NEWS     THURSDAY,  SEPTEMBER 6, 2018    NEWS

Kavanaugh Vows Independence As Hearing Churns Through Protests, Rules Clash
Judge Brett Kavanaugh promised to serve as an independent justice if confirmed to the Supreme Court, as he sparred with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about his views and past work for former President George W. Bush. Senate Democrats grilled Kavanaugh on abortion, guns and other issues Wednesday, getting down to substance after an opening day of partisan fireworks -- as protesters continued to disrupt his confirmation hearing and Senate leaders clashed over how late the hearing could go. “The first thing that makes a good judge is independence, not being swayed by political or public pressure,” Kavanaugh said during the second day of his hearing. “That takes some backbone, that takes some judicial fortitude.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Kavanaugh sounded and looked professional.

Bob Woodward, Bane Of Presidents, Turns His Fire On Cheeto Jesus
Washington, D.C. may soon be littered with the political bodies of people who believed they could spin their way out of the impact of the new Bob Woodward book, Fear. I’ve been to the Washington rodeo enough times to know that Woodward’s methodical, grinding style of investigation doesn’t lend itself to escaping unscathed, especially for bad actors and loose cannons. Hell, as a young Department of Defense aide in 1990, I saw it up close when his book The Commanders led to the firing of USAF Chief of Staff Mike Dugan. He had tapes then, as he does now. This week, it’s Donald Trump’s turn under Woodward’s political electron microscope, and the president’s hissy-fit reaction tells us how close Woodward’s work has struck. Trump knows his White House staff, up to and including his daughter, thinks he’s off the rails, a danger to himself and the country, and unable to execute the duties of a Waffle House manager much less the president of the United States. Google
VOA VIEW: Liberal rhetoric.

Sandberg And Dorsey Hearings: Why Some Conservatives Want To Regulate Social Media, Facebook & Twitter
On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before Congress to answer questions about social media and foreign election interference — and alleged “pro-liberal bias” on both platforms. But in advance of the hearings and just months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced similar questions from Congress members about bias and privacy on Facebook, some on the right — including the president of the United States — believe they may have found a solution to purported anti-conservative prejudice by big business: government regulation. As Fox News host Laura Ingraham put during her show on Friday night, “There’s a thought that, given the enormity of these corporations, could there be a movement to treat [Twitter and Facebook] more like public utilities so they have some quasi-government oversight of these entities?” Google
VOA VIEW: Facebook, Twitter and Google must be regulated.

Women Still Firmly In Control Of November Narrative
The primary election calendar grinds on with a modest surprise in Massachusetts’ 7th District, where Ayanna Pressley defeated incumbent House Democrat Michael Capuano on Tuesday. The upset might remind people of the New York district where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knocked off incumbent Joseph Crowley, but the differences are significant. Ocasio-Cortez was a first-time candidate who ran as a socialist against a relatively moderate liberal. Pressley has been on the Boston City Council since 2010, and while she’s certainly a solid liberal, so was Capuano. Ocasio-Cortez was really an outsider; Pressley is not. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Two liberal socialist fools.

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5 Storylines To Watch In The Unfolding Saga Of Donald Trump And Bob Woodward
The battle lines have been drawn. On one side, President Donald Trump and his allies and enablers. On the other, Bob Woodward, hundreds of hours of taped interviews and dozens of sources and a book that reads as a comprehensive indictment of Trump's first 19 months in office. Trump spent Tuesday attacking Woodward's "Fear: Trump in the White House" as largely a work of fiction containing "so many lies and phony sources." (Notably, he didn't detail the alleged lies. More on that below.) Woodward, meanwhile, is largely letting the reporting in the book speak for itself. "I stand by my reporting," Woodward told CNN's Jamie Gangel. CNN
VOA VIEW: Woodward will lose.

CDC Meets Plane At JFK After Passengers Report Feeling Ill
Federal health officials met a plane landing Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after passengers reported feeling ill, according to sources. Emirates Flight 203, which originated in Dubai, was carrying more than 500 passengers and landed around 9:06 a.m. ET, a source with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. All passengers were screened, the airline said, and three passengers and seven crew members were transported to a hospital for treatment and evaluation. "I asked the (flight attendant) for a mask before we even took off, but there was none available," passenger Erin Sykes told CNN from the plane. "It was so obvious that a large number of people were ill well before takeoff." CNN

A Legally Absurd Case Against Obamacare Is About To Get Its Day In Court
Attorneys representing 20 Republican state officials on Wednesday will walk into court and ask a federal district judge to invalidate the Affordable Care Act ? a move that could unleash chaos on insurance markets and, eventually, leave an estimated 17 million Americans without coverage. It’s an outlandish request that relies on what even the law’s longtime critics are calling an outlandish argument. Jonathan Adler, the Case Western law professor who was an architect of the last big lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality, says the case’s theory is “unmoored” and “absurd.” Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate’s health committee, has called it “far-fetched.” Huff Post

