The Third 100 Days (Trump Briefs: August 5-11/Day 198-204) Week 29

By Michael Hernandez

 

Saturday, August 5 (Day 198):

Jobs increase by 209,000 in July; unemployment rate dips

President Trump touted economic gains as the labor market added 209,000 new jobs in July; the unemployment rate dipped from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent, and average hourly earnings increased by 9 cents. “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released—and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!” tweeted President Trump. 

The government figures reflected hiring in restaurants and hotels, as well as education and health care. Trump has highlighted announcements by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and carmakers Toyota and Mazda to open plants in the U.S.  “Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and create 4K new American jobs. A great investment in American manufacturing!” Trump tweeted “…and don’t forget that Foxconn will be spending up to 10 billion dollars on top of the line plant/plants in Wisconsin.  Consumer confidence is at a 16 year high…and for good reason. Much more regulation “busting” to come. Working hard on tax cuts & reform!” 

But despite July’s job numbers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Americans still aren’t seeing the “strong wages and good-paying jobs they deserve.  Instead of creating jobs or raising workers’ wages, the Republican Congress spent seven months doing everything it could to raise Americans’ health costs to hand tax breaks to the richest.  Now, after squandering months on a cruel and dangerous agenda, Republicans have closed down Congress for five weeks with no jobs bill, no infrastructure bill, no budget, and no plan to avert a catastrophic default.” 

Judicial Watch: 11 CA Counties have more voters than voting-age citizens

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, has sent a letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on behalf of the Election Integrity Project, noting that there are 11 counties in the state with more registered voters than voting-age citizens.

The letter states: “National Voter Registration Act Section 8 requires states to conduct reasonable list maintenance so as to maintain an accurate record of eligible voters for use in conducting federal elections.

“As you may know, Congress enacted Section 8 of the NVRA to protect the integrity of the electoral process. Allowing the names of ineligible voters to remain on the voting rolls harms the integrity of the electoral process and undermines voter confidence in the legitimacy of elections.

“As the top election official in California, it is your responsibility under federal law to coordinate California’s statewide effort to conduct a program that reasonably ensures the lists of eligible voters are accurate.

According to Judicial Watch:  There were more total registered voters than there were adults over the age of 18 living in each of the following eleven (11) counties: Imperial (102 percent), Lassen (102 percent), Los Angeles (112 percent), Monterey (104 percent), San Diego (138 percent), San Francisco (114 percent), San Mateo (111 percent), Santa Cruz (109 percent), Solano (111 percent), Stanislaus (102 percent), and Yolo (110 percent).” The letter notes that the percentage in L.A. Country may be as high as 144 percent.

The letter contains a threat to sue the Secretary of State, if Padilla does not remove from the rolls “persons who have become ineligible to vote by reason of death, change in residence, or a disqualifying criminal conviction, and to remove noncitizens who have registered to vote unlawfully.” It gives Padilla 14 days to respond, and 90 days to correct alleged violations of the law.

Padilla has been one of the main voices in opposition to President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, refusing to share voter data with it on the argument that doing so would “legitimize false claims of massive election cheating last fall.”

President Trump has claimed that he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election if not for illegal voting, and his administration has singled out California as a possible contributor to that margin.

The Election Integrity Project is a California-based volunteer organization that monitors voting irregularities.

White House Head of Personnel purging Trump supporters

Multiple sources within the White House have confirmed that Jana Toner, a member of the Presidential Personnel Office, is regularly heard publicly insulting prominent pro-Trump media figures, including former Breitbart Technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos and Infowars founder Alex Jones. Mrs. Toner has even told White House interns that sharing content from Mr. Yiannopoulos or Mr. Jones’ Infowars on social media is grounds for dismissal.

Two White House interns recounted how other employees with the Presidential Personnel Office, at the direction of Mrs. Toner, have also threatened to blacklist them from the White House internship program if they have posted anything from Yiannopoulos, Jones, or Infowars on their personal social media accounts.

The first line on the White House internship program application demands to know the applicant’s “Contact information and social media accounts,” which in turn allows Mrs. Toner and her staffers to weed out Trump supporters from the program.

