Thomas Mathieu, a 70-year-old living in San Antonio, Texas, describes himself as “a gentle person,” which is why he is so confused about an encounter with police officers in January who beat him up, sending him to the hospital with injuries.
Dashboard camera footage of the incident was recently obtained by WOAI-TV. The cops might have initially thought Mathieu was intoxicated at the time, but he was actually suffering a diabetic episode.
The news station, which explained that Mathieu is the family member of one of its anchors, stopped his car in the turning lane of an interstate road when he started feeling that he had low blood sugar. He didn’t want to go further, fearing he could harm others if the episode got out of control.
After that, Mathieu doesn’t remember what happened.
“I woke up with my face in the ground,” Mathieu told WOAI.
Officers responding to the scene found Mathieu with his head on the car’s steering wheel. When Mathieu, who said he was unconscious at this point, did not exit the vehicle as the cops repeatedly asked him to do, one punched him. WOAI reported that in the police report, this officer defended his actions, saying he thought Mathieu was reaching for a gear that would allow him to drive off, potentially endangering others.
Mathieu was later dragged from the car. Officers, who at one point threatened to shoot Mathieu with a Taser, asked him how much he had to drink. Mathieu said that he had nothing.
Five minutes after the encounter began, one of the officers asked Mathieu if he was a diabetic. Watch the WOAI-TV’s report of the incident:
This is not the first time cops and diabetics have had misunderstandings while an episode is occurring, which is why the American Diabetes Association advocates for the legal rights of diabetics in such cases and pushes for more education in police forces.
Mathieu was hospitalized after the January 13 encounter with cuts, bruises and three broken ribs. He later developed pneumonia, but it’s unclear if this illness was associated with the cops’ actions.
Bill McManus, chief of the San Antonio Police Department, told WOAI that the incident was investigated internally, but it was determined that the officers acted appropriately. He also noted that San Antonio officers are trained to recognize diabetic episodes, but their first priority in this instance was getting the subject out of the car first.
(H/T: Liberty Crier)
Corey Shroeder served in the Army for more than six years, with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
When he was elected to the University of Wyoming’s student government in May, he quickly noticed something missing — while the student government rules allow for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of meetings, the pledge wasn’t being said.
Shroeder brought the issue to the attention of the student government vice president Ricardo Lind-Gonzales, who told him, Shroeder said, that saying the pledge was a sensitive issue that could offend UW’s international students.
“Multiple senators sat me down and said it was a ‘very touchy subject’ and ‘we don’t want to offend anybody,’” Shroeder told Campus Reform.
Shroeder was instructed to draft a bill if he wants the option of reciting the pledge at the beginning of meetings — a “long process” prospect, he said, that would likely be delayed by the school’s “liberal standing committee.”
After the original article was published Tuesday, Lind-Gonzales responded to Campus Reform, saying that “[t]he pledge was not left off the agenda due to being seen as offensive” and that “[Shroeder] was in no way banned from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.”
According to Lind-Gonzales, the pledge’s absence from student government meetings is merely a function of “rules and procedures” — in other words, no one’s bothered to put it on the agenda.
Shroeder did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.
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Palestinians continue to celebrate the abduction of three Israeli teenagers, now posting photos of themselves and their small children posing with their hands raised in a three-fingered salute modeled after the one made popular by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
In the latest twist on the originally four-fingered hand gesture, the three fingers raised are meant to symbolize the three kidnapped Israelis, Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frankel, 16, who is a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen.
Images have been posted in Arabic social and official media outlets including those showing children posing giddily in response to the abductions. Here are a few examples:
Israel Radio’s Palestinian affairs correspondent Gal Berger shared this photo which he described as children in the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria, showing what they think of the three kidnapped Israelis, “or more likely how they were told to be photographed.”
3 חטופים: ילדים במחנה הפליטים הפלס' ירמוכ בדמשק מסמנים באצבעות מה הם חושבים על כך. או קרוב לוודאי איך אמרו להם להצטלם pic.twitter.com/tqdMbyrINV
— Gal Berger (@galberger) June 17, 2014
The photo of this birthday cake reportedly baked in Gaza has been widely shared on social media:
The original hand gesture, known also as “R4BIA” was seen widely last summer in Egypt after violent demonstrations left scores of Muslim Brotherhood supporters dead.
Six days into the massive Israeli manhunt for the high school students, Palestinians and Arabs in neighboring countries have been soliciting photos using the three-finger pose.
The Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office compiled some of the images, including one which makes reference to former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was released from Hamas captivity after more than five years in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Though there has been no public statement made or communication of demands from the kidnappers, many Palestinians believe the objective of the kidnappers is to ultimately exchange the boys for Palestinian convicts serving in Israeli jails.
