The Second 100 Days (Trump Briefs: June 24-30 /Day 156-162) Week 23

By Michael Hernandez

 

Saturday, June 24 (Day 156):

President Trump goes on offensive on Russian election interference

President Trump used Twitter to attack the Obama administration’s claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.  He tweeted the following on Thursday:

“…Why did Democratic National Committee turn down the DHS offer to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It’s all a big Dem HOAX!”

7:01 AM – 22 Jun 2017

 “…Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn’t? It’s all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!”

7:08 AM – 22 Jun 2017

(Editor’s Note:  Breitbart News reports that In his January testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI registered “multiple requests at different levels” to review the DNC’s hacked servers. Ultimately, the DNC and FBI came to an agreement in which a “highly respected private company” would carry out forensics on the servers and share any information that it discovered with the FBI, Comey testified.

Comey’s statement about a “highly respected private company” gaining access to the DNC servers was a reference to CrowdStrike, the third-party company ultimately relied upon by the FBI to make its assessment about alleged Russian hacking into the DNC.  CrowdStrike was financed to $100 million from a funding drive last year led by Google Capital which now goes by the name of CapitalG and is an arm of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been a staunch and active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic party.

CrowdStrike is a California-based cybersecurity technology company co-founded by experts George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch who is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council which takes a hawkish approach toward Russia and has released numerous reports and briefs about Russian aggression.  The Council is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., the U.S. State Department and NATO ACT. Another Council funder is the Ploughshares Fund, which in turn has received financing from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.)

President Trump tweeted on Friday:

“Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?”

5:43 PM – 23 Jun 2017

(Editor’s Note:  President Trump seems to be referring to a Washington Post article published Friday reporting that President Obama was aware as early as August of U.S. intelligence indicating, “Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.” Yet the administration waited until October 7 to make an announcement  According to the Post, one reason Obama held back was fear of “potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph,” the newspaper reported.

Last December, NBC News was first to report the Obama administration’s thinking about whether to go public with the Russia story was influenced by the belief inside the White House that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election.)

The President’s Saturday tweets:

 “Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!”

1:28 PM – 24 Jun 2017

“Obama Administration official said they “choked” when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn’t want to hurt Hillary?”

1:44 PM – 24 Jun 2017

New Jersey Community College professor fired for supporting “Black Lives Matter”

A Black community adjunct college professor who appeared on Fox News (“Tucker Carlson Tonight”) to defend a  Black Lives Matter event in which only black people were invited has been fired by  Anthony E. Monroe, new president of Essex County College (two-year institution) in Newark, New Jersey.  Monroe said in a statement that “racism cannot be fought with more racism.” He also said that while the college supports free speech, it “must always work in the service of our student body.”

It was announced Friday that Lisa Durden, a former adjunct professor at Essex County College in New Jersey, would be let go from her job following a heated argument on the June 6 episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight. While speaking about an “all-black Memorial Day celebration” hosted by a Black Lives Matter group, Durden, who is black, told the host “you white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card” to attend the event.  Black Lives Matter group in New York holds an “exclusively black” Memorial Day party… and asks all other races to stay away. pic.twitter.com/M24KFpXzPw  The former professor, who taught communications and pop culture classes as an adjunct according to the Newark Star-Ledger, also called America a “racist society.”

Durden, who did not mention the school she worked for during the interview, told NJ.com that she was abruptly suspended following her appearance on the show, only learning that she had to cancel her classes when she arrived on campus on June 8 to teach one.  Munroe said the school suspended her with pay for six working days and fired her after a public meeting at which Durden addressed the school’s board on June 20.

Sunday, June 25 (Day 157):

CNN sends out internal memo to stop “fake news reporting” after Breitbart News challenges Russian collusion story of President Trump associate

CNN president Jeff Zucker is now engaged in a “fake news scandal” linking President Trump with Russia in a news story allegedly planted by staff members of either Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and/or Kamala Harris (D-CA) and retracted from CNN after pressed by Breitbart News.  CNN’s Friday story—now deleted—claims that the U.S. Senate was investigating an associate of President Donald Trump—now identified as Anthony Scaramucci for alleged ties to Russia.

BuzzFeed’s Deputy News Director Jon Passantino tweeted a screenshot of a leaked internal memo to CNN staff instructing that all future Russia-related stories must be cleared by CNN Money Executive Editor Rich Barbieri or by Vice President of Premium Content Video, Jason Farkas.

The email, which was sent at 11:21 AM on Saturday, reads, “No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas].” The Barbieri memo continues, “This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions. I will lay out a workflow Monday.”

Links to CNN’s Friday story have been disabled and the news organization has apologized to Scaramucci saying the story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards.

Breitbart News reports that the CNN article was based entirely on information gained from one “anonymous source” (now believed to be a Democratic Senator’s staff member) that said the Senate intelligence committee is investigating a Russian fund’s connection with Jared Kushner—the President’s son-in-law and the head of a prominent Russian bank, Vnesheconombank that oversees the Russian Direct Investment Fund.  The allegations have been proven to be “false” and “politically motivated” by Democrats.

