Economic Development Assistance Brings Back the American Dream

It all starts with a dream. You have an idea, you start a business, you work hard, and you send your kids to college. For many, the American Dream has increasingly become difficult to attain. It is harder for the average American to navigate the country's economic climate. Regional institutions, such as a city's Chamber of Commerce or a state's Economic Development branch, provide Economic Development Assistance services and incentives. Representatives from these institutions act as mediators between aspiring professionals and the challenges of the modern marketplace, and they even arrange for more commercial interactions. Natural "solopreneurs" still emerge, but having help drastically improves one's chances of success.

Individual Success Fosters Overall Market Success

Leaders cannot ignore the crucial role companies play in the overall well-being of their communities. When businesses do well, the entire economic ecosystem flourishes. Small businesses have generated over 65 percent of the nation's net new jobs since 1995. Keeping this in mind, it is in everyone's interests to have several robust and thriving companies operating or headquartered within a community. Furthermore, higher employment rates generally correlate with lower crime rates. The continued growth of economic opportunities is essential for the health of any region. Still, these benefits cannot come to fruition unless commercial operations begin. That's where Economic Development Assistance comes in. These services can help guide both entrepreneurs and large corporations through site selection, government contract documentation, financing options, incentives, and more.

Incentives Fuel the Dream

Areas seeking to see a spurt in economic growth often offer incentives. Economic Development Assistance programs highlight these opportunities and provide information on how to take advantage of these rewards. Some incentives are offered in general terms to every commercial enterprise in the district. In other cases, a local municipality may offer specific tax breaks to attract a certain operation. It is important for site selectors to take regional tax practices into account, as higher costs can restrain growth.

It's an Interactive World

Many times, institutions are excited to connect people in the local business community. Some contemporary urban planning designs even incorporate creative collision zones. These areas are strategically located in business districts. The collision zones feature paths and sidewalks where professionals walk and naturally cross paths. The concept behind this urban planning theory is that with increased natural interactions, professionals will have more chances to interact and potentially collaborate. By creating interactions, city planners are creating more economic opportunities for their communities. Besides these physical interactions, institutions also hold regular networking events and meetings to promote Economic Development Assistance programs and offers. By spreading the word, more entrepreneurs will become more aware of potential services tailored to help them succeed.

Information Age

Even with the availability of local statistical information, it can be difficult to understand and interpret the regional economic climate. Economic Development Assistance institutions actively work to make this information obtainable through, for example, infographics and animated charts, which are much more useful than raw data. They may also offer interactive platforms, which allow individuals to collaborate with current leaders and other potential professional allies.

By acting as a liaison between local assets and potential developers, Economic Development Assistance representatives increase the likelihood of success for both the developers and the region as a whole. As long as existing companies can be sustained and new firms can emerge, the American dream can survive.

When considering economic development assistance, Flint MI residents visit Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at

Cities Sprawl Higher

Residents of the Western Hemisphere may not know it, but we are living in the age of the "megatall" skyscraper.

First came "supertall" towers, those topping 300 meters (984 feet). But as of a little more than a decade ago, construction began on the first megatall building, defined as one that stands 600 meters (1,969 feet) or more. The first megatall structure was Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai. Since its completion in 2009, the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest artificial structure in the world.

But it will not hold on to that designation much longer.

Construction is already underway on the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Also called the Kingdom Tower, the structure is planned to reach 3,281 feet upon completion, expected in 2020. The tower will house a hotel, offices and residential apartments, as well as a 157th-floor observation deck.

The Kingdom Tower will shoot past the Burj Khalifa and other existing megatall structures, including the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower, Saudi Arabia's existing 1,971-foot Abraj Al-Bait and the 1,965-foot Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, China, mostly complete and slated to be finished next year. New York's supertall One World Trade Center, reaching a patriotic 1,776 feet, is the only building in the Western Hemisphere to make the current top 10 list, and it may soon find itself pushed out completely.

Even the Jeddah Tower may not have long to enjoy its place at the top. British-Iraqi architecture firm AMBS announced plans in late November for "The Bride of the Gulf," a proposed tower in Basra, Iraq, to reach 230 stories, or about 3,780 feet. While there is no definite site yet dedicated to the project, it is another indication of the appetite to push architecture ever upward.

Some tall and supertall skyscrapers are purely residential, especially in the United States. Advances in engineering and technology, as well as increased population pressure in urban areas, make living dozens of stories up a more appealing prospect than it once was. But among the megatall structures that are cropping up around the world, dedicating an entire tower to purely residential use is rare.

Instead, many of these megatall buildings include business and residential portions, along with hotels, restaurants and a variety of in-house amenities. In effect, they are the most prominent evidence that cities today are as apt to sprawl upward as outward. In size and in function, they are effectively several skyscrapers in one.

Mixed-use towers offer some economies of scale. The restaurant where workers grab lunch on Tuesday will happily serve brunch to residents and hotel guests on Sunday. The shops, gardens and health services offered to residents will, in effect, make the tower a relatively self-contained community. The climate control system will be able to draw cooler, cleaner air from the stories far above street level, saving on cooling and filtration costs. And infrastructure such as a water mains and electricity will obviously be consolidated.

For some residents, too, there might be individual savings. Office workers may rent apartments in the tower where they work, reducing their commute to an elevator ride. Visitors seeing friends or family will be able to stay in hotel rooms just a few floors away.

Much as ocean liners have sometimes been described as "floating cities," multiuse towers like the one underway in Jeddah may represent "climbing cities." As such, they will need redundancies and safeguards for power, sanitation and emergency services. Some of these will simply be a matter of planning ahead; others may require innovative solutions.

