McConnell: The private sector needs to stop acting like a ‘woke parallel govt.’

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., addresses the media at a COVID vaccination site at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., addresses the media at a COVID vaccination site at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:48 PM PT – Monday, April 5, 2021

Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia will reportedly cause the tourism industry to lose out on $100 million.

The Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau said the rescheduled game will negatively impact both the county and state, further slowing economic recovery efforts in the region.

This comes as the league decided to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the state’s passage of a new voting law, which imposes identification requirements for voters. Critics have said the legislation will suppress minority voters while proponents of the law argue the bill will promote election integrity.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took aim at corporate America for bending to the will of leftist ideals. In a statement Monday, he warned there would be “serious consequences” if the private sector doesn’t stop acting like a “woke parallel government.”

His comments came after the MLB made the decision to move the game based over the states new voter laws. Several other companies have also caved to the left by issuing negatives about election integrity laws nationwide.

McConnell noted, Americans don’t want big businesses to “amplify disinformation” or “react to every manufactured controversy.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested the MLB commissioner is being a hypocrite for moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia and keeping his membership with Georgia’s most prestigious golf club. He sent a letter to Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday, asking if he would terminate his membership with Augusta National. This is an exclusive members-only club and annual host of The Masters.

Rubio and other Republicans alike are calling it a political stunt that “reeks of hypocrisy.”

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Iran rejects U.S. talks, pushes Biden to lift sanctions

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:57 AM PT – Monday, April 5, 2021

As U.S. officials head to Vienna to engage in talks with Iran, it appears one topic is already off limits.

In a statement Sunday, Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said there will be no direct or indirect talks with the U.S. on the country’s nuclear program throughout the week. The Iranian diplomat reiterated Joe Biden has to lift all sanctions on Iran and pay compensation before any talks could begin.

“We are negotiating with the Joint Commission, meaning the 4+1 countries, we will relay to them our demand and condition for returning to the nuclear deal,” Araghchi stated. “Our demand is that America must first resume complying with its entire commitments.”

Last Friday, both countries agreed to send delegates to Vienna to discuss possible solutions to mutual tensions with U.S. officials saying they believed the focus of the discussion would be the JCPOA and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

This combined photo released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, shows Iranian diplomats attending a virtual talk on nuclear deal with representatives of world powers, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 2, 2021. The chair of the group including the European Union, China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran said that the participants "emphasized their commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation," according to a statement after their virtual meeting, referring to the acronym for the accord — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Abbas Araghchi, center, heads the Iranian diplomats. (Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)

This combined photo released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, shows Iranian diplomats attending a virtual talk on nuclear deal with representatives of world powers, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 2, 2021. (Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)

“This is just the first step…its going to be a difficult path because of how much time has gone by and how much mutual distrust there is, but our goal is to discuss indirectly with our European and other partners who will discuss with Iran to see whether we could define those steps that both sides are gonna have to take,” explained Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran. “If were serious about coming back into compliance with the deal.”

However, Iran’s pull-back appears to demand a full U.S. capitulation and has reignited claims of the nation meddled in the 2020 election to get Democrats in office so that Trump-era sanctions, which have crippled their economy, could be lifted.

The talks are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

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Rep. Issa: Border Patrol Officers Retiring Over Migrant Situation

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Rep. Issa: Border Patrol Officers Retiring Over Migrant Situation darrell issa speaks in hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 05 April 2021 09:38 AM

There is "already" a mass exodus of Customs and Border Patrol officers who are retiring or seeking other government work because of the spiraling situation at the nation's southern border and President Joe Biden's policies, Rep. Darrell Issa said Monday.

"What we are seeing is that anyone who can retire is retiring," the California Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "Many are applying for other federal jobs. It's a demoralizing time and it's only going to get worse."

His comments come as more Americans disapprove than approve of how Biden is handling the immigration situation with thousands of unaccompanied migrant children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border and larger immigration efforts, according to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

The survey found that 40% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of children reaching the border alone, compared with just 24% who approve. Thirty-five percent don't have an opinion either way.

Meanwhile, migrants are being sent to aging military bases across the country, and that is adding to the stresses being felt by agents from the Border Patrol and with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Issa.

"Every time they find these remote facilities, that's more people within the system, the most challenged systems," said Issa. Border Patrol and ICE find themselves basically guarding people that shouldn't be in the country. They certainly shouldn't be sitting on old retired World War II military base re-purposed to hold these people. Not since the Haitian boat lift have we seen this kind of volume of people being placed on military bases."

In late March, the Pentagon approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to temporarily place unaccompanied migrant children at two Texas military bases, according to a CNN report. Children were to stay in a vacant dormitory at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and temporary housing was to be built on an empty plot of land.

The Pentagon is also reviewing a request to house migrant children at Camp Roberts in California, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said last week.

"We do have the request in the building. We are analyzing it as we have the others," Kirby told reporters during a news briefing at the Pentagon.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services, who submitted the request for support to the DoD, conducted a site visit of the National Guard base in central California to determine whether it could be used as another location to temporarily house migrant children.

