Why Illegal Immigration Poses a Threat to the United States and Europe

With Donald Trump’s immigration ban, there have been many questions and topics of conversations that have started. There are two sides to this argument, as is the case with many points of contention. One side of the argument suggests that the ban is not ethical, and that the United States should be open to anyone and everyone. The other side of the argument states that illegal immigration should be cracked down on – that the lack of proper immigration and government due process will have a negative long-term impact on the United States, and other countries that are at risk of doing the same.

When it comes to illegal immigration, my concern lies in the future of the United States and Europe as it relates to employment and cultural values. Having improper integration into the country that an immigrant is joining could pose long term risk to the employment structure and culture. I will break it down into two different perspectives.

When it comes to unemployment, the US is currently at a rate of 4.9%. This means that the US government needs to have a proper integration system for newcomers. If there is not a proper system in place, unemployment rate will increase significantly as will the underground economy of the labor market, also affecting the safety in the workplace. Immigrants need to be aware of employment opportunities available, receive proper formation through vocational schools, so they may integrate easily into the new country systems.

When it comes to cultural values, it is extremely important to introduce new immigrants to a country’s cultural system. Whether it is best practices for navigating cities, different religions within various cities, how politics come into play, and more; it is integral to the success of new-comers to know how various systems work. Without this education, immigrants will be overwhelmed, will find it difficult to integrate, and create ethnic hamlets causing havoc for existing residents.

It is clear that illegal immigration poses a threat to countries like the United States and Europe. The European Union is currently in the middle of a migration crisis. We know that migration is influenced by a combination of economic, political and social factors, yet countries need to be aware of the impact that such illegal migration could pose on their countries. From employment risks to culture, it is important to be aware of the impact that illegal immigration has on various countries, the loss of safety and security that it causes.

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How The Cruise Industry Is Skipping on Taxes

There are two things in life that are certain – death, and paying taxes. Whether you are a large corporation or a citizen living in a small town that you know and love, we all pay taxes each and every year. Yet, there is one industry that has question marks surrounding their financials and end of year books, and the United States government isn’t doing much about it.

This industry is the maritime – or cruise – industry. When it was uncovered that Carnival Corporation was avoiding the payment of taxes in the United States, it raised concerns. You see, Carnival Corporation is headquartered in Florida, yet the company is legally incorporated in Panama. By incorporating in Panama and registering its ships in this third world country, the company avoids paying taxes and wages in the USA. Yet, Carnival benefits from a plethora of resources from their headquartered state of Florida and other States and Cities that their cruise ship docks in. The company uses the resources of the USA Coast Guard, Customs, Border Protection, the FBI and more.

If this raises question marks above your head, too, you’re certainly not alone. Attorney Jim Walker of Cruise Law News has been seeking an answer to this question for quite some time, wondering whether companies like Carnival pays its fair share of taxes. Similarly, the New York Times took aim at Carnival back in 2011.

Surprisingly, next to nothing has come of it. Though this seeming act of tax evasion has struck a cord with such Attorneys and large news publications, as above, the government is turning a blind eye at this act. The argument is that companies working in the maritime or cruise industries are global in nature, meaning that they could potentially be paying taxes around the world, or so their CEO Micky Arison says. Yet, those who take cruises for leisure are primarily from the USA, and since the company is headquartered in the State of Florida, this argument has little to no support.

It is clear that the United State Government needs to pay attention to what is taking place in the maritime and cruise industries. With the primary mode of business being in the USA, it is unfair for tax payers and other businesses within the United States being tax paying, law abiding citizens or corporations, while companies like Carnival reaps the benefits of questionable business behavior year over year.

How Donald Trump Is Running The Country Like a Business Person

When Donald Trump was inaugurated as the President of the United States, the country seemed divided in feedback and acceptance; however, there were a plethora of American citizens who were excited about the move. Not only has President Trump made great promises as the Leader of the United States, he has hopes, dreams and passion to make great change for the country.

President Trump is a Leader who will bring business acumen and a great deal of knowledge to the United States. As a successful businessperson, President Trump and his experience with the business community will help the USA in returning to one of success.

