News and Headlines. 11/08/2019

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News

County Says Seizing Home Over $8.41 Tax Debt Was OK Because Counties Need Money

Michigan Supreme Court (Wiki Commons)

Rafaeli’s situation is awful but hardly unique: Under the terms of a state law passed in 1999, county treasurers in Michigan are allowed to seize properties with unpaid taxes, settle the debt, and keep the remainder for their own budgets.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm, is challenging that law, arguing it violates provisions in both the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions.

“Failure to pay your property taxes doesn’t give the government license to take everything from you,” says Christina Martin, the attorney with PLF who represented Rafaeli and other landowners in front of the state Supreme Court. “If they could do that, then they could take your car if you pay a parking ticket late.”

Facebook to remove ‘any and all’ mention of potential whistleblower’s name

On Thursday, Facebook took down a spate of ads shared by conservative groups that included the alleged whistleblower’s name.

Nearly all mainstream news outlets have declined to print the name thus far, even as some GOP lawmakers engage in a public effort to publicize the person’s identity.

“Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing a witness, informant, or activist,'” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill on Friday.

“We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate,” the spokesperson added.

U.S. company directors compensated more than ever, but now risk backlash

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks while Bill Gates looks on at Columbia University in New York, U.S., January 27, 2017.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“There’s a certain amount of nervousness within companies about what they’re paying directors,” Hodgson said. “More attention is being paid to outliers than in the past.”

Compensation limits are also becoming more prevalent, with advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis backing demands from some shareholders, according to global risk advisory firm Willis Towers Watson.

A study by the firm found that the number of companies with an annual compensation limit for directors increased to 63% in 2018 from 55% the previous year.

For some, being a director can mean doing as little as attending regularly scheduled meetings.

Directors at software developer Roper Technologies Inc, who on average received nearly $910,000 in 2018, participate in at least 15 days of board meetings a year, according to the company’s proxy filing.

That works out at over $60,000 per day.

Detective staged wife’s murder as suicide to carry on affair, keep pension: prosecutors

Mugshot for ex-detective Brian Fanion, 55.
Mugshot for ex-detective Brian Fanion, 55. (Hampden County District Attorney’s Office)

Amy Fanion, 51, died of a gunshot wound to the head in May 2018. Her husband, Brian Fanion, 55, who served with the Westfield Police Department for 33 years, was indicted on a murder charge Thursday, prosecutors said.

Hampden County prosecutor Mary Sandstrom told a judge that Fanion was cheating on his wife at the time of her death.

She said the affair began two months earlier and that Fanion didn’t want to get divorced because it would affect his pension, Fox 6 Springfield reported.


The curious timeline for taking down Trump

Commentary/Opinion: The public evidence indicates that the effort was hatched even before he took office.

Trump critics would argue that there was good reason to devise plots against him before he was inaugurated.

His supporters would argue that the opposition has crossed the line into unlawful actions involving wiretapping and attempts to frame Trump and his associates.

In any event, we can build an oversimplified timeline to make the point:

When Big Tech & Entertainment Buy Off Academia, Consumers Suffer

Commentary/Opinion: Though Republicans and Democrats agree on little these days, a rare consensus seems to have been reached on one issue: Big Tech and Hollywood have become far too powerful.

It’s one thing when corporations amass high market share organically — by building mousetraps that are better than their competitors.

The trouble is that today, many are amplifying their influence by rigging the system. In particular, they do this by skewing policy debates and tipping the scales of government for personal benefit.

The more professors get in bed with Big Tech and the crony entertainment industry, the more American people struggle. As a result of each piece of bad policy added to the pile, they’re stuck with less choice, efficiency and higher prices.

But what can be done?

Big Tech faces bipartisan rebukes on its massive political influence

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sounds the alarm on the dangers of Big Tech.

One America’s Jake Henry explains.

Real Americans Speak Out Against Impeachment

We asked Trump supporters protesting impeachment proceedings outside of the Capitol building why they support the president.

Watch to hear what they had to say.

Live: Trump, Pence deliver remarks at launch of ‘Black Voices for Trump’ coalition

In 2016, just 8% of black voters supported Donald Trump for President.

