Friday, December 15, 2017

FTC NOT THE FCC HANDLES THE CONSUMER COMPLAINTS ... WOW THAT WAS CLOSE!

The Internet Is Free At Last, Free At Last, Thank GOD ... Free again ... Killing Obama-era rules will remove the FCC as political gatekeeper
The Editorial Board

Dec. 14, 2017 7:23 p.m. ET

The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to approve chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal “net neutrality” rules backed by the Obama Administration that reclassified internet-service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Title II prohibits “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”

By effectively deeming the internet a utility, former chairman Tom Wheeler turned the FCC into a political gatekeeper. The rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking, throttling and favoring content, which Mr. Wheeler ostensibly intended to help large content providers like Google and Netflix gain leverage against cable companies.

But as always in politics, treatment under the rules would depend on ideology and partisanship. Even as liberals howl that the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is motivated by President Trump’s animus to CNN, they want FCC control over the internet. The left’s outcry at Mr. Pai “killing” internet freedom has been so overwrought that the FCC meeting room had to be cleared Thursday for a security threat.

Bans on throttling content may poll well, but the regulations have created uncertainty about what the FCC would or wouldn’t allow. This has throttled investment. Price discrimination and paid prioritization are used by many businesses. Netflix charges higher prices to subscribers who stream content on multiple devices. Has this made the internet less free?

Mr. Pai’s rules would require that broadband providers disclose discriminatory practices. Thus cable companies would have to be transparent if they throttle content when users reach a data cap or if they speed up live sports programming. Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly. The Federal Trade Commission will have authority to police predatory and monopolistic practices, as it had prior to Mr. Wheeler’s power grab.

  • Mr. Pai’s net-neutrality rollback will also support growth in content. Both content producers and consumers will benefit from increased investment in faster wireless and fiber technology. Apple is pouring $1 billion into original content to compete with Amazon, Netflix and YouTube. 
Disney is buying the 21st Century Fox assets to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, build leverage with cable companies and establish a global footprint. Netflix has more than 47 million international subscribers and streams in nearly every country. Fox (which shares the Murdoch family’s ownership with our parent company, News Corp.) will keep its news and main sports channels, which can offer “live” content to consumers. The antitrust concerns should be negligible.

Consumers will also benefit from the slow breakdown of the cable monopoly as they customize “bundles” like Hulu or a Disney stream that may cost less. Americans will also enjoy new distribution options, which could have been barred by the net-neutrality rules.

This week T-Mobile announced its acquisition of Layer3 TV, a Denver startup that streams high-definition channels online and will compete with AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Verizon Wireless last month said it will start delivering high-speed broadband to homes over its wireless network late next year. Google and AT&T are experimenting with similar services that will be cheaper than digging dirt to lay cable. This could be a boon for rural America.

By the way, Google has vigorously promoted net neutrality in theory but less in practice. While Google says it remains “committed to the net neutrality policies,” the search engine uses opaque algorithms to prioritize and discriminate against content, sometimes in ways that undercut competitors. Net neutrality for thee, but not me. Google ought to be transparent about its practices.

Technology and markets change faster than the speed of regulation, which Ajit Pai’s FCC has recognized by taking a neutral position and restoring the promise of internet freedom.

DRAG A FEW $100 BILLS AND SOME KY AND WHAT DO YOU CATCH?

... BETCHA THOUGHT MONICA WAS ON YOUR LIPS ... NOPE ... Lets make another "deal" ... KY NOT USED!!!
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton struck a deal with the State Department while serving in the Obama administration that allowed her to take ownership of records she did not want made public, according to recently released reports.
 
NOW YOU SEE IT ... NOW YOU DON'T
Clinton and her then-deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin were permitted to remove electronic and physical records under a claim they were "personal" materials and "unclassified, non-record materials."

THE MOST TRUSTED WOMAN IN THE USA!
Judicial Watch made the revelation after filing a FOIA request with the State Department and obtaining a record of the agreement.


The newly released documents show the deal allowed Clinton and Abedin to remove documents related to particular calls and schedules, and the records would not be "released to the general public under FOIA." Abedin, for instance, was allowed to remove electronic records and five boxes of physical files, including files labeled "Muslim Engagement Documents."
The released records included a list of designated materials that "would not be released to the general public under FOIA" and were to be released "to the Secretary with this understanding."

Read more at The Washington Free Beacon

Thursday, December 14, 2017

SAY IT ISN'T SO ...

Turkey Places Bounty on Two Former U.S. Government Officials ... Offering 3 million lira for info on former CIA, Pentagon officials ...


REALLY DON'T BELIEVE IN FAIRY TALES ... could this be a contract murder?

A wealthy ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has placed a bounty on the heads of two former U.S. military and intelligence officials as part of what U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon is an effort by the Turkish government to threaten and intimidate Americans who they believe are working to undermine Erdogan.

A bounty of three million Turkish lira, or nearly $800,000, was placed on the heads of former Pentagon official Michael Rubin and former top CIA official Graham Fuller for what Erdogan's allies claim is their role in a 2016 failed coup that nearly toppled Erdogan's ruling government.

