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Monday, August 13, 2018

OMAROSA TWO-FACED SNITCH vs APRIL RYAN & TRUMP (TALE OF TWO BLACK WOMEN)












OMAROSA TWO-FACED SNITCH vs APRIL RYAN & TRUMP (TALE OF TWO BLACK WOMEN):

OMAROSA IS NOT A VICTIM & COMMITTED A CRIME; LAWYER UP.

SECRETLY RECORDING WHITE HOUSE CONVERSATIONS IS A NATIONAL SECURITY CRIME.

OMAROSA USED TRUMP & BLACK JOURNALISTS LIKE APRIL RYAN UNTIL NEITHER OF THEM NO LONGER MATTERED TO HER.

THE MEDIA SHOULD NOT HAIL OMAROSA AS A SHERO.

CLEARLY OMAROSA DOES NOT UNDERSTAND DEFINITION OF THE WORD "LOYALTY".


Post Sources: Washington Examiner, NY Times, Washington Beacon, CNN, Youtube


******* April Ryan warns Omarosa not to name-check her: 'Your lies and crazy behavior are catching up to you'


Omarosa Manigault Newman and April Ryan traded barbs Sunday after the former reality TV star said the White House exploited American Urban Radio Networks' Washington bureau chief by leaking a colorful, unflattering story about her departure from the Trump administration.

"Don’t reference me or use my name. Keep my name out of your mouth," Ryan wrote on Twitter. "You have done enough. Your lies and crazy behavior are catching up to you. Can you say National Security breach? Lawyer up!"

Ryan's comments follow Manigault Newman's explosive interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," which aired a tape the former star of "The Apprentice" recorded in the Situation Room of White House chief of staff John Kelly talking to her about "leaving" her role in the Trump administration. The tape has raised concerns that Manigault Newman breached national security protocol by taking a recording device into what is supposed to be among the most secure parts of the presidential complex.

"He knew that John Kelly was going to take me into the Situation Room, and lock me in there, threaten me, and say that things were going to get ugly for me, and there would be damage to me reputation," Manigault Newman said Sunday, referring to President Trump. "And you know what, the next day there was damage to my reputation because they then put out a story using and exploiting an African-American reporter to say that I was running around the residence and trying to break into a Christmas party, which is ludicrous."

Ryan additionally slammed Manigault Newman as "evil" during a Sunday appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

"She was complicit, but she was doing all this knowing that there was going to be a payoff in the end for her, and then once she got upset with him or he got upset with her or whatever happened, she decides to turn on him," Ryan said of Manigault Newman's initial support of Trump, despite now calling him "a racist, a bigot and a misogynist.” "She’s not a friend, she’s a liar, and I would say she’s evil," Ryan added.

Manigault Newman is promoting her book, "Unhinged," which is set to be released Aug. 14. Ryan also has a memoir coming out. Ryan's "Under Fire" will be widely available from Sept. 1.

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***** April Ryan Calls Omarosa ‘Evil’ and a ‘Liar’


April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN contributor, called former Trump administration aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a "liar" and "evil" on Sunday.

Ryan, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" where she told host Brian Stelter about her own dealings with Newman.

The former Trump aide and reality TV contestant said earlier on Sunday that she had provided NBC a recording she made of her firing from the administration. Newman had worked on Trump's campaign and then in the administration for about a year before White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her.

She had previously known the president from being on "The Apprentice," the reality TV show hosted by Donald Trump before he was won the 2016 presidential election.

Ryan first explained her current relationship with the former Trump aide.

"I've known Omarosa for years and we are not friends anymore," she said.

The CNN contributor said that while working in the Trump administration, Newman made moves to derail her career and reporting.

"She's not a friend; she's a liar and I would say she's evil," Ryan said.

"I hope she can respond to that at some point soon, calling her ‘evil,’" Stelter said.

"She will. I'm sure she will," Ryan said.

Newman has been making media appearances to promote her new book, Unhinged.

Ryan is not the only one to criticize Newman recently. Trump himself called her a "lowlife" on Saturday. The president followed up his comments on Monday via tweet, saying "Wacky Omarosa" was "vicious, but not smart" and "People in the White House hated her."

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, a Democrat, also said that claims Trump made racial comments about him were untrue. Pollster Frank Luntz also said Newman's claims he heard Trump make racial slurs were "flat-out false."

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

MEL WATT, 72, FANNIE MAE CHIEF, INVESTIGATED FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIM BY FEMALE EMPLOYEE (#MeToo)













MEL WATT, 72, FANNIE MAE CHIEF, INVESTIGATED FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIM BY FEMALE EMPLOYEE (#MeToo):

FANNIE MAE OWNS THE LOANS FOR MANY U.S. MILITARY VETERAN HOMEOWNERS.

U.S. MILITARY VETERAN HOMEOWNERS ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES UNDER FANNIE MAE'S LEADERSHIP......WHY??

IF U.S. MILITARY VET HOMEOWNERS EXPERIENCE HARDSHIPS, WHY NOT TRANSFER THOSE LOANS TO VETERANS AFFAIRS ADMIN?

THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIM IS BEING THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED BY A FEDERAL AGENCY.

THE VICTIM HAS HIRED A VERY REPUTABLE ATTORNEY.

MEL WATT IS A CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA NATIVE & FORMER U.S. CONGRESS MEMBER.

MEL WATT IS AN OBAMA ADMIN HOLDOVER. HIS FIVE-YR TERM ENDS IN 2019.

DRAIN THE SWAMP.


Post Sources: Politico, Charlotte Observer, Daily Caller, Youtube


****** **** Federal housing leader Mel Watt under investigation for sexual harassment claim


Mel Watt, a former Democratic congressman from Charlotte who now heads a federal housing agency, is under investigation for harassment of a female employee.

Politico first reported the allegations Friday, citing documents and partial transcripts of conversations between Watt and the employee, which the story did not name. The story describes three 2016 incidents of Watt making sexual advances on the woman.

A statement from Watt through the Federal Housing Finance Agency to McClatchy confirmed an ongoing investigation, as did an attorney for the woman.

“The selective leaks related to this matter are obviously intended to embarrass or to lead to an unfounded or political conclusion.

However, I am confident that the investigation currently in progress will confirm that I have not done anything contrary to law. I will have no further comment while the investigation is in progress,” said Watt, who is the agency’s director.

The investigation began a month or two ago, said Diane Seltzer Torre, an attorney for the woman who alleges the harassment.

Torre said the investigation is being conducted by an official with the U.S. Postal Service. It is typical for an outside agency to investigate claims such as these.

My client did not submit information to the media. She is not looking for attention and doesn’t want to talk to the media,” Torre said.

Torre declined to identify her client nor would she discuss her client’s employment status with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

She said she is not aware of any other complaints against Watt.

Watt, 72, represented Charlotte in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2014, when he was tapped by President Barack Obama to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The agency oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHLBanks, which provide nearly $6 trillion for mortgage markets and financial institutions, according to FHFA.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency was created after the housing crash in 2008 and it serves as the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watt was confirmed by the Senate 57-41 months after he was nominated. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina was one of two Republicans to back Watt’s nomination.

Watt’s five-year term is set to expire in January. Watt is still on the job, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

Watt, an attorney, is married and has two grown children and three grandchildren, according to his FHFA bio.

A Mecklenburg County native, Watt graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill before earning a law degree at Yale. He served one term in the North Carolina state senate.

While in the U.S. House in 2011, Watt tried to slash funding for the Office of Congressional Ethics by 40 percent, a move that was soundly defeated.

Watt and seven colleagues were investigated and cleared by the office for fundraising that took place before a key House vote.

In 2008, Watt had voted to create the Office of Congressional Ethics.

“I wouldn’t call it a ‘personal vendetta,’” Watt told McClatchy at the time. “But I also wouldn’t deny that my experiences had something to do with my view of this agency.”

VICTOR SANTOS-OCHOA,45, MEXICAN IMMIGRANT FELON ILLEGALLY ENTERED USA BORDERS 4 TIMES



VICTOR SANTOS-OCHOA,45, MEXICAN IMMIGRANT FELON ILLEGALLY ENTERED USA BORDERS 4 TIMES:

OCHOA HAS BEEN ARRESTED AT LEAST 20 TIMES, INCLUDING SEVERAL SERIOUS DUI OFFENSES.

HE WAS FINALLY SENTENCED TO 8 YRS IN PRISON.

AFTER SERVING HIS SENTENCED, OCHOA WILL BE DEPORTED AGAIN.

FEDERAL JUDGE HAS ORDERED OCHOA NOT TO RETURN.


Post Sources: AP, Richmond Dispatch, Justice.gov, Youtube


****** Mexican Repeat offender who illegally entered U.S. four times sentenced to 8 years


A Mexican citizen who illegally entered the U.S. four times and racked up a long criminal history was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday, more than twice the term suggested under federal sentencing guidelines.

Victor Santos-Ochoa, 45, convicted of more than 20 other crimes in the U.S. since 1992, pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to illegal re-entry following a conviction of an aggravated felony and was facing a prison term of 37 to 46 months under the sentencing guidelines.

