Supreme Court Decisions/Retirement, ICE, California’s Gas Tax and Daylight Savings Time On Ballot |Look At News Daily  (June 23-29/Day 154-162) Week 23

By Michael Hernandez

 

June 23 (Saturday):  Day 154

President Trump approval rating going up

President Trump currently enjoys a higher approval rating than the embattled FBI and its disgraced former director, James Comey. According to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, Trump’s approval rating is 44 percent which is a point higher than the FBI’s favorability rating, and 16 points higher than Comey’s.  Trump’s Trump’s approval rating was at 44 percent (43.7 to be exact) on June 13.  Trump’s disapproval rating, however, has actually slipped a point in his favor, from 52 percent to 51 percent.

A YouGov poll released this week shows the FBI with an favorability rating of just 43 percent, a massive tumble of nine points since February. Those who view the FBI unfavorably climbed from just 29 percent in February to 35 percent today. That is a total shift of 15 points against the FBI.

The partisan breakdown of this poll, which was taken after the release of the Inspector General’s report shows that only 37 percent of Republicans view the FBI favorably, while a full 50 percent grade the FBI unfavorably. The FBI’s favorability rating is even lower with Independents, 33 percent, while 36 percent hold an unfavorable view.  Meanwhile, 62 percent of Democrats view the FBI favorably, while only 25 percent disagree.

 

June 24 (Sunday):  Day 155

California congressman wants protestors to harass Trump officials

Saturday on MSNBC, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) suggested people harassing, and protesting members of the administration of President Donald Trump at stores, restaurants, and gas stations was the new reality for the United States of America.  Waters was referencing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders being asked to leave a Red Hen restaurant in Virginia this weekend.

Waters said, “I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it’s wrong for what they’re doing on so many fronts. They tend to not want to confront this president or even leave, but they know what they’re doing is wrong. I want to tell you, these members of his cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest. They’re absolutely going to harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president, ‘No, I can’t hang with you.’ This is wrong. This is unconscionable. We can’t keep doing this to children.”

She added, “We’ve got to push back. We’ve got to say no. I, for example, have stepped way out there. I said  this man needs to be impeached. I know a lot of people think we’re not ready to say that. Some people have said a long time ago he would become presidential. He will never be presidential. This man does not have any good values. I believe he needs to be impeached. As a matter of fact, a long time before he’s doing what he’s doing now with these children. I think he had done enough to undermine this country and to have us understand we cannot trust him, that we should have come with an impeachment resolution. So, I believe we cannot wait until the next presidential election. We have to resist him. I want to see him impeached.”

California to vote on ending Daylight Saving Time in November

As of last week, both houses of the California legislature have now passed a bill that would allow voters to end Daylight Savings Time by referendum this November.

The bill, AB-807 will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for signature. Gov. Brown has until June 28 to sign the legislatively referred initiative that passed both the California Senate and Assembly by large bipartisan majorities and would give voters the choice to continue or dump Daylight Savings Time (DST), which has been a fixture of California life since the passage of Proposition 12 in 1949.

The referendum, to be called the California Daylight Saving Time Measure, would end the state’s practice each year of advancing time by one hour for a daylight saving time period commencing at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March of each year, and ending at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November of each year.

Many health and safety experts have a negative opinion of Daylight Savings Time. According to the “Fatal Accident Reporting System,” there is a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the shift, and fatal motor vehicle accidents remained elevated for the first six days after the clocks spring ahead. Medical studies indicate that DST’s time change may also increase he risk of stroke due to sleep disturbances.

Members of the California legislature tried to put a similar measure on the ballot in 2016, but there was opposition from business interests that were concerned about the competitiveness of putting California four hours behind the East Coast. Some residents also like the extra hour of summer daylight.

The first national “Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States” was first signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 as strategy to maximize productive sunlight working hours during World War I. But with the end of the war, Congress override Wilson’s veto to kill the wildly unpopular federal action. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted a year-round Daylight Savings “War Time” from 1942 to 1945, but Congress dumped the unpopular law at the end of World War II.

