Look At News Daily: Military Parade, Fisa Memos Galore, A bloated budget and so much more! (Feb. 3-9 /Day 15-21) Week 3

By Michael Hernandez

(Editor’s Note:  Mr. Hernandez has agreed to continue his weekly news column in 2018 but under a different banner:  “Look At News Daily” rather than “Trump Briefs.”  This change reflects his intent to provide election coverage; and focus on not just national news; but local, state and international news.)

February 3 (Saturday): Day 15

President Trump:  FISA memo a “disgrace”

President Donald Trump said the details of the declassified Congressional FISA memo pointed to a “disgrace.”

“I think it’s terrible, you want to know the truth, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on in this country … a lot of people should be ashamed,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.

Trump distanced himself from the release of the memo, saying it was ultimately up to Congress to decide what to do with the document.  “Whatever they do is fine, it was declassified, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “A lot of people should be ashamed.”

Judge Pirro:  “Democrats making citizens feel bad about immigration plan”

Judge Jeanine Pirro said Democrats and illegal immigrants are trying to make citizens feel bad about the president’s offer to grant citizenship to millions of Dreamers.

“I’d like to know what country… that would let 1.8 million people in who violated their rules and disrespected their laws, but were still willing to forgive them and generously allow them citizenship,” Pirro said.

Pirro ripped Democrats, like Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who have criticized President Trump’s plans to build a wall and deport some of those in the country illegally.

(Editor’s Note:  To see Judge Pirro’s complete commentary go to:http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/28/judge-jeanine-pirro-opening-illegal-immigration-biggest-snow-job-history.)

Former CIA analyst warns of FBI “push back” against Trump

Former CIA counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd warned the FBI was going to push back against President Donald Trump’s release of the House Intelligence Committee memo and further suggestions of corruption existing within that agency.

Mudd noted the long-running operation of the FBI versus Trump’s 13 months as president and noted the FBI was vowing “to win.”   He said, “The president is talking about basically corruption at the FBI today, but we oppose the leadership,” he said. “The workforce is going to look at this and say, this is an attack on our ability to conduct an investigation with integrity. There are hundreds of agents and analysts working on this investigation. It’s not just Christopher Wray, the FBI Director.

“So, the FBI people — I’m going to tell you are ticked, and they’re going to be saying, I guarantee it, you think you could push us off this because you can try to intimidate the director, you’d better think again, Mr. President,” he continued. “You’ve been around for 13 months; we’ve been around since 1908. I know how this game is going to be played, and we’re going to win.”

 

February 4 (Sunday):  Day 16

Planned Parenthood leader retiring

Just days after the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the court-ordered legalization of abortion, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood announced she would be retiring after twelve of arguably the most profitable and controversial years in the history of the abortion giant.

Under Ms. Richards’ leadership, Planned Parenthood grew into an abortion empire, performing over 320,000 abortions in the last year alone. Over the course of her 12-year tenure at Planned Parenthood, Ms. Richards presided over the murder of 3,542,823 unborn children. That’s more than twice the combined American casualties of World War 1, 2, and the Vietnam War.

It also reported nearly $100 Million in profits in her last year – a staggering 27% increase from the year before, and that comes on the heels of year after year of increased profits for the abortion business. Banner profits were boosted by over half a billion dollars in government funding.

American taxpayers, whether they wanted to or not, made up the largest contribution to Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. And the result was over 320,000 abortions just last year – roughly the equivalent of one baby killed every minute and a half.

In the last six years, Planned Parenthood’s assets doubled from nearly $1 billion to nearly $2 billion in assets through the second half of her tenure as CEO– growth primarily funded by abortions and tax dollars.

Throughout her career, Ms. Richards and Planned Parenthood continually insisted that their rapid growth relied little on abortions. The company line has been that abortion only makes up three percent of their total business.

