California’s SpaceX Plans on Manned Missions to the International Space Station | Mar 02 2019

SpaceX Is Launching a Historic Crew Dragon Test Flight for NASA Tonight! Watch It Live

|| Space X

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.— SpaceX is counting down toward a historic test flight early Saturday of its first spaceship designed to carry astronauts, and you can watch the action live online.

The spacecraft, called Crew Dragon, will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here in the wee hours of Saturday, March 2, to help show the space agency that it’s ready to launch astronauts. Liftoff is set for 2:49 a.m. EST (0749 GMT) from Pad 39A — the exact same site used by NASA’s Apollo moon shots and where, nearly eight years ago, the agency launched its final space shuttle mission.

“We are on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a Twitter statement. Tonight’s test, he added is a “critical piece” in the path to that goal.

You can watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon launch on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT). The preparations running up to launch day have gone smoothly for SpaceX. There’s an 80 percent chance of good weather for the test flight. ”

 

…more here at:

Space.com

 

 

Napa Deputy Defends Herself Against Illegal Alien Shooter | Feb 26 2019

Video: Illegal Alien Deported Three Times Killed After Shooting at Deputy; Illegal Was Reportedly Protected by CA Sanctuary Laws From Multiple ICE Detainers

|| TGP

“Javier Hernandez-Morales, 43, a Mexican national thrice-deported from the U.S. who was shot to death by Napa County sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki after he fired at the deputy during a traffic stop Sunday night, was protected from further deportations by California’s sanctuary laws which blocked the federal government from detaining him on four separate occasions in recent years when he was arrested there according to a statement issued Thursday by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office released a video Wednesday of the shooting which shows Hernandez-Morales pulling a handgun on the deputy and firing at her as she spoke to him on the driver’s side. The deputy, who was not wounded, went to the other side of the car and returned fire, killing him. The screen image above is from before the shooting. The deputy first approached from the passenger side, then went to the driver’s side where she was fired on. The video was accompanied by this statement:

“Warning: This post contains graphic video content and is not suitable for children. This Body Worn Camera footage depicts the Attempted Murder of Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki on February 17th, 2019. The decedent, Javier Hernandez Morales, fired the first shots. Deputy Jarecki returned fire. She was not physically injured. Hernandez Morales died at the scene.”

….read more at: The Gateway Pundit

Prof Jonathan Turley on Why Trump Will Win the Wall Fright | Feb 19 2019

Why Trump Will Win The Wall Fight

|| JonathanTurley.org

Turley testifying before Congress in 2015

 

“Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the litigation against the declaration of a national emergency by President Donald Trump in order to build his long-promised wall. Some members of Congress has said that they expect the House of Representatives to sue while private litigants have already filed challenges. Regardless of the litigants (and there are likely to be a mix of parties), they face similar barriers in convincing a federal judge to rescinded a declaration that Congress has not rescinded.

This is a straight statutory interpretation case, not the “constitutional crisis” widely described by critics. There are possible claims against the funding conditions, but Congress gave the President not just the unfettered authority to declare such emergencies but the largely unconditioned appropriations that he may use to build the wall.

Here is the column:

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If my fellow citizens want to go to hell, I will help them. It is my job.” He was expressing the limited role of courts in challenges to federal law. It is not the task of judges to sit as a super legislature to question the agendas of the political branches. They will gladly send Congress to hell. It only needs to point to the destination.

In the matter of the border wall, Congress could not have been more clear where it was heading. It put itself on the path to institutional irrelevancy, and it has finally arrived. I do not agree there is a national emergency on the southern border, but I do believe President Trump will prevail. This crisis is not the making of Donald Trump. This is the making of Congress.

For decades, Congress frittered away control over its authority, including the power of the purse. I have testified before Congress, warning about the expansion of executive power and the failure of Congress to guard its own authority. The two primary objections have been Congress giving presidents largely unchecked authority and undedicated money. The wall funding controversy today is a grotesque result of both of these failures.

