Monday, December 31, 2018

Mattis was confirmed only after Congress waived requirement that officers be retired for 7 years before becoming Sec. of Defense. 42 year military officials normally have deep institutional biases and thus provide poor civilian oversight of US armed forces-Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko

12/27/18, James Mattis Wasn’t Ready to Serve in a Democracy”, Micah Zenko

“After the tributes die down, the outgoing defense secretary will be remembered for recklessly expanding, and covering up, the country’s wars.”…

(3rd parag. from end): “In January, when asked about great power competition with Russia and China, Mattis proclaimed, “We don’t invade other countries…we settle things by international rule of law…we respect these as sovereign nations with a sovereign voice and sovereign decisions.” This claim is totally false-during Mattis’s long and distinguished career, the United States (overtly) invaded or intervened in
Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and others,
without the approval of their recognized sovereign government.

But, far more worrisome is how this historical amnesia is indicative of the general lack of self-awareness demonstrated by most American civilian and military officials. They literally cannot imagine how the world perceives U.S. military aggression, and why it is a flawed strategy to try to constrain China and Russian actions by championing universalist principles, which the United States itself violates….

Mattis was confirmed only after Congress agreed to waive a requirement that officers be retired for seven years before becoming secretary of defense. Perhaps future presidents and senators—who confirm Pentagon chiefs—should consider whether 42-year military officers can overcome their deep institutional biases and beliefs, and if they are best suited to be the top civilians leading and overseeing the armed forces.” (end of article)


Mercury? Most on US west coast is from China. In entire US, most mercury is from global sources, per EPA's Richard Scheffe-The Oregonian, Nov. 2006, Discover Magazine, March 2011...(Entire US political class says Americans must be punished anyway)

Mercury from China is driven across Pacific Ocean by high winds and ends up in Oregon fish, Nov. 24, 2006, OregonLive. "Mercury is especially suited for long-distance travel:"

Image source: "Bruce Hope, senior environmental toxicologist of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality," and "Michael Mode/The Oregonian."

11/24/2006, "China's mercury flushes into Oregon's rivers,"; article also published at The Oregonian website but without image. From article: 

""The ozone on the West Coast in a few years will be controlled not by California and Oregon," Schnell (NOAA) says. "It will be controlled by China." The incoming pollution bucks a U.S. trend toward cleaner skies and water...."There's more mercury deposited in this country from outside our borders than from inside our borders," says Richard Scheffe, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency senior science adviser."...(subhead, "Impact on cleanup")

4/13/2008, "China's mercury flushes into Oregon's rivers," The Oregonian, Shelby Wood, Richard Read;" 

"From the Oregonian of Nov. 24, 2006" 

"Mercury and other airborne contaminants collect over China during the winter and spring until Siberian winds arrive bearing dust from expanding Chinese and Mongolian deserts. Every five or six days, the winds flush out eastern China, sending dust and pollutants such as ozone precursors high over the Pacific, says Russ Schnell, observatory and global network operations director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
"The ozone on the West Coast in a few years will be controlled not by California and Oregon," Schnell says. "It will be controlled by China." The incoming pollution bucks a U.S. trend toward cleaner skies and water.
Mercury is especially suited for long-distance travel because at the smokestack in elemental form, it's insoluble. By the time it reaches the West Coast, however, some of the mercury has transformed into a reactive gaseous material that dissolves in Western Oregon's wet climate. It washes into the river, where microbes convert it into a form that further concentrates in fish.
Most of the mercury entering the Willamette comes from Oregon's volcanic soil and from sediment churned up on the river bottom. But Bruce Hope, senior environmental toxicologist of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, estimates that global sources beyond the state's control contribute 18 percent --more than four times the share from local air deposition. "If I made every local source go away, would I be able to eat the fish?" Hope asks. "Right now the answer is maybe."
Hope was struggling to account for all the Willamette's mercury sources before he encountered Dan Jaffe, an atmospheric and environmental chemistry professor at the University of Washington at Bothell. Jaffe and other scientists were detecting Asian pollutants in monitors atop Mount Bachelor and Cheeka Peak, on the Olympic Peninsula.
Urban carcinogen levels 

The monitors regularly record levels of airborne carcinogens equivalent to those of a major city, says Staci Simonich, an Oregon State University researcher. In April 2004, instruments mounted atop Mount Bachelor's Summit Express ski lift intercepted an enormous Asian plume laced with mercury and ozone. The fine-particle concentration hit about 20 micrograms per cubic meter, compared with the federal air-quality standard of an average 65 micrograms during a 24-hour period.
"The air we saw on that day was comparable to a moderately bad day in Portland," says Jaffe. "When you consider that that air has traveled thousands and thousands of miles, it's pretty amazing really." Jaffe calculated that Asia emits 1,460 metric tons of mercury a year, twice as much as previously thought.

