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4.23.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Daily Grind

 

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4.22.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Daily Grind

 

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4.20.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Above the Fold

A 12-Year-Old’s Trek of Despair Ends in a Noose at the Border

Noemi Álvarez Quillay took the first steps of the 6,500-mile journey to New York City from the southern highlands of Ecuador on Tuesday, Feb. 4, after darkness fell.

A bashful, studious girl, Noemi walked 10 minutes across dirt roads that cut through corn and potato fields, reaching the highway to Quito. She carried a small suitcase. Her grandfather Cipriano Quillay flagged down a bus and watched her board. She was 12.

From that moment, and through the remaining five weeks of her life, Noemi was in the company of strangers, including coyotes — human smugglers, hired by her parents in the Bronx to bring her to them. Her parents had come to the United States illegally and settled in New York when Noemi was a toddler.

Noemi was part of a human flood tide that has swelled since 2011: The United States resettlement agency expects to care for nine times as many unaccompanied migrant children in 2014 as it did three years ago.

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On Friday, March 7, in Ciudad Juárez, police saw Domingo Fermas Uves, 52, urinating outside a pickup truck, according to Alejandro Maldonado, a police spokesman. Inside was Noemi. In the official account, Mr. Fermas told officers that he was part of a network of smugglers hired by the girl’s family to take her to the United States. The man gave false details about the girl, saying she was 8 years old and from an inland state in Mexico. The police recorded her name as Noemi Álvarez Astorga.

Noemi was taken to Casa de la Esperanza, a shelter for Mexican minors whose name means “House of Hope.” Over that weekend, she was questioned by a prosecutor. After that, a doctor described Noemi as being “terrified,” according to a report in El Diario of Juarez.

On March 11, when called to eat, Noemi instead went into the bathroom. Another girl could not get in. The doctor, Alicia Soria Espino, and others broke open the door and found Noemi hanging by the cloth shower curtain.

[JCM]

Act of love Jeb?

This is the flip side of poor immigration controls on our part. The desperate willing to risk it all, lured by lax controls and the possiblity of amnesty.

Instead of an open front door, where immigrants can come and be welcomed, through safe channels, the current system encourages criminality.

Instead the most desperate are preyed upon and their hopelessness turned into horrors.

While the Slimes intends this as story to encourage amnesty, it is the failures to control the border, and chimera of amnesty that is partially to blame.


Through a Google Glass, Darkly

“Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it.” ​—​Philip K. Dick

The first time I saw someone wearing Google Glass in the wild, I was standing at a friend’s party at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin​—​the place where the tech world gathers each year to gleefully discover what next big “innovation” will eventually displace you. The party hotel was trendily down-market, a retro motor-court, but one where the house marinates its own cocktail olives while serving pepper-glazed bacon at Saturday jazz brunch.

As I stood there among media types and Nerd-World machers, draining my fourth Lone Star beer, trying to drown out the sound of all the buzzwords​—​disruption! .  .  . big data! .  .  . The Cloud!​—​that’s when I saw him, with the future sitting on his face, or at least what will become the future if Google has its way. And with $59.8 billion in annual revenue and 70 percent of the world’s advertising-optimized Internet search market in its back pocket (figures I just Googled), Google often has its way.

There he was in his Google Glass, which, if you’re a shut-in who’s escaped the last two years of unremitting hype, is Google’s foray into wearable face computers. Not yet released to the public (it’s currently in its beta phase, and is in the hands of developers, “Glass Explorers,” and tech-world beautiful people, such as they are), Glass essentially puts a smartphone, including camera, videorecorder, and Internet, on your eye. The Glasshole, as the Glass-wearing elect are now commonly called, stood there in his lensless frames. Or not so much frames, as a titanium bar draped across his brow, to which is affixed a rectangular three-quarter-inch LED display over one eye, and a colorful plastic “touchpad” arm that rests over one ear and also holds the circuitry. Curiosity-seekers, ooohing-and-ahhhing, thronged like he was a carnival exhibit. A Glassholier-than-thou shadow crept over his countenance, his facial muscles toggling between smugness and self-consciousness. As with most Glassholes, it wasn’t entirely clear if he was wearing Glass, or Glass was wearing him.


