Self-Driving Shuttles Hit Public Streets in California Pilot Program

San Ramon, California is a suburban community of around 72,000 located 34 miles east of San Francisco. The city is the first place in the nation where self-driving vehicles are allowed to function without a backup human driver in the seat, albeit in a limited situation. The shuttles scoot along at a safe 12 miles per hour on a pre-determined route in a business park — but this is a major step into the brave new automated world within the vehicle category.

For more on advanced bus technology, see Robotic Buses Leapfrog Self-Driving Trucks in Autonomy Revolution.

Driver is a job category that employs over three million workers in the United States, and those jobs are about to be made obsolete for humans over time because the machines coming on line are said to be safer and are certainly cheaper to run.

There needs to be a discussion in Washington of the approaching social earthquake when a substantial portion of the American workforce is no longer employable because of smart machines. For starters, America can stop importing immigrant workers, because they are not needed now and even less so in the automated future.

San Ramon: Driverless shuttles make their debut, San Jose Mercury News, March 6, 2017

SAN RAMON — Vehicles that make steering wheels, accelerators, brake pads — and even human drivers — obsolete made their debut Monday at an East Bay business park.

The futuristic cubes get around using 21st Century technology, including lasers on all four corners, GPS navigation, and sensors that detect obstacles.

And the sensors work. At least they did during a demonstration at Bishop Ranch business park in San Ramon when Habib Shamskhou, who is working with the pilot program, stepped in front of a moving shuttle to prove a point.

The shuttle lurched to a stop, prompting a confident Shamskhou to raise his hands above his head and beam with a smile that read “See, told you.”

The shuttles, made by the French company EasyMile, are in the second phase of a pilot program that began last summer with testing at Concord’s GoMentum Station. Now, two of them are transporting workers within the Bishop Ranch complex of office parks. They are expected to be on public streets surrounding the office park by the end of the year, said Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

Although other driverless cars (Google for example) exist and have been testing on public roads, they require a steering wheel and driver behind the vehicle during tests. Thanks to recent California legislation, these shuttles would be the first driverless shuttles in the nation to be operating on public roads. Continue reading this article

Geert Wilders Recommends Islam Be Recategorized as Political, Not Religious

Dutch politician and freedom fighter Geert Wilders has an unusual but eminently sensible idea, namely that we westerners should reclassify Islam as a totalitarian political system rather than a religion. Treating violent Islam like a normal religion certainly misunderstands the ultimate purpose of the jihad movement, that of world conquest where the entire planet would be run according to repressive misogynous sharia law.

When the jihadists say a world caliphate is their aim, they are serious and dedicated to that goal. Hijrah should be a word more in common usage: it means jihad conquest accomplished through immigration, and the current situation of open borders into and within Europe is absolutely deadly.

Muslim followers see Islam as supplying a wholistic package — no Constitution is needed with the koran in hand!

The koran does have over 100 verses that promote violence as a way to advance the belief: e.g. (Quran 4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

Back to Geert Wilders, he recently sat down with Ezra Levant of Rebel Media for a half-hour chat about various subjects concerning politics and civilization. The whole thing is worth a listen, though I transcribed the section about reimagining Islam which seems particularly important now, when western societies are jumping through hoops to treat Muslims like Methodists. Imagine if Hitler had insisted the Nazi philosophy was actually a new religion, appropriate to modern times — some would have bought into the scam in order to be thought open-minded. Just as foggy liberals today accuse Islam critics of “racism.”

EZRA LEVANT:  (19:40) All across the West, there’s a belief in freedom of religion. Is Islam more than just a religion?

GEERT WILDERS:  Islam is NOT a religion. I know it sounds crazy, and I know I don’t get a lot of support for that idea, but I strongly believe that Islam might be dressed up as a religion: it has a holy book, it has a temple, it looks like a religion, but it’s more an ideology and a totalitarian ideology than a religion. You cannot compare it with Christianity and Judaism, and you should compare it with other totalitarian ideologies like communism or fascism. I always use one example to prove it — there are many more that — like in communism or fascism, the penalty is death if you want to leave it. I mean, you cannot leave Islam: if you are an apostate, if you are a renegade, the penalty is death, and even today in our societies, let alone in the Islamic societies, it is enacted upon, you know people ARE killed for that reason, and you can leave Christianity, you can leave Judaism.

