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Sarah Silverman: I Feel 'Very Lucky' Trump Doesn't Make Me Wear Star of David

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 18:44
Hulu talk show host Sarah Silverman went full Godwin's Law on Friday by insisting that President Donald Trump is such a Jew hater and a Nazi that she is lucky she is not forced to wear a Jewish star in public.

MSNBC's Butler: 'I Don't Think That Whitaker Is Going to Be Around Long'

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 18:41
On Saturday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” MSNBC Legal Analyst and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler stated that he doesn’t believe Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker “is going to be around long.” Butler said, “Trump is saying now that he didn’t know him at all, which is both a lie, but also Trump’s usual move before he gets rid of someone. So, I think especially with all this fraud stuff coming out, I don’t think that Whitaker is going to be around long. But again, a whole parade of horribles about who might be next running the Justice Department.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

Greek Cops Catch Pakistani People-Smugglers Bringing Migrants from Turkey

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 18:32
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) - Greek police say they have arrested two Pakistani migrant traffickers operating from Turkey.

Breitbart News Ranks in Top 10 Publishers on Facebook for October 2018

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 18:22
Despite attempts by the social media Masters of the Universe to censor conservative viewpoints, the social media engagement experts at NewsWhip has listed Breitbart News as one of the top ten Facebook publishers for October 2018.

RNC Chair McDaniel: Election Meddling Is Happening in Florida

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 18:13
On Saturday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto Live,” RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel stated that Democrats have expressed concern about “election meddling and collusion,” and “it is happening right now in Florida, in two of the major Democrat counties, and Democrats are nowhere to be found.” McDaniel said, “I don’t know if it’s incompetence or if it’s intent. Because to have the Palm Beach County supervisor now defy a court order, when they said they’re in violation of the state constitution, and then not give those vote totals last night, what is going on in Florida? You know, you have Democrats concerned about election meddling and collusion, and we are too, as Republicans. But it is happening right now in Florida, in two of the major Democrat counties, and Democrats are nowhere to be found.” She later added, “[I]f they win an election through corrupt meddling or validating invalid signatures, that’s not a way to win an election.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Slight Lead in Arizona Due to Maricopa as Recorders Sued

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 17:50
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema retained a tight lead over Republican opponent Martha McSally in Arizona’s midterm election race to replace Jeff Flake in the U.S. Senate as of late Friday.

Photographer Defends BB Gun Replica in Baby's 'A Christmas Story' Photo Shoot

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 16:46
A photographer is defending the inclusion of a BB replica in a baby's photo shoot that was inspired by "A Christmas Story."

450 Central American Migrants Apprehended at AZ Border in 48 Hours

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 16:09
Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended 450 migrants, mostly from Central America, who illegally crossed the border on Tuesday and Wednesday. The migrants exploited weaknesses in older technology to cross over and burrow under the existing barrier.

'Artists and Intellectuals' Proclaim Continent-wide European Republic to Replace Nation-States

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 16:07
BERLIN (AP) - Artists and intellectuals across Europe are calling for the founding of a continentwide republic to replace its many nation-states.

Dem Sen Murphy: 'A Functioning Democracy Requires' Action to Protect Mueller

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 15:53
During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) stated that “a functioning democracy requires” Democrats and Republicans unite “to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.” He added that failure to do so means that “our nation starts to devolve into a banana republic.” Transcript (via FedNews) as Follows: “I’m Chris Murphy, Senator from Connecticut. Well, President Trump couldn’t even wait 24 hours. Wednesday, with the Democrats’ election triumph not a day old, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, setting off a potential constitutional crisis. He named DoJ Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general, who has a long history of hostile statements toward Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation — including advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller probe. Now, more than ever, a functioning democracy requires Democrats and Republicans to come together to take action — next week — to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. If we don’t, and Donald Trump is given license to shut down an investigation into his own potential wrongdoing, then our nation starts to devolve into a banana republic. This is a serious issue, but we won’t let it completely distract from what did happen on Tuesday. On Election Day, voters across the

Donald Trump: 'Gross Mismanagement of the Forests' Responsible for California Fires

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 15:36
"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Dhimmitude: UK Turns Away Pakistani Christian to Appease 'Sections of the Community', Islamist Terrorists

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 14:35
The British government has turned away a Pakistani Christian who faces mob justice after a death sentence for blasphemy against Islam was overturned, allegedly to appease "certain sections of the community" at home and Islamist terrorists who might be inclined to attack British embassies abroad.