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Iraq: Deadly Basra Clashes As Protesters Torch Government Office
Deadly clashes continued in Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra after hundreds gathered to mourn the death of a protester killed a day earlier. At least six people were killed and 12 injured in violent demonstrations near a provincial government building on Tuesday when protesters stormed the office and set it alight, sources on the ground told Al Jazeera. Sources on the ground said members of the security forces had also been injured.  "The situation is continuing to escalate after the death of a protester yesterday," said demonstrator Laith Abdelrahman. "Security forces are using live ammunition and tear gas to break up the demonstrations." Yasser Makki died in a hospital following clashes with security forces on Monday night, while six other people were hurt. Aljazeera

Yes, The Texas Senate Race Is For Real
It's September 4. Labor Day was Monday. We are now officially in the final sprint of the 2018 midterm campaigns, and we are still talking about the Texas Senate race. That is remarkable given that Texas has, for the last several decades, been one of the most reliable Republican states in the country. But polls and people agree; Democrat Beto O'Rourke is withing striking distance of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Why? How? And where are we going? I reached out to Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith for answers. (Sidebar: The Tribune's yearly political gathering -- the Texas Tribune Festival -- is coming and, if you like politics, you need to be there.) Our conversation -- conducted via email and lightly edited for flow -- is below. CNN
VOA VIEW: Wishful CNN and liberal thinking.

Shells Hit Syria's Idlib As Rebels Brace For Assault
The Syrian military shelled the last stronghold of active rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday as a war monitor said insurgents blew up another bridge in anticipation of a government offensive. Damascus, backed by allies Russia and Iran, has been preparing an assault to recover Idlib and adjacent areas of the northwest, and resumed air strikes along with Russia on Tuesday after weeks of lull. Idlib’s fate now appears likely to rest on the results of Friday’s Tehran summit between the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran - a meeting that Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday said would make the situation “clearer”. Russia’s Defence Ministry said Tuesday’s air strikes had only targeted militants and not struck populated areas.  Reuters

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Another Hurricane Strengthens On Possible Path To Bermuda
Hurricane Florence became the first major storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season Wednesday as it moves on a path that could take it toward Bermuda. At 11 a.m. ET, the Category 3 hurricane's maximum sustained winds were around 125 mph. Hurricane Florence was centered about 1,370 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and was moving northwest at 13 mph. "Some weakening is possible during the next few days, but Florence is expected to remain a strong hurricane through early next week," forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in the late Wednesday morning advisory.  In the U.S., Tropical Storm Gordon never became a hurricane but it was deadly all the same, killing a child by blowing a tree onto a mobile home as it made landfall. CBS

NY TIMES OP-ED!: 'I Am Part Of The Resistance Inside The Trump Administration'
"I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader. It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall. The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." NY Times
VOA VIEW: Anything done or reported by the NYT is suspect.

Second Day Of Kavanaugh Hearings Erupts Into Tense Cross-Examination On Mueller
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing boiled over into a series of tense exchanges late in the evening Wednesday, as high-profile Democrats lined up to hammer the appellate judge with thinly veiled accusations that he was hiding ties to President Trump's inner circle and harbored sympathies for racist policies. In an especially combative moment late in the day, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pointedly asked Kavanaugh whether he ever had discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller or his Russia probe with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, a former personal attorney to President Trump. Fox
VOA VIEW: Disgruntled idiots.

5 Things You Missed From Facebook And Twitter Hearings On Capitol Hill
Lawmakers spent several hours on Wednesday grilling top executives from Facebook and Twitter on Russian misinformation online, whether Twitter is biased in how it monitors online accounts, and a few other topics for good measure. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey first answered questions about what their sites are doing to prevent Russian and other foreign actors from sowing discord on their platforms during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Later, Dorsey faced down lawmakers during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in which they accused Twitter of showing political bias in how it promotes and monitors accounts. Google

Kavanaugh Declines To Recuse Himself From Trump Cases
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said Wednesday that he respected Supreme Court precedents on abortion and insisted he has an open mind on whether a sitting president can be indicted. But he refused to recuse himself from any cases involving President Trump. To make such a commitment now, he said, would be the equivalent of taking a stand on the case itself, which would be inappropriate both for a nominee and for his role as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “I should not and may not make a commitment about how I would handle a particular case,” Judge Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducted the first of two days of questioning that will decide whether he wins confirmation to the Supreme Court. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Righteous answer.