If placed on the ballot and passed by voters, California would join Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands as the only U.S. locations that do not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Florida Attorney General harassed at movie theater

Protesters confronted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a showing of a documentary about children’s TV host Fred Rogers, and they questioned the Republican’s stands on immigration and health care.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Bondi received a police escort Friday when several members of the left-wing group Organize Florida confronted her as she left a Tampa theater after seeing Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Mr. Rogers. The demonstrators questioned Florida joining a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and Bondi’s general support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Bondi protester Maria Jose Chapa claimed this was an impromptu demonstration after someone spotted the attorney general, who has a national following as a contributor on Fox News and as ally of President Trump. The video shows that as Bondi and her companion left the theater surrounded by officers, Chapa followed her, yelling.

“What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” Chapa hollered. Another person shouted at Bondi, “You’re a horrible person!” Onlookers stared as the procession moved past. Bondi told the paper in a phone interview Saturday that the demonstrators’ actions didn’t comport with the lessons taught by Mr. Rogers.

“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi said in an interview. “That’s what Mr. Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”

Bondi endorsed Donald Trump for president in May 2016, at a rally in Tampa, Florida. “We need someone who is unafraid to lead and restore America to its greatness,” Bondi said. “I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States of America.”

This is at least the third time a Republican official has been confronted at a public place in recent days over the president’s immigration policy that separated parents entering the country illegally at the Mexican border from their children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders left restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area after facing friction there.

 

June 25 (Monday):   Day 156

President Trump speaks up about Red Hen Restaurant incident

President Donald Trump trashed a restaurant in rural Virginia after the establishment’s owner refused to serve Sarah Sanders and her friends on Friday.

“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” Trump wrote on Twitter about the restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

Restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson personally traveled to her establishment on Friday to ask Sanders to leave after she and her husband and a group of friends arrived. “This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” Wilkinson said to the Washington Post afterwards.

Virginia lawmaker Ben Cline apologized to Sanders on Saturday on behalf of rural Virginia, denouncing Wilkinson as a “liberal New York transplant” and a cousin of leftist actress Meryl Streep.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee alleged Monday that the restaurant owner who refused service to his daughter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, actually ended up following Mrs. Sanders’ family to another restaurant and causing a “scene.”

“There’s a part of that story that hasn’t been told, “Once Sarah and her family left, and just went home, the rest of her family went across the street to a different restaurant.

“The owner of the Red Hen — then followed them across the street, called people, and organized a protest yelling and screaming at them from outside the other restaurant and creating this scene,” he said.

Ms. Wilkinson told The Washington Post that she and her staff made the decision to kick Mrs. Sanders out Friday night as a protest against the policies of the Trump administration. She said she asked Mrs. Sanders to step aside for a word in private and then told her to leave. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.”

Deep Blue State Department staff fighting Trump appointee

Career State Department staff are leaking to friends in the press and House Democrats to undermine a Trump appointee who is a staunch supporter of the president and his agenda, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Mari Stull was appointed in April as senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, a key bureau that oversees U.S. diplomatic relations with international organizations like the United Nations and the World Food Programme.

Recently, Foreign Policy published an attack on Stull, citing “nearly a dozen current and former U.S. officials,” who accused her of putting together a “loyalty list” of State Department employees and searching their social media accounts to see if they are loyal to the president.  The piece, in an apparent attempt to discredit her, called her a “former food and beverage lobbyist-turned-wine blogger under the name ‘Vino Vixen.’”

Shortly after the article published, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing the article and saying they were “alarmed” and that it matched “many reports” they have received alleging political attacks on career employees.

