Trump’s first TV ad, from Morocco to Mexico

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released his first television campaign ad.

Trump has pledged to spend at least $2 million every week as the GOP nominating contest heats up, CNN reports, and the Iowa and New Hampshire television ad buys will cost him slightly in excess of that, according to his campaign.

PolitiFact notes while the narrator describes Trump’s vow to “stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for,” the footage displayed actually depicts migrants in Morocco trying to enter a Spanish enclave (and thus, the European Union).

But Politico’s Eliza Collins tweeted a statement from the Trump campaign saying that this was intentional “and selected to demonstrate the severe impact of an open border and the very real threat Americans face if we do not immediately build a wall and stop illegal immigration. The biased mainstream media doesn’t understand, but Americans who want to protect their jobs and their families do.”

This, of course, doubles down on Trump’s longstanding contentions that some crisis exists in southern border immigration, when in fact more people have been leaving the United States over that border than entering in recent years; and that immigrants pose a special criminal threat to Americans, which statistically speaking, they don’t.


Rocky Chávez takes Trump to task

Rocky Chávez, a Republican seeking one of California’s U.S. Senate seats in 2016, had some choice words Wednesday for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump’s incendiary comments about immigrants from Mexico have landed him in hot water, as Univision, NBC Universal and Macy’s have cut ties with the reality-television businessman. Chávez, a Republican Assemblyman from Oceanside, took him to task with a statement issued Wednesday.

Rocky Chávez“It saddens me that the narrative being set for Republicans at a national level can be initiated by someone who has never been elected,” he said, noting his GOP colleagues in the state Legislature “have a proven track record of supporting legislation that encourages comprehensive immigration reform.”

Chávez earlier this year co-authored Senate Joint Resolution 2 by Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, which urged Congress and the President to work together for comprehensive immigration reform; a majority of Assembly Republicans supported it.

“Immigrants come to the United States from all over the world to both benefit from and contribute to our society; we owe it to our nation to welcome immigrants with open arms and to reform our current broken immigration system,” Chávez said “We must not forget that the United States of America is a nation of immigrants and our society has always grown stronger as we form a more diverse society. Immigration was a catalyst of the American dream in the past and will be the key to the future.”

Others who have declared candidacy for California’s Senate seat in 2016 include state Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana; and former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette.


CA17: Khanna’s endorsers & Honda’s border visit

With today’s 17th Congressional District news dominated by the candidates’ agreement on debate terms and Ro Khanna’s rally outside Rep. Mike Honda’s San Jose office, I didn’t have room in the story for Khanna’s latest endorsements and Honda’s run for the border.

Khanna is touting new endorsements from San Jose City Councilmen Pete Constant and Johnny Khamis; Santa Clara County School Board Trustee Grace Mah; Fremont Unified School Board Member Lily Mei; and former Fremont Vice Mayor and City Councilmember Steve Cho.

Constant, Khamis and Cho are Republicans, while Mah and Mei are registered without party affiliation.

“I’m very proud that my grassroots campaign is supported by so many leaders from different backgrounds and across the political spectrum,” Khanna said in a news release. “While my opponent has relied on national and special interest backing, our campaign has worked hard to gain the trust and respect of those who actually live and work in the 17th district. I look forward to taking this inclusive and accessible approach to Congress.”

Constant said Khanna “has had strong bipartisan support since he launched his campaign, and I’m proud to be part of that. Unfortunately, Mike Honda has never been interested in working across the aisle, which is a stark departure from the long tradition of pragmatic leadership in Silicon Valley. Given Ro’s common sense approach and his unique understanding of economic issues, I’m confident he’ll be an effective representative for our region.”

Meanwhile, Honda will be part of a bipartisan congressional delegation that tours the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Tex., on Thursday and Friday.

“The recent surge of unaccompanied children coming across our border brought to the light the need for greater resources and understanding for our immigration and asylum processes,” Honda said in a news release. “This trip will help us learn more about what happens when someone comes to the border, how they are treated, and what both the US and Mexico need to improve the situation.”