So and the other point is that Islam wants to rule the world — as you know Islam means to subjugate, wants to rule and dominate and subjugate, not only the person’s life but also a whole society. The rule of God, the rule of allah, the rule of the Quran and the Hadith is the rule of the society. I’m not talking about all Muslims, I’m talking about the ideology, and the idea of ideology cannot integrate and assimilate in a society, it wants to dominate it and it wants to subjugate with violence.

The Quran is full of more violence and anti-semitism than Mein Kampf, for instance. People and academics have proved that, so our biggest mistake is, once again, the false equality that we say that Islam is a religion, so they have the freedom of religion. And I believe it’s not religion; it should not be treated as a religion, and the constitutional freedoms of religion do not apply to an ideology. We would not allow in Holland Nazi schools for instance — it’s another totalitarian ideology. Why do we have Islamic schools? Where young children at five, six, seven, eight years old that we want to integrate, get a job, get Dutch friends, participate fully and equally in the Dutch society are being caught up with the Quran and ideology of hate and thought . . .

We should stand up and be tolerant to the people or ideologies that are tolerant to us.

For another discussion of the same subject, see the Breitbart article from Feb 28, Geert Wilders: Islam Is Not a Religion, It’s a Totalitarian Ideology.

Berkeley Police Watch as Masked Anarchists Pursue Violence, Finally Arrest 10

On Saturday, supporters of the president gathered around the country in the Spirit of America pro-Trump demonstrations. In most places, things went off well, but not in Berkeley, where violence reigned as police stood by and watched.

A number of the pro-Trump people were beyond middle age but they were attacked nevertheless by the young anarchists.

An elderly man wearing a MAGA hat was pepper-sprayed by an antifa type.

Below, Trump supporter Tom Condon becomes entangled in the center of a fight after attempting to push anti-Trump protesters back with his cane.

Below is a news story from the CBS station in San Francisco across the bay from Berkeley. Of particular interest was the passive attitude of the police as observed by the reporter on scene. Usually officers organize the situation so that opposing groups don’t have the opportunity to beat on each other, but the police just let the anarchy and violence happen. Does the city government want conservatives to stay out of Berkeley? Probably. Eventually the police got around to arresting 10 of the thugs.

REPORTER: (1:25) Police officers stood by and watched as fight after fight after fight broke out between both sides. . .

For the most part, officers have kept back and gave a hands-off approach.

ANCHOR: We’ve seen that stance before from officers. They also didn’t move in during those violent Cal protests. So what are they saying about not moving in?

REPORTER: They’re not giving us an answer, but they’re just kind of staying at the edge of the park. We’re thinking maybe they’re concerned about their own safety, maybe they don’t want to instigate or cause the crowd to get even more violent. They’re just watching the fights happening, and a lot of folks are upset, pretty frustrated, that they weren’t moving in to try to break up the fights, exactly why, is that their strategy? We’re not exactly sure, they haven’t said much to the media.

It’s likely the Berkeley officers were merely following orders from above, just as they were during the February 1 scheduled appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos when a phalanx of masked anarchists in black marched onto the UC campus to riot and destroy property. The police were then under a “no arrest” directive, and as a result $100,000 damage was incurred. explained a few days later that they city preferred property damage to lawsuits, but a larger effect of the weak policy is to create a mega-magnet for anarchists to come and create havoc: nobody will be arrested even for massive destruction.

Nobody mentioned after the Milo debacle that the destroyed area of campus had recently undergone a massive $223 million renovation that took a couple years of construction to complete. So the message is sent that the city and university are powerless against marxist thugs going on a smash and burn orgy upon their newly remodeled student union building and environs. It must have been depressing for nearby businesses that were trashed to see that they have zero value to city government.

There will probably be a public outcry against failure of the city to maintain public safety, but an effective response may not be forthcoming. Berkeley is incredibly stuck on its own special identity of hip chaos and is unlikely to accept the American value of law and order.

