Washington Free Beacon
A delegation of leading senators are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to cancel Congress's summer break if "meaningful progress" is not made on several pressing legislative issues, including health care reform, funding the federal government, and fixing the U.S. tax code, according to a letter.
The senators, all Republicans, warn that Congress has only 33 working days remaining in the fiscal year to deal with a range of pressing issues.
"This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention," write the senators, including David Perdue (R., Ga.), Mike Lee (R., Utah), Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), and several others. "Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work."
The senators want to make progress on at least five pressing legislative issues.
A 22-year-old Muslim woman was arrested in Iowa after she was caught by security cameras setting fire to her own mosque.
From The Des Moines Register:Police in Iowa arrested a 22-year-old woman suspected of starting a small fire at an Iowa mosque Thursday morning.
Des Moines firefighters and police were called to the Islamic Center of Des Moines about 10 a.m. There had been a small fire on the carpet, according to a Des Moines police report.
...Security cameras in the mosque showed a woman, later identified as Aisha Ismail, pouring lighter fluid on the carpet and then starting the fire, said Des Moines police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek. Ismail was not on scene when police and firefighters arrived, according to the report.
Police comically said her motive was "unclear":
Alexandria gunman James Hodgkinson was reportedly carrying a hit list with the names of several Republican congressman, all of whom were members of the House Freedom Caucus.
The Daily Caller reports:The news that the shooter had a list of names suggests the shooting was not a random outburst, but instead appears to be a premeditated political assassination.
The list was written out on notepad paper and found in the shooter’s pocket, according to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the investigation. The list of names included Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, TheDC has confirmed. Fox News reported after this story that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith are also on the list. All six congressmen are members of the House Freedom Caucus, which contains the lower chamber’s most conservative members.
The FBI has contacted the congressmen to inform them of their inclusion on the list. Rep. Franks confirmed to Fox News that law enforcement officials have told him he is on the list.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Thursday morning on Fox and Friends the climate in America is so heated that if she were "shot and killed tomorrow, half of Twitter would explode in applause."
"I went back and looked at exactly what was being discussed on all the TV shows, except yours, at 7:09 a.m. on Wednesday when this happened and it's a really curious exercise," Conway said. "Because as Steve Scalise was fighting for his life and crawling into right field in a trail of blood, you should go back and see what people were saying about the president and the Republicans at that very moment."
"Of course, they had to break in with the news of this tragedy and since then there's been some introspection — some quieter, more muted voices toning down the rhetoric. But look at Twitter. If I were shot and killed tomorrow, half of Twitter would explode in applause and excitement," she said.
"This is the world we live in now. It's terrible because, again, it's one thing to say I disagree with you on health care repeal, or on taxes, or on your plan for national security. But you can't attack people personally in a way and think that tragedies like this won't happen."
Of course, she's absolutely right the left would celebrate her murder. SNL had her thrown out of a window in a sick, unfunny propaganda piece which leftists hailed as hilarious.
On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Wednesday, host Mark Levin questioned the necessity of the Comey testimony and compared Democrats to the media, saying, “You can’t tell the Democrats apart from the media and vice versa.”
“So the intelligence officials all deny facing pressure on their probes,” said Levin. All of them.”
“Look how far the Democrats have gotten with absolutely nothing,” Levin stated later in the program. “And look at the media in this country. You can’t tell the Democrats apart from the media and vice versa.”
Levin’s comments come after former FBI Director James Comey’s opening statement to the Senate intelligence committee was released on Wednesday leading up to today’s hearing.
Below is part of the transcript from Levin’s show on June 7, 2017:
Theresa May has warned in the aftermath of the London atrocity of how “terrorism breeds terrorism” with violent extremists carrying out copycat attacks “often using the crudest means” to maim and murder.
The rise of such attacks, with Islamists emulating previous acts of terror, is a matter of deep concern, say security sources, with difficulties in uncovering plots by small groups who may not have links with established jihadi networks, and thus may have escaped scrutiny.
The weapons used in the London attack, killing seven people and injuring 48 others – 21 critically – were knives and a hired van, echoing the Westminster attacker Khalid Masood who killed five people using knives and a hired car; Anas Amri who killed 12 people in Berlin using a hired truck; and Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who killed 86 in Nice using a hired truck.
Meanwhile, on a day of dramatic developments:Isis claimed responsibility for the attacksFirst two of seven fatalities identified as one Canadian citizen, Christine Archibald, and one French citizenTheresa May calls for crackdown on “safe spaces for extremists” online Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May 'you cannot protect public on the cheap'Police say member of the public shot in crossfire as officers fired 50 bullets
The three London attackers wore fake suicide vests. It remains unclear why this was done; one theory is that they may have believed that police, wary of the devices being detonated, would keep their distance. In the event eight armed officers shot them dead using 50 rounds.
The Senate Intelligence Committee said ousted FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in an open session.
The committee said in a late Friday statement that it plans to schedule the hearing for after Memorial Day.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election and any possible links between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the committee, said he hopes that Comey's testimony "will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media."
Sen. Mark Warner, vice chairman of the committee, said he expects the former FBI director to "shed light on issues critical" to the committee's investigation. The Virginia Democrat also said he hopes that Comey will answer some of the questions following his sudden dismissal.
Sources tell CBS2 Huma Abedin‘s attorneys are filing her divorce papers Friday afternoon in Lower Manhattan after her estranged husband, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, pleaded guilty to charges in a sexting investigation.
