Justin Trudeau To Refugees: There’s “No Advantage” To Entering Canada Illegally

Eight months.

That’s how long it took for Canadian Prime Minister and liberal hero Justin Trudeau to realize his promise to welcome all immigrants and refugees to Canada may have been a little short-sighted. After the prime minister proudly proclaimed on Twitter back in January that Canada would welcome all those fleeing “persecution and war,” the prime minister changed his tone this week when he warned refugees crossing into Canada from the US that sneaking into the country illegally wouldn’t fast-track the process of granting asylum.

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017

In the months that have passed since Trudeau made his famous promise, the number of refugees streaming over the border into the Canadian province of Quebec surged dramatically, straining local resources available to process their claims of asylum and provide necessities like food and shelter. The asylum seekers are primarily Haitians who fear that the Trump administration might revoke a special protected status implemented after the 2010 earthquake.

Here’s Trudeau, who was speaking at – of all places – a news conference before Montreal’s Pride parade:  

“If I could directly speak to people seeking asylum, I’d like to remind them there’s no advantage,” Trudeau said at a news conference Sunday in Montreal.

 

“Our rules, our principles and our laws apply to everyone.”

 

Trudeau also stressed that anyone seeking refugee status will have to go through Canada’s “rigorous” screening process.

The surge of migrants has overwhelmed both the Canadian legal system and the capabilities of local agencies tasked with aiding refugees. We reported earlier this month that Canada sent soldiers to a popular crossing site in upstate New York to help build a small encampment for newly arriving refugees. But beads have quickly filled up. According to CBC News, more than 3,800 people walked over the border into the province during the first two weeks of August, compared to the 2,996 who crossed throughout all of July.

As CBC notes, Unlike in the United States, Haitians have no special status in Canada, and about half of Haitians seeking refugee status in Canada have already been denied during the past couple of years.

Trudeau critic Michelle Rempel said the Canadian government too willingly ignored the brewing refugee crisis on its doorstep, and continues to play down the need to deal with the problem.  

“Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel said Trudeau is downplaying the urgent need to deal with the surge in people crossing the border.

 

“They knew it was going to be a problem this summer. And their response has been building tent cities on the U.S./Canada border,” she said in an interview with CBC News.”

Too help alleviate the problem, Rempel says the federal government should increase funding for the IRB, the board that evaluates all asylum claims. Even before the surge at the border, the IRB was hopelessly backlogged, ensuring that claimants could remain in the country in a legal limbo while they waited for their hearing.

Allowing the department to process claims more quickly would remove this incentive for asylum seekers to cross illegally.

Still, given his professed love for immigration and multiculturalism, we wonder just how far Trudeau will go to stanch the tide of refugees. Will there be more soldiers and more camps? Or will Trudeau hire an army of claims processers to start kicking people out of the country – or at least ensure that those allowed to remain deserve to do so?

One thing’s for sure: He’s going to need to do something.
 

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Sentiment Lifted by Revived Hopes of Tax Reforms

The US appears to be breaking the tax reform deadlock. House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated that tax reform is different from healthcare reform. The former is “far easier” to pass as Republicans, which is control of both the House and the Senate, have bu…

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ECB president Draghi speaks today (0700GMT)

European Central Bank President Draghi to speak at the Opening Ceremony of the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences 
– Giving the keynote opening speech
Just a heads up. Draghi is also speaking later in the week at the Jackson Hole symposium
Th…

Freedom For The Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins & Outs Of The Right To Protest

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

 

– Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was very clear about the fact that he wrote the First Amendment to protect the minority against the majority.

What Madison meant by minority is “offensive speech.”

Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

As a result, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

Instead of encouraging people to debate issues and air their views, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

This attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.

As always, knowledge is key.

The following Constitutional Q&A, available in more detail at The Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), is a good starting point.

Q:        PROTEST?

A:         The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Protesting is an exercise of these constitutional rights because it involves speaking out, by individual people or those assembled in groups, about matters of public interest and concern.

 

Q:        WHERE AM I ALLOWED TO PROTEST?

A:         The right to protest generally extends to public places that are owned and controlled by the government, although not all government-owned property is available for exercising speech and assembly rights. Places historically associated with the free exercise of expressive activities, such as streets, sidewalks and parks, are traditional public forums and the government’s power to limit speech and assembly in those places is very limited. However, expression and assembly in traditional public forums may be limited by reasonable time, place and manner regulations. Examples of reasonable regulations include restrictions on the volume of sound produced by the activity or a prohibition on impeding vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

 

Q:        CAN MY FREE SPEECH BE RESTRICTED BECAUSE OF WHAT I SAY, EVEN IF IT IS CONTROVERSIAL?

