Updates On Cambridge Analytica

(1)  Score one for the Democrats on the House Intel Committee

The whistleblower who publicly revealed how Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica used information mined from Facebook under false pretenses during the 2016 election cycle will give an interview to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee as part of their investigation of Russian interference in the election, including possible ties to Donald Trump’s campaign.

A lawyer for Christopher Wylie confirmed Tuesday that Wylie plans to accept the invitation from the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.).

Schiff said Monday that panel Democrats want to talk to Wylie to determine where and how the Facebook data was stored and used, and whether others — including Russian operatives — had access to it.

“Indeed, it may be that through Cambridge Analytica, the Trump campaign made use of illegitimately-acquired data on millions of Americans to help sway the election,” Schiff said in a statement.

Democrats on the House panel vowed last week to continue to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, despite the committee’s Republican leaders announcing that they had completed a draft report about the panel’s findings. The panel is expected to approve a final version of that report Thursday, although it will not be released publicly until the intelligence community reviews it and makes any necessary redactions.

House Democrats do not have independent power to subpoena witnesses to testify. But Wylie has been outspoken about how Cambridge Analytica — a company he helped build, according to a profile in the Guardian — planned to use the Facebook users’ data and an algorithm to build “psychographic” profiles that could be used to predict the political leanings of every potential American voter.

Facebook gave permission to University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan to access information on 270,000 users of the social media site to help build a quiz app called “thisisyourdigitallife.” But the app’s reach went much further, ultimately allowing Kogan to access data on 50 million users. The information was passed on to Cambridge Analytica and Wylie, breaking the terms struck with Facebook for access to the data. Facebook found out about the events in 2015, but was told that Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan had deleted the data. Several days ago, Facebook discovered that they had not.

Last year, the House Intelligence Committee spoke with Wylie’s former boss Alexander Nix — the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica — by videoconference, as Nix is located in London.

Schiff stressed in his invitation to Wylie that his accounts of Cambridge Analytica’s data operations “raise serious questions about the veracity of the testimony” Nix gave to the committee.

This is gratifying for a couple of reasons. First, and most obviously, we might get some information on any Russia connection (Kogan being well-connected to Russia).

Secondly, it demonstrates how the Republicans on the House Intel Committee forced a premature ending to their investigation of Trump-Russia collusion. Might the Cambridge Analytica avenue be a dead end?  Perhaps. But it needs investigating, and since the House Intel Committee already saw fit to interview Nix, then Wylie’s testimony is also relevant.

(2) North Carolina GOP REALLY had ties to Cambridge Analytica

The North Carolina Republican party and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) paid the controversial British data firm Cambridge Analytica $345,000 for a direct mail campaign and consulting work, the News & Observer reported Monday.

Cambridge Analytica, which the Trump campaign used during the 2016 election, has recently come under fire after reports that it illegally obtained the private Facebook profiles of 50 million people, but there is no indication that the firm used any data from the breach in their work with the North Carolina Republicans.

The firm consulted Tillis on his successful 2014 campaign.

Dallas Woodhouse, the state’s GOP executive director, said the firm did not work on social media for the party and that the party does not plan to hire them again.

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica on Friday following reports that it had violated its privacy policy.

An undercover investigation by London’s Channel 4 secretly filmed the CEO of the firm saying that he used bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians in compromising situations.

Cambridge Analytica has denied using bribes, entrapment “or so-called honey-traps” and said that it did not use data harvested from Facebook profiles for the Trump campaign.

The firm has also said that, contrary to reports, it deleted all the Facebook data it had accumulated.

Yup. North Carolina GOP was one of CA’s biggest non-presidential race clients. In fact, the NC GOP was the only state party client of Cambridge Analytica. It was the firm’s fourth-largest client in 2014.  These are the payments to CA from June 2014 to December 2016, according to FEC filings.

I wish we could find out exactly what it was FOR, but given the NC GOP’s penchant for minority voter suppression, I can give an educated guess.

Austin Targeted By Fifth (and Possibly Sixth) Bomb

Austin, Texas, which has been rocked by a series of bomb explosions in recent weeks, is still under heavy threat with two bombs found at different FedEx facilities in Texas.

Overnight, there was an explosion at a FedEx facility just outside of San Antonio. A package that was to be sent to Austin transferred from one conveyor belt to another, setting it off. The package’s origin was also Austin, Texas. Via CBS:

The San Antonio Texas Fire Department said a package bomb apparently bound for Austin exploded at a FedEx distribution center in Schertz, Texas, hurting one person, a FedEx employee who apparently suffered a non-life-threatening “percussion-type” injury from the blast. An FBI agent told CBS News “it’s more than possible” the package is related to explosions that have occurred in Austin in recent days.

The package exploded shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a possible sixth package has also been found at a FedEx facility, this one in the Austin airport. This from the AP:

Austin police have deployed a hazardous materials squad to a FedEx shipping facility near the city’s airport to investigate reports of a suspicious package.

It isn’t known yet if the suspicious package is linked to a bomb that detonated earlier Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio or the four bombs that have gone off in Austin this month.

But the Austin Police Department says an investigation is underway.

There is no confirmation at this time whether or not the package at the city airport is actually a bomb, but local authorities are taking no chances in the wake of the previous attacks in the city.

There’s also no confirmation at this time of any suspects in the bombings or any motivations whatsoever.

Another High School Shooting

Initial reports of the shooting came after classes at Great Mills began at 8 a.m. ET. About 1,600 students attend the school.

More Bombs In Austin

What’s going on?

Residents of a southwest Austin neighborhood were told to stay inside early Monday after a fourth explosion in less than a month hit Texas’ capital, injuring two men and stoking fears in a city already on edge.

The latest blast occurred Sunday just after 8:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. ET). Two bicyclists who are believed to be in their 20s sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said.

The two men came across a suspicious device on the side of the road, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a late-night news conference.

Unlike the prior explosions, the one Sunday may have been triggered by a tripwire, according to Manley.

“We will not be able to send school buses into the neighborhood on Monday,” he said. “In addition to that, we’re going to ask the residents in the Travis County neighborhood to stay in your homes tomorrow morning and give us the opportunity to process the scene once the sun comes up.”


Asked Sunday whether the bombings were racially motivated, Manley said it was possible.

Police believe the two earlier bombings were “meant to send a message,” though Manley didn’t say what that message was during a news conference earlier Sunday.

The fourth explosion came just hours after officials made a direct appeal to the person responsible to contact them.

In that news conference, Manley said that he hoped the bomber was watching and would “reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed.”

The plea came as local and federal authorities increased the reward for information leading to a conviction to $100,000, Manley said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was also offering $15,000.

“We don’t have any evidence,” Manley said. “What we know for certain is: We have three victims that are victims of color, and we have three package bombs that have exploded on the east side of Austin,” where many of the city’s minority residents live.

March For Our Lives

More than one million students all over the country staged a walkout at 10:00 am (in their respective time zones) and held vigil for the 17 students killed in Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It was, many thought, the largest student walkout since the days of the civil rights demonstration

MSNBC devoted the full hour to the protest, not even breaking for commercials. CNN spent significant time on the story, interviewing students and highlighting the national nature of the movement. Fox News devoted only a couple of brief headline segments to the events.

There were moments of silence, die-ins, etc.

For the most part, school teachers and administrators were on board with the protest, except in the South where many schools forbid such a walkout.  In one such school, student stopped in the hallway at 10:00, gone on one knee, and prayed silently for 17 seconds.  Nice.

A successful day, summed up nicely by one of the Parkland high school shooting survivors.

Oh. I should have mentioned…. even younger kids took part.

Breaking: Package Bombs in Austin Texas

This morning, a package exploded inside of an Austin home, killing a teenager and wounding a woman. The woman is expected to survive.

Austin police believe the explosion was linked to a similar bombing on March 2, when a 39-year-old man was killed when a package exploded.  All the victims were black.

As this news was coming out, yet a THIRD bomb had gone off in Austin, badly injuring a woman in her 70s. At this time, police would not connect the third bombing to the other two….

… but something unusual is going on.

Breaking: Shots Fired At Yountvile (Napa Valley, California) Veterans’ Home; Hostages Taken

Here we go again:

The time of those tweets (2:18 pm, 2:16 pm, and 2:04 pm) are EST (my time), but it is 3 hours earlier in California where this is taking place.

Here are the early details:

YOUNTVILLE (KRON) – The Veterans Home of California Yountville is on lock down Friday morning after reports of an active shooter who is holding 3 hostages.

The Veterans Home tells KRON4 around 10:45 a.m. the entire facility, located at  260 California Dr., was ordered to shelter in place.

This is the largest veterans home in the United States, housing about 1,100 men and women.

There are preliminary reports of 30 shots fired outside the main dining area.

It is unclear if the shots were live rounds, according to an official from the Veteran’s Home.

California Highway Patrol is on scene.

Many reports the man is acting alone and had body armor.

Other reports are saying 3 hostages.

Reported gunman at Veterans Home reportedly is 36-year-old man discharged from on-campus Pathway Home two weeks ago.

UPDATE: After hours of trying to communicate with the gunman, police sent a robot in. The gunman was dead from a self-inflicted wound, as were the three hostages — all employees of the Pathway Home.


The man who killed three hostages at a Northern California veterans’ home suffered from bipolar disorder, various physical ailments and anger issues, sources said.

Authorities said that Albert Wong, a 36-year-old Army veteran, used to be a resident of the Pathway Home, the Yountville facility where he engaged police in a standoff Friday. The Pathway Home, which operates out of the Veterans Home of California, is a nonprofit that helps post-9/11 military veterans reintegrate into civilian life, including by counseling clients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The ordeal ended when police stormed the building and found Wong and three of the facility’s employees — Jennifer Golick, 42, Christine Loeber, 48, and Jennifer Gonzales, 32 — dead.

Wong had been kicked out of the program after he threatened one of the women, a law enforcement source told CNN.

“Whatever happened out there, he didn’t say he was going to shoot anybody,” Wong’s brother, Tyrone Lampkin, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “He said he wanted to get back at them, talk to them, yell at them, not to kill them. He didn’t mention that.”

Lampkin, who told CNN Wong was his adoptive brother, said they hadn’t seen each other since 2010 but communicated via text.

Records show Wong was in the Army reserves from October 1998 until December 2002 and served in active duty from May 2010 to August 2013. He was deployed to Afghanistan from April 2011 to March 2012, the records show.

Lampkin told CNN Wong seemed OK after his stint in the military.

“He talked to us about it, showed us pictures on Facebook, seemed happy, like nothing was wrong,” said Lampkin, who lives in Minneapolis.

But Wong was dogged by leg and back injuries and struggled with bipolar disorder, Lampkin said. He needed medication for his condition, Lampkin said, but complained that it was ineffective and would go off the drugs because he didn’t think they were helping.

This is torn from the blog of John Bambenek, a security analyst and Republican candidate for Illinois State Senate, about his conversations with Guccifer 2.0 (G2).  The post is entitled MY CONVERSATIONS WITH GUCCIFER 2.0 & THE SURPRISING ELECTION INFLUENCE OPERATIONS.

As attention turns to threats facing 2018’s midterm elections, we’re learning hard lessons from what went down in 2016. (Plus, what we can except coming up) There were many aspects to my research and human intelligence operation exploring what exactly was going on behind the scenes, but this article focuses on only one, Guccifer 2.0.

So, there were lots of 2016 election related incidents. Just to name a few:

  • DNC got hacked
  • DCCC got hacked
  • John Podesta’s email got hacked

We know there were four primary election outlets, including Wikileaks, Guccifer 2.0, DC Leaks and Internet Research Agency. Quick org chart breakdown here:

With these leaks, I turned my attention to Guccifer 2.0, who showed up (timely) after Guccifer 1.0 was arrested for cyber crime. Early on, G2 started dropping docs from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). As this is happening, I’m trying to wrap my head around exactly the kind of severity of threat we’re facing here. So, how do I get more info? Is it possible to now secure thousands of independent election jurisdictions? (Gave up on this, but more on that later) So, how do you collect data on a super-secret information operation? The old-fashioned way, of course. Chat them up.

The Dilemma: How do you develop a fully backstopped persona on short notice to start eliciting a foreign intelligence operative?

Spoiler Alert: You play on their own biases.

Just like that, two months of exchanges between myself and G2 began. Normally, you wouldn’t expose your identity to the “bad guy,” but this exchange was very different. They already knew exactly who I was.

Four Main Takeaways:

  1. They should have already known who I was and that I was researching election related issues.
  2. Whatever information they had, they were looking for media and, specifically, Republican officials to leak it to.
  3. My own identity was the best backdrop.
  4. No incremental risk from adversary if I was known.

Now you’re thinking, there’s no way this is going to work, right? Well, I was just as surprised as you are. Let’s delve in.


With a simple Google search, it would have come up that I’ve been investigating numerous breaches. (No evidence they had any idea until two months later) They did, however, look at the domain of my email (, which is my “political” domain.

Come to find out, the docs he had were worthless. G2 and WikiLeaks made no attempt to package a story. He didn’t release the same docs he sent me and started scrubbing metadata after being “caught” red handed.

After All This, What Are the Key Takeaways?

  • Guccifer 2.0 didn’t have a deep political understanding, making their efforts way less effective.
  • They didn’t attempt to package or create a narrative.
  • There were no apparent relationships with friendly journalists.
  • There was no “investment” in these operations and they made simple OPSEC mistakes (in part, using an unsupervised cutout)

So, What Can You Expect Next?

  • They got better over time – 2016’s influence op was luckier than it was sophisticated.
  • The US is vulnerable because of own doing. We even undermine our own institutions.
  • In politics, if you get under their skin, you get another helping. They’ll be invested next time.

This post was the basis of a lecture he just gave at the SAS2018 (the 2018 Security Analyst Summit being held right now in Cancun) — I’m sure his presentation was more colorful and detailed.  But it does make Guccifer 2.0 out to be a bit of a neophyte — a person (or persons) who can hack into places but not know what he grabbed.

Unauthorized Use Of Presidential Seal Is Illegal

In recent weeks, the Trump Organization has ordered the manufacture of new tee markers for golf courses that are emblazoned with the seal of the president of the United States. Under federal law, the seal’s use is permitted only for official government business. Misuse can be a crime under 18 U.S. Code § 713.

Past administrations have policed usage vigilantly. In 2005 the Bush administration ordered the satirical news website The Onion to remove a replica of the seal. Grant M. Dixton, associate White House counsel, wrote in a letter to The Onion that the seal “is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement.”

Eagle Sign and Design, a metalworking and sign company with offices in New Albany, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, said it had received an order to manufacture dozens of round, 12-inch replicas of the presidential seal to be placed next to the tee boxes at Trump golf course holes. Two tee markers are placed on the ground at the start of a hole on golf courses to indicate where golfers should stand to take their first swing.

“We made the design, and the client confirmed the design,” said Joseph E. Bates, who owns Eagle Sign, declining to say who the client was. But an order form for the tee markers reviewed by ProPublica and WNYC says the customer was “Trump International.” The Facebook page for Eagle Sign and Design shows a photo of the markers in an album with the caption “Trump International Golf Course.”

