Month: February 2017

Massive Amazon cloud service outage disrupts sites

SAN FRANCISCO — It didn’t quite break the Internet, but a 4-hour outage at Amazon’s AWS cloud computing division caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of websites across the United States.

Little known to consumers familiar with Amazon’s online shopping site, Amazon Web Services is a giant provider of the back-end of the Internet. For sites like Netflix, Spotify, Pinterest and Buzzfeed, as well as tens of thousands of smaller sites, it provides cloud-based storage and web services for companies so they don’t have to build their own server farms, allowing them to rapidly deploy computing power without having to invest in infrastructure.

For example, a business might store its videos, images or databases on an AWS server and access it via the Internet.

While not all AWS clients were affected by the outage at one of AWS’s main storage systems, some experienced slowdowns, after a big portion of its S3 system went offline Tuesday afternoon.

Amazon wasn’t able to update its own service health dashboard for the first two hours of the outage because the dashboard itself was hosted on AWS.

“This is a pretty big outage,” said Dave Bartoletti, a cloud analyst with Forrester. “AWS had not had a lot of outages and when they happen, they’re famous. People still talk about the one in September of 2015 that lasted five hours,” he said.

The S3 system is used by 148,213 sites according to market research firm SimilarTech. It has “north of three to four trillion pieces of data stored in it,” Bartoletti said.

You may have noticed issues uploading files etc. Don’t worry, so have we: And we’re working as hard as we can to get things back to normal.

The outage appeared to have begun around 12:35 pm ET, according to Catchpoint Systems, a digital experience monitoring company. Operations were fully recovered by 4:49 pm ET, Amazon said. The Seattle-based company did not comment on the cause of the outage.

The most common causes of this type of outage are software related, said Lydia Leong, a cloud analyst with Gartner.  “Either a bug in the code or human error. Right now we don’t know what it was.”

The system that went down was the first of what now are three AWS regions in the United States. It is still the largest and is also where AWS rolls out new features, “so it’s disproportionately big,” she said.

AWS began as a profitable sideline to Amazon’s main online sales business but has since grown to become the major player in the arena as well as a major money-maker in its own right for Amazon. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the division accounted for 8% of Amazon’s total revenue.

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AWS S3 is used by businesses both large and small.  “More than anything else, S3 customers need to be able to get at their data, because often S3 is used to store images. So no S3, no nice picture or fancy logo on your website,” said Leong.

Alabama bamboo site

That was exactly the problem faced by Lewis Bamboo, a small, family-owned bamboo nursery in Oakman, Alabama.

“As our business is in bamboo plants, pictures are a very important part of selling our product online. We use Amazon S3 to store and distribute our website images. When Amazon’s servers went down, so did the majority of our website,” said the company’s chief technology officer Daniel Mullaly.

“Thankfully we also store the images locally and I was able to serve the images directly from our server instead,” he said.

The effects of the outage  varied depending on the site and how it used AWS. Modern websites usually pull data from multiple databases in the cloud that can be stored all over the world, so a photo might come from one place, a price list from another and a customer database from a third.

For that reason, entire websites rarely go down but various part of them may take a long time to load or not load at all, leaving broken links or images.

Companies have been steadily moving storage to the cloud because it is cheaper, easily accessible and more resilient. But the downside is that when there are problems, there’s a cascade effect.

It’s possible to contract with multiple companies to avoid potential problems, but that strategy is pricey, so many companies make peace with the knowledge that on rare occasions they’re going to have a very bad day.

“Only the most paranoid, and very large companies, distribute their files across not just AWS but also Microsoft and Google, and replicate them geographically across regions  —  but that’s very, very expensive,” Gartner’s Leong said.

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Democratic response to Trump’s speech: He’s ‘Wall Street’s champion’

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/28/politics/steve-beshear-democratic-response/

(CNN)Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear delivered the Democratic Party’s response to President Donald Trump’s address Tuesday night, criticizing Trump for not living up to his populist campaign trail rhetoric and pressing for compromise solutions on health care reform.

