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Everything posted by Bumper64

  1. MANILA (Reuters) - A deadly church bombing that shook the southern Philippines at the weekend was a suicide attack carried out by an Indonesian couple, with help of an Islamic State-linked group, the Philippine interior minister said on Friday. Citing information provided by witnesses and undisclosed sources, Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said he was certain that an Indonesian man and wife were behind Sunday's attack on the mainly Muslim island of Jolo, which killed 22 people and wounded more than 100, including civilians and soldiers. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for what it said were suicide bombings. Such attacks are almost unheard of in the Philippines. "They are Indonesians," Ano, a former military chief, told CNN Philippines. "I am certain that they are Indonesians." Ano's remarks are the latest twist in a probe that has been fraught with inconsistent and sometimes contradictory accounts from authorities and, according to one investigator interviewed on television, complicated by a contaminated crime scene. Security officials had initially said the two bombs were remote detonated, but by Tuesday, that changed after President Rodrigo Duterte said it may have been a suicide bomber, a view supported by his defense minister. Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said bag checks at the entrance to the church would have made it difficult to plant a bomb there, so a device strapped to the body was more likely. "According to the forensic investigators ... these body parts could belong to two persons: one inside the church and one outside," Lorenzana told reporters. Ano said the couple had received help from Abu Sayyaf, a militant organization notorious for kidnappings and extremist factions. He said those who plotted the attack would have been under the instruction of an operative he said had been recognized by Islamic State. The violence has rekindled fears about the extent of Islamic State's influence in Southeast Asia, and the lure of Mindanao for extremists from Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere. Martial law has been in place in Mindanao since domestic and foreign fighters dressed in black outfits overran Marawi City in 2017 and clung on through five months of air strikes and street battles reminiscent of scenes in Syria and Iraq. The latest violence follow a peaceful Jan. 21 referendum that overwhelmingly approved autonomy for the predominantly Muslim parts of the Mindanao, following a peace accord that excluded the Abu Sayyaf. On Wednesday, two people were killed when a grenade was thrown into a mosque in nearby Zamboanga, a mainly Christian province. It is not clear who was behind it.
  2. Vice President Mike Pence, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to Drug Enforcement Administration employees at their headquarters in Arlington, Va., Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local): 6.35 p.m. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated the Drug Enforcement Administration for helping bring drug trafficking convictions against several members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's family and inner circle. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Maduro's socialist regime and it is backing the claim to Venezuela's presidency by Juan Guaido, who heads the South American nation's opposition-controlled National Assembly. Speaking to several dozen DEA employees, Pence said Thursday: "Your investigations have targeted the corrupt narco-dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro and helped bring drug trafficking indictments and convictions against several members of Maduro's family and inner circle." Two nephews of Maduro's wife were found guilty in New York of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. and sentenced in 2016 to 18 years in prison. ___ 6:15 p.m. The United States strongly rejects offers from Mexico, Uruguay and the Vatican to mediate a dialogue between embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the head of the country's opposition-controlled congress, Juan Guaido. A senior U.S. administration official explicitly mentioned the three in a briefing Thursday and added that "we reject any talks of any type of efforts that would allow Maduro to maintain himself in power." The official repeated the U.S. government's position that Maduro is no longer the president of the country. Canada and many Latin American nations also have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, arguing that Maduro's re-election last May was invalid because his strongest opponents were barred from running. The U.S. official briefed reporters on the condition of not being quoted by name. Mexico and Uruguay announced Wednesday that they will hold an international conference Feb. 7 to discuss the Venezuela crisis. Both countries have not recognized Guaido as president. —Luis Alonso Lugo ___ 5:30 p.m. A U.S. official says the United States is ready to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela whenever and however is decided by Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled congress who is challenging President Nicolas Maduro. The senior U.S. administration official says Maduro is the only obstacle to delivering medicine, food and other basic goods, which are all in extremely short supply in Venezuela because of a devastating economic crunch that has driven at least 3 million people to flee the country in recent years. Guaido declared himself interim president last week and was quickly recognized by the U.S., Canada and many Latin American nations. The official says Guaido thus has the last word on "how, when and in what manner that aid enters the country." The official briefed reporters Thursday on the condition of not being quoted by name. Maduro has refused to receive any international aid, arguing it would be interference in Venezuelan affairs. —Luis Alonso Lugo ___ 5:15 p.m. Venezuela's police force is denying that agents from a special operations unit visited opposition leader Juan Guaido's family home. In a statement on Twitter, the head of the national police says accusations that officers went to Guaido's home Thursday are "totally FALSE." Earlier in the day, Guaido said agents from a feared police unit known for its brutal tactics arrived at his home asking for his wife. He accused police of trying to intimidate his