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What caused those gas explosions in Massachusetts? No one seems to know

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When I wrote about this story Thursday afternoon, at least 70 homes had exploded and/or caught fire in the area of Lawrence, Massachusetts and authorities were scrambling to put out the fires and also to evacuate the area. It seemed obvious that there was some kind of problem with the gas lines but no one was too clear about what had started it. All anyone could point to was a notice posted on the gas company’s website Thursday morning which said they were going to be doing some work in the neighborhood.

Today, the Associated Press reports the cause of the incident is still an open question:

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to help investigate the disaster in a state where some of the aging gas pipeline system dates to the 1860s…

Gov. Charlie Baker said state and local authorities were investigating but it could take days or weeks before they turn up answers, acknowledging the “massive inconvenience” for those displaced by the explosions. He said hundreds of gas technicians were going house-to-house to ensure each was safe, and declared a state of emergency for the affected area so the state could take over recovery efforts.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency blamed the fires on gas lines that had become over-pressurized but said investigators were still examining what happened.

Clearly, whatever went wrong here involved Columbia Gas. Last night, Rep. Seth Moulton tweeted that he’d tried multiple times to contact the company’s president to no avail:

To be fair, the gas company president probably had his hands full last night trying to deal with the problem. There were reports that the company was trying to depressurize its lines in the area. But given the severity of this incident, you would expect that by today some word of explanation would be forthcoming. The company set up a web page to respond to the disaster but it says nothing about the cause:

What happened in the Merrimack Valley yesterday was a tragic incident. We are saddened to learn of the death of a young man as a result of these events. Our thoughts and continued support are with those who have been injured and affected. We are focused on providing as much support as possible to our customers, residents and communities. We are grateful for the community’s patience, as well as the tremendous support we have received from our first responder and law enforcement partners.

A bit later the statement says “We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate this incident.” And that’s it. In situations like this, authorities always want to be sure they get it right, and that’s admirable, but it can’t be used as an excuse to say nothing at all.

If authorities don’t know what caused this yet, then it seems likely the area won’t have gas service again until the cause is determined and the problem is corrected. If that process could take several weeks, residents with gas stoves and water heaters should be told that as soon as possible so they can begin making arrangements to deal with it.

On the other hand, if the company and fire officials do have a good idea of what happened, residents should be told that as well. Columbia Gas customers need to know they are not returning themselves and their children to homes that could once again become bombs.

The President of the gas company held a brief press conference Friday afternoon but all he said was that the investigation would be taken over by the NTSB and would “take time.” If you stick around about five minutes into this, the media starts pressing him about lack of transparency but he keeps falling back on the NTSB, basically saying he can’t answer any questions about the cause of this. Here’s the clip:

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Mexican Protesters Scream at Illegal Immigrants: “Donald Trump Was Right! This Is an Invasion” (VIDEO)

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They don’t like being invaded either.

MEXICAN PROTESTERS WAVING MEXICAN FLAGS CONFRONTED ILLEGAL ALIENS IN TIJUANA AGAIN ON SUNDAY–

During the protest today one protester screamed at the illegal migrant caravan, “Donald Trump was right! This is an invasion.”

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Trump: I don’t know if Salman lied to me, skips question on weapons sales

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President Donald Trump isn’t really sure if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had anything to do with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace there had been several conversations with Salman over Khashoggi and the story hadn’t changed.

I don’t know, who can really know, but I can say this…he has many people now who say that he had no knowledge.

He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points…as recently as a few days ago.

Trump also noted it might be one of those situations where the truth will never come out on whether Salman was directly involved in ordering Khashoggi’s murder.

Will anyone really know? Will anyone really know? But he did have, certainly, people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved. You saw we put on very heavy sanctions – massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time, we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that’s been very good.

The comment goes against the CIA notion Salman had some involvement in at least getting Khashoggi to the Saudi embassy in Turkey where he died. The President is probably right in his assessment – as even the CIA didn’t completely implicate Salman – but it won’t go over well with a lot of people who prefer presidents speak in definitive answers regarding international incidents.

One thing which isn’t questionable is the ridiculousness of suggesting there were “massive sanctions” on the Saudis. Yes, 17 people were sanctioned – but they’d already had their visas revoked. ABC News suggested the sanctions show the U.S. is taking what happened seriously but I’m not convinced it’ll mean anything because there are plenty of questions on whether sanctions actually hinder those they’re meant to hinder.

The more damning statement by Trump is his decision to avoid a question from Wallace on Saudi arms sales.

Wallace: So if Congress were to move to either cut off any U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen or to block any arms sales, you wouldn’t go along with it?

Trump: Well, I want to see Yemen end, but it takes two to tango. Iran has to end it also. And Iran is a very different country than when I took over. It’s far weakened because of what I did with the so-called Iran deal – Iran nuclear deal – which was one of the great ripoffs of all times. But I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.

