State Sets Massive Precedent, Passes Law To Effectively Ban The NSA

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Michigan has become the first state to ban the National Security Agency’s intrusive data collection practices by passing a law that prohibits law enforcement and state agencies from turning over personal data to the federal government without due process.

The Fourth Amendment Rights Protection Act, or HB4430, will go into effect next month after it passed the Michigan state legislature with overwhelming support and only one “no” vote.

The text of the bill states that its purpose is “to prohibit this state and certain other governmental agents, employees, and entities in this state from assisting a federal agency in obtaining certain forms of data without a warrant; and to prohibit certain uses of certain data collected without a warrant.”

According to the new law, the state and its political subdivisions “shall not assist, participate with, or provide material support or resources to a federal agency to enable it to collect or to facilitate in the collection or use of a person’s electronic data or metadata,” unless at least or more of the following criteria are met:

  1. The person has given informed consent.
  2. The action is pursuant to a warrant that is based upon probable cause and particularly describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.
  3. The action is in accordance with a legally recognized exception to warrant requirements.
  4. The action will not infringe on any reasonable expectation of privacy the person may have.
  5. This state or a political subdivision of this state collected the electronic data or metadata legally.”

As the Washington Examiner reported, the new law is “the biggest accomplishment yet growing out of efforts to block water to a massive NSA data-storage center in Bluffdale, Utah.” Similar laws have been proposed and have fallen short in states such as Alaska, Maryland, South Carolina, and Washington.

The Fourth Amendment Rights Protection Act in Michigan claims the “electronic data” that will be protected from the NSA includes “an electronic communication or the use of an electronic communication service,” “the precise or approximate location of the sender or recipients of an electronic communication,” and “the identity of an individual or device involved in the communication.”

Michigan State Rep. Martin Howrylak, a sponsor of the bill, told the Examiner that he believes its passage “speaks to the fact that a lot of the domestic surveillance of American citizens is highly unpopular.

“It hangs up a sign on Michigan’s door saying, ‘No violation of the Fourth Amendment, look elsewhere,’” Howrylak said. “Democrats, as well as Republicans, would certainly stand very strong in our position on what this law means.”

While Howrylak said he thinks the law makes “a strong court case saying this is what the state intends,” he hopes other states will join in by passing similar legislation, in an effort to cripple the NSA’s illegal activities.

Next month marks 5 years since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released a trove of classified documents revealing that the United States government was routinely collecting metadata from innocent American citizens without warrants, and using “national security” to justify its actions.

While the NSA’s warrantless data collection was ruled illegal by a court in June 2015, it has continued and the government has attempted to cover up its illegal actions by writing them into law. The latest example of this occurred earlier this year when Congress reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Section 702 has served as the foundation for the NSA’s largest and most egregious surveillance programs for the last decade. The first attempt to reauthorize it was through the introduction of the USA Liberty Act. As The Free Thought Project reported, Congress claimed the bill would “better protect Americans’ privacy” by requiring the government to have “a legitimate national security purpose” before searching an individual’s database.

However, what the bill did not advertise was the fact that it did not actually address the legitimate problems that exist with Section 702. The FBI’s “legitimate national security purpose” could be justified by just about any reason the agency chooses to give, and agents would only need supervisory authority in order to search Americans’ metadata.

When the USA Liberty Act failed, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence introduced the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, which renewed Section 702 for six years, after it was included in a massive spending bill passed by Congress.

By signing the Fourth Amendment Rights Protection Act into law, the state of Michigan is taking a stand against the federal government’s unconstitutional practice of stealing data from innocent Americans without a warrant, and it is setting a precedent for other states in the country to follow.

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/state-sets-massive-precedent-passes-law-ban-nsa/

How a Blockchain Startup Is Going to Free the Cannabis Industry from Banker Control

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In states where cannabis has been legalized, dispensaries and retailers still operate in a legal gray area due to the federal prohibition of the plant. One of the biggest issues faced by the cannabis industry is the fact that it is still strictly a cash business since they are unable to collect credit card payments and are blocked off from traditional banking.

Cryptocurrency offers a great solution to these problems, and many cannabis businesses are beginning to adopt the technology out of necessity. Since blockchain technology is still developing, the point of sale options for retail locations have been slim, but a new platform called Alt Thirty-Six is hoping to change that.