Just another Trump family illegality.

The Wild West Of The West Wing

It is the first day of March 2018. I wrote a lot of posts yesterday, and I didn’t even it HALF of the things going on. The breaking news that would be major scandals in any other White House. It was insane.

Here’s what happened JUST YESTERDAY:

  • Hope Hicks — without question, the aide (family aside) with whom Trump is closest — resigned one day after she admitted in closed-door Hill testimony that she told white lies for the president.
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly cracked down on Jared Kushner, stripping his top security clearance, and watching anonymous aides leak about and trash him, while offering no public defense of the president’s son-in-law.
  • Jared, Ivanka and Don Jr. let it be known to friends they are furious with Kelly and his allies.
  • Jared loses his internal P.R. guru, Josh Raffel, when he needs him most.
  • Economic adviser Gary Cohn is at war with trade policy adviser Peter Navarro.
  • Trump is at war with Attorney General Sessions. … N.Y. Times lead story: “Trump Tears Into Sessions Over Russia Investigation.” … WashPost: “Behind the scenes, Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as ‘Mr. Magoo,’ a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling.”
  • Intelligence chiefs use every chance possible to contradict the commander-in-chief on Russia.

What did I get? Hope Hicks for one.

Oh, and a follow-up to Hope Hicks?  Buzzfeed is reporting that many staffers in the White House are looking for the exits.

I also got Trump’s war with Jeff Sessions. (Oh, an update on that. Sessions went to dinner in a very public place with his Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the one who has the power to fire Mueller. The photo of them eating was on social media very quickly, and widely seen as a FUCK YOU from Sessions to the President).

Oh, speaking of Sessions:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been investigating a period of time last summer when President Trump seemed determined to drive Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his job, according to people familiar with the matter who said that a key area of interest for the inquiry is whether those efforts were part of a months-long pattern of attempted obstruction of justice.

In recent months, Mueller’s team has questioned witnesses in detail about Trump’s private comments and state of mind in late July and early August of last year, around the time he issued a series of tweets belittling his “beleaguered” attorney general, these people said. The thrust of the questions was to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions in order to pick a replacement who would exercise control over the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump associates during the 2016 election, these people said.

But that’s not all in the L’Affaire Russe front — here’s another story — Katy Tur and Carol E. Lee at NBC News: Mueller Asking If Trump Knew About Hacked Democratic Emails Before Release.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.

The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.

…In one line of questioning, investigators have focused on Trump’s public comments in July 2016 asking Russia to find emails that were deleted by his then-opponent Hillary Clinton from a private server she maintained while secretary of state. The comments came at a news conference on July 27, 2016, just days after WikiLeaks began publishing the Democratic National Committee emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said.

Exhibit A in: The collusion was right out in the open!

More from yesterday?  Yes!

Yesterday (as well as Tuesday) was a very very very bad day for Kushner. He lost his security clearance making him useless.  And this, as explained by Caitlin MacNeal at TPM:

Family Company Got Loans After Kushner Met with Businesses at White House.

“Two major loans to the Kushner Companies for real estate projects came after Jared Kushner, a senior adviser in the Trump administration, met with officials from those financial institutions at the White House… [Kushner] met with Joshua Harris, one of the founders of Apollo Global Management, several times at the White House early last year… In November, Apollo lent the Kushner Companies $184 million to refinance a mortgage on a building in Chicago, per the New York Times. …Kushner met with Michael Corbat, chief executive at Citigroup, in the spring of 2017 at the White House… After that meeting, Citigroup lent Kushner Companies $325 million to finance buildings in Brooklyn, the Times reported.”

Naughty boy, Jared.

And finally, Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD:

Senior White House aides are furious about a series of negative stories about frivolous spending at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and have taken a more hands-on role in trying to stem the tide of negative news, sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN.
The decision to assert more control comes a day after reports that the former chief administrative officer at HUD filed a complaint saying she demoted after refusing to spend more than was legally allowed to redecorate Secretary Ben Carson’s new office.
The former staffer, Helen Foster, said she was told to “find money” beyond the legal $5,000 limit for redecorating. In one instance, she says a supervisor said that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”
HUD also spent $31,000 last year to replace a dining room set in Carson’s office, according to federal records and a whistleblower. A department official said that the dining set in the secretary’s dining room at HUD headquarters was replaced because it was in a state of disrepair.
The sources told CNN that the stories infuriated top White House aides, who have had to deal with a sting of stories about questionable behavior and spending by Cabinet secretaries.

So…. that was yesterday. It was exhausting.

High School Shooting: The Aftermath

I feel like I can go back to the last mass shooting and cut and paste. With 17 dead (so far), the “day after” talk surrounding yesterday’s shooting is all too predictable.

We learn about heroes:

We learn details:

And graphic video [WARNING] —

And more about the killer, like he was adopted at birth by a kindly older couple…. and:

He had been getting treatment at a mental health clinic, but he had stopped. He had been expelled from school for disciplinary problems. Many of his acquaintances had cut ties in part because of his unnerving Instagram posts and reports that he liked shooting animals. His father died a few years ago, and his mother, among the only people with whom he was close, died around Thanksgiving. He was living at a friend’s house. He was showing signs of depression.

And the finger-pointing starts.  The left and reasonable rightly say this is an issue of gun control.  Why?  Because this doesn’t happen in other countries.  Other countries have mentally disturbed people.  Other countries have terrorists.  But other countries make it hard — or near impossible — to get a weapon of mass destruction, like the AR-15 used in so many mass shootings.  It is easier to get one of those than it is to get a driver’s license.

And the right — they are playing defense. Some are saying we need armed police in schools — except Stoneman Douglas High School had one.  He didn’t see or hear anything until the shooting started.

And it looks like the right has picked out, among others, their fall guy — their favorite punching bag of this administration, the FBI.  It comes from Buzzfeed, which reports this:

Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” said a user named Nikolas Cruz.

The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment and calling the bureau’s Mississippi field office. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video.

Agents with the bureau’s Mississippi field office got back to him “immediately,” Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.

“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”

And the President weighed in this morning with this:

And that prompted none other than Donald Trump Jr to like a tweet criticizing the FBI:

So clearly, the fault lies with the FBI and the people who failed to report him.

Trump’s tweet, I am happy say, is not enjoying as many “likes” as he usually gets. A tweet about DACA sent out at the same time got twice as many likes.

As for others on the right, they urge caution

In any event, the left is once again raising the issue about how our GOP politicians are beholden to the NRA, including Trump himself.

Here’s what the NRA posted on Instagram on Valentine’s Day, just hours before the shooting. It has not been taken down:

… and in two days, we will have moved on.


This changes things. He was a domestic terrorist (in my eyes), having trained with a white supremacist group.

The group is known as the Republic of Florida. Here is their website (although I suspect it will be taken down soon). They claim no involvement in the shooting.  From their FAQ page (spelling errors are theirs):

What is your organization about? What does it do? 

We are a white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics, And the ultimate creation of a white ethnostate so we can be free from anti-white policies and have policies that reflect our values as white westerners.

Our current short-term goals are to occupy urban areas to recruit suburban young whites, Then to “Withdrawal” into majority white urban areas to create communes, While maintaining a permanent small presence.

Long term, Our towns will become our ethnostates. Were not going to ask permission from the estableshemnt to have our territorial imparrative!

Are you a hate group? Do you hate minorities? 

Considering we are minorities ourselves statistically in most cases, No we do not hate minorities.  Noting the spirit of the question, No. We don’t hate people who are not white. We have done business with many people who are not white and work with people who are nonwhite in our communities toward our ultimate goals. Ironically, Black people are very often a lot more accepting of our beliefs than white liberals. 

How would you summarize your outlook on history? 


History is filled with conquest and struggle. If we come out on top of that struggle, We need to fell guilty about it.

Republic Of Florida is a Militia?

Republic Of Florida is an organization that has a militia, Just as the United States is a nation with an army. Not everyone in the ROF is required to be part of paramilitary training, However, Everyone is encouraged to arm themselves.

Republic Of Florida is to United States Of America

ROF Militia is to US Army.

Thinking of “ROF Militia” And “Republic Of Florida” As the same thing, is erroneous.

How can I get an ROF Flag?

First, Lets show you a picture of what an actual ROF Flag looks like:


This is not to be confused with the Bonnie Blue, Which a flag that virtually every secessionist, And less-dedicated ROF members, Are sure to own.

Owning an authentic ROF flag is a sign of an extremely loyal member of an ROF cell; The reason being is they require dedication and sacrifice simply to produce them, Which means they were obtained for either 2 reasons:

  1. They made the ROF flag with knowledge on how to make them, And with financial willingness to spend the money required to make them.
  2. Were given the ROF flag by someone else who footed the bill, As a reward for that members dedication.

A genuine ROF Flag is very expensive to produce and made to rugged specifications. There is no website you go to to buy an ROF flag. There is however methods of creating them that you can learn if you are part of ROF, Or are creating an ROF cell. Several private companies have assisted us in the creation of our flags, Which are made out of the finest of thick yet light, Durable poly-cotton materials. ROF Flags

So if you want an ROF flag, You either have to know how to make it, Or be given one, Which is a major honor.


What does the ROF Flag Represent?

The white field represents purity/the white race, The St. Andrews cross is a symbol of our ancestors and the symbol of the cross of Burgundy used in the FL state flag, Which is part of Florida’s rich heritage. The blue represents the oceans surrounding our state, The righteousness of our cause, and a government that cares about the health and well being of the people.  The white star represents our independence and our freedom.


It should be noted that different ROF flags carry different meanings.

Does ROF do anything positive in the community?

During hurricane IRMA, We passed out free water and food while charged +20$ for bottled water. The store shelves were EMPTY. We passed out these supplies to all colors and creeds, Albeit in a majority white area. 


We do numerous positive non-partisan activities that help our communities:

The ROF Militia is on the front lines during hurricanes and natural disasters making sure people are properly cared for in the aftermath, And helping preparations before the storm.

We pass out water in the hottest days of the year, And educate people on the importance of hydration

We patrol the streets at night to combat crime- This mostly involves observing and reporting to local authorities, Unless we witness forcible felonies of certain types where we feel intervention is necessary to prevent great bodily injury or loss of life, or if children or elderly are in danger.

Can a nonwhite join ROF?

In theory, Yes. Ask your local company captain/Cell coordinator if he will allow it. This wont give you a free pass to race mix, And you would be fighting for segregated communities for racial self-determination. If this sounds like you- Then Join ROF; Regardless of what your racial background is.

Are you a Christian Organization?

Technically, Per amendments to the late 1990’s conventions, We are a Christian Organization that makes an exception for a few Odinists. Now in 2017 almost half of ROF is Odinists. If following ROF doctrine to exact spec from the late 1990’s/Early 2000’s, No other organizations are allowed. But no religious belief is outlawed by the 10 codes as of 2017.

Is Islam Compatible with ROF?

No. Islam is not a religion in the traditional sense, It is closer to a military doctrine than a religion, And its values are counter-intuitive to the belief systems of ROF. Islam is a serious threat to western civilization And an enemy of ROF and the Floridian people.

Are the uniforms US Army uniforms?

This is usually a loaded question asked by a childish person whom is attempting to accuse us of “Stolen Valor”. Its a “Power play”, Among many, that helpless childish nihilists use when they have no argument and when they are unable to stop us from operating. Needless to say in 2017, Almost none of our uniforms look that much like US Amry uniforms, And are easily identifiable as ROF uniforms.


None of the well known ROF companies in North Florida use multicam as of late 2017.

Our pre-2017 uniforms are not, And never were, “Stolen valor” The were purchased from private companies. And if they ever were US Army uniforms, They ceased to be US Army Uniforms the moment we took the American Flag patches off and replaced them with ROF patches. We actually wore the multicam camoflage pattern before the US Army Adopted OCP, Which is their version of Multicam. Technically in a strange way that isn’t worth arguing about, The US Army is “Stealing our valor”, Which is very very Ironic considering people accuse ROF of “Stealing Valor”. Tactical Uniforms/Equipment are tools. They are not substitutes for courage, They are not playtoys. They are tools of utility and concealment.

Stolen valor is the impersonation of a military unit. We are not impersonating the ROF, We are the ROF.

Don’t you find your goals to be a bit absurd and Impossible? Aren’t you traitors to America? 

Culteral marxism was looked at as “Absured” 40 years ago, But is the law of the land in US politics today.

History is filled with groups like the ROF who were laughed at in the early days. There was a time when the idea of the the colonies becoming the United States (Which really wasn’t supposed to be one country by the way, It was supposed to be a union of nation states) Seemed crazy, And seemed like total treason against the British government. Now we celebrate this “treason” and call it patriotism every 4th of July.  Yet for us having this exact same mindset, And wanting to be truly free and have taxation with representation, Just as the founding fathers of the actual U.S. did, We get called traitors. You people calling us traitors must be the ancestors of the redcoats and loyalists of that time.

I heard X about your organization, And the X Organization/Individual said this about your organization.

A wise man believes none of what he hears and half of what he sees.

99% Of people who talk about ROF, media or not, Are simply not qualified to talk about ROF. There are even people in ROF who are not necessarily qualified. If it did not come from ROF doctrine, Then it doesn’t represent the belief systems of ROF. People outside of ROF do not get to decide on our behalf what our organization is about. That isn’t how this works.

Why are your members taking over hotel buildings and meeting with government officials?

Please understand that anybody can start a blog and start throwing out random “Facts” about ROF, About how we are having a “Right Wing Bilderberg”, About how our female members are somehow sex slaves that have no rights bla bla bla.

You have female members? Are they considered equals?

They are considered equally important, But we do not pretend that women are the same as men. Women are biologically different, And thus usually are committed to tasks that are different within ROF. We teach them defensive tactics rather than offensive ones. Women shouldn’t be on the front lines of combat. Women simply are not built for combat. You can use a shovel as a hammer, But its still the wrong tool for the job- Likewise, we biologically are suited toward different jobs.  The social engineers and feminists, Who by the way are miserable young gals with absolutely no direction in their life, find that gender roles are part of some oppressive patriarchal conspiracy to oppress women. The reality is men and women love eachother and work with eachother and raise families together. If that is a conspiracy it is one we are glad to be a part of.

Seems like a lot more men than women.

We have almost 4 women per every 10 men. A little under 40% of our membership is female. That is almost unheard of in right wing political organizations. Our male to female ratio very often surpasses the left wing groups.

Do ROF’s do drugs?

Those whom are in ROF Cells, Or living an ROF lifestyle, Are permitted from the recreational use of drugs. 10 codes, Code #4 says:
I will not poison myself with the misuse of chemical substances. Chemical substances have their place, But they should only be used medicinally. Drug abuse is the number one obstacle to the recruiting of the young in our society.

The definition of “Medicinal use” is a subject of fierce debate. Some ROF’s claim marijuana is a good treatment for stress and headaches. It also is a subject of debate where alcohol falls into this code.

Are you guys violent?

The short answer: Yes. 