In addition, President Trump has already proven that he is and will continue to be quick to take action. He has already taken the very first step and ordered a freeze on all new regulations coming out of federal agencies. He has also promised to begin reviewing and potentially make sweeping changes to Obamacare, a major point of communication and policy promises while he was on the path to becoming President. Additionally, and perhaps the most popular change, he placed a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office on his very first day on the job.

The sweeping changes already made in the first months of Presidency is unlike anything we have ever seen with past Presidents. With Presidents who have taken a seat in the oval office, it has taken months – if not years – to make policy changes and updates.

These changes are being made primarily because of President Trump’s vast experience in business and negotiation. As someone who has had a great deal of success in the business realm, President Trump is a confident individual who is keen to negotiate at the table of any leader within the Free World. It is clear that he has made these changes from the seat of a CEO, with a perspective that we have not seen from any other past sitting President.

As an individual who is successful in negotiation tactics, President Trump is certain to make great, sweeping changes in the USA over the next four years. It was time for a fresh perspective and a new change. While President Trump was met with uncertainty since November, the time since his inauguration has made the country feel positive and excited at the prospect of what is to come, especially when it comes to the future of the United States of America.

Should Women Be Drafted?

U.S. Specialist Jennifer Fifield of the 2nd Battalion of the 12th Cavalry Regiment attends a briefing at the forward operating base of Liberty camp April 1, 2007, before leaving for a mission in Baghdad's northwest Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliya. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (IRAQ) - RTR1O6I2

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee approved an annual Defense authorization bill containing an amendment that would require women to register for the draft. The amendment narrowly passed on a 32–30 vote.

Since 1940, male citizens of a certain age have been forced to register with the Selective Service System. The amendment, which was proposed by California Representative Duncan Hunter, comes at a time when the military is prepping to integrate women into all front-line, combat positions. Should the measure pass the full House and Senate in the coming months, women may be required by law to register with the Selective Service.

Practically speaking, a draft requirement doesn’t mean much for women. The military has been an all-volunteer force for more than four decades, ever since it became clear during the Vietnam War that draft odds were not applied equally to all American men — low-income males who couldn’t defer by pursuing a college education were more likely to go to war. That draft inequality fueled public backlash, and in the 1970s the Selective Service ended the draft.

Though men still have to register with the Selective Service, no president since has ordered a draft and it seems unlikely a draft will be necessary for any conflicts in the near future.

However, if that were to change, what would gender-neutral compulsory military service look like? For answers, Americans can turn to Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces have allowed women in combat positions since 1995. Today, more than one-third of the IDF’s compulsory service is made up of women.

According to a report from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, research on the IDF shows that “during service Commanders have recognized that female combatants often exhibit superior skills in areas such as discipline and motivation, maintaining alertness, shooting abilities, managing tasks in an organized manner, and displaying knowledge and professionalism in the use of weapons.”

The same report found that the successful integration of women in traditionally male-dominated combat roles was largely dependent on military leaders. “If the Commander was to express belief in [women’s] ability and considered them to be equal to their male counterparts, then they would eventually become ‘one of the gang,’” the authors wrote.

According to Arieh Shalev, a psychiatry professor at New York University’s School of Medicine. “The fact that males and females are drafted in Israel, it really influences what the attitude is about being at war and serving in the military,” he says. “It’s making the military service everyone’s experience.”

In the U.S.’s all-volunteer force, only a small subset of our relatively large population is tasked with participating in a war. Some soldiers, returning to a country full of citizens who can’t relate to their experiences, can feel a supreme sense of isolation. But in Israel, the shared military (and sometimes combat) experience can help soldiers cope. It can also benefit society at large; soldiers may bring their experiences in a mixed-gender military to the civilian world, helping to create a more gender-equal society.

However, Shalev notes, “the equality comes out of necessity, because the country’s been surrounded by potential enemies and the resources are limited.” Whereas in the U.S. and much of Europe, with all-volunteer forces, an entire generation of men has grown up without the expectation to serve.

