Shep Smith Fact-Checks Trump’s Latest Amazon Claim: ‘None Of That Was True’

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The president has been firing off a series of attacks on the online retailer.

Fox News’ Shep Smith was quick to pounce on President Donald Trump Tuesday, who followed up his series of tweets criticizing Amazon with a rant about how the online retailer costs the United States Postal Service and American taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.”

The president, speaking at the White House Tuesday, seemed to be referring to “last-mile deliveries,” in which Amazon, along with other delivery giants like Fed Ex and UPS, drop packages off at post offices and use local USPS drivers to deliver parcels to the door.

But, as Smith pointed out, the postal service, which has faced revenue declines for years with the rise of email and fewer individuals sending first-class mail, says it actually makes money by delivering packages for Amazon and other delivery services.

“As for taxpayers,” Smith continued, “the post office’s own website points out, and I quote, ‘The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses.’” Instead, the service “relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”

USPS is described as a partially independent agency, or a quasi-governmental agency, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out. Much of its financial woes over the years have stemmed from changing consumer behavior and a 2006 mandate from Congress that the service prepay benefits for future retired employees, according to NPR.

Still, Trump claimed Amazon was responsible for the post office’s financial troubles. He added, “A report just came out. They said $1.47, I believe, or about that for every time they deliver a package, the United States government, meaning the post office, loses $1.47.”

Smith fact-checked Trump some more, saying the number the president cited likely came from a Citigroup study released last year that showed the postal service was charging $1.46 below market rates for package delivery. 

“But our researchers point out, if that discount exists, it’s not just for Amazon ― it’s a bulk rate discount,” he said. 

Turning to Fox News reporter John Roberts, Smith continued, “There is a great deal of confusion or something here regarding Amazon and the post office because none of that was true.”



Mexico Claims It Will Disband Illegal Alien Caravan, But May Be Helping Them to the Border Instead

On Monday night, the Mexican government’s National Institute of Immigration (INM), which regulates Mexico’s internal migration, announced that it plans to disband the Central American illegal alien caravan by Wednesday.

The caravan has been marching through southern Mexico towards the U.S. border since March 25th, but has only made it to a small town in the state of Oaxaca, not that far from its starting point near the Mexico-Guatemala border.

President Trump drew attention to the caravan in a string of tweets on Easter Sunday and Monday, but a federal delegate from INM told BuzzFeed News that the Mexican government was not folding to pressure from the Americans or any other government.

The delegate further clarified that, in fact, Mexico is planning on giving “humanitarian visas” to “vulnerable groups” within the caravan, including “pregnant women, people with disabilities, or people with chronic illnesses like HIV.” Members of the caravan who receive such visas will be able to travel unhindered by Mexico’s police and other immigration enforcement agents. Furthermore, even those who do not receive visas can apply to remain in Mexico for 30 days, during which time they can also travel throughout the country without government restrictions.

Ultimately, this means that some significant number of the thousand or more illegal aliens currently in the caravan will be able to either stay in Mexico or pursue their prior goal of travelling to the U.S. border.

This may partially explain why, even after INM’s announcement, caravan organizers from the pro-illegal immigration activist group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (PSF, “People Without Borders) have declared that the agency’s decision is a victory for their group. On Twitter, one of PSF’s organizers claimed that his organization had negotiated a deal with the Mexican government for the above-mentioned concessions on visas that would permit travel through Mexico:

The Caravan bent the Mexican government into providing permission to travel to seek refuge. Don’t be fooled, the government isn’t “disbanding,” it, it’s conceding its participants’ right to apply for asylum without traveling in the shadows.@pjpodesta @PuebloSF @AlOtroLado_Org 

There is another reason to be skeptical of the idea that Mexican authorities genuinely intend to disband and deport the illegal alien caravan, and that is the presence of Grupos Beta among them, as shown by a photo from BuzzFeed News that shows one of Grupos Beta’s agents conversing with members of the caravan. (Another photo of the same Grupos Beta agent with the caravan headlines this article.)