Start with the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Presidents have long declared emergencies based on their inherent executive authority. The use of that authority produced some conflicts with Congress, the most famous seen in the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company versus Charles Sawyer, in which the Supreme Court declared that the federal seizure of steel mills during the Korean War was unconstitutional because Congress had never granted President Truman that authority.

However, Congress later gave presidents sweeping authority under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. While this law allows for a legislative override by Congress, the authority to declare national emergencies is basically unfettered. It is one of many such laws where Congress created the thin veneer of a process for presidential power that, in reality, was a virtual blank slate. At the same time, Congress has continued to give the executive branch billions of dollars with few conditions or limitations.

This is why President Obama was able to go to war in Libya without a declaration and fund the entire war with billions of undedicated funds. Neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor most of the current Democratic leadership made a peep of objection at this. But when it comes to the wall, Democrats have indicated they will rely on the ruling in House of Representatives versus Sylvia Burwell, in which the court declared the House of Representatives had standing to sue over executive overreach and that Obama violated the Constitution in ordering the payment of billions to insurance companies without authorization from Congress.

I was lead counsel for the House of Representatives in that case. Ironically, Pelosi vehemently opposed the litigation as a frivolous and unfounded challenge to presidential authority. We won the case. Superficially, it may look like the wall controversy. Obama sought funds from Congress and, when unsuccessful, acted unilaterally. But Obama ordered the money directly from the Treasury as a permanent appropriation, like the money used to pay tax refunds. Congress had never approved such payments.

Conversely, Trump is using appropriated funds. Like the authority under the National Emergencies Act, Congress gave this money to the executive branch without meaningful limitations. Trump now has almost $1.4 billion in newly approved funds to use for border protection. He has identified about $8 billion in loosely dedicated funds for military construction, drug interdiction, and forfeitures. Even if a court disagreed with the use of this money, Trump has the power and funds to start construction of the wall.

Congress has yielded more and more power to the executive branch over decades. In many areas, it has reduced the legislative branch to a mere pedestrian in government, leaving real governing decisions to a kind of “fourth branch” of federal agencies. For their part, presidents have thus become more and more bold in circumventing Congress. When Obama gave a State of the Union proclaiming his intention to bypass Congress after it failed to pass immigration reform, Democrats applauded loudly.

Many of them, like Pelosi, denounce this unilateral action by Trump yet ecstatically supported the unilateral actions by Obama, including his funding of some critical parts of the Affordable Care Act after Congress denied any funds. Democrats insist Trump can be challenged on his use of emergency authority since they do not believe an emergency exists on the southern border. They will fail spectacularly if the case gets to the Supreme Court. While the source of funding can be challenged, there is no compelling basis to challenge the national emergency declaration.

The reason? Congress has never been particularly concerned over past declared emergencies, which have continued with perfunctory annual renewals. Most such emergencies are entirely unknown to the vast majority of Americans. Indeed, the first proclamation of a national emergency occurred under President Wilson in 1917, “arising from the insufficiency of maritime tonnage to carry the products of the farms, forests, mines, and manufacturing industries of the United States.”

Remember that national emergency over the “anchorage and movement of vessels” with respect to Cuba? How about the national emergency over uncut diamonds from Sierra Leone? Then there were the declarations over property owned by certain figures in Zimbabwe, the presidential election in Congo, and issues concerning Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, Lebanon, Somalia, and South Sudan. All of these were “national emergencies.”

Curiously, Pelosi has called for the declaration of a national emergency to deal with the “epidemic of gun violence in America.” She also said that she wished Trump would add that declaration but that a “Democratic president can do that.” Yes, a Democratic president certainly could, and that is the key point here. Congress gave all presidents the power to make such declarations, and Pelosi is now making the case for Trump today.

While Democrats insist this emergency declaration is simply an effort to use executive power to get what Congress would not give Trump, any litigation would be an effort to use judicial power to do much the same thing. The House of Representatives would try to convince a federal judge of the merits against a wall, after failing to convince enough members of Congress to override the emergency declaration and a presidential veto.