For example, how do you fight a fire on the 70th floor of a building? In Dubai, the proposal is to outfit firefighters with "jetpacks," powered by helicopter blades rather than streams of gas, but still intended to allow individual first responders to rescue stranded civilians. While New Yorkers should not expect to see the FDNY flying around One World Trade Center's upper levels any time soon, futuristic skyscrapers already demand unusual solutions to unique problems.

Modern design also allows these towers to be built with increasing efficiency of materials. Engineering techniques such as a weight-bearing "exoskeleton" on the outside of tall buildings and the availability of stronger steel and concrete mean that builders can execute architects' designs while keeping costs manageable and buildings safe for the people who will live, work and relax in them once they are complete.

In North America and Europe, land use and zoning rules often prevent mixed-use buildings like those gaining prominence elsewhere. Such structures are either banned outright or require zoning variances blocked by people who would may not be directly affected at all, but dislike the idea of such a project in their backyard on principle.

And by international standards, the United States is fairly adaptable where building permissions are concerned. It is harder to imagine supertall, mixed-use skyscrapers gaining a foothold in Berlin or Milan, let alone Paris, where the announcement of a 590-foot tall combination hotel and office building created hand-wringing and outcry just months ago.

In some ways, supertowers may offer what urban living advocates have championed for years. They reduce the need for cars and other transportation, allow communities to deploy resources more efficiently and offer improved amenities through economies of scale.

On the other hand, these towers stand in opposition to calls for "human scale" development. Some urban planners have argued that focusing too much on efficiency can lead to isolating and even dangerous results for individuals. To remain viable, mixed-use towers will probably need common spaces such as gardens, courtyards or gallerias, as well as the proposed restaurants and shops that will make life social, not simply efficient, for the people who live and work in such places.

While megatall skyscrapers pose a variety of challenges, more nations are tackling these problems all the time. Towers like the one rising in Jeddah are one vision of the future, and one that is arriving first in the global East.

For more articles, please visit the Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC newsletter or subscribe to the blog.



Veterans Day

Just by coincidence, my trip most recent trip with Uber included a conversation that got a little political. Per usual, the driver struck up a conversation asking standard questions:

Q: Did you grow up here?

A: No. I'm from San Diego. I moved here to go to school.

Q: Did you go to CU?

A: Yes. It is a beautiful campus. I met my husband there and we decided to stick around here in Colorado. He is from here, I can't imagine him moving.

Q: What did you study?

A: English and communication. (He laughed.)

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I was an admin assistant for an oil and gas company but was laid off not too long ago when the industry took a hit.

I answered all these questions and more. When I told him the general area we were heading, his interest peaked. "You're over by the high school, huh? My son used to have wrestling matches there."

Now, whenever a driver opens up about their family, it is a perfect way to steer the conversation away from me. A lot of times I don't have much to say. I rather be the one asking questions and have them talk. I asked, "You have a son that wrestles that is cool."

"I have three boys. Triplets!" he replied proudly.

"Wow, you must have your hands full then," I said.

"Well, they are no longer at home. They enlisted in the army right after they graduated high school."

He talked a little further about his boys. They were all spread out over the country and were involved in different aspects of the armed forces. He laughed, "It's funny. One of my sons' can't even talk about what his work is about. I've learned it is not worth asking anymore." He continued on and then revealed that another one of his sons' served in Iraq.

When he had finished talking, I said, "That's great. I appreciate their service for our country."

He got a little more political as the drive went on, which was okay by me. It wasn't like we debated about anything, more like him expressing how proud he was to have family serving our country. One thing he did mention though, was some of the things his son experienced over in Iraq. Seeing others get hurt and unfortunately seeing others die.

"These service men and women. The things they see. They certainly don't come back the same way as when they had left to serve over there."

I was curious about some of the common neurological effects war has on our veterans. My thought being that brain injuries do occur, so some must have seizures or develop epilepsy because of that. Research conducted by the office of Veterans Affairs found many Veterans' seizures are tied to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The thought being that the increased anxiety and stress PTSD and TBI cause can trigger a seizure. To be clear, the study points out that this doesn't necessarily mean that these veterans will develop epilepsy.

"VA treated more than 87,000 Veterans with seizures diagnoses during fiscal year 2011. While a relatively small number of those, only 3,792, served in operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or New Dawn, Veterans diagnosed with seizures from those conflicts were proportionately much more likely to also have TBI than their peers who have not had seizures. Previous research has pegged TBI and PTSD rates as high as 22 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. The new study suggests that nearly 70 percent of Veterans with seizures also have TBI and PTSD." Research: Many Veterans' seizures tied to TBI and PTSD, not epilepsy, VA Office of Research and Development, January 15, 2014

I can sympathize with these veterans as stress and anxiety seem to be a trigger for my seizures. I know how frustrating and scary it is to have a seizure out of the blue. Once again, I can only hope and pray that one day there will be a cure for these complex neurological disorders. Thank you to all of those who have served our country. Your good deeds do not go unnoticed.

I think it is important to share that anyone can develop epilepsy. It is fourth most common neurological disorder that affects over 1 million Americans. A common trigger for seizures is stress. There are both positive and negative ways of dealing with stress. My hope is that not only our veterans but every American develops a proper way of managing their stress in order to steer clear of disorders, like epilepsy. Some ways I have found to help is exercise, meditation, and prayer. We all need to learn how to cope with it.

It is important that we keep a close watch on our Veterans that come home and develop PTSD. A seizure may be triggered from having PTSD which just adds to the list of health issues our Veterans face. By Danielle Watkins

Russian and Iranian Misadventures in the Middle East

The Russian and Iranians are pouring in military resources into Syria with their version of "shock & awe" in a joint coalition to neutralize anti-Assad forces which have been armed by the Americans for several years. It's the 21st century version of the Cold War using proxies in global hotspots. Although many are lambasting the Obama administration for inaction in the Syrian campaign the US has learned the bitter lessons through multiple surges, the training of the Iraqi military and the furnishing of materiel with no positive results.