“You picked a Cabinet of billionaires and Wall Street insiders,” Beshear said, sitting in the Lexington Diner in Lexington, Kentucky. “That’s not being our champion. That’s being Wall Street’s champion.”
He delivered the remarks plainly and occasionally awkwardly, with a setting and tone entirely at odds with the President’s speech before a Joint Session of Congress.
“I’m a proud Democrat, but first and foremost, I’m a proud Republican and Democrat and mostly American,” Beshear began, perhaps misspeaking.
He rattled off his experiences as a former Democratic leader in a deeply red state, pointing to his aggressive implementation of Obamacare as an achievement and claimed to have focused on working with Republicans.
Taking a shot at Trump’s rhetoric, Beshear said: “The America I love has always been about looking forward, not backward.”
He pledged that Democrats were “committed to creating the opportunity for every American to succeed” and began making a policy contrast with Trump over working class values.
“One of your very first executive orders makes it harder for those families to even afford a mortgage. Then you started rolling back rules that provide oversight of the financial industry,” Beshear said in a message directed to Trump.
On the first day of Trump’s presidency, his administration eliminated a mortgage rate cut set to go into effect by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in early February he signed an executive order putting a rule requiring retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best interests under review.
He said Obamacare needed fixes, but said no Republican alternative put forth so far would improve coverage or help those most at risk.
“You and your Republican allies in Congress seem determined to rip affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans who most need it,” Beshear said. “This isn’t a game. It’s life and death.”
The Kentucky governor called on Republicans to honor the intent of the health care reform law Democrats passed under Obama.
“In 2010, this country made a commitment that every American deserved health care they could afford and rely on,” Beshear said, imploring the people to help Democrats by “speaking out.”
He turned to the national security arena, where he warned Trump was overly cozy with Russia and hurting the US’ relationships with other nations, which he said “makes us less safe.”
“President Trump is ignoring serious threats to our national security from Russia, who is not our friend, while alienating our allies,” Beshear said.
Finally, Beshear spoke out against Trump’s attacks on immigrants, the media and a host of others.
“President Trump has all but declared war on refugees and immigrants,” Beshear said. “He’s eroding our Democracy, and that’s reckless. Real leaders don’t spread derision and division.”

Trump Signs Bill Revoking Obama-Era Gun Checks for People With Mental Illnesses

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-signs-bill-revoking-obama-era-gun-checks-people-mental-n727221

 

President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.

The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.

Had the rule fully taken effect, the Obama administration predicted it would have added about 75,000 names to that database.

President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.

Related: Assault Weapons Not Protected by Second Amendment, Federal Appeals Court Rules

The original rule was hotly contested by gun rights advocates who said it infringed on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Gun control advocates, however, praised the rule for curbing the availability of firearms to those who may not use them with the right intentions.

Both the House and Senate last week passed the new bill, H.J. Res 40, revoking the Obama-era regulation.

Trump signed the bill into law without a photo op or fanfare. The president welcomed cameras into the oval office Tuesday for the signing of other executive orders and bills. News that the president signed the bill was tucked at the bottom of a White House email alerting press to other legislation signed by the president.

The National Rifle Association “applauded” Trump’s action. Chris Cox, NRA-ILA executive director, said the move “marks a new era for law-abiding gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.”

Everytown For Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said he expected more gun control rollbacks from the Trump administration. In a statement to NBC News, he called the action “just the first item on the gun lobby’s wish list” and accused the National Rifle Association of “pushing more guns, for more people, in more places.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, called out Republicans over the move.

“Republicans always say we don’t need new gun laws, we just need to enforce the laws already on the books. But the bill signed into law today undermines enforcement of existing laws that Congress passed to make sure the background check system had complete information,” he said in an emailed statement.

Trump gives his hard-line campaign promises a more moderate tone in address to Congress

President Trump sought to repackage his hard-line campaign promises with a moderate sheen Tuesday night, declaring what he termed “a new chapter of American greatness” of economic renewal and military might in his first joint address to Congress.

Seeking to steady his presidency after a tumultuous first 40 days, Trump had an air of seriousness and revealed flashes of compassion as he broadly outlined a sweeping agenda to rebuild a country he described as ravaged by crime and drugs, deteriorating infrastructure and failing bureaucracies.

Trump’s 60-minute speech touched on his plans to overhaul the nation’s health-care system and tax code, but it was short on specifics and heavy on lofty prose. Struggling to steer a bitterly divided nation with his job-approval ratings at historic lows, Trump effectively pleaded with the American people to give him a chance and to imagine what could be achieved during his presidency.

“We are one people, with one destiny,” Trump said quietly near the end. “The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.”

Trump extended olive branches to his opponents. He called on Congress to pass paid family leave, a reference to a long-held Democratic Party priority that brought liberal lawmakers to their feet to applaud. And he pledged to work with Muslim allies to extinguish Islamic State terrorists, going so far as to acknowledge the killings of Muslims as well as Christians in the Middle East.

