Saturday, July 22, 2017

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Hey, you live here?

Residents of Cypress, Texas, Pastor Lorenzo Martinez and his family were subjected to a home invasion by an unknown man in only his underwear. The home intruder, after a brief violent fight, was shot dead at the crime scene.

According to reports by leading local news channels, after breaking into Pastor Martinez’s home on Thursday morning, the man allegedly attacked members of the family before being shot to death.

“The door is kicked in and that’s how the family wakes up to discover the intruder in the residence,” an official of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office told a local news network in a statement. “He wasn’t running from anybody. He was attacking. In my opinion, he was in an attacking mode.”

Naarai Olvera, Pastor Martinez’s daughter, told the news network that while she wasn’t present to witness the break-in or the scuffle, her brother, sister, brother-in-law and their children were at home when the incident occurred.

“He just started hitting my dad, then he hit my mom,” Olvera said. “Then my brother woke up and my brother started hitting him.”

According to Olvera, the unknown home invader punched her mother in the face many times to break her nose, before attacking her brother with a large flat-screen TV set.

After attacking Pastor Martinez’s wife and son, according to Olvera’s claims, the intruder moved to her sister’s room where her husband and three young children were hiding. She reported that he broke down the bedroom door to get in.

As soon as he gained entry into Olvera’s sister’s bedroom, her brother-in-law shot the intruder dead. Investigators believe the man was on drugs.

“We are a Christian family,” Olvera said. “We don’t believe in killing anybody. But we had to do what we had to do to protect our family and protect our little kids.”

While the home invader has not yet been identified, the Martinez family says they have absolutely no idea who he is.

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wikileaks

Former Washington, D.C. Homicide Detective Rod Wheeler claims that the police had mentioned to him that they were ordered to cover up the actual details surrounding the cause off DNC staffer Seth Rich’s murder.

The case concerning Seth Rich’s death was revived, as federal investigators confirmed that the Democratic National Committee staffer, who was murdered in 2016 had in fact been in contact with WikiLeaks.

Rich was shot dead in Washington, D.C., in July and the police had ruled the murder as a botched robbery, even though, nothing was stolen. The story surrounding Rich’s death received very little attention from the media, all until WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied that Rich was a source for the hacking group.

Rod Wheeler alleged on Monday that the true reasons surrounding the killing were covered by the police. “I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you.’” Wheeler said.

“Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor’s office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday],” he added.

Wheeler also went on to state that his sources had mentioned that Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that there is evidence backing the claim.

“The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” Wheeler explained. “They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.”

According a source, Rich transferred 44,053 emails sent between DNC officials to Gavin MacFadyen, a now deceased filmmaker and WikiLeaks director. Some conspiracy theories claim that Rich was murdered as he was transferring information from the DNC to WikiLeaks, however, up until Wheeler’s alleged claims, there haven’t been any publicly confirmed evidence to back the theories.

Following Rich’s death, WikiLeaks was noted issuing a statement, where they neither confirmed nor denied Rich’s link with them. Their statement read, “As a matter of policy we do not confirm or deny whether any person has ever been a source for WikiLeaks. We treat threats toward any suspected source of WikiLeaks with extreme gravity. This should not be taken to imply that Seth Rich was a source to WikiLeaks or to imply that his murder is connected to our publications. We hope our efforts will contribute to the family’s calls for information and to the separate reward issued by the police.”

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Are cracks forming in our relationship?

Speaking to the press outside the White House on Monday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied the shocking allegations from a Washington Post article that said President Donald Trump had shared sensitive intelligence with the Russians in the meeting last week.

“A brief statement for the record,” McMaster began. “There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people.”

“The story that came out tonight as reported, is false,” he said rather flatly.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time,” he emphasized, “were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

“Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state,” he continued, “remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record account should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”

“And I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” he concluded. “Thanks everybody.”

Even though it is usually criticized and frowned upon by the Trump administration, the Washington Post report mentioned information from anonymous sources. However, sources later confirmed the legitimacy of the information to the New York Post, Buzzfeed, and Reuters.

Several journalists called McMaster’s statement to be an incomplete denial of the story. MSNBC’s Katy Tur tweeted, “McMaster saying “sources and methods” is a red herring. Article doesnt say Trump revealed sources and methods to Russians.”

