(Truth/Treason/Poem) Protecting A Dirty Oil Company

Protecting A Dirty Oil Company

 

Once upon a time not so long ago (and this is no fairy tale)

I was working executive security just trying to earn that dime

Stationed in South East Texas in the town of Enron’s fame

One Friday eve on the maintenance elevator I chose to ride

43 rd floor my goal, it’s the home of Presidential fame ya know

Quietly checking offices to see if all workers were weekend bound

 

 

Two male voices I hear, coming down the hall so very clear

Having a conversation that no one was ever suppose to hear

There was a former Governor very well known as “our boy” round there

His Presidential bid going slow, gave “our boy 3 million more today”

These the words of my boss as he was bragging to his callous friend

At this time gas sold about 70 cents, way to low for the likes of them

Boss bragging to his buddy how Our Boy was Oval Office bound

 

 

Having one of these puppets on a string, is every oil mans dream

Bragging how that soon the whole Country they would be shagging

To the other suit this Oil company’s President was boasting and bragging

That within 8 months of taking office, Our Boy would have gas $2 a gallon

Three times the current rate, for the Oil Companies, no doubt that’s great

Not caring that the whole world’s infrastructure would be drowning

To me these type of acts toward our country is nothing short of treason

To bad these good ole boys, to realize their dream, had to wait until 2000

Today Is Past, Just As ALL Of Our Yesterdays

 

A salute to all of our yesterdays

Think not of the stripes we have earned

Smiles on faces of names long forgotten

Peaceful quiet, snuggle in, cry, or pray

 

Loved ones, one by one leave our arms

Snapshots of peaceful times, hopefully on print

Years gone by, do our mental pictures fade

Have all of our days been a shame to the Son

 

Patriarch by 40 something I never wanted to see

Our children and theirs grow up to ignore you

Things we’ve done wrong, own them, then go on

Yesterday’s ill’s, we can’t change the harm we’ve done

 

Our today, don’t create tomorrows butt of a joke

Today like yesterday is past, good or bad it is done

Mistakes can haunt the human brain to the grave

Doing the Texas two step with God’s Angels tomorrow

Such bliss depends on our today if there will be a tomorrow

My Own Personal VA Horror Story Of Their Fraud, Incompetence, Apathy And Lies

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO PART ARTICLE. BECAUSE OF IT’S LENGTH I WILL FINISH THE SHORTER OF THE TWO PARTS TOMORROW AND POST IT THEN. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, IF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT AMERICAS SERVICE CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS A 100% TRUE ARTICLE!

 

Along with that title I should include massive malpractice and attempted murder. I know that what I just said is a bit harsh as is the title yet when something you speak is the truth it is not slander or harsh, it’s just the truth. I know that this may well be my longest article ever but if you wish to hear some truth about how bad I have been treated by the VA system, please lend me your ear. I do not think for one moment that I have been singled out for their persecution, I am just one of millions that they are guilty of trying to kill off whether that be through the above listed actions, or even possibly intent. I know that is a tough statement but after talking with at least 200 different disabled Veterans and their wives from all over the country and hearing their own horror stories it makes one wonder a little bit if the VA is trying to kill off as many of the older Vets as possible to help save the system money so that they can afford all the new disabled younger folks coming into the system everyday.

 

My story would have to begin when I went into the Army on 7-18-1983. I was sent to Boot Camp at Ft. Dix NJ. While on a training mission there on the post on 8-11-83 I was struck by lightning. Right from the start the company C/O started trying to cover things up and trying to blame others for the event. To me that is really stupid being this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They did know that a huge weather system was coming up the east coast because they had been telling us about it all day, yet still I don’t believe anyone is ‘responsible’, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 6 PM. When I was totally cleared on medical I was discharged on 2-3-84 from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where I had been transferred for the purpose of learning a trade called Small Arms Repair. Ft. Dix just pushed the problem off to another group for them to deal with plus I learned that almost all of my medical records vanished. Within the first five years after I was discharged (because I couldn’t do the work) all record of me ever being in the Army somehow disappeared three different times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I had several paper documents proving otherwise. I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area so I started going to the Dallas VA Hospital starting in September of 84 and moved away from there on 7-1-97. Just recently (about six months ago) I was informed by the VA  here in Lexington Ky that the VA has no record of me visiting the Dallas VA until September of 1995. How convenient for them to lose all those records, just like the records from the Ft. Dix hospital have almost all disappeared. One of the interesting little facts that I haven’t told any of them yet is that in their new computer system (about 3 yrs old) they call “My Healthevet” they have record of several of my lab reports dating from January of 1991, from Dallas.