President Trump said his administration is working on “historic tax reform” during his first joint address to Congress on Feb. 28. “It will be a big, big cut. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief to the middle class,” he said. (The Washington Post)

Still, Trump did not back away from his most controversial policies. He used typically bellicose language to describe the fight against the Islamic State, calling it “a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women and children of all faiths and all beliefs.” He made a point to utter the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which Republicans cheered heartily.

The president forcefully defended his travel ban of refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries — an executive order that was halted in federal court — as necessary to prevent the entry of foreigners who do not share America’s values.

“We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America,” Trump said. “We cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”

The president trumpeted his plans to budget a major increase in military spending. One of Trump’s fiercest Republican critics, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), stood enthusiastically when the president said he would end the “defense sequester” caps on Pentagon spending.

On foreign affairs, Trump said he would honor historic alliances — and explicitly stated his support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, on which he had wavered during his campaign — but said he would seek new ones as well, even with former adversaries. The latter seemed an indirect reference to potentially working to combat terrorism with Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded meddled in the November election in hopes of helping Trump.

“America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where share interests align,” Trump said. “We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict.”

Trump declared the time had come to rewrite trade deals and alliances in terms that benefit the United States, irrespective of global pressures.

“My job is not to represent the world,” Trump said. “My job is to represent the United States of America.”

Trump was adamant that the United States cannot continue to abide by what Republicans and Democrats see as free trade. “It also has to be fair trade,” Trump said. He cited Abraham Lincoln, who, he said, “warned that the ‘abandonment of the protective policy by the American government [will] produce want and ruin among our people.’ ” He said he would not let workers “be taken advantage of anymore.”

As is tradition when the president addresses a joint session of Congress — typically known as a “State of the Union,” although the speech is not called that during a president’s first year — Trump invited guests to sit with first lady Melania Trump in the balcony.

The night’s emotional high point came when Trump singled out one of the night’s guests, Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who died in a Jan. 29 raid in Yemen.

Although Ryan’s father has spoken out against the raid that killed his son, Trump said Tuesday night that Ryan died “a warrior and a hero,” with Carryn looking on with tears in her eyes. The audience stood with sustained applause. Trump peered up at Carryn and said, “Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy.”

Trump, as he typically does, basked in his electoral feat and cast his ascent to the presidency in epic terms. “In 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet,” he said, saying that a “rebellion” that started as “a quiet protest” morphed into “a loud chorus” and finally “an earthquake.”

He said he was sent to Washington to deliver on the promises he made on the campaign trail — arguably chief among them, to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Trump argued that everyday Americans cannot succeed “in an environment of lawless chaos” at the borders.

“To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this one question: What would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income or their loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”

As he spoke, Trump turned toward Jamiel Shaw, a black man whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant. Shaw, who frequently traveled with Trump during last year’s campaign, sat stone-faced and then grew visibly emotional as Trump spoke to him and Shaw stood to applause.

On the seemingly in­trac­table issue of immigration, Trump signaled he would be open to a reform bill — though he did not state what terms he would find acceptable in such a compromise.

“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws,” Trump said. “If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.”

Trump said he supports a “merit-based immigration system,” such as those in Canada and Australia, that allow people to enter the country who can support themselves financially and contribute to society.

Trump challenged both parties in Congress to move quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the signature health-care law of former president Barack Obama.

“Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans,” Trump said. “Action is not a choice; it is a necessity.”

House Republicans immediately rallied behind Trump’s remarks, interpreting his words as an endorsement of several key parts of their own plan. In an email to reporters, an aide to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) wrote that Trump “embraced” the House plan and demonstrated that “the White House and Congress are coalescing around a particular approach” that includes individual health-savings plans and tax credits.

“The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do,” Trump said, calling for Democrats to work with him. He said he would “ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions have access to coverage and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the health care exchanges.”

Turning to the states, he said he would give governors “the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out,” a supportive mention of a program whose budget some Republicans would like to see pared back.

Trump also called for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that he said would be the biggest program of national rebuilding since former president Dwight Eisenhower built the interstate highway system in the 1950s. Trump said his projects would be financed through a combination of public and private capital, but he offered no further details.

Trump was more somber than usual, toning down his bravado, but there were moments where he reveled in his celebrity. He glad-handed Supreme Court justices as he made his way to the rostrum and shared small talk with a reverential congressman, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). As he left at the end of his speech, he paused to autograph books in the aisle.

