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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 37,508

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

Democratic Senator Heitkamp Says She Will Vote for Funding Bill

Source: The New York Times

By REUTERSJAN. 19, 2018, 6:39 P.M. E.S.T.

WASHINGTON — Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp said on Friday she would vote for a stopgap government funding bill, joining two other senators who have bucked their party and said they would support a Republican-backed bill to keep the government open.

"My vote to keep the government open is not an endorsement for a bill that just kicks the can down the road another few weeks," said Heitkamp, a senator from North Dakota, in a statement. "I want to find a long term solution to keep the government operating."

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Eric Beech)


Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/01/19/us/politics/19reuters-usa-congress-shutdown-heitkamp.html

Trump's Border Wall Has Already Cost San Diego Millions



San Diego taxpayers paid a heavy price for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall—and they won't get a dime back.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office and San Diego Police Department incurred more than $2 million of added costs to patrol the isolated area around eight border wall prototypes that were constructed to test designs for a larger border wall.

Between September and January, the Sheriff’s Office paid out $1.6 million in overtime, environmental consultants and material for construction of a chain link fence around the prototypes, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. The police department spent nearly $1 million in overtime, services and supplies, the publication reported.

Officials from both agencies say they were not providing security for the prototypes, rather securing the area in anticipation of protests that the Department of Homeland Security warned might resemble the weeks-long protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017, the Union Tribune reported. Only one protest occurred, local officials told Newsweek.


Trump linked to mafia by Fusion GPS founder



Donald Trump had links to the Russian mafia during his time as a real estate developer, according to the founder of the company behind the infamous dossier alleging ties between the president and Russia.

Related: Read full text: Trump dossier started because Trump said some weird things about Putin, says Fusion GPS

Glenn Simpson, whose company Fusion GPS was hired to investigate the president, told the House Intelligence Committee in November that Trump had connections to Italian and Russian organized crime, according to a transcript released Thursday

"We also had sort of more broadly learned that Mr. Trump had longtime associations with Italian organized crime figures," Simpson said. “And as we pieced together the early years of his biography, it seemed as if during the early part of his career he had connections to a lot of Italian Mafia figures, and then gradually during the ’90s became associated with Russian mafia figures.”

Simpson commissioned former British spy Christopher Steele to look into Trump because the president, he said, allegedly had “gone over [to Russia] a bunch of times, he said some weird things about Putin, but doesn't seem to have gotten any business deals.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Simpson was hired to probe the president by a conservative website, The Washington Free Beacon. After the Beacon moved on, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign then stepped in to keep paying for the investigation. In 2016, Steele later handed over his findings included in the dossier to the FBI.

“We also increasingly saw that Mr. Trump’s business career had evolved over the prior decade into a lot of projects in overseas places, particularly in the former Soviet Union, that were very opaque, and that he had made a number of trips to Russia but said he’d never done a business deal there,” Simpson said. “And I found that mysterious.”

The dossier was one of the findings that raised questions about Trump's relationship with the Kremlin and whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

During his testimony, Simpson said members of the Russian mafia were buying the president's properties. Democratic Representative Adam Schiff asked Simpson whether the Russian government knew about Trump's business dealings. Simpson responded with a "yes."

"If people who seem to be associated with the Russian mafia are buying Trump properties or arranging for other people to buy Trump properties, it does raise a question about whether they're doing it on behalf of the government," he later said.

During his testimony, Simpson urged the committee to continue its investigation into the president.

"I think that the evidence that has developed over the last year, since President Trump took office, is that there is a well-established pattern of surreptitious contacts that occurred last year that supports the broad allegation of some sort of an undisclosed political or financial relationship between the Trump Organization and people in Russia," he said.



Full article posted with the permission of Newsweek -- Don

In year of drama and chaos, Pence quietly advances conservative agenda

Source: Reuters


Yasmeen Abutaleb, Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the run-up to President Donald Trump’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Vice President Mike Pence, a conservative Christian who had long advocated for the move, did something he does only selectively: speak up.

As intelligence and diplomatic officials warned against the change, Pence made a forceful “closing argument” in favor of it at a White House Situation Room meeting, leading a group that included senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, a senior administration official said.

Pence helped persuade Trump to fulfill a campaign promise and upend long-standing U.S. policy by declaring he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, over objections from Arab nations and many Western allies.

In a year marked by chaos and infighting in Trump’s White House, Pence has been one of the most effective administration officials in advancing his own policy goals.

