Day: September 15, 2017

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Spicer: Nobody should be surprised by Trump's Dem deal-making – Spicer doesn't see Trump striking DACA deal that doesn't include border wall funding


Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that President Trump’s dealings with Democrats shouldn’t surprise anyone, adding that “Washington needs to wake up” and understand the president is looking for the “best deal.” 

Spicer, speaking with “Fox & Friends,” was responding to unrest among conservatives over Trump’s negotiations with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. 

The trio struck a deal last week for a short-term government funding package and debt-ceiling increase. And earlier this week, they began laying the groundwork for a possible deal to help so-called “Dreamers.” 

“I don’t think this is a news flash—this president is a deal maker. He got things done,” said Spicer, who is returning to the media spotlight after resigning his White House post in July. “He made very clear during the campaign that he is a CEO businessman that knew how to strike a good deal when he saw it, and he’s going to do what’s in the best interest of this country when he can get a good deal.” 

Spicer added: “If it’s going to be with Republicans, it’s going to be with Republicans. If it’s with Democrats, it’s with Democrats. If it’s with a bipartisan group of individuals, it’s going to be them—but it shouldn’t be any kind of a surprise that he’s going to make the best deal possible at every turn.”

Trump held a dinner meeting at the White House on Wednesday with Schumer and Pelosi, discussing what to do about the young illegal immigrants who had been spared from deportation from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump is reversing that executive action, but is open to legislation that achieves similar goals. 

Pelosi and Schumer called the dinner “very productive,” and said that they had “agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.” The president  stated Thursday that “no deal was made” but indicated they’re getting close. 

The president has publicly voiced concern about the fate of DACA recipients. While Trump is ending the program, he put the onus back on Congress to pass a legislative alternative.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted Thursday. “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own—brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.”

Spicer said Friday that despite the president’s willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to get a deal on immigration, his priority is getting the border wall built.

“He has a big heart. He understands the magnitude of this problem when it comes to immigration, but President Trump has made the wall a huge priority,” Spicer said. “Like it or not, I don’t see how you get a deal done that doesn’t include the wall because that’s been a major priority of this president.”

Spicer added: “He’s going to get the best deal that he can, he’s gonna negotiate, that’s what he’s always done, and I think at the end of the day his priorities are part of any deal that gets made.”

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.



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Border agents at New York's JFK airport on the front lines of America's drug war


In one of the country’s busiest airports, they spend their days scanning packages and mail to stop a flow of drugs from across the world enter the country.

As opioid overdoses continue devastating large swaths of the country, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents working at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City find themselves on the frontlines of the tragic war on drugs.

Their work is more tedious but important. They use drug-sniffing dogs, X-rays and hand-held laser detectors to examine every piece of mail that goes through the international mail facility, where 60 percent of the nation’s postage arrives. The federal agents, who gave Fox News a behind-the-scenes look at what they do, process 1 million packages a day looking for traces of illegal drugs.

TRUMP OFFICIALLY DECLARES OPIOID CRISIS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY

Their focus, right now, is on opioids.

“The No. 1 drug killing Americans is fentanyl,” said Richard Baum, acting White House drug czar said, “coming through mail in lots of small packages.”

The latest figures show more than 33,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses involving opioids in 2015, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CBP agents at JFK say day after day they find drugs hidden in unusual ways.

“We just found a package that contains GBL, which is a date rape drug,” said Frank Russo, JFK’s CBP port director, holding up a bottle of Turtle Wax. “As you can see, the package includes sponges to make us think it’s turtle wax car wash equipment.”

2 PASSENGERS ON SAME FLIGHT BUSTED WEARING COCAINE PANTS

Fetanyl, one of the deadliest opioids, arrives in large numbers in concealed packages coming primarily from Hong Kong.

Screening is a challenge. But now, with updated technology, the fight to stop fentanyl and other opioids form entering the U.S. is getting easier.

More than 100,000 pounds of narcotics are seized each year at JFK’s international mail facility, once a substance like fentanyl is identified. The suspected illegal drugs are brought to a detention room at the airport, where they are tested and sent to a lab. Once confirmed, that’s when the investigation begins.

One of the biggest legal hurdles is the lack of tracking information from international senders, which is still not a requirement.

While legislation demanding more data has been introduced, Baum and the CBP continue to work with their peers overseas to find those trying to cheat the system.

