theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trump Doubles Down on 'IMPENETRABLE, PHYSICAL' Wall

Image result for trumps border wall
Donald Trump, fresh off a hastily-arranged visit to Mexico where he met with the country's president, doubled down Wednesday night on his vow to build a "great wall along the southern border" -- and make Mexico pay for it -- while outlining a more focused mission for the deportation force he's promised to create.
In a speech in Phoenix meant to clarify his immigration positions after appearing to soften his stance, the Republican presidential nominee outlined a hardline set of proposals for tackling illegal immigration. He did not, however, definitively call for removing all illegal immigrants in the country.
Rather, Trump vowed to focus first on deporting the estimated 2 million "criminal aliens" on day one, while also prioritizing certain groups like gang members and visa overstays for removal. He said, though, that any illegal immigrant could be subject to deportation under his administration.
"There will be no amnesty," he said, adding that no illegal immigrant would be legalized without first leaving and coming in through "the front door."
Trump said that America’s current immigration system “serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful politicians."
“Let me tell you who it does not serve, it does not serve you the American people. It doesn’t serve you,” he said.
In his speech, Trump also promised to end "catch and release," to increase the number of ICE and border patrol agents, block funding for sanctuary cities, and create a deportation task force that he said would be focused on deporting criminal aliens.
He also promised to cancel President Obama's "illegal" executive actions, and to enforce current immigration laws and accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of not having a plan on immigration, saying she would give "ObamaCare, Social Security and Medicare to illegal immigrants, breaking the federal budget."
When he talked about deporting criminal aliens who had "evaded justice," he also said Clinton had evaded justice. 
"Maybe they'll be able to deport her too," he quipped.
He told the vibrant crowd that there are some immigrants who will be unable to assimilate into American society.
“It’s our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us,” he said.
Amid rumors he was considering softening his trademark position on building a wall on the southern border, Trump made his position very clear.
"We will build a great wall along the southern border," he said to cries of "Build that wall" from the boisterous crowd. "And Mexico will pay for the wall."
He later said the wall would be "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful."
Trump’s speech comes after he met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier in the day and asserted America’s “right” to build a border wall during a hastily-arranged visit to Mexico City.
While both leaders adopted a measured and respectful tone, with Trump calling it a "substantive, direct and constructive exchange of ideas," there was disagreement on the question of the wall.
While Trump told reporters “we didn’t discuss payment of the wall,” Pena Nieto later contradicted Trump and said the subject was among those discussed. He also tweeted that he made it clear "that Mexico will not pay for the wall."
Trump has been accused of stoking tensions on the subject ever since he announced his campaign in June of last year in which he accused Mexico of not sending their best people across the border.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.
In recent weeks, Trump has been accused of softening his tone on the subject, and had been forced to clarify whether he favored a path to citizenship for those here legally, and whether he still planned to build a wall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Populist REVOLT Against FAILURE

What erodes faith in the ruling class are bungled wars, uneven growth and insecurity.

A cartoon depicting Andrew Jackson, in military uniform, during the 1824 presidential race.
A cartoon depicting Andrew Jackson, in military uniform, during the 1824 presidential race. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES


