A participant takes part in the Pink Party, an event of the annual week-long LGBT festival Shanghai Pride, in Shanghai, China June 15, 2019. Aly Song / Reuters
In a crushing blow to LGBT+ communities in China, WeChat has, for unspecified reasons, permanently banned nearly all public accounts created and run by LGBT+ groups at Chinese colleges.
According to Weibo user Xiǎolán Sānhàojī @小蓝三号机 (in Chinese), who frequently shares information and news about LGBT+ issues, complaints about the removals started to roll in on the evening of Monday, when followers of the affected WeChat accounts discovered that they had been shut down.
WeChat is Tencent’s messaging, social, and payment app, which has become essential to communication and daily life in China.
The LGBT+ groups found that their content had been permanently deleted, and the accounts’ main pages replaced with a notice saying that after receiving “relevant reports from users,” WeChat decided to terminate them because they “had violated regulations on the management of accounts offering public information service on the Chinese internet.” But beyond the brief note, the platform has yet to offer any further explanation.
While there has been no official word on the exact scope of the crackdown, Weibo user Xiaolan Sanhaoji wrote that the purge appeared to have affected most public accounts of campus organizations serving LGBT+ students in Chinese colleges, including top institutions like Tsinghua University and Peking University.
In comments to a post (in Chinese) where Xiaolan Sanhaoji provided updates on casualties of the removal, some Weibo users pointed out that some of the deleted accounts had been inactive for years, which means that the termination was unlikely to have been caused by recent violations of content rules. Rather, they speculated that the removal was part of a government-backed campaign to stifle LGBT+ voices and activities on Chinese college campuses. This is despite the fact that most of the affected student groups had never received recognition from their schools.
Speculation about an official campaign was further fueled by a photo of a government order that has been making the rounds on Chinese social media. In the unverified document, which is dated May 19, the Education Ministry of Jiangsu Province ordered Hohai University to conduct a “comprehensive inspection” of feminist and LGBT+ student organizations on its campus, which it said should include reviews of their members and presences on social media.
The large-scale termination of accounts has been met with outrage from LGBT+ individuals and others on the Chinese internet. “What saddens me the most is that we have no idea how to revolt and who we should react against,” a Weibo user wrote (in Chinese), while another one commented (in Chinese), “What a giant step backward for my country. I’m so disappointed.”
WeChat’s move against LGBT+ communities comes amid increasingly strident official discrimination and widespread homophobia in Chinese society. Earlier this year, a court in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province ruled in a landmark case that a university textbook’s description of homosexuality as “a psychological disorder” was not a factual error but merely an “academic view.” In June, which is celebrated internationally as Pride Month, Shanghai Pride, China’s longest-running and only major annual celebration of sexual minorities, was canceled following its abrupt announcement of taking an indefinite hiatus due to “safety concerns” last year.
Analysts predict that President Biden’s American Families Plan would add 21 million Americans to federal benefit programs.
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Hoover Institution fellows John F. Cogan and Daniel Heil unpacked their recent analysis, which discovered that the Biden administration’s $1.8 trillion omnibus bill would drastically expand the welfare state.
The federal government’s system of entitlements is the largest money-shuffling machine in human history, and President Biden intends to make it a lot bigger… For the first time in U.S. history — except possibly for the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, for which we don’t yet have data — more than half of working-age households would be on the entitlement rolls if the plan were enacted in its current form.
The academics note that families earning six figures would be eligible for generous handouts. Indeed, “most” of President Biden’s spending would benefit middle-income and upper-income households.
Two-parent households with two preschool-age children and incomes up to $130,000 would qualify for federal cash assistance for daycare. Single parents with two preschoolers and incomes up to $113,000 would qualify. And some families with incomes over $200,000 would be eligible for health-insurance subsidies. Other parts of the plan, such as paid leave and free community college, have no income limits at all.
Under the American Families Plan, 57% of all married-couple children would receive handouts, while over 80% of single-parent households would enter the entitlement rolls. Noting that the legislation has a number of “gimmicks” that hide the extent of its revenue proposals, the report forecasts that President Biden’s proposal would add $1 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.
Other economists have expressed similar concerns with the American Families Plan. Analysts from the Penn Wharton Budget Model — a nonpartisan think tank at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School that examines the impacts of major legislation — concluded that the American Families Plan would slow long-term economic growth.
By increasing income taxes for wealthier Americans, introducing $2.3 trillion in federal expenditures, and spending with borrowed money, the legislation would slash output by 0.4% within the next three decades. The bill would also decrease the capital stock — the total amount of machinery, buildings, and other productive equipment in the American economy — by 1.2% over the same period.
In essence, long-term economic growth would be hindered by greater demand for federal debt financing, which would cause investors to direct money into loans for the government rather than ventures in the private sector. Such a phenomenon would restrict innovation and productivity, inhibiting American economic vitality for decades to come.
Democrats now claiming it’s Republicans who want to defund the police is like an arsonist showing up at a fire and blaming the firemen, it’s like the Chinese blaming Americans for the Wuhan virus, and it’s like O.J. saying he's going to help find the real killer.
House Democrats have issued a budget proposal that includes a shocking slash to border enforcement, with a billion dollars slashed from Customs and Border Protection (CBP_, among other notable cuts.
Bloomberg Law reported Tuesday that House Democrats are pursuing even deeper cuts to the immigration enforcement budget than the Biden White House, which already proposed a significant reduction in CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) funding levels.
Bloomberg Law reports that the Democrats want stiff cuts, largely to those departments charged with enforcing border regulations and handling illegal immigration, despite the record number of illegal immigrants encountered by Customs and Border Protection in April and May — jumps over already record levels.
If the draft legislation is passed, the “CBP would get $14.1 billion in net discretionary appropriations, almost a billion dollars less than the current fiscal year and a half-billion dollars less than the White House requested,” per Bloomberg, and the “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would get $1.55 million less than fiscal 2021, while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would get a $346.7 million increase, which would help address processing backlogs.”
The border wall would face the biggest cut. The measure, Bloomberg said, will “rescind more than $2 billion from prior year appropriations for border barrier construction; it proposes no funding for additional Border Patrol agents or the border wall.”
Border governor, Texas Republican Greg Abbott, has proposed filling the hole left by ending construction on a wall across the southern border by building a Texas “border barrier” on the American side of the Texas-Mexico border. Such a project would, theoretically, allow Texas to bypass restrictions against state authorities enforcing federal law; when an illegal immigrant jumped a Texas border-barrier, the state suggests, Texas officials could arrest that immigrant for trespass and other state-level crimes.
There are some increases in the proposed DHS budget.
“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would get an added $397.4 million,” Bloomberg notes, citing threats to key infrastructure following the Colonial Pipeline hack, and the “Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties would get $8.1 million more than fiscal 2021, $3.5 million more than White House requested.”
The GOP is already concerned that CBP is underfunded, particularly in light of an ongoing border crisis. In committee meetings earlier this month, House Republicans “grilled” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over what they deemed a critical lack of funding for border protection amidst some of the highest rates of illegal immigration in two decades, per Fox News.
“Mayorkas was testifying at the House Homeland Security Committee about the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget request for DHS, which he said would include $665 million in investments toward modernizing land ports of entry and $47 million to invest in detection capabilities in addition to investments in border surveillance technology,” the outlet reported.
Mayorkas was asked by Ranking Member John Katko, R-N.Y., if the request contains more hiring for more Border Patrol agents.
“It does not, we have vacancies now and we are focused on recruiting and hiring additional personnel,” Mayorkas responded.
Katko followed up by pointing to an “alarming” retirement rate among agents.
“We have a 21-year high in Border Patrol agents being pulled from all over the country to deal with the crisis at the border, and it seems to me it’d be a good time for us to contemplate pushing up Border Patrol,” he said.
CBP had more than 180,000 illegal immigrant encounters at the border last month. June numbers are expected out next week.
As a candidate, Joe Biden’s number one promise was to “unite” America. Yet in his first months as president, his number one priority has been to divide our country by race and gender at every turn.
