Former Mexican Defense Minister Arrested in U.S. on Drug-Related Corruption Charges

Former Mexican General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda speaks during an official reception in Mexico City, April 24, 2014. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)The former minister of defense of Mexico was arrested on Thursday by Drug Enforcement Agency officials after traveling to the U.S., Mexican officials confirmed. U.S. officials have not announced specific charges as of Friday morning, however the arrest by DEA agents indicates that the former minister, General Salvador Cienfuegos, will be indicted on drug-related charges. Cienfuegos, who served in his post from 2012 to 2018, is the highest-ranking Mexican official to date to be arrested drug-related corruption charges by U.S. authorities. Advertisement “There has never been a minister of defense in Mexico arrested,” former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda told the New York Times. “The minister of defense in Mexico is a guy that not only runs the army and is a military man, but he reports directly to the president. There is no one above him except the president.” Cienfuegos was minister of defense to former president Enrique Peña Nieto, and oversaw much of Mexico’s efforts to crack down on drug trafficking. The Mexican military has taken on an outsized role in fighting drug cartels, with soldiers deployed to regions with high rates of organized crime. The news of Cienfuegos’s arrest comes almost a year after the U.S. indictment of the former head of Mexico police Genaro Garcia Luna. That indictment alleges that during his term in office from 2006 to 2012, Garcia Luna accepted millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel, in exchange for freedom of movement for cartel members and information on police operations. Advertisement Garcia Luna’s protection allowed the Sinaloa cartel to import tons of cocaine into the U.S. Send a tip to the news team at NR. Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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Ben Sasse Rips Trump in Town Hall with Constituents, Warns of ‘Republican Bloodbath’ in November Elections

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 14, 2020. (Patrick Semansky/Reuters)Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) slammed President Trump in a phone town hall with constituents on Wednesday, warning that Trump’s conduct would be partially to blame for a “Republican bloodbath” in the November elections, the Washington Examiner reported. Sasse has been a frequent critic of the president, although he toned down his rhetoric during the 2020 Senate primary. Advertisement The rift resurfaced during the town hall, in which 17,000 Nebraska residents participated, according to Sasse spokesman James Wegmann. A recording of the nine-minute indictment of Trump was obtained by the Examiner. “Like a lot of Nebraskans, I am trying to understand your relationship with the president,” a woman said during the phone town hall. “Why do you have to criticize him so much?” While Sasse initially responded that he had tried to develop a “working relationship” with Trump, the Nebraska senator proceeded to rip into the president’s response to the coronavirus and other policy choices. Advertisement “I don’t think the way he’s lead through COVID has been reasonable or responsible, or right,” Sasse said. “For months, he treated it like a news-cycle-by-news-cycle P.R. crisis.” Sasse also criticized various aspects of Trump’s foreign policy. “The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang. Right now, he hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers,” the senator said. “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.” Advertisement Sasse added, “The ways I criticize President Obama for that kind of spending; I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists.” In terms of the election, Sasse warned that Trump’s “stupid political obsessions” could push voters further to the left. “I’m now looking at the possibility of a Republican blood bath in the Senate, and that’s why I’ve never been on the Trump train,” Sasse said. Send a tip to the news team at NR. Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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San Francisco Schools Consider Removing Names of Presidents, Including Lincoln, Washington

The Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of downtown San Francisco, 2016. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)The names of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), and other figures could be removed from San Francisco public schools for connections to racism, environmental abuses, and other offenses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Thursday. The district’s School Names Advisory Committee has drawn up a working paper with recommendations to change the names of 44 public schools in the city. The recommendations will be sent to the San Francisco Board of Education, although it is not clear if the Board will adopt the proposals. Advertisement According to the working report, school names should be reconsidered for any historical figure “directly involved in the colonization of people, those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses, slave owners or participants in enslavement, and known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs.” The elementary school named after Senator Feinstein was included in the recommendations because of allegations that during her tenure as San Francisco mayor, she ordered the replacement of a Confederate flag outside City Hall, after the flag was vandalized in 1984. It is not clear if this allegation is correct, and Feinstein in fact proceeded to remove the flag. “Principals are devoting resources to this,” Jonathan Alloy, a parent of students at one of the schools on the list, told the Chronicle. “We’re not actually helping disadvantaged children by changing the name of the school they can’t attend.” Advertisement Advertisement School Board spokeswoman Laura Dudnik told National Review that the district was continuing to work towards providing instruction, both online and in person, during the pandemic. “The district appreciates that the advisory committee’s timing may be difficult for schools, and has conveyed concerns to the advisory committee regarding the challenges of making recommendations at this time given that we are in distance learning due to the pandemic,” Dudnik wrote in an email. The recommended name changes follow months of demonstrations after the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Rioters in San Francisco have torn down statues of various historical figures, including of Ulysses S. Grant, the northern general who led the fight against the Confederacy in the Civil War. Send a tip to the news team at NR. Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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John James Proposes ‘Repatriation Act’ to Bring Back Michigan’s Manufacturing Jobs from China

