I made it back! Hope everyone had a great Easter.
Let’s dive in.
HERE THEY COME
I know this will come as an absolute shock to most of the reading audience, but there’s a gaggle of Central Americans heading towards our border.
The current gaggle totals anywhere from 1,100 to 1,500 people, depending upon whom you read, and is primarily comprised of Hondurans seeking political asylum from the newly-elected government of Juan Orlando Hernándein. They plan to apply in both Mexico and the U.S. (spoiler alert: Mexico will pawn them off on us unless PDT plays hardball).
The would-be refugee exodus was organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), a “nonprofit migrant rights group that works to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants on the move.” They ensure that illegals get here safe and sound. Wouldn’t you love to see where their funding comes from? I’m working on it.
The group organizes a “march” toward our border every Holy Week with the intention of applying for asylum. They build shelters along the migration route and organize so-called caravans for the purpose of making the trip safer. Strength in numbers provides cover from human traffickers and drug cartels.
PSF organized a similar caravan around last Easter, in part as a safety measure for migrants and in part as a protest against dangerous conditions on the migrant trail through Mexico. At least that’s the mission statement.
Now if we could only know how many those seeking asylum are #BadHombres, not to mention God knows who else could blend in with the crowd.
The current batch is traveling roughly 1,400 miles by foot, bus, truck or cargo train to the our border, set off from Tapachula, Mexico’s southernmost city, on March 25.
They’ll travel through the city of Puebla just south of Mexico City, where they will take in a seminar on Mexican and U.S. refugee and asylum law. They are then scheduled to visit Mexico’s Senate and the Honduran consulate in Mexico City.
Definitely a great time to get those cameras on Mexican officials and ask why they’re not taking in their southern neighbors as they would have our country take in their citizens.
PDT, having a good feel for his base, is already voicing his displeasure with the whole situation and using it as a platform to expose the inaction of both the U.S. and Mexican governments, respectively. His first call was the most common sense one; for Mexico to stop the migrants at the border:
“They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws,” PDT tweeted.
Foreign nationals in Mexico must generally present an official document given to them upon entry to legally exit the country. Mexico takes its immigration seriously. It’s unclear how many of the caravan folk have passports or entered Mexico legally (very few I presume), but the group’s size and visibility is keeping Mexican authorities at arm’s length.
And what a shame, considering a report by the left-wing BBC found that less than 100 of the caravan folk want to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
Their reasoning is actually pretty solid. According to the report, most want to stay in Mexico because they’ll face fewer language difficulties, they already have work or family in Mexico, or they are deterred by PDT’s rhetoric and increased immigration enforcement (talk about a nugget of good news in an otherwise depressing piece).
PDT would do VERY well to tweet out that report and put (more) pressure on the Mexican government. The people want to be there. Ask them why they hate refugees.
SO WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN WITH THIS FRIGGIN THING?
Many have inquired about National Guard deployments to the border. As you all know, those must be ordered by the governors of the respective states. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott already has his down there. California is governed by a dirty hippie on shrooms who pardons crack dealers just to shun PDT. Either way, it doesn’t matter much because they’re nothing they can do to stop people from applying for asylum, at least once they arrive.
It’s like this. The migrants will show up at the border and get processed. From there, it’s a logistics game. While applying for asylum, one of two things will happen: they’ll be housed in a detention center or let loose into the community via bus station. And given the shortages in detention space, guess what — Main St. here they come.
That’s the law. If you can’t house ’em, they’re let loose. We aid and abet illegal immigration due to logistics; ones that politicians don’t care to improve anytime soon. Cheap labor is big business, after all, and big business calls the shots in D.C.
Welcome to the Swamp.
There is hope, though. If PDT uses economic leverage wisely, as he’s hinted to on Twitter by threatening to pull out of NAFTA if Mexico continues to be useless on the border, a lot can be done to solve this problem before it ever reaches our border patrol. With the proper “motivation,” Mexican authorities can 1) grant asylum to the caravan folk, or 2) return them to sender, as they’ve done with hundreds of thousands Hondurans before them. Either of those options work for me so long as they’re, 3) the hell away from here.