There is no clearer example than the Biden administration’s new effort aimed at indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived. It is vital for Americans to understand what this initiative would do, what drives it and, most importantly, how we can stop it.
For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light. Yet in recent years, this deeply unnatural effort has progressed from telling children that their history is evil to telling Americans that they are evil.
In classrooms across the nation, students are being subjected to a new curriculum designed to brainwash them with the ridiculous left-wing dogma known as “critical race theory.” The key fact about this twisted doctrine is that it is completely antithetical to everything that normal Americans of any color would wish to teach their children.
Instead of helping young people discover that America is the greatest, most tolerant, and most generous nation in history, it teaches them that America is systemically evil and that the hearts of our people are full of hatred and malice. Far from advancing the beautiful dream of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — that our children should “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” — the left’s vile new theory preaches that judging people by the color of their skin is actually a good idea.
Teaching even one child these divisive messages would verge on psychological abuse. Indoctrinating generations of children with these extreme ideas is not just immoral — it is a program for national suicide. Yet that is exactly what the Biden administration endorsed recently in a rule published in the Federal Register aimed at inflicting a critical race theory-inspired curriculum on American schoolchildren.
The rule explicitly cites the New York Times’ discredited “1619 Project” as a motivation. The Times has described the goal of its endeavor as the “re-education” of the American people, and the project even includes a lesson plan that encourages students to practice “erasing” parts of the Declaration of Independence. The Biden rule also directly cites a left-wing activist and leading proponent of critical race theory whose textbook states, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
This is what the Biden administration wants to teach America’s children.
The Department of Education rule stems from an executive order Biden signed on his first day in office. Biden’s order abolished the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission I created to honor America’s founding principles, and reversed an executive action I took to stop these depraved theories from being imposed upon federal employees in workforce training sessions.
Thankfully, most Americans oppose this insanity. The left has only gotten away with it until this point because not enough parents have been paying attention and speaking up. But that is quickly changing. From Loudoun County, Va., to Cupertino, Calif., parents are beginning to make their voices heard against the left-wing cultural revolution. What they need now is a plan to actually stop it.
Here are the reforms that every concerned parent in America should be demanding.
First, every state legislature should pass a ban on taxpayer dollars going to any school district or workplace that teaches critical race theory, which inherently violates existing anti-discrimination laws. Inspired by my executive order last year, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and other states have already taken steps to pass such laws. It needs to happen everywhere — and Congress should seek to institute a federal ban through legislation as well.
Second, each state should create its own 1776 Commission to examine the public school curriculum and ensure that students are receiving a patriotic, pro-American education — not being taught that the United States is an evil nation.
Third, parents have a right to know exactly what is being taught to their children. Last year, many parents had the chance to routinely listen in on classes for the first time because of remote learning. As students return to the classroom, states need to pass laws requiring that all lesson plans have to be made available to parents — every handout, article, and reading should be posted on an online portal that allows parents to see what their kids are being taught. Furthermore, in many places, there are rules preventing students from recording what teachers say in class. States and school boards should establish a “Right to Record.”
Fourth, parents need to organize locally — in every school district in America — to eliminate “Action Civics” and other versions of the effort to contort traditional civics education into a vehicle for political indoctrination. The left’s new argument is that our “divisions” stem from a lack of “civics education” — a problem they intend to “fix” with lots of new taxpayer money and a redefinition of “civics” in schools, just as they are trying to redefine the meaning of “infrastructure.” Right now, Congress is working on a $1 billion bill known as the Civics Secures Democracy Act. No Republican should trust the Biden administration with a billion dollars to spend on such programs. Even worse, the legislation threatens to establish a de facto national curriculum for history and civics, effectively bribing states into adopting the left’s anti-American curriculum. It is Common Core all over again — but much more extreme. And like Common Core, parents must unite to stop this new federal power grab.
Fifth, any parent who objects to the material being taught to their child in public school should get an automatic voucher, empowering them to pick another school of their choice. The government has no right to brainwash students with controversial ideologies against their parents’ will.
Sixth, states need to take back control of their schools of education and credentialing bodies to ensure they are not churning out radicalized teachers. To be clear, the overwhelming majority of our nation’s teachers are some of the most selfless and wonderful people there are — but regrettably, many have graduated from extremely biased education schools and may not even be aware of the degree to which leftist ideology has permeated their curriculum. States should set up alternative credentialing bodies that can certify great teachers who know how to instill a sense of love for America. School districts can then make it a priority to hire teachers with these certifications, especially for English, history, and social studies roles. States could even set up their own versions of Teach for America to get passionate and patriotic young people into the classroom.
Finally, states need to break the tenure monopoly in public K-12 schools. Tenure was originally supposed to protect competent teachers from being subjected to undue political influence; it has turned into a mechanism to protect incompetent teachers who themselves wield undue political influence over our children. Educators who are alienating children from their own country should not be protected with lifelong tenure; they should be liberated to pursue a career as a political activist.
Make no mistake: The motive behind all of this left-wing lunacy is to discredit and eliminate the greatest obstacles to the fundamental transformation of America. To succeed with their extreme agenda, radicals know they must abolish our attachment to the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and most of all, Americans’ very identity as a free, proud, and self-governing people. The left knows that if they can dissolve our national memory and identity, they can gain the total political control they crave.
A nation is only as strong as its spirit. For our children, we must act before it is too late.
Donald Trump was the 45th president of the United States.
.@RealCandaceO blasts Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's mismanagement of crime in her city after defunding the police and then calling on the Federal government to help deal with skyrocketing crime rates:
SCOTUS VICTORY: Temporary Protected Status Does Not Make an Illegal Alien Eligible for a Green Card | Federation for American Immigration Reform
Government Relations 3 – 4 minutes
FAIR Take | June 2021
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Sanchez v. Mayorkas. The Court held that a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) does not count an as “lawful admission” for the purpose of establishing eligibility for a green card. This decision affirms Congress’s intent that TPS is a temporary status. TPS does not provide a pathway to citizenship or otherwise provide an immigration benefit after an alien’s TPS status expires.
The petitioner in this case, Jose Santos Sanchez, is a Salvadoran national who entered the United States illegally in 1997 and thereafter worked without employment authorization. He obtained TPS in 2001 after El Salvador was designated for TPS following a series of earthquakes. In 2014, Sanchez applied for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, or what is commonly referred to as receiving a “green card.”
Section 245a of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs adjustment of status, and requires that an alien be “inspected and lawfully admitted or paroled” in order to be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident. Aliens who enter the United States without inspection (EWI) or illegally cross the border are ineligible to become permanent residents. The Court ruled that a grant of TPS alone does not constitute a “lawful admission,” for the purpose of satisfying this requirement. Associate Justice Kagan, who wrote for the Court, explained thath “[t]he TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them. So the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant (like Sanchez) eligible under [section 245 of the INA] for adjustment to LPR status.”
This decision will prevent illegal aliens who entered the United States illegally and subsequently were granted TPS from receiving green cards without first departing the United States. An alien in this situation would likely be also subject to the three- and ten-year bars to admission as a result of their unlawful presence in the United States.
TPS is a humanitarian status that allows beneficiaries to remain and work in the United States if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that conditions in their home country prevent a national’s safe return. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) only provides the DHS Secretary authority to designate countries TPS for the following temporary conditions: 1) Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war); 2) An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic; or 3) Other “extraordinary and temporary conditions”. The INA also provides the Secretary the authority to extend a TPS designation for up to 18 months for any country where conditions have not sufficiently improved. Despite the statutory requirement that TPS status be terminated upon resolution of the conditions or events that spurred a country’s designation, TPS for El Salvador is still in effect two decades later.
As of 2020, FAIR estimates that there are approximately 14.5 million illegal aliens residing within the United States. This number is marginally higher than FAIR’s previous estimate of 14.3 million in 2019.
Based on FAIR’s most recent comprehensive fiscal cost study, illegal aliens are likely imposing a net fiscal burden of at least $133.7 billion. That’s an increase of nearly $2 billion over the past year.
