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Army to force out 550 majors; some in Afghanistan

by Lolita C. Baldor

About 550 Army majors, including some serving in Afghanistan, will soon be told they have to leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.

Gen. John Campbell, the vice chief of the Army, acknowledged Friday that telling troops in a war zone that they’re out of a job is a difficult task. But he said some of the soldiers could join the National Guard or the Army Reserve.

The decision to cut Army majors comes on the heels of a move to slash nearly 1,200 captains from the ranks. Army leaders were criticized at the time for giving 48 of them the bad news while they were deployed to Afghanistan.

The Army declined to say how many majors will be notified while they are at the battlefront.

“The ones that are deployed are certainly the hardest,” Campbell told reporters. “What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact to that unit and then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family.”

Campbell said it’s difficult to avoid cutting deployed soldiers because of the timing schedules.

All the soldiers being forced to leave have probably already been given a heads-up that they were at risk of the job cut and will meet with a senior officer, according to the Army.

Those who are cut have nine months to leave the Army. And the soldiers who are deployed, including those in Afghanistan, will generally have about a month to move out of that job and go home to begin to transition out of the service.

The cuts have been difficult for many young officers, particularly captains, who tend not to have enough years in service to retire.

To make the cuts, the Army looked at about 8,500 majors who joined the service between 1999 and 2003. Some may have about 15 years of service, depending on all factors that go into credit for years of service, and might be able to retire, but many won’t have enough time in the job, Campbell said

Guard and reserve leaders are looking for officers, especially captains, so there could be opportunities for the soldiers to continue to serve, he said.

After 13 years of war that forced a significant and rapid build-up of the Army to about 570,000, the military now has to reduce its combat forces to meet budget cuts.

The Army has close to 514,000 soldiers now, but will have to be down to 510,000 by October, shrink to 490,000 by October 2015 and be down to 450,000 by 2019. In addition, if Congress doesn’t act to prevent automatic budget cuts from resuming, the Army may eventually have to get down to 420,000 — a size that that leaders say may not allow them to wage even one major, prolonged military campaign.

The Army tried to avoid some cuts by slowing enlistments and using attrition and some voluntary separations. It also has been combing through files looking for soldiers with disciplinary or other problems in their annual evaluations to weed out lower-performing officers first, officials said.

What Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know About Immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala

by Dean Garrison

Yesterday I reported that an illegal immigrant from Honduras entered the country on June 26th and three weeks later had already been charged with 2nd Degree Murder. Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas entered the country with two children and was allowed to stay under Obama’s “catch and release” amnesty policies.

Not many people read the article, likely because I was about 12 hours behind the bigger media sources which reported it and we get significantly less traffic to begin with. [Oh the joys of being a small potatoes blogger!] However, there was some very important research in that article and I would like to share it again:

Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world at 90.4 per 100,000 population according to a United Nations report. That rate is roughly 5 times higher than Chicago which recorded an 18.5 per 100,000 homicide rate as recently as 2012. Coincidentally El Salvador is ranked 4th and Guatemala is 5th on the list of countries with the most homicides per 100,000.

We are taking “refugees” from 3 of the top 5 murderous countries in the world and the hypocritical leftists dare to offer their wild theories of how gun control will reduce violence at home.

Think about the people we are letting in to this country. They come from a culture of violence and they will ultimately bring more violence. We saw evidence of that with Monterroso-Navas and he will not likely be an isolated case.

There has been a lot of talk about Mexican Drug Cartels and Islamic Terrorists entering through our Southern Border, but that is not the entire scope of our worries. Chicago is in the news on a daily basis for violent gun murders and yet we are letting people into this country that come from a culture that is 500% more violent than Chicago.

Do you think they can flip a magical switch when they get here and change overnight? These people come from urban war zones. You can take the immigrant out of Honduras but you can’t take Honduras out of the immigrant.

Do you think this might have been planned? The government knows full well that we are letting in more than just children. The story of the children is meant to pull at America’s heartstrings.

Is this part of the strategy that Obama is using to intentionally destroy America?

It is blatantly obvious that this was all intentional.

Here is the list of the most murderous countries in the world. The murder rates to the right are the number of homicides per 100,000 population. Only 41% of these murders are the result of gun violence which proves once again that bad people will always find ways to kill:

Honduras: 90.4 (per 100,000)

Venezuela: 53.7

Belize: 44.7

El Salvador: 41.2

Guatemala: 39.9

Jamaica: 39.3

Swaziland: 33.8

Saint Kitts and Nevis: 33.6

South Africa: 31.0

Colombia: 30.8

Notice that we are not currently in the top ten. But if Obama and his pals, who planned this immigration crisis, have their way we will be climbing up the ranks in the very near future.

