Category Archives: Politics

Foreign Invasion at the U.S. Border in San Diego | Apr 29

Central American asylum seekers gather at U.S. border as hundreds cheer them on

|| U-T San Diego

“As they prepared to present themselves at the San Ysidro Port of Entry today, a group of asylum seekers from Central America gathered at the border fence in Playas de Tijuana Sunday morning cheered on by supporters on both sides of the border.

The boisterous gathering grew to hundreds, with some waving Honduran flags, calling out chants, waving bouquets of yellow flags, and some of the younger members climbing to the top of the tall metal bollards. Others sat quietly, clutching infants, wondering what awaits them in U.S. custody.

Reina Isabel Rodriguez, 52, had traveled from El Salvador with her two grandchildren. “I fear that they will separate me from them,” she said.

She is among dozens of the Pueblo Sin Fronteras Caravan seeking asylum from the U.S. government — undeterred by fierce criticism from President Trump.

But some members may have to remain in Tijuana for a while longer before they can be processed by U.S. authorities at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Pete Flores, director of field operations in San Diego for the agency, said on Saturday that “depending on port circumstances at the time of arrival, individuals may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities.”

The Central Americans would not be the first group to be forced to wait in Mexico. When thousands of Haitians sought entry at San Ysidro in 2016, CBP worked with Mexican officials to accept limited numbers each day so as not to overwhelm the port’s processing capacity.

By foot, bus and train, the caravan participants have been journeying through Mexico since leaving the southern border city of Tapachula on March 25 with the aim of reaching the Tijuana-San Diego border. Most are from Honduras, and tell of gang violence and extortion back home.

On Saturday, as they lingered near the U.S. border at Plaza Viva Tijuana, many appeared weary and ready to move on.

Those expected to ask for asylum are a small percentage of a traveling group that at one point swelled to more than 1,700 members, according to organizers. They said that about 400 caravan participants, many of them women and children, had completed the journey to Tijuana, and some small groups already been surrendering at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in recent days.

David López was among dozens pondering their next move on Saturday afternoon. López, 25, who until recently worked on the staff of an elementary school, said “organized crime and our country’s government” had prompted him to flee the Copan area of Honduras with his wife and their three-year-old daughter.

Mother and child had presented themselves at San Ysidro Port of Entry ten days ago, but López remained behind. He said his wife and their daughter have been released from custody while their asylum claim is under review and are staying with family in South Carolina.”

….Continue reading more @ U-T San Diego

 

Border Patrol Catches Migrants ‘Associated with’ Caravan Crossing Illegally

|| Breitbart

“U.S. Border Patrol reported Saturday that it had apprehended several individuals “associated with the Central American Caravan” who were trying to cross illegally into the country.

While many members of the group reportedly planned to apply for asylum at the San Ysidro point of entry on Sunday, others had tried to enter the U.S. “by climbing over the dilapidated scrap metal border fence” on Friday and Saturday, according to a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott.

“In several of these incidents, children as young as 4-years-old, and in one case a pregnant female, were detected entering the United States illegally through a dark, treacherous canyon that is notorious for human and drug smuggling,” Scott said.”

…..Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

‘Their Country Is Being Invaded’: Exodus of Venezuelans Overwhelms Northern Brazil

|| New York Times

“PACARAIMA, Brazil — Hundreds turn up each day, many arriving penniless and gaunt as they pass a tattered flag that signals they have reached the border.

Once they cross, many cram into public parks and plazas teeming with makeshift homeless shelters, raising concerns about drugs and crime. The lucky ones sleep in tents and line up for meals provided by soldiers — pregnant women, the disabled and families with young children are often given priority. The less fortunate huddle under tarps that crumple during rainstorms.

The scenes are reminiscent of the waves of desperate migrants who have escaped the wars in Syria and Afghanistan, spurring a backlash in Europe. Yet this is happening in Brazil, where a relentless tide of people fleeing the deepening economic crisis in Venezuela has begun to test the region’s tolerance for immigrants.

