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Border patrol agent Sergio Ramirez apprehends immigrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the U.S., near McAllen
FILE PHOTO: Border patrol agent Sergio Ramirez apprehends immigrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the U.S. in the Rio Grande Valley sector, near McAllen, Texas, U.S., April 2, 2018. Picture taken April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

May 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Mexico was “doing virtually nothing to stop illegal immigrants from coming to our southern border” and that he would soon give a response.

“Mexico’s attitude is that people from other countries, including Mexico, should have the right to flow into the U.S. & that U.S. taxpayers should be responsible for the tremendous costs associated w/this illegal migration. Mexico is wrong and I will soon be giving a response!” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump, who is pushing ahead with building a wall along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border after failing to make Mexico pay for a barrier as he had promised during his 2016 election campaign, did not elaborate on his planned response.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet, and whether he was referring to a request from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for an agreement on development aid with the United States and other nations to address the flood of Central American migrants.

Lopez Obrador said on Monday that Trump had made a commitment for U.S. investment in Central America and Mexico and had shown interest in his ideas, but that the next step was to sign an agreement.

Trump last month threatened to put tariffs on cars coming from Mexico into the United States if Mexico did not help Washington deal with the immigration and drug situation along the border.

The U.S. government has said border officers apprehended nearly 99,000 people crossing the southern border into the country in April, the highest figure since 2007, as Trump administration officials decry what they call a humanitarian and security crisis.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by David Alexander and Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

The mainstream media and leftists are still freaking out over the Mueller report’s vindication of President Trump.

Despite the probe’s central finding that Trump’s campaign never “coordinated or conspired” with Russia, Dems are calling for congressional testimony, resignations, and impeachment proceedings.

Guests Dr. Nick Begich and constitutional attorney Robert Barnes join the show today and a special guest gives us updates on the patriot group helping secure the southern border.

Source: The War Room

Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose
Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

May 6, 2019

By Munsif Vengattil and Paresh Dave

HYDERABAD, India/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Over the past year, a team of as many as 260 contract workers in Hyderabad, India has ploughed through millions of Facebook Inc photos, status updates and other content posted since 2014.

The workers categorize items according to five “dimensions,” as Facebook calls them.

These include the subject of the post – is it food, for example, or a selfie or an animal? What is the occasion – an everyday activity or major life event? And what is the author’s intention – to plan an event, to inspire, to make a joke?

The work is aimed at understanding how the types of things users post on its services are changing, Facebook said. That can help the company develop new features, potentially increasing usage and ad revenue.

Details of the effort were provided by multiple employees at outsourcing firm Wipro Ltd over several months. The workers spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation by the Indian firm. Facebook later confirmed many details of the project. Wipro declined to comment and referred all questions to Facebook.

The Wipro work is among about 200 content labeling projects that Facebook has at any time, employing thousands of people globally, company officials told Reuters. Many projects are aimed at “training” the software that determines what appears in users’ news feeds and powers the artificial intelligence underlying many other features.

The labeling efforts have not previously been reported.

“It’s a core part of what you need,” said Nipun Mathur, the director of product management for AI at Facebook. “I don’t see the need going away.”

The content labeling program could raise new privacy issues for Facebook, according to legal experts consulted by Reuters. The company is facing regulatory investigations worldwide over an unrelated set of alleged privacy abuses involving the sharing of user data with business partners.

The Wipro workers said they gain a window into lives as they view a vacation photo or a post memorializing a deceased family member. Facebook acknowledged that some posts, including screenshots and those with comments, may include user names.

The company said its legal and privacy teams must sign off on all labeling efforts, adding that it recently introduced an auditing system “to ensure that privacy expectations are being followed and parameters in place are working as expected.”

But one former Facebook privacy manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed unease about users’ posts being scrutinized without their explicit permission. The European Union’s year-old General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has strict rules about how companies gather and use personal data and in many cases requires specific consent.

“One of the key pieces of GDPR is purpose limitation,” said John Kennedy, a partner at law firm Wiggin and Dana who has worked on outsourcing, privacy and AI.

If the purpose is looking at posts to improve the precision of services, that should be stated explicitly, Kennedy said. Using an outside vendor for the work could also require consent, he said.