‘Everyone’s an Atheist About Thousands of Gods. We Just Take Atheism One God Further’

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 14:00

If you know how to answer, it’s nothing but a gnat. Trivial. Annoying, and that’s about it. But that’s only if you know how to answer, and too often our kids don’t. We might not even know ourselves.

I’m talking about the mocking, scornful anti-Christian memes that show up all over social media. I’ll be looking at a few of these over the next few weeks, starting with the “one god further” charge you see in the Richard Dawkins meme here.

This one gets points for cuteness, I’ll grant it that. Some people must even think it’s got some rational merit to it. Richard Dawkins was once Oxford University’s “Professor for the Public Understanding of Science.” He was also once known as the leader of the world atheist movement, and the headline attraction for the 2012 “Reason Rally.” With credentials like that, you’d think he’d make sense.

Alas, no. His entire God Delusion book, though a best seller, was riddled with errors as simple as this one. And yet there must be some attraction to the meme. A Google search for “one god further” returns almost 250 million results.

Not that they’re all very original. Memes are like that: They get passed around willy-nilly by people who think they understand what they’re talking about. Click through the Google result pages and you’ll find that the vast majority of those 250 million references are “very similar” to just the first 200 or so.

Of course the point of this meme is that everyone disbelieves in gods -- lots of gods, in fact nearly all of them. Why make an exception for the one God we do believe in? How big of a deal could it be to disbelieve in just one God more?

What’s Wrong With the Meme

The meme fails on several levels, though.

First, it’s no small step to go “one god further.” The meme supposes it’s just arithmetic. Start at ten gods, say, and take them away one at a time, and you’ll find that a world with nine gods isn’t that much different than one with ten. Same when you dial down from nine to eight: no real change. If it doesn’t matter to knock off belief in the ninth god, why should it matter if just kept going, and quit believing in that last one?

But this is wrong-headed. A universe with no God or gods is one in which nothing exists but matter and energy doing what natural law tells it to do (or describes it doing, for those who want to quibble about it). This universe has no purpose, no mind, no morality, no reason for being, anywhere in its core reality.

Humans may claim we’ve got minds and purposes and moral significance -- as of course we do -- but where that came from in such a mindless world, no one can say. We really don’t fit into that kind of world at all. Some atheist thinkers have even concluded that if the universe isn’t moral and mindful, then all our impressions of morality, consciousness and rationality are illusions.

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And all it takes to change that around completely is just one God -- the God of the Bible. God is eternal, perfect mind. He’s holy, good and loving. He’s a relational God, and a creative one. All of reality is built on that -- so our humanness fits. It’s no illusion; we are the rational, morally significant creatures we’ve always known we are.

Where It Gets Comical -- Or Not

In another version of this meme, atheists love to tell Christians we're just about as atheistic as they are. We're atheistic about millions of gods; they're atheistic about all those millions plus one more. That makes us very, very nearly atheistic ourselves -- within a millionth of a percent or so!

But that logic goes in a very crazy direction: It makes God the best atheist in the universe! Here’s why. God must of course disbelieve in all gods but Himself, so by this logic, He’s “atheistic” toward millions of them, more than any human ever knew about. He only believes in one out of all those millions, which is a very, very tiny percentage of belief in gods, right? Therefore God, if He exists, is very nearly (within mere millionths of a percent or less!) as atheistic as atheists are.

So the lesson is, don’t take this meme seriously!

If that doesn’t make sense to you, breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not supposed to make sense; I’d be a lot more worried if it did. But that’s where this reasoning goes, if you take it seriously. So the lesson to learn from that is, don’t take this meme seriously! That is, you can take it seriously enough to think it through; then you can see it’s really quite comical.

It’s comical, that is, except it fools too many people who are taken in by nonsense like this. At least now you don’t have to be. Neither do your kids, if you pass this along to them. They can be ready for it when it comes their way -- if it hasn’t already.

 

Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.

