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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Clinton-Obama EMAILS Sought By GOP Senator Citing EYE OPENING Strzok Text


Clinton-Obama emails sought by GOP senator citing eye-opening Strzok text

Gregg Re

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson on Thursday formally sought "all email communications" between Hillary Clinton and former President Obama, saying the Justice Department was blocking their release -- even though they could shed light on whether the former secretary of state discussed sensitive matters on her unsecured personal email system while she was overseas.
Johnson's letter came as House Democrats approved procedures for their impeachment inquiry against President Trump, warning he may have endangered U.S. national security by allegedly withholding aid to Ukraine for political reasons. Earlier this month, a State Department report into Clinton's use of a private email server for government business found dozens of people at fault and hundreds of security violations.
In a letter to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Johnson, R-Wis., said summer 2016 communications from FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to FBI Director James Comey’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki hinted at the existence of the Clinton-Obama messages that were relevant to the issues raised by her private server.
Johnson noted that on June 28, 2016, a week before Comey’s public statement declaring that "no reasonable prosecutor" would charge Clinton, Strzok wrote, "Jim – I have the POTUS – HRC emails [Director Comey] requested at end of briefing yesterday. I hesitate to leave them, please let me know a convenient time to drop them off."
"I write to request email communications between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama," Johnson wrote, setting a deadline of Nov. 14, 2019. "In January 2018, I requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) produce emails Secretary Clinton sent to President Obama while she was located in the 'territory of a sophisticated adversary.'"
He added: "Given that DOJ acknowledged that they 'are not in a position' to produce emails to the committee that contain 'equities of other executive branch entities,' I ask that, pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, you please provide all email communications between Secretary Clinton and President Obama."
May 2016 email from Strzok, obtained by Fox News last year, said "we know foreign actors obtained access" to some Clinton emails, including at least one "secret" message "via compromises of the private email accounts" of Clinton staffers. However, last year, the DOJ watchdog slammed Comey for speculating publicly that Clinton's emails had been hacked by foreign actors.
Interviews with intelligence community officials released this past August indicated that senior FBI leaders "seemed indifferent to evidence of a possible intrusion by a foreign adversary" into Clinton’s non-government email server, and that State Department officials allegedly sought to "downgrade classified material found on the server," according to Senate investigators probing the matter.
The information was contained in a letter and interview transcripts sent by the majority staff on Johnson's Homeland Security Committee to senior Senate Republicans including Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The letter also noted that "neither the committees nor the FBI were able to confirm whether an intrusion into the server occurred."
Many Clinton emails already have been released. A batch of unearthed, heavily redacted and classified emails from Clinton's personal email server, published this past March, revealed that the former secretary of state discussed establishing a "private, 100% off-the-record" back channel to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that one of her top aides warned her she was in "danger" of being "savaged by Jewish organizations, in the Jewish press and among the phalanx of neoconservative media" as a result of political machinations by "Bibi and the Jewish leadership."
The 756-page group of documents, revealed as part of a transparency lawsuit by Judicial Watch, seemingly contradicted Clinton's insistence under oath in 2015 that she had turned over all of her sensitive work-related emails to the State Department, and included a slew of classified communications on everything from foreign policy to State Department personnel matters.
The files came from a trove of 72,000 documents the FBI recovered and turned over to the State Department in 2017.
Additionally, according to the email dump, Clinton chatted with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair about classified foreign policy matters before she was sworn in, aided the application of at least one State Department applicant who was connected to her daughter, Chelsea, and apparently met with Putin-aligned Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili before he became prime minister on a staunchly pro-Russian platform -- and with reported help from a Russian interference operation.
Ivanishvili notably did not criticize Putin during his campaign, despite Putin's invasion of Georgia years earlier -- and in 2012, Ivanishvili made headlines for refusing to meet with Clinton unless it was a one-on-one sitdown.
Fox News' Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Yes, Undocumented Immigrants TAKE JOBS From AMERICANS. Here’s The PROOF.

