Saturday, February 25, 2017

Homeland Security study refutes Trump's travel ban

NY Daily News Covers
New York Daily News

Analysts at the Homeland Security Department's intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump's travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.

A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an "unlikely indicator" of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria's civil war started in 2011.

Trump cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason he signed the sweeping temporary travel ban in late January, which also halted the U.S. refugee program. A federal judge in Washington state blocked the government from carrying out the order earlier this month. Trump said Friday a new edict would be announced soon. The administration has been working on a new version that could withstand legal challenges...

The Homeland Security report is based on unclassified information from Justice Department press releases on terrorism-related convictions and attackers killed in the act, State Department visa statistics, the 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment from the U.S. intelligence community and the State Department Country Reports on Terrorism 2015.

The three-page report challenges Trump's core claims. It said that of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to carry out or try to carry out an attack in the United States, just over half were U.S. citizens born in the United States. The others were from 26 countries, led by Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan. Of these, only Somalia and Iraq were among the seven nations included in the ban.

Of the other five nations, one person each from Iran, Sudan and Yemen was also involved in those terrorism cases, but none from Syria. It did not say if any were Libyan.

Thanks to Rachel Maddow.

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Cheryl Brinkman

Woman on a bicycle with traffic and Civic Center buildings behind her.
Cheryl Brinkman

Cheryl Brinkman will be the next chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors, not that it will make any policy difference, since the MTA will continue its often ill-advised "improvements" to city streets. 

I first heard of Brinkman in a Japantown newsletter (page 13, 18)  in 2003 when she and Mary Brown, representing the Bicycle Coalition, tried unsuccessfully to get parking removed on Post Street to make bike lanes. 

Brinkman's anti-car credentials got her appointed to the board by Mayor Newsom. She led the move to take away parking on Polk Street to make bike lanes by invoking the safety lie

She was furious after people from Polk gulch vociferously rejected the MTA's plan to take away street parking to make bike lanes:

I want the proposal that doesn’t minimize parking loss. I was at that (Middle Polk Neighborhood Association) meeting, and I took offense. Anyone who showed up in support of the SFMTA would have been completely 100% intimidated to speak up. That was the worst public meeting I’ve ever attended.

When a cyclist killed a pedetrian on the Embarcadero, in a muddled message to Streetsblog Brinkman blamed the lack of bike infrastructure for the routine recklessness displayed by cyclists on city streets!

In short, she'll be a suitable successor to Tom Nolan.

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Transit ridership falling?

From a comment to this story: "It's overly simplistic to say 'bus restructuring' leads to ridership growth. Actually, what leads to ridership growth is service growth, not a mere rejiggering of buses."