 

As I said earlier I was discharged in February of 84, by about July of 84 I was starting to have pain in the left side of my chest and real bad pain in my left shoulder. By September of 84 the shoulder pain had gotten so intense that I could not put my left hand up on the lawn mower handle to hold the lever to make the mower function. I did not have any medical insurance at my job so I went to the Dallas VA at least seven times starting with September of 84 up through the spring of 97 when I moved to Ocala Florida and started going to the VA in Gainsville Florida. All of these times that I went to the hospitals for help it was all I could do to walk in from the parking lot because of having so much pain in my chest, shoulder and neck where I was sweating very badly and very short of breath. Each time I had to stop two or three times because of these reasons. When I would finally get seen I used to have the ‘problem’ where my blood pressure tended to always stay at about 110/70. The medical people would see that and say “well we know it’s not your heart” because by blood pressure was so good. Even though I had all the signs of having a heart attack I could never get them to “waste their time” to ever get an EKG. I always got told there was nothing wrong except maybe heartburn and they would dismiss me.

 

Being struck by lightning is not something I believe I had ever thought much about, until it happened. It is not something that I recommend for anyone to go through, to say the least, it hurts. I did not really know anything about the effects of being struck by it but if you will read this article you will learn things from my experience. Lightning to me is still a surprising thing in that it produces such energy that can kill a whole herd of cattle in a field or split a huge oak in half or set a house on fire, or hit a person in the head and they might still live. I have learned that lightning does not kill most of the people it hits but it does tend to mess most folks up for life. I also learned that most people (like with me) do not have exit wounds.

 

When this event happened I had just laid down on my mat to eat my supper. When I lay down I tend to lay on one side or the other, when I do this I also tend to put (in this case) my left foot/ankle upon the right one. The impact hit me right on my ankle bones then ran up the bone system which the Doctors at the hospital told me was rather normal for it to have done being I was laying down that way. I felt the electricity moving up my legs into my low back and it left red jagged burn marks along its path which is also normal for it to do. I quit feeling that sensation once it reached my low spine where it turned my coccyx (bottom of your spine) and flipped it around backwards. I learned later that this happened because the electricity hit it knocking it out-of-the-way and the electricity ran up my spine. While on the examining table in the emergency room I could not feel my legs except for the intense pain in both of my ankles. There was an area on both ankles about the size of a silver dollar where it felt like there was a vice being cranked down on the ankle bones. There was one Doctor who I remember was a Major whom the ER called in because he had had experience with lightning strike victims. There was also another Doctor there who was working with him whom had no such experience. The second Doctor touched my knees and made comment that my knees were hot, which I did not know because I could not feel them. So, I put my hands on my knees and found out that he was correct, they were quite hot. This Doctor also by accident touched the bottom of my right foot with all the fingers on one of his hands, when he did this my whole right leg flew up and my knee almost hit me in the face and then went straight back down. This happened even though I could not feel either of my feet, this was one of my early warning signs about nerve damage. Another big sign of the nerve damage was when the now three Doctors helped me up onto the side of the table so that I could step down onto the floor, they wanted to see if my legs would be able to hold me up. The result was that as soon as my feet hit the floor an intense pain as if it were a bullet went up through the bottoms of my feet, through my whole body and out the top of my head in no more than one second. I actually yelled out in pain as I hit the floor within that one second. Actually the yelp was after the pain had already gone through me as I now laid crumpled on the floor. I remember hearing the term C-6 for the first time at that moment. I didn’t know what this lady Doctor meant by that so she explained that the sensation was because there was nerve damage to the C-6 vertebrae which is in people’s neck. Ever since the lightning strike I have never been able to take the pain of doing something stupid like hopping out of the back of a trailer or off of a loading dock with out it hurting me a lot with the same result as at the hospital.