This month, the governor of the northern Brazilian state of Roraima sued the federal government, demanding that it close the border with Venezuela and provide additional money for her overburdened education and health systems.

“We’re very fearful this may lead to an economic and social destabilization in our state,” said the governor, Suely Campos. “I’m looking after the needs of Venezuelans to the detriment of Brazilians.”

The tens of thousands of Venezuelans who have found refuge in Brazil in recent years are walking proof of a worsening humanitarian crisis that their government claims does not exist.

They also constitute an exodus that is straining the region’s largely generous and permissive immigration policies. Earlier this month, Trinidad deported more than 80 Venezuelan asylum seekers. In Colombian and Brazilian border communities, local residents have attacked Venezuelans in camps.

During the early months of this year, 5,000 Venezuelans were leaving their homeland each day, according to the United Nations. At that rate, more Venezuelans are leaving home each month than the 125,000 Cuban exiles who fled their homes during the 1980 Mariel boat crisis and transformed South Florida.

If the current rate remains steady, more than 1.8 million Venezuelans could leave by the end of this year, joining the estimated 1.5 million who have fled the economic crisis to rebuild their lives abroad.”

…..Continue reading more @ NYT

 

LAPD Officer Accused of Sneaking Illegal Immigrants Across the Border

|| Townhall

“A Los Angeles police officer has been accused of sneaking in two illegal aliens into the United States earlier this week.

An officer by the name of Mambasse Koulabalo Patara was arrested on federal charges for allegedly violating immigration laws. The officer was apprehended at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Pine Valley.

The arrest occurred at approximately 12:15 AM on Tuesday, after “Patara drove up to the checkpoint with two male passengers in a 2006 Toyota Corolla.”

Patara told the Border Patrol agents that the two men were U.S. citizens. He informed Border Patrol agents that he was off duty and showed them his badge. Eventually the two men admitted they were illegal aliens. The  two illegal aliens gave conflicting stories. One said they had crossed the border days earlier and simply were hitching a ride from the officer. The other said that he had known Patara for at least 5 years and would often do yard work at his house.

Witnesses were reportedly dumbfounded by the arrest….”

….Continue reading more @ Townhall

Diamond & Silk Take it to Congress | Apr 27 2018

Diamond and Silk Testify Before Congress on Social Media Censorship Against Conservatives

|| Breitbart

“Diamond and Silk testified before Congress over social media censorship against conservatives, Thursday, with Diamond declaring during their testimony that “censorship is no hoax.”

“We would like to thank the judiciary committee for allowing us the opportunity to voice our concerns about conservatives being targeted and censored on social media platforms,” opened Lynette Hardaway, who is better known as Diamond. “Facebook along with other social media sites have taken aggressive actions to silence conservative voices such as ourselves by deliberately restricting and weaponizing our page with algorithms that censored and suppress our free speech. These bias algorithms are tactics designed to pick up on keywords, thus telling the pages how to behave in ways that repress and stifle expressed ideas including shadow-banning, which blocked our content from being seen by our followers while depriving our brand through the demonetization of our videos.”

“Followers stop receiving notifications when we posted videos & content. Followers were also mysteriously unliked from our page. Subtle and slowly Facebook used one mechanism at a time to diminish our reach by restricting our page so that our 1.2 million followers would not see our content thus silencing our conservative voices,” she continued. “When we reached out to Facebook for an explanation, they gave us the runaround. Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress and stated that the most important thing he cared about was making sure no one interferes in the 2018 elections. But after doing our research we wondered if Mark Zuckerberg was using Facebook to interfere in the 2018 elections by labeling users accounts as either Liberal, Very Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, or Very Conservative.”

“This is one of the main underhanded ways to censor conservatives. So if I’m labeled as Very Liberal without the option to edit it, update and correct this setting, then algorithms are already put into place which allows advertisers that have Liberal views, services & causes to target me,” Hardaway explained, before adding that, “Diamond and Silk’s personal Facebook page has been labeled by Facebook as Very Liberal.”

