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Today’s News: July 15, 2019

World News

Thailand’s PM declares end of military rule, transfer to ‘normal democracy’

RT – Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha formally resigned as the head of Thailand’s military government on Monday, saying the country would now function as a normal democracy after five years of military rule. Prayuth stays on as PM with the backing of pro-military parties in parliament and a military-appointed upper house.

In a televised address, Prayuth said military rule had brought success in many areas, from fixing the problem of illegal fishing to tackling human trafficking, Reuters reports.

The former army chief, who seized power in a 2014 coup, said the intervention then had been necessary to restore order after six months of street protests and violent clashes.

“Thailand is now fully a democratic country with a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament whose members are elected,” Prayuth said.

Vaccinations against Ebola begin in DR Congo city of Goma

Al Jazeera – Vaccinations against Ebola have begun in Goma, eastern DRC, after the first case of the virus was identified in the major city.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was hit with its second-worst Ebola outbreak last year, but this is the first time Goma – with a population of about one million – has had a confirmed case.

“Vaccination against Ebola just started to protect people who have come to be in contact with the positive case,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Russia, India Agree to Ink Arms Deals in Own Currencies to Skirt US Sanctions – Report

Sputnik – The two countries have already signed several arms contracts worth the equivalent of billions of dollars using rubles and rupees, and have sought other ways to increase trade in national currencies amid concerns in Delhi that Washington could slap sanctions on India for buying Russian-made defence equipment.

Russia and India have devised a new mechanism which will allow payments for multi-billion dollar defence deals to be made using their own national currencies, Bloomberg has reported, citing a Russian source and two Indian sources said to be familiar with the matter.

According to the business newspaper, settlements in rubles and rupees are designed specifically to allow Moscow and Delhi to skirt the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a 2017 US legislative measure designed to slap severe restrictions on Russia’s ability to sell arms abroad.

The sources told Bloomberg that the new arrangement would facilitate India’s purchase of four Russian Talwar-class guided missile frigates, worth about $2 billion. Late last year, India’s security committee approved the procurement of the frigates, with two of them to be purchased directly from Russia for about $950 million, and two more to be built in India later under a separate deal.

Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans

Al Jazeera – The Trump administration has moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president’s battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the US-Mexico border.

According to a new rule published in the Federal Register on Monday, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the United States‘ southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect on Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

There are some exceptions though – if someone has been trafficked; if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them); or if an asylum seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for US asylum.

But the move by President Donald Trump‘s administration was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

RUMOR: Joe Biden Planning To Drop Out Of 2020 Presidential Race

Infowars – 2020 Democrat presidential frontrunner Joe Biden is preparing to drop out of the election due to serious health concerns related to memory loss and slurred speech, according to sources.

Leftists Lose Their Sh** After Trump Tells “Progressive” Dems To Go Back To The “Crime Infested Places” They Came From

Infowars – President Trump riled leftists everywhere Sunday with a series of tweets essentially telling so called ‘progressive’ Democrats to stop continually hating on America, and to go back to their home countries woeful systems of government if they dislike the US so much.

Trump’s initial tweets were seemingly aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was born Somalia.

So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

Trump continued the tirade in later tweets, claiming that the far left Democrats also “hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.”

The President added “Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged.”

So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion. Whenever confronted, they call their adversaries, including Nancy Pelosi, “RACIST.” Their disgusting language…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

….and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged. If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

“If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020,” Trump added.

Trump argued that the far left calls anyone they disagree with a ‘RACIST’.

Responding to Trump’s tweets, and proving his point, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) claimed Trump is “stoking white nationalism.”

“You are stoking white nationalism because you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda,” Omar, who came to America as a refugee, tweeted.

Crowd of UFO fans seeking to ‘raid Area 51’ hits 1 MILLION despite US Air Force warning

RT – If even a small fraction of those UFO lovers show up to try and break ‘them aliens’ free from the secret desert facility, the ‘Area 51 raid’ joke risks spilling into one of the largest civil disobedience events ever in the US.

“We can move faster than their bullets,” the creators of the intentionally farcical event claim. But with over a million alien fans now registered as ‘going’ – and nearly the same number in reserve, just ‘interested’ in the raid – the US Air Force could find itself facing off against an unprecedented number of unarmed individuals.

“We would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area,” an Air Force spokeswoman previously said, expressing hope that UFO enthusiasts understand that an attempted breach of a military installation is no laughing matter.

