Politics

COMEY TESTIFIES TRUMP STATEMENTS ON FBI WERE “LIES, PLAIN AND SIMPLE”

 

By Miriam Raftery

View James Comey’s introductory remarks and full testimony.  

June 8, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In riveting testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee today,  fired FBI director James Comey confirmed that President Donald Trump  asked him in person and in phone calls to back off the investigation of National Security advisor Michael Flynn’s Russian ties. 

Trump fired Comey after he refused to back off the investigation or swear a loyalty oath, promising "honesty" instead. Comey said Trump  then“chose to defame me—and more importantly, the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray and that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe backed Comey in his recent testimony , stating,“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” adding that Russia probe is “significant.”

ARBITRATION ABOUT-FACE: FEDS SIDE WITH CORPORATE INTERESTS OVER VULNERABLE NURSING HOME RESIDENTS

 

East County News Service

June 8, 2017 (San Francisco) – In what a patient advocacy group calls a ”devastating turn," the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to not only terminate its short-lived ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes but to endorse their use as a condition to receiving vital care and services.

DETHRONED BEAUTY PAGEANT QUEEN FILES FRAUD AND DEFAMATION SUIT; COUNCILMAN KALASHO DENIES ALLEGATIONS

 

 

 

Kalasho provides documents to bolster his defense, though this isn't first time he has faced claims of fraud or ethics questions

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with comments from Tawfiq's attorney

June 7, 2017 (El Cajon) – A lawsuit has been filed against the Miss Middle East Beauty pageant  USA Inc. and Ben (Bessmon) Kalasho, organizer of the pageant and an El Cajon City Councilman.

The suit, filed by pageant winner Zhala Tawfiq and first reported by the Reader, claims the pageant is fraudulent, that prize money was not paid, and that after she objected to giving up passwords to her social media accounts, photos of her face photoshopped onto someone else’s nude body were posted on  an Instagram page named “Zhala_Tawfiq_Fanpage” with a  post reading, “Leaked images of Miss Middle East Beauty Queen.”  Soon after she was removed as pageant winner and the title was given to the runner-up.

Asked if he posted the photos, Kalasho told East County Magazine, “Absolutely not." He indicated Tawfiz was replaced due to not fulfilling terms of her contract.

NETWORKS TO CARRY COMEY TESTIMONY LIVE THURSDAY MORNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County ) – Major TV networks including CBS, NBC  and ABC will be interrupting regular programming tomorrow morning  to broadcast live testimony by fired FBI director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee slated to start at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

A copy of Comey's pre-prepared statement has been released and can be read here. Comey confirms "inappropriate" actions by President Donald Trump including demanding loyalty and pressuring him to drop the investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn.  Comey's statement directly contradicts Trump's denial that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.  After Comey refused,  and also refused to swear a loyalty oath to Trump, Trump fired him.

 Comey’s testimony under questioning by Senators tomorrow could provide evidence for special prosecutor James Mueller, who is heading up an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The stakes have ratcheted up after the Intercept published  excerpts of a leaked top-secret National Security Administration report detailing that Russian military intelligence sent phishing messages to at least 100 U.S. election officials days before the 2016 presidential election and earlier executed a cyber attack on at least one voting software supplier.

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER RECEIVES THE GERALD R. FORD MEDAL FOR DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE

 

“Looking at the current toxic times and reflecting back to President Carter’s and Dad’s times in office, through their examples we can learn how politics should be conducted.  They illustrated to the nation that politics can be handled with dignity, class and respect. My family and I are grateful for President Carter’s public service and how he has conducted himself throughout his life. We are proud to call the Carter family friends.” -- Steven Ford, son of President Ford.

East County News Service

June 5, 2017  (Washington D.C.) Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was honored with the Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service on June 5, 2017 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington D.C. The medal was presented to Carter via a video presentation from Atlanta, Georgia, during the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s annual reception and dinner. Journalists Gregory Korte, USA Today; David Martin and Mary Walsh, CBS News; and David Cloud, Los Angeles Times, were each honored as recipients of the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting during the event.

UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE BILL ADVANCES IN CALIF. LEGISLATURE, WITHOUT DETAILED PLAN TO COVER HEFTY COSTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Senator Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, authors of Healthy California Act.

June 4, 2017 Sacramento) – Both houses of California’s Legislature have passed a landmark bill  called the “Healthy California Act”  to create a single-payer, universal healthcare system and eliminate private insurance companies  from covering anything covered by the state plan, which is broad.   

If enacted  the measure coauthored by Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would  cover all Californians, with no premiums, copays or deductibles, for all medical, dental, vision care, mental health and chiropractic services.   

But Senate bill 352 must go back to the Assembly to remedy a major flaw: the bill was advanced without details on how to pay for it, in order to meet legislative deadlines, and contains a clause that without the Secretary of Health and Human Services determining that a new Healthy California Trust Fund has sufficient revenues to fund the bill’s costs,  it will not become law.  

