NEWS     SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER  1, 2018    NEWS

John Kerry Won't Rule Out 2020 White House Run
Former Secretary of State John Kerry won't rule out a run for the White House in 2020, but talking about it now is just a distraction, he tells "Face the Nation" anchor Margaret Brennan. The interview will be featured September 2 on CBS' "Sunday Morning" and on "Face the Nation." Kerry (whose new memoir is titled "Every Day Is Extra") also talks with Brennan about his role in politics today, the current political environment, his relationship with the late Sen. John McCain, and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Now in private life, the former Massachusetts senator and Secretary of State under President Obama has watched as much of his political legacy – including the Iran nuclear deal and the climate change accord – has been upended under the Trump administration. Disappointment in those actions has motivated Kerry to attempt to help Democrats regain political control. CBS
VOA VIEW: Foolish thought.

NAFTA Talks Rocked By Media Leak
Trump has been trying to negotiate a new NAFTA with both trading partners. He announced Monday that he has secured a tentative deal with Mexico and said “we’ll see” if Canada can be part of the new agreement. The administration had set a deadline of Friday for a deal with Canada. But The Toronto Star reports that it obtained comments from an off-the-record portion of an Oval Office interview between Trump and Bloomberg News. In those remarks, Trump said he isn’t making compromises with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, but isn’t going to say so publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Shame on the media.

As California Fire Disasters Worsen, Insurers Pull Out And Strand Homeowners
Sheri Madrzyk and her husband got the letter from their insurer two years ago: Because they live in an area at high risk for wildfires, the company would no longer insure their home. The couple live in Lake County in Northern California, a place where more than 50% of the land has been burned by fires in the last several years. They were forced to scramble, eventually securing coverage through Lloyd’s of London — the insurer of the uninsurable — with a $2,100 premium. It was costlier than their last plan, but still within their budget. Then, in early 2018, they got another notice: their rate had ballooned to $5,800. LA Times

New Mexico GOP Joins Petition To Stop Straight Party Voting
The Republican Party of New Mexico said Friday it is supporting a bipartisan coalition fighting a move to bring back a straight-party voting option on ballots in the November election. The state GOP said it joined other groups in filing an emergency petition in the New Mexico Supreme Court to prevent the change. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, has said she is formatting ballots to allow an entire slate of party candidates to be chosen at one time. SF Gate

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Former NBC Producer Claims Network Spiked Harvey Weinstein Story
Former NBC producer claims network spiked Harvey Weinstein story. On Thursday night, The New York Times and The Daily Beast published complementary accounts reporting that Rich McHugh, who until recently worked in the investigative reporting unit of NBC, maintains that senior executives tried to kill an investigation by former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow into multiple allegations of sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. NBC disputes McHugh’s claims. New Republic
VOA VIEW: Expected from the liberal media.

No NAFTA Deal: Canada-US Talks To Resume Next Week
After days of intense negotiations, the U.S. and Canada failed to agree on a deal by a Friday deadline to update the North American Free Trade Agreement. But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that President Trump notified Congress of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico "and Canada, if it is willing – 90 days from now." Lighthizer said the talks with Canada were "constructive, and we made progress. Our officials are continuing to work toward agreement." U.S. trade officials will meet with their Canadian counterparts next Wednesday, he said. NPR

US Ends Funding Of UN Agency That Supports Palestinian Refugees
The Trump administration announced on Friday it would cease all funding of an agency that provides services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees. It is a reversal of decades of U.S. policy on a core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation," State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert said in a statement. In previous years the U.S. has provided more than $350 million — about a third of the annual budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.  NPR
VOA VIEW: Good!

Trump Executive Order Aims To Make Retirement Plans Easier For Small Businesses To Offer
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans that may also let Americans keep more retirement savings sheltered from taxes. Speaking in North Carolina, the president said the order directs the Labor and Treasury departments to review regulations that make it harder for small companies to band together to set up retirement plans. Only about half of businesses with fewer than 100 employees offer retirement plans, exacerbating what some describe as a crisis in retirement savings. Allowing small companies to pool investments would lower their costs. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Great!

Trump To Campaign For Former Rival Ted Cruz
In 2016, Donald Trump nicknamed Sen. Ted Cruz "Lyin' Ted," and among other insults, posted an image that appeared to call Cruz's wife ugly. Cruz, in turn, called Mr. Trump a "sniveling coward" and told him to leave his wife "the hell alone." But that was then. Now, Mr. Trump will be hitting the campaign trail for his former arch-rival Cruz, who has closely aligned himself with the president's policies. Cruz needs all the help he can get in November ahead of a tough reelection race against Democrat Beto O'Rourke. Mr. Trump announced on Twitter Friday that he will be campaigning for Cruz, in "the biggest stadium in Texas we can find," in October. CBS

Tucker Carlson: 'There's Nothing Free About This Market'
Tucker Carlson delivered a monologue Thursday night on corporations taking advantage of their workers and the U.S. government. He noted that large businesses and employers like Amazon and Wal-Mart pay their employees so poorly that they need to seek federal welfare benefits. Nearly one-in-three Amazon employees in Arizona are on food stamps and taxpayers shell out more than $6 billion a year to Wal-Mart employees in food stamps, Medicaid, and other social welfare programs. RCP
VOA VIEW: A good point.