Germany: A Top Cop Reveals Assimilation Fail

Rainer Wendt is the President of the German Police Union, and he has fearlessly spoken out about the failure of Germany’s plunge into mass Muslim immigration. In an earlier interview, he observed, “And then there’s criminality among the refugees, meaning, rapes of women and of children, massive use of violence, criminal activities such as exploitation, slavery, we see it all there.”

An explosion of sexual violence against women in Cologne and elsewhere led Germans to reject Muslim rapefugees.

The current brief clip of a speech spells out how totally assimilation has failed among Muslims in Germany, and not just recently according to the officer. The reason is they come not as immigrants but as conquerors for allah.

Isn’t it time to stop inviting enemies inside the gates? Perhaps the electoral success of immigration restrictionists like Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen in the next little while will shake up the open borders establishment in Europe.

RAINER WENDT: …and I don’t even know how people come up with the idea and belief that integration could work. It can’t function, and I can even tell you why: because here in Germany we have already impressively proven that we can’t do it.

And whoever doesn’t believe that, I will gladly invite to Berlin or to Bremen, the Ruhr area, the Rhineland. There we’ve been integrating for going on thirty years!

In Berlin alone we’ve got about twenty large families, twelve of them highly criminal, that number a few thousand people. Heroin, the weapons trade and human trafficking, the whole palette of organized crime, perfect parallel societies, with child marriage, forced marriage, so-called honor killings, genital mutilation… the whole program.

Not just since 2015, ladies and gentlemen, but for the past thirty years! There’s not just one — I’ve heard the example of the one woman with great interest — there are entire families that don’t speak one word of German. And women who furthermore aren’t allowed to go out on the street all by themselves, and who of course don’t speak a single word of German.

We have therefore already screwed this up thoroughly. In some parts of Berlin there even are special traffic laws! There are special courts. And we say: oh, well, just a little bit, that’ll surely work. And we are putting up with more and more.

Los Angeles: In a Historically Black Area, Hispanic Immigration Expands into the Political Arena

Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times front-page story about the waning of black political power due to hispanic immigration into a historically African-American neighborhood made me think of Terry Anderson, the self-described “Prisoner of South Central.” Twenty or so years ago when Terry was getting attention on the radio and beyond for his outspoken views on immigration, he informed the public about the harm done to his community by the rapid influx of hispanic immigrants of various legalities.

The Houston Chronicle published Terry’s personal account of unwelcome social change:

African-Americans drowning in wave of illegal immigration, By TERRY ANDERSON, Jan. 31, 2003

It is sad what has happened in my neighborhood. This was a respectable, blue-collar area of hard-working black folks living in their bungalows and going to their jobs. In just a couple decades it has become almost entirely Mexican. They live several families to a three-bedroom house and keep chickens in the yard, but the city doesn’t care about the zoning violations or the noise of having so many crowded into a small space.

According to the Census Bureau, nearby Watts is now 60 percent Hispanic, and it was previously the black community on the West Coast. No longer.

The immigration situation is really hard on our young people. A 17-year-old kid on my street couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s because he didn’t speak Spanish. Another young neighbor boy was thrown into a bilingual classroom at age 8 and was forced to listen to Spanish all day long. His six-hour school day was turned into three hours. When his mother asked for an English-only class, she was told “there are none.” . . .

The LA Times piece illustrates that the demographic change is now turning into political power.

Terry Anderson died in 2010, but he could see the shape of political change to come and lamented how excessive immigration pushed black people physically out of their neighborhoods and also lessened their self-determination in a hispanicized environment. Plus Terry never bought the rainbow coalition nonsense, that blacks and browns would unite against the hated whites: he believed Americans needed to stand together against unfriendly demographic change.

In the last paragraph below, a hispanic man says that in America, “Race plays a role in everything” so he should be represented by a person from his tribe. This is where decades of mass unassimilated immigration and identity politics have gotten us.

In L.A.’s historic African American core, a growing Latino wave represents a possible ‘turning point’, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2017

Few places hold as much importance in Los Angeles’ black history as Central Avenue, the birthplace of the West Coast jazz scene and a magnet for those leaving the South seeking a better life.

It runs through City Council District 9 in South Los Angeles and ends blocks from City Hall — a pathway that is both symbolic and literal. Voters in the district have elected an African American to the City Council since the early 1960s.

