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Just days after President Donald Trump promised that the wall would be built even if it meant shutting down the government, U.S. Customs and Border Protection made an announcement Thursday that it has given contracts to four companies to build prototypes.

All four companies proposed different types of concrete walls. The government plans to make a decision on a single design, once they are properly evaluated.

NBC News reports:

The prototypes will be 30 feet long and up to 30 feet high. Construction of the prototypes is expected to begin in the coming weeks, and the review process will take between 30 and 60 days.

The image above is a border control rendering of what they see as an “optimum border enforcement area” between the U.S. and Mexico.

The concrete portion of the wall (E) would sit on the U.S.-facing side of an electronically monitored zone and another barrier (B) facing toward the Mexico side would be transparent enough for officials to see through.

The monitoring zone would be about 150 feet wide and alert patrol agents if someone breached the initial border barrier.

According to NBC News, Ronald Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, stated:

This is the first new initiative that adds to our bigger plans.

Testing will look at things like the aesthetics of it, how penetrable they are, how resistant they are to tampering and then scaling or anti-climbing.

The four companies currently under contract for prototypes are Fisher Industries of Tempe, Arizona; Texas Sterling Construction Co., of Houston; Caddell Construction of Montgomery, Alabama; and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction of Philadelphia.

Each contract was more than $400,000 and included in the 2017 budget.

The Trump administration will seek a $1.8 billion budget to begin construction on the wall in 2018, NBC News reported.

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5 Comments
  • paulette says:

    BUILD THAT WALL,BUILD THAT WALL,TRUMP 2020 ALL ABOARD,MAGA MAGA

  • YOSIF ST CHAKAROV says:

    PLEASE! DO NOT MAKE ME LAUGH..!?? & PLEASE! DO NOT MAKE ME WANDER..?!! IT’S A TWENTIETH AND ONE CENTURY(XXI)!!! IT’S A ONE MORE CENTURY-UP(!) THAN “THE TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX” – PRODUCTIONS..!?!?

  • BETH says:

    YAY: IT’S ABOUT TIME.

  • […] post BREAKING: The Contracts Have Been Signed, The Wall Is Coming — Here’s How It Will Look appeared first on Conservative […]

  • Judson Witham says:

    GEE Looky a HIGHWAY across NORTHERN MEXICO gee SOMEBODY’s Gonna Get FILTHY RICH. The ELECTRONIC MONITORING does NOT need that FANCY ROADWAY and FENCES that is MEGA PORK BARREL. What a JOKE

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    Kari Lake on Lawsuit: ‘We’ll Take it All The Way to the Supreme Court’

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    Arizona Republican Kari Lake has filed a legal challenge to the outcome of her gubernatorial race with Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Lake believes she has an “exceptional” lawsuit and that she’s willing to “take it all the way to the Supreme Court” if necessary.

    Hobbs certified her own win over Lake on Monday with outgoing Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel as witnesses, according to ABC News.

    With the certification complete, Lake has five days to file legal challenges in court.

    “We’re ready to go with what we believe to be an exceptional lawsuit. And we believe we will be victorious in that lawsuit,” Lake told Real America’s Voice “War Room” host Steve Bannon.

    “We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. We will not stop fighting,” she continued.

    Over the weekend, Lake’s campaign issued a blistering response after being rebuked by a federal judge appointed by then-President Barack Obama, who also imposed a fine after filing an election-related lawsuit.

    U.S. District Judge John Tuchi of the District of Arizona rejected a Lake lawsuit earlier this year and then moved to fine her attorneys and those of Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem last week.

    “Imposing sanctions, in this case, is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi wrote in his order. “It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.

    “It is to send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future,” Tuchi’s order noted further.

    That led to a fiery response from Lake’s legal team, which accused him of acting in a politically motivated manner while disputing his conclusions.

    “This case is not about money or gain,” said Lake campaign spokesperson Ross Trumble in a statement to media outlets. “It was essentially a public interest lawsuit seeking electoral integrity.

    “It is very, very rare to sanction a party in public interest suits. All in all, this reads like an angry Obama appointee who wants to send a message. The message is if you lose, shut up and don’t come to court. The message is not that you lost a case or acted in bad faith,” he added.

    Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz was one of the attorneys who joined the Lake and Finchem legal team, telling Law & Crime last week that he did so in support of election integrity.

    “I have not challenged the results of any Arizona elections. I have given legal advice about the future use of machine counting by companies that refuse to disclose the inner workings of their machines. I support transparency in elections,” he said.

    In an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Lake said she planned to “continue to fight for the people of Arizona” in spite of the federal judge’s sanctions.

    “This is not about me. I’ve said this all along; I’m just one voter, but I care deeply about Arizona. It is not fun to be in the middle of this,” Lake said. “But we have no other choice. I have no other choice but to stand up and fight right now for the people of Arizona. If I don’t, who will?”

    Late last month, Lake’s team filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County election officials seeking records pertaining to the recently concluded election.

    The lawsuit states:

    Plaintiff desires that every lawful vote be properly counted and every voter who was eligible to vote be allowed to vote. Unfortunately, due to Defendants’ failures, many eligible voters may not have been able to vote. Because Defendants were unable or unwilling to conduct a reconciliation of voter check ins against ballots cast of each polling center on election night in accordance with Arizona law and have now unlawfully refused to produce public records in response to two public records requests regarding how they administered the election, Plaintiff cannot determine that every lawful vote will be properly counted. The records Plaintiff requested in response to the numerous issues with Defendants’administration of the election are consistent with a parallel demand by the Arizona Attorney General for answers to questions about the Defendants’ actions.

    The suit named Stephen Richer, who is the Maricopa County recorder, and other officials and was filed in Arizona Superior Court. The suit seeks prompt release of certain information regarding how the elections were administered, “which featured widespread issues in the state’s largest county,” The Epoch Times reported.

    “Given instances of misprinted ballots, the commingling of counted and uncounted ballots, and long lines discouraging people from voting, as demonstrated in the attached declarations, these records are necessary for Plaintiff to determine the full extent of the problems identified and their impacts on electors,” the 19-page lawsuit says.

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    NYC Councilman Ditches Democrats Over Crime, Switches to GOP

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    A freshman Democratic councilman in New York City announced Monday that he is switching his political affiliation to the Republican Party — saying he’s disenchanted with the far-left, soft-on-crime bent of his own party these days — and will take on a former ally for a redrawn Brooklyn district.

    The decision gives Bensonhurst Councilman Ari Kagan an opportunity to challenge incumbent Councilman Justin Brannan, the chairman of the powerful budget committee, during a general election where terms are likely to be more favorable than in a party primary.

    “The Democratic Party in New York was moving to [the] left at such a speed I couldn’t keep up,” said Kagan.

    “It’s not me leaving the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party very quickly started to leave me.”

    Brannan and Kagan are battling to represent the new new 47th District, which is anchored by Bay Ridge, the neighborhood Brannan currently represents in the 43rd District and which provides his political base.

    The new 47th District is then connected by a slender blockwide stretch of Dyker Heights to portions of Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate, which Kagan currently represents.

    Kagan pointed to Democratic positions on criminal justice reform as one of the major reasons for his move, even though the controversial measures were passed and implemented and under fire before he ran and won on the party’s line in 2021.