“Quite frankly, you are the type of individual U.S. immigration policy is intended to keep out of the United States,” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson told Santos-Ochoa shortly before imposing the term.

Earlier, Hudson told Nia Vidal, Santos-Ochoa’s lawyer, that he has handled 200 immigration cases as a federal judge.

“I believe this is the worst,” Hudson said.

S. David Schiller, an assistant U.S. attorney, told Hudson, “I have done in excess of 500 of these ... cases. I haven’t seen many that come close to this.”

According to court records, the U.S. attorney’s office said that between 1992 and 2007, Santos-Ochoa was convicted of 18 misdemeanors in California, Georgia and Virginia and spent eight of those 25 years in state and federal prisons.

He was deported, apparently in 2007, and then re-entered the U.S., showing up in Chesterfield County, where in 2008 he was convicted of malicious wounding. Deported again, he was caught re-entering the U.S. in Arizona in 2010, sentenced to 57 months and deported again.

He returned to Chesterfield, where he was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2016. Deported again, he returned and was most recently arrested in Chesterfield in September for assault and battery of a family member — a 5-year-old child — and another drug charge.

Vidal told Hudson on Thursday that the guideline range of 37 to 46 months already took into account his prior illegal entries and relevant criminal history. She asked the judge to sentence him within the guideline range, which was not binding on Hudson.

But Hudson cited the defendant’s long criminal history and disrespect for the law in going over the guidelines.

Presuming he will be deported again after his eight-year prison term, Hudson told Santos-Ochoa, “Needless to say, do not return to the United States without proper authorization, sir.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

JAMIE DIMON APPROVES TRUMP’S BOOMING ECONOMY (MORE JOBS, MORE MILITARY)











JAMIE DIMON APPROVES OF TRUMP’S BOOMING ECONOMY (MORE JOBS, MORE MILITARY):

U.S. ECONOMY STRONGEST SINCE 2014.

TRUMP’S TRADE WAR YIELDS POSITIVE RESULTS FOR U.S. ECONOMY.

TRUMP KNOWS BUSINESS & BLOWS OFF TRADITIONAL, COUNTERPRODUCTIVE POLITICS.

MEDIA NEEDS TO FAIRLY GIVE THE PRESIDENT CREDIT WHEN IT’S DUE HIM, REGARDLESS OF PARTY.

GOD BLESS AMERICA


Post Sources: CNN, Fox News, 4-Traders, Youtube


***** US economy grows at fastest pace since 2014


The US economy roared into high gear in the spring, growing at the fastest pace in almost four years.
Second-quarter economic growth came in at an annual rate of 4.1%, the government said Friday. That was the best showing since the third quarter of 2014.

By many metrics, the United States economy is in excellent shape: Unemployment is near an 18-year low, factories are seeing more orders, and exports are surging.

Economists are generally predicting slower growth in the second half of the year, as the effects of the tax cut wear off and rising interest rates depress consumer spending.

Already announced tariffs are forecast to be only a slight drag on economic growth, unless more are imposed. And it seems that corporate executives are treading carefully, as surveys of business confidence and hiring expectations begin to flag.

The strong second-quarter growth reflectedlarge increases in orders of durable goods, investment in non-residential construction, exports, intellectual property, and government defense spending.
Weak home construction and increased imports, which subtract from economic growth, took it down a notch.
Growth in the first quarter was revised up slightly, from 2% to 2.2%.

Personal consumption expenditures, a key metric that the Federal Reserve uses to decide whether to raise interest rates, also came in at a very strong 4%, although that may reflect a bounceback from last quarter's 0.5%.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

SECURITY CLEARANCES REVOKED vs FAKE RUSSIA RUINED 2016 ELECTION THEORIES







SECURITY CLEARANCES REVOKED vs FAKE RUSSIA RUINED 2016 ELECTION THEORIES:

WHY DO YOU STILL NEED A TOP SECRET SECURITY CLEARANCE IF YOU ARE NO LONGER A DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE OR NO LONGER AN FBI DIRECTOR??

WHY DO FORMER FED GOVT OFFICIALS WHO ARE NOW PRIVATE CITIZENS, STILL NEED TOP SECRET SECURITY CLEARANCES?

SECURITY CLEARANCES SHOULD NOT BE USED TO SPY ON POLITICIANS, PRIVATE CITIZENS OR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.

SECURITY CLEARANCE PRIVILEGES SHOULD NOT BE SOLD FOR PARTISAN POLITICS.

SECURITY CLEARANCES SHOULD NOT BE USED TO CORRUPT THE U.S. GOVT VIA FALSE INFORMATION.

REVOKING SECURITY CLEARANCES DOES NOT VIOLATE FIRST AMENDMENT, IT’S PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.

EACH ELECTED U.S. PRESIDENT HAS LEGAL DISCRETION TO GRANT OR REVOKE SECURITY CLEARANCES.


Post Sources: Washington Times, Politico, Fox News, Youtube


****** Trump threatens to revoke Obama officials' security clearances


President Trump threatened Monday to revoke security clearance from top Obama administration officials who have fanned the flames of Russian collusion conspiracy theories, a retaliation by the White House that legal scholars said would be unprecedented but not illegal.

On the president’s security clearance hit list are former CIA Director John O. Brennan, former Director of National Security James R. Clapper, former FBI Director James B. Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and National Security Agency Director Michael V. Hayden, said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“They’ve politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service security clearances,” she said. “Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russiaagainst the president is extremely inappropriate.”

Former intelligence officials typically keep their high-level security clearances after leaving government jobs and sometimes provide informal advice to current officials.

These six officials publicly leveled accusations of criminal wrongdoing — including treason — against Mr. Trump in frequent TV news appearances.

Several also pocket paychecks for doing it.


Mr. Brennan is a paid analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. Mr. Clapper and Mr. Hayden are paid analysts for CNN.

Mr. Clapper also is suspected of leaking to CNN in January 2017 information about the anti-Trump dossier that helped spur the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation.

Mr. Brennan took several jabs at the president last week after his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” he tweeted.

Mrs. Sanders said the president thinks top-security clearance for former officials who make “these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

Sean M. Bigley, a lawyer specializing in security clearance cases, said the president was in uncharted territory but as commander in chief had carte blanche authority to revoke security clearances.

“There is nothing legally that would preclude the president from taking that action,” he said.

What’s more, the only recourse to challenge a security clearance revocation is through an administrative appeal process that the president could deny, said Mr. Bigley.

The president’s opponents in Washington quickly accused him of politicizing security clearances.

Mr. Clapper responded on CNN, “It’s kind of a sad commentary, where for political reasons, this is kind of a petty way of retribution, I suppose, for speaking out against the president.”

He said all of the former officials have been speaking “out of genuine concerns about President Trump.”

Others called it an attack on free speech.


Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who has spearheaded accusations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, said the president had set “a terrible new precedent.”

“An enemies list is ugly, undemocratic and un-American. Is there no length Trump will not go to stifle opposition? Wake up GOP,” Mr. Schiff tweeted.

“This is what totalitarianism looks like,” tweeted Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii Democrat.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, raised the idea of targeting Mr. Brennan’s security clearance in a tweet early Monday and later presented the suggestion to Mr. Trump in a meeting at the White House.

Mr. Paul has been one of the most vocal defenders of Mr. Trump’s performance at the Helsinki meeting, and Mr. Brennan has been one of the loudest critics.

“Public officials should not use their security clearances to leverage speaking fees or network talking head fees,” Mr. Paul tweeted.

The White House announcement followed Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Paul.

The unusual circumstances engulfing Mr. Trump’s presidency made the scrutiny clearance threat “very appropriate,” said David K. Rehr, a scholar of Washington politics at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

He said that all of the Obama intelligence officials on the list had their fingers in the Trump collusion conspiracy and now had a financial incentive to promote the conspiracy theories.

“People need to know that if they are public servants that they are public servants and not servants of political campaigns,” he said.

Mrs. Sanders rejected the accusation that the president was seeking to punish the former officials for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

“The president doesn’t like the fact that people are politicizing agencies and departments that are specifically meant to not be political and not meant to be monetized off of security clearances,” she said. “When you’re the person that holds the nation’s deepest, most-sacred secrets at your hands, and you go out and you make false accusations against the president of the United States, he thinks that is something to be very concerned with, and we’re exploring what those options are and what that looks like.”

The politicizing of security clearances and the security clearance process is not entirely new to Washington.

Democrats pounced on the Trump White House for the slow pace of security clearance approval for top aides such as Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced legislation to strip Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of her security clearance over use of a secret email account and email server for official business as secretary of state.


Mrs. Clinton also came under fire from Republicans for arranging top-secret security clearance for her attorney David Kendall amid the email scandal.

Mr. McCabe lost his security clearance when he was fired as FBI deputy director in January.

“You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps,” said McCabe spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz.

Mr. Comey has been engaged in an escalating war of words with Mr. Trumpsince the president fired him in May 2017.