Little Sisters of the Poor’s Interim Religious Exemption Finalized

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 13:55

Late Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized the interim exemption handed to the Little Sisters of the Poor on October 6, 2017. The ruling confirms the group’s freedom from Obamacare contraception insurance requirements. Attorney Mark Rienzi, president of Becket, spoke about the new rule Thursday. Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm focused on protecting religious freedoms. 

Culture War

“What happened yesterday should be the end of a long and unnecessary culture war fight,” said Rienzi in a press conference Thursday. “It was never the case that the United States government needed nuns to give people contraceptives.” The new rule should be “welcomed by people of good faith on all sides.” 

The federal contraception insurance mandate remains in place. Faith-based businesses now have an exemption, however, 

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“The new rules issued last night make clear that the federal government will not force religious or moral objectors to provide contraceptives that violate their deeply-held beliefs.” 

Obama administration officials handling the lawsuit had noted that people who want them have other options. “There are many, many, many ways for people to get contraceptives other than through a religious employer. ... If somebody doesn’t get contraceptives or abortion-inducing drugs through their employers and really wants them, there are a lot of other ways they can get a plan that has those products on it.”

Related Cases

Two related cases remain ongoing. Two states -- California and Pennsylvania -- have sued the Little Sisters. Rienzi said the attorneys general for those states have been trying to prove the states “will actually be harmed somehow by the ... religious exemption.” Neither state, however, has been able to find ” a single actual person who’s been deprived of contraception under these rules.”

Rienzi added that it’s likely their lack of success stems from two main reasons. First, most of the religious objectors had already objected and obtained protection by court order. Second, people who work for religious institutions also share their religious beliefs.

A Really Bad Argument

“The Little Sisters of the Poor should be not worried about court,” said Rienzi. They should be “taking care of the elderly poor in their homes.”

“I hope we get there soon,” he added. “I hope the courts and expect the courts will say the obvious thing.” That is, “the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the government to make nuns give out contraception. That's essentially the argument that's continuing those cases. It's a really, really bad argument. It's not going to go very far.”

Rienzi pointed out that people had options long before there was a mandate. “Millions and millions, if not billions of people got contraceptives. None, or virtually none, of them ever got them from nuns, and that was okay.”

Deadly Fire Leveled a California Town in Less Than a Day

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 13:49

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) -- Not a single resident of Paradise can be seen anywhere in town after most of them fled the burning Northern California community that may be lost forever. Abandoned, charred vehicles cluttered the main thoroughfare, evidence of the panicked evacuation a day earlier.

Most of its buildings are in ruin. Entire neighborhoods are leveled. The business district is destroyed. In a single day, this Sierra Nevada foothill town of 27,000 founded in the 1800s was largely incinerated by flames that moved so fast there was nothing firefighters could do.

Only a day after it began, the blaze that started outside the hilly town of Paradise had grown on Friday to nearly 140 square miles (360 square kilometers) and destroyed more than 6,700 structures, almost all of them homes, making it California’s most destructive wildfire since record-keeping began.

Nine people have been found dead, some inside their cars and others outside vehicles or homes after a desperate evacuation that Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea called “the worst-case scenario.” Their identities were not yet known.

“It is what we feared for a long time,” Honea said, noting there was no time to knock on residents’ doors one-by-one.

With fires also burning in Southern California , state officials put the total number of people forced from their homes at more than 200,000. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

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President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. He later threatened to withhold federal payments to California, claiming its forest management is “so poor.” Trump said via Twitter Saturday that “there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California.” Trump said “billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

The fire in Paradise, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, was still burning out of control Friday.

A thick, yellow haze hung in the air, giving the appearance of twilight in the middle of the day. Some of the “majestic oaks” the town boasts of on its website still have fires burning in their trunks. Thick wooden posts holding up guardrails continued to burn.

Thursday morning’s evacuation order set off a desperate exodus in which many frantic motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic. Many abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot as the flames bore down on all sides.

“The fire was so close I could feel it in my car through rolled up windows,” said Rita Miller, who fled Paradise with her disabled mother.

The town, situated on a ridge between two valleys, was a popular retirement community, raising concerns of elderly and immobile residents who have been reported missing.

On the outskirts of town, Patrick Knuthson, a fourth-generation resident, said only two of the 22 homes that once stood on his street are still there -- his and a neighbor’s.

