Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and So Much More | Look At News Daily  (May 26-June 1/Day 127-133) Week 19

By Michael Hernandez

 

May 26 (Saturday): Day 127

President Trump to make funds available for pro-life faith groups

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is not happy that President Donald Trump’s proposed rule to cut off Title X federal family planning funds from abortion providers makes the money available to organizations that fight for the rights of unborn children and faith-based groups.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported about Trump’s proposed rule and how it “could pave the way for a host of previously ineligible organizations — some of which oppose contraception — to receive funds through the federal government’s family planning program. It also removes a requirement that recipients offer ‘medically approved’ family planning services, and it states explicitly that recipients would not have to provide all forms of effective contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” NPR reported.

Under Trump’s proposed rule, Health and Human Services would no longer provide Planned Parenthood with a huge chunk of those funds — as much as $60 million of the $287 million of the Title X budget — the Federalist reported. In its annual report for the year ending June 30, 2017, Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 321,384 abortions, not including providing drugs that cause unborn babies to be aborted.

Calling pro-abortion critics of pro-life organizations “reproductive rights advocates,” NPR asked Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights to weigh in. NPR reported:  “Emily Stewart, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood, said in a conference call with reporters that the administration’s proposal would “undermine access to contraception” and bring organizations into the Title X program “who don’t even believe in birth control.”

“We have limited federal dollars for health care generally, and limited federal dollars for family planning,” Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights told NPR.  They should go to programs that have a full range of planning, that are scientifically based, and that women are making the decisions based on their full range of options.”

In fact, pregnancy resource centers – non-profits across the country that help women facing unplanned pregnancies arrange for adoption or help them pre- and post-natal with a range of services and resources, and the source of abortion advocates’ ire — have saved millions of lives. And pro-life Republicans have also worked to defund Planned Parenthood of other federal funds, instead preferring to direct money to publicly funded health clinics that don’t perform abortions and offer a full range of health services.

The National Catholic Register reported last year: “According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, such health centers are publicly funded and exist in all 50 states, almost 10,000 in total, compared to around 650 Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide. The health centers served more than 24 million people in 2015, while Planned Parenthood says it serves around 2.5 million per year.

These health centers do not perform abortions, but they do provide services like prenatal and perinatal care, diabetes screening, pap smears, checkups and mammograms, something Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has admitted her centers do not provide, despite claims that they do. Planned Parenthood only provides referrals for mammograms, not the procedures themselves.

NPR talked to several groups that are considering or want to apply for federal dollars to help with their mission, including Aim for Success, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides abstinence education; the Catholic Medical Association; and The Couple to Couple League, a Catholic organization that promotes natural family planning methods and abstinence until marriage.

President at Naval Academy commencement: “America is back”

President Donald J. Trump spoke at the Naval Academy commencement ceremony on Friday, praising a restored pride in the United States of America and its military.

“We are witnessing the great reawakening of the American spirit and of American might,” he said at the ceremony in Annapolis. “We have rediscovered our identity, regained our stride and we’re proud again.”

Trump praised the American victories in the 20th century, including winning two world wars, putting a man on the moon, curing diseases, and developing massive infrastructure. “Yes. America is back,” he said, as the audience applauded.

The president rallied the cadets with famous Navy slogans like “Don’t give up the ship” and “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” and reasserted his commitment to greatness.  In case you haven’t noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately,” he said. “We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America. No more apologies.”

President Trump emphasized the importance of having a strong military force, which would deter threats to the United States of America, praising the end of defense sequestration and the $700 billion investment in military spending in the last spending agreement passed by Congress.

Trump promised to stay for hours after the ceremony to shake the hands of each and every one of the over 1,100 graduates present for the ceremony. “We are showing what is possible when America starts acting like its sailors and its marines,” he said.

 

ACLJ Attorney calls Trump supporters to fight Deep State

President Trump‘s lawyer Jay Sekulow used his personal Twitter account on Friday to call on the president’s supporters to fight back against  “the Deep State” and a “soft coup” against Trump.