To be sure, concentrations of foreign pollutants in Oregon are minimal compared with federal air-quality standards. On an average spring day in the Northwest, the overall sulfate concentration reaches just 0.72 micrograms per cubic meter, says Colette Heald, a University of California at Berkeley researcher. About one-quarter of the average sulfate level comes from Asia, Heald says.
But the DEQ's Hope realized that when fallout occurs across an area as large as the Willamette's 11,500-square-mile watershed, low concentrations add up. He identified the river's mercury sources for a study published in the international journal Science of the Total Environment."...
"Because local enthropogenic emissions make relatively smaller contributions to the Basin than do persisent global sources (sources over which there is little, if any, possibility of local control), localized environmental management actions alone may not be adequate to address mercury impacts within the Basin." [last sentence of abstract] An assessment of anthropogenic source impacts on mercury cycling in the Willamette Basin, Oregon, USA-, Science of the Total Environment, 3/2006 ResearchGate."
(continuing): "Especially if China's share increases, Hope says, Oregon can do little to reduce contamination of the river even by cracking down on emissions, eliminating mercury from products and segregating waste. "Because of foreign sources, the kinds of management changes that would be acceptable would probably not be enough to let us eat the fish." Oregon officials have warned since issuing a 2001 advisory that Willamette bass and pikeminnow bear unsafe mercury levels.
Mercury acts on the central nervous system and can reduce mental ability, making kids shy, irritable, and slow to learn, and causing tremors and visual disturbances. Children under 7 should not eat more than a single 4-ounce portion of nonmigrating fish every seven weeks, while women of childbearing age should eat no more than one 8-ounce portion a month.
The DEQ has a mercury cleanup plan for the Willamette that will take decades. But "you throw in the global contribution," says Dave Stone, Oregon public health toxicologist, "and it does become that much more complex." Oregon, which has 14 fish advisories for mercury, has not been able to lift one.
Impact on cleanup
The added mercury from abroad, coupled with Oregon's high natural levels, could concentrate pressure on local emitters under the DEQ's cleanup plan. Weyerhaeuser, for example, has more than 15 plants in the watershed. "We're concerned to the extent that we have to do something that won't matter," says Marv Lewallen, Weyerhaeuser Oregon environmental affairs manager.
It's not just the Willamette that will be difficult to clean up because of mercury beyond local control. Scientists expected to find patterns of mercury pollution from nearby factories when they took sediment samples beneath lakes near Bellingham, Wash., that contain fish unsafe to eat. Instead, most of the industrial mercury came from global sources. 
"Our best estimates indicate that there's more mercury deposited in this country from outside our borders than from inside our borders," says Richard Scheffe, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency senior science adviser. 

Mercury is just one of the foreign pollutants that scientists are tracking. At least one-third of California's fine particulate pollution --known as aerosol --has floated across from Asia, says Steve Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis. 
"In May this year, almost all the fine aerosol present at Lake Tahoe came from China," says Tom Cahill, a UC Davis emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences. "So the haze that you see in spring at Crater Lake or other remote areas is in fact Chinese in origin."
Cliff says China's growing contribution will complicate U.S. efforts to meet annual average emissions standards. "As you try to reduce particulate pollution from local and regional sources, you're only reducing to some background level," Cliff says. "The concern is that as China continues to expand, that background level will only tend to increase."

A recent court decision raises the possibility that foreign firms could be held liable for polluting the United States. A 9th U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that Teck Cominco Ltd., a company that discharged heavy metals and slag in the upper Columbia River in Canada, must pay to clean up a downriver stretch in the United States.
Scientists are frustrated by a lack of data from Asia, where factories often aren't required to report what they emit, says Richard "Tony" VanCuren, a UC Davis applied-sciences researcher.
One thing is certain, though, because of geography and wind: 

"The maximum impact from Asia," Heald says, "is going to be in the Northwestern United States."
--Richard Read;"

"Richard Reed:"

"Richard Read, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and former Asian-based foreign correspondent, is a senior writer for The Oregonian, covering higher education."


Ed. note: Two sources are posted above for Nov. 24, 2006 Oregonian article about China contaminants in the US (credited to Richard Reed at the end of The Oregonian article: "Richard Read;"). One from The Oregonian posted in 2008, and one via The image above (with The Oregonian credit) appeared in the publication of the article. Re: " Cached The PPRC is a grassroots organization made up of hourly employees who work in the forest products industry. We work on fiber supply, forest practices, endangered ..." 


Added: March 18, 2011 Discover Magazine article: China toxins are driven across the Pacific to the US by high winds: 

"China now emits more mercury than the United States, India, and Europe combined." 1

"Jaffe’s colleagues considered it improbable that a concentration of pollutants high enough to significantly impact American air quality could travel thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean." p.2..."“What’s different about China is the scale and speed of pollution and environmental degradation,” Turner says. It’s like nothing the world has ever seen.”" (p. 1)

3/18/2011, "Made in China: Our Toxic, Imported Air Pollution," Discover, by David Kirby, (April 2011 issue) 

"Mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon, flu-laced desert dust. Even as America 
tightens emission standards, the 
fast-growing economies of Asia 
are filling the air with hazardous components that 
circumnavigate the globe." 

 p. 1: "University of Washington atmospheric chemist 
Dan Jaffe...and a new breed of global air detectives are delivering a sobering message to policy makers everywhere: Carbon dioxide, the predominant driver of global warming, is not the only industrial by-product whose effects can be felt around the world. Prevailing winds across the Pacific are pushing thousands of tons of other contaminants—including mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon, and desert dustover the ocean each year. Some of this atmospheric junk settles into the cold waters of the North Pacific, but much of it eventually merges 
with the global air pollution pool that circumnavigates the planet.

These contaminants are implicated in a long list of health problems, including neurodegenerative disease, cancer, emphysema, and perhaps even pandemics like avian flu. And when wind and weather conditions are right, they reach North America within days. Dust, ozone, and carbon can accumulate in valleys and basins, and mercury can be pulled to earth through atmospheric sinks that deposit it across large swaths of land. 

Pollution and production have gone hand in hand at least since the Industrial Revolution, and it is not unusual for a developing nation to value economic growth over environmental regulation.