“The fire burned from one house, to the next house, to the next house until they were pretty much all gone,” Knuthson said. He worked side-by-side with neighbors all night, using a backhoe to create a fire line, determined not to lose his house this time.

“I lost my home in 2008, and it’s something you can’t really describe until you go through it,” said Knuthson, who battled flames eight feet or taller as strong winds whipped hot embers around him. He worked so long in the flames and smoke that he needed to use oxygen Thursday night at his home, but he refused to leave.

On Friday, Knuthson was covered from head to toe in black soot. His tiny town will never be the same, he said. The bucolic country landscape dotted with bay and oak trees will take years to recover.

In the town’s central shopping area, there was little left but rubble.

St. Nicolas Church still stands, a rare exception. The nearby New Life church is gone. An unblemished Burger King sign rises above a pile of charred rubble. The metal patio tables are the only recognizable things under Mama Celeste’s pizzeria sign. Only blackened debris remains behind the Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant sign touting its sushi. Seven burned out Mercedes chassis are all that’s left of Ernst Mercedes Specialist lot.

City Hall survived. But the Moose Lodge and Chamber of Commerce buildings didn’t.

The town’s 100-bed hospital is still standing, but two of its smaller buildings, including an outpatient clinic, are flattened. The Adventist Feather River Hospital evacuated its 60 patients in a frantic rush when the evacuation order came Thursday morning. Some were forced back by clogged roads, but all of them eventually made it out, some in dramatic fashion.

On the outskirts of Paradise, Krystin Harvey lost her mobile home. She described a town rich with historical charm, until a day ago.

“It was an old country town. It had the old buildings lined up along the walkway,” she said. “Almost all businesses were locally owned and included an assortment of antique shops, thrift stores, small restaurants, two bars and lots of churches.”

Harvey wondered if the town’s traditions would survive. The town was famous for the discovery of a 54-pound gold nugget in the 1800s, which eventually prompted a festival known as Gold Nugget Days. The highlight of the festival is a parade that features a Gold Nugget Queen.

“My daughter’s going out for the gold nugget queen this year,” said Harvey, then she paused. “Well, it’s been going for 100 years, but we don’t know -- there’s no town now.”

People in Paradise, like so many in California, have become accustomed to wildfires, and many said they were well prepared. They kept their gutters clean, some kept pumps in their swimming pools and had fire hoses. But the ferocity and speed of this blaze overwhelmed those preparations.

Drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into forests have led to more destructive wildfire seasons that have been starting earlier and lasting longer.

Just 100 miles north of Paradise, the sixth most destructive wildfire in California history hit in July and August and was also one of the earliest. Called the Carr Fire, near Redding, it killed eight people, burned about 1,100 homes and consumed 358 square miles (927 square kilometers) before it was contained.

Paradise town Councilmember Melissa Schuster lost her 16-acre Chapelle de L’Artiste retreat, a posh property with a chapel, pond and pool. But Friday she was clinging to two furry glimmers of hope: Shyann and Twinkle Star Heart.

“Our llamas,” she said. “Somehow they made it through.”

Schuster said they stopped trying to hook up a trailer for the animals and fled their home and property with just their three cats on Thursday when the day turned pitch black as fire roared in.

“It’s Paradise,” she said. “It’s always been Paradise, and we will bring it back.”

___

Associated Press writers Don Thompson in Chico and Jocelyn Gecker, Janie Har, Martha Mendoza, Daisy Nguyen, Olga R. Rodriguez and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco contributed to this report. Darlene Superville contributed from Paris.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2 Koreas Complete the Disarming of 22 Guard Posts

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 13:39

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The North and South Korean militaries completed withdrawing troops and firearms from 22 front-line guard posts on Saturday as they continue to implement a wide-ranging agreement reached in September to reduce tensions across the world’s most fortified border, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.

South Korea says the military agreement is an important trust-building step that would help stabilize peace and advance reconciliation between the rivals. But critics say the South risks conceding some of its conventional military strength before North Korea takes any meaningful steps on denuclearization -- an anxiety that’s growing as the larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang seemingly drift into a stalemate.

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South Korea reportedly has about 60 guard posts -- bunker-like concrete structures surrounded with layers of barbed-wire fences and manned by soldiers equipped with machine guns -- stretched across the ironically named Demilitarized Zone.

