News and Headlines. 3/3/2020

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

In The News:

Mnuchin directs IRS to boost audits on wealthy

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. | Mark Makela/Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. | Mark Makela/Getty Images

The agency has been under pressure over the increasing share of audits on lower-income taxpayers, while its audit rate has plunged for those at the upper end of the income scale.

“I have specifically directed the IRS commissioner to come up with a plan to increase the amount of funding so that we can audit more high-income earners, so that is specifically in our plan,” Mnuchin said at a Ways and Means Committee hearing.

He was responding to questions about President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget request and disparities between audit rates on lower- and higher-income taxpayers.

Trump donates $100,000 of his salary to HHS to fight coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave:
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave: Supporting America’s Working Families on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

The donation amounts to $100,000, and comes as part of Trump’s vow to donate his entire salary throughout his presidency, according to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

He has in the past donated parts of his salary to border enforcement, the Surgeon General’s office and Veterans’ Affairs, among others.

Trump has made a point of using his personal funds throughout his campaign and into his presidency. Trump relied heavily on personal funds in the 2016 Republican Primary.

He also famously bought fast food for the Clemson University football team with his own money during a government shutdown.

Aerial footage shows Nashville tornado damage

At least 22 people have died after two tornadoes ripped through central Tennessee, including the state’s biggest city Nashville.

Officials said the tornadoes also caused widespread damage to buildings in the city.

Justice Department Charges Over 400 Defendants for Alleged Fraud Schemes Targeting Seniors

Attorney General William Barr speaks at a the National Sheriffs' Association conference in Washingon on Feb. 10, 2020.
Attorney General William Barr speaks at a the National Sheriffs’ Association conference in Washingon on Feb. 10, 2020. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Speaking at the Elder Justice Summit in Florida on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr said that the enforcement actions were made as part of what the department calls the “largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.”

He said the more than 400 defendants charged in this year’s action far surpasses the 260 defendants charged in cases as part of last year’s sweep.

“As people live longer, fraud directed against the elderly has become an increasingly serious problem,” Barr said. “In fact, it has been mushrooming in recent years.”

Guatemalan Man Wanted for Child Sex Assault Arrested in North Dakota

AP File Photo/Khampha Bouaphanh
AP File Photo/Khampha Bouaphanh

“This arrest is a great example of multi-jurisdictional cooperation working together to remove a child predator from the streets of the United States,” Grand Forks Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent William Maddocks said in a written statement.

That same day, El Centro Sector agents a Salvadoran man after he illegally crossed the border near the Calexico West Downtown Port of Entry.

During processing and a biometric background investigation, agents identified the Salvadoran national as 40-year-old Giovanni Alexander Rosales-Bollat.

Records revealed a California court convicted the man in October 2006 for “Sex with a Minor 3 Plus Years Younger.”

The Los Angeles court sentenced the man to six days confinement and five years of probation.

Trump participates in a roundtable briefing at National Institutes of Health

President Trump participates in a roundtable and tours the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

Twitter shares soar after Republican mega-donor buys $1billion stake to try to oust CEO Jack Dorsey – but Elon Musk and employees voice their support with #WeBackJack campaign

Paul Singer, founder of investment management firm Elliott Management, has taken a $1billion stake in the social media company and is planning to use his newfound influence to push for many changes, starting at the top.

He has nominated four directors, including two people from his New York-based hedge fund.

According to insiders cited by Bloomberg, Singer’s main grievance is that Dorsey splits his time as CEO of Twitter and CEO as Square Inc, his mobile payments app from which he derives the majority of his reported $5billion fortune.

Man forces way through home’s front door, meets homeowner and his gun, cops say. The encounter proves to be suspect’s last.

Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Police told the station that the suspect forced his way into the home through its locked front door and confronted the homeowner.

But unfortunately for the suspect, this particular homeowner had a gun on hand — and didn’t hesitate using it to protect himself.

Police told WAGA the homeowner fired his handgun multiple times and hit the intruder in the torso.

OMB’s Russ Vought: On CDC Funding Misinformation, the New Budget, and Deregulation [CPAC 2020]

In this episode of American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸 at CPAC 2020, we’ll sit down with Acting Director Russ Vought of the Office of Management and Budget to discuss misinformation surrounding funding for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the new budget, reducing the deficit, and major steps taken towards deregulation.

Major Second Amendment rally at Tennessee capital planned for next week

A concealed carry holster. (Alian Gear Holster/WikiMedia)
A concealed carry holster. (Alian Gear Holster/WikiMedia)

The event, organized by Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA), is set to take place on Wednesday, March 10 at Tennessee’s capitol building in Nashville.

The gun-rights groups are promoting legislation currently under consideration in the state legislature, including an end to the state’s firearms permitting process and, barring that, an elimination of licensing fees for those firearms permits.

