Today’s News: December 17, 2019

World News

Police use tear gas against French pension reform protesters in Paris

RT – Protests against controversial French pension reforms have escalated into clashes between demonstrators and police in Paris. Protesters pelted police with projectiles, while officers responded with tear gas and baton charges.

Over 350,000 people took to the streets of the French capital on Tuesday to protest the planned pension reforms, according to figures provided by the CGT trade union. The demonstration promptly became heated, escalating into clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

Footage from the scene shows crowds engulfed in thick plumes of tear gas, while riot police repeatedly charge the demonstrators with batons drawn.

UN Demands Countries Take More Migrants

DW – The UN has described rising numbers of people fleeing their homes, saying more must be done to “shoulder this responsibility.” Germany has been dubbed a “front-runner in refugee protection” for its multilayered approach.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged governments to rise to the task of protecting refugees across the globe amid a growing number of people fleeing their homes for safety.

“At this time of turbulence, the international community must do far more to shoulder this responsibility together,” Guterres said at the start of the two-day Global Refugee Forum. “It is a moment to build a more equitable response to refugee crises through a sharing of responsibility.”

‘Reboot system’

The forum is hoping to draw commitments from governments, businesses and organizations to take bold measures and bolster assistance for refugees.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called for a “reboot” of the current system, which has effectively kept the vast majority of refugees across the globe in poor and developing countries.

“As a new decade dawns with some 71 million uprooted from their homes globally, inside and outside their countries, it’s time to reboot our responses,” Grandi said.

Erdogan wants 1mn refugees to be resettled in Syria ‘very soon’

RT – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Tuesday for the resettlement of 1 million Syrian refugees in their homeland in “a very short period of time.” Turkey hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population worldwide.

Erdogan said more than 600,000 should voluntarily join around 371,000 already in a “peace zone” in northern Syria from which Turkey drove Kurdish militia.

“We need to find a formula that will allow the refugees to remain in their homelands and the ones who have already traveled to Turkey to be peacefully returned and resettled in their homelands,” he said at the Global Forum on Refugees in Geneva.

Taking a thinly veiled swipe at the US, the Turkish president said: “Unfortunately the efforts that were spared to protect the oil fields were not mobilized for the safety and security of the children in Syria,” Reuters reports.

North American Union? Canada Now Allows US Agents to “strip search… and detain Canadian citizens” IN CANADA

Activist Post – Have you heard that “crazy conspiracy theory” about a North American Union that would meld the US, Canada, and ostensibly Mexico into one big happy mish-mash similar to the EU?

Nuts, right?

Maybe not.

Because the Canadian government has signed away the sovereignty of its border to the US government with the Canada-United States Preclearance Agreement.

Before you say that this is Canada’s problem, you should probably note that it isn’t just Canada who signed away the rights of its citizens with this agreement.

What is the  Canada-United States Preclearance Agreement?

This is another of those horrifying documents with a happy sounding name, sort of like the “Patriot” Act. In August of this year, the Department of Homeland Security cheerfully announced:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today, in partnership with the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the implementation of an agreement to improve mutual security and expedite lawful travel through preclearance for travelers and their accompanying baggage on certain transports. The collaboration is articulated in the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air (LRMA) Transport Preclearance between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada, which supersedes the previous 2001 U.S.-Canada Agreement on Air Transport Preclearance, and expands upon the two countries’ partnership.

Preclearance is the process by which officers stationed abroad inspect and make admissibility decisions about travelers and their accompanying baggage before they leave a foreign port, simultaneously increasing efficiency and security. The LRMA provides the legal framework and reciprocal authorities necessary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency to carry out security, facilitation, and inspection processes in the other country.

