Now They’re Destroying Christopher Columbus Monuments

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Now They’re Targeting Christopher Columbus Monuments

Vandals continued the targeting of historical monuments and statues in recent days – including one of Christopher Columbus.

“This is happening everywhere,” Kevin Caira, the president of the Sons of Italy’s Commission for Social Justice, told The Baltimore Sun.

Caira spoke after an unidentified person destroyed the lettering on a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore’s Herring Run Park Monday.

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The person used a sledgehammer to smash letters that read: “Sacred to the memory of Chris. Columbus, Octob. XII, MDCCVIIIC” on the 225-year-old monument, The Sun reported. The destruction was recorded and posted on YouTube, although faces were hidden.

“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere,” a male narrator said in the video. “Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, rape, slavery, genocide, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas.”

“Racist monuments to slave owners and murderers have always bothered me,” the narrator added, calling the monuments “hate-filled” and symbols of white supremacy.

He dismissed Columbus and George Washington as genocidal terrorists.

“Part of our evolution as humans requires tearing down monuments to destructive forces and tearing down systems that maintain them,” he said.

The statue is the oldest monument to Christopher Columbus in the United States.

Other Statues Under Attack

Other monuments defaced include:

  • The Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The National Park Service reported that someone sprayed the words “F**K law” on one of its columns on Aug. 16.
  • A 114-year-old Confederate memorial in Baltimore was covered with red paint on Aug. 14, The Sun reported.
  • A monument to Confederate troops at Arizona’s state capitol in Phoenix was vandalized on Aug. 17, CNN reported.
  • Columns were painted red at a private Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa on Aug. 13, CNN reported.
  • A peace monument that depicted a Confederate soldier was defaced in Georgia.
  • A bust of Lincoln was set on fire and defaced in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
  • Houston resident Andrew Cecil Schenk wanted to go even farther. He was caught trying to plant a bomb on a statue of a Confederate officer named Richard Dowling, NBC News

It looks as if no monument is safe in America.

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Ron Paul Warns: 50 Percent Fall In Stock Market Is ‘Conceivable’

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Ron Paul Warns: 50 Percent Fall In Stock Market Is ‘Conceivable’Former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul thinks the stock market might lose 50 percent of its value this year.

“A 50 percent pullback is conceivable,” Paul said on CNBC’s “Futures Now” last week. “I don’t believe it’s 10 years off. I don’t even believe it’s a year off. “

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If Paul is correct, the Dow Jones would plummet to 10,851.71 and the S&P 500 would fall to 1,214.185. The S&P Index was at 2,428.37 and the Dow at 21,703.75 on Monday.

It also would be the greatest crash in history – even larger than the Great Crash of 1929 when the Dow lost 12 percent of its value. The stock market did not recover from the crash of 1929 until 1945, after World War II.

“I see the foundation of our system built on sand, and a big wind comes along to blow it down,” Paul said.

Wall Street, he said, is overestimating the strength of the U.S. economy.

“It’s all man-made,” Paul said. “It’s not the fault of Donald Trump … If the market crashes tomorrow and we have a great depression, he didn’t do it in six months. It took more like six or 10 years to cause all these problems that we’re facing.”

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‘Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore’; Anti-Confederate Movement Spreads To Founders

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‘Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore’; Anti-Confederate Movement Spreads To Founders

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The attack on statues of Confederate leaders has now spread to the Founding Fathers and even Abraham Lincoln.

Op-Eds and news articles around the web chronicle proposals and actual efforts to erase America’s history from the public square. Some of the most disturbing efforts include:

Blasting Mount Rushmore

“Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore” – the headline on a Vice op-ed by Wilbert L. Cooper reads.

“Fact is, I’m not sure there is any American president worthy of being etched into the side of a 60-foot mountain with explosives and jackhammers,” Cooper wrote. “I mean, every single one has at least been partially complicit in horrific atrocities.

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“… Obviously, Washington and Thomas Jefferson were remarkable individuals who helped usurp British rule in America and, eventually, establish a new empire. But they also enslaved their fellow man, committing special kinds of inhumane acts that should never be confined to footnotes. Unfortunately, that is exactly how those troublesome truths are treated when you face the awesome grandeur of Rushmore, a monument so incredible it obscures the multifaceted nature of these old dudes, transmogrifying them from individuals with a capacity both for greatness and evil into pure American deities.”

Interestingly enough, Cooper says he’d oppose a statue of Obama, too. Obama ordered some morally questionable actions, including drone strikes and unconstitutional surveillance programs, Cooper wrote.

“What I am suspicious of are monuments produced by the state, which tend to flatten out nuances and turn flawed individuals into tools of propaganda that bolster a kind of religious patriotism,” he wrote.

In Chicago, Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, wants a statue of George Washington removed in his community and a street named for Andrew Jackson to be changed.

Lincoln Under Attack

A bust of Abraham Lincoln on Chicago’s Southside was vandalized and burned on Wednesday, NBC 5 TV reported. The statue was erected in 1926.

“What an absolute disgraceful act of vandalism,” Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez wrote on Facebook.

Monument to Supreme Court Justice Removed

A crane lifted a monument to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert B. Taney from a pedestal in front of the Old State House in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday, CBS Baltimore reported. Taney wrote the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 declaring that African-Americans were not US citizens.

Taney remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War and remained on the job until his death in 1865. A group cheered as the statue was removed.

Blasting Stone Mountain?

A gigantic carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson should be blasted off the side of Stone Mountain in Georgia, Hontas Farmer wrote at Science20.com.

“Sign this petition if you don’t want to be defined forever by the face of traitors arguably worse than Benedict Arnold, who fought for a version of slavery which was more dehumanizing than even that practiced by George Washington,” Farmer wrote. She was referring to a MoveOn.org petition.

“Those men were traitors at best,” Farmer complained. “They are in the same league as Benedict Arnold.”

Confederate Reenactors Attacked

A man attacked Civil War reenactors dressed as Confederate soldiers with pepper spray at a parade in Newton, N.C., WSCO TV reported. The reenactors were taking part in the 128th Annual Soldiers’ Reunion Parade.

Things might have been much worse. Karl Smith, the man who pepper-sprayed the reenactors, was carrying a revolver when police arrested him, WSCO reported.

Do you think the Confederate statues should be removed? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Now They’re Removing Confederate Monuments in CEMETERIES

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Now They’re Removing Confederate Monuments in CEMETERIES

NBC Los Angeles

 

The attacks on monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders continued this week – even extending to a Los Angeles cemetery.

Under pressure, the Long Beach Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy removed Wednesday a six-foot granite monument to Confederate veterans from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times reported. The monument has sat in the Confederate section of the cemetery since 1925.

“It was thought that it would become impossible for us to maintain an atmosphere of tranquility, harmony and inclusion for all of our families and all of our visitors with the monument present here,” cemetery spokesman Theodore Hovey told the newspapers.

The granite marker was emblazoned with three Confederate flags and two crosses. It also featured these words: “In memory of the soldiers of the Confederate States Army who have died or may die on the Pacific Coast,” and “Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget — lest we forget.”

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“I don’t think a lot of people were aware of its presence,” Hovey said of the monument. A vandal wrote the word “no” in black on the monument on Tuesday.

‘Small Taste of Justice’

Earlier this week in in Durham, N.C., a mob pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier. Video shows protesters putting a rope around the statue’s neck, pulling it off a pedestal and spitting on the statue’s remains.

“Today we got a small taste of justice,” protester Jose Ramos told CBS North Carolina.

The statue had stood in front of the Old County Courthouse since 1924 and was engraved with the words “The Confederate States of America” and “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.”

It Needs to Be Removed

Police are now filing vandalism charges against some of the protesters identified through the video, The Hill reported.

The protest was apparently organized by leftist radicals on social media.

“It needs to be removed,” Loan Tran told the media. “These Confederate statues in Durham, in North Carolina, all across the country.”

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered the removal of all statues dedicated to Confederate heroes Monday night, The New York Times reported. A crane and a work crew escorted by a contingent of polices started pulling down the statues in the dead of night.

“The mayor has the right to protect her city,” Pugh said. “For me, the statues represented pain, and not only did I want to protect my city from any more of that pain, I also wanted to protect my city from any of the violence that was occurring around the nation. We don’t need that in Baltimore.”

One group of Confederate monuments that will not be going anywhere: 10 statues in the U.S. capitol. There are no plans to remove the statues, which include one of Robert E. Lee, Politico reported.

Do you think Confederate monuments should be removed? Share your thought in the section below:

Starving Venezuelans Are Now WALKING To Colombia For Food

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Stock photo.

The only way many Venezuelans are able to eat is to walk to neighboring Colombia for a meal.

Around 25,000 desperate Venezuelans are walking across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge daily in search of something to eat, the Associated Press reported.

“Those of us here on the border are seeing their pain,” Colombian citizen Paulina Toledo said.

Toledo volunteers at a kitchen that feeds up to 900 people at a time in Cucuta — just across the border from Venezuela.

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A Catholic shelter, the Case de Paso, serves up to 2,000 meals a day in Cucuta, AP reported. Some Venezuelans are waiting up to four hours just to eat a bowl of chicken and rice there.

Venezuelan Erick Oropeza gets up at 4 a.m. to walk to Cucuta to sell soft drinks on the street in order to buy food for his family, AP reported. Oropeza has to peddle pop because his old job at the Venezuelan Ministry of Education did not pay enough to buy food for his family.

“I never thought I’d say this,” Oropeza said. “But I’m more grateful for what Colombia has offered me in this short time than what I ever received from Venezuela my entire life.”

Venezuela Military Profits From Peoples’ Hunger

Venezuela’s food shortage was deliberately created by the military, which is profiting from hunger, Al Jazeera reported.

“Lately, food is a better business than drugs,” said retired General Cliver Alcala. “The military is in charge of food management now, and they’re not going to just take that on without getting their cut.”

The military is in charge of the food supply but it refuses to import enough to feed the people, Al Jazeera reported. Instead, soldiers divert the food and sell it on the black market.

“If Venezuela paid market prices, we’d be able to double our imports and easily satisfy the country’s food needs,” retired agronomy professor Werner Gutierrez said. “Instead, people are starving.”

The only way Venezuelan grocers like Jose Campos can stock their shelves is to bribe soldiers, Al Jazeera reported.

“The military would be watching over whole bags of money,” Campos said. “They always had what I needed.”

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Tensions Mount As Trump Warns North Korea: Military ‘Locked And Loaded’

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Tensions Mount As Trump Warns North Korea: Military ‘Locked And Loaded’

Image source: Flickr / Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

President Trump’s latest Tweet might be a sign of an imminent military conflict with North Korea.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Trump did not detail the military solutions, but later re-tweeted pictures of U.S. bombers based on the Pacific island of Guam. Guam is a U.S. territory that North Korea has been threatening to attack.

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The images Tweeted included pictures of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers. The B-1B is capable of carrying the largest payload of guided and unguided weapons of any American bomber, according to the Air Force website.

A wild card is China, which is sending mixed signals about its military intentions.

“China should … make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” an editorial in the Chinese Global Times newspaper stated. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Wrong-House Raid Leaves Innocent Man Dead; He May Have Thought Police Were Burglars

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Wrong-House Raid Leaves Innocent Man Dead; He May Have Thought Police Were Burglars

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Ismael Lopez likely did not know that the person who killed him in his own home was a police officer. He was shot when officers were trying to serve a warrant in a tragic wrong-house raid Sunday night.

Officers did not realize they were at the wrong home until after Lopez was dead, The Washington Post reported. Lopez apparently was shot simply because he was holding his gun in his hand when he opened the door.

“The deceased subject had absolutely no warrant for his arrest,” District Attorney John Champion told Jackson, Miss., CBS affiliate WJTV. “He wasn’t wanted for anything at all. I want to make that abundantly clear at this point.”

‘Put the Gun Down!’

Southaven, Miss., police were at the mobile home park where Lopez lived to serve an aggravated assault warrant on someone else but, for unknown reasons, cops went to the wrong house.

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Lopez, who was in bed, apparently heard someone at his door, got up and grabbed his gun.

“The officers began hollering ‘Put the gun down! Put the gun down! Put the gun down! Put the gun down!’ at which point that did not occur,” Champion said. “More than one shot was fired toward the door. There was a subject, a male subject, inside the residence that was killed as a result of this gunfire.”

Friends of Lopez said the shooting never should have occurred.

“If you’re shooting through a door in that manner, you don’t know who’s behind that door,” friend Jordan Castillo told reporters.

Castillo showed reporters three bullet holes in the door.

“They’ve been in that home for 13 years,” family attorney Murray Wells told WMCA TV. “The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed.”

Lopez had no criminal history.

“A long-standing employee of the city of Bartlett, a mechanic. Loved in the neighborhood,” Wells said.

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School District Threatens To Throw Away Homeschool Family’s Official Notice

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School District Threatens To Throw Away Homeschool Family’s Official Notice

An Ohio school district has found a new way to discourage families from homeschooling. The unidentified district simply refused to accept any notices of intent from homeschool families — even official documents, says the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA).

Even though a mother complied with all the district’s requests, officials refused to accept her homeschooling application until she called an attorney, according to HSDLA.

The controversy began when the parents withdrew their son midway through the spring semester.

“That same day, the parents hand-delivered a notice of intent to homeschool to the school district. From the beginning, the district caused problems,” HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly wrote.

The district told the parents that “until the parents notified the county educational service centers (ESCs) of their intent to withdraw,” their son was truant.

The parents then contacted the ESC and were told that their notice to the local district “was all that was necessary to withdraw their son,” Donnelly wrote.

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The family subsequently sent another notice of intent to the school district – this time by certified mail.

“A few days later, the mother received a call from the assistant principal, who insisted that the family file their intent to homeschool via a specific county form,” Donnelly wrote.

The mother then filled out the form – the third attempt at filing a notice – but was told by email that the district was “unable to process [their] request” and that they should notify the ESC. HSLDA responded for the family, telling the superintendent that Ohio law “requires notification to and excuse from the local superintendent, not the ESC.”

“The next day, the school’s attorney notified HSLDA that she was reviewing the situation,” Donnelly wrote. “However, the school district also sent an email to the family, threatening to discard the notification form if no one picked it up within a week. HSLDA contacted the school’s attorney again, expressing concern that the district would seek to destroy a lawfully submitted document.”

In response, the school’s attorney assured HSLDA that the district would not “take measures to hamper your client’s interest in homeschooling” and that the excuse “process is now underway,” Donnelly wrote.

After “prolonged correspondence” with the school’s attorney, “the parents received written confirmation that their child had been excused for homeschooling effective the date they originally submitted the original notice of intent” – that is, the date they had turned it in two months before.

“Many Ohio districts insist that families seeking to withdraw their students from the public school system use a specific notification form to do so, or send notification to the county educational service center,” Donnelly wrote. “HSLDA continues to advocate for our Ohio member families and educate school districts of their responsibility under Ohio law.”

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5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

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5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

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Although the move toward a self-sufficient farm can seem daunting and out of reach, there are plenty of small things you can do to decrease your reliance on outside sources and make the most of what you have.

1. Start with clean feed

There are plenty of great mixes that can be purchased at the local feed store. However, some mixed feeds contain fillers and additives, which not only become part of the chickens’ diet, but also yours when the meat and eggs are part of your food source. The cleaner your chickens eat, the cleaner you will eat. A good option is to purchase the separate grains in bulk and mix them yourself. The price is sometimes comparable or a little more than the regular chicken feed mixes, but it’s a very clean source of nutrition without additional additives.

As you move toward replacing goods from outside vendors with your own homegrown options, start small with growing a few grains at a time and adding them to the feed you currently purchase. Over time you will use less and less store-bought items while finding out how the additional crops can work into your existing infrastructure. You can try oat, wheat, lentil, pea, corn, etc. Do a little research to determine the protein needs of your particular flock so you can create an appropriate mix of grains. The rest of their nutrition can come naturally through free-range grazing. They’ll eat the grass, weeds, bugs and worms. They also greatly appreciate any kitchen scraps you desire to throw their way.

2. Try a fodder system

This has been called a supplement by some, and a mainstay by others. Essentially, fodder is sprouted grains. It contains all of the nutrition of the grain itself, plus everything it develops as the greens grow, especially chlorophyll and beta carotene.

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These are wonderful for your chickens, especially in the winter when they have little access to grass and bugs. The sprouts are grown in a tray system until they’re about four inches in length. These can then be fed directly to your chickens. Some great grains to try are wheat, barley, oat, sunflower and beans. Just keep them fresh and free of mold. Even the little sprouts themselves, harvested on the third or fourth day, are packed with nutrients and good for digestion.

3. Use the manure

5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

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This means rich compost! Every coop should have the bedding and manure stripped out periodically. If you are using the deep litter method, you can add new bedding on top of the old, as needed, to reduce any odors. The chickens will scratch around and keep it mixed. Whether you choose to use sawdust or straw on the floor of your coop, it all can go into the compost pile. After a little decomposing action, this nitrogen-rich mix will be ready for your gardens. This is another reason why feeding your chickens well ultimately feeds your soil well (as well as your body!).

4. Don’t forget deep litter for heat

Depending on where you live, winters can be tough for chickens. Ideally, with a self-sustainable farm you want to have as many natural sources of heat as possible. As long as the chickens’ combs and wattles are not getting frost bitten or frozen, and they can come into the coop to stay dry, then they should be able to handle the weather.

A concern, however, is keeping their water from freezing. Some coops utilize a small heater for the watering container, while some people will simply change out the water periodically. Another option is deep litter, which is a method whereby you allow the sawdust or straw to build up in the floor of the coop. The decomposition of the material and the chicken manure give off a little bit of heat that can be helpful in the harsh winter months. To do this, just leave everything in the base of your coop, periodically adding a bit of new sawdust or straw on top to freshen it. The deeper it gets, the more it insulates the coop and generates a little natural heat through decomposition.

5. Enjoy the food!

Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of having chickens on your farm is the fact that they’re a tremendous source of protein. Even if you are not yet at the point where you slaughter your own meat, consider chickens for their eggs. A typical egg can have between 6-8 grams of protein, which is a great source for your family when times get hard. Most healthy hens lay up to one egg per day. So, if you have 12 healthy hens, you can expect to harvest up to a dozen eggs per day. The amount of eggs produced can drop during the winter when daylight hours are shorter, but can be helped by adding extra light to the coop. As long as you keep the chickens fed, they will help keep your family fed.