HEROIN FOUND HIDDEN IN DOG CRATE AT NEW YORK’S KENNEDY AIRPORT

 “I just think we can’t stand still,” Baum said. “The sorting problem is so huge that we need better quality data earlier.”

But just because the international mail delivery guidelines are not stringent enough, Russo said, does not mean they won’t find those responsible.

“The message is,” Russo said, “we are working to find you and bring you to justice.”



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Tropical Storm Jose expected to become hurricane, may affect parts of East Coast – Jose's path: What you should know


With its winds strengthening, Tropical Storm Jose is expected to become a hurricane again this weekend, producing possible life-threatening rip current conditions along the United States East Coast.

Portions of the coastal U.S. stretching from North Carolina all the way up to New England are on the outskirts of the storm’s five-day cone of probability, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Currently, Jose, which was downgraded to a tropical storm late Thursday morning, has sustained winds near 70 mph. Forecasters said they expect it to re-strengthen to a hurricane later in the day, which is also when observers expect to have a better idea of a probable track for the storm.

Jose formed shortly before Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the northern Caribbean islands. It passed north of the islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane. Swells created by Jose are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and Puerto Rico.

According to the Saffic-Simpson scale, a Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds measuring 74 mph to 95 mph.

Elsewhere, a new tropical depression formed far out over the Atlantic and is expected to become a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center said the depression’s maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph and it is forecast to strengthen to a tropical storm later on Friday or on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Jennifer Lawrence film 'Mother!' assailed as a 'grotesque and nauseating' attack on Christians


Jennifer Lawrence’s latest film, “Mother!,” is under fire by one critic who feels it is an attack on Christianity, but it remains to be seen if the backlash will result in another “Last Temptation of Christ” situation.

National Review film critic Kyle Smith blasted the movie in his review, saying it might be “the vilest movie ever released by a major Hollywood studio” that will represent a “stain on the reputation” of Paramount Pictures. Smith warned that “pregnant women, those with nervous constitutions or heart conditions, and anyone who happens to be burdened with good taste” should stay far away from the film.

The thriller, which opens on Sept. 15, is directed by Lawrence’s boyfriend Darren Aronofsky and features household names such as Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, in addition to Lawrence.

While “Mother!” has received mostly positive reviews otherwise, many other critics have been quick to point out the biblical metaphors in the film. The New York Post said the religious similes are “easy enough to pick up if you know in advance that they’re there,” while also noting that the film is simply “terrifying.”

Rolling Stone called it a “biblical allegory, with intimations of “Rosemary’s Baby.” The Associated Press said “the Old Testament crashes into modern anxiety” in the film. 

Nick Vadala of Philly.com wrote: “From the religious and political imagery to its remarks on celebrity culture and the nature of creativity, ‘Mother’ is a film seemingly designed for any number of interpretations.” 

Back in 1988, Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” was highly criticized and even banned in several countries after several religious groups organized boycotts of the film. Scorsese’s film was significantly more obvious than “Mother!” when it comes to religion, as it literally features a crucified Jesus envisioning coming down form the cross to marry Mary Magdalene. 

Meanwhile, Lawrence isn’t exactly a favorite among conservative circles these days as she recently suggested the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida were signs of “Mother Nature’s rage and wrath” at America for electing Donald Trump.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News.

Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.



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Illegal immigrant murder suspect shot man with gun stolen from cop, report says – ICE arrests 4 illegal immigrants at Brooklyn courthouse


One of three men charged with using a gun stolen from a police officer to kill a San Francisco man last month reportedly was an illegal immigrant who was being monitored by U.S. immigration officials.

Data taken from Erick Garcia Pineda’s electronic monitor confirmed the 18-year-old was in the city’s Mission District on Aug. 15 when 23-year-old Abel Esquivel was murdered in the street, NBC Bay area reported Thursday.

The station, citing unnamed sources, said Garcia-Pineda was wearing a monitoring bracelet at the time of the killing. The suspect was claiming asylum in the U.S., saying he was being harassed by MS-13 gang members, the sources added.

Immigration officials did not respond to NBC Bay Area’s requests for comment and it was not immediately clear where Garcia-Pineda originated.

Weapons stolen from the cars of police officers also have been used in other high-profile Bay Area killings in recent years, such as the shooting of Kate Steinle in 2015 and Antonio Ramos in Oakland in 2016, The Associated Press reported.

