Group By Topic


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body R Washington Examiner Trump wants exceptions in abortion laws!/quality/90/? <p>President Trump said he favors abortion laws that include exceptions for rape and incest, marking a break with Alabama Republicans, who recently enacted the strictest abortion ban in the nation. </p><p>“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother,” Trump tweeted late Saturday. </p><p>Trump said Republicans must stick together to win elections in 2020 and further the anti-abortion agenda.</p><p>“If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!” he said. </p><p>Once Alabama's law is implemented, doctors can be punished with up to 99 years in prison if they perform abortions, even in instances of rape or incest. The legislation is aimed at overturning <i>Roe v. Wade</i>, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. </p><p>Other states have also passed anti-abortion bills in recent weeks. Georgia’s law prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks. </p> L New York Times The Race to Limit Abortion Access <p><em>You’re reading In Her Words, where women rule the headlines. </em></p><p><a><em>Sign up</em></a><em> here to get it delivered to your inbox. Let me know what you think at </em><a><em></em></a>.</p><p>This year, with the future of Roe v. Wade newly in question after the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a rash of abortion-related bills have been making their way through statehouses. The vast majority are bills to restrict access to abortion, though a couple are efforts to shore up abortion rights. </p><p>This week, Georgia and Alabama have made moves to restrict access to the procedure. <!-- -->Alabama’s is one of the most aggressive ever<!-- --> in the U.S., aiming to criminalize abortion. <!-- -->The vote, initially expected to take place on Thursday, was delayed until next week after<!-- --> <a>chaos erupted</a> on the Senate floor<!-- -->.</p><p>As my colleagues Timothy Williams and Alan Blinder <a>reported</a> this week: Republicans, emboldened by President Trump and the shifting alignment of the Supreme Court, have recently intensified their decades-long campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 ruling established that abortion is legal before a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually about 24 weeks into a pregnancy.</p><p>Here is a breakdown of some of the <!-- -->measures<!-- --> taken so far this year.</p><p>______</p><p>The State Senate in Alabama could soon vote to criminalize abortion in the year’s most far-reaching measure that has a chance of becoming law<!-- -->.<!-- --> </p><p>The bill would effectively ban most abortions from conception on and would criminalize the procedure for doctors, according to <a>the Times report</a>. Doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison, or 10 years for attempting to perform the procedure. </p><p>Exceptions for rape, incest and serious threats to the mother’s health are being considered.</p><p><em>[READ MORE: </em><a><em>As States Race to Limit Abortions, Alabama Goes Further, Seeking to Outlaw Most of Them</em></a><em>]</em></p><p>______</p><p>On Tuesday, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, <a>signed a “fetal heartbeat</a>” bill, essentially banning abortions at the first signs of a<!-- --> fetal heartbeat, or after six weeks of pregnancy — before many women know that they are pregnant.<!-- --> </p><p><a>Doctors measure the start of pregnancy</a> from the date of a woman’s last menstrual period, which is usually about two weeks before a fetus is conceived. </p><p>According to the <a>American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists</a>, an embryo is not considered a fetus until eight weeks after fertilization, which is about 10 weeks into a pregnancy<!-- -->.</p><p>“Georgia is a state that values life,” Kemp said at the bill signing. </p><p>It’s the fourth state to pass such legislation this year, and like in other states, it is expected to face a swift legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have vowed to challenge Georgia’s legislation before it takes effect in January 2020.</p><p><em>[READ MORE: </em><a><em>What Do New State Abortion Laws Really Mean for Women?</em></a><em>]</em></p><p>______</p><p>All three of these states have passed “<a>heartbeat bills</a>” this year, <!-- -->paving the way for Georgia<!-- -->.</p><p>The law was passed in Kentucky in March, but was <a>blocked by a federal judge</a> hours later. Kentucky has <a>one abortion clinic</a>.</p><p><a>Mississippi</a> passed its own law just days after Kentucky, though a federal judge is expected to hear a challenge to the law later this month. During the signing ceremony, Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, a Republican, described a heartbeat as “the universal hallmark of life since man’s very beginning.”</p><p>In April, Ohio passed its law, which is set to take effect in July. The A.C.L.U. <a>plans to sue</a>. At the <a>bill’s signing in Ohio</a>, Gov. Mike DeWine acknowledged its potential to be used as a tool in the fight against Roe v. Wade.</p><p>Meanwhile, legislators in South Carolina and Tennessee are considering similar measures. And similar laws have been found unconstitutional in <a>Iowa</a> and North Dakota.</p><p>______</p><p>States moving to <a>bolster abortion rights</a> is rare, but on Jan. 22, the 46th anniversary of the Roe decision, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Democrat of New York, <a>signed the Reproductive Health Act</a>. The law permits abortion after the 24th week of a pregnancy when there is “an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”</p><p>In Virginia, a similar bill was set aside in committee.</p><p><a><em>Sign up here to get In Her Words delivered to your inbox</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>______</p><p><em>Here are </em><em>five</em><em> articles from The Times you might have missed.</em></p><p><strong>“When I see Border Patrol, I think about them taking my parents.”</strong> Seven young women told us their stories about what it’s like to come of age in the borderlands. [<a>Read the story</a>] </p><p><strong>“The expectation among my male friends is still that they will have the life they had before having kids.” </strong>Our idea of the culture of fatherhood has changed much more than dads' actual behavior. [<a>Read the story</a>]</p><p><strong>“They’re victims of the situation because they went against their will.”</strong> What should be done with the women and children of ISIS? [<a>Read the story</a>]</p><p><strong>“It’s the men whose electability you should doubt.”</strong> Overlooking a qualified woman because you expect misogynists to have a problem with her is the definition of patriarchy, writes Farhad Manjoo, a Times columnist. [<a>Read the story</a>]</p><p><strong>“We were best friends. Then three years ago, my cousin tried to kill me.”</strong> A writer who was once drawn to his cousin’s bravado was forced to come to terms with how the idea of masculinity had poisoned their lives. [<a>Read the story</a>]</p><p>______</p><p>Norma Miller, known as the “Queen of Swing,” who danced the Lindy Hop on Harlem sidewalks as a child and later made it a Jazz Age jitterbug craze, <a>died this week at 99</a>. </p><p>She was the youngest recruit and last survivor of the original Lindy Hoppers, the all-black dance troupe that broke in at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and popularized the Lindy Hop in Broadway shows, on tours of Europe and Latin America, and in Hollywood films. </p><p>“Black girls didn’t have many outlets,” she said decades later. “You had laundry. You had hairdresser. Or teacher. Now, I didn’t qualify for any of those. I could dance. I could just do it naturally.” </p><p>With her own black companies, she joined early fights to undermine segregation in Miami Beach and Las Vegas nightclubs and casinos, where black entertainers drew big crowds but afterward had to leave through the kitchen and stay in segregated accommodations.</p><p><a><em>Sign up here</em></a><em> to get future installments of In Her Words delivered to your inbox.</em></p><p><a><em>Read past articles here</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Are you on Instagram? </em><a><em>Follow us here</em></a><em>.</em></p> L Washington Post Trump signals Alabama abortion law goes too far but stresses he’s ‘strongly pro-life’ <p>President Trump is carefully distancing himself from a new Alabama law that bans abortion in almost all circumstances, even in cases of rape and incest, stressing his “strongly pro-life” credentials while aligning himself with other Republicans who also contend the statute goes too far.</p><p>In a late-night Twitter thread Saturday, Trump avoided any direct references to the law in Alabama or in other Republican-led states that have rushed to enact strict new rules against abortion designed to invite court challenges and eventually make their way to the Supreme Court.</p><p>But he underscored that his position — Trump has said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk — is the same as that of former president Ronald Reagan. He urged Republicans to instead stay united on the issue, which the GOP has used to go on the offensive against Democrats, particularly in the wake of a new law in New York that has expanded access to late-term abortion. </p><p><a>The widening gap in abortion laws in this country</a></p><p>“We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new Federal Judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court Justices, the Mexico City Policy, and a whole new &amp; positive attitude about the Right to Life,” Trump tweeted late Saturday. The Mexico City policy refers to an executive order he signed in January 2017 that bars U.S. aid to any organization abroad that performs abortions or offers information about the procedure. </p><p>He continued: “Radical Left, with late term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue.”</p><p>“We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020,” Trump tweeted. “If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!” </p><p><a>Trump campaign spokeswoman suggests he’s opposed to parts of Alabama’s abortion ban</a></p><p>The flurry of new antiabortion laws in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri has forced the issue of abortion onto the national political stage, with a host of Democratic presidential contenders seizing on the issue to make their case that the GOP is too extreme in trying to limit access to abortion. </p><p>Trump is far from the only Republican, although certainly the most powerful one, to signal that the new Alabama law — which also allows a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for doctors who perform the procedure — goes too far. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said last week that the statute “goes further than I believe” with its lack of exemptions for rape and incest, and very few Republicans on Capitol Hill have been eager to weigh in with support of the law. </p><p><a>Everything you need to know about the abortion ban news</a></p><p>The president’s relationship with the antiabortion movement had a rocky start, as activists who oppose abortion rights greeted with deep skepticism a candidate who proclaimed he was “very pro-choice” <a>in a 1999 interview</a>. </p><p>But during his time in office, Trump has promoted and enacted policies that have delighted antiabortion groups. In addition to the Mexico City policy — also known as the “global gag rule” — Trump in 2017 signed into law a bill that gave states permission to withhold federal family planning funds from groups that provide abortion, such as Planned Parenthood. </p><p>Last year, the Trump administration said it would draw a “bright line” separating clinics that can receive federal family-planning funds from organizations that provide abortions or referrals to abortion clinics.</p><p>Trump also supports legislation barring abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and has installed two justices to the Supreme Court — Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — who have cemented a conservative majority on the nation’s most powerful court. </p>

Confidence in police

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body L Vox Cleveland police are out of control, say the feds. Now they're making a deal to change. <p>Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson stands with US Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who heads the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.</p><p>Angelo Merendino/Getty Images</p><p>The <a>consent decree</a> between Cleveland and the Justice Department emphasizes community policing, an approach that involves law enforcement closely working with the local community to guide best practices. In particular, the city vowed to establish a commission that will act as a link between the Cleveland police department and community groups. "We will have community policing as part of our DNA," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said.</p><p>The agreement also promises new guidelines, improved training, and more oversight for use of force. As part of these changes, the Cleveland police department will reform and strengthen existing watchdog agencies. The mayor will also appoint an inspector general that will watch over the police department, and a civilian will be in charge of the police force's internal affairs unit.</p><p>Among the reforms, police officers will be required to stop pistol whipping people in the head, and document each time they unholster their guns.</p><p>An independent monitor will oversee all of these changes. The city will only be relieved of federal oversight once a federal judge agrees that the police department has met a specific set of standards for reform detailed in the agreement.</p><p>Former US Attorney General Eric Holder oversaw the Justice Department as it investigated the Cleveland police department.</p><p>Chris Graythen/Getty Images</p><p>A brutal <a>Justice Department report</a> in December found Cleveland police officers used excessive deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons; unnecessary, excessive, and retaliatory force, including Tasers, chemical sprays, and their fists; and excessive force against people with mental illness or in crisis, including one situation in which officers were called exclusively to check up on someone's well-being.</p><p>In one case, a police officer shot at an unarmed man wearing only boxer shorts as he was fleeing from armed assailants:</p><p>An incident from 2013 in which a sergeant shot at a victim as he ran from a house where he was being held against his will is just one illustration of this problem. "Anthony" was being held against his will inside a house by armed assailants. When officers arrived on scene, they had information that two armed assailants were holding several people inside the home. After officers surrounded the house, Anthony escaped from his captors and ran from the house, wearing only boxer shorts. An officer ordered Anthony to stop, but Anthony continued to run toward the officers. One sergeant fired two shots at him, missing. According to the sergeant, when Anthony escaped from the house, the sergeant believed Anthony had a weapon because he elevated his arm and pointed his hand toward the sergeant. No other officers at the scene reported seeing Anthony point anything at the sergeant.</p><p>The sergeant's use of deadly force was unreasonable. It is only by fortune that he did not kill the crime victim in this incident. The sergeant had no reasonable belief that Anthony posed an immediate danger. The man fleeing the home was wearing only boxer shorts, making it extremely unlikely that he was one of the hostage takers. In a situation where people are being held against their will in a home, a reasonable police officer ought to expect that someone fleeing the home may be a victim. Police also ought to expect that a scared, fleeing victim may run towards the police and, in his confusion and fear, not immediately respond to officer commands. A reasonable officer in these circumstances should not have shot at Anthony.</p><p>This is just one of many examples of police officers using "poor and dangerous tactics" that often put them "in situations where avoidable force becomes inevitable and places officers and civilians at unnecessary risk," according to the report.</p><p>The Justice Department attributed many of these problems to inadequate training and supervision. "Supervisors tolerate this behavior and, in some cases, endorse it," the report said. "Officers report that they receive little supervision, guidance, and support from the Division, essentially leaving them to determine for themselves how to perform their difficult and dangerous jobs."</p><p>Former US Attorney General Eric Holder, who headed the Justice Department at the time of the investigation, argued that fixing these issues is crucial for both the general public and police. "Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments, and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve," he said.</p><p>For Cleveland, settling with the Justice Department to reform its police force averts a costly court battle. But it also could help alleviate tensions with a community that has long seen its police department as overly aggressive and even abusive.</p><p><iframe></iframe></p><p><iframe></iframe></p> L Washington Post Chicago police officers have pattern of using excessive force, scathing Justice Dept. report says <p>A <a>federal investigation</a> into the Chicago police found that the department routinely uses excessive force and violates the constitutional rights of residents, particularly those who are black and Latino.</p><p>The <a>blistering 164-page report</a> by the Justice Department, released Friday, put an unwelcome spotlight on Chicago, a city already struggling with a surge in gun violence that has pushed homicide numbers to their <a>highest level in two decades</a>.</p><p>The report, and a pledge by city officials to reform the police department, come in the last days of the Obama administration, which has aggressively pursued investigations of abuse by local law enforcement.</p><p>On Friday, Chicago leaders said they had promised to negotiate with the federal government an order, enforceable by a judge, that would reform how the police department handles training, accountability and the way officers use force. A similar agreement is in place for the city of Baltimore.</p><p>But President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has criticized government lawsuits that force police reforms. And Trump himself has been a staunch defender of police officers, who he has called the “most mistreated people in this country,” and he has said that crime in this country is on the rise and requires a forceful response.</p><p>When asked whether the Chicago action would retain its strength under a Trump administration, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday she expected the agreement with Chicago to live on beyond Obama’s term.</p><p>“Yes, the top people at the Department of Justice move on, but this agreement is not dependent on one, or two, or three people,” she said.</p><p>The report details a grim succession of anecdotes.</p><p><a>Here are 12 key takeaways from the Justice Department’s scathing report on Chicago’s police</a></p><p>Officers are described as running after people who they had no reason to believe committed serious crimes. Some of those chases ended in fatal gunfire. In one case, officers began chasing a man who was described as “fidgeting with his waistband.” Police fired a total of 45 rounds at him, hitting and killing him. No gun was found on the man, the report states, and a gun found almost a block away was both “fully-loaded and inoperable.”</p><p>These anecdotes were not limited to fatal incidents. A 16-year-old girl is described as being struck with a baton and shocked with a Taser for not leaving school when she was found carrying a cellphone. A 12-year-old Latino boy was “forcibly handcuffed” without explanation while riding his bike near his father.</p><p>Federal officials were also told about officers taking young people to the neighborhood of a rival gang to either leave them there “or display the youth,” putting their lives in danger by suggesting they had given information to police.</p><p>While the federal officials on Friday noted that city officials have made efforts recently to enact reforms, they said “complicated and entrenched” causes of the problems could only be fixed with outside help.</p><p><a>Read the scathing Justice Department report on the Chicago Police Department</a></p><p>The report is the culmination of a 13-month investigation into the country’s second-biggest local law enforcement agency, which has a grim history that includes a former police commander who spent decades leading a torture ring until he was suspended and then fired in the early 1990s.</p><p>During the news conference on Friday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said “some of the findings in the report are difficult to read.” But he also said that many of the problems had already been identified and officials were working to correct them.</p><p>“Quite simply, as a department, we need to do better, and you have my promise, and commitment, that we will do better,” Johnson said.</p><p>Officers are described as lying, as part of a “code of silence” and also in cases where they had little reason to lie, the report states.</p><p>But investigators also described an utter absence of morale in the police force, as officers increasingly feel they are adrift and unsupported, and the report describes suicides and suicide threats among officers as “a significant problem.”</p><p>Many “officers feel abandoned by the public and often by their own department,” the report states. “We found profoundly low morale nearly every place we went within CPD. Officers generally feel that they are insufficiently trained and supported to do their work effectively.”</p><p>Dean C. Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, did not respond to a message seeking comment Friday.</p><p><a>In Obama administration’s waning days, a push to cement legacy of police reform</a></p><p>The Justice Department <a>began its Chicago investigation</a> in December 2015, just weeks after authorities in the city released video footage <a>showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald</a>, a black 17-year-old.</p><p>This dashboard-camera recording, withheld for more than a year by city officials, showed Officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 shots into McDonald, some after the teenager had already crumpled to the ground, despite initial accounts that <a>the teenager had lunged at the officer</a>. The video unleashed a torrent of anger on the streets of Chicago, which became the latest in a series of cities that boiled over in recent years after a fatal encounter involving police.</p><p><a>After a blistering report, what’s next for the embattled Chicago police?</a></p><p>The recording has continued to reverberate in the city. Not long after it was made public, the Justice Department announced that it would begin what is known as a “pattern or practice investigation” into the police department. Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), facing <a>intense</a> criticism, <a>ousted Garry F. McCarthy</a> as police superintendent, while voters <a>decisively dismissed Anita Alvarez</a>, the prosecutor in the case, in an election that highlighted the McDonald shooting.</p><p>Emanuel also <a>created a task force</a> to review how the Chicago police handled accountability, training and oversight, and the group <a>released a highly critical report</a> last year, describing the McDonald video as a tipping point giving “voice to long-simmering anger.”</p><p>In what some viewed as a prelude to the Justice Department’s findings, the task force’s report described repeatedly hearing from people who felt some police officers are racist and said the police force’s own data “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”</p><p>Chicago officials have <a>vowed to pursue police reforms</a> and <a>increased transparency</a>, and have also announced plans to beef up the policing ranks as the city <a>confronts an explosion of bloodshed</a> and just saw its <a>deadliest year in two decades</a>. Johnson, the police superintendent, called for Van Dyke and four other officers to be fired over the episode, <a>accusing them of lying about the shooting</a>. Van Dyke was arrested and charged with murder the day the McDonald footage was released.</p><p>McCarthy, Johnson’s predecessor, had criticized the Justice Department <a>before the report was released</a> and said investigators never contacted him. Asked about that on Friday, Lynch said that investigators had tried but he was “unavailable,” although she did not elaborate.</p><p>Reached after the news conference, McCarthy declined to discuss the contents of the report — saying he still had to review it with his lawyer — but disputed that Justice Department investigators attempted to reach him.</p><p>“That is a lie,” McCarthy said. “With all the investigative resources of the federal government, they couldn’t find me here, in River North, which is a neighborhood in Chicago. That is absurd.”</p><p><a>Baltimore officials and Justice Department announce agreement to revamp police practices</a></p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said that the findings confirmed “what we have known for decades” about policing in Chicago.</p><p>“The Chicago Urban League believes that the report must be viewed as a milestone,” Shari Runner, president and chief executive of the group, said in a statement. “It is verification of the worst of what we’ve been and continue to be, but offers a viable path to what we want to become.”</p><p>Distrust remains an issue between police officers and residents in Chicago. In a poll taken last year, one in three residents said the city’s police officers were doing an excellent or good job; far fewer black residents (12 percent) felt that way then white residents (47 percent) or Hispanic residents (37 percent). The new report also states that police use force almost 10 times as often against black people as white people. Complaints filed against officers by white people were substantially more likely to be substantiated than those filed by black people or Latinos.</p><p>Federal investigators said their inquiry found that Chicago police force did not provide officers with suitable guidance for using force, investigate improper uses of force or hold officers accountable for such incidents. Investigators also faulted the city’s methods of handling officer discipline, saying the process “lacks integrity,” while saying that in the rare case where misconduct complaints are sustained, discipline is “haphazard and unpredictable.”</p><p>Training is repeatedly described as woefully inadequate, with the report describing officers in a class on deadly force being shown a video made more than three decades ago that depicted tactics “clearly out of date.”</p><p>Emanuel acknowledged Friday that there were questions were surrounding what the next administration would do, but vowed to continue working with the government.</p><p>“We will continue on the path of reform, because that is the path of progress,” he said. Emanuel later added, “We’re going to continue to work with that new Justice Department.”</p><p>Speaking on Capitol Hill during his confirmation hearing this week, Sessions suggested that entire departments filled with good officers could be tarred by the work of individuals and was critical of lawsuits that force reforms.</p><p>“These lawsuits undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness, and we need to be careful before we do that,” Sessions said. He would not commit to leaving unchanged agreements that are in place when he takes over, though he said he would enforce them until changes are made.</p><p>The Justice Department can investigate and force systemic changes­ on local police departments and <a>sue them if they do not comply</a>. This authority was given to the federal agency in 1994, when Congress acted in the wake of the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers and subsequent unrest following the acquittal of the officers involved.</p><p>During the Obama administration, the Civil Rights Division has opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies, according to the Justice Department. Probes have found patterns of excessive force used in police departments including Portland, Ore., Cleveland, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Seattle and Puerto Rico, among others.</p><p><a>Forced reforms, mixed results</a></p><p>The Chicago probe was among the the largest pattern and practices investigations in the Justice Department’s history, involving a force that has 12,000 officers, trailing only the New York police force among local law enforcement agencies in the United States.</p><p>The announcement in Chicago came the same day that Justice Department officials also said that the Philadelphia Police Department was making “tremendous progress” in implementing findings from an assessment last year examining how officers use deadly force there.</p><p>A day before Lynch spoke in Chicago, she had traveled to Baltimore for officials to outline efforts to revamp policing there. Baltimore’s agreement on reforms came after the Justice Department released, last year, <a>a blistering report</a> accusing the city of discriminatory policies targeting black residents.</p><p>Angelo, the head of Chicago’s police union, has said he was concerned federal investigators were rushing to finish the probe before Trump’s inauguration. When asked Friday about the timing of the report’s release, Lynch noted the investigation had begun more than a year ago, though she acknowledged lawyers had worked “quickly” to bring it to fruition.</p><p>“This is not a political process, this is an investigative process,” Lynch said.</p><p><em>This story has been updated since it was first published at 9:06 a.m. </em></p><p><strong>Further reading:</strong></p><p><a>Chicago residents think kids growing up there are as likely to be violent-crime victims as college graduates</a></p><p><a>Chicago will make some changes to its police department as a ‘down payment’ on reform</a></p><p><a>Chicago releases ‘unprecedented’ evidence from nearly 100 investigations into police shootings, use of force</a></p><p><a>Chicago’s staggering rise in gun violence</a></p>