The more you use what you have, the closer you’ll be to having a healthy, self-sufficient farm.

What chicken advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:  

Trump Threatens North Korea With ‘Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen’

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Trump Threatens North Korea With ‘Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen’

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President Trump Tuesday threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury” after reports surfaced that the rogue country has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit on a missile.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said, with reporters present. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement — and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

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Earlier, it was reported that analysts with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) say North Korea already has built a nuclear warhead that can fit onto a missile, The Washington Post reported. Just a few weeks ago, North Korea tested an ICBM that analysts said could reach Chicago and cities west of it.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the document obtained by The Post states.

It is not clear if the North Koreans have tested the miniature warheads, but the Japanese Ministry of Defense concluded there is evidence the communist regime has them.

Nuclear warheads must be miniaturized in order to fit onto ICBMs and other missiles. Some American and Russian ICBMs actually carry several nuclear warheads.

There are currently around 15,000 nuclear warheads on earth, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimates. The biggest nuclear powers are Russia with around 7,000 warheads and the USA with 6,800. Other known nuclear powers are France (300 warheads), China (260 warheads), India (130 warheads) Pakistan (140 warheads), the United Kingdom (215 warheads) and Israel (80).

North Korea is believed have between 30 and 60 nuclear warheads, according to the Bulletin.

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Iranian Drone Nearly Collides With U.S. Navy Jet; Comes Within 100 Feet

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Iranian Drone Nearly Collides With U.S. Navy Jet; Comes Within 100 Feet

U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet

An Iranian drone nearly collided with a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter plane over the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz in the Persian Gulf Tuesday.

The QOM-1 drone flew within 100 feet of the Navy jet as the Super Hornet was preparing to land.

“The dangerous maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard, and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws,” a U.S. Navy press release stated.

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The fighter plane had to perform a “roll over” to avoid collision.

A Navy spokesman told The Navy Times that if the F/A-18E “had not done the maneuver,” the two aircraft would have collided, a Navy spokesperson told The Navy Times.

“There were repeated radio calls to stay clear of the active fixed wing operations,” the spokesman said.

The drone had apparently been flying around the carrier for some time before buzzing it.

The QOM-1 or Saqeh is an unmanned drone that looks sort of like a small fighter plane. A picture of the drone released by the Iranian military shows it carrying four rockets similar to U.S. Hellfire missiles.

A nuclear-powered carrier such as the Nimitz carries a crew of about 4,500 sailors and officers and around 75 aircraft. Only two nations — the United States and France — have nuclear-powered carriers.

Military experts believe that the Iranians back-engineered the Saqeh drones from a US RQ-170 drone manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Voice of America reported.

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North Korea Vows ‘Thousands-Fold’ Revenge On U.S. For Sanctions

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North Korea Vows ‘Thousands-Fold’ Revenge On U.S. For Sanctions

The North Korean government is seeking a “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States following new United Nations sanctions.

Additionally, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that his government would reject any negotiations that involved the rogue country disarming its nuclear weapons or missiles.

“We will not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table … and will never take a single step back from strengthening our nuclear might,” Ri told reporters at an international security conference in Manilla on Monday.

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Instead, North Korea “is ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force,” according to a statement released by its news agency. The sanctions target such key exports as coal, iron, lead and seafood, The Guardian reported, and could cut its export revenue by a third.

The sanctions also prevent additional North Koreans from legally working outside the country. The UN has created a blacklist of North Korean individuals and companies that will be barred from traveling and doing business.

The hope is that sanctions, passed unanimously by the UN Security Council, will bring North Korea back to the bargaining table.

China Warns North Korea

“The purpose is to pull the peninsula nuclear issue back to the negotiating table, and to seek a final solution to realize the peninsula denuclearization and long-term stability through negotiations,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said of the sanctions.

China supports the sanctions, which is bad news for North Korea, The Guardian reported.

“Do not violate the UN decision or provoke the international community’s goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests,” Wang warned on Monday.

The Chinese navy is conducting war games involving marines and dozens of ships and submarines in the East China Sea near North Korea, Newsweek reported. The wargames involved drills of air attacks and amphibious attacks.

“[The Chinese] could be sending a message to the North Koreans that they will be effective in any conflict if war is to break out,” Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told The South China Morning Post.

What do you think the U.S. should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Nutty State May Ban Pet Stores From Selling … Pets

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Nutty State May Ban Pet Stores From Selling … Pets

A proposed law would make it illegal for pet stores to sell many dogs and cats in the state of California.

Assembly Bill (AB) 485 would subject any pet store owner who bought puppies, kittens or rabbits from a commercial breeder to a $500 fine for each animal sold, National Review writer Wesley J. Smith reported. AB-485 has passed California’s lower house or Assembly but it has yet to be approved by the Senate or signed by the governor.

“This bill would prohibit, on and after January 1, 2019, a pet store operator from selling a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group, as defined, that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter, as specified,” the text of AB-485 states.

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Wrote Smith, “California is on the verge of outlawing pet stores from selling pets unless they come from shelters or rescue organizations.”

Smith fears that the real motive behind AB-485 is an attempt by animal rights activists to outlaw pet ownership. He noted that the proposed law makes no effort to set up a means of distinguishing humane from inhumane pet breeders.

“But it will push us closer to a time where the only place to obtain a pet will be a shelter,” Smith wrote.

The bill, he wrote, seems to be an attempt to write the ideas of animal rights extremists like Peter Singer and Gary Francione into law.

“We oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals,” Francione wrote in an essay called The Case against Pets.

Others, though, support the bill.

AB-485 is an attempt to ban “puppy mills” and inhumane animal breeding operations, The Los Angeles Times editorial board claimed.

“It may seem unfair to put the onus for stopping bad breeders on pet store owners who sell puppies they buy legally from commercial breeders,” The Times editors wrote. “Nor does it seem fair to cut off commercial breeders that are humane, assuming there are some, from their prime sales outlet. But the combination of low standards and lax enforcement has helped entrench the business of inhumanely manufacturing animals, particularly puppies.”

Would you support such a law? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Burglars Tried To Rob Woman In Wheelchair. But She Had A Gun.

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Burglars Tried To Rob Woman In Wheelchair. But She Had A Gun.

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Two burglars were no match for an elderly Cleveland woman in a wheelchair and her gun.

“I put the gun up to the window of the door and I yelled, ‘Get off my property,’” Melinda Vandal said she told the two men.

One man was trying to come into her door and the other was cutting the screen on a window of her garage on July 10, she said.

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One of the men apparently dropped a knife and they ran off when they saw Vandal toting the gun.

“It was last Monday morning around 10:30,” Vandal told Fox 8. “I looked at the door and there was a man, right there, right outside looking like he was going for my door.”

Police are looking into the incident but have made no arrests.

“It’s hard for me to relax or sleep because I keep seeing his face,” Vandal said.

She is now keeping her doors locked and her gun close.

“It never used to be like this around here,” Vandal said, noting she has lived in her home for more than 20 years. “I don’t want to ever hurt anyone, but I feel like I need to protect myself.”

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North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

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North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

North Korea is testing a submarine missile system in what one defense official called “highly unusual and unprecedented levels” of activity.

Four tests of a cold-ejection launch system for submarine-based ballistic missiles have been carried out at the Sinpo Naval Shipyard this year, with the latest one taking place in recent days, officials told CNN.

A cold-launch system prevents the missile’s engine from burning the submarine. With such a system, the missile is propelled away from the submarine before the engine starts.

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“Achieving a successful cold-launch ejection test, even from land-based tubes, is a critical step forward in making an operational missile,” defense analyst Michael Gatling told The Telegraph. “The whole point of putting missiles into a stealthy platform like a submarine is to achieve tactical surprise, and this moves closer to that.”

Just last week, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if it had been fired in that direction.

Strangely enough, North Korea has the world’s largest submarine fleet with 76 ships, according to Global Firepower. Most of those vessels are small diesel-powered submarines not capable of hauling missiles, but all it would take is one nuclear submarine to cross the Pacific to kill several million Americans.

Meanwhile, a North Korean submarine equipped with 14 torpedoes and up to 20 mines conducted tests for a week in July off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Officials with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University told The Telegraph that the latest cold-launch test “most likely is preparations for a test in the near future of an updated Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile or a potentially newer system.”

North Korean launched its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in August 2016.

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BREAKING: North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’

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North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’North Korea on Friday tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if the rogue nation had fired it in that direction

The missile flew for 45 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. But if its trajectory had been toward the U.S. – and not straight up — it likely would have had enough fuel to reach cities throughout the nation, experts say.

38North, a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, posted an assessment noting that “if flown on a flatter trajectory, this missile could reach as far as 9,000 to 10,000 km.” That’s 5,600 to 6,200 miles. Denver is roughly 6,000 miles from North Korea, Chicago 6,341.

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Friday’s launch was apparently timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is attempting to develop a missile with multiple nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-14 missile tested on Friday is theoretically capable of reaching targets in the Rocky Mountain West or the Midwest. That would include not only Denver and Chicago but also Colorado Springs, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Milwaukee – as well as cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“My guess is that they want to show more range,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation (CNS) studies said. “We basically dared them to do this. We said, ‘It’s not really an ICBM until it can hit Alaska, and they’re, like, ‘OK.’”

Analysts at the CNS believe the Hwasong-14 might be capable of reaching targets on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, if and when it is perfected. Lewis believes the North Koreans are trying to show the Pentagon that they can build a workable ICBM.

It was the second time in a month that North Korea has tested a Hwasong-14. There was another test on the Fourth of July.

This week, North Korea’s defense minister warned the U.S.

“If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice,” he said.

What do you think America should do? Should the Trump administration launch a pre-emptive strike? Share your thoughts in the section below:

BREAKING: North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’

North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’North Korea on Friday tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if the rogue nation had fired it in that direction

The missile flew for 45 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. But if its trajectory had been toward the U.S. – and not straight up — it likely would have had enough fuel to reach cities throughout the nation, experts say.

38North, a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, posted an assessment noting that “if flown on a flatter trajectory, this missile could reach as far as 9,000 to 10,000 km.” That’s 5,600 to 6,200 miles. Denver is roughly 6,000 miles from North Korea, Chicago 6,341.

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Friday’s launch was apparently timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is attempting to develop a missile with multiple nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-14 missile tested on Friday is theoretically capable of reaching targets in the Rocky Mountain West or the Midwest. That would include not only Denver and Chicago but also Colorado Springs, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Milwaukee – as well as cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“My guess is that they want to show more range,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation (CNS) studies said. “We basically dared them to do this. We said, ‘It’s not really an ICBM until it can hit Alaska, and they’re, like, ‘OK.’”

Analysts at the CNS believe the Hwasong-14 might be capable of reaching targets on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, if and when it is perfected. Lewis believes the North Koreans are trying to show the Pentagon that they can build a workable ICBM.

It was the second time in a month that North Korea has tested a Hwasong-14. There was another test on the Fourth of July.

This week, North Korea’s defense minister warned the U.S.

“If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice,” he said.

What do you think America should do? Should the Trump administration launch a pre-emptive strike? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Homeschool Mom Charged With Truancy For Not Filling Out OPTIONAL Form.

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Homeschool Mom Charged With Truancy For Not Filling Out OPTIONAL Form.

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A homeschooling mom was charged with truancy because she failed to fill out an optional school form.

The unidentified woman had pulled her daughter out of public school in Michigan because of anxiety problems, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) reported.

“The mom had dutifully notified the school that her daughter was unable to attend, and she sought assistance from the school to accommodate the girl’s needs,” HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly wrote.

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But even after changes were made, the girl still didn’t feel safe at the school, so the mom decided to homeschool her.

“The mom filed a formal withdrawal notice with the school, informing the principal that she would now be homeschooling her daughter,” Donnelly wrote.

The mom’s notice to the school fulfilled all state law requirements, yet the school’s truant officer nevertheless sent her a “declaration of home schooling” form and asked her to submit it within two weeks.

The mom, though, chose not to fill out the optional form. The officer then “ignored the usual legal process for truancy concerns and instead filed a legal complaint for truancy” – despite the fact the mom had followed the law.

After receiving a notice to appear in court on truancy charges, the mom contacted an HSLDA-affiliated attorney, who subsequently contacted the prosecutor to explain the law. The prosecutor dropped the case.

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Uh-Oh: North Korea Nuke-Missile Program AHEAD Of Schedule; Could Strike U.S. Cities Next Year; ‘Alarming Progress’

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Uh-Oh: North Korea Nuke-Missile Program AHEAD Of Schedule; Could Strike U.S. Cities Next Year; ‘Alarming Progress’

North Korea is on track to build a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to mainland American cities next year, a major military report says.

Analysts at the government’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) have concluded in the report that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) will be able to build a “reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM” that could strike American cities as early as next year, The Washington Post reported.

That is two to three years quicker than previously thought.

The confidential DIA assessment obtained by The Post says that North Korea could begin production on such a missile within a few months. The only obstacle is the ability to design a missile that can re-enter the atmosphere without damaging the warhead. But the report assumes the North Koreans will pass that test soon.

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“They’re on track to do that, essentially this week,” an anonymous intelligence official told The Post.

An ICBM from North Korea would need to enter space before targeting an American city.

“Now they are approaching the final stage of being a nuclear power and the owner of an ICBM,” Cha Du-hyeogn, an advisor to South Korea’s former president, told The Post.

North Korea’s rapid military gains have caught many off-guard.

“The speed of North Korea’s ICBM missile development is faster than the South Korean Defense Ministry expected,” South Korea lawmaker Lee Cheol-hee told the press.

Others agreed.

“There has been alarming progress,” said Joseph De Trani, a former manager at the office of the Director of National Intelligence. “In the last year they have gained capabilities that they didn’t have, including ones that we thought they would not have been able to obtain for years.”

U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) says he fears America won’t be ready.

“The apparent success of the July Fourth test is an alarming development as North Korea accelerates its pursuit of being able to hold the United States at risk with nuclear weapons,” Thornberry said after a classified briefing from the DIA and military officials.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, unlike the CIA, is tasked with providing purely military intelligence to the Pentagon. It also advises the president, the joint chiefs and Congress.

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America’s Top General Warns: North Korea War Would Lead To ‘Loss Of Life Unlike Any We Have Experienced’

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America’s Top General Warns: North Korea War Would Lead To ‘Loss Of Life Unlike Any We Have Experienced’

A U.S. military attack on North Korea is possible and America should be prepared for it, says the nation’s highest ranking military officer.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., made the admission during a talk at the Aspen Institute on Saturday.

“Many people have talked about military options with words like ‘unimaginable,’” Dunford said. “I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific, and it would be a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes, and I mean anyone who’s been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there’s a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

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“But as I’ve told my counterparts, both friend and foe, it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colo. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Dunford made the remarks at the Aspen Security Forum, a gathering of national security experts in the Colorado resort town, Politico reported.

Historians say 405,399 Americans died in World War II and 54,246 were killed in the Korean War (1950-1953).

The general’s remarks were prompted by the recent testing by North Korea of what might be an intercontinental ballistic missile. Dunford hopes that economic sanctions and diplomacy can end the crisis without bloodshed.

Dunford is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the chief military advisor to the president, secretary of defense, national security and congress. Before taking over as the 19th chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Dunford served as the commandment of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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A Broke U.S. City Just Dissolved; Street Lights Turned Off; Garbage Pickup Ceases

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A Broke U.S. City Just Dissolved; Street Lights Turned Off; Garbage Pickup CeasesA city government in Iowa has vanished completely because of unpaid sewer bills. For citizens, that means all government services provided by the city of Mount Union abruptly stopped.

Street lights were turned off permanently, garbage service ended and all city employees laid off in Mount Union, the Associated Press reported. It also means the city council is dissolved and there is no mayor in the town of 98 people.

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“I know we can’t stop this, we tried,” former city clerk Linda Johnson said. “And the only good thing is the (city) council and all the administration will be gone, and we can start to heal our wounds. It wouldn’t be this way if it hadn’t have been for them.”

The cause of Mount Union’s demise was unpaid sewer bills. A decade ago, the city put in a $1.2 million sewer system maintained by an agency called Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS).

The system was supposed to be paid for by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and a loan. The loan was supposed to be paid by sewer bills, but a number of residents in town did not pay their sewer bills.

Initially, that led to rates jumping from $35 a month to $150 a month. Citizens voted last year, by a margin of 32-31, to dissolve the town. In March of this year, a state board approved the proposal to dissolve the town.

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State Snatches Kids Because Parents’ IQs Are Too Low

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State Snatches Kids Because Parents’ IQs Are Too Low

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In a controversial move that is gaining national attention, state social workers in Oregon took a couple’s children away because their IQs are lower than average.

Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler can only see their children in chaperoned visits because the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) thinks they are not smart enough to be parents.

“They are saying they are intellectually incapable without any guidelines to go by,” Sherrene Hagenbach, who formerly worked as a volunteer mediator for DHS and knows the couple, told The Oregonian.

Social workers took their three-year-old son Christopher and a baby named Hunter away earlier this year, The Oregonian reported. DHS cited Ziegler’s IQ of 66 and Fabbrini’s IQ of 72 as a reason for the removal. The average IQ is between 90 and 100.

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No allegations of abuse or neglect have been made. Instead their “limited cognitive abilities that interfere with (their) ability to safely parent the child,” was cited as the reason for the removal.

Fabbrini and Ziegler have done everything social workers have asked. They took classes on parenting, first aid, CPR and nutrition, yet their children are still in a foster home.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for them,” Ziegler said. “They’re saying, ‘Who would parent Christopher better, the foster parents or the parents?’ is basically what they’re going on.”

Said Haenbach, who supports the parents, “They’re saying that this foster care provider is better for the child because she can provide more financially, provide better education, things like that. If we’re going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There’s always somebody better than us, so it’s a very dangerous position to be in.”

Not even a state senator, Republican Tim Knopp, could help. He backs the couple.

“My impression of them is that they were just like any other couple, and they were trying to be successful in life, just like anyone else would be, and they wanted to be together as a family,” Knopp said. “I didn’t see any issues when I met with them that would automatically disqualify them from being good parents.”

