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Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump takes charge, assertive but untested 45th US president

Trump takes charge, assertive but untested 45th US president

AP Photo
President Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017
   
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pledging emphatically to empower America's "forgotten men and women," Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a riven nation facing an unpredictable era under his assertive but untested leadership.

Under cloudy, threatening skies at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Trump painted a bleak picture of the America he now leads, declaring as he had throughout the election campaign that it is beset by crime, poverty and a lack of bold action. The billionaire businessman and reality television star - the first president to have never held political office or high military rank - promised to stir a "new national pride" and protect America from the "ravages" of countries he says have stolen U.S. jobs.

"This American carnage stops right here," Trump declared. In a warning to the world, he said, "From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it's going to be America first."

The crowd that spread out before him on the National Mall was notably smaller than at past inaugurals, reflecting both the divisiveness of last year's campaign and the unpopularity of the incoming president compared to modern predecessors.

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and the new president.

Police reported more than 200 arrests by evening and said six officers had been hurt. At least one vehicle was set afire.

Short and pointed, Trump's 16-minute address in the heart of Washington was a blistering rebuke of many who listened from privileged seats only feet away. Surrounded by men and women who have long filled the government's corridors of power, the new president said that for too long, "a small group in our nation's 
capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost."

His predecessor, President Barack Obama, sat stoically as Trump pledged to push the country in a dramatically different direction.

Trump's victory gives Republicans control of both the White House and Congress - and all but ensures conservatives can quickly pick up a seat on the closely divided Supreme Court. Despite entering a time of Republican dominance, Trump made little mention of the party's bedrock principles: small government, social conservationism and robust American leadership around the world.

He left no doubt he considers himself the product of a movement - not a party.

Trump declared his moment a fulfillment of his campaign pledge to take a sledgehammer to Washington's traditional ways, and he spoke directly to the alienated and disaffected.

"What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people," he said. "To all Americans in every city near and far, small and large from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again."

But the speech offered scant outreach to the millions who did not line up behind his candidacy.

Trump's call for restrictive immigration measures, religious screening of immigrants and his caustic campaign rhetoric about women and minorities angered millions. He did not directly address that opposition, instead offering a call to "speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity."

While Trump did not detail policy proposals Friday, he did set a high bar for his presidency. The speech was full of the onetime showman's lofty promises to bring back jobs, "completely" eradicate Islamic terrorism, and build new roads, bridges and airports.

Despite Trump's ominous portrait of America, he is taking the helm of a growing economy. Jobs have increased for a record 75 straight months, and the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, close to a 9-year low.

Yet Trump's victory underscored that for many Americans, the recovery from the Great Recession has come slowly or not at all. His campaign tapped into seething anger in working class communities, particularly in the Midwest, that have watched factories shuttered and the certainty of a middle class life wiped away.

Trump's journey to the inauguration was as unlikely as any in recent U.S. history. He defied his party's establishment and befuddled the news media. He used social media to dominate the national conversation and challenge conventions about political discourse. After years of Democratic control of the White House and deadlock in Washington, his was a blast of fresh air for millions.

At 70, Trump is the oldest person to be sworn in as president, marking a generational step backward after two terms for Obama, one of the youngest presidents to serve as commander in chief.

The 44th president, who will continue to live in Washington, left the city after the swearing-in ceremony for a family vacation in California. At a farewell celebration with staff members at Joint Base Andrews, he thanked them for having "proved the power of hope."

While Trump bucked convention as a candidate, he embraced the pomp and pageantry of the inaugural celebrations. He was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. 

During an afternoon parade, he stepped outside the armored presidential limousine with Mrs. Trump and his 10-year-old son, Barron, to walk two brief stretches of Pennsylvania Avenue.

In a show of solidarity, all of the living American presidents attended the inaugural, except for 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia. His wife, Barbara, was also in the hospital after falling ill.

But more than 60 House Democrats refused to attend Trump's swearing-in ceremony in the shadow of the Capitol dome. One Democrat who did sit among the dignitaries was Hillary Clinton, Trump's vanquished campaign rival who was widely expected by both parties to be the one taking the oath of office.

At a post-ceremony luncheon at the Capitol, Trump declared it was an honor to have her attend, and the Republicans and Democrats present rose and applauded.

While most of Trump's first substantive acts as president will wait until Monday, he signed a series of papers formally launching his administration, including official nominations for his Cabinet. Sitting in an ornate room steps from the Senate floor, the president who had just disparaged the Washington establishment joked with lawmakers, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and handed out presidential pens.

As evening fell, the Senate approved retired Gen. James Mattis to be Trump's secretary of defense and John Kelly, another retired general, to oversee the Homeland Security Department.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

The presidency is about to change _ as Trump remains Trump

The presidency is about to change _ as Trump remains Trump

AP Photo
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday in New York. Donald Trump enters the White House on Jan. 20 just as he entered the race for president: defiant, unfiltered, unbound by tradition and utterly confident in his chosen course. In the 10 weeks since his surprise election as the nation’s 45th president, Trump has violated decades of established diplomatic protocol, sent shockwaves through business boardrooms, tested long-standing ethics rules and continued his combative style of replying to any slight with a personal attack _ on Twitter and in person.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Donald Trump enters the White House on Friday just as he entered the race for president: defiant, unfiltered, unbound by tradition and utterly confident in his chosen course.

In the 10 weeks since his surprise election as the nation's 45th president, Trump has violated decades of established diplomatic protocol, sent shockwaves through business boardrooms, tested long-standing ethics rules and continued his combative style of replying to any slight with a personal attack - on Twitter and in person.

Past presidents have described walking into the Oval Office for the first time as a humbling experience, one that in an instant makes clear the weight of their new role as caretaker of American democracy. Trump spent much of his transition making clear he sees things differently: Rather than change for the office, he argues, the office will change for him.

"They say it's not presidential to call up these massive leaders of business," Trump told a crowd in Indianapolis in December. That was after he negotiated a deal with an air conditioning company to keep jobs in the state, a move many economists derided as unworkable national economic policy.

"I think it's very presidential," he declared. "And if it's not presidential, that's OK. That's OK. Because I actually like doing it."

Even before he takes the oath of office, Trump has changed the very nature of presidency, breaking conventions and upending expectations for the leader of the free world.