This week, Alt Thirty-Six announced a partnership with the cannabis software company WebJoint, which they say will allow for more widespread cryptocurrency adoption in cannabis retail locations.

“Our goal at Alt Thirty-Six—to bring secure digital payment solutions to the cannabis industry—perfectly aligns with WebJoint’s innovative, cannabis-specific software technology. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with [WebJoint], providing more cannabis businesses with access to our platform and changing the way the industry as a whole handles payments,” Alt Thirty-Six CEO Ken Ramirez said in a statement.

WebJoint Founder and CEO Christopher Dell‘Olio said he believes that this could be the solution to the industry’s banking woes.

“We are excited to work with Alt Thirty-Six to solve a major issue that the cannabis industry has been facing for quite some time,” Dell‘Olio said. “I believe this partnership will take cannabis tech to the next level and help all companies across the supply chain accept cashless payments. I have full confidence in Alt Thirty-Six as well as our WebJoint team to execute and offer a reliable merchant solution to our 200+ cannabis POS clients.”

WebJoint already provides services for more than 200 cannabis retailers in California, and it will soon be expanding into Arizona and Nevada. All of the locations that are serviced by WebJoint will accept cryptocurrency payments through Alt Thirty-Six.

The service will not be using Bitcoin since the legacy blockchain of the pioneer crypto has been riddled with scaling problems that have resulted in high fees and slow transactions. Instead, these services will utilize Dash, another top cryptocurrency that works much better for point of sale payment systems due to its high speed and low cost.

Earlier this month, The Free Thought Project reported that this technology is making it possible for an entire town in New Hampshire to accept cryptocurrency. In the town of Portsmouth, the currency of choice is Dash, since it works perfectly as a point of sale payment system, with instant transfers and low fees. Last year, the city became the first in the state to install an ATM machine that offered services for Dash.

Steven Zeiler, founder of digital currency company AnyPay, which installed the machine said, “Dash is newer than bitcoin and is more widely used on the Seacoast. Dash offers faster confirmation times and greater privacy than Bitcoin.”

In addition to being a cheaper and faster alternative to Bitcoin, Dash also invests in various projects, both charitable and professional, to spread the word about this technology and to show its true potential. In addition to funding alternative media, Dash has also funded youth programs in Africa and food charities in Venezuela.

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/blockchain-startup-free-cannabis-industry-banker-control/

City Bans Anarchy Symbol – Officials Call It “Hate Speech Similar To Swastika”

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Ontario, Canada – Last week, officials with the City of Hamilton legally ordered a local anarchist group to remove the anarchy symbol from the front of their headquarters, under the pretense of fighting against hate speech.

According to CBC News, city officials called the symbol “hate material similar to the swastika,” citing property damage caused by an extreme group of black-bloc anarchists during recent protests.

“The anarchist symbol is considered hate material by the City of Hamilton and Hamilton Police Services and as such, must be removed,” City spokesperson Marie Fitzpatrick told CBC News.

Ironically enough, the anarchist headquarters that is being asked to remove the symbol from their storefront was itself a victim of vandalism, and the symbol in question is painted onto a piece of plywood that is covering the shop’s broken window.

Surprisingly, the anarchists complied with the order not long after they were asked to remove the symbol from the storefront. Still, many experts feel that the local government is using the hate speech loophole to suppress the free speech of political dissent.

“Most anarchy groups in the past have been seen as anti-racist or anti-hate. They are pro-people and anti-government,” said Princewill Ogban, an anti-racism activist in Hamilton.

Even the local police are a bit confused about this new hate speech designation, saying that they see this as more of a “radical” symbol than one representing hate.

Const. Jerome Stewart of the Hamilton police said that this new order from the local government does not line up with his training.

“It does not meet the threshold of a hate crime. To the best of our knowledge, it is classified as an extreme left sign. So I don’t know where the direction came that Hamilton police have identified it as a hate crime sign, because as per our hate crime co-ordinator, that is not the case,” Stewart said.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger defended the order on Wednesday in a statement to the Hamilton Spectator.