Right now, the U.S. has the military manpower it needs without compulsory service, so the decision to include women in the draft would be mostly symbolic. What do you think?

Apple Releases New iPhone SE, iPad Pro & Discounted Apple Watch

Today, Apple revealed some new toys for us – a new iPhone, iPad tablet for business use and a cheaper Apple Watch. These announcements were expected to be made in an effort to keep up with the company’s commercial momentum in the face of mounting sales challenges.

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That’s right, Apple needs a lift. Sales of its flagship iPhone are leveling off after the surge to record levels last year that made Apple the world’s biggest company by stock market value. We’re wondering if Cook can come up with another big hit.

“Tim Cook has said he thinks there’s a lot of life left in the iPhone product line, despite the media and investor community pressuring Apple over the potential decline in premium iPhone sales,” Brian Blau a tech analyst at Gartner said. “I think it’s exactly these types of things that he has in mind.”

The new phone, named the iPhone SE is an upgrade to the older, four-inch iPhone 5S that was released in 2013. This phone is for consumers who haven’t jumped for the big-screened iPhone 6 models. The new features include a faster processor and graphic performance, which were only available in versions of the iPhone 6.

While shoppers bought a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015, Apple has signaled demand in the current three-month period will fall short of the 61 million iPhones sold in the January-March quarter last year. The iPhone SE will sell for $399 with no cellular contract, significantly lower than larger iPhone models, which list at $549 or more. The smaller phone may appeal to some shoppers, especially in overseas markets, who want a premium phone at lower cost.

The Apple Watch got quite the discount as well. Normally it costs around $350, but now it is only $299. There are also a new variety of accessories including a nylon strap.

Apple is calling the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro “the ultimate PC replacement.” Its screen is fitted with a “true tone display,” which means that the onscreen display changes its color depending on the ambient light. Other features include four speakers, a super advanced camera and a powerful A9X processor. Additionally, the screen encourages users to draw using the Apple Pencil. You can get the new iPad Pro is silver, gold, space gray and rose gold.

Did you tune into the announcement as well? Let us know if you’re planning on buying any of the new gadgets, I’d like to hear why and what you think of them.

Google Could Decide the Next U.S. President

For years, Robert Epstein and his colleagues have been conducting numerous experiments in the US and India in order to determine whether search results can impact people’s political opinions. Now, we are beginning to find answers.

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Today, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today told us of an insidious and pervasive new form of mind control that search results have transformed into – and of course, they mean Google.

Epstein shows that around 50 percent of our clicks go to the top two items on the first page of results and over 90 percent of our clicks go to the 10 items listed. Thus, it is very important how Google decides which of the billions of web pages to include in our search results and how to rank them.

Surprisingly, Epstein found that the proportion of people favoring the skewed search engine’s top-ranked candidate increased by over 48 percent. Additionally, 75 percent of the subjects in the study did not know that they were viewing biased search rankings.

In another study that involved more than 2,000 people from all 50 US states. In that experiment, the shift in voting preferences induced by the researchers was 37 percent, and as high as 80 percent in some demographic groups.

According to the Pew Research Center. Google has a near-monopoly on internet searches in the US with 83 percent of Americans specifying Google as the search engine they use most often. If Google did favor one candidate in an election, its impact on undecided voters could easily decide the election’s outcome.

So what if Google decided that it was in the best interests of all concerned to do whatever it could to help us select our next president? Epstein said, “If Google set about to fix an election, it could first dip into its massive database of personal information to identify just those voters who are undecided. Then it could, day after day, send customized rankings favoring one candidate to just those people. One advantage of this approach is that it would make Google’s manipulation extremely difficult for investigators to detect.”

Remember that in the 2012 presidential election, Google and its top execs contributed more than $800,000 to Barack Obama and just $37,000 to Mitt Romney. Is it possible that they would use more than just their money?

I’m skeptical. I don’t think that Google would act so nefariously. Plus, Silicon Valley tends to be full of free-market Libertarians. However, I’d love to hear what your opinion is – please share below.

