In the News

News and Headlines. 3/8/2019

News and Headlines. In The News, Politics, Tech Watch, Military Housing In Shambles/Families Getting Sick, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Flu season has peaked, but nasty strain is on rise: report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that widespread prevalence of the flu is decreasing from being prominent in 48 states, as compared to 49 last week.

However, over the last two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to the Type A H3N2 strain, which poses a more significant risk to the elderly.

About 60 percent of the flu virus samples tested last week were of the troublesome strain. Earlier this year, the prominence of H3N2 led World Health Organization officials to postpone the decision about which strains should go into this year’s flu vaccine.

The 2019 vaccine, as it turns out, is more effective against a different strain, the H1N1.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is resigning

A former U.S. House Republican member from New Mexico and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Wilson has headed the Air Force since May 2017, making her President Donald Trump’s first Senate-confirmed service secretary.

She had been an early skeptic of Trump’s interest in creating a Space Force as an independent military department, but she publicly embraced the administration’s proposal to Congress last month that would establish a Space Force as a separate service within the Department of the Air Force.

Chelsea Manning jailed for refusing to testify on Wikileaks

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”

Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.

The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.

Prison authorities say they are investigating ‘pharma bro’ Shkreli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said on Friday it was investigating former drug company executive Martin Shkreli’s conduct in prison after the Wall Street Journal reported he was still helping run his old company using a contraband cellphone.

“When there are allegations of misconduct, they are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action is taken if such allegations are proven true,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. “This allegation is currently under investigation.”

Maryland top court upholds ‘Serial’ murder conviction

Adnan Syed
FILE PHOTO: Convicted murderer Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

(Reuters) – Maryland’s highest court on Friday reinstated the 1999 murder conviction of a Baltimore man who became the subject of national attention when the popular “Serial” podcast spotlighted new evidence in his case.

In a 4-3 vote, the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed that Gutierrez had failed to investigate the alibi witness thoroughly. Even so, it decided that the rest of the evidence weighed heavily enough against Syed that the alibi witness would not have swayed the jury to find him innocent.

R. Kelly’s ex-lawyer says he was ‘guilty as hell’ when he defended him years ago

 R. Kelly
Handout/ Getty Images R. Kelly mugshot photo after being arrested for unpaid child support, March 6, 2019.

Ed Genson, a famous Chicago defense attorney who says he’s dying of cancer, might be in trouble for violating legal ethics rules, which say attorney-client privilege is sacrosanct and permanent unless the client lifts it.

Meanwhile, Genson’s comments sent shock waves through the Cook County legal community for seemingly betraying his former client, who now faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four women, including three who were allegedly underage at the time.

Ex-NY Official Convicted in Multimillion-Dollar Bribe Case: Prosecutors

Edward Mangano, Nassau County Executive, and his wife Linda,
FILE PHOTO: Edward Mangano, Nassau County Executive, and his wife Linda, both facing federal corruption charges, leave arraignment hearings outside federal court in Central Islip, New York, U.S., October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A federal court jury in Central Islip, New York, found former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano guilty of bribery, honest services fraud, obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

Mangano, a Republican, was the top elected official in Nassau County, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. His term ended in 2017 and he did not seek re-election.

Mangano’s wife, Linda Mangano, was also convicted of related charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents.

‘Airwolf’ star Jan-Michael Vincent dead: report

Jan-Michael Vincent,
Jan-Michael Vincent, the ‘80s star best known for his role on TV’s hit series “Airwolf,” has died.Actor Jan-Michael Vincent photographed in 1978, the year he starred in John Milius’s surfing epic Big Wednesday. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

Before Vincent’s rise to stardom, he appeared in 1978’s “Hooper” alongside Burt Reynolds, followed by “Hard Country” opposite Kim Basinger in 1981.

He steadily worked in Hollywood for three decades and appeared in numerous hit TV shows, including “Lassie,” “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke,” among others.

“Airwolf,” which aired from 1984 until 1986, told the tale of renegade pilot Stringfellow Hawke, who goes on missions with an advanced battle helicopter as part of a deal with an intelligence agency to look for his missing brother.