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body L Vox Why Democrats are blocking a bill that boosts funding for small businesses <p>Democrats are blocking an attempt to give small businesses a $250 billion boost. But why? </p><p>At first glance, it’s a surprising move, since Democrats support providing more funding to small businesses and workers experiencing severe economic trouble caused by the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. But the answer is simple: Democrats want to use the leverage they have in Congress so that Republicans don’t just approve more money for small businesses while leaving out other programs that also desperately need more funding.</p><p>This approach was evident Thursday when Senate Democrats blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to pass a standalone small-business funding bill via unanimous consent. </p><p>Democratic leaders explained that the move was an opportunity to push for more expansive stimulus than Republicans have otherwise considered, a tactic they also used with the CARES Act. <span>A few weeks ago</span>, Democrats blocked the initial proposal offered by Senate Republicans, which included fewer restrictions on a $500 billion bailout fund aimed at corporations — and less generous unemployment insurance benefits. (Because every bill requires at least 60 votes to pass, all legislation requires at least some Democratic buy-in.)</p><p>“You may recall that just before we came together and passed the CARES Act 96-0, the Majority Leader ... tried to ram through an unfinished product,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in a floor speech. “It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work today.”</p><p>In the short term, the downside of this approach is that funds are not immediately approved to bolster the Paycheck Protection Program, a <span>loan program for small businesses that has seen strong demand</span> and limited availability amid a chaotic rollout. But it’s a sign that Democrats are willing to use their leverage to push for more comprehensive stimulus for workers and businesses. </p><p>The central disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on this “interim” spending bill, which they are considering before the next major stimulus package, is how much money it should include — and who it should help. </p><p>For now, Republicans leaders want to keep this measure narrow, focused exclusively on giving a $250 billion boost to the Paycheck Protection Program, an effort aimed at providing small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable loans. Democrats, meanwhile, think the small business money should be spread across a couple different programs, and want more funds added to the legislation including $100 billion for health care providers, $150 billion for states and cities, and more support for SNAP. </p><p>Republicans have argued that it would be easier and more efficient to approve the money for small businesses independently — and they note that funds for states and hospitals from the CARES Act are still being doled out. </p><p>“That by definition is a clean bill,” McConnell said in a floor speech. “I want to add money to the only part of our bipartisan bill that is currently at risk of running out of money.”</p><p>Democrats, however, disagree. They noted that the Paycheck Protection Program is not the only effort that needs more money. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which includes $10,000 in forgivable advances for the businesses that qualify, also requires replenishing. There are concerns, too, about how the existing $349 billion designated for PPP has been allocated: Democrats are pushing for some of the new funds to be set aside for community-based lenders, so more businesses can access these loans since larger banks like Bank of America have put limitations on who can apply. </p><p>Plus, while the CARES Act had already allocated money to health care providers and states and cities, Democrats note that it’s far from enough to make up for the lost revenue that these institutions are experiencing because of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the $100 billion that the CARES Act has for hospitals, and the $150 billion it has for states, Democrats are interested in adding more to cover costs like medical supplies and tax losses. </p><p>“We’ve heard from our health care providers that they’re ready to close the doors,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “They can’t stay in business today, it’s urgent.” </p><p><span>According to an NPR report,</span> hospitals are struggling financially as their revenues go down and costs mount for new equipment and resources to combat coronavirus. States, too, are seeing major shortfalls from <span>reduced tax income during this time</span>. The SNAP expansion proposed by Democrats, which would increase the maximum benefit that individuals and families could receive by 15 percent, is also in response to demand for the program in several states. </p><p>Since both Democrats’ and Republicans’ proposals were blocked on Thursday, there won’t be any action on additional funding this week, but the fight offers a glimpse of the conflict and negotiation yet to come. </p><p>Given the ongoing standoff between the two parties, it’s looking like additional coronavirus relief funds might not get passed by Congress until lawmakers begin considering a fourth stimulus package.</p><p>It’s clear that workers and businesses are going to need significantly more funding in order to weather the ongoing economic downturn. As of this week, more than 220,000 small business loans have already been processed, and over 16 million people have filed for unemployment insurance in recent weeks. </p><p>“Nobody believes this is the Senate’s last word on Covid-19,” McConnell said. </p> L Politico States rush to prepare for huge surge of mail voting <p>A huge surge in voting by mail is coming whether states prepare for it or not — and without clear direction from the federal government, states are preparing to muscle through their own changes to get ready for the glut of mail ballots coming their way in November.</p><p>Wisconsin’s conflict-ridden April 7 elections went off without the state government making any major policy changes to encourage absentee voting, but more than two-thirds of voters cast their votes via the mail anyway, many times higher than the <u><span>12 percent absentee voting rate</span></u> in the spring 2016 election. The surge overwhelmed election officials, with some staff working <u><span>100-hour weeks to try to fill all the ballot requests</span></u> and reports of the state’s system crashing under the intense workload.</p><p>In the aftermath, election administrators in other states are moving quickly to avoid getting overwhelmed themselves. States that have already mastered massive vote-by-mail systems are serving as informal information clearinghouses for others, dispensing advice on everything from how to line up the best vendors for printing and distributing paper ballots to setting up drive-by or other drop-off points for voters who don’t want to rely on the U.S. Postal Service.</p><p>And states’ decisions about absentee voting in November could come with major public health consequences. Health officials in Milwaukee identified seven positive coronavirus cases potentially <u><span>linked to in-person voting</span></u> in Wisconsin’s controversial April 7 election. In Florida, which held its primary on March 17, two poll workers in Broward County tested positive for the virus. </p><p>“We're going to see a substantial switch to mail voting whether or not anybody prepares for it,” said Wendy Weiser, vice president for democracy at the Brennan Center. “The question is, will the system be prepared to accommodate and process that, or will it be a real mess?"</p><p>Deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats on voting by mail has been a major sticking point in <u><span>coronavirus relief negotiations in Congress</span></u>. Democratic efforts to mandate expanded mail voting have met stiff resistance from congressional Republicans and the White House, and there were no election-related funds in the most recent aid package. Republicans’ concerns include maintaining state control of elections and the limited amount of time to implement a new system. President Donald Trump has also made baseless claims alleging widespread fraud inherent in mail voting. </p><p>But election experts warn that states don’t have time to wait for Congress to appropriate more money for election aid, so secretaries of state have started seeking advice and guidance from counterparts in states that run predominantly mail-in elections, like Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington. </p><p>“Colorado has had time to really perfect our system, and now we're here to lend a hand,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat who said she’s texted with Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Frank LaRose, and that her staff has been in communication with other states. “We want to see all secretaries of state in all these states succeed. So we want to share our expertise and help states put together their mail ballot systems as quickly as possible.” </p><p>The National Association of Secretaries of State, composed of top election administrators from across the country, has started holding weekly conference calls to discuss tackling elections during a pandemic.</p><p>“The secretaries are pretty good about being on the phone, shar[ing] a few war stories,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican and the president of NASS. “And also to talk about some best practices and vendors that might be out there that we can tap into.”</p><p>New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver jokingly referred to Kim Wyman, her counterpart from Washington state, as “the most popular girl at the dance right now,” saying the longtime Washington elections official has been indispensable to others trying to rapidly accommodate more voting by mail. LaRose said he’s talked to other secretaries of states about the importance of postage-paid envelopes and having drop boxes for voters who wanted to drop them off in person.</p><p>Some states are taking legislative steps to expand mail-in voting in their state and otherwise protect voters from the virus. Virginia <u><span>became a no-excuse absentee voting state</span></u> after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed a series of voting access laws in mid-April, which were already making their way through the state Legislature before the pandemic.</p><p>Other states are making temporary changes. The secretary of state and attorney general in New Hampshire, which requires voters to provide an excuse to vote absentee, co-authored a memo announcing that they would treat concern over coronavirus as a valid excuse in this year’s elections.“Voters should not have to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional right to vote,” <span><u>they wrote</u></span>. </p><p>But there are gradations of preparedness, even among no-excuse absentee ballot states. In Arizona, which has a permanent early voting list of citizens who automatically receive absentee ballots every election, 79 percent of voters voted by mail in the 2018 midterms, according to data <span><u>collected by the Brennan Center</u></span>, which advocates a wide swath of voting reforms. But other states with no-excuse absentee voting were in the single-digits and might not be prepared for a big surge of mail-voting volume.</p><p>Michigan and Pennsylvania, two of the most important 2020 presidential battlegrounds, are also two of the states at greatest risk of a Wisconsin-like failure — where voters reported <u><span>requesting absentee ballots</span></u> but never received them — come November, said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the nonprofit Vote at Home Institute and the former director of elections for Denver, Colo., during the state’s transition to vote by mail. Michigan and Pennsylvania recently enacted no-excuse absentee voting, meaning they have little infrastructure and have managed only low levels of voting by mail in the past, said McReynolds, creating more opportunity for error.</p><p>“If states don't prepare now, they won't have enough equipment,” McReynolds said. “They won't have what they need by November and it's not really up to them to decide if vote by mail is going to happen. Voters can decide whether or not vote by mail is going to happen.”</p><p>Wyman, the Washington secretary of state, said running a successful in-person voting system does not easily translate to mail voting.</p><p>“You actually are conducting two elections, every time you have an election. You have to build out your entire infrastructure for poll sites, and then have your full infrastructure for vote by mail, essentially,” Wyman said. </p><p>And Wyman and others ticked through a laundry list of potential barriers states might face in trying to conduct a mail-in election with little prior experience. </p><p>“It is impractical for the federal government to dictate that every state must transition to vote by mail,” said LaRose, the Ohio secretary of state. “For those states that don’t have a history of doing it, it's simply not like a flip of a switch where they just go from all in-person voting to all vote-by-mail. And for those states where maybe 2 or 3 percent historically have been vote by mail, just the logistics of doing that is a big undertaking. Thankfully, again, in Ohio, we were sort of well positioned to make this transition. But that's not the case in every state.”</p> L CNN The social-distancing deniers have arrived <p>Patience is in ever-shorter supply. No one is happy with the current situation. But some Americans see the yoke of oppression in <span>public health efforts to keep people home</span>, and they're growing louder.</p><p>Underneath the general frustration and dazed acceptance of so much of the world changing its lifestyle for the time being lurks a growing defiance of the science that tells us how to deal with <span>Covid-19</span> and the government that is <span>telling everyone (to varying degrees) to stay indoors</span>.</p><p>That <span>President Donald Trump</span>, normally an expert stoker of conspiracy theories, is leading the government may have initially muted the Covid-19 deniers. No more. A few instances of Twitter protest -- including from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who bragged over the weekend <span>about going to the beach</span> -- have flowered into <span>full-scale public demonstrations</span> in Michigan. </p><p><strong>Success creates second-guessing</strong>. Trump's anxious efforts to get the economy opened even before the curve of Covid-19 cases is flattened, and his chronic spreading of fake promises about treatments, will only feed that growing angst.</p><p>The more successful the federal and state governments are at flattening the coronavirus infection curve, the more people will question whether halting the nation's economy was necessary in the first place.</p><p><strong>Despite the deniers, even Trump is not rushing to open things up</strong>. <span>Read more about his announcement Thursday of new guidelines on reopening the country.</span></p><p>The guidance is not unlike what California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced recently as his own criteria. <span>Read it here.</span></p><p>The bottom line: Trump and Newsom appear to agree that the worst of this must pass, different parts of the country will open earlier than others, and testing and tracing of cases must improve.</p><p><strong>The doubters.</strong> But <span>another 5.2 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total since mid-March to 22 million</span>. That is an astonishing number. As the economy continues its free fall, you can feel the backlash grow. The government has <span>already blown through the $349 billion it earmarked to help small businesses </span>during this mess.</p><p>We're all going to be paying for this for a very long time.</p><p><strong>Protesting public health </strong>-- CNN's Jeff Zeleny writes <span>a must-read profile of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,</span> who has been on the job for only a few months but is already turning into a key national figure.</p><p>Drivers jammed into Michigan's capital and surrounded the state Capitol in a protest against her stay-at-home order that featured neither face masks nor social distancing, but rather the honking of horns that could be heard inside.</p><p>Zeleny: "<em>The collision between a public health battle and a political one, which played out for more than five hours here on Wednesday, underscores the boiling tensions of a restless nation struggling with the wisdom of reopening the economy before the deadly pandemic subsides, even as President Donald Trump moves closer to easing national guidelines for social distancing.</em></p><p><em>"Whitmer could hardly ignore the scene, considering the honking horns, raucous jeers and blaring music became background noise for her video conference call with health care workers."</em></p><p><strong>Regional authorities</strong> -- Whitmer is among the bipartisan group of <span>seven Midwestern governors who have said they will coordinate their efforts</span> to slowly reopen society.</p><p>It mirrors a similar announcement by governors on the East and West costs, completing the emergence of ad hoc regional pacts in place of national guidance from a skeptical President.</p><p><strong>Fox News turns again</strong>. In February and much of March the conservative outlet <span>fed the coronavirus deniers</span>, then took things seriously when New York became ground zero for the pandemic in the US, but it has turned again.</p><p>Now conservatives are fomenting rebellion against public health guidelines.</p><p>In their warped telling, people who venture out in public aren't vectors for infection but rather freedom fighters standing up to oppression.</p><p>As CNN's Brian Stelter writes, "Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday tweeted approvingly of people in Michigan demonstrating against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order. "<span>Time to get your freedom back," Ingraham declared.</span></p><p>"Soon Marylanders, Virginians, etc will stand for their right to work, travel, assemble, socialize and worship? Massive long lasting damage is piling up day after day as many 'experts' continue to get the virus analysis wrong," Ingraham wrote in another tweet.</p><p>The disease has been felt much differently by different groups of people. African Americans and Latinos are much more concerned they will personally get the disease, that they'll unknowingly spread it, <span>according to a recent Pew poll.</span> A Gallup poll suggests widespread respect for social distancing, but party identification is the largest differentiator and <span>Republicans are more likely to say they'll immediately get back to normal </span>after restrictions are lifted.</p><p>Those perceptions could change. See the recent reports about a <span>rise of coronavirus in rural America.</span></p><p><h3>About those protests</h3></p><p>CNN's Jeff Zeleny is the rare person who has traveled lately. Here's what he had to say about the protest: </p><p><strong><em>What set this rally apart</em></strong></p><p><strong>ZW: First and most important, the thing that struck me most in your story was this apparent backlash to social distance in the form of a protest that could literally be heard from the governor's office. Did that feel different to you than a normal partisan disagreement? Was it more grassroots or groundswell?</strong></p><p><em>JZ: The protest was large, but the thing that struck me the most is that it went on and on, with honking horns, blaring music and raucous jeers for more than five hours. It was protest-by-parade — definitely not organic, considering it was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, but the anger was absolutely real. It had the feel of a Trump rally from 2016 and a Tea Party rally from 2010 — back at a time when rallies were the norm.</em> </p><p><em>What was striking was dozens upon dozens of people who stood on steps of the Capitol and the surrounding sidewalk, defying not only the strict stay-at-home orders, but also blatantly ignoring basic medical common sense.</em></p><p><em>There's no question the economic pain is real in Michigan, with about one-quarter of the state's eligible workforce seeking some type of unemployment help. But the Village People's "YMCA," which blasted from a Trump trailer that's often seen at the President's campaign rallies, seemed oddly discordant on a day that the state's death toll hovered around 2,000 people.</em><em> </em></p><p><strong><em>Traveling during Covid-19</em></strong></p><p><strong>ZW: Second, you're the first person I've talked to recently that has been away from their house. What was it like in an airport? In a hotel? Or did you avoid both?</strong> </p><p><em>JZ: I flew from Reagan National in Washington to the Detroit Metro Airport, both of which were virtually empty. The biggest inconvenience: No coffee for my 6 a.m. flight on Wednesday, since all restaurants were closed. And only bottled water, with a side of Biscotti and Purell wipes served in a plastic bag, on the plane. But I'm certainly not complaining, given the janitorial staff and airline workers still on duty as before.</em></p><p><em>I travel often — or I did before the pandemic — but I don't believe I've ever stayed in an entirely empty hotel. The front desk manager told me only one other room was occupied, which was for my colleague Jake Carpenter, a CNN photojournalist. I limited my trip to one night and ordered pizza and salad from a nearby restaurant in East Lansing.</em></p><p><em>Hertz rental? Open and easy.</em></p><p><strong><em>Coronavirus journalism</em></strong></p><p><strong>ZW: Third, how do you interview people in person and social distance? </strong></p><p><em>JZ: I mainly just observed people at the rally, having conversations with only a couple people from a respectable distance. Their hand-made signs made their opinions easily known. </em></p><p><em>I traveled to Lansing to interview the governor, which we did from six feet away in two chairs, with two cameras. I spent time in her office, where I also stayed at a safe distance. </em></p><p><em>And this is what the Detroit airport looks like as I fly back to Washington. The only person you can see in this picture is President Trump on the television.</em></p><p><h3>Heading toward a new normal, or dystopia?</h3></p><p><strong>It sounds like science fiction. But this is real</strong>. CNN's Ray Sanchez tried to envision what life will be like in the near term. What was most striking was his description of how contact tracing -- tracking whether you've come into contact with the disease -- could work in practice. </p><p><strong>Forget about privacy. </strong>The tracing of people with regard to coronavirus is underway in China and some other places. In China, the use of a color-coded badge on your phone dictates where you can go. So the question for the US and other countries is whether people will have to prove their health to return to normal ways of life.</p><p><strong>Don't trust.</strong> Verify. Want to eat in a restaurant? You'll essentially have to prove that you're clean. Want to get on a plane? You might have to take a test.</p><p>This is Orwell come to life. It's a Philip K. Dick-level societal shift. Is that person walking next to you infected? Do you have a right to know? I'd take an online philosophy course on the future of privacy.</p><p>Corporations like Google and Facebook already track your movements, by the way. <span>Apple and Google are working on ways to make your phone into a coronavirus tracker.</span></p><p>It's like the movie "<span>Gattaca</span>," where Ethan Hawke's character buys blood from Jude Law so that he can deceive authorities about his genetic deficiency and take part in society. </p><p><strong>Low-tech alternatives</strong> -- Sanchez, borrowing from some reports and suggestions, includes these ideas for the near term:</p><p> </p><p><ul><li>Staggered school days and smaller class sizes</li><li>Disposable menus and masked servers</li><li>Empty stadiums and concert halls</li><li>Tracking of location and other personal information</li></ul></p><p><h3>Who got it right?</h3></p><p>Every country has experienced coronavirus somewhat differently, but some have escaped much of the death, as well as the social and economic upheaval, that has characterized the US experience. CNN looked at what Taiwan, Germany, Iceland and South Korea did differently. <span>This is a long story and worth reading</span>. But the 12 key lessons appear to be:</p><p> </p><p><ol><li>Be prepared</li><li>Be quick</li><li>Test, trace and quarantine</li><li>Use data and tech</li><li>Be aggressive</li><li>Get the private sector involved</li><li>Act preventatively</li><li>Respect privacy</li><li>Make drive-thru tests available</li><li>Learn from mistakes</li><li>Test even more after restrictions ease</li><li>Build capacity at hospitals</li></ol></p><p>The reality is that the world has seen a series of disease outbreaks in recent years -- SARS, Ebola, Zika. So the big question for this country now is how much we can learn from the Covid-19 experience and what we do to get ourselves better prepared for the next time.</p><p> </p> R Washington Times Trump cuts off U.S. funding to WHO, pending review <p>President <span>Trump</span> said the U.S. will stop funding to the <span>World Health Organization</span> while his administration reviews its role in “mismanaging” the coronavirus.</p><p>He said the U.S. contributes up to $400 million while superpowers like <span>China</span>, where the outbreak began, contribute closer to $40 million.</p><p>“The United States has a duty to insist on full accountability,” Mr. <span>Trump</span> said.</p><p>He cited the <span>WHO</span>’s lack of pushback to Beijing’s foggy reporting on the virus in the early going, saying it cost the rest of the world valuable time.</p><p>He also blasted the <span>WHO</span>’s opposition to bans on travel from <span>China</span>, accusing it of putting “political correctness above life-saving measures.”</p><p>“Countless more lives would have been saved. Instead, look at the rest of the world,” he said, citing the rampant spread of the virus in Europe.</p><p>He said U.S. funding wasn’t put to good use and the <span>WHO</span> failed to vet and share information in a timely fashion.</p><p>Mr. <span>Trump</span> said the freeze will last 60 to 90 days and should have been done by previous administrations.</p><p>“This is an evaluation period,” Mr. <span>Trump</span> said.</p><p>He said he will channel the money to the areas that most need it.</p><p>The president also accused the <span>WHO</span> of failing to contain samples of the virus from <span>China</span> and getting a team into the source country, though <span>WHO</span> ultimately did get a team in with cooperation from Beijing.</p><p>Mr. <span>Trump</span>’s decision to cut off funding to the public health arm of the U.N. in the middle of a pandemic is sure to raise eyebrows, though the president may resume funding after sending “powerful letters” to the <span>organization</span> and discussing it with other nations.</p><p>The <span>WHO</span>, based in Switzerland, is considered the world leader in public health emergencies, such as the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has been nearly stamped out amid violent conditions.</p><p>Mr. <span>Trump</span> frequently criticizes multilateral organizations that cost plenty of U.S. money. Yet even as he accuses the <span>WHO</span> of being “China-centric,” he’s been reluctant to attack Chinese President Xi Jinping, who controls the centralized communist government in Beijing.</p><p>Mr. <span>Trump</span> and Mr. Xi struck a phase-one trade deal earlier this year and were set to negotiate phase two when the pandemic hit.</p><p>“<span>China</span> has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” Mr. <span>Trump</span> tweeted Jan. 24, as the virus swamped the city of Wuhan.</p><p>Mr. <span>Trump</span> responded to a question about his praise indirectly, pointing to his trade deal and the need for Mr. Xi to live up to it.</p><p>One week later, Mr. <span>Trump</span> decided to ban foreign nationals who’d been in <span>China</span> over the past 14 days from entering the U.S.</p><p>The president said his move prevented a far worse outbreak, though critics say he squandered that time by failing to set up a robust diagnostics program and supply chain during February.</p><p>Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, said “multiple failures” at the national and international level led to the problems the U.S. is facing now. But he said America needs to keep its seat at the table in global talks.</p><p>“It’s crucial that the United States is at the center of the discussion, not on the sidelines, as the international community determines what path the <span>World Health Organization</span> (<span>WHO</span>) takes moving forward. Cutting back on America’s support and involvement will mean that the United States does not have a full seat at the table during these discussions, and will only magnify the already troubling influence of <span>China</span> at the <span>WHO</span>,” he said.</p><p>“Additionally, the activities that are most needed right now to reopen society — global disease surveillance, information sharing, and technical assistance for testing and contact tracing — are exactly the activities that the <span>WHO</span> exists to help coordinate,” he added. “Backing away from the <span>WHO</span> at this moment will inflict great damage on the United States, as well as the international community.”</p><p> </p><p> </p> R Fox Online News Obama administration sought to cut PPE stockpile, but Biden team points to GOP-led 'budget squeeze' <p>Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign has recently stepped up its attacks on President Trump's pandemic preparedness, drawing what could be one of the most consequential battle lines of the presidential race amid the coronavirus crisis. A widely cited USA Today fact-check, which <span>found</span> that the Obama administration had allowed the N95 mask stockpile to deplete, has become a flashpoint in that increasingly murky and numbers-heavy debate.</p><p>In its <span>fiscal 2011 budget</span>, submitted in early 2010, the Obama administration explicitly sought a reduction in the SNS: "CDC requests $523,533,000 for the Strategic National Stockpile in FY 2011, a decrease of $72,216,000 below the FY 2010 Omnibus," the budget request reads.</p><p>The document went on to make clear that $68,515,000 would separately be transferred to the SNS from the fiscal 2009 appropriation for an H1N1-related fund, meaning that overall, the strategic stockpile would receive $592,048,000 -- a reduction of only a few million dollars from the previous year.</p><p>The Obama administration also sought a $47.572 million cut to the stockpile in <span>fiscal 2013</span>, a $38.190 million cut to the stockpile in <span>fiscal 2014</span>, and a smaller drop of at least several million dollars in <span>fiscal 2015</span>.</p><p>Indeed, the Obama administration's budget requests implicitly reference the Budget Control Act several times. The fiscal 2013 budget, for example, states that the "current fiscal climate necessitates scaling back" even though the SNS is a "key resource."</p><p>And, the fiscal 2015 budget states: "CDC has always sought to maximize the effectiveness of resources and investments, and is even more focused on doing so in the current fiscal environment."</p><p>Not so, the Trump campaign counters.</p><p>Wolking continued: "Biden’s administration also repeatedly tried to cut funding for the stockpile, including before any budget caps existed. Regardless, the Obama-Biden budget proposals repeatedly ignored the caps, so they are no excuse. Biden’s defenses simply don’t hold water."</p><p>The Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks prompted the Obama administration to seek budget supplementals that could have replenished the SNS by 2016, but securing congressional authorization proved challenging. In 2016, when Congress green-lit funds to combat the Zika virus, the CDC <span>received</span> less than half of what the Obama administration sought.</p><p>"Instead of building on the strong foundation left to him by the Obama-Biden administration, Trump scrapped the office, threw out the playbook, and wasted months ignoring the threat of the coronavirus instead of securing ventilators, personal protective equipment, and other life-saving supplies," Gwin continued.</p><p>Trump counters that the Obama-Biden administration left his own with "empty cupboards."</p><p><span>A PolitiFact analysis</span> notes that while the inventory was not actually bare, there still was not enough to handle the coronavirus pandemic, particularly when it came to N95 masks depleted in the wake of H1N1.</p><p>Recalling the budget battles of the prior administration, the analysis notes stockpile funding dropped to its lowest level in 2013 -- about $477 million -- but those levels have steadily grown since, including under Trump.</p><p>The Trump campaign has also argued that Biden has misstated Trump's record and mishandled the crisis. For example, Biden condemned Trump's "xenophobia" shortly after he announced a restriction on travel from China on Jan. 31, although the Biden team has denied that the former vice president was referring specifically to the travel ban. Those travel restrictions have been adopted by other countries, and experts credit them with saving lives.</p><p>Additionally, Biden has <span>claimed</span> that Trump himself successfully slashed the CDC budget, and Biden has suggested that he would never pursue similar cuts. The Associated Press <span>has noted</span> that those claims "distort" the facts, with <span>pointing out</span> that CDC funding has actually increased under the current administration, largely because Congress insisted on maintaining funding levels for both CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) even as the Trump administration sought the CDC cuts.</p><p>Nevertheless, speaking to ABC News' “This Week” on March 1, Biden <span>claimed</span>: “They’ve cut the funding for the CDC.”</p><p>Biden stepped up his attacks on social media as well, writing on Twitter: "Donald Trump's careless, shortsighted actions left our nation ill-prepared and now Americans are paying the price."</p><p>And, at a <span>virtual town hall</span> on Wednesday, Biden remarked that coronavirus had "magnified some of our worst systemic inequities," and that black and Hispanic communities are suffering higher infection and death rates than white communities.</p><p>Streaming live to some 1,621 viewers on YouTube, Biden, whose comments <span>were sometimes muddled</span>, added: “It’s sick, it’s troubling, it’s wrong -- and we’re going to fight back with everything we’ve got."</p><p>"That's unconscionable," he concluded. "We need more data on how Latinos and other communities of color are impacted, so we know exactly what has to be done."</p><p>Amid the finger-pointing, it <span>emerged in March</span> that the United States was ranked the best-prepared country in the world to handle a pandemic in late 2019 by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS) -- an assessment seemingly at odds with claims by Democrats that the Trump administration left the country vulnerable to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.</p><p>For his part, Trump has focused less on the numbers and more on perceived competency. At coronavirus task force briefing Wednesday at the White House, Trump noted that Biden still hadn't secured the endorsement of his former boss, even after rival Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race and made him the presumptive nominee.</p><p>"There's something he feels is wrong," Trump remarked. "He knows something that you don't know, that I think I know."</p> L CNN Fact check: Trump dangerously suggests sunlight and ingesting disinfectants could help cure coronavirus <p>On Thursday, President Donald Trump added to his <span>list of dubious or inaccurate coronavirus-related medical claims</span>, dangerously suggesting at a White House briefing that ingesting disinfectant could possibly be used to treat people who have the virus.</p><p>Trump also suggested sunlight might be a treatment alternative and issued a false denial when asked why he has stopped promoting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment, incorrectly saying, "I haven't at all." He referred to how "we started with a broken test" without explaining that the faulty initial test was created during his presidency, this year.</p><p>And Trump said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden does not want to debate because of the coronavirus, though Biden has consistently expressed an eagerness to debate Trump even if it cannot be in person.</p><p><h3>Sunlight and injecting disinfectants as treatments</h3></p><p>After Bill Bryan, the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, explained during the briefing that new experiments show the coronavirus does not fare well under sunlight or heat, the President suggested that Americans who have the virus could treat it by going out into the sunlight on a hot day. </p><p>"There's been a rumor that -- you know, a very nice rumor -- that you go outside in the sun or you have heat and it does have an effect on other viruses," Trump said, before asking coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx "to speak to the medical doctors to see if there's any way that you can apply light and heat to cure, you know, if you could."</p><p>Trump then asked Birx if she "ever heard of the heat and the light" having an impact on viruses. She responded, "Not as a treatment," before Trump asked her again to look into it. </p><p>Later, Trump again directed Birx to look into the potential for sunlight to be a cure. </p><p>"I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there's any way that you can apply light and heat to cure, you know, if you could. And maybe you can, maybe you can't."</p><p>After Bryan talked about experiments in which, he said, disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the virus, Trump mused about whether disinfectants could be used to treat the virus in humans -- asking whether there is "a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning."</p><p>Facts First: <em>As Birx told Trump directly, and as medical experts said after the briefing, sunlight isn't a potential treatment for coronavirus. Neither are disinfectants that are used to clean non-human surfaces; Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Stephen Hahn told CNN's Anderson Cooper later Thursday, "I certainly wouldn't recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant."</em></p><p>This bizarre exchange is the latest example of Trump grasping for a quick fix for the pandemic, after he previously suggested it might "go away" in warm weather and that anti-malaria pills could be a "game-changer." </p><p>The Reckitt Benckiser Group, which produces Lysol, flatly said on its website that "under no circumstance" should disinfectant be administered into the human body. Washington state's emergency management agency warned against eating Tide pods or injecting disinfectant, tweeting, "don't make a bad situation worse."</p><p>Immediately after the briefing, two doctors told CNN's Erin Burnett that Trump's comments did not make medical sense and warned against taking his suggestions seriously. </p><p>"Very little of what the President said as it pertains to disinfection or phototherapy makes any sense," said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist at The George Washington University Hospital who advised the White House during President George W. Bush's tenure. "Look, everyone wants a quick fix. And the President clearly wants a quick fix; we all do. But there are no quick fixes. We have to do this the right way; we have to do this with science." </p><p>Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician who works at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, also batted down the President's suggestion and warned that trying it could cause sunburn, skin cancer or other dangerous consequences. </p><p>"Going out in the sun or exposing yourself to these high-intensity UV lamps is not going to protect you from Covid-19," she said on CNN. "I don't want people to think that this is another miracle cure."</p><p>Trump's statement echoes myths and rumors that got so rampant on the internet and in social media that the <span>World Health Organization posted a myth busters pages</span> to debunk them.</p><p>"Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease," WHO says on its website. "You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19," it adds.</p><p><h3>False denial on hydroxychloroquine </h3></p><p>At Thursday's briefing, Trump issued a false denial when asked why he has stopped his promotion of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that he embraces as a potential cure for coronavirus.</p><p>"I haven't at all," the President said, before asking the reporter, "Why do you say I have?"</p><p>Facts First: <em>Trump has significantly tamped down his rhetoric about the drug in the past week, compared with his comments in March, according to a </em><span><em>CNN analysis</em></span><em>. </em></p><p>In March and early April, the President name-dropped hydroxychloroquine almost daily, and he mentioned it dozens of times at White House briefings, according to the CNN tally. He <span>incorrectly implied</span> it was safe to treat Covid-19, encouraged Americans to "try it" and said it might be the biggest breakthrough in modern medicine. </p><p>"What do you have to lose?" he asked during a briefing in April.</p><p>But he hasn't mentioned the drug by name -- or touted its effectiveness -- in more than a week.</p><p>Trump stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine around the time that a <span>series of studies</span> came back with negative results. New research from Brazil, France and veterans' hospitals in the US indicate that the drug might not help patients with the coronavirus, and might even have deadly side effects.</p><p>For the second day in a row, the President also said he didn't see the study of US veterans' hospitals, even though he was asked about it both days and it has been <span>covered heavily</span> in the mainstream media. </p><p>About the research into the drug, Trump said, "We had a lot of very good results and we had some results that perhaps aren't so good." It's true that there were some studies earlier this year with promising results for Covid-19. But public health experts said that much of that research was <span>anecdotal</span>, and the publisher of a study that Trump repeatedly cited now says there were <span>serious flaws with the trial</span>.</p><p><h3>Joe Biden and debates </h3></p><p>Trump claimed that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is "a guy who doesn't want to do debates because of Covid." </p><p>Facts First: <em>This is misleading. In late March, two weeks before Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary, Biden said he was focused on the pandemic crisis and </em><span><em>did not think there should be another debate</em></span><em> against Sanders, over whom he had an overwhelming delegate lead. But Biden has never said he does not want to debate Trump in particular, because of the virus or for any other reason. Rather, Biden has consistently expressed eagerness to debate Trump even if it is not in person -- saying at a fundraiser earlier on Thursday that "I can hardly wait to debate Donald Trump. Are you kidding?"</em></p><p>According to a pool report from Washington Post reporter Annie Linskey, Biden then added: "Look, I'm ready to debate him. Zoom or Skype or Slack or Hangouts or in person, anytime, anywhere he wants." </p><p>Biden made a similar comment in an <span>interview</span> on March 31, Bloomberg News reported: "I'm ready to debate President Trump on Zoom or Skype anytime he wants." </p><p>"I can hardly wait to get him on a debate stage," Biden <span>said</span> on ABC's "The View" in February. </p><p>"Come on, Mr. President. I can hardly wait," he <span>told</span> CNN's Anderson Cooper in early March. </p><p><em>This story has been updated with the notion of disinfectants as a treatment and with information from the World Health Organization refuting the idea of using sunlight.</em></p> R Breitbart News UPDATE -- Pollak: No, Trump Did Not Literally Suggest People Inject Disinfectant <p><em><strong>Note From Senior Management:</strong> This piece was erroneously framed by our author as a “fact check,” when, instead, it was and should have been framed as an opinion piece. The opinion that the author was trying to convey was his belief that nobody in their right mind would think that Trump was literally suggesting that people should inject disinfectant into their bodies – which is how many in the media were portraying the President’s comments at yesterday’s press conference. The piece has been re-framed as it should have been originally (as opinion), and further updated to reflect President Trump’s statement this morning that he was being sarcastic. We apologize for the error, and you are welcome for all the opportunities to dunk on us on Twitter.</em></p><p>After yesterday’s Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, the media quickly seized on a discussion over potential treatments for the coronavirus COVID-19 where the president asked about the potential for a disinfectant injection.</p><p>“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” The President said. “So it’d be interesting to check that.”</p><p>The President <span>told</span> a group of reporters Friday that he was being sarcastic.</p><p>In Thursday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, Bill Bryan, leader of the Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, described the results of new government research that showed that the coronavirus did not survive long in solar light, warmer temperatures, and more humid conditions. He added that disinfectants had also been effective against it.</p><p>Trump, responding to that, noted that there had been discussions of testing ultraviolet light on patients, or of methods to bring light inside the body. “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it [the virus] out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning, cause you see it gets in the lungs.”</p><p>Trump was far from a model of clarity, but he did not actually propose injecting patients with disinfectant; he deferred to “medical doctors” to figure out how to apply Bryan’s research.</p><p>When ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked Bryan about whether the president had proposed injecting a person with “bleach and isopropyl alcohol” later, Trump clarified that “It wouldn’t be through injection,” and that he was talking about “cleaning, sterilization of an area,” and about applying the disinfectant to “a stationary object.”</p><p>Apparently there is no accusation too crazy for Trump’s critics to believe.</p> R Washington Free Beacon Senate Dems Block Emergency Relief for Small Businesses <p><span><span>Charles Fain Lehman</span> <span>-</span></span> <time>April 9, 2020 12:45 PM</time></p><p>Senate Democrats voted Thursday to block a $250 billion infusion of cash into small businesses suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic.</p><p>The Democratic caucus <span>denied unanimous consent</span> to a bill floated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) that would have added the funds. Democrats then offered their own bill, which would have included not just $250 billion for small businesses but an additional $250 billion for hospitals and state and local governments—Republicans likewise objected.</p><p>The dispute comes as new data show unemployment claims <span>surged</span> by 6.6 million over the past week, with a total of over 17 million people now out of work because of the coronavirus shutdown. A passed bill would have infused billions into small businesses that preserved their payrolls—businesses that now face further uncertainty amid dispute in Congress.</p><p>"Senate Democrats just blocked urgent money for a popular, bipartisan job-saving program which they themselves literally coauthored with us two weeks ago," McConnell <span>wrote</span> on Twitter. "I complimented both sides and asked to increase the dollar amount without changing anything else. But they blocked it."</p><p>Had the Republicans' proposal been approved, it would have allocated another $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a key plank of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed two weeks ago. Originally allocating $350 billion in funding, the PPP <span>offers</span> loans to small businesses which would be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for wages, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The program aims to maintain the pre-crisis employment structure, an approach experts believe could facilitate a swift end to the recession when the crisis has passed.</p><p>The program has experienced tremendous demand despite <span>initial uncertainty</span> among large lenders about how to issue loans. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin previously <span>told lawmakers</span> that as of Wednesday afternoon, the program had doled out $90 billion in loans, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, <span>said</span> the program was approving over $3 billion an hour.</p><p>This burn rate makes refilling the fund increasingly urgent—experts <span>have estimated</span> that businesses may need up to $1 trillion to replace expected revenues lost due to the nationwide shutdown. Democrats' no vote on Thursday, Rubio <span>wrote</span>, does not reflect their opposition to the plan, but their desire for "other things" to be funded as well. McConnell <span>told</span> CNN that while he and his colleagues do not necessarily oppose additional assistance, the PPP is the only fund currently in danger of depletion.</p><p>Thursday's vote is just the latest example of Democratic slow-walking during the ongoing crisis. Previously, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) <span>worked to delay</span> the passage of the CARES Act until more Democratic demands were met, in the process <span>floating</span> a 1,400-page alternative bill containing diversity mandates and handouts for favored organizations untouched by the crisis.</p> L HuffPost ‘Crime Against Humanity’: Health Experts Condemn Trump's WHO Funding Freeze <p>Leading health experts denounced President <span>Donald Trump</span>’s decision to <span>halt U.S. funding</span> for the World Health Organization amid the <span>coronavirus</span> pandemic.</p><p>Trump announced the move on Tuesday, accusing the WHO of failing “in its basic duty” to initially warn the world of the burgeoning public health crisis that is believed to have originated in China. Trump failed to acknowledge his own refusal to take action on pandemic warnings.</p><p>Lawrence Gostin, a global health law expert from Georgetown University, told <span>MSNBC</span>’s Ari Melber that “there’ll be many more deaths” without a WHO that’s empowered.</p><p>Gostin also predicted a further loss of U.S. global influence as a consequence of Trump’s move:</p><p>I predict the world will step into leadership vacuum <span><span>@</span><span>POTUS</span></span> created by cutting <span><span>@</span><span>WHO</span></span> funding. China, Europe etc will increase funding. Only loser is US b/c we will lose all our influence. In global health &amp; amidst a pandemic, America will lose its voice<span><span>https://www.</span><span>04/13/who-needs-us-funding-weakening-it-will-undermine-global-response/ </span>…</span></p><p>There are valid critiques of the WHO. But the discourse in Washington is becoming dangerous and disingenuous.</p><p>Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal, described Trump’s decision as “a crime against humanity,” tweeting “every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.”</p><p>President Trump’s decision to defund WHO is simply this—a crime against humanity. Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity. <span><span>https://www.</span><span>coronavirus-updates.html?referringSource=articleShare </span>…</span></p><p>New York deaths spike as the state releases a revised count, and California explores steps toward reopening. Trump announces his “opening the country” council.</p><p>“The president’s decision makes Americans less safe, let’s be clear about that,” Thomas Bollyky, the director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, explained to CNN’s Don Lemon:</p><p>"The President's decision makes Americans less safe," says Tom Bollyky, director of the Global Health program at the Council on Foreign Relations, about President Trump's decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization. "This is a big mistake to go this route."</p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, <span>told Reuters</span> that the WHO may indeed need to be reformed. But “it’s not the middle of a pandemic that you do this type of thing.”</p><p>CNN’s Dr. <span>Sanjay Gupta</span> acknowledged the WHO made “missteps,” but warned cutting funds amid the pandemic would end up penalizing countries with weaker health care systems:</p><p>“Who are you really penalizing by these cuts?”<span><span>@</span><span>DrSanjayGupta</span></span> says the World Health Organization made serious missteps in its coronavirus response but that cutting their funding in the middle of a pandemic could be costly.</p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>American Medical Association President Dr. Patrice Harris warned halting funding “is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier.”</p><p>“Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data,” Harris said <span>in a statement shared online</span>. “Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world.”</p><p>“The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider,” Harris added.</p><p>Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor at Boston University’s school of medicine, tweeted that cutting the funding “is an absolute disaster.” </p><p>Cutting 15% (US Contribution) of WHO budget during the biggest projected pandemic of the last century is an absolute disaster. <span><span>@</span><span>WHO</span></span> is a global technical partner, the platform through which sovereign countries share data/technology, our eyes on the global scope of this pandemic.</p><p>And Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, who warned of a  pandemic in a <span>2015 TED talk</span>, said halting funding is “as dangerous as it sounds.”</p><p>“Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them,” Gates wrote, adding: “The world needs @WHO more than ever.”</p><p>Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs <span><span>@</span><span>WHO</span></span> now more than ever.</p> R Breitbart News Soros-Funded Group to Dems: Spend Millions to Advertise Mail-In Balloting in Non-English Languages <p>The Brennan Center for Justice, which is heavily financed by George Soros, is calling for Democrats to spend $250 million to educate voters about any changes that will allow vote-by-mail in the upcoming presidential election, advocating an advertising campaign about those changes in non-English languages.</p><p>The recommendations are part of the Brennan Center’s updated $4 billion nationwide funding <span>blueprint</span> for voting reform during the coronavirus pandemic.</p><p>Democrat lawmakers have cited the Brennan Center’s coronavirus voting plan as influencing their legislative proposals while the news media has routinely spotlighted the radical proposal.</p><p>With other Soros-financed groups, the Brennan Center has been leading a campaign advocating a “vote-by-mail” system in the upcoming presidential election, citing fears that coronavirus makes it too dangerous to vote in person.  Some of the groups are using the coronavirus crisis to push permanent changes to the way Americans vote.</p><p>Analysts have posited that such proposals help the Democratic Party. Republicans specifically <span>fear</span> the prospect of voter fraud, since mail-in voting would be harder to authenticate.</p><p>The original Brennan Center coronavirus voting reform plan released last month was budgeted at $2 billion. This past week, the Center <span>doubled</span> that estimate to $4 billion explaining its original lower cost breakdown “did not include the cost of ensuring the safety and security of the many other statewide and local elections that will occur throughout 2020.”</p><p>The Brennan Center’s plan calls for a “universal vote-by-mail option for all voters.” The budget estimates $54 million to $89 million for increased ballot printing and $413 million to $593 million for extra postage costs.</p><p>To alert the public about changes to the voting method, the Brennan Center wants a $252.1 million public education campaign which “must include advertising in non-English languages.”</p><p>Brennan also wants $85.9 million to bolster online voter registration and it advocates implementing same-day registration. The Brennan blueprint allows for mail-in ballots to be processed prior to the close of polls on Election Day.</p><p>The document lobbies for polling place modification and preparation including “same-day registration, real-time address updates, and provisional balloting for certain individuals.” Brennan doesn’t define which “certain individuals” should receive same-day registration.</p><p>One section seeks the use of drop boxes to deposit ballots on voting day, calling for jurisdictions to “offer secure drop boxes in accessible locations for voters to drop off ballots directly.”</p><p>The plan doesn’t delineate rules for where such drop boxes could be located.  Already California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington use drop boxes statewide and have various <span>locations</span> set up that are not located at official in-person balloting stations.</p><p>The estimate allocates $82 million to $117 million for drop box purchase and installation and some $35 million to $47 million for operation and maintenance.</p><p>“Drop boxes must be equipped with adequate security measures, such as cameras,” the budget states without providing more specifics about security for the boxes.</p><p>Brennan also advocates expanded early voting, with states offering at least two weeks of early in-person voting or a minimum of five days.</p><p>“This would be a massive undertaking but I think it’s absolutely necessary to make sure that we are prepared to run our elections in November, and I think all the problems we have been having in primaries in the last few weeks is evidence we need to start now,” <span>said</span> Lawrence Norden, the director of Election Reform at the Brennan Center and one of the report’s authors.</p><p>Democrat Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Chris Coons (DE) <span>cited</span> the Brennan Center’s coronavirus voting plan in a letter to House and Senate leaders, urging extra funding for the scheme.  Klobuchar and Coons are among over a dozen Democrat senators who introduced a bill last month to allow for the widespread mail-in ballots, along with other updated voting measures for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), and Jamie Raskin (MD) <span>introduced</span> a companion bill in the House.</p><p>The Brennan Center for Justice, located at NYU School of Law, is heavily <span>financed</span> by Soros’s Open Society Foundations and is the recipient of numerous Open Society <span>grants</span>.</p><p>Alongside the Brennan Center are a slew of progressive groups tied to Soros money that are working overtime to push mail-in voting.</p><p>The Soros-funded Brennan Center’s mail-in ballot plan was <span>weaponized</span> by the Stand Up America activist group, which launched a nationwide program urging Americans to nudge Congress to fund the voting changes.  The group’s activities reportedly resulted in more than 19,000 calls to congressional offices in one day alone.</p><p>Stand Up America is <span>funded</span> by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is managed by the shadowy Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy funded by far-left donors. The Soros-funded Democracy Alliance <span>recommended</span> that donors invest several million dollars into Sixteen Thirty Fund.</p><p>The massively Soros-funded American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which routinely partners with Brennan, has been <span>pumping</span> <span>materials</span> <span>urging</span> coronavirus voting legislation that pushes mail-in voting.</p><p>Soros’s Open Society Foundations <span>donated</span> $50 million to the ACLU. The Brennan Center has been the recipient of numerous <span>grants</span> from Soros’s Open Society Foundations totaling over $7,466,000 from 2000 to 2010.</p><p>Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive groups are reportedly mounting a multimillion-dollar campaign to not only change the presidential election system to mail-in voting during coronavirus, but to keep the mail-in balloting as part of the permanent way Americans will vote in the future.</p><p>The other groups in the mail-in advocacy coalition include the National Association of Non-Partisan Reformers, Public Citizen, Common Cause, National Vote at Home Institute and the Center for Secure and Modern Elections.</p><p>Common Cause is <span>funded</span> by Soros’s Open Society Foundations. So is <span>Public Citizen</span>.</p><p>The Center for Secure and Modern Elections is a <span>project</span> of the left-leaning New Venture Fund, which doesn’t disclose its donors.</p><p>The National Vote at Home Institute is partnered with the Soros-funded League of Women Voters, as well as the Soros-funded Common Cause.</p><p>The National Association of Non-Partisan Reformers <span>lists</span> its founding organization members as including FairVote. FairVote is a <span>project</span> of the Soros-funded Center for Voting and Democracy.</p><p>A recent Washington Post <span>oped</span> by election experts cited a study finding “people who vote by mail are significantly more likely to make mistakes than those who vote in person… Of course, people who vote in person may make mistakes — but they can more easily ask for help in correcting their ballots.”</p> L NBCNews Trump suggests 'injection' of disinfectant to beat coronavirus and 'clean' the lungs <p>President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an "injection" of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus during his daily briefing Thursday.</p><p>Trump made the remark after Bill Bryan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security's science and technology division, gave a presentation on research his team has conducted that shows that the virus doesn't live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan said, "The virus dies quickest in sunlight," leaving Trump to wonder whether you could bring the light "inside the body."</p><p>"So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it's ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn't been checked because of the testing," Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. "And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that, too."</p><p>He added: "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."</p><p>He didn't specify the kind of disinfectant.</p><p>“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous," said Gupta. "It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves."</p><p>The maker of <span>Lysol also issued a statement warning against any internal use</span> of the cleaning product.</p><p>The president has repeatedly <span>touted </span>unproven treatments during the daily briefings on COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. For instance, he has touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential "game changer," but <span>health officials have strongly cautioned against it</span>.</p><p>Dr. Rick Bright, a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services, <span>says he was ousted from his job</span> this week for pushing back on demands that he sign off on chloroquine treatments.</p><p>Bryan, under questioning from reporters, said later that federal laboratories aren't considering such a treatment option. He added that heat and humidity alone wouldn't kill the virus if people don't continue to practice social distancing.</p><p>Asked later to clarify, Bryan said that isn't the kind of work he does in his lab, before Trump jumped in and added, "Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't work."</p><p>When discussing the possibility that heat could kill the virus, the president turned to Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, who was seated to the side, and asked whether she had ever heard about heat's killing the virus in humans.</p><p>She said she <span>hadn't heard of it "as a treatment"</span> but added that having a fever is what the body does to kill a virus.</p><p>The White House claimed Friday morning that the media was mischaracterizing Trump's comments regarding coronavirus treatment.</p><p>"President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. "Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines."</p> L Politico Evidence that coronavirus originated at Chinese lab is 'inconclusive,' top general says <p> Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo</p><p> By <span><span>LARA SELIGMAN</span></span></p><p><time>04/14/2020 04:20 PM EDT</time></p><p>The top U.S. general said evidence that the coronavirus originated at a Chinese research lab is "inconclusive," following a <span>report</span> that U.S. officials warned of safety concerns at a research facility in the city of Wuhan two years ago.</p><p>"We've had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that," Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters Tuesday. "At this point it's inconclusive, although the weight of the evidence seems to indicate natural. But we don’t know for certain."</p><p>The comments come hours after The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials were concerned about inadequate safety at a Wuhan lab that was conducting studies on coronavirus from bats. According to the Post, U.S. officials who had visited the lab dispatched diplomatic cables in January 2018 back to Washington warning about safety and management weaknesses at the lab, and also that the facility's work on bat coronaviruses represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.</p><p>Milley's assessment contrasts with that of Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, who <span>shot down</span> the idea that the virus originated in a laboratory as part of experiments involving bioweapons.</p><p>"And if I could just be clear, there is nothing to that," Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, said on April 6. "Someone asked me if I was worried. That is not something that I'm worried about. I think, you know, right now what we're concerned about is how do we treat people who are sick, how do we prevent people from getting sick. But no, I am not worried about this as a bioweapon."</p> R The Daily Wire FACT CHECK: No, Trump Did Not Tell People To ‘Inject Themselves With Disinfectant’ Or ‘Drink Bleach’ <p>Left-wing activists made multiple false and misleading claims on Thursday following President Donald Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in which the president commented on new scientific findings from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).</p><p>The activists <span>falsely claimed</span> that Trump “urged Americans to inject themselves with disinfectant” <span>and</span> “told people to drink bleach.”</p><p>To understand Trump’s remarks, it’s important to first understand the full context of what was said at the press briefing.</p><p>Bill Bryan, Under Secretary for Science and Technology at DHS, <span>said</span> at the press briefing, “Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air. We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus.”</p><p>Bryan talked about the half-life of the coronavirus on surfaces like door handles and stainless steel surfaces, saying that when they “inject” UV rays into the mix along with high temperatures and increased humidity that the virus dies quickly.</p><p>“The virus does not survive as well in droplets of saliva, and that’s important because a lot of testing being done is not necessarily being done, number one, with the COVID-19 virus and number two, in saliva or respiratory fluids,” Bryan continued. “And thirdly, the virus dies the quickest in the presence of direct sunlight under these conditions.”</p><p>Half-life of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva droplets:<br/><br/>Virus does not last long in high temperature, humidity &amp; sunlight.</p><p>Bryan continued by noting that DHS also tested if certain types of disinfectant could kill the coronavirus.</p><p>“We’ve tested bleach, we’ve tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus, specifically in saliva or in respiratory fluids, and I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes,” Bryan said. “Isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds, and that’s with no manipulation, no rubbing. Just bring it on and leaving it go. You rub it and it goes away even faster.”</p><p>Bryan added, “We’re also looking at other disinfectants, specifically looking at the COVID-19 virus in saliva.”</p><p>Immediately following these remarks, Trump said:</p><p>So, I’m going to ask Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing when we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.</p><p>A few moments later, ABC News reporter Jon Karl asked Bryan, “The president mentioned the idea of a cleaner, bleach and isopropyl alcohol emerging. There’s no scenario where that could be injected into a person, is there?”</p><p>“No, I’m here to talk about the finds that we had in the study,” Bryan responded. “We don’t do that within that lab at our labs.”</p><p>Trump then clarified his remarks: “It wouldn’t be through injections, you’re talking about almost a cleaning and sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work, but it certainly has a big affect if it’s on a stationary object.”</p><p>Trump later raised the possibility of whether UV rays could kill the coronavirus if it was on a person’s skin, in particular if it were on their hands.</p><p>“If they’re outside, right, and their hands are exposed to the sun, will that kill it as though it were a piece of metal or something else?” Trump asked.</p><p>“I don’t want to say it will at the same rate because it’s a non-porous surface, but what we do know is that we looked at the worst case scenario and the virus lives longer on non-porous surfaces,” Bryan responded. “So porous surfaces, it doesn’t live quite as long, so in theory what you said is correct.”</p><p>Left-wing activist Chris D. Jackson <span>wrote</span> that Trump had “urged Americans to inject themselves with disinfectant.”</p><p>Tonight the far left seems more upset about a report suggesting a former Treasury Secretary is advising <span><span>@</span><span>JoeBiden</span></span> on economic policy than the fact that <span><span>@</span><span>realDonaldTrump</span></span> urged Americans to inject themselves with disinfectant.<br/><br/>This is our political reality in a nutshell.</p><p>Jake Maccoby, a former speech writer for the Obama Justice Department, <span>wrote</span> on Twitter that Trump had “told people to drink bleach.”</p><p>Trump downplayed the virus then called for rebellion then told people to drink bleach, maybe it's time to stop taking his press conferences live</p><p>Others have <span>repeated</span> the false claims.</p> R Fox Online News Rallies to reopen economy spread across country as officials urge caution to prevent coronavirus resurgence <p>A growing wave of rallies are taking place across the country as protesters demand that <strong><span>state governments</span></strong> lift their orders closing businesses and public places as soon as possible, even as officials urge caution to prevent a resurgence of <strong><span>coronavirus</span></strong>.</p><p>These Americans say they are suffering because of the <strong><span>economic</span></strong> shutdowns nationwide to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and are antsy to resume working and going out in public as usual.</p><p>The movement, which started with demonstrations in North Carolina and Michigan, has now spread to New York, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky with more protests slated for the coming days even as federal and state officials are warning that rolling back virus mitigations efforts too soon will lead to even more coronavirus cases and set back the nation's response to the pandemic.</p><p>"Minnesota citizens now is the time to demand Governor Walz and our state legislators end this lock down!" the description of a Facebook <span>event</span> titled "Liberate Minnesota" scheduled for noon on Friday reads. "Minnesota's economy must be reopened for business or destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Minnesota citizens and their families may result if we don't act quickly!"</p><p>The event has 577 people saying they will go and 2,600 indicating they are interested in attending as of Friday morning.</p><p>It's unclear how many people will actually be there as the Virginia event saw a much smaller turnout than organizers thought.</p><p>A press release shared by one organizer of the Pennsylvania rally states that protesters will ask Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to not extend his state's stay-at-home order past May 1. Protesters will adhere to social distancing by staying in their cars.</p><p>"We will have endured nearly 7 weeks of lock down when May 1st arrives and the end of these restrictions has remained indefinite," the organizers say in the release. "Business owners are being forced to layoff employees while the unemployment system is failing those laid off and the economy free falls. Pennsylvanians deserve more than just endless extensions. It is not sustainable to continue the shut down as the economic and societal consequences may be irreversible."</p><p>Protests will continue Friday, with the <span>Idaho Statesman</span> reporting that activist groups in Idaho plan to gather in Boise to protest that state's stay-at-home order.</p><p>There are also rallies planned for Maryland on Saturday, <span>Nevada</span> on Saturday, <span>Colorado</span> on Sunday, and Wisconsin next Friday -- with rallies for New Hampshire and upstate New York in the works without a planned date yet.</p><p>Around 2,000 attendees already confirmed! We'll be competitive with Michigan. For inquiries email:<span><span>#</span><span>ReopenAmerica</span></span> <span><span>#</span><span>reopenwisconsin</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>BreitbartNews</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>guardiannews</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>DailyCaller</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>realDailyWire</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>IngrahamAngle</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>tmj4</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>JoeySalads</span></span> <span><span>@</span><span>dcexaminer</span></span> <span><span></span><span> </span></span></p><p>But as rallygoers concern themselves with the economic and social effects -- as well as the limits on their personal freedom -- of mandating that businesses shut down and people stay in their homes, politicians, including President Trump, are warning that the process of lifting restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus must be done gradually.</p><p>"We can begin the next front in our war, which we are calling 'Opening Up America Again,'" Trump said during a press briefing at the White House Thursday as he unveiled his plan to reopen the economy. "To preserve the health of Americans, we must preserve the health of our economy."</p><p>But, he added: "We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time."</p><p>Still, Trump tweeted multiple times Friday in support of the rallies -- which largely consist of supporters of the president, often waving Trump flags and wearing "Make America Great Again" hats.</p><p>LIBERATE MINNESOTA!</p><p>LIBERATE MICHIGAN!</p><p>LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!</p><p>The three states Trump tweeted about -- Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota -- also all have Democratic governors.</p><p>Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to announce his plan get Texas back to business as usual on Friday, but in previewing the plan earlier this week he cautioned that the plan will not be "a rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once. We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19."</p><p>New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has been even more cautious than Trump and Abbott.</p><p>No one wants to reopen our state more than I do. But we’re in an extraordinary situation, facing a deadly virus that's spread worldwide.<br/><br/>We can’t be guided by gut feelings – we have to listen to scientists and public health experts. We have to stay home.<span><span>https://www.</span><span>alth-vs-economy-a-false-choice.html </span>…</span></p><p>OPINION | Right now, America faces greater economic pain than at any time since the Great Depression. Tens of ...</p><p>She wrote in an <span>op-ed</span> this week for the Albuquerque Journal that "[n]o one is more eager than I am to lift our stay-at-home orders and declare New Mexico open for business," but said "as public health experts remind us, we are not anywhere close to that point."</p><p>State, local and federal officials have emphasized that social distancing protocols and stay-at-home orders are working, keeping hospitals, outside of a few hotspots, under capacity and in many cases flattening the curve of the disease's spread. But many have also warned that it will be months, if not more, before the U.S. can fully get back to the normal it knew before the pandemic.</p><p>An internal government document first obtained by the <span>New York Times</span> indicated that the pandemic "will last 18 months or longer and could include multiple waves of illness," and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the White House's coronavirus task force, has <span>warned</span> that rolling back social distancing protocols too early could result in a dangerous resurgence of the virus.</p><p>But Fauci has also indicated that with proper precautions, some activities could begin again.</p><p>He <span>said</span> on Snapchat's “Good Luck America” this week that July 4 might be a reasonable date for Major League Baseball to begin its currently-postponed season -- but in empty stadiums without fans. Fauci has also previously <span>indicated</span> that kids could be back in school by the fall thanks to increased herd immunity and improved testing capabilities.</p><p>But there are others who are less optimistic.</p><p>Joe Biden campaign adviser and Affordable Care Act (ACA) architect Dr. Zeke <span>Emanuel</span> said on MSNBC earlier this month that the current lockdown measures could last up to a year-and-a-half.</p><p>"I know that's dreadful news to hear," the Biden adviser said. "How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19? The truth is we have no choice. ... We cannot return to normal until there's a vaccine. Conferences, concerts, sporting events, religious services, dinner in a restaurant, none of that will resume until we find a vaccine, a treatment, or a cure."</p><p>Police officers in Raleigh declared protest a non essential activity. We no longer have a first amendment right of peaceable assembly. This is why we have a second amendment. <span><span>#</span><span>ReopenNC</span></span></p><p>That warning from Emanuel is unlikely to convince many protesters who see the restrictions imposed by governors as unreasonable -- or even unconstitutional.</p><p>"You can't buy paint. You can't buy lawn fertilizer or grass seed. C'mon. All -- statewide? Really?" one protester in Michigan said Wednesday.</p><p>"Police officers in Ralegh declared protest a non essential activity," Townhall columnist Mike Adams tweeted about the North Carolina protest Tuesday. "We no longer have a first amendment right of peaceable assembly. This is why we have a second amendment."</p> R Townhall It's Looking Increasingly Likely Wuhan Coronavirus Came From a Lab Bat <p><small><em>Source: (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)</em></small></p><p>Outside of knowing Wuhan coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, United States intelligence agencies are still working on nailing down exactly where in the city the virus came from. There's been speculation it came from an infected animal, likely a bat, that was sold and eaten at a Wuhan wet market. This theory has prompted a number of politicians in the U.S. and around the world to call for the closing of China's wet markets. </p><p><span></span>But increasingly it looks like the disease came from a bat being studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another laboratory in the vicinity. According to new information released by the State Department, there were warnings as early as 2018 that the Institute was not following proper safety protocols while handling horseshoe bats that actively carry the disease. </p><p>From <span>Josh Rogin</span>: </p><p>Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.</p><p>What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.</p><p>The theory that the virus escaped from a lab is one Republican Senator Tom Cotton has been following since the beginning.</p><p>.<span><span>@</span><span>Max_Fisher</span></span> claims—without evidence—that I believe the China virus was “produced by a Chinese weapons lab.” He should have done his homework. <span><span>https://www.</span><span>ld/europe/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories.html </span>…</span></p><p>Unseen villains. Top-secret cures. In their quest for reassurance during the pandemic, many people are worsening more than just their own anxiety.</p><p>Since the start of this outbreak, I’ve maintained that animal-to-human transmission or a “good science, bad safety” accidental breach in a lab studying coronavirus—like the one in Wuhan—are the most likely origin scenarios. Too bad he couldn’t be bothered to ask.</p><p>Two less likely options—which we couldn’t discount because the Chinese Communist Party *still* has never revealed the virus’s origins—were the bioweapon hypotheses, with either and accidental or purposeful release.</p> L Politico U.S. medical stockpile wasn't built to handle current crisis, former director says <p> Workers carry boxes at a Strategic National Stockpile warehouse in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. | Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo</p><p> By <span><span>DOUG PALMER</span></span></p><p><time>04/08/2020 02:53 PM EDT</time></p><p>The Strategic National Stockpile, a once little-known resource, has turned into a political tug-of-war as states scramble for gowns, masks, ventilators and other equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.<b> </b></p><p>But it was never intended to be able to meet massive, simultaneous demand from 50 states, its former director said.</p><p>“The Strategic National Stockpile is great as a fallback" that can be tapped after private sector supplies and state and local government supplies are exhausted,<b> </b>said Greg Burel, who is now president and principal consultant at Hamilton Grace, a consulting firm focused on preparedness and response.</p><p>“From what I've been seeing, and you've probably seen the same thing, it seems like almost from day one, everybody's turned and looked at the SNS," Burel said in an interview with POLITICO.</p><p>President Donald Trump has blamed the Obama administration for not refilling the reserve. "The previous administration, the shelves were empty. The shelves were empty," Trump said last week.</p><p>However, the stockpile has also been underfunded for years, including during the Trump administration. The latest congressional appropriations enacted in November allotted about $700 million.</p><p>"What we had told Congress at the time though is that to get everything on the shelf that we wanted on the shelf at the time, that we needed a little over $1 billion in one appropriation and then we could smooth that out over the years,” Burel said.</p><p>The Trump administration’s official budget request for the SNS in fiscal 2020 was $705 million, or $95 million more than Congress approved for the prior year.</p><p>During the Obama administration, annual funding levels ranged around $500 million to $600 million. The Trump administration initially followed that pattern, requesting $575 million for the stockpile for both fiscal 2018 and 2019.</p><p>With the stockpile now quickly burning through badly needed supplies, Congress included $16 billion for the SNS in <span>H.R. 748 (116)</span>, the $2 trillion coronavirus virus relief package that passed last month.</p><p>Burel noted that the added money won't go that far because of the many ventilators that the SNS has sent to states that will need to be replaced or repaired at great expense when the current crisis is over. In addition, the stockpile’s pre-crisis supplies of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment are nearly, if not completely, gone.</p><p>“There are a large number of materials that we have invested in for a number of years that by the end of this event will be completely gone,” Burel said. “A bunch of that $16 billion is just going to be eaten up with replacing what's going out, recovering what's gone out, cleaning it and putting back on the shelves — and then to manage a future vaccine campaign.”</p><p>Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged on Tuesday that materials in the SNS had already been “largely deployed” and were only being partly restocked with shipments coming in from overseas in air cargo planes arranged by the United States. That so-called Air Bridge is intended to get vitally needed supplies to health care workers faster than can done by boat. Trump said Tuesday five more planes had landed and 27 more would be on the way in coming weeks.</p><p>All of the SNS supplies that are “clearly useful in this particular event” have probably been distributed through allocations based on each state’s population, Burel said. But Burel said there is no reason to doubt the stockpile still has supplies for its original mission, responding to the chemical, biological and nuclear events.</p><p>Burel was director of the SNS for nearly 13 years, starting late in the Republican administration of George W. Bush. The longtime federal employee retired in December, just before the coronavirus pandemic surfaced in China.</p><p>The Department of Health and Human Services, which houses the SNS, was in the middle of a nationwide hunt for Burel’s successor when the outbreak hit the United States. The job is not a political post appointed by the president but is intended to be filled by a career civil servant.</p><p>The agency is being led by acting director Steven Adams, who has been deputy director since the agency was created in 1999.</p><p>Its origins lie in the unfounded concern that the Y2K computer problem would cause catastrophic disruptions to the nation’s infrastructure when 2000 rolled around. It was ramped up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.</p><p>The exact amount of material the government has in the stockpile is a closely held secret, as are its network of warehouses around the country to store the materials. That’s a safeguard against a possible attack, as well as against local citizens mobbing the warehouse during a crisis to try to obtain supplies.</p><p>“The strategic national stockpile was never really intended to respond to a nationwide pandemic when it was established,” Burel said. “It was intended to respond to these more regionalized potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events, whether they were of a terrorist nature or an accident.”</p><p>Beginning around 2005, Congress appropriated additional money for a few years to purchase supplies to respond to the threat of pandemic influenza. But those supplies were handed out to states in 2009 in response to the H1N1 pandemic and never replenished, Burel said.</p><p>While neither the Obama or the Trump administration requested funds to replenish the supplies, Congress also failed to act on its own, Burel noted. In addition, many states which previously held their own stockpiles have stopped doing that, he said.</p><p>The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the need for all elements of the emergency response network to keep more supplies on hand, Burel said.</p><p>That potentially means both manufacturers and hospitals keeping 60 to 90 days' worth of personal protective equipment on hand, as well as state and local governments beefing up their own supplies.</p><p>Congress should also “fully fund” the SNS to ensure it has the supplies it needs to respond to pandemics and other threats, although it will never be able to respond to all eventualities, Burel said.</p><p>The emergency response veteran also said he favors producing more of the material in the United States and supplementing that with imported supplies.</p><p>"There has to be that swell of safety stock. We can't fight this kind of pandemic event that has disrupted the supply chain beyond what the normal usage is unless there is some stock somewhere,” Burel said.</p>

Death penalty

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body R Fox Online News Trump declares war on opioid abuse, calls for death penalty for traffickers, more access for treatment <p>President Trump addresses nation's opioid crisis at event in Manchester, New Hampshire.</p><p>Speaking from one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, President Trump on Monday laid out a battle plan that calls for harsher sentences - and even the death penalty - for traffickers.</p><p>Trump called for expanded treatment options for victims in the Manchester, N.H., speech, but leveled most of his emphasis on beefed-up enforcement. And he heaped plenty of scorn on the people he believes are responsible for as many as 42,000 U.S. deaths per year.</p><p>"These are terrible people and we have to get tough with those people," Trump said of traffickers and dealers. "This isn’t about committees... this is about winning a very tough problem."</p><p>"The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty," Trump said, before musing, "maybe our country is not ready for that."</p><p>Trump wants Congress to pass legislation reducing the amount of drugs needed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers who knowingly distribute certain illicit opioids. The death penalty would be pursued where appropriate under current law. Justice Department says the federal death penalty is available for several limited drug-related offenses, including violations of the "drug kingpin" provisions in federal law.</p><p>Trump reiterated an observation he has shared several times before -- that a person in the U.S. can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting one person, but that a drug dealer whose actions could lead to thousands of overdoses can spend little or no time in jail.</p><p>The president said the federal government may consider aggressive litigation against pharmaceutical companies deemed complicit in the crisis.</p><p>"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you and we will arrest you and we will hold you accountable," Trump said.</p><p>Trump singled out Mexico and China as main sources of illicit opioids. A <a>Drug Enforcement Administration report</a> last year said: "Seizures indicated that China supplies lower volumes of high-purity fentanyl, whereas fentanyl seizures from Mexico are higher volume but lower in purity."</p><p>Smuggling operations in both countries constantly try to elude U.S. officials by selling through the Internet and sending the substances – which chemists for these traffickers often alter to avoid detection – through the U.S. postal service, U.S. officials have said.</p><p>Trump also announced a nationwide public awareness campaign, as well as increased research and development through public-private partnerships between the federal National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies.</p><p>He announced a new website,, where people can share their stories about addiction. The hope is that horror stories will scare people away from behavior that could lead to addiction.</p><p>The Trump administration aims to see the number of filled opioid prescriptions cut by one-third within three years.</p><p>A third part of the plan addresses improving access to treatment and recovery programs that have proven effective. Many health professionals, relatives of those who have died of overdoses and people who have experienced addiction to opioids have been pushing for treatment to be a key component of any campaign to fight the epidemic.</p><p>"Failure is not an option," the president said. "Addiction is not our future. We will liberate our country from this crisis."</p><p>Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>And a recent CDC report said that the number of people checking into the emergency room after overdosing rose by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017.</p><p>"Drug dealers show no respect for human dignity and put their own greed ahead of the safety and even the lives of others. Drug trafficking is an inherently violent and deadly business: if you want to collect a drug debt, you collect it with the barrel of a gun. As surely as night follows day, violence and death follow drug trafficking, and murder is often a tool of drug traffickers," Attorney General Jeff Sessions reacted. "At the Department of Justice, we have made ending the drug epidemic a priority. We will continue to aggressively prosecute drug traffickers and we will use federal law to seek the death penalty wherever appropriate."</p><p>"We cannot arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic—we tried that and ended up with an even bigger addiction problem and the world’s largest prison population," Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, R-Ill., responded. "The war on drugs didn’t work in the 80’s, and it won’t work now by reviving failed deterrence measures like the death penalty for drug dealers.  We must instead crack down on the over-production and over-prescribing of painkillers, and increase treatment for those suffering from addiction—both of which have bipartisan support in Congress."</p><p>Last October, Trump declared the crisis a national public health emergency, short of the national state of emergency sought by a presidential commission he put together to study the issue.</p><p>Meanwhile, Congress plans to weigh a range of bills targeted at curbing the epidemic. The bills cover everything from improving access to treatment to intercepting shipments of illicit opioids en route to the United States.</p><p>"Our recommendations will be urgent and bipartisan, and they will come very quickly," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to published reports.</p><p><i>Fox News' Jason Donner, Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.</i></p> L New York Times Trump Offers Tough Talk but Few Details in Unveiling Plan to Combat Opioids <p>MANCHESTER, N.H. — President Trump made his first visit to New Hampshire since the 2016 campaign on Monday, unveiling a plan to combat the opioid epidemic that includes a push for the death penalty for drug dealers and a crackdown on illegal immigrants.</p><p>Mr. Trump spoke in a state with the nation’s third-highest rate of deaths from overdoses and <a>where opioids are a potent political issue</a>. In a speech at a community college here, he offered up more tough talk than he did specifics about his plan, or how he would pay for it.</p><p>The president said that most of the heroin in the country comes in from the southern border, “where eventually the Democrats will agree with us and build the wall to keep the damn drugs out”; he denounced so-called sanctuary cities, which he blamed for an uptick in overdoses; and he called for harsher penalties for drug dealers.</p><p>“If we don’t get tougher on drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” Mr. Trump said, later adding, “That toughness includes the death penalty” — a position that was at odds with what White House officials told reporters on Sunday.</p><p>The president said that he had spoken to leaders of Asian countries “where they don’t play games,” an apparent reference to conversations he has described having with President Xi Jinping of China and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who told him that the death penalties in their countries meant there was less of a drug problem.</p><p>White House officials would not answer what type of hypothetical case would involve the death penalty, referring questions to the Justice Department.</p><p>Mr. Trump also urged Congress to lower the threshold to use mandatory minimum sentences on opioid dealers, and said he will look for tougher criminal sentences on traffickers of certain drugs, such as fentanyl. He brought a series of people to the podium, including an ICE agent and parents whose eldest son died of a fentanyl overdose, to tell their stories.</p><p>The plan the president described, which was based on recommendations by an opioid commission the president appointed last year, has the goal of reducing the supply of illicit drugs with better interdiction and tougher penalties, reducing opioid prescriptions and overall demand for opioids, and expanding access to treatment and recovery tools like the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.</p><p>The plan seeks to cut the number of opioid prescriptions filled by a third within three years, a restriction that will face opposition from critics who argue it could have unintended consequences for people with chronic and even acute pain, and that it instead could force some users to seek more dangerous drugs, like heroin and synthetic fentanyl.</p><p>Officials were vague about how the prescriptions would be reduced, saying only that a main goal would be for prescribers for Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health programs to follow guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published two years ago. Those guidelines recommended that doctors first try ibuprofen and aspirin to treat pain, and that opioid treatment for short-term pain last no more than a week.</p><p>The plan says little about how addiction treatment would be expanded besides a vague goal of expanding access to “evidence-based addiction treatment” in every state, particularly for members of the military, for veterans and their families and for people leaving jail or prison.</p><p>Drug overdoses killed roughly 64,000 people in the United States in 2016, according to initial estimates from the C.D.C., and have become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.</p><p>Mr. Trump has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and in his budget plan last month proposed spending $10 billion on the epidemic over the next two fiscal years. But he did not put a specific price tag on the plan’s cost. Congress recently allotted $6 billion to address the epidemic over the next two years, which public health experts have described as a good start but not anywhere near enough.</p><p>The president also called for repealing the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to cover much of the addiction treatment provided around the United States over the past few years.</p><p>In his State of the State address last month, Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who was on hand for the president’s speech, called the opioid crisis the state’s “most serious challenge.”</p><p>Voters have agreed, with 53 percent saying in a Granite State poll last year that <a>drugs were the biggest problem facing the state</a> — the first time in the poll’s history that a majority labeled a single issue the most important.</p><p>Mr. Trump’s push for the death penalty for drug traffickers could play well with voters here, as New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still allows capital punishment, though it has not executed anyone since 1939.</p><p>In statements after Mr. Trump’s speech, the state’s two Democratic senators — Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan — said they generally supported many of Mr. Trump’s proposals. Neither senator’s statement directly addressed the president’s call for the death penalty for traffickers, but Ms. Hassan’s aides said that in comments earlier in the day, she had opposed the death penalty for traffickers.</p><p>“I think it reflects a lack of a broader understanding of the factors in this crisis,” <a>Ms. Hassan told</a>, a news site. “We have to go after demand as well as supply, and law enforcement have been the first people to tell us we can’t enforce our way out of this.”</p><p>Asked for clarification of her view on Monday, Ms. Shaheen — who, when she was governor of New Hampshire in 2000, <a>vetoed a bill</a> that would have repealed the state’s death penalty — said through her spokeswoman: “Frankly, whether a drug dealer, after exhausting all of their legal appeals, gets the death penalty 20 years from now has no impact on our immediate crisis.”</p><p>She said Mr. Trump should be providing more money for the police, emergency medical workers and families in need of treatment.</p><p>Civil liberties lawyers were highly critical of Mr. Trump’s endorsement of the death penalty for traffickers and said it would be unworkable.</p><p>“There has never been an execution under the one part of United States law that allows the death penalty as a punishment for traffickers,” said Ames Grawert, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York. “The Supreme Court has consistently refused to sanction the use of the death penalty in crimes other than homicide.”</p> R Fox Online News Botched Oklahoma execution: Did anyone remember Clayton Lockett's victim? <p>Adam Housley reports from Los Angeles</p><p>Clayton Lockett died Tuesday night. The State of Oklahoma executed him. Something happened in the process of executing Mr. Lockett. </p><p>It did not go as planned.</p><p>Witnesses say he writhed and shook on the table. Twenty minutes after the lethal injection had been administered, Mr. Lockett died of a heart attack.</p><p>[pullquote]</p><p>Immediately, the online and on television commentariat began morally preening over the state executing Clayton Lockett. </p><p>Liberals and even some conservatives were outraged.</p><p>Liberals are again calling for the end of all executions. They do not want Oklahoma to execute its next murderer on death row.</p><p>Much was tweeted and much will be written and said today about the savagery of executions. Some will declare all executions “cruel and unusual,” thereby suggesting they are unconstitutional — never mind the long history of executions in this country.</p><p>One person who will not weigh in on the merits of Clayton Lockett’s execution is Stephanie Neiman. Clayton Lockett tried to rob a house Miss Neiman was at. She tried to fight him off. He and his accomplices overwhelmed her.</p><p>They beat her, bound her with duct tape, taped her mouth shut, shot her, then buried her alive.  Many of those outraged at how Mr. Lockett’s execution played out will, hopefully, pause to reflect on exactly why the state chose to execute him.</p><p>Sadly, Stephanie Neiman, is unavailable for comment on the situation.</p> L Washington Post Opposition to death penalty leaves states winging it on executions — and Oklahoma shows what can go wrong. <p>Oklahoma’s bungled execution of convicted murderer <a>Clayton Lockett </a>on Tuesday was, in some ways, a medical experiment gone wrong. </p><p>In recent years, as pharmaceutical companies have halted sales of drugs used in executions, as legal challenges have mounted and medical groups have vowed to ostracize doctors who participate in sanctioned killings, states have found themselves winging it when it comes to carrying out lethal injections. </p><p>In their scramble to carry out death sentences, prison officials from different states have made <a>secret handoffs </a>of lethal-injection drugs. State workers have <a>carried stacks of cash into unregulated compounding pharmacies </a>to purchase chemicals for executions. Some states, like Oklahoma, have relied on unproven drug cocktails, all while saying they must conceal <a></a>the source of the drugs involved to protect suppliers from legal action and harassment. </p><p>“It looks like a street-level drug deal,” said Dean Sanderford, a lawyer for Lockett. “And they’re keeping all the information secret from us. . . . They don’t need to be carrying out any more executions until they come clean, until we know exactly what happened with Clayton’s execution and everything about these drugs, where they’re getting them.”</p><p>This new era in death row improvisation has produced sometimes<a> disturbing</a> results, even before the debacle in Oklahoma, in which Lockett <a>thrashed on a gurney </a>before dying from an apparent heart attack after 43 minutes. Oklahoma’s corrections director said the vein line meant to administer lethal drugs into Lockett’s body had “exploded” and that the drugs were not having the intended effect.</p><p>The way Lockett and others have died has called into question the decades-old view that lethal injection is a more civil, more humane method of killing people than grisly alternatives such as the electric chair. Some states have <a>pondered a return to firing squads and gas chambers</a>, and others have steered away from executions altogether. </p><p>According to the nonprofit <a>Death Penalty Information Center</a>, <a>32 states </a>and the federal government have the death penalty, and all use injection as their <a>primary method </a>of execution. Until 2010, most states still using lethal injection relied on a fairly standard three-drug protocol. The combination typically included an anesthetic such as sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, a paralyzing agent such as pancuronium bromide and a drug such as potassium chloride to stop the heart. </p><p>But events in recent years undermined that approach and left many states wrestling with moral and practical questions of how to carry out death sentences without violating the Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment.</p><p>In the spring of 2010, the American Board of Anesthesiologists <a>decided to revoke the certification</a> of any member who participated in a lethal injection, a move that could prevent an anesthesiologist from working in most hospitals. “We are healers, not executioners,” a group official said at the time. The American Medical Association long has said that participating in executions violates a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath.</p><p>Soon came a shortage of a critical drug used in most lethal injections. The sole U.S. company providing sodium thiopental announced in 2011 that it would <a>stop selling the powerful anesthetic</a>, citing objections from Italy, where the drug had been manufactured. State corrections officials sought to import the drug but the European Union <a>banned the export of drugs used in executions</a>, and U.S. officials <a>seized some drugs</a> at the border.</p><p>Many states, including Ohio and Oklahoma, switched primarily to another anesthetic drug, pentobarbital, which is used mostly for inducing comas in patients in cases of brain injury and is also used by veterinarians to anesthetize or euthanize animals. After a Danish manufacturer restricted its use in executions, some states sought out the drug from compounding pharmacies, which custom-mix small batches of drugs and whose products until recently have not been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.</p><p>When supplies of pentobarbital began to run short, states turned to another more widely available drug, midazolam, which is often used to sedate surgery patients before they receive anesthesia, and which Oklahoma used for the first time in its lethal injection protocol Tuesday. </p><p>Last October, Florida became the first state to put midazolam to the test on death row, despite worries from some experts that the drug might not produce a deep enough level of unconsciousness to prevent an inmate from feeling the pain that comes from the injections that follow. </p><p>Indeed, the Associated Press <a>reported</a> that convicted murderer and rapist William Happ “remained conscious longer and made more body movements after losing consciousness than other people executed recently by lethal injection under the old formula.” Court challenges followed from other Florida death row inmates, just as they have in a number of other states.</p><p>In January, midazolam was again in the spotlight. Ohio’s supply of pentobarbital expired and the state became the first to try midazolam as part of a two-drug injection cocktail, with the painkiller hydromorphone. Dennis McGuire, convicted of raping and murdering a 22-year-old pregnant woman, spent roughly 10 minutes alternately snorting and gasping for air after receiving the drug. His execution lasted almost half an hour — the longest since Ohio had resumed the death penalty in 1999. </p><p>A state investigation concluded that there was no evidence that McGuire “experienced any pain, distress or anxiety.” Officials insisted that the execution had been carried out in a humane and constitutional way and that McGuire felt no pain, despite the eyewitness accounts of his writhing on the table. </p><p>Even so, the state announced that when it carries out its next execution, it would use five times the dosage of the midazolam and also would increase the amount of hydromorphone. In the meantime, <a>an attorney has filed suit</a> on behalf of McGuire’s adult children, seeking an injunction against lethal injection in the state and challenging the use of drugs that had not been proven to work effectively in an execution. </p><p>“States are trying out new lethal-injection cocktails, and there is inadequate training and supervision and oversight of execution teams,” said <a>David Waisel</a>, an associate professor of anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, who has testified for the defense in lethal-injection cases. “Given these recurring problems with lethal injections, if I had to be executed, I would choose a firing squad.”</p><p>Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced Wednesday that she has ordered an independent review of the state’s execution procedures. She also said an independent pathologist will determine the precise cause of death for Lockett, who had shot a 19-year-old woman and ordered accomplices to bury her alive. Fallin issued a two-week stay of execution for Charles Warner, which had been scheduled to occur after Lockett’s on Tuesday night. Warner was convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend’s 11-month-old baby.</p><p>The fact that there’s no settled, uniform way to conduct lethal injections, and that states have increasingly experimented in recent years with new and varied ways to kill the condemned, is a serious problem, said <a>Deborah W. Denno</a>, a death penalty expert and a professor at Fordham Law School.</p><p>“We have a dozen methods of lethal injection out there now,” Denno said. “[States] are not prepared to do this; they’re not knowledgeable to do this, and they don’t want to fess up to all the problems that are associated with something like this.”</p><p>She said that as states scramble to find drugs for lethal injections and tinker with different combinations and protocols for execution, they send a message that carrying out death sentences is more of a priority than resolving important ethical and legal questions. </p><p>“And that,” she said, “is not a good policy.”</p><p> </p><p>Lindsey Bever and Mark Berman contributed to this report. </p><p>Related:</p><p> <a>A history of bungled executions</a> </p><p> <a>A horrific scene described in 7 tweets</a> </p><p> <a>Oklahoma governor calls for independent review</a> </p>