Advisers who've spoken with Trump say the billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star is aware of the historic nature of his new job. He's told friends that he's drawn to the ambition of Ronald Reagan, a Republican, and John F. Kennedy, a Democrat. He's thinking of spending his first night in the White House sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, according to some who dined with him recently in Florida.

But Trump also views himself as a kind of "sui generis" president, beholden to no one for his success and modeling himself after no leader who's come before. Trump has said he's read no biographies of former presidents. When asked to name his personal heroes in a recent interview, he mentioned his father before replying that he didn't "like the concept of heroes."

"I don't think Trump has a great sense of the history of the White House. When you don't know your history, it's hard to fully respect the traditions," said historian Douglas Brinkley, who recently dined with Trump and other guests at his South Florida club. "This is not somebody who brags about how many history biographies he's read."

"He's somebody who brags about it as this is a big event and he's the maestro," he said.

That's a shift that thrills his supporters, who elected Trump to shake up what they see as an unresponsive and corrupt federal government in the "swamp" of Washington.

"I don't want him to change" said Iowa state Sen. Brad Zaun, one of Trump's earliest backers. "One of the reasons that I supported him is that he told it the way it was. He didn't beat around the bush. He didn't do the standard political talking points."

Trump won election with that approach, but he's yet to win over the country. His Electoral College victory was tempered by a loss in the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots. The protests planned for the day after his inauguration threaten to draw more people to the National Mall than his official events.

Polls over the past week show that Trump is poised to enter the White House as the least popular president in four decades. Democrats remain staunchly opposed to him, independents have not rallied behind him and even Republicans are less enthusiastic than might be expected, according to the surveys.

In his typical reaction to poll results he doesn't like, Trump dismissed them as "rigged" in a Tuesday tweet.
It's exactly that kind of tweet that worries governing experts, lawmakers and other critics, who argue that traditional practices of the presidency protect the health of the American democracy.

"With notable exceptions, we've had a political culture in which presidents largely respect a series of unwritten rules that help democracy and the rule of law flourish," said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. "What's striking about Trump is he flouts norms that have previously been respected by both parties on a daily basis. He calls things into question that have never been questioned before."

Since winning the election, Trump has attacked Hollywood celebrities, civil rights icons and political rivals alike. He's moved markets by going after some companies, while praising others.

He's questioned the legitimacy of American institutions - appearing to trust the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the intelligence agencies he'll soon oversee, engaging in personal fights with journalists as he assails the free press and questioning the results of the election, even though it put him in office.
And he's lambasted the leaders of longstanding allied nations as he questions the post-World War II international order that won the Cold War and maintained peace in Europe for generations.

For Trump supporters, that no-holds-barred style is the very reason he won their votes. But for others in the country, it's a type of leadership they've seen before and fear will spread.

They point to Maine, where a Trump-like governor has roiled the state's government with offensive statements, a combative style and little respect for the Legislature, as a warning of what the nation might expect during a Trump administration.

Gov. Paul LePage's confrontational brand of politics has made it harder to pass legislation, build political coalitions or even conduct the basic workings of state government, say legislators and political consultants in the traditionally centrist state. He's created rifts with would-be Republican allies, demonized the media and tightly controlled basic information. At times, he's banned the heads of state agencies from appearing before legislative committees, making state budgeting and oversight difficult.

"What I'm concerned about nationally is what we've seen up here - that the checks and balances we take for granted disappear," said Lance Dutson, a Republican political strategist who worked to get LePage elected before later speaking out against him. "There are things that are happening up here that I really thought just couldn't happen."

There are signs that Trump's actions are already changing the traditions of government in Washington, freeing lawmakers and other officials from long-respected practices of federal politics.

More than 50 House Democrats plan to boycott Trump's inauguration ceremony, an unprecedented break with the bipartisan tradition of celebrating the peaceful transfer of power. While many Democrats were furious with the outcome of the 2000 election in which Republican George W. Bush defeated Al Gore after recounts and a Supreme Court ruling, they generally attended Bush's inauguration ceremony.

"I will not celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate," tweeted Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman who's bidding to head the Democratic National Committee.

Those who know Trump say the billionaire mogul delights in confounding establishment expectations, even as he craves approval from powerbrokers in New York and Washington.

"He was born with a chip on his shoulder, and he is very much the guy from Queens who looked across at Manhattan and envied but also to some degree hated the elites who occupied Manhattan," said Michael D'Antonio, author of "Never Enough," a Trump biography. "The way that he wants to disrupt institutions reflects this idea that the institutions haven't embraced him."

That's a style that may work better for a CEO of a family corporation - who has little oversight from corporate boards or shareholders - than a president constrained by a system of checks and balances. Former Cabinet officials say the layers of government bureaucracy, myriad regulations and intricacies of Congress will challenge Trump's style.

"A president doesn't have sweeping, universal authority. It is a very different operation than being a CEO who can fire people and hire people at will," said Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat and former health and human services secretary. "He's never been part of any organization with a framework where institutional rules are in place."

President Barack Obama, who's offered Trump advice both publicly and privately, said he's urged the president-elect to hold onto some of the traditions of the office.

"The one thing I've said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that as we go forward certain norms, certain institutional traditions don't get eroded, because there's a reason they're in place," said Obama, in a recent interview with CBS' "60 Minutes."

But Trump's supporters say it's the institutions and Washington - and not the next president - that must change.

"Trump believes that he has a better understanding of how things work in the modern world than all of these so-called critics," said Newt Gingrich, a Trump adviser and former Republican House speaker, who has spoken with the president-elect about his presidency. "That's who he is.

"The rest of us are going to have to learn how to think through that."


Monday, January 16, 2017

Officials: FBI arrests widow of Orlando nightclub shooter

Officials: FBI arrests widow of Orlando nightclub shooter

AP Photo
FILE - In this June 12, 2016 file photo, law enforcement officials work at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., following the a mass shooting. Audio recordings of 911 calls released Tuesday, Aug. 30, by the Orange County Sheriff's Office show mounting frustration by friends and family members who were texting, calling and video-chatting with trapped patrons of the Pulse nightclub where Omar Mateen opened fire in June. A U.S. law enforcement official says the FBI has arrested the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter. The official says Noor Salman was taken into custody Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, in the San Francisco area and is due in court Tuesday in California. She's facing charges in Florida including obstruction of justice.
  
