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…to be banning networks and major, world-class newspapers, like the New York Times, from press briefings. Mark Cuban states it well:

Brilliant move. Ban the networks whose reports you don’t like. Yeah, that will work well!

You know how many Bernstein and Woodwards are out there right now investigating the Trump administration? Do you think they’re going to stop because CNN and the New York Times are banned from White House briefings.

I think not.

I think the opposite is happening.

And Trump and his stooges are scared shitless of the truth. It’s just a matter of time until they will be exposed.

Here is another example of Trump’s poorly thought out, hastily written, deportation order. Families of active duty soldiers, currently serving in the Middle East, are being ripped apart and deported, while the soldiers are helplessly trapped overseas. It shows how this does not make sense, but in the age of Trump, the self-proclaimed law and order president, most actions are executed before they are thought out, rights of individuals be damned.

Incompetence rules!

Original article by Nathan Fletcher here.

Imagine you are a member of the United States military deployed on the front lines confronting ISIS or other terrorist threats. Suddenly you get a desperate phone call from home — Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested your family and they’re facing deportation.

Think it can’t happen? Think again. Think Trump.

The Trump administration’s draconian and hastily drafted immigration orders rescind a key protection for military families so that now even military spouses and children can be rounded up and deported. This will weaken our armed forces. It will harm thousands of military families. And it’s wrong.

In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security, at the request of the Defense Department, issue a policy memorandum aimed at preventing the deportation of spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members through a program called “Parole in Place.”

Put simply, the program allowed immigration authorities to give the immediate family of military service members a temporary reprieve from enforcement actions based on their immigration status. It specifically barred those with criminal convictions from these protections.

This was as much about national security as it was about upholding our commitment to support our troops. The Department of Homeland Security wrote, at the time, that “military preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. armed forces … worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents and children.” We need our service members focused on accomplishing their mission and the safety of each other.

When you deploy to war, your greatest worry is not yourself. You worry about your family left behind. The least we can promise those willing to give their life for our country is that their immediate family members can remain in that same country. By all accounts, the policy has worked well.

Yet the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policy eviscerated “Parole in Place” protections. It does not continue a policy that reflects a promise made to recruits who joined the United States military in the last four years.

The new enforcement directive could have easily maintained the protections of this unique program, as it did a few others. It could have made clear that agents of the U.S. government will not round up and deport the spouses and children of our active duty service members.

Instead, it casually dispenses with exercises of executive discretion based on a “specified class or category of aliens.” The administration either did not know or did not care that one of these specified classes included military families.

That may be good politics for the red states, but it’s terrible national security policy for the United States, and a slap in the face to thousands of deployed troops with immigrant roots.

We cannot allow our troops to be consumed with fear and anxiety about their families while deployed on the front lines. We cannot indiscriminately endanger the family members of the citizens who sacrifice the most for our nation.

The initial reasoning and effort that created this program was sound. It strengthens our military and our country. It is wrong to go back on our word and our commitment to the very citizens who sacrifice the most. It isn’t enough to clap for veterans in airports or once a year on a holiday. We show our true appreciation by keeping our word, in this instance by protecting their families.

The Trump administration must immediately and explicitly clarify that the “Parole in Place” program for military families remains the law of the land. If Trump can turn out sweeping executive orders in a matter of days, surely he can fix this terrible mistake in a matter of minutes.

— Nathan Fletcher

Fletcher is a U.S. Marines combat veteran, a professor of practice in political science at UC San Diego and a former member of the California Assembly representing the 75th District. Twitter: @nathanfletcher

Here is an article about how Customs Agents, who are authorized to search international flights, searched a domestic Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York. All passengers had to produce “documents” before they were allowed to get off the plane. Supposedly, they were looking for one (yes ONE) individual that might have been on the plane. He wasn’t.

This is the start of Trump’s police state. Now we’re having to worry about bringing “papers” when we travel inside the country.

The tactic is as old as civilization. Scare the public. Control the public. Make the public carry “papers.” Show uniforms. Misuse uniforms.

Note, Customs Agents are not even allowed to scan domestic flights. But they did. This is misuse of police power.

Trump is slowly creating a police state, and we’re letting him do it.

spare-parts

Here is a book I give four stars, because I cannot think of a book more relevant today.

It tells the true story of four undocumented Latino teenagers from Mexico in Carl Hayden Community High School in West Phoenix. In 2004, against all odds, they started a robotics team under the guidance of two extraordinary and inspiring teachers. They built an underwater robot (in the Arizona desert) and took it to the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were up against some of the most renowned engineering schools in the county, like MIT, funded by grants of thousands of dollars. Their robot was built out of spare parts, PVC pipe bought at Home Depot, glue, a briefcase, all stuff they found around the house and the garage. The robot wasn’t pretty. They called it Stinky, because the glue they used stunk.

