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Economy Intelwars jobs unemployment

Despite millions of jobs available, April’s employment report has grim news

The U.S. Department of Labor has released its official April payroll report, and the anemic numbers of jobs added have shocked Wall Street and prompted many states to begin re-examining federal unemployment benefits. According to the department, the economy added about 266,000 new jobs in April, well short of forecasts, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1%. According to Bloomberg, overall employment remains 8 million short of pre-pandemic levels.

Employment levels had been slowly increasing as businesses began to reopen from the worst months of the pandemic, with 536,000 new jobs added in February and 770,000 added in March. April’s anemic figure came as a surprise to many Wall Street analysts, who predicted that the rate of jobs added would continue to increase.

There seems, however, to be one major roadblock to continued job growth: Companies are reporting that they are simply not able to find anyone to fill certain jobs for a variety of reasons, including the relative attractiveness of expanded federal unemployment benefits, and the inability of some parents to resume full time work because schools in many parts of the country have not fully reopened for full-time in-person learning. Bloomberg reports that the number of available jobs is reaching record levels, in spite of the high unemployment numbers.

This tension is causing some states to react. The Republican governors of South Carolina and Montana announced Thursday that they are ending enhanced federal unemployment benefits for all residents in their states beginning next month, saying that the benefits are unnecessarily discouraging people from returning to work and causing labor shortages in critical industries. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) said, in explaining the move, that “Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) also announced on Thursday that Florida residents will be required to show proof that they are looking for work in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits beginning on May 29. Florida’s requirement for weekly “work search” reports had previously been suspended by a DeSantis executive order, but DeSantis indicated that he would not renew the order when it expires later this month.

“We suspended that last year at this time because, quite frankly, there weren’t jobs,” DeSantis said. “I think now we’re in just a different situation, you have a surplus of jobs, particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire. I mean, you see the signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, like, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing. But making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work, and making sure those incentives align, better.”

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Intelwars

Manhattan District Attorney announces that his office will no longer prosecute prostitution crimes

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., announced Wednesday that his office will no longer prosecute a number of prostitution-related offenses, and he additionally moved to dismiss convictions and bench warrants for thousands of cases related to those offenses, many of which went back to the 1970s and 1980s.

According to NPR, Vance stated that his office would no longer prosecute charges for prostitution, loitering for the purpose of prostitution, and unlicensed practice of the massage profession, which has historically been used to bust prostitutes. All told, his office moved to dismiss almost 6,000 related cases where the “top-line” offense was one of these three charges, including for a number of defendants who had outstanding bench warrants for these crimes dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. The anti-loitering statute in question was repealed in February.

Vance claimed that part of the reason that his office would no longer prosecute these crimes is that they had historically had a “disproportionate impact” on the LGBTQ community, and that it served to “further marginalize” these “vulnerable populations,” according to NPR.

The statement also noted that charges can still be brought against individuals who are arrested for prostitution if they are found guilty of other crimes during the course of their arrest.

Sex worker advocates have been pushing for the decriminalization of prostitution for a number of years, and have recently seen increased success in their efforts. Earlier this year, Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office would no longer prosecute prostitution, and the New York state assembly is considering a bill that would decriminalize prostitution statewide.

Just a few short years ago, Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was forced out of office when it was revealed that he had patronized a prostitution ring in New York.

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Intelwars

Even after bodycam video shows Columbus teen was attempting stab someone when police shot her, liberals continue to insist the officer acted improperly

Tuesday night, the family of a Columbus, Ohio teenager claimed that police shot her without provocation or justification. In order to forestall any potential civil unrest, Columbus police promptly released bodycam footage showing that, in fact, the girl was attempting to stab two different people at the time she was shot, and that officers repeatedly gave her verbal warnings to get down before firing shots.

The still frame video from just seconds before the shooting demonstrates that she was literally in the process of attempting to stab someone when police shot her.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

You might have thought that this would have ended the ruckus over this particular incident, and that everyone would have acknowledged that it is of course appropriate for officers to use lethal force to prevent someone from being stabbed to death right in front of them.

Unfortunately, you would have been wrong.

A number of prominent liberals took to social media on Wednesday, even after the body camera footage was released, and claimed that either the officer was at fault, or that his actions were evidence of a broken policing system. For instance, the official Twitter account for the national American Civil Liberties Union tweeted, “We’ll say it again — a system that kills children with impunity cannot be reformed.” The ACLU’s tweet did not have any thoughts for the child who could have been killed if the cop had not intervened.

When asked to comment on the shooting, rather than acknowledging that the shooting was in any way justified, the White House’s statement treated this incident as an example of “police violence” that “disproportionately impacts black and Latino people and communities[.]”

The White House’s statement did not mention the black teenager whose life might have ended if the police had not acted.

While some liberals may have just been working from bad or incomplete information, having taken the family’s initial word that the shooting was unprovoked, some actually went a step farther and seriously suggested that attempting to stab someone is no big deal and not something police should shoot anyone for.

Prominent liberal activist Bree Newsome tweeted, “Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons. We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon against one of the teenagers. Y’all need help. I mean that sincerely.” She then followed that hot take up with, “Everyone should be frightened that the ruling white elite have done such a thoroughly successful job of not only disconnecting us from the means of basic self-sufficiency but also convincing us we need armed white officers to manage our children & communities. Frightening.”

Apparently, it is more frightening to some that police would stop one person from stabbing another person than it would be for a person to get stabbed.

Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett also entered the fray, conceding that the officer COULD have stopped one person from stabbing another person, but not that he SHOULD have.

From the video, it is clear that the officer far enough away that he could not have physically reached out and made any kind of physical contact with the attacker at the moment he fired his gun, so it is a mystery what “minimum force” would have resolved this situation without someone ending up getting stabbed.

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Pasadena cancels COVID vaccine clinic meant for essential workers after Hollywood and media employees flood registration spots

The city of Pasadena, California, has canceled a COVID-19 vaccine clinic that was scheduled for Thursday after the majority of the registration slots were claimed by people who were ineligible to receive the vaccine, including “hundreds” of people who work in Hollywood and in the media.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the city of Pasadena Public Health Department sent out an email last Thursday to residents who had expressed interest in getting the vaccine, advising them that they could register if they work in an eligible industry, which was supposed to include “healthcare workers, senior citizens, child-care workers, teachers and food workers.” Instead, “hundreds” of people who worked in production companies in Hollywood and in local media signed up.