The Foreign Policy piece acknowledged that despite the accusations, “there’s no evidence that administration officials have purged American diplomats at the United Nations.” But, it added, “they do seem to be more interested than previous ones in the political sympathies of lower-ranking U.S. employees there.” And although Foreign Policy described Stull as a “wine blogger,” according to Heavy.com, Stull is a syndicated wine columnist, a correspondent for Wine Taste TV, and a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

She is also “an expert in global regulatory, trade, and market access issues,” according to a 2000 press release issued when she became director of international regulatory policy at Grocery Manufacturers of America, the world’s largest association of food, beverage, and consumer product companies.

She also worked for five years at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture as coordinator for Caribbean Agribusiness Development, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, and was also the founder and executive director of the Caribbean Agribusiness Association: Trinidad and Tobago.

Stull also served as acting director of Regulatory and Procedural Development at the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., U.S. Department of Agriculture, from 1992-1994. Stull speaks Spanish and French, and earned a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness from Arizona State University.

Stull contacted Heavy.com after it published its article to add that she also volunteers for the USO. She told the website the Foreign Policy piece was “factually inaccurate and the author even admits to no evidence.” “But, that doesn’t matter – it wasn’t supposed to be real news or factual. It’s a hit piece written in consort with leakers who want to malign this President and anyone associated with the Administration. And if they can destroy a woman’s reputation, so much the better,” she said.

Dozen “Angel” families meet in Oval Office with President

Angel mom Mary Ann Mendoza remains “inspired” by the son who was killed by an illegal alien drunk driver, overcoming tweets that accused angel parents of being paid to appear with President Donald Trump.

Mendoza was among more than a dozen “angel” families who joined President Trump at the White House on Monday for a private meeting in the Oval Office along with Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan.

Trump then brought the “angel” families before television cameras, reporters, and an auditorium full of federal immigration law enforcement officials to tell the stories of their loved ones killed by illegal aliens and how media and politicians have avoided bringing attention to them.

After the event some of the angel families were met with messages on social media that accused  them of being paid to appear with Trump. Mendoza stated that Twitter users have sent her derogatory, profanity-laden messages against her and her fallen police officer son, calling her a “nazi hater, a racist.” Her son was half Hispanic and his father’s family, who came to the United States legally, have given Mary Ann their support, “100 percent on this fight.”

“I speak the truth and the truth is my son is dead,” said Mary Ann. “And none of us angel families need to be paid to tell the truth…it’s important that the American public knows what’s happening behind the scenes and what mainstream media is trying to keep from you.”

Over 4,300 Americans are killed each year by illegal aliens, said Mendoza. She discussed volumes of crimes committed by illegal aliens including rape, assault, identity theft. “This is being kept from the public and it’s disgusting,” said Mendoza. “They choose to hate Trump that much that they will deny the truth.”

She spoke of the 10,000 of 12,000 minors that have arrived at the U.S. southern border with no parents. She pointed out the traffickers, the smugglers who use these children to get across the border, to distract agents from drug runs, and sometimes abuse them. 

“My son is my inspiration,” Mary Ann said of her police officer son Sgt. Brandon Mendoza of the Mesa, Arizona police department. He was 32 years old the day that he was killed by a drunk illegal alien who was high on methamphetamine and driving for miles the wrong way on a highway. “His dreams were shattered that day, as were mine,” she said.

“You have to go back to the origin of the problem,” said Mary Ann who brought up the anger being directed toward President Donald Trump. “The origin of the problem lies with the parents, the drug cartel, the human trafficker, the sex traffickers, and those are the people that this anger needs to be directed at, not at the people who are trying to protect citizens and uphold the laws of this country.

“He’s very genuine…he knows every one of us by our names, he knows our children’s names, he is a man concerned about his country,” Mendoza said of President Trump.

“I sent President [Barack] Obama two letters with no response,” she recalled. She went to Washington, DC to support the family of Kate Steinle, a young woman killed by an illegal alien. The family was testifying before Congress. Mary Ann said President Obama knew that they were in town and instead of having them to the White House, he chose during that time to host illegal alien college students and teachers at the White House. “This was very appalling to me that we had a sitting president who had more concern and care for people other than the citizens of the country he was president of,” said Mary Ann.

