Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for March 30th, 2018

The myth of the criminal immigrant

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Anna Flagg reports for the Marshall Project:

The Trump administration’s first year of immigration policy has relied on claims that immigrants bring crime into America. President Trump’s latest target is sanctuary cities.

“Every day, sanctuary cities release illegal immigrants, drug dealers, traffickers, gang members back into our communities,” he said last week. “They’re safe havens for just some terrible people.”

As of 2017, according to Gallup polls, almost half of Americans agreed that immigrants make crime worse. But is it true that immigration drives crime? Many studies have shown that it does not.

Immigrant populations in the United States have been growing fast for decades now. Crime in the same period, however, has moved in the opposite direction, with the national rate of violent crime today well below what it was in 1980.

In a large-scale collaboration by four universities, led by Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers compared immigration rates with crime rates for 200 metropolitan areas over the last several decades. The selected areas included huge urban hubs like New York and smaller manufacturing centers less than a hundredth that size, like Muncie, Ind., and were dispersed geographically across the country. . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

. . . In 136 metro areas, almost 70 percent of those studied, the immigrant population increased between 1980 and 2016 while crime stayed stable or fell. The number of areas where crime and immigration both increased was much lower — 54 areas, slightly more than a quarter of the total. The 10 places with the largest increases in immigrants all had lower levels of crime in 2016 than in 1980.

And yet the argument that immigrants bring crime into America has driven many of the policies enacted or proposed by the administration so far: restrictions to entry, travel and visas; heightened border enforcement; plans for a wall along the border with Mexico. This month, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against California in response to the state’s refusal to allow local police to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants charged with crimes. On Tuesday, California’s Orange County signed on in support of that suit. But while the immigrant population in the county has more than doubled since 1980, overall violent crime has decreased by more than 50 percent.

There’s a similar pattern in two other places where Trump has recently feuded with local leaders: Oakland, Calif., and Lawrence, Mass. He described both cities as breeding grounds for drugs and crime brought by immigrants. But Oakland, like Orange County, has had increasing immigration and falling crime. In Lawrence, though murder and robbery rates grew, overall violent crime rates still fell by 10 percent.

In general, the study’s data suggests either that immigration has the effect of reducing average crime, or that there is simply no relationship between the two, and that the 54 areas in the study where both grew were instances of coincidence, not cause and effect. This was a consistent pattern in each decade from 1980 to 2016, with immigrant populations and crime failing to grow together. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 4:39 pm

John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him

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Sebastian Rotella reports in ProPublica:

In early 2002, as the Bush administration hunted for Osama bin Laden, pressed its war in Afghanistan and set its sights on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, John Bolton saw another looming threat: that Cuba was secretly developing biological weapons.

Bolton, who was then the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control issues, included a warning about the Cuban threat in a draft of a speech and sent it around the department for the necessary clearance. A biological warfare analyst wrote back that Bolton’s proposed comments overstated what U.S. intelligence agencies really knew about the matter, and, as routinely happens, suggested some small changes.

The analyst was summoned to Bolton’s office. “He got very red in the face, and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position,” the analyst, Christian Westermann, recalled laterduring a Senate inquiry. Bolton then demanded that Westermann’s supervisor remove him permanently from the biological weapons portfolio, thundering that “he wasn’t going to be told what he could say by a mid-level munchkin.”

Last week, President Donald Trump named Bolton to be his new national security adviser, a job that would arguably make him the government’s most important arbiter of competing views on foreign policy and a key judge of what intelligence information reaches the president on the most serious threats to national security.

The nomination — which does not require Senate confirmation — has drawn attention mainly for Bolton’s combative bureaucratic style and the hawkish views he has espoused in three Republican administrations and as a Fox News analyst. Among other ideas, Bolton has advocated overthrowing the Islamic government of Iran, bombing that country’s nuclear facilities, and (just last month) taking preemptive military action against North Korea.

But many foreign policy experts, including some who worked closely with him, argue that the more significant issue for Bolton’s new role may be his history as a consumer of intelligence that does not conform to his views, and the lengths to which he has sometimes gone to try to suppress analyses that he sees as wrong or misinformed.

An examination of Bolton’s record, based on interviews with some of his former colleagues and the Senate hearings on his nomination in 2005 to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reveal a tendency to aggressively embrace intelligence that supported his positions, while discounting information that undercut those views. The confrontations that arose from that approach have often been ascribed to partisanship or sharp elbows, but even some conservative veterans of the Bush administration accused Bolton of exaggerating, minimizing or cherry-picking intelligence information to bolster his policy positions, and of retaliating to try to silence intelligence professionals with whom he disagreed.