SOMETHING DOESN’T SMELL RIGHT
I agree. The whole damn thing stinks. It’s like a bad reality show designed to drive down Trump’s approval ratings, since the economy has made him (somewhat) bulletproof as of late.
The group is definitely all about open borders, especially at the expense of Americans taxpayers. As noted above, I’d like some time to learn where their funds are coming from. At the risk of sounding conspiratorial, this has Soros written all over it. The organization didn’t just prop up, to be sure, but it sure is a convenient cause right now. A slow march of poor refugees ending at our border, leaving it up to the big mean Trump to decide whether the pitiful caravan folk will achieve the American dream.
Give me a friggin break already.
No one will put the moral onus on Mexico to step up to the plate for people who would assimilate far better to their country than our own. It will be all about Trump hating da poor lil churren; no mind paid to da poor lil churren already here.
There’s a reason why this annual asylum run is just now getting media attention. They intend to use it as a battering ram in the midterms. They want PDT and Republicans in general to appear apathetic and cruel. On the other hand, if asylum is granted and/or they’re allowed into public while the application is pending, they’ll be able to portray PDT as weak and ineffective, putting a dent in his base.
It’s a no-lose strategy for our enemies, and a quite brilliant one. Which means it will require an equally brilliant response. PDT is going to have to shift into serious marketing mode and re-brand this whole ordeal. Or even better, find a way to stop it.
If he does as I hope and uses leverage to get Mexico to handle this problem, it will be a big hit with his base. You think his approval rating is climbing right now? Let him leave a thousand would-be border jumpers empty-handed. Even Ann Coulter might jump back on the Trump train for a day or two.
Like everything else, it will depend on results.
These people are calculated, folks. And they’re good. PDT has to play hardball. He has about 10 days to do so.
INGRAHAM IN THE CROSSHAIRS
Arrogant-rich-kid-in-every-80’s-movie David Hogg has pointed his megaphone toward Laura Ingraham. And sadly, he’s getting results.
The trouble started last Thursday, when Ingraham dared to tweet that His Royal Majesty was whining about not getting into colleges that he may have not gotten into anyway. But you know, David knew this kid that got shot once, so no one can say anything about him ever. That’s how this works, right?
Hogg boy responded to the slight by calling on his Twitter following to contact her top advertisers, putting out a list of the top 15.
More than a dozen advertisers peed their pants at the thought of a coochie rally at their headquarters and have stated publicly that they have pulled their commercials from the show. Far more have stayed away without making any public announcements.
Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual, Office Depot, Expedia, Nestle and Hulu are the largest to pull out of the show thus far.
As of today, the program only has two spots — both from IBM — that were not direct response advertisers (those that typically sell products and services through a 1-800 number and don’t really give a crap about where their spots run).
It’s gotten so bad that even the studio that made “Chappaquiddick” has pulled its ads from the program. That’s right. They made a movie about that time Teddy Kennedy killed a woman and they’re afraid of upsetting leftist hordes. My brain is hemorrhaging.
THE GOOD NEWS:
First off, reports are that the boycott has yet to take a significant financial hit. That’s the most important news. And unless it continues to gain momentum, which I don’t believe it will, things should recover just fine.
No advertiser has actually pulled their dollars from the network but have simply moved from “The Ingraham Angle” to other programs on the Fox News schedule. Most of the advertisers are out because they want to avoid the controversy associated with the story and will probably return once people start looking at the next shiny thing and forget all about this nonsense.
Fox News appears to be sticking by their girl.
“We cannot and will not allow voices to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts,” co-president Jack Abernethy said in a statement. “We look forward to having Laura Ingraham back hosting her program next Monday when she returns from spring vacation with her children.”