“Certainly the anarchists that have locally presented themselves have done things that would be considered to be inappropriate, so if you tie the two of them together, I would say that’s a symbol of destruction and mayhem and causing a crisis to a particular area. Is that hateful? I think it is,” Eisenberger said

Unlike many flags and banners waved by different collectives, the anarchy symbol does not represent some monolithic movement or organization but instead represents a general idea that is a common ground for people from a wide variety of cultural and political backgrounds. Some anarchists are left-leaning or communist, others may be more righting leaning and capitalist thinking, and there is a wide spectrum of anti-authoritarian philosophies that fall in between, and many of these groups are represented by the same anarchist symbol. The “black-bloc” anarchists who are famous for rioting actually represent a very small percentage of the people in the world who identify as anarchists.

This situation is a perfect example of the slippery slope that is created with hate speech laws, showing how easily these laws can be used to target people who are speaking out about injustices in the system. Although many of us agree that racism and bigotry is a horrible thing that should be discouraged, in a democracy policies are shaped by the whims of politicians, special interest groups, and the uninformed masses. With that being said, when it is time to actually define “hate speech” in a democracy, that definition will be determined by those aforementioned groups, which could have many unintended consequences, as we are seeing play out in Hamilton.

Think about how Alt-right groups call Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization,” or how anti-gun activists use that exact same term when referencing the NRA. Racism and bigotry may be objectively wrong, but what classifies as “hate speech” is often subjective and determined by people who cannot be trusted, which is why it is so dangerous to trust the legal system to solve these types of social problems. As we have seen recently with the racist New York lawyer who lost his office space after a public outburst or the woman who became a meme after calling the police on a family having a picnic, the court of public opinion handles these types of social issues far better than the court of law.

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/city-bans-anarchy-symbol-officials-hate-speech-swastika/

Fmr Cop Indicted for Conspiracy, Acting as Kingpin of a National Steroid Trafficking Cartel

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Edmond, OK — There is no question that many police officers use performance-enhancing drugs. In fact, the problem of police steroid use became so bad, in 2004, the DEA intervened to warn of the “possible psychological disturbances” of roid-raging cops.

The DEA said symptoms included:

  • Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
  • Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Delusions
  • Hostility and aggression

Eventually, a few years later, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, made up of 16,000 members worldwide set a standard that “calls upon state and local law enforcement entities to establish a model policy prohibiting the use of illegally obtained steroids” by officers.

However, this policy never happened.

Not only do cops vehemently resist being drug tested by their departments, claiming it is a violation of their civil rights, they are also frequently caught selling steroids, as the case below illustrates.

Former Edmond police officer Christopher Thomas Caplinger served the citizens of Edmond, OK for over 20 years. During this time he was likely building up his customer base as well as his steroid empire which he would grow to epic proportions.

The indictment, filed earlier this month, alleges Caplinger, 55, was “the head of this drug trafficking organization, which manufactured and distributed anabolic steroids throughout the United States.”

According to the indictment, Caplinger made so much money that he was burying it in his backyard like a scene out of a mafia movie.

Caplinger wasn’t only selling steroids but he was importing products and ran his own manufacturing enterprise. As News OK reports:

As part of the conspiracy, Caplinger rented a commercial space in Oklahoma City to manufacture and distribute the steroids, according to prosecutors. The business front was reportedly for an auto sales company, “but, in reality, had little to no involvement in the automobile trade.”

Caplinger obtained raw steroid product from foreign countries, including China, according to the indictment. The raw product would be sent from the foreign countries to individuals in the United States who then “reshipped” the product to Oklahoma City, grand jurors allege. Schott was an alleged “reshipper.”

Along with Caplinger, Donald Ray Vincent Jr., 54, of Edmond; Deborah Ann Crawford, 46, of Oklahoma City; and Michael Brandon Schott, 34, of Newport News, Virginia, are charged in Oklahoma City federal court with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.

If convicted, Caplinger faces the possibility of spending years in prison. However, if history is any indicator, all too often, police use their “exemplary” records as public servants to avoid jail all together—even when they rape society’s most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, as TFTP has reported at length, cops are frequently busted for dealing in and taking steroids.

