Clapper flaps his clapper, Economy booming and Nobel Talk | Look At News Daily  (April 28-May 4/Day 99-105) Week 15

By Michael Hernandez

 

April 28 (Saturday): Day 99

President Trump celebrates end of House Intelligence investigation

President Donald Trump celebrated the end of the House Intelligence Committee investigation on Friday. “I was very honored by the report. It was totally conclusive, strong, powerful,” Trump said.

The president commented on the report after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and spoke briefly to reporters in the Oval Office. “What we really should do is get on with our lives and get on with a lot of things,” Trump said. He added that the report showed “no collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign and pointed reporters to a section of the report on election activity by the Hillary Clinton campaign. “Maybe somebody ought to look at that,” he said.

Former Intelligence Director spoke with CNN about Trump dossier

James Clapper

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted to congressional investigators that he spoke with CNN about the Trump dossier close to the time the outlet published a scoop, according to a House Intelligence Committee report released Friday.

The report revealed that Clapper, during an interview with House Intelligence Committee investigators on July 17, 2017, first “flatly denied” that he had discussed with journalists the dossier or any other intelligence related to the 2016 election.  But during that same interview, he later admitted discussing the dossier with CNN’s Jake Tapper and possibly other journalists.

“Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time [intelligence community] leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump” on the dossier, the report said. CNN reported those briefings on January 10, 2017, prompting BuzzFeed to publish the dossier in full.

The House report also noted that Clapper became a CNN analyst not long after the conversation: The confirmation that Clapper spoke to Tapper comes after recently published memos by former FBI Director James Comey revealed that at the time he briefed Trump on the dossier, he knew CNN was looking for a “news hook” in order to report on the dossier.

Comey’s memos also revealed that Clapper was the one who asked him to brief Trump on the dossier — which subsequently became the “news hook” for which CNN was looking.

The sequence of those events has raised questions about whether Clapper was attempting to set up the news hook CNN needed to publish the dossier. The report also found that Clapper had inaccurately publicly testified in May 2017 that the dossier was not “in any way used” in the assessment.

The House Intelligence Community report also revealed that the dossier was, indeed, part of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference and that Russia was trying to help Trump. A two-page summary of the dossier was added to the appendix of the assessment, the report said.

The House Intelligence Committee’s report is the final product of its investigation, which lasted more than a year, into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any potential collusion with a presidential campaign. The investigation, which involved interviews with 73 witnesses, nine hearings and briefings, and review of 307,900 documents, found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Rap megastar releases new song Saturday

Rap megastar Kanye West released a new song on Saturday sending what could be considered one of the boldest political statement’s in rap history — questioning black Americans’ near-monolithic support of the Democratic Party.

The fiery track, “Ye vs. the People,” sees the Chicago crooner in a back-in-forth lyrical debate about the merits of thinking freely and the political and economic state of black Americans, as well as addressing the fallout from West’s seeming embrace of President Donald Trump.

“Bruh, I never ever stopped fightin’ for the people. Actually wearin’ the hat’ll show people that we equal,” West says of posting a picture online this week of him wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat — a hat which the rapper says “stayed in my closet like ’bout a year and a half.”

“See that’s the problem with this damn nation. All blacks gotta be Democrats, man, we ain’t made it off the plantation,” West argues. “Ye vs. the People” comes after Kanye West’s wild week in which he received criticism for calling President Trump his brother.

Google brands critics of diversity policies as “alt-right”

Google has filed a motion in court to seal documents pertaining to James Damore’s class-action lawsuit against them, arguing that the documents were causing their employees to be “harassed.” In response, the court has agreed to seal the records for two months. Google is also branding critics of their far-left diversity policies as “alt-right” according to Damore’s attorney. “They have sealed it for a two-month period, believe it or not.” said Harmeet Dhillon, the attorney representing Damore and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit documents, which can still be accessed via Dhillon’s website, have been a source of multiple news stories about Google. Most recently, Breitbart News reported on new evidence published in the latest filing, which shows that Google cautions its managers against rewarding the values of “white-male dominant culture,” including “individual achievement” and “objectivity.” The documents also show that Google has failed to discipline employees who threatened their co-workers for holding differing points of view.

Now Google is trying to have this embarrassing material shut off from the public.

“They called up the court and they said ‘some of our employees are being harassed, we want to bring a motion to seal this entire lawsuit.’ The court has sealed it for two months. For two months now, the public is not going to be able to go to the [court] and read that.”

“Google is too big to fail, too powerful to be questioned,” said Dhillon. “In the face of our lawsuit, they simply describe all criticism of their race-baiting and racial gerrymandering as alt-right criticism.”

Asking why Republicans are “defending Google,” Dhillon explained the extent of corruption in D.C.“The very crass reason is that Google spreads the money  around both sides. Google very carefully spreads the money around in the media as well, and in non-profits as well. They are really ubiquitous and everywhere. As a result, people know which side their bread is buttered [on], and there are very few principled people who say ‘you know what, I don’t want to take your money Google, I’m going to criticize you, and I’m going to be objective about it.’”

Google boasts of its commitment to transparency. From their website:  “We believe in the empowering and democratizing effect of putting information in the hands of everyone, everywhere. We started nearly two decades ago with the goal of organizing the world’s information and making it universally useful and accessible.  It seems the same principles do not apply to information that exposes the company’s own wrongdoing.”

