NEWSSTAND

Monday Morning Memo – December 11th, 2017

JERUSALEM DECISION

Palestinians declared a “day of rage” following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This is their fourth “day of rage” this year. Groups of Palestinians took to the streets to protest the move. Jerusalem is home to holy sites in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Muslims far from Palestine – in Morocco and Indonesia, for example – also protested outside U.S. embassies.

 

WILDFIRES RAVAGE THE WEST

More than 4,000 firefighters are working to contain the huge wildfires in southern California. They have made progress, but flames still threaten to spread across an even larger swath of land. So far, the blaze has scorched over 200,000 acres and destroyed 792 buildings. Forecasts show no rain for California for at least the next 9 days.

 

BULLIED BOY GETS STAR TREATMENT

When Keaton Jones, a middle schooler in Knoxville, Tennessee, broke down in tears due to bullying, he had no idea how his life was about to change. Keaton’s mother, Kimberly, recorded his heartbreaking story on video. She posted it online to raise awareness about bullying. The video went viral, and now celebrities are reaching out to help brighten up Keaton’s life. Chris Evans invited him to the Avengers movie premiere, and Dana White invited him to UFC headquarters in Vegas. Donald Trump Jr. offered to host the Jones family at a Trump property if they choose to go. The bullies told Keaton he has no friends, but he’s got a long list of friends across the country: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Snoop Dogg are among the many who tweeted their admiration and support for Keaton.

 

BITCOIN’S CLIMB CONTINUES

Bitcoin, a digital currency, continues to rapidly grow in value. Now, one Bitcoin is worth $16,752.17. Investors are purchasing Bitcoin quickly to get in on the boom, but skeptics warn of a huge bubble. Bitcoin is not backed by a government, like a national currency, nor is it tied to the value of a tangible object, like gold.

 

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ACCUSATIONS

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley weighed in on the women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. On CBS Face The Nation, she said, “They should be heard, and they should be dealt with…and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up. Megyn Kelly will host three of Trump’s accusers on her NBC show at 9:00 am ET today. The women, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Cooks, will hold a press conference following the show.

Senate OKs Tax Reform, Trump Tweets About Flynn, CVS to Buy Aetna

Senate Approves Tax Reform

Republicans are one step closer to finally achieving tax reform. The Senate passed its version of the bill in a 51-49 vote on Friday night, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) joining with the Democrats in opposition. The Senate version of the bill cuts income taxes only through 2025, but also repeals the Obamacare individual mandate.

Health Industry Shake-Up

CVS has announced that it will purchase Aetna for $69 billion. CVS will soon have control over one of the nation’s largest health insurers. The pharmacy chain may move toward becoming a more comprehensive healthcare provider, and Aetna may provide special incentives for patients to have their prescriptions filled at CVS.

McMaster on North Korea

The risk of war with North Korea is “increasing every day,” according to White House national security adviser HR McMaster. McMaster warned that North Korea is constantly advancing its weapons technology. China, he says, is in the best position to stop North Korea without using military force. McMaster called on China to immediately end oil exports to North Korea, so that the reclusive dictatorship would have no fuel for its rockets.

Trump Tweets About Flynn

President Trump commented on the ongoing Russia investigation via Twitter on Saturday. He wrote, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President (Mike Pence) and the FBI.” The tweet raised serious concerns that if Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI and asked Comey to drop his probe of Flynn, Trump would invite charges for obstructing justice. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, says he drafted the tweet. Dowd also claims that Trump did not know Flynn lied until Flynn was charged.

Monday Morning Memo: November 27, 2017

Pelosi Fumbles

Nancy Pelosi defended Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) from accusations that he funneled payouts for sexual misconduct through his Congressional office. Pelosi said, “John Conyers is an icon in our country.” Conyers has stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee, but has not resigned his seat in Congress.

Online Retail Rebounds

Today marks “Cyber Monday,” the day Adobe Analytics forecasts will be the largest online shopping day in American history. Early signs point to a robust retail season. By 10:00 in the morning on Black Friday, holiday shoppers spent $640 million online. That’s more than an 18% increase over last year’s spending.