OPPONENTS OF HUNTER RAMP UP EFFORTS WITH BILLBOARD, CHICKEN AND BUNNY EARS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A billboard that reads “Did you know?  Rep. Duncan Hunter is under criminal investigation” will soon be posted along highway 67, after volunteers from the group “Indivisible” raised over $7,000 in five days on a crowdfunding website

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO CREATE INDEPENDENT REVIEW PROCESS FOR OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego) – A measure to create an independent review process for officer-involved shootings in California passed by state Assembly this week.  Assembly Bill 284 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) would empower the California Attorney General’s office civil rights division to appoint a special investigator for controversial cases of concern.

ASSEMBLY PASSES AB 805, CONTROVERSIAL MEASURE TO REFORM SANDAG

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego) – By a 49-25 vote, Assembly Bill 805 by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) was approved by the state Assembly. 

The measure has been touted as a bill to “reform” the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) by making transportation planning and funding more accountable and transparent.  But critics contend it shifts power away from East County cities to San Diego and Chula Vista, which together would control agenda-setting and have a majority vote.

FACTCHECKING TRUMP'S CLIMATE SPEECH

 

By , , and

Credit to factcheck.org, full story here:  http://www.factcheck.org/2017/06/factchecking-trumps-climate-speech/

June 3, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Donald Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims:

  • Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
  • Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
  • The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
  • Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
  • Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.

TRUMP WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD DRAWS CONDEMNATION FROM WORLD LEADERS; WEST COAST STATES FORM THEIR OWN ALLIANCE TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: NASA satellite:  Arctic ice reached an all-time record low in March, due to record temperatures.

June 2, 2017 (San Diego)—President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord  means the U.S. joins Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as the only other world leader who does not believe climate change is a serious threat to the planet.   Every nation on earth signed the Paris agreement calling for aggressive action to combat climate change, except for Syria and Nicaragua, but Nicaragua wanted even stronger actions to protect planet Earth.

BILLS TO BENEFIT WORKING WOMEN ADVANCE IN ASSEMBLY

 

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher wins approval of package of bills helping women in the workforce

East County News Service

June 1, 2017 (Sacramento) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) has won approval for several “women in the workplace” initiatives she authored this year to address income inequality as well as the challenges of working while pregnant or as a young mother.

HUNTER AND VARGAS ASK EPA AND STATE DEPT. FOR HELP TO STOP MEXICAN SEWAGE SPILLS NEAR BORDER

 

By Miriam Raftery

After Hunter and Vargas sent letters, a new spill pumped more sewage into Tijuana River Valley at start of Memorial Day weekend

May 31, 2017 (San Diego) — Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine)  sent a letter May 9th to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, asking them to take action in the wake of a major sewage spill into the Tijuana River Valley in the U.S. from Mexico earlier this year.   Hunter cites concerns not only for environmental and public health, but also negative impacts felt by U.S. Border Patrol agents and Navy Seal teams performing responsibilities in the area daily.

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO BOOST TIPS FOR UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 31, 2017 (Sacramento) – If you’re hailing a ride through a service such as Uber or Lyft, you may soon have an option to add a tip onto your credit card charge. A measure requiring ride-serving aps that take credit card payments to offer an option to add a tip passed the Assembly today by a 41-22 vote.  The measure, Assembly Bill 1099, was authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego).

ASSEMBLY APPROVES LORENA GONZALEZ-FLETCHER BILL REQUIRING LEAD TESTING FOR SCHOOL WATER

 

East County News Service

May 31, 2017 (Sacramento) - California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) today won approval by the Assembly for her legislation that will require school districts to test for lead contamination in their water supplies, and to notify parents if any lead is discovered. Assembly Bill 746 was approved on a vote of 68-0.

HUNTER AND ISSA VOTE TO SELL YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY AFTER TAKING BIG MONEY FROM TELECOM INDUSTRY; TRUMP SIGNS MEASURE INTO LAW

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2017 (San Diego) – Your Internet provider can now legally sell your browsing history and your email address, without your consent—thanks to legislation signed into law by President Trump.   The measure passed the Senate by just 2 votes and the House by 10 votes. San Diego Republican Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa both voted for the measure – after taking $19,000 and $66,275 from the telecommunications industry respectively. 

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: AMMAR CAMPA NAJJAR, CANDIDATE RUNNING AGAINST DUNCAN HUNTER, WITH BACKGROUND IN CREATING JOBS FOR BOTH LABOR DEPT. AND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

 

 

 “This campaign is about solving economic injustice, regardless of your views or hues. Regardless of whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, pain is pain.”—Ammar Campa-Najjar

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

May  29, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Earlier this month, we sat down for an in-depth interview with Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat running for the 50th Congressional  district seat held by Republican Duncan Hunter.  (Hear the full interview, which aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link and scroll down for highlights.)

