U.S Border Patrol and New Mexico National Guard Team Up To Stop Drug Smugglers

Seized drug bundles.

LORDSBURG, N.M. – Border Patrol Agents working in conjunction with New Mexico National Guard seize more than $100,000 worth of marijuana as it was being smuggled though southern New Mexico near Playas.

On January 29, 2019, at approximately 9:30 p.m., a Lordsburg Border Patrol Agent operating infrared surveillance equipment observed four subjects walking northbound near the smelter on Highway 1113, approximately 8 miles south of Playas. Border Patrol All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Units along with a National Guard Helicopter responded to the area.

The helicopter, equipped with night vision equipment, was able to locate four subjects hiding in the brush.  The Border Patrol ATV Unit was guided by the helicopter to the subjects in the brush resulting in the arrest of all subjects.  Guard members then alerted and guided the agents to several large rectangular shaped burlap sacks in the area.  The contents of the bundles tested positive for marijuana and weighed a total of 135.8 pounds with an estimated value of $108,640.

Smugglers with modified footwear.

The subjects were wearing camouflage clothing and custom made footwear designed to mask their tracks as they smuggled contraband north away from the border.  During processing, it was determined that all four subjects are citizens of Mexico, and were in the United States illegally. The four subjects will be detained pending criminal/immigration prosecution.

This seizure emphasizes the important role the National Guard has with assisting the Border Patrol on our border.  National Guard troops have been utilized to monitor cameras and sensor feeds, conduct surveillance, provide aerial support and have helped with road and vehicle maintenance.

This is a reminder of the types of illegal drugs that are attempting to enter into our country putting our communities and neighborhoods at risk.  The men and women of the United States Border Patrol and National Guard remain committed to combating the illegal transportation of these drugs while remaining vigilant and steadfast in the performance of their duties.

More Consequences of Obamacare

Mainstream media are finding themselves in a challenging position. Supporters of the Affordable Health Care Act, they are now finding that the new law has many unexpected consequences.

USA Today reported this week that fewer businesses may be hiring this year due to the restrictions of Obamacare. More businesses are planning to hire part-time rather than full time workers with companies trimming hours back to fewer than 30 due to the new health care law. Analysts are predicting this will impact the job market and continue stressing the already tenuous economy.

USA Today: Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses that employ at least 50 full-time workers — or the equivalent, including part-time workers — must offer health insurance to staffers who work at least 30 hours a week. Employers that don’t provide coverage must pay a $2,000-per-worker penalty, excluding the first 30 employees.

While the new mandate doesn’t take effect until 2014 employers are being told they must back track employee scheduled hours for the previous year necessitating these earlier changes.

In addition to part time workers the impact of the new health care law seems to be affecting those companies who are currently just under the 50 employee threshold. According to the USA Today article many businesses who were looking to expand just over the threshold are now delaying their growth plans, waiting for stronger signs of improving economy.  Others are considering hiring more part time workers to avoid the tax penalties.

You can read the entire article here: USA Today.

Share it with friends who voted for the Democratic Congress that passed this unread legislation and who are now wondering why there are fewer jobs available. As President Obama said, “Elections have consequence.”

Pelosi Won’t Negotiate On Government Funding, Will Not Make A Counteroffer

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revealed on Thursday that her Democratic caucus is not working to negotiate with President Donald Trump on his border wall demands.

“That’s not true. That’s not true. That’s not true,” Pelosi replied when a reporter asked her about the rumors that Democrats are working behind the scenes to craft a counteroffer to Trump’s proposal.

“We are doing what we have been doing all along. We have been working on our congressional responsibility to write appropriations bills to keep the government open,” Pelosi said. “Many of those bills have come to the floor again and again.”

The Republican-led House passed a stopgap funding bill Dec. 20 that included appropriations to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, with a 51-seat majority, Senate Republicans fell short of the necessary 60 votes needed to send it to Trump’s desk for signature, and consequently, a partial government shutdown has been in effect since funding expired Dec. 21.

Both sides of the aisle have been locked in a political stalemate over an appropriations bill, and as a way to come to the negotiating table, Trump introduced a plan Saturday that included a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and those in Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Democrats have been avid proponents of both issues.

Pelosi rejected Trump’s proposal before it was even formally announced, calling it a “non-starter.”

“There’s not any negotiations behind the scenes or anything like that,” Pelosi added.

Getting Real: Understanding the ‘Gig Economy’

Watching CNBC and reading economist blogs like ZeroHedge render a certain perspective on the American economy – I’ve decided to give mine.

America is steadily evolving away from the democrat-favored, 8:30a-to-whatever, 40+ hour, single-job work-week to eith multiple 15-20 hour per week part-time jobs or the high-risk world of entrepreneurship.

