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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Judge Questions Robert Mueller's Authority to Go After Manafort

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has questioned the scope of the authority granted Special Counsel Robert Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

During a hearing in one of the criminal cases against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Judge Jackson cast doubt upon the directive appointing Mueller and its broad-brush approach to the investigation. Mueller’s directive allows him to probe the alleged connections between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, as well as issues that “may arise” in the course of that investigation.

But Justice Department regulations mandate that a directive must describe a “specific factual matter” to the special counsel. “That’s a fair point,” Jackson said when the point was raised by Manafort’s lead defense attorney, Kevin Downing. “I don’t think that, as good as he is, that the deputy attorney general can see into the future.”

It does not, however, seem likely that even questioning the breadth of Mueller’s authority will do anything to save Manafort from his reckoning. He faces 23 counts across two indictments in both Washington and Virgina, including failure to register as an agent of Ukraine, money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion, and failing to report foreign bank accounts.


Study: Firearm Homicide Rate for Black Men 29 Per 100,000; White Men 2 Per 100,000

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine claims to have discovered marked geographical disparities between the homicide and suicide rates among black and white men.

Researchers compiled data on homicides and suicides committed with guns in all fifty states, focusing specifically on non-Hispanic black and white males.

They found significant differences between the two demographics. In gun-related incidents, black men are more likely to die in homicides while white men are more likely to die in suicides.

But while they found no geographical trends related to homicides, 6 of the top 10 states with the highest gun-related suicide rates among whites are located in the south and the other four are located in the west. Northern and eastern states boast the lowest suicide rates among white men.

“The most surprising thing to me when I was conducting the analysis was how different the rates were across states,” Corinne Riddell, a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University in Canada who was the lead author of the study.

“We knew going into it that whites would have a higher rate of suicide and that black men would have a higher rate of homicide, but to see that level of variation in the rates across states was surprising,” she said. “Any time I see variations so large like that, that can’t be due to chance. I want to know why the differences exist.”

Unfortunately, the limitations of the study do not allow researchers to answer Riddell’s question.


Secret Recording Reveals Democratic Party Boss Ordering Candidate To Quit Race

In the latest striking example of how the Democratic Party resorts to cronyism (and perhaps corruption) to ensure that its favored candidates beat back progressive challengers in local races, a candidate for Colorado's 6th Congressional District has leaked a recording of a conversation with Minority Leader Steny Hoyer to The Intercept which published it overnight. In it, Hoyer can be heard essentially lecturing the candidate about why he should step aside and let the Democratic Party bosses - who of course have a better idea about which candidate will prevail over a popular Republican in the general election - continue pulling the strings.

The candidate, Levi Tillemann, is hardly a party outsider. Tillemann had grandparents on both sides of his family who were elected Democratic representatives, and his family is essentially Democratic Party royalty.

Still, the party's campaign arm - the notorious Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (better known as the DCCC, or D-trip) - refused to provide Tillemann with access to party campaign data or any of the other resources he requested.


The Secret Circle That Controls Governments

Note: I have many new readers, and they have not read this article of mine, which I first posted several years ago. Here it is—

Who is in charge of destroying economies?

One group has been virtually forgotten. Its influence is enormous. It has existed since 1973.

It’s called the Trilateral Commission (TC).

Keep in mind that the original stated goal of the TC was to create “a new international economic order.”

In the run-up to his inauguration after the 2008 presidential election, Obama was tutored by the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In 1969, four years before birthing the TC with David Rockefeller, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote: “[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”

Goodbye, separate nations.


US Wages And Salaries Rise At Fastest Pace In 10 Years

While the GDP print came in stronger than expected, despite a sharp drop in consumption, the big news in today's data had nothing to do with GDP and everything to do with employment costs, and wages and salaries in particular, which both rose at the fastest pace in nearly a ten years, confirming that inflationary wage pressures are growing.

Specifically, wages and salaries rose 0.9%QoQ, up from 0.6% in the previous quarter. Total compensation, which includes wages and benefits, rose 2.7% over past 12 months, up from 2.4% a year ago, while private-sector wages and salaries advanced 2.9%YoY, also above the 2.6% printed in Q1 2017. Both were the strongest prints since Q3 2008, if slightly below the 3% pace observed heading into the financial crisis as shown below.


