Michigan Passes Law Against Cyberbullying

Michigan: Cyberbullying is now a misdemeanor punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. A “pattern of repeated harassment” is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Cyberbullying that is found to cause a victim’s death is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Cyberbullying is defined as posting a message that is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person. Some critics have argued that the definitions of cyberbullying are not as clear cut as they may sound and that clever attorneys could interpret them in such a way as to violate the First Amendment or to imprison someone for merely hurting others’ feelings. -GEG

We’ve got bad news for you, Metro Times trolls: Cyberbullying is now a crime in Michigan.

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Township that formally defines cyberbullying as a misdemeanor. Public Act 457 of 2018 will take effect in March.

The law states cyberbullying is a crime punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. A “pattern of repeated harassment” is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Meanwhile, cyberbullying that is found to cause a victim’s death is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to Lucido’s bill, “cyberbullying” is defined by “posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person” if both “the message or statement is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person” and “the message or statement is posted with the intent to communicate a threat or with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.”

A “pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior” means a series of two or more separate noncontinuous acts of harassing or intimidating behavior. And a “public media forum” refers to “the internet or any other medium designed or intended to be used to convey information to other individuals, regardless of whether a membership or password is required to view the information.”

In 2015, a 13-year-old Michigan girl committed suicide after being bullied and taunted by classmates on Facebook. At the time, police said the social media posts did not indicate criminal wrongdoing.

“Cyberbullying can cause just as much trauma as traditional bullying so it’s important that it be considered a crime,” Snyder said in a statement. “With this bill, we are sending a message that bullying of any kind is not tolerated in Michigan.”
Read full article here…

 




National Security Advisor John Bolton Could Be Steering Trump into War with Iran

Last September, when Shiite militants launched three mortar shells into the Green Zone in Baghdad, all of which which exploded in a vacant lot, Bolton directed the Pentagon to prepare a menu of targets inside Iran for US air and missile strikes in retaliation. Bolton has an ally in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who wants “to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria. The US intelligence community has repeatedly rejected claims by US neocons and Israel that Iran has nuclear weapons. It is clear that the Deep State is working to bring the US into military confrontation with Iran. Never mind the people who voted for Trump because he said he would “stop the endless wars.” -GEG

“Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday night tweet.

Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton.

Last September, when Shiite militants launched three mortar shells into the Green Zone in Baghdad, which exploded harmlessly in a vacant lot, Bolton called a series of emergency meetings and directed the Pentagon to prepare a menu of targets, inside Iran, for U.S. air and missile strikes in retaliation.

The Wall Street Journal quoted one U.S. official as saying Bolton’s behavior “rattled people. … People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

Bolton’s former deputy, Mira Ricardel, reportedly told a gathering the shelling into the Green Zone was “an act of war” to which the U.S. must respond decisively.

Bolton has long believed a U.S. confrontation with Iran is both inevitable and desirable. In 2015, he authored a New York Times op-ed whose title, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” said it all. He has urged that “regime change” in Iran be made a declared goal of U.S. foreign policy.

When Trump announced his decision to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops now in Syria, Bolton swiftly imposed conditions: ISIS must first be eliminated, Iranian forces and allied militias must leave, and the Kurds must be protected.

Yet enforcing such red lines would require a permanent presence of American troops. For how, without war, would we effect the removal of Bashar Assad’s Iranian allies, if he declines to expel them and the Iranians refuse to go?

Bolton has an ally in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In Cairo last week, Pompeo declared it U.S. policy “to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria.

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The FBI Secretly Investigated President Trump To See If He Was A Russian Agent. The Plan was to Charge Him with Treason.

According to unnamed sources in the Department of Justice, the FBI secretly began an investigation in 2017 into whether President Trump is a Russian agent who committed treason. No evidence was found, but the investigation and rumors of the instigation were widely used by the media to mar the President’s image.




