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Good Morning, News: Trump Ordered to Turn Over Tax Returns, Iraqi Police Kill Demonstrators, and Judgement Day for a Local Proud BoyCache
by Alex Zielinski
Police Brutality in Iraq: More than 100 anti-government protesters have been killed by Iraqi police over the past week. The massive demonstrations, focused on the country's low employment rate and government corruption, have been met with live rounds. At least three journalists covering the response have been jailed by the state government.
In Other Attacks on the Press: In the Chihuahua state of Mexico, a photojournalist was shot in the leg by a group of men who interrupted an interview with an alleged drug dealer. The interviewee was killed.
Rowena's Story: A former aid to Harvey Weinstein shares her #MeToo story. In Rowena Chiu's words: "Harvey Weinstein told me he liked Chinese girls. He liked them because they were discreet, he said — because they knew how to keep a secret. Hours later, he attempted to rape me."
Foul Play? The top witness in a Dallas trial who saw his neighbor, Botham Jean, die after a trigger-happy police officer mistook his apartment for hers was fatally shot Friday night.
Turn 'em Over: A federal judge in New York has ordered Donald Trump to release eight years of his tax returns—rejecting a prior appeal by Trump's lawyers. In the Monday ruling, the judge said he “cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process."
Speaking Of Wealthy Dudes and Taxes:
Blame It On Rick: Trump went running to Congress Friday to accuse Energy Secretary Rick Perry of pressuring him to call the Ukrainian President and request an investigation into the Biden family. Perry, who doesn't exactly deny this claim, is stepping down from his cabinet position in November.
Dirty Money? Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone, meanwhile, is calling on Mayor Ted Wheeler to return the $15,500 he's collected in donations from a wealthy US ambassador who's questionably tied to the Trump impeachment investigation.
Homecoming: Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputies met local Proud Boy Tusitala “Tiny” Toese in the Portland International Airport late Friday with handcuffs. Toese, a violent staple in Patriot Prayer rallies, has been living abroad for the past eight months to avoid assault charges. His first court appearance is this morning.
Shut It Down: Gov. Brown has issued a 180-day ban on flavored vape products in Oregon after two Oregonians die from vape burns. (Now do guns.)
While Congress mulls whether President Trump's phone call soliciting help from the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son is an impeachable offense, Trump's action raises another question. Did the president's requests violate campaign finance law? The Department of Justice doesn't think so. DOJ officials and career prosecutors in the department's public integrity section examined the text of the July 25 phone call and concluded there was not a potential campaign finance violation, according to senior Justice Department officials. The facts did not provide a basis for a predicated investigation, they said. In part, it depends on whether the president solicited a "thing of value" and how that term is defined. Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, believes there was a violation of the law. He says that "there is a long list" of examples of the Federal Election Commission finding that "intangible items like opposition research can constitute a
Starting Oct. 1, 2020, when the REAL ID law takes effect, if you plan to fly anywhere in the United States, the driver's license you show to security is probably going to need to have a star at the top. Essentially an enhanced driver's license, it will be required at the airport gate, unless you have another accepted form of ID. And officials are worried that one year out, many people don't yet have one. Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to address concerns of the 9/11 Commission, which found that it was too easy for people to obtain driver's licenses, posing a security risk. To get a REAL ID, you typically need to present a birth certificate or green card, a Social Security card and two documents that show your address. A study done for the U.S. Travel Association shows that 3 out of 4 Americans do not have a REAL ID driver's license (usually indicated by a star at the top), or believe they don't. Erik Hansen, vice president for government relations at U.S. Travel, says that's
Washington has been brought to the brink of impeaching the president based on a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower. Whistleblowing dates back to the nation's earliest days and, since then, it has been a risky and controversial exercise. Americans passed the world's first whistleblower protection law in 1778, says Allison Stanger, author of Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump. "So we're a leader in this realm and whistleblowing is really in our DNA. So that's why this particular moment is so interesting." Stanger, a professor at Middlebury College, says the first whistleblowers reported on the actions of one Esek Hopkins in the late 1770s. "He was the first commodore of the U.S. Navy and they blew the whistle on him ostensibly for torturing British prisoners of war," Stanger says. "He was removed from his post. He tried to retaliate against the whistleblowers who were thrown in jail, and then Congress intervened." Whistleblowers have been reporting
Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff vowed Thursday he is willing to sue the Trump administration over a dispute about the content of an as-yet-unknown complaint to the intelligence community's official watchdog. Schiff told reporters after a closed-door meeting with the inspector general, Michael Atkinson, that the Justice Department has opined that the material is shielded by privilege and can be withheld from lawmakers. Not so, Schiff argued, and "if we have to go to court to get this, we will have a good case." The dispute is over a complaint to Atkinson brought by someone inside the spy world over activity involving someone high-ranking, which Schiff said very likely means Trump or someone close to him. Newspapers have reported the basis of the complaint involved something Trump said to a foreign leader. Schiff said on Thursday he doesn't know whether that is accurate, but he argued the law and practice are clear: Congress oversees the spy
Congress is poised to restrict purchases of Chinese-built buses and rail cars in legislation that could open a new front in the trade war alongside the Trump administration's squabbles with Beijing. A bill would forbid the use of federal grants, which the Department of Transportation often makes to big-city transit authorities, to buy new subway trains or buses from the Chinese-owned manufacturer CRRC. Robert Puentes, president of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonpartisan transportation think tank, says CRRC already dominates the market for rail cars in China — "and they intend to corner the global market here in United States." Puentes says the company has successfully won bids for transit agencies in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia "by adhering to the rules that these agencies and these cities have laid out." CRRC has built two American plants, one in Massachusetts and one in Illinois, where it assembles the rail cars. The shells are imported from China; other