That brings us back to Holmes. Congress has the authority to rescind the national emergency declaration of Trump with a vote of both chambers. The legislative branch should do so. If Congress cannot muster the votes, however, a federal judge is unlikely to do so. Simply put, the courts were not created to protect Congress from itself. Congress has been heading to hell for decades, and it is a bit late to complain about the destination.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. 

 

Amidst Record Profits Amazon and Netflix Paid No Fed Taxes | Feb 18 2019

Amazon puts the smile in federal income taxes — by not paying any

|| Seattle Times

“”Last week I suggested that Amazon isn’t so much a Seattle company as “sovereign, borderless nation-state.” It turns out I left a key descriptor out of that phrase.

That would be “taxless.”

The nation’s third-largest company booked record profits last year. But paid nothing in U.S. federal taxes.

“Zero, as in not a cent,” says Matthew Gardner, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

Amazon did pay taxes to state and foreign governments (more on that in a minute). But the financial statements mean that one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world paid fewer dollars to the upkeep of the national government than tens of millions of individuals — such as, say, your average lowly newspaper columnist.

That’s right – I’m paying more to the U.S. government for 2018 than Amazon (I’m talking about the corporate entity, not its mass of employees). So, probably, are you.

Gardner says the internet giant was able to zero out its bill — actually go below zero, as it qualified for a rebate of $129 million — in large part due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s year-old tax-cut law.

“That law didn’t reform much of anything; it was simply to slash taxes,” Gardner said. “So it isn’t surprising this is happening. Cutting corporate taxes was the whole point.”

All the way to nothing?

The company also got a series of tax credits (for equipment purchases, for example) and booked allowable business deductions (the largest of which was writing off stock options).

Businesses often pay little or no tax when they make low profits. But Amazon’s total U.S.-booked profit for 2018 nearly doubled to more than $11 billion.

Gardner isn’t saying Amazon did anything wrong, and of course its hundreds of thousands of employees pay income taxes. But last year total corporate taxes paid to the U.S. government plummeted 31 percent, a drop described by a debt watchdog group as unprecedented during a time of economic growth.”

The freight paid by U.S. businesses is already down another 18 percent in the first quarter of the 2019 year (the fiscal year for the government started last October). It’s part of the reason why the federal deficit soared 42 percent in that same quarter, despite a booming economy and no major war straining the budget.

The latest head-shaking factoid about our red ink is that the federal government next year will spend more on interest on the debt than it will on children. As one critic put it: more on the past than on the future.

Amazon’s financial statements also show it’s only the U.S. that’s letting the company contribute nothing of late.

Amazon’s total taxes paid to the U.S. and all U.S. states the past two years amounted to just $267 million (counting rebates, on more than $16 billion in profit). While its taxes paid to foreign governments totaled $1.3 billion. So a company we call “ours” contributed nearly five times as much into the kitties of countries abroad as it did here at home.

Gardner says he calls out when rich, successful companies pay nothing not because he thinks they’re evil. But because it’s “spurring a crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

It isn’t just that vital public services might go wanting (though they may). It’s that everyone else may eventually say: If even Amazon doesn’t have to pay, then why the bleep should I?

“It’s an extremely potent reinforcement of distrust,” Gardner said. “It signals strongly that we have a system that’s tilted to benefit the big and powerful, not the rest of us.”

Gardner said the obvious answer is to actually reform the tax system, so that those with an ability to pay at least contribute something.

We’re so distant right now from that more democratic ideal — the notion of asking not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. Unless you’re a sovereign, borderless, taxless nation-state. Then what’s going on makes perfect sense.”

….read more from Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times

 

Netflix paid NOTHING in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845million – and even got a $22million rebate

|| DailyMail UK

 

“Netflix didn’t pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845million, according to a new report.

In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still ‘exploiting loopholes’ and called the figures ‘troubling’.

Netflix says they paid $131 million in taxes in 2018 and this is declared in financial documents. But Gardner says this figure relates to taxes paid abroad, according to a separate part of their statements.

