real

Robert Natelson | Senior Fellow, Independence Institute

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to enfranchise 16 year olds. Speaker Pelosi is right that we need a national conversation about voting age. But that conversation should be about raising the age to 25.

In the Anglo-American legal system, traditionally people reached majority at 21. In 1971, the 26th amendment forced states to enfranchise citizens at 18.

I well remember the debate over lowering the voting age. The argument for the 18-year old vote was not fact-based. Its principal justification was the slogan: “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote!” The slogan’s appeal lay in the fact that America was conscripting millions of hapless young men for an unpopular war in Vietnam.

Of course, the slogan is a non-sequitur: The attributes that enable one to serve as a buck private are not the same as those of a responsible voter. Since only males were being drafted, the slogan didn’t explain why we should extend the vote to 18-year old women as well. Moreover, if there should be a connection between military service and suffrage, then arguably suffrage should come only after one’s military obligation is discharged. (Some republics have, in fact, adopted that rule.)

The real reason for the 26th amendment was to reduce young people’s opposition to the war. In other words, the 26th amendment was an overreaction to a temporary political need — always a poor reason to change the Constitution. I remember figuring all this out at the time and therefore opposing the change, even though I would benefit personally from the lower voting age.

Unfortunately, most people didn’t figure it out. States went even farther than the amendment required by dropping the age of majority to 18 for all purposes.

These foolish decisions contradicted what almost every parent who has finished raising kids knows: Celebrating an 18th birthday is not a good measure of civic maturity. Those who benefit politically from youthful voting will deny this, but the evidence on the point is overwhelming. Indeed, subsequent experience has induced us to repeal step-by-step the decisions made then.

For one thing, science has discovered that the brain does not fully mature until age 25. So it is not surprising that the record of governance in most countries that allow 16 year olds to vote — Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, etc. — has been truly wretched.

In America specifically, we have seen how improvident borrowing by young “adults” contributed to a college debt crisis. We have witnessed the slaughter by young people on the highways. That’s why all states (with federal prodding) have hiked the drinking age to 21. Some states also have raised the driving age and imposed additional restrictions on youthful drivers. Youthful abuse of tobacco and other drugs have led to more restrictions on access to those products.

In recognition that most post-adolescents remain dependent on others, the Obamacare law lets them remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.

Clearly, lowering the age of majority has not been a success.

Restoring it to 21 would be a step in the right direction, but it would not be enough. As Obamacare supporters (including Speaker Pelosi) have implicitly recognized, there are compelling reasons for a higher age.

One reason is the scientific finding referred to earlier: cerebral maturity arrives at 25, not 21. Another is that it now takes far longer for people to learn how the world works than it used to. Life is far more complicated than it was in, say, 1900; and far more young people remain in ivory tower insulation from its realities.

There is also the rising age of practical independence. The American Founders recognized that for decision making to work well, the decision maker has to be able to exercise independent judgment. (That insight forms a basic principle underlying many provisions in the U.S. Constitution.)

In 1900 a 21-year old frequently was a self-supporting taxpayer with a job, a spouse, and a deep stake in neighborhood and society. Today many of that age live an unanchored life at the expense of parents, the government, loans, and grants.

There is another difference from earlier times: If the “old enough to fight” mantra ever made sense, it makes none today. Military conscription has not existed in America for over 45 years. (Anyway, we could exempt active service members from a voting-age hike.)

Proposals to enfranchise 16-year olds are either frivolous or attempts to seize partisan advantage. But raising the voting age to 25 should be on the national agenda.

Rob Natelson is senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at the nonprofit Independence Institute in Denver. He served as a law professor for 25 years at three different universities, and has been active in small business and politics.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Robert Natelson | Senior Fellow, Independence Institute

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to enfranchise 16 year olds. Speaker Pelosi is right that we need a national conversation about voting age. But that conversation should be about raising the age to 25.

In the Anglo-American legal system, traditionally people reached majority at 21. In 1971, the 26th amendment forced states to enfranchise citizens at 18.

I well remember the debate over lowering the voting age. The argument for the 18-year old vote was not fact-based. Its principal justification was the slogan: “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote!” The slogan’s appeal lay in the fact that America was conscripting millions of hapless young men for an unpopular war in Vietnam.

Of course, the slogan is a non-sequitur: The attributes that enable one to serve as a buck private are not the same as those of a responsible voter. Since only males were being drafted, the slogan didn’t explain why we should extend the vote to 18-year old women as well. Moreover, if there should be a connection between military service and suffrage, then arguably suffrage should come only after one’s military obligation is discharged. (Some republics have, in fact, adopted that rule.)

The real reason for the 26th amendment was to reduce young people’s opposition to the war. In other words, the 26th amendment was an overreaction to a temporary political need — always a poor reason to change the Constitution. I remember figuring all this out at the time and therefore opposing the change, even though I would benefit personally from the lower voting age.

Unfortunately, most people didn’t figure it out. States went even farther than the amendment required by dropping the age of majority to 18 for all purposes.

These foolish decisions contradicted what almost every parent who has finished raising kids knows: Celebrating an 18th birthday is not a good measure of civic maturity. Those who benefit politically from youthful voting will deny this, but the evidence on the point is overwhelming. Indeed, subsequent experience has induced us to repeal step-by-step the decisions made then.

For one thing, science has discovered that the brain does not fully mature until age 25. So it is not surprising that the record of governance in most countries that allow 16 year olds to vote — Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, etc. — has been truly wretched.

In America specifically, we have seen how improvident borrowing by young “adults” contributed to a college debt crisis. We have witnessed the slaughter by young people on the highways. That’s why all states (with federal prodding) have hiked the drinking age to 21. Some states also have raised the driving age and imposed additional restrictions on youthful drivers. Youthful abuse of tobacco and other drugs have led to more restrictions on access to those products.

In recognition that most post-adolescents remain dependent on others, the Obamacare law lets them remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26.

Clearly, lowering the age of majority has not been a success.

Restoring it to 21 would be a step in the right direction, but it would not be enough. As Obamacare supporters (including Speaker Pelosi) have implicitly recognized, there are compelling reasons for a higher age.

One reason is the scientific finding referred to earlier: cerebral maturity arrives at 25, not 21. Another is that it now takes far longer for people to learn how the world works than it used to. Life is far more complicated than it was in, say, 1900; and far more young people remain in ivory tower insulation from its realities.

There is also the rising age of practical independence. The American Founders recognized that for decision making to work well, the decision maker has to be able to exercise independent judgment. (That insight forms a basic principle underlying many provisions in the U.S. Constitution.)

In 1900 a 21-year old frequently was a self-supporting taxpayer with a job, a spouse, and a deep stake in neighborhood and society. Today many of that age live an unanchored life at the expense of parents, the government, loans, and grants.

There is another difference from earlier times: If the “old enough to fight” mantra ever made sense, it makes none today. Military conscription has not existed in America for over 45 years. (Anyway, we could exempt active service members from a voting-age hike.)

Proposals to enfranchise 16-year olds are either frivolous or attempts to seize partisan advantage. But raising the voting age to 25 should be on the national agenda.

Rob Natelson is senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at the nonprofit Independence Institute in Denver. He served as a law professor for 25 years at three different universities, and has been active in small business and politics.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

House Democrats cut Republican North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson out of new workforce legislation he had been working on with them, eliminating yet another opportunity for bipartisan collaboration.

House Democrats express no interest in anything but pushing ahead with Democratic legislation and after 25 years of being mostly in the House minority, Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle thinks it is high time.

“I don’t have thin skin about this, but when they were in charge, they had the rules,” Doyle told Politico.

“Now we’re in charge, and maybe some of them don’t understand that yet.”

Hudson expressed frustration with Democratic Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush for altering a bill the two had co-authored to introduce new workforce training programs. Rush has effectively removed Hudson from planning this bill.

“He reintroduced it, and he’s added all this money to it, and didn’t consult me,” Hudson told Politico.

“We didn’t mean to exclude you from the process. We’d love to work with you.” Hudson was told when he questioned why he had been excluded. But Hudson is still waiting to hear when exactly Rush would like to work with him again.

Republicans like Hudson fume over the lack of collaboration in areas that would enable Republicans and Democrats to easily compromise. Other Republicans have also expressed frustration at the short periods of time they are given to look over bills, claiming that this indicates Democrats have no real interest in collaboration. (RELATED: House Democrats Are Lining Up Behind What Could Be The Largest Expansion Of Government In Decades)

“Bipartisanship is asking for my input, not just for my vote,” said Republican Texas Rep. Michael Burgess.

“Giving a member less than 24 hours to sign onto a piece of legislation they have never seen is discourteous, especially when we have said at each hearing thus far this Congress that we are willing to work in a bipartisan way.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

The media failed to cover several important stories while it was obsessing over supposed Russian collusion, according to a reporter for The Hill, Joe Concha.

“How many Russian collusion stories did we see where an organization, reporters got it wrong and there were actual consequences? I can only name once really on a major level. CNN and Anthony Scaramucci, and three reporters got fired,” Concha said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”

“Think of the stories we missed as a result of Russia,” he continued. “The economy’s performance as it pertains to wages or unemployment or growth. The destruction of the ISIS caliphate that suddenly came out of nowhere, it seemed to a lot of people, because no one was really covering it. And the most overlooked story: the opioid epidemic. 70,000 people killed in 2017 alone. That’s more than car crashes. You hardly hear about that and that’s what effects real Americans’ lives.”

WATCH: 

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the special counsel probe to Congress Sunday and wrote that President Donald Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also claimed there was not enough evidence to pursue obstruction of justice charges.

Concha criticized the media’s handling of the Russia probe and said the release of the Mueller report serves as the biggest “reckoning” the press has seen since 2016. (RELATED: Here’s How Many Articles, Likes And Shares The Mueller Probe Has Fueled Since Its Inception)

“Throughout these last 22 months, gossip was treated as gospel. Sources providing information to reporters all too willing to accept it like seagulls at the beach. And look, this is a day of reckoning for our media like we haven’t seen since the 2016 election,” he said earlier in the interview.

“I would say maybe the worst day ever for our media given all that coverage and the pushing of that particular narrative around Russia collusion. The Washington Post and New York Times — Mollie Hemingway pointed this out — won Pulitzers for their reporting on Russian collusion. All we heard about was, walls are closing, nooses tightening and this is the beginning of the end. And now we’re hearing, even yesterday and this morning, this is the beginning of something else. The next chapter. You know why? Because it’s good for ratings and because people want to believe the worst about this president.”

You can Follow Nick on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Sisters from Saudi Arabia, who go by aliases Reem and Rawan, are pictured at an office in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Sisters from Saudi Arabia, who go by aliases Reem and Rawan, are pictured at an office in Hong Kong, China February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Aleksander Solum/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Anne Marie Roantree and James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Two Saudi Arabian sisters are hoping for a “bright, beautiful future” after being granted asylum, fleeing what they describe as an abusive family and a repressive society.

The sisters fled from their family last September while on holiday in Sri Lanka and have been stranded in Hong Kong since an aborted attempt to get to Australia, where they hoped to secure asylum.

For reasons of safety, the sisters, aged 18 and 20, who say they were beaten by their father and brothers, asked that their names and faces not be revealed, nor the country to which they have now gone.

“Oh my God, I was so happy,” the curly haired younger sister told Reuters recently, describing how she felt when told asylum had been secured.

“I screamed ‘It’s real, it’s happening’ … It was just relief and unforgettable.”

The sisters spoke to Reuters in a room on the 22nd floor of a Hong Kong hotel shortly before they left the city. Hong Kong-based rights lawyer, Michael Vidler, who has been helping them, attended.

They said they have lived in fear for six months, shuttling between 15 safe houses, staying with a nun, families and at a shelter for abused women.

They feared being intercepted by Saudi officials or relatives and forced home, where they believe they could be punished for renouncing Islam, which is punishable by death under the Saudi system of Islamic law..

The Saudi Consulate in Hong Kong has not responded to requests for comment.

The sisters said they were treated harshly, at times beaten, by their brothers and father.

“They were like my jailer, like my prison officer. I was like a prisoner,” the younger sister previously told Reuters.

‘NO REGRET’

They were also critical of Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system, under which women must have permission from a male relative to work, travel, marry, and even get some medical treatment.

“Women are just like slaves,” said the older sister, adding that her dream was to become a writer one day.

“I want to settle down and to feel safe, and (to know) that I have rights and I matter in that country. Just to live normal, and discover myself … because now I own my life.”

This is not the first case in Asia this year of young Saudi women fleeing what they said was repression.

In January, an 18-year-old Saudi woman was granted asylum in Canada after fleeing her family and barricading herself in a Bangkok hotel to resist being sent home.

Her case drew global attention to Saudi Arabia’s strict social rules, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.

The Saudi mission in Bangkok declined to comment on that case saying it was a family affair.

The kingdom has given women more rights in recent years. Women have been allowed to enter sports stadiums, vote in local elections, and take a greater role in the workforce as Saudi Arabia tries to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

A ban on driving was lifted last year but many women have taken to social media to push for more freedom. Campaigners say the main sticking point remains the guardianship policy.

‘FIND YOUR LIGHT’

Riyadh has also faced scrutiny from Western allies over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and over the humanitarian consequences of its war in Yemen.

The sisters watched the news of Khashoggi’s death unfold while in hiding in Hong Kong.

“I said to my sister, ‘I’m glad we left. This is the country we left’, there is no regret at all,” said the older sister, who counts George Orwell’s “1984” as one of her favorite books and likened its dystopian society to her homeland.

“It’s a science fiction book but it’s real in Saudi,” she said.

The pair hatched their escape plan over several years, secretly hoarding about $5,000, partly by scrimping on items they were given money to buy, and had timed it to coincide with the younger sister’s 18th birthday.

They said they had been wracked with uncertainty as a deadline for them to leave Chinese-ruled Hong Kong passed last month. Amnesty International had urged Hong Kong authorities not to return the sisters to Saudi Arabia.

The younger sister, who counts Radiohead and Queen among her favorite bands, said she hoped to inspire young people to stand against social injustice.

“Don’t just stick to the wall and cry. Because if you would cry it would be worse … Fight in your own way and you will find your own light.”

Dressed in a red T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, she said she had no regrets.

“There’s a bright, beautiful future awaiting me.”

(Reporting by James Pomfret and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan
FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

March 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Trips organized by China’s government to the western region of Xinjiang for diplomats and reporters have been very successful at showing people the true situation there, the foreign ministry said on Monday, denouncing U.S. criticism as “slander”.

China has been stepping up a push to counter growing criticism in the West and among rights groups about a controversial de-radicalisation program in heavily Muslim Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.

Critics say China is operating internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim peoples who live in Xinjiang, though the government calls them vocational training centers and says it has a genuine need to prevent extremist thinking and violence.

A U.S. official told Reuters that “highly choreographed” tours to Xinjiang organized by the Chinese government were misleading and propagated false narratives about the troubled region.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said such trips were to raise the international community’s understanding about Xinjiang’s social and economic development.

“The people who have been on the trips felt for themselves the real situation Xinjiang’s calm and order and the happy lives and jobs of all the people’s there, and all positively appraised China’s policy governing Xinjiang,” Geng said.

The U.S. criticism “does not accord with the facts”, he added. “It is purely rumor starting and slander.”

China resolutely opposes the United States interfering in its internal affairs using the Xinjiang issue, Geng said.

“At present Xinjiang is politically stable, the economy is developing and society is harmonious.”

The foreign ministry said late last week it would invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit soon. Sources have told Reuters the invitation was made to European Union ambassadors based in Beijing.

Geng said talks were ongoing about that trip. He did not elaborate.

There have been two visits by groups including European diplomats to Xinjiang this year. One was a small group of EU diplomats, and the other by a group of diplomats from a broader mix of countries, including missions from Greece, Hungary and North African and Southeast Asian states.

A Reuters journalist visited on a government-organised trip in January.

Late last year, more than a dozen ambassadors from Western countries, including France, Britain, Germany and the EU’s top envoy in Beijing, wrote to the government to seek a meeting with Xinjiang’s top official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, to discuss their concerns about the rights situation.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed sanctions against senior Chinese officials in Xinjiang, including Chen.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan
FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

March 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Trips organized by China’s government to the western region of Xinjiang for diplomats and reporters have been very successful at showing people the true situation there, the foreign ministry said on Monday, denouncing U.S. criticism as “slander”.

China has been stepping up a push to counter growing criticism in the West and among rights groups about a controversial de-radicalisation program in heavily Muslim Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.

Critics say China is operating internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim peoples who live in Xinjiang, though the government calls them vocational training centers and says it has a genuine need to prevent extremist thinking and violence.

A U.S. official told Reuters that “highly choreographed” tours to Xinjiang organized by the Chinese government were misleading and propagated false narratives about the troubled region.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said such trips were to raise the international community’s understanding about Xinjiang’s social and economic development.

“The people who have been on the trips felt for themselves the real situation Xinjiang’s calm and order and the happy lives and jobs of all the people’s there, and all positively appraised China’s policy governing Xinjiang,” Geng said.

The U.S. criticism “does not accord with the facts”, he added. “It is purely rumor starting and slander.”

China resolutely opposes the United States interfering in its internal affairs using the Xinjiang issue, Geng said.

“At present Xinjiang is politically stable, the economy is developing and society is harmonious.”

The foreign ministry said late last week it would invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit soon. Sources have told Reuters the invitation was made to European Union ambassadors based in Beijing.

Geng said talks were ongoing about that trip. He did not elaborate.

There have been two visits by groups including European diplomats to Xinjiang this year. One was a small group of EU diplomats, and the other by a group of diplomats from a broader mix of countries, including missions from Greece, Hungary and North African and Southeast Asian states.

A Reuters journalist visited on a government-organised trip in January.

Late last year, more than a dozen ambassadors from Western countries, including France, Britain, Germany and the EU’s top envoy in Beijing, wrote to the government to seek a meeting with Xinjiang’s top official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, to discuss their concerns about the rights situation.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed sanctions against senior Chinese officials in Xinjiang, including Chen.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

TheDC Entertainment | Contributor

Singer and actress Katharine McPhee was born on March 25, 1984 in Los Angeles, California.

McPhee turned 35 years old on Monday. The multi-talented Hollywood celebrity has already had an incredible career, but her star seems like it’s destined to continue to grow. (RELATED: Actress Shares Unrecognizable Photo Of Meghan Markle From When They Were Younger)

McPhee has been active for roughly 15 years now, but her first taste of real fame came in 2007 when she was a contestant on “American Idol.”

