Crime Surges As Arrests Drop In Baltimore Post-Riots, Mayor Frustrated…

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Voting for Democrats has consequences.

Via FOX News

Crime is rising in Baltimore, and some law enforcement experts suspect an anti-cop climate stemming from the racially charged case of Freddie Gray is at least partly responsible.

Homicides in 2015 so far stand at 100, up from 71 for the same period last year, and on pace to be the Charm City’s deadliest year since 2007. Nonfatal shootings are up 70 percent this year, following a particularly violent week that saw 19 people shot on Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Thursday. “It is disheartening, but I am still resolved to continue to reduce violent crime in our city.”

The current year was already trending the wrong way before the April 12 incident in which Gray suffered fatal injuries wile in police custody. Six Baltimore police officers were indicted Thursday in the case, which sparked protests that degenerated into rioting and looting last month.

Critics have suggested that the city’s police force, bitter at what they see as a lack of support from Rawlings-Blake and other city leaders, may be implementing a slowdown. Other say the cops can’t be blamed if they are hesitant to police aggressively in the face of a hostile community.

“Regarding the crime increase in the western district, this is certainly a contentious time in our city and we believe there is a criminal element taking advantage of the situation, Gene Ryan, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 in Baltimore said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “Police are not responsible for the systemic issues of poverty that have plagued our communities. There has been a lot of finger pointing and the weight is heavy on our officers’ shoulders.”

Rawlings-Blake said Baltimore has faced crime spikes in the past and managed to reverse them. She said she was “confident” that the police department would do so again.

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NSA Winds Down Phone Spying Program

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Via AP:

The National Security Agency has begun wnding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration at the end of the month.

Barring an 11th hour compromise when the Senate returns to session May 31, a much-debated provision of the Patriot Act — and some other lesser known surveillance tools — will sunset at midnight that day.

The change also would have a major impact on the FBI, which uses the Patriot Act and the other provisions to gather records in investigations of suspected spies and terrorists.

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Reporter To Harf: Are You Clinton Campaign ‘Surrogate Spokespeople’ When Defending Her Private Emails?

Live from DC, it’s Harf!

Via WFB

Fox News reporter James Rosen asked State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Friday if she and others, after months of answering questions about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account and related issues to that conduct, felt like “surrogate spokespeople” for her presidential campaign.

“I wonder if it’s been a concern for you and your other colleagues who do these press briefings at the podium, that in having to answer for Secretary of State Clinton’s conduct with respect to her private emails, the deletion of some of those emails, that you and your colleagues are, in effect, being forced to serve as surrogate spokespeople for the Clinton campaign?” Rosen asked. “Is that a concern for you?”

Harf insisted that was not the case, saying it was their job to “defend former Secretaries of State.”

“I cetainly don’t feel that way, James,” Harf said. “We take it very seriously here that we defend former Secretaries of State, their policies certainly. That is completely independent from any political campaign that may or may not be going on.”

Matt Lee teased her that she was referring to all former Secretaries of State like William Seward, leading her to clarify she meant those within the Obama administration.

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Protesters Try To Storm Justice Center In Cleveland After Brelo Verdict

VA Must Find Millions To Finish Behind Schedule Denver Hospital…

WORKERS WALK AWAY FROM VA HOSPITAL

Instead of building a Taj Mahal of waiting lists, start providing medical care.

Via KSWO

Construction crews are returning to work at the veterans hospital outside Denver after a last-minute deal with congressional leaders avoided a shutdown of the half-finished project.

But the really heavy lifting will be done 1,500 miles away in Washington.

The U.S. Senate agreed Friday to raise the project’s spending cap by $100 million, enough to continue work for three weeks. The House approved the measure Thursday.

Congress and the Veterans Affairs Department still must find up to $830 million to finish the vastly over-budget hospital without taking services away from veterans elsewhere and possibly scale back the project.

“Much hard work remains to be done,” Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said after the Senate acted.

The VA also must convince skeptical lawmakers that it’s serious about punishing those responsible for the problems and making internal changes to avoid a repeat.

“They’ve been offering us crumbs of reform,” said Tyler Sandberg, a spokesman for Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. “We want the whole loaf.”

The hospital in suburban Aurora is expected to cost $1.73 billion, nearly three times the estimate the VA gave last year. The VA said Monday that it was nearing the $800 million spending cap Congress put on the project and work would have to stop next week if Congress didn’t act.