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NOEL KING, HOST: While the Trump administration tussles with China over trade policy, Congress is also about to take steps to counter Beijing. Lawmakers may soon bar large city transit agencies from using federal money to buy rail cars and buses that were built in China. NPR's Brian Naylor has that story. BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The focus of lawmakers and industry's concern is a company called CRRC, a Chinese-owned rail car manufacturer. Robert Puentes is president of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonpartisan transportation think tank. He says CRRC dominates the market for rail cars in China. ROBERT PUENTES: And they intend to corner the global market here in the United States. And they have successfully won bids, all above board, in places like Boston and Chicago and Los Angeles and Philadelphia by adhering to the rules that these agencies in these cities have laid out. NAYLOR: CRRC has built two American plants, one in Massachusetts and one
KYIV, Ukraine – As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.
Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.
Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.
But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.
It’s unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.
But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president’s personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.
On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”
While it’s unclear whether Trump’s remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone’s personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country’s energy sector and create an environment in which Western companies can do business.
Perry was asked about the AP’s reporting on Monday while in Lithuania, where he was meeting with officials from Ukraine and other eastern European countries to discuss energy security and cooperation. He said any suggestion that he tried to force a management change at Naftogaz was a “totally dreamed up story.”
“We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas,” Perry said. “Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry.”
The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogaz, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government’s plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.
Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.
At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.
Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party – including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.
The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.
Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.
In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev.
Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country’s dependence on Russia.
The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.
Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.
These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.
A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.
According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.
Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.
He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.
Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.
On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani’s presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.
She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a “government relations, public affairs and business development practice group.” The company’s name is an apparent nod to Trump, the 45th president.
This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.
This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.
“I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don’t know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously,” said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. “There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn’t do it.”
During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.
Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.
“The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced,” he said. “I did play a role in that.”
But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.
As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner’s 45 Energy Group.
Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: “While I won’t comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner.”
Baumgardner later denied that she had any business dealings in Ukraine but refused to say whether the replacement of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed.
Sargeant did not respond to a voice message left at a number listed for him at an address in Boca Raton.
John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. Dowd says the group then approached Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.
“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” Dowd said. “They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.
“It wasn’t a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn’t work out.”
THE ENERGY SECRETARY
In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.
In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.
Perry’s push for Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.
A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.
Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government “as having a higher ethical standard.”
The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president’s Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.
U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine’s business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.
“What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company,” Hynes said Saturday. “That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist.”
Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.
Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.
Perry has close ties to the Texas oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.
Zelenskiy’s office declined to comment on Saturday.
In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that “as God as my witness” he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani. He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.
In Lithuania on Monday, Perry said he could not recall whether Bleyzer’s name was on the list provided to Zelenskiy. But Perry confirmed he had known Bleyzer for years and called him “a really brilliant, capable businessman.”
“I would recommend him for a host of different things in Kyiv because he knows the country,” Perry said of Bleyzer. “He’s from there. So, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that would you eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they’re knowledgeable. It’d be remarkable if I didn’t say, `Talk to Michael.“’
WASHINGTON – They may have his back on impeachment, but some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies are suddenly revolting against his decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria.
On Monday, one chief Trump loyalist in Congress called the move “unnerving to the core.” An influential figure in conservative media condemned it as “a disaster.” And Trump’s former top NATO envoy said it was “a big mistake” that would threaten the lives of Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside American troops for years.
Trump’s surprise move, which came with no advance warning late Sunday and stunned many in his own government, threatened to undermine what has been near lockstep support among Republicans. It also came against the backdrop of a congressional impeachment inquiry in which the backing of Republicans in the Senate is the president’s bulwark against being removed from office.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been among Trump’s most vocal defenders, called the Syria decision “a disaster in the making” that would throw the region into chaos and embolden the Islamic State group.
