Mike Carter reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.
Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.
Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.
More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. Read the rest of this entry »
SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray will announce Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek re-election to a second term, two sources close to the mayor confirmed Monday night.
Murray will make the surprise announcement at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the sources confirmed.
Murray previously said he would continue to run for re-election but his campaign has been troubled since a 46-year-old Kent man, Delvonn Heckard, filed a lawsuit in April claiming Murray paid him for sex when the man was a teenager in the 1980s and Murray was in his 30s.
Murray denied the allegation and said it was politically motivated. Read the rest of this entry »
In a handwritten declaration from jail, a fourth man has accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of paying him for sex. A Murray spokesman denied the latest allegations, calling them a ‘sensational media stunt.’
A Murray spokesman denied the latest allegations, made in a court filing late Tuesday, calling them a “sensational media stunt.” The mayor’s lawyers Wednesday morning redoubled their effort to get a judge to sanction the attorney who submitted the new court filing and is representing another man who filed a lawsuit last month.
The new accuser, 44-year-old Maurice Jones, said in a sworn court declaration he was introduced to Murray by Delvonn Heckard, the Kent man who filed last month’s lawsuit claiming Murray sexually abused him as a teenager in the 1980s.
Jones’ declaration, filed in King County Superior Court, was brief, saying he had been to Murray’s Capitol Hill apartment at an unspecified time and that Murray “gave me money for sex.”
ulie Kays, one of Heckard’s attorneys, said Wednesday that Jones was in his midteens at the time. “He recalls at least two instances when, as a teenager, Murray paid (him) for sex. Once at Murray’s apartment and once in a car,” she said.
Jones’ declaration added he was “not part of any right-wing conspiracy” and that he is gay — a reference to Murray’s argument that accusations against him by Heckard and two other men are politically motivated.
The handwritten declaration was taken at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent on Tuesday by Kays and Lincoln Beauregard, Heckard’s lead attorney.
Jones, who has a lengthy criminal record, has been held on drug charges since late March.
The document was prepared and passed through a glassed-off visitation partition to Jones for his signature, Kays said. The declaration was filed in court along with a photograph of Beauregard holding the document, with Jones on the other side of the glass partition. Both men are smiling.
As he has with previous allegations, a Murray spokesman vehemently denied the latest claim. Read the rest of this entry »
The circumstances under which the victim was shot remains unclear.
A man was shot Friday night on the University of Washington campus during a protest for a controversial speaker, and the suspected shooter turned himself in claiming self defense, police said.
A large crowd packed the Red Square area of campus Friday night protesting a speech by controversial Brietbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Police were blocking the entrance to Kane Hall, and investigators said bricks and paint were thrown at officers.
“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police. He is now being questioned about the incident.”
— the Seattle mayor’s office said in a statement.
Medics received the shooting report at 8:26 p.m., after Yiannopoulos’ speech began in Kane Hall, but while a large crowd of protesters remained outside.
UW students were alerted to the suspected shooters arrest early Saturday morning. He was being questioned early Saturday morning by UW police, who are handling the investigation.
The shooting victim is 32 and suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen, Seattle police said. He was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center, and was previously identified by authorities as a 25-year-old…(read more)
Person of Interest in Shooting at UW Protest Turns Himself In
David Caplan and Karma Allan report: A person of interest in the Friday night shooting of a man at a protest at the University of Washington has turned himself in, the office of Seattle mayor Edward Murray announced early Saturday morning.
“My prayers are with the victim, whoever he is.”
— Milo Yiannopoulos
“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “He is now being questioned about the incident.” The University of Washington Police Department is handling the shooting investigation, with support from Seattle Police Department detectives.
The 32-year-old victim was hospitalized with a possible life-threatening injury after being shot by the suspect in the abdomen at the protest, which according to ABC affiliate KOMO, was pegged to the slated 7:30 p.m. speaking engagement of alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Some were also protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.
The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.
Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.
The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.
Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.
At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »
SEATTLE — The case against the man charged in the Seattle Pacific University is now in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments wrapped up Monday afternoon and jurors went right into deliberations. Jurors will have to decide if Aaron Ybarra was insane or just filled with hate when he opened fire at Seattle Pacific…(read more)
Source: Q13 FOX News
With unaffordable Progressive Disneyland hell-hole cities like San Francisco’s predictable cost-of-living increases and perverse real estate inflation driving out all but the wealthy and well-connected, the bright lights don’t beckon young punks like they used to.