Gardner added: ‘Fortunately, however, there is another, more complete geographic disclosure of income tax payments.

‘The notes to the financial statements have a detailed section on income taxes. And what this tells us is that all of the income taxes Netflix paid in 2018 were foreign taxes. Zero federal income taxes, zero state income taxes in the US.’

Gardner said the public is now ‘getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations’.

He said: ‘With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.’

….read more at: Daily Mail UK

Emotional Media and the Power of Political Suggestion | Feb 16 2019

Two minutes of hate 1984

|| Orwell’s 1984

“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”
The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep’s bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
– George Orwell, 1984

 

Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate: Terror Management and the Politics of Fear

|| uroboros73

“The opening chapter of Orwell’s dystopian nightmare Nineteen Eighty-four centers around the “Two Minutes Hate.” Winston Smith, the novel’s protagonist, describes pulling up a chair in front of the big telescreen, taking a seat among his Ministry of Truth co-workers, and participating in a ritual designed to reinforce party orthodoxy, Oceania’s version of Must-See-TV.

What follows is a wild display of enmity, precisely channeled and orchestrated by Ingsoc, the totalitarian rulers of Oceania. The chorus of hissing, squeaking, and screaming is focused on Goldstein, the ultimate enemy of the state, “the self-satisfied sheeplike face” that automatically “produced anger and fear” in everybody. Why? Goldstein stands for everything Ingsoc reviles. He demands peace and advocates “freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought.”

The Hate celebrates Ingsoc’s slogans—WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH—and helps stamp out thoughtcrime, i.e. the right to hold personal, unorthodox beliefs and value privacy, the very thing Winston secretly lives for. He’s actually a big fan of Goldstein. But even this devout intellectual heretic feels powerless to the overwhelming wave of emotion that ripples though the crowd and makes otherwise reserved and terse people start “leaping up and down…and shouting at the tops of their voices.”  Take a look at a cinematic interpretation of this.

The most horrific thing, Winston says, isn’t simply that he feels obliged to go along with it. It’s that even a true thoughtcriminal like himself finds it “impossible to avoid joining” the “hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer.” Winston helplessly watches as his secret loathing for Big Brother, the face of the Party, becomes, for a brief, but terrifying moment, true adoration. This foreshadows the fate of his desperate revolt. In the end, Winston’s rebellion fails. He is destined to love Big Brother. The Two Minutes Hate gives us a disturbing glimpse into the psychological, and indeed physiological, means by which totalitarian control is possible. Orwell takes the reader right to the intersection of nature and nurture, where political propaganda sets its scalpel and goes to work, ‘healing’ us through the power of ‘proper’ beliefs—the pseudo-salvation of mind and body that comes from loving and hating the ‘right’ faces. Being an accepted member of your tribe, Orwell argues, is invariably linked to being fervently hostile towards the othertribe.

In this way, Orwell’s diagnosis of totalitarian tactics prefigures a recent breakthrough in social psychology called Terror Management Theory (TMT). The idea is rooted in anthropologist Ernest Becker’s seminal work The Denial Death, which proposed that all human behavior is instinctively shaped and influenced by the fear of death. Whether we realize it or not, our ‘mortality anxiety’—a quality that appears to be unique to our species—is such a potent and potentially debilitating force, we have to repress and distract ourselves from it. But as Freud says, the repressed always returns, slipping into our conscious minds and affecting our behavior in lots of weird ways. This anxiety, according to Becker, feeds back into our psyche and influences everything we think and do. Our social practices and institutions—from politics to religion to art—are systematic attempts to explain away and allay this fear, which is why we can lash out so viciously at those who seem to threaten or undermine our beliefs. We can’t let their existence weaken our psychological armor against the ultimate enemy, Death itself.

.. ..

