Wednesday, April 26, 2017
SONNY PERDUE - NEW POWER BROKER IN TRUMP'S EXEC CABINET (SEC OF AGRICULTURE):
PERDUE IS NO DUMB SOUTHERN FARMER.
PERDUE IS WEALTHY, UNDERSTANDS BUSINESS & NEGOTIATES TOUGH.
Sources: CBS News, Fox News, The Federalist, USDA, YouTube
***** Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary
The Senate on Monday confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be agriculture secretary in President Donald Trump's administration as the farming industry looks to Washington for help amid a downturn in the market.
Perdue won confirmation on a strong bipartisan vote of 87-11, as several Democrats backed a Trump nominee after razor-thin outcomes for his choices earlier this year.
Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" but presided over the vote and announced the final tally.
The son of a farmer from Bonaire, Ga., Sonny Perdue will be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades.
He has owned several agricultural businesses, but isn't related to or affiliated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.
At his confirmation hearing in March, Perdue assured nervous farm-state senators that he will advocate for rural America, even as Trump has proposed deep cuts to some farm programs.
He also promised to reach out to Democrats.
Still, Perdue, 70, is getting a late start on the job. Trump nominated him just two days before his inauguration, and then the nomination was delayed for weeks as the administration prepared his ethics paperwork.
Perdue eventually said he would step down from several companies bearing his name to avoid conflicts of interest.
As agriculture secretary, he'll be in charge of around 100,000 employees and the nation's food and farm programs, including agricultural subsidies, conservation efforts, rural development programs, food safety and nutrition programs such as food stamps and federally-subsidized school meal, Perdue will take office as farm prices have been down for several years in a row and some parts of the industry, including cotton and dairy farmers, say they need the department and Congress to rewrite agricultural policy to help revive their business.
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Perdue will help facilitate recovery in small American towns.
"I know he will put the needs of farmers, ranchers and others in rural America first," Roberts said.
Perdue's main task over the coming year will be working with Congress and coordinating his department's input on the next five-year farm bill. Current farm policy expires next year, and lawmakers on the House and Senate agriculture committees will have to find a way to push it through Congress amid heightened partisan tensions and concerns over spending.
At his hearing, he pledged to help senators sustain popular crop insurance programs and fix problems with government dairy programs.
Perdue may also find himself in the uncomfortable position of defending agriculture in an administration that has so far given the issue limited attention, despite Trump's strong support in rural areas. Trump has proposed a 21 percent cut in USDA programs and has harshly criticized some international trade deals, saying they have killed American jobs. But farmers who produce more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from some of those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture.
At the hearing, Perdue said, "Food is a noble thing to trade."
Perdue will also be part of the administration's response to a dispute with Canada's dairy industry, which has a new lower-priced classification of milk product that Trump says is harming
U.S. producers in dairy states like Wisconsin and New York. Canada changed its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for Canadian products that compete with U.S. milk.
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, voted for Perdue and encouraged him to come to Wisconsin to talk to affected farmers.
"I stand as a willing partner to work with Secretary Perdue and President Trump to address this urgent issue," Baldwin said.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York also talked to Trump about the dairy issue last week in a rare phone call between the two men.
Trump has reached out to farmers on regulation, saying the government has too many rules that negatively affect farm country. That issue is expected to come up on Perdue's first day in office Tuesday, when the president holds hold a round table discussion with farmers and sign an executive order "to provide relief for rural America," according to the White House.
The White House hasn't said when Perdue will be sworn in, but he is scheduled to speak to USDA staff Tuesday morning.
After Perdue, remaining nominees for Trump's administration to be confirmed are Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative and Alexander Acosta for labor secretary.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
LOYALTY & SUCCESS (DUTCHESS LATTIMORE OWNER OF "PRETTY IN INK" TATTOO SHOP):
SUCCESS IS THE SWEETEST REVENGE TO A DISLOYAL MAN.
A Woman's loyalty to a Man is tested when a Man has NOTHING.
A Man's loyalty to a Woman is tested when a Man has EVERYTHING.
Sources: VH-1, YouTube
Friday, April 21, 2017
OBAMACARE - TRUMP'S NEXT HUGE FIRST TERM ACHIEVEMENT (100 DAYS):
OBAMACARE & IMMIGRATION IS GOP'S 2020 ELECTION VICTORY PLATFORM.
CAN THE GOP SUCCEED WITHOUT LETTING DEMS DISTRACT OR SABOTAGE THEM??
Sources: Fox News, Bloomberg News, USA Today, YouTube
***** Trump optimistic as government shutdown, ObamaCare replacement loom
Fresh from a two-week Easter break, Congress hits the ground running next week -- its legislative plate more than full, and its back against the wall with the government funding clock ticking down and the resurrection of a tuned-up ObamaCare replacement bill on its agenda.
Asked late Friday if he can get it all done, an optimistic President Trump told a reporter, "We'll see what happens. No particular rush, but we'll see what happens. A lot of good things are happening. "
Those upbeat remarks -- a week before the federal government runs out of money -- stand in stark contrast to growing fears in some quarters of another government shutdown.
A key House source told Fox News that negotiations on a new spending bill are, "ongoing and progressing" and that "a government shutdown is not on the table."
Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney agrees, but on Thursday he threw a wrench in the works. He told the Associated Press that Democratic negotiators need to agree to fund some of the president's top priorities, including a down payment on a border wall and hiring of additional immigration agents.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's Communications Director, Matt House, fired back late Friday in an emailed statement: "If the administration would drop their 11th-hour demand for a wall that Democrats, and a good number of Republicans oppose, Congressional leaders could quickly reach a deal.
Asked Friday morning, after Mulvaney's remarks, whether the wall funding is a budget deal breaker, Counselor to the President Kelly Ann Conway played it safe. "I'll let the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] director and the president and others address that. We're confident that the government will not be shut down next week."
