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Grassley Works to Root Out Fraud and Abuse from Student Visa Program PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:45
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Senators Chuck Schumer, Claire McCaskill and Dianne Feinstein, introduced legislation, known as the Student Visa Integrity Act, to help reduce fraud and abuse in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.  Under current law, educational institutions must be a part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program before enrolling students from abroad.


Congress mandated that a system be developed to track and monitor foreign students when it learned that one of the people responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was in the United States on an expired student visa.  The system, the Student Exchange Visitor Information System, was finally implemented in 2002 and is currently being modernized.  The Student Visa Integrity Act builds on the Student Exchange Visitor Information System to shut down sham schools and make it even more difficult to commit fraud with a student visa.


“An independent investigation confirms that the Department of Homeland Security isn’t adequately monitoring schools, especially flight schools.  Educational institutions should be held accountable for enrolling people who haven’t met the requirements of our immigration law,” Grassley said.  “This is a national security matter, and a lesson should have been learned in 1993 and on September 11.”


Once a foreign student has been accepted to an approved U.S. educational institution, the school issues a form I-20 for the student to present to the U.S. consulate when applying for a visa.  The Student Exchange Visa Program requires educational institutions to input certain data into the Student Exchange Visitor Information System when the student arrives on campus. That information, such as courses of study and attendance of the foreign students, is then relayed to the Department of Homeland Security to help the agency monitor schools, programs and students.


Specifically, the Student Visa Integrity Act:

·         makes it a criminal offense, subject to a two year mandatory sentence, if a person makes a materially false statement or provides materially false information when petitioning to bring in foreign students;

·         allows for the immediate withdrawal of a participant in the SEVP program if there’s reasonable suspicion of fraud, requires the Secretary to withdraw a school if a school official is indicted for fraud, and permanently bars those convicted of being Designated School Officials in other institutions;

·         requires background checks on Designated School Officials, and training for these officials every three years;

·         requires the Department of Homeland Security to prohibit any flight school that is not FAA accredited (with Part 141 or Part 142) from bringing in foreign students, and prohibits schools that have not been licensed by the state to participate;

·         limits the program to accredited schools, prohibiting unaccredited schools from participation unless they are a “candidate” by an accrediting agency;

·         Requires the Secretary to report to Congress in 6 months on progress made to improve the program, and implement SEVIS II within two years.

As of January 2012, more than 850,000 active foreign students were in the United States and 10,000 schools are approved to be enrolled in the Student Exchange Visa Program.



Are Books Doomed to Extinction? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Richard Martin   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:23
Publishers Must Innovate to Save the Book as We Know It,
Says Best-Selling Author

Michael Levin says he can see the writing on the iPad.

“Unless something changes, books as we know them are doomed, and not simply because people prefer to read on their iPads or Kindles.” says Levin, (, a New York Times best-selling author, as well as editor, publisher, co-writer and ghostwriter.

“You’ll see the major publishing houses starting to go away in three to five years,” Levin says. “Their business model is in free fall. Already, we’re seeing books becoming shorter, cheaper, and diminishing in quality. You’ll soon see fewer really good authors bothering to write books, because books are no longer a meaningful source of revenue.”

Levin points to several developments he says foreshadow a sad ending for books:

• Attention spans are diminishing. Three-fourths of teachers said their students’ attention spans are shorter than ever, according to a poll released in June. By 11 years old, nearly half of the kids had stopped reading for pleasure. The poll, by publisher Pearson UK, is just the most recent survey/study documenting shrinking attention spans and a corresponding drift from books. “Part of the problem is children don’t see their parents reading,” Levin says. “Obviously, the kids’ aren’t the only ones with diminishing attention spans.”

• Major publishers are producing lower-quality books. The big publishing houses today are more interested in a quality marketing plan than in the quality of the book, so we’re being deluged by low-quality books. One reason is that many large publishers have stopped taking on the expense of marketing books, but they know it’s necessary for sales. So they take on authors with a marketing plan and budget. They’re also less interested in “star” authors, who demand higher royalties. They also lost authors when they eliminated advances in response to the 2008 recession.

• Books are moving to devices, where content is free and time is thin-sliced. Online, you don’t expect to pay for content. People will expect books available online to be either free or very inexpensive, and if those books turn out to be one chapter of ideas and eleven chapters of Hamburger Helper, they will be less willing to pay for them. Also, people don’t spend much time going into depth online; books are supremely inappropriate for the surface-skimming nature of the Internet. Once people have bought a bunch of ebooks they’ve never started, they’ll stop buying them altogether.