Despite these alarming figures, the increase in the illegal alien population grew at a lower-than-expected rate. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons, including:
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 60 percent of all new illegal aliens in any given year are those who have overstayed visas. Thanks to a timely travel freeze implemented by the Trump administration to stop the spread of the virus, far fewer people entered the United States in recent months, so far fewer people had the opportunity to overstay their visas. Additionally, with fewer available jobs in the United States, especially in industries that attract illegal aliens, traffic at the southern border slowed significantly for several months during a time of year when apprehensions typically increase significantly.
The implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Prior to this program, there was a dramatic increase in fraudulent asylum claims made by illegal aliens trying to enter the United States for purely economic reasons. Thousands of these asylum applicants would be released into the United States, then never show up for their hearings. The MPP requires that many asylum applicants wait outside the United States while their case is processed, providing they have a safe country that will host them, such as Mexico.
Several issues persist that continue to drive illegal aliens into the United States or encourage them to stay here. These include:
An increasing number of sanctuary jurisdictions throughout the United States, where local and state law enforcement are prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement.
Many corporations continue to exploit illegal labor to lower labor costs and pad their profits.
An increasing number of states and jurisdictions offering social welfare programs and other benefits to illegal aliens, including in-state tuition, driver’s licenses, and even COVID-19 relief funds.
A massively backlogged immigration court system.
The promise of a wide-sweeping amnesty from the incoming administration.
President-elect Joe Biden pledges to dramatically decrease immigration enforcement, remove methods of deterrence, and offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Due to these promises, FAIR projects that the illegal alien population under a Biden administration will increase dramatically. More information can be found about President-elect Biden’s plans to dramatically increase legal and illegal immigration in FAIR’s report “By the Numbers: How the Biden/Harris Immigration Platform Will Fuel a Staggering Increase of Immigrants and Population Growth.”
Difficulty in Estimating the Illegal Alien Population
Estimating the size, distribution, and characteristics of the illegal alien population is an inexact science. The methods used by those claiming to have calculated a definitive figure should be viewed skeptically due to the fact that there is no completely reliable source of information on illegal aliens. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) only (loosely) counts foreign nationals who enter and leave the United States in a lawful manner. In truth, we do not know exactly how many people cross the border unlawfully and evade immigration authorities. We can only estimate these figures based on how many individuals U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) believe slip through their detection.
Most current estimates regarding the total number of illegal aliens are based on U.S. Census Bureau data or survey data collected by private research organizations. Far too many of these studies presume that nearly all unlawful migrants respond to demographic questionnaires and that they provide accurate information to federal census agents. As people whose very presence in the United States is an ongoing violation of law, many illegal aliens understandably see no personal value in revealing any information about their legal status. Therefore, when asked about how, when, and why they entered the United States, illegal aliens have a strong motive to either lie, claiming they are lawful migrants or citizens, or refuse to respond at all.
Indeed, there are few mechanisms in place to verify the accuracy of the information respondents provide. Because of this, the Census Bureau’s weighted results from the “American Community Survey” (ACS) can vary by millions, depending on what information is requested and how questions are phrased. Because of this, it is important to not solely rely on Census-related information.
How We Reached our Estimate
To determine FAIR’s estimate of the total number of illegal aliens in the United States, we first calculated an approximate total number of all foreign-born residents currently presumed to be living here. In order to do this, we first analyzed the latest relevant information available from the Census Bureau’s 2018 ACS.
Again, it’s important to realize that the ACS does not capture the entire illegal alien population in the United States. In the past, most reputable research organizations have considered a raw calculation based on ACS data to be anywhere from 15-35 percent lower than the actual suspected total illegal alien population. This is also in line with the most recent estimates from the federal government. However, most research organizations that produce estimates of the illegal alien population are pro-mass migration, and they dishonestly purport that ACS data is fully accurate in order to create a false impression that the illegal alien population in the United States is smaller than it really is.
So, after we subtracted the total number of lawfully present migrants in the country from the total foreign-born population to reach our base illegal alien population, we assume that this total is underestimated by approximately 30 percent. We then estimated the net number of illegal aliens suspected to have entered the country since 2018. We do this by applying estimates from CBP, ICE, and other federal agencies regarding how many illegal aliens successfully enter the country balanced against how many are apprehended and deported. Finally, after combining these two numbers, we reached our estimate of 14.5 million.
Who is an Illegal Alien?
An illegal alien is anyone who:
Entered the United States without authorization, or
Anyone who unlawfully remained in the United States once their authorized time of stay expired.
It is important to define exactly who is and is not an illegal alien because many organizations deliberately misclassify some illegal aliens in a dishonest effort to portray that population as smaller than it is in reality. Many organizations and mainstream media sources incorrectly classify unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs), recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and/or those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as being lawfully present in the United States.
Such classifications are inaccurate. Individuals who have been granted any form of deferred action or who have received TPS have not been granted “lawful status.” Rather, federal immigration authorities have acknowledged their unlawful presence and have opted to defer their removal from the country temporarily. These types of limited relief from removal are subject to revocation or rescission in a wide variety of circumstances.
FAIR offers a detailed explanation of who should be considered an illegal alien in a study titled “Why ‘Illegal Alien’ is the Correct Term.”
Where Do Illegal Aliens Live in the United States?
Unsurprisingly, illegal aliens tend to live near the United States’ border with Mexico or in states with sanctuary policies that offer welcoming environments and protection from immigration enforcement. The ten states with the largest estimated illegal alien populations account for just under three-fourths (71%) of the national illegal alien total.
However, this is not to suggest that states which hold a comparatively small share of the illegal alien population are unaffected by its negative effects. In fact, as FAIR has pointed out in other studies, illegal immigration often hits these states the hardest.
The following graphics estimate how many illegal aliens reside in each state, as well an estimate for the total number of illegal aliens and their children.
 Our projection includes those illegal aliens who might receive amnesty from the Biden administration.
 Basing the total number of foreign-born residents in the United States on responses to the ACS question requesting citizenship information yields a weighted total that is more than two million individuals lower than when the estimate is based on survey questions regarding how long respondents have lived in the country.
 To estimate the total number of lawful migrants in the United States, we examined both data from the ACS and the comprehensive “Yearbook of Immigration Statistics” published annually by the DHS. This is the approach most commonly used by other reputable organizations that produce estimates on this matter. Our totals closely resemble the most commonly reached estimate of roughly 35.2 million.
 As noted earlier in this study, most professional statisticians considered 30 percent to be the most accurate assumption for how many illegal aliens are typically missed by the Census. This is also approximately the figure used by the Federal government in their most recent projections.
“I watched the Democratic leaders of Congress kneel in the halls of Congress for about 9 minutes, for the death of a black man named George Floyd.
I have never seen them kneel for a fallen *Police Officer.
I have never seen them kneel for a fallen *Soldier.
I NEVER SAW THEM KNEEL FOR THE *SOLDIERS THAT HILLARY & OBAMA LEFT TO DIE IN Benghazi!!
I have never seen them kneel for the thousands of (black and white) *babies aborted EVERY DAY.
I have never seen them kneel for a murdered *white man or woman.
I have not seen them kneel for the thousands of *black-on-black murder victims.
I have not seen them kneel for the thousands of *elderly people that died in nursing homes due to the Corona Virus.(Especially N.Y.)
I have to ask: *WHY are Democrats putting the life of George Floyd as more valuable than the lives of everyone else?
In fact, Democrats have put so much value on the life of George Floyd, they have allowed rioting, looting, arson, murder, and mayhem in communities Nationwide..
ASK YOURSELF – WHY NOW?”
The family (brothers and sister) of George Floyd opened a Go Fund Me account to “help the family”?
It has already raised $14,455,100.00 and still counting from donations as of June 22, 2020 Yes, almost $14 1/2 MILLION.
This is for a guy who was arrested NINE times; was a convicted drug dealer (and at a drug deal the day he died);held a gun to the stomach of a pregnant lady while his five buddies robbed her home; did prison time three different times totaling about eight years, and obviously didn’t learn from our penal system.