family as he challenges Nicolas Maduro's claim to Venezuela's presidency. Guaido said his young daughter was inside and he warned officers that if anything happened to her he would hold them accountable. The pro-Maduro chief prosecutor's office has initiated an investigation into Guaido's anti-government activities and the government-stacked Supreme Court has barred him from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts. ___ 3 p.m. The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has responded to a letter sent via Twitter by the president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that Guterres reiterated the offer of his "good offices" to find a political solution to the current crisis and emphasized his public concern about the situation and its impact on the Venezuelan people. Guaido declared himself Venezuela's interim president last week and asked for international humanitarian assistance coordinated by the U.N. in the letter dated Jan. 26. Dujarric said Guterres responded that "the United Nations is ready to increase its activities in Venezuela in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development." But Dujarric said the secretary-general told Guaido that to do this the United Nations needs "the consent and the cooperation" of Nicolas Maduro's government, which is recognized by the U.N. Dujarric said Guterres "again underscored that recognizing governments" is decided by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, not the secretary-general. The spokesman said Guterres' letter to Guaido was also sent to Venezuela's U.N. Mission and others who were copied on the letter sent by Guaido. ___ 2:30 p.m. A key U.S. customer for Venezuelan oil says it has stopped importing crude from the South American country due to recently imposed U.S. sanctions. Valero Energy Corp. said it stopped taking deliveries of Venezuelan crude oil after the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. Valero Senior Vice President Gary Simmons said the San Antonio, Texas, refinery is focused on finding an alternative to cover its next 30-day supply plan. Simmons said Venezuela has supplied 20 percent of the heavy sour crude the company runs in its refineries. He also said that Valero had been putting alternatives in place due to Venezuela's declining oil production but the company "still has some holes to fill in our supply plan." Simmons spoke Thursday on a conference call with Wall Street analysts. ___ 2 p.m. Spain's state-run EFE news agency says three of its journalists have been freed after being detained overnight in Venezuela's capital. EFE reported Thursday that the journalists are with Spain's assistant consul in Venezuela. According to the news agency, Colombian photographer Leonardo Munoz disappeared Wednesday while on assignment and two other journalists were later taken from their office by members of Venezuela's intelligence agency. Two French journalists were also freed from detention on Thursday, and two Chilean journalists were ordered deported. A union for Venezuelan journalists says that officials detained 19 journalists in January as the nation reels from political unrest. Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza says that "as in any country in the world" international journalists need to be accredited by the consulates in their countries in order to avoid "unnecessary inconveniences." ___ 1:40 p.m. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said security forces showed up at his wife's apartment in an attempt to intimidate him. "The dictatorship thinks it can intimidate us," Guaido said at the end of a speech Thursday to present the opposition's plan to rescue Venezuela from its economic crisis. He said his 20-month-old daughter was at the Caracas apartment. Neighbors immediately rushed to the high-rise apartment building banging pots and pans. The police appeared to leave shortly after they arrived. ___ 1 p.m. A media outlet in France says two French journalists have been freed from detention in Venezuela. The official Twitter account of the TMC television program Quotidien tweeted Thursday that Baptiste des Monstiers and Pierre Caille had been released by Venezuelan authorities and "will soon return to Paris." The journalists were arrested Tuesday. Earlier Thursday, the French Foreign Ministry said it had been in contact with Caracas and had demanded their release "since the moment our compatriots were arrested." It did not suggest a motive for the arrests or provide further information. Jorge Arreaza, the foreign minister of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, has blamed foreign journalists for entering the country without work permits. ___ 12:50 p.m. Venezuelan officials say security forces have taken down a "terrorists" group backed by political opponents plotting to assassinate embattled President Nicolas Maduro. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said Thursday that retired National Guard Col. Oswaldo Garcia Palomo was among those detained. Garcia Palomo has been an outspoken critic of Maduro who for months has openly declared his intentions to amass a military force in exile to remove Maduro from power. Palomo's wife Sorbay Padilla has said that she last heard from him Sunday after he entered the country clandestinely from Colombia. Reverol accuses Colombian intelligence, the CIA and exiled Venezuelan lawmaker Julio Borges of being behind the alleged mercenary group. He says security forces seized two rifles and 500 armbands bearing the letters "OC," which he says stands for "Operation Constitution." ___ 10:45 a.m. The French Foreign Ministry says it has demanded that Venezuelan authorities release two French journalists working for television channel TMC. The journalists were arrested on Tuesday. In a press statement Thursday, the Quai d'Orsay said it has been in contact with officials in Caracas "since the moment our compatriots were arrested." It did not suggest a motive for the arrests or provide further information. Jorge Arreaza, the foreign minister of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, has blamed foreign journalists for entering the country without work permits. The European Parliament meanwhile has called on the European Union's member states to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president as Venezuela's political crisis deepens. ___ 10:30 a.m. An independent U.N. human rights monitor says economic sanctions are compounding a "grave crisis" in