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter, who was extensively questioned by federal agents in the days after the massacre, has been arrested by the FBI in connection with the attack, authorities said Monday.

Noor Salman was taken into custody Monday morning in the San Francisco Bay area and is facing charges in Florida including obstruction of justice. A Twitter post from the United States attorney's office in Orlando said Salman will make her initial court appearance Tuesday morning in Oakland, California.

Noor Salman moved to California after her husband, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members during the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

FBI agents repeatedly questioned Salman in the aftermath of the shooting about whether she had advance knowledge of her husband's plans. Salman told The New York Times in an interview published last fall that she knew her husband had watched jihadist videos but that she was "unaware of everything" regarding his intent to shoot up the club. She also said he had physically abused her.

"Noor Salman had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night," her attorney, Linda Moreno, said in a statement.

"Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person," Moreno said.

Mateen was the only shooter, and by the time a three-hour standoff with law enforcement had ended, 49 patrons were killed and another 53 people required hospitalization.

Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in a 911 call to emergency officials during the standoff. He also made a series of Facebook posts and searches before and during the attack.

Salman, who grew up northeast of San Francisco, wed Mateen in 2011 after the two met online. They lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the time of the shooting. Last month, Salman filed a petition in a California court to change the name of the son she had with Mateen.

"We said from the beginning, we were going to look at every aspect of this, of every aspect of this shooter's life to determine not just why did he take these actions - but who else knew about them? Was anyone else involved?" Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in an MSNBC interview on Monday.

The Times first reported on the arrest.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement that Salman was facing accusations of obstruction of justice and "aiding and abetting by providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization."

"Nothing can erase the pain we all feel about the senseless and brutal murders of 49 of our neighbors, friends, family members and loved ones," Mina said. "But today, there is some relief in knowing that someone will be held accountable for that horrific crime."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he hoped the arrest "provides some comfort to the families who are mourning their loved ones," he added.

Trump, in flap with civil rights icon, meets with MLK's son

Trump, in flap with civil rights icon, meets with MLK's son

AP Photo
President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King Jr. at Trump Tower in New York, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.
  
NEW YORK (AP) -- Days before taking office, President-elect Donald Trump attempted to navigate the fallout of his flap with a civil rights leader and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while also losing a member of his incoming administration to accusations of plagiarism.

Trump on Monday met with one of King's sons on the holiday marking the life of the slain American icon just days after the president-elect attacked Rep. John Lewis on Twitter. Lewis and the elder King were among the Big Six leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Trump accused Lewis, D-Ga., for being "all talk" after Lewis questioned the legitimacy of Trump's election. The president-elect also advised the veteran congressman to pay more attention to his "crime ridden" Atlanta-area district. Trump's comments drew widespread criticism and have done little to reassure those uneasy about the transition from the nation's first black president to a president-elect still struggling to connect with most nonwhite voters.

Martin Luther King III downplayed the slight, saying that "in the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides." King, who said he pressed Trump on the need for voting reform to increase participation, deemed the meeting "constructive." King said that while he disagreed with the president-elect's comments, he believed "at some point in this nation we've got to move forward."

"He said that he is going to represent all Americans. He said that over and over again," King told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower after the nearly hourlong meeting. "I believe that's his intent, but I think we also have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure. It doesn't happen automatically."

Trump, who struggled for support from minority voters on Election Day, briefly joined King in the lobby but ignored reporters' shouted questions about his comments about Lewis.

Lewis had suggested that Trump's November victory was delegitimized due to Russian interference and said he would boycott Friday's Inauguration. More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress have said they will sit out the Trump ceremony. Among them is Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, who said Monday that "this president 'semi-elect' does not deserve to be president of the United States. He has not exhibited the characteristics or the values that we hold dear."

The Martin Luther King holiday is meant to honor community service and volunteerism, and many Americans, including President Barack Obama, spend part of the day doing a service project of some kind. Trump, who cancelled a planned trip to Washington, spent the day inside the Manhattan skyscraper that bears his name.

Meanwhile, conservative media commentator Monica Crowley will not be joining the Trump administration following accusations of plagiarism, according to a transition official.

Crowley, a frequent on-air presence at Fox News Channel, had been slated to join Trump's National Security Council as a director of strategic communications. On Monday, she withdrew her name from consideration after CNN reported last week that several passages in a 2012 book Crowley wrote were plagiarized. Publisher HarperCollins then pulled the book.

Crowley's retreat was first reported by The Washington Times. The transition official confirmed the decision on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Trump has continued to lash out at his critics in the intelligence community and questioned whether the CIA director himself was "the leaker of fake news" in a Sunday night tweet.

The extraordinary criticism from the incoming president came hours after CIA chief John Brennan charged that Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the United States, delivering a public lecture to the president-elect that further highlighted the bitter state of Trump's relations with American intelligence agencies.

"Now that he's going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he's going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that U.S. and national security interests are protected," Brennan said on "Fox News Sunday," warning that the president-elect's impulsivity could be dangerous.

Trump shot back in a Twitter post Sunday, saying: "Oh really, couldn't do much worse - just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the buildup of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?"

Additionally, European Union nations bracing for Trump's ascension showed defiance Monday in the face of the president-elect's stinging comments on everything from NATO and German cars to the crumbling of the EU itself.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the U.S. president-elect's view that NATO was obsolete and his criticism that European allied members aren't paying their fair share had "caused astonishment."

Trump also said Britain's decision to leave the 28-nation European Union would "end up being a great thing," and he predicted that other countries would also leave.

At a meeting of EU ministers, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the best response to such comments was simple - "it is the unity of the Europeans."

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted: "We Europeans have our fate in our own hands."


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

VW pleads guilty in emissions scandal; 6 employees indicted

VW pleads guilty in emissions scandal; 6 employees indicted

AP Photo
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, accompanied by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, right, and others, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, to discuss Volkswagen emissions. Six high-level Volkswagen employees have been indicted by a grand jury in the company's diesel emissions cheating scandal, as the company admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay a record $4.3 billion penalty


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Six high-level Volkswagen employees from Germany were indicted in the U.S. on Wednesday in the VW emissions-cheating scandal, while the company itself agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $4.3 billion - by far the biggest fine ever levied by the government against an automaker.

In announcing the charges and the plea bargain, Justice Department prosecutors detailed a large and elaborate scheme inside the German automaker to commit fraud and then cover it up, with at least 40 employees allegedly involved in destroying evidence.