The Paso Robles Daily News reports that the California Department of Health and Human Services is sisting Camp Roberts with housing children ages 4 to 18 years old for four to six weeks. The initial request was for 1,500 beds but it could go higher, according to the news report.

The Biden administration has reportedly asked government employees to volunteer to go to the border to help with the influx of migrants, and Issa said that for some of what's going on, trained people aren't needed.

"It doesn't take a trained border patrol agent to basically say come on, get in the bus, and let's move you into America, and that's what's beginning to happen," said Issa. "The border patrol, with a rare exception of some high-value targets and a few recognized drug people for the most part they are, asked to be part of a welcome mat. There is no question at all."

He also said that the use of military bases like Camp Roberts ad the further use of federal troops will also "continue to spin out," as there will probably be more than 200,000 "so-called refugees in the way migrants coming north.

"Caravans that are absolutely forming to come north are going to dwarf anything that we have seen before," he warned.

Original Article

AP-NORC Poll: Border Woes Hurt Biden Approval on Immigration

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AP-NORC Poll: Border Woes Hurt Biden Approval on Immigration AP-NORC Poll: Border Woes Hurt Biden Approval on Immigration Central American migrants walk through Houston's airport during a transfer on March 30 after their release from a U.S. government holding facility in McAllen, Texas. (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

WILL WEISSERT and HANNAH FINGERHUT Monday, 05 April 2021 08:06 AM

More Americans disapprove than approve of how President Joe Biden is handling waves of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, and approval of his efforts on larger immigration policy falls short of other top issues — suggesting it could be a weak point for the new administration.

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also shows that solving the problem of young people at the border is among Americans' highest immigration priorities: 59% say providing safe treatment of unaccompanied children when they are apprehended should be a high priority, and 65% say the same about reuniting families separated at the border.

Former President Donald Trump built his presidency around tough policies that expanded and fortified border walls, made it harder for people fleeing drug violence and other desperate circumstances in Mexico and Central America to seek U.S. asylum, and separated immigrant families.

Biden has tried to seize political momentum on the issue by promising a more humane and orderly system, but his administration has struggled to cope with rising numbers of migrants coming to the border, especially unaccompanied children.

Overall, 40% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of children reaching the nation's southern border without their parents, compared with just 24% who approve. Thirty-five percent don't have an opinion either way.

“I don’t know how to politically correctly say this: I do feel that, because there’s this new administration, that people feel that they can come to the country,” said Mindy Kiehl, a 40-year-old real estate agent in Erie, Pennsylvania, who otherwise approves of Biden's handling of the presidency so far.

“I get it. They’re seeking refuge," Kiehl added. "But bringing these children, it’s not good for the children, it’s not good for the families. I don’t know how that’s going to solve the problem.”

Biden said at a recent news conference that “we’re sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming.” But his struggles on the issue go beyond unaccompanied minors.

Just 42% of Americans say they approve of how the president is handling immigration in general, and a similar share, 44%, say they approve of how he’s handling border security. Both are significantly lower than the 61% of Americans who say they approve of how Biden is handling his job overall and fall short of the president's rating on some other issues, including his response to the coronavirus pandemic and managing of the economy.

That gap comes despite the White House endorsing the most ambitious overhaul of the nation's immigration system in a generation on Biden's first day in office. It has stalled in Congress, though, and Republicans and even some top Democrats say passage will be difficult.

The plan would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, but the poll shows doing so isn't high on the public's priority list. Only 29% of Americans overall, including 42% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans, called legal status for people in the country illegally a high priority.

Additionally, only a third of Americans each say that allowing refugees to come to the U.S. or expanding “guest worker” programs should be high priorities.

The gap between Biden’s overall approval rating and his handling of immigration crosses party lines. Seventy-four percent of Democrats and 10% of Republicans approve of Biden’s handling of immigration, compared with 96% of Democrats and 22% of Republicans who approve overall.

The difference also comes across racial and ethnic groups. Overall, 92% of Black Americans, 67% of Hispanics and 52% of white Americans say they approve of how Biden is handling his job. On immigration, 74% of Black Americans but only 50% of Hispanics and 34% of white Americans say they approve.

Jack Henes, a retiree in Sebastian, Florida, said Biden hasn’t handled immigration as well as some other hot-button issues while calling what's happening on the U.S. southern border an “administrative nightmare.”

While awaiting the larger legislative package, the Democrat-controlled House has passed smaller-scale reforms that face uncertain futures in a Senate split 50-50. Biden also has used executive actions to attempt to roll back many Trump administration immigration policies but has been criticized for failing to do enough fast enough.

Others feel he's already gone too far.

“My concern is that President Biden has allowed the world to feel it's OK to just come on in,” said Matthew Behrs, a Trump supporter in Wisconsin.

The poll shows many Americans rank some of the major goals of the Democrat proposal as moderate priorities instead of high ones, suggesting Biden lacks a clear mandate for how best to proceed on the issue, potentially hurting his leverage with Congress.