And America is memorializing him by painting murals of the guy on the sides of buildings like he’s a hero?
You got to be kidding me.
Crime does pay! ….and to pour salt in the wound, Rep. Pelosi(democrat )presented his brother a folded American flag flown over the Capitol in his honor in a beautiful tri-cornered presentation case.
The term Socialist was once downright insulting. Socialism is now not only widely accepted — but embraced, especially by Gen Z. This epidemic is the road to Communism. How did we get here? What is the antidote? @JesseKellyDC has the answers.
CPSC Warns Consumers: Stop Using the Peloton Tread+
93 Release date: April 17, 2021 Release number: 21-113
1 of 1 photos
Peloton Interactive, Inc’s Tread+ Treadmill
Urgent Warning Comes After Agency Finds One Death and Dozens of Incidents of Children Being Sucked Beneath the Tread+ (Formerly Known as the Tread)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about the danger of popular Peloton Tread+ exercise machine after multiple incidents of small children and a pet being injured beneath the machines. The Commission has found that the public health and safety requires this notice to warn the public quickly of the hazard.
The urgent warning comes less than a month after Peloton itself released news of a child’s death by a Peloton Tread+ and CPSC’s announcement of an investigation into that incident.
The agency is continuing to investigate all known incidents of injury or death related to the Peloton Tread+.
To date, CPSC is aware of 39 incidents including one death. CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death. In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately. This video demonstrates the hazard to children posed by the Tread+. [Warning, video content may be disturbing to some viewers.]It is believed that at least one incident occurred while a parent was running on the treadmill, suggesting that the hazard cannot be avoided simply by locking the device when not in use. Reports of a pet and objects being sucked beneath the Tread+ also suggest possible harm to the user if the user loses balance as a result.
What should consumers do now?
Stop using the Peloton Tread+ if there are small children or pets at home. Incidents suggest that children may be seriously injured while the Tread+ is being used by an adult, not just when a child has unsupervised access to the machine.
If consumers must continue to use the product, CPSC urges consumers to use the product only in a locked room, to prevent access to children and pets while the treadmill is in use. Keep all objects, including exercise balls and other equipment, away from the treadmill.
When not in use, unplug the Tread+ and store the safety key away from the device and out of reach of children.
Report any Peloton Tread+ incidents to CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov or to CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772.
Under section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, CPSC is required to include with this press release any comments or other information or a summary thereof. Accordingly, here is a summary of the company’s statement.
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s unilateral press release about the Peloton Tread+ treadmill is inaccurate and misleading. The Tread+ is safe for Members to use in their homes and comes with safety instructions and warnings to ensure its safe use. Like all motorized exercise equipment, the Tread+ can pose hazards if the warnings and safety instructions are not followed. The Tread+ is not for children under 16. Peloton warns Members not to let children use the Tread+ and to keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times. Any owner of a treadmill – whether made by Peloton or not – should follow these warnings, as they are included in the applicable safety standards, which the Peloton Tread+ meets.”About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission 4330 East West Highway Bethesda, MD 20814 CPSC.gov is an official website of the United States government. Contact Us: 800-638-2772 (TTY 800-638-8270) Toll Free Consumer Hotline | Time: 8 a.m. – 5.30. p.m. ET Website Feedback
As we endure a multitude of crises and injustices across the United States, the systemic failure of many of the country’s institutions has become glaringly apparent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is one of these failing institutions.
A misnomer, Wildlife Services is anything but helpful to wildlife. Instead, Wildlife Services is a federally-funded wildlife killing program that slaughters native wild animals, almost exclusively at the behest of the livestock industry.
During this time of mass extinction, the killing of over 1 million wild animals annually is not only unjustifiable, it is reckless, particularly when this slaughter involves species that are critical players in delicate ecosystems.
In 2019, alone, Wildlife Services killed approximately 62,000 coyotes, 25,000 beavers, 14,000 prairie dogs (plus 27,000 dens), as well as hundreds of wolves, cougars, bobcats, and many other keystone species that are essential for healthy ecosystems. You can see the astounding level of destruction across the American West by Wildlife Services on our new map.
There are numerous scientifically-proven, cost-effective, nonlethal options for wildlife coexistence. Moreover, nonlethal solutions like range riding and electric fencing have been proven more effective than pre-emptively gunning down thousands of coyotes from an airplane prior to grazing season. Incredibly, even though Wildlife Services has these non-lethal options available, only a small portion of its more than $100 million federal budget is restricted for non-lethal management.
Imagine this: you are eligible to serve in the military — in past wars, folks where you are from have even been drafted, made to serve in the armed forces for their country. You pay payroll, business, estate, and social security taxes. You contribute to Medicare and Medicaid. You may even pay federal income taxes if you work for the government.
You fulfill all of the responsibilities of a citizen, contributing to every facet of your country’s infrastructure. But you are not allowed to vote in its most important elections.
Sign the petition if you want to see all United States territories given the right to vote on November 3rd!
Those territories are: Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. With the exception of the Northern Mariana Islands, these territories have ‘belonged’ to the United States for over 100 years — remnants of past wars and purchases driven by aggressive colonialism, the practice of expansion with the goal of economic exploitation of other countries and military augmentation for itself.
These selfish, nationalist goals continue to be the driving force of how the U.S. treats its territories.
They contribute massively to the U.S. economy. In 2016, Puerto Rico’s federal tax contribution was just below 4 billion dollars. In the same year, Vermont and Wyoming’s federal tax came to just above 4 billion dollars. The next year, Hurricane Maria would devastate Puerto Rico. The U.S. would shockingly withhold aid, underreport death and injury on the island, and completely fail Puerto Rico as a part of the country.
These territories’ military offerings are also notable. American Samoa “has the highest rate of military participation of any U.S. state or territory.” They are also the only U.S. territory that the country has not extended citizenship to — people here are “nationals.” Sans citizenship, American Samoans still contribute to Medicaid and Medicare.
It is not hard to guess where these injustices are rooted. Colonialism laid strong seeds for racism, and they have flourished in the U.S. 98% of folks who live in these five U.S. territories are ethnic minorities. Many people in the 50 United States don’t even know that these are their fellow citizens and that these disparities exist in their rights as such.
And the U.S. government is obviously not going to jump at the chance to give people in these territories more power, as it has made it abundantly clear that racism is not an isolated problem, but rather woven into the fabric of every system in the country. Racist gerrymandering and voter suppression have been tools of the ‘democractic’ process in the U.S. since elections became something in which more people than just white men were allowed to vote.
But these territories are extremely motivated and active voters! In 2014, 61% of eligible voters in American Samoa voted in their election to decide their delegate in the House — a delegate that, it’s notable to add, does not vote. None of the delegates from any of these territories are able to vote — they have only floor privileges, as well as the ability to serve on committees. This is cold comfort for the citizens they represent. The same year that 61% of American Samoa exercised their limited right to vote, only 36.7% of U.S. citizens in the continental states showed up to vote.
It’s obvious that people in these U.S. territories care about their country. It’s about time that their country returned the favor.
This is the perfect time for full voting rights to be extended to these territories. The United States is on the precipice of possibly the most historic election in its history, and democracy is at stake. U.S. territories should have a say.
The Constitution clearly states: “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.”
Sign the petition if you want to see the people of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa given the voting rights they deserve!SHARE484TWEETEMAILEMBED
Trespassing bull on the Canyon del Buey allotment, June 12, 2020. Photo: G. Anderson/WWP
Thiessen appealed the loss of his permit all the way up to the regional director, who affirmed the District Ranger’s decision and ordered the cows off Canyon del Buey allotment by the end of August 2019. As you can probably guess, Thiessen defied this direction and his cows are still in trespass on the Gila National Forest. There’s been some legal back and forth between Theissen and the feds and that process is ongoing (more on that here soon), but there’s something else for the taxpaying public to be enraged about:
Canyon del Buey LLC was the largest recipient of Farm Bill livestock subsidies in Catron County in 2019, raking in $135,683 dollars of federal funding. Of that, $119,029 came under the “Livestock Indemnity Program” which is designated for livestock losses in excess than usual due to extreme weather or due to animals reintroduced by the federal government, i.e. wolves. It’s impossible (so far) to determine whether the Thiessens got money for extreme weather or livestock depredations, but at about $1,000K per head (see page 6 at link), that’s a whole lot of dead cows we taxpayers are paying for. (And it’s not the first time: Craig Thiessen has also received almost $400,000since he whacked Mia Tuk.)