NYPD police officer convicted of running drug-trafficking organization with boyfriend out of her apartment

Yessenia Jiminez,
Yessenia Jiminez, a former officer with the NYPD, was convicted on drug trafficking charges after it was revealed she was running a heroin trafficking operation out of her Bronx apartment (Facebook)

Yessenia Jiminez, 32, along with her boyfriend, Luis Soto, were arrested after being met by DEA agents after returning home from a trip to Massachusetts to meet a heroin trafficker in March 2018. At the time, Jiminez was holding a purse with her NYPD-issue Glock 9-mm. hanging out, and $25,000 in cash.

She claimed to be “on the job” at the time — but that argument didn’t fly with a jury. She was convicted after a one-week trial in a Manhattan federal court.

“Simply put, Jimenez was a drug dealer in a cop’s uniform,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, according to the New York Daily News.

Politics/ President Trump/ Deep State/Collusion:

House votes in favor of illegal immigrant voting

The vote marks a stunning reversal from just six months ago, when the chamber — then under GOP control — voted to decry illegal immigrant voting.

“We are prepared to open up the political process and let all of the people come in,” Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement, told colleagues as he led opposition to the GOP measure.

The 228-197 vote came as part of a broader debate on Democrats’ major legislative priority this year, HR 1, the “For the People Act,” which includes historic expansions of voter registration and access, as well as a major rewrite of campaign finance laws.

Judicial Watch Uncovers DOJ Records Showing Numerous Bruce Ohr Communications with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele

MARCH 07, 2019
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice which reveal that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.

The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities.

Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.

Transcript of Bruce Ohr’s private testimony to House task force released

“Mr. Speaker, last Congress, the Judiciary Committee interviewed multiple DOJ and FBI officials about their actions regarding the 2016 elections,” Collins said.

“People anticipate the Mueller report soon. Will he find any so-called ‘collusion’?

Or was the only ‘collusion’ among agency personnel who hated the president and started this investigation?” he added.

“Our interview transcripts were pertinent to a congressional investigation, but the 115th Congress ended, the investigation was closed, and copies were shared with certain members of Congress.”

Cohen met with Schiff’s team before his public testimony: Sources

Ohio Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup says it is unprecedented for a chairman of a committee to meet with the person testifying prior to a hearing.

Ocasio-Cortez Fundraising Email: Let’s End The US-Israeli Relationship

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sent a fundraising email last night suggesting that AIPAC was coming after her and that the U.S.-Israeli relationship should be severed.

AOC has been one of the few defenders of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who once again was accused of anti-Semitism for suggesting those who support Israel are exhibiting dual loyalty. The latter is a common anti-Semitic smear.

Omar has also peddled the talking point about Jewish money and influence with her “all about the Benjamins” tweet.

Rep. Ilhan Omar slams Barack Obama’s message of ‘hope and change’ as a ‘mirage’

Omar, D-Minn., took aim at the president’s famed slogan, while further criticizing the Democratic Party for “perpetuating the status quo,” in the interview with Politico.

“Recalling the ‘caging of kids’ at the U.S.-Mexico border and the ‘droning of countries around the world’ on Obama’s watch,” Omar charged that Obama “operated within the same fundamentally broken framework as his Republican successor,” the piece reads.

Omar is then quoted as saying: “We can’t be only upset with Trump… His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was.

WATCH: Linda Sarsour gives orders to Hamas-linked CAIR thugs who then block reporter from questioning Rep. Tlaib

In the video, Sarsour is accompanied by Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit that was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood to support the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Awad, who has previously announced his support for Hamas, was accompanied in the video by at least one other senior CAIR official who is an avowed Hamas supporter.

Sarsour, speaking Arabic, then orders people in her entourage to block Nomani from entering Rep. Tlaib’s office.

‘Pawn Stars’ host Rick Harrison warns of the dangers of socialism

“I tell college kids… next time you’re in college and talking to these other students that love socialism, just tell them, ‘let’s do the tenets of socialism’,” Harrison said on “Outnumbered.”

“Next time we have a big test we’re just going to average out all the scores and everyone gets the same, same score on the test. See how hard everyone tries next week.”

“It will slow down the work to where everyone gets an ‘F’ in the class,” Harrison added. “There’s no point in working hard.”

Elder: Wearing a MAGA hat in L.A. is asking to get hit in the face

Conservative activist attacked on UC Berkeley campus; Radio show host Larry Elder weighs in on censorship and intolerance against conservatives.