Ms. Rice said Sunday on a talk show that she didn’t know Mr. Trump’s motivations for seeking a better relationship with Russia, but “I think that’s a legitimate question.”

She called Mr. Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Mr. Putin “a historic mistake.”

As national security adviser under Mr. Obama, Ms. Rice was widely criticized for initially explaining the terrorist attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S. The performance prevented her from being nominated as secretary of state.

Mr. Clapper raised questions last August on CNN about Mr. Trump’s “ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office. I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out.”

Mr. Hayden has published a book this year titled “The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.” He said on CBS this spring of Mr. Trump, “We’ve had presidents who disagree with us; we’ve had presidents who lie. We’ve not had presidents for whom objective reality doesn’t seem to be compelling.”

Former House intelligence committee Chairman Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, called Mr. Trump’s action petty.

“It’s certainly below the stature of the office of the president of the United States,” he said on CNN. “I just wish that the president would be bigger than that.”

He said of Mr. Brennan, “It’s also not customary for the former CIA director to be off the reservation where he is, either. I don’t think John Brennan should do it.”

Monday, July 23, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC WINS 2020 RNC CONVENTION BID (NON-PARTISAN DEMOCRAT MAYOR)








CHARLOTTE, NC WINS 2020 RNC CONVENTION BID (NON-PARTISAN DEMOCRAT MAYOR):

CHARLOTTE MAYOR VI LYLES (DEMOCRAT) WISELY CHOSE BUSINESS & JOBS OVER FOOLISH PARTISAN POLITICS.

CHARLOTTE VOTERS NEED TO FIRE ALL CLOSE-MINDED PARTISAN POLITICIANS SO THE CITY’S ECONOMY CAN FINALLY REBOUND.

NOW IT’S TIME FOR CHARLOTTE TO DEVELOP A ZOO & OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS THAT WILL ENTERTAIN LARGE CROWDS FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK.

VI LYLES WOULD SOMEDAY MAKE A GREAT PROGRESSIVE 21st CENTURY GOVERNOR FOR NORTH CAROLINA.

CONGRATS


Post Sources: Charlotte Observer, Youtube


****** GOP picks Charlotte for 2020 convention. Now, the fundraising and organizing begin


Charlotte won its second national political convention in a decade Friday, kicking off two years of planning, fundraising and anticipation.

The Republican National Committee on Friday formally awarded Charlotte the 2020 party event, pushing Charlotte into a small group of cities that will have held both major party conventions.

The vote capped a dramatic week in which the Charlotte City Council agreed to host the convention Monday by a single vote. Four Democrats joined two Republicans in support. Five Democrats voted no.


“We could not be more excited,” North Carolina GOP Chair Robin Hayes said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the strong leadership in Charlotte that has followed a long North Carolina tradition of putting the needs and opportunities of our people before politics.”

But politics was behind the contentiousness surrounding the council decision.

More than 100 people debated the convention publicly and passionately before Monday’s council vote. Through it all, Democratic Mayor Vi Lyles championed the event and urged people to put partisanship aside.

Asked Friday if she would have started the bidding process had she known the opposition it would spark, she said she would have. She said the city would have had the same debate, even if the outcome may have been different.

“I think we would have done exactly what we did,” she told reporters. “The outcome I can’t project.”

Friday’s RNC vote means Charlotte will host its second national political convention eight years after finding itself the site of Democrat Barack Obama’s nomination for a second term.

Lyles and council members who joined her in Austin said they’re confident that law enforcement officials can provide security for the convention and the city.

“We’ve got two years to plan for protests we know will happen,” said Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, a Democrat.

Republican council member Ed Driggs agreed.

“We were very clear-headed about the political climate we’re in right now,” Driggs said. “We felt the benefits to the city outweigh the risks.”

Businessman Ned Curran co-chairs the host committee with Doug Lebda, the founder of Lending Tree, and attorney Walter Price. Former council member John Lassiter will be the host committee’s CEO and executive director.

Curran said the committee is “way ahead of schedule” in reaching its $70 million fundraising goal. In 2012 Democrats fell $10 million short of theirs. Duke shareholders footed about $6 million of that after the company was not repaid.

Lassiter told reporters the host committee already has raised “more than 10 percent” of what they need.

Other Republicans applauded the RNC’s selection.

“I think it’s going to be great,” said Saul Anunzis, Michigan’s former GOP chairman. “It’ll make sense politically for us.”

GOP National Chair Ronna McDaniel complimented not only Charlotte but Lyles.

“I love that it’s the Queen City and we have Mayor Vi Lyles — you are a queen,” McDaniel said. “We look forward to Charlotte being center stage when the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump and Mike Pence for a second term.”

“To be one of only a few American cities to host conventions from both political parties is a testament to the people of our state,” Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s former governor and Charlotte’s former mayor, said in a statement.

The convention is expected to involve not only uptown Charlotte but venues around the region.

“Every venue in the region is in play, and part of the attraction,” Curran said.


FTC & DEPT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS CRACKS DOWN ON FAKE VETERAN CHARITIES




FTC & DEPT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS CRACKS DOWN ON FAKE VETERAN CHARITIES:

FAKE VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVE MILLIONS ANNUALLY FROM THE VA BUT DON’T HELP VETS.

FAKE VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS ARE GRANTED NON-PROFIT IRS STATUS BUT DON’T HELP VETS.

IT’S TIME FOR CONGRESS TO ORDER ANNUAL AUDITS OF ALL AGENCIES & CHARITIES CLAIMING TO HELP VETS.


Post Sources: Military Times, Forbes, USA Today, Non-Profit Quarterly, WTVA, Youtube


******Here’s how state and federal authorities are targeting sham veteran charities


Federal and state authorities have put sham veteran charities on notice.

“I’m here to warn scam artists: Watch out. We’re investigating complaints. We will track you down, and in partnerships with our [state] attorneys general, we will shut you down,” said John Wobensmith, Maryland Secretary of State, during a news conference announcing the initiative that included other states’ attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance..

The FTC ― with law enforcement officials and charity regulators in 70 offices from every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico ― announced “Operation Donate with Honor,” which includes the crackdown on sham charities, as well as an education campaign for potential donors. Officials announced more than 100 actions across the country.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons announced action against a charity, Help the Vets, Inc., which was run by Neil G. “Paul” Paulson, Sr., who is reportedly an Army veteran, according to his Guidestar charity profile, and according to an Internet Archive of Help The Vets’ website. His military service couldn’t be immediately confirmed. The Guidestar profile says the charity is closed.

Paulson and Help the Vets Inc. will be banned from soliciting charitable contributions under settlements with the FTC and the states of Florida, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio and Oregon, for allegedly falsely promising donors their contributions would help wounded and disabled veterans. Officials alleged that Help the Vets collected more than $20 million from 2014 through 2017, and that 95 percent of those donations went to fundraising, administrative expenses and Paulson’s salary and benefits ... not to veterans.

Attorneys for Paulson and for Help the Vets Inc. declined to comment, they said, “because there is a lawsuit pending.”

Paulson also reportedly operated charities under the names of American Disabled Veterans Foundation, Veterans Fighting Breast Cancer, Vets Fighting Breast Cancer, Military Families of America and Veterans Emergency Blood Bank.

The FTC has also charged another charity operator, Travis Deloy Peterson, with using fake veterans charities and making millions of illegal robocalls to solicit donations of cars, boats and other property, claiming that the donations would go to veterans charities and that they were tax deductible. Instead, officials allege, he sold the items for his own benefit.

A federal court in Utah has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Peterson from making unlawful robocalls or engaging in misrepresentations about charitable donations, as the FTC moves ahead with its enforcement action. Peterson is accused of violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s telemarketing sales rule.

Attempts to reach Peterson were unsuccessful.

According to the FTC complaint, Peterson allegedly used the charity names Veterans of America, Vehicles for Veterans, Saving Our Soldiers, Donate your Car, Donate That Car, Act of Valor, and Medal of Honor.

The state enforcement actions involved charities seeking donations online, and by telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts, and at retail stores, falsely promising to help homeless and disabled veterans, to provide veterans with employment counseling, and to send care packages to service members.

“It’s the sad truth there are individuals and organizations that seek to take advantage of the genuine altruism of potential donors, and seek fraudulently to raise money on the backs of veterans to benefit themselves,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.

That said, officials noted that the vast majority of charitable organizations do good and important work. The “Operation Donate with Honor:” campaign is providing resources to help donors find those charities that legitimately meet the needs the donor wants to help address.

As part of their education campaign, officials are urging potential donors to be aware that just because a charity’s name includes words such as “veteran” or “military,” it doesn’t mean the organization is legitimate. At www.ftc.gov/Charity, officials have provided materials on donating to charities that help veterans, those that help service members and their families, and donating through an online giving portal.

This isn’t the first time the FTC has addressed the problem.