It is not only children coming to America and we certainly can not assume that it is only innocent ADULTS either.

America has a major problem.

Leaked CBP Report Shows Entire World Exploiting Open US Border

by Brandon Darby

A leaked intelligence analysis from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reveals the exact numbers of illegal immigrants entering and attempting to enter the U.S. from more than 75 different countries. The report was obtained by a trusted source within the CBP agency who leaked the document and spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity. The report is labeled as “Unclassified//For Official Use Only” and indicates that the data should be handled as “Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU).”

The numbers provided are in graphics and are broken down into “OFO” and “OBP.” The Customs and Border Protection agency is divided into the Office of Field Operations (OFO) and the Office of Border Patrol (OBP). The OFO numbers reflect anyone either turning themselves in at official U.S. points of entry, or anyone caught while being smuggled at the points of entry. The OBP numbers reflect anyone being caught or turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents between the points of entry, or anyone caught at interior checkpoints by Border Patrol agents. The “OFO Inadmissible” designation to any individual from a nation other than Mexico or Canada means that U.S. authorities took the individuals into custody. Whether they were deported or given a Notice to Appear is unknown. It is important to note these numbers do not include data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The unavailable ICE data are in addition to these numbers.

The report reveals the apprehension numbers ranging from 2010 through July 2014. It shows that most of the human smuggling from Syria and Albania into the U.S. comes through Central America. The report also indicates the routes individuals from North Africa and the Middle East take into the European Union, either to illegally migrate there or as a possible stop in their journey to the United States. The data are broken down further into the specific U.S. border sectors where the apprehensions and contact occurred.

Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.

As of July 20, 2014, 1,443 individuals from China were caught sneaking across the porous U.S. border this year alone, with another 1,803 individuals either turning themselves in to U.S. authorities at official ports of entry, or being caught attempting to illegally enter at the ports of entry. This comes amid a massive crackdown by Chinese authorities of Islamic terrorists in the Communist nation.

Twenty-eight individuals from Pakistan were caught attempting to sneak into the U.S. this year alone, with another 211 individuals either turning themselves in or being caught at official ports of entry.

Thirteen Egyptians were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. this year alone, with another 168 either turning themselves in or being caught at official ports of entry.

Four individuals from Yemen were caught attempting to sneak into the U.S. by Border Patrol agents in 2014 alone, with another 34 individuals either turning themselves in or being caught attempting to sneak through official ports of entry. Yemen is not the only nation with individuals who pose terror risks to the U.S. that the report indicates travel from. The failed nation of Somalia, known as a hotbed of Islamic terror activity, was also referenced in the report. Four individuals from Somalia were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. by Border Patrol agents in 2014. Another 290 either turned themselves in or were caught attempting to sneak in at official ports of entry. This reporter previously covered the issue of illegal immigration into the U.S. from Somalia and other nations in the Horn of Africa.

See video here.

Border crisis brings war of words between Castro, Perry

by David McCumber

Rep. Joaquin Castro and Gov. Rick Perry are not going to see eye to eye any time soon.

In an escalation of the war of words between the two Texas pols, Castro sharply rebuked Perry on Monday for deploying the National Guard to the border in response to the recent surge in undocumented immigrants from Central America.

“Any attempt to give domestic police power to soldiers is ill-advised,” Castro, D-San Antonio, wrote. “The people of South Texas do not want to and should not have to live in a police state.”

After Castro said earlier this month that Perry “should be sending the Red Cross to the border, not the National Guard,” Perry sent the congressman a letter last week accusing him of “a basic misunderstanding” of the role of the National Guard.

In his response Monday, Castro wrote that he values the National Guard as a member of the House Armed Services Committee “and the representative for San Antonio, Military City USA,” but added that “in this humanitarian situation,” he disagreed with Perry’s action, “which appears to be rooted in politics more than sound public policy.”

In his letter to Castro, the Republican governor said the Guard deployment “does not directly involve the issue of the unaccompanied alien minors,” but instead will address the hundreds of thousands of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. It also said Perry decided to deploy the guardsmen due to federal inaction and misguided White House policies _ “which you support,” the governor noted.

In response, Castro accused the governor of using the border as a “bogeyman for political gain,” saying that “by sensationalizing the level of crime and violence in our border communities, you damage the economic potential of places like McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso.” And he accused the governor of fudging the facts.

“The crime statistics you have used to support the deployment have been thoroughly debunked,” Castro wrote. “For example, El Paso was ranked as the safest city in the nation with more than 500,000 people.”

According to the letter’s footnotes, that statistic came from the semiannual FBI uniform crime report for the period of January to June 2013.

