Ex-cop: Vocal support from Trump during St. Louis protests would go a long way


It’s been a case of déjà vu for the St. Louis area over the past week.

Last Friday a judge ruled that Jason Stockley, a white police officer, was not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in December 2011.

The acquittal prompted protesters to flood the streets of St. Louis just as they had done three years earlier after a grand jury acquitted Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

Once again, some protesters clashed with police. Officers made more than 80 arrests on Sunday night alone, the third consecutive night of protests.

Jeff Roorda, a retired St. Louis-area police officer and current business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, has had an up-close and personal view of the protests.

He said they have been essentially nonstop since last Friday. He described the situation to WND as like playing “Whack-a-Mole” with the protesters: As soon as police disperse protesters in one location, they pop up somewhere else in the city.

Protesters have chanted “No justice, no profits,” indicating they seek to disrupt the local economy. They have targeted affluent areas and places known to be economic hotspots around the area, according to the Associated Press.

Some have also chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!” But shortly after making a round of arrests Sunday night, police officers turned the tables on the protesters, chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Roorda, author of “The War on Police: How the Ferguson Effect is Making America Unsafe,” has no problem with the police co-opting the protesters’ chant.

“What’s the alternative?” he asked. “It’s either the police own the streets or criminals own the streets. There’s nothing in between.”

Roorda said a U2 concert and an Ed Sheeran concert have been canceled in the past week due to the protests. However, Billy Joel went ahead with a planned concert in the city on Thursday night. Roorda was thrilled the iconic singer didn’t give in to terror.

“To see Billy Joel on stage holding an NYPD coffee mug was very heartening for me and police officers and the law-abiding citizens who support us,” he said.

While support from Billy Joel is welcome, Roorda said he and other St. Louis-area police officers would also like to receive some overt support from the president of the United States.

It’s not that he doesn’t believe Trump supports law enforcement officers over criminals; the president has voiced his support for police in the past. Furthermore, Roorda recognizes Trump has had a busy week, with natural disasters, the North Korean threat and a major speech at the United Nations.

Nevertheless, a little support would be meaningful.

“Here’s the critical thing: Our guys are standing out in the street having bricks and bottles pelted at them, being subjected to the most horrible conditions, being called terrible names, particularly the black officers who are always treated worse in these situations, and it’s good for my guys to hear from people, particularly people at the highest levels of government, that they support them,” Roorda said. “Even if it’s just kind platitudes, vocalizing that support goes a long way.”

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What does GOP Obamacare fix really do?


Remember when Obamacare was before Congress and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi famously said the bill should be passed so taxpayers could find out “what’s in it”?

After Democrats passed the 2,300-page legislation, the Obama administration crafted tens of thousands of regulations and rules. Then, Obama issued a series of executive orders to make the failing plan work.

Now, with the Republicans proposing yet another “repeal and replace” plan, it’s clear that unraveling such a complex piece of legislation isn’t easy.

One of the groups that has battled the takeover of the American health care system from the beginning is the American Center for Law and Justice. Its experts have complied a big list of the bill’s changes and their potential impact.

ACLJ calls the current Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill the “final attempt” by the GOP to repeal Obamacare this year.

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The group warns that time is of the essence because the reconciliation process that allows the Senate leadership to pass the reform with a simple majority vote expires on Sept. 30.

“After this, there is no chance that the unified left will allow any reform through Senate,” ACLJ said.

“In short, Graham-Cassidy converts $1.2 trillion of Obamacare subsidies and spending into block grants for States to craft healthcare plans to address the needs of its citizens. The bill also ends Obamacare mandates and defunds Planned Parenthood.”

The organization cited six major changes:

  1. It would end the individual and employer mandates to obtain health care insurance by simply eliminating the penalties.
  2. The GOP would convert Obama’s Medicaid expansion into block grants to the states. First, the aid would be allocated on a per capita basis instead of favoring Democratic-leaning states. It also would provide a short-term assistance program for providing health benefits and access during a transition period and end up providing “merit-based” funding to states for “nearly any legitimate healthcare need.”
  3. It could end three key Obamacare taxes: the medical device tax, the tax on over-the-counter medication and the tax on health savings accounts. It would leave in place other taxes, specifically on people making over $200,000, investment income and health insurers.
  4. It would require coverage for pre-existing conditions and ban annual or lifetime caps but would allow states to apply for waivers if they protect those who would be affected. The states could do this by providing premium assistance programs or subsidizing out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. The plan would boost health savings accounts, to which taxpayers can contribute tax-free and then use for expenses. Under ObamaCare, the amount was limited to $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for families. Instead, Graham-Cassidy would increase this to $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families. The report said those funds also could be used for premiums.
  6. And the changes would defund Planned Parenthood, because “it defines abortion providers with more than $1 million in annual Medicaid reimbursements as a ‘prohibited entity’ for one year, denying them from being reimbursed by Medicaid. It effectively would prevent approximately $400 million of taxpayer funding from flowing to Planned Parenthood. It also would bar any plan that covers abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother, from reimbursement. The ACLJ analysis said those two abortion defunding tracks “provide the strongest pro-life protections of any of the recent Obamacare repeal efforts.”