“Preclearance strengthens economic competitiveness and mutual security, and benefits travelers by expediting their clearance into the U.S. before they ever leave Canada,” said Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan. “This agreement provides the opportunity for CBP to build on six decades of successful operations and, for the first time, to conduct full preclearance in the rail, ferry, and cruise ship environments. This achievement is important for the Department’s security objectives and is another example of just how close the U.S. – Canada relationship stands.” (source)

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Dems Set Up Senate Trial Strategy Ahead of Impeachment Vote

Bloomberg – House Democrats are nearing one of the most important decisions in their effort to impeach Donald Trump: Who will bear the historic duty of prosecuting the president in next year’s Senate trial.

With the House planning to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against the president, Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi must quickly settle on a team of so-called managers to present the case against Trump.

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the House investigation into Trump’s dealing with Ukraine, and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose committee drew up the articles of impeachment, are expected to be named by Pelosi to the trial managers team, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

The makeup of the team will influence the tone of the trial and, ultimately, help set the impression of the Democratic drive toward impeachment for voters as the 2020 election to determine control of the White House and Congress draws closer.

The managers are likely to be formally named Wednesday, the day the lawmakers will vote on the two articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Members of the Judiciary Committee have been pushing to draw the impeachment managers exclusively from their panel — as was done by Republicans in the 1998 impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton. But multiple House Democratic officials said the group would include members of Schiff’s Intelligence panel.

Those selected will effectively become the faces of Trump’s impeachment for the Democratic Party and prominent targets for the president and his Republican allies.

That is especially true for Schiff. He’s been a particular focus of Trump’s wrath on Twitter and elsewhere.

Trump and some House Republicans have said Schiff should be called as a witness during the Senate trial over his staff’s interaction with the government whistle-blower who raised alarms over Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

McConnell rejects Schumer’s opening offer on impeachment trial

Politico – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back strongly against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to simultaneously agree to witnesses and the parameters of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, calling it a “strange request” that breaks with recent impeachment precedent.

“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to ‘guilty,’” McConnell said, a reply to Schumer’s request that the Senate agree to call several Trump administration officials as witnesses for the trial in the same resolution that lays out the impeachment trial’s rules of the road.

McConnell said he still hopes to meet with Schumer but scolded him for releasing his letter to the press before their meeting. Schumer’s letter came after McConnell has repeatedly vowed that the Senate will clear Trump of wrongdoing.

Tired of impeachment? Dems threaten it’ll go on and on and on

WND – If you think that the House vote this week will end the House Democrats’ investigation of impeachment against President Trump, think again.

Politico reported lawyers for House Democrats told a federal court Monday that lawmakers are still seeking grand jury materials connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

House General Counsel Douglas Letter claimed in the filing that the House’s demands were still urgent because such evidence might become relevant to the Senate’s expected impeachment trial next month.

Letter said that “even apart from the Senate trial, the House Judiciary Committee intends to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe on its own merit.

“The committee has continued and will continue [its impeachment] investigations consistent with its own prior statements respecting their importance and purposes,” Letter wrote in his filing.

The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment last week, abuse of power obstruction of Congress.

Former AG: Horowitz missed key evidence in FBI conspiracy

WND – Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey pointed out a key text exchange between lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page indicating bias against Donald Trump that was left out of the latest inspector general report.

The Justice Department IG, Michael Horowitz, concluded in his report released last week that he found no “documentary or testimonial bias” in the Obama administration’s launching of the investigation of Trump-Russia collusion.

However, in an interview Sunday with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, Mukasey pointed out that Strzok and Page expressed alarm on the night that Sen. Ted Cruz withdrew from the 2016 race and it became apparent that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee.

“Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE,” Strzok wrote.

The FBI special agent was referring to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified information, known as the Midyear Exam.

“Now, will someone explain to me in words of one syllable how it is that Donald Trump being the Republican candidate increases the pressure to end the investigation of Hillary Clinton?” Mukasey asked.

“Unless what you want is to curtail the damage to Hillary Clinton and assure that Donald Trump doesn’t win.”