But blacks today are a diminishing presence in District 9, making up just 40% of registered voters. Latinos are the overwhelming majority of the district’s residents and 48% of its registered voters, according to city records.

Against this backdrop, two candidates with deep community ties are challenging incumbent City Councilman Curren Price in next week’s election, both seeking to become the area’s first Latino council member in decades.

At stake is black representation at City Hall. Two other council districts are represented by African Americans, and a loss for Price could be a bellwether for future South L.A. council elections amid a falling black population citywide, said political consultant and attorney Dermot Givens.

“This could be the turning point of the complete demise of African American political power in Los Angeles,” said Givens, who is not involved in the race.

Today, African Americans make up 9% of the city’s population, down from 17% in the 1980s, according to census data. Migration from Mexico and Central America has boosted Latinos to almost half the city’s population, up from 27% in the 1980s.

A similar shift has taken place in Compton, where about 31% of the population is black, down from 73% in 1980, according to census data. Despite those dwindling numbers, most of Compton’s political leadership is black.

But that power base did not translate into electoral success for Isadore Hall, a former state senator and Compton City Council member who ran last year for the southern L.A. County congressional seat vacated by Janice Hahn, now a county supervisor.

Hall lost to Nanette Barragán, a former Hermosa Beach City Council member. Hall is African American; Barragán is one of 11 children raised by Mexican immigrants. Continue reading this article

Liberal Paper Is Shocked with Idea that Immigration Should Not Endanger Americans

The Los Angeles Times is astounded that President Trump wants immigration to be a legal process, and admitting foreigners should not endanger the safety of Americans.

In short, immigration should not be a suicide pact, but the Times finds that notion to be radical. The Times rejects out of hand the many arguments to restrict immigration both by numbers and culture. Many Americans have noticed the various negative symptoms arising from excess: too many immigrants lower American wages, some diversity (Muslim!) is dangerous, surplus population draws down water supply, worse traffic happens, creeping bi-lingualism pops up, schools are flooded with non-English speakers, criminal gangs infiltrate, free speech is crushed because “sensitivity” etc. ad nauseum.

Below, Parisian victims of the Islamic slaughter in November 2015 in which 130 were murdered by a group of Muslims, some of whom entered as refugees.

We get regular sermons from the elite media about the joy of diversity because humans normally prefer to around those who share the same values, language and culture. The article under consideration must be considered to be a rather scolding sermon.

The Times’ Tuesday front page revealed their shockeroo discovery: the Trump administration regards immigration enforcement seriously.

Actually, the Times gets spun up in its diversity ideology with the typical liberal lie of conflating legal and illegal immigration: in fact, there’s no indication from President Trump that he intends to round up millions of legal immigrants, which would unlawful. The invaders may want to avoid driving drunk and other crimes, though.

The piece also claims that no terrorists have come from the seven countries covered by the temporary travel ban, but investigation has found 72 active jihadists from those places.

The real goal of Trump’s executive orders: Reduce the number of immigrants in the U.S., Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2017

Behind President Trump’s efforts to step up deportations and block travel from seven mostly Muslim countries lies a goal that reaches far beyond any immediate terrorism threat: a desire to reshape American demographics for the long term and keep out people who Trump and senior aides believe will not assimilate.

In pursuit of that goal, Trump in his first weeks in office has launched the most dramatic effort in decades to reduce the country’s foreign-born population and set in motion what could become a generational shift in the ethnic makeup of the U.S.

Trump and top aides have become increasingly public about their underlying pursuit, pointing to Europe as an example of what they believe is a dangerous path that Western nations have taken. Trump believes European governments have foolishly allowed Muslims with extreme views to settle in their countries, sowing seeds for unrest and recruitment by terrorist groups.

“Take a look at what’s happening in Sweden. Take a look at what’s happening in Germany. Take a look at what’s happened in France. Take a look at Nice and Paris,” Trump said Friday during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, referring to riots last week in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Stockholm, as well as attacks and unrest in similar neighborhoods in Germany and France over the last few years.