Cuba Has Big Visitors This Month

The Rolling Stones are making a surprising detour on their Latin American tour. The destination? Havana, Cuba. The concert in Cuba will be a part of the band’s “America Latina Ole” tour, which is currently playing cities like Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, and Mexico City.

British rock band The Rolling Stones per

The free concert will take place on March 25th in the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana, a sports arena. This will be the first open air concert in the country by a British rock band. The Rolling Stones commented on their website, “We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too.”

The concert is scheduled just days after President Obama’s first visit to Cuba on March 2l to 22. Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to travel to the country in 88 years. This is another big step after the reopening of the American embassy in Cuba this past August.

Obama actually announced his upcoming visit via Twitter. “We still have differences with the Cuban government that I will raise directly. America will always stand for human rights around the world,” he tweeted. “Next month, I’ll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the livesimages of the Cuban people.”

The President will meet with Cuba President Raul Castro, as well as entrepreneurs and different members of Cuban society. The President aims to continue to “chart a new course” for U.S.- Cuban relations by connecting U.S. and Cuban citizens through travel, commerce and access to information.

Cubans have also reacted positively to the announcement of the visit. “U.S. President Barack Obama will be welcomed by the government of Cuba and the Cuban people with our traditional hospitality. It will be an opportunity for (the) President to appreciate the Cuban reality,” Josefina Vidal, the general director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry said at a news conference in Havana Thursday. “His visit will represent a step forward in relations between Cuba and the US.”

The last sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge back in 1928. However, President Coolidge traveled to Cuba on a U.S. battleship so this will be a very different type of visit.

I’m very pleased that we have been making such progress in our relations with Cuba and hope that our relationship continues to become stronger.

Is This Ex-Yelp Employee Right?

download (3)A Yelp employee who wrote a bold blog post about her low pay was fired, and has even got her ex-CEO responding on Twitter.  Talia Jane, a customer-service rep who worked for the company’s food delivery arm Eat24, wrote an open letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman on Friday explaining how she could not afford to pay groceries, had stopped using her heater, spent 80 percent of her income on paying rent in San Francisco and was “balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week.” Jane further comments about going to sleep with stomach pains and only eating rice while not at the office.

Even as she posted her letter online, Jane seemed to understand that the repercussions of her post could involve her job. Jane tweeted, “might lose my job for this so it’d be cool if u shared so i could go out in a blaze of…..people knowing why i got fired?” Her premonitions proved correct, as shortly after, she was let go by Yelp for what she terms as a violation of their internal “terms of conduct.”

The incident drew a series of responses from Stoppelman, who addressed her concerns by acknowledging the high cost of living in San Francisco, while rebuffing any allegations he was the one who fired Jane.

A Yelp spokesperson told Fortune that the company would not comment on personnel matters. However, the spokesperson did echo both Jane and Stoppelman’s comments on the standard of living in San Francisco. “We agree with her remarks about the high costs of living in San Francisco, which is why we announced in December that we are expanding our Eat24 customer support team into our Phoenix office where will pay the same wage.”

Even amongst other millennial like Jane, there has been a mixed response of support and disgust in her attitude. One writer, Stefanie Williams commented, “Work ethic is not something that develops from entitlement. Quite the opposite, in fact. It develops when you realize there are a million other people who could perform your job and you are lucky to have one. It comes from sucking up the bad aspects and focusing on the good and above all it comes from humility. It comes from modesty. And those are two things, based on your article, that you clearly do not possess.”

There is no doubt that working in Silicon Valley can be challenging, but Williams does make a point about work ethic. What do you think – do you sympathize with Jane?

It’s Just the Beginning for LGBT Rights

2015 will go down in history as the turning point in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT rights movement. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges guaranteed every American the right to marry whoever they love. The last remnants of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy were banished – in 2016, transgender personnel can serve openly in the military alongside gay colleagues.download (1)

There is still a critical zone where LGBT individuals face hurdles – employment. In 28 or 50 states, it is still legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation and in 31 states, it is legal to fire a transgender employee.