McPhee became a sensation on season five of the hit show where she finished in second place, just behind Taylor Hicks. In the dozen years since coming onto the scene, McPhee’s name recognition and popularity has only increased. McPhee has released several albums, including the popular 2010 album “Unbroken.”

McPhee has also become a star on the big screen. She starred as Karen Cartwright in the NBC show “Smash,” as well as Paige Dineen in the CBS show “Scorpion.”

McPhee has become an immensely popular pop culture figure, and there is no better way to celebrate her milestone birthday than by checking out some of her best looks.

See for yourself below:

Source: The Daily Caller

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as the president returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the presidency in 2016 gives the president a powerful weapon to use against his Democratic opponents and a potential boost to what is shaping up to be a tough bid for re-election in 2020.

Mueller’s conclusion that neither Trump nor his aides conspired with Russia in 2016 takes away a central charge that Democrats have flung at Trump for two years – that he did not win the presidency fairly or cleanly. The allegations have played out on an endless loop on cable TV news shows, overshadowing Trump’s presidency from day one.

Democrats have vowed to continue congressional investigations into the 2016 election campaign and Trump’s business practices. But without the solid foundation of a Mueller report that found evidence of any crimes by the president, they now risk seeming to overplay their hand.

“This is a gold star day for Donald Trump,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Now the shackles are off. He’s able to demonize the news media and Democrats as perpetuating what he calls a hoax. And he’ll be able to use his innocence as fodder for the campaign trail.”

The question for Trump now is whether he will be able to bring a minimum of discipline to his campaign messaging and to the presidency itself.

History suggests he will have trouble with self-discipline. Just last week, he was immersed in a strange fight with a dead man, sharply criticizing the late Republican Senator John McCain and falsely accusing him of being at the root of some of the collusion allegations against him.

He has also been prone to making baffling abrupt decisions, such as occurred last week when he called off a round of sanctions against North Korea before they had even been imposed.

Despite the Mueller report’s conclusions, Trump remains an intemperate president, eager to lash out at any and all critics and perceived slights.

“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump said on Sunday, even though Mueller left open the question of whether the former real estate magnate had attempted to obstruct the Russia probe, which did find extensive evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

“Now is the time to get back on the offense on the economy and growth,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “This is a good time to get back to a real healthy dose of message discipline for the entire administration, department-wide and the White House. That’s what you do when something like this happens.”

Trump, on a golfing weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, got the news in his private quarters at his Mar-a-Lago retreat from White House counsel Emmett Flood, and watched TV coverage of the Mueller report in his cabin on Air Force One.

Trump’s initial comments in reacting to the Mueller conclusion suggests he is not inclined to move past the investigation.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for the flight back to Washington, Trump called for Democrats to be investigated, expanding on his often repeated assertion that the Mueller probe was Democrat-inspired. Mueller was appointed by Trump’s Department of Justice in 2017 after he fired FBI director James Comey.

“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump said. “Before I even got elected it began, and it began illegally.”

Trump’s comments could foreshadow an effort by his supporters to seek payback for the cloud that has hung over his time in the White House.

“I’m interested in moving on and trying to get this behind us, but people have to pay for what they’ve done for the past two years,” said former Trump campaign aide David Bossie. “We must investigate the investigators.”

CHALLENGES FOR DEMOCRATS

Trump’s path to re-election remains a perilous one. Analysts say he will probably need to win the Midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, just as he did in his improbable 2016 victory, and Democrats are already pouring resources into those states.

Trump will foreshadow his campaign message on Thursday night when he headlines a “Make America Great Again” rally in Michigan.

Trump supporters viewed the Mueller report as a blow to the more than a dozen Democrats who are campaigning for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

“This is very problematic for any Democrat who’s running for president in 2020 that was hoping they would face a weakened or beaten-down President Trump,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said. “In fact, President Trump will likely see a ratings boost coming out of this and a strong tailwind pushing him toward the upcoming election.”

Reuters/Ipsos polling has shown that Americans decided early on in Mueller’s investigation whether they thought Trump was guilty of collusion or not. The polling found few undecided voters.

Brinkley said Democrats will need to adjust their tactics and emphasize their differences with Trump’s record on issues ranging from healthcare and climate change to immigration.

“Some of those charges are going to have to rise to be the main charges against Trump,” he said, noting there was fatigue with the Russia issue.

(Reporting By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ross Colvin and Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” — Letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr

Now that the findings of the Department of Justice have exonerated the president, will Democrats follow their own advice, admit there was no collusion or obstruction and Move On?

The liberal activist organization of that name was founded a generation ago when Congress investigated and tried to impeach President Clinton. Congress didn’t take the advice of legal experts and constitutional scholars then, and unfortunately it looks like Democrats intend to repeat the mistake.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) says regardless of the report’s findings, he will pursue investigations even “broader” than what the special counsel has done with 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, some 500 search warrants and more than $25 million over the last two years.

Democrats and the media should be trying to heal the nation not divide us. Instead, Democrats intend to spend the next two years subpoenaing and dragging every member of Trump’s administration, his family and business associates to testify before their committees.

Nadler says he’s doing it to protect “the rule of law.”

But will House Democrats really respect the institutions and traditions of American jurisprudence? If the past is prelude, the answer to that questions is, sadly, no.

Democrats did away with the presumption of innocence for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Kavanaugh, with his family and the American people paying the price Now, Democrats are now ready to abandon other bedrock principles of American justice.

One of the most basic principles is equality before the law!

The Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. It’s a matter of basic fairness — no one should be victimized by vindictive prosecutors armed with the power of government and $25 million in financial backing of the U.S. Treasury.

Congressional Democrats’ endless investigations, leaks and political machinations violate the spirit of that constitutional prohibition. Americans understand that, no matter what the spin or who stands accused. The constitution guarantees fair and equal justice for every American regardless of who they are!

Democrats want to convict President Trump in the court of public opinion to set the stage for impeaching him. That’s what Rep. Nadler told George Stephanopoulos: “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.” Fortunately Mueller’s exoneration of President Trump will make that extremely difficult to do, despite media persecution and false news stories,

The Democrats are ready to violate another norm of legal precedent by asking Attorney General Barr and the DOJ to release every scrap of paper the special counsel gathered.

Prosecutors normally don’t release confidential material gathered during an investigation out of respect for the privacy of individuals not charged with a crime.

”The normal procedure is that unless there’s a damn good reason, you don’t release grand jury material,” Nadler said a generation ago when he opposed releasing the evidence behind the Ken Starr report.

Nadler and fellow Democrats accused the Judiciary Committee of seeking the background material to build a public case for impeaching President Clinton.

“They don’t think there is enough of a vote for impeachment yet out in the public,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the second ranking Democrat on the committee, said. “So what you have a very one-sided, partisan effort to release material, before the president gets a chance to review it or respond to it, that makes the president look bad.”

Nadler took a page from that playbook and now demands the raw material Mueller obtained to build his own case for impeaching President Trump. Furthermore, he says the White House “should not get an advance look at the report” or the evidence.

That’s quite an about face from the Jerry Nadler of 1998 who fought for Clinton to have time to look at the Starr report. “The president is asking for two days. The Republicans say no,” he said bitterly.

The DOJ does not release such information to protect the innocent. Furthermore, the Trump administration has a legal right to review the report, prepare a response, rebuke any false accusations and information covered by executive privilege. 

As for an impartial hearing, President Trump can expect no better from House Democrats than Senate Democrats gave Judge Kavanaugh.

Chairman Nadler already convicted the president of obstruction of justice before seeing the attorney general’s letter and the Mueller report.

House Democrats don’t care that the special counsel found the president did not collude with the Russians or obstruct justice. They will continue their investigations, attempts to smear the president. Like Javert obsessed with Jean Valjean, Democrats can’t help themselves.

All Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, should be celebrating the fact investigators found no evidence of collusion. However, Democrats won’t take the finding of no collusion or obstruction for an answer.

That tells you they were never pursuing the truth, just a political vendetta and a different outcome for the 2016 election. Their obsession with President Trump will only further divide the nation, not help unite us.

Rep. Nadler says he wants to protect the rule of law and “the institutions we depend on for our democratic form of government.”

But Democrats are weakening those institutions by engaging in relentless political warfare. Voters elected Congress to address the very real challenges our country faces — an opioid epidemic, China’s economic aggression, the crisis on our southern border, the difficulty of raising a family, to name, just a few.

Our system is founded on belief in equal justice under the law. All will be held accountable.

We hope the politicians, intelligence officials, journalists and media executives who fed Americans unfounded speculation, conspiracy theories for the last two years that have done incalculable damage to our country and its institutions will be held accountable.

Preserve the principles of justice on which our incredible country was founded.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is vice chairwoman of America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

American gun owners have once again been reminded that the ultimate goal of U.S. gun control advocates is firearms bans and confiscation. Since the heinous terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, American anti-gun politicians, activists, and media outlets have offered their full-throated support for the New Zealand government’s efforts to ban and confiscate firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

On March 21, the New Zealand government issued an order in council that immediately reclassified certain commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms as “military style semi-automatics,” or MSSAs. The order re-defined MSSAs in statute to include the following,

(a) a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine (other than one designed to hold 0.22-inch or less rimfire cartridges) that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges:

(b) a semi-automatic firearm that is a shotgun and that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

An accompanying order in council offered regulations requiring licensed dealers to alter their records to reflect the new classifications.

MSSAs are heavily restricted in New Zealand and require a firearms licensee to acquire a difficult to obtain category “E” endorsement in order to own them.

However, this is a temporary measure. In a statement to the public, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear that the orders in council were a “transitional measure until the wider ban takes effect,” and further legislation is still being drafted.

Ardern noted that there will be “a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand.” Going further, she noted that, “related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.”

As with Australia’s gun bans, New Zealand’s gun control measures will feature confiscation of currently-owned firearms. Ardern noted that her “cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme.”

Speaking after Ardern, Police Minister Stuart Nash encouraged gun owners to surrender their firearms. Nash went on to say that, “police are gearing up to enable these weapons to be taken out of circulation, they’ll be supported by the New Zealand Defence Force to enable safe storage, transport, and destruction of assault rifles and MSSAs.” The New Zealand Defence Force is the New Zealand military.

Ardern also explained, “The actions announced today are the first step of the Government’s response. We will continue to develop stronger and more effective licensing rules, storage requirements and penalties for not complying with gun regulations.”

New Zealand’s new gun control measures are military-backed confiscation of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

It is important for all freedom-loving Americans to pay close attention to the figures in this country cheering these radical confiscation policies.

Failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for Ardern’s confiscations measures, stating, “Under @jacindaardern’s leadership, New Zealand has banned assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons just six days after the Christchurch mosque attacks. Public servants didn’t stop at offering thoughts and prayers. They chose to act.” In 2015 Clinton expressed her support for Australia-style gun confiscation.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stated via Twitter, “This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted out a video of Ardern’s confiscation announcement, adding, “See. It’s not that hard.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted, “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.”

Offering their support, Moms Demand Action, a subsidiary of the Michael Bloomberg gun control conglomerate Everytown for Gun Safety, tweeted out a Nicholas Kristoff New York Times column cheering Ardern’s actions titled, “New Zealand Shows the U.S. What Leadership Looks Like.”

Everytown frontwoman and former corporate media flack Shannon Watts shared her support for Ardern’s confiscation efforts with multiple tweets.

The New York Times issued an editorial in support of New Zealand’s measures. The piece was in line with the paper’s 2015 editorial that advocated gun confiscation.

Gun confiscation, not “common-sense reform,” is the ultimate goal of gun control advocates. This goal existed long before the Christchurch attack. The recent stateside reaction to the New Zealand government’s actions has only served to further reveal this long-held but oft-concealed position. It is up to all gun rights supporters to ensure that everyone is made aware of U.S. anti-gun advocates’ actual objective and to work against all gun control measures that bring the U.S. closer to that target.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Source: The Daily Caller

Over the past several decades, the think tank world in Washington has led the conservative movement down a path in which it is essentially the president of the local debate society but has precious little impact on public policy outcomes that affect the lives of real Americans. 

Recent criticisms of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol by the Competitive Enterprise Institute demonstrate this clearly. In addition, these criticisms make plain that the same think tank culture has yet to grapple with the ascent of President Trump and all he represents.

The Kigali Amendment is a relatively obscure proposal, but one that would have a significant and positive impact on American manufacturers and their employees.

In the next decade, one billion air-conditioners will be installed around the world, making it a good time to be in the air conditioning business. America has been the global AC leader since American innovation first brought it to market in 1902. The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration industry — or HVACR — is a domestic powerhouse. It is responsible for over 2.5 million American jobs, almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs, and $621 billion of economic output per year. 

Kigali initiates a phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in air conditioning systems and replaces them with new coolants. As it happens, American manufacturers hold the patents on the bulk of those new products. By signing onto Kigali, America will remain the global leader in the industry.

Despite the undeniable advantages Kigali provides to American manufacturers, it deals with a climate-related issue, so the folks at CEI have adjusted their spectacles and straightened their bow ties and have begun to lecture American workers on how terrible it is.  

CEI argues that China gets more lenient treatment under Kigali. While it’s true that China will be permitted to continue producing HFCs under Kigali, as he states, they will not be permitted to sell these products in the U.S if we sign on Kigali. It’s irrelevant how many HFCs China will be permitted to make, let alone for how long, if it’s illegal to sell them. 

Kigali will have a positive impact on U.S. manufacturing and the U.S. economy. A recent study conducted by Inforum and JMS Consulting titled, “Economic Impacts of U.S. Ratification of the Kigali Amendment,” shows is will have a net positive impact on America’s trade imbalance of more than $12.5 billion by 2027.

But China cheats, they argue in their second point. Well, duh. Of course China cheats. They’ve already gotten pinched for dumping cheap coolants into the U.S. market. But that was under a different president. If nothing else, President Trump has shown he will not stand by as China cheats its way to global economic dominance.  The truth is, Kigali stops Chinese cheating. This is a principal reason why the economic impact study cited above found that ratification would lead to $6.5 billion in reduced imports.  

CEI’s third point is their most onerous and sloppy. They claim U.S. companies like Honeywell and Chemours will just manufacture new products in China anyway. Wrong. So wrong, in fact, that their supporting documentation for this fake news states, “On the fluoroproducts side, Chemours plans to shift most production of its Opteon hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant to its new plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, US.”  That story went on to quote Chemours’ CEO saying that the company “will shift most of our production to Corpus Christi as soon as possible.” 

Overall, American companies have invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and expanded domestic production of next generation coolants.  What’s more, Kigali has the support of virtually the entire U.S. business community, large and small.

Donald Trump is a master negotiator whose stated goal as president of the United States is to reconfigure global agreements to benefit America. He isn’t an ideologue. He isn’t concerned with legacy disputes between competing think tanks in Washington. And he’s tired of deals that meet some precious standard for “free market” purity but hurt American workers.  These are some of the reasons people like me, regular working Americans, flocked to his campaign early and stuck with him when the establishment tried to take him down.

I trust that President Trump will send the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for ratification on its merits, where it will be well received by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

Paul Nagy (SouthTrentonGuy) has worked as a conservative activist in New Hampshire for over 30 years. He is the founder and chairman of Americans for Secure Borders, and worked previously as northeast campaign director for Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and as the northeast regional director for the National Christian Coalition.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

A New Mexico Archbishop urged Catholic faithful to stop venerating a ‘spiritually dangerous’ folk saint of death called La Santa Muerte.

John Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, said worship of La Santa Muerte, or Our Lady Of Holy Death, contradicts church teaching because it glorifies death, a characteristic associated with Satan, who the Christian scriptures say “comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” Wester believes that people may be seduced into worshiping La Santa Muerte either because they mistakenly believe that it is a church-sanctioned saint, or because they are simply searching for answers. (RELATED: Faith, Drugs, And Human Sacrifice: A Mexican Folk Religion Has Texas Police Worried)

“It’s really wrong. I think in part, it’s (because) people are looking and searching. It’s a symptom of a search looking for answers,” Wester told The Associated Press.

“Our devotion is to the God of life,” he added.

La Santa Muerte, often depicted as a robed skeleton carrying a scythe in one hand and a globe or scales in the other, is an occult saint popular in Mexico with adherents also in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, California and elsewhere in Latino communities in the U.S.

Devotees touch the figures of Santa Muerte (Saint of Death) before the central altar asking for favors during the main celebration in the market of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, known as Tepito in Mexico City, on November 1, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Devotees touch the figures of Santa Muerte (Saint of Death) before the central altar asking for favors during the main celebration in the market of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, known as Tepito in Mexico City, on November 1, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

While some depict the folk saint as a benign if bizarre figure to whom the poor direct prayers and offerings of candles, fruits and sweets in exchange for provision and fortune, there is a very real dark side to worship of the folk saint. The FBI reports that members of Mexican drug cartels often pray to the figure, asking it to bring harm to law enforcement and rivals. In some cases, cartel and gang members have murdered people in ritualistic killings as offerings to La Santa Muerte.

“For U.S. law enforcement agencies, the rise of a criminalized and dark variant of Santa Muerte worship holds many negative implications,” said Dr. Robert J. Bunker, PhD in an FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. “Of greatest concern, the inspired and ritualistic killings associated with this cult could cross the border and take place in the United States.”

“Over half of the prayers directed at her include petitions to harm other people via curses and death magic,” Bunker added.

While Wester and a few other Catholic bishops in the U.S. have openly denounced La Santa Muerte, Bishop Walter F. Sullivan and Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint, said no other high-ranking Catholic clerics in the U.S. have done so. Chestnut believes they have avoided denouncing the demonic figure because it might contradict their messaging about migrants.

“In Latin America, church officials rebuke Santa Muerte almost weekly,” Chestnut told AP. For more U.S. bishops to attack worship of La Santa Muerte, he said, would risk portraying Mexican migrants as “dangerous and all connected to drug trafficking.”

Wester, however, remains resolute in his stand against La Santa Muerte, whom he said is “spiritually dangerous.”

“It should be completely avoided,” Wester said. “It is a perversion of devotion to the saints.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tore into House Democrats on Sunday, arguing that they absolutely intend to impeach President Donald Trump — and that they don’t even care why.

WATCH:

Cruz appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with guest host Dana Bash on Sunday, immediately following House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, and he pointed out what he felt was telling about Nadler’s comments. (RELATED: Top-Ranking Democrat Says Mueller Report Doesn’t Matter — ‘We Know There Was Collusion)

Listen, if anyone thinks that the Mueller report being concluded is the end of the Democrats’ attempt to take down President Trump, they haven’t been paying attention the last two years. It’s striking as I listened to your interview with Congressman Nadler that he was immediately pivoting away.