    “I believe right now, the Democratic Party is doing everything possible in New York City to make everybody less safe,” he said.

    “Every month I found myself, like, ‘What am I doing in the Democratic Party?’” he said. “In my own district, in southern Brooklyn, everywhere I knocked [on] the doors people saying ‘When are you switching to the Republican Party?’”

    He declined to answer when pressed over why he’d decided against staying in the party and mounting a sure-to-be difficult challenge against Brannan in the Democratic primary.

    The move comes as the Democrats have faced mounting woes in southern Brooklyn amid anger of crime and quality of life issues locally and inflation and other economic woes nationally.

    Gov. Kathy Hochul narrowly edged Republican challenger Lee Zeldin in Bay Ridge, but lost many other parts of the district, electoral results maps show.

    And an analysis by the City University of New York shows that Republican Curtis Sliwa narrowly edged Mayor Eric Adams in the new 47th District during the 2021 election.

    Brannan, too, faced strong headwinds during his 2021 re-election, only narrowly turning away an unexpectedly strong challenge from Republican Brian Fox.

    Word of the switch ignited a back-and-forth between Brannan — who dominates Democratic politics in the neighborhood and nearby — and Kagan on Twitter.

    “Just going through some old photos,” Brannan wrote, posting a photo of Kagan holding one of his campaign signs.

    Kagan retorted: “I also keep some old pictures and more” and posted a photo from Brannan’s endorsement of him in 2021.

    At the press conference announcing his switch, Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said he was glad to have Kagan joing the council Republicans.

    “We’re happy to have him as part of our conference,” Borelli said. “And I think he’ll do a great job serving the people of this district.”

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    Conservatives React to Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate Runoff Loss

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    Conservatives had mixed reactions to Herschel Walker’s loss in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff race Tuesday night, with some blaming former President Donald Trump for pushing Walker to run and others faulting GOP leaders for not doing enough to help the onetime NFL great.

    The runoff against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was held after both candidates failed to reach the 50% threshold to win the seat outright during last month’s midterm elections. Warnock performed better this time around, improving his margin of victory from 40,000 votes to over 90,000.

    “One of the things I said is when they call the race, I said those numbers don’t look like they’re going to add up,” Walker said in a concession speech. “I don’t want any of you to stop believing in America. I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the Constitution and believe in our elected officials. Most of all, continue to pray for them.”

    Reaction to the loss was mixed online with many blaming Trump, others blaming Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and some blaming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Walker launched his campaign bid after Trump repeatedly urged him to get into the race, including in a public statement back in March 2021.

    “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia?” Trump said in a statement. “He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL. He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!”

    Walker’s 23-year-old son Christian Walker blamed Trump for the GOP’s failure to take the seat, saying that it was Trump who got him in the race.

    “The Truth: Trump called my dad for months DEMANDING that he run,” Christian Walker tweeted. “Everyone with a brain begged him: ‘PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. This is too dirty, you have an insane past… PLEASE DONT DO THIS.’ We got the middle finger. He ran.”

    “Republicans, we say we don’t play ‘identity politics’ and then you ran this man mainly because he was the same skin color as his opponent with no background other than football,” he added. “A boring old Republican could have won.”

    Notable responses included:

    • Joey Jones, Fox News: “Republicans lost the seat much more than Democrats won it (again). At some point, perhaps, they’ll learn.”
    • Scott Jennings, political strategist: “Georgia may be remembered as the state that broke Trump once and for all.”
    • Erick Erickson, Georgia-based radio host: “When @GOPChairwoman claims only the RNC worked in Georgia remember @BrianKempGA kept his ground operation going. @LeaderMcConnell poured $11 million into the state. The RNC didn’t do as much, but McDaniel will want credit to save her job. It’d have been a blowout but for Kemp. … No RNC Chair in the history of the whole party has lasted as long as Ronna McDaniel without seeing at least one winning election season. She took the job in 2017, and the GOP has lost every election cycle since.”
    • Ann Coulter, political author: “I sure hope Trump has some more brilliant ideas for can’t-miss Senate candidates. Omarosa maybe? Carrot Top? Ghislaine Maxwell?”
    • Caleb Hull, political commentator: “I hope we go into the next election with the realization that telling your base that their vote won’t matter because the election will be stolen isn’t a great strategy for winning… We had a layup this year and blew it. Time to move on.”
    • Robert Davi, actor: “The GOP is basically BRAINDEAD in my humble opinion! They are culturally tone deaf – and they have not come up with solutions! The messaging in the GOP is like Mitch McConnell a tired unenergetic uninspiring bore!!!!”
    • Joe Concha, The Hill: “Not surprising. If Herschel couldn’t win with Kemp on the ballot, he wasn’t winning in a runoff without him. Full picture: GOP gains a narrow majority in the House. Democrats gain one seat overall in a 50-50 Senate. Unpopular president in the WH. No party is winning right now.”
    • AG, political commentator: “Walker being a bad/inexperienced candidate meant he couldn’t fundraise himself, NRSC wasted all their $, and then Trump ate up all the small donors but then spent barely anything to back the guy he pushed on everyone.”
    • Andrew Egger, writer: “I’m sorry, but ‘Senate Republicans didn’t do enough to help Herschel Walker’ is the most insane take I can imagine. Senate Republicans set aside every difference to try to lug Walker across the finish line! He proved himself unluggable!”

    Other tweets that contained interesting tidbits of information included:

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    Lee Zeldin Announces Whether He Will Challenge Ronna McDaniel for RNC Chair

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    GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, who came very close to upsetting Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul last month in the predominantly blue state of New York, announced on Wednesday that he’s holding off – for now – on running for Republican National Committee chair, in what would be a direct challenge to current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

    Zeldin, who’s been mulling an RNC chair bid for nearly a month, made his announcement on Twitter and in a statement.

    “RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term. I won’t be running for RNC Chair at this time with McDaniel’s reelection pre-baked by design, but that doesn’t mean she should even be running again. It’s time the GOP elects new leadership! It’s time for fresh blood!” Zeldin wrote.

    Zeldin’s decision comes as Republicans continue to lick their wounds from a disappointing showing in the midterm elections, having failed to win control of the Senate, securing only a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and losing key governors races and control of a handful of state legislative chambers, in what was supposed to be a “Red Wave” election.

    And GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker’s defeat on Tuesday night to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s high profile runoff election brought more criticism on the Republican Party and McDaniel.

    Zeldin, who emphasized the issue of crime in his campaign, lost to Hochul by six-points in the New York showdown. It was the best showing by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in the Empire State in 20 years, since GOP Gov. George Pataki won re-election.

    Zeldin’s performance is being credited with helping to boost Republicans to key victories in U.S. House races in New York state, flipping blue seats red -which was a key factor in the GOP’s capturing of the House majority.

    An attorney and officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Zeldin was first elected to the House in 2014, representing a congressional district in Suffolk County covering the eastern end of New York’s Long Island. Zeldin was a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump during Trump’s tenure in the White House.

    Last month McDaniel announced that she would seek a fourth two-year term steering the national party committee, which is unprecedented in modern times.

    Following the 2016 election, a newly elected Trump chose McDaniel – who at the time was the chair of the Michigan GOP – to steer the national party committee. She was re-elected in 2019 and 2021.