Both Rubin and Fuller have been vocal critics of Erdogan's, often publicly highlighting his widespread corruption. Rubin, in particular, has been in constant conflict with Erdogan, who once filed a lawsuit against the former Pentagon official in a bid to silence him.

From a wealthy ally to an official arrest warrant!
The Turkish prosecutors office has issued arrest warrants for both Rubin and Fuller.

Current and former U.S. officials who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation called allegations that Rubin and Fuller played any role in the coup attempt "absurd," and said the bounty is part of a larger effort by Erdogan to silence dissent against his government across the globe.

Some also criticized the State Department for doing very little to combat Turkey's threats on former American officials.

  • Erdogan's government has threatened and intimidated several prominent Americans in recent years and is currently holding hostage U.S. citizens who his government claims played a role in the failed 2016 coup.

A lawyer representing the anonymous businessman who put up the cash for the bounty called Rubin and Fuller "traitors wanting to interfere" with Erdogan's government, according to regional reports, which only described the businessman as "a person in love with his country, flag, and nation."

When asked about the bounty, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said officials have "seen the reports."
"The notion that current or former employees of the United States Government were involved in the failed coup is absurd," the official said.
Asked to comment on possible security concerns over Rubin and Fuller, the State Department would not provide further information.

The public silence has angered Rubin, who told the Free Beacon the U.S. government is allowing Turkey's threats to go unchecked and countered.
"The State Department's silence in the wake of Turkey putting a bounty on two Americans—both of whom were government officials—sends a horrible signal that encourages Turkey," Rubin said. "All it takes is one crazy who equates silence with a green light and things can get bad fast."

  • "This, after all, is a regime that saw nothing wrong with beating up protestors in the center of Washington, D.C.," Rubin said, referring to a June incident in which Turkish security personnel attacked and beat anti-Erdogan protestors who were demonstrating in downtown D.C.

Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, told the Free Beacon the latest bounty on Rubin and Fuller represents a "continuation of Erdogan's effort to export authoritarian lawlessness and lack of respect for due process."

Erdogan's effort to suppress, intimidate, and imprison his critics has gone unchecked by the United States, according to Edelman, who said allegations that Americans played a role in the coup are meant to distract from Turkey's lawless behavior.

In addition to widespread corruption, Erdogan's government has been implicated in a scheme to violate sanctions against Iran, which has been increasing ties with Turkey.

"It's a pathetic effort to try and inculpate Americans like Graham Fuller and Michael Rubin as somehow being responsible for the coup to distract attention, frankly, from the corruption," said Edelman, who also served as an undersecretary for defense policy.
U.S silence on the matter is only empowering Erdogan's campaign to entangle Americans in the failed coup plot.
"No one is calling him to account," Edelman said. "The president meets with him in New York in September and says, ‘Everything is great,' and then Erdogan goes back to Turkey and on his itinerary is a trip to Tehran" and meetings with the Russians.

"It's not two thumbs in the eye, it's three thumbs in the eye to Trump," Edelman said.

HUMANS 1, ROBOTS 0 ... JABBA THE HUTT ON WHEELS

Security robot bullied and forced off the street in San Francisco
Eleanor Gibson20 hours ago
https://www.dezeen.com/2017/12/13/k5-knightscope-security-robot-sfspca-san-francisco-bullied-off-street/
A robot patrolling a street in San Francisco to ward off homeless people has been removed after complaints from locals, who also knocked it over and smeared it with feces.  The comments are better than the story, so go to 
https://www.dezeen.com/2017/12/13/k5-knightscope-security-robot-sfspca-san-francisco-bullied-off-street/ and read the comments!

The Knightscope K5 security robot was deployed by the San Francisco branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to deter homeless people from sleeping and loitering near its building.

But it was forced to take away the 400-pound machine as it was operating in the public realm without a permit, and threatened with a $1,000-a-day (£745) fine.

The K5's presence also angered the local community, who took to social media to complain.

I can’t help but feel bad for the SPCA robot outside that someone smeared their poo on. Is this a conspiracy to make me (us) a sympathizer to our new robot overlords... will they be plastered in cute dog decals??

— Tyson Kallberg (@TysonKallberg) November 9, 2017

Reports claimed that a group doused its sensors with barbecue sauce, knocked it over and veiled it with a tarp. One Twitter user claimed they saw feces smeared on its shell, while another described the robot's use as "shameful".

"The money that was spent on these robots could have gone towards homeless shelters," said another tweet.

The shelter said it released the robot, nicknamed K9, to patrol the pavements around its centre in the Mission District, which had become a camp for the city's homeless population.

"We weren't able to use the sidewalks at all when there's needles and tents, and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment," the SPCA's president Jennifer Scarlett told the Business Times.

Responding to Dezeen, the shelter said that it only hoped to improve the safety of its employees, following an influx of crime in the surrounding area, and that it is "extremely sensitive" to the issue of homelessness.

"In the last year we've experienced a great deal of car break-ins, theft, and vandalism that has made us concerned about the security and safety of the people on our campus," the SPCA's media relations manager Krista Maloney told Dezeen.