Weiner admitted in court that he transferred obscene material to a minor. It’s a federal offense that will force him to register as a sex offender, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Weiner has been under investigation by the feds since last fall when reports surfaced he was exchanging sexually explicit messages for months with a then-high school sophomore that Weiner reportedly knew was under age.
MORE: The Rise And Fall Of Anthony Weiner
The case had more far-reaching consequences, helping to upend Hillary Clinton‘s presidential bid.
A major new study out of Harvard University has revealed the true extent of the mainstream media’s bias against Donald Trump.
They found that the tone of some outlets was negative in as many as 98% of reports, significantly more hostile than the first 100 days of the three previous administrations:
The academics based their study on seven US outlets and three European ones.
In America they analyzed CNN, NBC, CBS, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
OPEC may get its members to agree to continue to tamp down oil production, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory.
The biggest threat to the 13-member group’s dominance has been U.S. shale.
In November 2014, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep production levels high in the hope it could maintain market share. But that was a difficult task to begin with, and since then, U.S. shale producers have become even more efficient.
By the time OPEC reversed course in November 2016, sending oil prices up as much as 10 percent, shale had already gained ground.
Track OPEC's Production Cuts
Just consider the accusations that have been leveled at the president:He has betrayed the Constitution, which he swore to uphold.He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America.He has subjugated America’s interests to Moscow.He has been caught in fantastic lies to the American people, including personal ones, like his previous marriage and divorce.
President Donald Trump?
No, President John F. Kennedy.
What lots of Americans don’t realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or “collusion with,” Russia pales in comparison to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous “crime” of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship.
They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he never thought Hillary Clinton was the right choice to be the Democratic Party's nominee in the 2016 election.
"I never thought she was the correct candidate. I thought I was the correct candidate," Biden told attendees at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas, according to a report from the Street.
Biden's son, Beau, died from brain cancer at the age of 46 in May 2015. Following his death, the then-vice president said he and his wife, Jill, had decided not to focus their energy on running for the presidency, but rather coming to terms with what had just happened to their family.
Though he says it's unlikely, Biden wouldn't close the door on a potential 2020 run.
"Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably no," he said.
A seven-month-old baby died weighing just 9lbs after his parents fed him an alternative gluten-free, lactose-free diet, a court has heard.
The mother and father, who ran a natural food store in the town of Beveren in Belgium, insisted on putting their son Lucas on an alternative diet that included quinoa milk, according to local media. Doctors warn that such a diet is generally unsuitable for such young children.
His diet led to him being less than half the expected weight for a boy his age, weighing 9.47lbs — just over the average weight for a newborn baby — before he died on 6 June 2014.
Despite the baby gasping for air in the days leading to his death, the court heard that his parents never thought to seek medical attention. An autopsy showed he was dehydrated and his stomach was completely empty.
Public prosecutors in Belgium blamed the parents for their son’s death, saying: “The parents determined their own diagnosis that their child was gluten intolerant and had a lactose allergy.
Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper’s creation of a cloud-computing platform in 2013 made it far easier for officials like former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice to ‘unmask’ individual Americans without creating a digital paper trail leading back to her, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.
Clapper’s system enabled tens of thousands of government officials to share previously off-limits intelligence information, according to knowledgeable officials who tracked the cloud-computing initiative of the former DNI under President Barack Obama.
Commander Jennifer E. Dyer, a 21-year naval intelligence officer, told TheDCNF that Clapper’s effort dramatically altered the rules that previously barred access to phone records of U.S. citizens unless there was prior approval following rigorous National Security Agency (NSA) review.
NSA can compile phone records of American citizens talking to foreign officials under Section 702 of the USA Patriot Act. It allows the spy agency to legally eavesdrop on innocent American citizens who are inadvertently swept up in telephone conversations with foreign officials. NSA can keep the records for as long as five years.
The 702 provision expires at the end of the year unless Congress reauthorizes it. Citizens normally are referred to as “American A” or “American B” in the 702 reports. The names are “masked” from intelligence officials.
One month ago, when we first discussed that in addition to the CVN-70 Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group, the US was deploying two more carriers toward the Korean peninsula, some took the Yonhap-sourced report skeptically: after all, what's the incremental symbolic impact of having two aircraft carriers next to North Korea when just one would more than suffice. One month later, and the report has been proven half right: according to CNN, in addition to the first US carrier already on location, the US Navy is moving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula where it will conduct dual-carrier training exercises with the USS Carl Vinson.
After completing its maintenance period in Yokosuka, Japan, the USS Ronald Reagan, just as we first reported a month ago, departed for the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, according to the Navy.
"Coming out of a long in-port maintenance period we have to ensure that Ronald Reagan and the remainder of the strike group are integrated properly as we move forward," Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in a press release. Once it arrives in the region, the carrier will conduct a variety of training exercises but primarily focus on certifying its ability to safely launch and recover aircraft, the service said. In other words, traing for combat missions involved the North Korean capital.
The formal deployment comes several days after North Korea demonstrated a surprising leap forward in its missile program after launching a projectile that achieved "successful" controlled reentry into the earth's lower atmosphere rather than falling back to the surface, according to a preliminary US intelligence analysis.
The 1,092-foot CVN-76 Ronald Reagan carries a crew of 4,539 and is equipped with roughly 60 aircraft, according to the Navy. It was commissioned in 2003 and cost about $8.5 billion.
President Trump is "furious" at reports that Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is gunning for White House spokesman Sean's Spicer's job, telling aides that his press secretary is a vital part of his operation, according to insiders.