It remains unclear exactly how GDPR will be interpreted and whether regulators and consumers would see Facebook’s internal labeling practices as problematic. Europe’s top data privacy official declined to comment on possible concerns.

A Facebook spokeswoman said: “We make it clear in our data policy that we use the information people provide to Facebook to improve their experience and that we might work with service providers to help in this process.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat and leading critic of social media, told Reuters in a statement that large platforms increasingly are “taking more and more data from users, for wider and more far-reaching uses, without any corresponding compensation to the user.”

Warner said he is drafting legislation that would require Facebook to “disclose the value of users’ data, and tell users exactly how their data is being monetized.”

THE PROJECT

Human-powered content labeling, also referred to as “data annotation,” is a growth industry as companies seek to harness data for AI training and other purposes.

Self-driving car companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo have labelers identify traffic lights and pedestrians in videos to fortify their AI. Voice assistant developers including Amazon.com Inc have people annotate customer audio to improve AI’s ability to decipher speech.

Facebook launched the Wipro project in April last year. The Indian firm received a $4 million contract and formed a team of about 260 labelers, according to the workers. Last year, the work consisted of analyzing posts from the prior five years.

After completing that, the team in December was cut to about 30 and shifted to labeling each month posts from the prior month. Work is expected to last through at least the end of 2019, they said.

Facebook confirmed the staffing changes but declined to comment on financial details.

The company said its analysis is ongoing so it could not provide any findings from the labeling or resulting product decisions. It has not told labelers the purpose or results of the project, and the workers said all they have inferred from their limited view is that selfies are increasingly popular.

The Wipro labelers and Facebook said the posts are a random sampling of text-based status updates, shared links, event posts, Stories feature uploads, videos and photos, including user-posted screenshots of chats on Facebook’s various messaging apps. The posts come from Facebook and Instagram users globally, in languages including English, Hindi and Arabic.

Each item goes to two labelers to check accuracy, and a third if they disagree, Facebook said. Workers said they see on average 700 items per day. Facebook said the target average is lower.

Facebook confirmed labelers in Timisoara, Romania and Manila, the Philippines are involved in the same project.

Among Facebook’s other labeling projects, one worker in Hyderabad for outsourcing vendor Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp said he and at least 500 colleagues look for sensitive topics or profane language in Facebook videos.

The aim is to train an automated Facebook tool that enables advertisers to avoid sponsoring videos that are, for example, adult or political, Facebook said. Cognizant did not respond to a request for comment.

Another application of labeling involved the social network’s Marketplace shopping feature, where it automated category recommendations for new listings by first having labelers and product experts categorize some existing listings, Facebook’s Mathur said.

PRIVATE POSTS

Facebook users are not offered the chance to opt out of their data being labeled.

At Wipro, the posts being examined include not only public posts but also those that are shared privately to a limited set of a user’s friends. That ensures the sample reflects the range of activity on Facebook and Instagram, said Karen Courington, director of product support operations at Facebook.

Facebook’s data policy does not explicitly mention manual analysis.

“We provide information and content to vendors and service providers who support our business, such as by providing technical infrastructure services, analyzing how our products are used, providing customer service, facilitating payments or conducting surveys,” the policy states.

Europe’s GDPR also requires companies delete user data upon request. Facebook said it has technology to routinely sync labeled posts with both deletion requests and changes to content privacy settings.

Facebook and other companies are testing techniques to curtail the need for outsourced labeling, in part to analyze more data faster and cheaper. For instance, AI training data for news feed rankings and photo descriptions for the blind came from hashtags on Instagram posts, Facebook’s Mathur said.

“We try to minimize the amount of things we send out,” he said.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Hyderabad and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt; Editing by Patrick Graham, Jonathan Weber and Edwina Gibbs)

Source: OANN

Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai
Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai, China July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

May 21, 2019

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump says China pays the tariffs he has imposed on $250 billion of Chinese exports to the United States.

But that is not how tariffs work. China’s government and companies in China do not pay tariffs directly. Tariffs are a tax on imports. They are paid by U.S.-registered firms to U.S. customs for the goods they import into the United States.