Texas GOP congressman speaks on Facebook censorship

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) warned on Thursday that Americans who post critical comments about illegal immigration on Facebook could be censored for publishing “hate speech.” Smith made his remarks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining “social media filtering and policing practices.”

Citing a Media Research Center report that noted that Facebook had censored right-of-center outlets like Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner, Smith said Facebook’s new guidelines on “hate speech” and “fake news” appear to “protect illegal immigrants.”

Smith said Americans who post on Facebook that “illegal immigrants should return to their home country” or claim that an illegal immigrant who receives government benefits without paying taxes is a “free rider” are likely to be censored for posting “hate speech.”

The Texas Congressman noted that a 2017 Gallup poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans were worried about illegal immigration. “So if those Americans were to post their concerns on Facebook, they would be accused of hate speech,” Smith said. “A majority of Americans could be censored under Facebook’s guidelines.”

Smith added that censorship of conservative viewpoints by social media organizations is becoming “more frequent” and its “consequences more serious” as outlets like Facebook and Twitter are removing or shadow-banning conservatives who do not adhere to the political views favored by the tech companies.

Smith suggested that if social media companies continue to silence conservative viewpoints, right-of-center Americans should “support alternative platforms” or boycott the biased media.”

President Trump speaks to Michigan supporters

President Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of supporters in Michigan on Saturday night, delivering wide-ranging remarks on topics including his role in denuclearizing North Korea; the treatment received by his Veterans Affairs pick, Adm. Ronny Jackson, which Trump termed “a disgrace”; and his decision to again skip the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner.

“You may have heard, I was invited to another event tonight, the White House Correspondents’ dinner,” Trump said as the crowd booed in response. “But I’d much rather be in Washington, Michigan, than in Washington, D.C., right now.” Trump, who touted his victory in the state during the 2016 presidential election, soon launched into a discussion of national border security. “We believe that a strong nation must have strong borders,” he said, reiterating calls for a wall at the southern border.

“Are you watching that mess that’s going on right now with the caravan coming up?” Trump said, referring to a Central American caravan of immigrants now at the U.S.-Mexico border. “And our laws are so weak, they’re so pathetic, given to us by Democrats, they’re so pathetic.”

Moving on to another global topic, Trump spoke about North Korea and said that  “a lot of good things are happening there.” He was speaking about progress toward denuclearization by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Trump said that while it’s not clear what will happen on that front, the U.S. was “not playing games. If we would’ve said where we are today from three or four months ago, remember they were saying, ‘He’s going to get us into nuclear war,’ they said,” Trump recalled. “No, no, no. … Strength is going to keep us out of nuclear war, not gonna get us in.” He added that “a very important meeting’ would likely happen in the coming weeks.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Trump said. “Whatever happens, happens. Look, I may go in, may not work out, I leave. I’m not going to be a John Kerry who makes that horrible Iran deal.” He continued to call the 2015 Iran deal, a nuclear agreement made in the Obama era, “one of the worst deals.” 

Shifting back to domestic topics, Trump then brought up Dr. Ronny Jackson, his former pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, whom he dubbed “a truly high-quality human being.” Trump accused U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., of “throwing out things that he’s heard” about Jackson, who subsequently withdrew his name from consideration Thursday.

“Well, I know things about Tester that I could say, too,” Trump said. “If I said them, he’d never be elected again. What Jon Tester did to this man is a disgrace,” Trump continued, adding that Jackson “started getting hit with vicious rumors.”

“So they try and destroy a man. … Well they’re doing it with us, they’re trying their damnest,” the president said, alluding to an ongoing investigation of alleged collusion between Moscow and the Trump presidential campaign in the 2016 election.

“I want to thank, by the way, the House Intelligence Committee … they do it with us, too,” he continued. “Russian collusion.” The committee he’s referring to released its heavily redacted final report on Friday of its investigation findings, which said there was “no evidence” of collusion.

The president also made a jab at former FBI Director James Comey, calling him “a liar and a leaker.” The Comey memos detailed his conversations with the president. “But you watch Comey and you watch the way he lies. And then he’s got the memos, I wonder when he wrote the memos, right?,” Tump said. “Then he’s got the memos and he puts them up. Watch the way he lies, it’s the most incredible thing. I did you a great favor when I fired this guy,” he continued.

 

April 29 (Sunday): Day 100

Picture of teens praying before a meal sparks controversy

A picture posted on Facebook by a California journalist of a group of high schoolers has sparked unexpected controversy among social media users. The picture shows prom-ready high schoolers praying before a meal. The journalist received the photo from a proud mother who wanted to share a positive image of teens to help counteract some of the negative headlines about America’s young people. Echoing the mother’s praise, the journalist wrote, “[This scene] says a lot about young people these days. It’s REALLY nice to see.”

The picture and the positive remarks about the praying teens drew some highly negative and judgmental comments from Facebook users. Many of the commenters attacked the implied Christianity of the students in the photo. Some used the photo and the journalist’s praise of the students as a platform to complain about the arrogance and pushiness of Christians. You can read some of the comments in this article at Fox News.