(Editor’s Note:  On Monday, three journalists resigned after publication of the Russian-related article that was retracted:  Thomas Frank, who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, an editor; and Lex Haris, who oversaw CNN’s investigative unit.)

 

Harvard Poll: Two-Thirds say Russia investigations ‘hurting country’

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the FBI’s Russia investigations are “hurting the country” and a majority believe it is time for Congress and the establishment media to “move on to other issues” according to a Harvard University poll.

According to the Harvard-Harris poll, which The Hill obtained, 64 percent of “voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country” while another 56 percent “said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.”

In addition, the poll found that that 73 percent said “they’re concerned that the Russia probes have caused Congress to lose focus on the issues important to them. That figure encompasses 81 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats.”

While the voters have a keen interest in any Russian election interference, they are concerned that the investigations have become a distraction for the president and Congress that is hurting rather than helping the country,” the poll’s co-director Mark Penn reportedly said. “Most voters believe that the president’s actions don’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses, even if some of them were inappropriate.”

New York City’s Public Theater defends assassination of Trump look-alike in Julius Caesar play; actor who plays Brutus defends himself, production

The Public Theater defended its production acknowledging in a statement that the play had provoked “heated discussion” but that “such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”

Actor Corey Stoll who played Marcus Brutus defended himself and the New York City theatrical production explaining that performing the play in the wake of protests and criticism was itself a form of “resistance” in an essay for Vulture.

The character’s resemblance to the president sparked outrage when, as happens in the Shakespeare classic, the Trump-like Caesar is brutally stabbed to death by his associates in the Senate.  The controversy led two sponsors of the Public Theater, Delta Air Lines and Bank of America, to pull their funding, while hecklers interrupted the performance during its final few nights.

 

Monday, June 26 (Day 158):

Supreme Court says travel ban can go into effect; will review in fall

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that President Trump’s executive order can go into effect immediately (within 72 hours), including a 90-day ban on people entering the United States from six mostly-Muslim countries who do not have a relationship with a spouse, close relative, employer or enrollment in an American university.

“As President,  I can’t let people into country  who will do Americans harm,”   said

President Trump.   “The Supreme Court did the unthinkable,” said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposing the Supreme Court ruling.   “It has been our position from the very beginning that the President – the Commander-in-Chief – has both the constitutional and statutory authority to issue the Order,” said America Center for Law and Justice General Counsel Jay Sekulow who supported the Supreme Court opinion and now also serves as a lawyer for the White House. “President Trump acted lawfully and constitutionally with the intent to protect the national security of the United States.”

The ACLJ filed multiple amicus briefs – including at the Supreme Court – backing President Trump’s Executive Order designed “to enhance our national security. We are preparing to file a new amicus brief with the Supreme Court at the merits stage supporting the immigration order.”

The Supreme Court ruling allows a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States to go into effect.   All nine justices agreed in the 13-page decision to take up the case in the fall.  Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas wrote a three-page opinion saying they would have allowed Trump’s travel ban to take effect fully, without regard to a foreign national’s connection to the United States.

President Trump tweeted on Feb. 4:  “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions can come into U.S.?”  On Feb. 11, President Trump tweeted:  “Our legal system is broken.”

(Editor’s Note:  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday said the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate part of President Trump’s travel ban shows Trump was “right.” “First of all, it proves that the president in fact was right, despite all the news media attacks,” the Georgia Republican said on “Fox & Friends.” “Second, it puts real doubt once again on the 9th Circuit Court.”  Gingrich also said the 9th Circuit should be “profoundly overhauled.”  “It’s the most routinely overturned court in the United States. It is consistently wrong,” Gingrich said. “And I think that we ought to have a serious look at why is the 9th Circuit so bad and what should be done to fix it.”)

California travel ban may hurt sports teams

California’s travel ban was expanded (now at eight states) as state legislators choose to support gays and transgenders by outlawing travel of state employees.

On Thursday, California expanded its ban list to include four more states, adding Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota to go with Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

What is uncertain is how the travel ban will impact California’s sports teams?

Four of the eight sites for next year’s NCAA tournament first-round games are in the “banned” states–in Dallas, Nashville, Charlotte, and Wichita, Kansas. The next Final Four men’s basketball championship will be held in San Antonio in April 2018.

The ban does not apply to existing schedules already on the teams’ calendars, since agreements for games–especially in football–are signed years in advance.  To force these schools to back out of the games currently under contract would exposed them to massive buyouts and potential lawsuits that the already cash-strapped state institutions cannot afford.

California has five state schools that play Division I-FBS football (USC and Stanford are private schools and therefore not subject to the travel ban): UCLA, Cal, San Jose State, Fresno State, and San Diego State.