City spokesperson Lisa Derderian told the Times, “Hundreds signed up within the first hour. It was like rapid fire.”

When officials determined that a solid majority of registrants were not even eligible to receive the vaccine yet under state guidelines, they announced on Tuesday that the entire clinic was canceled. According to the Times, officials made the decision after determining that it would be too onerous to call all 900 people to tell them not to come.

“We would have hundreds of people showing up who would not have qualified, and they would have been turned away. I’m sure the situation would have escalated in many cases,” Deridian said.

When confronted by the Times, some of the Hollywood workers who had attempted to cut in line defended their decision to register by noting that a drop-down menu on the registration page that asked them to select their industry included an option for “Service — entertainment, performance.” As the Times noted, the page also included a large, red-letter warning indicating that vaccine supply was limited and that participants should check to ensure they were eligible to receive the vaccine under state guidelines.

Current California guidelines restrict receipt of the vaccine to patients 65 and older, as well as workers in certain enumerated industries like education and food service — and most definitely not Hollywood production companies.

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United Teachers Los Angeles union finally agrees to allow students to return to classrooms — part-time, in mid-April

Just days after 91% of their membership voted to refuse to return to classrooms until all their demands were met, the United Teachers Los Angeles union announced an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District to return to part-time in-person learning in mid-April.

The announcement was made late Tuesday night in a joint statement from UTLA and the district, which was initially reported by local news outlets.

The announcement states that the agreement is “tentative” and is conditional on Los Angeles County being in the “red” tier per state guidelines, as well as all teachers having access to the COVID vaccine. Neither of these requirements has been suggested as necessary for the safe reopening of schools by the CDC, California health officials, or any other public health organization in the United States, but UTLA has insisted on them as preconditions for finally reopening Los Angeles schools.

Under the plan, elementary students will be permitted to return to in-person instruction “in a hybrid morning/afternoon model, while maintaining the option for students to remain in online-only instruction.” The plan calls for “students remaining in small, stable cohorts while on campus to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Middle and high school students will not be eligible to return to campus until the end of April, at least.

The announced agreement would not seem to make the Los Angeles Unified School District eligible for grant money under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan, which conditions the receipt of grant money on schools reopening for in-person learning by the end of March.

If the plan comes to fruition, the Los Angeles Unified School District will become one of the last school districts in the country to finally reopen for in-person learning. New York City schools were open for elementary students last fall and even returned middle school students on Feb. 25. New York City high schools are currently scheduled to reopen on March 22nd. Likewise, after a contentious battle with the Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago schools reopened for elementary school students on the first of March, and negotiations are ongoing for the reopening of high schools in Chicago.

Research has suggested that schools are not a significant driver of COVID-19 transmission, even in communities with active spread of the disease.

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China covid Intelwars

FedEx pilots ask CEO to cease layovers in Hong Kong over ‘egregious,’ ‘harmful,’ and ‘wholly unacceptable’ COVID quarantine conditions

In a Friday letter, Joseph G. DePete, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association, asked the CEO of FedEx Corp. to halt pilot layovers in Hong Kong due to the unsafe and onerous quarantine procedures imposed upon pilots there. The Hong Kong International Airport is believed to be the busiest airport in the world for shipping traffic.

According to the letter, pilots who test positive are required to quarantine in government-mandated hospitals, which results in asymptomatic patients being crammed in with “hundreds of patients” in “cubicle-style rooms and communal bathrooms” at the AsiaWorld-Expo center. Additionally, the letter claims that pilots who even may potentially have been exposed to COVID are required to “remain in a government quarantine facility or camp for up to 14 days.”

The letter claimed that conditions in these facilities are “wholly unacceptable” and “harmful” and asked, “Until these egregious layover conditions are resolved and a safe layover environment is restored, I respectfully reinforce the FedEx MEC’s call for the suspension of pilot layovers in Hong Kong.”

Copies of the letter were also sent to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and chairpersons of the relevant congressional committees, including Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

After deliberately covering up the extent of the spread of the coronavirus in its early stages and disappearing numerous whistleblowers who spoke out about the government’s failure to protect its own citizens and the world at large, the Chinese government has, in an incredible display of chutzpah, attempted to convey the impression to the world that it has done a better job of halting the spread of the virus within its borders than Western governments.

The Chinese government, which has increased its control over Hong Kong dramatically in recent years, has released laughably implausible statistics regarding the spread of the coronavirus within its borders as part of an obvious propaganda campaign to humiliate the United States and other Western governments. In an attempt to distract from their own failures, officials have likewise attempted to demonstrate that their protocols are more strict than Western nations by imposing humiliating measures on foreign travelers, such as mandatory anal swabs.

The pilots for FedEx, it seems, have had enough. In the letter, DePete said, “In July, the ALPA FedEx Master Executive Council (MEC) passed a resolution calling for a suspension of the company’s operations in Hong Kong due to unacceptable conditions for ALPA members. For several months, layovers were discontinued. However, layovers were resumed in December, and we have again seen hospitalized and quarantined pilots. In January, the FedEx MEC passed another resolution calling for the cessation of layovers. Until these egregious layover conditions are resolved and a safe layover environment is restored, I respectfully reinforce the FedEx MEC’s call for the suspension of pilot layovers in Hong Kong.”

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filibuster Intelwars Joe Manchin

Manchin open to changing filibuster rules, says it should be more ‘painful’ for the minority to stop legislation

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) said Sunday that while he is opposed to eliminating the filibuster altogether, he is open to a change in filibuster rules to make it more “painful” for the minority party to block legislation.

Many progressive Democrats have urged the Democratic caucus in the Senate to eliminate the filibuster for legislation in order to make it easier for Democratic presidents like Joe Biden to push their agenda through Congress. Since Democrats currently control only 50 seats in the Senate, they need each and every Democrat in the Senate’s approval, plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Problematically for the Democrats, both Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) have publicly voiced opposition to the plan, meaning that it is likely dead in the water until at least after the 2022 midterm elections.