Then-FBI Director James Comey took the unusual step of explaining to the public in July 2016 why the bureau would not refer criminal charges against Clinton to the Justice Department, even though there was considerable evidence she had mishandled classified information.

The Strzok text is never mentioned in any of the IG’s reports, Mukasey noted.

The former AG acknowledged, however, that Horowitz didn’t have subpoena power and had to rely on witnesses to volunteer information.

The person who does have subpoena power, however, Mukasey noted, is U.S. John Durham, whose broader Justice Department review of the origins of the Obama Trump-Russia collusion probe has become a criminal investigation.

New Hampshire MassResistance parents force school district to turn back horrible transgender policy

Mass Resistance – Earlier this month, the school board in Franklin, New Hampshire, dominated by liberal politicians, was ready to pass an odious “transgender” policy that would impose bizarre and radical rules on all students (and their parents) in the district.

The proposed policy, titled “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students Procedure,” reads like something from a crackpot “queer theory” book. Some of its features:

  • It forces students and staff to accept pseudo-scientific terms, such: gender identity, gender non-binary, cisgender, transgender, gender fluid, and gender transition.
  • It allows a student to decide if he or she wants to dress as the opposite sex, be called by an opposite-sex name, and be referred to by the pronoun of the opposite sex. All students and staff would be forced to go along with this.
  • The policy includes a “privacy” provision where this could all be kept private from the student’s parents!
  • It would allow a “transgender” student to use either the boys’ or girls’ restrooms or locker rooms, whichever he or she desires, depending on the student’s chosen “gender identity.”
  • Students and staff members will be required to undergo “training” to accept these deviant behaviors as if they were completely normal.

It’s madness. But the school officials and Board members saw no problems with it.

The policy was quietly introduced by the Board in October, and given its first reading on November 21. Many people in town were shocked and outraged, but the Board members figured they could vote it in without much trouble.

Secret Deep State Demands: The FBI Wants Consumers’ Credit Data

Activist Post – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has secretly demanded access to a whole bunch of consumer credit information and data. Recently revealed documents prove that the FBI wants access to troves of financial information from the nation’s largest credit agencies.

According to a report by Tech Crunch, this is a regular thing for the FBI.  The government agency regularly uses these legal powers (known as national security letters) to compel credit giants to turn over non-content information, such as records of purchases and locations, that the agency deems necessary in national security investigations. But these letters have no judicial oversight and are typically filed with a gag order, preventing the recipient from disclosing the demand to anyone else; including the target of the letter.

Since the law changed (lawmakers changed it to protect themselves and the government at large) in 2015 in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures that revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s surveillance operations, recipients have been allowed to petition the FBI to be cut loose from the gag provisions and publish the letters with redactions. Only a few tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, have disclosed that they have ever received one or more national security letters.

While tech companies have often reported to their users when government agencies have demanded their information, credit companies have not. Most of these major data collectors have failed to publish their figures altogether.

Has the Ground Zero Mosque Project Returned?

Infowars – The highly controversial ‘ground zero mosque’ project that was shelved after numerous protests appears to be back in the form of a 16,000-square-foot Islamic cultural center set to be built in the same place in Manhattan.

The ‘ground zero mosque’ (originally named Cordoba House) was envisioned as a 13-story Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan. It would have replaced a building that was damaged during the 9/11 attacks by plane parts and accommodated a “prayer space” for up to 2,000 Muslims.

Following widespread controversy and opposition from 9/11 families, the project was abandoned, but an Islamic cultural museum with a Muslim “prayer space” was subsequently built and recently completed.

However, it appears as though a larger new mosque is being planned for the site.

New York YIMBY reports, “Construction has also yet to begin on 51 Park Place, which is slated to become a 71-foot-tall, 16,000-square-foot Islamic cultural center.”

According to anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, developer Sharif El-Gamal has learned from the ground zero mosque controversy and is trying to keep the new project secret.

