KBO

States Meet with A.G. Barr on Big Tech Antitrust Issues

State attorneys met with Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday to address growing antitrust concerns with the tech industry. The DoJ is currently conducting a review of online media companies and whether they are stifling their competition. New York, Texas, Arizona and Louisiana were among the states meeting with Barr.

“Our bipartisan coalition of eight state attorneys general was pleased with the opportunity to meet with U.S. Attorney General Barr to talk about the real concerns consumers across the country have with big tech companies stifling competition on the internet,” participating states said in a joint statement. “It was a productive meeting and we’re considering a range of possible antitrust actions against such companies.”

The states have a skeptical disposition towards the tech companies. “We have concerns about the size of these tech companies and will hold them accountable for anti-competitive practices that endanger privacy and consumer data,” said New York Attorney General Tish James.

Arizona has already opened a state investigation into Google.  “We are all aware that DOJ has an antitrust review of big tech companies underway, and the states are currently weighing all of their options and possible courses of action,” said Ryan Anderson, a spokesperson for the Arizona AG’s office. “There’s not many things Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump agree upon, but that should demonstrate the seriousness of these issues and the extent to which all options are being considered.”

Earlier this week it was revealed that the Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust investigation into tech giant Facebook. This new investigation is not to be confused with the FTC’s recent $5 billion fine levied against the social media company for privacy violations. From ArsTechnica:

Regulation is one of the biggest risks for Facebook, the company said in its quarterly financial filing. The company warned it could have stalled growth or could outright lose some of its 2.4 billion users if “there are changes mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation that adversely affect our products or users,” or if it sees decreased engagement as part of changes it implemented in response to the GDPR in Europe and similar changes it made in the US.

“We have been subject to regulatory and other government investigations, enforcement actions, and settlements, and we expect to continue to be subject to such,” Facebook added, which could “incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a matter materially adverse to our business.”

The FTC settlement will require that Facebook certify it is protecting user data. “Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons in a release. “The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.” Will the $5 billion hurt the company? Last year Facebook clocked in profits at $22 billion.

(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

KBO

Required Reading – July 25 Evening Update

Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:

Greenfield: 66% of Americans, 57% of Male Dems, Oppose Decriminalizing Border Invasions

“But how popular is the idea? Slightly more popular than AOC. But not by that much. When asked, ‘Do you think decriminalizing illegal border crossings is a good idea or a bad idea?’, a decisive majority called it a bad idea. 66% of adults and 67% of registered voters think it’s a bad idea. Only 27% think it’s a good idea. 47% of Democrats are against and 45% are for it. 68% of independents think it’s a bad idea. 37% of progressives are for, while 54% are against. […]  Even among people who call themselves very liberal, . . .”

Read more at Front Page Mag.

 

 

Solomon: Robert Mueller soon may be exposed as the ‘magician of omission’ on Russia

“Durham, the U.S. attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to determine whether the FBI committed abuses during the Russia investigation, is taking a second look at one of the noteworthy figures and the conclusions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. The evidence I reviewed suggests Mueller’s handiwork may be exposed for glaring omissions that, when brought to public light, leave key questions unanswered, especially about how the FBI’s unprecedented probe of the Trump campaign started. […]  There is now compelling evidence Mueller omitted or misrepresented important facts about Mifsud and Papadopoulos that could change the public’s understanding of events. And those aren’t the only omissions and factual errors to emerge.”

Read more at The Hill.

 

 

McCann: The Co-Conspirators in the American Left’s Takeover of the Democratic Party

“Is there any doubt that the American Left is on the cusp of their ultimate prize and ticket to permanent political domination — absolute control of the Democratic Party?   A clear indicator is the unanimity of all 24 candidates campaigning for their presidential nomination in espousing Marxian Socialist policy positions long promoted by the American Left.  Another is the spineless acquiescence by the party’s hierarchy in not only accepting but endorsing race baiting, virulent loathing of America as founded, and anti-Semitism from the likes of Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and their cohorts. Since the turn of the Twentieth Century the American Left has been singularly focused on expunging the foundational basis of American culture, instituting Marxian Socialism and permanently controlling the federal government.  The process of achieving this goal began in earnest in the 1960’s by first . . .  […]   All the while leftists gradually permeated the myriad cells of the Democratic Party, which was an obvious target as the Party was committed to the growth of a powerful central government since the 1930’s, but as of the 1960’s did not espouse socialism, anti-Americanism and the transformation of our unique American culture. The tactics and objectives of the American Left were never hidden or obfuscated.  So, how were they allowed virtually free rein to run amok throughout American society and stand on the cusp of achieving their primary goal?”

Read more at American Thinker.

 

KBO

Required Reading – July 25 Afternoon Update

Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:

Desiderio & Cherney: Mueller scrambles hearing by tapping top deputy as counsel

“Robert Mueller’s top deputy will appear alongside him as his counsel for his highly-anticipated testimony on Wednesday, according to a committee source familiar with the preparations, a last-minute move that Republicans are panning as a breach of House rules that could jeopardize the hearings altogether. Republicans said Democrats’ decision to allow Aaron Zebley to accompany Mueller — at the former special counsel’s request — represents a breach of their tentative negotiations. Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called the move a ‘stunt’ and said it could ‘jeopardize whether tomorrow’s hearing complies with the rules of the House.’ […] ‘Our intention is that Mueller do the testifying and not have someone else do it for him,’ Schiff said. ‘Now, there may be questions that one of his team is better situated to answer . . .. But we don’t want a hearing with Bob Mueller converted to a hearing with someone else.’ […]  Barr has said that Mueller’s deputies should not testify, . . . Note: Zebley previously served as Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI.]”

Read more at Politico.

 

 

IMPRIMIS: England: The Danger of the Attacks on the Electoral College

“Once upon a time, the Electoral College was not controversial. During the debates over ratifying the Constitution, Anti-Federalist opponents of ratification barely mentioned it. But by the mid-twentieth century, opponents of the Electoral College nearly convinced Congress to propose an amendment to scrap it. And today, more than a dozen states have joined in an attempt to hijack the Electoral College as a way to force a national popular vote for president. What changed along the way? And does it matter? After all, the critics of the Electoral College simply want to elect the president the way we elect most other officials. Every state governor is chosen by a statewide popular vote. Why not a national popular vote for president? Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 asked themselves the same question, but then rejected a national popular vote along with several other possible modes of presidential election.”

Read more at Hillsdale.

 

 

Nitzberg: The NEA Works To Indoctrinate Children With Transgender Ideology

“Some children are being trained from a very young age to accept LGBT ideology. One of the groups responsible for perpetuating this indoctrination is the left-wing National Education Association (NEA). Alongside the ‘Welcoming Schools Program’ of the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the NEA sponsored the ‘fourth annual Jazz and Friends National Day of School and Community Readings,’ which is dedicated to reading children the pro-transgender children’s book I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. Jennings, a biological male who identifies as a female, is widely known from the cable television show ‘I Am Jazz.’ ‘This year, participants will have the option of reading from several books about transgender and gender-expansive youth of color, including . . .'”

Read more at Academia.

 

 

KBO

WATCH: Jim Jordan Asks Mueller Why Joseph Mifsud Wasn’t Charged With a Lying to the Feds

On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) questioned Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a House Judiciary Committee about the curious decision not to charge Joseph Mifsud with lying to the FBI. Mifsud is a Maltese diplomat who has associations with western intelligence agencies, Western think tanks and the U.S. State Department.