That does not mean, however, that Manchin is opposed to reform of the filibuster. Manchin discussed the idea during two television appearances Sunday. On “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin said that it had become too “comfortable” for Republicans to use the filibuster and said, “The filibuster should be painful. It really should be painful. We’ve made it more comfortable over the years, not intentionally — maybe just it evolved into that. Maybe it has to be more painful. Maybe you have to stand there. There’s things we can talk about.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Manchin elaborated further, “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk. I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.”

Like Sinema, Manchin reiterated his stance that he is not open to changing his mind on eliminating the filibuster entirely.

“I’d make it harder to get rid of the filibuster. I’m supporting the filibuster, I’m going to continue to support the filibuster. I think it defines who we are as a Senate. I’ll make it harder to get rid of it, but it should be painful if you want to use it,” Manchin said.

Although the filibuster has been more commonly used in the last two decades than it was in previous times, the Senate generally no longer usually requires senators who want to filibuster to actually stand in the chamber and continue a speech on the floor in order to hold up passage of a bill. If Manchin has his way, that might change, and members of the Senate minority who want to hold up passage of a bill might have to return to the practice of holding the floor for hours at a time either debating the merits of the bill, reading the phone book into the record, or similar tactics.

The threat of a Republican filibuster is currently the only thing holding up a number of Democratic priorities in Congress, including a raise in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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Gavin Newsom Gavin newsom recall Intelwars

Newsom recall campaign organizers say they have more than enough signatures to force recall election, still looking for even more

The organizers behind a campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) have announced that they have collected over 1.95 million signatures on their recall petition, well over the 1.5 million needed to force a recall election. However, the group plans to continue canvassing for signatures between now and the March 17 deadline, hoping to amass more than 2 million signatures in order to compensate for some anticipated invalidated signatures.

According to a report from Fox News, the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign announced its latest totals on Sunday in Sacramento, and organizers from one of the campaigns claimed that they have confirmed a validation rate of 82% on the signatures they have collected thus far, indicating that they are on pace to easily surpass the 1.5 million validated signature mark. If the campaign is successful, a recall election will be held in the fall.

Newsom has yet to publicly comment on the recall campaign, which has been driven largely by parent frustration with California schools’ refusal to reopen, as well as public outrage over revelations that Newsom and some of his prominent, wealthy friends were discovered to have repeatedly violated the lockdown orders he imposed that have crippled California’s economy.

Newsom has attempted to assuage anger over the school reopening issue by signing legislation that ties billions of dollars in grant money to schools reopening for in-person learning by the end of March, a move that put him at odds with California’s powerful teachers’ unions.

The most recent polls, taken in early February, show Newsom enjoying a 46% approval rating, down from a 64% approval rating in September. Unless Newsom’s approval slips further, most observers agree that Newsom will likely survive the recall effort; however, Newsom’s uneven handling of the coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity for his opponents to maintain political pressure on his decision-making, if nothing else.

The last California governor to face a successful recall election was Democrat Gray Davis, who was ousted by voters just a few months into his second term due to widespread frustration with an electricity crisis that subjected California residents to a prolonged series of rolling blackouts. Davis was removed and replaced with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served almost eight years as governor. Davis was only the second sitting governor to be removed by recall election in United States history.

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California Legislature overwhelmingly passes school reopening plan despite opposition from teachers unions

By overwhelming bipartisan majorities, both chambers of California’s Legislature passed a school reopening plan on Thursday that had been blasted by teachers unions as “propagating structural racism.”

The bill passed the Senate unanimously, and by a nearly unanimous vote of 76-4 in the House. Both chambers are overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats.

The bill does not require schools to reopen, but it does condition receipt of around $2 billion in grant money for districts on schools reopening for at least part time in-person learning — at least for younger students — by the end of March. The plan does not place any prerequisites for reopening on full teacher vaccination, consistent with CDC guidance which also does not state that teachers must be vaccinated in order for schools to safely reopen.

Teachers unions in some of California’s larger cities have sharply criticized the plan. The president of the Unified Teachers of Los Angeles Union said earlier this week, “We are being unfairly targeted by people who are not experiencing this disease in the same ways as students and families are in our communities. If this was a rich person’s disease, we would’ve seen a very different response. We would not have the high rate of infections and deaths. Now educators are asked instead to sacrifice ourselves, the safety of our students, and the safety of our schools.”

The fact that the bill passed a legislature so thoroughly dominated by Democrats perhaps reflects the widespread frustration of California parents with schools’ reticence to reopen, which has not softened in spite of scientific evidence that schools do not represent a significant threat of transmission of COVID-19, especially with proper safety protocols. Due to pressure from teachers unions, most school districts in California have had no in-person learning for almost a year.

Democrats who supported the bill expressed their frustration with the state’s school districts’ refusal to reopen for in-person learning, and expressed concern that California students were falling behind the rest of the country in their education.

“It is hard to overstate the damage that has been done and is being inflicted on our children — on our state’s children, our future — by not having in-person learning,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who supported the bill.

Although Republicans in the assembly supported the plan, they also criticized it as a “half-measure,” preferring legislation that would have required schools to reopen, or at least conditioning the receipt of grant money on full 5-day-a-week reopening, but noted that the bill was better than nothing.

Senate Republican leader Scott Wilk stated that he was voting for the bill “reluctantly,” and called upon Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue an executive order forcing schools to reopen.

Newsom, who is facing a recall election this fall that was fueled in large part by parent anger over schools’ refusal to reopen, is expected to sign the bill Friday.

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Creighton coach Greg mcdermott Intelwars

Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott suspended for asking players to ‘stay on the plantation’ following loss

Greg McDermott, who has served as coach of the nationally ranked Creighton men’s basketball team since 2010, was suspended by the university Thursday night after it was revealed that he made comments to his players following a difficult loss that many found to be racially insensitive.

The comments, which were not widely reported until McDermott tweeted about them on Tuesday, followed Creighton’s Saturday loss to Big East foe Xavier. According to McDermott’s tweet, “Specifically, I said: ‘Guys, we got to stick together… We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.'”

McDermott also discussed the remarks during a pregame radio show before Wednesday’s game between Creighton and Villanova. During the program, McDermott said that he offered to resign over the remarks, although none of his team members had asked for him to resign or leave the program. Creighton would go on to lose the game against Villanova.

Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen announced the suspension Thursday following a meeting with Creighton President Daniel Hendrickson and other members of Creighton’s senior leadership. Rasmussen said in a statement that McDermott’s remarks were “were not in alignment with Creighton’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and respect.”

Initially, the school had indicated that any punishment meted out to McDermott would remain confidential. Officials did not explain why McDermott’s suspension was ultimately made public.

McDermott’s suspension began immediately and, according to Creighton officials, will prevent him from participating in any team activities, including coaching in the team’s regular-season finale on Saturday. University officials have not yet indicated how long McDermott’s suspension will last.

McDermott apologized profusely for the remarks on Tuesday and on Wednesday’s radio program, admitting that he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy” but stating that he hopes that the the team can move forward and get past the incident. He stated Thursday that he accepted the suspension.

McDermott was named Big East coach of the year in 2020.

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Intelwars

Explosive New York Times report claims that top Cuomo aides rewrote a report to change nursing home death total months before federal investigation began

An explosive report released by the New York Times on Thursday night alleges that top aides to embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) rewrote a report that was prepared by New York Department of Health Officials in June of 2020 to omit many of the nursing home deaths that had occurred in the state.

The report, which was based on interviews with unnamed officials in Cuomo’s administration, alleges that the numbers were changed out of a desire to protect Cuomo from political fallout relating to his decision to order nursing homes to readmit patients who had tested positive for COVID-19. The changes were made months before the federal investigation into nursing home deaths in New York began — a significant development because aides to Cuomo have claimed that the administration withheld nursing home death data from the legislature because of the pending federal investigation.

According to the report, the controversy in the report centered over whether to include “out of facility” deaths — deaths that occurred when nursing home residents were transferred back to acute care facilities before their death — in the count of nursing home residents who died due to COVID-19. Department of Health officials wanted to include those deaths in the report, consistent with the practice being followed in most states.

However, Cuomo’s aides, none of whom had any public health background or expertise, pushed back on the Department of Health in an exchange that the Times described as having gone “well beyond the usual process of the governor’s office suggesting edits to an agency report,” and led Department of Health officials to worry that the report that was going to be released was “no longer a true scientific report.” The Times reports that health officials “feared for their jobs if they did not go along.”

The Times report also notes that the controversial decision, which was allegedly carried out by top Cuomo aides Melissa DeRosa and Linda Lacewell, was finalized just days before Cuomo sought approval from a state ethics agency to earn money from book sales — ultimately, Cuomo was paid an advance of $783,000 by Harper Collins to write a book about how he handled the pandemic, due in large part to the fact that he had successfully convinced many people that his office had handled the pandemic well.

The report would ultimately declare that Cuomo’s policies with respect to nursing homes were broadly consistent with federal guidance, but “may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities.”

In a response to a request for comment from the Times, Cuomo’s special counsel Beth Garvey said that “the out-of-facility data was omitted after D.O.H. could not confirm it had been adequately verified,” and that the additional death tolls would not have changed the conclusions of the report, if they had been included.

The report is sure to damage Cuomo’s already-fragile standing in the state, after he has been dogged with repeated scandals regarding both his administration’s truthfulness in the handling of nursing home death statistics, and numerous women who have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior and comments. The Cuomo administration’s handling of the nursing home scandal, in particular, is under investigation by both the New York State Attorney General’s office, as well as federal prosecutors.

As the scandal widens, even members of his own party have begun to suggest that he should resign, or that the emergency powers granted to him at the start of the pandemic should be removed.

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Dallas police officer arrested for alleged involvement in kidnap and murder plot, faces death penalty

A Dallas police officer was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of murder for his alleged role in the 2017 kidnapping and murder of two people, Lisa Saenz, 31, and Albert Douglas, 61. The officer, Bryan Riser, faces the death penalty if convicted.

Riser, who had been on the force since 2008, was fingered as the mastermind of two separate, unrelated kidnapping and murder plots in 2017 by an unidentified man who claimed in 2019 that he actually carried out the killings at Riser’s direction. Three men were arrested and charged with Saenz’s murder in 2017, but Douglas’ body has not yet been found.

The Dallas Police Department identified Riser as a person of interest in connection with both deaths in 2019 and sought to enlist the help of the FBI to further investigate the crimes. However, there was not enough evidence available at the time to arrest him. As a result, Riser was permitted to continue to patrol the streets of Dallas for over a year while being investigated for murder.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia said at a news conference announcing Riser’s arrest that the department is reviewing all of Riser’s arrests since the investigation began, just to make sure “there is nothing more there.”

Garcia also said that Riser had a relationship with at least one of his alleged victims, but did not otherwise specify or characterize the nature of that relationship.

Due to police union rules, even though Riser is currently in custody, he has not yet been terminated from the force, but Garcia promised that steps will be taken to expedite his termination, saying, “This individual has no business wearing this uniform … no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop.”

Incredibly, this is Riser’s second arrest since he joined the Dallas Police Department. Riser was arrested in 2017 and charged with “Assault Family Violence – Bodily Injury,” a misdemeanor. At that time he was placed on administrative leave subject to an internal affairs investigation, which ultimately ended with him being allowed to return to the force.

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covid Intelwars

Poll: In the last month, Americans’ comfort with the resumption of pre-pandemic activities has taken a huge leap

The signs are increasing that the American public is becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of returning to normal activities, like eating at restaurants, going shopping, going on vacations, and attending movies at the theater.

According to a Morning Consult tracking poll, Americans’ comfort with engaging in many activities that have been taboo in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic took a huge jump in February, to levels that have not been seen since the pandemic began. The poll showed that 51% of Americans would feel comfortable right now eating a meal at a restaurant or cafe, 46% would feel comfortable going shopping at a mall, 43% would feel comfortable going on a vacation, and 32% would feel comfortable going to see a movie at a theater.

Those numbers represent a sharp jump from Morning Consult’s tracking poll in January, when only 37% said they would feel comfortable eating a meal in a restaurant, 32% said they would feel comfortable going shopping at a mall, 29% said they would feel comfortable going on vacation, and 21% said they would feel comfortable going to see a movie at a theater.

Infographic: Vaccine Progress Sparks Optimism Among Americans | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

These numbers — which likely reflect the declining number of positive cases across the country and the continued distribution of vaccines — all represent record highs since Morning Consult began tracking the public’s attitude about these activities in May 2020.

