San Jose Makes Landmark Bid to Address Gun Violence Through Fees, Insurance

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San Jose Makes Landmark Bid to Address Gun Violence Through Fees, Insurance San Jose Makes Landmark Bid to Address Gun Violence Through Fees, Insurance

(Tempestz/Dreamstime.com)

By Nicole Wells | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 07:32 PM

The city of San Jose, California, is looking to address gun violence by requiring all gun owners to pay a fee and carry liability insurance, CNN reported.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on the ordinance, which aims to both offer incentives for safe behavior and ease the financial burden of gun violence on taxpayers.

''Certainly, the Second Amendment protects every citizen's right to own a gun,'' Mayor Sam Liccardo said Monday at a news conference. ''It does not require taxpayers to subsidize that right.''

The mayor, a Democrat, estimated that San Jose residents incur about $442 million in gun-related costs each year, and compared the plan to car insurance mandates, which he credits with significantly reducing deaths resulting from automobile crashes.

If approved Tuesday and on second reading on Feb. 8, the ordinance would go into effect Aug. 8.

Gun owners would be charged a $25 annual fee, which would be directed to a nonprofit set up to distribute funds to gun crime prevention and gun violence victims. The measure would also require that gun owners obtain liability insurance to cover damage caused by their weapon.

Safe behavior would be rewarded with lower premiums for those with gun safes and trigger locks and those who complete gun safety classes, according to CNN.

Liccardo said that police officers would be tasked with enforcement and would ask for proof of insurance, as they do with car insurance during traffic stops.

While law enforcement and those with concealed-carry permits would be exempt, pushback from gun rights groups is expected, the mayor said.

In July, the National Foundation for Gun Rights sent a cease-and-desist letter to Liccardo and the council’s 10 members informing them it intends to file suit if the ordinance is passed.

''We've opposed this ordinance every step of the way and we will see this through to the end,'' Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights and executive director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, told CNN in a statement.

''If the San Jose City Council actually votes to impose this ridiculous tax on the Constitutional right to gun ownership, our message is clear and simple: see you in court,'' he said.

The 2019 festival shooting in nearby Gilroy, California, and last year’s mass shooting at a public transit facility in his city prompted Liccardo to push for the proposed ordinance.

The mayor’s spokesperson said the city has found a law firm that would represent it on the issue at no charge.

Original Article

Baldwin, ‘Rust’ Producers Seek Dismissal of Script Supervisor’s Lawsuit

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Baldwin, 'Rust' Producers Seek Dismissal of Script Supervisor's Lawsuit a sign that says rust hangs on a sign post Alec Baldwin speaks at the RFK Ripple of Hope Gala on Dec. 9, 2021, in New York. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 07:19 PM

Actor Alec Baldwin and producers of the film "Rust" are asking a California judge to dismiss a lawsuit the film's script supervisor filed against them for the fatal accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchinson, Deadline reported.

After Baldwin shot Hutchinson, script supervisor Mamie Mitchell filed a lawsuit against the actor and the film's producers in November.

"Nothing about Plaintiff's allegations suggest that any of Defendants, including Mr. Baldwin, intended the Prop Gun to be loaded with live ammunition," the defendants expressed in their motion to dismiss. "Moreover, nothing about Plaintiff's allegations suggests any of the Defendants knew the Prop Gun contained live ammunition."

Attorneys Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, who represent Baldwin and the film's producers, have requested a hearing with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker to dismiss Mitchell's case next month.

Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film's armorer, who is at the center of a Santa Fe Sheriff's Office inquiry, have said the gun used on the set may have been tampered with. They assert that the film set also had other safety and labor concerns.

Boston Red Sox Legend David Ortiz Voted First-Ballot Hall of Famer

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Boston Red Sox Legend David Ortiz Voted First-Ballot Hall of Famer david ortiz points to the sky with boston's fenway park in the background Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 25 January 2022 07:09 PM

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was the lone player to earn induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday in balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Ortiz received 77.9% of the vote in his first season on the ballot. That was slightly above the needed 75% to earn induction into Cooperstown.

Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star with the Boston Red Sox. He compiled 541 homers and 1,768 RBIs in 20 seasons with the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002) and Boston (2003-16).

The first baseman/designated hitter known as "Big Papi" won three World Series titles with the Red Sox.

Outfielder Barry Bonds and right-hander Roger Clemens both fell short in their 10th and final seasons on the writers' ballots. Bonds received 66% of the votes and Clemens got 65.2%.

The candidacies of both Clemens and Bonds have been controversial due to suspicions they used illegal performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.

Bonds is the sport's all-time leader with 762 homers and won a record seven NL MVP awards over his 22 seasons (1986-2007). He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-92) and San Francisco Giants (1993-2007).