Check out our multi-part series on the ‘gig economy’

  • Part One: So you want to work as a UPS pre-loader
  • Part Two: So you want to work in retail
  • Part Three: So you want to work in food service (coming soon)

Why choose the ‘gig economy?’

Part-time jobs offer freedom, variety and empowerment.

Each gig job offers you the ability to decide schedule. While one might be 3a-8a and another 5p-9p with some holes for errands or chores,  a standard job is 8a-5p+ – or else.

What if you need some availability from 8a-9a to drop the kids at school or 2p-3p to walk the dogs? That flexibility is not offered in the traditional job market.

Another major reason to consider the part-time economy is that losing one job is not the same as losing your job. Losing one part-time job means replacing it with another while still having the other part or full-time job in-place.

Lastly, the gig-style of working gives you the best opportunity to learn new skills, broaden your base of experience and become a better employee.

Why did I choose a gig-style of life?

I didn’t, it chose me.

I went to a major university,garnered a high-income 7a-8p job and realized that my family missed me. I decided to get flexible. So I have decided to investigate the gig economy for the time being! This series relays my adventures in one of the ways to make ends meet in our current economy.

American & USAir Merge

After months of negotiation, Doug Parker, CEO of the US Airways announced that US Air and American have agreed to  merge together creating the largest airlines in the world. The two companies agreed to an $11 billion deal allowing the American parent AMR to avoid bankruptcy.

The combined carrier will be called American Airlines and be based in Fort Worth however Phoenix will remain a corporate and operational hub.

Doug Parker email: Today we announced that American Airlines and US Airways will combine to create a premier global carrier. Operating under the iconic American Airlines name, one of the most recognized brands in the world, the combined airline will have a robust global network, a strong financial foundation and one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry. We are excited about what the combination of our two great airlines means for our valued customers.

The combined company will retain the iconic American Airlines brand name, and will provide you with more choices and better service throughout the world. The combined company will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth and will maintain a significant corporate, operational and hub presence in Phoenix.

U.S. National Debt is a Threat, Veterans Say

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff said last year that, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt…” and a new poll sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America and conducted by The Winston Group, reveals that the majority of military voters agree with his statement and believe debt is a growing and insidious threat to our national security.

Pete Hegseth , CEO of Concerned Veterans for America said the following:

“It’s not surprising that the majority of military voters are aware of Admiral Mullen’s powerful statement. Our warfighters and veterans understand that our military might comes from economic strength. That’s why we’re fighting for policies here at home that will preserve the precious freedom and liberty we risked our lives to defend.”

Key findings:

  • Concern about the future of the U.S. economy is reflected in military voters’ views that economic threats are greater dangers to national security than terror threats.

    Greatest threats to national security (combined first and second choices):

    •      Economy – 42 %
    •      Debt – 30 %
    •      Cuts to the military – 30 %
    •      Traditional powers like China, Russian and Iran – 30 %
    •      Foreign terror groups – 29 %
    •      Cyber terror – 14 %
  • 54% of military voters were aware of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen’s statement the national debt was the most significant threat to our national security. There was a clear agreement with his statement in that 71% agreed and only 20% disagreed.  Among those who agreed, 46% strongly agreed.
  • There are serious concerns about where the U.S. is headed both longer term and with economic threats to the future of the country. In thinking about the U.S. economy in the next 20 years, 54% believe the economy will either be weaker (34%) or about the same as it is now (20%).
  • Takeaway: Military voters view the economy and fiscal issues as part of the overall security of the country, are clearly interested in the national discussion about the economy, and are looking for solutions to address the economy and debt.

This survey was conducted  July 18-22, 2012  and the results noted above are from 800 military voters both veterans and active duty.

Hurrah: Female Marine Completes Gruelling Mountain School For The First Time

By Joseph Hammond

Sgt. Tara-Lyn Baker is the first woman to become part of the frozen few.

Over six grueling weeks, Sgt. Baker demonstrated a range of combat skills in snow and ice to complete the winter mountain leaders course at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, California.

A video published by the U.S. Marine Corp Times shows the 150 pound Marine executing maneuvers and training exercises. These include carrying a 60 to 90-pound backpack while skiing up steep mountains carrying heavy packs, shooting with deadly accuracy in the snow. Only the most “gung-ho” Marines are up to the challenge.

During the course Marines learn how to fight, survive, and maneuver in sub-zero temperatures and is one of the most physically demanding training programs in the U.S. military. Military operations in mountainous areas add the challenge of verticality.

Like some of her fellow Marines, Baker said suffered from frostbite and hypothermia. “We learn how to overcome it,” she said.