Conway’s circumspection may also stem from knowing Democrats are making their own budget demands, further risking a government shut-down.
"You have Democrats saying they want ObamaCare payments into this funding bill so Republicans are not going to like that," says Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill. "So there is certainly some brinksmanship going on and this is going to take some twists and turns but, at the end of the day, I think they'll get a deal done," he says.
"We boiled this thing down to something we want very badly and the democrats really don't want," Mulvaney said on Bloomberg TV. "We'd offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments. Right now that's the offer that we've given to our Democratic colleagues."
Adding another wrinkle to budget talks, the president wants the House to roll out the new American Health Care Act next week. It's a tuned-up version of the ObamaCare replacement that was pulled from the floor in late March, when it became clear Republicans didn’t have enough votes.
But voting on two complex pieces of legislation in a single week is extremely difficult. As an insurance policy against a government shutdown, Republicans will have a short-term continuing resolution at the ready, should it be
PRINCE REMEMBERED (ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH):
WAS HE MURDERED FOR HIS MASTER TAPES?
Sources: AJC, BILLBOARD, EMPIRE HERALD, NFL, YOUTUBE
**** Inside Paisley Park on the anniversary of Prince’s death
CHANHASSEN, Minn. – Of all the eerily beautiful moments while spending time in Paisley Park on the anniversary eve of Prince’s death, the most bittersweet was provided by the man himself.
On a massive screen inside the massive soundstage Prince frequently used for performances, a clip played from a 2014 concert with 3rdeyegirl.
As he steered “Purple Rain” through its moody intervals, Prince paused to tell the crowd, “If you come to my house, you have to take care of it…at Paisley Park we sing together, we dine together, we love together.”
It was a fitting comment at that moment, with close to 1,000 fans from across the world assembled in the Paisley Park audience, all staring in the dark at video footage of the performer who died on April 21, 2016 just a few hundred feet from that screen, and exactly a week after thrilling crowds at the Fox Theatre at what became his final concerts.
While the mourning process continues for many – Matt Fink of The Revolution said earlier in the week that he still grieves for his former boss – this weekend at Paisley Park is supposed to be about rejoicing in Prince’s musical contributions and preserving his legacy.
The four-day Celebration 2017 kicked off Thursday with waves of fans who spent between $500 and $1,000 to bask in the Prince-ly aura, wander through parts of the Paisley compound (the Atrium houses Prince’s ashes – out of reach – in a “symbol”-shaped urn, guitar displays and, on the second floor, his white doves in a white cage), attend panels with members of The New Power Generation and soak in a surprise performance from George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.
A gambler would have lost some cash that Clinton, at 75, would outlive Prince, who died at 57.
For more than an hour, Clinton and P-Funk bulldozed through one seamless groove that included “Get Up for the Down Stroke,” “Flashlight” and “Give Up the Funk.” Clinton alternately led the adrenalized crowd through arm calisthenics and slumped in a purple chair in front of the drum riser, content to direct his ace musicians as they paid tribute to Prince with their funk-steeped rock ‘n’ roll.
The afternoon concert – which would be repeated for a second round of Celebration attendees that evening – was the first live music event at Paisley Park since Prince’s death.
But there Clinton was, a tamer, less-colorful, shorter-haired version, barking through “Atomic Dog” in a silver-sequined military hat and long silver jacket, a dozen or so musicians in varying degrees of costumes whirling around him.
Because cell phones are prohibited at Paisley Park – a Prince rule even before his death – and were placed in Yondr pouches upon entry into the building, fans could experience the music uninterrupted by camera screens and glaring Facebook pages.
Damaris Lewis, who joined New Power Generation in 2012 as a dancer, served as lithe hostess and told the assembled throng after P-Funk’s set, “Live music. Real musicians. Real music. Nothing like it.
Inside the soundstage, a giant lighted Prince symbol hung from a back corner, while a banner of Prince’s face, silhouetted against a moon, looked toward the stage, his guidance omnipresent.
That same stage was the setting for a panel featuring NPG members Levi Seacer, Morris Hayes, Tony Mosley and Damon Dickson, who offered hilarious accounts of their time with Prince, as well as stories about his notorious work ethic.
“We would pull three-day straight sessions,” Hayes said. “He was so dedicated to the creation process. If you start it, finish it.”
Throughout the weekend, Celebration 2017 will present performances and panels from The Revolution, Morris Day & The Time, 3rdeyegirl and Paisley Park mainstays.
If there was a message to receive on Thursday, Seacer provided it: “Prince was all about r
ASSAD vs TRUMP - "NO US MILITARY GROUND TROOPS":
TRUMP KNOWS ISIL HAS SET TRAPS FOR US MILITARY GROUND TROOPS IN SYRIA.
TRUMP IS NOT A HOTHEAD WARHAWK SEEKING TO MAKE $$$ FROM WAR CONTRACTS.
Sources: NY Post, YouTube
***** Trump: ‘We’re not going into Syria’
Amid complaints that his aides are saying different things about Syria and his policy is confusing, President Trump emphatically cleared the air.
“We’re not going into Syria,” he told me yesterday in an exclusive interview. “Our policy is the same — it hasn’t changed. We’re not going into Syria.”
The president, speaking by phone Tuesday, called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “butcher” and a “barbarian” for using sarin gas on his own people, but said last week’s successful missile strike was not the start of a campaign to oust the dictator.
“Our big mission is getting rid of ISIS,” Trump said. “That’s where it’s always been. But when you see kids choking to death, you watch their lungs burning out, we had to hit him and hit him hard."
called the attack, which involved 59 cruise missiles fired from two Navy destroyers, “an act of humanity.”
