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“La Bestia” :: Mexicans blame Americans for ‘Death Train’

by Jerome R. Corsi

NEW YORK – The infamous Mexican “Death Train” – also called “La Bestia” [“The Beast’] – on which tens of thousands of illegal alien children from Central America are traveling through Mexico to the United States – is being targeted by criminal complaints from Mexican authorities for allegedly violating the civil rights of passengers.

The Beast is owned and run by a Mexican wholly owned subsidiary of Kansas City Southern, a U.S. train company that acquired the Mexican equipment and routes in 2005 to create a “NAFTA Railroad” that was intended to fit into a multi-modal transportation technology so Chinese companies could deliver products into the heartland of the United States as an alternative to utilizing the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Mexican prosecutors have filed criminal complaints charging railroad with complicity in violations of the civil rights of the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America illegally hitching rides on the train in their efforts to cross into the U.S. over the border with Mexico.

That flood has surged over the last few months, and critics of President Obama say it’s being encouraged by his program to defer deportation proceedings for young illegal aliens, suggesting to them that if they are able to cross into the United States, housing, education, medical and even legal assistance await.

As reported at the time, Kansas City Southern (KCS, NYSE: KSU) completed on April 1, 2005, the acquisition of Mexican Railroad TFM, S.A. de C.V., an acquisition that gained for KCS all the common stock of Groupo Transportacion Ferrovaria Mexicana, S.A. de C.V., the holding company that owned TFM.

The 2005 KCS acquisition of the Mexican railroad occurred under the broad canopy of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, first announced by President George W. Bush in a meeting with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada, held in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005.

In December 2005, KCS changed the name of TFM to Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM), a key piece in putting together the “NAFTA Railroad,” a marketing brand KCS at that time used to describe its North American rail service bringing together KCSM in Mexico and the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCSR) in the United States.

In 2006, WND reported that Kansas City Southern plans in creating a “NAFTA Railroad” sought to link Mexican deep-water port Lazaro Cardenas as an alternative route for Chinese product shipping containers to enter the United States through Mexico, instead of through the West Coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The plans would use KCSSM and KCS multi-modal railroad links to transport the Chinese consumer goods to a Mexican government customs office operated by Mexico as part of what then was being designed as the Kansas City Inland Port, or SmartPort.

But in a press report from Veracruz, Mexico, dated March 31, 2014, the attorney general of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras, filed a criminal complaint with federal prosecutors against the U.S. railway Kansas City Southern and Ferrosur, a Mexican rail line that operates the “Death Train” in the central part of Mexico.

The charges are that the railroad companies were complicit in the commission of various crimes  against migrants jumping on the train for a ride to the Mexican border, including the crimes of robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping, murder and extortion.

A map produced by the Jesuit Migrant Service of Mexico and reprinted by the Washington Office of Latin America, WOLA, a Washington-based NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] aimed at protecting immigrant civil rights, demonstrates train routes into Texas are the shortest route for Central American unaccompanied minors to enter the United States through Mexico.

A WOLA report issued June 17, 2014, described the difficulty illegal immigrants taking “La Bestia” north as follows:

“Migrants in the southern border zone are drawn to ‘La Bestia,’ the train that heads northward to central Mexico and then on to the U.S. border. For hundreds of miles they ride on the roofs of the train cars trying to avoid fatal falls, hot days, frigid nights, and low-clearance tunnels. Every eight to ten days or so, trains depart from two routes that originate near the southern border.”

Not only is the ride physically dangerous, WOLA noted, but the lax security on “La Bestia” leaves migrants at the mercy of Mexican gangs, bandits, kidnapers and corrupt officials.

“The stunning frequency of kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, rape, and homicide puts Central American migrants’ plight in Mexico atop the list of the Western Hemisphere’s worst humanitarian emergencies,” the WOLA report concluded.


Meet Directive 3025.18 Granting Obama Authority To Use Military Force Against Civilians

by Tyler Durden

While the “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,The Washington Times uncovering of a 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. As one defense official proclaimed, “this appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.” Meet Directive 3025.18 and all its “quelling civil disturbances” totalitarianism…

As The Washington Times reports,

Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”

“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.

“In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.

The conditions include military support needed “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.” A second use is when federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”

A U.S. official said the Obama administration considered but rejected deploying military force under the directive during the recent standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters.

“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions,” the directive states.

Military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft. The directive states clearly that it is for engaging civilians during times of unrest.

