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Democrat stops just short of forcing House vote on Trump’s impeachment

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democrat-stops-just-short-of-forcing-house-vote-on-trumps-impeachment/2017/10/11/23b998ba-aea6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.d96a9fa170a0

 

A Democratic congressman stopped just short of forcing a House vote on President Trump’s impeachment Wednesday, pulling back under apparent pressure from his own party.

Rep. Al Green (Tex.) read his impeachment resolution on the House floor Wednesday afternoon, bringing it up under rules that would force a rapid vote. But less than an hour later when the House’s presiding officer called up the resolution for action, Green did not appear on the floor to offer it.

Green said to reporters afterward that he had wanted to allow more time for his colleagues to review the resolution before it was voted on, and he suggested that the House floor staff had misled him about the timing of that vote.

“Before I left the floor, there was an understanding with the parliamentarian and other persons who were there that it would not be voted on immediately,” he said.

According to multiple House Democratic aides, party leaders had prevailed upon Green not to offer the resolution and thus force his colleagues to cast a potentially troublesome vote.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leaders have sought to tamp down calls for Trump’s impeachment, citing ongoing investigations into his campaign and administration being pursued by congressional committees and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Any move to impeach before those probes are complete, they have said, would be premature.

“I’m not an impeachment enthusiast,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader and highest-ranking African American in the House, noting that Republicans hold the majority. “Where are you going to get the majority of the votes? So it’s just an empty gesture.”

Republicans, on the other hand, were happy to schedule a vote. GOP aides said they planned to move to table Green’s resolution, killing it outright.

A vote to table Green’s resolution could have forced Democrats to explain to anti-Trump voters why they opposed removing the president from office, while a vote against tabling could have required them to explain to more-moderate voters why they took action against the president while investigations are underway.

“Many members are telling him that this is a fruitless effort and will end in a complicated vote that cannot be easily explained,” a senior Democratic aide had said. “Members don’t want this vote.”

Green, who first announced his intention to pursue impeachment last month, said he had not been asked to stand down before he came to the floor Wednesday. But he declined to say whether he had been approached after he gave his remarks.

“Any discussions I may have had are private, and I will not discuss them,” Green told reporters Wednesday, adding that he felt “not one scintilla” of pressure from party leaders.

Green did not rule out forcing a future vote on his resolution: “I will not indicate when, but I will indicate that it will be brought up.”

In nearly 20 minutes of floor remarks Wednesday, Green inveighed against Trump for having “produced a demonstrable record of inciting white supremacy, sexism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, race-baiting and racism by demeaning, defaming, disrespecting and disparaging women and certain minorities.”

“In so doing,” Green continued, Trump “has fueled and is fueling an alt-right hate machine and his worldwide covert sympathizers, engendering racial antipathy, LGTBQ enmity, religious anxiety, stealthy sexism and dreadful xenophobia, perfidiously causing immediate injury to American society.”

Green told The Washington Post in an interview last month that he was compelled to pursue articles of impeachment after seeing Trump denigrate pro football players who have engaged in silent protests during the playing of the national anthem before games. That, he said, was the final straw after what he saw as a string of impeachable offenses.

“There were many, many things that could have been the straw,” he said. “But these comments about free speech, which is something I cherish, they have caused me to conclude that now is the time to let the world know that there is at least one person in the Congress who believes that the president has gone too far.”

Green initially planned to file the resolution last week but delayed his plans after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

There are no indications that Green’s resolution has anywhere near the majority support needed to pass, but even if it did, Trump would not be immediately ousted. The Senate would hold a trial based on the House impeachment article and ultimately decide whether the president should be removed from office.

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Aleppo’s hospital complex bombed, forcing closures

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/aleppos-hospital-complex-bombed-forcing-closures/

 

BEIRUT  — Doctors and nurses at a pediatric hospital in eastern Alepposcrambled Friday to evacuate babies in incubators to safety from underground shelters after the facility in the besieged Syrian city was bombed for the second time this week.

