Jerusalem, Spying on Campaigns, National Police Week and So Much More | Look At News Daily  (May 12-18/Day 113-119) Week 17

By Michael Hernandez

 

May 12 (Saturday):  Day 113

North Korea announces the permanent shutdown of Nuclear Test Site

North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Saturday that the communist regime would hold a ceremony on a date between May 23 and 25 to permanently shut down the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, and journalists from five countries, including the United States, were invited to attend.

The announcement appeared on the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) website, and appeared to be a gesture of goodwill towards the international community, which has pressured North Korea for years to dismantle its illegal nuclear weapons program. The ceremony will occur less than a month before a planned in-person meeting between dictator Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, scheduled for June 12.

The press release from the Foreign Ministry did not specifically name the Punggye-ri site, describing it only as the “northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].” There is no evidence, however, that North Korea possesses any other nuclear test sites, active or otherwise.

“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25, depending on weather condition,” KCNA announced. “Dismantlement of the nuclear test ground will be done in the following sequence: making all tunnels of the test ground collapse by explosion; completely blocking entries; removing all observation facilities, research institutes and structures of guard units on the ground.”

The North Korean Foreign Ministry affirms that, following the ceremony, the site will be “completely closed.” It adds that international journalists will be welcomed into the country “to conduct on-the-spot coverage in order to show in a transparent manner the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground.” Journalists applying to cover the event will be limited to citizens of China, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, due to the remote and diminutive nature of the site.

The North Korean communist regime will also provide transportation directly from Beijing, claiming this to be necessary “in consideration of the fact that the test ground is located in the uninhabited deep mountain area.” Full control of transportation and lodging will allow North Korean officials to control the movements of the journalists and prevent them from encountering any individuals unauthorized to speak to foreigners or venture into territories the government does not wish them to see.

North Korea already implements these strict controls with tourists, who are assigned a personal “guide” for the entirety of their stay in the country that prevents them from steering away from government-designated areas and keeps foreigners from asking potentially compromising questions or interacting with North Korean citizens, potentially exposing them to ideas hostile to the Kim dynasty.

Kim Jong-un has repeatedly expressed a desire to see the full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in several unprecedented meetings held this year – two with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and one with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. In a meeting with senior South Korean officials in March, Kim reportedly said that denuclearization was father Kim Jong-il’s “dying wish.” Skeptics note Kim has not specifically rejected the notion of North Korea being armed with nuclear weapons and could be defining “denuclearization” as the removal of American nuclear assets from the region, present as a result of the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War.

How much of an effect dismantling the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site will have on North Korea’s nuclear development has become a matter of intense debate in the West. Following North Korea’s sixth nuclear weapons test in September, Japanese media reported that the chamber of the test site where the bomb was set off, deep within northern Mount Mantap, had collapsed into itself, killing 200 workers. Satellite images reportedly showed significant damage to not just the Nuclear Test Site, but the mountain itself. In April, two separate groups of academics independently concluded citing satellite images, that Mount Mantap had partially collapsed, rendering it useless as a nuclear test site – any further testing could collapse the mountain and send clouds of nuclear fumes blasting into the sky, threatening nearby China.

This week, a new study using the relative distance between international satellites and Mount Mantap found that the mountain had lost half a meter in height and expanded by 3.5 meters. Evidence suggests, the researchers observed, that the mountain was still sinking.

Economy to “play a huge role” in November midterm elections

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow predicted during Saturday’s edition of Breitbart News radio that the economic successes seen as a result of President Donald Trump’s policies will “play a huge role” in the November midterm elections.

Kudlow discussed the massive tax cut package passed in 2017 allowing “100% expensing in year one and also the repatriation… you’ve got these companies bring back, literally, literally billions and billions of dollars that was stashed overseas to dodge taxes.” He connected this with the unemployment rate that host Matthew Boyle had asked Kudlow about.

Businesses are booming and America is probably entering the “biggest business boom in at least two decades,” according to Kudlow, who added, “…you’re seeing this very, very positive upward spiral of growth, jobs, wages.”

Kudlow went on to predict further increases in average hourly earnings, even up to three percent or more.

“Growth is the key,” he said, noting more than once that “critics on the other side of the aisle” have had a pessimistic view, claiming for over a year that growth could not ascend above 1.9 or 2 percent. Policies, taxes, and regulations “matter” he emphasized. President Trump has rolled back costly and burdensome regulations that are particularly harmful for small businesses but also for big businesses and farms.

“Let Americans take a rip at the ball. Don’t handcuff them. Don’t hinder them. Don’t yell at them. Don’t punish them. Open the door of opportunity and America free markets will work,” he said.

Kudlow said the past 15-20 years has been filled with a lot of pessimistic attitudes and that most young Americans have not seen “a full-throated prosperity cycle.” Kudlow talked about the successes of the American economy under Presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. He said many reporters and economists have said: “It can’t be done.”

“Optimism and prosperity have been the hallmark’s of American prosperity,” he explained.  “We can get back to the good if we unleash the animal spirits and if we provide incentives to work, save, invest, and take risks,” said Kudlow. “I think that’s basically that’s what the Trump plan has done.”

Kudlow also discussed a recent Michigan consumer sentiment survey that showed the highest level since the mid-2000s, and he thinks it can be back to levels seen in the 1990s.

He spoke also of a “tremendous rebound in small business profits,” noting that “profits are the mother’s milk of stocks and they’re the lifeblood of the economy.”

“If they’re making money they can expand and if they expand they will hire and if they hire they will pay more,” Kudlow explained as part of “economics 101.” The coming to life of the supply-side of the economy will boost the consumer side of the economy.

“King dollar” has been steady and even stronger holding inflation down and making the American economy the “envy of the world,” said Kudlow. America, as the President has said, is the “most business hospitable place in the world right now and the money is flowing in,” and Kudlow’s “hunch is that it’s just beginning.”

Kudlow went on to predict, “come November, I think the Trump economic success is going to play a huge role in the election” and a mighty surprise for people claiming that Republicans will see big losses.