Trump is also expected to talk about the need for stringent security during his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night. And he is likely to issue a new travel ban this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday. Continue reading this article

California: Governor Brown’s Infrastructure Failure Will Be His Legacy

The recent drama at the Oroville Dam was a genuine horror show for us Californians who have been conserving water by the cupful for years. Huge amounts of water were released and flushed into the sea to keep the dam from failing and killing thousands. At least 188,000 people downstream were forced to evacuate.

Someday Californians will wish we had that water.

Governor Jerry Brown — a self-proclaimed environmentalist — has nevertheless encouraged diverse immigration and unlimited population growth, despite the state’s history of periodic and severe drought. In 2014, he declared to Mexico (population 125 million) “You’re all welcome in California.”

And the numbers make California priorities clear: state taxpayers are forced to pay over $25 billion annually for services going to illegal aliens and their dependents, according to a 2014 study from FAIR.

Meanwhile, vital infrastructure has been left to rot. Officials were warned a dozen years ago that the Oroville dam could fail because of its weak spillway design, but nothing was done.

Below, the Oroville Dam, under pressure from a full reservoir, released vast amounts of water over days in mid-February to prevent a catastrophic collapse.

Tuesday’s Sacramento Bee gave front-page coverage to the damage to the spillway structure.

Jerry Brown is nearing the end of his governorship, and his legacy is reflected in the Oroville near-disaster. Los Angeles radio guys John and Ken read parts of Joel Kotkin’s critical article on Monday (LISTEN: The True Legacy of Jerry Brown). The governor is very lucky that there wasn’t a massive loss of life caused by his inattention to California infrastructure.

The true legacy of Gov. Jerry Brown: Joel Kotkin, Daily News, February 27, 2017

The cracks in the 50-year-old Oroville Dam, and the massive spillage and massive evacuations that followed, shed light on the true legacy of Jerry Brown. The governor, most recently in Newsweek, has cast himself as both the Subcomandante Zero of the anti-Trump resistance and savior of the planet. But when Brown finally departs Sacramento next year, he will be leaving behind a state that is in danger of falling apart both physically and socially.

Jerry Brown’s California suffers the nation’s highest housing prices, largest percentage of people in or near poverty of any state and an exodus of middle-income, middle-aged people. Job growth is increasingly concentrated in low-wage sectors. By contrast, Brown’s father, Pat, notes his biographer, Ethan Rarick, helped make the 20th century “The California Century,” with our state providing “the template of American life.” There was then an “American Dream” across the nation, but here we called it the “California Dream.” His son is driving a stake through the heart of that very California Dream.

Nothing so illustrates the gap between the two Browns than infrastructure spending. Oroville Dam’s delayed maintenance, coupled with a lack of major new water storage facilities to serve a growing population, reflects a pattern of neglect. Just this year alone, the massive water losses at Oroville Dam and other storage overflows have almost certainly offset a significant portion of the hard-won drought water savings achieved by our state’s cities. A sensible state policy would have stored more water from before the drought, and would now be maximizing the current bounty. Continue reading this article

LA Times Observes: “Trump Invades Mexican Minds”

Is it schadenfreude to enjoy the whining of deported Mexicans? Or is it merely an appreciation for long overdue immigration enforcement finally taking hold under the law-and-borders President Trump?

We are lectured all the time by liberals about “white privilege” but it doesn’t hold a candle to Mexican privilege, which regards the southwest United States as an extension of their territory which can be entered and ripped off at any time by Mexes for jobs, public benefits, free-to-them food, subsidized higher education and ultra-expensive healthcare.

Furthermore, Mexican acquisitiveness toward America is not a tired revanchist fantasy that is fading; Univision pest Jorge Ramos declared last week to a Spanish-speaking audience that “it is our country, not theirs,” and Mexicans aren’t leaving.

It’s not like Mexico is a poor country and couldn’t afford decent opportunities and social safety net for its people: it is quite wealthy, currently ranking at #15 among world nations for GDP. Last year’s Forbes list of billionaires noted 16 Mexican billionaires with a combined wealth of $99.6 billion, including the world’s fourth richest Carlos Slim. Plus Mexico’s middle class has been growing in spite of its government, with more college graduates and improving incomes.