For years Iran has had a military presence in Syria furnishing the Assad regime with materiel and military advisors. Now it upgrades this support with combat troops which can operate more effectively because of Russian air power. This could establish a deeper Iranian (aka Shiite presence) in Iraq, making it almost a de facto region of Iran. Iraq would serve as a sort of offshore banking account because Iraq produces considerable oil (aka revenue producing) and serves as an insurance policy in case there are sanction snapbacks.

Russia uses their military as political cover by rescuing their long-time Syrian ally. Interestingly the Syrian regime has been steadily shrinking and on the brink of collapse for 4 years defended by an undermanned and dispirited military. Through these high-profile and audacious military operations, Russia probably intends to gain significant influence in the Middle East with respect to any future agreements.

Overseas military adventures are shockingly expensive and become a drain on the invading nation's treasury the longer these wars continue. Iran is counting on the west to lift sanctions and unfreeze their assets so that they can affordably finance their immediate ground support efforts. Russia, for the moment, is limiting their participation to an air campaign with operational support staff and a large security contingent. Yet servicing, maintaining and protecting high-end equipment in a war environment is expensive. Neither Russia nor Iran has the deep financial pockets to militarily assert their influence beyond the short-term.

It's a rarity that brief military campaigns neatly obtain their objectives. Historically they always last far longer and become far messier than anyone projected which drags the invading nation, politically and militarily, into a quagmire. Eventually they arrive at the inevitable crossroads when they either must choose between two regrettably unpalatable choices: double down or withdraw.

In the not too distant future, both Russia and Iran will pay a heavy political price domestically. I'm sure that neither the Iranian nor Russian citizenry is excited about these overseas adventures particularly when these respective countries' resources can be dedicated domestically in their weak economies. The result may be anti-war protests and possibly civil unrest that will alarm their leadership.

On the other hand you can be sure that privately the Obama administration and Pentagon brass are chortling about Russia's Middle East misadventure that will only weaken Putin. With far greater firepower, the US failed to win the peace in Iraq in over a decade. For this reason that is why Iran and Russia will fail miserably.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges. We'll get you on the "Short List".

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Russian Military in Syria - Beyond the Near Abroad

Russia's aggressive military buildup in and around the Syrian airbase and port of Latavia is their first foray in such strength beyond the Near Abroad since their 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. And it's the first one beyond the Near Abroad done with gusto which has little to do with dealing with a country that's an imminent military or political threat to Russia. Russia's relationship with Syria was established decades ago with solid military and commercial ties including a large number of Russian ex-patriots who lived and worked in Syria. Even with a limited contingent, the Russians are now the so-called "boots on the ground" in Syria. Russia's robust military presence provides Putin with a bevy of short and long-term military and political options and opportunities. Additionally, Putin can easily shift his public relations campaign to emphasize one or several objectives whichever one is bringing him success and dismiss those which are failing. For the short-term: With the arrival of an array of their latest modern aircraft, tanks and other weapons systems, it gives Russian an opportunity to test them under battle conditions. Their performance will provide them invaluable knowledge for future battles wherever they may take place and a terrific marketing opportunity to sell those weapons in the future as battle-tested. Their latest weapons utilization would be against ISIS, a group that's hated by almost everyone. Their Middle East military participation can be "sold" domestically as a security issue by battling an evil organization in ISIS which they can claim could foment and inspire unrest in their own Muslim population. This large military support is politically symbolic in that Russia is aggressively protecting its client states militarily beyond the Near Abroad regardless how ruthless and venal, even at the cusp of collapsing. In other words, the public relations spin is that the Russians support their allies through thick and thin. The political issue is whether Russian aircraft and military personnel operated by Russians, at the request of Syrian President Assad, will interfere with Israeli attacks on Hizbollah operating from Syrian territory even though their activities take place in the south, far removed from the Russian airbase. Certainly the topic of the recent meeting between Netanyahu and Putin in Moscow probably covered such probabilities and the scope which the Russians will allow Israel to conduct their anti-terrorist operations in Syrian territory. For the long-term: Russia's Syrian adventure is a political maneuver by Putin to establish Russia as a world power and influencer by projecting cutting edge military power and prowess beyond the Near Abroad under the political cover of battling an enemy loathed by many. Because Iran is an important Syrian ally, it gives Russia more leverage with the west as a future go-between. Overseas military adventures always expensive endeavors so this Russian participation is a long-term investment forcing the American coalition to deal with Russian interests in any future negotiation. The upgraded Russian military bases can serve as an early warning system for any potential Israeli attacks on Iran's nuclear installations should the nuclear deal fall apart in the future. Their flight path would come very close to the Syrian border en route north thus reducing the Israeli's air force element of surprise. There are always notable downsides to such bold overseas military adventures as Russia will eventually find out. "History doesn't repeat itself but it rhymes," said Mark Twain. Sets up interesting déjà vu historical scenario when the French established a major base in Indochina in 1954, then a French colony, called Bien Dien Phu that was overrun by the Vietnamese. The historical parallel is that the French and Russians have had decades of military and commercial ties with a dictatorial host country. The question is not whether, rather when ISIS will undertake selective attacks against a new player in the region for the purposes of enhancing their reputation. Whatever the actual objective(s) a strong Russian military presence in Syria is there to stay for the long-term to insure that Russian has a strong Middle East presence. Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2015. All rights reserved. Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. Please visit us at

Muslim Terrorists Attack Paris: How Will It, and Should It Affect Our Immigration Policies? Part III

In Parts I and II, I reported on the terrorist attacks in Paris, wrote of ISIS--a bit about who they are, what they intend, and their threats to America--and discussed the Syrian refugee crisis as part and parcel of the overall terrorist problem and the potential danger of their immigration here in great numbers.