“El-Gamal has many friends and allies among New York City’s political and media elites,” she writes. “It is likely that de Blasio city officials and the New York Times and other city papers all met with El-Gamal and agreed to keep the reporting on this project to an absolute minimum, so that it could get built without incurring the righteous anger of the public again. The first time around, they courted publicity and tried to make El-Gamal a hero. We demolished that and destroyed their plans. So now they’ve clearly decided to go ahead surreptitiously.”

Geller continues to insist that the notion of building a mosque at the site where Islamic terrorists slaughtered thousands of Americans is a deliberate provocation.

‘This Will Protect Criminals’: DHS Blasts NY Law Allowing Illegal Aliens To Get Driver’s Licenses

Daily Caller – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rebuked a New York law that took effect Monday allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.

The state’s “Green Light” bill, which Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in June, makes it possible to apply for a driver’s license without a Social Security number, and makes foreign documentation valid for the purpose of obtaining a license.

“This will protect criminals at the expense of the safety and security of law-abiding New York residents,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement Monday evening.

“Besides giving drivers licenses to hundreds of thousands of people who broke our laws and have come to our country illegally, the New York law also blocks DHS law enforcement officers who investigate crimes like child exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, the targeting of gang members, sex offenders, and drug smuggling, from accessing important public records,” added the spokesman.

“Accessing this information is vital to building out these criminal cases, identifying criminal suspects, and enhancing officer safety,” the statement continued.

A spokeswoman for the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confirmed that the state won’t share data with ICE under the new law.

“Under the Green Light Law, no DMV data of any kind can be shared with an agency that primarily enforces immigration law, which means ICE, Customs & Border Protection and Citizenship and Immigration Services do not have access to data unless the DMV is presented with a valid judge-signed court order, subpoena or judicial warrant,” NYS DMV Assistant Commissioner for Communications Lisa Koumjian told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The “Green Light” bill has drawn resistance from county clerks, some of whom have vowed not to comply with the mandate to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Some clerks have said they’re even required to accept foreign report cards as valid forms of identification.

“I’m now going to have to accept a report card from a foreign country and foreign documentation, a foreign passport as authenticated documents. I, myself, as the clerk am going to have to do that,” Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, a Democrat, told “Fox & Friends” on Saturday. “So they have diminished a New York state driver’s license and we’re very concerned for our safety and security because western New York is a border to Canada.”

Congress poised to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21

The Hill – Congress appears poised to permanently prohibit the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.

The provision is expected to be included in a final year-end spending deal, according to a senior Democratic aide.

The provision, which is supported by many major public health groups, was included as part of a bipartisan and bicameral legislative package to fix surprise medical bills. But turf wars and partisanship have derailed that legislation and lawmakers wanted to ensure the tobacco provision survived intact.

The tobacco legislation was originally sponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and has broad, bipartisan support from Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

While larger efforts to regulate tobacco by banning certain flavors and e-cigarettes have stalled at the federal level, lawmakers believe raising the tobacco purchasing age will make a difference.

Tobacco companies are on the front line pushing for the legislation at the federal and state levels, mainly in an effort to stave off stronger regulations that could have disastrous effects on the industry.

Industry giant Altria has endorsed the bipartisan legislation. Public health groups have said any tobacco industry support makes them wary, but they have praised the effort

Supreme Court: Homeless can sleep on sidewalks

Los Angeles Times – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a major case on homelessness, letting stand a ruling that protects homeless people’s right to sleep on the sidewalk or in public parks if no other shelter is available.

The justices without comment or a dissent said that they would not hear the case from Boise, Idaho, which challenged a ruling by a federal appeals court.

The outcome was a significant victory for homeless activists and a setback for city officials in California and other Western states who argued the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals undercut their authority to regulate encampments on the sidewalks. The 9th Circuit had agreed with lawyers for the homeless who argued that prosecuting people for sleeping on the sidewalks violated the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment if a city failed to provide adequate shelter.