“Currently, Tennesseans must ask the government for permission before carrying a handgun for self-defense,” GOA Director of State and Local Affairs Matthew Patterson said in a press statement.

“No other Constitutionally-protected right is regulated to this degree, and that’s why Constitutional Carry is so important. It restores the right to self-defense, free of government overreach.”


Dr. Drew: Media-driven panic over coronavirus is a bigger problem than the virus

“Essentially the entire problem we are having is due to panic, not the virus,” he said. “I was saying this six weeks ago. We have six deaths from the coronavirus, 18,000 from the flu. Why isn’t the message, ‘Get your flu vaccine'”?

Pinsky, host of “Dr. Drew After Dark,” said the coronavirus impact has been milder than initially projected.

“The entirety of the problem now is that people are being pushed into bankruptcy. Travel is down. The supply chain is being interrupted because of panic,” he reiterated.

Divided Supreme Court rules illegal immigrants can’t be shielded from ID theft prosecution

The Immigration Control and Reform Act (IRCA) makes it a federal crime to lie on the I-9 work authorization form, while limiting how the false information can be used.

Federal law also says information “contained in” the I-9 cannot be used for law enforcement other than specified exceptions — but the Supreme Court ruled that if workers use the same information in tax documents, they can face charges.

In the case of Kansas v. Garcia, three immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally used someone else’s Social Security number on their I-9 forms, as well as on tax-withholding forms. They argued that state prosecutors improperly used information from their I-9 forms.

Trump to Visit Tennessee After Tornadoes Rip Through State

Rescue workers free Bill and Shirley Wallace from their home that collapsed, trapping them under rubble after a tornado hit area in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., on March 3 2020.
Rescue workers free Bill and Shirley Wallace from their home that collapsed, trapping them under rubble after a tornado hit area in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., on March 3 2020.
(Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP)

“Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments. The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Later on Tuesday, the president told a crowd that he is planning to visit the state on Friday, adding that FEMA officials are already on the ground in Tennessee.

“Our hearts are full of sorrow,” Trump said, “for the lives that were lost” in the tornadoes. 

Nashville tornadoes leave trail of destruction – in pictures

As the sky lightens, debris is scattered across the parking lot of a damaged apartment building Photograph: Courtney Pedroza/AP
As the sky lightens, debris is scattered across the parking lot of a damaged apartment building Photograph: Courtney Pedroza/AP

At least 19 people have been killed after two tornadoes touched down in central Tennessee, shredding buildings across the Nashville area.


Senate Panel Prepares To Issue First Subpoenas In Burisma, Hunter Biden Investigation

Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA
Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

“As part of the committee’s ongoing investigation, [the Committee] has received U.S. government records indicating that Blue Star sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of Burisma to gain access to, and potentially influence matters at, the State Department,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson’s committee is looking into whether Hunter Biden “leveraged his father’s position as vice president to help Burisma, which has long been dogged by allegations of corruption,” according to the DC, but will eventually focus on Burisma’s larger story, including whether the elder Biden leveraged his own relationship with the Obama administration to secure a position with Burisma for his son, Hunter, and whether Burisma ultimately dodged corruption investigations.

The Committee will also look into whether Burisma hired strategists with direct connections to the Biden family and to other powerful Democrats, and whether some of those strategists are still peddling influence in Democratic circles, including within the former Vice President’s current presidential campaign.

Feminist author proposes Dems pledge not to run any ‘white guys’ in next election

She also pushed back on people who wanted Democrats to choose the “best” candidate.

“And yeah we all want the best candidates to run, but if that’s your immediate response here, you’re kind of telling on yourself that you don’t think there are plenty of excellent candidates who aren’t white guys,” she said.

Jeff Van Drew: More House Democrats could follow my lead and switch parties

Van Drew noted that while moderates are interested in making the change, they are waiting to see how his party switch will fare.

“When it does go well, I do believe there will be other people that will think the same way.

There are some good moderate Democrats on the other side and I really believe they belong on the Republican side,” the New Jersey lawmaker told “Outnumbered Overtime.”

Van Drew said that the Democratic Party was “lurching” too far to the left.

Tucker: Democrats pin their hopes on gaffe-prone Joe Biden

The Democratic establishment picks its answer to Bernie Sanders.

Donna Brazile Snaps At GOP Chairwoman On Live TV, Tells Her To ‘Go To Hell’

Brazile, who previously served as the acting chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), joined “America’s Newsroom” to discuss the Democratic Party’s prospects as Super Tuesday dawned.

Smith and Henry introduced the segment with a clip from earlier in the show, when McDaniel had suggested that a contested convention could lead to attempts by the party establishment to undermine and push out Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Smith turned the question to Brazile then, asking what she made of McDaniel’s assessment.

