Gretchen Carlson condemns Fox News for resigning Bill O’Reilly after he settled $32 million harassment lawsuit 

Article credited to NY Daily Times:

Gretchen Carlson condemns Fox News for resigning Bill O’Reilly after he settled $32 million harassment lawsuit

      Carlson said the latest news was "horrifying and outrageous," shaming Fox News for allowing O'Reilly back on the air.

      Carlson said the latest news was “horrifying and outrageous,” shaming Fox News for allowing O’Reilly back on the air.


      Carlson slammed her former network a day after The New York Times reported executives were aware of the settlement when it re-signed the since-fired O’Reilly in February to a four-year, $100 million deal.

      “It’s horrifying and outrageous that any company, after dismissing somebody for allegations such as that, would not only re-sign a contract but allow that person to come back on the air,” Carlson told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” during an appearance Sunday.

      Lis Wiehl, a former legal analyst for Fox News, claimed O’Reilly would message her sexually explicit material, including gay pornography — and was pushed into a sexual relationship with him, the Times reported. She was fired by Fox News in April after 15 years as an analyst.

      Bill O’Reilly paid $32M to accuser before Fox extended contract

      O’Reilly wrapped up the allegations this past January just 15 days after the lawsuit was drafted.

      The reported $32 million payout to Wiehl is steeper than the $20 million paid out to Carlson, who sued Fox News in July 2016, alleging founding CEO Roger Ailes sexually harassed her.

      Ailes later parted ways with Fox News — with a golden parachute worth tens of millions of dollars — and died this May.

      Carlson, who’s gone on to pen a book about sexual harassment, condemned companies for settling claims or building arbitration clauses into an employee’s contract in case a legal issue arose.

      Bill O’Reilly returns to Fox News as Sean Hannity guest

      “This is covering up, this is enablers, this is shutting up the victims,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely horrifying that we’ve allowed this to go on for so long in our corporate culture.”

      Carlson continued that it created a false sense of security.

      “We’re fooling society into thinking that we don’t have a problem with this issue anymore,” she told CNN. “Why? Because we don’t hear about these cases.”


      O’Reilly reportedly settled a $32 million lawsuit, which the network was aware of when it resigned him earlier this year.


      She said the numerous women who have come forward against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was a sign women are standing up against harassment.

      Bill O’Reilly to be a guest on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday

      “That is what’s been so heartening over the last couple of weeks, seeing the Weinstein story develop and so many others, is that women are saying, ‘We’re not going to be silenced anymore,” she said. “We are going to be fierce.”

      Fox News representatives didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Carlson’s remarks.

      O’Reilly was among a handful of high-profile personalities to be accused of sexual harassment at the network. In September, Fox News host Eric Bolling was fired after being accused of sending sexually explicit photos to three female colleagues.

      Fox News nudged O’Reilly out in April after a bombshell report he settled lawsuits with five accusers over the years, totaling $13 million. Multiple advertisers started to pull out of his top-rated “The O’Reilly Factor.”

      Bill O’Reilly plays to thousands of empty seats in Baltimore

      He briefly returned to Fox News in late September, when he was a guest on Sean Hannity’s show.

      [Read More]

      Breaking News: 5 children and their mother killed in house fire north of Silsbee

      Article credited to:

      Breaking News: 5 children and their mother killed in house fire north of Silsbee

      A house fire north of Silsbee has killed five children and their mother, according to information Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis provided to KFDM News.

      Davis tells KFDM there’s no evidence of foul play at this point but the investigation is just getting underway.

      The victims include the five children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, and their mother, according to the Sheriff. Two of the children were twins

      The family’s pastor, Randy Feldschau, tells KFDM Ashley Pickering, 31, died in the fire. It also claimed the lives of her children: Camden, 3; twins Cash and Cavence, 4 (they would have celebrated their 5th birthdays next week); Serenity, 7 (the only girl among the children); Cristian, 11.

      From Ashley’s FB PAGE: “Cristian, Serenity, Cavence, Cash, and Camden are my life… Anything else is irrelevant.”

      Davis tells KFDM News the first fire alarm was reported at about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday morning in a small apartment behind a home on Fountain Drive.

      The structure was engulfed in flames when firefighters from Silsbee arrived and the structure was destroyed.

      Once firefighters put out the flames they found the six bodies inside.

      The grandparents of the children live in the main home and the mother and children lived in the apartment behind the house, according to the Sheriff. He says the father doesn’t live there but came to the scene when he was notified.

      The cause is under investigation and a justice of the peace has ordered autopsies.

      “This is a horrific scene, very somber, very sad,” Sheriff Davis told KFDM News. “Your heart goes out to the family, the immediate family and the extended family. It’s tough on everyone, including the first responders. It tears your heart out. It’s the worst type of incident for any firefighter or first responder to face, to find victims inside.”

      Sheriff Davis says a neighbor called 911 and reported seeing flames from the structure. He woke up the grandparents in the main home but there was nothing they could do because the apartment was fully engulfed, said Davis.

      The family belongs to Cathedral in the Pines church in Beaumont.

      The sheriff is withholding their names at this point.

      “We’re talking with witnesses, anyone who may have seen anything,” said Davis. “We’re investigating the cause. We’ll look at everything here and try to determine the origin of the fire and also other issues, things that would be relevant to the fire investigation.”

      Two of the children attended school in the Silsbee ISD. The district released the following statement:

      “Silsbee ISD is deeply saddened to learn the news of a family in Silsbee that lost their lives in a house fire. News of this nature is not easy by any means, especially in our close-knit community. We offer prayers to those close to the family and our first responders as they cope with this devastating tragedy. We have learned two children lost in this fire were students at Silsbee ISD, and our staff will be offering support to the campuses as needed. Silsbee ISD will ensure that our students and staff will be comforted during this difficult time.”

      Astronomers strike gold, witness massive cosmic collision


      Astronomers strike gold, witness massive cosmic collision

      It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

      Forbes estimated that the collision created an estimated $10 octillion in gold, which is $10 billion, billion, billion.

      What they witnessed in mid-August and revealed Monday was the long-ago collision of two neutron stars — a phenomenon California Institute of Technology’s David H. Reitze called “the most spectacular fireworks in the universe.”

      The crash happened 130 million years ago, while dinosaurs still roamed on Earth, but the signal didn’t arrive on Earth until Aug. 17 after traveling 130 million light-years. A light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.

      “We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars,” said University of California Santa Cruz’s Ryan Foley.

      Measurements of the light and other energy emanating from the crash have helped scientists explain how planet-killing gamma ray bursts are born, how fast the universe is expanding, and where heavy elements like platinum and gold come from.

      “This is getting everything you wish for,” said Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown, one of more than 4,000 scientists involved in the blitz of science that the crash kicked off. “This is our fantasy observation.”

      It started in a galaxy called NGC 4993, seen from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Two neutron stars, collapsed cores of stars so dense that a teaspoon of their matter would weigh 1 billion tons, danced ever faster and closer together until they collided, said Carnegie Institution astronomer Maria Drout.

      The crash, called a kilonova, generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Albert Einstein.

      Signals were picked up within 1.7 seconds of each other, by NASA’s Fermi telescope, which detects gamma rays, and gravity wave detectors in Louisiana and Washington state that are a part of the LIGO Laboratory , whose founders won a Nobel Prize earlier this month. A worldwide alert went out to focus telescopes on what became the most well-observed astronomical event in history.

      Before August, the only other gravity waves detected by LIGO were generated by colliding black holes. But black holes let no light escape, so astronomers could see nothing.