Despite the very real threat that the authorities would have no choice but to use force in case of a real mass invasion, the special meme forces – either desperate to get to the bottom of US government secrets or just bored – are keeping the #Area51memes hashtag alive.

On an often unpredictable Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch is the latest wild card

LA Times – Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s first appointee to the Supreme Court, is proving to be a different kind of conservative.

He is a libertarian who is quick to oppose unchecked government power, even in the hands of prosecutors or the police. And he is willing to go his own way and chart a course that does not always align with the traditional views on the right or the left.

In several of the term’s biggest cases, Gorsuch voted as expected. He joined the court’s conservatives, including Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, to reject legal challenges to partisan gerrymandering. The two Trump appointees voted in dissent to uphold the administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

In the case of whether a giant cross on a Maryland highway violated the separation of church and state, Gorsuch took the most conservative position and said lawsuits filed by people who are “offended,” but not actually harmed, by such things should be tossed out.

But in the last month, he also wrote several broad and bold opinions — mostly in dissent — urging the court to revive the Constitution’s protections for individual liberty. He did so while taking the side of people not usually embraced by conservative justices, including a sex offender from Maryland, an Alabama man who was prosecuted twice for carrying a gun in his car, and two African American men from Texas who were sentenced to more than 50 years in prison for robbing gas stations.

Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, calls Gorsuch “a maverick conservative with a libertarian streak. It’s remarkable that he and Kavanaugh disagreed in 30% of the term’s cases. This shows they are quite different types of conservatives.”

Earlier this year, Gorsuch wrote an opinion clearing the way for long-haul truckers to sue their employers over substandard wages, and he wrote dissents in favor of an injured railroad worker who was battling the train line over the damages he won, and a disabled construction worker fighting the Social Security Administration over disability benefits.

Progressive lawyers stress that Gorsuch is a reliable conservative on most issues. Brianne Gorod, counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, said he “is like the justice he replaced — Justice Antonin Scalia — in more ways than one.”

Gorsuch’s record is exceptionally conservative, she said. But also like Scalia, he has sometimes demonstrated a willingness to part ways with his fellow conservatives in criminal justice cases. “Those votes suggest possible libertarian-liberal alliances may be something to look out for in the terms ahead,” Gorod said.

A Colorado native, Gorsuch has also tilted the court in favor of Native Americans and tribal treaties. In March, he cast the fifth vote with the liberals to rule for the Yakama tribe, which relied on a 1855 treaty in refusing to pay a fuel tax to Washington state for using its highways.

New election systems use vulnerable software

AP – Pennsylvania’s message was clear: The state was taking a big step to keep its elections from being hacked in 2020. Last April, its top election official told counties they had to update their systems. So far, nearly 60% have taken action, with $14.15 million of mostly federal funds helping counties buy brand-new electoral systems.

But there’s a problem: Many of these new systems still run on old software that will soon be outdated and more vulnerable to hackers.

An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts.

That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023.

Critics say the situation is an example of what happens when private companies ultimately determine the security level of election systems with a lack of federal requirements or oversight. Vendors say they have been making consistent improvements in election systems. And many state officials say they are wary of federal involvement in state and local elections.

Native Hawaiians to protest telescope construction on sacred mountain

ABC – Hundreds of demonstrators are gathered at the base of Hawaii’s tallest mountain to protest the construction of a giant telescope on land that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

Officials say anyone breaking the law will be prosecuted. Protesters who blocked the roadway during previous attempts to begin construction have been arrested.

Scientists hope the massive telescope they planned for the site — a world-renowned location for astronomy — will help them peer back to the time just after the Big Bang and answer fundamental questions about the universe.

But some Native Hawaiians consider the land holy, as a realm of gods and a place of worship.

Groups of activists sang and prayed at the base of the mountain on Sunday afternoon. They declared the area, which is well off the highway at the intersection of the mountain’s access road, a place of refuge and safety.

“This is Hawaiian homelands,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the protest leaders. “We’re clearly out of their way, we’re not obstructing anything, everyone is in ceremony.”

The project already has been delayed by years of legal battles and demonstrations, drawing attention from the likes of “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa, who has Native Hawaiian ancestry and has voiced opposition to the telescope.

Scientists selected Mauna Kea in 2009 after a five-year, worldwide search for the ideal site.

Protests disrupted a groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony at the site in 2014. After that, the demonstrations intensified.