A city ordinance “violates the 8th Amendment insofar as it imposes criminal sanctions against homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors on public property, when no alternative shelter is available to them,” said the ruling by the 9th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over California and eight other Western states.

Los Angeles officials expressed disappointment with the court’s decision not to hear the case, saying that the lower court ruling had left the law unclear about what local officials could do.

Big Tech Bans Conservative Author’s Book over “Sensitive” Content

Todd Starnes- I have some mighty disappointing news to share with you, America.

Facebook has banned my latest book from their social media platform. They said it violates their community standards.

My book is called “Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation.”

It’s a deep dive into the attacks on our First Amendment freedoms by a gang of culture jihadists who want to fundamentally transform America.

Ironically – there’s even a chapter on how the left is banning books they consider to be offensive – From Little House on the Prairie and Huckleberry Finn – to my book.

In October, Post Hill Press tried to purchase advertising to promote a Facebook Live book signing. However, Facebook rejected the advertising without explanation. And just the other day, when we tried to add the book to our Facebook “Shop” page – the book was rejected.

Big Tech is controlled by the culture jihadists. And they have the power to silence any opinion they find to be offensive.

Economy & Business

Central banks in most countries are ‘magic money machines for politicians’ – RT’s Keiser Report

RT – Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said last month that he may not seek an $11 billion loan from the IMF, promising instead to “try to revive the economy.”

RT’s Keiser Report talks to Nick Giambruno of CaseyResearch.com about the relative calm in Buenos Aires among the populace, despite the ongoing currency and debt crises.

Argentina has gone through a number of financial crises in the past 100 years and it looks like it is on the cusp of another one, Giambruno says.

According to him, the South American nation is facing another currency cataclysm “which is relatively normal for this country, it has happened repeatedly over the past 100 years.”

And there are reasons for that, the analyst says, explaining that 100 years ago Argentina and the United States were “really kind-of on the same level.” That was “kind-of a golden era for Argentina.”

However, everything changed, a lot, since Argentina instituted a central bank in 1935, Giambruno points out.

“The golden era was prior to the establishment of the central bank… like in most places the central bank is the magic money machine for the politicians and that’s really how Argentina started its long descent downhill,” he concludes

Mexico Escalates Showdown With U.S. Over Trade Rules Enforcement

Bloomberg – Mexico called on the U.S. to modify legislation under which it would send so-called labor attaches to monitor enforcement of USMCA trade deal rules, saying that it wasn’t consulted.

If it doesn’t, Mexico said it will no longer consult the U.S. when it drafts its own implementation rules, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

A showdown is escalating between the two countries over a bill in the U.S. Congress about implementation of the USMCA, or United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The bill authorizes up to five labor attaches to ensure that its southern neighbor guarantees workers their right to union representation.

Mexico Official Complains About 3-Way Trade Deal in Tweetstorm

Enforcement of union rights has been a key priority for Democrats in the U.S. Congress.

A spokesman for the United States Trade Representative didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Energy & Environment

3 dead as tornadoes hit southeast

Fox – A trail of reported tornadoes broke out across parts of the southeastern U.S. on Monday, damaging homes and churches and killing at least three people, local officials say.

Forecasters said radar showed possible twisters as the “widespread” weather system charged across the region. The Storm Prediction Center reported trees were broken or toppled from Texas to Alabama.

Vernon Parish, Louisiana, Chief Deputy Calvin Turner confirmed earlier Monday at least one death after what appeared to be a large tornado left a path of destruction.

“We’ve got damage at lots of places. We’ve got a church where the fellowship hall is torn all to pieces. Some homes are hit. Right now we’re having trouble just getting to places because of tress that are down,” Turner said.

Feral Pigs Roam the South. Now Even Northern States Aren’t Safe.

The swine have established themselves in Canada and are encroaching on border states like Montana and North Dakota.

NYT – Ranchers and government officials here are keeping watch on an enemy army gathering to the north, along the border with Canada. The invaders are big, testy, tenacious — and they’ll eat absolutely anything.