      Finding where the crash happened wasn’t easy. Eventually scientists narrowed the location buy flagyl for humans down to 100 galaxies, began a closer search of those, and found it in the ninth galaxy they looked at.

      It is like “the classic challenge of finding a needle in the haystack with the added challenge that the needle is fading away and the haystack is moving,” said Marcelle Soares-Santos, an astrophysicist at Brandeis University.

      “The completeness of this picture from the beginning to the end is unprecedented,” said Columbia University physics professor Szabolcs Marka. “There are many, many extraordinary discoveries within the discovery.”

      The colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium. Scientists had suspected neutron star collisions had enough power to create heavier elements, but weren’t certain until they witnessed it.

      “We see the gold being formed,” said Syracuse’s Brown.

      Calculations from a telescope measuring ultraviolet light showed that the combined mass of the heavy elements from this explosion is 1,300 times the mass of Earth. And all that stuff — including lighter elements — was thrown out in all different directions and is now speeding across the universe.

      Perhaps one day the material will clump together into planets the way ours was formed, Reitze said — maybe ones with rich veins of precious metals.

      The crash also helped explain the origins of one of the most dangerous forces of the cosmos — short gamma ray bursts, focused beams of radiation that could erase life on any planet that happened to get in the way. These bursts shoot out in two different directions perpendicular to where the two neutron stars first crash, Reitze said.

      Luckily for us, the beams of gamma rays were not focused on Earth and were generated too far away to be a threat, he said.

      Scientists knew that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. By using LIGO to measure gravitational waves while watching this event unfold, researchers came up with a new estimate for how fast that is happening, the so-called Hubble Constant. Before this, scientists came up with two slightly different answers using different techniques. The rough figure that came out of this event is between the original two, Reitze said.

      The first optical images showed a bright blue dot that was very hot, which was likely the start of the heavy element creation process amid the neutron star debris, Drout said. After a day or two that blue faded, becoming much fainter and redder. And after three weeks it was completely gone, she said.

      This almost didn’t happen. Eight days after the signal came through, the LIGO gravitational waves were shut down for a year’s worth of planned upgrades. A month later the whole area where the crash happened would have been blocked from astronomers’ prying eyes by the sun.

      Scientists involved with the search for gravitational waves said this was the event they had prepared for over more than 20 years.

      The findings are “of spectacular importance,” said Penn State physicist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn’t part of the research. “This is really brand new.”

      Almost all of the discoveries confirmed existing theories, but had not been proven — an encouraging result for theorists who have been trying to explain what is happening in the cosmos, said France Cordova, an astrophysicist who directs the National Science Foundation.

      “We so far have been unable to prove Einstein wrong,” said Georgia Tech physics professor Laura Cadonati. “But we’re going to keep trying.”

      The Associated Press contributed to this report


      [Read More]

      Bowe Bergdahl expected to plead guilty in desertion case

      Bowe Bergdahl expected to plead guilty in desertion case

      Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is set to plead guilty Monday to charges he endangered comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 — the court case wrapping up just three years after a stunning Rose Garden spectacle in which former President Barack Obama, flanked by Bergdahl’s parents, triumphantly announced the soldier’s release from captivity.

      Bergdahl was released in May 2014 after a highly-criticized deal in which five Taliban terrorists were set free. At the time, Obama administration officials said Bergdahl had “served with honor and distinction.”

      U.S. President Barack Obama (R) watches as Jami Bergdahl (L) and Bob Bergdahl talk about the release of their son, prisoner of war U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, during a statement in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington May 31, 2014. Obama, flanked by the parents of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who is being released after being held for nearly five years by the Taliban, said in the White House Rose Garden on Saturday that the United States has an "ironclad commitment" to bring home its prisoners of war. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - GM1EA610J6201

      Former President Barack Obama, right, watches as Bob Bergdahl and Jami Bergdahl discuss the release of their son, Bowe Bergdaghl.  (Reuters)

      The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. The Associated Press previously reported that he’s expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

      It’s not clear if Bergdahl, 31, has a deal with prosecutors to limit his punishment, or if he’s simply pleading guilty in hopes of leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.

      Bergdahl’s lawyers are expected to reveal in court Monday whether there’s a plea agreement in place to cap his punishment, or if he’s pleading guilty without such a deal in what’s known colloquially as a “naked plea.” In either scenario, his punishment won’t be known until after the judge holds the sentencing hearing that’s expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl, who’s from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.


      A naked plea would be a risky move, Eric Carpenter, an assistant law professor at Florida International University and a former Army defense attorney and prosecutor, told Task & Purpose.

      “It can backfire,” Carpenter said. “If he doesn’t have a deal, they could go in there and enter this naked plea and come out with a life sentence.”

      Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, arrives for a motions hearing on Monday, Oct.16, 2017, on Fort Bragg. Bergdahl, who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for five years, is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Andrew Craft)

      Oct.16, 2017: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, arrives for a motions hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C.  (AP/The Fayetteville Observer)

      Guilty pleas would bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl’s disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.

      Serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl are expected to play a role in his sentencing. While guilty pleas would allow him to avoid a trial, he’d still face a sentencing hearing in late October. Bergdahl’s five years of captivity by the Taliban and its allies also will likely play a role in what punishment he receives.

      At one point during his captivity, Bergdahl converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, Fox News reported in 2014, citing secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account.

      The reports indicate that Bergdahl’s relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, “he became much more of an accepted fellow” than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.

      The documents show that Bergdahl at one point escaped his captors for five days and was kept, upon his re-capture, in a metal cage, like an animal. In addition, the reports detail discussions of prisoner swaps and other attempts at a negotiated resolution to the case that appear to have commenced as early as the fall of 2009.


      Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl, The Associated Press reported. Perhaps most significant was the judge’s decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn’t have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl.

      The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump’s campaign-trail comments were “disturbing and disappointing” but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.

      “We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said to a British filmmaker in 2016 when asked about trials, according to an interview obtained by ABC News. “The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.”

      Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was soon captured.

      But the defense team has argued that Bergdahl can’t be held responsible for a long chain of events that included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches.

      Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      [Read More]

      Trump to halt ‘massive’ ObamaCare subsidies, legal fight likely

      Trump to halt ‘massive’ ObamaCare subsidies, legal fight likely

      President Trump plans to halt payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act “immediately,” in a major blow to ObamaCare that is likely to draw a legal challenge.

      The president, though, used the overnight decision to up pressure on Democrats to negotiate a “fix” to the “imploding” health care law.

      “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!” he said in a pre-dawn tweet on Friday.

      He added, “ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

      The Justice Department took swift action, notifying a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., in connection with a related lawsuit that an upcoming Oct. 18 payment “will not occur.”

      The decision is the latest effort in the president’s bid to ultimately “repeal and replace” what’s considered the signature legislation of his White House predecessor.

      The White House said in a statement that the Department of Health and Human Services has determined there is no appropriation for so-called cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers under the ObamaCare law.

      “We will discontinue these payments immediately,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma.

      Trump’s decision was expected to rattle already-unsteady insurance marketplaces. The president has previously threatened to end the payments, which help reduce health insurance copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes, but remain under a legal cloud.

      Trump has privately told at least one lawmaker that the payments may continue if a bipartisan deal is reached on heath care, The Wall Street Journal reported.


      Pushback expected

      The president’s action will likely to trigger a lawsuit from state attorneys general, who contend the subsidies to insurers are fully authorized by federal law, and the president’s position is reckless. Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, called the decision “sabotage,” and promised a lawsuit.

      After the president’s intentions were disclosed, leading Democrats in Congress were quick to criticize the plan.