He then turned back to Bash, saying, “You asked Congressman Nadler whether the House is going to impeach the president. I’ll answer that for you. Yes. They fully intend to impeach the president and they don’t care about the basis.”

But then Cruz brought up the point he found telling. “Twice Congressman Nadler said something remarkable,” he began. “He said, ‘listen, the special counsel is focused on crimes. We’re not all that concerned with crimes. Our focus, this is Democrats in the House, is much broader than crimes.’ What they are basically saying is they are going to impeach the president for being Donald Trump. And they don’t care about the evidence.”

Cruz concluded by saying that the Mueller report should be made public and that we should all reserve judgment until we have seen what is actually in it.

He also called for Democrats to stop “obsessively trying to destroy the president and this administration,” saying, “We ought to be coming together and solving the real problems, not just engage in relentless political warfare.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi
FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 3, 2019. Picture taken January 3, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi will commit up to 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to reduce its reliance on oil revenue.

Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.

The emirate launched a 50 billion dirham ($13.6 billion) stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic.

The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a 500 million dirham fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.

The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.

Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.

Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.

Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.

Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the 1 billion dirham commitment, Ajami said.

Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.

(Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA — Official Opposition Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s antics on the world stage have damaged the country’s reputation around the world.

“I think it’s clear under Justin Trudeau that our foreign policy has been set way back. He liked to say when he was first elected that ‘Canada’s back’ — well he’s put us back now after years of disasters on the world stage,” Scheer told an audience of about 1,500 at the Manning Networking Conference on Saturday in Ottawa.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer discusses Canadian politics with CTV News anchor Mercedes Stephenson at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 23, 2019. Daily Caller photo by Janet Krayden.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer (R) discusses Canadian politics with Global News anchor Mercedes Stephenson at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 23, 2019. Daily Caller photo by Janet Krayden.

One of those “disasters,” Scheer maintained, was “Trudeau’s trip to India,” a widely scorned diplomatic and trade mission that featured many photo ops in traditional Indian dress. “I don’t think they believe they’re dealing with a serious person,” he said.

On the increasing divide between Canada and China, the opposition leader cited Trudeau’s infamous declaration that he most admired China’s command economy, saying, “We need a prime minister who doesn’t admire the basic dictatorship of China.” (RELATED: China Calls Trudeau ‘Irresponsible’ For Criticizing Canadian’s Death Sentence)

Moving to domestic issues, Scheer promised to balance the federal budget, rejecting Trudeau’s contention that “the budget will balance itself.”

Scheer suggested the prime minister would continue to spend more money than he takes in because “that’s basic economics that Trudeau doesn’t understand.”

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

Scheer said Trudeau’s “celebrity status … and the facade is falling and the real Justin Trudeau is coming out,” which makes it easier for the opposition leader define himself. He was referring to a judicial interference scandal where Trudeau is alleged to have intervened to help a major Quebec contracting firm SLC-Lavalin avoid prosecution on bribery and fraud charges. (RELATED: Calls For Trudeau’s Resignation After Explosive Testimony From Former AG)

Scheer dismissed Trudeau’s budget that was released this week as an attempt to “change the channel on the corruption channel he is embroiled in” while “ramping up massive amounts of new spending that leads to massive new deficits, all of which leads to new taxes if he is re-elected.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA — Official Opposition Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s antics on the world stage have damaged the country’s reputation around the world.

“I think it’s clear under Justin Trudeau that our foreign policy has been set way back. He liked to say when he was first elected that ‘Canada’s back’ — well he’s put us back now after years of disasters on the world stage,” Scheer told an audience of about 1,500 at the Manning Networking Conference on Saturday in Ottawa.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer discusses Canadian politics with CTV News anchor Mercedes Stephenson at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 23, 2019. Daily Caller photo by Janet Krayden.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer (R) discusses Canadian politics with Global News anchor Mercedes Stephenson at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 23, 2019. Daily Caller photo by Janet Krayden.

One of those “disasters,” Scheer maintained, was “Trudeau’s trip to India,” a widely scorned diplomatic and trade mission that featured many photo ops in traditional Indian dress. “I don’t think they believe they’re dealing with a serious person,” he said.

On the increasing divide between Canada and China, the opposition leader cited Trudeau’s infamous declaration that he most admired China’s command economy, saying, “We need a prime minister who doesn’t admire the basic dictatorship of China.” (RELATED: China Calls Trudeau ‘Irresponsible’ For Criticizing Canadian’s Death Sentence)

Moving to domestic issues, Scheer promised to balance the federal budget, rejecting Trudeau’s contention that “the budget will balance itself.”

Scheer suggested the prime minister would continue to spend more money than he takes in because “that’s basic economics that Trudeau doesn’t understand.”

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

Scheer said Trudeau’s “celebrity status … and the facade is falling and the real Justin Trudeau is coming out,” which makes it easier for the opposition leader define himself. He was referring to a judicial interference scandal where Trudeau is alleged to have intervened to help a major Quebec contracting firm SLC-Lavalin avoid prosecution on bribery and fraud charges. (RELATED: Calls For Trudeau’s Resignation After Explosive Testimony From Former AG)

Scheer dismissed Trudeau’s budget that was released this week as an attempt to “change the channel on the corruption channel he is embroiled in” while “ramping up massive amounts of new spending that leads to massive new deficits, all of which leads to new taxes if he is re-elected.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is preparing to introduce a “Green Real Deal” resolution to contrast with Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, according to Politico.

Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her resolution on Feb. 7 and immediately faced criticism for its scope and potential cost, which reached toward tens of trillions of dollars. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Bungled Green new Deal’s Release. Her Staff Took Its Webpage Offline)

A draft of Gaetz’s resolution, obtained by Politico, recognizes risks to the U.S. from climate change, citing Department of Defense reports that identify certain military assets and bases as at risk to rising sea levels and increasing severe weather events, such as hurricanes.

“Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth,” the draft says.

Energy lobbyists have seemingly received copies of Gaetz’s resolution are beginning to line up behind it in support.

“Congressman Gaetz deserves to be applauded for taking the lead in crafting a bold resolution that identifies actionable climate solutions that will benefit America’s economy, environment, and national security,” Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, said in a statement.

Gaetz’s resolution pushes market-driven innovation and competition from companies developing green energy technology. It does not set any emission reduction goals.

The draft pledges “to reduce and modernize regulations so that clean energy technologies can be deployed, and compete.”

In contrast to the Green New Deal, the draft Green Real Deal resolution takes a positive view on nuclear energy. Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution did not mention the energy sector, causing some controversy among pro-nuclear energy experts.

Gaetz’s legislation takes a wide-ranging approach to cutting emissions through investing in fossil fuel carbon capture technology, new and updated nuclear and hydropower placements, making the power grid more efficient and granting energy companies improved access to public lands.

The resolution pledges to “empower individuals, states, and the marketplace” to develop and disseminate new technology that will cut the United States’ carbon emissions.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Presidential candidate for GERB party Tsacheva holds her ballot paper during a presidential election in Pleven
Presidential candidate for GERB party Tsetska Tsacheva holds her ballot paper during a presidential election in Pleven, Bulgaria, November 13, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

March 23, 2019

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva resigned on Saturday following media reports that she and three other ruling center-right GERB party politicians have bought luxurious apartments at below market prices, the government’s press office said.

Tsacheva has denied any wrongdoing and asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the terms on which she had acquired a specious apartment in an upmarket Sofia neighborhood last year.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov accepted her resignation after meeting with her early on Saturday, the press office said in a statement.

“The two discussed the real estate deal linked with her name. Minister Tsacheva told the prime minister that she quit and did not want the tensions [around the deal] to affect the government’s work,” the statement said.

The Anti-Corruption Commission launched a probe on Friday into the properties purchased last year from the same developer.

One of the four politicians, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, leader of GERB’s parliamentary group, has also denied any wrongdoing. But Deputy Sports Minister Vanya Koleva resigned on Saturday over the deals.

The issue came to light earlier this week after the Bulgarian section of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the non-governmental Anti-Corruption Fund published their investigation into the property deals. Their report was picked up by other Bulgarian media outlets.

Speaking to journalists in the southern city of Stara Zagora, Tsacheva reiterated she had demanded the anti-corruption probe herself as she had no concerns about the outcome.

She rejected that she had committed an “abuse of office”, adding: “But while the probe lasts I do not want my involvement this case to weigh on the GERB party and the government.”

The reports have outraged many in the poorest European Union member state and Borissov has said that anyone who has breached the laws will have to deal with the consequences.

The news comes as political parties are preparing for EU parliament elections in May. Opinion polls show a narrow lead for GERB over opposition Socialists. The GERB-led government took office in May 2017 for a four-year term.

Despite pledges by consecutive governments to uproot widespread graft, Bulgaria ranks as the most corrupt EU member state, according to anti-corruption group Transparency International. Despite this, it has not yet sent a senior official behind bars on corruption charges.

Analysts say high-level corruption is the main obstacle to Bulgaria’s ambition to attract more foreign investment or to join the EU’s Schengen zone for free travel.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

A general view shows solar panels to produce renewable energy at the Urbasolar photovoltaic park in Gardanne
A general view shows solar panels to produce renewable energy at the Urbasolar photovoltaic park in Gardanne, France, June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

March 23, 2019

By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (LPC) – Global standards set in place by loan trade associations this week that tie syndicated loan pricing to companies’ sustainability performance are expected to stimulate the budding U.S. green lending market.

Less than a handful of U.S. companies have issued sustainability-linked loans since the first deal for natural gas utility CMS Energy was completed last June, far lagging firms in Europe which are leading the global push to improve environmental performance.

The new sustainability standards, which were issued on Wednesday by the Loan Market Association (LMA), the Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) and the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA), are expected to bolster borrowers’ and investors’ confidence in green lending. 

Sustainability-linked loans are any kind of loans that incentivize borrowers with margin reductions or increases depending on their ability to meet pre-set environmental performance targets.

A lack of direction and consistency in being able to identify and measure these goals has been stifling growth so far, bankers said.

“By having pricing tied to a borrower’s improvement in sustainability performance, it directly incentivizes borrowers to make improvements,” said Tess Virmani, the LSTA’s associate general counsel. “If market interest keeps gathering steam, then the sustainability-linked loans will find a good home in the corporate loan market.”

One of the main differences between sustainability-linked loans and green loans, which are linked to use of proceeds, is that they can be raised for general corporate purposes rather than specific projects. Loans for general corporate purposes are more widely issued, which is likely to boost sustainability-linked loans.  

Key characteristics of sustainability-linked deals include disclosing the loan’s tie to the company’s overall social responsibility strategy; having sustainability pricing targets arranged between borrower and lender; reporting on sustainability performance and external reviews, according to the new lending principles.

TESTING THE WATERS

Global water technology company Xylem Inc became the fourth U.S. company to issue a sustainability-linked loan, with an $800 million revolving credit in early March. Xylem is the first general industrial company to commit to reducing its environmental footprint this way.

The four U.S. sustainability-linked loans that have come to the market so far — two this year and two last year — tally roughly $8 billion. Banks are targeting the sector as a growth area as they seek to improve their own credentials. 

“Banks want to show their growing commitment to sustainable development goals, and this is one of the products they might use to show that,” said Anna Zubets, vice president at Moody’s Investors Service.

Last year, sustainability-linked loans issued globally topped $36 billion, led by European companies, according to Moody’s.

Global issuance in the more mature green bond market, in contrast, could jump 20 percent to $200 billion this year, the rating agency said.

“The U.S. is a little behind on the discussion but you see it happening here as well. More than 80 percent of the S&P 500 listed companies are now issuing sustainability reports and it becomes a bigger discussion among shareholders and investors and asset managers, which is what we see among our client base,” said Anne van Riel, head of sustainable finance at ING.

“I expect that that will automatically carry over to more sustainable financing, whether green loans, green bonds or sustainable-linked loans.”

ING was the sustainability coordinator for Xylem’s deal, and helped the company to decide reasonable but ambitious performance targets to guide loan pricing.

Interest margins on Xylem’s general corporate purpose revolving credit will be based on social and corporate governance ratings by independent provider Sustainalytics. Citigroup, JP Morgan, ING, BNP Paribas and Wells Fargo were lead arrangers and bookrunners.

Pricing is initially based on ratings, opening at 110 basis points over Libor with a 15-basis points facility fee, and then will be adjusted up or down by up to 5 basis points based on its ability to achieve predetermined sustainability targets, according to a regulatory filing.

The other sustainability-linked loans completed in the United States so far include global logistics real estate group Prologis Inc in January, renewable energy and utility company Avangrid Inc last July and electric and natural gas utility CMS Energy and its main unit Consumers Energy last June.

“Some treasurers and CFOs are a bit more conservative, and when they see their peers doing it or see more market activity they will also follow,” said van Riel.

Having clear standards for the asset class is a way to hold management accountable for promises made, and make green identification more than a marketing tool.

“In order for money to continue to flow into these kinds of products, reporting standards are going to have to develop and mature so the market can be credible and management can be held accountable for goals,” Zubets said,

“Investors can have trust that if something is labeled as green it is actually going to deliver an impact.”

(Reporting By Lynn Adler; Editing by Tessa Walsh and Michelle Sierra)

Source: OANN

Connecticut appears to treat gun owners differently than anti-gun activists.

Last week, an anti-gun activist was caught allegedly threatening a Connecticut politician.

“If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA,” a photo of a text message she was in the midst of creating revealed.

The sender of the text was escorted out but faced no further punishment.

“We investigated it and we didn’t feel there was a threat,” Lt. Glen Richards of the Connecticut Capitol Police stated.

When a Connecticut gun owner made similar private threats, however, the full force of the law was employed against him.

On Aug. 29, 2014, Edward “Ted” Taupier, of Cromwell, Connecticut, was part of an email discussion when he said this about his divorced judge, Elizabeth Bozzuto: “Bozzuto lives in Watertown with her boys and Na! … There [are] 245 [yards] between her master bedroom and a cemetery that provides cover and concealment. They could try and put me in jail but that would start the ringing of a bell that can be undone.”

At the time he wrote the email, Bozzuto had ordered no contact between Taupier and his two children for more than three months, he told The Daily Caller.

Bozzuto was not one of the recipients of the email; instead, it was a discussion between other court litigants and activists.

One of the recipients, Jennifer Verraneault, days later shared the email with an individual at the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Society, a state legislator and others. A copy made its way to the Connecticut Judicial Marshals before Bozzuto received a screenshot, Taupier said.

Verraneault and Bozzuto did not return emails for comment.

This triggered an investigation and on Aug. 29, 2014, the Connecticut State Police filed a risk warrant against Taupier.

That risk warrant cited Taupier’s gun collection: “That an inquiry through the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Special Licensing and Firearm Unit database revealed Edward Taupier has a valid Connecticut pistol permit and twelve firearms.”

“If a referral was made to the Connecticut State Police it would have to be investigated fully,” a representative of the Connecticut State Police told the Caller, noting further that a risk warrant was determined to be appropriate.

Risk warrants are the result of so-called red flag laws and Connecticut was the first to pass such a law in 1999.

They allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals deemed dangerous without that individual being charged with a crime as long as a judge signs a warrant.

The risk warrant against Taupier was as a result of Connecticut’s “red flag law.” Taupier said the Connecticut State Police used overwhelming force to execute the warrant.

“It took 15 members of SEAL Team Six to kill Bin Laden, but 75 to 100 SWAT members to arrest me,” Taupier said.

Though not charged with a crime, Taupier’s guns were confiscated, he was taken into custody and Taupier said his bond was in excess of $1 million. He was also placed on two ankle monitors with a GPS device monitoring.

Connecticut Judge David Gold, who ordered the restrictions, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ironically, Judge Bozzuto recused herself from Taupier’s divorce and the judge who replaced her ordered visitation for Taupier starting in December 2014.

Even though the risk warrant was later dismissed, Taupier was kept on ankle monitors and his guns stayed confiscated until he was formally charged on Nov. 14, 2014. Taupier opted for a bench trial, but before a decision could be made, the U.S. Supreme Court made a pertinent decision.

In Elonis vs. United States, the court heard another case involving a threat made in a divorce. In the case, Anthony Elonis said on Facebook, referring to his ex-wife, “Took all the strength I had not to turn the bitch ghost. Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, reversed a lower court and said those words did not constitute a “true threat.” Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion and argued that because Elonis did not have mens rea, a guilty mind, it was not enough to convict.

Roberts stated:

In light of the foregoing, Elonis’s conviction cannot stand. The jury was instructed that the government need prove only that a reasonable person would regard Elonis’s communications as threats, and that was an error. Federal criminal liability generally does not turn solely on the results of an act without considering the defendant’s mental state. That understanding ‘took deep and early root in American soil’ and Congress left it in here: Under Section 875, “wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal.”

Judge Gold was not convinced: “The objective test described in Krijger as the means of determining what constitutes a true threat continues to be good law in Connecticut even after Elonis.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. waits for the arrival of Former president George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters

Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. waits for the arrival of Former president George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters

State v. Krijger, the case cited by Judge Gold, also appears to be a poor precedent because the threat was made directly to the person.

“The defendant was alleged to have made threatening statements to a town attorney immediately after the conclusion of a court hearing at which the town attorney advised the court of the town’s intention to seek to impose fines against the defendant for his continued zoning violations.” Judge Gold stated in his decision.

Even though the Krijger threat was made directly to the person, unlike in Taupier’s case, was still found guilty.

Judge Gold ruled that Taupier’s private email did constitute a “true threat” the legal standard he used to convict:

Using rhetorical embellishments to drive home the point, the defendant’s language was the rough equivalent of “I am going to shoot Judge Bozzuto and there is nothing she can do to stop me” — thereby reasonably suggesting that the defendant had become desperate enough not only to make the threat but also to carry it out.

Judge Gold even noted law enforcement tested Taupier’s guns: “Trooper Matthew Eagleston, of the Connecticut State Police, a firearms expert, inspected and test fired those four weapons (from those taken from Taupier) and concluded that each was fully operable and capable of accurately firing a projectile 245 yards.”

Sunny Kelley was one of the recipients of the email and she disagrees.

“Ted was convicted for his private thoughts,” she told the Caller. Kelley was one several parents featured in a 2018 story from the Caller. She has been barred from seeing her son since 2012.

Taupier was ordered to serve 18 months in prison but allowed on bail while his case was appealed.