Terror Management Theory (TMT) can explain everything from the bloody sacrificial rites carried out by the Aztecs to the sudden and unquestioning support Pres. Bush received from many liberals after 9/11, people who on September 10th didn’t even think he’d legitimately won the office. The theory helps us grasp not only the irrational, cult-like power of charismatic leaders and the effectiveness of negative political ads, it presupposes a neurological basis for our susceptibility to the Love/Hate style of propaganda—how it taps into the way we’re wired and re-routes the circuitry so we become unwitting puppets to elitist agendas that don’t actually serve our interests. We become mouthpieces and pumping fists for the very forces that oppress us. In other words, you are not in control of your own beliefs and behavior, Big Brother has already gotten to your amygdala—the brain’s subcortical fear factory—and told you what to love and what to hate, the faces worth admiring and the faces that need to be smashed with a sledgehammer…or with a prejudicial slur or with a cruise missile.”

….read more at: https://uroboros73.wordpress.com

 –  “Sadly, political discourse today has devolved to emotionally charged ideological vehemence, motivated and stirred on by our ubiquitous media world.

Pick your media, you’ve picked your side.

We are one channel away from our own personal ‘two minute hate.’ /CJ

The Law and Politics of a ‘National Emergency’ | Feb 15 2019

Obama Declared 13 National Emergencies — 11 Are Still Active

|| BigLeaguePolitics

“There are a lot of national emergencies going on. In fact, there are 31 active national emergencies declared under the National Emergencies Act.

Bill Clinton used this authority 17 times. President Trump has only used it three times so far.

Sorry Democrats, this “national emergency” business is not quite the work of “dictators.”

Conservative Tribune reports: “Of Obama’s 11 continuing national emergencies, nine of them were focused exclusively on foreign nations, while only one seemed focused on protecting America — a declaration aimed at punishing individuals “engaging in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.”

All of the rest of Obama’s national emergencies were focused on blocking property or prohibiting transactions/travel for individuals engaged in various activities in — by order of the date of enactment — Somalia, Libya, transnational criminal organizations, Yemen, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Venezuela and Burundi.

The American people stand with President Trump following his amazing Oval Office address explaining the human cost of illegal immigration.

If President Donald Trump uses the U.S. military to build the border wall along the United States’ international with Mexico by declaring a national emergency, won’t liberals simply run to a Federal judge whom they believe to be left-wing within the Ninth Circuit and block Trump? Can Congress vote to overturn Trump’s declaration of an emergency?

No. If the federal courts actually follow the law, President Trump cannot be prevented from “reprogramming” funds appropriated for the U.S. Department of Defense and actually using the military (such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to build the border wall.

As noted in the first installment on this topic, Congress has given a president the power to declare a national emergency by 50 U.S.C. 1621 and  50 U.S.C. 1622.  A declaration of an emergency allows the President to reprogram funds in the military budget.  See 33 U.S. Code § 2293 “Reprogramming during national emergencies.”

Trump could reprogram funds from other parts of the Department of Defense budget — including from other DoD construction projects such as on bases, military housing, etc. — and engage in construction in areas of need for the national defense.  The statute says that explicitly (although statutes are never easy reading).

But Democrats are threatening and commentators are warning that such an action would be challenged in court and in Congress immediately.  Can such a plan be blocked?

First, 50 U.S.C. §1622 allows the Congress to over-turn a president’s declaration of an emergency.  If both the Senate and the House each pass s resolution terminating the President’s declaration of an emergency, than the emergency status terminates under 50 U.S.C. §1622.  But clearly the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate would not join the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.  Unless a significant number of Republican Senators vote against a border wall built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or contractors with military funds, Congress could not block Trump’s efforts.

(Note, although I argue in the next section that this power has been invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, if a court disagrees on that, a legislative veto power should block a lawsuit.  Where Congress has provided a specific method for challenging a declaration of an emergency, the federal courts would normally hold that that method becomes the exclusive remedy.  A lawsuit would be blocked by the fact that Congress provided a non-litigation remedy.)