    The full RNC membership of 168 committee members will vote on the next chair when the national party organization holds its winter meeting next month in southern California. Under party rules, the two top posts must be held by one man and one woman. McDaniel’s camp recently released a list of over 100 RNC committee members – well more than the number needed to secure re-election – that they said were supporting the incumbent chair.

    Zeldin argued in his statement that “change is desperately needed, and there are many leaders, myself included, ready and willing to step up to ensure our party retools and transforms as critical elections fast approach, namely the 2024 Presidential and Congressional races.”

    But he acknowledged that “the issue is Chairwoman McDaniel’s re-election appears to already be pre-baked, as if the disappointing results of every election during her tenure, including yesterday in Georgia, do not and should not even matter.”

    A spokesperson with McDaniel’s re-election bid pointed out to Fox News on Wednesday morning that Nebraska GOP chair Eric Underwood just endorsed McDaniel’s campaign for another two-year term, bringing to what they say are 108 endorsements.

    “I am honored to offer my support for her election and look forward to working with Ronna over the next 2 years to achieve our American (and Nebraska) First goals,” Underwood wrote in a statement.

    But sources in Zeldin’s world continue to question how firm that support may in a secret ballot vote and in the wake of Tuesday’s results in the Georgia Senate runoff election.

    McDaniel currently has two challengers.

    Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney who is also an RNC committee member from California and who served as a Trump campaign legal adviser, announced her bid on the Fox News Channel on Monday night.

    “Republicans are tired of losing, and I think that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” Dhillon said in an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

    Dhillon told host Tucker Carlson “we really have to modernize to compete with the Democrats dollar for dollar in the ways they fundraise, the way they deliver their ballots to the ballot boxes.”

    Last week MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who’s a strong supporter of Trump’s unproven claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged and stolen, announced he would challenge McDaniel.

    Another Trump ally, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, has also said she’s weighing a run for national party chair. And former Trump White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, the wife of American Conservative Union leader Matt Schlapp, also mulled a bid for chair.

    With McDaniel and her declared or potential challengers all having ties to the former president, sources in Trump’s political orbit tell Fox News that as of now, it’s likely the former president will remain neutral and not weigh in on the race for RNC chair.

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    Top Cop Breaks Down in Tears, Explains Why He’s Not Sharing All Idaho Info

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    The chief of the Moscow, Idaho, Police Department became emotional discussing his personal connection to the investigation into the slayings of four University of Idaho in an exclusive on-air interview with Fox News.

    Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry sat down with Fox News’ Alexis McAdams on Tuesday, more than three weeks after the four University of Idaho students, Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were fatally stabbed in a King Road house near the college campus between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. Police have said they don’t have a suspect and haven’t recovered the “fixed-blade knife” they believe was the murder weapon.

    Reiterating his commitment to solving the quadruple homicide, Fry said he will continue to insist that “no stone will go unturned” as investigators zero in on a timeline of the Nov.13 incident.

    “This case is not going cold. We have tips coming in, we have investigators out every day interviewing people. We’re still reviewing evidence, we’re still looking at all aspects of this,” he told Fox News in an interview that aired on “The Story.” “I said early on that no stone will go unturned, and I mean that. We are going to continue. This case is not going cold.”

    In a rare moment for the police chief, Fry began to tear up when asked about his personal connection to the case, offering the public a glimpse into the mental toll the gruesome crime has taken on his department and the community.

    “I’m a dad with daughters, and it’s tough,” he said. “We’re human. We don’t go to these and just turn it off. It affects us. But we have a job to do, and we’re going to continue to do that job, going to continue to push forward.”

    Fry’s comments come as some family members of the victims are complaining publicly about the pace of the investigation and the limited information police are sharing with the public.

    Steve Goncalves, the father of Kaylee Goncalves, told Fox News last week that he has lost confidence in the investigation, blaming poor police communication and conflicting messages from the department, which he said have raised “more questions than answers.”

    His wife, Kristi Goncalves, also expressed frustration with the investigation, saying over the weekend that some individuals were cleared by police “very fast that maybe should not have been.”

    Fry said that little information is being released to protect the cases’ integrity but insisted that investigators are using every available resource and doing everything in their power to find the killer.

    Addressing Kristi’s complaint, Fry said the department has re-interviewed some individuals up to three times, noting that a “cleared” individual can still be called back to speak with investigators if the evidence supports it.

    “We always have the option of re-interviewing,” he said. “We’ve actually re-interviewed people two or three times because we’ll get tips, or we’ll get information that we need to verify again, and sometimes we need to ask the questions just a little bit different to ensure that we’re getting the proper information to continue on with this investigation. So, that happens regularly in all investigations.”

    At the conclusion of the interview, Fox News host Martha McCallum asked McAdams whether it appears police on the ground know more information than the limited amount they’ve shared with the public.

    “Do they seem to be lost at this point for ideas or [are they] really honing in on something? McCallum asked.

    McAdams said that police have confirmed to her that they are narrowing down a “pretty good timeline, and they’ve got a pretty good amount of information.”

    “They say just because they’re not releasing so much information doesn’t mean they don’t have it,” McAdams reported, adding that police have relayed to her that “if they didn’t have information, that’s when they would go to the public and say some of these little bits and pieces more about who they think this person is … if this person is even a man or a woman.”

    McAdams said police investigating the case feel they’re “on the right track,” adding that they’ve gathered “a lot of evidence, and we feel good about the direction this case is heading.”

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    Janitors’ Union Called a Strike Outside Twitter, So Elon Musk Canceled Its Contract and Fired the Janitors

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    Janitors hired to clean at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, protested after 20 employees were fired, so the social media company bought by Elon Musk fired the rest of them.

    Critics of Musk are outraged that he would fire the workers just weeks before Christmas.

    “Our cleaning contractor at Twitter was told by Twitter that they are cutting the contract,” said Olga Miranda, union president for the janitors. “So we have about 48 families out of work. And it just so happens that it’s three weeks before Christmas.”

    A representative from SEIU Local 87 told the New Republic that 20 janitors were told on Friday that they were fired with no notice and that they were fighting for wages, “benefits and job protections.”

    By Monday, the union organized a strike with the rest of the janitors against the firings, saying the company was violating local cleaning regulations. They also said they were locked out of the building.

    On Tuesday, Twitter cancelled the contract with the janitors, leading his critics to claim that he was in violation of local laws.

    The unemployed janitors are protesting in front of Twitter headquarters while holding signs that read “proud to be union” and “justice for janitors.”

    The California Labor Federation, which represents 1,200 California unions, decried the action in a statement on its Twitter account.

    “Twitter doesn’t seem to understand how important it is to keep a clean house and respect the people who take out the trash,” it said.

    Other employees fired from Twitter said they were filing lawsuits against Elon Musk after he insensitively fired them and caused so much pain and anguish.

    “The way Elon Musk executed the layoffs was really inhumane,” said former employee Amir Shevat. “At a certain point I was told that as a manager that I might felt fired if I just gathered my team just to answer questions.”

    “He chose to fire so many of us during a difficult time period in the tech industry,” said Adrian Trejo Nunez, another former employee.

    They are suing for severance packages that were promised before Musk’s acquisition of Twitter but which were not delivered to the fired employees.