Shows like that are increasingly common in Santa Rosa, and it has a lot to do with the prohibitive cost-of-living in nearby San Francisco. “I had every intention of moving down to the city,” said Ian O’Connor, 23, who organized the gig.
“But when the time came, it was too expensive.” Instead, in the last three years, he has booked dozens of all-ages gigs in Santa Rosa, mostly at unofficial venues: detached garages, living rooms, lobbies of sympathetic businesses. The scene thrives on the participation of people like him, area natives in their early 20s who, not so many years ago, would’ve likely moved an hour south to Oakland or San Francisco.
O’Connor stressed that though Santa Rosa is relatively affordable, the local punk scene faces challenges that cities with established reputations lack. “If you’re in the big city, you can sort of just jump into the stream,” he explained. “If you’re in a small town, you have to get down on your hands and knees and dig a ditch so that the water can run.”
“I had every intention of moving down to the city. But when the time came, it was too expensive.”
— Ian O’Connor
One hallmark of punk’s inception in the Bay Area and throughout the Pacific northwest was the notion of cities as places of possibility, so hollowed out by eroding tax bases and selective civic neglect that they seemed “deserted and forgotten”, as music journalist Jon Savage wrote of his 1978 trip to report on San Francisco punk bands such as Crime and the Dead Kennedys. “It was there to be remapped.”
But with the same cities stricken by intensifying affordability crises – premiums on space that make somewhere to live, let alone rehearse and perform, available to a dwindling few – they don’t beckon young punks like they used to. And though reports of music scenes’ deaths tend to overstate, news of shuttering venues (see eulogies for The Smell, The Know, and LoBot) deters some of the intrepid transplants needed for invigoration. Dissipating metropolitan allure, however, helps account for the strength of scenes in outlying towns.
“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up. It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation…We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”
— Ben Wright
In Santa Rosa, Acrylics are at the center of things. The five-piece, which recently announced a forthcoming record on leading west coast punk label Iron Lung, boasts a lashing and cantankerous sound, with staccato turnarounds and nervy guitar leads. They share members with a constellation of groups, including tightly wound punk outfit Fussy; sturdy hardcore units Rut and Service; and the dynamic noise-rock band OVVN.
“People in Olympia don’t think moving to a bigger city would be daunting – just dumb. Why pay five times the rent?”
“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up,” said Ben Wright, 24, who recorded recent releases by most of the aforementioned groups and plays guitar in Acrylics. “It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation… We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”
Scott Young, 28, grew up in the Pacific northwest and moved to Olympia, Washington, in 2006. Until recently, he played bass in Gag, a winkingly scabrous hardcore band that’s lately influenced the genre significantly. Corey Rose Evans, 23, moved to Olympia from the Bay Area in 2010 to attend Evergreen State College and eventually joined both Vexx, a raucous foursome composed of inventive, tactile instrumentalists and a mightily expressive singer; and G.L.O.S.S. (“Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit”), a blistering and bold hardcore outfit that foregrounds transgender issues and skewers reformist politics. The scene is decidedly autonomous, centered around small labels and self-organized gigs. Read the rest of this entry »
The suspect in a shooting at a Washington state mall Friday that left five people dead has been caught, the Washington State Patrol said Saturday.
Arcan Cetin, 20, of Oak Harbor, was arrested, a spokesman for the state patrol said. The patrol first announced the arrest on Twitter at around 7:15 p.m. local time (10:15 p.m. ET).
Five victims — four females and a male — were killed after a gunman described as wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts opened fire inside a Macy’s department store at the Cascade Mall in Burlington just before 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET). Oak Harbor is about 28 miles southwest of Burlington.
Security footage showed the man entering the mall, apparently without a weapon. In additional footage from about 10 minutes later, he “entered Macy’s with a rifle and fired multiple times,” Mt. Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock said earlier.
The four female victims were pronounced dead Friday night, and the male victim was taken to a hospital where he died overnight, authorities said. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE 8:32 a.m. (PT): Authorities say they have recovered a rifle at the scene of the Cascade Mall shooting. The suspect is still at large, and a manhunt is underway. At this time, police do not have a name or positive identification on the suspect. Early descriptions based on witness accounts described the suspect as “Hispanic”; however, the race of the suspected gunman has not been confirmed by authorities.