Politico reported the president was warning Republicans that anyone who opposes the changes would be known as the “Republican who saved Obamacare.”

One current opponent is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who said the bill doesn’t go far enough. Other swing votes are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.

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Report: Abortionist dead in jail of suicide


A man named in a 30-felony indictment for allegedly doing underground abortions has been found dead in his jail cell, according to a team of pro-life advocates.

Rick Van Thiel, 54, was found hanged in an apparent suicide, Operation Rescue said.

He was being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas at the time.

“Van Thiel was arrested and jailed in September, 2015, for conducting abortions and other quack medical treatments out of a grimy trailer in his junk-cluttered back yard. A local news reporter dubbed it the ‘Trailer of Terror,’” Operation Rescue said.

The organization that monitors the abortion industry and advocates for strict limits, explained Van Thiel “was never formally educated, trained, or licensed in the field of medicine.”

“His background was instead that of a pornographic movie star/maker and inventor of sex toys.”

But he bragged during a jailhouse interview he found out how to do abortions by watching videos.

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The Clark County grand jury indicted him in 2016 on one count of child abuse, two counts of doing health procedures resulting in substantial bodily harm, two counts of sexual assault, six counts of sexual assault resulting in substantial bodily harm and 19 counts of engaging as a physician without a license.

“Van Thiel was an opportunist. Like many charlatans before him, he saw that offering cut-rate abortions and quack ‘holistic’ cures to hookers and other vulnerable women was a viable means to quick cash. He lured customers through several seedy ‘adult’ websites and by word of mouth,” OR reported.

“It is a shame that Van Thiel took his own life. As long as he was living, there was hope for his redemption,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “However, he will never hurt another person again, and that is something to be grateful for, however tragic the circumstances might be.”

Newman’s organization said Van Thiel’s arrest came within just weeks of the arrests of other abortionists allegedly doing work outside the law, in Michigan and Florida.

“Before anyone thinks that a lack of access to abortion facilities had anything to do with this, all three of these men conducted illegal abortions in areas where there were several abortion facilities,” Newman said. “his illegal abortion trend is all about exploiting the vulnerable to satisfy greed. It is a thousand wonders that no mother was killed during these dangerous, unsanitary abortions.”

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Frat banner probed for causing ‘uncomfortable feelings’


A university has ended its investigation into a brash banner hung outside a fraternity building at Wichita State fraternity – for all of five minutes one day – because officials have admitted the speech was covered by the First Amendment.

The banner, which faced a neighboring sorority recruitment event, said “New Members Free House Tours!”

The school had launched a Title IX investigation into the incident after a student reported the banner, claiming it caused “uncomfortable feelings.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote a letter to the school explaining that the speech was constitutionally protected.

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A short time later, the school “affirmed the expression was protected by the First Amendment and dropped its investigation.”

FIRE reported the banner was hanging outside the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house for “approximately five minutes” recently during the sorority’s nearby recruitment drive.

Fraternity members then took it down and apologized.

“FIRE is pleased that Wichita State quickly recognized that the banner was constitutionally protected and dropped the investigation,” said Ari Cohn, a spokesman for the rights organization.

“While universities have an obligation to respond to complaints, administrators must be careful to first evaluate the complaint and determine whether an investigation is necessary in light of First Amendment protections.”

The organization had told President John Bardo that investigating speech “sends a message to all students that if their expression offends others, they will be subjected to disciplinary investigation.”

When the unidentified student complained about the banner, the Division of Student Affairs said it was being investigated.

“Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall said the investigation was motivated in part by recent announcements from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos,” FIRE reported. “In a Sept. 7 speech, DeVos criticized the federal government’s overbroad and unconstitutional definition of sexual harassment under Title IX, the law against sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.”

Fire said the Obama definition “has led to a wave of administrative overreaction to constitutionally protected speech, including a professor who was punished after a 504-day investigation for a test question about waxing and another who was the subject of a Title IX investigation for an essay she wrote suggesting there are too many Title IX investigations.”

DeVos said in her speech: “Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach.”

FIRE pointed out that while such banners are not “universally appreciated,” they are constitutionally protected.

