Things That Matter

President Trump And Beto O’Rourke Both Speak In The Same City, On The Same Night, Here’s What Happened

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On Monday night, President Trump spoke to about 6,500 supporters in El Paso, Texas, in what is the first of many such rallies leading up to the 2020 election. His rallies, which mostly consist of his own supporters, are nothing new and have been a common sight since he took office. Yet, for Trump, Monday’s rally was different. Less than a mile away from his rally, El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who came close to unseating Sen. Ted Cruz in November, was the one stealing all the headlines.

It’s not every day that an ex-congressman can get under the skin of the president of the United States.

O’Rourke, who has yet to announce a candidacy for president, held a rally aimed at promoting the reality of the situation at the border. He tried to debunk many of the claims Trump has made in the last few months arguing for his border wall.

“We are making a stand for truth against lies and hate and ignorance and intolerance. We are going to show the country who we are,” O’Rourke said at his rally. “We’re going to make a stand to ensure that we live up to our promise, to our potential, to our purpose as a country.”

There are substantive disagreements between both men and Monday’s dual-rallies showed these differences. For Trump, holding his rally in El Paso was strictly a political move because of its close location on the U.S.-Mexico border. For O’Rourke, it was an opportunity to spell the truth of what’s really happening in his home district’s backyard.

There were false claims of crowd sizes from the president.

From the start, there was already misleading statements from President Trump about the size of his rally crowd. “We have, let’s say, 35,000 people tonight, he has 200 people, 300 people — not too good,” Trump said in reference to O’Rourke’s rally. He would later claim that the actual size was 10,000 people but in reality, the El Paso County Coliseum holds about 6,500 people. In comparison to O’Rourke, following a mile-long march, he drew at least 7,000 people at his rally.

Trump claimed El Paso had one of the highest rates of violent crime in America before a wall was put in place, after which it became one of the nation’s safest cities. That is inaccurate.

At last Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the President claimed that El Paso had one of the highest rates of violent crime in America. Trump claimed that a barrier constructed at the border helped make El Paso one of the nation’s safest cities, El Paso’s mayor, Dee Margo corrected him. “El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US,” he tweeted. O’Rourke chimed in on Trump’s claims about El Paso and the effectiveness of a border wall.

“El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States of America,” he said. “Safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls. Secure because we treat one another with dignity and respect. That is the way that we make our communities and our country safe.”

According to Vox, El Paso has constantly had the second-lowest violent crime rate of similarly sized cities, a ranking it had both before and after a partial barrier was installed near the border in 2008.

“We have so much to give, so much to show the rest of the country,” O’Rourke said in a rebuttal the president. “Here, a city that has been one of the safest in the United States of America for 20 years and counting. … Walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”

While O’Rourke spoke about the things that unite Americans, President Trump used his rally to take aim at O’Rourke and fellow Democrats.

At his rally, President Trump took jabs at O’Rourke saying he is a “young man who’s got very little going for himself except he’s got a great first name.” He also used his rally to attack the media, which resulted in the attack of a cameraman, poke fun at the Green New Deal and falsely accuse Virginia Governor Ralph Northam of supporting the murder of newborn babies.

O’Rourke went the other direction as he spoke about how the great hopes he has for the country. He spoke about the reality of what many Americans are currently facing including rising health costs, economic disparity, and job opportunities. Whether O’Rourke will run for president or not, the truth is he has gotten the attention of President Trump. That is a fact.


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Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

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Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

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Two Democratic members of Congress have just been barred from visiting Israel next week in a move that many fear will deepen the injured relationship between Democrats and the Jewish state and strengthen the bond between Trump and Israeli leaders. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from embarking on a planned trip to the country. 

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed the ban in a statement to CNN. 

“The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The decision came after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” if they allowed the women of color legislators, who have both been very critical of the country, to visit. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people,” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “There is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

The private trip was organized by a Palestinian-led nonprofit. The women were expected to visit Israel and the West Bank, where Tlaib has family, as well as Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. In the latter Middle Eastern city, they were to join members of the Palestinian Authority at the Temple Mount (called Haram al-Sharif by Muslims), a major holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The decision to block the trip comes one month after Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said that the women would be allowed to visit Israel, noting at the time that barring them would be impertinent.

“Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer, who is close to Netanyahu, said

For some on the left, the Israeli government’s decision to go back on their word is proof that the decision was made in spite of the women. 

Even more, they see it as potentially damaging to an already strained relationship.

“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”

In a separate statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision a “sign of weakness, not strength,” adding that “it will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America … Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Netanyahu’s main grievance with the women is that they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Both Omar and Tlaib voted for legislation that would have made it US policy to boycott Israel; the measure was thwarted 398-17 in the House.