 

June 26 (Tuesday):  Day 157

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of President Trump immigration

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Trump and his immigration policy across the board in a 5-4 decision on Tuesday, holding that the permanent entry restrictions from various terror-prone nations codified in Presidential Proclamation 9645 is fully consistent with Congress’s Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority that admission and exclusion of foreign nationals is a “fundamental sovereign attribute exercised by the Government’s political departments largely immune from judicial control,” quoting from an earlier case, and that the president has extraordinarily broad discretion under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) to exclude aliens when he believes doing so is in the nation’s interests.

President Trump’s policy is permitted by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, because Presidential Proclamation 9645 provides a religion-neutral explanation for the policy that is facially legitimate, rejecting plaintiffs’ arguments that the policy advanced an impermissible religious purpose.

California Resistance protest Sessions; call Trump a “Nazi”

Police arrested 25 demonstrators protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies ahead of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ scheduled visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s protest outside the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles comes hours before Sessions addressed the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation’s annual meeting. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and several other pro-open-border groups, led the protests through the city’s downtown core, before arriving at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Days after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) urged left-wing activists to harass officials in President Donald Trump’s administration at restaurants and department stores, Southern California Resistance leaders protested Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he addressed the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles.

Amnesty activists like CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights), labor groups like SEIU, and Resistance and Indivisible groups organized demonstrations to protest the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy at the border.

Hollywood luminaries called Trump a Nazi over his “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy and Waters on Saturday urged left-wing agitators to harass Trump administration officials. “If you think we’re rallying now you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Waters said over the weekend. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Hollywood producer Judd Apatow also blasted Trump as a “Nazi” while other actresses like Mira Sorvino made “pre-Nazi Germany” analogies over the weekend. “He’s a Nazi. He wants no judicial process. He kidnapped children and commits acts of violence for political gain and to support his racist views,” Apatow tweeted. “He admires violent dictators. Trump is a Nazi. The debate is over. Soon we will have proof he is a Nazi supported by the Russians.”

Supreme Court rules for California pro-life crisis pregnancy centers

(Editor’s Note:  The case is National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, No. 16–1140.)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-4 in favor of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in California, holding, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, that a California law forcing them to post information on where to obtain abortions “likely violates the First Amendment.”

Thomas’s opinion rejected the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s holding that these types of notices, required in the context of state licensing, were a separate category of “professional speech” that did not receive the full measure of the First Amendment’s free speech protections. The ruling also prohibits California from forcing crisis pregnancy centers that are not licensed medical facilities to read clients a script that they are not licensed.

“This Court has not recognized “professional speech” as a separate category of speech. Speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by “professionals,” Justice Thomas wrote in his opinion.

The law in question, California’s Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act) was passed in 2011 and the record indicates it was written specifically to burden pro-life centers that the California legislature was displeased existed: “Unfortunately,” the author of the FACT Act stated, “there are nearly 200 licensed and unlicensed” crisis pregnancy centers in California. … These centers “aim to discourage and prevent women from seeking abortions.”

If the pro-life centers were licensed clinics, as many were, they had to post and distribute to all women who sought services like ultrasounds, the following message:  “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”

Unlicensed facilities, meanwhile, had to post the following: “This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”

Businesses can be required by law to say or post certain information relating to their trade, when, as a leading case put it, the information is “purely factual and uncontroversial.” But the Court on Tuesday refused to place these statements under this less-protected category of “commercial speech,” ruling, “The notice in no way relates to the services that licensed clinics provide. Instead, it requires these clinics to disclose information about state-sponsored services—including abortion, anything but an ‘uncontroversial’ topic.”