Feral pigs are widely considered to be the most destructive invasive species in the United States. They can do remarkable damage to the ecosystem, wrecking crops and hunting animals like birds and amphibians to near extinction.

They have wrecked military planes on runways. And although attacks on people are extremely rare, in November feral hogs killed a woman in Texas who was arriving for work in the early morning hours.

“Generally an invasive species is detrimental to one crop, or are introduced into waterways and hurt the fish,” said Dale Nolte, manager of the feral swine program at the Department of Agriculture. “But feral swine are destructive across the board and impact all sectors.”

Science & Technology

APPLE, GOOGLE Named in Lawsuit Over Child-Mining Deaths

The Guardian – A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain.

The families and injured children are seeking damages for forced labour and further compensation for unjust enrichment, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

It is the first time that any of the tech companies have faced such a legal challenge.

Cobalt is essential to power the rechargeable lithium batteries used in millions of products sold by Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla every year. The insatiable demand for cobalt, driven by desire for cheap handheld technology, has tripled in the past five years and is expected to double again by the end of 2020. More than 60% of cobalt originates in DRC, one of the poorest and most unstable countries in the world.

Study Finds that One in Seven 8yo Girls With Smartphones Have Received Sexually Explicit Text Messages

Reformation Charlotte – One in seven eight-year-old girls with a smartphone has received sexually explicit texts, a study of millions of messages has found.

The report sampled more than 54 million text messages and over 1.5 million hours of children’s phone usage also found that nearly a quarter of children had been asked to send a naked photo of themselves, or had asked someone to send a naked photo to them by the age of 13.

Some 15.5 per cent of girls who own smartphones were exposed to sexually explicit messages by the age of eight, and by the age of 13, more than a third of children who own smartphones will be exposed to ‘sexting’.

Using AI technology, the US based study by Jiminy, an app which monitors children’s phone usage found that between the ages of 10 and 17, some 41.5 per cent of the sexual chat was not mutual.

Jiminy CEO and Co-Founder, Tal Guttman said: “Parents need visibility in order to parent, as you can only teach right from wrong when you know what issues your children are struggling with.

“We hope that shedding light on the alarming frequency and nature of sexting will make parents better equipped to deal with this touchy topic.”

Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?

ProPublica – The police gave Ricky Joyner a pen and a nine-page questionnaire.

To assess Joyner’s credibility, Elkhart police turned to a tool — well known to many police departments, little known to the public — called Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN for short.

A detective, trained in SCAN, reviewed Joyner’s written answers. He also examined the answers of a second suspect who filled out the same questionnaire. After conducting his analysis, the detective typed up a two-page report. The second suspect’s responses were “truthful,” the detective concluded. Joyner’s, he determined, were “deceptive.”

When asked why the police should believe his answers, Joyner had written, “I have nothing to hide.”

“This is not the same as stating I did not lie,” the detective wrote.

SCAN, a product sold by a company called the Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation (LSI), has, in the words of four scholars in a 2016 study, “no empirical support” — meaning, there’s no dependable research showing that it works.

Scientific Content Analysis is akin to other investigative tools scrutinized by ProPublica, including bloodstain-pattern analysis and photo analysis. These analytical techniques promise a degree of certainty — about how blood came to spray across a wall, or whether a particular plaid shirt was worn by a robber — that can guide an investigator or shore up a case.

SCAN’s creator has written, “I am pleased to say SCAN has helped solve thousands of cases over the years.”

While police in Elkhart and elsewhere have used the tool to make critical decisions that can establish an investigation’s direction, SCAN has escaped the scrutiny that comes with being offered in court as proof. Appellate opinions often refer to key pieces of evidence used at trial, but a search of legal databases with opinions from around the country turns up precious few mentions of SCAN.