Importers often pass the costs of tariffs on to customers – manufacturers and consumers in the United States – by raising their prices.

U.S. business executives and economists say U.S. consumers foot much of the bill through rising prices.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has acknowledged that “both sides will suffer on this,” contradicting the president.

The tariff bill is set to rise further. Trump this month directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to launch the process of imposing tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of goods from China. That includes products ranging from cellphones to baby pacifiers.

That would mean almost all imports from China would be subject to a 25 percent import tax.

U.S. COMPANIES SEE RISING CONSUMER PRICES

A growing number of U.S. companies has warned about the negative impact of the tariffs on U.S. consumers.

Nike Inc and 172 other footwear companies have urged Trump to remove footwear from a list of imports facing a proposed extra 25% tariff, warning the move could cost consumers an additional $7 billion a year.

Walmart Inc, the world’s largest retailer, and department store chain Macy’s Inc have warned that prices for shoppers will rise due to higher tariffs on goods from China.

WHAT THE ‘TARIFF MAN’ SAYS

Trump, who has called himself the “Tariff Man,” has often repeated that China pays for U.S. tariffs on its goods.

“We have billions of dollars coming into our Treasury — billions — from China. We never had 10 cents coming into our Treasury; now we have billions coming in,” he said on Jan. 24.

On May 5, he tweeted: “For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA.”

As well as imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump has also imposed a tax on global steel and aluminum imports and shipments of washing machines and solar panels.

HOW TARIFFS REALLY WORK

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects the tax on imports. The agency typically requires importers to pay duties within 10 days of their shipments clearing customs.

Through May 1, Washington has assessed $23.7 billion in tariffs since early 2018, according to data from the CBP.

Total tariff revenue – including levies that pre-dated Trump – shot up by 89% in the first half of the current fiscal year starting Oct. 1, to a total of $34.7 billion, according to U.S. Treasury data.

Every item imported into the United States legally has a customs code. Importers are expected to check the tariffs and other taxes and duties due on the goods they bring in, calculate what they owe, and pay it.

U.S. Customs reviews payments and sends importers a fresh bill if it detects underpayment.

Importers also have to post payment guarantees, or import bonds, with customs. The costs of these bonds have risen with tariffs, an additional burden on U.S.-based firms importing goods from China.

DO CHINESE SUPPLIERS BEAR THE COSTS OF U.S. TARIFFS?

Chinese suppliers do shoulder some of the cost of U.S. tariffs in indirect ways. Exporters sometimes, for instance, are forced to offer U.S. importers a discount to help defray the costs of higher U.S. duties. Chinese companies might also lose business if U.S. importers find another tariff-free source of the same goods outside China.

And outside of tariffs, the Trump administration’s decision to add China’s Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, to a trade blacklist, has hit that company hard.

But U.S.-based importers are managing the higher tax burden in a number of ways that hurt U.S. companies and customers more than China.

Such strategies include accepting lower profit margins; cutting costs – including wages and jobs for U.S. workers; deferring any potential wage hikes, as well as passing on tariff costs through higher prices for U.S. consumers or companies.

Most importers use a mix of such tactics to spread the higher costs among suppliers and consumers or buyers.

HIGHER PRICES FOR TRACTORS, WASHING MACHINES

Higher duties on imports of metals and Chinese products, for example, increased Caterpillar’s production costs by more than $100 million last year. In response, the heavy-duty equipment maker increased prices for its products.

Tractor manufacturer Deere & Co estimates a $100 million increase in its raw materials costs this year because of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. Deere has cut costs and increased prices to protect its profits.

A Congressional Research Service report in February found that the tariffs boosted washing machine prices by as much as 12%, compared to January 2018, before tariffs took effect.

Steel and aluminum tariffs increased the price of steel products by nearly 9% last year, pushing up costs for steel users by $5.6 billion, according to a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

U.S. companies and consumers paid $3 billion a month in additional taxes because of tariffs on Chinese goods and on aluminum and steel from around the globe, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Princeton University, and Columbia University. Companies shouldered an additional $1.4 billion in costs related to lost efficiency in 2018, the study found.

