Former Obama administration Chief of Staff and Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed a scheme to take advantage of the country’s emotional response to the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook School massacre. The conversation is documented in emails released to the Baltimore Post under a Freedom of Information Act request.
“During a roughly 10 minute period, the native Chicagoans exchanged seven messages two days following the massacre in which Mayor Emanuel, who had previously served as President Barrack Obama’s chief of staff, advised Secretary Duncan on what position he should take on the Sandy Hook shootings,” the Post reports.
At 6:57PM EST on December 16, 2012, Duncan wrote to Emanuel in a message titled “CT shootings.”
Duncan asked the Chicago mayor, “What are your thoughts?”
Five minutes later, Emanuel responded, “Go for a vote this week before it fades. Tap peoples emotion. Make it simple assault weapons.”
Duncan responded immediately, “Yup- thanks.”
“When I did brady bill and assault weapons for clinton we always made it simple. Criminals or war weapons,” Emanuel said in the email to Duncan.
“Gun show loophole?” Duncan responded. “Database? Cop-killer bullets? Too complicated?” he said.
“Cop killer maybe,” Emanuel responded. “The other no.”
The exchange ended when Duncan concluded with, “Got it.” (Emphases added.)
Emanuel was a central member of the Clinton White House from 1993 to 1998, helping to enact that administration’s Assault Weapons Ban. He has also been an Illinois congressional representative and central member of the Democratic Party. Emanuel presently serves as and Mayor of Chicago.
Neither Emanuel nor Duncan responded to the Post when asked for comment on the December 2012 exchange.
Despite the silence on the matter, in one of Duncan’s last Tweets, which quotes him from a recent interview in The Atlantic, the former education secretary coincidentally addresses the very tragedy discussed in the emails.
“‘We played by all the rules after Sandy Hook. We did a study, we did a report, we worked with Congress, and guess what we accomplished? Nothing.’ @arneduncan on a plan to boycott American schools.”
In the interview from which he is quoted, Duncan says that one of the most disappointing failures of his career has been deaths that have occurred under his watch due to gun violence.
Duncan is supportive of the current student protests and proposal for a nationwide school boycott sparked by the Parkland school shooting. He argues that lawmakers’ have been unsuccessful in their attempts to enact more severe gun control legislation.
Of the school boycott idea, Duncan said during the interview, “Nothing we have done to date has worked. We have absolutely failed. I have failed. We’ve all failed. But I am also more hopeful today than I have been at any time since the Sandy Hook massacre.”
Members of six victims’ families of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre event in addition to FBI agent Bill Aldenberg have filed a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court naming radio host Alex Jones and well-known Sandy Hook Truth activist Wolfgang Halbig as defendants. The suit seeks damages “in excess of $15,000.”
The lawsuit accuses Jones, a staunch gun rights advocate who operates Infowars, a website that routinely propagates conspiracies, of “a years-long campaign of abusive and outrageous false statements.”
“While the nation recoiled at the terrible reality of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Alex Jones saw an opportunity,” the families’ attorney Josh Koskoff said. “He went on a sustained attack that has lasted for years, accusing shattered family members of being actors, stating as fact that the shooting itself was a hoax and inciting others to act on these malicious lies.”
The plaintiffs are the parents of four children killed at Sandy Hook — Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle — as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos Soto and Jillian Soto, the mother and siblings of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto; and Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung. FBI agent Bill Aldenberg is also a plaintiff.
“As a result of Jones’ campaign,” the families and Aldenberg said they have been “forced to endure malicious and cruel abuse at the hands of ruthless unscrupulous people.”
Their lawsuit also names Wolfgang Halbig, a Florida man who founded the now-defunct website SandyHookJustice, his associate Cory Sklanka and Infowars itself.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, cites Jones’ public assertions, including one from Sept. 25, 2014, in which he said video from the day of the shooting showed that the same children were cycled in and out of the school and that no emergency helicopters were sent to the school, and were “clearly staged.”
The lawsuit quotes Jones as saying on Jan. 13, 2015, “Yeah, so, Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured.”
The plaintiffs called such statements, among others, “outrageous, deeply painful and defamatory.”