Said Ziegler’s aunt, Lara Turner: “I honestly don’t understand why they can’t have their children. I go to the grocery store and I see other people with their children and they’re standing up in the grocery cart … and I think, how come they get to keep their children? How do they decide whose child they’re going to take and whose child can stay?”

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Chinese Spy Ship Spotted Just Off Coast Of Alaska

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Chinese Spy Ship Spotted Just Off Coast Of AlaskaA Chinese spy ship was spotted off the coast of Alaska July 14 after the test of a U.S. antimissile defense system, CNBC reported.

The presence of an “intelligence” or “communications” vessel was confirmed by U.S. Navy Captain Scott Miller, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Military officials aren’t sure what the spy ship was doing, although it was spotted four days after a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in Alaska.

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The ship was 100 miles off the coast but in international waters.

One official told CNN that it was rare for the Chinese to conduct surveillance in the region.

The ship might have been a surveillance ship known as a Tianlangxing, The Diplomat reported. A Tianlangxing passed through the Tsugaru Straight, which links the Sea of Japan and the Pacific, on July 2, The Diplomat reported. Such ships are designed to collect electronic intelligence and track ballistic missiles.

The sighting came just as the U.S., India and Japan were conducting a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean. A Chinese spy ship is reportedly monitoring those exercises, too.

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Mom Changed Kid’s Dentist. She Was Reported To Child Services.

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Mom Changed Kid’s Dentist. She Was Reported To Child Services.

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A mother was reported to a social services agency for neglect because she switched dentists.

When Melissa Lopez sought a second opinion about her daughter’s teeth, she found herself reported for “oral neglect.”

“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd,” the Canadian mom told the CBC. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The trouble began when a dentist told Lopez that her daughter Elianna had nine cavities and required thousands of dollars’ worth of dental work. Not confident in the diagnosis, Lopez decided to seek a second opinion from another dentist. The other dentist found that Elianna required a lot less dental work, so Lopez went there.

Reported by the Dentist

Lopez forgot to notify the first dentist of the change, so that dentist notified the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The Children’s Aid Society is the name for child protective services in Ontario, where Lopez lives.

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The CAS called Lopez in June and told her that she was being investigated for oral neglect. The matter was quickly resolved when Lopez provided the agency with proof of dental work, but there’s now a permanent file on the matter.

“It will always be there, 10, 15, 20 years from now,” Lopez said of the file. “I’m red-flagged, I’ve been marked, and there’s no reason for this to have happened.”

The dentist who reported Lopez was obeying the law. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act requires all healthcare professionals to report suspicions of abuse and neglect to the CAS, said Kevin Marsh, the director of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.

“Health-care professionals and other people who work closely with children have a special responsibility under the act,” Marsh told CBC.

That means little to Lopez, though. She believes she did nothing wrong.

“I would absolutely love it if they would just remove that file for me, because I don’t feel there was any just reason to report me in the first place,” Lopez said.

She never received a letter from the first dentist with a warning.

“As a mother, you pride yourself on how you raise your kids. I have three kids — they’re healthy, they’re happy, they do great in school, they have lots of friends,” Lopez said.

“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd.”

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Beef Burgers Sold With 29 Percent Horsemeat

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Beef Burgers Sold With 29 Percent Horsemeat

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European consumers apparently have been eating horsemeat, labeled as beef in supermarkets, without realizing it.

Spanish police arrested 65 people this month who were allegedly part of a racket that sold horsemeat throughout Europe but labeled it as other types of meat, CNN reported. Spain’s national police, or Civil Guardia, joined Europol in alleging the suspects sold meat from horses “in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’”

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The boss of the horsemeat racket was an unidentified Dutch businessman who was arrested in Belgium, the BBC reported. The racket is believed to be linked to an earlier scandal in which horsemeat was labeled as beef and sold through some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets, including Aldi and Tesco.

British businessman Andronicos Sideras is currently on trial for fraud in London’s Inner Crown Court for his role in the earlier horsemeat scandal, The Guardian reported.

During the earlier investigation, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland discovered that 10 out of 27 hamburger products it examined contained horsemeat. One beef burger in Tesco, a major British grocery, was comprised of as much as 29 percent horsemeat.

The suspects paid low prices for old, crippled or abused horses that were scheduled to be euthanized, Europol charged. They then forged documents and doctored microchips to make the horseflesh look like good meat and resold the horses to slaughterhouses.

“The people concerned in this case would sell meat and they would pretend it was all beef,” prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said, according to The Guardian. “It was not. In fact, it was a mixture of beef and horsemeat. The fraudsters made money by selling a mixture of expensive beef and cheap horsemeat as 100 percent expensive beef.”

Many Europeans eat horsemeat; the largest consumers are in Italy and France.

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‘We’re Flowing Toward The Path Of’ A Hoover-Type Crash, Analyst Says

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‘We're Flowing Toward The Path Of’ A Hoover-Type Crash, Analyst SaysAmerica is experiencing a decline in growth and a stock-market bubble similar to those that occurred right before the Great Depression, a major investment analyst believes.

Mark W. Yusko thinks something like the 1929 stock market crash, which triggered the Great Depression, is imminent.

“I have this belief that we’re flowing toward the path of 1928-29 when Hoover was president,” Yusko, CEO of Morgan Creek Capital, said on CNBC’s Power Lunch.

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Part of Yusko’s prediction rests on a president and a Congress that accomplish little. Yusko made his comments even before GOP leaders announced that the effort to repeal Obamacare likely was dead.

The economic downturn, Yusko believes, will occur this fall.

“Both [Hoover and Trump] were presidents with no experience who come in with a Congress that is all Republican, lots of big promises, lots of things that don’t happen and the fall is when people realize, ‘Wait, it hasn’t played out the way we thought,’” he said.

When Herbert Hoover became president in 1929, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent; when he left it was 23.6 percent. The stock market crashed in October 1929, seven months after Hoover’s inauguration.

Yusko believes the stock market will crash because there simply is not enough economic growth in the U.S. to sustain current stock prices.

“[By the fall], we’ll have a lot more evidence of declining growth. Growth has been slipping,” he said.

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Man In Wheelchair Shot Burglar. DA Considered Prosecuting Him.

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Man In Wheelchair Shoots Burglar. DA Considered Prosecuting Him.

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A district attorney considered prosecuting a disabled man in a wheelchair for shooting a burglar who allegedly tried to steal his prescription medications.

Disturbingly, 69-year-old Harvey Lembo had to wait almost two years to find out if he would face charges for shooting the burglar, Christopher Wildhaber.

“Mr. Lembo is disabled and uses a wheelchair,” District Attorney Johnathan Liberman said in a press release. “His home had been burglarized on several occasions, and he had purchased the firearm in question in response to these burglaries.

“This shooting occurred when Mr. Lembo interrupted a burglary of his home,” Liberman added. “The standard of proof in criminal cases is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and I do not believe that we could meet this burden given these factors.”

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Lembo bought an antique Russian army revolver in 2015 because he was frustrated with break-ins at his Rockland, Maine, home, The Portland Press Herald reported. Less than 24 hours later, Wildhaber broke into Lembo’s apartment and allegedly tried to steal his prescription drugs. That prompted the retired lobster fisherman to put a 7mm slug into Wildhaber’s shoulder.

He claims it was the fifth burglary at his apartment in six years.

“Mr. Lembo never felt he did anything wrong defending himself. He is grateful that District Attorney Liberman came to the same conclusion,” Attorney David Weyrens, who represented Lembo, told the newspaper.

Wildhaber pled guilty to the burglary and received a four-year sentence in 2016, The Press Herald reported. Despite the plea, then-District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau kept the possibility of charges against Lembo open; in May of this year he resigned to accept a district court judge’s seat.

Lembo’s landlord, Stanford Management LLC, tried to evict him for his taxpayer-subsidized apartment because he owned a gun, The Press Herald reported.

Lembo’s case prompted Maine’s state legislature to pass and the governor to sign a law that would prohibit landlords who receive public housing vouchers from kicking out tenants for owning guns.

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North Korean Threat Sparks Rush To Build Bomb Shelters

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North Korea Threat Sparks Rush To Build Bomb Shelters

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The rising tensions generated by North Korea’s missile tests have convinced people around the world that it’s time to restock the bunker. Among the new generation of preppers is Australian businessman Nathan Stewart.

“If North Korea gets the ability to launch a long-range nuclear warhead, we have a place to go, which is why we are rebuilding it,” Stewart told The Australian. “We are going to restore the shelter to its former glory so it is fully operational.”

Stewart is bringing back a bunker on his estate in Australia’s Adelaide Hills. The shelter — the size of a house — features a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms and enough space for 14 people. It was built in the 1970s by the estate’s former owner, deceased businessman Kim Bonython.

North Korea Threatens Australia, Too

Stewart is afraid that Australia’s historic alliance with the United States will lead to a conflict with North Korea. Recent statements are fueling his anxiety.

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“If Australia persists in following the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK [North Korea], and remains a shock brigade of the U.S. master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK,” the North Korean government said earlier this year.

Stewart seems to have little faith in the ability of Australia’s government to protect him from North Korean missiles.

“We are redoing the bunker structure with the latest technology to make sure it is sound and all sealed properly,” Stewart said. “We will ensure it is fully supplied and stocked with years of water and non-perishable goods.”

Stewart is far from alone. U.S. bomb shelter makers have reported a 700 percent increase in sales, The Australian reported. Sales of bomb shelters are also skyrocketing in Japan.

A Japanese shelter builder called Earth Shift is reporting a tenfold increase in sales, Reuters reported.

“It takes time and money to build a shelter,” Nobuko Oribe, the managing director of another shelter company, Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, said. “But all we hear these days, in this tense atmosphere, is that they want one now. They ask us to come right away and give them an estimate.”

Another Japanese builder, Shelter Co., is showing off a one-room bunker designed to withstand a blast of a “Hiroshima class nuclear bomb,” Business Insider reported. The shelter features steel doors and many of the comforts of home, including upholstered chairs and carpeting.

It looks like bomb shelters are all the rage again thanks to Kim Jong-un.

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They’re Now Rationing Toothpaste In Venezuela

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They’re Now Rationing Toothpaste In Venezuela; ‘I Do It Only In The Mornings’

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Many Venezuelans can no longer afford to brush their teeth. A tube of toothpaste in the country now costs the equivalent of half a week’s wages for many workers because of 700 percent inflation.

Factory worker Ana Margarita Rangel is only brushing her teeth once a day because she doesn’t have enough toothpaste. Rangel’s pay has been reduced to the equivalent of $33 a month because of hyperinflation.

Prior to the crisis, she brushed her teeth in the morning and evening.

“Now I have to choose,” Rangel said of cleaning her teeth. “So I do it only in the mornings.”

Toothpaste is just one of many things Rangel is rationing or eliminating because of hyperinflation, The Washington Post reported. Meat, juice, coffee and chocolate are no longer in her family budget.

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“I don’t spend my afternoons cooking anymore, because I don’t have meat to season or vegetables to cut,” Rangel said, “and chocolate! We can’t even afford to buy a little cup of coffee on our way to work. We used to be able to have juice with our meals, I miss it so much.”

Some of the horrors of hyperinflation in Venezuela include:

  • Socialist President Nicolas Maduro raised the nation’s minimum wage by 20 percent to 250,000 strong bolivars a month on July 1. That’s the equivalent of $33 a month, meaning the average Venezuelan earns less than people in Haiti – the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, where the average income is $135 a month.
  • With the new minimum wage, a family can buy five cartons of eggs or six pounds of powdered milk.
  • 82 percent of the people in Venezuela are living below the poverty line. In 2014, 52 percent of Venezuelans were above the poverty line.
  • Security guard Romer Sarabia is feeding his family chicken feed he buys on the black market.
  • Factory worker Rainer Figueroa has stopped playing soccer and lost 24 pounds because he only eats two meals day. Figueroa went on a “diet” so kids would have enough to eat. “I can’t afford to burn calories or wear out my sneakers,” Figueroa said. Figueroa works at a diaper factory that no longer produces diapers because it cannot afford to buy raw materials.

There is one luxury Venezuelans can afford: reality television. Rangel admits she no longer gets together with her friends. Instead, she watches her favorite show from America.

“I love watching the Kardashians, because you see how people that have everything live,” Range said. “And for a moment you forget what your life is like.”

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North Korea Nuclear Missile ‘Likely’ Will Be Able To Reach U.S. Mainland Soon, Expert Warns

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North Korea Nuclear Missile ‘Likely’ Will Be Able To Reach U.S. Mainland Soon, Expert Warns

North Korea has an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Alaska or Hawaii and within a few months could have the capacity to strike the West Coast. That’s the opinion of long-time aerospace engineer John Schilling in a column for 38 North, which is a project of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Schilling’s column was posted after North Korea tested its latest missile July 3. The country said it was ICBM.

“The emerging reality is that the North has an unreliable missile that can reach Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, and would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target,” Schilling wrote before warning: “However, with a year or two of additional testing and development, it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases.”

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In five years, he added, North Korea “may be able to incorporate a modest suite of decoys and penetration aids to challenge US missile defenses.”

“Let’s hope US missile defenses are up to that challenge,” he wrote.

Schilling has more than 20 years of experience — most of that time supporting U.S. civil and military space programs.

The current U.S. anti-missile defense system, Schilling wrote, is unreliable and works only “about half the time.”

“North Korea has to consider that deploying an operational ICBM would motivate the United States to improve its defenses,” he wrote. “They can’t possibly hope to build more ICBMs than the US can build missile defense interceptors. But if they can put a dozen or so effective decoys on each missile—that might be enough to maintain a credible deterrent.”

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Judicial Gun Confiscation Passes In Another State

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Judicial Gun Confiscation Passes In Another State

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A bill that would give judges the power to order gun confiscation without due process has passed Oregon’s legislature and is expected to be signed by the governor.

The state House on July 6 narrowly approved Senate Bill (SB) 719, which would allow judges to issue “extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs)” if a police officer, family member or household member convinced the judge that a gun owner was a risk to himself/herself or others.

All House Republicans, along with three Democrats, opposed the bill. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action also opposed it.

“This ex parte order, which strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights, would be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner,” the organization wrote on its website. “The accused would not be afforded the chance to appear in court to defend themselves against the allegations when the ERPO is issued.”

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Once the order was issued, law enforcement would have the power to order a person to hand over his or her guns. If the guns were not turned over within 24 hours, officers or deputies would have the power to seize the weapons. No examination or even a statement from a doctor or mental health professional would be required. Even law-abiding citizens with no criminal record could be subject to an ERPO.

“These orders may be issued without any allegations of criminal behavior,” the NRA-ILA noted.

Gun owners could get their guns back upon appeal or if the order expires.

Paul Phillips, president of Oregon Gun Owners, said gun confiscations will be “based on hearsay evidence alone.”

“The firearm owner is not privy to a fair trial,” he said, according to Reason.com.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), The Oregonian reported. Boquist thinks the bill would prevent tragedies like his stepson’s suicide.

The fate of SB-179 is now in the hands of Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

Several states now have laws similar to SB-179 on the books. They include California, which also allows judges to strip citizens of Second Amendment rights if mental illness is alleged.

Would you support such a law in your state? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The Sun Is Changing, And That’s Bad News For Earth

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The Sun Is Changing, And That’s Bad News For Earth

An imminent period of low activity on the sun might unleash showers of cosmic rays that can knock out the electric grid, shut down the Internet and disrupt mobile phone and GPS service.

That’s because the sun is nearing a “solar minimum” — a period of low sunspot activity that can have profound effects on Earth, astronomers say. Despite the name, a solar minimum can be dangerous, according to Professor Yvonne Elsworth of the University of Birmingham.

The sun has not had any spots for more than 40 days.

During a solar minimum, Earth’s thermosphere – an outer layer – cools and can collapse. That makes Earth more susceptible to cosmic rays, which are “high energy particles accelerated toward the solar system by distant supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy,” according to NASA. That may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it can have a big impact on Earth, Elsworth and NASA say.

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A “fundamental change in the nature of the [sun’s magnetic] dynamo may be in progress,” Elsworth told The Sun newspaper.

She told The Express, “We are not quite sure what the consequences of this will be but it’s clear that we are in unusual times.”

Astronomers say some of the effects of a solar minimum could be:

  • Interfering with satellites, which can disrupt GPS, Internet, television and phone service.
  • Bringing down power grids.
  • Endangering astronauts.

Solar minimums occur every 11 years and can spark coronal holes in the sun. According to NASA, “Streams of solar wind flowing from coronal holes can cause space weather effects near Earth when they hit Earth’s magnetic field. These effects can include temporary disturbances of the Earth’s magnetosphere, called geomagnetic storms, auroras, and disruptions to communications and navigation systems.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

War Between U.S. & China ‘More Likely Than Not,” Adviser To 5 U.S. Presidents Says

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War Between U.S. & China ‘More Likely Than Not,” Advisor to 5 U.S. Presidents Says

Image source: U.S. Navy

The world is underestimating the risk of a cataclysmic clash between the United States and China. That’s the belief of Graham Allison, a foreign policy expert who advised every presidential administration from Reagan to Obama.

Allison sees disturbing parallels between the present relationship between China and America and situations that have led to catastrophic wars in the past, The Economist reported July 6. He even has a name for it: the “Thucydides Trap.”

The trap occurs when a rising nation like China clashes with an established power such as the United States. A classic example of the trap was World War I, which broke out because Imperial Germany challenged the British Empire.

Thucydides was an ancient Greek historian who chronicled the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. That conflict led to the destruction of both nations.

Destined for War?

“It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Allison wrote in his new book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

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Allison says war between the two nations is “more likely than not.”

“This alarming conclusion is shared by many in Washington, where Mr. Allison’s book is causing a stir,” The Economist reported.

President Trump’s foreign policy team is taking Allison’s warnings very seriously. Politico reported that Allison visited the White House and met with some of Trump’s top advisers but not the president.

Tensions between the U.S. and China are rising. On Monday, China’s military accused the U.S. of a making a “serious political and military provocation” after the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese base on Triton Island in the South China Sea.

The complaint came on the same day that President Trump lashed out at China on Twitter.

“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter,” Trump tweeted. “So much for China working with us — but we had to give it a try!”

Allison is director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Last month, Allison told the CBC that he thinks North Korea can be the catalyst for war between the United States and China.