Police say the suspect appeared to enter the mall without a weapon, and walked into a Macy’s approximately ten minutes later with a rifle. There, the suspect fired multiple times and killed four women at the scene (one man died of his injuries at Harborview Medical Center). Read the rest of this entry »
Political commentator and actor Steven Crowder decided to set up an experiment to see just how well people that want “common sense” gun control knew about firearms.
He set up a tent for “Citizens Coalition for Common Sense Gun Reform” to ask people that do not own or are interested in guns to see how much they knew about firearms and which ones should be banned based on “common sense.”
Crowder quickly finds out that the people who are in favor or “common sense” gun control know very little about guns in the first place and what they are capable of. The people justdecided which guns should be banned based on how it makes them feel.
For example, many people wanted more “tactical looking” firearms banned, but yet other kinds of rifles displayed on the table were fine, such as hunting rifles. Crowder does point out on the side that the AR-15 is actually a popular small game hunting rifle but because it looks tactical, it should be banned.
People were also not well informed on what types of guns were used in crimes and thought that the AR-15 is used in many cases, but as Crowder points out, from 2007 to 2015, 70% of shooting murders are from handguns.
Source: American Military News
“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.
— H. L. Mencken
Democracy? In Moderation, Please.
Buried somewhere in the above Daily Beast article is probably a perfectly decent, arguable case for a certain kind of small-ball, incremental legislation. Unfortunately, but predictably, its case is comically undermined by hateful, shallow, silly, dishonest writing.
Ohh! Those evil Republicans! They should be taken out and horsewhipped! Here, hold my drink. I’ll do it. Get outta my way. I’ve got some GOP ass to beat. Oh, never mind.
Never mind that this advocacy item masquerading as journalism doesn’t even attempt to demonstrate how the measures will have any impact whatsoever, to “avert mass shootings”. Which is understandable. One; averting mass shootings is not, and never was, the goal of activist gun-control legislation. And two; There’s no evidence that “averting mass shootings” can be accomplished by legislation in the first place.
Think the gun debate isn’t polluted with toxic stupidity from the Left? Read on:
“…But with the substantial distortion of our democracy around guns, they are the issue with which this particular method most adheres to the original intentions of the progressives who created it a century ago, at a time when large interests such as timber and railroads blocked popular reforms in legislative bodies around the country.”
The progressives who created it a century ago. Right. Wait, you mean the puritan, racist, anti-constitutional Wilsonian reformers of that era, the progressive activists who gave us segregation, prohibition, and Jim Crow laws, those guys?
The early 20th-century progressives’ “original intentions” are in stark contrast to the intentions of our founders. Cautious, deliberative men, keenly aware of the historically destructive effects of “direct democracy“.
Ever notice how our most sacred and treasured rights are intentionally safeguarded, hardwired in the Bill of Rights? Completely out of reach of voters?
The founders were no fans of democracy.
“When two wolves and a sheep decide what to have for dinner.”
Benjamin Franklin definition of democracy is as clear now as it was over two centuries ago. Read the rest of this entry »
The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by a still-unknown individual resulted in significant international attention and a decades-long manhunt.
SEATTLE – Forty-five years after an unidentified man parachuted from the rear of a hijacked jetliner and into folklore with $200,000 in cash, the FBI is officially closing its investigation into the famous “DB Cooper” case that has transfixed people around the world ever since.
“Over the years, the FBI has applied numerous new and innovative investigative techniques, as well as examined countless items at the FBI Laboratory. Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be preserved for historical purposes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.”
— FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said Tuesday the still-unsolved case was closed “in order to focus on other investigative priorities.” She called the DB Cooper hijacking case over Western Washington “one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history.”
During the course of the “NORJACK investigation,” as it is known by the FBI, agents reviewed all credible leads, coordinated between multiple field offices to conduct searches, collected all available evidence, and interviewed all identified witnesses, Dietrich-Williams said.
“Over the years, the FBI has applied numerous new and innovative investigative techniques, as well as examined countless items at the FBI Laboratory,” she said. “Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be preserved for historical purposes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.”
“He boarded the flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov. 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite…In Seattle, he demanded and got $200,000 and four parachutes and demanded to be flown to Mexico. Somewhere over southwestern Washington, he jumped out the plane’s tail exit with two of the chutes.”
The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by a still-unknown individual resulted in significant international attention and a decades-long manhunt.