Knowledgeable sources said that Trump was angered when she went to the press to announce that she was talking to Trump aides about the job.
In what was viewed as a 'diss' by Team Trump, she told the San Jose Mercury News, "Sean Spicer is a very nice man and a patriot; he's dedicated himself to this public service." She added, "I wish him the best, and I know he puts a lot of effort into it."
But she reached for his job. "I'm a patriot, and it would be an honor to serve the country," Guilfoyle said. "I think it'd be a fascinating job. It's a challenging job, and you need someone really determined and focused, a great communicator in there with deep knowledge to be able to handle that position."
That did not go down well in the Oval Office.
When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.
Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.
After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.
In that meeting and during a follow-up meeting three weeks later, the Saudis proposed a broad elevation of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and proposed various projects to increase security cooperation, economic cooperation and investment, White House officials said. The Trump team gave the Saudis a list of Trump priorities, calling on the kingdom to step up actions to combat radical Islamic extremism, intensify the fight against the Islamic State and share the burden of regional security.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has tasked various government agencies to develop a series of announcements Trump will make this weekend. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now heavily involved. One main objective is to put forth a framework and basic principles for a unified Sunni coalition of countries, which would set the stage for a more formal NATO-like organizational structure down the line.
Pressed on the White House's dodging on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not even say Tuesday that Jerusalem is in Israel.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster declined two times to say whether the Western Wall was a part of Israel when he briefed the press on Tuesday. The questions on the matter stemmed from a U.S. diplomat reportedly telling the Israelis that the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City is part of the West Bank and "not your territory," and thus Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not join Trump on a visit to the site.
A reporter noted McMaster's refusal to clarify the matter was causing a stir and asked Spicer "why you guys can't answer that question."
"The Western Wall is obviously one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith," Spicer said. "It's clearly in Jerusalem, but there's been—it's an issue that has had serious consideration. It'll be a topic that's going to be discussed during the president's trip between parties that he meets with, but obviously, I think, this stems from a comment that was made yesterday which was not the policy of the United States."
The White House stated on Monday that the diplomat's remarks did not reflect Trump's views.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) border-adjustment proposal to tax imports "probably wouldn't pass the Senate."
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, McConnell said that he is meeting with Ryan and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the hopes of reaching an agreement on a tax-reform proposal.
"Border adjustability is a pretty controversial thing in the Senate, but we'll see what's in the final thing we agree to," McConnell said.
McConnell's comments echo other senators' remarks about the border-adjustment proposal, which would subject imports to U.S. taxes while exempting exports. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said earlier this year that the House plan wouldn't get 10 votes in the Senate.
Even among House Republicans, the proposal may be a tough sell. An analysis from The Hill has found that there are dozens of House GOP lawmakers who have concerns about the border-adjustment tax or are undecided about it.
While a second variant of the WannaCry(pt) ransomware (based on NSA's EternalBlue exploit) was spreading across the globe yesterday, The FT reports criminal hacking groups have repurposed a second classified cyber weapon stolen from US spies and have made it available on the so-called dark web.
On Monday, the WannaCry attack, which hit 370,000 computers across 150 countries, appeared to slow. Europol, the European police agency, said the spread of the virus had stalled in Europe. But while infection rates have slowed, a Europol spokeswoman warned, "we do not think this is the end of the crisis. The hackers have already evolved the malware, and will probably continue to do so."
Notably as Europe woke up (and US opened), the infection rate started to rise once again...
But as The FT reports, intelligence and law-enforcement officials said they fear WannaCry may foreshadow a wave of similarly damaging attacks, as criminals and others race to make use of digital weapons that for years were only available to the most technologically sophisticated nation states.
At least a dozen other NSA tools are currently being discussed and worked on as the basis of potential new cyber weapons on hacking forums on the dark web, parts of the internet not accessible via normal search engines.
After proclaiming herself "an activist citizen and part of the resistance," and by definition - absolutely not part of the establishment? - Hillary Clinton has unveiled her latest fund-raising vehicle - Onward Together to "champion the vision that earned 66 million votes in the last election."
The group, “Onward Together,” will work “to build a brighter future for generations to come by supporting groups that encourage people to organize and run for office," according to a statement from Hillary Clinton.
As a reminder, in early May, Clinton identified herself as part of “the resistance.”
“I can’t be anything other than who I am,” Clinton said at a Women for Women International event.
“And I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward — including people who clearly didn’t vote for me — to try to make sure we dealt with a lot of these hard issues that are right around the corner like robotics and artificial intelligence and things that are really going to be upending the economy for the vast majority of Americans, to say nothing of the rest of the world.”
Ann Coulter was a Trump believer from the beginning. As far back at June 2015 she predicted a Trump victory on the Bill Maher show and was openly mocked by the audience and other panelists. But, turns out she was quite right.
Coulter even went on to publish a book entitled "In Trump We Trust" which she hailed as the story of a "one-man wrecking ball against our dysfunctional and corrupt establishment."
But, after a series of flip-flops on everything from the timing of the border wall to the 'obsolescence' of NATO, Coulter is growing a little weary of waiting on Trump to deliver on campaign promises.
Sitting down for an interview with the Daily Caller, Coulter said she's "not very happy with what has happened so far" and asked "is the great negotiator?"
Uhhhh. I’m not very happy with what has happened so far. I guess we have to try to push him to keep his promises. But this isn’t North Korea, and if he doesn’t keep his promises I’m out. This is why we voted for him. I think everyone who voted for him knew his personality was grotesque, it was the issues.