Contractor Kiewit-Turner said winding down the work and then cranking it up again would add up to $200 million to the cost.

The deal approved this week doesn’t give the VA any additional money but allows it to spend funds it has on hand.

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The Long History Between The Clintons And The Sultan Of Brunei (Including $58,000 In Jewelry To Hillary While Sec Of State)…

Dead broke…

Via FreeBeacon:

In words spoken from the Sultan of Brunei’s lavish Empire Hotel in 2000, President Bill Clinton told reporters that his post-presidency would be about making money: “Now I have a United States senator to support, I understand that’s an expensive proposition.”

Clinton traveled to Brunei with his daughter, Chelsea, for an economic summit that was also attended by leaders such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Jiang Zemin, then China’s president.

The sultan, known in Brunei as His Majesty Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, put on an exhibition of luxury for his summit guests. Four hundred ninety three new cars were purchased to transport the various dignitaries around town.

Perhaps the abundance of wealth had an effect on Clinton, who according to New York Times reporters also in Brunei, “made a strong case for his need to start producing some serious revenue flow.”

Forging a relationship with the Sultan of Brunei would aid him in that goal.

The government of Brunei contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2002, which said that the donation went toward the construction of the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas.

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Former Sudanese Slave Hunger-Striking At The White House Until Obama Does Something To Stop Genocide In South Sudan…

He isn’t as popular as the ditch-sleeping Cindy Sheehan with the media.

Hunger Strike

Via Washington Examiner

Four million are starving to death and a genocide is taking place in South Sudan — but President Obama has not acted, nor has he heeded former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s advice, so a hunger strike in front of the White House is the only option left, said human rights activist and former child slave Simon Deng.

“Nothing is being done,” said Deng, eyes welling up with tears.

“People are being bombarded by the Ugandan air force … and the world said absolutely nothing.”

“70,000 Southern Sudanese perish … 2 million are refugees and 1 million more [fled] to Northern Sudan,” continued Deng, citing United Nations figures that 4 million South Sudanese are starving to death.

The U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) office estimates as many as 5.8 million South Sudanese had “food insecurity” in September 2014 and the number was projected to grow to 6.4 million this year.

South Sudan gained its independence in 2011 but has been rocked with brutal conflict since December 2013. The warring sides have exhibited horrific violence against civilians.

“There is a Rwanda genocide taking place … in Southern Sudan now,” said Deng. “And we’re not even following it, because there’s not a single camera there on the ground to bring the footage.”

“Shame on us if [we] don’t listen and don’t pay attention,” he said.

“I’m calling on the United States President Barack Obama to be a peace broker between the [warring] Southern Sudanese, to take a lead and be the one to broker the peace between the two [warring parties] who are now slaughtering themselves,” said Deng.

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Same-Sex Marriage Approved In Ireland

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Fairly monumental for mostly Catholic Ireland.

Via Yahoo:

Gay couples flocked to central Dublin to celebrate a “historic watershed” on Saturday as a large majority in the traditionally Catholic country voted to allow same-sex marriage, the culmination of a four-decade struggle for gay rights.

Waving rainbow flags, embracing and crying, two thousand people gathered to watch the official results in the courtyard of Dublin Castle after voters, young and old, accounted for one of the highest turnouts in a referendum for decades.

“The amount of people who came out to vote is just such an emotional thing for us,” said Fred Schelbaum, 48, standing with his civil partner Feargal Scott, 43, who he said he intended to marry.

“Up to now a lot of gay people felt they were tolerated in Ireland. Now we know that it’s much more than that.”a

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Future President Hillary Clinton Rules Out Return Of Boots On The Ground In Iraq…

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Lee Lord

She had no comment on the mission accomplished withdrawal from Iraq.

Via Yahoo News

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton says U.S. ground forces should not be sent back to Iraq.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Friday, the former secretary of state appeared to be definitive on that subject.

She said she sees “no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back” — other than in their current limited capacity as trainers and advisers.

Iraqi setbacks in the fight against Islamic State militants have intensified questions about whether U.S. forces should be doing more there.

But Clinton says the existing policy of providing U.S. air support, intelligence, surveillance and training should not be changed.