Medics and aid workers also reported a suspected attack involving toxic gas in a district on the western edge of the rebel-held area. At least 12 people, including children, were treated for breathing difficulties, said Adham Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports health facilities in Aleppo.

Claims of toxic gas attacks are common in Syria, and reports by international inspectors have held the government responsible for using chemicals in attacks on civilians, which Damascus denies.

Airstrikes also hit a village in rural areas Aleppo province, killing seven members of a family, including four children, opposition activists said.

Friday was the fourth day of renewed assaults by Syrian warplanes on eastern Aleppo districts, a rebel-held enclave of 275,000 people. The onslaught began Tuesday, when Syria’s ally Russia announced its own offensive on the northern rebel-controlled Idlib province and Homs province in central Syria.

Since then, more than 100 people have been killed across northern Syria.

Friday’s airstrikes in Aleppo hit a complex of four hospitals that had been attacked two days earlier. The latest strikes forced the pediatric hospital and a neighboring facility to stop operating.

“Now it is being bombed. … I am sorry. … I have to go to transfer the children,” the head of the pediatric hospital wrote in a text message to The Associated Press. The doctor identified himself only by his first name of Hatem because he fears for reprisals against his family.

The incubators already had been moved underground for safety, but with bombs falling all around the facility, hospital workers had to rush them to a safer place despite the danger.

Hatem rushed 14 babies in incubators to another facility a 10-minute drive away while airstrikes continued, he said in a later message.

“As we drove out with the ambulance, warplanes were firing and artillery were shelling,” he wrote. “But thank God we were not hurt.”

Some of the survivors of the suspected gas attack were taken to the children’s hospital.

The cameras of Al-Jazeera, which was broadcasting from the facility as the airstrikes occurred, went dark for a moment. When video resumed, dust was swirling and debris was strewn in the corridors.

Nurses scurried to get babies to safety, and one was seen carrying a blanket-wrapped infant. She then hugged and comforted another nurse who was sobbing as she picked up a baby.

Another hospital in a different Aleppo neighborhood was bombed Thursday night, the doctor told AP. The entrance was set on fire but no one was hurt.

Only four of seven hospitals are still operating in the district, Sahloul said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of airstrikes, artillery and barrel bombs hit 18 different neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo.

Government bombings have targeted neighborhoods with medical facilities, including the children’s hospital and a nearby clinic that has one of the few remaining intensive care units in eastern Aleppo, the Observatory said.

Many hospitals and clinics in the besieged area have moved their operations underground after months of relentless bombardment. The World Health Organization said that in 2016, it recorded 126 attacks on health facilities, a common tactic over the five years of Syria’s civil war. Russia and the Syrian government deny targeting hospitals.

The city of Aleppo, once Syria’s commercial hub, has been divided since 2012, with the eastern half in rebel hands and the western half controlled by government forces.

Ibrahim al-Haj, a member of the Syria Civil Defense rescue unit in Aleppo, said the city “is a mess.” The group of rescuers and first responders said they are struggling to put out fires set off by the bombings in at least 10 areas.

The Observatory said at least four people were killed in the city’s districts.

It also said the strike that killed the seven family members took place in southwestern Aleppo province. Syrian Civil Defense posted photos showing the bodies of children covered with dust and blood.

ISIS Forcing Civilians to be Human Shields in Mosul: Reports

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/isis-forcing-civilians-be-human-shields-mosul-reports-n673836

 

ERBIL, Iraq — ISIS militants are reportedly forcing civilians in their self-declared caliphate to relocate to Mosul, in what is likely preparation to use them as human shields ahead of a planned allied assault on the city.

Fighters for the extremist group are going door-to-door in towns and villages south of Iraq’s second-largest city and threatening civilians with death or other punishments if they refuse to march north, Reuters and The Associated Press reported.

“[ISIS] took all of us from our homes at gunpoint and told us they were taking us with them to Mosul,” Ahmed Bilal Harish told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “They said if you don’t come with us you’re an unbeliever.”