Rush Limbaugh:  Robert Mueller’s probe has “ulterior motive” 

Friday on his nationally syndicated radio show, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh speculated that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, and has expanded into an investigation of wrongdoing by Trump campaign operatives, has an ulterior motive.

Many have tried to compare Trump’s administration to that of Nixon during the Watergate scandal, but Limbaugh said the analogy of Watergate is more appropriate for the Obama administration.

According to Limbaugh, the Mueller probe has the purpose of covering up efforts by the Obama Department of Justice and FBI to taint Donald Trump’s presidency.

“If you want to draw a Watergate parallel, you have to draw the parallel not to Trump. Trump hasn’t bugged anybody,” Limbaugh said. “Trump has not planted listening devices. Trump does not have informants. He did not have informants in the Hillary campaign. That was all Obama! Nixon’s Plumbers, they left a bug inside the headquarters. It didn’t work. Obama put an actual human being in Trump’s campaign! Nixon knew nothing about the ‘plumbers.’”

“But what did Obama know about the mole in the Trump campaign and when did he know it?” he continued. “So if you really want to draw the Watergate analogy, it points right to Barack Obama. Note: None of that is being investigated. Not a single shred of it. Not a morsel of that is being investigated. In fact, I believe that this entire investigation of Trump is actually a cover-up of what the Obama intelligence community — Department of Justice, FBI — did to try to nail Trump during the campaign and to corrupt his transition period after he won the election to destroy or paralyze his presidency.”

President Trump to make video address at new American Israeli embassy

President Donald Trump will address approximately 800 U.S. and Israeli dignitaries at the ceremonial opening for the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem by video on Monday.

In an unprecedented move, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017.

Axios reported that U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the embassy move will be positive for the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, saying, “The Palestinians had over the last 25 years veto power over the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It didn’t help at all to make progress in the peace process. The moving of the embassy will make it clear to the Palestinians that the world is moving forward and circumstances change and they should get on board before it overtakes them.”

According to the Times of Israel, Trump administration officials who will attend the historic ribbon-cutting ceremony include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his daughter Ivanka Trump.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Vice President Mike Pence will address an event hosted at the Embassy of Israel to the United States on Monday. The event will coincide with the embassy move in Jerusalem and will also commemorate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

“It was an American interest to open the embassy,” a senior Trump administration official told the Times of Israel. “The Israelis were obviously desirous of this and they requested this — they’re very happy by it — but the decision was made because it seemed to be in the best interests of the United States [and] it was something the president promised during the campaign. There was no give and take with Israel in regards to this decision.”

Planned Parenthood “handmaids” protest Missouri pro-life bills

The “handmaids” of Planned Parenthood strode through the Missouri Statehouse this week as the state’s lawmakers passed a budget prohibiting the direction of funds to facilities associated with abortion providers.

Dressed as women from Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian feminist novel about a totalitarian theocracy that forces women to procreate, the protesters are now a familiar sight in government buildings when Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding is in jeopardy:

The “handmaids” in Missouri were protesting two bills that would prevent the state’s Medicaid funding to be used for reimbursement at Planned Parenthood or other facilities that perform abortions.

The bills were part of the state’s $28 billion budget that passed the legislature and now await Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature.

M’Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, told the Kansas City Star the handmaids are a sign of what happens when “politicians and governments try and substitute their judgment for those individuals’ judgment.”

“And that’s what ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is all about — what happens when a government takes control over a certain segment of women’s lives and tries to run them for their own purposes,” Mead said.

GOP State Rep. Robert Ross wrote the language in the amendments to two of the bills that refer to blocking Medicaid funds to facilities associated with abortion providers. During a floor debate in March, Ross said abortion providers had set up a “shell game” to provide abortions while still benefiting from Medicaid reimbursements for other women’s health services.

“This Republican lead administration is really creating an unbelievably hostile environment for access to reproductive health care in Missouri,” said Mead, according to Rewire.

In a statement to LifeNews, Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri praised state lawmakers for passing a budget that prioritizes support for mothers and babies.

“The Missouri General Assembly has passed the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, and it is great news for pro-life agencies, pregnant mothers and their unborn children – and for pro-life taxpayers – by defunding abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” Lee said.

Conservative calls out Planned Parenthood for black population attacks

Conservative firebrand Candace Owens is calling out Planned Parenthood for its attacks on the black population in disguising abortion as “healthcare.”

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood once again tweeted its mantra that abortion is health care, linking to an article by Self magazine calling legislation on abortion “reproductive coercion.”

Owens shot back two of her own tweets, first a sarcastic quip, “You spelled murder wrong,” followed by a news flash: “This just in: murdering 800 black babies every single day is now considered ‘heathcare’”:

Owens, the communications director for Turning Point USA, hit an especially vulnerable chink in Planned Parenthood’s armor: its history of targeting the black community for extermination.

Last March, a Planned Parenthood student group at the University of Florida hosted an event to discuss the “racist roots” of the organization as well as the eugenics of founder Margaret Sanger.

“Come join Planned Parenthood Generation Action for a panel discussion on the racist roots of Planned Parenthood during Black History Month,” read the Facebook announcement of the event bearing the title “Decolonizing Sexual Health.”

“Our subject is addressing the racist roots of the birth control movement, specifically pertaining to the influence of eugenics,” the post continues. “Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, is a controversial figure in this conversation because despite her devotion to reproductive rights, she also had beliefs, practices, and associations with eugenics that we acknowledge and denounce, and work to rectify today.”

A number of Planned Parenthood critics have pointed out that Planned Parenthood’s current policy of targeting minority communities seems to fit perfectly with the original racist aims of the organization.

Meanwhile, the president of Students for Life of America, Kristan Hawkins, said that while acknowledging the racist roots of Planned Parenthood is an important first step, it is ultimately meaningless “unless you also acknowledge that the racist practices of Planned Parenthood continue to this day, since Planned Parenthood continues to target black and Hispanic babies for abortion by the placement of their abortion vendor locations in minority neighborhoods.”