Washington Post’s National Security Correspondent, Greg Miller, said that McMaster was “playing word games,” referring to the denial, as the report did not mention anything about President Trump revealing intelligence methods or sources. Miller further said that the administration was trying hard to “blunt the impact of the story.”

“Nor do any of these White House officials who are denouncing this story,” he added, “nor have any of them offered any explanation why if this was all so above board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council coming out of this meeting feel it was necessary to contact the CIA director and the director of the National Security Agency to give them a heads up on what Trump had just told the Russians?”

According to Miller, the Washington Post ‘absolutely’ supports their reporting.

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Huma Abedin
Will Hillary be able to save her?

Huma Abedin, vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for President of the United States was revealed to have emailed classified information to her then-husband Anthony Weiner.

On Thursday, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was reported to have called for a prosecutor to look into whether Hillary Clinton’s staff had broken the law, when she had forwarded emails containing classified material to her former spouse Anthony Weiner.

“If there was classified information and it was improperly passed to a person unauthorized to receive it, yes, naturally it’s a crime,” Blumenthal said. He added, “Without knowing what the intentions were and so forth, there is potentially a prosecutable crime.”

Upon being asked as to whether Abedin had committed a crime, Blumenthal responded, “It still may be, potentially. It’s not outside the statute of limitations, so far as I know. It’s one that the Department of Justice is going to have to decide. The question is: who will decide it? That’s why we need a special prosecutor to review all of this investigative material.”

FBI Director James Comey, in his testimony on Wednesday, was said to have revealed that Abedin had forwarded emails from the Democratic presidential to her husband on daily basis. “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him, I think, to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state,” he said.

When asked if whether Abedin or Weiner would be charged for the misuse of classified information, Comey stated, “there was, we completed it … because with respect with Ms. Abedin in particular, we didn’t have any indication that she had any sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. We couldn’t prove any intent.”

 

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stabbing

20-year-old student, Kendrex J. White of University of Texas- Austin campus is suspected of committing multiple stabbings that resulted in one dead and three injured.

As reported by UT Police Chief David Carter, White has been captured and has been put in custody. “Suspect is in custody according to @Austin_Police”

The Austin American Statesman report indicates that the police received a phone call about a man stabbing individuals near Gregory gym. When the police reached the scene, they identified White, who was seen wielding a “large, bowie-style hunting knife.”  The officers ordered White to drop his weapon and drop to the ground, which White complied with almost immediately.

White was a biology major in the College of Natural Science and was removed from the school’s student directory following the attack. The motives behind White’s act are yet known. Whereas, the 25 students that had witnessed the attack are to be interviewed.

Chis Crawford, a senior in White’s college said that he worked with White at Real Role Models, an organization where students provide service & mentorship.

A series of tweets came, following the attack.

Many tweeted in memory of Harrison Brown, a UT student who lost his life in the attack.

Graham Independent School District tweeted, “The news of Harrison Brown’s (GHS Class of 2016) passing is heartbreaking. There are no words adequate enough to express the sorrow felt by Graham ISD and the community of Graham for this loss. Harrison was an inspiration to everyone around him.

We were Blessed and honored to have known him.for Kurt and Lori Brown, John and Allie Brown and family, we pray the outpouring of sympathy, the kind acts of friends and strangers and the comfort in knowing that your loss is felt by many, will help you through this difficult time. Counselors and youth ministers will be at the high school tomorrow and available for our students.”

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Wait, I was just kidding!

A Fresno State University professor who tweeted that President Donald Trump “must hang,” in February, is reportedly under investigation by the Secret Service. The history alleged that President Trump is a threat to American democracy.

It was reported that the liberal California professor, Lars Maischak, caused outrage after his tweets spread online. In a series of several tweets, Maischak called for President Trump and other Republicans to be assassinated.

“To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better,” Maischak tweeted in February.

Federal agents are now investigating Maischak for his controversial comments, according to Fresno State University President Joseph Castro. He told a local newspaper that he has been in touch with officials from the Secret Service, FBI, and Homeland Security after Maischak’s tweets were discovered last week.