“I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is,” Graham told Fox News. “I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has shrugged off the key allegation in the impeachment inquiry – that Trump pressured foreign powers to investigate a top Democratic rival – tweeted that Trump’s shift on Syria is “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”
And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been more willing than many Republicans to condemn Trump’s calls for foreign intervention in the 2020 election, called the Syria move “a terribly unwise decision” that would “abandon our Kurdish allies, who have been our major partner in the fight against the Islamic State.”
A more frequent Republican Trump critic, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, cast Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal.”
“It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney tweeted.
Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the United Nations, also cast the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Iraq as a betrayal of a key ally.
“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” she wrote on Twitter.
Former Rubio aide Alex Conant highlighted the risks ahead for a president whose political future depends on Republican support.
“For Trump to make a very controversial move on Syria at the exact moment when he needs Senate Republicans more than ever is risky politics,” Conant said, noting the significance for many Senate Republicans of the United States’ policy in northern Syria, where Kurds would be particularly vulnerable to a Turkish invasion.
“They’re not just going to send out a couple of tweets and move on,” Conant said. “At the same time, the White House is going to need these guys to carry a lot of water for them.”
While a number of Republicans criticized Trump’s decision, one of their most important leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was sanguine, offering little concern about Syria or impeachment during an appearance at the University of Kentucky.
“There are a few distractions, as you may have noticed,” McConnell said. “But if you sort of keep your head on straight and remember why you were sent there, there are opportunities to do important things for the country and for the states that we represent.”
After the appearance, McConnell issued a statement warning that Trump’s proposed withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
“As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal,” McConnell said.
Outside government, leaders of conservative groups backed Trump.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader, said Trump was simply “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars.”
He suggested Trump could easily reengage in the region if the decision backfires.
“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell said in an interview.
Former Trump campaign aide Barry Bennett noted that the president has been talking about reducing troop levels in the Middle East since before the 2016 election.
“I understand that they don’t like the policy, but none of them should be shocked by the policy,” Bennett said. “He’s only been talking about this for four or five years now. I think he’s with the vast majority of the public.”
Still, the backlash from other Trump loyalists was intense.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, called it a “misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests.”
And on Fox News, a network where many rank-and-file Trump supporters get their news, host Brian Kilmeade said it was “a disaster.”
“Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?” Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends.”
Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the controversy reminds him of former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ decision to resign late last year after Trump announced plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
“Ultimately, Trump reversed himself,” Aliriza said. “The question is whether he will actually reverse himself again in view of the opposition from Capitol Hill led by several of his closest allies.”
Congressman Bill Flores of Bryan (R-TX) visits with WTAW’s Scott DeLucia about Pete Sessions running for the District 17 seat, workshops for potential Congress candidates, the impeachment inquiry, next week’s agenda, and more during his weekly Washington update on The Infomaniacs on Friday, October 4, 2019. Listen to “Congressman Bill Flores on The Infomaniacs” on […]
"On Twitter, people appear to identify objects and phenomena with 'cursed energy' every hour of every day."Cache
"It’s not just creepy images: the word has acquired new valences, has come to signify increasingly generalized feelings of anxiety and malaise. 'The way I use "cursed" has a connotation of being trapped, i.e. a sort of Greek Mythology Ironic Eternal Punishment vibe,' Alex Pareene, a writer for The New Republic, told me.... The cursedness that has come to be incessantly invoked online... may be connected to a sense that the very relationship between direct cause and effect has grown weaker. Americans are regularly dying in mass shootings but Congress won’t pass basic gun legislation; the President has been racking up impeachable offenses since the Inauguration but momentum for impeachment is only building now, as we approach the end of 2019 (and, really, who knows for sure). At the same time, our sense of indirect, complex cause and effect may be tightening. We see Caribbean islands destroyed by hurricanes and look guiltily at our…
Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead. Attention now is on smaller but important pieces of bi-partisan broadband legislation such as the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on September 24. The bill would prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase communications equipment or services that pose a national security risk, and appropriates $1 billion for the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) to establish a $1 billion “Secure and Trusted Communications Reimbursement Program” to assist small communications providers in removing and replacing compromised equipment (so-called “rip and replace”). Broadband mapping also continues to be a focus with a number of bills circulating in both the House and Senate. Congress has…
Trump is frantic to find someone else to blame his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and he’s come up with the most ridiculous scapegoat imaginable: Rick Perry made me do it. He said this on a private call with Republican members of Congress — the phone call was “perfect” but it’s all his […]
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a new telecoms law modernising the country’s regulatory regime on Friday 4 October, Reuters reports, in a move that is expected to pave the way for new investment opportunities and help to salvage bankrupt operator Oi. The directive, Law No. 13.879/2019 – which took five years to clear Congress – will lift restrictions on sales of formerly state-owned assets. It will also allow for a ‘secondary spectrum market’ for the trading of cellular frequencies. Further, fixed line concession holders will be allowed to migrate their licences to a private regime in which they can more freely allocate investments to expand broadband services.