“Pollute first, clean up later” can be the general attitude, says Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The intensity of the current change is truly new, however.  

China in particular stands out because of its sudden role as the world’s factory, its enormous population, and the mass migration of that population to urban centers; 350 million people, equivalent to the entire U.S. population, will be moving to its cities over the next 10 years. China now emits more mercury than the United States, India, and Europe combined.

“What’s different about China is the scale and speed of pollution and environmental degradation,” Turner says. It’s like nothing the world has ever seen.”"...


Dick Cheney, a Vice President with few virtues and a shameless sense of entitlement, trashed conservative and Republican brands, freely admits he has no regrets, he’d do everything again in a minute. Exactly-The American Conservative, Telly Davidson

12/18/18, A Vice President With Few Virtues,” The American Conservative, Telly Davidson

“A tough new Dick Cheney biopic is triggering some conservatives. Have they learned nothing?”

“No matter what your politics, Christian Bale is easily one of our greatest living actors, along with Daniel Day-Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Robert De Niro. And while his stunning performance as Dick Cheney in Vice isn’t his best performance, it’s certainly his greatest impersonation since his Sissy-Spacek-as-Carrie/Anthony-Perkins-as-Norman-Bates-level defining of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. (Like Meryl Streep playing The Iron Lady, Bale will be the mainstream star to watch in this year’s Best Actor race. Vice is already running away with Golden Globe nominations.)

On that note, I had planned to write a straightforward film review, maybe making a crack that it would be up to you to decide whether a film about Dick Cheney qualified as a sort of sequel to American Psycho, and leave it at that. And I would have been happy to have stayed in my lane, except for all the Beltway political pundits who, in Vice’s wake, have taken up the art of film criticism. (Full disclosure: I interviewed Ben Shapiro years ago for a book review, and though our outlooks differed, I respected him and liked him personally. That said, I’m afraid I disagree with him in the extreme here, although Kyle Smith in National Review makes a far more worthwhile case against the movie on its own merits, or lack thereof.)

So instead, I am summoned to a more urgent, if distasteful, task: to try and explain why anyone in the conservative movement (or anywhere else) would want to normalize Dick Cheneylet alone flat-out cheer for him. After all, this was a man who left office with an approval rating as low as 13 percent.

That’s lower than Richard Nixon when he resigned, lower than Jimmy Carter when he was replaced by Ronald Reagan. It’s as low as Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression and as low as Barack Obama among Republicans and conservatives.

Even today, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have triple the approval ratings that Cheney left office with.

Thirteen percent.

To plagiarize what Andrew Sullivan famously said about Hillary, anyone with Cheney’s destructive track record towards his own movement should have been drummed out “under a welter of derision.”

We don’t have to be “ordered” to remember and revere historical figures like Reagan, MLK, and JFK, or be shamed into doing so. But who the heck did Dick Cheney ever benefit outside of the corporate-crony one percent? What small, non-monopoly business did he ever give a chance to grow? What did he do to improve our schools and police? What did he do for balanced-budget conservatism, as he overruled Alan Greenspan and his own treasury secretary, gloating that “deficits don’t matter”?

How did Cheney make us more secure, with Iraq and Afghanistan all but ruined, Iran and Syria feeling stronger every day, and ISIS having wrought its destruction—and with Osama bin Laden still livin’ large for two-and-a-half years after Cheney retired? How do you defend someone who literally went to the Supreme Court to keep the minutes of his infamous 2001 energy task force meetings secret (they were co-chaired by Kenny-Boy Lay during the height of Enron’s rape of California’s power grid), while at the same time suggesting the outing of a truly top secret CIA agent (Valerie Plame) just to get revenge on her journalist husband? How did Cheney uphold Ronald Reagan’s mantra of curbing big government excesses when he justified warrantless surveillance and straight-up torture?

And what lasting benefit did Dick Cheney bestow on the conservative or Republican brand, with Barack Obama winning the biggest landslides since Reagan and Bush Senior?

It was my respected colleague Kelley Vlahos who solved the mystery of why some members of the Beltway press just can’t quit Cheney: “because they still won’t admit that the war was wrong. Bingo. Expecting the U.S. to export insta-democracy to decidedly non-Western cultures? Putting overwhelmingly Christian and Jewish “viceroys” in charge of historically Muslim nations? Gee, what could possibly go wrong…

As chilling and thrilling as Christian Bale is as Dick Cheney, perhaps no scene in Vice is as squirmy as Richard Dreyfus’s impersonation of Cheney in Oliver Stone’s W., when he stands in front of a CGI map in the War Room and smirkingly announces, “There is no exit strategy. We STAY!” (If that scene didn’t actually take place, it might just as well have.)

Still, there are scenes in Vice that come close. For a biopic about a man who defined the adage “personnel is policy,” it’s fitting that director Adam McKay, who has a strong comedy background, chose actors who are known for being funny just as much as for their work in dramas. Those include Sam Rockwell as George W., Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld. (Reuniting Bale and Carell also indicates that McKay rightly sees Vice as an unofficial prequel to his financial meltdown dark farce The Big Short.) Like the aforementioned W., McKay’s Vice is a sometimes frenetic, sometimes eerily calm black comedy satire. And like Josh Brolin in W., Sam Rockwell plays George Jr. as an easily played and comical doofus. There’s no doubt in this film as to who the real president was from December 2000 to the end of 2008.

