News

The Darsch Report: Sept. 2 – 8

San Antonio’s Hoarding Task Force

In San Antonio, all four fire deaths this year have involved hoarding, something that the San Antonio Fire Department plans to tackle. During a recent budget meeting with the city council members, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood announced that the SAFD is working with other city departments to form a Hoarding Task Force that will help identify people in hoarding situations.

“We had a 49-year-old man die in a hoarder home,” Hood said. “It should have never happened.”

Hood would further explain to the council that because of the hoarding, it not only made it difficult for those inside the building to escape, but it also made it difficult for firefighters to enter.

“It makes it impossible for us to get in because the fuel load is so heavy,” Hood said. “Usually by the time we get there it is in a situation or in a state where no one would survive that fire.”

Hood said he hopes to have the task force up and running by 2020. The chief said that he wants to ensure that help and resources are available to people who are in dangerous hoarding circumstances.

“We all know someone like this,” Hood said. “So how can we identify them, and how can we help them put order in their living environment and ensure a safer house for them?”

Gov Abbott vs. Gun Violence

Despite efforts by many conservatives in the state legislature to stop talk of increased gun control, Governor Greg Abbott announced on Twitter on Wednesday, Sept. 4 that he would be taking executive action on the issue. The next day, Gov Abbott released a list of eight executive actions being taken to prevent gun violence with most having to do with reporting suspicious behavior.

Democratic legislators have also been putting out their proposals, holding press conferences on the issue and even demanding a special legislative session on gun control. The most high-profile of these Democrat proposals are so-called “red-flag” laws, in which guns could be confiscated without due process from those suspected to have mental health issues.

Second Amendment groups have already indicated that they are willing to put a fight if need be.

“Any solution that aims to take away more guns from more people is counterproductive. Gun-control laws don’t reduce crime. They don’t keep criminals from committing evil, despicable acts. And they certainly haven’t kept us safe,” Rachel Malone, the Texas director of Gun Owners of America said during a recent press conference.

With conservatives and gun owners beginning to line up against Abbott and Democrats on gun control, the governor and Texas legislatures should work with gun owners to find a solution that makes Texan communities safer while protecting their rights.

StemExpress CEO Admits to Selling Aborted Baby Parts

On Thursday, Sept. 5 StemExpress CEO, Cate Dyer, told a San Francisco courtroom that the company brokered beating fetal hearts and intact fetal heads to medical researchers.

The admission comes during court proceedings of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who allegedly illegally filmed top executives and clinicians from Planned Parenthood who admitted to brokering aborted baby parts.

Daleiden and Merritt are part of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a group of citizen journalists “dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.” 

Some staff of Planned Parenthood Northern California are already under oath testifying that they “provided fetal tissue from the abortions she did at Planned Parenthood as a regular occurrence,” according to a summary of court proceedings, “[and] when asked if she had ever heard of StemExpress, Doe 7 said she had heard of cases in which StemExpress was involved and money was exchanged.”

Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, who is representing Daleiden at the court, told Life Site News that’s StemExpress CEO’s admission is “gruesome.”

“If you have a fetus with an intact head and an intact body, and intact extremities, that is something that would indicate that child was born alive, and then had their organs cut out of them, or that that child was the victim of an illegal partial-birth abortion,” he said.

StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Northern California are currently the subject of investigations by the FBI and Department of Justice “for selling fetal organs and tissue against the law,” CMP said in a summary.

US Economy

The stock market did fairly well this week had is approaching near-record highs. The Dow Jones increased to 26,797.46 on Thursday, increasing by +435.21 points, or +1.65 percent over its August 29 close of 26,362.25. The S&P 500 increased by +52.25 points or +1.79 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq increased on Thursday by +1.76 percent.

Friday was also the release date for the August US jobs report during which the US stayed on par with Wall Street estimates.

  • Average hourly earnings increased by 0.4 percent in August and 3.2% over the year, better than expected.
  • The labor force participation rate increased to 63.2 percent, tying its highest level since August 2013.

Hong Kong’s Freedoms Are at Risk

In Hong Kong, protestors continue to march in the street against China’s efforts to increase control over the Special Administrative Region, demanding true democracy and autonomy from Beijing.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, thousands of protestors marched on the US consulate singing the Star-Spangled Banner, waving American flags and calling on President Trump to “liberate” their city.

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” many shouted before handing over petitions at the U.S. Consulate, “resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong.”

Over a thousand arrests of demonstrators have been made over the past five months with an additional 2,100 injuries being reported. This coincides with reports from protestors that the Chinese and Hong Kong government are working with Chinese gangs to attack protestors as well as police pretending to be protestors during marches, accusations that the Hong Kong and Chinese governments deny.

In Hong Kong, we are also seeing censorship of the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) by the Hong Kong government. VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) has reported that its service has been blocked in the country

According to PIA, users in Hong Kong are either blocked from connecting to the PIA service outright or are allowed to connect but then prevented from accessing any websites.

 In support of Hong Kong, many protestors and congressmen are urging the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would protect Hong Kong autonomy as well as “establish punitive measures against government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China who are responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, especially in connection with the abduction of certain booksellers.”

To continue standing as the bastion of such values as freedom and democracy that we claim to hold, we need to be the America that the people of Hong Kong believe in.

Trump Cancels Peace Talks

On Saturday evening, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to make an announcement about developments in the war in Afghanistan.

In the series of Tweets, Trump stated that he had planned on having a secret meeting with the President of Afghanistan and major Taliban leaders while at Camp David to work on facilitating peace in the war-torn country.

  However, Trump ended talks once damning information came to light. “In order to build false leverage, [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people,” Trump tweeted.

“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse… How many more decades are they willing to fight?” he declared.

On Sunday, after their negotiating team held an emergency internal meeting in Doha, the Taliban said Trump’s decision to cancel the talks would only have consequences for the United States.

“More than anyone else, the loss will be for the United States–their standing will be hurt, their anti-peace position will be clearer to the world, their human and treasure loss will increase, and their political actions will come across as unstable,” the Taliban said. “Twenty years ago, too, we had called for understanding, and this remains our position today.”

After the talks were called off, the Afghan government blamed the Taliban, saying that the violence was making the peace process difficult.

Bill Flores is Retiring

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Republican congressman for Texas’s 17th congressional district, Bill Flores, announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term.

Flores marks the fifth Texas Republican congressman and twelfth Republican congressman to announce retirement in 2020.

Despite being in a district that President Trump won with 56% of the vote, Flores has committed to retiring and eventually being able to spend more time with his family.

In a statement, Flores said that he plans to return to the private sector, where he had previously worked as an oil and gas executive. He also said that he would focus on a number of issues in his remaining time in Congress, including securing the border, removing “the uncertainty related to the ‘Dreamers,’ helping pass the United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement and paving the way for “the accelerated deployment of 5G technologies.”

In an election cycle where Democrats plan to expand their House majority and perhaps even take the Senate, Republicans will need to step up efforts to get conservatives, Trump voters and independents out to vote.

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