“I think in that sense it’s dangerous,” Allison said of North Korea. “If you asked me what’s a good way to get to war, that would be a good way.”

“If you end up having a war between the U.S. and China, China can deliver 50 or 60 nuclear weapons against the U.S.” Allison said. “Basically, that’s the end of the country as you would think of it. That’s catastrophic.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

10-Year-Old Shopped Alone At Lego Store. So Police Arrested His Mom.

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A mother was arrested and charged Sunday for letting her 10-year-old son shop alone at a toy store. Jia Fan was charged with child endangerment for leaving her son alone at the Lego Store in the Eastview Mall in Victor, N.Y., AP reported. She went off to shop and came back to be arrested by Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies. Child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor in New York State. Persons charged with it can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, up to three years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000. Free-Range Kids advocate Lenore Skenazy wrote about the incident at Reason.com “Ah yes, that poor, endangered kid, surrounded by small pieces of plastic,” she wrote. But it’s not the first controversial arrest, Skenazy added. In 2015, an 11-year-old boy was arrested for actually shopping at the Lego Store in the Chinook Mall in Calgary, she wrote. The boy’s father, Doug Dunlop, wrote the company: Dear Lego, Today, our son went to the Lego store in Chinook Mall, Calgary, Alberta. He had over $200 and was intending to purchase some Lego with it.... Imagine my surprise when I entered the store and found that the manager had called a security guard to detain my son.... I spoke to the security guard who told me that the Lego store required a parent to be with any child 12 or under. He stated that it was Lego store policy and that he was just enforcing it. I then followed the guard to the manager, and asked him why he would call security on my son. He stated that for safety reasons, no child under 12 could be left unattended in the store.” Doug Dunlop. Readers who commented at Reason were split on the news stories, believing that private stores have the right to limit the age of kids who can be left alone but wondering why police should be involved. “Don't blame LEGO,” one person wrote. “This is almost certainly to protect themselves against liability. Somewhere along the line, there are an attorney's fingerprints on this.” What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

A mother was arrested and charged Sunday for letting her 10-year-old son shop alone at a toy store.

Jia Fan was charged with child endangerment for leaving her son alone at the Lego Store in the Eastview Mall in Victor, N.Y., AP reported. She went off to shop and came back to be arrested by Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies.

Child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor in New York State. Persons charged with it can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, up to three years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000.

Free-Range Kids advocate Lenore Skenazy wrote about the incident at Reason.com.

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“Ah yes, that poor, endangered kid, surrounded by small pieces of plastic,” she wrote.

But it’s not the first controversial arrest, Skenazy added.

In 2015, an 11-year-old boy was arrested for actually shopping at the Lego Store in the Chinook Mall in Calgary, she wrote.

The boy’s father, Doug Dunlop, wrote the company:

Dear Lego,

Today, our son went to the Lego store in Chinook Mall, Calgary, Alberta. He had over $200 and was intending to purchase some Lego with it….

Imagine my surprise when I entered the store and found that the manager had called a security guard to detain my son….

I spoke to the security guard who told me that the Lego store required a parent to be with any child 12 or under. He stated that it was Lego store policy and that he was just enforcing it.

I then followed the guard to the manager, and asked him why he would call security on my son. He stated that for safety reasons, no child under 12 could be left unattended in the store.”

Doug Dunlop.

Readers who commented at Reason were split on the news stories, believing that private stores have the right to limit the age of kids who can be left alone but wondering why police should be involved.

“Don’t blame LEGO,” one person wrote. “This is almost certainly to protect themselves against liability. Somewhere along the line, there are an attorney’s fingerprints on this.”

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Ransomware Slams Hospitals; Surgeries Delayed; Computer Network Destroyed

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Ransomware Hits Hospitals; Surgeries Delayed; Computer Network Destroyed

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A ransomware attack delayed surgeries and shut down laboratories and diagnostic facilities at two hospitals in Pennsylvania last week and also shut down the computer network at a hospital in West Virginia.

“Thank God I was able to get my surgery,” patient Brenda Pisarsky posted to Facebook on June 28.

Pisarsky was in the Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital in Beaver, Pa., for a gallbladder operation when the ransomware hit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Surgeries at the two hospitals operated by Heritage Valley Health were rescheduled and laboratories shut down. At least one patient, Dorothy Tully, was told to come back in five to seven days, Action News 4 reported.

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Computer monitors were turned off and nurses were scurrying around with stacks of paper at the Pennsylvania hospitals. One unidentified patient was in the operating room when his surgery was delayed.

Meanwhile, the Princeton Community Hospital in Bluefield, W.Va, was forced to rebuild its computer network because of the same ransomware, known as Petya.

“As a precaution to prevent any computer re-infection, the hospital will rebuild its computer network from scratch,” hospital marketing director Richard Hypes told The Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Petya apparently infected around 100 computers at the West Virginia facility.

“As a result, a handful of non-emergency early morning procedures were canceled,” Hypes said.

Petya appears to be ransomware, which locks users out of computers and demands $300 worth of bitcoin for access.

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Ransomware Slams Hospitals; Surgeries Delayed; Computer Network Destroyed

Ransomware Hits Hospitals; Surgeries Delayed; Computer Network Destroyed

Image source: Pixabay.com

A ransomware attack delayed surgeries and shut down laboratories and diagnostic facilities at two hospitals in Pennsylvania last week and also shut down the computer network at a hospital in West Virginia.

“Thank God I was able to get my surgery,” patient Brenda Pisarsky posted to Facebook on June 28.

Pisarsky was in the Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital in Beaver, Pa., for a gallbladder operation when the ransomware hit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Surgeries at the two hospitals operated by Heritage Valley Health were rescheduled and laboratories shut down. At least one patient, Dorothy Tully, was told to come back in five to seven days, Action News 4 reported.

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Computer monitors were turned off and nurses were scurrying around with stacks of paper at the Pennsylvania hospitals. One unidentified patient was in the operating room when his surgery was delayed.

Meanwhile, the Princeton Community Hospital in Bluefield, W.Va, was forced to rebuild its computer network because of the same ransomware, known as Petya.

“As a precaution to prevent any computer re-infection, the hospital will rebuild its computer network from scratch,” hospital marketing director Richard Hypes told The Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Petya apparently infected around 100 computers at the West Virginia facility.

“As a result, a handful of non-emergency early morning procedures were canceled,” Hypes said.

Petya appears to be ransomware, which locks users out of computers and demands $300 worth of bitcoin for access.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:  

N. Korea Fires Its First ICBM; Can Reach Alaska; U.S. & S. Korea Respond With Missile Tests; China Warns

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N. Korea Fires Its First ICBM; Can Reach Alaska; U.S. & S. Korea Respond With Missile Tests; China Warns

North Korea test fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Tuesday and claimed it was now able to “strike any place in the world” in what could be a major turning point in the back-and-forth between it and the United States.

Experts in the U.S. conceded that the rogue nation likely had fired its first ICBM but downplayed the missile’s abilities, although they also suspected it could reach the entire state of Alaska, The Washington Post reported. It likely was a two-stage rocket, they said.

“Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.S. and South Korea responded by jointly conducting missile tests into South Korean waters.

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North Korean TV described the missile as “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world,” The Guardian reported. The same report said the missile traveled for 1,741 miles and flew 580 miles high. If true, the missile test would be the longest and highest conducted by the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the test of the Hwasong-14 missile, North Korean TV reported. It was the country’s 11th missile test this year.

The Hwasong-14 might have a maximum range of 4,160 miles, David Wright, the co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a blog post.

“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,” Wright wrote.

Observers think the missile test is designed to coincide with the Fourth of July holiday and the upcoming G20 summit meeting in Hamburg.

“If tension only goes up … then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences would be disastrous,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the United States.

President Trump responded to the launch on Twitter by urging China to act and “end this nonsense once and for all.”

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

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Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

President Trump told reporters this week that he is losing patience with North Korea.

“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed — many years and it’s failed — and frankly that patience is over,” he said during an appearance with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House’s Rose Garden.

Trump cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program and the death of American student Otto Warmbier as reasons for his concern.

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Warmbier was imprisoned for allegedly stealing a North Korean propaganda poster from a hotel and was sent back to the U.S. in a coma. He died in mid-June.

“We are working closely with South Korea and Japan on a range of diplomatic security and economic measures to protect our allies and our citizens from this menace known as North Korea,” Trump said.

But Trump also said “we have many options.”

“The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response,” he said. “The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, or its neighbors, and has no respect for human life, and that’s been proven over and over again.”

What do you think the U.S. should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

President Trump told reporters this week that he is losing patience with North Korea.

“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed — many years and it’s failed — and frankly that patience is over,” he said during an appearance with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House’s Rose Garden.

Trump cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program and the death of American student Otto Warmbier as reasons for his concern.

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Warmbier was imprisoned for allegedly stealing a North Korean propaganda poster from a hotel and was sent back to the U.S. in a coma. He died in mid-June.

“We are working closely with South Korea and Japan on a range of diplomatic security and economic measures to protect our allies and our citizens from this menace known as North Korea,” Trump said.

But Trump also said “we have many options.”

“The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response,” he said. “The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, or its neighbors, and has no respect for human life, and that’s been proven over and over again.”

What do you think the U.S. should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

Trump Warns North Korea: ‘Patience Is Over’

President Trump told reporters this week that he is losing patience with North Korea.

“The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed — many years and it’s failed — and frankly that patience is over,” he said during an appearance with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House’s Rose Garden.

Trump cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program and the death of American student Otto Warmbier as reasons for his concern.

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Warmbier was imprisoned for allegedly stealing a North Korean propaganda poster from a hotel and was sent back to the U.S. in a coma. He died in mid-June.

“We are working closely with South Korea and Japan on a range of diplomatic security and economic measures to protect our allies and our citizens from this menace known as North Korea,” Trump said.

But Trump also said “we have many options.”

“The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response,” he said. “The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, or its neighbors, and has no respect for human life, and that’s been proven over and over again.”

What do you think the U.S. should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Student Handed Out Copies Of The Constitution. She Was Arrested.

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Student Handed Out Copies Of The Constitution. She Was Arrested.

A student was arrested and handcuffed for distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution on a college campus, prompting a federal lawsuit.

A video shows officers handcuffing and arresting Michelle Gregorie for trespassing at Kellogg Community College (KCC) in Battle Creek, Mich. A member of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), Gregoire was handing out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution at the time of the arrest, a lawsuit from the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) alleged.

The college maintains the student was arrested in September 2016 because YAL is not a registered student organization, a KCC press release stated. KCC staff asked the students to register and move their activities to the Student Center. When they refused, they were arrested, which prompted the lawsuit.

“By policy and practice, Kellogg Community College … claims the unchecked right to prohibit students from engaging in practically any constitutionally protected expression anywhere on campus unless they first obtain permission from KCC officials,” the ADF suite states. “When students request permission, the College’s Solicitation Policy … grants KCC officials unbridled discretion to restrict the content and viewpoint of student speech if it does not ‘support the mission of Kellogg Community College (KCC) or the mission of a recognized college entity or activity.’ Thus, students may not speak spontaneously anywhere on campus.”

The college maintains its policy is constitutional.

“This case is not about free speech or viewpoint discrimination,” KCC spokesman Eric Greene said. “We have felt from day one of this unnecessary lawsuit that the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit and that the College’s Solicitation Policy is constitutional and appropriate in its scope.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom charges that the college violated the students’ First Amendment rights.

What do you think? Should colleges be able to restrict this type of speech? Share your thoughts in the section below:

New Law To Gun Owners: Turn In Your Magazines By July 1

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New Law To Gun Owners: Turn In Your Magazines By July 1

California will turn large numbers of gun owners into criminals beginning July 1, when a state law that bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition goes into effect.

So far, though, gun owners aren’t showing any willingness to turn in their magazines, as the law demands.

“We see no compliance from gun owners,” UCLA School of Law Professor Adam Winkler told The Sacramento Bee. “As best as we can tell, no gun owners are giving up their high-capacity magazines or selling them out of state.”

Winkler was speaking of Proposition 63, which was passed by voters in November and bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds. It also restricts ammunition sales to licensed vendors.

Gun owners are required to turn in magazines but will not be compensated for them.

Sheriff Refuses to Enforce Gun Control Law

“We’re not going to be knocking on anybody’s door looking for them,” Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told The Bee. “We’re essentially making law-abiding citizens into criminals with this new law.”

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Persons caught with magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Yet no one knows how many Californians will be in violation of Proposition 63. Estimates indicate that there may be more than 6.5 million gun owners in the state – and hundreds of thousands of such magazines in California.

Proposition 63 would ban common clips for popular semiautomatic rifles, including the AR-15 and AK-47, and the highly popular Ruger 10/22 hunting and target rifle.

Bosenko noted that no one in his county, which includes the city of Redding, has turned a banned magazine into his office.

The law still could be overturned. A civil rights lawsuit filed by the California Rifle & Pistol Association alleges that the law violates several provisions of the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, and Guarantee of Due Process.

“The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death,” C.D. Michel, the attorney who filed the suit, wrote. “Banning magazines over ten rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles.”

Others disagree. Said Ari Freilich, staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “There’s just a lot of data that shows that large-capacity magazines are particularly attractive to mass shooters and to individuals committing crimes against law enforcement. They do not have legitimate self-defense value.”

Do you think high-capacity magazines should be banned? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Uncovered FEMA Report Warns: 4-10 Years WITHOUT ELECTRICITY After Major Solar Storm

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Uncovered FEMA Report Warns: 4-10 Years WITHOUT ELECTRICITY After Major Solar StormJune 28, 2017

A perfect solar storm similar to one that slammed into Earth in 1859 would knock out the United States electric grid for four to 10 years if it hit today, an unpublished report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicates.

The 36-page report was posted this month at GovernmentAttic.org, which uncovers old government documents that often are acquired via Freedom of Information Act requests. The 2010 document was titled, “Mitigation strategies for FEMA command, control, and communications during and after a solar superstorm.”

The storm that hit Earth in 1859 was dubbed the Carrington Event and caught telegraph machines – the most advanced technology of the day – on fire.

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Predicting what would happen if that type of solar crashed into Earth in the 21st century, the document says: “Significant power grid collapses may occur in North America and elsewhere; could require 4-10 years to fully restore.”

But even a smaller storm, like the one that hit Earth in 1921, would “could cause large-scale power grid collapse” if it hit today.

The report predicts that Internet, cable TV and telephone service would shut down. Cell phone service also would quickly be lost.

“Approximately 60% of the cellular towers in the U.S. have battery backup only for 2-24 hours,” the report states. “As these towers lose power, large portions of the cellular network will begin to fail. Urban and populated suburban areas are more likely to have cell towers with generator backup with fuel reserves ranging from 1-7 days, depending on location and equipment owner.”

FEMA never published the report, which is dated December 2010. Off The Grid News reached out to an expert on the grid who has frequent contact with government agencies. This person said the report appeared to be legitimate.

“This paper recreates the 1859 event today using the latest research to explain and understand: 1) The nature and effects of radio blackouts, solar radiation storms, and geomagnetic storms; 2) their potential for cascading effects on global power and telecommunications systems; and, 3) the implications for FEMA …in planning for and responding to such an event,” the report reads.

A Carrington-type event would generate massive amounts of energy that would blow out transformers. It is the replacement of these transformers that is of concern to FEMA and other government agencies. Each transformer is custom-made; there are no backup parts. It is not known how many transformers there are in the U.S., but it likely is in the tens of thousands. Each one takes up to two years to build.

“Loss of key infrastructure for extended periods due to the cascading effects from a space weather event (or other disturbance) could lead to a lack of food, given low inventories and reliance on just-in-time delivery, loss of basic transportation, inability to pump fuel, and loss of refrigeration,” is how a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences described the aftermath of a major solar storm.

What is your reaction? Do you think America is ready for such a crisis? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Innocent Man Spends 90 Days In Jail After Police Mistake Drywall Powder For …

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Innocent Man Spends 90 Days In Jail After Police Mistake Drywall Powder For Cocaine

Image source: Wikimedia

Handyman Karlos Cashe spent three months in jail because police were unable to tell the difference between drywall powder and cocaine.

Cashe was arrested after Oviedo, Fla., police conducted a field test on white powder in his vehicle and determined it was crack.

“I sat there 90 days knowing I was innocent,” Cashe told reporters.

He was unable to make bail because of a 2015 arrest that was for cocaine possession. But he since has gotten his life back on track and has a job.

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“I know for a fact [that] it’s drywall because I’m a handyman,” Cashe said. “I said that continuously during the arrest stop.”

The powder tested positive for cocaine in a field drug test, but charges later were dropped and he was released after a laboratory test determined the substance was not cocaine.

“That little piece of crack was under his seat thing,” an unidentified cop said in bodycam video obtained by WESH 2 television. Police tested the substance after a drug-sniffing dog located it.

Disturbingly, Cashe is far from alone. Last year ProPublica reported that hundreds of people have been jailed due to inaccurate field tests.

“I want them to restore what I lost for those 90 days,” Cashe said.

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New Ransomware Shutting Down Banks, ATMs, Computers Worldwide

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New Ransomware Shutting Down Banks, ATMs, Computers Worldwide

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A new variant of the WannaCry ransomware that may have originated in North Korea was attacking banks and other vital infrastructure around the world Tuesday – and it has yet to stop.

The cyber weapon had hit Russia, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States and was demanding payment in bitcoin before the virus could be removed. In the Ukraine, it knocked out ATMs and supermarket cash registers, in addition to computers at banks, the Kiev airport, and the power grid.

It also had impacted Russian banks, and in the U.S., the pharmaceutical company Merck.

“We are urgently responding to reports of another major ransomware attack on businesses in Europe,” Rob Wainwright, executive director of Europol, wrote on Twitter. Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency.

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Other targets included the world’s largest advertising agency, WPP; international law firm DLA Piper; French construction company St. Gobain; the Russian oil company Rosneft; and the Danish shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk.

Some were calling the new ransomware “Petya.”

The source of Petya was unknown but it is similar to ransomware that disrupted operations at the British National Health Service in May. Experts believe that attack originated in North Korea, the BBC reported.

The malicious code used in May, said cybersecurity researcher Adrian Nish, is identical to code found in earlier cyberweapons that were blamed on the Lazarus Group, which works for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

“It seems to tie back to the same code-base and the same authors,” Nish says. “The code overlaps are significant.”