Ron Paul Says Congressmen Have to Sell Their Souls to Get Ahead in Politics

Former US Congressman, Ron Paul, says that Congressmen must sell their souls to have influence in government. He explains that, when he was in office, if he had wanted to be the chairman of the Banking Committee, for example, he would be expected to raise $5 to $10 million for the party. This money would come from the military industry and other special interest groups. To get that money, he would have to kowtow to their business interests. There are hundreds of thousands of government and military-weapons employees who are required to sign NSA and CIA secrecy agreements. If they blow the whistle on any of this, they can be put in prison. That is how the Deep State stays in power. In that way, the government becomes the servant of unelected rulers. [Be aware that this commentary comes from Russia Today, which is not trustworthy when presenting news from Russia. When dealing with issues and events in the US, however, we have found them to be highly accurate – much more so than American major-media sources. In this case. the content is from Ron Paul, and we have no doubt he is telling it the way it really is.] -GEG




Democratic Elites Reunite with Neocons, and Liberals Are Becoming Far More Pro-War than Republicans

A poll shows that 49% of Americans supported President Trump’s Syria withdrawal, while 33% opposed it in favor of ongoing war. The poll showed that the vast majority, 76%, of Republican and Independent voters want to end the wars while 14% of Republicans and Independents want to remain. In stark contrast, only 26% of Democrats supported peace by removing US troops, yet an overwhelming 59% of Democrats favored continuing the wars in the Middle East! In the past, Democratic voters have wildly shifted their “beliefs” based on the party affiliation of the president: during the Bush-Cheney years, liberals denounced war-on-terror tactics, such as assassinations, drones, and Guantanamo torture as moral atrocities. When Obama was elected, however, they completely changed their position – [proving once again that political rhetoric (in both parties) is primarily a tool to win votes and has little to do with morality or patriotism or upholding the Constitution. Too bad voters keep falling for the same tactics election after election.] -GEG

Via Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S December 18 announcement that he intends to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria produced some isolated support in the anti-war wings of both parties, but largely provoked bipartisan outrage among in Washington’s reflexively pro-war establishment.

Both GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the country’s most reliable war supporters, and Hillary Clinton, who repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for insufficient hawkishness, condemned Trump’s decision in very similar terms, invoking standard war on terror jargon.

But while official Washington united in opposition, new polling data from Morning Consult/Politico shows that a large plurality of Americans support Trump’s Syria withdrawal announcement: 49 percent support to 33 percent opposition.

That’s not surprising given that Americans by a similarly large plurality agree with the proposition that “the U.S. has been engaged in too many military conflicts in places such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan for too long and should prioritize getting Americans out of harm’s way” far more than they agree with the pro-war view that “the U.S. needs to keep troops in places such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to help support our allies fight terrorism and maintain our foreign policy interests in the region.”

But what is remarkable about the new polling data on Syria is that the vast bulk of support for keeping troops there comes from Democratic Party voters, while Republicans and independents overwhelming favor their removal. The numbers are stark: Of people who voted for Clinton in 2016, only 26 percent support withdrawing troops from Syria, while 59 percent oppose it. Trump voters overwhelmingly support withdraw by 76 percent to 14 percent.

A similar gap is seen among those who voted Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections (28 percent support withdrawal while 54 percent oppose it), as opposed to the widespread support for withdrawal among 2018 GOP voters: 74 percent to 18 percent.

Read full article here…

 




Cuba: Fidel Castro’s Grandson Enjoys a Lavish Lifestyle While His Countrymen Struggle on $30 Per Month

Tony Castro Ulloa, a fashion model in Cuba, who is the grandson of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, posted photos of his opulent lifestyle on Instagram showing him enjoying frequent trips around the world, driving luxury cars, sailing on yachts, and dining at expensive restaurants. The images sparked outrage among Cubans who have suffered five decades of poverty under communist rule. Cubans are impoverished and must live on $30 per month and rationed food. Meanwhile, colleges in the US are teaching the that communist revolutions serve the people. -GEG

Tony Castro Ulloa, the grandson of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, recently posted photos of his private life on a private Instagram account showing frequent trips around the world, driving luxury cars, sailing on superyachts, and dining at expensive restaurants.

The photos, posted several months ago, have sparked outrage on social media after Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald published them.

The decadent lifestyle of Tony Castro is not sitting well with many Cubans on the island or exiled in South Florida, who say most Cubans live on an average salary of $30 a month and rationed food.

“All the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” Pedro Pérez wrote on his Facebook page, the Miami Herald reported.  The quote is from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” which is banned in Cuba.

Castro family members barely show their faces in public, except Antonio Castro and now his son Tony.

Antonio is an orthopedic surgeon, and his son is a model, which has led some people on social media to think the lavish pictures are from photo shoots.