This was in addition to the $9,550.50 Craig Thiessen got for claimed wolf depredations in 2019. Not clear which livestock were his, but as we’ve shown, many of the Catron County wolf depredation reports are a little more than fishy. At least that $9,550.50 came out of a privately-established compensation fund (the “Groves Estate”) and not taxpayer pockets, but it’s kind of offensive that someone who admitted to bludgeoning a wolf pup to death with a shovel can turn around and get money for his dead cows. It’s almost as if the game is rigged to benefit wolf-hating ranchers.
Cattlemen Tell EnviroNews Ranchers Want Mexican Wolves Killed, Despite Being Paid for Livestock Losses
14 – 17 minutes
(EnviroNews Arizona) — Parts of eastern Arizona are a conflict zone, as a 100-year war between ranchers, conservation groups, government agencies, and the endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) rages on. The rarest subspecies of gray wolf, also known as “el lobo,” is doing what wolves have always done in their native territories: they hunt and eat animals weakened by misfortune, time and nature itself. But ranchers who sell their cows, sometimes for $1200-$1500 per animal, aren’t happy when someone’s future hamburger becomes a wolf’s dinner.
Even though the government will compensate ranchers for cows killed by wolves, a new survey reveals most cattle farmers feel el lobo’s reintroduction into the area is a threat to ranching – and their livelihoods.
“[Ranchers] realize that [wolves are] there and they’re there to stay now,” Jerome Rosa, Executive Director of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, which funded the survey, told EnviroNews in a phone interview. “They just have to do the best they can to try and manage the situation and try to do what they can to be able to live, you know, cohesively. But if they had a preference, [absolutely they] would like to not have that apex predator out there.”
Back From the Brink of Extinction
When Rosa said, “out there,” he is referring to the southwestern United States – part of the Mexican wolf’s indigenous turf. Early in the 1900s when the livestock industry began booming, the federal government hired trappers to eradicate all wolves – and they were nearly successful in that task with el lobo.
“This genetically [and] morphologically unique animal came about as close to extinction as any creature can get without actually going over the brink,” Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, told EnviroNews.
And how close is “close?” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) official Stephen Guertin told a congressional subcommittee “the Mexican wolf was all but eliminated from the wild by the 1970s due to extensive predator control initiatives.” According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AGFD) website, Mexican wolves had once disappeared completely from Arizona and New Mexico.
But when the Endangered Species Act (ESA/the Act) passed in 1973, these critters finally received some appreciation. USFWS hired trappers again — this time to capture live wolves that could still be found in Mexico, in an effort to save the species from total annihilation. The agency was only able to find and capture five wild wolves; four males and one female. With time running out, USFWS took those specimens and launched a captive breeding program.
In 1998 el lobo caught a break and received an invitation to return home to the Southwest and 11 were released into the Blue Range Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Area in Arizona.
“They’re part of the natural ecosystem,” Robinson said. “They’re a beautiful, intelligent social animal that helps maintain balance, and they deserve to be there.”
Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
The USFWS’ website hails the breeding program as a victory: “Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, the howl of the Mexican wolf can once again be heard in the mountains of the southwestern United States.” Despite the agency’s victory dance, ranchers certainly were not out holding “welcome home” signs. The conflict zone reemerged — as did the wolf killings.
Money Can’t Buy Wolves Love
To help ease concerns, ranchers have been compensated for depredations since the wolves were first reintroduced in 1998 and in 2015 the State of Arizona Livestock Loss Board was formed. Ranchers can submit claims to the board for depredations when they can prove Mexican wolves most likely killed their animals. According to the agency’s most recent annual report ranchers have been paid more than $143,000 over the last few years.
But Rosa told EnviroNews these reimbursements still can’t buy the wolves love. He said the number of cattle they kill exceeds what ranchers claim as a loss:
Some [ranchers] just don’t want to deal with the red tape. They don’t want to deal with the paperwork. Or, when they find these carcasses, they’re too far gone. And remember: these cattle are out there in these vast, vast landscapes in really, really rugged terrain, and so often, when they do find a depredation, there’s nothing there to investigate. You know, there’s not enough to be able to prove it was a depredation. So, [ranchers] just don’t say anything. It’s like, “Well, you know, we took a hit on that.”
Rosa added that there’s no way for cattlemen to calculate losses for livestock that die from exhaustion and dehydration after being chased by wolves, or cows that get stressed out, thin, and don’t reproduce.
David Parsons, the wildlife biologist who led USFWS’ effort to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into the Southwest, told EnviroNews he’s heard those claims, but not the veracity of them. “Open range cattle die for many reasons other than predation or harassment by predators, such as weather extremes, disease, toxic plants, and even lightning strikes,” he refuted.
Hawk’s Nest Pack Released into Pre-Release Pen in 1998 — Photo: Dave Parsons
Parsons is now a science advisor for the conservation group Project Coyote. He said figuring out an exact cause of a cow’s death is arduous. “It would be very difficult to tease out the significance of mortality caused by predator harassment compared to all other causes of mortality.”
Natural Born Killers?
No one disputes that wolves are natural born killers. But Rosa claimed there are far more wolves out there than official counts reflect. “As the wolf populations increase, the cattle populations will decrease. I think that’s tragic,” he said.
Rosa added the more the packs grow, the more food they will need. “And unfortunately, the realism of wolves is they don’t just kill when they’re hungry. They kill for sport,” he said. “That’s what they do. You know, they are… that’s what they do. I mean, they’re killers.” But many experts dispute that and say wolves do not kill for the fun of it.
Greta Anderson — Deputy Director, Western Watersheds Project
“They kill to eat,” Greta Anderson, Deputy Director of the Western Watersheds Project told EnviroNews. “When humans find animals that have been killed by wolves but are uneaten, they should assume the carcasses haven’t been consumed yet, as animals will routinely return to kill sites and continue to feed off a carcass as long as they can.”
Regarding the numbers of wolves, federal and state officials have boots on the ground, the AGFD even pays five full-time biologists to help manage and tabulate the numbers. Currently, there’s a minimum of 76 Mexican gray wolves in the state and about 163 total in the Southwest. So, even after over two decades of “recovery” in the wild, the current number of lobos is far from the estimated 3000-4000 that roamed the U.S. in the early 1900s.
Currently, wolf tracking is done in many ways: about half the estimated population wears radio collars, others are counted on the ground, in the air, and even by conducting howl surveys where biologists listen for wolves return howls.
“I don’t think the cattle growers have a basis for contending that the numbers are substantially higher than announced,” Robinson said. “If there were significantly more wolves on the landscape than the interagency field team now contends, wouldn’t those wolves be breeding with each other, and wouldn’t their numbers grow to the point that their presences couldn’t be denied by anyone?”
Wolf Depredation Prevention
What about just deploying measures to keep wolves away from cows, so fewer end up getting eaten? According to the cattle association’s survey, some feel “spending on preventative practices can be large relative to returns.” And ranchers’ willingness to pay to avoid depredations may be an area they’ll study in the future.
Jerome Rosa — Executive Director, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association
Rosa said prevention can be challenging, expensive and more assistance is welcome, adding, “I think the ranchers would like to have all the available tools in their toolbox to be able to manage the situation.”
But in addition to reimbursements for depredations, there’s also money out there to help ranchers pay for prevention. One example: the State of Arizona Livestock Loss Board slated $110,000 to develop effective methods of preventing wolf and cattle interactions.