“This is one of the dirty little secrets of American law enforcement,” says Gregory Gilbertson, a former Atlanta cop who teaches criminal justice in the Seattle area and works as a legal expert on police standards and practices, according to Alternet. “Steroid testing is declining, and I think there’s an attitude in all these agencies of ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ because they don’t want to know about it. Because if they know about it, then they have to address it.”

While anyone should be able to ingest any substance they want, the idea of public servants—whose jobs involve physical interactions with innocent citizens—taking drugs known to induce rage, hostility, and aggression is chilling, to say the least. However, as Alternet pointed out, the cases of cops using and selling steroids are anything but isolated.

These are some of the cases that have made news in the past year, though there likely are others that have not been revealed publicly:

  • In June, a Jeffersonville, Ind., cop, Anthony Mills, resigned after pleading guilty to possession of steroids. His attorney told the media that Mills did not consider steroids to be illegal drugs.
  • This spring, authorities in Edmonton, Alberta, revealed that a handful of police officers had been involved in the use or distribution of Stanozolol, the steroid commonly sold as Winstrol. More than 30 officers in Edmonton have been implicated in steroid use in the past few years, according to press reports there.
  • In January, a Portland, Ore. cop who faced firing for a positive steroid test was allowed to resign.
  • Last fall, a scandal rocked police in the Augusta, Ga., area when a man arrested for steroids possession gave authorities a list of steroid users among local law enforcement officers. At least one deputy resigned; authorities denied that the list included as many 30 others.
  • Also last fall, the Miami New Times revealed that Miami-Dade police officers had been customers of Biogenesis, a South Florida steroid clinic at the heart of professional baseball’s ongoing doping scandal.

The dangers of cops taking steroids are obvious, as the rage associated with their use can become uncontrollable. All too often, we see police officers immediately escalate situations to violence when de-escalation would have been far easier and safer. Steroids could be the reason.

“I keep seeing all of these cases where the level of anger and violence shown by officers makes no sense,” Gilbertson says. “And when things don’t make sense, they don’t make sense for a reason…Maybe steroid rage is a reason so many police officers seem so angry and aggressive.”

Cops on the juice feel indestructible as if they have superhuman strength.

Or as the DEA puts it, “The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with ‘the invincible mentality’ when performing law enforcement duties.”

Starting to make sense now?

“Reasonable suspicion should be raised if they shoot somebody or beat the living daylights out of somebody,” Dan Handelman, a founding member of Portland Copwatch told Alternet. “In some of these recent cases, the officers seemed to be pumped up and were not necessarily working in a calm and level-headed manner. We wonder how much of this was coming from natural adrenaline and how much coming from other substances.”

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/fmr-cop-charged-for-being-a-kingpin-of-a-national-steroid-trafficking-cartel/

As Texas Shooter Killed Unarmed Citizens, FBI Admits Armed Citizens Stopped 4 Recent Mass Shootings

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On Friday, a deranged teenager broke multiple gun laws—that were in place to prevent exactly what happened—and began shooting up Santa Fe High School in Texas. All the gun control measures in place did not stop a criminal juvenile from obtaining two guns and walking onto his school campus to kill people. What actually stopped him, however, was guns, lots of them.

The police officers responding to the shooting were all heavily armed and it was only because of their weapons that they brought in the shooter. Good guys with guns are what stop bad guys with guns.

However, police cannot be everywhere all the time. If citizens were disarmed and were forced to rely entirely on police to protect them, rest assured that the bad guys who don’t follow the law would rain terror down on the defenseless population.

In fact, according to a recent FBI report, good guys with guns—who are not police officers—have stopped multiple mass shootings, just like the one in Santa Fe, Texas.

According to the FBI report, citizens successfully intervened in eight active shooter incidents in 2016 and 2017. These heroic citizens prevented or helped to stop what could’ve been some of the worst shooting incidents in US history.

As the report notes, citizens “safely and successfully” ended the shooting by confronting the shooter—not police.

“Their selfless actions likely saved many lives,” the report stated.

Out of those eight incidents, four of the heroic citizens were carrying legal firearms and stopped the shooters in their tracks. In two of those incidents, the citizens actually exchanged fire with the shooters, illustrating how a properly trained—and armed—citizen can be an effective deterrent in mass shootings.

In the other two incidents, the armed citizens held the shooters at gunpoint until police arrived.

