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|White House says bin Laden son killed in US operation ||Fantasy football Week 2 rankings |
The White House announced Saturday that Hamza bin Laden , the son of the late al-Qaida leader who had become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A statement issued in President Donald Trump's name gave no further details, such as when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States had confirmed his death. Administration officials would provide no more information beyond the three-sentence statement from the White House.
| Fantasy football rankings from Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Mike Clay, Eric Karabell, Stephania Bell and Tristan H. Cockcroft for Week 2. |
|Why It’s Unlikely the McCabe Grand Jury Voted against Indictment ||Week 2 inactives watch: Who's in and who's out? |
In coverage of the Andrew McCabe investigation, there seems to be a lot of adding two plus two and coming up with five.The New York Times and Washington Post have reported that a grand jury met on Thursday in connection with a probe involving McCabe, the FBI’s former deputy director. As I write this column on Friday evening, no indictment has been returned against McCabe. From this, and what seems to be some hopeful speculation about “hints of the case’s weakness” that could possibly have caused grand jurors to “balk,” the Times and the Post suggest that maybe the grand jury has voted against an indictment.This supposition has prompted a letter to the Justice Department from McCabe’s attorney, Michael Bromwich -- a former colleague of mine who, besides being a skilled and shrewd attorney, is a Democrat and was last seen representing Christine Blasey Ford, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser. Bromwich says he is hearing “rumors from reporters” about the filing of a “no true bill” -- i.e., a grand-jury vote rejecting a proposed indictment of McCabe.While conceding that he “do[es] not know the specific basis for the rumors,” Bromwich intuits that they must be reliable because the newspapers ran with the story. Mind you, neither the Times nor the Post claims to have been told by any grand jurors that they declined to indict McCabe; nor do they report hearing from any knowledgeable government official that a no true bill was voted. Nevertheless, McCabe’s legal team is demanding that the Justice Department disclose whether an indictment was declined and refrain from seeking an indictment in the future.This gambit, of course, floats the narrative that the case against McCabe must be crumbling -- the media reports spur the Bromwich letter, which spur more media reports, rinse and repeat. But even allowing for the erosion of standards, this is thin gruel for both news reporting and legal claims.I’ll add more detail presently. To cut to the chase, though, there is no reason at this point to infer that the grand jury has voted against indicting McCabe.Now, let’s back up.As I reiterated in a column on Thursday, the criminal probe of McCabe stems, at least in part, from an investigation by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz. That inquest centered on McCabe’s orchestration of a leak to the Wall Street Journal of investigative information -- specifically, of the fact that the FBI was investigating the Clinton Foundation. McCabe is alleged to have lied in several interviews by FBI agents. It is a crime to make false statements to investigators. IG Horowitz outlined the false-statements allegations against McCabe in a meticulous 35-page report, filed in February 2018.As is required when the IG turns up evidence of potential criminal conduct, the matter was referred to the Justice Department for consideration of whether charges should be filed. Because the IG probe and the alleged false statements occurred in Washington, the matter ended up in the United States attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.There, the U.S. attorney, Jesse Liu, has reportedly decided that there is enough evidence to charge felonies. Bromwich, however, was permitted to appeal Liu’s decision to the Justice Department -- specifically, to Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy attorney general. According to media reports, DAG Rosen was unpersuaded; the Justice Department thus advised the McCabe defense team in an email that their appeal has been rejected, and that any further questions should be taken up with U.S. Attorney Liu’s office.It was assumed when this news broke on Thursday that the Justice Department’s rejection was the last hurdle standing in the way of charges, and therefore that an indictment must be imminent. It has now been reported that, although the grand jury met on Thursday, no indictment was filed.That, however, is no reason to conclude that an indictment was sought, much less that the grand jury declined to vote one.Let me begin with the basics. No competent federal prosecutor should ever get a no true bill from a grand jury. In nearly 20 years as a prosecutor, it not only never happened to me; I could count on one hand the number of times I heard of it happening to any other prosecutor in the office, and still have fingers to spare.This is not because of the old saw that the deck is so stacked against a suspect in grand-jury proceedings that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich. To be sure, grand-jury proceedings are very one-sided. Still, there are many cases that grand juries do not like and would not charge. Nevertheless, these cases do not result in no true bills. Instead, there is steady dialogue between the prosecutors and the grand jurors over each case. The latter ask questions and, when they are troubled, convey that fact to the