A trailer loaded with chickens passes a federal agent outside a Koch Foods plant in Morton, Miss., after a raid by immigration officials. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)
A trailer loaded with chickens passes a federal agent outside a Koch Foods plant in Morton, Miss., after a raid by immigration officials. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

Henry Olsen

People who support high levels of low-skilled immigration often claim that immigrants do work that native-born residents won’t. The facts surrounding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids of seven Mississippi chicken processing plants show how untrue that claim is.
Documents released Thursday suggest that the operators of those plants knowingly hired undocumented immigrants for years in violation of federal law. They show that many of the workers wore ankle bracelets provided by ICE to monitor their location while others used multiple names and provided different Social Security numbers when applying to work at the same plant. If true, the only logical conclusion can be the operators wanted to hire people whose illegal status meant they wouldn’t push for higher wages or make trouble.
Neither the companies that operate the plants nor any of their executives have yet been charged with violating immigration law, The Post reports. Peco Foods said it is cooperating with investigators, while Koch Foods denied knowingly employing people with false documentation to work. The other plants, PH Food, A&B and Pearl River Foods, did not respond or declined to comment to Post reporters.

Each of the plants have put out statements that they use the federal E-Verify system for all employees, though the newly released documents show that may not be the case at PH Food.

Such alleged flouting of the law is not a victimless crime. Each of the plants is located in cities or counties with high levels of poverty and extremely low incomes. There were plenty of workers available who probably would have loved to get jobs at the plants.
Jasper County, the location of one of the plants owned by Peco Foods, is a case in point. Jasper’s unemployment rate this June was 7.4 percent, more than twice the national average. A majority-black county, Jasper County has a median household income of only about $35,000 and a 23.8 percent poverty rate. Those who live there need those jobs, but the employer’s alleged scheme denied them that basic chance.
The other plant locations have similar demographics. Canton, Miss., is nearly 70 percent African American, with a 31.4 percent poverty rate for blacks. Scott County is 38 percent black, has a median household income of around $33,000 and a poverty rate more than 21 percent. Leake County is 42 percent black, has a median household income just under $36,000 and a poverty rate of nearly 22 percent. Pelahatchie, a town in Rankin County, is 40 percent black with a median income of just $35,000. Sense a pattern?
Given these figures, the economic impact of illegal immigration becomes clear. The Pew Research Center estimates that more than 7.5 million undocumented immigrants are in the U.S. labor force. Assuming their unemployment rate is roughly equal to the 3.7 percent national average, that means more than 7 million jobs are held by undocumented workers. That can’t help but depress wages and opportunities for native-born American. As the Mississippi figures show, those victims of illegal immigration are often exactly the poor people of color whose continued poverty is a national tragedy.
This won’t stop until immigration enforcement becomes a national and state priority. Mississippi law requires businesses to use E-Verify, the federal online system that checks the validity of Social Security numbers for job applicants, but that did not stop these employers from allegedly hiring hundreds of undocumented workers. Federal, state and local governments need to coordinate their systems and root out businesses employing these workers, or last week’s ICE raids will continue to be a drop in a huge bucket.
There are lots of things the government can do to seriously enforce our immigration laws. National mandatory E-Verify is only the beginning, as the Mississippi example shows. Businesses should also be required to submit valid Social Security numbers for every employee, and the IRS should then audit large numbers of companies to check compliance. Companies should be denied tax deductions for employees found not to be validly in the United States, which would significantly increase those firms’ federal and state tax bills.
We can also do a lot more to ensure native-born citizens get the first crack at these jobs. One of the raided plants opened in Leake County in 2017, but apparently there was no concerted effort to ensure these new jobs went to local residents. That’s a government failure, as each county has a host of entities tasked with finding jobs for the unemployed, the disabled, mothers on welfare or prisoners reentering the community. These people are our fellow citizens — the ones most in need of the low-skilled, entry-level jobs that undocumented immigrants most often gravitate to. We should be more aggressive about seeking opportunities for these people and pressure local employers to look to these entities first when filling new openings.
The Trump administration has been serious about building the wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. The Mississippi ICE raids should be a wake-up call that spurs the administration to make employment enforcement every bit as much as priority as building the wall.