One of the most high profile cases of citizen intervention in a mass shooting happened in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last year.

According to The New York Post:

The man hailed as a hero for confronting the Texas mass shooter during his rampage is a sharpshooting plumber with no military background — who hit the gunman through a gap in his body armor, according to a report.

 

Stephen Willeford managed to shoot Devin Kelley before jumping in another man’s truck and chasing him down, the Daily Mail reported…

 

Texas Department of Public Safety chief Freeman Martin said Willeford “grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect” after Kelley left the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, where he opened fire with an assault rifle and killed 26 people.

 

An area resident told the paper that Willeford, an avid biker who attends another church, learned about the shooting when his daughter called to say a man clad in body armor was shooting worshipers.

 

The local said that although Willeford has no military background, he didn’t hesitate when he came face to face with the suspect — and managed to squeeze off a round that struck the gunman, who had dropped his Ruger AR-15 variant.

On that fateful Sunday morning, the two men were strangers but came together to try and stop an act of heinous evil that likely saved countless lives.

In another incident, just nine days after the shooting in Texas, Travis Green began shooting up a Dollar General store in Cheektowaga, New York. A citizen ran down Green with his car, causing him to drop his gun and flee. Countless lives were saved that day.

According to the report, there were actually 50 active shooter incidents. In the other incidents, police officers—with guns—moved in to prevent further carnage and 11 of the shooters were killed by police.

The FBI defined these incidents as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Nearly 10 percent of them were stopped by good guys with guns. Nearly twenty percent were stopped by citizens and not the police.

As the gun grabbers begin to use this incident to pass more laws that criminals will not follow and that will disarm law abiding citizens, remember that even the government admits that the thing most likely to stop a bad guy with a gun…is a good guy with a gun.

DASH cryptocurrency and The Free Thought Project have formed a partnership that will continue to spread the ideas of peace and freedom while simultaneously teaching people how to operate outside of the establishment systems of control like using cryptocurrency instead of dollars. Winning this battle is as simple as choosing to abstain from the violent corrupt old system and participating in the new and peaceful system that hands the power back to the people. DASH is this system.

DASH digital cash takes the control the banking elite has over money and gives it back to the people. It is the ultimate weapon in the battle against the money changers and information controllers.

If you’d like to start your own DASH wallet and be a part of this change and battle for peace and freedom, you can start right here. DASH is already accepted by vendors all across the world so you can begin using it immediately.

Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/texas-shooting-fbi-report-armed-citizens/

Mark Kelly: Trump Rolled Over For NRA, Did Nothing About Guns After Parkland

Former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of shooting survivor and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), accused President Donald Trump Friday of capitulating to the National Rifle Association after the Parkland school shooting and doing nothing for America’s children.

After a shooter killed 10 people Friday in Santa Fe, Texas, the president “talked about how it’s been going on too long,” Kelly told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “I think we all know that,” he added.

Trump promised big changes after the February shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed.

Trump “spoke very pointedly to a number of U.S. senators and said that they were scared of the NRA and maybe he would have to be the person [to strengthen] background checks,” Kelly said. “That was Tuesday. By Thursday, he’d completely lost interest. And about two months later, he was the speaker at the NRA convention in Dallas.”

Cooper referred to a statistic reported Friday by The Washington Post that more people have been killed in U.S. schools this year than people serving in the military.

Kelly responded: “It’s ridiculous that these kids have to live in a country, these kids in Santa Fe or in Parkland or 22 other places around the country just this year alone, that they have to assume that kind of risk when they go to school.”

He added: “To see our elected leaders do nothing over and over again, it’s just an incredibly sad situation.”

Check out the rest of what Kelly had to say in the video above.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/mark-kelly-trump-rolled-over-055654287.html

Cougar Kills Mountain Biker In Washington State, Injures Companion

A cougar attacked two mountain bikers in Washington state Saturday morning, killing one and seriously injuring the other man. The biker who was killed fled into the woods to get away from the cougar after the initial attack and the animal chased him down, officials said.

The cougar was found standing over the man’s body, reported USA Today, before it ran from wildlife officials.