Clemens owns a record seven Cy Young Awards and went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts and 46 shutouts during 24 seasons from 1984-2007. He pitched for the Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-1998), Yankees (1999-2003, 2007) and Astros (2004-06).

Meanwhile, infielder Alex Rodriguez received 34.3% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season due to a suspension for violating the MLB policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez ranks fourth in major league history with 696 homers and 2,086 RBI over 22 seasons from 1994-2016. He was a three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star.

Infielder Scott Rolen received 63.2% of the vote and right-hander Curt Schilling got 58.6% on his final time on the ballot.

Schilling dropped from receiving 71.1% of the vote in 2021. After falling short last year, he requested his name be taken off the ballot but the BBWAA refused to do so.

Schilling was a six-time All-Star who went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts, 83 complete games and 20 shutouts in 20 seasons from 1988-2007 with the Baltimore Orioles (1988-90), Houston Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-03) and Boston Red Sox (2004-07). He walked just 711 batters in 3,261 innings.

He was twice runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award (2001-02) and also finished second for the AL Cy Young Award in 2004. Schilling won more than 20 games in each of those three seasons, including a career-best 23 for the Diamondbacks in 2002.

Schilling was a big-game pitcher in the postseason, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and two shutouts in 19 starts. He was World Series co-MVP with Randy Johnson in 2001 when Arizona defeated the Yankees in seven games. He also was part of two title teams with the Red Sox (2004, 2007).

Rolen was a seven-time All-Star during a 17-year career (1996-2012) with four teams.

Ortiz will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 24 along with six players selected in December by various committees: Negro League legend Buck O'Neil, Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, former Brooklyn Dodgers slugger and New York Mets manager Gil Hodges and Black player Bud Fowler.

Commerce Secretary Calls $52 Billion for US Chips ‘Extremely Urgent’

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Commerce Secretary Calls $52 Billion for US Chips 'Extremely Urgent' fina raimondo speaks while seated with a notebook in front of hter U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of US Conference of Mayors on Jan. 20, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:58 PM

A Department of Commerce report on supply chain woes on American semiconductors has found "a major supply and demand mismatch," and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo calls for "extremely urgent" legislation to address the crisis.

"This is why domestic semiconductor funding is extremely urgent," Raimondo wrote in a statement following the Biden administration report. "The House of Representatives is preparing to introduce its version of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which includes $52 billion in domestic semiconductor funding to help us create long-term solutions. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill with strong bipartisan support.

"I have been engaged daily with members on both sides of the aisle to get this done.

"Every day we wait is a day we fall further behind. But if we pass this bill and address this problem, we can create good jobs, rebuild American manufacturing, and strengthen our supply chains here at home for decades to come."

The report conducted on a request for information (RFI) issued the following primary findings:

  • "Median demand for chips highlighted by buyers was as much as 17% higher in 2021 than 2019, and buyers aren't seeing commensurate increases in the supply they receive. This is a major supply and demand mismatch.
  • "The median inventory of semiconductor products highlighted by buyers has fallen from 40 days in 2019 to less than 5 days in 2021 (see Figure 2). These inventories are even smaller in key industries.
  • "The RFI allowed us to pinpoint specific nodes where the supply and demand mismatch is most acute, and we will target our efforts moving forward on collaborating with industry to resolve bottlenecks in these nodes.
  • "The primary bottleneck across the board appears to be wafer production capacity, which requires a longer-term solution."

"America needs to produce more semiconductors," the report concluded. "Congress must pass funding for domestic semiconductor production, such as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, to solve our supply challenges for the long term."

Raimondo added the supply chain woes on chips in America extends beyond omicron and COVID-19, although it has exacerbated it, saying "any disruption has ripple effects."

Also, she concluded, the shortage of chips has caused inflation on automobile manufacturer and prices, leading to eight million less cars made in 2021 and amounting to a $210 billion loss in revenue.

"It is both an economic and national security imperative to solve this crisis," she said.

Original Article

Commerce Secretary Calls $52 Billion for US Chips ‘Extremely Urgent’

getfile.aspxguidEA81DBC0 D403 4EB7 800E CC3BD7993324 1

Commerce Secretary Calls $52 Billion for US Chips 'Extremely Urgent' fina raimondo speaks while seated with a notebook in front of hter U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of US Conference of Mayors on Jan. 20, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:58 PM

A Department of Commerce report on supply chain woes on American semiconductors has found "a major supply and demand mismatch," and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo calls for "extremely urgent" legislation to address the crisis.

"This is why domestic semiconductor funding is extremely urgent," Raimondo wrote in a statement following the Biden administration report. "The House of Representatives is preparing to introduce its version of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which includes $52 billion in domestic semiconductor funding to help us create long-term solutions. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill with strong bipartisan support.

"I have been engaged daily with members on both sides of the aisle to get this done.