Jordan points out that Mifsud lied to the investigators three times and, more importantly, is the person who allegedly kicked-off the entire Russia-collusion investigation by telling George Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary. He seems like such a central figure of importance to the Russian election interference investigation, so why no charges for lying?

Explained Jordan:

Joseph Mifsud is the … mysterious professor who lives in Rome and London. Works and teaches at two different universities. This is the guy who told Papadopoulos. He’s the guy who starts it all. And when the FBI interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don’t charge him with a crime. You charge Rick Gates for false statements. You charge Paul Manafort for false statements. You charge Michael Cohen with false statements. You charge Michael Flynn, a three star general with false statements. But the guy who puts the country through this whole saga starts it all for three years we’ve lived this now–he lies and you guys don’t charge him. And I’m curious as to why.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AUvue9jUq4]

Mueller did not have an answer.

KBO

Required Reading – July 25

Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:

Solomon Wisenberg: Mueller should be asked these 25 questions when he testifies

“Democratic politicians obviously believe that if the people can only be made privy to the allegedly awful obstructive acts engaged in by President Trump, they will rise up in anger and demand his ouster through impeachment and removal. I do not believe this is going to happen and I believe most Americans have a fair sense of what the Mueller report found: First, Trump and his campaign did not criminally conspire or coordinate with Russia or Russians to win the presidential election by hacking computers, running phony Facebook ads, or otherwise interfering with the electoral process. And second, Trump does not like being investigated and has often reacted in disturbing ways, but he did not clearly obstruct justice and cannot be prosecuted for that anyway. Here are 25 questions I would like Republican House members to ask Mueller.”

Read more at Fox News.

 

 

Berrien: DOJ Starts Antitrust Review Of Major Tech Companies Including Google, Facebook, Apple

“Attorney General William Barr is spearheading the effort, which is expected to penetrate more deeply into the companies’ practices than the intentions of the Federal Trade Commission. Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim stated, ‘Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands. The department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.'”

Read more at Daily Wire.

 

 

Zeiser: Mizzou Ignored Donor’s Conservative Intent, Lawsuit Asserts

“Mizzou’s latest challenge comes in the form of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Hillsdale College, a conservative institution in rural Michigan. In 2002, the university received a $5 million bequest from financier Sherlock Hibbs. A 1926 graduate of Mizzou, Hibbs intended for his grant to fund six professorships at the Trulaske College of Business to be filled by devotees of free market economics. In order to ensure the money was spent as he intended, Hibbs included in his will a unique enforcement provision. Mizzou would be required to certify every four years to the satisfaction of Hillsdale College that each professorship had been filled by ‘a dedicated and articulate disciple of the Ludwig von Mises (Austrian) School of Economics.’ The remaining funds would revert to Hillsdale in the event that this requirement was not met. […]  Hillsdale’s suit is helmed by Jay Nixon, former Democratic governor of Missouri and a Mizzou grad himself. ‘I believe both from my time as governor and my time as [Missouri] attorney general that donor intent is important. It’s especially important when folks are as specific as Mr. Hibbs was,’ Nixon told me. ‘Missouri University never embraced Mr. Hibbs’ intent, and consequently students aren’t getting the exposure to intellectual philosophies necessary for broad-based education.’ The smoking gun for Nixon’s claim comes in the form of internal Mizzou documents obtained during the discovery process. According  to handwritten notes from . . .”

Read more at Real Clear Politics.

 

KBO

Up in Smoke: California’s War Against E-Cigarettes

The California State Capitol disproves the idea that great civic architecture attracts great civic leaders, that the strength of our civil religion corresponds to the symbols of our devotion.

The columns and pilasters, the arched windows and drum walls, the red curtains and green tones, the granite dome and gold rotunda—all of these things are too good for legislators not good enough to exercise what makes good government possible, restraint.

Take, for instance, the attempt to further restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes

As a nonsmoker, I neither consume nor crave nicotine. 

But I would sooner smoke and exchange pipes—I would sooner accept the ceremonial pipe of peace and prayer—than inhale the secondhand smoke of partisan rhetoric; of so much hot air against a product that is legal yet seemingly licentious; of fulminations against a practice, vaping, that is less dangerous to high schoolers than reading most high school textbooks.

I would sooner stamp these books with the Surgeon General’s Warning than stamp out the freedom of speech, or the rights of companies to market and sell their products to adults.

Put aside, too, the fact that the pages of these books eschew facts, that they emit a contact high of nonsense and confusion, that they perpetuate what they purport to cure: ignorance.

If California criminalizes what is legal and legalizes what is criminal, it will define deviancy up

Permissible sins like drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco will become impermissible acts of defiance; deviant afflictions of a class of people whose virtues—whose faith in God and country—are vices. 

When the least deviant people are the most penitent, for fear that their failure to express remorse will land them in a penitentiary, when tobacco is not the currency of prison but the reason people go to prison, we will have liberty in name only.

That scenario grows more probable every day.

Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

KBO

Current Google Engineer: Big Tech Has Merged with Democrat Party to Sway Political Elections

Another Google whistleblower has come forward to ring alarm bells about how the left-leaning tech industry uses algorithms to manipulate the masses.  For the past year, Project Veritas has been investigating political bias at big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Greg Coppola, a senior software engineer who works on artificial intelligence at Google’s New York office, said he contacted Project Veritas out of concern that Big Tech and the media have merged with the Democrat party to sway political elections.

Coppola, a rare Trump supporter in Big Tech, said Google’s political bias is obvious.

“I don’t have a smoking gun,” he told Veritas founder James O’Keefe. “I’ve been coding since I was ten, I have a PHD, I have five years experience at Google and I just know how algorithms are. They don’t write themselves. We write them to do what we want them to do,” he explained. “I look at search and I look at Google News, and I see what it’s doing.”

Coppola said he doesn’t believe the Google executives who have gone before congress and denied that the company has a political bias.

“Google News is just an aggregator of websites and all of those sites really are vitriolically against President Trump – -which I would really consider to be interference in the American election,” he charged.

Coppola cited CNN as an example, saying it is the most commonly used source in Google News. “Twenty percent of all search results for Donald Trump are from CNN,” he told O’Keefe. “I mean that’s of the entire internet of millions of sites.”

He pointed out that most of President Trump’s supporters consider CNN to be “very fake news,” yet Google shoves it down their throats anyway.

“A small number of people do work on making sure that certain news sites are promoted,” Coppola alleged. “And in fact, I think it would only take a couple out of an organization of 100,000, you know, to make sure that the product is a certain way…”

The whistleblower lamented that the tech industry is not interested in free thinking, questioning and debate, but rather in “calling people names to get them to toe a certain line.”

“I think it’s a harmful, dark view of society,” he added.

Robert Epstein, a computer expert (and Democrat) who testified before congress last week, said that the political bias of Google, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms could manipulate up to 15 million middle-of-the-road voters “without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.”

“I think we’re at a really important point in human history. We used to have tech that was politically neutral. Now we have tech that is–taking sides in a political contest. I think any time you have big corporate powers merging with political parties can be dangerous,” Coppola declared.

“We have to decide now that we are seeing tech use it’s power to manipulate people,” he added. “It’s a time to decide. Do we run the technology or does the technology run us?”

He told O’Keefe that he came forward as an expert in the field to assure non-programmers that Big Tech is not politically neutral and Google is without a doubt “very politically biased.”

“We have to incorporate that into whatever strategy we use to have a Democracy going forward,” Coppola suggested. “Are we going to continue to have elections that mean anything?” he asked.