The gun used in Esquivel’s killing was described as a silver .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver registered to decorated officer Marvin Cabuntala, the San Francisco Examiner reported, citing a criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges Garcia Pineda and 24-year-old Jesus Perez-Araujo took the gun and ammo from Cabuntala’s car just days before the shooting.

“The fact that it was stolen out of a car probably means that it was not secure,” said Kwixuan Maloof, an attorney representing Perez-Araujo.

The two men, alongside Daniel Cruz, 18, appeared in court for an arraignment hearing Thursday with Spanish interpreters, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

San Francisco is known as one of America’s most sheltering “sanctuary city,” shielding illegal immigrants from being reported to the federal government.

Police used data linked to the tracking bracelet to connect Garcia-Pineda to five robberies and two other shootings, according to NBC Bay Area. Garcia-Pineda, along with the two other defendants, pleaded not guilty to all the charges facing them Thursday, including Esquivel’s murder. They are being held in a county jail without bail.

“This is a spree over a week where there were separate, different violent offenses,” Assistant District Attorney Heather Trevisan said in court, the Examiner reported.

Esquivel had just gotten out of work at a market when he was shot, SFGate reported. The website, citing a complaint filed by the district attorney’s office, said Perez-Araujo was driving around with Garcia Pineda and Cruz looking for targets to rob. The trio – all city residents – held up three people around midnight and ran into Esquivel around 2 a.m., with Garcia Pineda accused of firing the fatal bullet, the complaint said.

Police union President Martin Halloran said the veteran officer didn’t know his gun was missing until after the fatal shooting, and was “devastated” to hear the news, The Associated Press reported.

“Well, we have to investigate,” Police Chief William Scott told NBC Bay Area. “I mean it would be very, very irresponsible and premature for me to say what’s going to happen with the officer until we have the facts.”

Lariza Dugan Quadra, a friend of Esquivel, said he recently starting working with youth at the Central American Resource Center.

“CARECENSF empowers and responds to the needs, rights and aspirations of Latino, immigrant, and under-resourced families in the San Francisco Bay Area — building leadership to pursue self-determination and justice,” the facility says on its website.



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AMAZON Accused of Slashing Over 900 Negative Reviews of Book…


Amazon is batting down claims that it deleted hundreds of one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book about the 2016 campaign, “What Happened,” and says that it doesn’t delete reviews because they are negative.

“We never suppress reviews based on star rating or sentiment,” Amazon told LifeZette in an emailed statement. “We have triggers in place to detect when numerous reviews post in a short amount of time that are unrelated to the product. When these triggers are activated, we suppress all non-Amazon Verified Purchase (AVP) reviews on the product.”

Clinton’s book was officially released on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning, there were more than 1,600 reviews posted, with an almost even split between positive and negative reviews. About 50 percent of reviewers had given it five stars and 49 percent only one star.

The average rating, according to Quartz, was 3.2.

By Wednesday evening, however, there were only 460 reviews left on the site. All were marked “Verified Purchase” — indicating the reviewer had purchased the book on Amazon. Most, if not all, were five-star reviews along the lines of this one:

By Thursday afternoon, there were 626 reviews — 607 positive and just 22 negative. The average rating was 4.9 out of a possible 5. All were marked “Verified Purchase.”

However, a collection of one-star reviews slammed Amazon for appearing to delete other bad ratings, and those knocking Clinton and the book took up almost the entire first page of reviews, evidently because they got the most likes. Here’s a snip of the top three reviews on the site as of Friday morning:

Some Clinton critics, it appears, were willing to shell out the money to buy the book so that they could have their say.

“Amazon Customer Reviews must be reviews related to the product and are designed to help customers make purchase decisions,” the company said in a statement emailed to LifeZette on Thursday, “In the case of a memoir, the subject of the book is the author and their views. It’s not our role to decide what a customer would view as helpful or unhelpful in making their decision. We do however have mechanisms in place to ensure that the voices of many do not drown out the voices of a few and we remove customer reviews that violate our Community Guidelines.”

When reached by phone, a company spokeswoman would not comment on the record when asked what it might mean that the company tries to ensure that the “voices of the many” do not drown out the “voices of the few.”