In a tweet, the attorney linked to a petition from the American Center for Law and Justice, which Sekulow has run since 1992, accuses the Obama State Department, run in part by former Secretary Hillary Clinton, of being part of a “shadow government” involved in a “soft coup” of the Trump administration.

“The revelation about the extent to which the #Clinton State Department colluded with the #ClintonFoundation should shock no one. The #DeepState is real, and it’s putting our #NationalSecurity in jeopardy. Sign to fight back,” Sekulow wrote on Twitter. The revelation about the extent to which the #Clinton State Department colluded with the #ClintonFoundation should shock no one. The #DeepState is real, and it’s putting our #NationalSecurity in jeopardy. Sign to fight back.

Sekulow is one of several attorneys involved in Trump’s legal defense amidst the special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Russia.

The American Center for Law and Justice accuses former President Obama of taking “action to empower the entrenched bureaucracy to subvert our national security” and calls on supporters to sign the petition to “stop the soft coup and the rampant leak of classified information” from the Trump administration.

Sekulow’s tweet came just hours after the conservative group Judicial Watch posted emails obtained from the State Department showing Clinton Foundation business being conducted on Clinton’s private email server, which the group claimed proved “collusion” between the agency and Clinton’s family foundation.

Trump and his allies claimed during the campaign that Clinton was involved in a “pay-to-play” scheme at the State Department, trading diplomatic favors for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

 

May 27 (Sunday):   Day 128

President welcomes hostage back to U.S. from Venezuela

President Donald J. Trump welcomed Joshua Holt home to the United States on Saturday night, meeting with the released hostage at the White House after he was let free from Venezuela. “You were a tough one, I have to tell you,” Trump said to Holt, about the process of  securing his release.

Trump noted there were 17 American prisoners held outside of the country freed under his administration. “We’re very proud of that record and we have others coming,” he said.

 “I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Holt said, thanking the president for helping him. He commented that his trip to Venezuela was “not really the great vacation that I was looking for” and thanked his wife for helping him through the two years he spent in prison.

Holt traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry his wife Thamy, whom he had met online. He was detained by the Venezuelan government for two years without a trial.

Holt’s parents thanked President Trump and all of the members of Congress who advocated on their behalf: Senator Bob Corker R-TN and Utah members of Congress, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Orrin Hatch, and Rep. Mia Love.

U.S. officials in North Korea preparing for Summit

The latest, per WaPo’s Anna Fifield, reporting from Seoul: “A team of U.S. officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday for talks to prepare for a summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, as both sides press ahead with arrangements despite the question marks hanging over the meeting…”

Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, has been called in from his posting as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.”

 

May 28 (Monday): Day 129

South Korea President fetes K-pop group

South Korean President Moon Jae-in took a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to congratulate K-pop phenomenon BTS on the group’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.

On Monday (May 28), about two days after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a surprise summit to discuss peace, President Moon shared his excitement about BTS’ exciting accomplishment.  “Congratulations to the Seven Music-loving Boys and Their Wings, ‘ARMY’! The songs, dance, dreams and enthusiasm of BTS energized and gave strength to young people around the world.

“Congratulations to the Seven Music-loving Boys and Their Wings, ‘ARMY’!” Moon wrote in a statement. “The songs, dance, dreams and enthusiasm of BTS energized and gave strength to young people around the world.”

BTS recently debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with its latest effort, Love Yourself: Tear. It’s the first No. 1 for the seven-member group, and the first K-pop album to lead the tally.

Korean boyband phenomenon BTS have become the first K-Pop group to rise to the top of the US album charts, a vivid illustration of the genre’s growing global appeal. Known for boyish good looks, floppy haircuts and meticulously choreographed dance moves, the septet has become one of South Korea’s best known and most lucrative musical exports.