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Washington watchdog out to uncover draft Hillary indictment


WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton’s legal fights over her use of a private email server while secretary of state are far from over, with multiple court cases still in progress.

But now she has another battle on her hands, as Washington watchdog Judicial Watch is working to make public the details of Whitewater, the decades-old scandal in which she emerged relatively unscathed at the time.

Judicial Watch lawyers appeared before a federal appeals court in Washington Friday arguing for the release of draft indictments of Hillary Clinton from the 1990s Whitewater scandal. A ruling is expected later.

The watchdog group has been demanding the National Archives release documents the archives maintains “should be kept secret [to preserve] grand jury secrecy and Clinton’s personal privacy.”

Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for the documents in March 2015.

Then in October that year the group sued the National Archives and Records Administration for release of the 238 pages of related records.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the documents must be withheld in light of Clinton’s “substantial privacy interest,” which he claimed outweighed any public interest in disclosure.

But Judicial Watch appealed, contending an abundance of information about Whitewater has already been made public and that “there is no secrecy or privacy left to protect.”

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“Today we had an appeal, this is our appeal of the lower court’s decision that the archives was entitled to withhold these drafts,” Paul J. Orfanedes, the head of Judicial Watch’s Litigation Department, told WND. “We’ve been interested in Mrs. Clinton for decades. We think that there really is not privacy interests left, given the amount of material that has already been disclosed. The public interest is very great.”

The Clinton Whitewater scandal was a real estate scheme that surfaced during Bill Clinton’s bid for the presidency in which the Clintons and others allegedly made millions as predatory lenders.

The Whitewater Development Corp. was owned half by the Clintons and half by associates Jim and Susan McDougal.

Jim McDougal was also the primary partner of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association, which partnered with the Whitewater group offering loans to people who couldn’t afford the payments.

When homeowners defaulted, the corporation quickly foreclosed and resold the property. Eventually, the Justice Department and independent counsel launched investigations.

Ultimately, the Whitewater Development Corp. and the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan both failed, and the Clintons and the McDougals lost their initial $200,000 investment.

The Clinton’s walked away scot free, while several other people ended up in prison as a result of the FBI’s investigation of Whitewater.

Jim McDougal was convicted of fraud charges for making bad loans and later died of heart disease in a Texas prison.

Susan McDougal was convicted of fraud in connection with obtaining $300,000 federally backed small business loan. She refused to provide details to a grand jury of the Whitewater affair, was held in contempt of court and spent 18 months in jail. Bill Clinton pardoned her before he left the White House in early 2001.

The documents Judicial Watch are seeking stem from the Ken Starr investigation that nearly brought down Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Hickman Ewing, Starr’s chief deputy, wrote the draft indictments in April 1995 as part of his work with Starr’s investigation into the Clintons.

Ewing said he was spurred to draft the indictments because he doubted the legitimacy of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s statements in interviews in 1995. He said her comments about her law firm’s work for the failed Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan were not consistent with those of others at the firm.

According to Judicial Watch, the documents contain allegations that Hillary Clinton provided false information and withheld information from those investigating the Whitewater scandal.

Exposing the Clinton’s draft indictment, more than 20 years after the scandal broke, is not just an attempt to reveal Clinton’s disregard of the law and unaccounted corruption, Orfanedes explained. But the documents will shed light on how special prosecutors handle the litigation of high profile political figures.

“We thought they might be interesting in revealing what the special prosecutor was thinking back at the time,” he said. “The court is analyzing, trying to perform its balance: Is the privacy interest at stake greater than the public interest, or is the public interest greater than the privacy interest? Whichever is greater will decide whether or not the records are released.”

Orfanedes noted it was a three judge panel that was “asking lots of questions.”

“They were very concerned about making sure the privacy interests of these indictments were not disclosed to the public,” he said. “In general, it is not appropriate to disclose drafting documents to protect this privacy. Our counter argument to that was, so much is known about the investigation of Mrs. Clinton and the decision to prosecute or not prosecute, that there really is not privacy issues left – in this unique case. Not to say that in other cases, there is an overwhelming privacy issue. But in this case, there is so much information out there, there really is no privacy left.”

Clinton should no longer have the right to privacy while under investigation, Orfanedes argued, citing the investigation of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was convicted in 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy, as precedent regarding the issue of privacy.

“The court said Mr. Delay acknowledged that he was under investigation so his privacy interest is diminished because now the world knows that he is under investigation and that there’s this weighty public interest in knowing how prosecutors are handling his investigation,” he said. “It’s balancing those two points and that’s exactly the two point we are arguing with Whitewater.

“There are about 12 versions of the draft indictment. We want to look at them. We want to compare them. We want to reveal them to the public, they can look at them and try to figure out more information about what that special prosecutor was doing,” he said. “See what we can learn. What it means for the current special prosecutor. What it means for future special prosecutors.”