The “many” as of this writing would be the 93 percent of reviewers who’ve written five-star reviews, and the “few” would be the one-star reviewers. Even though they dominate the first page of reviews, they are still drowned out in terms of having little impact on the overall rating for the book, which remained at 4.8 out of 5 as of Friday morning.

“What Happened” is published by Simon & Schuster, which also published Clinton’s three other titles, including the 2004 book “Living History,” for which the publisher paid Clinton an $8 million advance — thought to be the largest advance ever awarded to any author at the time. In 2014, it was rumored that she got a $14 million advance for her pre-campaign book “Hard Choices,” about her years in the State Department.

The price for “What Happened” on Amazon was immediately slashed upon release from $30 to $17.99, while the Kindle version was selling for $14.

(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Lorie Shaull, Wikimedia)

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  2. 2016-democratic-primary
  3. 2016-presidential-campaign
  4. hillary-clinton
  5. memoir



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'View' hosts cause a stir


The ladies of “The View” are being labeled “out of touch” for their comments on Friday about how women listen to their husbands when deciding whom to vote for.

Whoopi Goldberg mentioned an NPR interview in which Hillary Clinton said that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg warned her women would be pressured by the men in their lives to vote against her.

Joy Behar mused, “I think there is a point to that. It’s not just that women hate other women… I think that women vote in their interest, economic interest, just like the men do. So if the men have jobs and they say to their wives, this is just one example, ‘We’re going to get a tax break from the Republicans,’ and that will make the family have more money, the wife will go along with it.”

Behar added that “the men are making more money than the women” before noting that economic interest often trumps ethical issues for female voters. Sara Haines quickly chimed in, saying that women judge women differently when it comes to appearance and optics.

“There is so much psychology in what we see and how we portray strength,” Haines said.

Paula Faris then read a quote from Hillary Clinton, which “The View” co-host warned could be interpreted as sexist.

“All of the sudden, the husband turns to the wife, ‘I told you she was going to be in jail. You don’t want to waste your vote.’ Or the boyfriend turns to the girlfriend, ‘She’s gonna get locked up,’” Faris said while quoting Clinton.

“It’s basically insinuating that I can’t think independently of my husband,” Faris said. ‘I think that is going to be offensive for a lot of people to hear.”

The all-female panel broke out into a conversation about why women would vote against their self-interests, with Goldberg explaining that Clinton grew up in an era when men made decisions for an entire household.

Viewers flocked to social media to criticize the theory, with one user noting that men don’t make the decisions in his family, “My grandmother marched for voter rights.”

Another viewer tweeted, “Women can be just as misogynistic as men, if not more!”

Check out some other reactions to the segment:

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News.

Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.



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Ozzy Osbourne: I regret it


The Prince of Darkness is still remorseful over cheating on his wife multiple times throughout their 35-year marriage.

“When I was a crazy f—-r, I’m lucky she didn’t walk out,” Ozzy Osbourne told Rolling Stone Friday. “Now I’m coming on five years clean and sober, and I’ve realized what a f—–g idiot I was. I mean, I’m still nuts, but in control of it a bit more.”

Sharon recently admitted the 68-year-old had numerous affairs over the years and “had women in different countries.” In 2016, the 64-year-old “X Factor” judge came close to divorcing the rocker after his latest affair with hairstylist Michelle Pugh. However, the couple went on to renew their vows after Ozzy began therapy for sex addiction.

While Ozzy joked that the secret behind their lasting relationship is not getting “caught with your mistress,” the singer admitted he wasn’t proud of his secret relationships.

“When I said, ‘Don’t get caught by your missus,’ I’m not proud of all that s—t,” he explained. “I upset my wife and I upset my family and I made a lot of shock and shame. I love my wife, and it made me realize what a f—–g idiot I’ve been.”

Ozzy revealed that it’s their love for each other that has kept them together, despite the multiple scandals.

“I suppose it’s fair to say we love each other,” said Ozzy. “I love her, and she loves me. She was brought up in a music industry, so she’s not like a schoolteacher who married a rock star… There’s no other woman I really want to spend the rest of my life with. You make a mistake and you learn by it.

“She’s made a few mistakes, and so have I. You know when you hear these people go, ‘Oh, we’ve been married for 35 years and we’ve never had a row.’ I go, ‘You must be living in a different f—–g country.’ Sometimes, I’ve looked at my wife and I’ve just been angry as f—k, and vice versa. Other times, I go, ‘F—k, I love you.’”