 He has a rare combination of qualifications, with  background in helping promote job creation both as public affairs officer for the Labor Department under President Obama and as director of communications for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

A native San Diegan of Hispanic and Arab descent, he’s also  the son of immigrants and a Christian who’s worked with his church to help working people and  deported veterans.   Now he says he’s running to listen to the problems faced by all people in the district,  use his experience in Washington to bring good-paying jobs to East County including rural areas, and bring “national pride, not national shame” as our region’s representative in Congress.

Audio: 

RUSSIA DUPED BERNIE FANS VIA FACEBOOK, SAN DIEGO DEMS TOLD

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association.

Photo:  John Mattes speaks to San Diego Democrats for Equality, the predominantly gay club in Hillcrest. Photo by Ken Stone

May 27, 2017 (San Diego) - Oliver Mitov was dispatched by the Kremlin to get Bernie Sanders fans to vote third-party in the November election, write in the Democratic primary loser for president — or not vote at all.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING, HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMONG ATKINS BILLS ADVANCING IN LEGISLATURE

 

Source:  Toni Atkins' office

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday passed nine bills authored by Sen. Toni Atkins, including SB 2the Building Homes and Jobs Act – which would create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

EL CAJON APPROVES REDISTRICTING MAP; COUNCILMAN KALASHO THREATENS LAWSUIT

 

By Jonathan Goetz; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

May 26, 2017 (El Cajon) – Following a lively public hearing on drawing up city council district lines to comply with Voting Rights Act requirements aimed at increasing minority representation,  El Cajon’s City council voted 3-2 to adopt  Paul Circo’s map PCirco1 for council district elections. 

Councilman Ben Kalasho,  a Chaldean-American and the only minority on the Council,  earlier sent a letter threatening to sue his city if that map was approved and request public records to determine if gerrymandering laws or the Brown Act were violated. 

Mayor Bill Wells, Councilmen Gary Kendrick and Bob McClellan voted to approve the map drawn by Circo, a Republican who ran for Council in 2016.  Councilmembers Steve Goble and Kalasho voted against it.  The district election map  chosen squares Kalasho off against fellow Councilman Kendrick, who also lives in Fletcher Hills, on the opposite side of Parkway Plaza. It also pairs Councilmembers Steve Goble and Bob McClellan, leaving two other districts that will be open seats. The Mayor will continue to be elected at-large by all voters in the city.

The plan chosen creates three majority minority districts.  Two have 70% minorities and a third has 51% . The minority definition used is broad, including language minorities such as Arabic speakers as well as all classes protected under state and federal  Voting Rights Acts.

REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE PLAN WOULD LOWER DEFICIT BUT AT HIGH COST: 23 MILLION LOSING HEALTHCARE, AND SOME SENIORS WOULD PAY 850% MORE FOR PREMIUMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 25, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – House Republicans passed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and  passage of their own American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) without waiting for a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Now the CBO’s report is published—and shows mostly negative consequences of the Republican plan now before the Senate. 

DAVIS COAUTHORS LEGISLATION TO SECURE PELL GRANT PROGRAM AND MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS

 

President has called for shifting money out of Pell Grants to fund other non-educational programs

By Miriam Raftery

May 21, 2017 (San Diego) — Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) along with three other legislators has introduced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act to help students offset rising costs of college by permanently indexing Pell Grants to inflation. The bill also makes Pell Grant funding mandatory, providing students with security and stability, raises the maximum award for low-income students, and restores eligibility for students who were defrauded.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: DAVE MYERS, COMMANDER RUNNING FOR SHERIFF

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 20, 2017 (San Diego) -- Dave Myers wants to be the new Sheriff in town.  He says he’s running to restore accountability, transparency, and community trust to policing.  He’s worked in law enforcement for 32 years and is currently a Commander with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

A native of San Diego, he’s always had a “passion for law enforcement” and to “treat everyone who’s calling for help as if my mother was calling for help.”

Recently, East County Magazine sat down with Myers for an in-depth interview on our show on KNSJ radio. Hear the full broadcast by clicking the audio link above, and view highlights below.

Audio: 

CA ATTORNEY GENERAL HELPS LEAD COALITION OF STATES IN LEGAL ACTION TO PROTECT AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

 

Officials intervene in pending case to ensure effective defense of Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Source: Calif. Attorney General’s Office

May 18, 2017 (Sacramento) -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today took legal action to challenge the Trump Administration and protect health care access for millions of Americans.

Below is text from their press release:

INVESTIGATION OF DUNCAN HUNTER WINS “JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR” AWARD FOR MORGAN COOK

 

East County News Service

May 18, 2017 (San Diego) - The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) will present its 2017 Journalist of the Year award to Morgan Cook, an investigative reporter at The San Diego Union-Tribune, for her investigative reporting that revealed campaign finance scandals involving Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine).

“San Diego has seen its share of big stories this past year, but our board believes no local journalist did better work than Cook in her relentless accountability reporting on Congressman Duncan Hunter’s use of campaign funds for personal expenses. She broke the story last year and continues to follow it after the Department of Justice made clear in March that it is investigating Hunter, whose district covers Alpine, Escondido and Temecula,” a press release from SPJ states.

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