Furthermore, respondents indicated overwhelmingly that they would feel comfortable engaging in these activities in six months’ time, indicating a widespread belief that greater availability of the various coronavirus vaccines will allow society to return to normal activities. At least 69% of respondents indicated that they would feel comfortable dining in a restaurant in six months’ time, for example.

The numbers may have significant implications for policymakers who will be faced with decisions about when and how to allow normal, pre-pandemic activity to resume over the coming months. Texas and Mississippi have already announced an imminent end to the coronavirus restrictions, and other states, like Arizona, have taken aggressive steps to ensure that at least some activity will resume right away, much to the chagrin of the Biden administration, which accused the governments of those states of engaging in “Neanderthal thinking.”

But while Democrats have been largely buttressed by the public’s general uneasiness with engaging in activities that have been prohibited by lockdowns, these polls indicate potential trouble on the horizon as the public grows more and more comfortable with activities that many Democrats believe should continue to be prohibited, and further suggests that suggestions from Dr. Anthony Fauci and others that these activities should not be resumed even by vaccinated people may be met with widespread resistance and noncompliance by the public.

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Intelwars

Former ‘Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay deletes Instagram account after flood of angry comments from fans who falsely accused her of defending racism

Former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay — the first black female lead in the show’s history — has been forced to delete her Instagram account after being targeted by angry fans of the show, who erroneously accused her of defending the past actions of a current contestant who has been widely accused of racism.

The controversy first erupted when photos recently resurfaced depicting current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending an “antebellum plantation-themed fraternity party” in 2018. Kirkconnell was additionally accused of “liking” photos of the confederate flag on social media.

Current “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison interviewed Lindsay on an episode of “Extra” that aired in early February, and during the interview, he came to Kirkconnell’s defense, accusing many of jumping to unwarranted conclusions and in general criticizing social media cancel culture.

Lindsay did not join Harrison’s defense during the interview, and in fact challenged many of his assertions. During the interview, Lindsay said, “The picture was from 2018 at an Old South antebellum party… that’s not a good look…. that’s not a good look ever. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?” Eventually, Harrison apologized for defending Kirkconnell and eventually announced that he was temporarily stepping aside from the franchise.

Not being content with having claimed Harrison’s scalp, the outrage mob next came for Lindsay, who did not even offer any apparent defense of Kirkconnell during the interview and in fact challenged Harrison’s defense. Lindsay, who co-hosts the “Higher Learning” podcast with Van Lathan, deactivated her account in response to the announcement, which caused Lathan to blast people who he said need to “get a f*****g life” and direct their ire towards Harrison.

The current star of “The Bachelor,” Matt James, is the show’s first ever black male lead. Kirkconnell has apologized for the comments and stated that she was “learning and will continue to learn how to be antiracist.” She also released a follow up statement on Thursday on Instagram in which she stated, “I get it. I hear you. There are things out there that completely validate your opinions and your anger towards me. But I’ve come to realize that sitting aside and hiding in the corner and avoid being called performative, that doesn’t help anyone or anything… This entire movement and where we are in this country is just so much bigger than this and I want and need to use my privilege and my platform that I so do not deserve just to shine a light on these issues and try to do what I can to take a step in the right direction.”

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Intelwars

International outrage builds after multiple reports accuse Eritrean troops of massacring ‘many hundreds’ of Ethiopian civilians last year

The United States State Department joined many other countries and international organizations who expressed outrage after two separate reports — one released by Amnesty International and the other by CNN — accused troops from the African nation of Eritrea of indiscriminately massacring large numbers of Ethiopian civilians during fighting that occurred in Ethiopia’s Tigray region late last year.

The Tigray region in the northern portion of Ethiopia was the site of a bloody military conflict last year after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the quasi-communist political party that ruled Ethiopia for decades, up until 2018. According to numerous eyewitnesses cited in both reports, troops from neighboring Eritrea took place in the conflict on Abiy’s side, a claim that the Ethiopian government only recently admitted (and which the Eritrean government still denies).

According to the Amnesty International report, during the course of the conflict, Eritrean troops killed “hundreds” of Ethiopian civilians indiscriminately during a 24-hour period in late November of 2019, which it called a potential “crime against humanity.” The killings allegedly took place in the Ethiopian city of Axum on November 28th, in apparent reprisal for a militia attack that had allegedly been carried out by militants based in Axum.

Separately, a report released by CNN on Saturday alleges that Eritrean forces slaughtered possibly over 100 unarmed Orthodox Christians at Maryam Dengelat, an Orthodox monastery complex in Edaga Hamus. CNN’s report, based on the testimony of dozens of eyewitnesses, alleges that Eritrean forces opened fire on unarmed parishioners as they attended mass during the Orthodox festival of Tsion Maryam, which commemorates the day that Ethiopians believe the Ark of the Covenant was brought to the country from Jerusalem.

The Eritrean government strongly denied Amnesty International’s report and claimed that Amnesty International made no attempt to get the Eritrean side of the story. CNN’s report states that it attempted to obtain comment from the Eritrean government, which did not respond. The Ethiopian government, which has itself been accused of ethnic cleansing in Tigray, said in response to the report that it welcomed “international technical assistance” into investigations of possible human rights abuses in the area.

The United States State Department noted that there have been many “credible” reports that Eritrean troops are, in fact, involved in the conflict, and called upon Eritrean forces to be withdrawn from Tigray “immediately.”

By all accounts, the escalating violence in the north of Ethiopia has generated a flood of refugees that has been unseen since the widespread famine and violence that ravaged the region for much of the 1970s and 80s, and the burgeoning humanitarian crisis may have ripple effects throughout the rest of northeastern Africa and the Middle East.

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White House climate czar faults Texas for failing to connect to national power grid, calls storm a ‘wake-up call’

In a Friday interview with the Associated Press, White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy harshly criticized officials in Texas for failing to properly protect their residents from power outages in the face of last week’s catastrophic winter storm, and warned that such storms were likely to become a more common event in the future.

Specifically, McCarthy faulted Texas for not being connected to the national power grid, which she blamed for the extent of the power outages. At least 40 people died during the storm, and a number of those deaths are believed to have been caused specifically by power outages.