Honda, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said such knowledge will help him and his colleagues work with their peers and the White House to “better appropriate funds so they meet the specific needs of those who are working on the US/Mexico Border.”

Along with Honda, the delegation includes Phil Roe, R-Tenn.; Mark Takano, D-Riverside; Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo.; Dina Titus, D-Nev.; Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. They’ll visit the Hidalgo International Bridge, the McAllen Border Patrol Station, and the Department of Health and Human Services BCFS Harlingen Children’s Facility. They’ll meet with the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, key U.S. border patrol and enforcement officials, and a Mexican government delegation.


Jerry Brown will lead trade mission to Mexico

Gov. Jerry Brown will lead a trade and investment mission to Mexico – California’s largest export market – in the last week of July, he announced Tuesday.

California’s neighbor has a role to play in the Golden State’s push to address its energy and environmental needs, Brown had said in his State of the State address in January.

“Reducing our oil consumption, two-thirds of which is imported by ships and tank cars, will take time, breakthrough technologies and steadfast commitment. It will also require that the countries which burn the most fossil fuel join with us,” he said at the time. “We’ve started building those partnerships with other states and countries like China. We will go to Mexico next. California can’t do this alone.”

A delegation of California government, business, economic development, investment and policy leaders will join Brown on this mission, which is being organized by the California Chamber of Commerce. The focus will be on boosting direct investment in the state, expanding bilateral economic and environmental cooperation, and connecting California businesses with new opportunities and partnerships.

Brown met last month with Mexican consuls general from cities across California.

The governor one year ago led a similar mission to China, during which he met with government leaders including China Premier Li Keqiang, opened the California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai and signed the first economic and environmental agreements ever between a subnational entity and Chinese Ministries. Brown later last year met with China’s President Xi Jinping in California to sign a climate-change pact; he also has signed pacts in the past year with leaders from Canada, Israel and Peru to combat climate change, strengthen economic ties and cooperate on research.


Study: Prop. 19 might not hurt cartels much

Violent Mexican drug trafficking organizations will lose a lot of money if California voters legalize marijuana next month only if the Golden State’s legal marijuana is smuggled illegally into other states, according to a new study by a public-policy think tank.

The study – co-authored by RAND Drug Policy Research Center co-director Beau Kilmer along with professors at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland – finds that Mexican cartels’ gross revenues from illegally smuggling marijuana to U.S. wholesalers probably is less than $2 billion, and the claim that 60 percent of these cartels’ gross drug export revenues come from marijuana shouldn’t be taken seriously.

If legalization only affects revenues from supplying marijuana to California, the cartels’ drug-export revenue losses would be very small, perhaps only 2 to 4 percent, the study found. The only way legalizing marijuana in California would significantly influence the cartels’ revenues – and the related violence now plaguing Mexico – is if California-produced marijuana is smuggled to other states at prices that undercut Mexican supplies.

That interstate smuggling will depend on several factors, including the U.S. federal government’s response, the study notes. But if marijuana is smuggled from California to other states, it could significantly undercut sales of Mexican marijuana in much of the U.S., cutting the Mexican cartels’ marijuana export revenues by more than 65 percent and probably by 85 percent or more. In this scenario, the cartels would lose about 20 percent of their total drug-smuggling revenues.

Jonathan Caulkins, professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and a co-author of the study, told reporters on a conference call this morning that the study’s authors can’t estimate whether California will become the rest of the nation’s main marijuana source, significantly undercutting the Mexican cartels. The study worked scenarios with and without such a development, he said, and “we’re not pretending we can anticipate which one will occur.”

But “we’ve known for a while you can’t solve the U.S. drug problems in Mexico, and I think we know you can’t solve Mexican drug violence in the United States,” Caulkins said.

Supporters of Proposition 19, the marijuana-legalization measure on next month’s ballot, immediately responded to the RAND study, noting prohibition has fueled the illegal drug-smuggling economy.

“The bottom line is that creating any lawful, legitimate market for sales of marijuana to adults isn’t good for the criminal syndicates that currently control this gigantic underground economy,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Whether their share is $2 billion or some other number, Prop. 19 is bad for their bottom line and a direct challenge to the monopoly they currently enjoy over their most lucrative product.”

