In the News

News and Headlines. 1/15/2019

News and Headlines. In The News, Politics, Immigration, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:


Most of IRS to return to work, despite shutdown, to issue tax refunds

The IRS’s new plan is part of a Trump administration effort to minimize the disruptive effects of the shutdown.

According to the plan, the IRS will exempt 46,052 of its employees from any shutdown in government services, or approximately 57.4 percent of its 80,265 employee workforce. Most of those workers — over 34,000 — are in the section of the agency responsible for processing tax returns and refunds.


Veteran ‘star’ DEA agent conspired with Colombia drug cartels to launder more than $7M

A once standout Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Jose Irizarry is accused of conspiring with a longtime DEA informant to launder more than $7 million in illicit drug proceeds, sometimes using an underground network known as the black-market peso exchange, according to five current and former law enforcement officials.

The officials described the case as one of the biggest black eyes in the history of the DEA, an agency that has seen repeated scandals in recent years, and one they fear could have compromised undercover operations in the U.S. and South America.


Authorities warn about sex traffickers luring teens via gaming app, 7 arrested

Six men and a woman were arrested after an eight-month human trafficking investigation involving two teenagers. (St. Petersburg Police)

St. Petersburg police said the two teen boys – 16 and 17 years old – were rescued in May after Louisiana authorities alerted them the 17-year-old had been persuaded to leave home by someone he met on gaming app Discord and could be living in a mobile home in the Florida city.

On Monday, authorities said six people – five men and a woman – were arrested on human trafficking charges. A seventh suspect, 34-year-old Curtis Lee Gruwell, turned himself in to police on Tuesday, authorities said.


California Election Watchdog Celebrates Lawsuit Win, Plans ‘Deep Audit’

As many as 1.5 million inactive registered names on the voter rolls in Los Angeles County alone are being contacted for potential removal, after the recently-announced settlement of a lawsuit against the state of California and Los Angeles County initiated by Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa) and Judicial Watch.

EIPCa held a special meeting with local supporters in Pasadena, California on Jan. 12 to celebrate the settlement, which they consider a “colossal win.”

“This is powerful. This is historic. This has never happened in the state before, where a citizen group documented, researched, and sued the state of California and the LA County Registrar to ensure that they become compliant with federal law, so this is huge,” said Paine at the meeting.


Supreme Court rejects appeal from veterans in burn pit lawsuit against KBR, Halliburton

The flames of a burn pit picks up with the winds as a storm approaches Combat Outpost Tangi in the Tangi Valley, Afghanistan, Aug. 31, 2009. (Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/DoD)

Plaintiffs allege that KBR, formerly owned by Halliburton Corporation, and other companies dumped tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into the burn pits downrange. The smoke from those pits caused health issues in more than 800 veterans in the lawsuits, attorneys claim. At least a dozen affected have since died.

Judges with the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who issued the ruling in last year’s appeal, said that KBR had little discretion in how to dispose of the waste, as they were under military control and the use of the burn pits was a military decision.


Police can’t force you to unlock phone with Face ID or fingerprint, judge rules

US Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore denied a search warrant request that sought permission to use biometrics features — such as FaceID on an iPhone or Iris Scanner on a Samsung Galaxy — to unlock and search devices at a residence in Oakland, California. The court order, issued Jan. 10, was reported earlier by Forbes.

“The court finds that the government’s request runs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and the search warrant application must be denied,” wrote Westmore. “Today’s mobile phones are not comparable to other storage equipment, be it physical or digital, and are entitled to greater privacy protection.”


Ohio teen calls cops after father takes away her cell phone

Officers in South Euclid, Ohio say they were dispatched to a home there Saturday for a theft report – only to arrive and find a 16-year-old who claimed her father stole her cell phone, something she believed she was entitled to have.

The father told cops he took the device away for disciplinary reasons, and police took his side.


Judge Orders Trump Administration To Remove 2020 Census Citizenship Question

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count “without curing the legal defects” the judge identified in his opinion released on Tuesday.