However, as of now, it is not clear what law federal authorities think the German-born professor of European and US history, broke. One option that may be on the table is a Class E felony, threatening the president of the US.

Regardless of the crime Maischak may be charged with, prosecutors are likely to face a tough battle. It is widely acknowledged that courts tend to interpret the First Amendment pretty broadly. One example of such a case being overturned would be the 1969 Supreme Court case, Watts vs. United States. A man who allegedly threatened President Lyndon B. Johnson at a rally, had his conviction overturned by Justices. He had said: “I am not going [to Vietnam]. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.””

At the time, Justices believed that the statement was a “crude political hyperbole which, in light of its context and conditional nature, did not constitute a knowing and willful threat against the President.”

Earlier this week, in a written statement given to the Fresno Bee, Maischek apologized for his comments, adding that he had deleted his Twitter account since his tweets went viral.

“I apologize for the tone and content of my statements made on Twitter. I ask forgiveness of those who felt threatened or offended by them,” he wrote. “It was never my intent to harm anyone, nor to encourage others to harm anyone.”

“My statements each represent the end point of a dark train of thought triggered by my despair over the actions of the present U.S. government,” Maischak explained.

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Ay caramba Trump!

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, in an interview on Sunday, elaborated on his agency’s plans to step up arrests and deportations of illegal immigrants.

He said that previously, it would have been highly unlikely for the Obama administration to deport anyone for lower-level offenses. Most deportations, under the previous administration have been due to high-profile crimes such as murder and rape.

During the interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Kelly suggested that the threshold for deportation will be much lower this time around.

“Can you give me an example of somebody that wasn’t deported before that you’re deporting now?” Todd asked.

Kelly responded, “Well, someone, as an example, with multiple DUIs — even a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the system.”

Before that question, the host asked Secretary Kelly if the definition of a “criminal” has changed under President Trump.

“It is fair to say the definition of ‘criminal’ has not changed,” Kelly replied. “But where on the spectrum of criminality we operate has changed.”

His comments come just a few days after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited the southwestern border and announced to the Border Patrol agents that the nation is now stepping into a “a new era” of immigration and customs enforcement.

“For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era,” Sessions said. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch-and-release practices of the past are over.”

Sessions also instructed federal attorneys, on Tuesday, to prosecute anyone who harbors illegal immigrants. He urged prosecutors to prioritize those who are involved in protecting or transporting three or more people living in the country illegally, and also those who protect violent offenders.

However, during the interview, the DHS chief made it quite clear that the shift in immigration law is not to create a harsh climate for immigrants but instead about upholding the law.

“You’ve got to remember, there’s a legal justice system in place,” Kelly said. “The law deports people. Secretary Kelly doesn’t. [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] doesn’t. It’s the United States criminal justice system — or the justice system — that deports people.”

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Hey boss, come look at this!

With workers who reportedly drink, watch porn, and smoke marijuana at work, the Environmental Protection Agency has been perforated with employee misconduct.

For EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is now looking forward to layoff at least 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the government agency, inspector general reports from the past few years detailing the employee misconduct could serve as ammunition.

According to the US government’s own calculations, when it was on the verge of a shutdown back in 2013, only 6.5 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s employees are “essential.”

The most infamous case regarding misconduct at the EPA was of an official who earned up to $120,000 excluding performance bonuses after being caught watching porn at work, for almost six hours a day.

EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation reportedly had a geologist who admitted to downloading over 7,000 porn files on an agency server. He even admitted to masturbating at work. However, in return, he received paid leave for nearly two years after being caught red-handed.

The inspector general reported to Congress last year that this was not the only such incident at the agency. Another employee was suspended days after confessing that he had “watched pornography regularly at work for the past several years.” The inspector elaborated that this employee’s punishment was that he could no longer telework or “attach any unauthorized external drive devices to a government computer.”

EPA has also been found to employ convicted child molesters. This includes an employee who was paid $55,000 by the EPA, to retire, because his employers could not fire him.

Several other EPA employees have been caught drinking and growing marijuana at work. In 2015, an employee was arrested for attempting to bring “three grams of marijuana and two marijuana pipes through the security checkpoint at an Internal Revenue Service facility in Denver, Colorado.” The inspector general further said that the employee only received a conviction of 20 hours of community service, a $2,500 fine and a 21-day suspension.