Supreme Court rules churches are eligible for some public funding

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that religious institutions should be eligible to receive public funds for purely secular purposes.   The justices ruled 7-2 that Missouri stretched the constitutional separation of church and state too far by declaring a Lutheran church (Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri) ineligible to receive a competitive state grant for playground resurfacing in a case dating back to 2012.

“The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand,” said Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the decision.

“The general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise—whether on the playground or anywhere else,” said Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The church-state showdown was perhaps the marquee case in this year’s Supreme Court term with Trinity Church represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.  The church had lost at the federal district and appellate court levels.

Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri: Source, SCOTUSblog

Tuesday, June 27 (Day 159):

Project Veritas uncovers CNN bias against President Trump “for ratings”

“Fake News: We start our American Pravda investigations inside American media with part one: CNN,” Project Veritas leader James O’Keefe says in a released undercover video Tuesday. “Our goal is to expose the real motivations behind the decision-making process at our dominant media corporations. Fake News. One story has monopolized President Trump’s time in office like no other, especially on CNN: Russia. In fact, since the Inauguration, CNN has mentioned Russia on their air nearly 16,000 times. So we sent our undercover reporters inside CNN to understand why and to determine if CNN even believes if the story is even real.”

A senior CNN producer, John Bonifield, was caught on camera by one of O’Keefe’s investigators admitting that the network’s relentless bashing of President Donald Trump with the Russia scandal lacks proof.

“Could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now,” the CNN producer, John Bonifield, said in a video O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released Tuesday, when asked about his thoughts on the Russia investigation. “Like, we don’t have any giant proof. Then they say, well there’s still an investigation going on. And you’re like, yeah, I don’t know. If they were finding something we would know about it. The way these leaks happen, they would leak it. They’d leak. If it was something really good, it would leak…. The leaks keep leaking and there’s so many great leaks, and it’s amazing. I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that that wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks. So, I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.”

Bonifield is shown on camera saying the reason CNN leadership and management is so focused on the Russia scandal despite the lack of real proof is “because it’s ratings.  Our ratings are incredible right now,” the video from Project Veritas shows Bonifield saying.

Bonifield is also seen saying in the video that CNN treats President Trump much differently than CNN treated now former President Barack Obama when he was in office. “I think there’s a lot of liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized,” the CNN producer is seen saying in the video. “And I think if we would have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we apply to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. I think they would have felt like we were attacking him. And I’m not saying all of our viewers are super liberals, I think there’s just a lot of them.”  He adds that: “Trump is good for business right now.”

Zucker, the CNN president, is currently leading an internal investigation into the fake news hit piece that CNN published Thursday night then retracted late Friday after a Breitbart News investigation.   In narration over the video, O’Keefe notes that “Bonifield has worked for CNN as a journalist and producer for nearly 15 years.”  “He not only gave us a tour of CNN’s main newsroom, he gave us a window into the editorial bias and anti-Trump agenda of the organization,” O’Keefe says.

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas is billing this video as part one of a multi-part investigation into what they call: “American Pravda.”

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the White House Press Corps on Tuesday that CNN was “a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.”

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump blasted CNN on Twitter, along with other mainstream media networks. He also retweeted a parody of the CNN logo that recast the channel as “FNN” — “Fake News Network”:  Wow, CNN had to retract big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!” — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017

One day earlier, President Trump tweeted:  “Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017  “So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017

 “Rise of the Rest” seven-city, five-state tour seeks tech start-ups

The “Rise of the Rest” fall tour is promoting a three-year-old nationwide initiative to support and promote start-up tech entrepreneurs not based in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Seattle.

USA Today reports that despite first class research universities and a wealth of Fortune 500 companies, the heartland of America reaps only three percent of this nation’s venture capital.

“Last year, the National Venture Capital Association said that 75 percent of venture capital went to just three states:  California, New York and Massachusetts,” said AOL co-founder Steve Case (also co-founder of the Washington, D.C. based venture capital firm, Revolution LLC).  

“Rise of the Rest” is really not an anti-Silicon Valley thing, it’s a pro the rest of the country thing,” Case said.   “There are a lot of great entrepreneurs who are also building change-the-world-companies in other places that just don’t get the attention and don’t get the capital, so we are trying to address that.”

The seven-city, five-state tour starts in Pennsylvania on Oct. 10 and winds its way through Michigan, Indiana and Ohio before wrapping up in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Oct. 17.

Koch donors say President Trump is “best hope for change”

A three-day Koch brothers (Charles G. and David H.) conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado was attended by 400 donors who gave more than $100,000 apiece as well as 18 elected officials.

Two Koch donors speaking about President Donald J. Trump told USA Today:  “God gave us one more chance by allowing him (Trump) to be in office,” said Al Hartman while according to Chris Wright, “We have maybe 10 months, a rare opportunity in at least a decade, to shrink the influence of the government in the economy.”

Doug Deason, said he and about “8-10” other political contributors have opted to ignore contribution requests from Senate Republicans until the Senate moves to pass a tax overhaul and fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obama healthcare).

