News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/28/17

  • Trump’s first budget will call for a $54 billion dollar increase in defense spending. This is roughly a 9% increase in the defense budget. [Link]
  • A bar owner is facing $30,000 in fines and 18 months in prison for buying liquor from a retail store and not a wholesaler. [Link]
  • Grant Neal was expelled from a Colorado college after the school’s administration pushed an investigation against him claiming he raped another student at the college. The student that the school alleges Neal raped never made a claim that Neal raped her and insisted that all sex between the two was consensual. The school ignored all evidence that suggested that Neal did nothing wrong. [Link]
  • The City of Chicago is expanding surveillance on its citizens. Chicago is putting more cameras around the city, expanding the area covered by ShotSpotter to 13.5 sq miles, and will start using HunchLab to try to predict where crimes will happen. [Link]
  • Gareth Porter writes this article on intelligence agencies pushing Trump to a more hawkish foreign policy on Russia. [Link]
  • Israel carried out five airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas reportedly fired some rockets into Israel. Four people in Gaza were reported to be injured by the Israeli airstrikes. Isreal also carried out airstrikes in Syria against the Syrian army. The Syrian army troops that were targeted were moving weapons to Hezbollah. [Link]
  • Iraqi forces are nearing the first of five bridges that cross from East to West Mosul. All five of the bridges have been destroyed by US airstrikes. Iraqi forces have taken several casualties in fighting so far. However, exact numbers are not known because they Iraqi government no longer releases that information. [Link]
  • The Pentagon’s plan on how to defeat ISIS was delivered to the White House today. The plan was not revealed the public, but talking points from the plan suggest more US troops in Syria and increased airstrikes against ISIS worldwide. [Link]
  • A documentary on the Syrian White Helmets won an Oscar. The documentary is supportive of the White Helmets who help turn public opinion in favor of al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups over the Syrian government. [Link]
  • Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and the Syrian army started fighting South of al-Bab. The fighting was started by the rebels. Russia had worked out a deal between Turkey and Syria not to fight in this region. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #7, I explain what Americans do not understand about our foreign policy. I go into detail about a father’s reaction to learning his son has been killed overseas and how people in other countries feel the same way when their family members are killed.  I also give news updates on the Mosul invasion, the Iraqi Kurd’s plans for independence, Nikki Haley’s new sanctions proposal, ISIS actions in Syria, Famine in Yemen, Iran following the nuke deal, the Pentagon’s push for more war in Somalia, and Trump blocking the North Korean delegation from coming to the US. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/27/17

  • Trump’s pick to be Secretary of the Navy Philip Bilden withdraws his name from consideration for the post. Earlier this month, Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army also withdrew his name. [Link]
  • The Trump Administration blocks the VISAs of the North Korean delegation that planned to come to the US for talks with former US officials. The news that the VISAs had been pulled came after the Malaysian government announced that Kim Jung Un’s brother had been killed with a nerve agent. It is believed that the North Korean government is behind his death. [Link]
  • The father of the US special forces soldier killed in Yemen refused to meet with Trump. [Link]
  • 9,000 Maine residents lose their food stamp benefits after the governor’s new work rules went into effect. Under the new rules, non-disabled adults who do not have dependents will only be able to receive food stamp benefits for three months unless they are volunteering, working 20 hours a week, or at a job training program. [Link]
  • The Pentagon is giving the White House recommendations for Somalia including increased aid for the Somali army, US special forces to be fighting closer to the front line, and looser restrictions on airstrikes. [Link]
  • The Iraqi army’s invasion of West Mosul has slowed as the troops move from fighting in the countryside to an urban setting. This is similar to what happened in East Mosul. [Link]
  • Nearly 4,000 civilians from West Mosul have already fled their homes and are now living in refugee camps. The Iraqi army reports that there have been 50 civilians casualties from civilians trying to flee their homes and stepping on ISIS made landmines. [Link]
News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/26/17