Construction stopped in April 2015 after protesters were arrested for blocking the work. A second attempt to restart construction a few months later ended with more arrests and crews pulling back.

But Hawaii’s Supreme Court has ruled the construction is legal, permits are in place, and the state has given the company behind the telescope a green light to resume its efforts. The company is made up of a group of universities in California and Canada, with partners from China, India and Japan.

As Epstein bail fight looms, feds say evidence growing daily

AP – Federal prosecutors, preparing for a bail fight Monday, say evidence against financier Jeffrey Epstein is growing “stronger by the day” after several more women contacted them in recent days to say he abused them when they were underage..

Prosecutors say Epstein, 66, is a flight risk and danger to the community and should remain incarcerated until he is tried on charges that he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

His lawyers counter that their client has not committed crimes since pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution charges in Florida in 2008 and that the federal government is reneging on a 12-year-old deal not to prosecute him. They say he should be allowed to await trial under house arrest in his $77 million Manhattan mansion, with electronic monitoring.

In a written submission Friday to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, prosecutors revealed new information about their investigation and why they perceive Epstein as dangerous.

They said several additional women in multiple jurisdictions had identified themselves to the government, claiming Epstein abused them when they were minors. Also, dozens of individuals have called the government to report information about Epstein and the charges he faces, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they believe Epstein might have tried to influence witnesses after discovering that he had paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals, including a former employee, in the last year. That came after the Miami Herald reported the circumstances of his state court conviction in 2008, which led to a 13-month jail term and his deal to avoid federal prosecution .

“This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations,” prosecutors said.

The decade-old secret plea deal led to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s resignation last week. Acosta came under renewed criticism following Epstein’s arrest over the 2008 non-prosecution agreement he oversaw as the U.S. attorney in Miami.

Con Ed can’t explain what caused the Manhattan blackout       

NY Post – Con Edison has yet to figure out why a large swath of Manhattan’s West Side was plunged into darkness by the blackout that lasted more than five hours on Saturday night.

In a statement released late Sunday morning, the power company said it “will be conducting a diligent and vigorous investigation to determine the root cause of the incident.”

“Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public,” the company said.

Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz blamed the blackout on a “disruption on the transmission side” of the company’s power grid.

Con Ed’s overhead transmission lines carry 438,000 volts of electricity to substations where the power is lowered to about 13,000 volts before being distributed to homes and businesses, he said.

Officials initially suspected a manhole fire that affected an underground transformer, but Quiroz said there’s “no evidence of a fire at this point.”

The blackout stranded people on subway trains and elevators, and forced the evacuation of Madison Square Garden and cancellation of Broadway shows.

It struck on the 42nd anniversary of a massive power outage in 1977 that affected the entire city and sparked looting, robberies and other mayhem.

Saturday night’s incident also occurred while Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa, as part of his long-shot presidential bid.

Con Ed has said a series of outages that began before 7 p.m. Saturday cut power to 73,000 customers served by six electrical networks on Manhattan’s West Side.

Trump weighs ousting Commerce chief Wilbur Ross after census defeat

NBC – President Donald Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations.

While Trump has previously expressed frustration with the 81-year-old Ross, in particular over failed trade negotiations, Ross’s long personal relationship with the president has allowed him to keep his job. And after the departure of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the Cabinet’s only Hispanic who resigned on Friday amid questions about his role in a controversial 2008 plea agreement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Ross may yet receive another reprieve.

But some White House officials expect Ross to be the next Cabinet secretary to depart, possibly as soon as this summer, according to advisers and officials.

Endless Traffic, Mass Confusion, Ride-Share Price Gouging Creating Chaos At LaGuardia Airport

ABC – A multi-billion dollar construction project at LaGuardia Airport is causing more than a minor inconvenience.

Many travelers have to take another trip before they head home and many are now complaining of price gouging.

On the Sunday night after July 4th, frustrated passengers fresh off a flight thought the long line outside the airport was for a yellow taxi to get out of LaGuardia’s Terminal B.

At the front they find out, “you get to board the shuttle bus,” an airport worker said.

They’re then crammed on a standing room only shuttle bus to a different taxi stand at another terminal.

“Do we have to stand in the back of the line when we get to Terminal A?” Charles pehlivanian of Manhattan asked.

“No there’s going to be plenty of taxis,” the LaGuardia worker replied.

That was not true.