In 2009, the FTC and officials in 49 states launched “Operation False Charity,” a crackdown on allegedly fraudulent telemarketers who claimed to help police, firefighters and veterans.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

U.S. MILITARY VETERAN NON-PROFIT AGENCY FRAUD (VA FUNDS ABUSE)










U.S. MILITARY VETERAN NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION FRAUD (VA FUNDS ABUSE):

ADOPT-A-VET HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION & FINANCIAL HARDSHIP AGENCY FRAUD & ABUSE.

THEY SERVED & SACRIFICED HONORABLY, SO WHY MUST THEY NOW BEG TO RECEIVE HELP?

WHY ARE SO MANY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, AGENCIES & CHURCHES CLAIMING TO HELP VETS, ALLOWED BY CONGRESS TO DO VERY LITTLE FOR VETS TO MAINTAIN THEIR NON-PROFIT STATUS?

WHY DOESN’T CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO ANNUALLY AUDIT ALL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS & AGENCIES WHICH CLAIM TO HELP HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS BEING DENIED VA LOANS BY FANNIE MAE AND MORTGAGE SERVICE COMPANIES?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS BEING FORCED INTO FORECLOSURE BY LENDERS?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS HOMELESS OR AT-RISK OF BEING HOMELESS?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS HUNGRY OR BEING DENIED FOOD STAMPS?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS BEING BURDENED WITH STUDENT LOAN DEBT WITH NO RELIEF?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS BEING DENIED SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE BLOCKING THEM FROM CREATING JOBS?

WHY ARE SO MANY HONORABLE U.S. MILITARY VETS IN SOUTHERN STATES BEING PAID VERY LOW WAGES?

WHY???


Post Sources: CNN, FTC, Huffington Post, AP, Military Family Support Foundation, Youtube


******** Veterans Charity Fraud: Despite Widespread Outrage, Groups Continue To Abuse Public Trust


For hundreds of thousands of veterans returning home from the battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, making it home alive is just the first challenge.

An estimated 25 percent of returning U.S. service members will experience combat-related problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression or anxiety disorders. More veterans are committing suicide than are dying in combat overseas — 1,000 former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. About 50,000 veterans are experiencing chronic homelessness, according to nonprofit housing group HELP USA.

And the unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-old veterans is 21 percent, much higher than the 16.6 percent rate for non-veterans of the same age.

Though the VA has come a long way from the 1970s, when many Vietnam veterans failed to reintegrate into society and became homeless and addicted to drugs, the department still has problems. The VA bureaucracy is notoriously difficult to navigate, and veterans are left to figure out on their own what benefits they are eligible for. As a result, many fall through the cracks — more than 720,000 veterans do not take advantage of VA benefits for which they are eligible.

To fill in the gap, veterans charities are a crucial resource — providing financial assistance and job training, funding medical research and rehabilitative services, and helping veterans obtain government benefits. Every year, Americans give millions of dollars to such groups, expecting that the money will assist those who’ve served their country.

But as a group, veterans charities are prone to abuse, profiteering and outright fraud, say philanthropy watchdogs.

Almost half of the 39 veterans charities rated by the American Institute of Philanthropy in its April/May 2011 report received F grades, largely because they devoted only a small ratio of their expenses to charitable programs, in part due to excessive fundraising expenses. Some of these groups defend their spending by arguing that reliance on such ratios is misleading, claiming that new nonprofits may have to spend over 50 percent of their revenue on outreach, education and fundraising for a while. But charities that spend up to 90 percent of their donations on overhead have been widely condemned and were the subject of congressional hearings in 2007.

Despite bipartisan outrage at such practices, there was no real follow-up, either through enforcement efforts or new rules and regulations. And several of the charities publicly shamed at those hearings continue to receive poor grades. In the last few years, there have been several prominent cases of nonprofit groups that preyed on the public’s patriotism and generosity, promising assistance to veterans while lining their own pockets. They range from an impostor — currently one of the most-sought fugitives in the country — who claimed he was a Navy commander and ripped off at least $2 million, to a classic fraudster, who set up a table for non-existent veterans groups in front of the local post office and raked in money for years.

CRUCIAL LIFELINE TO THOUSANDS OF VETERANS

Their misdeeds cast a pall over the sector, making the public skeptical of veterans charities and threatening future donations to those groups that deserve praise.

“Veterans charities are extraordinarily important,” Oregon Attorney General John Kroger tells The Huffington Post. “There is a lot the VA doesn’t do, and charities help fill that gap. And the majority of them do an excellent job, but if you’re looking to line your own pocket, it’s an easy way to raise money. If you’re looking for a feel-good cause that can raise money on the phone, there is very little that has as much appeal as veterans’ issues.”

Darnell Epps, a 52-year-old veteran living in Virginia Beach, was homeless for years until he discovered Vetshouse, the only nonprofit in Virginia to help homeless veterans. Through the group, he was given a car to help him start his cleaning business and provided with transitional housing and food.

“If it wasn’t for them, I would probably still be out on the street,” he says. “They gave me my life back. The VA can’t do it all and these charities are key; they’ve helped many of us vets.”

Ed Edmundson credits veterans charities with easing the burden of his son, Eric, who incurred shrapnel wounds and a brain injury in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq. The North Carolina native says he sold his business and cashed in his savings and retirement to pay for the cost of moving in with Eric and his family to provide round-the-clock care. Some of the family’s expenses, including the cost of flying Eric’s wife and daughter from Alaska to Walter Reed Medical Center, were covered by various charities, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the Semper Fi Fund.

“Non-profit organizations became an answer to our prayers,” says Edmundson.

The Wounded Warrior Project and several other prominent veterans charities such as Fisher House Foundation, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and the National Military Family Association, have been praised for assisting thousands of veterans.

ABUSING THE TRUST OF DONORS: ‘THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM’

Attorney General Kroger says the issue is close to his heart since he himself is a veteran of the Marine Corps. But when his office recently surveyed the rising number of charities in Oregon and which ones spend the most on overhead as opposed to charity, “a number of veterans groups came up extraordinarily high on the list. One was outright fraud — a guy setting up a table at a shopping mall — and another problem was people who were raising money and not being honest about where the money was going. This is a huge problem.”

Since taking office in 2009, Kroger has been particularly aggressive in taking legal action against veterans charities that abuse the trust of donors. Among his cases is a lawsuit against Veterans of Oregon, charging that the charity claimed that donations were helping homeless and hospitalized veterans when in fact it was largely used to award medals to veterans. In addition, the group failed to disclose to donors that its fundraising partner kept 80 percent of the money it raised. The head of the charity, William “John” Neuman, is fighting the case, adamantly denying to the Chronicle of Philanthropy that he misled donors.

Kroger also sued the Oregon War Veterans Association and Military Family Support Foundation, claiming that founder Greg Warnock kept most of the money he raised and used donations to make contributions to powerful politicians in the state. The group has called the suit “baseless” and called for an investigation of Kroger.

After initially declining to comment, Warnock wrote HuffPost a lengthy statement. Among his claims, he states that “Kroger’s claims are purely political in nature and do not warrant the kind of destructive abuse we are enduring from him, especially considering all of the amazing accomplishments we have made on behalf of veterans in Oregon and beyond.” Warnock vehemently denies that he kept most of the money his group raised and claims that Kroger neglected to interview the group’s board members, donors or recipients. Warnock also says the campaign contributions were permitted political activity.

The attorney general says he can’t comment due to the pending litigation but emphasizes, “When you’re going after people and trying to hold them accountable, lots of them fire back.”

Such schemes that exploit patriotic sentiment for the plight of veterans have been around for many decades. In 1926, the New York Evening Post exposed a plot hatched in the wake of the armistice that ended World War One by the “battalions of bunk” to raise several million dollars “purporting to aid former soldiers but actually hiding the proceeds away in secret bank accounts.” Part of the scheme involved several cleaning women who borrowed neighbors’ children, dressed them in rags and pleaded for money from passersby. And in 1958, five Chicagoans were dragged before the House veterans affairs committee to defend themselves against charges that they bilked Disabled American Veterans of $2 million — three of them were later charged with mail fraud and conspiracy. That same year, Rep. Olin Teague “found so much abuse in fund raising [sic] for veterans” that he urged the House Government Operations Committee to open a wide-ranging probe into the entire field of tax-exempt charitable fundraising, reported the Gadsden Times.

“The most popular causes — veterans, firefighters, police — tend to be the least efficient because they attract money-hungry types,” says Daniel Borochoff, the president of the American Institute of Philanthropy. “There is very little oversight so it keeps happening again and again.” He notes that most enforcement happens on the state level, which often just prompts fraudulent groups to cross state lines “and come out under a different name.”

BIPARTISAN OUTRAGE AT ‘INTOLERABLE FRAUD’

The prevalence of fraud and misrepresentation in the sector has prompted Congressional scrutiny and bipartisan outrage but very few repercussions. In 2004, the Senate Finance Committee called for a panel to examine nonprofit governance, transparency and ethical standards. Though it concluded that government oversight and regulation was necessary to deter abuse, misrepresentation and fraud, it also maintained that charities are granted wide latitude in their activities due to First Amendment protections and did not recommend any new legislation.

