Violence, Crime, Drugs: These G.O.P. Messages Go Grim – The New York Times

In this ad produced by the Congressional Leadership Fund for Troy Balderson, the Ohio Republican who appears to have just edged out his Democratic opponent in a special election, the viewer sees a succession of images: someone in a hooded sweatshirt pulled over the face, a syringe dropping into white powder, a mob waving signs that say “Crush ICE.” And the kicker: Danny O’Connor, the Democratic candidate, is a sympathizer, the ad says.

German citizen held at Israeli border: ‘Your blood isn’t German, it’s Palestinian’

What a bizarre world we live in and how badly we treat each other.

Bethlehem/PNN/

A German citizen was detained for five hours by Shin Bet and interrogated about his “Palestinian blood” as he attempted to enter Israel.

Nadim Sarrouh, 34, was returning from a short trip to Jordan on August 11 with his Israeli wife and her family, when his passport was not returned. at the Rabin border crossing in the Arava. His wife and her family had already gone through border control. After waiting 45 minutes, he was beckoned into one of the interrogation booths by a Shin Bet security service interrogator.

Sarrouh told Haaretz he has been detained and questioned many times on entering Israel, once even for seven hours – but never like this.

After the usual questions from a border officer in the room (where are you from, who are you with, what are your plans in Israel, etc) the Shin Bet agent asked him if his wife was pregnant. When he said she wasn’t, the interrogator smiled, and replied: “Okay, so she is fine, waiting in the heat.” It was noon, and about 45 degrees Celsius.

“She started by asking where I am from,” Sarrouh said. “I said I am from Germany. She asked me where I am really from. I said, I was born in Berlin, Germany, have a German passport and no other and am thus a German citizen.”

Then she said: “Your blood isn’t German, right? Your blood is Palestinian.” He replied: “I don’t know about that, but if my blood is anything, it’s probably also Polish.” Sarrouh’s mother was of Polish origin, born in Germany.

The Shin Bet investigator continued: “‘Do you know, that you are a refugee?’ He replied, I am not a refugee. “But yes, you’re a refugee,” she insisted. “Don’t you know that the UN considers you, like any other descendant of Arabs from this area as Palestinian refugees? No other people in the world keep their refugee status, after becoming citizens of another country, but the Palestinians, yes.’”

Sarrouh’s family were Christian Palestinians who Lebanese citizens because of the war, and so did not receive refugee status. His wife’s family were originally from the same Maronite village, and moved to the Galilee village of Jish, where they still reside. Sarrouh and his wife, Venous Ayoub, married in the ruins of their old village about a year and a half ago. She is working on a masters’ degree in urban planning in Berlin, and he is a director of operations in a computer games company and a martial arts instructor.

The investigator then asked him what his views were about Gaza. “I told her that I don’t think that they should ask me about my political opinions in order to decide whether or not I’m allowed to enter,” he told Haaretz. Her reply was that “We can actually do anything. We are not Germany! We are not letting in refugees just like that, like your Merkel is doing! We check who we let in!”

She pointed to a large Israeli flag and said: “You see that? That means that you’re in Israel. It isn’t your country. You don’t belong here. We can detain you for a few days, decide whether or not to let you enter, and if you don’t like it – you can take your passport and return to Jordan.”

He finally told her that Gaza is under an occupation and a blockade, in which a powerful occupier has been oppressing a vulnerable population for decades.

The interrogator replied: “We aren’t oppressing anyone. Hamas is oppressing your people.” When he told her disagreed, she said: “You can disagree with me, because we’re a free and democratic country.”

While the interrogator asked him how he supports the Palestinians, and what he thinks of Hamas and violence, the border control inspector took his phone and examined it, writing names, numbers and comments on a piece of paper. After that the interrogator left.

He was then asked again what he does in his free time in Berlin, what his profession is, and to which groups or organisations he is connected. He was then allowed to go outside without his passport. When he emerged, he was petrified from shock and unable to speak, according to his wife. When he could finally speak, he told her it was “an entirely different level of interrogation” from what he had experienced before.

He was then called back into the room. The same border inspector was there, with a new Shin Bet interrogator. She shouted that she was only called in “when something bad has happened. We know that you did something bad and you know it too, so the sooner you comply, the sooner this can be over. Don’t lie to us, because we already know everything anyway, and we can see when you lie too. We have a lot of video footage from you, we know where you went and what you did. We can also arrest your wife and your wife’s family and interrogate them,” she told him.

Sarrouh said he was shocked, and almost laughed at the claim that he had done “something bad.” The interrogator then asked the same questions that had already been asked, but “in a louder voice and more aggressively”, barely giving him time to answer. She repeatedly said, “Don’t lie,” and “Don’t lie if you want to see your wife again.” When he responded that he wasn’t lying she said, “But let’s say we proved that you lied, you know what will happen to you?”