Furman’s decision marks a significant milestone in a legal battle that began shortly after the Trump administration announced last year that the 2020 census would include a controversial question about U.S. citizenship status.

The added question was: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” All U.S. households have not been asked such a question on the census since 1950.


Federal judge sides with Trump, allowing workers to go unpaid during shutdown

In a hearing Tuesday, District Judge Richard J. Leon refused to grant temporary restraining orders requested the National Treasury Employees Union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and a group of individual federal employees.

The unions argued that the government could not force employees deemed “essential” to work without pay during the shutdown.

Lean declined to grant the orders, saying they would “create chaos and confusion” in an already fraught environment.


Former top FBI lawyer James Baker subject of criminal media leak probe, transcript reveals

The transcript of the closed-door interview and the letter do not include details explaining why the investigation is being led out of the Connecticut office. The status of the investigation is not publicly known.

But the disclosure marks the latest confirmation of a leak investigation involving FBI figures who have since left the bureau.

Last year, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe saw his leak case referred to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. McCabe was fired for lying to federal investigators about his role in a media leak regarding the Clinton Foundation on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.


DOJ SERIOUSLY EYES CHANGES TO MEDIA SUBPOENA POLICY

third parties related to a media leak investigations. Officials familiar with the policy characterize it as hindering investigators’ ability to discern the source of damaging national security leaks and say the lengthy timeline of notice to media organizations and others hinders the ability to conduct timely investigations.

The policy change has its roots in President Donald Trump’s directive to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crack down on national security leaks emanating from the DOJ. Sessions announced that the media subpoena policy would be placed under review in August 2017.


Three children in Florida die after locking themselves inside freezer: police

The children died after accidentally trapping themselves inside the freezer, police said. (Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office)

The children — ages 1, 4 and 6 — were playing in the yard Sunday when “for unknown reasons they climbed inside of a chest freezer that had recently been brought to the residence,” but had not yet been brought inside the home and was not turned on, the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook Monday.

An adult female, who the sheriff’s office did not identify, was allegedly outside while the children were playing. But shortly before the incident occurred she had gone inside the home to use the restroom.


Convicted Colorado killer Chris Watts’ home to be auctioned

The five-bedroom, four-bathroom home on Saratoga trail in Frederick will be sold to the highest bidder on April 17, Times-Call reported, citing a notice posted in December by the Weld County Public Trustee. Watts, who bought the house in 2013 for $392,709, owes $349,938.09 after failing to pay principal and interest.

The property was valued at $484,399 in 2018.


Bay Area pizza restaurant closes store ‘indefinitely’ after pictures showing employee sleeping in restroom go viral

An anonymous customer captured the shocking images, which prompted the restaurant to be shut down. (Reddit)

“Papa Murphy’s in Pacifica” is all the photo was captioned, which showed an employee taking a nap on the floor of a restroom, complete with a blanket and what appears to be a pillow or rolled up mat, and the pizza’s workstation, which was littered with trash and scattered toppings.

The upsetting post was reportedly taken by someone who went to pick up a pizza for his family.


Subway employee photographed with bare feet on counter near food storage

The woman was spotted by a Tara Williams, who stopped at the Ann Arbor sandwich shop Saturday evening. When she noticed the worker, she took a picture and posted it on Facebook.

One commenter on Facebook claims the woman in the photo is the 54-year-old owner of the franchise, who often “works open to close.”

“Could she have been less careless YES should she have done things differently sure but we shouldn’t criticize her for this mistake!!”

Others weren’t so forgiving.


New York gas station manager mowed down by driver who stole $22 worth of fuel, cops say

Authorities launched a dragnet Tuesday for a driver captured on surveillance video mowing down a 59-year-old New York gas station manager in order to flee the station without paying for fuel.