Many of us are involved in paramilitary training, and we are well aware of FL Statutes 776. We will stand our ground against all who attack us. Those who attack us better know what they are doing.  If your a military aged man and we believe you can cause us great bodily harm, We will do everything in our power to make you no longer be a threat, Which will probably involve us killing or hospitalizing you. Best bet is to fight us with your words if you disagree with us. But if you want to get violent and put your hands on us, That works in our favor. We can always use practice.

We will use all tools at our disposal to advance our objectives, But our first priority is to exercise what rights we have under the law.

What if a member of the press wants to contact you?

We have a 24 Hour Hotline 561-463-2713 – The same for as for recruitment inquiries. We have a lot of press organizations contacting us, And we reserve the right to deny any press organization an interview.

We did have a facebook page before Facebook decided that our advocating our own right to exist and have a territorial imperative was forbidden thought.

Do you support Trump?

We do not have any desire to be part of the United States, And want our own country, And do not support the federal government running our affairs, So we are unwilling to enter into a discussion on if we “Support” Trump, Because we don’t support the government he is in charge of.

Isn’t Jordan Jereb a crazy nutball? How the hell is he the leader of ROF?

Its quite simple; Jereb is not the leader of ROF. He is the leader of a single cell of ROF, A cell that has become successful and popular, And through Jereb’s knowledge of community organizing, Multimedia, The internet, Has created the most visible ROF related activity on the internet. There are many ROF cells that do not advertise themselves on the internet, Some actually hate Jereb, Some even believe Jereb is a provocateur who has ruined ROF. People who say “Jereb is the leader of ROF.” Simply have not done their research.

This will be updated as more frequently asked questions are asked. 

Breaking: School Shooting in Florida [UPDATE: 17 Dead]

3:15 pm ET – Shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. Broward County Sheriff Office saying 20-50 hurt. Students and teachers told to barricade although some are evacuated. SWAT team present.  Shooter(s) unknown and at large.

3:25 pm — Reports are that the police know who the shooter is, but not saying anything until confirmed. He is a student.

Another student on television said he had a rifle — knew him — said he was weird.

3:40 pm — Fox News echoing Fire Marshall saying that at least one killed.

Shooter reportedly pulled the fire alarm as part of planned shooting.  Still at large.

3:55 pm — There was a massive police response, including a SWAT team. The FBI and ATF are also responding.

“Person of interest” has been taken into custody at his home. Authorities believe he was online last night and were able to determine identity of victim.

Florida senator says “many people have been killed”.

This screen capture appears to show the suspect in custody (burgandy shirt)

Apparently, this happened in one classroom. Students were able to ID the student, and police converged on his house. This is how he was caught.

4:05 pm — Still no all-clear though.

4:10 pm — Ah, this explains it.  The suspect in custody was apparently on a Youtube conversation about bombs last night (amazing how fast they got this info) so there is no all-clear because they need to check school for bombs.

4:15 pm — This happened toward the end of school. Many students did not have a last period class. There was a fire drill earlier in the day, which made the second one seem odd.  There was a Broward County police officer on duty in the school when it happened.  Press gets confirmation that suspect is in custody.  Motive unknown.

Superintendent of schools say that there are “numerous fatalities” at the Stoneman Douglas High School.

4:23 pm — Not sure what it happening but the live helicopter shot appears to show the suspect in a hospital gurney now being put into an ambulance.  Nobody is mentioning it.

Correction: Local Florida news identifies suspect as FORMER student of the high school.  Shooter being taken to hospital.

4:35 pm — Unconfirmed reports of “as many as seven dead”

4:50 pm — Social media has identified the shooter as RTOC student Nikolas Cruz. He was watching YouTube videos on how to make bombs last night.  Pictures below are from social media.

5:00 pm — Apparently deranged, but teachers and the school knew of him as being a possible threat. He was told never to appear on campus with a backpack.  Miami Herald is the first news outlet to confirm his name as Nikolas De Jesus Cruz, aged 19.

This is his high school picture.

7:00 pm — Death toll: 17.  Three were killed outside the school.

Another 17 injured; 3 in critical condition

Suspect used AR-15, and had multiple magazines. He pulled the fire alarm to make it easy to shoot students. He slipped out with the other evacuating students. He was expelled last year. Gun nut.

NRA contributions:

•John McCain: $7.7m
•Richard Burr: $7m
•Roy Blunt: $4.6m
•Thom Tillis: $4.4m
•Cory Gardner: $3.9m
•Marco Rubio: $3.3m
•Joni Ernst: $3.1m
•Rob Portman: $3m
•Todd Young: $2.9m
•Bill Cassidy: $2.9m

Newtown: Five Years Later

Five years ago today, a gunman went into Sandy Hook elementary school and opened fire.

I covered it on this blog, as the day unfolded.

And I visited Newtown two weeks after the event — the town was still reeling.

Policemen and firemen forming a line, as they pass the toys into the sub-basement of town hall.

On the doors to the town hall, a sign indicating that a counselling session was in progress.

Everywhere were flowers and memorials, covered by tarps to protect from the rain.

In the five years since the Sandy Hook shooting, Congress has enacted strong legislation to prevent the use of AK-47’s and other assault weapons designed to maximize the body count and….

No. Just kidding. No gun laws have been passed.

Justice Served

It has been two and a half years since Walter Scott’s death.  I wrote about it here… but basically, he was running from a cop and was shot IN THE BACK AS HE WAS RUNNING AWAY.  The video makes this crystal clear:

Well, good news:

Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison, a decision the Scott family said gave it a “sense of justice.”

“This is an historic day for civil rights, in particular for officer-involved shootings,” said Chris Stewart, one of the Scott family’s attorneys, at a press conference following the sentencing.

US District Court Judge David Norton made his decision after hearing emotional statements from members of both families. Norton earlier Thursday had said the “appropriate underlying offense” for Slager, who is white, was second-degree murder.

Scott’s family has repeatedly expressed forgiveness to Slager, who said that he was thankful for that. But the victim’s relatives were glad to see the officer held accountable.

“We are hurt,” said Anthony Scott, Walter’s brother, “and we do have some type of passion for the Slager family, in that they have to suffer as well. And we do forgive Michael Slager for what he did. But yes, we did want justice for my brother, and we feel that we have gotten a sense of justice.”

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violation of civil rights by acting under the color of law in Scott’s April 2015 killing. Slager’s 2016 state murder trial ended in a mistrial.

At the time of the shooting, Scott was only the latest black man to be killed in a series of controversial officer-involved shootings that prompted “Black Lives Matter” protests and vigils.

In related news, another cop gets away with murder:

Police in Mesa, Arizona released disturbing body camera video on Thursday hours after a former officer was acquitted of a murder charge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

The verdict cleared Philip Brailsford, 27, of criminal liability in the 2016 death of Daniel Shaver, of Granbury, Texas. He was also found not guilty of reckless manslaughter, reports CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV.

The shooting occurred at a hotel in the Phoenix suburb where officers responded to a report of someone pointing a gun out of a window. The video, obtained by KPHO, shows Brailsford pointing a gun at Shaver as Shaver lies on the ground, holds his hands in the air, cries and begs the officer not to shoot.

Check out this video. If the jurors got this right, then the law is messed up.

News Stories You Don’t Hear

More like this please:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 69-year-old Jacksonville man has been arrested for allegedly planning a mass shooting at an Islamic Center on St. Johns Bluff Road, according to several law enforcement agencies.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with the FBI of Jacksonville, started investigating in October Bernandino Gawala Bolatete after a source tipped JSO. The source told police that Bolatete expressed strong anti-Islamic sentiment, including how he wanted to conduct a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, 2333 St. Johns Bluff Rd. S.

JSO said an undercover detective met with Bolatete and confirmed the information they received.

During the investigation, Bolatete made plans to conduct the mass shooting, including obtaining the weaponry to complete the attack, according to JSO Sheriff Mike Williams.

The undercover detective also learned that Bolatete made arrangements to get access to a gun silencer – a prohibited firearm accessory – delivered to his home on December 1.

During the delivery, JSO’s SWAT Unit raided Bolatete’s home on the 13000 block of Eucalyptus Drive and took him into custody.

Bolatete is now in FBI custody and he’s been charged with knowingly receiving and possessing a silencer not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The investigation is ongoing.

Good to know that the FBI is doing its job, despite its lack of support from Trump and other rednecks.

See also.

USA Breaks Record For Mass Deaths By Gun Shooting

And here we go again. Politicians will send thoughts and prayers and…

… right… condolences and sympathies, etc… and then nothing will be done.

So here’s what happened.

There are now at least 50 dead and some 200 400 injured. The 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, was previously the deadliest, with 49 killed.

A gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, fired upon a music festival crowd (the Route 91 Harvest Festival — a country music concert) from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas.  He apparently broke the windows with a hammer or some other blunt device.

This happened just after 10 p.m. Sunday local time (1 a.m. ET Monday)  

Here’s a compilation video:

Police scanner as it happened:

“The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop. We just ran for our lives,” witness Rachel De Kerf told CNN. “The band was rushed off the stage, the floodlights came on the crowd, and you see on the right hand of the stage the person who was injured, so they’re calling for medics, calling for security, then there was gunfire again,” her sister told the network.

According to the NY TImes: “The shooting began around 10:08 p.m. local time, the police said. The authorities estimated that 406 people were transported to hospitals. There were more than 22,000 people at the concert.”

SWAT teams entered the hotel room where Paddock was. He had killed himself. At least 10 guns were found in Mr. Paddock’s hotel room, including several rifles.

This is the Paddock:

Motive unknown, although…

No prior criminal records except a traffic ticket.  His brother says he was not religious, not political, and must have “snapped”

Unidentified relatives told the newspaper that Paddock, who lived in a retirement community in the sleepy desert city of Mesquite, some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, lived a quiet, uneventful life. He enjoyed country music and visited Sin City frequently to gamble and attend concerts at the flashy hotels that line the Strip, the relatives said.

Mesquite police chief Quinn Averett said in a press conference that “some weapons” and “maybe some ammunition” were found in Paddock’s home, where officers executed a search warrant.

Don’t politicize this?

To be updated….

UPDATE — Right wing is working hard to control the spin with fake news….

UPDATE 11:20 am EST — President Trump read comments from a teleprompter.  Sounded great, looked awful.  Didn’t ad lib so everyone is rushing to compliment how “presidential” he was.  In truth, he is rather low energy when there’s no racial division or paranoia and fear to stoke.  There was nothing useful to Trump in what happened last night in Vegas, and it shows in his lack of reaction.

UPDATE 11:40 am EST —  Police say death toll is 58 (possibly 59) with over 515 injured.

UPDATE 11:50 am EST

The Washington Post reports:

Geary Danley was not the gunman in Las Vegas who killed at least 50 people late Sunday. But for hours on the far-right Internet, would-be sleuths scoured Danley’s Facebook likes, family photographs and marital history to try to “prove” that he was.

The right-wing news site Gateway Pundit also picked up these rumors as fact in a now-deleted article. That article’s URL was still the top result for Danley’s name on Google in the early hours of Monday morning.

The headline, still visible in search results, and remaining on the first page of results for Danley when I ran my 9 a.m. search, read, “Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, and Associated with anti-Trump Army.”

After Gateway Pundit accused an innocent Michigan man of being the Charlottesville Nazi terrorist, a lawyer for the man’s family vowed to sue. So far there are no reports that a suit has been filed.

Note: The Gateway Pundit has White House press credentials.

UPDATE — Horrifying


UPDATE — Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock is son of Benjamin Paddock, bank robber once on FBI most-wanted list. Might be clue to his background.  Stephen Paddock is an accountant, no kids, divorced.

Breaking: Mueller Empanels DC Grand Jury

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, Joshua Stueve, declined to comment. Moscow has denied seeking to influence the election, and Mr. Trump has vigorously disputed allegations of collusion. The president has called Mr. Mueller’s inquiry a “witch hunt.”

Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said he wasn’t aware that Mr. Mueller had started using a new grand jury. “Grand jury matters are typically secret,” Mr. Cobb said. “The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly.…The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller.”

As many people know, there already has been a grand jury in Virginia, focusing on Michael Flynn.

Before Mr. Mueller was tapped in May to be special counsel, federal prosecutors had been using at least one other grand jury, located in Alexandria, Va., to assist in their criminal investigation of Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser. That probe, which has been taken over by Mr. Mueller’s team, focuses on Mr. Flynn’s work in the private sector on behalf of foreign interests.

So what’s the big deal with THIS new one in D.C?:

Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses.

A grand jury in Washington is also more convenient for Mr. Mueller and his 16 attorneys—they work just a few blocks from the U.S. federal courthouse where grand juries meet—than one that is 10 traffic-clogged miles away in Virginia.

“This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. “If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so.”

It also suggests that Mueller is ready to move to the next phase of his investigation. It reflects that Mueller believes there’s a certain level of “there” there to justify a GJ investigation. You don’t talk to witnesses until you have a pretty good idea as to what the “truth” is (from wiretaps, etc.). That way, you can catch them in a lie.

Can A Sitting President Be Indicted?

The conventional wisdom has always said that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Under current law, a President is immune from civil lawsuits in federal court, when it comes to his official acts as president.  This is because of Nixon v. Fitzgerald, a 1982 Supreme Court ruling.  There, the Supreme Court wrote: “The ‘singular importance of the President’s duties’ warrants a stay where civil actions, such as this one, ‘frequently could distract a President from his public duties to the detriment of not only the President and his office but also the Nation that the President was designed to serve.’”

From this case it was always thought that an indictment would similarly be barred.

However, nothing in the Constitution or federal law explicitly says presidents are immune from indictment while they remain in office.  So what’s the answer?

A legal memo unearthed by the New York Times and written for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr during the Clinton Administration concludes that the indictment of a President for acts done prior to taking office, is constitutional.  Here is that memo (after the NYT letters):

The Blackmail of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzski

The fallout from Trump’s Twitter attack yesterday on TV hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzski (mostly the latter) continues, and it doesn’t go well for Trump.  The couple wrote a devastating op-ed in WaPo, the title of which says it all:

They are quite right — Donald Trump is not well.  I question whether he ever was.  But it is what they said this morning on their show that caught my interest, and the interest of many others:

MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski claim President Trump and his White House used the possibility of a hit piece in the National Enquirer to threaten them.

But President Trump has a very different account of what happened. “FAKE NEWS,” he tweeted during “Morning Joe” Friday morning.
The editor in charge of the Enquirer, Dylan Howard, said “we have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.”

Meanwhile, Scarborough says he has proof of the White House threats — “I have texts from your top aides and phone records.”
Scarborough and Brzezinski are essentially alleging a form of blackmail.

The accusation came during a wider discussion about the president’s offensive tweets targeting the co-hosts. It piqued the attention of journalists because it implies that the president is using a friendly media outlet to punish his opponents.

What’s definitely true is this: Trump and the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, are friends and allies. Jeffrey Toobin documented the mutually beneficial relationship in this week’s edition of The New Yorker.

The Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, frequently promotes the president’s agenda.

Here’s exactly what the co-hosts alleged on Friday’s “Morning Joe.”

“We got a call that, ‘Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys…’ And they said, ‘If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough didn’t name names, but he said “three people at the very top of the administration” called him about this.