200 National Guard to be stationed at California border

Two hundred National Guard troops are now set to be stationed in the San Diego and El Centro sectors of the U.S. southern border in California, after a virtual ping-pong rally on whether or not California Gov. Jerry Brown would accept them.

The California National Guard notified members on April 20 to report for duty.

Approximately 200 of these were set to report on Saturday at Camp Roberts, where they will be receiving their training and meet leadership teams. Upon completion of their training, the Guard members will be deployed to the San Diego and El Centro sectors of the U.S. southern border. This could happen as soon as mid-week in the coming week.

Guard members will participate in a variety of activities, according to the California National Guard: There, they will support federal efforts to target and prosecute transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers by providing: counterdrug surveillance, intelligence gathering, camera monitoring, paralegal work, telecommunications equipment installation and maintenance, heavy equipment operation, physical infrastructure maintenance, and administrative and logistical assistance.

Currently, California hosts 250 Guardsmen and women combatting transnational drug crime. Fifty-five of those have been serving at the southern border. The additional 200 Guard members will supplement these existing Guard troops. Full operational capability of the new troops will fall within the scope of that of the 2006 and 2010 deployments — 77 days and 58 days, respectively.

The operation will continue until September 30, 2018, at least. Guard troops are to be focused on combatting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers, and illegal firearm and drug smugglers. They will not participate in any direct law enforcement or immigration enforcement activities, as both California and federal government officials have repeatedly said. Troops will also not participate in the building of any new border barrier.

On April 4, President Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced they would be sending National Guard troops to the border in the four southern border states, in cooperation with those states’ governors. White the governors of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico swiftly accepted, California’s Gov. Brown initially lay quiet.

On April 11,  Brown signed a letteraccepting those troops. However, confusion ensued as California and federal officials disagreed on the activities in which Guard members would participate. Further negotiations led to an agreement and the deployment of these 200 troops.

 

April 30 (Monday): Day 101

Israeli Prime Minister speaks about Iran’s nuclear weapons program

In a dramatic press conference in Jerusalem aimed at the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday unveiled a cache of secret files he says were obtained from inside a hidden Iranian site and clearly demonstrate that Tehran maintained a secret nuclear weapons program despite declarations to the contrary.

Netanyahu explained that the structure of the U.S.-led international nuclear agreement was in part based on deceptive Iranian descriptions of its previous nuclear work. He said Iran’s failure to disclose its secret program while misleading the world shows the nuclear deal is “based on lies based on Iranian deception.”

The Israeli leader presented evidence that Iran continued research for a nuclear weapons program even after signing the 2015 nuclear deal. “Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu began. “Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files,” he said. “In 2017 Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.”

Netanyahu said the secret nuclear files prove the following:  “Iran lied about never having a secret nuclear program. Second, even after the deal it continued to expand its nuclear program for future use. Third, Iran lied by not coming clean to the IAEA. Finally, the nuclear deal is based on lies based on Iranian deception.”

The prime minister’s speech was based on 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs that Netanyahu said were smuggled out of an “atomic archive” painstakingly preserving Iran’s secretive nuclear program so that the country would have the option of restarting its nuclear weapons activities after the nuclear deal expires or in the case of Tehran prematurely bolting the agreement.

Israel’s ability to acquire the archive marks a massive intelligence coup for the Jewish state. “Iran lied. Big time,” Netanyahu said of the half-ton of material obtained by Israel. The trove, Netanyahu added, contains “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.”

He said Israel shared the material with the U.S., and that “the United States can vouch for its authenticity.” The “atomic archive” was compiled by Iran with the express purpose of preserving its secretive nuclear weapons plan known as Project Amad, which aimed to “design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile. That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” asserted Netanyahu.

Netanyahu outlined Project Amad as containing five key elements described by the Times of Israel thusly: “Designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.”

Netanyahu said that in 2003, Iran shut down the version of Project Amad that existed at the time and instead divided its nuclear program into both covert and overt components. Besides archiving the material for future use, Netanyahu said Iran continued to research nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu called on President Donald Trump to “do the right thing” as the May 12 deadline to recertify the nuclear agreement approaches. “The right thing for the United States. The right thing for Israel. And the right thing for the peace of the world,” he concluded.

California and Massachusetts Senators raising money for a campaign

Freshman Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has reportedly been investing large amounts of money in online advertising and digital campaigning ahead of what many believe is a coming announcement that she is running for president. “People see a potential in terms of digital fundraising, so I’m not surprised to see some of our younger, more ambitious members moving on that front – especially members who, part of their base or appeal is to younger voters,” Jaime Harrison, associate chair of the Democratic National Committee and a former South Carolina state party chair, told Politico‘s David Siders.

Harris reportedly spent over $600,000 on web advertising and digital campaign consulting in the first quarter of 2018 alone.  Harris currently has 1.6 million followers on her Twitter account and nearly 1 million followers on her Facebook fan page. While she currently has less than $1.5 million available in her campaign war chest, her investment in digital advertising could help her raise funds at a grassroots level like progressives like former presidential candidates Barack Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — who is also likely going to announce a run at the presidency after she runs for re-election later this year.

Last year, Warren said, “I’m not running for president.” However, it is more than likely that her book tour for her recently published This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class is part of an effort to prepare for a 2020 run for the White House — a path Harris may repeat.