The populist revolt against governing elites sweeping advanced democracies is the latest chapter in the oldest political story. Every society, regardless of its form of government, has a ruling class. The crucial question is whether elites rule in their own interest or for the common good.
In the decades after World War II, the ruling classes in Western Europe and the U.S. managed their economies and social policies in ways that improved the well-being of the overwhelming majority of their citizens. In return, citizens accorded elites a measure of deference. Trust in government was high.
These ruling classes weren’t filled by the traditional aristocracy, and only partly by the wealthy. As time passed, educated professionals assumed the leading role. Many came from relatively humble backgrounds, but they attended the best schools and formed enduring networks with fellow students.
Some were economists, others specialists in public policy and administration, still others scientists whose contributions to the war effort translated into peacetime prestige. Many were lawyers able to train their honed analytical powers on governance. They were, in a term coined in the late 1950s, the “meritocracy.”
In some human endeavors, meritocratic claims are largely unproblematic. In sports, we celebrate the excellence of those who win. In the sciences, peer review identifies accomplishment; most people in each specialty can name the handful of individuals likely to win the Nobel Prize.
Politics, especially in democracies, is more complicated. Democratic equality stands in tension with hierarchical claims of every type, including merit. In a letter to John Adams,Thomas Jefferson characterized elections as the best way of elevating the “natural aristoi” into positions of authority. He had in mind people like himself, liberally educated and trained in the subtle art of governance.
This view didn’t survive the 1820s, when Andrew Jackson led a popular revolt against it. Alleging that a “corrupt bargain” among elites had cheated him out of the presidency in 1824, he swept to a victory in 1828 that he portrayed as a triumph for the common man—farmers, craftsmen, sturdy pioneers—against the moneyed interests. Ever since, the trope of the virtuous people against the self-dealing elites has endured in American politics.
Yet this is more than an American story. In democracies, meritocracy will always be on the defensive. Its legitimacy will always depend on its performance—its ability to provide physical security and broadly shared prosperity, as well as to conduct foreign policy and armed conflict successfully. When it fails to deliver, all bets are off.
This is what has happened throughout the West. Failed wars, domestic insecurity and uneven growth have undermined the authority of governing elites. Although the pro-Brexit vote in the U.K. came as a shock, it was the latest in a series of surprises tending in the same direction.
Among these surprises was the outcome of last year’s Polish election, which replaced a government led by the center-right Civic Platform Party with the populist-nationalist Law and Justice Party. During the past decade, Poland’s economy had grown twice as fast as any other member of the European Union. But as Henry Foy points out in the American Interest, the gains were concentrated in Poland’s largest cities, while other areas lagged. The postcommunist market economy, he observes, “eroded traditional ways of life without adequate recompense.”
Unequal growth triggers cultural resentment. “We only want to cure our country of a few illnesses,” the new Polish foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, told a German newspaper in January. Most Poles, he said, are moved by “tradition, historical awareness, love of country, faith in God, and a normal family life between a woman and a man.” But the previous government acted “as if the world, in a Marxist fashion, were destined to evolve only in one direction—towards a new mix of cultures and races, a world of bicyclists and vegetarians, who only use renewable energy and who battle all signs of religion.”
The new meritocrats, then, are exposed to cultural as well as economic resentment. Education prepares them to surge ahead in the knowledge economy, leaving industrial and rural areas behind. But it also inclines them to question traditional values and welcome cultural diversity. Educated classes are less moved by particularist appeals to ethnic and national identity and more by internationalism and universal norms. Many identify more with elites abroad than with their own less-educated, less-prosperous countrymen.
Similar divisions are evident throughout the West. Depending on the balance of forces, political outcomes vary from one country to the next. But the terms of the struggle are much the same. And so are the dangers, not least to democracy.

WikiLeaks’ Assange: Reporters ‘ERECTING A DEMON’ by Protecting Hillary

Whistleblower says Democrat will ‘put nooses around everyone’s necks as soon as she wins’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Feb. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File) ** FILE **
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Feb. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File) 

Douglas Ernst 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday accused “the American liberal press” of “erecting a demon” by shielding Hillary Clinton from criticism.
Mr. Assange took part in an hourlong interview with The New York Times on Facebook Live to discuss his role in influencing the 2016 presidential election.
He told journalist Jo Becker from the Ecuadorean embassy in London — where he has evaded extradition to Sweden for five years over sexual assault charges he calls political retribution — that reporters were doing the nation a disservice by not properly covering Mrs. Clinton’s record.
“The American liberal press, in falling over themselves to defend Hillary Clinton, are erecting a demon that is going to put nooses around everyone’s necks as soon as she wins the election, which is almost certainly what she’s going to do,” Mr. Assange said.
The newspaper pushed Mr. Assange on his own potential biases, to which he replied that WikiLeaks‘ “enormous range” is not highlighted in the news. He said that his organization has exposed high-level corruption in numerous countries via the release of 10 million documents, including money-laundering schemes and the “oil-money mill” in Russia.
WikiLeaks released almost 20,000 emails from seven accounts belonging to DNC staffers in July. Critics of the group and its 154 staffers say it works to undermine the presidential aspirations of the former secretary of state.
“We don’t target the West. We are an investigative publisher,” Mr. Assange said. “We also represent whistleblowers who want to speak to the public like a lawyer to the greatest court in the world, the court of public opinion. We don’t target anyone.”
Mr. Assange, who claimed Ms. Clinton was creating “a neo-McCarthyist hysteria” over his links to Russia, told Fox News on Aug. 26 that the most explosive material on her will be released before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Wikileaks was launched in 2007 and bills itself as the world’s preeminent defender of freedom of speech and media publishing. Its volunteers ensure continued funding and the facilitation of leaked documents through anonymous electronic drop boxes and a network of lawyers around the globe.
WikiLeaks has released more classified intelligence documents than the rest of the world press combined,” the organization boasts on its website. The organization has never revealed the identity of its sources.
Among its highest-profile leaks have been documents and videos on civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan at American hands, some of which, according to the U.S. military, came from Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning (Bradley Manning at the time). Other leaks included a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and documents on the handling of terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Though the group has targeted other governments and private banks, these cases generally had disposed conservatives poorly toward the group (and disposed liberals well) until the Hillary Clinton / DNC leaks.