The suspect, who called himself Dan Cooper, was later misidentified in media reports as “D.B. Cooper,” and the name stuck. He boarded the flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov. 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite. Read the rest of this entry »
National Embarrassment: Seattle Public Utilities Privacy Violating Ordinance Laughed Out of Court.
Under the 2015 ordinance, garbage collectors were required to determine by “visual inspection” whether more than 10 percent of a trash can’s contents were made up of recyclable items or food waste. Violators are subject to fines.
The lawsuit argued that the ordinance essentially allowed warrantless searches, an invasion of privacy, and a ‘policy of massive and persistent snooping.’
Valerie Richardson reports: A state judge threw out a portion of a Seattle ordinance requiring garbage collectors to snoop through residents’ trash in search of food waste, calling the provision unconstitutional.
“Seattle can’t place its composting goals over the privacy rights of its residents.”
King County Superior Court Judge Beth M. Andrus issued an injunction against the garbage inspections but not Seattle’s residential food-waste ban, which forbids throwing away food scraps and compostable paper.
“A clear message has been sent to Seattle public officials: Recycling and other environmental initiatives can’t be pursued in a way that treats people’s freedoms as disposable.”
“This ruling does not prohibit the city from banning food waste and compostable paper in SPU-provided garbage cans,” the 14-page decision said, referring to the Seattle Public Utilities. “It merely renders invalid the provisions of the ordinance and rule that authorize a warrantless search of residents’ garbage cans when there is no applicable exception to the warrant requirement, such as the existence of prohibited items in plain view.”
Under the 2015 ordinance, garbage collectors were required to determine by “visual inspection” whether more than 10 percent of a trash can’s contents were made up of recyclable items or food waste. Violators are subject to having their garbage cans tagged and fines of $1 per can for curbside collections or $50 per collection for multi-family units. Read the rest of this entry »
Amanda Knox Cleared of Final Remaining Bogus Charge: ‘Slandering Italian Police Officers and Prosecutor’Posted: January 15, 2016
Knox, who was cleared last year of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was charged with slandering police in Perugia by claiming they interviewed her under duress.
The 28-year-old, who shared a student house with Miss Kercher when she was killed, said she was yelled at, slapped and threatened by police.
A judge in Florence threw the case out on Thursday after ruling that her comments were not slanderous.
Italian media said lawyers for Knox, who returned to the U.S. after her successful appeal and is now working as a journalist in Seattle, said she was ‘very happy with the acquittal’.
If she had been found guilty she would have had to pay each of the seven officials 15,000 euros ($16,300).
Knox was charged with slandering the officers back in 2011, when she was being questioned on charges of separately slandering Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba.
He spent two weeks in jail in 2007 after Knox accused him of murdering Miss Kercher, which was found to be untrue.
Her conviction for slandering Mr Lumumba is the only one that still stands against her name, with today’s hearing the last in her lengthy and highly documented legal tussle with Italian prosecutors. Read the rest of this entry »
China has conducted yet another test of a hypersonic glide vehicle designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses.
Franz-Stefan Gady reports: This week, the People’s Republic of China successfully conducted a sixth flight test of its DF-ZF (previously known as WU-14) hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), Bill Gertz of The Washington Free Beacon reports.
The DF-ZF is an ultra-high-speed missile allegedly capable of penetrating U.S. air defense systems based on interceptor missiles.
The launch of the DF-ZF took place at the Wuzhai missile test center in central China’s Shanxi Province. A ballistic missile transported the DF-ZF HGV near the edge of the atmosphere, where it separated from its launcher and then glided to an impact range a few thousands kilometers away in western China, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
“The DF-ZF flight was tracked by U.S. intelligence agencies and flew at speeds beyond Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound,” Gertz notes. Previous tests of the DF-ZF took place on June 7, January 9, and August 7, 2015, and December 2, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day.”
On Tuesday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba rang in China’s Singles’ Day online shopping holiday with a star-studded gala at Beijing’s Water Cube. The event included a video appearance by actor Kevin Spacey, who plays the scheming politician Frank Underwood in the hit U.S. TV series “House of Cards.” The show airs online in China and is a favorite of China’s anticorruption czar – and perhaps even its top leader.
“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day,” Mr. Spacey says in character in the video, which shows him seated at a presidential desk….(read more)
Source: China Real Time Report – WSJ
The mysterious shift in venue took place the week before China’s president, Xi Jinping, is scheduled to make a state visit to Britain, the first by a Chinese leader in a decade.