Connecticut allows for libel and defamation actions to be brought “within two years of the date of the act complained of.” The lawsuit cites statements made by Jones in 2014 and 2015, suggesting the suit may in fact be dead on arrival. It will nevertheless generate substantial news coverage for the parties bringing the action.
Jones and his broadcast enterprises were named as defendants in another lawsuit filed by two other sets of Sandy Hook parents last month in Texas.
In April Broward County Sheriff and Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Resource Officer Scot Peterson began receiving monthly pension payments of $8,702, after resigning from his position less than two weeks after the February 14 school shooting.
Peterson was publicly chastised by Sheriff Scott Israel and President Donald Trump for allegedly failing to confront purported Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz.
Peterson and his attorney later defended the actions, arguing that Peterson was being “unfairly attacked” and pointing out that Israel “omitted” important information while scapegoating the deputy in the event’s aftermath.
The 55-year-old Peterson, a Broward deputy for 32 years, was paid $101,879.03 last year — $75,673.72 in base salary plus overtime and other compensation, according to sheriff’s office records. Until the shooting, he was considered a trusted school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas, according to annual reviews of his performance.
He was eligible to retire from the agency in July 2010 when he had 25 years of service, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Social media behemoth Facebook, with over two billion users worldwide, has issued a censorship report for the first quarter of 2018. The document states that its recently-deployed artificial intelligence censor-bots flag or eliminate over 85% of images posted containing “graphic violence.”
The same techniques have been successful in addressing 1.9 million in the same period posts promoting “terrorist propaganda,” the company said.
Facebook’s automated censors have much greater difficulty detecting “racist or homophobic hate speech,” because it “racist is often quoted on posts by their targets or activists,” AFP reports.
“It may take a human to understand and accurately interpret nuances like… self-referential comments or sarcasm,” the report said, noting that Facebook aims to “protect and respect both expression and personal safety”.
Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of hate speech content during the period, a 56 increase over October-December. But only 38 percent had been detected through Facebook’s efforts — the rest flagged up by users.
The posts that keep the Facebook reviewers the busiest are those showing adult nudity or sexual activity — quite apart from child pornography, which is not covered by the report.
Some 21 million such posts were handled in the period, a similar number to October-December 2017.
That was less than 0.1 percent of viewed content — which includes text, images, videos, links, live videos or comments on posts — Facebook said, adding it had dealt with nearly 96 percent of the cases before being alerted to them.
More Than Six People Injured or Killed By Guns Daily Since January
A “Parkland Massacre” Every Week
These shooting victims do not receive nationwide publicity via corporate media because they are predominantly 1) Poor, 2) Black, 3) Their assailants wield illegally-purchased and/or stolen firearms (unlike Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, and other bogeys) 4) Their municipality’s intensive gun control efforts have failed, and 5) They and/or their assailants do not receive support or abetment from the Democratic National Committee, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, FBI, BATF, CNN, their state government, corrupt state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Gun Control Lobby
The Chicago Tribune crime team tracks shooting victims in Chicago. Data represents number of victims, not shooting incidents.
Additional homicide statistics are available here.
Shootings in Chicago so far this year
For almost 50 years Chicago has enacted some of the strictest gun control laws among major US cities. Certain pro-gun control news media argue that such restrictions have been relaxed in recent years. Yet this position is disingenuous as it overlooks the fact that such laws are only followed by lawful gun owners in the first place.
The victims of shootings
50 most recent victims in 2018
(Not Available on CNN)
Editor’s Note: Yesterday afternoon our family dropped off our 12-year-old daughter and some of her friends off at the local movie theatre. A short while later we were driving by the same location to run an errand and saw several police cars parked at the theatre entrance as movie-goers and theatre staff were apparently being evacuated to the parking lot.
We phoned our daughter and she explained they had indeed been evacuated … because of a malfunctioning popcorn maker. As the report below reveals, she too observed police officers arriving at the scene with guns drawn and inspecting the full perimeter of the theatre complex in the same fashion. This is because, according to the police department’s Twitter feed, “[s]omeone pulled the fire alarm and reported they heard shots fired.”
