, this one could make the history books.
The biggest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 14 feet long and 780 pounds.