In 2016, the lack of protections will become a major focus. Companies like Eli Lilly realize that the fight for LGBT rights will have serious impact on talent and consumers. Janice Chavers, a spokesperson for Eli Lilly responded to Indiana’s passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which expanded the right for people to secure religious exemptions from state and local laws by saying, “This legislation is bad for Indiana and business…We search for top talent al over the world, and many of those individuals won’t want to come to a state with laws that discriminate. In studies, over 70 percent of job seekers evaluate companies based on their LGBT-friendly benefits.

There are also public rankings like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index that people have easy access to. 78 percent of LGBT consumers and their friends would switch from the normal brands they buy to support LGBT-friendly companies. That means that unsupportive companies and states are losing out of $884 billion in the U.S. alone.

Become a role model- institute protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Guess what? 89 percent of Fortune 500 companies already prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, other companies can still do more like call on senior leaders to role model inclusive behaviors and enforce these policies in the workplaces.

Also, why not flex some corporate muscle? Show your influence on the political culture outside of your walls. The pressures in Indiana and Arkansas were successful in pushing through revisions to their RFRA bills that prevent LGBT discrimination.

Multinational companies are on this issue too. In 2016, the new HRB criteria for pro-LGBT multinationals will include a global anti-discrimination policy rather than just country-specific protections.

The U.K. Devolution & The U.S.

It has been a disappointing primary season for the United States. Candidates in both campaigns have not discussed the ways that the federal government will empower cities – the engines of economic growth and social progress.

Without tackling this difficult challenge, the cities will have to face things on their own – including taking on even more responsibilities if the longer-term budgetary trends continue. Growth in mandatory spending like Medicare and Social Security has crowded out federal contributions to housing, infrastructure, development in infrastructure and more. This will become even more dramatic ad the elderly population continues to grow.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne speaks to delegates at the Conservative Party Conference on October 4, 2010 in Birmingham, England. On the second day of the conference the Chancellor announced cuts to welfare payments.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The stunning contrast is in the United Kingdom, where there is a conversation about the devolution of central government power. In the past few years, this devolution has gone from a goal to a part of the national agenda. George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer has been the leader of these “city deals” which creates opportunities for metro areas in Britain to negotiate for greater powers and discretion to strike detailed devolution agreements. In Britain’s election season, the Conservative and Labour parties unveiled competing proposals for how to decentralize power.

Just a few weeks ago, while delivering a speech to the Conservative Party conference Osborne introduced a few new approaches to advance the devolution agenda that are quite bold.

  • The establishment of an independent infrastructure commission

“If we’re going to build, then we have to shake Britain out of its inertia on the projects that matter most. There’s an idea, put forward by many people, including some Labour politicians, and its time has come. An independent National Infrastructure Commission. A commission, set up in law, free from party arguments, which works out calmly and dispassionately what the country needs to build for its future and holds any government’s feet to the fire if it fails to deliver.”

  • Establishing a power balance that reflects the nation’s strengths

“In the end it all comes down to where the power lies. To who makes the decisions … It’s time to face facts. The way this country is run is broken. People feel remote from decisions that affect them. Initiative is suffocated. Our cities held back. There’s no incentive to promote local enterprise.”

  • Allowing local areas to collect their business tax receipts

Today I am embarking on the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory. We’re going to allow local government to keep the rates they collect from business. That’s right, all £26 billion of business rates will be kept by councils instead of being sent up to Whitehall. Right now, we collect much more in business rates than we give back in the main grant. So we will phase out this local government grant altogether.”

  • Termination the uniform business tax rate in favor of allowing local areas to determine their own rates

Yes, further savings to be made in local government, but radical reform too. So an end to the uniform business rate. Money raised locally, spent locally. Every council able to cut business taxes. Every mayor able to build for their city’s future. A new way to govern our country. Power to the people. Let the devolution revolution begin.”

In some ways, the momentum of devolution in Britain would only happen in a matter of time after being one of the most centralized countries of the OECD nations and having an outrageously outdated balance of power.

So where is it in the United States? It is true that power is already much more decentralized in America, but there has been so little debate over how to make this devolution of power, making it a testament to the shallowness of the current political debates.