"Every day we wait is a day we fall further behind. But if we pass this bill and address this problem, we can create good jobs, rebuild American manufacturing, and strengthen our supply chains here at home for decades to come."

The report conducted on a request for information (RFI) issued the following primary findings:

  • "Median demand for chips highlighted by buyers was as much as 17% higher in 2021 than 2019, and buyers aren't seeing commensurate increases in the supply they receive. This is a major supply and demand mismatch.
  • "The median inventory of semiconductor products highlighted by buyers has fallen from 40 days in 2019 to less than 5 days in 2021 (see Figure 2). These inventories are even smaller in key industries.
  • "The RFI allowed us to pinpoint specific nodes where the supply and demand mismatch is most acute, and we will target our efforts moving forward on collaborating with industry to resolve bottlenecks in these nodes.
  • "The primary bottleneck across the board appears to be wafer production capacity, which requires a longer-term solution."

"America needs to produce more semiconductors," the report concluded. "Congress must pass funding for domestic semiconductor production, such as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, to solve our supply challenges for the long term."

Raimondo added the supply chain woes on chips in America extends beyond omicron and COVID-19, although it has exacerbated it, saying "any disruption has ripple effects."

Also, she concluded, the shortage of chips has caused inflation on automobile manufacturer and prices, leading to eight million less cars made in 2021 and amounting to a $210 billion loss in revenue.

"It is both an economic and national security imperative to solve this crisis," she said.

Psaki: DeSantis Pushing COVID-19 Treatments ‘That Do Not Work’

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Psaki: DeSantis Pushing COVID-19 Treatments 'That Do Not Work' jjen psaki stands in front of a white house emblem  and speaks at a podium. White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks at the daily press briefing on Jan. 25, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:42 PM

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a Tuesday press briefing that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, was advocating the use of monoclonal antibody treatments that ''do not work against omicron,'' according to Insider.

''Well, let's just take a step back here just to realize how crazy this is,'' Psaki said. ''These treatments — the ones that they are fighting over, that the governor's fighting over — do not work against omicron, and they have side effects. That is what the scientists are saying.''

Psaki added that the administration had sent Florida 71,000 doses of antiviral treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration against the delta abd omicron variants.

The comments from Psaki come after the FDA restricted the bamlanivimab and etesevimab (administered together) and REGEN-COV treatments DeSantis has been pushing in his state, citing inefficacy against the COVID-19 omicron variant.

''[The] data show these treatments are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant, which is circulating at a very high frequency throughout the United States, these treatments are not authorized for use in any U.S. states, territories, and jurisdictions at this time,'' a Monday press briefing read.

DeSantis demanded that the FDA reverse the decision in a statement on Monday.

''Without a shred of clinical data to support this action, [President Joe] Biden has forced trained medical professionals to choose between treating their patients or breaking the law,'' DeSantis said.

''This indefensible edict takes treatment out of the hands of medical professionals and will cost some Americans their lives. There are real-world implications to Biden's medical authoritarianism — Americans' access to treatments is now subject to the whims of a failing president.''

The Florida Department of Health posted to Twitter that they would close all the monoclonal antibody treatment sites in light of the new FDA rule.

Original Article

‘Real Housewives” Jennie Nguyen Fired After Social Media Posts Resurface

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'Real Housewives'' Jennie Nguyen Fired After Social Media Posts Resurface 'Real Housewives'' Jennie Nguyen Fired After Social Media Posts Resurface

(Seemanta Dutta/Dreamstime.com)

By Nicole Wells | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:33 PM

''Real Housewives of Salt Lake City'' cast member Jennie Nguyen was fired from the show Tuesday after social media posts from two years ago recently resurfaced.

Bravo said it made the decision in response to her social media posts that some deemed racist.

"Bravo has ceased filming with Jennie Nguyen and she will no longer be a cast member on 'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,'" the network said in a statement posted to its Instagram. "We recognize we failed to take appropriate action once her offensive social media posts were brought to our attention. Moving forward, we will work to improve our processes to ensure we make better informed and more thoughtful casting decisions."

Fans of the "Real Housewives" franchise began calling for Nguyen's firing after they found several Facebook posts from 2020 that seemed to condemn the nationwide wave of violence triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Page Six reported that Nguyen, who is Vietnamese American, posted a few pro-police tirades on social media, including one from September 2020 that read: "I'm sick of people saying cops need more training. You had 18 years to teach your kids it's wrong to loot, steal, set buildings a blaze, block traffic, laser people's eyes, overturn cars, destroy buildings and attack citizens. Who failed who?"

In another, she reportedly wrote: "Hundreds of blacks shot and many killed (including children) by other blacks every week. Over a thousand Officers violently injured, some permanently, by rioters. Anarchists rioting in major cities every night, which has caused billions of dollars of destruction to private and public property. And you still think Police Officers are the problem. You are an idiot."