There is one silver lining (for now)…

“Use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” the directive says.

And the full Directive is below…



Russia And China Finally Sign Historic $400 Billion “Holy Grail” Gas Deal


by Tyler Durden

There was some trepidation yesterday when after the first day of Putin’s visit to China the two countries did not announce the completion of the long-awaited “holy grail” gas dead, and fears that it may get scuttled over price negotiations. It wasn’t: moments ago Russia’s Gazprom and China’s CNPC announced, that after a decade of negotiations, the two nations signed a 30 year gas contract amounting to around $400 billion. And with the west doing all it can to alienate Russia and to force it into China’s embrace, this is merely the beginning of what will be a far closer commercial (and political) relationship between China and Russia.

So far there have been no public pricing details on the deal which accrording to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller is a “commercial secret”, and which is believed to involve Russia supplying 38 billion cubic metres of gas per year to China via a new eastern pipeline linking the countries.

According to Itar-Tass, the compromise between Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on Russian gas price is estimated at $75 billion, citing the Deputy Head of the National Energy Security Fund Alexei Grivach. The differences on the price for 38 and 60 billion cubic meters supplies a year were $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion, he added, so the subject of the negotiations is quite a significant one.

Gazprom expected a base price of $400 for 1,000 cubic meters, an expert of the Eurasian Development Research Center of the Chinese State Council said in April, whereas the CNPC’s proposal was $350-360 for 1,000 cubic meters.

More details from RT:

A memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping on the second day of Putin’s two-day state visit to Shanghai. The price China will pay for Russian gas remains a “commercial secret” according to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller. Gas will be delivered to China’s via the eastern ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline.

RT producers were informed of the landmark energy deal prior to its signing after a conversation with Miller.

Under the long-term deal, Gazprom will begin providing China’s growing economy with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year for the next 30 years, beginning in 2018. The details of the deal were discussed for more than 10 years, with Moscow and Beijing negotiating over gas prices and the pipeline route, as well as possible Chinese stakes in Russian projects.

Just ahead of Putin’s visit to Shanghai, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave reassurance that the agreed price would be fair.

“One side always wants to sell for a higher price, while the other wants to buy for a lower price,” Medvedev said. “I believe that in the long run, the price will be fair and totally comparable to the price of European supplies.”

A major breakthrough in negotiations came on Sunday as Gazprom chief Aleksey Miller sat down with his CNPC counterpart, Zhou Jiping, in Beijing to discuss final details, including price formulas.

Although Europe is still Russia’s largest energy market – buying more than 160 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas in 2013 – Moscow will use every opportunity to diversify gas deliveries and boost its presence in Asian markets.

“I wouldn’t look for politics behind this, but I have no doubt that supplying energy to the Asia Pacific Region holds out a great promise in the future,” Medvedev said.

In October 2009, Gazprom and CNPC inked a framework agreement for the Altai project which envisions building a pipeline to supply natural gas from fields in Siberia via the western part of the Russia-China border.

In March 2013, Gazprom and CNPC signed a memorandum of understanding on Russian gas supplies to China along the so-called eastern ‘Power of Siberia’ route. When both pipelines are activated, Russia can supply Asia with 68 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Last year, China consumed about 170 billion cubic meters of natural gas and is expected to consume 420 billion cubic meters per year by 2020.

Regardless of what the final price ended up being, and whether or not China got the upper hand in the negotiations, the final outcome is there and it is real: as a result of his disastrous foreign policy in the past two months, Barack Obama finally pushed Russia into China’s hands, culminating with a deal that was ten years in the making and was never certain, until the Ukraine crisis.

And yes, this was all predictable from day one. Here is what we said precisely two months ago:

If it was the intent of the West to bring Russia and China together – one a natural resource (if “somewhat” corrupt) superpower and the other a fixed capital / labor output (if “somewhat” capital misallocating and credit bubbleicious) powerhouse – in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely “going according to plan.”

For now there have been no major developments as a result of the shift in the geopolitical axis that has seen global US influence, away from the Group of 7 (most insolvent nations) of course, decline precipitously in the aftermath of the bungled Syrian intervention attempt and the bloodless Russian annexation of Crimea, but that will soon change. Because while the west is focused on day to day developments in Ukraine, and how to halt Russian expansion through appeasement (hardly a winning tactic as events in the 1930s demonstrated), Russia is once again thinking 3 steps ahead… and quite a few steps east.

While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the “Holy Grail” energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may refrain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasurys, and go straight to the source.