I asked if he, as a new president, found it difficult to make the final decision, knowing the stakes.
“It’s very tough to give that final go-ahead when you know you’re talking about human life,” he said. “We went back and forth, and also back and forth about severity. We could have gone bigger in terms of targets and more of them, but we thought this would be the appropriate first shot.”
Later, he added, “We hope he won’t do any more gassing.”
The interview was scheduled to last 15 minutes, but ran nearly twice as long. Throughout, the president was gracious, energized and focused. He answered every question, and invited me to ask more as aides tried to get him to his next appointment. So I did.
How seriously does he take the threats from Russia, and does he think there is still a possibility for cooperation in the region with Vladimir Putin?
“We’re not exactly on the same wavelength with Russia, to put it mildly,” Trump answered. “Putin must see what a barbarian this guy is, and it’s a very bad symbol for Russia with this guy gassing children and using barrel bombs.”
With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow as we spoke, Trump said he hoped for Putin’s cooperation, but added, “I don’t know.”
He was especially upset that Syria had used chemical weapons after supposedly destroying all its stockpiles under a deal President Obama signed in 2013 and repeatedly boasted about. I asked whether that fact gave him more pause about Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
“I don’t need more pause about Iran,” Trump said. “It was the single worst deal ever. It’s a disgrace that a deal like that was even signed. It made Iran a power from a country that was ready to fall apart.”
He wasn’t finished. “Iran won’t honor its deal. Instead of saying, ‘Thank you very much for saving our country,’ they’ve been emboldened.”
Noting those problems and North Korea’s threatening aggression, Trump said, “I knew I was left a mess, but it’s worse than I thought.”
he had any recent contact with Obama?
“No,” he said. “I’m very disappointed that I was surveilled and so was my campaign. That’s not supposed to be happening, but I’ve been proven right.”
Although the evidence supporting Trump’s claim that Obama “wiretapped” him is incomplete, there is no question he is the victim of dirty tricks. Numerous leaks suggest that communications involving Trump’s team were intercepted by law enforcement or intelligence agencies and given to anti-Trump media outlets to undermine the new administration.
And the admission last week by Susan Rice, Obama’s national security director, that she asked for the names of some Trump associates to be “unmasked” points to a likely political purpose involving the White House.
Although two congressional committees are probing Trump’s claim, along with whether his campaign colluded with Russian hacking during the campaign, I believe a Justice Department probe of the Obama administration’s surveillance is also needed. At the very least, the leakers of national security material gathered must be found and prosecuted.
Bannon: “A good guy, but …”
Washington’s rumor mill is working overtime on the fate of presidential aide Steve Bannon, who is said to be at the center of the rampant White House infighting. When I asked the president Tuesday afternoon if he still has confidence in Bannon, who took over the campaign in mid-August, I did not get a definitive yes.
“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late,” Trump said. “I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve. I’m my own strategist and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
He ended by saying, “Steve is a good guy, but I told them to straighten it out or I will.”
Media’s ‘fake sources’
President Trump remains hot about the coverage he gets in the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN. When I asked about stories that cited anonymous sources “close to the president,” Trump insisted that “many of those sources are made up and I don’t believe them. Let them reveal their sources.”
“It’s fake news and fake sources,” he insisted, adding that’s why he won’t appear on CNN. As for the Times, “they’re a failing, dead paper. Lucky for them I came along. If Hillary had won, they’d be closing up shop by now.”
He’s not impressed by commentators, either. “Pundits, they knew less than my 11-year-old son,” he said. “They have zero political instinct and zero political talent.”
Xi ‘understood immediately’
The missile strike in Syria overshadowed his two-day meeting with China president Xi Jinping, who brought his wife to meet Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The leaders ended their first meeting just as the first missiles were launched.
“When I explained to him what we were doing, because of the gassing of children, he understood immediately,” Trump told me.
I asked about their summit, given some of the harsh things Trump has said about China.
“I was a little surprised, we had a great chemistry, not good, but great,” Trump said. “I liked him and he liked me a lot. That doesn’t mean we’re going to get along on trade or North Korea, but we had great chemistry.”
Their meeting included a priceless interlude in which Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner brought their three children to meet China’s first couple. The oldest, Arabella, who turns 6 in July, is studying Mandarin and sang a Chinese song and recited Chinese poetry in honor of the guests.
What did President Xi make of that, I asked.
“He said she was speaking absolutely perfect Chinese, he couldn’t believe it,” the proud grandfather recalled. “He said, ‘She sounds like a 5-year-old girl from Beijing.’”
Ivanka posted a video of the performance and it is a huge sensation in China, making successful diplomacy in this case a Trump family affair.
BILL O'REILLY (FOX) vs EMILY STEEL (NYT), EMILY WON; O'REILLY FIRED:
FIRST ROGER AILES, NOW BILL O'REILLY.
BILL DESTROYED BY NYT REPORTER HE THREATENED OVER SEXUAL HARRASSMENT.
END OF A MALE DOMINATED, BIASED ERA AT FOX NEWS.
WHO IS NEXT?
Sources: CNBC, MSNBC, NY Times, Think Progress, Youtube
***** Bill O'Reilly's Payout Could Be as High as $25 Million
The day after Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News, aftershocks rippled through the network, with news of Mr. O’Reilly’s exit package spreading through the newsroom and some employees questioning how committed executives were to rooting out sexual harassment.
Mr. O’Reilly is receiving a payout of as much as $25 million, equivalent to one year of his salary, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. That development was met with “outrage” and “disgust” among some employees and among critics outside the company, who said it sent a message that a powerful newsroom figure could profit even after multiple sexual harassment allegations had been made against him.
“It’s terrible,” said Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represents two women who reported sexual harassment allegations against Mr. O’Reilly. “Most people would consider $25 million a huge lottery win.”