Second, however, the Congressional veto process described above has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), finding a legislative veto of Executive Branch action unconstitutional.  Congress passed many laws which specifically enabled Congress to veto regulations or actions under that law.  The U.S. Supreme Court found a legislative veto violates the structure or architecture of the Constitutional system.

Laws go to the President for signature or veto.  Congress cannot reach over and pull a law back.  Congress must pass a new law and present it to the President for signature if dissatisfied with how the law is working out.  The U.S. Supreme Court had no hesitation finding that the Congress had over-reached, based only on the implied architecture of the Constitution.

In Chadha50 U.S.C. 1622 was one of the laws explicitly discussed.  The dissenting opinion specifically warned that the Chadha decision invalidated Congress’s ability to overturn a presidential declaration of a national emergency.

Therefore, Congress cannot overturn a declaration by President Trump that the open border is a national emergency.  Even if the U.S. Senate were to side with the Democrats, Chadha explicitly ruled the Congressional veto (termination) of a presidential declaration to be an unconstitutional distortion of the familiar “Schoolhouse Rock” means by which laws are passed and signed by presidents.  Once a law is signed, there is no “claw back” right by Congress.

Third, of course, critics are discussing whether Trump’s actions would be constitutional.  Here, however, Congress passed a specific statute, in fact a series of statutes.  So there is no question about the President’s power to do what the Congressional statute has explicitly empowered him to do.

Some even point to a rather famous Constitutional landmark case — Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952) — in which the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly ruled that President Dwight D. Eisenhower did not have the power to temporarily nationalize the U.S. steel industry to avert a strike for national defense.  However, Youngstown was not that simple.  Youngstown analyzed the inherent powers of Commander in Chief as modified by Congressional agreement by statute.

The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly analyzed that the President’s powers are at their greatest (zenith) when he acts not only by his inherent powers as President but also by the agreement of a statute passed by Congress.  In Youngstown, Eisenhower did not have any statute supporting his action and the Court reasoned that he was actually acting in conflict with relevant statutes.

Here, the Congress has already enacted and President George W. Bush signed into law, the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  It is already the law of the land that a border wall shall be built along the United States’ Southern border.  Neither Congress nor any private plaintiff can challenge the official determination that a border wall or barrier shallbuilt.  That is the law.  That is the official determination of both the U.S. Congress and the Commander in Chief.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 was never implemented (other than a few miles) because Congress did not appropriate the funds to pay for it.  There are two steps:  Authorization and Appropriation of funds.  The decision to build a border wall is final.  The only question is applying funds to make it happen.

Building of a border wall under the 2006 Act was also not completed because the Swamp and Deep State sabotaged it.  Using classic bureaucratic games, the bureaucracy and open borders legislators followed “designed to fail” steps that ground the construction to a halt.

Note that in spite of the word “fence” in the title, the law does not actually mandate a “fence” in particular.  The wording of the Act is not about a “fence” but about any kind of barrier customized to the particular terrain in each location to the extent necessary to “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”   That is “all.”  As in “all.”

So the Secure Fence Act of 2006 requires building “whatever it takes” — not a “fence” per se.  The Act does require specific enhanced barriers and lights, cameras, and sensors, in some named locations.

Fourth, could liberals run to the courts to block Trump from using the military to build a border wall?  No.  Only those with “standing” can bring a lawsuit.  How is anyone harmed?

The federal courts have been waging Jihad against citizens bringing lawsuits for decades.  The federal courts have been raising the bar higher and higher to make it nearly impossible for anyone to challenge the actions of government agencies or public officials.  Specifically a complaint that is shared generally by much of the population cannot establish standing.

Contrary to strongly-held popular belief, the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly ruled that taxpayers do not have standing to challenge government spending, revenue, or action merely because they are taxpayers.  See, Daimlerchrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 126 S.Ct. 1854, 164 L.Ed.2d 589, 547 U.S. 332 (2006).  So the Left cannot block Trump’s plans by suing as taxpayers.  (The only exceptions involve use of funds to establish a religion or local government taxpayers.)