American People Say MEDIA Coverage Of Impeachment Inquiry 'FRUSTRATING' & 'DISAPPOINTING': Poll

The public is less than impressed with coverage of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. (AP Photo)
The public is less than impressed with coverage of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. (AP Photo)

 Jennifer Harper

The American electorate is not very impressed with non-stop news coverage of Democratic efforts to impeach President Trump. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll asked voters to describe their reactions to “current media coverage of the impeachment process” — and the results are telling.

The pollster came up with an ambitious cross section of emotional judgment calls on press efforts. Did respondents find the coverage negative, positive, boring, interesting, frustrating, encouraging, disappointing, confusing, exciting, skewed, fair or trustworthy?
There were a dozen questions in the poll asking voters to respond to those adjectives and the results suggest the public are not only paying attention to the news. They are, in many cases, condemning it.
Majorities said the coverage was skewed, confusing and disappointing, with only 27% deeming it exciting and 28% feeling encouraged.
A sampling of results from this wide-ranging poll, which is 287 pages long:
63% of U.S. voters say media coverage of the impeachment process is “frustrating”; 80% of Republicans, 62% of independents and 52% of Democrats agree.
55% of voters overall say the coverage is “disappointing”; 75% of Republicans, 55% of independents and 37% of Democrats agree.
52% overall say the coverage is “skewed”; 71% of Republicans, 52% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.
45% overall say the coverage is “boring”; 60% of Republicans, 46% of independents and 29% of Democrats agree. 35% overall say the coverage is “fair”; 9% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 64% of Democrats agree.
32% overall say it is “trustworthy”; 11% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 59% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,997 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 25-28.

Democrats Have Now Declared Political CIVIL WAR

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi, CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

David Marcus

Total political war has been joined. On the floor of the United Sates House of Representatives on Thursday, the battle lines were drawn — and they could not be more clear or decisive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “Every member should support allowing the American people to hear the facts for themselves. That is really what this vote is about. It is about the truth, and what is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”
Stirring stuff, but not to be outdone, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan fired back, calling into question the origins of the Ukraine investigation that began with a whistleblower’s meeting with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff.
Chiding the chairman, Jordan said, “One member of this body knows who this person is who started this whole darn, crazy process: Chairman Schiff. And what’s this resolution do? Gives him even more power to run this secret proceeding in a bunker in the basement of the Capitol.”
The United States has now entered uncharted territory. After spending two years in a failed effort to prove that President Trump colluded with Russia, an effort that fizzled and did not lead to impeachment, in a mere five weeks Democrats have rushed headlong into another attempt to remove the duly elected president.
Democrats and their allies in the media had hoped that Republican defections in the House, even just a handful, would give a glimmer of bipartisan legitimacy to this impeachment. This didn’t happen, as the impeachment resolution received exactly zero GOP votes. That shutout is a major victory for a White House that has consistently argued this process is a partisan sham, not a principled pursuit of truth.
The clear signal from House Republicans is that they intend to fight this impeachment effort tooth and nail, and given that none of the allegations against Trump have moved the needle among Republican voters in favor of impeachment, it is easy to see why they are taking this stand.
Meanwhile, vulnerable Democrats in districts that Trump carried can only hold their breath and hope that they are not punished for supporting impeachment. Here in New York, within minutes of the vote, NY-11 GOP candidate Nicole Malliotakis released a scathing press release, saying of her opponent, Rep. Max Rose, that, “along with radical Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Adam Schiff, he’s cynically voted to waste more taxpayer money and time on a partisan witch-hunt.”
Speaker Pelosi dragged her heels for months on impeachment for just this reason. Vulnerable Democrats such as Rose now have to explain to their voters why they want to remove the president whom those very same voters elected. There is no more political cover. There is no more middle ground for moderates. There is only the fight.
In the coming weeks, Democrats will seek to make the case that the 2016 election result should be overturned. They will make that case alone. There has been no more unifying moment for Republicans in the Trump era than the battle over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the GOP will no doubt try to bring that unity and conviction to their defense of Trump.
So far, so good. Both sides have now cried havoc, and let slip the dogs the war. Wars are fights to the death, but will it be the death of a presidency or the death of attempts to undo one? The American people will have that answer sooner rather than later.
David Marcus is the New York correspondent for The Federalist.