Mr. O’Reilly’s package brought the total amount of payouts related to sexual harassment allegations at Fox News to more than $85 million — paid by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. The vast majority of that — as much as $65 million in exit packages — is being paid to the men who were ousted because of the allegations.
Mr. O’Reilly, 67, was forced out on Wednesday after the disclosure of several sexual harassment allegations against him and after an internal investigation found more women with complaints about his behavior. He was dismissed nine months after the network’s founding chairman, Roger E. Ailes, was ousted amid a sexual harassment scandal. Executives promised at that time that there was no room for “behavior that disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.“ Mr. Ailes received a $40 million package when he left.
On Wednesday, Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the top executives at 21st Century Fox, said in a memo announcing Mr. O’Reilly’s departure that they had a “consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.”
Since Mr. Ailes left, the network has made an effort to clean up its culture, dismissing some executives close to him, installing a new head of human resources and conducting a series of training and sensitivity sessions.
Some Fox News employees said Thursday that while the dismissal of Mr. O’Reilly was a step in the right direction, they remained skeptical that real change would occur. As examples of how the network had yet to change, the employees pointed to the fact that Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, the network’s co-presidents and former lieutenants to Mr. Ailes, remained in their positions. Employees in the newsroom spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss delicate internal matters.
The network continues to face sexual harassment suits, including one from Julie Roginsky, a current Fox News contributor, who has asserted that she faced retaliation for rebuffing Mr. Ailes’s sexual advances and for refusing to disparage Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who sued Mr. Ailes last summer. “Contrary to a new environment, it is an environment of cover up and protect,” Nancy Erika Smith, the lawyer for Ms. Roginsky and Ms. Carlson, said in an interview Thursday.
d that she had been contacted by other women who had complaints about sexual harassment at the network.
The abruptness of Mr. O’Reilly’s exit has created widespread uncertainty in the newsroom about the future of other executives, including Mr. Shine and Mr. Abernethy. But some people at Fox News said that it was unlikely that the Murdochs would allow a sense of capitulation to permeate the network and that keeping Mr. Shine and Mr. Abernethy in place would provide some needed stability at an anxious time.
Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly have denied the allegations of harassment.
Mr. O’Reilly’s ouster was a stunning reversal for 21st Century Fox, which had long stood by him even as allegations and settlements started to amass. Mr. O’Reilly, who started at Fox News in 1996, was considered the network’s top asset. His nightly program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” generated high ratings and pulled in hundreds of millions in advertising revenue.
But pressure mounted on the company to take action after a New York Times investigation early this month found that Mr. O’Reilly and the company had reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million, the majority paid by him.
Earlier this year, the network extended Mr. O’Reilly’s contract by an additional four years. At the time, the company was aware of allegations of sexual harassment against him and had even reached two settlements involving such complaints. His previous contract had been set to expire this year.
But the new contract provided the company with some protections. Those included a provision that Mr. O’Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations against him or if new ones arose, according to one person briefed on the matter. The contract also included provisions meant to get Mr. O’Reilly to address his behavior, the person said.
In addition, though the contract was extended for four more years, it also modified the company’s financial commitment to Mr. O’Reilly if he was dismissed, so that he would receive a maximum of one year’s salary, according to two people. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations.
The exact financial terms of Mr. O’Reilly’s exit package are not known, but it is expected that the company will disclose them in future regulatory filings.
In addition to Mr. O’Reilly’s payout and the settlements made involving him, 21st Century Fox has reached settlements with at least six women who accused him of sexual harassment, according to a person familiar with the matter.
One was Ms. Carlson, the former Fox News anchor. She sued Mr. Ailes last July and left the network with a $20 million settlement.
Last November, 21st Century Fox disclosed that for the three months that ended Sept. 30, the company had about $35 million in costs related to settlements of pending and potential litigation after Mr. Ailes was ousted.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
MS-13 GANG VIOLENCE INCREASED UNDER OBAMA LIKE ISIL:
MS-13 GANG MEMBERS CONSIST MAINLY OF LATINO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
UNDER OBAMA MEDIA ONLY FOCUSED ON BLACK GANG VIOLENCE.
US TROOPS SHOULD PATROL TEXAS-MEXICO BORDERS.
TIME FOR GOP & DEMS TO UNITE AGAINST ALL GANG VIOLENCE.
Sources: Fox News, CBS, Business Insider, YouTube
***** How MS-13, One of America’s Most Dangerous Gangs, is Funded
President Donald Trump is ready to crack down on the infamous, money-making MS-13 gang, after a violent quadruple homicide in Long Island, N.Y. last week left four teenagers dead and badly beaten. Trump is promising to remove the gang from U.S. streets “fast.”
MS-13, a group that was started by Central American immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s, is known for its ruthless and violent tactics. Most of the founding members were from El Salvador and fled to the U.S. during the country’s civil war that lasted 12 years, from 1980-92. Since then the gang’s membership has ballooned to at least 10,000 members in the United States and more than 30,000 worldwide, according to the FBI and Treasury Department.
“[MS-13] is one of the most dangerous and rapidly expanding criminal gangs in the world today,” Philip Holloway, a legal analyst and former police officer, told FOX Business. “MS-13’s mottos is ‘Mata, roba, viola, controla’ (Kill, steal, rape, control),” he noted.
The gang has managed to expand its business tentacles into a variety of illegal activities, despite sanctions levied against the group by the U.S Treasury Department under the Obama administration. “They are involved in multiple crimes including murder, racketeering, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and human trafficking including prostitution,” Holloway said.
MS-13 also uses violence as a means for extortion, which constitutes much of its income, University of Houston sociology professor Luis Salinas told FOX Business.
“A lot of the violence is part of the extortion … and prostitution. Once they get here they get these individuals and extort money from their families. They’re also into extortion for protection of this neighborhood or that neighborhood,” Salinas said.