Koch Industries convenes conferences periodically that bring together some of America’s greatest philanthropists and most successful business leaders whose companies have created millions of jobs. Attendees discuss solutions: to the most pressing issues and strategies; to promote policies that will help grow the economy; foster free enterprise; and create American jobs. These conferences have been held since 2003 and hundreds of people have attended them.

Koch Industries, is the second-largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion). The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy crude oil into gasoline.  The American chemical engineer and entrepreneur was one of the founding members of the John Birch Society.

Charles G. Koch (a son) wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal (April 2, 2014) where he said:  “I’m fighting to restore a free society.”  Koch stated:   “I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.”

Senate to postpone vote on Obamacare repeal till after July 4 holiday

The White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told colleagues at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that they would not vote on the healthcare bill this week, as they try to save legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare.  He delivered the news without a trace of drama, according to people in the room. “Mitch is the most even-keel person,” said one Republican senator.  The GOP leader also showed no frustration or impatience with rebels who threatened to vote against a procedural motion to begin debate on healthcare as he outlined a plan for new discussions.  At the same time, McConnell emphasized that the talks cannot drag on endlessly and urged fellow senators to negotiate in good faith and be willing to give ground.

Vice President Mike Pence showed the lawmakers a video of himself meeting with a group of citizens seated around a table talking about the hardships created by ObamaCare and the need to reform it, according to two sources in the meeting.

There is skepticism, even within McConnell’s leadership team, that a Senate ObamaCare repeal bill can win the votes of 50 Republican senators, which would be the bare minimum for passage, allowing Pence to break a tie.  McConnell has had 30 meetings with colleagues to discuss healthcare reform since May 2, and there are doubts over how much new ground there is left to plow. Every concession to a conservative Republican risks losing a centrist and vice versa.

McConnell made it clear after the White House meeting with President Trump, however, that he does not want to work with Democrats on healthcare legislation. He believes this would give too much power to the minority and lead to a bill that conservatives could not support.

Wednesday, June 28 (Day 160):

President considering Camp David Middle East Summit

President Donald Trump is considering a Camp David-style summit in an effort to resolve tensions between U.S. allies in the Arab world. Trump also intends to use the summit to renew his call for the Arab world to confront the “crisis of Islamic extremism,” Fox News reported.  Saudi Arabia, Egypt and five other Muslim countries that have cut ties with Qatar would be in attendance, the report said.

The White House has looked into holding a summit similar to the one held at Camp David in 1978, which led to the signing of a peace accord between Israel and Egypt the following year. “It’s a Camp David moment. We’ve seen nothing like this in 40 years, and now the president wants to follow through,” a senior White House official told Fox News.

According to the Fox News report, “The president now wants to bring all the key players to Washington,” the official said. “They need to disavow groups like the [Muslim] Brotherhood for the stability of the Middle East at large. It’s not just about Qatari elements funding the Brotherhood but disavowing support for extremism in general.”

“It’s a choice between two futures and its a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists,” President Trump told the leaders of 55 Muslim nations in his now famous address.  “Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth,” Trump said.

President Trump releases immigration data report from Homeland Security

President Donald Trump has released the Department of Homeland Security first quarterly report on immigration data.  Breitbart News has released five important facts from this report which are listed below (but aggregated by Citizens Journal to reflect a year of data):

One-in-Four: One new immigrant for every four Americans who turn 18 every month, quarter and year.   Almost 100,000 legal immigrants got green cards every month or 1.1 million a year.  The nation is getting roughly one new green-card foreigner for every four of the four million American babies born during the past year, or one immigrant for every four Americans who turned 18.

One-in-five: One temporary foreign worker for every five new American workers. That’s basically 70,000 temporary workers per month, or 800,000 per year.

Two-for-Four: Two foreign workers for every four Americans who enter the workforce each month, each quarter and each year. Add the one-in-four inflow of legal immigrants (100,000 per month) and to the one-in-five inflow of temporary workers (70,000 per month), and Americans are seeing the arrival of roughly 170,000 new foreign workers per month. Approximately 150,000 new workers are imported each month to compete for jobs against the roughly 333,000 Americans who enter the workforce each month.

50 Percent: 50 percent of foreign temporary workers are white-collar professionals. Half of the arriving temporary workers are white-collar workers, not farm hands or blue-collar workers. Each month, the temporary worker inflows include 35,000 white-collar workers, 6,707 agricultural workers and roughly 25,000 blue-collar and mid-skill workers. That high proportion of white-collar professionals are because businesses save more money by importing low-wage, high-skill engineers, nurses, doctors, professors, accountants, and designers to take the place of many expensive American graduates and skilled technicians who are trying to pay off college debts, to buy houses, get married and raise families.

One-in-eight: One-in-eight legal immigrants have worked their way into the country — the rest were pulled in by relatives, regardless of education or health or age or productivity or ability to integrate into American society.

