News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.
In The News:
Deputies find about $3 million hidden in barrels of raw pork shoulder on tractor-trailer in North Carolina
On Saturday, a tractor-trailer was headed south on Interstate 85 when a Cleveland County deputy with the Community Interdiction Team pulled it over for failure to maintain its lane and impeding the flow of traffic.
After an alert from a K-9, the deputy had the tractor-trailer move to a safe location for a search.
During the search, the sheriff’s office uncovered about $3 million in cash inside barrels of raw pork shoulder.
The sheriff’s office believes the money was connected to drug sales in the United States and being hauled back to the U.S.-Mexico border.
A former home remodeling show personality convicted of molesting a 10-year-old girl at his Connecticut home has been sentenced to three years in prison.
The Day of New London reports that 37-year-old Christopher Dionne learned his punishment Wednesday in a New London court.
He also must serve 10 years of probation after prison and register as a sex offender.
The ruling comes in separate cases filed by the state of California and the Sierra Club.
The Supreme Court, in the Sierra Club case, had previously reversed an order blocking the government from using other money for two border-wall projects.
On Wednesday, in the California case, Judge Gilliam, who was appointed by President Obama, said the administration couldn’t use military funding under an emergency declaration President Trump made earlier this year.
On Tuesday a separate federal judge in El Paso, Texas, also blocked the administration from using the military money for the wall. The Department of Justice said it would appeal that ruling.
LaBryson Polidore, 22, was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail as a fugitive just before midnight Tuesday. U.S. Marshals, along with New Orleans police, captured Polidore in the city of Baton Rouge several hours after he had been named Tuesday afternoon as one of two suspects in the melee in the 700 block of Canal Street during the early morning of Dec. 1, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Walter Martin said.
Polidore, who was shot during the clash, was on crutches and did not resist as authorities moved in to arrest him, Martin said.
The other suspect, 21-year-old Stafford Starks, had been arrested Tuesday morning.
Judge William Conley, of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, an Obama appointee, said a 1997 state regulation that excluded transgender treatments and surgeries from Medicaid coverage violated federal law, including the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare; the federal Medicaid Act; and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A press release at National Health Law Program (NHeLP), which joined with other law firms in the class action lawsuit that challenged the exclusion, noted the state did not appeal the ruling “and has agreed to settle the named plaintiffs’ remaining claims.”
The original case involved four plaintiffs with gender dysphoria — all on the state’s Medicaid program — who sought transgender treatments and surgeries but were unable to get the procedures funded.
The accord would end nearly all civil lawsuits by actresses and former Weinstein employees who accused him of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape, the newspaper said.
Insurers for the former Weinstein Co studio would fund the payout, and Weinstein would not be required to admit wrongdoing or to pay anything, the newspaper said.
According to the Times, accusers involved in the tentative accord would make their claims in bankruptcy court, and the $25 million payout would be part of a $47 million settlement to close out the studio’s obligations.
The litigation is separate from criminal charges that Weinstein faces in New York, where prosecutors have accus
The acting director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Matthew T. Albence, hosts a news conference to announce end-of-year arrest and removal statistics for fiscal year 2019.
YouTube purge to hit creators with harsh punishments for “going too far” with insults, mockery and even jokes
Rumors of upcoming changes had been speculated about over the last month and today, YouTube announced the extent of the new harsher policy.
The new policy is wide-reaching and the changes will apply to everyone, including public figures, and will ban insults based on “race, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”
The updated harassment policy introduces two new main categories of prohibited content – “threats” and language that “goes too far.” YouTube themselves will decide what “goes too far”.
Harvey Weinstein’s bail increased to $5 million, facing jail over allegedly mishandling ankle monitor
On Wednesday, Burke warned that he would revoke his bail and issue a warrant for his arrest if other issues crop up.
“If you have any further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding,” Burke said.
For the new bail, Weinstein’s defense team chose an option that lets him meet the obligation by putting up $2 million through a bail bondsman — that option was available because of the recent changes to bail rules in New York.
That amount includes the $1 million he had already put up for bail.