In 2015 the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of three members of the gang who were funneling funds back to higher-ups in El Salvador from prison. These actions were an attempt “disrupt” MS-13’s financial network by cutting off profits from illegal activities in the United States, the Treasury Department said. In 2012 the Obama administration designated MS-13 a transnational crime organization and implemented sanctions against six members in 2013.
While the U.S. government attempts to target MS-13’s earnings, targeting its culture is proving more difficult. The fierce loyalty among members is unique, Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, told FOX Business.
“They're very cohesive and often directed by imprisoned bosses in El Salvador to recruit and expand in American communities. That tends to mean there's an aggressive internal enforcement mechanism which equates to internal discipline involving physical violence and murder for disrespect or betrayal,” he said.
Membership in street gangs showed no signs of decreasing, according to the FBI’s 2015 National Gang Report, and MS-13 was identified as one of the top gangs involved in cross-border crimes. Recently, law enforcement has taken a tougher stance on making arrests; a move spurred by Attorney General Jeff Session’s focus on illegal immigrant crime, Hosko said.
“MS is a clear example [of illegal immigrant crime]. Affiliates would cross the border and make their way to American enclaves where they found friends and relatives living here already,” he said. “Citizenship is a combination of American born (many to illegals) and illegal immigrants.”
Salinas said about 60-70 percent of current U.S. members in MS-13 are immigrants, the majority of which could be illegal.
On Tuesday during an interview on Fox News, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he believes the gang “could qualify” as a terrorist group. In El Salvador, MS-13 has already been designated as a terrorist organization.
Hosko said President Trump’s administration is changing the narrative quickly for both gang members and law enforcement in the United States.
“[The FBI] believed that claiming of ‘credible fear’ of persecution, gang retaliation, other bad acts in their homeland to immigration authorities likely resulted in widespread release of bad actors into the U.S. as their claims were being evaluated. With Obama, that was acceptable risk. I think that's changing fast.”
PRICE'S CHICKEN COOP - CHARLOTTE'S BEST:
JAY LENO HAS EATEN THE COOP'S FARE.
CAROLINA PANTHERS' CAM NEWTON LOVES THE COOP TOO.
BEST FRIED CHICKEN & FISH IN CHARLOTTE.
1614 CAMDEN ROAD Charlotte NC 28203
704 333 9866
Sources: Charlotte Observer, YouTube
**** How long can Price’s Chicken Coop hold out in South End?
Drive down Camden Road in South End, and you’ll pass by shiny new office buildings, hip new restaurants and towering, luxury apartments.
And in the middle of it all, you’ll also see a squat brick storefront that looks almost exactly like it did in the early 1960s.
Price’s Chicken Coop is one of the last holdout businesses in the rapidly transforming South End neighborhood.
Very little has changed since it opened 55 years ago – in fact, Price’s has removed several items from its original menu, including its seafood dinner and chuck wagon steak.
The restaurant still doesn’t have customer seating. It still only accepts cash. It still doesn’t deliver.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” co-owner Stephen Price explains, matter-of-factly.
Any given weekday, the Coop has a steady stream of customers flowing in and out of its little no-frills South End spot to pick up a quick friend chicken lunch.
On a recent day, you could see construction workers from a nearby site, a doctor in scrubs, a few 20-somethings who live at an apartment nearby.
Johnny Jackson was just a kid when he started frequenting Price’s.
Now 67, Jackson says he still swings by for lunch about three times a week. The fish sandwich, Jackson says, is the simple thing that keeps him coming back.
Skyrocketing property values have driven out Price’s longtime neighbors, and over the last year or so, Price’s, which owns its property, has been approached with two written offers from developers to buy the spot.
But the iconic restaurant has no plans to leave its space at 1614 Camden Road.
“Part of it’s family, part of it’s heritage. It’s what we do,” Price says. “It’s what our customers have grown to expect. As long as our customers are happy, that’s what we care about.”
As Price’s remains frozen in time, the area around it is changing rapidly.
A few doors down is Camden Gallery, a multi-family project that includes 323 apartments and retail space for tenants like Blue Hem, the upscale jeans boutique.
Houston-based Camden Property Trust also bought the building next door that previously housed a doggie day care, and the group is considering turning it into offices, records show.
Next door to Price’s is the 1616 Center, a five-story office building with ground-floor retail that includes local businesses like Fidelli Kitchen and Clean Juice.
Beacon Properties bought the center’s property for $2.7 million in 2014.
Price would not say which developers have approached him with offers to buy his spot. But it wasn’t Beacon, which owns several other buildings in South End, and has prioritized local businesses over national chains.
Kristy Venning, who works in leasing for Beacon, said of the 1616 Center: “We decided from the beginning we wanted locally grown interesting cool retail and restaurant groups because we noticed that’s what the market wants.”
New development nearby has come at a price, as longtime businesses have closed their doors.
The beloved restaurant Phat Burrito, for instance, closed nearby on Camden earlier this year.
Amos’ Southend also closed earlier this year on South Tryon after almost 17 years in business. Both cited parking issues triggered by new development as reasons for their closure.
In Plaza-Midwood, the dive bar Thirsty Beaver remains in its place, as Price’s does, despite the fast growth of apartment buildings all around it.
Stephen Price, 57, who owns Price’s with his cousin Drew, 51, shrugs when he says he hasn’t really thought about what kind of offer would tempt him to sell his spot on Camden. Also unclear is who would take over for the Price cousins, should they decide to retire.
“There’s no heir apparent right now,” Price says, adding his two kids haven’t expressed interest in going into the family business.
Before it was turned into a restaurant that cooked chicken, Price’s was Dilworth Poultry, selling fresh meat, fish and eggs, with live chickens out back.