She also reportedly shared a meme in which an old lady is speaking to a man about the bumper stickers on her car, explaining that the little figures don't indicate how many children she has, but "how many rioters I've hit!"

Nguyen's fellow cast members, Heather Gay, Whitney Rose, Meredith Marks and Jen Shah, have publicly condemned her comments and unfollowed her on social media.

Though she has not publicly addressed her termination, Nguyen previously shared a public apology on Instagram in which she said she has since deleted many of the offending posts.

"I want to acknowledge and apologize for my deleted Facebook posts from 2020 that resurfaced today,'' she wrote. ''At the time, I thought I was speaking out against violence, but I have since learned how offensive and hurtful my words were.''

Nguyen also said she deactivated the account more than a year ago and is ''sincerely sorry for the pain'' the posts caused.

Will Walker’s Walk From NC Senate Primary Help Trump-Backed Budd?

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Will Walker's Walk From NC Senate Primary Help Trump-Backed Budd? mark walker speaks at a podium Former Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in 2020. (Grant Baldwin/AFP via Getty Images)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:29 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The anticipated decision Tuesday of former Rep. Mark Walker to abandon his bid for the Republican Senate nomination and instead seek a return to the House from a newly-carved district in North Carolina surprises relatively few observers of Tarheel State politics.

Walker had consistently been running third in most polls, behind former Gov. Pat McCrory and fellow Rep. Ted Budd (who carries the blessing of Donald Trump, the most-sought endorsement for anyone in a contested GOP primary).

The anticipation now is that without Walker, the Trump base among North Carolina Republicans will coalesce around Budd and be a big assist in helping him catch front-runner McCrory.

“If Walker bows out it's Budd's to lose,” veteran North Carolina political analyst Marc Rotterman told Newsmax, “This is base election. And the base of the North Carolina Republican Party overwhelmingly supports former President Trump.”

McCrory and his supporters have long insisted that the former governor has a cordial relationship with Trump. But, as Rotterman put it, “fair or not, former Gov. McCrory is perceived as a ‘Never Trumper.’”

A Cygnal Poll earlier this month showed McCrory leading Budd among likely GOP voters by 24 to 19 percent, with Walker trailing at 7 per cent.

The primary was initially scheduled for March 8 but court challenges to the lines drawn by the Republican-ruled legislature have resulted in it being postponed to an unspecified later date.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Original Article

Trump Sets Speakers List for Saturday’s Rally in Texas

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Trump Sets Speakers List for Saturday's Rally in Texas Trump Sets Speakers List for Saturday's Rally in Texas Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on Jan. 15 in Florence, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:16 PM

The speakers lineup for Saturday night's Save America rally in Conroe, Texas, hosted by former President Donald Trump has been released Tuesday.

The speakers list includes endorsed candidates, members of the Texas' congressional delegation, and supporters of the MAGA and America First agenda.

The rally at Montgomery County Fairgrounds will be aired live on Newsmax, starting with the pre-show at 6 p.m. ET. Trump is expected to speak around 8 p.m. ET, and Newsmax will follow the rally with a recap show at 10 p.m. ET.

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and state Attorney General Ken Paxton are among those that will precede Trump on the stage. Among the others billed to appear are state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, state GOP Sen. Dawn Buckingham, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir and Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi.

Buckingham is running for Texas Land Commissioner.

"Really big crowd expected in Texas this weekend," Trump wrote in a Save America PAC statement Monday. "The rallies are bigger than ever before — so much to talk about!"

Parking for Trump's second rally of the year opens at 6 a.m., before doors open at 2 p.m., and the speakers start at 4 p.m. – all times local.

Texas is the largest Republican-held state, trailing just California (54) with 40 Electoral College votes. Texas has been growing, gaining two electors for the 2024 presidential election.

Many larger Democrat-led states have lost one elector, including: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Michigan and Pennsylvania figure to be key battlegrounds again in 2024 as so-called "rust-belt, blue-wall" states.

Original Article

Bo Dietl to Newsmax: Manhattan DA Bragg Retracts Decriminalization Memo

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Bo Dietl to Newsmax: Manhattan DA Bragg Retracts Decriminalization Memo

(Newsmax/''Eric Bolling: The Balance'')

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 06:01 PM

Former New York police detective Bo Dietl told Newsmax that Manhattan's new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has retracted his own memo calling for the ''decriminalization/non prosecution'' of crimes including resisting arrest, interfering with an arrest, and prostitution.

Appearing on Tuesday's ''Eric Bolling: The Balance,'' Dietl said: ''They had a crime commission phone call yesterday morning with Mr. Bragg, … There was a DA on there, good friend of mine … and he was talking to him. … All of a sudden he went at him, and Bragg did a 180.