And many want to see efforts to step up enforcement be part of the conversation: For 53%, increasing security at the border is a high priority. Some 47% of Americans also say the federal government should make strengthening policies to prevent immigrants from overstaying their visas a high priority.

Fewer, roughly a third, say penalizing companies that hire immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be high priorities.

The poll also finds Americans are more likely to favor than oppose providing a way for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay legally, 53% to 24%, with 22% saying they are neither in favor nor opposed. Still, just 41% call extending legal protections to so-called Dreamers a high priority. A plan approved by the House but awaiting Senate action seeks to do just that.

Biden has now assigned Vice President Kamala Harris to work with Central American countries to try to address the root causes of illegal immigration. Henes, the retiree, suggested that Biden has given the problem to Harris as a way of buying himself some time — but that it hasn’t helped.

“They’re still in the huddle,” Henes said. “They’re not ready to call a play.”

The AP-NORC poll of 1,166 adults was conducted March 26-29 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Original Article

Trump Puts Off Presidential Library

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Trump Puts Off Presidential Library donald trump stands onstage under spotlight Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mark Niquette and Jennifer Jacobs Monday, 05 April 2021 07:11 AM

Donald Trump is spending his first months as an ex-president trying to ensure that he’s remembered the way he wants — but he’s holding off on plans to establish a library that would enshrine his version of his presidency.

Planning for a library would suggest he’s done being president and that’s not something he’s ready to concede, say people familiar with his thinking. Trump has publicly dangled the possibility that he will seek the Republican nomination in 2024.

“Once he says, ‘I am going to be raising money for my library,’ he’s given up even the pretense of trying to run again,” said Anthony Clark, who has written about the politics and history of presidential libraries.

By delaying a library, Trump puts aside, at least for now, a chance to shape the story of his presidency — as Richard Nixon initially did at his museum by describing the Watergate scandal as a Democrat coup attempt, or as George W. Bush did with a theater that allows participants to vote on the options that he faced such as whether to invade Iraq but ends with a video of Bush explaining his decision.

All presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt have pursued a presidential library as a way to archive and house their records for researchers as well as to burnish their legacies. Bill Clinton joked at Bush’s library opening in 2013 that it was the “latest, grandest example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history.”

Before Barack Obama, presidents created nonprofit foundations to raise money from private donors to build libraries and museums that they then donated or leased to the federal government to staff and operate using taxpayer funds. The foundations pay for and create the exhibits, with the National Archives helping to develop the content.

Obama is having his private foundation build and administer his presidential center while allowing the National Archives to handle his records. Nixon initially did that as well with the library he opened in 1990 at his birthplace of Yorba Linda, California, before it was turned over to the government to run in 2007.

Clark said he doubts that Trump will ever have a presidential library because of how expensive and complicated they are to build, how difficult it is to secure a location, and because he didn’t start raising money and planning before leaving office as other presidents did.

Obama started his library foundation in 2014 for an expected $500 million presidential center in Chicago, his adopted hometown, but groundbreaking isn’t expected until this year because of delays from federal reviews and litigation.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes a library with his records, a museum, the Bush policy institute, and the offices of Bush’s foundation, opened on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas — former first lady Laura Bush’s alma mater — in 2013 after finalists for the site were announced in 2005.

The National Archives has already set up a Trump Presidential Library website with information about the former president and first lady Melania Trump, and holds the records of the Trump administration, which will start to become available in 2026 — though Trump can restrict access for 12 years.

While Trump may want the imprimatur of a library run by the federal government, he’d likely follow Obama’s and Nixon’s early model of having the National Archives handle records separately from a museum that he can fully control, said Timothy Naftali, who served as the first director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum after it became part of the federal system and created a new, nonpartisan Watergate gallery.

If Trump built a private library or tourist attraction for his supporters, that would allow him to depict his presidency the way he wants, Naftali said.

“His museum will have the same spirit as the private Nixon library’s museum,” said Naftali, now a presidential scholar and a clinical associate professor at New York University. “His tweets could be used as the banners for various galleries in the museum. It’ll be a center of Trumpism.”

With the delay, Trump is not only letting others write the history of his presidency, he’s giving up one opportunity to deploy his wildly successful fund-raising skills. Trump and his affiliated committees have raised more than $2.3 billion since he began his presidential campaign in 2015.

He told supporters before he left office in January that he wanted to raise $2 billion for a presidential library, according to The Washington Post, which would be the most ever. The most likely vehicle would be a nonprofit charity, the model used by modern presidents, because donations are tax deductible and the entity doesn’t have to pay tax on the money it raises, said Paul Seamus Ryan of the government-accountability group Common Cause.

He could legally accept money in unlimited amounts from sources including foreign countries, and disclosure of the donors’ identities isn’t required except by registered lobbyists who give $200 or more.

Yet such a charity requires that expenditures are used for the public good and not for private benefit of individuals.