 

When I was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland I spent most of my time there as a Colonel’s Orderly while I was doing rehab at clinics and occasionally going to their Post hospital to see this one idiotic lady Captain Doctor who she seemed to think that because she out ranked me that she could give me the order about the lightning of “it never happened”, as I said, idiotic. While I was at Aberdeen they tried to send me through a school called Small Arms Repair which is really no more than being a parts changer on small arms, rifles, shotguns, pistols and the like. When I took the entrance exams to get into the Army my scores were all up in the mid ninety’s which I was informed by the school CO was higher than any of the instructors, yet I could not pick it up, I could not remember things from one day to the next. The people in charge tended to think that I was failing on purpose but I wasn’t, I just couldn’t remember the material. I did fail out of that school and once my medical clearance came through I was handed my Honorable Discharge papers the next day. Up until last summer, about August of 2015, I could never figure out why I now had such a hard time learning new things to where I now have to write about anything new onto note pads to where I can go over and over it until I can pick it up. Last summer I was on-line just flipping through different web sites and I came across one that was from Neurology Today Magazine and I noticed a headline about a study on lightning strike survivors and spine damage. In this article I learned that a lightning strike generates apx one million volts of electricity. They said that when a large electrical shock goes up the spine that among the things it does is to zap a nerve that is at the tip-top of everyone’s spine. When this happens to a person the result is that the nerve sends something like a little beam to the left front part of the brain where short-term memory is located, and zaps it, thus screwing up a persons short-term memory abilities. I have come across several VA Doctors throughout the years who are adamant that among other things, that there is no such thing as back injuries and that there is no such thing as nerve damage. It has become my belief that many Doctors enter the military and or the VA for employment because they cannot be sued for malpractice so they also do not need to pay for that coverage. I still come across some VA Doctors to this day that believe that if a person’s blood pressure is okay that the person’s heart is okay, total ignorance!

 

If a person wants to find out about problems people who have been hit with lightning tend to have concerning their long term health they would find that my problems are not any different from what would be considered as normal. The first two things on the list are heart problems and spinal nerve problems. I am no one special in this regard yet I receive 40% Service Connected disability rating from the VA because of traumatic arthritic conditions to my knees at 20% and the other 20% because of hearing loss in both ears. Nothing for the ankles which was the point on impact, nor any of the other joints, nothing for nerve damage, nothing for the heart being destroyed. I did have one test done that I had been asking for years to be done called a Nerve Conductivity Test, when they did it they “on my legs” they said that they found no problems and this “test” results are what is in my records. The “test” was conducted by one guy (I say ‘guy’ because I have learned that many people who do these test aren’t actually Doctors and often aren’t even VA employees), this guy had me take off my pants, shoes and socks and to sit upon a table. He told me to turn my head to the right and not to look toward him as he did ‘the test’. When he told me he was done I was allowed to look back at him, what he had done was to take a stick pin like you use to put a calendar onto a wall and stuck each of my legs about 20 times all over both legs. What I saw was all of these little blood drops/spots and him holding that pin. I would bet almost anything that this is not a real Nerve Conductivity Test, it was just a guy acting like an a-hole. Also now concerning lack of morals, ethics or professionalism when it comes to heart issues. When I have spoken with civilian Doctors including heart Doctors and about my problems they have all said things along the lines of “well of course” lightning did this to your heart and spine. A few used the term “well duh”. I remember this term because three different times when I met Doctors at the VA who were new to me and they asked me about my problems I was having I told them about the lightning and they said “well duh” of course the lightning caused it. But, now the kicker, and my wife was present two of these times, then I told those Doctors that the lightning happened when I was on active duty and they at once changed their opinions and said that well ‘that’ the ‘lightning’ couldn’t have had anything to do with it. We all know that poop flows down hill so that the employees catch all the hell from above if they don’t tow the company mark but when even Doctors who take a ‘solemn oath’ to do no hurt act like this, their lack of morals and ethics are well on display.