Roe V. Wade Is 'Precedent', Kavanaugh Says, But There's More To The Future Of Abortion
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday described Roe v. Wade's right to abortion as settled -- "important precedent" -- yet he has also narrowly interpreted when a woman can exercise that right. His past views, reinforced by testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggest Kavanaugh would permit government to impose stricter regulation of abortion, for example, with additional requirements that could delay the procedure or in stiffer rules for physicians who would perform it. With the departure of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, abortion rights could hang on Kavanaugh's vote.  CNN

Theranos, Blood Testing Company Plagued By Scandal, Says It Will Disolve
Theranos — the Silicon Valley blood-testing startup whose former top executives are accused of carrying out a massive, years-long fraud — is shutting down. David Taylor, who became CEO in June, said Theranos will dissolve after it attempts to pay creditors with its remaining cash. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which published the letter. The letter explains that the company "intends to enter into an assignment for the benefit of creditors." This arrangement would allow for all of Theranos' assets, other than its intellectual property, to be assigned to a third party in trust for the company's creditors. The company says it has about $5 million remaining in cash.  NPR

Kavanaugh Declines To Answer Whether A President Can Be Subpeonaed
Kavanaugh said the United States v. Nixon decision that forced President Richard Nixon to turn over tapes to the special prosecutor was "one of the greatest moments in Supreme Court history" because the justices stood up for judicial independence in a moment of national crisis. But he declined to answer Feinstein's question about whether a sitting president can be required to respond to a subpoena, saying any answer would violate the principle that nominees shouldn't give views on hypothetical cases. "I can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question," he said. Feinstein also asked Kavanaugh about his frequently cited comments that a president should not be investigated on criminal charges while in office. ABC

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Anonymous White House Official Admits To Working Against Trump In New York Times
An anonymous senior administration official claimed to be part of a resistance inside President Donald Trump's White House, thwarting parts of the President's agenda, in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday. "The dilemma -- which (Trump) does not fully grasp -- is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations," the Times piece reads. "I would know. I am one of them." The Times said disclosing the name of the official, who is known to the publication, would jeopardize the official's job, and said publishing the piece anonymously was the only way to deliver an important perspective to readers. CNN
VOA VIEW: More anonymous NYT fake news.

Sessions Getting Serious About Tech Company Crackdown
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will meet with state attorneys general later this month to discuss concerns that tech companies "may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms," the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday. The proposed meeting between the country's top prosecutor and state officials is the first major signal of potential antitrust action against Silicon Valley and follows recent claims by President Donald Trump of political bias and censorship by major social media firms. Last month, Trump said Facebook, Twitter and Google were "treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful." He's also said the companies could be engaging in antitrust behaviors, without offering evidence for the claims. CNBC
VOA VIEW: A very important move.

Paraguay To Move Embassy In Israel Back To Tel Aviv
Paraguay will move its embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv, reversing a May decision by former President Horacio Cartes to move the diplomatic site to Jerusalem, the South American country’s foreign minister told reporters on Wednesday. “Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East,” Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said. Cartes had traveled to Israel to inaugurate the new embassy in May. His successor Mario Abdo, also a member of the conservative Colorado party, took office last month. Reuters

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AP Explains Venezuela's Migrant Crisis
The United Nations says that more than 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their country since the start of 2015, generating an international migrant crisis that has set off alarms in South America and recently led to violent confrontations between migrants and local populations. Here are some facts about Venezuela's migrant crisis. Most migrants say they are escaping Venezuela's imploding economy. Hyperinflation has decimated wages, and more than a decade of price controls have generated widespread shortages of basic goods. Venezuela's monthly minimum wage is currently worth about $25 and is far below what is needed to feed a family. More than half of Venezuela's migrants are leaving for neighboring Colombia.  Fox

Trump Suggests Protesting Should Be Illegal
President Trump has long derided the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people” and lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. On Tuesday, he took his attacks on free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal. Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. “I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that,” Trump said. “I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.” He added: “In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.” Washington Post
VOA VIEW: The Trump answer is different from the the headline statement.

US Canada Square Off On NAFTA As Leaders Dig In
Senior U.S. and Canadian officials resumed NAFTA talks on Wednesday with the aim of wrapping up by the end of the month, even as their leaders this week reasserted that any compromise would be hard-earned. The U.S. and Canada have yet to agree on nettlesome issues such as opening up Canada’s dairy markets to U.S. exports, patent protections for certain drugs and language on how to resolve some disputes. “We’re not going to accept that we should have to sign a bad deal just because the president wants that,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on a Canadian radio station Wednesday. “We’ll walk away and not sign a deal rather than sign a bad deal for Canadians.” In comments from the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Donald Trump accused Canada of taking advantage of the U.S. “for many years.” "We have a very strong position, and we are the ones that people want to come in and take advantage of,“ he said. Politico