In 2015, Antonio was photographed near a Greek resort island of Mykonos, aboard a superyacht in Bodrum, Turkey, where he rented five luxury suites in one of the most expensive hotels, according to media reports.

The Miami Herald said Tony is a big traveler. His photos on Instagram show him in Mexico, Spain, Panama, and various places in Cuba. His girlfriend accompanied him on the trips.

Read full article here…

 




Tucker Carlson Calls for President Trump to Support His Supporters and Use His Constitutional Powers to Protect Their Freedom of Speech

Tucker Carlson examines the massive suppression of free speech that has developed during the Trump administration.  He asks viewers if they feel more free now than when they voted for Trump two years ago.  He chronicles the many assaults against free speech for conservatives – and they are shocking when considered all together. Beliefs conventionally described as conservative just five years ago now are described as ‘terrorism.’ Meanwhile, actual terror by the left goes unpunished, and Carlson give an equally shocking sampling of those occurrences as well. Carlson concludes that it is the duty of the government to uphold the rights of all citizens and that Trump needs to do more than just talk about such things and use his constitutional authority to start doing it. [Note that Carlson is talking about constitutional measures based on existing laws, not the declaration of martial law, which some so-called conservatives now are advocating.] -GEG

Tucker Carlson asked Trump voters Wednesday to assess whether or not they feel more confident to express their beliefs since the president was elected.

Carlson said that whether or not President Trump is able to build a wall or effect infrastructure legislation, how the president handles the attempted suppression of free speech may be more important.

He said that conventionally conservative beliefs in the years leading up to Trump’s election are now described as “terrorism,” while actual terror by the left seems to go unnoticed.

Among other examples, he noted a former community college professor who in 2017 allegedly hit Trump supporters with a bike lock during a “free the speech” rally.

Charges were dropped against the professor, Eric Clanton, although he was initially charged with a felony.

Carlson then asked viewers to imagine how former President Barack Obama would have responded if similar incidents happened to his voters while he was in office.

“You think Obama would have done something about that? Hell yes. … You would never get away with threatening an Obama voter for supporting Obama,” he said.

Read full article here…

 




Ron Paul: Trump’s Top Advisors Say His Announcement to Withdraw from Syria Is Not Serious

After Trump made a dramatic U-turn on pulling troops from Syria, Ron Paul speculated that the President is merely a figurehead, and that the deep state continues to controls foreign policy.  The neocons, the media, the military-industrial complex, and the left-wing “never-Trump” people were livid when Trump announced he was pulling troops from Syria and Afghanistan.  However, Senator Lindsey Graham revealed that Trump agreed to no timetables for the alleged departure.  Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, explained that President Trump’s statements on troop pullout were just political statements, not US policy. -GEG

I’m starting to wonder whether President Trump has any power over US foreign policy at all. Many people believe that the US president is just a figurehead, with actual foreign policy firmly in the hands of the deep state. Trump’s latest dramatic U-turn on pulling troops from Syria certainly feeds such theories.

When President Trump announced just a couple of weeks ago that the US was removing its troops from Syria and possibly reducing troops from Afghanistan, the neocons, the media, the military-industrial complex, and the left-wing “never-Trump” people were livid. They were silent when President Obama made the horrible decision to overthrow Assad in Syria and sent weapons to jihadists to do so. They never said a word when billions of dollars were committed to this immoral and dangerous “regime change” policy. They weren’t interested in the rule of law when President Obama thumbed his nose at Congress and sent troops into Syria.

But when President Trump declared the obvious – that ISIS was effectively defeated and that we had no business being in Syria – these above groups in unison declared that actually bringing US troops home was a “gift to Russia.” They said bringing US troops home would create instability in the regions they left. Well, is there any proof that occupation by US troops actually brings stability?

No sooner did President Trump announce our departure than his neocon advisors began walking his words back. First he had to endure a lunch with Sen. Lindsey Graham reading him the riot act, where, according to the Senator, Trump agreed to no timetables for departure. Then his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, began to tell the world that President Trump’s statements on troop pullout were just empty words, not US policy.

While Syrian Christians newly liberated from the rule of US-backed extremists celebrated Christmas for the first time in years, John Bolton dusted off the old warning to Assad that the US would attack if he “again” gassed his people. With the Syrian president personally taking part in some of the Christmas celebrations, does anybody really believe he’d go back to his office and order a gas attack?