Hardaway then declared that, “Even though we are not Very Liberal, Facebook does not give us the option to change this label to Conservative, making it less likely for us to see advertisement, news stories and services from a conservative point of view,” before asking, “If Facebook labeled our user account as very liberal and got it wrong, how many more other users account have they gotten wrong?”

Pointing to a screenshot of a Facebook notification which informed Diamond and Silk that restrictions had been placed on their Facebook page, and then to screenshots of their followers complaining that they can’t see their videos, Hardaway proclaimed, “They’re not receiving notification… They can’t watch our videos.”

Hardaway also showed screenshots comparing the number of views they used to get on videos compared to now, noting that anti-Trump pages with half the amount of followers were able to rack up hundreds of thousands of views, while Diamond and Silk’s views had dropped to just thousands.

“In 2016 with less than one million followers, our page reach would garner between 5 to 8 million people reached within a week. All of that changed when algorithms were placed on our page to suppress our reach,” she expressed, claiming that “YouTube also demonetized 95 percent of our videos in August of 2017 and categorized our videos as ‘hate speech,’ even though our account was in good standing.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

Image of the Day |

 

 

Pentagon Kills LifeLog Project

| Wired – Feb 04 2004

The Pentagon canceled its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.

Run by Darpa, the Defense Department’s research arm, LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.

LifeLog’s backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.

Researchers close to the project say they’re not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn’t provided an explanation for LifeLog’s quiet cancellation. “A change in priorities” is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.

However, related Darpa efforts concerning software secretaries and mechanical brains are still moving ahead as planned.”

….Continue reading more @ Wired
“Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Its website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.”
 – wiki

Almost 60% of Californians support Trump Deportations of Illegal Aliens | Apr 19 2018

Half of Californians support deportations, Muslim travel ban, survey finds

|| San Jose Mercury News

(Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)
A new UC Berkeley study shows not all Californians are opposed to Trump’s border wall

“About half of Californians say they support President Trump’s Muslim travel ban and more deportations of undocumented immigrants, according to a new poll that challenges the conventional belief that residents of the left-leaning Golden State are overwhelmingly allergic to the administration’s hard line on immigration.

The survey released Wednesday by UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society shows that while residents of the country’s only sanctuary state value diversity and inclusion on all fronts — from economic and racial justice to immigration reform — their viewpoints on politics, race and culture are sometimes complex and even contradictory.

“It’s a state whose progressive movement has grown and matured… and yet we’re still seeing high levels of inequality across the state and other social justice issues that are problematic,” said Olivia Araiza, director of the Haas Institute’s Blueprint for Belonging project, which commissioned the survey. The group, which opposes Trump’s policies, said it found some of the results unsettling.

About 24 percent of the survey’s participants said it’s “very important” for the U.S. to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants, while 35 percent said it’s “somewhat important,” according to the poll. That viewpoint even held true in the Bay Area, where 25 percent of those surveyed said increasing deportations is very important and 35 percent said it’s somewhat important.”

….Continue reading more @ Mercury News

Gov’t Must Impose ‘Transgender’ Demands Nationwide, Says WA Federal Judge | Apr 18 2018

Gov’t Must Impose ‘Transgender’ Demands Nationwide, Says Judge

|| Breitbart

“A federal judge in Washington State has declared that all civic groups nationwide must accept people of both sexes into their single-sex spaces and activities, or else be stigmatized and sued by the federal government.

In legal jargon, Judge Marsha Pechman declared in a lawsuit against the Pentagon’s “transgender” policy that the federal government must use its powers to champion people who want to live as members of the sex, either inside the military or outside, just as it must use federal powers to suppress racism:

Today, the Court concludes that transgender people constitute a suspect class. Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination. Therefore, the Court grants summary judgment in Plaintiffs’ and Washington’s favor as to the applicable level of scrutiny. The Ban specifically targets one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, and must satisfy strict scrutiny if it is to survive.