More People Taking Facebook Breaks And Deleting The App From Their Phones
The Facebook exodus among young people is real, and disenchantment with the leading social media platform is extending to older users, too. According to new data from Pew Research Center that sampled US Facebook users aged 18 and up, 4 in 10 (42 percent) of those surveyed have taken a break from the social network for “several weeks or more” in the last year; a quarter of respondents said they’ve deleted the mobile app entirely from their smartphones. Pew’s survey was conducted between May 29th and June 11th, so the burnout and frustrations stemming from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal were still fresh in the minds of users. Verge

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On The Hunt For The Betrayer, A 'Volcanic' Trump Lashes Out
President Donald Trump, forced to contend with the possibility that a senior member of his administration, along with others, may be trying to undermine his authority, erupted in private on Wednesday, according to multiple aides and allies familiar with his thinking. They described his mood as “volcanic.” An anonymous opinion article published in The New York Times earlier in the day, which the newspaper said was written by a senior administration official, asserted that a handful of appointees, serving at the highest levels of the Trump administration, consider the president to be “amoral,” and on the precipice of dangerous decisions that could put the country at risk. The president publicly described the article as "gutless" as his press secretary berated the author as a "coward" who, she suggested, should resign. NBC
VOA VIEW: The liberal media likes to use additives.

Giuliani Says Trump's Lawyers Have Already Sent Back A Reponse To Special Counsel
Rudy Giuliani said President Donald Trump's lawyers have already responded to special counsel Robert Mueller's latest proposal to interview Trump, and suggested they could soon be coming to an agreement on writing some responses for investigators. Giuliani, one of the President's attorneys, confirmed to Chris Cuomo Wednesday on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" that the special counsel's response last week allowed for written responses regarding questions of possible collusion.
"We came back to them with a few changes, but not material changes. We are now awaiting their response," Giuliani said. "I'm hopeful that maybe we're gonna get a yes, in which case we can probably move forward with written questions and see if that doesn't satisfy them and satisfy us." CNN

Mueller Will Accept Trump's Written Response As First Step
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller will accept written answers from President Donald Trump on whether his campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, but Mueller is not ruling out a follow-up interview on that issue, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Mueller’s offer to accept written responses from Trump on questions about possible collusion was contained in a letter that Trump’s lawyers received on Friday, the person said. The letter was first reported by the New York Times. Trump’s legal team and Mueller’s investigators have been negotiating for months over whether Trump will be formally interviewed in the probe. After receiving the written responses, Mueller’s investigators would decide on a next step, which could include an interview with Trump, the person said. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Trump should not open the door to any questions from Mueller.

Donald Trump Denies Discussing Assassination Of Syria's Assad
US President Donald Trump has denied assertions by prominent journalist Bob Woodward in his new book that he ordered the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr Trump said the idea was "never even discussed" with defence officials. Defence Secretary James Mattis has also denied words attributed to him in Woodward's book. The book Fear: Trump in the White House depicts a chaotic administration in a "nervous breakdown of executive power". Mr Trump has already condemned the new work as a "con on the public". In the book, senior aides are quoted as saying they hid sensitive documents to prevent Mr Trump signing them and as calling him an "idiot" and a "liar".  Woodward is a widely respected, veteran journalist who helped expose President Richard Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. BBC
VOA VIEW: Woodward has been a lying opportunist.

The Watergate Scandal Of 1972- How Bob Woodward And Carl Bernstein Were Involved
The Watergate scandal refers to a break in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington and the subsequent chain of events that led to the spectacular resignation of President Richard Nixon. The scandal began early in the morning of June 17, 1972, when several burglars were arrested in the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington, DC. The arrests were made at around 2.30am after the group were caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents, and it was later revealed that they were all connected to President Nixon’s re-election campaign. One of the men was identified as James McCord Jr – the security chief of the Committee to Re-elect the President and it wasn’t his first time in the opposition’s offices. The suspects were found with a series of items, including lock picks, $100 bills with the serial numbers in sequence and a shortwave receiver that could pick up police calls. Nixon took aggressive steps to cover up the crime, with White House press secretary Ron Ziegler describing the incident as a "third-rate burglary." Sun UK

In Quick Reversal, Trump Threatens Shutdown Over Border Wall
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to shut down the U.S. government if Congress does not provide enough funding for border security, reversing a stance he took a day earlier. Trump made his comments at a meeting with congressional Republican leaders at the White House about the legislative agenda for the next few months, including extending government funding past a Sept. 30 deadline. He said Congress was making “tremendous progress” on funding, but that he wanted to make good on a promise to fund border security. Trump has repeatedly threatened not to sign funding legislation if Congress fails to include enough money for a wall on the border with Mexico. Trump reiterated that threat on Wednesday. Responding to a reporter’s question about a possible shutdown, he said: “If it happens, it happens. If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything. We have to protect our borders.” Reuters

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