In 2017, he made what law enforcement determined was another threat when he wrote on Facebook, “KILL COURT EMPLOYEES AND SAVE THE COUNTRY.”

He was taken into custody but eventually struck a deal, which did not add any prison time. He was released from prison on Dec. 24, 2018. While in prison, his parental rights were terminated.

“I was brought into court handcuffed and shackled,” Taupier said.

“Until further order of the court, the defendant shall have no in-person access with either of the children, and he shall not communicate or attempt to communicate with them in any manner, including by telephone, email, text message, video or internet call, social media, or by any other written or electronic means,” the order stated.

The court justified its order by concluding that “the contact between the children and their father since the date of judgment has been harmful to them. The father argues that he was only trying to teach the children to question authority. In reality, he was abusing his own parental authority to enlist them as foot soldiers in his war against the family court system.”

His case also nearly sparked a new law. In 2017, then Connecticut Democratic Rep. William Tong introduced a law that would increase the penalties for threats to a judge.

Connecticut State House in Hartford, CT (Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Connecticut State House in Hartford, CT (Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

“In one especially chilling case, a top judge in the family court system has been subjected to repeated threats sent by email and recorded on YouTube from a man who said he was going to train his children to kill judges,” The Hartford Courant said in covering debate on the law, presumably referring to Taupier.

Taupier said he did make YouTube videos but never said he was going to train his children to kill judges.

Daniela Altimari, who wrote the story, did not return an email.

Tong is now the Connecticut attorney general, and his director of communications, Elizabeth Benton, confirmed Taupier’s case inspired the proposed law, which ultimately did not pass.

While Taupier has been released, he continues to be on an ankle monitor and has never received his guns back.

Taupier said he feels the real crime has not been prosecuted: “[Connecticut] spent millions prosecuting me while they ignored a real crime.”

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Finance Minister Carlos Urzua speaks during a news conference to announce a plan to strengthen finances of state oil firm Pemex, at the National Palace in Mexico City
FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s Finance Minister Carlos Urzua speaks during a news conference to announce a plan to strengthen finances of state oil firm Pemex, at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 15, 2019. Picture taken February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

March 22, 2019

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – Mexico is developing rules that would cap the amount of cash that can used to buy real estate, Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Friday, part of a push to reduce the use of physical currency in a country rife with money laundering and corruption.

Urzua, speaking at a banking convention in the resort town of Acapulco, said the government was also considering rules that would require all its payments and collections to be processed electronically.

Also under discussion is the creation of incentives for professionals such as doctors, lawyers and architects to accept electronic payments over cash, he said.

Nearly 57 percent of people in Mexico work off the books, according to government data. Millions lack bank accounts and an estimated 90 percent of all transactions are done in cash.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, has made it one of his priorities to draw more people into the formal economy and reduce cash in circulation to cut down on the laundering of proceeds from the drug trade and other illicit activities.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City and Dave Graham in Acapulco; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Trump's hosts a meeting with Caribbean leaders at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida
U.S. President Donald Trumps, seated with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan (C) and National Security adviser John Bolton speaks during a meeting with the leaders of The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Saint Lucia at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 22, 2019

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The closure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election does not mark the end of legal worries for President Donald Trump and people close to him. Other ongoing investigations and litigation are focusing on issues including his businesses and financial dealings, personal conduct, charitable foundation and inaugural committee.

These investigations, pursued by prosecutors at the federal and state level, could result in charges beyond those brought in Mueller’s investigation or civil liability. The special counsel on Friday submitted his confidential report on the investigation to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who must decide on how much of it to make public.

The U.S. Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president cannot face criminal charges, so such a case against Trump would unlikely while he is in office even if there were evidence of wrongdoing. Some legal experts have argued that the department is wrong and that a president is not immune from prosecution. Either way, Trump potentially could face charges once he is out of office.

Here is an explanation of some criminal investigations and civil lawsuits still underway.

MUELLER’S CRIMINAL CASES

Mueller charged 34 individuals and three companies. Several of those cases resulted in guilty pleas and one case went to trial, with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort convicted in August 2018 of eight criminal counts including bank fraud and tax fraud. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January 2019 and pleaded not guilty but his trial is still pending. There are other cases involving indicted Russians that have not gone to trial. Other prosecutors within the Justice Department will likely take over criminal cases begun by Mueller, legal experts said.

BUSINESS PRACTICES AND FINANCIAL DEALINGS

Trump may face significant peril from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to legal experts. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in Feb. 27 congressional testimony that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is examining Trump’s business practices and financial dealings. Cohen already has implicated Trump in campaign finance law violations to which he pleaded guilty in August 2018 as part of the Southern District of New York investigation.

Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws by arranging, at Trump’s direction, “hush money” payments shortly before the 2016 presidential election to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal to prevent damage to Trump’s candidacy. Both women said they had sexual relationships with Trump more than a decade ago. He has denied that.

Prosecutors said the payments constituted illegal campaign contributions intended to influence the election. Under federal election laws, such donations cannot exceed $2,700 and need to be publicly disclosed. Daniels received $130,000. McDougal received $150,000.

The New York investigation has involved long-time Trump ally David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, who admitted to paying McDougal for the rights to her story and then suppressing it to influence the election, an arrangement called “catch and kill.”

In his Feb. 27 hearing, Cohen said he was in “constant contact” with Manhattan federal prosecutors and said other crimes and wrongdoing by Trump are being investigated by them, though he did not offer details. Cohen said he could not testify about the nature of his last conversation with Trump in early 2018 because it was under investigation by the federal prosecutors in New York.

NEW YORK STATE CHARGES AGAINST MANAFORT

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is exploring criminal charges against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, over financial crimes related to unpaid state taxes and possibly loans. In cases bought by Mueller, Manafort in 2018 was convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts in Virginia and pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges in Washington. He was sentenced to a combined 7-1/2 years in prison in the two cases. Trump has not ruled out granting Manafort a pardon. The president would not be able to pardon Manafort if he is convicted of charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney because they would not be federal crimes. However, New York has broad double jeopardy protections that usually prevent the state from prosecuting a person for crimes arising from the same criminal conduct the federal government has prosecuted before.

SUMMER ZERVOS DEFAMATION SUIT

A defamation lawsuit against Trump by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his reality television show “The Apprentice,” continues in New York state court after a judge in 2018 allowed it to proceed. Zervos sued Trump after he called her and other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct liars and retweeted a post labeling her claims a hoax.

Trump has agreed to provide written answers to questions from Zervos by Sept. 28, according to a court filing.

Zervos accused Trump of kissing her against her will at his New York office in 2007 and later groping her at a meeting at a hotel in California. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances against them years before he entered politics.

Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for Trump, had argued that the lawsuit unconstitutionally impedes the president from performing his duties. An appeals court rejected that argument on March 14 by a 3-2 vote. Kasowitz said he would appeal the decision to the state’s highest court.

Separately, two lawsuits against Trump brought by adult film star Stormy Daniels were dismissed.

THE TRUMP FOUNDATION

A lawsuit filed by the New York state Attorney General’s Office already led the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was presented as the charitable arm of Trump’s business empire, to agree in December 2018 to dissolve, and the litigation continues.

The state is seeking an order banning Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity. Trump has said the lawsuit was concocted by “sleazy New York Democrats.” The state’s Democratic attorney general accused the foundation of being “engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” in violation of federal law.

The attorney general’s office alleged Trump and his family members used the charity to pay off his legal debts and purchase personal items. The foundation agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision.

“EMOLUMENTS” LAWSUIT

Trump is accused in a lawsuit filed by the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution through his businesses’ dealings with foreign governments.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on March 19 in the Trump administration’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s 2018 rulings allowing the case to proceed.

The Constitution’s “emoluments clauses” bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments and the governments of U.S. states without congressional approval. The lawsuit stated that because Trump did not divested himself of his business empire, spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington amounts to unconstitutional gifts, or “emoluments,” to the president.

TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 accepted illegal donations from foreigners, misused funds or brokered special access to the administration for donors.

Federal election law prohibits foreigners from donating to U.S. political campaigns or inaugural committees, and corruption laws ban donors from making contributions in exchange for political favors.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in December 2018 that the president was not involved in his inaugural committee. The $107 million raised by the committee, which was chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to U.S. Federal Election Commission filings.

IMPEACHMENT

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office by Congress through the impeachment process for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives acts as the accuser – voting on whether to bring specific charges such as obstruction of justice – and the Senate then conducts a trial with House members acting as prosecutors and the individual senators serving as jurors. A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate to convict and remove.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington after Special Counsel Mueller handed in report on Trump-Russia investigation in W
The U.S. Capitol is seen after Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in a keenly awaited report on his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election has ensnared dozens of people, including several advisers to President Donald Trump and a series of Russian nationals and companies.

Rod Rosenstein, the No. 2 U.S. Justice Department official, in May 2017 appointed Mueller to look into Russian interference, whether members of Trump’s campaign coordinated with Moscow officials and whether the Republican president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe. Mueller has charged 34 people and three companies.

Trump denies collusion and obstruction. Russia denies election interference.

Mueller has handed in a report on his investigation, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

The following are those who have pleaded guilty or have been indicted in Mueller’s inquiry. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2RwJarW)

PAUL MANAFORT

Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, guilty of five counts of tax fraud, was sentenced to a combined 7-1/2 years in prison in two cases brought by Mueller in which he was convicted by a jury in Virginia in August 2018 and pleaded guilty a month later in Washington.

In Virginia, he was found guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Manafort, who prosecutors said tried to conceal from the U.S. government millions of dollars he was paid as a political consultant for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy in a separate case in Washington and agreed to cooperate with Mueller. The Washington case had focused on accusations of money laundering and failing to report foreign bank accounts, among other charges.

A judge on Feb. 13 ruled that Manafort had breached his agreement to cooperate with Mueller by lying to prosecutors about three matters pertinent to the Russia probe including his interactions with a business partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, who they have said has ties to Russian intelligence.

MICHAEL COHEN

Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty in August 2018 to crimes including orchestrating “hush money” payments before the 2016 election to women who have said they had sexual encounters with Trump, violating campaign laws. That case was handled by federal prosecutors in New York, not Mueller’s office.

As part of a separate agreement with Mueller’s team, Cohen pleaded guilty in November 2018 to lying to Congress about negotiations concerning a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, a project that never materialized.

Cohen is due to report to prison on May 6 to begin serving a three-year prison sentence.

Cohen in February 2019 testified at a public hearing before a House of Representatives committee. He accused Trump of approving the “hush money” payments and knowing in advance about the 2016 release by the WikiLeaks website of emails that prosecutors have said were stolen by Russia to harm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. He said Trump implicitly directed him to lie about the Moscow real estate project.

He promised to keep cooperating with prosecutors and made multiple closed-door appearances before congressional panels.

MICHAEL FLYNN

Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month in early 2017, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during Trump’s presidential transition and agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

Trump fired him as national security adviser after it emerged that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his dealings with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. His sentencing is pending.

ROGER STONE

The longtime Trump ally and presidential campaign adviser was charged in January 2019 with seven criminal counts including obstruction of an official proceeding, witness tampering and making false statements, pleading not guilty.

His trial date has been set for Nov. 5.

Prosecutors said Stone shared with members of the Trump campaign team advance knowledge of the plan by WikiLeaks to release the stolen Democratic emails. Prosecutors also accused him of trying to interfere with a witness, a radio host who matched the profile of Randy Credico.

RICK GATES

The former deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign, Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators. He agreed to cooperate with Mueller and testified as a prosecution witness against Manafort, his former business partner. His sentencing is pending.

KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK

A Manafort aide in Ukraine and a political operative described by prosecutors as linked to Russian intelligence, Kilimnik was charged in June 2018 with tampering with witnesses about their past lobbying for Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.

Prosecutors said in January 2019 that Manafort shared political polling data with Kilimnik in 2016, providing an indication that Trump’s campaign may have tried to coordinate with Russians.

TWELVE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS

Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2018, accused of hacking the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations as part of a Russian scheme to release emails damaging to Clinton during the 2016 race. They covertly monitored employee computers and planted malicious code, as well as stealing emails and other documents, according to the indictment.

THIRTEEN RUSSIAN NATIONALS, THREE COMPANIES

Thirteen Russians and three Russian companies were indicted in Mueller’s investigation in February 2018, accused of taking part in an elaborate campaign to sow discord in the United States ahead of the 2016 election and harm Clinton’s candidacy in order to boost Trump. The companies included: the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based propaganda arm known for trolling on social media; Concord Management and Consulting; and Concord Catering.

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS

The former Trump campaign adviser was sentenced in September 2018 to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, including a professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton.

ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN

A lawyer who once worked closely with Manafort and Gates, Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty in February 2018 to lying to Mueller’s investigators about contacts with a Trump campaign official. Van Der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men, was sentenced in April 2018 to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000.

RICHARD PINEDO

Pinedo was not involved with the Trump campaign, but in February 2018 pleaded guilty to identity fraud in a case related to the Mueller investigation for helping Russian conspirators launder money, purchase Facebook ads and pay for supplies.

He was sentenced in October 2018 to six months in jail and six months of home detention.

(Compiled by Susan Heavey, Sarah N. Lynch, Jan Wolfe; Editing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

A headline in Reason Magazine said it all: “Have Gun, Can’t Travel.”

That’s the plight of New York City “premises licensees” under one of the most bizarre and oppressive gun control laws in the nation.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has that law in its sights.

In January, the high court agreed to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upholding the regulation against a challenge under the Second Amendment and other constitutional provisions. The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York.

Should the court resolve the case on Second Amendment grounds, it will be the first time since McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010 that the Supreme Court applied that provision to a gun control law.

Even many gun control advocates probably don’t expect New York City’s regulation to fare any better before the high court than the handguns bans from Washington, D.C. and Chicago did in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Like those laws, the handgun travel ban is an outlier.

Most of the suspense and speculation instead revolve around whether the court will resolve the case narrowly or establish more generally applicable principles that could broadly be applied to other gun control laws.

But the story of New York City’s defiance of the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s renewed interest in reviewing overreaching gun control demonstrate how the steadfast activism of the NRA and our five million members continues to play a vital role in securing our nation’s constitutional legacy.

New York City’s handgun laws are a case study of the strange and often contradictory thinking of the nation’s most fervent gun control advocates.

The system is designed to make obtaining the license necessary to acquire and own handguns as difficult and expensive as possible for the ordinary applicant.

It dates back to the enactment of New York’s Sullivan Act in 1911 when its proponents – including the New York Times – openly promoted it as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of Italian immigrants.

Commenting on what was supposedly the first conviction under the law – of Italian immigrant Marino Rossi, who claimed to be an honest working man carrying a revolver for self-defense – the Times wrote on Sept. 29, 1911:

Judge FOSTER did well in sentencing to one year in Sing Sing MARINO ROSSI, who carried a revolver because, as he said, it was the custom of himself and his hot-headed countrymen to have weapons concealed upon their persons. The Judge’s warning to the Italian community was timely and exemplary.

Consistent with this discriminatory outlook, the law allows licensing officials a wide degree of discretion in determining who possesses the requisite “good moral character” and, in some cases, “proper cause” for a license.

It also provides for different types of licenses, including “premises licenses,” which allow the holder to “have and possess [a handgun] in his dwelling” and “carry licenses,” which bestow some latitude to possess or carry the handgun beyond one’s own residence.

New York City supposedly provides for both types of licenses.

But in reality, the only applicants who can get a New York City carry license are the rich and famous or the especially well-connected. The licensing system has repeatedly spawned corruption scandals and prosecutions over the years.

The best an ordinary New York City resident can realistically hope for is a premises license, yet even that requires a substantial investment of time, money, and self-disclosure.

As of January, the mandatory application fee for a three-year premises license was $340, not counting a separate $88.25 fingerprinting fee.

Applicants must register online with the city and complete a lengthy application form, which includes the uploading of numerous documents. Besides providing information about prior arrests, convictions, summonses, and orders of protection, applicants must disclose employment and residential timelines and any history of “mental/physical conditions and any medications taken in connection therewith.”

Paper applications have been prohibited since January 1, 2018. Low income residents who lack ready access to computer equipment, including digital scanners and high-speed Internet access, are out of luck.

After the online application is completed, the New York Police Department (NYPD) License Division will schedule a date for the applicant to appear in person during business hours to pay the required fees, get fingerprinted, and provide hard copies of the same documents that were already submitted digitally.

Once the application is reviewed by the Licensing Division, the applicant may be required to appear on subsequent occasions to submit additional documentation.

In any case, when the application itself is considered complete, all applicants must appear for an in-person interview with a licensing official.

Applicants can expect a decision from the Licensing Division, according to its website, “[w]ithin approximately six months of receipt of your handgun application, and all required documents/forms.”

Unfortunately, none of these requirements is specifically at issue in the case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Even more unfortunately, most of them have been upheld by lower state and federal courts in New York. They do, however, form the backdrop for the Supreme Court’s deliberations.

For now, the issue before the Supreme Court is the circumstances in which premises licensees can travel with their own firearms.

New York City currently allows them to do so only for specified purposes and only to one of seven approved shooting ranges in the city, which in some cases require advanced written permission from the NYPD. In all cases, the firearms must be unloaded and in a locked container, with any ammunition stored separately.

The plaintiffs in the case, however, wish to travel with their lawfully licensed handguns to ranges outside the city for use in training or competition. One plaintiff wants to be able to take his lawfully licensed handgun back and forth between his New York City residence and his second home in upstate New York.

These are all prohibited by New York City’s rules.

It takes an especially zealous gun control advocate to even think up such ludicrous regulations, much less to argue them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, it appears that New York City’s transport ban may be the first and only one of its kind in U.S. history. That does not bode well for the city’s position that it is nevertheless a commonsense measured aimed at promoting public safety.

Even taking the city’s arguments at face value, it appears the real reason for the law is simply to exercise a maniacal level of scrutiny and control over Gotham’s lawful handgun owners.

In its brief urging the Supreme Court not to hear the case, the city noted that it used to have a “target license” that allowed for holders to transport their locked, unloaded guns to NYPD-approved ranges outside New York City. What it discovered, however, was that it was difficult as a practical matter to determine whether licensees who ventured outside the city with their own handguns were actually doing so for NYPD-approved reasons.

Notably, the city did not go so far as to claim there were any violent crimes or other harmful behavior committed by traveling target licensees. City officials instead apparently expect the court to believe that any movement of a licensed handgun that has not been specifically preapproved and documented by the NYPD is inherently dangerous, even if done for innocent reasons.