Trump: ‘GREAT RESPECT’ for Mexicans

 Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Wednesday proclaiming “great respect” for Mexicans, reversing the harsh language he deployed over the last year as he made his foray into statecraft.
Mr. Trump took to the world stage with a measured approach, and also notched a triumph over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, who’d also been invited to Mexico but has yet to make the trip during the campaign.
For his part, Mr. Pena Nieto signaled a willingness Wednesday to negotiate new trade terms between his country and the U.S., delivering at least one constructive outcome to the meeting for Mr. Trump, the GOP’s presidential nominee.
Mr. Trump, with the Mexican leader looking on, insisted he will build more barriers between the two countries, but also promised to try to control drug cartels and the flow of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico.
And he insisted both countries will benefit from ending illegal immigration.
“It must be solved quickly,” the billionaire businessman said.
Mr. Pena Nieto had a stern rebuke to Mr. Trump, who kicked off his campaign by accusing Mexico of sending rapists and other criminal elements to the U.S.
“Mexicans deserve everyone’s respect,” he said.
Mr. Trump agreed, and lavished praise on Mexicans.
Mr. Trump scheduled the surprise meeting ahead of a major speech later Wednesday where he was expected to lay out his own immigration plans, which he has been very publicly mulling this month.
Mr. Pena Nieto, speaking through a translator, said his country is no longer responsible for massive numbers of illegal immigrants sneaking into the U.S., but acknowledged his country is the central pathway for the increasing number of Central Americans making the dangerous journey north.
Both men said they believe cooperation is critical to stemming the flow.
But they shied away from the most controversial parts of Mr. Trump’s policies, including his demand that Mexico will have to pay for the wall.
“That will be for a later date,” Mr. Trump said.

Ship Operators Explore AUTONOMOUS Sailing

More automation will enable them to optimize use of cargo vessels, cut fuel consumption and labor costs

