As Will Riley watched students stage this year’s walkouts for gun control, he grew frustrated with the message that his generation was somehow united against the Second Amendment. “I’m seeing people saying, ‘We need to do something, we’ve got to enact some kind of legislation because this is for the kids.’ Well, I’m also the kids, and I don’t like that,” Mr. Riley told the Washington Times. “And there are other people like me. The other kids haven’t spoken yet.” The 18-year-old senior from Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, New Mexico, decided to do something about it by launching Stand for the Second, a May 2 school walkout designed to give a voice to “the other kids,” namely those who support the Second Amendment. “We’re getting generalized. Our generation’s being defined,” said Mr. Riley, whose website is StandfortheSecond.com. “And I think we have an obligation to define ourselves.” Stand for the Second comes as the first national student walkout aimed at supporting gun rights in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which touched off a wave of campus gun-control activism. Mr. Riley is encouraging students to stage 16-minute walkouts on campus after coordinating with local police and working with school administrators to make sure the protests don’t conflict with testing. So far, walkouts are being planned by students in about 300 schools from 42 states, based on the online map operated by Tea Party Patriots, which is helping Mr. Riley with organization.
Israeli defense officials have told their American and Russian counterparts that if Iranian-backed forces attack Israel from inside Syria, Jerusalem will not hold back from retaliating with direct strikes against Tehran or other targets in Iran. The officials delivered the message ahead of a national security statement expected Monday from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to Iranian threats to hit Israel after recent strikes on Tehran-backed assets in Syria, according to a report by Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. The developments come amid growing concern in Washington that Israel and Iran are on the verge of a clash that could spill dangerously beyond Syria, where there were reports Monday that missile strikes had killed more than two-dozen mostly Iranian forces supporting the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. While no outside power claimed responsibility for the strikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were likely carried out by Israel. “Given the nature of the target, it is likely to have been an Israeli strike,” Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based monitoring organization, told Agence France-Presse. But the news agency reported that Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told a radio broadcast Monday that he was “not aware” of the missile strikes. However, Mr. Katz also asserted that “all the violence and instability in Syria is the result of Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence there. Israel will not allow the opening of a northern front in Syria.” Mr. Netanyahu, meanwhile, is expected to make a statement after an emergency security cabinet meeting in Israel on Monday. Haaretz cited unnamed officials as saying Israel, which enjoys robust support from Washington, is prepared to attack Iran broadly, both on Iranian soil, but also in Syria. The main target, the paper reported, would be bases where Iranian forces have been located since the Syrian civil war began — bases that serve as conduits to transfer weapons and gear up for further Iranian establishment in Syria. Israel has been sporadically bombing Hezbollah positions in Syria for the past three years. But the tensions between Jerusalem and Tehran reached new heights in February after what Israeli officials claimed was an Iranian armed stealth drone was intercepted and downed over Israel. An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was in turn shot down by anti-aircraft fire from inside Syria during an apparent retaliatory airstrike claimed by Iranian sources. Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement — Tehran’s most potent military proxy in the region — are seen to be emboldened by their success in working with Russian forces during recent years to uphold the Assad government in Syria while Washington has backed opposition forces against it. At the same time, Israel is seen to be growing more and more wary of being attacked by missiles not just from Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon but also from inside Syria.
This story is developing…
Compensation for American workers rose at the fastest annual pace since the third quarter of 2008, the Department of Labor said Friday. The employment cost index, which measures wages and benefits for civilian workers, rose 2.7 percent over the past year, according to the Labor Department. In the first three months of the year the index rose 0.8 percent, a strong showing. In the last quarter of 2017, the index rose 0.6 percent. The rising compensation figures indicate that low unemployment might be starting to give workers increasing bargaining power. When employers need new workers and unemployment is low, they are forced to offer better wages, benefits, and working conditions to lure workers out of their current positions. Alternatively, employers can petition the government to allow in more foreign workers to allow them to keep employment costs low. Private sector wages drove the increase, indicating that businesses were willing to pay more for workers. Private sector wages and salaries increased 2.9 percent in the January through March period, compared with an annual increase of 2.8 percent in the October through December period. Seventy percent of total compensation is in the form of wages and salaries. These rose 0.9 percent from the prior quarter, up from 0.5 percent.