An uncharacteristically disciplined Trump stuck mostly to the script running on his teleprompters, but he veered off his prepared text at times to make playful asides. During a discussion about taxes, Trump recalled his visit with Harley-Davidson executives and ad-libbed, “They wanted me to ride one and I said, ‘No, thank you.’ ”

Trump opened his address by noting the wave of anti-Semitic vandalism and threats targeting Jewish cemeteries, community centers and schools. “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

Trump plans to take his message to the American people on a traditional road show, like those his predecessors undertook to sell their agendas following major addresses to Congress.

On Thursday, Trump plans to give a speech aboard the USS Gerald Ford, a newly christened aircraft carrier in Newport News, Va., and lead a roundtable discussion with military officials and shipbuilders. And on Friday, he will visit St. Andrew’s Catholic School in Orlando to conduct what aides described as a listening session on school choice.

At a moment when more Americans oppose him than support him, Trump sought to sell the country on his vision for transformational change. He wanted people to imagine America on its 250th anniversary in 2026 following what he hopes will be a two-term presidency.

He said dying industries like coal would come roaring back to life, new roads and bridges would be built, and the drug epidemic would not just slow down, but stop.

“Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed,” Trump said. “Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing, and hope.”

Wiesenthal Center, US lawmaker call for federal funding of anti-Semitism monitors

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A senior Republican congressman and a Jewish defense group called for the funding of federal positions to monitor anti-Semitism a day after reports that the Trump administration was considering nixing the international anti-Semitism monitor role.

“Ever since its creation under President George W. Bush, the Special Envoy on anti-Semitism has made clear America’s unflinching commitment to fight history’s oldest hate,” said a statement Tuesday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Given the reality of the multiplicity of anti-Semitic threats, our nation’s leadership should redouble America’s commitment to combat this scourge.”

The Wiesenthal Center did not mention the report in Bloomberg News on Monday that the Trump administration was considering eliminating the position as part of budget cuts.

Neither did Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authored the 2004 law creating the position. However, Smith issued a statement noting his role in establishing the international anti-Semitism monitor and saying a similar position should be created to combat domestic anti-Semitism.

“It is vital that one senior law enforcement official has the mandate to lead efforts across the government to anticipate, prevent and respond to threats and attacks — especially violent ones — against the American Jewish community,” he said in a statement, noting the recent waves of bomb threats that have targeted nearly 100 Jewish community institutions, as well as massive vandalism at several Jewish graveyards.

BIPARTISAN LETTER CALLS ON TRUMP TO PRESERVE ANTISEMITISM ENVOY

 

WASHINGTON — A letter is circulating on Capitol Hill that calls on US President Donald Trump to preserve a State Department position devoted to combating antisemitism worldwide, amid rumors he might eliminate the post.

The letter has already been signed by several House Democrats and Republicans, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York), one of its backers, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

 

According to a report in Bloomberg, the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is one of several within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs that Trump may cut in his budget plan. The White House will propose massive cuts to the State Department that will specifically target its human rights and foreign aid programs.

“We’re going to send a letter to the president in the coming days that one of his priorities should be to appoint an envoy,” Engel said. “The rumor we’re hearing is that this is one of the positions that would be eliminated.”

Ira Forman served as the last special envoy on antisemitism from 2013 until Trump’s inauguration. The new president has not yet appointed a special envoy to the Middle East peace process, a White House liaison to the Jewish community or an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, and the White House has declined to comment on whether or not he ever intends to do so.

Trump opens joint session of Congress with condemnation of anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON — In a noteworthy move, President Donald Trump opened his highly anticipated address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night by speaking out against the recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks across the country.

Noting his Feb. 28 speech came at the end of Black History Month, Trump said the recurrent surges of bomb threats to Jewish institution and desecration of Jewish cemeteries were a reminder “of our nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that remains.”

“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” he said.

In just the last week, hundreds of Jewish tombstones in Pennsylvania and Missouri were vandalized and numerous Jewish institutions received bomb threats, including 29 on Monday alone — the fifth wave of such scares since January.

US President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / JIM LO SCALZO)

There have been multiple other anti-Semitic incidents in the months since the election, including swastikas and racial slurs being drawn on schools and other buildings.

Trump’s remarks came hours after he reportedly told a group of state attorneys general visiting the White House Tuesday that he suspected the bomb threat calls may be planted out of political motives.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), who is Jewish, described the meeting to a BuzzFeed reporter, and said that Trump called the calls — which have forced the evacuation of nearly 100 Jewish community centers and other institutions nationwide — “reprehensible.”