On Sunday, they passed a new milestone — becoming the first K-Pop group to top the Billboard 200 music charts which ranks albums via sales, downloads and streams.  “It’s the first No. 1 for the seven-member group, and the first K-pop album to lead the tally,” Billboard wrote in its online report detailing the latest chart ranking.

While plenty of older music listeners in the West might be asking “who?”, it’s hard to underestimate the popularity of BTS and their seven stars Suga, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V, Jungkook and Jin.

According to one data analysis, they were they most talked about phenomenon on Twitter in 2017, with nearly double the number of mentions on the social media platform than US President Donald Trump and Canadian badboy heartthrob Justin Bieber combined.

Throw in their similarly massive appeal across the globe — they have huge social media followings in Japan, China, Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America — and you have a truly global supergroup.

Their new album “Love Yourself: Tear” toppled “Beerpong and Bentleys” by rising hip-hop star Post Malone, whose facial tattoos are the very antithesis of BTS’ wholesome, meticulously manicured image. While BTS sing in Korean, their style successfully fuses the catchy earworms of K-Pop with hip-hop and R’n’B.

Last year, their previous release “Love Yourself: Her” became the first K-Pop album to make it into the top 10 US album charts, rising to number seven, and hit the number one spot on iTunes in more than 70 countries.

One million bikers ride to nation’s capital on Memorial Day

As many as one million bikers rode into the nation’s capital on Memorial Day weekend during the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that Americans can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

It is the 31st year that bikers from across the country have joined the Rolling Thunder annual trek that started as a campaign to increase awareness about prisoners of war in Vietnam and has grown to a movement that is not only an iconic ritual but a force that has led to legislation to honor the U.S. military 365 days a year.

AAA estimated at least 900,000 bikers came to Washington, DC, for Memorial Day weekend to pay respect to U.S. military members who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.

President Donald J. Trump issues a Memorial Day proclamation

“We remain duty bound to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and to remember them with thankfulness and unwavering pride,” Trump wrote in the proclamation, setting May 28, 2018, as Memorial Day.

The president also asked Americans to “unite in prayer for lasting peace in our troubled world so that future generations will enjoy the blessings of liberty and independence.” Read the full proclamation released by the White House below:

“On Memorial Day, we pause in solemn gratitude to pay tribute to the brave patriots who laid down their lives defending peace and freedom while in military service to our great Nation. We set aside this day to honor their sacrifice and to remind all Americans of the tremendous price of our precious liberty.

“Throughout the history of our Republic, courageous Americans have purchased our cherished freedom with their lives. Our 151 national cemeteries serve as the final resting place for millions of people, including veterans from every war and conflict, many of whom died while serving our country. We remain duty bound to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and to remember them with thankfulness and unwavering pride. The fallen — our treasured loved ones, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens — deserve nothing less from a grateful Nation.

“We must safeguard the legacies of our service members so that our children and our grandchildren will understand the sacrifices of our Armed Forces. As a part of this effort, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to keep the memories of our fallen heroes from ever fading away. The National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program challenges our youth, from elementary school through college, to research and share the stories and sacrifice of their hometown veterans, who are forever honored at VA National, State, and tribal veterans cemeteries. To further ensure that our veterans’ legacies are remembered and celebrated, this program is developing an online memorialization platform that will amplify the voices of families, survivors, and Gold Star parents and spouses as they honor our beloved veterans and fallen service members.

“Today, and every day, we revere those who have died in noble service to our country. I call upon all Americans to remember the selfless service members who have been laid to rest in flag-draped coffins and their families who have suffered the greatest loss. The sacrifices of our hallowed dead demand our Nation’s highest honor and deepest gratitude. On this day, let us also unite in prayer for lasting peace in our troubled world so that future generations will enjoy the blessings of liberty and independence.

“In honor and recognition of all of our fallen heroes, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 28, 2018, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer.