Baker came to the school – located  6,800 feet above sea level – as a Marine Mechanic.

In the video, Baker says she’s proud of her accomplishment.

The Marines is the last branch of the U.S. armed services that still enforces gender segregation in boot camp but, in January an integrated a Marine training battalion was formed of one male and five male platoons for the first time.

Lt. Marina Hierl, 24, became the first female Marine to lead a platoon last year after becoming the first woman to complete the Marines’ 13-week Infantry Officer Course in 2017.

The Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center is located at a higher elevation than Camp Ethan Allen Training Site used by the U.S. Army (1,200 feet elevation) or US Navy Mountain Warfare Training Camp Michael Monsoor (3,500 feet elevation). Though at all centers actual training operations are often conducted in the surrounding areas. Specialized American soldiers also attend similar programs in allied countries.

The facility was opened in 1951 to train U.S. soldiers for the Korean War. During the Cold War, the facility was used to train soldiers to protect Norway and the rest of NATO’s Northern Flank. The facility had taken on increased importance since September 11, 2001, when it was used in pre-deployment training for U.S. soldiers involved in Operation Enduring Freedom in mountainous Afghanistan.

In one training scenario often used by the Marines, the trainee is meant to jump with their skis, poles and a give gallon pack into a hole cut into a frozen lake.

“When you jump in, you lose your breath, you kind of lose your head,” said Sgt Aaron Jensen, a student of the school in a 2015 interview.

The Marine has to throw the pack out of the water and swim to the edge. Once there, the Marine must verbally request permission to get out of the water.

Then the training kicks in – participants roll in powdered snow to get the water off their clothes before a final sprint to warming tents to change and dry themselves.

“You learn how to survive, you learn how to deal with the cold,” Baker said in a video posted on the service’s Twitter.

Photo Cred: A version of this photo was posted by the U.S. Marine Corp Twitter account here https://twitter.com/USMC/status/1084253698186854400

Kidnapper Chose 13-Year-Old Victim After Watching Her At The Bus Stop

Suspected murderer and kidnapper Jake Thomas Patterson determined he would abduct long-missing teen Jayme Closs after he watched her board the school bus, court documents maintain.

Patterson watched Closs get on a school bus one day while he was driving to work and knew she would be his victim, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday, The Associated Press reported. “[He] knew that was the girl he was going to take,” Patterson told investigators.

The admission comes after Patterson allegedly shot and killed Jayme’s parents on Oct. 15 before kidnapping Jayme.

Patterson was identified as a suspect Friday, according to NBC News.

Prosecutors charged Patterson with murder, armed robbery and kidnapping Monday, according to AP.

Patterson allegedly shot Jayme Closs’s father, James Closs, on the doorstep of the family home located close to Barron, Wisconsin. After hearing the gunshot, Jayme Closs and her mother, Denise Closs, hid in a bathtub with the shower curtain drawn and the door to the bathroom locked.

Patterson broke through the door and taped Jayme’s mouth before shooting her mother through the head. He drove Jayme to his residence thereafter and kept her hidden for nearly three months.

Patterson hid Jayme under a bed surrounded by heavy objects and weights obscuring her from view when company came over. He directed her to be silent, and threatened to hurt her if she did not do so, AP reported.

Patterson had gone to the house on two prior occasions with intent to kill and kidnap, and abandoned his plans because the house was too active on those occasions, the complaint alleges. Patterson and Jayme Closs had never met prior to the incident, authorities say.

Jayme Closs was missing for 87 days before she was spotted Thursday after escaping from Patterson’s residence. Police swarmed Patterson’s house after a neighbor called 911 to notify authorities that Jayme had been found.

Prior to Jayme Closs’s escape, police received over 3,500 tips about her disappearance, none of which led to her discovery, AP reported.

Patterson has no criminal record in Wisconsin.

No charges of sexual assault have been levied against Patterson.

Rebuttal of Ezra Klein’s and Dustin Siggins’s blatant lies

On November 20th, extremely liberal Washington Compost blogger Ezra Klein published a cretinous, completely wrong blogpost titled “The sequester’s defense cuts aren’t that scary, in one graph”. Therein, Klein falsely claims that the sequester’s defense cuts would be mild and would not gut the military:

“The defense cuts contained in the sequester would be a “disaster,” says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Implementing them would “would risk hollowing out our force,” says Army Gen. Martin Dempsey. It would be a “crippling blow to our military,” says Sen. John McCain.