Such is the paranoia and attendant police responses to everyday menaces like burnt popcorn the land of compulsory active shooter drills and the USA 21st century police state.
Someone pulled the fire alarm and someone reported they heard shots fired. @bocapolice is in the process of clearing the theaters and there are no immediate reports of any injuries. https://t.co/CYfqwabbUU
Joshua Benton, the Director of Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation-funded Journalism Lab disagreed with some views a commenter left on the organization’s blog, so he did a bit of research, found out who the commenter was, and on May 4 decided to reveal the person’s name and identity in a series of Tweets. The “doxxing,” or “outing” of the commenter has resulted in an ongoing investigation by her academic employer.
Fransesca Viola is an attorney and professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. She set up a Disqus account called “truthseeker” using her Temple email address. The Disqus service allows users to freely comment across a range of websites.
The Nieman Lab’s director identified Viola by seeing the email address attached to her Disqus account. “Ms. Viola voluntarily logged into a commenting service and left a comment on our site using her Temple email address,” Benton said. “All I did was click one link to see all the other comments she had posted using her Temple email address.”
But instead of seeking to personally contact Viola and discuss her views via email, Benton used his personal Twitter account to publicly ridicule several of the comments she left at the Niemen Lab and other sites under her nom de plume. It’s almost beyond question that Benton did this with the intent to create tension between Viola, her academic employer, and the pious liberal sect that require strict adherence to its doctrinal requisites at most every US university.
As of this writing the identity disclosure and attack remain posted on Benton’s Twitter feed and have been archived here.
I think that this attitude — permanently rejecting a news source because it accurately reports something you don't like — is exactly what you want in a journalism professor, yes? Also, spell our name right, Francesca Viola of Temple University https://t.co/VBssWkSvlYpic.twitter.com/aNXjY36IP0
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Viola rightly took issue with Benton and the Nieman Foundation’s decision to publicly identify her. “I dispute the incorrect attributions and specious allegations posted by Joshua Benton on his Twitter feed at Harvard’s Nieman journalism think tank,” she wrote.
I am appalled by his improper ‘doxxing’ and by his flagrant violation of the Twitter, Disqus, Nieman and Harvard’s terms of service, the apparent violation of the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act — as well as the ethical and legal standards of journalism. I consider this a personal defamatory attack as well as an attempt to silence academic freedom and people everywhere. Most importantly, as an investigation is now underway, I would ask the community not to assume I am the author of some or all of those comments.
Benton replied in a statement that “no one was doxxed.” This is laughable considering it’s uttered from a man whose professional career is devoted to understanding “online journalism.” For example, here’s the Harvard journalism expert commenting on the industry in 2012.
While none of Viola’s personal information was released, Benton’s actions fit within the very essence of “doxxing,” which involves successful attempts “to tie an anonymous online profile to the true identity of the person behind it and then publicly reveal that person’s real name.”
Viola established her “truthseeker” identity to post comments anonymously and with the belief that webmasters would respect her privacy. Benton exposed her, and the content of his “Tweets” suggest that he did so with great relish.
“I was shocked to see that these comments…were coming from a journalism professor, posting with her Temple email address,” Benton declared in a missive to Temple’s student newspaper.
Everyone is entitled to their political opinions, but I think students and staff should be able to know when someone charged with teaching young people journalism holds these sorts of fringe and debunked views.
In other words, Benton is seeking to convince Viola’s colleagues and students that she is a “conspiracy theorist.” The Harvard staffer’s bio indicates that “he has reported from 10 foreign countries,” suggesting a possible intelligence background.
While it’s improbable that even a reporter with numerous accolades will move in a straight line from the Dallas Morning News to Harvard, Benton has no doubt executed the Agency’s 1035-960 technique against Viola with aplomb.
“Professor Viola has admitted to writing some but not all of these posts and specifically denies writing the post that is derogatory of Muslim protesters, a comment we find particularly abhorrent,” Boardman remarked in a public statement. “We are troubled by the content of some of the other cited posts but acknowledge that those in the Temple community are entitled to exercise free speech within constitutional parameters.”