It could be genuine courage, or maybe that they just expect this to blow over soon enough. Or maybe they saw Ben Shapiro tweet out a similar boycott call and know that the effects will offset in short order.
Whatever it is, it’s nice to see them not folding like a lawn chair, as is customary on the Right. Ingraham announced she’s taking a break (to let this die down) but she’ll be back in a week or so.
I can’t wait for karma to catch up to this whiny brat.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Well, it was a matter of time. After taking it on the chin for the last month, China has decided to fire a few shots of their own in the new trade war.
They’re implementing new tariffs on meat, fruit and other products from the U.S. as retaliation for American duties, which has everyone freaking out about a possible escalation in economic combat between the world’s two largest economies.
Beijing’s latest move, announced by its finance ministry in a statement from yesterday, is direct retaliation against taxes levied by PDT on imported steel and aluminum. Chinese officials had been warning over the last few weeks that their country would take action against the U.S. The tariffs begin today.
China’s Customs Tariff Commission is increasing the tariff rate on pork products and aluminum scrap by 25%. It’s also imposing a new 15% tariff on 120 other imported U.S. commodities, from almonds to apples and berries.
All told, the extra tariffs will hit 128 kinds of U.S. products. Here is the full list of affected exports.
China says the affected U.S. goods had an import value of $3 billion in 2017 and included wine, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, steel pipes, modified ethanol and ginseng, so that’s what we stand to lose from their latest tax hike.
The decision to target $3 billion in U.S. imports is real money, to be sure, but it’s a drop in the ocean given the size of our bilateral trading relationship. Just as a point of reference, U.S. goods exported to China in 2016 totaled $115.6 billion.
Some of the people who suffer most may be America’s farmers — many of whom are from heavy Trump areas. U.S. farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017. The American pork industry sent $1.1 billion in products, making China the No. 3 market for U.S. pork.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that their losses are likely to be offset by the tax cuts. All the same, it will cost their bottom lines.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW:
This mess is likely to get uglier. In addition to the steel/aluminum tariffs, the White House finally decided to strike back at China for stealing American technology and pressuring U.S. companies to hand it over. Beijing may be saving even stronger retaliatory measures for a response to that White House tariffs associated with that theft, though no one yet knows exactly what will happen on either side.
This tariff business is complicated stuff, but I’ll try to give you the meat and potatoes. Basically, both sides are playing chicken with higher prices, betting that the other will fold first. We’re in a stronger position overall because, well, we have a stronger economy, but that assumes that we’ll be able to maintain the political will to fight. That’s where China has a distinct advantage. Their government couldn’t care less what their people think. That’s what makes them China. If this becomes a contest of which population can absorb more damage, we’re at an inherent disadvantage.
As it stands right now, neither side is committing suicide. There are tariffs both ways, but not enough to cripple either party. When the tech tariffs come down, though, hold onto your hats. As the kids say, it’s finna get real.
AWAN A SET-UP LIKE THEY HAD
Remember the Awan brothers and their merry band of shady criminals? They sure were a trusted bunch.
Not a single one of 44 House Democrats bothered with background checks for members of the now-infamous group of Pakistani IT aides who ended up gaining unauthorized access to highly sensitive congressional data. Not one.
House security rules require members to start a background check for employees, but they can also put down that another member has vouched for the person.
The background check was waived for all five IT workers, who made headlines last year for what the House inspector general’s report described as activity with “nefarious purposes.”
Pakistan-born Imran Awan, who served as a tech aide in Congress for 13 friggin years, managed to snag congressional IT jobs with salaries as high as $165,000 for his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas, who had just been fired from McDonald’s.
Fired from Mickey D’s but able to get a congressional IT job. I can’t make this up.
Together the group was found logging into accounts of representatives who had not hired them, using representatives’ private usernames, and uploading data off of the House network, all according to the House IG report.
Abid was working for Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY) when $120,000 of computer equipment disappeared. Then-congressman (and now California Attorney General) Xavier Becerra, who hired Imran in the first place, had his server stolen after the IG listed it as evidence in an investigation.
