News and Headlines. 8/14/2019

News and Headlines: In The News, Immigration, Tech Watch, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Drug-resistant superbug ‘highly adapted’ to spread in hospitals, contaminate food, study finds

The new strain could target hospital food.
The new strain could target hospital food. (iStock)

Researchers with the Wellcome Sanger Institute, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and others have “identified genetic changes in the newly emerging species that allow it to thrive on the Western sugar-rich diet, evade common hospital disinfectants and spread easily,” according to a press release on the findings.

The bacterium involved in their study is called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says causes nearly 500,000 illnesses in the U.S. each year.

After “comparing and analyzing all the genomes” they discovered genetic changes within the bacterium that’s causing it to evolve.

One of the emerging species is “specialized to spread in hospital environments,”
Dr. Nitin Kumar, one of the study’s main authors, said in a statement.

‘Storm Area 51’ faker announces real ‘Alienstock Festival’

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Matty Roberts, whose social media stunt eventually pulled in over 2 million “interested” Area 51 raiders, says he wasn’t planning on the group’s media momentum, which was so explosive that even the feds thought it necessary to step in. It was just a joke, after all.

But when hotels near the heavily guarded military installment began booking up, Roberts decided to capitalize.

Now he’s promoting Alienstock Festival, a celebration of all things extraterrestrial, scheduled to go down on the same weekend of the original “Storm Area 51” event, Sept. 19-22.

“We’re aiming to establish something unique here, a meeting place for all the believers,” the Alienstock website hypes.

The carnival promises many vague attractions, including “a world full of live music, arts and camping under the stars.”

Man charged with weapons offense a day after shooting at VA hospital in Chicago

“We avoided tragedy here in the city of Chicago today,” Jeffrey Sallet, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office, told reporters after the incident Monday.

Officers found six casings outside the hospital near the Taylor Street entrance as well as two bullet holes in the building, one in the ceiling and the other in the entrance door, the complaint said.

Inside the hospital, people were running and screaming, some taking shelter in bathrooms, witnesses told reporters Monday.

The building was evacuated as police began investigating.

Florida man reportedly plans to kill elementary school students — because of the school’s ‘obnoxious pride in America’

Image source: WTVT-TV video screenshot

Authorities report that 22-year-old Andrew Ivan Aman was set to stab as many children as possible at Bellamy Elementary School in Tampa, Florida.

He was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation under the state’s Baker Act.

According to WTVT-TV, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office issued a memo warning deputies about the alleged threat.

The memo, which was branded “situational awareness” and “law enforcement sensitive,” went out on Monday, describing Aman’s alleged plot to “stab as many children as possible” at the school.

Aman reportedly took issue with the school because of its American pride, and American flag-themed exterior painting.

South Carolina deputy caught in department’s own undercover child sex sting operation, sheriff says

Deputy Derek Vandenham was arrested last week in an undercover child sex sting operation,
Deputy Derek Vandenham was arrested last week in an undercover child sex sting operation, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says. He has since been fired.
(Richland County Sheriff’s Department)

The sheriff says officers from his department, and numerous others – posing as minors — communicated with suspects through Internet chatrooms and websites.

They had a location they were directing men to visit, but switched it to another address in order to ensure that Vandenham wouldn’t catch on, Lott said.

“I’ve been frustrated a few times in my career as sheriff in law enforcement and this is probably one of the most frustrating occasions I think I’ve had, one of the most disgusting things that I’ve been having to deal with is have a deputy do something like this,” the sheriff told reporters.

LGBTQ history to be taught in all Illinois public schools starting next year

Four other states have passed laws like this: California, which passed similar legislation in 2011, and New Jersey, Colorado and Oregon, which all passed their legislation this year, according to Equality Illinois.

State Representative Anna Moeller and State Senator Heather Steans sponsored the Inclusive Curriculum Law, which amends the state school code to require all textbooks be non-discriminatory and include the roles of LGBTQ people in national and state history.

The bill was an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project. Forty other education, health care and civil rights groups in the state also backed the bill.

As New York legal window opens, child sex abuse victims sue Catholic Church, others

More than 200 people had filed lawsuits against the Church in courts across New York state by the afternoon, according to state court records.

Most of them accuse priests of sexually abusing them as children and Church leaders of covering up the priests’ crimes.

The state’s landmark Child Victims Act includes a provision that lifts for one year a statute of limitations that had barred older complaints and which critics said was too restrictive.

Although the majority of the new lawsuits appeared to be against the Church, other people sued schools, hospitals and individuals, and at least two people sued the Boy Scouts of America.