The Lazarus Group is one of the world’s most active gangs of hackers. Nish thinks it was responsible for the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank in 2016. Lazarus also was blamed for hacking Sony Pictures in 2014 in an attempt to prevent the release of a movie that mocked North Korea.

“It was one of the biggest bank heists of all time in physical space or in cyberspace,” Nish said.

The purpose of the earlier ransomware attack was to extort money from users, Nish said. WannaCry locks users of computers, and then demands $383.67 in bitcoin to regain access. The Petya virus was doing the same thing on Tuesday.

“Just because you roll out a patch doesn’t mean it’ll be put in place quickly,” said Carl Herberger, vice president of security at Radware, told The New York Times. “The more bureaucratic an organization is, the higher chance it won’t have updated its software.”

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‘Second Amendment Does Not Protect’ The ‘Right To Carry Concealed’ — Court Lets Anti-Gun Ruling Stand

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Gun rights advocates suffered a major defeat Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case related to self-defense outside the home.

In opting not to hear Peruta v. California, the Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that allowed local governments to ban concealed and open carry. In the case, a California man named Edward Peruta challenged the San Diego County Sheriff’s decision to deny his concealed-carry permit application. The sheriff’s office said he did not show good cause.

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“The right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” the Ninth Circuit’s majority opinion read. “Therefore, because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the Amendment.”

Seven of the nine Supremes voted not to hear Peruta. Two Justices, Clarence Thomas and new justice Neil Gorsuch, would have heard the case.

“We are disappointed in the Court’s rejection of the appeal in Peruta v. California, which now leaves millions of law-abiding Californians with no ability to bear arms outside the home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “As Justices Thomas and Gorsuch correctly stated, too many courts have been treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right.  That should not be allowed to stand.  … The framers of our Constitution did not intend to limit that right to the home. We look forward to a future Court affirming that the right to keep and bear arms is as much a part of our Constitution as the other enumerated rights that it protects. We will not stop fighting until a future Court affirms this fundamental right.”

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Homeschool Family’s Kids May Be Hauled To Public School By Police

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Homeschool Family’s Kids May Be Hauled To Public School By Police

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The children of the last homeschooling family in Sweden soon may be dragged by police to a government-run school.

Marita and Tomas Sandberg apparently are the last couple homeschooling their kids in Sweden, where such education is banned. They’ve already been fined thousands of dollars.

“The national authorities are pressuring the municipality to consider even stronger options to get the children to school,” Jonas Himmelstrand, the president of the national Swedish homeschool association, said in an interview with the Home School Legal Defense Association. “The municipality has mentioned the use of force, including sending the police to pick up the children and take them to school, as a possibility.

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“It is not clear whether Swedish law would allow for this possibility, but the threat is a stark reminder of the hostility that the Swedish government has towards anyone who would dare homeschool,” he added.

It is likely that every other homeschool family has left the Scandinavian nation of 9.8 million people, Himmelstrand added.

Himmelstrand and his family – who homeschool – are living in exile in Finland’s Aland Islands.

Homeschooling was legal in Sweden until 2010. Since then, most Swedish homeschooling families have fled.

Mike Donnelly, director of global outreach for HSLDA, said Sweden’s actions would violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which “makes it crystal clear … that parents have the prior right to choose the kind of education their children will receive.” Sweden is a party to the treaty.

“This latest threat to freedom has reminded me that Sweden, a country often touted as a model social democracy, is turning into a dystopia for anyone who does not conform to rigid patterns of accepted behavior,” he wrote. “… Early childhood education [in Sweden] is mandatory, and government-funded day care starts for children as early as age 1. It is the rare exception for a mother to stay home with her young children after the age of 2, and there is tremendous social pressure for women to re-enter the workforce as soon as possible after giving birth.”

HSDLA is collecting money to help the Sandbergs.

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She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

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She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

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The best way to raise your kids with old-fashioned American values might be to move to another country.

Mother and writer Wendy DeChambeau discovered that intriguing paradox when she, her husband and two sons moved to the South American nation of Ecuador.

“I moved my kids out of America,” DeChambeau wrote in a feature for The Week. “It was the best parenting decision I’ve ever made.”

Back in 2011, DeChambeau and her family traded their home in small town USA for life in a modest mountain village in Ecuador. Her sons were seven and nine, and she noticed some interesting effects after living in the developing nation for a few years. For one, there is a refreshing lack of materialism in Ecuador.

“Though we live comfortably here in Ecuador, my sons are surrounded by families that work hard and live simply,” DeChambeau wrote. “There is no internet shopping. There are no big box stores stuffed to the brim with the latest useless merchandise. And Christmas in these parts is about church and family, not piles of presents and deepening debt.

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“While they’re still kids with wants and desires, runaway consumerism and material greed has passed right by my boys,” DeChambeau wrote. “When they do want something special, they’re willing to work for it — like when my oldest son baked and sold cupcakes to earn money for that electric piano keyboard he had been eyeing.”

True Adventure in Ecuador

She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

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Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking nation with an average income of just $11,000 a year, according to The CIA World Fact Book. Despite that, DeChambeau loves it there and thinks the country is great for her sons.

“Theme parks and big animal attractions just aren’t a thing here, so my kids have never seen Shamu or visited the fairy tale castles of Disneyland,” DeChambeau reported. “While some might say my children have been denied a crucial childhood experience, I would argue the opposite.

“They’ve never set foot in an adrenaline-inducing water park, but they have snorkeled with sea lions, penguins and sea turtles,” she observed. “They may not have access to larger-than-life, man-made attractions, but they have a world of true adventure at their fingertips.”

The boys also have learned important virtues like patience and hard work.

“Living in a country where instant gratification is a laughable concept, you learn to develop some mad waiting skills,” she wrote. “When my youngest found that his 11th birthday present was going to arrive two weeks late, he took it in stride. ‘That’s okay, mom, we’ll celebrate my birthday when it gets here.’ I know that if this had happened to me, my 11-year-old self would have collapsed into tears.”

When her sons return to the U.S., she said, they’ll “have a leg up.”

“In a world where the up-and-coming generation is castigated for their feelings of entitlement and inability to handle disappointment, my sons have no notions of being owed a thing,” she wrote.

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She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

Image source: Pixabay.com

The best way to raise your kids with old-fashioned American values might be to move to another country.

Mother and writer Wendy DeChambeau discovered that intriguing paradox when she, her husband and two sons moved to the South American nation of Ecuador.

“I moved my kids out of America,” DeChambeau wrote in a feature for The Week. “It was the best parenting decision I’ve ever made.”

Back in 2011, DeChambeau and her family traded their home in small town USA for life in a modest mountain village in Ecuador. Her sons were seven and nine, and she noticed some interesting effects after living in the developing nation for a few years. For one, there is a refreshing lack of materialism in Ecuador.

“Though we live comfortably here in Ecuador, my sons are surrounded by families that work hard and live simply,” DeChambeau wrote. “There is no internet shopping. There are no big box stores stuffed to the brim with the latest useless merchandise. And Christmas in these parts is about church and family, not piles of presents and deepening debt.

Are You Looking For A Second Country? We Found The Best One.

“While they’re still kids with wants and desires, runaway consumerism and material greed has passed right by my boys,” DeChambeau wrote. “When they do want something special, they’re willing to work for it — like when my oldest son baked and sold cupcakes to earn money for that electric piano keyboard he had been eyeing.”

True Adventure in Ecuador

She Moved Her Kids Out Of The US. It Was Her Best Parenting Decision Ever

Image source: Pixabay.com

Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking nation with an average income of just $11,000 a year, according to The CIA World Fact Book. Despite that, DeChambeau loves it there and thinks the country is great for her sons.

“Theme parks and big animal attractions just aren’t a thing here, so my kids have never seen Shamu or visited the fairy tale castles of Disneyland,” DeChambeau reported. “While some might say my children have been denied a crucial childhood experience, I would argue the opposite.

“They’ve never set foot in an adrenaline-inducing water park, but they have snorkeled with sea lions, penguins and sea turtles,” she observed. “They may not have access to larger-than-life, man-made attractions, but they have a world of true adventure at their fingertips.”

The boys also have learned important virtues like patience and hard work.

“Living in a country where instant gratification is a laughable concept, you learn to develop some mad waiting skills,” she wrote. “When my youngest found that his 11th birthday present was going to arrive two weeks late, he took it in stride. ‘That’s okay, mom, we’ll celebrate my birthday when it gets here.’ I know that if this had happened to me, my 11-year-old self would have collapsed into tears.”

When her sons return to the U.S., she said, they’ll “have a leg up.”

“In a world where the up-and-coming generation is castigated for their feelings of entitlement and inability to handle disappointment, my sons have no notions of being owed a thing,” she wrote.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Another Sheriff Urges: ‘If You’re Not Afraid Of A Gun, Get One’

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Another Sheriff Urges: ‘If You’re Not Afraid Of A Gun, Get One’

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A second Florida sheriff is urging citizens to get guns to fight back against terrorists and mass shooters.

“You have to fight and you have to be armed and you have to be prepared,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told WPTV. “You can either stand there, as we’ve seen many times before, and be a victim, or you can fight back.”

“Become proficient, get a concealed firearms license and carry it, and if you need to shoot somebody, shoot them a lot,” Judd said, referencing mass shooters.

“They’re not accustomed to people shooting back,” Judd said.

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“The armed assailant doesn’t plan on you fighting back,” Judd added. “He plans on having a gun, doing all the shooting, and you’re just a sitting duck. Well, the ducks need to shoot back.

“If you’re not afraid of a gun, get one.”

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Judd is the second Florida sheriff to take this stance. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey made a video in which he urged citizens to fight back with firearms or improvised weapons.

A 2009 report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police concluded that teachers who fought back had a better chance of surviving a school shooting.

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Deadly Fugitives Were On The Loose. Until A Homeowner Grabbed His AR-15.

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Deadly Fugitives Were On The Loose. Until A Homeowner Grabbed His AR-15.

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Two of America’s most wanted and dangerous armed fugitives were captured by a homeowner with an AR-15.

Killers and escaped convicts Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell “Whisky” Rowe had stolen two Glocks and murdered Corrections Officers Sergeant Curtis Billue and Sergeant Christopher Monica on a prison bus in Putnam County, Ga. The two then made their getaway by carjacking a Honda Civic – an escape that prompted a nationwide manhunt led by the FBI.

“They’re no different than a tank full of piranhas,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said of the prisoners on the bus. Putnam was disgusted by a surveillance tape in which convicts yelled and cheered as the officers were shot, The Miami Herald reported.

Convicts Terrorize Elderly Couple

Dubose and Rowe disappeared but surfaced near Shelbyville, Tenn., on June 15, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. They took an elderly couple hostage in their own home, and robbed them of a Jeep and a cellphone.

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The robbery turned into a chase when a state trooper arrived to do a welfare check on the couple. The trooper pursued the two but the Jeep crashed; they ran off into the woods near Christiana, Tenn.

They stumbled out of the woods a short time later and into the yard of an unidentified man and tried to steal a car. Fortunately, the homeowner saw them, grabbed his AR-15 and then pointed it at them. He then made the two lay on the ground until sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested them. A neighbor helped hold the convicts at bay. The killers were still carrying the dead officers’ Glocks when they surrendered.

Dubose is a known member of the Ghostface Gangsters, a racist gang, who was serving a 20-year sentence. Rowe was serving life without parole for armed robbery at the time of the breakout. They now face the death penalty for their actions.

The two men who helped capture the escapees will split a $141,000 reward from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, The Miami Herald reported. The GBI in a press release praised the “bravery of Tennessee civilians.”

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Bankrupt: State Doesn’t Have Money For Ambulances, School Buses Or The Lottery; Governor Calls It A ‘Banana Republic’

Bankrupt: State Doesn’t Have Money For Ambulances, School Buses Or The Lottery; Governor Calls It A 'Banana Republic’

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The fifth most populous state in the U.S. is out of money, unable to pay its bills and essentially close to bankruptcy. Things are so bad that Illinois governor Bruce Rauner called the state a “banana republic” and the state comptroller sent state officials a letter warning that bills are going unpaid.

“My Office has very serious concerns that, in the coming weeks, the State of Illinois will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly,” a letter from State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza to other state officials reads.

As the state’s chief financial officer, Mendoza makes decisions each day that affect millions.

“We are effectively hemorrhaging money as the state’s spending obligations have exceeded receipts by an average of over $600 million per month over the past year,” the letter read.

Mendoza was even more direct in an interview with the Associated Press.

“I don’t know what part of ‘We are in massive crisis mode’ the General Assembly and the governor don’t understand,” Mendoza told AP. “This is not a false alarm. The magic tricks run out after a while, and that’s where we’re at.”

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In the coming weeks, Mendoza said, Illinois “will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly.”

Things are so bad that her office “will soon be facing the prospect of deciding which court order or statutory mandate” regarding payments the state can accommodate.”

No Money For School Buses

Within days, the state no longer will have enough money to pay for school buses, domestic violence shelters and some ambulance services.

Illinois is so broke that the state lottery might be unable pay prizes after June 30, Fox News reported. The lottery will stop selling Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

“It is disappointing that the legislature’s inability to pass a budget has led to this development and will result in Illinois lottery players being denied the opportunity to play these popular games,” said Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith.

The state owes $2.8 billion to the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) that run the Medicaid health plans. Advocates for the MCOs have sued the state.

Two top ratings firms — S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Global Ratings and Moody’s — have lowered the status of Illinois’s state bonds to junk, The Chicago Tribune reported.

“We’re like a banana republic,” Rauner said. “We can’t manage our money.”

States are forbidden by law from declaring bankruptcy, although Illinois — if it were a business — likely would have gone that route.

Hopefully, Illinois’s crisis is not America’s future.

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Bankrupt: State Doesn’t Have Money For Ambulances, School Buses Or The Lottery; Governor Calls It A ‘Banana Republic’

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Bankrupt: State Doesn’t Have Money For Ambulances, School Buses Or The Lottery; Governor Calls It A 'Banana Republic’

Image source: Pixabay.com

The fifth most populous state in the U.S. is out of money, unable to pay its bills and essentially close to bankruptcy. Things are so bad that Illinois governor Bruce Rauner called the state a “banana republic” and the state comptroller sent state officials a letter warning that bills are going unpaid.

“My Office has very serious concerns that, in the coming weeks, the State of Illinois will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly,” a letter from State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza to other state officials reads.

As the state’s chief financial officer, Mendoza makes decisions each day that affect millions.

“We are effectively hemorrhaging money as the state’s spending obligations have exceeded receipts by an average of over $600 million per month over the past year,” the letter read.

Mendoza was even more direct in an interview with the Associated Press.

“I don’t know what part of ‘We are in massive crisis mode’ the General Assembly and the governor don’t understand,” Mendoza told AP. “This is not a false alarm. The magic tricks run out after a while, and that’s where we’re at.”

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In the coming weeks, Mendoza said, Illinois “will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly.”

Things are so bad that her office “will soon be facing the prospect of deciding which court order or statutory mandate” regarding payments the state can accommodate.”

No Money For School Buses

Within days, the state no longer will have enough money to pay for school buses, domestic violence shelters and some ambulance services.

Illinois is so broke that the state lottery might be unable pay prizes after June 30, Fox News reported. The lottery will stop selling Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

“It is disappointing that the legislature’s inability to pass a budget has led to this development and will result in Illinois lottery players being denied the opportunity to play these popular games,” said Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith.

The state owes $2.8 billion to the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) that run the Medicaid health plans. Advocates for the MCOs have sued the state.

Two top ratings firms — S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Global Ratings and Moody’s — have lowered the status of Illinois’s state bonds to junk, The Chicago Tribune reported.

“We’re like a banana republic,” Rauner said. “We can’t manage our money.”

States are forbidden by law from declaring bankruptcy, although Illinois — if it were a business — likely would have gone that route.

Hopefully, Illinois’s crisis is not America’s future.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Uh Oh: Yellowstone Super Volcano Has Experienced 464 Earthquakes The Past Week

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Uh Oh: Yellowstone Super Volcano Has Experienced 464 Earthquakes The Past Week

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The Yellowstone super volcano has been hit by 464 earthquakes since June 12, according to the United States Geological Service’s (USGS) Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Some of the quakes were relatively high on the Richter scale. One, on June 15, was 4.5.

“The epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana,” a USGS statement said.

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“[The 4.5] earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12,” the statement continued. “This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger.”

Seismic activity, such as earthquakes, can be a sign of an impending eruption.

The Yellowstone super volcano is actually a vast pool of partially molten rock or magma underneath the national park. Estimates are that it is 14,000 cubic miles in size, or 14 times the size of the Grand Canyon.

Scientists say that if it erupted, it would cover most of the continental United States and much of Canada and Mexico with ash; some places would be a meter deep. An eruption would be larger than the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history — that of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. It darkened skies throughout the world and ruined harvests as far as Europe. Many places in the Northeast experienced snow.

One fear of the super volcano is that it would cause a nationwide or worldwide famine by blacking out the sun and covering fields with ash.

The good news: Yellowstone also experienced similar earthquake swarms in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. Scientists say the likelihood that the volcano will erupt this time is low.

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Tensions Mount: Russian Armed Jet Flies 5 Feet From U.S. Military Plane; Called ‘Provocative’; ‘Nervous Fingers On Many Buttons’

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Tensions Mount: Russian Armed Jet Flies 5 Feet From U.S. Military Plane; Called ‘Provocative’; ‘Nervous Fingers On Many Buttons’

An armed Russian jet flew within five feet of a U.S. Air Force plane Monday over the Baltic Sea, shortly after the Russian Defense Ministry criticized the United States for shooting down a Syrian jet.

The Russian SU-27 jet advanced toward the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon plane “rapidly” and flew within five feet in what military officials told Fox News was a “provocative” and “unsafe” move. The Russian jet also was behaving “erratically.”

Although Russian and U.S. aircraft and ships have had about 35 encounters in the Baltic Sea since June 2 — according to the officials — the latest incident is the most dangerous yet and raises the chances for a deadly accident that could spark an international conflict.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry is threatening to attack American warplanes in Syria after a U.S. plane shot down a Syrian fighter on Sunday, The Washington Post reported. A statement from the ministry labeled the downing a “flagrant violation of international law.”