Jeb and George Bush loyalist Jana Toner, is currently the Associate Director and Special Assistant to the President at PPO. Toner is leading a behind-the-scenes effort to hire establishment Republicans and DC insiders instead of staff who back President Trump’s American First agenda.  Toner is a Bush family loyalist, having served the George W. Bush Administration in numerous capacities. From 2003–2004, she worked as a Special Assistant in the Department of Public Affairs in the Department of Energy under Bush’s first Secretary of Energy and top ally, Spencer Abraham.

President Trump’s new Chief of Staff, retired General John Kelly, is eyeing a significant White House shakeup, and PPO is one of the areas he is focusing on specifically.

House Speaker attacks Attorney General’s plans to subpoena journalists

House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ insinuation that the Justice Department could subpoena journalists in its investigations of information leaks.

Sessions made the suggestion in a Friday press conference in which he outlined steps being taken to reduce the volume of leaks that have frequently embarrassed President Donald Trump and his administration. Ryan took issue with Sessions’ characterization of journalists’ roles in reporting stories that include leaked information. While speaking at an event in Mukego, Wisconsin, Ryan said it’s “the problem of the leaker, not the journalist.  Leaks are concerning because leaks can often compromise national security, but that’s the problem of the leaker not the journalist,” Ryan said.

Sessions said: “We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans.”

A number of press-advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), criticized Sessions’ remarks. The ACLU’s privacy, and technology director, Ben Wizner, said: “Americans should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists.”

Climate Change Museum opens up in Washington D.C.

In the waning days of his presidency, former President Barack Obama’s administration oversaw the creation of a more than $300,000 climate change “museum” in a government building in Washington, DC, filled with displays that advance the idea that man-made climate change is a major threat, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are necessary to fight it.

A spokesman for the EPA confirmed that  $211,111 has been given to the Smithsonian Institution to create the materials shown in the museum and $134,000 to renovate the space.  The content of the climate change exhibit, which opened to the public just days after Obama left office, was produced by the EPA Alumni Association, which compiled and presented it in a timeline-fashion, detailing the milestones of the regulatory agency since it was founded in 1970.

Called a “pet project” of Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in an article about the museum the Washington Post published, the museum is tucked into the lobby of the EPA Credit Union in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

The exhibit pays homage to Obama’s signing the United States onto the Paris climate accord, which has since been undone by Trump.  The Clean Power Plan — Obama’s signature energy policy effort to regulate carbon emissions from American power plants — was also scrapped when Trump signed an executive order in March.

“There is no question that parts of the museum reflect an Obama administration-centric narrative,” the Post reported. “It includes a panel dedicated to the 2009 ‘endangerment finding,’ in which then-EPA administrator Lisa Jackson concluded that the agency was legally obligated to control greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change because they threatened public health.”

Some of the other items on display in the museum are about:

  • Environmental Justice — “In 1994 President Bill Clinton directed federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies to address the disproportionately high and adverse health or environmental effects of their programs on minority and low-income populations.”
  • “Climate change is happening now. Strong evidence indicates that there are major changes in temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns that have lasted over several decades. The EPA works both to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change and to help communities prepare for impacts, including sea level rise, coastal flooding, changes in the length of growing seasons, and heat-related illnesses.”
  • “For air pollution, prevention is the cure. Using science and the law, the EPA creates policies and programs that less indoor and outdoor air pollution, greenhouse gases, acid rain, and other airborne pollutant threats to human and environmental health.”
  • “The EPA is exploring new ways to measure local air pollution while helping communities understand the air around them. Through the Village Green project, the EPA is building next generation air monitoring systems that also function as park benches in cities across the country. Village Green benches operate on solar and wind power and are made from recycled materials.”

 career EPA employee brought the museum to the attention of the Trump administration, according to the Post.  “I wanted to make sure that they knew it existed,” said Nancy Grantham, a career public affairs employee at EPA, who has toured the exhibit with at least one Trump official. “That’s just how I operate. I don’t like to be surprised, and I assume others don’t like to be, either.” “Grantham acknowledged that the climate panels probably will be altered and possibly shelved, although she stressed that no final decisions had been made,” the Post reported.

Every past EPA administrator is mentioned in the museum, with one exception: Anne Gorsuch, mother of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was  President Ronald Reagan’s first EPA administrator.