Previously, most victims of childhood sexual abuse only had until the age of 23 to bring criminal charges or to seek damages in civil lawsuits.

Portland mayor issues warning to protesters planning violence

As Portland, Oregon braces for dueling protests between Antifa and far-right activists, Mayor Ted Wheeler says law enforcement is ready to respond.

San Francisco school reverses plan to paint over mural showing slaves and violence

The ‘Life of Washington’ mural at George Washington high school in San Francisco.
The ‘Life of Washington’ mural at George Washington high school in San Francisco. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

Since the June decision to paint over the murals, the issue has attracted national attention.

The actor and activist Danny Glover, who attended Washington high school in the 1960s, aligned with the local NAACP chapter in opposing the painting over of the murals.

“To destroy them or block them from view would be akin to book burning,” he said.

“We would be missing the opportunity for enhanced historic introspection that this moment has provided us.”

Yet those in favor of covering the artwork have long argued that the murals depicted a violence for which the students received no context, allowing for unnecessary trauma without any sort of learning.

But Tuesday’s 4-3 vote to obscure the artwork at the George Washington high school with panels, instead of painting over it, was a compromise that pleased few, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Some current and former students of color maintained that the murals’ depiction of violence without context was harmful.

Others said any effort to cover up the art was censorship.


Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary County Rape 11-Year-Old Girl Multiple Times: Police

Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29 and Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28, both illegal immigrants from El Salvador, raped an 11-year-old girl,
Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29 and Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28, both illegal immigrants from El Salvador, raped an 11-year-old girl, the girl said. Police found pictures of the girl with Palacios-Amaya on his cellphone. (Montgomery County Police Department)

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland—a sanctuary county for illegal immigrants—arrested Mauricio Barrera-Navidad, 29, of Damascus, and Carlos Palacios-Amaya, 28, of Gaithersburg, this week.

Both were charged with second-degree rape.

The girl who said they raped her, now 12, said that she was introduced to Palacios-Amaya by her older brother.

At one point, the man “used his cell phone to video record the two of them having sex,” police noted in court documents obtained by WJLA.

On a number of weekdays, the accused got the girl to stay home from school and raped her at her house as her parents were at work, the girl told a social worker.

ICE offices, workers hit by wave of violence and threats: ‘We know where all your children live’

Police say gunmen opened fire on a local ICE office and GEO Group office in a “targeted attack” against the enforcers of national immigration law. (Photo via GEO Group)

Footage published Tuesday by Breitbart News shows protesters in Florida from groups such as Never Again Action and Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County threatening workers and former employees of the GEO Group, a private contractor used by ICE.

One protester threatened the family of GEO Group’s former general counsel, John Bulfin.

“We know where all your children live throughout the country … John Bulfin you have kids in [bleeped out], you have kids in [bleeped out],” the protester yelled. “We know everything about you and you won’t just be seeing us here.”

Acting DHS secretary on ICE facility attack in Texas: Rhetoric must be toned down

After shots were fired into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and another facility associated with the agency in San Antonio, Texas, early Tuesday, ICE said in a statement that,

“Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts.”

McAleenan agreed, calling on those who oppose the Trump administration’s policies to tone down their rhetoric before someone gets hurt, noting that this is the fourth such incident targeting an ICE facility.

“I think the environment where we’re demonizing law enforcement for doing their jobs, for enforcing the laws on the books, is concerning, it can be dangerous and it can result in people taking actions that are not supported by the facts,” he said.

Tom Homan: ICE, Border Patrol are targets for left-wing extremists. Where’s the outrage from Dems?

File Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Commentary/Opinion: Today it seems like we’re fighting a small-scale civil war.

Some angry people are claiming they have the right to harm and even kill others because of differences over political and public policy issues – or because they believe people belonging to particular racial, religious, ethnic or other group are somehow evil or inferior and must be attacked.

This is a poisonous attitude that is dangerous and un-American.

Terrorism, murder and acts of violence are wrong whether they come from the right or the left.

They should be condemned by all Americans and all our institutions, including government, political parties, religious institutions, and the media.

It’s particularly disturbing that many of the same Democratic politicians, news organizations and other groups that justifiably condemned the El Paso shooter for his hate-filled diatribe against Hispanic people and his murderous rampage have failed to condemn the hate-filled diatribes and violence generated by extremist on the left. There should not be a double-standard.

Just last month a man attacked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Washington state with a firearm and tried to set the building on fire.

If he had succeeded, he could gave killed as many as several hundred people – ICE employees and hundreds of immigrants being detained for hearings.