A:         No, the First Amendment protects speech even if most people would find it offensive, hurtful or hateful. Speech generally cannot be banned based upon its content or viewpoint because it is not up to the government to determine what can and cannot be said. A bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that the government may not prohibit expression of an idea because society finds it offensive or disagreeable. Also, protest speech also cannot be banned because of a fear that others may react violently to the speech.  Demonstrators cannot be punished or forbidden from speaking because they might offend a hostile mob. The Supreme Court has held that a “heckler’s veto” has no place in First Amendment law.

 

Q:        DO I NEED A PERMIT IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A PROTEST?

A:         As a general rule, no. The government cannot require that individuals or small groups obtain a permit in order to speak or protest in a public forum. However, if persons or organizations want to hold larger rallies and demonstrations, they may be required by local laws to obtain a permit.

 

Q:        WHAT CAN’T I DO IN EXERCISING MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST?

A:         The First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The First Amendment does not provide the right to conduct a gathering at which there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic on public streets or other immediate threat to public safety.

 

Q:      AM I ALLOWED TO CARRY A WEAPON OR FIREARM AT DEMONSTRATION OR PROTEST?

A:         Your right to have a weapon at a protest largely depends state law and is unlikely to be protected by the First Amendment. Not all conduct can be considered “speech” protected by the First Amendment even if the person engaging in the conduct intends to express an idea. Most courts have held that the act of openly carrying a weapon or firearm is not expression protected by the First Amendment. That said, even if possession of weapons is allowed, their presence at demonstrations and rallies can be intimidating and provocative and does not help in achieving a civil and peaceful discourse on issues of public interest and concern.

 

Q:        WHAT CAN’T THE POLICE DO IN RESPONDING TO PROTESTERS?

A:         In recent history, challenges to the right to protest have come in many forms. In some cases, police have cracked down on demonstrations by declaring them “unlawful assemblies” or through mass arrests, illegal use of force or curfews. Elsewhere, expression is limited by corralling protesters into so-called “free-speech zones.” New surveillance technologies are increasingly turned on innocent people, collecting information on their activities by virtue of their association with or proximity to a given protest. Even without active obstruction of the right to protest, police-inspired intimidation and fear can chill expressive activity and result in self-censorship. All of these things violate the First Amendment and are things the police cannot do to censor free speech. Unless the assembly is violent or violence is clearly imminent, the police have limited authority under the law to shut down protesters.

Clearly, as evidenced by the recent tensions in Charlottesville, Va., we’re at a crossroads concerning the constitutional right to free speech.

Yet as Benjamin Franklin warned, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, ensuring freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society.

If ever there were a time for us to stand up for the right to speak freely, even if it’s freedom for speech we hate, the time is now.

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For First Time Ever, Mutual Funds Slash Uber Valuation By Up To 15%

Exactly two weeks ago, we asked if Uber – the world’s most valuable private company – is heading for a valuation-crushing, 40% discount down-round.

 

Some of our arguments were the following:

  • First, those hoping for a ‘return of the king’ moment were disappointed after it was confirmed that Travis Kalanick isn’t coming back.
  • Second, the hot money is flowing to Uber’s rivals. DiDi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing firm, has invested in Middle East online taxi service Careem in a new partnership deal that marks Didi’s latest international expansion against rival Uber
  • Third, WSJ recently reported that Uber plans to wind down its U.S. subprime car-leasing division to stem unsustainably high losses
  • Finally, according to recent press reports SoftBank was considering buying Uber shares from Benchmark with The Information noting that the transaction would value Uber at between $40 billion and $45 billion, a 33%-40% drop from the firm’s latest $68 billion private round valuation.

Two weeks later, we are already half way there because as the WSJ reports, at least four mutual-funds have marked down their investments in Uber by as much as 15% –  the first ever price cuts that,  suggesting that the endless volley of scandals and bad news chasing the ridesharing company has finally caught up with it. 

Vanguard Group, Principal and Hartford Funds all marked down their shares by 15% to $41.46 a share for the quarter ended June 30, according to the fund companies’ latest disclosure documents. T. Rowe Price Group Inc. TROW 1.51% cut the estimated price of its Uber shares by about 12% to $42.70 for the same period.