Tech Watch:

Elizabeth Warren calls for breakup of Amazon, Google and Facebook

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren outlined her strategy ahead of a campaign rally today in Long Island City in Queens, New York, the onetime site for Amazon’s second headquarters before the company pulled out. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

In a Medium blog post, Warren name-checked specific “anti-competitive” mergers she would have regulators unwind, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram; Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Zappos; and Google’s acquisitions of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick.

She also said she would seek legislation requiring that certain large tech companies be designated as “platform utilities” and “broken apart from any participant on that platform.”

Those targets would include Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange and Google Search.

Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to have a secret escape passageway beneath his conference room for emergencies

Business Insider spoke with current and former workers at Facebook’s global security organization and others familiar with the matter, obtained internal company documents, reviewed court documents, and surveyed publicly available information in a 5,000-word investigation into how Facebook handles its corporate security,

All told, there are now more than 70 people on the executive-protection team at Facebook, led by former US Secret Service special agent Jill Leavens Jones.

In July, Facebook’s board approved a $10 million security allowance for Zuckerberg and his family for the year.

Twitter Execs on JRE Contradicted By Undercover Video of Twitter Engineers

Sick ‘Rape Day’ video game sparks global outrage

A preview of “Rape Day,” which is developed by Desk Plant, had been listed on Steam, a popular distribution platform for video games, according to media reports. “Rape Day’s” gameplay advertised “violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sex, obscene language, necrophilia, and incest,” the Independent reports.

The website describes “Rape Day” as “a visual novel” and “a dark comedy with pornographic elements” where players control “a terrifying psychopath during a zombie apocalypse.”

Military Housing In Shambles/Families Getting Sick.

Military families testify about ‘slum-like’ conditions in some private housing facilities

Survey: Some military families find mold, lead paint, rats and roaches in privatized base housing; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon.

Military families warn of unsafe housing: rats, toxic mold and more

PENTAGON – Military families testified Wednesday about “slum-like” conditions in some privatized base housing that they allege contributes to disease and birth defects.

Crystal Cornwall, a Marine spouse and member of the Safe Military Housing Initiative, appeared before Senate lawmakers to describe her experience with families who live in unsuitable conditions, in homes built by private contractors on military bases.

Just how bad are living conditions at Al Udeid?

It may be 70 degrees this time of year outside Al Udeid Air Base, Abū Nakẖlah, Qatar, but its the inside that has airmen and civilians complaining.

Recent reports and social media posts suggest the installation has been plagued by black mold, broken shower and toilet facilities, accumulated dust or rainwater, flies in dispensaries, and other problems.

“Not to mention, we just had multiple confirmed incidents of salmonella,” one Air Force Times reader reported, calling the conditions, “pathetic and abysmal” for his time at the base.

Marine Corps, Navy to address poor housing conditions

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told that her branch, along with the Army and Navy, supports a tenant bill of rights that would provide troops with protection as well as more power in handling housing problems.

The Marines put changes into force last week.

More than half of families rated housing “very negative” or “negative” in a recent online survey, and military spouses earlier this month detailed problems during congressional hearings, including faulty wiring, lead paint, mold, poor water quality and pestilence.

RI developer apologizes to families, Congress for military housing problems

John Picerne of East Greenwich-based Corvias Group was one of five private developers who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington.

DOJ should investigate military housing ‘fraud’: Senator

Secretary of the United States Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein
Secretary of the United States Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein prepare to testify during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military housing, March 7, 2019.By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Newscom

In an emotionally-charged congressional hearing centered on military families’ living conditions, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., suggested “there are clear indications of fraud” in the program that administers payment to the contractors that provide housing.

He has called for an immediate, intensive review, asking military chiefs to bypass internal audits and go straight to the DOJ to find out why contractors were allegedly not maintaining government housing while receiving funds for maintenance and rent.

Military leaders apologize for substandard living conditions at family housing

Top leaders of the U.S. military services apologized to Congress on Thursday for allowing substandard living conditions in military family housing.

They acknowledged failing to have fully understood the problem earlier and promised to fix it. One senator has even called for a criminal investigation of conduct by those who operate military housing.

The issues include lead poisoning hazards, mold and pest infestations in some military housing across the country.

The problems have been raised before by government auditors and others but have come to a head in recent weeks amid increased news coverage and congressional testimony last month by military family advocacy organizations.

Jackson leaders hold town hall with post housing residents

Fort Jackson leaders agreed to make better efforts during a town hall with the on-post housing community hosted by post commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr.

The meeting was called so residents could air their concerns directly to post leadership.