  • "The security robot that we've been using on a pilot basis has been very effective at deterring these criminal incidents. The device helps us prevent crime; it doesn't attempt to remove homeless people from the sidewalk."
The K5 is equipped with four cameras that monitor its surroundings, and moves on wheels at speeds of up to three miles per hour. It measures 1.5 metres tall and nearly one metre wide at its base, creating a sizeable obstacle on the pavement.

San Francisco is tightening restrictions on autonomous machines on the streets – particularly delivery robots – with growing concerns over public safety.

Knightscope's K5 model has already been embroiled in other controversies elsewhere, including knocking a toddler over in Silicon Valley, and falling into a pond in Washington DC after missing a set of stairs.
Read more
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WHAT'S ON THE MENU AT RICK'S PLACE ...DOUBLE IRISH WITH A DUTCH SANDWICH .... NOPE!

Facebook to Start Paying Taxes Locally, Instead of Through Ireland

More stories by Molly SchuetzDecember 12, 2017, 1:51 PM EST
By Molly Schuetz
 - December 12, 2017, 12:18 PM EST
 
This reminds me of the last scene when Renault tries to arrest Laszlo as arranged, Rick forces him at gunpoint to assist in their escape. At the last moment, Rick makes Ilsa board the plane to Lisbon with Laszlo, telling her that she would regret it if she stayed—"Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." Strasser, tipped off by Renault, drives up alone. Rick shoots him when he tries to intervene. When policemen arrive, Renault pauses, then orders them to "round up the usual suspects." He suggests to Rick that they join the Free French in Brazzaville. As they walk away into the fog, Rick says, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

Company under pressure from U.S., European tax authorities ...

Social media network will begin making the change in 2018

Facebook Inc. is changing its tax structure so that it will pay taxes in the country where sales are made, rather than funneling everything through its Irish subsidiary.

The company said it will move to a “local selling structure” in countries where it has an office to support sales to local advertisers. Menlo Park, California-based Facebook shifted its international business operations to Ireland in 2010.

PERHAPS TRUMP'S POSTURE IS PROVIDING SOME BACKBONE TO THE EU AND OTHERS ... EVERY COUNTRY HAS TO PLACE ITS INTEREST FIRST AND FOREMOST ... TRUMP WAS RIGHT! 
Facebook has since come under pressure from the U.S. and Europe for its tax practices. Last year, the company said it would stop routing U.K. sales through Ireland after public outcry over news that Facebook paid only 4,327 pounds ($6,128) in taxes in 2014. In the U.S., the company is locked in a battle with the Internal Revenue Service that may cost it more than $5 billion, plus interest and penalties, related to global operations that are reported by the Irish unit.
“We believe that moving to a local selling structure will provide more transparency to governments and policy makers around the world who have called for greater visibility over the revenue associated with locally supported sales in their countries,” Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner wrote Tuesday in a statement.
The European Commission is looking into ways to tax digital companies like Facebook as it seeks to raise money from an industry that the commission says provides less tax than it should. The Commission also has ordered Apple Inc. to pay about 13 billion euros (about $15 billion) in back taxes to Ireland, after it said the country granted unfair deals that reduced the tech giant’s corporate tax bill. Apple and Ireland are appealing the ruling.

WOW ... 
Facebook’s announcement is an “important change that is a step in the right direction,” the Italian Treasury said in a statement.

Wehner said Facebook plans to implement the change through 2018 with a goal of switching all its offices to the new structure by the first half of 2019. The company has more than 30 international offices. Facebook said it will keep its U.S. headquarters in Menlo Park and Dublin will continue to be the international hub.

BLACK LIVES DO MATTER ...

Black Lives DO Matter

L.Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. 
The first of his many thrillers is "Currency." Todd is a contributor to Fox Business, Newsmax TV, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit LToddWood.com.

By L. Todd Wood - - Tuesday, September 26, 2017
 
via GIPHY

ANALYSIS / OPINION:
I know of no white person alive today in the United States who has ever legally owned a black slave, or any slave for that matter. Almost 700,000 mostly white men died 160 years ago to end slavery. Jim Crow ended generations ago. Yet black America, for the most part, is still locked in inner-city gang violence and economic hardship. Why?

  • Is it because America is racist? 
  • Is it because of some overhanging white supremacy? 
  • Is it because of the Illuminati?
  • No, unfortunately, it is because of black culture and the adoption of Democratic Party government dependency. 
We have just had eight years of the first black president. 

Black athletes, and entertainers, routinely earn multi-million dollar incomes. I can easily name several black billionaires without even trying too hard. A large percentage of black America is very successful. But, it is not enough. Too many black youth are being left behind.

And it is no one but, black America’s fault.
No one can solve this problem but, black America. No one can throw enough money at it. We’ve tried that. Black America needs to look in the mirror and stop blaming others, especially white people.

I am obviously white and conservative, and I served in the military, which, during my time, was as color blind as you could be. I can also honestly say I don’t give a damn what color your skin is, neither do any of my friends. I do care about your actions. 

Blacks are around 15 percent of the population. Depending on what study you look at, they commit around 40 percent to 50 percent of violent crime in America. Of course, there is going to be a problem with police. And, of course, there are some bad policemen. However, those bad apples do not kill black people statistically anymore than they kill white people. 