The Blowback Against Facebook, Google And Amazon Is Just Beginning

Blow-out earnings from Facebook and Amazon have cheered Wall Street, but institutional owners might want to focus not just on blow-out earnings but rising blowback against the tech superpowers (Facebook, Google and Amazon).

The blowback is social and political: people are starting to question the social and political costs of these tech darlings' dominance and the billions in profits they reap.

The typical corporation can buy political influence, but Facebook and Google are manipulating the machinery of democracy itself. That's a much more dangerous type of power than buying political influence or manipulating public opinion by openly publishing biased "news."

We all understand how Corporate Media undermines democracy: recall how every time Bernie Sanders won a Democratic primary in 2016, The New York Times and The Washington Post "reported" the news in small typeface in a sidebar, while every Hillary Clinton primary win was trumpeted in large headlines at the top of page one.

But this sort of manipulation is visible; what Google and Facebook do is invisible. I recently addressed these invisible (but oh-so profitable) mechanisms in a series of essays:

How Far Down the Big Data/'Psychographic Microtargeting' Rabbit Hole Do You Want to Go"

Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?

Should Facebook, Google and Twitter Be Public Utilities"

Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users?

Here's a selection of recent articles on related topics:


There Was ANOTHER Waffle House Shooting. But This Time It Was Stopped By Someone Armed.

Leftists who used the heroic actions of James Shaw at a Tennessee Waffle House shooting to launch the argument that armed shooters should be confronted by unarmed victims rather than armed ones might recoil at this story: There was another Waffle House shooting.

And this one was stopped by a man with a gun.

Yup. Two days before James Shaw, who was unarmed, heroically disarmed an armed robber at a Tennessee Waffle House on April 19 in New Orleans, Louisiana, two menentered a Waffle House armed with semiautomatic handguns at approximately 10:20 p.m. One of the men, Ernest Thomas, stood by the counter as a lookout while the other man jumped over it and demanded money from the cashier. The other man also took $8 from a customer, but when he approached another customer, who happened to be armed, the customer drew his firearm, prompting the thief to flee. Thomas then pointed his gun at the armed customer, who fired several shots; he later told police he believed he had hit Thomas.


In Explosive Interview Comey Grilled Over Memos, FBI Bias And Steele Dossier

Fox News host Bret Baier and James Comey sat down for a one-on-one interview Thursday night, in perhaps the most serious and direct conversations with the former FBI Director to date.
Incredible interview there from @BretBaier. Respectful, but not deferential. Forceful, without being impolite. And, in a rare feat on TV anymore, it elicited a ton of new and important information.
Baier held Comey's feet to the fire on a wide variety of controversial topics - including the FBI's decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton before interviewing her, what Comey knew about the "Steele Dossier" used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a Trump campaign aide, and the memos Comey leaked to his friend which he hoped would lead to a special counsel investigation.

Clinton Exoneration

After starting the interview off with a joke about how Comey must find it "a little tougher to get around town without a motorcade," Baier pulled no punches - launching straight into asking the former FBI Director if it was true that his team decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton before interviewing her.

In response, Comey said that because of all the prior investigative work the FBI had done on the Clinton email case, investigators said "it looks like it's not going to get to a place where the prosecutors will bring it," and that it's "fairly typical" for white collar investigations to save interviews for last.


Democrats Face Left-Wing Backlash For Choosing Primary Winners Ahead Of Time

Progressive activists are furious with Democratic Party leaders who have boosted establishment Democrats over their left-wing opponents in primary races across the country.

The Intercept on Thursday published audio of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer pressuring progressive candidate Levi Tillemann to drop out of a Colorado primary, to clear the field for establishment candidate Jason Crow.

Tillemann secretly taped the conversation with Hoyer in December 2017 before leaking it this week to The Intercept.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Ben Ray Lujan had a policy that “early on, we’d try to agree on a candidate who we thought could win the general and give the candidate all the help we could give them,” Hoyer explained in the audio.


Feds Charge, Sanction Major Chinese Fentanyl Traffickers

Drug conspiracy moved hundreds of packages of fentanyl, killed at least four

Four Chinese nationals face charges, and another five face economic sanctions, related to a multistate fentanyl trafficking conspiracy that claimed at least four American lives, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday.