Denver Democrat faces backlash after tweeting ‘solidarity’ for spreading coronavirus at Trump rallies

Candi CdeBaca, Denver City Councilwoman, shared a meme suggesting those infected with coronavirus should attend "MAGA" rallies.
Candi CdeBaca, Denver City Councilwoman, shared a meme suggesting those infected with coronavirus should attend “MAGA” rallies.

CdeBaca, apparently posting in jest, had retweeted a meme that said: “For the record, if I do get the coronavirus I’m attending every MAGA rally I can.”

CdeBaca commented: “#solidarity Yaaaas!!” with laughing emojis.

CdeBaca, based on her Twitter posts, appears to be a supporter of self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

World News:

Chinese Authorities Require Government Offices to Destroy Data Related to Coronavirus Outbreak

Chinese office workers wear protective masks as they line up for the bus after leaving work in Beijing, China on March 2, 2020.
Chinese office workers wear protective masks as they line up for the bus after leaving work in Beijing, China on March 2, 2020. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The Epoch Times previously obtained confidential internal documents showing that in the coastal province of Shandong, authorities were purposefully under-reporting the number of diagnostic kit test results that turned up positive.

Eyewitnesses in Hubei province, where the outbreak is most severe, also told the publication that many people were unable to be diagnosed and treated at hospitals due to over-capacity, but were exhibiting symptoms and self-quarantining at home.

Now it appears some local authorities have been required to destroy data they compiled relating to the virus outbreak.

10-Year-Old Dies in Mexican Border State Cartel Shootout

The triple homicide took place Tuesday morning at the Palma Real Hotel in the San Bernabe neighborhood. Nuevo Leon police responded to the scene after receiving a call about a shooting victim.

Authorities found a male shooting victim outside the hotel. Inside, they found a 10-year-old boy and a woman who were apparently killed by bullet strikes despite hiding behind a desk.

The cops turned the crime scene over to Nuevo Leon state investigators. Preliminary information suggests the hotel is controlled by an operator for the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) faction of Los Zetas.

Authorities are looking into that man and his ties as a possible motive.

UN says Iran’s uranium stockpile surges, seeks clarity on three undeclared sites

Cascade of gas centrifuges used to produce enriched uranium.
Cascade of gas centrifuges used to produce enriched uranium. This photograph is of the U.S. gas centrifuge plant in Piketon, Ohio from 1984.
(U.S. Department of Energy Archives/Released)

The UN’s atomic watchdog says Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium over the past three months, in sharp violation of the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with six world powers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said on March 3 that Iran appears to have three undeclared atomic sites. The IAEA said it is insisting on “clarifications” from Tehran.

In its report, the IAEA said Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium had reached 1,020.9 kilograms, far above the limit of 300 kilograms allowed in the agreement.

In its previous report, in November 2019, the IAEA said the stockpile was at 372.3 kilograms.

Netanyahu claims election victory, while Syria battles intensify – TV7 Israel News 03.03.20

1) While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party secured the majority of mandates; its natural partners have failed to accumulate a necessity margin that would have guaranteed their hold on Jerusalem’s seat of power.

2) Fierce battles are continuing to intensify in the war-torn country’s northwestern Idlib region, where the Turkish military is backing Jihadist Sunni-Muslim militants in efforts to repel an advance by the Syrian army, which is backed by Shi’ite-Muslim Iranian proxies and Russian aerial support.

3) Turkey vows to keep its borders open for illegal migrants to flood Europe, unless the latter would align itself with Ankara’s policy vis-à-vis Syria.

Police investigate alleged coronavirus-linked attack on London student

Jonathan Mok said he may need to undergo reconstructive surgery after the incident. Photograph: Facebook
Jonathan Mok said he may need to undergo reconstructive surgery after the incident. Photograph: Facebook

Mok said one of the group tried to kick him in the head and told him: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.”

Scotland Yard said it had received a report that a 23-year-old man was punched and sustained facial injuries, and officers were looking at CCTV to try to identify suspects.

Mok said several racist taunts had been directed at him in recent weeks, some involving references to the coronavirus.


Horowitz: The federal government issued $175 billion in ‘improper payments’ in 2019

marchmeena29/Getty Images
marchmeena29/Getty Images

What’s so tragic about this is that both parties always talk about cutting “waste, fraud, and abuse” as a cop-out for actually addressing the systemic problems in major government programs and the premise of the federal government’s involvement in various aspects of our lives.

However, when it comes time to actually cutting waste, they never do it.

Why is it that they are constantly increasing spending to record levels and then passing even more emergency spending bills without ever trying to genuinely combat what is universally regarded as improper payments?

With the debt surging past $23 trillion and with endless trillion-dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see, one would think this report would spawn a bipartisan effort to at least combat universal waste.

Sadly, the only bipartisanship in Washington is a commitment to waste even more taxpayer funding, subsidize more favored industries, and redistribute even more wealth.