A 100-pound male cougar, three or four years old, was tracked down with the help of two dogs and killed by wildlife officials. It was 50 feet up a tree and 50 to 200 yards from where the man’s body had been found, Capt. Alan Myers of the Washington Fish and Wildlife police told the Times. The cat is being tested to make certain it was the same animal that attacked the men.

The cougar attack occurred on an isolated mountain road near North Bend, about 30 miles east of Seattle. 

The injured biker was airlifted to a Seattle hospital with serious injuries, but his condition was later listed as satisfactory, according to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office.

He was attacked first, then jumped on his bike to get to an area where he could get cell phone service to call for help. 

The cougar “jumped the first victim and attacked him,” Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the sheriff’s office told The Seattle Times. “The second victim turned and started to run away. The cougar saw that and went after the second victim. The first victim saw his friend being pulled by the cougar. He got on his bike and started to bike away.”

Abbott said the man rode for about two miles before he could make a call.

“When the deputies and medics responded, it took them about 30 minutes to locate the second victim. He was deceased. The cougar was standing on top of him,” said Abbott.

Officials have not released the names of either man.

A man in the area provided reporters a video of a cougar he had spotted recently in the same area. Officials said it could not be determined if it was the same animal, given that there are a number of cougars in the region.

Cougar attacks on humans, and particularly fatal attacks, are rare. Since 1890, cougars have attacked people fewer than 100 times, according to the nonprofit Cougar Network, and about 20 of those attacks have been fatal.

The last time a human was killed by a cougar in the U.S. was in 2008 in New Mexico, according to The News Tribune in Tacoma. The paper said that the last fatality in Washington state apparently was in 1924.

A mountain biker’s partially eaten body was found in 2004 in Southern California on the same day another biker was attacked in the same area.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/cougar-kills-mountain-biker-washington-042818032.html

Every Single Chilean Bishop Offers To Resign Over Country's Sex Abuse Scandal

Every single one of Chile’s 34 Roman Catholic bishops has offered to resign in response to the country’s clergy sex abuse scandal.

The mass resignation offer from the entire bishops conference, announced on Friday, was the first of its kind in modern Catholic history. The move was greeted with praise by the victims of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest.

Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three men who met privately with Pope Francis last month to discuss the scandal, said on Twitter that the pontiff appeared to have listened to their stories of survival. The resignations would “change things forever,” Cruz said.

“I’m very excited with all of this. It’s good for our beloved country, for so many people who have suffered because of corrupt and deceitful bishops, and also survivors who have been ignored all over the world,” Cruz wrote. ” There’s no going back. History has changed. Thank you truly.”

Jose Andres Murillo, another survivor who met with Francis, tweeted that he hopes the bishops will in fact be removed from their positions.

The 31 active bishops and three retired ones placed their signatures on a document offering their resignation and leaving their fates up to Francis. Francis can accept the resignations on an individual basis, reject them, or delay a decision, The Associated Press reports.

Chilean victim of clerical sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz speaks during an interview outside the Vatican on April 24, ahead of his meeting with Pope Francis. (Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters)Chilean victim of clerical sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz speaks during an interview outside the Vatican on April 24, ahead of his meeting with Pope Francis. (Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters)

“[The bishops] didn’t know how to protect the weakest, they exposed them to abuse and then impeded justice,” Murillo wrote Friday. “For this, they only deserve to go.”

The offer to resign en masse comes at the conclusion of a three-day emergency summit called by Pope Francis to address the ongoing crisis in Chile. For years, abuse victims have claimed the Chilean bishops conference protected abusive priests by shuttling them around to different dioceses rather than reporting them to the police. 

The pope had sent the Vatican’s top sex crimes prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to Chile after receiving heated backlash about the way he also appeared to dismiss victims’ claims.  

In January, Francis was caught on tape accusing Karadima’s victims of slander against Chile’s Bishop Juan Barros. The victims claimed the bishop had witnessed abuse by the pedophile priest and did nothing to stop it. The Vatican found Karadima guilty of sexually abusing minors in 2011, but Barros continued to enjoy the Holy See’s favor. Francis tapped Barros to lead the Osorno Diocese in 2015 over protestations from victims and even local Catholic clergy.