But not as bad a blow as the military has faced in the past. This graph comes from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and it shows real military spending since the Korean War (“real” in that the graph adjusts for inflation):

As you can see, the post-9/11 rise in military spending was larger than the rise during Vietnam and during the Cold War. And even if we implement every single cut in the sequester, the fall in spending would be less than the military experienced after Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War.

Of course, almost everyone expects that the sequester will, eventually, be disarmed, and the actual cuts to the military will be substantially smaller than what you’re seeing on this graph. That means that despite the incredible build-up after 9/11, the fall in spending will be much less than it was after Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War…”

He also claimed that nondefense discretionary spending will be “gutted” by the sequester and that it “doesn’t have nearly as much political protection.”

His claims are all blatant lies.

Let’s start with that utterly forged, completely wrong graph from the CSIS. It purports to show that US military spending rose above $700 bn in FY2009-FY2011 and that it will still be at $500 bn after sequestration, even in January FY2013, let alone later.

These numbers are completely wrong. Total US military spending, including GWOT and DOE defense-related program costs, NEVER reached, let alone exceeded, $700 bn at any point during the last 67 years. Never. It peaked at $688 bn in FY2011; in FY2010, it was $664 bn. Furthermore, if sequestration kicks in, the base defense budget will shrink to $469 bn in January 2013 and will stay below $500 bn for the remainder of the sequestration decade (and probably even afterwards), and even adding GWOT/OCO and DOE military spending does not bring the military budget up to $500 bn, let alone above it, especially given that these two items are ALSO subject to sequestration. (Yes, you read that correctly: war funding and funding for the DOE’s defense-related programs are ALSO subject to sequestration. Which means the DOD will have to cut base defense programs even deeper than otherwise just to pay the war bills.)

Here’s a CBO graph showing the REAL impact of sequestration. It utterly refutes the fake CSIS graph Klein posted.

Furthermore, the sequester’s cut to the defense budget – $66 bn virtually overnight, plus cuts to GWOT and DOE nat-sec budgets – would, collectively, amount to DEEPER defense budget cuts than those that followed the end of the Vietnam War or the Cold War, although not the massacre that followed the end of the Korean War. Furthermore, they will occur while over 60,000 American troops are still in harms’ way in Afghanistan.

Moreover, these deep defense cuts will have a devastating impact on an already overstretched, overused, depleted military which must now recapitalize and replace its worn-out, obsolete equipment after over 11 years of nonstop war while still deterring many threats and protecting America as well as its crucial allies. See here and here, for example, if you don’t want to listen to professional military leaders and to veteran budget manager Leon Panetta.

Klein’s claim that defense is “politically protected” is also a blatant lie, and a very popular one. The fact is that, as I have repeatedly proven here, Republicans are NOT protecting defense and have never protected it (although I wish they would). They’ve already agreed to Sec. Gates’ killing of over 50 crucial weapon programs in 2009 and 2010; to New START ratification (i.e. to unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal); to Sec. Gates’s Efficiencies Initiative, worth $178 bn; and to the $487 bn defense cuts mandated by the first tier of the BCA. Any claim that defense spending is “politically protected” is a blatant lie.

Finally, Klein’s claim that domestic spending would be “gutted” under sequestration is also a blatant lie, as documented by Dustin Siggins here. Moreover, under sequestration, defense spending would bear over 60% of the budget cuts burden, while domestic discretionary spending would get less than 40% of the slack and would see cuts of less than $40 bn per year, distributed over many agencies. That’s not gutting. Gutting is what defense will see under sequestration.

But Siggins, while smacking down Ezra Klein, made several lies of his own, and thus displayed once again his own ignorance of defense issues.

It’s funny that Siggins, while smacking down Ezra Klein, displays his own utter ignorance.

1) Firstly, it is not true that there is “massive fraud, waste, and duplication in the defense budget”. There is some of it (as there is in the budget of every federal agency), but not “massive” or “a huge amount”. If you have evidence, Dustin, publish it immediately or zip your lips.

And no, crucial weapon programs like the Next Gen Bomber, missile defense systems, the V-22, or the Virginia class are not “waste”.

The claim that there is “massive fraud, waste and duplication” in the defense budget is spread only by 1) those who want to make deep cuts in it, regardless of the consequences, and want to deliberately mislead the public into thinking that such cuts can be done safely; and 2) those ignorant people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

2) Contracting services need to be reformed carefully and skillfully, not “drastically”.

3) Ezra Klein’s graph is utterly false. It purports to show that US military spending rose above $700 bn in FY2009-FY2011 and that it will still be at $500 bn after sequestration, even in January FY2013, let alone later.