The Court also rejected the idea that these notice requirements were protected as part of the typical state regulation of the practice of medicine, like requiring consent forms.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), a group that represents the pro-life clinics and centers in question, brought suit to overturn the law after pro-abortion groups ran “undercover investigations” to ensure compliance with the notice requirements.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the named defendant in the case, stood by his state’s law in spite of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions,” said Michael Farris of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who represented NIFLA at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. “In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.”

The ADF is the same pro-religious freedom public interest law firm who secure victory for a Coloradan Christian baker who refused to bake a cake celebrating a marriage between two men in the landmark Masterpiece Cakeshop case this month.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also offered his thoughts in support of the plaintiff pro-life group. “We are pleased that today’s decision protects Americans’ freedom of speech,” he said in a statement, continuing:  “Speakers should not be forced by their government to promote a message with which they disagree, and pro-life pregnancy centers in California should not be forced to advertise abortion and undermine the very reason they exist.  This Department will continue to vigorously defend the freedom of all Americans to speak peacefully in accord with their deeply held beliefs and conscience.”

“California lawmakers, through this law that has now been struck down, attempted to override the First Amendment, forcing private entities to speak messages against their beliefs, and punishing them if don’t comply,” said Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, another Christian non-profit who had supported NIFLA’s suit. “That this could happen in America, should be of grave concern to all Americans, regardless of their views on abortion.”

 

June 27 (Wednesday):  Day 158

Supreme Court:  Public Sector workers do not need to join unions

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in favor of Mark Janus in his case v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), that unionized public sector workers do not have to join, or pay agency fees, to unions. This ruling has significant implications for many public school teachers from faith backgrounds who have long struggled with the legal requirement to support unions that often contribute money to causes to which they object.

Public unions need to find another way to replace union money which will drop as employees are no longer forced to be union members.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire

President Trump on Wednesday graciously celebrated the news that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring and announced his intentions to nominate a Constitutional originalist to replace Justice Kennedy before the midterm elections. “We have a very excellent list of great, talented, highly educated, highly intelligent, hopefully, tremendous people. I think the list is very outstanding,” Trump said, referencing a list of 25 potential candidates to replace the longtime Justice.

President Trump on Wednesday said that Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court because he knew Trump would pick the right replacement to “carry on his great legacy.”  “I’m very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office,” Trump said during a rally in Fargo, N.D. “Because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy. That’s why he did it.”

Trump added that his nominee to fill the Supreme Court’s vacancy will be on the bench for 40 to 45 years. Kennedy served 30 years on the high court. “Remember this, so we have a pick to come up, we have to pick a great one,” Trump said. “We have to pick one that’s going to be there for 40 years, 45 years. We need intellect, we need so many things.”  

Shortly after Kennedy announced he would retire from the Supreme Court this summer, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the Senate would vote on a nominee to replace him this fall.  But several Democratic lawmakers accused McConnell of being a hypocrite considering that the GOP leader blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016 because it was an election year. Many urged him to wait until after the midterm elections to hold hearings on a new nominee. 

Trump said earlier Wednesday that he’d choose a nominee from a short list of 25 previously announced candidates.    He hopes to name a new Chief Justice by July 9th.

Repeal the Gas Tax initiative on November California ballot

California’s Secretary of State officially placed the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s “Repeal the Gas Tax” initiative on the November statewide ballot Monday.

Howard Jarvis spokesman David Wolfe cheered what he referred to as an opportunity for Californians to vote on the appropriateness of the legislature passing one of the most “regressive” tax increases in California’s history.

Officially titled the “The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017,” Senate Bill 1 raised the tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon and 20 cents per gallon for diesel. It also raised vehicle registration fees this year by $25, to $175 (depending on the value of the vehicle), and imposed a $100 registration fee for zero-emission vehicles, which will go into effect in 2020.