WHAT DO COMPANIES IN CHINA PAY?

China has retaliated against U.S. tariffs by imposing its own tariffs on imports from the United States.

Most importers in China are Chinese. So in the same way the U.S. government collects import taxes on Chinese goods from U.S. importers, the Chinese government takes in taxes on U.S. goods from Chinese importers.

As with tariffs in the United States, Chinese firms can seek to pass on the costs to U.S. exporters. Some U.S. interests have lost business, such as U.S. soy farmers.

Chinese buyers have cut billions of dollars of soybean purchases from the United States because China’s tariffs have made U.S. supplies more expensive than beans from competitors such as Brazil.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh and Andrea Shalal, Editing by Simon Webb, Brian Thevenot and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

Story Highlights

  • 43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country
  • 51% believe socialism would be a bad thing for the country
  • Americans split on viewing economy as free market or government controlled

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.

More Americans Now See Socialism as a Good Thing for the Country

Would some form of socialism be a good thing or a bad thing for the country as a whole?

1942 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Good thing 25 43 +18
Bad thing 40 51 +11
No opinion 34 6 -28
Net “good thing” -15 -8 +7
Note: 1942 data gathered by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
Gallup

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup’s update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

Previous Gallup research shows that Americans’ definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018.

Outlook on Socialism Around the World

The April 17-30 survey also updates another historical question on socialism. Gallup first asked Americans in 1949 about their outlook on the spread of democracy over the next 50 years. At that time, seven in 10 Americans (72%) predicted that most countries in the world would have a democratic government. It’s important to note that in much of the political rhetoric of the time, the terms democracy and capitalism were more intimately intertwined than they are today, perhaps synonymous to many.

Americans’ Views on Future of Democracy and Socialism Globally

During the next 50 years, do you think most of the nations of the world will have a democratic government, a communist government or a socialist government?

1949 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Democratic 72 57 -15
Socialist 14 29 +15
Communist 9 6 -3
No opinion 5 8 +3
GALLUP

The current update on this question finds a marked increase in the percentage saying that most countries during the next 50 years will have a socialist government (29%). It is unclear whether this is due to the flourishing of democracies — particularly in Europe and Latin America — led by what are often described as social democrats, or whether a fundamental shift is taking place among some Americans in their views of socialism.

Government vs. Free Market

In the same April survey, Gallup asked Americans whether they would prefer mostly free market or government control over several economic and societal activities. Americans are most likely to prefer free market control in the areas of technological innovation and the distribution of wealth. Majorities also want the free market to drive the economy overall, wages, higher education and healthcare.

Preference for the government to serve as the primarily responsible actor only garners majority support for protecting online consumer privacy and the environment.

Majority Want Free Market to Lead on Many Fronts

Would you prefer to have the free market or the government be primarily responsible for what happens in each of the following areas?

Free market Government Net “free market”
% % pct. pts.
Technological innovation 75 19 +56
The distribution of wealth 68 28 +40
The economy overall 62 33 +29
Wages 62 35 +27
Higher education 56 41 +15
Healthcare 53 44 +9
Protecting consumers’ privacy online 40 57 -17
Environmental protection 30 66 -36
GALLUP, April 17-30, 2019

Notably, more Americans favor free market than government control over healthcare and higher education, two areas in which Democratic politicians have made proposals to greatly expand government involvement. But at least four in 10 Americans appear sympathetic to policies that would increase the government’s role in those areas.

While there is ample support for a market-driven approach to many of the issues cited above, Americans are divided on how they describe the current state of the U.S. economy. When asked whether they think the U.S. economy leans more toward free market control or toward government control, 40% say it leans more toward government control while fewer say it leans toward free market control (34%). One in four describe it as an equal mix.

Stacked bar graph. Americans’ views of the current state of free market versus government control of the economy.

Bottom Line

Americans’ views on socialism are complex. While some recent data can easily lend to overstated conclusions, there are marked changes in Americans’ views of socialism when taking a longer, more historical look at the data. However, exactly what Americans mean by the term is nuanced and multifaceted. While half of Americans consider socialism as bad for the country, nearly two-thirds say that the U.S. economy is more influenced by the government than the free market, or that it reflects an equal mix of the two.