The tool’s lack of scientific grounding aside, criminal investigators have been quick to seize upon sales pitches for training, exemplified by a company commander with the famed Texas Rangers, who, in an email to his fellow majors, wrote that SCAN’s creator is “a true master at detecting deception.”

Those UFO sightings — govt believes phenomena might be threat (opinion)

Washington Examiner – Two years ago Sunday, the New York Times broke the stunning story of a secret Pentagon program to study unidentified flying objects. That story led me to delve into this strange world. I’ve learned some interesting stuff about UFOs (“unidentified aerial phenomena,” or “UAP,” as the Pentagon refers to them) since then. But there’s one problem.

The United States government makes it very hard to figure out what and where UFO-related stuff is going on.

Is that because the government is behind some great conspiracy to cover up the proof of alien visitation to Earth? Is it because the government is in cahoots with alien species to create human-alien hybrids?

Perhaps, but I suspect not.

What I believe is really going on here is that the few individuals in the U.S. government who know about this issue believe the phenomena might be a threat. And that they don’t know how to deal with it.

So, what informs the government’s fear?

Well, first off, the nuclear issue.

If you ask a Pentagon representative about a specific UFO incident, as I did most recently last week, you’ll get a boring response like: “Our aviators train as they fight. Any intrusions that may compromise the security of our operations, tactics, or procedures is of great concern. As the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena sightings is ongoing, we will not discuss individual sighting reports or observations.”

By “aviators,” the Pentagon is referencing the particular frequency with which UFOs tend to interact with U.S. naval aviators operating off aircraft carriers. But what the Pentagon is leaving out is why the UFOs tend to run into those naval aviators. And that cuts to the heart of why the Pentagon is concerned about UFOs.

Because the government’s assessment, though they won’t admit it, is that the UFOs are popping up near the aircraft carriers due to those carriers being nuclear-powered. Note also that UFOs also like to pop up near nuclear submarines and Air Force nuclear weapons bases. Now recognize that this paradigm has been occurring since the Manhattan Project operations at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and also at nuclear sites in the Soviet Union and Russia.

Health

NJ lawmakers advance bill to end religious exemptions for vaccines

Burlington County Times – Hundreds of so-called “anti-vaxxers” crammed into the Statehouse Annex for a hearing of the Senate Health Committee on the controversial bill, which would allow students to be exempt from school vaccination requirements only with a doctor’s note and not for religious beliefs.

Legislation seeking to end religious exemptions for New Jersey’s mandate that all students receive vaccinations before attending school drew a small army of opponents to the Statehouse on Thursday, but the opposition did not stop the measure from continuing to advance toward final votes.

Hundreds of so-called “anti-vaxxers” crammed into the Statehouse Annex for a hearing of the Senate Health Committee on the controversial bill, which would allow students to be exempt from school vaccination requirements only with a doctor’s note and not for religious beliefs.

Supporters of the change say it’s needed to protect both students and adults from infectious diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough and other serious diseases.

Opponents counter that the bill would infringe on their religious freedom and their right to refuse certain medical treatments.

The issue has received increased attention due to a recent resurgence in measles outbreaks across the nation, including New Jersey where 19 measles cases have been reported this year, according to the Department of Health.

If the legislation becomes law, New Jersey would become the sixth state to end religious exemptions for vaccinations, joining New York, Maine, Mississippi, California and West Virginia. Massachusetts is also considering the move.

Senators on the Health panel heard passionate arguments from both sides of the issue Thursday during a late afternoon hearing before voting 5-4 to advance the bill to the Senate floor, where it is scheduled to be considered Monday.

The vote was divided along party lines with all five Democrats on the panel voting in support of releasing the measure and all four Republicans opposing.

Emotions ran high even before the meeting began. Opponents filled the committee room hours before the Health Committee’s scheduled 2 p.m. start time, and shortly before the hearing began they recited the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer and some also made a point of shouting the Pledge Allegiance at the start of the hearing.