Since Uber shares don’t trade publicly (yet, maybe never) mutual-fund holders must estimate the shares’ worth each quarter and mark them to estimate. According to the WSJ, seven mutual-fund companies had mostly maintained a $48.77 share price since the fourth quarter of 2015, when Uber first sold its shares to investors at that price.

Mutual-fund companies determine the valuations for closely held companies by a special committee that sits apart from the portfolio managers who buy and sell stocks. To value illiquid shares, such committees typically look to a company’s financial information, the value of publicly traded rivals, and share prices paid by investors in previous funding rounds.

Meanwhile, with Uber’s dirty laundry in danger of being “discovered” following the recent lawsuit by early investor Benchmark, the company’s search for a replacement to Kalanick appears to have hit a roadblock. Worse, since the latest legal feud began earlier this month subsequent to the mutual-fund filings’ June 30 ending date, and has since spiraled into a broader battle among shareholders, it is likely that even more acute writedowns will be taken in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the most troubling news for Uber is neither who sits in the corner office, nor how many lawsuits it is waging, but its persistent and unrelenting cash burn.

Amid all the controversies, Uber has sought to shore up its financials after reporting a loss of more than $3 billion last year and $708 million in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter. The company in July combined its money-losing Russian operations with Yandex NV’s Yandex. Taxi, the more popular ride-hailing firm there. Uber is also winding down its U.S. subprime auto-leasing business after realizing losses per vehicle were $9,000 on average, 18 times what was previously believed, according to people familiar with the matter.

To be sure, Uber has some time before it has to panic: the company had about $7 billion in cash at the end of Q1, and its revenue totaled over $3 billion in the three-month period, up 18% from the fourth quarter. Of course, by the time Uber’s balance sheet becomes a matter of attention, the company’s valuation will be a shadow of its $68 billion peak. That would be bad news for at least seven mutual-fund companies who own shares in Uber.

Several of them first buying in during a 2014 funding around at $15.51 a share. The price has roughly tripled since then through a series of funding rounds, but Uber hasn’t raised new capital since last year at the $48.77 price.

And now it’s time for the dreaded down-rounds.

Of course, should the world’s “most valuable private company” fail to go public before its first down round, it would have a huge chilling effect on the rest of the VC and IPO market. Meanwhile, even as most “Unicorns” have opted to stay private for now amid a pullback in startup funding and questions about overheated valuations, some companies backed by mutual funds have recently dared to IPO with largely adverse consequences. These include Snap, whose stock has fallen about 17% from its IPO price, and Blue Apron Inc., whose shares have cut in half since the public offering two months ago.

As for Uber, the golden child, or rather gold-plated unicorn, of the VC world, is about to get reacquainted with valuation gravity. Which, in light of its broadly deflationary impact on a broad range of industries that simply soak up VC funding in a futile war for market share, may be just what the Federal Reserve – not to mention thousands of depressed taxicab Medallion owners – ordered.

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Watch Live: President Trump Speaks At Rally In Phoenix Following “Underwhelming” Protests

Amid underwhelming protests, and in the absence of Republican Governor Doug Ducey, President Trump is set to hold a campaign-style rally in Phoenix tonight that may be must-watch for a number of reasons. 

As The Hill reports, Trump is expected to use the podium in Phoenix to defend his hard-line approach on immigration and to pressure Congress for more than $1 billion to build the southern border wall that was at the core of his presidential campaign.

This is President Trump’s first publica rally since ‘Nazi-gate’ and while local officials had prepare for a storm of protests (with the city’s mayor asking for the rally to be relocated), the protests were “underwhelming.”

And the pronoun has turned: “Lock him up” chants ring in Phoenix pic.twitter.com/309AH14xGR

— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) August 23, 2017

VIDEO: Trump rally in downtown Phoenix: Supporters, protesters meet at convention center pic.twitter.com/vJSAJE87hJ

— azcentral (@azcentral) August 23, 2017

Puerto Rican Trump supporter blasts CNN ahead of Phoenix rally: ‘You’re the real racists and fascists!’ pic.twitter.com/nqday5Aa7j

— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) August 22, 2017

Trump’s speech is sure to be full of his usual vim and vigor, and The Hill notes five things to watch out for…

Arizona illustrates Trump’s fraught relationship with his own party.

While Trump won Arizona in November, he’s been openly feuding with the state’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of whom are frequent Trump critics. Trump last week called Flake, who’s up for re-election in 2018, “a non-factor in the Senate” and “toxic” in a tweet that also welcomed a primary challenge to him from former State Senator Kelli Ward. That prompted several senior Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to come out with statements of support for Flake. Neither Flake nor McCain is planning to attend Trump’s rally.

