Intel CEO is third to exit Trump's manufacturing council after CharlottesvilleFOX • 08/15/17 16:06:14
Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Primary voters in Alabama will head to the polls today in the state’s U.S. Senate special election. Donald Trump continues to scramble in support of Sen. Luther Strange (R), tweeting twice about him this morning, and recording robocalls on the appointed senator’s behalf.
* In Nevada, the Democratic National Committee announced yesterday it’s putting Sen. Dean Heller (R) on a couple of billboards, highlighting his vote for the Republicans’ unpopular health care bill. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, is creating billboards targeting Heller’s likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen, trying to tie her to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
* On a related note, Heller told reporters in October 2016 that he was 99% certain he wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump. It took a while for the GOP senator to come clean, but Heller finally admitted yesterday that he did, in fact, vote for his party’s presidential ticket.
* Some odd people end up running for Congress: “House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Republican challenger says he believes an unfounded right-wing online conspiracy theory dubbed ‘pizzagate.’ Paul Nehlen voiced his opinion during an online question-and-answer session with voters earlier this month on Reddit. He was asked, ‘What are your thoughts on Pizzagate?’ In response, Nehlen wrote, ‘I believe it is real.’”
* Because contemporary politics continues to get even weirder, the head of the Senate Republican leadership’s super PAC said on Friday’s he’s “very interested” in having Kid Rock run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan next year.
* On a related note, if the Trump-supporting entertainer decides to run, it looks like he’d have to appear on the ballot under his given name, Robert Ritchie, instead of his pseudonym.
Alabama Republican candidates court Trump voters in today's Senate primary
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to choose a permanent Senate successor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with both Republicans and Democrats locked in competitive primaries that may have to be resolved in a Sept. 26 runoff.
The Alabama special election is a microcosm of the divisions wracking the GOPBusiness Insider
5 things to watch in Alabama's special electionPolitico
5 things to watch as Alabama casts votes in Senate primaryUSA TODAY
CBS News -Vox -NBCNews.com -Washington Examiner
all 181 news articles »
Justice Department wants data on anti-Trump protesters. An LA tech firm is resisting
Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles tech company is resisting a federal demand for more than 1.3 million IP addresses to identify who visited a website set up to coordinate protests on President Trump's Inauguration Day — a request whose breadth the company says violates ...
A closer look at DOJ's warrant to collect website recordsWashington Post
Web firm fights DoJ on Trump protestersBBC News
Feds demand 1.3 million IP addresses of those who visited Trump protest siteArs Technica
The Week Magazine -New York Daily News -ValueWalk -New York Magazine
all 71 news articles »
Freetown: A disaster waiting to happen?
Freetown is a city squeezing itself into the small space between the mountains and the sea, in a country with the highest annual rainfall in Africa. In August - the height of the rainy season - an average of 539.9mm falls on Sierra Leone's capital. So ...
Sierra Leone Mudslide: 300 Dead, Red Cross Believe 600 MissingNBCNews.com
Sierra Leone floods: Rescue continues as death toll risesCNN
The Latest: 600 estimated missing in Sierra Leone mudslidesABC News
Reuters -BBC News -AOL -Bloomberg
all 366 news articles »
There's actually some good news for Trump in the latest Russia leak
Another day, another leak, another drip in the bucket of evidence showing ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Washington Post reported Monday evening that a campaign aide tried repeatedly to set up meetings between the billionaire ...
Trump rips Obama over report he learned of Kremlin threat in 2014Fox News
Salvage the US-Russia RelationshipU.S. News & World Report
Trump campaign emails show aide's repeated efforts to set up Russia meetingsWashington Post
all 77 news articles »
Before 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil was carried out in Oklahoma City in 1995 by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two anti-government radicals. The blast left 168 people, including many children, dead.
Someone apparently wanted a sequel.
Federal authorities were holding a man in custody Monday who domestic terrorism investigators said planned and tried to execute an anti-government bombing of an Oklahoma City bank.
Documents filed in federal district court say that Jerry Drake Varnell, 23, drove what he believed was a stolen van containing a 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb early Saturday morning to an alley beside BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City.