This is a beyond ridiculous answer and shows the failure of the President to change any sort of foreign policy. Trump is just going along with the previous administration’s policy of being “arms seller in chief.” There is no reason for the U.S. government to be involved in arms sales – and I know it’s because there’s a federal law on the issue.

The logic of those who believe the U.S. government should control who gets American weapons is so they can pick what country gets what. But where is the accountability? How does the public hold the government accountable when it’s full of bureaucrats and so-called ‘policy experts’ who are the ones who actually make the decisions.

The Government Accountability Agency noted in 2016 the U.S. had consistently failed in following procedures (and U.S. law) when it came to arms sales to Egypt (emphasis mine).

The U.S. government completed human rights vetting for 5,581 Egyptian security forces before providing U.S.-funded training in fiscal year 2011 through March 31, 2015; however, our analysis of a sample of names from training rosters of Egyptian security forces who received U.S.-funded training shows that that the U.S. government did not complete all required vetting prior to providing training, in violation of State’s and DOD’s policies. In contrast to State’s vetting requirements for training, State’s policies and procedures encourage, but do not specifically require, vetting for foreign security forces that receive U.S.-funded equipment, including those in Egypt. The primary method State uses in Egypt to comply with Leahy law requirements when providing equipment is to attest in memos that State is in compliance with Leahy law requirements. Various factors have posed challenges to the U.S. government’s efforts to vet recipients of U.S. assistance. Gaps and uncertainties in information have made it challenging for U.S. officials to vet some cases before providing training. Additionally, State has not established procedures for clearing smaller units or individuals within a larger unit that has been deemed ineligible to receive assistance. Finally, Embassy Cairo has recorded little information on human rights abuses by Egyptian officials in INVEST since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, despite State requirements to do so.

This is why it shouldn’t be the U.S. government doing these arms sales, and why Trump’s refusal to answer Wallace’s question regarding Saudi arms sales is disappointing – and more of a story than his “who can really say” answer regarding Khashoggi. Congress needs to stop the arms sales and completely change U.S. policy.

It’s so much easier to hold private companies accountable for sales, especially when there’s no government protection barrier surrounding them. One would think a businessman elected to the presidency would realize this. Apparently not.

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ALL OF ORANGE COUNTY Turns Blue After Democrats Find Thousands of Votes Post Election Day

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Orange County, a traditionally conservative enclave in Southern California turned all blue after Democrats found tens of thousands of votes post election day.

Just two years ago in 2016, only 2 Congressional districts in Orange County voted blue–now just two years later every single district voted blue.

Democrat blue wave? More like Democrat election fraud.

The 39th district was officially called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Republican Young Kim who was up by 3 points on election night and was set to be the first Korean-American Congresswoman. The Democrats stole this race with ‘late votes.’

Young Kim was up by 3,900 votes on election night with 100% of the precincts reporting according to AP and she ended up losing by 3,000 votes 11 days after the election.

Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters in California’s 45th district was also ahead on election night then was magically defeated by Democrat Katie Porter several days after the election.

Democrat Katie Porter was trailing Mimi Walters on election night then jumped ahead by hundreds of votes after the Democrats produced thousands of ballots after the election.

There may be something more sinister happening in Orange County, California.


The Gateway Pundit spoke to two concerned voters in California’s 45th district who said when they went to vote, they were told they weren’t on the roster so they were given provisional ballots.

Two registered Republicans in California’s 45th district told this reporter that they have been voting for over 20 years in Orange County and what happened this midterm has never happened to them–EVER.

“I’ve been a registered Republican and an active voter for over 20 years and when I went to vote on election day, I was told that I wasn’t on the roster so I was given a provisional ballot,” a Republican voter told The Gateway Pundit.

Was this an isolated incident or is this more widespread?

One America News reporter Jack Posobiec spoke to a pollworker in California on election day.

The pollworker told Jack Posobiec, “I have received a very large amount of voters whose registration was changed to vote by mail without their consent and then not mailed their ballots. I’m allowing provisional voting. My registrar is giving me the runaround about this and just saying don’t worry. This is not my first election. I have not seen this problem before.”

The Drudge Report featured the story about the stunning losses in Orange County and the responses by concerned voters in Southern California raised eyebrows as well.

One woman who lives in Newport Beach in California’s 48th district said she hasn’t missed a vote in 43 years and was forced to fill out a provisional ballot on election day; her vote still hasn’t been counted.

“I was made to fill out provisional ballot after voting in the same precinct in OC consistently 20 years said I was mail in never have been My vote still has not been counted I check daily. Same with red friends. I’m ind. never missed a vote n 43 yrs,” tweeted a Newport Beach resident named Vanessa Butler.

Where the hell is the GOP??

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