In this context, the term “strict scrutiny” means that people who say they are transgender must be treated as members of the opposite sex by all federal or state agencies, universities, schools and civic groups that accept federal dollars, except in rare circumstances. Judges would approve exceptions in rare circumstances that are absolutely necessary and also narrowly tailored to achieve an important goal.

In practice, the judge is telling all civic groups that they will lose nearly all lawsuits if women try to exclude men from showers and bathrooms, athletic competitions, victims’ shelters, girls’ schools, civic competitions, or any single-sex civic group or practice.

The judge’s decision, if accepted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and by Supreme Court in 2020, would order the government to suppress and stigmatize any public recognition of any biological distinctions between the two different, equal and complementary sexes in a heterosexual society of women, men and children.

The judge is a feminist who would likely object to men who demand that women stay silent when their sexual privacy is violated and would object to the elimination of women’s athletics. But many feminists have embraced the transgender ideology because it blurs the civic distinctions between the two equal, different and complementary sexes. That blurring is sought by feminists who wish to compete for status and income against men in the workplace.

The transgender ideology says a person’s sex is determined only his or her feelings of “gender identity,” not by their biology. The ideology says the government agencies, such as the Pentagon, must force Americans to accept the wishes of men who deem themselves to be women and of the women who declare themselves to be men, even if those men and women decline any opposite-sex clothing or hormones, or cosmetic surgery.

Conservatives point out that men and women, teenage boys and teenage girls are very different, and prosper in a society which recognizes and accepts their equal, complementary and different priorities and capabilities.

Feminists say that pro-transgender policies will erase the concept of women — and of women’s rights —  because men will be women.

.. ..

The judge’s legal decision was made April 13 in a lawsuit against the Pentagon’s transgender policies, which excludes people from military service if they want to be treated as members of the other sex. The Pentagon policies reject the vague guidelines pushed by transgender activists about who should be classified as male or female, and instead reaffirmed the normal biology-based distinction between male and female as the fairest way to describe people’s sex:

.. ..

But the judge seems to embrace the transgender ideology, and uses the “gender identity” term without quote marks, despite the inability of biologists to identify and measure a “gender identity’:

The term ‘transgender’ is used to describe someone who experiences any significant degree of misalignment between their gender identity and their assigned sex at birth … Experts agree that gender identity has a “biological component,” and there is a “medical consensus that gender identity is deep-seated, set early in life, and impervious to external influences.”

The judge also argues that her government-enforced redesign of the nation’s civic culture rests upon a claim that is only “widely understood,” but not actually confirmed by science or recognized by voters’ common sense:

The Court notes that the [Pentagon’s] Implementation Plan uses the term “biological sex,” apparently to refer to the sex one is assigned at birth. This is somewhat misleading, as the record indicates that gender identity—“a person’s internalized, inherent sense of who they are as a particular gender (i.e., male or female)”—is also widely understood to have a “biological component.”

These claims ignore the scientific evidence that the vast majority of children who claim an opposite-sex feeling of “gender identity” do drop that claim after puberty. Many adults also drop that claim after trying to live as members of the opposite sex, sharply weakening the claims that “transgender” people comprise a confirmable and permanent group.

Very few Americans claim to be transgender, but that rarity means they deserve maximum protection, says the judge:

While the exact number is unknown, transgender people make up less than 1 percent of the nation’s adult population … There are no openly transgender members of the United States Congress or the federal judiciary, and only one out of more than 7,000 state legislators is openly transgender.

People trying to live as members of the other sex deserve protection because of the harm they suffer, the judge said, even though she also disregarded the harm that would be caused by official suppression of sexual differences, such as the loss of sexual privacy in bathrooms or the health damage caused by “transgender” medical treatment of children. For example, training manual prepared by the Pentagon in 2016 said naked female soldiers must give “dignity and respect” to men who join them in their shared shower rooms.”

…Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

 

THE DISTURBING TRUTH ABOUT HOW AIRPLANES ARE MAINTAINED TODAY

In the last decade, most of the big U.S. airlines have shifted major maintenance work to places like El Salvador, Mexico, and China, where few mechanics are F.A.A. certified and inspections have no teeth.

“Not long ago I was waiting for a domestic flight in a departure lounge at one of the crumbling midcentury sheds that pass for an American airport these days. There were delays, as we’ve all come to expect, and then the delays turned into something more ominous. The airplane I was waiting for had a serious maintenance issue, beyond the ability of a man in an orange vest to address. The entire airplane would have to be taken away for servicing and another brought to the gate in its place. This would take a while. Those of us in the departure lounge settled in for what we suspected might be hours. From the window I watched the ground crew unload the bags from the original airplane. When the new one arrived, the crew pumped the fuel, loaded the bags, and stocked the galley. It was a scene I’d witnessed countless times. Soon we would board and be on the way to our destinations.

As for the first airplane, the one with the maintenance problem—what was its destination going to be? When you have time on your hands, you begin to wonder about things like this. My own assumption, as yours might have been, was that the aircraft would be towed to a nearby hangar for a stopgap repair and then flown to a central maintenance facility run by the airline somewhere in the U.S. Or maybe there was one right here at the airport. In any case, if it needed a major overhaul, presumably it would be performed by the airline’s staff of trained professionals. If Apple feels it needs a “Genius Bar” at its stores to deal with hardware and software that cost a few hundred dollars, an airline must have something equivalent to safeguard an airplane worth a few hundred million.

About this I would be wrong—as wrong as it is possible to be. Over the past decade, nearly all large U.S. airlines have shifted heavy maintenance work on their airplanes to repair shops thousands of miles away, in developing countries, where the mechanics who take the planes apart (completely) and put them back together (or almost) may not even be able to read or speak English. US Airways and Southwest fly planes to a maintenance facility in El Salvador. Delta sends planes to Mexico. United uses a shop in China. American still does much of its most intensive maintenance in-house in the U.S., but that is likely to change in the aftermath of the company’s merger with US Airways.

The airlines are shipping this maintenance work offshore for the reason you’d expect: to cut labor costs. Mechanics in El Salvador, Mexico, China, and elsewhere earn a fraction of what mechanics in the U.S. do. In part because of this offshoring, the number of maintenance jobs at U.S. carriers has plummeted, from 72,000 in the year 2000 to fewer than 50,000 today. But the issue isn’t just jobs. A century ago, Upton Sinclair wrote his novel The Jungleto call attention to the plight of workers in the slaughterhouses, but what really got people upset was learning how unsafe their meat was. Safety is an issue here, too. The Federal Aviation Administration is supposed to be inspecting all the overseas facilities that do maintenance for airlines—just as it is supposed to inspect those in America. But the F.A.A. no longer has the money or the manpower to do this.”

….Continue reading more @ Vanity Fair

Opposition to Sanctuary Laws in California Grow in Orange County and San Diego | Apr 12 2018

Orange, Newport Beach join other Orange County cities opposing California sanctuary law

|| Orange County Register

Vaughn Becht of Westminster chants, “Build that wall, build that wall!” outside Aliso Viejo City Hall during a meeting discussing whether or not the city should file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the City of Los Alamitos and also the Orange County Board of Supervisors in United States V. State of California on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

 

“Elected officials in Orange and Newport Beach, following hours of emotional testimony from both sides of the sanctuary issue, voted late Tuesday to oppose a new California law that protects people living in the country illegally.

In Newport Beach, the City Council voted unanimously during closed session to support a federal lawsuit filed by the Trump administration against California. The Newport Beach council also voted 7-0 for a resolution that says the city is publicly opposed to the law.