    Here’s more about the janitors’ protests at Twitter:

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    Superintendent Fired After Scathing Grand Jury Report Into Rapes Committed by Boy Wearing a Skirt

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    Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired by the school board Tuesday night in response to a grand jury report on the district’s handling of two sexual assaults committed by the same student.

    The Northern Virginia district drew national attention last year after a father accused it at a school board meeting of covering up his daughter’s sexual assault in which a biological boy wearing a skirt raped her in the girls’ bathroom. The suspect then transferred to another school in the district and assaulted another girl, and faced charges in both cases.

    The father alleged the district had attempted to cover up his daughter’s assault to advance its transgender policy, which had been subject to parental protests at LCPS school board meetings.

    The grand jury report released Monday said the district was looking out for its own interests instead of the best interests of its students and that the school system “failed at every juncture.”

    LCPS displayed a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability, both to the public and to the special grand jury” about its response to the sexual assaults, according to the report, which also condemned Ziegler for denying at a June 2021 school board meeting that he had any knowledge of the first assault, which had occurred in May of that year. The second assault was committed in October 2021.

    Ziegler had said at the board meeting that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” and, to his knowledge, “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

    But in an email dated May 28, the same day as the initial assault, the superintendent alerted school board members that an assault had been reported.

    The grand jury’s report explained that the district failed at several points to “step in and alter” the sequence of events that led to the second assault. It also said the grand jury did not find a “coordinated cover-up” between school officials and the school board but that the second assault “could have and should have been prevented.”

    “A remarkable lack of curiosity and adherence to operating in silos by LCPS administrators is ultimately to blame for the October 6 incident,” the report stated, adding that LCPS “bears the brunt of the blame.”

    According to emails detailed in the report, senior district officials privately met to discuss the first assault and linked it to Policy 8040, which allows students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

    The grand jury concluded its report by giving LCPS eight recommendations to follow going forward to increase school safety, transparency and communication.

    The investigation is now complete, and no indictments have been issued.

    The grand jury heard testimony from over 40 witnesses and reviewed over 100 pieces of evidence in their investigation. The report noted that the LCPS school board attempted to “thwart, discredit and push back” against the investigation.

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    Coroner Releases Final Autopsy Report for Actress Anne Heche, Revealing Her Cause of Death

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    Actress Anne Heche was not driving while impaired by illegal drugs on the day she crashed her car into a Los Angeles-area home, starting a fire that led to her death.

    Heche, 53, was driving erratically on Aug. 5, striking an apartment building with her small vehicle before driving into the house in Mar Vista, California.

    Unofficial accounts in the media theorized that she had drugs in her system at the time. Reports also emerged that the initial police investigation focused on the case as a possible felony DUI incident, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

    Heche was conscious for a few moments after the crash, but then entered a coma from which she never woke. She was declared brain dead a week after the crash, and her organs were harvested on Aug. 15.

    On Tuesday, the report from the Los Angeles County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner said there were no drugs in her system at the time of her accident, according to People.

    “The hospital admission blood showed the presence of benzoylecgonine, the inactive metabolite of cocaine, which means she used in the past but not at the time of the crash,” a representative for the coroner’s office said.

    There were traces of cannabis use in Heche’s urine, but it was “not detected in the admission blood and is consistent with prior use, but not at the time of the injury,” the representative said.

    At the time Heche died, there was fentanyl in her system, but the report said it was “obtained after she received treatment at the hospital and therefore is consistent with therapeutic use.”

    “This is supported by the lack of fentanyl in the blood specimen drawn at admission to the hospital,” the report said.

    No alcohol was found in her system, according to TMZ.

    The coroner’s office estimated Heche’s vehicle hit the house at about 80 mph.

    The burns she sustained prevented her body from properly absorbing oxygen, leading to what is known as “anoxic brain injury,” which was given as the cause of her death.

    Heche also had a fractured sternum that the report said made it “painful while breathing when she was in her vehicle,” according to Page Six.

    The coroner’s office estimated Heche was trapped in her car for about 30 minutes. The actress suffered second-degree burns on 12 percent of her body, the report said.

    The house into which her vehicle crashed was destroyed in the fire that followed.

    The owner of the home, Lynn Michele, has since sued Heche’s estate for $2 million, according to Page Six.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

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    Democrat Raphael Warnock Defeats GOP Challenger Herschel Walker In Georgia Runoff

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    Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia’s 2022 Senate runoff election. DecisionDeskHQ called the race at approximately 9:48 p.m.

    Neither Walker nor Warnock secured more than 50% of the vote during the general election, thus triggering the runoff election held on Tuesday. Warnock’s victory follows a disappointing midterm election from Republicans across the United States, aside from several bright spots in the Georgia and Florida gubernatorial races.

    Many pre-midterm polls and analyses predicted a “red wave,” with Republicans taking the House by a wide margin, and even the Senate by two to four seats, but following the midterm, Democrats have held the Senate.

    This is Warnock’s second runoff after he defeated GOP candidate Kelly Loefller in the 2020 race, which was also not decided on the day of the general election — however, there were some changes to the voting process this time around.

    Under The Peach State’s 2021 voting reform law signed by incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (R), the state of Georgia shortened the time between the day of the general election and the runoff election from nine weeks to just four. Similarly, the bill also condensed early voting from more than two weeks to just one week.

    More than 1.8 million Georgians voted early in the state’s Senate runoff election scheduled for December 6, including a record-high 353,000 voters on Friday, the final day of early voting.

    The official numbers from the Secretary of State recorded 1,868,127 early voters. The total revealed that more than one million female voters voted early, according to the state’s statistics.

    The number of early voters was below the total from the recent November midterms in Georgia, when about 2.5 million voters cast their ballot before Election Day.

    Despite the high level of early voting, the total is still lower than in the 2020 presidential election, when approximately 2.5 million Georgia residents voted early. Midterm elections generally draw smaller numbers of voters, with the state reflecting lower numbers experienced nationwide between the 2020 and 2022 elections.

    In reaction to the turnout, Georgia’s Secretary of State’s Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling told CNN over the weekend, “There’s obviously a lot of enthusiasm. Both Democrats and Republicans can point to the turnout models and say, ‘that’s good for us’ so nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

    The post-general election campaigning saw big stars from both parties turn out for their respective candidates.

    Kemp — who defeated Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams this year — sat down with CNN to express why he was showing up for Walker during the runoff.

    “The runoff now is a very simple choice,” Kemp said at one point in the interview. “You know, are you going to vote for somebody that’s been with Joe Biden 96% of the time, or are you going to vote for somebody that’s going to go up there and fight for Georgia? And that’s the way I’m voting.”

    As noted by CNN, Kemp was more hands-off during the general election. Walker was the only state-wide GOP candidate to not win outright on election night in 2022.

    On Warnock’s side, Democrat heavyweight former President Barack Obama campaigned for the incumbent in the final stretch.

    During one stop, Obama mocked Walker for a story he recently told about vampires and why he would want to be a werewolf instead. The 44th president said that Walker can be anything he wants to be — just not a United States senator.

    The former president compared Walker to a “crazy” “Uncle Joe.”

    “We all know some folks in our lives, who we don’t wish them ill will. They say crazy stuff and we’re all like, ‘Well, Uncle Joe, you know what happened to him,’” Obama said to laughs from the audience. “They’re part of the family, but you don’t give them serious responsibilities.”

