Montana GOP congressional candidate accused of body-slamming reporter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Montana GOP congressional candidate accused of body-slamming reporter

A national political reporter for the Guardian newspaper said Montana GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed him and broke his glasses Wednesday before a campaign event in Bozeman.

“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” reporter Ben Jacobs wrote on Twitter. He added in a second tweet: “There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me.”

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, Jacobs can be heard persistently asking Gianforte about health care. Then there is a sudden crashing noise, and Gianforte can be heard shouting at the reporter: “I’m sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!”

Jacobs was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. “He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said in a story for the Guardian’s U.S. edition. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

In a statement, Scanlon said Jacobs had entered an office where Gianforte was giving a separate interview and “began asking badgering questions.”

“Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground,” he said.

He concluded: “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it is investigating the incident and was expected to hold a news conference Wednesday night.

The incident was partially witnessed by a BuzzFeed reporter Alexis Levinson, who tweeted the following account of events:

The incident comes one day before a hotly contested special election in Montana between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. Gianforte has a reputation in Montana political circles for being prickly, and has been known to be especially testy with reporters. In one widely circulated radio interview on Montana Public Radio he repeatedly sparred verbally with the reporter.

While the bizarre development quickly dominated the news, in Montana and around the country, its political impact remained to be seen.

More than 250,000 absentee ballots had already been cast by Wednesday, which could end up being well over half the total.

Some members of the public were quick to rally to Gianforte’s side, calling Jacobs a liberal reporter who baited the GOP candidate. “You give yourselves too much credit,” read one reaction on Twitter, directed at reporters covering the alleged assault. “You think voters will abandon their candidate cuz some lib journo made up BS.”

The incident lasted less than 60 seconds, according to audio posted by the Guardian.

Jacobs asks Gianforte how he felt about the score on the congressional health care bill just published by the Congressional Budget Office, which was the biggest congressional story of the day.

“You were waiting to make a decision about healthcare until you saw the bill, and it just came out,” Jacobs said.

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Gianforte said. At this point in the conversation, both men’s voices are calm.

“Yeah, but there’s not gonna be time. I’m just curious if—“

“Okay, speak with Shane, please,” Gianforte said, apparently referring to Scanlon.

“But—“ Jacobs said, and then the audio gets staticky, and a crashing noise can be heard.

Gianforte can be heard raising his voice in anger.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte yelled. “The last time you came in here you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!”

“Jesus!” Jacobs said.

“Get the hell out of here! The last time you did the same thing. You with the Guardian?”

“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

There was a moment of silence.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte said, his voice starting to calm.

“You’d like me to get the hell out of here, I’d like to also call the police,” Jacobs said.

Then, Jacobs addressed others in the room, apparently one or more aides for Gianforte: “Can I get you guys’ names?”

“Hey, you gotta leave,” another man responded.

“He just body-slammed me.”

“You gotta leave,” the man said again.

“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside — Ben walked into a room where a local TV crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) — sounded like Gianforte.”

Levinson said Jacobs then walked out holding his broken glasses in his hand and said, “He just body-slammed me.” An aide then told Jacobs to leave, Levinson said.

Jacobs reported the incident to the police, and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes tweeted.

Another BuzzFeed reporter said Gianforte left the area before his campaign event was set to begin.

U.S. warship challenges Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE REUTERS NEWS NETWORK)

In first under Trump, U.S. warship challenges Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart | WASHINGTON

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The so-called freedom of navigation operation, which is sure to anger China, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Territorial waters are generally defined by U.N. convention as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a state’s coastline.

One U.S. official said it was the first operation near a land feature which was included in a ruling last year against China by an international arbitration court in The Hague. The court invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over large swathes of the South China Sea.

The U.S. patrol, the first of its kind since October, marked the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of the man-made islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and expressed concern they could be used to restrict free movement.

U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the new administration held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office.

Last month, top U.S. commander in the Asia-Pacific region, Admiral Harry Harris, said the United States would likely carry out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea soon, without offering any details.

Still, the U.S. military has a long-standing position that these operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.

The Pentagon said in a statement it was continuing regular freedom of navigation operations and would do more in the future but gave no details of the latest mission.

“We operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea. We operate in accordance with international law,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in the statement.

U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS

Under the previous administration, the U.S. Navy conducted several such voyages through the South China Sea. The last operation was approved by then-President Barack Obama.

China’s claims to the South China Sea, which sees about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade pass every year, are challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.

The latest U.S. patrol is likely to exacerbate U.S.-China tensions that had eased since Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for a summit at the U.S. leader’s Florida resort last month.

Trump lambasted China during the 2016 presidential campaign, accusing Beijing of stealing U.S. jobs with unfair trade policies, manipulating its currency in its favor and militarizing parts of the South China Sea.

In December, after winning office, he upended protocol by taking a call from the president of self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as its own sacred territory.

But since meeting Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump has praised Xi for efforts to restrain North Korea, though Pyongyang has persisted with ballistic missile tests despite international condemnation.