Even Harvard said that recently. If you were a cop, and you had to work in a neighborhood infested with crime and murder, wouldn’t you act differently than in a neighborhood where there was little crime? The most effective thing black America could do to improve its relationship with police is to significantly reduce violent crime where they live. Yes, that means change the culture of where you live and your community. 

I am for one tired of being blamed. I am tired of dealing with people who only want something from others. I don’t oppress anyone. I don’t hold anyone down. I’m tired of getting on the D.C. metro and seeing white people being harassed by roaming gangs of black youth with their pants around their knees. Yes, you want a white person uncomfortable? That makes me uncomfortable. It’s our nation’s capital and it’s embarrassing. 
Blacks have nothing but opportunity in America. Try finding the same opportunity anywhere else in the world. If you are born in America you’ve won life’s economic lottery. Take advantage of it. 
The problem is this generation has been taught an agenda of cultural Marxism by our education system. They’ve been taught to be a victim, and it’s still going on. All you have to do is watch the young black, female student at Yale screaming at the college president to understand that. Blacks in America don’t even know how good they got it. 

Don’t kneel when my anthem is played. Too many people died for that flag. You are free to protest but not then. I am free to not watch, or pay to watch you play if you do that. The NFL should make it a rule that you stand for the national anthem. There is no free speech to disobey a private employer on private property. This would solve the problem immediately.

The NFL has deeply offended most of America. They will pay an economic and reputational price, as they should.

We have a real cultural problem in this country, the result of the Leftist multicultural agenda. Multi-ethnicity is perfect and should be encouraged. Having more than one American culture is destroying the country. But then again, that is what the Left wants.

Do Black Lives Matter?
It is your job to determine if this is a racist rant or just a review of factual data.


WHAT IF ALL THE BLACKS SUDDENLY LEFT AMERICA, WHICH IS 13.3% 
OF THE TOTAL U.S. POPULATION:


• Amount of people in poverty would drop -    34%, 

• The prison population would go down by -    37%, 
• Welfare recipients would go down by - - -      42%, 
• Gang members would go down by - - - - -       53% 
• Chlamydia cases would go down - - - - - -       54%, 
• Homelessness would go down - - - - - - - -      57%,
• Syphilis would go down - - - - - - - - - - - -       58%, 
• AIDS & HIV would go down by - - - - - - - -    65%, 
• Gonorrhea would go down - - - - - - - - - - -     69%, 
• Average ACT scores would go UP - - - - -        5.5 points. 
• Average IQ would go UP - - - - - - - - - - - -      7.4 points, putting us 3rd in the world tied with Japan, 
• Average SAT scores would go UP almost - - -100 points, 
• The average income for Americans would go UP over $20,000 a year.


BUT DEMOCRATS WOULD LOSE 76% OF THEIR VOTING BASE!!!

And, many criminal defense attorneys would have to find another line of work!

Monday, December 11, 2017

CHAIN IMMIGRATION ... DEPORT THE ENTIRE CHAIN ... IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Suicide bombing suspect was a cab driver bent on revenge: cops


By Shawn Cohen, Max Jaeger, Reuven Fenton and Natalie Musumeci



The would-be suicide bomber who detonated an explosive device underground near the bustling Port Authority Bus Terminal is a former New York City cab driver who told investigators that he was inspired by ISIS to carry out the attack for revenge, law enforcement sources said.

CHAIN IMMIGRATION POLICY ... THAT'S HOW HE GOT HERE!
Akayed Ullah, 27, who is from Bangladesh (VIA CHAIN IMMIGRATION) and was living in Brooklyn, told authorities he was trying to exact vengeance for decades of violence against Muslims in Gaza, Syria and Iraq, saying in sum and substance from his hospital bed: “They’ve been bombing [my people] and I wanted to do damage here,” sources said. America is the great melting pot ... so he must be a "Muslim American" and not an American Muslim!

TURN HIM OVER THE MILITARY ... his choice of being aligned with ISIS!
He told cops he was inspired by ISIS, but police don’t believe he had any direct contact with the group, sources said.

Ullah, who officials say is a former city cab driver whose license has lapsed, set off a “low-tech” homemade pipe bomb strapped to his midsection around 7:20 a.m. inside the subway passageway between West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue.

The incident was captured on transit surveillance footage.

A SAND FLEA AND IDIOT!
Ullah, who had the explosive device affixed to him with Velcro and zip ties, suffered burns to his hands and abdomen, along with lacerations, and injured three others who were in proximity to him. He was ​quickly taken into custody and ​transported ​to Bellevue Hospital.

Immediately following the explosion, an MTA cleaner could be seen on surveillance ​video holding a dustpan and picking up two items off the ground while the bomber was lying in the empty corridor before the scene was locked down, a source said.
Akayed Ullah
All three victims suffered minor injuries that included ringing in the ears and headaches. Two took themselves to Mount Sinai West and one to Mount Sinai Queens, according to officials.

COMRADE DE BLASIO ... ITS THE NEW NORMAL
“Let’s be clear that this was an attempted terrorist attack,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference in Times Square alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
“As New Yorkers, our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack in the subways, it’s incredibly unsettling,” de Blasio said, adding, “Thank God (I BEG TO DIFFER ... ULLAH WAS AN IDIOT!) the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank God our first responders were there so quickly to address the situation, to make sure people were safe. Thank God the only injuries as we know at this point were minor.”