Price’s father, Talmadge, and uncle Keith opened Price’s Chicken Coop in 1962 in response to a local manufacturer who wanted a hearty, reasonably priced lunch option for his warehouse workers.
Back then, Price’s was surrounded by industrial buildings like metal parts-maker Charlotte Machine Company, which once occupied the spot where Camden Gallery now sits.
Stephen Price says he hasn’t thought about where the restaurant would relocate, if it had to.
“I mean, you couldn’t find as good a location, and that’s the thing.
We’re still kinda in the middle of everything. You’re not too far from the east side of Charlotte, you’re not too far from the west side of Charlotte. You’re not far from downtown,” Price says, underscoring the very reason the area has become so hot.
The light rail is another reason.
Construction of the Blue Line over a decade ago prompted subsequent development of thousands of apartment units, new restaurants, breweries and offices.
The exposure Price’s has gotten from being right next to the light rail, Price says, has been a positive for business.
But Price says the fast development of the area hasn’t always worked well for small businesses like his.
In summer 2015, for instance, the city installed parking meters to prepare for the influx of vehicles expected in the area with the opening of nearby office and apartment buildings.
The meters charge customers from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Price’s is open from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
“My customers didn’t have to pay for 50 years, and all of a sudden now they’ve gotta start paying,” Price says. “It’s more of a frustration than anything else.”
In some ways, Price’s has adapted with the times.
It maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts, for example. Unlike at most other restaurants, though, you can’t order online.
Despite the area’s changes, Price’s is still renowned in Charlotte and beyond.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stops by periodically when he’s entertaining his teammates at his place.
Jay Leno came in for chicken and sweet tea before a performance a couple years ago at the Belk Theater.
Price is unfazed: “They’re still customers. It doesn’t make any difference whether they’re black, blue, purple, polka dotted or whatever, as long as the customers are happy, and they get what they need at a reasonable price, that’s what we care about.”
That’s what’s kept longtime customers like Jackson coming back.
And maybe it’s the food and price, or maybe it’s experiencing a Charlotte classic that draws in new customers, too.
“I try not to laugh too hard when someone comes in asking for grilled chicken,” Price says.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
"TRUMP'S ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT NEEDS CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT" SAYS DHS CHIEF JOHN KELLY:
Sources: AJC, CNN, YouTube
***** Homeland Security chief says Congress should “shut up and support” Trump efforts to slow illegal immigration
After almost three months of stepped up enforcement under President Donald Trump, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday that new efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States are quickly paying off, as he said lawmakers in Congress who don’t like the enforcement changes by the Trump Administration should change the laws, or “shut up.”
If lawmakers do not the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change those laws,” Kelly said in a speech at George Washington University.
“Otherwise,” Kelly said of lawmakers, “they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”
In his speech, Kelly cited figures that show a steep drop in the number of people trying to ilegally cross the southern border of the United States.
“March apprehensions were 30 percent lower than February, and 64 percent lower than this time last year,” Kelly said in a speech at George Washington University in D.C.
“These numbers are lower because we’ve shown we are serious about border security, and enforcing our immigration laws,” the DHS chief.
Kelly noted a large drop in the number of families trying to make the crossing into the United States.
“While more than 16,000 family units were apprehended at the border in December, only 1100 were apprehended in March,” Kelly told his audience.
“This is a phenomenal drop in movement,” Kelly said.
ANGELO COLON-CORTIZ IS GOOGLE EMPLOYEE VANESSA MARCOTTE'S KILLER (SANCTUARY CITIES):
ANGELO COLON-CORTIZ IS NOT INNOCENT.
HE IS NOT AN INNOCENT IMMIGRANT.
HE BRUTALLY MURDERED VANESSA AND TRIED TO BURN HER BODY.
CORTIZ'S BAIL IS $10 MILLION.
Sources: Daily Mail, MassLive, YouTube
****** Married FedEx worker, 31, accused of raping and murdering Google executive while she jogged appears in court and has bail set at $10million
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery, and assault with intent to rape.
Prosecutors expected to file murder charges against him in about a month
Colon-Ortiz is accused of raping and killing Vanessa Macrotte, whose naked body was found on August 7, 2016 in Massachusetts.
Police arrested Colon-Ortiz on Saturday after DNA found on her hands was linked to him.
Colon-Ortiz is a recent transplant from Puerto Rico who is married and works for FedEx in the Worceset area.
A suspect accused of raping and murdering a Google executive while she was out jogging near her mother's Massachusetts home last summer was arraigned this morning on assault charges and ordered held on $10million cash
Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, was taken into custody on Saturday in connection to the August 2016 killing of 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte in Leominster, Massachusetts.
The suspect, a US citizen who had only recently moved from his native Puerto Rico to Worcester, Massachusetts, was led into Leominster District Court on Tuesday morning and used the services of a Spanish-English interpreter to follow the legal proceedings.
Ortiz was arraigned on criminal counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery and assault with intent to rape.
Prosecutors said they sought the multimilion-dollar bail because they expect to charge him with murder within about a month.
Judge Mark Noonan agreed to set Colon-Ortiz’s bail at $10million and scheduled his pre-trial conference for May 24.
Attorney Edward Ryan Jr representing the 31-year-old suspect, who was described in court as a married FedEx employee, according to the Boston Globe, entered not guilty pleas to the assault counts on Colon-Ortiz’s behalf. He did not argue for lower bail, but reserved the right to seek lower bail later.
Vanessa Marcotte’s father, John Marcotte, and uncle Steven Therrien were present at the arraignment but made no statements to the press.
State police arrested Colon-Ortiz in Worcester after police used DNA found on Marcotte's hands to link him to the killing.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr commended Marcotte's bravery at a press conference on Saturday.