Harish said he and his family fled the forced march north when an airstrike scattered the militants.

The hostages will join more than a million civilians who are already living in the city, which is by far the largest conurbation in the group’s self-declared Islamic caliphate.

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Such defensive preparations indicate that the group may be preparing for a deadly standoff in the city, all but dashing hopes that the terrorist group might retreat west to Syria and yield the city to Iraqi security forces and their international allies.

But some Iraqi police also fear that the civilians may offer cover for ISIS fighters until they see an opening to flee west.

“I’m afraid they will keep pulling [civilians] back from village to village until they get to Mosul. And then they will disappear,” one Iraqi police officer told Reuters, asking that his name not be used for fear of reprisals against relatives.

The officer has yet to hear from his own family, who were also recently taken hostage by the militant group.

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Iraqi and foreign military officials have been preparing for two years to retake Mosul in what many expect will be a decisive battle to oust ISIS from Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the beginning of the offensive early last week.

Iraqi security forces — a complex patchwork of armed outfits including Iraq’s regular army, special forces, Sunni Muslim tribal fighters, federal police, Shiite Muslim militia groups and the U.S.-led international coalition — are optimistic that the city will eventually fall. But they are worried that a bloody, extended battle will only inflame further ethnic and sectarian tensions.

Related: Motley Crew of Anti-ISIS Forces Is ‘Dangerous Cocktail’

ISIS’ use of human shields, particularly civilians from among Iraq’s Sunni minority, plays directly to such fears.

The strategy of placing civilians next to ISIS targets is one that the group has used to great effect during previous battles, particularly in western Anbar province, a Sunnni-majority region that Iraqi security forces are still struggling to subdue.

Those battles were fought primarily from the air. The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS destroyed much of Ramadi, Anbar’s capital, in order to cleanse it of the extremist fighters while sparing Iraqi soldiers’ lives.

Image: Map showing Mosul, Iraq
Google map showing the location of Mosul, Iraq. Google Maps

The presence of civilians delayed the aerial campaign, dragging out the fight for weeks.

As Iraqi security forces close in on Mosul proper, the United Nations and Iraqi officials are bracing for a massive outpouring of internally displaced people.

PHOTOS: Iraqi Families Flee Mosul as Army Battles ISIS

Some 10,500 people are currently displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

U.N. officials say they are struggling to construct housing for as many as a million displaced people before the fighting penetrates the city of Mosul in the coming weeks.

In Africa, Boko Haram is forcing more kidnapped children into ‘suicide’ bombings, UNICEF says

They’re called “suicide” bombers, but the children sent by Nigerian terror group Boko Haram to detonate bombs and kill people are not given a choice. They are mostly girls, some as young as 8.

Boko Haram’s cruelty to children — its killings, abductions, coerced marriages, slavery and forced “suicide” bombings — plumbs a horrifying low that other Islamist extremists have yet to reach.

The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, shocked the world with his grim smile as he announced that 276 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, in Nigeria’s Borno state, in April 2014 would be sold into slavery.

Since then the group has ramped up the use of children as bombers, according to a report Tuesday by UNICEF called “Beyond Chibok.”

Last year, 44 children were sent by Boko Haram to detonate bombs in crowded places such as mosques, markets and a displaced persons camp, up from four the year before. Three quarters of them were girls.

“The use of children, especially girls, as suicide bombers has become one of the defining and alarming features of the conflict,” the report said.

Between January 2014 and February 2016, there were 40 “suicide” attacks involving one more children, 21 of them in Cameroon, 17 in Nigeria and two in Chad, according to the report.

Women and girls in the regions wear long loose gowns, making it easy to conceal explosives.

In January, two female bombers hit a mosque in Kolofata, northern Cameroon, killing at least 10. A few days later a boy detonated a bomb at a mosque in Nguetchewe village in Cameroon, killing four. In March, 22 people died in Nigeria after two female bombers detonated devices.