The car tax is “regressive,” in that it hurts lower-income families most. The owner who drives 25,000 miles a year in a car valued at $15,000 that gets 27 miles to the gallon initially saw his or her monthly taxes increase by just $3.94. But when fully implemented, the monthly tax increase will jump to $17.19 a month, or $206.28 per year.

Gov. Jerry Brown told the San Jose Mercury News that because California has a $67 billion backlog in highway, bridge and road repairs, he will do everything in his power to defeat the gas tax repeal initiative.

In a “taxes are good” campaign, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association is warning that repealing SB 1 could cost California 68,203 jobs and reduce $18.3 billion of annual economic activity and benefits for business and residents.

David Wolfe commented that the Howard Jarvis organization, whose membership contribution is only $15 a year, fully expects opponents to outspend supporters of the gas tax repeal. But the HJTA points to the mid-May USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll that revealed California’s “likely voters” opposed the gas tax hike by a margin of 51 to 38 percent.

The SB 1 website promises that $5.4 billion of new gas and registration “revenues” will “rebuild California.” But over one third of the California Transportation Commission’s initial $2.7 billion gas tax spending awards are pledged to fund high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, bicycle paths, and light rail projects.

Freshman Democrat State Senator Josh Newman, who voted for the tax hike, was recalled. California Democrats also lost their two-thirds “supermajority” to pass tax and fee increases without any Republican votes.

 

June 28 (Thursday):  Day 159

Democrats and Republicans differ in choosing representatives

The Democratic Party’s activists are picking candidates based on their racial, sexual, and cultural tribes instead of their ideology, the Washington Post admits. In a June 26 New York primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, by appealing to voters’ “tribal identities of class, age, gender and ethnicity,” not their ideology, said the Post‘s article.

The article is headlined “The worst thing to be in many Democratic primaries? A white male candidate… Democratic voters are increasingly embracing diversity as a way to realize the change they seek in the country. Given an option, Democratic voters have been picking women, racial minorities, and gay men and lesbians in races around the country at historic rates, often at the expense of the white male candidates who in past years typified the party’s offerings.

The “tribal trend,” said the Post, is driven by “the party’s growing dependence on female and minority voters,” and it has sidelined the expected ideological disputes between left and far-left candidates.”

The paper notes the very different divides in the GOP, where rival candidates champion and compromise rival ideological viewpoints, largely independent of their personal stories, race, sex, origin or lineage. Unlike tribal Democrats who organize themselves into semi-fixed identity groups, the conservative GOP values the classical intellectual ideals built into the U.S. Constitution, and which aspires to help all people compromise on their voluntary political differences, regardless of color, sex, creed or tribe.

The Post article does not clearly define “diversity,” even though it uses the term four times. For example, it says “Democrats generally place a far higher value on racial, ethnic and national diversity than Republicans.”

U.S. conservatives oppose the centralized variety of “diversity” and the grass-roots variety of semi-fixed tribalism. Conservatives instead favor a small-government ideal which allows a shifting mix of personal freedoms and voluntary affiliations. They expect people — regardless of race, class, sex or birthplace — to organize themselves and their ideas to meet their own needs, be it a local soccer league or a new political party, a pool party for youths or safe suburbia for families, or high-tech development and low-tech welfare.

Iranians enter fourth day of protesting economy

Iranians entered the fourth day of protests on Wednesday after the rial hit a record low of 90,000 rials to one U.S. dollar on Sunday. Chants calling for the death of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly filled Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, the center of commerce.

Khamenei has battled cancer and — despite several health scares, including rumors that he had passed — the 78-year-old Shi’ite leader appears to be in relatively good condition and stable health.

The widespread protests are a response to the rial sinking to a record low. The government has largely disregarded this. The Jerusalem Post reported that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused foreign media, including Reuters, of spreading “false” stories about the Iranian economy after the protesters honed in on Iran’s deep involvement in Syria.