Venezuela. Idriss Jazairy, a special rapporteur focusing on the negative impact of sanctions, expressed concern about "reports" that the U.S. sanctions were "aimed at changing the government of Venezuela." He did not specify the reports. He added: "The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law." U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to use the "full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy." The Trump administration slapped sanctions on Venezuela that could starve the country of billions in oil revenue. Jazairy's office has taken funds from donors including Russia, one of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's staunchest supporters. Special rapporteurs do not speak for the United Nations, but are appointed by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council. ___ 9:45 a.m. The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry says there are no plans underway for evacuation of the country's diplomats or other citizens from Venezuela, but is declining to comment on why a Russian airliner showed up in the Venezuelan capital's airport. The arrival of the Boeing 777 belonging to Russian airline Nordwind on Monday has led to widespread speculation, including that Venezuelan officials might be aiming to spirit tons of gold reserves out of the country as a political crisis deepens. The Associated Press was unable to verify the authenticity of that claim. Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Thursday that she could not comment on the airliner, "which was not sent for official goals." "I can say that this is not about evacuation of Russian diplomats, or their family members or Russian citizens that are employees of overseas agencies or companies," she said. ___ 9:15 a.m. The European Parliament is calling on the European Union's member states to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president. The 28-member bloc is still defining its position on the crisis there. The EU legislature approved by a 439-104 margin a resolution that also condemned the continued violence and the detention of journalists who sought to cover events there. "All of Venezuela is watching us," said Esteban Gonzalez Pons of the Christian Democrat EPP group. "Let's make Venezuelan history today by recognizing the democratic and legitimate power of Venezuela." EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on the South American country to release journalists who were arrested covering the crisis. "We expect them to be released immediately," she said in Bucharest where EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the crisis later Thursday. ___ 5 a.m. The Spanish government has condemned the detention of three reporters and a driver working for Spain's state-run EFE news agency in Venezuela's capital. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's office issued a statement Thursday calling for their immediate release. EFE has reported that Colombian photographer Leonardo Munoz disappeared on Wednesday morning in Caracas and that two more reporters, Spaniard Gonzalo Dominguez and Colombian Mauren Barriga, were later taken away from their office by members of Venezuelan intelligence service Sebin. Spain's government says a Venezuelan driver working for the news agency was also taken into custody. He wasn't identified. Sanchez has said that Spain's government will endorse Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela if embattled President Nicolas Maduro doesn't call a presidential election by Sunday.
  3. Unemployment claims at 49-year low Posted: 12:07 PM, January 31, 2019Updated: 12:07 PM, January 31, 2019 iStock/slobo Shares: 0 (CNN) - The January jobs report is due out on Friday, and the longest government shutdown in history has left experts guessing what the numbers will look like. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said this week that the 800,000 federal workers that were furloughed or asked to work without pay through January 25 will count as employed in the establishment survey, which generates the headline payrolls number. The 380,000 employees who were furloughed — those who didn't work and weren't paid during the shutdown — will be counted as unemployed in the household survey, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate. Initial claims for unemployment reached a 49-year low in late January, indicating that few of the approximately 4 million workers that depend federal contracts lost their jobs. The most recently weekly jobless claims, however, surged to their highest level since September 2017. But the impact on federal contractors isn't clear, and may not be represented in the January figures. Economists polled by Refinitiv estimate that employers added 165,000 jobs last month — a drop from the average of 220,000 jobs per month over the past year. They expect the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.9%. The underlying labor market appears strong. Economists forecast that wages will grow by 3.2% and extend a three-month streak above 3% growth. Minimum wage increases went into effect in 20 states in January which likely pushed up the average. The National Federation of Independent Business' December survey indicated that a near-record share of firms plan to boost salaries in the first quarter. But after the Federal Reserve indicated Wednesday that it would hold off on interest rate hikes for the first half of the year, that solid growth isn't guaranteed for much longer. Measures of consumer and business sentiment have been sagging in recent months, both because of political and stock market turmoil as well as concerns that new tariffs could continue to raise prices and disrupt supply chains. Another big jump in tariffs on Chinese imports due to go into effect on March 1. Dan North, chief economist with the insurance company Euler Hermes, says that trade uncertainty has replaced labor shortages as business' largest concern, likely constraining activity in future months. "I think that some hiring is going to be put on hold for a while," North says. "Let's just sit for a few minutes, just like the Fed is doing now. We don't have to be in a hurry to do anything." The jobs report will be the most important piece of economic data to arrive in weeks, because the Census Department and Bureau of Economic Analysis were closed through the shutdown. Scheduled releases of gross domestic product for the first quarter, residential home sales, and other indicators have been delayed.