Additionally, while a majority of Democrats view socialism positively, that is not a major change in the eight years Gallup has tracked this metric. The major shift over this time has been the reduced rate of Democrats who now view capitalism positively (47%).

These data alone make it hard to generalize a simplistic conclusion about Americans’ opinions of, and willingness to entertain, socialism. But there are a few clear takeaways. About four in 10 Americans are accepting of some form of socialism or socialist policies, and Democrats currently have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism. In addition, the April survey found that 47% of Americans say they would vote for a socialist candidate for president. While that figure represents nearly half of the U.S. adult population, even higher percentages say they would vote for an atheist (58%) or Muslim (60%) presidential candidate.

However, when they are asked what role they would like to see the government play in certain areas of society, Americans continue to endorse the free market.

Shifting attitudes about socialism, capitalism, and the current economic and political systems in America — as well as what alternatives many see as solutions for current shortcomings — will continue to be a major focus for Gallup.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends.


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Trump #MAGA Vs Pelosi #FakeNews : Trump Is DONE Negotiating With @DNC Snakes, If You Were Trump Would You? #Impeach?! For What?!!

Trump #MAGA Vs Pelosi #FakeNews : Trump Is DONE Negotiating With @DNC Snakes, If You Were Trump Would You? #Impeach?! For What?!!

Pelosi-Trump war paralyzes government; 'American Taliban' to be released from prison

Government paralyzed: Trump calls for end to 'phony investigations' after Pelosi accuses him of engaging in a 'cover-up'
The very public rift between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday illustrated of how much the Russia ... See More collusion investigation -- and what Trump supporters would call Democrats' obsession with ousting him from the Oval Office -- have paralyzedthe government. The meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was cut short and any plans to rebuild America's infrastructure were put on hold after Pelosi accused of the president of engaging in a "cover-up." Trump, in a Rose Garden statement, said that Democrats must end their "phony investigations” before he'll negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure.

So, right now, both sides remain at a standstill. Trump and the White House insist Democrats can't accept the findings of no collusion in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and want "do-overs" with numerous congressional investigations. Democrats show no signs of easing up on their investigations and insist Trump is obstructing justice by instructing witnesses to defy subpoenas and be uncooperative.

'Catastrophic' tornado damage reported in Missouri capital
Jefferson City, the capital city of Missouri, has taken a direct hit from a tornado and suffered possibly “catastrophic” damage, according to reports. According to the National Weather Service, a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” was observed over Jefferson City at 11:43 p.m., moving northeast at 40 mph. The twister appeared to have traveled through the center part of town, the Jefferson City News-Tribune reported. "We are currently identifying the location of damages and searching for injured residents," Lt. David Williams of the city's police department said in a statement to the News-Tribune. "The primary need at this time is for those not affected to stay clear of the impacted areas so that Emergency personnel can assist those in need."

'American Taliban' to be released from prison Thursday
John Walker Lindh, the Islamic militant who became known as the infamous "American Taliban," is set to be released from a U.S. federal prison Thursday despite lawmakers' concerns. Lindh, who has been behind bars in Terre Haute, Ind., is set to be discharged several years before he would complete the 20-year prison sentence he received for joiningand supporting the Taliban. The former Islamist fighter and enemy combatant was arrested in 2001, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan, along with a group of Taliban fighters who were captured by U.S. forces.

In a letter last week to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, lawmakers expressed concerns about the "security and safety implications" of freeing an unrepentant terrorist who officials say continues to "openly call for extremist violence." They also sought details on how the agency is working to prevent prisoners such as Lindh from committing additional crimes after their release and asked which other "terrorist offenders" are next in line to be freed.

Avenatti's legal troubles continue to mount
Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday charged embattled attorney Michael Avenatti with defrauding adult-film star Stormy Daniels, the client who propelled Avenatti into the national spotlight. Avenatti, 48, faces one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted of those charges. Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) is not named in the indictment, but a federal law enforcement official confirmed to Fox News that she is the client prosecutors claimed Avenatti defrauded.