In December 2007 and January 2008, the House Oversight Committee held hearings to spotlight abuses in the system, highlighting several egregious examples. Then-chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) noted that the American Institute of Philanthropy had given failing grades to 70 percent of the veterans charities it examined for several reasons: managing their resources poorly, paying high overhead costs and direct mail campaigns and excessive salaries. Citing the example of the American Veterans Relief Foundation, which raised $3.6 million and spent only $21,000 on veterans’ grants and assistance, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) thundered:

They fall into the category of what I would call “profiteering,” profiteering by those who use the name of a soldier or a cause in order to justify fundraising that ultimately leads to profit for individuals who may or may not be veterans, may or may not have any need, may simply be good at fundraising.
That particular charity is now defunct, but two other prominent charities whose leaders were subpoenaed to appear before the committee still operate and continue their questionable practices.

One of the hearing’s most dramatic confrontations was with Roger Chapin, a self-described “nonprofit entrepreneur” and former
real-estate developer who has launched more than 20 charities. One of those charities, Help Hospitalized Veterans, has been praised for distributing millions of therapeutic arts and crafts gifts to patients at VA medical centers, state nursing homes and military hospitals. The group, which also provides a variety of services to homebound veterans and cash support to many VA special events, has been praised by presidents and Congressional leaders since its founding in 1971.

But a Forbes magazine articles questioned whether Chapin and his wife were using their charities to fund their high salaries and illegitimate expenses such as vehicles, real estate investments and a $17,000 annual country club membership. In addition, the magazine reported that out of every dollar donated to HHV, only 9 cents went to the kits, 5 cents went to administrative expenses and for counselors visiting hospitals and 47 cents went to direct-mail expenses.

One of the charities’ critics was Edmundson, who said he didn’t feel it was “appropriate” to give a small percentage of donations to charity. He added, “I am concerned, the negative effect that the few self-serving non-profits will have on the ability of the legitimate non-profits to obtain funding from the general public. It would be an unfortunate turn of events if the service they provide is not available. As I have shared, the service they provide is immediate and personalized to the needs of the soldiers and their families.”

Chapin didn’t win any friends by reportedly going into hiding after refusing to comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee. When he did finally appear a month later, he explained that fundraising for many charities across the country depends on direct-mail expenses and that it was unfair to pick on his charity. Chapin claimed that HHV was awarded two stars by Charity Navigator, a leading watchdog group. Coming to his defense was Richard Viguerie, prominent conservative fundraiser, who lashed out at the committee, claiming that Waxman’s agenda was “unconstitutional” and “mean” and stating that advertising mail can be valuable just by generating sympathy for returning veterans.

Chapin retired from Help Hospitalized Veterans in 2009 with a $2.2 million payment package. He still serves as the president of another of his charities, the Salute to America’s Heroes Foundation. Both charities were given zero stars in Charity Navigator’s most recent evaluation, though they have increased the percentage of funds they spent on charitable programs.

Reached at home, Chapin said both charities had not made any changes in response to the criticism of their fundraising expenses, defiantly stating, “Hell, we just keep doing what we’ve been doing.” He called the hearing a “charade” and a “witch hunt,” explaining that SAHF has helped almost 20,000 veterans. He continued to defend the heavy reliance and spending on direct mail practitioners, even in the age of Facebook and Twitter and online charitable tools. “It’s an expensive way to raise money but we’re all challenged and it’s tough as hell to get donations. But something is a hell of a lot better than nothing.”

The other target in the sights of lawmakers at the 2007 hearing was Pamela Seman, the executive director of the Disabled Veterans Association, a charity which kept only $500,000 out of $4.5 million in donations raised — about 10 percent — through a professional fundraising group.

“It makes all of us angry that the veterans, people who have served our country are used to raise money to give [to] some professional organization in the business,” said Waxman. “It’s absolutely inexcusable.”

Seman, who still leads the organization, did not return calls for comment. DVA received zero stars in its latest evaluation from Charity Navigator and an F rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Its fundraising ratio has grown even higher, with only 5 percent going to charitable programs.

WASHINGTON DITHERS WHILE FRAUD CONTINUES

In Washington, there has not been much action. On the first day of the 2007 hearings, former Rep. Sarbanes, the author of the post-Enron accounting rules that bear his name, stated that there may be a need for stricter regulation of charities, emphasizing that “charities that serve our veterans have an extra obligation because there is a deeper trust placed in them, a broader trust than with respect to just about any other charitable endeavor.”

Though there was some discussion of legislative remedies in the wake of the hearings, especially in regard to requiring more disclosure of charity spending in direct mail pitches, nothing happened. Though some watchdog groups have pressed for more hearings to re-examine the issue, none are planned. A spokesman for Rep. Issa, who now chairs the Oversight Committee, did not return emails requesting comment.

“It got a lot of press attention during the hearings but after that died down, there wasn’t any significant demand for more disclosure or information,” says Bennett Weiner, the COO of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and an advocate of voluntary standards rather than government regulation. He says that veterans charities have slightly improved their performance, noting that the number which failed to meet one or more of their standards dropped from 62 to 54 percent. But he notes: “No question about it, veterans and police and firefighter groups have been well-known to be subject to questionable practices by those who got involved in the field and realize that there is public sympathy and the chance to raise money.”

Meanwhile, the alleged scams continue. Last month, prosecutors in Ohio pursued Vietnam veteran Michael Muhammad, claiming that he raised money for himself through his charities, Help Homeless Veterans and Veterans Hope Community House. They also claim that he was charging veterans to stay at a shelter that offered horrible living conditions. His lawyer denies the charges, saying that the money raised went to aid veterans.

And last week, an associate of one of the most brazen fundraising fraudsters in recent history pled guilty to corruption, theft and money laundering at a county court in Ohio. Bianca Contreras was the treasurer of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a group founded by a man known as Bobby Thompson, who is accused of using a false identity to raise millions of dollars.

Though the money was ostensibly intended for Navy veterans and Thompson attracted praise from Congressional leaders for his purported efforts, the money went into his own pocket, say attorneys general in several states. Thompson is currently a fugitive, and officials remain tight-lipped about any progress in finding him. But Contreras is expected to cooperate with prosecutors, which may reveal some clues to his identity. The 39-year-old Tampa woman faces up to 25 years in prison when she comes up for sentencing in August.

Donors who’ve been misled can be hard to identify, since most are not aware that they’ve been ripped off, says Weiner. “The number one recommendation for people wanting to contribute to a good cause is to check out the charity — the vast majority of people don’t do that. Get a financial report from the group’s website, verify that they are properly registered in your state, check with a third-party group that checks these groups out.”

This story has been updated to include comment from Greg Warnock, founder of Military Family Support Foundation.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

IMMIGRATION & EDUCATION - LET IN MORE AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS (BLOOMBERG OPINION COMMENTARY)










EDUCATION & IMMIGRATION - LET IN MORE AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS (OPINION COMMENTARY):

CURRENT RESEARCH SHOWS IMMIGRANTS FROM KENYA, NIGERIA, NEPAL, GHANA AND SAUDI ARABIA ARE OFTEN WELL-EDUCATED & HIGHLY SKILLED.

WHILE IMMIGRANTS FROM MEXICO, HONDURAS, GUATEMALA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND EL SALVADOR ARE OFTEN THE LEAST EDUCATED & LOW SKILLED.


Post Sources: Bloomberg, Youtube


******* Want Educated Immigrants? Let In More Africans


~ Highly skilled? Check. Hardworking? Check. English-speaking? Check. Ready to integrate? Check.

The uproar over White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s comments about illegal immigration in an interview with National Public Radio last week still hasn’t entirely died down. I haven’t found the resulting discussion to be super-enlightening, so, as I did with an earlier Kelly comment about how nobody knows anybody in the military anymore, I decided to see if a few charts might clear things up.

To review, Kelly argued that most undocumented immigrants are “not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society.” He went on:

They're overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from — fourth, fifth, sixth grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English, obviously that's a big thing. They don't speak English. They don't integrate well, they don't have skills. They're not bad people. They're coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws.

So … let’s dig into the data. More than 70 percent of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico and Central America, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Mexico is by far the most common country of origin, but the population of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. (both documented and undocumented) actually fell 6 percent from 2007 to 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, while the numbers of Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans in the U.S. continued to grow.

So when we talk about illegal immigration into the U.S., we’re mainly talking about immigration from those four countries, with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala playing a growing role and Mexico a huge but shrinking one.

And yes, most of those who have come to the U.S. from these countries are probably of rural origin, although (1) there’s not much good data on that and (2) there are indications that the rural share has been getting less “overwhelming” in recent years as Mexico and El Salvador, the two biggest sources of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., have urbanized.

Much better data is available on the characteristics of foreign-born people here in the U.S., most of it from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an annual survey of about 2 million households first conducted in 2005.

The ACS does not sort immigrants by whether they have permission to be in the U.S. or not. 1 (Estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., in fact, are arrived at by taking the totals from the ACS and subtracting out the numbers of temporary and permanent lawful residents provided by the Department of Homeland Security.)