  4. Proposal urges troops stay in Syria, Afghanistan Updated: 2:17 PM, January 29, 2019 Leigh Vogel/Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Shares: 1 (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing an amendment to a Middle East policy bill that would acknowledge "al Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to us here at home," a move seen as a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump's push to withdraw US troops from Syria. "It would recognize the dangers of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan," McConnell said Tuesday from the Senate floor, announcing the amendment to the bill, which is currently being debated. Exact timing for the final vote on the bill, which at this point enjoys bipartisan support, has not yet been determined. McConnell added that, "while it is tempting to retreat to the comfort and security of our own shores, there is still a great deal of work to be done.....we're not the world's policemen, but we are the leaders of the free world." Trump ordered a rapid withdrawal of troops from Syria on December 19, a move that was widely criticized by lawmakers from both parties. Since that initial announcement, Trump earlier this month extended his original 30-day timeline to withdraw the troops to four months and told reporters, "I never said we're doing it quickly, but we're decimating ISIS." National security adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the US will pull out of Syria only with assurances Turkey will not attack Kurdish allies there. Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said in a statement January 11 that the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria," but did not provide additional details. The Senate voted overwhelmingly 74 to 19 Monday to advance to open debate on a Middle East policy bill that includes fresh sanctions on Syria. The Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act wraps together five bills into one package. It includes new sanctions against Syria's central bank and individuals providing support for the Syrian government. It boosts military support for Israel and Jordan, two US allies that are Syria's neighbors. And makes it easier for states and localities to approve laws to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier Tuesday that ISIS "has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide." But he also clearly stated that the group maintains a presence in Iraq and Syria. "ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria," he said. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters at that same hearing that ISIS has lost "99.5% plus" of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq, adding "within a couple of weeks it will be 100%." "ISIS is no longer able to govern in Syria, ISIS no longer has freedom to mass forces, Syria is no longer a safe haven," Shanahan said. Shanahan made the remarks as the US intelligence community released their Worldwide Threat Assessment that found "ISIS very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States."
  5. New York State has opened the door to a war on religious education. New guidelines from the state’s Department of Education are framed as applying to all “religious and independent schools” in New York, but no one is fooled. The changes are aimed right at New York City’s freewheeling Orthodox Jewish seminaries, known as yeshivas. More than 100,000 students attend yeshivas in New York City. The new guidelines revisit the “substantial equivalency” statute that has kept the peace in New York schools since 1897. Non-public schools can educate their students as they see fit, provided the education is “substantially equivalent” to public schools. The new guidelines change the equation. Math must be taught every day. English, science, and social studies must be taught. Schools must provide samples of teaching schedules, textbooks, and lesson plans. Non-compliant schools risk withdrawal of funding for things like textbooks and transportation, and students ultimately could be forced to go to another school. Students that resist transfer risk being declared “truant” and legal steps to challenge parental competency could follow. The new mandates will be enforced by inspections from local school district officials. The guidelines, wrote two Orthodox educators in the Wall Street Journal, are a shocking power grab by secular forces. They “empower local school boards to evaluate private schools and to vote on our right to continue educating our students.” The new curriculum requirements demand “so much time that it crowds out Torah study, our sacred mission.” The controversy began when dissident former yeshiva students started raising concerns about the quality of their education. Members of the Orthodox community concede that some yeshivas need improvement. But when you’ve been in business for 1,500 years, give or take a few centuries, change comes slow. And as history as shown, it’s a very bad idea to tell a Jew how to run his religion. New Yorkers of all stripes were quick to recognize the threat to religious freedom. Ed Mechmann, director of public policy at the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, wrote that the new regulations would “give local school boards virtually unlimited power over private religious schools. There is no protection against government officials who are hostile to religious schools or who just want to eliminate the competition.” A majority of the New York City Council — not a group known for its theological fervor — complained in a letter to the state Education Department about the “unprecedented incursion into private schools’ curricula” and warned it to refrain “from threatening to remove student-based funding from schools that do not acquiesce to these guidelines.” In New York City, the Orthodox community is a powerful political force, often delivering critical votes in closely fought elections. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio opened a probe in 2015 following complaints about sub-standard education from the yeshiva dissidents. But the investigation went nowhere. De Blasio’s own investigations commissioner, Mark Peters, looked into the controversy, only to be fired later by the mayor. The new guidelines put the mayor back in the yeshiva hot seat and could revive the dormant investigation. They seem sure to ignite more controversy. School inspections are slated to begin in February. The yeshiva establishment says it won’t cooperate with inspectors, ditto from New York’s Catholic school leadership. That’s going to be a big problem. New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told the New York Times he’s starting the inspections with yeshivas that have barred city officials or have been noted in complaints about poor education standards. Carranza said the de Blasio administration intends to “move aggressively and get this taken care of.” Don’t bet on it.