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body L Vox Why Starbucks, Disney, and the EU are all shunning plastic straws <p>Banning plastic straws won’t save the ocean. But we should do it anyway.</p><p> <span></span> </p><p>When I ordered a milkshake at a New York City diner recently, I noticed a placard at my table that read: “Missing something in your drink? There’s a reason for that.”</p><p>I looked around and saw that none of the drinks on the waiters’ trays had plastic straws. Why was my diner forcing this age-old tradition to an end?</p><p>Plastic bans are now in vogue. Several countries, in the name of combating plastic pollution in the ocean, have begun banning various plastic products: utensils, bottles, and bags that often get thrown away after one use. The European Parliament on Wednesday signed a provisional agreement to ban 10 kinds of single-use plastics — including plastic cutlery and straws — by 2021, <a>Popular Sci</a><a>ence reports</a>.</p><p>In the United States, these efforts have centered on the plastic straw.</p><p>In July, the <a>Walt Disney Company announced</a> that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws and stirrers in all its locations by mid-2019 as part of its “journey of environmental stewardship.” Disney also plans to reduce other plastic products in its hotels and cruise ships as well as plastic shopping bags and styrofoam cups.</p><p>Starbucks made a similar <a>announcement</a>, saying it would transition to a new lid for cold drinks that many have likened to an “<a>adult sippy cup”</a> that eventually will mean eliminating more than 1 billion plastic straws per year.</p><p><a>Seattle</a>, the home of the mega coffee company, became the first major US city with a plastic straw ban on July 1.<strong> </strong>New York City has proposed <a>legislation</a> to ban plastic straws in the city by 2020. Malibu and San Luis Obispo, California, and Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Florida, have similar efforts in the works.</p><p>There’s also a trending hashtag, #StopSucking. <a>Chelsea Clinton</a>, <a>Neil deGrasse Tyson</a>, <a>Russell Crowe</a>, <a>Tom Brady</a>, <a>Sonam Kapoor</a>, and <a>Tom Felton</a> have all pledged to “just say no” when handed a plastic straw.</p><p>Why did banning the plastic straw — something so small and forgettable that it tends <a>not to be recycled</a> — go viral as a form of consumer environmentalism? </p><p>Straws are far from our biggest problem when it comes to <a>marine plastic pollution</a>. And they are necessary for people with certain <a>disabilities</a>, who feel that they have been <a>left out of the conversation</a>. But activists hope that straws will be a <a>“gateway plastic,”</a> encouraging people to forgo other single-use plastics such as bags and bottles. </p><p>Straw bans aren’t going to save the ocean, but they could jump-start much-needed conversations about the level of non-biodegradable trash in it. </p><p>Let’s walk through what we know.</p><p>We started using plastic in the late 19th century, after <a>celluloid was invented</a>. By the 1960s and ’70s, single-use plastics like bags and straws had become cheaper, more convenient, and more ubiquitous than their paper counterparts. </p><p>Now plastic straws can be found pretty much anywhere food is served (with the exception of the highest-end restaurants). And while the exact number of straws thrown out in the US today is unclear, one estimate we found (using data from Technomics) put it at <a>175 million</a> straws every day. </p><p>Plastic is <a>not biodegradable</a>, which means it does not break down into compounds (like carbon dioxide or water) that can be easily reused. </p><p>Large plastics will, over time, degrade into small particles known as <a>microplastics</a>. Not only are microplastics potentially carcinogenic on their own, but they also attract harmful pollutants. And they stick around forever.</p><p>Because plastic doesn’t decompose quickly, when it becomes waste, it tends to either end up in landfills or wash into the ocean. The World Economic Forum reports that there are 150 million metric tons of plastics in the ocean. And if we continue this trend, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.</p><p>One of the landmark <a>studies</a> of ocean plastic was published in <em>Science</em> in 2015. The researchers found that we generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in one year, of which 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons get into the oceans. </p><p>“Eight million metric tons of plastic is equal to 5 bags … filled with plastic going into the ocean along every foot of coastline in the world,” said the lead author of the study, Jenna Jambeck, at an American Association for the Advancement of Science <a>panel</a> in 2015. “That is huge.”</p><p>(Around that time, a YouTube <a>video</a> of a sea turtle with a straw lodged in its nose also went viral, racking up more than 26 million views.)</p><p>Plastic kills marine life partially because of strangulation or choking. But the larger reason plastic is so dangerous is that it releases toxic chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) when it breaks down. <a>BPA</a>, which mimics estrogen, messes with our hormones and can be carcinogenic. <a>A recent study</a> found that plastic also kills coral reefs by making them more susceptible to disease. </p><p>Microplastics will inevitably get into our food — through both the <a>fish</a> on our plates and the <a>water</a> in our bottles. But researchers still aren’t sure how toxic microplastics are when we consume them this way.</p><p>A lot of this plastic collects in “garbage patches” that form as waste and debris get pushed together by circular ocean currents known as gyres. These patches are not solid masses; rather, they are mostly made up of microplastics that make the water cloudy and gelatinous. At about twice the size of Texas, the largest garbage patch is the <a>Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>, which has been given the horrifying moniker the Pacific Trash Vortex.</p><p>But garbage patches only provide a surface-level glimpse of the issue — literally. Only about <a>1 percent</a> of plastic waste collects at the surface; <a>most of it aggregates at the floor of the ocean</a>, where deep-sea sediments behave as a sink for the microplastics.</p><p>Several environmental organizations have made straw bans a priority lately — raising awareness, nudging celebrities to come out in favor of them, lobbying cities and states to enact them. But some advocates told me their deeper motivation is to build support and awareness for the need to ban other plastic products that are more significant sources of plastic solution than straws.</p><p>“Our straw campaign is not really about straws,” said Dune Ives, the executive director of Lonely Whale, the organization that led the straw ban movement in Seattle. “It’s about pointing out how prevalent single-use plastics are in our lives, putting up a mirror to hold us accountable. We’ve all been asleep at the wheel.”</p><p>Lonely Whale’s “<a>Strawless in Seattle</a>” movement began in September 2017, when the organization began partnering with Seattle-based businesses to end their straw use.</p><p>According to Ives, the plastic straw was really a first step in asking people more important questions about their plastic use. From talking to restaurant owners, they learned that one of their biggest sources of plastics is the individual wrapping on shellfish and oysters. “They all asked, ‘Why is that?’ Which is a really good question,” Ives said. “So the straw becomes this gateway conversation that makes you realize how pervasive and ubiquitous the problem is.” </p><p>The mayor of Seattle has since announced a ban on disposable plastic straws, spoons, forks, and knives, which will be officially enforced starting July 1. As of now, the ban will only apply to restaurants; those who are found in violation will be fined up to $250.</p><p>But Seattle’s success has already inspired several other coastal cities in states like California and Florida to follow suit.</p><p>Plastic straws “may not be the biggest threat to the ocean health … but we were actually hearing from our audiences about it,” said Aimee David, the director of Ocean Conservation Policy Strategies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “This is something that really resonates from our visitors because they can feel it, touch it; it’s a positive action they can take.”</p><p>Help stem the flow of plastic into the environment by carrying reusable water bottles and bags with you instead of relying on single-use plastic ones.</p><p>Instead of using single-use plastic straws, you can choose biodegradable paper ones like these, or use reusable straws, or even forgo a straw altogether.</p><p>On the other side of the country, New York City may vote on <a>legislation</a> to ban the plastic straw this year. “We’re very much at the beginning; we’re at the stage that people are starting to realize the impact that we’re having,” said John Calvelli, executive vice president of public affairs at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which has spearheaded the New York policy push with the <a>Give a Sip</a> campaign. “What’s happening is that people are waking up.”</p><p>We know there’s a massive amount of plastic in our oceans, but plastic straws are far from the biggest source of plastic pollution. </p><p>The <a>Ocean Conservancy’s 2017 Coastal Cleanup Report</a> compiled beach cleanups around the world and found that the most common trash item found on beaches is cigarettes, followed by plastic bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, and bags. Straws and stirrers placed seventh on the list, at about 3 percent of the total trash. <a>Bloomberg News</a> estimates that on a global scale, straws would probably only account for 0.03 percent of total plastic waste by mass. Another study found that an estimated <a>46 percent</a> of the debris in the ocean is abandoned fishing equipment. </p><p>On a macro scale, it’s important to look at the plastic straw ban for what it really is: a first step toward drastically limiting plastic in the ocean. </p><p>How realistic is that leap?</p><p>Part of the answer to this question can be found in a little-known theory called “spillover” —the idea that engaging in a single behavior can psychologically motivate us to engage in either more or less similar behaviors. </p><p>Let’s say we were interested in learning what would happen once people begin following a plastic straw ban. They may decide to become more environmental by decreasing the use of other single-use products or supporting environmental policy change (which is called positive spillover), they may decide that their one good deed gives them the right to take an extra-long shower (negative spillover), or they may pat themselves on the back and continue living their lives as usual (no spillover).</p><p>The plastic straw ban advocates are essentially hoping for a positive spillover effect. </p><p><a>Heather Truelove</a>, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Florida, has studied <a>the spillover effect</a> with environmental decisions.</p><p>In order to minimize negative spillover, Truelove believes that we need to “feel good about our actions, but not too good.”</p><p>“The biggest problem for spillover is having an external motivation for behavior,” she said. A government-imposed ban is an example of this “external motivation” that she says could “become worrisome because people will stop using the plastic straw but won’t internalize [the lesson].”</p><p>Turns out, internalizing an action — making it part of your identity as an environmentalist —is the key to promoting positive spillover. And Truelove has found that in most cases regarding the environment, we do see positive spillover.</p><p>“When you go into a restaurant and you don’t get a straw with your drink, it can spark some conversation; it becomes something that you discuss with your family,” she said. “Your attitudes and beliefs about plastic become salient and more on the tip of your tongue.”</p><p>The bad news: We don’t actually know what behaviors the straw ban should spill over into.</p><p>A lot of people actually need straws because they have disabilities that make it difficult to lift a drink to their lips. And disability rights advocates are now speaking out against the bans, arguing that straw <a>alternatives</a> don’t work quite as well. </p><p>In an article in the <a>Washington Post</a>, writer and disability advocate Karin Hitselberger noted that the plastic straw ban is part of a tradition of movements that don’t consider the opinions or needs of people with disabilities. “If you don’t need a straw to take a sip of water, pain medication to deal with the effects of a chronic illness, or a laptop to take notes in your college class, it can be easy to overlook how policies such as these impact someone else’s everyday life,” she wrote.</p><p>After Starbucks announced its plan to phase out all single-use plastic straws, a group of disabilities rights advocates <a>planned to protest</a> outside a New York City Starbucks store. In response, the company reached out to the groups and released a <a>statement</a> promising to keep plastic straws on hand for those who need them.</p><p>“That’s the million-dollar question,” Aimee David, with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said with a laugh.</p><p>Our current method of recycling is likely not the answer. Plastic is difficult to recycle more than two or three times, and a study conducted last year found that only <a>9 percent </a>of all plastic has been recycled. “Without a well-designed and tailor-made management strategy for end-of-life plastics, humans are conducting a singular uncontrolled experiment on a global scale, in which billions of metric tons of material will accumulate across all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the planet,” the study authors wrote.</p><p>One of the most popular methods of mitigating the accumulation of plastic in the first place is what David called a “source-reduction approach.” That means eliminating use of those pesky single-use plastics, with policies like bag and straw bans.</p><p>Restricting single-use plastics has worked in other countries. In 2002, Ireland imposed a tax on plastic bags, which was followed by a <a>94 percent decrease</a> in the use of plastic bags.</p><p>A big part of the single-use plastic ban is an expectation that people will carry non-plastic equivalents, such as metal straws and utensils, with them. <a>Aardvark</a>, a straw manufacturing company, has been increasing production of high-quality paper straws, which they claim are better the cheaper paper straws imported from China that often degrade in drinks.</p><p>A change in norms is the main reason the tax in Ireland was so effective; Elisabeth Rosenthal reported in the New York Times article that using plastic bags in Ireland actually became “socially unacceptable” a few years into the tax.</p><p>As of 2017, <a>28 countries</a> had imposed bans or taxes on plastic bags, with varying levels of enforcement. The United States is not one of them.</p><p>Recently, <a>Britain</a>, <a>Scotland</a>, <a>Chile</a>, <a>India</a>, <a>Taiwan</a>, and the <a>EU</a> have announced plans to phase out all single-use plastics over the next decade. And earlier this month, <a>Ikea</a> announced its plan to end the sale of all single-use products by 2020. </p><p><a><span>#</span><span>WorldEnvironmentDay</span></a> in India brought major commitments to <a><span>#</span><span>BeatPlasticPollution</span></a>: <br/>Eliminating single-use plastic in the country by 2022<br/>Joining the UN Environment <a><span>#</span><span>CleanSeas</span></a> campaign<br/>Pledging litter-free zones around 100 monument sites <a><span>http://</span><span>/ </span></a></p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>Although there is no national movement to ban plastic bags in the United States yet, several cities and states have taken it up. In 2014, California became the first state to ban plastic bags, and <a>16 other states</a> since have imposed bans or taxes on plastic bags. </p><p>But beyond source reduction, there is no real systemic plan. Long-term issues of reducing <a>abandoned fishing gear</a>, developing materials that can replace plastic, and creating new waste management systems still persist. </p><p>What we need, according to Ives, is to have a “big conversation” about how to reduce the plastic demand.</p><p>“We know that with plastic straw bans, it’s not like it’s going to stop plastic production,” she said. “It’s great to see recycling and waste management, but we have to start demanding plastic production reduction.”</p><p>This seems daunting. But David points to the fact that ocean plastic has only just become such a hot topic, and as a result, the research has also picked up a sense of urgency. “I think that we don’t even know what the biggest solution is yet,” David said. </p><p>In the meantime, here are some other things you can do to lower your plastic consumption:</p><p>And of course, it can’t hurt to say no to the straw (or <a>try one of these reusable ones</a>).</p><p><a>We know ocean plastic is a problem. We can’t fix it until we answer these 5 questions.</a></p> C The Hill Trump moves to relax Obama-era water protections <p>The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed reduced federal protections for many small waterways such as streams and wetlands, opening them up to potential new harm from developers, energy companies and others.</p><p>The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) <a>proposal would redefine</a> the “Waters of the United States," a legal term for which waterways are protected from harm and pollution by the federal government under the Clean Water Act.</p><p>The change is a major victory for developers, energy companies and other industries that emit water pollutants and use land. They had complained that under the 2015 rule created by the Obama administration, large swaths of often dry land required permits for routine activities.</p><p>The announcement came days after <a>the EPA set out plans</a> to roll back carbon dioxide limits for new coal-fired power plants. In recent months, the agency has moved to repeal or weaken regulations on auto efficiency, power plant emissions, methane pollution and other major rules, mainly from the Obama administration.</p><p>EPA’s new plan is already setting off alarm bells from environmentalists, who say it could present a grave threat to drinking water, wildlife and ecosystems.</p><p>It’s also guaranteed to kick off numerous aggressive lawsuits once the EPA makes the changes final.</p><p>The Obama-era rule is only currently in effect in about half of the country’s states, due to lawsuits challenging it.</p><p>Trump administration officials said that the new rule would make it easier and simpler for farmers, landowners, developers, states and others to tell if a water body is federally protected.</p><p>Streamlining that determination is important to industries because certain activities that could pollute water, like filling ditches or moving ponds, might require an expensive federal permit.</p><p>EPA leaders are promoting the rule change as a means to give states more authority to regulate water pollution.</p><p>“Our proposal would replace the 2015 definition with one that respects the rule of law and the primary role of states in managing their land and water resources. It would end years of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends,” acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at an event at agency headquarters with dozens of industry officials and Republican lawmakers.</p><p>“Our new, more precise definition means that hard-working Americans will spend less time and money determining whether they need a federal permit and more time upgrading aging infrastructure, building homes, creating jobs and growing crops to feed our families,” he said.</p><p>The EPA estimated that the new rule would avoid as much as $164 million in industry compliance costs annually. But it would lose up to $38 million from the Obama rule's benefits, since some water bodies like wetlands or ponds could be harmed.</p><p>Under the Trump administration’s proposed definition, certain small streams that are tributaries of larger water bodies will no longer be protected, nor will wetlands that aren’t directly connected to otherwise protected waters such as rivers.</p><p>Streambeds that only have water when it rains also won’t be subject to federal protection.</p><p>David Ross, head of the EPA’s Office of Water, said the rule keeps many of the same features of the one from 2015. But the biggest differences come in the definitions of wetlands and tributaries, he told reporters on Monday.</p><p>He pointed to many of the inclusions and exclusions in the new rule, saying “a lot of that language was actually pulled from the 2015 rule.”</p><p>The EPA could not offer clear numbers for the amount of waterways that would lose protections under the new proposal.</p><p>Ross said regulators could not quantify the amount and he criticized attempts to do so, saying many of the determinations would have to be made on-site.</p><p>Environmentalists are warning that about 60 percent of stream miles will no longer be protected from pollution under the rule. </p><p>“No one has that data,” Ross said, challenging green groups. </p><p>“There is no map of waters of the United States, and there never has been one.”</p><p>Before joining the EPA, Ross worked for the Republican attorneys general of Wyoming and Wisconsin to help sue to stop the 2015 rule.</p><p>Waterways that aren’t federally protected may be subject to certain state protections, or they may be completely up to landowners to control.</p><p>The question of which water bodies get federal protection has been fiercely debated for decades. The Clean Water Act dictates that “navigable” water is protected, but regulators have also sought to protect a certain distance upstream, since that water eventually reaches larger bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River.</p><p>Green groups said the Tuesday proposal is a giveaway to polluters like oil companies and developers.</p><p>“The Trump administration will stop at nothing to reward polluting industries and endanger our most treasured resources,” Jon Devine, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) federal water program, said in a statement.</p><p>“Given the problems facing our lakes, streams and wetlands from the beaches of Florida to the drinking water of Toledo, now is the time to strengthen protections for our waterways, not weaken them.”</p><p>The NRDC and others hinted that they would likely sue in federal court if the EPA carries out the proposal.</p><p>“This isn’t a regulatory rollback — it’s a steamroller to the environmental oversight we need to protect our waterways,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch.</p><p>“Piece by piece, molecule by molecule, [President] Trump is handing over our country to corporate polluters and other industrial interests at the expense of our future.”</p><p>The Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, cheered the proposal.</p><p>"This new rule is good news for businesses, farmers, and localities because it strikes a better balance between economic growth and environmental progress than the rule it replaces," Karen Harbert, president of the group's Global Energy Institute, said in a statement.</p><p>“The previous rule gave EPA and the Army Corps unprecedented authority to permit and enforce areas well beyond what Congress intended. This revised rule will end a great deal of uncertainty that came in the wake of the former rule, and it will provide much-needed clarity."</p><p>Ann Navaro, a lobbyist at the firm Bracewell LLP and former official at the Army Corps of Engineers, which works with the EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act, also applauded the plan.</p><p>“It will reduce the regulatory burden on landowners, developers, and industry. It will simplify the reach of the Clean Water Act so that the regulated public can better understand how the law applies to their property without having to undertake complex subjective analysis,” she said.</p><p>“The proposed rule will focus on waters that are meaningfully connected to other jurisdictional waters, rather than trying to expand the reach of federal jurisdiction with difficult to understand and implement subjective standards.”</p><p>The EPA will accept public comments for 60 days on the rule. It then must review the comments and make changes before making the rule final, at which point opponents — likely green groups and Democratic states — can sue in federal court.</p><p>Ross said the EPA hopes to finalized the rule by the end of 2019, but he resisted setting any actual timeline.</p><p>The EPA is working on a separate track to repeal the 2015 rule. It proposed to do so in 2017 and refined the proposal this year, but still has not made the repeal final.</p><p>An attempt under former EPA Administrator <span><a>Scott Pruitt</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Edward (Scott) Scott Pruitt</a><a>Overnight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses</a> <a>EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog</a> <a>Is Big Oil feeling the heat?</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> to indefinitely delay the 2015 rule’s implementation was overturned in court earlier this year, leading to the current fractured, state-by-state enforcement.</p><p><em>Miranda Green contributed. Updated at 12:42 p.m.</em></p> C Wall Street Journal Court Blocks Trump Effort to Open Arctic Waters to Oil Drilling <p>A federal judge in Alaska has reinstated a ban on oil-and-gas drilling in vast swaths of the Arctic Ocean, potentially undermining a central part of the Trump administration’s effort to expand offshore drilling.</p><p> Mr. Trump will need congressional authority, according to the ruling, to reopen drilling in Arctic areas and smaller parts of the Atlantic Ocean that the Obama administration put off limits just weeks before President Obama left office. The late Friday ruling invalidates an executive order Mr. Trump issued during his first months in office aimed to overturning the ban.</p><p>There is no ongoing commercial drilling in those areas, and the Alaskan oil industry has been hampered by low oil prices for years, limiting the immediate effects from the ruling. But it does raise questions about a long-awaited overhaul of the country’s offshore drilling plan the Trump administration was expected to issue in the coming weeks.</p><p>The Trump administration had <a>proposed opening offshore areas around the country</a>, including almost all of offshore Alaska. Though the draft proposal faced stiff opposition from several coastal states and environmental groups, an Arctic expansion had wide support from Alaskan leaders hoping for a revival and an oil industry interested in expanding its options.</p><p>“This is a great victory for the Arctic, its polar bears, other wildlife and communities. It’s absolutely the right outcome under the law and for the sake of our planet,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the Trump administration.</p><p>A spokeswoman for the Interior Department said the department doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.</p><p>“From a long-term perspective, it is a central area when it comes to our energy policy and future energy production,” said Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil-and-gas industry trade association that was a party to the case.</p><p>Friday’s ruling focuses on about 125 million acres of the U.S. Arctic Ocean and 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic Ocean, the latter focused on offshore areas from Maryland to Massachusetts. The decision to block drilling there came as part of a wave of <a>last-minute environmental actions from Mr. Obama</a> to “preserve a healthy Arctic ecosystem and protect our fragile Arctic waters,” Mr. Obama said at the time.</p><p>Mr. Trump issued an order in 2017 to overturn Mr. Obama’s action, part of his agenda to boost domestic energy production. But legal experts and analysts had warned that he may not have the power to overturn the ban under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.</p><p>U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason agreed. That 1953 law includes a sentence saying the president may “from time to time, withdraw” from consideration any currently unleased lands in federal offshore waters. It has been invoked only a handful of times and doesn’t include a procedure for a new president to undo actions by a predecessor.</p><p>Judge Gleason ruled that Congress had passed other laws that clearly authorized a president to revoke the decisions of a predecessor. This law had not, she said, concluding Mr. Trump didn’t have that authority.</p><p>The decision could face appeal. If it isn’t overturned, it would require Congress to act to open up many offshore areas the Trump administration had included as part of its expansion. That appears unlikely at a time when Democrats have control of the House and have prioritized climate-change policies to limit fossil-fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.</p><p> <strong>Write to </strong>Timothy Puko at <a></a></p><p>Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones &amp; Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8</p> R Washington Times Judge tosses Trump executive order, restores Obama drilling ban <p><a>The liberal media’s sordid history of Russia-Ukraine fake news</a></p><p><a>Remembering the brave CIA patriots killed in the 2009 Khost attacks</a></p><p><a>If unemployment stays low and wages rise, Trump will be unstoppable in 2020</a></p><p>President Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, a U.S. judge said in a ruling that restored the Obama-era restrictions.</p><p>U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in a decision late Friday threw out Trump’s executive order that overturned the bans that comprised a key part of Obama’s environmental legacy.</p><p>Presidents have the power under a federal law to remove certain lands from development but cannot revoke those removals, Gleason said.</p><p><strong>TOP STORIES</strong><br/> <a>Michael Moore declares 'white people have not changed': 'You should be afraid of them'</a><br/> <a>Kennesaw State cuts 4 of the 5 cheerleaders who knelt for anthem</a><br/> <a>White House hopeful Andrew Yang ends MSNBC boycott after more than a month</a> </p><p>“The wording of President Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawals indicates that he intended them to extend indefinitely, and therefore be revocable only by an act of Congress,” said Gleason, who was nominated to the bench by Obama.</p><p>A Department of Justice spokesman, Jeremy Edwards, declined comment Saturday.</p><p>The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disagreed with the ruling.</p><p>“In addition to bringing supplies of affordable energy to consumers for decades to come, developing our abundant offshore resources can provide billions in government revenue, create thousands of jobs and will also strengthen our national security,” it said in a statement.</p><p>Erik Grafe, an attorney with Earthjustice, welcomed the ruling, saying it “shows that the president cannot just trample on the Constitution to do the bidding of his cronies in the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our oceans, wildlife and climate.”</p><p>Earthjustice represented numerous environmental groups that sued the Trump administration over the April 2017 executive order reversing the drilling bans. At issue in the case was the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.</p><p>Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Wood said during a hearing before Gleason in November that environmental groups were misinterpreting the intent of the law written in 1953. He said it is meant to be flexible and sensible and not intended to bind one president with decisions made by another when determining offshore stewardship as needs and realities change over time.</p><p>In 2015, Obama halted exploration in coastal areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and the Hanna Shoal, an important area for walrus. In late 2016, he withdrew most other potential Arctic Ocean lease areas - about 98 percent of the Arctic outer continental shelf.</p><p>The bans were intended to protect polar bears, walruses, ice seals and Alaska Native villages that depend on the animals.</p><p>In the Atlantic, Obama banned exploration in 5,937 square miles (15,377 square kilometers) of underwater canyon complexes, citing their importance for marine mammals, deep-water corals, valuable fish populations and migratory whales.</p><p> </p><p>Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. </p><p> </p><p><i></i> Click to Read More and View Comments <i></i></p><p><i></i> Click to Hide <i></i></p> C NPR Online News Starbucks: Goodbye, Plastic Straws <p> <a> Jennifer Liberto </a> </p><p> People walk by a Starbucks store in Chicago on May 29. Starbucks announced that it plans to remove plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020. <b> Scott Olson/Getty Images </b> <b><b>hide caption</b></b> </p><p>People walk by a Starbucks store in Chicago on May 29. Starbucks announced that it plans to remove plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.</p><p>Starbucks <a>announced on Monday</a> it plans to eliminate plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.</p><p>The company will broaden the manufacture and use of what some in social media have dubbed the "adult sippy cup." It's a plastic strawless lid that will come to replace single-use plastic straws that now inundate its coffee shops.</p><p>The company says the move, when fully implemented, could mean a billion fewer plastic straws across its stores each year. And it's a part of Starbucks' $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world. </p><p>The strawless lid has already been in use at many of the company's stores for certain kinds of cold drinks like cold foam and "draft nitro," the coffee drink that comes out of a keg, mixed with nitrogen. Unlike straws, the new lid can be recycled, <a>the company said</a>.</p><p>"For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways," Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer for Starbucks, said in a statement.</p><p>Starbucks' headquarters are in Seattle, where a <a>ban on plastic straws</a> just kicked in. </p><p>Other chains are also experimenting with getting rid of straws. In June, McDonald's announced it would <a>start phasing out plastic straws</a> at about 1,300 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland.</p><p>Just the right amount of economics, sent weekly.</p><p>By subscribing, you agree to <a>NPR's terms of use</a> and <a>privacy policy</a>.</p> R Reason The EPA Wants to Get Out of Puddles and Ditches. Environmental Activists Are Outraged. <p><a>Environmental Protection Agency</a></p><p> <span> <a>Ronald Bailey</a> </span> <span>|</span> <time>12.11.2018 4:15 PM</time></p><p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is issuing a new proposed rule that refines the definition of the waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act instructs the EPA to "prepare or develop comprehensive programs for preventing, reducing, or eliminating the pollution of the navigable waters." Under the <a>rules</a> promulgated toward the end of the Obama administration, the EPA issued a regulation that basically defined "navigable waters" as pretty much any water at all, including nearly every river, lake, creek, estuary, pond, swamp, prairie pothole, irrigation ditch, and intermittent rivulet in the country.</p><p>In his 2017 congressional <a>testimony</a>, Arizona rancher Jim Chilton was concerned that a culvert he installed across a dry wash with 12 inches wide of sand in its bottom would violate the Obama administration's new expansive WOTUS regulations. He pointed out that his culvert was 270 miles away from the nearest navigable body of water, the Colorado River.</p><p>The Obama era regulation provoked a spate of lawsuits from various states and private organizations opposing it. In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a <a>stay against the enforcement</a> of the new regulation. In February 2017, President Trump <a>ordered</a> the EPA to revisit the WOTUS regulations and make them conform with the plurality opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in <em>Rapanos v. United States</em> (2006). In that ruling, Scalia <a>argued</a> that the definitional term "waters of the United States" can only refer to "relatively permanent, standing or flowing bodies of water," not "occasional," "intermittent," or "ephemeral" flows. Furthermore, a mere "hydrological connection" is not sufficient to qualify a wetland as covered by the Clean Water Act; it must have a "continuous surface connection" with a "water of the United States" that makes it "difficult to determine where the 'water' ends and the 'wetland' begins." Trump's executive order held enforcement of the WOTUS rules in abeyance until the EPA could issue new rules.</p><p>In August 2018, a U.S. district court judge issued an <a>injunction against</a> the Trump administration's delay in implementing the Obama era WOTUS rules. As a result, the Obama rules went into effect in the 26 states where other courts had not issued stays blocking the rule.</p><p>The EPA is now issuing proposed WOTUS rules that would more narrowly define what counts as waters that can be regulated by that agency and by the Army Corps of Engineers. Under the proposed new rules, bodies of water on which boats typically float are still subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, as are rivers and streams that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to downstream traditional navigable waters in a typical year. <a>Excluded under the new rules</a> would be ephemeral streams (defined as having water in them only immediately after it rains) and most ditches, along with lakes, ponds, and wetlands that do not abut or do not have a direct hydrological connection to jurisdictional waters.</p><p>Opponents of the Obama era rules are hailing the EPA's latest proposal. "This new rule will empower farmers and ranchers to comply with the law, protect our water resources and productively work their land without having to hire an army of lawyers and consultants," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a <a>statement</a>.</p><p>Environmental activists are of course <a>outraged</a>. "This latest attack on our water is a new low for Trump and [Acting EPA Aministrator Wheeler as they again unabashedly side with corporate polluters instead of our families," declared Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Not only will this rollback endanger the drinking water sources for millions of people, but it also jeopardizes wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and economies that rely on safe, clean water."</p><p>Nearly 50 years after the Clean Water Act was passed, about <a>53 percent of assessed rivers and streams</a> are impaired as are 71 percent of the assessed acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. And this is after <a>more than $1 trillion</a> has been spent by municipalities to improve wastewater treatment plants. Focusing on ephemeral streams and unconnected ponds does not seem to be an effective way to address America's ongoing water pollution problem.</p><p> <a><span>NEXT:</span> <em>The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time</em>, Greatest Video Game Ever, Turns 20</a></p><p><span><a>Ronald Bailey</a></span> is science correspondent at <em>Reason</em>.</p><p> <a><i></i> Show Comments (76)</a></p><p><strong>Editor's Note:</strong> We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. <a>Report abuses.</a></p><p><a></a><a></a>…..law_p.html</p><p>A federal judge struck down the Massachusetts law making it illegal to secretly record government officials. This is a very big deal. Funny reason hasn’t seem to have noticed it.</p><p>Too local.</p><p>Yeah, it is not like reason doesn’t cover local police stories.</p><p>Heavens to Betsy! A story not covered by Reason — I am flabbergasted. I had no idea there were more stories in the US alone than the dozen a day carried by Reason — who knew there was so much news in one country!</p><p>Reason has heavily covered the issue of taping government officials. This is the first time a court has overturned such a law on 1st Amendment grounds. That is a big deal and part of a story reason has extensively covered.</p><p>Are you just really stupid? Do you just not understand that some things are more relevent and important than others?</p><p>He’s a troll and his script only allows limited commenting.</p><p>Look! It’s the Bobbsey twins!</p><p>Poor troll. He tried to make his handle so long nobody would bother.</p><p>He was right. Nobody bothers with the troll.</p><p>Hmm. They’ve covered either this case or a very similar one in the past. Seems worthy of a blog post. I’ll give them a few days. After that I’m cancelling my subscription!</p><p><em>Focusing on ephemeral streams and unconnected ponds does not seem to be an effective way to address America’s ongoing water pollution problem.</em></p><p>Someone wants to put the Sierra Club out of business.</p><p>Another positive for Trump and his presidency.</p><p>“This latest attack on our water is a new low for Trump and [Acting EPA Aministrator Wheeler as they again unabashedly side with corporate polluters instead of our families,” declared Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.”</p><p>Attack on our water?</p><p>Chill out, Mike.</p><p>This is why Debbie turned you down at the dance. You’re too intense.</p><p>&gt;&gt;&gt;attack on our water</p><p>like w/extra hydrogen?</p><p>Deuterium. It’s a plot to make us fail weight standards.</p><p><a></a><a></a>…..n-the-run/</p><p>Fatal shooting at a Christmas Market in France. Must be those God damned Methodists again.</p><p>Macron has to crack down on people who report on this. Round up all French Christians who dare speak out.</p><p>That Christmas Market shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirt. Everyone there was just asking for it.</p><p>Unpossible. The French have stringent laws to prevent criminals from committing crimes with guns. It only happens here.</p><p>He must have smuggled the gun in from the US.</p><p>Two!! Two stories not covered by Reason!</p><p>Wholly mackerel!</p><p>Actually three, because the third story is that Reason didn’t cover the two stories.</p><p>No one expects reason to cover this. It just happened and reason doesn’t cover stories that reflect poorly on Muslims. Everyone knows that.</p><p>Again, are you just stupid or did you get dropped on your head or take a lot of drugs or something and become that way?</p><p>Its a defensive Reason troll.</p><p>Speak ill of Reason and asshole <em>abc abcde abcdef</em> is activated.</p><p>You’ll soon come to learn that finding a story on the internet that Reason didn’t link to or write about is a sure-fire way to know for certain that Reason is a liberal and/or conservative rag depending on who finds the story and what the subject is about. It’s even better when you can post it immediately after the fact, because Reason should really respond to news as quickly as Reuters or AP given the size of its staff of writers is so similar.</p><p>No one outside of the voices in this guy’s head is slaming on reason for not covering this. It just happened for God’s sake. The video ruling is a big deal and I find it very odd that reason isn’t talking about it. But not this.</p><p>However, this does prove that John lives to comment. Any post without a John comment, that’ll get his attention.</p><p>You seem to enjoy my attention a lot. You should just thank me for indulging you.</p><p>It looks like he’s a defensive troll for Reason. If you criticize Reason, his script kicks in.</p><p>Too bad his handler couldn’t be arsed to come up with a real handle.</p><p>Maybe the guy who runs the hihnswarm should offer some help?</p><p><strong>sarcasmic</strong> approves.</p><p>There was a fatal shooting at a church in Brazil, where guns, ammo, bows, arrows, nunchaku and bb guns are all as verboten as abortion and plant leaves. Here’s a video, 4 dead, some more wounded. The shooter is at the left-hand side of the screen when he opens fire, but did have the decency to shoot himself afterward. <a></a></p><p>WOTUS? First we had POTUS, then SCOTUS, then FLOTUS. I recently saw the Constitution referred to as COTUS. Does everything really need to have an acronym with -OTUS at the end?</p><p>No it doesn’t and shouldn’t. That is one of the dumbest and most annoying trends in writing. It is just stupid and lazy.</p><p>h2otus</p><p>Nice.</p><p>No matter how they portray you in the movies, you’re not all bad, Dillinger.</p><p>Does the POTUS FLOTUS in the WOTUS?</p><p>He COTUS if he wanted to.</p><p>The SCOTUS should really be the judge of that.</p><p>The POTUS would agree with yuge.</p><p>Otus Redding objects to your racist exclusion of OTUS! You probably hate gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-sexuals, metrosexual, and try-sexuals too. Shitlord!</p><p><a></a><a></a>…..n-the-run/</p><p>Teacher fired for refusing to use transgender pronoun. Remember, there is nothing Orwellian about transgenderism.</p><p>Wrong link.</p><p><a></a><a></a>…..ns-n946006</p><p>Now I am confused. Is this now three and a half stories not covered by Reason, or just three?</p><p>I thought they covered the recording cops story. I might have read it somewhere else though.</p><p><em>“I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening,” said West Point High Principal Jonathan Hochman</em></p><p>Well, principle, you really don’t have much of an imagination, do you? I can think of about a million worse ways to treat a child.</p><p>Like sending the child to West Point High….</p><p>is that the one where the teacher called it by it’s given name? classic.</p><p>Is this the only thing the teachers’ union won’t fight?</p><p>Appearently so. You can beat kids, hit on them, be a completely incompetent teacher, never show up to work, but damn it you better call them by their preferred pronoun.</p><p>I think this whole public school experiement has gone on long enough.</p><p>Just wait until the kids figure out they can just name their gender ‘fuckboi’ and insists the teacher refer to them as that. I see a short life for that point of view.</p><p>Some male high school student should tell his female teachers that his prefered pronoun is “I am your worthless slut slave master”.</p><p>This is obviously disturbing and ridiculous, but…</p><p><em>Vlaming told superiors that his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for the student.</em></p><p>…I’m curious about which part in the Bible deals with gender pronouns.</p><p>I think the prohibition on lying would cover it.</p><p>That’s a bit of a stretch, I think. Unless he’s forced to state that the student is actually, literally a biological male. If I start referring to you as “Bill” instead of “John”, I don’t think I’m lying. Just weirdly using the wrong label. But it doesn’t matter what I think. He gets to decide what his religious beliefs are.</p><p>There is no specific biblical issue, but it heavily depends on what sex their gender likes to fuck. I haven’t met a ‘woman’ with a dick yet that isn’t also gay I.E. they are basically a gay man who wears a dress.</p><p>And the funny thing about a relationship like that is that the gay male partner can’t really believe that the transgender one is a woman, or he’d have to stop identifying as gay. But I guess you are going to have a hard time finding a partner not firmly on the “queer” side of things. Must be difficult. As long as they aren’t annoying activists, I have nothing but sympathy for people like that.</p><p>Two and a half, you can do better.</p><p>Two and a half stories not covered by Reason. What is the world coming to.</p><p>Calm down and take some of those pills your doctor gave you.</p><p>Better yet, remain hysterical and take all of them.</p><p>Environmental activists are of course outraged. “This latest attack on <strong>our water</strong> is a new low for Trump and [Acting EPA Aministrator Wheeler as they again unabashedly side with corporate polluters instead of our families,” declared Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.</p><p>“Our” water. “Our” Intellectual Property. “Our” borders.</p><p>All sorts of authoritarian assholes share the same penchant for homesteading over property that does not belong to them, like it was Gawd or someone worse who gave them stewardship over the rest of humankind and their things, thereby justifying all manners of terrible and restrictive government policies imagined. They can all go f?ck themselves. All of them.</p><p>I don’t care about their rules anymore, it’s just the King being a little more lax about murdering your family over a few poached deer. You never know what the King’s son will do after they become King, so there’s no guarantee’s for tomorrow for you or yours.</p><p>Pretty much. If congress doesn’t do something to tighten up definitions and rules like this, it’s just the whim of the current executive. And if it starts just swinging back and forth each time administrations change, that’s not very good either.</p><p>Precisely, and that is the disease infecting American politics. When government becomes central in society, expect people to try and use it as a boot that keeps changing necks. Of course, inevitably the boot is on all necks and this is the ‘equality’ of Progressivism.</p><p><a></a><a></a>…..hame-storm</p><p>this is a bizzare story. The author is painfully dull and it is hard to get through the entire story without your eyes glazing over. But to make a long story short, she was on some “young conservative” panel that was broadcast on CSPAN in 2010 and also on the panel was an ex boyfriend who went on a four minute tirade against her explaining why she was a sociopath and wanted people to suffer. This appearently resulted in all sorts of shame and attacks from strangers causing her to get married and move to Austrailia.</p><p>What makes the story interesting is that he moderator of the panel was Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg appearently sat there and did nothing while one of the panelist of the panel that he was moderating and whose purpose was to hawk his book went on a four minuate personal tirade against another panelist that was bad enough to go viral.</p><p>Way to go Jonah. Way to show real moral courage and rise up to a situation. What a fucking cowardly dirt ball. As soon as it became obvious that the guy was her ex boyfriend and whatever his grudge was it had nothing to do with the subject of the panel, how do you not step in and put a stop to it? Was he just getting off on watching the trainwreck?</p><p>I tried. My eyes glazed over.</p><p>It is a tough chew. She really doesn’t seem to have a point other than to humble brag about moving to Austrailia with her husband. But, the tidbit about Goldberg is mildly interesting. He is appearently exactly the kind of moral coward you woudl think he is.</p><p>John’s comments will do that.</p><p>Tonys comments has caused gay men to kill themselves.</p><p>Its Tonys burden to bear.</p><p>Patronizing and minimalizing articles do not make for very good arguments. Widespread environmental degradation does have its own cure – pity it just isn’t more fast acting, nor usually localized in the places those doing the polluting live.</p><p>“This new rule will empower farmers and ranchers to comply with the law.”</p><p>Making murder legal would help murderers comply with the law, too.</p><p>Ending FDRs mandate one law at a time.</p><p>Can anyone name 3 things–other than the $45000 antistraw sea turtle sculpture–that econazis are NOT outraged about?</p><p>The Obama clean water rule would have applied clean water law to roadside ditches and even to puddles far from navigable waters. The obvious problem here is that such bodies dry up, do not support fish.<br/> One of the problems with the % waters impaired is that in Calif if a single stretch of any stream is impaired, the entire watershed (and all miles of streams) are labeled impaired. This boosts the numbers a lot.</p><p>I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .</p><p><a></a></p><p>I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .</p><p><a></a></p><p>essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .</p><p><a></a></p><p> Please <a>log in</a> to post comments</p> L New York Times Trump’s Order to Open Arctic Waters to Oil Drilling Was Unlawful, Federal Judge Finds <p><em>Want climate news in your inbox? </em><a><em>Sign up here for </em></a><strong><a><em>Climate Fwd:</em></a></strong><em>, our email newsletter.</em></p><p>WASHINGTON — In a major legal blow to President Trump’s push to expand offshore oil and gas development, a federal judge ruled that an executive order by Mr. Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful.</p><p>The <a>decision</a>, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, concluded late Friday that President Barack Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawal from drilling of about 120 million acres of Arctic Ocean and about 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.” She wrote that an <a>April 2017 executive order</a> by Mr. Trump revoking the drilling ban “is unlawful, as it exceeded the president’s authority.”</p><p>The decision, which is expected to be appealed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, immediately reinstates the drilling ban on most of the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska, a pristine region home to endangered species including polar bears and bowhead whales where oil companies have long sought to drill. Along the Atlantic coast, it blocks drilling around a series of coral canyons that run from Norfolk, Va., to the Canadian border which are home to unique deepwater corals and rare fish species. </p><p>In addition, Friday’s ruling by the judge, an Obama appointee, has broader implications for Mr. Trump’s effort to push drilling across the American coastline and on public lands.</p><p>Specifically, the Arctic Ocean drilling case could give legal ammunition to opponents of Mr. Trump’s efforts to roll back protections for two million acres of national monuments created by Mr. Obama and President Bill Clinton.</p><p>The case adds to a growing roster of legal losses for Mr. Trump’s efforts to undo Mr. Obama’s environmental legacy. Experts in environmental law estimate that the Trump administration has now lost about 40 environmental cases in federal courts.</p><p>Most immediately, the decision will force the Interior Department to withdraw the waters of the Arctic Ocean from its forthcoming plan detailing where the federal government intends to lease federal waters to oil companies for offshore drilling. <a>A draft of that plan published last year</a> called for drilling off the entire United States coastline.</p><p>The White House referred questions on the matter to the Interior Department, where a spokeswoman declined to comment.</p><p>And although Friday’s court decision relates specifically to a law on offshore drilling, it could also hamstring Mr. Trump’s efforts to erase or reduce the creation of large protected areas of public lands by previous presidents.</p><p>“The statutes and the Supreme Court have been silent on the authority of a president to modify or reduce a predecessor’s protections of these public lands, waters and monuments,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School. “But these decisions are showing that if a president wants to reverse a predecessor’s environmental policy, they have to give a cogent reason why. Just saying ‘energy dominance’ is not enough. Saying ‘I won the election’ is not enough.”</p><p>Professor Parenteau predicted that the case was likely to reach the Supreme Court, though probably not for several years.</p><p>Both <a>Mr. Obama’s efforts to use his executive authority to ban drilling in the Arctic Ocean</a>, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to undo that ban, are legally unprecedented.</p><p>In using his executive authority to permanently ban drilling in most of the Arctic Ocean, Mr. Obama relied on an obscure provision of a 1953 law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs how the executive branch uses federal waters for offshore energy exploration.</p><p>The law includes a provision that lets presidents put those waters off limits to oil and gas drilling. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon and Mr. Clinton used the law to protect sections of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, but those protections came with time limits, usually one to two decades.</p><p>In late 2016, as he sought to legally cement environmental protections before Mr. Trump, then the president-elect, took office, Mr. Obama used what both supporters and critics called a creative and unusual interpretation of that law to set a permanent ban on drilling in most of the Arctic Ocean. </p><p>Three months after taking office, Mr. Trump issued an executive order rescinding the ban. That made him the first president to seek to revoke a decision by his predecessor to use the law to protect federal waters.</p><p>Environmental groups promptly sued the administration over the move. They welcomed Friday’s court decision.</p><p>“Since coming into office, Trump has been on an one-man campaign to undo the work of his predecessor,” said Niel Lawrence, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who took part in the oral arguments in the Alaska case. “What this opinion confirms is that there are constitutional limits to that.”</p><p>Erik Milito, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry and which joined the Trump administration’s case, said, “While we disagree with the decision, our nation still has a significant opportunity before us in the development of the next offshore leasing plan to truly embrace our nation’s energy potential and ensure American consumers and businesses continue to benefit from U.S. energy leadership.”</p><p>Experts said that Judge Gleason’s decision could affect the legal outcome of Mr. Trump’s efforts to roll back certain protections created by his predecessors on public lands.</p><p>Just as presidents have used the 1953 offshore-drilling law to protect federal waters, they have used a different law, the 1906 Antiquities Act, put in place by President Theodore Roosevelt, to designate and protect millions of acres of lands as permanent public monuments. Presidents throughout the past century have created such monuments. </p><p>While at least two presidents have used their authority to shrink the size of monuments created by their predecessors, Mr. Trump has done so at a more drastic scale. In December 2017, Mr. Trump <a>cut about two million acres from two national monuments in Utah</a>: the Bears Ears monument, created by Mr. Obama, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, created by Mr. Clinton. At the time it was the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.</p><p>Already, lawsuits on the issue are making their way through federal courts. Professor Parenteau and others predicted that Judge Gleason’s decision could possibly have a bearing on those cases. </p><p>That is because, in the language of both laws, Congress gave the president the right to occasionally designate public lands and waters for protection. However, each of the laws is silent on whether a successor can reduce or revoke those protections.</p><p>If Mr. Trump’s challengers win in court, the decision could affirm future presidents’ right to set bans of offshore drilling that could be undone only by Congress (as opposed to a later president) and similarly could set a precedent that presidential decisions to expand protections of public land could be revised or reversed only by Congress.</p><p>If Mr. Trump prevails in court, future presidents could potentially use an executive order to shrink any of the dozens of monuments created by their predecessors or similarly revoke presidential decisions to protect federal waters.</p><p>For more news on climate and the environment, <a>follow @NYTClimate on Twitter</a>.</p>