In February, 58 people were killed in Dikwa, Nigeria, when two females detonated bombs. A third member of the bombing mission decided not to set off her explosives, because she spotted her family in the camp, according to Nigerian media citing authorities.

Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria and last year pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group. In recent months, military forces from Nigeria and neighboring countries have freed thousands of people, including women and girls who had been abducted and forced to become sexual slaves.

Doune Porter, UNICEF spokeswoman in Nigeria, last week met girls in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state, who had been imprisoned by Boko Haram, many of them traumatized by repeated rapes and abuse.

Some had seen their friends forced by Boko Haram to carry out bombings.

Porter said the bombings couldn’t be called suicide attacks because the children were either forced to carry them out or were not of an age to understand the consequences of their actions. Some may have been misled or brainwashed by adults.

“I met one girl who told me two of her friends were forced to carry out bombings. She said they didn’t want to do it. They were forced to do it.

“One of them told me that girls who had refused to ‘marry’ Boko Haram soldiers had been forced to act as so-called ‘suicide’ bombers,” Porter said. “They were all girls who were captured by Boko Haram when it took over their villages.

“Now, many of them are facing fear from their communities. That’s one of the terrible, tragic effects of using children to carry out bombings. When they return to their communities, they very often face stigmatization and isolation because they’re seen as being tainted by Boko Haram.”

The report warned that abducted girls faced the risk of being rejected and even killed by suspicious communities.

Many of the girls and women forced into marriage with Boko Haram fighters are in displaced persons camps in Maiduguri. Some told Porter their parents had been killed in Boko Haram attacks. Others didn’t know where their parents were. But some had found their parents and been accepted by them.

“They’re all very traumatized,” Porter said. “They have gone through the most awful beatings and rapes. Some of them have been raped by many different people, some by just one man. Some of them are pregnant or have had children.

“One girl told me she was held in a house and there were 20 girls and women ranging from 12 years old to middle-aged women. And Boko Haram soldiers would just come and rape them.”

One 17-year-old from Cameroon was visiting her mother in a Nigerian village when Boko Haram attacked, abducted her, locked her in a house and forced her to “marry” a fighter, according to the report. She became pregnant and gave birth to a boy while in captivity.

When she was freed and arrived in a displaced person’s camp, she faced suspicion and hostility.

“When I arrived at the camp, I didn’t have anything,” she told UNICEF researchers. “I had to borrow from people. Some women would beat me, they would chase me away. They said, ‘you are a Boko Haram wife, don’t come near us!’

“If I used their washing basin to clean, they would say, ‘You are Boko Haram wife, don’t touch our basin’. Everywhere I went, they would abuse me and call me a Boko Haram wife. I felt as if I was neglected; I did not have anybody to help or support me.

“When I feel sadness in my heart, sometimes I cry and wipe my tears away.”

About 2.3 million people, including 1.3 million children, have been displaced by the crisis, according to UNICEF.  More than 670,000 children are not able to go to school because of the conflict.

Boko Haram attacks prevented farmers from planting crops, herders from keeping cattle and fisherman from going to fish in Lake Chad. UNICEF last year assisted 93,000 in the region with severe chronic malnutrition.

Dallas mother accused of forcing 4-year-old to eat poison

DALLAS (AP) – A Dallas mother accused of forcing her 4-year-old son to drink ant poison after telling her three children that she planned to kill them and herself has been charged with attempted capital murder.

Paw Eh, 31, was arrested Saturday. She remained in Dallas County jail on $500,000 bond on Monday. She did not have an attorney listed.
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The 4-year-old child was being treated at a hospital, where his condition improved from critical to stable on Sunday. Dallas police did not have an update on his condition Monday. Police say Eh also tried, but failed, to force her 12-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son to ingest the poison.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the 7-year-old boy told authorities: “My mom wants to kill us with poison powder that kills ants and stuff.”