His behind-the-scenes influence - described in interviews with more than two dozen conservative activists, lawmakers and administration officials - adds another dimension to a man often ridiculed for his public obsequiousness to his boss.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-pence/in-year-of-drama-and-chaos-pence-quietly-advances-conservative-agenda-idUSKBN1F82NO

Trump-state Dems introduce bill to withhold lawmaker pay during shutdown

Source: The Hill

BY BRANDON CARTER - 01/19/18 05:26 PM EST

Five Democratic senators from states won by President Trump in the 2016 presidential election introduced legislation Friday to withhold pay from members of Congress in the event of a government shutdown.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Joe Machine (W.V.) announced the bill Friday, hours ahead of a government funding deadline.

“If members of Congress can’t fulfill their basic duty to keep the government open and provide the essential services Americans depend on, then they don’t deserve their paychecks,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “Period.”

Stabenow echoed Heitkamp’s remarks in the statement and vowed to donate her salary in the event of a shutdown even if the bill doesn’t pass. “It’s wrong that Members of Congress would still get paid in the event of a shutdown while paychecks for members of our military could be disrupted,” Stabenow said. “This bill ensures Members of Congress will not get paid and another bill I have cosponsored makes sure our troops will.“

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/369829-trump-state-dems-introduce-bill-to-withhold-lawmaker-pay-during-shutdown

Rubio: Puerto Rico gov should put aside statehood push, focus on governing

Source: The Hill

BY JOSH DELK - 01/19/18 05:14 PM EST

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday called out Puerto Rico's governor for spending too much time pushing for the territory to become a state and too little time governing the island that is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria.

“If I were the governor of a state or territory that does not have power, I would spend more time [there] than in Orlando,” Rubio told Puerto Rico's largest newspaper, El Nuevo Dia. “Sometimes, when people feel criticized and under pressure, they look for someone to blame, because they did not achieve this or that. I do not think it is smart to turn the Puerto Rican issue into a partisan issue.”

Rubio's remarks, translated in the Miami Herald, come after the territory's governor visited Washington last week along with a "shadow" delegation of two senators and house members representing Puerto Rico demanding seats in Congress and calling for a path to statehood.

Rosello recently said Rubio's support for the GOP-backed tax plan that he called a "devastating blow" to Puerto Rican citizens was "disappointing," saying the bill did not do enough to help the island's struggling economy, which was decimated by the powerful hurricane in September.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/369819-rubio-puerto-rico-gov-should-put-aside-statehood-push-focus-on

Las Vegas Gunman Stephen Paddock Probably Acted Alone, Girlfriend Is Not A Suspect, Sheriff Says


The Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people and injured several hundreds in an October mass shooting likely acted alone, and his girlfriend is not a suspect in the investigation, a sheriff announced on Friday.

In a press briefing, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo revealed the findings of a preliminary report on the shooting, saying that all evidence pointed to Paddock’s acting alone and that Marilou Danley, his girlfriend at the time, was not a suspect.

"I know and believe that there was only suspect, who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more," Lombardo told reporters. "We do not anticipate charges being brought forward against Marilou Danley."

The press briefing was an effort to provide answers in what has been a baffling few months, as investigators have attempted to answer some of the questions posed by one of the largest mass shootings the U.S. has ever seen. They were still not able to answer the biggest question –– why he did it –– but they said the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s behavioral analysis unit was studying this and might offer more clues in a final report likely to be released at the end of 2018.



Senior Kentucky police official instructed recruit to shoot black teens for smoking weed

Prospect assistant police chief told LMPD recruit to 'shoot' black people

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 1:35 PM EST
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 4:04 PM EST

By Jason Riley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The former assistant police chief of Prospect told a Louisville Metro Police recruit that, if he catches juveniles smoking marijuana, he should "shoot them” if they are black, according to documents released Friday.

Todd Shaw, who resigned from the suburban Louisville department late last year, sent several “highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” to the recruit, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell wrote in a letter to Prospect Mayor John Evans on Aug. 31.

Shaw had fought to keep the messages private after media outlets requested them under Kentucky’s open records law. Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ruled this week that the records must be released.

Shaw was initially suspended with pay on Sept. 1. Prospect Police Chief Jeff Sherrard was not in the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.


WATCH: Trump supporter focus group explodes after regretful voter calls them a 'cult'



Facebook will now ask users to rank news organizations they trust

Source: The Washington Post

By Elizabeth Dwoskin January 19 at 4:02 PM

Facebook announced major changes Friday to the Newsfeed used by 2 billion people every month and will now ask users to rank the news organizations they trust.

The trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is conducting with its users and is an effort to combat fake news and misinformation that spread across the social network before and after the 2016 election. The changes will also promote local news sources

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company itself is not “comfortable” deciding what news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division.”

The announcement is the second major change the company announced to its Newsfeed this year, an effort that is expected to reduce how much news appears in user feeds overall.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/01/19/facebook-will-now-ask-its-users-to-rank-news-organizations-they-trust
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