What Planned Parenthood needs to do next, Hawkins wrote, is to “address the disparity of abortion, which takes proportionally, so many more lives of infants of color.”

Obianuju Ekeocha, an African pro-life champion and author of Target Africa: Ideological Neo-colonialism of the Twenty-first Century, told Breitbart News she was “shocked” Planned Parenthood would try to hijack the term “decolonization” to suit its iniquitous purposes.

The international abortion giant not only “has its roots firmly embedded in eugenic racism,” she said, but even today, “we know that Planned Parenthood targets black and other minority communities, having up to 79% of their surgical abortion facilities located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.”

The organization also has “a well-funded network of operations across the continent of Africa under the banner of IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation),” she added, and “embodies colonialism in their mandates and their methods.”

Among black women in America, there are 501 abortions for every 1,000 live births as opposed to just 138 among whites. This means that blacks are aborted at 3.6 times the rate of whites in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 2007 and 2010, nearly 35.4 percent of the deaths by abortion in the United States happened to black babies, despite the fact that blacks represented only 12.8 percent of the population.

As the Rev. Clenard Childress, pastor of the New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey, has said, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”

Abortion is currently the leading cause of death  in America, but far more so for the black community, and accounts for more black deaths than homicide or any disease, including cancer and heart disease.

 

May 13 (Sunday):  Day 114

March for Life celebrates Birth Mothers Day: “adoption is heroic decision”

The March for Life is celebrating Mother’s Day weekend by honoring birth mothers for their courage in choosing to give birth to their unexpected babies and placing them in the care of a loving adoptive family.

“Adoption is a noble and heroic decision,” says March for Life. “Each year, there are over 18,000 domestic infant adoptions in the United States. Sadly, there are also each year over 1 million abortions in the U.S.”

“We celebrate all of the birth mothers who have made the courageous decision to choose life and to place their child for adoption,” the pro-life activists continue. “Adoption is a heroic choice and your self-sacrificial love is to be commended and celebrated!”

“Birth Mothers Day” is celebrated the day before Mother’s Day.

Ryan Bomberger, who now heads the Radiance Foundation– another national pro-life organization that seeks to “affirm that every human life has purpose” – said, “Because of the courage of my birth mom, I’m able to be all the things I am today.”

“Today Ryan is a brother, husband, father, and an inspiring pro-life activist,” states the March for Life. “The self-sacrificial love of his birth mother saved his life, and impacted so many others.”

The March for Life’s mission is to “testify to the beauty of life and the dignity of each human person.” The march itself takes place every year on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in January, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s creation, in 1973, of the right to abortion – when the Constitution never provided such a right.

 

Berkely Report:  Conservatives to blame for violence on-campus

The University of California Berkeley has conducted an investigation of problems related to free speech on campus — particularly surrounding events where conservatives (or even insufficiently left-wing “progressives”) are invited to speak on campus and met with violence and disruption by left-wing activists.

The report of the Commission on Free Speech concludes that conservatives, not the left, are to blame for the violence on campus.nIn one passage, the report states: “Our conclusion is that the rise of ultra-conservative rhetoric, including white supremacist views and protest marches, legitimized by the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, encouraged far-right and alt-right activists to ‘spike the football’ at Berkeley.” It insists: “Contrary to a currently popular narrative, Berkeley remains a tolerant campus.”

And it blames student groups who invite conservative speakers onto campus, while simultaneously denying that Berkeley is denying conservatives their free speech rights:  “All the 2017 events that led to disruption were sponsored by very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations. Although those speakers had every right to speak and were entitled to protection, they did not need to be on campus to exercise the right of free speech. Indeed, at least some of the 2017 events at Berkeley can now be seen to be part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

While insisting that the commission does not condone the sort of violence that greeted then-Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos last year, the commission warned students against inviting speakers with provocative views:  “That said, the Commission recommends that all members of the campus community be mindful of one another and do unto others as they would want done to themselves. There are better ways to expand the political dialogue on campus than to invite a shock jock performance artist, as Professor Rossman characterized Yiannopoulos, to belittle historically oppressed communities.”  The report said that student organizations should be “balancing their right to hold events with their responsibility to the community.”

As Megan McArdle notes in the Washington Post:  “They have plenty of harsh words, however, for the conservatives who were targeted. Many Commission members are skeptical of these speakers’ commitment to anything other than the pursuit of wealth and fame through the instigation of anger, fear, and vengefulness in their hard-right constituency.” Their invitations to speak represented “the assertion of individual rights at the expense of social responsibility by a handful of students.” As a result, the commission finds speech of this kind “hard to defend, especially in light of the acute distress it caused (and was intended to cause) to staff and students.”

In the report, “conservatives are active, provoking and triggering.” The left-wing activists who set things on fire appear in passive voice, that great grammatical machine for sanitizing the indefensible. Left-wing groups have reasonable fears for their safety from conservative speakers, and the police needed to defend them.”  Conservative students “allege” that their beliefs make them targets for left-wing professors. And when it comes to the remedies, it’s clear who the commission thinks ought to change their ways.

“Thus, the ancestral home of the free-speech movement inches as close as it dares to advocating for censorship of any speech that offends a powerful majority — or even any minority that’s decently armed.”

Eastern European nations to attend U.S. Embassy Jerusalem inauguration

Ambassadors from Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary have snubbed an official E.U. diktat and chosen to attend a function in honor of Monday’s official inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Their decision to attend came after Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, supported by the Czech Republic and Romania, blocked a E.U. motion condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital.

The three countries — part of the Visegrad group of conservative, pro-sovereignty countries within the European Union — blocked the joint statement led by Emmanuel Macron’s France, which was supposed to “embarrass and isolate” the Trump administration internationally.

Now the ambassadors of four dissenting E.U. nations will join an official reception Sunday at the Israel Foreign Ministry in honor of the embassy move. This is in spite of the E.U. reiterating its opposition to the decision.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — bolstered by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal — opened a special cabinet meeting at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum by again lauding the embassy move. “Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible approximately 650 times,” Netanyahu said. “The reason is simple: For over 3,000 years it has been the capital of our people, and only of our people.”

Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren praised the dissident Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary for blocking the E.U.’s planned condemnations of the U.S. move, saying  the EU should be “ashamed” of itself.

The new U.S. Embassy will be officially inaugurated in the capital’s Arnona neighborhood.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will preside over tomorrow’s dedication ceremony. U.S. Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Advisor Ivanka Trump, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt will represent the U.S. at the event.

 

May 14 (Monday):  Day 115

President Trump celebrates US embassy in Jerusalem

President Donald Trump delivered a video address at the ceremony opening the official United States embassy in Jerusalem, recognizing the historic impact of his decision. “The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem,” Trump said, calling the decision about the location of the embassy “a long time coming.”

Trump announced his decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in December 2017, fulfilling a campaign promise.

“Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem and we’re opening it many, many years ahead of schedule,” he said.  He asserted that the United States was still committed to peace in the Middle East and between Israel and the Palestinians. “We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians, and to all of their neighbors,” he said. “May there be peace.”

Thank you President Trump for having the courage to keep your promises,” said

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening of the U.S. embassy.  “It’s a great day for a fantastic partnership, it is a great day for peace.”

“King David made Jerusalem the capitol of Israel 3,000 years ago,” said former Governor Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, who was in Jerusalem for the event.

 

Hamas stages riots at Gaza border; claim 37 Palestinians killed

At least three of the 37 Palestinians reportedly killed Monday in clashes ahead of the Jerusalem opening of the U.S. Embassy to Israel were “armed terrorists” caught trying to plant a bomb near the Gaza border fence, Israel’s military said.

More than 35,000 protesters amassed at a dozen locations along the security fence, with many engaging in skirmishes that pushed the death toll Monday to the highest in Gaza since a 2014 cross-border standoff between the militant group Hamas and the Jewish state, according to the Associated Press. Gaza health officials told the news agency that 37 people so far have been killed in Monday’s violence, and at least 772 have been wounded.

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, a key campaign promise of President Trump, has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.

“Moments ago, an IDF patrol foiled a bomb-laying attack by a cell of three armed terrorists near Rafah, close to the border,” the Israeli military said Monday. “This is a particularly violent protest point. The troops responded with fire at the terrorists. The terrorists were killed.”

Israel also said its aircraft targeted a Hamas post in Jabaliya after troops in the area came under fire. None of the Israeli soldiers were hurt. “Rioters are hurling pipe bombs and firebombs at IDF troops, burning tires, throwing stones and burning objects, with the intention of setting fires in Israel and hurting IDF troops,” a member of the Israeli army was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying.

Monday’s demonstrations — dubbed the “Great March of Return” by Palestinian media — are reported to be part of a campaign led by Hamas to break the decade-old border blockade of the territory imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. Since weekly border marches began in late March, dozens of Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 2,300 wounded in clashes.

Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, claimed Monday that Hamas is encouraging Palestinian civilians to flood the border, with their own gunmen waiting in the wings to break through if a fence is breached. Shin Bet said it received that information during interrogations of members who already have been captured after crossing the security fence in recent weeks, The Times of Israel reported.

“There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” the agency said. “From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure.”

Shin Bet also claimed that Iran is providing funding to Hamas for these border flare-ups, but did not elaborate. A senior figure in the group, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., said Monday that the border protests will continue until Palestinians have won back their rights. “We will continue on this path until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved,” Ismail Radwan said, according to the Associated Press.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army had set up additional “layers” of security in and around communities near the border to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there already had been several “significant attempts” to break through the fence. “Even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them,” he said.

In the West Bank, several thousand people gathered in the center of Ramallah, while hundreds marched to the Qalandiya crossing on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where protesters threw stones at Israeli troops.

The U.S. said it chose today’s date for the embassy opening to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. But it also marks the anniversary of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or catastrophe, a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s independence.

Most of the casualties Monday were in the southern Gaza towns of Khan Younis and Rafah. Israeli forces were firing volleys of tear gas to disperse the crowds, and the sound of heavy gunfire could be heard. Sirens were constantly wailing as the wounded were evacuated on stretchers to nearby ambulances. Groups of young activists repeatedly approached the fence, but were quickly scattered by gunfire and tear gas.

Clouds of black smoke from burning tires was also seen rising into the air. Earlier Monday, Israeli drones dropping incendiary material had pre-emptively set ablaze some of the tires collected in advance by activists. Protesters have used the thick smoke as cover against Israeli snipers perched on high sand berms on the other side of the border. The army accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to plan or carry out attacks.

Leaflets dropped over Gaza by army jets warned that those approaching the border “jeopardize” their lives. The warning said the army is “prepared to face all scenarios and will act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians.”

First Lady receives treatment for benign kidney condition

First Lady Melania Trump was treated on Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a benign kidney condition.

The First Lady’s Office issued the following statement: “This morning, First Lady Melania Trump underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition. The procedure was successful and there were no complications. Mrs. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week.  The First Lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere.”

The President boarded Marine One for a short flight to Walter Reed medical center, where he touched down at 5:18 pm. He is visiting the first lady, who White House staff confirmed is in good spirits and in recovery. At the time of this report it was unclear how long the President will be at the medical facility with his wife.

Trump spent over an hour visiting with wife Melania before returning to the White House by motorcade.

 

May 15 (Tuesday):  Day 116

Senator:  “Fund border wall with money confiscated from Mexican cartels”

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) says we should fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall using money confiscated from Mexican cartels.

“The cartels move about 110 billion dollars a year from the United States to Mexico,” the Louisiana senator explained to Breitbart News Sunday host Amanda House. “If we can stop that, confiscate that money, we can use cartel money to build the wall. It won’t be the Mexican government, it’ll be the Mexican cartels [paying for the wall], and that’s probably the better party to build it.”

Cassidy introduced an amendment this year that would crack down on drug traffickers laundering money across the southern American border. The American government could then use the seized funds for increased border security and to build President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. A press release at the time read:  “It’s estimated drug traffickers launder $110 billion between the U.S. and Mexico every year, but as best we can tell the U.S. government only captures about $7 billion,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to do better. If we confiscate this money, we can ay for better border security and make drug traffickers less able to hurt our communities.”