But the crisis in Chile extends far beyond Karadima and Barros. In recent years, sex abuse victims have come forward with claims against Chilean religious orders, such as the Salesians, Franciscans and the Marist Brothers.

After meeting with Karadima’s survivors last month and reviewing Scicluna’s 2,300-page report about the scandal, Francis has reportedly come to the conclusion that the entire Chilean bishops conference was collectively responsible for gravely mishandling the crisis. In a document distributed to the bishops and leaked to Chilean media, the pope apparently rebuked the Chilean church for destroying evidence, minimizing sex crimes, and neglecting to protect children from pedophile priests. The Vatican has confirmed the leaked document’s authenticity to the AP and Reuters

On Friday, the Chilean bishops thanked Francis for offering “brotherly correction.”

“Above all, we want to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the pope, to the people of God and our country for the serious errors and omissions committed by us,” the bishops’ statement said, according to Reuters.

Chilean bishops Luis Fernando Ramos Perez and Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz read statements during a news conference after meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 18. (Max Rossi / Reuters)Chilean bishops Luis Fernando Ramos Perez and Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz read statements during a news conference after meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 18. (Max Rossi / Reuters)

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the clergy sex abuse tracking organization BishopAccountability, called Friday’s announcement “stunning” and “necessary.”

She hopes Francis will accept all of the bishops’ resignations, Barrett Doyle told HuffPost. However, she believes it’s crucial that Francis creates efficient systems for investigating and disciplining bishops who have enabled child abuse in other countries.

“The Chilean church is not atypical,” she said. “Change is occurring in Chile simply because that situation caused a public relations debacle for the pope himself.”

“To stop the horror of child sexual abuse by clergy, the church must finally enact reforms at a global level.”

Pope Francis poses with Chilean bishops after a meeting at the Vatican on May 17. (Osservatore Romano / Reuters)Pope Francis poses with Chilean bishops after a meeting at the Vatican on May 17. (Osservatore Romano / Reuters)
  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/every-single-chilean-bishop-offers-173803986.html

Malaysia's luxury-loving former first lady laments 'trying times'

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Malaysia’s unpopular former first lady on Saturday lamented the “trying times” since her husband Najib Razak’s ouster from power, in a plea for public sympathy just a day after police seized a huge trove of cash, jewels and designer handbags linked to the couple.

Rosmah Mansor, who is widely reviled for her reported luxurious tastes and tone-deaf attitude towards the struggles of ordinary Malaysians, issued a statement lashing out at the police raids, complaining that news of them amounted to a “premature public trial”.

The former first couple’s world has been turned upside down after Najib’s long-ruling political machine suffered a shock defeat in May 9 elections.

Najib has been barred from leaving the country pending investigations into allegations that he, his family and cronies looted billions in state money. He is widely expected to face criminal charges.

“Despite the overwhelmingly trying times afflicted upon us, we have, and will continue facilitating, any inquiry, and avail ourselves to any requesting authorities,” Rosmah said in a statement issued by her attorneys.

But she complained about “the seemingly compromised inquiry process, whereby a series of leaks pertaining to the probe has made its way into social media spheres, in real time”.

Rosmah said she was referring to “the alleged items confiscated,” but did not elaborate.

Rosmah said authorities should “observe the rule of law and due process, to avoid a premature public trial” and not leak information to “social media trolls”.

Her call for sympathy is likely to fall on more than a few deaf ears.

Malaysian police said Friday they had seized 72 suitcases stuffed with cash, watches and jewellery, as well as 284 boxes containing Hermes, Birkin and Louis Vuitton handbags, in raids on properties linked to Najib.

Rosmah, 66, is widely mocked for her imperious manner and reports of multi-million-dollar jewellery purchases and a vast supply of designer handbags that has earned comparisons to the famed shoe collection of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos.

Among other missteps, Rosmah complained in 2015 about the 1,200 ringgit ($300) house calls from stylists required to keep her pronounced mane of hair dyed black.

Malaysia’s minimum monthly wage at the time was 900 ringgit.

The couple’s downfall has sparked glee on Malaysian social media, including viral pics of a dishevelled-looking Najib and Rosmah dozing in chairs at their home early Thursday as police conducted an overnight search.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/malaysias-luxury-loving-former-first-lady-laments-trying-090215411.html