''And he goes, 'I now take it all [back]. I should have never released that memo, and it was wrong, and I own it.' He goes, 'right now you go into a store with a baseball bat, gun, knife, you do robbery, you're going to be prosecuted as a felon. You resist arrest with a police officer making an arrest, you will be prosecuted.' He backed off everything.''

According to National Review, Bragg on Thursday said: ''I understand why those who read my memo of January 3rd have been left with the wrong impression about how I will enforce New York's laws. I take full accountability for that confusion caused.''

On his third day in office, Bragg sent out a memo emphasizing ''diversion and alternatives to incarceration,'' such as crisis intervention instead of jail.

Bragg also made reference to the previous administration and how crime is skyrocketing in New York.

''Gun crime is on the rise,'' Bragg said in a speech at the National Action Network Rally in New York. ''Domestic violence is on the rise. We've got sexual assault. That's what was going on with the status quo. So we know we need a change to address that.

''And the way to do that is partner with traditional public safety methods, is to invest in our communities. Racial disparity's rife in our system. We criminalize poverty every day of the week.''

Bragg also said that for repeat offenders or those struggling with mental health problems, crisis intervention or some type of counseling service could supplant longer sentencing, adding that ''this is going to make us safer.''

The report comes to light after two New York City police officers were shot last week and died of their wounds.

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US Races Against China to Recover Submerged $100m Stealth Fighter

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US Races Against China to Recover Submerged $100m Stealth Fighter F-35 jet F-35 jets. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:52 PM

The United States is in a race against China to recover an F-35 stealth fighter that plunged into the South China Sea on Monday, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.

The Navy claimed they lost the $100 million warplane after a “landing mishap” aboard the USS Carl Vinson left seven military personnel injured.

“An F-35C Lightning II assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard USS (CVN 70) had a landing mishap and impacted the flight deck and subsequently fell to the water during routine flight operations,” it told US Naval Institute News. “Impact to the flight deck was superficial, and all equipment for flight operations is operational.”

The Navy told The War Zone on Monday that the cause of the incident was under investigation.

“The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation, as are the factors involved in the mishap,” said Brenda Way, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The “fifth-generation” F-35 jet made by Lockheed Martin was part of a deployment designed to bolster the American presence near Taiwan at the outset of aggression from China in the region.

The Navy version of the F-35, the F-35C, can fly 1.6 times the speed of sound and has a combat radius of 1200 nautical miles, according to the Mail.

“Vinson is the first carrier to accommodate a mix of 4th- and 5th- generation strike fighters, providing unprecedented lethality and survivability and ensuring the Navy team can operate and win in contested battlespace now and well into the future,” Capt. Tommy Locke, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, said in August.

House Speaker Pelosi to Seek Re-election, Reversing Earlier Plan

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House Speaker Pelosi to Seek Re-election, Reversing Earlier Plan House Speaker Pelosi to Seek Re-election, Reversing Earlier Plan (Getty)

Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:25 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she will run for a 19th term in office, signaling that she could also seek to continue leading her caucus after earlier saying she would step down from leadership after 2022.

The 81-year-old California lawmaker was the first woman to serve as speaker and had been expected to step down, particularly as her party braces for a possible loss of its majority in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Pelosi said in a tweet: "While we have made progress much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives. This election is crucial: nothing less is at stake than our Democracy. But we don’t agonize — we organize. I am running for re-election to Congress to deliver For The People and defend Democracy."

Original Article

RFK Jr. Apologizes for Anne Frank Comments

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RFK Jr. Apologizes for Anne Frank Comments (C-SPAN)

By Theodore Bunker | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:34 PM

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Tuesday issued an apology for his comments about Anne Frank during an anti-vaccination rally held in Washington, D.C., Sunday after criticism from Jewish organizations.

"I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors," Kennedy tweeted Tuesday. "My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control. To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry."

Kennedy came under fire after he compared unvaccinated Americans to the plight of Frank, a German-Dutch teenager of Jewish heritage who famously spent about two years hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

"What we're seeing today is what I call turnkey totalitarianism," Kennedy said at Sunday's rally. "They are putting in place all of these technological mechanisms for control we've never seen before. It's been the ambition of every totalitarian state since the beginning of mankind to control every aspect of behavior, of conduct, of thought and to obliterate dissent. None of them have been able to do it. They didn't have the technological capacity.

"Even in Hitler's Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did. I visited in 1962 East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died.

"But it was possible," he added.

The Anti-Defamation League, the Auschwitz Memorial, and the Holocaust Museum released statements following the rally condemning Kennedy's remarks.

Kennedy "invoking Anne Frank's memory and the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis as a comparison to the U.S. gov't working to ensure the health of its citizens is deeply inaccurate, deeply offensive and deeply troubling," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted Monday.