Against all odds, they won.

Spare Parts tells the story of four kids, Oscar, Cristian, Luis, and Lorenzo, how they came to live in the United States, what brought them to Carl Hayden High School, what motivated them, and what happened to them after they created national headlines with their unexpected underdog success.

Spare Parts tells the story of undocumented aliens in the United States. Each of these kids was as American as you or I. They were brought to the country by their parents when they were infants, toddlers, or elementary school kids. Yes, they were born in Mexico, but they knew no reality than their lives in the barrios of Phoenix. They were Americans and they could not understand why they didn’t get the same opportunities their American-born friends got. They were marked.

Their crime was that their parents brought them into the country by sneaking through a hole in a fence somewhere in the desert. They were guilty, and they were illegal, because their parents committed a crime, the crime of trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.

I am not advocating that it’s right to slip through the fence on the border to improve your lives. We have laws, and they don’t permit this. But I am advocating that it is not right to punish children for the crimes of their parents. Yet, our laws do exactly that.

Read Spare Parts and get a view into the lives of four teenagers, all of whom found themselves in this extraordinary situation, where they were very smart, driven, dedicated, hard-working, willing to serve their country, but not permitted to do so and ostracized and criminalized for it. Read Spare Parts to understand the problem.

Not only did these four teenagers in 2004 create extraordinary success for themselves, they started a movement. Carl Hayden High School has gone on to win many competitions in robotics all over the country since then. More students at the school get engineering scholarships than all sports combined. The interest in engineering has gone through the roof, and the program is now renowned.

Spare Parts refers to Jeff Sessions and Barack Obama. Both have appearances in the book. In 2001, Senator Dick Durbin had introduced legislation to provide a path to citizenship for young immigrants who had been in the United States for at least five years and were attending college. That was the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act, the “DREAM Act.” The bill failed to even make it to a vote. In 2010, he tried again, using Oscar Vazquez, one of the four teenagers in Spare Parts, as an example. Senate Republicans commenced a filibuster, blocking the vote.

“This bill is a law that at its fundamental core is a reward for illegal activity.”

— Senator Jeff Sessions

The Senate needed 60 votes to break the filibuster. They only got 55.

Spare Parts was written and copyrighted in 2014. Enter Trump in 2017. Jeff Sessions, the Illustrious, is now our Attorney General. Guess what will happen to immigrants now? Donald Trump has signed orders to have Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents round up “illegals” and deport them, sometimes without due process. Trump has blatantly labeled Mexicans rapists and murderers. Trump is fomenting xenophobia. Trump is stirring up vigilantism. Trump is dividing the country.

Reading Spare Parts will give you insight into the plight of illegal immigrant children and their despair about finding their own place in a world where they can’t figure out where they belong. I challenge you to read this book, and then come to me and defend Trump’s current approach.

I challenge you!

Rating - Four Stars

 

 

Immigrant Statistics

Our prisons are bursting with illegals right now.

— Donald Trump

Well, let’s take a look at the numbers:

For the American-born population of males 18 – 39 years old, 3.3% are in prison. That’s a huge number. In contrast, for foreign-born men 18 – 39, 1.6% of them are in prison. So the likelihood of being in prison for an immigrant is less than half of that of an American-born man.

12.9% of the United States population is foreign-born. I am one of those.

Here are some “success” numbers:

immigrant-statistics-1

From this chart you can see that immigrants are much more educated than American-born, on average, in all categories. It’s most obvious and overwhelming in the Ph.D. categories in engineering and sciences.

Also, immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses, 41% of them have college degrees, versus 30% of American-born population.

This is not to say that illegal immigration isn’t a problem in the United States. It is. It is a problem that needs solving. But after decades of Congress not doing anything about it but whining, it is completely irresponsible by the president to foment immigrant hatred that covers all foreign-born people in its dragnet, illegal or not. The bigots among the population are now feeling empowered to abuse immigrants indiscriminately. People are getting killed on the streets based on the color of their skins.

It is right to enforce the laws of the country. It is not right to create or stir up vigilantism against people who “look different” or “speak another language.” Our president has a responsibility to calm the nation, to protect its citizens and to enforce its laws.

This president, however, incites fear and bigotry with his rhetoric, he lashes out indiscriminately against entire groups of people, he divides and he spreads misinformation.

He says immigration is a problem in the United States.

No, it is not a problem. Immigration creates jobs, raises the level of education, and produces the most industrious and productive section of our population. Lashing out at immigration does not make America great, it makes America shrivel.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

Now they are coming for the immigrants, but I am speaking out, because I am an immigrant.