    Throughout both the general and run-off campaign, polls showed Warnock and Walker neck-and-neck.

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    Police Respond to Emergency at Home of Ted Cruz After His Daughter Reportedly Self-Harmed

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    Firefighters and police reported to the home of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Tuesday night over a report that one of his daughters had harmed herself.

    Sources within the Houston Police Department confirmed to KHOU-TV that they were called to the home in Houston, Texas, over “self-inflicted cutting.”

    They told KHOU that a police investigation found nothing criminal but that one person was transported to a hospital and is expected to recover.

    Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz, have two daughters, Catherine, 11, and Caroline, 14.

    A separate report from KTRK-TV said his older daughter had sustained stab wounds to her arms.

    The senator is in Washington, D.C., as Congress is still in session.

    A spokesperson for Cruz’s office released a brief statement about the incident.

    “This is a family matter, and thankfully their daughter is okay,” the statement read. “There were no serious injuries. The family requests that the media respect their daughter’s privacy at this time.”

    In January, the senator’s daughter Caroline, then 13, came out as bisexual and said she disagreed with much of her father’s politics.

    The teen said people are quick to judge her over her Republican dad’s politics, despite the fact that she often opposes his conservative views.

    ‘A lot of people judge me based upon him at first glance,’ she said in a TikTok. ‘But I really disagree with most of his views.’

    She also revealed the perks and downsides of having a parent in the public eye, calling out their media team for editing the length of her shirt on the family Christmas card.

    The teenager made the video, which was re-shared on Twitter. Caroline’s TikTok account went private after her video blew up, but not before social media users took screengrabs of her bio, in which she listed her pronouns as she/her and indicated that she identified as bisexual.

    When another user questioned about her sexuality and whether Cruz was aware of it, Caroline replied: ‘I haven’t told him yet, I’m kinda nervous to tbh but I don’t think he would be mad about it.’

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    Democrats Make Major Concession on Vaccine Mandate

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    Congress is poised to use the annual defense policy bill to eliminate the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate — a major concession by President Biden’s Democratic allies that helps clear the way to passing the sweeping package before year’s end.

    In a compromise with Republicans, House Democrats are allowing language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that repeals the coronavirus vaccine mandate for U.S. service members a year after it was enacted, House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) confirmed to The Hill Tuesday.

    The bill, which lays out how an $847 billion Defense Department top line will be allocated in fiscal 2023, is tentatively set to be released as early as Tuesday evening and voted on by the House Thursday, Rogers said.

    Asked if he believes the language will stick amid all the last-minute jostling over the bill, Rogers replied: “Yes.”

    Republican lawmakers for months have pushed back on the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first installed in August 2021.

    Since then, thousands of active-duty service members have been discharged for refusing the shots, according to the latest Pentagon numbers.

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is vying for the Speaker’s gavel in the next Congress, said on Sunday that the NDAA “will not move” unless the mandate for the military is lifted through the bill.

    The compromise is effectively a loss for the White House and Pentagon, which have both opposed using the NDAA to repeal the vaccine mandate.

    “We lost a million people to this virus,” Austin told reporters traveling with him Saturday, as reported by The Associated Press. “A million people died in the United States of America. We lost hundreds in DOD. So this mandate has kept people healthy.”

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday strongly supported the Pentagon’s mandate, but also emphasized that the art of compromise means that no side gets everything it wants. For Democrats, he said, that might mean they have to give up the mandate to pass the bigger package.

    “It’s a question of how can you get something done,” he told reporters in the Capitol. “We have a very close vote in the Senate, a very close vote in the House, and you don’t just get everything you want.”

    The concession by Democrats on a mandate they once championed zealously highlights how attitudes surrounding the vaccines have shifted since the coronavirus struck almost three years ago.

    “The politics on that have changed,” said Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), another member of the Armed Services panel. “If this were 2020, it would be a different story.”

    One thing not expected in the bill, however, is language to reinstate troops, sailors and airmen who were discharged or received penalties for declining the vaccine, a provision GOP lawmakers hoped to insert in the legislation.

    Instead, lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services committees are planning report language for the bill that allows the Pentagon to evaluate service members affected by the mandate, Rogers said.

    “There’s no statutory language, but there’s report language that tells the [Defense Department] to ascertain everybody that’s been adversely affected by the vaccine mandate and what it would take to make them whole and get that to us next year. Then we can decide if we want to try to do that or not,” he said.

    “Some people aren’t going to want to come back to the military, but if they do, what would that look like? How many people are we talking about?”

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    ‘The Twitter Files’ Compromised After Lawyer Involved In The Controversy Was Behind Vetting The Files

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    The release of the initial installment of “The Twitter Files” late last week was reportedly compromised after the journalist responsible for releasing the files revealed Tuesday that a lawyer caught up in the controversy allegedly vetted the files before sending them to journalists.

    Twitter CEO Elon Musk released internal company communications through journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday about the company’s censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election and about how the platform removed content at the behest of the Democrat Party.

    Contained in the batch of files, which Taibbi released in a lengthy Twitter thread, was an email from former Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker about how the company should handle the Hunter Biden laptop story.

    “I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked,” Baker said in the email. “At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted. There are some facts that indicate that the materials may have been hacked, while there are others indicating that the computer was either abandoned and/or the owner consented to allow the repair shop to access it for at least some purposes. We simply need more information.”

    Taibbi failed to mention in his initial release that Baker was the former FBI general counsel involved in Russia-related investigations into former President Donald Trump.

    The next installment of the Twitter files was supposed to happen over the weekend, but became delayed for a reason that was unknown at the time.

    Taibbi now says that the reason for the delay was that it was discovered that Baker was responsible for vetting the files that were released to him and journalist Bari Weiss.

    Musk immediately fired Baker upon learning the news. “In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk tweeted.

    Taibbi tweeted, “On Tuesday, Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of ‘Twitter Files’ – without knowledge of new management.”

    “The process for producing the ‘Twitter Files’ involved delivery to two journalists (Bari Weiss and me) via a lawyer close to new management. However, after the initial batch, things became complicated,” Taibbi said. “Over the weekend, while we both dealt with obstacles to new searches, it was @BariWeiss who discovered that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim. When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker.’”

    “Baker is a controversial figure. He has been something of a Zelig of FBI controversies dating back to 2016, from the Steele Dossier to the Alfa-Server mess. He resigned in 2018 after an investigation into leaks to the press,” Taibbi continued. “The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved, to say the least. New Twitter chief Elon Musk acted quickly to ‘exit’ Baker Tuesday.”

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    Jan. 6 Committee to Make Criminal Referrals to US Department of Justice

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    Members of the House Jan. 6 Committee have announced that the panel will make several criminal referrals to the Department of Justice (DOJ) before its dissolution in January.

    Over the past several months, the panel has attempted to present a criminal case against President Donald Trump, contending that the Jan. 6 Capitol breach was the culmination of a months-long effort to overthrow the United States government.

    The panel capped off its tentative final hearing with its biggest announcement to date: a vote to subpoena Trump.

    Trump has begun a legal fight to counter the subpoena, an almost unprecedented effort.

    Now, as the 117th Congress comes to a close, the panel has announced fresh criminal referrals.

    “We have made decisions on criminal referrals,” panel Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters.