It would be a good strategy for President Trump to tax Mexican remittances for funds dedicated to wall construction. Remittances hit a record $27 Billion in 2016, and all that easy money does not inspire the Mexican government to develop business-friendly policies. So taxing remittances would be a win-win two-fer.

Mexico values the billions in remittances sent by expats (mostly illegal aliens) because it provides extra income for a population that might become unruly otherwise.

If Mexicans devoted half the energy they spent in invading the US into efforts to improve their beloved homeland, the results could be amazing. Of course that would require sustained effort and organization beyond just carping about the mighty Trump.

On the other side of the wall: Mexicans on the border are ‘psychologically traumatized’, Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2017

At a shelter here across the border from Arizona, volunteers are stocking food and other supplies in case of a large influx of deportees from the other side.

“We don’t want any surprises from Mr. Trump,”  Juan Francisco Loureiro, director of the Don Bosco migrant center, said of the U.S. president’s plans to step up deportations. “We need to be ready.”

Along the border, dejected recent deportees and new arrivals from the south headed for the U.S. are weighing whether to vault for the north or just go home — essentially, admitting defeat.

“It’s just too hard now with Trump,” said Alejandro Ramos Maceda, 33,  recently deported after being picked up on a traffic charge in St. Louis — where he said he has a wife and two daughters, both U.S. citizens.

Discouraged, Maceda said he plans to stay in Mexico for the moment, a choice that many other deportees with families in the United States have reluctantly embraced.

“Maybe my wife will come visit,” he said, his tone not betraying much hope.

Not one post has been driven into the ground for President Trump’s proposed new border wall. There has been no sign of ramped-up Border Patrol forces as part of the administration’s promised enforcement buildup.

But interviews on the Mexican side of the frontier suggest that, in just a few weeks, the new president has had a profound effect on how people in the border region act, plan and, perhaps more importantly, think. Although his strategy has scarcely begun to be enacted, Trump is  deep in people’s heads.

“It’s just a lot harder to cross than we thought,” said Vicente Vargas, 15, one of five  teenagers from Mexico’s Puebla state who said they were going back home, discouraged at how difficult, and costly, it is to get over the border — especially given the likelihood that they would be apprehended if they made it to the other side. Continue reading this article

Nigel Farage Cheers Rebirth of Nation State

It’s refreshing to hear a clearly cultural defense of the newly revived nation state from Nigel Farage. It is widely recognized that a smaller, local government tends to be more responsive to citizen needs, and the US system of federalism balancing national and state government power reflects that philosophy. As former Czech President Vaclav Klaus remarked in 2003, “You cannot have democratic accountability in anything bigger than a nation state.”

Nigel Farage was derided by media and liberal elites for demanding that Britain get a divorce from the open-borders European Union, and then he won.

But Farage got down to the social aspect in his recent chat with Tucker Carlson. He emphasized that a nation is not a rough geographical boundary enclosing an economy, as many Democrats believe, but is a community of shared values among culturally similar people who agree to them. That’s the reason why unwise immigration can be so destructive — each aggressively non-assimilated alien, such as Raza types, is a disruptor to the domestic tranquility that comes from a shared culture.

In addition, Farage’s CPAC speech [WATCH] included a shout-out to the Anglosphere, based on the English language, a cultural unifier that is not appreciated enough.

Farage chatted with Tucker Carlson following his well received CPAC speech:

NIGEL FARAGE: (:57 — clip from CPAC) I always believe we should be free to reach out and make our own deals with our real friends in the world, and it’s funny — our real friends in the world speak English, have common law and stand by us in times of crisis.

TUCKER CARLSON: You may recognize that man: that was Nigel Farage, who knows quite a bit about running a successful nationalist movement. He once headed the UK Independence Party and was a top backer of the 2016 BREXIT referendum that demanded Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Nigel Farage joins us now.

Thanks for coming on. I think it’s fair to say it’s official — nationalism is now global, it’s obvious, there’s no denying it with the president’s speech. Why?

FARAGE: Well you say “nationalism,” I actually call it “nation-ism” — we believe in the nation state. That is the unit we identify with; that is what we feel part of; that is what we cheer for in the Olympics; and if necessary that is what we are prepared to fight for. It embodies our values, our families, our communities, our heritage, our identity, maybe even our tribe. And I think what happened in 2016 with BREXIT and with Trump, but I believe is going to roll out through 2017, is a return to normality.