Federal Govt Power

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C Roll Call Early Trump ally Chris Collins resigning ahead of plea hearing <p>Rep. <a>Chris Collins</a> is resigning ahead of a hearing related to insider trading charges.</p><p>The New York Republican on Monday submitted a resignation letter to Speaker <a>Nancy Pelosi</a>. It will be effective when it is read on the House floor during a <a>pro forma session</a> Tuesday, her office confirmed.</p><p>Collins, who had previously entered a not guilty plea in his federal criminal fraud case, has a <a>change of plea hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon</a>, raising the possibility he could agree to a deal offered by federal prosecutors. Collins is to appear before Judge Vernon Broderick of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York at 3 p.m.</p><p>The scheduling of the hearing was first reported by The Buffalo News. Collins faces eight counts of federal criminal charges involving conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and false statements. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 3.</p><p>Collins, along with his son, Cameron, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron’s future fiancée, are alleged by federal prosecutors to have engaged in an insider trading scheme involving an Australian biotechnology company — Innate Immunotherapeutics.</p><p>Collins, who was on the company’s board, allegedly provided nonpublic information to his son about confidential drug test results, paving the way for Cameron Collins and others to trade on that privileged information before the public could.</p><p><a>Half of Collins’ full-time staff has left the office</a> since he was indicted in August 2018 on fraud charges. Seven of 14 full-time staffers are no longer working in the office, according to payroll records from May 2019, the most recent filing available at the Legislative Resource Center. Those who departed include his deputy chief of staff, Michael Kracker, communications director Sarah Minkel, and health policy adviser, Charlotte Pineda.</p><p>New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, would set the date of a special election if he were to call one before November 2020. For such an election, county party officials would select their respective party’s nominees.</p><p>Collins, <a>one of President Donald Trump’s earliest backers</a> in the House GOP conference, hails from the deep-red 27th District in Western New York. Trump won the seat by 25 points in 2016, but Collins won reelection by less than half a percentage point last fall against Democrat Nate McMurray, the supervisor of the town of Grand Island.</p><p><span>Want insight more often? </span><span>Get Roll Call in your inbox</span></p><p>McMurray<a> was already seeking a rematch against Collins</a> and he said in a statement Monday that “the real victims of Collins’ crimes are the people of his district that he repeatedly lied to about his guilt.”</p><p>Collins’ exit could boost Republicans’ chances of holding onto the seat, given its partisan lean. </p><p><a>Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales</a> has changed its race rating from Leans Republican to <a>Solid Republican</a>.</p><p>One GOP strategist was confident the 27th District would remain in Republican hands, regardless of who the eventual nominee was. Several GOP candidates are likely interested in running for Collins’ seat, whether for a special election or for a full term in 2020.</p><p>A trio of Republicans had already jumped in the race to challenge Collins, who, until Monday, had been non-committal about running for reelection.</p><p>GOP State Sen. Chris Jacobs had the most cash on hand at June 30, the end of the second fundraising quarter, with nearly $748,000. He also loaned his campaign $325,000. Collins had claimed Jacobs was a “Never Trumper” for dodging questions in 2016 about his support for the president, but Politifact <a>found that claim was false</a>. GOP state Sen. Rob Ortt and Beth Parlato — an Afghanistan War veteran and attorney — were also in the race. </p><p>And the Republican field could grow with Collins’ departure. Two sources said another potential candidate to watch is Erie County Comptroller and former local television news reporter Stefan Mychajliw, who has been making the rounds at GOP events. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley is another potential candidate.</p><p>“There are candidates who I think will be in before we get off the phone. Things are moving fast,” said GOP consultant Michael Caputo, who advised Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Caputo said Monday that he was launching an effort to draft Army veteran and local radio host David Bellavia for the seat, although Caputo would not rule out running himself if Bellavia chose not to run.</p><p>Bellavia, who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Iraq War, is often mentioned as a potential candidate in the district, although it is not clear if he is interested in running. He ran for the seat in 2012, losing to Collins in the GOP primary — while winning a majority of the countries in the district. Bellavia discussed the 27th District race with Trump when he was awarded the Medal of Honor in June, according to a source with knowledge of their discussion. Bellavia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p><p>McMurray may not be alone on the Democratic side in an open-seat race. Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner said in a phone interview that he was already hearing from Democrats who could be interested in running, but he noted that party is “laser-focused” on next month’s election for county executive.</p><p>“This district has always been a challenge for Democrats. … We’re looking for the strongest person who represents that community,” Zellner said.</p><p><strong><em>Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call <a>on your iPhone</a>.</em></strong></p> L Washington Post State Department probe of Clinton emails finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information <p>A multiyear State Department probe of emails that were sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s private computer server concluded there was no systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees, according to a report submitted to Congress this month.</p><p>The report appears to represent a final and anticlimactic chapter in a controversy that overshadowed the 2016 presidential campaign and exposed Clinton to fierce criticism that she later cited as a major factor in her loss to President Trump.</p><p>In the end, State Department investigators found 38 current or former employees “culpable” of violating security procedures — none involving material that had been marked classified — in a review of roughly 33,000 emails that had been sent to or from the personal computer system Clinton used.</p><p>Overall, investigators said, “there was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.” The report cited “instances of classified information being inappropriately” transmitted, but noted that the vast majority of those scrutinized “were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them.”</p><p>The release comes as Trump continues to raise the Clinton email issue to attack Democrats, even as new evidence has emerged of apparent security lapses by senior officials in his own administration.</p><p>Diplomats involved in pressuring Ukraine to pursue investigations that would politically benefit Trump <a>used private phones and texting apps</a> to trade messages about their efforts, according to records released by leaders of the House impeachment inquiry.</p><p>The State Department probe focused on internal communications that were up to nine years old.</p><p><a>Dozens of former State employees were brought back in for questioning</a> in recent months after being notified that emails they had sent years ago had been retroactively classified.</p><p>The renewed activity after a long stretch in which the investigation had seemed to go dormant sparked suspicion that the Trump administration was seeking to revive an issue that had been politically advantageous to Republicans.</p><p>One former official who was questioned described it as “a way to tarnish a whole bunch of Democratic foreign policy people.”</p><p>State Department officials denied any political agenda, saying the interviews were part of the final stages of an internal inquiry that the department was under pressure to complete this month. Among those applying pressure was Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who had sent letters to the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security seeking updates.</p><p>There is no indication that any of those scrutinized will be sanctioned, but many received letters saying they were judged to have been involved in “valid” security incidents even if “not culpable” of a formal breach — an ambiguous status that some fear could complicate their abilities to return to government service.</p><p>The report does not identify those who were scrutinized, but the list included ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state responsible for U.S. policy in the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia.</p><p>Few had sent emails directly to Clinton, and instead had routed them to William Burns, who served as deputy secretary of state, or Jake Sullivan, the former director of policy planning. They then relayed many of the messages to Clinton’s private email, a system she said she used mainly out of convenience.</p><p>Clinton’s use of a private server, discovered by House Republicans as part of the probe of the deaths of U.S. diplomats and intelligence personnel in Benghazi, Libya, triggered overlapping investigations by Congress, the State Department and the FBI.</p><p>Then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of the matter enraged Democrats. In July 2016, Comey took the extraordinary step of announcing there would be no charges filed against Clinton in the email probe, but accused her of being “extremely careless” in a news conference.</p><p>The bureau reopened the investigation in the final days of the 2016 race after discovering a laptop with Clinton emails as part of a separate case. Most were duplicates, and, again, there were no charges, but Comey’s decision to notify Congress revived the issue at a moment that Clinton has said was devastating to her campaign.</p><p>The State Department suspended its internal review while the FBI probe was active, before resuming work in 2017. In total, the report found 91 violations by 38 individuals, and another 497 violations “where no individual was found to bear culpability.”</p><p>The review did not encompass a separate collection of emails that Clinton’s lawyers withheld from the State Department and that she later destroyed, saying they were private and did not pertain to government business — a determination that was not verified by State Department officials.</p> R National Review GOP Rep. Chris Collins Resigns Before Pleading Guilty to Insider Trading | National Review <p>Republican congressman Chris Collins, one of the first members of Congress to throw his support behind President Trump, <a>reportedly</a> resigned his congressional seat Monday a day before he is expected to plead guilty to insider-trading charges he had previously vowed to fight.</p><p>Collins, 69, is accused of working with his son, Cameron Collins, to avoid more than $700,000 in losses using confidential information about the Australian company Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins, who was the company’s biggest investor and sat on its board, allegedly received private corporate information regarding a drug trial while at a White House congressional picnic, and contacted his son with the information.</p><p>The fourth-term congressman called the charges “meritless” and narrowly won reelection in his Buffalo-area district last year despite his indictment on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying to FBI agents regarding the case.</p><p>The younger Collins and another individual, Stephen Zarsky, who face the same charges, will also change their pleas to guilty this week, according to court documents filed in federal court in Manhattan.</p><p><em><strong>Editor’s Note</strong>: This piece has been amended since its initial posting to reflect Collins’s resignation.</em></p><p><span>NOW WATCH: </span><a>'Rand Paul Says GOP House Members Will Not Vote For Impeachment'</a></p><p>Get breaking news, with NR's unfiltered reporting, delivered straight to your inbox</p> L Mother Jones Trump's buddy Chris Collins just resigned from Congress <p><span>Ron Sachs/Getty</span></p><p>Hours after reports emerged that Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was expected to plead guilty to insider trading charges, the <em>Daily Beast </em><a>broke the news</a> that Collins had resigned his seat on Monday. Several other <a>outlets</a>, including the <em>Washington Post</em>, <a>confirmed</a> that the four-term congressman had stepped down. </p><p>Collins’ departure from the House marks an inglorious end to his congressional tenure after three-and-a-half-terms representing a deep-red district in upstate New York. As one of the safest incumbents in the country, Collins drew notoriety in 2016 when <a>he became one of the first sitting lawmakers</a>—along with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), another congressman facing a federal indictment—to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The early vote of confidence in the eventual Republican nominee won him loyalty and appreciation from Trump, who <a>tweeted</a>, “<span>Chris, thank you so much for your wonderful endorsement. I will not let you down!”</span></p><p>Within two years, Collins was fighting for his political life. In August 2018, he <a>was indicted</a> as part of an insider trading scheme involving an Australian drug company. As <em>Mother Jones </em><a>reported</a> at the time:</p><p>Collins had used information gleaned from his position as a board member at a pharmaceutical company to alert his son and close associates of a failed test for a new company drug before news of it became public. Federal investigators said this information prompted Collins’ family and friends to sell their shares in the company and save over $768,000 in losses.</p><p>He originally pleaded not guilty to charges of securities fraud and lying to the FBI, but the indictment all but <a>halted donations</a> to his campaign, <a>halved</a> his congressional staff, and made the race for New York’s deep-red 27th district suddenly competitive. (The Republican primary had already taken place, and New York’s arcane election rules made it close to impossible for the party to remove Collins.) </p><p>Collins defeated Nate McMurray, the <a>little-known Democrat</a> who ran against him, by less than 1,500 votes, ensuring he would return to the House as a pariah. Republican leaders <a>stripped him of committee assignments</a> and a coterie of primary opponents gathered to dethrone him. Even McMurray launched a second challenge last month, <a>trashing</a> Collins’ “many ethical and legal failures” in his announcement. </p><p>Within hours of the news that Collins had resigned, McMurray’s campaign released a statement reflecting the new political reality. “The real victims of Collins’ crimes are the people of his district that he repeatedly lied to about his guilt,” McMurray said. “Collins and Republican party insiders robbed his constituents of the representation they need on important issues like the rising cost of healthcare, the opioid epidemic, and the fight for good paying jobs.”</p><p>When Collins was arrested by the FBI last August, he <a>called</a> the charges against him “meritless” and vowed to “mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name.” Thirteen months later, Collins “is expected to plead guilty to felony charges of insider trading,” the <em>Daily Beast </em><a>reported</a>. On Monday, Collins <a>notified</a> Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of his resignation “effective immediately.” </p> R Fox Online News White House announces it will not comply with 'illegitimate and unconstitutional' impeachment inquiry <p>White House lays out reasons for denying documents, witnesses; Gillian Turner has the details.</p><p>The <a>White House</a> outlined in a defiant <a>eight-page letter</a> to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats on Tuesday why it will not participate in their “illegitimate and unconstitutional” <a>impeachment inquiry</a>, charging that the proceedings have run roughshod over congressional norms and the president's due-process rights.</p><p>Trump administration officials called the <a>letter</a>, which was written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and obtained by Fox News, perhaps the most historic letter the White House has sent. The document tees up a head-on collision with Democrats in Congress, who have fired off a slew of subpoenas in recent days concerning the president's alleged effort to get Ukraine to investigate political foe Joe Biden during a July <a>phone call</a> with Ukraine's leader.</p><p>"President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process," the letter stated. "Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances."</p><p><a><strong>READ THE WHITE HOUSE LETTER </strong></a></p><p>The document concluded: "The president has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people."</p><p>Responding to the letter, Pelosi <a>accused Trump</a> of "trying to make lawlessness a virtue" and added, "The American people have already heard the President’s own words – ‘do us a favor, though.’" (That line, from a <a>transcript of Trump's call with Ukraine's leader</a>, in reality referred to Trump's request for Ukraine to assist in an investigation into 2016 election interference, and <a>did not relate to Biden.)</a></p><p>Pelosi <a>continued</a>: "This letter is manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections. ... The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction. Mr. President, you are not above the law.  You will be held accountable.”</p><p>Substantively, the White House first noted in its letter that there has not been a formal vote in the House to open an impeachment inquiry -- and that the <a>news conference</a> held by Pelosi last month was insufficient to commence the proceedings.</p><p>"In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step," the letter stated.</p><p>It continued: "Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an 'impeachment inquiry' based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call."</p><p><a><strong>SCHIFF SAYS 'WE' DIDN'T TALK TO WHISTLEBLOWER -- THEN BACKTRACKS</strong></a></p><p>Despite Pelosi's claim that there was no “House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry,” several previous impeachment inquiries have been launched only by a full vote of the House -- including the impeachment proceedings concerning former Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.</p><p>White House officials told Fox News the vote opening the proceedings was a small ask, considering the implications of potentially overturning a national election.</p><p>House rules do not require a vote to begin an impeachment inquiry, but it remains unclear whether the courts will agree that an impeachment inquiry has begun without such a vote. If courts do not find that a formal inquiry is in progress, they could curtail Democrats' evidence-gathering efforts.</p><p>The letter went on to note that "<a>information has recently come to light</a> that the whistleblower" who first flagged Trump's call with Ukraine's president "had contact with [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Adam] Schiff's office before filing the complaint."</p><p>And Schiff's "initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to <a>conclude that Chairman Schiff "clearly made a statement that was false</a>," the letter observed.</p><p><a>Multiple</a> <a>reports</a> surfaced this week that the whistleblower had a prior "professional relationship" with one of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president. On Friday, lawyers for the whistleblower did not respond to questions from Fox News about the whistleblower's possible previous relationship with any currently prominent Democrat.</p><p>An aide says Schiff meant the full committee here. To me it seems like a deceptive answer. <a><span>https://</span><span>atus/1179476466469396480 </span>…</a></p><p>FLASHBACK: Adam Schiff lies, insists: “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower”<span>https://</span><span> </span></p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>The letter added: "In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral 'investigator.'"</p><p>The White House was dinging Schiff for <a>reciting a fictional version of Trump's call</a> with Ukraine's leader during a congressional hearing. Schiff later called his statements a "parody."</p><p><a><strong>TUCKER CARLSON AND NEIL PATEL: THE TRUTH ABOUT IMPEACHMENT</strong></a></p><p>"Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing," the letter stated. "The chairman's action only further undermines the public's confidence in the fairness of any inquiry before his committee."</p><p>Ukraine's president <a>has said he felt Trump did nothing improper</a> in their July call, and DOJ lawyers who reviewed the call said they found no laws had been broken. The White House released a transcript of the conversation last month, as well as the whistleblower's complaint, which seemingly relied entirely on <a>second-hand information.</a></p><p>Separately, the letter asserted multiple alleged violations of the president's due-process rights. It noted that under current impeachment inquiry proceedings, Democrats were not allowing presidential or State Department counsel to be present.</p><p>Democrats' procedures did not provide for the "disclosure of all evidence favorable to the president and all evidence bearing on the credibility of witnesses called to testify in the inquiry," the letter noted, nor did the procedures afford the president "the right to see all evidence, to present evidence, to call witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, to cross-examine all witnesses, to make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and to respond to evidence and testimony."</p><p>Democrats also have not permitted Republicans in the minority to issue subpoenas, contradicting the "standard, bipartisan practice in all recent resolutions authorizing presidential impeachment inquiries."</p><p>"President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances."</p><p>The letter claimed that House committees have "resorted to threats and intimidation against potential Executive Branch witnesses," by raising the specter of obstruction of justice when administration employees seek to assert "long-established Executive Branch confidentiality interests and privileges in response to a request for a deposition."</p><p>"Current and former State Department officials are duty bound to protect the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch, and the Office of Legal Counsel has also recognized that it is unconstitutional to exclude agency counsel from participating in congressional depositions," the letter stated.</p><p><strong><a>EXCLUSIVE: WHISTLEBLOWER WRITES WH OFFICIAL DESCRIBED TRUMP CALL AS 'FRIGHTENING'</a></strong></p><p>Additionally, the letter noted that Democrats reportedly were <a>planning to interview the whistleblower</a> at the center of the impeachment inquiry at an undisclosed location -- contrary, the White House said, to the constitutional notion of being able to confront one's accuser.</p><p>According to a White House official, the bottom line was: "We are not participating in your illegitimate exercise. ... If you are legitimately conducting oversight, let us know. But all indications are this is about impeachment."</p><p>The document came as the White House aggressively has parried Democrats' inquiry efforts. One of the administration's first moves: the State Department on Tuesday barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from appearing before a House panel conducting the probe into Trump.</p><p><a><strong>GOP INTRODUCES RESOLUTION TO KICK PELOSI OUT OF THE HOUSE</strong></a></p><p>I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public....</p><p> see. Importantly, Ambassador Sondland’s tweet, which few report, stated, “I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” That says it ALL!</p><p>"I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican's rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see," Trump <a>tweeted.</a></p><p><strong><a>THE LATEST REPORTING FROM FOX NEWS IN THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY AND UKRAINE CONTROVERSY</a></strong></p><p>The strategy risked further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up <a>an article of impeachment</a> accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. Schiff said Sondland's no-show would be grounds for obstruction of justice and could give a preview of what some of the articles of impeachment against Trump would entail.</p><p>But, as lawmakers sought to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly has signaled that all-out warfare was its best course of action.</p><p>"What they did to this country is unthinkable. It's lucky that I'm the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it," Trump said Monday at the White House. "You can't impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam."</p><p>House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to <a>Defense Secretary Mark Esper</a> and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi's office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in administrations from both parties, voicing support for <a>the whistleblower</a> who raised <a>concerns about Trump's efforts</a> to get Ukraine to look into Biden's business dealings in Ukraine.</p><p>"A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers," they wrote. "Whatever one's view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower's complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection."</p><p>The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees were investigating Trump's actions <a>alleging he pressured Ukraine to investigate</a> Biden and his son, potentially interfering in the 2020 election. The former vice president, for his part, has accused Trump of "frantically pushing flat-out lies, debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me." And, Biden's campaign has sought to have Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has accused Biden of possible corruption, <a>removed from the airwaves.</a></p><p><strong><a>PROOF OF LINKS: PHOTO OBTAINED BY FOX NEWS SHOWS BIDEN GOLFING WITH UKRAINE EXEC</a></strong></p><p>Biden <a>has acknowledged</a> <a>on camera</a> that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration's Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating <a>Burisma Holdings</a> — where Hunter had a <a>lucrative role</a> on the board despite limited relevant expertise. Critics have suggested Hunter Biden's salary bought access to Biden.</p><p>The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if Shokin, who was widely accused of corruption, was not fired.</p><p>"Well, son of a b---h, he got fired," Biden joked at a panel two years after leaving office.</p><p><em>Fox News' Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p> R Fox Online News State Department report on Clinton emails finds hundreds of violations, dozens of individuals at fault <p>Clinton threatens to enter 2020 race; The Collective PAC founder Quentin James reacts.</p><p>A <a>State Department</a> report into former Secretary of State <a>Hillary Clinton’s</a> use of a private email server for government business, obtained by Fox News on Friday, found dozens of individuals at fault and hundreds of security violations.</p><p><a>The report</a> summarized an administrative review of the handling of classified information relating to Clinton’s private email server used during her tenure as the nation’s highest-ranking diplomat between 2009 and 2013. The report, dated Sept. 13., was delivered to the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee until last year.</p><p>The report reflected only approximately 30,000 emails that the State Department was able to physically review, and found 38 individuals were responsible for 91 violations.</p><p>Another 497 violations were also found, although the report was not able to assign responsibility in those cases, in part because many of those involved had already left the department during the time it took to receive the emails and review them.</p><p><strong><a>HILLARY CLINTON FLOATS CONSPIRACY THAT TULSI GABBARD IS BEING 'GROOMED' BY RUSSIANS</a></strong></p><p>The report described an investigation fraught with obstacles -- including delays -- employees who left the department and more than 30,000 deleted records.</p><p>The Clinton email controversy dogged her throughout her failed 2016 presidential bid. Clinton and her aides have claimed the controversy was overblown and denied any wrongdoing, but President Trump and allies have consistently referred back to it as an example of a criminal endeavor for which no one was properly punished.</p><p>The FBI began investigating Clinton’s handling of emails in 2015 after it was revealed she had used a homebrew server for her government emails. Then-FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that the agency would not recommend charges, but famously described Clinton as having been "extremely careless" in her conduct.</p><p>The department received the emails in December 2014, well after Clinton left the department in early 2013.</p><p>The department concluded that the use of a private email system “added an increased degree of risk of compromise, as a private system lacks the network monitoring and intrusion detection capabilities of [the] State Department.”</p><p>“While the use of a private email system itself did not necessarily increase the likelihood of classified information being transmitted on unclassified systems, those incidents which then resulted in the presence of classified information upon it carried an increased risk of compromise or inadvertent disclosure,” the report said.</p><p>However, while there were instances of classified information being introduced into an unclassified system, the report said that by and large the individuals interviewed “did their best” to implement security policies. There was no “persuasive evidence” of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information, according to the report.</p><p><strong><a>CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP</a></strong></p>

Foreign trade

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body R Washington Examiner Trade deficit reaches 10-year high despite Trump's tariffs and tough talk!/quality/90/? <p><span>T</span>he U.S. trade deficit rose to a 10-year high in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday, despite a raft of tariffs that President Trump has instituted with the stated purpose of narrowing the gap. </p><p>The news comes as stock markets have been rattled by increased fears that Trump would escalate trade tensions with China rather than reaching some sort of truce. A trade war would take wind out of the sails of the U.S. economy, which received a boost in 2018 from the large Republican tax cut. </p><p>On Tuesday, <a>the Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked nearly 800 points</a> after Trump declared himself a " <a>Tariff Man."</a> </p><p>Trump has long stoked fears of a U.S. trade deficit and boasted that his tougher trade policies would narrow the gap. </p><p>"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win," Trump <a>tweeted</a> back in March. </p><p>Yet despite the Trump tariffs, the U.S. trade deficit has has ballooned for five months in a row, growing 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion last month, which was the highest level <a>since October 2008</a>. </p><p>There are multiple possible explanations for the increase in U.S. imports. One is that the dollar is stronger, making foreign goods effectively cheaper for American consumers. In addition, U.S. economic growth has increased demand for consumer goods, many of which are made overseas. Also, some American business could be stocking up on goods now in anticipation of possible future tariffs. </p><p>At the same time, the report shows that Trump's trade policies are hurting exports. China slapped retaliatory tariffs on soybeans, and a dropoff in soybean sales was a major contributor to the overall fall in exports. </p><p>Trade has been the issue on which Trump has broken most significantly with the traditional views of his party and with a broad consensus of economists. He been <a>consistently dishonest</a> about how tariffs and trade deficits work, has spooked markets, and undermined the economic benefits of his tax and regulatory agenda. All of this, we were told, was to narrow the trade deficit. Yet he clearly isn't even accomplishing that. </p><p><i>[<b>Also read:</b> <a>Trump shrugs off future debt crisis: ‘I won’t be here</a>’]</i></p> R Fox Online News China announces it seeks 'calm' end to trade war, as markets tank and currency hits 11-year flatline <p>Asia analyst Gordon Chang weighs in on the contents of Trump's new trade deal with Japan and its potential impact on U.S.-China relations.</p><p>China signaled Monday it is now seeking a "calm" end to its ongoing <a>trade war</a> with the U.S. and President Trump voiced optimism about a deal, as Asian markets crumbled and China's currency plummeted to an 11-year low following the <a>latest tariffs</a> on $550 billion in Chinese goods announced last Friday by the Trump administration.</p><p>"I think we're going to have a deal," Trump told reporters.</p><p>Trump said Monday that officials from China called U.S. officials and expressed interest to "get back to the table,” The Wall Street Journal reported. He called the discussions a “very positive development.”</p><p>“They want to make a deal. That’s a great thing,” he <a>said.</a></p><p>News of the possible opening in negotiations came shortly after Trump <a>threatened</a> to declare a national emergency that would result in American businesses freezing their relationships with China. Trump's tariff barrage on Friday was a response to China imposing its own retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods.</p><p>At the Group of Seven summit in France on Sunday, White House officials rejected suggestions the president was wavering and insisted that his <a>only regret</a> was not implementing <a>even more tariffs</a> on China. Trump wrote on Twitter that world leaders at the G-7 were "laughing" at all the inaccurate media coverage of the gathering.</p><p>In response, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told a state-controlled newspaper on Monday that "China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict," Reuters first <a>reported</a>, citing a transcript of his remarks provided by the Chinese government. Liu is China's top trade negotiator.</p><p> A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) <!-- --></p><p>Speaking at a technology conference in China, Liu added: “We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world."</p><p><strong><a>WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP'S 'SECOND THOUGHTS' ON CHINA TRADE WAR 'GREATLY MISINTERPRETED'</a></strong></p><p>“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” Liu said. “We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”</p><p>Asian shares tumbled early Monday, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 started plummeting as soon as trading began and stood at 20,234.87 in the morning session, down 2.3 percent. Australia's S&amp;P/ASX 200 slipped 1.5 percent to 6,427.20. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 percent to 1,916.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 3.3 percent to 25,309.37, while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.2 percent at 2,862.87.</p><p>In France we are all laughing at how knowingly inaccurate the U.S. reporting of events and conversations at the G-7 is. These Leaders, and many others, are getting a major case study of Fake News at it’s finest! They’ve got it all wrong, from Iran, to China Tariffs, to Boris!</p><p>The yuan also slipped to 7.1487 to the dollar, weeks after the Treasury Department formally <a>designated China a currency manipulator.</a> The Treasury Department said it will work with the International Monetary Fund to try to rectify the “unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”</p><p>"The gloves are coming off on both sides and as such yuan depreciation is an obvious cushion against US tariffs," Mitul Kotecha, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, told Bloomberg News.</p><p>There are several reasons why China's central bank would want to allow the yuan to drop, including to help struggling local exporters who want their products to be less expensive for international purchasers. People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, however, has insisted China does not "engage in competitive devaluation."</p><p>On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that if "China would agree to a fair and balanced relationship, we would sign that deal in a second."</p><p>Stephen Innes, managing partner at Valour Markets in Singapore, compared the difficulty of assessing the volatile market situation to reading tea leaves.</p><p>"Nobody understands where the president is coming from," he said, adding that the best thing Trump can do for market stability is to "keep quiet."</p><p>"The problem that we're faced right now is that we are making a lot of assumptions ahead of the economic realities."</p><p> A computer screen shows images of Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump as a currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) <!-- --></p><p>The market is now dominated by fears of a portending U.S. recession, although the American economy is actually holding up, and much of the U.S. economy is made up of consumption, Innes said. If interest rates come down, he added, consumer spending is likely to go up, working as a buffer for the economy.</p><p>"What the market's really waiting for is for them to drop interest rates," Innes said. "Right now, we are still sitting on that uncertainty."</p><p>Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Sunday that Democrats should not criticize <a>Trump</a> for taking on China over trade as they have complained for years about <a>Beijing’s policies</a> but done nothing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y,  for example, <a>has urged Trump to fight China aggressively.</a></p><p>“Every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats,” Graham said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to, now Trump is and we’ve just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China.”</p><p>U.S. markets have also taken something of a beating. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points Friday after the latest escalation in the trade war between the U.S. and China rattled investors. The broad sell-off sent the S&amp;P 500 to its fourth straight weekly loss.</p><p>The tumbling began after Trump responded angrily on Twitter following China's announcement of new tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods. In one of his tweets he "hereby ordered" U.S. companies with operations in China to consider moving them to other countries — including the U.S.</p><p><a><strong>PUZDER: HERE'S HOW TRUMP'S FULL-COURT PRESS ON CHINA IS WORKING</strong></a></p><p>Trump also said he'd respond directly to the tariffs — and after the market closed he delivered, announcing that the U.S. would increase existing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent, and that new tariffs on another $300 billion of imports would be 15 percent instead of 10 percent.</p><p>"Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25 percent, will be taxed at 30 percent," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10 percent, will now be taxed at 15 percent. Thank you for your attention to this matter!".</p><p>Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank in Singapore said what he called Trump's "tariff tantrum" was setting off "the sense that tariffs could continue to rise," with the "the unpredictability of timing and extent of these trade actions risk accentuating the paralysis of business decisions and big-ticket business spending."</p><p>"No matter which way you cut the cake, it is nearly impossible to construct a bullish, or even neutral scenario for equity markets today," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda.</p><p>Trump also said Friday morning that he was "ordering" UPS, Federal Express and Amazon to block any deliveries from China of the powerful opioid drug fentanyl. The stocks of all three companies fell as traders tried to assess the possible implications.</p><p>The president has also raged <a>against Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell</a> for his continued refusal to cut interest rates, at one point saying: "My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powel (sic) or [China's] Chairman Xi [Jinping]?"</p><p>That outburst came after Powell, speaking to central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., gave vague assurances that the Fed "will act as appropriate" to sustain the nation's economic expansion. While the phrasing was widely seen as meaning interest rate cuts, he offered no hint of whether or how many reductions might be coming the rest of the year.</p><p><strong><a>CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP</a></strong></p><p>Some analysts, however, are confident the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year.</p><p>A quarter-point rate cut reduction in September is considered all but certain.</p><p><em>Fox News' Ronn Blitzer, Joseph Wulfsohn, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p>

Global warming

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body L ABC News Senators block progressive Green New Deal proposal <p> The Senate on Tuesday voted down a procedural measure to advance the <a>Green New Deal</a>, a <a>wide-reaching proposal</a> that would address <a>climate change</a>. </p><p> The final tally was 0-57. </p><p> Forty-three Democrats voted "present" in protest of the measure, even though <a>many of them have said</a> that they support the <a>framework of the resolution</a>. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Angus King of Maine, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Doug Jones of Alabama voted no with the Republicans. </p><p> Ahead of the vote, Senate Democrats <a>blasted the vote</a> as a “sham.” Democratic Party leaders said they believe Republicans used the vote as a political ploy to divide Democrats on a high-profile progressive idea. Instead, Democrats want members of the Republican leadership <a>to schedule hearings</a> rather than bringing the legislation straight to the floor for a vote.</p><p> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied earlier on Tuesday that the vote was a sham and, when asked by a reporter if he believed <a>climate change</a> to be real and caused by humans, he replied, “I do.” </p><p> He further challenged Democrats, “If you believe the Green New Deal is the prescription for America, why would you not want to vote on it?” </p><p> On the floor, just before the vote, he added, “I have to say, it’s remarkable enough to see a major political party coalesce around a proposal to forcibly remake the entire country according to what’s fashionable in Brooklyn and San Francisco,” McConnell said. “But it is even more stunning to see my colleagues so angry and upset at the opportunity to back up their new philosophy with their votes.”</p><p> McConnell’s decision to hold a vote on the deal suffered a blistering rebuke from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor of the legislation. </p><p> “The Senate vote is a perfect example of that kind of superficial approach to government,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Tuesday. “What McConnell’s doing is that he’s trying to rush this bill to the floor without a hearing, without any markups, without working through committee -- because he doesn’t want to save our planet. Because he thinks we can drink oil in 30 years when all our water is poisoned.” </p><p> McConnell has called the proposal a “far-left wish list” originating with the “most radical, farthest-left members of the new House Democratic majority.” </p><p> In a series of speeches, Republicans blasted the Green New Deal as “wildly unrealistic” and a “radical environmental policy.”</p><p> The wide-reaching proposal calls not just for a massive overhaul of the nation's energy sector over the next 10 years, but also investments in the country's education, infrastructure and health care systems and a redesign of the entire U.S. economy. </p><p> Progressive Democrats and climate activists say the Green New Deal is the only plan proposed, so far, that is ambitious enough to have an impact to prevent the worst case scenario of global warming. Supporters frequently cite a recent United Nations climate report that warned some effects on the environment could become irreversible in the next two decades. </p><p> Ultimately, the Green New Deal focuses on the alarming findings of recent climate change reports -- increasing numbers of natural disasters like wildfires, droughts and floods which are reportedly the result of rising levels of greenhouse gases; mass migration expected from affected regions; more than $500 billion in lost output by 2100 -- and suggests drastic solutions, such as bringing greenhouse gas emissions down to net-zero. </p><p> The resolution also calls for 100 percent of U.S. energy demand to be "clean, renewable and zero-emission" and for a redesign of transportation systems nationwide in order to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. </p><p> “It’s time to move past ‘gotcha’ politics and on to a real debate on the bold action that is necessary to save our communities. Unfortunately, we can’t have a good-faith policy debate while one party remains a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, who also co-sponsored the resolution, said in a statement Tuesday. “We need bipartisan acknowledgment that this crisis is real; that it presents an existential threat to our nation; and that the only serious solution is to make the bold pivot from polluting fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy in the next dozen years.” </p><p> <em>ABC News' Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.</em> </p> C Columbia Journalism Review With climate change town hall, CNN has an opportunity to show what it’s learned <p><span><strong>“Americans’ belief in global warming</strong> sinks as Republicans shift,” a headline on CNN reads. The piece, </span><a><span>from 2009</span></a><span>, reports on a poll showing that roughly a third of those who accept that global warming is real “think it is due to natural causes, rather than manmade causes such as industrial emissions.” As a reaction to a Democratic White House, the article suggests, the number of people in America who believe that global warming has been caused by humans fell—from 54 percent in the summer to 45 percent in December. And, the article continues, “the number who say the United States should reduce emissions even if other countries do not follow suit has also dropped.”</span></p><p><span>In the decade since, coverage of the climate, the existential crisis of our time, has changed considerably. Today’s climate stories have largely tossed the false pretense that there’s a question to be asked about whether something is happening. Ten years ago, journalists downplayed the dire stakes of the climate threat, says Emily Atkin, who recently launched a subscription-based newsletter called </span><i><span>Heated</span></i><span>; now “s</span><span>omething has clicked in the minds of the public and in a lot of journalists.” </span><span>Mainstream outlets have moved on to covering responses and policies. The other day, for instance, the CNN homepage encouraged readers to eat less beef in order to save the rainforest and </span><a><span>curb greenhouse gas emissions</span></a><span>. CNN has also published stories recently about </span><a><span>climate-crisis preparation camps in Europe</span></a><span>, the potential for </span><a><span>solar-powered railways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels</span></a><span>, and the way </span><a><span>climate change makes hurricanes more dangerous</span></a><span>. </span></p><p><span>But in televised debates, CNN has demonstrated a tendency to slip back into a “both sides” version of the climate story. According to Media Matters for America, during the CNN Democratic primary debates, less than 10 percent of the questions were about </span><a><span>climate change</span></a><span>. Dana Bash, who moderated parts of the July debates, asked candidates about the extent to which the Green New Deal is realistic.</span></p><p><span>In a sense, Atkin says, it was significant that CNN mentioned the Green New Deal at all, along with the idea of putting a price on carbon and the Paris Climate Agreement. Still, she says, Bash’s approach seemed a decade behind the curve. </span><span>“The question framing really came at the problem, like, ‘Is it worth it to do something about this? Are there pros and cons to doing something about this?’ Rather than saying, ‘How are we going to do something about this?’”</span></p><p> </p><p><span>Tomorrow, in a town hall</span> dedicated to discussing the climate crisis, CNN has an opportunity to bring its debate coverage as far along as the rest of its reporting. CNN <a><span>announced</span></a><span> the event in July, noting at the time, “The 2020 Democratic field has been united in promising to combat climate change, with many candidates unveiling policy proposals to address the threat posed by a warming planet.” Many Democrats pushed to hold a debate on the crisis; last month, the Democratic National Committee </span><a><span>voted the idea down</span></a><span>. </span></p><p><span>But the town hall will go ahead. It’s </span><a><span>expected</span></a><span> to be seven hours long, with different moderators taking up the baton along the way. Wolf Blitzer will interview former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Andrew Yang; Erin Burnett will interview Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Amy Klobuchar; Anderson Cooper will interview Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders; Chris Cuomo will interview Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Don Lemon will interview former Representative Beto O’Rourke and Senator Cory Booker. Bill Weir, CNN’s chief climate correspondent, will join in throughout the evening. The extent to which CNN seizes its (extremely lengthy) opportunity will depend on how it frames the stakes and specifics of the conversation. </span></p><p><span>First, the moderators should operate on the assumption that the climate is in crisis and that this needs to be addressed. Early states </span><a><span>consider climate change a top priority</span></a><span>. </span><span>“Accepting this moment as an emergency to the point where civilization is at stake—that itself would help frame the question,” Eric Holthaus, a fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, says. The climate crisis needs to be presented as an urgent problem, or else it’s not really being presented at all.</span></p><p><span>Second, most reporters—and most politicians—don’t have the grounding in climate policy that they do in many other campaign platforms. But most viewers don’t, either. The questions are an opportunity to outline the matters at hand, and to make candidates prove that they actually understand how to deal with the crisis. </span><span>“I would really like to see moderators press candidates to demonstrate their understanding of this complex problem,” Atkin says. She rattles off examples: How will climate change affect global conflict? Where do you expect to see the biggest climate impacts on migration during your presidency? What are going to be the biggest health problems as climate changes, and how will health systems need to adapt?</span></p><p><span>Third, the climate crisis is a problem that many if not all of the people running for president have been in a position to try to address. “A great question to ask is: What have they actually done on climate change?,” Sammy Roth, energy reporter at the </span><i><span>Los Angeles Times</span></i><span>, says. “You’ve got all of these senators and governors—some of them have done quite a bit, and some of them, I really wonder what they’ve done.”</span></p><p><span>Fourth, the climate crisis impacts people. The questions should address not just facts and figures, but the lives that those facts and figures will affect. Holthaus suggests asking candidates how they intend to tap into popular energy around the problem. “If this is a true emergency, comparable to WWII mobilization, what are you, as a candidate, asking citizens to do? How can we help?,” he asks. “How can we be part of the answer?”</span></p><p><span>If, in seven hours, moderators keep their focus on the sense of urgency, the tangible plans candidates do and don’t have, and the ways in which the crisis is palpable and relevant to voters viewing at home, CNN has a chance to significantly better its televised coverage of the climate. If that doesn’t happen, then CNN will waste precious time by airing the equivalent of an article from 2009.</span></p><p><em>Editors note:</em> CJR<em> has appointed its own outside public editors for four vital news outlets — </em>The New York Times<em>, </em>The Washington Post<em>, CNN and MSNBC — that currently lack any public ombudsman. You can reach them at (Any messages will be treated as off-the-record unless otherwise agreed.)</em></p><p> </p> R MarketWatch ‘The wrong Amazon is burning’: These are some of the most powerful global climate strike signs <p>These are the signs of our times. </p><p>Young people and adults around the world skipped school and work for the global climate strike on Friday, which is expected to be the largest such demonstration to date with <a>4,638 events scheduled in 139 countries</a>. </p><p>Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate advocate Greta Thunberg and other “Fridays for Future” activists organized the worldwide walkout to raise awareness about climate change. The Fridays for Future site says that “with the worsening climate destruction this goal of going to school begins to be pointless. Why study for a future, which may not be there?” </p><p> <strong>Related: </strong> <a>Greta Thunberg-inspired climate strike for Friday expected to be biggest yet — and New York kids can cut class</a> </p><p>Thunberg also didn’t mince words when she testified at a Capitol Hill hearing on Wednesday, when she told U.S. lawmakers that <a>“I want you to take real action.”</a></p><p>And the youth participating in climate strike demonstrations on Friday showed a similar flair for language in their pithy and pointed protest signs, such as “We are skipping our lessons to teach you one.” </p><p>“When leaders act like kids, kids act like leaders.” <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a></p><p>Many also mixed humor with urgency, such as riffing off of Nelly’s 2002 hit “Hot in Herre” lyrics with, “It’s getting hot in here so take off all your coal.” </p><p>Here are some of the most-striking signs. </p><p>These are my favourite Sydney <a><span>#</span><span>climatestrike</span></a> signs from today</p><p>Here’s a few of my favourite signs from <a><span>#</span><span>Canberra</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a>. If you’ve got other good ones, please tweet them at me.</p><p>The wrong amazon is burning <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a></p><p>Social media platforms like Twitter <span><a>TWTR, <span>-0.25%</span></a></span>   and Facebook <span><a>FB, <span>+0.15%</span></a></span>   were also flooded with shots of climate strike crowds across the globe. </p><p>Brighton, England. <a><span>#</span><span>FridaysForFuture</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a> <a><span>https://</span><span>tatus/1174995002390450176 </span>…</a></p><p>Holy crap. Get a load of Brighton!<span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span> <span>@</span><span>XRBrighton</span></p><p>We gathered with different schools, farmers associations, local government leaders and the general public today for the <a><span>#</span><span>GlobalClimateStrike</span></a> with one message <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateActionNow</span></a> today in Uganda. <a><span>#</span><span>FridaysForFuture</span></a> <a><span>@</span><span>Fridays4FutureU</span></a> <a><span>@</span><span>Fridays4future</span></a> <a><span>@</span><span>GretaThunberg</span></a> <a><span>@</span><span>nalubegadorothy</span></a></p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>Great energy at <a><span>#</span><span>Amsterdam</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a></p><p>Primary school pupils call for climate action. <a><span>#</span><span>FridaysForFuture</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a> in Abuja, Nigeria.<br/>We want <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateJustice</span></a>. Is time for leaders to walk the talk on climate action.</p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>Great gathering in Dublin. Marching for our common home. <a><span>#</span><span>FridaysForFuture</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>schoolstrike4climate</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>dublin</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>Ireland</span></a></p><p>By playing this video you agree to Twitter's use of cookies</p><p>This use may include analytics, personalization, and ads.</p><p>In Tokyo, we also step up to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateStrike</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>FridaysForFuture</span></a> <a><span>#</span><span>ClimateEmergency</span></a> <img/><img/></p><p>Join the conversation</p> L Vox CNN is giving 2020 Democrats 7 hours to talk about climate change <p>The DNC voted down holding an official presidential climate debate. TV networks have stepped up.</p><p>CNN will host a seven-hour marathon of interviews with 10 presidential candidates about climate change on Wednesday beginning at 5 pm Eastern as part of its climate crisis town hall. A live stream of the town hall will air on <a></a>. You can also stream it via CNN apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. The forum will also be broadcast on SiriusXM Channels 116, 454, 795, and the Westwood One Radio Network.</p><p>Here is the format:</p><p>The audience will be composed of selected Democrats, independents, and stakeholders. No public tickets will be issued.</p><p>That a major television network would devote so much time to a single issue is a sign of how important climate change has become for Democrats and how successful activists have been in elevating the issue. </p><p>Climate change has rocketed up the list of concerns for primary voters, with <a>some polls</a> showing climate change as the number one issue and other indicating that strong majorities want robust climate action from the White House. Activists groups like the Sunrise Movement have refused to let the <a>Democratic National Committee</a> ignore the issue, holding <a>sit-ins</a> outside their headquarters to demand a climate debate.</p><p>The DNC responded that it will <a>not hold a climate change debate</a> for 2020 presidential contenders, nor will it allow candidates to attend a third-party debate. But <a>CNN</a> and <a>MSNBC</a> have found a loophole in the <a>rules</a> that still permits candidates to attend televised forums and town halls. CNN did not respond to requests for comment. MSNBC’s climate forum is scheduled for September 19 and 20. </p><p>In the past few months, candidates have been steadily releasing their own visions for how to limit warming this century. Washington Gov. <a>Jay Inslee</a>, who made climate change the centerpiece of his presidential campaign and put out the most comprehensive policy agenda, is now out of the race, giving other candidates some room to distinguish themselves on the issue. Several candidates, including <a>Booker</a>, <a>Buttigieg</a>, and <a>Harris</a>, are issuing new climate plans this week.</p><p>For the most part, the Democratic presidential contenders agree that climate change demands a serious policy response and that the US needs to become carbon neutral by roughly the middle of the century. And indeed many have voiced support for the Green New Deal and most have pledged to refuse donations from the fossil fuel industry. The main differences among the candidates lie in how much political capital they intend to expend on fighting climate change and what they would do with executive authority.</p><p>The town hall will give them an opportunity to present their plans in greater detail, and with more nuance. In the prior two rounds of presidential debates spanning more than eight hours, climate change received just <a>35 minutes of airtime</a>. Much of the discussion was shallow and uninformative, partly a consequence of having to split attention across 20 candidates. </p><p>A forum format with one-on-one discussions with the candidates could better get at these distinctions, forcing candidates to make the affirmative case for their own policies rather than sniping at those from other candidates. On the other hand, a candidate in the hot seat won’t receive any direct challenges from their opponents.</p><p>It would behoove the networks to focus their discussion on getting at these subtle differences among the candidates, like what executive orders they would sign, how high climate change ranks as a priority, and what measures would a candidate pursue to ensure a just transition to clean energy. (Vox’s <a>David Roberts</a> <a>and I</a> have come up with some questions that could serve as starting points.)</p><p>CNN’s climate change forum has immense potential to illuminate real differences among the candidates and inform the public about the often-weedy details of climate policy. However, it remains to be seen if there is an audience with a seven-hour attention span for a single issue. And there’s always the risk that it could devolve into rote recitals of platitudes. </p><p>Here’s to hoping we learn something new. </p><p><em>Read some of candidates’ climate plans here:</em></p><p>The Green New Deal is the hottest resolution since sliced bread. But is it just empty calories? </p><p>Looking for a quick way to keep up with the never-ending news cycle? Host Sean Rameswaram will guide you through the most important stories at the end of each day.</p><p>Subscribe on <a><strong>Apple Podcasts</strong></a>, <a><strong>Spotify</strong></a>, <a><strong>Ove</strong></a><a><strong>r</strong></a><a><strong>cast</strong></a>, or wherever you listen to podcasts.</p> R New York Post Senate rejects Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal in 57-0 vote blasted as a ‘sham’ by Dems <p>The Green New Deal failed to pass a procedural vote in the Senate Tuesday, with Democrats slamming the GOP motion as a “sham” and with two exceptions voting “present” in protest.</p><p>Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the ambitious plan to create jobs and improve the environment to a vote to force Democrats to take a public stand on the measure and try to divide the party’s moderates and progressives.</p><p>The final vote was 57 against and no one for the plan, with 43 Democrats voting present.</p><p>Red State Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voted no.</p><p>”I could not be more glad that the American people will have the opportunity to learn precisely where each one of their senators stand on the ‘Green New Deal’: a radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire US economy,” <a>McConnell tweeted.</a></p><p>Democrats, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, <a>called the vote a political stunt.</a></p><p>“The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record’, for leg they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace. Stop wasting the American peoples’ time + learn to govern. Our jobs aren’t for campaigning, &amp; that’s exactly what these bluff-votes are for,” the freshman lawmaker <a>clapped back on Twitter this week.</a></p> C NPR Online News A Rising Generation Asserts Itself On Climate Change <p> <a> Jeff Brady </a> </p><p> Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (center) marches with other young climate activists last week outside the White House in Washington, D.C. <b> Susan Walsh/AP </b> <b><b>hide caption</b></b> </p><p>Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (center) marches with other young climate activists last week outside the White House in Washington, D.C.</p><p>Spurred by what they see as a sluggish, ineffectual response to the existential threat of global warming, student activists from around the world are skipping school Friday, for what organizers call a <a>Global Climate Strike.</a></p><p>The young activists are protesting as the U.N. prepares to hold its <a>Climate Action Summit</a> on Monday in New York City.</p><p>The strike's figurehead is 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who traveled from Sweden to New York <a>on an emissions-free sailboat</a>. A little over a year ago, Thunberg began her school strike for the climate by herself, outside the Swedish Parliament.</p><p>Support for a school climate strike has since spread <a>across the globe</a>. In the past year, Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian lawmakers. She's also met with Pope Francis and lawmakers in several countries.</p><p>"We are currently on track for a world that could displace billions of people from their homes," Thunberg warned this week as she accepted Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award. She ended her acceptance speech with a call to action: "See you on the streets!"</p><p>In New York City, thousands of students are expected to fill the streets alongside Thunberg because, as the <a>city's school district announced on Twitter</a>, it is giving strikers excused absences. In Oregon, <a>Portland Public Schools</a> is doing the same.</p><p>Strikes also are planned in rural areas where just a few dozen protesters are expected. Nicholas DuVernay, 17, organized a protest in his politically conservative small town of La Grande, Ore.</p><p>"Since, probably, the beginning of my junior year in high school I've been interested in climate science and pretty passionate about environmental topics," says DuVernay, who plans to study climate science when he attends college next year.</p><p>A <a>Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll</a> this week shows a majority of teenagers believe human-caused climate change will cause harm to them. And a quarter of the poll respondents said they have participated in a school walk-out, a rally or contacted a government official on the issue.</p><p>There have been <a>similar student events in the past year</a>. But this time, students are asking adults to join them.</p><p>At the University of Nevada, Reno, Stallar Lufrano-Jardine, 36, is setting up an event on the campus where she's an employee and student.</p><p>"I'm bothered by the lack of movement to make meaningful advances to solve the climate crisis," says Lufrano-Jardine.</p><p>But it's clear younger people are leading this movement. And they say most adults — especially policy-makers — are moving far too slowly.</p><p>Strike organizers have a <a>list of demands</a> that includes "respect of indigenous land, sustainable agriculture, protecting biodiversity, environmental justice and a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy," said 17-year-old Baltimore resident and organizer Nadia Nazar.</p><p>Many of those demands are part of the <a>Green New Deal</a>, which was crafted by progressive Democratic lawmakers but so far hasn't gone anywhere in Congress.</p><p>At a Capitol Hill press event this week, Nazar said she hopes the proposal defines her generation. "I am not a part of Generation Z. I am a part of Gen GND — the generation of the Green New Deal," she said as supporters cheered.</p><p>Also on Capitol Hill this week, Thunberg and other activists <a>testified before lawmakers</a>. Louisiana Republican Rep. Garret Graves told them that climate change has exacerbated the loss of his state's coastline.</p><p>"I agree that we need to take aggressive action. I agree that we need to ensure that we move forward in a sustainable, rational manner," Graves said.</p><p>But his idea of what that means is very different than the activists' vision.</p><p>For instance, Graves agrees with President Trump on the need to <a>withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement</a>. Graves told the student organizers the pact allows China to continue emitting more carbon dioxide while the U.S. cuts emissions. "Paris and its related pledges would undermine U.S. competitiveness," his spokesman said.</p><p>Graves got immediate pushback from the young activists, including 17-year-old Jamie Margolin from Seattle, who asked how Graves will respond to questions from his children and grandchildren about whether he did enough to address climate change.</p><p>"Can you really look them in the eye and say, 'No, sorry, I couldn't do anything because that country over there didn't do anything, so if they're not going to do it then I'm not.' That is shameful and that is cowardly," Margolin said.</p><p>Organizers are saying this climate strike will be the largest yet. More than <a>2,000 scientists around the world</a> have pledged to join. Some companies also have signed on, including <a>Patagonia</a> and <a>Seventh Generation</a>.</p><p>Catch up on the latest headlines and unique NPR stories, sent every weekday.</p><p>By subscribing, you agree to <a>NPR's terms of use</a> and <a>privacy policy</a>.</p>