Border Patrol conducts active shooter training for NM and Texas law enforcement agencies

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent apprehends his target through a classroom window during active-shooter training at Carl Ben Eielson Elementary School Aug. 9, 2017,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent apprehends his target through a classroom window during active-shooter training at Carl Ben Eielson Elementary School Aug. 9, 2017, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

The training is part of Sierra Blanca local law enforcement partnership committee, which is made up of the local law enforcement departments.

A group of 20 officers participated.

The goal of the committee is to continue working together to identify and address incidents of high risk that may require a unified tactical response from the multiple law enforcement agencies that work in the area.

Big Bend Sector Border Patrol agents, patrol 517 miles of the southwest border, an area that extends from Sierra Blanca, Texas to Sanderson, Texas.

The Sierra Blanca Station area of responsibility consists of more than half of Hudspeth County or about 2500 square miles.

Tech Watch:

Capital One hacker took data from more than 30 companies, new court docs reveal

US officials said the investigation is still ongoing and the FB is still trying to identify all the companies from where Thompson stole data they found on her home server.

“The government expects to add an additional charge against Thompson based upon each such theft of data, as the victims are identified and notified,” prosecutors said.

The court documents don’t list the names of any of the other 30+ companies that Thompson is believed to have hacked.

However, according to previous media reports, this list might include companies such as Unicredit, Vodafone, Ford, Michigan State University, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Amazon’s facial recognition can now detect ‘fear’ as activists blast use by law enforcement

The company also wrote that it has improved the accuracy of gender identification and age range estimation.

The controversial facial detection software, which falls under the auspices of the cloud computing division known as Amazon Web Services, has drawn condemnation from privacy and digital rights activists, and lawmakers, who object to Amazon’s marketing of Rekognition to police departments and goverment agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

During a Tuesday press conference announcing the study, California Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat, said the test demonstrates that the software should not be widely used.

Ting, who is Chinese-American, is one of the lawmakers who was falsely identified. He’s co-sponsoring a bill to ban facial recognition technology from being used on police body cameras in California.

A similar test of Rekognition in June 2018 found the software wrongly tagged 28 members of Congress as suspects, 40 percent of whom were people of color.

Did Mark Zuckerberg Lie Under Oath About Facebook Eavesdropping Through Your Phone?

A Facebook company spokesperson told The Federalist, “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” confirming that the company had been transcribing users’ audio and chalking up the activity to common practice among tech companies.

The company said nonpublic audio under human review would have only come from devices on which users had given permission to access microphones.

At the heart of the issue, and the key factor in determining how truthful Facebook has been in addressing conspiracies about its listening habits, is the specified purpose of audio review.

In 2016, Facebook went on the record to state that it does “not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.”

During an exchange with Zuckerberg, Sen. Gary Peters asked, “Yes or no, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about its users?”

Zuckerberg responded, “We do not. Senator. Let me be clear on this. You are talking about the conspiracy theory passed around that we listen to what is going on on your microphone and use that. We do not do that.”

Google “Machine Learning Fairness” Whistleblower Goes Public, says: “burden lifted off of my soul”

A Google insider who anonymously leaked internal documents to Project Veritas made the decision to go public in an on-the-record video interview.

The insider, Zachary Vorhies, decided to go public after receiving a letter from Google, and after he says Google allegedly called the police to perform a “wellness check” on him.


Judge rejects House Dem request to link McGahn, Mueller grand jury lawsuits

It’s a blow to House Democrats as they inch toward the prospect of impeachment proceedings.

Earlier this week, House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the two cases should be paired in front of Howell because both seek evidence for a potential impeachment, and both were based on the same set of facts.

But while Howell acknowledged the “factual connections” between the McGahn and grand jury cases, she ultimately sided with the Justice Department.

Howell emphasized that the grand jury petition, as a legal matter, is entirely unrelated to the McGahn case.

The House, she noted, intends to protect the secrecy of Mueller’s grand jury information but rely on it to form the basis of potential articles of impeachment.

But in the McGahn matter, the House intends to force him to testify publicly, involving an entirely different set of legal principles.

Lindsey Graham slams Dem colleagues for brazen warning to Supreme Court

Judiciary Committee members Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wrote in a brief filed Monday that the “Supreme Court is not well.”

They suggested the court “heal itself” or face public pressure to be “restructured.”

Graham said this was a clear reference to expanding the number of justices on the court to make it more liberal.

“When you hear Democrats talking about expanding the Supreme Court……..they are talking about making the Court more liberal,” Graham said in a Wednesday tweet that linked to a Fox News article about the brief.

“This has been a Dream of the Left for decades.