In a report by Axios this morning, citing White House sources, President Trump is reportedly considering a "huge reboot" of his core staff and cabinet members that could lead to the termination of everyone from Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon, to counsel Don McGahn and press secretary Sean Spicer: "He's frustrated, and angry at everyone."
According to Axios, the conversations intensified this week as the fallout from the Comey firing "pushed the White House from chaos into crisis" and notes that Trump's friends are telling him that many of his top aides don't know how to work with him, pointing out that "his approval ratings aren't rising, but the leaks are." As a result the advice he's getting is to "go big — that he has nothing to lose," the confidant said. "The question now is how big and how bold. I'm not sure he knows the answer to that yet."
Additionally, Trump reportedly feels he has been "ill-served" by several of his Cabinet officials.
Trump has two complaints about Cabinet members: Either they're tooting their own horns too much, or they're insufficiently effusive in praising him as a brilliant diplomat, etc. Among the cross-currents:
Under threat are some of his key economic and domestic policy advisors, including:
After this week's SNAFU of conflicting reports of the timeline surrounding Comey's dismissal, The New York Times reports 'anonymous' West Wing officials have stated that President Trump is considering the most far-reaching shake-up of his first term after being dissatisfied with several top aides, especially Spicer.
The Times reported that Trump has also grown "increasinglydissatisfied" with the performance of his chief of staff Reince Priebusand communications director Michael Dubke.
As The Hill notes, Trump has discussed Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle as a possible press secretary, according to the Times, which noted that the president has also spent several hours with Spicer this week praising his TV "ratings" during briefings.
Guilfoyle is a former assistant district attorney in San Francisco.She was once married to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, aDemocrat. She is said to have a friendly relationship with Trump's oldest daughter, Ivanka, and Ivanka's husband, publisher Jared Kushner.
Almost 300 Australian schools have signed up to a policy saying they will consider helping children switch genders even if their parents object.
It includes a section which notes that they do not consider parental consent to be a necessary ingredient if children want to transition.
The guide says: “It may be possible to consider a student a mature minor and able to make decisions without parental consent.”
It does not specify at what age this could be appropriate.
We earlier reported in the disturbing fact that hospitals across the United Kingdom had gone dark due to a massive cyber-attack. The situation has got significantly worse as The BBC reports the ransomware attack has gone global.
Screenshots of a well known program that locks computers and demands a payment in Bitcoin have been shared online by parties claiming to be affected.ADVERTISING
It is not yet clear whether the attacks are all connected. One cyber-security researcher tweeted that he had detected 36,000 instances of the ransomware, called WannaCry and variants of that name.
"This is huge," he said.
There have been reports of infections in the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, Taiwan and others.
Snowflakes looking to take out massive student loans for next year to fund the $50,000 price tag of their liberal bastion of choice, and maybe the occasional binge-drinking trip to Cancun for Spring Break, are about to get a little price hike. But, don't worry, you won't have to start paying on those loans for at least 4 years.
Beginning in July, interest rates on new federal student loans are set to rise by 0.69%, per data published by the Treasury, which would drive the interest cost of new undergraduate loans up to 4.45% from 3.76% for the academic year ending in June, a nearly 20% increase off an historically low base. Meanwhile, rates on some graduate loans are set to rise from 5.31% to 6% and rates on loans to parents and guardians are due to jump from 6.31% to 7%. As an example, the cost of a $10,000 loan would increase by about $400, according to an online calculator maintained by Bankrate.com.
Of course, these higher borrowing costs shouldn't be that big of a deal as some 44 million Americans only owe $1.4 trillion on their student loans, or a modest average of only $32,000 per borrower.
As Bloomberg points out, the Obama administration changed the methodology for calculating student loan rates in 2013 to link them to then sinking 10-year Treasury rates. And while that helped to lower rates for students for the past several years, now that the Fed is in rate-hiking mode, it's having the opposite effect.
The government's interest rate increase has its roots in a 2013 provision signed into law by President Barack Obama. In that law, the Republican-led Congress and the Obama administration teamed up to change how the feds set interest rates on student loans. They moved away from a system in which Congress defined interest rates years in advance to one in which rates would be tied to the U.S. government's cost of borrowing over 10 years. By linking students' borrowing costs to those of the government, policymakers sought to create an environment in which students would benefit from low interest rates when the economy wasn't growing very much but would pay up when economic growth was accelerating and higher rates would be more affordable.
The termination of FBI Director James Comey has prompted concerns and questions about the future of the agency's probe into Russian interference and "hacking", much to Putin's amusement, to sway the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign. Democrats are terrified Comey's firing on Tuesday could jeopardize the ongoing FBI probe and have renewed calls for an independent investigation. Some Republicans have said that could undermine concurrent investigations underway in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Here, according to Reuters and Bloomberg, is what could happen next:
The investigations already underway could continue. Comey's firing does not necessarily mean the FBI's investigation into Moscow's role in the 2016 election will be disrupted or end, legal experts told Reuters. The career FBI staffers Comey put in charge of the probe will likely continue it, even as the search for a new director begins.The parallel inquiries underway in Senate and House committees could likewise progress.
The Justice Department, other federal agencies or the U.S. Congress could conduct independent investigations.The Justice Department could conduct a criminal investigation. But other federal agencies and departments have the power to conduct fact-finding inquiries, according to University of Southern California law professor Sam Erman.Congress could also create a special commission or appoint a special master separate from the committee probes, Erman said.