  • Tom Perez was elected to chair the Democratic Party. Perez served in the Obama Administration. [Link]
  • A Philippines Senator who opposes the president’s war on drugs has been arrested and accused of violating the drug laws. The Senator’s arrest seems to be an indication that the president of the Philippines is targeting his political rivals. [Link]
  • In Northern Afghanistan, Islamic State fighters ambushed and killed ten Afghani policemen and the wife of the police commander. [Link]
  • A UN watchdog group’s report shows Iran continues to follow the nuke deal. [Link]
  • Iraqi Kurds are hoping to gain independence from Baghdad. The Kurds have taken a significant amount of territory from ISIS, and they plan to use the territory in an exchange with Baghdad for independence. [Link]
  • ISIS is using car bombs to attack Iraqi troops in West Mosul. ISIS has already used nearly 1,000 car bombs and has a car bomb factory in the city. [Link]
News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/25/17

  • Sean Spicer says the Federal government plans to crack down and enforce marijuana laws in states that have legalized recreational use. [Link]
  • Nikki Haley is pushing new sanctions against Syria because of her belief that Syria is using chemical weapons. Haley released a statement condemning Russia for threatening to veto her proposed new UN sanctions. [Link]
  • Tunisia is struggling to deal with terrorists who are returning home as ISIS loses its caliphate in Iraq and Syria. [Link]
  • Iraqi jets hit ISIS targets in Syria. The attack is the first time that Iraqi jets hit targets in Syria. The Iraqi prime minister said the attack was payback for ISIS bombing in Baghdad last week. [Link]
  • An ISIS suicide car bombing in al-Bab has killed at least 73 people. The bomber targeted Turkish-backed Syria rebels. [Link]
  • 42 people were killed in two suicide bombing in Homs, Syria. The al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Link]
  • Saudi airstrikes near the port of Hodeida have caused food and medical imports to be reduced to a minimum. [Link] 500,000 Yemeni children are on the brink of starvation with 7.3 million people in urgent need of food assistance. [Link]
  • Nearly 50 Yemeni were left dead from the ongoing conflict in the country on Friday. Eight soldiers were killed by a suicide bombing carried out by al-Qaeda. Fighting between the Houthi and Yemeni government soldiers left 35 fighters and five civilians dead. Eight additional civilians were killed by shelling. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #6, I talk about the US foreign policy under our previous four presidents and how they created the environment for Trump’s travel ban. I also give updates on Israel, Iraq, Syria, US ships in the South China Sea, fake terrorists created by the FBI, and Germany’s military buildup. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/24/17

  • Private prison companies donated over $100 million to Trump for his election and inauguration. These companies will now profit from Trump’s immigration policy. [Link]
  • Jeff Sessions removes an Obama directive that ordered the Department of Justice to move away from private prisons. [Link]
  • Police carried out an eviction order for the remaining Dakota Access Pipeline protesters yesterday. The police used riot gear and arrived in military style humvees to remove the protesters. [Link]
  • A man with schizophrenia was sent to a prison after he stole $5 of snacks from a convenience store. Five months into his stay in prison the man was found dead. [Link]
  • A bombing in Pakistan kills at least ten people. This attack continues a trend in bombing across Pakistan in the past few weeks. No group has claimed responsibility for this bombing. [Link]
  • Iraqi forces have captured the Mosul airport from ISIS. [Link]
  • Turkish troops and rebels backed by the Turkish government liberate al-Bab from ISIS. After months of fighting, Turkey now reports they control the city. Some ISIS fighters may remain in the city as bombing have been reported after the city was liberated. [Link]
  • Syrian peace talks have started. The talks look to end the conflict between the Syrian government and rebels. [Link]

On the Weekly Freedom File, I discuss the CIA spying on French political parties, Venezuela, US/Russian relation, and the Trumpdate segment with the show’s host Kenn. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/23/17