“Creating an exit strategy from the disastrous war on marijuana has to start somewhere,” Gutwillig continued. “Ending marijuana prohibition, bringing the multi-billion dollar marijuana market into the light of day and under the rule of law, will deal a major blow to criminal syndicates on both sides of the border. California can’t put these cartels out of business by itself, but Prop. 19 is a crucial first step.”

Meanwhile, the campaign for Prop. 19 is hosting a telephone town hall at 7 p.m. tonight to rally supporters (who received e-mail invitations last week) and reach out to undecided voters (who’ll get an automated phone call this evening). Speaking on the call will be recently retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, Prop. 19 proponent Richard Lee and Yes On 19 spokeswoman Dale Jones; invited voters will be able to pose questions to the panelists.


Wiley strikes again

Wile(y) CoyoteReader “Wiley,” who as I’ve noted before has made a hobby of forwarding e-mail chain-letter disinformation to any news media address he can find, really stepped it up while I’ve been on vacation over the past 10 days – no fewer than 14 missives since last Sunday.

Again, he’s apparently miffed that I didn’t respond; here’s the message atop the latest, from yesterday afternoon:


Er, thanks for the shout-out, Wiley. This was the attachment:

Why was there no news coverage of this raid on the Arizona border???

Definitely NOT Jose wishing to come pick lettuce!!
This is exactly why we MUST support ARIZONA.

This seizure was just five days ago. Right on the Arizona border!

This is but one seizure that has taken place along the border over the past year. There have been many more like this. (but you won’t hear about it on media news.)

Not a mention on ABC – CBS – NBC – MSNBC – or CNN news!

These photos and reports come from a Spanish language news source.

Thank God for the border patrol and that they did not allow this to get in.

The attachment continued with a string of photos – too many to duplicate here, so I’ll just pick a few:

stash of assault rifles

Military caps and equipment were among the cache of weapons

It was a major asenal of weapons including grenade launchers.

You get the idea. Scary, huh?

But once again, Wiley leaped before he looked.
1.) The bust was made in Higueras, near Monterey – that’s about 70 miles from Texas, but almost 700 miles from Arizona.
2.) The bust was made by the Mexican Army, not the U.S. Border Patrol.
3.) It happened in May, not a few days ago.
4.) Newsweek reported the guns had actually come from the U.S., bought by a Mexican drug cartel. In fact, as U.S. newspapers have been reporting for years, the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico – not vice versa – has become a huge problem.

So again, Wiley has no clue. He’s eager to believe that illegal immigrants are ready to pour over the border, armed to the teeth, ready to take his job, his tax money, his home, whatever, but won’t lift a finger to find out that it’s just plain untrue.

James Poniewozik has a great piece on this syndrome in this week’s Time magazine. That seems to be behind a paywall, but he’d blogged on the topic earlier this month:

So what exactly is the media approach that would have dispelled the conspiracy theories? Ignoring them? Covering them wall-to-wall? I’m not sure either would have made a dent. When it comes to some politically charged controversies, many people simply live in a post-fact zone, in which the theoretical possibility of a wild conspiracy (that confirms their worst beliefs about their adversaries) trumps the extreme likelihood of its being false (which is no fun at all). And they have plenty of talkers willing to encourage them.

They’ve also constructed self-reinforcing belief fortresses, in which media debunking of their beliefs only serves to confirm them. Take this post, for instance. If you believe Obama was born in Kenya, you probably also think that here I am, a liberal member of the liberal mainstream media, trying to impress on you information to the benefit of our liberal President! Doesn’t the obvious untrustworthiness of the entire institution I serve delegitimize any “proof” I might offer you? Why would I be working so hard to convince you that you’re wrong if you weren’t right? Consider the source! What am I so afraid of? Etc.

I’m not sure whether I should continue blogging about Wiley’s wild rants, as I’m starting to think he’s non compos mentis, and it’s getting to be like beating a dead horse, anyway. I hate to see crap like this spread around unanswered, but I wonder if I’m just giving it a bigger forum by putting it out here and wasting my time besides. Thoughts, anyone?