Since about 2005, the BDS movement has attempted to force Israel to change its approach to the Palestinians through external pressure, like demanding companies to halt business with Israel, asking consumers to stop buying Israeli products and calling on scholars and cultural leaders to stop collaborating with colleagues in the country. For supporters, the mission is much like the boycotts that targeted apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. 

For opponents, however, the movement, and its followers are deemed anti-Semitic.

Democratic presidential candidates have chimed in on the matter as well, with some recognizing that difference in views does not equate to anti-Semitism and others directly placing their anger with Trump, who they believe helped stir up Isreali leaders with his damaging remarks against Reps. Tlaib and Omar.

“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. “This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.”

Speaking to Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) called the president a bigot and told him, “opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.”

Former US representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) added: “President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level.”

In July, Trump told Omar and Tlaib, among other members of their “squad” — which also includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — to “go back” to their countries. Tlaib was born in the United States, and Omar was born in Somalia and is a naturalized US citizen.

A New Study Finds That Mexicans Are Dying Because Of Guns Illegally Coming In From The U.S.

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A New Study Finds That Mexicans Are Dying Because Of Guns Illegally Coming In From The U.S.

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The conversation of gun control is back on the consciousness of many Americans after the deadly shooting of 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The 21-year-old gunman of the El Paso shooting reportedly chose a powerful AK-style rifle to commit what is being called “the deadliest attack targeting Latinos in recent U.S. history.”  However, these types of weapons have also made their way across the U.S.-Mexico border where many are being brought there illegally by mostly American citizens.

In 2018, the homicide rate in Mexico hit a record high of 35,964, which is up 12 percent from the year before, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Of those killings, at least 20,005 were gun-related deaths.

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As the number of homicides has risen in Mexico due to gun violence there is a growing sense of urgency from Mexican officials to see something get done. The AK-47 has been known to be the gun of choice for cartel groups and is being used to kill countless Mexican citizens, every week. 

As these powerful assault rifles make their way illegally from the U.S. into Mexico, they are being used in cartel-related violence and drug trafficking efforts. The overwhelming majority of guns used by drug cartels in the country’s deadly turf come illegally from the U.S., since the Mexican army is the only legal seller in the country.

According to the San Diego Union- Tribune, the illegal trafficking of these powerful weapons has fueled the already increasingly dangerous and deadly conditions in the country. The underground market for the weapons is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and will only keep rising. 

Jack Riley, a retired DEA agent, told the Union-Tribune that these cartel groups are choosing these U.S.-made weapons for two primary reasons: their efficiency and because the weapons are a status symbol. He also says that the majority of these funneled weapons are passing through Mexican ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, which includes on the busiest, the San Ysidro-Tijuana port.

“It is really important to these criminal organizations, who stay in business by the threat of violence and through the use of violence; and the tools that they prefer to do that with are American-made guns,” Riley told the Union-Tribune. “There is a tremendous market for them and unfortunately there’s a ton of people in the United States willing to do business with some of the cartels.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is now urging the United States to “control the indiscriminate sale of weapons” after recent mass shootings.

Credit: @jennfranconews / Twitter

The shooting in El Paso, Texas has prompted President Lopez Obrador to put pressure on the U.S. to curb the gun proliferation that is now taking the lives of Mexican citizens. He has also mentioned that the Mexican government was looking into the possibility of accusing the El Paso shooter of “terrorism” and requesting his extradition to face charges in Mexico.

“We are very respectful of what other governments decide, but we think that these unfortunate events, which occurred in the U.S., should lead to reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Mexico City last Monday.

Similar to the U.S., citizens in Mexico have the same right to bear arms but when it comes to the sale of weapons, the country has tighter restrictions. Most citizens are only able to purchase lighter handguns or nothing more powerful than a .38 caliber gun as assault weapons are banned. Also, the sale of weapons from one citizen to another is prohibited.

The numbers show that the gun problem in America had crossed over across the border as 70 percent of guns seized across all of Mexico have U.S. origins, According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Credit: @frankluntz / Twitter

Mexico is in the midst of turbulent times as the number of people murdered hit more than 33,000 people last year, a record high. This was especially the case for Tijuana, where the popular tourist city that saw more than 2,500 homicides just last year. This gave the city the unwanted distinction and title of “the most violent city in the world,” where almost every single gun that was seized by police since 2016 came from the U.S., according to the city’s chief of police.

There is an “importance of going after both of these things, not just immigration, narcotics, the flow of illegal money, but the tools with which these criminal organizations rely,” Riley told the Tribune. “And for far too long there hasn’t been enough emphasis both by the Mexicans and to a certain extent by us, for a variety of political reasons, to really go after the gun smugglers.”

Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

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