Christian Group cancels Young Adult Conference because of AB2943

Summit Ministries’ president calls AB2943 “the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime” while announcing removal of Biola University worldview training from the schedule.

One of the nation’s leading organizations helping Christian teens and young adults apply their faith to everyday living has been forced to cancel a planned conference in California due to a proposed new law analysts are calling an effort to limit free speech and the free exercise of religion.

For more than 55 years, Summit Ministries has held conferences at its headquarters in Manitou Springs, Colo., and across the nation, training nearly a half-million young Christians to become leaders in their schools, communities, churches, families, and country. But the group has had to cancel its June 10-23 and June 24-July 7 sessions at Biola University near Los Angeles due to concerns that California will forbid some of what it teaches.

At issue is AB2943, a bill recently passed by the state Assembly and likely to be passed by the Senate, that seeks to insert provisions into the state’s Business and Professions Code to the effect that goods and services “offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” constitute deceptive business practices, and are subject to fines and penalties.

The proposed law includes a prohibition of “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

“Summit’s program helps students develop an intelligent, defensible Christian worldview before they go to college,” Summit President Jeff Myers explained. “Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology as well as sociology, psychology and science. But the wording of AB2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits.”

Summit’s program would fall under the proposed law because its lineup includes defenders of traditional man/woman marriage and people who advocate pursuing only those sexual activities approved in the Bible. Myers said it has also been common during prior trainings for students to ask questions of Summit staff about how to address confusion over gender identity and sexual attraction in the context of their faith. By prohibiting such conversations, AB2943 would cripple Summit’s ability to care for and equip its students, Myers said.

“What are we going to say to a young person experiencing sexual confusion?” he asked. “That the state of California forbids us from allowing a biblical ethic embraced by billions of people for thousands of years to inform our answer? California state authorities are hijacking good-faith concerns about reparative therapy to deny constitutional protection to those who hold traditional views of sexuality and marriage,” Myers added. “We cannot and will not bend God’s truth to accommodate the state of California. This is the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime.”

Summit will move ahead with its planned conferences this summer in Colorado, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. But the very real possibility that it could face costly legal action simply for endeavoring to steep students in biblically informed truth is an unfortunate bridge too far.

“We are grieved that it has come to this, but we simply cannot put our students, staff and faculty at risk,” Myers said. “We are still free to present our conferences in 49 states – and we are grateful for that. Now is the time for Californians to rise up and challenge their representatives to respect biblical values. To that end, we’re doing everything we can to mobilize our California alumni to exercise their power as citizens and work to prevent this bill from becoming law. And, of course, we continue to pray for our many friends and partner organizations in California, that they would see common-sense governance restored to their state.”

Former Labor Secretary wants Wall Street to save nation from Trump

The One Percent on Wall Street must save the nation by taking political control from President Donald Trump, says former President Bill Clinton’s far-left labor secretary. “If the leaders of American business remain silent about what Trump is doing to American democracy, they will be complicit in its demise,” Robert Reich begged Wall Street CEOs in the April 26 San Francisco Chronicle.

Reich, was a progressive Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997, justifies calls for a virtual occupation by Wall Street of the White House:  “Break up the big banks. In the wake of the bailout, they’re bigger than ever. Twenty years ago, the 10 largest banks on the Street held 10 percent of America’s total bank assets. Now they hold over 70 percent.  You don’t have to be an occupier of Wall Street to conclude the Street is still out of control. And that’s dangerous for all of us.”

Reich was also credited with popularizing the “corporate welfare” term. Populists share Reich’s criticisms of corporate welfare but often highlight different examples. But even though he often complains about economic inequality, Reich urged a dramatic increase in the government-delivered supply of foreign workers to U.S. employers via extra immigration and more amnesties.

That cheap-labor agenda is common on Wall Street, which would gain greatly if white-collar immigration slashed white-collar salaries, as it has in the computer sector with the aid of roughly 600,000 resident H-1B outsourcing workers.

South Korea President:  Trump “should win the Nobel Peace Prize”

South Korea’s executive Blue House confirmed on Monday that President Moon Jae-in said U.S. President Donald Trump “should win the Nobel Peace Prize” for his efforts in Korea. Moon was holding a meeting of his Cabinet on Monday when the conversation turned to a letter of congratulations written to Moon by Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who died in 2009.

During his presidency, Kim was awarded the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize to recognize “his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular.” The crowning achievement of his work with North Korea was a summit meeting in the summer of 2000 with Kim Jong-il, father of current dictator Kim Jong-un.

The New York Times took Moon’s endorsement of Trump for the Nobel as sincere, noting that other prominent voices in South Korea also believe Trump deserves the award – a remarkable sea change of opinion in Seoul from just a few months ago when there were grave doubts in some quarters about Trump’s approach to the North Korean nuclear missile crisis.

May 1 (Tuesday): Day 102

French President says crime, terror and sexual assaults not due to illegals

Violent crime, terror attacks, and epidemic levels of sexual assault in Europe are “not linked” to mass migration, Emmanuel Macron has said, blaming “discrimination” and inequality for the phenomena. Speaking to George Washington University students in the U.S. last week, the French President also acknowledged that “90 per cent” of African migrants arriving in Europe are economic migrants and not refugees.

Macron was prompted to address the topic after a student stood up to say that Americans have watched as mass immigration “from the Middle East and Africa to Europe … over the years”, resulting in the rise of violence, crime, and terror attacks on the continent.