“Are we going to continue to think for ourselves or are we going to just let the biggest tech companies decide who wins every election from now on?”

Coppola told O’Keefe that his job at Google pays well and he gets to work with “very intelligent coworkers” so coming forward was a “sacrifice” for him.

KBO

Witness: Georgia State Rep. Erica Thomas is the One Who Said ‘Go Back Where You Came From’ During Publix Dust-Up

An employee who witnessed part of the heated dispute between Georgia State Rep. Erica Thomas and Eric Sparkes in a Publix express lane, told a Cobb County officer that she didn’t hear Sparkes tell the Thomas to  “go back where you came from,” according to the Cobb County police report. The employee told the police that it was Thomas herself who “continuously” used the phrase, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Thomas, who is nine months pregnant, tearfully claimed on Friday that a “white man” in a supermarket check-out line called her a “lazy son-of-a-b*tch” and told her to “go back where you came from” after accusing her of taking too many items into a supermarket express lane at an Atlanta-area Publix store.

Thomas’s video went viral and the hashtag #IStandwithErica trended on Twitter while Democrat pols like Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Beto O’Rourk jumped in the fray to tie the incident to President Trump’s rhetoric.

Thomas demanded that the police investigate the matter — and investigate they did.

The Cobb County police concluded their investigation Tuesday morning, announcing that there would be no charges filed against neither Thomas nor Sparkes, (both Democrats).

The employee told the police she heard Thomas “continuously tell Eric Sparkes to ‘Go back where you came from!’”

In her Facebook video, Thomas had accused Sparkes of racially berating her for skirting the 10-or-fewer items rule. “This white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a b*tch. You need to go back where you came from,’” she wailed in the video, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. “Sir, you don’t even know me. I’m not lazy. I’m nine months pregnant.”

Sparkes, an anti-Trump Cuban-American, showed up during a press conference with Thomas on Saturday outside the Publix store where the incident occurred and emphatically denied that he had told her “to go back where you came from.”

He explained that “this woman” was in the express lane at Publix with about 20 items when two other lanes were completely open. He said he used one of those lanes to pay for his three items and went to talk to a customer service associate about Thomas’ improper behavior because it “frustrated” him. Sparkes said the Publix associate told him that employees are not supposed to confront customers who abuse the express lane, but fellow customers are free to do so. So he decided to go talk to her.

Sparkes told reporters that his “exact first words” were “ma’am, not to be rude”and that he said them while pointing to the sign that said “ten items or less.” He also noted that he has seen the surveillance footage and it shows him pointing to the sign.

Sparkes said that Thomas angrily and aggressively approached him after that, berating him, and forcing him to take a few steps back. Thomas behaved in a similar manner at the press conference, aggressively confronting and interrupting Sparkes while he was trying to tell his side of the story.

The officer who reviewed the surveillance tape wrote that Sparkes “did not appear to be irate” during the confrontation and that he quickly retreated from Thomas as she moved his way “pointing her finger at him.”

According to the report, when Thomas moved toward Sparkes a second time, a Publix staffer waved for him to leave and the Thomas turned to her daughter and paid for her groceries. The entire incident reportedly lasted about 45 seconds.

A Publix service manager told police that after Sparkes confronted Thomas he began to leave but “Ms. Thomas kept ‘running her mouth’ as she approached him.” The woman said Sparkes responded by repeatedly calling Thomas “ignorant.”

Another Publix staffer told police he heard Sparkes call Thomas an expletive, (which Sparkes had freely admitted.)

This employee told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he didn’t hear Sparkes tell Thomas to “go back” to where she came from.

“I’m not going to say that wasn’t said, but I don’t remember hearing it,” he said in an interview. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

On Saturday, after Sparkes told reporters his side of the story, including the fact that he’d already talked to the police and seen the surveillance tape, Thomas walked back her story. She told Channel 2 Action News: “I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.

Perhaps if she thought a little harder, she might remember saying the words herself.

KBO

Nashville Residents Block ICE Agents from Taking ‘Tennessee Man’ into Custody

Residents in a Nashville neighborhood prevented ICE agents from taking a local man with a detainer order into custody.

An ICE vehicle had followed the man’s van, trying to pull it over, and then blocked it in when the van driver pulled up to a house in Hermitage, near Nashville, the affiliates said. The driver alerted immigrants rights advocates and neighbors, and they rallied, bringing the man and his son – who was in the van with him – water, gas and food so they could stay in the van and avoid possible detention, the affiliates reported.

The standoff lasted for hours. Nashville police were called, but stood by “to keep the peace if necessary,” the police department said in a statement.

CNN doesn’t reveal why ICE was trying to remove the “Tennessee man.” Was he a criminal? Was he violent? We don’t know. CNN isn’t lazy, they just don’t want the public to know that ICE might be doing a good thing by removing a violent criminal from society if that was the reason ICE was seeking to take him into custody.

“I was real scared about what was going on,” said neighbor Felishadae Young in an interview posted on Facebook by CNN affiliate WZTV. “It put a lot of fear in me, because it could be me, it could be my family. It could be anybody. It could be your neighbors, just like it was my neighbor today.” Young said she had known the targeted family for 14 years. But could it be her? Is she here illegally? What would ICE want with you, Ms. Young?

“ICE officers chose to depart the scene today without making an arrest to de-escalate the situation,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told CNN in an email. Cox said he wouldn’t say “who the agency’s target or targets may have been so as to not compromise a potential future operation that would seek to arrest the individual at a different time and place.”

The Nashville police were called in by ICE but they arrived “to keep the peace if necessary.”

FOX 17 News has learned that ICE agents did not have a criminal warrant, instead they came with a civil warrant (or detainer) signed by an administrator, not a judge. Because this was a civil matter, ICE agents are not able to enter someone’s home or vehicle and citizens are not committing a crime by interfering.

It is the policy of Metro Police to not get involved when these cases are civil matters. If ICE agents had a warrant alleging a crime had occurred, Metro Police would have been able to assist in their investigation.

The mayor of Nashville released a statement to the local news station about the situation.

It is my job as Mayor is to keep all Nashvillians safe. This morning, ICE agents attempted to detain a Nashville resident. However, the agents did not end up detaining the resident, and no arrests were made. Our police officers do not actively participate in immigration enforcement efforts and only serve as peacekeepers. The officers were at the incident today to keep neighbors safe and secure a perimeter. I am keenly aware that this type of activity by our federal government stokes fear and distrust in our most vulnerable communities, which is why we do not use our local resources to enforce ICE orders. I will continue to work with local advocacy organizations like TIRRC to make sure residents know their rights and that support and resources are available for undocumented immigrants should the need arise.

I’ve reached out to ICE for comment and will update the story when I hear back from them.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

KBO

Nashville Residents Block ICE Agents from Taking ‘Tennessee Man’ into Custody

Residents in a Nashville neighborhood prevented ICE agents from taking a local man with a detainer order into custody.

An ICE vehicle had followed the man’s van, trying to pull it over, and then blocked it in when the van driver pulled up to a house in Hermitage, near Nashville, the affiliates said. The driver alerted immigrants rights advocates and neighbors, and they rallied, bringing the man and his son – who was in the van with him – water, gas and food so they could stay in the van and avoid possible detention, the affiliates reported.

The standoff lasted for hours. Nashville police were called, but stood by “to keep the peace if necessary,” the police department said in a statement.