Within hours of news emerging that the teenagers had been kidnapped, Palestinians began handing out sweets and pastries to celebrate what they consider to be a victory over Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the boys were kidnapped by the terrorist group Hamas. On Monday, Netanyahu urged the public to be patient, because the search was proving “complicated” and would likely take more time.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported that the social media campaign “has spread quickly across the West Bank” with contributions from Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries as well.
A Twitter user with the handle “AmericanInTelAviv” responded to the Palestinian social media campaign with a one-finger salute:
The ban is not total, however.
As the AFP reported, prior to Wednesday’s vote by Japan’s upper house of parliament, the Asian country had banned the production and distribution of child pornography, but mere possession wasn’t a crime.
Now, persons who “possesses child pornography for the purpose of satisfying his/her sexual interest” face up to one year in prison or a one million yen ($9,800) fine.
“In a sense child porn is supplied because there are buyers,” Japanese law professor Hiroshi Nakasatomi told the AFP. “Producers will be dealt a severe blow” as crackdowns commence on consumers.
However, the legislation contains a major loophole: while it bans the possession of photographs or video of real children under 18 years of age, digitally-created images and drawings are exempt from the ban.
Nakasatomi said global trends are encompassing drawings in child pornography bans, and that it is “wrong to assume there are no victims” in anime or manga presentations of child pornography, since pedophiles may use these images to fuel and later act out fantasies.
Before Wednesday, Japan was the only member of the G7 that did not have a ban on child pornography possession.
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Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will likely face questions Wednesday about a massive mortgage holder database his agency helps run and how closely the agency is working with the Justice Department.
Cordray is testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, where he could again face unanswered questions about the national mortgage database – which contains information that can be shared with law enforcement — and whether the bureau is working with the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.
As TheBlaze previously reported, Operation Choke Point is a program that targets the banks handling the accounts of payday lenders, gun stores along with porn shops among other businesses deemed as high risk by the Justice Department.
Congressional Republicans have raised privacy and security questions about the database, which is maintained by the CFPB and by the Federal Housing Finance Authority. The database information can also be used for law enforcement purposes, according to Investors Business Daily.
The federal registry states: “Where there is an indication of a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the appropriate agency, whether federal, state, local, tribal, foreign or a financial regulatory organization, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and other law enforcement and government entities, as determined by FHFA to be appropriate and that are charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing a statute, or rule, regulation or order issued pursuant thereto.”
In a letter last month to Cordray and to Federal Housing Finance Authority Director Melvin Watts, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and ranking committee member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), sought more information about the database.
“Our principal concern is that the [federal registry] notice proposes to vastly expand the scope of FHFA’s data collection … to include a mortgage borrower’s Social Security number, financial account numbers, address, zip code, telephone number, race, religion, marital status, language spoken, education, military record, employment, presence of children by various age categories, deceased indicator, financial, and life events in the last few years, bankruptcy information, other assets/wealth, and performance data on all credit lines (i.e., credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and other loans reported to credit bureaus) of the mortgage borrower and all those associated with mortgage,” the letter said.
“Moreover, the FHFA and CFPB have already publicly indicated that borrowers do not have the opportunity or the right to opt out of the database,” the letter continued.
The CFPB did not respond to inquiries from TheBlaze Tuesday.
“This database is comparable to the NSA,” John Berlau, senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told TheBlaze. “The whole program is an abuse. It’s inconsistent for liberals to be upset about the NSA and not about this.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is suing to have the CFPB declared unconstitutional, in part because it is not accountable to Congress.
“Is the DOJ accessing the database and violating Americas right to financial privacy? Berlau said. “It could be used to aid Operation Choke Point.”
In 2011, the Obama administration ordered federal regulators to increase scrutiny of banks and their customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation instructed financial institutions to carefully monitor customers who rely on payment processors such as PayPal. These reportedly include porn stores, gun shops and drug paraphernalia shops, classified by the government as “high risk.”
Crapo questioned Cordray about the CFPB’s involvement with Operation Choke Point during a Senate Banking Committee hearing last week.
“I think the CFPB has a job to do as a law enforcement agency to police illegal lending whether it’s online or in person and much of what we’re talking about here is online,” Cordray responded. “The further issue that has been raised: What about illegal lending that operates by piggybacking on the existing payment banking system? That’s not something the banks like. It’s not a risk they want to be exposed to.”
Crapo followed up, “Does this mean you are participating with Operation Choke Point?”
“I’m not sure what you mean by participating,” Cordray responded. “I think the agencies have all tried to discuss what is the appropriate to know your customer.”