FBI Failures

Interviews conducted by the Associated Press reveal that the FBI failed to notify hundreds of Americans that Russia had attempted to hack into their Gmail accounts. Some of those people work (or formerly worked) as high-level government officials. One of them is former senior director at the National Security Council, Philip Reiner. Reiner says the FBI should be notifying targeted individuals. “You’ve got to tell your people. You’ve got to protect your people.”

Miss Universe

There she is…your new Miss Universe! Miss South Africa won the coveted crown in Las Vegas on Sunday night. The pageant, formerly owned by President Trump, attracts millions of viewers around the world.

Monday Morning Memo – November 20, 2017

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was killed while responding to activity near the Big Bend area of the Texas-Mexico border. Martinez’s partner remains hospitalized with injuries. Authorities have not released the name of the other agent or the attacker, nor have they stated the weapon used. Sen. Ted Cruz offered his condolences and said, “This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them.”


People across the country are using StandUnited to respond to politicians accused of sexual assault. This petition calls for Sen. Al Franken to resign, following allegations – and photographic evidence – that he groped reporter Leeann Tweeden during a USO trip. A brand new petition asks the U.S. Senate to refuse to seat Roy Moore, if he is elected on December 12th. Two women have accused Moore of assaulting them when they were teenagers.


A church in Tampa, Florida has responded to the Sunderland Springs church shooting with self-defense. The church posted a sign reading, “Please know this is not a gun free zone – we are heavily armed – any attempt will be dealt with deadly force – yes we are a church and will protect our people.” When controversy erupted over the new sign, Associate Pastor Allen Hawes said, “Would I rather ruffle a few feathers, or do I want to count bodies?”


President Trump has reversed his plan to allow elephants hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia to be imported to America. The trophy hunting ban almost went extinct, but outrage from animal rights groups and environmentalists caused Trump to reconsider. The President met with Sec. of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and the two decided that the trophy hunting ban should remain in place in order to preserve elephant herds and discourage poaching.

November 13, 2017 Monday Morning Memo

Trump Honors American Veterans

President Trump honored our military veterans during his travel to Vietnam on Veterans Day. He delivered a speech before American veterans, saying, “To each of you with me today, you are the heroes who fulfill your duty to our nation. And each of you, under the most difficult conditions, did what you had to do, and you did it well.” Later, Trump traveled to the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit.

Podesta Group to Close

The Podesta Group, a lobbying firm tied to the Clintons, will shut down by the end of next month. The firm is reportedly under scrutiny from Robert Mueller, as Tony Podesta was deeply involved with Paul Manafort’s efforts to lobby on behalf of pro-Russia groups. Tony Podesta resigned from the firm immediately after Paul Manafort was indicted. His brother, John Podesta, formerly chaired the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Detroit Cops Fight Each Other

Detroit police officers fought each other in a drug raid gone wrong, landing one officer in the hospital with injuries. Officers from the 12th precinct were operating a drug sting, when undercover 11th precinct officers arrived dressed in street clothes. The 12th precinct ordered the 11th precinct to the ground, thinking they were civilians attempting to buy drugs. The Detroit Police Department is currently reviewing body camera footage internally.

Roy Moore Falls in Polls

Roy Moore is now polling 4 points behind Doug Jones following allegations that Moore sexually preyed on a 14 year old girl. Moore denies the allegation.

Goodell Wants More NFL Money

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has high demands for his contract negotiations. He has reportedly asked for a $49.5 million annual salary and a private jet for life. Several team owners have bristled at those requests. As NFL ticket sales and ratings fall, Goodell’s contract may lapse without a renewal. This petition asks the NFL to drop Goodell.

Monday Morning Memo – November 6, 2017

Nation Mourns for Sutherland Springs

On Sunday, a gunman entered First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire. The murderer killed 26 people and injured at least 20 others. The 14 year old daughter of the church’s pastor is among those who lost their lives. Victims range in age from 5 to 72. The town of fewer than 1,000 people has been devastated by this loss.