Cassidy’s bill would:

  • Fully fund enhanced border security by issuing bonds overseen by the U.S. Attorney General and the secretaries of Homeland Security and the Treasury.
  • Ensure the bonds are repaid with money seized from and forfeited by drug traffickers moving illicit profits across the southern border.

“It’s illegal, and they should pay consequences,” Cassidy told House, chastising local public officials such as Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who sent out a warning to illegals before Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials could apprehend suspects – many engaged in violence, sex trafficking, and other criminal charges.

In a March, Cassidy posted on Facebook:  “It’s crazy these California Democrats are protecting dangerous criminals instead of putting the safety and security of American citizens first. But that’s exactly what they are doing.  Don’t they care if an American’s son or daughter is sexually assaulted?  Don’t they care if an American’s mother or father is robbed at gunpoint?  Don’t they care if a wife or girlfriend gets beaten black and blue by her partner?  Some of these tragedies can be prevented—but not if sanctuary states and cities continue to stop the federal government from enforcing the law. Enough is enough. We need to hold these elected officials accountable and protect Americans from dangerous criminals before more innocent people get hurt.

President Trump plans “strategy session” for opposing SB 54 Wednesday

Two leading Central Valley law enforcement officials are heading to Washington D.C. for a meeting on immigration with President Trump Wednesday. According to a White House official, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims are among the 15 local California officials invited to meet with Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for what has been billed to participants as a “strategy session” for opposing California’s sanctuary state policies. Both Mims and Christianson have been publicly critical of California’s immigration policies, which restrict certain types of cooperation with federal immigration officials.

“On Wednesday, President Trump will meet with California leaders and public officials who oppose California’s illegal and unconstitutional sanctuary policies that release criminal illegal aliens into public communities,” the White House official said in a statement to reporters. “They will discuss shared efforts to end the nullification of federal law and restore community safety.”

The mayors of several Southern California cities that are attempting to opt out of the sanctuary policies have also been invited. They include Mayor Troy Edgar of Los Alamitos, the Orange County town that set off the anti-sanctuary movement within the state in March. According to the Los Angeles Times, Edgar sent a letter to Trump and Sessions on May 1, requesting support.

Lassen County District Attorney Stacey Montgomery is also expected to attend, as is congressional candidate Kristin Gaspar, the San Diego County supervisor who is vying to replace Rep. Darrell Issa.

The Trump administration filed a lawsuit in March in an attempt to strike down three California immigration laws — Senate Bill 54, Assembly bill 450 and Assembly bill 103 – that the federal government say violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

S.B. 54 has been a particular flashpoint. It restricts how and when state law enforcement can interact with federal immigration authorities. State leaders assert the law is constitutional. Several cities in Stanislaus and Fresno County have voted to side with the federal government over the state in the lawsuit, or are considering doing so.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has dismissed the Trump administration’s lawsuit as a “political stunt.”

FBI planted a source in Trump campaign

Speculation is mounting over the identity of a purported top-secret intelligence source who was part of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign. Such a source was first confirmed last week by leakers to the Washington Post. The leakers told the Post that senior FBI and national intelligence officials tried to stop House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes from receiving information that could “endanger a top-secret intelligence source.”

The leakers also revealed the source is a “U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.” They also revealed that providing the information about the source could “damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners” — meaning that the source likely worked with other nations.

Their panic was reportedly set off by a recent request for the information from Nunes to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on April 24. The Justice Department initially rejected his request, but acquiesced, providing him with the information last Wednesday.

Despite claims that releasing the information would endanger lives, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters on that the request was “wholly appropriate” and overdue. “I spent some time looking at the HPSCI request, at the HPSCI investigation. I think this request is wholly appropriate. It’s completely within the scope of the investigation that’s been ongoing for a while with respect to FISA. I actually think that this is something that probably should have been answered a while ago,” he said.

Although the leakers may have wanted to take aim at Nunes, the revelation of a top secret intelligence source has prompted new questions over whether the CIA and the FBI tried to ensnare members of the Trump campaign in order to launch an investigation of the campaign.

Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley Strassel, who believes she has identified the source based on leaks and her own reporting, told Fox News, “It does look as though indeed, there was an FBI attempt — a successful one, to basically go out and spy with a human asset on the Trump campaign.”

“When the FBI talks about a source, the talk about someone who is an average citizen who uses their credentials, their job as a way of spying for the agency,” she said. “We can take that to mean that there was somebody interacting with the Trump campaign and reporting back to the FBI, which means the FBI was using human intelligence to spy on a presidential campaign.”

“It is hugely disconcerting,” she wrote in a column, referring to Obama officials unmasking the names of Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations. “It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough.”

Information about the top secret intelligence source could answer lingering questions about how the FBI’s probe was started in the first place.

But Strassel points out that many questions remain. She wrote: “The players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

“And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.”

Strassel said if the source predates that tip on Papadopoulos, things could get very uncomfortable for the FBI. She urged President Trump to move to declassify “everything possible.” “It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid,” she wrote.

 

May 16 (Wednesday):  Day 117

GOP voters choose Trump supporter for Pennsylvania Senate race

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) defeated State Rep. Jim Christiana (R-PA) to win the Pennsylvania Republican primary on Tuesday night, allowing him to face off against the incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) in the general election.

President Donald Trump recordced a robocall for Rep. Barletta during the state’s Republican primary, urging voters to back the former Hazelton mayor. Congressman Barlett said he will help the president implement his America First agenda.  He said his opponent Senator Bob Casey has “rejected, resisted, and obstructed our president at every step. One vote in the Senate can make the difference, and the president is committed to helping me win this race.”