Boardman refers to an anti-Muslim comment from “truthseeker” below, which may very well make the author a prime candidate for an officer’s spot in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Recognizing the violation of Viola’s privacy, on May 9 Benton issued an apology of sorts via Twitter for his failure to “adhere to rigorous reporting standards.”
Yet Benton’s actions overall really have nothing to do with journalism or adhering to any set of standards. The Harvard journalism expert saw red when he encountered political views that he didn’t agree with and turned to what are effectively methods of online intimidation (“bullying”) by threatening the individual’s livelihood.
The fear of being called a “conspiracy theorist” or the equivalent has, after all, been the main technique used to keep academics, journalists, and other salaried intellectuals in line for the past half-century.
Editor’s Note: A Connecticut State Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two (Pozner and Lewis) of the 20 families that are said to have lost children in the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre event. Defendant Newtown was represented by attorney and part-time gun control activist Monte Frank, the same counsel who defended the township in Freedom of Information actions brought by school safety expert Wolfgang Halbig.
This is the second lawsuit filed by a handful of the families concerning the event that has been dismissed in the Connecticut court system. In 2016 a Connecticut Superior Court Judge threw out a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer brought by a handful of victims’ families. That case is being appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
NEWTOWN — A judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the town and the school district brought by two families that lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre.
The families’ suit claimed educators failed to follow their own safety protocol when a 20-year-old man shot his way into the locked school.
The judge on Monday sided with Newtown, which argued that educators exercised reasonable discretion in responding to the 2012 slaying of 26 first-graders and educators at Sandy Hook School.
“To say that the faculty and staff of the school were to act in a prescribed manner in responding to an emergency situation would … be illogical and in direct contradiction to the very purpose of governmental immunity: allowing for the exercise of judgment without the fear of second-guessing,” state Superior Court Judge Robin Wilson wrote in a 29-page ruling.
Editor’s Note: One must be careful what they say as the walls have ears and the political correctness Stazi are ubiquitous. Given this the appropriate agencies will have to further scrutinize Professor Lebow’s political allegiances, social media activities, sexual proclivities, financials, and of course whether or not he still beats his wife.
A male professor who made a joke in a crowded elevator at an academic conference is now facing disciplinary charges after a female professor who was there filed a formal complaint.
Richard Ned Lebow, professor of international political theory at King’s College in London, was in a jammed elevator when someone asked him what floor he needed to get off on, according to a Washington Post opinion piece.
“Ladies’ lingerie,” he joked.
He was attending the International Studies Association conference in San Francisco at the time. Simona Sharoni, professor or women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, also present in the elevator, took offense and several hours after the incident, she filed a complaint with the association, which found that Lebow violated the group’s code of conduct.
After Lebow was made aware of the complaint, he sent Sharoni an email telling her “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable.” He also suggested she may have “interpreted my remark out of context.”
“Like you, I am strongly opposed to the exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women,” Lebow wrote, according to the Post. “As such evils continue, it seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal. By making a complaint to ISA that I consider frivolous — and I expect, will be judged this way by the ethics committee — you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.”
The ISA committee found fault with Lebow characterizing Sharoni’s complaint as “frivolous.” It instructed him to issue an “unequivocal apology,” which he refused to do.
Lebow told colleagues this is “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.”
“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” Sharoni told The Chronicle.
Lebow faces appropriate sanctions from ISA if he doesn’t write an apology by May 15.
ISA did not immediately respond to request for comment.
A union has paid for a huge billboard expressing ‘no confidence’ in the embattled Broward County Sheriff months after he was heavily criticized over the Parkland massacre.
The yellow sign on Interstate 95 just north of Sunset Boulevard tells Florida Governor Rick Scott ‘there is no confidence in Sheriff Israel‘.
It was funded by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, which in April passed a vote of no confidence in the Democrat supported by 534 of the 628 of voting members.
The Association wants Governor Scott to suspend or fire Israel. However Scott, a candidate for the US Senate, said he is waiting for the outcome of an investigation into the sheriff’s handling of Parkland, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The sheriff’s office failed to act on 18 warning calls about shooter Nikolas Cruz before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
The tips were among a series of what authorities now describe as the clearest missed signals that Cruz, who had a history of disturbing behavior, posed a serious threat.