At present, preventative tools like tracking collars, that help to alert ranchers when wolves are in the area, are being used along with blinking lights, electric fences, and range riders. The downside, Rosa said, is that batteries burn out, and some prevention is burdensome.
“All of these non-lethal measures just work for a short period of time,” he contended. “These wolves are extremely, extremely intelligent, and they get immune to those systems, and so then you constantly have to be changing.”
Mexican Wolf With Radio Collar — Photo: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team
One solution Rosa offered is to limit the wolf population to a “manageable number” and kill problem wolves. “In areas where we’re having problems, then we need to go to lethal take on those packs,” Rosa told EnviroNews.
“You mean kill the wolves?” EnviroNews reiterated for clarity. “Yes. Yes,” Rosa asserted. And sometimes ranchers ask for just that and the federal government obliges.
Mexican Gray Wolf — Photo: KTAR Pheonix
Experts tallied reports for EnviroNews and found that since Mexican wolves were reintroduced to the Southwest the feds have killed about 21 lobos. The most common reason was for livestock depredations.
Dave Parsons Conducts Health Check on Captive-Born Mexican Wolf Pup
Conservationists insist killing this already beleaguered species is not the answer. Instead, they say regulators should require ranchers to use more preventative measures and remove the remains of dead cattle immediately, so the scent doesn’t attract predators. Furthermore, they insist there’s plenty of money out there to help ranchers outsmart even the craftiest of wolves.
“The government has asked nothing of the ranchers — at least required nothing,” Robinson continued. “They have asked nicely at times, you know, ‘Would you mind doing this?’ And sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ and sometimes the answer is ‘no.’”
Parsons claimed some wolves are being killed in “cryptic poaching” — meaning poaching that goes undetected. “Uncollared wolves killed in remote areas are rarely discovered by agency biologists, and the same is true for collared wolves when the poacher immediately disables the collar,” he added.
What’s at Stake?
Rosa told EnviroNews that if something isn’t done to curb Mexican wolf numbers, more ranchers will hang up their hats. Fewer cattle, he said, means less meat at the grocery store and more wildfires because ungrazed pastures provide fuel for flames to spread. “Killing wolves will allow [for] cattle, [and for] more people to be able to continue having cattle, out there to graze these spots,” he asserted.
Mexican Wolf — Photo: Columbus Zoo
But in addition to the many tangible issues, palpable on the ground between ranchers and conservationists, the more esoteric factor of global warming looms. Scientists say the rising trend of massive wildfires in the West is fueled in part by methane emissions from livestock and the agricultural sector at large.
Robinson told EnviroNews responsible, proactive ranchers should tap into the resources available to help keep afloat, but pulled no punches when emphasizing the free marketplace should determine the better mousetrap:
As for whether ranchers will go out of business due to depredations in the absence of wolf killing, that very much depends. Not all business ventures in the United States are destined to succeed, even when subsidized. The fact that some ranchers refuse to take measures to protect their stock would seem to make them less likely to stay in business.
Parsons agreed. “If a heavily subsidized livestock production business cannot afford to protect its primary asset (cows) by methods such as confining cows to pens for calving and hiring range riders to monitor and control their whereabouts on the landscape, then perhaps it is not a viable or appropriate business enterprise,” he said.
This Land is Not Your Land
Finally, EnviroNews asked Rosa, “Do you see the Mexican wolf as a vital part of the ecosystem? Should the species be there [at all]?” His answer: Nope. He concluded:
I don’t see it as a vital part. It wasn’t here for many, many years after they had been hunted down in the past. Now, some will say, “OK, they take care of, you know, sick animals, they’ll put them down.” They’re non-discriminatory. So, they’re not just taking [out] the weakness of a species. They take these animals down just for sport. I mean, it’s just what they do. And so, I understand, you know, the wolf advocates reasoning that they use — that they try to use. But, [it’s] not logical, and it’s not realistic. But, you know, I understand that that’s their position.
That’s something that enrages conservationists who say the wolves aren’t into sport killing and were there first. “The livestock industry has sought to transform the entire ecosystem of the Southwest… they see the wolves as the worst part of the ecosystem that they want to eliminate,” Robinson said.
Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
So, the 100-year war between ranchers, cattle, wolves, conservationists and government agencies continues. Many battles ensue, no side declares any winners, but all have the instinct to keep fighting.
OTHER GREAT REPORTS ABOUT MEXICAN WOLVES FROM ENVIRONEWS
A criminal complaint has been unsealed today, charging Zhengdong Cheng, 53, of College Station, Texas, for conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud.
Texas A&M University (TAMU) Professor Zhengdong Cheng is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon today at 10 a.m. in Houston, Texas. Authorities took him into custody Sunday, Aug. 23.
Cheng allegedly led a team conducting research for NASA. According to the criminal complaint, for several years he willfully took steps to obscure his affiliations and collaboration with a Chinese University and at least one Chinese-owned company. The terms of Cheng’s grant prohibited participation, collaboration or coordination with China, any Chinese-owned company or any Chinese University, according to the charges.
“Once again, we have witnessed the criminal consequences that can arise from undisclosed participation in the Chinese government’s talent program,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Professor Cheng allegedly made false statements to his university and to NASA regarding his affiliations with the Chinese government. The Department of Justice will continue seeking to bring participation in these talent programs to light and to expose the exploitation of our nation and our prized research institutions.”
“China is building an economy and academic institutions with bricks stolen from others all around the world,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas. “While 1.4 million foreign researchers and academics are here in the U.S. for the right reasons, the Chinese Talents Program exploits our open and free universities. These conflicts must be disclosed, and we will hold those accountable when such conflict violates the law.”
“As alleged, Zhengdong Cheng knowingly deceived NASA officials about his association with Chinese owned companies and universities, willingly accepted U.S. government funding, and defrauded his university,” said Assistant Director Alan Kohler, Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing those individuals who try and undercut our U.S. research institutions and government agencies by concealing their participation in Chinese talent recruitment programs and to hold them accountable for their actions.”
“NASA’s funding restrictions are in place to protect taxpayer-financed research dollars and intellectual property,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Zielinski, NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) – Eastern Field Office. “We will continue pursue anyone who attempts to circumvent these guidelines and conceal affiliations with Chinese institutions and companies in order to obtain NASA grant money.”
“Dr. Cheng is accused of hiding his affiliation with the Guangdong University of Technology, along with other foreign universities, while disregarding the rules established under his NASA contract during his employment at TAMU,” said FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner. “These alleged actions came to light through the tireless work of the FBI-Bryan Resident Agency and NASA-OIG investigative teams. We are grateful to TAMU, TAMU System and TAMU Engineering Experiment Station for providing significant assistance through their partnership with us throughout this case.”
The charges allege Cheng and TAMU received funds based on Cheng knowingly providing false information to TAMU and consequently to NASA. In addition to the funds, Cheng personally benefited from his affiliation with TAMU and NASA with increased access to unique NASA resources, such as the International Space Station, according to the complaint. This access allegedly allowed Cheng to further his standing in China at Guangdong University of Technology and other universities. The charges further allege he held senior research positions there unknown to TAMU and NASA and was able to serve in the People’s Republic of China Talents program. China’s Talents Plans are allegedly designed to attract, recruit and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.
The FBI-Bryan Resident Agency and NASA-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with the assistance of TAMU. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and S. Mark McIntyre are prosecuting the case with the assistance of trial attorney Matthew McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
In July, the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, announced having a dog as a pet would be against the law. Stating that pets are a symbol of capitalist ‘decadence,’ dogs in Pyongyang are being confiscated and being sent to either restaurants or zoos for meat to solve the nation’s food shortages.
According to the Daily Mail, dog meat has continued to be a delicacy on the Korean Peninsula, and even though there has been a downturn with younger people, there are still one million dogs raised on farms for human consumption.
“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” a source from South Korea’s Chosun IIbo newspaper stated.
Pet owners have little choice even though there have been reports of “cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back.” Anyone refusing to give up their dog could be viewed as an act of defiance by Jong-un, who commonly refers to himself as the Supreme Dignity.