'It was through her determined fight and efforts that we obtained the DNA of her killer,' he told the crowd.
Residents from the community applauded as Early confirmed Colon-Ortiz's arrest, which came after police built a DNA profile of Marcotte's killer.
They used that profile - and a report of a dark SUV spotted near the scene of the August 7, 2016 killing - to identify the suspect, Early said.
In a written statement, her parents said: 'After eight long months, we're able to take the first step toward justice for Vanessa.
'She was a beautiful, intelligent, and generous young woman whose passion for giving back to the community will always be remembered.
'As we move forward, her spirit will live on through The Vanessa T Marcotte Foundation that strives to empower women to live boldly and fearlessly.'
According to its website, the foundation's goal is to to help women 'live free from the fear of violence.'
It aims to to that by 'partnering with organizations that deliver educational programs to promote female empowerment, challenge and undermine gender stereotypes, and provide mentorship opportunities [for women].'
Marcotte, a graduate of Boston University, was found near her mom's Princeton, Massachusetts, home on August 7, 2016. Her hands, feet and head had been burned.
The New Yorker, who was visiting her mother at the time, was found dead after she didn't return to their home from a run.
Colon-Ortiz is being held in at the state police barracks in Millbury on $1 million bail.
Early Jr said that a Massachusetts State Trooper saw a dark SUV in Worcester, similar to the one that had been spotted driving from the scene.
The man driving fitted a description of the suspect, he said, so the trooper went to the man's home and was able to take a DNA sample from the man's cheek.
The test results, which came in on Friday, said that the sample matched DNA found on Marcotte's body.
Colon-Ortiz was then arrested, and is set to make his first appearance in court on Tuesday.
Early Jr said that Colon-Ortiz was working near where Marcotte was killed on the day of her brutal death. He has no criminal history.
In February, Early Jr said they had made a DNA breakthrough in the case, and revealed that they were seeking a Hispanic man of average height.
The suspect was also likely to have had scratches or cuts on his face, neck, hands and arms that day, police said.
They added that they believed him to be the same man seen driving a dark colored SUV in the area around the time that the young jogger was killed.
Police have not revealed how they acquired the DNA, saying only that they got it during the course of their investigation, and that it was on Marcotte's hands.
Marcotte vanished on an afternoon run while on a visit to the home of her mom in Worcester from New York.
Her naked body was found at around 8.20pm in woodlands near the home.
It's believed she was killed some time between 1pm, when she left her mom's home, and 4pm.
She had been sexually assaulted, and her hands, feet and part of her head were burned.
Marcotte's shocking murder left her family shattered, they said towards the end of last year.
Her uncle, Steven Therrien, read an emotional statement at a church in the town on December 31, asking for help finding the young woman's killer.
'Not a day goes by that we don't reflect on the enormity of our loss. She had already achieved much but we know she had much more to do.
'She was a loving, caring, intelligent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.'
Marcotte's parents, Rossana and John Marcotte, stood silent next to Therrien at the news conference, holding back tears.
Her father held a banner that read: 'Justice for Vanessa.'
And at Marcotte's funeral, her best friend, Leah Abrahams, gave a moving eulogy to her slain friend.
'She was so perfect, it was otherworldly,' she said.
'Something about Vanessa always reminded me of the ocean - so breathlessly beautiful, quiet and peaceful.'
She later said: 'You epitomize grace, light, humility, and absolute magic.'
Marcotte was killed just weeks after Queens jogger Karina Vetrano was brutally raped and murdered while she was out for a run. A suspect in her death, Chanel Lewis, admitted murdering her in February.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY:
JESUS HAS ALREADY RISEN.
Sources: The Holy Bible, YouTube
"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again."
Monday, April 10, 2017
GORSUCH REPLACES SCALIA; BALANCES SCOTUS:
FULL CONSERVATIVE POWER RETURNS TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, The White House, YouTube
***** Gorsuch thanks Trump as he takes oath as Supreme Court justice
Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch went to the White House on Monday to take a second oath and to publicly thank President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the lawyers in the White House counsel’s office, and Republican Senate leaders for helping put him on the nation’s highest court.
“This process has reminded me of how outrageously blessed I am,” Gorsuch said in the Rose Garden ceremony.
There has been some controversy in the past decade over whether it was appropriate for a newly confirmed justice to be sworn in at the White House. Retired Justice John Paul Stevens said such ceremonies give the appearance the new justice is going to the court as the president’s appointee rather than an independent justice.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan took their oaths at the Supreme Court and did not go the White House for a public ceremony. When they had a ceremonial investiture in the courtroom, President Obama attended. But in prior decades, the newly confirmed justices routinely went to the White House to take the oath alongside the president.
Rose Garden ceremony, the president said he was proud and pleased to have chosen an outstanding jurist to replace to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. “I got it done in the first 100 days!” he said.
“This is a very, very special moment,” Trump told Gorsuch as he was about take the oath. “I have no doubt you will go down as one of the truly great justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court.”
Gorsuch won his seat after an unusually partisan battle. Senate Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), refused to consider Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee, and they were forced to change the filibuster rule to confirm Trump's nominee after Democrats sought to block a vote on Gorsuch.
Earlier Monday morning, Gorsuch took the constitutional oath in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. He then went to the White House to take a second “judicial oath” in a public ceremony.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts and the other seven associate justices were in attendance at the Rose Garden ceremony, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy administered the oath to Gorsuch, who served as his law clerk in the 1993-94 term.
Gorsuch will soon be hearing and deciding cases involving the Trump administration, including possibly whether to uphold the president’s temporary travel ban on people from six majority-Muslim nations. Two federal judges decided to put the ban on hold, and lawyers for the administration are appealing.