Only 150,000 of the 1.1 million new green card legal immigrants this past year were invited to the United States because of their work or skills. The unskilled legal immigrants included 750,000 sisters and brothers, or sons, daughters or parents of recent immigrants who got their green cards via so-called “chain immigration,” not via their skills or accomplishments. The remaining 180,000 arrivals consisted of refugees, asylum-seekers, miscellaneous and “diversity” people who were selected because they have no connection to the United States.

Despite their lack of skills, business is fine with this huge inflow of unskilled people. The inflow pressures blue-collar wages, and it also grows the consumer economy because poor people have to eat, drive, and find shelter just like everyone else. Moreover, federal, state and local government financial support for these imported consumers also converts middle-class taxes into an economic stimulus for retailers worth at least $56 billlion per year.

Overall, the American population is 313 million, plus roughly 11 million illegals. The U.S. workforce is roughly 152 million, plus roughly 8 million working illegal immigrants, but not counting several million “prime-age” American men and women who have dropped out of the workforce into poverty.

Many polls show that Americans do welcome immigrants but also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children.

This flood of foreign labor spikes profits and stock values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education.

 

Thursday, June 29 (Day 161):

House passes two bills cracking down on illegal immigration

The House approved two bills on Thursday cracking down on illegal immigration:  One would cut off some federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities; the other would impose tougher sentences on criminals who have entered the U.S. illegally multiple times (Kate’s Law).  

“For years, the lack of immigration enforcement and spread of sanctuary policies have cost too many lives,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the author of both bills.  The sanctuary city bill passed 228-195, while the sentencing bill passed 257-167.

Three Democrats defected from their party to support taking away grants from the sanctuary localities: Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Collin Peterson (Minn.). Seven Republicans voted against the bill: Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Peter King (N.Y.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).

House Democratic leaders encouraged members to oppose the bill to withhold funds from sanctuary cities, but didn’t apply as much pressure on “Kate’s Law,” which establishes higher penalties for criminals who have entered the country illegally. Twenty-four Democrats voted for “Kate’s Law.” Justin Amash (Mich.) was the only Republican to oppose it.

The sentencing legislation is named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by a man who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.

President Trump had invoked the shooting on the campaign trail to promote his immigration agenda, including at his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer when he accepted the party’s presidential nomination. The convention featured speeches from parents whose children were killed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

Three of first lady Melania Trump’s guests at the president’s address to Congress in February were people who had family members killed by undocumented immigrants.  During his address to Congress, Trump announced a new Homeland Security office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) to assist victims of crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally.

Kate’s law is popular. “Fifty-six percent (56%) of likely U.S. voters favor a five-year mandatory prison sentence for illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who return to America after being deported … just 27% oppose such legislation, while 18% are undecided,” said a 2015 poll by Rasmussen Reports. 

Trump and the GOP Senate leaders need to win eight Democratic votes because the GOP only holds 52 seats in the Senate. Democrats can block the legislation if they can stop the GOP from gathering 60 Senators’ votes to end debate and force a decisive up-or-down vote on the proposed law.  The potential targets for GOP political pressure include Angus King, Maine, Martin Heinrich, New Mexico, Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow, Michigan,  Chris Murphy Conneticut, Tom Carper, Delaware, Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island, Tim Kaine, Virginia, Maria Cantwell, Washington, and Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin.

Immigration-reform advocates are also pushing Americans to pressure Democrats and Republicans. Bob Dane, the executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, urged voters to pressure Democrats and Republicans for pro-American immigration policies.  “The most important thing [for voters] is to remind their lawmakers — and they need to do it now — that they support the president’s agenda … Call your lawmakers.  — Get involved in local [reform] groups, hold your lawmakers accountable for how much of the Trump agenda they have moved forward.”

President Trump called the two immigration bills “vital to public safety and national security” and said, “I’m calling on all lawmakers to put the safety of American families first. Let’s pass these bills through the House, through the Senate, and send them to my desk. I will give them the fastest approval, the fastest signature, that you have ever seen.”

Despite the House passage of the two bills on Thursday, Democrats are likely to present a roadblock in the Senate.  Republicans would need at least eight Democrats to break a filibuster on either of the measures. Senate Democrats successfully blocked similar bills in 2015 and 2016.   Law enforcement groups have expressed opposition to the proposal blocking federal grants to localities with sanctuary policies.

The bill includes a provision that ensures immigrants in the U.S. illegally who are charged with a serious crime are detained during their deportation proceedings.   It also requires that localities comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to detain suspects for extra time, since some jurisdictions currently don’t always cooperate. The extended detentions allow immigration enforcement authorities to pick up suspected criminal immigrants from local jails.

Three states refusing to honor election integrity commission request

State officials from Virginia, California, Kentucky and Virginia said Thursday that they will refuse a request for voter roll data from President Trump’s commission on election integrity.