It started with Kanye and ended with Kim, featuring Emmanuel and Angela in between: this week showed President Trump upending expectations and confounding his critics on an epic scale. But perhaps the most revealing thing about it all was not what it said about the president but instead the light that it shined on the army of elitists arrayed against him – in politics, the media and the foreign policy establishment. There’s something truly instructive about their reactions to the developments of the past few days. When rapper Kayne West expressed his support for the young black conservative activist Candace Owens, and then went all the way in his apostasy by declaring his love for – horror of horrors – President Trump, you could practically hear leftist heads exploding all over America. How could this be? West is black. He’s cool. He’s popular. So leftists believe West must hate President Trump, because they believe the president is a racist. First the left lost their minds – but then they lost their credibility. How? By redirecting their hatred of Donald Trump to hatred of … a black man. Because now that he’s backing President Trump, Kanye West is not really, you know, an authentic member of the black community anymore in the eyes of the Trump-haters. Don’t you see – the thing that defines him now is that he’s rich. And so it’s all OK for the left to hate President Trump and Kanye West! Which begs the question: What about all the other rich celebrities who support Democrats and hate President Trump? Is their wealth and cultural cachet acceptable, because it’s deployed against the president instead of in support of him? These constantly shifting poses reveal the truth about the Trump-denying elite: for them it’s not about any kind of substantive intellectual argument. It is pure, personal hatred. You saw the same thing played out in the context of the twin visits of President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. All the way through the 2016 election campaign and ever since his inauguration, President Trump’s critics have slammed the way he talks about and conducts foreign policy. The critics complain because they say the president doesn’t read his briefings and doesn’t speak in diplomatic language. They say he changes his position all the time. They think he is an amateur and a fool who shouldn’t be let loose on the world stage. And they expect him to cause a disaster. One of the key charges the president’s opponents make is the claim that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about on the Iran nuclear deal. Doesn’t he realize that it took years of painstaking negotiation by the world’s top foreign policy experts? And there he goes, bumbling around, slamming it as the worst deal ever, promising to rip it up. He doesn’t have a clue, the critics say. The Europeans will educate him, don’t worry. Well – look what happened this week. Suddenly, you saw first President Macron and then Chancellor Merkel coming around to Donald Trump’s position, agreeing that the Iran deal can’t stand as it is. Perhaps President Trump’s trade strategy – a tough stance against the European Union’s protectionism – might have helped. But the foreign policy establishment, of course, can’t possibly countenance such a possibility. Any deviation from their elitist orthodoxy is beyond the realm of reasonable opinion. When the elites saw the strong relationship that has developed between President Trump and his new best friend Emmanuel, they lost their minds. This didn’t make sense. Isn’t Trump an ignorant incompetent who makes America a laughing stock on the world stage? And then as the strong relationships turn to tangible progress, the anti-Trump crowd loses all credibility by churlishly denying or minimizing it. And nothing illustrates that pattern better than the elites’ reaction to the really big Kim development this week – of the Jong Un, rather than the Kardashian variety. Over the past few months, as President Trump has been moving forward his negotiating plan for North Korea – best summarized in the classic phrase “peace through strength” – the elites lost their minds. President Trump’s words spoken against Kim exploded on Twitter and in the media: “Fire and fury.” “Little Rocket Man.” “I’ve got a bigger button that works.” At every point, the geniuses in the establishment – whose Korea strategy, let’s remember, actually helped create the crisis of a nuclear-armed North Korea in the first place – warned us that the president’s actions were recklessly bringing us to the brink of nuclear war. And now that we see the Trump strategy making progress? Well – the critics have lost all credibility as they minimize and dismiss developments that they would hail as a historic breakthrough if engineered by anyone but President Trump. The truth, revealed this week, is that the elite have shown themselves to be totally superficial. Their hatred of Donald Trump is not based on policy, or real-world results, or anything at all of substance. Otherwise they would acknowledge and welcome the good news on the diplomatic front – and indeed the economic front back home. No – it’s clear that the elite’s hatred of Trump is based on style, not substance. Forget about what the president actually does. They just can’t stand the way Donald Trump is: the way he looks, the way he talks – even what he eats. In a nutshell, they’re snobs. And that’s why they have no credibility.