CNN doesn’t reveal why ICE was trying to remove the “Tennessee man.” Was he a criminal? Was he violent? We don’t know. CNN isn’t lazy, they just don’t want the public to know that ICE might be doing a good thing by removing a violent criminal from society if that was the reason ICE was seeking to take him into custody.

“I was real scared about what was going on,” said neighbor Felishadae Young in an interview posted on Facebook by CNN affiliate WZTV. “It put a lot of fear in me, because it could be me, it could be my family. It could be anybody. It could be your neighbors, just like it was my neighbor today.” Young said she had known the targeted family for 14 years. But could it be her? Is she here illegally? What would ICE want with you, Ms. Young?

“ICE officers chose to depart the scene today without making an arrest to de-escalate the situation,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told CNN in an email. Cox said he wouldn’t say “who the agency’s target or targets may have been so as to not compromise a potential future operation that would seek to arrest the individual at a different time and place.”

The Nashville police were called in by ICE but they arrived “to keep the peace if necessary.”

FOX 17 News has learned that ICE agents did not have a criminal warrant, instead they came with a civil warrant (or detainer) signed by an administrator, not a judge. Because this was a civil matter, ICE agents are not able to enter someone’s home or vehicle and citizens are not committing a crime by interfering.

It is the policy of Metro Police to not get involved when these cases are civil matters. If ICE agents had a warrant alleging a crime had occurred, Metro Police would have been able to assist in their investigation.

The mayor of Nashville released a statement to the local news station about the situation.

It is my job as Mayor is to keep all Nashvillians safe. This morning, ICE agents attempted to detain a Nashville resident. However, the agents did not end up detaining the resident, and no arrests were made. Our police officers do not actively participate in immigration enforcement efforts and only serve as peacekeepers. The officers were at the incident today to keep neighbors safe and secure a perimeter. I am keenly aware that this type of activity by our federal government stokes fear and distrust in our most vulnerable communities, which is why we do not use our local resources to enforce ICE orders. I will continue to work with local advocacy organizations like TIRRC to make sure residents know their rights and that support and resources are available for undocumented immigrants should the need arise.

I’ve reached out to ICE for comment and will update the story when I hear back from them.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

KBO

British Woman Claims to be an ‘Objectum Sexual,’ Wants to Marry Her Chandelier

A British woman is making headlines due to her love affair with a 91-year-old chandelier she calls Lumiere, [named after the chandelier in Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast].

Amanda Liberty, 35, who changed her last name from Whittaker during a prior long-distance relationship with the Statue of Liberty, is ready to finally settle down with the light of her life, the Mirror reports.

Liberty, of Leeds, who identifies as an objectum sexual, is putting the spotlight on the little-known attraction to inanimate objects, according to the outlet.

The bride-to-be said she has been in an open relationship with multiple light fixtures, but decided to get hitched to Lumiere, which she regards as female.

So she’s a lesbian objectophiliac.

Apparently the LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA community needs to include one more letter to it’s alphabet soup of gender and sexual orientation.

In case you weren’t aware, that ever-expanding acronym refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Curious, Asexual, Pansexual, Gender-non-conforming, Gender-Fluid, Non-binary, and Androgynous. And now, of course, we must add O for “objectophilia.” So LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBAO. Sure, why not? Love is love.

Liberty told the Mirror that she is ready to make a long-term commitment with her chandelier lover.

“I’m determined to have this commitment ceremony, to prove that I’m here for Lumiere and that my love is going to last,” she said.

“I restore the chandeliers in my spare time so they can continue to interest people as they like to be the center of attention. That’s what they like and it’s the energy I get from them,” Liberty continued.

“I’m not sure what dress I’ll wear and will invite those closest to us. I’ll also be buying matching wedding rings for Lumiere and myself,” she added. “I know a lot of people think my attraction to chandeliers is strange, but I’m not crazy.”

No way. Who said falling madly in love with a chandelier is crazy? They’re just ignorant haters who know nothing about the LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBAO community’s gloriously diverse rainbow of identities.

Courtesy of Twitter, here are some other people who identify as objectum sexuals:

Have we hit the bottom of the slippery slope yet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

KBO

Macy’s Pulls ‘Eating Disorder’ Plates from Stores

Macy’s has quit selling controversial dinnerware that detractors claim sends a “toxic message” and promotes eating disorders.

The Huffington Post tells us that:

Alie Ward, a science correspondent for the CBS series “Innovation Nation,” tweeted an image of the plates on Sunday with a caption asking how to get the dinnerware banned. Her photo showed a plate featuring smaller and smaller circles labeled, “mom jeans,” “favorite jeans,” and “skinny jeans.”

The plates, made by a brand called Pourtions that were being sold at Macy’s in-store concept shop, called Story, at the retailer’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square, aimed to provide “helpful — and hilarious — visual cues” that will “spice up your dinner table, and your conversation,” according to the Pourtions website.

Would you buy these plates? I wouldn’t. I think this gimmick is dumb. If I am going to eat, I am going to eat and I don’t want a stupid message on my plate about how fat my meal is going to make me. I wonder how many of these plates were sold?

“I wasn’t being literal at all in terms of a legal ‘ban,’” Ward wrote to HuffPost in an email. She “just wanted to show the world how insidious beauty culture, and in this case one that shames women, can be. But I wanted Macy’s to know that what they carry and display matters, it can hurt people, and they’re accountable for it.”

People on Twitter joined with Ward, sharing their objections to the plates.

“These expectations can actually kill someone, and I know someone it has. [Macy’s], remove this from all of your stores and denounce the manufacturer,” wrote one user.

The plates were so offensive that noted feminist and body positive advocate Jameela Jamil weighed in.

Macy’s agreed to remove the plates from the store after public outrage.

Macy’s told HuffPo that it “quickly removed” the plates. “We apologize to our customers,” the store said.

You can still buy the plates on the Pourtions website.

Image screen shot.

KBO

CBS ‘Face the Nation’ Host Interrupts, Spins During Rep. Liz Cheney Interview

Rep. Liz Cheney appeared on CBS political snuff show “Face the Nation” with clown host Margaret Brennan who only wanted to assault Cheney with 5 minutes of progressive talking point hate rather than listen to what she had to say.

Brennan, who interrupted Cheney at least 10 times, questioned the Republican congresswoman over Trump’s remarks about four freshmen Democratic lawmakers known as the “Squad.” Trump tweeted July 14 that the four Democrats, who are all women of color and American citizens, should “go back” to their home countries if they are unhappy with U.S. government policies.

You can watch it here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUObhzJeI9E]

You can barely hear anything Cheney says because Brennan is so focused on smashing her talking points down the viewers’ throat. When Cheney tried to point out that the president’s criticism of these intersectional divas was based on their own words and not based on their race, Brennan would have none of it. The president did not single these ladies out for their heritage or race but because of their leftist policy positions.

Brennan also told Cheney that the world disapproves of President Trump’s comments. “Margaret, listen, I know you want to continue to talk about this as though it had to do with race…I don’t the the American people are going to look to foreign leaders to tell us to lead the nation, they’re not going to look to foreign leaders whether or not we should be a socialist country. Thank goodness we won’t do that.”

Image: screenshot

KBO

How a Trivial Dispute Between Two anti-Trump Democrats in a Publix Express Lane Became the Latest Racial Hate Hoax

The latest “hate crime” supposedly inspired by President Trump’s allegedly “racist” rhetoric appears to be nothing more than an example of two anti-Trump Democrats behaving badly in public.