“I am disappointed that your first instinct was to head down to the Rio Grande and pose by mounted machine guns as if on a trophy hunt,” Castro wrote. “These actions imply hostility toward young children fleeing violence in their home countries, and give license to uglier demonstrations of hostility.”

Castro invited the governor to meet with the entire Texas congressional delegation, “which you have not done in several years,” to work together on the issue. He urged Perry’s help in getting Congress “to pass the supplemental funding necessary to stem the flow of minors making the dangerous trek while treating humanely the tens of thousands of children who have arrived in our great state.”

Castro wrote that “Rio Grande Valley leaders agree that the $12 million per month of taxpayer money you plan to spend (with no defined metrics to measure success) would be better invested in supporting local police and sheriff departments.”

Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

Laredo city councilman released from jail

Shortly after he was arrested Friday, Laredo City Councilman Jorge Vera was released from jail on a combined $1,500 bond.

He was charged with state jail felony possession of a controlled substance and filing a false report, a Class B misdemeanor.

The charges stem from an incident early Wednesday at a North Laredo bar, when an off-duty Border Patrol agent called police. Police said the woman claimed Vera had approached her and her friends and asked if they wanted to do cocaine with him.

During an investigation, a white powdery substance was found in Vera’s pickup outside the bar, police said, adding that it tested positive for cocaine.

He was served with two arrest warrants late Friday afternoon after turning himself in at Laredo Police Department headquarters.

LPD arrests Laredo city councilman on drug charge

by Aldo Amato

A Laredo city councilman was arrested Friday by police on a felony drug charge after cocaine was allegedly found in his vehicle earlier this week.

Laredo police charged Jorge Vera, who was elected to office in 2012, with possession of a controlled substance and filing a false report.

He turned himself in at Laredo Police Department headquarters late Friday afternoon.

Stay tuned for updates.

Judge requests briefs on challenge to county Republican Party chair


The challenge to the chairmanship of the Cameron County Republican Party advanced in state District Court Thursday when Senior Judge Menton Murray Jr. asked the parties to provide briefs on the court’s jurisdiction and factual disputes.

This stems from Party Pct. 102 chairman Charles “Tad” Hasse’s challenge of Frank J. Morris’ claim that he did not resign on May 14 as chairman of a new term that began June 16. Morris maintained on the stand during a court hearing Thursday in the 107th District Court that he had only resigned from the then-term he was holding that would have ended June 15, and that he had never intended to resign from the new term.

Hasse countered that Morris changed his mind, but that a resignation cannot be rescinded, and that the court has jurisdiction based on violation of the Texas Election Code.

Hasse and Morris’ attorney Paul Fourt Jr. have until Aug. 15 to submit briefs.

Continue reading here.


PUMP IT UP – Valley stands to gain for energy exploration in Mexico

by Steve Clark

Anyone who pays the slightest attention to the oil and gas industry knows that Texas is in the middle of a major energy boom, one concentrated largely on the vast Eagle Ford Shale formation that spans several counties in South Texas.

The same formation happens to extend south across the border into Mexico, where it’s known as the Burgos Basin. While Eagle Ford already has dozens of exploration sites in operation, virtually nothing is happening south of the border — nothing yet, at least. The Mexican government late last year instituted sweeping reforms on several fronts, including energy. The result is that, for the first time, companies other than PEMEX will be able to invest in energy exploration and production in Mexico.

Historically, PEMEX — Mexico’s state-owned oil company — has had a monopoly on every aspect of that country’s oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, transportation, refining, marketing, etc. But PEMEX’s production has been declining, and the company lacks the wherewithal to develop the massive shale formation under its feet. That’s why Mexico’s congress is changing its constitution to allow foreign oil and gas companies to come in. Especially in demand are Texas companies that have experience developing Eagle Ford.

J. Carlos Marron, senior investment and trade commissioner for ProMéxico, spoke with The Brownsville Herald recently about Mexico’s need for outside technology, expertise and capital in developing the Burgos Basin, and about the role the Brownsville-Matamoros region can play in terms of manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and other services. ProMéxico is the Mexican government agency in charge of promoting international investments and trade. The agency has 44 offices around the world, 14 of them in the United States.

Marron was accompanied by Mexican Consul Rodolfo Quilantán and Marco Saldivar, president of AEM Brownsville-South Padre Island. AEM is a non-profit trade association for Mexican nationals interested in doing business in the United States, though it also facilitates U.S. investment in Mexico.

Marron said the next step is for Mexican lawmakers to enact secondary legislation providing a road map for implementing energy reform.

“That’s like the playbook,” he said.

Lack of a skilled labor force is one area where Mexico falls short in terms of being able to exploit its oil and gas resources.

“That might be the biggest challenge we’re going to have,” Marron said.