Planned Parenthood’s 2009 Fact Sheet listed 7,021 prenatal clients – a shockingly small number compared to the 332,278 abortions reported for the same period of time. However, in the next annual report, this 2009 figure is reclassified as “prenatal services,” of which Planned Parenthood reports 40,489 in 2009. So Planned Parenthood served 7,021 prenatal clients and provided an average of roughly six “prenatal services” to each. If each prenatal client were given the same number of services as was reported in 2009, Planned Parenthood only provided services to a little more than 5,000 women in 2010.

Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood

February 5 (Monday):  Day 17

President Trump shares Wall Street editorial

President Donald Trump shared the text of a Wall Street Journal editorial sounding the alarm about the information revealed in the memo declassified by the House Intelligence Committee.

The editorial accused the FBI of using the FISA court and the opposition dossier funded by Hillary Clinton to influence the election. It read:  “We don’t know the political motives of the FBI and Justice officials, but the facts are damaging enough. The FBI in essence let itself and the FISA court be used to promote a major theme of the Clinton campaign. Mr. Steele and Fusion then leaked the fact of the investigation to friendly reporters to try to defeat Mr. Trump before the election. And afterward they continued to leak all this to the press to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s victory.

“No matter its motives, the FBI became a tool of anti-Trump political actors. This is unacceptable in a democracy and ought to alarm anyone who wants the FBI to be a nonpartisan enforcer of the law.”

The Journal’s editorial called for the declassification of more documents and praised House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes for releasing the memo. “Exposing abuses is the essence of accountability in a democracy,” the editorial read.

Washington Post rewrites headline to appease readers

In apparent effort to appease Twitter readers, the Washington Post quickly rewrote its front page State of the Union headline. Not long after the conclusion of President Trump’s State of the Union speech, the Post advertised what it promised would be “the front page of tomorrow’s Washington Post.” Just above a photo of Trump giving his speech, the five-point headline read, “A call for bipartisanship”

The Twitter backlash from the anti-Trump resistance was bitter and immediate — some 3,000 replies, almost all of them negative. And so, within the hour, the Washington Post updated after the first edition. Here is the final front page.” The final page’s headline:  “A ‘new American moment.’”

The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald noted that he found this change “amazing.” On his verified Twitter account, Greenwald wrote, “It’s definitely amazing and new to watch a major newspaper in real time change its big, trumpeted headline in order to appease a Twitter backlash.”

CSU professor calls President a “white supremacist”

Dr. Brooke Mascagni, a professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills, called President Trump a “white supremacist” in her class syllabus.

A California political science professor reportedly called President Trump a “white supremacist” and an “orange reality star” in her class syllabus, and at one point asked how students “will explain” the current political era.

“Future generations will wonder how the greatest democracy in the world elected a white supremacist, misogynist, narcissistic, volatile, belligerent, uninformed, stubborn, failed businessman and orange reality star to the highest office,” Mascagni wrote.

“The President of the United States won the 2016 election by appealing to bigotry and hatred,” wrote Mascagni. “Just about everyday, a new scandal breaks or evidence of corruption emerges. Moreover, the Republican Party controls the executive and legislative branches of government, yet couldn’t manage to keep the government running on the one year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.”

Higher Education Reform bill to aid free speech on campus

A higher-education reform bill proposed in the House would force colleges to scale back rules critics say have severely restricted free speech on campus. The bill would give speakers, especially ones deemed controversial – like Ben Shapiro or Ann Coulter – more leniency to speak at colleges and would allow religious groups to choose members that actually share their religious beliefs.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the committee chairwoman and the chief author of the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, said the bill will roll back many “ill-conceived mandates handed down by the Obama administration” and be replaced by policies that will help current students.

A spokesperson for the Committee on Education and the Workforce told Fox News the bill would reverse overreaching rules that have suppressed free speech on college campuses.