Highlighting “an increase in sexual assault and rape of women to the point that many women are too afraid to leave home” and “an increase in anti-Semitism to the point that in many cities Jewish citizens are advised not to wear religious garb for fear of being attacked”, she asked the President what his government is doing “to ensure the national security and the cultural identity of France and Europe”.

“I am absolutely not naive. In our societies, we have a need for more security, more national security, especially for women,” Macron said, before stating: “I do not believe that these phenomena are linked to migration.” “Why? Because it is not new and unfortunately we have had this problem for years not to say decades in my country”, he explained, telling students that “exactly the same debates” were taking place in France over national security during the country’s 2002 presidential election campaign.

“Anti-Semitism … Unfortunately we had the [Mohammed] Merah attack and terrorist attack … more than six years ago now,” continued Macron, making reference to the gunman who killed three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi while on a shooting rampage in 2012.

“So it’s not brand new. And it must not be correlated with this immigration. Honestly,” Macron stressed, claiming it is the state’s responsibility “to provide opportunities” in order to reduce “conflicts in our societies” such as the attack by Merah, who was an Islamist of Algerian descent, both in France and the U.S.

California bill would allow illegal aliens to serve in state office

California State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is co-sponsoring a bill that would make clear that illegal aliens may serve in state office. The bill, SB 174, would amend an old provision in the state code that was originally drawn up in 1872 “to exclude Chinese immigrants and other ‘transient aliens’ from holding appointed civil positions,” the Los Angeles Times notes.

However, Lara’s changes would not restrict state offices to citizens or legal residents, but rather allow anyone present in the state to serve, regardless of immigration status. California has already allowed at least two illegal aliens to serve in state office. Most recently, State Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) appointed Lizbeth Mateo to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee.

Mateo is an illegal alien who was brought to the U.S. as a minor by her parents but is not eligible for deferred deportation under DACA because she returned to Mexico and attempted to re-enter the U.S. in 2013 as part of a protest. She was detained at the border and requested asylum — after spending several weeks in Mexico with family.

Lara, who has made attacks on President Donald Trump in his campaign for California Insurance Commissioner, is notorious for proposing radical legislation.

Last year, Lara helped introduce the “Healthy California Act,” which would create a single-payer, government-run health care system in the state — though he never indicated how the state would pay for it. He also proposed legislation to discriminate against any contractors who work on President Trump’s border wall, banning them for life from doing business with the state.

Lara also successfully introduced sanctuary state legislation that prevents local governments and law enforcement agencies from contracting with the federal government to detain illegal immigrants. Lara is reportedly losing badly to former California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is running for his old job as an independent rather than as a Republican.

Anti-Trump dossier paid by secret donors

The team of opposition researchers behind the infamous anti-Trump dossier embraced by the FBI were paid big bucks to continue trying to dig up dirt on Russian meddling in American politics – even after the 2016 presidential election.

That revelation, buried inside a 243-page report released by House Intelligence Committee Republicans last week, has sparked new speculation about the identities of the secretive donors who were funding the post-election project.

According to the House Intelligence Committee report, Daniel J. Jones – the president of the Penn Quarter Group and a former staffer for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein – “secured the services” of dossier author and former British spy Christopher Steele “to continue exposing Russian interference” after the election. It also hired an associate of Steele’s and the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.

That report doesn’t list the donors. But Jones told the FBI that the Penn Quarter Group was being funded by seven to 10 wealthy donors, primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million to the firm, it said.

Fusion and Steele originally teamed up during the 2016 campaign to compile a dossier of salacious and unverified allegations about Trump’s connections to Russia, paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through law firm Perkins Coie. The dossier allegedly was used by the DOJ and FBI to obtain surveillance warrants to spy on a member of the Trump team.

GOP House members draft up impeachment articles against Rosenstein

A group of conservative House members has drafted eight articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

The Washington Post and the Hill both reported reviewing the articles, which the outlets said the Freedom Caucus drafted because Rosenstein has not provided the documentation requested as part of Congressional investigations into federal law enforcement actions related to the Russia investigation and the 2016 probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The Hill reported:  “The articles include allegations that Rosenstein violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over Congress’s efforts to obtain documents about FBI surveillance during the election, intentionally stalling document production for congressional investigations into possible government misconduct and failing to enforce key laws and protocols.

“[Rosenstein] failed to act on the behalf of the Attorney General by properly supervising the administration of [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] by failing to demonstrate probable cause to believe that targets of surveillance were a foreign power or agents of a foreign power, that a significant purpose of the surveillance was to obtain foreign intelligence information, and that appropriate minimization procedures were in place,” according to the third charge.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, confirmed the impeachment document in the Washington Post report: Meadows acknowledged the draft in an interview Monday, calling the one-page document “a last resort option, if the Department of Justice fails to respond” to his requests for more information. “My frustrations about their inability to respond to simple requests could warrant further action,” Meadows said, adding that many of his colleagues are nearing a breaking point with Rosenstein. The Freedom Caucus, which counts a few dozen House Republicans as members, is one of the more influential blocs in Congress because of its ability to drive debates to the right inside the House and Meadows’s close relationship with the president. But the Freedom Caucus members are not the only Republicans frustrated with the Department of Justice and in particular, Rosenstein – who gained control of the Mueller investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any probe that involved Russian meddling because of his involvement with President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) threatened a Rosenstein impeachment over a lack of cooperation in his committee’s probe about the DOJ’s investigation into the Trump presidential campaign. But the Post reported that Nunes and the other House committees that have been battling the DOJ had reached agreements with the agency.