Federal work in busting the drug trafficking network has been years in the making, beginning with the January 2015 overdose death of a Grand Forks, N.D. teenager. Tracing the source of fentanyl that led to that tragic death uncovered a conspiracy dealing drugs in 11 states, from Oregon to Florida, over the course of five years. All of those drugs were coming from mainland China, a major source of deadly fentanyl in American drug markets.

At the head of the conspiracy was Jian Zhang, a Chinese national and the owner of Zaron Bio-Tech (Asia) Ltd. Jian, the Treasury and Justice Departments allege, used his company and its factories across southeast Asia to produce fentanyl and smuggle it to the United States.

Jian Zhang was previously indicted by the Justice Department as part of the first ever indictment of Chinese nationals for fentanyl trafficking in the United States. On Friday, Jian, along with four of his co-conspirators and his business, was slapped with a further sanction in the form of designation as a "Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker" by the Department of the Treasury.


And... Yet Another Wells Fargo Banking Scandal

Is it Friday again? Must be time for another banking scandal!

Seriously– these banking scandals are happening with such regularity and predictability it would be almost comical. . . were it not for the millions of people who have had their lives turned upside down.

The latest transgression involves, once again, our old friends at Wells Fargo.

Bear in mind that the ink isn’t even dry yet on the $1 billion check that Wells Fargo wrote last week as a penalty to settle its previous scandal, where they defrauded 570,000 clients in a car insurance scam.

By the bank’s own estimates, as many as 20,000 of those clients may have had their vehicles repossessed as a result of their inability to pay for the car insurance that Wells Fargo illegally stuck them with.


EXCLUSIVE: Cabal Of Wealthy Donors Financing $50 Million Trump-Russia Investigation

A group of wealthy donors from New York and California have forked out $50 million to fund a Russia investigation being conducted by Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS and a former Senate staffer for Dianne Feinstein.

That bombshell revelation is made in a footnote to the House Intelligence Committee’s newly released report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

Fusion GPS hired Steele, a former MI6 agent, to investigate Trump’s activities in Russia. He would go on to produce a 35-page report alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded the project. A law firm representing the organizations hired Fusion GPS in April 2016.


Lindsey Graham: Trump Deserves Nobel Peace Prize for North Korea

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Friday that his former rival, President Trump, should get the Nobel Peace Prize if North and South Korea decide to denuclearize and become peaceful neighbors again.

"It wouldn't have happened without Trump," Graham said on Fox News this morning. "It may not happen, but it's the biggest change since the end of the hostilities."

He continued: "What happened? Donald Trump convinced North Korea and China he was serious about bringing about change. We're not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."

Graham said he was glad Trump didn't listen to the advice of all those who had failed before him.

"He has convinced North Korea, you've got two options. You can become a normal country or we will take you down if you keep trying to build missiles to hit the American homeland," he said. "And I think they convinced North Korea and China that Trump is serious."


Uncle Sam Is "Biggest Brother"

Back in the 1770’s there was a collection of radicals, who were highly educated in the natural law and the errors and successes of past political and economic systems. They were American Colonists with names like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, et. al. They believed that each man was uniquely created by God and could have a personal relationship with the Creator if he or she chose to do so. This mind-set also caused these men to reject the idea that God only spoke to men through either the Pope or the King, and that the political theory of the “Divine Right of Kings” was a scam used by kings to justify their dictatorial form of government. Claiming their divine right, kings would claim they represented God to the people and that all their policies were God ordained and therefore infallible.

Instead, these radicals reasoned that if each of them were uniquely created in God’s image, not only were they all equal before God in the spiritual sense, but that every man was also equal politically. Back in the 1700’s such thinking was radical compared to the status quo. They also believed that men were capable of governing themselves and writing their own laws.

In 1765, the “Divine Right of Kings” form of government clashed with the “all men are created equal” way of thinking when the King’s government imposed a tax on tea in the American Colonies. The amount of the overall tax burden was small, only about 2%, but the way the tax was imposed on Americans was highly offensive to them. American Colonists objected to any tax being imposed on them that they did not approve of through representation in the legislative body imposing the tax.