The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, was a 26 year old man who enlisted in the Air Force after graduating high school. He was court-martialed in 2012 and dishonorably discharged in 2014, making it a felony for him to own a gun. An armed citizen confronted Kelley, and Kelley later died (though the exact cause of death is unclear).

Suspicious Activity in Saudi Arabia

The future King of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, started a brutal crackdown on his enemies within his own family. On bin Salman’s orders, Saudi authorities arrested 11 princes and at least 24 current and former ministers. Among those arrested is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire royal and businessman accused of bribery and money laundering. Bin Salman also removed the former head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, on suspicion of embezzlement.


Prince Mansour bin Moqren was killed on Sunday in a plane crash near the Saudi-Yemen border. 8 other high-ranking officials were also killed. The cause of the crash has not been released to the public.


Saudi defense systems intercepted a missile over Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital city. The government has announced that it blames Iran for launching the missile from Yemen, saying this “may be considered an act of war.”

Trump Talks Trade

Trump landed in Japan, the first country on his five-country tour of Asia, on Saturday. He then met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for formal talks, likely about the North Korea threat and international trade. In a public speech, Trump called for “free and open trade” in the region, likely putting isolationist China on notice. He will visit both China and Russia during this 13-day tour.


Administration officials have hinted that Trump may decide whether or not to declare North Korea a state sponsor of terror during this trip. Standvocates have been pushing for this decision for weeks. You can join them by signing the petition.

Shalane Flanagan Wins NYC Marathon

American runner Shalane Flanagan won the NYC marathon on Sunday in the women’s division. This is the first time in 40 years that an American woman has taken the top spot at this event. Flanagan had to withdraw from the Boston Marathon earlier this year due to a lower back fracture, and made her emotional and triumphant return to racing in New York City.

Sen. Rand Paul Attacked

Senator Rand Paul was in his home this weekend when a neighbor broke in and assaulted him. Paul suffered 5 fractured ribs and at least two lung contusions during the attack. The neighbor, Rene Albert Boucher, admitted to tackling the Senator. Police had not yet released a motive as of Sunday night.

Monday Morning Memo – October 30, 2017

Manafort and Gates Indicted in Russia Probe

An unknown leaker told the press that special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury has approved several charges as part of the Russia probe. The indictment remained sealed over the weekend, but both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are expected to turn themselves in today. Manafort faces 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

Church to Remove Washington Plaque

Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, announced that it will remove a plaque honoring George Washington. The plaque marks the pew where Washington and his family worshipped and prayed for twenty years. The vestry, the committee that leads the church, voted unanimously to remove the plaque. They say that a small memorial to Washington makes some churchgoers feel uncomfortable, because Washington owned slaves. A small remembrance to Robert E. Lee will also come down. The church will relocate these items to another portion of church property.

Dossier Money Trail

Top Democrats are scrambling to distance themselves from the infamous Steele dossier. The dossier, which was compiled by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, alleges that Trump colluded with Russia during his presidential campaign. The dossier was funded by the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and, later, the FBI.

Initial reports that a Republican operative had funded the dossier are incorrect. The Washington Free Beacon, affiliated with a Rubio donor, did pay Fusion GPS for opposition research. However, none of that research regarded Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, nor did that research become the dossier.

Hillary Clinton claims that she learned of the dossier by watching the news, even though her campaign funded it. Nancy Pelosi has also claimed ignorance of the situation.

ISIS Threats Against UK Royals

ISIS issued a chilling threat, which read: “The royal family will not be left alone.” In addition, ISIS published a photo of the 4 year old heir to the throne, outside of his school, with text reading “school starts early.”

An unidentified homeless man in north London found a USB drive in the street, and handed it over to a reporter. That USB drive contained important security data related to Queen Elizabeth II. The drive contained 76 files, including maps of the Heathrow Express’ tunnels. The Heathrow Express runs from the U.K.’s busiest airport into the heart of London.

Boehner Strikes Back

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner granted a brutally honest interview to Politico. The retired GOP leader had harsh words for some of his former colleagues, and glowing remarks about others. One member of Congress once held a knife to Boehner’s throat during an altercation. The two later became close friends, to the point that Boehner served as Best Man at his wedding. Can you guess which member of Congress this is? Here’s a hint: He’s an Alaskan who pushed for federal funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere.”