“Please make a line behind the passengers,” another worker said as the shuttle bus passengers were then told they can also order a ride-share from a 7-11 up the road.

Passengers were also told it would be a five to six minute wait – that was actually 25 to 45 minutes with traffic.

Back at Terminal B, one desperate yellow taxi broke the rules to pick up a fare.

Nearby, aggressive hustlers prey on other people waiting.

“It’s a long line, gotta car ready to go if you don’t wanna wait,” one ride-share driver said.

It’s a problem CBS2’s Marcia Kramer first exposed in 2016. CBS2 counted at least three within a half-hour stalking potential fares at LaGuardia.

“I got a black car. It’s 95 plus tolls though,” the driver said.

That was the quote for a ride to Midtown Manhattan – more than double the average – which is about $40 according to Taxifarefinder.com.

“It’s an Uber car, but we’re not going through the app, you track it thru GPS,” a driver claimed to CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.

“What kind of like license do you have?” Rozner inquired.

“It’s government ID, New York State ID… The ID is irrelevant, you need a ride right?” the driver continued.

The TLC says it is relevant and so does the Port Authority police.

CBS2 showed the video to one of the top officer’s at the airport’s police department who admits the problem is worse, but they’ve stepped up enforcement.

Economy & Business

Black Homeownership Drops to All-Time Low

Washington Post – While Hispanic homeownership rate is on the rise, the black homeownership rate has fallen 8.6 percentage points since its peak in 2004, hitting an all-time low in the first quarter of this year, according to census data.

This divergence marks the first time in more than two decades that Hispanics and blacks, the two largest racial minorities in the U.S., are no longer following the same path when it comes to owning homes.

Analysts say black communities have struggled to recover financially since the housing crisis, which has kept homeownership out of reach. A decadeslong legacy of housing segregation has also made many would-be black buyers wary of returning to the market after losing their homes.

“We can see that discrimination is still there, although it has changed its form,” said Michela Zonta, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

A study by Ms. Zonta to be released on Monday also found that higher-income black homeowners are more likely to buy homes in heavily minority neighborhoods that have failed to benefit from the rise in home prices since the foreclosure crisis.

Homes in neighborhoods with a high concentration of white borrowers on average have seen their homes appreciate 3% from 2006 through 2017, according to the study. However, homes in neighborhoods with a concentration of black borrowers on average are worth 6% less than they were in 2006. High-income black borrowers have concentrated in neighborhoods where homes have lost 2% of their value, compared with white borrowers, who have concentrated in neighborhoods where homes have appreciated 5%.

Ms. Zonta said the findings underscore the need to step up enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which prevents mortgage brokers and realtors from steering clients to predominantly minority areas.

Peter Thiel says FBI, CIA should probe Google

Axios – Peter Thiel, billionaire investor and Facebook board member, on Sunday night said that Google should be federally investigated for allegedly aiding the Chinese military.

Why it matters: Thiel is the tech industry’s highest-profile Trump supporter, and one of the most powerful players in Silicon Valley.

Thiel spoke at the National Conservatism Conference, a new event that bills itself as being focused on Trump-era nationalism, with part of his speech focusing on “three questions that should be asked” of Google:

“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?

“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?

“Number three, is it because they consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military… because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn’t go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?”

He also added that those questions “need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA, and I’m not sure quite how to put this, I would like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

Thiel did not specifically mention Facebook, but it likely will be mentioned by later speakers at the conference, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has agitated against big tech on the air, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who is seeking to strip major web platforms of certain legal protections.

To Break Google’s Monopoly on Search, Make Its Index Public

Bloomberg – Recognition is growing worldwide that something big needs to be done about Big Tech, and fast.

More than $8 billion in fines have been levied against Google by the European Union since 2017. Facebook Inc., facing an onslaught of investigations, has dropped in reputation to almost rock bottom among the 100 most visible companies in the U.S. Former employees of Google and Facebook have warned that these companies are “ripping apart the social fabric” and can “hijack the mind.”

Adding substance to the concerns, documents and videos have been leaking from Big Tech companies, supporting fears—most often expressed by conservatives—about political manipulations and even aspirations to engineer human values. Fixes on the table include forcing the tech titans to divest themselves of some of the companies they’ve bought (more than 250 by Google and Facebook alone) and guaranteeing that user data are transportable.