In Orange, the council voted 3-2 for a resolution against the California Values Act, the law that limits cooperation between federal immigration agents and local law enforcement and provides protection to unauthorized immigrants in public schools, libraries and medical centers. The Orange resolution says the city will not comply with state law, but resolutions are largely symbolic and it’s unclear whether it will have any impact on day-to-day operations.

“It’s making our voice heard, and supporting the County of Orange who really is the one dealing with custody and ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) communication issues,” Councilman Fred Whitaker said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Opponents of illegal immigration hailed the latest votes as victories as the anti-sanctuary movement continues to gain momentum in Orange County.

In the past three weeks, cities that have passed resolutions or taken other measures to protest the state law are Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Yorba Linda, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley and San Juan Capistrano. Orange County has as well.

In Orange, Mayor Teresa Smith and Councilman Mike Alvarez voted against it. Smith said the ordinance undermined trust and inclusion in the community. Alvarez said he would prefer to sit out the debate but would be interested in voting on something stronger that states, “We’re not a sanctuary city.”

Councilmen Whitaker and Mark Murphy brought the issue before the council. Councilwoman Kim Nichols joined them in support, saying that the California law is in conflict with federal laws.

Whitaker said Orange is “a welcoming city” but officials need to abide by the rule of law.

Several of the speakers in opposition of the law erroneously said that the California Values Act, known as California’s sanctuary law, prohibits communication between federal immigration agents and local law enforcement, barring cooperation between the agencies upon the release of potential deportable criminals from jail. Actually, the law limits but does not prohibit the two sides from working together.

The Westminster City Council is scheduled to take up the issue on Wednesday, April 11.”

….Continue reading more @ OC Register | Story by Roxana Kopetman

 

Red California’s revenge on sanctuary laws

|| U-T San Diego

“California is always the familiar Democratic blue in those political maps on TV, but the state still has notable swaths of red, particularly in the south.

And red California is making itself known through a local government rebellion against the sanctuary state.

On Wednesday night, Escondido joined President Donald Trump’s effort to dismantle California’s sanctuary laws, which, among other things, prohibit local law enforcement from telling federal officials when unauthorized immigrants are being released from custody unless they’ve been convicted of one of 800 specific crimes.

Orange County, Los Alamitos, Yorba Linda, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo and now Escondido have all taken action to support the Trump suit to overturn the state laws.

The West Covina City Council declined to join the movement Tuesday night, even though the city had taken an official position against the key sanctuary law a year ago. Unlike the others, West Covina has a plurality of Democratic voters.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to discuss taking action against the sanctuary laws in closed session on April 17.

Amid some loud, ugly words and mind-numbingly repetitive rhetoric Wednesday night, one quiet revelation surfaced before the Escondido City Council voted 4-1 to file a “friend of the court” brief supporting the administration’s lawsuit.

City Attorney Michael McGuinness said Friday is the court’s deadline to file an amicus curiae brief. That limits the options available to the supervisors.

They could direct the county to file its own lawsuit like Huntington Beach, which is a much, much larger undertaking than filing a supporting brief. They could pass an ordinance like Los Alamitos to opt out of the sanctuary laws, though that’s a legally questionable move. They could do something else, or do nothing.

Board Chair Kristin Gaspar, who is running for Congress, called the meeting to discuss opposing the sanctuary laws.

“I have been vocal in my support of upholding the law and protecting the 3.5 million people who call San Diego home,” she said in a statement Thursday. “This issue was already decided in 2012 when the Obama-led Department of Justice and Supreme Court determined that local laws can’t override Federal law. I have asked our Counsel to prepare to discuss all of our options . . .”

It’s far from clear what the board will do. Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Gaspar want to support the Trump suit, while Greg Cox and Ron Roberts have indicated they don’t think the board should get involved. Supervisor Bill Horn said through a spokeswoman that he wants to wait until the board discusses the matter before commenting publicly.