The Auschwitz Memorial said, "Exploiting of the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany — including children like Anne Frank — in a debate about vaccines & limitations during [a] global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay."

"Those who carelessly invoke Anne Frank, the star badge, and the Nuremberg Trials exploit history and the consequences of hate," the Holocaust Museum tweeted from its official account on Monday.

Kennedy's wife, actress Cheryl Hines, also criticized his comments, saying the reference to Frank "was reprehensible and insensitive."

"The atrocities that millions endured during the Holocaust should never be compared to anyone or anything," she added. "His opinions are not a reflection of my own."

Durham Court Filing on DNC Attorney: ‘Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation’

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Durham Court Filing on DNC Attorney: 'Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation' DNC Logo Stage hands work on affixing the DNC logo to the podium at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:15 PM

A filing by special counsel John Durham's probe Tuesday made three mentions to an "active, ongoing criminal investigation," including matters not currently charged.

The filing comes in the case of Democratic National Committee attorney Michael Sussmann, who was charged in September with lying to the FBI — "making a materially false statement to an FBI official" — during the original special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

The filing laid out the special counsel's argument for additional time for discovery before trial, requesting a March 18 extension from nonclassified date of Jan. 28 and a classified materials date in February.

"The court should grant the government's request to permit the production of any residual discovery on or before March 18, 2022," Durham's filing concluded.

Sussmann's defense has also requested "any and all documents including the FBI's communications with The New York Times regarding any of the [Russian Bank-1] allegations in the fall of 2016," on pages nine and 10 in the filing.

"In a subsequent Jan. 20, 2022 letter, the defense also asked for information relating to a meeting attended by reporters from The New York Times, the then-FBI General Counsel, the then-FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, and the then-FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs."

The filing makes the case Durham's ongoing investigation should get more time for discovery, arguing it is "both reasonable and consistent with the government's practices in other cases."

Also, the filing notes the discovery timeline has been set back by multiple spellings of Sussmann's name in documents.

"In a step that is extraordinary in a criminal case, the Special Counsel's Office also previously directed the FBI to query the defendant's last name and a common misspelling of the defendant's name ('Sussmann' and 'Sussman') over all FBI email and instant messaging systems — including Unclassified, Secret, and Top Secret systems — for the time period Jan. 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017," page 12 of the filing read. "The FBI then provided the results of these searches — totaling approximately 79,000 items — to the Special Counsel team. The FBI also searched its case management system for the names 'Michael Sussmann' or 'Michael Sussman.'

"The Special Counsel team is reviewing each of these more than 79,000 documents to eliminate duplicates and false hits (e.g., documents pertaining to individuals named 'Sussman' or 'Sussmann' other than the defendant) and to identify further potentially relevant materials. To date, the government has produced to the defense approximately 1,099 of the documents that resulted from this search. The Special Counsel team expects to complete its review of these documents within approximately the next two weeks."

Durham Court Filing on DNC Attorney: ‘Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation’

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Durham Court Filing on DNC Attorney: 'Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation' DNC Logo Stage hands work on affixing the DNC logo to the podium at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:15 PM

A filing by special counsel John Durham's probe Tuesday made three mentions to an "active, ongoing criminal investigation," including matters not currently charged.

The filing comes in the case of Democratic National Committee attorney Michael Sussmann, who was charged in September with lying to the FBI — "making a materially false statement to an FBI official" — during the original special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

The filing laid out the special counsel's argument for additional time for discovery before trial, requesting a March 18 extension from nonclassified date of Jan. 28 and a classified materials date in February.

"The court should grant the government's request to permit the production of any residual discovery on or before March 18, 2022," Durham's filing concluded.

Sussmann's defense has also requested "any and all documents including the FBI's communications with The New York Times regarding any of the [Russian Bank-1] allegations in the fall of 2016," on pages nine and 10 in the filing.

"In a subsequent Jan. 20, 2022 letter, the defense also asked for information relating to a meeting attended by reporters from The New York Times, the then-FBI General Counsel, the then-FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, and the then-FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs."

The filing makes the case Durham's ongoing investigation should get more time for discovery, arguing it is "both reasonable and consistent with the government's practices in other cases."

Also, the filing notes the discovery timeline has been set back by multiple spellings of Sussmann's name in documents.

"In a step that is extraordinary in a criminal case, the Special Counsel's Office also previously directed the FBI to query the defendant's last name and a common misspelling of the defendant's name ('Sussmann' and 'Sussman') over all FBI email and instant messaging systems — including Unclassified, Secret, and Top Secret systems — for the time period Jan. 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017," page 12 of the filing read. "The FBI then provided the results of these searches — totaling approximately 79,000 items — to the Special Counsel team. The FBI also searched its case management system for the names 'Michael Sussmann' or 'Michael Sussman.'