Americans further objected to being forced to purchase the taxed tea only through governmentally approved outlets. In fact, these passionate and thinking Americans were so opposed to this construct they successfully boycotted the entire scheme and the tax on tea had to be withdrawn. Finally in 1775 a war was fought over these conflicting political theories and much blood and treasure was expended in order to resolve the conflict. During the War of Independence, Americans would cry out “No Taxation without Representation”.


EPA Leaker Lied About Coast Guard Service

The former Environmental Protection Agency deputy chief of staff for operations, who’s behind a Democratic letter full of accusations against Scott Pruitt, reportedly misrepresented how long he served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Kevin Chmielewski’s resume claims he served for four years, from 1998 to 2002, but a Coast Guard spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon the EPA whistleblower only served for one year.

The Free Beacon also reported Chmielewski got two raises totaling $24,000 after working at EPA for three months, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Chmielewski got the raises under the same hiring authority he complained Pruitt had used to secure raises for two close aides.


Trump: Russia probe 'MUST END NOW!'

President Trump on Friday declared the Russia investigation “MUST END NOW” after congressional Republicans released a report saying his campaign did not collude with Moscow to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s message came just minutes after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their final report on Russia’s influence operations in the 2016 election.

It found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” But the report does criticize the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns for “poor judgment and ill-considered actions” in their dealings with Russia-related figures.

Democrats on the Intelligence panel refused to endorse the report, calling the committee's investigation a sham that was biased in favor of Trump.

Critics of the president fear he might use the report to stymie the federal probe into Russia’s election interference, including firing the special counsel Robert Mueller or his supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The White House has refused to rule out the possibility that Trump could fire either man, but the president has downplayed the chances he will do so.

“They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months, and they’re still here,” Trump told reporters last week.


Democrat Plantation Searches For Runaway Slave Kanye, In Bombshell Political Art

‘Indeed, The Left strokes out when any high-profile black leaves the Dem plantation’
An angry donkey who runs a plantation, marked with a letter “D,” looks for missing slave Kanye West, in the latest spicy cartoon from artist Branco.

The political commentary, entitled, “An Angry Master,” comes after the Left’s collective outrage over rapper Kanye West’s tweets in support of conservative activist Candace Owens and President Donald Trump.

“Liberals are in a psychotic frenzy over Kanye West thinking independently toward Trump, rather than the lockstep groupthink they expect out of black Americans,” Branco writes. “Indeed, The Left strokes out when any high-profile black leaves the Dem plantation.”

Watch: Infowars interviews conservative artists Ben Garrison and SABO, AKA UnsavoryAgents.


One Year Later: Illinois On The Verge Of Downgrade To Junk; Its Residents $5 Billion Poorer

Illinois’ brutal political campaigns may have distracted attention from the reality of the state’s crumbling finances, but an upcoming $500 million bond borrowing by the state will remind investors and Illinoisans alike how little has improved.

Both Moody’s and S&P recently affirmed Illinois’ one-notch-above-junk rating in preparation for the state’s upcoming bond, even as Moody’s continues to maintain a negative outlook on Illinois’ rating. That means a downgrade by the agency is more likely than an upgrade in the next year.

The reasons for the rating agencies’ pessimism are obvious. It’s not just what lawmakers have failed to do, it’s what lawmakers continue to do that’s dragging the state down.

The state continues to operate at a deficit despite nearly $5 billion in new taxes in 2018. And the shortfalls aren’t being compensated with spending reforms. Instead, the state continues to primarily use interfund sweeps to make the general budget balance. And the agencies don’t expect any big reforms this year – not with a stalemate that might ensue during this campaign season.

Bond investors are demanding a heavy price from Illinois for the increased risk they are being asked to take.

According to Municipal Market Data, Illinois will pay yearly interest rates that are 2.1 percentage points higher than the states with the best credit ratings – states that include Indiana, Iowa and Missouri. By comparison, states like Connecticut and New Jersey, states with severe pension crises, only pay about 0.85 percentage points more than the best-rated states. Illinois and its taxpayers are being heavily penalized for the state’s fiscal and governance mess.