"Volkswagen obfuscated, they denied and they ultimately lied," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.
Prosecutors may have trouble bringing the executives to trial in the U.S. German law generally bars extradition of the country's citizens except within the European Union. Privately, Justice Department officials expressed little optimism that the five VW executives still at large will be arrested, unless they surrender or travel outside Germany.

Still, the criminal charges are a major breakthrough for a Justice Department that been under pressure to hold individuals accountable for corporate misdeeds ever since the 2008 financial crisis.

Lynch held out the possibility of charges against more high-ranking VW executives. "We will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy," she said.

VW admitted installing software in diesel engines on nearly 600,000 VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles in the U.S. that activated pollution controls during government tests and switched them off in real-world driving. The software allowed the cars to spew harmful nitrogen oxide at up to 40 times above the legal limit.

U.S. regulators confronted VW about the software after university researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions. Volkswagen at first denied the use of the so-called defeat device but finally admitted it in September 2015.

Even after that admission, prosecutors said, company employees were busy deleting computer files and other evidence.

The fines easily eclipse the $1.2 billion penalty levied against Toyota in 2014 over unintended acceleration in its cars. VW also agreed to pay an additional $154 million to California for violating its clean air laws.

The penalties bring the cost of the scandal to VW in the United States to nearly $20 billion, not counting lost sales and damage to the automaker's reputation. Volkswagen previously reached a $15 billion civil settlement with environmental authorities and car owners in the U.S. under which it agreed to repair or buy back as many as a half-million of the affected vehicles.

The company pleaded guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice and importing vehicles by using false statements. Under the agreement, VW must cooperate in the continuing investigation let an independent monitor oversee its compliance for three years.

The six supervisors indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit were accused of lying to environmental regulators or destroying computer files containing evidence.

All six are German citizens, and five remained in Germany. The only one under arrest was Oliver Schmidt, who was seized over the weekend in Miami during a visit to the U.S.

Schmidt was in charge of VW's compliance with U.S. environmental regulations. Those indicted also included two former chiefs of Volkswagen engine development and the former head of quality management and product safety. Prosecutors said one supervised 10,000 employees.

All six were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by making false statements to regulators and the public. Three were also charged with fraud and clean-air violations.

Government documents say one engine development supervisor asked an assistant to search another supervisor's office for a hard drive that contained emails between them. Then another assistant was asked to throw it away, prosecutors said.

According to the plea agreement, Volkswagen officials began deceiving the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators starting in 2006, when they realized new diesel engines wouldn't meet 2007 emissions standards.

Under the direction of supervisors, VW employees borrowed the defeat device idea from VW's Audi luxury division, which was developing different engines with similar software.

In November 2006, some employees raised objections to the defeat device to the head of VW-brand engine development, prosecutors said. That official allegedly directed the employees to continue and warned them "not to get caught."

In 2014, VW employees learned about a West Virginia University study that found emissions discrepancies in VWs. Three of the supervisors and other employees decided not to disclose the defeat device to U.S. regulators, prosecutors said.

In August 2015, a VW employee ignored instructions from supervisors and told U.S. regulators about the device.

VW also faces an investor lawsuit and criminal probe in Germany. In all, some 11 million vehicles worldwide were equipped with the software.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Florida airport shooting suspect appears in new video

Florida airport shooting suspect appears in new video

AP Photo
People take cover outside Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the airport, killing several people and wounding others before being taken into custody.
 

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A day before the suspect in the Fort Lauderdale airport rampage was to appear in court, a website released footage that appears to show him calmly drawing a pistol and opening fire in the baggage claim area.

The video recording posted on TMZ's websitehttp://www.tmz.com/2017/01/08/ft-lauderdale-shooting-first-shots-video/ appears to show Estaban Santiago walking through baggage claim of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, pulling a handgun from his waistband and then firing several times before running.

Santiago, 26, is accused of killing five travelers and wounding six others the attack. He was charged Saturday with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death - which carries a maximum punishment of execution - and weapons charges. His first court hearing is Monday.

The FBI said in an email that it was aware of the video but would not comment on its authenticity. TMZ does not say where it obtained the video, although it appears to be from a surveillance camera.

Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack, buying a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport, a federal complaint said. Authorities don't know why he chose his target and have not ruled out terrorism.

Authorities said Saturday during a news conference that they had interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with a cooperative Santiago, who is a former National Guard soldier from Alaska.
FBI Agent George Piro said Santiago spoke to investigators for several hours after he opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he appears to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska.

"Indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack," Piro said. "We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack. We're pursuing all angles on what prompted him to carry out this horrific attack."

Investigators are combing through social media and other information to determine Santiago's motive, and it's too early to say whether terrorism played a role, Piro said. In November, Santiago had walked into an FBI field office in Alaska saying the U.S. government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch Islamic State group videos, authorities said.

Santiago had been discharged from the National Guard last year after being demoted for unsatisfactory performance.

Bryan Santiago said Saturday that his brother had requested psychological help but received little assistance. Esteban Santiago said in August that he was hearing voices.

"How is it possible that the federal government knows, they hospitalize him for only four days, and then give him his weapon back?" Bryan Santiago said.

His mother declined to comment as she stood inside the screen door of the family home in Puerto Rico, wiping tears from her eyes. The only thing she said was that Esteban Santiago had been tremendously affected by seeing a bomb explode next to two of his friends when he was around 18 years old while serving in Iraq.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Magnitude 7.2 quake hits near Fiji; tsunami alert issued

Magnitude 7.2 quake hits near Fiji; tsunami alert issued
  

SYDNEY (AP) -- A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Fiji on Wednesday, prompting a brief tsunami warning for the Pacific island nation. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The magnitude 7.2 quake, which hit at 9:52 a.m. local time, struck about 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of the tourist hub of Nadi, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake was a relatively shallow 15 kilometers (9 miles) deep. Shallower quakes generally cause more damage than ones that strike deeper.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for coastlines within 300 kilometers (190 miles) of the epicenter, then lifted the warning about an hour later. A tsunami of just 1 centimeter (less than an inch) was observed in the capital of Suva, the center said.

Fiji's Principal Disaster Management Officer, Sunia Ratulevu, said there had been no reports of damage or injuries from the quake, and no unusual wave activity had been reported. The quake struck far offshore and was not felt in Suva or Nadi, he said.