    “We will” pursue criminal referrals, he added.

    Some reports indicate that even though the committee will pursue criminal referrals, they have not decided who to recommend charges against, or which charges to recommend.

    According to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, “Chairman Thompson tells us that the select committee has *not* [sic] made any specific decisions about whether any particular person will be criminally referred to DOJ. The committee has generally agreed that it’s a tactic they will use, but no vote yet on who or for what.”

    When asked whether witnesses had perjured themselves, potentially grounds for some criminal referrals, Thompson said that that was “part of the discussion.”

    Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), another member of the panel, echoed Thompson.

    “We’re in the process of bringing forward different recommendations to the full committee for consideration,” Raskin told reporters.

    Republicans Denied Subpoenas

    A key issue for the Jan. 6 panel will be how to respond to the refusal of several Republicans to answer its subpoena.

    Most notably, after the committee attempted to obtain documents and records from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), McCarthy denied the summons, opining that the subpoena was “not valid or lawful.”

    “All valid and lawfully issued subpoenas must be respected and honored,” Elliot S. Berke, an attorney for McCarthy, said at the time. “Unfortunately, the words and actions of the Select Committee and its members have made it clear that it is not exercising a valid or lawful use of Congress’ subpoena power.”

    As he is the most likely choice for speaker during the 118th Congress, McCarthy’s refusal is the most notable.

    However, several other Republicans have also refused subpoena requests.

    These include Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

    The first congressman to be targeted by the partisan committee was Perry, who quickly rejected the request to testify, calling the committee “illegitimate.”

    Republicans have contended that while they would comply with a lawful subpoena, the lawfulness of the Jan. 6 Committee is disputed.

    Specifically, critics of the panel point to the way it was formed.

    Created by a June 2021 party-line vote, the panel was chaired almost exclusively by Democrats. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in an unprecedented move, refused to appoint McCarthy’s picks for the panel—Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jordan.

    This move was a historic departure from House tradition, which has until now been that minority leaders are permitted to pick the members they want to serve on a committee.

    Pelosi cited concerns over the integrity of the investigation as her rationale for refusing the request. Instead, she placed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the ranking member of the panel, in addition to appointing Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) as a member. Both were virulent critics of Trump inside the Republican Party.

    Democrats will need to determine what they wish to do about these refusals before the end of this session of Congress.

    What Happens Next

    After the Jan. 6 panel releases its criminal referrals, it will be up to the DOJ to decide what to do next.

    In Oct. 2021, after the House voted to hold former White House adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the department would pursue criminal charges.

    Currently, litigation is ongoing between the Jan. 6 panel and Trump, who needs only to run out the clock on the panel’s expiration at the end of this Congress.

    A decision to pursue criminal charges against either Trump or sitting Republican members of Congress could be a tough call for Garland, whose department has already faced allegations of “weaponization” against Democrats’ political enemies.

    The decision to make criminal referrals comes after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the panel, announced that the committee would release “all the evidence” it has gathered before the end of the 117th Congress.

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    Colon Cancer, the ‘Silent Killer’ that Claimed the Life of Kirstie Alley

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    Sitcom legend Kirstie Alley died at 71 this week after a short battle with a hard-to-spot cancer dubbed a ‘silent killer’.

    Her family revealed the actress was recently diagnosed with colon cancer – the third most common form of the disease that affects one in 20 Americans in their lifetime.

    If caught early, more than 90 percent of Americans survive. But it often grows and spreads with mild symptoms easily passed off for other, less sinister ailments – such as stomach cramps, weight loss, change in toilet habits or bloating.

    Unfortunately, only around a third of all colorectal cancers are diagnosed at this early stage. The majority are only spotted when it has spread beyond the wall of the colon or rectum or to distant parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat.

    According to her representatives, Alley had been undergoing treatments at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, near her home in Clearwater, Florida.

    Ms Alley is not the first celebrity victim of colorectal cancer. Noted actor Chadwick Boseman died of colorectal cancer in 2020 at the young age of 43.

    He had been diagnosed four years prior and battled the disease privately. It had already reached stage III when it was diagnosed, meaning it had advanced quite far.

    Other high-profile victims of colorectal cancer include Charles M. Schulz, the man behind the legendary ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, screen icon Audrey Hepburn, Emmy-award winner Farrah Fawcett, and one-half of the Bee Gees Robin Gibb.

    Ronald Reagan, the 40th US President, also had colon cancer but survived it. His early detection and treatment spurred advanced screenings nationwide. But it was Alzheimer’s that claimed him at age 93.

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had colon cancer in the 90s but was cured before she was then diagnosed with another form of cancer, this time in her pancreas.

    And Sharon Osbourne, outspoken TV talk show host and wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2003 and was open with the public about her treatment plan.

    After being cured, she created the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program to help others living with the disease.

    Typically in early stages, the cancerous tumor can be removed surgically. But in later stages of the disease when the cancerous cells have spread, doctors have to take other routes such as chemotherapy and radiation to kill them off.

    When tumors have spread to different parts of the body, it makes treating the cancer without damaging vital organs.

    There are more than 106,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in the US each year making it the third most common behind skin, breast, and lung.

    That means about one in 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetimes, though the risk is slightly higher for men.

    Nearly 53,000 Americans die of colorectal cancer every year, giving it a five-year survival rate of 64 per cent.

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    Trump Organization Found Guilty on 17 Counts in NY Tax Fraud Case

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    The Trump Organization was found guilty Tuesday of criminal tax fraud — and now former President Donald Trump’s real estate company could face a $1.6 million fine.

    The Trump Org was convicted on all 17 counts it faced — including tax fraud, falsifying business records, conspiracy and related crimes — following two days of deliberations in Manhattan Supreme Court.

    The company is set to be sentenced on January 13.

    Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg lauded the jury’s verdict — the first criminal conviction against one of Trump’s companies.

    “This case was about greed and cheating,” Bragg said. “Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”

    Trump Org lawyer Susan Necheles says she and her clients disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal.

    Hours before the verdict, Trump railed on Truth Social that Bragg was out to get him.

    “Murder and Violent Crime is at an all time high in NYC, and the D.A.’s office has spent almost all of its time & money fighting a political Witch Hunt for D.C. against ‘Trump’ over Fringe Benefits,” he wrote, adding that “no MURDER CASE has gone to trial in 6 years, much to the consternation of victims mothers and families who are devastated that NOTHING is being done to bring JUSTICE. Too busy on ‘Donald.’”

    During the trial, prosecutors alleged that for 15 years, the Trump Org helped top execs skirt income taxes on cushy, off-the-books benefits including rent, private school tuition and luxury cars.

    The jury of eight men and four women heard from star prosecution witness and former Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg, who testified last month, “It was my own personal greed that led to this case.”

    Trump Org lawyers have maintained that Weisselberg acted on his own and that the blame lay solely with him.

    Still, Weisselberg, 75, admitted that even after Donald Trump’s children Eric and Donald Trump Jr. found out in 2017 that he and other executives were cheating on taxes, they weren’t penalized. Instead, Weisselberg — who is currently on a leave of absence and getting paid a $640,000 salary from the company — was given a $200,000 raise.

    The 45th president and his children are not charged in the case.

    But during closing arguments, prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed Trump was well aware of what Weisselberg was up to and that he “explicitly” sanctioned the tax fraud.

