The Daily Moth 7-6-17

July 7, 2017

 

 

 

Trump Gives Speech in Poland, Hobby Lobby Fined $3 Million for Smuggling Iraqi Artifacts, TSA Agents Fail to Catch Explosives and Drugs, Nevada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana and Sells More than $3 Million, Georgia Mother Murders Four Children and Father, Director of U.S. Office of Government Ethics Resigns Before End of Term, and Deaf Contestant on American Ninja Warrior 

 

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 Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, July 6. Ready for news? 

 

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President Trump is on his second international trip — his first stop was in Poland. He and the First Lady Melania met with the Polish President Duda and his wife Agata in Warsaw. Trump then gave a speech at Krasinski Square, a historic site where the Warsaw Uprising was during Nazi Germany in 1944 —  to a crowd that cheered and applauded Trump. 

 

Trump talked about the history of Poland through various wars, saying even though they were occupied and had cities destroyed, they never lost their spirit. Trump framed Poland as being a part of the “West” that must defend their civilization from others who wanted to destroy it — including Islamic terrorism. He then criticized Russia for their activities in Ukraine and for their support of hostile regimes in Syria and Iran. Trump applauded Poland for investing in their military defense and in the NATO — saying they bought the Patriot air and missile defense system from the USA. The audience chanted, “Donald Trump” several times throughout the speech. 

 

Prior to the speech, Trump was in a press conference with the Polish President Duda. Someone asked Trump if he believes Russia interfered in the U.S. election — Trump said he thinks it was Russia but that it could be other people and countries, that the U.S. was wrong before about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. Trump also criticized Obama for not taking action against Russia (related to the hacking), saying it was because Obama thought Hillary would win. 

 

Back then Obama said when he found out about the hacking, he confronted Putin to his face during a meeting in China in September, but the hacking of the DNC had already happened several months before. Obama said he didn’t do more because he didn’t want for it to look like he was influencing the election. 

 

We’ll see if this issue comes up again tomorrow during Trump and Putin’s meeting at the G20 Summit in Germany, a meeting of the top economies in the world. 

 

There were protests today with riot police battling against protesters dressed in black hoodies, shooting water cannons them. Lots of drama there. 

 

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Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts store chain, will have to pay a $3 million fine to the Department of Justice for illegally importing ancient artifacts from Iraq as and falsely labeling them as “tile samples” in order to avoid detection from the U.S. government. 

 

The artifacts are cuneiform tablets — ancient way of writing on clay or stone tablets —  and clay bullae, which are balls of clay with seals pressed on them. 

 

In 2009, Hobby Lobby started to build a collection of historical materials, partly because they wanted to build a new “Museum of the Bible” in Washington, D.C. 

 

In July 2010, Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green, went to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and looked at a large collection of cuneiform tablets and other antiques. Hobby Lobby then hired an expert in cultural property law to look at the planned deal. 

 

The expert warned Hobby Lobby that the artifacts might have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq. It was recommended that Steve verify the things’ origin and “label” it appropriately when shipping to the U.S. — otherwise it could be seized by the U.S. government. 

 

But Hobby Lobby didn’t follow this warning and advice — it purchased over 5,500 artifacts in December 2010 for $1.6 million from a dealer by wiring the money to 7 different personal bank accounts. There was no verification process and the items were shipped to Oklahoma with false labels (“ceramic tiles” or “sample clay tiles” and saying it was from Turkey or Israel. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted some of the shipments.

 

Now Hobby Lobby has settled with the DOJ, will pay the $3 million fine, and agreed to the forfeiture of all the artifacts to the U.S. government — it will probably go back to Iraq. 

 

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Last week at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, undercover federal agents tested the TSA by bringing explosive materials, fake weapons, or drugs through the screening areas — and 17 out of 18 items made it through. So this is a failure rate of 95% for the TSA agents there, very embarrassing and concerning. 

 

TSA continues to face issues like this — because in 2015, tests at various airports showed that TSA failed in 67 out of 70 tests, forcing the then-TSA administrator to be reassigned. 

 

But to make you feel better, in 2016, TSA announced they caught almost 3,500 passengers trying to bring weapons into planes. 

 

The TSA has refused to comment on the recent report, saying it could threaten national security. 

 

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The state of Nevada, since last Saturday, has allowed recreational marijuana. So far more than $3 million of marijuana product has been sold, with around $500,000 in tax revenue raised. The tax rate is 33 to 38%. 

 

There were thousands of shoppers forming long lines at newly-founded stores. Nevada voted to legalize it during the ballot in November — it is legal to have and use up to one ounce of marijuana or up to 1/8 of concentrates. 

 

Currently, 8 states allow recreational marijuana — Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Washington, D.C. also legalizes recreational marijuana.

 

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In a home near Atlanta, Georgia, four children and their father was found dead inside from stab wounds, with one more child injured. All of the children who died are under 10 years old. The mother, Isabel Martinez, was arrested and charged with five counts of murder and other charges. Terrible, there’s not much information as police arrived at the home this early morning after the mother called 911 to report it. The family recently moved there from Illinois a month ago. 

 

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The director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, has resigned, six months before his term is up. The ethics office works with the executive branch of the government to avoid conflicts of interest. 

 

Shaub had perviously criticized President Trump related with ethical behavior — saying Trump should give up his ownership of his businesses when he became president (instead Trump passed over management to his sons but still owned it in a trust), 

 

said the White House should discipline adviser Kellyanne Conway for encouraging people on TV to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line (the White House said they counseled Kellyanne), 

 

and fought with the White House to get them to release information on the ethics waivers the White House issued to allow former lobbyists to work in the Trump administration (the Trump administration has already given out more waivers to former lobbyists to work for them in several months than Obama has done in his 8 years).

 

Shaub said the reason why he left is so he can get a new position with the Campaign Legal Center, another ethics watchdog that oversees campaign finances. But he said with his experience with the Trump administration, he sees that the government needs improvements to its ethics program. 

 

The White House will have to appoint a new ethics director, who has to be confirmed by the Senate and will serve a 5 year term. 

 

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There was a deaf competitor on “American Ninja Warrior” in Kansas City last Monday night during the qualifying round. His name is Kyle Schulze (27), 6’2 and 165 pounds, from West Chicago. 

 

He made it through the first obstacle — the floating steps. Then he did fine on the hang glider, swinging across a pole tied on a chain. He made ran through the “broken pipes” — the rolling logs. He did tease the crowd by asking to “hear” them. You could see his family cheering him on with t-shirt saying, “Team Kyle.”

 

He made it through the “Crank It Up” obstacle. He arrived at the final obstacle before the warped wall — the “Bar Hop” — he made it until the last bar, but was exhausted and fell in the water. He still was successful, qualifying for the city finals. It was the day after — which means he’s already done the finals — but the results are unknown, it will be aired August 14. 

 

Great job, Kyle. He posted a YouTube video in January to be on the show, here are some clips from it. 

 

[Clip]

 

Cool, that training center looks like a fun way to keep in shape. You can follow him on his Facebook page at “Kyle Schulze - Deaf Ninja.” 

 

Ninja Qualifying Video: http://bit.ly/2tOk938

 

Submission Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ffToZKEGJQ

 

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That is all for this week. Check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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