      In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted that Trump’s expected action would increase Americans’ health premiums by 20 percent or more.

      “If these reports are true,” the Democrats said in the joint statement, referring to the president’s plans, “the president is walking away from the good-faith, bipartisan Alexander-Murray negotiations and risking the health care of millions of Americans.”

      The Democrats were referring to bipartisan talks being led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to seek a bipartisan agreement for funding ObamaCare subsidies and stabilizing health insurance markets.

      Order to lower premiums

      Earlier Thursday, Trump predicted that “millions and millions of people” would benefit from an executive order he signed Thursday to make lower-premium health insurance plans more widely available.

      But the changes Trump hopes to bring about could take months or even longer. That’s according to administration officials who outlined the order for reporters. The proposals may not be finalized in time to affect coverage for 2019, let alone next year.

      White House domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg said that Trump still believes Congress needs to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. The White House described the order as first steps.

      Trump signed the order in the White House’s Roosevelt Room surrounded by Vice President Mike Pence, members of his Cabinet and Congress.

      Trump employed the executive order because the Republican-controlled Congress has been unable to pass a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

      Trump says the health care system “will get better” with his action, and the action will cost the federal government nothing.

      The president says he still wants Congress repeal and replace the Obama health care law. But he says his order will give people more competition, more choices and lower premiums.

      The Associated Press contributed to this story.

      [Read More]

      Trump warns post-hurricane Puerto Rico, says FEMA won’t stay ‘forever’

      Trump warns post-hurricane Puerto Rico, says FEMA won’t stay ‘forever’

      President Trump issued a warning Thursday to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, saying the U.S. territory’s infrastructure was a mess before the storm and warning that federal officials cannot stay on the island “forever.”

      The president made the comments in a series of early-morning tweets.

       “’Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ Says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of accountability say[s] the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” Trump said.

      The president’s comments come just one week after he visited the U.S. territory that is struggling to recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century.

      Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico was criticized, for among other things commenting on how the storm’s death toll was far lower than that of a “real catastrophe like Katrina” in 2005.

      “Sixteen people versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud of all your people.”

      The president has repeatedly called for more help “on a local level” from Puerto Rico and has had an intermittent feud with the San Juan mayor, who also has faced criticism for engaging in political combat when other officials on the island are not.

      Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., shot back Thursday at Trump’s latest tweets.

      “Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?” Schumer tweeted.

      On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., plans to lead a small bipartisan group, including the chairman and top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee that signs off on spending legislation, to visit Puerto Rico.

      Ryan plans to meet with local officials and emergency personnel.

      The House is expected to vote this week on an emergency spending package including billions of dollars more in relief for Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida in the wake of deadly storms Maria, Harvey and Irma this hurricane season.

      The president asked Congress this week for a $4.9 billion loan to help Puerto Rico pay its bills from the storm. The island faced more than $70 billion in debt prior to the storm, and declared bankruptcy in May.

      [Read More]

      Boy Scouts Will Admit Girls, Allow Them to Earn Eagle Scout Rank

      Article credited to NBC News:

      Boy Scouts Will Admit Girls, Allow Them to Earn Eagle Scout Rank

      The Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday that girls will soon be allowed to become Cub Scouts and to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest honor.

      “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts.

      The scouting board of directors voted unanimously to make the historic change in an organization that has been primarily for boys since its founding more than 100 years ago.

      Image: Boy Scouts listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the National Boy Scout Jamboree
      Boy Scouts listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images

      Starting next year, young girls can join Cub Scout units, known as dens. Local scouting organizations can choose to have dens for girls and dens for boys. “Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls,” the organization said in a statement.

      A separate program for older girls will be available in 2019, the Boy Scouts said, enabling them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

      The Boy Scouts said the moves reflect the changing nature of American life, adding to the appeal of a scouting program that can serve the entire family.

      BSA said it commissioned two nationwide surveys that showed parents not involved in scouting had high interest in getting their daughters signed up for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

      Girls are now part of four scouting programs — Venturing and Sea Scouting, geared toward outdoor activities; Exploring, a career-oriented mentoring program; and STEM, focusing on science and math. But those programs have not offered a path to Eagle Scout for girls.

      Earlier this year, the National Organization for Women urged the Boy Scouts to admit girls to the entire program, supporting the efforts of a New York teenager, Sydney Ireland, to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, as her older brother did.

      “I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do — earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award,” she told NBC News. “The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it’s just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.”

      In the past, the Girl Scouts have been cool to the idea of admitting girls into the Boy Scouts, citing research that showed many girls learn best in an all-female environment.

      “We are unparalleled in our ability to build great female leaders who contribute to society at every level,” said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a psychologist who helps guide the Girl Scouts.

      [Read More]

      Trump goes after Jemele Hill and ESPN, targets NFL ‘tax breaks’

      Article courtesy of Fox News :

      Trump goes after Jemele Hill and ESPN, targets NFL ‘tax breaks’

      President Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday slamming ESPN and the network’s benched anchor Jemele Hill amid the controversy over NFL national anthem protests, while threatening to end the “massive tax breaks” for the football league.

      “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

      Hill, host of “SC6,” called the president a “white supremacist” on Twitter last month, and most recently called for a boycott of Dallas Cowboys advertisers.

      ESPN subsequently suspended her for two weeks.


      Hill’s efforts followed new rules made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said any player who disrespects the flag will not play.

      “I know this, we cannot…in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”


      Hill issued instructions for “change” on Twitter following Jones’ comments.

      “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers,” Hill tweeted Sunday.

      Trump tweeted support for Jones overnight — but on Tuesday morning, the president questioned the NFL’s “massive tax breaks.”

      “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump tweeted.

      The NFL’s tax status has been controversial for years. The league announced in 2015 it would voluntarily lose its tax-exempt status, but the league still enjoys various tax breaks. According to Time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the tax-exemption a “distraction” in 2015 and said it has been “mischaracterized repeatedly in recent years.”

      Trump is not the only Republican who has slammed the league’s tax break in recent weeks.

      Jemele Hill, AP, FBN

      ESPN’s Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks after calling for fans to boycott advertisers aligned with the Dallas Cowboys.  (AP)

      Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., criticized it, saying, “In America, if you want to play sports you’re free to do so. If you want to protest, you’re free to do so. But you should do so on your own dime.”

      Brooke Singman is a Politics Report

      [Read More]

      BREAKING NEWS: Trump Waives Jones Act Shipping Restrictions For Puerto Rico


      BREAKING NEWS: Trump Waives Jones Act Shipping Restrictions For Puerto Rico


      (Reuters/The Daily Caller) – White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Thursday that the Trump administration had waived Jones Act shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico so that hurricane relief aid may reach the island.

      Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said on Wednesday he expected the federal government to waive the Jones Act.

      He said he has been speaking with members of Congress from both parties who have supported an emergency waiver.

      “We expect them to waive it,” Rossello said in an interview with CNN. He noted there was a seven-day waiver after Hurricane Irma, which was much less devastating to the island.

      “That is critical, particularly for fuel,” he said. “One of the considerations right now is the priority of getting fuel, diesel, gasoline, all across the island. Right now we have enough fuel. We’re limited by the transportation logistics, but at some point of course, getting fuel into the island is going to be critical so that we can have the major functions of telecoms, hospitals, water, to be running appropriately.”

      The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried by American owned-and-operated ships.

      U.S. Senator John McCain asked acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke on Tuesday to grant an emergency waiver of the law. He said that Puerto Rican residents would have to pay at least twice as much for food, drinking water and other supplies without the waiver.