Here is what will likely happen next, as explained by Reuters:

Igor Sechin gathered media in Tokyo the next day to warn Western governments that more sanctions over Moscow’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine would be counter-productive.

The underlying message from the head of Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, was clear: If Europe and the United States isolate Russia, Moscow will look East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances.

The Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West.

* * *

To summarize: while the biggest geopolitical tectonic shift since the cold war accelerates with the inevitable firming of the “Asian axis”, the west monetizes its debt, revels in the paper wealth created from an all time high manipulated stock market while at the same time trying to explain why 6.5% unemployment is really indicative of a weak economy, blames the weather for every disappointing economic data point, and every single person is transfixed with finding a missing airplane.

To conclude with the traditional geopolitical balance of power summary: Putin wins (again), Obama loses (again), and the monument to the dollar’s status as world’s reserve currency gets yet another tarnishing blow.


“Nuclear Option” Does Enable Democrats To Ensure One-Party Authoritarian Control of Health Care

By Michael F. Cannon

Last week, I explained that the U.S. Senate’s deployment of the “nuclear option” — lowering the threshold for approval of non-Supreme Court presidential nominees from 60 votes to 51 votes — does not make it easier for President Obama to use ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. I need to add this caveat: during his tenure. The nuclear option does enhance the ability of the president and his party to control the health care sector well after he leaves office.

It’s true that the rules change will make it easier for the president to have his IPAB nominees approved by the Senate, particularly through January 2015, when the Democratic caucus holds 55 seats. But if the president and Senate fail to seat anyone on the IPAB, the board’s sweeping legislative powers fall to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If President Obama wants to use IPAB’s powers during his term, therefore, he need only retain Kathleen Sebelius as his HHS secretary.

ObamaCare permits IPAB to exercise its powers, however, only if Medicare’s actuaries project the program’s outlays will grow faster than a specified rate. A number of readers note that Medicare’s actuaries reported earlier this year that their projections currently do not show Medicare spending exceeding that target rate, and that their projections likely will not do so during the remainder of President Obama’s term. Those projections and the resulting determination could change next year. If so, and if the president and Senate have not placed confirmed any IPAB members, Secretary Sebelius could use IPAB’s powers during President Obama’s term. Those powers include the ability to raise taxes, to ration care to Medicare enrollees, and to appropriate funds to her own department, without the consent of the people’s elected representatives. (Critics will object that IPAB has none of these powers. In this study, Diane Cohen and I explain why we think they are incorrect.) Sebelius’ “proposal” would take effect during 2016.

Regardless of whether Medicare’s actuaries pull that trigger, however, President Obama and Senate Democrats face a huge incentive to nominate and confirm as many IPAB members as they can, as quickly as they can: with the nuclear option, Democrats now have it within their power to ensure Democratic control of IPAB — and with it, essentially the entire health care sector — at least through the first term of President Obama’s successor and the next three Congresses, even if Republicans capture the presidency, retain the House, and take control of the Senate. Consider.

  • Despite requirements that the president consult with the leaders of both parties in Congress on his IPAB picks, there is no obligation for the president to select members from both parties. The president can stack IPAB entirely with members of his own party and ideological persuasion.
  • IPAB members serve terms that are nominally six years, but actually serve until they are replaced. So a board member who is confirmed in 2014 will serve at least through 2020, and possibly longer.
  • If President Obama and Senate Democrats seat even one IPAB member, they can maintain Democratic control of IPAB for as long as they retain control of the Senate. If a Republican wins the White House in 2016, the fact that there is one sitting IPAB member is enough to prevent a Republican HHS secretary (Paul Ryan, maybe?) from wielding IPAB’s powers. Only one member need be seated for the “board” itself to do business. A Democratic Senate could then keep that one-member IPAB 100-percent Democratic by blocking any Republican nominees to the board.
  • If President Obama and Senate Democrats seat only eight IPAB members, they will guarantee a Democratic majority on the board through at least 2020 (and beyond if they then control the Senate and/or the presidency).
  • If President Obama and Senate Democrats seat all 15 IPAB members, his successor will not be able to appoint any members during her first term. Even if Republicans take the White House and the Senate. Nor would a Republican successor be able to remove any Obama appointees. The president may remove IPAB members “for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, but for no other cause.”

Here’s where things get scary.