The 248-kilometer (155-mile) border buffer peppered with millions of land mines has been the site of occasional skirmishes between the two forces since the 1950-53 Korean War. The North is believed to have about 160 guard posts within the DMZ.

In the September military agreement, reached on the sidelines of a summit in Pyongyang between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Koreas pledged to eventually withdraw all guard posts within the DMZ, but to start by removing 11 from each side as a “preliminary” measure.

The South Korean Defense Ministry official said soldiers on Saturday completed disarming 11 guard posts on the southern side of the DMZ. He said the ministry believes the North has also finished withdrawing personnel and weapons from 11 guard posts on the northern side of the DMZ. He didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.

The Koreas plan to destroy 20 of the structures by the end of November, while symbolically leaving one demilitarized guard post on each side. They plan to jointly verify the results in December.

The Koreas also in the September deal agreed to create buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border, which took effect on Nov. 1.

The Koreas and the U.S.-led U.N. Command recently finished removing firearms and troops from a jointly controlled area at the border village of Panmunjom and eventually plan to allow tourists to freely move around there. The Koreas have also been clearing mines from front-line areas and plan to start in April their first-ever joint search for remains of soldiers killed during the Korean War.

While the Korean militaries move ahead with tension-reducing steps, Moon is otherwise running out of goodwill gestures toward North Korea, which is under heavy U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program. Unless the sanctions are lifted, it would be impossible for Moon to push ahead with his more ambitious plans for engagement, such as reconnecting railways and roads across the border and normalizing operations at a jointly run factory park.

Pyongyang insists that sanctions should be removed before there is any progress in nuclear negotiations, while Washington says they will remain until the North takes concrete steps toward irreversibly and verifiably relinquishing its weapons.

Analysts say the discord may have caused the last-minute cancellation of a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, that had been scheduled for this past Thursday to discuss denuclearization issues and setting up a second summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trump Moves to Limit Asylum for Illegal Entrants

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 13:30

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, tightening the border as caravans of Central Americans slowly approach the United States. The plan was immediately challenged in court.

Trump invoked the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The new regulations are intended to circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country. About 70,000 people per year who enter the country illegally claim asylum, officials said.

“We need people in our country, but they have to come in legally,” Trump said Friday as he departed for Paris.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups swiftly sued in federal court in Northern California to block the regulations, arguing the measures were illegal.

“The president is simply trying to run roughshod over Congress’s decision to provide asylum to those in danger regardless of the manner of one’s entry,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

The litigation also seeks to put the new rules on hold while the case progresses.

The regulations go into effect Saturday. They would be in place for at least three months but could be extended, and don’t affect people already in the country. The Justice Department said in a statement the regulations were lawful.

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Trump’s announcement was the latest push to enforce a hard-line stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress, which has not passed any immigration law reform. But those efforts have been largely thwarted by legal challenges and, in the case of family separations this year, stymied by a global outcry that prompted Trump to retreat.

Officials said the asylum law changes are meant to funnel migrants through official border crossings for speedy rulings instead of having them try to circumvent such crossings on the nearly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border. The U.S. Border Patrol says it apprehended more than 50,000 people crossing illegally in October, setting a new high this year, though illegal crossings are well below historical highs from previous decades.

But the busy ports of entry already have long lines and waits, forcing immigration officials to tell some migrants to turn around and come back to make their claims. Backlogs have become especially bad in recent months at crossings in California, Arizona and Texas, with some people waiting five weeks to try to claim asylum at San Diego’s main crossing.

“The arrival of large numbers … will contribute to the overloading of our immigration and asylum system and to the release of thousands … into the interior of the United States,” Trump said in the proclamation, calling it a crisis.

Administration officials said those denied asylum under the proclamation may be eligible for similar forms of protection if they fear returning to their countries, though they would be subject to a tougher threshold. Those forms of protection include “withholding of removal” -- which is similar to asylum, but doesn’t allow for green cards or bringing families -- or protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Homeland Security officials said they were adding staffing at the border crossings to manage the expected crush, but it’s not clear how migrants, specifically families, would be held as their cases are adjudicated. Family detention centers are largely at capacity. Trump has said he wanted to erect “tent cities,” but nothing has been funded.