Erica Thomas, a Georgia Democrat claimed on Friday that a “white man” in a supermarket check-out line called her a “lazy son-of-a-b*tch” and told her to “go back where you came from.”

Thomas, who is nine months pregnant, tearfully made the claim outside of an Atlanta-area Publix store after the man cursed at her for taking too many items into a supermarket express lane.

“And this white man comes up to me and says: ‘You lazy son of a b*tch,”’ Thomas said, sobbing as she described the confrontation in a video. “He says: ‘You lazy son of a bitch; you need to go back where you came from.”’

https://twitter.com/ryancameron/status/1152408045546299394?s=20

As Thomas’s video went viral and the hashtag #IStandwithErica trended on Twitter, Democrat pols like Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Beto O’Rourk jumped in the fray to politically exploit the incident.

Thomas later walked back her comments, saying, “I don’t want to say he said go back to you’re country or go back to where you came from, but he was making those kinds of references.”

As the racial narrative fell apart, the Guardian weighed in with a report incorrectly characterizing Thomas as a Republican:

The “white man” in question is Cuban-American Eric Sparkes, a fellow Democrat who admitted that that he cursed at Thomas for taking too many items into the express line, but denied telling her to “go back where you came from.”

Sparkes showed up during a press conference with Thomas on Saturday outside the store where the incident allegedly occurred. He explained that “this woman” was in the express lane at Publix with about 20 items when two other lanes were completely open. He said he used one of those lanes to pay for his three items and went to talk to a customer service associate about Thomas’ improper behavior because it “frustrated” him. Sparkes said a Publix employee told him that employees are not supposed to confront customers who abuse the express lane, but fellow customers are allowed to. So he decided to go talk to her.

“I thought about it for a second — I almost walked out,” Sparkes told the assembled media, noting that he had no idea at the time that Thomas was a state legislator.

Before he could say anything else, Thomas aggressively confronted him, effectively shutting him down.

“You degraded me and you berated me and everybody needs to see your face on camera!” the lawmaker chided. “Everyone needs to know what you did to me as a woman that is nine months pregnant and you think you’re going to get away with this?!” the lawmaker added. “You are going to jail!”

While Thomas was ranting, Sparkes said, “good luck, ma’am.” He also objected to her characterization of him as “a white man.”

“I’m not white,” he said.

Thomas continued ranting. “I am facing the man that degraded me and berated me and I’m not crying. No I’m not!” she exclaimed. Pointing her finger at Sparkes, she added, “if you knew how you made me feel yesterday, if you knew how you made my daughter feel!”

But Sparkes was having none of it. “Back off before I call the police,” he said.

“Call the police right now because they are looking for you!” Thomas fired back.

“I already talked to them,” Sparkes informed her calmly.

Thomas, a local politician who had been tweeting and granting interviews about the confrontation for the past day, then accused Sparkes of only trying to get his “five minutes of fame.”

“I’m happy that everybody needs to see this man that did this to me — and he thinks that he gets a ‘five minutes of fame?'” she exclaimed. “You think you’re going to come up here and get a spotlight? No you’re not. The only spotlight that you’re going to get is everybody needs to see the man that did this to a woman that is nine months pregnant!”

After she said she had concluded the interview, she asked Sparkes if he felt bad.

“Do you understand you’re a liar,” Sparkes shot back.

“I’m a liar about what? she demanded.

“Everything that happened,” Sparkes replied. “Me telling you to go back where you came from.”

Thomas quickly changed the subject, asking again, “do you feel bad? Do you feel bad about yourself?”

“Did I say that? Is it on video?” Sparkes asked, challenging her.

“What?!” Thomas exclaimed.

“I called you a lazy b-i-t-c-h,” Sparkes replied, spelling out the curse word. “That’s the worst thing I said.” He later said that he had called her a “selfish b*tch” in direct conflict with this admission — unless he had called her both a selfish and lazy b*tch.

Sparks said, “I know what I said, the video knows what I said.” He also told her that he wasn’t kicked out of the store, as she has alleged. “Am I banned from Publix?” he asked her.

“I’m going to let you have your five minutes of fame,” she replied.

“You got yours!” Sparks shot back.

“Thank-you, congratulations,” Thomas blustered, before asking Sparkes to give his name again.

“I’d like to shake your hand,” she said, extending her hand.

Sparkes reacted by backing away from her and saying “no you’re not” and “go away.”

Thomas backed away and encouraged Sparkes to “get his five minutes of fame” but refused to stop talking herself. “Go ahead and get your five minutes of fame, Eric,” she said. “I’m facing you right now and I’m calm and I’m fine and I’m okay because guess what? God is with me. I’m a blessed mama!” she declared.

Sparkes at this point  volunteered to take questions from reporters about the confrontation. “I want to straighten this out,” he said.

“Go ahead, ask him questions!” Thomas butt in.

He was asked to describe what happened during the now famous confrontation.

Sparkes told reporters that his “exact first words” were “ma’am, not to be rude”and that he said them while pointing to the sign that said “ten items or less.” He noted that he has seen the surveillance footage and it shows him pointing to the sign.

“She berates me after that,” Sparkes said, as Thomas is heard loudly scoffing in the background. “I don’t remember exactly what she said but on camera she approached me, came towards me as I took a couple steps back,” he explained.  “She said a few words. I do not recall exactly what those words were — she did say she was nine months pregnant, I said it didn’t matter in this case.”

Sparkes said that he told her she didn’t need to be in the express lane because there were two open registers and after she said a few more things — which he didn’t specify — he said he called her “a selfish little b-i-t-c-h.” Later on, he told reporters that she said, “I don’t give a crap” when he had confronted her about the express lane rules.

“Her words stating on Twitter and on video that I told her ‘she needs to go back where she came from’ are untrue,” Sparkes stated emphatically.

“I am Cuban. I am not white!” he exclaimed, immediately clarifying, “I am white but I’m Cuban.”

Sparkes said he “was raised with a Cuban grandmother who didn’t speak any English,” and that he wasn’t “playing the victim.”

“This woman is playing the victim for political purposes because she is a state legislator,” Sparkes said. “I’m a Democrat and vote party-line.”

He told the reporters to check his Facebook. “All my statements are anti-Trump, anti-Republican, anti-racism and ant-bigotry,” he stated to prove that he is a good Democrat, (not like the racist Republicans). “This lady does not know me. She’s doing this to get on camera for her political purposes.”

He said he’d only found out about the accusations about an hour before the press conference from a friend who had seen the viral story on Twitter.

“I was aghast,” Sparkes said. “That is not me — my friends will stand by me,” he added.

When asked if he regretted calling Thomas a “selfish b*ich,” Sparkes replied, “I might regret calling her that” but pointed out that she said “I don’t give a crap” when he had confronted her.

He suggested that Thomas’ behavior indicates that she doesn’t have to follow rules everyone else has to follow.

“We need humans that represent us — that will stand up for the little person and not be selfish and not park –”

“I’m nine months pregnant!” Thomas interrupted.

“Does that mean you get in the express lane?” Sparkes demanded.

“I had eleven items!” Thomas claimed.

“You had more than that, ma’am,” Sparkes replied.

“I have my receipt!” Thomas cried.

“Show it!” Sparkes shot back. “You had at least twenty!”

Sparkes later explained that the reason he confronted Thomas about using the express lane even though there were other lanes available, was because he’s “sick of rudeness.”

“I’m tired of selfishness and rudeness,” he said. “It’s no different from somebody parking in front of Publix — go run into Publix, purchase whatever they need and run back to their car.”