HONG KONG — Michael Forsythe reports: China’s leaders have long behaved as if nothing could daunt them. But an 800-year-old document written in Latin on sheepskin may have them running scared.
“Magna Carta is widely considered a cornerstone for constitutional government in Britain and the United States, and such a system is inimical to China’s leaders, who view ‘constitutionalism’ as a threat to Communist Party rule.”
Magna Carta — the Great Charter — is on tour this year, celebrating eight centuries since it was issued in 1215 by King John of England. It is regarded as one of the world’s most important documents because of language guaranteeing individual rights and holding the ruler subject to the law.
“They fear that such ideology and historical material will penetrate deep into the students’ hearts.”
— Hu Jia, a prominent Chinese dissident
One of the few surviving 13th-century copies of the document was to go on display this week from Tuesday through Thursday at a museum at Renmin University of China in Beijing, the British Embassy said last week on its WeChat account. But then the exhibit was abruptly moved to the British ambassador’s residence, with few tickets available to the public and no explanation given. (The document is also set to go on display at the United States Consulate in Guangzhou and at a museum in Shanghai, the embassy said.)
It is not clear why the public showing was moved off the Renmin University campus. But Magna Carta is widely considered a cornerstone for constitutional government in Britain and the United States, and such a system is inimical to China’s leaders, who view “constitutionalism” as a threat to Communist Party rule.
In 2013, the party issued its “seven unmentionables” — taboo topics for its members. The first unmentionable is promoting Western-style constitutional democracy. The Chinese characters for “Magna Carta” are censored in web searches on Sina Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like social media site.
Hu Jia, a prominent Chinese dissident, said he was not surprised that the exhibit was moved off the campus. He said that Renmin University had close ties to the Communist Party’s training academy and that the principles the document stood for were contrary to the party’s. More important, he said, Chinese leaders may have been concerned that the exhibit would be popular and that “many students would flock there.” Read the rest of this entry »
Henry Kissinger long ago recognized the problem: a talented vote-getter, surrounded by lawyers, who is overly risk-averse.
Niall Ferguson writes: Even before becoming Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissingerunderstood how hard it was to make foreign policy in Washington. There “is no such thing as an American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in 1968. There is only “a series of moves that have produced a certain result” that they “may not have been planned to produce.” It is “research and intelligence organizations,” he added, that “attempt to give a rationality and consistency” which “it simply does not have.”
“It is clear that the president’s strategy is failing disastrously. Since 2010, total fatalities from armed conflict in the world have increased by a factor of close to four, according to data from the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Total fatalities due to terrorism have risen nearly sixfold…”
Two distinctively American pathologies explained the fundamental absence of coherent strategic thinking. First, the person at the top was selected for other skills. “The typical political leader of the contemporary managerial society,” noted Mr. Kissinger, “is a man with a strong will, a high capacity to get himself elected, but no very great conception of what he is going to do when he gets into office.”
Second, the government was full of people trained as lawyers. In making foreign policy, Mr. Kissinger once remarked, “you have to know what history is relevant.” But lawyers were “the single most important group in Government,” he said, and their principal drawback was “a deficiency in history.” This was a long-standing prejudice of his. “The clever lawyers who run our government,” he thundered in a 1956 letter to a friend, have weakened the nation by instilling a “quest for minimum risk which is our most outstanding characteristic.”
“Nearly all this violence is concentrated in a swath of territory stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And there is every reason to expect the violence to escalate as the Sunni powers of the region seek to prevent Iran from establishing itself as the post-American hegemony.”
Let’s see, now. A great campaigner. A bunch of lawyers. And a “quest for minimum risk.” What is it about this combination that sounds familiar?
I have spent much of the past seven years trying to work out what Barack Obama’s strategy for the United States truly is. For much of his presidency, as a distinguished general once remarked to me about the commander in chief’s strategy, “we had to infer it from speeches.”
“Today the U.S. faces three strategic challenges: the maelstrom in the Muslim world, the machinations of a weak but ruthless Russia, and the ambition of a still-growing China. The president’s responses to all three look woefully inadequate.”
At first, I assumed that the strategy was simply not to be like his predecessor—an approach that was not altogether unreasonable, given the errors of the Bush administration in Iraq and the resulting public disillusionment. I read Mr. Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech—with its Quran quotes and its promise of “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”—as simply the manifesto of the Anti-Bush.
