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February 11: Roll Call: House and Senate appropriators to attempt to break
stalemate to avoid government shutdown
Republican and Democratic appropriators from both chambers plan to meet Monday afternoon in an effort to revive spending talks as the government heads toward its second shutdown in three months.  Negotiators disclosed Sunday that their talks had hit a snag, with Shelby blaming the problem on Democratic insistence to limit the number of beds available for Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests inside U.S. borders.

February 11: The Daily Caller: 9th Circuit sides with Trump on environmental
waivers for border barrier
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the Trump administration Monday in a case challenging its use of waivers to bypass environmental regulations in constructing parts of the border wall.  The state of California and several environmental groups sued the Trump administration in September 2017 to stop construction of a border wall prototype and ongoing repairs to 14 miles of an existing barrier in San Diego. 

February 11: Rasmussen Reports: Daily tracking poll has Trump approval at 52%
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-seven percent (47%) disapprove. Trump's highest level of approval since shortly after his inauguration.  The latest figures include 39% who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing and 39% who Strongly Disapprove.

February 10: ABC News: Some Washington state sheriffs refused to enforce
new sweeping gun control laws:

Sheriffs in a dozen Washington counties say they won't enforce the state's sweeping new restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional.  A statewide initiative approved by voters in November raised the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, required buyers to first pass a firearms safety course and added expanded background checks and gun storage requirements, among other things. It was among the most comprehensive of a string of state-level gun-control measures enacted in the U.S.  The NRA and Second Amendment Foundation have filed suit in federal court alleging the initiative is unconstitutional.

February 10: Bloomberg News:
  As Maduro digs in aides looking for alternatives
Nicolas Maduro is under pressure at home and abroad, and being encouraged by the U.S. to go to “a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela.”  The question is where would -- or could -- he go? The Venezuelan leader has held on for years in the face of protests, a collapsed economy and international sanctions, via a tight grip on the military and by cracking down on the opposition.  But the stress has never been greater. The financial noose is tightening globally, many neighbors and western nations are calling on him to hold elections or step aside, and the opposition has galvanized under Juan Guaido into a more cohesive force.

February 9: Associated Press:  Gun-seizure laws grow in popularity
In the year since the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, more and more states have passed laws making it easier to take guns away from people who may be suicidal or bent on violence against others, and courts are issuing an unprecedented number of seizure orders across the country.  Nine states have passed laws over the past year allowing police or household members to seek court orders requiring people deemed threatening to temporarily surrender their guns, bringing the total to 14. Several more are likely to follow in the months ahead.

February 9: The Daily Caller: What Ocasio-Cortez’s advisor told Tucker Carlson
went viral but was wrong

A policy adviser for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  (D-NY) claimed that her Green New Deal proposal did not include economic protections for those “unwilling to work” and claimed that the phrase came from a “doctored document.”  A now-deleted “Green New Deal FAQ” published on Ocasio-Cortez’s website, however, did use the phrase “unwilling to work.”  Ocasio-Cortez retweeted a misleading video of the exchange posted by a Media Matters senior researcher who said that the adviser “[debunked] all the conservative media lies.”  The adviser admitted to TheDCNF that he got the facts wrong.

February 8: Fox News: Oversight hearing with Acting Attorney General Whitaker
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker stunned onlookers and lawmakers during an already-contentious House hearing Friday, when he Judiciary Chair he  had used up his five minutes!  The retort came after Chairman Nadler (D-NY), first said he wanted Whitaker to appear for a private deposition after the hearing and went on to ask Whitaker whether he had been “asked to approve any requests or action” for the special counsel.

February 8: The Daily Caller: White House warns of another possible shutdown as
negotiations near their end
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley warned of a possible government shutdown if Congress does not deliver funding for a border wall, in a Friday morning gaggle with reporters at the White House.  “We’re on the verge of a government shutdown again because Democrats won’t come to the table to have a conversation about securing the country,” Gidley warned as a Feb. 15 deadline for congressional negotiations comes to a close.

February 8: CNN News: Roger Stone argues against gag order
Roger Stone is trying a new tactic in arguing against a federal judge who may restrict what he says in public: He's claiming he's not much of a celebrity.  Federal Judge Jackson said last week that she's considering placing a gag order over Stone's criminal case, which includes allegations of threatening a witness, lying to a congressional committee and obstruction of justice.  Stone pushed back in a court filing Friday saying his speech shouldn't be restricted, because his lifeblood is writing and speaking about politics and fashion, his attorneys say.

February 8: Roll CallEmerging border security deal will be the first big test of
Democrats unity
With some barrier funding expected, the House vote expected next week may show fractures among the new Democrat majority.  House and Senate appropriators serving on a Homeland Security funding conference committee signaled Thursday that they’re narrowing in on a border security deal that could be finalized and ready for floor votes next week ahead of a Feb. 15 government funding deadline. Details of the emerging deal are scant, but appropriators from both parties acknowledge it would include some funding for a physical border barrier. And that will be a hard sell to many House Democrats.

February 7: Washington Times: Chief Justice votes to block Louisiana abortion law
The U.S. Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the “conservative” court’s views on abortion rights.  The justices said by a 5-4 vote late Thursday that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.  Chief Justice Roberts joined the four liberal justices in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case.  Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion in which he said the court’s action was premature because the state had made clear it would allow abortion providers an additional 45 days to obtain admitting privileges before it started enforcing the law.

February 7:
Bloomberg:  Expert testifies Congress would be in “uncharted territory”
demanding President’s tax returns

The U.S. government would be in “uncharted territory” if Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were to block a House request to release President Trump’s tax returns, a law professor told a congressional panel on Thursday. The Democrats who now control the House Ways and Means Committee are eager to get their hands on the returns and are easing their way into an almost-certain legal battle.

An array of professors and lawyers testified before the panel’s oversight committee to advise its members how that struggle might play out. Mnuchin has no “wiggle room” to deny a legitimate request from the House for Trump’s tax returns, but there’s also no precedent to follow if he did, one witness said.  Mnuchin has said he would review the request and respond if required by law, but has declined to say what legal position he might take.  If a challenge is raised by Trump’s legal team it would likely push a final decision well beyond the 2020 election.

February 6: Bloomberg News: Venezuela’s rank-and-file soldiers deserting in droves
Even before the U.S.-backed leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly called on the military to abandon President Nicolas Maduro, the government was trying to stop a surge of desertions and ordered border guards to stop soldiers trying to leave the country without permission. Two documents illustrate the erosion of the armed forces. One lists about 4,300 national-guard officers who deserted since 2014.  The second, dated Nov. 13, orders personnel at entry and exit points to prevent members of the military and retirees on reserve duty from going abroad without specific authorization.