The FDIC urged banks to reassess their relationships with “high risk” merchants. This was part of the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point, a campaign to probe credit card fraud and payment processors.
“Many of those non-bank lenders if they’re operating illegally – and this is one of the enforcement actions I described in my opening remarks – need to be addressed, and that is what I said in my opening remarks,” Cordray continued during his Senate testimony. “Let me say this, it’s about whether the activity is legal or illegal. It shouldn’t be about whether it’s disfavored or favored.”
Crapo pressed further, and Cordray said, “I have not given advice to the Department of Justice on this.”
After 16 months, Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teen in the middle of a tense custody case between a Massachusetts department and her parents, is thankful to be going home.
In a video posted to the “A Miracle for Justina” Facebook page Tuesday evening, the 16-year-old expressed her heartfelt thanks.
“I’m just so happy to be home. Thank you for everyone for letting me go home,” Justina said in the video. “I’m so excited. I can’t believe it’s happened.”
Watch the video in the Facebook post:
While posted as a “thank you from Justina” on Facebook after juvenile court Judge Joseph Johnston made his decision Tuesday, it is unclear when exactly the video was taken — the teen was at home with her family for a Father’s Day visit Sunday — but her sentiments regarding the decision to return custody to her parents likely are the same as that reflected in her video. Mat Staver with Liberty Counsel, a firm helping the Pelletier family from a legal standpoint, told TheBlaze after the decision that Justina was “beside herself with excitement.”
Johnston wrote in his ruling that as of Wednesday “custody of Justina is returned to her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.”
“I find that the parties have shown by credible evidence that circumstances have changed since the adjudication on Dec. 20, 2012,” Johnston wrote, according to the Boston Globe.
In late 2013, Justina’s parents brought her to Boston Children’s Hospital after she was suffering complications with the flu. Prior to this, the teen had been diagnosed and treated by a physician at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease, a disease that affects the function of the cell’s mitochondria. At Boston Children’s Hospital though, the Pelletiers say they were told by doctors Justina had somatoform disorder, a psychiatric disorder, instead. When the Pelletiers disagreed with the treatment plan set forth by these doctors and tried to discharge Justina to take her elsewhere, they were accused of medical child abuse and lost custody of their daughter to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.
Staver with Liberty Counsel would not confirm to TheBlaze whether further legal action would be taken by the Pelletiers, but said “there is a real strong desire by everyone involved, even the community, to make sure the people responsible are held accountable.”
“We don’t want other families to have to experience what the Pelletier family has gone through in the last 16 months,” he said.
After Justina was moved from a facility in Massachusetts to her home state of Connecticut earlier this year and DCF formed a reunification plan, which included several things her parents needed to do, the tone of the case began to change. For months prior, court meetings ended with the Pelletier family angry and frustrated, but last month Justina was thrown a surprise 16th birthday party, which was attended by her family and friends. She was also able to have more visits with her family during this time frame.
Justina went home to West Hartford, Connecticut, Wednesday.
— Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) June 18, 2014
— Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) June 18, 2014
This story has been updated.
Military chaplains provide spiritual support for religious members of the armed forces, though nonbelieving soldiers currently have no official representation in the chaplaincy. But despite their overall rejection of a higher power, some atheists and humanists are fighting to see secular leaders join the ranks.
The debate over humanist and atheist chaplains has been raging for years, most recently heating up after the Navy rejected a request by Jason Heap, a religion teacher and former youth minister, to become a humanist chaplain.
The military did not provide an explanation as to why they wouldn’t allow the designation, with Heap, 39, and others responding by asking the Navy chaplain’s office to overturn the rejection, the Washington Post reported.
Openly Secular, a group recently formed by atheists and “freethinkers” in an effort to target perceived discrimination in public venues, is supporting Heap, with the group’s chair, millionaire atheist Todd Stiefel, penning a letter to Rear Adm. Mark Tidd of the U.S. Navy chaplains’ office.
“As you know well, military chaplains advise on far more than faith and spiritual issues; they handle moral and ethical dilemmas, and enhance morale and unit cohesion,” Stiefel wrote. “If a service member needs bereavement leave to attend a funeral of a loved one at home, the chaplain is the point of contact.”
He continued, “Nonreligious service members face the same questions about life and death, fear and loss as any other person in the military.”
TheBlaze began covering arguments for an atheist and humanist chaplaincy in 2011. At that time, Jason Torpy, head of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, advanced similar arguments, noting that humanists didn’t simply want chaplains so that they can lambaste God. Instead, he said these leaders could provide insight on the secular values they embrace.