Dagdeviren was pronounced dead Monday after he was struck by an SUV outside the Pit Stop station, where he was the manager, in South Hempstead on Long Island, Newsday reported. Dagdeviren stepped in front of the vehicle after the driver’s attempt to pay for gas with a fake credit card failed.


SAUDI ARABIAN FLAG CANDY STATUE REMOVED FROM GROUND ZERO FOLLOWING BACKLASH

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said they’d relocate the installation, which features the words “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet” in Arabic, after many felt its proximity to Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial was insulting and insensitive.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attack on the United States were Saudi nationalists, although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long denied any involvement.


De Blasio pitches plan to seize private property of problem landlords, opponents cry ‘communism’

De Blasio, in his State of the City address on Thursday, announced he wants to take action against landlords who try to force tenants out by making the property unliveable — and pulled out an executive order to create a Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants. He said that in the event the government intervenes, the buildings would then be controlled by a “community nonprofit.”

According to the mayor’s website, the city is “pursuing new local law to seize upwards of 40 of the most distressed multiple dwelling buildings annually and transition them to responsible, mission driven ownership.


Insanity: Liberals Promote Self-Induced Abortion

Far-left feminists are now praising the practice of at-home, self-induced abortions, and calling for ‘stigmas’ to be removed from the concept. Abortions performed outside of a clinic or hospital are actually applauded as empowering for women, per an op-ed in The Daily Beast,

The article follows a new movement, The Self-Induced Legal Abortion Team, which advocates for increased home abortions without legal repercussions. The group sees virtually no safety issue for women with abortions performed at home, with no medical help, and even go as far as to claim that self-induced abortions are a crucial aspect of the pro-choice ideology.


Google workers push tech giants to end forced arbitration

During the November protest, organizers demanded the Mountain View, Calif. company to end forced arbitration for sexual assault as well as discrimination. After being pressured, the tech giant ended the practice, but only for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

They also made the change retroactive for sexual harassment claims that were not already in arbitration at the time of the announcement.

Now a group called Googlers For Ending Forced Arbitration has launched a campaign on Twitter and Instagram to pressure other Silicon Valley firms into changing their policies in three crucial ways:


CNN legal analyst Areva Martin accuses David Webb of ‘white privilege’ before learning he’s black

Areva Martin accused Sirius XM radio host David Webb of “white privilege” on Tuesday.

The embarrassing moment occurred during a discussion about experience being more important than race when determining whether or not someone is qualified for a particular job.

“I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color the issue, I considered my qualifications the issue,” Webb said.

“That’s a whole, another long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of,” said Martin – who also hosts CBS’ “Face the Truth.”


Jewish groups condemn Rashida Tlaib over ties to radical pro-Hezbollah, anti-Israel activist

Rashida Tlaib was photographed with Abbas Hamideh,
Rashida Tlaib was photographed with Abbas Hamideh, a supporter of the Democrat and a co-founder of Al-Awda, who made numerous inflammatory and hateful remarks on social media. (Twitter)

Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib has been condemned after hosting a private celebratory dinner on Saturday featuring anti-Israel activists who praised terror group Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists, said Israel has no right to exist and called for Israeli “Zionist terrorist” Jews to return to Europe.

Over the weekend, Tlaib came under fire for her ties to radical Palestinian activists. After the official swearing-in ceremony in her home district, Tlaib and a number of anti-Israel activists participated in the dinner.

She was photographed with Abbas Hamideh, a supporter of Tlaib and a co-founder of Al-Awda, who made numerous inflammatory and hateful remarks on social media.


REPORT: The Democratic National Committee Has Dropped Its Partnership With The Women’s March

The Women’s March has not confirmed the loss, but the Democratic National Committee is no longer listed as an official sponsor on their website.

JNS reports that a “Democratic source” confirmed to them that the DNC pulled out of the Women’s March over allegations that at least three of the group’s leaders — Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez, expressed anti-Semitic sentiments during the organization’s early days, bullied Jewish women out of Women’s March leadership roles, and associated closely with the National of Islam (and its radical preacher, Louis Farrakhan).