Sparkes said it was important to stand up to such rude people.

“If we all don’t stand up to people that are rude, it just keeps continuing and continuing and continuing through our society,” he said.

Sparkes added that his only motivation for confronting Thomas was that “it has to stop.”

When asked if he had something about calling Thomas’ people lazy, he denied it.

“No, no! It was only about her personally,” Sparkes exclaimed.

“I will vote Democrat for the rest of my life, so call me whatever you want to believe. For her political purposes, make it black, white, brown, whatever. It is untrue,” he said, adding that he would probably vote for her if she was in his district.

 

“Ms Thomas unfortunately doesn’t want to take any responsibility for her aggressive behavior in front of her own daughter by taking confrontational steps towards me inside Publix after only wanting to point out she she was in the express with too many items,” Sparkes wrote on Facebook Sunday afternoon. “I’ve taken responsibility for using a foul word. The foul word would have never occurred if Ms Thomas had not initiated aggression. Just as Ms Thomas showed her aggression during my interview with the local news.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

KBO

Fears of Mass Surveillance Grow with the Popularity of Doorbell Webcams

 

It seems like a good idea: a video camera that shows you exactly who is on the other side of your door no matter where you are in your house or even outside your house. But the video webcam is much more than a useful tool for the occupant. With the increasing number of webcam doorbells, it seems smart to ask who has access to video of your house’s perimeter?

The most popular service is Ring. I have one, I’ve had it for more than year and its still in the box because it makes me uncomfortable. I am not the only one.

But as more police agencies join with the company known as Ring, the partnerships are raising privacy concerns. Critics complain that the systems turn neighborhoods into places of constant surveillance and create suspicion that falls heavier on minorities. Police say the cameras can serve as a digital neighborhood watch.

Critics also say Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, appears to be marketing its cameras by stirring up fear of crime at a time when it’s decreasing. Amazon’s promotional videos show people lurking around homes, and the company recently posted a job opening for a managing news editor to “deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors.”

It’s smart marketing to hype up the conditions under which your product is necessary. It’s even smarter to get the police involved.

The cameras offer a wide view from wherever they are positioned. Homeowners get phone alerts with streaming video if the doorbell rings or the device’s heat sensors detect a person or a passing car. Ring’s basic doorbell sells for $99, with recurring charges starting at $3 a month for users who want footage stored. Ring says it stores the recordings for two months.

Many law enforcement agencies nationwide said the idea to partner with Ring came after the company promoted its product at law enforcement conferences.

There’s no way of knowing how vulnerable the systems are to hacking. But the system doesn’t even need to be hacked.

A new report from The Intercept quotes unnamed sources who confirm that engineers and executives at Ring have “highly privileged access” to live customer camera feeds, utilizing both Ring’s doorbells as well as its in-home cameras.

All that’s apparently required to tap into the live feeds is a customer’s email address. Meaning the company has been so egregiously lax when it comes to security and privacy that even people outside the company could have potentially done this, using merely an email address to begin spying on customers, according to the report.

What kinds of things did these voyeurs see? “Within the company, a team that was supposed to have been focused on helping Ring get better at object recognition in videos caught customers in videos doing everything from kissing to firing guns and stealing.”

And it’s not even clear that changing your privacy permissions on the device could stop corporate looky-loos from snooping on your front door.

Regarding this new report, The Intercept also disclosed that a Ring R&D team in Ukraine could access a folder containing “every video created by every Ring camera around the world.” Additionally, as if that wasn’t bad enough, those employees could access a “corresponding database that linked each specific video file to corresponding specific Ring customers.”

It keeps getting worse from there. Those videos were also, you guessed it, unencrypted. Because, why else? Ring decided it would cost too much.

Your security comes with the price of your privacy, think carefully when you make your choice.

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

KBO

Woke Lindsay Graham: You Will Be Accused of Being a Racist

Does the word “racist” retain any of its original and colloquial meaning these days? It’s used in a variety of ways, here are some examples:

1. “I disagree with you.” When racism is used in this situation, it signifies a difference of political opinion. For instance, if I support building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border but you don’t, you would accuse me of holding that position because I am a racist rather than because there is merit to my opinion. It absolves the racism accuser from the responsibility of considering another opinion or explaining their charge in order to be triumphant in the battle of ideas. Which leads to:

2. “I don’t have any justification for my differing opinion.” What do you do when you are operating strictly from emotion and not reason? You can’t engage in a dialogue based on logic so you divert and shut down the conversation. Pulling out the racist card turns the exchange from one of ideas to a defense of character. The aggressor can sit back and watch his mark try and deny he is a racist and he doesn’t have to come up with justifications for his opinions.

3. “I am special and I don’t have to have a reason for my ideas.” In this case we have secret, unarticulated criteria that doesn’t match the commonly understood definition of racism but brings with it the consequences of the actual definition of racism, like ostracism. A frequent occurrence is when questioning is directed toward a group or member of a group that has self-designated as protected from justifying their policy positions, by a member of a racial group that is not protected from doing so. But these group relationships are not constant, they are relative to where each of the adversaries are located on an ephemeral victim index. Therefore depending on the dramatis personae, a perpetrator in one situation might be a victim in another. It’s confusing.

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) seems to understand the game being played, a game that has been going on for decades. Every Republican president or presidential candidate was accused of being a racist and Trump is no different and he’s not special.

Graham was trying to explain that disagreeing with Rep. Ilhan Omar isn’t based on her race, it’s based on a disagreement with her own comments and words.

But Omar doesn’t have to explain herself and the media never ask her to do so, she gets a pass and anyone who disagrees with her doesn’t do so in a good faith effort, but does so because Omar is a Somali-Muslim. So if you take issue her cavalier description of a terrorist attack that killed 3,000 innocent Americans or you think she is making comments that are anti-Semitic, it’s never because there’s reason for it and always because of her race. It’s great Graham understands the game but the only way to win is not to play.

Image from Getty Images.

KBO

Miss World America Strips Trump Supporter of her Miss Michigan Title Over ‘Offensive, Insensitive and Inappropriate’ Tweets

A conservative, Trump-supporting beauty queen has been stripped of her Miss Michigan title over allegedly “offensive, insensitive and inappropriate” social media posts.

Kathy Zhu, 20 was born in China and immigrated to the US when she was five years old, according to news.com.au.

She is a University of Michigan student and vice chair of her campus Republican student group. Zhu is also a prominent online conservative known as @Political Kathy with over 60,000 followers on Twitter, and 11,200 followers on Instagram.

Earlier this week, she became a 2019 national finalist in the Miss World Competition that will be held in Las Vegas in October.

In a tweet Thursday night, Zhu announced that she had been stripped of her Miss Michigan title “due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and ‘insensitive’ statistical tweets.”

Zhu posted on Twitter text messages from Laurie DeJack, the state director of Miss World America, informing her that there was a problem with her social media and that they needed to talk. In the exchanges, DeJack repeatedly texted Zhu, telling her that there was a huge “problem” or “issue.” This seemed to confuse and worry Zhu, the texts show. Finally, DeJack explained to the student that one of the problems was a tweet where Zhu had noted that the majority of black deaths are caused by other black citizens.

Zhu wrote in the tweet: “Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others.” While her sentiments may be politically incorrect, it is undeniably true that the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks.

Zhu posted DeJack’s letter informing her of MWA’s decision to yank her title, along with the text messages.