I will do everything in my power to ensure that dream is NEVER fulfilled!”

Donald Trump Leads Top Democrats in North Carolina Poll

Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The poll also found that Democrats are more likely to vote for Trump than Republicans are to vote for one of the Democrat candidates.

North Carolina – a notorious swing state – has 15 electoral votes up for grabs, which President Trump secured in 2016 after defeating Hillary Clinton 49.9 percent to 46.2 percent.

The state also chose Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 by 2.2 percent but went blue in 2008, favoring former President Barack Obama over late Sen. John McCain by less than half of one percent.

The Republican National Committee’s 2020 convention will be held in Charlotte, NC, it was announced last year:

Virtually No One In Ocasio-Cortez’s District Has Donated To Her Re-Election Campaign, Report Says

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“The average freshman representative’s reelection campaign received $107,141.29 in itemized contributions from their constituents in the first half of 2019, FEC filings the DCNF analyzed show,” Kerr writes.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s reported in-district fundraising haul of $1,525.50 was just 1.4% of that average.”

Far-left Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also rank near the bottom of the freshman class in terms of financial support they have received from their constituents.

The DCNF’s report gives credence to recent polling from within Ocasio-Cortez’s district, which found that Ocasio-Cortez is unpopular among her constituents. A door-to-door poll from Stop The AOC PAC found the following:

World News:

Chinese military vehicles stashed across Hong Kong border in soccer stadium, satellite images appear to show

This satellite image captured on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, provided by Maxar Technologies appears to show Chinese security force vehicles inside the Shenzen Bay Sports Center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong.
This satellite image captured on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, provided by Maxar Technologies appears to show Chinese security force vehicles inside the Shenzen Bay Sports Center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong.
(Maxar Technologies via AP)

The images, taken by Maxar’s WorldView Monday, appear to show hundreds of military vehicles lined up at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center just across the harbor from Hong Kong, where months of protesting reached a pinnacle this week after thousands of demonstrators shut down all flights at Hong Kong International Airport.

Chinese state media disputed claims that the government moved the vehicles in response to the protests, saying that the exercises had been planned beforehand and were not directly related to the unrest in Hong Kong.

This came despite Beijing saying the protests were beginning to show the “sprouts of terrorism.”

Reports have circulated that China is believed to have already dispatched officers to fortify the ranks of the Hong Kong police and may also have planted decoys among the protesters in order to encourage more violent acts that could eventually turn ordinary residents against the movement.

Hong Kong protesters offer apologies, China doubles down after airport clash

Anti-government demonstrators apologize for yesterday's clashes with police at the airport in Hong Kong China August 14,
Anti-government demonstrators apologize for yesterday’s clashes with police at the airport in Hong Kong China August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing called the behavior at the airport no different to terrorism and said it must be severely punished.

“We’re deeply sorry about what happened yesterday,” read a banner held up by a group of a few dozen demonstrators in the airport arrivals hall in the morning.

“We were desperate and we made imperfect decisions. Please accept our apologies,” the banner said.

In chaotic scenes that would once have been unthinkable for Hong Kong, a peaceful sit-in at the airport turned violent late on Tuesday as protesters confronted and held a man they believed was an undercover Chinese agent.

Boris Johnson live on Facebook: PM blasts ‘terrible collaboration between MPs’ as he refers to his iPad as a ‘machine’

Boris Johnson at his desk in Downing Street (Downing Street/PA Wire)

Mr Johnson spoke of a “terrible collaboration” between politicians in Westminster “who think they can stop Brexit and our European friends”

However, he remains “confident we will get there” and leave the EU on October 31, and said:

“In the end both our friends in other European capitals, and I think MPs, will see it’s vital to get on and to do it.”

Speaking in his first “people’s PMQs”, in which the prime minister addressed the public via his iPad, he added:

“There’s a terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on, between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.”

Later in his people’s PMQs, the PM also again ruled out a general election as he insisted Brexit would happen by October 31.

Venezuela’s Maduro Launches ‘Counteroffensive’ Against Opposition in Retaliation to US Sanctions 

Juan Guaidó, the head of the congress who invoked the constitution to declare himself interim president on Jan. 23, denounced the move as another attempt to rule through fear and oppression.

National Assembly members told The Epoch Times Maduro’s latest move wouldn’t prevent them from continuing to work towards removing the “narco-dictator” from power.

The announcements followed Washington’s decision to slap on the most aggressive sanctions to date on the country on Aug. 5.

Although excluding the private sector, as well as food, medicine, clothing, and humanitarian aid, the sanctions prevent foreign businesses from dealing with the government and could further decimate an already floundering economy suffering from six digit inflation economy.