Earlier Thursday, it was reported that the commission sent letters to all 50 states asking for voters’ names, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their voting history (party affiliations) dating back to 2006. 

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) responded to the request, saying “I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally” in the last election. 

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said she too wouldn’t offer up the information requested by the panel.  “The president created his election commission based on the false notion that “voter fraud” is a widespread issue – it is not,” Grimes said in a statement.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said he has “no intention” of fulfilling the request, defending the fairness of his state’s elections. He also blasted the commission in his statement, saying it was based on the “false notion” of widespread voter fraud in the November presidential election.  “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression,” McAuliffe said.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the vice chairman of the voter fraud panel who asked each state for its voter rolls.  President Trump signed an executive order in May establishing the commission, stating that the purpose of the group is to “promote fair and honest federal elections.”

21 states refuse to provide voter data to President’s election panel

(Editor’s Note:  By Friday, 21 states had refused to provide data to President Trump’s election panel after letters were sent to all 50 secretaries of state across the country requesting information about voters.  The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was formed by President Trump to investigate his claim that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.)

The letter, signed by commission vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), also sought felony convictions and the military status of voters.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said he won’t turn over any information to the panel, telling members of the voter fraud commission to, “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“In Ohio, we pride ourselves on being a state where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state. “Voter fraud happens, it’s rare and when it happens we hold people accountable. I believe that as the Commission does its work, it will find the same about our state.” 

Even a member of the Kobach commission said her state would not comply. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R), the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, announced in a statement that her state wouldn’t release certain information requested by Kobach. 

“Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach,” Lawson said. “Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is name, address and congressional district assignment.”

President Trump appointed another voter identification supporter, Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky, to the commission Thursday. Von Spakovsky, one of Kobach’s mentors, has long advocated for stricter voter access rules. 

The 21 states refusing or relunctant to provide voter data are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Republican Travis Allen enters California Governor’s race

Assemblyman Travis Allen

Last Thursday, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) officially became the sixth candidate — and second Republican — to announce his candidacy for California’s 2018 Democrat-heavy gubernatorial race.

“I’ve seen our taxes increased to be among the highest in the nation, I’ve seen crime increase in every major metropolitan area, and I’ve seen an expansion of the government bureaucracy at the expense of hard-working Californians and their businesses,” Allen says in a released political advertisement.

“I am running for Governor to make California once again the greatest state in the country, and a place where we all can live our lives, run a business, and raise a family,” Allen said in a press release announcing his gubernatorial bid.

“I am running to be the next Governor of California to take back our state for the forgotten ordinary citizens of California, who will no longer tolerate the squandering of our incredible natural abundance of people, economy, and resources by limousine liberals beholden to ravenous public sector union bosses and extremist environmentalists.

“The citizens of California are tired of being taken for granted, and will no longer accept the California Democrat Party’s hollow excuses for why the world’s sixth largest economy should have the nation’s highest poverty rate.”

Allen, who has served on California’s State Legislature for five years, is running against four Democrats: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom; former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; State Treasurer John Chiang; and Delaine Eastin, a former state superintendent of public instruction.  Democrat billionaire Tom Steyer is reportedly also considering entering the race.

John Cox, the only other Republican in the race is a Diego-based businessman.

Travis Allen is heading a ballot initiative that seeks the repeal of a 12-cent gas tax hike that was passed by the Democrat-controlled state legislature in April. He also vowed to help turn the Golden State away from its increasingly unfriendly business environment: “California residents and companies are fleeing our state by the thousands, and those that stay are beset on all sides with the nation’s highest taxes, crippling regulations, and ever more complex laws that benefit a select few.”

Allen was also largely responsible for the passing of an pro-Israel bill that targets the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement in California. The bill “bars companies that engage in discrimination against any sovereign state — including the Jewish state of Israel — from doing business with the Golden State.”  More recently, Allen led a successful effort to stop California from allowing communists to work in the state government.

Conservative UCLA Lecturer: “I Was Let Go for ‘Purely Political’ Reasons”

Attorney and former UCLA lecturer Keith Fink claims that he was let go from his position at the university for “purely political” reasons. “The decision was purely political,” Fink said. “By UCLA’s own metrics I had the highest ratings of any teacher in the entire department.”

Fink claimed that some in his department were upset over his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program. “Professor [Kerri] Johnson was livid that I went on Tucker Carlson’s show which is quite ironic given she is the head of a Communications Department,” Fink claimed, adding that he had heard about Johnson’s reaction from another colleague.

State House Speaker drops single-payer health care; gets death threats

California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) is receiving death threats for blocking a vote on a single-payer, government-run health care plan.  The bill, the Healthy California Act (SB 562), passed the California State Senate earlier this month. The bill has a price tag of $400 billion many times larger than the current state budget.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) urged California: “Please lead the country and pass the single-payer bill.” But Democrat Governor Jerry Brown was skeptical, wondering openly how the state would ever manage to afford to pay for it.