      (Reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

      [Read More]

      BREAKING NEWS : Done Deal: Bass Pro Completes $4 Billion Acquisition of Cabela’s


      Done Deal: Bass Pro Completes $4 Billion Acquisition of Cabela’s

      The $4 billion acquisition has been years in the making, so we expect the process to go very smoothly. As of right now, no stores will be closing and things should remain mostly the same for shoppers with some noticeable improvements listed below. What’s less certain is the fate of the 2,000 or so employees at Cabela’s Sidney, Nebraska, headquarters. Bass Pro stated they expect to move operations to Missouri, but they might keep some employees in Nebraska.

      Here is a list of answers Cabela’s has provided to their anxious customers. Many of these actually seem much better for the consumer.

      What are the customer benefits of uniting these companies?

      This is an opportunity to create a “best of the best” shopping experience for all outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come. Bringing together these two great companies will advance our impact on the future of conservation like never before while protecting the outdoor heritage we all hold dear. We plan to retain and grow everything customers love about both brands.

      Will the company’s name change?

      We will continue celebrating and promoting both the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s brands as we bring our two great companies together.

      Will Bass Pro Shops gift cards be honored at Cabela’s locations and vice versa?

      Customers can exchange a Bass Pro Shops gift card to a Cabela’s gift card for an equal amount and vice versa. Gift cards are exchanged at the customer service counter in either store or by contacting our online customer service centers. To exchange a Cabela’s gift card that you would like to use at Bass Pro Shops, call 1-800-211-6440 to have it exchanged. To exchange a Bass Pro Shops gift card that you would like to use at Cabela’s, call 1-800-237-4444 to have it exchanged. We are working to improve this process moving forward.

      Will I be able to return Cabela’s purchases to Bass Pro Shops locations and vice versa?

      Yes, Cabela’s purchases can be returned to our customer service counters at Bass Pro Shops and vice versa or by contacting our online customer service centers.

      Will existing exclusive brands and products still be available at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s?

      Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have strong national proprietary brands in several categories. Our goal is to continue developing and growing our brands to ensure we provide the same exceptional quality, service and value that customers have come to know and trust from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s exclusive products.

      Will Cabela’s CLUB Visa cardholders earn points at Bass Pro Shops locations?

      Yes, Cabela’s CLUB Visa holders will earn 1% back on all purchases made at Bass Pro Shops and all locations that accept Visa. In addition, Cabela’s CLUB Visa members will still earn 2%, 3% or 5% back on qualifying purchases at all Cabela’s locations, earning points for free gear and incredible outdoor experiences. We are working on solutions to better connect the programs.

      Will Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Mastercard cardholders earn points at Cabela’s locations?

      Yes, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Mastercard holders will earn 1% back on all purchases made at Cabela’s and all locations that accept Mastercard. In addition, you will still earn 3% or 5% back on qualifying purchases at all Bass Pro Shops locations, earning points for free gear and unique experiences. We are working on solutions to better connect the programs.


      Here’s a video Cabela’s released to explain the sale, and you can read more about the transition here



      Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

      Facebook is under scrutiny for (among other things) allegedly selling political ads to the Russians, allowing people to set up fake accounts, and not properly monitoring the content posted by “fake” profiles. Wait. What?

      The meta-country of Facebook
      With a population of over 2 billion registered users, the meta-country of Facebook is the largest assemblage of digital citizens on earth. But make no mistake, Facebook is not a democracy; it is a for-profit corporation with a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. To that end, the proletariat is lorded over by an all-powerful algorithm that is continuously tuned to keep Facebook users inside their comfort zones.

      The aphorism “The greatest minds of our time are busy figuring out the best way to get us to click on an ad” is objectively true. You will find some of the world’s smartest people working at Facebook.

      In practice, there are far too many things happening on Facebook for humans to deal with, so the company has designed sophisticated machine learning and AI systems to keep you engaged, scrolling, and clicking. If you like or click on something, Facebook’s algorithms learn to feed you more of the same. It is Facebook’s singular mission. The more you engage with content on Facebook, the more likely you are to do something that will earn the company money.

      The 21st-Century Cold War
      The Russian Federation and the United States have been engaged in a Cold War since the end of World War II. Information warfare (propaganda) is not new, but weaponized social media is (relatively speaking), and the general public is just starting to understand its potential.

      There is an apocryphal story that tells of NASA engineers spending millions of dollars to develop a pen that would work in zero gravity. Faced with the same problem, Russian engineers gave their cosmonauts pencils. This tale is not true, but it is oracular. Technically hacking Facebook would be exceptionally hard to accomplish, but social engineering a targeted propaganda campaign using Facebook and other social media platforms is as simple as using a pencil. This kind of social engineering has another name: Advertising.

      Either advertising works or it doesn’t
      Department store and advertising pioneer John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” This was absolutely true when he said it back in the late 1870s. It is not true today.

      Today, Martech (for marketing technology) has all but replaced traditional advertising as the best way to get your message to a targeted audience. (I’m going to take some heat for saying this—it’s heresy, but the numbers don’t lie.) In most cases, campaign results can be accurately measured. And you guessed it: Google and Facebook are the two premier providers of paid targeted messaging.

      Socially engineered social media weapons
      Everything you need to influence an election is available online. Here’s how you do it:

      1. Understand the demographic makeup of your target audience.

      2. Design targeted content and post it on blogs and websites.

      3. Design targeted messaging (IAB standard digital ad units, Google keyphrase-based copy, etc.) Test, fail and learn until you get your messaging right.

      4. Create a significant number of social media accounts to use to propagate your propaganda.

      5. Program some bots to post your propaganda from the hundreds or thousands of “fake” social media accounts you set up or purchased (yes, there are companies that make a living doing this).

      6. Design and purchase a geo-targeted messaging campaign.

      7. Evaluate the results of your efforts with the analytics provided by the digital platforms you have purchased your media from.

      8. Test, fail and learn. Revise your messaging and adjust your digital media budget accordingly.

      9. Go back to step 2 and repeat until the desired results have been achieved.

      This is about as straightforward as a digital media buy gets. If you do a good job, the only way anyone will know if you or your content are real or fake is if they spend significant resources analyzing what’s going on. You can easily tell if you agree or disagree with the content, but once real people start sharing, commenting on, and reposting content, it is exceptionally hard to tell where it came from or whether it is real or fake.

      Breaking: The US is not at war with North Korea

      Breaking: The US is not at war with North Korea

       White House holds briefing amid NFL backlash (full) 27:46

      (CNN)Such is the state of world affairs that it was news Monday when Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary told reporters that, no, the US has not declared war on North Korea.