 

Three previous times I have applied to the VA for an increase on my disability rating trying to get it on my heart, spine, and on my other joints like my hips and shoulders. All three times a guy would come into a room to do this ‘inspection” and as I an all of America has found out in this past two years of so, these people whom portray themselves as ‘Doctors’ weren’t. These people who have been doing these ‘inspections’ aren’t even VA employees, or Doctors, or even have medical training. These people are outside contractors hired by the VA to do these fraud evaluations. All three of these times when the person came into the room they had orders to only and I do mean only, to look at my knees, not the issues that the appointment was supposed to cover. When you tried to get them to look at some of the other issues every time they would get mad and made it plain that the only thing they were allowed to look at was my knees. One gentleman even went as far as to threaten me that if I didn’t quit complaining that they could just take my rating down to zero and make it where I couldn’t go to the VA anymore. You know what is even worse than this fraud, it’s when you find out that someone in the VA system then puts in your records that during the physical that nothing besides the knees were found to be wrong. The BS continues in this scam against the Service Connected Disabled Vets, now that they put this BS in your records all of the evidence that you had given to them to support your claims can no longer ever be looked at again.

 

There is the issue of the Disability checks that the Service Connected Vets get, as I said I am rated at 40%. For the purpose of saving the VA money where in times past any ratings check would go to the spouse of the Vet once they had died as long as the surviving spouse didn’t remarry. Then it was changed to where the rating had to be at least 30%. Now it is at 60%, so the check we get each month once I die, they cut my wife off unless I get it increased. Yet reality is that they may well in the future raise the requirement rating again after I’m dead. The last day I was able to physically work at all was June 21st, 2013. I applied for social security disability and got my first check in five months and seven days, first try. These other three times I tried to get my rating increased I got turned down after about a year or so but because I was still able to do some work I did not contest them but this last time (4th) I filed in mid February of 2013 because I knew that I was not going to be able to continue working much longer. I had also seen a VA Neurosurgeon at the hospital in Johnson City Tn in October of 2012 who actually in writing agreed with the results of an MRI on my neck that I should be given an increase in ratings because it was obvious that the lightning had messed up my spine. This was turned in with a bunch of other documents that the people on the ratings board in Nashville Tn totally ignored and turned me down flat on all claims. I got this turn down notice in mid March of 2014. At that time because I was no longer able to do any work of any kind I went ahead and filed an appeal which I was told would take about two years at which time I would go in front of a Board of three Judges whom were not getting their checks from the VA like the others had been. In very late June of this year I got a phone call from a man who said he was with this fore mentioned Board who told me that on April 26th of this year that my case was basically put onto someones desk there and that I should be given a date ‘soon’ to where I could go in front of this three Judge panel, I still haven’t heard anything since. February of 2013, it is now August of 2016, that is three and a half years and still waiting. In March of 1999 in Ocala Florida at a civilian hospital I had a four-way by-pass operation, seven days later one of those arteries closed and I had yet another heart attack (I have had many) these civilian Doctors told me that if I really behaved myself and didn’t pull, push or lift anything that if I was lucky I might live another three or four years. Every day is borrowed time, only through God’s grace and some very good civilian Doctors in Georgia am I still breathing. How many Service Connected Disabled Veterans die each day on this waiting list trying to get an honest rating so that their wife and children won’t have to lose their homes or have the ability to stay off of food stamps? To me their actions (VA) are a moral sin that I have my doubts that God will forgive them for! How much blood are on these people hands?

 

Texas Advocates Release TV Ad Featuring Active Duty Police Officer and Victim of Marijuana Prohibition

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MPP WEBSITE)

Texas Advocates Release TV Ad Featuring Active Duty Police Officer and Victim of Marijuana Prohibition

May 04, 2017 , , , , , ,, , , ,


A television ad in support of a bill to reduce marijuana penalties in Texas will begin airing Friday, just days before the state House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure. It can be viewed here.

The 30-second spot features Nick Novello, an active duty police officer and 23-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, and Heather Jackson of Houston, an ovarian cancer survivor who was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana in El Paso in 2007.

“Arresting people for marijuana possession does not make our communities any safer,” Novello says in the ad. “It’s a terrible waste of police resources.”