Rendon told the San Jose Mercury News that he felt threatened specifically because critics were accusing him of causing the death of people who, they claimed, would not have health care if it did not come from the new bill. “What’s really bothersome for me is to read some of the threats and some of the comments from people who really believe that this bill would have actually provided services. What’s disappointing is that those folks seem to have been sold a bill of goods.”

On Wednesday, protesters from the California Nurses Association flooded the State Capitol and displayed a banner reading “Inaction = Death,” according to the Los Angeles Times. They also held signs depicting the California state flag, with a knife in the back of the familiar bear. They accused Speaker Rendon of stabbing the bear in the back.  At the national level, Democrats have used similar language to protest Republicans’ effort to overhaul Obamacare, claiming the GOP is killing thousands of people.

 

Friday, June 30 (Day 162):

U.S. Senate debate on immigration bills impacts California sanctuary cities

Kathryn Steinle

House Republicans passed two major reforms Thursday targeting criminal aliens in so-called “sanctuary cities.” Both bills were inspired by crimes committed in California, and both will impact California more than any other state.

“Kate’s Law” — named for Kate Steinle. cut down in the prime of her life by an illegal alien with multiple felonies and deportations — increases the penalty for illegal aliens who attempt to return to the U.S. after being deported.

“No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” cuts off grant money to cities that enact polices prohibiting police from turning over dangerous criminal aliens to federal immigration authorities.

In a statement , President Donald Trump noted that the bills in the package were “named for slain Americans, whose parents I spent time with during the campaign.”

President Trump also condemned American cities that choose to act as sanctuaries for dangerous criminal aliens — which includes most major cities in California, as the state’s Democrats have made the entire state a sanctuary. “Sanctuary cities are releasing violent criminals, including members of the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang, back onto our streets every single day. Innocent Americans are suffering unthinkable violence as a result of these cities’ reckless actions,” Trump said.

According to a Berkeley IGS Poll conducted in March, sanctuary cities are not as popular in California as Democrat politicians think. The poll found that by a slim majority, Californians oppose cities and counties flouting federal law by refusing to cooperate with federal authorities.

 “The word ‘sanctuary’ calls to mind someplace safe, but too often for families and victims affected by illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities are anything but safe,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a  Fox News report.

“It is beyond my comprehension why federal state and local officials … would actively discourage or outright prevent law enforcement agencies from upholding the laws of the United States,” Kelly said.

Trump urged the House and the Senate to “to honor grieving American families,” including Californian Jamiel Shaw, Sr., whose 17-year old son, Jamiel, was shot dead a few doors down from the family home in South Central Los Angeles by a previously deported MS-13 gang member.

If the bills make it through the Senate intact, the President promises to sign them “quickly,” which will hasten a showdown with California.  At the moment, a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco has blocked the wholesale withholding of “federal funds” to “sanctuary cities” until a federal lawsuit makes its way through the courts. At stake are billions of dollars in federal grants and matching funds to the nation’s most populous state.

That has not deterred the president, who highlighted other cases Wednesday during a White House meeting with over a dozen families of people who had been victimized by criminal aliens.  “I promise you, it will be done quickly. You don’t have to wait the mandatory period. It will be very quick,” Trump promised.

CNN producer on new O’Keefe video:“Voters are ‘stupid’; Trump is ‘crazy’”

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe released a fourth secretly-recorded video early Friday morning that shows a CNN associate producer calling American voters “stupid as shit” and saying President Trump “just f–king crazy.”

In a video released overnight by O’Keefe on Twitter, a Project Veritas reporter asked CNN associate producer Jimmy Carr, who doesn’t appear to know he’s being recorded, if it “would be fair to question the intellect of the American voter. Oh no. They’re stupid as shit,” replied the CNN “New Day” associate producer.

Carr also spoke about President Trump, saying everyone inside network recognizes “he’s just f–king crazy.  On the inside, we all recognize he is a clown, that he is hilariously unqualified for this, he’s really bad at this and that he does not have America’s best interests,” said Carr.

“Here’s the deal, this is a man who’s not actually a Republican,” Carr continued. “He just adopted that because that was the party he thought he could win in. He doesn’t believe anything that these people believe. Ninety percent of us are on board with just the fact that he’s crazy,” he added.

According to Carr’s LinkedIn page, he appears to have been with CNN since 2013 as a production assistant and associate producer. 

O’Keefe, 32-years-old, released the video through his personal Twitter account; the video was also released by the official Project Veritas (founded in 2010) account.

On Wednesday, O’Keefe released a video of CNN contributor and “Messy Truth” host Van Jones calling the investigation into Trump and possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election “a nothing burger.” SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart News uncovers Associated Press fake news

A Breitbart News investigation has led to the correction by the Associated Press of the fake news it printed. The Associated Press invented an imaginary meeting between EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, and then alleged that some kind of impropriety happened as a result.