Similarly, Members of Congress do not have standing either.  Certainly individual Members of Congress do not.  See Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997).

To bring a lawsuit, one must show that they are tangibly harmed, personally, not just in disagreement with a policy.  If Trump uses some of the $700 billion in the omnibus bill to build a border wall, everyone will be more safe.  How is anyone harmed?”

….read more @ BigLeaguePolitics

 

Fact Sheet: The Secure Fence Act of 2006 – The White House Archives

 

The Secure Fence Act Builds On Progress Securing The Border

By Making Wise Use Of Physical Barriers And Deploying 21st Century Technology, We Can Help Our Border Patrol Agents Do Their Job And Make Our Border More Secure. The Secure Fence Act:
  • Authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our Southern border;
  • Authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting to help prevent people from entering our country illegally;
  • Authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology like cameras, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce our infrastructure at the border.”

….read more @ George Bush White House Archives

 

Senate Committee Finds No Trump Russia Collusion | Feb 14 2019

NBC Ignores Own Exclusive: Senate Probe Found No Evidence of Collusion

|| NewsBusters.com

 

“According to an NBC News exclusive that first aired during the 10 o’clock hour of Tuesday morning’s MSNBC Live, both Republican and Democratic sources on the Senate Intelligence Committee admitted they had not found any direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Despite the fact the exclusive was filed by NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian, NBC Nightly News hid it from viewers. Meanwhile, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News also turned a blind eye.

Instead of reporting on their massive breaking news story that drove a flood of reporting by other outlets, NBC Nightly News and anchor Lester Holt chose to hype DNA tests for dogs. [UPDATE: NBC skipped its own reporting again on Today.]

When the story first broke, a seemingly shocked Hallie Jackson came back from a commercial break to announce their discovery. “NBC News exclusive reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Their investigation into Russian election interference and what they have and have not uncovered,” she said as she introduced Dilanian.

Wasting no time in getting to the heart of what his reporting discovered, Dilanian declared: “Hallie, after two years and after interviewing more than 200 witnesses, the Senate Intelligence Committee has not uncovered any direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Dilanian noted that committee chairman, Senate Richard Burr (R-NC), confirmed that finding to another network the other day, but he wanted to see what Democrats on the committee had to say. “[W]hat I’ve been doing since then is checking with my sources on the Democratic side to understand the full context of his remarks because that was essentially a partisan comment from one side, but this is a bipartisan investigation and what I found is that the Democrats don’t dispute that characterization.

….read more @ NewsBusters

 

Trump Demands Gavin Newsom Return $3.5 Billion for Canceled Bullet Train; Newsom: It’s ‘California’s Money’ Now

|| Breitbart

“President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday evening that the State of California return $3.5 billion in federal funds after Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled most of the state’s high-speed rail project, saying it was too expensive.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” the president tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”

Newsom devoted the opening portion of his first “State of the State” address Tuesday to attacking Trump and his policies on the border. Yet he then bowed to conservative criticism — and, arguably, to fiscal reality — by canceling the high-speed rail project championed by his predecessors.

The governor added that while the bullet train would no longer connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, as first envisioned, the state would still continue “phase one” of the project between the rural towns of Bakersfield and Merced. “I know that some critics will say this is a ‘train to nowhere,’” he said. “But that’s wrong and offensive.”

Newsom added that the state had to continue the project if it wanted to keep the federal funds it had taken: “I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”

The money was granted to California as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus, which set aside “$8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors,” the New York Times reported at the time.

Obama pressured states to take the cash — which Democrat-governed states eagerly did. But the Republican wave of 2010 brought new governors to office, and several rejected their state’s high-speed rail plans as costly and unnecessary.

California has already spent over $5 billion on the high-speed rail project — roughly the same amount that Trump had requested for the border wall.”

….read more @ Breitbart

 

Russia Investigation

Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia

|| NBC News

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.

Senate has found no direct evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia

|| NBC News

 

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contactswith Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.”

….read more @ NBC News