The four-time Pro-Bowler took care of the debts at a Walmart in Fort Pierce through the Khalil Mack Foundation, which focuses on impacting lives of “intercity and under-privileged youth and families.”
The store announced the donation in a Facebook post and thanked him for the act of kindness.
“We have some wonderful News! If you have an active Holiday Layaway account at your local Ft. Pierce Wal-Mart, you account has been paid off!” the Walmart wrote.
“We here at Walmart would like to thank the Khalil Mack Foundation for your generosity, and for making so many families happy for the holidays!”
Mack covered more than 300 accounts, which cost about $80,000 total, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“His foundation came to us and said he wanted to be a secret Santa,” store manager Mathias Libardi told TCPalm.com.
After chemical drums and other detritus started literally popping out of front yards, the EPA began testing the soil in the 1980s.
The land was rich in arsenic, dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and had extremely high levels of lead, among other powerful toxins left behind by the Agriculture Street landfill.
All told, about 150 contaminants have been found in the soil, 49 of which are known carcinogens.
Over the past three decades, residents here have won two class action lawsuits against city agencies and insurance companies totaling more than $26m.
A 2015 settlement with insurance companies garnered small payments – about $3,000 to $10,000 – for all but nine plaintiffs on the case.
But the city has yet to pay out anything because there is no legal mechanism to force them.
Earlier this year, a report by the Louisiana Tumor Registry found the census tract in which Gordon Plaza is located had the second highest cancer rate in Louisiana, at 745 cases per million people, compared to a state average of 489.
Jersey City shooter published anti-Semitic posts online, report claims; officials say kosher market ‘targeted’
The shooting that unfolded at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., was a “targeted” attack, according to officials who say at least one of the suspects had published anti-Semitic and anti-police posts online before opening fire Tuesday.
Mayor Steven Fulop would not commit on Wednesday to calling the shooting an anti-Semitic attack, but said after reviewing surveillance footage, investigators believe the attack was plotted against the Jewish deli, located just across the Hudson River from New York
The mayor said of the footage: “We can see the van moving through Jersey City streets slowly, the perpetrator stopped in front of there, calmly opened the door with two long rifles, him and the other perpetrator, and began firing from the street into the facility.”
This March, the SPLC cleaned house at the top, firing its co-founder and bidding farewell to its president and legal director after an explosive scandal involving claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
An internal investigation into the organization’s office culture — run by Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff — is ongoing.
Employees attempting to unionize have recently met with management’s resistance. Importantly, the March scandals led former staffers to reveal that the “hate group” list is a cynical fundraising scam.
The SPLC also faces many defamation lawsuits due to its “hate group” accusations.
Last year, it settled one suit, paying Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz $3.375 million and delivering an embarrassing apology after defaming him as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
Importantly, this CBS News article covering SPLC-inspired blacklisting efforts did not include one reference to the scandal or the many defamation lawsuits.
The article only included eight words from an extensive FRC statement explaining why the SPLC is “corrupt” and should not be trusted. FRC sent PJ Media the entire statement it sent to CBS News:
According to Investment Watch (IWB), something doesn’t quite look right.
Obama gave Pearson Publishing $350 million to create Commoncore text and Pearson gave Obama a $65 million dollar book deal in return.
President Trump complained about the apparent quid pro quo last summer.
It’s not the first time Obama has done things like this, either. IWB notes that Obama’s net neutrality stance benefited Netflix, and surprise, surprise, he got a lucrative deal with Netflix, too.
The way to get rich upon leaving public office, just as congressional insiders make themselves rich in public office by trading on insider information, as described by Peter Schweizer in Throw Them All Out.”
President Trump and the First lady participate in a Hanukkah reception at the White House.
The tradition was established by President George W.Bush in 2001.
At the event, the president will also sign an executive order on anti-Semitism.
“On way to vote, @SpeakerPelosi makes her #socialist prescription drug bill even worse to appease her caucus progressives,” Forbes tweeted, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“This bill would keep lifesaving drugs from the market, destroy an American industry & ignore real reasons for high health care costs.”