Progressive AG Letitia James WARNS About New York’s Coming Criminal Justice DISASTER

When even officials as progressive as state Attorney General Letitia James are warning of big problems with New York state’s latest criminal justice “fixes,” it’s time to worry.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, AP

 Post Editorial Board

Cash shortages aside, the reforms — which require defendants to be set free with no bail for all but a handful of violent crimes — are set to trigger a host of new public safety concerns, such as witness intimidation and allowing the accused to flee, this will probably suffice:
When even officials as progressive as state Attorney General Letitia James are warning of big problems with New York state’s latest criminal justice “fixes,” it’s time to worry.
At a Senate hearing Monday, James’ aide Kate Powers, on behalf of the AG, raised major red flags about reforms rushed through the Legislature this year — especially those requiring prosecutors to turn over all evidence within 15 days of an arraignment. That includes police and medical reports, videos, phone records, forensic findings, etc.
Powers praised lawmakers for moving to “mend our broken criminal-justice system” and reform the discovery process. But she warned that “the challenges” of complying with the new mandates are “real.”
To comply, DAs with just a few attorneys for an entire county may have to “double” their support staffs, she noted. The largest offices, with the “most complex cases,” may need “investments in the double-digit millions.”
Even the state AG’s office, which handles a far smaller criminal caseload than county DAs, “will need a significant infusion,” to the tune of $10 million, Powers said. Yet there’s no sign the needed funds will be available.
Some DAs were even more blunt — and alarming: “The reforms, as drafted, are not practical,” railed Rensselaer County DA Mary Pat Donnelly. She blasted lawmakers for “playing roulette with public safety.”
Among other public safety concerns, the new rules greatly increase the chances for witness intimidation — since lawyers for the accused will know far sooner the names of those prosecutors might call to testify. Plus, DAs will have to drop some cases because they simply can’t meet the new requirements — especially when there’s no money to hire new staff.
Then, too, most accused will be sprung pending trial — only those charged with a handful of violent crimes will have to post bail. Expect more perps to flee before trial.
In short, New York may soon face a truly serious resurgence of crime.
It’s rare for this page to sympathize with officials demanding more taxpayer dollars. But state lawmakers clearly didn’t think through the consequences of these reforms.
Unless they fix the flaws and provide the funds to make the changes work before the new law kicks in Jan. 1, New Yorkers should brace for a major public safety disaster.

New York Housing SHORTAGE Threatens JOB Boom, Economic GROWTH

New York housing shortage threatens job boom, economic growth

Nolan Hicks

New York City and its suburbs aren’t building enough housing to keep pace with job growth, exacerbating the region’s affordability crisis and threatening future economic growth.
“[T]he Region’s housing supply has not been keeping up with job growth in recent years,” the city Planning Department study argues. “This pattern would be expected to heighten affordability challenges and create headwinds to further business growth.”
The report, released Wednesday, found that New York and its tri-state suburbs — including Long Island, Westchester, northern New Jersey and Connecticut — averaged just 46,000 permits for new apartments and homes per year between 2009 through 2018.
That’s down roughly a third from an average of 64,000 permits between 2001 and 2008 — before the Great Recession struck.
New York and its suburbs added just .5 units of new housing per job created over the last decade, down from an average of 2.2 new houses or apartments built per new job before the recession, the 32-page report found.
Over the last decade, New York City permitted more housing than any other part of the metropolitan area — averaging 20,000 new houses or apartments annually.
Northern New Jersey placed a close second as communities across the Hudson permitted 18,000 new units annually, the study shows.
However, New York’s eastern Long Island suburbs remained practically free of new construction — permitting fewer than 2,000 new houses and apartments on average each year over the decade.
That’s a dramatic 58 percent drop from already low pre-recession levels.
City Hall said in a statement that they bested their decade average in 2018, issuing permits to build 22,000 new units of housing.
“It’s key that we continue to produce housing at a high pace, and we need our neighbors to do the same if we are going to address regional housing affordability and support economic growth,” said City Planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

GOP Lawmaker Pushes FELONY Charges For Minors' TRANSGENDER Surgery: 'We're Talking About CHILDREN'