  • The ATF ran an illegal cigarette smuggling operation to raise millions of dollars in funding for undercover operations. The ATF is now being sued by a group of tobacco growers. [Link]
  • New Hampshire passes a Constitutional Carry law. This will allow citizens to conceal carry firearms without a license. [Link]
  • A young man has been arrested by the FBI on terrorism charges. The young man was never in contact with any actual terrorists and only followed the orders of the FBI agents who posed as terrorists. The FBI agent also threatened the young man and his family if he backed out on his promises. [Link]
  • This article explains how America’s foreign policy lead to Trump’s travel ban. [Link]
  • Germany announced plans to increase the size of its military and to send tanks to Lithuania. [Link]
  • The US Navy’s carrier strike group 1 arrived in the South China Sea. The stated mission of the carrier strike group is to promote freedom of travel on the sea. [Link]
  • Civilians are fleeing their homes in the outskirts of West Mosul as battles begin in the area. [Link]
  • ISIS has constructed an elaborate tunnel network under West Mosul that will make fighting ISIS in the city very difficult. [Link]
  • ISIS is working to reestablish itself in cities that the Iraqi military has already liberated. ISIS is bribing and blackmailing local officials to free their fighters from jail. [Link]
  • The Pentagon admits that “some number” of US troops were wounded fighting in Mosul in the past six to eight weeks. [Link]
  • The Cheif General of Central Command says the US needs more troops in Syria. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #5 I explain how closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center will reduce terrorism. I also cover the restart of the Iraqi invasion of Mosul, news stories from around Syria, famine in South Sudan, refugees killed in Libya, Yemenis returning home, a new ceasefire in Ukraine, North Korea reaching out for talks, and Trump’s appointment of McMaster. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/22/17

  • The Department of Homeland Security issued orders to immigration enforcement agents to work to deport illegal immigrants. The spokesperson for DHS said that those with criminal records will be prioritized. Those who were granted protected under Obama’s DACA program will be exempt from deportation. [Link] This order will also lead to the hiring of 15,000 new immigration enforcement agents. [Link]
  • A Canadian man was denied entry into the US after US Customs agents read his posts on a Gay hookup site. The man’s post on the site led the Customs agents to mistakenly believe the man was a sex worker. The man gave US Customs agents passwords to his electronic devices that allowed them to enter his accounts. [Link]
  • A Tennessee police officer was caught on recording asking a convenience store employee for nude photos of herself and showed her nude videos of himself. The officer was suspended without pay for two weeks but is now back on the job. [Link]
  • All major French political parties were targeted to be infiltrated by the CIA leading up to the 2012 French Presidential elections. [Link]
  • A former Guantanamo Bay detainee carried out a suicide bombing in Mosul. [Link]
  • ISIS is using homemade drones to carry bombs from West to East Mosul. Most of the bombs are targeting the civilian population. ISIS could use ten or more of these drones each day. [Link]
  • Kurdish fighters have taken ISIS territory in the Deir Ezzor and Raqqa Provinces. This is the first time the Kurdish fighters have entered these provinces and is part of their plan to surround the ISIS capital of Raqqa. [Link]
  • The CIA program of giving weapons to Syrian rebels has been stopped. It is unknown why the program stopped or if it will restart at some point. The program ended earlier this month around the time infighting started between rebel groups. [Link]
  • 11 civilians were killed by airstrikes in the Deir Ezzor Province of Syria, and the death toll is expected to increase in the coming days. The US is the most likely party to be bombing in that area. [Link]
  • Yemeni people who were displaced from their homes by the war are returning home. Many of the people are returning home because they are unable to find any income or service for basic needs in the areas they fled to. The areas the displaced Yemenis are returning to are still dangerous, and they likely risk their lives by returning home. [Link]
  • 75% of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in the past year due to a lack of food to eat. [Link]
News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/21/17