Soros-Tied Hillary Alumni Group Raising Funds to Challenge Trump’s ‘Racist Wall’ in Courts

Demand Justice, an organization founded by former members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and associated with a “social welfare organization” financed by billionaire activist George Soros, is raising money for an eventual court fight against what the group describes as President Trump’s proposed “racist, unnecessary wall.”

In an email blast, Demand Justice asks supporters for $5 to eventually challenge any proposed barrier in the court system:

Clinton herself put her name on a separate fundraising email pitch via her associated Onward Together progressive organization seeking funds to “fight back against the administration’s hateful rhetoric and harmful policies — donate directly to the organizations helping to reunite and provide support to families seeking asylum at the border.”

Politics:


Democrats boycott White House border security meeting

A senior administration official told Fox News that the president had invited Democrats to join his lunch with members of Congress in the Roosevelt Room shortly after noon. But moments before the session, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that nobody took them up on the offer.

“The President has a proposal on the table that includes additional technology at ports of entry, allows minors from Central America to seek asylum in their home country, and physical barriers between ports of entry made of steel instead of concrete,” she said. “Today, the President offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House. Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend.

The President looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government.


Trump Slams Pelosi for Accepting Money During Government Shutdown

“Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

She did not respond to questions about whether she was accepting pay during the partial government shutdown, according to a Jan. 7 Washington Post article.

However, she was not among more than 70 members of Congress from both parties who have said they will refuse or donate their pay during the shutdown, accoridng to a CNN report Thursday.

GOP shows solidarity with Trump by blocking bill to end the shutdown

Only six Republicans voted for the bill, despite Democratic optimism that they would see more GOP support to end the 25-day spending impasse by abandoning Trump’s border wall demand and voting to reopen the government.

Democrats had introduced the measure until special rules that allow for a more immediate vote, but also require a two-thirds vote for passage. The final vote was 237-187, falling short of that threshold. More than 50 additional Republican votes were needed to approve the bill under those rules.


EXCLUSIVE: McCabe’s FBI Tried to Re-engage Christopher Steele After Comey Was Fired

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe during a news conference at the Justice Department on July 13, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

McCabe appears to have been blindsided by the appointment of Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel on May 17, 2017, the day after a meeting with Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the oval office.

The FBI’s attempts to re-engage Steele, who had been fired by the FBI six months earlier for breaking protocol by talking to reporters, were soon thwarted by the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The appointment of Mueller shifted control of the Russia investigation from the FBI and McCabe to Mueller. Rosenstein would retain ultimate authority over the probe, and any expansion of Mueller’s investigation required authorization from Rosenstein.

Immigration:


Video Shows Activists Scale Wall, Test Locked Doors at Nancy Pelosi’s House

Video footage showed the group erecting a white tent with the word “immorality” spray-painted on it. Pelosi has referred to a wall along the southern border of the country as “an immorality.”

The footage was being streamed live on Infowars, the platform for Alex Jones.

The illegal aliens from Guatemala and Mexico said they were happy to be on Pelosi’s property.

Gohmert on Border Barrier: “It’s Time To Do The Right Thing By The People of The United States”

Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) spoke on the House Floor on the ongoing border wall battle and government shutdown.

Making the case for a border barrier, he stated passionately, “…as long as we have this porous border, we are funding some of the most evil, horrendous human tragedy that’s going on anywhere in the world.”


Most Americans: No, Walls to Protect U.S. Sovereignty Are Not Immoral

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to argue a border wall or barrier is “immoral,” but according to the latest Rasmussen Survey, a number of Americans disagree.

In addition, the majority believe the United States should have strong border security.

Is an immigration loophole letting MS-13 members go free?

Illegal immigrants entered the U.S. without parents; former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan weighs in on broken U.S. border policies.