In this March 18, 2014 photo, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun, center, operates a sex change surgery at the operating room at Dong-A University Dr. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in the country, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. As Dr. Kim begins what will be 11 hours of surgery meant to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist nun, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people” once wrestled with similar feelings. “I’ve decided to defy God’s will,” Kim said in an interview before the nun’s recent successful surgery to become a man. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Victor Morton

A Georgia lawmaker is drafting a bill that would punish doctors with felony charges for helping a minor change sex using surgical procedures or hormones.
State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, Powder Springs Republican, said her bill would protect children from having irreversible medical procedures done at age when they are uncontroversially categorized as too young to give real consent.
“We’re talking about children that can’t get a tattoo or smoke a cigar or a cigarette in the state of Georgia, but can be castrated and get sterilized,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia currently requires a parent to consent to a minor’s surgery or prescribed medication. Ms. Ehrhart said certain details remained uncertain as she is still drafting a bill, but she said it might also prevent parents from consenting to gender-transition procedures.
“There may be some implication for the responsibility of the parent to subject the child to this sort of dangerous medical intervention,” she said.
The bill would not bar doctors from working with transgender adults.
Citing a press release from Ms. Ehrhart, the Journal-Constitution reported that the bill would ban “mastectomy, vasectomy, castration and other forms of genital mutilization” for the purpose of changing sexes as well as prescribing “puberty-blocking drugs to stop or delay normal puberty and cross-sex hormone therapy.”
“The removal of otherwise healthy or non-diseased body parts from minor children would also be prohibited,” the press release said.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told the AJC that Ms. Ehrhart’s bill is “shameful” and part of a “dangerous trend from the most conservative forces to demonize and strip transgender individuals of their humanity.”

Ancient Mesopotamian Empire COLLAPSED Because Of A Massive DUST STORM, Study Says

Image result for Ancient Mesopotamian empire collapsed because of a massive dust storm, study says

Chris Ciaccia

An ancient civilization that ruled Mesopotamia nearly 4,000 years ago was likely wiped out because of disastrous dust storms, a new study suggests.
The Akkadian Empire, which ruled what is now Iraq and Syria from the 24th to the 22nd Century B.C., was likely unable to overcome the devastating aftereffects of the dust storms, including an inability to grow crops, famine and mass social upheaval.
“Although the official mark of the collapse of the Akkadian Empire is the invasion of Mesopotamia by other populations, our fossil samples are windows in time showing that variations in climate significantly contributed to the empire’s decline,” said Hokkaido University professor Tsuyoshi Watanabe in a statement.
A 4,100-year-old Oman coral fossil. (Credit: HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY)
A 4,100-year-old Oman coral fossil. (Credit: HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY)
According to the study's abstract, researchers looked at six 4,100-year-old Porites coral fossils from the Gulf of Oman that told the tales of "a prolonged winter shamal season with frequent shamal days."
Watanabe and his team compared the ancient coral fossils to modern coral samples, along with meteorological information. They found that the ancient coral contained evidence of strong winds that are associated with dust storms.
File photo: Dust storm panorama in the Arizona desert during the monsoon. (iStock)
File photo: Dust storm panorama in the Arizona desert during the monsoon. (iStock)
"The data before and since the collapse are furthermore comparable to modern coral data, showing the dry spells would have been sudden and intense," the statement added.
"This likely caused agricultural failures in Mesopotamia and contributed to the Akkadian Empire collapse, as this region depends on winter rainfall," the abstract added. A winter shamal is a form of western Asian dust storm.
In addition to the devastating dust storms and the aforementioned invasions, it's also believed that infighting played a role in the empire's demise, The Sun reports.
The Akkadian Empire, which "thrived with the development of irrigation," disappeared and abandoned their settlements approximately 4,200 years ago, which led to an "abrupt collapse" of the civilization.
Assyrian wall relief of a genius from Mesopotamia, detail with a head. Ancient carving panel from the Middle East history. (Credit: iStock)
Assyrian wall relief of a genius from Mesopotamia, detail with a head. Ancient carving panel from the Middle East history. (Credit: iStock)
Watanabe said that further research is needed to "help improve our understanding of connections between climate changes and human societies in the past."
The study has been published in the scientific journal Geology.