When the tsunami alert was issued, people in Suva fled their offices and headed inland, Ratulevu said. But by early afternoon, authorities were telling people the threat had passed and it was safe to return to work.

Fiji is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

North Carolina fails to repeal LGBT law as culture wars rage

North Carolina fails to repeal LGBT law as culture wars rage

AP Photo
State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, speaks on the senate floor during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly called to consider repeal of NC HB2 in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. North Carolina's legislature reconvened to see if enough lawmakers are willing to repeal a 9-month-old law that limited LGBT rights, including which bathrooms transgender people can use in public schools and government buildings.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Repealing North Carolina's law limiting LGBT protections at the close of a bitter election year was supposed to heal blows to the economy and perhaps open a truce in the culture wars in at least one corner of the divided United States.

The failure of state lawmakers to follow through instead shows how much faith each side has lost in the other, as Americans segregate themselves into communities of us and them, defined by legislative districts that make compromise unlikely.

The deal was supposedly reached with input from top politicians and industry leaders: Charlotte agreed to eliminate its anti-discrimination ordinance on the condition that state lawmakers then repeal the legislation known as House Bill 2, which had been a response to Charlotte's action.

But bipartisan efforts to return both the city and state to a more harmonious past fell apart amid mutual distrust, and neither side seemed to worry about retribution in the next election.

With GOP map-drawers drawing most legislative districts to be uncompetitively red or blue, politicians see little downside to avoiding a negotiated middle-ground. And since the day Republicans passed and signed it into law last March, HB2 has reflected these broad divisions in society.

The failed repeal shows the same polarization, said David Lublin, a Southern politics expert in American University's School of Public Affairs.

North Carolina had been "seen as the forefront of the new South," focusing on education and economic development, and wasn't "viewed as crazy-right wing or crazy-left wing," Lublin said. Keeping the law in effect, he said, "reverses that impression."

It was always more than just a "bathroom bill."

Republican lawmakers commanding veto-proof majorities framed HB2 as a rebuke to the values of Charlotte and other urban, white-collar communities where Democrats are clustered and where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people generally find support.

HB2 - which omits these people from state anti-discrimination protections, bars local governments from protecting them with their own ordinances, and orders transgender people to use facilities that match their birth certificates - created a backlash that has cost the state's economy millions.

Corporations, entertainers and high-profile sporting events backed out to avoid being seen as endorsing discrimination. Two-thirds of North Carolina voters surveyed in November's Associated Press exit poll said they oppose the law, and even Trump's supporters narrowly trended against it.

IBM executives worry that the failure to repeal HB2 is an obstacle to attracting the best employees to its largest North American operation, in Research Triangle Park outside Raleigh, home to an outsized number of college graduates from around the world.

"The state of North Carolina has a tremendous amount to do to recover its reputation as a great place to live, work and do business," IBM chief diversity officer Lindsey-Rae McIntyre said in an interview Thursday. "Our position is that we will fight this, that we are deeply committed to hiring the very best, diverse talents and that this law and this mindset does nothing to fuel our commitment to hiring that talent."

Across the divide, supporters of HB2 express anger against what they feel are challenges to their religious freedoms, and fear that women could be endangered by transgender people in public bathrooms and showers.

"As much as North Carolina's 'reputation' may have been harmed in the eyes of some, just as many - if not more - respected us for the stance we took in support of privacy and security protections of our public restrooms and dressing facilities," said GOP state Rep. Chris Millis, whose district covers all or parts of two largely rural, coastal counties where President-elect Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

The divide cuts both ways in the legislature.

Rep. Cecil Brockman represents a heavily Democratic district in urban Guilford County, where voters chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012 by nearly a 4-to-1 margin. Brockman, who publicly identifies as bisexual, pleaded with his colleagues to repeal what he called an "offensive, disastrous" law.

Brockman's district is about to change.

After Republicans were accused of unlawfully clustering black voters to diminish their influence, a federal court panel ruled that about a sixth of the state's 170 legislative districts were illegally drawn. The judges ordered North Carolina lawmakers to redraw districts by March 15 and to hold new elections in November.

If lawmakers don't resolve it somehow, HB2 is likely to be a hot-button issue in those elections, although even the most one-sided districts are unlikely to change enough to unseat Republican majorities in the evenly divided state.

Polls show Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's support for the law played into his loss - by about 10,000 votes out of 4.7 million cast - to Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, who ran in part on repealing HB2.

Republican legislative leaders and Cooper, who appears to have had a significant role in brokering the deal that ultimately collapsed, are still hopeful that a solution can be reached in 2017. The General Assembly, with newcomers elected last month, begins in less than three weeks.

"I certainly believe that negotiations will resume, and frankly we all know that we have to work through this," House Speaker Tim Moore told the AP in a phone interview Thursday, but "an issue with strong social overtones is always a problematic vote for members."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yahoo says hackers stole information from over 1B accounts

Yahoo says hackers stole information from over 1B accounts 

AP Photo
FILE - This Tuesday, July 19, 2016 photo shows a Yahoo sign at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, Yahoo said it believes hackers stole data from more than one billion user accounts in August 2013.
  
NEW YORK (AP) -- Yahoo says it believes hackers stole data from more than one billion user accounts in August 2013, in what is thought to be the largest data breach at an email provider.

The Sunnyvale, California, company was also home to what's now most likely the second largest hack in history, one that exposed 500 million Yahoo accounts . The company disclosed that breach in September. Yahoo said it hasn't identified the intrusion associated with this theft.

Yahoo says the information stolen may include names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and security questions and answers. The company says it believes bank-account information and payment-card data were not affected.

But the company said hackers may have also stolen passwords from the affected accounts. Technically, those passwords should be secure; Yahoo said they were scrambled twice - once by encryption and once by another technique called hashing. But hackers have become adept at cracking secured passwords by assembling huge dictionaries of similarly scrambled phrases and matching them against stolen password databases.

That could mean trouble for any users who reused their Yahoo password for other online accounts.
QUESTIONS FOR VERIZON

The new hack revelation raises fresh questions about Verizon's $4.8 billion proposed acquisition of Yahoo, and whether the big mobile carrier will seek to modify or abandon its bid. If the hacks cause a user backlash against Yahoo, the company's services wouldn't be as valuable to Verizon. The telecom giant wants Yahoo and its many users to help it build a digital ad business.