Thus, premises licensees can only practice at or compete at NYPD-approved shooting ranges within the city itself (and at big city prices). These facilities, in turn, “are required to maintain a roster listing the names and addresses of all persons who have used the range and the date and hour that they used it and to make those records available for inspection by NYPD during their hours of operation.” This underscores that owning a gun in New York City is a bureaucratically administered privilege, not a fundamental right.

For nearly 10 years, lower courts have upheld almost every sort of gun control law imaginable, while the Supreme Court has not taken up another Second Amendment case.

Thanks to the work of NRA members like you, President Donald Trump has appointed two justices to the high court who take the Constitution’s original meaning seriously.

Time will tell, but that will hopefully mean the Supreme Court is finally poised to accord our right to keep and bear arms the respect it deserves.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Source: The Daily Caller

A building that houses an office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is pictured in Washington
One of the buildings that houses an office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is seen in southwest Washington, U.S., March 21, 2019. Picture taken March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Here is a timeline of significant developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow.

2017

May 17 – U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and to look into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and people associated with Republican Trump’s campaign.

The appointment follows President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 9 and days later Trump attributed the dismissal to “this Russia thing.”

June 15 – Mueller is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reports.

Oct. 30 – Veteran Republican political operative and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who worked for the campaign for five pivotal months in 2016, is indicted on charges of conspiracy against the United States and money laundering as is his business partner Rick Gates, who also worked for Trump’s campaign.

– Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.

Dec. 1 – Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month who also had a prominent campaign role, pleads guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his discussions in 2016 with the Russian ambassador to Washington.

2018

Feb. 16 – Federal grand jury indicts 13 Russians and three firms, including a Russian government propaganda arm called the Internet Research Agency, accusing them of tampering to support Trump and disparage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The accused “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election” according to the court document filed by Mueller.

– An American, Richard Pinedo, pleads guilty to identity fraud for selling bank account numbers after being accused by prosecutors of helping Russians launder money, buy Facebook ads and pay for campaign rally supplies. Pinedo was not associated with the Trump campaign.

Feb. 22 – Manafort and Gates are charged with financial crimes, including bank fraud, in Virginia.

Feb. 23 – Gates pleads guilty to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators. He agrees to cooperate and testify against Manafort at trial.

April 3 – Alex van der Zwaan, the Dutch son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men, is sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 for lying to Mueller’s investigators, becoming the first person sentenced in the probe.

April 9 – FBI agents raid home, hotel room and office of Trump’s personal lawyer and self-described “fixer” Michael Cohen.

April 12 – Rosenstein tells Trump that he is not a target in Mueller’s probe.

April 19 – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump supporter in the election campaign, joins Trump’s personal legal team.

June 8 – Mueller charges a Russian-Ukrainian man, Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business partner whom prosecutors say had ties to Russian intelligence, with witness tampering.

July 13 – Federal grand jury indicts 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of hacking Democratic Party computer networks in 2016 and staged releases of documents. Russia, which denies interfering in the election, says there is no evidence that the 12 are linked to spying or hacking.

July 16 – In Helsinki after the first summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump publicly contradicts U.S. intelligence agencies that concluded Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election with a campaign of hacking and propaganda. Trump touts Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial of meddling. He calls the Mueller inquiry a “rigged witch hunt” on Twitter.

Aug. 21 – A trial jury in Virginia finds Manafort guilty of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account.

– Cohen, in a case brought by U.S. prosecutors in New York, pleads guilty to tax fraud and campaign finance law violations. Cohen is subsequently interviewed by Mueller’s team.

Aug. 31 – Samuel Patten, an American business partner of Kilimnik, pleads guilty to unregistered lobbying for pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.

Sept. 14 – Manafort pleads guilty to two conspiracy counts and signs a cooperation agreement with Mueller’s prosecutors.

Nov. 8 – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request. He had recused himself from overseeing the Mueller inquiry because of his contacts with the Russian ambassador as a Trump campaign official. Trump appoints Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, a critic of the Mueller probe, as acting attorney general.

Nov. 20 – Giuliani says Trump submitted written answers to questions from Mueller, as the president avoids a face-to-face interview with the special counsel.

Nov. 27-28 – Prosecutors say Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to investigators, which Manafort denies. Trump says he has not ruled out granting Manafort a presidential pardon.

Nov. 28 – Giuliani says Trump told investigators he was not aware ahead of time of a meeting in Trump Tower in New York between several campaign officials and Russians in June 2016.

Nov. 29 – Cohen pleads guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to Congress about the length of discussions in 2016 on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. “I made these misstatements to be consistent with individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to individual 1,” says Cohen, who previously identified “individual 1” as Trump.

– The president criticizes Cohen as a liar and “weak person.”

Dec. 12 – Two developments highlight growing political and legal risks for Trump: Cohen sentenced to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the election; American Media Inc, publisher of National Enquirer tabloid, strikes deal to avoid charges over its role in one of two hush payments. Publisher admits payment was aimed at influencing the 2016 election, contradicting Trump’s statements.

2019

Jan. 25 – Longtime Trump associate and self-proclaimed political “dirty trickster” Roger Stone charged and arrested at his home in Florida. Stone is accused of lying to Congress about statements suggesting he may have had advance knowledge of plans by Wikileaks to release Democratic Party campaign emails that U.S. officials say were stolen by Russia.

Feb. 21 – U.S. judge tightens gag order on Stone, whose Instagram account posted a photo of the judge and the image of crosshairs next to it.

Feb. 22 – Manhattan district attorney’s office is pursuing New York state criminal charges against Manafort whether or not he receives a pardon from Trump on federal crimes, a person familiar with the matter says. Trump cannot issue pardons for state convictions.

Feb. 24 – Senior Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff says Democrats will subpoena Mueller’s final report on his investigation if it is not given to Congress by the Justice Department, and will sue the Trump administration and call on Mueller to testify to Congress if necessary.

Feb. 27 – Cohen tells U.S. House Oversight Committee Trump is a “racist,” a “con man” and a “cheat” who knew in advance about a release of emails by WikiLeaks in 2016 aimed at hurting rival Clinton. Trump directed negotiations for a real estate project in Moscow during the campaign even as he publicly said he had no business interests in Russia, Cohen testifies.

March 7 – Manafort is sentenced in the Virginia case to almost four years in prison. The judge also ordered Manafort to pay a fine of $50,000 and restitution of just over $24 million.

March 13 – Manafort is sentenced to about 3-1/2 more years in prison in the Washington case, bringing his total prison sentence in the two special counsel cases to 7-1/2 years.

– On the same day, the Manhattan district attorney announces a separate indictment charging Manafort with residential mortgage fraud and other New York state crimes, which unlike the federal charges cannot be erased by a presidential pardon.

March 22 – Mueller submits his confidential report on the findings of his investigation to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

(Compiled by Grant McCool in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

The Port Commission of San Francisco is set to approve a prime Embarcadero waterfront location for what will be the largest homeless shelter in the city.

The commissioners, appointed by the mayor, are scheduled to vote on the proposal April 23. It is expected to be approved. “The commission is likely to support the mayor’s proposal, but has a strong track record of engaging with the community,” said Elaine Forbes, the port’s executive director, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The facility, called a “SAFE Navigation Center,” (Shelter Access For Everyone) is planned to house at least 175 people and provide comprehensive social services for the area’s homeless, including care for pets and access to storage, according to Jeff Kositsky, executive director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

The Embarcadero district of San Francisco looking toward the Oakland Bay Bridge is seen from the Coit Tower in this photo taken July 13, 2008. A 27.1 percent slump in June from a year earlier pushed the median price paid for a home in the San Francisco Bay area, one of the priciest U.S. housing markets, to below $500,000 for the first time in four years, a report said July 17, 2008. Photo taken July 13, 2008. REUTERS/Lisa Baertlein

The Embarcadero district of San Francisco looking toward the Oakland Bay Bridge is seen from the Coit Tower in this photo taken July 13, 2008. REUTERS/Lisa Baertlein

The shelter will be located at Seawall Lot 330, directly across from piers 30/32, and is estimated to be open for four years. The area around the proposed shelter site is densely residential, consisting mainly of high-end apartment homes in the Rincon Hill and South Beach neighborhoods, ranging from $750,000 to millions of dollars, per Zillow.

San Francisco has an average daily homeless population of 7,500, according to the 2017 San Francisco Homeless Count & Survey, and an estimated 4,300 sleep on the streets each night. Democratic Mayor London Breed announced her plan last October to add 1000 beds for the city’s homeless by the end of 2020.

She unveiled the proposed shelter site on March 4. “To help those living on our streets, we need to meet people with shelters and services where they are,” Breed said in a statement. “The waterfront has a number of challenges around homelessness.” Seawall Lot 330 is owned by the Port of San Francisco, so the Port Commission’s approval is required.

To speed up the project, Breed introduced legislation in January declaring a shelter crisis for San Francisco, along with ordinances to expedite developmental red tape. Eight days after the announcement, residents were invited to share concerns at the Port Commission’s scheduled March 12 meeting.

The public comments were overwhelming negative, with many residents displaying visible emotion during speeches, which were limited to two minutes each. Most of their issues related to increased crime, drugs, loitering and garbage. The meeting was broadcast on San Francisco Government TV.

“We’ve seen more homeless folks on the waterfront, sleeping inside of pier sheds that are vacant. More people are showing signs of needing care and shelter. We, like the rest of the city, have been experiencing more homelessness issues, and we want to find real solutions to address this humanitarian crisis.” (RELATED: Remember The Failing Homeless Shelter In The San Francisco School Gym? Board Members Try To Keep It Around By Increasing Access To More Families)

Follow Whitney on Twitter

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Source: The Daily Caller

U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro hold a joint news conference at the White House in Washington
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 22, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Standing beside U.S. President Donald Trump on a crisp afternoon outside the White House in Washington this week, a smiling Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro enjoyed a moment in the sun.

Less than three months since taking office and with the Brazilian stock market at a record above 100,000 points, the former army captain was cementing his place on the world stage. He is following his U.S. trip with visits to Chile and Israel.

Back home, however, a political, economic and market storm was brewing that would turn the week into one of the most foreboding for his young administration, which has been slow to confront the mounting challenges to his ambitious reform agenda.

Brazilian financial markets reeled at the arrest of former president Michel Temer on corruption charges on Thursday and the unveiling on Wednesday of cuts in the military budget that were much more modest than expected. An opinion poll also showed plunging support for Bolsonaro’s government.

Even before the latest developments, investors were uneasy about a global slowdown and a string of Brazilian economic indicators showing the tepid recovery from a 2015-16 recession is losing steam. The central bank took a dovish turn this week and the government cut its 2019 growth forecasts.

The Bovespa stock index shed 5 percent this week, its biggest weekly loss since August. On Friday, the 10-year bond yield jumped more than 25 basis points and the real slumped 2.5 percent, both their biggest moves since November.

(GRAPHIC: Bovespa index – weekly change – https://tmsnrt.rs/2OhZkVD)

(GRAPHIC: Brazil’s 10-year bond yield – daily change – https://tmsnrt.rs/2UOvw5p)

(GRAPHIC: Brazilian real – https://tmsnrt.rs/2UR8sTk)

Investors are more focused than ever on Bolsonaro’s signature proposal to overhaul the pension system in hopes of shoring up public finances, boosting growth and generating over 1 trillion reais ($257 billion) of savings over the next decade.

“The next three to four months are crucial for the country,” XP Investimentos credit analysts wrote in a note to clients on Friday, adding they remained optimistic that “transformational” reform will be passed.

“However, we anticipate volatility, with tough negotiations ahead for pension reform and a series of risks that may increase tensions, like we saw this week,” they said.

ALL EYES ON PENSIONS

Economists, traders, analysts, politicians and central bankers agree Brazil’s economic fate lies largely with pension reform, and progress on that front appears to be slowing.

The Temer scandal has the potential to damage the pension reform drive. A close Temer confidant, who was also arrested, is married to the mother-in-law of Rodrigo Maia, speaker of the lower house of Congress and chief architect of the coalition to pass pension reform.

Investors were also underwhelmed by a government proposal on military pensions that would save around a tenth of what was promised last month due to salary hikes. That raised the prospect of other groups hardening demands in negotiations.

“This could create challenges for the administration in Congress as they were arguing this is a reform that fights privileges from public servants,” wrote Morgan Stanley economists.

Bolsonaro’s eroding support will also make it harder for him to close the deal on pension reform. An Ibope poll this week showed his government’s popularity plummeted to the worst approval rating at this early stage of any administration since Brazil returned to democracy three decades ago.

All of that has investors and policymakers putting off hopes for a more robust economic recovery.

In keeping interest rates at a record low of 6.50 percent this week, the central bank highlighted the economy’s weak performance and downgraded the inflation threat level.

On Friday, the Economy Ministry also cut their 2019 forecasts for growth, inflation, average interest rates and the real’s average exchange rate.

($1 = 3.8897 reais)

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Meet the first-ever red-haired Victoria’s Secret Angel, Alexina Graham.

Judging by the photos and clips on her social media account, the honor is well deserved. (RELATED: Celebrate Alessandra Ambrosio’s Birthday With Her Most Scandalous Pics [SLIDESHOW])

“I found out I was going to officially become a Victoria’s Secret Angel when I was at dinner with my best friend. . . . It’s very exciting! It still feels so surreal, to be honest, I have been working so hard to get to this moment — it’s a real mixture of feeling emotional, nervous and excited,” the 29-year-old Victoria’s Secret model shared with Glamour UK Thursday.

Alexina Graham attends the Victoria's Secret Viewing Party ar Spring Studios on December 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

Alexina Graham attends the Victoria’s Secret Viewing Party ar Spring Studios on December 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)

“I found out when I was having dinner with one of my best friends, just in a restaurant in Soho, New York,” she added. “My agent sent me a screenshot of an email saying, ‘You are joining the [Victoria’s Secret] family in 2019!’ So, I called her thinking she was joking, and she said, ‘No, it’s true!’”(RELATED: Take A Look Back At Adriana Lima’s Career With Victoria’s Secret)

Graham continued, “So, me and my friend just got champagne — it was such a great way to find out! We kept it chic though, darling!”

The beauty from Nottingham, U.K., announced Thursday on Instagram that she had officially got her wings — following in the footsteps of such huge supermodels as Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Jasmine Tookes, just to name a few.

She first walked the annual lingerie show catwalk in 2017 and then once again in 2018. Lots of models walk the show, but getting wings is a special honor.

“It means so much to me to be the red-haired [Victoria’s Secret] Angel. . . . Being a Victoria’s Secret’s Angel comes with a lot of empowerment,” the lingerie model explained. “I think for me being a red-head [Victoria’s Secret] Angel means I get to put redheads out there more.”

“Being an angel is part of having that media outreach so that I can say to young red-head kids, ‘you can do anything you want! Nothing is impossible!’” she added. “This is a ‘two fingers up at my bullies’ moment…”

Graham continued, “Like most redheads, I did get bullied at school because we just stand out. I was this skinny little, geeky thing with no boobs but now I have embraced it as a woman. Having red hair is now a powerful part of my identity. It took me a long time to get here, I have gone through so much in the last ten years both in terms of my career and my life.”

At one point, she said she almost gave up her dream of modeling about “[five-to-six] years ago,” but her mom encouraged her to “keep going.”

And clearly it was a great decision. We can hardly wait to see what the future will bring for her. Congratulations!

Source: The Daily Caller

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Lady Gaga and actor Jeremy Renner have been spotted out lately spending a lot of time together and it’s got everyone wondering if there’s a new power couple in Hollywood.

Sources close to the 32-year-old singer shared with E! News Thursday that while, yes, she “has been spending time with” the 48-year-old “Avengers” star, they are just friends, and it’s not “romantic.” (RELATED: Take A Look Back At Adriana Lima’s Career With Victoria’s Secret)

US singer-songwriter Lady Gaga arrives for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

US singer-songwriter Lady Gaga arrives for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

“[Gaga] has been friends with Jeremy Renner for a while. They often hang out when they are both in town,” a source shared. “She’s been spending time with him recently, but it’s not romantic.” (RELATED: Mel B Criticizes Lady Gaga For Oscars Performance With Bradley Cooper)

The news comes just one month after reports surfaced that the “Shallow” hitmaker and her fiancée Christian Carino had called off their engagement. (RELATED: Artist Goes After Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus With ‘We All Knew’ Posters Ahead Of Grammys)

Sources close to the “A Star Is Born” actress explained at the time that things just “didn’t work out”: “It just didn’t work out. Relationships sometimes end. There’s no long, dramatic story.”

The insider added, “But things just became serious very fast. Christian is a good, grounding force and understands her career.”

Gaga finally confirmed rumors that she and Carino were engaged in October 2018 after months of speculation.

The “Born This Way” hitmaker recently made headlines following her and co-star Bradley Cooper’s rather steamy performance of their film’s hit song “Shallow” at the Academy Awards, leaving people to wonder if the two had been intimate in real life.

As previously reported, she later addressed the rumors during her appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and said people saw love and that was the whole point.

“Yes, people saw love, and guess what? That’s what we wanted you to see,” Gaga explained. “[‘Shallow’] is a love song, ‘A Star is Born’ is a love story. It was so important to both of us that we were connected the entire time … When you’re singing love songs, that’s what you want people to feel.”

“I’m an artist and I guess [Bradley and I] did a good job … fooled ya!” she added.

Source: The Daily Caller

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 22, 2019

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As Wall Street braces for what may be the first U.S. profit decline since 2016, investors say the first quarter may not mark the low point for 2019 earnings.

Concerns about economic weakness in the United States and abroad and the lack of a U.S.-China trade deal are hanging over the outlook, even as the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance on interest rates is expected to relieve some of the pressure on companies.

Another potential reason to worry: the spread between yields on Treasury bills and the 10-year note, a closely watched signal on the health of the economy, inverted on Friday for the first time since 2007.

As stocks sold off in December, some investors worried that 2019 would bring a profit recession for S&P 500 companies, with at least two quarters of year-over-year declines. The last U.S. profit recession ran from July 2015 through June of 2016.

Analysts reduced their earnings forecasts for the year as well. They now expect a 1.7 percent year-over-year earnings decline in the first quarter, with some profit growth in the rest of 2019, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

With the market’s rebound this year, the Fed on pause and some expecting economic growth to improve after the first quarter, optimism seemed to be increasing that the profit outlook would stabilize after hitting a low point in the current quarter.