In Part III, I will further, more closely examine the current situation of Syrian immigration, especially the vast political divide it has caused on both sides of the political spectrum--from Presidents Obama's stubborn refusal to accept any limits on his intention to allow tens of thousands into the United States over the next few years--10,000 in the next year alone--and the opposite extreme of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson to either allow no immigration, or, at least, very minor numbers--preferably Christians. Trump proposes a registry of sorts of all Muslims immigrants to the country.

On Thursday, November 19th, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduced and got passed legislation, the American SAFE bill, to ban Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States until tougher screening measures are in place. Democrats--at least the most liberal of Obama supporters--criticized the legislation as giving in to xenophobia after the Paris attacks. However, it passed overwhelmingly, 289 to 137, with support from 47 Democrats.

"Today is not the day to share our territory," Congressman Jeb Hensarling, 5th District of Texas, told colleagues. This seems to be a growing sentiment not only in the halls of Congress, but also on the streets of Everytown, USA.

House Democrat Jerrold Nadler, 10th Congressional District of New York, liberal extraordinaire, expressed astonishment that lawmakers would "seek to block women, children, and seniors fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq from entering the country as refugees."

"We might as well take down the Statue of Liberty," the portly progressive proclaimed.

Others disparaged what they labeled a reflex response to the Paris attacks, which harms those fleeing Islamic extremism.

"Where is our mercy?" Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, 18th District of Texas, another of the Obama worshippers in Congress, implored. (Congresswoman Lee, of course, expects a return--political favors down the road somewhere, sometime--for her fierce allegiance to Obama.)

The bill is now in Senate hands where Harry Reid is mustering Democrat opposition. At a press conference, when asked about the House bill, Reid curtly responded, "Don't worry, it won't get passed. Next question?"

Obama has said he will veto any such bill if it came across his desk. Why? Because, in his opinion, the legislation would not improve the country's security. Of course, anyone could counter by asking, "Well, what's your plan to do so?" His critics--including former Defense Secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta--say he really has no plan to speak of, just waffling back and forth and piecemeal acts of little consequence.)

In a White House statement clarifying Obama's message: "(The bill) would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism, and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis."

No mention of any anxieties for our safety, no recognition of the potential for terrorists to slip by our immigration screening and enter our country intent on bringing a "Paris" to New York City. Or Los Angeles. Or a city near you.

There are varying opinions by officials in almost every city, every state. Currently, more than thirty states' governors have issued bans on accepting Syrian refugees. Critics of that move claim they have no Constitutional standing to do so. The President (Federal government) determines who comes here, where they are settled, and when according to these detractors.

In New York City, target zero of the 9/11 attacks, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton seemed at odds with the mayor when he stated the immigrants could pose "a potential risk."

While contending he is on the same page as Mayor de Blasio, in a cover-my-derriere statement if ever one was tendered, said he was just facing reality. "I'm speaking to the reality, in terms of that, we're going to have to continue to allow immigrants from all over the world to come in," Bratton said.

"But in some areas of the world, it is difficult to validate their situation. We have pretty high standards of documentation to come into this country. And in some instances, it's going to be very difficult to validate, and if you can't validate, a decision's going to have to be made that we can't let them in."

Just prior, de Blasio, another kumbaya-type liberal, in somewhat stark contrast to Bratton's position, reminded New Yorkers of the merits of allowing Syrians and others into our country and the evil of religious prejudice.

"Some voices in this country are playing right into ISIS' hand, calling on us to close the borders and start discriminating against certain religions," he said.

No mention of potential peril, or of another "Paris" on 42nd Street, or of terrorists in our midst. While ISIS releases new videos portraying an intended attack on Times Square, the mayor of Gotham City reveals he has a clouded recollection of the events of 9/11.

Closer to home, in California, Governor Brown says he will not be one of those governors refusing Syrians, but stressed vetting as a requirement. On Monday, Brown advocated preserving "America's traditional role as a place of asylum... " Knowing "Moonbeam" Brown through the years, my guess is California will get thousands of Syrians, and whomever else Obama is passing out. Senator Diane Feinstein also says, "California will not be one of those states" that turns away refugees.

Politically, the liberals are far out on a losing limb in their stance supporting Obama and his "admit them all--especially Muslims--it's the American way" philosophy. Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post: "The political upside for Republican politicians pushing an immigration ban on Syrians and/or Muslims as a broader response to the threat posed by the Islamic State sure looks like a political winner."

On the "American Thinker" blog on November 18, Thomas Lifson writes: "Oops! Smarter lefties realize they have a losing hand on Syrian 'refugees.'"

"Fellow progs (progressives) are not reacting well to this dose of reality (but then, when has reality ever been a major factor in prog thinking?) Ryan Cooper, writing in "The Week," goes for outright denial of the threat of Islamic terrorism."

    Islamist terrorism is a fairly minor threat. Yes, the Paris attacks (like 9/11, Madrid, Mumbai, and countless atrocities in Iraq and Syria) were a terrible tragedy. But we need to be realistic about how strong ISIS really is. It's true that decently organized young men with simple explosives and cheap automatic weapons can easily massacre hundreds of civilians and terrorize millions. But that is not even close to a "an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization," as Jeb Bush ludicrously claimed. Compared to Nazi Germany, or the Soviets with their hundreds of long-range nukes, ISIS is pathetically weak.