The Justice Department could appoint a special counsel.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday demanded “immediate emergency hearings” over President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“Congress needs to have immediate emergency hearings to obtain testimony directly from Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, the deputy attorney general and FBI Director Comey,” Cummings said in a statement.
“The White House was already covering up for [former national security adviser] Michael Flynn by refusing to provide a single document to Congress, and now the President fired the one independent person who was doing the most to investigate President Trump and his  campaign over allegations of coordination with Russia.”
Cummings added that Sessions’s involvement in Comey’s ouster is “mindboggling,” noting that Sessions stated that he would recuse himself from investigations into any ties between Trump and Russia.
“There is now a crisis of confidence at the Justice Department, and President Trump is not being held accountable because House Republicans refuse to work with us to do our job,” the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee added.
Turkey's 'sultan for life' Erdogan will not be happy. NBC News is reporting that two US defense officials have confirmed President Trump has approved a plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish militia - an important U.S. ally in Syria in the fight against ISIS.
As AP confirms, US officials say Trump administration approves providing heavier weapons to Syria’s Kurds, despite "sharp objections" from Turkey. As a reminder, YPG forces have ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey, and yet which due to its location and ideological alignment, has long been an ally of the US. Two weeks ago, the US even went so far as to deploy troops along the Syria-US border after a Turkish airstrike killed several Kurdish fighters.
One of the officials told NBC News that this policy decision is very significant "because it supports the notion that the Syrian Democratic Force is the fighting force that will eventually go in to Raqqa" the erstwile capital of ISIS, which however may soon succumb to allied forces.
The Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating after a woman is seen being assaulted and thrown into a pool after complaining about noise at a party.
Right-wing talker Rush Limbaugh said that he believed newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron invented the “massive email leak” that was reported right before the election in order to spread fear among the electorate. He made the comments on his radio show Monday.
“If you look at the French election,” he began, “this ought to prove once and for all the Russians aren’t very good at rigging elections, because after all, until the polls closed in France, all we heard was how the Russians are pulling out all the stops for [Marine] Le Pen. Including hacking Macron’s emails – did you hear that story right before the voting on Sunday?”
“Oh no, look at how closely things happening in France just like they happened here!” Limbaugh mocked. “The Russians hacked Clinton’s emails, and now it looks like there’s a major hack on Macron’s emails.”
“But the French government moved in and prevented the media from releasing any of those emails,” he explained. “So we don’t even know if there even was a hack, the whole thing could have been a made up story. But the meme was the Russians were pulling out all the stops to elect Le Pen, including hacking this little kid’s emails, which is laughable in a dozen ways, not the least being that Macron’s supposedly hacked emails were not released until after there was a ban on reporting them under French law. Forty-eight hours before the polls opened so the French media was banned by law for reporting on the hacked emails.
With Sally Yates and James Clapper both scheduled to testify before Congress at 2:30pm today, Donald Trump had several suggestions for the list of questions for Ms. Yates, which he decided to share this morning over Twitter. "Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council", Trump tweeted, referring to Yates' conversation with White House counsel Donald McGahn. And while we doubt that this particular concern will be addressed, a new report from NBC suggests that a more unpleasant line of questioning may emerge, one having to do with why Trump hired his now former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn after he was reportedly warned by Obama not to do so.
As NBC reports, Obama had warned Trump against hiring Mike Flynn as his national security adviser less than 48 hours after the November election when the two sat down for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office.A senior Trump administration official acknowledged Monday that Obama raised the issue of Flynn, saying the former president made clear he was "not a fan of Michael Flynn." Another official said Obama's remark seemed like it was made in jest.
Obama's warning pre-dated concerns inside the government about Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador, one of NBC's sources said. Obama passed along a general caution that he believed Flynn was not suitable for such a high level post, the official added. As a reminder, the Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014 from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, largely because of mismanagement and temperament issues.
Shortly after the conversation between the two, Trump named Flynn as his national security adviser. Flynn, who was conducting private conversations with the Russian ambassador regarding sanctions, was then fired three weeks into the administration for misleading Vice President Pence about those conversations.
Which brings us to today's Yates questioning, where a far more likely line of questioning will be what, if anything, did Trump know about his national security adviser's conversations with the Russian ambassador? In light of today's news, the answer may be unpleasant for the president.
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch is suing the Department of Justice for emails that could reveal what former acting Attorney General Sally Yates knew about alleged connections between Russia and the Trump administration. Judicial Watch filed the freedom of information act lawsuit just before Yates is scheduled to testify before the Senate Monday on alleged connections between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia, Politico reports. (RELATED: Former Top Justice Dept Official Sally Yates To Testify On Flynn, Russia) Yates reportedly warned the Trump administration about improper connections between Trump’s former national security advisor General Mike Flynn. Judicial Watch filed their initial FOIA request for Yates’ emails roughly two weeks before the Washington Post first reported that she tried to warn the administration about Flynn’s ties. Y
ates, who was appointed to the Justice Department by former President Barack Obama, became acting attorney general after Trump’s inauguration. She refused to enforce Trump’s first immigration executive order, and the administration let her go Feb. 13.
Yates met with White House Counsel Don McGahn Jan. 26 to discuss Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Yates reportedly told McGahn that Flynn’s account of the relationship with Kislyak was inaccurate, potentially compromising the presidents top security advisor.
The system used by the Dept. of Education to collect on defaulted student loans came to a standstill in the last month, leaving an estimated 91,000 accounts in limbo, when the agency ordered debt collectors under contract to stop making collections on accounts.