      There had been some confusion among the North Koreans.
      As CNN’s Zachary Cohen reported Monday:
      North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country by tweeting over the weekend that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.”
      “Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and declared a war on our country,” Ri said, according to an official translation of his remarks to reporters in New York.
      close dialog
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      “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country,” Ri said.
      But it’s a funny thing, how the US government works, despite being engaged in numerous armed conflicts costing hundreds of thousands of American lives, the US hasn’t actually declared war on another country since 1942, when the US declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania during World War II.
      In fact, the US has only declared war 11 times in its history, according to the US Senate website. Six of those times had to do with World War II, two of them with World War I and then war with Great Britain in 1812, war with Mexico in 1846 and war with Spain in 1898.
      Why doesn’t the US declare war anymore? It’s a power Congress has largely ceded to the President.
      The Constitution grants Congress the ability to declare war in Article 1, Section 8.
      But presidents don’t really have to wait for Congress with the more broad interpretation of executive authority that has developed around the executive branch. When they do feel they need congressional authority, they have been more likely to seek an authorization for the use of military force. Even that has become more perfunctory in recent years.
      Three successive US presidents have used the 2001 Authorization For the Use of Military Force against terrorism to prosecute military action in Afghanistan and in other terrorist hotspots. A separate Authorization for the Use of Military Force was passed in 2002 to authorize the second Iraq War.
      Lawmakers are loathe to take difficult votes on military force, however they do, to some extent, control the President’s ability by controlling the national purse strings. They could, conceivably, choke off funding for a war.
      CNN contributor and University of Texas constitutional law professor Stephen Vladeck said it’s a bit too simplistic to simply say the US doesn’t declare war anymore.
      “In fact, it’s a bit more complicated, and has a lot to do with the international movement toward prohibiting aggressive/offensive war, with the idea being that declarations of war raise international law concerns that more limited use-of-force authorizations don’t,” he said in an email. “There’s also the related point that a declaration of war triggers a whole bunch of standby statutory authorities that Congress doesn’t usually like to activate, whereas a more limited use-of-force statute doesn’t.”
      The North Koreans could be forgiven for misinterpreting Trump’s bellicose pledge to bring “fire and fury” against them if they continued to threaten the US.
      Trump's war of words with Kim Jong Un

      Trump’s war of words with Kim Jong Un 02:45
      “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said in August during a meeting on opioids from his golf club in New Jersey. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen … he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
      During a speech at the UN, Trump went further.
      “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said.
      Trump’s decision could be enough for, essentially, war and North Korea should know. It was against North Korea in 1950 that Harry Truman deployed troops without approval from Congress, setting the precedent of the modern US policy of authorizing force but not declaring war. He committed US troops and announced the move to the nation because of a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, not Congressional action. Louis Fisher at the Constitution Project has written about how far the US has come from the Constitutional idea of a declaration of war.
      “We are not at war,” Truman said during a 1950 press conference not long after committing troops.
      But more than 1.7 million Americans served in Korea — and more than 35,000 died there.
      The Korean war, by the way, never officially ended, although hostilities ceased in 1953. US troops are still stationed in South Korea and look each day over the border into the North.

      Kushner used private email to conduct White House business


      Kushner used private email to conduct White House business

      The senior adviser set up the account after the election. Other West Wing officials have also used private email accounts for official business.

      White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has been under scrutiny in the ongoing Russia probes, which have expanded to include potential obstruction of justice by the president and his aides since January, and Kushner’s private email traffic may also be of interest to FBI and congressional investigators. | Pablo Marintez Monsivais/AP

      Kushner uses his private account alongside his official White House email account, sometimes trading emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others about media coverage, event planning and other subjects, according to four people familiar with the correspondence. POLITICO has seen and verified about two dozen emails.

      “Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Kushner, said in a statement Sunday. “Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”

      Aides who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his private account since President Donald Trump took office in January include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel, according to emails described to or shown to POLITICO. In some cases, those White House officials have emailed Kushner’s account first, said people familiar with the messages. At times, Bannon and Priebus have also used private email accounts to correspond with Kushner and others.

      The decision to set up new, private accounts as Kushner was preparing to enter the White House came in the wake of a bitter election campaign in which Trump routinely excoriated his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account to handle government business when she was secretary of state.

      There is no indication that Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account, or that he relies on his private email account more than his official White House account to conduct government business. Aides say he prefers to call or text over using email.

      Still, Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, set up their private family domain late last year before moving to Washington from New York, according to people with knowledge of events as well as publicly available internet registration records. At the time, Kushner — who served as a senior campaign adviser — was expected to be named to a White House role, while Ivanka Trump was publicly saying she didn’t plan to work in her father’s administration.

      Kushner’s representatives declined to detail the server or security measures on it.

      People familiar with the account say it was primarily set up for Kushner’s personal communications, but he has used it to communicate with acquaintances outside the White House about matters relating to Trump and the administration, according to people who have received messages, as well as with his White House colleagues.

      Kushner has been under scrutiny in the ongoing Russia probes, which have expanded to include potential obstruction of justice by the president and his aides since January, and Kushner’s private email traffic may also be of interest to FBI and congressional investigators.

      Ivanka Trump, now an assistant to the president, has an email account on the same domain, they said. POLITICO has not seen Ivanka Trump’s correspondence, and there is no indication that she used her account to discuss government business.

      Private email traffic among White House aides — some of it sent between personal email accounts rather than to or from government addresses — could skirt the requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president’s personal and political activities to be archived. Trump himself is not known to use email but occasionally has email messages to his assistant printed and presented to him.

      Lowell said Kushner has adhered to government record-keeping requirements by forwarding all the emails to his account, though POLITICO could not verify that.

      Other White House officials have also sometimes used personal accounts to correspond with Kushner and with each other, according to emails seen by POLITICO and people familiar with Kushner’s correspondence. They have also used encrypted apps like Signal and Confide that automatically delete messages, prompting former press secretary Sean Spicer in February to issue a warning to communications staffers that using such apps could violate the Presidential Records Act.

      The use of personal email accounts in the Trump White House has been somewhat common, even though the president has been a harsh critic of Clinton’s private email habits, frequently leading “lock her up” chants as he traveled across the country on the campaign trail.

      “It was an incredibly effective attack,” said Evan Siegfried, a GOP consultant. “He did a great job of injecting the emails into the mainstream.”

      In her newly released memoir, Clinton cited the investigation into her email practices as one reason for her defeat. Comey, who in July 2016 formally cleared her of any wrongdoing, reopened the issue in late October, days before the election, after finding a cache of emails backed up on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin.

      The 2016 election was also shaped by the release of hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee as well as from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The hack is being investigated as part of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

      A former Obama administration lawyer said aides were asked to not use personal email accounts for official or political business but that occasionally an aide would send a message and later forward it to their account.

      If emails related to Trump aren’t saved, it could be difficult for historians, according to Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. Zelizer said that historians can provide a richer history of how administrations work — and historians have feared for years that the proliferation of email will lead some people to do their business in ways in which the records can’t be archived. Zelizer said it could also make the job more difficult for investigators seeking to understand parts of the White House.

      “There’s a reason we require officials to keep those records,” said Zelizer. “Even if 80 percent of someone’s records are not interesting, the other 20 percent can be very illuminating on how an administration worked.”

      Trump responds after North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb test

      Trump responds after North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb test

      Amid new North Korean threats to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, President Trump tweeted Friday that the rogue regime’s leader would be “tested like never before.”

      Trump, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, warned the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea if Pyongyang continued its provocative actions, leading North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to up the ante by calling Trump “deranged.” North Korea escalated the situation further when the nation’s foreign minister revealed Pyongyang could conduct the H-bomb test, and, between tweets about healthcare and “The Russia hoax,” Trump fired back.

      “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Trump wrote.

      The Yonhap news agency reported Thursday on the hydrogen bomb threat from North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Ri framed the possible new nuke test as a response to Trump’s U.N. speech.

      “This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean. Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong Un does,” Ri said.

      Such a test would be considered a major provocation by the U.S., South Korea and Japan. Ri was scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday, a day later than previously scheduled.

      Ri’s comments followed Kim’s extraordinary statement lashing out at Trump, vowing the American leader would “pay dearly” for his threat to destroy North Korea.

      Kim’s first-person statement was published by North Korea’s state propaganda arm in response to Trump’s fiery speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. South Korean media called it the first such direct address to the world by Kim.

      Kim said Trump was “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.” He also described the U.S. president as “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire.”

      Some analysts saw Kim’s statement as a clear announcement that North Korea would ramp up its already brisk pace of weapons testing, which has included missiles meant to target U.S. forces throughout Asia and the U.S. mainland.