“The PROSPER Act is sending a strong message to the higher education community that these important issues cannot be ignored and campuses across the country, must do more to stand by First Amendment principles,” the spokesperson said. “The PROSPER Act ensures Congress’ intent is clear, and that students and organizations have the mechanisms necessary to help protect their rights.”

The Trump Administration released a statement trumpeting the bill. “Congress should create a framework for reforming America’s higher education law that protects academic freedom and promotes the exercise of free speech on college campuses for faculty and students,” the White House said. 

The Young America’s Foundation, a student group that invites conservative speakers on campuses across the country, said it welcomes the bill. 

“Colleges and universities routinely violate the First Amendment rights of YAF students on the basis of viewpoint,” said Young America’s Foundation spokesman, Spencer Brown. “It’s an unconstitutional practice.”

Joe Cohn, the legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a free-speech advocacy group, told Fox News he hopes the bill eliminates free speech zones.  “Free speech zones have been used to censor students from all parts of the political spectrum,” Cohn said. “We’ve seen them used to silence students who wanted to distribute copies of the U.S. Constitution to their classmates. We‘ve seen them used against students who wanted to engage their classmates on animal rights, against students who wanted to protest the National Security Administration, and we’ve seen them used against students who wanted to advocate for gun rights.”

Cohn said FIRE is also working with Congress to strengthen campus due process rights and bolster freedom of association, allowing college groups to be able to choose their members and leadership positions based on their values or interests.

“Expressing the sense of Congress that free speech zones and restrictive speech codes are inherently at odds with the First Amendment and public institutions receiving funds under the HEA should not restrict the speech of their students,” the PROSPER act reads.

The act would allow religious groups to pick people for leadership positions based on his or her values, which is currently not common practice on college campuses. Religious groups are now denied funds or meeting spaces if they don’t let students — even ones opposed to their mission and values – into a leadership position.

A Christian student group at the University of Iowa recently sued the university for discrimination after it was booted from campus for requiring student leaders to embrace Christian religious beliefs – including a clause on sexual morality.

“Prohibiting any public institution that denies a religious student organization any right, benefit, or privilege generally afforded to other student organizations on the basis of the organization’s religious beliefs, practices, speech, membership or leadership standards, or standards of conduct from receiving funding under the HEA,” the bill says.

The bill has drawn sharp criticism from college administrations who fear a loss of authority over their own campuses and from LGBT groups who see the bill as a license to discriminate.

David Stacy of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, told the New York Times the implications could be far-reaching.

“You’re not just talking about a little Bible college,” Stacy told the Times. “When you think about Catholic universities, there are a lot of those, and quite a few of these universities would discriminate against same-sex student relationships.”

Foxx said she expects the bill to make it through the House, though it will need bipartisan support in the Senate in order to make its way to the president’s desk.

 

February 6 (Tuesday):  Day 18

White House interested in military parade to celebrate Armed Forces

The White House confirmed a report that President Donald Trump was interested in a military parade to celebrate the Armed Forces.

“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to reporters. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

The Washington Post first broke the news citing a military official who said that the president gave “marching orders” to military officials to come up with ideas similar to the military parade in France for Bastille Day. Trump attended the French parade in July 2017.

The president was impressed by the show of military prowess, referring to the spectacle during his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in New York in September.

“It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump marveled at the time, adding, “Because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue. I don’t know. We’re going to have to try and top it.”

 

February 7 (Wednesday):  Day 19

Senate leaders announce budget agreement

Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a budget agreement Wednesday that includes a big boost in spending for the Pentagon and would keep the government running past a looming deadline.

“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, “We have reached a budget deal that neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of.” 

Congress has until Feb. 8 to pass a spending bill, and the deal would fund the government through March 23. While Congress would still have to pass another spending measure before that deadline, the agreement announced Wednesday includes a longer-term pact to lift spending caps by roughly $400 billion for Pentagon and domestic programs over two years. 

“The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military,” President Trump tweeted Wednesday. “It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this bill!”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday he was encouraged by the deal.