Gun laws

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C Wall Street Journal Sen. Cory Booker Rolls Out Gun-Control Proposal <p>Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker is proposing an aggressive approach to curb the flow of guns in the U.S., including strict new federal requirements for firearm ownership.</p><p>The New Jersey senator on Monday called for prospective gun owners to submit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation documentation showing they completed a gun-safety course to obtain a federal gun license, which would be required to purchase a firearm under his proposal. Like other Democrats, he is also calling for a federal background check on virtually all sales; currently, the checks aren’t required in all instances.</p><p>The process for obtaining a federal gun license would be carried out by “a designated local office, similar to applying for or renewing a passport,” according to his proposal. Law-enforcement offices would be some of the places conducting the interviews to verify information submitted by the individual seeking a license, a Booker aide said.</p><p>Once cleared, the FBI would issue a federal gun license, “after which the license-holder could freely purchase and own firearms,” according to the proposal. The license would be valid for as long as five years.</p><p>Current gun owners would have a grace period to obtain a federal license before penalties would kick in, the aide said, though the campaign didn’t specify either the proposed penalty or the grace period for current owners.</p><p>Mr. Booker, a former mayor of Newark who lives in that New Jersey city, often notes on the campaign trail that he is the only 2020 candidate who lives in a low-income, urban core. He cast his gun-control proposal as a way to combat violence on the streets of communities like his.</p><p>“In my community, kids fear fireworks on the Fourth of July because they sound like gunshots,” Mr. Booker said. “My plan to address gun violence is simple—we will make it harder for people who should not have a gun to get one.”</p><p>Mr. Booker also is calling to limit handgun purchases to no more than one per person each month, effectively eliminating bulk sales.</p><p>The campaign didn’t provide an estimated cost for federally administering the new program. The aide said any potential bill to taxpayers would be at least partially offset by licensing fees.</p><p>The plan, though lacking some specifics, marks the most in-depth policy rollout of Mr. Booker’s candidacy for president, which in the early stages of the Democratic primary <a>has yet to break out in a crowded field</a>.</p><p>Currently, federal laws require background checks only for sales by federally licensed dealers, though some states have added their own requirements, and Mr. Booker would allow state licensure programs to continue. The FBI currently has three business days to determine whether someone should be denied permission to buy a gun—after that period, the sales can be processed.</p><p>Democratic efforts to tighten those restrictions have been met with near unanimous GOP opposition in Congress, where Republicans often voice concerns regarding the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In February, <a>House Democrats passed a bill</a> that would require background checks for nearly all gun sales, with narrow exemptions, and buyers would be vetted for almost all private sales online and at gun shows. Senate Republicans who control the chamber are unlikely to take it up.</p><p>Republicans have argued Democratic gun-control efforts inadvertently cause harm to responsible gun owners, and in some cases, they have argued for easing existing gun laws. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, last week unveiled a bill that would loosen restrictions concerning federally licensed arms dealers who wish to transfer guns across state lines. “The modernization and simplification of our federal firearm purchasing laws is long-overdue reform,” Mr. Scalise said.</p><p>Being in favor of muscular gun-control measures has become a <a>litmus test </a>in mainstream Democratic politics, as seen in the 2018 midterm election and on the campaign trail among the 2020 candidates. California Rep. Eric Swalwell has focused his candidacy around enacting tougher gun laws, including enhanced background checks on gun sales, following a series of deadly school shootings.</p><p>Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California last month promised to take executive gun-control actions if elected president. But Ms. Harris said she would only take executive actions to achieve “near-universal” background checks if Congress didn’t pass a package on gun control in the early days of a Harris administration. Mr. Booker vowed Monday he would take executive action to tighten gun sales “beginning on day one” of his presidency.</p><p> <strong>Write to </strong>Joshua Jamerson at <a></a></p><p>Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones &amp; Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8</p> L CBS News Cory Booker unveils "bold" plan to curb gun violence <p> By Jack Turman </p><p> <time>Updated on: May 6, 2019 / 8:16 AM</time> / CBS News </p><p>Democratic presidential candidate and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker introduced a sweeping gun violence prevention plan. If elected, the campaign announced Monday that on day one of his presidency, Booker will use executive action to close gun sales loopholes and to make investments in communities affected by gun violence.</p><p>The plan, which is the most extensive gun violence prevention proposal put forth by a presidential candidate to date, prioritizes a gun licensing program whereby gun owners would be required to obtain a gun permit and pass an FBI background check. Under the proposal, the gun permit would be valid for up to five years.</p><p>"My plan to address gun violence is simple - we will make it harder for people who should not have a gun to get one," Booker said in a statement. "I am sick and tired of hearing thoughts and prayers for the communities that have been shattered by gun violence - it is time for bold action."</p><p> <a> More in Cory Booker </a> </p><p>The Democratic presidential hopeful's proposal also includes banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks and closing multiple gun loopholes, including one known as the "Boyfriend Loophole." According to the <a>Giffords Law Center</a>, federal law currently offers some protection to spouses of domestic abusers, banning those who have been convicted of domestic abuse or who are subject to domestic violence court orders from owning guns. But those protections don't extend to partners who are not spouses.</p><p>Booker proposes extending the ban to any dating partner or former dating partner who is convicted of a misdemeanor abuse crime. </p><p>The Democrat told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that the issue is a personal one for him, having witnessed the impacts of gun violence firsthand in his own community of Newark, New Jersey. He said the plan wasn't just policy, but an "everyday experience for me and people in my community."</p><p>"This is a bigger issue in America where we're not approaching it or taking it on in proportion to the gravity of the consequences of our inaction," said Booker. </p><p>He added, "We form governments to protect for the common defense and here we have in my lifetime more people being killed by gun violence in every single war in our country's history from the Revolutionary War to now combined. We must step up and deal with something that's crushing communities, destroying lives and really just tearing a part families."</p><p>Peter Ambler, the Executive Director of Giffords, which is a gun violence prevention advocacy group, said Booker's plan is not an "off the shelf plan," but is "bold, smart and thoughtful."</p><p>"This is, you know, workable, and I think it would lead to a real effect on our gun violence epidemic in this country," Ambler said.</p><p>Ambler added that this plan highlights Booker's courage and commitment to running on gun violence prevention reforms to address the gun violence epidemic, while also attracting primary and general election voters with this policy. </p><p>Booker's plan also calls for increased oversight on gun manufacturers by allowing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety warnings and recalls for firearms. The plan would allocate funds to research gun violence as a public health issue and require handgun microstamping, which is aimed at helping law enforcement identify guns and their bullets in crimes.</p><p>"This is not a plan that any law-abiding gun owner should be concerned about, the people that should be concerned about it are two groups; people who want to break the law, gun runners and criminals, and the gun manufacturers who have been working with in an ungodly way to  undermine the safety and security of this nation," Booker told CBS. </p><p>The New Jersey senator supports the bill passed by the House that aims to eliminate the so-called "Charleston loophole." The loophole in the background check system enabled Emanuel Baptist shooter Dylann Roof <a>to buy a gun</a> even though he had a prior drug conviction. Current law requires three days to perform a background check on gun purchases from licensed sellers. Because of an error, the FBI took longer than three days, thereby enabling Roof to purchase the gun.  </p><p>The House bill, one of two gun control bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House early this year, would extend the three-day background check period to 10 days. The other bill would effectively make background checks universal by requiring private parties to sell or transfer guns only through licensed gun dealers who are required to conduct background checks.</p><p>On the campaign trail, Booker has said repeatedly that if elected president, he will "bring the fight to the NRA." Booker feels a personal connection to gun control, often mentioning Shahad Smith, who was killed in a shooting in Booker's neighborhood in Newark last year.</p><p>In the wake of the National Rifle Association's <span><a>internal turmoil</a></span>, Booker also called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate the NRA's taxes. In April, the New York Times reported that the New York attorney general opened an investigation into the NRA's tax-exempt status. </p><p>Booker isn't the first Democratic presidential candidate to propose a gun violence prevention plan, as fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, too, committed in April to use executive actions to implement gun control policy. California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, promised to make gun control reform a focal point of his presidential campaign when he announced his bid in April. </p><p> <small>First published on May 6, 2019 / 7:00 AM</small> </p><p> <small>© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.</small> </p><p> Children make up the vast majority of more than 200,000 people who fled the Turkish invasion, according to the U.N. </p><p> It became operational Friday, Russia's defense minister reported to President Vladimir Putin, bolstering the country's nuclear strike capability. </p><p> Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy are banned from visiting the Philippines over a provision included in a government spending measure. </p><p> The annular solar eclipse wasn't visible from North America, but photographers around the world captured breathtaking images of the event. </p><p> A new citizenship law​ has triggered nationwide protests. </p><p> Authorities said Friday they had recovered remains of six of the seven people on board the tour helicopter. </p><p> WFAN host Mike Francesa, a longtime friend, called Imus "one of the true giants in the history of radio." </p><p> The FDA confirmed that an age increase that was signed into law last week is now in effect. </p><p> Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion at an aircraft manufacturing facility. </p><p> Despite calls for changes in how clothes are made and sold, the industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions. </p><p> Music-streaming service is the latest to reconsider political ads, after Twitter and Google tightened restrictions. </p><p> A recap of latest polls and data-driven studies from the CBS News Election &amp; Survey Unit </p><p> "I think for me, I came down here – it's about the impact. It's about being able to deliver for the forgotten men and women that I met over the course of two years as I campaigned around this country," Ivanka Trump told "Face the Nation." </p><p> A federal court in North Carolina announced that next week, a judge will formally block a state law requiring photo identification to vote. </p><p> Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy are banned from visiting the Philippines over a provision included in a government spending measure. </p><p> WFAN host Mike Francesa, a longtime friend, called Imus "one of the true giants in the history of radio." </p><p> "The movie will never be the same!" the president tweeted. </p><p> The Tony Award-winning composer wrote the cheerful, good-natured music and lyrics for such classic shows as "Mame," "Hello, Dolly!" and "La Cage aux Folles." </p><p> In 2017, Behn accused Spacey of groping him under the table at a Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo a decade earlier. </p><p> The edit was made in 2014, before Mr. Trump became president, according to a CBC statement. </p><p> Music-streaming service is the latest to reconsider political ads, after Twitter and Google tightened restrictions. </p><p> Sharing your work history or college major can help — or limit access to money for low- and middle-income people </p><p> Patrons at 850 Wawa convenience stores between March and December may find themselves inconvenienced, lawsuit claims. </p><p> Record consumer spending for holidays and hopes for a China trade deal push the tech stock index to a record close. </p><p> Northeast Ohio, which saw a massive GM plant close this year, now wants to become known for making electric cars. </p><p> Despite calls for changes in how clothes are made and sold, the industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions. </p><p> The annular solar eclipse wasn't visible from North America, but photographers around the world captured breathtaking images of the event. </p><p> Christina Koch passes Peggy Whitson's 288-day mark on Saturday to set a new record for longest single space flight by a female astronaut. </p><p> Domestic sheep-borne disease, reduction of habitat and ranching have all contributed to their decline nationwide, but they continue their fights in the steep canyons of Montana and Wyoming </p><p> Black rhinos are critically endangered due to habitat loss and the illegal trade of their horns. </p><p> The FDA confirmed that an age increase that was signed into law last week is now in effect. </p><p> "Many of us taught with our windows wide open in the spring, in the fall," former teacher Peg Vahldieck said. </p><p> A recall of hard-boiled eggs and egg salads linked to a deadly listeria outbreak has been expanded from Trader Joe's. </p><p> As thousands die from opioid addiction in America, millions deal with untreated pain in the world's poorest nations. </p><p> On Christmas Eve, the risk for a heart attack jumps 37% and they're most likely to happen around 10 p.m., according to a medical study. </p><p> The FDA confirmed that an age increase that was signed into law last week is now in effect. </p><p> Despite calls for changes in how clothes are made and sold, the industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions. </p><p> Sharing your work history or college major can help — or limit access to money for low- and middle-income people </p><p> Companies hiring California freelancers must be able to prove the contractors really are working for themselves. </p><p> "Here's hoping this goes over better the second time," he wrote on Instagram. </p><p> In New York City, more than half a dozen anti-Semitic attacks have been reported in the last week. Since last year, the number of such hate crime complaints has shot up more than 50% in New York. And with two days left to Hanukkah, New York police are on alert. Don Dahler reports. </p><p> Officials are responding after a number of anti-Semitic attacks during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. </p><p> Police in New York City are investigating six incidents of apparent hate crimes against Jewish people in recent days. CBSN New York has details from reporter Nick Calloway. </p><p> Amber Guyger, the Dallas officer who killed Botham Jean last year, is now the sole defendant in the family's suit. </p><p> Officers reported finding most of the children sweating, visibly dehydrated and with wet or soiled diapers. </p><p> Christina Koch passes Peggy Whitson's 288-day mark on Saturday to set a new record for longest single space flight by a female astronaut. </p><p> The annular solar eclipse will be a Christmas spectacular. </p><p> Boeing's Starliner spacecraft landed safely in the New Mexico desert Sunday after a failed mission to dock with the International Space Station. The re-entry and landing was a success, and the space capsule will return to service. CBS senior space consultant Bill Harwood joins CBSN with details. </p><p> Boeing's new Starliner capsule failed its first critical test mission on Friday. The unmanned spacecraft was supposed to dock with the International Space Station, but as CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, things didn't go according to plan. </p><p> The Starliner will attempt an automated landing Sunday at White Sands, New Mexico. </p><p> An annular solar eclipse created a "ring of fire" visible from several continents the day after Christmas 2019. </p><p> Photographers for The Associated Press captured moments of hope and heartbreak around the world. </p><p> Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon. </p><p> These films were the year's 50 biggest money-makers at the domestic box office. </p><p> This year's honorees are: Actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt, disco-funk band Earth Wind and Fire, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and long-running children's TV show "Sesame Street." </p><p> Now that the #MeToo movement has brought conversations about toxic masculinity and sexual consent to the forefront of public discourse, parents are grappling with how to encourage their sons to reject some of the more traditional notions of manhood. But many say they struggle with reinforcing those values in a society that still largely adheres to deeply-rooted stereotypes. It raises the question: How do we raise our boys? </p><p> Authorities find wreckage of downed helicopter in Hawaii; School surprises bus driver with new car and raise </p><p> A pair of siblings have "upcycled" more than 500,000 plastic bottles to create eco-friendly swimwear. </p><p> For the past 50 years, Jim Annis has been hand-carving hundreds of toys each holiday season. He donates them all to children who might not be getting gifts for Christmas – a cause close to his heart. </p><p> You can see why someone might hate being a school bus driver: the early hours when the weather sours and the abundance of responsibility combined with the absence of eyes in the back of your head. Nevertheless, as we first reported last May, Curtis Jenkins loves delivering these little ones to Lake Highlands elementary in Dallas, Texas. This holiday season, the school thanked him back. Steve Hartman reports. </p> R Washington Examiner Cory Booker: Americans should be 'thrown in jail' if they won't give up their guns!/quality/90/? <p><span>C</span>ory Booker said he backs legislation that would get Americans “thrown in jail” for owning "assault weapons" if they do not hand them over in a buyback program in which they would be sold to the government. </p><p>Booker, a senator for New Jersey and 2020 presidential hopeful, said that incarceration would be an option after a “reasonable period" following the buyback offer. </p><p>“Again, we should have a law that bans these weapons, and we should have a reasonable period in which people can turn in these weapons. Right now we have a nation that allows in streets and communities like mine these weapons that should not exist,” Booker said on CNN on Monday. </p><p>Booker’s statement was in response to a question asked by CNN's Poppy Harlow about <a>his gun control proposals</a>. “Senator Booker, before you go, one final question on your gun proposal since you just released it this morning: Your competitor in the 2020 race, Congressman Eric Swalwell has also, like you, proposed an assault weapons ban,” Harlow said. </p><p>“He's proposing a buyback program where Americans who currently have those guns could sell them essentially to the government, but if they don't, within a certain period of time, they would be prosecuted ... thrown in jail, perhaps. Are you supportive of the same?” </p><p>[ <b>Opinion:</b> <a>Cory Booker wants to regulate guns like cars — except when he doesn't</a>] <br/> </p><p> <br/>Booker, 50, responded affirmatively that the law would be enforced with criminal sanctions after a “reasonable period." He had said earlier: "The critical thing is, I think most Americans agree, that these weapons of war should not be on our streets." </p><p>Earlier in the day, Booker unveiled a <a><u>14-part gun control plan</u></a>, which included a ban on assault weapons including high capacity magazines. </p><p>“The biggest thing in the proposal is a national gun licensing program, which would force Americans to apply for 5-year gun licenses before obtaining a firearm. The process would include fingerprinting, an interview, gun safety courses, and a federal background check,” Booker said in a statement announcing the proposal.</p> C Christian Science Monitor Gun control: where glimmers of compromise may be appearing <p> <time>October 5, 2017 </time> <time></time> </p><p>It’s perhaps America’s most intractable life-and-death dilemma: The mounting human – and increasingly public – toll of gun violence.</p><p>The Las Vegas Strip massacre became the deadliest such attack since the Thibodeaux Massacre in Louisiana and several other mass killings of black Americans in the late 19<sup>th</sup>  and early 20<sup>th</sup>  centuries. It comes just over a year after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., which killed 49 people and previously stood as the largest mass shooting in modern US history. </p><p>The Strip massacre, which targeted a country music festival on Sunday, killed 58 people and wounded more than 500. It shocked even a country that has grown wearily familiar with such killing fields, and for some, cemented a feeling of national helplessness.</p><p>Yet it has also prompted a flurry of movement around the question of gun rights versus gun control, from Washington to state capitols.</p><p>Even as police search for the killer’s motives, lawmakers are suggesting the country might be able to inch toward more open compromise, where both sides can hold their moral high ground – while, perhaps, saving American lives in the process.</p><p>Congress has, since 1934, curtailed American gun rights on several occasions. But since 1994, there has been little appetite for more stringent gun controls. In fact, though the legislation was postponed after being set for a vote this week, Congress may yet revisit making it easier to buy sound suppressors – often called silencers, though they pop loudly – and push toward a national reciprocity for concealed-carry permits, meaning that states will lose much of their ability to control the practice inside their own borders.</p><p>After the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn., which killed 20 grade-schoolers and six adults, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California tried to ban assault weapons, including bump stocks. But that effort failed, as did a broader package that would have strengthened background checks. She said this week that her daughter had a “near miss” after canceling plans to attend the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas that the shooter attacked from the 32<sup>nd</sup>  floor of a hotel.</p><p>This week Senator Feinstein, one of the nation’s most outspoken gun control advocates, introduced a bill that would explicitly ban bump stocks.</p><p>Several Republican leaders signaled they would seriously consider voting for it. The more polarized House, too, began drawing up a ban bill.</p><p>Sen. Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin said he would have “no problem” banning the device. Mr. Johnson is a Republican who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.</p><p>In Washington, Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, who has a B-plus rating from the NRA, was more blunt.</p><p>"Look at Las Vegas,” he said. “That's how I account for it. Americans are horrified by it. They're horrified. And they should be." While the senator wants to see the details of the bill before making up his mind, he says it has merit.</p><p>The NRA also called Thursday for a federal review of whether bump stocks are legal, and, according to a report by Politico, already bans them at its own firing range.  </p><p>To be sure, banning the devices may not have much impact on crime and murder levels in the US, given that the device is basically a novelty in the gun world, argues Larry Pratt, the emeritus director of the Gun Owners of America, in Springfield, Va.</p><p>But small compromises can lead to trust, which can lead to more detailed – and perhaps effective – policy shifts, suggests University of Arizona sociologist Jennifer Carlson, who studies American gun culture through the use of data.</p><p>President Trump called the shooter “sick and demented.” But while Stephen Paddock may have been a gruff and enigmatic Vegas high-roller and former IRS employee, police say, he passed his background checks with flying colors as he bought dozens of high-powered weaponry in a 10-month period.</p><p>Mr. Trump became the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to address the NRA’s annual conference, crediting the organization with assuring his victory. Trump earlier this year quietly rolled back Obama-era executive actions that empowered the Social Security Administration to make sure mentally unstable older Americans couldn’t get access to weapons.</p><p>Trump has also reversed policies that now make it easier for some ex-fugitives to have their gun rights returned, drawing complaints from some police quarters. The US Army Corps of Engineers has also whittled back bans on gun-carry on the 12 million acres of shoreline and trails that it manages in 43 states<b>.</b></p><p>What’s more, the issue of whether to expand background checks to private sales remains largely stuck in neutral in Washington.</p><p>But <a>Pew reports</a> that 84 percent of all Americans, including a large majority of Republicans, support expanding background checks. And 89 percent of gun owners and non-gun owners alike want prohibitions on the mentally ill purchasing guns.</p><p>What the shift spurred by Las Vegas may augur, says Ms. Carlson, is a realization that the old gun debate is over. In its place, she says, there may be a more fundamental realization among policy-makers that most Americans support both some gun rights initiatives like expanded concealed carry as well as restrictions on gun rights, like expanded background checks.</p><p>Common ground, she says, may be found if the shifts that now appear to be unfolding in the wake of Las Vegas sustain themselves.<b> </b></p><p>That kind of common ground is increasingly being found at the state level, says Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of “Gun Fight.”</p><p>Since the Sandy Hook killings in 2012, 138 new gun laws tightening restrictions on possession or purchase of firearms have been enacted in 42 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of them are related to prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing weapons, requiring mental health records to be added to background check databases, or expanding background checks themselves to cover more gun purchases.</p><p>States have been busy enshrining more gun rights as well, including Georgia’s decision to expand gun-carry to college campuses and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the world’s busiest.</p><p>At the same time, however, 19 states have strengthened mandatory background checks for gun purchases since 2013. That includes red states.</p><p>In fact, Texas has some of the strongest protections against mentally ill people acquiring guns, mandating that anyone adjudicated by a mental health professional to be ill cannot buy a gun. At the same time, Nevada is one of seven states that has approved mandatory background checks for gun purchases since 2013, in the wake of Sandy Hook.</p><p>Nevada also recently enacted a law that prevents those convicted of domestic violence or who have a restraining order against them from being able to carry guns. </p><p>Winkler suggests that such laws are evidence that attitudes are, in fact, changing, in part because the NRA holds less sway at the state level than it does in Washington.</p><p>“You’re going to see a real push to regulate the gun modifications that make these guns inordinately deadly,” says Winkler. “Courts have said we can ban dangerous and unusual weapons like machine guns – and these devices take ordinary guns and make them dangerous and unusual.”</p><p>The Gun Shop Project doesn’t think so.</p><p>Instead of opposing guns on principle, the Harvard-based initiative is one of several groups collaborating with gun shop owners and employees to ease perhaps the biggest mental health issue: that two-thirds of all US gun deaths that are self-inflicted.</p><p>And profit-driven retailers, too, may be assuming a greater level of responsibility in the life-and-death debate over how lethal Americans are allowed to become.</p><p>Politics with respect</p><p>Get political stories with respectful analysis</p><p>Cabela’s, the sporting goods outfit, scrubbed bump stocks from their online sales this week, and Walmart booted third-party sellers from offering the product on their website.</p><p><i>Staff writer Francine Kiefer contributed to this report from Washington.</i></p> C USA Today Florida shooting suspect bought gun legally, authorities say <p>The suspect in a Florida school shooting bought the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack legally a year ago, authorities said Thursday.</p><p>Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he had been expelled for fighting, according to authorities.</p><p>Cruz lawfully bought the semiautomatic rifle last February, according to Peter Forcelli, special agent in charge of the Miami office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. </p><p>The gun, a Smith &amp; Wesson M&amp;P 15 .223, was purchased at Sunrise Tactical Supply, according to the Associated Press.</p><p>Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon. With no criminal record, Cruz cleared an instant background check via the FBI criminal database.</p><p>If somebody is adjudicated mentally defective or has been committed to a mental institution, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law.</p><p>Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference Thursday that he would discuss with the Legislature next week increasing funding for mental-health services and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.</p><p>“If somebody is mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Scott said.</p><p>Melisa McNeill, his public defender, described Cruz in his initial court appearance Thursday as a "broken child" who suffered brain-development problems and depression.</p><p>Gun buyers are seldom turned down because of mental illness. From 1998 to 2014, the FBI rejected 16,669 potential gun buyers because a background check found a mental health adjudication, about 1.4% of the roughly 1.2 million background checks that resulted in a denial.</p><p>Mental health entered the debate after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. The gunman in that case had been treated at a Virginia hospital on the grounds that he might be a danger to himself or others. He was nonetheless able to pass a background check. After that, a lot of states moved to supply the FBI and their own background check databases with records about people with mental illness.</p><p>Rob Lasky, FBI special agent in charge of the Miami division, said his agency received a tip in September about a comment made on a YouTube video that said, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”</p><p>The FBI reviewed databases and couldn’t track down who made the statement, he said.</p><p>“There was no connection found to South Florida,” Lasky said.</p><p><strong>More on the Florida school shooting:</strong></p><p><a>Florida school shooting suspect charged with premeditated murder</a></p><p><a>What we know about Nikolas Cruz, attack at Parkland high school</a></p><p><a>'My school is being shot up and I am locked inside!': Chaos in Florida school</a></p><p><a>Why the AR-15 keeps appearing at America's deadliest mass shootings</a></p><p>Cruz was equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and magazines of ammunition when he opened fire Wednesday, police said.</p><p>"An AR-15 is not for hunting, it's for killing," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said on the Senate floor Thursday.</p><p>After Cruz’s mother died Nov. 1, he moved in with a friend’s family around Thanksgiving, the family’s lawyer, Jim Lewis, told AP. The family was aware of the rifle and made him keep it locked in a cabinet, but he had a key, he said.</p><p>Photos posted in an Instagram account linked to Cruz show a half-dozen weapons displayed on a mattress and a box of ammunition.</p><p>Lewis said the family wasn’t aware of other weapons in the cabinet. The family is cooperating with authorities and had no idea he was planning the shooting, Lewis said.</p><p>They had “no indication that anything severe like this was wrong,” Lewis said. “He totally kept this from everybody.”</p><p>Cruz had been part of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps while attending the school as a freshman, and he wore one of the group’s shirts Wednesday. But current members of JROTC said the uniforms have changed, and Cruz’s shirt didn’t match theirs.</p><p>“If he wore the uniform, he would have been more successful,” said Colton Haab, 17, who attends the school.</p><p>Gun control advocates are calling for tougher measures.</p><p>Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the Florida shooting came on the 10th anniversary of a shooting at Northern Illinois University that killed five people and injured 17.</p><p>“A numbness is setting in,” Durbin said on the Senate floor. “Schools and colleges are doing the best they can to prepare and protect their students. But is Congress doing all that it can to keep our nation’s students safe from gun violence? Not even close.”</p><p>Gabrielle Giffords, a former member of the House who survived a shooting, urged Congress to act after three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history in the past five months.</p><p>House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declined Thursday to support a proposal made by Democrats to create a special committee to study gun violence. He made reference to the shooter's possible mental illness but said Congress had passed legislation to deal with that question.</p><p>“This is not the time to jump to some conclusions," Ryan said.</p><p>Experts say national tragedies such as Wednesday’s rarely lead to changes in federal gun laws because people burrow further on their own side of the fence. States with tight gun restrictions squeeze tighter. States with loose laws open up more.</p><p>"In the wake of these shootings, reactions are polarized, and people tend to double down,” said Timothy Lytton, associate dean for research and faculty development at Georgia State’s School of Law.</p><p>"States are likely to do more of the same, while Congress is likely to be deadlocked on the issue of guns," he said. </p><p>He pointed to less politically toxic solutions that might help curb gun violence, including bolstered school security. In many parts of the country, metal detectors are commonplace.</p><p>If lawmakers start "thinking about security of schools the same way we think about it in other places,” Lytton said, people on both sides of the gun debate might find middle ground. </p><p><em>Contributing: Brett Murphy, USA TODAY Network; Emily Bohatch, The (Stuart, Fla.) News; Alan Gomez, USA TODAY</em></p> L Washington Post Analysis | ‘Mentally disturbed’: Trump is already pointing away from gun control <p>The suspected gunman in Wednesday's <a>rampage at a South Florida high school</a> is accused of killing at least 17 people with an AR-15 rifle that authorities say he purchased legally. But President Trump is already signaling that the deadliest school shooting since 2012 will not be an occasion to reevaluate access to such weapons, often referred to as assault rifles.</p><p>In a <a>tweet</a> Thursday morning, the president framed the tragedy as indicative of a mental health issue, rather than a gun-control problem.</p><p>“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed,” Trump wrote, “even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”</p><p>In a <a>televised address</a> hours later, the president repeated the phrase “mentally disturbed” and pledged to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health” but did not mention gun control. Last year, Trump <a>signed a bill</a> lifting an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people who receive Social Security payments for mental illnesses to buy guns.</p><p>The president's message fits a pattern in post-shooting remarks from his White House and Republicans more broadly.</p><p>In October, after a gunman in Las Vegas <a>killed 58 people</a>, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “One of the things that we don't want to do is try to create laws that won't stop these types of things from happening.” A day later, Trump said that “number one, he was a sick and demented person,” referring to the gunman, Stephen Paddock.</p><p>“One of the things we've learned from these shootings is that often, underneath this, is a diagnosis of mental illness,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said at the time, adding that “mental health reform is a critical ingredient to making sure that we can try and prevent these things from happening.”</p><p>In November, after a gunman killed 26 people at a church in Texas, Trump said, “This isn't a guns situation. ... This is a mental health problem at the highest level.”</p><p>In December, on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., Sanders was asked during a media briefing about the Trump administration's efforts to prevent attacks like that one and the one in Las Vegas.</p><p>“I know that they're looking at some of the mental health issues,” she replied. “It's something the president has raised before. But in terms of a specific policy that we're moving forward with that would have prevented that, I'm not aware of what that would be.”</p><p>Perhaps anyone who seeks to kill people in a mass shooting is, by definition, mentally unhinged, but the suspected gunman in Florida, Nikolas Cruz, 19, appears to fit the description particularly well. Here's a bit from The Washington Post's <a>report</a>:</p><p>Advocates of stricter gun laws hope that each mass shooting will be the one that finally spurs Congress to act, but the early indication is that Trump will not support any such effort because, in his view, the real problem in Florida was the absence of a mental health intervention.</p> R Washington Examiner Gun control? Democrats already talking about taking 'action' after Florida shooting!/quality/90/? <p><span>M</span>ultiple Democrats in Congress are calling for "action" following a deadly shooting at a high school in Florida in Wednesday. </p><p> Within hours of the shooting, <a>which police say killed at least 17 people</a>, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., asked, "When did mass shootings become a normal part of American life?" </p><p> "There's an entire generation growing up in fear that their school will be next," Bennet added. "My thoughts are with families of victims &amp; first responders in FL, but I also know that thoughts are not enough. It's time for action." </p><p> </p><p> <br/> His words were similar to that of Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who has snagged headlines in recent months with his pointed critiques of President Trump and against the release of a Republican memo in the House Intelligence Committee which outlined alleged surveillance abuses by the U.S. government. </p><p> "My heart is broken again — this time for the victims of the Parkland school shooting, and the families whose children will not come home today," Schiff said. "It is within the power of Congress to save lives, if we find the courage to act." </p><p> </p><p> <br/> House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's political team sent out a tweet, calling for leadership in Congress. </p><p> "Too many of these instances take place across the country. As leaders, we have a moral obligation to prevent them and protect our communities. We need more than thoughts and prayers," the verified account said. </p><p> </p><p> <br/> While most politicians have shied away from going as far as calling for gun control, as details about the shooting, at least one Democrat did utter the the phrase. </p><p> "Heartbreaking news coming out of Florida. 18 school shootings this year. We need more than thoughts, prayers, and moments of silence. It’s time for sensible gun control. Our kids deserve much better," tweeted Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., tweeted. </p><p> </p><p> <br/> Gun control legislation often becomes a contentious point of debate between Republicans and Democrats in Congress and for federal regulation following a mass shooting in the U.S., <a>including a review of "bump stocks" attachments</a> following the Las Vegas mass shooting last year. </p><p> Police said Wednesday evening they have found at least one AR-15-style rifle at the scene of the Florida shooting, along with "multiple magazines." </p><p> Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took the opportunity to actually promote legislation to ban assault weapons. </p><p> "Another mass shooting. Reportedly another AR-15," Feinstein said. "My bill to ban assault weapons is ready for a vote. How long will we accept weapons of war being used to slaughter our children?" </p><p> </p><p> <br/> At least one prominent Republican from Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio, <a>said it is too soon</a> to talk about gun control because all the facts about the shooting have yet to be determined. </p><p> "The gun part gets a lot of coverage, but the violence part is also the one we need to examine," the senator told CBS Miami. </p><p> </p><p> <br/> Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., <a>who went on the Senate floor and blamed Congress for a wave of school shootings</a> in the U.S., later tweeted a warning aimed at those who would dismiss a debate on gun violence as soon as tomorrow. </p><p> "Don't tell me tomorrow isn't the appropriate time to debate gun violence. If you're a political leader doing nothing about this slaughter, you're an accomplice," Murphy tweeted. </p><p> </p><p> <br/> Julian Castro, housing and urban development secretary under former President Barack Obama, accused members of Congress of being "in the pocket of gun lobbyists to ban assault weapons again and make background checks universal." </p><p> </p><p> <br/> Some journalists have noted the frequency that AR-15-style rifles have been used in recent mass shootings in the U.S., including in Las Vegas. </p><p> </p>