Maduro has promised a “counteroffensive” against those endorsing the sanctions to “bring justice to the sellouts and traitors.”

That “counteroffensive” began on Aug. 12 when three lawmakers were charged by the Supreme Court—dominated by judges in Maduro’s party—for treason and conspiracy.

New Zealand mosque shooter sent letter from prison cell that was published on 4chan

In this June 2019 courtroom drawing, Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March, appears via video link at the Christchurch District Court, from the maximum-security prison in Auckland where he’s being held. (AP)

The letter from Tarrant that was posted on 4chan, which was dated July 4, appears to be written in pencil on a small notepad and is addressed to “Alan” in Russia.

Much of it appears to be relatively innocuous, discussing a one-month trip Tarrant says he took to Russia in 2015.

But the letter also warns that a “great conflict” is coming and uses language that could be construed as a call to arms, the Associated Press reported.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, when asked about the matter, said she thinks “every New Zealander would have an expectation that this individual should not be able to share his hateful message from behind bars.”

Swedish Court Finds A$AP Rocky Guilty of Assault

A$AP Rocky poses before the Christian Dior 2017 spring/summer fashion show in Paris in January 2017. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, earlier pleaded self-defense and said he had tried to avoid a confrontation with two men who he said were persistently following his entourage.

One of them picked a fight with one of his two bodyguards, the rapper told the Stockholm District Court.

The courts said the defendants “were not in a situation” where they were entitled to self-defense and that they “assaulted the victim by hitting and kicking him.

” As a result, the three defendants were “convicted of assault and sentenced to conditional sentences.”

They were also ordered to a pay a total of 12,500 kronor ($1,307) in compensation.

That means the three face no prison sentence in Sweden unless they commit a similar offense in the country again.

Inmate with HIV Squirts Tube of Excrement and Urine in Guard’s Mouth, Walks Free from Court

Miles Atkinson, 34, had secreted the noxious concotion in a toothpaste tube, turning it on a prison wing manager and several guards in a surprise attack after they had escorted him to his cell in Her Majesty’s Prison Altcourse in Merseyside.

“Regrettably most of the mixture subsequently landed on the officers,” recalled prosecutor Edward Haygarth.

The wing manager was sprayed on his face, shirt, and trousers; a male guard had a “considerable amount” sprayed in his mouth; a female guard was sprayed on the face, arms, and legs, and another woman was sprayed on one arm.

Four charges of administering a noxious substance with intent were downgraded to one count plus three charges of battery, however, with the court accepting the toothpaste tube did not actually contain semen — despite having carried out no analysis of the substance — but only faeces and urine.

Canada’s Trudeau accepts he breached ethics rules, refuses to apologize

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about a watchdog's report that he breached ethics rules
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about a watchdog’s report that he breached ethics rules by trying to influence a corporate legal case regarding SNC-Lavalin, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, August 14, 2019.
REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov

Independent ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Trudeau and his team attempted last year to undermine a decision by federal prosecutors that construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc should face a corruption trial.

Dion’s scathing 58-page assessment could hurt Trudeau’s chances of retaining power in a general election in October.

“I fully accept this report … I take full responsibility. The buck stops with the prime minister,” said Trudeau, adding that he nevertheless disagreed with some of Dion’s conclusions.


If You’re Not Grateful To The United States, Why Are You Here?

Every nation’s hands are bloody in world history and geopolitics.Certainly, America shares in the blame.

Yet it is hardly the only culprit.

Moreover, those who attack the legacy of imperialism hardly have a word of criticism for their own cultures’ misdeeds, be it the violent repression of ethnic minorities, conquering of other peoples, or theft of resources.

Every person born in America, or who obtains citizenship, is indeed a citizen with certain unalienable rights.

But that doesn’t mean we should vainly claim to be “entitled” to them, especially when much of the globe mocks the rights our First Amendment guarantees, not to mention the rest of the Bill of Rights.

As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.”

That we were born here or became citizens is a gift, a result of a combination of circumstances largely out of our control.

Ultimately, a proper give-and-take should exist between those who have been in America for several generations and those who more recently became citizens.

Of course, those with deep American roots should not antagonize newer Americans with threats to “go home,” if by this they mean certain people legally allowed entry into the United States don’t belong.

This, as I’ve argued above, reflects an ignorance of the fact that all Americans should be humbled and grateful to live here.

“Older Americans,” however, should expect “newer Americans” to learn, appreciate, and honor the culture and mores of our land. American identity is indeed unique.