The struggle, she says, has to be fought and won by the Iraqis.

Potential Riots In Cleveland After Police Officer Found Not Guilty Of Voluntary Manslaughter…

Cleveland shooting

Time for the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch to make an appearance and appease the masses.

Via Cleveland Com

A judge ruled Saturday morning that Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 29, 2012 police chase and shooting that ended in the deaths of two people.

Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell said that while Brelo did fire lethal shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, other officers did as well.

O’Donnell also concluded that Brelo was not guilty of the lesser included offense of felonious assault because he was legally justified in his use of deadly force.

Brelo, 31, was one of more than 100 police officers to participate in a 22-minute police chase, and one of 13 who shot at a 1979 Chevy Malibu. The shooting ended in the deaths of the driver, Timothy Russell and the passenger, Malissa Williams.

Prosecutors argued throughout Brelo’s month-long trial that when other officers stopped firing, Brelo jumped onto the Malibu’s hood and shot straight down at Russell and Williams. Those actions, they argued, were unreasonable and went well past his duties as a police officer.

But defense attorneys said Brelo had reason to fear for his life, and was justified in his use of deadly force because he and other officers believed that Russell and Williams had a gun and had fired shots. They also argued that if the 12 other police officers who fired shots were justified in their use of force, so was Brelo.

Five police supervisors who were either directly involved in the chase or supervised it to some extent have been charged with dereliction of duty. A date for that trial has not been set yet.

UN Envoy: ISIS Poised To Become ‘Serious Threat’ In Libya

ISISTANK

Via Yahoo:

The United Nations envoy on Libya says that Islamic State extremists can “become a very serious threat” in the country within months if rival governments fail to reach a unity deal.

Bernadino Leon told a regional conference of the World Economic Forum on Saturday that the IS presence in Libya has grown in recent months from small groups to more than 2,000 loyalists.

Keep reading…

Iran Puts Boots On The Ground In Iraqi Fight For Key Oil Refinery…

Ramadi

Part of the coalition formed by Imam Kerry.

Via News OK

Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from Islamic State militants, contributing small numbers of troops — including some operating artillery and other heavy weapons — in support of advancing Iraqi ground forces, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

Two U.S. defense officials said Iranian forces have taken a significant offensive role in the Beiji operation in recent days, in conjunction with Iraqi Shiite militia. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One official said Iranians are operating artillery, 122mm rocket systems and surveillance and reconnaissance drones to help the Iraqi counteroffensive.

The Iranian role was not mentioned in a new U.S. military statement asserting that Iraqi security forces, with U.S. help, had managed to establish a land route into the Beiji refinery compound. The statement Friday by the U.S. military headquarters in Kuwait said Iraqis have begun reinforcing and resupplying forces isolated inside the refinery compound.

Iran’s role in Iraq is a major complicating factor for the Obama administration as it searches for the most effective approach to countering the Islamic State group. U.S. officials have said they do not oppose contributions from Iran-supported Iraqi Shiite militias as long as they operate under the command and control of the Iraqi government.

Friday’s U.S. military statement quoted Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley as saying that over the past three days Iraqi security forces and federal police have made “steady, measured progress” in regaining some areas leading to the Beiji refinery compound, in the face of suicide vehicle-borne bombs and rocket attacks. Weidley, chief of staff of the U.S.-led military headquarters in Kuwait, recently described the oil refinery as a “key infrastructure and critical crossroads.”

The U.S. statement said Iraqis, enabled by the U.S. and its coalition partners, have “successfully cleared and established a ground route” into the refinery to resupply Iraqi troops. It listed U.S. and coalition contributions as including airstrikes, reconnaissance and the use of “advise and assist elements.”

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ISIS Claims Deadly Saudi Mosque Attack

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CAIRO – The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia, warning that more “black days” loom ahead in a direct challenge to the rulers of the Sunni kingdom.

Friday’s attack was the kingdom’s deadliest militant assault since a 2004 Al Qaeda attack on foreign worker compounds, which sparked a massive Saudi security force crackdown.

However, this Islamic State attack in the village of al-Qudeeh in the eastern Qatif region targeted Shiites, whom ultraconservatives in Saudi Arabia regularly denounce as heretics.