Is It Time For NASA To Give Up On A Beloved Mars Rover?
For weeks, Michael Staab has slept with his cell phone on his nightstand, its ringer set to the highest volume, waiting for a call from Mars. Staab, an engineer at nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in California, is leading the recovery effort for one of the agency’s Mars rovers, Opportunity. The nearly 15-year-old rover went silent in mid-June as a record-breaking dust storm swept across the planet. As the atmosphere swelled with dust, sunlight couldn’t reach the rocky valley in Mars’s southern hemisphere where Opportunity resides. The solar-powered rover couldn’t charge its batteries in the stormy darkness, so it slipped into a quiet sleep. Atlantic

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Bruce Ohr Says He Was Told Russia 'Had Trump Over A Barrel'
A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter. The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said. Time
VOA VIEW: Liberal media stupidity.

Children Should Stay In Rear Facing Car Seat 'For As Long As Possible'
Previously, the AAP said children should be transported in a rear-facing car seat until at least age 2. But on Thursday, the AAP announced children should remain in rear-facing car seats for “as long as possible,” adding that “new recommendation removes the specific age milestone.” The change comes after a study that cited data “supported by biometric research, crash simulation data and experience in Europe where children ride rear facing for longer periods” came into question last year. Fox

Manafort Linked Lobbyist W. Samuel Patten Admits Using Straw Donor To Buy Trump Inaugural Tickets For Russian, Ukrainian
Longtime Washington operative W. Samuel Patten has admitted he made a $50,000 donation through a straw donor to President Trump's Inauguration Committee for a Russian and a Ukrainian, according to court documents made public Friday. Prosecutors unsealed the "statement of offense," signed by Patten, who pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register as a foreign agent in connection with his work for a Ukrainian lobbying effort launched by Paul Manafort. Patten has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, court documents show. The plea agreement specifically outlines the cooperation with Mueller's team. NBC
VOA VIEW: And the truth is ...

McCain Makes A Final Return To Washington For Rare Honors
The late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has returned to the U.S. Capitol one last time on Friday to lie in state in the rotunda, where only 30 other people have lain since the practice began in 1852. An honor guard carried his flag-draped casket up the Capitol steps in a sudden rainfall, and congressional leaders placed wreaths and delivered tributes to McCain, who served 35 years in the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called McCain "a generational leader" in the Senate. The two often clashed on issues, most notably campaign finance reform. McConnell said McCain "would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good. Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally or your most stubborn opponent." NPR

'I Forget He's Even There': Bill Shine Lays Low In West Wing
Bill Shine, the White House communications director, has been on the job for almost two months. But he has yet to set up a voicemail greeting on his government-issued phone, still jokes that he doesn’t know his way to the nearest bathroom in the West Wing, often has to step out of meetings when classified information is being discussed for lack of proper security clearances, and claims he doesn’t even have a permanent office. When a reporter spotted him behind his desk and, pointing to his nameplate on the door, commented on the fact that he had finally procured an office, Shine replied: “It’s not an office, it’s just a sign.” Politico

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Social Media Users Convinced Meghan McCain Threw 'Side Eye' At Pence
Social media was abuzz Friday about the look on on Meghan McCain's face as Vice President Mike Pence spoke during a memorial service for her father, the late Sen. John McCain, in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Friday. It's no secret that there is little love lost between the McCains and President Donald Trump. Trump was not invited to McCain's memorial services, making the president's loyal VP the highest-ranking member of the White House present at the Capitol ceremony. "The president asked me to be here, on behalf of a grateful nation, to pay a debt of honor and respect to a man who served his country throughout his life," Pence said at the memorial. Later, Pence added, "As President Trump said yesterday, we respect his service to the country." USA Today

Dems: Republicans 'Cherry Picked' Russia Probe Documents To Quiz Official
Democrats on Friday accused Republicans of "cherry-picking" and leaking portions of text messages and emails between a U.S. law enforcement official and a former British spy who investigated then-businessman Donald Trump's ties to the Russian government. Two lawmakers made the charge in a letter to the Republican chairmen of the U.S. House of Representatives judiciary and government oversight panels, which on Tuesday questioned Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr about his ties with former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. US News
VOA VIEW: Dems find fault in anything and everything.