February 6: The Hill: Trump to visit El Paso next week
The Trump campaign announced the President will hold a rally in El Paso on Monday.  The location is notable. El Paso sits right on the U.S.-Mexico border and was referenced by Trump on Tuesday night in his State of the Union address as he sought to make the case for the border wall.  "The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities,” Trump said. “Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”

February 6:
Breitbart News: Surprise!  Much of President’s State of the Union speech appealed to both sides
Several veteran White House reporters noted – to their surprise – that Trump’s State of the Union address won applause from both Democrats and Republicans.   Trump even managed to win a series of standing ovations from Democrat women wearing white in protest.Though arguably he gave little ground on policy, Trump honored national heroes, and pitched his speech to national themes and priorities shared in common by most Americans — including the opposition.

February 5:
Gateway Pundit:   State of the Union acceptance? Polls overwhelmingly favorable
CBS News and CNN released instant polls taken immediately after President Trump’s State of the Union address with both polls finding 76 percent of those who watched approved of the speech. The CBS poll 72 percent approved of Ocasio-Cortez sits while others stand and applaud President on cooperating and compromisinngTrump’s immigration proposals while the CNN poll showed 76 percent approval with 59 percent “very positive.”

February 5:
The American Mirror: Ocasio-Cortez has no stomach
for “…cooperation, compromise and the common good”
“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” Trump said during his State of the Union address.  As most in the House chamber applauded, Ocasio-Cortez remained seated with a sour look on her face.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even applauded. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin partially obscured Ocasio-Cortez as he stood, too.  But the Bronx socialist couldn’t bring herself to side with unity.


February 5: The Daily Caller: It’s been a rough 24 hours for Democrats
It’s been a rough 24 hours for Democrats. After thinking they were getting their problems in Virginia under control, the wheels came off. And beyond Virginia, there are signs of cracking as the extreme left is preparing for a civil war for control of the party, led by none other than New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the people who made her.

February 4:
Roll Call: Congress not likely to reduce spending anytime soon
Despite deficits hurtling toward $1 trillion and more for the foreseeable future, Congress is unlikely to make any real effort to pull the red ink back to Earth anytime soon. In fact, it seems that the excess of spending over revenue will probably be even greater than official forecasts.  This continues the trend under both Republican and Democrat leadership in the House.   Another two-year agreement to raise discretionary spending caps, which most observers expect will occur, would increase projected deficits by some $2 trillion over the next decade, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates. Lawmakers might also extend expiring tax breaks, requiring additional Treasury borrowing. Any deal on an infrastructure program would also likely increase spending.

February 4: Associated Press: Feds starting to expand border barrier in Texas Rio Grande Valley
The U.S. government is preparing to begin construction of more border walls and fencing in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, likely on federally owned land set aside as wildlife refuge property.  Heavy construction equipment was expected to arrive starting Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. A photo shows an excavator parked next to its property.  Last March Congress approved more than $600 million for 33 miles of new barriers in the Rio Grande Valley.  While the standoff between the Congress and the White House, the Administration is pushing ahead with what has already been funded. .

February 4: The Daily Signal: Nationwide injunctions from federal courts – especially
the 9th Circuit – rise to a new level
Federal district judges who preside over a portion of a single state have been able to block President  Trump’s actions 30 times through nationwide injunctions—far more than any other administration in history, according to the Justice Department.   The trend has prompted the administration’s Justice Department to seek an end to nationwide injunctions; the same argument made by the Obama administration.  Prior to 1963 no lower court had issued such an injunction.  It did not become routine until the mid-1980s.

February 3: The Wall Street Journal: State of the Union Guests: Immigration debate
When President Trump delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the debate over immigration that spurred the recent government shutdown will be well-represented in the guests invited to view from the House gallery. Democratic lawmakers have invited refugees and immigrants, including two who were undocumented when they worked for Mr. Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club. Republicans are offering seats to law-enforcement officers, including those who work on or near the border with Mexico.

February 3: Associated Press:  Blackface photo stirs calls for resignation from across the spectrum
Gov. Ralph Northam clung to office Sunday amid nearly unanimous calls from his own party to resign over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, going silent after a bizarre 24 hours in which he first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it.  The Democrat’s stunning about-face — at a weekend news conference where he also acknowledged putting on blackface for a dance contest decades ago and appeared to briefly entertain the notion of doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk for reporters — only seemed to make things worse.

February 2: Richmond Times Dispatch: VA Governor denies racism; won’t resign
Gov. Ralph Northam refused to resign from his office Saturday and instead attempted to ride out a scandal that is threatening to end his political career by denying he was one of the two men in a racist photo that appeared in his medical school yearbook.

February 2: The Daily Caller: Schumer’s Aid e and sexual misconduct
A top aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was reportedly quietly forced to resign in November 2018 over improper sexual relationships with junior staffers that made some of his colleagues uncomfortable. Matt House announced in November 2018 he was leaving Schumer’s office, where he had served as communications director for the past six years. Prior to that, he worked for Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign.

February 2: France 24: Iran successfully tests new cruise missile
Iran announced the "successful test" of a new cruise missile with a range of over 1,350 kilometres on Saturday, coinciding with celebrations for the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.  "The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometres (840 miles) and accurately hit the set target," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted on state television which broadcast footage of its launch.  "It can be ready in the shortest possible time and flies at a very low altitude," he said.  Hatami described the Hoveizeh as the "long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran" in defending itself.

February 1: CNS News: Labor force participation at a Trump-Era High: 63.2% in January
The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 304,000 jobs last month, much higher than analysts were expecting.  The Congressional Budget Office, in a  report released this week, said it expects last year's strong employment growth to carry into 2019. However, "Strong demand for goods, services, and labor is expected to put upward pressure on price and wage inflation, as well as interest rates, in 2019," CBO said.

February 1: Associated Press:  US pulls out of Cold War nuclear deal with Russia
The United States announced Friday that it is pulling out of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, arguing that it should not be constrained by a deal Moscow is violating with “impunity” by deploying banned missiles. Trump repeated a years-long U.S. accusation that Russia secretly developed and deployed “a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad.” He said the U.S. had adhered to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty since it was signed in 1987, but Russia had not.

February 1: Fox News:  Illegal arrested in Montgomery County, TX; He’d served three stints for abusing children
An illegal immigrant – who’s served at least three stints in U.S. prisons for sexually abusing children -- was reportedly arrested during an early morning traffic stop in Texas on Wednesday.  Marvin Yovani Mejia Ramos, 50, had given a fake name but was arrested after the deputy who stopped him on 69 North ran an onsite fingerprint scan that revealed his identity,  KHOU.com reported. A Mexican national, Ramos was turned over to the Department of Homeland Security after his arrest.  “Mejia Ramos is a very dangerous convicted criminal that is in our country illegally,” Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth Hayden said in a Facebook post. “Great job by our deputy that located him and is once again bringing him to justice.”