In the recording, President Trump cheered Barletta for serving as one of the first congressmen to endorse him in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. “It took courage for Lou to do that, and I’ll never forget it,” Trump argued. The forty-fifth president also noted Barletta’s support for pro-American immigration reform as well as his vote for the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Penn Live, a local Pennsylvania publication, endorsed Barletta for the Republican primary, stating  Barletta is the most “loyal lieutenant” President Trump has ever had.  In February, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania unanimously voted to endorse Rep. Lou Barletta for the U.S. Senate.

Several prominent politicians and conservatives have endorsed Barletta for the U.S. Senate seat to defeat Sen. Casey, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), the entire Pennsylvania Republican congressional delegation, as well as dozens of Pennsylvania state lawmakers.

President Trump chastised Sen. Bob Casey, whom Barletta hopes to defeat in the general election, for serving as a cheerleader for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Trump states in the recording that Sen. Casey is “Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s guy, and he’s been a disaster in the Senate.”

President, Vice President, Attorney General celebrate National Police Week

Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the West Lawn of the Capitol Tuesday, continuing his participation in National Police Week.

Trump and Pence delivered their addresses to mark the 55th National Peace Officers Memorial Day to the assembled crowd of police officers and their families at the Capitol. This marked the 37th year of this ceremony, which includes the “Roll Call of Heroes” in which the names of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty are read.

Sessions, meanwhile, put out a video in which he recounted the history of the day, begun in 1962 by President John Kennedy, and the National Police Week that surrounds it.

Sessions’s appearance at the West Lawn ceremony comes amid a busy Police Week schedule for the country’s top law enforcement official. On Sunday, he attended the annual candlelight vigil for fallen police officers on the National Mall along with Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Neilsen.

“I do not only speak of our courts, but primarily tonight of those in blue who walk our streets, interacting daily with real victims and real criminals.  That’s where justice must be done,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks for the Vigil, adding later, “We can never cede a community, block, or street corner to the criminal element. We can never capitulate to lawlessness at our borders.”

“So tonight, we remember our fallen heroes; we mourn their loss; and we rededicate our lives to preserving, protecting and defending our principles of ordered and constitutional liberty that serve us so well, uniquely among all the world,” Sessions concluded.

The following evening, Monday, Sessions was able to take part in a more upbeat aspect of Police Week at the 25th Annual TOP COPS Awards at the Omni Shorham Hotel in Washington, DC. Put on by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) to honor officers “for actions above and beyond the call of duty,” this year’s TOP COP winners include seven members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who responded to the deadliest mass shooting in American history in October – as well as the three Alexandria, Virginia Police and two U.S. Capitol Police officers who took part in the extended gun battle with a crazed left-wing gunman that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) seriously wounded at a Republican team practice for the Congressional Charity Baseball Game in June.

Sessions congratulated the winners, singling out the Las Vegas officers for their bravery. “All of these officers acted selflessly in the face of overwhelming danger.  Countless people are alive today because of such courage. This courage was seen in Las Vegas and is constantly seen around the country,” he said in his prepared remarks.

Sessions also took the opportunity to reiterate the Trump administration’s support for police officers and its’ refusal to continue the policy of entering into “consent decrees” with left-wing groups who bring lawsuits against police departments. The issue has been a priority since Sessions took up his post as attorney general. As Sessions put it, the DOJ would not “enter into agreements or court decrees that outsource policymaking to political activists.” In his prepared remarks, he explained:

“By the end of the previous administration—many of you came to believe that some of the political leadership of this country had abandoned you. Some radicals and politicians began to unfairly malign and blame police as a whole for the crimes and unacceptable deeds of a few. Amazing— their message seemed to be that the police were the problem, not the criminals. They wanted the ACLU to determine police policies, and that was enforced by a federal court order. They said police were violent while homicides in America increased by a total of 20% in 2015 and 2016, the largest jump since 1968. Law Professor Paul Cassell and economics Professor Richard Fowles established that in Chicago, homicide jumped 58% after the ACLU settlement ended proven and constitutional policing.

“We will not agree to decrees that curtail proactive law enforcement practices that save lives, especially the lives of minorities and those living in poorer neighborhoods.  We will encourage the proven, Constitutional, and proactive policing that your departments must do to keep America safe.

National Police Week 2017

Republican Senators promote #MakeCongressWork Again

Republican senators including David Perdue (R-GA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) held a press conference Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol to continue their effort to promote the #MakeCongressWorkAgain campaign.

Launched last week and spearheaded by Senator Perdue, who led a similar effort last year, the campaign calls for lawmakers to expedite floor proceedings ahead of Congress’s traditional August recess, including a spending bill and President Donald Trump’s 271 outstanding nominees.

The group has even asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel August recess altogether.

“President Trump talked about making America great again. He’s doing that,” said Daines. “He also talked about draining the swamp,” Daines said. “It is time to drain the swamp, and we help do that by keeping the pumps running in August.”

“We need to take action now so President Trump is not jammed with another bad funding deal,” Perdue said during last week’s press conference. “We ought to work as long as it takes – including nights, weekends, and through the August recess if necessary – to get funding done and make progress on the backlog of nominees.”

On Tuesday, Senator Lee added: “At the rate we’re going right now, someone said it would take a decade for this administration to be fully staffed.” Senator Ernst meanwhile expressed the concern that taking off in August ahead of a September 30 funding deadline could lead to severe consequences for our country’s national security.

“If we take another August off we will likely find ourselves, once again, relying on these horrible continuing resolutions, which have a devastating effect on our military and create billions in waste across our federal government,” Ernst said.

The #MakeCongressWorkAgain coalition sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that spelled out the need for lawmakers to work more than its average 2 1/2-day work week and the Democrats “historic obstruction” on the budget and Trump’s nominees:

“We continue to witness historic obstruction by the minority party when it comes to funding the federal government and confirming the president’s nominees,” the letter said. “If we are complicit we are on track for another last-minute spending battle come September.”

“However, if we take action now, we can break the cycle of continuing resolutions and omnibus spending deals,” the letter said. “Therefore, we want to offer our full support to expedite floor consideration, even if we must work nights and weekends and forgo the August recess to get it done.”