As Consumerist's Ashlee Kieler reports, consumers who expected their student loan payments to be deducted from their bank accounts this month have reportedly found the funds untouched, and their calls to the companies unanswered thanks to a Department of Education’s order prohibiting the debt collection companies from working on default accounts in response to two lawsuits against the agency.
The strange turn of events began with a lawsuit filed by two debt collection companies, who claim they were unfairly were fired by the Obama-era Education Department for poor performance. On March 29, the judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevented any new defaulted borrowers from being assigned to debt collectors and put into rehabilitation programs. Instead, the borrowers have piled up inside the department's system, waiting.
On April 21, the government ordered the debt collectors involved in the suit to stop work altogether on defaulted accounts: no phone calls, no withdrawals from student accounts, nothing.
The Education Department and the Justice Department are partly to blame for "unnecessarily" throwing a wrench into the entire defaulted loan system, one attorney with knowledge of the case told BuzzFeed News, because they've been unable to come to a resolution that allows the loan system to kick back into gear. "There's no fix in sight."
After an extraordinary election campaign full of twists and turns, Emmanuel Macron won dramatic victory over Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, taking 65% of the vote, with Le Pen collecting roughly 35%, according to early estimate from four separate French pollsters. Macron, 39, will become the youngest president of France's Fifth Republic.
As BBG notes, the firms sampled real votes as they were being counted and weighted their results to reflect the composition of the French electorate. Their projections were all within 1 percentage point. Indeed, all early polls all show Macron with at least 65% of the vote:Elabe: 65.9%Ifop: 65.5%Ipsos: 65.1%Kantar: 65.0%
Abstention in Sunday’s election was expected to hit 26%, the highest rate since 1969, reflecting a lack of enthusiasm among many voters for the choice on offer.
Moments after the results were announced, Le Pen conceded to Macron in a phone call and vowed to become major force of opposition,
“The French have elected a new president and opted for continuity,” Le Pen told supporters just outside Paris. “I wish him success in the face of great challenges,” she said.
French people were voting on Sunday in a presidential election pitting a pro-European Union centrist against a eurosceptic, anti-immigration far-rightist, with early figures indicating turnout could be low, but above most recent forecasts.
Opinion polls predict 39-year-old ex-economy minister Emmanuel Macron will win the five-year presidency, seeing off the challenge from National Front leader Marine Le Pen after an election campaign full of scandal and upsets.
Voting ends at 8 pm (1800 GMT) with early projections of the result by pollsters due soon after. The last opinion polls on Friday gave Macron between 61.5 and 63 percent of the vote. Forecasts of the result proved accurate for the tight first round race between 11 candidates last month.
A victory for Macron, who wants to deregulate the economy and deepen EU integration, would contrast with recent nativist, anti-globalization voting outcomes like those that will see Britain quit the EU and which made Donald Trump U.S. president.
Should an upset occur and Le Pen win, the very future of the EU could be on the line given her desire to close borders, dump the euro currency, and tear up trade treaties.
In December 1964, a Silver Age of American liberalism, to rival the Golden Age of FDR and the New Deal, seemed to be upon us.
Barry Goldwater had been crushed in a 44-state landslide and the GOP reduced to half the size of the Democratic Party, with but 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate.
The Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the most liberal in history, was on a roll, and LBJ was virtually unopposed as he went about ramming his Great Society through Congress.ADVERTISING
The left had it all. But then they blew it, beginning at Berkeley.
Protests, sit-ins, the holding of cops hostage in patrol cars — went on for weeks to force the University of California, Berkeley, to grant “free speech,” and then “filthy speech” rights everywhere on campus.
Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage is petitioning President Trump to pressure the British government into dropping its travel ban against him, which was imposed eight years ago this Friday.
Mr. Savage was added to a list of 22 individuals banned from the U.K. on May 5, 2009, under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The best-selling author and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee was accused of fostering hatred for his comments on immigration and Islam, earning him a spot on the list that included Hamas terrorist leader Yunis Al-Astal and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black.
On July 12, 2010, the government of then-Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Mr. Savage would continue to be banned from the country. According to WND.com, the British government has never specified what Mr. Savage said that resulted in him being added to the list.
More than 9,500 people have signed a petition launched Tuesday urging Mr. Trump and his State Department to demand that the U.K. lift its travel ban against the radio host.
“It is outrageous that a Western nation would ban a popular American commentator with millions of listeners and several New York Times bestselling books to ‘balance’ its list, apparently fearing it would be accused of being biased against Muslims,” the petition states. “Michael Savage has never advocated violence, and his political views are protected by the First Amendment, which is rooted in the civil-rights tradition that began with Britain’s Magna Carta.”
At the height of the European migrant crisis in early 2016, when masses of migrants were pouring into Europe, the German Green Party Chairwoman Katrin Göring-Eckardt could not control her joy. "We have just received an unexpected gift in the form of people," she told her fellow Germans, reminding them to be grateful. This gift, she said, was going to make the country "more religious, more colourful, more diverse and younger." It was gift, it turns out, that keeps on giving.
According to the country's annual crime report, compiled by the Federal Crime Bureau (BKA), there has been a more than 50% rise in migrant crime in the country compared to the year before.