“It would be great if Q1 represented a low point, but I’m not betting on it,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital Management in Chicago.

“I worry that the comparisons are going to be much more difficult as we navigate the rest of the year.”

This year’s earnings already were expected to shrink dramatically compared with 2018, when steep corporate tax cuts fueled earnings gains of about 24 percent.

But since the start of the year, the forecast for second-quarter profit growth has fallen to 3.0 percent from 6.4 percent, while estimated growth for the third quarter has dropped to 2.7 percent from 4.9 percent, based on Refinitiv’s data. The fourth-quarter growth estimate has come down as well, though it is still relatively strong, at 9.1 percent, based on Refinitiv’s data.

Those numbers could keep falling, while the first-quarter forecast is likely to improve from here. Since 1994, earnings have surprised to the upside on average by 3.2 percent, according to Refinitiv data, which suggests first-quarter results could finish in positive territory.

Still, with investors largely discounting weaker earnings trends, the first-quarter reporting period could bring market volatility, Ameriprise Financial strategists said.

On Tuesday, FedEx Corp. cut its 2019 profit forecast for the second time in three months, causing its stock to drop and raising fresh worries about the impact of the trade conflict on earnings, with the company citing slowing global economic conditions and weaker trade growth.

Also, Nike’s shares were down more than 5 percent on Friday after it reported North American sales that fell short of expectations.

The United States and China were scheduled to reach a deal on trade by March 1, but the White House has said it needed more time.

“You need this trade dynamic to kind of get a little bit better. There are real concerns. FedEx’s numbers are a perfect example. There’s been a global growth slowdown and companies are communicating that in terms of their guidance for the first quarter and throughout the year,” said Anthony Saglimbene, Ameriprise’s global market strategist.

To be sure, a lot of those fears could be reversed if there is a resolution in the U.S. trade conflict with China, and if companies’ reports are surprisingly upbeat, he said.

Strategists said they expect to hear more from companies on the trade conflict when first-quarter reporting kicks into high gear around mid-April.

“So much is dependent on what we do with the trade situation with China. The real issue will be the global economy, and in particular, trade with China,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Alden Bentley)

Source: OANN

No matter how loudly Democrats deny it, the national security crisis on our southern border isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting worse.

Just recently, several dozen Central American migrants tried to rush an international port of entry near Laredo, Texas — a move that forced U.S. authorities to shut down an entire bridge tp vehicle traffic for several hours.

The migrants occupied the vehicle lane and attempted to breach the border, apparently in hopes of claiming asylum, but were stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents who erected a temporary barrier across the bridge, highlighting the exact reason President Trump found it necessary to take executive action in order to fund the border wall.

The president’s most important duty is to protect and defend American citizens, but obstructionist Democrats in Congress have refused to provide the resources he needs to do so, leaving President Trump with no other option than to use his statutory authority to reallocate various funding necessary to construct a barrier on our border.

Though some of us have objected for years to bills that do not have enough specificity, the trouble is that Congresses have passed and recent presidents have signed into law various spending bills with a significant amount of discretion on how those dollars are spent. Presidents really have had a great deal of leeway in how dollars are spent. Another bill Congress passed back in the 1970’s with far too much discretion for the president was the National Emergency Act.

President Clinton used the National Emergency Act in aid of U.S. involvement in Bosnia. Now the Democrats get upset because the National Emergency Act is used to protect our OWN borders instead of those of foreign countries. Is that political hypocrisy, or just very poor judgment? Sometimes it is difficult to tell.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 22,000 minor children crossed our southern border illegally in December alone, with 25 percent of them unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. In February, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border hit an 11-year high, as Border Patrol agents interdicted more than 76,000 illegal immigrants.

While Congress played games and allowed the partial government shutdown to drag on for over a month, they ignored the fact that in 2017, more Americans died from illegal drugs — most of which are smuggled in through the southern border — than were killed during all the years of the entire Vietnam War.

More than 48,000 Americans died of opioid-related overdoses alone in 2017, the same year that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 900 pounds of heroin from smugglers trying to cross the border.

Meanwhile, thousands of the illegal immigrants currently incarcerated by ICE have been convicted of violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder.

Despite these very real threats to our country, though, the U.S. House of Representatives has now passed legislation to overturn the President’s emergency declaration, and now the Senate seems poised to force him into issuing his first-ever veto.

The concerns expressed by some conservatives about expanding executive power sound genuine, but they’re also misplaced. The problem is not how President Trump is using his power to protect our sovereignty, but that Congress ever gave that much power to Presidents to begin with. President Obama vastly exceeded the powers he was given, as he himself even noted before creating the DACA program without ever passing a law. That was unlike President Trump’s emergency declaration because the Obama actions had absolutely no grounding in laws previously passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, open-borders Democrats are doing everything they can to prevent President Trump from protecting our country’s border as he attempts to seize control back from the drug cartels. The most discerning Americans are beginning to recoil from the radical obstructionist efforts by Democrats who seem to care less about their own constituents than they do about the border crisis.

Even suburban women, who are widely credited with helping Democrats secure their House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, are becoming increasingly supportive of the President’s actions. It is ironic that the most compassionate, caring action the U.S. could take to help those in Mexico and Central America would be to completely secure our southern border cutting off the tens of billions of dollars that flow across to the drug cartels every year. Securing our southern borders means ending the reign of terror by the cartels against our southern neighbors, which would allow them to develop thoroughly vibrant economies.

According to a new Zogby Analytics poll, the president’s recent executive actions to fund construction of the border wall are even more popular among suburban women than they are among likely voters in the broader population. A plurality of suburban women — 45 percent — support President Trump’s executive actions, and 50 percent back his decision to declare a state of emergency.

Keeping America safe shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the Democrat Party has embraced a radical, open-borders agenda that is anathema to most Americans.

The threats and harm that are created by our porous southern border should be precisely the type of issue that brings all Americans together. After all, most Democrats in Congress have previously supported much of what our president is trying to do to secure our border. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are letting their President Trump Derangement Syndrome keep them from doing what is best for our nation’s people.

Louie Gohmert has represented Texas as a Republican in the House of Representatives since 2005.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

No matter how loudly Democrats deny it, the national security crisis on our southern border isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting worse.

Just recently, several dozen Central American migrants tried to rush an international port of entry near Laredo, Texas — a move that forced U.S. authorities to shut down an entire bridge tp vehicle traffic for several hours.

The migrants occupied the vehicle lane and attempted to breach the border, apparently in hopes of claiming asylum, but were stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents who erected a temporary barrier across the bridge, highlighting the exact reason President Trump found it necessary to take executive action in order to fund the border wall.

The president’s most important duty is to protect and defend American citizens, but obstructionist Democrats in Congress have refused to provide the resources he needs to do so, leaving President Trump with no other option than to use his statutory authority to reallocate various funding necessary to construct a barrier on our border.

Though some of us have objected for years to bills that do not have enough specificity, the trouble is that Congresses have passed and recent presidents have signed into law various spending bills with a significant amount of discretion on how those dollars are spent. Presidents really have had a great deal of leeway in how dollars are spent. Another bill Congress passed back in the 1970’s with far too much discretion for the president was the National Emergency Act.

President Clinton used the National Emergency Act in aid of U.S. involvement in Bosnia. Now the Democrats get upset because the National Emergency Act is used to protect our OWN borders instead of those of foreign countries. Is that political hypocrisy, or just very poor judgment? Sometimes it is difficult to tell.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 22,000 minor children crossed our southern border illegally in December alone, with 25 percent of them unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. In February, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border hit an 11-year high, as Border Patrol agents interdicted more than 76,000 illegal immigrants.

While Congress played games and allowed the partial government shutdown to drag on for over a month, they ignored the fact that in 2017, more Americans died from illegal drugs — most of which are smuggled in through the southern border — than were killed during all the years of the entire Vietnam War.

More than 48,000 Americans died of opioid-related overdoses alone in 2017, the same year that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 900 pounds of heroin from smugglers trying to cross the border.

Meanwhile, thousands of the illegal immigrants currently incarcerated by ICE have been convicted of violent crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder.

Despite these very real threats to our country, though, the U.S. House of Representatives has now passed legislation to overturn the President’s emergency declaration, and now the Senate seems poised to force him into issuing his first-ever veto.

The concerns expressed by some conservatives about expanding executive power sound genuine, but they’re also misplaced. The problem is not how President Trump is using his power to protect our sovereignty, but that Congress ever gave that much power to Presidents to begin with. President Obama vastly exceeded the powers he was given, as he himself even noted before creating the DACA program without ever passing a law. That was unlike President Trump’s emergency declaration because the Obama actions had absolutely no grounding in laws previously passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, open-borders Democrats are doing everything they can to prevent President Trump from protecting our country’s border as he attempts to seize control back from the drug cartels. The most discerning Americans are beginning to recoil from the radical obstructionist efforts by Democrats who seem to care less about their own constituents than they do about the border crisis.

Even suburban women, who are widely credited with helping Democrats secure their House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, are becoming increasingly supportive of the President’s actions. It is ironic that the most compassionate, caring action the U.S. could take to help those in Mexico and Central America would be to completely secure our southern border cutting off the tens of billions of dollars that flow across to the drug cartels every year. Securing our southern borders means ending the reign of terror by the cartels against our southern neighbors, which would allow them to develop thoroughly vibrant economies.

According to a new Zogby Analytics poll, the president’s recent executive actions to fund construction of the border wall are even more popular among suburban women than they are among likely voters in the broader population. A plurality of suburban women — 45 percent — support President Trump’s executive actions, and 50 percent back his decision to declare a state of emergency.

Keeping America safe shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but the Democrat Party has embraced a radical, open-borders agenda that is anathema to most Americans.

The threats and harm that are created by our porous southern border should be precisely the type of issue that brings all Americans together. After all, most Democrats in Congress have previously supported much of what our president is trying to do to secure our border. Unfortunately, too many Democrats are letting their President Trump Derangement Syndrome keep them from doing what is best for our nation’s people.

Louie Gohmert has represented Texas as a Republican in the House of Representatives since 2005.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round- Marquette vs Murray State
Mar 21, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) drives to the basket against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second half of a game in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 22, 2019

Ja Morant stole the show in Hartford on Thursday, but the Murray State flash opened eyes nationwide with his triple-double performance that led his 12th-seeded Racers into the second round in a blowout of Marquette.

Among the observers wowed by the sophomore point guard was another former NCAA Tournament darling, former Davidson dynamo Steph Curry.

“What he did on Thursday, it shows you he’s ready for whatever,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “That transition to the NBA isn’t going to be difficult at all for him.”

Morant posted 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds, becoming just the eighth player to post a triple-double in an NCAA Tournament game and the first since Draymond Green at Michigan State. Green was paying attention, too, telling Yahoo: “That was my first time watching him play and he’s for real.”

Curry was a sophomore in 2008 when he carried Davidson to the Elite Eight, scoring 30 or more in all four tourney games. He sees stardom in Morant.

“From what I’ve seen, he’s a beast,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “He’s athletic, knows how to play, he’s fearless and he shows up for big games even though everybody knows he’s coming. That speaks volumes about his game.”

Morant averaged 24.6 points, 10 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game this season at Murray State.

He’s in the discussion to be a top-five draft pick, and Thursday’s big show did nothing to raise doubts about his readiness despite the relatively humble college surroundings in the Ohio Valley Conference.

“I don’t know if they played some heavy hitters, but it doesn’t even matter. If you can play, you can play,” Curry said. “Damian Lillard at Weber State was like that as well.

“I’m sure the tournament is the first time most people get to see Ja. There’s no preparation for it because in the tournament, everybody wants to play in it, but it hits you in the face with the attention and the adrenaline rush. It’s a small window where everybody’s eyeballs are all on you and you can surprise a lot of people. But the biggest thing for me is I had the confidence going in and it sets you up to be ready for that moment.”

As Marquette, the fifth seed in Hartford, bowed out of the tournament on Thursday, former Duke guard and current Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski had some high praise for Morant.

“Ja Morant makes a lot of plans look bad. I mean, I’ve been in this for a while. He’s as good as any guard that I’ve coached against, or played against, and I’ve coached against and played against some outstanding ones,” he said. .”.. The best thing about that kid is his decision-making. I mean, you’re talking about an elite, elite decision-maker, who’s got elite athleticism. And, you know, when you’re talking about a point guard, you should always start with decision-making. And he made great, great decisions, and he makes everyone around him better.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.

1/ TAKE IT EASY

With the U.S. Federal Reserve well and truly doubling down on its dovish guidance this month, the global rate hiking cycle is at an end. There are exceptions of course but the big central banks of the developed world — the Fed, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan — have all reacted decisively to the steady drumbeat of depressing economic data by pushing any policy tightening plans to the backburner.

But instead of deriving any comfort from the pivot, some in the market are interpreting the moves as desperate measures to ward off impending recession. That fear is certainly evident on bond markets where the gap between three-month and 10-year U.S. treasury yields — one of the gauges the Fed uses to assess inflation risks — has inverted. European yield curves too have flattened and German 10-year government borrowing costs have slid back below zero percent for the first time since 2016.

There are outliers. Norway has hiked rates while Hungary and Czech rates may also rise this coming week. One could argue Norway’s economy has been lifted by oil this year, while emerging European economies have been recovering nicely. But the question is: with the world’s biggest economy starting to hurt, Fed rate cuts bring priced for 2020 and G4 bond yields plunging, can any market avoid being sucked in? On Wednesday, New Zealand’s central bank could become the latest to flag downside risks to growth and interest rates.

(Graphic: U.S. federal funds activity png link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2EcJkRq).

2/ DEADLINES, RED LINES

March 29 is when Britain was supposed to leave the European Union, 2-1/2-years after a slender majority voted to leave the bloc. EU leaders have now granted Prime Minister Theresa May a two-week reprieve, during which she must persuade lawmakers to accept the divorce deal she has negotiated. Not easy, given they have resoundingly defeated it twice already. She is expected to make another attempt and if the deal still fails, several possibilities open up, from a no-deal Brexit to Brextension and even exit from Brexit.

The question is whether May will be flexible on any of the “red lines” she outlined in 2016, ruling out a customs union with the EU, UK’s membership of the single market and any role for the European court of justice. Seen by many as an extreme interpretation of the referendum, it has stymied efforts to find a solution to the Northern Ireland border issue.

With all this in play, many warn that markets are still assigning too low a probability to a no-deal Brexit — banks such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche reckon that risk at just 15-20 percent. But though this is rising, most analysts warn.

Sterling has tumbled this month after strengthening for two months straight and jitters are bubbling up on derivative markets. Here one-month pound risk reversals show an elevated premium for sterling puts — options that confer the right to sell at a certain price. Implied sterling volatility — a gauge of expected daily swings — has slipped off highs but remain above some typically volatile emerging currencies such as Brazil’s real or the Turkish lira.

(Graphic: No-deal Brexit probabilities IMG link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2VlgLGT).

3/ GLASS QUARTER FULL

Back in January, the U.S. Federal Reserve fired up investors’ appetite for risk by pledging to be patient with future rate rises. In March it sealed that promise by doubling down on its dovish stance and scaling back projected 2019 interest-rate increases to zero. The result: a 10 percent-plus bounce on global stocks in the January-March period. The S&P500 is headed for its best first quarter of any year since 1991. Other big Q1 winners with dollar-based gains close to 30 percent are Chinese shares and Brent crude.

What happens next? To some, the rally in what are inherently risky, growth-reliant assets makes little sense when the world economy is in slowdown mode and should therefore evaporate. But others counter the second quarter will bring more gains. They note that despite double-digit gains, investors have mostly been betting against stocks for most of 2019. Investment research firm TrimTabs says equity funds have seen outflows of $18.7 billion this year through Wednesday. They have instead channeled $73.1. billion into bond funds.

(Graphic: S&P 500 vs U.S.10-Year Treasury Yield link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2UNzRFP).

(Graphic: Q1 performance link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2UQo3CG).

4/EURO GLOOM TO BOOM — OR DOOM

Despite a strong rally across markets this year, European equities remain one of the most disliked regions in the world. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s monthly fund manager survey confirmed that view, with investors naming “short” European equities as the most crowded trade for the first time.

For contrarians, that’s a gift – a sign bearish positioning on Europe has got too extreme and stocks should rise from here.

Indeed, there are some positive signals from recent macroeconomic data, from retail sales to wages. That has sparked a quiet rise on Citi’s index of euro zone macro surprises which now, interestingly, sits above the equivalent U.S. index. There are also predictions that as China’s economy starts benefiting from the stimulus its authorities have unveiled, Europe too will feel the effect.

But after every glimmer of hope, comes a dampener. February PMI data from Germany and the euro zone sent markets reeling.. Next up are the Ifo business climate survey and consumer confidence figures. Those should tell us whether it is too early to call a bottom.

(Graphic: macro surprises March 22 link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HAy8B0).

5/YUAN: STRONG AND STABLE

Chinese markets aren’t abandoning hopes that authorities may soon relax trading rules for the yuan. Beijing and Washington are locked in heated discussions on a deal to end their trade war and President Donald Trump hopes to extract a commitment to yuan stability. The Chinese have other compulsions. The yuan fell more than 5 percent in 2018 but this year it is rising too rapidly for comfort. As China makes its way into global benchmark stock and bond indices, foreigners are rushing into its markets. In January and February, inflows under the Stock Connect scheme were almost quadruple the amount last year.

Rumors are swirling that China’s currency regulator SAFE will rescind requirements for banks to maintain reserves on dollar purchase contracts and also remove the secretive X-factor used to guide the currency’s trading range. Theoretically, those steps would count as efforts to free the yuan – they were imposed last year to curtail speculators betting against the yuan. Detractors might say China is creating conditions for yuan depreciation. The coming week should offer some visibility as a U.S. trade delegation, headed by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, shows up in China for the next round of tariff negotiations.

(Graphic: China’s yuan rises as foreign investment picks up link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2HBZbLX).new york stock

(Reporting by Karin Strohecker, Saikat Chatterjee and Helen Reid in London; Jennifer Ablan in New York and Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore; Compiled by Sujata Rao; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Ethiopian Doctors | Contributors

Our hospital serves an area of 2.5 million people. Located in southwest Ethiopia, we care for diverse populations from farming villages and tribal areas, to refugees from South Sudan. Health-care activities here are below standard by any measure and we face what sometimes feel like insurmountable challenges to curb these problems. But the single biggest challenge of all is water.