  6. No words needed, just sit and think about it! She doesn’t know it’s a statue, or the story of Christ. She just sees suffering and wants to help! .... Why can’t we be like this child ?????
  7. President Trump appeared to endorse efforts by legislators in several states to allow public schools to offer Bible classes. "Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!" Mr. Trump tweeted Monday morning after "Fox and Friends" ran a segment on the topic. Christian lawmakers in six Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are pushing for legislation that would allow public schools to offer elective classes on the New and Old Testaments. The push by conservative legislators in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia has stirred some controversy. Critics of the proposals, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argue that public school classes on the Bible would jeopardize the separation of church and state enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Alabama, Iowa and West Virginia have also considered Bible literacy bills, but all of the measures were voted down, according to the Fox News report. But in Kentucky, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed legislation in 2017 to allow public school students to take Bible and Hebrew scriptures classes. A year ago, in January 2018, the ACLU of Kentucky expressed concern to the Kentucky Board of Education after an Open Records Act investigation found that many courses violatedconstitutional requirements that say that religious texts used in classrooms must be secular, objective and not promote any specific religious view. The ACLU said it found "public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons" and use of Sunday school lessons and worksheets for source material. These are not academic approaches to objective study of the Bible and its historical or literary value, the ACLU pointed out. In June 2018, the Kentucky Board of Education approved standards for the classes, but the ACLU was still worried about what was being taught in Bible literacy courses. "Without more specific guidance, we fear some classrooms will once again be filled with preaching, not teaching," the organization wrote in a statement last August. "The ACLU-KY reminds students and parents that 'Bible Literacy' courses may not promote religion or a particular religious viewpoint, test students on matters of religious faith, nor be designed to instill religious life lessons." "Religious education is best left to parents and churches, not school or government," the ACLU added. Evangelicals and other Christian groups were an integral part of the president's electoral coalition during the 2016 election and have largely remained supportive of his administration — particularly because of his stance on social issues like LGBT rights and abortion, and his appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court.
  8. Charlie Landeros, aged old enough to know better, loved his far-left activism. He belonged to an armed Antifa group we’ve covered, training “oppressed peoples” in armed self-defense. And now he’s no longer with us after drawing down on two Eugene, Oregon police officers who attempted to arrest him at a Eugene middle school there. Police believe the radical Antifa activist showed up at his daughter’s school on January 11 intending to pick her up. Cascade Middle School administrators, however, knew that he had recently lost custody of his child and called police to remove him from school property. What they didn’t know was Charlie had a gun on his hip along with a backpack full of loaded magazines and more 9mmammunition. When police arrived, Landeros claimed they had no jurisdiction at the school. The Eugene officers had a different take. And when Landeros failed to peacefully leave, things went south quickly for Mr. Antifa firearmsinstructor. The Eugene Police Department has released video of the shooting: Landeros belonged to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, a group that, according to its website: According to the Daily Emerald, Landeros also belonged to Community Armed Self-Defense (web site not active, Facebook page unavailable). They describe themselves as a “new liberatory and inclusive space for all oppressed peoples to learn about armed self-defense.” Apparently their training in armed self-defense fell way short. After all, when Landeros accepted the room temperature challenge and drew down on the police, they dealt with his threat exactly as you’d expect. Landeros died at the scene. Eugene police secure the scene in front of Cascade Middle School in Eugene, Ore., Friday Jan. 11, 2019, after an officer involved shooting. (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via AP) No one knows why, in addition to the gun on his hip, that Landeros brought a backpack full of ammunition and loaded magazines to the school that day. Maybe Eugene police stopped a school massacre by an unhinged loser. Either way, we have no doubt that Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Control and Gabby Giffords’ eponymous group will, of course, count Landeros’ death as another “school shooting” and yet another reason we should surrender our right to keep and bear arms. They’ll have to forgive us if we draw a different lesson from the incident and the inherent danger of “gun-free” zones.