“We’re not just coming in saying we want someone to wander around talking about how much God doesn’t exist,” he told the Kansas City Star. “We talk about humanist values, humanist community, how we understand the world.”
Last summer, Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey offered up a failed amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed nontheist chaplains to join the armed forces.
“The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist,” Andrews’ chaplain amendment reads.
Opposition from Christian advocates has generally centered upon the fact that chaplains have traditionally been people of faith who have guided soldiers in spiritual matters. An atheist chaplain, these activists have argued, is an oxymoron, though at least one Christian leader has posited that a secular chaplaincy could possibly benefit believers.
Wallace Henley, senior associate pastor at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, wrote an op-ed past year for the Christian Post saying that, by allowing non-believing chaplains, atheists open themselves up to a scenario and label they may end up regretting.
“Allowing atheist chaplains recognizes atheism as a religion and would make atheists subject to the same legal restrictions they have gleefully placed on every other religion,” the Baptist pastor wrote.
The American Humanist Association defines humanism as “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
What do you think? Should the military allow atheist and humanist chaplains? Take the poll:
(H/T: Washington Post)
Front page image via Shutterstock.com
An adventurous 12-year-old Ohio boy may have got more than he bargained for over the weekend when he stumbled upon a terrifying scene while exploring an abandoned house.
Authorities said the child found a mummified corpse hanging in the cupboard of a Dayton home on Sunday, CNN reported. The corpse appeared to have been there for five years.
Ken Betz, the director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s office, said neighbors had assumed the home was vacant before the boy made the discovery. The front door was covered with citations for an overgrown yard, and no one was ever seen leaving or entering the home.
“This is kind of like the perfect storm in the sense that neighbors were unaware, he just purchased the home, he was a street guy,” Betz said.
But inside was the body of Edward Brunton, 53, hanging by the neck. Authorities believe his death was a suicide, the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin reported.
“I’ve been around a long time, but this is the first time we’ve had (a mummified body) indoors for that many years,” Betz said.
The boy’s mother was also stunned by the discovery.
“My son came home and said he had gone into an abandoned house and he found a body. And I said, ‘Wait, what?” his mother Michelle McGrath told WHIO-TV.
As soon as she went to investigate, she knew her son wasn’t exaggerating. She then dialed 911.
“When I crossed the threshold of the room, is when I smelled it,” McGrath said.
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BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri inmate has been put to death for killing two St. Louis County women in 1996, marking the state’s fifth execution this year.
John Winfield was executed Wednesday by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m., a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety said.
Winfield took four or five deep breaths as the drug was injected, puffed his cheeks twice and then fell silent, all in a matter of a few seconds.
His execution at the state prison in Bonne Terre came shortly after convicted killer Marcus Wellons was put to death in Georgia. Wellons’ was the first execution in the nation since a botched execution on April 29 in Oklahoma raised new concerns about lethal injection.
Another convicted killer, John Ruthell Henry, is scheduled to die later Wednesday in Florida.
Winfield shot his ex-girlfriend, who was the mother of two of his children, in the head, leaving her blind. He shot and killed two of her friends.
An Ohio man was ticketed last week for advising drivers to turn away from a DUI checkpoint by displaying a sign warning them that there was one setup ahead.
“Checkpoint Ahead! Turn Away!” Doug Odolecki’s sign read.
The 43-year-old, who helps run a website aimed at exposing supposed cases of police abuse, stood at an intersection with his sign.
“I go anywhere Greater Cleveland calls,” Odolecki, who captured his run-in with police last Friday on camera, told WJW-TV
“You’re gonna be cited,” one officer warned him, asking him to stop advising drivers to turn around.
Odolecki, who told WJW he doesn’t support drunk driving and is just protesting against what he thinks is an abuse of power, didn’t give in to the officer’s demands.
“It is a Nazi-esque style checkpoint. It is a papers-please type checkpoint. These guys are not out there for your safety or anything like that, so if you think that, think again,” he said.
Officers said the sign was okay, but objected to the “turn now” phrase, contending it obstructed official police business, WJW reported. The man was eventually given a citation.
“Our sobriety checkpoint is all about educating the public,” an officer claims on the video. “And we need them to come through the checkpoint to educate them.”
Odolecki told WJW he plans to fight the citation and eventually return to the streets to continue warning drivers.
“You’re supposed to be protected against illegal searches and seizures. You’re supposed to be protected against just being harassed and stopped every time the police see you,” he said.
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Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.
JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia inmate convicted of rape and murder has become the first person to be executed in the U.S. since the botched lethal injection of a prisoner in Oklahoma in April.