January 31: Fox News 8:  60 foot border tunnel found in the valley region
Border Patrol agents discovered a 60-foot-long tunnel still in progress this week at the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas.  It’s located in Hidalgo, along roughly the same stretch of the border that President Donald Trump personally visited earlier in January.  Border Patrol contacted Othal Brand, the president of the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District 3, for help. The tunnel is located about 1,500 feet downriver from his pump station, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife property.

January 31:
NE News Now: Hispanic pastors to Trump: No open borders, crisis is real!
On Friday, President Trump invited Hispanic pastors from around the country to the White House for a roundtable discussion on immigration. In talking to the press, he touted a recent poll showing growing support for him among Latinos.  Pastor Ramiro Pena of Waco, TX delivered a letter he said was endorsed by 150 Hispanic evangelical leaders. "One thing you have not done, Mr. President, is manufacture a humanitarian crisis. It's real," said Pena. "And although many people began to declare repeatedly this is a 'manufactured crisis' – being a pastor from Texas, I can tell you the human suffering that's been going on for many decades has hit a fever pitch."

January 31: Bloomberg: Political prisoner is calling the shots in Venezuela
In two weeks, Juan Guaido has become the international symbol of Venezuelan revolt, projecting the image of a steely and unflappable operator. But his out-of-nowhere rise is due in large part to his mentor, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who from his living room has unified and orchestrated the movement despite a house arrest that bars him from politics. Intelligence police monitor Lopez’s home around the clock, a tracking device is attached to his ankle and he’s prohibited from talking to reporters. Allies and members of his inner circle say the 47-year-old former presidential candidate nonetheless holds planning meetings and directs activists.

January 31: The Times of Israel: Army training exercise simulates attacks on Israeli gas drilling platforms
The Israel Navy this week simulated an attack on the country’s natural gas platforms, including a live-fire test of sea-to-sea missiles to destroy an “enemy ship,” the military said Thursday. Four Sa’ar-4.5 model corvettes participated in the week-long naval exercise, dubbed “Raging Sea,” which ended on Thursday.  
Terror groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have both threatened to attack Israel’s natural gas platforms.  Israel has in recent years transformed into a major gas exporter after major reserves of the resource were discovered in its waters in the Mediterranean.  Attacks on these resources could impact the Israeli economy.

January 30: The HillLawmakers meet for the first time to try and avoid another government shutdown:
Lawmakers from the House and Senate will meet for the first time Wednesday as they seek to work out a deal on border security that would prevent a second government shutdown this year. The conference committee includes Democrats and Republicans with reputations for deal-making, but the panel faces tough odds in seeking to build a compromise that could earn the support of Trump and Pelosi.  Trump himself on Wednesday appeared to give it little chance of success, even as he repeated his demands that Democrats fund a wall on the Mexican border.

January 30: The Daily CallerBizarre statement by Virginia Governor on abortion after birth
Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam couldn’t precisely answer whether he supports abortion until birth and suggested an infant could be born and then the mother and doctor could discuss what should happen next, in a Wednesday morning interview.  “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said in a WTOP interview.  Aborting a baby after it has been born is illegal.

January 30: The Hill: Senate Judiciary Chair asks for briefing on Stone arrest by the FBI
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested that the FBI give a briefing to the panel on February 5th about last week's arrest of longtime GOP operative and former informal Trump adviser Roger Stone.  Graham sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday expressing concerns about the "manner" in which Stone was arrested, including the number of agents involved in taking Stone into custody, "the tactics employed" and the timing of the arrest.  Stone was reportedly arrested in the dark hours of the night by FBI agents wielding assault weapons when, according to Stone, a simple call to his attorney would have resulted in his surrendering himself voluntarily.  Additionally, there are questions about how CNN was tipped off and able to get video footage of the raid.

January 29: The Washington TimesThe Last Congress most ineffective in years
To hear Republican leaders tell it, the just-concluded 115th Congress was a master class in bipartisan achievements.  The numbers suggest something altogether different.  Congress wrote fewer laws, held fewer formal House-Senate negotiations, and was near the bottom on several key yardsticks in the Senate — a reflection of Democrats’ ability to flex their filibuster powers to delay the President.  Records date back to just after World War II, and in those 72 years, the only President George W. Bush had a worse legislative start — and he faced a Democratic majority in the Senate for most of the first Congress.

January 29: Bloomberg News: Venezuela: Socialist Government sends
masked special police to attack/kill demonstrators
Since protests against Maduro began last week, the socialist regime has regularly sent the police’s elite Special Action Force racing into Caracas slums on personnel carriers and motorcycles. Its masked members, all in black, attack demonstrators with weapons including tear gas, guns and even grenades. They settle long-standing scores and rob residents’ homes, eyewitnesses say. At least 35 people have died amid the demonstrations, adding to scores of deaths in two years of unrest.

January 29: Reuters: Two bombs explode in Iran; police officers wounded
Two bombs exploded on Tuesday in front of a police station in the city of Zahedan in southeastern Iran, local officials told state media, causing minor injuries to three police officers.  Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for the explosions. The group said it had targeted a police station with “two strong bombs”, damaging a police car and motorcycle.

Large Wall belonging to Open Borders George Soros.  How does he want a wall and also open borders?
January 29: The Daily Caller: Walls Across the America series
The Daily Caller takes you to places across the nation where the rich and famous have walls with gates where those who are authorized may enter.  They raise the question that if this is okay for people like George Soros, who apparently has his ten foot high wall to keep unwanted people out, then why is it morally wrong to have a wall or barrier on the southern border of the USA?  [See Video: https://youtu.be/u3YfjPe9JH0]

January 28: Fox News:  Border Patrol  wives invite Pelosi to Texas town; see situation on the border first hand
A group of women whose husbands patrol America's southern border along the banks of the Rio Grande are inviting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to come to Texas so she can see first-hand why a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico is desperately needed.  “We would like to show you around! You don’t need to bring any security detail. Our husbands/boyfriends/fiances/wives/significant others are actually very good at their jobs, thank goodness!” Jill Demanski wrote in the letter posted on Facebook.

January 27: Bloomberg News:  US Treasury to borrow $1,000,000,000,000 to finance U.S. deficit
The U.S. Treasury Department is set to maintain elevated sales of long-term debt to finance the government’s widening budget deficit, with new issuance projected to top $1 trillion for a second-straight year.  Many strategists at primary-dealer firms predict that this Wednesday’s quarterly refunding announcement will see the Treasury maintain note and bond sales at the record high levels they have boosted them to in recent months.

January 27: The UK Telegraph: NATO members increase defense spending by $100 billion
NATO states will increase their defense spending by 100 billion dollars in response to Donald Trump's demands that European allies shoulder a greater financial burden, the alliance's secretary general has said.  Mr Trump has repeatedly complained that other members of Nato do not meet their spending commitments, including  a  blistering tirade at the NATO summit in Brussels  in July in which called other member governments “delinquent.” 