Since then, the president has touted historically low African American unemployment as a reason he deserves the support of the African American community.

To kick-start that support for his 2020 run, President Trump will launch the “Black Voices for Trump” coalition in Atlanta.

Sen. Inhofe hopes to end abortions targeting down syndrome fetuses

As prenatal screenings increase in accessibility, more and more people are learning whether or not their baby has down syndrome.

Many of these lives are aborted following a diagnosis.

A Capitol Hill lawmaker is now hoping to change this with new legislation.

One America’s John Hines has more from Washington.

5 Things the MSM Won’t Tell You about the Impeachment Inquiry


Trump says he might attend Russian military parade

“President Putin invited me,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn. “It’s a very big deal, celebrating the end of the war, etc., etc. A very big deal.

I appreciate the invitation.”

Trump said his only hesitation in attending is that the parade falls during a pivotal time in the 2020 campaign.

May Day is not only a flex of Russian military might, but also a show of support for workers’ rights and communism, the latter being a topic Trump has vociferously opposed.

“As we pause on this day of remembrance to honor victims of communism everywhere, we must resolve always to safeguard the cherished liberties that foster peace and unleash unparalleled prosperity,” the White House said in a Thursday statement on National Day for the Victims of Communism.

“Together, we can build a future free from the evils of communism.”

Bloomberg move underscores Democratic Party panic over 2020 field

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are locked in a race to the left that could leave either struggling to attract the center in a general election, and former Vice President Joe Biden is facing lingering doubts about his campaign’s strength.

The billionaire Bloomberg, despite previously ruling out a run, is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in Alabama’s Democratic presidential primary.

In a statement, his political adviser Howard Wolfson said bluntly that Bloomberg was worried the current crop of 2020 hopefuls is not “well positioned” to beat President Trump next November.

“This is a thunderclap,” Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted about the Bloomberg news. “And not exactly a vote of confidence from leading moderate in durability of @JoeBiden campaign.”

Kamala Harris: Fossil Fuel Workers Can ‘Transition’ To Installing Wind Turbines And Solar Panels

The Democratic presidential nominee was asked by The Weather Channel about the plight of energy workers who would be put out of work by a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as recommended by the Green New Deal that Harris has endorsed.

“Well, for the workers in that industry … we have to encourage that those industries do better, in terms of giving the workers an ability to transition into the jobs of the future such as renewable energy,” Harris explained.

The senator then said she knew exactly where they could work, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

World News:

Four unexpected places where the Berlin Wall still stands

“Breakthrough,” a sculpture by Edwina Sandys made out of material that was once the Berlin Wall, stands outside the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Mo.
“Breakthrough,” a sculpture by Edwina Sandys made out of material that was once the Berlin Wall, stands outside the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Mo. (National Churchill Museum-Westminster College)

The wall was erected in 1961 to prevent residents of Soviet-dominated East Germany from defecting to the West — as they had been in droves. Once the concrete barrier was in place, getting caught trying to cross without authorization had life-or-death implications.

Between 1961 and 1989, at least 140 people were killed by the East German police for trying to escape.

It took more than a year for the wall, which stretched for about 114 miles, to be completely demolished.

Some of the matter was recycled to build roads, but capitalism also caught on quickly, and the German government began to look for buyers from all over the world to purchase and display the parts of the wall.

Pompeo Says NATO Must Change, Or Risk Becoming Obsolete

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech at an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

“If nations believe that they can get the security benefit without providing NATO the resources that it needs, if they don’t live up to their commitments, there is a risk that NATO could become ineffective or obsolete,” he said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants to project an image of unity when Chinese military might is growing and Russia is accused of trying to undermine Western democracies through cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns and covert operations.

In his speech, Pompeo criticized Russia’s treatment of political foes and said China used methods against its people that would be “horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans.”

Iran rocked by 5.9 magnitude earthquake, killing 5 and injuring hundreds

A car lays smashed by debris from an earthquake in Varankesh village in Eastern Azerbaijan province, some 250 miles (400 kilometers) northwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The temblor struck Tark county in Iran’s Eastern Azerbaijan province early Friday. (Mohammad Zinali/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

According to Iran’s Seismological Center, the convulsion started at 2:17 a.m., in the eastern Azerbaijan province, which is around 250 miles from the country’s capital of Tehran.