• Authors have a more difficult time earning a livable wage. Fewer authors can earn enough to make writing a full-time job. The audience is shrinking and fewer people are willing to pay $15 for a paper book when cheap alternatives are available. “We’ve already seen more books written to promote a product, service or company, or to brand the writer so he or she can pursue a more lucrative field,” Levin says. “Most books of the future will be marketing tools, since that’s the only way they’ll be profitable.”

Levin does find reason for hope, but it will require publishers to change how they do business.

“They need to stop trying to go after the mass market, which doesn’t exist anymore, settle on a niche and develop a brand. Publishers that stand for something in the reader’s mind – like Harlequin stands for romance – are built for the long haul,” he says.

Instead of publishing 500 low-quality books every year, major publishers should bring out only 50 top-quality winners and actually market them, he says. And publish how-to and other guidance and instructional books in concentrated form: short, powerful and to the point,

The rest of us have a job to do, too, Levin adds.

“People need to read, and they need to read to their kids or buy them books. If people stop demanding good books, there eventually will be none available,” he says. “The winners, going forward, will be that minority who still read and think for themselves. It’s a lot easier for government, the military, and the corporate world to control the way people think if they aren’t reading for themselves.  That ought to be reason enough to save the book.”

About Michael Levin

Michael Levin, founder and CEO of BusinessGhost, Inc., has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became “Model Behavior,” an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week. He has co-written with Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, football broadcasting legend Pat Summerall, NBA star Doug Christie and Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, among others. As a publishing consultant, Michael’s best-selling clients include ZigZiglar, Michael Gerber and Jay Abraham. He was the editor for Ziglar’s most recent book, “Born To Win.”

Iowa conference protecting women and children PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tony Hassif, Jr.   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:27
10th PreventingAbuseConference
Child Protection/abduction, Human Trafficking, and DrugCartels
30 year anniversary of Johnny Gosch kidnapping

Des Moines, IA,  (September 10, 2012) –10th PreventingAbuse onference on human trafficking, child abduction, & cartels in America will be held in Des Moines,Oct. 19, 2012.

Helping to protectwomen, children, families and the nation

Subjects:  *  Human trafficking (domestic)      *  Child abduction(is it organized?)         * NationalSecurityThreat  *  DrugCartels in America *Terroristencrypt messages in pornography  *Johnny Gosch kidnapping  *protecting children *  Good news: Successes

Nearly 1,000,000 children reported missing in America.  Human trafficking is the 2nd biggest moneymaker globally threatening nationalsecurity and is rampant in America.  1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be molested before adulthood.  Cartels infiltrated America. The  impact of pornography on the brain. Successful child rescues. More good news.

Who Should Attend:  This conference is open to the public.

Speakers: *Governor Terry Branstad—led the drive to pass the Johnny Gosch law

* Det. Sergeant Oscar Mejia, drug cartel expert 

*  Noreen Gosch,
mother of Johnny Gosch, will tell the story that few have heard.  It is compelling and eye opening.  Drew Collins, father of missing child will speak.

*  Tiffany Leeper, world renown expert on pornography addiction.

*  Ric Lumbard of CRTEC dedicated to protecting and restoring victims to health,

Detective Jim Rothstein—expert on child trafficking.

*  BAZ: Former C.I.A. intelligence, now conducts deep cover rescues.

*  Tania, former prostitute, trafficker and brothelowner of hundreds of prostitutes

*  U.S. Senator Tom Harkin                        *  U.S. Senator Charles Grassley  

*subject to confirmation/change.          

POSITIVE FOCUS: Conference will provide information that can help protectchildren, women and even the nation.  Our conferences have experienced many successes even rescues.

The information provided may help a loved one and our nation.

Date/Time October 19, 2012,  8:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Where: Embassy Suites Des Moines Iowa

Registration: Early bird registration is $59.00 each, lunch is included

To Register: Space Is Limited

Loebsack Statement on the Killing of Americans in Libya PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:15

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today regarding the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya.

“As Americans we grieve for those whose lives were lost in such a senseless act of violence and send our thoughts and prayers to their families and loved ones. This horrific attack is a reminder of the threats we face around the world and of the dangers faced by Americans serving overseas, whether in uniform or as diplomatic personnel. We must now act to bring those who are responsible for it swiftly to justice.”


delays in Physician Payments Sunshine Act implementation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 17 September 2012 07:12

Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Roundtable Discussion of the Senate Special Committee on Aging

“Let the Sunshine in:  Implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important roundtable today.  I also want to thank you for your continued leadership on this issue.

In 2007, I began conducting extensive oversight and seeking disclosure of industry financial ties with groups including taxpayer funded research, physicians, medical schools, medical journals, continuing medical education companies, and patient advocacy non-profit organizations.