GOP House facing possible discharge petition vote on immigration

House GOP leadership called separate meetings Wednesday evening with both the backers and opponents of an effort to force immigration votes on the House floor, after the effort gained new momentum earlier in the day.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his top four lieutenants, who are facing pressure from within their own ranks to bring immigration legislation to the floor, first huddled with the centrist Republicans leading a discharge petition that would set up a series of floor votes on immigration bills. conference, too.”

The discharge petition picked up two new Republican signatures on Wednesday, despite GOP leaders pleading with rank-and-file members earlier in the day to stand down. Now, just five more Republican signatures are needed to force the immigration votes if all 193 Democrats join the effort.

“The meeting was prompted when we got to number 20 today,” Upton said. “They know we’re continuing to make upward progress.”

Curbelo described the meeting as “productive” and “moving in the right direction,” though he cautioned they aren’t on the edge of a deal yet. He also stressed that they aren’t backing down on their discharge petition.

“Clearly we have had a positive impact on leadership and on this institution, because now this issue is being taken seriously,” Curbelo told reporters outside of Ryan’s office. “We have our plan, we’re sticking to it, but we’re willing to see what theirs looks like.”

Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said GOP leaders emphasized their commitment to bringing immigration legislation to the floor and even kicked around some broad ideas for a potential proposal.

“You know, we had a long discussion about the policy and leadership is looking to find a path forward, so it was a productive conversation,” Denham told reporters after the meeting in Ryan’s office suite. “But any path forward is going to require them talking to everyone else in our GOP leaders aren’t just facing pressure from the party’s center over the hot-button issue.

Conservative hard-liners, who vehemently oppose the discharge petition, are pressing Ryan to allow a stand-alone vote on one of the conservative immigration measures included in the discharge petition — a move they say would effectively derail the entire discharge petition for procedural reasons.

Some Freedom Caucus members said they would be willing to back an endangered GOP farm bill if Ryan agrees to put the stand-alone bill on the floor in a bid to kill the discharge petition.

Denham told reporters after the meeting in Ryan’s office suite. “But any path forward is going to require them talking to everyone else in our conference, too.”

The discharge petition picked up two new Republican signatures on Wednesday, despite GOP leaders pleading with rank-and-file members earlier in the day to stand down. Now, just five more Republican signatures are needed to force the immigration votes if all 193 Democrats join the effort.

“The meeting was prompted when we got to number 20 today,” Upton said. “They know we’re continuing to make upward progress.” Curbelo described the meeting as “productive” and “moving in the right direction,” though he cautioned they aren’t on the edge of a deal yet. He also stressed that they aren’t backing down on their discharge petition. “Clearly we have had a positive impact on leadership and on this institution, because now this issue is being taken seriously,” Curbelo told reporters outside of Ryan’s office. “We have our plan, we’re sticking to it, but we’re willing to see what theirs looks like.”

 

May 17 (Thursday):  Day 118

Inspector General report to rule on FBI and Justice Department actions

A new report suggests an imminent Inspector General (IG) report may rule that FBI and Justice Department officials broke the law in their handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Investigative reporter Paul Sperry said Thursday that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has “found ‘reasonable grounds’ for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Clinton investigation/s,” adding that the top watchdog official has “referred his findings of potential criminal misconduct to Huber for possible criminal prosecution.”

In response to growing calls for a second special counsel to probe the Clinton email probe, along with FISA abuses that took place during the 2016 election, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in March the appointment of Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, to probe potential wrongdoing. It was revealed this week that the Inspector General’s highly-anticipated report was submitted for review.

“Those invited to review the report were told they would have to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to read it, people familiar with the matter said. They are expected to have a few days to craft a response to any criticism in the report, which will then be incorporated in the final version to be released in coming weeks,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Trump:  Attorney General should prosecute Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions consider prosecuting Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for “obstruction of justice” because she warned illegal immigrants in February about potential Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.

During a White House roundtable event with elected officials and law enforcement officials from California who oppose the state’s sanctuary laws, Trump said, “You had a thousand people together, many of them were illegals, criminals… and she informed them and they all fled.”

“They all fled, or most of them fled. And that whole operation that took a long time to put together,” Trump said. “You talk about obstruction of justice. I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff.”

Trump continued: “[Schaaf] advises thousand people… they’re told ‘get out of here, the law enforcement’s coming.’ And you worked on that long and hard and you got there and there were very few people there. To me that’s obstruction of justice and perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that, with respect to the mayor, because it’s a big deal out there, and a lot of people are very angry about what happened.”

Trump added that “there’s a lot of hard work and a lot of danger involved” in immigration enforcement and Schaaf’s alert “was a terrible thing.”

ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan previously said that Schaaf acted like a “gang lookout yelling ‘police’” and added that at least 800 illegal immigrants were possibly not detained because of Schaaf’s warning.

Schaaf, though, has insisted on multiple occasions that she did not break the law or endanger law enforcement officials.

Oakland Mayor Schaaf

President hosts “California Sanctuary State Roundtable”

Wednesday at the White House, President Donald Trump hosted the “California Sanctuary State Roundtable” to address the state’s law that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officers.

Trump took aim at California communities that have opted out of the state’s sanctuary law.  “We all remember the tragic case of Marilyn Ferris in California who was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been arrested six times prior to breaking into Marilyn’s home, raping her and savagely beating her to death with a hammer,” Trump said. “And this is one example, but there are many examples. I’ve been saying it for a long time. We cannot let this butchery happen in America.”

He continued, “The state of California’s attempts to nullify federal law have sparked a rebellion by patriotic citizens who want their families protected and their borders secured. They want border security. They want protection. That’s what we’re all about.”

President condemns violent illegal alien MS-13 gang members

On Wednesday, during a meeting at the White House, Trump blasted violent illegal alien MS-13 gang members who have entered the country posing as unaccompanied minor children, calling them “animals.”

“These aren’t people. These are animals,” Trump said of MS-13 gang members. “And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.”

At a White House roundtable discussion with California elected officials and law enforcement officials opposed to the state’s sanctuary laws, Trump was referring to illegal immigrants, specifically MS-13 gang members that his administration has been deporting, when he was responding to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims’ frustrations over not being able to report certain MS-13 gang members to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if they did not meet certain thresholds.

