NEWS     WEDNESDAY,  SEPTEMBER  12, 2018    NEWS

Woodward says Brennan endorsed dossier; spokesman denies
Then-CIA Director John Brennan endorsed the Christopher Steele dossier when he first acquired a copy in December 2016, saying it matched the Russia collusion charges from his sources, according to “Fear,” a Bob Woodward book on the Donald Trump presidency that debuted Tuesday. A spokesman for Mr. Brennan said he never approved of the dossier. In fact, the source said, he worked to make sure it wasn’t included in the intelligence community assessment of Russian election interference. “Because it wasn’t corroborated intel,” the spokesman told The Washington Times. The dossier, so reviled by President Trump as a hoax, is mostly ignored by Mr. Woodward in terms of its pervasive influence on mainstream media reporters and FBI investigators. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Brennan is a known liar and fraud.

FBI Director Christopher Wray: 'Terrorism today moves at the speed of social media'
On the anniversary of 9/11, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned that the terrorism threat has expanded with the rise of social media. Mr. Wray explained during an interview on CBS’ “This Morning” that traditional aggressors like al Qaeda and other major terrorist organizations still loom 17 years after foreign terrorists attacked America. However, he warned that the agency is “very focused” on homegrown violent extremists. He described how these threats are already embedded in the U.S., in “big cities, small towns, coast to coast,” and are mostly radicalized through online exposure. Probes into potential homegrown violent extremists accounted for about a fifth of all the terrorist organizations investigations, Mr. Wray said. The agency made 120 arrests just last year. Washintton Times

4 things to remember in the final weeks of campaign 2018
The 2018 midterm elections are exactly 56 days away. Eight weeks from today, the nation will go and vote, rendering the verdict on the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency and their relative judgments of the two parties as well. 1. A Trump referendum: History -- since the Civil War -- suggests that midterm elections are almost always a referendum on the party in power. 2. The House playing field favors Democrats: At the moment, CNN ranks 30 House races as "toss ups"; of that 30, 28 are currently held by Republicans. There are also 11 Republican-held seats that are rated as "leaning" toward Democrats -- and one GOP seat (New Jersey's 2nd) where Democrats are solid favorites. 3. The Senate playing field favors Republicans: There are 26 Democratic seats up in 2018 as compared to just nine for Republicans. Of those 26 Democratic seats, 10 are in states where President Trump won in 2016. 4. The Democratic base is more energized: There's a reason that point No. 1 is almost always true. Because the party out of power usually wants to get it back more than the party in power wants to retain it. It's human nature. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN will look very bad when their bias faulty spin of facts fail again, as it did in 2016.

Eggs sold in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee recalled over salmonella concerns
An Alabama farm has recalled its eggs after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked them to a multi-state salmonella outbreak. According to the Atlanta-based CDC, eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman, Alabama, could possibly be contaminated. On Sept. 8, the CDC said Gravel Ridge Farms recalled packages of a dozen and 2.5 dozen eggs in cardboard containers with UPC code 7-06970-38444-6. Recalled eggs have “best if used by” dates of July 25, 2018 through Oct. 3, 2018. Recalled eggs were sold in grocery stores and to restaurants in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Awareness is important.

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James Woods leads Trump fans in feud with Joe Scarborough over 9/11 tweet
Another day, another partisan scuffle on Twitter, this time involving President Donald Trump, Sept. 11 memories and Trump foe Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. The words "appalling," "disgusting," and "pathetic" were thrown about. Poop emojis made appearances. "Imbecilic hyperbolic embarrassment" was the hyperbolic assessment of one ALL-CAP tweeter. So, instead of spending Tuesday contemplating the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, the Pentagon and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, some Trump supporters spent the morning attacking Trump foes in truculent tweets. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Scarborough is an idiot.

Navy to evacuate ships from Norfolk area ahead of Hurricane Florence
All Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia are being put to sea Monday ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to U.S. Fleet Command. Hurricane Florence has reached Category 4 status, making it a large and potentially very dangerous storm. So far it's track for landfall on the east coast has been unpredictable. Nearly 30 ships are preparing to get underway from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek to avoid the heavy rains and high winds Florence is expected to bring. The fleet will be put to sea in the Atlantic Ocean and will steam for areas that are not anticipated to be affected by the storm. UPI

Between Strzok and Meadows, war of words after texts tell of FBI 'media leak strategy'
A top Republican congressman and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok's lawyer traded scathing, no-holds-barred accusations of deliberate dishonesty on Tuesday, one day after newly unearthed text messages showed Strzok discussing a "media leak strategy" with the Justice Department in April 2017. The texts were first outlined in a letter sent by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday. In one of the messages, dated April 10, Strzok tells former FBI attorney Lisa Page, "I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go." In a revised letter sent Tuesday, Meadows, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, writes that on April 22, Strzok texted that "article is out! Well done, Page." It is unclear what article Strzok was referring to, or whether it was about the Russia case. Fox
VOA VIEW: Strzok was up to no good and took down the FBI.