Monday Morning Memo

Sentencing Begins in Bergdahl Case

A sentencing hearing for Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl begins today at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to the charges, and could spend the rest of his life in prison. He calls his desertion “inexcusable,” and the defense hopes that his 5 years spent with the Taliban may win him a degree of sympathy from the judge.

Hollywood’s Nightmare Grows

38 women have accused Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment or assault, according to a bombshell report in the Los Angeles Times. Toback, now 72 years old, has been a rumored harasser for decades. Spy magazine called him out for his behavior back in 1989. Much like Harvey Weinstein, Toback would target young aspiring actresses and promise them career advancement in exchange for sexual favors.

Weinstein has left the Arizona rehabilitation center as of Sunday, after only one week in inpatient treatment. Weinstein plans to remain in Arizona for several weeks so he can continue working with doctors on an outpatient basis.

Hillary’s Russia Problem

The House Oversight Committee is looking into Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Russia during her time as Secretary of State. Clinton approved the sale of 20% of America’s uranium supply to Rosatom, a Russian company, while Russians funneled millions into the Clinton Foundation. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) says that criminal charges are a possibility.

Carter Says He’d Work With Trump

Former President Jimmy Carter offered to help President Trump negotiate with North Korea. Though the Trump Administration has not taken Carter up on the offer, the former President says he would still be willing to travel to North Korea if doing so would be helpful to American interests.

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter said. Politicos were surprised to see Carter acknowledging left-leaning media bias.

Kennedy Files to Become Public

Files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will become public on October 26th. In 1992, Congress decided that the files should remain hidden for another 25 years. That quarter-century deadline arrives on Thursday.

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Monday Morning Memo: October 9, 2017

Pence Walks Out Over Anthem Protests

 

Vice President Pence arrived at the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday afternoon, only to depart upon seeing several players kneel during the national anthem. Pence tweeted, “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Pence then traveled to Los Angeles for a fundraiser, leading some to speculate if he had ever intended to stay at the game at all. Pool reporters did not enter the stadium, and were reportedly warned that the stop at the stadium may be a short one.

Columbus Day Fears

Monday is Columbus Day, and New York City is taking special precautions to protect its famous Columbus statue from would-be vandals. Three local Columbus statues have been vandalized in recent weeks, and now this most famous Columbus statue has round-the-clock bodyguards from the NYPD. AntiFa has called for a “Deface Columbus Day” nationwide, telling its operatives to attack statues.

Hollywood Reels Over Weinstein News

Harvey Weinstein has been forced out of The Weinstein Company following the allegations that he paid settlements to at least 8 women whom he sexually harassed. Weinstein and lawyer Lisa Bloom issued a statement saying, of sexual harassment, “That was the culture then.” Weinstein says he will now turn his attention to opposing the NRA.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have all pledged to return the donations they received from Weinstein. In total, the legendary film producer and sexual harasser donated $1.4 million to Democrats. Several other sitting Democratic Senators received donations from Weinstein. For instance. Sen. Diane Feinstein says she’ll look into the possibility of returning the money.

California Changes HIV Law

Beginning on January 1, 2018, any HIV positive person in California who knowingly exposes a partner to the disease will no longer face felony charges. Currentstate law punishes HIV exposure by up to 8 years in prison. Under new law, HIV positive people who expose others to the disease will face only up to 6 months behind bars.Democratic State Senator and bill sponsor Scott Wiener called the current law “extreme and discriminatory.”

New Immigration Plan

President Trump unveiled his 70-point plan to secure our southern border. Under this plan, state and local law enforcement officers would have explicit legal authority to detain illegal immigrants. Additionally, people who came to the U.S. on visas and stayed when their visas expired could face misdemeanor charges; now, they generally face little to no consequences. The plan would also ask unaccompanied minors to actually prove that they do not have adults with them. Now, anyone under 18 could claim to be unaccompanied and automatically receive access to special treatment. 

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