There has been little communication between Gaspar and the other supervisors on this, and some where caught off guard when she announced the meeting.

If the county joins the movement, it would be the first jurisdiction with a Democratic plurality, slight as it may be, to do so. In contrast to the county’s political demographics, all five board members are Republican.

The politics on immigration crackdowns often seem to divide along partisan lines, but it’s more complex than that. Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump all have had versions of get-tough border and immigration policies, though none of the previous three matched Trump’s heated rhetoric on the issue.

Clinton launched the hotly disputed “Operation Gatekeeper” in San Diego in 1994 and deportations ramped up so much under Obama that some immigration advocates called him “deporter in chief.”

…Continue reading more @ U-T San Diego

 

Mitch McConnell and the Communist China Connection | Mar 18 2018

How McConnell and Chao used political power to make their family rich

|| New York Post

Peter Schweizer, who delved into the Clinton Foundation’s dealings in 2016’s “Clinton Cash,” has turned his sights to the money-making machinations of DC’s political elite.

His new book, “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends,” — due out Tuesday from Harper Collins — exposes how politicians engage in “corruption by proxy” by exploiting family and business ties to enrich themselves and their relatives.

Here, The Post’s Larry Getlen details the book’s revelations on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, ex-Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and others:

In 2004, current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, current US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, had an average net worth of $3.1 million. Ten years later, that number had increased to somewhere between $9.2 million and $36.5 million.

One source of the windfall, according to a new book from Peter Schweizer, was a 2008 gift from Chao’s father, James Chao, for somewhere between $5 million and $25 million. But this gift could be seen as more than just a gift. It may have been acquired, according to Schweizer, thanks to the couple’s fealty to China, the source of the Chao family fortune. And that fealty may have occurred at the expense of the nation they had pledged to serve.

“Secret Empires,” the new book from the “Clinton Cash” and “Throw Them All Out” author, details myriad examples of corruption from members of both major political parties. Rather than focusing on direct forms of corruption, such as bribes, Schweizer hones in on the more indirect graft of the modern era.

Rather than risk their careers taking bribes for potentially minuscule rewards, Schweizer points out how today’s politicians are savvier, engaging in what he calls “corruption by proxy.”

While politicians and their spouses are often subject to rigid regulations on what gifts they can accept and what sort of business they can conduct, others around them — like their friends or children have no such obstacles. So while a politician could theoretically wind up in prison for accepting $10,000 for doling out favors, establishing overseas connections that could land your children multi-million-dollar deals is harder to detect, and often legal.

“Foreign governments and oligarchs like this form of corruption because it gives them private and unfettered gateways to the corridors of Washington power,” Schweizer writes. “Foreign entities cannot legally make campaign contributions, so using this approach creates an alternative way to curry favor and influence America’s political leaders. Simply camouflaging these transactions as business agreements provides another shield of plausible deniability.”

As Schweizer tells it, the Chao family fortune derives from the Foremost Group, a shipping company that Chinese native James Chao, a classmate of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at Jiao Tong University, founded in New York in 1964. Chao remains Foremost’s chairman today, and his daughters Angela and Christine are the company’s deputy chairwoman and general counsel, respectively. Elaine Chao worked there in the 1970s, and has been quoted as saying, “Shipping is our family tradition.”

The success of Foremost is largely due to its close ties to the Chinese government, in particular the China State Shipbuilding Corp. (CSSC), a corporation with which Foremost has done “large volumes of business.”

The CSSC, Schweizer writes, is “a state-owned defense conglomerate … at the heart of the Chinese government’s military-industrial complex.” The main goal of the CSSC is to strengthen the Chinese military. James and Angela Chao have both sat on the board of a CSSC offshoot.

While Foremost is an American company, “their ships have been constructed by Chinese government shipyards, and some of their construction financed by the Chinese government.” In addition, writes Schweizer, “their crews are largely Chinese,” despite US Transportation Secretary and company founder’s daughter Elaine Chao having once said that “ships crewed by Americans are ‘a vital part of our national security.’”