Cuomo called the incident “one of our worst nightmares.”
  • “This is New York,” Cuomo said. “The reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.”
The governor added: “We are not going to allow them to disrupt us.”

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!
O’Neill said the device “was intentionally detonated,” though sources say it went off prematurely.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

LYING, FALSE STATEMENTS OR JUST MISREMEMBERING ... WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Do you remember when Huma Abedin And Cheryl Mills Lied ... or did they?  Democrats don't lie they misremember!
A terrific catch by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, whose story you should read in full. It was widely known that Peter Strzok, the FBI agent dismissed by Mueller from the Russiagate probe due to anti-Trump bias, had had a lead role in the Hillary Emailgate investigation. But I hadn’t realized until now that he was one of the agents who interviewed top Clinton cronies Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. Or, more importantly, that they pretty clearly lied to his face about when they found out that Hillary had her own email server. 
WHAT WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? DID THEY MISREMEMBER TO GET WHERE THEY ARE?!
Strzok is the same agent who reportedly replaced “grossly negligent” with “extremely careless” in Comey’s statement on Emailgate after the probe ended, and he’s also one of the agents who conducted the interview with Mike Flynn that earned Flynn a charge of making false statements to federal officials.

One agent with a bias, even a supervisor, doesn’t discredit an entire investigation with dozens of people involved, especially after he’s been kicked off by the top prosecutor because of it. But the question remains: If Mike Flynn’s lies were sufficient to warrant being charged, why weren’t Abedin’s and Mills’s?

Summaries of the interviews, known as 302s, were released by the FBI last year.

A review of those documents conducted by The Daily Caller shows that Mills and Abedin told Strzok and Laufman that they were not aware of Clinton’s server until after she left the State Department … But undercutting those denials are email exchanges in which both Mills and Abedin either directly discussed or were involved in discussing Clinton’s server.“hrc email coming back — is server okay?” Mills asked in a Feb. 27, 2010 email to Abedin and Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton who helped set up the Clinton server.

Comey was asked about Abedin’s and Mills’s lies during congressional testimony last year and spun his decision not to recommend charges by claiming that, hey, sometimes people misremember things and sometimes those things aren’t essential to a case.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MEXICAN JUMPING BEANS, OLYMPICS AND HOT AIR BALLOONS

Trump administration begins physical testing of border wall prototypes
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began physically testing the southwest border wall prototypes this week, according to a spokesperson for the department.

The start of the official testing period was Nov. 27, but physical tests began Monday, said Carlos Diaz, CBP's public affairs branch chief for the southwest border.

Construction of eight wall prototypes in the San Diego sector were completed on Oct. 26. Six companies were chosen to build eight sample walls -- four made of concrete and four constructed of “other materials.”

President Donald Trump made the southern border wall between Mexico and the United States the calling card of his presidential campaign. "Build the wall" became a familiar chant at all of Trump's campaign rallies, and stopping illegal immigration was one of the candidate's top selling points.

The prototypes are the first steps in CBP’s efforts to build a wall, although administration officials have acknowledged that a future wall is unlikely to stretch from “sea to shining sea,” despite Trump's initial promise to cover the entire border.

Last week, CBP officials began training, safety and security procedures, as well as scheduling to set up the testing.


The physical testing will include attempts to scale and breach the prototypes. Officials will use items such as jackhammers, saws and hydraulic tools to attempt to breach the prototypes.

During the procurement process the companies were required to build the walls at least 6-feet deep. The depth of the walls was evaluated during the construction process, according to Diaz.

All eight prototypes were required to be 18 to 30 feet high and designed to deter illegal crossings.

The prototypes were built side-by-side to the current secondary wall in San Diego, which already has a primary and secondary barrier.


Officials say that the current barriers need to be modernized.

Over the past three years, the existing infrastructure in San Diego has been breached nearly 2,000 times, according to Roy Villareal, the deputy chief patrol agent of the San Diego Sector.
He said that’s a “testament” to the need for new wall structures.
“If you go back to the late '80s, the border was completely overrun. There were daily robberies, rapes, assaults, vehicle thefts, high-speed pursuits, people getting killed along the border in staggering numbers,” said Villareal, speaking to ABC News in front of the prototypes. “That has all curtailed as a result of investment in border security. That has curtailed as a result of what you see here today.”
However, critics and Democratic lawmakers say the wall is a waste of time and money.

“Let me be clear: Trump’s border wall is a waste of money and I will block funding for it,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in a July tweet.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., tweeted in March that, "Trump's wall is a waste of money and an insult to our values," with the hashtags "#NoBanNoWall" and "#JointSession."

WITH A GRAIN OF SALT ...

“Across the southwest, border residents and local stakeholders like mayors and sheriffs are firmly opposed to President Trump’s folly endeavor, based on economic, environmental, and humanitarian impacts,” said Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union in a July statement.

On Tuesday, CBP announced that during fiscal year 2017, there were a total of 310,531 apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol nationwide -- the lowest total number in at least 17 years.

Of those apprehensions, nearly 98 percent were along the southwest border.