In 1989, pets were encouraged in North Korea and used as a symbol of economic development, sophistication and wealthy families could be seen walking their dogs on state run television programs. In 2018, Kim Jong-un gifted the South Korean president two home grown hunting dogs presenting them as “peace puppies.” Those obviously were the lucky pups.
North Korea now faces a widespread food shortage – 60% of the population of 25.5 million people are included.
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The U.S. has agreed with Canada and Mexico to extend land border restrictions on non-essential travel into September amid continued fears about the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Friday. “Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21.”
The U.S. announced in March that it had agreed with its two neighbors to close its land borders to the north and south to all but essential travel as part of a broad range of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The agreement has been extended a number of times and was due to expire on Aug. 21.
“We already told the United States that we’re of the idea that it’s extended because of what we have along the strip on their side,” Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday, referring to a rise in cases near the U.S. border.
Essential cross-border workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still allowed to cross along the border. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.
Americans who are returning to the U.S. are exempted from the closure at the U.S.-Canada border.
It is one of a number of travel-related restrictions that countries have taken in order to curb the spread of the virus. In the U.S., President Trump barred nationals from China, Iran, Brazil, the European Union and the U.K. from coming into the U.S.
The administration has also taken further action on illegal immigration and asylum-seekers, taking measures to quickly return them back to their home countries with minimal, if any, time in detention.
By Chris Comer, Ph.D., SCIF Director of Conservation
Many readers may have seen in the news reports that the Botswana Democratic Party and President Mokgweetsi Masisi were declared the winners of general elections in Botswana recently. Some may have even clicked through and read the story but most probably do not realize the significance of this event for sustainable use and community livelihoods in southern Africa.
Prior to 2014, Botswana was among the premier destinations in Africa for both photographic and hunting safaris with healthy populations of elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, and many species of plains game. In fact, Botswana currently hosts the largest elephant population in the world with over 130,000 elephants (about 30% of the continental elephant population) according to a 2016 IUCN report. They also had a well-developed system of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) that allowed local communities and rural Batswana to benefit from their abundant wildlife resources. However, in 2013 then-president Ian Khama placed a moratorium on all hunting on state land, including by Batswana. Hunting on private game ranches continued because land tenure is privately owned. Like any such policy, the reasons for and politics surrounding the ban were complex; however, the impacts of the ban on Botswana’s wildlife, habitats, and people are quite clear (Effects of the Safari Hunting Tourism Ban on Rural Livelihoods and Wildlife Conservation in Northern Botswana, Joseph E. Mbaiwa). While the phototourism industry in the country has grown in key photographic areas (e.g., the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site), these benefits have not reached many rural communities, who live in marginal areas where photographic tourism is either very low, or not commercially viable. Elevated conflicts with wildlife—especially elephants, lions, and leopards—have profoundly affected those people. Damage to crops and property is widespread and recent years have seen increases in livestock and even human loss of life. The recently completed documentary Voices from the Frontline details many of these issues. Not surprisingly, with no income available from wildlife and few legal means to prevent damage to their livelihoods, illegal and retaliatory killing of wildlife is on the rise. SCIF conservation staff were fortunate enough to attend a meeting of community leaders in Gaborone in August and hear these concerns first-hand.
President Masisi became president in April 2018 and in May 2019 announced the intention of his government to lift the moratorium on hunting on state land for elephant and buffalo in the country. Predictably, this elicited condemnation from animal rights groups that urged the president to prioritize Western values over the needs of his country and his people. These included calls for boycotts of the lucrative phototourism industry in Botswana, potentially putting further pressure on livelihoods in rural areas. In addition to lifting the hunting ban, efforts are underway to reestablish the CBNRM system and allow rural communities to benefit from their natural resources. So far, the president has resisted pressure to maintain the hunting ban but his presidency was not certain until the results of the October general election. With the recently announced results, His Excellency President Masisi will be in office for at least five years, giving him the mandate to continue working to benefit Botswana and rural communities through sustainable use of their wildlife. Safari Club International and SCI Foundation have met with President Masisi and the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism to express our support for Botswana in these efforts. We will welcome a delegation from Botswana that includes Ministry representatives, the Botswana Wildlife Management Association, and CBRNM organizations to our upcoming African Wildlife Consultative Forum in November. Of course, the hunter-conservationists of SCI benefit from increased international hunting opportunities that come with the lifting of the hunting moratorium. More importantly, the people of Botswana will have a means to manage their wildlife and fully benefit from their abundant natural resources. Finally, conservation will benefit from sustainable use in Botswana like it does in the other countries of southern and eastern Africa.
The United States filed two civil forfeiture complaints today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Louisville, Kentucky, and Dallas, Texas, both acquired using funds misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office made the announcement.
The complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. The two obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered, and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine. The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States. As alleged in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with more fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.
As alleged in the Complaints, in the United States, associates of Kolomoisky and Bogoliubov, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, operating out of offices in Miami, created a web of entities, usually under some variation of the name “Optima,” to further launder the misappropriated funds and invest them. They purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including the properties subject to forfeiture: the Louisville office tower known as PNC Plaza, and the Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom Headquarters. The buildings have a combined value of approximately $70 million.
A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
FBI’s Cleveland Division is investigating the case with support from FBI’s International Corruption Unit, IRS Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. International Unit Chief Mary K. Butler, Senior Trial Attorney Michael C. Olmsted, Trial Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Peter Steciuk, and Law Clerk Robert Blaney of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rosen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the cases. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs has provided substantial assistance in the investigation.
The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to email@example.com (link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.
The horrendous vandalism of New York City’s historical St. Patrick’s Cathedral will see no justice. Thank goodness, the perpetrator was caught and arrested. A 26-year-old man from Queens, Yadir Avila Rosas was taken into custody during the early hours of Saturday morning, the NYPD told The New York Post.
Police charged Rosas “with criminal mischief in the third degree and making graffiti, alleging that he was the ‘getaway driver’ for two women who tagged the famous house of worship with spray-painted slogans on May 30” reported The Post.
Unfortunately, the District Attorney decided an arraignment on Saturday was unnecessary. Despite the DA’s lack of action, cops are still looking for the two female suspects who used Rosas as their getaway. Photos have been released and the NYPD is asking the public for help. If anyone has knowledge about the two women, they are asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
The famous Cathedral was sprayed with the words “F*** F***” in red letters on one exterior wall and “BLM” for Black Lives Matter along with “NYPDK” for “No Justice No Peace.” The victim’s name, George Floyd, was also spray-painted in black letters on part of its stairs.
If the District Attorney declines to prosecute Rosas, will the same be done after the female suspects are found? Is the hard work of the police and helpful public simply going to be flushed down the toilet by the District Attorney? It’s just another example of the uphill battle police departments in liberal cities face; leaders who thwart them, not support them.
A tale of 2 places in the same county: One, preparing to reopen tomorrow in yellow. Another that can't until the county goes green. How business owners are gearing up to bring in customers, even as popular tourist destinations in Hershey stay shut down. @fox43 at 4 and 5! pic.twitter.com/aUnHDNG1Tf
Governor Wolf says, he will disapprove the resolution. The General Assembly would need a 2/3 majority to override the governor’s disapproval Author: Chelsea Koerbler (FOX43) Published: 5:15 PM EDT May 28, 2020
HARRISBURG, Pa. — There are two resolutions moving through the state house in their respective senate and house chambers. Both resolutions would do the same thing, terminate the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration issued by Governor Wolf on March 6th.
Republicans, State Rep. Russ Diamond, and State Sen. Doug Mastriano, are sponsors of the resolutions. Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code defines the Governor’s authority to declare a disaster emergency but, the general assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Governor Wolf says, he has the power to disapprove the resolution and intends to exercise that power if it does pass with a majority vote. null
“I don’t see by a constitutional democratic perspective why this would make any sense,” said Gov. Wolf. “I do have the power to disapprove and I intend to.”