Jackson notes that she was found with less than one gram of marijuana and spent a total of four days in jail. She was initially jailed for two days. She was forced to spend an additional two days in jail because she violated the terms of her probation by traveling from El Paso to Houston for treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“It has affected so many different things in my life,” Jackson says in the ad. She now has a criminal record that has prevented her from getting a teaching job.

The ad concludes by urging viewers to tell their legislators to support HB 81, a bipartisan bill that would remove the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of up to $250. A fourth offense would result in a misdemeanor punishable by only a fine. The measure passed out of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last month and is expected to receive a full vote in the House next week.

The ad is scheduled to air through Monday in Austin and through the weekend in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.

Police Officer In Dallas TX Suburb Shoots 15 Yr old Boy: Has Been Ruled A Murder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Police chief: Fatal shooting of black teen in Dallas suburb did not meet ‘our core values’

May 1 at 5:31 PM

After a 15-year-old boy was killed in a Dallas-area suburb over the weekend, police are now retracting their earlier account that a vehicle was reversing toward police in an “aggressive manner” when an officer opened fire, striking the teen.

In a news conference Monday, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said that he initially “misspoke” and that the vehicle had begun to drive away at the time that the officer opened fire. He then questioned whether the shooting was necessary.

“I unintentionally (was) incorrect when I said the vehicle was backing down the road… in fact I can tell you that I have do have questions in relation to my observation (of) the video,” Haber said. “After reviewing the video, I don’t believe that it met our core values.”

Haber, who declined to release the video footage of the shooting as well as the name of the officer involved, said that all evidence will be presented to the grand jury.

The teen, who has been identified by family members as Jordan Edwards, was killed Saturday night on a residential street in Balch Springs, where he was shot by an officer. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office said his death was ruled a homicide and he was killed by a rifle wound to the head.

Earlier, the police chief said that officers were dispatched to the 12300 block of Baron Drive in Balch Springs after receiving a 911 call at 11 p.m. reporting several drunken teens walking around the neighborhood.

Once officers arrived, they heard gunshots, Haber said. In what police described as an “unknown altercation,” a vehicle then began “backing down the street toward the officers in an aggressive manner.” By Monday afternoon, police had retracted that statement.

One officer shot at the vehicle, Haber said, striking the front seat passenger.

Jordan was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. In their initial statements, police did not explicitly say that the bullet from the officer’s weapon killed the teen.

The officer, whose name has not been released, was placed on administrative duty. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office are conducting their own investigations into the shooting, and the Balch Springs police department will oversee an internal investigation.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, said at a news conference Monday that the family is calling on the police department to release the name of the officer as well as any audio and video footage of the incident.

“We are declaring war on bad policing. This has happened far too often,” he said. “We are tired of making the same rhetorical demands, of having the same hashtags; our community is fed up with the same tired excuses, once again offered by Balch Springs Police Department yesterday, that this was somehow the fault of the victims — teenage kids with no criminal records, with no motive to attempt to hurt anyone, with no evidence that they ever attempted to hurt anyone.”

“Another family ripped apart by police brutality,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “There was absolutely no justification for this murder. We demand justice!”

In a phone interview with The Washington Post on Sunday night, Merritt said Jordan, his 16-year-old brother and three other teen boys were at a party on Baron Drive when they learned that police were on the way.

They went to the car parked outside and saw flashlights and heard gunshots, Merritt said. As they climbed into the car, the teens apparently heard somebody yell profanities. Then they were being fired upon.

They fled for about a block, Merritt said, before they noticed there was smoke coming from Jordan’s head. The driver of the car, the boy’s older brother, stopped the car and they flagged down an approaching police cruiser for help.

Several of the teens played on the football team together. Jordan was going through spring training for next year’s season.

“They’re never going to be the same,” Merritt said. “These kids are never going to be the same.”

Merritt claimed three bullets were fired into the car. They came through the driver’s side window, he said.

Jordan and the four teens with him had not been drinking, according to Merritt. They were not cited for underage drinking and have not been charged with any crimes, he said.

According to reporting from the NBC affiliate in Dallas, all Balch Springs squad cars have dash cameras and officers wear body cameras. Merritt said he was told there is body camera footage of the incident and that it has been turned over to the sheriff’s office.