“You know, now’s not the time for me to be pointing fingers, but clearly the United States has always done best when it’s worked together and relied on one another. And I think Texas might … have a real opportunity and probably ought to think about making sure they join with their neighbors in an interstate grid system that allows them flexibility, and that helps them help their neighbors when the time comes,” McCarthy said. She noted in the interview that while Oklahoma and Louisiana were also hit hard by the storm, they did not suffer power outages that were nearly as extensive as Texas because “they were able to rely on each other.”

McCarthy also stated that, while she was still awaiting the results of an “after-action report” on the Texas debacle, she believes that the storm should serve as a “wake-up call” to encourage Texas and other states to build more resilient power delivery systems, and that states should expect more extreme weather events in the future, not fewer. These weather events, she said, are “not going to be as unusual as people had hoped. It is going to happen, and we need to be as resilient and working together as much as possible.”

The finger pointing for Texas’ difficulties during the storm began well before even the ice cleared, with many Texas politicians including Governor Greg Abbott (R) blaming ERCOT officials for failing to take appropriate readiness measures before the storm began. A number of members of ERCOT’s board have resigned after intense public backlash regarding their management of the crisis, while their CEO has defended his actions during the crisis, saying that he could not have done anything differently.

The role of climate change in the catastrophe has also predictably become the subject of partisan bickering, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) specifically suggesting that Texas was reaping its just reward for having “ignored” climate change, while Texas politicians angrily retorted that a significant reason for the failure of the Texas power grid was that renewable energy sources like wind turbines failed to operate in extreme temperatures.

President Biden visited Texas on Friday to survey the damage caused by the storm, and vowed that the federal government would be a “true partner” to Texas as it seeks to recover from the storm.

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Virginia police officer shot and killed during traffic stop; suspect also killed during flight from police

In a startling incident on Friday, a suspect allegedly opened fire on a police officer in Virginia during a traffic stop, killing him. According to multiple reports, the suspect was himself killed by police after he allegedly made a threatening move towards police who attempted to chase him from the scene as he fled on foot.

Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum was reportedly shot around 3:15pm local time in Stanley, Virginia, where he served on the Stanley police force. Winum had been with the Stanley Police Department for five years, according to reports, and prior to that had served 10 years as a Virginia state police officer. He was praised as a professional and outstanding police officer in statements released by both departments.

According to police, Winum initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on Judy Lane in Stanley, but before he could get out of his car, the suspect who was being pulled over opened fire on Winum, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect has been identified by police as Dakota G. Richardson, who is also a resident of Stanley.

Richardson allegedly fled the scene on foot, and was eventually tracked to a barn, where he was confronted by Page County Sheriff’s Deputies. Police say that Richardson made a threatening move towards the officers who attempted to arrest him, leading them to open fire on him. Richardson was struck by gunfire and died shortly afterwards from his injuries.

Police were not aware at the time of the publication of this article of any possible motive that Richardson may have had for opening fire on Winum.

In a post on the Stanley Police Department’s Facebook page, the department simply stated, “We have no words. Please pray for the family of our fallen brother, the Stanley Police Department, and our law enforcement family.”

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Intelwars Ted Cruz Texas power failure

Commentary: The controversy over Ted Cruz’s trip to Cancun is silly

In case you missed it, the whole world is flipping out over the fact that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) took a trip to Cancun during the middle of a historic snowstorm in Texas that has caused massive power blackouts in the state. Apparently, the story is important enough that a major New York publication sent a reporter to find out who was taking care of Cruz’s dog while he was gone (and predictably wrote a dishonest headline about the answer to that asinine question). The whole controversy is nearly the silliest thing I’ve ever seen.

The people who are complaining about Cruz right now would have a very valid complaint if Cruz were the governor of Texas or even a mayor of a Texas city or some other executive branch official whose job involves coordinating the government response to a crisis. I would submit that the overwhelming majority of those jobs can also be performed just as effectively from nearly anywhere on the planet in the modern age, but there’s something to be said for the boss showing the flag, so to speak.

Cruz’s job involves none of those things. His job is to cast votes on behalf of his constituency in Washington, D.C. He has no role in restoring power to the residents of Texas, nor in salting roads or heating homes or anything else. To the extent that he might be doing anything during the course of this week — be it sending strongly worded letters to power company officials or appearing on television to make his concerned face — those things would probably actually distract people who are working to get power back on from doing what they should be doing.

Nor is Cruz guilty of hypocrisy, as so many Democratic politicians were when they took posh trips over the last several months after telling their constituents that traveling to see their families at Thanksgiving would cause us all to die of COVID-19. I can’t find any record of anyone posing the question to Cruz, but if someone had asked him if he thought it advisable for Texans to go somewhere that does have power for the duration of the storm, he would probably have answered with a resounding “yes.”

Ted Cruz did not spend the last three weeks telling people that traveling anywhere would kill Grandma, only to jet off to a fancy vacation with his family. Many, many, many Democratic politicians did, and yet the Cruz trip has already been covered by the media more than all those trips combined.

The most serious error that Cruz committed was doing something that invited the media to have an excuse to make him look bad. I’m willing to bet that almost no people who were sitting around in the dark and cold in Texas were thinking to themselves, “I wonder what Ted Cruz is doing, and I sure hope he is sitting here in the dark and cold with us, just because.”

But now that a media frenzy has descended, many of his constituents will no doubt be angry, even though almost none of them could come up with something that Cruz, as a senator, should have been doing at this time, and even though none of them would have had any complaints about any other person in Texas who responded to extended blackouts and freezing cold by leaving to take a trip somewhere else. That’s just called sensible behavior.

Granted, not everyone has the financial wherewithal to escape to Cancun during a time like this, but you can bet that if my power had been off all week and I had relatives in Alabama who invited me to stay with them, I would have done it. And since I feel that class envy reflects more poorly on the people who have it than the people who are targets of it, I find it impossible to condemn Cruz for anything other than violating expectations that are not grounded in reality.

And for that, it seems pretty insane for people to be treating this like the biggest news story of the week. The story has been established: Because his physical presence could not improve the situation in any way whatsoever, Cruz left a place that was cold and without power for a place that was warm and had power. If the people of Texas feel that that reflects poorly upon him, so be it. The ongoing feeding frenzy over the story is plainly not driven by its news value, but rather by animosity Cruz has personally generated among members of the media — which, in my book, is probably his most endearing quality.