Given all this, it’s worth noting how both McConnell and Chao, in their roles as high-ranking US officials, have personally interacted with, and then gone considerably soft on, China since their 1993 wedding.

When Senator McConnell — who took hardline positions against China prior to his marriage — met with high-ranking Chinese officials in 1994, it was not in his capacity as senator, but via a personal invitation from the CSSC arranged by James Chao. McConnell met with Zemin, then the country’s president, and vice-premiere Li Lanqing. After this meeting, McConnell “would increasingly avoid public criticism of China.” More meetings like it would follow in the years to come.

“As the Chaos and the Chinese government went into business together, the Chaos-McConnells tied their economic fate to the good fortunes of Beijing,” Schweizer writes. “Were McConnell to critique Beijing aggressively or support policies damaging to Chinese interests, Beijing could severely damage the family’s economic fortunes.”

In the ensuing years, McConnell has loudly defended China in its actions against Hong Kong and Taiwan, even claiming that “the United States needed to be ‘ambiguous’ as to whether we would come to the defense of Taiwan if attacked by China.” When Sen. Jesse Helms introduced the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, pledging support for Taiwanese independence, in 1999, it had “twenty-one co-sponsors and heavy Republican support. But McConnell was not on the list.”

When Congress required China to document annual progress on human rights in order to maintain its trade status in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, ditching the requirement became a priority for the country. In 2000, “McConnell cosponsored S.2277, which would do just that.”

McConnell also fought attempts to punish China for vigorously undervaluing its currency, a tactic that led Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to invoke the nuclear option, changing Senate rules on voting. The bill passed, 63-35, with McConnell voting against.

Chao has also done her part to support her ancestral home.

When she served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, her department resisted efforts to “call out the Chinese government over its workers rights practices.” When a petition was filed against China on the subject of worker’s rights based on the US Trade Act of 1974, Chao opposed it.

After a bipartisan congressional report citing Chinese espionage against the US circulated in 2000, Chao “was critical of the report,” making clear she “in no way” agreed with its findings, and, Schweizer writes, “dismiss[ing] the idea that China could pose any threat to the United States.”

…..Continue reading more @ NY Post

 

Kevin De Leon Appoints Illegal Alien to California State Commission | Mar 15 2018

Mexican lawyer appointed to California government job may be first illegal immigrant in US history to hold state post

|| Washington Examiner

“California may be the first state in the country to appoint a person illegally in the U.S. to a position in state government following the Senate Rules Committee’s decision to approve Lizbeth Mateo, a Mexican-born woman, for a statewide post.

Mateo, a 33-year-old attorney, was appointed Wednesday to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program and will advise the Student Aid Commission.

California Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon’s office confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Thursday Mateo is the first illegal immigrant to be given a state-appointed job and said it was not aware of any other state to have done so.

Multiple officials at immigration organizations also told the Examinerthey were unaware of any other states that had made similar appointments, making the Wednesday vote a historic one.

Mateo came to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14 years old. In California, where illegal immigrants gained the legal right to practice law in 2014, she attended Santa Clara University School of Law and passed the California state bar exam last year.

“While undocumented students have become more visible in our state, they remain underrepresented in places where decisions that affect them are being made,” Mateo said in a statement.

In her new role, Mateo will help low-income and under-served communities learn more about how to apply for college.

It’s not clear if Mateo is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would give her legal protections from deportation and work authorization.”

…Continue reading more @ Washington Examiner

 

Note: The California State Constitution would appear to make such an appointment unconstitutional:

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION

ARTICLE I DECLARATION OF RIGHTS [SECTION 1 – SEC. 32]

  ( Article 1 adopted 1879. )

SEC. 31.  

(a) The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

What is the basis for her appointment? The fact that she is a foreign national, illegally in the country. How is that not a preference based on national origin?