Fifty-nine-year-old Marcus Wellons was executed by injection Tuesday night after last-minute appeals were denied. A corrections spokesman says he was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m., more than an hour after the procedure began. The execution seemed to go smoothly with no noticeable complications.
Georgia prisons spokeswoman says execution of Marcus Wellons began at 10:41 p.m. He was declared dead at 11:56 p.m.
— Alan Blinder (@alanblinder) June 18, 2014
Media witnesses said they saw no abnormalities in the execution of Marcus Wellons, except for a guard fainting.
— Alan Blinder (@alanblinder) June 18, 2014
Wellons was convicted and sentenced to die in 1993 for the 1989 death of his 15-year-old neighbor, India Roberts, a high school sophomore from the Atlanta suburbs.
Authorities say Wellons raped and strangled the teen. Roberts’ body was found in a wooded area near the apartment building.
Georgia uses one drug — the sedative pentobarbital — for executions. Oklahoma uses three.
It began looking like an easy out — it ended looking anything but.
After a routine fly ball was hit to left field Tuesday night, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes settled in at the spot he thought the ball was going to land.
Only problem? His estimation was way off.
Gomes’ teammate Brock Holt, however, knew exactly where the ball was going to fall, sprinting all the way from center field to dive in and make the play.
“Wow,” one of the sportscasters said.
“My goodness,” echoed another.
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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say 17 soldiers have been killed in an accidental explosion at an armory in central China.
The official Xinhua News Agency says the blast ripped through the building as the soldiers were stacking explosives inside Tuesday afternoon. Xinhua says the cause of the blast is under investigation.
Hengyang is in the central province of Hunan. A Hengyang city policewoman surnamed Xiao confirmed the accident on Wednesday and said no civilians were injured.
China’s military operates with a high degree of secrecy and information about explosions, plane crashes and other accidents is usually tightly controlled.
While the explosion was called an accident, Chinese security forces have come under attack in recent years from Islamic extremists fighting for independence for the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s maritime agency says a wooden boat carrying 97 Indonesians has capsized off the country’s west coast, with 66 people still missing.
An official with the agency says the boat was believed to have sank while trying to leave Malaysia illegally to take home the Indonesians ahead of the start of the Muslim fasting month.
The official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Wednesday that 31 people have been rescued so far.
No reason was immediately given for the accident.
A Reddit user who is apparently an overnight UPS worker claims to have found an absolutely terrifying-looking insect while at work. He shared a photo of the creature on Tuesday and it quickly began spreading across the Internet.
Before you claim a hoax, the insect was quickly identified by Reddit sleuths. The creature appears to be a male Corydalus cornutus, also known as the eastern dobsonfly.
The large insect is found in eastern North America and are among the top invertebrate predators in the streams where they generally live. The eastern dobsonfly are also apparently used by anglers as bait.
Hillary Clinton was repeatedly pressed Tuesday by Greta Van Susteren, with the Fox News host repeatedly telling the former Secretary of State that the U.S. Constitution mandates the federal government have a warrant to spy on Americans.
“Madam Secretary, you’re a lawyer, President Obama is a lawyer, I’m a lawyer and NSA spying on Americans violates the Fourth Amendment. It couldn’t be plainer. If you want to spy on Americans you get a warrant,” Van Susteren said. “What do you think about that?”
“Well, I think that we’re finally taking stock of the laws that we passed after 9/11. I voted for some and I voted against some,” Clinton, who has not determined whether she’ll run for president in 2016, answered. “And people are saying, ‘Wait a minute. We did all of this in an emergency, in a hurry because we were, you know, understandably worried and scared, and now we need to take a step back and figure out how we make sure that the balance between liberty and security is absolutely right for America.’”
That answer did not appear to quell Van Susteren.
“When you go out and seize Americans’ stuff, you have to have a warrant,” she told Clinton. “And the NSA was seizing Americans’ stuff — no warrant. And there are two options — either amend the Constitution or you get a warrant. That wasn’t done. So what should the American people think?”
Clinton responded by noting that laws were passed post-9/11 that gave the government a “very broad authority” which was “endorsed by executives in two administrations.”
“And I think what has happened is people have said, ‘Okay, the emergency is over and we want to get back to regular order. We want to make sure that we’re not being spied on, that our privacy is not being violated — so we want you to keep us safe, we want you to protect us, but we don’t want Americans to be in any way fearful of their own government’s actions,’” she said.
“I don’t think any American wants to be unsafe,” Van Susteren countered. “And I think every American wants to give the authority to the government to seize things constitutionally.”
“The problem is we have this funny little thing called the Fourth Amendment and it’s actually quite plain,” she continued. “And I know everyone on Capitol Hill is trying to scurry and say that we’ve got these laws and I hear you too. But the fact is that the Fourth Amendment is plain and says you need a warrant.”
