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IT40 News for 05/14/2018

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#1 As Israel Celebrates Dream of Independence, Many See Nightmare Taking Shape

JERUSALEM — When Israel declared its independence in 1948, President Harry Truman rushed to recognize it. He took just 11 minutes, and Israelis, about to go to war to defend their infant state, were euphoric.

Seventy years to the day — and nearly as long since Israel declared the holy city of Jerusalem its “eternal capital” — the United States will formally open its embassy on a hilltop here two miles south of the Western Wall.

The embassy’s move from Tel Aviv and President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — reversing decades of American foreign policy — comes at a moment so fraught with both pride and peril that Israelis seem not to know what to feel.

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#2 We Need To Talk About White People Calling The Cops On People Of Color

The past few weeks have seen a spate of news stories about white Americans calling the police on people of color who appear to be simply going about their lives ― whether waiting at a Starbucks, golfing, attending a university tour, leaving an Airbnb, napping or barbecuing.

These incidents have sparked fierce debate about racism in the U.S. In most of these cases there was no apparent threat of harm, making it hard to avoid the conclusion that the people who called the police did so because of a conscious or unconscious belief that people of color simply don’t belong, or that they inherently pose a danger or threat.

Ironically, the real danger in such encounters often comes from white Americans calling 911 on their neighbors of color ― effectively deploying the threat of violence, as police interactions with black people in particular are disproportionately likely to end in excessive force or death.

“When you engage law enforcement in these kinds of things you are opening the door for things to go very wrong,” Oakland, California, mayoral candidate Cat Brooks told KRON News this week, after a white woman called the police on black residents barbecuing in a local park in an area designated only for non-charcoal grilling. Brooks cited “the potential for arrests like in Philadelphia with those two black men or worse physical assault or death.” “I don’t believe in this day and age that white folks don’t know that,” she added.

HuffPost spoke to two experts from grassroots anti-violence organizations, Oakland’s Critical Resistance and the Arab American Association of New York’s Accompany Project, which hold workshops addressing the complications of calling police, and educating people on when ― and when not ― to do so.

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#3 US Embassy move to Jerusalem ‘national security priority,’ Mnuchin says

Pastor Robert Jeffress weighs in on the opening.

The Trump administration’s decision to relocate the Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a “national security priority” for the U.S., Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin came to Jerusalem ahead of the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy as part of a 250-member delegation, including President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt .

Mnuchin will unveil the plaque officially recognizing the embassy in Jerusalem, according to the Times of Israel.

Israel gets ready to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

 (AP)

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#4 In About-Face on Trade, Trump Vows to Protect ZTE Jobs in ChinaIn About-Face on Trade, Trump Vows to Protect ZTE Jobs in China

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#5 Mass protests in Gaza ahead of US Embassy event in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claps after handing U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman a letter of appreciation, during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, on May 13, in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senior White House Advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump stand during the sounding of the U.S. national anthem at a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, on May 13, in Israel.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan speaks during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, on May 13, in Israel.

Senior White House Advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump arrive for a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, on May 13, in Israel.

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump is seen during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, on May 13, in Israel.

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#6 Noisy Hawaiian volcano lava fissure prompts more evacuations

Video by CBS News

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — A new fissure in Hawaii's Puna District sent gases and lava exploding into the air on Sunday, spurring officials to call for more evacuations as residents waited for a possible major eruption at Kilauea volcano's summit.

Hawaii County Civil Defense issued an emergency cellphone alert after the fissure was discovered early Sunday morning. The agency said one "unidentified structure" was destroyed by the new vent, bringing the total number of homes and other buildings lost to the lava to nearly 40.

Residents in the immediate area were told to evacuate, and two nearby community centers were serving as shelters for people and pets.

Lava spread across hundreds of yards of private land and loud explosions rocked the neighborhood not far from Leilani Estates subdivision, where more than a dozen other active vents have opened in the past week.

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#7 Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Like to Talk Before Bedtime

© Peter van Agtmael/©Peter van Agtmael / Magnum Pho
USA. NYC. 2017. Conservative Fox News commentator Sean Hannity tapes his radio show in Manhattan.