Avenatti rocketed to fame representing Daniels when she sued to be released from a non-disclosure agreement involving an alleged tryst with President Trump in 2006. He parlayed his notoriety into numerous cable news appearances and even was floated as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.

Former staffer for Michelle Obama evades subpoena in Smollett case
Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, declined Wednesday to be served with a subpoena by a retired Illinois judge seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, according to the process server. In an email to former Illinois appellate judge Sheila O'Brien obtained by Fox News, the process server wrote that a security guard at the Chicago law firm where Tchen is a partner "called up to her and spoke with her and she said that she in [sic] never going to accept service and to not allow me up to their Law firm." The subpoena would have required Tchen to appear at a May 31 hearing on O'Brien's request for a special prosecutor and provide "any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning your conversations with [Cook CountyState's Attorney] Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett."

TODAY'S MUST-READS
Ben Carson hits back at Ilhan Omar after she knocks his performance during House hearing
Trump administration fights back against lone judges nixing policies'with the stroke of the pen.'
John Cusack defends not standing 'fast enough' for Wrigley Field military salute.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Antitrust chief undecided on T-Mobile-Sprint as White House voices support and DOJ staff looks to nix merger.
Credit, debit cards found to be 'dirtiest payment method’ versus cash, coins, study says.
Worst product failures, from Coca-Cola’s New Coke to Microsoft's Zune.

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Trump: Dem Leaders ‘Tearing the United States Apart’

President Donald Trump followed up his fiery Rose Garden speech Wednesday with a series of tweets that took aim at Democrats on Capitol Hill and their continued investigations of him and his administration.

Shortly after his hastily scheduled press conference, Trump continued to assail his political enemies on Twitter.

"So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country. They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work…." Trump wrote.

"....But they really want a do-over! You can't investigate and legislate simultaneously - it just doesn't work that way. You can't go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games…." he wrote in a follow-up.

"....In the meantime, my Administration is achieving things that have never been done before, including unleashing perhaps the Greatest Economy in our Country's history…." Trump added.

He closed by writing, "....Democrat leadership is tearing the United States apart, but I will continue to set records for the American People – and Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!"

Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said she was praying for Trump after he "took a pass" on working with Democrats for infrastructure legislation.

Source: NewsMax

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NY Legislators OK Congressional Access to Trump Tax Returns

New York state lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow President Donald Trump's state tax returns to be released to Democrats in Congress.

The legislation now goes to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo after final passage Wednesday in the Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly.

The bills don't target Trump by name but would allow the leaders of three congressional committees to access any New York returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials.

A bill that originally passed the Senate would have allowed Congress to request any state taxpayer's returns. The measure was later narrowed, prompting the Senate to vote again Wednesday.

New York Republicans have denounced the legislation as a politically motivated attack on privacy.

The proposed changes to state law were made amid a battle going on in Washington over Trump's federal returns.

Source: NewsMax

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Trump vows no more legislation while under investigation…

President Donald Trump abruptly walked out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the White House on Wednesday, telling reporters moments later that he would not negotiate on legislation with Democrats while he was still under investigation by several committees.

Wednesday's meeting was supposed to be the second official sit-down between the president and Democratic congressional leadership specifically focused on infrastructure.

"I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure' ... but we can't do it under these circumstances," Trump said at a last-minute Rose Garden event.

Trump's anger appears to have been sparked by comments Pelosi made earlier in the day when she said, "We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up" by blocking White House aides from giving testimony and responding to document requests from ongoing congressional investigations.

"I don't do cover-ups," Trump insisted Wednesday.

According to a White House official who spoke to CNBC on condition of anonymity, the meeting in the Cabinet room lasted only about seven minutes. Trump effectively said to the visiting Democrats that he wanted to do infrastructure, "'but you're focused on investigating. When you're done we can talk. Meeting over,'" Trump said, and then he left, the official said.

"I knew the president was not serious about infrastructure and would find a way out," Pelosi said to her Democratic colleagues after Trump's exit, according to a Democratic aide who spoke to NBC News.

It appeared as though Trump's abrupt walkout had been planned in advance, given that the White House had prepared a sign to adorn the presidential lectern, and handouts that were given to reporters following the Rose Garden statement.