ObamaCare mandates certain procedures that Congress must follow if it wants to overrule IPAB’s, ahem, “proposals.” The people’s elected representatives must clear certain hurdles — some as high as IPAB wishes to set them — if they want to retain their authority as the ones who write laws regarding health care. (The Congress that enacted ObamaCare had no lawful power to enact such requirements, but no matter. George F. Will writes that Diane Cohen and I “well described” IPAB as “the most anti-constitutional measure ever to pass Congress.”)

As Cohen and I report, during the first term of President Obama’s successor, Congress loses even those limited powers to restrain IPAB:

Worse, if Congress fails to repeal IPAB through the restrictive procedure laid out in the Act, then after 2020, Congress loses the ability even to offer substitutes for IPAB proposals…To constrain IPAB at all after 2020, Congress must repeal it between January and August in 2017.

Though this will be news even to most health policy wonks, I won’t explain here how ObamaCare produces this frightening result. I refer readers instead to the Cohen-Cannon study.

But the upshot is this. To the extent Democrats use the nuclear option to pack IPAB with Democratic appointees in 2014, and are able to retain the White House or the Senate in 2016 and beyond, they will be able to ensure one-party authoritarian control of the U.S. health care sector. That’s not just unfair or partisan or economically inefficient or unconstitutional. It’s also undemocratic.

This article appeared on on November 25, 2013.


Premeditated Deception “Lie” – A dishonest presidency

November 4, 2013
By Marc A. Thiessen

The Wall Street Journal broke the news this weekend that, even as President Obama was telling the American people they could keep their health plans, “some White House policy advisors objected to the breadth of Mr. Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ promise. They were overruled by political aides.”

Overruled by political aides? This is simply damning.

It’s not easy to get a lie into a presidential speech. Every draft address is circulated to the White House senior staff and key Cabinet officials in something called the “staffing process.” Every line is reviewed by dozens of senior officials, who offer comments and factual corrections. During this process, it turns out, some of Obama’s policy advisers objected to the “you can keep your plan” pledge, pointing out that it was untrue. But it stayed in the speech. That does not happen by accident. It requires a willful intent to deceive.

In the Bush White House, we speechwriters would often come up with what we thought were great turns of phrase to help the president explain his policies. But we also had a strict fact-checking process, where every iteration of every proposed presidential utterance was scrubbed to ensure it was both accurate and defensible. If the fact-checkers told us a line was inaccurate, we would either kill it or find another way to make the point accurately. I cannot imagine a scenario in which the fact-checkers or White House policy advisers would tell us that something in a draft speech was factually incorrect and that guidance would be ignored or overruled by the president’s political advisers.

This whole episode is a window into a fundamentally dishonest presidency. And the story gets worse. After Obama began telling Americans they could keep their plans, White House aides discussed using media interviews “to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches.” But they decided not to do so, because “officials worried . . . that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.”

Yes, no need to “clutter” the president’s message with confusing details — like the fact that millions of Americans being told by the president that they could keep their plans were being knowingly misled.

Obama could easily have come up with another way to make his point accurately. He could have said “most Americans will be able to keep their plans.” Or he could have said, as his communications director Dan Pfeiffer put it on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, “if you had a plan before the Affordable Care Act passed, [and] it hasn’t been changed or canceled, you can keep it” (which prompted McConnell spokesman Don Stewart to reply, “So . . . you can keep your plan — unless it’s been cancelled. Gee, thanks.”) That would certainly have been less powerful, but at least it would have been accurate.

But Obama didn’t say those things. He said, “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” That statement was clear, unequivocal and wrong — and Obama and his advisers knew it.

The president’s defenders are twisting around for ways to explain away his 16 words. The New York Times wrote in an editorial Sunday that “Mr. Obama clearly misspoke.” Misspoke? On 24 separate occasions? Sorry, the president didn’t “misspeak.” This was an premeditated deception. This wasn’t something Obama ad-libbed. It was a line in a presidential speech that was carefully reviewed by the entire White House senior staff. Obama’s political advisers were told by his policy aides the statement was inaccurate — but they decided to let Americans believe the falsehood.

Obama’s former chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, told the Journal that the speechwriters were working to find ways to explain a complex policy and that the goal was “simplification and ease of explanation . . . while still being true.” Except what Obama said wasn’t true.

Every president faces the challenge of explaining complex policies in simple terms. But the quest for simplicity is no excuse for dishonesty.

Obama’s own advisers told the Journal that they knew those 16 words were untrue, but Obama kept on saying them — over and over and over again.

If that’s the case, then Obama didn’t misspeak.

He lied.


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