It came amid news that Pelosi altered her original proposal in response to progressive members’ concerns.
The alterations were brokered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and will likely feed Republicans’ narrative that Pelosi’s party is increasingly run by its more progressive elements.
Over the past few years socialists are progressively winning local offices. While much attention is being paid to the socialists who are in Congress and are running for President, socialists are quietly winning more and more state and local elections.
As Socialism is gaining in popularity, especially with young people, socialists and progressive groups are building a farm team of state and local elected officials who are trying to implement Socialism across the country in state and local government.
There are many different groups of socialists who are prioritizing running and endorsing candidates for lower offices.
The largest socialist organization in America is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
It has created a widespread and seemingly effective network that has had success winning elections by promoting socialist candidates and supporting their campaigns, while “building a sustainable socialist political organization.”
The DSA has tried to consolidate as much power as possible and then use that power to bring about social justice specifically racial justice and socialized government programs.
President Trump is threatening to cut federal funds to college campuses that don’t curb anti-Semitism against Jewish students, with an executive order set to be signed later Wednesday, according to a senior administration official.
Trump’s new order will hit the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement head-on and will invoke Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to fight anti-Semitic rhetoric on college campuses, labeling Judaism as a nationality as well as a religion, and calling on federally funded agencies to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism in cases of discrimination.
“My administration is committed to aggressively challenging and confronting anti-Semitic bigotry in every resource and using every single weapon at our disposal,” Trump told a crowd of over 4,000 people at the Israeli American Council National summit over the weekend.
Manchin said he thinks the Senate should hear from witnesses like Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer; acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; and former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
“Any allegation of misconduct with a foreign country must be investigated.
I firmly believe it is premature to jump to any conclusion until an investigation of the facts is complete,” he said.
“I’m hopeful the Senate will rise above party and politics and consider what’s in the best interest of our country; I promise you I will.”
Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) has also said he’s not sure how he’d vote, telling The Hill: “I want the facts to be known.
I want the facts to come out. I’d love to be able to see people testify that have been prohibited from testifying [during the House hearings].
Because if they can exonerate the president, I want to hear that.”
Republicans and President Donald Trump’s campaign have highlighted polls showing that some vulnerable House Democrats might lose their seats in 2020 due to the impeachment push.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday suggested that Pelosi could lose her majority in 2020 due to the impeachment push.
“If you’re one of those 31 Democrats, you’re a little afraid with just hearing what Nancy Pelosi just did [in] putting out this timeline for articles of impeachment.
She just gave up your job,” McCarthy told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
He noted polls that showed 54 percent of respondents in those districts said they were “more likely to vote against” a member of Congress who supports impeachment.
“And they already have,” McCarthy added. “Those 31 Democrats … I think they may be a one-termer,” he said.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has highlighted the vulnerability impeachment poses to Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), who, according to a poll, is at a serious risk of losing her seat in 2020.
Senator Lyndsey Graham opened the hearing of the Inspector General’s Report into FBI with a complete rundown of what has been going on for the last 4 years.
The move was highlighted by Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, in a tweet: “CNN is not taking the Senate Horowitz hearing live. Unbelievable.
A perfect example of how bias works. It’s not just what they cover. It’s what they don’t cover.”
Rather than broadcast the hearing, The Federalist’s Sean Davis noted that CNN featured commentary from anchor Jim Sciutto, one of the network’s more prominent promoters of the now-debunked theory that the 2016 Trump and Russia criminally conspired in the last presidential election.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz delivers an opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining his report on alleged FISA abuses.
“On December 9, 2019, the Justice Department Inspector General released a report regarding the opening of the investigation on Russian election interference and Donald Trump’s campaign,” reads the Monday editor’s note.
“In the report, the IG contradicts what CNN was told in 2017, noting that the FBI team overseeing the investigation did not seek FISA surveillance of Paul Manafort.”
CNN’s claims were directly contradicted by inspector general Michael Horowitz’s report, which said the FBI’s Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, “did not seek FISA surveillance of Manafort.”