President Donald Trump discusses Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election in the Rose Garden at the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Speaking to journalists at the Capitol shortly afterward, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there had been "high drama in the Cabinet room. We were all invited, Democratic leaders, for the follow-up meeting on infrastructure, everyone showed up, sat in their chairs, the president walked in the room and announced he was not going to go forward with the meeting, he was cancelling it."

Trump "objected to the continued investigation of obstruction of justice, he said he cooperated and gave his side of the story, as we've heard before," Durbin said, calling the outcome of the meeting, "a setback to our country's progress."

Following the president's remarks, Pelosi and Schumer held an impromptu event on Capitol Hill where Schumer said Trump's actions at the meeting "would make your jaw drop."

In late April, a similarly billed meeting proved to be an unexpected success, with both Trump and Democrats saying the two sides agreed that an infrastructure package would need to contain about $2 trillion in funding and investments.

Since then, however, there had been little additional clarity as to what the next steps forward might be, or where this money would come from.

"Let them finish up" their investigations, Trump said at the end of his remarks in the Rose Garden, "and we'll be all set."

Later in the day, Trump reiterated his position in a series of tweets, claiming, "You can't investigate and legislate simultaneously - it just doesn't work that way."

White House officials declined to say precisely which legislative efforts would be halted as long as Democrats continued their investigations, and which ones might proceed regardless of Trump's anger at the myriad probes underway into his administration. 

— CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed to this report.

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DNC Lags Far Behind RNC in Donations

The Democratic National Committee raised only $6.6 million in April, lagging well behind the Republican National Committee, which had $15.9 million in donations during the month, The Daily Caller reported Wednesday.

The numbers were even worse for the Democrats related to debt and cash on hand, with the DNC $6.2 million in debt and only with $7.6 million on hand, according to Red State.

The RNC, meanwhile, has no debt and $34.7 million cash on hand.

The situation is so dire for the DNC that while Republicans can expand their reach by offering all their candidates data for free, Democrats are charging $175,000 merely for access.

An RNC spokesman explained the significance, saying "Chairwoman [Ronna] McDaniel's fundraising allows the RNC to build the necessary infrastructure and permanent data-driven ground game to benefit Republicans up and down the ballot."

For the Democrats, the RNC spokesman said, "A cash-strapped DNC is in no position to offer their eventual nominee significant resources after they conclude their costly primary battle."

Source: NewsMax

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500 MILES BY END OF YEAR?

Trump has built less than 2 miles of new wall with $1.57 BILLION Congress handed him for this year but insists 'demolition and rebuilding' should count too

  • Letter to a federal judge from the House of Representatives' top lawyer spells out how little this year's congressional appropriation has bought
  • Trump claims he should get credit for replacing older walls that are ineffective
  • He promised Monday night that he would have 500 miles of wall built by next year, but so far it's just 1.7 miles
  • Nearly all the wall construction under contract  from the Army Corps of Engineers is for replacements where barriers already existed
  • Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday that 'close to 115 miles' have been builtbut a Fox News interviewer didn't askher if that was 'new' or 'replacement' barriers

The Trump administration has built less than 2 miles of new border barriers using the $1.57 billion Congress allocated to the project for the fiscal year that will end September 30, according to a letter filed Tuesday in federal court.

House of Representatives general counsel Douglas Letter made that revelation to Judge Haywood Gillam, citing information the administration provided to Congress about its efforts through the end of April. 

'Based on that updated information, it appears that CBP has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding,' Letter wrote. 

President Donald Trump fired back Wednesday on Twitter, defending what he said has been 'a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings.'

'Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed,' he added.

President Donald Trump played defense on Wednesday after a lawyer for Congress told a federal judge that his administration has made little progress building a border wall despite getting $1.57 billion in funding for it this year

President Donald Trump played defense on Wednesday after a lawyer for Congress told a federal judge that his administration has made little progress building a border wall despite getting $1.57 billion in funding for it this year

On Tuesday the House of Representatives' general counsel told a judge that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol 'has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing' with the $1.57 billion it received for the project in the fiscal year that ends September 30

On Tuesday the House of Representatives' general counsel told a judge that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol 'has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing' with the $1.57 billion it received for the project in the fiscal year that ends September 30

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday on TV that the administrationwill have 500 miles of wall built by year's end and would be twice as far along if Democrats were helping instead of pushing back

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Wednesday on TV that the administrationwill have 500 miles of wall built by year's end and would be twice as far along if Democrats were helping instead of pushing back

'Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!' Trump concluded.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman told DailyMail.com in March that it had not erected any walls at all to protect previously unbarricaded sections of America's southern border. 