There was, however, no real bomb. Varnell came under FBI surveillance several months ago, when he started discussing plans for a domestic bombing, and the people the terrorist suspect thought were his co-conspirators were actually law enforcement officials. As the NBC News report added, “The cell phone that Varnell believed was a detonator dialed law enforcement, and the getaway driver was an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The alleged terrorist was apparently another anti-government radical, and in a Facebook message he thought would be posted after his plot succeeded, Varnell wrote that the bombing was in “retaliation” for the “freedoms that have been taken away from the American people.”
The officials involved in this case are to be congratulated, of course, for preventing the suspect from hurting anyone, but the news got me thinking about Sebastian Gorka, an adviser to Donald Trump who routinely appears in the media.
Judd Legum had a good piece the other day on Gorka’s latest pitch.
Wednesday, Gorka appeared on Breitbart News Daily, the radio show of his former employer. Gorka responded to criticism stemming from a previous media appearance on MSNBC where he said “[t]here’s no such thing as a lone wolf” attack. The concept, according to Gorka, was “invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid.”
The idea of a “lone wolf attack,” Gorka says, is a ruse to point blame away from al Qaeda and ISIS when “[t]here has never been a serious attack or a serious plot that was unconnected from ISIS or al Qaeda.”
The White House adviser added, in reference to rhetoric he apparently hears from the left, “It’s this constant, ‘Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.’ No, it isn’t.”
His timing could’ve been better.
August 15, 2017
By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) – Four Teamsters union members in Boston were acquitted on Tuesday of charges they tried to extort jobs from a production company filming “Top Chef” in 2014 through thuggish tactics that included threatening host Padma Lakshmi.
A federal jury in Boston found Daniel Redmond, John Fidler, Robert Cafarelli and Michael Ross not guilty of conspiracy and attempted extortion charges over what prosecutors said was an effort to secure wages for unwanted services from the non-union company.
Prosecutors claimed the Teamsters were trying to secure wages for unnecessary services as drivers during the filming of “Top Chef,” which had hired non-union workers for those positions while filming throughout the Boston area.
Defense lawyers argued the Teamsters Local 25 members were engaged in legitimate picketing as the union tried to negotiate to secure jobs.
Prosecutors said that on June 5, 2014, Redmond approached the show’s crew while it was filming at a hotel, demanded union members be hired as drivers and told a producer to call Mark Harrington, his union supervisor.
They said several locations withdrew from participating in the show after the union threatened to picket them, prompting production company Magical Elves to film at the Steel & Rye restaurant in the suburb of Milton that June 10.
Harrington, Redmond, Fidler, Cafarelli and Ross showed up at the restaurant and members of the group chest-bumped and threatened crew members and blocked food deliveries, prosecutors said.
Witnesses had testified that some Teamsters also swarmed a van bringing Lakshmi to the set. Prosecutors claim that included Fidler, who they said stuck his arm into her van and said, “I’ll smash your pretty little face.”
Harrington was sentenced in December to six months in prison after pleading guilty in the case.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
Zimbabwe's first lady allegedly assaulted a model who partied with her sons
After reportedly turning herself in to South African police on Tuesday over allegations that she assaulted a 20-year-old woman who was partying with her two sons, Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe's whereabouts are currently unknown, and local reports ...
Robert Mugabe's Wife Fails to Show Up in South Africa Court Over Alleged Hotel AssaultNewsweek
No sign of Zimbabwe's Grace Mugabe in South Africa courtBBC News
Grace Mugabe Is Accused of Assault at Johannesburg HotelNew York Times
Reuters -New York Post -The Guardian -Daily Beast
all 154 news articles »
Three weeks ago tomorrow, Donald Trump surprised a lot of people by announcing a new policy via Twitter: “Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
Almost immediately, it became obvious that the president had tweets, but no policy. The White House struggled to defend the discriminatory ban; service chiefs dismissed it; and the Joint Chiefs effectively ignored it, leaving the status quo in place.
Yesterday, as the Washington Post reported, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis left open the possibility that at least some transgender service members could continue their military careers, despite what Trump said on Twitter.