Watching Bale as a terse, leering, manipulative young reactionary as he grindstones and plays people against each other from the late ‘60s to his Bush-Cheney heyday, one is struck by his shameless entitlement. Cheney uses movement conservatism and old boy connections as his own Uber. If Christian Bale is a slim and athletic man trapped in a fat and ugly body, Cheney sees himself as the Richelieu or Machiavelli of his own real-life movie, trapped just one step behind the real decision-makers—until he finally gets that chance to ride his horse from Aqueduct to Santa Anita.

The other key role among these garbage men is Amy Adams’ take-no-prisoners performance as Lynne Cheney. Mrs. Cheney had the straight-A brains and Ph.D.-level drive to be a powerful judge or executive in her own right, and was, according to Adams, a better “natural politician” than her husband. But as a card-carrying member of the Phyllis Schlafly/Anita Bryant/Beverly LaHaye-era Right from rural Wyoming, Lynne had less than zero plans to transform herself into another bra-burning icon. Instead, “she lived her [considerable] ambitions through her husband, as Adams said. Adams even added that compared to the iron-fisted Lynne, her husband Dick might have been the “velvet glove”!

And as these Cheney-rehabilitating articles prove, Lynne wasn’t the only one who got off on Dick’s raw exercise of power and privilege. Watching Dick Cheney at work must have been intoxicating for a Dwight Schrute or Montgomery Burns in his small pond, for someone who coveted the kind of vulgar bullying power that Cheney wielded. It was no accident that Stephen Bannon famously and semi-humorously put Dick Cheney in his own hall of heroes, behind only Darth Vader and Satan, citing Cheney’s peerless talent at “disrupting” established orders.

As we contemplate the dumpster fire that is today’s politics, Vice is a useful reminder that the arrogant and destructive reign of Dick “Full Speed Ahead” Cheney was so awful for American society in general and American conservatism in particular that it helped provoke the biggest counter-reaction on the Left since Watergate. And if you’re a Never Trumper, just recall that a key reason Trump and Ted Cruz were the last Republicans standing in 2016 was because Cheneyism had so discredited the old “conservative” establishment.

Sorry, I’m just not there for conservative writers infantilizing Cheney and going all triggered snowflake at what big meanies the Hollywood libr’als are being to him. Christian Bale said it himself: [Cheney’s] a big boy…he says himself he has no remorse, no regrets, he’d do everything again in a minute.” Exactly.

So if you like where society has gone over the last 10 years—the pink pussy hats and trans bathrooms, the social justice warriors questioning the value of free speech, watching your impressionable high school and college kids devouring Samantha Bee, The Young Turks, and Mr. Robot while flirting with joining the DSA—then you really ought to thank Dick Cheney. And if you don’t like it, then why not finally give him the blame he so richly deserves?

Because he built that.”


US has called for regime change in Syria since at least 2011. US taxpayers have been forced to finance weapons for Syria regime change since at least 2012-AP 2011, NY Times 2012

US wasn’t invited into Syria. Since at least 2011 US has said Syrian Pres. Assad “had to go.” Since at least 2012 US taxpayers have been forced to pay for weapons for bloody regime change in Syria. Syria would be completely justified in bombing the US:

June 21, 2012, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition [Islamic terrorists],” NY Times, Eric Schmitt:

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.”…

Conversely, Russia was invited by the Syrian government in 2015 to help defend it:

9/30/2015, “Russia Begins Airstrikes In Syria After Assad’s Request,

Russia is a longtime Syrian ally.


US created two “sides” in Syria: “Pentagon backed” forces and “CIA backed” forces. US taxpayers of course were forced to fund both “sides” which "repeatedly shot at each other":

3/27/2016, In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA,” LA Times, Nabih Bulos, W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett: 

While the Pentagon’s actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA’s backing of [Islamic] militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table….The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other.”


Added: Two years ago, Dec. 2016, without warmonger US at the table, Russia, Iran, and Turkey met to discuss peace in Syria:

12/20/2016, Russia, Iran and Turkey push for Syria peace plan without US or UN,”

“After talks in Moscow, the three countries’ foreign ministers expressed confidence they could revive the stalled peace process. They also plan to try to expand a ceasefire.

The United States was notably absent from the meeting. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: Iran, Russian and Turkey express their readiness to act in favour and become guarantors of the agreement that is being prepared and negotiated at the moment by the Syrian government and opposition. The three call on all the other countries that have influence on the situation on the ground to do the same.”…The United States was notably absent from the meeting….

The US said that it was not worried about being left out of the discussion. A State Department spokesman said it welcomed any solutions that “lead to a reduction in bloodshed… whether or not we’re at the table”.

The move underlines the growing strength of Moscow’s links with Tehran and Ankara and reflects President Vladimir Putin’s desire to cement his country’s growing influence in the Middle East and more widely.

It also shows how fed up Russia is with what it sees as long and pointless talks with the [illegally invading] Obama administration over Syria. Foreign Minister Lavrov last week dismissed those talks as “fruitless sitting around”.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who held parallel talks with his Iranian and Turkish opposite numbers, said afterwards:

“All previous attempts by the United States and its partners to agree on coordinated actions were doomed to failure. None of them wielded real influence over the situation on the ground.”

Added: In 2011 US said Syria President Assad “had to go.” Why? The US has no business whatsoever meddling in the Middle East. US meddling there has been a complete disaster–unless the US goal was to clear a path for Islamic terrorists-they've succeeded in that:

Aug. 18, 2011, Obama, allies call for ouster of Syria’s Assad,” AP

“In a statement released by the White House, Obama said Assad had lost all credibility as a leader and had to go….