Sen. Mastriano says, the resolutions would need a two-thirds majority to override Governor Wolf’s disapproval and get the resolution to take effect. Assuming all republicans vote in favor of the resolution, 26 democrats in the house, and six democrats in the senate would need to support it.
“It takes the unilateral power out of the governor’s hand and places it back in the hands of the general assembly,” said Sen. Mastriano. By terminating the declaration, it would get rid of the red, yellow and green phases, and allow Pennsylvanians to make their own decisions on what they feel comfortable doing. “The goal is we take the power out of the governor’s hands and put it back in the people’s hand so they can decide if they want to open up and how to open up and if they do it safely or just go back to normal operations.”
Governor Wolf says, by ending the emergency disaster declaration, the state would lose $1.5 billion dollars in FEMA funding. However, Sen. Mastriano says, the Trump Administration has assured him, the state would not lose that money if these resolutions took effect.
The emergency disaster declaration is set to expire June 4th. Within his powers as Governor, Wolf can either let it expire or extend it. The governor does intend to renew the emergency disaster declaration. His office tells FOX43: null
“The governor’s COVID-19 proclamation not only allows the commonwealth to more quickly procure much-needed resources to assist county emergency management and support our medical professionals and first responders, it makes us eligible for federal reimbursement for associated costs under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. We are still very much in need of federal funding in order to respond to and recover from this pandemic.”https://d-979871345335546688.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html
By Scott W. Atlas, John R. Birge, Ralph L Keeney and Alexander Lipton, Opinion Contributors — 05/25/20 08:00 AM EDT 886 The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill 12,263
Our governmental COVID-19 mitigation policy of broad societal lockdown focuses on containing the spread of the disease at all costs, instead of “flattening the curve” and preventing hospital overcrowding. Although well-intentioned, the lockdown was imposed without consideration of its consequences beyond those directly from the pandemic.
The policies have created the greatest global economic disruption in history, with trillions of dollars of lost economic output. These financial losses have been falsely portrayed as purely economic. To the contrary, using numerous National Institutes of Health Public Access publications, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and various actuarial tables, we calculate that these policies will cause devastating non-economic consequences that will total millions of accumulated years of life lost in the United States, far beyond what the virus itself has caused.
Pandemics have afflicted humankind throughout history. They devastated the Roman and Byzantine empires, Medieval Europe, China and India, and they continue to the present day despite medical progress. null
The past century has witnessed three pandemics with at least 100,000 U.S. fatalities: The “Spanish Flu,” 1918-1919, with between 20 million and 50 million fatalities worldwide, including 675,000 in the U.S.; the “Asian Flu,” 1957-1958, with about 1.1 million deaths worldwide, 116,000 of those in the U.S.; and the “Hong Kong Flu,” 1968-1972, with about 1 million people worldwide, including 100,000 in the U.S. So far, the current pandemic has produced almost 100,000 U.S. deaths, but the reaction of a near-complete economic shutdown is unprecedented.
The lost economic output in the U.S. alone is estimated to be 5 percent of GDP, or $1.1 trillion for every month of the economic shutdown. This lost income results in lost lives as the stresses of unemploymentand providing basic needs increase the incidence of suicide, alcohol or drug abuse, and stress-induced illnesses. These effects are particularly severe on the lower-income populace, as they are more likely to lose their jobs, and mortality rates are much higher for lower-income individuals.
Statistically, every $10 million to $24 million lost in U.S. incomes results in one additional death. One portion of this effect is through unemployment, which leads to an average increase in mortality of at least 60 percent. That translates into 7,200 lives lost per month among the 36 million newly unemployed Americans, over 40 percent of whom are not expected to regain their jobs. In addition, many small business owners are near financial collapse, creating lost wealth that results in mortality increases of 50 percent. With an average estimate of one additional lost life per $17 million income loss, that would translate to 65,000 lives lost in the U.S. for each month because of the economic shutdown.
In addition to lives lost because of lost income, lives also are lost due to delayed or foregone health care imposed by the shutdown and the fear it creates among patients. From personal communications with neurosurgery colleagues, about half of their patients have not appeared for treatment of disease which, left untreated, risks brain hemorrhage, paralysis or death.
Here are the examples of missed health care on which we base our calculations: Emergency stroke evaluations are down 40 percent. Of the 650,000 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in the United States, an estimated half are missing their treatments. Of the 150,000 new cancer cases typically discovered each month in the U.S., most – as elsewhere in the world – are not being diagnosed, and two-thirds to three-fourths of routine cancer screenings are not happening because of shutdown policies and fear among the population. Nearly 85 percent fewer living-donor transplants are occurring now, compared to the same period last year. In addition, more than half of childhood vaccinations are not being performed, setting up the potential of a massive future health disaster.
The implications of treatment delays for situations other than COVID-19 result in 8,000 U.S. deaths per month of the shutdown, or about 120,000 years of remaining life. Missed strokes contribute an additional loss of 100,000 years of life for each month; late cancer diagnoses lose 250,000 years of remaining life for each month; missing living-donor transplants, another 5,000 years of life per month — and, if even 10 percent of vaccinations are not done, the result is an additional 24,000 years of life lost each month.
These unintended consequences of missed health care amount to more than 500,000 lost years of life per month, not including all the other known skipped care.
If we only consider unemployment-related fatalities from the economic shutdown, that would total at least an additional 7,200 lives per month. Assuming these deaths occur proportionally across the ages of current U.S. mortality data, and equally among men and women, this amounts to more than 200,000 lost years of life for each month of the economic shutdown.
In comparison, COVID-19 fatalities have fallen disproportionately on the elderly, particularly in nursing homes, and those with co-morbidities. Based on the expected remaining lifetimes of these COVID-19 patients, and given that 40 percent of deaths are in nursing homes, the disease has been responsible for 800,000 lost years of life so far. Considering only the losses of life from missed health care and unemployment due solely to the lockdown policy, we conservatively estimate that the national lockdown is responsible for at least 700,000 lost years of life every month, or about 1.5 million so far — already far surpassing the COVID-19 total.
Policymakers combatting the effects of COVID-19 must recognize and consider the full impact of their decisions. They need to be aware of the devastating effects in terms of lost life from shutting down significant parts of the economy. The belated acknowledgement by policy leaders of irreparable harms from the lockdown is not nearly enough. They need to emphatically and widely inform the public of these serious consequences and reassure them of their concern for all human life by strongly articulating the rationale for reopening society. https://ebd4fc279229bb5cc4164421271babeb.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
To end the loss of life from the economic lockdown, businesses as well as K-12 schools, public transportation, parks and beaches should smartly reopen with enhanced hygiene and science-based protection warnings for any in the high-risk population. For most of the country, that reopening should occur now, without any unnecessary fear-based restrictions, many of which repeat the error of disregarding the evidence. By following a thoughtful analysis that finally recognizes all available actions and their consequences, we can save millions of years of American life.
When the next pandemic inevitably arises, we need to remember these lessons and follow policies that consider the lives of all Americans from the outset.
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Even as unemployment benefits paid since March 15th tops $10 billion, some folks haven’t been paid and have been waiting weeks for an answer as to why Author: Chelsea Koerbler (FOX43) Published: 5:40 PM EDT May 26, 2020
As Pennsylvania has paid more than $10 billion in unemployment since March 15th, it is still taking days, and sometimes weeks for people to get in contact with unemployment to iron out any issues with their claims.
Many claimants are faced with busy tones when calling the Dept. of L&I or a message saying their email may take 49 days to get answered. The Dept. of L&I has been working to ensure quicker response times. It has added hundred of employees since March15th, and yet, some people are still waiting days, if not weeks to get answers about their claims. null
The department offers these tips if you have questions:
Email first. That puts you in a line to get your question answered.
Try the online chat function. The department has continued to add more staff to the online chat function. Many of the employees hired by L&I are working the chat.
If you need to call, your best bet is to call later in the week.
“i would say keep trying,” said Susan Dickinson, Department of Labor and Industry Office of Unemployment Benefits Policy Director. “I know some claimants that have gotten through in the last two weeks and others say they haven’t gotten through at all.”
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard