Thursday March 22nd, 2018
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
World & National
Congress reaches a deal on $1.3-Trillion spending bill
Trump lends support
Congressional leaders on Wednesday reached agreement on a $1.3 trillion plan to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, pouring new money into gun background checks and anti-opioid efforts but limiting President Trump’s calls for investment in stiffer immigration enforcement.
The measure includes new money to prevent cyberattacks and boost election security ahead of November’s midterm elections, fixes a flaw in last year’s tax-cut bill, and continues pouring money into research at the National Institutes of Health.
At 2,232 pages, the bill spends an average of nearly $600 million per page. The text was released just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, giving lawmakers less than 52 hours to pass it before a shutdown deadline Friday.
GOP leaders must try to quell a conservative rebellion over the size of the spending and the lack of major conservative policy wins.
Obama directive easing school discipline for minority students fueling classroom chaos
The Trump administration is being accused of racism for targeting an Obama-era directive compelling schools to ease up on discipline for minority students — even though the policy has made life more difficult for kids, including minorities, stuck in increasingly unruly classrooms.
Ask Virginia Walden Ford, who runs a church-based after-school snack program in Little Rock. She was recently surprised when a young, fearful black girl turned up before the end of the school day and admitted she had skipped class.
Why? She had been involved in a fight the day before with another girl, but the school had refused to suspend her assailant, and she worried that the girl would try to pick a fight with her again.
Andrew McCabe reportedly oversaw criminal probe of Jeff Sessions
When he was FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe considered “lack of candor” so important that he reportedly oversaw a criminal probe of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on that very score.
Citing “sources familiar with the matter,” ABC News reported Wednesday that Mr. McCabe led the probe about a year ago, which focused on his boss’s confirmation testimony before a Senate panel about his contacts with Russian officials.
According to ABC News, Mr. Sessions did not know at the time of the firing that Mr. McCabe had overseen a criminal probe of him.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee believed Mr. Sessions had lied about or understated his actions.
“Several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe,” ABC News reported.
Trump slams 'Crazy Joe Biden'
President Trump slammed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday, accusing him of threatening physical assault.
“Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Mr. Biden said Tuesday he would have “beat the hell out of” Mr. Trump in high school if he made crude remarks about women. He made the comments in a video posted on Facebook by the University of Miami College Democrats. He made similar comments during the 2016 election at a rally for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Russian cash complicates U.K. outrage over spy drama
The row between the United Kingdom and Russia over a brazen nerve gas attack on a former Russian military intelligence officer and double agent living in England has laid bare an uncomfortable truth about the bilateral relationship — one that is all about money.
The government of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May has reacted with outrage to the assault, which her government blames on the Kremlin. But skeptics say that outrage has been tempered and complicated by the vast sums of Russian money that have flooded into Britain’s financial and real estate markets in recent years.
For decades, hundreds, if not thousands, of wealthy Russians have been parking themselves and their assets — including what is widely believed to be huge coffers of dirty money — in the United Kingdom.
UK data watchdog still waiting for warrant to raid Cambridge Analytica
The UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commission’s Office (ICO), has still not obtained a warrant to enter and search the servers of the London-based political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica — the company at the center of the data misuse scandal engulfing Facebook — three days on from beginning the process.
The earliest a warrant could now be obtained by the regulator is Friday.
In a statement today the ICO said: “A High Court judge has adjourned the ICO’s application for a warrant relating to Cambridge Analytica until Friday. The ICO will be in court to continue to pursue the warrant to obtain access to data and information to take forward our investigation.”
The information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, made it public on Tuesday that she was seeking a warrant to search CA’s servers after the company missed a Monday deadline to hand over information her office had requested.
Palestinian Teen Agrees To 8-Months In Prison After Slapping Israeli Soldier
Ahed Tamimi, then 16, stands for a hearing in the military court at Ofer military prison on Jan. 1. She accepted a plea bargain and is to be released in July, her lawyer said.
A Palestinian teenager who gained international attention after a video showed her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier has agreed to plead guilty to assault charges and will serve eight months in prison.
Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a symbol of Palestinian defiance to military occupation after she confronted Israeli soldiers outside her home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Dec. 15. Video of the incident went viral after Tamimi's mother shared it on Facebook.
But many Israelis consider her a provocateur, similar to members of her family who have protested against Israeli policies for years.
Austin bomber had a list of targets and made a 'confession' video
Hours after a serial bomber blew himself up as authorities closed in, investigators discovered that the homegrown Texan who had killed two people and terrorized Austin for 19 days had left behind a list of future targets and a 25-minute "confession" on his phone, officials said Wednesday.
After hundreds of investigators swarmed Austin in recent days to stop the bomber, it was a combination of high-tech surveillance and old-fashioned shoe-leather investigating that led officials to Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, who had no criminal record.
However, Conditt's motive remains unknown, and officials suspect that "we are never going to be able to put a rationale behind these acts," said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
Hollywood stars, athletes driving away viewers with political activism
Actors and athletes increasingly using their forums for political activism are turning off viewers, according to a newly released poll.
A McLaughlin & Associates/Media Research Center survey released Wednesday found that 44 percent were less likely to watch sports and entertainment shows “because they have become too political.”
In addition, 75 percent said they watch sports and entertainment to escape from politics, and “do not want to be bombarded with partisan political messages.”
The poll of 1,000 likely voters comes with television ratings plummeting in the last year for high-profile sports and entertainment events.
Border Patrol agents want technology, not wall
Border Patrol leaders and line agents say publicly that more fencing will help — but a new Democratic report Thursday says what they’re really asking for behind closed doors is more manpower and technology.
Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee reviewed assessments and resource requests filed by agents and supervisors who were asked what they needed to fill gaps in border security.
Rarely did they ask for a wall or additional fencing, the Democrats concluded, and only one of 14 “urgent and compelling” gaps involved a request for additional border barriers.
“More often, these Urgent and Compelling capability gaps were associated with technological or personnel needs, such as insufficient manpower, poor training, or inadequate surveillance equipment,” the report concluded.
Dems are the reason there are no DACA protections in the spending bill
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that Democrats are the reason the spending bill does not include DACA protections.
“We said let’s do multiyear funding for the wall for multiyear relief for the DACA kids, and they walked away from that. They wouldn’t take that,” Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said on Fox News.
He said the House and Senate leaders, as well as President Trump, tried to negotiate with the Democrats on a three-year protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that protects children brought to the U.S. illegally. Republicans put funding for the border wall in the bill, but left out DACA since Democrats wanted to include a path to citizenship.
America’s long history of misjudging North Korea
North Korea has befuddled the United States and its Asian allies ever since North Korean leader Kim Il-sung launched the invasion of South Korea in June 1950.
Prior to the attack, the United States had sent inadvertent signals that it likely would not protect South Korea in the event of an unexpected invasion from the north. Not surprisingly, a war soon followed.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, after leading a brilliant landing at Inchon in September 1950, chased the communists back north of the 38 parallel. In hot pursuit, Gen. MacArthur gambled that the Chinese would not invade, as he sought to conquer all of North Korea and unite the peninsula.
Google's $300 million fight against fake--er, conservative--news
Google just kicked off a new initiative to fight what it regards as fake news — a new $300 million, three-year initiative that will help news publishers earn more money from subscriptions; help readers disseminate fact from fiction, particularly on breaking items of interest; and help journalists do their jobs.
Sounds great. That’s the company line, anyway. But those lofty goals are very likely code for the greater one: kicking off and keeping out the conservative voices.
“PragerU sues Google, YouTube for ‘censoring’ conservative videos,” one headline from The Hill blasted in October 2017.
And this, from Fortune, that same month: “Why Critics Say YouTube Is Censoring Conservative Videos.”