These numbers are completely wrong. Total US military spending, including GWOT and DOE defense-related program costs, NEVER reached, let alone exceeded, $700 bn at any point during the last 67 years. Never. It peaked at $688 bn in FY2011; in FY2010, it was $664 bn. Furthermore, if sequestration kicks in, the base defense budget will shrink to $469 bn in January 2013 and will stay below $500 bn for the remainder of the sequestration decade (and probably even afterwards), and even adding GWOT/OCO and DOE military spending does not bring the military budget up to $500 bn, let alone above it, especially given that these two items are ALSO subject to sequestration. (Yes, you read that correctly: war funding and funding for the DOE’s defense-related programs are ALSO subject to sequestration. Which means the DOD will have to cut base defense programs even deeper than otherwise just to pay the war bills.)

Here’s a CBO graph showing the REAL impact of sequestration. It utterly refutes the fake CSIS graph Klein posted.

4) The claim that “the aforementioned cuts to defense spending are essential to help the nation avoid a calamitous fiscal collapse, as well as better serve the troops…” is a blatant lie.

No, these cuts are not “essential” to avoid a calamitous fiscal collapse. The sequester’s defense cuts ($60 bn per year), or even its total cuts ($120 bn per year), would barely make a dent in the annual federal budget deficit ($1.3 trillion per year), and would thus do NOTHING to prevent a “calamitous fiscal collapse”. All that sequestration would accomplish would be to GUT the US military.

Which brings me to my next point: the sequester’s cuts would be a huge DISSERVICE to the troops and a huge damage to national security. I’m not exaggerating. Here is a holistic analysis of what sequestration would mean for America’s defense: here, here, and here.

But of course, as a non-conservative, Siggins doesn’t care.

5) To say that defense spending is “constitutional” is a vast understatement. Under the Constitution, defense is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, which is obligated to do whatever is necessary to provide for the country’s defense. Anything short of that is a dereliction of duty.

6) Deep defense cuts are NOT necessary to balance the budget, as proven by the budget plans of Chairman Ryan, the Republican Study Committee, Sen. Toomey, Sen. Lee, and the Heritage Foundation.

JCPenney is back – JCP is out

Early last February, JCPenney rolled out its “Fair and Square Everyday Pricing Plan”. It didn’t take long for push back from consumers, analysts, and just about everyone with an opinion, either. The primary complaints weren’t limited to the new pricing program, because in addition to price tag changes, the department store started radically changing floor-plans and reduced product selection in many locations. Couple that with the fact that consumers weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about shopping in general due to the economy, and it was a near disastrous combination for the corporation.

While JCPenney got at least a temporary reprieve from the Martha Stewart branding debacle with Macy’s, that doesn’t come close to undoing the damage by recently ousted CEO, Ron Johnson. They can console themselves at least a little that the dismissal cost them a paltry $148,924, but in all fairness (pun intended), that number should include the 25% losses in sales, and the 50% drop in stock values. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can only wonder now why JCPenney would think that Johnson could have helped to boost their sales the same way did with Apple stores. Comparing the two is like the proverbial comparison of “apples and oranges” – Apple products enjoy a base of loyal consumers that buy products simply because they are manufactured by the electronics giant. It’s also abundantly clear that it was huge mistake to give Johnson free reign to make changes to the department store’s brick and mortar operations at will. It’s been argued that he was fixing something that wasn’t broken, and should have been focusing on online sales.

So, to rectify all of this, JCPenney may very well be making another big mistake by bringing back former CEO, Myron Ullman. Nothing says a company has learned its lesson about past mistakes like bringing back someone that failed to address problems previously, even if that person could be considered the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, the colossal mistakes made by Johnson need to be rolled back, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line at least temporarily, to appease consumers that were annoyed with the radical changes by assuring them that it will be going back to “business as usual.” But, if the future plans don’t include a sincere effort to compete in the online market, JCPenney can’t count on a long-term recovery. And that brings us to “the apology” ad campaign:

The transcript:

It’s no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.

The commercial encourages consumers to visit the corporate Facebook page, to offer their feedback. A quick review of their interactions with the public isn’t particularly encouraging though. Visitor comments run hot and cold, with quite a few consumers making suggestions about the company returning to old practices. But, this is Facebook, and it’s likely that responses would be radically different on other social media sites. Many of the comments are from older consumers, and while they are important to consider, the reality of the situation is that building a marketing plan based on feedback from age-limited niche will be yet another disaster. Bluntly, particularly if catering to Baby Boomers, that is a recipe for short-term success followed by a precipitous drop and flat-line. It can’t be assumed that JCPenney will be smart enough to avoid this either, since they’ve opted to re-hire Ullman. Only time will tell where this all leads, but if the past is any indication, consumers will get one thing they tend to enjoy for at least a little while – going out of business sales.