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Scott Cahill: Collapse Risk At The Oroville Dam Is Still Unacceptably High

August 22, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

Remember the crisis earlier this year at the Oroville Dam?

The overflow from California’s winter of heavy rain threatened to overpower our country’s tallest dam. A cascading failure of the dam’s main gates, its primarily spillway AND its emergency spillway had the world watching hour by hour to see if a catastrophic breach was going to occur.

Fortunately, the rains stopped long enough for the situation to be brought under control. The dam remains in place and repair crews have been working all spring and summer.

But should we breathe easy at this point? Not at all, says dam safety expert Scott Cahill. Our readers will remember Scott from the excellent technical assessment he provided in the thick of the crisis earlier this year. In our earlier podcast with him, he explained how the real tragedy at Oroville was that for many years, small and affordable maintenance projects that easily could have prevented the crisis were diverted (in his estimation, the cost of making the needed repairs was quite small — around $6 million. But for short-sighted reasons, the repairs were not funded; and now the bill to fix the resultant damage will likely be on the order of magnitude of over $200 million. Which does not factor in the environmental carnage caused by flooding downstream ecosystems with high-sediment water or the costs involved with evacuating the 200,000 residents living nearby the dam).

And the pattern appears to be continuing. In this week’s podcast, Scott details a number of concerning structural risks visible at Oroville that are again being de-prioritized, or ignored all-together. And as before, straightforward and inexpensive projects that have high potential to prevent a catastrophic failure of the dam are not being pursued:

They’ve begun the repairs on the bottom half of the spillway, but the tragedy and loss from the bottom half of the spillway failing has already been realized. No one is worried about the bottom half of the spillway. On the other hand, they’ve done nothing yet with the upper half of the spillway — which is what would cause a catastrophic failure of the dam. It’s amazing how much money they’ve already spent, and yet their priorities are such that they haven’t abated the liability at all.

 

So yes, we’ve made the bottom of the principal spillway, the concrete slues, more sound. But it’s not the bottom of the dam that will fail, of course, it’s the crest — the top of it — where the gates are. That’s still highly suspect.

 

There are additional issues involving the unwanted moving of water through the dam — the so-called “green spots”. These are areas where water is migrating through the dam, probably through the indigenous soils adjacent to it. I’ve walked on these [at Oroville] and you can stick your foot down, and like your backyard after a torrential rain, water actually comes up into the footprint after you remove your foot. This is not a good situation. I believe there is a lot of movement of water through that dam, including at the structure itself that houses the gates that control the flow down the principal spillway.

 

There’s nothing wrong with embankment dams in general, they’re wonderful dams. But they rely on the mass of the earthen embankment itself to offset the forces that try to slide or rotate it into failure. When we see water migrating through a dam, it can potentially cause failure of the dam because it offsets the mass all that earth. Plus, there’s a lot of river rock and sand in this embankment. River rock, as we all know, is round. Anyone can understand how a pile of round rocks, if the fines have been washed out from between them by water and the rocks then vibrated, for instance, by seismic activity, weakens the system. These concerns are very, very serious. I believe that this situation is occurring in multiple places across the Oroville dam — and yet this is simply not being discussed.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Scott Cahill (41m:06s).

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Al Sharpton Is Shocked At The “Poisonous Atmosphere” In America “Being Stoked By The President”

August 22, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Al Sharpton, who’s built his career on stoking racial tensions for personal and financial gain, accused President Donald Trump of inciting a “poisonous atmosphere” in the US.
“We’re in a poisonous atmosphere that is being …

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College Profesors Begin Direct Support For AntiFa Groups On Campuses

August 22, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Jacob Grandstaff via Campus Reform,

  • Two professors, one from Purdue University and the other from Stanford University, are assembling a “Campus Antifascist Network” (CAN) to serve as a “big tent” for “anyone committed to fighting fascism.”
  • Despite the reputation Antifa groups have cultivated for employing violence to shut down opposing speakers, the professors insist that they only support “self-defense” by “those who are being threatened by fascists.”

Two professors are organizing a campus Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action) organization with the goal of confronting groups it considers fascist and “driv[ing] racists off campuses.”