January 27: CBS News:
Private Firm launches largest number of satellites in history
A private company has set off a revolution in space by launching hundreds of small satellites, enough to photograph the entire landmass of the Earth every day.  For decades the U.S. Has relied on spy satellites to look deep inside the territory of its adversaries -- giant billion-dollar satellites that take high resolution photographs which can see objects as small as a fist inside Russia, North Korea or etc.  Now a private company has put about 300 small satellites into space, enough to take a picture of the entire land mass of the Earth every day. Those satellites are creating a big data problem for the government which can't possibly hire enough analysts to look at all those pictures.

January 26: Yahoo News US calls to “stand for freedom” re: Venezuela
The U.S. pressed all nations to "stand with the forces of freedom" in Venezuela, encouraged by a tougher European line as Russia stood in the minority in backing embattled leader Nicolas Maduro.  State Mike Pompeo made a forceful case at a special session of the UN Security Council.  He said, "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem."  Pompeo also urged all countries to end financial transactions with Maduro's government, which has struggled to pay bills despite the country's oil wealth.  He denounced Russia and China, which have stood by Maduro, saying that they were "propping up a failed regime in the hopes of recovering billions of dollars in ill-considered investments and assistance made over the years."

January 26: Breitbart News: Migrant caravan swells to 12,000 on Mexico’s southern border
The ranks of a new Central American migrant caravan reportedly grew in size to more than 12,000 as of Friday. The caravan is now heading to Mexico’s southern border.  Mexican immigration officials in the city of Ciudad Hidalgo, which borders Guatemala, are establishing procedures to expedite the process in which to approve one-year humanitarian visas for members of the Central American migrant caravan who are arriving daily. The one-year humanitarian visas, promised by Mexico’s new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is a newly adopted policy which allows migrants to legally travel and work during their stay in Mexico.

January 26: Reuters:Hezbollah could enter Israel for years via tunnels from Lebanon
Iran-backed Hezbollah has "for years" been able to enter Israel, the Lebanese group's leader said on Saturday, responding for the first time to Israel's discovery of tunnels dug into Israeli territory from Lebanon.  Israel's unveiling of what it called Hezbollah "attack tunnels" last month, and Lebanon's accusation that an Israeli border barrier crosses into its territory, have increased tensions.  Israel regards Iran as its biggest foe and Hezbollah as the main threat on its borders. It has waged an increasingly open campaign of military strikes against them both in Syria, where they are fighting on the government side in the civil war.

January 25:
The New York Times: Texas Secretary of State questions citizenship of 95,000 registered voters
The Texas secretary of state’s office on Friday called into question the citizenship status of 95,000 registered voters who were found to have identified themselves at some point to a state law enforcement agency as noncitizen, legal residents of the United States.  SOS said its findings were a result of an 11-month investigation with the Texas DPS that also found that about 58,000 people on the list had voted since 1996.  The results were referred to Attorney General Paxton.
The announcements are likely to reignite debate over the frequency and impact of voter fraud which Democrats contend is nonexistent.  “Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Paxton, who has prosecuted cases of illegal voting, said in a statement. “Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas.” 
[Editor’s Note:  We are aware of at least one case in the City of Galveston where a person who is not a citizen, apparently voted in five separate elections prior to being removed from the Voter Registration rolls.]

January 25: The Wall Street JournalWhite House makes deal with Congress
for opening Government for three weeks

President Trump said Friday he had reached a deal with congressional leaders to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations over border security funding continue, marking at least a temporary concession by the president to Democrats.  Speaking in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign a bill to open the government until Feb. 15 and start negotiations between the House and Senate over a full-year bill funding the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border.   “After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside, I think,” Mr. Trump said.

January 25: Associated Press:  Anti-Maduro coalition came from secret talks
The coalition of Latin American governments that joined the U.S. in quickly recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president came together over weeks of secret diplomacy that included whispered messages to activists under constant surveillance and a high-risk foreign trip by the opposition leader challenging President Nicolas Maduro for power, those involved in the talks said.  In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

January 24: Reuters: Jobless claims lowest in the U.S. since 1969
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-year low last week, but the drop likely overstates the health of the labor market as claims for several states including California were estimated.  Still, labor market conditsions remain strong, which for now should help to temper fears of a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

January 24: South China Sea Post:
  U.S. warships sail through the Taiwan Straits,
turning up pressure on Beijing
Two US Navy warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Taiwan said multiple Chinese military jets flew near the southern tip of the self-ruled island to the West Pacific on the same day for a naval training exercise.  US guided missile destroyer McCampbell and the USNS Walter S. Diehl conducted “a routine” Taiwan Strait transit “in accordance with international law”, a US Pacific Fleet spokesman said.   “The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific…  and The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

January 24: PoliticoDueling bills to open the government are shot down
The Senate blocked two proposals on Thursday to reopen the government, but amid the ongoing stalemate, there’s some hope that Washington might be inching closer toward ending a shutdown now on its 34th day. In a 52-44 vote, the Senate rejected House-backed legislation that would fund the government through February 8. The Senate, in a 50-47 vote, blocked legislation endorsed by President Donald Trump that provided $5.7 billion for his border wall and granted temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants. Both bills were expected to fail.

January 24: Associated Press:
President agrees to postpone the State of the Union address
President Donald Trump said he is postponing his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Trump agreed Wednesday night that “no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber.” He said he was not looking for an alternate option after Pelosi uninviting him by serving notice earlier in the day that he wouldn’t be allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week.

January 23: Bloomberg News: 
Venezuela President squeezed as Trump recognizes Guaido as President:
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is under unprecedented pressure after the U.S. and other nations recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful head of state and protests against the ruling regime expanded.  Trump formally recognized Guaido minutes after the 35-year-old president of the Venezuela National Assembly declared himself the head of state. Countries including Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Panama quickly followed the U.S. lead.

January 23: The Hill: Republican lawmakers offer alternative locations for the State of the Union Speech
Trump won’t be delivering the State of the Union address on the House floor on Jan. 29, but GOP lawmakers are offering a number of alternatives for him to consider.  Most of them involve their own districts, as many of the Republicans would love to host Trump’s speech — if he decides to deliver it someplace outside the Capitol.  What if he delivered it at the wall located south of San Diego surrounded by Border Patrol agents?!

January 22: Kentucky.com:  McConnell scheduled two votes on government shutdown:
Now Mitch McConnell has joined the game and suddenly, things have changed.  The Senate majority leader, who until late last week had been virtually invisible during negotiations to re-open the government, announced Tuesday the Senate will vote Thursday on President Trump’s pitch to fund his border wall and end the partial shutdown.  And under the Senate rules, if it does not pass, there will be a separate vote on a Democratic-backed package to open up the government immediately — but not give Trump the money for his wall.