    “This whole narrative that Donald Trump is blissfully ignorant is just not real,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass told jurors.

    Steinglass said the tax fraud also benefited the company by keeping payroll down and increasing tax deductions.

    “The executives net more and the company pays less,” Steinglass said. “A win-win for everyone except the tax man. In the end, that’s all this is.”

    Necheles pointed the finger at Weisselberg.

    “We are here today because of one reason and one reason only: the greed of Allen Weisselberg,” she said in her summations.

    In a statement after the verdict, Necheles repeated Trump and his family didn’t know about Weisselberg’s fraud.

    “Why would a corporation whose owner knew nothing about Weisselberg’s personal tax returns be criminally prosecuted for Allen Weisselberg’s personal conduct, for which they had no visibility or oversight?” Necheles said. “This case was unprecedented and legally incorrect.

    “We will appeal the verdict.”

    A Trump Org spokesperson called it “preposterous” the company is being held responsible for Weisselberg’s actions. And another Trump Org lawyer, Alan Futerfas, asserted the law allowing the company to be found guilty if executives took criminal acts “in behalf of” the company was vague and “central to the case.”

    Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to raking in $1.7 million in benefits that he didn’t report to the tax authorities. He is slated to receive a five-month prison sentence in exchange for his cooperation with the government.

    New York Attorney General Letitia James – who has a $250 million civil case against the company, Trump and his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr. for allegedly illegally inflating company assets – also hailed the outcome.

    “Today’s guilty verdict against the Trump Organization shows that we will hold individuals and organizations accountable when they violate our laws to line their pockets,” James tweeted. “I commend @ManhattanDA for this big victory, and I am proud of the role that my office played in securing it.

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    ‘Total Disruption’ for Google as New Chatbot Challenges Tech Giant’s Monopoly

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    The computer developer who created Gmail is predicting Google may have only a year or two left before ‘total disruption’ of its search engine occurs after the release of a sophisticated chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI).

    Last week ChatGPT was released by OpenAI, a company co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015. It responds to text prompts from users and can be asked to write essays, lyrics for songs, stories, marketing pitches, scripts, complaint letters and even poetry.

    Its ability to answer complex questions has led some to wonder if it could challenge Google’s search engine monopoly. Critics feel Google’s search engine has been too focused on maximizing revenue through prominent advertising and too cautious about incorporating AI into how it responds to users’ searches.

    Paul Buchheit, 45, a developer who was behind Gmail, believes Google’s search engine dominance in particular could soon be disrupted.

    ‘Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the search engine result page, which is where they make most of their money,’ he tweeted. ‘Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!’ he continued.

    A core way that Google makes money is from advertisers paying to have their links displayed alongside the results of a search query result in the hope that a user clicks on them.

    ‘The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human,’ Bucheit explained.

    ‘One thing that few people remember is the pre-internet business that Google killed: the Yellow Pages! The Yellow Pages used to be a great business, but then Google got so good that everyone stopped using the Yellow Pages. AI will do the same thing to web search,’ he said.

    Google is developing its own AI and is researching conversational and voice search. The tech company bought DeepMind, an AI company, to further develop such areas.

    ‘I do think that the biggest and most interesting thing to think about is how this will disrupt the search box. Is there an entirely new interface for search? Yes, that risks Google’s core search business,’ said David Friedberg, a former Google executive and entrepreneur, to the All-In podcast.

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    Former Republican Congressman Arrested in Ongoing Venezuela Oil Investigation

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    Former Miami Republican congressman David Rivera was arrested on Monday in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation that possibly includes failing to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. for consulting with Venezuela’s socialist government-run oil company.

    Rivera, who served one term in office from 2011 to 2013, has been allegedly under investigation after signing a $50 million consulting contract from a U.S. affiliate of Venezuela’s socialist government-run oil company under President Nicolas Maduro.

    Marlene Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, told The Associated Press that authorities arrested Rivera at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Monday. However, Rodriguez could not discuss the charges for Rivera due to a sealed indictment by a Miami grand jury last month, which included other defendants.

    Rivera, 57, appeared in an Atlanta federal court following his arrest but bailed out of jail later in the afternoon, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service reported by local media.

    Jeffrey Feldman, an attorney for Rivera, declined to comment to The Associated Press, adding via text message that he had “not seen the indictment.”

    PDV USA, a Delaware-based affiliate of Venezeluan-owned oil company Citgo, sued Rivera’s Interamerican Consulting company in 2020 on allegations the former congressman failed to hold up his end of the contract he signed three years before the lawsuit, which was reportedly said to improve the image of the Venezuelan firm in the United States.

    Venezuela’s U.S. affiliate reportedly accused Rivera of doing little work after the businesses collected $20 million from a subsidiary.

    “The written record is bereft of any evidence that Interamerican performed any of the contracted services,” PDV USA argues in the new filings, according to The Associated Press. “There is not a single email, a single PowerPoint presentation, a single outline, a single memorandum, a single calendar entry, or anything else suggesting that Interamerican ever performed any of the services.”

    Court documents reported by The Miami Herald show that Rivera allegedly diverted at least $13 million of that money to three subcontractors in Miami who supposedly gave “international strategic consulting services” to the Venezuelan firm.

    Such subcontractors allegedly included Miami real estate developer Hugo Perera, who authorities convicted in one of South Florida’s biggest drug-trafficking cases.

    PDV USA is seeking to recover the $20 million in payments from Rivera’s company.

    Rivera’s firm has filed a counterclaim seeking full payment of the contract.

    Rivera also reportedly orchestrated an unknown Democratic candidate to run against his main rival in a South Florida congressional race, hid a $1 million contract with a gambling company, and misused campaign funds to pay for state House activities that the State had already refunded.

    Before Rivera entered Congress, he served as a Florida legislator from 2003 to 2010 in the state House. He shared a home in Tallahassee with former Flordia House Speaker and current U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

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    READ IT: Fauci’s Deposition in Big Tech Censorship Case Released

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    Dr. Anthony Fauci’s deposition, taken as part of a lawsuit alleging collusion between the U.S. government and Big Tech to censor people, was released on Dec. 5.

    The 446-page document shows the questioning of Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. Fauci was under oath on Nov. 23.

    Here are some takeaways:

    Fauci Relied on Others to Dismiss Lab Leak Theory

    Fauci said he did not have the expertise to determine whether COVID-19 came from nature or a laboratory, despite repeatedly dismissing the theory that it originated in a Chinese lab.

    “I am not qualified since I am not an evolutionary virologist to make any kind of definitive determination about whether a genome could or could not be a laboratory construct or experimentally manipulative,” Fauci said at one point. “I have relied, as anyone would, with highly qualified, respected evolutionary virologists to come to that conclusion or not.”

    Portions of the deposition dealt with a paper released in early 2020 as a preprint and later published following peer review by Nature Medicine.

    Kristian Andersen and other scientists claimed that they analyzed genomic data and that “our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

    Fauci held a secret phone call with all of the authors of the paper just weeks before it was published—some of the authors before the call expressed in since-released emails that they thought the virus did not come from nature—and has since acknowledged receiving multiple drafts of the document prior to its publication. Kristian Andersen, the lead author, told Fauci at one point, “Thank you again for your advice and leadership.”