What the press is missing in Bloomberg's anti-gun push

Gun control has largely been a top down effort. Michael Bloomberg’s latest announcement that he will spend another $50 million to push gun control – 2.5 times the amount spent by the NRA annually on political activities – is all too typical. Last year, gun control groups, largely due to Bloomberg’s money, outspent gun rights groups by about 7.4 to 1 on TV advertising.

With a net worth of $31.2 billion, Bloomberg can afford round-the-clock armed bodyguards, but he doesn’t recognize the need for others to have armed protection.

Despite his money, mayors belonging to Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns represent only about 2.5 percent of America’s cities and towns (885 out of over 35,000) and most of these members represent very small towns.

Since December, Bloomberg has merged with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, but despite frequent prominent media appearances and Bloomberg’s funding, as of today, Moms Demand Action has 18 thousand followers on Twitter. No membership information is available and if you want to donate to their cause you are told to write the check to Bloomberg’s Mayors organization.


The Silencing of Political Speech Should Trouble Everyone

 

 

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4.19.2014 4:00 AM

C2 Saturday A.M. Bulldog Edition

 

Emails Show Corruption At Heart Of Administration

Corruption: New emails show that both the IRS and Justice Department were involved in a probe of Tea Party and other conservative groups. This is no mere scandal — it's a major breach of the law.

The newly released emails were gathered for a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan public interest law group. They show that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner discussed with the Justice Department going after conservative groups that she believed lied about their political activities.

What's shocking is that this discussion came just days before Lerner acknowledged that the IRS had investigated tea-party and other conservative groups but insisted that it was an isolated incident conducted by low-level officials in the IRS' Cincinnati office.

It was a lie. In a May 8 email to Nikole Flax, then the chief of staff to the acting IRS commissioner, Lerner discusses a phone call from Richard Pilger, who headed the Justice Department's elections crimes unit.

According to Lerner, Pilger wondered if the IRS could help him "piece together false-statement cases about applicants who 'lied'" on applications for tax-free status.

In a subsequent email, Lerner responded: "I think we should do it — also need to include CI (the criminal investigation unit), which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC (the Federal Election Commission). Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?"

It's been clear for some time that this goes beyond a mere rogue IRS operation in Cincinnati. But until now, we didn't know how far it went.

[JCM]

This abuse of power, collusion between officials at high levels of government to maliciously harass and deny individuals their rights and legal due process requires a Select Committee to investigate. Having multiple committee investigations results in confusion, delays, and committees working at cross purposes.

Trey Gowdy would be an excellent choice to chair a Select Committee. Failure to take appropriate action against what is clearly egregious abuses of power only emboldens and empowers this administration in the corruption.

We've seen this with the attempts to write into law the abuses committee by the IRS.


Where Did Your Tax Money Go?

Where does the money go

Major entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) gobbled up 49 percent, while more federal benefits took another 20 percent. These additional “income security” benefits include federal employee retirement and disability, unemployment benefits, and welfare programs such as food and housing assistance. Obamacare spending didn’t really kick in until 2014, so that will show up in next year’s breakdown.

See how this compares to last year’s breakdown: National defense has been cut, while the major entitlements picked up an even larger percentage.

Is this where you expect the government to spend most of your money?


The rich do not pay the most taxes, they pay ALL the taxes

Buried inside a Congressional Budget Office report this week was this nugget: when it comes to individual income taxes, the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent...pay negative 9 percent.

You read that right. One group is paying more than 100 percent of individual income taxes, the other is paying less than zero.

It's right there in Table 3 on page 13 of the report. The numbers are based on 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures.

How does someone pay negative taxes? The CBO's formula offsets whatever taxes are paid with "refundable tax credits." Some of these are due to "government transfers" of money back to the taxpayer in the form of social security and food stamps.

That's not to say the rich are going broke. Hardly.

According to the CBO, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans saw before-tax income grow more than 16 percent from 2009 to 2010, which isn't such a surprise since the stock market was coming off the bottom. Most of the rest of the country only saw gross incomes grow about 1 percent. When it comes to federal taxes,the top bracket paid 69 percent of the total last year. The bottom bracket paid 0.4 percent.


Tax Dollars at Work: Attorney General Eric Holder Whines About Oversight and Accountability


 

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