According to Inside Higher Ed, the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN) was organized by Purdue University Professor Bill Mullen and Stanford University Professor David Palumbo-Liu with the intention of serving as a “big tent” for “anyone committed to fighting fascism.”

“Since Trump’s election, fascists, neo-fascists, and their allies have used blatantly Islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist messaging and iconography to recruit to their ranks and intimidate students, faculty, and staff,” Palumbo-Liu wrote in the group’s invitation letter.

 

“The time to take action is now,” he maintained, saying, “we call on all interested individuals and organizations to support or join the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN).”

In an interview with Campus Reform, Palumbo-Liu reiterated that “the groups that concern [CAN] the most are fascist in the sense they espouse a hateful ideology that targets particular groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, [or] sexuality, and wish to dominate, exclude, drive out, and harm members of those groups with force and violence.”

As part of its efforts, CAN provides a syllabus which labels fascism as a “historical expression of capitalism’s tendency to dominate the poor, working class, and oppressed people.”

Mullen told IHE that the network has grown to 200 members, including students and faculty, in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, adding that CAN will “build large, unified demonstrations against fascists on campuses” and protect groups that are vulnerable to attack.

While Mullen and Palumbo-Liu do not advocate direct violence, Antifa has been criticized for engaging in violent protests around the country, including riots against conservative speakers.

When asked about violent elements within Antifa, Palumbo-Liu told IHE that CAN would reject some elements of the movement and would only “advocate self-defense and defense in various forms of those who are being threatened by fascists.”

Palumbo-Liu likewise told Campus Reform that “physically attacking speakers is not [within the law],” and therefore is not something that his organization promotes.

“The issue really is not speech, but rather the kinds of actions a group is known to engage in that precisely impinge upon others’ free speech, academic freedom, and civil liberties,” he said.

 

“We are organizing to protect members of campus communities from groups that come to campus to provoke physical confrontations, purposefully destroy property, invade individuals’ privacy.”

The professor also pushed back on the view that President Trump is not a fascist, branding it as “literally an academic argument in the worst sense of the word” and declaring that “we need to pay attention to what is happening, not the labels that we feel are most fitting.”

Mullen did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

*  *  *

As Ron Paul explained earlier, the alt-right and its leftist opponents are two sides of the same authoritarian coin.

The alt-right elevates racial identity over individual identity. The obsession with race leads them to support massive government interference in the economy in order to benefit members of the favored race. They also favor massive welfare and entitlement spending, as long as it functions as a racial spoils system. Some prominent alt-right leaders even support abortion as a way of limiting the minority population. No one who sincerely supports individual liberty, property rights, or the right to life can have any sympathy for this type of racial collectivism.

Antifa, like all Marxists, elevates class identity over individual identity. Antifa supporters believe government must run the economy because otherwise workers will be exploited by greedy capitalists. This faith in central planning ignores economic reality, as well as the reality that in a free market employers and workers voluntarily work together for their mutual benefit. It is only when government intervenes in the economy that crony capitalists have the opportunity to exploit workers, consumers, and taxpayers. Sadly, many on the left confuse the results of the “mixed economy” with free markets.

*  *  *

Oh, and as a reminder, the petition to label AntiFa a terrorist group now has over 250,000 signatures.

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Former U.S. Attorney On Awan Indictment: “There Is Something Very Strange Going On Here”

August 22, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

We’ve written frequently over the past couple of months about the litany of unanswered questions surrounding the mysterious case of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (DWS) IT staffers.  Why did DWS seemingly threaten the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that was confiscated as part of an ongoing legal investigation?  Why did DWS keep Awan on her taxpayer funded payroll all the way up until the day he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles airport while trying to flee the country to Pakistan?  What, if anything, does the Awan family know about the DNC hacks that may have caused DWS to act in this way?

Now, Andrew McCarthy III, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who led the prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, says there is “something very strange” about the recent indictment filed against Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi in the District of Columbia.

In a National Review article, McCarthy points out that it’s not what’s in the indictment that is necessarily surprising but rather what is seemingly intentionally omitted.  For instance, McCarthy points out that “the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention” that Imran was apprehended while in the process of fleeing the country, a fact that would seem to be the best evidence available to prove the fraud charges.