But these and a dozen other proposals never get to the heart of the problem, and that is that Google’s search engine and Facebook’s social network platform have value only if they are intact. Breaking up Google’s search engine would give us a smattering of search engines that yield inferior results (the larger the search engine, the wider the range of results it can give you), and breaking up Facebook’s platform would be like building an immensely long Berlin Wall that would splinter millions of relationships.

With those basic platforms intact, the three biggest threats that Google and Facebook pose to societies worldwide are barely affected by almost any intervention: the aggressive surveillance, the suppression of content, and the subtle manipulation of the thinking and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people.

Different tech companies pose different kinds of threats. I’m focused here on Google, which I’ve been studying for more than six years through both experimental research and monitoring projects. (Google is well aware of my work and not entirely happy with me. The company did not respond to requests for comment.) Google is especially worrisome because it has maintained an unopposed monopoly on search worldwide for nearly a decade. It controls 92 percent of search, with the next largest competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, drawing only 2.5%.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to end the company’s monopoly without breaking up its search engine, and that is to turn its “index”—the mammoth and ever-growing database it maintains of internet content—into a kind of public commons.

Huawei to move 1,000 jobs from US to Italy, plus a $3 billion investment to boot

RT – Chinese telecom giant Huawei has called on Rome to ensure the “transparent, efficient and fair” use of its ‘golden power’ when it comes to developing Italy’s 5G network.

The CEO of Huawei’s Italian unit, Thomas Miao, said on Monday the company will invest $3.1 billion in the country over the next three years. Speaking at an event in Milan, Miao announced that the Chinese company would also provide 1,000 jobs in Italy.

Energy & Environment

The Number Of Global Earthquakes Is 3 Times Above Normal – 6.1, 6.6, 7.3 + Dozens More Hit The Ring Of Fire Over The Last 48 Hours

Economic Collapse – Within the last 48 hours we have seen large earthquakes going off like firecrackers all along the Ring of Fire.  As you will see below, a magnitude 6.1 quake just hit Japan, a magnitude 6.6 quake just hit Australia and a magnitude 7.3 earthquake just hit Indonesia.  And of course all of this comes just about a week after southern California was hit by the two largest earthquakes that it has experienced in more than two decades.  So is all of this shaking unusual? Just a few moments ago, I pulled up the most recent data from Earthquake Track, and what I discovered is more than just a little bit alarming.  Looking at the entire globe, we have averaged 193 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater per day so far in 2019.  That is very high, but it pales in comparison to what we have witnessed over the last week. Within the last seven days, our planet has experienced an average of more than 677 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater per day.  That means that the number of global earthquakes right now is more than 3 times above normal.

And the number of very large earthquakes is at a frighteningly high level as well.  According to the USGS, there have been 121 earthquakes of at least magnitude 4.5 around the world within the last seven days, and that includes the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that just hit Japan.

‘Snakes and other critters’ join flooding, tornadoes as Barry’s latest threat

USA Today – Hurricane Barry, quieted to a tropical depression Monday, remained a dangerous storm that threatened flooding, tornadoes and a new concern – snakes.

Authorities in St. Tammany Parish, 50 miles north of New Orleans, said the area “may have dodged a bullet” when Barry gave the area only a glancing blow. But residents were urged to look for updates on social media. One of those was a post on Facebook.

“If the area you live in has high water, watch out for snakes and other critters who are trying to escape the flood waters as well,” the Fire Protection District warned.

As of late morning Monday, the center of the storm was located over northern Arkansas. It had winds of 25 mph and was moving to the north at 12 mph.

Elsewhere, the storm was not over. Bands of heavy rain continued to spread across Louisiana, Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. The risk for major flooding hung over the region that could see up to two feet of rain before skies clear later Monday or Tuesday, AccuWeather forecast.

The heaviest rain may pour down at rates of 2-4 inches per hour.

“Our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding,” AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Barry is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches across Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and northwest Mississippi.

Tropical Depression Barry sets its sights on Arkansas and western Tennessee

NBC – Heavy rains were expected to pound much of Arkansas on Monday, as “extreme grateful” Louisiana residents cautiously make their way outside to survey damage left by the fierce storm.

As Barry made its way north and east, 2 inches to 4 inches of rain were set to soak much of central Arkansas with even heavier downpours, 4 inches to 6 inches, on the eastern edge of the Razorback state, forecasters said.

There will be “isolated maximum of 8 inches across Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky, southeast Missouri and northwest Mississippi,” with some “isolated totals of 10 inches” of rain in this region, according to a National Hurricane Center bulletin issued at 4 a.m. ET.