What the globalists tried to do was to destroy the nation state, and what those two big events of ’16 did was to re-establish the democratic nation state, and that is right and proper and normal. Continue reading this article

Salvadoran Deportees Make New Lives for Themselves at Home

There aren’t many stories about deportees and their experiences after they arrive in their homelands, so a decent follow-on article can be interesting. The LA Times’ Sunday front-pager checked in with several deported Salvadorans and the results were mixed — some are doing well and others not.

Unlike wealthy Mexico, El Salvador is poor, plus there is a lot of gang crime. Still, some of the returnees are making a go of it through pluck and luck. Companies looking for cheap labor provide one opportunity.

When I got the call to study and resist illegal immigration in 1996, the world population was around 5.8 billion. The planet’s residents now number more than 7.37 billion according the spinning Census clock. Clearly, first world nations cannot be the rescue flophouse for the world’s poor and dissatisfied: political reforms must happen around the world so every country can be a decent place to live. If there were no easy escape valve via illegal immigration, a lot more reform would surely take place worldwide.

Deported persons would do well to organize and promote policies of law and markets to improve upon the conditions they left. Social progress is unlikely otherwise.

Meet El Salvador’s growing middle class: Deportees from the U.S., Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2017

The smell of slow-cooked Texas barbecue wafted over the outskirts of San Salvador as Jose Reyes cracked open another beer. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and Reyes had gathered with several dozen friends in a parking lot outside a stadium where the game would be screened. Dressed in baggy NFL and college jerseys, they traded jokes in English between bites of pulled pork and hamburgers.

Reyes was deported from the United States in 2001 after serving a prison sentence for wounding two people in a shooting in Houston when he was 17. His mother had brought him to the U.S. as a baby, and when he stepped off an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in El Salvador, he had no recollection of the country of his birth.

Now he is 39 and thriving as a manager at an English-language call center that takes questions from AT&T customers in the United States. He and his friends, other U.S. deportees also working in call centers, earn well over El Salvador’s minimum wage.

Among the Central Americans caught in a decades-long cycle of migration and deportation, Reyes is one of the more fortunate ones.

The U.S. deported 2.5 million immigrants under then-President Obama, more than any previous administration. Roughly 150,000 of those were returned to El Salvador at a time when surging violence there and elsewhere in Central America was driving more migrants into the United States illegally. Continue reading this article

France: Hollande Defends Nation as Being Safe for Tourists, No Problem!

President Trump made some disparaging comments about France in his CPAC speech on Friday while discussing the general topic of jihad terror and public safety, which upset President Francois Hollande and other French officials.

President Trump CPAC Speech Transcript, February 24, 2017

At the same time, we fully understand that national security begins with border security.  Foreign terrorists will not be able to strike America if they cannot get into our country.  (Applause.)  And by the way, take a look at what’s happening in Europe, folks. . .  Take a look at what’s happened in France.  Take a look at Nice and Paris.

I have a friend — he’s a very, very substantial guy.  He loves the City of Lights.  He loves Paris.  For years, every year, during the summer, he would go to Paris — it was automatic — with his wife and his family.  I hadn’t seen him in a while.  And I said, Jim, let me ask you a question:  How’s Paris doing?  “Paris?  I don’t go there anymore.  Paris is no longer Paris.”  That was four years — four, five years — hasn’t gone there.  He wouldn’t miss it for anything.  Now he doesn’t even think in terms of going there.  Take a look at what’s happening to our world, folks, and we have to be smart.  We have to be smart.  We can’t let it happen to us.  (Applause.)

French leaders are concerned about tourism falling even more, and bad news about terror attacks seems to blow up every few months, in particular the November 13 2015 co-ordinated attacks on several Paris locations where 130 people were killed. In response, the city has become an armed camp, with soldiers guarding popular tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower — where the city announced earlier this month that an “esthetic perimeter” would be built around the structure to protect it from France’s Muslim diversity.

It was reported last spring that half of France’s army was deployed on the streets of major cities.