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C Reuters Trump woos seniors with order to boost Medicare health program <p>THE VILLAGES, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump sought to woo seniors on Thursday with an executive order aimed at strengthening the Medicare health program by reducing regulations, curbing fraud, and providing faster access to new medical devices and therapies. </p><p>The order, which Trump discussed during a visit to a retirement community in Florida known as the Villages, is the Republican president’s answer to some Democrats who are pushing for a broad and expensive expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans. </p><p>Trump referred to such proposals as socialist and pledged to prevent them from coming to fruition, a political promise with an eye toward his 2020 re-election campaign in which healthcare is likely to be a major issue. </p><p>“They want to raid Medicare to fund a thing called socialism,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd in Florida, a political swing state that is critical to his goal of keeping the White House. </p><p>The executive order follows measures his administration rolled out in recent months designed to curtail drug prices and correct other perceived problems with the U.S. healthcare system. Policy experts say the efforts are unlikely to slow the tide of rising drug prices in a meaningful way. </p><p>Trump suggested that drug companies were backing impeachment efforts in Washington, which he considers a “hoax,” as a way to sabotage his efforts to make prescriptions affordable. </p><p>“We’re lowering the cost of prescription drugs, taking on the pharmaceutical companies. And you think that’s easy? It’s not easy... I wouldn’t be surprised if the hoax didn’t come from some of the people that we’re taking on,” he said. </p><p>Medicare covers Americans who are 65 and older and includes traditional fee-for-service coverage in which the government pays healthcare providers directly and Medicare Advantage plans, in which private insurers manage patient benefits on its behalf. </p><p>Seniors are a key political constituency in America because a high percentage of them vote. </p><p>The order pushes for Medicare to use more medical telehealth services, which is care delivered by phone or digital means, leading to cost reductions by reducing expensive emergency room visits, an administration official told Reuters ahead of the announcement. </p><p>The order directs the government to work to allow private insurers that operate Medicare Advantage plans to use new plan pricing methods, such as allowing beneficiaries to share in the savings when they choose lower-cost health services. </p><p>It also aims to bring payments for the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program in line with payments for Medicare Advantage. </p><p>Trump’s plans contrast with the Medicare for All program promoted by Bernie Sanders, a Democratic socialist who is running to become the Democratic Party’s nominee against Trump in the 2020 presidential election. </p><p>Sanders’ proposal, backed by left-leaning Democrats but opposed by moderates such as former Vice President Joe Biden, would create a single-payer system, effectively eliminating private insurance by providing government coverage to everyone, using the Medicare model. </p><p>“Medicare for All is Medicare for none,” said Seema Verma, the administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, on a conference call with reporters, calling the proposal a “pipe dream” that would lead to higher taxes. </p><p>Sanders has argued that Americans would pay less for healthcare under his plan. </p><p>The White House is eager to show Trump making progress on healthcare, an issue Democrats successfully used to garner support and take control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. Trump campaigned in 2016 on a promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, his predecessor President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law also known as “Obamacare.” So far he has not repealed or replaced it. </p><p>In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it would propose a rule for imports of cheaper drugs from Canada into the United States. A formal rule has not yet been unveiled. </p><p>The administration also issued an executive order in June demanding hospitals and insurers make prices they charge patients more transparent. Another in July encouraged novel treatments for kidney disease.  </p><p>Trump considered other proposals that did not reach fruition. </p><p>A federal judge in July shot down an executive order that would have forced drugmakers to display list prices in advertisements, and Trump scrapped another planned order that would have banned some rebate payments drugmakers make to payers. </p><p>The administration is mulling a plan to tie some Medicare reimbursement rates for drugs to the price paid for those drugs by foreign governments, Reuters reported. </p><p>Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Caroline Humer, Lisa Lambert and Carl O'Donnell; Editing by David Gregorio</p> R Washington Examiner Warren calls for nearly $9 trillion tax on employers to fund 'Medicare for all'!/quality/90/? <p>Elizabeth Warren <a>released</a> a long-awaited "Medicare for all" funding plan after coming under pressure by Democratic rivals about how to fund such a system without middle-class tax increases. </p><p>The plan, published Friday, would raise $20 trillion in taxes on employers, financial firms, giant corporations, and the top 1% of earners, including raising $2.3 trillion by cracking down on tax evasion. The Warren campaign estimates that, once it redirects state spending to the federal government, it will spend $26 trillion to get "Medicare for all," an estimate that falls $8 trillion short of what many outside analysts have projected. </p><p>Warren says she can get there through savings over time with lower administrative costs and paying providers less, even though other estimates that take these changes into account disagree with that conclusion. </p><p>“We don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare for All,” Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, said in a <a>Medium</a> post detailing her payment plan. Instead, she estimates that because people will no longer be contributing to premiums in their paychecks, they'll be taking home more money and that would in turn help raise $1.4 trillion. </p><p>The plan estimates employers will send $8.8 trillion over 10 years to the federal government as an "Employer Medicare Contribution," which the campaign says would be the same as what employers pay for their workers to get health insurance now. It also includes cuts to military spending and savings through immigration reform, both of which will be difficult to get through Congress. The federal government would take on $6 trillion in spending that states already are expected to pay out under current law. </p><p>The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful <a>has been under pressure</a> from Democratic rivals to release details about how she would fund the Medicare for All Act from rival Bernie Sanders that she supports. The plan, according to the left-of-center Urban Institute, <a>would increase federal spending</a> by $34 trillion over a decade and result in $7 trillion more total national health spending over a decade than the current healthcare system. </p><p>Warren's campaign writes that overall healthcare spending would rise to $52 trillion over a decade without any changes and predicts that "Medicare for all" will cost the United States less than that. That claim, however, clashes with the Urban Institute's <a>conclusion</a> that the cost of providing more healthcare to more people is higher than the amount of savings to the system from reducing <a>how much medical providers get</a> reimbursed or by cutting administrative costs. That analysis predicts "Medicare for all" would result in $59 trillion total national health spending over a decade. </p><p>There might be some differences that account for a little bit of the estimate from the Warren campaign.<b> </b>For instance, the Warren plan would pay hospitals 110% of Medicare rates, while the Urban Institute estimates it would pay 115%. The Medicare for All Act Sanders introduced does not set rates but allows the Department of Health and Human Services to do so. </p><p>The plan was greeted by backlash from the industry, which says it will face major closures under "Medicare for all" and that patients will lose access to care. Hospitals, which are among the largest employers in many towns, are a <a>formidable force in politics</a>, and tap into higher rates paid by private health insurance to make up the difference in what Medicare pays. </p><p>According to a <a>RAND study from 2019</a>, the payments they get from private insurers are often more than twice as high as Medicare rates, which is significantly higher than the 110% Warren is promising. Another <a>study</a> from the conservative Manhattan Institute estimates private health insurers pay between 140%-160% of Medicare rates. Roughly 180 million people in America are covered by private plans. </p><p>"Hospitals are already paid far less than the cost of caring for Medicare patients — and patients on an underfunded system would strain hospitals even more — and could threaten access to care and hospitals’ survival<u>,</u>" said Tom Nickels, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association. </p><p>Still, hospitals would be recouping more from Medicaid patients, who comprise 74 million people. </p><p>The plan would be more generous than the current Medicare system, covering services from mental health to prescription drugs and oral health, all without co-pays. It would force everyone living in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, into a government plan and abolish private health insurance. </p><p>Other ways Warren would help pay for it would be make changes to the wealth tax on billionaires she previously pitched, by doubling it from a 3% tax on wealth over $1 billion to a 6% tax. She predicts that will raise an additional $1 trillion over 10 years.</p><p>As part of her post, Warren teased another plan she'll be releasing in the coming weeks, about how to transition to "Medicare for all." The Sanders bill calls for a four-year transition, while the House companion bill would move everyone onto a government plan in two years. Obamacare, which covered 20 million people, began enrolling people in coverage through Medicare and the marketplaces five years after it passed. </p> C Associated Press Warren vows no middle class tax hike for $20T health plan <p>WASHINGTON (AP) — Elizabeth Warren on Friday proposed $20 trillion in federal spending over the next decade to provide health care to every American without raising taxes on the middle class, a politically risky effort that pits the goal of universal coverage against skepticism of government-run health care.</p><p>The details of Warren’s “Medicare for All” plan aim to quell criticism that the Massachusetts Democrat and presidential candidate has been vague about how she would pay for her sweeping proposal. Her refusal to say until now whether she would impose new taxes on the middle class, as fellow progressive White House hopeful Bernie Sanders has said he would, had become untenable and made her a target in recent presidential debates.</p><p>However, her detailed proposal was quickly attacked by her moderate rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, whose campaign said it amounts to “mathematical gymnastics.” Some independent experts also questioned whether her numbers were realistic.</p><p>In a 20-page online post, Warren said a cornerstone of her plan would require employers to transfer to the government almost all the $8.8 trillion she estimates they would otherwise spend on private insurance for employees.</p><p>“We can generate almost half of what we need to cover Medicare for All just by asking employers to pay slightly less than what they are projected to pay today, and through existing taxes,” she wrote.</p><p>Campaigning in Iowa, Warren said Friday her plan was drafted with help from top health care experts and economists. “If Joe Biden doesn’t like that ... I’m just not sure where he’s going,” she said.</p><p>Companies with fewer than 50 employees that don’t already sponsor coverage would be exempt from the proposal. And in a nod to unions whose support will be key in the Democratic primary, Warren said that employers already offering health benefits under collective bargaining agreements will be allowed to reduce how much they send to federal coffers — provided they pass those savings on to employees.</p><p>Democrats have spent decades debating the proper role of government in health care, and the complicated politics surrounding the issue quickly resurfaced after Warren released her proposal. Biden, who favors building on the Affordable Care Act, slammed Warren’s plan as eliminating private insurance coverage and said it still amounts to a tax increase on workers.</p><p>President Donald Trump has branded Medicare for All as socialism.</p><p>For all the attention being paid to Warren’s proposal, Sanders is the chief architect of Medicare for All. He has previously released several options to pay for it, including a 4% income tax “premium” that kicks in after the first $29,000 for a family of four — very much affecting the middle class.</p><p><a>Politics aside</a> , some independent experts raised doubts about the Warren campaign’s estimates.</p><p>“They are making more aggressive assumptions about the same things we already made aggressive assumptions about,” said John Holahan, an economist at the Urban Institute who co-authored a recent cost analysis that the Warren campaign is using as a starting point for its estimates.</p><p>And then there’s the task of passing such legislation through Congress. A Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to approve anything approaching Medicare for All. And if Democrats took the Senate majority, the party almost surely won’t have enough votes to break a filibuster.</p><p>“There’s the practical application of getting 60 people in the Senate who are going to vote for this,” said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who has consulted Warren on rural policy.</p><p>A critical question for Warren is whether her $20 trillion cost estimate is accurate. The Urban Institute think tank recently pegged the cost closer to $34 trillion over 10 years.</p><p>If Warren is underestimating the cost by that much, her predictions about needed tax revenue would come up well short.</p><p>“This seems like an exercise to low-ball the revenues needed to actually make this enormous transition,” said Emory University economist Ken Thorpe, who has done his own estimates of Medicare for All.</p><p>How Warren’s proposed employer contribution would work in the real world will get close scrutiny. It could create winners and losers among companies depending on their health care costs, which can reflect such factors as the age of the workforce and the generosity of benefits.</p><p>“It’s going to lock in inequities based on companies that have an older workforce with better benefits,” Thorpe said.</p><p>If the transfers from employers to the government don’t raise enough money, Warren said she would make up the difference by imposing a supplemental contribution requirement for big companies “with extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.”</p><p>All told, Warren estimates she could generate $20.5 trillion in revenue through a combination of, among other things, higher levies on capital gains and other investments and new taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans.</p><p>Some of her other revenue estimates also could hit political snags. Many lawmakers may be reluctant to side with Warren’s call to raise $800 billion over 10 years by eliminating a Pentagon contingency fund used for anti-terrorism operations. Another $400 billion represents dividends from an immigration overhaul, a legislative feat that has eluded the past three presidents.</p><p>And a whopping $2.3 trillion would come from stronger enforcement of existing tax laws — money that would have to be identified and collected before it could be used.</p><p>Over the weekend, Warren and more than a dozen other candidates will be in Iowa, which holds the nation’s leadoff presidential caucuses in three months. Health care remains a dominant issue as the first votes of the Democratic contest near.</p><p>___</p><p>Associated Press Writer Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.</p> R Fox Online News Trump vows to lower US drug prices by ending ‘global freeloading,’ taking on industry <p>President aims to make good on campaign promise by attacking the problem on multiple fronts; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports from Washington.</p><p>President Trump on Friday unveiled his administration’s plan for lowering prescription drug prices, vowing to “take on” the powerful pharmaceutical industry while calling for an end to “global freeloading” that has allowed foreign countries to pay less for American medicine.</p><p>“America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries,” Trump said Friday in a Rose Garden address.</p><p>Trump said Americans, through higher drug prices at home, are essentially subsidizing the “enormous cost of research and development” for the benefit of other countries getting those drugs for cheap.</p><p>“In some cases, medicine that costs a few dollars in a foreign country costs hundreds of dollars in America for the same pill, with the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant,” Trump said. “That is unacceptable.”</p><p>Said Trump, “It's unfair. It's ridiculous. It's not going to happen any longer. It's time to end the global freeloading once and for all.”</p><p>Trump said he's directing his top trade official to correct this "injustice" with U.S. trading partners.</p><p>Trump's “American Patients First” blueprint includes several other tactics for lowering notoriously high drug prices in the U.S.</p><p>The plan calls for increasing competition, creating incentives for drugmakers to lower initial prices and slashing federal rules that make it harder for private insurers to negotiate lower prices.</p><p>“Today my administration is launching the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people,” Trump said.</p><p>The president also had tough words for America’s pharmaceutical industry, saying he plans to “take on one of the biggest obstacles to affordable medicine, the tangled web of special interests.”</p><p>Today, my Administration is launching the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American People. We will have tougher negotiation, more competition, and much lower prices at the pharmacy counter! <a><span>https://www.</span><span>TFJub1dwUXd8MUJSSmpyWXZOVlJKdx7hbfdOVng0_-0ftv64fLypcG0P4pNxauuOXLAcsAqv?t=6s </span>…</a></p><p>President Trump delivers remarks</p><p>“The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers,” he said. “No industry spends more money on lobbying than the pharmaceutical health products industry.”</p><p>Top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services also focused on the imbalance between drug prices at home and overseas, writing in a Fox News op-ed that “foreign countries and their government-run health-care systems bully our drug manufacturers into unrealistically low prices, allowing other countries to freeload off of American innovation.”</p><p>“Americans should be able to reap the rewards of living in the country that has brought the world more new drugs than any other,” wrote HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.</p><p><b><a>HHS SECRETARY, FDA COMMISSIONER, CMS ADMINISTRATOR: HELP IS ON THE WAY FOR AMERICANS FACING HIGH DRUG PRICES</a></b></p><p>Trump’s plan, though, will not include giving the federal Medicare program power to directly negotiate prices with drugmakers. Trump campaigned on the idea, which is vigorously opposed by the pharmaceutical industry.</p><p>Democrats hit him over the issue Friday.</p><p>“Instead of putting forth a bold initiative, the president pulled his punch,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “The president is breaking his promise to the American people to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, which would save seniors billions of dollars at the pharmacy.”</p><p>Public outrage over drug costs has been growing for years, because Americans are being squeezed in a number of ways: New medicines for cancer and other life-threatening diseases often launch with prices exceeding $100,000 per year. Drugs for common ailments like diabetes and asthma routinely see price hikes around 10 percent annually. Meanwhile some companies have been buying up once-cheap older drugs and hiking prices by 1,000 percent or more.</p><p><i>Fox News’ Laquasha Banks, Mike Emanuel and Kristin Brown and The Associated Press contributed to this report.</i></p> R Washington Times Trump signs order enhancing Medicare, slams Dems’ plans while in Florida <p><a>The liberal media’s sordid history of Russia-Ukraine fake news</a></p><p><a>Remembering the brave CIA patriots killed in the 2009 Khost attacks</a></p><p><a>If unemployment stays low and wages rise, Trump will be unstoppable in 2020</a></p><p>President <a>Trump</a> signed an executive order Thursday aimed at improving the <a>Medicare</a> program for seniors, hoping to redirect the 2020 campaign conversation from his failure to overhaul President Obama’s program to his step-by-step efforts to stamp out health crises and stiff-arm Democrats pushing government-run care.</p><p>Speaking in The Villages, Florida, a massive retirement community, the president renewed his 2016 pledge not to touch <a>Medicare</a> while in office.</p><p>“As long as I am president, no one will lay a hand on your <a>Medicare</a> benefits,” he told a crowd of people who rely on the federal insurance program for Americans 65 and older.</p><p><strong>TOP STORIES</strong><br/> <a>Schumer wants 'impartial' impeachment trial for Trump but didn't want one for Clinton: Report</a><br/> <a>Graham complains Democrats are persecuting, not prosecuting, Trump</a><br/> <a>Pentagon's 'leak' of commando drill sends message to North Korea</a> </p><p>Officials said <a>Mr. Trump</a>’s order will increase seniors’ choices, help them access their health data and expand “telehealth” services that allow patients and doctors to interact from afar.</p><p>It promotes <a>Medicare</a> Advantage plans, which are run by private companies that contract with the government, by offering to let enrollees share in savings from better health outcomes. And it ensures that consumers aren’t steered into the traditional “fee-for-service” program over <a>Medicare</a> Advantage.</p><p>Democrats slammed the campaign-style push, noting <a>Mr. Trump</a>’s own budget proposals would curtail spending on <a>Medicare</a>.</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> mainly used his speech to contrast his broader approach with Democratic plans to expand coverage through ideas such as government-run “<a>Medicare</a> for All,” which his administration views as a “socialist” push to upend health plans that millions of people know and enjoy.</p><p>“These people on the other side, these people are crazy, by the way. They want to take it away, give you lousy healthcare,” <a>Mr. Trump</a> said in freewheeling remarks that touched on Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, the 2020 Democratic primary and “open borders.”</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> tried to find common ground with the senior crowd, saying retirement looks pretty good.</p><p>“I should be in this audience, clapping,” he said. “But I didn’t trust anybody to be standing here [at the podium], because I know what you have.”</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> swept into office pledging to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health plan that offered “insurance for everybody,” though his GOP allies were unable to send a bill to his desk in 2017.</p><p>The president settled for incremental changes. He expanded access to cheaper, bare-bones coverage and pushing Congress to zero out the “individual mandate” penalty for shirking insurance as part of congressional Republicans’ broad tax overhaul.</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> says he would like to take another run at replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, though he is punting major decisions and votes until after the 2020 election.</p><p>“If the Republicans take back the House, keep the Senate, keep the presidency, we’re going to have a fantastic plan,” he said.</p><p>The administration has shifted its rhetoric away from Obamacare in recent months, favoring <a>Mr. Trump</a>’s push to tackle “surprise” medical billing, speed the approval of generic drugs and explore ways to safely import cheaper drugs from Canada.</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> said he’s being so bold that health care lobbyists might be behind the Democrats’ impeachment bid.</p><p>“I would be very surprised if the hoax didn’t come a little bit from the people that we’re taking on,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was from some of these industries that we take on, like pharma.”</p><p>Democrats are working with <a>Mr. Trump</a> on some of his health care efforts but say bigger action is needed.</p><p>Liberals pushing a single-payer system say their model will enhance the <a>Medicare</a> program for seniors while extending government-sponsored care to Americans of all ages, as millions continue to go uninsured or struggle with medical debt.</p><p>“Every single <a>Medicare</a> for All and public option proposal put forward by members of Congress would provide more Americans more health care — increasing the number of people with coverage, lowering out-of-pocket costs, and expanding benefits,” said Maura Calsyn, managing director of health policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.</p><p>But <a>Trump</a> officials argue government-run programs would restrict choice, rob millions of people of private insurance and weaken a program that’s working for seniors.</p><p>Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for <a>Medicare</a> and Medicaid Services, dubbed <a>Mr. Trump</a> “the great protector” of <a>Medicare</a>. She said proposals such as <a>Medicare</a> for All or a public option to compete with private plans are immoral and would “demote American seniors to little better than second-class status.”</p><p>Sensing the risky politics of single-payer, candidates such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden are running on plans to patch up Obamacare and enhance it.</p><p><a>Mr. Trump</a> is seizing on any vulnerability he can, however, pointing to some Democrats’ push to subsidize health coverage for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.</p><p>“They put them way ahead of American citizens like you, who obey our laws,” <a>Mr. Trump</a> told the Floridians.</p><p> </p><p>Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. <a>Click here for reprint permission</a>.</p><p> </p><p><i></i> Click to Read More and View Comments <i></i></p><p><i></i> Click to Hide <i></i></p> C Reuters Trump assails high drug prices, avoids direct hit on industry <p>WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday blasted drugmakers and healthcare “middlemen” for making prescription medicines unaffordable for Americans, but healthcare stocks rose as his administration avoided aggressive direct measures to cut prices. </p><p>Trump made the remarks at the White House Rose Garden in a speech to introduce what he called “the most sweeping action in history” to lower drug prices. The effort comes as a growing number of Americans struggle with the cost of their medications, and cite healthcare concerns as a top priority for Washington ahead of congressional elections in November. </p><p>Trump said his administration would take aim at the “middlemen” in the drug industry who became “very, very rich,” an apparent reference to health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). He also said the pharmaceutical industry is making an “absolute fortune” at the expense of American taxpayers. </p><p>“Everyone involved in the broken system - the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers, and many others - contribute to the problem,” Trump said. </p><p>Trump campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices ahead of the 2016 presidential election, even accusing drugmakers of “getting away with murder.” Healthcare investors had braced for months for more direct attempts to regulate U.S. prices that would cut into industry profits. </p><p>But Trump has since abandoned ideas to lower drug costs he supported during the campaign, including allowing the government’s Medicare plan for older Americans to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers, and enabling U.S. consumers to import lower-cost medicines from other countries. </p><p>On Friday, Trump’s senior health officials outlined more modest policy proposals to introduce more competition among drugmakers and pass on savings to consumers. </p><p> Critics said the policies pointed to the influence the pharmaceutical industry wields with the administration. </p><p>“I think very expensive champagne will be popping in drug company boardrooms across the country tonight,” said Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings. </p><p>Senator Ron Wyden, also a Democrat, said the proposals “amount to asking drug companies nicely to lower their prices with zero accountability.” </p><p>Shares of major drugmakers, insurers and PBMs rose after the speech. The S&amp;P 500 healthcare index .SPXHC, a broad gauge of large healthcare stocks, closed up 1.5 percent, its biggest single-day percentage gain in a month. </p><p>“The plan was a lot less aggressive than investors expected,” wrote Alex Arfaei, analyst at BMO Capital Markets. </p><p>Trump also placed blame on foreign governments, saying they “extort unreasonably low prices” from U.S. drugmakers, forcing companies to charge more in this country. </p><p>“America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries,” he said, adding that he has instructed the U.S. Trade Representative to make the issue a top priority with trading partners. </p><p>As the speech was underway, the Department of Health and Human Services released what it called a blueprint titled “American Patients First” with details of its plan. </p><p>It said near-term actions would include giving commercial plans that administer Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits for seniors more power to negotiate prices with drugmakers. Federal health plans would also test ways to pay for drugs based on their effectiveness. </p><p>The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would evaluate requiring drugmakers to include the list prices they set on medicines in their advertising. Drugmakers argue that list prices do not reflect actual cost after discounts and rebates. </p><p>Some of the administration’s longer-term priorities include restricting use of rebates, creating incentives for drugmakers to lower list prices, and investigating tools to address foreign government practices that it said could be harming innovation and driving up U.S. prices. </p><p>“There’s not a big proposal here that is going to make a huge difference. There are a bunch of smaller technical changes,” said Sam Richardson, Associate Professor of Economics at Boston College. </p><p>Regarding forcing other countries to pay more for drugs, Richardson said: “We don’t really have the policy levers to get that to happen.” </p><p>Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive, said many of the actions the government was considering would not require approval by Congress and could take place through executive action within months. He said it would take years to restructure the U.S. drug system. </p><p>Trump also blasted the pharmaceutical and insurance industries for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying to “protect the status quo.” </p><p>His remarks follow a renewed focus on the influence of the drugmaker lobby, which spends the most of any lobbying group in Washington. </p><p>Earlier this week, Swiss drugmaker Novartis (<span><a>NOVN.S</a></span>) admitted it paid $1.2 million to a consulting firm created by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. </p><p>Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington, additional reporting by Caroline Humer, Lewis Krauskopf and Michael Erman in New York; editing by Michele Gershberg and Bill Berkrot</p> L The Atlantic Big Pharma Gets a Big Win From Trump <p>During the 2016 presidential campaign, one candidate famously claimed that drug companies were “getting away with murder”—using armies of lobbyists to influence Congress and artificially inflating drug prices.</p><p>But a lot can change in two years. That candidate was Donald Trump, who aggravated fellow Republicans on the trail with his forceful and blunt criticism of the pharmaceutical industry. Taking a page from the Democrats, he embraced a plan to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers, promising that such a scheme <a>could save hundreds of millions of dollars</a> and reduce drug prices. When he was asked why the plan, which has circulated around Capitol Hill for about 15 years, hadn’t yet passed Congress, Trump said without reservation that it was all drug companies’ fault.</p><p>The industry is now having the last laugh. In a speech Friday on drug pricing, President Trump completed his 180-degree turn on Candidate Trump’s promises. The White House’s new plan, as outlined, does seek to address high prescription-drug costs. “We will not rest until this job of unfair pricing is a total victory,” Trump said. But it doesn’t directly challenge the pharmaceutical industry and the direct role it plays in setting prices. Indeed, the new policy largely meets the goals of big pharma, signaling an ever-tightening bond between Trump and drug manufacturers.</p><p>One of the major pieces of the plan that Trump outlined Friday is an ongoing effort to change the federal government’s <a>340B Drug Pricing Program</a>, which provides rebates to hospitals that treat a high share of Medicaid and uninsured patients. Those rebates are intended to lower the cost of care by forcing drug manufacturers to provide medications—especially high-cost drugs for chronic conditions—at cheaper prices to the neediest populations. But the $18 billion 340B program has been the setting for a war between drug manufacturers, who claim hospitals are simply pocketing the savings and not passing them on to patients, and the hospitals themselves. They claim drug manufacturers aren’t actually lowering prices, and instead are using the rebates as an excuse to increase their list prices.</p><p><a>In a policy document released Friday</a>, the White House described its commitment to requiring that safety-net hospitals “use their 340B drug discounts to provide care to more low-income and vulnerable patients.” But an earlier move from the administration undercuts that commitment. Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services slashed the 340B program to the tune of <a>somewhere between $900 million to $1.65 billion</a>, effectively siding with drug manufacturers who say the rebates aren’t worthwhile.</p><p>Trump also seemed to take aim at a longtime industry foe in his speech: pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs. PBMs <a>function as industry middlemen</a>, administering the prescription-drug programs for large insurance programs covering the majority of Americans. These companies handle negotiations between insurers and drug manufacturers on drug prices, including managing rebates from manufacturers that are designed to entice insurers into accepting certain medications on their plans. Drug manufacturers argue that PBMs have wrangled too-high rebates that they keep to themselves instead of passing on to consumers.</p><p>In its policy document, the White House vaguely committed to “requiring Pharmacy Benefit Managers to act in the best interests of patients.” Trump was much more forceful in his remarks. “We’re very much eliminating the middlemen,” Trump said, apparently referring to PBMs. “The middlemen became very, very rich.”</p><p>Drug companies argue that limiting the 340B discounts and PBM rebates will reduce the consumer costs, especially for elderly people receiving their health care through Medicare Part D. But on that front, Trump has also walked back a major campaign pledge: allowing Part D to negotiate directly with insurers to lower costs of the drugs it offers. Trump said in his speech Friday that “we will have tougher negotiation,” and the policy blueprint released by the White House pushes for “allowing greater flexibility in benefit design to encourage better price negotiation.” But that policy doesn’t seem likely to affect the baseline negotiating capacity of the program: Congress would probably need to pass legislation to allow the health and human-services secretary <a>to make deals with drug companies</a>. Without that legislation in place, Trump has little executive authority to change anything.</p><p>While Trump did outline support for a Medicare program that would limit out-of-pocket spending on drugs, that reform seems similarly toothless. That’s because it would have little to do with actual drug prices. Instead, it would increase the amount that Medicare would pay for some seniors’ drugs, in effect shifting more tax dollars toward hiding the true costs of care for consumers.</p><p>Perhaps the most impactful set of policies that Trump outlined—and that he actually has the power to pursue—involve what he calls “putting American patients first”: intervening in an escalating drug-price war and increasing research-and-development competition between domestic drug companies and international drug companies. International competition has long been a major focus of drug lobbying, as manufacturers in the United States claim they shoulder most of the burden of research, while price-setting in other countries means they don’t reap commensurate global profits. In response, Trump promised to release a comparison of global drug prices. He also pledged to change drug-patenting and Food and Drug Administration regulation to enhance domestic research and expand the ability of pharmaceutical companies to keep effective monopolies over their drugs.</p><p>In all, while the president promised “the most sweeping action in history to lower the costs of prescription drugs for the American people,” the policies described Friday seem somewhat marginal, and none address the actual prices pharmaceutical companies are charging.</p><p>Trump seemed to frame his remarks, as well as the new policy outline, as a continued rebuke of the industry, saying “the drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers.” But that rebuke falls especially flat this week, given <a>the still-unfolding story</a> that pharmaceutical giant Novartis paid his personal attorney Michael Cohen $1.2 million to gain a better understanding of the president’s health-care policy.</p><p>Trump’s policy seems to fall pretty much in line with what Novartis and other pharmaceutical companies have lobbied for years to get. With health secretary and former Eli Lilly president Alex Azar on board to fill in the details, the president outlined a plan that validated longtime drug-industry critiques of Part D payments, rebates, and PBMs. The plan shifts more government money toward obscuring the list prices of manufacturers’ drugs, and takes a protectionist stance on American companies. President Trump calls his plan “American patients first,” but the interests of American pharmaceuticals may be taking priority.</p><p>We want to hear what you think about this article. <a>Submit a letter</a> to the editor or write to</p> L New York Times Trump Uses Health Care Announcement to Brand Democrats as Socialists <p>ORLANDO, Fla. — President Trump on Thursday delivered a campaign-style speech to an audience of elderly voters, pitching a new executive order that aims to improve private Medicare plans as the responsible alternative to the <a>“Medicare for all” policies</a> supported by some of his Democratic political opponents.</p><p>“Standing in solidarity with our nation’s seniors, I declare once again that America will never be a socialist country,” Mr. Trump told a crowd at the Villages in Florida, the country’s largest retirement community, where the population is overwhelmingly white and conservative and where many residents are veterans.</p><p>“Democrat health care proposals would put everyone into a single socialist government program” and end private insurance for all Americans, Mr. Trump told the supportive crowd.</p><p>While the Medicare for All Act proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont would indeed cover all Americans under a single national health insurance program, most of the other Democratic presidential candidates want to give people the option of buying into Medicare, or a similar “public option,” but do not require it.</p><p><em>[</em><a><em>Medicare for All? For More? Here’s How Medicare Works.</em></a><em>]</em></p><p>That did not stop Mr. Trump from pitching himself in a critical swing state as the bulwark against a raid on health care benefits that members of his audience rely on. “As long as I’m president, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare benefits,” Mr. Trump said, adding that “I will never allow these politicians to steal your health care and give it away to illegal immigrants.”</p><p>Nearly all the Democratic candidates have said they support granting government health coverage to undocumented immigrants. At a debate in June, the idea received a unanimous show of hands in support.</p><p>But while Mr. Trump’s speech suggested that the Democratic proposals for expanding coverage put retirees’ access to health care in grave danger, the plans would not actually diminish their benefits. The Sanders plan, for example, would eliminate Medicare but provide more benefits for all Americans, including the elderly, than the program currently offers. It would have lower out-of-pocket costs compared with Medicare, though it would increase taxes.</p><p>Mr. Trump’s speech, delivered from behind a lectern with a presidential seal, was billed as an official White House event and his travel was not paid for by his campaign. But it was almost indistinguishable in much of its content from the remarks Mr. Trump delivers at his “Make America Great Again” rallies.</p><p>Mr. Trump called the Democratic presidential field a bunch of “maniacs” and noted that Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whom he referred to by the pejorative nickname Pocahontas, “came up from the ashes.” He noted that he would have to knock her out of the running again “because I don’t see sleepy Joe Biden making it.”</p><p>Mr. Trump said his victory in the 2020 election was critical to preventing the country from being hijacked by the “radical left,” which he said was “consumed by rage and radicalism and insatiable lust.” And he said that House Democrats had begun impeachment proceedings because “they know they can’t beat us fairly.”</p><p>Mr. Trump’s advisers earlier in the day previewed the new executive order as part of Mr. Trump’s commitment to protecting Medicare. Seniors “like what they have, so the president is going to protect it,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said in a conference call with reporters. Mr. Azar also used the call to frame Democrats’ health care plan as too focused on reducing the ranks of the uninsured.</p><p>The executive order seeks to beef up Medicare Advantage, the plans offered by private insurers that contract with Medicare and currently cover about a third of the program’s 60 million beneficiaries, according to senior administration officials. The order also calls for lowering Medicare Advantage’s premiums, allowing providers to spend more time with patients and reducing Medicare fraud.</p><p>The executive order, originally called “Protecting Medicare From Socialist Destruction,” was renamed “Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors” before Mr. Trump’s speech. But administration officials said the renaming was a distinction without a difference.</p><p>Joe Grogan, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the goal was still to contrast the administration’s commitment to protecting seniors with “the vision for Medicare as a one-size-fits-all, single-payer system” supported by many Democratic candidates.</p><p>“Medicare for all is Medicare for none,” added Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who has been a vocal critic not just of the Democratic proposals but also of the Affordable Care Act. “Proposals like Medicare for all, as well as the public option, they are morally wrong because they would demote American seniors to second-class status.”</p><p>Democrats competing for their party’s presidential nomination strongly disagree: All advocate expanding health care coverage, though their strategies to do so vary.</p><p>Mr. Trump’s appearance in a Republican-leaning region of Florida reflects the judgment of advisers who see health care, in recent years a Democratic issue, as a better focus for the president than the impeachment proceedings underway on Capitol Hill. And they see it as a way of tying all the Democratic candidates to the most progressive wing of the party and branding them as socialists.</p><p>Since his attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act ended in failure, Mr. Trump has repeatedly promised to unveil a new health care plan. Instead he has issued a series of executive orders and proposed rules to counter Democratic health care proposals for expanding coverage.</p><p>In July, for instance, the administration said it was taking steps to make it easier to import some drugs from Canada and to force hospitals to disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurers.</p><p>Administration officials on Thursday morning underscored what has become a frequent talking point for Mr. Trump: that the price of prescription drugs fell in 2018 for the first time in decades.</p><p>But that claim is misleading. While the Consumer Price Index for prescription drugs declined in 2018, many experts say that is too narrow a measurement and that prices for many drugs, especially brand-name ones, have continued to rise.</p><p>Mr. Trump appeared at ease in front of a supportive audience.</p><p>“I should be retiring with you,” Mr. Trump said. “I should be in this audience, clapping. But I didn’t trust anybody to be standing here, because I know what you have.”</p> L Yahoo! News Elizabeth Warren finally has a plan for Medicare for All <p>Sen. Elizabeth Warren released her plan on Friday, and this time one details how she would pay for Medicare for All.</p><p>Following other presidential candidates releasing their health care plans, <a>Warren’s plan</a> pledges that “there will be no middle class tax increases” and Americans would benefit from the elimination of premiums and other out-of-pocket-costs.</p><p>“$11 trillion in household expenses back in the pockets of American families,” the release stated. “That’s substantially larger than the largest tax cut in American history.”</p><p>Warren’s plan would cost "just under" $52 trillion over a decade.</p><p>So how would Warren actually pay for it? It all goes back to her wealth tax on the richest 1% of Americans and cracking down on tax evasion and fraud.</p><p>Warren wants to place a 0.1% tax on 1% on the sales of bonds, stocks, or derivatives, which she claims would raise $800 billion in revenue over the next decade and “would likely have little to no effect on most investors.”</p><p>She also wants billionaires to pay a 0.06% tax on each dollar of net worth above $1 billion, which she says would raise an additional $1 trillion in revenue.</p><p>“Yes, billionaires will have to pay a little more, but they will still likely pay less than what they would earn just from putting their assets into an index fund and doing nothing,” Warren said.</p><p>Her plan would also increase IRS funding, expand third-party reporting and withholding requirements, strengthen enforcement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, and allow employees who disclose tax evasion and abuse to receive whistleblower protections.</p><p>“A big part of our current tax gap problem is that we’re letting wealthier taxpayers get away with paying less than what they owe,” she said. “Studies <a><strong>show</strong></a> that the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers misrepresent their income more frequently than the bottom 90%.”</p><p>$3 trillion with an ultra-millionaire tax</p><p>$2.9 trillion from making sure large corporations pay fair share of taxes</p><p>$2.3 trillion in net federal revenue from cracking town on tax evasion and fraud</p><p>$1.65 trillion in revenue from a country-by-country minimum tax on foreign earnings of 35% and taxation of foreign firms</p><p>$1.25 trillion over next 10 years by getting rid of asset depreciation loophole</p><p>$1.15 trillion in tax revenue by increasing take-home pay for workers</p><p>$800 billion in revenue over next 10 years from a 0.1% tax on financial transactions</p><p>$798 billion from reforming the defense budget</p><p>$400 billion in direct federal revenue from immigration reform</p><p>$250 billion in revenue "because individual spending on premiums, deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket costs will basically disappear"</p><p>$100 billion over next 10 years from big bank fees</p><p><strong>Total: About $14.6 trillion.</strong></p><p>Warren also stated that comprehensive payment reform will help reduce health care spending.</p><p>“Under my approach, Medicare for All will sharply reduce administrative spending and reimburse physicians and other non-hospital providers at current Medicare rates,” she said. “My plan will also rebalance rates in budget neutral way that increases reimbursements for primary care providers and lowers reimbursements for overpaid specialties.”</p><p>She added: “Why? This is partially because providers will now get paid Medicare rates for their Medicaid patients — a substantial raise. But it’s also because providers spend an enormous amount of time on billing and interacting with insurance companies that reduces their efficiency and takes away from time with patients.”</p><p>Instead of employers spending money on their workers’ health expenses, under Warren’s plan, there would be a new employer Medicare contribution. She states that this would save $200 billion over the next decade, and would help unions as well.</p><p>“We can generate almost half of what we need to cover Medicare for All just by asking employers to pay slightly less than what they are projected to pay today, and through existing taxes,” Warren said.</p><p><em>Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter </em><a><em>@adrianambells</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><strong>READ MORE:</strong></p><p><a><strong>Economist: Medicare costs need to be brought 'under control' before expansion</strong></a></p><p><a><strong>'Everyone’s health insurance is more expensive' as more Americans manage chronic diseases</strong></a></p><p><a><strong>Millions of Americans with employer health care are still spending a fortune</strong></a></p><p><a><strong>Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance</strong></a></p><p><em>Follow Yahoo Finance on </em><a><em>Twitter</em></a><em>, </em><a><em>Facebook</em></a><em>, </em><a><em>Instagram</em></a><em>, </em><a><em>Flipboard</em></a><em>, </em><a><em>SmartNews</em></a><em>, </em><a><em>LinkedIn</em></a><em>,</em><a><em> YouTube</em></a><em>, and</em><a><em> reddit</em></a><em>.</em></p>