  • Trump picks H.R. McMaster to replace Flynn as National Security Advisor. [Link]
  • Immigration enforcement agents are posing as local police officers to get information about people they suspect to be illegal immigrants. [Link]
  • 74 bodies have washed ashore in Libya. It is likely that these were refugees hoping to escape Libya for Europe. [Link]
  • North Korea is preparing a delegation to send to the US for talks. The State Department has not approved the meeting yet. [Link]
  • An Israeli court sentenced an Israeli soldier to 18 months in prison. The soldier executed an unarmed and wounded Palenstienin man who was lying in the street. [Link]
  • The Israeli government has plans to build a road in East Jerusalem that will require the destruction of 57 Palestinian homes. The road will connect Israeli settlements. Only Israeli settlers will be able to use the road. [Link]
  • Famine has been declared for areas of South Sudan. A civil war in the country has caused many people to be unable to get food. 42% of the country’s population is facing dire hunger or starvation. 275,000 children are acutely malnourished. [Link]
  • Turkey targeted Kurds in Northern Iraq with airstrikes. Turkey claims that 34 members of the PKK were killed in the airstrikes. [Link]
  • Iraqi forces are starting to move into the outskirts of Western Mosul from the South. Iraqi forces are receiving support from US air strikes and US military advisors that are positioned close to the front lines. [Link]
  • A Turkish air strike in al-Bab killed 11 members of a family when their home was struck. [Link]
  • A new ceasefire in Ukraine is holding. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #4, I talk about US sanctions and how they never work. I break down the distractions effects of US sanction and how sanctions often lead to wars. I also give updates on Israel settlements, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, NATO troops in Poland, and Yemen. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/20/17

  • Scott Pruitt has been confirmed to head the EPA. Pruitt is currently suing the EPA as Oklahoma’s Attorney General. [Link]
  • An Arizona sheriff overturns a rule put in place by his predecessor, Joe Arpaio, that allows immigrants to be detained for over the maximum 48-hours. [Link]
  • Senator Graham says 2017 will be “a year of kicking Russia in the ass.” Graham is supporting several anti-Russia pieces legislation. [Link]
  • 1,000 US troops in Poland will be positioned only 85 miles from the Russian border. [Link]
  • The Senate is looking to pass new sanctions against Iran for testing a medium-range ballistic missile. The sanctions have bipartisan support. [Link]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling back on some settlement expansion after meeting with Trump. [Link]
  • The Iraqi government dropped leaflets over Western Mosul letting civilians know that the offensive against ISIS is about to begin. It’s estimated that there are about 650,000 civilians in Western Mosul. [Link]
  • The US has increased the number of sorties it’s flying over Mosul each day to 30-50. The US has already bombed all the bridges that connect East and West Mosul, making it nearly impossible for civilians to flee Western Mosul. [Link]
  • Three Iraqi children were killed when one child accidently stepped on a roadside bomb left there by ISIS. [Link]
  • This article looks into Trump’s policy in Yemen so far. The article also suggests that Trump will soon approve a sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. [Link]
News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/18/17

  • Robert Harward turns down Trump’s offer to be National Security Advisor. [Link]
  • In Houston Texas, the district attorney announced a program that will allow people caught with under four ounces of pot to take a four-hour decision-making class. The class will cost $150, and anyone who chooses to take the class will not face any criminal prosecution. [Link]
  • ISIS killed 17 Afghani troops by overrunning security posts in the Nangarhar Province. This comes a week after the Afghani government announced it was starting an offensive against ISIS in the Nangarhar Province. [Link]
  • The Pakistan government claims they have killed over 100 terrorists in response to the terrorist attack on a shrine. [Link]
  • Turkey continues to fight against ISIS in al-Bab. The Turkish government reports taking most of the city, while a humanitarian group claims that ISIS still controls 90% of the city. The group also reports that Turkey has killed 45 civilians in the past 48 hours. This brings the total for the two-month offensive to 430 civilians killed. [Link]
  • Doctors Without Borders says it was likely Russia that bombed a hospital in the Idlib Providence last year. 25 people were killed when the hospital was bombed. [Link]

Check out the third episode of my podcast Foreign Policy Focus. I cover the Trump’s talk with Bibi, Russia and US relations, Syria, ISIS, Yemen, and North Korea. LISTEN HERE!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/17/17