Still, it offers much insight into the characteristics of different immigrant groups. To get back to Kelly’s comment, here are the countries from which immigrants in the U.S. have the least formal education, according to the 2016 ACS:

So yes, the people who have come to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America tend not to have a lot of schooling.

The European nations of Portugal, Italy and Greece are also on this list, although most immigrants from those countries arrived in the U.S. a long time ago so there’s understandably not much grumbling about them.

Meanwhile, the countries from which the most-educated foreign-born U.S. residents hail make for quite a diverse bunch.

Next, let’s examine Kelly’s comments about non-English-speakers. He’s right that immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras struggle with the language, although this time around, they cede first place to Myanmar:

The list of countries from which immigrants in the U.S. are least likely to struggle with English are, unsurprisingly, all English-speaking countries, so I’m not going to bother with a chart. Extra credit, though, to the Netherlands and Germany for making the top 10 despite having their own languages, and to Trinidad & Tobago for beating out the U.K. for first place.

It’s important to remember, though, that immigrants from non-English-speaking countries have always struggled with the language. Many millions of immigrants from Germany, Italy and other European countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries never did become fluent in English. But their children did!

The kids of today’s immigrants are learning English, too: Of people born in the U.S. who speak Spanish at home, reports the Census Bureau, 83 percent also speak English very well. The percentage is slightly higher — 87 percent — among those who speak other Indo-European languages at home, and is again 83 percent for those who speak Asian and Pacific languages at home.

Finally, there’s Kelly’s assertion that undocumented immigrants don’t integrate well. Language ability is one measure of integration. Employment is surely another one. When I ran a list of the countries from which immigrants in the U.S. have the highest employment-to-population ratio, some familiar names popped up:

The employment-population ratio for Mexican-born U.S. residents, by the way, is 65.5 percent, which ranks it 28th out of the 80 countries for which there’s data.

There are some caveats I should trot out here:

The immigrant populations from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are younger and more male than the overall U.S. population, which skews employment ratios upward, and since this data covers everyone age 16 and up, college and even high school students count against the total — which brings the ratio down among groups likely to pursue higher education. Still, their strong employment performance isn't a fluke; the Cato Institute's David Bier offers up lots of other evidence that Central Americans are integrating pretty well.

The foreign-born residents with the lowest employment-population ratios hail mainly from countries (Hungary, Italy, Greece, Germany) from which most immigrants arrived decades ago and are now in their 60s or older. The very lowest employment-population ratio, though, is for those born in Saudi Arabia, most of whom are in the U.S. for college or graduate school.

And while no other country of origin has a majority of its U.S. residents currently enrolled in higher education, Kenya, Nigeria, Nepal and Ghana have the highest percentages after Saudi Arabia. So immigrants from Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are near the top in both employment-population ratio and higher-education enrollment, and those from Nigeria are also near the top in educational attainment.

With that, let me offer my two cents on Kelly’s statement: It appears to be factually accurate in most of its characterizations of today’s undocumented immigrants, and I think the people decrying it as “racist” are for the most part just devaluing the term “racist.” His “they don’t integrate well” comment grates, though, given that Kelly and most other Americans are descended at least in part from rural people with limited education who didn’t speak any English when they got here.

And while there is a case to be made that education and English are far more important to success in the U.S. than they were a century ago, one certainly can’t depict Central Americans in particular as sitting around twiddling their thumbs wondering how they will ever integrate into U.S. society. They’re too busy working.

Also — and nothing Kelly said contradicted this, but some things his boss has reportedly said certainly have — what the charts above tell me is that if we want more high-skilled, hardworking, English-speaking, ready-to-integrate immigrants, it looks like the most obvious place to find them is in African countries where English is widely spoken.

The survey asks respondents whether they are citizens but does not ask the non-citizens to go into further detail.

These aren’t necessarily all immigrants who are planning to stay in the U.S. for good — a 25-year-old from India who is working on a doctorate at a U.S. university and planning to head home afterwards shows up, too. But close enough.

MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS vs AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS (DEMOCRATS DISCRIMINATE & DIVIDE)














MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS vs AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS (DEMOCRATS DISCRIMINATE & DIVIDE):

WE ARE ALL ONE BUT DEMOCRATS APPEAR TO FIGHT MORE FOR MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS THAN BLACKS.

IS IT BETTER TO SEPARATE BLACK CHILDREN FROM FAMILIES THAN MEXICAN CHILDREN FROM FAMILIES?

DEMOCRATS ALSO ENDORSE TAKING JOBS FROM YOUNG BLACK MEN TO GIVE TO MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS.

YET DURING EACH MAJOR ELECTION DEMOCRATS SEEK THE BLACK MAJORITY VOTE.

IF WE ARE ALL ONE, WHY CAN'T BOTH AFRICAN & MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS BENEFIT FROM FAIR, UNBIASED IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT??


Post Sources: Bloomberg, Daily Republic, Youtube


******** Liberals say immigration enforcement racist, but Black men most likely to benefit


Donald Trump’s election victory over Hillary Clinton seemed to herald a new era for border security and immigration enforcement. But his polarizing and occasionally ignorant comments about immigrants have handed his adversaries a convenient pretext for stymying compromise on immigration reform: racism.

Left-leaning advocacy groups and a host of Democrats all too often shy away from the specifics of the debate and instead lean on cries of bigotry, resorting to claims like that of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has described Trump’s approach to immigration reform as an effort to “make America white again.”

Claims that immigration enforcement equals racism ignore the reality that the group most likely to benefit from a tougher approach to immigration enforcement is young black men, who often compete with recent immigrants for low-skill jobs.

This dynamic played out recently at a large bakery in Chicago that supplies buns to McDonald’s. Some 800 immigrant laborers, most of them from Mexico, lost their jobs last year after an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Cloverhill Bakery, owned by Aryzta, a big Swiss food conglomerate, had to hire new workers, 80 percent to 90 percent of whom are African-American. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the new workers are paid $14 per hour, or $4 per hour more than the (illegal) immigrant workers.

In this case, and in many others, the beneficiaries of immigration enforcement were working-class blacks, who are often passed over for jobs by unscrupulous employers.

The labor force participation rate for adult black men has declined steadily since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which ushered in a new era of mass immigration. In 1973, the rate was 79 percent. It is now at 68 percent, and the Bureau of Labor projects that it will decline to 61 percent by 2026.

The Obama White House in 2016 produced a 48-page report acknowledging that immigration does not help the labor force participation rate of the native-born. It concluded, however, that “immigration reform would raise the overall participation rate by bringing in new workers of prime working age.”

Although the report used the term “new workers,” Democrats may also be tempted by the prospect of new voters. But they should be aware that in courting one group, they risk losing others.

African-Americans tend to be a reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party, but they have repeatedly indicated in public opinion surveys that they want significantly less immigration.

A recent Harvard-Harris poll found that African-Americans favor reducing legal immigration more than any other demographic group: 85 percent want less than the million-plus we allow annually, and 54 percent opted for the most stringent choices offered – 250,000 immigrants per year or less, or none at all.

These attitudes are rational.

In a 2010 study on the social effects of immigration, the Cornell University professor Vernon Briggs concluded: “No racial or ethnic group has benefited less or been harmed more than the nation’s African-American community.”

The Harvard economist George Borjas has found that between 1980 and 2000, one-third of the decline in the employment among black male high school dropouts was attributable to immigration. He also reported “a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates.”

University of Notre Dame professor Stephen Steinberg argued in a 2014 paper on neoliberal immigration policies and their effects on African-Americans that thanks to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, “African-Americans found themselves in the proverbial position of being ‘last hired.’” Steinberg also noted that “immigrants have been cited as proof that African-Americans lack the pluck and determination that have allowed millions of immigrants from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to pursue the American dream.”

The struggles of black men obviously cannot all be linked to immigration, but it’s clear that the status quo does not benefit them.

As elected leaders consider changing our immigration laws, the interests of America’s most vulnerable citizens shouldn’t be overlooked. The first step toward honest reform is for the Democratic Party to admit that while liberal immigration enforcement might help them win new voters, it also harms and disenfranchises their most loyal constituency.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

PUTIN DENIES 2016 MEDDLING, TRUMP FAILS TO QUELL BACKLASH (WORLD WAR 3)







PUTIN DENIES 2016 ELECTION MEDDLING, TRUMP FAILS TO QUELL BACKLASH:

WHY IS MEDIA TRYING TO CREATE WORLD WAR 3 BETWEEN RUSSIA & USA?

AMERICA DOES NOT NEED RUSSIA TO BECOME OUR ENEMY.

DEAR GOD LET US PRAY FOR PEACE.


Post Sources: Reuters, ABC News, Fox News, Youtube


****** White House struggles to contain political outcry over Trump-Putin summit


The White House struggled on Wednesday to contain a political outcry and confusion over U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Trump ever meant to say that Moscow was no longer targeting the United States.

Trump, facing uproar over his failure to confront Putin over Russia’s 2016 U.S. election meddling, adopted his usual defiant posture two days after their Helsinki summit and called his critics deranged.