Bolton then claimed that the US would shift troops from Syria to Iraq to continue fighting ISIS and that the US fully backs Israeli airstrikes on Syrian territory. Did President Trump even agree to any of this?

Read full article here…

 




Mayor of Mexican Town Assassinated During His First Day in Office

Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico: Alejandro Aparicio Santiago, a member of Mexican President AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement, had just taken office in the town of Tlaxiaco when he was gunned down. Local politicians are often targeted because they crack down on corruption and local crime or because they favor a certain cartel and are killed by its rivals. 175 politicians were murdered between September 2017 and August 2018. -GEG

Mexico is no stranger to the assassinations of elected officials and candidates for office. And on Tuesday, the latest act of political violence to rock the nation occurred in a town in the southern state of Oaxaca, when the newly sworn in mayor was murdered by a group of gunmen while on his way to his first official meeting.

Alejandro Aparicio Santiago, a member of AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement, had only just taken office in the town of Tlaxiaco when he was gunned down, according to the New York Post.

Holding elected office in Mexico is a perilous task. According to one figure, 175 politicians were murdered between September 2017 and August 2018. Aparicio Santiago wasn’t the only NRM member to be murdered over the past week: On Sunday, María Ascención Torres Cruz was murdered in the state of Morelos.

Read full article here…

 




Russia Charges US Citizen with Espionage

Russia has arrested US citizen, Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old US Marine and head of security at auto-parts maker, BorgWarner. He is charged with “espionage” while on a personal trip in Moscow. Some analysts speculate that he possibly is being used by Moscow as a bargaining chip to secure the return of Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to acting on behalf of the Kremlin to infiltrate the NRA to “establish unofficial lines of communication” with Washington. Other analysts, however, point to the evidence that Whelan actually was participating in what, legally, is considered espionage. Some of that evidence is presented in this report. -GEG

After he was purportedly arrested while “carrying out an act of espionage”, Russia has formally indicted US citizen Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old US Marine and head of global security at autoparts maker BorgWarner, for being a spy, according to a report in Russian news agency Interfax being cited by US media. 

Whelan was arrested by Russia’s security services Dec. 28 while in Moscow on a personal trip. Whelan’s Russian lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov, who was appointed to represent him, said earlier Thursday that the American will remain in custody in Moscow until the end of February.

While many US security analysts have speculated that Whelan might be used as a bargaining chip by Moscow to secure the return of Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to trying to acting on behalf of the Kremlin to infiltrate the NRA to “establish unofficial lines of communication” with Washington, others have pointed out that the charges suggest that Whelan was probably genuinely suspected of espionage.

Here are seven reasons why the allegations against Whelan might be true:

He was in Iraq in 2004 and 2006, started visiting Russia for business and pleasure immediately after (according to his brother) in 2007 which was a year before he was convicted in court martial on charges related to larceny.

He was in Russia to attend a wedding of a former marine to a Russian girl. He arrived on December 22nd and was scheduled to depart on January 6th… a totally normal amount of time to be in town for a wedding.

He joined the marines in 1994 and served until his discharge in 2008. Yet his brother says he has been going there since 07 for business and pleasure.

The U.S. ambassador already visited him in prison, normal citizens do not get that treatment. The US governments response has been consistent with past incidences of spy’s being caught.

The FSB has said little but claims he was caught red handed, which, in past cases of US spies being caught has implied he was caught in the act. There’s thousands of Americans in Russia and thousands of Russians in America. Even if they wanted a bargaining chip for Maria Butina they wouldn’t take a random private citizen, they’d want an equal bargaining chip for a swap. Similar to when Skripal and 3 others got swapped for a group of Russian spies caught in the US. It’s bad PR to try and swap a tourist for your spy that got caught.

Read full article here…

 




US Ally, Saudi Arabia, Is Using Child Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, allied with the US and United Arab Emirates, is using child mercenary soldiers from Sudan to fight its war in Yemen, claiming that they are battling to rescue Yemen from the Houthis who the Saudis say are backed by Iran.

The Saudis entered Yemen in early 2015 and subsidized 14,000 Sudanese mercenaries to fight, often on the front lines, receiving commands remotely by radio, in places UAE officers do not dare to go. People in Sudan struggle for survival, and males, including children, are paid to fight as mercenaries. Some humanitarian organization estimates now put the total civilian death toll in Yemen at over 70,000.