“The calls kept coming and kept coming, and they were like ‘Call. You need to call. Please call. Come on, Joe. Just pick up the phone and call him.'”

In other words, grovel to the president and he’ll make the mean story disappear.

Scarborough did not immediately respond to a request from CNN for more details.

But he and Brzezinski also described the alleged discussion in a Washington Post column on Friday.

“This year,” they wrote, “top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.”

Scarborough and Brzezinski are now engaged. The negative article was about their past marriages and the beginning of their relationship. It was published in early June.

Dylan Howard, the chief content officer for the Enquirer’s parent company American Media, said “we accurately reported” the story, but “at no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story.”

Brzezinski suggested otherwise.

“Let me explain what they were threatening,” she said. “They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.”

She said “these calls persisted for quite some time, and then Joe had the conversations that he had with the White House where they said ‘Oh, this could go away.'”

In response, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that he is “not aware” of White House officials pressing Scarborough to call up Trump and make nice.

Here’s the video:

The president himself weighed in via Twitter a few minutes later.

Scarborough responded quickly to Trump’s tweet with one of his own:

It get worse.

For Trump.

Redstate talked to Scarborough and asked him about it. This is what Scarborough reportedly said:

“NBC execs knew in real time about the calls and who made them to me. That’s why Mark Kornblau wrote about contemporaneous texts. I showed him and executives as they were coming in to keep them advised.”

Scarborough also said the calls about the National Enquirer story started in late April and early May but that he never placed a call to President Trump, contra Trump’s tweet. “I never called the President about this,” he said. “I challenge him to reveal any phone records showing that I called him. He can’t because I didn’t.”

Blackmail is a very serious charge. The administration will likely face questions about in their latest press briefing and how they respond will be telling.

UPDATE: NY Magazine has news on this, with sources. This seems to be the story — it contradiction that Joe called him to discuss the Enquirer story.

According to three sources familiar with the private conversations, what happened was this: After the inauguration, Morning Joe’s coverage of Trump turned sharply negative. “This presidency is fake and failed,” Brzezinski said on March 6, for example. Around this time, Scarborough and Brzezinski found out the Enquirer was preparing a story about their affair. While Scarborough and Brzezinski’s relationship had been gossiped about in media circles for some time, it was not yet public, and the tabloid was going to report that they had left their spouses to be together.

In mid-April, Scarborough texted with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner about the pending Enquirer story. Kushner told Scarborough that he would need to personally apologize to Trump in exchange for getting Enquirer owner David Pecker to stop the story. (A spokesperson for Kushner declined to comment). Scarborough says he refused, and the Enquirer published the story in print on June 5, headlined “Morning Joe Sleazy Cheating Scandal!”

The Daily Beast (which apparently published just before NYMag) has basically the same story.

UPDATE:  A Vanity Fair story adds come color. This is Mika’s perspective…

Verdict in on Philando Castile Killing

Remember this? I wrote about it last year.

A Minnesota jury has reached a verdict in the manslaughter trial of Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year.  Yanez is on trial for one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety because Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter were also in the car.

Announcement soon.


Of course.

The Terrorist You Won’t Hear About

A terrorist armed with guns and a thousand round of ammunition failed in his attempt to go on a shooting spree in America, killing and wounding unknown numbers.

You don’t about this story, because he failed in his attempt.

And also, because the terrorist is a right wing white guy:

The FBI arrested an alleged right-wing extremist who had amassed 1,000 rounds of ammunition and was said to be plotting a mass shooting.

A complaint filed in federal court and obtained by the Statesman on Monday stated that a search warrant was executed on the home of 50-year-old Steven Thomas Boehle after a confidential informant said that he was planning a shooting spree.

According to the complaint, Boehle “exhibits sovereign citizen extremism ideology.”

Although Boehle is prohibited from owning firearms due to a 1993 assault on a intimate partner, three guns were found in his home.

He was charged with making false statements about his criminal history while trying to buy additional firearms from gun dealers in the Austin area.

When people factor their sense of national security and views on firearms, they don’t factor in stories like this because these stories don’t get widespread coverage. The FBI doesn’t take a bow. Maybe they should.

Another Doc Dump – Indictment Against Dude Threatening JCCs

The rash of threats against Jewish Community Centers appears to be partly solved [UPDATE: Very partly. We’re only talking about 10% of the threats and vandalism seen nationwide lately]. Federal G-men arrested Juan Michael for making threats against many JCCs in an attempt to stalk/frame his ex-girlfriend. He appears to be a copycat though. Still, scary dude.

Who’s Sorry Now?

On July 25, 2015, Joe Torres and Kayla Norton, joined about a dozen other people in a convoy of pickup trucks waving large Confederate flags as they drove around Douglas County, a suburban Atlanta community. Most of them belonged to a group called “Respect the Flag.”

This was only a few weeks after Dylann Roof attended a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, then shot and killed nine people, all African Americans.

The convoy of trucks passed by the victim’s residence where the victims were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while hosting a child’s birthday party featuring a bouncy castle, snow-cone machines, and a DJ.  They yelled racial slurs.

The drivers parked the trucks near the house and the slurs continued. Torres retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his friends stated that “the little ones can get one too,” referring to the young children at the party.

Norton was accused of making similar threats. The victims said some member of Torres’ group was armed with a knife and a tire tool.

Most of the group was arrested and made some sort of plea deal.  But Torres and Norton were sentenced yesterday. Torres was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.  Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.

Look how sad they are.

I suspect they weren’t sad until they actually got caught.

At the sentencing hearing, Kayla Norton apologized for her role in the incident saying, “I want you all to know that is not me. That is not me, that is not him. I would never walk up to you and say those words to you. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry.”

The problem is that she did walk up and say those words.

Oh well. No sympathy here. Actions have consequences.  I’m sure they will make many friends among the mixed-race populations in prison.

More Fake News Believers Getting Violent

This is getting out of hand:

A Tampa woman is accused of making death threats to the parent of a first grader who died in the Sandy Hook massacre.

Investigators say 57-year-old Lucy Richards is among those who believe the 2012 shooting, that killed 20 children and 6 adults, was all a hoax. Her disbelief is so strong, investigators say she targeted a father who lost his child in the shooting. That man now lives on the east coast of Florida.

According to the indictment ,Richards contacted the father four times on January 10, saying things like, “You gonna die, death is coming to you real soon,” “there’s nothing you can do about it,” and “look behind you, death is coming to you real soon.”

Richards was arrested Monday. She is charged with four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. With each count carrying a maximum of five years in prison, she could spend 20 years behind bars, if convicted.

Richards is not alone in her beliefs. There’s a whole online community of people certain the Sandy Hook shooting was staged.

She is the second person this week facing criminal charges due to conspiracy theories. Sunday, Edgar Welch was arrested for bringing a gun  inside a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. He told police he was there to self-investigate a child trafficking ring he read about on a website, which has since been discredited and labeled “fake news.”

Psychologist Dr. Mark Prange says it’s often a long-term emotional habit of not using reasoning makes people cling so tightly to conspiracy theories.

“The story is going to always be more powerful than the logic,” Prange said. “Not using a process that says, what are the checks and balances of the beliefs I am holding to and not being open that allows the belief system to get locked into almost a delusional way of looking at the world.”

He says trying to help someone locked into an extreme belief system can be challenging, “because that belief may be more important or may be so threatening for them to face why they’re holding it.”

Prange said, “It can snowball if one has not had educational experiences or family experiences or even social experiences where their beliefs are challenged.”

Lucy Richards’ next hearing is December 19.

And speaking of Edgar Welch, here is the federal complaint released today.  Edgar Welch is the man who fired an assault rifle in a D.C. pizzeria earlier this month.  From the complaint, we learn that he allegedly recruited two other individuals to join in his investigation of patently false claims that the restaurant was the center of a child sex slave ring connected to the Clintons.  Welch texted several friends attempting to convince them to drive up to Washington, D.C., with him to check out Comet Ping Pong. He texted one friend, identified in the document as “B,” a link to a YouTube video about “Pizzagate” and included the note “Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture on YouTube.” Another friend, identified as “C,” initially thought his pal intended to drive to North Dakota to “save the Indians from the pipeline,” but Welch clarified with the texts: “Way more important, much higher stakes” and “Pizzagate.” C wrote back: “Sounds like we r freeing some oppressed pizza from the hands of an evil pizza joint.” Welch replied by encouraging his friend to watch a YouTube video about “Pizzagate.” Ultimately, the two friends did not join Welch on his quest. The document also shows that Welch was prepared to kill, telling C that the mission would involve “sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many.”

UPDATE: Alex Jones seems to be cleaning up after himself by scrubbing his website of Pizzagate references:

“Pizzagate: The Bigger Picture” is the headline Infowars used for a December 1 article promoting a video from Infowars producer Jon Bowne that pushes the pizzagate conspiracy theory. Jones tweeted the headline on December 1. The headline was also used on YouTube by a non-Infowars accounts to promote the Infowars video.

Welch also told The New York Times that he listens to Jones, and he reportedly liked Infowars on Facebook.

Jones and Infowars appear to be scrubbing commentary about pizzagate. Jones’ YouTube channel posted a November 23 video headlined “Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” The video has since“been removed by the user,” though it’s not clear when.

Walter Scott Follow-Up

It has been a year and a half since Walter Scott’s death.  I wrote about it here… but basically, he was running from a cop and was shot IN THE BACK As HE WAS RUNNING AWAY.  The video makes this crystal clear:

There’s even indication that the cop planted evidence on/near the body.  Yes,. look at the video.

So what happened at trial?

But despite an unarmed victim, forensics proving he was shot multiple times in the back, a police officer who made a false report, and clear video showing the entire debacle, Slager was not convicted of murder or manslaughter in his trial this week. A lone juror spared him that fate with a refusal to convict. That triggered a mistrial.

Something is horribly wrong with the system.

Fortunately, the prosecutor will retry the case.  Again.  For the THIRD time.

Even operating under a standard in which police officers get the benefit of every reasonable doubt, it seems hard to understand why the cops involved wouldn’t have been convicted of manslaughter. The fact that neither was convicted is the latest evidence that the system as it now exists does not reliably punish cops for even egregious killings.

The policy debate around policing has lately focused on the tactics and rhetoric of Black Lives Matter (while mostly ignoring its excellent Campaign Zero roadmap for policy reform). Whatever conservatives think of Black Lives Matter, it is long past time that more of them join with libertarians and liberals in an effort to address this problem: Armed agents of the state are killing American citizens at rates far higher than other developed countries, and even when videos show them killing unarmed individuals, some are somehow getting away with it.

Winston-Salem Clown Mystery Solved


Claims of “Killer Clown” sightings in Winston-Salem have made national headlines and made Winston-Salem one of the locations for a rash of recent claims from Greenville, South Carolina to one outrageous claim of a man who claims to have pursued one of the these clowns with a machete. These sightings are similar to other incidents that seem to run in streaks resembling the “Killer Clown” sightings in Boston in 1981. Those sightings were never verified and, at least in Winston-Salem, the current sightings appear to be fabrications.

Since the two incidents that were reported on September 4th and September 5th the WSPD has continued to work diligently to locate the alleged suspect(s) in these cases or to even find proof that they existed in the first place. These investigative steps included intensive neighborhood canvasses as well as high visibility patrols in the areas where the sightings were reported as well as nearby areas where children are likely to be present. All of which cost tax-payer money and divert resources from real crimes. In addition, an emphasis was placed on conducting in-depth interviews with all witnesses and attempting to develop any other potential witnesses and/or leads to follow.

In the course of this investigation, WSPD investigators obtained video surveillance footage of the specific area of the September 4th sighting. Officers reviewed the portion of the footage covering the time frame of the reported sighting and also a period of time immediately before and after. The video surveillance did not reveal any individual dressed as a clown or anyone trying to lure children into the woods at this location.
To date, each report of the clown sightings provided to the Winston-Salem Police Department has been thoroughly investigated and according to the WSPD they have not been able to substantiate any sightings.

On Friday at 2:48am the WSPD received another call related to suspicious activity by an individual dressed in a clown costume in the area of the 1800 block of Salem Crest Lane. The caller, 24 year-old David Armstrong, reported that an individual dressed as a clown knocked on his window. Armstrong told police that he chased the clown until the subject ran into some nearby woods.

Officers conducted a thorough investigation into this incident. At the conclusion of this investigation, Armstrong admitted to fabricating the story. Armstrong was arrested and charged with Filing a False Police Report. Armstrong was placed into the Forsyth County Detention Center under $500.00 secured bond. His court date is set for September 12th. He is the first person arrested for filing a false report in any of the current “Killer Clown” sightings- none of which have produced even the most basic photo evidence that any of the events ever occurred. In an environment where almost everyone, including many children, have cell phones capable of shooting video and stills the lack of evidence thus far is damning.

I suppose I should have foreseen this outcome.  Still, the notion of clowns in the woods was too cool/scary to think otherwise.

More and More, It Looks Like The Dallas Cop Killer Was A Nut

Dallas police now believe that Micah Johnson, who shot and killed 5 Dallas police following a Black Lives Matter march, was actually planning some sort of mass attack, but advanced his plans to take advantage of the BLM march. His house was full of bomb making equipment, far too much to have put together in recent days.  He had received “defensive” combat training in Dallas two years earlier.

And most troubling, writing on his wall in blood.

This man was a time bomb. It’s almost like he didn’t need a reason to go off.

Breaking: Officers Shot In Dallas Protest

CNN affiliate KTVT in Dallas is reporting that two police officers have been shot after a peaceful protest deaths of two black men. Chaotic live footage from the scene shows police and SWAT teams in a tense combat

Police in tactical gear carrying riots shields descended after about 20 shots in boomed loudly in quick succession, audio that was captured by eyewitness video and posted to Twitter.

MSNBC reporting that the suspect is cornered, three officers have been shot.

UPDATE: 4 officers shot, 1 had died. Negotiators are talking to shooter who is holed up somewhere.  

All this happened about a block from another famous shooting in Dallas.

UPDATE #2: Holy shit. Two snipers, ten officers shot, three of them dead

UPDATE #3: Four dead now. One suspect is in custody after a shootout. The news outlets have been showing a photo of a “person of interest” – a black man with a long rifle before the shooting (totally legal in Dallas).  Social media was able to find that guy in a video AS the shooting was happened, so he’s been cleared by social media even though CNN.and MSNBC are behind on that. Anyway, that person of interest has turned himself in and hopefully he will be let go soon.

Big manhunt for the second suspect.

UPDATE – NEXT MORNING: 12 officers shot, 2 civilians shot, 5 of those officers are dead.

Sniper killed when SWAT team detonated explosive device near him.  He has been identified as Micah X. Johnson, an Army veteran. During standoff, Johnson told police he was “upset by.Black Lives Matter” and “wanted to kill as many white people as possible, especially white cops”.  He also claimed to be acting alone.

Others have been taken into custody, but police are not saying anything about their involvement. They are not acting like other gunmen are at large.

Ironically, Dallas PD had been reactive to BLM movement with increased training, racially diverse policing, etc.  This seems more directed at cops on in general, not Dallas PD in particular.

