21 Savage clearly targeted by ICE as retaliation

21 Savage grew up hard on the streets, became a well-known hip hop artist, has given back to the community. ICE detained him yesterday saying he is actually a Brit and wants to deport him. Bizarrely, this happened right after he performed his new anti-ICE song on the Tonight Show. Huh. Imagine that.

ICE, in a belligerent, deliberately accusatory, and purposefully deceptive statement, said “His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa.” This deliberately nasty statement is designed to prejudice people against 21 Savage.

Here’s what actually happened. 21 Savage came to Atlanta when he was thirteen. He obviously would have had no say in or even knowledge of his visa expiring when he was fourteen. Further, his lawyer says in the official statement that 21 Savage has “never hid his immigration status from the US government.” So, in no way is his public persona false. Yet he’s being held without bail. Which is also clearly a violation of the law.

With his Leading by Example foundation and in partnership with the local nonprofit Get Schooled, 21 Savage has spent years working to promote literacy, and to help underprivileged schoolchildren and their families. It’s also where he was arrested (for a felony that was expunged from his record in September 2018), survived a brutal shooting, started a family, and saw his best friend die. If that doesn’t give him the right to call Atlanta home, what does?

A few days prior to the arrest, 21 Savage released a music video for his new song with J. Cole, ‘A Lot’, that directly called out ICE’s inhuman border policies, and then performed the track on the Tonight Show. Did the authorities truly believe that this man was a threat to the security of this country? Or did they see a rich, famous, successful black man calling their bluff on a national stage, and decide to take him down a peg?

It shouldn’t matter either way, because there is no logical reason for 21 Savage—or anyone—to be deported.

Salton Sea problematic in Colorado River drought plan

Salton Sea dead fish

The Salton Sea is in the Imperial Irrigation District in California. It is a very weird place. The Sea is salt water, below sea level, hugely polluted by agricultural runoff and industrial waste, has periodic fish kills, is a major migratory route for birds, and is in desperate shape. Enter the Colorado River drought plan. Seven states needed to have a plan by yesterday, else the feds will intervene. Arizona and California are close but not compliant yet.

The IID gets 20% of the water from the Colorado River because their water rights are so senior. They have not put forth a plan yet because they want $200 million in federal money remediate the Salton Sea. They are absolutely playing hardball. However, the Salton Sea needs major money to resuscitate it. If it dries up, toxic dust will blow everywhere. Seriously.

Arizona

Arizona passed their Colorado River drought contingency bill last night, hours before the federally mandated deadline. This is a big deal, and took a lot of cooperation between rival factions. Well done! However, the seven states that use Colorado River water need to have a plan, else the feds will do it for them.

To give an idea of the complexity just within one state, here’s how agreement was reached in Arizona.

The Gila River Indian Community, for stepping forward with enough “wet” water to make the deal work.

The Colorado River Indian Tribes, for fallowing enough land (and therefore saving enough water) to replenish what we have previously stored in Lake Mead.

Pinal County farmers, for vastly paring down the amount of water they could live with.

Tucson, for coming up with even more water to resolve a key sticking point.

Feds: Drought plan, “close isn’t done.”

Federal Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said there has been tremendous progress toward a deal, including the Arizona Legislature’s quick passage of drought legislation before a Thursday night deadline. But she said that doesn’t change the fact that the states haven’t completed the Drought Contingency Plan for the river’s lower basin, which aims to reduce the risks of Lake Mead falling to perilously low levels.

“Neither California nor Arizona have completed all of the necessary work,” Burman told reporters on a conference call. “Close isn’t done.”

Imperial Irrigation District

IID issued a news release on Thursday afternoon, thanking Feinstein for her support of the Salton Sea funding and saying it “comes at a critical time when states along the Colorado River have been working on … the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.”

Board President Erik Ortega said, “This isn’t an either/or proposition for IID; it is instead an honest effort by the district to improve the sustainability of the Salton Sea and to ensure the viability of the DCP (drought contingency plan).”

In its statement, IID said the $200 million pledge it requested “would represent a firm commitment to the environment, public health, water supply reliability, the agricultural industry and the future resiliency of the Colorado River.”

Colorado River drought plan. Arizona must pass it today

Glen Canyon Dam. Arizona
Glen Canyon Dam. Arizona.

The Arizona legislature must pass the Colorado River drought plan. Water from the Colorado River is crucial for seven states. Apportioning the water is governed by what is called “The Law of the River.” The river is severely overused. This region-wide drought plan is necessary because it determines what will happen if shortages occur. All the other states have passed it.

However, Arizona has been arguing among themselves, mainly between (in my opinion) cranky-ass Pinal County ranchers vs. Native Americans living on tribal land over who gets how much water. The deadline is tonight. If Arizona doesn’t sign on to the deal, then the feds will impose mandatory cuts. No one wants that to happen, not even the cranky-ass ranchers. So, hello Arizona, pass the damn bill today. This isn’t just about you. It involves much of the West and California too.

John Fleck, a well-known blogger on water and public policy and Director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program, has a new book coming this year about how water issues need to be solved using science and facts, not political posturing, fantasizing, and argle-bargle.

The University of Arizona Press will publish “Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River”, by Eric and myself, this fall. We’ll tell you the story of LaRue and others who followed in his wake, and the important ways in which the use and misuse of science is now embedded in the problems of 21st century Colorado River governance as we try to untangle the knots left by the river’s overallocation.

Back to Arizona. Legislators today have until midnight to pass the Colorado River drought plan bill that should have been dealt with months ago.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman gave Arizona and other states until midnight Thursday to act or she said she would step in and decide what cuts would be necessary to prevent reservoir levels from falling even further.