January 22: Fox News: White House planning to go ahead with the State of the Union Address
The White House is still planning to move ahead with next week’s scheduled State of the Union address, but the details remain up in the air after House Speaker Pelosi strongly urged the president to delay the speech or submit it in writing amid the government shutdown fight.  According to multiple sources, it remains unclear whether the address scheduled for Jan. 29 will in fact go forward, or what venue it would be in. The White House is even planning for the possibility of a speech outside of Washington.

January 21: Associated Press: Signs of fraying in military support for Venezuela president
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launches his second term challenged by a re-energized opposition movement.  Experts say his hold on power relies more than ever on military backing.  He has granted bonuses to rank-and-file soldiers and placed generals in key government posts, but with Venezuela sliding into economic collapse, there have been signs in recent years of fraying in military support. On Monday, authorities reported detaining a small group of National Guard soldiers who stormed a police station in the capital of Caracas before dawn. The soldiers captured a captain and used two vehicles to steal a cache of weapons from another outpost, officials said.

January 21: The Daily Caller Trump/Pence silence critical media with surprise visit
Media outlets slammed President Trump for not celebrating Martin Luther King Day just hours before the president made a surprise visit to the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Much of the criticism centered on the fact that the president had no public events scheduled for the holiday, despite the fact that the White House will often keep events off of the schedule for security reasons or just to make them a surprise.  Trump forced the media into a similar gaffe over the Christmas holiday when he made a surprise visit with the first lady to the troops in Iraq. January 21: Business Standard:  China sees lowest birthrates since 1961
The number of babies born last year fell by some 2 million from 2017, to 15.23 million, it was the least since 1961 and the third-lowest since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.  The country’s looser two-child policy has done little to reverse its slowing birthrate, and worsening the outlook for growth in the world’s second-largest economy.  The demographics stand to fuel concerns about China’s economy, which is on a long-term slowing trajectory even as signs of stabilization suggest efforts to cushion its deceleration are taking hold. China’s expansion was the slowest since the 2009 financial crisis last quarter, as the government grapples with a debt cleanup and ongoing trade war with the U.S. [source page removed by the Business Standard]

January 21: Fox News: Texas homeowner thwarts home invasion; three dead two wounded
Three men were killed and two others were injured after dozens of shots were fired by  a homeowner in Texas during a home invasion early Sunday, officials said.  The incident reportedly happened around 1 a.m. in east Houston after five men wearing ski masks broke into the home.  The male resident inside then grabbed his weapon and opened fire at the men. Police report the homeowner was not injured.

January 21: The Hill: Senator Graham determined to look into Clinton and Obama issues
New tensions are flaring on the Senate Judiciary Committee over plans by its new chairman, Lindsay Graham (R-SC), to dig into Obama-era scandals.  Graham has outlined several areas he wants to probe now that he has the Judiciary Committee gavel.  These include the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications targeting former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Hidden North Korean missle bases
January 20: Beyond Parallel

Undeclared North Korean missile sites
Though the subject of speculation by open-source researchers for years, new research undertaken by Beyond Parallel has located 13 of an estimated 20 North Korean missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government.  Indications are that these missile operating bases  can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short to long range ballistic missiles.  Presumably these would have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal between the U.S. and North Korea.  Apparently these bases are not launch sites but bases where missiles could be dispersed to camouflaged pre-prepared launch sites throughout the country.

January 20: CNBC:
Chinese economy growth lowest pace in 28 years
China on Monday announced that its official economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018 — the slowest pace since 1990.  That announcement was highly anticipated by many around the world amid Beijing's ongoing trade dispute with the United States its largest trading partner.

January 20: USA Today: VP Pence makes surprise visit to the Right to Life rally
Thousands of anti-abortion activists, including many young people bundled up against the cold weather gripping the nation's capital, gathered at a stage on the National Mall Friday for their annual march in the long-contentious debate over abortion. Signs reading "Choose love, Choose life," "I am the pro-life generation," and "Defund Planned Parenthood" dotted the crowd gathering under hazy, wintry skies at the morning rally.  Pence and his wife Karen made a surprise appearance at the rally with a video message from Trump. Pence said "This will be the generation that restores the right to life in America."

January 19: The HillTrump pitches three part proposal to end partial government shutdown
Saturday President Trump proposed linking funding for a strategically placed border wall with a three year extension of protections for some undocumented immigrants as a pathway out of the weeks-long partial shutdown, showing his willingness to negotiate an end to the stalemate.  But his proposal quickly ran into pushback from Democrat leaders. Trump’s offer would extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders for three years in exchange for $5.7 billion for a border barrier.

January 19: Reuters: First time Mueller’s team has commented on Cohen/Trump story
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office disputed key elements of a media report that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal, raising questions about a story that has dominated U.S. news coverage for the past 24 hours.  BuzzFeed News reported Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen  told investigators working for Mueller that Trump had instructed him to lie about efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow while he was running for president.  "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate," a spokesman for Mueller, said in the special counsel's first comment on a media report since its probe started 20 months ago.

January 19: Galveston County Daily News: Coastal Barrier System needed with some modifications:
The reports after the Ike Dike public hearings sounded like people don’t want it.  But the issues are with the placement of the barrier and not the strategy of the Corps of Engineers has put forward.  The USACE strategy is sound – create a coastal spine that will protect against storm surge and increased water levels in Galveston Bay; thereby protecting an infrastructure that is of national security and national economic significance.

January 18: News Observer: Green card holder voted illegally three times in N.C.
Hyo Suk George lived legally in the United States for nearly 20 years before she voted in her first election, coaxed to cast her ballot by an enthusiastic town council member at church. To register, she presented a green card, Social Security number and driver’s license — proof enough for the elections officials — then voted in 2008, 2010 and 2016. But on Thursday, George, 70, faced charges of illegal voting from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for which she might have spent six months in prison. Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle chastised the elections board in Whiteville, letting George go with a $100 fine. [In Galveston there is a case still under investigation where another non-citizen voted five times before being removed from the voter rolls.]

January 18: Associated PressPelosi cancels trip to Afghanistan
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying President Donald Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip.It was the latest twist in what has become a Washington game of brinkmanship between Pelosi and Trump, playing out against the stalled negotiations over how to end the partial government shutdown.  Earlier in the week, Pelosi had asked Trump to reschedule his Jan. 29 State of the Union address, citing security issues at a time when the Homeland Security Department and other agencies remain unfunded.

January 18: ABC News: Hundreds of aliens tunnel under wall in Arizona
The largest single group of asylum seekers ever to cross into the U.S. tunneled beneath the border wall near San Luis, Arizona, on Monday, voluntarily turning themselves into Customs and Border Protection, according to the agency. Migrants can be seen marching toward Border Patrol agents by the hundreds, according to video obtained by ABC News. Smugglers dug a series of seven holes, only a few feet long beneath the steel border fence, with hundreds going beneath the wall and a smaller number clambering over it, according to CBP.