Two Deadly Police Shootings In Two Days

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs as he had for years when two white cops arrived on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning he was dead and protesters were in the city’s streets. Calls erupted from Congress and the NAACP for an independent investigation into the shooting, which the Justice Department announced within hours.

Abdullah Muflahi owned the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge where all this happened.  He was a friend of Sterling and allowed him to sell CDs in front of the story.  Muflahi walked out the front door when he saw the officers talking to Sterling and said there was no “altercation,” as police claimed, until the cops tasered and tackled Sterling. That’s when Muflahi took out his phone and started recording. (Warning: Graphic video)

I was on Twitter last night reading about this, and the protests, when something came across the transom.

Another shooting of a black man by cops.  A traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, near Minneapolis.  The victim’s name is Philando Castile.

The video begins after the shooting occurred and shows the man, slumped and bloodied, against the woman who was recording. Her young daughter sat in the back seat.  The video streamed live on a private Facebook account belonging to Lavish Reynolds, and the clip was passed rapidly among Twitter, Facebook and YouTube users, becoming significant news online before traditional outlets — even those in the Minneapolis area — caught up.

The woman, presumably Lavisjh Reynolds, began by calmly narrating what was happening as she trained the camera on Mr. Castile, whom she described as her boyfriend, and on at least one officer who was pointing a gun through the driver’s side window.

“Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

Reynold’s daughter, who was in the back seat, appears several times in the video. Near the end of the 10-minute clip, as the two are sitting in the back of a police car, she comforts her mother, saying, “It’s O.K., Mommy. It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”

The terror in the voice of the cop is palpable, while Lavish Reynolds (at least in the beginning) is calm and reasoned.  Castile dies in the video.

Reynolds can be heard throughout the video repeating that they were stopped for a broken tail light, that the officer requested Castile’s driver license, and that Castile was shot when he went to retrieve his license for the officer. She also states on the video that he worked for St. Paul public schools and did not have a criminal record. According to Castile’s mother, he was the cafeteria supervisor at a St. Paul Montessori school.

The Minnesota governor has asked for a federal investigation into the fatal shooting of Castile.

The Washington Post is tracking the number of people killed by police in the America. There were 990 in 2015. There were 506 showing for 2016 now.  There is something terribly wrong.

And because it is a presidential campaign year, expect this: Hillary will talk about it, and Trump will use it as an excuse to pat policemen on the back.

But I suspect nothing much will happen.

Why I Don’t Have Much To Say About The Hillary Email Scandal

FBI Director James Comey gave a press conference yesterday morning that sent shock waves through the political establishment.

The bottom line:


Shock waves indeed, but when I looked around at the political landscape when it was over, I noticed that the pieces hadn’t moved.

Hillary wasn’t indicted.  That wasn’t news.

She acted stupidly, carelessly.  That wasn’t news either.

That the right wing would go apoplectic — not terrible surprising.

I guess I would be more moved if the right wing hadn’t tried to get Hillary in jail since 1991.  Kevin Drum is right on the money when he writes:

Consider two “scandals.” The first is Benghazi. Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. It was, essentially, a complete nothingburger. The second was Emailgate. In that one, Hillary unquestionably did things that were foolish at best and possibly criminal at worst. It was a genuine story.

But Republicans treated them both exactly the same. It didn’t matter whether Hillary actually did something wrong or not. They went after her with their usual Whitewater/Travelgate/Vince Foster level of fury, convinced that if only they yelled loudly enough the country would finally see her unmasked as the villain she really is. And they’re still doing it. James Comey has spoken, and no one reasonable thinks he’s on the take for the Clintons. But conservatives are almost unanimous in their shrieking that she is too guilty and ought to be put behind bars. Paul Ryan is now promising a probe of the probe, and idiotically calling for the director of National Intelligence to “block” Hillary’s access to classified information while she’s running for president. The only surprise here is that he isn’t demanding that Hillary’s access to classified information be blocked even if she wins.

After eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency and now four years of Hillary Clinton’s post-cabinet career, Republicans have been crying wolf about Hillary for more than a decade. It’s pretty obvious that they’re going to continue, and that they really don’t care whether she’s actually done anything wrong. I have a feeling the public may finally be getting tired of their games.

I think this is true.

And watching Trump last night, you could see a prime example of a wingnut overplaying the hand.  Trump insisted that Comey — Republicans James Comey — was crooked and that Loretta Lynch was bribed.

And that’s when he took a gift and blew it.

How badly will this hurt Hillary?  It should hurt her badly politically.  Not fatally, but badly, if only in the short term.  I think, however, it won’t.

UPDATE: Another predictable thing — Sarah Palin word salad on Facebook:

Ironic, tragic, but not unexpected – amidst America’s Independence Day celebrations the Ruling Class put another boot on our neck to snuff liberty’s life out of We the People.  It’s a farce that “no one is above the law” and my heart goes out to all who’ve been unjustly accused and destroyed over much lesser crimes than Hillary’s…


Today’s FBI forgiveness of tyrants’ illegal acts illustrate purpose in why I insist Americans rise up and tear down this tyrannical system that is destroying America from within. Truly, you’re either with us or you’re against us…


Message to all the “Republican” elites throwing in for Hillary, boasting they’ll stay home instead of vote because their particular weakened good ol’ boy is not the GOP nominee (the R.A.T.s suffering chapped ass because their power and purse are threatened by the grassroots movement to destroy their failed politics-as-usual), Hillary thanks you. She knows she can’t win without you.

Dems In The House: “Screw Moment Of Silence, Where Is The Bill?”

After pausing to observe a moment of silence to honor the victims in the Orlando mass shooting, Democrats in the House on Monday erupted in protest repeating the question “Where’s the bill?” Their emotional demand was directed at Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans to bring forth gun control legislation in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history in which 49 people were killed and 53 wounded.

As more Democrats joined in on the chanting, Ryan refused acknowledge the calls and instead attempted to bring order to the floor.


The thing about the Orlando shooting is that it has so many elements – terrorism, homophobia, and even mental illness — that it allows the discussion to become diluted, and once again, our political leaders (well, the Republicans) can get away from having to do anything about the obvious problem…. guns.

Gun problem in US

It is a rather undeniable problem.

And Obama recently pointed out the insanity:

I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room  in which I have people who know we have been on ISIL websites, living here in the United States, US citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association I cannot prohibit these people from buying a gun. This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer and if he wants to walk into a gun store or a gun show and buy as much, as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing is prohibiting him from doing that even though the FBI knows who that person is. So sir, I just have to say respectfully that there is a way to have common sense gun laws, there is a way to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners, like yourself, are able to use it for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself. But the only way we’re going to be able to do that is if we don’t have a situation where anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the second amendment. And that is how the issue too often gets framed

— President Obama, June 2, 2016

Trump’s National Security Speech: Based on Lies

In the wake of the Orlando gay nightclub massacre, Trump seized the opportunity to Muslim-bash in a national security speech, even though (as I will write soon) it looks less and less like the shooting was a bonafide Islamic terrorist attack.

Vox summarizes the lies:

1) Trump: There’s no screening for refugees coming to the US

We’re not screening people. So why don’t we have an effective screening system? We don’t. We’re being laughed at all over the world. The burden is on Hillary Clinton to tell us why we should admit anyone into our country who supports violence of any kind against gay and lesbian Americans.

The truth: Trump is wrong: There is an extensive, onerous screening process for refugees who come to America. You can see so yourself here.

2) Trump criticizes Libya intervention, supported it himself

For instance, the last major NATO mission was Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. That mission helped unleash ISIS on a new continent.

The truth: Trump has repeatedly characterized Libya as a unique failure of President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. But he actively supported that intervention, even though he’s spent much of his candidacy pretending he didn’t.

3) Trump: Clinton wants to admit “hundreds of thousands” of refugees to the US

Altogether under the Clinton plan, you’d be admitting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East with no system to prevent radicalization of the children and their children.

The truth: Trump is wrong here as well: Clinton has only called for increasing the number of Syrian refugees by 65,000, according to CNN.

4) Trump: The Orlando shooter was “born this Afghan”

The killer, whose name I will not use or ever say was born this Afghan, of Afghan parents, who emigrated to the United States.

The truth: Trump is wrong: Omar Saddiqui Mateen, the killer, was born in New York and raised in Florida.

5) Trump: “Large numbers” of Somali refugees joining ISIS

Large numbers of Somali refugees have tried to join ISIS. The male shooter in San Bernardino, again whose name I will not mention, was the child of immigrants from Pakistan and he brought his wife.

The truth: This dramatically misrepresents the number of Somali refugees from the US who have joined ISIS, which a New York Times story pegs at no more than 15. Perhaps Trump is speaking about Somali refugees globally, but given when he made this point — during a part of his speech about domestic terrorism — that’s almost certainly giving him too much credit.

6) Trump: Obama’s “famous apology tour” created ISIS

We’ve tried it President Obama’s way. Doesn’t work. He gave the world his apology tour. We got ISIS. And many other problems in return. That’s what we got. Remember the famous apology tour

The truth: There is a coherent conservative critique of President Obama’s speeches abroad, in which he has at times acknowledged America’s faults in foreign wars. And there is a coherent conservative critique of President Obama’s approach to defeating ISIS.

But Trump isn’t engaging with either narrative. He’s instead just drawing a direct link from Obama “apology tour” to the birth of ISIS, and I’m not aware of any serious attempt to connect the two. Trump certainly doesn’t give any reason to believe they’re related.

Even if you look at the supposed apologies that have to do with Islamic terrorism or the Muslim world, it’s not clear how they could have possibly created ISIS.

7) Trump: Hillary Clinton wants to ban guns

[Hillary Clinton] says the solution is to ban guns. … She wants to take away Americans’ guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us. Let them come into the country. We don’t have guns. …

She wants to take away Americans’ guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us. Let them come into the country. We don’t have guns. Let them come in, let them have all the fun they want.

The truth: Clinton has not called for anything remotely resembling a ban on guns — she wants to ban assault weapons but has otherwise not called for a gun ban. Someone listening to Trump’s speech would have come away with an entirely wrong idea of her policy.

8) Trump’s criticism on pushing for regime change in Syria

The decision to overthrow the regime in Libya, then pushing for the overthrow of the regime in Syria, among other things, without plans for the day after, have created space for ISIS to expand and grow.

The truth: As with his initial approval of the Libya invasion, Trump has grossly distorted his record on Syria. (As Vox’s Matt Yglesias points out, he once called for a “big, beautiful safe zone” in the country.)

The weirder, specific problem here is the knock on Clinton and Obama for creating ISIS by “pushing for the overthrow of the regime in Syria” — when Trump has himself calledfor ground troops in Syria.

9) Trump suggests Muslims need to do more to help fight terrorism

They have to work with us. They know what is going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know, what they didn’t turn them in and we had death.

The truth: This line revives a long-running Trump suggestion that Muslims are largely to blame for not really joining us in the fight against terrorism.


Trump’s “solutions” were simply ludicrous. For example, he called for military action in Muslim nations. Citing unnamed military leaders, Trump gave his strategy to kill them there before they kill us here.

“We have generals who think we can win this thing so fast and so strong but we have to be furious for a short period of time and we’re not doing it,” he said.

Why did Trump not mention the names of the generals who think this?  Because they don’t exist, I expect.  However, real, live military experts don’t feel that lobbing bombsin  Syria would stop incidents like the one in Orlando.

“I fundamentally disagree,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, who served as the chief U.S. military adviser in Iraq from 2013 to 2015. “The bottom line is [more bombing] has absolutely no bearing on individuals like Omar Mateen in Orlando, who obviously had some mental issues — like his absolute hatred of gays, lesbians and transgender community. Just wantonly increasing bombing against extremist radical groups in Iraq, Syria, etc. is not going to have a bearing on individuals in the United States and change their behavior.”

20 [Update: 50] Dead In Orlando Gay Club Shooting; Possible Terrorism


A heavily armed assailant opened fire in a packed Orlando nightclub early Sunday in a bloody massacre that left about 20 people dead and prompted a terrorism investigation, authorities said.

Police Chief John Mina said the tragedy began at 2:02 a.m., when three police officers engaged in a gun battle with a suspect outside Pulse Orlando, a gay club just south of downtown. A hostage situation then took place inside, and a SWAT team was called in, Mina said. Police received updates from patrons trapped in the club, and decided to storm the club at about 5 a.m.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP
Police officers direct family members away from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

“Our biggest concern was further loss of life,” Mina said. “We exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he was dead at the scene.”

Mina said 42 people were transferred to local hospitals, and one officer was wounded. He estimated the death toll at 20, and said at least 30 people were rescued.

“Tonight our community witnessed a horrific crime… that will have a lasting effect on our community,” a solemn Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

FBI Special Agent Ronald Hopper said the case was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism, either domestic or international. It was not clear if the shooter acted alone, he said. He said authorities were trying to determine if there was a connection with radical Islam.
“We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology,” Hopper said.

A federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY the suspect has been identified as Omar Mateen and said investigators were reviewing the attacker’s possible utterances that may provide more specific information about a terror ideology or affiliation. The official, who was not authorized to comment, characterized the attack as “certainly’’ terrorism. It was not immediately clear whether investigators were aware of the attacker prior to the assault.

Mina said the gunman was armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and some sort of unidentified device. Officers from multiple agencies and dozens of emergency vehicles responded to the scene. Orange County Fire and Rescue called for gurneys to move victims from the club.

Many of the casualties were rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, which was placed on lockdown.
“We can confirm this is a mass casualty situation. Support from local/state/federal agencies,” Orlando police tweeted about four hours after events began to unfold. Then, a short time later: “Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead.”

The White House said President Obama  was briefed by Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
Mina said there was no indication that there was more than one shooter. A bomb squad was at the scene, and police reported conducting a “controlled explosion.”
Hours after the shooting, police were still trying to piece together what happened.
“Anyone who was at Pulse nightclub and was a witness Please come to the Orlando Police HQ,” the department tweeted. “Any information you have could aid investigators in this case”

FBI Director James Comey has said in recent months that authorities had about 1,000 open investigations into home grown violent extremists. The overwhelming number of those cases, authorities said, were suspects with alleged ties to the Islamic State.

Orlando recently wrapped up its annual weeklong Gay Days festival on June 6 in which up to 150,000 in the LGBT community attend area theme parks, gay nightclubs and special events. It was the 25th anniversary of Gay Days. It remains one of the largest gay pride events in the world.

Saturday night and into Sunday, the club was celebrating Latin Night. Club patron Christopher Hansen told CNN he heard what could have been 20 or 30 shots, setting off a panic as people scrambled for cover or raced for the exits. He said he helped a couple people who were wounded.

“It’s just shocking,” said Hansen, who crawled to safety. “I just saw bodies going down.”
As the tragedy was unfolding, Pulse Orlando posted to its Facebook page: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”
Rosie Feba, a witness, told the Orlando Sentinel she and her girlfriend were in the club near closing time when, “she told me someone was shooting. Everyone was getting on the floor. I told her I didn’t think it was real, I thought it was just part of the music, until I saw fire coming out of his gun.”