“Similarly, the Justice Department came to an agreement in recent weeks with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who had been seeking documents on the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the firing of Andrew McCabe as deputy FBI director, among other things,” the Post reported.

California GOP gubernatorial candidate:  Illegal immigration is “priority”

California assemblyman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen cast illegal immigration in the Golden State as the highest priority issue among Californians during a Monday interview on Breitbart News Tonight.

Allen prioritized the fight against “sanctuary” policies across the state. “I’ve always been against this illegal sanctuary state from the very beginning,” he said. “Last year in the legislature, I put forth legislation — AB 1252 — to defund every sanctuary jurisdiction in California, and of course the Democrats killed that.”

Allen continued, “But the fight didn’t stop there. One of my local cities — I represent 13 cities in the legislature for Orange County — and one of my local cities, a tiny town, Los Alamitos, just 12,000 people, decided they had enough and they opted out of the legal sanctuary state, and this was really the match that lit the fire, so I began gathering signatures,  first on my Facebook page and my website … and urging everyone across California to have their local cities also opt out, and this grew to their sheriffs opting out and their counties opting out.”

Allen said “sanctuary” laws are a “flagrant violation of our constitutional rights, and it’s actually putting us in danger.” Allen cast illegal immigration and “sanctuary” laws as top priority crises in California. “Californians for decades now have been very upset about illegal immigration, and we have every right to be,” he said. “We are on the border and there’s been a lot of illegal immigration ever since they got rid of the Bracero Program, decades ago. Now we have this illegal sanctuary state where we’re not just talking about illegal immigration. We’re not just talking about someone’s grandmother sitting on a couch. We’re talking about someone who’s come to our state illegally, is now committing crimes while they are here and now Jerry Brown and the California Democrats want to shelter them with our taxpayer dollars. You need to look no further than the Kate Steinle case … where Kate’s only crime was walking down the pier with her father in San Francisco. She was shot in the back by a guy who had been deported five times and was a seven-time felon,  and the only reason he was out and walking around these streets was because of sanctuary city policies put in place by Gavin Newsom and the California Democrats.”  Allen said, “One Kate Steinle is one too many, and we’re just seeing it more and more now.”

 Some Mexican migrants angry at Central American migrant caravan

Some migrants from Mexico and other asylum seekers who have been at the border for more than a week are reportedly getting angry that illegal immigrants in the migrant caravan are jumping in line ahead of them to enter the United States.

Rene Garcia, who is reportedly from Michoacan in Mexico, told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday evening that other asylum seekers who had been waiting for eight days are becoming increasingly upset that Central American migrants in the caravan are jumping the line. “The ones from the caravan are trying to break the line,” Garcia told the outlet. Fourteen Central American migrants from the caravan have reportedly been allowed to enter the San Ysidro Port of Entry to seek asylum on Monday and Tuesday.

The Justice Department also announced on Monday evening that it filed criminal charges against 11 possible caravan members for illegally entering the United States. “When respect for the rule of law diminishes, so too does our ability to protect our great nation, its borders, and its citizens,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a Monday evening statement. “The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation’s safety is jeopardized.”

Adam Braverman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, stressed that those seeking to come to the United States “must pledge fidelity to the law, not break them. The American Dream has beckoned immigrants from across the globe because of the promise that prosperity and success are within reach for all,” Braverman said. “Those immigrants have contributed their voices and perspectives to make up our uniquely American experience. But the foundation for the American Dream, and what allows our democracy to flourish, is commitment to the rule of law. These eleven defendants face charges now because they believed themselves to be above the law. Those seeking entry into the United States must pledge fidelity to the law, not break them, or else face criminal prosecution.”

Rap superstar Kanye West accuses many blacks of hypocrisy

Rap superstar and culture critic Kanye West accused many in the black community of hypocrisy by focusing more of their outrage on white violence against black people or his decision to wear a Donald Trump campaign hat than the problems in black communities.

“Black people have a tendency to focus and march when a white person kills a black person or wears a hat, but when it’s 700 kids being killed in Chicago it’s O.K.,” Kanye West said during a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with TMZ boss Harvey Levin on Tuesday.

“There’s been more focus and more marches about whites killing blacks than kids in Chicago killing each other,” West continued. “Ninety percent of black people being killed are killed by other blacks.”

Indeed, to Kanye’s point, according to the FBI’s latest annual “Crime in the United States” report, 90 percent of black Americans killed in 2009201020112012, and 2013 were killed by blacks.

 

May 2 (Wednesday): Day 103

Boy Scouts to change name; admit girls into troops and programs

The Boy Scouts of America are changing the name of their signature program for the first time in the organization’s 108-year history. Prompted by the addition of girls to the ranks, the iconic Boy Scouts program for kids ages 11 to 17 will be called Scouts BSA starting in February 2019, according to a news release on Wednesday.