“The problem is we have this funny little thing called the Fourth Amendment and it’s actually quite plain.”
Clinton moved to cite work being conducted by Congress to reign in some of the federal government’s authority.
“Well, I think what you’re going to find with the laws that are now being amended and passed — one was just passed in the House — that the Congress is trying to square Americans’ Constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment and the necessity for information that can be connected to terrorist activity here at home or abroad,” she said. “It’s a really difficult balancing act, but you’re a 100% right that we have to make some changes in order to secure that privacy, that Constitutional right to privacy, that Americans are due.”
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Former CIA analyst Buck Sexton on Tuesday broke down the “worst case scenario” that could result from the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now controls large swaths of territory and is threatening to overtake Baghdad.
“The worst case scenario here for Iraq, for the region, and quite honestly for the world, is that this turns into a Sunni-Shia civil war that brings in all the Middle East countries of the region, backing their preferred side,” Sexton, TheBlaze’s national security adviser, remarked. “This turns into a giant proxy battlefield. And if that happens, oil markets, all those who think this doesn’t affect us — it’ll put the globe into turmoil.”
Sexton said civil war is an “absolute” possibility, and noted that militant Islamists in Iraq used the same “playbook” in 2006 and 2007.
“They got pulled back from the brink by 160,000 U.S. troops,” he noted. “We don’t have that there anymore.”
Beck asked Sexton to comment on President Obama’s decision to send in 275 troops to provide support and security for U.S. personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, asking whether the order could be a “death sentence” for those individuals if Baghdad does fall.
Sexton responded: “If they’re not able to keep the U.S. presence in the embassy in Baghdad, the whole country’s going down. That would essentially be … the point at which we recognize that this has gone far beyond our control.”
But Sexton expressed some optimism that the U.S. will retain control of the embassy.
“That embassy is a fortress,” he said. “It cost nearly a billion dollars. It was designed specifically to withstand indirect fire from mortars, from rockets. It also is blast protected, so it can’t be easily destroyed by say, a massive car or truck bomb, which of course is what Iraq is known for these days. So there’s a lot that they can do to batten down the hatches, so to speak. And these troops are auxiliary to what’s already in place. But if the embassy goes, the country is gone. It’s all over.”
Sexton said it is also likely that the 275 sent in are evacuation specialists capable of putting down cover fire and rapidly loading helicopters in case the embassy staff does need to evacuate.
“But in the case of Iraq, it’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re going to [evacuate] the embassy,’” Sexton added. “It would be, ‘We’re [evacuating] the embassy under duress because [of] an invading Al Qaeda army, or an all-out Sunni-Shia civil war has broken out. So even with all the precautions they have in place, this could quickly become an incredibly dangerous situation.”
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The U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday evening the charges filed against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, one of the suspected perpetrators of the deadly 2012 Benghazi terror attacks who was captured by U.S. forces over the weekend.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 17, 2014
Khatallah will face charges for killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and dangerous weapon and attempting and conspiring to do the same, providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death and Discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“Khatallah will now face justice in an American courtroom,” U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia said. “We remain committed to holding accountable all of those responsible for the murders of those brave U.S. citizens who were serving our country in Libya.”
The lead charge is a death-elgible offense, the DOJ said in a release.
“Our nation’s memory is long, and our reach is far,” Attorney General Eric Holder echoed. “The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah represents a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure justice is served for the heinous and cowardly attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
Khatallah is thought to be currently en route to the U.S. to face the charges.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Barack Obama promised in a statement that Khattala will “face the full weight of the American justice system.”
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McALLEN, TEXAS – Armed Mexican military troops and Mexican law enforcement officials have crossed the United States border more than 300 times since 2004, according to a written response from the Department of Homeland Security to a California congressman. The offenders have reportedly never been prosecuted for crossing illegally with loaded weapons.
House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said that DHS confirmed on Tuesday that 152 of these incidents involved a total of 525 armed subjects. Hunter has been fighting for the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in a Mexican prison for more than two months since he crossed into Mexico through the San Ysidro Border in San Diego after he allegedly took a wrong turn.
“In light of the incarceration of Andrew Tahmooressi, who is still in Mexican custody, I asked DHS to provide data specifically on Mexican military and law enforcement incursions,” said Rep. Hunter in a press release. “DHS states that the number of incursions is ‘relatively few,’ but that is a misrepresentation of the frequency of these occurrences, which Mexico invites through its activities along the international border.”
Hunter said there “is a clear lack of consistency among DHS in handling these incidents, especially in cases of unauthorized incursions with armed authorities.”