Feba told the Sentinel she her girlfriend ran out of the club and helped a man who had been shot get outside.

The Orlando Fire Department called for its bomb squad and hazardous material team to the scene after 3 a.m. ET. Police K-9 dogs searched the area around nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center with an armed deputy in head-to-toe military gear.

A loud bang was heard before 5 a.m., but Orlando Police tweeted that it was the  controlled explosion by law enforcement.

Ali Kurnaz, 25, told USA TODAY he was working in his living room about a block from the nightclub when he heard gunfire.

“I could hear multiple rounds of gunfire to the point where it scared my cats,” Kurnaz said. “They came running from a different room.”

Kurnaz said he heard sirens as multiple police cars headed to the crime scene and helicopters flying over his neighborhood.
In some tweets appearing to come from inside Pulse nightclub short after the assault, people said they were hiding. Twitter users also said they heard multiple gunshots.
The shooting spree came just
one day after The Voice star Christina Grimmie was shot and killed after a concert Friday night at the Plaza Live Theater in Orlando. That gunman, identified as Kevin James Loibl, 27, of St. Petersburg, Fla., fatally shot himself after the attack.


Both of Mateen’s parents are originally from Afghanistan, according to CBS News.

Mateen was born in New York, NBC News reports.

He was married in 2009, public records show. It is not clear if he was still married at the time of the attack.

Mateen is a registered Democrat who has also lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, according to online records.

He was also a notary public in Florida, but his license, issued in 2008, expired in 2012, records show.

UPDATE: Orlando mayor now says 50 dead, 53 injured

UPDATE: Shooter’s father tells NBC that religion not a factor, but did hear his son speak out against gays as recently as two weeks ago.

Florida AG Gets $ From Trump And Drops Case Against Trump U

This story has been around for a day or two, and needs more scrutiny:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates

The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s spokesman to The Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump’s $25,000 donation to Bondi.

The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi’s re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013 — four days after Bondi’s office publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University’s activities, according to a 2013 report in the Orlando Sentinel.

After the check came in, Bondi’s office nixed suing Trump, citing insufficient grounds to proceed.

Bondi declined repeated requests for an interview on Monday, referring all questions to Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for her re-election effort.

Reichelderfer told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump “several weeks” before her office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general. Reichelfelder said that Bondi was unaware of the many consumer complaints received by her office about Trump’s real-estate seminars at the time she requested the donation.

“The process took at least several weeks, from the time they spoke to the time they received the contribution,” Reichelderfer told AP.

The timing of the donation by Trump is notable because the now presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he expects and receives favors from politicians to whom he gives money.

“When I want something I get it,” Trump said at an Iowa rally in January. “When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true.”

In addition to the money given by his foundation, Trump himself has donated $253,500 in Florida since 1999, most of it going to Republican candidates, the state party or political committees affiliated with GOP officials. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, also gave a $500 check to Bondi a week before her father’s money came in, as well as another $25,000 to the Republican Party of Florida the following year.

The AP reviewed thousands of pages of records related to consumer complaints about Trump University and its affiliates filed with Bondi’s office. The documents — previously obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, which first reported Trump’s donation to Bondi — reveal a new reservoir of unhappy Trump University customers, despite recent claims from the presumptive GOP presidential nominee that the students of his real estate seminar company were overwhelmingly satisfied.


The Associated Press first reported last week that then-Texas Attorney Greg Abbott received $35,000 from Trump, three years after his office in 2010 dropped a proposed lawsuit over Trump U. Following AP’s report, former Texas Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection John Owens said the case had been dropped for political reasons. He also made public a detailed internal summary of what he called his staff’s strong case against Trump.

A spokesman for Abbott, now the Texas governor, said the case was dropped after Trump’s organization agreed to stop offering his namesake real-estate seminars in the state. Within months, Trump University was out of business nationwide.

Read the whole thing.

The Letter To Her Attacker

On January 18, 2015, at about 1 a.m., two male Stanford graduate students were riding their bikes through campus when they spotted a man on top of a woman near a dumpster. The woman did not appear to be moving. The students approached the man, who fled, leaving the woman, unconscious and partially naked, on the ground. One of the students chased him and held him down while the police was called. The man was identified as Brock Turner.

Outrage remains understandably high over the sentence of “the Stanford rapist”.  My recent tweets have pointed out some of the most offensive things about this case (besides, obviously, the rape itself).  The light six-month sentence given to the Stanford student.  His father’s plea for mercy, saying that his son shouldn’t be jailed for the rape in light of the fact that he only got “20 minutes of action” (yes, that’s a direct quote).  There’s nothing about the Stanford rape case that isn’t stomach-turning.

But there is a lighthouse on the island — the letter of the victim.  Long, but with preserving.  Great opening line, and it gets better.  I’ve placed it below the fold.

Imprisoned Bundy Brothers Are Upset Their Second Amendment Rights Have Been Taken Away

Ryan Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, was one of several participants in the month-long standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge back in January, which ended up with one dead.  Ryan and his co-horts, which include his brother Ammon, all surrendered to federal authorities and are now in prison awaiting trial.

And apparently, they are not happy in prison.  According to a report (PDF), Bundy writes:

My rights are being violated. My right to life is being violated. All of my First Amendment rights are being violated. My right to freedom of religion is being violated. I cannot participate in religious activities and temple covenants, and wear religious garments. I could wear them at Henderson, but MCDC is depriving me of the right to wear them. My right to freedom of speech is being hampered by monitoring and recording. My right to freedom of assembly is being violated; I am not allowed to see my brother and move about.

Yesterday, I attempted to discuss these issues with the U.S. Marshals, and they said that these were simply the jail rules. I asked them specifically about if there was any reason for the ‘keep separate’ orders. In Henderson, my brothers and father were housed together. Up here, they make efforts to keep us separate. This violates my right to freedom of assembly. My Second Amendment rights are being violated. I never waived that right.

Yyyyeah.  They don’t let you keep guns in prison, Ryan.  You probably should have thought of that before you decided to seize federal property and claim it as your own.

Breaking: Today’s Mass Murder

Peeples OH:

Several fatalities have been reported in shootings at multiple locations on Union Hill Road in Pike County just northeast of Peebles, according to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Two adults and five children have been shot to death, according to Pastor Phil Fulton of the nearby Union Hill Church.

The number of fatalities is unconfirmed.  Also unconfirmed is whether there is someone in custody.


UPDATE:  Seven confirmed dead.  Apparently all in a family.  Bodies found in multiple locations throughout county.

Not two adults and five children, but five adults and two children.  Found shot “execution-style”.  No news on the suspect, but he must be either caught or dead since there is no news of a manhunt or lockdowns.

UPDATE #2:  Make that right dead.  Another adult found at a fourth location.

The Yahoos Get Their Day In Court

Remember that 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that finally ended with one dude getting killed?

Yeah, it’s still a rallying cry for the lunatic right, who love to carry around the Constitution but haven’t bothered to have it read and explained to them (except by other lunatics).

Seven men are facing federal charges of conspiracy, weapon, theft and damaging government property charges in Portland, Oregon.  Five of them appeared in court Friday and not surprisingly, it was a circus.  I guess they don’t recognize the authority of the court over them.

Two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and three other men refused to enter pleas in federal court in Las Vegas to charges in an armed confrontation with government agents two years ago.

Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. entered not guilty pleas on behalf of each man during a sometimes contentious arraignment that featured cat-calls and cheers from about 30 Bundy backers and defendants’ family members, under watchful eyes of about a dozen U.S. marshals.

“We don’t need any outbursts,” Foley warned from the U.S. District Court bench Friday. Twice he told the restive audience, “This is not a show.”

Oh, it will be.  Here’s how I know (emphasis mine)

His brother and co-defendant, Ryan Bundy, professed to understand his rights but not the charges against him. He also said he wants to serve as his own lawyer.

Yup.  Bundy is going to put The United States Government (a federal corporation) on trial!!

“You’re out of order!  You’re out of order!  This whole country’s out of order!”

Payne told the judge it was “preposterous, sir,” to have to defend himself against federal charges in two jurisdictions at the same time.

“I don’t understand the pretense of this level of government to bring forth such charges,” he added.

Brian Cavalier finished his arraignment — “I will not be entering a plea today,” he said — by offering federal prosecutors a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Jesus wept.  Madison too.


Distracted Driving

Put it down:

BERLIN — A railway dispatcher apparently caused the deadly collision of two trains in the German state of Bavaria on Feb. 9 because he was playing a game on his cellphone until just before the accident, according to state prosecutors.

What’s The Panama Papers All About?

The leak amounts to 2.6 terabytes of information — perhaps the largest whistleblower leak in history.  Also, it might topple a country or too.

So it might be interesting to learn what the Panama Papers leak is all about.

It starts with a company called Mossack Fonesca.  That’s a Panamanian law firm that has long been well-known to the global financial and political elite.  The firm’s operations are diverse and international in scope, but they originate in a single specialty — helping foreigners set up Panamanian shell companies to hold financial assets while obscuring the identities of their real owners. Since its founding in 1977, it’s expanded its interests outside of Panama to include more than 40 offices worldwide, helping a global client base work with shell companies not just in Panama but also the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, and other notorious tax havens around the world.  The Panama Papers are leaks from that law firm.

What’s a shell company?  Well, sometimes a person or a well-known company or institution wants to buy things or own assets in a way that obscures who the real buyer is. For example, companies don’t like to tip their hand to what they are doing, and the use of shell companies to undertake not-ready-for-public-announcement projects can be a useful tool.  Shell companies are often used for simple privacy reasons. Real estate transactions, for example, are generally a matter of public record. So an athlete, actor, or other celebrity who wants to buy a house without his name and address ending up in the papers might want to pay a lawyer to set up a shell company to do the purchasing.

Here’s another way to put it, thanks to a Reddit user:

When you get a quarter you put it in the piggy bank. The piggy bank is on a shelf in your closet. Your mom knows this and she checks on it every once in a while, so she knows when you put more money in or spend it.

Now one day, you might decide “I don’t want mom to look at my money.” So you go over to Johnny’s house with an extra piggy bank that you’re going to keep in his room. You write your name on it and put it in his closet. Johnny’s mom is always very busy, so she never has time to check on his piggy bank. So you can keep yours there and it will stay a secret.

Now all the kids in the neighborhood think this is a good idea, and everyone goes to Johnny’s house with extra piggy banks. Now Johnny’s closet is full of piggy banks from everyone in the neighborhood.

One day, Johnny’s mom comes home and sees all the piggy banks. She gets very mad and calls everyone’s parents to let them know.

Now not everyone did this for a bad reason. Eric’s older brother always steals from his piggy bank, so he just wanted a better hiding spot. Timmy wanted to save up to buy his mom a birthday present without her knowing. Sammy just did it because he thought it was fun. But many kids did do it for a bad reason. Jacob was stealing people’s lunch money and didn’t want his parents to figure it out. Michael was stealing money from his mom’s purse. Fat Bobby’s parents put him on a diet, and didn’t want them to figure out when he was buying candy.

Now in real life, many very important people were just caught hiding their piggy banks at Johnny’s house in Panama. Today their moms all found out. Pretty soon, we’ll know more about which of these important people were doing it for bad reasons and which were doing it for good reasons. But almost everyone is in trouble regardless, because it’s against the rules to keep secrets no matter what.

The leaked documents provide details on some of these piggy banks — uh, shell companies. They reveal shocking acts of corruption in Russia, hint at scandalous goings-on in a range of developing nations, and may prompt a political crisis in Iceland.

Here are a few of the highlights, with links to the full stories where you can read the details:


In a way, the fact that people use shell companies is not new, and it’s always been somewhat understood that there’s some underlying shenanigans behind these accounts.  Some of the shenanigans revealed by the Panama Papers involves nothing more than legal avarice.The name of Ian Cameron, the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, shows up in the Panama Papers, for example. Mossack Fonseca helped him set up his investment company Blairmore Holdings (named after his family’s ancestral country estate) in the British Virgin Islands, where, marketing material assured investors, the company “will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits.”

This particular kind of move is perfectly legal and doesn’t even involve any secrecy. It is entirely typical for investment companies whose employees all work or reside in New York, London, or Connecticut to be domiciled for tax purposes in someplace like the Cayman Islands.  Although when Bernie Sanders talks about this stuff, this is what he means.

On the other hand, there is shadier stuff.  One wealthy client, US millionaire and life coach Marianna Olszewski, was offered fake ownership records to hide money from the authorities. This is in direct breach of international regulations designed to stop money-laundering and tax evasion.

An email from a Mossack executive to Ms Olszewski in January 2009 explains how she could deceive the bank: “We may use a natural person who will act as the beneficial owner… and therefore his name will be disclosed to the bank. Since this is a very sensitive matter, fees are quite high.”  (It’s not clear with Ms. Olszewski has broken the law).

Meanwhile, as I write this, Iceland is going ballistic.  Protests throughout (below is a live YouTube stream) as the Prime Minister there refuses to resign:

Anyway, to be continued.

Not Mentioned In The Debate — Another Mass Shooting

Guess it isn’t newsworthy to the right:

A gunman killed three people in shootings that ended at a lawn care company in Kansas on Thursday, authorities said.

An additional 14 people were injured — 10 of whom are in critical condition at local hospitals.

The shooter was also killed by police, bringing the total number of fatalities to four.

Authorities first got calls about a man shooting from a vehicle in Newton about 5 p.m., the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office said.

Minutes later, there were reports of a shooting at Excel Industries, which makes lawn care equipment in Hesston, Kansas.

“Everybody says it can’t happen here,” Walton said. “And here we are. It happened here.”

The shooter, Cedric Ford, was served with a protection order 90 minutes before his shooting spree, and we can presume that was the “trigger” (no pun intended).  He drove through two towns randomly shooting people before returning to his workplace.

Oregon Standoff Has Arrests, A Shootout, and A Death

… but it continues.

There had been no visible law enforcement presence around the refuge as the situation stretched on for days and weeks, and occupiers came and went as they pleased, though they said they remained on guard. The group’s leaders had felt comfortable enough to move freely, leaving the refuge’s headquarters to attend meetings with residents and law enforcement officials.

On Tuesday afternoon, with the group’s leaders away from the refuge and traveling on a highway, FBI agents and the Oregon State Police moved to arrest them on federal charges. Five occupiers were arrested on the highway, including Ammon Bundy, the group’s leader. Three other people tied to the situation were later arrested in Oregon and Arizona.

All of the people arrested on the Oregon highway surrendered to authorities except for one man, later identified as LaVoy Finicum, a spokesman for the group who had previously said he would rather die than go to jail. Another official familiar with the encounter said Finicum refused to surrender and was fatally shot; authorities said Wednesday they were investigating the shooting.

The FBI and state police staked out a spot along the route to John Day to stop the caravan. At first, both vehicles complied with an order to pull over, but then the lead vehicle took off, the law enforcement official said.

It didn’t get very far, hitting a snow bank. Finicum, the official said, jumped out of that vehicle “brandishing a firearm.”

There are a couple of firsthand accounts of what happened yesterday out in Oregon and how Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum wound up getting shot and killed. The accounts differ substantially.