Trump used the ceremony to tout the changes he has brought to Washington. “We are in a process of reviewing and renewing, and also rebuilding, our country. A new optimism is sweeping across our land, and a new faith in America is filling our hearts and lifting our sights,” he declared.
The president also praised Justice Kennedy as “a man of outstanding accomplishment. Throughout his nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, [he] has been praised by all for his dedicated and dignified service. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, and I am honored that he is with us today.”
Kennedy, 80, is now the longest serving justice. And though a Republican appointee, he has been somewhat of a disappointment to conservatives. Last year, he joined with the court’s liberals to strike strict abortion clinic regulations from Texas, and the year before, he wrote the landmark decision making same-sex marriage a constitutional right.
If Kennedy were to retire in the next few years, it would give the president and Senate Republicans the opportunity to give conservatives firm control of the court. As if to reassure Kennedy, Trump’s lawyers have mentioned several of his former law clerks as strong candidates for the next Supreme Court nomination.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
SUSAN RICE'S SPYING ON TRUMP TEAM WAS EXTREMELY DETAILED & POLITICAL: (MATA HARI)
SPYING ON TRUMP IN 2016 HAD NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH RUSSIA.
GOOGLE IS TRYING TO HIDE THIS STORY.
MANY AMERICANS & US SOLDIERS WERE SPIED ON UNDER OBAMA WHILE ISIL OPERATIVES HAD FREE REIGN.
IS CONGRESS AFRAID TO INVESTIGATE RICE BECAUSE SHE IS A BLACK WOMAN??
LET THE CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS BEGIN.
Sources: Fox News, The Federalist, Alex Jones, PBS, YouTube
****** Reports in unmasking controversy were detailed, had info about 'everyday lives'
The intelligence reports at the center of the Susan Rice unmasking controversy were detailed, and almost resembled a private investigator’s file, according to a Republican congressman familiar with the documents.
This is information about their everyday lives," Rep. Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence committee said. "Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired just to find out what the other person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on.”
On the House Intelligence Committee, only the Republican chairman, Devin Nunes of California, and the ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, also of California, have personally reviewed the intelligence reports. Some members were given broad outlines.
Nunes has consistently stated that the files caused him deep concern because the unmasking went beyond the former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and the information was not related to Moscow.
Schiff said in a statement, “I cannot comment on the content of these materials or any other classified documents, and nothing should be inferred from the fact that I am treating classified materials the way they should be treated - by refusing to comment on them. Only the Administration has the power to declassify the information and make it available to the public."
Former National Security Adviser Rice is under scrutiny after allegations she sought to unmask the identities of Trump associates caught up in surveillance - such as phone calls between foreign intelligence targets. Rice denies ever having sought such information for political purposes and has defended her requests as routine.
But the most recent government data shows that unmasking or identifying Americans happens in a limited number of cases. The Office for the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the 17 intelligence agencies, said "...in 2015, NSA disseminated 4,290 FAA Section 702 intelligence reports that included U.S. person information. Of those 4,290 reports, the U.S. person information was masked in 3,168 reports and unmasked in 1,122 reports."
The report said "NSA is allowed to unmask the identity for the specific requesting recipient only under certain conditions and where specific additional controls are in place" and those conditions were met for "654 U.S. person identities" in 2015.
That means Americans were identified in 26 percent of the cases, or roughly one in four intelligence reports.
During his March 20 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers said only 20 individuals within the agency are authorized to approve those requests.
“They receive specific training, there are specific controls put in place in terms of our ability to disseminate information out of the databases associated with U.S. persons,” Rogers said at the time. What it appears to suggest is that the NSA itself agreed that the instances in which Rice requested unmasking warranted that action.
FBI Director James Comey was less direct. "I don't know for sure. As I sit here, surely more, given the nature of the FBI's work," he testified.
"It would be nice to know the universe of people who have the power to unmask a U.S. citizen's name," South Carolina Republican congressman Trey Gowdy pressed. "Because that might provide something of a roadmap to investigate who might've actually disseminated a masked U.S. citizen's name."
Rice told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that the reports were requested by the Obama administration, which announced a probe into the Russian election hacking in early December. Two months earlier in October, before the election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department put out a joint statement about Moscow's interference.
Rice told Mitchell, "Fulfilling the president's request for such a report, they went back and scrubbed more reports. They began to provide more such reports to American officials, including myself."
Given the late fall timeline, it is not clear the intelligence reports Rice discussed during the NBC interview, are the same files reviewed by Nunes and Schiff.
Speaking to Fox News Wednesday, President Trump said he believed the former national security adviser may have committed a crime when she sought the identities of the Trump team members. The allegation was first reported by the New York Times.
While not commenting on the individual case, a former senior intelligence official explained the request must be approved by the NSA. Rice would have understood that there is an extensive government paper trail, that can be audited within the NSA, that shows who requested the unmasking, on what basis, and whether it was granted. This raises more questions about Rice, her motivation and whether it was authorized higher up, offering cover.
If approved, the former senior intelligence official said, only the requester, in this case Rice, would receive the information. Based on Fox News’ reporting, the information was shared beyond Rice, but it is not clear if those who received it had a “need to know.”
A spokeswoman for Rice, Erin Pelton, said in an email to the New York Times on Wednesday, “I’m not going to dignify the president’s ludicrous charge with a comment.” Pelton works for Mercury LLC, a crisis management firm.
At the height of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack fallout, and questions about whether Rice and a former senior intelligence official had misled Congress about the role of an internet video in the deaths of four Americans, Mercury LLC was also tasked with handling the Fox News media inquiries.
BACKSTREET BOYS - "I WANT IT THAT WAY":
WILL THE BACKSTREET BOYS PLEASE PERFORM FOR U.S. TROOPS??
I'M JUST SAYING.
Sources: Jive records, RCA records, Legacy records, Youtube