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body L Washington Post After a cold, busy month at the border, illegal crossings expected to surge again <p>In a dusty lot along the U.S.-Mexico border fence, a single Border Patrol agent was stuck with few options and falling temperatures.</p><p>A group of 64 parents and children had waded through a shallow bend in the Rio Grande to turn themselves in to the agent on the U.S. side. He radioed for a van driver, but there were none available. By 2 a.m., the temperature was 44 degrees.</p><p>The agent handed out plastic space blankets. The group would have to wait.</p><p>Mothers and fathers swaddled their families in the silvery, crinkling sheets and clustered with them on the ground, shushing the children. They shivered in the cold wind, and the sound of crying carried on, like a broken alarm.</p><p>Groups like this arrived again and again in February, one of the coldest and busiest months along the southern border in years. U.S. authorities detained more than 70,000 migrants last month, according to preliminary figures, up from 58,000 in January. The majority were Central American parents with children who arrived, again, <a>in unprecedented numbers</a>.</p><p>During a month when the border debate was dominated by the fight over President Trump’s push for a wall, unauthorized migration in fiscal 2019 is <a>on pace</a> to reach its highest level in a decade. Department of Homeland Security officials say they expect the influx to swell in March and April, months that historically see large increases in illegal crossings as U.S. seasonal labor demand rises.</p><p>The number of migrants taken into custody last year jumped 39 percent from February to March, and a similar increase this month would push levels to 100,000 detentions or more.</p><p>It was a surge in the border numbers in March 2018 that <a>infuriated</a> President Trump and launched his administration’s attempt to deter families by separating children from their parents. Trump stopped the separations six weeks later to quell public outrage. But the controversy the policy generated — and its widely publicized reversal — is now viewed by U.S. agents as the moment that opened the floodgates of family migration even wider, worsening the problem it was meant to fix.</p><p>While arrests along the border fell in recent years to their lowest levels in half a century, they are now returning to levels not seen since the George W. Bush administration, driven by the record surge in the arrival of Central American families.</p><p>For U.S. border agents, the strain has grown more acute, as they struggle to care for children using an enforcement infrastructure made in an era when the vast majority of migrants were Mexican adults who could be quickly booked and deported. The Central American families — called “give-ups” because they surrender instead of trying to sneak in — have left frustrated U.S. agents viewing their own role as little more than the facilitators for the last stage of the migrants’ journey. They are rescuing families with small children from river currents, irrigation canals, medical emergencies and freezing winter temperatures.</p><p>“We’re so cold,” said Marlen Moya, who had left Guatemala with her sons six weeks earlier and crossed the Rio Grande with the group of 64.</p><p>Moya’s son Gael, 6, was sick with a fever and moaning, his face streaked with tears. “In Juarez, we were shoved and yelled at,” she said, looking back across the river to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. “We slept on the street.”</p><p>Asked why she didn’t cross during the day, when temperatures were mild, Moya said she worried that Mexican police would stop them. “We’ve already come this far,” she said.</p><p>Much of the attention last fall was focused on caravan groups, mostly from Honduras, as they reached Tijuana, Mexico, not far from San Diego. Then concern shifted to Arizona and New Mexico, where groups of rural Guatemalan families began showing up at remote border outposts. Two Guatemalan children died in December after being taken into U.S. custody, as Homeland Security officials declared a humanitarian and national security crisis.</p><p>The <a>border deal </a>Trump and Democrats reached last month includes $415 million to improve detention conditions for migrant families, including funds to potentially open a new processing center in El Paso. But in the meantime, families continue to arrive in groups large and small, in faraway rural areas and right in downtown El Paso.</p><p>“The numbers are staggering, and we’re incredibly worried that we will see another huge increase in March,” said a Homeland Security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the unpublished figures.</p><p>The group by the river had landed on the no man’s land between the Rio Grande and the tall, steel American fencing. They were on U.S. soil, a place that already has a border wall.</p><p>The lone U.S. agent with the group was the only one available along that span. Drug smugglers have been using the groups as a diversion, so the agent couldn’t leave the riverbank.</p><p>No vans or buses arrived to pick up the families. Other agents were busy at the nearby processing center because so many groups had arrived in El Paso that night, and still others were at the hospital, where they were helping parents and children receive treatment for severe flu symptoms.</p><p>Homeland Security officials have been urging lawmakers to grant them broader powers to detain and quickly deport families in a search for deterrent measures. Their attempts to crack down using executive actions have been blocked repeatedly in federal court.</p><p>The Trump administration has begun sending some asylum-seeking Central Americans back to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed, but so far that experiment has been <a>limited</a> to California’s San Ysidro port of entry.</p><p>About 150 migrants were sent back across the border in February, according to Mexican authorities, but that is a small fraction of the more than 2,000 unauthorized migrants coming into U.S. custody on an average day.</p><p>Homeland Security officials said Friday that the pilot program, which they call <a>Migrant Protection Protocols</a>, will expand to El Paso and potentially other locations in coming weeks, predicting that the number of Central Americans sent back would grow “exponentially.” Some of the cities where they will wait are among the most dangerous in Mexico.</p><p>Mexican officials are cooperating by providing general assistance and job placement for those sent back to wait, but privately they have warned the Americans that their capacity to take parents with children is extremely limited, especially families that need welfare assistance and enrollment in already-crowded public schools.</p><p>U.S. court restrictions on the government’s ability to keep children in immigration jails — and the sheer volume of people arriving — have left Homeland Security agencies defaulting increasingly to the overflow model Trump deplores as “catch-and-release.”</p><p>Volunteer workers from religious charities were visible at the El Paso airport last month, guiding newly arrived Central American families through the terminal, directing them like a tour group.</p><p>The adults wore GPS monitors on their ankles and carried manila envelopes with instructions telling them when to appear in court for their asylum claims. Some were traveling in premium seats, the only last-minute tickets available when their families arranged the flights.</p><p>It was the first time many of the migrants had been on an airplane. For Dionel Martinez, it was the second.</p><p>The 48-year-old Guatemalan came to the United States three decades earlier, working as a landscaper until he was deported — his only other time on a plane.</p><p>“We’re going to Pennsylvania,” he said. A friend had arranged a job at a pizzeria there.</p><p>With the savings from his first stint in the United States as a young man, Martinez was able to buy some land in his home country and start a family. But a drought this year had left them hungry.</p><p>“There was no harvest,” he said. “Not one grain of corn.”</p><p>His son Darwin, 13, came with him to the United States this time. The boy fainted during the journey, his father said, when they had to stand for hours in the back of a cattle truck.</p><p>Martinez said he paid 30,000 Guatemalan quetzals, about $2,500, to a “coyote” smuggling guide. It was a cheap rate, but it meant that he and his son traveled through Mexico in trucks, like cargo.</p><p>Across rural Guatemala, Martinez said, word has spread that those who travel with a child can expect to be released from U.S. custody. Smugglers were offering <a>two-for-one pricing</a>, knowing they just needed to deliver clients to the border — not across it — for an easy surrender to U.S. agents.</p><p>“If this continues, I don’t think there will be anyone left in Guatemala,” Martinez joked. The men from his village near the town of Chiquimula were all leaving, he said, bringing a child with them.</p><p>Martinez said he used the family home as collateral. He had four months to pay off the $2,500. “I need a way to feed my family, and this is it,” he said.</p><p>Not all Central American families are economic migrants. Others, especially from Honduras, arrive with stories of gang threats and violent attacks. After crossing the border, a U.S. asylum officer performs a preliminary screening to determine whether their fears of persecution are credible enough to deserve a hearing with an immigration judge.</p><p>The problem, Homeland Security officials say, is that a growing portion of those who pass the initial screening never appear in court. They know asylum standards are tightening. Or, like Martinez, they have a prior deportation from the United States that all but disqualifies them from getting asylum.</p><p>Once released into the U.S. interior, some shed their monitoring bracelets and slip into the shadows to remain in the United States, a country where wages are 10 times higher than in Central America.</p><p>The saturation at the border means that it matters little whether a parent’s story of persecution is sufficiently credible; the United States has just three detention facilities appropriate for families, with about 3,000 beds, and those are full. The pipeline backs up into Border Patrol stations that were never designed for long-term detention, let alone children, many of whom arrive sick after days in cramped quarters.</p><p>The tiny, remote Antelope Wells, N.M., border crossing, where 8-year-old <a>Jakelin Caal</a> arrived in December before falling fatally ill, is now staffed with a team of medically trained Border Patrol agents. But that crossing has gone quiet in recent weeks, as more large groups turn up on El Paso’s riverbanks.</p><p>For families too poor to hire a smuggler, it was the only place to cross, converging with others who sought safety in numbers. Carlos Guevara, 35, said he and his son had wandered the streets of Juarez with nowhere to sleep, then spotted the crowd heading for the river.</p><p>“I want to give my son a better life,” he said. Guevara said he earned about $6 a day for farm labor in Honduras, and left a month earlier with, Carlitos, 7, en route to Michigan. “I can’t stand being poor anymore.”</p><p>Swathed in plastic, his son approached the headlights of an agent’s Border Patrol truck, its idling engine offering some warmth. Other children in the group were still crying and calling out.</p><p>Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol official assigned to accompany reporters, called on the radio, and said he would go back to the nearest station and get a van himself.</p><p>“This is what’s happening on a daily basis,” Cordero said. “You’ve got to understand that we have to take care of everyone that comes across. And this requires transportation and a lot of logistical support.”</p><p>“Hopefully the vans can get here to transport them to one of the processing facilities,” he said. “But for right now, this is where we stay.”</p><p>He lined up the parents and children to issue bracelets to each one with a number corresponding to their arrival group. “They will be provided with basic needs, whether it’s water, juices, warm meals,” Cordero said. They would also get a medical screening.</p><p>Two blue-uniformed customs officers, summoned to help the Border Patrol agents, arrived with a van after 3 a.m.</p><p>The agents loaded the families into the vehicle, needing three trips to transport the entire group. The crying had stopped. On the radio, a dispatcher said there were already 607 migrants in custody at the processing center where they were headed, more than twice its capacity.</p> C BBC News Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem <p>A top US immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.</p><p>The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".</p><p>The official added the words "who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".</p><p>He later said the poem had referred to "people coming from Europe". </p><p>Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration's acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Monday a new "public charge" requirement that limits legal migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in the future.</p><p><a>The new regulation, known as a "public charge rule",</a> was published in the Federal Register on Monday and will take effect on 15 October. </p><p>The rule change is intended to reinforce "ideals of self-sufficiency", officials said. Critics argue that it will prevent low-income US residents from seeking help.</p><p>On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty still applied.</p><p>"Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus's words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'Give me your tired, give me your poor,' are also a part of the American ethos?" asked NPR's Rachel Martin.</p><p>"They certainly are," Mr Cuccinelli responded. "Give me your tired and your poor - who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."</p><p>"That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed - very interesting timing," he added.</p><p>The actual passage reads in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"</p><p>In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome "who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition".</p><p>After the host asked if the policy "appears to change the definition of the American dream," he said: "We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege. </p><p>"No one has a right to become an American who isn't born here as an American." </p><p>Mr Cuccinelli was pressed later on CNN about his comments, and pushed back on claims he was trying to re-write the poem. He insisted he was answering a question and accused people on the left of "twisting" his comments. </p><p>Then asked by anchor Erin Burnett about what America stands for, he said: "Of course that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe - where they had class-based societies where people were considering wretched if they weren't in the right class."</p><p>The two then discussed their own immigrant ancestry, with Ms Burnett pointing out his rule would have "excluded" her family.</p><p>"I'm here because they were allowed in, and I'm an anchor on CNN," she said. </p><p>Beto O'Rouke, a Democratic presidential hopeful from Texas, shared a clip from the interview and said the comments show his Trump administration "think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people".</p><p>Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the US are unlikely to be affected by the rule change. </p><p>It also does not apply to refugees and asylum applicants.</p><p>But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or US citizenship will be subject to the change. </p><p>Those who do not meet income standards or who are deemed likely to rely on benefits such as Medicaid (government-run healthcare) or housing vouchers in future may be blocked from entering the country.</p><p>Those already in the US could also have their applications rejected.</p><p>An estimated 22 million legal residents in the US are without citizenship, and many of these are likely to be affected.</p><p>President Trump has made immigration a central theme of his administration. This latest move is part of his government's efforts to curb legal immigration.</p><p>The Democratic led House Homeland Security Committee condemned Mr Cuccinelli's revision in a tweet, calling the words "vile and un-American".</p><p>"It's clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out," the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli "a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government".</p><p>Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.</p><p>Asked about Mr Cuccinelli's remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: "I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States."</p><p>"I'm tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things. </p><p>"So I think we're doing it right."</p> R Breitbart News ICE Arrests 680 Illegal Aliens in Largest Single-State Raid in U.S. History <p>The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency arrested 680 illegal aliens who had been working at seven Mississippi food processing plants, federal officials confirmed on Wednesday.</p><p>ICE agents conducted the largest single-state raid in United States history and the largest workplace raid in the last 11 years when they arrested 680 illegal aliens at seven food processing plants across six cities in Mississippi, including plants in Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie, and Sebastapol.</p><p>Not since 2008 — when about 595 illegal workers were arrested — has this many illegal aliens been arrested in a workplace raid by ICE.</p><p>According to federal officials, some of the hundreds of illegal aliens arrested on Wednesday have already been ordered deported by an immigration judge and have refused to self-deport. Those illegal aliens will be quickly deported.</p><p>Other illegal aliens have yet to go through the immigration courts and will be afforded a review process where they will make a case to remain in the U.S.</p><p><iframe></iframe></p><p><em>Immigration and Customs Enforcement worksite enforcement operation in Canton, Mississippi. (ICE)</em></p><p><em>Immigration and Customs Enforcement worksite enforcement operation in Canton, Mississippi. (ICE)</em></p><p><em>Immigration and Customs Enforcement worksite enforcement operation in Canton, Mississippi. (ICE)</em></p><p>U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst told the media at a press conference:</p><p>We are first and foremost a nation of laws and the Rule of Law is the bedrock, the very foundation, of our great country. I heard someone say that a country without borders is not a country at all and while I agree with that, I would also add that without law there is no order. Without the enforcement of law, there is no justice.</p><p>The food processing plants raided by ICE include the Koch Foods Inc. facility in Morton, Mississippi. The plant is not associated with the GOP mega-donor billionaires Charles and David Koch.</p><p>ICE officials said the investigation into the illegal aliens and their employers is ongoing and could not comment on specifics of the case.</p><p>“These are not victimless crimes,” an ICE official said. “Illegal workers create vulnerabilities in the marketplace … as well as stealing the identities of legal U.S. workers, citizens, and legal immigrants alike, who must suffer the long-lasting consequences of their stolen identities.”</p><p><strong><em>John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at </em><a><em>@JxhnBinder</em></a><em>.</em></strong></p><p><a>Crime</a><a>Immigration</a><a>Politics</a><a>Deportation</a><a>food processing plants</a><a>ICE</a><a>illegal immigration</a><a>Immigration and Customs Enforcement</a><a>Mississippi</a><a>Southern Border</a><a>U.S.-Mexico border</a></p> L New York Times Trump Signals Even Fiercer Immigration Agenda, With a Possible Return of Family Separations <p>WASHINGTON — President Trump’s purge of the nation’s top homeland security officials is a sign that he is preparing to unleash an even fiercer assault on immigration, including a possible return of his controversial decision last summer to separate migrant children from their parents, current and former administration officials said Monday.</p><p>Mr. Trump shook up the ranks of his top immigration officials after spending months demanding that they take tougher action to stop the surge in migrant families at the border and seething about what he considers their overly legalistic refusals to do what he has said was necessary.</p><p>That anger was underscored on Monday when a judge blocked Mr. Trump’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed — a practice that immigration advocates called inhumane and illegal. Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that existing law did not give Mr. Trump the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols.”</p><p>The immediate targets of the president’s growing fury about the situation at the border were the officials who he saw as insufficiently steely minded: <a>Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned<span> </span>Sunday</a> as the secretary of homeland security, and Ron Vitiello, whose nomination to permanently lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement was pulled after Mr. Trump remarked that “we want to go in a tougher direction.”</p><p>But the longer term effect of the eruption of Oval Office frustration is likely to be a burst of hard-line policies that stand out even in an administration that has pursued an unprecedented series of executive actions and rules changes aimed at reducing legal and illegal immigration into the United States.</p><p>In addition to urging Mr. Trump to revisit the idea of family separation, several of the president’s closest immigration confidants have been pushing him to consider even harsher measures.</p><p>Those include further limits on who can seek asylum; stronger action to close ports of entry along the Mexican border; an executive order to end birthright citizenship; more aggressive construction of a border wall; and a more robust embrace of active-duty troops to secure the border against illegal immigration.</p><p>In an administration that is famous for chaos and last-minute decision-making, it is unclear on which of those policies the president might choose to move forward. But by removing Ms. Nielsen, Mr. Vitiello and perhaps others, Mr. Trump is getting rid of voices who sometimes cautioned him against taking actions they believed to be illegal or unwise.</p><p>“There was a perception that Secretary Nielsen was not as committed to the sort of full-throated approach that others in the administration, including the White House, were seeking,” said Seth Grossman, who served as deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security from 2011 to 2015.<br/></p><p>He said Ms. Nielsen’s exit and Mr. Vitiello’s step back “signals there is an intention to pursue more aggressive policies.”</p><p>Three senior administration officials with knowledge of the president’s conversations over the past several months confirmed that Mr. Trump has repeatedly told aides that he wants to restart the family separation policy. One of the officials said the president had made it clear to aides that he liked Ms. Nielsen personally, but was critical of her job performance. All three officials spoke about the internal discussions on the condition of anonymity.</p><p>Stephen Miller, the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda and one of the president’s closest advisers in the White House, has been an advocate for a modified version of the family separation policy known as “binary choice.”</p><p>Others, including Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and an informal immigration adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, have also been urging tougher actions.</p><p>Under a binary choice policy, which is highly controversial, migrant parents would be given a choice of whether to voluntarily allow their children to be separated from them, or to waive their child’s humanitarian protections so the family can be detained together, indefinitely, in jail-like conditions. Immigration advocates have said the idea is inhumane and would be found illegal by courts.</p><p>Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.</p><p>Ms. Nielsen was the head of the department during the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy last year that led to the separation of thousands of families. More than 2,700 children were separated from their parents at the border under that policy to prosecute anyone caught crossing the border illegally, even those with families seeking asylum on humanitarian grounds.</p><p>Mr. Trump eventually <a>relented on the family separations</a>, and a <a>federal judge in California halted them</a> in June. But in January, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services <a>reported that thousands more families might have been separated</a> than previously reported.</p><p>While Mr. Trump has been hampered by the law in his efforts to impose some new enforcement policies, there are certain things he can do without congressional approval.</p><p>Those include shutting down ports of entries along the southwestern border and slowing down the process for both illegal and legal immigration.</p><p>Last month, he closed American field offices abroad that had helped facilitate immigration applications. Mr. Trump has also limited the number of people who can request asylum each day through a process known as “metering,” and he has threatened to shut down traffic lanes and tariff trucks at the ports of entry.</p><p>Jonathan Meyer, a former deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, said the Trump administration will continue to pursue hard-line immigration policies because they are important to the president’s political supporters, who helped fuel Mr. Trump’s success in the 2016 presidential campaign.</p><p>“It appears that at times it’s less important in this administration, whether they lose or win in court, than to just say they’ve been able to have done it and have it as a talking point,” Mr. Meyer said. “And have an opportunity to criticize the courts if they lose.”</p><p>Mr. Meyer said installing a new secretary at the department will further embolden Mr. Trump.</p><p>“He’s willing to move forward and do things even when he knows he’s going to be sued for it and when the legality is in question,” Mr. Meyer said. “If that’s the position you take and if you have people willing to implement that strategy, there’s a lot of things you can do. But eventually you’re going to be hit with a temporary restraining order.”</p><p>Mr. Grossman said Mr. Trump’s personnel moves were indeed a signal that the administration would embrace aggressive policies. But he added that Mr. Trump has threatened to enact such policies before, only to back off.</p><p>The president could also be stymied by further court rulings blocking his efforts to crack down on immigrants.</p><p>On Monday in California, the judge said in his ruling that in addition to violating immigration laws, the protocols did not include “sufficient safeguards” to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s obligation against returning migrants to places where their “life or freedom would be threatened.”</p><p>Immigration advocates hailed the decision, calling it the latest victory in the legal battles with the Trump administration that began when the president imposed a travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries just days after taking office in 2017.</p><p>“Try as it may, the Trump administration cannot simply ignore our laws in order to accomplish its goal of preventing people from seeking asylum in the United States,” said Judy Rabinovitz, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case.</p><p>The Trump administration had negotiated the protocols with the Mexican government because of the president’s longstanding anger with so-called catch and release policies in which asylum seekers are temporarily released into the United States while they wait for their court hearings.</p><p>The policy of forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico was an effort to stop that from happening. But the court ruling means that the president will have to abandon it, at least for the time being.</p> L BuzzFeed News Families "Are Scared To Death" After A Massive ICE Operation Swept Up Hundreds Of People;0,71 <p>On Wednesday morning, Dianne received an alarming call. It was her fiancé, dialing her from the chicken processing plant in a nearby central Mississippi town where he worked long shifts deboning meat.<br/></p><p>“ICE is here!” he yelled. In the background, Dianne could hear other laborers terrified. The panic was palpable. One worker called out in Spanish, “Ayúdame! [Help me!]”</p><p>Dianne’s fiancé, who came to the country more than two decades ago from Mexico without authorization, told her he had no way out and would not be able to escape immigration enforcement agents. His voice trembling, he told Dianne that she needed to make a promise before he got off the line: “Take care of my kids.”</p><p>What the workers at the plant didn’t realize in that moment was they were about to be arrested in one of the largest worksite operations ever conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. In total, some 680 suspected undocumented workers were arrested Wednesday after ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations agents swept through seven agricultural plants in the state as part of a criminal investigation. Deportation officers and HSI agents arrested the workers as they served criminal search warrants at the food plants.</p><p>Dianne’s fiancé is the father to three children, ages 13, 15, and 19, with his ex-wife, who was also undocumented and worked at a separate food plant in the area.</p><p>Not long after Dianne’s phone call with her fiancé, she found out that the kids’ mother was also arrested. Dianne, who requested her last name not be used for fear of consequences for her fiancé, sped to the local school, where she witnessed other adults coming to pick up children whose parents had been arrested. Some parents, she said, weren’t able to retrieve kids because they hadn’t been listed as authorized guardians.</p><p>On her way out of the school, she saw one girl looking confused, not knowing where to go because her parents had been arrested too.</p><p>“They were crying. They were shocked. They’re just worried,” Dianne said of her fiancé’s children. “I’m just trying to stay strong for them. I’m trying to remain as calm as possible. It’s one thing to know this could happen but it is another to see it happening. This is heart-wrenching. They are scared.”</p><p>Details of the targets of the immigration operation, which was conducted in partnership with the local US attorney’s office, were not immediately available as officials said the investigation was ongoing.<br/></p><p>“We are a nation of laws, and we will remain so by continuing to enforce our laws and ensuring that justice is done,” said US Attorney Mike Hurst.</p><p>ICE officials said that each worker arrested would be evaluated for potential release on humanitarian grounds.</p><p>The arrests Wednesday were part of the Trump administration’s renewed focus on cracking down on businesses suspected of employing undocumented workers. ICE officials have said that employers who hire undocumented workers gain an “unfair advantage” over others and take jobs from US citizens and legal residents.</p><p>ICE agents made nearly 10 times as many immigration arrests at workplaces in fiscal year 2018 than they did the previous year. In April, ICE agents arrested more than 280 immigrant workers at a phone repair business in Texas, the largest such sweep at a single worksite in more than a decade, officials said.</p><p>John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE under the Obama administration, said Wednesday’s operation was massive in scope and would have a long-term impact on the immigrant community.</p><p>“This is a high-profile way to send a message and to create more fear in immigrant communities about ICE and about their ability to live and work in this country,” he said. “This burns an incredible amount of resources to apprehend people, few of whom pose any threat to the US. It’s for show more than for anything else.”</p><p>Such raids were once more common. ICE agents arrested nearly 400 workers at a meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa, in May 2008, the last operation that netted more arrests at a single worksite. The Obama administration, however, cut back on large sweeps.</p><p>Prosecutions of employers and owners of companies who knowingly hire undocumented workers can be rare. Researchers at <a>Syracuse University</a> found that in the 12 months before March, just 11 employers had been prosecuted.</p><p>Luis Cartagena, a pastor in Morton, Mississippi, said he witnessed ICE agents surround the local chicken processing plant. “It looked like an invasion in a war,” he said, noting that there were dozens of agents, buses, and helicopters were roaming the air. Cartagena said the operation had already traumatized the Latino community.</p><p>“People are terrified,” he said. “They are scared to death.”</p><p>Administrators at Leake County School District first realized something had happened when adults came to pick up children whose parents had been arrested in the operation. A shelter was set up at the local elementary school in case any children went home and found that their parents were arrested. Bus drivers were told to monitor each drop-off to make sure someone was home.</p><p>Jordan Barnes, the owner of a gym in Forest, Mississippi, helped house some children whose parents and family members had been caught up in the raid Wednesday. By evening, Barnes said that all of the children in his facility had left and had been reunited with a relative. Barnes said that some workers arrested in the operation — mainly women — had been shuttled back to town.</p><p>An ICE spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that some workers arrested in the operation had been released after being processed. Each cases is being evaluated individually, the official said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Dianne spent Wednesday trying to track down attorneys to help her fiancé and figure out their next steps. Her fiancé’s children were quiet in the afternoon, eating lunch and asking Dianne to help get their parents out of detention. Their mother’s birthday is Thursday, and the children knew that she would be likely to spend it in detention. By late Wednesday, they had no idea where either parent had been taken.</p><p>Dianne knew that some people would support the arrest of undocumented workers like her fiancé, but she wishes they could empathize.</p><p>“He was trying to make a better life for his children,” she said. “You see these kids hurting and crying, knowing their parents aren’t coming home soon. I’ve seen that all day. People are freaking out.”</p> C Roll Call Trump renews misleading claim about Obama and child separation policy <p>President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed it was the Obama administration that began the practice of separating migrant children from adults at the U.S.-Mexico border, a contention nonpartisan fact-checkers call “misleading.”</p><p>“Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown — I think they were very inappropriate — were by President Obama’s administration, not by Trump. President Obama had child separation.</p><p>“Take a look. The press knows it. You know it. We all know it. I’m the one who stopped it. President Obama had child separation,” he told reporters alongside his Egyptian counterpart in the Oval Office.</p><p>[<a><em><strong>Democrats worry Trump will replace Nielsen with an immigration hard-liner</strong></em></a>]</p><p>The independent group has examined this claim, which has been expressed before by Trump administration officials. The organization labeled it “<a>misleading.</a>”</p><p>“Experts say there were some separations under previous administrations, but no blanket policy to prosecute parents and, therefore, separate them from their children,” FactCheck concluded.</p><p>Jeh Johnson, who was DHS secretary under former President <a>Barack Obama</a>, told NPR last June that he could not say definitively that separations “never happened” during the Obama years.</p><p>“There may have been some exigent situation, some emergency. There may have been some doubt about whether the adult accompanying the child was in fact the parent of the child,” Johnson said. “I can’t say it never happened but not as a matter of policy or practice. It’s not something that I could ask our Border Patrol or our immigration enforcement personnel to do.”</p><p>The Washington Post’s Fact Checker staff has found the president has uttered <a>over 9,400 false or misleading statements</a> since taking office.</p><p><span>Want insight more often? </span><span>Get Roll Call in your inbox</span></p><p>Some reports have surfaced since Trump ousted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that the two clashed over the president’s desire to restart the program. He sent mixed signals about that on Tuesday.</p><p>[<a><em><strong>Trump’s double backtrack ‘probably won’t matter very much’</strong></em></a>]</p><p>“We’re not looking to do it,” Trump said of reviving his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from adults at the southern border. But he also described it as an effective deterrent against illegal migration and contended the Obama administration started the policy.</p><p>“I’ll tell you something, once you don’t have it that’s why you have many more people coming,” the president said. They are coming like it’s a picnic, like, ‘Let’s go to Disney Land.’”</p><p>Commander Jonathan D. White of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, told senators on Tuesday that the White House has not consulted with him about reinstating the zero tolerance policy, which resulted in more than 2,700 children being separated from their parents.</p><p>“I would never support the use of family separation and the systematic traumatization of children as a tool for immigration policy,” White said.</p><p>With Nielsen on her way out, U.S Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles fired on Monday and the White House last week withdrawing the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Trump was asked Tuesday if he is purging DHS’s senior leadership.</p><p>“I never said I’m cleaning house,” Trump claimed. “We have a lot of great people over there.” </p><p><em>Camila DeChalus contributed to this report.</em></p><p> </p><p><strong><em>Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call <a>on your iPhone</a> or your <a>Android</a>.</em></strong></p> L Mother Jones Republicans rely on a tired, familiar strategy to attack Ocasio-Cortez <p><span>Tom Williams/ZUMA</span></p><p>Republicans are claiming outrage after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) compared immigration detention centers along the southern border to concentration camps—remarks she first made during an Instagram Live session late Monday and has since defended.</p><p>“That is exactly what they are: They are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez told her followers on Monday. “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”</p><p>“I don’t use those words lightly,” she continued. “I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that because it is very difficult to accept the fact that that’s how bad things happen.”</p><p>As her comments emerged in the media, Republicans accused Ocasio-Cortez of debasing Holocaust victims and survivors. “You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a tweet Tuesday morning. </p><p>Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded by asking Cheney how she would describe the use of “mass camps of people detained without a trial.” Cheney, in turn, recommended that Ocasio-Cortez read testimonies from Holocaust survivors, as well as Elie Wiesel’s seminal memoir,<em> Night.</em> “Here’s an Amazon link to make it easy for you to purchase,” the Wyoming congresswoman added.</p><p>Cheney’s response notably did not include an answer to Ocasio-Cortez’s initial question.</p><p>Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to “educate me,” I’m curious:<br/><br/>What do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial?<br/><br/>How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents? <a><span>https://</span><span>tus/1140988893627478018 </span>…</a></p><p>Please <span>@</span><span>AOC</span> do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this. <span>https://</span><span>tatus/1140846386042171392 </span>…</p><p>The back-and-forth on Tuesday echoed a similar fury professed by Republicans back in November, when Ocasio-Cortez cited past global refugee crises, including the Holocaust, to defend today’s migrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. “I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana.”</p><p>As Graham and others implied that she was ignorant on the subject, a strategy conservatives have frequently used to undermine the freshman congresswoman, the official Twitter account for the Auschwitz Memorial appeared to tweet a veiled line of support for Ocasio-Cortez.</p><p>When we look at Auschwitz we see the end of the process. It's important to remember that the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers. This hatred gradually developed from words, stereotypes &amp; prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanisation &amp; escalating violence.</p> C The Hill Ocasio-Cortez under fire for concentration camp remarks <p>Rep. <span><a>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez</a><a>2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics </a> <a>Biden picks up endorsement from California Democrat Cárdenas</a> <a>Ocasio-Cortez: Trump 'is afraid of strong women, of Latino women'</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (D-N.Y.) created a new political firestorm Tuesday, stating that detention centers housing immigrants are “exactly” like concentration camps and then doubling down in the face of GOP criticism.</p><p>“The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” Ocasio-Cortez said during an Instagram Live appearance on Monday night.</p><p>“If that doesn’t bother you ... I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”</p><p>She spoke the same night <span><a>President Trump</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Donald John Trump</a><a>Germans think Trump is more dangerous to world peace than Kim Jong Un and Putin: survey</a> <a>Trump jokes removal of 'Home Alone 2' cameo from Canadian broadcast is retaliation from 'Justin T'</a> <a>Trump pushed drug cartel policy despite Cabinet objections: report</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> in a message on Twitter said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement next week would begin deporting “millions” of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.</p><p>Republicans accused Ocasio-Cortez of demeaning victims of Holocaust death camps with the comparison.</p><p>“Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” tweeted Rep. <span><a>Liz Cheney</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Elizabeth (Liz) Lynn Cheney</a><a>Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks</a> <a>Overnight Defense: House poised for historic vote to impeach Trump | Fifth official leaves Pentagon in a week | Otto Warmbier's parents praise North Korea sanctions bill </a> <a>House opens debate on articles of impeachment against Trump</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican.</p><p>“This is wrong @AOC. These are incredibly dangerous and disgusting words that demean the millions murdered during the Holocaust,” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).</p><p>And Rep. <span><a>Dan Crenshaw</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Daniel Crenshaw</a><a>O'Rourke says he'll focus on flipping Texas state House in 2020</a> <a>House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues</a> <a>Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP </a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (R-Texas) pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s definition of a concentration camp, noting that many of the migrants detained for trying to cross the border illegally are asylum-seekers awaiting court proceedings.</p><p>“Clearly I need to explain that, in concentration camps, people are unjustly sought out and confined. This isn’t what is happening at the border,” Crenshaw wrote.</p><p>The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union that represents border agents, also pushed back during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday.</p><p>“It’s disgusting to compare concentration camps to what the men and women are doing here protecting our country,” Art Del Cueto said on “America’s Newsroom.”</p><p>Ocasio-Cortez doubled down in the face of criticism, tweeting that the Trump administration has established “concentration camps” where immigrants are “being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.”</p><p>“And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, pointing to an Esquire article quoting historians who said the U.S. detention facilities at the southern border meet the definition of a concentration camp.</p><p>The back-and-forth comes as lawmakers consider Trump’s request for $4.5 billion in emergency funds to help deal with the flow of migrants at the southern border. Trump’s request includes $3.3 billion for humanitarian aid to help with care for unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border, as well as $1.1 billion for other operations like increasing the number of detention beds.</p><p>Ocasio-Cortez has emerged as a favorite target for Republicans along with two other freshman Democrats, Reps. <span><a>Ilhan Omar</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Ilhan Omar</a><a>2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics </a> <a>Omar calls on US to investigate Turkey over possible war crimes in Syria</a> <a>Sanders surges ahead of Iowa caucuses</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (Minn.) and <span><a>Rashida Tlaib</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Rashida Harbi Tlaib</a><a>2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics </a> <a>Tlaib to Republicans: 'Your boy called Ukraine and bribed them'</a> <a>McCarthy says impeachment 'has discredited the United States House of Representatives'</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (Mich.). Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, previously have been embroiled in storms surrounding accusations of anti-Semitism for comments they made about Israel.</p><p>The remarks from Omar in particular have divided House Democrats, with some criticizing the freshman after she suggested in a tweet that political support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins.”</p><p>Republicans and the White House have used the remarks to nakedly cast Democrats as an enemy of Israel and American Jews, who in presidential elections have largely voted for Democratic candidates, according to exit polls. Democrats are likely to face questions about whether they agree with Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about concentration camps and the Trump administration’s detention centers as they return to Washington this week.</p><p>On Tuesday, Democrats pointed to a recent New York Times report documenting how a 4-month-old Romanian boy who arrived at the southern border with his father was separated for months from his family under the Trump administration’s family separations policy.</p><p>“Call it a concentration camp or call it something else. What’s happening on our southern border is moral stain on the U.S. Cruelty as policy means these children are in impossible and inhumane situations,” tweeted Sen. <span><a>Brian Schatz</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Brian Emanuel Schatz</a><a>Biden knocks Huckabee Sanders's tweet criticizing stuttering moment: 'It's called empathy. Look it up'</a> <a>Senate passes bill banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21</a> <a>Congress poised to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (D-Hawaii).</p><p>Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) also decried the conditions at the detention facilities when asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s comments.</p><p>“When I went down to see those facilities, I can tell you that it’s deplorable. And it’s inhumane with how those children are being treated,” Luján said.</p><p>The Health and Human Services Department, which operates the Office of Refugee Resettlement, said last week that about 1,400 immigrant children will be sent to an Army base in Oklahoma. The base also was used as a temporary shelter in 2014, during the Obama administration.</p><p>Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) acknowledged the crowded conditions at detention facilities but blamed inaction by Democrats in Congress.</p><p>“It is sick. I mean, the reality is we have detention facilities designed for 4,000 people under Border Patrol’s control, but they have 19,000 people there. Why do they have 19,000 people? Because people like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez refuse to acknowledge the problem and help us fund this by bringing a supplemental to the floor to pay for humanitarian aid and detention facility beds, along with other things,” Biggs said at a press conference on Tuesday with other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.</p> C NPR Online News Mississippi Immigration Raids Lead To Arrests Of Hundreds Of Workers <p> <a> Richard Gonzales </a> </p><p> Two people are taken into custody by ICE agents at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, Miss., one of seven food processing plants targeted for coordinated raids in the state. <b> Rogelio V. Solis/AP </b> <b><b>hide caption</b></b> </p><p>Two people are taken into custody by ICE agents at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, Miss., one of seven food processing plants targeted for coordinated raids in the state.</p><p>Federal immigration officials raided several food-processing plants in Mississippi on Wednesday and arrested approximately 680 people believed to be working in the U.S. without authorization.</p><p>The coordinated raids were conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations "at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi," according to an ICE <a>statement</a>. In addition to the arrests, agents seized company business records.</p><p>More than 600 ICE agents were involved in the raids, surrounding the perimeters of the targeted plants to prevent workers, mainly Latino immigrants, from escaping. The actions were centered on plants near Jackson owned by five companies, <a>according</a> to The Associated Press.</p><p>One of the plants is owned by Koch Foods Inc., which <a>bills itself</a> as one of the largest poultry processors in the U.S. with more than 13,000 employees. <em>Forbes </em>ranks it as the 135th largest privately held company in the country, with an estimated $3.2 billion in annual revenue, <a>according</a> to <em>Fortune</em>.</p><p>Another plant raided Wednesday is in Canton, Miss., and is owned by Peco Foods Inc., based in Tuscaloosa, Ala. It is the eighth-largest poultry producer in the U.S., according to the company's <a>website</a>.</p><p>No representatives for either company responded to an email request or telephone call for comment.</p><p>The arrested workers were bused to a local Mississippi National Guard hangar, where they were interviewed about their immigration status, including whether they already had deportation orders.</p><p>"Today's raids are part of the ongoing war against immigrant families and the communities in which they live," Julia Solórzano, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an emailed statement. "It is especially sickening that days after immigrants were targeted by a gunman in El Paso, Texas, workers at plants across Mississippi witnessed armed agents descending on their workplace.</p><p>"It's also worth noting that immigration agencies that have repeatedly blamed 'over capacity' detention facilities for the horrific treatment of those imprisoned nevertheless detained more than 600 people today," she said.</p><p>The size of the raid operation harks back to 2008 when, under the George W. Bush administration, more than 400 unauthorized workers were arrested in a <a>meatpacking facility in Iowa</a>. </p><p>Catch up on the latest headlines and unique NPR stories, sent every weekday.</p><p>By subscribing, you agree to <a>NPR's terms of use</a> and <a>privacy policy</a>.</p> R The Federalist Does The Statue Of Liberty Poem Invalidate U.S. Borders? <p>Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli announced a change in the “public charge” rule Monday that <a>will deny</a> green cards for immigrants on Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, and other public welfare. It of course elicited liberally charged questions from reporters.</p><p>The <a>“public charge”</a> rule, enacted in 1882, requires green card applicants to prove they will not be a burden to the United States. The new changes, detailed in an <a>800-page document</a> going into effect mid-October, will determine “the totality of the circumstances when making a public charge inadmissibility determination.”</p><p>“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideal of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America,” Cuccinelli said in the press conference.</p><p>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) arrests of several hundred illegal aliens in Mississippi last week incited yet another cycle of media outrage. Several White House reporters asked Cuccinelli about it. One quoted the poetic sentiment engraved on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor…” Is this sentiment, he asked, still operative in the United States, or should it be removed from our statue?</p><p>The reporter was referring to the poem “<a>The New Colossus,</a>” written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. At the end of the poem Lady Liberty cries out, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”</p><p>This image of a destitute newcomer may seem in conflict with Cuccinelli’s self-sufficient immigrant. Is there a discrepancy in America’s immigration ethos? Are Lady Liberty’s words a reachable reality or a utopia? The answer typically depends on which side of the aisle you stand.</p><p>The first ideal says it is the government’s humanitarian duty to welcome all poor seeking refuge in the United States. All who come to our borders deserve to be wrapped with taxpayer-funded welfare blankets, no matter how bankrupt our systems are. These ideals are espoused by the left.</p><p>The second ideal is rooted in right-wing ideals of small government. It is not the government’s job to provide housing vouchers and Medicaid for everyone. The government’s first priority is to American citizens, and immigration policies and border controls are for our protection. We welcome immigrants here seeking the freedom that requires them to govern and provide for themselves.</p><p>One reporter asked in the press conference, “Why shouldn’t the Latino community feel targeted by this?”</p><p>“This is 140-year-old legal structure,” Cuccinelli said. “We’re dealing with the most recent iteration of it, but this is not new… There’s no reason for any particular group to feel like this is targeting them.”</p><p>America cannot save the world from all suffering. Americans cannot afford to support welfare for any person in the world who gets here and then demands it. That does not change the spirit of our immigration laws that welcomes those made poor and needy by totalitarian governments that take wealth from some and redistribute it to others in currently politically favored groups.</p><p>“We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world on a lot of bases, whether you be an asylee, whether you be coming here to join your family, or immigrating yourself,” Cuccinelli said. “I do not think by any means, we’re ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty.”</p><p>Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.</p><p>Immigration activists and opportunistic politicians are quick to denounce border enforcement measures while being short on specifics and long on platitudes.</p><p>It’s not the president or the Supreme Court’s job or power to make laws. It’s Congress’s. And even though DACA is a good idea, Congress hasn’t made it law, so nobody else should either.</p><p>Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldairi’s case is interesting because it briefly illuminates a fascinating kind of American counterterrorism-immigration operation reporters must do acrobatic yoga to avoid covering.</p><p>After several suspected ISIS operatives were caught, Ecuador is cracking down a little on the human smuggler’s paradise it has created. But it’s still helping foreigners amass at the U.S. border hoping for amnesty.</p><p>The state attorney general wants to make New Jersey a sanctuary state. In the process, he’s disregarded the law, violated his oath, and undermined efforts to protect the country.</p> R The Daily Caller Border Patrol Agent Offers To Give Ocasio-Cortez A Personal Tour Of Detention Facility After ‘Disgusting’ Holocaust Comparison <p>The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council extended Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a personal invitation to tour a detention facility after she claimed that the U.S. government is “running concentration camps on our southern border” to hold illegal immigrants.</p><p>“She needs to come down here, I’ll offer to show her myself the area,” Art Del Cueto, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council and a Border Patrol agent, told Bill Hemmer Tuesday while appearing on “America’s Newsroom.”</p><p><strong>WATCH:</strong></p><p>Del Cueto was responding to <a>comments Ocasio-Cortez made</a> during a live-stream on her Instagram the previous evening. <strong><a>(RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Compares America’s Past To Nazi Germany, Says US Should Pay Reparations Like They Did)</a></strong></p><p>“That is exactly what [holding facilities] are. They are concentration camps,” <a>Ocasio-Cortez</a> said at the time. “I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never Again’ means something. The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”</p><p>“When any individual makes that reference, it loses all interest in me,” Del Cueto replied. “It’s disgusting to compare concentration camps to what the men and women doing here protecting our country.”</p><p>“She used the extermination of six million people. She used the phrase ‘who are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘Never Again’ means something,'” Hemmer said. “Has she ever been to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem? Or Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland? Or Dachau in Germany?”</p><p>“‘Never Again’ is the phrase that Jews all over the world use to make sure that the extermination between 1939 and 1945 never happens again, and she’s using concentration camps to describe what’s happening on the southern border,” Hemmer continued. “Does she not owe every Jew on this planet an apology?”</p><p>“It’s definitely a slap in the face to a lot of these individuals that actually have family members that went through concentration camps,” <a>Del Cueto</a> replied.</p><p><em><a>Follow Molly Prince on Twitter</a></em></p><p><em>Send tips to m<a></a></em></p><p>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 <a></a>.</p><p> </p> R Fox Online News Trump says no plan to revive family separations, blames Obama for uproar <p>The president addresses reports that he's considering giving migrant parents the choice of voluntarily separating from their children at the border after detention; John Roberts reports from the White House.</p><p>President Trump said Tuesday that the administration has no plans to revive the controversial policy that allowed for family separations at <a>the border</a>, amid renewed speculation about whether the practice could return amid the shakeup at the <a>Homeland Security department</a>.</p><p>“We’re not looking to do that,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday prior to a closed-door meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.</p><p><strong><a>KIRSTJEN</a></strong><strong><a> NIELSEN MAKES FIRST PUBLIC COMMENTS SINCE RESIGNATION AS DHS BOSS</a></strong></p><p>He added that “once you don’t have it, many more people are coming, like a picnic. Like Disney Land.”</p><p>But he said, “We’re not looking to do it.”</p><p>The president ended the practice under pressure and mounting criticism last year.</p><p>But the issue of family separations has emerged once again after DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation and other changes in the department. The president also withdrew the nomination of acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Ron Vitellio to become the permanent head of the agency, telling reporters that “Ron’s a good man, but we’re going in a tougher direction, we want to go in a tougher direction.”</p><p>Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, though, Trump sought to pin the blame on his predecessor for the uproar.</p><p>“Obama separated the children, just so you understand. <a>President Obama </a>separated the children,” Trump said. “The cages that were shown, very inappropriate, they were built by President Obama and the Obama administration –not by Trump.”</p><p>“The press knows it, you know it, we all know it,” he said. “I’m the one that stopped it.”</p><p>Initial images of cages with children inside that spread on social media last year indeed were from the Obama administration. The photos, taken in 2014 by The Associated Press, were wrongly described as illustrating imprisonment under the Trump administration.</p><p>But while some family separations may have happened under Obama, it was not nearly as widespread as it was during the Trump administration, amid a “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separations.</p><p>Neither the Obama administration nor the Trump administration had an explicit family separation policy, but the “zero tolerance” policy meant that anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted, even if they had few or no previous convictions. Under that policy, adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings, while their children were separated from them. If the charges took longer than 72 hours to process, children would be sent from the care of Customs and Border Protection to the Health and Human Services Department.</p><p><a><strong>SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR TO STEP DOWN, ON HEELS OF NIELSEN RESIGNATION</strong></a></p><p>Last June, Trump signed an executive order that stopped family separations.</p><p>Trump also slammed congressional Democrats Tuesday for not doing enough to "act" on border security.</p><p>"Homeland security is what we want--there's no better term, there's no better name," Trump said. "We want homeland security and that’s what we’re gonna get."</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p> R Fox Online News Southern border at 'breaking point' after more than 76,000 illegal immigrants tried crossing in February, officials say <p>More than <a>76,000 people</a> tried to cross the <a>U.S.</a><a>-Mexico</a> <a>border</a> in February — a "remarkable" leap that more than doubles the number of <a>border apprehensions</a> during the same period of time last year, and is also the highest number of any February in the past 12 years, according to officials.</p><p>The system is "well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point," U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters on Tuesday <a>as the agency released</a> the "record numbers" of those trying to enter the U.S. through the <a>southern border</a>.</p><p><a><strong>67 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOUND IN DEPLORABLE CONDITIONS INSIDE TINY NEW MEXICO 'SHED': ICE</strong></a></p><p>Officials said that 76,103 people — an increase of 31 percent over January — were apprehended. Of those, 7,249 were unaccompanied children, and 40,385 were family units -- totaling 60 percent of apprehensions.</p><p>Brian Hastings, the chief of law enforcement operations at the agency, told reporters that historically, 70 to 90 percent of apprehensions at the border included Mexican nationals.</p><p>As of Tuesday, he said, 70 percent of those arrested for attempting entry without proper documentation are from the "Northern Triangle of Central America," which includes Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.</p><p>"It should be very clear from these numbers that we are facing alarming trends in the rising volumes of people illegally crossing our southwest border, or arriving at our ports of entry without documents," McAleenan said.</p><p><a><strong>NEARLY 200 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS APPREHENDED CROSSING BORDER IN NEW MEXICO</strong></a></p><p>While fewer people overall are being apprehended crossing the border illegally each year, he said the increased numbers are "currently at our highest levels in over a decade both a border security and humanitarian crisis."</p><p>The commissioner added that border patrol is also noticing a "stark increase" of those seeking asylum. Since October, there's been a 90 percent increase over the "record levels" of asylum seekers since the last fiscal year, according to the agency, which added that 60 percent of those trying to enter the U.S. without proper documentation are "making claims of fear of return to their home country."</p><p>Officials on Tuesday announced plans for a new processing center in El Paso, Texas, to manage the record number of people crossing the border. While not a permanent solution, it will be better suited to manage families and children, and handle medical care concerns.</p><p>“While our enhanced medical efforts will assist in managing the increased flows, the fact is that these solutions are temporary and this solution is not sustainable,” he said.</p><p><a><strong>CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP</strong></a></p><p>After two illegal immigrant children died while in Border Patrol custody, the agency stepped up medical screenings and announced sweeping changes that include more rigorous interviews as they enter into the system.</p><p>The data released on Tuesday comes as the GOP-controlled Senate plans to reject in a vote next week President Trump's national emergency declaration at the border that would send extra funding there.</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p> C Wall Street Journal U.S. Arrests Record Number of Families at Southern Border <p>Arrests of families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in the past five months hit a record, prompting the chief of Customs and Border Protection to say the system is at “the breaking point.”</p><p>From October through February, border agents arrested 136,150 people traveling in families at the southern border. Those figures exceeded the record for a full, 12-month period; 107,212 people were arrested during the federal fiscal year that ended in September.</p><p>More than 66,400 people were arrested in February, making it the busiest month since President Trump took office and the busiest February since 2008. Since 2013, when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection began counting family units, there have been 2.6 million total apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border.</p><p>The numbers were the sharpest evidence yet that, despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the flow of migrants is only growing.</p><p>“This situation is not sustainable,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said while releasing the numbers Tuesday. “The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point.”</p><p>California</p><p>Arizona</p><p>New Mexico</p><p>2.5 ft</p><p>519,796 individuals from families apprehended since 2013 would take up about 13% of the border</p><p>Texas</p><p>MEXICO</p><p>Including single individuals, the total apprehended is about 2.6 million since 2013, extending across 64% of the border.</p><p>California</p><p>Arizona</p><p>New Mexico</p><p>2.5 ft</p><p>519,796 individuals from families apprehended since 2013 would take up about 13% of the border</p><p>Texas</p><p>MEXICO</p><p>Including single individuals, the total apprehended is about 2.6 million since 2013, extending across 64% of the border.</p><p>California</p><p>Arizona</p><p>New Mexico</p><p>2.5 ft</p><p>519,796 individuals from families apprehended since 2013 would take up about 13% of the border</p><p>,</p><p>Texas</p><p>MEXICO</p><p>Including single individuals, the total apprehended is about 2.6 million since 2013, extending across 64% of the border.</p><p>2.5 ft</p><p>Calif.</p><p>Arizona</p><p>New Mexico</p><p>Texas</p><p>519,796 individuals from families apprehended since 2013 would take up about 13% of the border</p><p>MEXICO</p><p>Including single individuals, the total apprehended is about 2.6 million since 2013, extending across 64% of the border.</p><p>Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Jessica Wang/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL</p><p>On Tuesday afternoon, the White House highlighted the new numbers, saying they “reflect an ever-worsening crisis on our southern border.”</p><p>Mr. McAleenan said his agency was taking steps to establish a center near El Paso, Texas, specifically to process families and children, and in particular, to conduct medical assessments. </p><p>The volume of families, most of whom voluntarily turn themselves in to law enforcement to seek asylum, has in recent months <a>overwhelmed government facilities</a> intended to hold single adults for a few hours at a time. Some families spend days in cinder-block cells with no beds or showers while waiting to be processed by immigration officials. Two children died last year in the government’s custody after crossing the border with a parent.</p><p>While families, along with a relatively small number of unaccompanied children, <a>now make up 60% of arrests at the borde</a>r, total numbers are rising as well. The Border Patrol made 267,900 arrests between October, the start of the federal fiscal year, and February, compared with 136,209 over the same period a year earlier.</p><p>Most of the migrant families come from Central American nations including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, where they are <a>fleeing violence, poverty and hunger</a>, according to migrants, advocates and law enforcement. They typically don’t try to evade capture after crossing the border and instead surrender to border agents to seek asylum.</p><p>Arriving in the U.S. illegally as part of a family provides advantages, as those with children in tow are <a>typically detained for shorter periods </a>than adults traveling alone. There is a 20-day limit on jailing children, after which they are released into the U.S. with their parents while their claims are adjudicated. Single adults are typically deported back to their home countries more quickly.</p><p>The number of unaccompanied children has also been rising, though not nearly as fast as families. Through February, about 26,900 have been caught at the border this fiscal year, compared with 17,501 during the same period a year ago.</p><p>Mr. Trump has said asylum laws that he characterizes as lax and court rulings have made it too easy for immigrants to make weak or even fraudulent asylum claims.</p><p>His administration has also said that smuggling operations intentionally pair adults with children to all but ensure they will be released while a judge decides their fate. </p><p>With a current backlog of more than 829,000 cases in federal immigration court, a ruling can take years.</p><p>Mr. McAleenan on Tuesday said that “the vulnerabilities in the legal framework are creating the incentives for families and children to come to the border” and that there was an “acute need” for Congress to address them. </p><p>He said border-security funding would be put “to good use,” along with U.S. aid and investment in Central American nations from which many of the migrants arrive.</p><p>The Trump administration has repeatedly cited the volume of families as evidence of the need for a border wall.</p><p>Mr. Trump, a Republican, recently <a>declared a national emergency over border security</a>, bypassing Congress to divert money from elsewhere in the government to pay for additional barriers along the southern border—a move the House of Representatives <a>has voted to block</a>.</p><p>The <a>Senate is expected to follow course</a>, likely forcing the president to issue his first veto. </p><p>At the current pace, the number of families arrested at the border could double or even triple the record by September. </p><p> Maureen Meyer, Mexico and migrant rights director for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human-rights advocacy group in Washington, said there is no sign that the pace is slowing.</p><p>“Nothing in the Northern Triangle countries has changed,” Ms. Meyer said, referring to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.</p><p>Government officials said that they usually see an uptick in people crossing the border illegally in March, April and May, though they said that trying to estimate exactly how many people will cross in the coming months isn’t possible.</p><p>“Immigration patterns are determined by so many different things,” said Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol spokesman in El Paso. “They fluctuate so much that you can’t predict it.”</p><p>Despite recent increases, the total number of arrests at the border has been hovering near lows not seen since the 1970s, primarily due to a long-term decline in single adults, who have been deterred by stepped-up enforcement and an improved Mexican economy.</p><p>The debate over immigration and border security has driven much of the conflict between the Trump administration and Democrats in Congress. At the same time, a number of efforts by Mr. Trump to enact policies he claimed would deter immigration have been stymied by courts or public opinion.</p><p>Last spring, the Justice Department announced plans to prosecute as many adult border crossers as possible, including parents traveling with their children. But the effort to charge most parents with a crime was scuttled amid outcry from immigration rights advocates and lawmakers, including some Republicans. </p><p>A federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to reunite thousands of children separated from their parents starting in late June of last year, a process that is still under way, while Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives are conducting a series of public inquiries into the policy. </p><p>The administration recently started <a>returning a small number of asylum applicants</a> to Mexico to wait for their cases to be decided in U.S. immigration court. The administration has said the effort will be expanded in the coming weeks to other border crossings.</p><p> <strong>Write to </strong>Alicia A. Caldwell at <a></a> and Louise Radnofsky at <a></a></p><p> <strong>Corrections &amp; Amplifications </strong> <br/> A graphic with an earlier version of this article showed the number of individuals in families apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border for various fiscal years; the bar representing fiscal year 2019 contained data for October 2018 to February 2019. The graphic, which has been removed, incorrectly labeled the 2019 bar as October to January. (May 9, 2019) </p><p>Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones &amp; Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8</p><p> Appeared in the March 6, 2019, print edition as 'Arrests of Families At Border Hit High.' </p>


Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C The Hill US blocks UN call for probe into Gaza violence: reports <p>The U.S. on Tuesday blocked the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a probe into the violence that broke out on the Gaza border Monday.</p><p>The statement expressed “outrage and sorrow" over the violence on Monday that left more than 50 dead and called for an "independent and transparent investigation" into the deaths, according to Israeli newspaper <a>Haaretz</a>.</p><p>The Telegraph <a>reported</a> that the statement urged all nations to adhere to the Security Council resolution calling for countries to not establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, which is highly contested by the Israelis and Palestinians.</p><p>Palestinians seek to make east Jerusalem the capital of a future state.</p><p>The statement was drafted by Kuwait and directly addressed the violence, which was spurred by the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.</p><p>The development comes ahead of a Security Council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the clashes. The Telegraph reported that is was unclear if any other Security Council members rejected the statement.</p><p>More than 50 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire on the Gaza border on Monday while hundreds of others were left injured as waves of Palestinians attempted to cross the border into Israel. </p><p>The White House has laid blame on Hamas for the violence.</p><p>“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday.</p><p>"We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Hamas is the one that, frankly, bears responsibility for the entire situation right now,” he continued. </p><p>However, other countries have condemned Israeli's actions on the border. </p><p>German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Tuesday <a>said the violence</a> “concerns us greatly and it’s terrible that so many people lost their lives, including minors.”</p><p>Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called Israel's actions “unacceptable violence” and said “there is a clear lack of proportionality and we are asking for an international investigation.”</p><p>South Africa took the step of <a>recalling</a> it's ambassador to Israel in the wake of the violence, while Ireland summoned its Israeli ambassador to express its “shock and dismay” over Israel's actions. </p><p>Some funerals for the Palestinians killed in the clashes were held on Tuesday.</p> L New York Times Uneasy Calm Falls Over Gaza After Israel Kills Scores at Protests <p>• The death toll in the protests on Monday, in which Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators, reached 60 overnight and one person was reported killed on Tuesday.</p><p>• The center of Gaza City was calm after the militant group Hamas, which rules the territory, called for a general strike.</p><p>• The number of protesters was a fraction of what it had been the day before as Hamas scaled down the demonstrations but held out the threat of military action.</p><p>Images of an 8-month-old Palestinian girl who died during protests at the Israel-Gaza border fence circulated widely on social media on Tuesday, fueling outrage over a lethal Israeli response that left at least 58 dead and thousands wounded.</p><p>But the day after the baby, Layla Ghandour, died on Monday, the details of her death were challenged by some, becoming another example of how the competing narratives surrounding the conflict and the power of images have influenced debate.</p><p>The child’s family said she died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces during the protests. She was with her family nearby as the Israeli military sought to keep back thousands of Palestinian protesters storming the fence.</p><p>On Tuesday, Avichay Adraee, an Arabic-language spokesman for the Israeli military, posted a message on Twitter that said there was “fundamental doubt about the credibility” of that account.</p><p>“We have several testimonies questioning the authenticity of this statement,” he <a>tweeted</a> without providing additional details. The Associated Press cited an unnamed Gaza-based doctor as saying on Tuesday that the baby had a pre-existing medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by the tear gas.</p><p>Her story is a reminder of the power of images, particularly those of children caught up in conflict. In Syria, <a>the face of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh</a> covered in dust and blood became a symbol of Aleppo’s suffering. As tens of thousands of refugees flooded Europe, <a>the photos of the lifeless body of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi</a> washing up on Turkey’s coast prompted both outrage and action.</p><p>In the latest chapter, photos of the parents clutching the lifeless body of the baby girl in Gaza spread on social media, and her story became a rallying cry for those denouncing Israel’s crackdown on Palestinian protesters.</p><p>The child’s parents have given interviews to journalists and aid workers in Gaza recounting how their daughter died. A tweet from Steve Sosebee, who works with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, suggested that they confirmed their daughter had an underlying health condition.</p><p>Hamas dialed back the protests on Tuesday, and the mosque loudspeakers that had urged Gazans to protest on Monday were largely silent. In Gaza City, the biggest protest area on Monday, only a few hundred protesters came close to the border fence.</p><p>Shortly before sunset, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya appeared and was thronged with supporters.</p><p>“We don’t want peaceful protests, we want rockets fired,” they chanted. “Revenge, Revenge!”</p><p>Mr. Haniya smiled and clenched his fists in the air, but was vague about the group’s next step.</p><p>“The Great Return protests and the raids on the border by our youth are proof that we have confused the enemy,” he said. “We will continue with the protests, and it is the Palestinian people who will decide the situation on the ground.”</p><p>Speaking separately, his nephew, Muhammad Haniya, also a Hamas leader, said Hamas was satisfied with the surge of international sympathy for Gazans the protests elicited. But he warned that Hamas could easily return to violence if that sympathy did not convert into an easing of the 11-year-old Israeli blockade of the territory.</p><p>“We cannot be patient for much longer after all these deaths,” he said. “If the world does not intervene, I do not think that Hamas can remain silent, and our armed resistance will respond.”</p><p>For now, he said, the protests would continue every Friday.</p><p>As of Tuesday evening, Hamas had not taken military action. And there were signs behind the scenes that Hamas could be looking for a way to bring a halt to the bloodshed, if not the entire protest campaign.</p><p>One well-informed Middle Eastern government official, who insisted on anonymity, said Hamas officials had been surprised by the number of casualties on Monday, but did not wish for the kind of escalation of hostilities that some Gazans were demanding in response. Hamas had failed in its goal of infiltrating Israel and harming or kidnapping an Israeli, the official said, but might be willing to settle for having revived international interest in the Palestinian cause. <em>— Declan Walsh and David M. Halbfinger</em></p><p>Gaza awoke on Tuesday to a grim agenda: funerals for protesters killed along the fence bordering Israel, including one for an 8-month-old baby girl whose family said she was overcome by tear gas; and frenzied work treating the thousands of wounded, in hospitals so overrun with patients that tents were set up in their courtyards.</p><p>There was also uncertainty about whether the demonstrations would grow, fade, or give way to an outright armed conflict. <a>The death toll in the protests reached 60 overnight</a>.</p><p>The demonstrations on Monday, the latest in a series intended to spotlight anger on the blockade that has inflicted economic misery on <a>the residents of Gaza</a>, coincided with the formal relocation of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, another source of grievance for Palestinians.</p><p>A day after the protests, Palestinians commemorated the Nakba, the expulsion or flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes upon the creation of the state of Israel 70 years ago. Large protests in Gaza and in the West Bank had been planned, but in the wake of Monday’s bloodshed, a more subdued approach appeared to have taken hold.</p><p>In downtown Gaza City, the streets were quiet, largely because Hamas, the militant group that controls the territory, had ordered a general strike. Shops were closed, though the streets were not entirely deserted because people were streaming to mosques for midday funerals of those killed on Monday. <em>— Isabel Kershner and Declan Walsh</em></p><p>Early in the demonstrations, which began on March 30, organizers had called for a climax on Tuesday, but by late afternoon, only small protests had materialized along the border, in sharp contrast to the vast crowds there on Monday.</p><p>At the biggest protest area, east of Gaza City, the gathering numbered in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. Only a few dozen people ventured close to the border fence, including young men with slingshots and a group of eight women chanting slogans.</p><p>Protesters had rolled tires toward the fence, and sent a few burning kites across the barrier. Twice on Tuesday afternoon, an Israeli drone flew over the demonstrators and dropped tear gas canisters.</p><p>Nasser Ghurab, 51, was shot dead on Tuesday near the border, said Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry. He said that the Israeli military has killed 109 Palestinians in Gaza in nearly seven weeks of protests, and wounded thousands, many of them with live ammunition.</p><p>On the Israeli side of the fence, a field was set alight, apparently by one of the Palestinian kites. But for the most part, a tense, almost pastoral calm prevailed.</p><p>At a protest site between the cities of Beit Hanoun and Jabaliya, in the northern part of Gaza, no protesters could be seen at midday. Across the fence, Israeli emergency firefighting teams sat idle. The only trace of the previous day’s events on the Israeli side were scorched patches of ground where kites had set wheat fields on fire.<br/></p><p>Soldiers and other onlookers were left to wonder whether some kind of a deal had been struck overnight: After all, they noted, the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, a main point to transport goods into the territory that had been damaged three times by protesters, was abruptly reopened just days after Israeli officials said it had been almost destroyed.</p><p>transcript</p><p>Dozens killed, thousands injured. The deadliest day in Gaza in years. We witness it, riding alongside this team of volunteer paramedics. For weeks Palestinians have organized protests here, at times threatening to breach the border fence that has sustained the blockade of this strip. Israeli soldiers have responded with tear gas and sniper fire. On quieter days ambulances would wait for a call to come in, directing them to the injured. But today, it seems like everywhere they go there’s someone to be picked up, a constant stream of stretchers. As we drive away from the front line, the commotion begins to settle. The ride back and forth starts to feel like a drill, without panic or surprise. Some of the wounded are taken to a field clinic for immediate treatment. Other victims are taken to Gaza City’s main hospital. This isn’t the same hospital we saw just a few days ago. Outside the main building a new tent serves as a makeshift emergency room. Doctors here say they were expecting to see more injuries. But still there aren’t enough beds. Most of the injuries are below the knee. Israeli soldiers have orders to aim at ankles, and many of the people we see here will leave on crutches, some with permanent disabilities. Back at the protest camp the paramedics keep their distance from the front line. But, even then it isn’t safe.</p><p> <a> In the Ambulance With Gaza’s Paramedics </a> </p><p>Israeli Palestinians planned demonstrations for Tuesday evening in Umm el-Fahm, Majd el-Krum and in the Negev, and marches were expected in the cities of Haifa, Nazareth, Tel Aviv and a handful of smaller places. <em>— Iyad Abuheweila, Isabel Kershner, Declan Walsh and Ibrahim El-Mughraby.</em></p><p>The Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement that “at least 24 terrorists with documented terrorism backgrounds were killed” on Monday.</p><p>The military said that most of the 24 were “active operatives” of Hamas, while some were affiliated with another group, Islamic Jihad. The military also said that it had thwarted an attempt by three Hamas cells to cross the fence into Israel under cover of the chaos, but it did not say whether it had killed any of them.</p><p>The Israeli military also did say not what, if anything, it knew about the affiliations or history of the majority of the Palestinians killed.</p><p>The statement illustrated the radically different language used by the two sides. What Palestinians called peaceful demonstrations, the Israeli military described as “violent riots,” and it referred to those who gathered as “rioters.” People the Israeli authorities call militants and terrorists, Hamas calls martyrs. <em>— Isabel Kershner</em></p><p>United Nations human rights officials said on Tuesday that Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators was unjustified and called for an independent investigation into what could be grave breaches of international law.</p><p>“We condemn the appalling deadly violence in Gaza yesterday,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, told reporters. “We are extremely worried about what may happen later today,” he said. “We urge maximum restraint. Enough is enough.”</p><p>International law allowed for the use of lethal force only as a last resort in the face of an immediate threat to life or serious injury, Mr. Colville noted. Those laws “appear to have been ignored again and again,” he added.</p><p>“An attempt to approach, or crossing or damaging the green line fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition,” he added. “It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured.”</p><p>The United Nations Human Rights office called for independent and transparent investigations into all cases of death and injury since March 30, a period in which it said 112 Palestinians had been killed, including 14 children, and thousands more wounded. <em>— Nick Cumming-Bruce</em></p><p>In the West Bank, sirens sounded at noon for 70 seconds to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe.</p><p>As in past years, this was a holiday for Palestinians, with schools and government offices closed, though bakeries, gas stations and pharmacies, among other shops, remained open.</p><p>In Clock Square in Ramallah, also known as Yasir Arafat Square — where a statue shows a young man clambering up a pole to raise the flag of Palestine over Jerusalem — life briefly came to a halt.</p><p>A short while later, a small group of Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed at a checkpoint between Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El.</p><p>Violence was also reported in the early afternoon in Hebron and Bethlehem, where police officers were said to be firing rubber bullets at protesters.</p><p>The Israeli military said that 1,300 Palestinians were taking part in “violent riots” in 18 locations, “rolling burning tires and hurling rocks and firebombs at security forces.”</p><p><em>— David M. Halbfinger, Rami Nazzal and Isabel Kershner</em></p><p><a>The White House staunchly defended Israel’s actions</a>, while several nations condemned them, but much of the official reaction around the world was more muted, voicing horror at the bloodshed but not assigning blame.</p><p>“I am profoundly alarmed and concerned by the sharp escalation of violence and the number of Palestinians killed and injured in the Gaza protests,” António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, <a>said in a statement on Tuesday</a>. “It is imperative that everyone shows the utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.”</p><p>South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest, and Turkey also withdrew its ambassador to the United States. On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, and “notified him that it would be appropriate for him to return to his country for a while,” Hami Aksoy, a ministry spokesman, said.</p><p>The government of Saudi Arabia, whose icy relations with Israel have thawed in recent years, issued “strong condemnation and denunciation of the deadly targeting of unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli Forces of Occupation,” <a>according to the official<span> </span>news agency S.P.A. </a></p><p>Among major Western powers, there was much criticism of <a>the relocation of the American Embassy</a>, but only President Emmanuel Macron of France <a>directly assailed Israel’s actions</a>.</p><p>The Trump administration echoed the Israeli position. “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Monday.</p><p>At the U.N. Security Council meeting on Tuesday, the ambassador from Kuwait — the only Arab nation currently on the council — denounced what he called “a massacre perpetrated by the Israeli authorities.”</p><p>Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi also criticized the Security Council for not agreeing to Kuwait’s request for an independent investigation of the Gaza deaths, adding that his country might instead seek an investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Office. Diplomats said that Kuwait had circulated a statement calling for an independent inquiry, which would require unanimous approval, but the United States had disagreed.</p><p>Defending Israel, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley of the United States denounced what she called the double standard that other nations applied to Israel. “Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border?” she asked. No country, she said, acted “with more restraint than Israel.”</p><p>She said that Hamas had been to blame for inciting protesters to storm the fence, and insisted that there had been no connection between the violence and celebrations on Monday for the opening of the American embassy. President Trump’s recognition of the Israeli position that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, she said, “makes peace more achievable, not less.”</p><p>Addressing the council, Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for Middle East peace, found fault with both sides.</p><p>“Israel has a responsibility to calibrate its use of force, to not use lethal force, except as a last resort, under imminent threat of death or serious injury,” he said. He added that Hamas “must not use the protests as cover to attempt to place bombs at the fence and create provocations; its operatives must not hide among the demonstrators and risk the lives of civilians.”</p><p>Thousands of Palestinian refugees rallied in southern Lebanon on Tuesday in commemoration of the “Nakba” and in solidarity with the Gaza demonstrations.</p><p>Many were bused in from the longstanding refugee camps of Lebanon.</p><p><a>Palestinians have a complicated history with Lebanon</a>. The influx of refugees in 1948 exacerbated Lebanon’s delicate sectarian balance and their presence is often cited as a major contributing factor to Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.</p><p>Now, more than <a>450,000 of five million registered Palestinian refugees</a> worldwide live in Lebanon. Legally, their rights are limited: Palestinians cannot own property or attend public schools, and are banned from working in more than<a> 30 professions</a>.</p> R Fox Online News Israel extends cease-fire for 24 hours despite fresh rocket fire from Gaza <p>Conor Powell reports from Gaza City</p><p>The Israeli cabinet approved a 24-hour extension of its cease-fire Saturday but said it would respond to any future rocket fire from Gaza after Hamas rejected an earlier proposed four-hour extension and fired rockets into Israel.</p><p>The announcement came after Hamas confirmed that it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting an earlier offer from Israel to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 days of fighting.</p><p>The terror group said two of the rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv. Police in Israel's second-largest city dispersed a peace rally attended by several thousand people because of the threat, a spokesman said.</p><p>Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight (2100 GMT) Saturday.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Israeli military warned residents of areas where there had been heavy fighting against returning there.</p><p>Israel has set its own terms for the lull, saying it would continue demolishing Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.</p><p>The initial lull agreed to by Israel and Hamas had begun at 8 a.m.  (0500 GMT) Saturday.</p><p>In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign minister had been discussing how to build on the initial 12-hour lull Saturday and transform it into a sustainable truce.</p><p>The meeting included representatives from Turkey, Qatar, Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. No representatives from Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority were present.</p><p>Separately, the top office of the top United Nations envoy in the region, Robert Serry, said he had been urging Israel and Hamas to extend the truce by 24 hours.</p><p>Israel wants more time to destroy tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza, while the territory's Hamas rulers want international guarantees that an Israeli and Egyptian border blockade will be lifted.</p><p>The Israeli government has also begun suggesting that Gaza be demilitarized as a condition for a permanent cease-fire so that Hamas cannot rearm itself ahead of yet another round of fighting. The current war is the third in Gaza in just over five years.</p><p>"We are looking for a long cease-fire, not only 12 hours," said Gaza resident Mohammad Abu Shaaban before the Israeli announcement. "We hope the cease-fire will continue and not to return back to the killing and destruction."</p><p>Meanwhile, Gaza residents used the pause in hostilities to stock up on supplies and survey the devastation from nearly three weeks of fighting, as they braced for a resumption of Israel's war on Hamas.</p><p>In the northern town of Beit Hanoun, the main road was impassable in parts due to the debris from the damaged homes. The town's hospital had been hit by a tank shell, power lines were dangling and dead donkeys were strewn on the street. A man was hitting his head and wailing "my house, my house."</p><p>Israel and Hamas began the 12-hour pause in hostilities at 8 a.m. (1:00 a.m. EST, 0500 GMT) Saturday after intensive regional shuttle diplomacy by Kerry failed to produce a longer truce aimed at ending nearly three weeks of fighting.</p><p>The temporary lull appeared unlikely to change the course of the current hostilities amid ominous signs that the war was spilling over into the West Bank and a warning by Israel's defense minister that it might soon expand its Gaza ground operation "significantly."</p><p>The Israeli military said its troops "shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit" the lull to attack Israeli soldiers or civilians. The military also said "operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue."</p><p>Previous humanitarian cease-fires have been cut short by a resumption of fighting, but the pause on Saturday appeared to be holding, as residents returned to the streets and packed into banks and grocery stores.</p><p>Israel launched a major aerial offensive in Gaza on July 8 and later sent ground troops into the Hamas-ruled territory in a bid to halt Palestinian rocket fire and destroy a vast network of cross-border tunnels used by militants to stage attacks.</p><p>Gaza militants have fired close to 2,500 rockets at Israel since July 8, exposing most of Israel's population to an indiscriminate threat that has killed three civilians.</p><p>A Palestinian official said more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed over the past 18 days. Israel says it is doing its utmost to prevent civilian casualties and blames Hamas for putting them in harm's way. Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel also has been killed.</p><p>Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Friday that Israel's military would continue to strike Hamas hard.</p><p>"At the end of the operation, Hamas will have to think very hard if it is worth it to taunt us in the future," Yaalon was quoted as telling soldiers manning an Iron Dome anti-missile battery. "You need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will order the military to significantly broaden ground activity in Gaza."</p><p><i>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</i></p> L Vox Israel stole classified US information and used it to help congressional Republicans <p>The <a>Wall Street Journal</a>'s Adam Entous dropped a huge story Tuesday morning: Israel acquired classified US information while spying on the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and leaked the stolen information about the emerging deal to American lawmakers in an attempt to sabotage the Obama administration's outreach to Tehran.</p><p>This is <a>yet another disaster</a> for US-Israel relations. But that's not because Israel acquired classified US information, which honestly isn't that surprising. What's really outrageous is that Israel used the information in a deliberate attempt to manipulate American politics.</p><p>No one should be shocked that Israel was spying on the talks. A certain degree of espionage is pretty par for the course in world politics, even among allies. Indeed, as Entous' story repeatedly makes clear, American officials expected Israel to snoop on them. In fact, according to Entous, the US found out about the Israeli spying because it was <i>already spying on Israel</i>:</p><p>The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.</p><p>But there is a real scandal here, and that's Israel using stolen intelligence as part of a deliberate campaign of messing around with American partisan politics. That's why the White House is angry: "It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy," a senior US official told Entous.</p><p>If Entous' reporting is correct, the Israeli government used the leaked information to help Republicans build support for new sanctions among Democrats, which would be necessary to overcome Obama's veto. <span>Israel was using stolen information to help Mitch McConnell and John Boehner foment a Democratic rebellion against the president.</span></p><p>This is the same reason <a>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress</a> about Iran infuriated so many Democrats this month. The problem wasn't that Netanyahu was invited to Congress; it's that the speech was coordinated with Republicans behind the president's back in a deliberate attempt to undermine his Iran policy.<br/><br/>The spying/briefing allegations suggest the speech was part of a much broader campaign to help Republicans pass new sanctions, a particularly dangerous move by Netanyahu at a time when Israel is <a>at risk of becoming a partisan issue</a> in America.</p><p>Allies really aren't supposed to do this sort of thing. Playing partisan domestic politics — and doing it with classified information, no less — positions Israel as the Republican Party's ally, not America's. <span>The fact that Republican interests line up with Israel's in this case doesn't justify crossing these lines.</span></p><p>None of this is to say the Netanyahu government has to just sit down and accept an American Iran policy it opposes. It's perfectly within bounds for Netanyahu to publicly oppose the ongoing negotiations in which international powers are seeking to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for relief on its crippling economic sanctions. It's fine for Netanyahu to lobby the French, who have <a>an important role</a> in the negotiations, to push for more stringent limits on Iran's nuclear program. That's all normal international politics.</p><p>But Republicans' vote count in Congress isn't.</p><p><b>WATCH: 'Netanyahu's argument to Congress about Iran'</b> </p>