In fact, a 2006 DHS map obtained by this reporter revealed that the Mexican military had crossed into the United States 216 times from 1996 to 2006. One of the maps had the seal of the president’s National Drug Control Policy.
U.S. officials, Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officials working along the border claim that some of the incursions are not accidental, but that members of the Mexican military are being paid by the drug cartels to aide in the movement of narcotics and contraband across the border.
“We’ve had Mexican military cross our border here in the Rio Grande Valley sector,” said a Border Patrol agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the agent was not authorized to speak on the matter. “It’s not always by accident, sometimes we just process them and send them back — other times they just return on their own.”
Hunter said in Tahmooressi’s case, Mexico has “shown its intolerance for the same action that its police and military initiated hundreds of times in the last several years alone.”
Tahmoorhessi had been seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in San Diego and was traveling with all of his belongings in his car, including his firearms. TheBlaze was the first to report on the 911 call made by Tahmoorhessi when Mexican border police began to surround his car at the crossing in San Ysidro. The Marine was meritoriously promoted to sergeant on the battlefield in Afghanistan and had survived several attacks while serving in combat.
“It’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its treatment of the incidents and send a direct message to Mexico that incursions won’t be tolerated along the international border,” Hunter added.
According to documentation provided by the DHS, there have been 81 armed encounters, of which a total of 131 subjects were detained.
“While the number of unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities is relatively few, it is imperative for our officer safety to handle each situation assertively but with sensitivity and professionalism,” the DHS told Hunter.
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A New York couple cleaning out an apartment Monday received a startling surprise when they discovered what was hidden inside the sofa.
According to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a 3-foot-long python was discovered underneath the cushions of an apartment the couple was set to move into.
“You can imagine how shocking it was,” SPCA spokesman Roy Gross told CNN. “You’re not expecting to find a snake there.”
SPCA officials took the nonvenomous python into custody.
Investigators later determine the snake belonged to former tenant and was supposed to be taken care of by the upstairs tenant when it got loose, WNBC-TV reported.
Officials added that ball pythons are legal to own and no charges have been filed. The python has since been adopted by another family, according to CNN.
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DAMATURU, Nigeria (AP) — Witnesses say a suicide bomber in tricycle taxi triggered an explosion that blasted a World Cup viewing center in northeast Nigeria, killing several people.
Hospital workers say the death toll likely will rise with 15 people critically wounded and casualties still coming in at Damaturu, state capital of Yobe state.
Boko Haram Islamic extremists have targeted football viewing centers and sports bars in recent weeks, killing at least 40 people in two blasts in northern cities.
Witnesses said the tricycle taxi was driven into the outdoor area soon after the Brazil-Mexico match started Wednesday night. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Nigeria’s military has promised increased security but appears incapable of halting a stream of attacks by extremists holding more than 250 schoolgirls hostage.
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Speaking at a CNN town hall event Tuesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton argued a “ban” on semi-automatic rifles — or so-called “assault rifles” — as well as high-capacity magazines would help reduce gun violence in the United States.
“What’s been happening with these school shootings should cause everybody to just think hard,” she said. “I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shooting at Sandy Hook and now we’ve had more in the time since.”
Clinton, thought to be a likely 2016 presidential candidate, then made a glaring error when making an emotional plea to promote gun control.
She said she couldn’t understand how an individual could walk into a school with an “automatic weapon” and “murder innocent children, students, teachers.” In fact, automatic weapons are highly regulated and very difficult to acquire. It is likely the former first lady was actually referring to semi-automatic weapons.
She referred to “automatic weapons” for a second time later during the town hall, saying they can do more damage than ever before. There have been two homicides committed with legally owned fully automatic weapons since 1934, according to GunCite.com.
“I will speak out no matter what role I find myself in,” Clinton added. “We cannot let a minority of people… hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
The former secretary of state also personally addressed the mother of one of the Americans killed in Benghazi during a CNN town hall event on Tuesday, saying she can “totally relate to her as a mother or to any of the family members of the four Americans who were killed that night.”
“I can see why she and others are inconsolable,” she said.
Clinton was referring to Patricia Smith, the mother of slain American diplomat Sean Smith. Smith has criticized Clinton and the Obama administration for telling what she believes isn’t the whole truth. She also questioned why it took nearly two years for the administration to capture a suspect who wasn’t even in hiding.
Her appearance came hours after the Obama administration announced the capture of a Libyan militant suspected in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton said the capture showed the U.S. has an “an unwavering commitment to bring to justice” those who commit acts of terror against the U.S.