“Those who know the Obama White House’s inner workings wonder why this president, who came into office with next to no experience of foreign policy, has made so little effort to hire strategic expertise.”
But what that meant in practice was not entirely clear. Precipitate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, but a time-limited surge in Afghanistan. A “reset” with Russia, but seeming indifference to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
reports: A Seattle-area school district has banned kids from playing tag on the playground in order “to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.”
“This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves.”
Mercer Island School District communications director Mary Grady explained the district’s decision to revisit “expectations for student behavior” and student safety.
“This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves,” she told a local Fox affiliate. “The rationale
behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.
“School staffs are working with students in the classroom to ensure that there are many alternative games available at recess and during unsupervised play, so that our kids can still have fun, be with their friends, move their bodies and give their brains a break,” Ms. Grady said.
But some parents are angry that they weren’t made part of the decision-making process to ban the popular childhood game.
“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” mom Kelsey Joyce told Fox.
“I totally survived tag,” she said. “I even survived red rover, believe it or not.”
“I played tag,” said mom Melissa Neher. “I survived.”
“…Once again we have an age-old childhood tradition that is suddenly too dangerous for this generation of kids. How can it be that for 450+ years (and possibly since the beginning of time), kids played this very same game, but today’s youngsters are just too fragile to handle it?
Because, as psychologist and author Peter Gray so often reminds us: No other era that has ever underestimated children to this extent.
What’s more, our rule-makers do this with a condescending smile that says it is for the sweet children’s sake that we treat them like bonsai trees—delicate, beloved, in need of constant attention, and stunted.…(read more)
“This decision needs to be reevaluated with input from the kids and from the community,” said Ms. Neher. She created a Facebook page to help spread the word to other parents about the ban. In less than 24 hours, hundreds of parents joined to voice their concerns, Fox reported. Read the rest of this entry »
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 24, 2015
Source: NBC Nightly News – Twitter
Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in the U.S. on Tuesday and will embark on a whirlwind of meetings. Here’s a quick guide to Xi’s itinerary.
Jeremy Page and Esther Fung The slopes of Mount Rainier, an active volcano overlooking Seattle, will witness an unusual China-U.S. joint venture this week, just before President Xi Jinping begins a state visit to the U.S. in the West Coast city.
Wang Shi, one of China’s most successful property tycoons, will lead a group of Chinese chief executives on an expedition up the mountain with Jim Whittaker, who became the first American to summit Mount Everest in 1963.
The event on Monday is to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Peace Climb in which Mr. Whittaker climbed Everest again with Soviet and Chinese mountaineers in a bid to promote world peace.
Participants on Monday are hoping to send a similar message of peace at a time of mounting China-U.S. tensions, and to promote awareness of climate change — one area where Beijing and Washington are trying to cooperate.
“Today the same message still bears significance,” said 64-year-old Mr. Wang, Chairman of China Vanke Co., the world’s largest residential property developer by revenue. “Getting to the summit is not the main purpose of the climb.”
The event also demonstrates the growing interest in outdoor pursuits, especially among
wealthier Chinese, who are now venturing well beyond traditional tourist destinations.
Mr. Wang is one of China’s highest profile examples.
“In the past two years I have been making trips between China and Seattle and other U.S. cities,” said Mr. Wang. “I’ve also become quite familiar with the mountaineering scene in Seattle.”
Mt. Rainier, whose summit is at 14,410 feet (4392 meters) above sea level, is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., according to the U.S. National Park Service.
Among the Chinese participants on Monday are members of the “Deep Dive” initiative which is run by Mr. Wang and aims to teach Chinese executives about foreign culture and business etiquette.
Mr. Whittaker said he was introduced to Mr. Wang through Washington State Governor Jay Inslee about three months ago.
Mr. Wang and the other Chinese participants were providing most of the funding of around $60,000 for the event, Mr. Whittaker said. Read the rest of this entry »
Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association.
Radical venture capitalist Nick Hanauer served on a city advisory committee that eventually produced the legislation boosting minimum wages to $15 per hour. The legislation takes special aim at franchisees, forcing them to adopt higher wages than other small businesses under a shorter timeframe.
“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive.”
— Hanauer, in an email obtained by the association
Hanauer, a private-jet-owning multi-millionaire who once had a speech scrubbed from the TED conference website for being “too political,” is a member of the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy collection of liberal millionaires and billionaires that funnels money into Democratic causes.