Exactly!!! And well said, Steve. Former advisor to British PM David Cameron, Steve Hilton, is the author of that outstanding piece. Excellent!! 🙂
Texas’ voter ID law that was twice blocked over findings of discrimination can stay in effect for the 2018 elections, a U.S. appeals court ruled Friday. It was the second major ruling over voting rights in the U.S. this week after an Arkansas judge on Thursday blocked that state’s voter ID measure as unconstitutional. But in a 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the Texas law that critics have slammed as one of the toughest voter ID measures in the nation was seen as a suitable replacement for the original 2011 law that a federal judge had likened to a “poll tax” on minority voters. The biggest change to the Texas law — which accepts handgun licenses as sufficient identification to vote, but not college student IDs — is that voters without any acceptable photo ID can still cast a ballot so long as they sign an affidavit. Opponents and a federal judge in Texas balked at the revisions, saying criminal penalties tied to lying on the affidavit could have a chilling effect on voters. U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones said the lower court went too far. “The district court relied too heavily on evidence of Texas’s state-sponsored discrimination from a bygone era,” Jones wrote in her majority opinion. The revisions to Texas’ law were also supported by the U.S. Justice Department — a move that amounted to a complete reversal for the federal government, which under former President Barack Obama had joined minority rights groups in suing over the law. But two months after Donald Trump took office, the Justice Department abandoned the argument that Texas passed voter ID rules with discrimination in mind and said the changes should satisfy the courts. Opponents bristled at the ruling but didn’t immediately indicate their next step.
T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. agreed on Sunday to merge in an all-stock transaction, following on-again, off-again talks to combine the two companies. Deutsche Telekom, which owns a majority stake in T-Mobile, will control 42% of the new company. SoftBank Group, which is the majority shareholder in Sprint, will control 27% of the company. The remaining 31% will be held by the public. Based on Friday’s closing stock prices, T-Mobile has a market value of $55 billion, while Sprint’s market value is $26 billion. The new company will be named T-Mobile, with current CEO John Legere remaining in charge, and will be headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, while a second headquarters will be located in Overland Park, Kansas – the current headquarters of Sprint. By combining, T-Mobile will become the nation’s third-largest mobile carrier service, following Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which rank first and second, respectively. “This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own,” Legere said in a statement. “As industry lines blur and we enter the 5G era, consumers and businesses need a company with the disruptive culture and capabilities to force positive change on their behalf.” The merger will create more new jobs than T-Mobile and Sprint would separately, the two companies said in a press release, adding that the new company plans to invest $40 billion in its new network and business in the first three years – 46% more than both spent combined in the past three years. One of the major goals the new company hopes to accomplish is creating a strong 5G wireless network across America. Development of the technology – which would have significant economic benefits – is underway, with 5G networks expected to launch worldwide around 2020. Currently, China is ahead of both South Korea and the U.S. in overall 5G readiness. The highly-anticipated, more powerful wireless network is expected to provide significant economic benefits to the leader, something America experienced as the forerunner in the 4G race. By investing $275 billion into building 5G network infrastructure, three million jobs will be created and $500 billion added to the U.S. economy, according to data from CTIA, a trade group representing the wireless communications industry in the U.S. Still, the mega-merger will need to be approved by U.S. regulators, which has not been easy under President Donald Trump, whose administration sued to block the proposed $85 billion deal between AT&T and Time Warner last year. If it does receive regulatory approval, the new company will have more than 120 subscribers.
Nearly two out of three American voters say they support President Trump’s plan to reduce overall legal immigration levels in the United States, whereby currently more than 1.5 million legal immigrants arrive annually. In a new poll by Harvard-Harris polling, about 66 percent of voters — or nearly two out of three — said they support a plan by the Trump administration to almost cut legal immigration in half by ending the process known as “chain migration,” as well as the Diversity Visa Lottery, and building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The deal would couple the wage-boosting relief for American citizens with allowing only illegal aliens enrolled in the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stay in the U.S. There are nearly 800,000 DACA illegal aliens. Since 2005, chain migration has allowed 9.3 million foreign nationals to resettle in the U.S. for no other reason than they had extended family members already living in the country. This huge inflow outpaces two years of American births, which amount to roughly four million babies every year. Even after discounting normal immigration, the number of chain migration arrivals at the nation’s airports during five years exceeds the number of babies born during each year. In percentage terms, foreigners deliver one in five, or 20 percent, of all new arrivals at the nation’s airports and maternity wards every year. Likewise, the Visa Lottery program has imported about 30,000 foreign nationals to the U.S. from Iran, Syria, and Sudan, all countries which fund terrorism, as recognized by the State Department. Under the Visa Lottery program, championed by former Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the U.S. randomly gives out 50,000 visas every year to foreign nationals from a multitude of countries, including those with known terrorism problems – such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Yemen, and Uzbekistan. Winners have undergone only minor screening from immigration officials, even when their ideology is hostile to Americans laws and culture. The immigration reducing plan is also very popular with swing-voters. Sixty-five percent said they supported cutting legal immigration levels in exchange for allowing DACA-enrolled illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. Last month, a similar Harvard-Harris poll found that reducing overall immigration levels to the U.S. is more important to Republican voters in the upcoming midterm elections than tax cuts, destroying the Islamic State (ISIS), and even repealing Obamacare. Trump has pushed for the reduction in legal immigration to stem decades of wage stagnation from the Washington, D.C.-imposed economic model of cheap labor that has benefited corporations and the wealthy the most. Meanwhile, mass immigration through chain migration — whereby the U.S. admits more than one million illegal and legal immigrants every year — has come at the expense of America’s working and middle class, which has suffered from poor job growth, stagnant wages, and increased public costs to offset the importation of millions of low-skilled foreign nationals. In his own administration, Trump has had to endure pushback on the immigration reduction plan from allies of the Republican establishment. Figures like Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and House Speaker Paul Ryan have failed to push Trump’s popular immigration agenda, instead securing a tax reform agenda that is much less influential with voters. Opponents of ending chain migration not only include the establishment media, but also the billionaire GOP mega-donors the Koch brothers, the Democratic Party, the Republican establishment, the Bush dynasty, the big business lobby, and the open borders lobby.