Finicum was a Mormon rancher with 11 children, 19 grandchildren and a wife of 23 years. He told NBC News three weeks ago that he would rather die than be taken into custody as part of the occupation.

It is unfortunate that that Mr. Finicum lost his life regardless of whether he’s wholly responsible for his death or not. I think the guy was disturbed and needed help. And I don’t think anyone was in a real position to give it to him except the other folks who were occupying the refuge with him, and they all seem to be nearly as far gone as he was.

Today, federal agents sealed off the Oregon wildlife refuge occupied by the remaining armed protesters. They up checkpoints and roadblocks around the refuge, saying that people who tried to travel inside would be arrested and calling for the armed people remaining there to leave. But also suggested that the situation at the refuge would not continue indefinitely and placed blame for the fatal encounter a day earlier on those occupying the refuge.

The bios of those arrested are here.

Lurking in the background since the beginning of the Oregon standoff was the possibility of violence and bloodshed, but the feds’ hands-off approach combined with the occupiers’ sometimes goofball circus antics helped keep that mostly below the surface. Last’s night violent confrontation has now changed the equation considerably, and the remaining occupiers are ramping up their rhetoric and are taking a more confrontational and aggressive pose, as is law enforcement.

The FBI has warned journalists this morning that it cannot guarantee their protection at the refuge, so many of them have gotten out of Dodge. Occupiers are issuing calls for supporters to rally to the refuge in their defense.

I don’t think this is over.  And already, it will be invoked by the rightwing extremists as another “Waco”.

The Sad Story Of Christine Mumma

mummaThe North Carolina Bar just ruled that Christine Mumma violated professional conduct rules in her quest to free an innocent man from prison.

Mumma is an attorney for the North Carolina Innocence Project (actually, The NC Center on Actual Innocence)  She was trying to free Joseph Sledge, 71, who had spent more than three decades in prison for a double homicide he did not commit.  Mumma and Sledge are pictured at the right.

The prosecutor was reluctant to release Sledge unless Mumma could find DNA matching the suspect in the double murder.  So Mumma visited the home of Marie Andrus, the woman from whom she was trying to get DNA.  Ms. Andrus’ sons (one or both of them) were suspects in the crime.

Ms. Andrus refused to give any DNA, but Mumma left the house with a water bottle, thereby obtaining the DNA.  (The full complaint is below the fold).

Yeah, it was the wrong thing to do (and Ms. Andrus has forgiven Mumma and understands), and so the disciplinary panel ruled against Ms. Mumma.

As an aside,  I should mention that Sledge was later found innocent and released early last year.

I write this with sadness.  People like Mumma deserve medals.  I can’t help but wonder if a little of this was payback from the state of NC.  I hope the consequences of this ruling today are not too harsh.  There needs to be more like Mumma.

Thursday Morning Schadenfreude


CWcTBL2WIAEGqPhMartin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and former hedge fund manager who has been widely criticized for drug price gouging, was arrested Thursday morning by the federal authorities.

The investigation, in which Mr. Shkreli has been charged with securities fraud, is related to his time as a hedge fund manager and running the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin — not the price-gouging controversy that has swirled around him.

Mr. Shkreli, 32, is now chief executive and founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which has drawn scrutiny for acquiring a decades-old drug and raising the price of it overnight to $750 a pill, from $13.50.

He was arrested in his Midtown Manhattan apartment, according to a law enforcement source, who declined to be identified because the indictment had not been unsealed. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn were expected to hold a news conference on the charges later Thursday.

UPDATE:  Wish this was true….

Planned Parenthood Shooting Is Domestic Terrorism

I’ve been vacationing and the holidays and yada yada, so there’s been light blogging lately.

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina is seen in undated photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. A gunman burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 and opened fire, launching several gunbattles and an hourslong standoff with police as patients and staff took cover. By the time the shooter surrendered, at least three people were killed, including a police officer and at least nine others were wounded, authorities said. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP)

The big news that I missed was a terrorist attack here on the United States, although whether to call it a “terrorist attack” seems to be arguable.  I’m talking of course about the shooter at Planned Parenthood.  On Saturday, November 27, a shooting and five-hour standoff with police occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A police officer and two civilians were killed; five police officers and four civilians were injured. Police convinced the suspected shooter, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, to surrender. He was taken into custody after a standoff that lasted five hours. Yesterday, Dear was charged with murder in the first-degree, and was ordered to be held without bond.

It wasn’t hard to surmise his motive or political leanings, especially when he told the police “no more baby parts” and was known to have passed out anti-Obama literature.  Obviously, when you are trying to affect political or social change through the use of violence, that is the definition of terrorism — yet Republican candidates seem to have a hard time calling it this.  When a reporter told Ted Cruz that the suspect in the Colorado Springs killings is alleged to have mentioned “baby parts” after his arrest, the Texas senator responded, “Well, it’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and transgendered leftist activist, if that’s what he is.”  Cruz was likely citing a report from The Gateway Pundit, a right-wing blog, that uncovered a Colorado state voter registration form which lists Dear’s gender as female.  (Occam’s Razor suggests it was likely a clerical error — and it was).

On Fox News Sunday, Carly Fiorina called alleged killer Robert Lewis Dear “deranged’ and lamented that the shooting took place on a “holiday weekend,” before zeroing in on the real tragedy: the unfair treatment of Carly Fiorina by pro-choice activists and the left. Host Chris Wallace asked Fiorina if she saw a link between overheated anti-choice rhetoric and violence by abortion opponents. Fiorina, who at the second GOP debate regaled viewers with a grisly and entirely false story about Planned Parenthood workers yanking the brain out of a “living, kicking” fetus, failed to see how her words might inspire someone to take drastic action, adding:

“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with the message…. Anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is … this is typical left-wing tactics.”

The link was made, however, not by the leftwing, but by the gunman himself. Fiorina advanced the inflammatory lie that Planned Parenthood makes a profit from trafficking in fetal body parts. In fact, the fetal tissue is turned over for medical research, with the attendant fees used to cover expenses.

Ben Carson responded to the attack by wishing everyone would be a little more polite. He then politely blamed Planned Parenthood for the shooting.  Asked if extremist rhetoric emboldens domestic terrorists, Carson argued that “both sides” are to blame for vilifying each other. A fair point, perhaps, although nobody is shooting up Focus On The Family.  Personally, I think it is okay to villify terrorists.

Donald Trump briefly approximated humanness on Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press Sunday, calling the shooting “a terrible thing.” Seconds later the GOP candidate returned to form, denouncing Planned Parenthood and essentially blaming the organization for making Trump supporters angry.

Mike Huckabee had the guts to call the shooting an act of domestic terrorism and mass murder. “There’s no legitimizing, there’s no rationalizing. It was mass murder. It was absolutely unfathomable,” he said. But then he went on to equate what happened with abortion, which is legal.  He accused Planned Parenthood, which provides health services to low-income women, of mass murder, engaging in exactly the kind of extreme rhetoric that might convince an unhinged person the group is deserving of violent attack. “And there’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening inside the Planned Parenthood headquarters, inside their clinics where many millions of babies die, or whether it’s people attacking Planned Parenthood,” he said.

The point is that what happened in Colorado Springs is just an extreme example of a long line of terrorist actions against Planned Parenthood, which include threats, murders, and bombings.  Back in September, CBS reported that the FBI had noticed an uptick in attacks on reproductive health care facilities since the first video was released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP). There were nine criminal or suspicious incidents (including cyber attacks, threats, and arsons) from July, when the videos first came out, through mid-September.

An FBI Intelligence Assessment at the time found these attacks were “consistent with the actions of lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement.” Moreover, the report said it was “likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities.”

Less than two weeks after CBS reported that, another abortion clinic was firebombed in California. It was the fourth arson at a Planned Parenthood location in as many months.

Since 1977, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 186 arsons against abortion clinics and providers.  Even today, a hospital in Colorado Springs was put on lockdown because of a “suspicious person” making threats to shoot one of the victims from Friday’s deadly Planned Parenthood attack.

So the Richard Dear shootings are not an isolated incident, just an extreme one.  Stay tuned.

Mass Shooting Obama Response Montage

AFTERTHOUGHT:  What I liked about Obama’s response speech this time was this:

And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners — who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, for protecting their families — to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you.

What Obama seems to want to do is drive a wedge between America’s gun owners and the NRA. Is that possible? I think so.  I think there are a lot of responsible gun owners who don’t like being lumped up with that group, but don’t feel welcome with the gun control crowd (who are often painted as “trying to ban all guns”).

It’s worth a shot.

Oregon Mass Shooting

As my tweets suggested yesterday, there was yet another mass shooting yesterday — this one at Umpqua Community College (“UCC”) in Oregon.  Nine killed, not including the shooter, and seven injured.

I will not name the killer.  In these circumstances, I often do name the killer, but one of the things that has come out is he wrote on his blog, a few days ago, that mass-killers go from unknown to famous in one day (his name is easily found on the Internets).  That suggests he was seeking notoriety, and I don’t want to contribute to that.

He walked into a classroom at UCC with four guns [UPDATE: six guns on campus, plus another seven at his home], and shot and killed the teacher point blank. As he was reloading his handgun, he ordered the students to stand up if they were Christians.  And they stood up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second”.  And then he shot and killed them.  Students who didn’t stand were shot in the leg.

Police on the scene eventually shot and killed the assailant.

These are the reports right now, but they are still not confirmed.  Some reports say he asked each student individually if they were Christian.  As usual, early reports are often not accurate.

But we know more about the shooter.  He was mixed race (white/black), age 26, and, according to an online dating profile, a “conservative Republican”.  The same profile said he did not believe in organized religion.

His motive is not known.  Although he was opposed to organized religion, and he reportedly made the “see God” comment, nothing else about him made it seem like he was radical in his anti-religion views [UPDATE:  And possibly a white supremacist, despite being half-black].  Nothing in his background made it seem like it was politically motivated.

He was reportedly shy and a loner.  Never had a girlfriend.

The email address used on the dating site was also associated with the profile of user Lithium-Love on torrent sharing website KickAssTorrents.  Lithium is the drug used by those with bipolar disorder, suggesting he had emotional problems.

The user wrote a blog post on the KickAssTorrents site about Vester Flanagan, the man who shot dead two reporters during a live broadcast in August before killing himself, calling the footage of the shooting “good”.  The post went on to say:

On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.

The user’s last torrent upload was on Tuesday and was entitled “This World Surviving Sandy Hook BBC Documentary 2015,” according to the website.

UPDATE:  He left a note…

The heavily armed gunman who slaughtered nine people at an Oregon college left a hate-filled note at the scene of his rampage and “felt the world was against him,” law enforcement officials confirmed Friday.

Two officials familiar with the contents of the note say 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, who was killed in a firefight Thursday with police at Umpqua Community College, wrote that he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”

He wrote that he was “in a bad way,” one official said. “He was depressed, sullen.”

The officials said Mercer lamented the fact that he did not have a girlfriend. “He said he had no life,” another official said.

Sexual Violence On Campus — Worse Than We Thought

One of the largest-ever surveys on campus sexual violence was conducted recently by the Association of American Universities.  More than 150,000 students across 27 colleges were surveyed,  The results, released Monday, are terrible.

The survey asked students whether they had experienced events ranging from sexual touching to forcible penetration. If they answered affirmatively, they were asked follow-up questions about the circumstances and the event’s aftermath, including whether they reported the incident to law enforcement or a campus authority. Some scenarios that appeared in the survey fit the legal definitions for rape and sexual battery, while others involved incidents that universities typically consider to be sexual misconduct. Other questions measured attitudes toward campus sexual assault and how often students intervened when they observed potentially risky situations.

The participation rate of respondents was low, which might call into question the validity of some of these results.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • More than 1 in 5 undergraduate women are victims of sexual assault.The AAU’s findings suggest sexual-assault rates are slightly higher than the widely cited yet disputed statistic that 1 in 5 college women are victims of sexual assault. According to the survey, 23 percent of female respondents said they experienced nonconsensual sexual contact due to physical force, under the threat of physical force, or while they were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. Among seniors nearing graduation, that number rises to 1 in 3.
  • In the last academic year alone, 11 percent of respondents said they experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. That’s around 16,500 students across the 27 institutions.
  • First-year students are are the most vulnerable to sexual assault. Sixteen percent of freshman women said they experienced sexual contact under physical force or incapacitation.
  • The vast majority of students don’t report sexual assault or misconduct. While most victims said they confided in a friend, family member or someone else, only 26 percent of students who experienced forcible penetration filed an official report. More than half of those victims said they didn’t consider the event serious enough to go to the authorities, while one-third of said they were “embarrassed, ashamed, or that it would be too emotionally difficult.” Others said they “did not think anything would be done about it.” Students were much more likely to report certain kinds of events than others, with reports filed by 28 percent of stalking victims but only 5 percent of those who experienced unwanted sexual touching while they were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.​
  • Transgender and gender-nonconforming students experience sexual assault and misconduct at higher rates than their peers. These students comprised 1.5 percent of survey respondents, but nearly 40 percent of seniors identifying with this group said they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact in college, compared to a third of senior women. They’re also less likely to believe the university will conduct a fair investigation or take their reports seriously.
  • Response rates were low. About 19 percent of students across the 27 universities chose to respond to the online survey, which was conducted during a three-week period in April. The survey notes that nonvictims may be less likely to participate, skewing incidence rates slightly upward. Still, final participation rates were well below the the rates of similar studies.

Here is the survey if you want to go deep-diving into methodology and results:

For The Black Lives Matter Files

I suspect stories like this fly under the radar an awful lot, and nobody even knows about it:

A young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, Virginia, on the same day that one of the city’s officers fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old, has been found dead in jail after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing groceries worth $5.

Jamycheal Mitchell, who had mental health problems, was discovered lying on the floor of his cell by guards early last Wednesday, according to authorities. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death was not being treated as suspicious.

“As of right now it is deemed ‘natural causes’,” Natasha Perry, the master jail officer at the Hampton Roads regional jail in Portsmouth, said of his death in an interview. Perry said there were no obvious outward signs of injury to the 24-year-old’s body.

Mitchell’s family said they believed he starved to death after refusing meals and medication at the jail, where he was being held on misdemeanour charges of petty larceny and trespassing. A clerk at Portsmouth district court said Mitchell was accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake worth a total of $5 from a 7-Eleven.

Mitchell was a chain-smoker, had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  None of those things, however, should have caused his death of “natural causes” at the age of 24.

Setting aside, if possible, his death (which, I am sorry, IS suspicious) why the hell is a black man in jail, without bail, for four months, for stealing $5 worth of groceries?

Terrible Live Shooting On TV This Morning

Troubling video (not bloody, but shocking)

Both the reporter and the cameraman are dead.