The ministry also said Russia may shoot down U.S. planes if needed.

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“All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets,” the statement read.

Others in Russia also criticized the U.S.

“Naked aggression and provocation,” Frants Klintsevich, a member of Russia’s parliament, wrote on Facebook. “Being provoked, first and foremost, [is] Russia.”

Klintsevich called it a “new level of danger.”

Russian rhetoric is escalating because a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet fighter shot down a Russian-made Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber. The SU-22 was attacking U.S.-backed rebels, known as the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) when the F-18 fired.

The Russians responded by shutting off a communication channel through which U.S. commanders shared information about air operations with their forces, The Post reported. Russian planes and drones are also carrying out attacks on Syrian rebels and ISIS.

The skies over Syria already were dangerous, with U.S. and Russian aircraft operating in the same areas. The problem is that the Russians and Americans are operating under different commands.

“The only actions that we have taken against pro-regime forces in Syria — and there have been two specific incidents — have been in self-defense,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., told reporters at the National Press Club. “And we’ve communicated that clearly.”

Dunford added, “We work very hard on deconfliction. We’ve spent the last eight months on deconfliction. It’s going to require some military and diplomatic efforts in the next hours to restore deconfliction.”

Not every observer thinks there is danger. Pavel Baev, an expert on the Russian military at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, thinks the Kremlin is bluffing. Yet he, too, believes there is danger.

“It is risky because there are some nervous fingers on many buttons,” Baev said.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

‘Welfare Check’ – Police Now Can Enter Your Home Without Warrant, Judge Rules

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‘Welfare Check’ – Police Now Can Enter Your Home Without Warrant, Judge Rules

A federal judge has ruled that police have the right to enter homes without a warrant as long as they claim to be conducting a “welfare check.”

Lieutenant Joseph Buccilli did not violate the Fourth Amendment when he forced his way into the home of Timothy, LuAnn and Joseph Batt without a warrant in 2012, U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr ruled earlier this year. The case currently is being appealed, and a ruling is expected this fall.

Buccilli was at the home to check on the welfare of Fred Puntoriero, LuAnn’s father, who suffered from dementia.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is representing the family.

“Buccilli and another officer arrived at the Batt home and told Joe they wanted to conduct a welfare check on his grandfather,” the HSLSA reported. “After Joe respectfully refused, explaining that his grandfather had just been seen by a nurse’s aide who reported that all was well, Buccelli forced his way in.”

Geraci concluded in March that Buccilli was immune from the Fourth Amendment because police do not need warrants for welfare checks on at-risk adults, The New York Law Journal reported. Geraci upheld a similar decision made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio of the Western District of New York in July 2016.

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“At issue in this case are so-called welfare checks, which we believe are being used by some officials to circumvent constitutional protection for private citizens to be safe and secure in their homes,” HSLDA contended.

The Batts – who are members of the HSLDA — contend Buccilli violated the Fourth Amendment by entering their home without a search warrant.

‘I Have a Right to Enter the House’

“Numerous opinions in federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court specifically declare that warrantless welfare checks in the home are subject to traditional Fourth Amendment analysis,” according to the HSLDA. “Unless there is a clearly defined emergency, a state official simply cannot enter a home without a court order.”

Buccilli said a search warrant was not needed. The encounter was recorded on video.

“All I know is a county agency called,” Buccilli said. “And based on their request, I have a right to enter the house and forcibly, if need be, when somebody’s welfare is possibly in question. And that’s why I’m here. The allegation was made that they wanted a welfare check.”

Upon entering the home, Buccilli reported that Fred Puntoriero was in a good environment.

HSLDA said the case could have a major effect on privacy.

“The Fourth Amendment right of individuals to remain safe and secure in their own homes is not only a fundamental civil liberty; it complements the right of parents to direct the education of their children from the sanctuary of home,” HSLDA argued. “Although this case deals with an unwarranted and non-emergency welfare check on an elderly person, the same principles apply to welfare checks on younger people.”

What do you think? Should police be able to enter a home without a warrant for a welfare check? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Malware Discovered That Could Take Down U.S. Grid; ‘It Would Be Very Easy’

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Malware Discovered That Could Take Down U.S. Grid; ‘It Would Be Very Easy’

Image source: NASA

The malware that was used to shut down part of Ukraine’s power grid in December is more sophisticated and dangerous than cybersecurity experts previously thought.

Experts who examined the cyber weapon describe it as a malicious toolkit that easily can be turned against the U.S. power grid with a “little tweaking,” Vice reported. Disturbingly, the attackers only used part of the Industroyer/CrashOverride malware in their attack.

“There’s a ton of functionality in this that was never used in Ukraine,” Robert M. Lee of infrastructure security company Dragos said of the weapon. “This suggests it was being prepared for use at multiple sites.”

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Lee believes that Industroyer/CrashOverride can cause blackouts in the United States with only slight changes. He made that conclusion after examining the malicious code used to construct the weapon.

Experts like Lee are concerned because the only purpose of Industroyer/CrashOverride is to sabotage or destroy power systems and industrial equipment. The malware was deliberately designed to shut down or damage the electrical grid.

“There is no function in this malware that you could use for espionage,” Lee told Motherboard. “So there is zero reason to position this anywhere where you weren’t going to attack.”

Cybersecurity experts collected samples of the Industroyer/CrashOverride code after a blackout shut off electricity to tens of thousands of people in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in December. The analysts believe the malware was being tested on Ukraine’s grid in order to to knock out electrical service around the world.

“The way this framework is built, it would be very easy to … replay this against portions of the U.S. grid,” Lee said.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

America ‘Descending Into Chaos’ Similar To 1968, Respected Columnist Says

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America ‘Descending Into Chaos’ Similar To 1968, Respected Columnist Says

America may be moving into a period of political chaos and violence similar to that in the late 1960s. So says New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, who noted some disturbing parallels between the year 1967 and events today.

“The first five months of [this] year have certainly felt like a time of political disorder in the United States, a disorder that some have welcomed as the cost of changing the country’s direction and others have found enervating and frightening,” Podhoretz wrote. “It’s been bad, but not 1968-level bad. But then came Wednesday’s ghastly shooting spree at the congressional Republican baseball practice.”

Podhoretz, who serves as editor of Commentary magazine and was a speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was seven in 1968. He remembers it well.

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“[LBJ]  announcing he wouldn’t run for re-election. Assassinations, first of Dr. King and then of Bobby Kennedy. Urban riots showing neighborhoods burning along with nightly footage of the war in Vietnam. Massive demonstrations against the war, and Columbia, the university in my neighborhood, shut down by a sit-in,” he wrote. “The long, hot summer, concluding with Chicago cops clashing with protesters outside the Democratic National Convention. The year 1968 was characterized by violence at home and violence abroad, and a sense that America itself was on fire.”

Podhoretz believes the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.) and four others by James Hodgkinson – who wanted to kill Republicans – could be a turning point. His column ran under the headline, “It feels like America is descending into chaos.”

“This was a planned act of political slaughter to make what appears to be an ideological point — the first such major event since the assassins’ spree that began with JFK in 1963, reached an apogee in 1968, and came to an end with the nearly successful attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981,” he wrote. “Will this prove to have been a lone event? Or is it the beginning of another long, hot summer my son will remember forever — the herald of a new kind of chaos with a signature frighteningly reminiscent of 1968?

“Even the fact that I can ask this question, and that I’d wager you are not immediately scoffing at it, suggests we may be at the precipice.”

Podhoretz concluded, “We all know the kindling is there. The baseball-field shooter was a consumer of far-left anti-Republican media; it would only take one consumer of media on the other side to seek to equalize the suffering to ignite a national powder keg.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

5 Things You Should Know About The GOP Baseball Shooting

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5 Things You Should Know About The GOP Baseball Shooting

Image source: WSB screen capture.

The growing political violence in America has come to the nation’s capital in the form of a mass shooting that resulted in five people wounded.

The third-highest-ranking House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), was critically injured after a gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, opened fire at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning. Four others were injured.

Here are five things you should know:

1. Hodgkinson was a member of anti-Republican and anti-Trump groups, according to the newspaper in his hometown, The Bellevue News-Democrat. He belonged to multiple anti-GOP Facebook groups, including ones called “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans,” “Donald Trump is not my President, “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump,” “Boycott the Republican Party,” “Expose Republican Fraud” and “Terminate the Republican Party

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2. Hodgkinson was a supporter of U.S. Sen. and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), The New York Times reported. Hodgkinson volunteered for Sanders campaign, according to The Quad-City Times. Sanders on Wednesday said he was “sickened” by the shooter’s actions. “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms,” Sanders said. “Real change can only come about through non-violent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values

3. The shooting could have been much worse if a security detail of U.S. Capitol Police had not intervened. The Capitol Police shot Hodgkinson, who died later. “He was hunting us,” U.S Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Michigan) said of Hodgkinson. Said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), “the field was basically a killing field — it’s really sick and very sad.”

4. Scalise underwent surgery and was in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the hospital. Scalise serves as the Republican whip, which means he helps pass legislation and tallies how many members of his caucus support important bills.

5. Scalise might have been Hodgkinson’s target. “He shot at Steve Scalise, our second baseman,” U.S. Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) told reporters.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Surprise! Gun Sales Are Booming Again (And No One Knows Why)

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Surprise! Gun Sales Are Booming Again (And No One Knows Why)

A surprise increase in the number of Americans preparing to buy guns has some analysts confused.

The number of preliminary background checks for firearm purchases increased by 6.5 percent in May, FBI data indicates.

Background checks are a good predictor of the number of gun sales, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

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The surge in gun sales defies past trends. Historically, weapons sales have increased when a Democrat wins the presidency, and dropped when a Republican is elected. Yet the number of firearms applications started increasing in April and grew again in May, according to FBI statistics.

Why Are Gun Sales Increasing?

Analysts have different theories of why gun sales are up. Some say it is a combination of people on the Left buying guns – out of a fear of the Trump administration – and people on the Right simply enjoying their freedom. Or perhaps it’s in reaction to events within the world and U.S., with terrorism and mass shootings taking place every week. A sheriff in Florida recently encouraged citizens to begin carrying guns. State action also might be to blame. Strict new gun-control laws have been enacted in a number of states, including California.

Why do you think gun sales are increasing? Share your thoughts in the section below:

17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

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17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

Image source: Pixabay.com

So, you have planted your garden and are looking forward to eating all that fresh produce. Did you know that you can make your garden even more productive by planting flowers? That’s right, flowers. Attracting pollinators to your garden can impact how well your plants produce.

Different Categories of Plants

Garden crops fall into four different categories for pollination, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss three.

The first group is self-pollinating, and they don’t need insects or wind for pollination. Beans, peas and tomatoes are in this category.

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The second group needs pollination from an unrelated plant. Radishes and cabbages are the only vegetables in this category, but because we eat the root part of the radish you still can get a good crop without pollination.

The 17 Vegetables

The third and largest group is vegetables requiring cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is accomplished through windblown pollen in beets, carrots, celery, corn, onions, spinach and Swiss chard. But a large list of vegetables usually require pollination by insects. These 17 vegetables are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, muskmelon, mustard, okra, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, rutabaga, squash and watermelon.

Bees are one of the best pollinators, but butterflies and hummingbirds can also help with pollination.

How to Attract Pollinators

So how do you get more bees, butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden? Make it a pollinator-friendly place by implementing some or all the following ideas.

1. Find space in your garden for nectar and pollen-rich plants that will attract bees and butterflies. Mint is great for attracting bees. Mint spreads quite a bit, so you want to have a space where it can grow and fill in without crowding out other plants, or take some steps to contain it, like planting mint in a pot in the ground to help keep the roots from spreading.

17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

Image source: Pixabay.com

Other herbs, such as chives, thyme, marjoram, sage, lavender and Echinacea, also attract bees and butterflies. Planting an herb garden, or planting herbs interspersed with your vegetables, will bring bees and butterflies to the garden. Pineapple sage is another great flower to attract birds, bees and hummingbirds. In warm climates, where pineapple sage grows year-round, it can get to be six feet high. A hedge of pineapple sage is constantly filled with hummingbirds and butterflies when the red, trumpet-shaped flowers are blooming. In colder climates, you can still grow pineapple sage, but it behaves like an annual instead of a perennial so it won’t get as big.

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Bees, of course, also love flowers. Wildflower mixes contain a variety of bright-colored flowers that will attract bees. If you are wanting a more cultivated look in your yard or garden, try some of the following flowers: Cosmos, calendula, bee balm, sunflowers, rose mallow and cornflowers. It doesn’t take much space to plant flowers and herbs that will attract bees and butterflies to your yard or garden. You can plant something as small as a container with a few flowers, or a large field covered with flowers and herbs, or anything in between.

2. Add water. Butterflies and bees all need water. Consider adding a birdbath or installing a water garden or catch basin to provide water. Hummingbird feeders will attract hummingbirds, who also can help with pollination, and you will find that bees and butterflies also use the feeders when the hummingbirds let them.

3. Provide shelter.You can purchase or build man-made bee boxes or homes, or you can allow natural spaces where bees can create nests, such as an old tree, allowing part of your yard to grow wild to provide shelter for ground bees, or leave a decomposing log in a sunny place.

4. Watch the pesticides … and go organic. Pesticides not only kill harmful pests, but they also kill beneficial insects. By using organic methods, you can control pests and diseases by working with nature. Using organic methods also helps protect the pollinators.

Attract more pollinators to your garden this year, and see how much better your garden grows.

How do you attract pollinators to your garden? Share your thoughts in the section below:

‘This Is War’: Sheriff Urges Americans To Buy Guns And Fight Terrorism; ‘Develop Your Survival Strategy’

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‘This Is War’: Sheriff Urges Americans To Buy Guns And Fight Terrorism; ‘Develop Your Survival Strategy’

A popular Florida sheriff is urging citizens to be prepared to fight back against terrorism with their guns and their wits.

“In my book, what’s next is to fully understand that this is war and you better be prepared to wage war to protect you, your family and those around you if attacked,” Wayne Ivey, the sheriff in Brevard County, said in the new video.

“I am firmly convinced that as Americans we can no longer sit back and pray the fight isn’t brought to us,” Ivey said.

Ivey said he came to conclusion after watching the news about terrorist attacks overseas.

“Terrorists and active shooters know that our citizens have been coached to run and hide and then patiently await help. In fact, they count on it so they can strategically target as many citizens as possible.

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“What they don’t count on is being attacked themselves — having to become defensive to save their own lives,” Ivey said

“There is no doubt that as soon as 911 is called, law enforcement is on the way,” Ivey said. “However, until they arrive it’s up to you and those with you to neutralize the threat.”

“If you have a concealed carry permit, then carry your gun with you at all times possible,” Ivey said. “It’s not doing you any good at the house or in the car when the attack happens.”

Get A Taser

“If you don’t have a concealed carry permit or are not someone who is comfortable using a firearm to protect yourself, then please consider some type of intermediate weapon such as a Taser or what we now call environmental arming. Using items in your immediate surrounding area as weapons — items such as a knife, chair or fire extinguisher.”

“As a society and a community we can longer afford to wait for the attack to happen and develop our survival strategy,” Ivey said. “As sheriff I encourage you to protect yourself and develop your survival strategy right now.

“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the perfect line of defense,” Ivey said, “not only for them but for their families when the attack happens.”

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Her further urged viewers not to be naïve.

“For those who think that it can’t or won’t happen here: Trust me when I tell you that it’s already happening all around us and the only thing left to question is when and where it will happen again and how many more innocent lives will be lost,” Ivey said.

“As a society and a community we can longer afford to wait for the attack to happen and develop our survival strategy,” Ivey said. “As sheriff I encourage you to protect yourself and develop your survival strategy right now.”

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has a variety of resources for citizens at its website, including a video on environmental arming.

Do you agree with the sheriff’s message? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea’s Satellites May ALREADY Have EMP Weapon, Expert Warns; ‘We’re Blind And Defenseless’; ‘90 Percent Of Population’ Would Die

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North Korea's Satellites May ALREADY Have EMP Weapon, Expert Warns; ‘We’re Blind And Defenseless’; ‘90 Percent Of Population’ Would Die

It’s possible North Korea already has deployed an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon capable of killing 90 percent of the population, and it’s passing over the United States each day.

That’s what Peter Vincent Pry, the chief of staff for the Congressional EMP Commission, believes. Pry told Off The Grid Radio that North Korea has two satellites circling the globe that the U.S. knows little about.

“The threat we’re most concerned about is a nuclear EMP attack, and North Korea might well be able to do that right now,” Pry said.

An EMP weapon is a low-yield nuclear bomb that generates electromagnetic energy that would fry all electronics – including the power grid.

North Korea’s two satellites are called Kwangmyŏngsŏng (KMS)-3 and KMS-4.

“You almost never hear about this in the press,” Pry told  Off The Grid Radio. “(KMS-3) is still up there, and it passes over the United States in a South-polar trajectory. South-polar trajectories are significant because we don’t have any ballistic missile early-warning radars facing South. We don’t have any interceptors facing South. We’re blind and defenseless.”

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He added that KMS-3 is “at the optimum altitude for putting an EMP field down over all 48 contiguous United States.”

America’s defenses are set up to stop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMS) fired over the North Pole, but not a satellite on a trajectory like KMS-3, Pry said.

“An electromagnetic pulse, a single weapon, detonated at that altitude would fry electronics, black out the electrical grid completely — not just temporarily but possibly forever,” Pry said.

“We, the Congressional EMP Commission, estimate that if we have a blackout that lasts one year — which an EMP attack could do — we would lose 90 percent of our population to starvation, disease and societal collapse,” Pry warned. “We’re an electronic civilization. We can’t survive without electronics.”

“There’s only enough food in the country for 30 days, and it begins to spoil in three days because the emergency generators in the big regional fuel warehouses only have enough fuel for three days,” Pry said. “So, in three days the food supply will start spoiling.”

Nuclear Plants a Concern, Too

Starvation would be just one of the horrors of an EMP apocalypse.

“The nuclear reactors — we’ve got 100 of them — would go Fukushima in seven days,” Pry said.

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Nuclear reactors are cooled by water moved by electric pumps. If the pumps shut down, the reactors overheat and cause steam explosions.

“In effect, it turns all those nuclear reactors and their cooling ponds into dirty bombs that would spread dangerous levels of radioactivity all over the country,” Pry said.