World News:


Spanish rescuers rush to save boy, 2, who fell down well

Two-year-old Yulen Garcia fell down this narrow well on Sunday afternoon in southern Spain (Malaga Fire Brigades)

Yulen Garcia was picnicking with his parents Vicky and Jose on the mountainside of Totola, Spain near Malaga on Sunday when he wandered away and fell into the uncovered hole, which is only 10 inches wide.

Rescue crews were only able to send a robotic camera about 200 feet into the hole until it became too narrow to go any further, where they spotted a bag of candy the toddler was carrying, but did not see him.

He reportedly screamed as he fell down the well, but has not been heard since.


Palestinians take over as chair of UN developing countries

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
FILE – In this Dec. 22, 2018 file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Majdi Mohammed, File/Associated Press)

Abbas accepted the chairmanship of the Group of 77, a coalition of 134 mainly developing nations and China, on behalf of Palestine, which is a non-member observer state of the United Nations. He was handed the gavel by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the outgoing chairman, with a handshake and kisses on both cheeks.

Before the ceremony, Abbas reiterated to reporters in Arabic that the Palestinians will seek full U.N. membership but gave no timetable.

The 193-member General Assembly had to approve a resolution enabling the Palestinians to chair the G77 because Palestine is a non-member state. It did so in October over objections from Israel and its closest ally, the United States.


Brexit vote: Britain is on tenterhooks as it awaits result of historic day in Parliament

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May stood almost alone on Tuesday, as many in her own party prepared to abandon their leader and reject her unloved Brexit deal — leaving Britain’s future relationship with the Europe unclear.

With Tory vote-counters predicting the possibility of humiliating defeat in a momentous vote at the House of Commons on Tuesday night, historians were searching the past for comparisons.


ITALY BUILDING ANTI-EU AXIS

The aim is to reclaim sovereignty from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and transfer key EU powers back to national capitals.

The showdown, which threatens to split the European Union down the middle between Eurosceptic nationalists and Europhile globalists, will heat up in coming weeks and months, ahead of elections for the European Parliament in late May 2019.


PM’s Brexit deal rejected by 230 votes

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.

Mrs May said she would make time for a debate on the motion on Wednesday.

Mr Corbyn said the confidence vote would allow the Commons to “give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this government”.


First US Crude Cargos Head to China Since Trade Breakthrough

The vessels left Galveston, Texas, last month and are scheduled to arrive at Chinese ports between late January and early March, according to shipbrokers and vessel tracking data. The shipments mark a change since Chinese buyers largely began avoiding U.S. oil during the trade dispute that flared last summer.

“It looks like China has resumed purchasing U.S. crude,” one U.S.-based shipbroking source said. The person, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the destination data could yet change.


Thousands Lose Jobs as Cheap Chinese Imports Kill Zimbabwe’s Manufacturing Industry

Former mayor of Harare and businessman Bernard Manyenyeni told The Epoch Times that some businesses in Zimbabwe have collapsed as a result of stiff competition from cheap Chinese products.

“Local industry has suffered,” he said. “The Chinese costs of production are painfully low for Zimbabwean industries to match.”

Manyenyeni said the low cost of labor and mechanization make China a formidable producer even after adding shipping and customs duties. He said the influx of cheap products has negatively affected Zimbabwe’s clothing, manufacturing, electrical, plastic ware, plant, and equipment sectors.

Commentary/Opinion:


Another Job Boom Proves Trump’s Critics Wrong Again

The experts said it would be virtually impossible to reach 3 percent GDP growth, yet the U.S. economy has now exceeded 3 percent growth for two consecutive quarters and is on the verge of hitting that milestone for the first full year since 2005.

Similarly, after the experts warned that President Trump’s trade policy would end up harming the U.S. economy and starting a “trade war” with China, Beijing announced that it would slash its tariffs on U.S. automakers.

As it turns out, this was just another example of the press trying to deceive Americans about the President’s accomplishments.

Tucker: FBI targeted Trump for policy differences on Russia

Fallout from New York Times report that FBI opened inquiry into whether Trump was secretly working for Russia.