"The Special Counsel team is reviewing each of these more than 79,000 documents to eliminate duplicates and false hits (e.g., documents pertaining to individuals named 'Sussman' or 'Sussmann' other than the defendant) and to identify further potentially relevant materials. To date, the government has produced to the defense approximately 1,099 of the documents that resulted from this search. The Special Counsel team expects to complete its review of these documents within approximately the next two weeks."

Original Article

As Tax Season Begins, Millions Still Wait for Last Year’s Refund

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As Tax Season Begins, Millions Still Wait for Last Year's Refund an illustration of the word taxes in the mold of an american dollar bill over the image of the capitol building (Dreamstime)

By Nicole Wells | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:12 PM

Tax season might officially be upon us, but millions of taxpayers say they are still waiting for last year's refunds.

Alysha Holliday, 30, of North Olmstead, Ohio, filed an amended return in April, after Congress changed the rules to make thousands in unemployment benefits tax-free, CNBC reported.

The IRS is still processing her refund nine months later.

"You have to call at seven in the morning or you will not be able to talk with someone," Holliday told CNBC. "I have called at 7:30 a.m., and the automated line has said that they are too busy and to call the next business day."

Experts say processing federal stimulus checks and disbursing the monthly child tax credit payments have contributed to the bottleneck at the agency and put added pressure on an insufficient number of employees handling a large volume of work.

Usually, the IRS receives 35 million calls during tax season; last year it received 119 million.

According to its annual progress report, the 81,600 employees at the IRS in fiscal year 2021, which includes 10,500 seasonal and temporary workers, was less than the number of permanent employees at the agency in fiscal year 2010.

Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo told CNBC the IRS needs more resources.

"Today the IRS has as many employees as they had in 1970, while the U.S. population has grown by 60%," he said. "This is because we failed to fund the IRS adequately."

President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan included $80 billion to modernize the agency and increase enforcement; however, the bill has stalled in the Senate after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he could not vote for the bill.

Sometimes waiting more than an hour and a half to speak with someone, Holliday said she is frustrated and doubtful she will ever see her money. She has documented all of her dealings with the IRS, including taking screenshots of the status of her return, according to CNBC.

The IRS backlog includes 9.8 million individual returns with errors and 2.8 million business returns, the National Taxpayer Advocate estimated.

Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, emphasized taxpayers should be patient because it could take several months before the IRS addresses an amended tax return.

Back in Ohio, Holliday said she is in tax limbo this year, unsure whether to file her return or wait until she receives last year's refund.

"It's not fair to the people who are doing what they need to do, by the timeframe that needs to be done," she said. "I feel like we're being penalized for it."

Alex Jones: I Pleaded the Fifth ‘Almost 100 Times’ During Jan. 6 Deposition

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Alex Jones: I Pleaded the Fifth 'Almost 100 Times' During Jan. 6 Deposition Alex Jones Alex Jones in 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 04:57 PM

Radio host Alex Jones said on Tuesday that he pleaded the Fifth Amendment "almost 100 times" during his scheduled deposition with the House select committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot a day prior, NBC News reported.

Jones, who testified remotely, described the experience as "extremely interesting, to say the least."

"The questions were overall pretty reasonable," Jones added. "And I wanted to answer the questions. But at the same time, it's a good thing I didn't, because I'm the type that tries to answer things correctly, even if I don't know all the answers, and they can then kind of claim that's perjury."

The conservative radio host said his lawyer "told me almost 100 times today during the interrogation, 'on advice of counsel I am asserting my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.' And the media tells you that's because you're guilty, or because you're going to incriminate yourself, but it's also just because it can be used to try to incriminate you and twist something against you."

The subpoena of Jones came after the committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., stated in a letter they had evidence he was involved in preparing the rally after he stated on his show last year that the White House asked him to "lead the march" to the Capitol.

On Tuesday, Jones claimed that his "White House connection" was Caroline Wren, a Republican operative never directly employed by the White House.

"I saw my text messages to Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian and some of the event organizers right there, " Jones said. "So, they already have everything, and they already know I didn't do anything."

Jones' appearance before the panel follows a pending lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C. federal court challenging the Jan. 6 committee's authority to subpoena him.

Original Article

Alex Jones: I Pleaded the Fifth ‘Almost 100 Times’ During Jan. 6 Deposition

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Alex Jones: I Pleaded the Fifth 'Almost 100 Times' During Jan. 6 Deposition Alex Jones Alex Jones in 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 04:57 PM

Radio host Alex Jones said on Tuesday that he pleaded the Fifth Amendment "almost 100 times" during his scheduled deposition with the House select committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot a day prior, NBC News reported.

Jones, who testified remotely, described the experience as "extremely interesting, to say the least."