      On Tuesday, Trump mocked Kim as a “rocket man” on a “suicide mission,” and said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

      Kim characterized Trump’s speech to the world body as “mentally deranged behavior.”

      He said Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

      Kim said he was “thinking hard” about his response and that Trump “will face results beyond his expectation.”

      Mueller Seeks White House Documents Related to Trump’s Actions as President

      Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, at the Capitol in June. CreditMary F. Calvert for The New York Times

      WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials.

      Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.

      The document requests provide the most details to date about the breadth of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and show that several aspects of his inquiry are focused squarely on Mr. Trump’s behavior in the White House.

      In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s office sent a document to the White House that detailed 13 areas in which investigators are seeking information. Since then, administration lawyers have been scouring White House emails and asking officials whether they have other documents or notes that may pertain to Mr. Mueller’s requests.

      One of the requests is about a meeting Mr. Trump had in May with Russian officials in the Oval Office the day after James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, was fired. That day, Mr. Trump met with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time, Sergey I. Kislyak, along with other Russian officials. The New York Times reported that in the meeting Mr. Trump had said that firing Mr. Comey relieved “great pressure” on him.

       Mr. Mueller has also requested documents about the circumstances of the firing of Michael T. Flynn, who was Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser. Additionally, the special counsel has asked for documents about how the White House responded to questions from The Times about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. That meeting was set up by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, to get derogatory information from Russians about Hillary Clinton.

      Russia’s official news agency photographed President Trump’s meeting with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in the Oval Office in May. The American news media was denied access.CreditAlexander Shcherbak/TASS, via Getty Images

      In July, when The Times put questions about the meeting to the White House, Mr. Trump and senior administration officials prepared a response on Air Force One that made no mention of the meeting’s real purpose, saying instead that it focused on Russian adoptions. Mr. Mueller has asked for all documents the White House has about the meeting, and all internal White House communications about the statement drafted on Air Force One.

      Ty Cobb, the lawyer Mr. Trump hired to provide materials related to the Russia investigation to the special counsel and Congress, has told Mr. Mueller’s office that he will turn over many of the documents this week.

      “We can’t comment on any specific requests being made or our conversations with the special counsel,” he said.

      Based on the document request to the White House, there is no indication that Mr. Mueller is pressing to examine Mr. Trump’s personal finances or business dealings — areas the president has said should be off limits. It is not clear whether Mr. Mueller has made separate document requests elsewhere to examine those subjects.

      Mr. Mueller has asked for all internal White House communications about numerous former campaign officials, including Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman who is now under federal investigation. The document request also seeks communications about Mr. Trump’s campaign foreign policy team: Carter Page, J. D. Gordon, Keith Kellogg, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz.

      Of the 13 subjects in Mr. Mueller’s document request, four are related to Mr. Flynn. The retired lieutenant general was fired in February after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about December phone calls he had with Mr. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time.

      F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Flynn about the phone calls, and the special counsel has requested all internal White House communications about the F.B.I. interview. Mr. Mueller has also asked for documents about how the White House responded to concerns raised by the Justice Department that Mr. Flynn might be subject to Russian blackmail for misleading Mr. Pence about the calls.

      Three of Mr. Mueller’s requests focus on Mr. Comey’s firing. The special counsel wants any White House documents about the decision-making that led to Mr. Comey’s firing, and about all meetings Mr. Comey had with Mr. Trump.

      Mr. Mueller was appointed in May, shortly after it was revealed that Mr. Comey had written a series of memos about his interactions with Mr. Trump — including one Oval Office meeting when Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump had asked him to end the F.B.I. investigation of Mr. Flynn. During another meeting, the president asked for a pledge of loyalty from the F.B.I. director, according to Mr. Comey’s public testimony.

      The special counsel has requested documents about a statement made a week before Mr. Comey’s firing by the former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.

      During a May 3 news briefing, Mr. Spicer said that “the president has confidence in the director.”

      The previous night, Mr. Trump had tweeted that Mr.  Comey “was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!”

      CNN chief Jeff Zucker keeps his network on a breaking news course in the wake of Irma

      CNN chief Jeff Zucker keeps his network on a breaking news course in the wake of Irma

      CNN “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo admits that standing outside in a storm as powerful as Hurricane Irma requires some rationalization.

      “It’s arguably a stupid thing to do,” he said this week on the phone from Naples, Fla., where he and his crew spent several nights living out of a minivan while reporting for the cable network. “But we do it for a reason.”

      Cuomo was among the anchors and correspondents willing to take the risks necessary to inform the public and emergency responders about the conditions and spread the word on the needs of the victims (CNN had an army of 140 people working on the story). He went a step further by sharing his satellite phone with residents who needed to get in touch with loved ones after the storm.

      Such emotional moments helped boost the ratings for all the cable news networks during the storm coverage. Fox News Channel had the most viewers among the news networks. But, aside from the Weather Channel, CNN got the biggest ratings boost for the week that ended Sept. 10, according to Nielsen.

      For the duration of the storm from Sept. 6 to 11, CNN averaged 1.47 million viewers, a 69% jump from its average for the previous four weeks, according to Nielsen. Fox News had 1.76 million viewers, a 28% jump; while MSNBC had 1.13 million, an increase of 12%. In the 25-to-54 category, the age group that advertisers value most in news programming, CNN was up 89% and ranked first in the category during for five straight days, the longest such streak the Time Warner-owned channel has had since 2001.

      The ratings surge is a reminder that many viewers are still in the habit of going to CNN in a time of crisis, underscoring its commitment to devoting resources to breaking news around the world over 37 years.

      “CNN was a natural place for all those viewers to flock to, given that the brand remains incredibly strong and the place for major news,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in an interview.

      The question is whether CNN can hold on to those viewers when the intensity of a news story subsides. It has become more of an imperative lately as MSNBC has made major gains in ratings after several years of running a distant third behind Fox News and CNN. MSNBC has picked up viewers during the day with its breaking news coverage while leading CNN on most weeknights when its politically left-leaning hosts are on.

      Zucker said he does not see a need to change course, noting that his network still leads MSNBC in the 25-to-54 category year-to-date in prime time.

      But the competition is gaining ground. MSNBC has been powered to its best numbers ever thanks to the emergence of Rachel Maddow as the voice of the anti-Trump movement. She is now the most-watched host on cable news among the 25-to-54 demographic.

      The audience for first-place Fox News is so loyal, the network’s ratings have withstood several major changes in personnel including the loss of marquee anchor Bill O’Reilly, who was fired in April amid a sexual harassment scandal at the network. Even with the lineup shifts, Fox News viewers know they can rely on the channel to hear a robust defense of President Trump’s policies from its commentators.

      Zucker notes that his network is running ahead of its record ratings year of 2016 on the strength of its breaking news coverage, which he believes is what viewers still look for from the channel.

      “If you think about the last five or six weeks there has been a tremendous run of big stories with what’s happened in Charlottesville, what’s happened in North Korea and what happened with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida,” he said. “The fact is audiences have been incredibly strong for CNN all year.”

      CNN remains ahead of NBCUniversal-owned channel MSNBC among 25- to 54-year-olds and is having the best year in its history in the category.

      Although it does not matter to advertisers, MSNBC has the bragging rights of being ahead of CNN among all viewers over the full day in 2017, for the first time ever. NBC News, which runs the channel, believes the milestone is viewers’ recognition that MSNBC is more than a political talk outlet.