“It has been brought to the attention of Miss World America that your social media accounts contain offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content, and in violation of MWA’s Rules and Conditions, specifically the contestant requirement of ‘being of good character and whose background is not likely to bring into disrepute Miss World America or any person associated with the organisation,’” DeJack wrote.

She added, “Therefore, and effective immediately, MWA does not recognise you as a participant of any sort or in any capacity as it relates to any and all events of MWA. Furthermore, let this communication serve as official notice to remove any mention of yourself as a participant in MWA from all social media platforms (including photographs of you wearing the MWA Michigan sash and/or crown, and any text claiming to be a participant of MWA events).”

Zhu wrote in reply: “Statistics and facts are not always pleasant. It’s disgusting how you would rather lie to the public’s face than be supportive of someone that is trying to make a difference by talking about subjects that no one dares to say.”

Regarding the hijab incident, she wrote that “a Muslim woman tried to forcibly put a hijab on my head without my permission.”

“What’s ‘insensitive’ is that women in the Middle East are getting stoned to death for refusing to obey their husband’s orders to wear hijabs,” Zhu added.

“I tweeted about it on my social media … Almost everyone was supportive of me refusing to be put in that situation. Are the people in MWA implying that they advocate for the punishment of women who refuse to wear a hijab?”

https://twitter.com/PoliticalKathy/status/1152044900407549952?s=20

The hijab controversy took place in early 2018 while Zhu was a student at the University of Central Florida.

Muslim students at the university were holding a “Try a Hijab” event to celebrate World Hijab Day on campus when Zhu walked by.

One of the Muslim students reportedly asked Zhu if she wanted to try on a hijab. She politely declined and posted her thoughts on Facebook.

Zhu, it turns out, is not a fan of hijabs:

One of the Muslim students in the photo took to Twitter to blast Zhu for taking a photo of her without her consent.

She later led an effort to get Zhu expelled from campus for being “Islamophobic.”

Zhu responded by noting that UCF is a public campus so she has a right to take photos. She also pointed out that declining to try on a hijab is not grounds for expulsion.

Mohammad Tawhidi, an Iranian Muslim scholar from Australia known as the “Imam of Peace,” took Zhu’s side in an email to UCF.

“Greetings,

My name is Imam Tawhidi, and I’m an Australian Muslim Scholar. You may read about me on my website, www.Tawhidi.com, or the attached document.

I’m writing regarding a tweet calling for the expulsion of one of your students, Kathy Zhu, due to her rejection to participating in wearing the Islamic dresscode on your school campus. She has been subjected to a wave of hate and criticism by Muslim campaigners; all calling for her expulsion. Should the administration of your university decide to expell Kathy, I request the opportunity to clarify to those concerned that what the Muslim students were doing is actually against their own Islamic teachings.

There is no compulsion in any religion, and the Hijab Day event was nothing more than a political statement – and not a religious presentation promoting diversity.

Lastly, your university should maintain equality and also provide platforms to the adherents of other religions to commemorate their religious practices, and stop providing special treatment to a certain group of students.

Thank you

Imam Tawhidi”

UCF also released a statement saying that no disciplinary action would be taken against either student, even though the Muslim student appeared to be leading a campaign of harassment against Zhu.

“The University of Central Florida has received a number of emailed complaints suggesting that disciplinary action be taken against students involved in a disagreement being played out via social media,” the statement read. “Upon review, neither student’s actions as reported to the university violate our Rules of Conduct.”

In one of her texts, DeJack asked Zhu why she left the University of Central Florida.

The student answered, “Because I transferred to UofM??”

After DeJack texted back “why?,” the two apparently had a phone call that resulted in an emotional Zhu hanging up on DeJack.

“It’s sad and disheartening that you’re taking their side before even asking me what my side is,” Zhu texted DeJack. “For you to assume that I came to UofM because of a ‘suspension’ is ridiculous. UofM WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY STUDENT WHO GOT SUSPENDED FROM ANOTHER COLLEGE because of something,” she wrote.

Several noted conservatives rallied to Zhu’s side on Twitter:

“This is unbelievable,” BlazeTV host Lauren Chen tweeted. “@PoliticalKathy has been stripped of her pageant title for not wanting to wear a hijab and for highlighting crime rates in some black communities. The fact that these pageant people find her views offensive speaks more to their own bigotry than anything else.”

RightWingNews’ John Hawkins wrote, “A conservative woman isn’t even allowed to enter a beauty pageant anymore without holding the right politically correct opinions. Whatever happened the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Music video director Robby Starbuck added, “Apparently you can’t even participate in a @MissWorldLtd pageant if you’re *gasp* openly Republican. What a sorry bunch of bigots. @PoliticalKathy you’re still Miss Michigan to anyone with a functioning frontal lobe in their brain.”

Recording artist Joy Villa wrote:This is insane. @MissWorldLtd Beauty Queen @PoliticalKathy stripped of her Miss Michigan title for…being a CONSERVATIVE? Unbelievable. #stopthebias”

“I stand with @PoliticalKathy,” tweeted Muslim reformer Shireen Qudosi. “As a Muslim I’m offended @MissWorldLtd would FORCE any woman to wear a hijab. Islam does not force a hijab and encourages choice. Stop appropriating our religion to score intersectionality brownie points.”

“I have no words,” said @RedEaglePatriot, a podcast host and YouTuber. “Conservatives are being treated like second class citizens in this country.”

KBO

Once Upon a Time in Hell

What if there were a chemical reason for the chain reaction of the summer of 1969?

A series of odorless but nonetheless noxious fumes: Ben Day dots that color the smog and shape the layers of subterranean gases that swirl from sewer grates and lifted slabs of sidewalk.

A demonic air of delusion that surrounds a comic book Antichrist, satisfying his carnal delectations and furthering (for a time) his criminal designs.

What if an airborne toxic event were the cause of Charles Manson’s August killing spree?

What if the event were only visible while tripping, so as to disguise Manson in the psychedelia of peace and love rather than the blood rituals of his own psychosis? 

This much I know: Hollywood made Manson a star.

How else to explain his ascension, his literal rise from the effluvia of Sunset Boulevard to his entrée in the Hollywood Hills?

In what other time and place could an illiterate ex-convict, dressed as an itinerant street Jesus, convince Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher that he was Him; that he was worthy of their worldly goods and adoration; that he could park his blue-black school bus, open its folding door, and sashay into Wilson’s home; that Wilson was his doppelgänger, offering food and shelter—and three acres of prime real estate—for the satisfaction of the bastard son of a prostitute and his harem of runaways, teens, and children?

More remarkable is how unremarkable these events were, given the context of the late 1960s.

Given the day, March 21, 1967, when Manson left Terminal Island Federal Prison. 

Given the weather that day, cool and clear, before the inferno. Given later years, when, one year prior to the 25th anniversary of a flash and a fireball, when the winds of war ended the war in the Pacific, when 24 years later, on August 9, 1969, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Tex Watson left the residence at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles.

Linda Kasabian drove them home.

Visibility that day was half what it was the day Manson had left prison.

Pictures of the sky that day bear the dust trail of the devil winds.

Pictures of that day recall the words about the Trinity, not the rites of the Tridentine Mass.

The words bring to mind an incandescent soul, though the verse applies more aptly to the lights of a perverted killer:

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Photo credit: Bettmann/Getty Images

KBO

DoJ Charges 22 MS-13 Gang Members Who Hacked Seven People with Machetes

The Trump Department of Justice charged 22 alleged members of the notorious MS-13 street gang with seven murders including a murder where a rival gang member was chopped up and dismembered with a machete.