Asked by a journalist before a morning Cabinet meeting whether Russia was still targeting the United States, Trump looked at the reporter, shook his head and said, “No.”

At a later briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president was saying “no” to answering questions, not to the question itself.

U.S. intelligence officials have said Russia’s efforts to undermine elections are continuing and now target the Nov. 6 congressional races. Sanders said Trump believes the threat from Russia to undermine those elections still exists.

Asked later in an interview with CBS News whether he held Putin personally responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said he did.

“Well, I would, because he’s in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country,” he said.

The U.S. president said that in his talks with Putin, he was “very strong on the fact that we can’t have meddling, we can’t have any of that.” But Trump also appeared to question whether such statements would have an impact on Russia. “We’re also living in a grown-up world,” he said.

Sanders explanation of Trump’s “No” was the second time since Monday’s summit that Trump and the White House have blamed a misstatement or misunderstanding for the furor over Russia.

On Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke at a Helsinki news conference with Putin and that he accepted intelligence agency conclusions about Russian election meddling, although he hedged by deviating from his prepared notes to say “it could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there.”

Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticizing the Russian leader for Moscow’s actions to undermine the election, sparking bipartisan fury at home and prompting calls by some U.S. lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.

Critics have accused Trump of siding with Russia over his own country by failing to criticize Moscow for what U.S. intelligence agencies last year described as Russia’s election interference in an attempt to sow discord, aid Trump’s candidacy and disparage Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Putin has denied the allegations.

‘DOING VERY WELL’

“We’re doing very well, probably as well as anybody has ever done with Russia. And there’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia,” Trump said before the Cabinet meeting, adding that Putin “understands it and he’s not happy about it.”

In a series of early morning Twitter posts, the Republican president said the summit would eventually produce “big results” and accused his critics of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

“Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!” the president wrote.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee in February he already had seen evidence Russia was targeting November’s elections when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate is at stake.

In rebutting Trump’s dismissive comments about U.S. intelligence on Monday, Coats said, “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Trump needed to wake up to Russia’s efforts to interfere in American elections.

“We won’t be able, as a nation, to fight back against foreign interference in our elections if the Commander in Chief doesn’t even acknowledge that it’s a real problem,” Schumer said in a statement.

Republican Senator John McCain accused Trump of “playing right into Putin’s hands” with the president’s comments in a Fox News interview on Tuesday that appeared to question the American commitment to defend all NATO allies.

Asked why Americans should defend NATO member Montenegro from attack, Trump said, “I’ve asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. ... They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War Three.”

Montenegro joined NATO last year in defiance of Moscow after accusing Russian spies of orchestrating an attempted coup to derail the accession.

In his morning tweets, Trump said he elicited a promise from Putin during their meeting to help negotiations with North Korea, but did not say how. Trump met North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in June and has since received a letter from Kim expressing hope for “practical actions” in the future as the United States seeking Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

Russia’s RIA news agency, citing Moscow’s envoy to Pyongyang, reported that a summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea is “on the agenda” and that it would be “logical” to raise the idea of lifting sanctions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

GOP LEADERS vs TRUMP & PUTIN - "THESE HOES AIN'T LOYAL" (TWO PARTIES MORPH INTO ONE)











GOP LEADERS vs TRUMP & PUTIN - "THESE HOES AIN'T LOYAL"):

TRUMP HELPS GOP WIN IN 2016 & THEY TURN ON HIM.

IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT PUTIN, RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE, NOR ELECTION FRAUD.

INSTEAD IT IS JUST DIRTY POLITICS AS USUAL PREPARING FOR THE 2020 ELECTION.

GOP TOP BRASS FINALLY REVEALS TWO PARTY GOV'T NO LONGER EXISTS.......TRUMP IS JUST A SCAPEGOAT.

DEMOCRATS AND THE GOP HAVE MORPHED INTO ONE GOV'T.

WHICH POLITICAL PARTY WINS IN 2020?

BOTH PARTIES WILL WIN BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORPHED INTO ONE.


Post Sources: ABC News, NBC News, NY Times, CNN, Youtube


***** Republicans Rebuke Trump for Siding With Putin as Democrats Demand Action


For nearly two years, Republicans have watched uncomfortably, and often in silence, as President Trump has swatted away accusations that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race, attacked his own intelligence agencies and flattered President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

On Monday, even for members of his own party, Mr. Trump apparently went too far.

The president’s extraordinary news conference with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, stunned Republicans across the ideological spectrum and the party’s political apparatus, leaving them struggling to respond after the president undermined his national intelligence director, blamed both the United States and Russia for poor relations between the two countries and seemingly agreed to Mr. Putin’s suggestion that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, cooperate with Russia.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, declared, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.” Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump adviser, declared the news conference “the most serious mistake of his presidency.” Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Senate candidate from Utah, called it “disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.”

The effect extended far beyond official Washington. One local official — Chris Gagin, the chairman of the Republican Party in Belmont County, Ohio — resigned his post, announcing on Twitter that he “did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty.” Neil Cavuto, a Fox Business Network host, called Mr. Trump’s performance “disgusting,” adding, “I’m sorry, it’s the only way I feel. It’s not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong.”

Yet no Republican in Congress pledged any particular action to punish Mr. Trump, such as holding up his nominees or delaying legislation, nor did any Republican promise hearings or increased oversight.

It was left to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to demand actual action. He called for increased sanctions on Russia; for Mr. Trump’s national security team to testify before Congress; for defense of the Department of Justice and other intelligence agencies; and for Mr. Trump to press Mr. Putin to extradite the 12 Russian intelligence agents who were indicted Friday.

“In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an adversary the way President Trump has supported President Putin,” Mr. Schumer said.

He added: “A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States? Millions of Americans will continue to wonder. The only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.”

Republican leaders largely tempered their remarks, confining their backhanded comments to denunciations of Russia and expressions of faith in American intelligence agencies. But even they appeared to have given up hope that they could shape the actions of an erratic and unpredictable president.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, concluded that Mr. Trump was unable to distinguish between the fact that Russia had interfered in the election and the accusation — as yet unproven — that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia.

“In the president’s mind, I think he’s conflating different things — the meddling and the collusion allegations for which there does not appear to be any evidence,” Mr. Cornyn said.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and a former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who has defended Mr. Trump amid the Russia inquiry, was not quite as charitable: “I understand in the bigger picture the president genuinely feels that he can establish better relations with Russia the way Nixon did with China,” Mr. King said in an interview, “but the nuance eludes him.”

And as to Mr. Trump’s openness to having Russia cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s investigation, Mr. King said, “It would be like bringing ISIS into a joint terrorism task force.”

At least one Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, veered from the script and delivered a full-throated defense of Mr. Trump: “I think it’s a good idea to have engagement, and I guess I don’t quite understand all of the people who have gone completely deranged criticizing the president.”

Elected Republicans have been uneasy about Mr. Trump’s unorthodox views toward Russia and his willingness to embrace Mr. Putin since Mr. Trump first grabbed the attention of the party as its primary contest heated up in summer 2015. Many thought that once he was in office, surrounded by Washington’s national security experts, Mr. Trump would adopt the wary stance that has guided previous American presidents.

Instead, time and again he has defied those expectations, as he repeatedly called into question the collective conclusions of the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies, and ignored his own advisers’ advice in seeking a personal relationship with Mr. Putin.

For most Republicans on Capitol Hill and around the country, Mr. Trump’s stance toward Mr. Putin, coupled with his recent attacks on the United States’ allies in Europe, have presented a challenge: either defend the post-World War II international order, and risk angering a president who is immensely popular with their voters, or hold their tongues.

That challenge is especially tricky for Republican leaders, who must work closely with Mr. Trump and are especially reluctant to criticize him in public.

Hours passed on Monday before Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, commented. During a rare hallway interview in the Capitol, he uttered three terse sentences: “The Russians are not our friends. I’ve said that repeatedly, I say it again today. And I have complete confidence in our intelligence community and the findings that they have announced.” He refused to answer questions.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan was a bit more pointed. “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” he said in a carefully worded statement. “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”

Democrats wanted more than carefully calibrated statements.

“This is a disgraceful moment. The president’s party knows better,” John Kerry, the former secretary of state and senator, wrote in a statement. “America needs them to speak out with clarity and conviction not just in this news cycle, but until there’s common sense governing America’s foreign policy.”

Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, suggested on Twitter that if Republicans “were serious,” they would pass a long-stalled legislation protecting the jobs of special counsels such as Mr. Mueller.

But Republican leaders did not appear ready to go beyond measured phrases. Mr. Cornyn told reporters that it was “wishful thinking” to expect Mr. Putin to agree to the extradition of the 12 Russian agents. “Much of what Senator Schumer’s asking for, I think we’ve already done,” he added.

As Republican leaders struggled to come up with tactful ways to respond to a stunning news conference, responses from some of their colleagues signified a moment when Republicans could not defend their president.

Mr. McCain’s was undoubtedly the harshest.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience,” said Mr. McCain, who has brain cancer.