Personally, I am not convinced of that assessment. I am included in the recent survey where 83% of Americans believe another major attack will happen here in the United States; more than 50% in this survey fear they or those close to them will be victims; 16% are certain they will be harmed; 53% believe no Syrian refugees should be admitted to the United States. There is a sense of anxiety, fear just under the surface of our everyday existence. The reality of terrorism as part of our lives in modern times has itself become reality.

The peril to the United States is now predominantly from persons arriving from overseas. We, the West, are now fighting in a new type of warfare--a global threat posed by a virulent, radical proponent of Muslim extremism recruiting from the disaffected youth of Europe and even here in the United States. An estimated 350 Americans have made the pilgrimage to Syria or Iraq to fight with ISIS; the number is in the thousands in Europe--more than 1000 in France alone. Many of these European Islamists are free to travel throughout Europe and even to the United States. The current tactic of ISIS is to incite and radicalize these individuals to strike in place--where they are living.

In this global threat of terrorism, America's borders are of renewed importance, and especially our immigration system allowing refugees in legally and in large numbers in a short period of time as Obama proposes to do. Tying this to the Syrian refugee crisis is rather elementary--simply this: if the terrorists cannot enter the country, they won't be able to commit an attack as they did in Paris.

ISIS has vowed that the intent is to use the Syrian refugees in their overwhelming numbers to infiltrate ISIS agents into their midst for immigration to the Western countries now vying to accept them in the pretext of "humanitarian relief"--this includes the United States.

ISIS' latest videos show attacks planned for New York City's Time Square and Washington, D.C. in the foreseeable future. They usually are not bluffing when they launch such a propaganda effort. They do not want to lose face with their supporters if they put out these videos and nothing happens. It's all about their credibility.

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies, as presented at the hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, on November 19, 2015, and entitled "The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Its Impact on the Security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program" has provided me a good conclusion to Part III:

    "A wise man once said "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." Halting refugee resettlement from the Middle East would be just such an act of statesmanship.

    The starting point of any policy debate is that the government of the United States has no responsibility to anyone but the citizens of the United States... the president and members of Congress must necessarily put the interests of the American people before the interests of foreigners.

    This means the United States government has no responsibility to refugees; they have no claim on it and no right to demand anything of it. If, nonetheless, we decide as a matter of policy to devote resources to humanitarian refugee protection... then we should base our decision-making on two principles: 1) Such policies must not pose a threat to the American people, and 2) the funds taken from the people through taxes for this purpose must be used to the maximum humanitarian effect.

    Officials have assured us that refugees are "are subject to more intensive security than any other type of traveler to the U.S. to protect against threats to our national security." There is no reason to doubt this.

    But this misses the point. The problem with trying to screen candidates for resettlement from Syria - or any other failed state, such as Somalia, Libya, Yemen, or Afghanistan - is not a lack of resources or commitment.

    The problem is that it cannot be done.

    And yet, Barbara Strack, Chief of the USCIS Refugee Affairs Division, told the Senate hearing last month that more than 90 percent of Syrian candidates for resettlement were being approved. How stringent can the vetting of Syrian refugees really be when almost all of them are accepted?

In discussing the costs to taxpayers of bringing in the refugees, something politicians avoid addressing to us, Krikorian points out that the better solution is to provide for them there in their own environment, close to where they came from:

    The Center for Immigration Studies has calculated that it costs 12 times as much to resettle a refugee in the United States as it does to care for the same refugee in the neighboring countries of first asylum, namely Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

    Given these limitations on resources, I submit that it is wrong-- morally wrong --to use those resources to resettle one refugee here when we could help 12 closer to their home.

We will be following the argument for the near future to determine how our elected leaders solve the dilemma of the Syrian refugees--and even, maybe, at long last, address the problem of immigration overall.

Am I hoping for too much from them?

Major Dennis Copson is a retired United States Marine and is a resident of Oceanside, California. He is a freelance writer and editor.

Muslim Terrorists Attack Paris: How Will It, and Should It Affect Our Immigration Policies? Part II

In Part I, I reported on the Paris attack, wrote some about terrorism--how effectively it was used in the attacks in Paris--and introduced ISIS into the mix. Now to the ultimate point of my writing this article. You have all heard the news of who, what, when, and where. How could you not have--it has been on network television for more than four days uninterrupted? What we Americans can do to assure we reduce the odds of being in the same pickle is to scrutinize the "why."

This can be realized in one simple, but perhaps controversial, choice--the only one--and that means first identifying the problem: Too damned much immigration of too damned many Third World Muslims who will never assimilate into Western society no matter what country they land in due to the vast, impassable abyss separating their native country's culture and religion from that predominant in France--and all of Europe and the West for that matter.

Their selfish resolve not to assimilate--more precisely, most often their refusal to assimilate--is reason enough not to accept them in the first place. Europe's gross underestimation of the long-term harmful effects of unrestrained immigration of any sort, and especially the preponderance of immigrants so opposed to Western culture, religion, and values found in our Western ideals of a democratic society, has evolved in a relatively short time into a clash of cultures, one that may not be won by the Europeans.

Once they arrive in such substantial numbers as we are seeing in Europe, not only will they not assimilate, they demand those countries instead adapt to their lifestyle, allow them their own laws and customs, provide them livelihoods, education, and shelter, and allow for their families and distant relatives to join them--referred to as "chain migration." It is always this way and never vice versa.

While we are in no way obligated to accept the type of immigrants now deluging Europe, humanity does require we, the rest of the world, provide for their basic needs while they are in such a state as having fled their home country for safety from war. This can and should be done by establishing refugee camps as near to their home country as possible with the intent to repatriate them at some point. Problem solved. They are provided for; we are not overburdened.