Still, a former Nixon library official says that shouldn’t stop Trump from raising money for it.

“Donald Trump proved in 2020 that he had no problems raising money, and he now has four years, if he wants to, to just dangle that prospect of a return to power in front of potential donors,” said Paul Musgrave, a former special assistant to the director at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

Original Article

Corporations Gave Over $50M to Voting Restriction Backers

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Corporations Gave Over $50M to Voting Restriction Backers at&t store sign (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)

BRIAN SLODYSKO Monday, 05 April 2021 06:39 AM

While executives from Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines got the spotlight for speaking out against Georgia's new voting law as unduly restrictive last week, leaders of many of the nation's most prominent companies are backing such moves with campaign contributions.

State legislators across the country who have pushed for new voting restrictions have reaped more than $50 million in corporate donations in recent years, according to a new report by Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group.

Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris, United Health, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors, and Pfizer.

The money may not have been given with voting laws in mind, but it nonetheless helped cement Republican control in statehouses where many of the measures are now moving forward.

Whether companies continue to give to these lawmakers will test how far risk-adverse corporate leaders are willing to go in their increasingly forceful criticism of the restrictive efforts, which voting rights groups have excoriated as an attack on democracy.

"It really is corporate America, as a whole, that is funding these politicians," said Mike Tanglis, one of the authors of the report. "It seems many are trying to hide under a rock and hope that this issue passes."

More than 120 companies detailed in the report previously said they would rethink their donations to members of Congress who objected to the certification of President Joe Biden's win following the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The tension is most evident now in Georgia, where a far-reaching new voting law has drawn an intense national scrutiny, prompting the criticism from Delta and Coca-Cola. On Friday, MLB announced it would no longer host the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Yet it's unclear whether this aggressive new posture will extend to corporate campaign donation practices. And early indicators show there is risk.

Georgia's Republican-controlled House voted to strip Delta of a tax break worth tens of millions of dollars annually for their criticism of the new law, though the action was rendered moot after the GOP Senate failed to take it up before the legislative session adjourned.

What is certain, though, is that withholding corporate donations to state-level candidates, like many companies did at the federal level, would have a far greater impact in statehouses.

"A contribution of $5,000 to a U.S. senator who is raising $30 million is a drop in a bucket. But in some of these state races, a few thousand dollars can buy a lot of ad time," said Tanglis.

Public Citizen analyzed about 245 voting restriction bills proposed before March 1. They culled a list of sponsors and cosponsors, while also analyzing vote roll calls. Then they cross-referenced the data with state-level donation records dating back to 2015, which included money from company-sponsored political action committees, as well as direct contributions from corporate treasuries.

Among their findings:

—Companies donated at least $50 million to lawmakers who supported voting restrictions, including $22 million in the 2020 campaign cycle.

—At least 81 Fortune 100 companies have given a combined total of $7.7 million to supporters of the restrictions.

—Nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies donated a combined total of $12.8 million to supporters of the restrictions.

—About three-quarters of the companies that changed their donation policies after the U.S. Capitol attack have also given to lawmakers who supported voting rights restrictions.

—More than 60 companies have given at least $100,000 to lawmakers who supported the restrictions.

—Separately, industry groups and trade associations contributed an additional $36 million to the lawmakers, $16 million of which was given during the 2020 cycle.

In response, AT&T said "the right to vote is sacred" but declined to say whether the company would withhold donations to state lawmakers as they did for members of Congress who objected to Biden's win.

"We understand that election laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise and ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. But, as a company, we have a responsibility to engage," AT&T CEO John Stankey said in a statement.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement, "We strongly oppose the passage of any legislation or the adoption of any measure that would make it harder" to vote. But he stopped short of pledging any specific action.

Comcast said in a statement that "efforts to limit or impede access to this vital constitutional right for any citizen are not consistent with our values." The company would not comment on whether it would evaluate its giving to lawmakers who support the measures.

Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, said in a statement that "every eligible voter should be able to exercise their right to vote" and pledged to monitor lawmakers' "alignment with our political contribution guiding principles when making future contribution decisions."

Other companies listed in the report declined to comment, or did not respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

Pressure has been particularly intense in Georgia, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed a sweeping new law that bans people from handing out food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the Republican-controlled State Election Board to remove and replace county election officials, among many other provisions.

Two of the top corporate contribution recipients detailed in Public Citizen's report were among the sponsors of the measure.

Since 2015, Republican state Sen. Jeff Mullis has collected more than $869,000 in donation from corporate PACs. Among his top corporate donors were AT&T ($15,900) and United Health Group ($12,900), according to the report. Mullis is chairman of the Georgia Senate’s Rules Committee, which plays a key role in determining which bills make it to the floor for a vote.

Republican state Sen. Butch Miller, another sponsor of the bill, has received at least $729,000 in corporate donations since 2015. Among his top corporate givers are United Health Group ($15,700) and AT&T ($13,600), the report states.

Miller and Mullis did not respond to requests for comment.