In August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees CBP, issued a waiver to certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements to expedite the prototype construction process.

The waiver allowed CBP to disregard laws such as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, along with many more.

However, CBP said that it will be committed to environmental and cultural stewardship.

The physical tests are expected to take place over the next two weeks.

Evaluators are going through a “very regimented process” during this assessment phase “to ensure when it’s completed we have the best information available,” said Diaz.

CBP is evaluating all the breach attempts and how long they take.

Everything is being complied and documented for the evaluation process that comes afterward, according to CBP.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

ABRACADABRA ... THE TOOTH FAIRY ... AND POWERBALL LOTTERY

Gaius Publius: Deficit Talk Is a Trap. Will Democrats Fall Into It?
Yves SmithDecember 5, 2017

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny



Government can spend money on the many, on the few, or on no one (by running a budget surplus). Which is the better choice?

A budget surplus on the government side is a budget deficit on the economy’s side.


–A fact you’ll rarely hear spoken on big-donor-owned media

Just a few simple points about the recent tax bill here, but points critical to understanding what will unfold in the coming months and years.

1. As they did in the 1980s, Republicans are laying a “deficit trap” for Democrats. As they did before, they’re blowing up the budget, then using deficit scares to force Democrats to “be responsible” about cutting social programs — “because deficits matter.”

2. Big Republican donors want to see social programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — cut to the bone. (Big Democratic donors want the same thing, by the way. It’s why Obama’s many Grand Bargain attempts didn’t cost him a dime in big donor campaign contributions. But Republican are in charge now, so the attack is coming from them, and quite an attack it is.)

In the 1980s Republicans ran up the deficit, then forced Democrats, via the Greenspan Commission’s Social Security “fix,” to raise taxes on the middle class to unnecessarily over-fund the Social Security Trust Fund. This converted SS from a mainly pay-as-you-go system that increased revenues as needed via adjustments to the salary cap, to a pay-in-advance system, the excess money from which was then loaned back to the government to appear to offset large deficits.

Notice the use of deficit fear in the push for cuts to social programs.

Today, Republicans are expanding the deficit again with their big “tax reform” plan — a giveaway to the donor class of both parties — and are already starting to use deficit fear to argue for cuts in what they call “entitlements” — Medicare, Medicaid, and eventually Social Security, even though Social Security is self-funded.

Notice the use of deficit fear in the push for cuts to social programs.

To the extent that Democrats are willing to accept the obligation to “be responsible” — under an entirely big-donor definition of “responsibility” — those cuts will be agree to. (Big donors think it’s irresponsible to give money to anyone but them.)

3. The reality — Deficits aren’t dangerous at all until there’s a big spike in inflation, which is nowhere near happening and won’t be near happening for a generation, after which global climate chaos will make all economics discussions moot.

4. The reality — Government spending is good. It’s the way government puts money into the economy, making it possible for you and me to buy things.

So ask yourself: Do you want your government to shrink the money supply for no good reason, year after year after year, by running budget surpluses, or to grow the amount of money in the private sector, making more available for use by people like … you?

A budget surplus on the government side is a budget deficit on the economy’s side. Do you want the government to be taking money out of the economy each year, or putting money into it?

5. The reality — Everyone in DC knows these realities. That’s why both partiesincrease deficits when they want to spend on something they want, like war, and claim to fear deficits only when they don’t want to spend on something you want, like affordable health care, or free colleges. You know — to buy you nice things.

Consider: The trillions spent on this giveaway to the already-rich could have been given to college students in debt, or people stillunderwater in their mortgages since the Wall Street-created crash of 2008. What would be the effect of that reallocation of money? People who are struggling would spend it and grow the economy.

What’s the effect of giving money to the already-rich? They buy another chateau in France, or bid on the next Van Gogh that turns up at Sothebys. Or give it to their tax lawyers to send to the Bahamas.

6. The question for you — Which of these three options would you rather the government choose:
  1. Spend money on the already-rich and none on you and your needs?
  2. Spend money on you and your needs and ignore the pleas of the already-rich?
  3. Hoard as much money as possible in a vault and spend the least possible on anything?
The first is a plan for the few, disguised as the current big donor “tax” proposal.

The second is a plan for the many, a truly progressive, FDR-style economic policy.

The third is what Democrats will be asked to do after the already-rich have gotten their pile.

This is a trap. But there’s a way out. You can have nice things. All you have to do is convince your neighborhood Democratic Party office holder to give them to you.

Update: Here’s the above “what is money?” explanation in easy-to-digest (and share) video form:


Thanks to Twitter friend Alan Parker for the link. Enjoy.

A TALE OF HIDDEN STAIRCASES, WINDOWLESS ROOMS, & A LABYRINTH OF DARKNESS EVEN LIGHT CAN'T ESCAPE ...

INSIDE THE MIND OF A LIBERALS ...
‘Morning Joe’: Trump Team ‘Going to Jail ... for the Rest of Their Lives’
BLUNT FORCE TRUTH ... OCCAM'S NOOSE ... AND THE WINNER IS THE HEAD NOT IN THE NOOSE!
As the "noose" of Robert Mueller's probe into the Trump team's contacts with Russia is "tightening," members of the administration are starting to understand they're going "to jail ... for the rest of their lives," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said Tuesday.