“But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician,” he continued. “These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”

Mr. McCain’s fellow Republican senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, released his own rebuke: “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican Alaska, struck a mournful tone: “Sadly President Trump did not defend America to the Russian president, and for the world to see. Instead, what I saw today was not ‘America First,’ it was simply a sad diminishment of our great nation.”

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska and a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, echoed the sentiment. “Everyone in this body should be disgusted by what happened in Helsinki today,” he said Monday in a speech on the Senate floor.

Even for congressional Republicans used to avoiding commenting on the president’s outbursts, Mr. Trump’s performance in Helsinki was difficult to ignore. For those who are accustomed to speaking out against Mr. Trump, and those whose impending retirements have freed them to do so, it was yet another occasion for public hand-wringing.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the retiring chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he “did not think this was a good moment for our country.”

It was, he added, a very good moment for Mr. Putin.

“It was almost an approval, if you will, a public approval by the greatest nation on earth towards him,” Mr. Corker told reporters. “I would guess he’s having caviar right now.”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

CHURCH & POLITICS - 21st CENTURY CHURCHES SHOULD ENGAGE IN POLITICS (CHURCH & STATE)










CHURCH & POLITICS - 21st CENTURY CHURCHES SHOULD ENGAGE IN POLITICS (CHURCH & STATE):

CHURCHES SHOULD ALSO REGISTER VOTERS.

CHURCHES SHOULD NOT ENDORSE CANDIDATES, HOWEVER CHURCHES SHOULD ENCOURAGE VOTING.

THE IRS SHOULD NOT PENALIZE CHURCHES FOR ENGAGING IN POLITICS (JOHNSON AMENDMENT).


Post Sources: Washington Post, Fox News, 9Marks, PBS News, The View, Youtube


****** Trump signs order seeking to allow churches to engage in more political activity


President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order aimed at making it easier for churches to participate in politics, seeking to deliver on a campaign pledge to a community that overwhelmingly backed in him in last year’s election.

The order, which Trump unveiled with great fanfare in a Rose Garden ceremony, was cheered by some conservative Christians but seen as a disappointment by others, who said it fell short of the broader changes they wanted as part of a highly anticipated measure on religious liberties.

The order, Trump said, removes the financial threat faced by tax-exempt churches from the Internal Revenue Service when pastors speak out on behalf of political candidates. But some experts said it amounts to a mostly symbolic gesture with little likelihood of changing how the agency polices the issue.

Trump’s order — unveiled on a National Day of Prayer celebrated with religious leaders — also directs his administration to consider developing regulations related to religious objectors to an Obama administration mandate, scaled back by the courts, that required contraception services as part of health plans.

“For too long the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs,” Trump said, later telling those gathered for the event that “you’re now in a position to say what you want to say . . . No one should be censoring sermons or targeting ­pastors.”

The sweep of the order was considerably narrower than a leaked February draft, which alarmed civil libertarians and gay rights and other liberal ­advocacy groups.

Among other things, that version included a provision that could have allowed federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees or single mothers on the basis of faith.

The order released Thursday instead included a blanket statement that “it shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” Trump said he would direct the Justice Department to develop rules to guide that ­process.

Gregory S. Baylor, senior counsel for the faith group Alliance Defending Freedom, was among the Christian conservatives to criticize the order, calling it “disappointingly vague” and questioning whether the IRS would follow through with Trump’s directive.

“We strongly encourage the president to see his campaign promise through to completion,” Baylor said.

Even the scaled-back version prompted threats of lawsuits, although some groups said that after reviewing the order they would hold fire on any legal action, arguing that it will have little impact.

“Today’s executive order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome,” American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “After careful review of the order’s text we have determined that the order does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process.”

As a candidate and shortly after taking office, Trump declared that he would “totally destroy” what is known as the Johnson Amendment, the long-standing ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.

The provision applies to all tax-exempt organizations, including many colleges and foundations. But Christian groups have complained most vociferously about its use.

The provision is written in the tax code and would require an act of Congress to repeal fully. An administration official said Trump was instead directing the IRS to “exercise maximum enforcement discretion of the ­prohibition.”

The language in the order is less robust: It merely instructs the administration not to take “adverse action” against churches or religious figures for political speech that has “not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign” for or against a candidate for office.

Rabbi David Saperstein, former ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said that as crafted, Trump’s order isn’t likely to make a significant difference in enforcement practices.

“People committed to the Johnson Amendment will be troubled he’s continuing down a path toward changing existing law,” Saperstein said. “Those who are advocating for a significant change are going to be ­disappointed.”

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and a leading advocate of repealing the prohibition, called Trump’s order a good first step, saying that it removed “a sword of Damocles that has hung over the faith community for decades.” But he added that his group would still like to see congressional action.

Violations of the Johnson Amendment are infrequently pursued by the IRS, but evangelicals say it has been used selectively against them, preventing Christian leaders from speaking freely in church.

The amendment is named for Lyndon B. Johnson, who introduced it in the Senate in 1954, nine years before he became president.

Under current law, churches are free to promote political candidates but must forgo such activity to obtain tax-exempt ­status.

The repeal of the Johnson Amendment is also being written into the tax legislation being developed in the House of Representatives, according to congressional aides. But both the provision and the broader legislation face substantial hurdles.

In a letter Wednesday to Republican leaders of Congress, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other Democrats expressed concern that repealing the amendment would allow tax-exempt churches and other nonprofits to be used to skirt campaign finance laws.

“Using charitable causes as shell companies to evade campaign finance transparency and contribution limits would increase the flow of dark money in politics,” the letter said.

How far-reaching the order should be has been the subject of internal White House debate for weeks, with Vice President Pence actively engaged in the deliberations and advocating for a more conservative posture, while Ivanka Trump and some other advisers arguing that the administration’s actions should be more ­moderate.

“There definitely was internal debate over what would be in the final draft,” a White House ­official said.

The president’s advisers agreed that Trump must live up to his campaign promise — repeated in the early days of his presidency — that he would destroy the Johnson Amendment. But Ivanka Trump and other advisers appealed to the president that he should resist taking further hard-line action, arguing that simply easing federal enforcement of the amendment would be enough to satisfy conservative activists.

“I don’t think it comes as any surprise that Ivanka wanted to be involved in the process,” the White House official said. “There wasn’t an intense debate internally, a showdown, and Ivanka and Jared were pitted against Pence. It really wasn’t like that. I think that Ivanka did a good job — not as first daughter but as assistant to the president — for making the case for what she thought was in the best interest of this presidency with regard to this executive order. Others made the case for what they thought was best. The president made the decision. And there has not been any dissent or backbiting in the wake of that.”

Andrew Bremberg, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, played a lead role in drafting the executive order and overseeing the policy process.

Exit polls in November showed Trump defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton 80 percent to 16 percent among white evangelical Christians, and he has been eager to please a key part of his base.

“It’s great to be doing it in the Rose Garden,” Trump said at the outset of Thursday’s ceremony. “How beautiful is that?”

Trump received a standing ovation from the audience, which included leaders from an array of faiths, when he said, “It was looking like you never get here, but folks, you got here.”

Pence and more than a half-dozen Cabinet secretaries also attended the event, which kicked off with music by Steven Curtis Chapman, a Grammy Award-winning Christian singer.

In recent years, conservative Christian churches have become increasingly concerned that the federal government could come after their tax-exempt status if they profess opposition to gay rights and same-sex marriage. But even some pastors have endorsed the Johnson Amendment, arguing that it protects what is supposed to be a spiritual haven from the pernicious intrusion of politics.

In February, 89 percent of evangelical leaders said in a National Association of Evangelicals poll that they do not think pastors should endorse politicians from the pulpit.

Until Trump elevated it during his campaign, the Johnson Amendment was rarely a top priority for advocates of religious liberty. In fact, some faith groups have said they strongly support the amendment that Trump is weakening. Requiring churches to stay out of politics, they say, is key to separating church and state.

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a leading faith-based group focused on religious freedom, has said it supports the Johnson Amendment because keeping politics and religion separate is best for religion.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, criticized the executive order in a statement.

“For decades, the Johnson Amendment has prevented houses of worship from being turned into partisan political tools. A majority of clergy — and Americans — support the status quo and oppose political endorsements from the pulpit.”

Nonreligious groups also support the Johnson Amendment, which applies broadly to charities, not just churches. The Secular Coalition for America called the executive order Thursday “an unprecedented attack on the separation of church and state by a sitting president.”

Another provision included in the order was intended as a response to the issue raised in the prominent Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases before the Supreme Court: whether employers must comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance cover contraception for women.

In the Hobby Lobby case, the court said some employers can opt out of paying for their employees’ birth control coverage for religious reasons. Afterward, the Obama administration announced new rules to allow for the insurance company to pay for the contraception instead.

Trump’s order calls for “regulatory relief” for those parties but does not spell out what that might entail.

In a statement, Tom Price, Trump’s health and human services secretary, said his department would “be taking action in short order” to follow up on Trump’s direction.