January 17:
The Daily Caller: 5th Court of Appeals lifts the injunction
on Texas stripping Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction forbidding Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funds Thursday, while stridently criticizing the abortion provider for its rhetoric and medical practices.  “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement after Thursday’s ruling.

January 17: Breitbart: Voters split on border wall
U.S. voters are evenly split on the merits of building President Donald Trump’s border wall — but they strongly support “building a fence in high crime areas along the U.S.-Mexico border,” according to a new poll.  When the panel of 1,001 registered voters was asked if they “favor building a wall across the entire U.S. border,” the response was 49 percent support and 51 percent oppose. But when the panel was asked January 12-13 for their views on “building a fence in high-crime areas along the U.S.-Mexico border,” the positive response spiked to 69 percent yes versus 31 percent no.

January 17: The Hill: House rejects GOP measure to pay furloughed workers
while not stopping the partial shutdown
The House rejected a GOP measure to pay furloughed workers but keep the government closed in a 222-195 vote.  Six Democrats voted for the GOP measure, offered as an alternative to a Democratic bill to reopen the government. The Democratic bill is expected to pass but be dead on arrival in the Senate.  This comes as parties continue to point fingers over who bears the responsibility for the ongoing partial government shutdown. 

January 17: Politico: Trump plays hardball; pulls military flight for CoDel during shutdown
The Administration cancelled a planned congressional trip to Afghanistan just moments before Democrats were slated to depart.  In a letter to House Speaker Pelosi and distributed to reporters Trump said "Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed…  …We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate."  Trump also called on Pelosi to remain in Washington during the shutdown, adding that lawmakers are welcome to make the trips abroad on commercial flights.

January 17: The Wall Street Journal:
  US considers  lifting tariffs on China
U.S. officials are debating ratcheting back tariffs on Chinese imports as a way to calm markets and give Beijing an incentive to make deeper concessions in a trade battle  that has rattled global economies.  The idea of lifting some or all tariffs was proposed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a series of strategy meetings, according to people close to internal deliberations. They say the aim is to advance trade talks and win China’s support for longer-term reforms.  But Mr. Mnuchin faces resistance from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is concerned that any concession could be seen as a sign of weakness, these people said.

January 16: Associated Press: Mueller report may be short on details
Robert Mueller’s Russia probe has to end with a report. But anyone looking for a grand narrative on President Donald Trump, Russian election interference and all the juicy details uncovered over the last 20 months could end up disappointed.  Attorney General nominee William Barr, who will oversee the investigation after an almost certain Senate confirmation, says he wants to release as much information as he can about the probe into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election. But during his confirmation hearing Tuesday, he also made clear that he will ultimately decide what the public sees — and that any report will be in his words, not Mueller’s.

January 16: NBC News: Barr confirmation hearings conclude, political bias continues
Confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee William Barr concluded Wednesday afternoon with lingering Democratic skepticism over his approach to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Barr dealt directly with how he would approach the Mueller investigation but California Senator Feinstein said she was troubled.  "I know his integrity," she said, but "this is a big report and the public needs to see it — and with exception of very real national security concerns, I don't even believe there should be very much redaction."   The normal process is for the special counsel to send a classified report to the Attorney General and for the AG to provide a unclassified summary to the Congress and public.

January 14: The Hill: Senate Dems set to take aim at Attorney General nominee
William Barr will be in the hot seat this week when he faces the Senate Judiciary Committee for a two-day grilling that is expected to focus on the fate of Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.  Democrats were already anxious over Barr because of an unsolicited memo he drafted criticizing Mueller’s investigation. But those concerns have ballooned amid reports that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and has overseen the investigation, will be leaving the Justice Department.  Barr was unanimously approved by the Senate for the same position under the George H.W. Bush administration, but that was a different era!

January 14: Fox News: Latest reports may offer proof the FBI has been corrupt and dishonest
The latest proof comes in a New York Times report that the FBI initiated an investigation in May of 2017 into whether President Donald Trump was serving as a covert Russian agent.  The accusation itself was ludicrous on its face.  But from a legal standpoint, the FBI's probe constituted an egregious abuse of power.  The Bureau had no probable cause, no evidence, and no reasonable suspicions.  They investigated Trump because they could.  They defied the law, ignored or perverted facts, and debased the integrity of a heretofore-respected law enforcement agency.

January 13: Breitbart News: Media chooses not to discuss Angel Families, victims of illegal alien crimes
Since January 1, neither CNN nor MSNBC has booked a single “Angel Mom” — mothers of children brutally murdered by illegal aliens — as guests on their networks, per an analysis conducted by the Republican National Committee (RNC).  The Angel Moms, or Angel Families, are the surviving family members of those Americans who were tragically killed by illegal aliens. Their plight is a particularly vivid illustration of the effects of unfettered illegal immigration. Had the federal government enforced immigration law and removed the illegal aliens who committed these heinous crimes before they committed them, the crimes never would have happened and their loved ones would presumably still be alive today.

January 13: The Daily Caller: What to expect from the House Democrats
If the previous Democrat-led effort to reform healthcare is any indication of what they may be hoping to do this time, we can expect the Democratic proposal to include heavy government involvement in healthcare. Since the Republican party took control of the White House two years ago, Democrats have pleaded that the Affordable Care Act does not need to be repealed, but rather just needs to be tweaked. However, Americans who actually purchase their healthcare through the government Exchange may feel quite strongly that it’s going to take more than a tweak to stop the skyrocketing monthly prices of healthcare programs listed on the Exchange.

January 13: The Wall Street Journal:
Wall impasse is frustrating many newly elected House Dems
Some House Democrats have grown concerned by what they see as the absence of a clear strategy from party leaders over how to end the partial government shutdown.  Some newly elected Democrats are increasingly frustrated with angry complaints from constituents without having a mapped-out plan to end the partial shutdown.  Many believe they were elected to Congress to try to end its dysfunction and had hoped to be reaching a bipartisan compromise over border security to reopen the government.   Reportedly there are a number of House centrist Democrats meeting with Republicans to try and find a compromise but so far no deal has been met.

January 13: The Washington Examiner:
Thirty Dems in Puerto Rico with 109 lobbyists despite partial government shutdown
Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.  Those attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC winter retreat in San Juan planned to meet with key officials to discuss the cleanup after Hurricane Maria at a roundtable Saturday.  But the weekend is packed with free time for the members and their families on the trip.

January 12: The Hill: Dreamers for the Wall trade going nowhere in the House
A deal to reopen the government by trading border wall funding for immigration benefits for so-called Dreamers doesn’t stand a chance in the House, according to legislators on both sides of the aisle.  House Democrats say they don't trust Trump to keep his end of any bargain, and are wary of negotiating a deal that could benefit those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while throwing other undocumented immigrants under the bus.