  9. A high-stakes gambler who rained a hail of gunfire down on a crowd of country music fans, killing 58, took any specific motive for the 2017 attack to his grave, the FBI said Tuesday as it concluded the investigation into the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The agency found no "single or clear motivating factor" to explain why Stephen Paddock carried out the attack from his suite in a high-rise casino hotel. The 64-year-old fatally shot himself as police closed in. "It wasn't about MGM, Mandalay Bay or a specific casino or venue," Aaron Rouse, the agent in charge of the FBI's Las Vegas office, told The Associated Press. "It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy." The finding was contained in a long-awaited report compiled by the FBI's Behavior Analysis Unit, a group of experts who spent months examining several factors that might have led to the rampage. "This report comes as close to understanding the why as we're ever going to get," Rouse said. Almost 900 people were hurt during the Oct. 1, 2017, attack on an outdoor concert. Paddock wanted to die in infamy, inspired in part by his father's reputation as a bank robber who was once on the FBI most wanted list, the report said. In many ways, he was similar to other active shooters the FBI has studied. His "decision to murder people while they were being entertained was consistent with his personality," the report said. The gunman was not directed or inspired by any group and was not seeking to further any agenda. He did not leave a manifesto or suicide note, and federal agents believe he had planned to fatally shoot himself after the attack, according to the report. Paddock was a retired postal service worker, accountant and real estate investor who owned rental properties and homes in Reno and in a retirement community more than an hour's drive from Las Vegas. He also held a private pilot's license and liked to gamble tens of thousands of dollars at a time playing high-stakes video poker. His younger brother, Eric Paddock, called him the "king of microaggression" — narcissistic, detail-oriented and maybe bored enough with life to plan an attack that would make him famous. His ex-wife told investigators that he grew up with a single mom in a financially unstable home and he felt a need to be self-reliant. Police characterized him as a loner with no religious or political affiliations who began stockpiling weapons about a year before the attack. He spent more than $1.5 million in the two years before the shooting and distanced himself from his girlfriend and family. He sent his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, to visit her family in the Philippines two weeks before the attack and wired her $150,000 while she was there. Danley, a former casino worker in Reno, returned to the U.S. after the shooting and told authorities that Paddock had complained that he was sick and that doctors told him he had a "chemical imbalance" and could not cure him. Danley, who is Catholic, told investigators that Paddock often told her, "Your God doesn't love me." A Reno car salesman told police that in the months before the shooting Paddock told him he was depressed and had relationship troubles, and his doctor offered him antidepressants. Paddock would only accept a prescription for anxiety medication, the salesman said. Paddock's gambling habits made him a sought-after casino patron. Mandalay Bay employees readily let him use a service elevator to take multiple suitcases to the $590-per-night suite he had been provided for free. Authorities said he asked for the room, which had a commanding view of the Strip and the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert grounds across the street. The night of the massacre, Paddock used assault-style rifles to fire more than 1,000 rounds in 11 minutes into the crowd of 22,000 music fans. Most of the rifles were fitted with rapid-fire "bump stock" devices and high-capacity magazines. Some had bipod braces and scopes. Authorities said Paddock's guns had been legally purchased. Las Vegas police closed their investigation last August, and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo declared the police work complete after hundreds of interviews and thousands of hours of investigative work. Lombardo vowed never to speak Paddock's name again in public. A separate report made public in August involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency found that communications were snarled during and after the shooting. It said police, fire and medical responders were overwhelmed by 911 calls, false reports of other shootings at Las Vegas casinos and the number of victims. Hotel security video and police body camera recordings made public in a public-records lawsuit filed by media organizations including the AP showed police using explosives to blast through the door of the 32nd-floor hotel suite where Paddock was found dead. He left behind nothing that offered an explanation. "He acted alone. He committed a heinous act. He died by his own hand," Rouse said. "If he wanted to leave a message, he would have left a message. Bottom line is he didn't want people to know."