Requests for comment from The Washington Post were not immediately answered by Balch Springs police, including on what policies the department has on shooting into moving vehicles.

Many major law enforcement agencies, federal officials and policing experts advise against shooting into moving vehicles, according to a 2015 investigation by the Guardian. The risk of harming an innocent party is too great, the Guardian reported, and the shots don’t often stop the vehicle.

In 2016, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — the largest sheriff’s department in America — wrote a new policy essentially banning officers from firing into a moving vehicle unless they feel threatened by something else, like a weapon.

It states:

“Firearms shall not be discharged at a stationary or moving vehicle, the occupants of a vehicle, or the tires of a vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is imminently threatening the Department member or another person present with deadly force by means other than the moving vehicle.”

More than 320 people who have been shot and killed by police so far in 2017, according to a Post database tracking such shootings. About 25 percent of those fatally shot by police so far this year have been black, and about 7 percent of those kill have been unarmed at the time they were shot.

About 10 people shot and killed by police so far this year were under the age of 18.

Haber, the police chief, told the CBS affiliate in Dallas that the department had been receiving threats online.

“Over the last several hours, we’ve received threats through social media towards officers … also towards our community,” Haber said. “We want to encourage everyone to please just be patient.”

It has been nearly a year since a wave of officer-involved shootings was followed by ambush style attacks on law enforcement officers around the country, most notably in Dallas, where last July five officers were fatally shot and nine other officers injured by a sniper during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

Merritt said that the Balch Springs Police Department, by reputation, is a small force and that the neighborhood where the shooting took place is relatively quiet and not known for gun violence.

Merritt said the tightknit Edwards family is “devastated.”

“They seem to be walking around in shock,” he said. “I imagine they’re going to sleep tonight hoping to wake up to this all being a dream.”

Man With Backpack Breaches White House Security Near Residence Entrance: Was Arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) A man carrying a backpack was arrested Friday night after breaching security at the White House complex and was discovered by a Secret Service officer by the south entrance to the executive residence, officials said.

The incident happened just before midnight while President Donald Trump was at the White House.
A Secret Service source said the intruder might have entered the White House grounds on the east side before making his way near the residence’s south portico entrance.
The White House was placed under security condition “orange,” one of the highest levels of security for the Secret Service.
The suspect was arrested by the Secret Service and taken into custody.
The President was spending the weekend in Washington and was alerted to the incident late Friday night, an administration official said.
There have been numerous instances of people trespassing on the White House grounds over the last several years.
In one notable instance in 2014, 42-year-old Omar Gonzales, of Copperas Cove, Texas, made it through the north portico doors with a three-and-a-half-inch folding knife in his pants pocket, according to the Secret Service. Gonzalez was apprehended just after making it inside the doors, the Secret Service said. The first family was not at the White House at the time.
In another, the Secret Service apprehended Joseph Caputo, of Stamford, Connecticut, on the North Lawn after he scaled the fence wearing an American flag-like cape while the first family was inside the residence celebrating Thanksgiving.

Houston Texas Teen Survives Seven-Story Fall From Parking Garage In His Car

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

FEB 26 2017, 5:39 PM ET

God Was on His Side’: Texas Teen Survives Seven-Story Fall in Car

A Houston teenager was recovering Sunday after driving off the seventh floor of a parking garage and landing upside down on the roof of a store below, officials said.

Image: A vehicle drove off a parking garage and landed in a building below Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2017, Houston, Texas.
A vehicle drove off a parking garage and landed in a building below Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2017, Houston, Texas. KPRC

Firefighters arrived at the store, Westheimer Plumbing and Hardware, around noon and found the unidentified teenager apparently in shock and sitting inside the locked, closed shop, Houston Fire Department Capt. Al Castillo told NBC News.

Images showed the car partially lodged in the shop’s roof with a large hole beside it.

It was unclear why the teen drove off the parking garage, Castillo said, though he only suffered cuts and lacerations.

“It’s amazing he wasn’t more seriously injured,” he said. “God was on his side today.”

Boy Finds Rattlesnake In His Toilet: Family Storm Shelter Filled With Them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Snake removal company finds 24 critters at residence in Texas.