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China Covid vaccine Intelwars

Scammer in China allegedly made almost $3 million selling saline solution as COVID-19 vaccines

Chinese authorities say that they have arrested a man who, along with several co-conspirators, sold tens of thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccines across China, according to Business Insider.

According to China’s top prosecuting agency, a man named Kong Mou was responsible for operating a gang that sold as many as 58,000 syringes that purportedly contained the COVID-19 vaccine, but in fact only contained saline solution. The alleged scheme was successful in raking in about 18 million yuan (the equivalent of almost $3 million) before authorities discovered it and arrested those responsible.

Authorities say that they arrested as many as 80 people involved in the alleged scam, including some of the people Kong Mou and his associates sold the vaccine to, believing that those individuals in turn sold them again for a profit, despite knowing that they were fake.

According to the BBC, Kong studied the packaging of the real vaccines extensively and managed to create replicas of the vaccine that were extremely convincing visually, although of course they conveyed no actual health benefit. Some of the vaccines were sold to hospitals in China, many of which are desperate for vaccine doses, as the Chinese government has only been able to deliver about 40 million vaccine doses to its population of over 1 billion people so far.

Other doses of the vaccine were allegedly administered directly by the alleged criminal syndicate, which reportedly set up fake vaccination clinics and charged people a cash fee for vaccination or shipped them to “village doctors,” who ran vaccination programs in remote locations.

The Chinese government also claims that a batch of about 600 of the fake vaccines manufactured by Kong were smuggled to Hong Kong before being shipped overseas, and the whereabouts of those vaccines are currently unknown. According to the Chinese government, the individuals who purchased those vaccines likely did not know that the vaccines they were purchasing were fake.

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Cuomo faces bipartisan condemnation, calls for resignation following latest nursing home revelations

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s political troubles intensified Friday, as he faced the fallout from the latest bombshell in the widening nursing home scandal that has engulfed his administration: an admission from one of his top lieutenants that his office withheld information from the New York legislature because they were afraid that former President Donald Trump would tweet negatively about the governor’s efforts if the information became public.

The admission, which was first reported by the New York Post, consisted of an admission from top lieutenant Melissa DeRosa, who said in a video call with Democratic leaders in New York that the Cuomo administration ignored requests for information from the legislature because, “[R]ight around the same time, [Trump] turns this into a giant political football. He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes.. And basically, we froze.”

The Cuomo administration released a partial transcript of the video conference on Friday, and many New York Democrats offered prompt condemnation of Cuomo’s actions.

Perhaps most alarming for the Cuomo administration, 14 New York Democrats (so far) signed on to a petition calling for Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers to be revoked.

The petition states that “it is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate,” and calls on the Senate to repeal them as expeditiously as possible, even before they are set to automatically expire on April 30th.

Cuomo’s leadership during the early stages of the pandemic was originally a source of pride for national Democrats, who often favorably contrasted Cuomo’s decisions and tactics with former President Donald Trump. He was frequently invited as a guest on national news programs and was hailed as a model of leadership, which ultimately led him to author a book about his handling of the pandemic.

However, as the breadth of Cuomo’s mishandling of the nursing home crisis in his home state has come under increasing scrutiny, many Democrats have turned sour on Cuomo. Even liberal progressive network CNN, which allowed Cuomo to field softball interviews with his brother, anchor Chris Cuomo in spite of widespread criticism from media watchdogs about the obvious conflict of interests this posed, has begun to acknowledge that Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was not as praiseworthy as they originally believed.

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Ex-staffer killed himself outside of GOP Congresswoman’s house, and police are unsure why

In a bizarre, shocking, and saddening incident, a former staffer for freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) appears to have shot and killed himself outside the Congresswoman’s home, and police for now are puzzled at his motive.

The incident was first reported by the Dallas Morning News, who noted that police were called to Van Duyne’s house on Wednesday afternoon after she called them, reporting that she heard gunshots outside her home and went outside to find a man on the sidewalk leading to the front porch of the home, who was apparently dead. The man was later identified as Chris Dillard, who served as a spokesman for Van Duyne’s campaign until April of 2020.

Police say Van Duyne was at home at the time of the incident, but did not witness it. Irving police say that they have already searched Dillard’s home, and can find no motive for his suicide, or its location. They also indicated that they did not find anything that would indicate that there is any further threat to Van Duyne.

A statement released by Van Duyne said, “I’m still shocked and grieving that Chris would take his life. We had known each other for years. He had been to my home numerous times for holiday parties, fantasy football draft parties, and get-togethers with friends. The last time I heard from him was over text in early January, to share pictures of his family. I’ve spoken with Chris’s mother to offer my condolences and asked her how to support her during this difficult time. I’m devastated for her his daughter and grandchildren, we are praying for Chris’s family and loved ones and ask that everyone please respect their privacy. Thank you.”

Van Duyne previously served as mayor of Irving, Texas, and served as a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration. She stepped down from that position in 2019 to run for the seat that was being vacated by the retirement of former Rep. Kenny Marchant. Van Duyne was endorsed by President Trump in one of the most hotly contested races in the country, narrowly defeating Democrat Candace Valenzuela to win her first term in Congress.

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Texas mother goes viral for video showing her leveling suspected peeping Tom with brutal form tackle

A Lake Jackson, Texas mother has gone viral after video of her leveling a suspect she accused of trying to peep in her teenage daughter’s window awed the internet on Thursday.

Mother Phyllis Pena’s story was first covered on Monday by KPRC-TV, who reported that Pena had returned home at around 7:00am on January 31st to find a man who was in her yard and allegedly attempting to peek into her teenage daughter’s window. Thankfully, her daughter was not in the room at the time.

When the suspect noticed Pena, he took off, and Pena reportedly called the police. Police found the suspect, who has been identified as 19-year-old Zane Hawkins, hiding nearby. When they attempted to apprehend him, Hawkins fled, right into Pena’s path. What happened next was caught by the patrol cruiser’s dash cam, and would soon become the hottest topic on social media.