Michigan GOP Senate candidate John James (johnjamesforsenate.com)Republican Senate candidate John James of Michigan positioned himself as a hawk on China in a call with reporters on Friday, pitching proposals to return jobs to Michigan that have been lost to Chinese and other foreign markets. James, a West Point graduate who served in the Iraq War, was joined on the call by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). A fellow army veteran and China hawk, Cotton is scheduled to make campaign stops with James in western Michigan. Advertisement “Michigan’s manufacturing is critical to keeping this nation healthy and safe. And Michigan, I believe, is ground zero of the Chinese government’s long-term strategy to hollow out the American manufacturing base,” James said during the press call. James vowed to author a “repatriation act” to spur economic growth in the state. “The people of Michigan know all too well just how badly China has treated the United States on our trade deals, taking our jobs and factories, while at the same time they undermine the very global trading system that has helped bring so much prosperity to America,” Cotton said before giving his endorsement to James. The race between James and incumbent Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat, has narrowed to within one percentage point according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released on Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats are closely watching Michigan, which helped propel President Trump to victory in 2016 but then elected a raft of Democratic candidates, such as Representative Elissa Slotkin, in 2018. Advertisement Crucially, the Trump administration and China have been locked in a trade war for much of the president’s tenure. A 2019 study by Federal Reserve economists Aaron Flaen and Justin Pierce concluded that the ongoing tariff war has had a detrimental effect on most U.S. manufacturing industries. Michigan’s economy contains a large manufacturing sector, and according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the state has lost 55,000 manufacturing jobs since the president’s inauguration. Advertisement Meanwhile, the Commerce Department has announced that the U.S. trade deficit with China reached $67.1 billion in August 2020, the highest in 14 years. While both governments agreed to a Phase 1 deal that has allowed for the renewed export of agricultural goods to the Chinese market, relations between the U.S. and China have hit a new nadir with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. When asked what specific policies James would implement to revitalize Michigan’s economy, the candidate reiterated his support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and advocated regulatory reforms favorable to the state’s farmers and small businesses. Advertisement “I would…support regulatory reform that allows our farmers to compete in foreign markets, and also to stop and reduce ‘dumping’ of foreign commodities into our state,” James said. However, James cautioned that placing tariffs on Chinese or other foreign goods are “tools in…negotiations, and the ultimate goal must be fair trade and opening additional markets for America to compete in.” Advertisement “I don’t support a trade war or a war of any kind, but tariffs [are] a part of negotiation. I believe they should be temporary, and while we’re in this situation, we need to make sure that we give those on the front the resources they need to compete,” James said. Send a tip to the news team at NR. Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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Facebook Uses Incorrect Fact Check to Censor Susan B. Anthony List Ads

(Robert Galbraith/Reuters)Facebook used an erroneous fact check as justification to block two ads by pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List on Friday. The S.B.A. List has claimed in the past that Facebook moved to censor ads and other content promoted by the group. Facebook’s decision to block the new ads came two days after both Facebook and Twitter moved to limit access to a New York Post article on Hunter Biden, causing Senate Republicans to decry “censorship” of the social media platforms. Advertisement Facebook is “working to reinstate the ads,” spokesman Devon Kearns told National Review on Friday evening. “The initial rejection was as a result of the fact check which…has now been repealed.” The new ads from the S.B.A. List claim that Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support the right to an abortion up to the moment of birth. While the candidates have not explicitly stated support for aborting a fetus using the words “up to the moment of birth,” both have supported “codifying” the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade into law. Conservatives have warned that this would install legal loopholes that keep open the possibility of late-term abortions. A fact check from the Dispatch early on Friday stated that the claim in the ads was false. Apparently based on the Dispatch‘s fact check, Facebook labeled the ads “partially false” and directed the SBA List to appeal the label directly to the third-party fact checker. Screenshot: Facebook has flagged our ad as "partly false," and links to the so-called "fact check" article: pic.twitter.com/6iwKtrBDfv — Susan B. Anthony List #ConfirmAmy (@SBAList) October 16, 2020 On Friday afternoon, the Dispatch announced that the fact check was published by mistake. Advertisement “The fact-check was published in error and in draft form, before it had been through final edits and our own internal fact-checking process. As a result, the [ad] was assigned a ‘partly false’ rating that we have determined is not justified,” Dispatch editor Steve Hayes wrote in a post. “We regret the error and apologize to the Women Speak Out PAC. We’ve pulled the fact-check and lifted the rating.” Mallory Quigley, Vice President of Communications for the S.B.A. List, told National Review that the group was not notified of the fact check in advance. “Neither Facebook or the Dispatch reached out to us,” Quigley said. According to Quigley, Facebook has not yet returned the S.B.A. List’s request for comment on the incident. In a statement on the organization’s website, S.B.A. List president Marjorie Dannenfelser commented, “This is the latest example of Facebook censoring political speech and is perfectly timed to shut down S.B.A. List’s vital digital communications as we work to reach eight million voters in key battlegrounds in the final days before Election Day.” Send a tip to the news team at NR. Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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Pro-Abortion Group EMILY’s List Helped Fund Attack Ads to Boost Kris Kobach in Kansas GOP Senate Primary

Kobach, the former attorney general for the state of Kansas, lost the primary on August 4 to Representative Roger Marshall.

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‘Public Servants Show Up And Serve People’: De Blasio Insists on Reopening NYC Schools Despite Pushback from Teachers Union

The mayor's remarks came after the city's largest teachers union threatened to strike if its demands regarding the reopening were not met.

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Hillary Clinton Implies ‘Foreign Adversary’ Could Help Trump Steal Election

Since losing the 2016 election, Clinton has repeatedly implied that President Trump has colluded with Russia both during and after his election victory.

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NYC Records Lowest COVID Test Positivity Rate Since March, De Blasio Aims to Reopen Schools

The most recent daily results for citywide coronavirus tests, August 17, revealed that 0.24 percent of new patients tested positive.

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American Universities Will Use Code Names to Protect Chinese Students from Beijing’s New National Security Law

Universities and professors are struggling to teach the courses in ways that will protect students from prosecution under the national security law.

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