The head of the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command said Wednesday that Air Force gunships, needed to provide close air support for American commandos and U.S.-backed rebel fighters in Syria, were being “jammed” by “adversaries.” Calling the electronic warfare environment in Syria “the most aggressive” on earth, Army Gen. Tony Thomas told an intelligence conference in Tampa that adversaries “are testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our AC-130s, etc.” Thomas’ remarks, which were first reported by the website The Drive, come on the heels of reports that Russian forces are jamming U.S. surveillance drones flying over the war-torn nation. An Air Force AC-130 gunship was among the U.S. military aircraft used to kill dozens of Russian mercenaries in Syria in early February. The Pentagon said the mercenaries attacked an outpost manned by American commandos and U.S.-backed fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprising Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters. Wednesday was not the first time General Thomas has been so forthcoming about Syria in a public setting. Last summer, speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum hosted by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Thomas said he had told Kurdish-led fighters battling the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria that they needed to change their “brand” from YPG — a group Turkey considers a terrorist organization — to something else. Thomas called it “a stroke of brilliance” for the Kurdish fighters to add “democracy” to their name. Today, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is the U.S. military’s best ally in the fight against ISIS in Syria, helping to take back 90 percent of territory formerly held by ISIS. It consists of well over 50,000 Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters. There are currently about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria.
Chance the Rapper chimed in on social media Wednesday amid fellow artist Kanye West’s Twitter rant, during which the latter shared praise for his “brother” President Trump. “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” Chance tweeted, seemingly referring to West’s tweets. And a follow-up tweet later on read, “Next President gon be independent. The reaction came after West talked politics during the tweetstorm that began Tuesday and carried into Wednesday. “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him,” West first tweeted. “We are both dragon energy,” he continued. “He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” He also shared a photo of a “Make America Great Again” hat, which appeared to be signed by the president. The president took to Twitter to thank the rapper for the praise, adding “very cool!”
Kanye isn’t exactly a role model.. But, we’ll give the man credit for taking this stand, which isn’t very popular in the rap community.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that an ongoing probe into President Trump “needs to conclude” in order to let him focus on North Korea, the U.S.-Mexico border and other world negotiations. Mr. Sessions also said he expects the Justice Department inspector general to finish his investigation into the department’s and FBI’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election in a “few weeks,” saying that will provide more information for decisions on whether there was wrongdoing. Testifying to the House on Thursday, Mr. Sessions was pressed by a lawmaker who said he saw a “double standard” in comparing the ongoing special counsel probe into Mr. Trump, while Mr. Sessions has declined to name a second special counsel to review the way the department and the FBI handled Mrs. Clinton. “At the very root of this, I think my constituents are frustrated, are angry, they see a double standard historically. They want justice,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Republican, ticking off a number of red flags he said deserved the heightened powers a special counsel should look at. Mr. Sessions said he didn’t want to appoint special counsels “willy-nilly” but said his department is taking deliberate steps. He’s named a U.S. attorney to oversee an investigation and coordinate with the inspector general whose probe has been ongoing for months. He also said they’re sharing an unprecedented amount of information with GOP-led congressional committees who are probing the same matters. “If there’s wrongdoing we’re going to take action about it,” he said. He said he knows the president is “concerned” about the ongoing special counsel investigation into figures surrounding Mr. Trump, and Mr. Sessions said it needs to end so the president can deal with the job of running the executive branch. “He’s dealing with France and North Korea and Syria and taxes and regulations and border and crime every day,” Mr. Sessions said. “This thing needs to conclude. So I understand his frustrations and I understand the American people’s frustrations.”