There, I've said it, like it or not! I am not the first to do so.

In August 2006, Patrick J. Buchanan published his book, "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America," widely panned for his direct approach to illegal immigration and the problems he saw coming down the pike due to the lack of courage of our elected officials to face facts and strengthen our border, as well as to bolster our failed immigration policies. Nine years later, nothing has changed a damned iota, especially nothing dealing with what is now a clear and present danger to our culture and society.

Pat Buchanan's book is thorough and unbiased in his examination of the history of immigration to our country, and the long-term, damaging consequences as it is now. He convincingly debunks the liberal's argument of the old myth, now time-worn and irrelevant: "We are a nation of immigrants!" Nonsense! the feisty Irishman proclaims. We never have been substantially that way until now, Pat insists, and backs his repudiation of the liberals' political-correctness-based arguments with facts and numbers. They are all there in the book.

Buchanan wrote in 2006 that the United States must, as a minimum, provide for increased border security in addition to other reinforcements to our immigration policies, and legislative actions such as a "No Amnesty" policy, a ten year freeze of all immigration to provide the opportunity to sort out who is here now, who we want to admit in the future, and who should be required to leave our country immediately. At that time, Buchanan emphasized our southern border with Mexico as a major concern. In light of the current situation--especially in light of the Paris attacks--we now must reexamine our priorities and address admitting Muslim refugees and others from Third World countries in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Even the brash Donald Trump, although on-target in correctly assessing the immigration crisis, failed to zero in on the major danger to our culture and security--the ever-increasing Third World invasion by legal means--by invitation even of our feckless president and his left-wing, bleeding-heart lackeys.

Trump's hard/harsh stance on immigration now looks less "racist," less extreme, more acceptable--our national security is at stake. Indeed, your life, my life, our families' lives, our friends' lives--everyone is a target now. Accept it!

The list of those willing to put their left wing ideology ahead of American security are familiar to us. They are the ones using such terms as "diversity," "multiculturalism," and "racial profiling" in their emotional harangues of anyone in opposition to unlimited immigration into the United States. Frequent transgressors of this, such as Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who authored a letter encouraging President Obama to accept additional Syrian refugees, and commended his pledge to take 10,000 additional next year as "a step in the right direction... I think the number has to be higher... ," are simply politicians who have neither common sense nor concern for America's feeble stance against a dangerous, dedicated foe.

President Obama recently announced his policy to increase the number of worldwide refugees the United States accepts each year to 100,000 by 2017, a significant increase over the current annual cap of 70,000 with almost no reassurance of security concerns. No mention of any anxieties for our safety, no recognition of the potential for terrorists to slip by our immigration screening and enter our country intent on bringing a "Paris" to New York City. Or Los Angeles. Or a city near you.

Voices of reason can sometimes, though rarely, be heard in Congress warning of this precarious approach to the European crisis of refugees, "Our enemy now is Islamic terrorism, and these people are coming from a country filled with Islamic terrorists," said Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York. "We don't want another Boston Marathon bombing situation."

As for France, and the rest of Europe, the grand experiment of multiculturalism has failed. Speaking on MSNBC shortly after the attacks, Barry MCCaffrey, retired United States Army general, may have summed the situation up succinctly: "France has a problem; Europe has a problem--unassimilated Muslim youth, a recipe for disaster."

Let us observe their problem from afar while standing securely on our Atlantic shores, learn from their botched immigration policies and the myth of multiculturalism, and not import their failures to the United States errantly believing we could do a better job than they have. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." should now be our clarion call to end the folly of such erroneous slogans as "We are a nation of immigrants." or other equally silly approaches to the problem other than the priority of keeping our borders secure, controlling who we allow into our country, and when.

I support Pat Buchanan's call for a moratorium on all immigration until such time we determine who is here, how to deal with them, and structure future immigration to best suit our national ideals of a predominately Christian nation, accepting of others, but admitted here on our terms--"... the United States of America... one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Taken from a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus, "New Colossus," also known as the Statue of Liberty poem, these words are mounted inside the pedestal:

    Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Nowhere does it say we should include those who may prove to be a danger to our society, nor those inclined to refuse to assimilate. If it did suggest that, there are millions in the world who would be eligible for admittance and clamoring to do so. Common sense tells us we cannot, should not, open our doors too widely to the masses who may fit the description of "tired, poor, wretched, homeless, tempest-tossed refuse." There must be limits to our hospitality.

Our record of humanitarian assistance to those in need the world over is long and unblemished. We have joined in World Wars and other lesser wars, assisted earthquake victims and refuges of oppression. Our foreign aid budget exceeds all of the other countries in the world combined. But there are limits to our efforts. The Syrian refugee crisis is one of those--as is the unfettered immigration--mainly illegally--to the United States for at least the past twenty years. We have done more than our share in taking in those "huddled masses," etc. It is time to now take a short breather, assess our immigration policies, and act in what is our own best interest--as selfish as that may appear.

It is time--long past the time--for our elected leaders to see the light, take heed of our crisis of over-immigration, and recognize it as the problem it has become. No country can endure porous boundaries; no country can survive millions illegally entering no matter the reason for doing so; no country can long tolerate misplaced interpretation of their Constitution by allowing hundreds of thousands of "anchor babies." And, most certainly, no country can afford the risk of tens of thousands of Muslim refugees knowing that country will be faced with the problems seen in Europe now.