The German newspaper Die Welt, which received an advance copy of the annual crime report, wrote:
"The number of immigrants suspected of criminal acts in 2016 has risen by 52.7 percent, to the figure of 174,438, compared to the previous year. To ensure a fair comparison with the rest of the population, crimes that only immigrants can commit, such as illegal entry to the country, have been taken out from the statistics. The annual police report (PKS) shows that there were total of 616,230 crime suspects of foreign origin last year. The migrant share [of total crime figures] was disproportionately large, namely 174,438 -- more than a quarter."
These staggering crime statistics are even more alarming if one looks through the narrow definition German government uses to denote a "criminal migrant". As Die Welt explains, these crime figures do not take into account "foreigners who have been living and working in Germany for some time, but only a specific group of protection-seekers [refugees]."
by William Gheenwww.alipac.us
May 2, 1017
We realize that today's press release announcing that ALIPAC is dropping our endorsement of Donald Trump (VIEW RELEASE) is likely to cause much concern and disappointment among Americans like us who oppose illegal immigration and Amnesty for illegals. We hope that this open letter will help answer some of your Frequently Asked Questions.
This is Not "Fake News"
While we certainly understand that after the heavy barrage of false and misleading claims made against Donald Trump over the last two years by liberal groups, activists, and members of the media, most Trump supporters are rightfully skeptical of any claims that would be damaging to Trump. That is not the case with ALIPAC's dropped endorsement, press release, or concerns.
The US Air Force deployed an RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude surveillance drone at Yokota Air Base on Monday night, starting a five-month operation in Tokyo, Japan Times reports. The drone, the first of five to arrive in Japan, is tasked to survey ballistic missiles and nuclear facilities in North Korea, and is part of the 69th Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1. Global Hawks do not have offensive capabilities.
Its mission is to provide near real-time aerial imagery reconnaissance support to U.S. and partner nations, according to the base’s website. Four more Global Hawks are slated to be deployed to the base, and a total of 110 staff members, including mechanics, are set to be stationed there in a related move.
According to Japan's Defense Ministry, the drone is capable of capturing aerial images and electronic data from an altitude of around 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) or more, higher than the altitude at which commercial aircraft typically fly. The drone will be controlled by remote from Yokota during takeoff and landing, and then from the U.S. mainland once it reaches a sufficient altitude.
In the past, Global Hawks have been deployed at the US Misawa Air Base in the northern prefecture of Aomori. But work to revamp the runway at Misawa led to the switch to Yokota, where the Command of US Forces in Japan is located. To boost its own defense capabilities, Japan's Defense Ministry decided to introduce three of them for the Self-Defense Forces, and will start deploying one at Misawa at the end of fiscal 2019.
House and Senate Republican leaders defended a $1 trillion spending bill Tuesday amid mounting conservative criticism that it amounts to a cave-in to Democrats.
“I feel very good about the wins that we got with the administration in this bill,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also praised the bill, which he said included important provisions that have been long sought by the GOP.
Those include $1.5 billion for border security, which represents the biggest increase in a decade, as well as $15 billion boost in defense spending that did not come with the typically required increase in domestic spending.
“While this funding bill is the product of bipartisan negotiations, it delivers some important conservative wins, including critical steps forward on defense and border-security,” McConnell said. McConnell also won permanent extension of health benefits for retired miners, which both parties had been seeking since last year.
Much to the likely chagrin of the mainstream media, and Democratic Party blame narratives everywhere, Politico reports that the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have reached a decision that’s sure to disappoint Russia hawks: They’re not taking up a Russia sanctions bill anytime soon.
“We're not going to do a Russia sanctions bill,” Corker told POLITICO on Monday.
Instead, Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee and ranking Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland have agreed to move forward on a measure to counter Russian influence in Eastern Europe without using sanctions as well as an Iran sanctions bill.
“The ranking member and I are in strong agreement on a pathway forward and that's what we're going to do. We're going to do an Iran sanctions bill. It'll be done toward the end of this work period. We're also working together on a bill to push back against Russia in Europe and what they're doing, and those are the two courses of action that we're taking.”
The measure to counter Russian influence is expected to draw from a bill put forward by Cardin in January but will strip the measure of its sanctions. The Iran sanctions bill was introduced in March by Corker and has bipartisan support. It’s in retaliation for Iran’s ballistic missile development, support for U.S.-designated terrorist groups and human rights violations. Cardin’s sanctions bill is co-sponsored by 10 Republican defense hawks, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida. Cardin spokesman Sean Bartlett confirmed the agreement in an email.
Michelle Obama made it her mission during her 8 years in the White House to eradicate all taste from school lunches. Afterall, what kind of self-respecting liberal would she be if she allowed school districts and families all across the country to actually choose what food best suited their communities and children?
She even made inspiring videos like "Turnip For What!?", a clever play off Lil Jon's track (great role model for children, btw)...see what she did there?
Unfortunately, no amount of cutsie jingles or rap lyrics were sufficient to make the following school lunches appealing to young school kids...and we can't imagine why...
In fact, in the end, rather than eating a meal with slightly too much sodium, kids simply stopped eating lunch altogether. As the Washington Times pointed out back in 2014, over 1 million students stopped eating school lunch in the 2012-2013 school year alone. Meanwhile, schools all around the country reported they were buying food that just ended up getting thrown away or fed to pigs at local farms because no one would eat it.
The National School Lunch Program saw a sharp decline in participation once the healthy standards went into effect during the 2012-2013 school year. A total of 1,086,000 students stopped buying school lunch, after participation had increased steadily for nearly a decade.
Congress ended the week by passing a continuing resolution keeping the government funded for one more week. This stopgap funding bill is designed to give Congress and the White House more time to negotiate a long-term spending bill. Passage of a long-term spending bill has been delayed over objections to Republican efforts to preserve Obamcare’s key features but give states a limited ability to opt out of some Obamacare mandates.