Republicans have criticized Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. GOP officials have accused the Obama administration of stonewalling congressional investigators and misleading the public about the nature of the attack in the weeks before the presidential election.
Clinton said during the forum that she was “still looking for answers because it was a confusing and difficult time.”
She also expressed caution about the United States working with Iran to combat fast-moving Islamic insurgents in Iraq, saying the U.S. needs to understand “what we’re getting ourselves into.”
The U.S. and Iran have held an initial discussion about how the longtime foes might cooperate to address the threat from the al-Qaida-linked militants that have swept through Iraq. The former secretary of state said at a CNN town hall meeting that any partnerships with third parties such as Iran would need to be “carefully thought through.”
“I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now, until we have a better idea what we’re getting ourselves into,” said the former secretary of state.
Clinton spoke during an hourlong forum to promote her new book, “Hard Choices,” about her four years as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Clinton is the leading Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 if she decides to run for president again.
U.S. and Iranian officials have both raised concerns about the swift advance of radical Islamist forces in Iraq and officials from the two countries met here briefly Monday. The White House, however, has ruled out the possibility that Washington and Tehran might coordinate military operations in Iraq.
Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.
TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government has approved a proposed pipeline to the Pacific Coast that would allow Canada’s oil to be shipped to Asia.
The approval was expected. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a staunch supporter of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline after the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Enbridge’s pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China.
There is fierce environmental and aboriginal opposition to the project and legal challenges are expected. Opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential disaster on the pristine Pacific coast.
Wine fans should check their cupboards and racks for one particular brand that has caused quite a mess in some Pennsylvania stores.
The bottles may spontaneously explode in your home.
Following several reports of full wine bottles exploding unexpectedly, consumers are being asked to carefully dispose of any unopened bottles of Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013 (code 33283), 750 ml.
Consumers are instructed to handle the bottle delicately and should not attempt to return the bottle to the store, but dispose of it as soon as possible. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says full bottles of wine exploded in several of its retail stores, according to the Morning Call.
“Consumers should use caution when handling this product,” Joseph E. Brion, Liquor Control Board Chairman, said. “While we have not had any reports from consumers who may have been affected, we want to take every precaution in order to avoid a safety issue.”
Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013, a Chairman’s Selection wine, was sold for $12.99 in approximately 180 stores starting in early June. Brion said the agency has not received any reports from consumers whose bottles exploded, but consumers will be eligible for refunds.
It has been removed from all state stores, and the liquor control board is working with the vendor to determine the cause of the exploding bottles.
Sparkling wine can sometimes go through a “second fermentation” process inside the bottle, but typically bottles are constructed to withstand the 5-6 atmospheres of pressure created by the CO2, without exploding.
“The reason sparkling wine bottles are thicker than regular wine bottles is because they must withstand the pressure of the carbon-dioxide produced in the second fermentation which can reach 90 pounds per square inch,” Wine Magazine explains.
In case the idea of an exploding bottle of wine doesn’t seem like cause for such concern, just check out the damage this couple found after waking up the mess their spontaneous wine explosion caused. And be sure to check out the shards of glass stuck in the wall at 1:12 ; that definitely could have caused a flesh wound. Or worse.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.
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A Florida man who heard a strange noise emitting from his pickup truck cut open the bed of his vehicle to investigate last month — and got quite the stunning surprise when he came face-to-face with the root cause.
“I said, ‘Oh Lord, what am I going to do,’” Errand Frazier, 50, told CNN.
After repeatedly hearing a purring sound from his truck over a period of a few days, the 50-year-old took out some sheet metal cutters and peeled back metal on the side of his truck bed.
As he looked inside, he saw a kitten.
“I seen this little rascal peeking at me,” Frazier told CNN. “I said, ‘What in the world? You hitched a ride!’”
Unable to reach the kitten, Frazier sought advice from the Human Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County. They advised him to carefully drive to their shelter, avoiding high speeds and bumps.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, there’s a kitten that hitchhiked from my home and I can’t get it,”" Frazier told CNN. “She said, ‘Man, you did a job on your truck.’”
It was a team rescue involving a few individuals, but ultimately they were able to rescue the 8-week-old kitten from the truck. A week later, the shelter invited Frazier in for a reunion. It purred in his arms.
“It was almost telling me, ‘Thank you for saving my life,’” he told CNN.
After the story was covered in the media, a fund was established to help Frazier and his wife, Cindy, pay for the repairs to the truck. It has since raised enough money and donations are now going to a special fund to help other animals.
“We really never expected all of this, to be honest, but God does blessings every day,” Cindy Frazier told CNN. “That’s the reason that little kitten just showed up here — because God knew we would do whatever we needed to do to make sure that kitten was safe.”
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