Over a year ago we reported on the fact that the Saudi-US-UAE coalition in Yemen has been increasingly reliant on foreign mercenaries, including even officers, from Sudan to execute its three-year long ground war against Shia Houthi rebels as coalition jets pounded urban areas from the skies. As this was long before the brutal Jamal Khashoggi killing at the hands of the Saudis, we were among a tiny handful that bothered to cover it — aside from a few Middle East outlets — significantly before western mainstream media suddenly “discovered” the tragedy unfolding in Yemen, a Saudi-driven conflict the UN has belatedly called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.

But Khashoggi’s death and crown prince MbS’ new pariah status means The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and others have finally decided to spotlight Yemen and dig into inconvenient truths of the war at a moment the United States has pledged to greatly lessen its role and as the US Senate is scrutinizing American involvement, including the Pentagon’s recently halting its aerial refueling program to Saudi-UAE jets. What does the latest NYT coverage find? The Saudi coalition — made up of America’s closest Middle East allies  is sending child mercenaries from Darfur to the front lines of the Yemen war.

Human Rights Watch: “The Saudi Arabia government has been outsourcing the ground war in Yemen to Sudanese men and boys from Darfur.” Image via Tasnim.

According to the Times report:

Led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudis say they are battling to rescue Yemen from a hostile faction backed by Iran. But to do it, the Saudis have used their vast oil wealth to outsource the war, mainly by hiring what Sudanese soldiers say are tens of thousands of desperate survivors of the conflict in Darfur to fight, many of them children.

At any given time throughout the past almost four years of war (the Saudis entered Yemen in early 2015), some 14,000 Sudanese mercenaries have been fighting alongside pro-Saudi forces, often on the front lines in places their UAE officers won’t dare to go.

For families in war-torn Sudan, the Saudis’ deep pockets and lucrative payment offers to send their young to fight in Yemen has proven irresistible given no other means of survival, according to the story of one such family:

Then, around the end of 2016, Saudi Arabia offered a lifeline: The kingdom would pay as much as $10,000 if Hager joined its forces fighting 1,200 miles away in Yemen.

Hager, 14 at the time, could not find Yemen on a map, and his mother was appalled. He had survived one horrific civil war — how could his parents toss him into another? But the family overruled her.

“Families know that the only way their lives will change is if their sons join the war and bring them back money,” Hager said in an interview last week in the capital, Khartoum, a few days after his 16th birthday.

Noticeably, unlike all prior scant reporting on Yemen, the New York Times actually features Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s name front and center as responsible for such evils and injustice.

Most Americans might be forgiven for having no clue what the war in Yemen actually looks like, especially as Western media has spent at least the first three years of the conflict completely ignoring the mass atrocities taking place while white-washing the Saudi coalition’s crimes. Unlike wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which received near daily coverage as they were at their most intense, and in which many Americans could at least visualize the battlefield and the actors involved through endless photographs and video from on the ground, Yemen’s war has largely been a faceless and nameless conflict as far as major media is concerned.

Aside from mainstream media endlessly demonstrating its collective ignorance of Middle East dynamics, it is also no secret that the oil and gas monarchies allied to the West are rarely subject to media scrutiny or criticism, something infamously demonstrated on an obscene and frighteningly absurd level with Thomas Friedman’s prior fawning and hagiographic interview with Saudi MbS published in the Times.

Read full article here…

 




UK Parliament Declared Theresa May’s Government in Contempt for Hiding Legal Advice About Brexit

Theresa May withdrew her proposed Brexit deal before it could be voted upon because she knew it would fail because of its unpopularity – so much so that she tried to keep the damning legal advice from the attorney general about the deal hidden from parliament. That caused Theresa May’s government to be declared in contempt of parliament. As bad as the proposed deal was,  her ‘divorce’ agreement, as it has been called, is even worse. It will cost the UK $50-billion and keeps the immigration floodgates open until 2022. The UK still is scheduled to break from the EU on March 29, 2019, but Theresa May and other globalists in high places are hard at work pursuing ways to clog the machinery so badly that another referendum will seem acceptable to the public. [The commentator for this source does not represent the views of Need to Know News, but we believe that this analysis is the most accurate of all that currently are available.] -GEG