The indictment, which was unsealed Monday, focused on members of a Los Angeles-area subset of MS-13 known as the Fulton clique. Prosecutors called the San Fernando Valley-based gang a “particularly violent subset” of MS-13 that “has recently seen an influx of young immigrants from Central America.”

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said the Fulton Clique were responsible for 24 different murders over the course of two years.

The latest indictment charges the 22 alleged gang members under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute. In addition to seven murders, they are accused of attempted murder and trafficking more than $1.2 million in drugs.

The indictment alleges gang leaders authorized and coordinated the murders of rival gang members, people who were believed to be working with law enforcement, and one homeless man who lived in a park in Hollywood controlled by the gang.

The DoJ described the murders in a press release as “especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner in that [they] involved torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.”

The indictment describes one grisly murder in which a rival gang member was kidnapped and taken to Angeles National Forest. He was allegedly attacked and killed by six MS-13 members wielding machetes.

“The victim was dismembered, and his body parts were thrown into a canyon after one of the defendants allegedly cut the heart out of the victim’s body,” prosecutors said.

Most of the defendants entered the United States illegally.

Nineteen of the 22 defendants charged in the indictment had entered the country illegally in the last four years, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Several of the victims described in the indictment were also new arrivals to the U.S. from Central America, officials said.

The defendants listed in the indictment are: German Hernandez, Angel Guzman, Ever Morales, Fernando Parada, Jose Baquiax Alvarez, Kevin Gomez, Kevin Arteaga, Edgar Velasquez, Walter Chavez Larin, Yefri Revelo, Wilfredo Vides, Gerardo Alvarado, Roberto Carlos Mendez Cruz, Bryan Alberto Ordones, Roberto Alejandro Corado Ortiz, Edwin Issac Mendez, Josue Balmore Flores Castro, Luis Arturo Gonzalez, Edwin Martinez, Steven Emmanuel Linares, Marco Antonio Ramos and Erick Eduardo Rosales Arias.

The Los Angeles Times takes care to point out in the middle of an article discussing 24 gruesome, violent machete murders committed by illegal aliens that “MS-13 has also become a bogeyman used by President Trump to justify stronger immigration enforcement by linking the issue to crime.”

Bogeyman.

Photo credit: OSCAR RIVERA/AFP/Getty Images

KBO

DOJ Announces Charges Against Iranian Nationals for Exporting Nuke Materials from the United States to Iran

The Trump Justice Department on Tuesday announced the extradition of an Iranian national who was caught smuggling materials that can be used to enrich uranium from the United States to Iran.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office unsealed today a three-count indictment charging three Iranian citizens,  Behzad Pourghannad, 65, Ali Reza Shokri, 61, and Farzin Faridmanesh, 48, with exporting carbon fiber from the U.S. to Iran.

They are each charged with “one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and two counts of violation and attempted violation of IEEPA, each of which also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.”

Behzad was arrested in Germany on May 3, 2017, and arrived in the Southern District of New York on Monday. He was presented in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy on Tuesday. His co-conspirators Shokri and Faridmanesh remain at large, according to to the DOJ.

“Pourghannad is alleged to have sought to procure for Iran large amounts of carbon fiber—a commodity that can be used in the enrichment of uranium,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said in a statement. “U.S. sanctions exist to prevent behavior, like this, which endangers our country, and the Department is committed to vigorously enforcing them. Pourghannad and others who would attempt to thwart these laws need to know that their actions, which benefit Iran’s destabilizing efforts and make Americans less safe, will not go unpunished.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement: “Carbon fiber has many aerospace and defense applications, and is strictly controlled to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Pourghannad and his co-defendants allegedly went to great lengths to circumvent these controls and the United States’ export laws. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect our nation’s assets and protect our national security.”

FBI officials stressed that the bureau has made capturing those who violate sanctions against Iran a high priority.

“This case shows the FBI aggressively pursues those who break the law and violate sanctions against Iran,” FBI Assistant Director John Brown said. “Iran remains determined to acquire U.S. technology with military applications, and the FBI is just as determined to stop such illegal activity,” Brown added. “The charges against these three Iranian nationals, and the extradition of Mr. Pourghannad, demonstrate we take Iran’s actions extremely seriously and will work with our partners to defeat them.”

“If you aid Iran in its efforts, you will be held accountable,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said in a statement.

The plot to illegally export the carbon fiber from the U.S. began in 2008 and continued into 2013, according to the Justice Department.

Between 2008 and July 2013, Pourghannad, Shokri and Faridmanesh lived and worked in Iran. During that period, they worked together to obtain carbon fiber from the U.S. and surreptitiously export it to Iran via third countries. In particular, Shokri worked to procure many tons of carbon fiber from the U.S.; Pourghannad agreed to serve as the financial guarantor for large carbon fiber transactions; and Faridmanesh agreed to serve as the trans-shipper. Carbon fiber has a wide variety of uses, including in missiles, aerospace engineering, and gas centrifuges that enrich uranium.

In late 2007 and early 2008, Shokri and a Turkey-based co-conspirator (CC-2) successfully arranged for the illegal export and trans-shipment of carbon fiber from the U.S. to an Iranian company associated with Shokri (Iranian Company-1). Specifically, CC-2 contacted a U.S. supplier of carbon fiber, who in turn enlisted a third individual (Individual-1) for assistance with the transaction. Through Individual-1, CC-2 purchased carbon fiber from the U.S. supplier and arranged for the shipment of the carbon fiber from the U.S., through Europe and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Iranian Company-1, operated by Shokri, in Iran.

In May 2009, Pourghannad and Shokri attempted to arrange another illegal purchase and trans-shipment of carbon fiber from the U.S. to Iran. Specifically, Individual-1 returned a signed contract to Pourghannad for Shokri’s purchase of a large quantity of carbon fiber. Individual-1 then purchased the carbon fiber from a U.S. supplier and arranged for the carbon fiber to be exported from the U.S. to a third country (Country-1), en route to Iran. Country-1 authorities, however, interdicted the carbon fiber shipment before it could be trans-shipped to Iran.

In 2013, Pourghannad, Shokri, and Faridmanesh again attempted to illegally procure and export carbon fiber from the U.S. to Iran. In the 2013 transaction, Shokri and Pourghannad negotiated with Individual-1 for the purchase and trans-shipment to Iran of more than 5 tons of carbon fiber. Faridmanesh and Pourghannad further agreed with Individual-1 that the carbon fiber would be trans-shipped from the U.S. to Iran through Tbilisi, Georgia, with Faridmanesh to serve as the trans-shipper. Faridmanesh specifically instructed Individual-1 to change the shipping labels on the carbon fiber to reference “acrylic” or “polyester,” rather than “carbon fiber.”

Pourghannad provided Individual-1 with the bank guarantee that was to serve as surety for a portion of the carbon fiber. In June 2013, Individual-1 informed Pourghannad, Shokri, and Faridmanesh that the carbon fiber would soon be shipped from Manhattan and that Individual-1 would replace the carbon fiber labels with shipping labels referencing “acrylic” to evade U.S. export controls.

No one involved in the above transactions “obtained permission from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, to export the carbon fiber from the U.S.,” according to the DOJ.

President Trump last week warned that U.S. sanctions on Iran would be increased “substantially” soon after Tehran announced it had exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves under the abandoned 2015 nuclear deal.

(Photo credit: ALI KAVEH/AFP/Getty Images)