As for ISIS and their connection to the Paris attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, I recently read the newest, most comprehensive book on this terrorist organization: "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." (Written by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan, copyright 2015, Regan Arts, publisher.) It is an excellent account of ISIS: who they are, how they came about, and their intentions world-wide. The authors write: "ISIS is a terrorist organization, but it isn't only a terrorist organization. It is also a mafia... It is a conventional military... It is a sophisticated intelligence-gathering apparatus... It is a slick propaganda machine... " The authors conclude their extensive, intense analysis of the world's greatest threat with a chilling prediction: "The army of terror will be with us indefinitely."

All the more reason to approach the immigration problems we see in Europe with due caution, with limitations on our normally generous idealism, and with studied deliberateness. Salus populi, suprema lex. "The safety of the people is the highest law." (Patrick J. Buchanan, "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America")

I have Christiane Amanpour, CBE, British-Iranian, and CNN's globetrotting international journalist of exceptional talent and professionalism, to thank for perhaps providing the best conclusion I could have hoped for when she interviewed an obviously affluent, educated, suave French lady on the streets of Paris very early Saturday morning. Speaking softly, but deliberately, showing little emotion, the French woman said, "Immigration of today is the terrorism of tomorrow."

POSTSCRIPT: One American, twenty-three-year-old exchange student Nohemi Gonzales, a Cal State-Long Beach junior in Paris to study design in pursuit of fulfilling her life's dream, had that violently interrupted on Friday evening while dining out with friends. Pray for her family. She now will resume that dream in heaven.

Major Dennis Copson is a retired United States Marine and is a resident of Oceanside, California. He is a freelance writer and editor.

Muslim Terrorists Attack Paris: How Will It, and Should It Affect Our Immigration Policies?

Part I

On Friday evening, November 13, 2015, Muslim terrorists struck at the soul of Paris, and wounded the hearts of millions of French citizens as well as those of us who detest random violence for violence sake, but who knew an attack was possible at anytime, anywhere. Muslim terrorists have attacked on a grand scale elsewhere in the world, most recently blowing a Russian airliner out of the sky over Egypt's Sinai Peninsular killing all 224 passengers and crew, and have vowed openly to dramatically expand to the West, at the earliest opportunity, their barbaric campaign for a world-wide caliphate. Paris was the first major attack of consequence conducted by ISIS outside of the confines of the Middle East and seems to signal a new, more robust strategy of jihad on a global scale.

Eye witnesses report that they were attending a concert by the American group Eagles of Death Metal at one of Paris's most popular music venues, the Bataclan, when unexpectedly four men wielding AK-47 assault rifles stormed the hall. They shouted "Allahu akbar" just before opening fire, and for about twenty minutes thereafter a massacre ensued. One survivor described it as "ten horrific minutes" and others say the assailants shouted, "This is for Syria!" Another heard them bellow, "What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now!"

At that instant, as the news of the murderous attack spread to those outside the Bataclan via social media initiated by those in the concert hall--and in the line of fire--Paris was stunned. Just prior by twenty minutes, at the soccer stadium north of the city where France and Germany were playing a match--with the French president attending--the attacks were begun by bombers when they struck at least twice outside that facility. Shortly later and prior to Bataclan, several restaurants and shops in downtown Paris were targeted and people were murdered there also.

Speaking to French citizens and the world at large from the Élysée Palace later on Friday evening, French President François Hollande said, "War Has Been Declared on France!" and called the terrorist attacks, "... an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh (ISIS), against France... an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad... our response will be merciless"

This war is not yet deemed to be World War III, but is global in nature. It was not begun on the grand scale of a German blitzkrieg nor the surprise Sunday morning ambush by the Japanese on our largest, most forward naval base in the Pacific Ocean, Pearl Harbor--declared by President Franklin Roosevelt to be "a day of infamy." But "World War III," if we now choose to label it that, actually has been in progress for twenty or more years commencing with Al Qaeda and other radical Muslim extremists, and now increasingly and more persistently, ISIS. It has no front lines, no huge armies battling for beachheads in Europe, nor for islands in the Pacific, no atomic bombs or Jewish extermination camps. But it is a world-wide campaign for Muslim extremist ideology and domination of Christianity and Judaism. It is also characterized by a long-term strategy in contrast to our impatient insistence on short-term, quick-fix solutions.

This war was expanded on this November Friday evening by what appears to be eight lone fanatics, assisted by an unknown number of logistical supporters in the area--apparently headquartered nearby in Belgium--who were most likely trained and equipped by ISIS in Iraq or Syria.

These evil acts, synchronized and well-coordinated assaults using only AK 47 rifles and hand grenades, effectively paralyzed an entire nation, a state which will prevail to some degree for an extended period. All attackers were rigged with suicide bombs belted to their bodies containing the sophisticated explosive TATP indicating the involvement of a major sponsor, trainer, and provocateur. All eight were obviously intent on dying for the ISIS cause. Though small in number, their sacrificial attack resulted in the death of no fewer than 129 innocent noncombatants and injured more than 350 others, nearly 100 critically. Those who perished were all normal people like you and I, who, until the moment of their deaths, had been out for an enjoyable Friday evening eating in restaurants, attending a concert, and shopping in Paris.

This war was furthered using one of the oldest weapons known to the human race-terrorism. The objective of their attack on France's major city was neither to snuff the lives of those souls in range of their weaponry--that was merely deemed to be unavoidable collateral damage, but vital to the desired end result--nor to bring down immensely tall and stately buildings as in the case of New York's World Trade Center, nor destroy national treasures such as the Eiffel Tower. The objective of the terrorist is to create such crippling panic, such chaotic disorientation, and such wide-spread fear as to paralyze a nation and her citizens for a prolonged period with little effort.

Can you imagine being a resident of Paris now, especially after the brutal attack on the newspaper in January of this year? That attack was revenge for the paper's continuing to publish what was considered anti-Muslim cartoons making fun of the Prophet Muhammad. Many considered that incident as not a threat to them individually. That was not a terrorist attack no matter how barbarous. Friday's was.