The call to the White House comes after ten o’clock most weeknights, when Hannity is over. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sean Hannity broadcasts live at 9 p.m. on Fox News, usually from Studio J in midtown, where the network is headquartered, but sometimes from a remote studio on Long Island, where he was raised and now lives.

All White House phone numbers begin with the same six digits: 202-456. Hannity calls the White House switchboard, a number listed publicly, and reaches an operator. The operator refers to a list of cleared callers, a few dozen friends and family members outside the administration who may contact President Donald Trump through this official channel — among them his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr.; private-equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman; media billionaire Rupert Murdoch; real-estate billionaire Tom Barrack; Patriots owner and also-billionaire Robert Kraft; and Hannity.

The operator then dials the president, who leaves the Oval Office around 7 p.m. and who, by this point in the evening, is almost always by himself on the third floor of the executive residence (the First Lady reportedly sleeps in a separate bedroom). He tells the operator to put Hannity through.

Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What’s going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, “I just hung up with Hannity,” or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.

Trump and Hannity don’t usually speak in the morning, which the president spends alone, watching TV and tweeting. During the first months of the administration in particular, the tweets launched at the beginning of the day landed like b----y little grenades directed at the programming and personalities that angered him on MSNBC and CNN. “Early on, usually we could count on the president watching Morning Joe first thing, at 6 a.m.,” one White House official told me. “He’d watch an hour of that. Then he’d move on to New Day for a segment or two. Then he’d move on to Fox.”

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#8 ‘Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing

The grand jury witnesses arrive one by one at the windowless room in the federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue in downtown Washington. They are struck first by how commonplace the setting feels — more classroom than courtroom, two witnesses said.

One of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecutors stands at a lectern. The jurors, diverse by age and ethnicity, are attentive and take notes. The questioning is polite yet aggressive, surprising witnesses with its precision and often accompanied by evidence — including text messages and emails — displayed on a large, old-fashioned overhead projector.

The investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which hits its one-year mark Thursday, has formed the cloudy backdrop of Donald Trump’s presidency — a rolling fog of controversy, much of it self-inflicted, that is a near-constant distraction for the commander in chief.

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The Mueller operation, like the former Marine Corps platoon commander who leads it, is secretive and methodical. Ten blocks west in the White House, President Trump combats the probe with bluster, disarray and defiance as he scrambles for survival.

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#9 Romney denounces pastor slated to speak at US embassy in Jerusalem

© Provided by The Hill
Senate candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) on Sunday night denounced the pastor expected to speak at Monday's ceremony celebrating the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

"Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew,' and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.' He's said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem," Romney tweeted.

Robert Jeffress says "you can't be saved by being a Jew," and "Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell." He's said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

Jeffress, a Dallas-based pastor and known supporter of President Trump, said over the weekend that he would be leading the prayer at the dedication of the new embassy. Trump announced in December that he was relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that drew international condemnation and sparked concerns of a widening conflict in the Middle East.

According to a report from Haaretz, Jeffress has made derogatory remarks about Islam in the past, calling it "a religion that promotes pedophilia" and a "heresy from the pit of hell."

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#10 Trump Staffers Impersonate Each Other When They Leak

The most “prolific” White House leakers will impersonate each other so they won’t be suspected of leaking, according to Axios. The Daily Beast also confirmed the use of the tactic among leakers.

“To cover my tracks, I usually pay attention to other staffers’ idioms and use that in my background quotes. That throws the scent off me,” one White House source told the site.

Other leakers were quoted as saying they shared information with reporters as an easy way to settle scores within the White House, a way to act out on “personal vendettas,” and out of sheer frustration with the leadership.

They also said there was a strategic element involved—whether it be getting an “accurate record of what’s really going on in the White House” out to the public, to “drive narrative,” or to give them an opportunity to win a policy debate.

“By leaking the decision, the loser gets one last chance to kill it with blowback from the public, Congress or even the President,” a source said.

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