Week Before Blaming 'F*cking Russians,' McCaskill Said Election 'Impossible' to Rig

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) was quoted on election night blaming the "f*cking Russians" for Hillary Clinton's loss, but a week earlier she was on CNN saying "it would be impossible to rig an election in the United States of America."

McCaskill's October 28, 2016, comments to Chris Cuomo came when most were confident Clinton would be victorious and Democrats were pressuring Donald Trump to say he would accept the election results.

"The notion that the most resilient and admired democracy in the world is now subject to election rigging is preposterous," McCaskill said. "Frankly, it would be impossible to rig an election in the United States of America."

McCaskill goes on to criticize Trump for "whining" and "making excuses" for losing.


Trump slams former intel chief Clapper: ‘Lying machine’

President Trump hurled fresh insults at former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, calling him a “lying machine,” as he kept tabs on his favorite news show Saturday morning.

“’Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN’ @foxandfriends FoxNews,” Trump tweeted at 8:58 am. “He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN.”

The charge referred to a revelation in Friday’s House Intelligence Committee report on its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Clapper, the report said, at first “flatly denied” having been the source of any reports that then-President-elect Trump had been briefed on the “Steele dossier,” a collection of unverified opposition research against the Republican.

“Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’” the report said.

Clapper’s leak sparked CNN’s initial reports on the dossier — and its lewd descriptions of misbehavior with prostitutes — shortly before Trump’s 2017 inauguration.


Al Qaeda Using Google Maps to Plan Jihadist Attacks

The al Qaeda terror organization is using Google Maps to plan precision jihadist attacks across the Middle East, according to a new propaganda video released by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that features a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who has since returned to the terror group after being freed from the prison, according to a new report from a regional media monitoring organization.

Al-Malahem, the media arm of Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released on Friday a propaganda video featuring Sudanese national and former Gitmo detainee Ibrahim Al-Qusi, a onetime financial asset for al Qaeda who was arrested in December 2001 and spent more than 10 years as a convicted terrorist in Gitmo before being released to Sudan in 2012.

Al-Qusi appears to be one of many former Gitmo inmates who returned to the battlefield after being freed from Gitmo.

In the newly released video featuring al-Qusi, "AQAP also documents the training, planning, and execution of a series of operations targeting security forces, checkpoints, and military bases in multiple locations using different tactics including martyrdom operations, commando raids, shelling, shootings, and assassinations," according to a new report from the Middle East Media Monitoring Institute, or MEMRI.


WHCA Statement On Michelle Wolf Sanders Jokes

It was supposed to be an event honoring journalism, but the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner devolved into partisan attacks on President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckacbee Sanders. For that, Margaret Talev, the outgoing head of the WHCA, wants people to know, she has regrets.

The WHCA released a statement Sunday night that, while short of an apology, did express regrets that “the entertainer’s monolog was not in the spirit of” the celebratory tone they aspired to.

The “entertainer” the statement refers to is comedian Michelle Wolf, who came under fire during the event for her mean-spirited and vicious cracks about the President and, in particular, Sanders, who was sitting at the head table at the event.

The statement includes a reference to future dinners and holds out the possibility that the current format of having a comedian perform at it may soon change. After complaints from members, Talev said they “are committed to hearing from members on your views on the format of the dinner going forward.”


Trump: Netanyahu's News Conference Proves It Could Be 'Right' to Pull Out of Iran Deal

President Donald Trump said during a Monday press conference that the Israeli prime minister's intelligence on Iran's nuclear program proves it "right" to push back against and potentially pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

"I want to ask you about Iran, the Israeli prime minister just gave a speech very critical of the nuclear program," The Hill reporter Jordan Fabian said. "Is it your decision to pull out of that deal? And if you do pull out of that deal, do you worry that sends the wrong message to North Korea to enter nuclear talks with Kim Jong Un?"

Trump said if he were to pull out of the deal, it would send the "right message" to North Korea, explaining the U.S. will not enter into a bad deal with a party who lies about its nuclear program.

"No, I think it sends the right message [to North Korea]," Trump said of the potential decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. "In seven years, that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That is not acceptable. Seven years is tomorrow. That's not acceptable. So, no. If anything, it's proven right [with] what Israel has done today with the news conference."