He replied: “You’ll probably ban my entry.” She asked him “For how long?” When pushed, he guessed, “Probably forever.” She replied: “No. Don’t exaggerate. For 15 years. After all, we’re a civilised country.”

He told her that he plays the oud. She responded, “Ah, that’s a unique instrument. That shows that you’re connected to your culture. And you still want to tell me that you’re not an activist?”

When he told her he owns a martial arts gym, she asked if he had taught Palestinians in the West Bank. He told her he hadn’t and she replied: “You’re a smart and successful person. You have a good job. How do you give back to your community?”

When he didn’t understand, and she explained: “How do you give back socially, do you donate, do you do benefit concerts with your band, do you teach children in martial arts for free?” He said that he didn’t – apart from some benefit concerts. “So you don’t give money to Gaza?” she asked. When he replied that he does not, she told him she could see in his body language that he was lying.

She asked why he was nervous. He replied, “Because you’re applying pressure. Because you’re in a position of power now, and if you were in my situation you’d be nervous too.” She told him maybe he was nervous because he is a criminal.

He told her his family is Christian but he doesn’t consider himself a Christian. “That makes no difference,” she decided for him. “You’re a Christian.” She said a word in Arabic – he doesn’t speak Arabic – and he told her he didn’t understand. She started shouting at him, he said. She asked whether he knows that many Christians were expelled from Bethlehem in 2000.

When he said he did not, she questioned him: “You don’t know? You post your articles on Facebook and call us the oppressor but you do not know about this? You are a Ph.D., right? You must be much cleverer than me. Your memory should be perfect, right? You cannot remember this? Don’t you have to know all the facts, before making an opinion?”

She also spoke about his blood, saying she didn’t believe him when he said that he doesn’t feel any special connection to Jerusalem. She told him that if he isn’t allowed to enter, it will be because of his actions and not his opinions. He asked her what actions she meant.

She asked him: “Did you go to fight in Syria? Did your friends fight in Syria?”

He said no, and she asked again about Gaza and his attitude towards Gaza. “Okay, you’re a smart guy with a Ph.D. What’s the solution for Gaza?” she asked. When he was silent, she asked him: “When did you last throw a stone at an Israeli?” Sarrouh burst out laughing.

At about 5:20pm – more than five hours since he was detained – he received his passport and joined his family.

A spokesman for Shin Bet said that they “reject out of hand the claims of the above-mentioned about his treatment during his investigation at the border crossing,” saying the interrogation is required for state security, and was conducted in a practical and professional manner. They added: “It should be noted that the above-mentioned, a resident of Germany of Palestinian origin, refrained from cooperating throughout his investigation, behaving rudely and aggressively towards the security personnel. During his interrogation various findings aroused suspicion that he is involved in hostile activity and is connected to hostile organisations. At the conclusion of the security investigation he was allowed to enter Israel.”

Sarrouh told Haaretz that he was polite, friendly and smiling throughout the interrogation, in order to communicate with the interrogators as human beings. “I ask myself why I didn’t protest immediately about their racist discourse and practice,” he said. “But they made it clear that they had the power, and I probably couldn’t really [protest] without taking a risk that I wouldn’t be allowed to join my family.”

Population, Immigration and Border Authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told Haaretz: “We must mention that the Israeli traveler herself (his wife) and her family began to behave in a disorderly manner and accused the border inspector of being a ‘Nazi,’ until the manager of the crossing said he would summon police assistance.”

Ayoub told Haaretz that after four hours of waiting and uncertainty, when the border inspectors refused to answer her father’s questions about his son-in-law, a verbal confrontation erupted them. Ayoub said: “My father said, ‘You and the Nazis, where’s the difference?’ but that was said in a moment of fury and frustration. As a member of the Polish resistance, my husband’s grandfather was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, including Dachau, and we’re certainly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust.”

Winning the Election was the Beginning of Trump’s Nightmare

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

On November 4, 2016, no one was more surprised that Donald Trump had won an upset campaign victory than one man in New York City; Donald J. Trump.

Throughout his Quixotic campaign for President, Trump had defied conventional political wisdom and used combative, divisive, and even insulting language in his quest to defeat a dozen experienced Republican candidates in his quest to be President.

His campaign had started, many suspected, four years earlier when President Barack Obama made fun of Trump at the White House Correspondence dinner.