“I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. I also request the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”

More than 645,000 poppies displayed at Lincoln Memorial

More than 645,000 poppies displayed at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial for Memorial Day weekend represented the military men and women who have given their lives since World War I to defend the freedom of Americans.

The display sponsored by USAA stood on the National Mall in the midst of the Rolling Thunder XXXI First Amendment Demonstration Run and a musical and speakers tribute to veterans on Sunday. The public was given the opportunity to dedicate a poppy to fallen heroes either online or through tablets set up at the display.

At midday on Sunday, Rolling Thunder motorcycle demonstrators cruised from the Pentagon parking lot in Arlington, Virginia, across the bridge to Washington, DC, down the north end of the Capitol Mall to the Capitol Building and back down the south side of the mall, coming to the end of their route near the Lincoln Memorial.

Next to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where the Rolling Thunder demonstration route came to rest was the poppy memorial. After passing the screens for dedicating a poppy came a wall displaying the casualty numbers from U.S. foreign wars since WWI. More than 116,000 American military men and women were casualties of WWI from 1917 to 1918. WWII saw more than 405,000 casualties from 1941 to 1945. The wall quoted General George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Next came the American casualties of the Korean War, and the wall displayed more than 50,000 from 1950 to 1953. The Vietnam War saw more than 58,000 casualties from 1959 to 1975. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has seen more than 6,800 casualties from October 2001 to the present day.

The Poppy Lady, Moina Belle Michael, first wore a poppy “as a symbol of remembrance in 1918,” according to the USAA display wall. She was inspired to do so by Lt. Col. John McCrae’s 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields.” She wrote a poem in response called “We Shall Keep the Faith” in which she pledged to always wear a red poppy in honor of the casualties of WWI. The wall displayed Michael’s poem.

As those visiting the wall turned the corner to the other side they were met with a wall of the more than 645,000 poppies encased in the entire length of the wall. Feet away on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and at the edge of the reflecting pool was the stage where several speakers gave messages of caring for veterans, thanking those who have served and remembering the fallen.

During one of the musical performances, the lead singer asked all of the Vietnam War and era veterans to come to stand and then to come to the foot of the stage to be recognized. He spoke of what those who served in Vietnam were told to do when returning from war in light of the sentiment back in the states toward the war, “… to take your uniform off, as these men go, they said grow your hair long when you’re gettin’ short so they don’t make fun of you when you get home.” The singer had a message to these veterans and began singing, “Thank you, I wanna thank you, from my heart and there’s a million others just like me who wanna do the same. We wanna thank you, finally say the words we shoulda said, it’s long overdue, we wanna thank you.”

As the veterans gathered at the foot of the stage they shook hands and hugged one another. Then members of the audience began rising to their feet and coming forward to shake the hands of these veterans and thank them for their service.

Sunday’s Rolling Thunder XXXI events also included a Sunday evening Memorial Day concert at the Capitol. Memorial Day events in D.C. scheduled for Monday are an 11 am wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, National Memorial Day Parade at 2 pm, and a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm.

 

May 29 (Tuesday):   Day 130m

ABC cancels Roseanne Barr after tweet

ABC Entertainment has canceled the revival of its hit show Roseanne after actress Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet describing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as the product of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said Tuesday.

Barr had apologized for the tweet, claiming that it was a “bad joke” that was “in bad taste,” after she was hit with immediate backlash for her racist remark. “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks,” Barr said. “I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste.” The show, which was rebooted in March following a 21-year absence, attracted huge viewership and won praise for its promotion of traditional family values.

Disney Chairman Bob Iger chimed in on the decision to yank Roseanne off the air, taking to Twitter on Tuesday, writing, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” Iger added. From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

California female Democratic Party candidates losing ground

Female candidates on the Democratic Party ticket in California, many of whom have built their candidacies on opposing President Donald Trump, may not experience the anticipated “pink tsunami” or “Year of the Woman” as so many have hoped in the upcoming June primary elections.