former. Before submitting a proposed indictment, it is customary for the prosecutor to ask whether the grand jurors believe they have heard enough evidence, whether they would like to hear from other witnesses, whether they have other concerns, or whether they would like to consider an indictment. The prosecutor is well aware if the grand jury has doubts about the case; if there are indications that the grand jury is not inclined to vote for charges, the prosecutor simply refrains from presenting an indictment.Bear in mind, moreover, that a grand jury, unlike a trial jury, is not being asked to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Its modest task is to determine whether a significantly lower proof hurdle -- probable cause -- has been met. Also unlike a trial jury, the grand jury need not be unanimous; federal grand juries have up to 23 members, and only 12 need assent for an indictment to be approved. The grand jurors know they are not being asked to convict anyone; just to determine that there is enough evidence to warrant having a trial, at which the defendant will be given all the due-process protections the Constitution ensures. And double-jeopardy principles are not in play at the grand-jury stage as they are at trial: On the rare occasion that a federal grand jury votes a no true bill, prosecutors are free to re-present the case to the same or another grand jury.Assuming that the false statements capably outlined in the Horowitz report are the only potential crimes under consideration, it is hard to believe any grand jury could find insufficient probable cause to indict. Even McCabe is not claiming that what he told investigators was true; he seems to be saying he didn’t mean to lie (multiple times). When a suspect has committed all the acts necessary for a penal offense, and the only question is whether he had criminal intent, probable cause is usually a given.Of course, we do not know that the false statements are the only matters under consideration, or even that McCabe is the only subject of the grand jury’s investigation. It is entirely possible that the grand jury has not yet been asked to indict because relevant conduct is still under consideration -- conduct related to McCabe, related to other suspects, or both.And then there is the matter of prejudice to consider.Besides the ongoing grand-jury investigation of McCabe’s alleged false statements, the former deputy director is also among the current and former officials who are subjects of another IG probe of abuses of power in the Russia investigation. On Friday evening, IG Horowitz wrote a letter to leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, explaining that his report is substantially complete and is undergoing a classification review to determine what portions may be disclosed. We can safely assume, then, that the release of that report, which is apt to be explosive, is imminent. Meanwhile, Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham also has an ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation. There have been reports that Durham is using a grand jury to gather evidence and testimony.Why are these other investigations germane to what is happening with the Washington grand jury? Well, sometimes, when a suspect is under scrutiny in multiple investigations, the Justice Department will ask the court to seal any indictments returned by the grand jury. That way, there can be no credible claim that the grand jurors in one case were swayed by allegations filed by another grand jury. Relatedly, sometimes if a grand jury’s investigation has not yet been completed, but a major development in another investigation involving the subject -- such as an IG report -- is about to occur, the Justice Department will ask the grand jury to file charges, but then seal the indictment. That way, it cannot credibly be said that the grand jury’s decision to indict was swayed by negative publicity surrounding developments in the other investigation.That is to say, there could be a dozen or more good explanations for why there has been no public announcement of a McCabe indictment. The other investigations could be complicating things. It could be that the Washington grand jury’s investigation is broader in scope than we’ve been led to believe. It could be something as simple as the availability of necessary witnesses, the availability of enough grand jurors to constitute a quorum, or the happenstance that the case is taking more time to present than the defense lawyers and media think it should.It is certainly possible that, if there were a trial, the false-statements case against McCabe would seem less compelling than Horowitz’s report makes it appear. It is conceivable that the U.S. attorney will decide against charges. Note that in the email to McCabe’s lawyers, the Justice Department said only that his appeal was rejected; DAG Rosen does not appear to have instructed U.S. Attorney Liu to file an indictment, but rather to have left that call up to her. For all we know, Liu could decide not to seek an indictment: Maybe she’ll calculate that a trial jury in Trump-hostile Washington might be too sympathetic to McCabe’s claim that he is being investigated because of a political vendetta; or maybe she’ll prove to be risk-averse regarding a case in which an acquittal would be embarrassing.Such developments would surprise me, but I wouldn’t be shocked. What would shock me, though, is if the experienced federal prosecutors handling McCabe’s case bungled their way into a no true bill. If I had to bet, I think it’s unlikely McCabe escapes indictment. If he does, though, it will be because his lawyers talked prosecutors out of seeking one, not because the grand jury declined to charge him.