Obama made a joke that Trump could be President because he was experienced in making tough decisions, like having to choose between hiring actor Gary Busey or singer Meat Loaf during an episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

Trump later launched a public campaign to find proof that Obama had not been born in Hawaii, and, therefore, as Trump claimed, Obama was not eligible to be president. The “birther” movement, as it became known, was a popular conspiracy theory among Republicans, and gave Trump some standing among right-wing voters.

When the State of Hawaii released an official copy of Obama birth certificate, Trump promised to deliver proof that it was a fake. For another year, Trump milked the conspiracy theory that eventually went nowhere.

From that, a campaign for President was born.

Trump launched his campaign by claiming Mexico only sends rapist, murderers, and drug dealers (and some normal people) to the US. He promised to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. And he promised to bring coal back to save jobs in an industry that even China is running away from.

He seemed to bask in the spotlight of being considered a serious contender for President. He promised to fund his campaign personally. He promised to “drain the swamp”, alleging that Washington, D.C. was full of unsavory creatures that protected their own power at the expense of hard working taxpayers.

Trump ran the board in the primary elections and secured the Republican nomination against well-established politicians like Bush, Christie, Huckabee, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich.

The unthinkable had happened; a first-time candidate reality star business mogul with a checkered past had become the standard bearer of Ronald Reagan’s party, and was set to take on Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Political polls and experts all predicted that Clinton would run away with the election. Even Clinton herself seemed overly confident; so much so, that she failed to visit key states like Michigan and Wisconsin in the final weeks of the election.

Trump had become an aggressive campaigner, leading raucous rallies where chanting crowds yelled out “Lock her up!”, referring to Clinton for her alleged misuse of classified information. He seemed poised to be the most popular and populous election loser in history. Many thought he would use his new found popularity to launch his own media network to continue fighting the establishment he so often decried.

But late on election night, as results from key states came in, the anointment of Clinton began to look like it was in trouble. Key counties in important states for were coming in for Trump, contrary to the polling that had predicted big leads for Clinton. By midnight, it was clear that Trump would pull off the biggest upset in political of all time.

On the morning of January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Not since General Dwight D. Eisenhower had a political notice been elected to the Oval Office. It seemed like a dream come true for Trump. Or so he thought.

Trump the businessman had made his career through a series of real estate, casino, and licensing deals that had fluctuated from a claimed fortune of billions to several bankruptcies and comebacks.

His business has often raised claims of questionable financing and underhanded tactics.

His Trump University real estate program had been sued for millions of dollars in a fraud case. And Trump had often surrounded himself with colorful characters with even more colorful pasts.

Upon his election, Trump decided not to divest himself from his complex web of hundreds of companies, and, instead, left his two sons to run the empire. Many critics charged that his continued business ownership would create conflicts of interest with being President. Never had anyone with such diverse and complex businesses been elected.

Then the fangs came out. Lawsuits were filed claiming Trump had violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (which prohibits gifts from foreign governments) every time officials from other countries stay at a Trump hotel or golf course.

Last year, a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate possible interference by Russians in the 2016 election. The investigation has been looking into multiple people connected to Trump in connection with foreigners, including Trump’s son, son-in-law, and close advisers.

As we all know, several people close to Trump have already been convicted of various crimes, including this week’s convictions of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Flynn. Gates. Papadopoulos. And those convictions may only be the start of an increasingly tightening noose around Trump.

Federal and state investigators are continuing to investigate and seem to be gaining access to Trump’s business dealings and internal business operations. With each passing day, the once tightly controlled private business empire of Donald Trump is becoming more and more public.

A losing campaign for Trump could have set him up to make millions or billions as a media mogul. Maybe he thought a close losing campaign would make his business empire even more valuable or reap greater financial gains through new relationships.

But, in the end, becoming President could prove to be the worst thing to have happened to Trump, and may expose his family and close associates to legal jeopardy. His past personal relationships, payoffs, and deals are all under the microscope now.

Millions of young Americans dream of becoming President someday. For Donald Trump, that dream may become a nightmare, and an expensive one at that.

Be careful what you wish for. It just may come true.

H-1B: 59 US CEOs raise concern over Trump policy

The CEOs are a part of the Business Roundtable, which is a lobbying group and is currently chaired by JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. While Business Roundtable has been discussing immigration policy for years, the letter was prompted by specific recent regulatory actions taken by USCIS, which is soon expected to revoke work authorization eligibility for spouses.

Doctor in eastern Congo contracts Ebola in ‘dreaded’ scenario: WHO | Reuters

A doctor has become the first probable Ebola case in one of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s most violence-ridden and inaccessible zones, a scenario “we have all been dreading”, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Source: Doctor in eastern Congo contracts Ebola in ‘dreaded’ scenario: WHO | Reuters