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Senate Fails To Move Forward To Renew Or Reform Patriot Act

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Via The Hill:

The Senate failed to move forward on legislation to reform the National Security Agency or renew the Patriot Act early on Saturday morning, making it almost a sure bet that portions of the Patriot Act expire at the end of the month.

After a frenzied series of votes that were repeatedly knocked down, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ordered lawmakers to return home for the Memorial Day weekend and return at noon on May 31 for a rare Sunday session and “one more opportunity to act responsibly.”

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Guy On Hoverboard Flies 1000 Feet Across Lake

Very cool, McFly!

Via Engadget:

No, this isn’t some guerilla marketing campaign for Back to the Future’s upcoming pseudo-anniversary. It’s a world record-setting flight by Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru aboard a homebrew hoverboard. He recently piloted this prototype nearly 1000 feet across a Quebec lake to set the record.

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NYC Demands Sharpton’s Daughter Preserve Incriminating Hiking Pictures

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Busted!

Via NY Post:

City lawyers warned Dominique Sharpton not to delete Instagram photos like this one atop an Indonesian mountain — where she trekked while claiming in a lawsuit that she has “permanent” ­injuries.

The city Law Department sent Rev. Al’s daughter a letter telling her to preserve all of the damning evidence that she posted on her ­social-media accounts.

The warning comes after The Post revealed that Dominique Sharpton has been globe-trotting despite her May 7 suit that says she will never fully recover from a sprained ankle she suffered on an uneven Soho street.

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WSJ Reporter To Hillary: “Hill, Can I Ride On Your Lap To The White House?”

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Gross!

Via Daily Caller:

An e-mail FOIA batch released by the State Department Friday included a bizarre transcript of an October 2012 interview that Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley had with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The source of the email and transcript, State Department Communications Director Caroline Adler, commented, “This will be exciting when it’s FOIA’d…but will give you a sense of the interaction.”

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HT: RidesAPaleHorse_01

School Apologizes For Banning Jesus

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Complete disregard for the law.

Via Fox News:

UPDATE: Somerset Academy issued a formal written apology to 12-year-old Mackenzie Fraiser late Friday for denying her the right to use a Bible verse in a class assignment.

School officials have now agreed to allow the sixth-grader to resubmit her original project, this time with her favorite Bible verse — John 3:16 — included.

Original Story:
Mackenzie Fraiser is 12-years-old. She’s a sixth grader at Somerset Academy, a charter school in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Mackenzie is also a Christian.

In February, she was instructed by her technology teacher to create a PowerPoint demonstration about her life. One of the requirements was to include a slide with an inspirational message.

So Mackenzie decided to use a Bible verse – specifically John 3:16. That familiar passage reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

But the teacher had a problem with Mackenzie’s inspirational message. She explained to the class that none of the students would be allowed to use any Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon.

The message was clear – you cannot be inspired by religion.

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Hillary Passed Along Article Blaming #Benghazi Attack On Youtube Video Made By ‘Rightwing Extremist’

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So here’s Hillary, responsible for letting Americans be killed in an Islamic terrorist attack, she’s not only blaming the video, but trying to blame it on ‘rightwing Islamophobes’.

The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three US diplomats were killed in attacks and rioting provoked by an obscure, low-budget anti-Muslim film called “The Innocence of Muslims.” The producer of the film is a real estate developer supposedly named “Sam Bacile”who claims to be an Israeli Jew. Bacile told the AP the film was made with $5 million raised from “100 Jewish donors.” He said he was motivated to help his native country, Israel, by exposing the evils of Islam.

While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.

Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.

US Assistant Secretary Of State Pressing Israel To Lose Its Nukes And Make The Middle East A Nuke Free Zone…

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Bizarro world.

Via Israel National News

Assistant US Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, recently visited Israel and held talks with senior Foreign Ministry officials, about the possibility of making the Middle East nuclear-free.

Washington seeks to advance the idea after reaching agreement with Russia about the matter.

The State Department confirmed Countryman’s visit and sources in the US Administration said that Israeli agreement to the idea would be a catalyst for bringing additional countries into discussions on the matter.

The Americans have been attempting to convene an international conference on the subject for some time, without success. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the idea with pessimism, and said it was “a very tough challenge.”

The Foreign Ministry did not want to respond to the report about Countryman’s visit and told Arutz Sheva that “the subject is a sensitive one, we will not talk about it.”

HT: Getaclue