The report further states “we are aware of no information indicating that the Crossfire Hurricane team requested or seriously considered FISA surveillance of Manafort.”
Commentary/Opinion: House Democrats announce their articles of impeachment against Trump.
Buttigieg, a one-time longshot who’s soared in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire this autumn, stands at 18 percent among those likely to vote in the Granite State’s Feb. 11 Democratic presidential primary, with Biden at 17 percent and Sanders at 15 percent.
Taking into account the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, the three candidates are basically all tied up for the top spot.
“What’s remarkable about this is how close it remains,” MassINC president Steve Koczela noted. “We’ve got three candidates, all within three points of each other — and Elizabeth Warren not that far behind, right there in that top tier.”
Koczela emphasized that the race for the New Hampshire primary “could go in any direction.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has given environmentalists much of what they presumably want as it released a 610-page draft Delta environmental report recently that calls for $1.5 billion in habitat restoration among other environmental projects.
The governor simultaneously announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration to halt its plan to increase federal water exports to thirsty farms located south of the Delta.
The last thing the administration wants is a crisis of water availability in the midst of the ongoing electricity crisis.
But as much as they cheered the lawsuit announcement, environmentalists were aghast at the report because the state plan will allow some additional water for farms.
The state runs the State Water Project and the feds run the Central Valley Project, so the bifurcated authority complicates the situation.
The feds’ final plan allowed more water flows when it was safe to do so, but also enabled reduced pumping when fish species were most in need of the water.
It was hardly radical, but congressional Democrats slammed it as a scheme to divert water to “politically connected irrigation interests” and obliterate fish.
“We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” he wrote.
Horowitz’s long-awaited report determined that the FBI complied with policies in launching the Trump-Russia investigation, but also flagged “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.”
The inspector general said his team has “reviewed over 1 million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed” as part of the nearly two-year-long investigation.
Dec. 11 (UPI) — India’s parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Wednesday amid opposition, including claims that it marginalizes Muslims.
It grants Indian citizenship status to all non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party calls it a bill offering sanctuary to those fleeing religious persecution.
Opponents say it violates India’s secular principles, discriminates against Muslim rights and strengthens the power of the BJP, noting that persecuted minorities from countries other than the three specifically mentioned in the bills text are not included.
The legislation sparked violent protests in communities near the Bangladesh border by residents fearing they will be overrun by non-Muslim migrants.
The report comes amid a string of targeted assassinations and arrests of civil activists and journalists that have fostered fear among protesters.
Meanwhile, violence resumed in central Baghdad as 31 protesters were wounded when security forces fired tear gas to disperse them from Wathba square, a central plaza in the capital, security and health officials said.
“UNAMI continues to receive credible allegations of deliberate killings, abduction and arbitrary detention carried out by unknown armed men described as ‘militia’, ‘unknown third parties’, ‘armed entities,’ ‘outlaws’ and ‘spoilers’,” the report said.
Commentary/Opinion: Anne Marie Waters: Leader, For Britain
The attacker struck the facility that is being built to help the Afghan people who live in the area, the U.S. military said.
There were no coalition casualties and the base remains secure, the statement added.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group stage near-daily attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
Shortly after the bombing, Afghan troops, special forces and intelligence officers cordoned off the perimeter of the base with armored personnel carriers. Heavily armed soldiers kept residents far from the gates to Bagram Air Base.
Finally, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and I agree on something.
In announcing the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Nadler said: “Our next election is at risk….That is why we must act now.”
That, you see, is why Democrats have been pushing to impeach Trump for as long as he’s been in office: they do not want to take the risk that he might get re-elected.
Clarity is vital for something as serious as trying to remove a duly elected president.
Presidents solicit actions by other governments and apply various kinds of pressure all the time.
In this specific situation, there were legitimate reasons for Trump to urge Ukraine to investigate corruption.
By Democrats’ own terms, it is Trump’s alleged motive of seeking “interference in the 2020… election” that turns this from the duties and decisions while in office to the reason for removing him from that office.