'The first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April,' CBP spokesman Roger Maier said at the time. He identified Hidalgo County as the construction project's location, a border zone along a meandering 50-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.

CBP said last year that it was 'designing and constructing approximately 25 miles of levee wall system' in that county, whose anchor is the the border city of McAllen.

Maier did not immediately respond to a question on Wednesday about whether the Hidalgo County project has proceeded. 

CBP wrote in March, after DailyMail.com reported Maier's comments, that it had 'built 38 miles of new border wall system in CA NM & TX—providing new capability by replacing ineffective infrastructure, like Normandy-style barriers designed only to stop vehicles, not people on foot.'

Trump blasted the 'haters' who point to a lack of action at the border, claiming that he should get credit for 'demolition and rebuilding' of ineffective border barriers

Trump blasted the 'haters' who point to a lack of action at the border, claiming that he should get credit for 'demolition and rebuilding' of ineffective border barriers 

Trump said Monday night during a rally in Pennsylvania that 'the wall is being built as we speak.'

'We'll have almost 500 miles of wall by the end of next year,' he boasted, inviting an audience member on stage who was wearing a suit made of brick wall-print fabric.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders upper the ante Wednesday morning, saying the administration will hit that landmark by the end of 2019 and that Letter cited 'an incorrect number.'

'I know that there have been – there's over 100 miles, I think it's close to 115 miles that have been finished,' she said on 'Fox & Friends.' 

'We feel comfortable and confident that we're on track to get right around 500 finished by the end of the year,' Sanders insisted.

Letter's letter doesn't address the possibility that the Trump administration has used money for wall-building other than the funds Congress appropriated for this year.

The president has rediirected billions of dollars to the project through a national emergency declaration, while claiming at the same time that the project has long been underway. 

Both houses of Congress voted to rescind that declaration with a resolution that the president vetoed in March.

Nearly all of the documented border wall construction the Trump administration has engaged in so far has consisted of replacing some existing barriers and reinforcing others with secondary fencing

Nearly all of the documented border wall construction the Trump administration has engaged in so far has consisted of replacing some existing barriers and reinforcing others with secondary fencing

Customs and Border Protection says it has replaced 'dilapidated' border barriers that consisted of Normandy-style vehicle barriers like these, shown in April 2018 between Santa Teresa, New Mexico and Ciudad Mexico

Customs and Border Protection says it has replaced 'dilapidated' border barriers that consisted of Normandy-style vehicle barriers like these, shown in April 2018 between Santa Teresa, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The administration has awarded contracts for just 244 miles of barriers so far, and more than half of the money required to pay for those projects is earmarked from emergency-declaration funds that court battles have, at least temporarily, put out of reach.

Of those 244 miles' worth of contracted walls, 230 would be replacements to barriers that existed when Trump became president in January 2017.

Judge Gillam presides over two separate lawsuits aimed at stopping Trump from using emergency-declaration money to fund construction that Congress has refused to pay for. 

California and 19 other states brought one suit. Plaintiffs in the other include the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Trump has boasted in the past that '[w]e have already built large new sections' during his time in the White House. 

But border barriers erected between the U.S. and Mexico since Inauguration Day 2017 have consisted almost exclusively of supplements to existing walls and replacements for outmoded or decreipt barriers. 

Maier said in March that CBP had 'constructed approximately 38 of 40 miles of wall in place of outdated designs,' using funds Congress appropriated for fiscal 2017. 

Those replacements are up in San Diego and El Centro, California; Santa Teresa, New Mexico; and El Paso, Texas. 

'This barrier replaced dilapidated infrastructure, half of which was Normandy-style vehicle barrier,' he said.


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