Trump Says He'll 'Study' His Decision To Cancel Federal Pay Raises
President Donald Trump said Friday that he would spend part of his Labor Day weekend taking a “good hard look” at his controversial decision earlier this week to cancel scheduled pay raises for most federal employees due to government budget concerns. “I'm going to study that over the weekend,” Trump said at an event in Charlotte, N.C., Friday afternoon about the pay freeze. “I’m going to take a good, hard look over the weekend.” NBC

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Kavanaugh's Civil Rights Views Studied Ahead Of Confirmation
It was an issue of great interest to his boss, President George W. Bush — who favored race-neutral admissions. Staff prepared a response anticipating the practice would be struck down, saying, "We must be ever mindful not to use means that create another wrong and thus perpetuate our divisions" in the pursuit of diversity. But the next day, justices released a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor upholding the university's law school admissions policy, a disappointment that prompted then-Bush policy adviser Joel Kaplan to email Kavanaugh, then a White House attorney: "What's going on???" In a separate 6-3 opinion, the court said race could be a factor in undergraduate admissions, but not the deciding factor. Houston Chronicle

Trump To Address Retirement Security, Attend GOP Fundraiser
Trump signed an executive order requiring that the departments issue regulations to remove regulatory hurdles that keep small businesses from coming together to form what are called association retirement plans. He said the cost of administering 401(k)s and other plans discourages small businesses from making them available. They'll be banding together. They'll have such strength," Trump said. "They'll be able to negotiate incredible deals." US News

Federal Judge Refuses To Shut Down DACA Program
A federal judge in Texas declined Friday to order an immediate halt to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era initiative that has allowed 700,000 young people, known as "Dreamers," to avoid deportation. The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, was a blow to Texas and seven other states that hoped Hanen would find the program, known as DACA, as objectionable as he did another Obama program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.  NBC
VOA VIEW: A liberal judge shouldn't rule for a nation.

Top Dem Swalwell: Exiting White House Counsel McGahn Coached Aides On Testimony
White House counsel Don McGahn, whose imminent departure was announced by President Trump this week, will likely be called to testify before Congress about his efforts to constrain testimony in the Russia investigation if Democrats capture control of the House in this fall’s elections, says a top House Democrat. “I do believe Mr. McGahn is a relevant witness in all of this,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.” “Don McGahn was instructing different witnesses as to what they could say and could not say.” Yahoo

Trump Declares Mission Accomplished In His Bid To Make America Great Again
“You know our new slogan that we’ll be switching to because we’re way ahead of schedule to ‘Make America Great Again,’ right? It’s called ‘Keep America Great!’ That’s what’s happening. We’re so far ahead of schedule.” Declaring that the U.S. now has “the best economy in the history of our country,” Trump assured his Hoosier audience that America was “reclaiming our nation’s proud manufacturing history.” “It’s never been like this,” Trump said of the economy, adding, “We’ve created trillions of dollars in wealth since the election.” As a result, Trump said, “America is respected again,” and the U.S. is now “the talk of the world.” As evidenced by his boisterous reception, Trump’s assessment is shared by a good percentage of the American public, as the president made sure to point out. “People come up to me all the time and they go, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.’ Just backstage, right now, people. ‘Thank you, Mr. President for saving our country. Yahoo

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John McCain's Mother, 106, Mourns Son As He Lies In State At US Capitol
Roberta McCain, Sen. John McCain’s 106-year-old mother, attended a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Friday honoring her son’s life. Roberta came in to the Capitol Rotunda before 11 a.m. on a rainy morning in Washington, sitting in the front row in a black and white blouse as the flag-draped casket of her son was brought in. Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence paid their respects to Roberta when they arrived, stopping by her seat and touching her hand and shoulder as they spoke to her. Roberta held hands with her granddaughter Meghan McCain during speeches by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Pence, as Meghan wiped away tears. Time

Bill Clinton Remembers 'My Friend' Aretha Franklin
Clinton, who was accompanied by his wife, Hillary, went on to recall his time with Franklin, first as a fan and then as a friend of the “woman who sung for America when Dr. King was killed.” “She cared about broken people, people who were disappointed, people who didn’t succeed as much as she did,” said Clinton. He also kept his speech light with jokes. “I hope God will forgive me,” said Clinton. “But I was so glad when I got here … when the casket was still open because I said, ‘I wonder what my friend has got on today. I want to see what the girl was carrying out.” Yahoo

Don't Jump To Conclusions About Alexandrai Ocasio-Cortez's Rise
Since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Democratic powerbroker Rep. Joseph Crowley in a New York primary, observers have tried to draw all sorts of lessons from the results. According to pollster Molly Murphy of ARG Research, they ought just to credit Ocasio-Cortez with running a good campaign. While Americans seem to have a preference for “outsider” politicians, it takes more than that to be successful, Murphy, a Democratic consultant, said Friday on Hill.TV’s “What America’s Thinking.” “She’s this telegenic, inspiring, sort of powerful figure. And she was able to effectively define Crowley certainly as an insider but as someone who was no longer a good fit for that district,” Murphy told host Jamal Simmons. Hill
VOA VIEW: Cortez is a fool.