Science & Technology

French inventor soars above Champs-Élysées on flyboard at Paris parade

France24 – A French inventor and entrepreneur on Sunday soared above the Champs-Elysees on a turbine engine-powered flyboard in front of President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders.

Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata, grasping a rifle in a sign of the possible military uses of his device, took to the air in a futuristic showpiece of the annual Bastille Day parade.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told France Inter radio ahead of the parade that the flyboard “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”

Zapata, who first developed his device flying above water, says that the flyboard has the power to take off and reach speeds up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph) and run for 10 minutes.

He is now eyeing a crossing of the English Channel which, for the first time, will require a refuelling in mid-flight.

Zapata aims to make the crossing on July 25, 110 years to the day after pioneering aviator Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across the Channel.

Swedes are getting implants in their hands to replace cash, credit cards   

NY Post – Thousands of people in Sweden are having futuristic microchips implanted into their skin to carry out everyday activities and replace credit cards and cash.

More than 4,000 people have already had the sci-fi-ish chips, about the size of a grain of rice, inserted into their hands — with the pioneers predicting millions will soon join them as they hope to take it global.

“It’s very ‘Black Mirror,’” Swedish scientist Ben Libberton told The Post of the similarity to the TV series highlighting futuristic scenarios.

Like glorified smartwatches, the chips help Swedes monitor their health and even replace keycards to allow them to enter offices and buildings.

They have particularly caught on, however, by enabling owners to pay in stores with a simple swipe of the hand, a big deal in a forward-looking country that is moving toward eliminating cash.

The microchips were pioneered by former body piercer Jowan Österlund, who calls the technology a “moonshot” — and who told Fortune magazine that he’s been hit up by hopeful investors “on every continent except Antarctica.”

“Tech will move into the body,” the Biohax International founder told the mag. “I am sure of that.”

Österlund insists the technology is safe — but that has not stopped alarm bells from ringing, with some fearing a link to a doubling in cybercrime in the country over the last decade.

Libberton, a British scientist based in Sweden, praised the “definitely exciting” potential health benefits of accurate health metrics taken from inside the body.

“Think if the Apple Watch could measure things like blood glucose,” he told The Post.

But he also fears the mass of highly personalized data and how it could be used.

Neither male nor female: Why some nonbinary people are ‘microdosing’ hormones

NBC – Marisa Rivas never felt comfortable living as a woman, but doesn’t identify as a man either.

Last year, Rivas, 30, a college admissions coordinator in Los Angeles, had a mastectomy. This year, Rivas started using gender-neutral “they” and “them” pronouns.

Then, at the end of June, Rivas went to the Los Angeles LGBT Center in West Hollywood to talk to a doctor about going on “low-dose” testosterone, known colloquially as “microdosing.” Rivas hopes to achieve a sharper jawline and a more androgynous physique without overtly masculine features like facial hair. The goal is an appearance that is not clearly male or female.

“I still want to be somewhere in the middle,” Rivas said.

Hormone microdosing is of growing interest to some nonbinary people like Rivas who want to masculinize or feminize their bodies in subtle ways. There is little research on the technique’s prevalence, but doctors who treat transgender and nonbinary people say the medical community should consider the needs of those who want to change their bodies without medically transitioning fully to the opposite gender.

“There’s this kind of assumption with transgender individuals that everyone should get surgery and everyone should get hormones to become as ‘male’ or ‘female’ as possible — and that’s simply not true,” said Dr. Tri Do, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Rutherford Institute Calls on DHS to Disclose Government Surveillance Program That Tracks, Monitors and Mines Social Media Influencers & Posts

Rutherford.org – Pushing back against the expansion of secret government surveillance programs and the chilling impact they have on lawful First Amendment activities, The Rutherford Institute is demanding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disclose the details of a government program proposed by DHS in April 2018 that aims to track, monitor, catalogue and mine content posted by social media “influencers.”

In filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Rutherford Institute attorneys are asking for all records relating to a “Media Monitoring Services” surveillance program that would create a “media influencer database” for content created and posted by journalists, editors, social media influencers, and bloggers.  The Institute is asking for records and information on the program because of the chilling effect it will have on the First Amendment activities of the citizens targeted by the program.