Original Article

Journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Harrowing Home Invasion Story

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Journalist Glenn Greenwald's Harrowing Home Invasion Story glenn greenwald speaks in court US journalist Glenn Greenwald, founder and editor of The Intercept website gestures during a hearing at the Lower House's Human Rights Commission in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 25, 2019. (EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jim Thomas | Monday, 05 April 2021 06:03 AM

Reading like a script from a thriller crime drama, journalist Glenn Greenwald shared a true-to-life story about what it was like to have his own home invaded by a group of 5 men at gunpoint.

He was inspired by a similar story he was working on involving an Oakland, California family who were also the victims of a home invasion, where that family was tied up, beaten, and threatened with death, mediaite.com reported.

His story begins at an isolated house on a farm near Rio de Janeiro that his family has been renting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thinking ahead, he had hired an off duty local cop to provide security for him and his family. During the invasion, he was unfortunately in the farmhouse, but luckily his family was in Rio.

Suddenly on March 5 around 9:30 p.m., Greenwald’s dogs signaled something was wrong by loudly and frantically barking. Curious as to what all the fuss was about, Greenwald ventured outside to discover, "three men wearing full black face masks descending on me, all pointing guns at me."

The men then shoved their way into the house as two others held the security guard at bay with guns drawn. The intruders demanded cash; "they did not believe that there wasn’t much in the house, which drove them to a considerable amount of anger," he wrote.

"They repeatedly threatened to shoot the security in the head, repeatedly kicked him so hard that they cracked several of his ribs, ordered me to open my mouth and stuck a gun in it as they demanded to know where the rest of the money was, smashed my phone and tablet against a wall when they could not figure out how to erase the hard-drive, and just generally tried to create a climate of extreme fear," according to Greenwald.

The invaders bound his and the security guard’s arms and legs with cords, and then escaped in the Greenwald’s car after an hour of ransacking the home, Greenwald said.

All they got away with was "a couple hundred dollars, some kitchen appliances, and clothes for ourselves and our kids." Greenwald added.

Greenwald opined that the invaders were not professional criminals rather they were more the desperate kind. Following the invasion, they went on to commit "at least three other armed invasions of stores in the area using the car they stole from us."

Fortuitously, police spotted the car — registered to Greenwald’s husband, a member of Congress in Brazil — on security cameras, and soon uncovered the identity of the criminals.

Stanford Holds Off Arizona 54-53 to Win Women’s NCAA Title

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Stanford Holds Off Arizona 54-53 to Win Women's NCAA Title players smile as the pose with the championship trophy

Stanford players celebrate with the trophy after the championship game against Arizona in the women's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday. (AP/Morry Gash)

DOUG FEINBERG Sunday, 04 April 2021 08:52 PM

Tara VanDerveer hugged each of her Stanford players as they climbed the ladder to cut down a piece of the net.

It took 29 years, but VanDerveer and the Cardinal are NCAA women's basketball champions again.

Haley Jones scored 17 points and Stanford beat Arizona 54-53, giving the Cardinal and their Hall of Fame coach their first national championship in 29 years on Sunday night.

“Getting through all the things we got through, we’re excited to win the COVID championship," VanDerveer said. ”The other one was not quite as close, the last one. But we’re really excited. No one knows the score, no one knows who scored, it’s a national championship and I’m really excited to represent Stanford. It’s a great team. We did not play a great game today, however. But if we can win, not playing as well as we need to, I’m excited."

It wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch with both teams struggling to score and missing easy layups and shots, but Stanford did just enough to pull off the win.

Stanford (31-2) built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter before Arizona (21-6) cut it to 51-50 on star guard Aari McDonald's 3-pointer.

After a timeout, Jones answered with a three-point play with 2:24 left. That would be Stanford's last basket of the game. McDonald got the Wildcats with 54-53 with 36.6 seconds left converting three of four free throws.

“I just owe it all to my teammates, they have confidence in me when I don’t have confidence in myself,” said Jones, who was honored as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. “I saw they needed me to come up big and I did.”

The Cardinal, after another timeout couldn't even get a shot off, giving Arizona one last chance with 6.1 seconds left, but McDonald's contested shot from the top of the key at the buzzer bounced off the rim.

“I got denied hard. I tried to turn the corner, they sent three at me. I took a tough, contested shot and it didn’t fall,” said McDonald, who fell near midcourt, slumped in disbelief while the Cardinal celebrated.

It's been quite a journey for VanDerveer and the Cardinal this season. The team was forced on the road for nearly 10 weeks because of the coronavirus, spending 86 days in hotels during this nomadic season.

The team didn’t complain and went about their business and now have another NCAA championship. Along the way the Hall of Fame coach earned her 1,099th career victory to pass Pat Summitt for the most all time in women’s basketball history.

Now the 67-year-old coach has a third national title to go along with the ones she won in 1990 and 1992. That moved her into a tie with Baylor's Kim Mulkey for third most all time behind Geno Auriemma and Summitt.