After discovering that another EPA employee had a “marijuana growing operation in her residence,” she was only placed on a seven-month administrative leave before retiring in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s mission is to curtail EPA’s workforce by 25 percent and cut its budget down to $5.7 billion.

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Crime

Spurring heated debates all over, California’s law enforcement policies, which have led to decreasing arrest rates and early prison releases, are being blamed for the sharp surge in crime rates.

In a recent report, Fox News stated that a large majority are now blaming the liberal law enforcement policies for the surge in crime. The program was designed to decrease the number of individuals imprisoned while ensuring the safety of the people; however, critics are pointing to the numbers to show that the program is ineffective at keeping people safe and quite effective at reducing the number of inmates.

“The most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show violent crime rates in some California cities has increased by over 50 percent,” said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.  “If you look at the national data, our violent crime rates are going up faster than the rest of the nation. So why?”

Police officials and prosecutors have an explanation though; a number of prison reform measures, which reduce the state prison population by 20,000 inmates, by making certain felonies misdemeanors and liberating non-violent offenders earlier than usual. Assembly Bill 109, which saved California around $100 million, saw the transfer of 60,000 felony parole violators a year from state prison to county control. However, some believe that it did cause a lot of trouble.

The number of arrests has also fallen drastically in California, but the cause is believed to be much murkier than the one for plummeting imprisonments.

The Los Angeles Times reported that arrests by the LAPD fell by 25% in two years from 2013 to 2015. Although the reason behind the trend is still unclear, similar decreases were observed throughout the state. What is considered to be the lowest arrests recorded in about 50 years, the California attorney general’s office reported that arrests fell to 1.1 million in 2015 from 1.5 million in 2006.

Some give credit to the latest police policies that focus on preventing crime rather than waiting for it to happen then arrest perpetrators. Meanwhile, others believe that officers’ morale is considerably low as a result of liberal law enforcement policies and the national debate on police tactics.

However, despite the promise to decrease the cycle of crime through liberal law enforcement policies, crime is on the rise in the state. A 2015 report from the Public Policy Institute of California indicates that property crime rose by 6.6% while violent crime was up by 6.6%. This surge in crime rates was noted for a large number of counties.

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Corruption Case

Defense attorneys say that the FBI’s use of a staff member to then-Rep Aaron Schock (R-Ill), as an informant could make the prosecution’s case against him much more complicated than previously thought.

In new court filings, lawyers argue that the staffer working at Aaron Schock’s office secretly provided investigators with a trove of credit card receipts, emails, and several other documents that violated the former congressman’s constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizures. The former congressman was indicted with 24 counts last year, and his trial is set to begin this summer.

Lawyers called the use of the informant, in the latest court filings, troubling, and said that it puts a question mark on provisions that mandate a separation between various government branches.

“It threatens the core architecture of our system of government. It’s not something that people should gloss over here,” said Steve Ross, the co-leader of the congressional investigations practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Details about how investigation officials gathered information against Schock were made public for the first time after the court filing from Schock’s attorneys last week. In the filing, they asked for more information about how authorities engaged the informant who recorded private conversations and took documents from the lawmaker’s office in Peoria, Illinois.

The informant is reported to have taken several documents from the office, including travel receipts, office purchases invoices, and credit card statements of Schock’s personal American Express account. He also gave content from another staffer’s email account, to the FBI.

“Let’s address the overall feel of it, this kind of thing is very unusual — it’s very unusual to use someone on congressional staff to act in an undercover capacity at all, much less to have them pilfering documents,” Solomon L. Wisenberg, the co-chair of the white collar practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

The audio recordings from the informant, acquired by the defense attorneys through the court discovery process, reportedly contain conversations between Schock’s staff and the attorney representing them, in addition to attempts made to “deliberately elicit attorney-client privileged information.”

The informant, who worked in Schock’s district office, but is not named in the court documents, had been subpoenaed in the government investigation. According to the court filing, he was the first person to be interviewed by the investigators.

However, prosecutors have said that they don’t intend on using some information obtained from the information, in the trial.

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