The U.S. is also working with Mexico in an effort to send some migrants back across the border. Right now, laws allow only Mexican nationals to be swiftly returned and increasingly those claiming asylum are from Central America.

Trump pushed immigration issues hard in the days leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, railing against the caravans that are still hundreds of miles from the border.

He has made little mention of the issue since the election, but has sent troops to the border in response. As of Thursday, there were more than 5,600 U.S. troops deployed to the border mission, with about 550 actually working on the border in Texas.

Trump also suggested he’d revoke the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil and erect massive “tent cities” to detain migrants. Those issues were not addressed by the regulations. But Trump insisted the citizenship issue would be pushed through.

“We’re signing it. We’re doing it,” he said.

The administration has long said immigration officials are drowning in asylum cases partly because people falsely claim asylum and then live in the U.S. with work permits. In 2017, the U.S. fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, nearly double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

Migrants who cross illegally are generally arrested and often seek asylum or some other form of protection. Claims have spiked in recent years and the immigration court backlog has more than doubled to 1.1 million cases in about two years, Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported this week. Generally, only about 20 percent of applicants are approved.

 

___

Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Nomaan Merchant in Houston and Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Leaders Laud Fallen Soldiers on Eve of Armistice Centennial

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 13:07

PARIS (AP) -- Traveling from across the world to battlefields where their soldiers fell 100 years ago, victors and vanquished alike celebrated those sacrifices ahead of Sunday’s Armistice Day and assessed a future in which it is increasingly difficult to see where the United States stands.

A century ago, the entry of U.S. troops into World War I tipped the momentum toward its allies, including France and Britain. On Saturday, as he began two days of remembrance of the 1914-18 war, U.S. President Donald Trump said his nation bears far too much of the burden to defend the West.

In a flurry of armistice diplomacy, Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron displayed an awkward coolness during their bilateral meeting, at odds with the chummy warmth that had marked former meetings between the two.

Trump has increasingly clashed with European allies over his America-first policies, and he was true to form during his trip to Paris, shooting off an angry tweet saying Macron’s views on European defense are “very insulting.”

At their meeting early Saturday, Macron seemed eager to keep up a show of camaraderie, and asked about the tweet, he reached out to pat Trump on the thigh. Trump was cordial -- but sat stone-faced during the thigh tap.

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There were fewer efforts at cordiality with Germany, which Trump singled out for criticism during an ill-tempered NATO summit over the summer. Though both were in Paris for the ceremonies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump had no meetings scheduled.

Instead, Merkel was marking how her nation’s bloodstained history with France has become a close alliance that is now the driving force behind the European Union. She and Macron will together visit the site where the armistice was signed in a railway carriage in Compiegne, north of Paris.

In four years of fighting, remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of gas, France, the British empire, Russia and the United States had the main armies opposing a German-led coalition that also included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

Almost 10 million soldiers died. France lost 1.4 million and Germany 2 million.

Yet, despite a war that was supposed to end all wars, World War II pitted both sides against each other once again.

Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter.

That armistice entered into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and on Sunday 69 world leaders will mark the centennial of the event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

At dawn Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Vimy Ridge, the battlefield in northern France where Canada found its sense of self when it defeated German opposition against the odds.

Standing amid the white headstones against an ashen sky, Trudeau addressed the fallen, saying what Canada has achieved in the past century has been “a history built on your sacrifice. You stand for the values on which Canada was built.”

In southern Belgium’s Mons, Canadians were also lauding George Price, the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the war when he was shot by a German sniper two minutes before the armistice took effect.

Trump was looking beyond the tragedy of death and destruction, asking in a tweet: “Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?”

After his meeting with Macron, Trump was scheduled to head to the battlefield of Belleau Wood, 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the capital, where U.S. troops had their breakthrough battle by stopping a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.

The battle of Belleau Wood proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended U.S. forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.

However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather.

___

For more information on World War I, go to The Associated Press’ WWI hub: https://www.apnews.com/WorldWarI

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World War I: An AP Centennial Commemorative Edition. Available now exclusively at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JGrx5U

 

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Georgia Democrats Searching for Votes Days After Election

The Stream - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 12:37

ATLANTA (AP) -- In a frantic search by phone and on foot, volunteers have been trying to find ballots that could help Democrat Stacey Abrams close the gap against Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia’s unresolved race for governor.