And there is one small sign — literally — that has been placed near the entrance of the museum that shows a picture of Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

“In the meantime, to make sure the current administration is represented, EPA officials have installed a large poster board in the museum, highlighting the agency’s new ‘back to basics’ agenda,” according to the Post. “It features a picture of Pruitt shaking hands with coal miners at a Pennsylvania mine and promises ‘sensible regulations for economic growth.’”

United Nations Council votes to slap $1 billion sanctions on North Korea

The United Nations Security Council Saturday voted unanimously to slap major sanctions on North Korea in a major win for Trump’s hardline approach to China, and for U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley — who pressured China and Russia to avoid using their veto power.

The U.S.-drafted resolution — which hits North Korea with sanctions on exports of iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood — was passed unanimously with 15 votes. The sanctions are predicted to slash North Korean exports by a third, costing them $1 billion a year.

“North Korea’s irresponsible and careless acts have just proved to be quite costly to the regime,” Haley said after the vote. “This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime.”

“We have taken a step forward, we have spoken with a unified voice that we are ready to act in an unprecedented way in response to North Korea’s reckless nuclear pursuit,” U.K. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said.

The resolution also freezes the assets of a number of banks and bank and business owners. Additionally, it bans the opening of “new joint ventures or cooperative entities” with North Korean entities.

At a Security Council emergency session after the first ICBM launch, Russia had expressed skepticism that the missile launched was an ICBM and had wagged the finger at the U.S. over its “warmongering.”

Last week, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said at a press conference that both sides should avoid “language and action that heightens tension on the Korean peninsula” and said that resolutions did not give the “green light” for an “economic blockade.”

The lack of support from China, in particular, triggered a furious response from the Trump administration, with President Trump blasting China as “just talk” on the issue, while Haley issued a furious statement saying that she had no intention of calling for an emergency session as “the time for talk is over.”

“An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value,” she said. “In fact, it is worse than nothing, because it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.”

In her remarks Saturday to the Security Council, Haley hailed the resolution as a win for the Council: “Today the full Security Council has come together to put the North Korean dictatorship on notice and this time the council has matched its words and actions.

“It is the continued suffering of the North Korean people that should remind the Security Council that while this resolution is a significant step forward, it is not nearly enough,” she said. “The threat of an outlaw nuclearized North Korean dictatorship remains.”

 

 

Facebook CEO hires Clinton’s top strategist

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired pollster Joel Benenson, who was Hillary Clinton’s top strategist on her 2016 presidential campaign, increasing speculation about whether Zuckerberg will make a run for the White House.

According to Politico, Zuckerberg brought Benenson, the Democrat who has also advised former President Barack Obama, on board to conduct research for his Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative philanthropy group that he runs with his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Zuckerberg’s group has already hired David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Ken Mehlman, the moderate Republican who ran former President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign and chaired the Republican National Committee. The legacy media and technocrats in Silicon Valley swooned when Mehlman publicly revealed that he was gay in 2010 to Marc Ambinder, who was then a legacy media reporter in good standing at the Atlantic before he moved on to Hollywood and USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism.

Zuckerberg, according to Politico, has also brought on board Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) former communications adviser Amy Dudley. Obama’s former press secretary Ben LaBolt is now apparently one of Zuckerberg’s spokesmen.

 

Sunday, August 6 (Day 199):

“Never Trumper” seeks to oust President Donald Trump

Bill Kristol, a prominent “Never Trumper” and one of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s fiercest defenders and allies, is reportedly scheming to oust President Donald Trump so Republicans do not renominate him in 2020.

ccording to a New York Times report, Kristol “said he had begun informal conversations about creating a ‘Committee Not to Renominate the President.’ “We need to take one shot at liberating the Republican Party from Trump, and conservatism from Trumpism,” Kristol told the New York Times reporters. Kristol spent most of 2016 trying to undermine Trump and get Hillary Clinton elected. He attempted to draft National Review’s David French to be his “Never Trump” candidate.

Vice President denies report that he is seeking to be president in 2020

Vice President Mike Pence called a report “categorically false” after it suggested Republicans are forming a “shadow campaign” to help elect him for the U.S. presidency in 2020.