Fun in Germany

fun-in-germany

[click for photo credit]

duncan-hunter-1

Check out this article that describes Hunter accusing constituents protesting at his offices as trespassers.

Here is a post about Hunter misusing campaign funds for private consumption of his family.

Here is post I wrote in December 2013 about Hunter making moronic statements about Iran.

You might have guessed it by now, I am not much of a Hunter supporter, and I can’t believe this man actually got elected to Congress.

Maybe I need to run for Congress. There does not seem like much competition.

Paul Ryan Knows

paul_ryan_official_speaker_portraitPaul Ryan can’t lose, and he knows it.

I don’t know Ryan personally, I have never met him, but I can see by the look in his eyes that he knows what’s going on in the White House right now is a travesty. But he’s holding tight, he’s walking with the party, because he has a plan.

If the Trump administration goes down in flames, for instance by impeachment due to a constitutional transgression the Congress can’t continue to cover for, we have a Pence administration, provided that Pence does not go down with Trump along the way.

If both Trump and Pence were to go down in flames, Ryan is next in line as the Speaker of the house, and we’d have a Ryan administration.

For 2020, Pence, by himself, is not electable. Since Trump would run again, he’d likely ask Pence to stay on. Pence is too uninspiring a personality to win the presidency on his own.

Ryan will run against Trump in 2020 and he will beat him in the primaries by a landslide. The country will have had three years of a Trump presidency, it will have dozens of scandals to point to, and incompetence to point out. Trump will be toast.

Ryan has already gained national campaign experience with Romney, so he knows the ropes. He also knows he can beat Trump easily. Ryan is only 47 years old now, approximately the age Obama was when he took office. That’s young.

Whether it’s 2020, or 2024, or 2028, we will see a president Ryan in the United States.

The only question I have is: Who are the Democrats going to put forward to oppose this formidable challenger?

 

The Diabolical Laugh

diabolical

[click for photo credit on Reddit]

So we have lots of headlines about how much money Trump has been spending on travel to Florida. Supposedly it’s been almost as much as what Obama spent in an entire year. Then there is talk about protecting his kids and their private business trips around the world; recently two of them went to Dubai and of course, the United States Secret Service gets to come along for the ride. Then there is talk about Melania not moving to Washington and staying at Trump Tower in New York. Numbers range for $500,000 to $1 million per day to protect her. I have been to Trump Tower and it’s amazing how it sits right in the middle of mid-town Manhattan, and the NYPD has to figure out how to keep it protected.

But that’s not even what I am talking about.

I am here spending my time writing about this buffoon. I have spent more hours writing about Trump since the middle of 2016 until now than I did about Obama in the eight years he was in office. Trump occupies us. Thousands of people feel compelled to protest. Thousands go to town halls to demand to speak to their representatives. Millions go on major protest marches. Millions rant on Facebook every day. I rant on Facebook. I spend way more time nightly watching the news of both sides just to keep up with Trump’s antics.

That is the true cost of a lunatic narcissist in the White House. The country needs a break from this insanity. But that’s exactly what he is doing. He is wearing us down. He has more stamina than we do. Soon we’ll get tired and used to the insanity, and then he’ll have us exactly where he wants us. Then shit will go down that we won’t even notice anymore. Real damage.

Trump is using up our vigor, our free time, hell, our work time. What were we thinking electing a lunatic narcissist to the presidency? It took 62 million people to get us here. Now it’s going to take all 32o million of us to get our country back.

Trump is too expensive for the nation.

Well, Speaker Ryan, the problem as I see it is this: The Republican-controlled Congress, from 2000 through 2008, and then again from 2010 through 2016, has not done one thing to deal with this problem of healthcare in our nation. The Affordable Care Act may not be perfect, but it’s one hell of a lot more and therefore better than the big NOTHING the Republicans provided in all those years in control.

Now, if you get to work and produce a healthcare product that works, that’s less expensive, that covers preexisting conditions, and that does not kick millions of Americans off what they have now, GREAT. We will all welcome that.

So, please, refrain from upsetting the apple cart until you show us the orange cart – pun intended.

Still more true than ever. Thanks, Voltaire.

Norbert Haupt

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

— Voltaire

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oroville-spillway

Here is the spillway of the Oroville Dam with the broken section. The emergency overflow spillway is to its left, and the main dam to its right.

The spillway releases about 100,000 cubic feet of water per second, that’s about 748,000 gallons per second.

For comparison, the American side (left) of Niagara Falls has a flow of about 150,000 gallons per second, and the Canadian Horseshoe falls (right) have another 600,000 gallons per second.

niagara_falls

This means that the Oroville spillway has about the capacity of Niagara Falls in total.

How’s that for perspective.

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