| AJ Mass provides updated inactives and analysis based on the latest reports and official announcements leading up to kickoff. |
|Tomi Lahren: We Need Guns to ‘Defend Ourselves’ From Immigrants ||Sources: AB rejected $2M settlement with Taylor |
Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren declared on Friday that Americans need guns in order to potentially fight off unlimited immigrants coming into the United States, adding that citizens need the ability to “defend ourselves” because “we don’t know” who is coming into the country.Appearing on Fox Business Network’s Varney and Co., the conservative firebrand reacted to Democrats’ calls for stricter gun control in the wake of several mass shootings. Specifically, she took issue with Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s call for mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons like the AR-15 and AK-47.“I would also remind those that might not have a use for a gun or don’t feel they have a use for a gun, many Americans do,” Lahren told Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney. “Many Americans don’t live in the suburbs, who are far away from where police can respond, and so that’s why that self-defense is so important.”And then she brought the threat of “open borders” immigration into the mix.“And all the things the Democrats want to put in place—my goodness, if they want to open our borders, you better be sure the people in Texas, the people in South Dakota, the people in the middle of this country, we are going to be armed and ready,” she exclaimed. “Because we have to have a means to defend ourselves from—who knows who’s coming in? That’s the thing, we don’t know, and we have to be able to protect ourselves.”The right-wing provocateur’s insistence that guns are needed to stave off migrants heading into the U.S. comes barely a month after the El Paso mass shooting that left 22 dead. The suspected shooter admitted that he was targeting “Mexicans” and apparently posted a racist manifesto in which he decried the “Hispanic invasion” of America.This also isn’t the first time that Lahren has fear-mongered over supposed “open borders” immigration. Earlier this year, she devoted a monologue to warning Fox viewers that an extremely high border wall was needed because immigrants are “shifty and adaptable.”After her remarks faced intense backlash that included Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro personally calling her out, Lahren took to Twitter to "apologize" for how her comments "came out."“Not what I meant & I apologize for the way it came out. I simply mean without a secure border we don’t know who is coming into our nation & those who wish to do us harm will exploit it,” she wrote Friday afternoon. “I’m NOT advocating for violence against any person, regardless of race or immigration status.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
| Antonio Brown declined to sign a $2 million-plus agreement with Britney Taylor to settle a sexual assault allegation made by the wide receiver's former trainer, sources told ESPN's Jeff Darlington. |
|US officials warn of danger of feral hogs heading across the border from Canada ||Rubio, Gasol lead Spain to 2nd World Cup title |
US officials have warned that feral hogs heading across the border from Canada may pose a danger to the local environment. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that sightings of the feral animals on the US-Canadian border have increased in recent years. At least eight of the wild animals have been sighted just north of Lincoln County, Montana, this summer, officials said. Several agencies, including Wildlife Services, the Montana Invasive Species Council, the National Feral Swine Program and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department fear the wild pigs could cause significant damage to the landscape. Officials warned the animals can often be aggressive, breed rapidly, and difficult to catch. The feral pigs pose a risk to the local agriculture industries as they often destroy farm land and crops as they root for food. They also have the potential to spread diseases to domestic livestock, although no disease has been detected in the team in Canada. Female hogs typically have more than a dozen piglets in each litter and full grown hogs can weigh anywhere between 120lb to 400lbs. Dale Nolte, from the USDA’s National Feral Swine Program, described the prospect as “a disaster”. “Multiple people say that if we were to design an invasive species that would do the most widespread damage, feral swine aren’t too far off from being the perfect specimen,” he told local newspaper Daily Inter Lake. Ryan Brook, an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, blamed the southern migration of the feral pigs on poor monitoring systems in the province, which are allowing numbers - and the spread of the animals - to grow unchecked. “Saskatchewan is a very high functioning pig factory and the populations are exploding with very minimal efforts to control them,” he told the Daily Inter Lake. “Lack of serious action in Saskatchewan is the single greatest threat to Montana.” Legit question for rural Americans - How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?— Willie McNabb (@WillieMcNabb) August 4, 2019 The warning of a potential hog invasion prompted amusement on social media, with users highlighting a viral tweet last month by a man arguing assault weapons were necessary to manage the feral populations. “How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?” he asked on Twitter, prompting widespread mockery at the time.
| Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol led Spain past Argentina for its second World Cup championship. |
|Video shows a Model 3 automatically apply the brakes to avoid hitting a cop who ran a red light ||Sources: Darnold 'feeling better' in mono recovery |
Tesla's automated emergency braking (AEB) system, which was first introduced in 2017, has improved markedly in a relatively short amount of time. Just a few weeks ago, for example, Tesla demonstrated its next-gen AEB system which can more ably apply the brakes when a pedestrian or cyclist is detected. With that said, we recently stumbled across a new video which shows a Tesla Model 3 abruptly hit the brakes when a police officer on a motorcycle runs a red light and turns left into oncoming traffic. The officer was presumably chasing someone but his sirens were off at the time. As you can see in the video below, the Model 3 owner begins to accelerate at a green light and doesn't see the police officer swooping in from the right-hand side. Luckily, the Model 3 detected the officer and swiftly applied the brakes. https://youtu.be/SZdRTVfRi48 Describing the incident, the Model 3 owner posted the following on his YouTube channel. > Happened this morning; I was rolling about my way when the light turns green, and out of nowhere a cop without their audio on for their sirens runs a red light. If not for Tesla's emergency stop safety features this would not have been a good day. Thank you Tesla and ElonMusk for making the Model3 the safest car ever or I might've scarred myself for life with a horrible accident.Another angle of the incident can be seen below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3D3pzSWVjc&t=46s Of course, this is hardly the first time we've seen a Tesla take evasive action and avoid a potentially serious collision. In the video below, a Tesla that was rear ended quickly swerves to the left to avoid the car directly ahead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=21&v=QVdTAwU07Jc
| Sam Darnold is out for the Jets' game Monday night against the Browns because of mononucleosis, but the QB has told the team he's "already feeling better" and is hoping for a best-case scenario of a Week 5 return, according to sources. |
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Wheeling Views and Opinions
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy
Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€ -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Capitalism and The Wealth Gap
When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.