During an interview on CNN, General Manager Jeffrey Marks confirmed that today was Parker’s last day with the station. Marks also said that Ward’s fiancee Melissa Ott was in the control room during the broadcast, and saw the shooting happen live. From the video shot by the cameraman (as he died), a frame may have caught the shooter. 11935115_10156061166125093_4992410002731105501_n 

This all happened at 7:45 a.m. today during a live interview in the town of Moneta, Virginia. A manhunt for the shooter is on. Let me state the obvious before everyone else does:

(1)  Yes, the only reason this is “news” is because it happened on TV.  But double murders happen all the time.
(2)  Yes, the victims are white, although honestly, when black people are shot and it is recorded, we pay attention then as well.
(3)  This would be a good time for the candidates to speak up about gun control.  Watch the GOP candidates say instead that this is a time for “prayers” so that they never have to address gun control.

UPDATE 10:25 a.m. — Shooter is apparently a disgruntled employee of the TV station.

UPDATE 10:40 a.m. — Suspect identified as Vester Lee Flanigan (or Lester Lee Flanigan?), a light-skinned black man, who is about 6’3″, 250lbs and driving a gray 2009 Ford Mustang with Virginia license plates WZE-8846.  Police are in pursuit on Interstate 81 In a related story, of local interest, the second guy in the local (Rockingham County NC) manhunt was caught last night.  So that happened.

UPDATE 11:25 a.m.  Ugh. This story gets worse and worse. The shooter (Flanigan) goes by the name of Bryce Williams. He was a reporter at the station. And he started sharing video of the shooting (from his vantage point) on his Twitter account (which has been shut down) and Facebook page (also shut down). The video is very graphic and people are very good about not posting (or viewing it).  I’ve seen it, but I won’t post or link to it.  You can see him walk up to her and draw his gun and aim it at her (image below).  Nobody notices.  He puts the gun down and steps back a step or two.  Another 3 or 4 seconds pass.  Suddenly he lifts the gun and fires.  Alison Parker is seen running off.  The screen goes black and you hear more shots.   You don’t actually see anyone get hit, but it is startling.


And more about the shooter now….  




UPDATE 11:55 a.m. – Not dead, but in critical condition.

UPDATE 2:00 p.m. – Okay.  Now confirmed dead.

And now a motive — or rather several of them — emerge:

In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harrisand Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'”

In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”

–He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work

–He says he has been attacked by black men and white females

–He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man

“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”

“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

Trumps Reaction To Hate Crime — He Hits A New Low

This turns my stomach:

The homeless man was lying on the ground, shaking, when police arrived early Wednesday. His face was soaked, apparently with urine, his nose broken, his chest and arms battered.

Police said two brothers from South Boston ambushed the 58-year-old as he slept outside of a Dorchester MBTA stop, and targeted him because he is Hispanic. One of the brothers said he was inspired in part by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.


Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

Those ellipses might mean anything, but one thing is clear — Trump’s pivot from discussion of a hate crime to the passion of those who follow him, is nothing short of sick.  No, Donald Trump isn’t explicitly saying it’s okay to beat people up because of how they look (but at least two men have interpreted it that way).  The correct thing to do is to tell them, and the rest of his followers, that that interpretation is unequivocally wrong.  Instead he frames the abhorrent crim as a moderately regrettable downside of his movement’s “passion.”

UPDATE — Over 24 hours later since he was first asked….

Ashley Madison Hackers Release Names

The Impact Team, the name of the group that hacked the Ashley Madison website (a site owned by Avid Life Media), has released the names, addresses and phone numbers — as well as a four-digit code that could be either partial credit card numbers or just user numbers — of the 37 million users of the cheat-on-your-spouse website.

But don’t rush to a website and start looking for cheaters in your social circles.  The data is available on the Dark Web, which is part of the Internet not readily available to just anybody. Basically, it requires software and technical knowledge that I don’t have, but the information is available, and some genius tech nerdos are probably poring through the leaked names at this very moment.

Who knows?  Maybe sometime soon you’ll be able to download all 9.7 gigs of information.  But before you get giddy — yeah, it does have the makings of some sort of modern fable in which wannabe cheaters get their comeuppance — just a standard reminder that if you download it and look through it for people you might know, there’s no turning back from that. And somewhere out there, there’s a database of stuff you do that you would prefer not get out there.

Here’s the announcement of the leak, which sets forth the particular objections of the hackers:


This sounds like someone who was caught using Ashley Madison, and was pissed that they did not do enough to keep his account secret.

I don’t know the site, although when I read that it has 37 million users, I was astounded.  Then again, if the hackers are correct, that 37 million may be “fake”.  Who knows?

But it makes little difference what the site is for.  Revealing names and phone numbers and private information is a pretty serious felony.  And it should be.  This would be true whether the hacked site is or Ashley Madison.

I wonder how many marriages are going to be damaged as a result of this.  Probably not very many, as long as it stays on the Dark Web.  I wonder if that will happen.

It seems there is some truth to the assertion that Avid Life Media was lax about cyber security:

Senior staff at Ashley Madison, the hacked extramarital dating site, were raising concerns over its security procedures as recently as June, just a month before the site was attacked.

Internal documents leaked as part of the attack show concerns over “a lack of security awareness across the organisation” being raised by one vice president.

This news story is messed up in about ten different ways.

Today’s Movie Theater Shooting

And the winner is…. Anitoch, Tennessee’s Carmike Hickory 8 Theaters

The movie was:  Mad Max
The shooter is: Dead (shot by police)
Shooter characteristics:  White male, age 51
Shooter weapons: pepper spray, gun, hatchet, surgical mask and 2 backpacks (possible bombs?)
# of victims:  0 dead, 3 treated for pepper spray, 1 with bruises from hatchet
Motive: TBD
Is he crazy?:  TBD
Expected right-wing reaction: “If only more people in the theater had guns….”

Set the clock back to zero.  Start another count to the next shooting….

Adventures In Police Framing


A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in.


Middlebrooks allegedly said “the police were going to pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed”. According to the lawsuit, which has since been filed to court in a separate ongoing case against the city, this prompted the brother-in-law to retrieve a voice recorder that Bias had been carrying around with him in an attempt to monitor alleged harassment by police, and then return to the conversation with the officer.

On the recording, Middlebrooks is heard suggesting Bias had been behaving threateningly towards his relatives. The officer said if he were in the same position, he would “fucking kill that motherfucker with whatever I had in that fucking house”.


Some of the contents of Sam DuBose’s car at the time of his death have been identified.

WLWT has confirmed through CPD’s search warrant inventory document that four bags and a jar of marijuana were in Dubose’s car at the time of the July 19 traffic stop that ended in former UC Officer Ray Tensing fatally shooting DuBose.

However, multiple sources have told WLWT officers found a little less than 2 pounds of marijuana.

No officials were immediately able to confirm the amount of marijuana found.

According to reports, the marijuana was found in the car’s center console, under the front passenger seat and on the floor behind the driver’s seat.

Police sources said the street value for the amount of marijuana found in DuBose’s car is  anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the quality and the demand.

Police said any marijuana weighing more than two pounds is considered a felony.

Officers said the search warrant was obtained two days after the deadly shooting.

The Hubbub About Cecil

Seems like the Internet went absolutely bonkers yesterday about how a policeman killed a completely innocent black man dentist killed a completely innocent lion.  It’s important to understand exactly what he did.  He didn’t merely shoot and kill a lion who was iconic to the region and the center of a research study; he poached it:

ciceldentistWalter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion, closed his practice and went into hiding after a worldwide firestorm erupted over him killing Cecil. Palmer claims he misunderstood the rules. The circumstances around Cecil’s death, Palmer’s barbaric past, and the fact that he has gone into hiding tells the story.

Palmer’s hunting guides, Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, appeared before a court in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and were charged with receiving a $50,000 bribe to help Palmer stalk and kill the animal. The operative word is “bribe.” Just the basic definition of the word alludes that Palmer had prior knowledge that he was committing an illegal act. Although Bronkhorst and Ndlovu have been charged, Palmer hasn’t even received a court summons for this atrocity.

Palmer used illegal hunting tactics to track and kill Cecil. During night hours, Palmer and his guides used a dead animal tethered to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park because they thought doing that would make the kill legal. Not so much. Baiting animals while hunting in the region is illegal, as is night hunting. Nothing about this “hunt” was legal. Hell, it’s unethical even from a sporting perspective.

Once they lured Cecil out of the park, they flashed a spotlight so Palmer could shoot the lion full of arrows. Palmer tracked Cecil for 40 hours, and then found the lion weakened from his injuries. Palmer finished off this slaughter with a gunshot.

“This is much closer to assassination than hunting,” said hunter and journalist Jonny Miles. “The trophy aspect is subordinate to the experience, to the knowledge required and the knowledge gained, to the very ancient relationship that you are experiencing with an animal that you are hunting for food.”

Miles added that, even by hunting standards, Palmer falls short of being ethical. Palmer has a past of unethical and illegal hunting practices. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to a license violation regarding the illegal killing of a black bear in Wisconsin. He killed the bear in an illegal location, similar to Cecil’s killing. He was charged with a felony but was only given a $3,000 fine and one year of probation.

Since being identified, Palmer has gone into deep hiding. He closed his dental practice, deleted any social media account associated with him, and is avoiding the press. He may be hiding from the public, but his silence is as telling as an admission of guilt.

His dental office:

The dentist is being condemned and rightly so, although perhaps the more healthy response is to donate to the researchers that had been tracking Cecil. These guys.

Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting Update


The gunman who opened fire inside a packed movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, Thursday night, was John Russel Houser, police said at a news conference this morning.

Houser, 59, who killed himself, is among three people who died, police said. The other two were Mayci Breaux, 21, of Franklin, Louisiana, who died at the theater, and Jillian Johnson, 33, of Lafayette, who died at the hospital.

Nine others were injured, including one who was in critical condition, police said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal praised two New Iberia teachers as heroes. One leaped over the other to shield her and pull a fire alarm:

“Her friend literally jumped over her, and in her account actually saved her life,” Jindal said during a press conference. “If she hadn’t done that … that bullet, she believed it would have hit her in the head.

“Even though she was shot in the leg, she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives.”

The gunman had a history of criminal/mental problems.  How he managed to get a semi-automatic handgun is not known yet.

Nothing will happen to change gun laws.

UPDATE:  Raw Story did some Internet digging on the shooter.  Confederate flag-waving right-wing nut?  You bet kids:

John Russell Houser, of Phenix City, Alabama, posted frequently across a variety of online forums — from political discussions to message boards for Oldsmobile enthusiasts — where he complained about “moral decay” and media brainwashing.

“America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world,” he wrote under the name Rusty Houser in a December 2013 comment on Fellowship of the Minds. “I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”

The 59-year-old Houser was less active on Facebook and Twitter, although he left behind some clues about his beliefs on those social media networks.

“If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do,” reads his second — and last — Twitter post, from June 2013. The first argues that “Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America [members not brainwashed].”

His Facebook account shows just two likes — the “I hate liberals!” political organization, which uses an avatar that reads “Stand with Rand,” and the Crossroads Irish-American Festival.

Posts on his Facebook page reveals an interest in limiting women’s influence over the church, a hatred for American culture, and complaints about liberals “brainwashing” Americans into hating their own country.

“The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it,” Houser wrote. “Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.”

Houser signed up for an account with Tea Party Nation in June 2013, but he was not an active commenter.

Posts on other forums reveal Houser’s belief that the U.S. was racist against white people, sterilization should be mandatory for welfare recipients and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a more historically significant figure than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Hitler accomplished far more than any other through ‘pragmatically forming,’” Houser posted in January 2015.

He wrote something of a manifesto in March 2013, when he asked for help channeling his anger and frustration as a white Christian man living under President Barack Obama.

1 Recognize a lost cause.It is too late.The US is oozing the puss of foolishness and perversion.

2 Find a positive way to exert your energies.I recommend laughing as often as possible.Here is something that is truly funny: since I accepted this it came to me that the president is doing exactly what Tim McVeigh did,only the president is much more effective.The way I see it,the faster he wrecks this nation, which in no way resembles what it’s founders envisioned,the faster working people with morals may re-assume I was for his re-election. I like his spending habits.etc……Truth and death always go hand in hand, and in our brave moments we can laugh. Whatever truth requires, I will accept.

3 Encourage whatever takes us forward. Right now, down is forward.

4 For the few who will understand this, it is my hope that you will see to one preparation for the coming downfall, which will be worse than a Mad Max scenario. That preparation is not storing up canned goods, munitions,etc, but to gather what will be necessary to put in your families food to insure a painless and certain death should the need arise.,if there are no cell phones,no TV,no power,gas,no stores,no police,etc.

5 If you are male, fight until the end, and enjoy it.People are good at what they enjoy, and your Maker would want it that way.

Houser argued in a January 2014 forum post that the United States needed a right-wing party like Greece’s neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” faction to restore its greatness.

Jesus. ANOTHER Mass Shooting

Happened within the past few hours. A shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette Louisiana. 2 are confirmed dead. The shooter is dead. 8 appear to be wounded. It happened 20 minutes into the movie “Trainwreck”.

Ironically, President Obama had taped an interview for the BBC which was going to air in a few hours. In the interview, President Obama stated that his biggest frustration during his presidency was being unable to get any effective gun laws passed. Yep.

UPDATE: Eyewitness says the shooter was a middle age white man, and he was chasing a barefoot woman. Others say shooter stood up as movie was starting and began shooting indiscriminately.

UPDATE:3 confirmed dead, which includes the shooter, a 58 year old man.

On The Ashley Madison Hack

So, a few days ago, the website Ashley Madison was hacked and its 37 million customers could soon have their data leaked online by a crew calling themselves The Impact Team.  Ashley Madison, for the uninitiated, is a site that lets spouses cheat on their partners — kind of like a for adulterers. The Impact Team has threatened to release a huge trove of data beyond the snippets of information they already leaked from Avid Life Media, the owner of Ashley Madison and related properties Established Men and Cougar Life, if the cheating site was not shut down.

Why is Impact Team doing this?  Well, it seems they were particularly aggrieved at a service launched by Ashley Madison last year, promising it could delete users’ information so it was irrecoverable for $19. The hackers claimed that service didn’t do as advertised, and customers’ names and addresses were still stored on ALM’s servers.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team said in a notice alongside the leak, in which they also claimed to have taken complete control of ALM’s “office and production domains”, as well as “all customer information databases”.

If that is true, I think they have a point.

Now, I suppose the news of the leak is ho-hum news to a lot of people, but to 37 million — wait…. let’s just contemplate that number.


Ok.  Well to them this is potentially… bad.  REAL bad.

What disgusts me are people like Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who posted a message on his Facebook page about the matter Wednesday afternoon, stating:

The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Ashley Madison, the website for people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked this weekend. Their slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Hackers threatened to reveal personal data related to 37 million users. I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands—God already knew! His holy Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God’s laws and standards never change—all sin has a price. The New York Daily News calls this an “‪#‎adultery‬ website.” Isn’t it a shame that immorality is such big business?

You know what?  F you, Franklin Graham.

Not being married nor inclined to cheat, I’m not personally affected by this hack, but it does establish a terrible precedent.  We don’t want to snicker at the cheaters who got caught because you never know what could be out in the dark hidden recesses of the web that reflects badly on you or. . .  and this is important . . . someone with the same name as you.  So I think we need to pay attention to this type of thing a little more closely.