      “Over the past six months, more viewers have watched breaking news during the day on MSNBC than on CNN,” an NBC News spokesperson said. “That’s a seismic shift that was almost unimaginable two years ago when MSNBC changed its daytime product from opinion shows to live, breaking news coverage in collaboration with NBC News.”

      Even with the pressure from MSNBC, Zucker said he has no plans to shake up his prime-time lineup to try to take on Maddow in the 9 p.m. Eastern hour. CNN currently has Anderson Cooper anchoring the time slot on most nights.

      “We’re incredibly happy with our schedule,” Zucker said. “We don’t have this need to win every hour. We have this need to report and service our audiences on television and in digital.”

      CNN’s ratings and its digital growth have it on track to take in $1.1 billion in profit this year, a strong financial performance that comes at a time of pending transition. AT&T’s deal to acquire CNN parent company Time Warner is expected to be approved in the next few weeks. It has led to speculation about whether the company is willing to deal with the headaches that come with being in the news business and whether it wants Zucker at the helm of the network. Trump, who became a reality TV star at NBC under Zucker’s watch at the network, often complains about CNN’s aggressive coverage of his administration.

      Zucker declined to comment on the AT&T deal, and would not confirm whether new management had called to praise the hurricane coverage and the service it provided to viewers.

      As far as the criticism from the White House, Zucker said CNN’s internal research continues to show the “fake news” narrative pushed by the White House has had no effect on public perception, even prior to its coverage of Irma.

      “There is no evidence any of those silly attacks by the Trump White House were having any effect whatsoever,” Zucker said. “There is strong evidence it was working to the contrary given our audience levels.”

      One unexpected side benefit generated from Cuomo’s Irma coverage is the social media attention he received for the tight T-shirts he wore on camera. He good-naturedly insisted the wardrobe choice was not an attempt to generate viewer interest.

      “My T-shirts are all XL,” said the anchor, who stands 6 feet 2 and weighs 220 pounds. “I wear black because it hides the sweat. The idea of my wearing an intentionally tight shirt is demonstrably false.”

      Chelsea Manning Tells Audience: I Am Not an ‘American Traitor’

      Chelsea Manning Tells Audience: I Am Not an ‘American Traitor’

      Chelsea Manning addresses an audience, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, during a forum, in Nantucket, Mass.

      Convicted WikiLeaks leaker Chelsea Manning told the audience in Massachusetts that she is not an “American traitor” and she did what she thought was ethical.

      “I believe I did the best I could in my circumstances to make an ethical decision,” Manning told the attendees of the annual Nantucket Project conference in Massachusetts after being asked whether she is a traitor for leaking classified documents, Star and Stripes reported.

      The 29-year-old was convicted in 2013 for espionage and sentenced to spend 35 years in jail. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in his last days as the commander-in-chief.

      Manning told Eugene Jarecki, an award-winning documentary director and the event’s moderator, that the U.S. as a “police state” following Harvard University’s decision on Friday to rescind invitation to become a visiting fellow.

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      “I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,” she said. “I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.”

      She also said her choice to speak publicly and try to “change the tone of the conversation” was a risk, adding that it has not improved and actually “have gotten worse.”

      “I’m walking out of prison and I see, literally, a dystopian novel unfolding before my eyes,” she told the audience. “That’s how I feel when I walk in the American streets today.”

      Manning also said privacy is “dead” in today’s society and encouraged people to “forgive everybody at some point,” adding that she will continue to be in the public eye.

      “Everybody keeps telling me, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t say this. Maybe you shouldn’t do this event. Maybe you shouldn’t talk. Maybe you shouldn’t do this,'” she said. “And I’m just like, OK, the fact that you’re telling me I shouldn’t do this is the reason why I should. And I think that’s what we can all do.”

      North Korea launches missile over Japan

      • First missile launch since September 3 nuclear test
      • UN Security Council to meet Friday
      • South Korea test fired missile capable of striking near Pyongyang in response

      (CNN)In a major show of defiance to the international community, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido Friday.

      The launch is the second to fly over Japan in less than a month, and the first since North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and new United Nations sanctions on the country.
      North Korean state media has yet to reference the launch, but a commentary published in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper Friday said “no matter how strong the pressure is, it doesn’t work on us.”
      Tokyo and Washington will be seeking to up that pressure at the United Nations Friday, with the two governments calling a snap meeting of the Security Council for Friday afternoon, ahead of the General Assembly next week.
      Sirens sound in Japan after second missile threat

      Sirens sound in Japan after second missile threat 00:56
      Speaking after the launch, the first since North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch was “totally unacceptable” and went against “the international community’s strong, united will for a peaceful solution.”
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      Friday’s missile test follows the release of a statement Wednesday, in which the North Korean state news agency KCNA threatened the “four islands of the (Japanese) archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” referring to the ruling ideology of North Korea.
      The launch also seemed to be intended to send a message to the US, flying a distance equivalent to that from North Korea to Guam, the US territory that has come under threat from Pyongyang in recent weeks.

      Furthest intermediate range missile test

      North Korea’s latest missile was fired from the district of Sunan in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, home to the country’s main airport, the South Korean military said.
      Initial US assessments suggested North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile, similar to that fired over Japan last month.
      The missile flew about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) and reached an altitude of 770 kilometers (480 miles) before landing in the Pacific Ocean. Guam is 3,380 kilometers (2,100 miles) from North Korea.
      Friday’s missile flew the furthest of any North Korean intermediate-range missiles, though previous launches have used lofted trajectories, where missiles fly much higher over a shorter distance. By comparison, an intercontinental ballistic missile launched in July flew 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) high and traveled a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
      A South Korean Hyunmoo II ballistic missile is fired during an exercise at an undisclosed location on September 15, 2017.

      In response to North Korea’s launch, South Korea carried out a “live fire drill” that included a missile launch which the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said was capable of striking the Sunan airport launch site near Pyongyang used for today’s launch.

      CNN takes you to parts of North Korea rarely seen. Watch the documentary on CNN and CNN International:

      • 10 p.m. ET, Friday September 15
      • 11 a.m. JST. Saturday, September 16
      • 12 p.m. AEST Saturday, September 16
      The South Korean missile, which was launched from the country’s east coast while the North Korean missile was still in the air, was “a show of force in response to North Korea’s latest provocation,” a South Korean official told CNN.
      A second missile that was fired at the same time failed and “sank into the sea off the east coast,” an official said.
      Park Soo-hyun, spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said the country’s military had been ordered “to prepare a stern measure that can effectively counter North Korea’s increasing nuclear and military threats.”
      “North Korea’s firing of yet another ballistic missile is a clear violation of (UN Security Council) resolutions and a very serious and grave challenge to international peace and security,” the South Korean government said in a statement.
      NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the launch was “another reckless breach of UN resolutions” and a “major threat” to international peace and security “which demands a global response.”
      In regularly scheduled press conference Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reemphasized Beijing’s “resolution” on pushing for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
      “China has strictly and comprehensively implemented the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Hua said, adding the country has “paid a great price and made sacrifices.”
      The weapon that makes N. Korea more dangerous

      The weapon that makes N. Korea more dangerous 01:12

      Japan on high alert

      Friday’s missile test set off sirens as a government warning, known as the J-Alert, went out to citizens across a broad swath of northern Japan.
      “The government is advising people to stay away from anything that could be missile debris,” NHK reported.
      In a statement, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the missile test was the second time the people of Japan “have been directly threatened in recent weeks.”
      “The international community needs to unite and send clear message after North Korea’s dangerous provocation,” Abe told reporters. “We must let North Korea understand there is no bright future for North Korea if it continues in this way.”
      He said the Japanese government tracked the launch of the missile and “took all possible measures.”
      Japan and the US have requested the UN Security Council hold “urgent consultations” at 3 p.m. ET Friday, according to the Ethiopian Mission to the UN. Ethiopian Ambassador Tekeda Alemu is the current UN Security Council president.