“[I]n California, crowded primaries in crucial battleground districts, entrenched incumbents, notoriously expensive media markets and a top-two primary system that may prove disastrous for Democrats are some of the formidable barriers women face,” notes the Los Angeles Times. The publication also noted that comedian-turned-activist Chelsea Handler’s hopeful prediction that 2018 would “obviously” be a bigger year for women than the 1992 “Year of the Woman” might fail to come to fruition.

Others may also be disappointed. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — who was first elected in 1992, and is running for re-election again this year — had predicted that “we are going to have another Year of the Woman” in 2018. But that may not happen, partly because there are simply too many Democrats running in competitive districts. Democrats are reportedly spending millions to prevent a primary “disaster” that would hurt their goal of regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

California billionaire activist wants President Trump impeached

Tom Steyer

is blasting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and top Democrats for not supporting impeachment, claiming that Democrats are complicit in “normalizing” President Donald Trump. He even compared his impeachment movement to the 1960s civil rights movement.

“The Founders gave us impeachment to answer a reckless, lawless, and dangerous president and every day that his behavior is accepted, every day that you don’t oppose it, it becomes enshrined as the way things are done. You have normalized this presidency, you have normalized his behavior,” Steyer said in a Tuesday Politico interview. “And then at the end of four years when you come out and, you know it’s inevitable, ‘It’s outrageous what he’s done.’ Really? Because for the last 1,300 days you’ve kind of gone along with it. … How much credibility—I think there’s a question here.”

Steyer—who has bought television ad

s promoting impeachment and conducted impeachment town halls in places like California, Iowa, and Georgia—is adamant that Democrats pursue impeachment even though recent polls have found that a majority of Americans do not want Democrats to impeach Trump if they take back the House. Democrats, though, as Politico notes, “worry that even raising the topic of impeachment this year threatens to make swing House districts unwinnable and all but erases the chance of retaking control of the House.”

But the billionaire impeachment zealot tries to compare impeaching Trump to the civil rights movement, claiming that “anytime in American history that there has been an attempt to upset the status quo, there have been people within the status quo—within the establishment—saying, ‘It may be true, it may be something we should deal with, it may be important, but not now.”

“If you look at the civil rights movement, the pushback was not, ‘You’re not telling the truth,’ the pushback was, ‘We’re dealing with it in time. Stand down so we can deal with it in time,’” Steyer reportedly added.

Though Democrats like Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Al Green (D-TX) have been pressing leadership to push impeachment, Pelosi has said that impeachment talk would be nothing more than “gift” to Republicans heading into the 2018 midterm elections. And even left-wing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently agreed with her.

When Meet the Press host Chuck Todd recently asked Sanders if he also believed impeachment talk would be a “gift” to Republicans, Sanders replied, “Yeah, I do. I’m a member of the United State’s Senate and if Trump is impeached I will have to be making a decision, voting on that. You can’t jump the gun and determine that somebody should be impeached when you’re going to be voting on the impeachment issue,” Sanders said. “So, I think that you allow the Mueller investigation to do its course, you fight against anybody who wants to impede that investigation, but I think it is too early to talk about impeachment.”

 

May 30 (Wednesday):   Day 131

New York Times lies about crowd size of Trump rally in Nashville

The New York Times has admitted that it lied about the size of the crowd at the Trump rally held in Nashville on Tuesday night, and changed their crowd estimate after the president called them out on Twitter. In their original story on the Trump rally, the Times claimed the crowd size was only 1,000–a number that everyone in attendance Tuesday night knew was a misrepresentation of the much larger crowd at the Municipal Auditorium to listen to President Trump speak about his support for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) and her 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).

Wednesday morning, President Trump called the Times out for their inaccurate crowd size reporting. “The Failing and Corrupt @nytimes estimated the crowd last night at ‘1000 people,’ when in fact it was many times that number – and the arena was rockin’. This is the way they demean and disparage,” he tweeted.