Story highlights

  • Isac Mcfadden woke up to find a rattlesnake swimming in his toilet
  • 23 other snakes were discovered under the Mcfadden’s Texas home

(CNN)What do you do if you find a snake in your toilet? If you’re Isac Mcfadden, you go get your mom.

The young boy from Abilene, Texas, woke up Tuesday morning and headed to the bathroom. To his surprise, he found a rattlesnake slithering up his toilet bowl, KXVA reports. “I found this big clump, and I knew it was a snake,” said Isac.
He quickly called his mom, Cassie Mcfadden, who recruited one of Isac’s older brothers to get a shovel to kill the snake.
“I was just like, what do you do with this? What do you do with this? I don’t know!” Cassie told the station.
Cassie Mcfadden killed the snake while dad, Jason, called Big Country Snake Removal. When the technician arrived, he found 24 Western diamondback rattlesnakes — 13 in the cellar, five adults and five babies underneath the house, and the one snake in the toilet, which had entered through a relief pipe.
“Rattlesnakes are secretive and can be very cryptic — They rely heavily on their camouflage,” the company warned on its Facebook page. “This is simply how they survive. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”
The firm recommended that property owners have their homes checked regularly for snake infestations and said they shouldn’t be afraid.
“Rattlesnakes are an absolute necessity for the ecosystems, and people have an irrational fear about them,” a company spokesman said.
Isac and his brothers had some final words of wisdom for other kids who encounter snakes in their homes.
“If you find a snake,” they told KXVA, “always get an adult.”

President Trump’s Voter Fraud Expert Was Registered to Vote in Three States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE)

 

President Trump’s Voter Fraud Expert Was Registered to Vote in Three States

8:56 PM Eastern
(SAN FRANCISCO) — A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned.

Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show.

In a post earlier this month, Phillips described “an amazing effort” by volunteers tied to True the Vote, an organization whose board he sits on, who he said found “thousands of duplicate records and registrations of dead people.”

Trump has made an issue of people who are registered to vote in more than one state, using it as one of the bedrock of his overall contention that voter fraud is rampant in the U.S. and that voting by 3 to 5 million immigrants illegally in the country cost him the popular vote in November.

The AP found that Phillips was registered in Alabama and Texas under the name Gregg Allen Phillips, with the identical Social Security number. Mississippi records list him under the name Gregg A. Phillips, and that record includes the final four digits of Phillips’ Social Security number, his correct date of birth and a prior address matching one once attached to Gregg Allen Phillips. He has lived in all three states.

At the time of November’s presidential election, Phillips’ status was “inactive” in Mississippi and suspended in Texas. Officials in both states told the AP that Phillips could have voted, however, by producing identification and updating his address at the polls.

Citing concerns about voters registered in several states, the president last week called for a major investigation into his claim of voter fraud, despite his campaign lawyer’s conclusion that the 2016 election was “not tainted.”

“When you look at the people that are registered, dead, illegal and two states, and some cases maybe three states, we have a lot to look into,” Trump said in an ABC interview.

Reached by telephone Monday, Phillips said he was unaware of his multiple registrations but asked, “Why would I know or care?”

“Doesn’t that just demonstrate how broken the system is?” he asked. “That is not fraud — that is a broken system. We need a national ID that travels with people.”

Phillips has been in the national spotlight since Nov. 11, when he tweeted without evidence that his completed analysis of voter registrations concluded the “number of non-citizen votes exceeded 3 million.”

Thousands of people liked and retweeted the claim, which led to a viral article three days later on InfoWars.com, a site known to traffic in conspiracy theories.

Phillips also has previously tweeted about the dangers of “inactive voters” being able to vote in U.S. elections. “There is already law that compels states to remove inactive voters. Many don’t,” Phillips tweeted Nov. 29.

According to media reports, five Trump family members or top administration officials also were registered to vote in two states during the 2016 election — chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon; Press Secretary Sean Spicer; Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin; Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter; and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser.

The Houston-based True the Vote has challenged the validity of voter rolls in numerous states. On Friday, Phillips tweeted that the conservative group “will lead the analysis” of widespread voter fraud, and suggested in a CNN interview that it might release the underlying data in a few months.

