Top Stories for Thursday, December 4, 2014

Protests Continue in Wake of Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

From CBS NY, “Protesters Close Thoroughfares, Clash With Police To Decry Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision”: “Demonstrators took to the streets all around Manhattan, clashing with police officers, in a the second night of protests a day after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

When the protests began early Thursday evening, a crowd of a few hundreds morphed into an estimated 10,000 protesters in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan…

The protesters moved on in several directions afterward. One group headed to the West Side Highway near West 10th Street, shutting down the highway for the second night in a row; it was reopened around 9 p.m.

Tensions rose during rush hours, as commuters on the West Side Highway yelled at the protesters to go away.

Another group marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, which police shut down completely afterward…

“This fight ain’t over. It just begun,” said Garner’s widow, Esaw.

While most of the protests in New York City were peaceful, police said 83 people were arrested, mostly for disorderly conduct.”

From CBS DC, Sharpton Planning National March On Washington Following Garner’s Death”: “Rev. Al Sharpton is planning a national march on Washington next week following a grand jury decision not to indict a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

Sharpton said at a press conference Wednesday night at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem that the march will take place on Saturday, Dec. 13.

“It’s time for a national march for a national crisis,” Sharpton said.

He continued: “We are not advocating violence, we are asking that police violence stop.”

Sharpton added the New York decision is yet another reason he has lost confidence in state grand juries and local prosecutors to bring such cases.

“State grand juries tend to be too compromised with local politics because local prosecutors run for office and they have to depend on the police for evidence,” he said. “Don’t we have the right to question grand juries when we’re looking at a video and seeing things that don’t make sense?””

China Overtakes U.S. As World’s Largest Economy

From FoxNews, “China surpasses U.S. to become largest world economy”:  “For the first time in decades, the U.S. is no longer the largest economy in the world, and China has become number one, the International Monetary Fund says.

The IMF recently released the latest numbers for the world economy, stating that China will produce $17.6 trillion in terms of goods and services–  compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.

Just 14 years ago, the U.S. produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese, Dow Jones’ MarketWatch reported.

But each country reports its data in its own currency, according to the IMF website. In order to compare data, each country’s statistics must be converted into a common currency. But there are several ways to manage that conversion and each can result in very different answers.

Another measure of an economy’s strength is its “purchasing power parity” or PPP—the rate at which the currency of one country would have to be converted into that of another country to buy the same amount of goods and services in each country.

China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real PPP terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.”

From Business Insider, “China Just Overtook The US As The World’s Largest Economy”: “Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.

The simple logic is that prices aren’t the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it’s not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist’s Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy.”

Executive Amnesty Implementation Well Underway

From The Washington Times, “Homeland Security already hiring 1,000 employees to carry out Obama amnesty”: “Department of Homeland Security officials wasted little time in ramping up for President Obama’s amnesty, posting 1,000 job openings the day after his announcement and announcing it already has space for hundreds of employees at a new location in Arlington, Virginia — an indication that it had laid its plans well before Mr. Obama’s announcement.

And even though Mr. Obama said his policy is temporary, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is hiring the employees for permanent positions, at salaries of up to $157,000 a year, according to the job postings listed on the official federal jobs website.

USCIS is taking steps to open a new operational center in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to accommodate about 1,000 full-time, permanent federal and contract employees in a variety of positions and grade levels,” the agency said in an internal email to employees on Monday. “The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014.”…

But Ken Palinkas, head of the labor union that represents USCIS employees, said he couldn’t see any way that the agency could hire enough good people in time to process the millions of applications that are expected.

“I can’t see how they could,” he told The Washington Times. “I think what they’re leaning toward is just getting the paperwork done regardless of who does it. You have to vet these people.”

The employees will need to undergo checks, and some will require security clearances, which is an even longer process.

Mr. Palinkas said the large scale of the hiring and the new office space suggests to him that the White House had its plans in place for some time ahead of Mr. Obama’s announcement last month.

“It’s so orchestrated it’s pathetic,” he said.”

From Breitbart, “JEFF SESSIONS: OBAMA WANTS EXEC AMNESTY IMPLEMENTED BEFORE AMERICANS DISCOVER ‘GRAVE’ CONSEQUENCES”: Sessions accused Obama of trying to “impose his immigration views before the Congress can contain it or restrain it” and “before the American people fully understand what’s happening, and to make it so it can’t be stopped.” He said Obama has issued executive orders that “violate the laws of Congress,” because Obama wants to” implement laws he wishes Congress had passed, but Congress has refused to pass.”

He noted that the American people stopped the amnesty bills Congress tried to pass in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2014 because they want an immigration system that does not reward lawlessness and one that serves their interests instead of special interests. Sessions noted that perhaps no other issue “defines the gap between the elites in this country and middle Americans who go to work every day, who support our country, pay our taxes, and fight our wars.”

Obama’s allies in the bipartisan political class have spent nearly $1.5 billion to get sweeping amnesty legislation over the years, and Sessions noted they “haven’t given up” on enacting massive amnesty…

He cited former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said that Obama’s executive amnesty is a “step toward kingship or dictatorship,” and Obama “must be stopped now.”

“Our entire constitutional structure is at stake,” Gingrich said in Tweets that Sessions mentioned. “This new Obama power grab is the greatest threat to freedom since King George third.”

Sessions said even lawmakers who agree with giving amnesty to all of the country’s illegal immigrants cannot support Obama’s executive action that eviscerates the separation of powers in order to unilaterally “wipe out duly passed laws to create an entirely new system of immigration that Congress refused to establish.””