Mattis, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said that he and his staff are still studying the issue, including how having transgender service members affects other members of their units.
The Pentagon chief, asked whether transgender people now in the military will be forced out of their service, pointed to a statement that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a day after Trump’s announcement last month. Dunford said that openly transgender people will be allowed to continue to serve until there is guidance from the president on how to proceed.
The oddity of the circumstances is hard to miss. The Commander in Chief publicly declared that the United States military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity.” No one knew exactly what that meant, so everyone simply put the declaration aside.
Three weeks later, there’s still no clarity as to what Trump was talking about, so his ban is in limbo: it exists on Twitter and in the president’s mind, but in practice, according to Mattis, the Pentagon has decided to “study” the issue.
In Grown-Up Land, officials tend to examine an idea before a president starts banning Americans in uniform from military service, but in the Trump administration, the order of events is apparently reversed.
For his part, the president told reporters last week, in reference to his ban, “It’s been a very difficult situation. And I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it.”
We still don’t know what “it” he was referring to.
New York Daily News
Protesters could be charged for bringing down Durham, NC, Confederate statue
New York Daily News
A sheriff's deputy stands near the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the old Durham County Courthouse in North Carolina. (STRINGER/REUTERS). BY Jessica Schladebeck. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 10:22 AM.
Sheriff to seek charges against Durham protesters who pulled down Confederate statueWTVD-TV
Protesters pull down Confederate statue in North Carolinafox2now.com
Durham sheriff working to ID, charge protesters who tore down Confederate statueWNCN
Washington Post -Grand Forks Herald -Miami Herald -Durham Herald Sun
all 272 news articles »
Trump retweets Fox News story on potential Arpaio pardon
CNN Special Report "Twitter and Trump" with Bill Weir explores the President's fraught relationship with the social media platform Friday at 9 p.m. ET. (CNN) President Donald Trump on Tuesday retweeted a Fox News story saying he was "seriously ...
Trump Retweets User Who Called Him a 'Fascist'NBCNews.com
Trump retweets Twitter user calling him a fascistThe Hill
Trump retweets post maybe calling him a fascist, then deletes itNew York Post
HuffPost -Washington Times -U.S. News & World Report -Newsweek
all 167 news articles »
Twice this year, Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee have urged Republican leaders to hold hearings on the security threats posed by white supremacists and their allies. In both instances, GOP officials ignored the requests.
Politico reports that in the wake of Charlottesville, House Dems are trying again.
Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are asking panel Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) to examine racist fringe groups, including those that organized Saturday’s violent protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the University of Virginia campus. […]
California Rep. Lou Correa, who sits on the Homeland panel, was the first Democrat to call for hearings. “Yesterday’s horrific acts against innocent Americans were clear acts of terrorism,” he said. “Our country has a homegrown terrorism problem we refuse to address. That ends now. We must hold hearings and finally address that terrorism inflicted by white supremacy extremists is destroying our country.”
As best as I can tell, the panel’s Republican leadership hasn’t yet responded, but I’m hard pressed to imagine why the House Homeland Security Committee would choose not to take a closer look at this threat.
Indeed, just yesterday, Foreign Policy magazine published a striking report, noting that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned in May “that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy.”
These kinds of findings have been common for quite a while. A New York Times report found two years ago, for example, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”
Longtime readers may recall that just a few months into the Obama presidency, congressional Republicans and conservative media claimed to be outraged by a general alert to law enforcement from the Department of Homeland Security. The document highlighted the findings of a report about domestic extremists and their interest in politically motivated violence, and there was no real reason to find this controversial.
But a controversy ensued anyway. Despite the fact that the report had been commissioned by the Bush/Cheney administration, Republicans and much of the right freaked out – with conservatives insisting that concerns about violent radicals could implicate mainstream activists on the right. Some GOP members of Congress even called for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s resignation.
Even at the time, the Republican tantrum was bizarre, but it nevertheless convinced federal officials to scale back their scrutiny, at least for a while, of home-grown extremists and potentially violent fringe radicals.
We can learn from these mistakes. Now is a perfectly good time for officials to scrutinize these threats.