However, Ozzy added that if thing ultimately didn’t work out with Sharon, chances are he won’t get married again.

“I’ve been married twice in my life,” he said. “But I don’t understand people that have been married f—–g eight times or whatever. If this marriage ended, I’d go, ‘There’s something telling me I shouldn’t be married.’”



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CUBAN 'SOUND ATTACKS' Lawmakers urge Tillerson to boot Castro's diplomats


Top Republican senators pressed the Trump administration on Friday to expel Cuban diplomats and consider closing the U.S. embassy in Havana over the mysterious “acoustic” attacks on Americans stationed on the island.

“Cuba’s neglect of its duty to protect our diplomats and their families cannot go unchallenged,” the Republican senators said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

They urged the State Department to “immediately declare all accredited Cuban diplomats in the United States persona non grata and, if Cuba does not take tangible action, close the U.S. Embassy in Havana.”

The attacks, which generally have occurred at night, have confounded U.S. officials.

Victims – there are at least 21 Americans with symptoms – have reported hearing loud noises or feeling vibrations before suffering a range of aftereffects. This includes everything from hearing loss to speech problems to concussions.

Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has stumped the FBI, the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.

Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials told The Associated Press, the latest signs of more serious damage than the U.S. government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August — nine months after symptoms were first reported.

The U.S. already has expelled two Cuban diplomats to protest the communist government’s failure to protect Americans serving there. But the U.S. has taken pains not to accuse Havana of perpetrating the attacks. It’s a sign investigators believe that even if elements of Cuba’s security forces were involved, it wasn’t necessarily directed from the top.

But the attacks have revived criticism on Capitol Hill of the Obama-era decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. The letter to Tillerson was signed by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and James Lankford, R-Okla.

“Our officials and their families have been the targets of unacceptable levels of harassment and ‘acoustic’ attacks that, in some cases, have caused permanent hearing damage and other significant injuries,” they wrote.

“The safety of U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families posted overseas remains one of our high priorities and a shared responsibility of those nations that host U.S. diplomatic facilities.  We urge you to remind the Cuban government of its obligation and to demand that it take verifiable action to remove these threats to our personnel and their families.”

Asked about the attacks on Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed that 21 people have been affected, leaving open the possibility that number could rise.

“They continue to undergo tests,” she said, noting that personnel “are able to leave Havana, leave Cuba, and return back home if they wish.”

“The investigation into all of this is still underway. It is an aggressive investigation that continues, and we will continue doing this until we find out who or what is responsible for this,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Trump piles on ESPN over latest controversy


President Trump fired back at ESPN in an early morning tweet after the network’s tepid response to an anchor who called him a “white supremacist” on Twitter.

“ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Apologize for untruth!”

Trump’s not-so-subtle response was a reaction to controversy surrounding host Jemele Hill, an outspoken liberal who currently has a pair of photographs with Barack and Michelle Obama pinned atop her Twitter feed.

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” Hill, the face of ESPN’s “SC6,” a relatively new version of SportsCenter with an urban feel, tweeted earlier this week.

ESPN has terminated on-air talent in the past for right-leaning actions on social media, but has stood by Hill despite White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders calling the rhetoric a “fireable offense” during Wednesday’s press briefing. 

The network has been impacted by cord cutters dropping cable, resulting in mass layoffs earlier this year. Trump is clearly aware of the network’s issues, as he mocked the fact that people are dumping the channel.

“Cable Networks revenues for the quarter decreased 3% to $4.1 billion and operating income decreased 23% to $1.5 billion. Lower operating income was due to a decline at ESPN,” the network’s parent company, Disney, noted in its third quarter earnings report.

“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” the network said in its initial statement.

Hill eventually tweeted that she had regret for painting ESPN in an “unfair light” but stood by her comments about the president.

“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional,” Hill tweeted.

Citing “two sources familiar with the situation,” Think Progress reported on Thursday that ESPN executives wanted to sideline Hill for Wednesday’s show and reached out to other black hosts to fill her seat next to co-host Michael Smith. According to the website, Smith refused to do the show without her — and two African-American ESPN hosts declined to fill in. However, ESPN denied the report.

“We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period,” an ESPN spokesperson told Fox News.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News.

Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.



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