Kuwait's Emir To Visit White House Next Week
President Donald Trump and the ruling emir of Kuwait will meet at the White House after Labor Day. The White House says Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the ruling emir of the U.S.-allied nation, will be welcomed to the White House on Sept. 5 for a working visit. The 89-year-old ruler of the oil-rich nation is leading a Kuwaiti delegation to the U.S. to discuss trade, investment and security cooperation. AJC

NYC To Spend An Average Of $17.5K Per Student This School Year
The city is planning to spend an average of $17,500 per student in the coming school year, according to funding data released Friday. The city's Department of Education submitted school-level funding data to the New York State Division of the Budget in accordance with new school-by-school reporting requirements Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully secured in this year's $168.3 billion state budget. "The data we submitted today shows our continued commitment to transparency and funding that meets the needs of our school communities," New York City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement. "Through increased Fair Student Funding and our Equity and Excellence initiatives, we’re investing in the success of our students and our City." Politico

Michigan College Dems Sue State Over Voting Laws
Democratic students at two Michigan universities announced Friday that they have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R), arguing the state's voting laws discriminate against young voters. College Democrats at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University as well as the Michigan Federation of College Democrats are challenging state laws that require a voter's residence to match the address listed on their driver's license and one that those registering to vote via mail or third-party registration drives must cast a ballot in person the first time they vote. Hill

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DeVos Says She Won't Block Schools From Using Federal Money To Buy Guns
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Friday that she would not stand in the way of states that want to use federal grants to purchase guns for schools, emphasizing that it’s a decision for local officials to make. “I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act],” DeVos said in a letter to Rep. Bobby Scott, the top Democrat on the House education committee. DeVos' letter comes as Democrats and some education groups had asked the Trump administration not to allow federal education grants to be used for firearms after The New York Times first reported last week that the Education Department was considering the issue. Politico
VOA VIEW: The Dems and liberals have not vision.

No Time For New North Carolina Voting Maps
Groups who successfully sued North Carolina over Republican-constructed congressional maps that a court ruled to be illegally drawn for partisan purposes said on Friday there is not enough time to put in place new lines ahead of the November elections. The groups’ filing in federal court in North Carolina complicates an already difficult situation over maps that have been contested for years and could affect a Democratic push to wrest control of the U.S. House of Representatives from Republicans. “Plaintiffs have concluded that a statewide redistricting just weeks before Election Day would not be a good-government solution,” the North Carolina Democratic Party, Common Cause, and League of Women Voters said in their filing. Reuters

Kavanaugh, Senators Prep For Marathon Confirmation Hearing
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh isn't the only one engaging in practice sessions ahead of next week's grueling confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senators from both parties also are prepping for the four-day marathon — including Wednesday's multi-hour question-and-answer exchange — in which Kavanaugh's views on the biggest legal issues of the day are expected to be mined for the conservative judge's approach to the law. Abortion, executive power, campaign finance reform, regulatory oversight and gun violence are among the many topics senators in particular are preparing to probe after the 53-year-old appellate court judge raises his right hand and is sworn in for the hearings. SF Gate

Thousands Of Students Are Forced Into Restraints Or Seclusion Each Year In Virginia Schools
Strapped to a chair at the arms and legs, a hood pulled over your head. For Virginia parents, a state investigation's findings earlier this year on the treatment of immigrant teens in a detention center were a wake-up call. The use of physical restraint, mechanical restraints and seclusion of children shocked many, but investigators concluded that abuse did not occur: Such treatment is within legal guidelines in Virginia. Much of the same use of restraint and seclusion — including strapping teenagers to chairs and locking them in rooms — also is allowed in public schools statewide. USA Today

Meghan McCain's Husband Blasts Twitter CEO For Taking Hours To Remove Threatening Image Of Her
A Twitter user who posted a threatening doctored image of Meghan McCain from her father’s funeral has had their account suspended, according to her husband. On Thursday, Ben Domenech wrote in a since-deleted message to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Hey @jack, this has been up for half a day. It has been reported 100+ times. No response. Tell me why this is cool by you,” according to the Arizona Republic. Alongside the tweet, Domenech shared a screengrab of the image in question. According to the Republic, a photo of McCain crying over her father Sen. John McCain‘s casket at the Arizona State Capitol had been doctored to include a gun pointed at the 33-year-old. Yahoo

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