The New York Times article said Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Ben Sasse and Gov. John Kasich are likely “shadow” candidates, citing their travel schedules and potential lobbying for donations.

 “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration,” Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a statement. “Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”

The Times said it conducted interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party, elected officials, donors and strategists who expressed “widespread uncertainty” about whether Trump would be on the GOP ballot in 2020. The sources also said the Republican Party is engaged in “barely veiled contingency planning” in hopes to secure the White House with or without Trump.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday also rejected the Times article about Pence’s political aspirations, calling it “complete fiction.  It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020 — for reelection as vice president,” Conway told ABC News.

Republicans target Democrats who support single-payer healthcare

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a 58-second digital ad targeting Democratic congressional candidates Bryan Caforio and Josh Harder in the California’s 25th and 10th Districts over their party’s support for a single-payer, government-run healthcare system.

“Big government has destroyed the American healthcare system as we know it,” the narrator in the ad says. “But it gets worse: A new plan brought to you by the same Democrats who gave us Obamacare.”

The words “European-style single-payer health care plan” are prominently displayed in the video. The ad closes by warning constituents, “Tell Nancy Pelosi and California Democrats, ‘We can’t afford single-payer healthcare.’”

Democrats are determined to take Republican seats in several California districts where Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump. Orange County, a former conservative stronghold that voted for Clinton in 2016, is one of the key battleground regions in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, for example.

California state lawmakers are considering a single-payer system, although those efforts have been put on hold for the time being.

State Sen. Richard Lara (D-Bell Gardens) authored SB 562, a single-payer healthcare act known as the “Healthy California Act“. In May, the State Senate Appropriations Committee released a legislative analysis that found the  “socialized” plan for health care coverage would cost the Golden State $400 billion annually. That figure is two to three times the amount California currently spends on its budget.

In March, Gov. Jerry Brown — who will be termed out in 2018 —  vocally dismissed single-payer healthcare in California, telling the Los Angeles Times, “How do you do that?… This is called ignotum per ignotius…. In other words, you take a problem and say, I’m going to solve it by something that’s even a bigger problem,’ which makes no sense.”

 

Monday, August 7 (Day 200):

ACLJ unmasks former Attorney General secret email alias

The American Center for Law and Justice has unmasked former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s secret email alias.  The ACLJ’s FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) clandestine meeting between former Lynch and former President Bill Clinton has uncovered the secret email account used by former Attorney General Lynch to conduct official DOJ business.

Late last week the ACLJ obtained and published more than 400 pages of documents from the DOJ, including redacted talking points on the Clinton-Lynch meeting that the DOJ bureaucracy still refuses to allow the public to see – redacting numerous pages of draft and final talking points and statements developed for the Attorney General.

Less than an hour and a half after the first press inquiry into the secret meeting, Lynch herself was actually added into the discussion about the draft talking points under the alias “Elizabeth Carlisle, ecarlisle@jmd.usdoj.gov.”

Lynch’s attorney, Robert Raben, confirmed to TheDC that Lynch emailed under that pseudonym. He pointed to an article published in The Hill last February in which the Justice Department acknowledged that Lynch was using an email handle that was not her given name.

Lynch was directly involved in developing the still hidden talking points and statement, which was apparently never released, on her surreptitious meeting with former President Clinton while her DOJ was still overseeing the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton and her own secret email account.

“The Obama-Lynch DOJ is still hiding the truth from the public. But we’re cutting through the deceit and deception. We will get to the bottom of the unethical corrupt actions of former Attorney General Lynch,” stated the ACLJ. “We will hold those responsible for the lawless Obama DOJ accountable.  We will be back in federal court to force the release of the wrongfully redacted talking points in the coming weeks. We will keep you up to date as this crucial case progresses.”

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch

American-led coalition making gains against Islamic State

About 30 percent of the territory the American-led coalition has retaken from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been liberated under U.S. President Donald Trump’s watch, a senior State Department official tells reporters.

In total, the U.S.-led coalition has re-conquered 27,000 square miles (about 78 percent) of the 35,000 square miles ISIS is believed to have controlled at its peak in Iraq and Syria in early 2015. ISIS still holds about 20 percent of the land it controlled at the beginning of 2015 when its so-called caliphate began to crumble.

Steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to military officials on the battlefield, have fueled the U.S.-led coalition’s gains against ISIS jihadists.  Under President Trump, a “campaign of annihilation” has primarily concentrated on surrounding cities held by the jihadist group before launching full offensives, to ensure terrorists “cannot escape.”

In Raqqa alone, the U.S.-backed local forces have already liberated 45 percent of the city, considered ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria.

 

Tuesday, August 8 (Day 201):

 

Trump:  Threats to U.S. will be met with ‘fire and fury’

President Donald Trump warned North Korea Tuesday to stop threatening the United States with its ongoing nuclear weaponry.  “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” said Trump.   “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Trump said that North Korean dictator Kim Joun-un had been “very threatening.   As I said they will be met with…frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” he reported.

President Trump was reacting to reports that North Korea has developed miniaturized nuclear weapons for missiles that could potentially strike the United States.  The President with assistance from Ambassador Nikki Haley negotiated a 15-0 vote for sanctions of one billion against North Korea on Saturday.  

“So much for China working with us—but we had to give it try!”  Trump wrote on Twitter in July expressing disappointment in Chinese Xi Jinping.

Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned a week ago that the North Korea’s actions were “intolerable.  The president has ben very clear about it:  He said he’s not going to tolerate North  Korea being able to threaten the United States.”

President Trump said in June, “The era of strategic patience with the North Korea regime has failed.  That patience is over.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)  said Tuesday that President Trump shouldn’t threaten the North Korea regime unless he is ready to back it up with action.  “I take exception to the president’s comments because you got to be sure you can do what you say you’re going to do…all it’s going to do is bring us closer to some kind of serious confrontation.   I don’t think some of the great leaders I admired would have taken that same path.”

White House adviser Sebastian Gorka said that the brinkmanship with North Korea “is analogous to the Cuban Missile Crisis.”  Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president who works on the national security staff, warned, “Don’t test this White House.  Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities, whether they’re conventional, whether they’re nuclear, or whether they’re Special Forces.  So this message is very clear:  Don’t test this White House, Pyongyang.”

Latino GOP Candidate challenges Congresswoman Waters

Omar Navarro

Omar Navarro, 28, says he’s had “enough” of watching California’s liberal politicians let the Golden State and country fall apart. The young, Latino conservative is challenging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for her seat in the 43rd Congressional District in the 2018 elections.  Waters has been among the most vocal politicians calling for Trump’s impeachment through the so-called “resistance” movement.

“When I realized Maxine Waters was my representative, I said, ‘Wow, this person is representing me? How are people electing this person year after year?’ Navarro said. “I started doing research and looking into her background and I did not see one candidate running a legitimate campaign against her in 27 years.”

Navarro said he is tired of seeing “liberal politicians that are running their own districts, their own counties down to the ground. Enough is enough.” He said he’s running in 2018 because “We have to do something about it and I’m not going to let our country fall apart.”

Navarro resigned from his position serving on the traffic commission in Torrance two weeks ago. This is not his first time running against Waters: Navarro ran against the seasoned congresswoman in 2016.  He had only raised about $3,000 for his initial run against Waters, compared to the $650,000 she spent against him. “But I still got 25 percent of the vote, which was quite humbling to even receive that type of vote with the amount of money I spent. I learned a lot from that election,” and said, “It was an honor for me to be on the ballot with [Donald] Trump too.”

Approximately three weeks after the November 2016 elections, Navarro said he was able to gather information and numbers about how well he could potentially do in another political run against Waters. He was optimistic and began doing protests. “I started getting a good reception from people who were interacting with me. And then I decided, I’m going to do this. I’m going to run again. I had a good feeling,” He said. “I just felt it.”

“I want to run. I want to make a difference in my community. I want to impact my community. I’m tired of all of these politicians not doing anything for us. They’re not changing anything. I want to be that person.”

The 43rd Congressional District is no different than the rest of the country. We have a lot of poverty here. We have a lot of homeless people. We have a lot of crime. It’s infested with crime. You have businesses that are also leaving because they don’t want to be in an area that’s infested with crime and homeless people all over the place. They don’t want to be in a community that’s falling apart.