VanDerveer had many great teams between titles, including the ones led by Candice Wiggins and the Ogwumike sisters — Nneka and Chiney, but the Cardinal just couldn't end their season with that elusive win in the title game until Sunday night.

It was the first women’s basketball championship for the Pac-12 since VanDerveer and Stanford won the title in 1992. The last time a team from the conference was in the title game was 2010 when the Cardinal lost to UConn. That game was also played in the Alamodome — the site of every game in this tournament from the Sweet 16 through Sunday’s championship game.

The entire NCAA Tournament was played in the San Antonio area because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Stanford had history on its side, Arizona has been building under coach Adia Barnes, who was the fourth Black woman to lead her team to the championship game, joining Carolyn Peck, Dawn Staley and C. Vivian Stringer. Peck and Staley won titles.

Barnes starred for the Wildcats as a player in the late 90s and came back to her alma mater five years ago. She guided the team to the WNIT title in 2019 and led them to their first NCAA title game ever. This was the team's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2005 — although the Wildcats would have made the NCAAs last season had it not been canceled by the coronavirus.

The Wildcats started the season No. 7 in the poll and moved up to as high as sixth — the best ranking ever in school history —for a few weeks.

McDonald, who followed her coach from Washington as a transfer, has been a huge reason for the team's success. The 5-foot-6 guard, who is lightning quick, is one of the rare two-way players in the game who can make an impact on both ends of the court.

She struggled against the Cardinal, finishing with 22 points while going 5-for-20 from the field.

McDonald got the Wildcats on the board hitting a 3-pointer, but then Stanford scored the next 12 points. The Cardinal led 16-8 after one quarter.

Arizona got going in the second quarter and took a 21-20 lead before Stanford scored 11 straight points, highlighted by Lexie Hull's four-point play. The Cardinal led 31-24 at the half. McDonald missed nine of her 11 shots in the first half.

The Wildcats were trying to be only the fourth team to trail by double digits and win a championship.

These teams met twice during the regular season and Stanford rolled past Arizona both times, winning by double digits in each game.

TIP-INS:

Sunday night’s game was the first with two teams from west of the Mississippi playing for a title since 1986. … Notre Dame had the biggest comeback of any team in the NCAA title game rallying from 15 down to win the 2018 title on a last-second shot by Arike Ogunbowale.

STRUGGLING AGAINST STANFORD

Barnes has beaten VanDerveer just twice in her career as both a player and coach at Arizona. She lost seven of eight playing for the Wildcats in the late 90s. The lone victory came in her senior year on a last-second shot off a pass from Barnes to teammate Reshea Bristol, who hit a 20-footer for the win in 1998. As a coach she had lost 10 of the 11 previous matchups before Sunday with the only victory coming in overtime on Feb. 28, 2020.

Barrasso Says Easiest Way To Get Into US Is ‘Illegally’

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Barrasso Says Easiest Way To Get Into US Is 'Illegally' john barrasso stands in front of flags and speaks Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., speaks in 2020 in Washington, DC. (Nicholas Kamm-Pool/Getty Images)

Sunday, 04 April 2021 02:00 PM

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., on Sunday decried the lack of enforcement and crucial checks at the southern border for migrants — and their quick release into the United States.

In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Barrasso, who was part of a group of lawmakers who visited the border region, declared “the easiest way to get into the United States today is to do it illegally.”

“You don't have to show proof of anything and they will allow you into the country. That's the Biden policy,” he lamented.

Barrasso offered the example of a midnight patrol the lawmakers were allowed to witness.

“They will tell you their job got a lot harder when Joe Biden became president,” he said of Border Patrol agents. “Only one in three of them is on the ground trying to enforce the laws because two-thirds of them are involved in either providing day care or escorts to the migrants who are being shown by signs on the ground where to go to turn themselves in.”

“The Border Patrol talked to the transition team from the Biden administration before they came into office,” he continued. “They said, if you eliminate this program that worked that [former] President [Donald] Trump put in place, the Remain in Mexico program, we are going to have a massive humanitarian crisis at the border. The Biden administration ignored them and that's what we have now — highest numbers of all times coming into the country illegally.

“No identification, carrying who knows how many diseases, but certainly high percentage with coronavirus that they are then taking all across the country.”

He added that what he witnessed was “the highest in history” of unaccompanied minors.

“They have crammed in like sardines and this is what the Biden administration is trying to hide from the American public which is why we took video and the Biden administration tried to stop us," he said. "You put so many people in captivity in this sort of way and 10% are testing positive for coronavirus, Joe Biden is turning into this super spreader of coronavirus in our country.”

Original Article

Ex-NYPD Commish Ray Kelly: Mayor de Blasio ‘Has Destroyed’ NYC

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Ex-NYPD Commish Ray Kelly: Mayor de Blasio 'Has Destroyed' NYC bill de blasio stands at a bank of microphones and speaks New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference with Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Sunday, 04 April 2021 12:59 PM

New York City remains "closed down" with no end in sight, and former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Mayor Bill de Blasio has "destroyed" the city.

