It Is Fine Here

With all the viscous California, I thought I might comment on the weather locally. We had one serious rain storm (which located two leak areas in my roof), but otherwise we in the San Diego area have been un-impacted. Whilst there are several microclimates locally, my inland area has had about eight inches of rain during this rain season (about an extra three inches over normal), there are central and Northern California areas with twenty five inches of rain. 
Those on the East Coast who are unfamiliar with California, we have Counties that are larger than East Coast states, and our coast line length means we have at least three main weather zones, and many sub-zones. San Diego is a sub-zone of Southern California, and our rain is seldom just the bitter end of a Northern storm coming in from Alaska, but is often one such storm that picks up moister from Hawaii, a So-called Pineapple Express.

As you can note, the California drought is mostly over. It never existed in San Diego because we have spent a decade building drinking reservoirs, and we have a huge, new desalination plant. We suffered through the drought rules only because the idiots in Sacramento wouldn’t let us out of the rules.

California has a couple of northern storms to go, and a huge snow melt — none of which will impact San Diego. Our area remains placid. As a consequence, San Diego has almost unlivable house prices, and the median price for current house sales is $555,070, and it takes a salary of $118,000 to buy a median home. That is a steep climb for new arrivals.


Last year San Diego County voters were offered an “opportunity” to fund a large number of local road repair/building and resurfacing efforts, if the voters approved by a 2/3 vote.
Despite massive advertising, the Measure A, failed.

Now we learn, we were being honeyfuggled! (Yes, it is a word, and it has been years since I used it, but when writing about politicians I should use it far more often.)

The government entity giving the public this “opportunity” is called SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Area Governments, a high powered group with a huge staff and a governing board with representatives from each city in the County. Often, Mayors themselves are the representatives.

Like most government organizations, the government representatives on the Board are politicians and are not skilled at reading spreadsheets. 

(As an aside, I once got my hands on the Summary Budget of the Poway School District, and a quick comparison to the previous budget jumped out to me on the page that every new figure was a multiple of the previous figure out to three places! All the assurances that the staff was supposed to have worked for months on the budget, when actually some guy with a calculator spent 15 minutes multiplying last year’s numbers to increase them by the same multiple.)

The SANDAG staff KNEW that their income from a proposed tax was vastly overstated — the public position was $18 billion when they, and at least some of the political members KNEW that the actual number was $14 billion. 

Window Dressing

POLITICO is reporting just what I feared and blogged prior to the Inauguration, that President Trump is surrounding himself with a first class Cabinet — then ignoring them. 
Apparently, after getting Tillerson as Secretary of State by promising him that as Secretary of State, Tillerson would have a strong input into Ambassadorships, the first 15 Ambassadors had no input from Tillerson. Reports are that Jared Kushner is a Shadow Secretary of State, and that Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary General Kelley and General Mattis, Secretary of Defense are a Bloc called the “Adults in the Room”

According to POLITICO, the “Adults” are being ignored also on appointments to their own staffs, despite promises made before recruiting them to the Cabinet, and General Mattis is traveling the globe on tour to reassure nations after some of Trump’s statements.

Although the official announcement of SEAL Admiral Bob Harward refusal to accept the National Security Advisor post referred to personal reasons, it has been widely reported that his main reason was the Administration chaos. One could easily guess that the Admiral knew that he too would be window dressing, and that his knowledge and counsel would be ignored. 

This a a Donald and Jared show, and each of his Cabinet members were powerful and successful individuals who might just submit their resignations. They are not the window dressing type!

Trump’s Watergate

My opinion earlier this week that I strongly suspected that General Flynn was in contact with the Russian ambassador at the behest of President Trump is further questioned by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post this morning.
Under a headline that asks why smart people do dumb things, he concludes (probably correctly) that Trump orders them to do it.

Milbank says that General Flynn, deeply involved with spying “means and methods” knew his conversations, several of them, with the Russian Ambassador prior to the Inauguration was being recorded. Milbank concluded, as I did, that Trump ordered it. 