More than 40 aftershocks affected the rural area in the Alborz Mountains, and residents rushed out of their homes in fear.

State television reported that many of the injuries were caused while people were leaving their homes in fear–only 13 have been hospitalized.

Trump Says Has Not Agreed To Roll Back Tariffs On Chinese Goods

U.S. President Donald Trump faces reporters as he departs for travel to Tupelo, Mississippi from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Officials from both countries on Thursday had said China and the United States have agreed to roll back tariffs on each others’ goods in a “phase one” trade deal.

But the idea of tariff rollbacks met with stiff opposition within the Trump administration, Reuters reported later on Thursday.

Those divisions were on full display on Friday, when Trump – who has repeatedly described himself as “Tariff Man” – told reporters at the White House that he had not agreed to reduce tariffs already put in place.

“China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback, ’cause they know I won’t do it,” Trump said. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”

Essex truck death victims include 10 teenagers, two as young as 15: British police

Police escort the truck, that was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, as they move it from an industrial estate in Thurrock, south England, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria.
Police escort the truck, that was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, as they move it from an industrial estate in Thurrock, south England, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Essex police released the names of the victims – all from Vietnam – discovered inside a shipping container on Oct. 23, in what is believed to be one of the country’s most deadly incidents involving people smuggling.

“This was an incredibly important process and our team has been working hard to bring answers to worried families who fear their loved one may be among those whose tragic journey ended on our shores,” Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith said.

He added: “Our priority has been to identify the victims, to preserve the dignity of those who have died and to support the victims’ friends and families.”



‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ has a challenge for 2020 Democrats chief meteorologist Joe Bastardi reacts to Tucker’s 2020 tree challenge.

Why Melania Trump is poised to have a great legacy as first lady

Some aspects of the role are too difficult to control, especially the “media crucible” as Betty Ford called it, that each first lady has faced since the founding of our nation.

It can be challenging for first ladies to break through and be evaluated for their unique experiences.
Free from specific statutory responsibilities, each first lady can choose how to use her powerful platform and put her unique stamp on the office.

While it is too early to measure the full impact of the work of Melania Trump, it seems that in the political environment today, history is repeating itself with the coverage and understanding of her interests and initiatives.

Melania Trump did not follow the past tradition of immediately moving to the White House after the inauguration and of hiring staff prior to the inauguration.

Many were curious how she would approach her new role.

“I will stay true to myself,” she said, thus not defined by the expectations others have of her, the position of first lady, or the staffing of her office.

As the historian William Seale said, “They may be criticized at first for not appearing to be like the women in the past who have held the job, yet they prevail for being themselves, which is what Americans want all along.”

‘Anonymous’ gets media frenzy without pesky scrutiny for new book

Getty Images

I’m sure there won’t be any agenda here or twisting of narratives or facts whatsoever.

By remaining anonymous, the author’s credibility cannot be scrutinized.
He or she can’t be questioned on camera, for it would mean revealing the author’s true identity.

Nor can we question the harrowing tales of President Trump, and the clear and present danger he supposedly presents to the nation, which neither Aaron Sorkin nor Oliver Stone could script any better.

Using basic logic and presenting an argument that few broadcast journalists will broach, has anyone considered out loud why Anonymous chooses to stay anonymous?

The most reasonable answer is easy to arrive at: Because he or she is a low-level administration employee who doesn’t have any real access or interaction with the president or senior decisionmakers in the Trump administration.

And maybe, just maybe, this person is either passing along information he or she heard from their father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

Or maybe he’s another disgruntled former member of the Obama administration who has been around long enough to know that the usual suspects in the media – especially in some circles of cable news – are really like seagulls at the beach:

Throw anything up in the air and they’ll swallow it without first verifying what they’re being fed. If it’s bad and particularly sensational for Trump, it’s good for ratings, good for clicks on social media and good for the bottom line.

And if it’s wrong, well, if the last two years are any indication, there won’t be any consequences.

The Westboro Democrats