Trump made similar remarks about MS-13 gang members last year on Long Island. Immediately after the remarks, the mainstream media and Democrats began twisting Trump’s words, taking the comments out of context to claim that he was referring to all 12 to 30 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.

Newsom, Pelosi, Schumer defend MS-13 illegal immigrants

California Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is like a slave owner and Nazi for referring to MS-13 illegal immigrant gangsters as “animals.” He also added that Trump’s “hateful rhetoric” can lead to “hate crimes” and “genocides”

“Today the President of the United States referred to immigrants as ‘animals,’” Newsom tweeted, distorting Trump’s words based on a 41-second clip. “Intentionally dehumanizing an entire group of people is something that slave owners and nazis did. It’s the kind of hateful rhetoric that leads to hate crimes and genocides.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) twisted President Trump’s attack on MS-13 gang members during her Thursday press conference. In her Thursday press conference, Pelosi followed suit, claiming Trump was referring to illegal aliens and border-crossers when he called MS-13 gang members “animals.”

Pelosi said, “We believe… that we’re all God’s children. There’s a spark of divinity in every person on earth and that we all have to recognize that. as we respect the dignity and worth of every person. And as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us. And so when the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals,’ you have to wonder: Does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? ‘These are not people, these are animals.’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) similarly twisted Trump’s attack on MS-13 gang members, going as far as to compare his “great-great-grandparents” to illegal aliens.

The violent El Salvadorian MS-13 gang has flourished in the U.S. after decades of open borders policies whereby unaccompanied minors are resettled throughout the country. Sometimes, those unaccompanied minors are already members of MS-13 or become members.

Just this year, a number of violent MS-13 gang members have been convicted of murdering Americans, with the most recent case where six of the gang members were charged with murder.

As Breitbart Texas reported, there have been at least 200 murders by the MS-13 gang across 22 states since 2012. Most recently, Border Patrol revealed  that an MS-13 gang member traveling with a caravan of 1,200 Central Americans posed as an unaccompanied minor to gain entry to the U.S. Nearly 100 MS-13 gang members had been resettled across the country by the federal government as unaccompanied minors. Nearly 65 of those gang members were granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ), which acts as a quasi-amnesty program for young illegal aliens who cross the southern border.

First woman confirmed by Senate to lead Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel was confirmed Thursday as CIA director, becoming the first woman to lead the agency and overcoming initial Democratic opposition regarding her role in post-9/11 interrogation and detention practices.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm President Trump’s nominee, with six Democrats supporting and two Republicans defecting. Haspel, whose nomination was endorsed by the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier, previously was deputy director and has spent her career with the agency. Trump tweeted his congratulations after the vote.

Haspel earned emphatic support from GOP lawmakers as well as intelligence community members from both Democratic and Republican administrations.

“The safety and security of the American people depend on capable intelligence leadership. Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

But her history as base chief at a black-site prison in Thailand in 2002, where techniques such as waterboarding were used on terror suspects, came under scrutiny during the confirmation process. Republican supporters accused Democrats of politicizing her nomination and initially trying to derail an otherwise highly qualified nominee.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Democrats grilled her on her views on what they deemed torture, as well as objecting to what they saw as the CIA’s selective declassification about information on her. She was also questioned at length about the 2005 destruction of more than 92 interrogation tapes — a move she said she supported to ensure the safety of CIA agents.

Haspel refused to criticize her colleagues and superiors for their conduct during what she called a “tumultuous time,” but said the CIA under her watch would not resume such techniques. She also defended her own conduct.

“After 9/11 … I stepped up. I was not on the sidelines, I was on the frontlines in the Cold War and I was on the frontlines in the fight against Al Qaeda,” she said in response to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Haspel’s confirmation had been in question after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., later joined by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he would not vote for her. “While I thank Ms. Haspel for her long and dedicated service to the CIA, as a country we need to turn the page on the unfortunate chapter in the agency’s history having to do with torture,” Flake said in a statement Wednesday.

Along with the absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., it meant that Haspel needed Democratic votes to assure her confirmation. But in the days leading up to Thursday’s vote, she picked up Democratic support, particularly from those in tough midterm re-election fights. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came out to back her last week, and others followed.

A key factor may have been a letter she wrote to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the intelligence committee, on Tuesday, saying: “With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”

Warner subsequently said in a statement that he believes she “is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral — like a return to torture.”

Haspel will replace now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Gina Haspel, Photo source CIA

May 18 (Friday):  Day 119

Real Clear Politics:  Democrat advantage drops below 5 percent

For the very first time since April of 2017, when Real Clear Politics first started monitoring the average, the Democrat advantage in the generic ballot has dipped below 5 percent, to just 4.7 percent.

Until his week, Democrats enjoyed a steady average of a +5 percent advantage. Of late, that average has climbed as high as +13 percent. But since then, the erosion, in fits and starts, has steadily drifted downward, and now, at least in this election season, it is at a record low.

For the sake of context, in 2014, with a 2.4 percent GOP advantage in this same poll, Republicans picked up only 13 House seats. During the 2010 mid-terms, with a 9.4 percent GOP advantage, Republicans picked up 63 House seats. In 2006, with an 11.5 percent Democrat edge, Democrats picked up 31 seats.nThis year, Democrats will need to flip 24 seats to retake the House, which is looking a lot less doable when you consider that with a huge 11.5 percent advantage, Democrats were only able to snatch 31 seats. With just a 4.7 percent advantage, Democrats are likely within range of handing the gavel to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but a closer look at the movement of the numbers shows that Democrat energy has been flat, while GOP energy is building. On March 1, Democrats earned 45.9 percent support, while Republicans earned just 36.6 percent. Today, Democrats sit at 45 percent compared to the GOP’s 40.3 percent. As of right now, the trend is with the GOP and President Trump has only started to make his case to turn out his base in November.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens JournalVentura Countys online news service, founder of History Makers Internationala 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 spheresas 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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