In a statement, Verizon said that it will evaluate the situation as Yahoo investigates and will review the "new development before reaching any final conclusions." Spokesman Bob Varettoni declined to answer further questions.

Yahoo said Wednesday that it is requiring users to change their passwords and invalidating security questions so they can't be used to hack into accounts.

Friday, December 9, 2016

John Glenn, astronaut and senator, to lie in state in Ohio

John Glenn, astronaut and senator, to lie in state in Ohio

AP Photo
A Sept. 1966 edition of LIFE Magazine bearing the likeness of John Glenn rests in a showcase at the John & Annie Glenn Museum, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in New Concord, Ohio. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth, piloting Friendship 7 around the planet three times in 1962. Glenn, as a U.S. senator at age 77, also became the oldest person in space by orbiting Earth with six astronauts aboard shuttle Discovery in 1998.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building before a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space.
The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium are planned for late next week. The dates and times were being worked out Friday, said Hank Wilson, of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Statehouse officials meet Monday to authorize the public viewing.

Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1962, and was the oldest man in space, at age 77 in 1998. A U.S. Marine and combat pilot, he also served as a Democratic U.S. senator, representing Ohio, for more than two decades.

Democratic President Barack Obama on Friday ordered flags at federal buildings and on ships around the world flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Glenn's internment. Glenn is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Tributes from the nation's leaders and others continued Friday.

"Throughout his life, Senator John Glenn embodied the right stuff," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement. "Our military in particular benefited from his courage and dedication. ... But just as important as what John Glenn accomplished is how he accomplished it: with a combination of fierce determination and profound humility, and always with integrity."

Glenn was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea and served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, among other Washington service.

In his eastern Ohio hometown of New Concord, the John and Annie Glenn Museum, usually available this time of year only for special tours and events, opened Friday with free admission.

Char Lyn Grujoski, of Connersville, Indiana, stopped in after spotting a roadside sign for the museum while driving home from Pittsburgh and listening to a radio report on Glenn. The museum is in the astronaut's converted boyhood home. Grujoski and her daughter left impressed.

"He was a true American hero, someone who loved his country and served it," she said.

Glenn was known for his humility, said Hal Burlingame, who grew up in New Concord and was friends with Glenn for half a century.

"John Glenn that you see is the real John Glenn," Burlingame said. "He would be the same John Glenn if he happened to be sitting here today talking with us. He never took himself too seriously."

Glenn was born July 18, 1921, in Cambridge and grew up in nearby New Concord. He wed his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor, in 1943. The couple spent their later years between Washington and Columbus.

He and his wife served as trustees at their alma mater, Muskingum College, and he promoted his namesake School of Public Affairs at Ohio State, which houses his private papers and photographs.

His long political career, which included a failed 1984 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, enabled him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery in 1998, 36 years after going into orbit in Friendship 7 as part of Mercury, the first U.S. manned spaceflight program. He turned his Discovery mission into an educational moment about aging.

Schools, a space center and the Columbus airport are named after him.

"For generations, Americans cheered John Glenn as he soared into the heavens," former House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican and fellow Ohioan, said in a statement. "Now he has taken his place there for eternity, a well-earned reward for an American life well and heroically lived."


Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump speaks with Taiwan's president, risking China tensions

Trump speaks with Taiwan's president, risking China tensions
  

NEW YORK (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China.

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump's transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations. It was not clear who initiated the call.

"During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties ... between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year," the statement said.

A Taiwanese source with direct knowledge of the call confirmed it had taken place. The source requested anonymity to speak about it before an official statement was issued on it from Taipei.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Friday's call is the most stark example yet of how Trump has flouted diplomatic conventions since he won the Nov. 8 election. He has apparently undertaken calls with foreign leaders without guidance customarily lent by the State Department, which oversees U.S. diplomacy.

Over the decades, the status of Taiwan has been one of the most sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations. 

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken by force, if necessary, if it seeks independence. It would regard any recognition of a Taiwanese leader as a head of state as unacceptable.

Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland amid civil war in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan's status as unsettled.

Although the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it has close unofficial ties. Taiwan's government has a representative office in Washington and other U.S. cities. The U.S. also has legal commitments to help Taiwan maintain the ability to defend itself.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump's conversation does not signal any change to long-standing U.S. policy on "cross-strait" issues.

"We remain firmly committed to our 'one China' policy," Price said. "Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations."

Tsai was democratically elected in January and took office in May. The traditional independence-leaning policies of her party have strained relations with Beijing.

Diplomatic protocol dictates that Taiwanese presidents can transit through the U.S. but not visit Washington.

Douglas Paal, who served as head of the American Institute in Taiwan during the George W. Bush administration, said that to his knowledge the call was unprecedented. He said he expected Beijing to issue a verbal warning that there's no space to change the rules over Taiwan relations.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Massive rally begins honoring Fidel Castro

Massive rally begins honoring Fidel Castro
 

AP Photo
Military cadets hold pictures of Fidel Castro during a rally at the Revolution Plaza in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans filled Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Tuesday night for a service honoring Fidel Castro on the wide plaza where the Cuban leader delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power. Fidel Castro passed away Friday Nov. 25. He was 90.
  
HAVANA (AP) -- Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans filled Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Tuesday night for a service honoring Fidel Castro on the wide plaza where the Cuban leader delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power.
The presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Panama, South Africa and Zimbabwe, along with leaders of a host of smaller Caribbean nations, flew in to Havana to pay tribute to Castro, who died Friday night at 90.

South African President Jacob Zuma praised Cuba under Castro for its record on education and health care and its support for African independence struggles.

Castro will be remembered as "a great fighter for the idea that the poor have a right to live with dignity," Zuma told the crowd.

The rally began with black-and-white revolution-era footage of Castro and other guerrillas on a big screen and the playing of the Cuban national anthem. Castro's younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, saluted.

Cuban state media reported that an urn containing Fidel Castro's ashes was being kept in a room at the Defense Ministry where Raul and top Communist Party officials paid tribute the previous evening.

During the day, lines stretched for hours outside the Plaza of the Revolution, the heart of government power. In Havana and across the island, people signed condolence books and an oath of loyalty to Castro's sweeping May 2000 proclamation of the Cuban revolution as an unending battle for socialism, nationalism and an outsize role for the island on the world stage.