But what is Grupos Beta, and why would its presence with the caravan be significant? Well, according to past reports from the Los Angeles Times and the University of Arizona’s Arizona Sonora News Service, Grupos Beta is not an immigration law enforcement group per se. Instead, although they are part of INM, Grupos Beta’s primary tasks are to conduct search and rescue operations for internal migrants and to protect and help Mexican citizens who are still in country as they make their way to the United States. From the Times’s report [emphasis mine]:

Border agent Jose Luis Maldonado raises his binoculars and scans the desert horizon, looking for would-be migrants making the perilous crossing into the United States.

When he finds them, he doesn't arrest them. Rather, he makes sure that they know what dangers they face and lets them go their way. If they're in trouble, he helps.

Maldonado is one of the veteran agents from Grupo Beta, the decade-old border unit established by the Mexican government to protect migrants as they make their way north to the U.S.

In Mexican eyes, these are not illegal migrants. Rather, they are citizens who might face grave risks while still traveling freely within their own country. Beta officers have the delicate task of protecting migrants without encouraging them.


In addition to the 125 warning signs put up around Mexicali, Beta agents have installed several 55-gallon drums of water at strategic border points [near the U.S.] to help keep migrants alive.


Desperate migrants come seeking help at the modest Beta office a block from the border fence. Hundreds have been given free meals, and dozens have slept in the office, usually after a failed crossing attempt.


A significant number of migrants heading for the United States come from Central America, and Grupo Beta has deployed about one-third of its agents on Mexico's southern border. While other police units arrest foreign migrants who are illegally in Mexico, Beta agents help them if they are in trouble, just as they do Mexicans.

So, in other words, the caravan is now being aided by an arm of the Mexican government whose express purpose is to help and “protect” migrants within Mexico, including illegal aliens from Central America just like those in the current caravan. If Mexico really intended on sending the caravan’s migrants back home, then they could have deployed real police units to do so.

According to BuzzFeed News, the Mexican government’s Secretariat of the Interior claims to have already deported about 400 people from the caravan back home, but for the thousand plus remaining illegal aliens, it appears that Mexico is actually preparing to help them reach the United States.

Supreme Court overturns Obama effort to expand overtime pay

A divided Supreme Court on Monday threw out an effort by the Obama administration to expand overtime laws to include a special class of workers at auto dealerships known as "service advisers."

In the 5-4 decision, the court's conservative justices said that despite some ambiguity in text of the law, Congress clearly meant to exempt service advisers from the requirement that they be paid time and a half after working 40 hours in a week.

Though the case, called Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, involved a limited class of employees, it was notable because it involved how far-reaching the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime coverage is and how much wiggle room administrations have in interpreting it. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had said that any exemptions to the FLSA had to be construed as narrowly as possible, but the Supreme Court overruled that decision.

"We reject this principle as a useful guidepost for interpreting the FLSA. Because the FLSA gives no 'textual indication' that its exemptions should be construed narrowly, 'there is no reason to give [them] anything other than a fair (rather than a ‘narrow’) interpretation," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Federal law requires that employees be paid time and a half after 40 hours in a week but allows "managerial employees" to be exempted, which has become controversial in recent years. Congress in the mid-1960s also included a narrow exception for "any salesman, partsman or mechanic" who is "primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles." This was to exempt service advisers, the dealership employees who tell customers which repairs or other work their cars need. The exception was made reportedly because that that they often worked odd hours to help with people buying farm equipment.

In 2011 the Obama administration changed the rule and said service advisers were covered, a move cheered by liberal groups who have long contended that employers try to exploit workers by misclassifying their duties. Business groups opposed the move, arguing the exception allows managers and workers to create flexible work schedules.

To a large extent, the Encino Motorcars case revolved around interpreting Congress' use of the word "or." The 9th Circuit said that because service advisers were involved in selling and servicing, while the text of the exemption referred to selling or servicing, they weren't covered.

The Supreme Court's majority said that couldn't have been what Congress intended. "T]he use of 'or' to join 'selling' and 'servicing' suggests that the exemption covers a salesman primarily engaged in either activity," Thomas wrote.

The court's liberal justices thought otherwise. "Because service advisers neither sell nor repair automobiles, they should remain outside the exemption and within the act’s coverage," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in an opinion joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.

The Trump administration's Labor Department is rewriting the entire overtime rule. It is expected to roll back the Obama administration's expansion of the rule to automatically cover any employee who makes up to $47,000 annually, more than twice the level under previous administrations. The $47,000 overtime threshold a was struck down by a Texas court in 2016.


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