Fear hangs in the air of Paris like coastal fog. People are panicked, everyone's lives have been changed perhaps forever, and nagging uncertainty and suspicion will affect the social interaction of all. Serenity was a casualty of these attacks as sure as was life itself.

The psychological impact of a terrorist attack far exceeds the physical damage-even considering the deaths of a multitude of people. France's recovery, emotionally and mentally, as individuals and as a nation, will be years hence--if ever. That is the value of terrorism to a rogue nation (Korea) or group of radical extremists (ISIS)--large rewards for little effort. Life to the Muslim extremist is not a valuable commodity, not something we in our culture cherish. The fact that the assailants all died--seven of them self-destructed by activating the bombs attached to their bodies--is inconsequential to the long-term goal of Muslim radicals to establish a world-wide caliphate to rule the entire earth under Muslim law and religiosity.

Do not, even for one minute, think it cannot happen here in the United States. It already has--in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16, 2015, with the murder of five American servicemen by a Muslim assassin. At that time I wrote in an article:

It has been a week since a crazed Muslim fanatic attacked two military locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am still in shock. Not so much for the terrorist attack; that is part of today's world. We are at war with a dangerous and deadly foe--radical Muslim extremists worldwide, including right here at home regardless of whether or not our feckless president recognizes the threat, which he does not.

The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when released from prison in Iraq in 2009, said to his American captors, "I'll see you guys in New York." He then got into his waiting transportation, and drove confidently away. Me, personally--I would not bet against his brash assurance of a visit-whether in person or by his ISIS terror squads-to the city that bore the brunt of an Al Qaeda attack on September 11, 2001.

As for ISIS, we must recognize the threat and cope with it. They have declared Israel and Western civilization their enemy, stated their intentions to annihilate us, and are planning just that globally. They are clear and uninhibited in expressing those intentions. They have also now ratcheted up their intensity committing in Paris their first, most violent, most blatant large scale act of war outside the Middle East region. We, and all our allies, including Middle East Muslim countries, must join the battle against Muslim extremism wherever it exists, and commit to defeat them, not contain them. However, we need leadership at the national level to do so.

As currently as Friday morning, November 13th, President Obama professed ISIS as "contained," just hours prior to the attacks in Paris. As reported in the November 13, 2015, issue of The Daily Caller, while being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America," Obama proclaimed that ISIS was not gaining strength. "We have contained them. We've always understood that our goal has to be militarily constraining ISIL's capabilities, cutting off their supply lines, cutting off their financing," he said.

How out of touch can you be, Mr. President? Even if you were correct--and that is doubtful--that is not a statement our president should be making! Any military officer will tell you--if you would only listened to them--that the leader of the free world does not go on television and announce such ludicrous estimates of the strength or lack thereof of the enemy's war-fighting capabilities. That information is sensitive and should be kept a military secret. Our enemies will go to great lengths to prove you wrong--every time!

"Contain" is never a strategy for victory in a war. Even Hillary Clinton knows that and said so, emphatically, during the Democratic debates on Saturday evening, November 14th. We did not endeavor to "contain" Adolf Hitler nor Emperor Hirohito of Japan. We devoted all of our national resources, including personnel, committed our nation to war, and no final outcome short of victory was ever considered.

Mr. President, what makes you think any less will be required in this war?

Have you lost sight of the most basic requirement every president swears to in his oath of office: "... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." I interpret that as you being inherently responsible for my safety as a well as all citizens of this country. I depend on you to keep me free from what occurred to the 129 people killed in Paris. More importantly, "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States... " Are you telling the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go easy on ISIS, that you do not want any major confrontations to stain your last year in office. Are you really satisfied to "contain" those murderous, evil extremists?

Yet, despite these clear dangers to us here in our country, ignoring the obvious, clear signals from ISIS to attack us in our homeland, President Obama still advocates that we admit Syrian refugees in who-knows-how-many numbers--he insists upon 10,000 by years end--when the best, most obvious action would be to delay any such transfer of Syrian refugees until we have a detailed, fool-proof plan to properly vet them.

To conclude Part I: On Sunday, November 15, a mere 48 hours after Paris, the Obama administration announced the release of five Yemeni detainees to the United Arab Emirates for their supervision from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, where the worst-of-the-worst captured terrorists from around the world are being held. This despite common knowledge that of those released previously, more than one third return to the battlefields to join the Muslim extremists to fight again. One expert explained this release program precisely: "Every time you do this, you restock the management of the terrorists unit in whatever country they are released to."

Regarding Syrian refugees, Obama, on Monday, November 16, speaking from the G-20 meeting in Turkey: "I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims," Obama said during a press conference. "That's shameful. That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion." (True! And admirable of our nation--except in times when our own citizens are at risk of being murdered in large numbers and at numerous localities as were those in Paris four days ago.)

This despite the intelligence reports released from Paris acknowledge that at least one of the Paris killers was a Syrian refugee admitted to France, and recently intercepted ISIS communications confirms their intent to exploit the vast numbers of Syrian refugees deluging Europe by implanting their own ISIS terrorists among the refugees to easily slip into the West and await orders to attack there.

No hint by Obama of considering a moratorium, nor any other mitigation to admitting possible terrorists disguised as refugees to the United States.

That man's stubbornness is supreme!

This concludes Part I. In Part II, I will further address the attack and how it will or should affect our immigration policies in general and the plan to allow up to 100,000 Syrian refugees into the United States--10,000 by year's end.

Major Dennis Copson is a retired United States Marine and is a resident of Oceanside, California. He is a freelance writer and editor.

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