In February 2016, Judicial Watch released 246 pages of previously undisclosed internal memos from Starr’s Office of Independent Council investigation in 1998, showing prosecutors had evidence that Hillary Clinton was guilty of criminal fraud in the Whitewater affair.

Judicial Watch said the documents also proved Clinton and her associate Webb Hubbell at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, engaged in a criminal cover-up conspiracy that included destroying material documents and lying under oath to federal authorities.

Clinton’s objective, Judicial Watch argued, was to prevent the Whitewater affair from derailing Bill Clinton’s presidency.

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Trump dumps Obama policy that stripped rights from accused students


The Trump administration is rescinding an Obama-era rule that lowered the standard used by colleges to punish students and faculty members accused of sexual misconduct on campus, which critics say has led to many innocent people being fired or expelled and a wave of lawsuits.

The Obama administration’s guidelines on implementing the federal Title IX policy mandated that schools use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as practiced in criminal courts.

But the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said Friday that Obama’s April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter and an accompanying 2014 guidance document have been rescinded.

Along with lowering the standard to “preponderance of evidence,” meaning it’s more likely than not that an assault occurred, the Obama guidelines also recommended the removal of the right to cross-examination and prohibitions on double jeopardy, being tried for the same accusation twice.

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WND reported colleges and universities have paid out $36 million in lawsuits in more than 180 lawsuits for improperly handling sexual-assault accusations since the 2011 change in the Department of Education’s sexual assault policy.

The controversial federal mandate also required all allegations of sexual assault to be heard by a campus disciplinary panel.

“The campus justice system was and is broken,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley and author of “Twisting Title IX.” “Fair outcomes are impossible without fair procedures.”

Shibley said that when the government “sprang its 2011 letter on colleges and students without warning, it made it impossible for campuses to serve the needs of victims while also respecting the rights of the accused.”

“With the end of this destructive policy, we finally have the opportunity to get it right,” he said.

The Education Department said it will develop a new approach to addressing sexual misconduct on campus that takes seriously the rights of victims and the accused.

New policy will be implemented through a “notice and comment” process that responds to the input of all stakeholders, according to the department. The department did not solicit feedback for its 2011 letter, prompting a FIRE-sponsored lawsuit last year.

A study released by FIRE earlier this month found that college students are routinely denied even the most basic elements of a fair hearing.

The homosexual-rights group Human Rights Campaign charged the policy change will make it “more difficult for survivors to receive justice.’

Jennifer Pike Bailey, HRC senior public policy advocate, said in a fundraising email that “LGBTQ Americans face disproportionately high levels of sexual assault and violence.”

She said a 2015 study found that 60 percent of gay and lesbian students and nearly 70 percent of bisexual students reported being sexually harassed on campus. Studies also suggest that half of transgender people will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.

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Russian hackers tried to access voting systems in 21 states


The Department of Homeland Security informed 21 states and six U.S. territories Friday that their voting systems were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 elections.

The DHS previously said it had evidence of the hacking but did not inform the individual states that were targeted. Instead, the agency informed the private vendors or election officials who had “ownership” of the systems.

State election officials had complained that the lack of information was hampering their efforts to secure future elections.

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DHS said it allowed the election officials to decide whether or not to share what they learn with the public.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman immediately announced her state was targeted.

“There was no successful intrusion and we immediately alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the activities,” she said in a statement, the Seattle Times reported.

Wyman said the notice from the federal agency “confirmed information her office previously shared with federal security officials last year.”

“The security protocols we already have in place made us aware of these attempted intrusions by Russian IP addresses throughout the course of the 2016 election,” Wyman said.

Wyman’s office said in June it had no knowledge of its election systems being targeted.

In June, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a House panel that Russian hackers did not change any votes cast in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“I know of no evidence that through cyber intrusion, votes were altered or suppressed in some way,” Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating alleged Russian interference in the election.

Johnson, who said he testified voluntarily, also revealed the Democratic National Committee rejected an offer of help from his department after internal emails were hacked and released on the eve of the party’s presidential nominating convention.

And the former DHS chief was quizzed about the timing of the statement he released in early October, weeks before the election, warning of Russia interference as well as his decision in January 2016 to designate election infrastructure as a subsector of critical infrastructure, which was criticized by some as a step toward a federal takeover of state elections.

The Washington Post reported in June that U.S. intelligence had the “outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election,” but President Obama chose not to respond.

The Post said the attempts to interfere in the U.S. election were kept secret by the CIA and then Obama after he was informed.

Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year, the paper reported.

In July 2016, the FBI had opened an investigation of contact between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

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