U.S.-based South China Sea expert Greg Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the operation was also the first conducted by the United States close to an artificial feature built by China not entitled to a territorial sea under international law.

Previous freedom of navigation operations have gone within 12 nautical miles of Subi and Fiery Cross reefs, two other features in the Spratlys built up by China, but both of those features are entitled to a territorial sea.

Mischief Reef was not entitled to a territorial sea as it was underwater at high tide before it was built up by China and was not close enough to another feature entitled to such a territorial sea, said Poling.

He said the key question was whether the U.S. warship had engaged in a real challenge to the Chinese claims by turning on radar or launching a helicopter or boat — actions not permitted in a territorial sea under international law.

Otherwise, critics say, the operation would have resembled what is known as “innocent passage” and could have reinforced rather than challenged China’s claim to a territorial limit around the reef.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Additional reporting and writing by Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler)

Behold the Worthy Lamb of God

StopAndPrayTV

Mark 15:16-38

Having followed the Bible history to the death of Moses, we will make a break, and consider for a day or two a number of passages from various parts of the Holy Scriptures, that our reading may be varied. First, let us solemnly read the narrative of our Lord’s crucifixion,—the best comment upon it will be our repentance, faith, and love.

Mark 15:16

That he might suffer the full chorus of their ridicule. Men were unanimous and hearty in mocking their Redeemer; when will his people be as zealous in his praises? Should not the “whole band” of believers adore him.

Mark 15:17-19

Here was Majesty in misery! Our Lord who is the angels king, was spit upon by rude fellows! How we ought to love him for enduring this shame.

Mark 15:20, 21

How honoured was this Simon: but let us not envy him; we shall have…

View original post 238 more words

It’s Time for You To Become Responsible!

StopAndPrayTV

Galatians 6:5

When Denise and I were first married and were just getting started in the ministry, our heart desire was to help people who were in need. Word of our efforts to help people soon spread throughout our city, and it seemed like there was always a long line of people approaching us to request help for all kinds of needs. Some of the needs were serious and legitimate, but soon we recognized that some people just wanted to take advantage of our goodwill.

That latter category included those who didn’t want to get a job. These people had myriads of excuses for why they couldn’t go to work, and they came up with fantastic reasons to explain why everyone else should be paying their bills. At first, Denise and I didn’t realize that we were the newest gullible victims they had discovered to help them freeload. But after…

View original post 1,035 more words

Urban Hummingbird

Graffiti Lux and Murals

This fabulous hummingbird is part of a massive mural in Toronto’s east end Chinatown.

How perfect to thank Cindy Knoke for her contributions to Kids’ Month.

After all, Cindy is the winner of the best and most hummingbird posts, ever!

This shot blows up beautifully!

Of Course the mural is not all about the hummingbird.

There are more aspects to this beautiful work.

Such as this flower at the opposite end, or are they leaves that look like a flower?

Mountain peaks and

… and mountain  terraces to a shrine.

It was very difficult to shoot this with my IPhone.

The pic above is cropped. I had to stand quite far away to capture it in 1 piece.

Well, maybe it is all about the hummingbird, and its flower!

Pics taken by Resa – May 14, 2017

Toronto, Canada

0acd8acf1e33598ca9971304aaca47e4A big “thank you” to Cindy Knoke, a fave blogger…

View original post 43 more words

CIA: Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Paul Manafort, then the Trump campaign chairman, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. CreditWin McNamee/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.

Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Mr. Flynn. Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russia, who at one time had worked closely with Mr. Manafort.

The intelligence was among the clues — which also included information about direct communications between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russian officials — that American officials received last year as they began investigating Russian attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates were assisting Moscow in the effort. Details of the conversations, some of which have not been previously reported, add to an increasing understanding of the alarm inside the American government last year about the Russian disruption campaign.

The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the F.B.I., which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is continuing. It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn. Both have denied any collusion with the Russian government on the campaign to disrupt the election.

John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., testified Tuesday about a tense period last year when he came to believe that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was trying to steer the outcome of the election. He said he saw intelligence suggesting that Russia wanted to use Trump campaign officials, wittingly or not, to help in that effort. He spoke vaguely about contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials, without giving names, saying they “raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Whether the Russians worked directly with any Trump advisers is one of the central questions that federal investigators, now led by Robert S. Mueller III, the newly appointed special counsel, are seeking to answer. President Trump, for his part, has dismissed talk of Russian interference in the election as “fake news,” insisting there was no contact between his campaign and Russian officials.

“If there ever was any effort by Russians to influence me, I was unaware, and they would have failed,” Mr. Manafort said in a statement. “I did not collude with the Russians to influence the elections.”

The White House, F.B.I. and C.I.A. declined to comment. Mr. Flynn’s lawyer did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The current and former officials agreed to discuss the intelligence only on the condition of anonymity because much of it remains highly classified, and they could be prosecuted for disclosing it.

Last week, CNN reported about intercepted phone calls during which Russian officials were bragging about ties to Mr. Flynn and discussing ways to wield influence over him.