“I’m heartened that Congress recognizes the sobering effect of budgetary uncertainty on America’s military and on the men and women who provide for our nation’s defense,” Mattis said during the White House briefing.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also expressed optimism about the deal, though wouldn’t explicitly say whether the president would sign the agreement if passed.

“Look, we applaud the steps forward that they have made, but we’re going to need to see what is in the final bill. We are certainly happy with the direction that it’s moving, particularly that we’re moving away from the crisis budgeting that we have been on in the past,” she said.

McConnell said the measure would rewrite existing defense limits that have “hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security.” 

The bill removes automatic spending cuts – known as sequestration caps – for both defense and nondefense programs. The caps were put in place in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act to lift the debt limit.

The deal would lift the debt limit and also includes disaster relief for hurricane-stricken areas as well as a four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

The agreement, though, does not tackle immigration — at a time when Congress is debating how to address those affected by the looming expiration of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The program gave a deportation reprieve to young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. 

McConnell has committed to a freewheeling debate on immigration if the Senate is still open after Feb. 8.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved their version of a stopgap spending bill to run the government through March 23 and bolster defense funding. 

The House’s top Democrat swung out against the latest plan.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California announced she would oppose the budget measure unless her chamber’s GOP leaders promised a vote on legislation to protect “Dreamer” immigrants.

 

February 8 (Thursday):  Day 20

Pelosi evokes founders in filibuster-for-amnesty on House floor

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) invoked the American Revolution in her filibuster-for-amnesty on the House floor on Wednesday, saying Congress should give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens to “honor the vows of our founders.”

In her eight hour-long filibuster on the House floor, Pelosi said giving the roughly 3.5 million illegal aliens eligible and enrolled for the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a move that would “honor” the triumph of the American Revolution.

A DACA amnesty would put more citizen children of illegal aliens — known as “anchor babies” — while American taxpayers would be left with potentially a $26 billion bill. Additionally, about one in five DACA illegal aliens, after an amnesty, would end up on food stamps, while at least one in seven would go on Medicaid.

Every year the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million foreign nationals, with the vast majority deriving from family-based chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S. In 2016, the legal and illegal immigrant population reached a record high of 44 million. By 2023, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the legal and illegal immigrant population of the U.S. will make up nearly 15 percent of the entire U.S. population.

Mass legal immigration to the U.S. has come at the expense of America’s working and middle class, which has suffered from poor job growth, stagnant wages, and increased public costs to offset the importation of millions of low-skilled foreign nationals.

Minority Leader: Nancy Pelosi

 

California court rules Christian baker cannot be forced to bake cake

A California court has ruled that a Christian baker cannot be forced to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because it would violate her First Amendment rights — a decision that runs against a national trend of cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled Monday that it would have been impermissible for baker Cathy Miller, who operates the Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, to refuse to sell a cake that was already made to a same-sex couple. However, forcing her to bake a new cake would have been an impermissible form of coercion, he ruled.

A wedding cake, even one without an inscription, “is an artistic expression by the person making it,” Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe said Monday in a ruling denying a state agency’s request to require the bakery owner, Cathy Miller, to comply with California’s anti-discrimination law.

“The state asks this court to compel Miller against her will and religion to allow her artistic expression in celebration of marriage to be co-opted to promote the message desired by same-sex marital partners,” Lampe said. “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the state’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.”

“Cathy would never discriminate against anyone who walks through her bakery’s doors,” said Charles LiMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, a religious conservative nonprofit. “She will gladly serve anyone, including same-sex couples.

“But Cathy will not use her artistic talents to express messages that conflict with her sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage.”  The Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, will be decided in June.