But he also added: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people – or to make others – look bad,” according to Shapiro, who added that Trump said it was “the reverse” two or three times but did not clarify what he meant.

The White House denied Shapiro’s description of Trump’s comments. “This is not what he said or meant,” a White House spokesperson told the The New York Daily News.

A man looks at fallen tombstones at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia. AFP/DOMINICK REUTER)

There have been five waves of bomb threats to Jewish institutions since January, resulting in the evacuations of nearly 100 Jewish community centers nationwide.

Earlier on Tuesday, Virgina Sen. Tim Kaine (D) penned an open letter to FBI Director James Comey, asking him to open a full investigation into the increase of anti-semitic attacks throughout the United States.

Such repeated incidents have “heightened fear and anxiety in Jewish communities” throughout the country, said Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election against Trump.

Jewish leaders who have opposed Trump and spoken out against his policies and rhetoric in the past commended his acknowledgment of this phenomenon but asked for more action.

“Powerful for POTUS to not anti-Semitism at [the] top of his speech,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president for the Union for Reform Judaism, tweeted. “Key now is to investigate and end terror campaign.”

Trump’s speech, which was designed to update the country on his doings since assuming office Jan. 20, also noted his administration’s imposition of fresh sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile testing, which he said “reaffirmed our unbreakable alliance with the State of Israel.”

Over 200 Israelis attend funeral of Holocaust survivor they did not know (LOL….)

More than 200 Israelis attended the funeral of a complete stranger — a Holocaust survivor from the Canary Islands who fulfilled a final wish, to be buried in Israel alongside her mother.

Hilde Nathan, who did not have a husband or children, died alone two weeks ago in the Canary Islands at 90. Knowing of her wishes, the Canary Island Jewish community in Spain, which numbers about 20, raised the money to fly her body to Israel for burial.

The community put out a call through the Israeli media for mourners at her funeral, which was held Monday morning.

“Nathan always lived alone, but today it seems that the entire People of Israel has come to say goodbye,” an Israeli Holocaust survivor, the only person at the funeral who knew her, told the United with Israel website. “She lived alone, but did not leave alone.”

Hilde Nathan (Courtesy Jewish community of Canary Islands)

Nathan, a native of Germany, was one of the few to survive the Theresienstadt concentration camp. She managed to avoid being sent to the Treblinka and Auschwitz extermination camps like many of the other Jews imprisoned at Theresienstadt by the Nazis.

She was freed from the camp after it was liberated by the Soviet army on May 8, 1945.

Her father died shortly after the war and was buried in Germany, and she and her mother moved to the Canary Islands. Her mother died several years ago and was buried in Israel.

Moving to the Land of Israel had long been a dream of the Nathans. Before the outbreak of World War II, the family sought to immigrate to the then British Mandate of Palestine, but were unable to acquire visas in order to leave Germany, according to United with Israel.

After the war started, the family made numerous attempts to flee Germany and were almost successful, but, despite their efforts, they were sent to Theresiendstadt in 1942, where tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners were killed.

“During childhood, she was humiliated. She had no name, only a number. Today, thanks to many anonymous people who helped make it happen, she had the dignified burial that she deserved,” United with Israel said.

Top Democrat Tim Kaine (White Freemason, Zionist) asks FBI to ‘fully investigate anti-Semitic incidents’

WASHINGTON — Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open a full investigation into the current wave of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the country that has “heightened fear and anxiety in Jewish communities nationwide.”

In an open letter Tuesday to FBI director James Comey, Kaine urged the agency to devote all its resources to fully scrutinizing a phenomenon.

In the last week, there have been multiple incidents, including the vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries in Pennsylvania and Missouri and numerous Jewish institutions receive bomb threats, including 29 on Monday alone, the fifth wave of such scares since January.

“These reports make it even more important that law enforcement entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, swiftly investigate cowardly acts of hate against vulnerable communities, including the young students of Gesher Jewish Day School,” Kaine wrote, referring to a school in Fairfax, Virginia.

Kaine’s letter comes just hours after President Donald Trump reportedly told a group of state attorneys general visiting the White House that he suspected the bomb threat calls may be planted out of political motives.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), who is Jewish, described the meeting to a BuzzFeed reporter, and said that Trump called the calls — which have forced the evacuation of nearly 100 Jewish community centers and other institutions nationwide — “reprehensible.”