Over 40 percent of Iran’s population is unemployed. As Iranians struggle to put food on the table, Iran’s regime continues to spend billions of dollars in financial aid on Palestinian terror groups Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militias in Iraq, and in a civilian casualties-laden civil war in Syria where they are tightening the reigns in their support for support for President Bashar al-Assad.

On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States for waging an “economic war” against Iran. In a Wednesday statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated  that “it should surprise no one that protests continue in Iran. The Iranian people are demanding their leaders share the country’s wealth and respond to their legitimate needs.” Pompeo noted that instead of serving the basic needs of everyday Iranians, “the Iranian government is squandering its citizens’ resources, whether its adventurism in Syria, its support for Hizbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, or its ambitions for wastefully expanding its nuclear program, it will only add to the suffering of the people of Iran.”

Iranian Mullahs

June 29 (Friday):  Day 160

Secretary of State to travel to North Korea next week for third visit

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his third visit to North Korea next week to continue ongoing negotiations over the regime’s plans to denuclearize, according to a report from the Financial Times on Thursday. According to four officials who spoke with the Times, Pompeo canceled a meeting with the Indian foreign minister to travel to Pyongyang to hold talks with senior North Korean officials following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore this month.

The trip would be Pompeo’s third to North Korea, where he has sought to lay the groundwork for diplomatic relations that will lead to the country giving up its nuclear weapons. Pompeo’s first visit to Pyongyang was in April, before making a follow-up visit in May.

On his second visit, Pompeo confirmed that the U.S “will not relieve economic sanctions on the regime until such time as we achieved our objectives.” In May, Pompeo also dined with Kim Yong-chol, a U.S. Treasury-sanctioned “Specially Designated Person.” The two, and several other North Korean officials. Kim later met with Donald Trump and other administration officials at the White House.

This month, Pompeo outlined what the U.S. will expect from any peace agreement, stating that the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.”

On Sunday, Pompeo said in an interview with CNN that he would not put an exact timetable on any agreement but that negotiations continued to move forward. “I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” he said, adding that he would “constantly reassess” the U.S’s negotiation position.

Pompeo is also understood to be a key player in Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un, having personally prepared Trump for the meeting. Most analysts believe the meeting was successful. The two leaders agreed to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the population of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.” The joint statement also declared that the two countries “will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” while the North assured that it will “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Barack Obama:  “Enough moping”

Former President Barack Obama told donors at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser in Beverly Hills on Thursday that he has had enough with their “moping” over President Donald Trump’s victory — and he wants them to focus on winning Congress back from the Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. “Enough moping, this is a mope-free zone,” Obama said during his 45-minute appearance. “This is a moment of great urgency and you are right to be concerned.”

The fundraiser, held at the home of Democratic donors Allan Mutchnik and his wife, Nicole, was the first one Obama has done for the DNC in 2018.  Tickets reportedly started at $2,700 and included a musical performance by Christina Aguilera, who also performed at a fundraiser for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former president has  focused his efforts on a book he is writing, on planning his presidential library in Chicago and on his non-profit, the Obama Foundation.

 

20 Silicon Valley venture capital firms have “close ties” to China

Over 20 Silicon Valley venture capital firms have “close ties” to the Chinese government, according to a report. Reuters claimed on Friday that “interviews with venture capital sources and publicly available information” led to the statistic.

“While the U.S. government is taking an increasingly hard line against Chinese acquisitions of U.S. public companies, investments in startups, even by state-backed entities, have been largely untouched,” Reuters reported. “That may well be poised to change as the U.S. Congress finalizes legislation that dramatically expands the government’s power to block foreign investment in U.S. companies, including venture investments.”

This week, President Trump announced his intention to protect U.S. tech companies from foreign countries who copy their products. “We want to have our jewels. Those are our great jewels,” President Trump declared. “We have to protect these companies, we can’t let people steal this technology. We have the greatest technology in the world, people copy it and they steal it,” he continued. “We have the great scientists we have the great brains as we have to protect that.”

 

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 24 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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