In his congressional testimony, Mr. Brennan discussed the broad outlines of the intelligence, and his disclosures backed up the accounts of the information provided by the current and former officials.

“I was convinced in the summer that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive,” Mr. Brennan said. Still, he said, even at the end of the Obama administration he had “unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf again either in a witting or unwitting fashion.”

Mr. Brennan’s testimony offered the fullest public account to date of how American intelligence agencies first came to fear that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding Russia’s attack on the election.

By early summer, American intelligence officials already were fairly certain that it was Russian hackers who had stolen tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That in itself was not viewed as particularly extraordinary by the Americans — foreign spies had hacked previous campaigns, and the United States does the same in elections around the world, officials said. The view on the inside was that collecting information, even through hacking, is what spies do.

But the concerns began to grow when intelligence began trickling in about Russian officials weighing whether they should release stolen emails and other information to shape American opinion — to, in essence, weaponize the materials stolen by hackers.

An unclassified report by American intelligence agencies released in January stated that Mr. Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.”

Before taking the helm of the Trump campaign last May, Mr. Manafort worked for more than a decade for Russian-leaning political organizations and people in Ukraine, including Mr. Yanukovych, the former president. Mr. Yanukovych was a close ally of Mr. Putin.

Mr. Manafort’s links to Ukraine led to his departure from the Trump campaign in August, after his name surfaced in secret ledgers showing millions in undisclosed payments from Mr. Yanukovych’s political party.

Russia views Ukraine as a buffer against the eastward expansion of NATO, and has supported separatists in their years long fight against the struggling democratic government in Kiev.

Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russian officials stretch back to his time at the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he led from 2012 to 2014. There, he began pressing for the United States to cultivate Russia as an ally in the fight against Islamist militants, and even spent a day in Moscow at the headquarters of the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service, in 2013.

He continued to insist that Russia could be an ally even after Moscow’s seizure of Crimea the following year, and Obama administration officials have said that contributed to their decision to push him out of the D.I.A.

But in private life, Mr. Flynn cultivated even closer ties to Russia. In 2015, he earned more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia, including a cargo airline implicated in a bribery scheme involving Russian officials at the United Nations, and an American branch of a cybersecurity firm believed to have ties to Russia’s intelligence services.

The biggest payment, though, came from RT, the Kremlin-financed news network. It paid Mr. Flynn $45,000 to give a speech in Moscow, where he also attended the network’s lavish anniversary dinner. There, he was photographed sitting next to Mr. Putin.

A senior lawmaker said on Monday that Mr. Flynn misled Pentagon investigators about how he was paid for the Moscow trip. He also failed to disclose the source of that income on a security form he was required to complete before joining the White House, according to congressional investigators.

American officials have also said there were multiple telephone calls between Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, on Dec. 29, beginning shortly after Mr. Kislyak was summoned to the State Department and informed that, in retaliation for Russian election meddling, the United States was expelling 35 people suspected of being Russian intelligence operatives and imposing other sanctions.

American intelligence agencies routinely tap the phones of Russian diplomats, and transcripts of the calls showed that Mr. Flynn urged the Russians not to respond, saying relations would improve once Mr. Trump was in office, officials have said.

But after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the calls, Mr. Flynn was fired as national security adviser after a tumultuous 25 days in office.

A jury was selected Wednesday for comedian Bill Cosby’s June 5 trial

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) A jury was selected Wednesday for comedian Bill Cosby’s June 5 trial.

The full panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was seated after three days of jury selection in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.
The jury is composed of four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man. The alternates include four white men, one black woman and one black man.
The case will start June 5 about 300 miles away in Montgomery County, north of Philadelphia, where the criminal charges were filed. The jurors will be bused to Montgomery County and sequestered in a hotel for the length of the trial.

Why Bill Cosby is going to trial now

Why Bill Cosby is going to trial now
Cosby, 79, is charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Cosby, dressed Wednesday in a blue suit, appeared the most relaxed he has been throughout his jury selection.
Cosby didn’t talk to reporters after the first two days, but he did after court adjourned.
“I just want to be very specific about the wonderful people Allegheny County and I also want to also thank the sheriff’s department, because they made everything very very smooth here,” he said.
He walked away and some reporters asked questions about the case.
Judge Steven O’Neill dismissed one prospective juror. No reason was given, but that juror had previously disclosed his youngest sister was the victim of a sexual assault.
Two alternate jurors said they had close family members who were victims of sexual crimes. Both said the crimes wouldn’t affect their verdict in this case.
One alternate, a white man in his 50s, said he hasn’t read or heard anything about Cosby’s criminal case in the last two years.
More than 50 women have come forward in recent years to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct over the decades, but this is the only criminal trial he has faced. The judge ruled that only one additional accuser may testify against Cosby.
Many of the women allege he drugged and sexually assaulted them.
Cosby has said he will not testify in his defense at the trial. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Wisdom

Source: Wisdom

Time Is Precious

Source: Time Is Precious

11 Principles For Waiting Upon The Lord

Source: 11 Principles For Waiting Upon The Lord