January 12: The Daily Caller:
FBI Lawyer: “Not typically appropriate” for Hillary’s aides to attend her FBI interview
Lisa Page, a former top attorney at the FBI, told Congress she believed it was neither appropriate nor necessary for two of Hillary Clinton’s aides to accompany the former secretary of state in an interview she gave as part of the email investigation.  “I would agree with you that it is not typically appropriate or operationally necessary to have fact witnesses attend the interview,” Page told lawmakers during a closed-door interview in July 2018, highlights of which were published on Friday.

January 12: The Hill: Gabbard-Hirono clash shocks Hawaii
The Hawaii delegation in Congress has long been known as one of the most tightly-knit in Washington, but that tradition was shattered this week when Gabbard (D-HI) publicly criticized Senator Hirono’s (D-HI) questioning of a judicial nominee. Gabbard did not mention Hirono by name but  her fellow Hawaiian clearly saw the op-ed as friendly fire.  Earlier Hirono questioned a Trump judicial appointment about his membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus.

January 12: Fox News:
Biden’s brother: Family members voted for Trump, ‘felt slighted’ by Clinton
Frank Biden, younger sibling of former VP Biden reportedly said that some members of the family “felt slighted” by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and instead decided to cast their ballots for Donald Trump.  The former U.S. leader’s brother took aim at the Clinton team’s campaign strategy during an interview with The Palm Beach Post. Frank told the outlet, in the report posted Monday that he believed if his brother had run at the time, he would’ve secured states that Clinton lost.

January 9: Washington Free Beacon:
Pentagon: Military logistics system is not ready for a war with China/Russia:
The strategic American military system for moving troops, weapons, and supplies over long distances has decayed significantly and needs rapid upgrading to be ready for any future war with China or Russia, according to a report by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board.  A special task force on survivable logistics evaluated the military's current airlift, sealift, and prepositioned equipment and supplies and found major problems with supporting forces during a "high-end" conflict.

January 9: ABC News: Rosenstein to depart DOJ when new Attorney General is confirmed:
There have been reports that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has communicated to the President Donald and White House officials his plan to depart the administration around the time William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general, would take office following a Senate confirmation.  There is no indication that he is being forced out. 

January 9:
CNS News Republican House increased national debt by $7.9 Trillion in eight years
The recently deposed Republican majority increased the federal debt by $7.9 trillion in the eight years it controlled the House of Representatives.  That works out to approximately $989,401,125,420 per year, or $2,710,688,015 per day.  Some Republicans may claim they should not be blamed for the massive increase in the federal debt during the eight years they controlled the House. They may say: "For four of those eight years, the Democrats controlled the Senate." Or: "For six of those eight years, Barack Obama was president."  But the Constitution says, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."  And no law may be enacted unless it passes the House.

January 9: Fox News
NY Post Columnist: Refusal to budge on border barrier shows Dems are still hung up on 2016
If only things were as simple as they appear. In fact, the Democrats’ refusal even to consider any kind of border barrier and other serious measures illustrates that the dispute is merely a proxy for the real issue dividing the nation: 2016.  Like generals fighting the last war, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are fixated on the last presidential election. Their refusal to let it go and get on with governing in a divided Congress is a shameful sign of how radical their party has become since Trump’s election.

January 8: Fox News: Trump and Dems address the nation in prime time
President Trump laid out the case for border security in a primetime address to the nation stating that the request for a border fence (or wall) is based upon the requests from the border patrol agents with boots on the ground.  He said the only reason for the partial government shutdown is the unwillingness of Democrats to fund a border security barrier.  (See related)  Meanwhile Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi retorted that Trump is manufacturing a crisis, calling upon the President to end the partial government shutdown and then they would work with him to try to solve the border security issue.  The unfortunate truth is that the only leverage the President has to get the Democrats to act is the shutdown.  If it goes as long as March it will have a direct impact on food stamp recipients; many of whom are Democrat supporters.

January 8: Breitbart News:
Fact Checking Trump’s speech to the nation:
Trump claimed Democrats once supported fences and barriers on the US-Mexico border.   He is correct.  The Congressional Record show 26 Democrat senators and 64 House Democrats  supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006 which authorized 700 miles of the same kind of barrier Trump is requesting.   [These included Schumer (D-NY), Clinton (D-NY), Obama (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Biden (D-DE), and Boxer (D-CA)].  All 54 Senate Democrats, in 2013, voted again to commit funding to secure 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in the Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act — which was authored and introduced by Schumer.

January 8:
Fox News: Kellyanne eats CNN’s Acosta’s lunch at press event
Kellyanne Conway embarrassed CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta during a press gaggle on Tuesday, referring to him as a "smarta--" unliked by other reporters.  Acosta asked Conway if she could promise that President Trump would tell the truth when addressing the nation on Tuesday night.  "Yes, Jim," Conway shot back, "Can you promise that you will? The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Am I allowed to mention 'God' to you?"

January 7:
MediaiteTrump to address the nation during prime time on Tuesday
After initial reports that networks were skittish about giving primetime air to the president, all networks have announced they intend to broadcast the speech live at 9 p.m. EST: that’s CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBS, FOX, NBC and ABC. 

January 7:
The Daily Caller:  Pence: Democrats are still refusing to negotiate over shut down and the wall:
Democratic lawmakers are refusing to negotiate with the White House over funding for a proposed wall along the U.S. southern border unless the government is reopened, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday in a briefing at his ceremonial office.  “It’s time for the Democrats to start negotiating,” the vice president repeatedly declared.  Pence told reporters he met with the Democratic congressional leaders’ senior staffers throughout the weekend and was told simply that they would not have a negotiation if the government remained partially closed.

January 7: Associated Press:
Ginsberg misses oral arguments for the first time in 25 years:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month, the Supreme Court said.  Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week.  Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.

January 7: The UK Sun:
China scrambles ships and aircraft as US destroyer sails through the South China Sea:
The South China Sea has become a flashpoint that experts have warned could spark a conflict.  hina lays claim to vast swathes of ocean and many islands - but some parts are also claimed by the likes of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.  America's military presence and exercises in the area are a direct challenge to China's claim, which Beijing has used to justify setting up military bases and even runways on the disputed islands.

January 6:
CNN: Trump inclined to declare a national emergency if border wall/shutdown talks fail to break an impasse
According to a White House official, President Donald Trump could declare a national emergency to secure military funding for his long-promised southern border wall if talks between administration and top Democrat lawmakers continue to stall.  While this is not the administration's preferred plan, the use of emergency powers to fund the wall could "provides a way out" amid a series of contentious meetings that have stalled the process.
Meanwhile, CBS News reports that failure to reach an agreement by February could result in many food stamp recipients not being able to get them in March.  The food stamp program is authorized but without appropriated funds, the pipeline will run dry toward the end of February.