Navarro was born in Inglewood, California and spent a significant portion of his life in Hawthorne and Torrance. He said that played a significant role in his decision to run in the 43rd district against Waters, because he knows the region and its people. The 43rd District includes parts of South Central L.A., Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Torrance, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Lawndale.

Navarro attended El Camino College in Torrance with the intention of studying business administration, but he transferred to ITT Tech and achieved his degree in Criminal Justice. He then went to the University of Southern California and took courses in Information Security. “I wanted to learn more about government and security networks. I also worked for the district attorney’s office in Los Angeles County with victims of crimes.”

Navarro has also worked for Samsung and Sony. He said one of his best jobs was being paid to play video games, which he did while working for the government.

The top issues Navarro is campaigning on are business growth, job creation, solving homelessness, protecting the Second Amendment, favoring legal immigration over illegal immigration, and providing veterans better care and treatment.

“What are we doing for our homeless veterans?” Navarro asked. “I don’t like seeing people that protected our freedoms ending up in the streets,” Navarro said. On immigration, he added, “I’m a big supporter of people coming here through the right process. My mom came from the northern part of Mexico and my father came from Havana, Cuba. But they both did it right. They didn’t break any laws. They respected the law.”

Navarro said his father worked in the aerospace industry for years and his mother has worked in real estate. “This country has been good to my family,” Navarro said. “It was not easy to come to this country, but they did it right.”

He said he passion for politics came from his grandparents. “I was very close to my grandparents from my dad’s side. My grandfather passed away three years ago and I miss him a lot. Both my grandparents were very passionate about politics. They were amazing people. My grandfather was very strong. He as a go-getter and very talkative. My grandmother was very intelligent. She’s still alive and almost 95. She went from being a principal in Cuba to teaching here again in Cal State Dominguez Hills, teaching English and Spanish.”

However, one of his greatest inspirations has, and will always remain, Andrew Breitbart.  “I love Andrew,” Navarro said of the late founder of Breitbart News.

“I met him years ago. I met him for the first time when I was 22 and I got to meet him two other times after that.” He said, “The second time I met him I got his book,” Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World “Andrew wrote in my book, ‘Omar, fight the man.’ And I knew, then and there, that I was going to end up fighting the man for the rest of my life and that’s what I’ve been doing every since,” he said.

Asked what “the man” symbolized, Navarro said, “‘The man represented going against the trend, going against the grain, going against the PC [politically correct] culture, basically being the person that influences change. Being the person that changes culture. That’s how he explained it to me at that time. And I was very impressed. And I read his book, of course, and it talked about going against the left and standing up to the left.”

Navarro also complimented Breitbart’s rise from humble beginnings. “I also like that he was a pizza delivery guy for Pizza Hut. It’s a pretty cool story.”

So far, Navarro has received endorsements from a few nationally-known figures. Political operative Roger Stone is working on his campaign, for example.  Navarro has out-raised Waters on individual contributions, according to the most recent filings. “I raised close to $31,000 and she raised about $26,000,” Navarro said. The next filing will be in September.  Last week, Navarro held a fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. “Maxine Waters if you’re listening, I’m coming for you.”

State Pension system charges early “exit fee”

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is slashing pensions for retirees of government entitities that elect to leave CalPERS without paying the hefty termination toll or “exit fee.”

For John Cussin, the Los Angeles Times reports, a 21-year city employee of the tiny Sierra Nevada town of Loyalton, the cut was 60%, as his pension fell from $2,500 to a mere $1,000 per month. The reason? Loyalton, a town of under 800 people, teetering on the brink of insolvency, could not afford to keep paying the mandatory monthly contribution to CalPERS nor could it afford the termination or “exit fee” that CalPERS demanded.

Loyalton thought it had figured out a way to cut costs without hurting its retirees. Then CalPERS informed the city council it would have to pay a $1.66-million exit fee, which came to one-and-a-half times their annual budget.The city didn’t pay up, so Loyalton retirees saw their monthly pension checks slashed last year.

CalPERS’ Board voted in March to cut the pensions of almost 200 retirees from a now-defunct Southern California job training program known as the East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium. Starting July 1, CalPERS cut the consortium’s pensioners checks by 63%.