“They are very dishonest people who don’t ‘get’, me, and never did!” he added in the tweet.  The Failing and Corrupt ‪@nytimes estimated the crowd last night at “1000 people,” when in fact it was many times that number – and the arena was rockin’. This is the way they demean and disparage. They are very dishonest people who don’t “get” me, and never did!

After the presidential broadside, the Washington Times reported that the New York Times “corrected” their crowd estimate later on Wednesday:  “The New York Times issued a correction Wednesday about the crowd size at President Trump’s rally after the president challenged the paper’s mistake, acknowledging the audience in Nashville, Tennessee, was more than five times larger than The Times initially reported.

In its article online, The Times said an earlier version of the story “cited an incorrect figure for the number of people attending President Trump’s rally.”

“While no exact figure is available, the fire marshal’s office estimated that approximately 5,500 people attended the rally, not about 1,000 people,” the correction stated.  “The Trump campaign issued its own crowd size estimate of 7,500 to 8,000 in a statement released to the press on Wednesday.

President Trump looked toward the midterm elections during his May 29 speech in Nashville, Tennessee, and warned, “You won’t have a Second Amendment if Democrats take over.”

The Tennessean quoted Trump’s appeal for support for Republican candidates in the midterms: “The other thing is, we are going to protect your Second Amendment.” He added, “You won’t have a Second Amendment if the Democrats take over.” He paused as the crowd applauded, then reiterated, “You won’t have a Second Amendment”: Trump also uttered four words to gun controllers during his NRA-ILA speech: “Come and take it.”

White House press secretary rips media for “double standard”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders ripped the media for their “double standard” and “hypocrisy” over their reaction to the Roseanne show getting canceled after the show’s star Roseanne Barr insulted former Barack Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

When asked about the topic during the White House Press Briefing, Sanders replied: “Where was the Bob Iger’s apology to the White House staff for Jemele Hill calling the president and anyone associated with him a white supremacist? To Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a mental illness? Where was the apology for Kathy Griffin going on a profane rant against the president on “The View” after a photo showed her holding the President Trump’s decapitated head? And where was the apology from Bob Iger for ESPN hiring Keith Olbermann after his numerous expletive-laced tweets attacking the president as a Nazi and even expanding Olbermann’s role after that attack against the president’s family?

Chinese company may take over Long Beach port

A Chinese company may take over the current owner of the biggest U.S. container port in Long Beach, despite President Donald Trump’s threat to slap a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of China’s tech exports. China’s state-owned COSCO conglomerate is within days of closing its $6.3 billion take-over of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), which owns America’s biggest container ship cargo processing operation in Long Beach, California.

The OOCL paid $4.6 billion to sign a 40-year lease with the Port of Long Beach to develop the Middle Harbor property, which tripled the size of the port’s container capability. The Long Beach container port handles one-fifth of all U.S. container activity. With over 2,000 vessel calls in 2017, OOCL processed 6.8 million 20-foot cargo container units containing $180 billion in goods.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that COSCO’s takeover of OOCL was being reviewed by the U.S. Treasury Department Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. over national security concerns regarding China’s potential dominance of U.S. port trade.

It is not clear that the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute will affect the national security review.

The Journal noted that COSCO Vice Chairman Huang Xiaowen told a news conference on April 3 that the OOCL deal would close by June: “Up to now we are quite confident to push forward this acquisition. … It’s progressing normally,” he was quoted as saying. However, the Journal repted that COSCO has “proposed to divest or carve out the Long Beach terminal to satisfy U.S. concerns about the deal.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Monday, the U.S. has threatened to slap 25 percent tariffs on a substantial number of China tech exports by June 30, after World Trade Organization dispute settlement talks in Geneva broke down on May 28.

U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Dennis Shea demanded China end its unwritten rule requiring “forced technology transfer” for U.S. companies that want to do business with China state-owned enterprises.