"I feel a deep sadness, but immense pride in having had him near," said Ana Beatriz Perez, a 50-year-old medical researcher who was advancing in the slow-moving line with the help of crutches. "His physical departure gives us strength to continue advancing in his ideology. This isn't going away, because we are millions."

"His death is another revolution," said her husband, Fidel Diaz, who predicted that it will prompt many to "rediscover the ideas of the commander for the new generations."

Tribute sites were set up in hundreds of places across the island as the government urged Cubans to reaffirm their belief in a socialist, single-party system that in recent years has struggled to maintain the fervor that was widespread at the triumph of the 1959 revolution.

Many mourners came on their own accord, but thousands were sent in groups by the communist government, which still employs about 80 percent of the working people in Cuba despite the growth of the private sector under Raul.

Inside the memorial, thousands walked through three rooms with near-identical displays featuring the 1962 Alberto Korda photograph of the young Castro in the Sierra Maestra mountains, bouquets of white flowers and an array of Castro's medals against a black backdrop, framed by honor guards of soldiers and children in school uniforms. The ashes of the 90-year-old former president did not appear to be on display.

Signs read: "The Cuban Communist Party is the only legitimate heir of the legacy and authority of the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, comrade Fidel Castro."

"Goodbye commander. Your ideas remain here with us," 64-year-old retiree Etelbina Perez said between sobs, dabbing at her eyes with a brown handkerchief. "I feel great pain over his death. I owe my entire life to him. He brought me out of the mountains. I was able to study thanks to him."

The scene was played out on a smaller scale at countless places across the country.

After 10 years of leadership by Raul Castro, a relatively camera-shy and low-key successor, Cuba has found itself riveted once again by the words and images of the man who dominated the lives of generations. 

Since his death on Friday night, state-run newspapers, television and radio have run wall-to-wall tributes to Fidel Castro, broadcasting non-stop footage of his speeches, interviews and foreign trips, interspersed with adulatory remembrances by prominent Cubans.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

White Nationalist Alt-Righter Claims 'Hail Trump' Comments Were 'Ironic' "Will Trump Make A Televised Press Statement About Hail?"

White Nationalist Alt-Righter Claims 'Hail Trump' Comments Were 'Ironic' "Will Trump Make A Televised Press Statement About Hail?"

 Donald Trump was 'Hailed' as the 2016 revised "Hitler" Chancellor for being selfish and being American....

Hitler was Germany Chancellor when great athletes, both German Olympic Athletes and American Olympic Athletes (Jessie Owens) despised Hitler for being selfish and being German...

Citizens of the State of California, admitted as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850, admitted to the United States undivided as a free state, denying the expansion of slavery to the Pacific Coast, denying any attacks against immigrants, denying any civilian to claim superior race, deny any member of the military, or of a police or firefighting force to support racism, denying any person voted to an elected office to promote open racism or hidden racism... -citizens are considering leaving the United States in 2017- California no longer being the 31st U.S. state.   

U.S. registered voters, U.S. non registered voters, and U.S. immigrants and more are waiting to see if President-elect Trump will make a televised press statement to make things final once and for all what his view is about racism in America.

Many Trump voters claim that they are not racist... many Clinton voters make the same claim that they are not racist also.

Neither voter, Trump or Clinton, feels comfortable about Hail Trump... not unless they actually agree that Trump should behave just like Hitler now that Trump will be in the U.S. White House in 2017.

There is plenty of time for White Americans to end hating White Americans, plenty of time for White Americans to end hating Black Americans, plenty of time for Black Americans to end hating Black Americans...

Hate is so deep...both Trump and Clinton voters feel very comfortable hating one another- their personal public joy of hate...

And protesters against the president-elect Trump victory seem to be the only people having great common sense to consider the warning about a real possible Hail Trump in America.

Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016.

The white nationalist who said "Hail Trump" and "hail our people" during a conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday — and who received straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response — told NBC News Monday that his comments were meant to be "cheeky," "exuberant" and "ironic."

The remarks from Richard Spencer, whose National Policy Institute was described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most influential purveyors of academic racism in the country, were published in a video by the Atlantic on Monday.

Spencer, 38, told NBC News that the conference was the "next step" for the "alt-right," a soft euphemism for the once-fringe network with ties to white nationalism that vaulted into the mainstream political scene with Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and includes everyone from hardcore white supremacists and neo-Nazis to critics of so-called "political correctness."

 "We need to take this next step in terms of professionalization and in terms of being able to influence people," he told NBC News, adding that he is "very willing to criticize" Trump and say "things that he's not willing or able to say."

More from NBC News:
5 things to know about the alt-right
Breitbart's Steve Bannon leads the 'alt right' to the White House
For Trump, just another turbulent, free-wheeling weekend

In a statement, the Trump transition team said that the president-elect "has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds."

In the video, Spencer appeared to raise a glass after saying, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory."

In response, some in the crowd, which had gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and which the Atlantic estimated to be 200, saluted.

"There's an ironic exuberance to it all," Spencer claimed. "I think that's ... one of the things that makes the alt-right fun, is that we're willing to do things that are a bit cheeky."

At other points in his speech, Spencer used a term employed by the Nazis to attack the media — "Lügenpresse," German for lying press — to describe the mainstream media.

"It's not just that many are genuinely stupid," he said of reporters. "Indeed, one wonders if these people are people at all."

One tactic of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime was to declare enemies inhuman.

At another point, Spencer said that to be "white is to be a striver, an explorer and a conqueror ... We don't gain anything from [other racial groups'] presence. They need us and not the other way around."

 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

8 people arrested at White Lives Matter rally in Austin- "Black Lives Matter Was Not Developed To Hate White People": Many White People Are All together With Black People During Black Lives Matter Movement

8 people arrested at White Lives Matter rally in Austin- "Black Lives Matter Was Not Developed To Hate White People": Many White People Are All together With Black People During Black Lives Matter Movement


 Here is an article about a group for a person, a White person, called "White Lives Matter."

The news article is so important to read because anyone interested in understanding the group called "Black Lives Matter" need to learn that Black Lives Matter isn't created by Black peoples in order to hate White people.

A person doesn't have to be Black in order to support the Black Lives Matter group.

In fact, there are so many many large number of persons that are White Americans joining their own resources to support Black Lives Matter Movement there seems to be no stopping people standing and marching all together as a true united Black and White force in America.