One week ago, CNN alleged that Anthony Scaramucci—the founder of SkyBridge Capital  and an associate and ally of President Donald Trump — held  “meetings”

with Russian investment fund leaders and was under investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee and Treasury Department as a result.  This was proven to be “fake news” by both Breitbart News and Project Veritas and led to the resignation of three top CNN officials.

Now the Associated Press  has alleged a meeting took place that never occurred.

Under the headline “EPA chief met with Dow CEO before deciding on pesticide ban,” the AP’s Michael Biesecker alleged that some super-secret covert meeting occurred between Pruitt and Liveris—and that “awful things” came as a result of that meeting. 

Biesecker wrote:  “The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

“Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9 for about a half hour at a Houston hotel. Both men were featured speakers at an energy industry conference.

“Twenty days later Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.”

“EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said Tuesday that Pruitt was ‘briefly introduced’ to Liveris at the conference.  The problem with Biesecker’s piece, which ran over the Associated Press is that Breitbart News has confirmed from both sides: No meeting ever occurred, despite one appearing on Pruitt’s schedule. Sure, both were at the conference and briefly shook hands when introduced, but they never had a “meeting” because of scheduling conflicts.

“Administrator Scott Pruitt did not meet privately with Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow,” Liz Bowman, the EPA’s spokeswoman, told Breitbart News. “The AP article is inaccurate and misleading. Despite multiple attempts to provide the Associated Press with the facts, this article has not been corrected.”

Dow Chemical’s director of public affairs also confirmed to Breitbart News that no such meeting ever occurred.  Rachelle Schikorra of Dow Chemical’s public affairs stated:  “I can confirm that a meeting between Andrew Liveris and Scott Pruitt never happened. The two were attending the same conference where an introductory meet-and-greet was scheduled with no topics specified. However that meeting never happened due to schedule conflicts. The two have never had a meeting and have never discussed any Dow products.”

The Associated Press originally refused to issue a correction despite knowing since at least Thursday that the piece was inaccurate.  They waited until late Friday to issue a correction on the original article.

A month ago the Associated Press terminated New Hampshire-based freelancer Melanie Plenda who had pledged allegiance via social media to the anti-Trump resistance in the days after the election, a violation of their own news standards.

LA City Council to consider renaming Rodeo Road after Barack Obama

A Los Angeles city councilman has proposed renaming a 3.4-mile segment of Rodeo Road, between Jefferson Boulevard and Arlington Avenue — already known as “President’s Row” — after former President Barack Obama.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson proposed the name addition. If it is approved by the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti, Obama’s name would be added to a succession of streets named for Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  Wesson reportedly first met Obama on Rodeo Road.

Obama Boulevard would not be the first place in California named after the nation’s 44th president.  In December, Breitbart News reported the City of Pasadena unveiled a sidewalk plaque outside the apartment Obama used to live in while attended Occidental College, before he transferred to Columbia University.

Several California schools have also been named after the 44th president. They include the Barack Obama Charter School in Compton (renamed after him in 2009), the Barack Obama Academy in Oakland (renamed after him in 2009), and the Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy in Los Angeles (built in 2010).

President Trump:  “Repeal Obamacare, replace later!”

“If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017

President Trump previously endorsed the Senate healthcare bill, otherwise known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).  However, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) later suggested repealing and replacing Obamacare in two separate bills, an idea that President Trump endorsed in his Friday Tweet.

Sen. Paul said his proposal would divide the bill in two, Republicans would push for an Obamacare repeal bill which would pass with conservative support and another spending bill which would entice Democrats to support the measure.

The Kentucky senator explained, “So what I’ve come up with, and I talked to the president yesterday about this, is what about dividing the bill in two? Do the repeal, which no Democrat will vote for. Repeal the taxes, repeal the regulations, and do a fix to Medicaid that helps to pay for everything. No Democrats will vote for anything good like that. But Democrats will always vote for spending. So the big government Republicans that want more spending, take the spending and put it in the bill that Democrats will vote for.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) concurred with Sen. Paul, arguing that Republicans should endorse a clean repeal of Obamacare. Sasse said in a letter to the White House, “On the current path it looks like Republicans will either fail to pass any meaningful bill at all, or will instead pass a bill that looks to prop up many of the crumbling Obama care structures.

“We must keep our word. Therefore, if on July 10 we don’t have agreement on a combined repeal and replace plan, we should immediately vote again on H.R. 3762, the December 2015 Obamacare repeal legislation that the Congress passed but President Obama vetoed,” Sasse added.

Senator Paul revealed in a tweet on Friday that he has spoken to both President Trump and Senate leadership about splitting the bill in two, and suggested that Republicans should keep their word to repeal and replace Obamacare.  “I have spoken to @realDonaldTrump & Senate leadership about this and agree. Let’s keep our word to repeal then work on replacing right away.”— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 30, 2017

 

 (Editor’s Note:  Mr. Hernandez is dedicating himself to advance the 13 spheres; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships.)

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email: [email protected].


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