“Right now tonight, we start at zero,” Beagle said to open the town hall. “We have zero faith, zero confidence and zero trust in our partners and our leadership … I feel it and I’ve got to own that and embrace it.”

Just because a Soldier agreed to live in post housing doesn’t mean they gave up their rights to a safe and healthy home, Beagle said.

Sen. Kaine set to visit military housing in Hampton Roads

He’s expected to talk to residents about their experiences with privatized military housing.

The visit follows a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where military families described horrific conditions in their homes – including lead and mold – on bases across the country.

During a nearly three hour Senate hearing Thursday morning, Senator Kaine had some tough questions for the military panel when it comes to the housing conditions that have affected so many families including in Hampton Roads.

At one point, Senator Kaine even suggested having code compliance officers come to military bases a couple of times a year.

World News:

UK leader warns Brexit may never happen unless deal approved

Battling to stave off a second defeat for the unpopular divorce deal, May also implored the EU to help her make “one more push” to get the agreement through a skeptical Parliament.

British lawmakers are due to vote for a second time Tuesday on the deal, which they overwhelmingly rejected in January.

If Parliament throws out the deal again, lawmakers will vote on whether to leave the EU without an agreement — an idea likely to be rejected — or to ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 departure date.

A Project to Transform France

"Yellow vest" protestors
Pictured: “Yellow vest” protestors near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on March 2, 2019.

That seems to have come to light on February 13, when a small group of demonstrators started hurling insults at a French Jewish philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut — who was born in and lives in Paris — after they spotted him on a sidewalk.

Finkielkraut claimed that he had not been attacked as a Jew, but as a supporter of the State of Israel. He then added that the man who had insulted him did not speak like a “yellow vest” and that the words “God will punish you” is an expression from “Islamic rhetoric”.

In the days leading up to that incident, several anti-Semitic acts had taken place in and near Paris.

The German word “juden” [Jews] was painted on the front of a Jewish bakery; swastikas were drawn with a black marker on portraits of former Jewish minister Simone Veil; trees that had been planted in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young Jew who had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2006, were destroyed. Investigations have begun but nothing so far has shown any relationship between the “yellow vests” movement and any of these anti-Semitic acts.

The French government nevertheless continues accusing the “yellow vests” of being at least partly to blame.

When the French government, for instance, published statistics about anti-Semitic acts committed in 2018, and noted a 74% increase from the year before, the government spokesman linked this increase to the “disorders” that have been taking place in France, implicitly meaning to the “yellow vests”.

Palestinians: No Peace or Reconciliation with the ‘Infidels’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

In a recent move, Palestinians have begun resorting to Islam to justify their vehement opposition to normalization of relations with Israel. Palestinian leaders and activists have long cited political and nationalist reasons to explain their opposition to any form of normalization with Israel — but Islam is a new factor in the mix.

The increased talk about the possibility of some Arab countries normalizing their relations with Israel has prompted the Palestinians to wage a campaign aimed at pressuring Arab leaders to refrain from embarking on such a move. The most recent campaign is titled: “Normalization is a Crime.”

Palestinian Authority officials who are not known as particularly religious have been warning Arab states that normalization with Israel is tantamount to treachery. Mahmoud al-Aloul, Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction (headed by Mahmoud Abbas), went as far as describing Arab normalization with Israel as a “stab in the back of the

Palestinians: Arresting, Torturing Journalists

The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank is continuing its unremitting security crackdown on Palestinian journalists, particularly on those who are not affiliated with Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Scores of journalists have been arrested or summoned by the PA in the West Bank on a regular basis in the past few years. In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists are facing a similar campaign of intimidation and harassment.

In the past few days, another two journalists, Hazem Nasser and Amer Abu Arafeh, were arrested by the PA security forces — and not for the first time. Nasser, who is from the city of Tulkarem, and Abu Arafeh, who is from Hebron, have, in fact, become “frequent visitors” of PA detention centers and interrogation rooms.

The incarceration of Nasser and Abu Arafeh brings to 16 the number of Palestinian journalists who have been arrested or summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces in the West
Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip just since the beginning of this year.


Tucker responds to the DNC barring Fox News in 2020

DNC bars Fox News from hosting 2020 presidential debates, CNN sides with DNC.

Mark Steyn weighs in on states looking to ban plastic bags

Ocasio-Cortez admits to throwing away plastic grocery bags;’s Mark Steyn reacts on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’