Kemp leads in unofficial returns, and he already has resigned as secretary of state to start a transition with the blessing of the outgoing GOP governor, Nathan Deal. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia – he won. It is time to move on!”

Yet Abrams, who hopes to become the nation’s first black female governor, sent out volunteers and campaign staff in search of votes that she hopes could still tilt the margin toward her. The goal was to reach voters who used a provisional ballot to make sure they take steps to ensure their vote was counted by Friday evening, the deadline.

It wasn’t clear whether the effort paid off, but a majority-black county with more than 750,000 residents in metro Atlanta, DeKalb, said it would remain open past normal hours for provisional voters who needed to provide identification so their votes could be counted.

The story was different elsewhere. Two groups supporting Abrams’ call to count all votes, ProGeorgia and Care in Action, said at least 12 other counties had certified election results before Friday, a move that could leave provisional ballots uncounted. The secretary of state’s office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The New Georgia Project, which Abrams founded, had volunteers fanned out across the state looking for provisional ballot voters ahead of Friday’s deadline. Besides knocking on hundreds of doors, the group was coordinating with black radio stations, flooding social media and texting hundreds of thousands of voters who might be wondering about provisional ballots.

Nse Ufot, executive director of the group, said the effort “is not about the candidates.”

“This is about whether we’re going to have a functioning democracy,” said Ufot. “Otherwise, people won’t be reasonably assured that the will of Georgians is reflected in the results of the elections.”

Abrams’ lawyers are exploring options to ensure all votes are counted. Her campaign leaders say they believe she needs to pick up about 25,000 votes to force a runoff.

In a warehouse-turned-phone bank near downtown, dozens of volunteers converged to make phone calls to voters who used a provisional ballot.

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Helen Brosnan of the National Domestic Workers Alliance stood on a chair and shouted, “How many calls do you think we can make? Can we make hundreds of calls? Let’s do this!”

Marisa Franco, 27, saw a friend’s Facebook post about the effort, then showed up at the warehouse to volunteer Friday morning.

“I think that it’s really central to democracy that everybody who is eligible to vote can vote and has the least amount of barriers possible, so I’m just here to make sure that every vote counts,” she said.

Returns show Kemp with 50.3 percent of almost 4 million votes, a roughly 63,000-vote lead over Abrams. The difference is enough for an outright victory if total totals remain the same, but it’s a narrow sum, considering the large turnout.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race for Georgia governor. The AP will reassess the race Tuesday, the deadline for counties to certify election results to the state.

With legal wrangles opening and Abrams showing no signs of conceding, the dispute is prolonging a bitter contest with historical significance and national political repercussions.

Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said Kemp was to blame for problems because he was the secretary of state, Georgia’s top election official, and tried to tamp down minority votes.

“These suppressive tactics are reminiscent of the Old South, tactics that have been resurrected by Brian Kemp, who forced the state to allow him to oversee his own election, and had him be the decider on who was the winner,” she said at a news conference.

Kemp contends he did his job properly and has argued that Abrams wants to help noncitizens vote illegally. Kemp, who has echoed Trump’s immigration rhetoric, cited a speech in which Abrams said “undocumented” people were part of her coalition.

Abrams would become the first black woman elected governor of any U.S. state. Kemp seeks to maintain Republican dominance in a growing, diversifying Deep South state positioned to become a presidential battleground.

The key question is how many uncounted ballots actually remain.

Kemp said Thursday that it’s fewer than 21,000 -- almost certainly not enough to force a runoff. Abrams’ campaign argues the total could be higher, and the secretary of state’s office has shared scant details as officials in Georgia’s 159 counties keep counting.

Abrams’ campaign has reserved television advertising time and started sending vote-by-mail information to supporters in case she forces a Dec. 4 runoff with Kemp.

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AP writer Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report.

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Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Crime Wave UK: Baby Among Four Killed by Car Involved in Police Chase, Two in Critical Condition

Breitbart News - Sat, 11/10/2018 - 12:34
Four people have been killed after the vehicle carrying them was struck by a car involved in a police chase, including a one-year-old baby. 

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