However, anything about demanding more respect for positive Black activity in America nearly always exposes racism... and opposition to the Black race in America. 

It is a beautiful thing that White people as a whole are lovely. And it is equally a beautiful thing that Black people as a whole are lovely.

And the very same people that are hating Black Lives Matter because of a positive Black image...they have the same deep hatred against White people that don't agree with racism.

The White Lives Matter group demand equal treatment in America...

What's very interesting about the White Lives Matter making demands to be treated equally in America is that the supporters appear at a rally, out of no where, armed with weapons that look like machine guns...

The real question is... can White Lives Matter protesters do better than how they appear?

AUSTIN, Texas -- Eight people were arrested on Saturday when a small group of protesters calling themselves White Lives Matter were confronted by counter-demonstrators supporting Black Lives Matter at the Texas State Capitol near where Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier dedicated a monument recognizing the contribution of African-Americans to the state.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Victor Taylor said four of the arrests were for assault, two for evading arrest, one for disorderly conduct and one for “interference with public duty.” Two of those arrested were on Capitol grounds and the others on adjacent streets.

“Some protesters assaulted other protesters,” Taylor said. “We don’t know for sure which side they were on. A lot of them were co-mingled.”

Austin police and state troopers dressed in riot gear and some mounted on horseback had tried to keep the two groups separated.

The demonstration started Saturday morning during the unveiling of the Texas African American History monument, CBS affiliate KEYE reports.

While the memorial was being unveiled on the capitol lawn several dozen white lives matter members showed up to protest hate crime laws.

“Really what we are here today for is to protest against unequal application of hate crime laws,” said Scott Lacy.

Members of the white live matter group held signs that read “Hate crimes for one, hate crimes for all, equal justice under the law.”

Hundreds of counter protesters then showed up in opposition of that group. They chanted “Nazis get out, Nazis get out!”

Taylor said the confrontation did not affect the unveiling of the monument, which was in a different part of the grounds. A state helicopter circled overhead.

About two dozen individuals with the White Lives Matter group, some of whom were armed, demonstrated against what they called the unequal application of hate crimes laws, which they said are applied in a way that favors minorities. The group said it was a coincidence that its protest was held at about the same time as the ceremony for the monument.

White Lives Matter member and protest organizer Ken Reed said into a bullhorn that his group was concerned with “white people’s preservation.”

“You all are anti-white and anti-American,” he told the counter-protesters, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The White Lives Matter group was shouted down by several hundred counter-protesters, who held up signs that said “Stand Against Hate” and “Black Lives Matter.”

One of them, Marie Catrett, said she came to stand up for the rights of minorities.

“I think they are full of hatred,” Catrett said about the White Lives Matter group. “They don’t represent our community or our values.”

During the unveiling ceremony, Abbott told a crowd in attendance that the monument honors African-Americans who helped grow Texas.

“The fact is African Americans have shaped this land that we are on today since long before it was even named the state of Texas. They fought for their own freedom. They fought for the freedom of Texas and the freedom of the United States of America,” Abbott said.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump names Priebus, Bannon to senior White House roles

Trump names Priebus, Bannon to senior White House roles
 

AP Photo
In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump, left, stands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during an election night rally in New York. Trump on Sunday named Priebus as his White House chief of staff
  
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump named Republican Party chief Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and conservative media owner Stephen Bannon as his top presidential strategist, two men who represent opposite ends of the unsettled GOP.

In bringing Priebus and Bannon into the White House, Trump is making overtures to both traditional Republican circles and the party's anti-establishment wing, which helped fuel the businessman's political rise.

Priebus has deep ties to GOP congressional leaders, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bannon previously ran the Breitbart website, which was fiercely critical of Republican leadership, including Ryan.

Bannon was notably given top billing in the press release announcing the appointments, a curious arrangement giving that White House chief of staff is typically considered the most powerful West Wing job.

Under Bannon's tenure, the Brietbart site pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right - a movement often associated with white supremacy and a defense of "Western values."

Neither Priebus nor Bannon bring significant policy experience to their new White House roles. Chiefs of staff in particular play a significant role in policy making, serving as a liaison to Cabinet agencies and deciding what information makes it to the president's desk. They're often one of the last people in the room with the 
president as major decisions are made.

Together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the triumvirate will lead Trump's transition to the White House and help guide his presidency, Trump said in a statement.

"I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country," Trump said. He called Priebus and Bannon "highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory.

Priebus called the appointment "an honor" and predicted the billionaire "will be a great president for all Americans."

The appointments came after a day in which Trump's tough-talking plan to rein in illegal immigration showed signs Sunday of cracking, with the president-elect backing off his vow to build a solid wall along the southern U.S. border and Ryan rejecting any "deportation force" targeting people living in the country illegally.

After Trump told CBS' "60 Minutes" that his border wall might look more like a fence in spots, the combative billionaire took to Twitter to settle some scores.

During a four-hour spree, Trump savaged the New York Times and gloated about the GOP stalwarts lining up to congratulate him, bragging that staunch critics and GOP rivals John Kasich, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush had sent attaboys. Former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush also had sent their "best wishes on the win. Very nice!" The New York Times, Trump wrote to his 14 million followers, is "dishonest" and "highly inaccurate."

As Trump revenge-tweeted, threats flew between power brokers, and protests across the country continued.

The president-elect retreated from the campaign promise that had inspired his supporters to chant "Build the wall!" at Trump's massive campaign rallies.

Would he accept a fence in some spots on the border? In an interview to be aired Sunday, Trump told "60 Minutes": "For certain areas, I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. There could be some fencing."

Excerpts of the interview were released in advance.

Trump also had vowed to immediately deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally. But in the interview, he said he's focusing first on ousting or incarcerating 2 million to 3 million "that are criminals and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers." Trump emphasized that securing the border is his very first immigration priority.

On that, Ryan agreed. But on CNN's "State of the Union," Ryan rejected the kind of "mass deportations" Trump had championed during the campaign.

"We are not planning on erecting a deportation force," Ryan said.

More tension emerged Sunday when Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid should be careful in a "legal sense" about characterizing Trump as a sexual predator. When asked whether Trump was threatening to sue Reid, Conway said no.

But Adam Jentleson, Reid's deputy chief of staff, said Trump is "hiding behind his Twitter account and sending his staff on TV to threaten his critics."



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