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Leaked Google employee's email reveals effort to boost Latino vote, surprise that some voted for Trump
A Google executive’s leaked email reveals efforts to increase Latino turnout prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the executive’s “surprise” at Donald Trump’s performance among Latino voters.  The 675-word email, first obtained exclusively by Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” was written by the tech giant’s former head of multicultural marketing and details a range of efforts to increase Latino turnout, including the support of a partner organization that helped to drive voters to the polls. “We worked very hard. Many people did. We pushed to get out the Latino vote with our features, our partners, and our voices. We kept our Googley efforts non-partisan and followed our company’s protocols for the elections strategy,” the email begins. “We emphasized our mission to give Latinos access to information so they can make an informed decision at the polls, and we feel very grateful for all the support to do this important work.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Google, Facebook and Twitter must be regulated and fined ASAP.

Trump cancels Ireland trip after groups announce planned protests
Donald Trump has cancelled a planned trip to Ireland in November that would have been his first as US president, citing scheduling issues, the Irish government said on Tuesday. The White House in August announced that Trump would travel to Ireland for the first time as president as part of a trip to attend the 11 November commemoration in Paris of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the first world war. A number of groups announced they would stage protests during the Trump visit, in which the president had been expected to visit the capital Dublin and his golf resort in the west coast village of Doonbeg. Guardian

Times' publisher defends op-ed in meeting of US news leaders
The publisher of The New York Times said Tuesday that the newspaper's decision to run an anonymous opinion piece criticizing President Donald Trump's leadership "added to the public understanding of this administration and the actions and beliefs of the people within it." Publisher A.G. Sulzberger defended running the op-ed to a gathering of U.S. news leaders in Austin, Texas. He provided no clues about the author, whom the Times identified as a senior administration official. The author professed to be a member of a "quiet resistance within the administration" that was straining to thwart Trump's "more misguided impulses." Trump fumed after the piece was published last week, saying the newspaper should turn over the author's name and calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate and unmask the person. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: The NYT shows its ignorance and bias - not good for a true newspaper.

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Australian newspaper defends its artist after a cartoon depicting Serena Williams was decried as racist
A political cartoonist and the newspaper he works for spoke out Monday in defense a drawing of Serena Williams that some people are calling racist and sexist. The cartoon ran Monday in the Herald Sun, a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid based in Melbourne, Australia. It shows Williams during her now famous meltdown while playing Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open final on Saturday. Artist Mark Knight purposely portrayed Williams in an unflattering light — stomping on her tennis racket with a baby’s pacifier on the ground nearby, as if it had popped out of her mouth. LA Times
VOA VIEW: Williams is playing all for her own bad performance and behavior.

US judge strikes down California ban on handgun ads
A U.S. judge on Tuesday struck down a nearly century-old California law that banned handgun ads at gun shops, saying the state failed to show it would prevent suicides or crime. The 1923 law banned any handgun ads at gun shops that were visible from outside the store. State officials argued the ads would spur impulsive people to buy a handgun, and impulsive people are more prone to suicide and crime. The law, however, did not restrict ads for other firearms. Judge Troy Nunley in Sacramento noted in his ruling that gun shops could display a large neon sign reading, "GUNS GUNS GUNS" or a 15-foot depiction of a sporting rifle. The judge said they could also place ads for handguns elsewhere such as on a billboard blocks away. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Good!

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Save Idlib from ‘transforming into a blood bath’
A full-scale battle for Idlib must be avoided at all costs, the United Nations Secretary-General has stressed, warning that failure to do so would unleash “a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict” so far. Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday afternoon, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the situation in Idlib is not sustainable and underscored that the presence of terrorist groups sheltering in the enclave cannot be tolerated. He called on all parties, and in particular Iran, Russia and Turkey – the three guarantors of the “de-escalation zones”, of which Idlib is the last – to “spare no effort” in protecting civilians. The UN chief also cautioned against any use of chemical weapons, warning that, beyond the immediate human toll, such use would lead to the situation “spiralling out of control.” UN

White man takes out gun to stop black students from entering apartment building
A video of a tense encounter between four black students and a white man in Florida has prompted a police investigation after it went viral on Twitter. The video, posted by one of the students of Florida A&M University, Isiah Butterfield, shows the man holding a gun and using his body to prevent the students from entering the building of a student housing complex on Saturday. The video has been viewed more than 320,000 times on Twitter. "...We are sick of the discrimination," said Butterfield in the tweet. "Never thought I’d have a personal experience with racism like this..." The incident is under investigation under Florida's statute of aggravated assault with deadly weapon without intent to kill, the Tallahassee Police Department said. ABC
VOA VIEW: The whole truth is ...