  • The Senate confirms Mike Mulvaney to head the Office of Budget and Management. The vote was close at 51-49. John McCain voted against Mulvaney because of his stance on military spending. [Link]
  • The governor of North Dakota signs an order to evict the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from their encampment. The protesters are on private land. The governor sites the waste produced by the protesters as a reason he is evicting them. [Link]
  • The governor of Arizona sent a letter to the state’s cosmetology board asking them to stop an investigation into a man who gave free haircuts to the homeless. The man is under investigation because he was giving the free haircuts without a state license to do so. [Link]
  • Customs and Border Patrol agents detained an American citizen and demanded that he give them the password to his phone. The man was traveling back to America from overseas. The agents would not let the man leave until he unlocked his phone. After he unlocked his phone, the agents took his phone for 30 minutes before returning it. [Link]
  • A young illegal immigrant who was protected under Obama’s DACA program has been arrested by immigration enforcement. The immigration enforcement agency has begun the process to deport him. [Link]
  • Rex Tillerson commits the US nuclear arsenal to defend Japan and South Korea. This policy was put in place under Obama. [Link]
  • Secretary of Defense Mattis says the US will not collaborate with Russia in Syria. [Link]
  • Secretary of Defense Mattis says the US and NATO allies are preparing to escalate the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. [Link]
  • US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says that the US is committed to a two-state solution for Israel. [Link]
  • An ISIS suicide bombing at a shrine in Pakistan kills at least 75 and the death toll is expected to increase. Some reports put the death toll over 100. In response to the bombing, Pakistan has announced it will close the border with Afghanistan. [Link]
  • A car bomb in Baghdad kills at least 55 people. ISIS is responsible for the attack that targeted a Shi’ite area. [Link]
  • A Syrian rebel group that supports ISIS has executed up to 200 prisoners who were fighters in other rebel groups. Most of those executed were fighters for the less extremist Free Syrian Army. Around 40 of those executed were fighters for al-Qaeda-linked groups. [Link]
  • One of the men killed in the botched US raid in Yemen was a Yemeni tribal leader allied to the Hadi government. The US supports the Haid government and the US position in Yemen seems to be to see Hadi resume his role as president of the entire country. [Link]

On this Weekly Freedom File, I discuss Regulations, Taxation, and our Trumpdate segment with the show’s host Kenn. LISTEN HERE!

News Roundup 2/28/17

News Roundup 2/16/17

  • Andrew Puzder withdrawals his name from consideration to be Labor Secretary. It’s likely that Puzder withdrew his name because he did not have the votes needed to get confirmed. [Link]
  • Trump tweets that Russia took Crimea by force. However, this statements is incorrect as the population of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine. [Link]
  • In a joint press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister, Trump said he was perfectly fine with a one state solution in Israel. Trump also suggested that Israel hold back on settlement expansion. [Link]
  • HR 861 has been introduced in the House. If passed, the bill would end the EPA at the end of 2018. [Link]
  • US and Russian military leaders will meet today. This will be the first meeting between US and Russian military leaders since 2014. Rex Tillerson will also be meeting with his Russian counterpart today. [Link]
  • US troops and ground vehicles arrive in Bulgaria to show Russia that the US plans to defend Eastern European countries. [Link]
  • James Mattis tells NATO members they need to increase defense spending by the end of the year or risk the curtailing of US defense support. [Link]
  • At least 15 Iraqis were killed in a suicide truck bombing in a Baghdad Shia majority suburb. It appears ISIS carried out the attack. [Link]
  • Both Syrian Kurds and the Turkish government have plans to liberate Raqqa from ISIS. The Kurds say they will attack Turkish troops who come too close to Raqqa. [Link]
  • In 2015, the US used thousands of depleted uranium rounds to destroy ISIS fuel tankers. These rounds have not been used since 2003 in Iraq. The rounds have not been used due to the fear that they cause birth defects and cancer. The military had said in the past that they would not use these rounds to fight against ISIS. [Link]
  • At least five women have been killed when Saudi Arabia bombed a Yemeni funeral. Aid workers say that number is expected to rise. [Link] Other sources put the death toll at 11. [Link]

In the second Foreign Policy Focus episode, I cover the resignation on General Flynn, Russia and US relations, North Korea, the Iran nuke deal, Israel, Yemen, and Syria. LISTEN HERE

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