Additionally, in a long-term blackout gas and oil pipelines would explode and trigger massive firestorms that could engulf entire cities.

“We’re not set up for blackouts that last a week,” Pry said. “And we’re talking in a nuclear EMP attack a blackout that would last at least a year. … If you lose 90 percent of your population you’re never coming back. You can’t recover the grid when nine out of 10 people are dead. That’s what North Korea could do.”

Pry also noted that the strength of North Korea’s first nuclear bomb, tested in 2006, was consistent with the explosive force needed for an EMP superweapon. Such a weapon would only weigh around 100 pounds and could fit in a satellite.

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Michigan Legalized Medical Marijuana. Then Detroit Closed 167 Shops.

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Michigan Legalized Medical Marijuana. Then Detroit Closed 167 Shops.

Even though medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, the city of Detroit has shut down 167 cannabis retailers and plans to close 51 more.

Marijuana dispensaries in Detroit are subject to strict government regulation, including being 1,000 feet from schools, parks, libraries, daycare centers, churches, liquor stores and even other dispensaries, Reason reported. To get a license, a marijuana retailer must get zoning permission first.

Only five medical marijuana licenses have been issued in the Motor City, which has a population of 680,250, The Detroit Free Press reported.

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“The voters of the state made medical marijuana legal, so we have to manage that in a way that is consistent with keeping our neighborhoods respected and at the same time, allowing for those dispensaries to operate in their specific areas that we’ve identified as being lawful,” Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell told The Free Press.

There currently are around 70 dispensaries operating with provisional approval in the city. That number must be trimmed, because the city has plans to limit the number of dispensaries.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, when voters passed a ballot initiative authorizing it. Since then, community groups in Detroit have been trying to keep cannabis out of their neighborhoods. There are an estimated 244,125 registered medical marijuana users in Michigan.

The city of Detroit, which went bankrupt in 2013, has a team of seven attorneys that work on nothing but marijuana issues, Hollowell said. One of those lawyers’ main jobs is to try and shut down dispensaries.

“We started out focusing in on the facilities that are in drug-free zones and then to the areas where there are these clusters,” Hollowell said. “We’ve been successful in the closure rate, but there’s more to do.”

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‘Gun Rationing’: State May Limit Rifle & Shotgun Purchase To One-A-Month

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‘Gun Rationing’: State May Limit Rifle & Shotgun Purchase To One-A-Month

Image source: Flickr / Creative Commons

Residents of one western state will be able to purchase only one gun a month if a bill passed by the state’s Senate becomes law.

The California bill, sponsored by State Senator Antony Portantino (D-Pasadena), was labeled “firearms rationing” by the Firearms Policy Coalition.

“A person shall not make an application to purchase more than one firearm within any 30-day period,” SB 497 states.

The bill applies not only to pistols but also to rifles and shotguns.

It specifically exempts law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, licensed firearms dealers, motion picture and television production companies, and licensed collectors.

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Current California law makes it illegal for private citizens to purchase more than one handgun a month. SB 497 extends that restriction to rifles and shotguns.

“This bill would make the 30-day prohibition and the dealer delivery prohibition described above applicable to all types of firearms,” the legislative counsel’s digest of SB 497 states. Dealers who violate SB 497 can be prosecuted as criminals.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 25-13. To become law, it must pass the state Assembly and then be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who vetoed a similar bill in 2016.

“Gun rationing laws set a bad and unconstitutional precedent that government can limit the frequency with which a law-abiding citizen may exercise a constitutionally protected right,” Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in 2014. “If governments can limit law-abiding citizens to one gun a month, they can extend it to one gun a year, one gun a lifetime, or no guns at all.”

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James Madison, Too? Petition Would Ban Founding Father’s Name From High School

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James Madison, Too? Petition Would Ban Founding Father's Name From High School

A Wisconsin high school student has launched a petition to remove the name of the father of the U.S. Constitution from her school – and it’s gaining quite a few signatures.

The name of James Madison Memorial High School must be changed because the Founding Father owned slaves, according to the student.

“Hello, my name is Mya Berry and my school is named after a slave owner,” Mya Berry wrote on Change.org. “James Madison, the 4th president of the United States was an owner of over 100 black slaves. The significance of this name in association with my school has a negative effect on Memorial’s black students.”

Berry’s petition to Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., had received more than 1,500 signatures as of June 5.

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James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because he drafted the first 10 amendments to the document. His work includes the First Amendment, which grants Berry the right of free speech to demand the name change.

Berry blames Madison’s name for what she sees as an unsafe environment of racism at her school, The Capital Times reported.

“The lack of representation I feel in this school makes me feel more than unsafe,” Berry wrote on Change.org “I do not feel supported by the majority of staff at Memorial, especially considering the fact that I’ve gotten called ‘n word’ multiple times, along with having an individual threaten me by telling me they would lynch me.”

“So my thought to leave you with is: with all the injustice I and others face in James Madison Memorial High School, do you truly think it’s appropriate to glorify a man that enslaved my ancestors?” Berry wrote.

James Madison was one of 12 presidents who owned slaves.

There is a growing movement to remove the names and statues of slaveholders from public places. The City of New Orleans removed statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard from public squares in May.

The city of Madison, Wis., also is named for the fourth president.

Do you think Madison’s name should be removed from the high school? Share your thoughts in the section below:

James Madison, Too? Petition Would Ban Founding Father’s Name From High School

James Madison, Too? Petition Would Ban Founding Father's Name From High School

A Wisconsin high school student has launched a petition to remove the name of the father of the U.S. Constitution from her school – and it’s gaining quite a few signatures.

The name of James Madison Memorial High School must be changed because the Founding Father owned slaves, according to the student.

“Hello, my name is Mya Berry and my school is named after a slave owner,” Mya Berry wrote on Change.org. “James Madison, the 4th president of the United States was an owner of over 100 black slaves. The significance of this name in association with my school has a negative effect on Memorial’s black students.”

Berry’s petition to Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., had received more than 1,500 signatures as of June 5.

Turn Drive Time Into Fun-Filled, History Time With Your Kids!

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because he drafted the first 10 amendments to the document. His work includes the First Amendment, which grants Berry the right of free speech to demand the name change.

Berry blames Madison’s name for what she sees as an unsafe environment of racism at her school, The Capital Times reported.

“The lack of representation I feel in this school makes me feel more than unsafe,” Berry wrote on Change.org “I do not feel supported by the majority of staff at Memorial, especially considering the fact that I’ve gotten called ‘n word’ multiple times, along with having an individual threaten me by telling me they would lynch me.”

“So my thought to leave you with is: with all the injustice I and others face in James Madison Memorial High School, do you truly think it’s appropriate to glorify a man that enslaved my ancestors?” Berry wrote.

James Madison was one of 12 presidents who owned slaves.

There is a growing movement to remove the names and statues of slaveholders from public places. The City of New Orleans removed statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard from public squares in May.

The city of Madison, Wis., also is named for the fourth president.

Do you think Madison’s name should be removed from the high school? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis In Slow Motion,’ Expert Says

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North Korea A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis In Slow Motion,’ Expert Says

The United States and China may be destined for war, with North Korea acting as the catalyst, a top national security analyst believes.

Graham Allison, who has advised every secretary of defense since the Reagan administration on nuclear disarmament, told Canada’s McLean’s magazine that the situation in North Korea is “like a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” He also is director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and Science and International Affairs.

“North Korea is either going to have the ability to launch a nuclear weapon against San Francisco or Vancouver or Los Angeles in the next year or so, or somebody’s going to prevent that from happening,” Allison told the magazine. “And that somebody, Trump said, is supposed to be China. As he said to [Chinese president] Xi, if you won’t do it, I will and you won’t like it.”

If China fails to act against North Korea, Allison said, then “it sets things up for blaming China for failing to do something that nobody could do, so it was an unreasonable demand.”

“I think in that sense it’s dangerous,” Allison said. “If you asked me what’s a good way to get to war, that would be a good way.”

Another danger would be the sudden fall of North Korea’s Communist dictatorship.

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“Then there’s the possibility of regime collapse, with Americans and South Koreans coming from the south, Chinese from the north, racing to secure North Korean nuclear weapons or just stabilize the situation,” Allison said.

There may be as many as 150,000 troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) near the North Korean border, Business Insider reported. The last time U.S. forces entered North Korea during the Korean War, it led to fighting between Americans and the PLA.

“If you end up having a war between the U.S. and China, China can deliver 50 or 60 nuclear weapons against the U.S.” Allison said. “Basically that’s the end of the country as you would think of it. That’s catastrophic. Can you have a war short of a nuclear war? You may be able to, but even that … One reason we never had a hot war with the Soviet Union was because both parties were afraid, rightly, there was no way you could have that war without the one that’s losing escalating until both are destroyed. I think if war was ever a good idea for staunching the rising power, by now with China as big and strong as it is, the idea has become less and less credible.”

War between America and China might be inevitable, he said, because the United States is an established superpower and China is a rising power. He studied 16 situations where a rising power challenged a dominant nation and found that in 12 of them, war was the result.

“For a century Americans have believed we’re No. 1 by nature or by constitution,” Allison said. “At the same time, the Chinese also have this sense that China is the center of the universe. It was only this century of humiliation, as they call it, where Westerners came and interfered in our country and then created these conditions — where American allies surround us and American ships patrol our seas — that has to be righted as we recover where we belong.”

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Teen Wanted To Mow Lawns For Cash. Town Demanded $110 Business License.

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Teen Wanted To Mow Lawns For Cash. Town Demanded $110 Business License.

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Teens trying to earn spending money by cutting grass now have to buy a $110 business license in Gardendale, Ala.

“I have never heard of a child cutting grass who had to have a business license,” resident Elton Campbell told ABC 33. Campbell’s granddaughter cuts grass around the neighborhood as a summer job.

Incredibly, teenage entrepreneurs have been threatened with prosecution by city officials and professional lawn-mowing services the news station reported.

“One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors, ‘that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license,’” Campbell said.

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The granddaughter, Alainna Parris, said the city law is counterintuitive.

“He’s coming after a kid when a kid is at least trying to do work,” Parris said. “There’s kids at home on iPads and electronics and not wanting to go outside.”

Campbell is concerned because many teens cannot afford the $110 business license.

“She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her,” Campbell said of Alainna.

The mayor confirmed the laws existence.

“I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass,” Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland told ABC 33. “And see if there’s maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers.”

Do you think teenagers should be required to get a business license to cut grass? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Teen Wanted To Mow Lawns For Cash. Town Demanded $110 Business License.

Teen Wanted To Mow Lawns For Cash. Town Demanded $110 Business License.

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Teens trying to earn spending money by cutting grass now have to buy a $110 business license in Gardendale, Ala.

“I have never heard of a child cutting grass who had to have a business license,” resident Elton Campbell told ABC 33. Campbell’s granddaughter cuts grass around the neighborhood as a summer job.

Incredibly, teenage entrepreneurs have been threatened with prosecution by city officials and professional lawn-mowing services the news station reported.

“One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors, ‘that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license,’” Campbell said.

Turn Drive Time Into Learning Time With Your Kids!

The granddaughter, Alainna Parris, said the city law is counterintuitive.

“He’s coming after a kid when a kid is at least trying to do work,” Parris said. “There’s kids at home on iPads and electronics and not wanting to go outside.”

Campbell is concerned because many teens cannot afford the $110 business license.

“She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her,” Campbell said of Alainna.

The mayor confirmed the laws existence.

“I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass,” Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland told ABC 33. “And see if there’s maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers.”

Do you think teenagers should be required to get a business license to cut grass? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Canada Moves Closer To Banning Raw Milk

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Canada Moves Closer To Banning Raw Milk

Image source: Pixabay.com

Drinking a glass of raw milk from a cow you own might become a criminal act in Ontario – and Canada — because of a court case in that province.

A prosecutor has asked a court for an injunction banning the sale of unpasteurized milk by farmer Michael Schmidt and a co-op, Food Safety News reported. At issue is a cow-sharing program whereby citizens can own cows and then have the raw milk distributed between members.

“The application seeks an injunction order to stop the illegal activities of the involved parties and to ensure the health protection of the community,” an email from the York Region government states.

‘We Don’t Have Cows in Our Backyards’

A group of raw milk supporters protested outside the courthouse in Newmarket, Ontario, when the court heard the application earlier this week.

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Health officials and prosecutors claim Schmidt and others violated a law called the Milk Act by selling and distributing raw milk. Canada already is the only major industrialized nation where raw milk sales are totally banned, Food Safety News reported. An injunction would clarify that the law applies also to cow-sharing.

Raw milk supporters are afraid a court ruling in favor of the government would lead to a precedent that other Canadian provinces would follow.

“The issue is: how do we access the raw milk?” raw milk fan Sibernie James-Bosch told The Era. “We can’t have cows in our backyards in suburbia or Aurora, Bradford, Newmarket, we just can’t, but we want it for our health and there’s a lot of different reasons why people want it as well.”

James-Bosch, Schmidt and others tried to get around Canadian law through cooperatives.

“But the government is preventing the farmers from supplying it,” James-Bosch said.  “So, we decided that we want to have cow shares [in a shareholder arrangement] and this is the crux of the matter that has been going back and forth in court all the time: Are the cow shares legal, are they not legal? But at the bottom of it all is: who decides what we eat and drink?”

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He Sold $190 In Marijuana. So The Gov’t Seized Grandma’s $54,000 House.

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He Sold $190 In Marijuana. So Police Seized Grandma’s $54,000 House.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court struck a major blow against forfeiture last week when justices ruled unanimously that it was illegal for Philadelphia authorities to seize Elizabeth Young’s house because someone in her home – her son — had less than an ounce of marijuana.

“This is one of the most important civil forfeiture decisions issued by a court and the most important ever issued in Pennsylvania,” said attorney Jason Leckerman. “The court has set forth a comprehensive constitutional framework for analyzing forfeiture claims that should substantially curb forfeiture proceedings in Pennsylvania and is likely to influence other state courts considering these issues.”

The court found that the seizure of the grandmother’s house and car because of $190 worth of marijuana was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on excessive fines, Institute for Justice attorney Nick Sabilla wrote in a Forbes article. The marijuana was sold by her adult son, Donald Graham.

Graham was sentenced to just 23 months of house arrest and never fined, but the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office decided to seize his 72-year-old mother’s house and minivan. Young’s attorneys sued, claiming the seizure of the $54,000 home was grossly disproportionate.

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“Civil forfeiture punishes property owners for someone else’s wrongs,” Young’s attorney, Jessica Anthony, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That means individuals can lose their homes because a family member, friend, or even a stranger has been accused of using, storing or selling drugs in their home, even if no one gets convicted for the crime. The loss of one’s home . . . is a harsh punishment.”

Victory for Property Rights

Civil forfeiture takes place in civil court, where the defendant has a lower probability of winning such a case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court may have changed that in Commonwealth v. Young by ruling that courts and prosecutors must follow U.S. Supreme Court precedence. The U.S. Supreme Court had earlier ruled that it “‘would be grossly disproportional to the offense’ to force a man to forfeit $357,144 when he pled guilty to a crime that triggered a maximum $5,000 fine,” Forbes reported.

The case only applies in Pennsylvania, but other courts might borrow from its logic, Sabilla wrote.

“I am glad that this has come to some kind of conclusion,” Young told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I am glad that I will be here to see this thing cleared up. I never did anything wrong and I have been out of my house long enough.”

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He Was Fired Because He Was Homeschooled

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He Was Fired Because He Was HomeschooledAn Alabama man lost his job simply because he was homeschooled.

“Homeschool diplomas are not recognized as legitimate or accredited in the state of Alabama,” and homeschool students “must receive a GED to have a true graduation,” a statement from the unidentified employer obtained by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA) read.

The company fired the man, referred to as just “Jacob,” after a third-party background check revealed he was homeschooled.

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The employer stated that the man “must receive a GED to have a true graduation.”

Fortunately, the man got his job back after HSDLA attorney Dan Beasley contacted the company and told them they had violated Section 16-11.4 of the Code of Alabama, which bans discrimination against homeschooled people and says homeschooling is a legitimate form of education.

“I wanted to send you a message and say thank you for all of your help,” the man’s mother told the HSDLA. “Jacob got a call asking him to come back to his job . . . This is a blessing, and we owe it all to your professionalism and persistence. Thank you again.”

Said HSLDA, “While this story has a happy ending, there are still many homeschool graduates in Alabama and across the country who are being discriminated against. For example, a statute mandating that candidates for jobs as peace officers hold diplomas from accredited or approved high schools means homeschool graduates who wish to serve as peace officers in Alabama must take the GED.”

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The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans To Survive A Nuclear War (While The Rest Of Us Die)

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The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans To Survive A Nuclear War (While The Rest Of Us Die)

Image source: Bing / About Site R

WASHINGTON — America’s leaders have made elaborate preparations to survive a nuclear war while everyone else apparently dies.

The plans go back decades and only cover top government officials, according to a new book.

“In the early 1950s, the government really hoped and believed it would be able to save most Americans,” writer Garrett M. Graff told The Washington Post. But “plans and ambitions gradually shrunk until, realistically, the best they could hope to do is save the senior leadership.”

Graff describes the elaborate plan in the book “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.”

Graff discovered that the federal government maintains several huge secret underground fortresses where officials, officers and politicians — but not average citizens — would survive nuclear war in relative luxury. One of them, Raven Rock near the Pennsylvania/Maryland state line, contains several freestanding multi-story buildings with 900,000 square feet of office space.

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Raven Rock is where government leaders and top brass from the Pentagon would flee in the case of an attack on Washington D.C., Graff revealed. Former Vice President Dick Cheney hid there briefly after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Declaration of Independence Would Be Stored, Too

Another underground complex, Mount Weather in Virginia, once was where the Supreme Court, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and paintings from the National Gallery of Art would be kept safe. That still might be the case, The Post reported.

The exact details of the bunkers and evacuation plans are unknown because they are classified. Graff was able to learn some details of the plans by sifting through declassified documents.

Graff became interested in the federal government’s survival plans when a coworker found a misplaced government ID and gave it to Graff.

“The back of the ID had these evacuation instructions on it,” Graff told The Post. “And so I got on Google Maps and followed the instructions and they led to a road that very clearly went into the side of a mountain, and you can see on the Google satellite view big concrete bunker doors.”