In our hospital, because we only have clean tap water available approximately twice per week when it is brought in by truck, we must supplement with river water, which we know is unclean. This may sound unthinkable, but a hospital needs water daily and for many purposes: not only drinking but also meal preparation, delivery rooms, operation theaters, patient wards, sterilization of medical equipment, toilet utilities, laundry, gardening, personal hygiene and so on. The lack of water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) services deeply compromises our ability to prevent and control infections and puts our staff — our doctors, nurses and midwives, pharmacists, administrators and cleaners — at risk.

We have tried to harvest rain and have talked to city administration to direct the town’s total water to the hospital for one hour to pump it into a holding tank. It’s not enough.

Our hospital is not unique. Recent global assessments of the extent to which health-care facilities are able to provide essential water, sanitation and hygiene for their staff and patients, are dismal. In short, facilities overwhelmingly lack soap, water and toilets. This widespread problem poses global risk when many of these facilities are the frontline defense against infectious diseases that can turn into pandemics.

Large disparities exist among different facilities within the same country. That’s certainly something we see here. For example, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy 99 percent of health-care facilities in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa have access to water while only 23 percent of health-care facilities in the region near our hospital have water (2012).

Services that should be basic and routine, such as a safe and clean delivery, put mothers and fragile newborns in particular risk. Here’s a typical scenario we see in our hospital: A laboring mother comes where she will be triaged by a health professional without gloves as often they are not available. After that, a physician examines her with unwashed or inadequately washed hands. She will then be admitted to the delivery ward where she will sleep with no bed sheets on an inadequately disinfected mattress. The floor is splashed with amniotic fluid and blood. All because there is not adequate water.

When she is ready to give birth, she will be transferred to a delivery table, which is partially cleaned with two jugs of water and detergent. If everything goes well, she will be blessed with a child. When things go the other way, she might have to go to the operating room for delivery. The OR has no adequate supply of tap water, which increases risk of post-operative infections that are rampant in our institution.

Once the procedure is over, both the mother and the child will have to stay in a crowded post-operative ward for three to four days where 12 beds are packed into a small room without adequate, safe water for personal cleanliness. To make things worse, the mother could acquire water borne infections from a meal prepared using unsafe water or the baby may develop easily prevented infections like sepsis. Subsequently, the baby might be required to be taken to the NICU for further treatment, which is an additional economic burden for the family, as are additional medical, food and bottled water costs incurred during the stay.

We know the Ethiopian Ministry of Health is working to improve this dire problem. It has created a national policy and strategic plan to radically improve the provision of safe water and sanitation throughout the country and bring significant benefits to millions of people. The ministry is also trying to link WASH with infection prevention through its flagship project, Clean and Safe Health Facility (CASH).

Still, disparities are so big among different locations and conditions remain very bad in our hospital.

With all our problems, our hospital is still doing its best to address the needs of the region and local community. Last year we performed 303 caesarian sections, 1522 major surgical procedures and 1500 minor procedures — all of which should be unthinkable without water. The most important cause for morbidity was infections and related sepsis, all due to inadequate and low-quality water. We do the best we can.

We need leaders, governments and donors to come together on this most fundamental health-care need. We deeply appreciate the U.N. secretary general calling for all health-care facilities to have adequate facilities by 2030. Now it is time for coordination and action. This worthy goal will be accomplished only when health, development, water and finance sectors work together to achieve access to real health care. As professionals serving on the front lines, it is with deep gratitude and urgency that we make this most fundamental request.

Teklemariam Ergat Yarinbab is the chief executive director of the Mizan Tepi University Teaching Hospital. Tewodros W. Liyew, M.D., is chief clinical director at the hospital. Ephrem Alemayehu Kirub, M.D., is the hospital’s clinical governance and quality improvement unit head, and Biruk Ambaw Teshome, M.D., is the unit’s vice head.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

The Trump administration recently warned Berlin that it may scale back intelligence sharing if Germany allows Chinese technology company Huawei to move forward with building the country’s 5G infrastructure. German Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately shot back claiming Germany would “set its own security standards” alluding to American concerns that Huawei can be utilized by China’s intelligence services.

But China isn’t the only country causing the German-U.S. relationship unwanted headaches. Iran falls under that category too. As the U.S. has expanded efforts to weaken the Iranian regime, Germany has been working to empower it. This begs the question: Why is Germany cozying up to Iran?

This policy split may be considered surprising given America and Germany’s close relationship since the end of World War II. The U.S. stuck its neck out to ensure a fair shake for Germany during the Marshall Plan negotiations. President Truman pulled off a historic feat by bypassing the Soviet blockade and executing the Berlin Airlift. Armed forces from both countries stood side-by-side to vanquish the USSR to the dust bin of history.

But new global challenges have brought strain to this crucial alliance, particularly in dealing with an increasingly bellicose Iran. President Trump, who has taken a more confrontational stance than his predecessor, has sought to implement an Iranian containment strategy.

Trump recognizes that an emboldened Iran poses a serious threat to U.S. security interests through its funding of radical Islamist terrorism and destabilization activities. In conjunction with Israel and the Gulf Arab states, America has sought to put the squeeze on Iran.

However, Germany views Iran in a different light. Berlin recognizes Tehran as a bad actor but believes it can be reasoned with if given the correct financial incentives. This is precisely why Merkel, the de facto head of the European bloc, has aggressively worked to expand commercial ties with Iran.

Nowhere is this strategic disagreement better illustrated than with the collapse of the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

The Iran deal, which was penned in 2015 under the Obama administration, sought to halt Iran’s production of nuclear weapons and adventurism by lifting sanctions and offering other economic goodies. More than $100 billion in frozen assets were sent to the regime’s coffers and western companies were permitted to conduct business in Iran. European powers signed on as part of the deal.

And yet, instead of spending its newfound funds on economic development, Tehran began to ramp up spending on its terror activities and Islamist proxies across the region. Cash and arms flowed to the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen.

Trump decided in response to call Tehran’s bluff and in May 2018 unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal and slapped stringent sanctions back on Tehran. The president’s team simultaneously moved to pressure America’s allies to also reapply economic sanctions.

Instead of backing Trump, Merkel took it upon herself to save the fledging agreement. She rallied the remaining European signers around the deal and began working to establish a new corporation that would allow companies to conduct business with Iran, a blunder to Trump’s strategy.

But what is more disappointing than Merkel’s reluctance to get tough on Iran is her kid gloves treatment of the regime’s proxies. In a stunning display, Berlin recently refused to designate the Lebanese-based group, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah, which is bankrolled by Iran, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and serves as Tehran’s muscle across the region.

Even Syrian strongman and Iranian puppet Bashar Assad got a free pass after viciously gassing his own people in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018. Hoping to provide a moment of moral clarity and a strong show of force, Trump coordinated an attack on Syrian chemical weapons facilities with the backing of both the UK and France. Notably, Germany sat on the sidelines.

Despite Merkel’s attempts to keep the mullahs above water, the Trump strategy is slowly but surely winning out. Iran’s economy is spiraling downward, and the regime is under intense pressure from everyday Iranians who are taking to the streets.

Still, if Merkel were to flip on Iran it may just be the final lynchpin to force real behavior change. Iran ending its maligned adventurism would positively benefit both American and German security interests. As such, Merkel has a unique opportunity to reconsider Germany’s approach to Iran and institute a necessary course correction.

For America’s sake, let’s hope she does just that.

Alex Titus (@ATitus7) is a Public Interest Fellow in Washington, D.C. The Public Interest Fellowship provides exceptional men and women with professional opportunities in the tradition of freedom.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

The man police believe murdered Kittitas County, Washington, Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson was an illegal alien.

Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro came to the United States from Mexico in April 2014 as a temporary farm worker. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Tanya Roman told Fox News that Toro never had his visa extended and apparently did not return to Mexico, either.

With detention facilities overcrowded, ICE has released over 100,00 illegals onto the streets in the past three months. (RELATED: Illegal Arrested In Murder Case Had Long Criminal Record But Not Deported)

Deputy David Clarke, of Orange County, salutes an American flag … (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)

Flores Del Toro died after a shootout with police. Investigators say the illegal first shot and killed Thompson, 42, and then wounded police officer Benito Chavez, 22, on Tuesday night. The two followed the assailant in a brief high-speed pursuit and were attempting to question Toro because locals reported he had been driving erratically.

Toro allegedly exited his vehicle and began shooting. He was then fatally wounded by return fire and died in a nearby hospital. (RELATED: San Jose Police Officer: Sanctuary Laws ‘Need To Be Changed Immediately)

Ellensburg, Washington, Police Capt. Dan Hansberry told the USA Today that Toro was not wanted by authorities, who have no idea why the assailant decided to evade questioning by the two police officers.

Hansberry called the incident a “road rage-type event” and acknowledged that local police “had limited contacts with him,” but the police officer said these contacts “nothing of real significance.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

The NCAA tournament is officially underway, and it has been a blast so far.

Brackets have been busted, beers have been crushed, and hearts have been broken. And we’re only one day in. Here are the best moments from the first day of the NCAA Tournament:

New Mexico State just missed on a popular upset pick due to a puzzling decision.

Bruce Pearl and Auburn exhale:

Ja Morant is an absolute superstar, and Murray State is for real.

Belmont had a shot at the upset, but couldn’t quite make the pass.

LSU survives without Will Wade. Watch out for Tremont Waters and the Tigers.

Florida capped off a perfect 4-0 day for the SEC, with an upset of Nevada.

The second day of the NCAA tournament gets underway when Iowa takes on Cincinnati at 12:15 p.m. EST on CBS.

How is your bracket looking so far? Sound off in the comments.

Follow William Davis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Bojana Krsmanovic brought some serious heat on Instagram with a recent post.

The Serbian-born model dropped a snap of herself in black lingerie, and it’s not too hard on the eyes. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

In fact, this might be one of the best pictures you see online all day. There’s a very real chance! (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Do yourself a favor and give it a look below. I promise that you won’t regret it. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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You know that we’re big fans of Krsmanovic here at The Smoke Room. We simply can’t get enough of her skills on Instagram. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

While you’re here, I suggest you enjoy a few more times that she tore it up online. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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Democrat Party's candidate Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province
Democrat Party’s candidate for Member of Parliament Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province, Thailand, March 16, 2019. Picture taken March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Panu Wongcha-um

March 22, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) – Pateemoh Poh-itaeda-oh, 39, has lost four family members to violence in Thailand’s deep south, where a Muslim separatist movement has fought against rule from Bangkok for 15 years.

Now, she is running for a parliamentary seat in a general election on Sunday, hoping to have a hand in making government policies for the restive region.

Sunday’s vote is broadly seen as a battle between allies of the military junta leader seeking to stay in power and supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunication tycoon whose loyalists have won every general election since 2001.

But that divide has a different dynamic in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which are 80 percent Muslim, while the rest of Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist.

A separatist insurgency has dragged on since 2004, killing more than 6,900 people. In January, two Buddhist monks were shot dead in a suspected insurgent attack.

In previous elections, the deep south was not much courted by politicians seeking national power. But the arrival of several new parties on the political scene, along with stalled peace talks, have stirred interest in the campaign in the south – and enthusiasm to participate among newly minted candidates.

Pateemoh, a Muslim who is a candidate for the pro-junta Action Coalition for Thailand party (ACT), said she got involved because she felt for the first time there was a chance for the concerns of the south to be heard and – possibly – bring an end to the conflict.

“For a long time many Thais have looked at problems in the deep south as a marginal border issue, but this election I have seen changes,” she told Reuters at her party headquarters in Yala province.

Ending the insurgency is deeply personal to her. Three of her brothers and one sister have been shot dead since 2004 in suspected attacks by insurgents, who often target teachers and local officials for working with central government.

“I really want to be a voice in forming policy and solving the conflict issue in the deep south, and people have to remember that women’s voices need to matter in this process,” she said.

SELF-DETERMINATION

The three provinces, and a small part of neighboring Songkhla, were historically part of a Malay Muslim sultanate annexed by Thailand in 1909. Separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

A peace process between the Thai government and insurgent groups has made little headway, with violence still occurring even though the military has been directly in charge of security in the region for 15 years.

In February, Mara Patani, an umbrella organization representing many insurgent groups, said it has suspended all dialogue with Bangkok until after the election.

For decades, the deep south’s small tally of seats – 11 out of 350 being contested in this election – were seen as a reliable bloc for the Democrat Party, the country’s oldest political party that is officially non-aligned in the campaign but could prove crucial in post-vote coalition-building.

But the fresh attention being paid to the region by new parties has stoked pent-up desire for a say among both the pro-government and pro-autonomy camps there, said Samart Thongfhua, a political analyst at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

“Generally, people in the deep south are enthusiastic from all sides because they will feel that they can gain justice through democracy,” he said.

RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

This is the first election that a Malay Muslim from the deep south, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, 74, is a prime ministerial candidate.

Matha, a former house speaker and the leader of Prachachart Party, is a key ally to Thaksin who could help capture votes for the “democratic front” of anti-junta parties in the deep south. Pro-Thaksin parties have in the past performed badly in the region, where he was widely blamed for exacerbating the conflict with harsh tactics when he was in power from 2001 to 2006.

Prachachart has been campaigning greater people’s participation in the region’s governance and peace process.

Analysts predict that no single party will dominate the region, with the Democrats, ACT, Bhumjaithai Party, and two anti-junta parties, Prachachart and Future Forward, all seen as competitive.

All are campaigning for greater autonomy to a varying degree for the restive region, a sensitive issue for the Thai military.

Even talking about greater autonomy alarms the region’s Buddhist minority, and coincides with the emergence on the national stage of the Buddhist nationalist Pandin Dharma Party.

“There is a sentiment that Buddhism is under threat and this has been appealing to many Buddhists here,” Ruckchart Suwan, 54, of the Buddhist Network for Peace told Reuters.

Muslim politicians say more needs to be done to improve relationship between Buddhists and Muslims.

“It is good to hear real grievances from the Buddhists so we can address it properly,” said Worawit Baru, 67, a candidate for Prachachart Party in Pattani province.

“The security forces have brought Buddhists and Muslims together over meals many times and say this represent successful reconciliation,” Worawit said. “These window-dressing approaches must stop and we need the people to speak up.”

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Kay Johnson and Alex Richardson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election arrived for work each day, they placed their mobile phones in a locker outside of their office suite before entering.

Operating in secrecy in a nondescript glass-and-concrete office, the team of prosecutors and investigators since May 2017 has unearthed secrets that have led to bombshell charges against several of President Donald Trump’s aides, including his former national security adviser, campaign chairman and personal lawyer, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury.

To protect those secrets from prying ears, the whole of the office suite in southwest Washington was designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), U.S. spy speak for an area that has restrictions to ensure secret information stays secure.

One common restriction in SCIFs is to keep out smartphones and other electronic devices, which can be turned into covert listening devices or spy cameras. Visitors were also required to turn these over before entering.

The restrictions, while not surprising given the team was investigating whether a hostile foreign power tried to help Trump win the 2016 election and whether his campaign conspired in the effort, have not been previously reported.

Accounts of witnesses interviewed by the special counsel’s team, their lawyers and others familiar with the investigation reveal the lengths to which Mueller, a former FBI director, went to ensure his high-profile probe safeguarded its secrets.

In a city known for its leaks, Mueller pulled off a rare feat. He kept a tight lid on both his office and the evidence he was amassing in his highly sensitive investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency. And he did it even as Trump relentlessly criticized him, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s team “thugs.”

THE ADVISER AND THE DODGE CHARGER

When former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo agreed to an interview with Mueller in May 2018, he was told he would be picked up at the hotel where he was staying in Washington. On the lookout for a black government SUV, Caputo and his lawyer were surprised when an FBI agent drove up in his personal car, a white Dodge Charger.

    “Then he drove us 15 blocks to their location and we went in through the garage so that nobody would see,” Caputo said in an interview.

Caputo was questioned about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s aide Rick Gates and long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone. When the interview was over, Mueller’s team told him they would take him back to his hotel. Caputo said Mueller’s team was not happy with what he said next.

     “I said I’m meeting a TV crew downstairs so I won’t need a ride,” Caputo said. “They weren’t upset that I was talking to the media, they were disturbed that I was doing it in (front of) the office.”

“They were concerned … that would put their agents and attorneys at risk,” Caputo said, adding that he agreed to meet the news crew at a different location nearby.

Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg said an FBI agent picked him up at the train station to take him to the office.

“You put your phone and any electronic devices and leave them in a compartment out front,” Nunberg added. “It was a very plain office.”

Nunberg said he went into a conference room with three tables, and prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, a member of Mueller’s team, came in with three FBI agents, one female and two males.

    The office’s location was not publicly revealed but was discovered by journalists. Still, it has not been widely publicized. Mueller’s team has asked media outlets not to publish the exact location for security purposes.

“We are working in a secure location in Southwest DC,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, has said.

STAYING OUT OF THE NEWS

“In a town where everybody and their mother is trying to get on the front page, Bob Mueller was always trying to stay out of the news,” said Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman. “He wanted to be judged on actions, not press conferences.”

Corallo, who was briefly a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, was interviewed by Mueller’s team in February 2018.

Corallo and other witnesses summoned for interviews by Mueller’s team said they were picked up from their lawyers’ offices and taken to a secure parking garage in the building in southwest Washington.

The team’s office suite was anonymous with no plaque on the door to identify its occupants, said Washington lawyer A. Joseph Jay, who represented a witness he declined to identify.

More than once, Jay recalled, members of Mueller’s team expressed their commitment to confidentiality. “They made it clear on a number of occasions, ‘We don’t leak. You don’t have to worry about that with us.’”

“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,” Jay said. “They weren’t reacting to the spin. They were doing their jobs. They spoke through a number of indictments. They spoke through a number of sentencing memos.”

Mueller has remained silent throughout the investigation and his office has issued only one statement. In that statement, issued this past January, spokesman Carr labeled as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News account describing evidence collected by the special counsel that allegedly showed that Trump had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. BuzzFeed has stood by its story.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor, also remarked on Mueller staying out of sight.

“Whenever we talk to them, they say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.’ He’s like the Wizard of Oz,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani said although he was suspicious of leaks to the news media, he acknowledged he knew of none for sure from the special counsel’s team and that nothing he told Mueller’s office was leaked.

“Mueller doesn’t talk to us. I don’t know why he’d talk to the press,” the former New York mayor added.

Joseph Campbell, a former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who worked at the agency when Mueller headed it, said the special counsel knows how to handle sensitive investigations and ignores the attacks on him.

“He went through 12 years starting with 9/11 of extremely critical and sensitive investigations around the world,” said Campbell, referring to the 2001 attacks on the United States. “This is right in his wheelhouse.”

“He is not affected by external criticism or speculation,” Campbell added.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said any leaks about the investigation appeared to have come from witnesses or their lawyers.

“There’s nothing he can do about that,” Litt said, referring to Mueller.

Litt said Mueller, the 74-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer and architect of the modern FBI, probably “cares little about the public perception of him.”

“He cares,” Litt said, “about doing the job right.”

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham and Ross Colvin)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election arrived for work each day, they placed their mobile phones in a locker outside of their office suite before entering.

Operating in secrecy in a nondescript glass-and-concrete office, the team of prosecutors and investigators since May 2017 has unearthed secrets that have led to bombshell charges against several of President Donald Trump’s aides, including his former national security adviser, campaign chairman and personal lawyer, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury.

To protect those secrets from prying ears, the whole of the office suite in southwest Washington was designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), U.S. spy speak for an area that has restrictions to ensure secret information stays secure.

One common restriction in SCIFs is to keep out smartphones and other electronic devices, which can be turned into covert listening devices or spy cameras. Visitors were also required to turn these over before entering.

The restrictions, while not surprising given the team was investigating whether a hostile foreign power tried to help Trump win the 2016 election and whether his campaign conspired in the effort, have not been previously reported.

Accounts of witnesses interviewed by the special counsel’s team, their lawyers and others familiar with the investigation reveal the lengths to which Mueller, a former FBI director, went to ensure his high-profile probe safeguarded its secrets.

In a city known for its leaks, Mueller pulled off a rare feat. He kept a tight lid on both his office and the evidence he was amassing in his highly sensitive investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency. And he did it even as Trump relentlessly criticized him, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s team “thugs.”

THE ADVISER AND THE DODGE CHARGER

When former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo agreed to an interview with Mueller in May 2018, he was told he would be picked up at the hotel where he was staying in Washington. On the lookout for a black government SUV, Caputo and his lawyer were surprised when an FBI agent drove up in his personal car, a white Dodge Charger.

    “Then he drove us 15 blocks to their location and we went in through the garage so that nobody would see,” Caputo said in an interview.

Caputo was questioned about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s aide Rick Gates and long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone. When the interview was over, Mueller’s team told him they would take him back to his hotel. Caputo said Mueller’s team was not happy with what he said next.

     “I said I’m meeting a TV crew downstairs so I won’t need a ride,” Caputo said. “They weren’t upset that I was talking to the media, they were disturbed that I was doing it in (front of) the office.”

“They were concerned … that would put their agents and attorneys at risk,” Caputo said, adding that he agreed to meet the news crew at a different location nearby.

Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg said an FBI agent picked him up at the train station to take him to the office.

“You put your phone and any electronic devices and leave them in a compartment out front,” Nunberg added. “It was a very plain office.”

Nunberg said he went into a conference room with three tables, and prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, a member of Mueller’s team, came in with three FBI agents, one female and two males.

    The office’s location was not publicly revealed but was discovered by journalists. Still, it has not been widely publicized. Mueller’s team has asked media outlets not to publish the exact location for security purposes.

“We are working in a secure location in Southwest DC,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, has said.

STAYING OUT OF THE NEWS

“In a town where everybody and their mother is trying to get on the front page, Bob Mueller was always trying to stay out of the news,” said Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman. “He wanted to be judged on actions, not press conferences.”

Corallo, who was briefly a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, was interviewed by Mueller’s team in February 2018.

Corallo and other witnesses summoned for interviews by Mueller’s team said they were picked up from their lawyers’ offices and taken to a secure parking garage in the building in southwest Washington.

The team’s office suite was anonymous with no plaque on the door to identify its occupants, said Washington lawyer A. Joseph Jay, who represented a witness he declined to identify.

More than once, Jay recalled, members of Mueller’s team expressed their commitment to confidentiality. “They made it clear on a number of occasions, ‘We don’t leak. You don’t have to worry about that with us.’”

“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,” Jay said. “They weren’t reacting to the spin. They were doing their jobs. They spoke through a number of indictments. They spoke through a number of sentencing memos.”

Mueller has remained silent throughout the investigation and his office has issued only one statement. In that statement, issued this past January, spokesman Carr labeled as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News account describing evidence collected by the special counsel that allegedly showed that Trump had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. BuzzFeed has stood by its story.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor, also remarked on Mueller staying out of sight.

“Whenever we talk to them, they say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.’ He’s like the Wizard of Oz,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani said although he was suspicious of leaks to the news media, he acknowledged he knew of none for sure from the special counsel’s team and that nothing he told Mueller’s office was leaked.

“Mueller doesn’t talk to us. I don’t know why he’d talk to the press,” the former New York mayor added.

Joseph Campbell, a former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who worked at the agency when Mueller headed it, said the special counsel knows how to handle sensitive investigations and ignores the attacks on him.

“He went through 12 years starting with 9/11 of extremely critical and sensitive investigations around the world,” said Campbell, referring to the 2001 attacks on the United States. “This is right in his wheelhouse.”

“He is not affected by external criticism or speculation,” Campbell added.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said any leaks about the investigation appeared to have come from witnesses or their lawyers.

“There’s nothing he can do about that,” Litt said, referring to Mueller.

Litt said Mueller, the 74-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer and architect of the modern FBI, probably “cares little about the public perception of him.”

“He cares,” Litt said, “about doing the job right.”

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham and Ross Colvin)

Source: OANN

Palestinian medics raise up their hands as they try to evacuate a wounded demonstrator during protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian medics raise up their hands as they try to evacuate a wounded demonstrator during protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

March 22, 2019

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza, and called for perpetrators of violations in the strip to face justice.

Protests at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip began in March last year, with Gazans demanding Israel ease a blockade of the enclave and recognize their right to return to lands their families fled or were forced from when Israel was founded in 1948.

The resolution was based on a report by a U.N. inquiry which said that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests last year.

“The targeting of civilians is a serious matter that should not be condoned,” Palestine’s ambassador Ibrahim Khraisi said, citing the report’s findings. The toll included 35 Palestinian children, two journalists, and medical workers, he noted.

Israeli ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter denounced what she called “clear evidence of political bias against Israel” in the report. She accused the panel of ignoring “the very real threat” posed to 70,000 Israeli citizens living along the border from rockets fired by Hamas militants.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Peter Graff and Jon Boyle)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Trump salutes U.S. Army soldier as he observes military demonstration with Major General Piatt at Fort Drum, New York
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump salutes a U.S. Army soldier as he observes a military demonstration with U.S. Army Major General Walter “Walt” Piatt, the Commanding General of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, U.S., August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 22, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Defence Ministry on Friday accused its United States counterpart of deliberately seeking to hype up the threat from China and other nations to justify its own military expenditure, calling the move short-sighted and dangerous.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s $750-billion defense spending request to Congress is the largest ever in dollar terms, though not after being adjusted for inflation, and is meant to counter the growing strength of the Chinese and Russian militaries.

By comparison, China this month unveiled a hike of 7.5 percent in defense spending for the year, to 1.19 trillion yuan ($177 billion), though many experts and diplomats say the real figure is probably far higher. China denies that.

In a statement, China’s Defence Ministry reiterated its standard line about being committed to a peaceful path, and said the United States loved to talk up the “China threat theory”.

“We have noted that when the U.S. Defense Department is fighting for military spending, it always likes petty niggling, trying to get even more benefit for itself by exaggerating the threat posed by other countries,” it said.

“This is short-sighted and extremely dangerous,” it added.

It urged the United States to cast aside Cold War thinking, and take steps to promote the healthy and stable development of two-way ties between the two militaries.

The two countries frequently say they are committed to a sound military-to-military relationship, but their armed forces have seen some tense stand-offs in recent years, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, where the U.S. Navy conducts freedom of navigation patrols.

China is also deeply opposed to U.S. arms sales to self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its sacred territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

Responding to reports the Trump administration has approved the sales of more F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Friday said the government had already lodged “stern representations” with the United States.

“We urge the U.S. side to fully acknowledge the extreme sensitivity of the relevant issue, and extreme harmfulness of it,” he added.

The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will stop over in Hawaii next week at the end of a tour of the Pacific, to China’s anger.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Former DNC Chairman Ed Rendell said that freshman Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “does not represent the Democratic Party” in an interview that aired Thursday night on “Erin Burnett OutFront”.

The clip of the former Pennsylvania governor aired during a story about Keystone State voters, which included interviews with residents from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

WATCH:

“I think, all of a sudden, the 2020 election went from a slam dunk for Democrats to something where we’re going to have trouble beating this guy because he’s going to make democratic socialism swing to the left, which I don’t think is real, but he’s going to make it into the issue,” Rendell stated before adding that “AOC does not speak for the Democratic Party.”

Rendell recently criticized Democratic Party leadership for passing the anti-hate resolution in response to comments made by Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar that many considered to be anti-Semitic. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

“I think it should have focused on the anti-Semitism,” Rendell stated on Laura Ingraham’s show earlier this month. “It should have said that Omar made a mistake. Because she did make a mistake. As an American Jew, I can tell you the thing that’s most cutting to me is when people talk about Jews, the money, the benjamins, and us being sneaky people who control things by our money.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 21, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Venus Williams of the United States hits a forehand against Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia (not pictured) in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Three-times Miami Open champion Venus Williams lit up center court by easing past Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic 7-5 6-3 in the first round as the sun and fans returned to the tournament on Thursday.

After two days of almost constant rain Williams’ match on the 13,800 temporary stadium court kicked off a busy day as organizers scrambled to get back on schedule after rain washed away three of the first four sessions.

A move from cramped quarters at Crandon Park on picturesque Key Biscayne to the wide open spaces provided by acres of parking lots that surround the tournament’s new home at Hard Rock Stadium aims to give the Miami Open a bright new future.

Finally some of that potential shone through as people filled the spacious fanzone, generating some badly needed buzz.

Williams did her part to get the party rolling by overcoming a sluggish start to book her spot in the second round.

Trailing 5-4 in the opening set Williams stepped up a gear to sweep the next six games, breaking her opponent three times to claim the first set before jumping ahead 3-0 in the second to wake up a sleepy crowd.

Playing in her first WTA premier event, Jakupovic, 27, provided Williams with some early resistance, taking advantage of the 38-year-old American’s misfiring serve.

But the former world number one, making a record 20th appearance at the Miami Open, did not panic, breaking Jakupovic with the help of a challenge call that brought a smile to her face to seize control.

“She really plays the angles well and is definitely a real competitor,” said Williams summing up her 80th-ranked opponent. “I was just trying to get a feel for what her shot selection is like. That’s always really challenging as a new opponent.”

On an outside court, another tennis sibling, Mari Osaka, older sister of world number one Naomi, was not having the same success, falling 6-2 6-4 to American wildcard Whitney Osuigwe.

Osaka, ranked 338, will now have to content herself with being a cheerleader for her top-seeded sister who received a first round bye and will open her account against Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, a 3-6 6-3 6-1 winner over American Sachia Vickery.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Parents in China have spent millions of dollars on application coaches to get their kids into premium U.S. colleges, according to an investigation by Foreign Policy.

Chinese parents have reportedly employed consultants to increase their children’s chances of being accepted into a choice school, using similar tactics to those of U.S. parents recently arrested in a highly-publicized college bribery scheme.

China represented the largest number of foreign students attending U.S. colleges in 2018, with 340,000 enrolled, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (RELATED: Charity That allegedly Took Bribes To Get Millionaires Into College Claimed To Be About Helping The Underprivileged)

A candidate reviews before entering an exam site for the National College Entrance Examination (aka Gaokao) at Nanjing No.29 High School on June 7, 2018 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

A candidate reviews before entering an exam site for the National College Entrance Examination (aka Gaokao) at Nanjing No.29 High School on June 7, 2018 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Hundreds of companies in China offer students application guidance, according to Foreign Policy. Hiring a coaching “agent” is common and can cost as much as $90,000, but this big price tag reportedly guarantees at least three acceptances into a “Top 60” school.

Paid agents suggest extracurricular activities and assist with SAT and ACT preparation. They also help applicants write their personal essay, a critical application component students struggle with because the American essay style is vastly different from Chinese written language.

For $29,800, another company named Bonday offers students pre-application advice, “soft-skills” training, and essay tailoring. They boast acceptances into Princeton and Harvard. Yingtai Education charges $14,900 for similar services, while a company called Jiazhou charges $7,150 for straight application preparation.

Most of the companies interviewed by Foreign Policy denied blatant essay ghostwriting, but some acknowledged that parents expect the counselors to write essays wholesale for the students.

“Unethical behavior is still pretty rampant,” Nina Suet, founder and CEO of Shang Learning. Suet told Foreign Policy that her company adheres to ethical standards on counseling students through the Independent Educational Consultants Association.

U.S. schools are weary of fraud, however, and several colleges have reportedly engaged third parties to verify that Chinese students match their applications in real life.

Follow Whitney on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Parents in China have spent millions of dollars on application coaches to get their kids into premium U.S. colleges, according to an investigation by Foreign Policy.

Chinese parents have reportedly employed consultants to increase their children’s chances of being accepted into a choice school, using similar tactics to those of U.S. parents recently arrested in a highly-publicized college bribery scheme.

China represented the largest number of foreign students attending U.S. colleges in 2018, with 340,000 enrolled, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (RELATED: Charity That allegedly Took Bribes To Get Millionaires Into College Claimed To Be About Helping The Underprivileged)

A candidate reviews before entering an exam site for the National College Entrance Examination (aka Gaokao) at Nanjing No.29 High School on June 7, 2018 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

A candidate reviews before entering an exam site for the National College Entrance Examination (aka Gaokao) at Nanjing No.29 High School on June 7, 2018 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Hundreds of companies in China offer students application guidance, according to Foreign Policy. Hiring a coaching “agent” is common and can cost as much as $90,000, but this big price tag reportedly guarantees at least three acceptances into a “Top 60” school.

Paid agents suggest extracurricular activities and assist with SAT and ACT preparation. They also help applicants write their personal essay, a critical application component students struggle with because the American essay style is vastly different from Chinese written language.

For $29,800, another company named Bonday offers students pre-application advice, “soft-skills” training, and essay tailoring. They boast acceptances into Princeton and Harvard. Yingtai Education charges $14,900 for similar services, while a company called Jiazhou charges $7,150 for straight application preparation.

Most of the companies interviewed by Foreign Policy denied blatant essay ghostwriting, but some acknowledged that parents expect the counselors to write essays wholesale for the students.

“Unethical behavior is still pretty rampant,” Nina Suet, founder and CEO of Shang Learning. Suet told Foreign Policy that her company adheres to ethical standards on counseling students through the Independent Educational Consultants Association.

U.S. schools are weary of fraud, however, and several colleges have reportedly engaged third parties to verify that Chinese students match their applications in real life.

Follow Whitney on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

America has been engulfed by the opioid epidemic for nearly two decades, and today, more people are dying as a result than ever before. From 1999 to 2017, almost as many Americans died of an opioid overdose as died fighting in World War II. While it is more critical now than ever before that we draw attention to this epidemic,  the media — and cable news in particular — has continually ignored the magnitude of the issue.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that more than 400,000 Americans have died of an overdose involving opioids since 1999. At its current rate, the opioid epidemic’s death totals are set to surpass the 418,500 American lives lost throughout all of World War II this year alone. If serious action is not taken to combat this crisis, the epidemic may even eclipse the staggering number of causalities from the Civil War by 2025.

While the opioid epidemic was previously concentrated in poorer, whiter, and more economically depressed areas of the country, it has since exploded to more urban, diverse regions. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of Black and Hispanic Americans killed of an opioid overdose increased by nearly 50 percent between 2015 and 2016.

So how is cable news covering this generational crisis? Mostly by staying mum.

The website Pudding.cool, calculated how often certain words were used on major cable news stations between Aug. 25, 2017, and Jan. 21, 2018.

According to their data, the words “opioid,” “heroin,” and “drug” were used a total of 6,300 times during the five month period. While that may seem like a lot, it is dwarfed by other issues that aren’t claiming tens-of-thousands American lives every year.The NFL national anthem controversy was covered twice as much as the opioid epidemic by cable news channels. Words like “anthem,” “kneel,” Kaepernick,” and “NFL” were said 13,220 times during those same five months.

Cable news was even more fixated on the Russia investigation, stories of possible collusion, Robert Mueller, and General Flynn. The words “Mueller,” “Flynn,” “Russia,” and “Putin” were said nearly 50,000 times on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. In all, the Russia investigation and related matters were discussed nearly eight times as often as the opioid epidemic that’s ravaging our country.

Major media outlets would instead obsess about the president’s latest tweet, Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the flag, or the endless conspiracies of “Russian collusion,” than the most severe health crisis our country has ever faced.

Maybe the lack of media coverage is due to the fact that it’s not a sexy issue, or that those most affected are in the forgotten towns of middle America — in red counties, in red states, that Beltway Insiders have no interest in visiting. It’s also possible that the media is ignoring the issue because over 90 percent of heroin and fentanyl flows across the border from Mexico and greater exposure to the facts could increase support for President Trump’s border wall. But while cable news may turn a blind eye, that does not make this crisis any less real for the people suffering from its consequences every day.

Here is another story the media has neglected to tell: The Trump Administration has done more to fight the opioid epidemic than any other administration. In October of 2018, President Trump signed legislation to provide research funding to find treatment options for pain management that are not addictive, as well as expanding coverage for Medicaid patients fighting substance abuse.

The administration has also partnered with a large number of organizations in the private sector that have committed to fighting the opioid epidemic through drug disposal programs, streamlining medical records, supporting patients in addiction recovery and increasing education on opioids.

At a recent townhall in Las Vegas, First Lady Melania Trump remarked, “I’d also like to take a moment to challenge the media to cover this very real issue as often as possible. In 2017, we lost at least 72,000 Americans to overdoses — that’s 197 lost American lives per day, more than 8 lost lives per hour.” She continued, “I challenge the press to devote as much time to the lives lost and the potential lives that could be saved by dedicating the same amount of coverage that you do to idle gossip or trivial stories.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.  Without more significant public exposure to the facts and consequences, and more intense pressure from the media, it’s unlikely that our elected officials will ever take the hard steps needed to end this epidemic.

The media needs to start paying more attention to the opioid crisis; lives are literally depending on it.

Amy Kremer (@AmyKremer) is cofounder and chairwoman of Women for Trump, a PAC for women who support Donald Trump.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller


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