Shea told the WTO dispute resolution committee, “This is not the rule of law. In fact, it is China’s laws themselves that enable this coercion.” He added that investment, licensing, and administrative rules amount to a “systematic, state-directed, and non-market pursuit of other (WTO) members’ cutting-edge technology in service of China’s industrial policy” — a lose-lose deal for Americans, he argued.

China’s Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen called the U.S. arguments a “presumption of guilt” and “pure speculation” based only on ,America’s $375 billion U.S. trade deficit with China. Zhang told Reuters that tech transfer is a commercial activity that benefits America, while Chinese innovation is driven by “the diligence and entrepreneurship of the Chinese people, investment in education and research.” The U.S. originally launched its WTO complaint against China on March 23. Under the rules, both parties were required to engage in bilateral talks for 60 days. The clock is now ticking toward the WTO Dispute Resolution Committee meeting on June 22.

 

May 31 (Thursday):   Day 132

President Trump pardons conservative filmmaker D’Souza

President Donald J. Trump announced Thursday he will pardon conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of breaking campaign finance laws in 2014. “Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!” President Trump tweeted:

In 2014, D’Souza pleaded guilty after reimbursing two straw donors who contributed to Wendy Long’s 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Trump, released a statement of the conviction. “Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process,” Bharara wrote. “Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) welcomed the news, tweeting: “Bravo! @realDonaldTrump Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views. And he’s a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left—which is why they hate him.” “This is Justice,” Cruz declared:

The conservative pundit’s pardon is the fifth of Donald Trump’s presidency.

President Donald Trump said Thursday he is also considering a pardon for celebrity Martha Stewart and commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The president discussed future pardons with reporters after announcing on Twitter that he wanted to pardon Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of reimbursing campaign donations to his friends.

Trump noted that Blagojevich made a “foolish” remark by bragging about getting favors for a Senate appointment but suggested the 18-year sentence was too high. A plea from Blagojevich to reduce his 14-year sentence failed in 2016, meaning he faces prison until May 2024. He was convicted in 2011 for misusing his powers as governor, including an attempt to sell former President Barack Obama’s Senate seat before he was caught by the FBI.

“Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say,” Trump said. “I don’t know him other than that he was on The Apprentice for a short period of time.” The president made his remarks after an off-the-record session with reporters during his Air Force One flight to Dallas, Texas.

Trump noted that even though Blagojevich was Democrat, “He’s not my party. But I thought that he was treated unfairly.” 

Google lists “Nazism” as official ideology of California GOP

Google briefly listed “Nazism” as an official ideology of the California Republican Party, due to the search engine’s dependence on unreliable information from Wikipedia. Until earlier today, a Google search for the California Republican Party brought up a list of ideologies in the “knowledge panel” that sometimes appears on the right-hand side of search results. These ideologies included “Nazism, Conservatism, Market liberalism, fiscal conservatism, green conservatism.” The story was first reported by Vice.

After press coverage and attention from House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the “ideology” infobox section has now disappeared. Searches for other California parties, like the California Green Party, still show an “ideology” infobox. Other state GOP parties also display the infobox. The information for these boxes appears to have been sourced from Wikipedia. The edit history of the California Republican party shows that someone edited the party’s Wikipedia page to include “Nazism” among its ideologies.

Virginia Tech professor calls NRA a “terrorist organization”

Virginia Tech Professor Matthew Gabriele called the National Rifle Association a “terrorist organization” in a May tweet. Gabriele, a Medieval Studies professor at Virginia Tech University, called the NRA a “terrorist organization” in a tweet on May 18. On social media, progressives often refer to the NRA as a “terrorist organization” as a means of provocation.

In a statement, a university spokesperson refused to comment on Gabriele’s tweet, explaining that the professor’s views do not represent the institution. “Mr. Gabriele’s views are his and his alone,” spokesperson Tracy Vosburgh said. “Any comment on his statement should come from him.”