Some tidbits about those plans include:

  • The government has a number of custom-built 747s that are “fully staffed with battle planners and war planners and meteorologists and anything else you might need to run a nuclear war,” Graff said.
  • The flying war rooms are protected from electromagnetic pulse attacks with a fine wire mess. They can communicate with nuclear submarines via a five-mile-long wire.
  • The federal government’s last major effort to help citizens survive nuclear war in the 1960s involved the distribution of 150 million pounds of wheat crackers and biscuits to fallout shelters across the country.

Uncle Sam, it seems, is a prepper.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans To Survive A Nuclear War (While The Rest Of Us Die)

The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans To Survive A Nuclear War (While The Rest Of Us Die)

Image source: Bing / About Site R

WASHINGTON — America’s leaders have made elaborate preparations to survive a nuclear war while everyone else apparently dies.

The plans go back decades and only cover top government officials, according to a new book.

“In the early 1950s, the government really hoped and believed it would be able to save most Americans,” writer Garrett M. Graff told The Washington Post. But “plans and ambitions gradually shrunk until, realistically, the best they could hope to do is save the senior leadership.”

Graff describes the elaborate plan in the book “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.”

Graff discovered that the federal government maintains several huge secret underground fortresses where officials, officers and politicians — but not average citizens — would survive nuclear war in relative luxury. One of them, Raven Rock near the Pennsylvania/Maryland state line, contains several freestanding multi-story buildings with 900,000 square feet of office space.

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Raven Rock is where government leaders and top brass from the Pentagon would flee in the case of an attack on Washington D.C., Graff revealed. Former Vice President Dick Cheney hid there briefly after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Declaration of Independence Would Be Stored, Too

Another underground complex, Mount Weather in Virginia, once was where the Supreme Court, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and paintings from the National Gallery of Art would be kept safe. That still might be the case, The Post reported.

The exact details of the bunkers and evacuation plans are unknown because they are classified. Graff was able to learn some details of the plans by sifting through declassified documents.

Graff became interested in the federal government’s survival plans when a coworker found a misplaced government ID and gave it to Graff.

“The back of the ID had these evacuation instructions on it,” Graff told The Post. “And so I got on Google Maps and followed the instructions and they led to a road that very clearly went into the side of a mountain, and you can see on the Google satellite view big concrete bunker doors.”

Some tidbits about those plans include:

  • The government has a number of custom-built 747s that are “fully staffed with battle planners and war planners and meteorologists and anything else you might need to run a nuclear war,” Graff said.
  • The flying war rooms are protected from electromagnetic pulse attacks with a fine wire mess. They can communicate with nuclear submarines via a five-mile-long wire.
  • The federal government’s last major effort to help citizens survive nuclear war in the 1960s involved the distribution of 150 million pounds of wheat crackers and biscuits to fallout shelters across the country.

Uncle Sam, it seems, is a prepper.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea Tests 9th Missile Of Year; Pledges ‘Gift Package’ To U.S.; Mattis Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ War

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North Korea Tests 9th Missile Of Year; Pledges ‘Gift Package’ To U.S.; Mattis Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ War

A war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” Defense Secretary and retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis told CBS, as the reclusive country tested yet another missile.

“A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” Mattis told host John Dickerson on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.”

Still, Mattis regards North Korea as a menace to America. Mattis called North Korea a threat to its neighbors, including close U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.

“It is a direct threat to the United States,” Mattis said of North Korea. “They have been very clear in their rhetoric — we don’t have to wait until they have an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon on it to say that now it’s manifested completely.”

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Mattis continued, “This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia, as well. But the bottom line is it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat if we’re not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means.”

North Koreans on Monday tested its ninth missile of the year. The SCUD or R-11, is a short-range ballistic missile developed in Russia during the Cold War. North Korea has around four variations of the SCUD.

The country’s official news service, KCNA, reported that after the test, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said the missile tests would continue, with the goal of destroying the U.S.

“He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger ‘gift package’ to the Yankees,” the KCNA story said.

The missile tested Monday traveled for around 280 miles before falling into the ocean.

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

History Teacher Brings Civil War Replica Rifle To Class. It Ended With A Lockdown

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History Teacher Brings Civil War Replica Rifle To Class. It Ended With A Lockdown

Anti-gun hysteria found its way to East Manatee, Fla., on Thursday when a school was locked down because a history teacher brought a replica of a Civil War rifle — that does not work — to class.

Braden River Elementary School and Middle School locked down after somebody saw the teacher with a replica of a flintlock rifle and called 911, EAGNews reported. The gun cannot shoot and has a musket.

“All clear Braden River Middle School,” the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office tweeted after the incident. “Turned out to be a teacher with antique rifle for class. Kudos to public for see something say something.”

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Middle school principal Randy Petrilla said the incident was a misunderstanding.

“A teacher at our school brought in a Civil War era rifle for a demonstration in their class,” Petrilla told the Bradenton Herald newspaper. “This teacher had previously notified the school [resource officer] that he would be bringing the rifle to school. As he was bringing the rifle into the school this morning, someone saw him and reported it to law enforcement.”

Petrilla continued, “Law enforcement responded immediately and began searching the school and during that process it was established that the alleged threat was actually related to the teacher with the rifle.”

Parents were split on the incident. Some said that common sense was needed, while others said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“In 1966 the Cadet Training Rifle was big,” Bill Gage wrote on Facebook. “Bolt action with wooden bullet. We’d bring our realistic looking wooden M1 to school and play ‘war’ at recess. Times have changed.”

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U.S. Confronts China: Warship Sails 14 Miles From Chinese Base; China Issues Warning

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U.S. Confronts China: Warship Sails 14 Miles From Chinese Base; China Issues Warning

Image source: Wikimedia

A powerful U.S. warship sailed this week within 12 nautical miles (14 miles) of a Chinese military base on a contested island in the South China Sea, leading Chinese ships to warn it to leave the area.

“This behavior by the United States military is a show of force to promote the militarization in the region, and would very easily lead to accidents on the sea and in the air,” Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), told the media.

The Chinese are upset because the U.S. ship, the USS Dewey, was close to their base on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, The New York Times reported. Both China and the Philippines — a key US ally — claim the Spratly chain, although the PLA has been building bases there in defiance of international law.

Are the U.S. and China on Collison Course?

The Dewey is an Arleigh Burke class-guided missile destroyer that carries Harpoon airship missiles, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, five-inch guns and torpedoes. The Chinese have built runways and stationed troops on the artificial island.

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During last year’s presidential campaign, President Trump was critical of the installation on Mischief Reef, even calling it a “military fortress.”

During Wednesday’s operation, the Dewey stayed in international waters and conducted a man overboard drill. The operation apparently was held to keep the Chinese from taking control of sea lanes in the area.

“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Major Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told The Times. “We have a comprehensive freedom of navigation operations program that seeks to challenge excessive maritime claims in order to preserve the rights, freedoms and uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all nations under international law.”

Should the U.S. challenge China’s claims to the South China Sea? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Top General Warns: ‘Inevitable’ That North Korea Will Be Able To Nuke U.S.

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Top General Warns: ‘Inevitable’ That North Korea Will Be Able To Nuke U.S.

One of America’s top generals says he has no doubts that North Korea will develop the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon if not stopped.

“If left on its current trajectory, the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told the U.S. Senate’s Armed Service Committee this week.

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Stewart’s statement was based on a new intelligence assessment, CNN reported.

“While nearly impossible to predict when this capability will be operational, the North Korean regime is committed and is on a pathway where this capability is inevitable,” Stewart said.

It is only a matter of time, Stewart believes, before North Korea develops a working intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“They understand the physics, so it’s just a matter of design,” Stewart said.

An ICBM is a rocket that exits the Earth’s atmosphere and comes down at another point on the globe.

“They’ve certainly demonstrated a range of missiles, a range of fuel types, a range of boosters,” Stewart said.

The North Koreans were able to fire a medium-range missile and have it reenter the atmosphere without burning up earlier this month, U.S. intelligence analysts believe. That missile could hit Guam, a U.S. territory.

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How Snoopers Can Photograph The Inside Of Your Home … With Your Own Wi-Fi

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How Snoopers Can Photograph The Inside Of Your Home … With Your Own Wi-Fi

Image source: Pixabay.com

It is now possible to take 3D pictures of the inside of a room or building — from the outside — with Wi-Fi.

The technology, described in the journal Physical Review Letters, is still in the development stage, although its impact on privacy is frightening.

“You could probably use a drone to map out the inside of an entire building in 20 to 30 seconds,” Philipp Holl, an undergraduate at the Technical University of Munich, told Business Insider.

Holl is one of the inventors of the new kind of holography that can turn Wi-Fi into a surveillance tool.

Discover How To Become Invisible In Today’s Surveillance State!

“It can basically scan a room with someone’s Wi-Fi transmission,” Holl said.

How it Works

Wi-Fi devices that can take pictures through walls have been around for years but the image quality was terrible, Business Insider noted. Holl and his academic supervisor, Friedemann Reinhard, discovered how to take higher-resolution pictures through walls using Wi-Fi.

“Our method gives you much better images, since we record much more signal,” Holl said. “We scan the whole plane of a room.”

They use two antennas. One antenna stays in a fixed position to capture the background while the other is moved to get a complete picture.

The data captured is simultaneously fed into a computer, where software sorts out the differences and creates a real-time picture. The software can create many two-dimensional (2D) images that are combined to create a three-dimensional (3D) picture or hologram.

“These antennas don’t need to be big,” Holl said. “They can be very small, like the ones in a smartphone.”

Some uses of the technology could be beneficial, such as finding people in an earthquake rubble. But other uses – such as by spy agencies or police – will be more controversial.

It looks as if those of us who want privacy had better go back to connecting to our devices the old-fashioned way — with cables.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The World’s ‘Apocalypse Seed Vault’ Is Flooding; Permafrost Thawing; 1 Million Seeds Stored There

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The World’s ‘Apocalypse Seed Vault’ Is Flooding; Permafrost Thawing; 1 Million Seeds Stored There

Image source: CropTrust.org

The world’s backup supply of seeds for essential food crops such as wheat, beans and rice might be in danger.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Norway’s Spitsbergen Island is – for the first time – being threatened by flooding.

Water from melting ice and permafrost is gushing into the vault’s entrance tunnel, The Guardian reported. The vault was placed in an abandoned coal mine on an island north of Norway and expected to survive for centuries without human assistance. It was not designed to survive soaring temperatures in the Arctic.

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“It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” Hege Njaa Aschim, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, told The Guardian. “A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in.”

The vault was constructed to ensure the world’s food supply in case of global catastrophes such as nuclear wars or a worldwide famine. It was placed on Spitsbergen, one of the remotest places on Earth, for that reason.

Nearly a million packets of seeds for major food crops are stored in the vault.

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Kim Jong Un Orders Nuclear-Capable Missile ‘Rapidly Mass-Produced’

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Kim Jong Un Orders Nuclear-Capable Missile ‘Rapidly Mass-Produced’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the mass production of a new medium-range ballistic missile following another apparent successful test over the weekend.

The Pukguksong-2 is capable of hitting major Japanese, Chinese and South Korean cities, as well as U.S. military bases in Japan, the Associated Press reported.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un approved deployment and manufacturing of the missile after watching a test of it over the week, a state news agency reported. The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed the Pukguksong-2 is adaptable under various battlefield conditions.

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The missile is solid fueled, which means it can be based on a submarine.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he [Kim] approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA reported. “Now that its tactical and technical data met the requirements of the Party, this type of missile should be rapidly mass-produced in a serial way … he said.”

North Korean media say that the Pukguksong-2 can carry nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported. It isn’t known how many nuclear weapons North Korea has, but estimates range from 10 to 20.

“Many more [North Korean] weapons capable of striking the U.S. will be launched,” an editorial in the Sunday edition of the North Korean Minju Joson newspaper stated. “This is the [nation’s] answer to the Trump administration.’”

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This Crazy State Literally Bans Certain Types Of Prepping

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This Crazy State Literally Bans Certain Types Of Prepping

Image source: Ready.gov

 

It is illegal for emergency management officials to prepare for a North Korean nuclear attack in Washington state.

Incredibly, a Cold War-era law prevents any sort of emergency evacuation planning for a nuclear attack – even though the state is on the West coast and could be among the first states hit from the reclusive country. KING-5 TV in Seattle first reported of the nutty law.

“State law does not allow any advanced planning,” Karina Shagren of the Washington state Emergency Management Division told KING-5.

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That means the division cannot plan evacuations or relocations in case of a North Korean attack.

The law, passed in 1983, reads, “The comprehensive, all-hazard emergency plan authorized under this subsection may not include preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of nuclear attack.”

Retired army general and former presidential advisor Barry McCaffrey called the law “goofy.”

“Certainly it’s a goofy thing to not tell people to think about a major real threat,” McCaffrey told the TV station. “What we’re trying to achieve is deterrence, which means ballistic missile defense.”

The law was written and passed in 1983 when many people thought a Soviet nuclear attack would be so devastating that evacuation and relocation would be pointless. The author of the law was former Democratic state legislator Don Nelson.

“I haven’t abandoned my basic belief that we need to find peaceful ways of dealing with the nuclear threat,” Nelson told KING-5. “But I also believe we have a crazy dictator who could do anything.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Mayor: Anything Not Permitted Under Law Is Now Banned (And That Includes Gardens)

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Mayor: Anything Not Permitted Under Law Is Now Banned (And That Includes Gardens)

Columbiana, Ohio, is the latest city to debate the legality of gardens, even if the two sides can’t agree on what is up for discussion.

Resident Tony Dolan claims that the right to garden on a homeowner’s property is at stake. The Columbiana city council at one point considered a proposal that would have restricted gardens to back yards, although that language was struck.

“It has been frighteningly apparent that we in this city have given our freedoms up in ways that we never really saw coming,” Dolan wrote at the Columbiana for/against Chickens Facebook page.

Mayor Bryan Blakeman claims the gardening ordinance is being considered because, technically, gardening currently is banned.

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“Right now, if there is not something expressly in this code that says that you can have one, you technically can’t,” Blakeman told the Salem News.

The newspaper likewise reported that “if something is not permitted it is prohibited.”

But at least one councilmember is siding with the gardeners.

“People have been growing gardens for as long as I can remember in Columbiana, and have never had a problem,” Councilman Dick McBane said.

McBane also expressed concern about the argument that if something isn’t permitted, it’s prohibited, the newspaper reported.

“I think we are over-using this and using it as a convenient way to try to stop something,” he said.

The city’s planning commission considered banning front-yard gardening because it attracts wildlife – something that could create traffic problems on roads, commission member Tucker Cope Jr. told the newspaper.

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Vegetable gardening is not the only activity facing restrictions in Columbiana; the city council is considering an ordinance that would make roosters illegal.

“City Council is only considering allowing chickens, hens only and no roosters,” McBane wrote at the Columbiana for/against Chickens Facebook page.

Columbiana, located south of Youngstown, is but the latest city where front-yard vegetable gardens have generated controversy. The Miami Shores, Fla., council banned such gardens, and a court upheld the law.

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City Forces Homeowner To Rip Up His Own Yard And Pay For $8,500 Sidewalk

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City Forces Homeowner To Rip Up His Own Yard And Pay For $8,500 Sidewalk

Image source: Pixabay.com

Homeowners apparently will be forced to pay the city to rip up their front yards and install sidewalks under a proposal in Grand Forks, N.D.

“Sidewalks aren’t protestable,” City Council President Dana Sande told The Grand Forks Herald. “So once the city determines that the sidewalks should go into your neighborhood, you have one of three options: you can either put the sidewalk in yourself, you can hire a contractor to put it in, or you can have the city hire a contractor to put them in and be special assessed the fee. There are no other options.”

The council is requiring all homeowners to put in sidewalks in a plan to make Grand Forks “more connected,” The Herald reported. The sidewalk requirement has been on the books for many years but a previous council granted some homeowners a 10-year exemption. The present council has decided not to honor that provision.

“They’re just automatically going to do it and automatically put it on our specials and we’re just going to have to pay for it, so we don’t have a say,” homeowner Jared Johnson told WDAZ-TV.

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Johnson estimates the sidewalk he does not want would cost $8,500. That would add about $100 a month to his property tax bill.

No Choice: Put in Sidewalk or Else

Residents have no choice.

“They were granted a 10-year extension, so other neighborhoods could come and ask the same thing,” Sande said. “I would doubt the city would have much appetite for offering extensions for sidewalks, though, because, again, sidewalks are about community.”

That means property owners like Johnson will see a higher tax bill and lose part of their property. Around half of Johnson’s neighbors have signed a petition against sidewalks.

“It’ll be a foot off of our property marker up on the corner, then it’ll cut across here in the driveway which will take away a lot of our driveway space, unfortunately,” Johnson said.

What do you think? Should homeowners be forced to pay for sidewalks on their own property? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Can Concealed Carry Be Banned? Supreme Court May Decide

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Can Concealed Carry Be Banned? Supreme Court May Decide

Image source: Pixabay.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court may decide in its next term if citizens have a constitutional right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.

Earlier this month, the court “relisted” the case, Peruta v. California, meaning the justices are still considering it

“I suspect they’re going to grant it,” John Eastman, director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and the former law dean at Chapman University, told Fox News.

The lawsuit was filed by a California man, Edward Peruta, who challenged San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore’s denial of concealed carry permits to applicants who did not show “good cause.” Gore does not consider self-defense to be good cause for a concealed carry permit.

The Self-Defense Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

Peruta’s attorneys want the justices to overturn a U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Second Amendment does not grant the right to carry a gun outside the home, Off The Grid News previously reported. The Ninth Circuit ruled against Peruta in a 7-4 decision in June 2016.

“The right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” the Ninth Circuit’s majority opinion read. “Therefore, because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the Amendment.”

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement challenged that ruling in January 2017, The Union Tribune reported. Second Amendment activists and gun control advocates are watching the case closely, not only because of the issue but because it could be the first major firearms decision heard by new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Although Gorsuch has been a federal judge for years, he’s never ruled on a Second Amendment case.

Peruta could be the most important gun-rights case since the 2008 Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment grants Americans the rights to keep guns in their homes, UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler told The Los Angeles Times. Heller overturned the District of Columbia’s ban on private ownership of handguns.

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