“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.””


Muslim Community Patrol cars resembling NY City Police cars stake their claim on NY City streets, incorporated in Nov. 2018 in Staten Island-NY Post…(Congratulations to the entire US political class-carrying out genocide of American culture since 1965)

“Indeed, the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was promoted by this intellectual group precisely in furtherance of the notion that concepts such as “national culture” would become meaningless as a result of immigrant cultural dilution. By the 1970s and 1980s, the objective had evolved to implant the idea that there was really no politics to modernity (Fukuyama’s End of History) since all governance somehow had boiled down to technocracy: ensuring effective liberal market functioning–a matter best left to experts. In political terms, the “clearing” of the mind’s inherited cultural clutter was to be achieved by cultural wars of political correctness.”…

12/24/18, New York Muslims have a new security patrol group,” NY Post, by Tina Moore and Stephanie Pagones

New York’s Muslim community has a new security group watching over it. A car from the new Muslim Community Patrol has been spotted around the city….

The white Ford Taurus bears insignia nearly identical to those of an NYPD patrol car — with blue horizontal stripes down the sides, a shield on the front driver’s side door and the words “Muslim Community Patrol” descending on the rear door, where a department vehicle would say “Courtesy Professionalism Respect.”

The vehicle was recently spotted cruising along Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge, home to a burgeoning Muslim population.

Calls to the Staten Island-based group-which, according to state records, was incorporated last month [Nov. 2018]-went unanswered Sunday.” image from NY Post


Among comments to this article at bizpacreview:

Can we have a Catholic patrol car, a Protestant control car, a Baptist control car a Jehovah witness control car a Jewish control car and an atheist control car. Have I covered everything? This is ridiculous
— Dottie Joyner (@DottieJoyner1) December 29, 2018

Can we have a Christian Community Patrol?
—  (@QueenKristine87) December 30, 2018

Wtf is that. Patrol? Patrol for what? Disgusting. Would a White patrol car be acceptable? Or how bout a halvsie patrol car. All we need are police patrol cars plain and simple!
— Rich Asher (@Bramble015) December 29, 2018
— Rena’ (@Rena_OConnor) December 30, 2018″


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is FrontPage Magazine’s Person of the Year: Recognizing the woman fighting on the front lines of the media war

12/28/18, FrontPage Magazine’s Person of the Year: Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Recognizing the woman fighting on the front lines of the media war.” Daniel Greenfield

“The media is the enemy and Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the warrior who takes them on day after day.

The huge media sector easily outnumbers the Ouachita Baptist University grad taking them on.

CNN alone has 4,000 employees. The New York Times has nearly as many. And when she singlehandedly faces off against 49 people in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and the less than 30 people on her staff take on a mainstream media machine of tens of thousands, it’s a true underdog story.

For a year and a half, Sanders has been reporting for duty as the White House Press Secretary. She’s been shouted at, called names, had her appearance demeaned, and was kicked out of a restaurant. Mainstream media White House correspondents, invariably male, try to talk over her and shout her down. But she’s been so effective that there have been calls by the media to boycott her press briefings.

With Sarah’s success has come a high price. Leftist harassment of Sanders has become so severe that she has become the first press secretary to require secret service protection, including at her home.

“The media has attacked me personally, on a number of occasions, including your own network,” Sanders said, responding to CNN’s Jim Acosta, who would later get in trouble for manhandling a female White House intern. “Said I should be harassed as a life sentence, that I should be choked.”

It was MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace who made the choking remark, saying, live on the air, to an NBC White House correspondent, “How do you resist the temptation to run up and wring her neck?”

“No one is telling them to be violent protesters, but we’re not going to go let these people go through life unscathed,” the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin had declared on MSNBC. 

“Sarah Huckabee has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss, after lying to the press, after inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable.”

Neither MSNBC nor the Washington Post imposed any consequences for this violent rhetoric because murderous fantasies aimed at Trump and his people have been normalized by the mainstream media.

“When I was hosted by the Correspondents’ Association, of which almost all of you are members, you brought a comedian out to attack my appearance, and called me a traitor to my own gender,” Sarah noted.

But Sanders pushed back and won.

The White House Correspondents’ Association has revamped its lineup moving away from the Michelle Wolf fiasco to a more civil tone. And Sanders’ determination and resilience in the face of that ugly episode of media harassment even won grudging admiration from members of the media.

“Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable,” MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski tweeted.

“That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive,” Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted.

But that’s always been her strength.

No matter what the media throws at her, from insults to death threats, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stays focused and remains on message. The interruptions, tantrums and yelling by the media mob have yet to rattle her. She may have the Secret Service at home protecting her and her family, as she pointed out, “a Hollywood actor publicly encouraged people to kidnap my children”, but she’s never let it stop her.

Like other members of the Trump administration, there have been efforts at legal harassment. These attacks also frequently went into the realm of the unbelievably absurd, such as the time that Walter Shaub, Obama’s head of the Office of Government Ethics, suggested that Sanders had violated the Hatch Act when she tweeted about an Amazon Echo ordering a toy because her son shouted Batman into it.

(Meanwhile Shaub had repeatedly abused the OGE Twitter account to attack Trump, before going to work for a Soros funded organization.)

Then a complaint was filed with the Office of Special Counsel over a photo that Sanders took with Kanye West because no angle of attack is too petty and no effort at intimidating Trump’s people too ugly.

But throughout all the harassment, verbal, physical and legal, Sanders has kept right on going.