 

Flake, whose approval ratings stand below 20 percent, says he’s unconcerned with Trump’s attacks, which are likely to continue in Phoenix. But Ward is relishing the boost. Anticipating Trump’s speech, she launched a new ad campaign on Monday warning voters that Flake’s clash with the president is “a huge liability for Arizona.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) may also prove an irresistible target for the president given his vote to sink the Senate’s effort to repeal ObamaCare. McCain also hammered Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville. “There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry,” McCain tweeted last week. “The President of the United States should say so.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Trump recently told Fox News that he’s “seriously considering” pardoning Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., whose aggressive approach to the detention of undocumented immigrants has made him a national voice for the hard-line enforcement policies championed by the president. A massive rally in Phoenix would be just the place to do that. A federal judge found the 85-year-old Arpaio guilty of contempt of court last month for the “flagrant disregard” of another judge’s 2011 order to stop the racial profiling that came to define Arpaio’s immigrant roundups. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5, when he faces a maximum of six months in jail. Arpaio is one of Trump’s oldest political allies. The two men supported each other as far back as 2012, when they were two of the most prominent advocates of “birtherism,” the claim that then-President Obama was not born in the United States. Arpaio’s conviction has become a flashpoint in the largely partisan debate over immigration reform, with both sides watching Trump’s actions closely.   On Monday, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R), one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, urged the president to pardon Arpaio, touting the former sheriff’s long public service record. He accused the Obama administration of conducting “a witch hunt” against him.  Some Democrats seem to be expecting the pardon, noting that Trump has come under fire from conservatives for the recent ouster of top strategist Stephen Bannon and may use the Phoenix speech to get back into the critics’ good graces. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said Monday that pardoning Arpaio might “placate [Trump’s] xenophobic, racist base.” A few hours after this story was published, the White House announced Trump would not pardon Arpaio at the rally.

The wall

Trump launched his presidential campaign with an attack on immigrants and a vow to build “a beautiful wall” on the southern border, paid for by Mexico. But his chief domestic promise has smacked into the political realities of Capitol Hill, where GOP leaders, needing Democratic votes to pass spending bills, have failed to get new construction funding to the president’s desk. The issue was a major sticking point in the fight over a 2017 spending bill, when Democrats successfully yanked new wall funding from the package. But Republicans are under pressure to hold a harder line in the 2018 spending debate — the House has already approved a bill providing $1.6 billion in new wall funding — and Trump will likely use the stage in Phoenix to elevate the issue. Indeed, in signing the 2017 federal spending bill, a frustrated Trump suggested he’d support “a good ‘shutdown’ in September” in order to secure more Republican priorities.

Race

The Arizona rally comes just as the news cycle is finally moving away from Trump’s botched response to Charlottesville, when he said “many sides” were to blame for the violence at the white supremacist rally. The Phoenix rally is expected to attract large groups of supporters and counterprotesters, however, and has the potential to reopen the discussion depending on what Trump says from the stage — and what happens outside the arena.  Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) wrote a Washington Post op-edMonday asking Trump to delay his visit. “America is hurting,” wrote Stanton. “And it is hurting largely because Trump has doused racial tensions with gasoline. With his planned visit to Phoenix on Tuesday, I fear the president may be looking to light a match.” Trump took a different tone Monday, in a teleprompter-guided speech laying out his Afghanistan strategy. “When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate,” said Trump. “The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home.”

Afghanistan

Tuesday’s rally comes just a day after the prime-time speech in which Trump outlined the contours of his military strategy in Afghanistan — a design that includes the deployment of new U.S. troops to the embattled region.

The military buildup marks a stark shift for the president, who had been highly critical of prolonging U.S. engagement after 16 years of failing to stabilize the country. On the campaign trail, he won accolades from the “America First” crowd with his promise of quick troop withdrawal, arguing the resources would be better used for domestic projects.

The issue carries a special significance following last week’s departure of Bannon, a fierce nationalist who sought to steer Trump away from aggressive interventions into foreign affairs.

Bannon, who quickly returned to the helm of Breitbart News, has vowed his continued support of the administration. But the site wasted no time Monday lashing out at Trump’s Afghanistan strategy, calling it a “flip flop” and equating his plan to that of former President Obama, a pariah in the eyes of conservative Breitbart readers.

President Trump is due to speak at 10pmET…

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US. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal

This was out a little earlier – U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says the US wants to know if the United Nations atomic watchdog plans to inspect Iranian military sites to verify Tehran’s compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal
The post …