Let’s say you’re a prosecutor in Washington. You are investigating a husband and wife, naturalized Americans, who you believe have scammed a federal credit union out of nearly $300,000. You catch them in several false statements about their qualifications for a credit line and their intended use of the money. The strongest part of your case, though, involves the schemers’ transferring the loot to their native Pakistan.

 

So . . . what’s the best evidence you could possibly have, the slam-dunk proof that their goal was to steal the money and never look back? That’s easy: One after the other, the wife and husband pulled up stakes and tried to high-tail it to Pakistan after they’d wired the funds there — the wife successfully fleeing, the husband nabbed as he was about to board his flight.

 

Well, here’s a peculiar thing about the Justice Department’s indictment of Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, the alleged fraudster couple who doubled as IT wizzes for Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other congressional Democrats: There’s not a word in it about flight to Pakistan. The indictment undertakes to describe in detail four counts of bank-fraud conspiracy, false statements on credit applications, and unlawful monetary transactions, yet leaves out the most damning evidence of guilt.

 

In fact, the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention it.

 

Why would prosecutors leave that out of their indictment? Why give Awan’s defense a basis to claim that, since the indictment does not allege anything about flight to Pakistan, the court should bar any mention of it during the trial? In fact, quite apart from the manifest case-related reasons to plead instances of flight, a competent prosecutor would have included them in the indictment simply to underscore that Awan is a flight risk who should have onerous bail conditions or even be detained pretrial.

DWS

 

Then there is the case of Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi.  When she fled the country back in March she was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents with over $12,000 cash in her luggage, technically a crime by itself if not properly disclosed, but was allowed by the FBI to leave the country despite having been under investigation for months. 

We must also ask, again: Why did the FBI allow Alvi to flee? Before she boarded her March 5 flight to Qatar (en route to Pakistan), agents briefly detained her. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents had already searched her baggage and found $12,400 in cash. As I have pointed out, it is a felony to move more than $10,000 in U.S. currency out of the country unless one completes the required government report (see sections 5316 and 5322 of Title 31, U.S. Code). There was no indication that she did so in the complaint affidavit submitted to the court when Awan was arrested last month (see FBI complaint affidavit, pages 8–9).

 

By the time Alvi fled, the Awans had been under investigation by various federal agencies for at least three months. The FBI was sufficiently attuned to the Awans’ criminality that its agents went to the trouble of chasing Alvi to the airport. If she didn’t fill out the required form, she should have been arrested for the currency violation. Is it possible that, rather than arresting her, federal agents instructed her to complete the form on the spot? One would hope not, but even in such an unlikely event, Alvi would undoubtedly have made false statements about the provenance of the cash. That would also have been a felony, providing more grounds for her arrest. Why let her go, especially when, as its agent told the court in the aforementioned affidavit, the FBI “does not believe that ALVI has any intention to return to the United States”?

And then there is just the continued secrecy surrounding the case.  Why did the U.S. Attorney’s office decide against filing a press release in a case that has garnered significant national attention?  Why was the case filed in a district where DWS’s brother has been an assistant U.S. attorney for many years? 

To begin with, it is not the easiest thing to get one’s hands on the indictment. The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. There is no press release about the indictment on the office’s website, though U.S. attorneys’ offices routinely issue press releases and make charging documents available in cases of far less national prominence. (I found the indictment through the Orlando Sentinel, which obtained and posted it in conjunction with the paper’s report on the filing of charges.)

 

By the way, the U.S. attorney’s office is currently led by Channing D. Phillips, an Obama holdover who was never confirmed. Still awaiting Senate confirmation is Jessie Liu, nominated by President Trump in June. Meanwhile, Steven Wasserman, Representative Wasserman Schultz’s brother, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the office for many years. I have seen no indication that he has any formal role in the case, notwithstanding some cyberspace speculation to the contrary. What is clear, however, is that the office is low-keying the Awan prosecution.

 

The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.

Of course, we’re sure it’s probably nothing but at least one former U.S. Attorney says “there is something very strange going on here.”

The full Grand Jury indictment can be viewed here:

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