Milbank further concludes that Spokesman Spicer, a long time and highly capable spokesman would not have made that embarrassing first news conference in which he angrily berated the press and took no questions, unless ordered to do so. Kellyanne Conway, likewise a consummate professional, would not have plugged Ivanka’s clothing line without direct marching orders from Trump, nor would Advisor Miller had so vigorously defended the undefinable claim of vast voter fraud on the Sunday shows without orders.

That General Flynn was so summarily thrown under the bus was a shame, but he decided to obey an unlawful order, and he should have resigned rather than obeying it. I had previously opined that if he has to give sworn testimony, he will not lie.

I also questioned if this incident had the heft to rise to the level of impeachment, but now I think it just might.Trump has no political capital to spend with the press,  and little support among Republicans in Congress. 

It is not, as Thomas Friedman claims, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, but it may well be Watergate.

Who Is Next?

General Flynn is out, but the question that the Intelligence Committees must answer is: What did President Trump know, and when did he know it?
It would surprise me if General Flynn would call the Russian Ambassador on the same day as the Obama placed sanctions against Russia. The Democrats are calling for an investigation, but they would jump on any issue to embarrass President Trump. 

It is going to take some disaffected Republicans to further an investigation, and this issue could have the sort of heft necessary to actually impeach the president if General Flynn was acting on orders from the President. (I strongly suspect he was!)

I have previously written that given the choice of Trump or Hillary, I would prefer Trump because the Republicans would be more willing to impeach Trump on an issue, than the Democrats would be willing to impeach Hillary on ANY issue.

I don’t know if this is the issue that will dismount the president, but he will give many issues over four years. Certainly if General Flynn was directed by President Elect Trump then this could be the issue, and if General Flynn were to be placed under oath I sincerely doubt that he would lie.

I doubt the General Petraeus is a serious candidate, and I expect Admiral Harward is the leading candidate.

Fear Among the Illegals

I think I can explain the Immigration raids, because I have been to this rodeo before.
The question of who gets picked up and deported is a story seen before. Right now they are concentrating of those with Deportation Orders from an Immigration Judge, but one that was placed on hold by the Obama Administration.

Those are people who have had their day in Court, and the Court has agreed they are “Bad Hombres.” Those Court Orders have piled up for years, but now they are. Active again.

If in knocking on doors, they find otherwise innocent family members or friends who have committed no crime other than the misdemeanor of crossing the border, then Immigration can’t ignore them, so they will be deported also.

INS isn’t looking for gardeners and housekeepers, but Immigration officers are sworn peace officers and can’t simply ignore those gardeners and housekeepers so they get swept up also, and there may be more of them than those with outstanding warrants in the family. 

The fear in the illegal immigrant community is warranted if they live with someone previously ordered deported, or are just visiting them at the wrong time. There is a huge backlog of Court ordered deportation orders, so this will continue for some time

And So It Begins

The case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is very instructive. She is in Mexico tonight, having been tried, convicted of using a falsified Social Security card, and having been given temporary asylum by President Obama because she was not a threat.
Not a threat, but a convicted felon, and under the Trump administration, eligible for deportation! She knew she was on borrowed time, and her time ran out. She has two children who were American citizens as Anchor Babies. (Critics will claim this is breaking up the family, but that was Guadalupes’ choice, she could have taken her family with her.)  

Guadalupes’ main problem is that she is in Mexico that she has not lived in for decades and she is a bit lost, I am certain. That is not a legal concern, just a note that deportation is difficult for many, and it will also be difficult for the countries who must host the deportees — particularly gang members.

It would be more acceptable to me if the first deportee had been some gang member of MS-13, but Guadalupe was not just convicted of a felony (fake SS number), she actually spent time in an ICE facility and was released as a low risk ONLY if she checked in with ICE regularly. She had been marked for deportation, the question was, “when.”

Well, when was yesterday. Those who have kept their heads down should not be worried, but millions of illegal aliens who, in addition to simply coming across a usually unmarked border, (a misdemeanor,) also committed a serious misdemeanor (drunk driving) or a felony (using forged documents), are looking over their shoulder. (And should be.)

It begins, and the reaction begins also.