[Daily Trust] The Academic Staff Union of Universities has split into two with the formation of a new body called Congress of University Academics (CONUA).
Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article):Ex Air Force Officer Describes Four Types of Extraterrestrial Beings the Government Knows AboutCache
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Monday announced the partys new Uttar Pradesh team, with two-time MLA and Congress Legislative party chief Ajay Kumar Lallu as the state chief.
Telangana units of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have extended their support to the ongoing strike by the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees demanding its merger with the state government.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka has said that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has a dictatorial attitude towards the striking Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees.
Contact: Kara Brooks, 317-232-1622, email@example.com INDIANAPOLIS, July 10, 2014 /Standard Newswire/ -- Today Governor Mike Pence called on Members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation to support legislative efforts that would block or prevent implementation of the EPA's proposed regulations on carbon dioxide emission from existing and new power plants. "The Obama Administration has already put in place regulations on power plants that will increase the cost of Source: Mike Pence for Indiana
Contact: Alexei Laushkin, Evangelical Environmental Network, 202-352-9920
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2012 /Standard Newswire/ -- Evangelicals from across the country are urging that Congress extend the Renewable Energy Tax Production Credit (aka "Wind Tax Credit") during the fiscal cliff negotiations. In a press call earlier today, evangelical leaders from the Good Steward Campaign and Evangelical Environmental Network outlined a national grassroots and media campaign to mobilize Source: Evangelical Environmental Network
The House passed the "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" -- or the GIVE Act -- last week. The Senate took up the companion SERVE Act Tuesday afternoon. According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill (S.277), it would cost "$418 million in 2010 and about $5.7 billion over the 2010-2014 period."
Like most federal programs, these would be sure to grow over time. The bills reauthorize the Clinton-era AmeriCorps boondoggle program and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.
The programs have already been allocated $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2009, including $200 million from the porkulus package signed into law last month. In addition to recruiting up to 250,000 enrollees in AmeriCorps, the GIVE/SERVE bills would create new little armies of government volunteers, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and an expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation.
But that's not all. Spending would include new funds for:
-- Foster Grandparent Program ($115 million);
-- Learn and Serve America ($97 million);
-- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program ($70 million);
-- Senior Companion Program ($55 million);
-- $12 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for "the Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships programs";
-- $10 million a year from 2010 through 2014 for a new "Volunteers for Prosperity" program at USAID to "award grants to fund opportunities for volunteering internationally in coordination with eligible organizations"; and
-- Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund -- $50 million in 2010; $60 million in 2011; $70 million in 2012; $80 million in 2013; and $100 million in 2014.
Social Innovation Fund? If that sounds familiar, it should. I reported last fall on the Democratic Party platform's push to fund a "Social Investment Fund Network" that would reward "social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations" and "support results-oriented innovators." It is essentially a special taxpayer-funded pipeline for radical liberal groups backed by billionaire George Soros that masquerade as public-interest do-gooders.
Especially troublesome to parents' groups concerned about compulsory volunteerism requirements is a provision in the House version directing Congress to explore "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic and educational backgrounds."
Those who have watched AmeriCorps from its inception are all too familiar with how government volunteerism programs have been used for propaganda and political purposes. AmeriCorps "volunteers" have been put to work lobbying against the voter-approved three-strikes anti-crime initiative in California and protesting Republican political events while working for the already heavily tax-subsidized liberal advocacy group ACORN.
D.C. watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste also documented national service volunteers lobbying for rent control, expanded federal housing subsidies and enrollment of more women in the Women, Infants and Children welfare program. AmeriCorps volunteers have also been paid to shuffle paper at the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Legal Services Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
(Now, imagine Obama's troops being sent overseas -- out of sight and unaccountable -- as part of that $10 million a year USAID/Volunteers for Prosperity program. Egad.)
One vigilant House member, GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx, successfully attached an amendment to the GIVE Act to bar National Service participants from engaging in political lobbying; endorsing or opposing legislation; organizing petitions, protests, boycotts or strikes; providing or promoting abortions or referrals; or influencing union organizing.
Supporters of GIVE/SERVE are now fighting those restrictions tooth and nail, screaming censorship and demanding the provisions be dropped -- which tells you everything you need to know about the true nature of this boondoggle. Taxpayers GIVE their money to SERVE a big government agenda under the guise of helping their fellow man. It's charity at the point of a gun.
House Democrats issued subpoenas to the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget on Monday — the latest in a string of such demands as Congress ratchets up its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Aug. 7, 1974, three top Republican leaders in Congress paid a solemn visit to President Richard Nixon at the White House, bearing the message that he faced near-certain impeachment due to eroding support in his own party on Capitol Hill. Nixon, who'd been entangled in the Watergate scandal for two years, announced his resignation the next day.