Mom tackles man suspected of peeking in daughter’s window

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In the video, the suspect enters the video from the right side of the frame, only to be brutally tackled and taken to the ground by Pena, whose tackling form was soon the subject of widespread admiration from sports analysts – most of it tongue-in-cheek.

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlien, for instance, rated her tackling form very highly:

Videos of Pena were among the most shared and retweeted on Twitter on Tuesday. Pena, for her part, said that she was just trying to make sure that the suspect couldn’t go any further, and that she merely hoped to either trip him up or slow him down. Jokingly, she recognized that her efforts were considerably more successful, quipping, “The cop fist bumped me and said, ‘Hey, I heard the Texans are looking for a new linebacker.'”

According to KPRC, Hawkins has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest, and resisting arrest, and may face other charges in the future. The Lake Jackson police of chief has asked to meet with the mother to commend her, and told KPRC that he may even give her a job application.

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Wisconsin judge denies prosecutors’ request to issue new arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse

During a contentious hearing in which Wisconsin judge Bruce Schroeder accused prosecutors of treating 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse different from any other criminal defendant, the judge curtly denied the prosecution’s motion to issue a new arrest warrant for the accused teen, or to increase his bail.

The judge further appeared sympathetic to the defense argument’s pleas that revealing Rittenhouse’s physical address would put him in jeopardy, and apparently cut off prosecutors mid-sentence and abruptly ended the hearing when they attempted to argue that the public has a right to know where Rittenhouse is staying while he awaits trial.

Prosecutors first sought to have Rittenhouse’s bail revoked earlier this month when they discovered that he was not living at the address listed on his pretrial release form, and had not notified either prosecutors or the court of his change of address. They also sought to have his bail increased, apparently incensed that internet fundraising had managed to raise enough money to meet the hefty $2 million price tag for Rittenhouse’s pretrial release.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued, plausibly, that Rittenhouse did not wish to have his true address appear on public records because of numerous threats that had been made against his life. Schroeder conceded during the hearing that Rittenhouse was in technical violation of the conditions of his bail, but noted that this particular infraction was a common one, and that he had never ordered a criminal defendant jailed for failing to notify the court of an address change before.

He further ordered Rittenhouse’s lawyers to reveal Rittenhouse’s current physical address to the court, but agreed to withhold this information from the prosecutors’ office, leading the prosecutors to exclaim, “I hope you’re not suggesting sharing this with our office would lead to further violence. We are not the public. We are the prosecuting agency. I have never heard of a situation where the information has been withheld from my office.”

Schroeder retorted that Rittenhouse has been present for all his pretrial hearings and there is no apparent danger that he would not be present for trial, and that if he violated his bail further, his address would be shared with the sheriffs’ department. When prosecutors attempted to argue the point further, a visibly unimpressed Schroeder cut them off mid-sentence and ended the online hearing.

Rittenhouse is awaiting trial for murder charges for his role in three shootings that occurred during the violent riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin that followed the legally justified shootings of Jacob Blake, who was falsely described as being “unarmed” at the time he was shot by Kenosha police. Blake has since confessed that he was in violation of an order of protection against a woman he was accused of previously sexually assaulting, had stolen her car keys, and was holding a knife and was moving toward a car that was occupied by two children, who police say they believed he was attempting to kidnap.

During the course of the violence that engulfed Kenosha due to the false narrative that was initially peddled about Blake, Rittenhouse shot three men, two of whom later died. Video captured by numerous cell phones and other video cameras appeared to show Rittenhouse fleeing a mob during the course of the night, including Joseph Rosenbaum, who was seen on video throwing an object at Rittenhouse and charging at him right before Rittenhouse fatally shot him.

After shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse was seen fleeing a crowd, and during the course of his flight he fatally shot Anthony Huber, who attempted to tackle him and appeared to hit him over the head with a skateboard. He shot and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, who was seen on video pointing a gun which was later revealed to be loaded at Rittenhouse right before he was shot.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers have argued that he was acting in self-defense. The prosecution and local BLM activists have attempted to paint him as a trigger-happy white supremacist.

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George gascon Intelwars

California judge issues injunction against Soros-backed district attorney’s policies after his deputies sued him

A California judge has partially ruled against Soros-backed Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s sweeping criminal justice reform package on Monday, ruling that some of his directives violated California law and would have placed his deputy district attorneys in legal and ethical jeopardy.

Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued his ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by Gascón’s own deputy district attorneys, who alleged in their lawsuit that Gascón’s policies — which prohibited them from applying sentencing enhancements that have long been considered mandatory under California law — would have required them to violate California law and their own ethical obligations. Specifically, they argued that policies are unlawful that require them to not seek certain sentencing enhancements that are mandated by California law.

With respect to cases that have already been filed, Judge Chalfant agreed, issuing a preliminary injunction preventing those policies from being implemented. Of specific importance, California law requires district attorneys who are seeking to drop sentencing enhancements to make representations to the court that certain circumstances exist, and the judge found that Gascón’s policy would have effectively required these district attorneys to lie in court.

The judge also faulted Gascón’s policies for failing to take into account the effect they would have on victims of crime, as required under California law. As Chalfant noted, “There is not a single reference to a concern for victims in the sentencing process” under Gascón’s policies.

However, the judge declined to enjoin Gascón from implementing his policies with respect to cases brought in the future, noting that prosecutors generally have wide discretion in performing those duties. The judge was not swayed by the deputy district attorneys’ arguments that California state law clearly and plainly states that prosecutors “shall” seek sentencing requirements in certain cases, claiming (in reasoning that would certainly come as a surprise to most speakers of English) that “shall” is not always considered mandatory in legislative statutes and that such language cannot constrain the discretion inherent in prosecutorial functions.

Moreover, the judge ruled, Gascón’s policies should not have been a “surprise” since he explicitly ran on implementing them. It is unclear from Chalfant’s decision how Gascón’s victory in his local election is legally relevant to the interpretation of the plain text of California state law.

Gascón has promised to appeal the judge’s decision, but also has promised to abide by the terms of the judge’s injunction until that appeal has been decided.

Billionaire left-wing financier George Soros spent over $2 million of his vast fortune propping up Gascón’s campaign, during which he explicitly ran on a platform of eliminating sentencing enhancements and cash bail and reducing Los Angeles’ prison population.

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