"Unfortunately, I don't see it coming back anytime soon," Kelly, the father of Newsmax TV host Greg Kelly, told "The Cats Roundtable" on WABC 770 AM-N.Y. "I love New York. I've lived here my whole life, was born here, going to die here, but it's not the place it was 10 years ago.

"Compare the end of the Bloomberg administration, a little less than 8 years ago, with the end of the de Blasio administration. It's the difference between night and day. This man has destroyed the city. This will be his legacy."

Most alarming for the longtime top cop and potential future mayoral candidate is the recent outlawing of qualified immunity for police officers in New York City, Kelly told host John Catsimatidis.

"Isn't it incredible, John, that these politicians think that their constituents are more concerned about hamstringing the police than in protecting them?" Kelly said. "They may be right. The world has turned upside down.

"This elimination of qualified immunity is just another example of politicians throwing obstacles in the path of police officers so they can't do their jobs. It's clear that they want cops to do literally nothing."

Qualified immunity had protected New York City police officers from civil lawsuits, but now criminals can sue police for alleged wrongdoing that will get tied up in courts and lead to cops "stepping back" from enforcing the laws and protecting the community, Kelly said.

"Police officers, they're not going to jeopardize the well-being of their family, their own well-being," he continued. "They will step back; they have stepped back

"If you look at crime reduction in New York City, it’s a very bleak picture. There's no light at the end of the tunnel."

Supporting police is so difficult politically now, Kelly said, noting none of the city's mayoral candidates have talked about being tough on crime, which used to be a platform selling point.

"The mayoral candidates so far are not talking about any sort of crime reduction," Kelly said. "It's all about monitoring, restricting the police. I just don't get it. I've been around a long time.

"You can remember the days when politicians would say, 'I'm tougher on crime than my opponent.' Now, you don't hear any of that."

Equally concerning to Kelly is the lack of talk about mental health issues in society leading to dangerous crime in New York City.

"That terrible attack on the Asian woman on Monday — it kind of made you sick," Kelly said of the women beaten outside of an apartment building in broad daylight. "I think it's indicative of a much deeper problem: the huge number of people who need mental health assistance on the streets of our city, roaming free. These are the people pushing subway riders onto the tracks. They are the ones who are creating assaults.

"We need something done. As far as I can see, there's nobody even talking about this issue."

Concern of the lack of safety in the city is only increasing, despite the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns making it a relative "ghost town," Kelly concluded.

"The Zoom phenomenon is upon us: People can stay home, people are staying home and doing work and getting paid for it," Kelly said. "Those businesses, mom and pop stores, if they even exist anymore, those restaurants are not going to come back unless you have pedestrian traffic. Look on the streets of Manhattan. You don't see anybody. 'It's a ghost town.

"I'm unfortunately pessimistic about the future of New York."

Original Article

Stephen Moore: Biden Spending on ‘Outrageous Boondoggles’

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Stephen Moore: Biden Spending on 'Outrageous Boondoggles' stephen moore sits on the stage and speaks with a cpac sign behind him. Economist Stephen Moore speaks at CPAC 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Sunday, 04 April 2021 12:02 PM

President Joe Biden's massive spending programs are beyond what the former President Barack Obama administration pushed, or even what Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proposed, Trump economist Stephen Moore warned.

"You're going to see so many outrageous boondoggles where they are giving away all of this money to these [green] companies, a lot of them are going to go bankrupt," Sunday's "The Cats Roundtable" WABC 770 AM-N.Y. "I am very nervous about this.

"The American people have to rise up and say this is not the way we run our country. We pay our bills. We don't massively increase our debt. We don't put our financial system in jeopardy.

Among the spending packages were the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was called coronavirus relief, but only a fraction of it went to actual pandemic response, and a lot of the money was deferred over a long period of time, making its urgency a moot point, Republicans argued.

Moore told host John Catsimatidis the $2 trillion infrastructure plan is similarly misrepresented as infrastructure, and it is "bridge too far."

"We are in the midst of one of the largest federal power grabs in the history of the country," Moore lamented. "This week, President Biden announced this massive $2 trillion so-called infrastructure bill that's really the Green New Deal.

"They're doing another $2 trillion spending deal on top of that, which will be announced in the next couple of weeks, which will be more money for daycare and education and all these things. This is now $6 trillion of spending that has been recommended by Biden.

"I am very nervous about the impact that this will have on our financial system. It is an amazing amount of new power that we are giving to the people in Washington. It tramples on a lot of the states. And I think this is not going to be a stimulus for the economy."

Ultimately, all this spending will put the U.S. in the dangerous position of being "an incredible debtor to the rest of the world," because it is a "lie" that Biden can pay for these programs by merely taxing the top 1%, Moore said.

"People who voted for Biden tell me they don't understand what's going on in Washington," Moore continued. "They don't understand where the money is going to come from. The idea that we are going to pay for all of this just taxing the top 1% is a lie.