K-12 education

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body R Washington Examiner Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer say they would dismantle Trump tax cuts to boost education!/quality/90/? <p><span>D</span>emocratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, N.Y., outlined a plan Monday to invest in teachers by cutting back on the GOP tax cuts. </p><p>Pelosi and Schumer, in an <u><a>op-ed published by USA Today</a></u>, indicated that teacher walkouts and protests in the past few months were appropriate, and they say they agree that teacher pay is unfair and their resources are inadequate to run a classroom effectively. </p><p>The two congressional leaders concluded in their opinion piece that Republicans were to blame for such conditions for teachers. </p><p>“Unfortunately, Republicans have been pushing federal and state education cuts to fund tax giveaways for the rich, resulting in fewer resources for schools and low teacher pay. That must end,” Schumer and Pelosi’s op-ed reads. </p><p>They promised that Democrats, if elected to the majority in the 2018 midterms, would dedicate $50 billion to state school districts to increase teachers’ salaries, another $50 billion for school infrastructure improvement, assistance for low-income students, and funding for special education. </p><p>Aside from monetary commitments, Pelosi and Schumer also promised that the Democratic Party would fight for teachers’ ability to negotiate better pay and conditions. </p><p>With the assurance of such a big financial commitment, the two lawmakers said it would be paid for by revisiting the “Trump tax cuts.” </p><p>“Instead of allowing millionaires, billionaires and massive corporations to keep their tax breaks and special-interest loopholes, Democrats would invest in teachers and students,” the op/ed says. </p><p>Pelosi has repeatedly attacked the GOP tax cuts, calling the increase that American workers take home in pay and benefits they receive “crumbs.”</p> C The Hill Trump admin seeks to roll back Obama-era policy on school discipline: report <p>The Trump administration is poised to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at reducing racial disparities in the way children are disciplined in school, <a>according to a New York Times report published Monday</a>.</p><p>The draft report does not mention how the Obama-era discipline guidelines might have led to the Parkland, Fla. shooting, the Times reported. </p><p>The report, which has not yet been finalized, argues in favor of rejecting the "disparate impact theory" promoted by former President Obama's Education Department. "Disparate impact theory" posits that policies should be reassessed if they have an outsized negative impact on minority groups, regardless of the policy's intention, according to the Times.</p><p>The commission's report calls this standard a "mere statistical disparity" and says it will act on allegations of racial bias when there is more substantial "evidence."</p><p>“When there is evidence beyond a mere statistical disparity that educational programs and policies may violate the federal prohibition on racial discrimination, this administration will act swiftly and decisively to investigate,” the commission wrote, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Times.</p><p>The Federal School Safety Commission included Education Secretary <span><a>Betsy DeVos</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Elizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVos</a><a>Teacher's union leader: DeVos is 'a cautionary tale' of presidential impact on public education </a> <a>Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education'</a> <a>Democrats lash out at DeVos over proposed changes to loan forgiveness plan</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>, former Attorney General <span><a>Jeff Sessions</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Jefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions</a><a>McCabe accuses Trump officials of withholding evidence in lawsuit over firing</a> <a>Senate Democrat says he's not worried about losing Alabama seat if he votes against Trump in Senate trial</a> <a>Lisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary <span><a>Kirstjen Nielsen</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Kirstjen Michele Nielsen</a><a>House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena</a> <a>Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report</a> <a>Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>.</p>

Taxes on upper-income

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C Wall Street Journal Obama to Propose Tax Increases on Investments, Inherited Property <p>WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise.</p><p>Mr. Obama will outline the measures in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households.</p><p>Those initiatives include tripling the child-care tax credit and creating a new credit for families in which both spouses work, senior administration officials said on Saturday.</p><p>The administration plans to consolidate and expand education tax breaks. It would also make retirement savings programs available to many more people, for example by requiring many employers that don’t currently offer workers a retirement plan to enroll them automatically in an individual retirement account. The administration says its proposals would make retirement saving programs available to 30 million additional people at the workplace.</p><p>Mr. Obama’s address Tuesday will start the process of determining where he might find common ground with the new Republican Congress. Both the president and GOP leaders have said that a tax overhaul, along with trade, might yield compromises.</p><p>The president’s proposals go well beyond overhauling business taxes, which the White House has previously expressed a willingness to undertake, to include changes to the individual tax code. Republican lawmakers have argued that a tax overhaul should be aimed at both businesses and individuals.</p><p>At the same time, the new White House position could complicate the debate, by underscoring deep philosophical differences between the parties. In particular, Mr. Obama’s tax increases are likely to draw opposition from Republicans.</p><p>The White House plan would make broad changes to the tax bills of wealthier taxpayers, mainly by raising the taxes they pay on investments. The top capital gains rate would rise to 28% from 23.8%. The plan also would impose capital-gains tax on more inherited assets.</p><p>It also would create or expand several significant tax breaks for low- and middle-income households, for instance by establishing a new $500 credit for families in which both spouses work, and by tripling the value of the child care credit to $3,000 per child. The changes also would significantly expand the availability of the child-care credit to more middle-income households.</p><p> <span>“</span> This proposal is probably the most impactful way that we could address the manifest unfairness in our tax system. <span>”</span> </p><p>Republican lawmakers generally have opposed raising taxes on higher-income earners, as Mr. Obama proposes. They also have bridled at some recent Democratic legislative proposals for new tax breaks to expand incomes for moderate-income families. Democrats “are just out buying [people’s] votes” with such plans, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama’s capital gains rate increase is likely to come in for particular criticism, although administration officials argue the 28% rate is still lower than the ordinary income rate for high earners.</p><p>The administration said the tax increases would raise revenue by about $320 billion over the next decade, while the new tax breaks and other initiatives would cost about $235 billion. The administration didn’t detail its plans for the additional revenue.</p><p>The tax proposals represent a part of the administration’s broader strategy to raise stagnant middle-class incomes, a prominent topic in Washington lately.</p><p>The plan could further complicate an already difficult debate in Washington over rewriting the much-maligned U.S. tax code, although administration officials emphasized they remain hopeful an overhaul can come to fruition in the new Congress.</p><p>The two sides already are far apart over several issues, including whether an overhaul should raise new revenues. The administration previously has signaled it wants $150 billion for infrastructure investments from rewriting the business tax code. The new request represents another big ask, this time in the name of raising incomes for moderate-income households in the course of rewriting the individual tax code.</p><p>The plan appears unlikely to draw much Republican backing, although elements of it are similar to proposals advanced by some GOP lawmakers. For instance, it would impose a fee on large, highly-leveraged financial institutions that echoes a bank tax proposed by former Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.), the recently retired Ways and Means chairman, as part of his overall plan to lower individual and business rates. The second-earner credit and a plan to consolidate and improve education breaks also mirror GOP proposals, administration officials said.</p><p>For high-income taxpayers, the Obama proposal would represent another significant increase in taxes on investment. It would boost the top rate to 28%, from the current 23.8%, for married couples with incomes over about $500,000.</p><p>The basic top tax rate on dividends and capital gains was lowered to 15% under the Bush administration. The Obama administration already has pushed the top rate to 20%, and added a special 3.8% tax rate for many types of investments. Along with other changes under Mr. Obama, the current top rate on investment income amounts to almost 25%, according to the Congressional Budget Office.</p><p>The administration said its proposed 28% capital gains rate would set the rate at the same level as under President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax overhaul. But the Reagan-era overhaul also taxed earned income at a top rate of 28%; the top rate on earned income now is 39.6%.</p><p>The new proposal also would take away a long-standing feature of the tax code that allows people to pass along appreciated assets to their heirs while limiting any tax bill.</p><p>Currently, for example, a parent who dies can pass along a valuable asset to a child, with no capital gains tax being due. The law also limits the eventual tax bill when the child sells the asset, by figuring the taxable gain only since the parent’s death, a feature known as stepped-up basis.</p><p>The administration argues that all the gain that occurred before the parent’s death unfairly escapes tax. In a fact sheet distributed on Saturday, the administration said the current treatment of inherited assets—which it refers to as the “trust fund loophole”—is “perhaps the largest single loophole in the entire individual income tax code.”</p><p>“This proposal is probably the most impactful way that we could address the manifest unfairness in our tax system while also supporting greater middle-class opportunity,” a senior administration official said Saturday of the proposed changes to inherited asset taxes.</p><p>Among other things, the current policy reduces disputes over prices paid for assets long ago. But critics of the current rule say it is outdated. The administration argues it would unlock capital by removing an incentive for holding valuable assets for generations.</p><p>The administration’s proposal would treat bequests and gifts—other than those to charitable organizations—as taxable events, requiring tax to be paid. It doesn’t propose changes to the estate tax.</p><p>It would include several protections for middle-class families and small businesses, the White House said. For instance, capital gains of up to $200,000 per couple still could be bequeathed free of tax, and couples would have an additional $500,000 exemption for personal residences. Personal goods other than expensive art and collectibles also would be tax-exempt. A closely held business would have the option to pay the tax over 15 years.</p><p>The administration said that 99% of the impact of its capital-gains changes would fall on households in the top 1% of incomes.</p><p>The revenue raised would be used to offset the cost of the initiatives to benefit working families, the administration said. Those include Mr. Obama’s previously announced initiative to make <a>two years of community college free</a>.</p><p> <strong>Write to </strong>Carol E. Lee at <a></a>, Colleen McCain Nelson at <a></a> and John D. McKinnon at <a></a></p><p>Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones &amp; Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8</p> L Washington Post The big question: How, not whether, to raise taxes <p>Here's the difference an election makes: The decisive question in American politics has moved from "<em>should</em> we increase taxes?" to "<em>how </em>will we increase taxes?"</p><p>The GOP's position is clear: "What matters is where the increased revenue comes from, and what type of reform comes with it," Speaker John Boehner said <a>last week</a>. "Does the increased revenue come from government taking a larger share of what the American people earn through higher tax rates? Or does it come as the byproduct of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all?"</p><p>In other words: Revenues are on the table, but only if they can be achieved without increasing tax <em>rates</em>. So: Raising taxes by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for income over $250,000? No go, as that tax hike increases the top rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. But raising taxes by, say, limiting the rich to $17,000 in deductions? That might be on the table.</p><p>In his press conference today, President Obama also made his position clear: "There are loopholes that can be closed and we should look at how we can make the filing process easier, simpler," he said in his press conference today. "But when it comes to the top 2 percent, what I'm not going to do is extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it that costs close to a trillion dollars. And it's very difficult, if you're serious about the numbers, to see how we make up that trillion dollars by closing loopholes. The math doesn't add up."</p><p>In other words: The top tax rate is going up. That's not, Obama says, because he wants the top tax rate to go up. It's because raising the top tax rate is the only realistic way to get the revenue.</p><p>The president portrays this as a matter of math. But it's not a matter of math. According to the Tax Policy Center, capping deductions at $17,000 would raise about $1 trillion from people making more than $200,000. Eliminating all itemized deductions would raise about $1.2 trillion.</p><p>White House officials don't buy that math, exactly. They think it will raise rather less when the Joint Tax Committee -- the folks who officially score tax policies in Congress -- takes a look at it. Moreover, they don't think it's a realistic policy. It would mean, in effect, wiping out the charitable deduction for richer Americans, which could devastate the philanthropic sector. It would mean largely wiping out the mortgage-interest deduction for richer Americans, which would deal a serious blow to the housing market. In addition to being politically impossible, all that is arguably economically unwise.</p><p>"I'm open to new ideas if Republicans or Democrats have some great new idea that raises revenue, maintains progressivity, makes sure the middle class isn't getting hit, and encourages growth," Obama said. "What I will not do is have a process that is vague that says we will sort-of, kind-of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or by closing loopholes that have not been identified."</p><p>The White House's position, in other words, is that if Republicans want to raise revenue while holding down rates by reforming the tax code, they have to show how they're going to do it, prove that they're willing to take the heat, and let it get scored by the Joint Tax Committee. If not, then tax rates are going up, either because Congress agrees to decouple the tax cuts for income under $250,000 from the tax cuts for income over $250,000, or because we've hit the deadline without an agreement and all the tax cuts have expired, raising taxes on everybody.</p> C The Hill Millionaires and billionaires to urge Congress not to cut their taxes <p>More than 400 millionaires and billionaires will reportedly ask Congress not to cut their taxes.</p><p>The group, which includes doctors, lawyers and chief executives, plans to send a letter to Congress and ask that their taxes not be cut under the GOP tax overhaul, <a>The Washington Post reported</a>.</p><p>The letter asks Congress not to pass a bill that "further exacerbates inequality." It also says the tax bill should not add to the country's debt.</p><p>The letter, put together by Responsible Wealth, a network that promotes progressive issues, says the GOP plan should increase taxes on the wealthy.</p><p>Some people who have signed onto the letter include Ben &amp; Jerry's Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller.</p><p>“I think a tax cut is absurd,” said Bob Crandall, a former American Airlines chief executive who signed the letter. </p><p>Republicans are “saying we can’t afford to spend money, but we can afford to give rich people a huge tax break. This makes no sense,” Crandall said.</p><p>House Republicans are <a>nearing an initial victory</a> on tax reform. Legislation is expected to get a vote this week on the House floor.</p><p>Senate Republicans released their own tax bill last week — a measure that has several differences from the House bill.</p><p>The Senate bill cuts individual and corporate tax rates and eliminates some tax preferences in the current code, but not as many as are repealed in the House bill.</p><p>Democrats have criticized the plan.</p><p>Senate Minority Leader <span><a>Charles Schumer</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Charles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer</a><a>Karl Rove argues Clinton's impeachment was 'dignified'</a> <a>Trump attacks Democrats over impeachment following call with military members</a> <a>Impeached, with a solid base and no apologies — Trump becomes the only issue of 2020</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (D-N.Y.) said Sunday the GOP tax plan would provide tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations while cutting tax breaks that provide relief to the middle class.</p><p>An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation <a>found all income groups</a> on average would see their taxes go down under the Senate Republicans' tax bill.</p> L Washington Post Obama likely to make economic recovery a centerpiece of State of the Union address <p>President Obama plans to propose raising $320 billion over the next 10 years in new taxes targeting wealthy individuals and big financial institutions to pay for new programs designed to help lower- and middle-income families, senior administration officials said Saturday.</p><p>In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama will propose raising the capital gains and dividend tax rates to 28 percent for high earners; imposing a fee on the liabilities of about 100 big financial institutions; and greatly broadening the amount of inherited money subject to taxes.</p><p>Obama will also seek to boost private retirement savings by requiring employers without 401(k) plans to make it easier for full-time and part-time workers to save in individual retirement accounts, which could assist as many as 30 million people. The administration would provide small employers tax credits to cover costs.</p><p>Senior administration officials said that the package would highlight the president’s desire to boost taxes on the nation’s wealthy households and help lower- and middle-class families. New tax credits would help those in need of child care and households with two earners, they said, while other proposals — such as covering community college tuition — would help students.</p><p>The moves would “eliminate the biggest tax loopholes and use the savings to let the middle class get ahead,” said one of the senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity during a conference call with reporters to describe the plan before the president’s speech. This person also said that 99 percent of the impact of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent of earners.</p><p>The ambitious — and controversial — proposals demonstrate the White House’s increasing confidence about the trajectory of the U.S. economy. For the past year and a half, it has debated how much it could trumpet the recovery when so many Americans have not felt any change in their own economic outlook.</p><p>But the plan drew immediate fire from Republican — and could face criticism from some Democrats — who have in the past increased the amount of money exempt from inheritance taxes they branded “death taxes.” Most Republicans have long opposed increases in capital gains rates, and many favor eliminating the tax altogether.</p><p>“This is not a serious proposal,” wrote Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in an e-mail late Saturday. “We lift families up and grow the economy with a simpler, flatter tax code, not big tax increases to pay for more Washington spending.”</p><p>“Slapping American small businesses, savers, and investors with more tax hikes only negates the benefits of the tax policies that have been successful in helping to expand the economy, promote savings, and create jobs,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement Saturday night.</p><p>“The president needs to stop listening to his liberal allies who want to raise taxes at all costs and start working with Congress to fix our broken tax code.”</p><p>The administration tried to head off some of that attack by asserting that elements of the package resembled proposals endorsed by Republicans. Officials also said that the capital gains tax rate was 28 percent during President Ronald Reagan’s terms in office. The <span>Obama </span>administration would also seek to limit the impact of the tax increases by saying the higher capital gains and dividend rates would apply only to couples earning more than $500,000 a year.</p><p>Officials said that the relatively low capital gains tax rate with a top rate of 20 percent has enabled the 400 highest-earning taxpayers — with $139 million or more of income — to pay an average rate of 17 percent when the top income tax rate is 35 percent.</p><p>The proposal to impose a 7 basis point fee on financial institutions with assets of more than $50 billion will also run smack into opposition from big banks and insurance companies. The administration compared the fee with a proposal by former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) for an excise tax on large financial institutions. And last week, the House Budget Committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), proposed a 0.1 percent surcharge on financial market transactions.</p><p>One of the senior administration officials Saturday said that the goal of the proposed fee from the White House was to discourage big financial institutions from excessive borrowing. He said that despite banking revisions after the 2008-2009 financial crisis, highly leveraged financial institutions “still pose risks to the broader economy,” adding that “this fee is designed to make that activity more costly.”</p><p>The economic recovery has freed the president to push for more ambitious domestic policies, many designed to help those <span>in the poor and middle class</span> who are still lagging behind. In the past week alone, Obama has announced new proposals on <a>paid sick leave</a>, free community college tuition and expanded broadband access. And while he might have trouble pushing those through the GOP-controlled Congress, Obama could still end up defining key issues for the elections in 2016.</p><p>“The battle for the next American agenda is already on,” said Donald A. Baer, chief executive of Burson-Marsteller and formerly chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. “There’s this effort to define <a>a new growth and share agenda</a> — growth but not only growth alone, and sharing the growth but not just sharing the wealth.” He said Obama’s college and broadband access are examples of proposals that could add to growth and give poor and middle-class people the tools to increase their share in it.</p><p>But Obama has to balance his rhetoric — between optimism and caution — by talking up the strong recovery while acknowledging that wage growth remains weak.</p><p>“There’s always been a tension between things are in fact getting better and people are not feeling great,” said Wade Randlett, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and major Democratic donor. “One is economic fact, and the other is <a>polling, which always catches up over time</a>.”</p><p>Now the president is so comfortable with the idea of talking up the economic recovery that his advisers have branded it — “America’s resurgence” — and made it a regular talking point in Obama’s stump speeches and weekly radio addresses. And it is likely to be a centerpiece of the State of the Union address.</p><p>In bragging about performance, Obama administration officials point to factors including the best streak of job growth since the 1990s, a recovery in the housing market and healthier balance sheets for households, companies and the federal government. And they have contrasted that performance with the anemic economies of Europe and Japan as evidence that the United States has regained its global economic dominance in what Obama has called a “breakthrough year for America.”</p><p>But wages have been a stubborn reminder of the recovery’s shortcomings. In November, average hourly private-sector nominal wages inched up 6 cents, but in December, they fell 5 cents. After adjusting for inflation, wages for the entire year crawled up 0.7 percent, a modest amount in an economic recovery. It is a point that has been featured prominently in comments by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has emerged as a leader of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.</p><p>“I’m feeling better about the economy, but I don’t think we have in place a set of policies that will assure that this recovery will be either sustained or fully inclusive,” said Lawrence H. Summers, a former top adviser to Obama, former Treasury secretary and now a professor at Harvard University. “That’s why I think more needs to be done.”</p><p>The White House typically aims its messages directly at the middle class, but, partly in response to Warren, Obama administration officials are more comfortable talking about how some of its proposals benefit poorer Americans.</p><p>“We’re on offense on minimum wage and the environment,” Randlett said. “That’s the kind you only do when you have the leash of good economics.”</p> L Washington Post More than 400 millionaires tell Congress: Don’t cut our taxes <p>More than 400 American millionaires and billionaires are sending a letter to Congress this week urging Republican lawmakers not to cut their taxes.</p><p>The wealthy Americans — including doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and chief executives — say the GOP is making a mistake by reducing taxes on the richest families at a time when the nation's debt is high and inequality is back at the <a>worst level </a>since the 1920s.</p><p>The <a>letter</a> calls on Congress not to pass any tax bill that “further exacerbates inequality” and adds to the debt. Instead of petitioning tax cuts for the wealthy, the letter tells Congress to raise taxes on rich people like them. It is being released publicly this week, as Republicans debate legislation that would <a>add $1.5 trillion</a> to the debt to pay for widespread tax cuts for businesses and individuals.</p><p>The letter was put together by Responsible Wealth, a group that advocates progressive causes. Signers include Ben &amp; Jerry's Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, as well as many individuals and couples who aren't household names but are part of the top 5 percent ($1.5 million in assets or earning $250,000 or more a year).</p><p>“I think a tax cut is absurd,” said Bob Crandall, a former American Airlines chief executive who lives in Florida and added his name to the letter. Republicans are “saying we can’t afford to spend money, but we can afford to give rich people a huge tax break. This makes no sense,” Crandall said.</p><p>Cutting taxes on businesses and individuals is the centerpiece of “MAGA-nomics,” President Trump's plan to spur growth and jobs in the country. The House and Senate have unveiled tax plans this month that they hope to pass and get on the president's desk by Christmas.</p><p>While the House and Senate bills <a>have substantial differences</a>, both cut taxes, on average, for many millionaires and billionaires. The Senate bill even <a>cuts the top tax rate</a> for couples earning more than $1 million (and individuals earning over $500,000) from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent.</p><p>The White House and congressional Republicans argue that everything in the bill is geared toward pumping more investment into the U.S. economy. They say the money that corporations and the rich save on their taxes would likely be used to start new companies or build new factories.</p><p>“I don't believe that we've set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone's getting a tax cut, I'm not upset that they're getting a tax cut,” Gary Cohn, the head of Trump's National Economic Council, said in an <a>interview with CNBC</a> last week. “Everything in our tax system is meant to encourage investment.”</p><p>But signers of the Responsible Wealth letter disagree, arguing that corporations are already at record profit levels and that wealthy people don't need more money. They would rather see the government use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone and to ensure that safety net programs such as Medicaid aren't cut.</p><p>“I have a big income. If my income gets bigger, I’m not going to invest more. I'll just save more,” said Crandall, who is retired.</p><p>The letter specifically criticizes Congress for attempting to <a>repeal the estate tax</a>, which is only paid on assets worth more than $5.49 million ($11 million for couples) that are left to heirs. The House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely. The Senate plan would double the threshold so people could inherit up to $11 million ($22 million for couples) tax free.</p><p>At the moment only 5,000 families a year end up paying the estate tax. Under the Senate plan, that would drop <a>to just 1,800 families</a>, according to a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official nonpartisan estimators.</p><p>“Repealing the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over 10 years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency <a>combined</a>,” the letter said.</p><p>Responsible Wealth is a liberal organization that teamed up for Voices for Progress on this campaign. Most of the signers of the letter come from California, New York and Massachusetts, states that went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the last election. Former labor secretary Robert Reich, a <a>backer of Bernie Sanders</a>, also signed the letter. They hope to remind Congress that not everyone is clamoring for lower taxes. Several signers have already visited Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans and Democrats, especially from their home states.</p><p>“This has to be one of the few times members of Congress have been visited by people saying, 'Don’t give me a tax cut,'" said Mike Lapham, who inherited sizable wealth from his family's paper mill in Upstate New York and now directs the Responsible Wealth project at United for a Fair Economy. "Wealthy people are saying it themselves: We don't need a tax cut.”</p><p>Republican representatives from California, New York and New Jersey are expected to be key swing votes that could make or break the GOP tax plan efforts. Many of these members are upset that the House and Senate bills eliminate a popular tax break known as <a>the state and local tax deduction</a>, which is used by many filers <a>earning more than $100,000 a year</a>, especially in high-tax states.</p><p><strong>Read more:</strong></p><p><a>Winners and losers in the Senate Republican tax plan</a></p><p><a>The many ways President Trump would benefit from the GOP’s tax plan</a></p><p><a>Paul Ryan’s repeated claim that ‘everyone’ will get a tax cut</a></p>

Trust in mass media

Article Url Leaning Outlet Renderheadlineimage_urlarticle_body C The Hill MSNBC's Wallace alters video of herself to show how Trump tried to 'smear' Pelosi <p>MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Friday showed an altered video clip of herself to blast <span><a>President Trump</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Donald John Trump</a><a>Germans think Trump is more dangerous to world peace than Kim Jong Un and Putin: survey</a> <a>Trump jokes removal of 'Home Alone 2' cameo from Canadian broadcast is retaliation from 'Justin T'</a> <a>Trump pushed drug cartel policy despite Cabinet objections: report</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>’s attempt to "smear" Speaker <span><a>Nancy Pelosi</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Nancy Pelosi</a><a>Poll: More independent voters trusting of news stories</a> <a>Health care, spending bills fuel busy year for K Street</a> <a>Trump goes after Pelosi in early morning tweets complaining about impeachment</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> (D-Calif.) with an edited video.</p><p>The “Deadline: White House” host said on her show that the clash between Trump and Pelosi this week has “deteriorated to a level beneath words — comprehensible words at least.”</p><p>“That’s why we’re going to do something different here to make sure you understand just how low the president has stooped in his efforts to smear the Speaker of the House,” Wallace said.</p><p>"We believe that transparency is the best disinfectant for dirty politics, so we’re going to break down what the president of the United States did to the Speaker of the House when he shared a doctored video of her with his millions of Twitter followers," she added.</p><p>Wallace, who served as White House communications director in the George W. Bush administration and as a GOP campaign aide, noted that Trump had shared an edited video clip Thursday that made it seem like Pelosi was stuttering.</p><p><iframe></iframe></p><p>The video, while itself not doctored, was shared the same day <a><span>The Washington Post reported</span></a> that videos doctored to make Pelosi appear to be slurring her words as if she were drunk had gone viral on social media.</p><p>Trump shared <a><span>a video</span></a> from Fox Business Network that had been edited to combine clips of Pelosi tripping over her words in a press conference. Trump tweeted the clip with the caption "PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE."</p><p>Wallace noted that the slowed-down video "has the effect of making anyone look like they’re having a hard time speaking."</p><p>The MSNBC host proceeded to air a clip of her speaking that had been slowed down so her audience could see what she looked and sounded like doctored.</p><p>She also pointed out that Trump has been a victim of doctored videos himself, playing a clip that showed a campaign speech that had been altered.</p><p>Wallace said her MSNBC show had decided not to show the clip of Pelosi that Trump shared with his 60.5 million Twitter followers.</p><p>The president on Friday <a><span>denied knowledge</span></a> of the altered videos and praised his ability to work with the Democratic leader before accusing her of "not helping the country."</p><p>"I don’t know about the videos. I can tell you that — what I’m here is to help the country," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving on a trip to Japan.</p> C The Hill War between Trump, media set to intensify <p><span><a>Donald Trump</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Donald John Trump</a><a>Germans think Trump is more dangerous to world peace than Kim Jong Un and Putin: survey</a> <a>Trump jokes removal of 'Home Alone 2' cameo from Canadian broadcast is retaliation from 'Justin T'</a> <a>Trump pushed drug cartel policy despite Cabinet objections: report</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>’s unconventional presidency has roiled the media landscape, creating new dynamics that will play a major role in shaping his second year in office.<br/>  <br/> Some of the leading names in print journalism and cable news have taken an unusually adversarial approach to covering Trump, leading to charges of bias and sparking a debate within the industry about whether the president is being covered fairly.<br/>  <br/> Trump has responded by doing away with media interviews and press conferences almost entirely, even as he and his allies launch near-daily attacks on the media’s credibility.<br/><br/></p><p>No media organization has been as critical of Trump’s presidency as CNN.<br/><br/> After being accused during the campaign of fueling Trump’s rise by broadcasting his speeches and rallies in full, CNN has gone wall-to-wall with programming that has been fiercely critical of Trump and his administration.<br/><br/> Under the leadership of Jeff Zucker — who hired Trump while at NBC for the highly rated reality program “The Apprentice” in 2004 — the network is running one ad campaign accusing the president of being a liar and a second that showcases its anchors lecturing administration officials. <br/><br/> CNN regularly taunts the White House with mocking chyrons, and its chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has taken the aggressive style into the briefing room.<br/><br/> Acosta is one of several reporters who have become media sensations — racking up viral news clips and tens of thousands of Twitter followers — by feuding publicly with administration officials or ranting about the unique dangers of the Trump presidency.<br/><br/> CNN recently tapped journalist Brian Karem — who sometimes writes for Playboy and was little known until he had an explosive argument with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a press briefing — to be a regular contributor on the network.<br/><br/> The combative exchanges have led to accusations of grandstanding within the Washington press corps, a charge the White House leveled when it briefly stopped broadcasting the daily press briefings.<br/><br/> CNN once had a reputation as the mainstream alternative to right-wing Fox News and left-wing MSNBC, but the network will head into 2018 as the poster child for what many on the right view as media bias and hysteria around the Trump presidency.<br/><br/> “CNN has always been like this, it’s just never had the spotlight on it like it does now,” said Armstrong Williams, who owns several television stations on the right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group. <br/><br/> Fox News, meanwhile, was steadfastly anti-Trump during the GOP primaries, but has morphed into an ally and defender of the president.<br/><br/> The president is known to watch the network’s unabashedly pro-Trump morning show "Fox &amp; Friends," often going to Twitter to share his thoughts about news events covered on the show.<br/><br/> And Trump’s most influential ally in the media is Sean Hannity, whose 9 p.m. show is a nightly rundown for tens of millions of conservatives looking for coverage of Trump’s accomplishments and attacks on his enemies.<br/><br/> Hannity and the guests on his show have questioned the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, raising allegations of conflicts of interest, political bias and corruption — attacks that have caught on among GOP lawmakers and others in the Republican mainstream.<br/><br/> “Fox News is reprehensible,” said Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman. “The way they’re trying to bolster Trump, it feels like a propaganda media outlet from a third-world country. It’s not supposed to be that way in the U.S.”<br/><br/> The New York Times and The Washington Post, meanwhile, are posting record subscription numbers and basking in Beltway praise for their coverage of the Russia investigation, the White House and the administration.<br/><br/> “These papers are on fire and in a competition for the kinds of consequential scoops we haven’t seen since Watergate,” said George Washington University media studies professor Steven Livingston. “I think we’ll look back on this as the golden era of journalism.”<br/>  <br/> Still, both papers have dealt with accusations of anti-Trump bias and faced criticism for reporting on the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.<br/><br/> The Post had to correct a story claiming that Russians had hacked the U.S. electric grid. Former FBI Director <span><a>James Comey</a><span><span><span><img/><a>James Brien Comey</a><a>Jim Comey's damaging legacy at the FBI must be undone</a> <a>Trump rallies supporters as he becomes third president to be impeached</a> <a>The Memo: Trump era flips script on views of intelligence agencies</a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span> told Congress under oath that a New York Times story titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence” was “almost entirely wrong.”<br/><br/> The press had a particularly rough stretch in early December, when ABC News suspended its top political reporter, Brian Ross, for incorrectly reporting that Trump had directed his former national security adviser Michael Flynn to contact the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign.<br/><br/> Later that same week, CNN had to retract a story claiming that WikiLeaks had given Trump’s eldest son, <span><a>Donald Trump Jr.</a><span><span><span><img/><a>Donald (Don) John Trump</a><a>FWS: There's 'no basis' to investigate Trump Jr.'s Mongolian hunting trip</a> <a>Fish and Wildlife Service to review allegations surrounding Trump Jr.'s Mongolian hunting trip</a> <a>Melania Trump's 'Be Best' hashtag trends after president goes after Greta Thunberg </a> <a>MORE<span></span></a></span></span></span></span>, early access to stolen Democratic emails. It was one of three major reporting errors on the Trump–Russia connection that the outlet admitted to this year.<br/><br/> The president and his allies have seized on the corrections and retractions to attack the “fake news” media. </p><p>While Trump gave interviews to a variety of outlets after taking office, he now rarely gives interviews to outlets other than Fox News.<br/><br/> Trump’s most recent television interview was with Laura Ingraham, a Fox News anchor, on Nov. 1. His last interview with a broadcast network was with NBC in May.<br/><br/> Trump gave only one traditional press conference in 2017 and is the first president in 15 years not to hold an end-of-year event.<br/><br/> The president prefers tweeting or chatting briefly with reporters in informal settings — a trend most expect will continue in 2018, even as he remains omnipresent in the media.<br/><br/> “Trump has used Twitter to bypass the normal press agenda-setting function and is essentially setting the agenda on his own terms through social media,” McCall, of DePauw University said. “I am not convinced Trump's Twitter use is all that strategic, but it certainly has given him direct access to the citizenry and the news agenda in ways never seen before from the White House.” </p> L New York Times Distorted Videos of Nancy Pelosi Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump <p>Manipulated videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem as if she were stumbling over and slurring her words continued to spread across social media on Friday, fueled by President Trump’s feud with the Democratic leader.</p><p>One of the videos, which showed Ms. Pelosi speaking at a conference this week, appeared to be slowed down to make her speech sound continually garbled.</p><p>The video has been viewed millions of times on Facebook and was amplified by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who shared the video Thursday night on Twitter. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?” Mr. Giuliani said <a>in a tweet</a> that has since been deleted. “Her speech pattern is bizarre.”</p><p>Mr. Trump himself tweeted a separate video of Ms. Pelosi on Thursday night, an edited clip from Fox Business that spliced together moments from <a>a 20-minute news conference</a> and emphasized points where she had stumbled on her words. “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” <a>the president tweeted</a>.</p><p>By Friday, the social media giants, already under pressure to fight online disinformation, were forced to respond.</p><p>Addressing the distorted video that made Ms. Pelosi’s speech sound slurred, YouTube said the video violated its standards and had been removed. Facebook said that a third-party fact checker had rated the video “false,” but posts remained on the site and the company said it was trying to limit how widely the video was shared. That video continued to be shared and viewed on Twitter, but the company declined to comment.</p><p>The videos surfaced online <a>amid a particularly intense and public feud</a> between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi. Each questioned the other’s temperament and mental fitness in an exchange of personal insults on Thursday, as Ms. Pelosi works to stave off impeachment proceedings that she believes could harm her party and as Mr. Trump continues to defy Democratic efforts to subpoena documents and summon witnesses in the wake of the release of the special counsel’s report last month.</p><p>But the videos also raised broader concerns about the roles of digital manipulation and disinformation in politics, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.</p><p>Tech giants have been grappling with how to combat disinformation, after Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election <a>became a template for spreading false information online</a>. And recent episodes have underscored how videos and other information can <a>make their way from the corners of the internet</a> to the mantel of national politics.</p><p>Mr. Trump has previously used doctored, if obviously cartoonish, videos for political purposes, <a>including ones targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.</a>, a Democratic candidate for president, <a>and CNN</a>, the cable news network. In another case, his administration <a>relied on a misleadingly edited video</a> from a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars to help justify removing the credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent.</p><p>In another instance, <a>Democratic tech experts mimicked Russian tactics</a> to help Senator Doug Jones of Alabama edge out his Republican opponent, Roy S. Moore, including creating a Facebook page where they posed as conservatives to divide Republicans and endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes away from Mr. Moore.</p><p>The origin of the footage that changed Ms. Pelosi’s speech was not clear. In <a>a video posted by C-SPAN</a>, she can be seen speaking at normal speed at a conference for the Center for American Progress.</p><p>Siwei Lyu, a professor of computer science at the State University of New York at Albany, said the video boosted low frequencies in the audio, while preserving Ms. Pelosi’s words and appearance, making it especially effective at creating a false impression.</p><p>“It’s very subtle,” he said. “I think that is actually one of the most dangerous parts of disinformation and fake media.”</p><p>The edited version was <a>shared widely on Facebook</a> and elsewhere, prompting many to question whether Ms. Pelosi had been drinking or had been otherwise under the influence.</p><p>An aide to Ms. Pelosi described the attacks as sexist and said the speaker does not drink. Her supporters also raised concerns about the timing of the president’s own tweet sharing the spliced Fox Business video, which came as the video distorting her speech was making the rounds online.</p><p>In a statement on Friday night, Fox Business emphasized that the clips it used of Ms. Pelosi did not slow down her speech.</p><p>On Friday, Mr. Giuliani said that he did not know that the distorted video that he shared had been altered when he shared it on Twitter. “I didn’t know it was doctored,” he said. “I had no reason to believe it at the time. It looked like enough of an extension of the way she communicates anyway.”</p><p>“It did seem a little exaggerated and I think I tweeted, ‘What’s wrong?’” he added. “But to overreact is a little hypocritical given she is the one who was making very, very direct comments about the competence of the president of the United States of America, which I don’t think any good American should do.”</p><p>Mr. Giuliani said that he took the tweet down after someone texted him calling the video into question. He said he had not seen the original footage.</p><p>“Where do you go to check that it’s inaccurate?” he said. “How could I have figured out that it was inaccurate?”</p><p>Dr. Lyu, who has studied <a>deepfakes</a>, a kind of ultrarealistic fake video made with artificial intelligence software, said that many false videos can be detected if people slow down, watch again and think critically.</p><p>“There is no way back; the Pandora’s box is opened,” he said. But he added: “We are all part of the ecosystem, consuming and also generating information, so we must do our part of the job to make the ecosystem healthy.”</p><p>The back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi ensued on Thursday as she suggested that he was too unstable to govern. The president’s theatrical scrapping of Wednesday’s infrastructure meeting at the White House raised questions about his temperament and behavior, she said.</p><p>Mr. Trump had “another temper tantrum,” she told reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol. “Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”</p><p>The president gave her a derogatory nickname, calling her “Crazy Nancy.”</p><p>“She’s a mess. She’s lost it,” the president said during an event to <a>announce $16 billion in aid</a> to farmers, in part to compensate for his tariffs policy on China. That event transformed into a monologue and a question-and-answer session with reporters, which included a revival of an <a>old self-assessment</a> that Mr. Trump is an “extremely stable genius.”</p><p>Ms. Pelosi <a>quickly shot back on Twitter</a>, saying, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”</p><p>In his own tweets on Friday, Mr. Giuliani said he would not apologize for sharing the video.</p><p>“Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,” <a>he wrote</a>, before recalling her comment that Mr. Trump needed an intervention. “First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation.”</p> R Fox Online News Facebook defends not pulling controversial video of Pelosi <p>The social media giant says most of the fake accounts were caught before they became active, but estimates out of its 2.4 billion monthly active users, roughly 5 percent are fake accounts.</p><p><a>Facebook</a> has released a statement amid concerns about its decision not to remove an altered video that went viral -- one concocted to make it seem that <a>House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,</a> was slurring her words.</p><p>Although the social media giant triggered a backlash by not taking down the vid, it said it did reduce the content's distribution and add a disclaimer notifying users that the video was "false."</p><p>"We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community standards, and we don't have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,' the company said Friday, according to <a>ABC7 News.</a></p><p>By Saturday, <a>the video</a> had more than 28,000 comments, nearly 50,000 shares, and at least 2.6 million views. It was posted on Wednesday. Underneath the video's caption, a long list of articles, from labeled fact-checkers, criticized the video.</p><p><a><strong>CROSSFIT QUITS FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, ACCUSES SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT OF CENSORSHIP, BEING 'UTOPIAN SOCIALISTS'</strong></a></p><p>It showed Pelosi making controversial comments about Trump's alleged behavior during an <a>infrastructure meeting that was cut short earlier this week.</a></p><p>The platform clarified that it didn't think all content deserved to be distributed but allowed some content as forms of expression.</p><p>"There's a tension here; we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance," it said.</p><p>"But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn't mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we're not going to show it at the top of News Feed." The platform also outlined how it combated misleading content.</p><p><a><strong>MARK ZUCKERBERG CLAIMS FACEBOOK SECURITY EFFORTS WILL SUFFER IF COMPANY IS BROKEN UP</strong></a></p><p>"We fight the spread of false news on Facebook in a number of ways, namely by removing content that violates our Community Standards, like fake accounts; reducing the distribution of content that does not directly violate Community Standards, but still undermines the authenticity of the platform, by demoting it in News Feed; and empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share by informing them with more context in-product and promoting news literacy," it said.</p><p>The controversy erupted amid already-growing scrutiny surrounding Facebook and other social media companies and <a>the way they handled content on their platform</a>. Facebook and Twitter specifically took heat for apparent bias against conservatives as well as allowing content promoted by Russians during the 2016 election.</p><p>Monika Bickert, Facebook's vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said on CNN that her company "dramatically" reduced the video's distribution and told users the video was false.</p><p>"We have acted ... anybody who is seeing this video in News Feed, anyone who is going to share it with somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past — they are being alerted that this video is false," she <a>said</a>.</p><p><a><strong>FACEBOOK REVEALS HOW OFTEN IT GETS CONTENT TAKEDOWNS WRONG</strong></a></p><p>CNN's Anderson Cooper pressed Bickert on why she decided to keep the video on the platform.</p><p><a><strong>CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP</strong></a></p><p>"We think it's important for people to make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure that we are getting them accurate information and that's why we work with more than 50 fact-checking organizations around the world," she told Cooper.</p><p>She added that the company would remove misinformation related to on-going riots or some kind of threat to physical violence.</p>