When Stockton was facing bankruptcy, the judge handling the case determined that pension obligations “can be cut in bankruptcy ‘like any other garden variety’ unsecured debt,” even going as far as calling the termination fee a “golden handcuff” and anti-competitive “poison pill” preventing local governments from leaving CalPERS. At $1.6 billion, the exit fee for Stockton was impossibly high — and, naturally the bankrupt city couldn’t pony up that kind of money, forcing it to cut back on police protection and other city services for a time while it continued paying into CalPERS coffers.

Despite projecting a rate of return of 7 percent, CalPERS earned barely 1% for the past 12 months ending June 2017. With only 65 cents on hand for every dollar CalPERS owes in pensions, Democrats will either have to raise taxes again or cut benefits — neither of which will be popular with voters.

 

Wednesday, August 9 (Day 202):

North Korea studying plan to attack Guam

North Korea says it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam to contain U.S. bases there. The army said in a statement distributed Wednesday by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. The U.S. territory is home to Andersen Air Force Base. The statement says the move is in response to a recent U.S. ICBM test.

The North Korea statement comes as President Donald Trump says North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it makes any more threats to the U.S.A.

Washington’s alarm over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of a nuclear capability has intensified in the past month after the North conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials assess that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles. That would mean North Korea has passed a crucial threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

The Post story, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials, said the confidential analysis was completed last month by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Officials at the agency would not comment Tuesday. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence could not immediately be reached for comment.

Separately, Japan’s defense ministry assessed in a report Tuesday that it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads.

North Korea on Wednesday responded to the new round of threats from President Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — with a claim that it could launch four missiles in Guam’s direction within just a week.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that “Americans should sleep well at night.” And said he did not reconsider rerouting his current Pacific trip away from a planned stop to Gum which North Korea has threatened.

In a statement released by its state-run media KCNA, North Korea said it would complete its plan to attack waters near Guam by mid-August, then “wait for” orders from the commander in chief of its nuclear force.

The statement comes after Trump took to Twitter noting that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is “now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” adding, “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

North Korea called Trump’s threat of responding with “fire and fury” as a “load of nonsense,” and that “only absolute force” can work on the president.

LGBT advocates praise Disney preschool cartoon featuring lesbian moms

Doc McStuffins, now in its fourth season, aired a show called “The Emergency Plan” with two lesbian doll moms on the Disney Channel Aug. 5 and Disney Junior on Aug. 6.  The two lesbian moms were voiced by lesbian actors Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi.

Zeke Stokes, vice president of programs at GLAAD, a gay rights media advocacy organization praised Disney for “teaching valuable family lessons.”

 

Thursday, August 10 (Day 203):

Trump:  ‘Let’s see what he does with Guam’

President Trump said if North Korea leader Kim Jong Un “does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before–what will happen in North Korea.  It’s not a dare, it’s a statement,”  Trump said of his vow to respond to any attack against Guam, a U.S. island terrirotry.

President Trump made the comments seated with Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

“He has disrespected our country greatly.  He has said things that are horrific.  And with me, he’s not getting away with it.  He got away with it for a long time, between him and his family. He’s not getting away with it.  It’s a whole new ball game.”

Earlier in the day, President Trump said North Korea should be “very, very nervous” about even thinking of attacking the United States or its allies.

“I’d like to de-nuke the world.  I would like Russia, the United States and China and Pakistan and many other countries that have nuclear weapons to get rid of them.  But until such time that they do, we will be the most powerful nuclear nation on earth, by far.”

Trump also spoke of the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran. “I don’t think they are “in compliance with the agreement” as negotiated.  “I don’t think they are living up to the spirit of the agreement.  President Obama in his wisdom gave them $150 billon.  He gave them $1.8 billion in cash.  That’s a hard one to figure.  But that was his decision.  I think it’s a horrible agreement.

“I think you’ll see some very strong things taking place if they don’t get themselves in compliance.”

Japan ready to protect Guam, defense minister says

Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan has the right to activate its Aegis destroyer missile defense system to defend the U.S. in an event of a North Korean nuclear attack on Guam, a U.S. territory.    Any attack against Guam would be considered an existential threat to Japan, the defense minister said, also citing a mutual defense agreement with the United States.