US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the National Governors Association and his administration before a meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, February 27, 2017, in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)

But he also added: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people – or to make others – look bad,” according to Shapiro, who added that Trump said it was “the reverse” two or three times but did not clarify what he meant.

The White House denied Shapiro’s description of Trump’s comments. “This is not what he said or meant,” a White House spokesperson told the The New York Daily News.

In his letter to Comey, Kaine, who was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election, noted that the rise in anti-Semitic attacks has been part of an overall increase in hate crimes, according to FBI statistics.

“The rise in anti-Semitism follows a general increase of reported incidents of hate crimes against individuals and institutions for their actual or perceived racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual identities,” he said. “Your Bureau’s annual report on hate crimes reported a 7 percent increase from 2015, including a 67 percent rise in crimes against Muslims in 2015.”

Kaine acknowledged that standard FBI practice means they do not disclose their investigative work. But he asked if they would assure the public — and the American Jewish community in particular — that the issue was being addressed.

“While I am aware of Bureau policy prohibiting discussion of ongoing investigations, I hope you may be able to provide some assurance that this recent set of coordinated anti-Semitic attacks are being given the serious attention they deserve,” he said. “I am in dialogue with affected communities and would like to allay their concerns.”

TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST WANTS MIXED SEX SHOWER ROOMS IN SCHOOLS

Mara Keisling, founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality went C-SPAN to answer questions and ended up lobbying to the public that having single-sex shower room, locker rooms, and school sports, are all forms of discrimination.

This comes just weeks before the Supreme Court is to take a case which says that the overabundance of single-sex civic groups, such as sports leagues and locker rooms, discriminating against the transgender population should be considered “illegal prejudice”.

“You know we started with racial differences, then we went to physical ability differences and learning differences, and schools know, there’s lots of different kids now, and they try to make accommodations,” Keisling said. “And now almost every school in the country has trans kids in it.  And I don’t think most Americans understand that, but there are hundreds of thousands of trans kids.”

Breitbart further reports:

iesling and her supporters are pushing for government-enforced nationwide changes in civic practice about sex and kids, even though available data shows fewer than 0.3 percent of the population try to live as members of the opposite sex, and that very few “gender confused” young kids continue their transgender activities into adulthood.

The American College of Pediatricians observes, “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.” Nationwide, fewer than 1 in 2,400 adults have changed their names from one sex to the other sex, according to a study of the 2010 census.

Youth Trans Critical Professionals — a group of self-described “left-leaning, open-minded, and pro-gay rights” professionals, expresses “alarm” that, because of the current trendiness of being transgendered, many young people have decided they are a member of the opposite sex simply as a result of “binges” on social media sites. They describe a process of transgender activists recruiting creating a “cult” to recruit teenagers who are worried about their own bodies and sex.  “There is evidence that vulnerable young people are being actively recruited and coached on such sites to believe that they are trans,” the professionals say.

Keisling also suggested that children’s discomfort with nakedness in front of opposite-sex kids is just the same as their discomfort with nakedness in front of peer kids of the same sex. “I don’t know what people think goes on in locker rooms, but nobody likes to be naked in locker rooms,” Keisling said.

Keisling dismissed parents’ concerns about sexual pressure on their kids as merely mental hangups. “I don’t want to tell people ever, ever how to be parents, but don’t put your stuff on other people’s kids,” Keisling said.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he is abandoning former President Barack Obama’s May 2016 national K-12 pro-transgender policy, preferring instead for the issue to be decided upon by state and local governments. The Trump administration has not announced, however, whether it supports the demand made by gay rights activists that “gender identity,” rather than biology, should determine an individual’s legal sex.

LGBT activists have been using the Obama directive to force gender ideology through the courts and state legislatures. They claim that all single-sex public bathrooms should admit individuals who say they have the “gender identity” — but not the biological sex — marked on the door.

Obama’s transgender bathroom policy was halted in August of 2016 by a U.S. district judge who said the former president had overstepped his authority in issuing the directive.

Since the presidential election, Obama has twice admitted that his unpopular transgender policy helped to defeat Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.

As Breitbart News reports, according to a Rasmussen poll, only 28 percent of Americans support Obama’s policy that provided for the federal government to determine the bathroom policies of elementary and secondary schools. Additionally, the new poll finds that only 38 percent of those surveyed support “allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex.”

The American College of Pediatricians maintains that gender ideology is harmful to children and that transgendered children are psychologically confused and at risk for mental health disorders.