Some of the IG’s investigators who reviewed the aides’ network activity mused that they may have been ignoring House security protocol simply to share job duties, but some other, more forward-thinking investigators felt it was something more sinister.
The Capitol Police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force both investigated the matter, and the five aides were blocked from accessing the House network in February, 2017.
A background check on Imran or Abid would have found several red flags. Abid had a $1.1 million bankruptcy, at least three misdemeanors, and six lawsuits against him or his companies in his past. This guy shouldn’t have been allowed within 20 miles of the Capitol, much less working under its dome.
Imran had several misdemeanor convictions for vehicular crimes, committed bank fraud on a home-equity loan, and had the police called on him multiple times by at least three Muslim women, one of whom was found bloodied and two of whom said they felt like slaves or as if they were in captivity.
Um, yeah. That’s what Muslims do, geniuses
Both brothers were involved with a car dealership that obtained $100,000 from an Iraqi government official on the run from U.S. authorities, just as Imran was on the run before being arrested by the FBI at the airport.
Debbie WhensSheGettingArrested Schultz (D-FL) was reluctant to fire Imran after questions about him and his family arose, even after he lost access to the House computer servers. The former DNC Hillary puppet suggested last year that the accusations against Imran were because of Islamophobia. “As a mother, a Jew, and a member of Congress,” she stuck by him, she said.
Lawyers for the Awan clan have called claims of espionage “ludicrous” and describe “a very lax environment” regarding House computer security.
Here’s a thought, Captain Thinktank: SPIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LAX SECURITY ENVIRONMENTS.
Again, with the brain hemorrhage.
ARE THESE GUYS GOING TO TRIAL OR WHAT?
Theoretically, yes, but the trial was recently postponed for the 4th time, making for a May 4 trial date. This is where it gets really interesting, though.
Remember when DWS got all hot and bothered about a laptop that found its way into the hands of the Capitol Police, via old phone booth in the middle of the night? No? Ok then, I’ll fill you in. Debbie WoahImScrewedNow Schultz’s laptop was found in a Capitol Building phone booth that no one ever uses at about 1am.
That laptop is believed to be the reason for the constant delays, as attorneys for both Awan and Schultz are fighting to keep it out of official evidence, with the hard drive being reported as what will take center stage once this thing is finally prosecuted.
Daily Caller reports:
“The government has been in discussions with counsel for the defendants regarding complex discovery issues and other legal issues in this case, in particular issues surrounding claims of attorney-client privilege being raised by defendant Imran Awan,” court papers filed Tuesday say. […]
Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, said at the last hearing: “We do expect there being an attorney-client privilege issue in this case… What occurred is a backpack from my client was found, he was trying to get a better signal, there was a note that said attorney client privilege and a hard drive. We feel very strongly about this.” […]
Wasserman Schultz fought to prevent law enforcement from looking at the laptop, threatening a police chief with “consequences” and implying it was “a member’s” laptop. She hired an outside lawyer, Bill Pittard, who specializes in the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution that is designed to protect lawmakers from persecution for political stances, but lawmakers have used to try to stymie criminal probes in the past.
BOTTOM LINE: We’ve got a group of Pakistani IT aides who stole congressional data (God knows what), stored it on an offsite server, then tried to bolt town once their scheme was discovered.
Now we know that these guys were given TS/SCI access without so much as a cursory background check, instead slipping through the cracks through the “voucher” system.
So was vouching for these fine, upstanding gentlemen, exactly? Could it be DWS?
And why did she refuse to fire them even after it became apparent that they were shady characters? And how did she not know at least something about their past? Did she really bring in IT aides from off the street?
Whatever is happening here, it goes beyond the Awans. Someone, somewhere in power knows something.
I guess it will be at least May until we find out anything, unless the warriors of alternative news can deliver the goods before then.
One can only hope.
There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.
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