“Anyone who is so cavalier not just with intelligence, but with facts, and so ideologically driven, is unfit to be national security adviser,” said Robert Hutchings, who dealt extensively with Bolton as head of the National Intelligence Council, a high-level agency that synthesizes analysis from across the intelligence community to produce strategic assessments for policymakers. “He’s impervious to information that goes against his preconceived ideological views.” . . .

Continue reading.

He actually sounds like a good fit for Trump.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 3:04 pm

Trump’s border wall rhetoric is increasingly divorced from reality

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Steve Benen writes at MSNBC:

A week ago today, Donald Trump announced that he’d secured funding for his proposed border wall and construction would begin “immediately.” This wasn’t even remotely true.

Two days ago, the president boasted about a White House briefing on the project – whether that briefing occurred in reality is a subject of some debate – and released photographs he said were proof that his border wall was initiative getting underway. This wasn’t true, either.

All of which led to yesterday, and Trump’s speech in Ohio on infrastructure, which included increasingly bizarre rhetoric about the project. From the transcript:

“We started building our wall, I’m so proud of it. We have $1.6 billion. And we’ve already started, You saw the pictures yesterday, I said, ‘What a thing of beauty.’ […]

“You think that’s easy? People said, ‘Oh, has he given up on the’ – no, I never give up. We have $1.6 billion toward the wall. And we’ve done the planning, and you saw those beautiful pictures. And the wall looks good. It’s properly designed.

“That’s what I do, is I build. I was always very good at building. It was always my best thing. I think better than being president, I was maybe good at building. […]

“We’ve done prototypes all over and we have something special happening.”

The president’s audience seemed impressed, which is a shame, because Trump’s rhetoric was wrong to the point of delusion.

The omnibus spending package included funds for border security, but it didn’t include so much as a penny for Trump’s plan for a wall. As NBC News reported, the spending bill sets aside $1.6 billion, but the money “can be used only to repair and build previously approved fencing,”

Washington Post  report added:

“The bill provides $1.6 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, but with some serious strings attached. Of the total, $251 million is earmarked specifically for “secondary fencing” near San Diego, where fencing is already in place; $445 million is for no more than 25 miles of “levee fencing”; $196 million is for “primary pedestrian fencing” in the Rio Grande Valley; $445 million is for the replacement of existing fencing in that area; and the rest is for planning, design and technology – not for wall construction

“The biggest catch is this: The barriers authorized to be built under the act must be “operationally effective designs” already deployed as of last March, meaning none of President Trump’s big, beautiful wall prototypes can be built.”

And as a result, effectively everything the president said about the subject was demonstrably ridiculous. “We started building our wall”? Not in this reality he hasn’t. “We have $1.6 billion toward the wall”? No, he doesn’t.

“We’ve done prototypes all over and we have something special happening”? Again, Trump’s wall project isn’t being built, at least not anytime soon. Period. Full Stop.

The trouble is, Trump’s lying about border wall construction is so over the top, I’m starting to think he actually believes his own patently untrue claims. I’m not sure which is worse:  . . .

Continue reading.

Kevin Drum’s take:

. . . I won’t pretend to know what goes on in the lump of gray matter Trump uses for a brain, but the reason he says stuff like this is simple: it’s aimed at his supporters, who have no idea that he’s lying. As far as they’re concerned, it’s promise made, promise kept. That’s all Trump cares about.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 9:34 am

Posted in Trump administration

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We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

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Worth watching.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 7:58 am

Under the weather: A spot of food poisoning

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I’ve had a mild case of food poisoning—I suspect a tub of shucked oysters that tasted a little off—and so I’ve been inactive and somewhat miserable. I slept a lot yesterday, followed by sleeping a lot last night. I did drink a lot of water during the day, which seems to be the only real recommendation. I’m feeling better today, but still a little fragile.

I think I’ll avoid oysters for a while and probably cook them in the future.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 7:53 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Medical

Fine Classic, The Dead Sea, Fatip Testina Gentile, and Creed Aventus

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A delightful shave. The Dead Sea is an excellent shaving soap, well worth a try. And the Fatip Testina Gentile is a fine razor: 3 passes to perfection, then a splash of Aventus. (I’m going to the airport to pick up The Wife, and she likes this fragrance a lot.)

Written by LeisureGuy

30 March 2018 at 7:50 am

Posted in Shaving

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