That boy also told authorities that his mother had put ant poison in a spoon, added water and tried to force his brother to drink it. He said his brother didn’t want to drink it and held his mouth closed so their mother slapped the 4-year-old on the cheek, causing him to cry. Eh then put the spoon in his mouth.

The 12-year-old girl told authorities that her mother had told them earlier in the day that she was going to kill them and herself, the affidavit says.
Neighbor Nay Thaw, a friend of the family, told CBS 11, that Eh “treated her children well, when I met her.”

Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said Eh did not have a history with the agency, and that all three of her children have been taken into CPS custody.

Another neighbor, Sharl Nie, told the television station that she would sometimes go with Eh to the doctor to translate from her native Burmese language to English.

The affidavit did not make any reference to the father of the children and police had no information on a father.

TENNESSEE: Public Middle School is forcing non-Muslim students to praise Islam and “Allah as the only god”

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Middle school parents in Tennessee are up in arms upon learning that their children were being forced to recite and write the Islamic Shahada conversion creed: “Allah is the only god and Muhammad is his prophet,” as part of an alleged ‘world history’ project.

Breitbart (h/t Emma)  In the Maury County School District, students were assigned a Five Pillars of Islam project that included the translation of the pillar of “Shahada” as being, “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is his prophet.”

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Joy Ellis, the mother of a seventh-grader at Spring Hill Middle School, said that Christian children should not be instructed to write the Shahada.

“This is a seventh grade state standard, and will be on the TCAP,” Ellis said. “I didn’t have a problem with the history of Islam being taught, but to go so far as to make my child write the Shahada, is unacceptable.”

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Another mother of a seventh-grade girl, Brandee Porterfield, complained to officials at Spring Hill Middle School because of its overemphasis on Islam to the exclusion of Christianity and Judaism.

Porterfield said she has no objections to her daughter learning details of the Islamic religion, but she objects to the fact that the history unit didn’t devote similar time to Christianity or Judaism.

“It really did bother me that they skipped the whole chapter on the rise of Christianity and they spent three weeks just studying Islam,” she said.

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Porterfield and other parents were also concerned with the school’s decision to have children write and recite the Islamic creed.

“But what really did bother me,” Porterfield said, “was that they did this assignment where they wrote out the Five Pillars of Islam, including having the children learn and write the Shahada, which is the Islamic conversion creed.”

“I spoke with the teacher and the principal,” she said. “They are not going to learn any other religion, doctrines or creeds and they are not going back over this chapter. Even though they discuss Christianity a little bit during the Middle Ages, they are not ever going to have this basis for Judaism or Christianity later.”

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Porterfield said the class skipped Christianity because it’s not required by the state’s standards. Those standards, TN Core, are very similar to the national Common Core standards, though in May Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill eliminating Common Core.

In Tennessee, 85 percent of the residents identify as Christian, according to a comprehensive U.S. Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Center in 2008. Only one percent of state residents identify as Muslim.

Some schools take students to mosques and force them to get on their hands and knees and pray to Allah

Jan Hanvey, Maury County Public Schools’ middle school supervisor, said that most of the three-week unit discussed things like government, culture, geography, and economics, rather than theology. She also said that the chapters on Christianity and Judaism are scheduled to be taught at the end of the year with the “Age of Exploration” unit.

Maury County Director of Schools, Chris Marczak, defended the curriculum in a statement, saying that the school system is in no way endorsing Islam over other religions or trying to “indoctrinate” students.

This is not the first time a Tenneesee school has pulled this crap

“It is our job as a public school system to educate our students on world history in order to be ready to compete in a global society, not to endorse one religion over another or indoctrinate,” Marczak said.

Porterfield, however, finds Marczak’s assurances unconvincing. “They are not going over anything else. So for the students to have to memorize this prayer, it does seem like it is indoctrination,” she said.

A meeting between parents and school teachers and administrators has been scheduled for Sept. 17 to allow Porterfield and other concerned Springhill parents to voice their concerns about the state’s history curriculum.