"Knowing them, I think they're shocked that the noose is tightening," Brzezinski said. "I don't know if they were arrogant or incredibly un-selfie aware and really dumb about what the job was about, how important it was, and how under the microscope every move you made would be. I think they just thought they'd go in there and riff through it. And I think they're shocked that the noose is tightening and that people might go to jail."

"You're exactly right," her co-host and fiancé, Joe Scarborough, agreed.
 
Mika Brzezinski to fiancĂ©, Joe Scarborough ... Trump gives me a headache!
"For the rest of their lives," Brzezinski added, perhaps hopefully.

Trump, Scarborough said, only ran for president as part of a money-making scheme, and did not actually expect to win.

LIBERAL MIND READING ...
"You know, the campaign — Trump didn't think he was going to win even on Election Day," he said. "But it was all about money. It was all about making contacts. We've said this before. But the most remarkable thing about it is that even now that he's president, it's still all about money. Like, he's not sitting there thinking what Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan thought. Like, what is my legacy going to be? He's thinking every day, how can I leverage this so when I get out of the White House I can make even more money?"

Here's a transcript from the exchange:

GEIST: “The list has gotten so long of people who have claimed they didn’t have a meeting with Ambassador Kislyak or who left something off their disclosure form, or said, ‘The meeting I had with Russians was about adoption.’ You have to just, as a layman even, to see a pattern, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, K.T. McFarland... I don’t know if it’s ignorance or arrogance or some combination of the two to under sworn testimony say, ‘I’m going to say this thing and they’ll never find out about it.’”
SCARBOROUGH: “Again, they didn’t lie about their contacts with the UAE or the contacts with the Saudis or contacts with Japan or the contacts of China. They didn’t lie about the contacts with everybody during the transition or the campaign, but they always lied about their contacts with Russia. And I want to follow up on what Susan said. You know, the campaign — Trump didn’t think he was going to win even on Election Day.”
EARNEST: “Right.”
SCARBOROUGH: “But it was all about money. It was all about making contacts. We’ve said this before. But the most remarkable thing about it is that even now that he’s president, it’s still all about money. Like, he’s not sitting there thinking what Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan thought. Like, what is my legacy going to be? He’s thinking every day, ‘How can I leverage this so when I get out of the White House I can make even more money?’”
BRZEZINSKI: “Knowing them, I think they’re shocked that the noose is tightening. I don’t know if they were arrogant or just incredibly un-self-aware and really dumb about what the job was about, how important it was, and how under the microscope every move you made would be. I think they just thought they’d go in there and flimflam and riff through it. And I think they’re shocked that the noose is tightening and that people might go to jail.”
SCARBOROUGH: “You’re exactly right.”
BRZEZINSKI: “For the rest of their lives.”
SCARBOROUGH: “What’s gotten them where they are right now, Josh, is a gross misunderstanding of the rules of Washington, the laws surrounding public service and constitutional norms. Coupled with the arrogance of New York developers thinking — and I know, I talk to them — thinking people in Washington were just dumb local yokels, and they — ‘Just get out of our way. Listen, listen, you guys have had your opportunity, and you guys — come on. You’re just a bunch of hicks in Washington D.C. Let the big city developers come in and we’re going to show you.’ They wouldn’t listen to anybody, and they stumbled into one possible crime after another possible crime. And then Donald Trump goes into his mode. He thinks taking on Bob Mueller is the same as taking on Rosie O’Donnell. No, I’m dead serious.”
EARNEST: “I think that’s right.”
SCARBOROUGH: “He does. He thinks, ‘This worked with Rosie. I’ll do with this Comey. I’ll do this with Mueller.’ He has no idea that he’s going down.”

ALSO ON 'MORNING JOE' TODAY:

Del Percio: Trump ‘Is Fundamentally Starting To Destroy Our Country’

‘Morning Joe’ Giddy with News Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

Tim Ryan on GOP Tax Cut: People Will Die from Cancer, Diabetes

Saturday, December 2, 2017

LIFE IN THE LAND OF WONDERMINT ... GO WEST YOUNG MAN ... OVER THE RAINBOW ...

Homeless street services stall as encampments continue to grow ... and supported by the local government ... 
Gale Holland

High above the Metro Gold Line tracks, a string of lean-tos that Lee Brown calls his “three-bedroom condominium” is tethered to a hilltop fence in Elysian Park.

THE PARK ... NO SWINGS, NO SLIDES, NO SEE-SAWS ... BUT REALLY GOOD SHOWERS!

The four-man, two-dog tent city — one of several camps in the 600-acre park north of downtown Los Angeles — has remained intact for at least two years, passed from one homeless person to the next, Brown said.
Last year, Los Angeles put money behind various efforts to curb encampments like Brown’s until the city’s ambitious housing construction program takes hold.

Funding for one strategy — camp cleanups or sweeps — expanded to $13 million. But spending on services for people living in the streets — mobile showers, housing navigation centers, storage facilities and homeless parking lots — lagged behind.

Of the $7.5 million budgeted for “street strategies” in 2016-17, more than $2 million was returned to city coffers, and nearly $2 million was diverted to camp sweeps, according to figures provided by city officials. Last month, the city approved an additional $509,000 transfer from services to homeless outreach workers to accompany cleanup teams.