A report from Fox News highlighted that Gabriele has used Twitter to provoke in the past. “The modern GOP is nothing but white supremacy,” Gabriele wrote in one tweet. In another, Gabriele wrote that President Trump was elected because “his racism spoke” to his voters.

In March, a series of billboards appeared in Florida with the same slogan: “The NRA is a terrorist organization.” Later that week, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy repeated that sentiment in an interview with a local Fox affiliate.

 

June 1 (Friday):   Day 133

U.S. adds 223,000 jobs in May; unemployment at 3.9 percent

The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent, according to Labor Department figures published on Friday. Economists forecasted 190,000 additional nonfarm payrolls, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.9 percent. Manufacturing performed strongly, adding 18,000 jobs. Construction grew by 25,000 new positions. The Mining sector expanded by 6,000. Service providers added 171,000 jobs, with an increase in retail of 31,100. Average hourly earnings for workers on private nonfarm payrolls climbed by 8 cents to $26.92.

White unemployment is 3.5 percent, while Hispanic unemployment is 4.9 percent. Black unemployment is 5.9 percent — a new record low down from 6.6 percent the previous month — while Asian unemployment came in at 2.9 percent.

“Average hourly earnings increased 2.7 percent from a year earlier, more than projected, while the jobless rate fell to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent to match April 2000 as the lowest since 1969,” Bloomberg reports.

The solid hiring data coincides with other evidence that the economy is on firm footing after a brief slowdown in the first three months of the year. The economy grew at a modest 2.2 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, after three quarters that had averaged roughly 3 percent annually.

Companies are spending more on industrial machinery, computers and software — signs that they’re optimistic enough about future growth to expand their capacity. A measure of business investment rose in the first quarter by the most in 3½ years. That investment growth has been spurred partly by higher oil prices, which have encouraged the construction of more drilling rigs.

Manufacturers have benefited from the healthier business spending and have increased hiring. In April, factories expanded production of turbines and other heavy machinery by the most in seven months.

Macroeconomic Advisers, a forecasting firm, says it now foresees the economy expanding at a robust 4 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter, which would be the fastest in nearly four years. That is up from its forecast last week of less than a 3 percent rate for the current quarter.

Six months of Mueller investigation reach 10 million dollar cost

The Justice Department’s (DOJ) Special Counsel’s Office (SCO), under which Robert Mueller and his “Russia investigation” operate, issued its required biannual spending report, showing a significant increase in the investigation’s spending rate.

The report indicates the SCO spent $4,506,624 in the period from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, while other DOJ components spent $5,476,000 in the same time frame in support of Mueller’s investigation, yielding a total of $9,982,624.

The figure represents an 11 percent increase in the rate of spending compared to the SCO’s first reporting period — May 17, 2017 to September 30, 2017 — when spending totaled a combined $6,759,695 over that shorter period. The largest line item, as during the last period, was personnel compensation and benefits, amounting to $2,738,131. Second was “Rent, Communications, and Utilities” at $886,403. The SCO spent $532,340 on travel, the vast majority of which was “temporary duty relocation of DOJ employees detailed to the SCO.”

The exact boundaries of the Mueller investigation have never been made clear to the public. More came to light with the release of a redacted “scope memo” issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the course of the prosecution of one of the indicted targets of the investigation, Paul Manafort. The judge in one of Manafort’s trials demanded and has now received an unredacted version of that memo.

While ostensibly aimed at Russian election interference and “collusion” between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian agents, reports continue to indicate the true focus of the investigation is supposed obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump and his administration. The president has referred to this tactic as a “trap.”

According to President Trump’s defense attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Mueller’s office has assured him they agree with traditional thinking that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Giuliani said Wednesday that Mueller should conclude his investigation by this September. The move was reminiscent of Giuliani’s predecessor, Ty Cobb, who continually suggested deadlines for the investigation, all of which Mueller and his team disregarded.

 

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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