January 6: Reuters Iran and Russia scheduled to conduct joint military exercises
Iran and Russia are preparing to hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea, including rescue and anti-piracy drills, the commander of the Iranian navy was quoted on Sunday as saying.   “Tactical, rescue and anti-piracy war games between Iranian and Russian naval forces are being planned and will be implemented in the near future,” the semi-official news agency Mehr quoted Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi as saying. Iran and Russia have held several naval drills in the Caspian Sea, including in 2015 and 2017. Iran and Russia have close ties, including in Syria where they both back President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.

January 6: Fox News:
Joseph diGenova, former US Attorney for DC claims Comey is the man who destroyed the FBI
The treachery revealed by Comey, Clapper, and Brennan requires accountability. That can only happen through a federal grand jury investigation headed by John W. Huber, the U.S. Attorney in Utah who has been appointed to investigate the FISA criminality by the Obama FBI and DOJ.  The evidence of illegal and unconstitutional abuse of law enforcement and intelligence community power and authority is clear.

diGenova says grand jury subpoenas need to be issued. These individuals have stolen more than fifteen months of a new president’s tenure. They have thrown the country needlessly into spasms of doubt about the bona fides of an election. Comey should get the first grand jury subpoena.

January 5: Fox News Go Get Them Ted!  Bill introduced to enforce term limits on House and Senate members:
Two Republican lawmakers recently introduced a Constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on members of Congress. The bill, proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rep. Francis Rooney (Fla.), calls for a maximum of three two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in the Senate. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Rubio (R-FL), Lee (R-UT) and Perdue (R-GA.).  Rooney appeared on "Fox & Friends" Saturday and said that the proposal would help avoid "entrenched politicians" who are aligned with special interests.

January 5: Breitbart News: From day one House Democrat looks to destroy the Electoral College
Desperate to bring the Tyranny of the Majority to our representative democracy, on the first day Democrats assumed control of the House of Representatives, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) submitted a bill to kill the electoral college.  Because of the careful way it was set up, the electoral college helps to protect that most important right of all — the right of the minority.  By “minority,” I mean those states with minority populations. To cobble together the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency, candidates are forced to appeal to a broad coalition of states, including states with small populations (Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa, Nevada, etc.).

January 4: The UK Daily Mail: Trump says he’ll allow the partial shutdown to continue
for a year if that’s what it takes
Donald Trump told Congressional leaders Friday that he will shut down the government for 'months or even years' if he does not get money for his border wall with Mexico — and said he was 'proud' to do it because it's the right thing.   Trump said “I did. I did. I did say that. Absolutely, I said that. I don’t think it will, but I am prepared,' Trump said at the beginning of a lengthy news conference.

January 4: Fox News:  
China should think twice before threatening to attack Americans
China is betraying a level of strategic anxiety not yet seen as the impact of trade tariffs looms and its return to its historical power role in the Asia seems to have stalled.  China’s leaders assumed after the 2008 global financial crisis that the Communist, centrally controlled economic state’s time had come giving it an opportunity to regain its historic role in the region.  But Xi and his followers have watched their diplomatic, economic and military initiatives come up short rather than causing other nations in the region to realign with China  as they had expected.  Now the Trump administration’s trade tariffs threaten to destabilize the Chinese economy, resulting in a cascade failure of Xi Jinping’s broader strategy and threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the Communist Party

January 4: Associated Press:
US employers went on hiring spree in December
U.S. employers went on a hiring spree in December, adding a surprising 312,000 jobs and providing a dose of reassurance about the economy after a turbulent few months on Wall Street.  The job gains reported Friday by the Labor Department came despite a trade war with China, a global slowdown and a partial government shutdown now entering its third week.  The nation’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9 percent last month, but that, too, was considered a positive sign, reflecting an increase in Americans beginning to look for work. And average hourly pay improved 3.2 percent from a year ago.

January 3: Bloomberg:
Venezuela has lessons for U.S. socialists
It’s hard to overstate how disastrous the reign of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro has been for Venezuela.  Reports depict the hellish, never-ending struggle for survival in Caracas, the country’s capital. Hungry children roam the streets, people fleeing the country, nonexistent healthcare, endemic violence and even water is scarce. Chavez’s peaceful revolution transformed a peaceful country into  a nightmare that puts the ruinous Soviet Union of the 1980s to shame.

It’s important for other countries not to ignore Venezuela’s example, but to use it as a cautionary tale. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-NH) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have embraced socialism, as have many young Americans. But before going the way of Venezuela they should consider the end result. 

January 2: Breitbart News: Border mob turned back; Then they tried to push minors over the barbed wire:
The migrants gathered at the San Diego sector of the United States border with Mexico on New Year’s Eve tried to force their way over the barrier. When turned back by Customs and Border Patrol agents, some in the group started throwing rocks and attempted to push children over the barbed wire atop the barrier.  “Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles,” Katie Waldman, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said. “The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.”

January 2: The Daily Caller: Dems refuse to even listen to boarder security briefing at the White House:
Democratic lawmakers brought a border security briefing at the White House to a screeching halt Wednesday, refusing to even listen to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a White House official tells The Daily Caller.  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed this version of events to reporters outside the White House immediately after the briefing, saying, “Once the secretary started, Schumer interrupted her and didn’t want to hear it.”

January 2: Fox News: Pelosi’s Daughter:  She will cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding 
Nancy Pelosi’s daughter did not mince words Wednesday when she was asked about her mother’s leadership style.  “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding,” Alexandra Pelosi bluntly told CNN in an interview Wednesday morning. “That’s all you need to know about her.”

January 1, 2019: The Washington Times:
“Real Justice Department” veteran emerges as Mueller’s top courtroom adversary
Eric Dubelier is a litigator for the Reed Smith law firm who knows international law and the D.C. playing field. He served eight years prosecuting cases as a  DOJ assistant U.S. attorney in Washington. He refers to his former employer as “the real Justice Department,” implying that Mueller’s team is something less. His biting remarks have come in months of court filings and oral arguments.  Dubelier has depicted Mueller as a rogue prosecutor willfully ignoring DOJ guidelines and has accused him of creating a “make-believe crime.”

January 1: WTOP Radio News
DC sees 40% increase in homicides in 2018 while having strict gun controls
In D.C., 160 people died by homicide in 2018, up from 116 in 2017 — a spike of about 40 percent.  In all, of the 534 people shot by another person in D.C. through mid-December, 23 percent ultimately died, according to statistics compiled by the Washington Post.  City officials say more gun violence has contributed to the rising number of murders, and D.C. saw one of the biggest increases in fatal shootings nationwide while most other major cities reported overall decreases.



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