“Government surveillance stifles dissent. The impact of this far-reaching surveillance is reduced trust, increased conformity, diminished civic participation and a populace cowed by fear,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “The Department of Homeland Security’s secret surveillance of social media influencers is not only antithetical to the principles of a free society, but will also have a chilling and deleterious effect on the ability of all Americans to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.”


Statins double diabetes rates

Mercola – While past research has indicated statins increase your risk of diabetes, recent data demonstrate they double your risk of Type 2 diabetes, and when taken for more than two years may even triple your risk.

Statins work by blocking a liver enzyme your body uses to make cholesterol; blocking this enzyme triggers a depletion of CoQ10 and vitamin K2, both necessary for heart health and the prevention of some cancers. Your body makes cholesterol as it is necessary for the production of hormones and cell walls, and to produce substances to digest food.

While the relative risk reduction of a cardiovascular event with statin medications is between 20% and 25%, the absolute risk, or the actual difference in rates of coronary death is 2.3%.

Additional risks associated with statin medications include neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, cataracts and heart disease; consider using natural approaches to improve your cardiovascular health

Collagen benefits skin and joints, study confirms

Mercola – Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins, one of its primary purposes being to provide structural scaffolding for your various tissues to allow them to stretch while still maintaining tissue integrity.

Collagen supplements allow for certain peptides to enter your bloodstream intact, before they’re broken down into their component parts in your digestive system, thereby benefiting connective tissues throughout your body.

A peptide known as prolyl-hydroxyproline, in particular, which plays a role in skin health and repair, has been shown to enter the bloodstream intact.

Oral collagen has been shown to increase skin elasticity, hydration and collagen density in the dermis of older women.

Collagen may also help reduce joint pain, improve wound healing, improve blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular damage, improve glucose tolerance, strengthen bones and improve osteoporosis

How to treat sunburn naturally

Mercola – Instead of taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers, which may worsen your condition, go natural with these home remedies.

Aloe vera — Several studies have shown that applying aloe vera helps reduce the risk for sunburn and relieve its symptoms.36,37 Ideally, it is best to use the gel from a fresh plant.

When you cut a matured aloe vera leaf open, a thick gel-like juice will come out of it. Use that as a topical ointment to reduce the sting and redness of your sunburned skin. Apply it five times a day until your condition improves.

  • Potatoes — Potatoes have starch-based compounds that may help soothe sunburn.38 Chop an uncooked potato into slices, and rub or pat down a piece on your sore sunburned spots. You can also try grating a cold raw potato and applying it as a poultice.
  • Honey — According to a study published in the Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters, honey — particularly Manuka honey — has a number of medicinal properties that make it useful for relieving sunburn. This includes antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound-healing and antiexudative properties.39 Just always remember that many commercial honeys you find in your local store may not be true honey; be sure to look for local, organic honey.
  • Vinegar — The acetic acid found in vinegar is said to reduce pain, itching and inflammation.40 Add a cup of cider vinegar into your bath water and soak your burned skin in it. It can also work like a natural aspirin. Simply dab a bit of white vinegar on your sunburn for 20 minutes for instant pain relief.
  • Coriander oil — According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, coriander leaf extract may help reduce the risk for UVB-induced photoaging. For a soothing effect, use it as an essential oil by lightly rubbing it onto your sunburn.41
  • Green tea — Green tea’s catechin and tannic acid help soothe sunburn pain.42 Soak a couple of tea bags in cool water. You can either use the tea bags themselves as a cold compress on the burnt areas, or wash your face gently with the cold tea extract.
  • Cucumber — With cucumber’s cooling effect, simply putting it on top of your sunburn can provide instant soothing effects. You can also use it as a paste by mashing it and applying it on your skin.43
  • Calendula — It has natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are especially beneficial for burns. Although there are many calendula creams sold in drugstores today, you can make your own calendula poultice using fresh calendula blossoms for faster healing of your sunburn.44

In addition to the natural remedies mentioned above, you should also try the following tips to help ease the symptoms of sunburn:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Dip the affected areas into a tub of cold water to lessen the soreness and sting.
  • To avoid further irritation, do not wash your sunburn with harsh soaps.
  • Refrain from putting petroleum jelly on your sunburn, as it may exacerbate the burn by blocking pores.

Good News

Team of Retired U.S Navy Seals and Police Officers Are Rescuing Children from Trafficking

The Hearty Soul – There are still people out there in the world who would give up their golden years of vacationing and relaxation to fight relentlessly in the battle to curb human trafficking. Saved in America (SIAM) is a non-profit volunteer organization made up of retired Navy SEALs turned private investigators, police detectives, police officers and other veteran law enforcement agents who are lending their skills to the fight.