State lawmakers don’t want that because it could negate months of delicate negotiations between cities, tribes, farmers and elected officials who crafted the deal.

“This program is essential,” Otondo said, noting that not passing a plan would jeopardize the state’s water future. “Arizona is the junior state. The importance of putting a (drought) plan in place … is irrefutable. We need to.”

Huawei and CFO Wanzhou Meng indicted by DoJ

Huawei and Wanzhu Meng indictments. IP theft

Wanzhou Meng, Huawei CFO and daughter of the founder, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1 at the request of DoJ. She was charged with fraud for lying about ties that Huawei, a giant telecom company based in China, had with Skycom, a company doing business in Iran in violation of our sanctions. The US plans to extradite her. Today, DoJ amplified and added to the charges. She is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Huawei and Skycom were indicted with multiple serious felonies including evading sanctions and money laundering.

But wait, there’s more. Huawei telecom equipment is being banned

If that wasn’t enough, telecom companies and intelligence services across the planet are considering banning or have already banned Huawei equipment. They fear the equipment could be used for spying and surveillance. Australia has already banned Huawei equipment. Canada, Germany, and the US are considering doing so.

American officials say the old process of looking for “back doors” in equipment and software made by Chinese companies is the wrong approach, as is searching for ties between specific executives and the Chinese government. The bigger issue, they argue, is the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Chinese government, the fading line between independent business and the state and new laws that will give Beijing the power to look into, or maybe even take over, networks that companies like Huawei have helped build and maintain.

Huawei indictment. 13 counts

“These charges lay bare Huawei’s blatant disregard for the laws of our country and standard global business practices,” stated FBI Director Wray. “Companies like Huawei pose a dual threat to both our economic and national security, and the magnitude of these charges make clear just how seriously the FBI takes this threat. Today should serve as a warning that we will not tolerate businesses that violate our laws, obstruct justice, or jeopardize national and economic well-being.”

Most significantly, after news publications in late 2012 and 2013 disclosed that Huawei operated Skycom as an unofficial subsidiary in Iran and that Meng had served on the board of directors of Skycom, Huawei employees, and in particular Meng, continued to lie to Huawei’s banking partners about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, falsely claiming that Huawei had sold its interest in Skycom to an unrelated third party in 2007 and also that Skycom was merely Huawei’s local business partner in Iran. In reality, Skycom was Huawei’s longstanding Iranian subsidiary, and Huawei orchestrated the 2007 sale to appear as an arm’s length transaction between two unrelated parties although Huawei actually controlled the company that purchased Skycom.

As part of this scheme to defraud, Meng personally made a presentation in August 2013 to an executive of one of Huawei’s major banking partners in which she repeatedly lied about the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.

This is a seriously big deal case. From what I can tell from perusing knowledgeable people on Twitter, Huawei has been a bad actor for a long time. Now Wanzhou Meng, who is under house arrest in Canada and has surrendered her passports will almost certainly face trial here on very serious charges.

Never Trump Twitter accounts you need to follow

Trump Rat at Khashoggi Way. Mad Dog PAC

Books are going to be written about Never Trump Twitter and the real world organizing and fightback against Trump that has emerged out of it. The following are a few of these Twitter accounts that I follow.

Claude Taylor

@TrueFactsStated
Twitter bio
“Liberal Provocateur. Worked in Clinton White House. I drive #RatTruck & Scooby van. http://MadDogPAC.com Evil triumphs when good men do nothing”
Started Mad Dog PAC. They put up the Impeachment Now billboard in Mar A Lago, and dozens more billboards as well. Currently driving Trump Rat around DC and elsewhere, and putting up Khashoggi Way street signs by the Saudi embassy.

Louise Mensch

@LouiseMensch
Twitter bio
“”Unhinged British witch” “a textbook succubus”- Russian Insider “The Lizzie Borden of the Internet” – GCHQ (according to Randy Credico)
In Team Treason’s Head”
Former Tory MP in UK. Has been early and right on many things about Trump / Russia, such as Alfa Server, Anthony Weiner being catfished, the Steele Dossier and much more. Clearly, she has excellent intelligence community sources. Friend and ally of Claude Taylor. Sometimes they say the same thing and she gets attacked, not him. Why is that? Hmm. Punches back twice as hard when attacked.

John Schindler

@20committee
Twitter bio
“Columnist @observer, historian, author, provocateur, bon vivant, polyglot, counterspy, cat guy. Former NSA, NAVSECGRU, NWC. Premium #realtalk feed: @thespybrief”
Has been tweeting and writing for years on Russia interference in our country. After Trump got elected, people really began paying attention to what he says. Writes a regular column for The Observer. Perhaps his best-known tweet is him quoting IC sources saying “Trump will die in prison.”

Tom Nichols

@RadioFreeTom
Twitter bio
“Professor [at Naval War College], author on Russia, war, nukes, and “The Death of Expertise.” Noted curmudgeon. Anti-populist. Ex-GOP. Cat guy. Views solely my own.”
One of many former Republicans who could not stomach Trump. One reason is because Trump is not and never has been a conservative. Which is absolutely true. Is eloquent about why Trump must be opposed. People like him can reach and convince those on the right that lefties can’t possibly.

Rick Wilson

@TheRickWilson
Twitter bio
“GOP Media Guy, Dad, Husband, Pilot, Hunter, Writer. #1 NYT best-selling author of Everything Trump Touches Dies. Pride of FL, Prince of Periscope.”
Scathingly funny and savage in his attacks on Trump and Trumpsters. Has been doing GOP attack ads and campaigns for years so he knows everyone in the Republican Party. Carries a gun because he has gotten credible death threats and too many loonies walking up to him screaming at him.

I’ll list more Never Trump Twitter accounts in future posts.