The New Yorker called the 5’6 Arkansas native, “Trump’s battering ram.” That’s how the flacks of the media, the privileged potentates of the Washington D.C. press corps, see Sarah because she won’t bow to the gargantuan echo chamber of the mainstream media. But Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn’t a battering ram. She’s a fortress. She takes a stand and makes it clear that she won’t be moved. No matter what.

And she pushes back, not by yelling at the media, but by firmly insisting on correcting its members, on distinguishing between right and wrong, and on demanding standards from her media opponents.

Sometimes Sarah Huckabee Sanders does it by just insisting on plain old-fashioned goodness.

Last Thanksgiving, Sanders insisted that reporters say what they were grateful for before asking her a question. The New Yorker fumed that Thanksgiving was a “degrading ritual”. “I’m thankful that Trump has failed,” the Washington Post shot back.

But the Thanksgiving moment defined what made Sanders so different than other press secretaries.

In Washington D.C. politics, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the spin cycle, to lose sight of basic truths, and to be always reacting to the news cycle with no sense of higher truth or deeper principles. Press secretaries have to build backdoor relationships with the media, undermining their employers by trading secrets in order to plant stories, while thinking about possible media employment down the road. In that environment, it’s easy to forget who you are, what you believe and what you stand for.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has never forgotten that. In a hateful environment of utter indecency, she stands for the simple decency of defying the tide of hatred that washes ashore at every gathering in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room. And she does it with admirable dignity and fortitude.

Media portrayals often depict Sanders as a bully, humiliating and embarrassing the media. The opposite is true. Her stolid dignity and unmovable insistence on telling the truth embarrass the media. Every time Sanders takes on the press corps, they come away looking like deranged, egotistical activists throwing a tantrum. The media, which is built on spinning reality, has smeared her, but it’s never been able to change her. That’s why it’s pondering the idea of just giving up and running away from a 5’6 woman.

And that’s why Sarah Huckabee Sanders is FrontPage Magazine’s Warrior Person of the Year.”

Border fence in Yuma County, Arizona reduced deaths in the desert, rapes, robberies, homicides, burglaries, and thefts by 91%-The Epoch Times, Cuthbertson

“It ended up costing sheriffs in Arizona about $30 million to house these individuals that had committed crimes [and] were here illegally in this country, smuggling in heroin, dope, marijuana, cocaine,” Wilmot said.The State Criminal Alien Apprehension Program was designed to reimburse jails with federal dollars for housing illegal aliens, but Wilmot said he was only getting back about 5 cents to the dollar. So local tax payers still had to pick up the rest of that burden.””

12/26/18, “Sheriff: Border Fence Helped Cut Crime in Yuma by 91 Percent,” The Epoch Times, by Charlotte Cuthbertson, Yuma, Arizona

Yuma County is 5,522 square miles—larger than the state of Connecticut—and it shares 126 miles of border with Mexico. California and its Imperial Sand Dunes are just a mirage away on the western border beyond the Colorado River.

The Yuma Border Patrol Sector used to be the worst in the country for illegal crossings, until it became a poster-child for the effectiveness of a border fence.

In 2005, before the fence, more than 2,700 vehicles crossed the Colorado River and open deserts, loaded with illegal immigrants and drugs, according to Border Patrol numbers. Apprehensions steadily increased to more than 138,000 in fiscal 2005.

“Yuma battled entrenched smuggling groups for control of the border,” said Border Patrol in a video. “Mass incursions often left agents outnumbered 50 to 1. Agents were assaulted with rocks and weapons daily.”

Following the Secure Fence Act of 2006, Yuma tripled manpower and added mobile surveillance, as well as fencing and vehicle barriers. Yuma went from having 5.2 miles of fencing to 63 miles, and subsequently saw an almost 95 percent decrease in border apprehensions by 2009, when Border Patrol made about 7,000 arrests.

Ancillary Crime Down 91 Percent…

“We were able to reduce [ancillary crimes] by 91 percent, Wilmot said. The deaths in the desert, the rapes, the robberies, the homicides, the burglaries, the thefts.”…

However, during the Obama administration, Operation Streamline was curtailed and the 100 percent prosecution policy was halted.

“When they did away with that, they [started] coming again, and the numbers that are coming through Yuma are way back up—not where they were, but it is disturbing to see the trend increasing again and the tactics changed again, too,” Bratcher said. 

“When you take away the prosecution, rather than trying to sneak through, now they just walk across and give themselves up.”

Political Agenda

Border Patrol in Yuma apprehended more than 26,000 illegal aliens in fiscal 2018.

Although the numbers pale in comparison to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas (more than 162,000 apprehensions for the same period), it is still “maddening” to Bratcher that his community suffered due to Obama-era policies.

“When they put their own political agenda above the quality of life of American citizens and Yuma citizens, what is their motivation? It makes you question that,” he said.

During the Obama era, Wilmot was forced to take matters into his own hands.

“It got to the point where, because the feds would not prosecute those drug smugglers..I had to deputize federal officers so they could actually take those cases to our County attorney and charge them with a state crime—and it was a 100 percent prosecutable case,” Wilmot said.

Wilmot said the U.S. attorney would refuse those cases, so prior to being deputized by the sheriff, the federal officers had no choice but to release the smugglers….

“The individuals would come across, the U.S. attorney’s office would not charge them…It was a revolving door. They just kept coming back, coming back, coming back.”

But prosecuting on a state or county level, instead of federal, came with a hefty price tag.

“It ended up costing sheriffs in Arizona about $30 million to house these individuals that had committed crimes [and] were here illegally in this country, smuggling in heroin, dope, marijuana, cocaine,” Wilmot said.