The group has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into various liberal foundations, Media Matters, and Democratic super PAC Priorities USA. The group is secretive and does not divulge membership rolls, fundraising goals, or allow reporters at its annual meetings.
“Franchising has been under intense scrutiny by union activists and hostile labor regulators in recent weeks.”
Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association to overturn the law, according to the Seattle Times.
Wealth Destruction: Target Franchises.
“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive,” Hanauer wrote in an email obtained by the association.
The business group claims that the law is discriminatory because many franchisees are themselves small business owners akin to mom and pop shops. Franchisees pay licensing and other fees to large corporations to operate under the company umbrella, but the vast majority are independently owned and manage their own affairs. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), firearms retailers, and private gun owners filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, alleging that its new firearms and ammunition sales tax ordinance is illegal and unenforceable.
“Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for ‘injuries due to accidents’ had a rate almost seventy-five times greater. With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents.”
Earlier this month, Seattle passed the Firearm Tax and Ammunition Tax ordinance which imposes a new $25 sales tax on the retail sales of firearms, plus a per-round sales tax of two to five cents on ammunition. The ordinance is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2016. A failure to pay the tax is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to 364 days, or both.
A city report describes this as a “gun violence tax” that is estimated to generate revenues of $300,000 to $500,000 per year. The report adds, “[e]very effort funded by the revenues of this tax that reduces the probability of gun violence from taking place will save lives and money… Efforts funded by the gun violence tax that mitigate the public health, welfare, and safety impacts of gun violence will benefit this population.”
“In 2011, the Court of Appeals of Washington looked no further than the ‘plain language’ of the preemption statute before concluding that Seattle’s attempt to regulate the possession of firearms was unlawful. The complaint in the new lawsuit refers to this decision and states the City of Seattle is ‘not permitted to pass laws that target the sale of firearms and ammunition through any means.’”
The report fails to disclose any clear relationship between expected new tax receipts and a reduction in violence of any kind. The report asserts only that efforts funded by the tax which “reduce the probability of gun violence from taking place” will benefit Seattle residents, without identifying the nature of the “research, prevention and youth education and employment programs” or how these programs will work to reduce the “probability” of gun violence. (The report does confirm, though, that the City will be able “to track how much revenue is raised each year and analyze the programs to which that revenue is dedicated.”)
“Citizens testifying before the City Council meeting on the new tax included a recent victim of a violent felony who was ‘appalled’ that the City was enacting an illegal tax that would force law-abiding citizens to pay for the impact of gun violence committed by criminals.”
The ordinance itself cites a 2014 study funded by the City of Seattle which reported, among other things, King County hospitalization rates due to a firearm-related injury (“of any intent,” presumably including self-inflicted and accidental injuries in addition to persons who were injured as victims of crime), and hospitalizations for other reasons.
Hospitalizations due to overdoses, non-gun suicides, and non-gun assaults were far more prevalent than gun-related hospitalizations. Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for “injuries due to accidents” had a rate almost seventy-five times greater. With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents. Read the rest of this entry »
Seattle’s tax, which would take effect in January, would add $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city.
SEATTLE (AP) — Gene Johnson reports: Three gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, sued the city of Seattle on Monday over its adoption of a so-called “gun violence tax,” a tax on firearms and ammunition designed to help offset
the financial toll of gun violence.
The complaint was filed Monday in King County Superior Court by the NRA, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, along with two gun owners and two gun shops. It called the tax legally unenforceable because Washington state prohibits local governments from adopting laws related to firearms unless those local ordinances are specifically authorized by the state.
“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable. The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”
“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable,” the lawsuit said. “The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the tax this month, along with a companion measure requiring gun owners to file reports if their weapons are stolen or lost. The lawsuit does not challenge the reporting requirements. City Attorney Pete Holmes has argued that the gun-violence tax falls squarely under Seattle’s taxing authority. Read the rest of this entry »
Minimum Wage Effect? January to June Job Losses for Seattle Area Restaurants (-1,300) Largest Since Great RecessionPosted: August 10, 2015
Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start.
In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour starting on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area. The chart above shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment around the first of the year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), and the 1,300 job loss between January and June is the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession (data here). The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession. In contrast to the January-June loss of restaurant jobs in the Seattle area: a) restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period (data here), b) overall employment in the Seattle MSA increased 1.2% and by 21,800 jobs (data here) and c) non-Seattle MSA restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs (data here). Read the rest of this entry »