"I think everybody knows you're not going to get trillions and trillions of dollars out of the top 1%. They're going to have to come after the middle class."

But "a revolt is brewing," Moore said.

"America is waking up to the fact that Biden has moved to the left of Bernie Sanders," he said. "I don't know who he's listening to, but this idea that we can bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy to fight climate change and to massively increase the welfare state is very dangerous."

It will eventually wind up in voters' hands to "stop this train from going over the cliff," Moore conclude.

"I think people have started to shift their opinion," he said. "They thought that Biden would be a moderate, centrist Democrat. He's getting a lot of bad advice in the White House. Let's turn him around so we don't bankrupt our great country."

Original Article

Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline

Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline Downtown Nashville Explosion Knocks Communications Offline (AP)

KIMBERLEE KRUESI and THALIA BEATY Friday, 25 December 2020 05:39 PM

A recreational vehicle parked in the deserted streets of downtown Nashville exploded early Christmas morning, causing widespread communications outages that took down police emergency systems and grounded holiday travel at the city's airport. Authorities said they believe the blast was intentional.

Police were responding to a report of shots fired Friday when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad. The RV exploded shortly afterward, Drake said at a midday news conference. Police did not immediately indicate a possible motive or the target.

“It looks like a bomb went off on Second Avenue,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said after touring the site. Cooper issued a state of emergency and a curfew for the area.

Police did not immediately indicate a possible motive or the target.

Surveillance video published on a Twitter account Friday that appeared to be across the street from the blast captured the warning issuing from the RV, “… if you can hear this message, evacuate now,” seconds before the explosion.

The blast sent black smoke and flames billowing from the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene, an area packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops. Buildings shook and windows shattered streets away from the explosion near a building owned by AT&T that lies one block from the company's office tower, a landmark in downtown.

“We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was the intention,” police spokesman Don Aaron said. Aaron said earlier that some people were taken to the department’s central precinct for questioning but declined to give details.

AT&T said the affected building is the central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it. The blast interrupted service, but the company declined to say how widespread outages were.

“Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service,” AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said in an emailed statement.

The AT&T outages site showed service issues in middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including Bowling Green about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Nashville. Several police agencies reported that their 911 systems were down because of the outage, including Murfreesboro and Knox County, home to Knoxville about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Nashville.

The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted flights out of Nashville International Airport because of telecommunications issues associated with the explosion.

Three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment after the blast, although none were in critical condition, Aaron said. Cooper said the city was lucky that the number of injuries was limited. Authorities don’t know whether anyone was in the vehicle when it exploded.

Human remains were found in the vicinity, two law enforcement officials told the The Associated Press. It was unclear how the remains were related to the explosion or whether they might belong to the person believed to be responsible or a victim. The officials could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, agency spokesman Joel Siskovic said. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene. The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes, such as explosives violations and acts of terrorism.

A Philadelphia man staying in a nearby hotel said that when he heard the blast, he was knew it wasn’t harmless.

“We tried to rationalize it that it was an earthquake or something, but it was obvious it wasn’t an earthquake," Joseph Fafara said. He said he traveled to Tennessee with his family on Christmas because the state has looser COVID-19 restrictions than Philadelphia.

When he went to look at the damage, police barricades had already been put in place. At noon, police dogs continued to search cars and buildings in the nearby area.

Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background along with cries of people in distress. A fire is visible in the street outside.

McCoy said he heard gunfire 15 minutes before the explosion rocked his building, set cars in the street on fire and blew trees apart.

“All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said.

“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he told The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump has been briefed, according to White House spokesperson Judd Deere. The U.S. Justice Department said Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen was also briefed and directed all department resources be made available to help with the investigation.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said on Twitter that the state would provide the resources necessary “to determine what happened and who was responsible.”

The American Red Cross of Tennessee announced that it was working with officials to open a shelter for victims.

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity

Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity anthony fauci speaks at press conference Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 01:26 PM

Dr. Anthony Fauci admits he has been slowly increasing his estimates on what the U.S. would need to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

According to The New York Times, many epidemiologists have been estimating since the start of the pandemic that it would take 60% to 70% of the population to acquire resistance to the coronavirus in order for the disease to fade away.

And the Times noted Fauci, the most prominent U.S. infectious disease expert, tended to agree during the pandemic’s early days. But about a month ago he raised the estimate to ''70, 75%.'' In a Dec. 16 interview with CNBC he said: ''75, 80, 85%'' and ''75 to 80-plus percent.''

Fauci concedes he has been deliberately moving the goal posts, partly based on new science and his gut feeling the U.S. is finally ready to hear what he really believes.

He said it may take close to 90% immunity to stop the virus.

Now that some polls show that many more Americans are ready for vaccines, Fauci said he felt he could deliver the message that a return to normal might take longer than first believed, the Times noted.

''When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85.''

A Gallup poll last month showed that 58% of Americans are now willing to get the vaccine. The number is up from a low of 50% in September.