Report: Fewest People Under Correctional Supervision Since 1996

Fall in probation drives decline, BJS report shows
The number of people under correctional supervision in the United States is at its lowest rate since 1996, according to a recently released report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The report, "Correctional Populations in the United States, 2016," provides basic statistics about the number of individuals incarcerated in jails and prisons, as well as the number of individuals under community supervision through probation or parole.

In discussing incarceration in America, reports often focus on just the incarcerated population. The new BJS report notes that probation and parole account for 7 in 10 individuals subject to some form of correctional operation.

The combined number of people under correctional supervision dropped for the ninth year in a row in 2016, falling 18 percent from 2007, generally considered to be the peak of incarceration in America. In 2016 there were 2,640 individuals under correctional supervision per 100,000 people, compared to 3,210 per 100,000 people in 2007.


What Trump Can Learn From the Master of the Greatest Deal in American History

Our current president prides himself on being the master of the deal. The upcoming summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will certainly put his bargaining skills to the test.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, since they involve the security of one of the most populous and economically vital regions in the world, and North Korea has shown little regard for agreements in the past.

If President Donald Trump successfully forges a deal that denuclearizes the Korean Peninsula, it will go down as one of the greatest deals in American history. With that said, it’s fair to ask whether history provides any lessons in the art of presidential negotiation.

Of course, historical situations differ vastly, but it’s still fair to ask whether historical examples can provide any guidance for the general principles of high-stakes negotiation.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

Perhaps there is no better place to look than what has been described as the greatest bargain in American history—the Louisiana Purchase. The deal was struck exactly 215 years ago this Monday.

In the words of historian Henry Adams, the purchase was “next in historical importance to the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution. It was unparalleled in diplomacy because it cost almost nothing.”


Media Misled on NRA Annual Meeting Gun Policy

NRA allows gun carry at convention; Secret Service prohibits them during speech they're securing
A number of major media outlets misled their readers on Monday by inaccurately reporting on the gun-carry policy for the upcoming National Rifle Association convention.

Despite reports from outlets like CBS News, the Associated Press, and Politico, the National Rifle Association did not ban guns from their annual meeting. Nor did the gun-rights organization make the decision to keep guns from Vice President Mike Pence's speech at the conference. Instead, the Secret Service, which will provide armed security for the speech, will not allow civilian gun carry at the venue where Pence will speak during his speech on May 4.

"Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday, May 4, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security around the Arena at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center," a message on the event's website read. "As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance."

The restriction is not unique to the NRA event and is common practice for events that are secured by the Secret Service.


Reporters Slam WH Correspondents’ Dinner As ‘Embarrassment’ & ‘Gift’ To Trump Admin

Even the media is distancing from cruel performance

Several reporters found comedian Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday to be detrimental to the mission of the evening and a gift to President Donald Trump, who was not in attendance but at a political rally in Michigan.
Wolf took gratuitous shots at President Trump and White House officials that journalists at the Associated Press, Politico, Yahoo News, The New York Times, and CNN found to be cruel and off-putting. Wolf laughed at the audience following the negative response of one vulgar joke.
“Yeah, you shoulda done more research before you got me to do this,” she said.

Some 'Caravan Migrants' Allowed To Apply For U.S. Asylum

A few of the nearly 200 migrants from Central America who traveled by caravan through Mexico to the U.S. border crossing at San Diego, have been allowed to apply for asylum.

Eight migrants — three women, four children and an 18-year-old man who claimed to be fleeing violence in their home countries — were allowed through the gate at the border crossing separating Tijuana, Mexico, from San Diego, Monday evening, according to caravan organizers, according to The New York Times.

"We began processing undocumented arrivals again on Monday," a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) spokeswoman said. "As in the past when we've had to limit the number of people we can bring in for processing at a given time, we expect that this will be a temporary situation."

Reuters report: "The first to enter were part of a small group from the caravan who Mexican officials let walk over a pedestrian bridge on Sunday and who have been camped at the San Ysidro gate ever since, when the CBP said the facility between Tijuana and San Diego was saturated. A larger group of about 150 people has not been let onto the bridge and was preparing for a second night sleeping in an open plaza on the Mexican side.