We exposed numerous cases where there were vast disparities between drug company payments received and reported by leading medical researchers.  Two examples of disparities included:

·         At Stanford University, the chairman of psychiatry received an NIH grant to study a drug, while partially owning as much as $6 million in stock in a company that was seeking FDA approval of that drug.  After exposure, the NIH removed the individual from the grant.

·         At Harvard University, three professors failed to report almost a million dollars each in outside income while heading up several NIH grants.  In response to my oversight, Harvard revised the conflict of interest policies and conducted an internal investigation of these professors.

These problems led to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.  The Sunshine Act establishes a nationwide standard requiring drug, device and biologic makers to report payments to doctors to the Department of Health and Human Services.

It requires information about those payments to be posted online in a user friendly way for public consumption.  It also establishes penalties as high as $1 million for knowingly failing to report the information.

As we all know, the legislation was ultimately included as Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was eventually tasked with carrying out the Sunshine Act.   The agency had until October 1, 2011, to issue regulations.

When CMS failed to meet that deadline, Senator Kohl and I wrote to CMS about why it failed to meet the deadline.  We asked for a timetable for issuing the preliminary regulations and implementing the Sunshine Act.

CMS’s response was incomplete and uninformative. There was no explanation for the delay and no indication of when to expect completion.

At the time of the response, the U.S. government just settled with a medical device maker for $2.4 million over allegations of kickbacks to doctors to use the company’s products.  The payments to doctors are the kind that might be prevented through disclosure as soon as the Sunshine Act is in place.

Senator Kohl and I then scheduled a hearing to force the agency to publicly explain why the rule was taking so long.  Not surprisingly, on the eve of the hearing CMS finally issued the proposed rule.

For the most part I was very pleased with CMS’s proposed rule.  CMS stuck to the goals and integrity of the Sunshine Act -- providing clarification where it was needed.

However, many questions remain on the technical aspects of the rule and how the data will be presented.

I have said from the very beginning, if the information provided to the public is not concise, easily readable and understandable, then we have all failed the American taxpayer.

It has now been nearly nine months since the proposed rule was issued and CMS cannot tell us when they plan on issuing the final rule.

The longer we wait, the more taxpayers miss out on the benefits of public disclosure.

CMS is simply dragging its feet on implementing the Sunshine Act.  But why?  It doesn’t make sense.

Rarely do you find all stakeholders, including consumer groups, industry, professional medical organizations, and provider organizations, MedPAC, the Institutes of Medicine, and Congress all on the same side of an issue.  In fact, industry and consumer groups sent a joint letter to CMS on October 25, 2011, urging full implementation of the Sunshine Act. Yet, still there is delay.

Our efforts to engage with CMS on the implementation of the Sunshine Act have been met with resistance and silence.  Why is CMS so unwilling to being open and transparent with the implementation process?

I am never one to put a lot of stock into rumors, but one that keeps popping up is that CMS has completed the final rule and sent it over to OMB – but OMB will not issue the final regulation until after the election.  That doesn’t make sense, but that is what people are saying.

CMS needs to clarify if there is any truth to this rumor.  Is the rule at OMB? Is it being held until after the election?  If so, why?

We need to find out what the hold-up is, deal with it, and get the job done.

The American people deserve the full disclosure and transparency this law promises and industry needs certainty about what the specifics of the rules so that compliance can begin.  The time for delays is over.

Today’s roundtable is geared toward gaining a better understanding from CMS officials on why they have failed to implement the Sunshine Act, their anticipated release of the regulations, and the consequences facing industry due to the lack of guidance from CMS.

Due to the structure of the law, companies must establish an internal data collection system and educate all employees on the new requirements.

However, companies do not have the luxury of going to Best Buy and purchasing the latest data collection system off-the-shelf.  Companies build the systems.

They must train and educate their employees on the proper use of the system in order to properly capture the necessary data.

Many companies have already begun piloting these systems to ensure they are capturing all the relevant information.  However, with a lack of recognized practices from CMS on how to move forward, companies cannot prepare to meet the letter of the law.

Lastly, I want to thank our participants in today’s roundtable.  Collectively, these participants represent the government agency in charge of carrying out the intent of the law, the industry the law is intended to regulate, the consumer group representing the patients the law is intending to help, and various experts in the field.

It is my sincere hope that CMS is prepared to be open and honest about where it is in the process and why it has failed to implement the law in a timely manner.

Letting the sun shine in and making information public is basic to accountability.  The sooner we can properly implement this law, the sooner we can establish greater accountability for patients and consumers, especially with medical research.


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