- We begin with Parkland, Florida and an event we’ve become nearly desensitized to. A troubled former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School pulled the fire alarm at the school and then opened fire with an AR-15 rifle. 17 people were killed, most of them students.
Survivors have begun a “March For Our Lives” campaign and are organizing a March 24th national march on Washington to demand changes to U.S. gun laws. The student activists are also calling for U.S. policymakers to stop accepting political donations from the National Rifle Association. The NRA is the primary lobbying group for gun rights in America, and one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington.
- Immediately following the controversial move by the Federal Communications Commission last December to repeal net neutrality regulations protecting the “Open Internet Order,” U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts sponsored a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would overturn the FCC’s move. Markey’s bill is gaining traction.
50 members of the 100 member Senate are now on board to restore the 2015 FCC regulations that protected “net neutrality” This means they are 1 vote away from a majority that could reverse the earlier controversial move by the FCC to give more control to the big internet service providers.
- On Tuesday, February 13th, citing “bribes, fraud, and breach of trust”, Israeli police announced there was sufficient evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases. Netanyahu was defiant. And while Israeli law requires him to step down only if convicted, and his conviction upheld through appeal, public and political pressure is building for him to resign.
Also, the embattled South African president, Jacob Zuma, yielded to intense pressure by his party, the African National Congress, and finally resigned. Zuma had been president of the country since 2009, and had long faced charges of corruption. He was succeeded by Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the wealthiest people in South Africa.
On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted on three separate immigration bills that stood to create protection for young DACA recipients. All failed to move forward.
The next day, President Trump tweeted:
“Cannot believe how BADLY DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats…totally abandoned! Republicans are still working hard.”
Last September Trump announced that he would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on March 5th, 2018, creating a deadline for Congress to come up with a replacement for “Dreamers”.
A CNN headline on Saturday read: “Someone please remind Trump that he ended DACA.”
- And finally, this weekend at the Munich Security Conference, U.S. national security officials and lawmakers delivered the message that the U.S. is committed to its European allies, is deeply concerned about Russian election meddling, and is not planning a preemptive strike on North Korea.
President Trump tweeted a response that criticized his own national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, who had been in attendance in Munich:
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians…”
Trump’s claim has not been confirmed by the U.S. intelligence agencies.