At no charge to families, the San Diego based group has assisted the law enforcement in rescuing 208 missing children since 2014, 60% of whom were trafficked or taken against their will. The organization was founded by Joseph Travers, a retired police commissioner and licensed investigator from California. He was inspired to join the fight following the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel in 2009. The 17-year-old had gone on a Spring Break trip at Bar Harbor Hotel in South Carolina without her mother’s knowledge or permission. She reportedly went to another hotel to see a friend, and for the past ten years, Brittanee has not been seen. A 2016 report to the FBI from a prison inmate accused a gang of raping, shooting, and feeding Brittanee to alligators (although her remains were never found), but there was no concrete evidence to make a conviction [5].

I knew that street gangs, prison gangs, and cartels took over drug trafficking in the 1980s, and then they took over sex trafficking at the turn of the century,” Travers told The Magazine. “When I read about Brittanee Drexel, who disappeared off the face of the planet, I just knew gangs were involved.”

The veteran further explains that families whose children are taken would usually find themselves at crossroads where they wouldn’t know which direction to take. As a way to aid government agencies and find missing children faster, SIAM helps in strategizing, investigating, and rescuing the victims to the best of their abilities. SIAM also connects the rescued victims to support groups and rehabilitation centers to help them cope with the trauma.

Website only stocks products that last a lifetime

Mother Nature Network – Once I heard the premise behind Buy Me Once, I couldn’t believe the website didn’t already exist. Tara Button, the webshop’s founder, couldn’t either. She was working in advertising, and one of her clients was Le Creuset, the famous maker of ceramic cookware that has a lifetime guarantee. She got a cooking pot from the company and she thought, “Why aren’t there more things like this?”

Then she figured there must a place online to find more things in other categories that shared the same principles as Le Creuset. She searched and searched and couldn’t find a site where all types of products built to last were vetted and sold.

“I tried hard to ignore the idea, but it wouldn’t go away,” Button told me. “It kept on coming back up in my head. When I would read the news about the environment and about the waste we produce, I felt almost sick. I would get this visceral, itchy feeling inside that told me: ‘You can do something about this.’ I finally got to the point where I was like ‘I have to make this site.'”

Button jumped into entrepreneurship and started building the Buy Me Once site after work and late into the night. She finally quit her day job in late January to dedicate herself full-time to the site, and she has already gotten a lot of attention from shoppers and the media. Right now, most of the site is available to shoppers in the U.S. and U.K., and she’s working on getting every item available from each country.


Nolte: Toxic Masculinity Comedy ‘Stuber’ Dies at Box Office

Breitbart – What, you mean Americans aren’t interesting in paying $12 for a lecture about the dangers of toxic masculinity?

Go on!

Rather than simply make us laugh, rather than have the decency and graciousness to show us a good time, according to its own stars, Stuber’s true purpose was to wag its finger at the left’s latest bogeymen… masculinity.

Yep, because the men who fight the wars and truck the products and extract the heating oil and unclog the toilets and keep our streets safe and deport the illegal aliens  — they are the problem.

“I feel like we’re in a time where we can talk about masculinity and how it’s always been very traditionally defined in a narrow way and how that’s led to problems for everyone for women and for men,” Stuber co-star Kumail Nanjiani told the far-left Hollywood Reporter.

“I felt like it would be interesting to try to talk about that stuff in a traditionally very masculine genre. A buddy cop action-comedy is such a dude movie, so we thought it would be interesting to talk about dude issues that also affect the whole world, in a traditionally male genre,” he added.

And then his co-star jumped in with a top selling point:

“Throughout the film, we’re constantly talking about it. Sometimes you don’t realise it because we’re making you laugh or disguising it with action, but we really do have the discussion throughout the film,” he said.

Hey, where do I get in line for a comedy that is “constantly” lecturing about what the left claims is a social problem, when we all know that this whole “toxic masculinity” crusade is just a ruse to sucker good looking women into dating those bearded male feminists who can’t wait to treat them like a piece of meat.

Anyway, on a whopping 3050 screens, Stuber opened to just $8 million this weekend.


The production budget for this loser is around $16 million, but the promotion costs probably nudged that closer to $40 million, which means this sucker’s gunna lose a ton of money.