"The questions were overall pretty reasonable," Jones added. "And I wanted to answer the questions. But at the same time, it's a good thing I didn't, because I'm the type that tries to answer things correctly, even if I don't know all the answers, and they can then kind of claim that's perjury."

The conservative radio host said his lawyer "told me almost 100 times today during the interrogation, 'on advice of counsel I am asserting my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.' And the media tells you that's because you're guilty, or because you're going to incriminate yourself, but it's also just because it can be used to try to incriminate you and twist something against you."

The subpoena of Jones came after the committee's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., stated in a letter they had evidence he was involved in preparing the rally after he stated on his show last year that the White House asked him to "lead the march" to the Capitol.

On Tuesday, Jones claimed that his "White House connection" was Caroline Wren, a Republican operative never directly employed by the White House.

"I saw my text messages to Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian and some of the event organizers right there, " Jones said. "So, they already have everything, and they already know I didn't do anything."

Jones' appearance before the panel follows a pending lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C. federal court challenging the Jan. 6 committee's authority to subpoena him.

SATs Going Digital in 2024, an Hour of Test Time Cut

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SATs Going Digital in 2024, an Hour of Test Time Cut SAT test preparation books SAT test preparation books in 2002. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 04:43 PM

The scholastic aptitude tests (SATs) will be going digital in 2024. The radical shift from print to digital will be one component of several the standardized tests will undergo; chief among them includes cutting an hour of test time.

According to the Washington Examiner, the College Board, which creates and administers the tests, announced the changes Tuesday. In addition, news of the testing changes follows reports that some colleges and universities, Harvard included, will no longer require undergraduate applicants to submit test scores for the application process.

"The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give, and more relevant," Priscilla Rodriguez, the vice president of college readiness assessments at the College Board, said.

"We're not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform — we're taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible," she added. "With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs."

The switch from print to digital will "feature [tests with] shorter reading passages with one question tied to each" and "will reflect a wider range of topics that represent the works students read in college."

Additionally, students will now be allowed to use a calculator in the math sections, and test scores will be available "in days, instead of weeks." Students will also be presented with information offering them other career suggestions besides college.

"To reflect the range of paths that students take after high school, digital SAT Suite score reports will also connect students to information and resources about local two-year college, workforce training programs, and career options," the board stated.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee discusses ‘mother of all sanctions’ against Russia

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Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., walks towards the senate floor at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., walks towards the senate floor at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

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UPDATED 7:55 AM PT – Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Senators from both sides of the aisle discussed the developing situation between Russia and Ukraine. During a bipartisan Zoom meeting Monday, eight senators formulated a bill to level financial disincentives against Russia in the case it invades Ukraine.

Foreign Relations Committee chair, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called the legislation the “mother of all sanctions.”

“I want to be crystal clear to those listening to this hearing in Moscow, Kyiv and other capitals around the world: A Russian invasion will trigger devastating economic sanctions the likes of which we have never seen before,” Menendez stated. “(Vladimir) Putin doesn’t get to redraw the map of Europe. Europeans should be thinking about that. He doesn’t get to bully the people of an independent nation into submission.”

The Democrat senator continued by noting that though Putin may dictate the current course of events in his country, he has no right to tyrannize Ukraine at his disposal. Menendez stressed that Ukrainians won’t stand for it and neither should the U.S.

“Let me be clear: These are not run-of-the-mill sanctions,” said the committee chairman. “What is being discussed is at the maximum end of that spectrum, or as I have called it, the mother of all sanctions. And I hope that we can come together in a bipartisan way to find a legislative path forward soon so that we can achieve that.”

Committee Republicans favored preemptive sanctions to be enacted while Democrats wished to only issue penalties in the case of an invasion. The senators hope to reach an agreement by the end of the week.

Sen. Menendez’s Opening Remarks at Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on U.S. – Russia Policy:

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined a meeting of EU foreign ministers amid the ongoing speculation of a possible Russian invasion.

During a video call on Monday, Blinken told the EU the U.S. is committed to a diplomatic solution of tensions in Ukraine. He added, it’s unclear if Russia would stop its efforts to “rebuild the Soviet empire.”

For their part, EU diplomats reaffirmed their commitment to security and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The EU also said it’s considering a financial aid package of $1.4 billion for Ukraine, which it says may help defuse tensions.

“This package will help Ukraine now to address its financing needs due to the conflict,” explained European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We count on the Council and the European Parliament to adopt this emergency macro-financial assistance as soon as possible. We will then proceed to the rapid disbursement of the first tranche of 600 million euros.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a statement on EU financial support for Ukraine at EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a statement on EU financial support for Ukraine at EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)

Secretary Blinken also briefed his EU counterparts on last week’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as bilateral discussions between the U.S. and Russia have yet to produce tangible results.

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