Japan lies about 620 miles to the east of North Korea, which has conducted numerous missile test this year.  Most of the weapons have landed in the Sea of Japan.  Guam lies about 1,600 miles south of Japan.

Onodera’s comments reflected what is viewed as Japan’s growing interest in reviving its military and taking a more aggressive stance in the Asian-Pacific region.  Previously, Japan has said it would shoot down North Korean missiles only if they were directed toward Japan.  But last year, Japan enacted a new defense policy, allowing its military to defend U.S. territories and other allies against an attack.

Onodera returned to the defense minister post (where he served from 2012-14) after the Cabinet was reshuffled by Prime Minister Shinzu Abe.  In March, Onodera led a study that recommended boosting Japan’s missile response capability.  Japan is seeking to upgrade it ship-to-air interceptors and Japanese cities have started to stage evacuation drills in preparation for a missile attack.

North Korea on Wednesday responded to the new round of threats from President Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — with a claim that it could launch four missiles in Guam’s direction within just a week.

In a statement released by its state-run media KCNA, North Korea said it would complete its plan to attack waters near Guam by mid-August, then “wait for” orders from the commander in chief of its nuclear force.

The statement comes after Trump took to Twitter noting that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is “now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” adding, “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

North Korea called Trump’s threat of responding with “fire and fury” as a “load of nonsense,” and that “only absolute force” can work on the president.

Donald Trump:  McMaster ‘he’s our friend’

President Trump gave support to his embattled National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster during a New Jersey press conference.  When asked by reporters if he had confidence in General McMaster, Trump replied, “Yes, I do.  He’s our friend.  He’s my friend and he’s a very talented man.  I like him and I respect him,” as McMaster sat in the seat next to the president.  Trump made his comments after meeting with McMaster and members of is national security team to discuss North Korea and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. McMaster purged the National Security Council of Trump loyalists.

“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” Trump said.  “He’s a good man and very pro-Israel.  I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

 

Friday, August 11 (Day 204):

President: ‘Military solutions fully in place’; Defense Secretary: ‘Cease any actions that lead to the destruction of it regime…destruction of its people’

President Trump gave another warning to North Korea:  “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump tweeted.

Shortly afterward, President Trump retweeted the Pacific Command saying: “#USAF B-1B Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so.”  The “fight tonight” vow is a long-held motto for U.S. forces deployed to the region.

On Tuesday, the President said if North Korea continued to make significant threats to the U.S. “it will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis strongly warned Pyongyang to change its behavior.  “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mattis said in a statement.  

North Korea responded to Trump saying it would launch an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam.  Japan has stated it will launch missiles to defend its ally, the United States.

In the latest response by North Korea: “We consider the U.S. no more than a lump which we can beat to a jelly any time,” the Korean Central News Agency said, quoting Institute of International Studies researcher Kang Kum Chol. The exchange capped a week of escalating warnings between Washington and Pyongyang. 

There are six B-1 bombers deployed to Guam right now, according to defense officials. Out of the Air Force fleet of 62 bombers, half can fly right now according to Air Force statistics. There is currently no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group or Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit off the Korean Peninsula right now. 

Military assets could scramble from other locations, however. The president has faced some criticism in Washington for the tone of his rhetoric against Pyongyang, with lawmakers warning he could needlessly escalate the standoff. But Trump maintained Thursday his words might not have been “tough enough.” 

The warnings from Trump come as China – North Korea’s primary ally – issued a veiled warning to the U.S.

China’s government, via state media, said it would remain neutral if North Korea attacks the U.S. but would defend its neighbor if the U.S. were to strike first against Kim Jong Un.

Meanwhile, other Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan and Australia, have come out in support of the United States in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack. 

 

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 West 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 dedicating 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.


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One Response to The Third 100 Days (Trump Briefs: August 5-11/Day 198-204) Week 29

  1. William Hicks August 13, 2017 at 9:11 am

    If there were no tax cuts at all and there was a reduction in spending and regulations, we would be far better off than the previous administrations eight years.

    Maybe, there shouldn’t be so much emphasis upon reducing taxes, as there should be an emphasis upon paying down the national debt and reducing deficit spending. MAYBE?

    Reply

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