Advocates say hygiene, storage and other services help homeless people get back into the mainstream. But no navigation centers have opened, storage facilities are available only on skid row and, to a limited extent, in Venice, and one small city-funded parking program opened in South Los Angeles in June.

“Institutionally we have not instigated a sense of urgency about the street strategy stuff,” Westside Councilman Mike Bonin said at a recent homelessness committee meeting. ”It doesn’t seem this is where we’re putting our shoulder.”

A spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city has expanded homeless outreach, added drop-in and access centers, and spent $4.2 million on skid row storage and nighttime bathroom access. A $450,000 hygiene center with showers, wash stations and bathrooms is set to open on skid row as soon as next week.

“Mayor Garcetti is leading an aggressive effort to keep our streets clean and safe,” press secretary Alex Comisar said in a statement. “This strategy includes targeting drug dealers and other criminals who prey on our vulnerable homeless population, and continuing focused street cleanups to keep our sidewalks healthy, and prevent disease.”

But some advocates say the city may have missed an opportunity to curtail the camps — the most visible and politically toxic manifestation of the city’s homeless crisis.

In contrast to in many other cities, three-quarters of L.A.’s 34,000 homeless people live outdoors — on sidewalks and in canyons, riverbeds and alleys. Homeless vehicles and encampments jumped 25%, to 14,412 countywide in January, the last official count.



Lee Brown locks up his encampment in Elysian Park as his friend Billy Nelson heads to his encampment. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

“That money was supposed to get people off the street,” said Greg Spiegel, director of strategic initiatives for the Inner Cities Law Center and until 1½ years ago the mayor’s top homelessness policy adviser.

Part of the problem, officials said, was that they had trouble finding agencies that would provide the services the city was funding.

Community opposition also worked against the city.

A proposed storage and service site in San Pedro was killed after public protests, and neighbors filed suit to stall Bonin’s proposal to turn an old senior center in Venice into a homeless center.

Other delays were self-inflicted. For example, it took nearly two years for city officials to decide that churches could allow homeless people with cars or campers to park overnight on their property, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said.

“I think the city has failed miserably,” West San Fernando Valley Councilman Mitchell Englander said of the city’s homeless street strategy.

Tent-city sweeps are popular with homeowners and business owners, who take the brunt of the aggressive panhandling, public urination and disorder that goes along with many camps.

In Los Angeles, many cleanups are conducted by the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement, or HOPE, teams, which include police officers, sanitation and outreach workers and mental health providers. They offer shelter and services to camp residents.

The presence of officers intimidates homeless people, making it harder to get them off the streets, some outreach workers say.

Despite a strict protocol against displacing homeless people or destroying their property, officers still push tent cities from block to block, homeless people say, and sanitation workers throw away important belongings, including IDs and computers. Eight of the 10 outreach teams the city funded last year included police officers.

Meanwhile, the city a year ago passed a new ban on sleeping in vehicles near homes, parks and schools. In the San Fernando Valley, the city impounded so many largely derelict campers and RVs that Englander set up a new, temporary lot for the overflow, he said.

Some industrial districts were overrun by encampments pushed out of residential or other neighborhoods, occupants said. More than 600 business owners and tenants from industrial parks in Chatsworth and Northridge petitioned the city in October, calling for an end to the encampments and a more permanent solution to the homelessness crisis.

“They’re just pushing the problem around,” said Scott Caswell, a commercial real estate broker. “Homeless people need something better than what we’re offering.”

Some nonprofit groups and council offices stepped into the breach with services, including mobile showers. San Francisco-based Lava Mae brings showers and bathrooms to downtown, skid row, South Central L.A., Venice and Manchester Square on a rotating basis.

The nonprofit group rejected public funding, officials said, but the city is providing municipal water hookups.

“It’s beautiful,” said Terrell McGuire, 41, emerging from a Lava Mae shower. “I feel like a whole new person when I get out."

But earlier this year, as homeless people lined up to shower one morning, an LAPD officer ticketed Lava Mae’s truck and staff vehicles outside skid row’s Gladys Park, said Sanjay Gupta, the nonprofit’s L.A. mobile services manager.

The officer, who was filmed during the ticketing, said the vehicles were in the way of a cleanup, and the group needed written permission to park on the street, Gupta said.

“I can’t believe it’s taken this long to get bathrooms,” Harris-Dawson, who chairs the council’s homelessness committee, said recently. “People don’t stop taking care of their bodily functions, even if you don’t provide bathrooms for them.“

Back at Elysian Park, Billy Nelson said mobile showers might have helped him earlier this year, when he was awarded a federal grant to go back to school.

Nelson acknowledged he dropped the ball on the grant, but said he worried he couldn’t get presentable for the classroom. Homeless people in the park open a water line or use the sprinklers to wash up, he said.

Nelson said he wouldn’t use storage, and no longer had a car, so parking was out. The best way for the city to help him is by getting him housing, he said.

“We don’t like it here, we just like it more than a tent on the sidewalk,” Nelson said.

gholland@latimes.com

Twitter: @gehollandCopyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times