But the French are smiling bravely as if having thousands of soldiers on the streets is a totally ordinary way to live —although it is sadly becoming the new normal. On February 3, a soldier shot an assailant near the Louvre museum who was carrying a machete. Over Christmas, 91,000 soldiers and police were mobilized to protect churches and holiday festivities from unfriendly residents.

The last months have seen a number of public events cancelled because of security concerns. France is being strangled from within by diverse Muslim immigration, but Hollande doesn’t want anyone to notice. Someone should tell him that denial won’t help.

France’s Hollande fires back at Trump over Paris comments, Reuters, February 25, 2017

French President Francois Hollande fired back at Donald Trump on Saturday after the U.S. president remarked in a speech that a friend thought “Paris is no longer Paris” after attacks by Islamist militants.

Hollande said Trump should show support for U.S. allies.

“There is terrorism and we must fight it together. I think that it is never good to show the smallest defiance toward an allied country. I wouldn’t do it with the United States and I’m urging the U.S. president not to do it with France,” Hollande said. Continue reading this article

Automated Trucks Threaten Millions of US Jobs

Self-driving vehicles are coming on strong, faster than anyone knowledgeable thought a few years ago. Self-driving vehicles are being tested for real world use, and highway laws are being rejiggered to accommodate the new tech future.

But driving is a major jobs category, as shown by the map below, taken from an interactive NPR graphic in the 2015 article Map: The Most Common Job In Every State.

Millions of driving jobs still exist in the US because it’s one gig that could not be outsourced to China, but self-driving technology now threatens that employment. Indeed, as a San Francisco writer asks, Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for America’s 3.5 million truckers?

Of course, it goes without saying that America no longer needs to import immigrants to drive our trucks given the coming technology. There is supposedly a shortage of drivers now, leading to a push for immigrants, but that won’t last long. The future is automated, including on the highways.

It was news last October when a self-driving truck from the Otto company traveled 120 highway miles to deliver a load of beer:

The following article was written by Martin Ford, author of the book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. His knowledge on the subject adds to the big picture of how our society is on the edge of a foundational transformation to work and the economy.

Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs, By Martin Ford, The Guardian, February 16, 2017

America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers. Once trucks become automated, where will these jobs go?

In April 2016, Uber announced the acquisition of Otto, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed a kit that can turn any big rig into a self-driving truck.

The Otto technology enables complete autonomy on highways: trucks can navigate, stay in their lane, and slow or stop in response to traffic conditions completely without human intervention. Otto’s equipment currently costs about $30,000, but that is certain to fall significantly in the coming years.

Otto is by no means alone. Massive automated vehicles are already commonly used to move materials for the Australian mining industry. Daimler, the German multinational company, has likewise demonstrated its own model, a giant 18-wheeler with a “highway pilot” mode available (meaning a driver has to remain present, prompting the head of the US branch to say that “tomorrow’s driver will be a logistics manager”). Another approach is to use automated convoys, in which self-driving trucks follow a lead vehicle.

It seems highly likely that competition between the various companies developing these technologies will produce practical, self-driving trucks within the next five to 10 years. And once the technology is proven, the incentive to adopt it will be powerful: in the US alone, large trucks are involved in about 350,000 crashes a year, resulting in nearly 4,000 fatalities. Virtually all of these incidents can be traced to human error. The potential savings in lives, property damage and exposure to liability will eventually become irresistible.

There’s only one problem: truck driving is one of the most common occupations in the US.

Once replaced by automation, where will these jobs go?

As of 2015, a typical production worker in the US earned about 9% less than a comparable worker in 1973. Over the same 42 years, the American economy grew by more than 200%, or a staggering $11tn.

For millions of average Americans, the reasonable expectations of their youth – a steady job, home ownership, college education for their children – have degraded into decades of stagnation, even as they have been continuously bombarded by news of the overall growth and prosperity of the US economy.

The driving force behind this transition has been technology. It is widely recognized among economists that while the impact of globalization has been significant, especially in specific regions of the country, robots and factory automation have been a far more powerful force. Indeed, even those jobs that did migrate to China are now evaporating as factories there aggressively automate. Continue reading this article

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