“When I’ve got 115 [drug] backpackers in here—it’s $130 a day for us for housing an inmate—well, they’re in here for 118 [days] to a little bit longer, on average. And then the medical cost, we have to [bear] that, too.”

The State Criminal Alien Apprehension Program was designed to reimburse jails with federal dollars for housing illegal aliens, but Wilmot said he was only getting back about 5 cents to the dollar.

“So local tax payers still had to pick up the rest of that burden.”

Wilmot said he has deputized Border Patrol agents, DEA agents, FBI agents, and Homeland Security Investigations agents.

He said he hasn’t needed to take such extraordinary measures since President Donald Trump took office, as the feds have stepped up again to prosecute criminal aliens and illegal border crossers.

“It was frustrating for us, and it was also frustrating for our federal partners that swore the same [oath] that we did to protect and serve and enforce the laws of our country, Wilmot said. “And to see them hamstrung by politics … and that’s why I said, you can’t mix politics with public safety at all, period. It just shouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, it still does and we see it today.”…

border security
A Border Patrol agent drives near the U.S.–Mexico border in the desert near Yuma, Ariz., on May 25, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Wilmot drove us 100 miles south from Yuma along the Colorado River, which separates Arizona and California, then southeast, straight along the fenceline that separates Arizona and Mexico. Right across the fence on the Mexican side is Highway 2, which provides easy access to the border. 

The terrain is bumpy, sandy desert with rocky outcrops and hills interrupting the horizon. No trees live here, only saguaro cacti, which look imposing but provide no shade. Summer temperatures are searing. It gets up to 125 degrees during the day, with ground temperatures of up to 140 degrees. There is no water….

The Sinaloa cartel works the border along here—it is dominant in California and Arizona. Cartels control all the trafficking routes throughout Mexico and the ports of entry, or plazas, into the United States.

“When you’re dealing with drug smugglers and human smugglers, there is always a cost associated,” Wilmot said. “You gotta pay the cartel to utilize their area.”

border security 

[Image] Sheriff Leon Wilmot speaks to a Border Patrol agent in the desert near Yuma, Ariz., by the U.S.–Mexico border on May 25, 2018. A small section of border fence can been seen on the left. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

He said his department has encountered many creative ways the cartels try to get illicit goods across the border…more recently, GPS drones….

“I mean, whatever the cartels can use, or their criminal element can use, to exploit our weaknesses that’s what they’re gonna use to get their product across.”

The fence abruptly stops at the foot of the rocky ranges, where it’s too steep for a fence but it’s easy to walk between the two countries.

Wilmot said the cartels employ people to sit up in the hills and act as lookouts.

“They keep ledgers and they’ve got radio systems, they’ve got solar panels, batteries, and they communicate back and forth with their partners in crime on the other side of the border. They watch Border Patrol and they watch us … and when the coast is clear, they let them come through,” Wilmot said.

“That’s how they get paid. For every successful load that gets through, that’s what they get paid for.”…

‘Get the Politics Out of It’

Wilmot says law enforcement and public safety should be looked at completely separately from politics and immigration policy issues.

“It’s two separate deals,” he said. “Politics and public safety are not synonymous at all. We need to enforce the laws of this land. If they don’t like it—which you hear all the time—they’re the lawmakers, change it. But until then, let’s do our job.”

Wilmot said most politicians that visit the border, “they’ll do their photo op, they’ll get a 20 minute briefing, and then boom, they’re done, they’re out. And that’s the problem.”

He said border security needs to be tailored to each geographic area, “because what I might need in Yuma County is not necessarily going to be needed a couple of hundred miles away over in Pima or Cochise or Santa Cruz.”

He has a suggestion for politicians in regard to border security: “Don’t do what the governors say, don’t do what the mayors say. Get with the local law enforcement leaders and then tailor it to the needs for that area. It’s the boots on the ground that know best.”

Yuma deputies work closely with local Border Patrol agents as part of a Homeland Security program called Operation Stonegarden, which provides federal funds to enhance cooperation between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement along the border….

“What’s happening on the border ain’t coming across and staying here—it’s going throughout the United States.””


Friday, December 28, 2018

One third of Latino voters chose Republicans in Nov. 2018 midterms, impressive since GOP “leaders” left 38 House races vacant. Democrat expert says Latinos should vote like persons with ‘black’ skin who vote 90% democrat-AP

Many Republican voters were disenfranchised by the Republican Party Establishment which failed to field candidates in many House races (listed at end of this post). In Nov. 2018 midterms, there was no Republican candidate on the ballot in 38 House districts. Only 3 districts lacked a Democrat candidate. The GOP Establishment is much happier in the minority and was eager to get back to it. Until 1994, Democrats had held the House for 40 straight years.
12/27/18, “Defying pundits, GOP share of Latino vote steady under Trump,” AP, Nicholas Riccardi, Littleton, Colorado

“Pedro Gonzalez has faith in Donald Trump and his party. The 55-year-old Colombian immigrant is a pastor at an evangelical church in suburban Denver. Initially repelled by Trump in 2016, he’s been heartened by the president’s steps to protect religious groups and appoint judges who oppose abortion rights. More important, Gonzalez sees Trump’s presidency as part of a divine plan.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Gonzalez said of the president. “He was put there.”

Though Latino voters are a key part of the Democratic coalition, there is a larger bloc of reliable Republican Latinos than many think. And the GOP’s position among Latinos has not weakened during the Trump administration, despite the president’s rhetoric against [illegal] immigrants and the party’s shift to the right on immigration.