This type of brinkmanship has become standard operating procedure on Capitol Hill. The drama inevitably ends with a spending bill being crafted behind closed doors by small groups of members and staffers and then rushed to the floor and voted on before most members have a chance to read it. These “omnibus” spending bills are a dereliction of one of Congress’s two most important duties — allocating spending. Of course, Congress long ago abandoned another primary duty — preventing presidents from launching military attacks without first obtaining a congressional declaration of war.
The uncomfortable question raised by Congress’s abrogation of these two key functions is whether a republican form of government is compatible with a welfare-warfare state. The answer seems to be “no.”
Congress’s dysfunctional spending process is an inevitable result of the government’s growth. It is simply unrealistic to expect Congress to fund the modern leviathan via a lengthy and open process that allows individual members to have some say in how government spends their constituents’ money. The dysfunctional spending process benefits the many politicians eager to avoid accountability for government spending. The rushed process allows these politicians to say they had to vote for the spending bills. Often, these big spending bills include a promise to cut spending in the future. Like tomorrow, the promised spending cuts are always a day away.
If government continues to expand, the economy will continue to stagnate, social tensions and violence will increase, and more power will be concentrated in the hands of the president, bureaucrats, and a select few members of Congress. The only way to avoid this is for Congress to shut down most of the federal government, starting with bringing the troops home and drastically cutting the military-industrial complex’s budget. Congress must also close all unconstitutional federal agencies and programs, and wind down federal entitlement programs. A good place to start is the Department of Education. The Federal Reserve must be audited and then ended.
After crunching numbers for months, a group of Democratic strategists have finally figured out why Hillary lost the 2016 election: "her base didn't turn out." Sure, it probably had absolutely nothing to do with all those criminal FBI investigations or the fact that Trump was able to flip some Midwest states that haven't gone Red since Ronald Reagan. Per McClatchy:
A select group of top Democratic Party strategists have used new data about last year’s presidential election to reach a startling conclusion about why Hillary Clinton lost. Now they just need to persuade the rest of the party they’re right.
Many Democrats have a shorthand explanation for Clinton’s defeat: Her base didn’t turn out, Donald Trump’s did and the difference was too much to overcome.
Ironically, while offering up the most ridiculous explanation possible for the outcome of the 2016 election, undoubtedly in an effort to erase all blame from Hillary herself (it wasn't Hillary's fault, her team just didn't turn out the voters...they failed her), one strategist noted it's important to "learn the right lesson from 2016" and not just the one "that makes us feel good at night."ADVERTISING
“We have to make sure we learn the right lesson from 2016, that we don’t just draw the lesson that makes us feel good at night, make us sleep well at night,” Canter said.
From KCUR:STAT, a national publication that covers health, medicine and science, came out Wednesday with a lengthy story on the medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and it isn’t pretty.
The publication says the med school is in danger of losing its accreditation next year because it has so few minority students and faculty.
Note, if they lose their accreditation, STAT says their degrees would be "rendered essentially worthless."STAT notes that the current first-year class has only five black students out of a total of 104. In 2015, there were two, it says, and in 2014 just one.
Dr. Patrice “Patrick” Delafontaine, dean of the med school, tells STAT it’s an issue the school has to deal with, but STAT says interviews it conducted with more than half a dozen current and former students “described a campus that has made it harder for them to succeed.”
“Some said that MU’s lack of diversity means they are more likely to be mistaken for a janitor, to be singled out for ID checks by campus security, or to hear physicians make off-handed remarks about patients of color,” STAT writes. “They said it was more difficult for them to thrive here than white students. They said they have dealt with subtle and overt displays of racism. And some have questioned whether they made a mistake deciding to attend the school.”
Americans hold dim views of Congress and of House Speaker Paul Ryan, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with favorable opinions declining since February.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans disapprove of Congress’s job performance, up 12 percentage points since February, the poll found. Just one-fifth said they approve of the job Congress is doing, a drop of 9 points.
The findings mark a return to recent norms in views of Congress, after a slight uptick in approval of lawmakers in February. With 20% approving of Congress, its rating is still slightly higher than in most months since May 2011.
Mr. Ryan (R., Wis.) is one focus of growing dissatisfaction, with 40% saying they view the House speaker negatively, compared with 22% who had a positive view—an 18-point gap. In February, unfavorable opinions outweighed positive ones by just 1 point.
The negative reviews come after a period in which House Republicans tried and failed to pass legislation to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act—a core element of the Republican platform. Mr. Ryan, who became the face of the bill in Congress, was forced to cancel a vote on the legislation after concluding it didn’t have the necessary votes. Talks continue among House Republicans to revive the bill.
“I love Wikileaks,” candidate Donald Trump said on October 10th on the campaign trail. He praised the organization for reporting on the darker side of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was information likely leaked by a whistleblower from within the Clinton campaign to Wikileaks.
Back then he praised Wikileaks for promoting transparency, but candidate Trump looks less like President Trump every day. The candidate praised whistleblowers and Wikileaks often on the campaign trail. In fact, candidate Trump loved Wikileaks so much he mentioned the organization more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign alone! Now, as President, it seems Trump wants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent to prison.
Last week CNN reported, citing anonymous “intelligence community” sources, that the Trump Administration’s Justice Department was seeking the arrest of Assange and had found a way to charge the Wikileaks founder for p