    Fauci said in the deposition that he had “very little” to do with the paper and that he did not recall making any “substantive comments” to the authors regarding the paper.

    Confronted About Press Conference

    Despite having communicated repeatedly with the authors, Fauci said he couldn’t recall their names during a White House press conference in April 2020.

    “There was a study recently that we can make available to you where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolved. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” Fauci said at the time, at the prompting of then-President Donald Trump.

    “So the paper will be available. I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make that available to you,” he added.

    Fauci said he did not make the paper available to any reporters after the press conference but was then presented with an email showing that he did.

    “I don’t recall it,” Fauci said, after reading the email.

    Says He Didn’t Advocate for Censorship

    Shortly after Fauci’s comments, Big Tech companies began censoring people who suggested COVID-19 came from a lab, including an Epoch Times reporter.

    Facebook and other Big Tech firms also later cracked down on the Great Barrington Declaration, a document offering an alternative way to approach the pandemic, after Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the time, spoke out against it. Internal emails showed Fauci and Collins conspiring to rebut the declaration. The NIH has directed people questioning the opposition to Wikipedia.

    Fauci noted that he does not have social media accounts and insisted that he did not call for censorship.

    “No, I have not,” Fauci said when asked whether he’d asked a social media company to remove misinformation. He also said that, to his knowledge, none of his staffers had.

    According to emails produced in the case, the government communicated with Big Tech concerning the removal of multiple accounts they said were pretending to be Fauci. Twitter removed an account and company officials said it would “freeze” similar handles to try to prevent impersonation, while Facebook removed accounts on both Facebook and Instagram.

    “I was not aware that they were flagging many accounts, but from looking at this, they are trying to get rid of fake accounts because fake accounts are bad things, I believe,” Fauci said. “To my knowledge, they don’t get involved in trying to influence social media in any way. But when someone impersonates me, I think it’s totally appropriate for them to be concerned about that.”

    Fauci was later shown an email that showed NIAID officials were trying to connect to Google “on vaccine communications, specifically misinformation,” and that a meeting was planned. He said he wasn’t sure whether the meeting ever took place.

    Concerned About Misinformation

    Fauci said that he was concerned about misinformation and disinformation, and believed that such information could lead to the loss of life.

    “I think in any situation where egregious misinformation such as some of the ones I referred to before, such as information that would discourage people from getting vaccinated, that in my mind, would be a way that life that could otherwise have been saved would be lost, if people were persuaded not to pursue a life-saving intervention,” Fauci said.

    Asked if he thinks steps should be taken to curb misinformation and disinformation, he demurred.

    “That’s not my area. I’m very well aware of the concept of freedom of speech. The area of the curtailment of that is something that is not in my area of expertise. Those are legal and other things. And I really don’t have any opinion on that,” he said.

    Fauci said he favors open debate and, generally, the best way to combat misleading and false information is to “flood the system with correct information.” But he also said: “I think honest debate is important, but when it goes beyond debate and leads people who are unwitting about these things to do things that are clearly detrimental to their life and their safety, I find that disturbing. How you mitigate against that, I would leave to other people.”

    Daughter Worked for Twitter

    Fauci has been in touch with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and appeared several times in Facebook Live videos with Zuckerberg.

    Fauci said that his discussions with Zuckerberg “were very clearly directed at getting me on some Facebook podcast to encourage people to get vaccinated” and that they went no further.

    Fauci was asked whether he knows anyone who works for a social media company, besides Zuckerberg.

    “Like, do you have acquaintances, people that you know, who work at social media platforms?” John Sauer, Missouri’s solicitor general, asked Fauci.

    “Well, a person who used to work as a software engineer for Twitter was my daughter,” Fauci said.

    Fauci said he never discussed with his daughter the content posted on social media or the origins of COVID-19.

    Fauci said his daughter stopped working at Twitter over a year ago and that he does not know anyone else who works at a social media platform.

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    News

    Jesse Watters Announces He And His Wife Are Expecting a Baby

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    Fox News anchor Jesse Watters announced Monday that he and his wife, Emma DiGiovine, are expecting a baby girl.

    Watters announced on “The Five” that his wife is currently five months into her pregnancy and are expecting the child in April 2023. He and his wife are the parents of a son, Jesse Bailey Watters Jr., who his wife delivered Apr. 2, 2021.

    “My wife, Emma, is pregnant with a girl. So, we’re having a girl and she’s five months along which I think is halfway through,” Watters said, followed by a celebratory reaction from his fellow co-hosts. “And she looks fantastic, you can’t even tell that she’s pregnant.”

    The former “Watters World” host has twin daughters from his previous marriage to Noelle Inguagiato, Market Realist reported.

    “The Five” panel celebrated their colleague’s big news with applause and a slew of jokes from co-host Greg Gutfeld, who immediately asked why the couple would not allow their child to decide the gender.

    “There’s no gender until the child decides,” Gutfeld joked.

    “No, we assign the gender at birth in our family and we usually get it right,” Watters replied.

    Watters added that the couple is currently struggling with names, but revealed that the process is a “collateral effort.” Co-host Dana Perino suggested that Watters should allow Twitter CEO Elon Musk to name the baby, to which he replied that Musk gives his children “very strange” names.

    The host concluded the life changing segment by receiving his co-hosts’ advice on taking paternity leave. After the birth of his son, the anchor took a hiatus from “The Five” and expressed his newfound support for paternity leave, Market Realist reported.

    “I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, ya know, I wish I could take six weeks,” he said during an April 2021 segment.

    His co-hosts advised him to take between six to four months of paternity, leading Gutfeld to jokingly call for a “class action suit” for Fox News employees without children.

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    John Bolton Says He May Run Against Trump in 2024

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    Former National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed Monday he may run for president in 2024 to spoil Donald Trump’s reelection bid.

    Setting the stage for the entry of Trump’s first rival in the Republican primary contest, Bolton took aim at his former boss for suggesting over the weekend that parts of the U.S. Constitution should be terminated to overturn his 2020 election defeat during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

    If no other potential Republican candidates make “Shermanesque statements” in response to what Trump said, Bolton declared, “I’m going to seriously consider getting in.”

    Bolton, known for his hawkish foreign policy views, served roles in the Reagan administration and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He later worked as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, when Trump forced Bolton out amid foreign policy disputes.

    During the summer before the 2020 contest, Bolton told ABC News he would not vote for Trump, claiming Trump was not fit for office, and stated he would “figure out a conservative Republican to write in.” Trump has been harsh on Bolton too, saying Bolton was “one of the dumbest people in Washington” after Bolton criticized Trump for reportedly considering martial law to overturn the 2020 election results.

    Trump, who formally announced his 2024 campaign last month, is facing widespread backlash for his post on Truth Social on Saturday, reacting to the release of “The Twitter Files” by saying, “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” He later denied making the suggestion, but as of press time has not deleted the initial post.

    Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) told reporters on Monday he disagrees with Trump’s statement and said the comments present a “golden opportunity” for potential challengers, according to The Hill.

    At least one Republican who has entertained a 2024 run, former Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), has spoken out against Trump for the suggestion. “It should not be hard to say that the 2020 election is over,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

    “I think to be a presidential candidate you can’t just say, ‘I support the Constitution.’ You have to say, ‘I would oppose people who would undercut it,’” Bolton said in his interview with NBC.

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