  10. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came under fire on Tuesday for calling for private health care plans to be abolished -- the latest plank is what is becoming an increasingly left-wing platform from the California Democrat. Harris, who announced her 2020 bid for the White House last week, was asked by CNN host Jake Tapper on Monday night if people could keep their current health care plan under her “Medicare-for-All” plan. She indicated that they couldn't, suggesting she wants to move toward a single-payer system rather than a mere expansion of Medicare. KAMALA HARRIS VOWS TO GET RIS OF PRIVATE HEALTH CARE PLANS: 'LET'S ELIMINATE ALL OF THAT. LET'S MOVE ON' "Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care. And you don't have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require," Harris told Tapper 908 people are talking about this "Who among us has not had that situation?" she continued. "Where you got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, 'Well I don't know if your insurance company is going to cover this.' Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on." The claim is a significant shift from the famous promise by former President Barack Obama who, in promoting the Affordable Care Act (known to many as ObamaCare) pledged: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That promise came back to haunt him when Americans started losing their plans. Harris appears to have abandoned that notion completely, in a move that would have enormous implications for the health care industry and the 217 million Americans the 2017 census says have private plans. HARRIS SNAGS SEVERAL FORMER HILLARY CLINTON STAFFERS FOR 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN Democrats are increasingly calling for Medicare-for-All plans, and it is unclear what room would be left in those plans for private insurance. Some single-payer systems in other countries, such as Britain’s National Health Service, allow for optional private health care insurance. It is unclear if Harris would seek to abolish that option in the U.S., or if she merely seeks to make them unnecessary. The announcement was met with immediate criticism by political opponents. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is mulling a 2020 run as an independent, declared that abolishing private insurance is “not American.” “That’s not correct. That’s not American,” Schultz said in an interview with CBS News' "This Morning," adding: “What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?" KAMALA HARRIS SNAGS EARLY ENDORSEMENT FROM DEMOCRATIC REP. TED LIEU Republicans and conservatives, meanwhile, were quick to spread the clip of Harris online without commentary, apparently feeling it was a “gotcha” moment. The Republican National Committee shared the clip, and also said that her plan would cost $32.6 trillion, eliminate private plans, “devastate” Medicare and “double your income taxes.” Video “California liberal Kamala Harris just showed American voters how radical and out of step she is. Her full embrace of socialized medicine would completely eliminate your private health care plan, even if you like it,” RNC spokesman Steve Guest told Fox News. California Republicans also took aim at Harris over the comments. “Kamala Harris declares all Americans to lose their health insurance policy even if they like it, forced into government system…Once again these people are for anything so long as it’s mandatory, former California GOP party leader Ron Nehring tweeted. 42 people are talking about this The embrace of “Medicare-for-All” plans is the latest in an apparent shift to the left within the Democratic Party. Self-described “Democratic socialists” such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have brought other ideas, such as a Green New Deal, from the fringes into the halls of Congress. A Fox News poll released Thursday found that a plurality of Democrats thinks it would be a “good thing” for the U.S. to move toward socialism. The poll asked voters if it would be a “good thing or a bad thing for the United States to move away from capitalism and more toward socialism.” Forty percent of Democrats said it would be a good thing, while only 34 percent said it would be bad. But that was not shared by the population at large, where 54 percent said such a move would be bad, with only 24 percent saying it would be good.
  11. Positive news for sure, thanks Adam for all you do!!😉
  12. PB, you know that there always has to be that one!!!
  13. That is so my dog!!! 🤣😂
  14. This is a touchy subject so please PLAY NICE!!!!!!!!! Bump
  15. Correct, Adam is the only one that can see who are giving out the Red Rubies
  16. Just checking in to see if everyone is PLAYING NICE in this thread!! 👀
  17. Now that was funny!!!! Good job Adam 🤣🤣🤣
  18. Let's keep this thread clean of suggestive bad language Example: F... Ass etc..!! We can spread our thoughts without using these extra additives!! Thanks!!! Bump
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