Busch Gardens announces return of Free Beer

TAMPA, Fla. — Free beer is back on the menu at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Busch Gardens brings back free beer
Complimentary samples available May 1-Aug. 5
Featured beer brands will rotate throughout the summer

The theme park made the announcement Monday.

Starting May 1 through Aug. 5, visitors can get two 7 oz. samples during each visit to the park.

The samples will be available at the former Hospitality House, which is now called the Garden Gate Café.

Every two weeks, a different beer brand will be featured, with Corona kicking off the promotion just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Other brands in the lineup include Bud Light, Miller Light, Founders All Day IPA and Yuengling. Selections from the Bay area's craft breweries will also be featured in the future.

"So it will be a blend of local brewers, national brewers, large brewers, small craft breweries," said Busch Gardens and Adventure Island President Stewart Clark. "We know 'Tampanians' — Tampa people — really love their craft beer, really love different types of beer, so that's what we are looking to feature."

Busch Gardens stopped giving out free beer samples in 2009 when Anheuser-Busch was bought out and the parks were sold.

On Monday, the park also announced the all-new Brew Club program. Guests age 21 and up can receive a reserved stein $5 refills on select brews all year long.


REUTERS POLL: Millennial Support For Democrats Fell By Nearly 10 Percent Over Past Two Years Photo of Christian Datoc CHRISTIAN DAT

The latest poll from Reuters and Ispos shows that millennial support for Democrats has significantly dropped over the past two years.

The poll surveyed more than 16,000 registered voters from January through March of this year. The data shows that only 49 percent of voters between the ages of 18-34 are likely to support a Democrat, a nearly 10 percent drop from the 2016 iteration of Reuters’ poll.

While “overt” support for the Republican party did not change from 2016, the same amount of young voters (39 percent) now say they would support a Republican for Congress as a Democrat, erasing the 14 percent gap in the 2016 poll.

Additionally, millennials are now almost evenly split on which party has a better economic plan: 34 percent favored Democrats on the issue, while 32 percent favored Republicans. In 2016, Democrats outperformed Republicans on the economic question by 12 points.
You can view view the poll in its entirety here.

Clapper hit for dossier leak dodge in House GOP Russia report

Former intelligence chief James Clapper is facing scrutiny for allegedly providing “inconsistent testimony” to the House Intelligence Committee regarding his discussions with the media about the anti-Trump dossier.

The claim was contained in the report released Friday by House Intelligence Committee Republicans.

The report declared investigators had found “no evidence” of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia -- findings that Democrats vehemently disputed. But while the report was touted by Trump allies, it could cause problems for Clapper, the director of national intelligence under the Obama administration.

The report stated that in a private interview with the committee on July 17, 2017, Clapper’s response wavered regarding his media contacts over the dossier. He initially denied those contacts, yet later admited to discussing the dossier contents with Jake Tapper of CNN, where Clapper landed a job after leaving government.


Confederate battle flag raised over Orange County

HILLSBOROUGH  Months of talk, rumor and gossip turned to action this weekend when a Confederate battle flag rose above Orange County.

The mammoth flag flies high over U.S. 70 – a well-traveled highway through this liberal county, home to UNC-Chapel Hill, 10 yoga studios, three Weaver Street Market natural food stores and an alpaca farm.

Whether the flag will be allowed to remain may be determined by the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The board is set to hear the public's comments regarding proposed changes to sign rules May 15 at the Southern Human Services Center at 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

The amendment to the unified development ordinance could prohibit flags over 24 square feet, flagpoles over 24 feet in height or flagpoles taller than a property owner's main roof.


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Trump: Push for Congressional Term Limits Has My 'Full Support and Endorsement'

President Donald Trump on Monday said an effort by a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers to institute congressional term limits has his "full support and endorsement."

"I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits," Trump tweeted. "I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. #DrainTheSwamp."
I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits. I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa sent out a tweet shortly after Trump with a contradicting account of what was discussed at the meeting, saying the term limits applied to "congressional staffers."

"[S]ources quite familiar w/ this meeting tell me that term limits for congressional *staffers* was discussed by some lawmakers," Costa tweeted. "But the idea was shelved when someone pointed out it wouldn't be best to make that a Constitutional amendment."