“All hands on deck” may become a thing of the past.
Ship designers, their operators and regulators are gearing up for a future in which cargo vessels sail the oceans with minimal or even no crew. Advances in automation and ample bandwidth even far offshore could herald the biggest change in shipping since diesel engines replaced steam.
Ship operators believe more automation will enable them to optimize ship use, including cutting fuel consumption. “The benefit of automation is as an enabler of further efficiency across the 630 vessels we operate,” said Palle Laursen, head of Maersk Line Ship Management, a unit of cargo-ship giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.
British engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC is leading the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications initiative involving other companies and universities. It foresees technologies long used to improve commercial airline operations migrating to ships. The group also is tapping know-how from those working on driverless cars to adapt for safe at-sea autonomous operations.
A future unmanned ship could resemble some of the most advanced combat drones. It would sport infrared detectors, high-resolution cameras and laser sensors to monitor its surroundings. The vast troves of data would be transmitted to command centers where staff do little more than monitor progress and ensure ships are operating at optimum speeds.
The consortium completed a study this year that concluded such vessels are feasible and offer savings.
Oskar Levander, vice president for innovation at Rolls-Royce’s marine unit, said moving toward greater autonomy and unmanned shipping could cut transport costs 22%. The bulk would come from lower staff costs, though such vessels also would be more fuel efficient by eliminating the need to carry equipment to support people onboard.
The first steps already are being taken. The Stella ferry, used in the Baltic and operated by Finferries, has been equipped with a variety of sensors including lasers and thermal cameras to assess whether such sensors could allow autonomous operations.
A critical step toward floating remotely controlled unmanned cargo ships on the oceans by 2030, and autonomous ones by 2035, is the ability to pass large amounts of data from ship to shore to ensure safe operations. For years, lack of affordable bandwidth has made that a challenge. A new generation of communications satellites is promising lower costs to transfer data.
Satellite-services company Inmarsat PLC this year launched its Fleet Xpress service to provide improved connectivity to ship operators. It combines high-bandwidth satellites with a more secure connection to guarantee vital safety connectivity. Ronald Spithout,president of Inmarsat’s maritime business, said the connection will let operators monitor engine and other ship functions more closely to enable enhanced automation.
Rolls-Royce, no longer affiliated with the luxury car maker, is betting that a push to smarter vessels will lift the fortunes of its struggling marine business. The prolonged slump in crude prices has led to a sharp drop in demand for sophisticated offshore vessels. Marine sales at Rolls-Royce fell 23% last year after declining 16% the prior year when oil prices started to slump.
Oil prices may rebound, but the demand for the gold-plated vessels used to service oil and gas rigs far offshore may never fully recover, said Mikael Makinen, president of Rolls-Royce’s marine division. Rolls-Royce is betting smart ships will be a new growth market.
The company is already in talks with operators it wouldn’t name to start trials of more autonomous vessels.
Automating shipping faces barriers, though. “There are a vast range of safety, security, navigational and legal challenges to be solved before crewless container vessels can be considered in our fleet,” said Maersk’s Mr. Laursen.
The International Maritime Organization, the arm of the United Nations overseeing global shipping, prohibits ship operations without crew. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, known as Solas, requires all ships to be “sufficiently and efficiently manned,” the IMO said.
Safety rules emerged in 1914 in the wake of the sinking of the RMS Titanic two years earlier, which killed more than 1,500 passengers on the ship’s maiden trans-Atlantic voyage. Current rules, completed in 1974, have been adapted for new technologies such as introducing mandatory requirements for electronic charts and automatic identification systems for ships. Proponents of greater autonomy hope the rules may be further relaxed.
Separately, it is unclear as of yet how security issues like piracy and the mandate to help distressed ships will be addressed for these ships
IMO spokeswoman Natasha Brown said the British government-sponsored Marine Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group, set up in 2014, is reviewing pertinent regulations to potentially propose changes.
James Fanshawe, chairman of the working group, said it hopes to convince the international organization to pave the way for autonomous vessels before the end of the decade.
Capt. Thanasis Apostolopoulos, head of crews at Athens-based Springfield Shipping Co. and a sailor for 17 years, said the drive to unmanned ships may be inevitable. “It will be a sad day for seafarers when it happens,” he said.

Don’t cry for me, America


Before you shed a tear for Hillary Clinton — ensnared yet again in a web spun by the Vast Alt-Right Wing Conspiracy — remember this: There is no “femme” without “fatale.” There is no martyr without sacrifice. There is no shattered glass ceiling without broken shards of glass.
Thus, her enemies from Moscow to Benghazi, from London to Manhattan rifle through all her purloined emails, the ones they were not ever supposed to see because she had hidden them, deleted them, destroyed them, even “BleachBitted” them. Indeed, hell hath no fury like a woman on a mission to destroy her yoga emails.
They paint a greasy scene in which the Department of State is transformed into a global shakedown scheme with the Clinton Foundation as the gatekeeper and “favor” maker around the world. It is an international crime syndicate run ruthlessly by the Clinton mafia.
Working ceaselessly around the clock in every time zone, the syndicate doles out favors and meetings in exchange for millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation from anyone, any entity or any government willing to pay. The Clintons’ personal ATM is one hungry and indiscriminate beast.
Who knew downward dog could be so lucrative?
Donning her martyr’s veil, Mrs. Clinton never stops firing back. She is under siege from American right-wing groups. Right-wing Russians are afraid of her. Criminal hackers want to stop her. The hopelessly right-wing Associated Press is telling only half of the story correlating the connection between donations to the Clinton Foundation and “favors” and/or meetings with the secretary of state.
Only the Clintons would spend years stonewalling and refusing to hand over her schedules and other public documents, then complain that the full story doesn’t get told. Rest assured, the full story is even worse.
Now they feign contriteness. If Mrs. Clinton wins the election, we are told, the former president will quit the foundation. Really? Seriously? And I thought you said there was no conflict.
Truth is, there is no shame here. The Clintons are not contrite. In fact, they love all this attention for their crimes. They read all the press with enormous pride. In this gutter, they are like pigs in slop.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics. They are brazen, they are greedy, they are shameless and they will never be sorry for any of it.
It is like Bubba during all the “bimbo eruptions.” He feigned shame, but the man knows no shame. Even when his libido was causing him serious electile dysfunction, Bubba couldn’t help but bask in pride over his conquests.
The Clintons are to American politics what their adopted son-in-law and protege Anthony Weiner is to the internet. He only pretends to regret getting caught sexting a picture of his “private” parts alongside his little child in bed to a woman in spandex he has never met.
In truth, the Weiner is proud of it all. He wants to share his “accomplishments” with the whole world.
But what does it say about a guy who is so creepy, debauched and self-adoring that even the internet is too decent and civilized a place for him? Indeed, if Bill Clinton had a son, he would look just like Anthony Weiner.
Somebody call child services.