Storm response in Puerto Rico 'incredibly successful'
The administration's efforts in Puerto Rico received widespread criticism. But after visiting the island last September, Trump said that Puerto Ricans were fortunate that the storm did not yield a catastrophe akin to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. All told, about 1,800 people died in that 2005 storm. Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the U.S. territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975. The storm is also estimated to have caused $100 billion in damage. "I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about," Trump said Tuesday of the response in Puerto Rico, suggesting that it was made more difficult by the "island nature" of the storm site. Philadelphia Inquirer

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Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table
“The level of confidence is at its lowest and the human and humanitarian cost is ever rising,” said the UN’s chief Yemen negotiator, by video link from Jordan, noting that “the war has been virtually on all fronts,” and the parties “locked into a cycle of violence.” At the same time, he pointed to the Yemeni people, the war’s main victims, who yearn for a peaceful political solution to end their suffering, terminate the war and deliver a functioning government to address their basic needs. Following months of discussions with the parties after the negotiating process had been stalled for two years, he called on 2 August for formal consultations that could kickstart new peace talks. UN

It's not just CNN's poll. All polling shows Trump's approval rating dropping.
President Donald Trump's approval rating in the latest CNN poll stands at just 36%. That's a 6-point drop from 42% last month. Normally, I'd dismiss such a decline as statistical noise and want to see other polls before declaring that the President's standing among the public has diminished. Here's the thing: CNN's poll is only the latest in a series of high-quality, live-interview polling over the last two weeks to show that Trump's approval rating is down. This dip could have a major impact on the midterms if it holds. Eight high-quality polls have been completed over the two last weeks -- and every single one of them has Trump's approval falling. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN is losing its ratings and revenues.

John Jay LaValle wades into Conservatives' leadership fight
Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle, disregarding normal political protocol, has waded into the Suffolk Conservatives' leadership battle by backing insurgents who are trying to oust party chairman Frank Tinari, who is up for re-election. LaValle, in a letter on GOP stationery, said he was “gravely concerned” because the minor party since 2010 has endorsed more than 50 Democratic candidates. “They have empowered the progressive liberals by cutting backroom deals with the Democrats ... for government jobs for their friends and family members,” LaValle wrote. Tinari said in response: “I am outraged on behalf of the entire Conservative Party at this blatant attempt by a major party to bully and influence our party. In all the years that I have been engaged in politics, I have never witnessed such reprehensible behavior and it will backfire.” Newsday

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Now Russia is suspected of attacks against diplomats in Cuba. Will U.S. strike back?
Cuba is again in the middle of what could be another confrontation between the United States and Russia, after Moscow was identified in a news report as the main suspect in the string of mysterious attacks against U.S. embassy personnel and relatives in Havana. An NBC report quoting unidentified U.S. officials said federal agencies investigating the incidents have intercepted intelligence communications that point to Russian responsibility for the attacks, although the evidence is not conclusive enough to formally accuse Moscow. But if a Russian role is confirmed, “that would be unprecedented. That’s never happened,” said Frank Mora, who served as deputy secretary of defense for Latin America and now heads the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University. Miami Herald

Comedian Norm Macdonald stirs controversy with comments on #MeToo, Roseanne
Norm Macdonald, the deadpan comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" player, stoked controversy on Tuesday after the publication of an interview in which he appeared to deride the #MeToo movement and defend fellow entertainers Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr. Macdonald, whose new Netflix talk show debuts on Friday, told The Hollywood Reporter that he was happy the #MeToo reckoning with sexual misconduct seemed to have "slowed down a little bit," lamenting that prominent people accused of wrongdoing were seeing their careers cut short. NBC

Gov. Brown blasts Trump’s latest retreat from global warming as bordering ‘on criminality’
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday blasted a White House proposal that seeks to weaken regulation of the heat-trapping gas methane, saying President Trump’s failure to recognize global warming “borders on criminality.” The governor’s criticism of the president came during preliminary events of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. The conference, which officially beings Wednesday, is bringing together regional leaders from more than 100 nations to explore ways to tackle climate change. Brown, who has advanced policies on global warming during his nearly eight years in office, has served as a leading foil to Trump as the administration has sought to undo Obama-era climate regulation and abandon the nation’s international commitments on greenhouse gas reductions. SF Gate

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