In November’s [2018] elections, 32 percent of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to AP VoteCast data. The survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including 7,738 Latino voters — was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Other surveys also found roughly one-third of Latinos supporting the GOP. Data from the Pew Research Center and from exit polls suggests that a comparable share of about 3 in 10 Latino voters supported Trump in 2016. That tracks the share of Latinos supporting Republicans for the last decade.

The stability of Republicans’ share of the Latino vote frustrates Democrats, who say actions like Trump’s [alleged] family separation policy and his [alleged] demonization of an [illegal] immigrant caravan [seeking a “better” but in any case US taxpayer funded life] should drive Latinos out of the GOP.

“The question is not are Democrats winning the Hispanic vote — it’s why aren’t Democrats winning the Hispanic vote 80-20 or 90-10 the way black voters are? said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. He argues Democrats must invest more in winning Latino voters….

And while Republican-leaning Latinos can be found everywhere in the country, two groups stand out as especially likely to back the GOP-evangelicals and veterans.

Evangelicals comprised about one-quarter of Latino voters, and veterans were 13 percent. Both groups were about evenly split between the two parties….

Sacramento-based Rev. Sam Rodriguez, one of Trump’s spiritual advisers, said evangelical Latinos have a clear reason to vote Republican. “Why do 30 percent of Latinos still support Trump? Because of the Democratic Party’s obsession with abortion,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life and religious liberty and everything else follows.”

Some conservative Latinos say their political leanings make them feel more like a minority than their ethnicity does. Irina VilariƱo, 43, a Miami restauranteur and Cuban immigrant, said she had presidential bumper stickers for Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney and Trump scratched off her car. She said she never suffered from discrimination growing up in a predominantly white south Florida community, “but I remember during the McCain campaign being discriminated against because I supported him.”

The 2018 election was good to Democrats, but Florida disappointed them. They couldn’t convince enough of the state’s often right-leaning Cuban-American voters to support Sen. Bill Nelson, who was ousted by the GOP’s Spanish-speaking Gov. Rick Scott, or rally behind Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who lost to Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Still, in the rest of the country, there were signs that pleased Democrats. Latinos voted at high rates in an election that saw record-setting turnout among all demographic groups. Latinos normally have among the worst midterm turnout rates, and while official data won’t be available for months, a number of formerly-Republican congressional districts in California and New Mexico flipped Democratic….

Gonzalez, the pastor, sees the trend in Colorado. He distributed literature across Spanish-speaking congregations supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, who was crushed by Democratic Rep. Jared Polis as the GOP lost every race for statewide office [in Colorado].

Gonzalez understands the anger among some Latinos at the GOP and Trump for what he says is a false impression of a solely hardline immigration stance. “In the community that is not informed, that is following the rhetoric of the media, there’s a view that Donald Trump is a bad guy,” Gonzalez said.

Evangelicals “understand that he’s there to defend values.” 

Gonzalez’s church is Iglesia Embajada del Reino, or Church of the Kingdom’s Embassy. On a recent Saturday night, an eight-piece band played Spanish-language Christian rock before Gonzalez walked to the podium. Wearing a blue corduroy blazer, blue shirt and grey slacks, Gonzalez, a onetime member of a Marxist group in Colombia, told his congregants that they were ambassadors of a higher power — the kingdom of God.

“It’s important that your political opinions, your social opinions,” not enter into it, Gonzalez said. “We need to represent the position of ‘The Kingdom.’ ”

Gonzalez did not mention Trump in his sermon….He spoke about the Bible as a book of governance.

Afterward the congregation gathered for bowls of posole, a traditional Mexican soup. When politics came up, church-goers struggled to balance their enthusiasm for some of Trump’s judicial appointments with their distaste at his rhetoric and actions.

“I think the president has good, Christian principles,” said Jose Larios, a parks worker. “But we feel as Latinos that he doesn’t embrace our community, and our community is good and hard-working.”

Oscar Murillo, a 37-year-old horse trainer, is not a fan of Trump’s. But he tries to stay open-minded about Republicans. He voted for the GOP candidate for state attorney general, who visited the congregation before the election. “He’s in the same party as Trump, but he seems different,” Murillo said.”

Added: In Nov. 2018 midterms, 38 House districts had no Republican candidate. Only 3 districts lacked a Democrat candidate. Vacant GOP districts included 8 in California, 5 in Florida, 4 in Texas. From Ballotpedia, 12/28/18:


Of interest:

In two key Military-intel Democrat House “wins” there was no Republican on the ballot. In these two cases, incumbent Republicans had retired but the Republican Party neglected to field candidates to run in their place:

11/17/18, Eleven military-intelligence Democrats win US House seats, Patrick Martin, Worldwide Socialist Website

“With the victory of Jared Golden, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, a total of 11 Democrats with military or intelligence backgrounds have won Republican-held seats in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections….

Of the 11 military-intelligence Democrats newly elected to Congress, nine defeated incumbent Republicans, while two won seats left open [vacant] by a Republican retirement. Besides Poliquin, the Republicans defeated by candidates drawn directly from the national-security apparatus include Dan Donovan in New York, Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur in New Jersey, Keith Rothfus in New Jersey, Scott Taylor and David Brat in Virginia, Mike Bishop in Michigan, and Mike Coffman in Colorado.”

Of note:

The Obama administration [was] the first in American history to have been engaged in a major military conflict for every day of its eight years.”