ILLEGALS Stole SS#'s From 1 MILLION Americans. IRS Mum

IRS doesn’t tell 1M taxpayers that illegals stole their Social Security numbers

 The IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants, but officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency’s inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday.
Investigators first alerted the IRS to the problem five years ago, but it’s still not fixed, the inspector general said, and a pilot program meant to test a solution was canceled — and fell woefully short anyway.
As a result, most taxpayers don’t learn that their identities have been stolen and their Social Security files may be screwed up.
“Taxpayers identified as victims of employment-related identity theft are not notified,” the inspector general said.
The report alarmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who were shocked that the IRS had gone for so long without fixing the issue.
“It is stunning that the IRS has chosen to aid and abet identity thieves for so long instead of protecting the innocent victims of the theft,” said Sen. Daniel Coats, Indiana Republican.
Victims’ numbers are stolen by illegal immigrants who need to give employers a valid Social Security number in order to get a job. Employers are prohibited from probing too deeply into numbers, even when they suspect fraud.
But the IRS learns of the scam when the illegal immigrants file their taxes using a special Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) the agency doles out chiefly to illegal immigrants as a way of making sure they’re paying taxes even if they’re not supposed to be in the U.S.
Between 2011 and 2015 the agency flagged nearly 1.1 million returns where someone appeared to have stolen a valid Social Security number, the inspector general said.
The IRS did not have any new comment on the findings, instead referring reporters to an official response filed with the inspector general, in which the agency insisted it’s making progress.
Karen Schiller, commissioner for the IRS‘ small business and self-employed division, said the 2014 pilot program was helpful, even if it didn’t completely solve the notification problem, and said the agency will try to alert all taxpayers beginning next year.
“As we continue to battle and make progress against all strains of identity theft in the tax ecosystem, we recognized that we were missing an important partner in this effort — the taxpaying public,” said Ms. Schiller, who had the task of answering the inspector general.
She also vowed to figure out a system to let the Social Security Administration (SSA) know if someone’s number has been stolen.
Under the 2014 pilot program, the IRS did notify some 25,000 taxpayers whose SSNs were pilfered. The notice they received told them to contact credit-monitoring agencies to try to head off any more damage to their personal finances.
But the IRS said it’s prevented by federal law from telling taxpayers who stole their identity.
The IRS says its role is not to enforce immigration laws but rather to collect taxes. The agency issues ITINs to ensure that unauthorized workers can still file tax returns, even if they aren’t supposed to be working in the U.S.
Taxpayers who use an ITIN are eligible for some tax credits, particularly for their children who are U.S. citizens.
Congressional Republicans have long complained to the IRS that it is protecting illegal immigrants from discovery by allowing the use of ITINs but failing to share the information with other agencies.
Mr. Coats, who has written legislation requiring victims to be notified, even confronted IRS officials about their lax behavior at a hearing in April.
“All of us can agree that victims need to know that they’re victims, and need to know that an agency of the federal government, whether it’s IRS or whether it’s SSA, or both, ought to have some ability to talk to each other,” Mr. Coats said.
IRS Commissioner John G. Koskinen told Mr. Coats at the hearing that in many of the cases, friends or relatives lent their Social Security numbers to the unauthorized workers, and already know their information is being fraudulently used.
He also said the agency struggled to come up with a solution that wouldn’t chase illegal immigrants away from filing their taxes altogether.
“Obviously, priority for taxpayers and the IRS is collecting those taxes,” he said.
Mr. Koskinen testified at the time that it may take new legislation from Congress to let his agency inform taxpayers they’d been the subject of identity theft.
But the hiccup in communicating with the Social Security Administration seems like it should be easier to solve. The inspector general, however, said the IRS didn’t have a system set up to make sure SSA always knew of the fraud.
In some cases IRS employees said they sent a notice, but the Social Security Administration had no record of it. In other cases, it appears the IRS didn’t even bother to make a notification.
“The lack of a formal process to ensure that the SSA is notified of income not associated with an innocent taxpayer is problematic because this notification is essential to ensure that victims’ Social Security benefits are not affected,” the inspector general said.