“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh told The Associated Press. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.” Dropping the “Boy” in Scouts will allow boys or girls to simply identify themselves as scouts without referring to gender, Surbaugh said.

Scouts BSA will remain under the umbrella of Boy Scouts of America, and Cub Scouts will remain the name for its program for children ages 7 to 10. The organization announced in October that it would be allowing girls to join Cub Scouts and earn the rank of Eagle Scout for the first time in its history. Cub Scout dens, or small groups of scouts, will remain single-gender, allowing for all-girls and all-boy groups.

Boy Scouts of America also unveiled its “Scout Me In” program on Wednesday that welcomes girls into the ranks while also noting that more than 3,000 girls nation-wide are already participating in Cub Scouts ahead of the full launch later this year.

The announcement of the name change comes at a time of friction between the BSA and the Girl Scouts of America, which is a separate organization with a similar mission. Both organizations have had declining numbers in recent years and they are now competing for girls to be part of their programs.

“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,” Sylvia Acevedo, the Girl Scouts’ CEO, told the AP. “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls opportunities to build new skills … and grow into happy, successful, civically engaged adults.”

The BSA, which counts former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and late president Gerald Ford as its alumni, said it has 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21, down from 2.6 million in 2013. The Girl Scouts say they have 1.8 million youth members, down from 2 million members in 2014. “If the best fit for your girl is the Girl Scouts, that’s fantastic,” Surbaugh said. “If it’s not them, it might be us.”

May 3 (Thursday): Day 104

Rudy Giuliani:  “Sessions should step in…enough’s enough”11064

Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step in with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and end it. According to the former New York City mayor, the original basis of the case is dead and is expanding into other things. “Everybody forgets, the basis of the case is dead,” he said. “Sessions should step in and close it. And say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Hill news service no longer will participate in White House dinner

James Finkelstein, chairman of the news outlet the Hill, announced in a letter to Steven Thomma, executive director of the White House Correspondents’ Association, that the Hill will no longer participate in the annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner.

“The Hill, which has participated in the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner for many years, does not plan at this time to participate in the event moving forward,” he wrote. “In short, there’s simply no reason for us to participate in something that casts our profession in a poor light.”

Finkelstein singled out the WHCA’s choice of comedienne Michelle Wolf as the reason. “The kind of jokes told by this year’s headliner, Michelle Wolf, were out of line for an event that’s supposed to be fun — and fair,” he wrote. “Based on what Americans witnessed on national television at Saturday night’s dinner, a once-fine evening celebrating the strong, free press the WHCA speaks of has turned into an angry display and ad-hominem attacks.”

Also at issue are the WHCA’s reluctance to apologize and the fact that there has still been no apology to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whom Wolf singled out in a series of especially mean-spirited personal attacks. “The association made apologies, albeit not to the press secretary, only after the pressure compelled it to happen. We hope the dinner can get back to talking about the importance of the Fourth Estate without the kind of ugly sideshow that completely overshadowed the event this year.”

Tuolumne County opposes California “sanctuary state” laws

Tuolumne County became the third California county to join the revolt against California’s “sanctuary state” laws on Tuesday, when its board of supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to comply with federal immigration law. The county resolution followed similar action by Orange County and San Diego County, both of which opposed the state’s “sanctuary” laws, which are designed to shelter illegal aliens, in the weeks following the Department of Justice’s filing of a lawsuit against the state in early March.

More than a dozen local governments, mostly in Southern California, have since joined the fight against the state’s “sanctuary” laws, which President Donald Trump has described as a “Revolution.”

Tuolumne County is a rural county in the central part of the state and includes part of Yosemite National Park. The Union Democrat reports: “The board’s move comes against the backdrop of California’s ongoing war of words and legal actions with the Trump administration in the nation’s capital.”

Back in October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act, that precludes state and local law enforcement agencies from being compelled to enforce federal immigration laws.” Tuolumne County staff, including Craig Pedro, county administrator, said in a staff report the new law “has been controversial and divisive since its inception.”

Though the issue was as emotive in Tuolumne County as elsewhere, the board’s stance was mainly a show of principle: “the county has very few illegal aliens.” Capital Public Radio notes that Tuolumne County Sheriff observed that “his jail has only seen five bookings of people who were undocumented in the past year-and-a-half.”

Former New York Mayor warns against Mueller targeting Ivanka Trump

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now heading up Trump’s legal defense team, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity Wednesday what he thought of the potential of Special Counsel Robert Mueller putting the screws to White House Advisers first daughter Ivanka Trump and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Hannity asked Giuliani what would happen if Mueller and his investigators made Ivanka Trump a “target.” “Ivanka Trump? I think I would get on my charger and go run into their offices with a lance,” Giuliani responded. “Now, if they do Ivanka, which I doubt they will, the whole country will turn on them. They’re going after his daughter?”

Ivanka has not been nearly as frequent a target of press speculation regarding Mueller’s interest. Nevertheless, her connection, along with her father and husband, to the scandal-ridden Deutsche Bank has been discussed as a possible avenue of attack for Mueller.

Giuliani’s interview with Hannity and his vigorous defense of Ivanka Trump comes as he oversees a staff shakeup and a possible shift to a more aggressive strategy for Trump’s defense team.