Study: Water Fluoridation Linked to Lower IQ in Children

Health Impact News – Fluoride has been added to our public water supplies since the 1950s. It was added because the Powers-That-Be assured us that it would lower cavity rates and cause no harm.

After 70 years of adding fluoride to our water supplies, I can now state, with certainty that fluoridated water does not significantly reduce cavity rates and it is associated with serious health problems.

When you compare fluoridated with non-fluoridated countries, there is virtually no difference in cavity rates.

Right now, the US is probably the most fluoridated country in the world. Most Western countries have looked at the science behind fluoridation and stopped using it.

Nearly every other Western country has looked at the science behind water fluoridation and rightfully concluded that the harms of water fluoridation vastly outweigh the minimal purported benefits of less tooth decay. Israel was the last Western country to ban its use in tap water. In 2014, the Health Minister of Israel stated, “…fluoridation is an infringement on personal rights…”[1]

A 2020 study (just released) in Environmental International [2] looked at infants who ingested fluoridated tap water and measured their intelligence quotient (IQ). The scientists found an increase of 0.5 mg/L in water fluoridation (corresponding to the difference between fluoridated and non-fluoridated regions) corresponded to a 9.3 and 6.2 decrease in Performance IQ among the formula-fed and breast-fed children.

The authors concluded the study by stating,

“Exposure to increasing levels of fluoride in tap water was associated with diminished non-verbal intellectual abilities; the effect was more pronounced among formula-fed children.” [Environmental International. 134 (2020):105315].

Formula fed children will receive more fluoride as compared to breast fed children.

Fluoride, a known neurotoxin, should never have been added to our water supply as the science behind water fluoridation was suspect.

Eating Chili Peppers Can Increase Longevity

Newsmax – New Italian research has found that people who eat chili peppers on a regular basis appear to have a lower risk of death than those who avoid the spicy ingredient.

Led by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, the new study set out to investigate whether chili peppers, which are a common ingredient in Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean diet, may be linked with a lower risk of death in those who consume them regularly.

For the study the team looked at 22,811 adults living in the Molise region of Italy who were participating in the Moli-sani study.

The participants’ chili pepper intake was measured using a Food Frequency Questionnaire and categorized as none/rare consumption, up to two times per week, three or four times per week, and more than four times a week. They were then followed for an average of eight years.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), showed that participants who ate chili peppers four times a week or more had a 40% lower risk of dying of a heart attack compared to those who never or rarely ate them. In addition, the risk of dying from a stroke was more than halved.

“An interesting fact,” added Marialaura Bonaccio, first author of the publication, “is that protection from mortality risk was independent of the type of diet people followed. In other words, someone can follow the healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chili pepper has a protective effect.”

Researchers Explore Drug-Free Idea To Relieve Chronic Pain: Green Light

NPR – Ann Jones tried everything short of surgery for her chronic migraines, which have plagued her since she was a child.

“They’ve actually gotten worse in my old age,” says Jones, who is 70 years old and lives in Tucson, Ariz.

Jones would have as many as two dozen migraines a month.

Over the years, some treatments might work initially, but the effects would prove temporary. Other medications had such severe side effects she couldn’t stay on them.

“It was pretty life-changing and debilitating,” Jones says. “I could either plow through them and sometimes I simply couldn’t.”

In 2018, her doctor mentioned a study that was taking place nearby at the University of Arizona: Researchers were testing if daily exposure to green light could relieve migraines and other kinds of chronic pain.

Jones was skeptical.

“This is going to be one more thing that doesn’t work,” she thought to herself.

But she brushed aside the hesitation and enrolled in the study anyway.

It began with her spending two hours each day in a dark room with only a white light, which served as the control. In the second half of the study, she swapped out the conventional light for a string of green LED lights.

For more than a month, Jones didn’t notice any change in her symptoms. But close to the six-week mark, there was a big shift.

She began going days in a row without migraines. Even when the headaches did come, they weren’t as intense as they had been before the green light therapy.