Eagles QB delivers keynote speech at National Prayer Breakfast

His torn ACL may have prevented him from playing in the Super Bowl, but with no serious impediment to his powers of speech, Eagles QB Carson Wentz was set to deliver the keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Vice President Mike Pence had been scheduled to deliver the keynote address. However, the VP couldn’t attend because he’s leading the U.S. Olympic delegation at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Wentz played well last year, leading the Eagles to the top of the NFC before tearing his ACL in a late-season match-up against the Rams. The Eagles have said that there will be no quarterback controversy going into next season, Wentz will be the starter.

 

February 9 (Friday):  Day 21

President Trump signs two-year spending deal Friday; no shutdown

President Donald Trump quickly signed the Congressional two-year spending deal on Friday, just hours after it passed the House of Representatives in an early morning vote.  “Just signed Bill,” Trump announced on Twitter. “Our Military will now be stronger than ever before.”

The president focused on the big boost to military spending as a win for Republicans. “We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more,” he wrote. “First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”

The Republican budget deal with Democrats raises spending by $300 billion — roughly $165 billion in military spending and $131 billion to domestic spending. The bill also offers $90 billion in hurricane relief for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

“Costs on non-military lines will never come down if we do not elect more Republicans in the 2018 Election, and beyond,” he said. “This Bill is a BIG VICTORY for our Military, but much waste in order to get Dem votes.” Trump also appeared grateful that the Democrats did not shut down the government over amnesty for DACA recipients. “Fortunately, DACA not included in this Bill, negotiations to start now!” he concluded.

The House of Representatives voted early Friday 240-186 (73 Democrats joined 167 Republicans to put the bill over the top) to approve a massive budget package that lifts spending caps while funding the government through March 23, ending a brief shutdown after a tumultuous night on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the budget plan a “true compromise.” “My commitment to working together on an immigration measure that we can make law is a commitment,” he said.

But the bigger drama played out on the Senate side. A last-minute maneuver by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed consideration of the bipartisan budget package in that chamber past midnight. The result: the government endured a short-term shutdown in the wee hours of the morning, though most would never feel its effects. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the plan in a statement shortly after the vote, writing that, “Funding for education, infrastructure, fighting drug abuse, and medical research will all, for the first time in years, get very significant increases, and we have placed Washington on a path to deliver more help to the middle class in the future.”

Late Thursday, House GOP leaders advised members to prepare for votes “very roughly between” 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Friday. Trump has been urging Republicans and Democrats to support the Senate bill, tweeting that lawmakers must “must support our troops and support this bill.”

The new six-week funding bill will keep the government running. Much to the chagrin of open-borders activists, it does not address immigration and will provide no protection for the illegal aliens who are slated to begin losing their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status on March 8 if the Supreme Court refuses to allow an injunction from a California federal judge to stand.

Some variety of a deal on DACA was portrayed as essential in the debate over the last government shutdown six weeks ago, with the White House and various groupings in the House and Senate proposing different compromises involving amnesty for hundreds of thousands or even millions of illegal aliens.

President Trump declines to release Democratic memo

President Trump is declining to release the House Intelligence Committee Democratic memo, after the Justice Department identified portions that would raise “significant concerns” if released, the White House counsel announced Friday evening.

“Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time,” White House Counsel to the President Donald McGahn said in a letter.

The letter was released by the White House, along with another letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Their letter said they had identified information that “would present concerns in light of longstanding principles regarding the protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other similarly sensitive information” if released. They also noted there was information for which “national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant.”

They added that they had taken into account the information that was already declassified in a previous memo by Republicans on the committee.

McGahn said in his letter that given the public interest in transparency, Trump has directed that Justice Department personnel to give technical assistance to the committee, if the committee wants to revise the Democratic memo based on risks identified by the DOJ. “The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity,” he said.

The Democratic memo is about ten pages, and allegedly aims to rebut the GOP memo released last week that details how senior FBI and DOJ officials used an unverified dossier as part of their justification to obtain surveillance warrants to spy on a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email:  Hernandez.mike@aol.com.

Mr. Hernandez is dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheres—as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.


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