Record March exports reduce U.S. trade deficit; first drop in seven months

Record exports trimmed the U.S. trade deficit in March, the first drop in seven months in a massive gap that President Donald Trump is determined to shrink with an aggressive America first policy.

The U.S. Commerce Department says the trade deficit — the difference between what America sells and what it buys in foreign markets — slid to $49 billion, down from $57.7 billion in February and lowest since September.

Trump has vowed to bring down America’s massive deficits, which he blames on bad trade agreements and abusive practices by U.S. trading partners. Exports rose in March to a record $208.5 billion, led by shipments of civilian aircraft and soybeans. Imports slipped 1.8 percent to $257.5 billion.

The United States ran a $20.5 billion surplus in the trade of services such as education and banking. But that was offset by a $69.5 billion deficit in the trade of goods.

Top administration officials are visiting Beijing this week for talks aimed at reducing America’s huge trade deficit in goods with China, which fell 11.6 percent in March to $25.9 billion. Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products, and the Chinese have targeted $50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans and small aircraft.

The administration is also seeking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, and has slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Despite the reduction in March, the trade gap is up 18.5 percent to $163.4 billion so far this year. The president views trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness that can be brought down by more aggressive trade policies. Most economists say they are caused by bigger economic forces, mainly the fact that the United States consistently spends more than it produces.

The trade gap has continued to rise since Trump entered the White House partly because the U.S. economy is strong and American consumers have an appetite for imported products and the confidence and financial wherewithal to buy them.

 

May 4 (Friday): Day 105

U.S. economy adds 164,000 jobs in April; wage growth at 2.6 percent

The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in April and unemployment ticked down to 3.9 percent, the lowest since before the bursting of the tech bubble at the end of the last century.  The unemployment rate had been stuck at 4.1 percent for six months.

April’s employment report showed that hiring has snapped back from a particularly weak March when the economy added just 135,000 jobs, according to the revised figure released Friday. Initially, March was reported to have added just 103,000 jobs. March’s weakness was likely due to harsh weather and payback from a particularly strong hiring month in February, which added 324,000 jobs after Friday’s revisions.

The black unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.6 percent, the lowest figure on record. Because the white unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent, the gap between white and black unemployment narrowed.  The long-term post-World War II average unemployment rate in the United States is 5.78 percent.

Job growth was broad-based. Professional services, manufacturing, mining, and health care all added jobs. Manufacturing saw employment grow by 24,000 jobs. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 245,000 jobs.

Wage growth was an annualized rate of 2.6 percent. The level of wage growth is considered an important factor in attracting Americans to return to the workforce.

California GOP meets for annual convention in San Diego; much at stake

The California Republican Party will meet this weekend for its annual convention in San Diego.

Currently, Democrats are targeting half of California’s 14 Republican-held congressional seats in the midterm elections. These are districts where Hillary Clinton won a majority of the vote in 2016. Some of the Republican incumbents decided to retire rather than face tough fights. And the Democrats have the momentum of the so-called “Resistance” behind them, boosted by big donors and buoyed by favorable coverage in the mainstream media

But Republicans are also seeing a surge. The “#metoo” movement has forced several Democratic state legislators to resign due to accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior, ending the party supermajority in the State Assembly. Moreover, the 12-cent gas tax increase Democrats passed last year has led to a backlash. One Democrat State Senator who voted for it faces a recall election, and Republicans are putting a repeal referendum on the ballot.  Even more significantly, the growing revolt against the state’s “sanctuary” laws has energized conservatives over the past two months.

In March, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to the state as the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit challenging three of the state’s new laws defying federal immigration authorities. That inspired over a dozen local governments, including three counties, to declare their support for the lawsuit and defiance of the state. As a result, individual Republican candidates are seeing a boost in their poll numbers. Republican businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) are now in a close race with former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for second place in the race for governor, behind frontrunner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Republican James Bradley is rising in the Senate race and has a chance of qualifying for the November ballot.

If any Republican can qualify for the general election in a statewide race — that will boost Republican turnout in November. That, in turn, will help the party minimize its losses. If the locals can hold enough seats, the national GOP may retain the U.S. House.

There are even a few pickup opportunities. One such is Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a Hollywood actress running in the 36th congressional district (D+2) against Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), a clone of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who insists she will be Speaker of the House if Democrats win in November). In other races, the sheer number of Democrats running in the June 5th primary could transform winnable seats into all-Republican finals.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who has done as much as anyone to bring the sanctuary state issue to the fore — including offering to pay the legal costs for the city of Fountain Valley to join the federal government’s lawsuit against the state — was once considered one of the five most vulnerable incumbents in the House. But the veteran conservative, known for his iconoclastic views on relations with Russia and legal marijuana, is feeling confident. One reason is that so many Democrats entered the race against Rohrabacher in the 48th congressional district that they risk splitting the vote between them. Even with a well-known fellow Republican, former Assemblyman Scott Baugh, entering the race, Rohrabacher is looking stronger than ever.

The task for California Republicans will be to put differences aside — especially the old Trump vs. Never Trump fight — and unite for the sake of the party and the nation. Democrats need 23 seats nationwide to flip the House, bringing Pelosi to power and certain impeachment for President Trump. If California Republicans can hold the line, they can, arguably, save the nation. The state party may have seen better days, but never a more important election.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email:  [email protected].

Mr. Hernandez is dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheres—as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.


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