      Need for more pressure

      The launch came just hours after North Korea responded to the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous approval of additional sanctions by threatening to “sink” Japan and reduce the US mainland into “ash and darkness.”
      Those sanctions were prompted by North Korea’s sixth nuclear test that occurred on September 3, which Pyongyang said was a successful test of a hydrogen bomb.
      That explosion created a magnitude-6.3 tremor, making it the most powerful weapon Pyongyang has ever tested.
      The nuclear test prompted discussions inside South Korea about the the redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in the country, an idea that the majority of the country’s citizens approve of, according to recent polls.
      But on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in dismissed the possibility, warning it could “lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia.”
      Both Abe and Tillerson called for an intensifying of pressure on North Korea, including the full implementation of the new UN sanctions.
      “These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation,” Tillerson said.
      “United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.”
      He singled out Chinese oil supplies and Russia’s use of North Korean migrant workers as two areas in which the two countries could take “direct action” against North Korea.
      Speaking Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua said it was “irresponsible and unhelpful to blame others,” adding those parties directly involved in the dispute “should shoulder the responsibility” for it.
      south korean president moon paula hancocks intvw_00012404

      Paula Hancocks interviews S. Korean president 02:39

      Rapid pace

      2017 has been a year of rapid progress for North Korea’s missile program.
      Less than six years into his reign, Kim Jong Un has tested more missiles than his father and grandfather combined. And this year has been no exception.
      Prior to its most recent launch, the country has fired 21 missiles during 14 tests since February, further perfecting its technology with each launch.
      There’s also a political aspect to the tests, analysts say.

      North Korea has long maintained it wants nuclear weapons and long-range missiles to deter the United States from attempting to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un.

      Pyongyang looks at states such as Iraq — where Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States, and Libya — its late leader, Moammar Gadhafi, gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the United States intervened in his country’s civil unrest — and believes that only being able to threaten the US mainland with a retaliatory nuclear strike can stop American military intervention.

      Many experts say they believe North Korea would not use the weapons first. Kim values his regime’s survival above all else and knows the use of a nuclear weapon would start a war he could not win, analysts say.

      “This new missile test … is both a reaction to the stringent UN sanctions of Monday evening and a wake-up call about the limits of sanctions and military threats as a way to change North Korea’s behavior,” said George A Lopez, a former member of the UN Security Council panel of experts for sanctions on North Korea.
      He said Trump should use his speech to the UN General Assembly next week to “demonstrate US leadership in loyalty to all allies in the region and state our commitment to developing new and vibrant security guarantees for all states, including (North Korea), that are not based on the threat or use of nuclear weapons.”
      The White House has been pursuing a strategy of what it calls “peaceful pressure” in dealing with North Korea — trying to build a global coalition to squeeze North Korea’s revenue and isolate it diplomatically so it will eventually put its missiles on the negotiating table.
      China has been key to that strategy, as Beijing accounts for nearly 90% of all of North Korea’s imports, according to recent data from the United Nations.
      Hours before the launch, Trump touted his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and their collaboration in addressing North Korea’s rapidly escalating missile and nuclear programs.
      “We have a very good relationship with China and with the President of China. We are working on different things,” Trump said. “I can’t tell you, obviously, what I’m working on. But believe me, the people of this country will be very, very safe.”

      Trump Says ‘No Deal’ Was Reached With Democrats to Extend DACA

      Trump Says ‘No Deal’ Was Reached With Democrats to Extend DACA

      “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” Trump tweeted in a series of posts.

      “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built,” he wrote.

      No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.

      The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.

      Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..

      “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! …They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” Trump posted about DACA recipients.

      Trump, in his series of tweets Thursday, did not deny reports that he would support a deal on DACA that didn’t include the wall.


       Trump Claims Ryan, McConnell on Board With Potential DACA Fix 1:00

      And, in brief comments to reporters later Thursday, Trump said “the wall will come later” and that Republican congressional leaders were “on board” with the talks.

      “We’re working on a plan, we’ll see how it works out,” he said as he was departing to tour the hurricane damage in Florida. “We’re going to get massive border security as part of that.”

      “The wall will come later,” he added of his plan to build a wall along the Mexico border. “The wall is going to be built, it will be funded a little bit later.”

      “If the wall is going to be obstructed…then we’re not doing anything,” the president said later in Florida.

      And when asked by a reporter if he supported amnesty, Trump cupped his hands to his lips and said, “DACA — the word is DACA.”

      After arriving in Florida, Trump told reporters that he is “not looking at citizenship” or “amnesty” for Dreamers but instead the discussion is about “taking care of people.”

      Earlier, the president said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., backed the plan.

      Two aides to Ryan, however, told NBC News that the Speaker had not talked to Trump since the the president dined Wednesday night with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

      Following that dinner, Pelosi and Schumer said they’d reached a deal with the president “to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

       Trump disputes Democrats’ account of dinner deal on DACA, border wall 3:20

      Schumer and Pelosi, in a joint statement Thursday morning, added that Trump’s tweets “are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.”

      The pair said “there was no final deal” but that “both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement.”

      “The President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it,” they said.

      Related: Trump, Dems Close to Deal on DACA

      Dropping the demand for a border wall could make it easier for Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.

      Following the Wednesday night joint statement from Schumer and Pelosi, however, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that, “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”

      But earlier Wednesday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told an industry trade group that the border wall does not have to be a part of an agreement on DACA, one attendee at the meeting said.

      The Trump administration announced last week that the Obama-era program would end in six months. The president said as part of the announcement that, “I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”

      Ending DACA — a program allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain and get work permits in the country — could affect as many as an estimated 800,000 people.

      Sources told NBC News Wednesday night that Schumer and Pelosi told Trump they are prepared to deliver votes on a measure that would pair the existing DREAM Act text with additional border security that does not include the border wall funding. Specifics on what type and level of border security were not disclosed.

      DACA deal? Trump & Dems differ over potential border wall funds 9:56

      The DREAM Act would have offered those who came to the U.S. as children the opportunity to potentially gain permanent legal residency. The act was first introduced in August 2001 by Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. It has resurfaced several times, always failing to get through Congress.

      Discussion of a possible deal marked the second time in as many weeks that Trump spurned his own party to pursue an agreement with Democrats. Last week, Trump struck a deal with Schumer and Pelosi that combined disaster aid for those affected by Hurricane Harvey with measures to keep the government open and extend the debt ceiling for three months, leaving some Republicans reeling.

      News of another potential deal was met immediately with criticism from conservative Republicans.

      Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, an anti-immigration hardliner tweeted Wednesday that, if there was an agreement, “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

      A potential deal would also go against the views of former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who as a White House aide was credited with helping Trump emphasize a message centered on economic nationalism.

      Bannon, who following his White House exit returned as the head of Breitbart News, told CBS’ “60 Minutes” last week he didn’t agree with Trump’s decision to give Congress a window to save DACA legislatively, and that “the guys in the far-right” and “on the conservative side” were “not happy” with it either.

      At least 5 dead in Florida nursing home left with no A/C after Irma

      At least 5 dead in Florida nursing home left with no A/C after Irma

      CNN affiliate WPLG reported that the home’s air-conditioning had been out since Hurricane Irma struck Sunday.
      Sharief said she did not have any details about the causes of death, and that authorities are investigating.
      Firefighters are helping evacuate about 100 people from the nursing home.
      Developing story – more to come