Tales from the Trail

Mexico’s Calderon admires Second Amendment, but wants U.S. gun control

May 20, 2010

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has no problem with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the right to bear arms — he just wants the weapons flowing across the border into his country stopped.

Frankly, Mr. Karzai, the U.S. does give a damn

May 12, 2010

When two heads of state stand side-by-side in public, it’s all about reading into the words they choose and the body language.

The coming conflict with China

May 11, 2010

2008 was the last presidential election when voters didn’t know or care about the candidates views on China, argues political risk analyst Ian Bremmer.

Senator Kyl: show me the money to modernize U.S. nukes

April 20, 2010

Where’s the money?

A key senator says the Obama administration needs to commit to more funding for modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex if it is to convince him that the new START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia is a good idea. USA-COURT/SOTOMAYOR

U.S. Ash Quest: Help 40,000 Americans cross the pond

April 19, 2010

Stranded in England…

(We could think of worse places to be stuck than the land of fish-and-chips and Shakespeare).

Obama, Hu share moment of silence for dead miners

April 13, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao interrupted their high-powered diplomacy on Monday to share a moment of silence in memory of the miners who have died in recent accidents in both countries. NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/

Qat joins al Qaeda as Yemen threat

February 3, 2010

YEMEN-QAT/U.S. lawmakers, convening a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the threat posed by al Qaeda in Yemen, found themselves focused on another problem stalking the impoverished Arab country:  the mild drug qat, which permeates Yemeni society.

Healthcare reform may leave some legal migrants to U.S. in limbo

October 14, 2009

Immigration, particularly what to do with millions of illegal immigrants living in the shadows, has long been a divisive issue in the United States — so it comes as little surprise that undocumented migrants are excluded from benefits under President Barack Obama’s signature drive to overhaul healthcare.
 
But legislation to reform the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system to cut costs, extend coverage and regulate insurers could also exclude more than a million legal permanent residents living, working and paying taxes in this country of immigrants from core benefits, according to a study published this month.
 
The report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute said 4.2 million lawful permanent residents in the United States are uninsured. More than 1 million of them could be excluded from Medicaid coverage or insurance subsidies outlined in the bill — five versions of which are currently on Capitol Hill — if Congress does not remove a five-year waiting period for eligibility.
 
Congress is set to debate the legislation in coming weeks, and the prospects for the overhaul are far from certain. But if legal residents are denied eligibility for Medicaid and insurance subidies, yet are nevertheless subjected to mandates requiring them to buy health insurance coverage, the study concluded, many of them would face a “significant burden.”
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“Leaving large numbers of legal immigrants out of healthcare reform would defeat the core goal of the legislation, which is to extend coverage to the nation’s 46 million uninsured,” said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, who co-authored the report.
 
The study also concluded that implementing verification systems to ensure that 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States do not receive benefits could prove expensive and may also discriminate against Americans.
 
“Document checks would be especially costly, and would have the biggest impact on U.S. citizens who cannot produce birth certificates or other forms of ID, leading to lost or delayed coverage,” said Marc Rosenblum, a co-author of the MPI study.
 
The measures denying undocumented immigrants benefits are likely to be welcomed by most Americans — one telephone survey in June found 80 percent of U.S. voters opposed providing government healthcare coverage to undocumented migrants. But activists say a bill that left many legal permanent residents in limbo would likely discourage some skilled migrants from seeking to move to the United States.
   
Aman Kapoor, the founder and president of advocacy group Immigration Voice said many high-skilled immigrants including engineers and software specialists were already wary about moving to the United States because of red tape and delays in processing applications for permanent residency.
 
“This will ring the alarm bells again around the world for the high-skilled community,” Kapoor said, adding that skilled foreign workers were “already considering other destinations like India, China and Brazil because the hassle of settling here has increased dramatically.”

Missiles before talks — what’s the message from Iran?

September 28, 2009

Everyone has their own way of broaching subjects they don’t like.

Iran has decided the best prelude to upcoming talks with Western powers that are inevitably going to end up in a finger-pointing session over Tehran’s nuclear program, is to test fire a bunch of missiles.