Shortly after Phillips appeared on CNN on Friday, Trump tweeted: “Look forward to seeing the final results of VoteStand. Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”

___

AP reporters Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, and Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report

Amaq – 24/7 News Agency Run by ISIS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE AL-AWSAT NEWS AGENCY)

Latest News, Middle East, World

Amaq – 24/7 News Agency Run by ISIS

Al-Qaida chief, Osama bin Laden, had used in the past recorded video and audio messages in far-off hideaway and sent them to international television networks by the aid of his supporters, in order to claim responsibility for the 11 September attacks, 2001.

Today, ISIS which plays the role of a well-known terrorist threat to the West, sponsors its very own Amaq news agency, issuing dispatches on a 24-hour news cycle by the use of mobile technology. ISIS claimed responsibility on Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels through the agency itself, stationing reports in two languages, consequently, in English and then Arabic in a detached journalistic style without images or statements from its leader.

Noting that the news agency is named after a Syrian town mentioned in an ancient prophecy; as the site for an apocalyptic victory over non-believers.

Very much aware of the propaganda value of outlining itself as a militant in an uneven struggle, Amaq stated that the attacks were part of a broader war with an international coalition.

Charlie Winter, a senior research associate at Georgia State University in Atlanta, said that Amaq is an effort to grab “information dominance” over enemies. The latter stated by phone, that the agency is being used as a part of a wider propaganda strategy in the first place, and also used for tactical and strategic gains, in the second place. Winter added that the group is “very keen on having a very centralized message.”

Initially, Amaq uses WordPress blogging platform to send out press releases and reports, however today the agency is willing to implement encrypted technology to evade ever-tighter monitoring of social media.

The agency, first appeared in late 2014 when ISIS was making an effort to take over the northern Syrian city of Kobani from its Kurdish defenders, part of an offensive that also saw the group establish a presence in large swaths of neighboring Iraq. Amaq also was the tool ISIS used to claim power over the couple responsible for the shootings last year in San Bernardino, California.

It can be said that he agency has played a leading role in rapidly moving the ISIS propaganda machine beyond the barrage of comments provided by supporters on social media.

News from different world target countries are covered by Amaq, for instance the agency carries reports on events from Libya and Iraq to the Philippines, in 4 languages covering Arabic, English, French and Russian. However, it abstains from publishing videos of beheadings and other graphic images of ISIS actions, which in other words deliver more intelligent messages, such as in its labeling of suicide bombings as “martyrdom operations.”

It’s referred to within the ISIS administration as an “auxiliary” media unit, said Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum based in Philadelphia. It tracks conflict and the provision of services in provinces the group rules, but isn’t branded with ISIS symbols.

“They’re a part of ISIS, a full part of the media strategy,” he said by phone, adding that it’s unclear who heads the operation and from where. An application developed by Amaq called Arawi, which means a storyteller or narrator in Arabic.

There are many others ways that are being adopted by ISIS to communicate with those who are supporters, including encrypted Telegram Messenger Service, prompting Telegram to remove multi-user “channels” that members complained were promoting the terrorist group.

ISIS adoption of new platforms could be a consequence of a crackdown by tech companies. Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at Austin, Texas-based strategic advisory firm Stratfor, said that ISIS had a very strong presence on twitter until the site moved to reduce its presence.

Certain ISIS attempts to invent media portals have not been successful to attract big numbers of followers, as in the case of an attempted social-media network called Kilafahbook. However, its drive toward the latest technology did not stop. Following Brussels attacks the group called for “brothers in Belgium” to use encryption and “stay away from social media.”

It seems like ISIS has strong confident ambition that can go the encrypted route, and ironically so far it seems to be working, said Tricia Bacon, a professor of public affairs at American University in Washington and former State Department counter-terrorism official. As for Intelligence agencies, they don’t appear to have failed at some point and not had much success detecting electronic communications as ISIS plotted the attacks in Belgium or the earlier assault on Paris, she said.

“There’s going to be a lot of variation in who’s able to keep up and who’s not,” Bacon said. “Belgium has not been able to keep up, as evidenced by the attacks.”

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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