Marron believes University of Texas and Texas A&M institutions can provide the solution to that problem in the form of chemical engineering and petroleum engineering education in sync with the needs of energy developers working the Mexican shale. He expressed enthusiasm for the merger between University of Texas at Brownsville and UT-Pan American.

The country’s untapped oil and gas reserves aren’t confined to the Burgos Basin, but also include significant deep-water discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. Again, PEMEX activity in the deep-water realm is nothing compared to the deep-water exploration taking place north of the border.

A large natural gas pipeline network will also have to be created, another area where the expertise of U.S. companies is essential, Marron said. For the Brownsville-Matamoros cross-border region to capitalize on new energy activity, more local infrastructure must be developed, he said. Success in the venture in general depends to a great degree on infrastructure development, Marron said.

The anticipated opening of the new Brownsville-Matamoros rail bridge in August and the addition of lanes to Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates are a good start, he said.

“But we need to see more of that, more collaboration from Washington and Mexico City, and get those infrastructure projects finalized,” Marron said. “That’s going to be key.”

He said there’s plenty of opportunity for smaller companies, not just multinationals, in the coming Mexican energy boom. However, a big part of putting U.S. money, expertise and technology to work in Mexico is showing potential U.S. investors how to proceed. That’s where groups like AEM and ProMéxico come in, Marron said.

“I think there’s right now a lot of companies from Texas in (the energy sector) that have never done business in Mexico, that haven’t turned to Mexico as an opportunity because, very understandably, in the past they didn’t think there was one,” Marron said. “Now they’re looking down into Mexico but they’re having very legitimate questions.”

Saldivar is ready to field those questions from Texas firms.

“If anyone has any interest in learning more or they have a business that they want to get involved in this whole process, all they have to do is call us and we’ll put them together with ProMéxico,” Saldivar said. “Or (AEM) can help them get their financing. We can help them get partnerships. There’s all kinds of things we can help them do with the network that we already have.”

Marron said the Valley most likely stands to gain in areas such as manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and other services that support the oil and gas industry.

“I think for example in steel, in a lot of the different processes that are needed in order to build the different equipment for exploration, for drilling,” he said. “It’s going to be very important, but services are going to be key.”

Mark Kroll, dean of UTB’s school of business, said he sees plenty of potential in general for additional manufacturing along the border. He noted that the region encompassing Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, Matamoros and Reynosa already has more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs — more than most major metro areas in the country.

“If we can solve the human capital and security issues, that number could grow substantially—especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing,” Kroll said. “It is also no doubt true that if the reforms under consideration for PEMEX come to fruition, there will likely be considerable oil field services growth along the border.”

Carlos Marin, head of the Ambiotec Group, an infrastructure planning, engineering and management firm, and Brownsville’s leading torchbearer for a bi-national regional approach to economic development, cited several competitive advantages the Brownsville-Matamoros region has in tapping into new Mexican energy development. Among those advantages are the Port of Brownsville’s deep-water shipping capacity, with plans in the works to make the channel even deeper; existing advanced offshore oil platform engineering and construction capacity at the port; and the fact that the region is “located at the epicenter of vast onshore and offshore oil and gas reserves.”

Gil Salinas, executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, agreed that the region’s geographic location is a plus in terms of servicing the oil and gas industry, but he warned against assuming it’s a done deal.

“The biggest enemy for the Brownsville-Matamoros borderplex will be our desire to sit back and wait for this industry to happen in our backyard,” he said. “We, as a bi-national community, need to strategically and aggressively pursue it.”

Saldivar noted that Mexico isn’t the first country to go through this process.

“Brazil already went through this,” he said. “Colombia already went through it, and they’re becoming powerhouses. It’s not anything that we’re reinventing. It’s just something we have to do. … But it’s coming. There’s no two ways about it.”

Laredo city councilman arrested on drug charge

A Laredo city council member is free on bond after he turned himself in to police for arrest on a felony drug charge.

Jorge Vera was booked at the Webb County Jail, then posted $1,500 bond Friday night on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.

Vera had been detained earlier in the week after police went to a bar after getting a tip that drugs were being sold out of a truck. He denied any involvement but investigators later determined cocaine was in his truck.

Police tell television station KGNS ( ) an off-duty border patrol officer told authorities he offered her and her friends cocaine.

Vera’s been in office since 2012.

Armed thieves hit up an adult entertainment store

An armed robbery at an adult entertainment store left customers and employees stunned, according to police.

Around 11:45 p.m. on Friday, two young black men wearing bandannas over their faces entered the Zone D’Erotica on the North Freeway and held the seven people inside at gunpoint.

The suspects took the customer’s cell phones, cash and the cash from the register.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies responded and investigated. No one was hurt.

The suspects fled the scene and got away.