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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 174)

Dan Crenshaw is worried that universal background checks might keep him from arming his friends – It is unclear why he doesn’t think his friends could pass background checks.

Westlake Legal Group YWUv-Qus8w1kGHbIPqZMTl-XtrL2FuW7aj4B8qNeazE Dan Crenshaw is worried that universal background checks might keep him from arming his friends - It is unclear why he doesn't think his friends could pass background checks. r/politics

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Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away

NASSAU, Bahamas — As Hurricane Dorian pulled away from the Bahamas, relief workers, medical personnel, pilots and others gathered at a private terminal of the Nassau airport on Wednesday amid boxes of supplies, anxiously awaiting permission from the government to fly to devastated areas and provide assistance.

But with most of the runways on Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama — the islands most heavily pummeled by the storm — flooded or covered in sand, it was difficult to deliver help or even assess the damage wrought by the storm. In addition, the government has given priority to helicopter evacuations.

“It is frustrating,” said Wes Comfort, director of operations for Heart to Heart International, a Kansas-based group. “There are people who want to help and professionals who know how to help.”

Westlake Legal Group bahamas-damage-hurricane-dorian-1567618513584-articleLarge Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away Rescues Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

The Bahamas, Before and After Hurricane Dorian

Aerial images of flattened neighborhoods and a flooded airport give a first look at the large-scale damage there.

Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on Sunday, then lingered, pummeling the northern islands of the Bahamian archipelago for more than three days. At least seven people have died, including children, government officials said, adding that the toll is expected to rise. Now a Category 2 storm, Dorian is heading toward the Eastern Seaboard.

Despite the limited access to the islands, pilots have conducted flyovers revealing scenes of absolute devastation. Entire neighborhoods were reduced to unrecognizable fields of rubble, houses were crushed into splinters and boats were tossed into heaps like toys.

The Bahamian prime minister, Hubert Minnis, was able to go on a reconnaissance mission over Abaco on Tuesday afternoon, though storm conditions still prevented flying over Grand Bahama, the larger island.

“People need mostly food, security and shelter,” Mr. Minnis said in brief comments to reporters when he returned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160181334_7dc798f6-f08e-4e62-8d07-67f39ff04a1f-articleLarge Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away Rescues Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

A local man recovering dishes from his son’s home, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Pine Bay, near Freeport, Bahamas, on Wednesday.CreditRamon Espinosa/Associated Press

Videos taken by helicopters flying over the islands showed desperate residents stranded on rooftops amid swirling currents, roads turned to rivers, and basic infrastructure — including shelters, hospitals and public buildings — under water.

“It’s not just the power and ferocity of the storm, it’s also the length of time it spent over Abaco and Grand Bahama,” said Marvin Dames, the minister of national security for the Bahamas. “That’s a disastrous outcome.”

[How to help the survivors of Hurricane Dorian.]

The deputy commander for the United States Coast Guard’s Altantic area, Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, said on Tuesday they had brought seven helicopters into the central Bahamas. The Coast Guard, together with Customs and Border Patrol, were able to airlift 61 people from the Bahamas over two days, the United States Embassy in Nassau said on Twitter Wednesday.

The prime minister said that roughly 60 percent of homes in Marsh Harbour were badly damaged. The town “looks like a lake” and the roads are flooded, he said.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 04dorian-updates01sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away Rescues Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Now a Category 2 storm, Hurricane Dorian is slowly moving northwest, threatening the U.S. southeast coast, after leaving behind major damage in the Bahamas.CreditCreditScott McIntyre for The New York Times

Cindy Russell, a resident of Marsh Harbour whose home was destroyed, said she had no words to describe what Dorian left in its wake.

“It’s like we just need to be rescued and put on another island to start over again,” she said. “Complete devastation.”

Rebecca Roberts, who lives in Nassau but grew up on Green Turtle Cay, which is part of the Abaco Islands, said her family there suffered heavy losses. The extended family had 12 buildings among them, between businesses and homes. Of the four they had been able to check up on, three were completely demolished.

The one building that stood, which was made of cement, was housing the entire family, she said.

“My aunt was out in the road picking up pieces from her house,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-dorian-map-promo-1566933204147-articleLarge-v336 Bahamas Relief Efforts Frustrated as Dorian Pulls Away Rescues Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Maps: Track Hurricane Dorian’s Path

Maps tracking the hurricane’s path as it makes its way toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

[See photos of the power and devastation of Hurricane Dorian.]

Though the weakened hurricane is pushing its way toward Florida, it did not clear the islands until early Wednesday.

“Storm surge is the number one killer in a tropical storm,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, speaking of the rising sea level that results from the wind and pressure changes brought on by a storm.

In Freeport, the largest city on Grand Bahama, Sarah Kirkby watched helplessly as a massive tidal flood poured in and inundated her house.

“It was absolutely terrifying,” she said. “I have never seen water come in like that. You don’t realize the power until you’re in it.”

Some local rescue efforts began on Tuesday, she said, as the water began to recede, with neighbors manning Jet Skis to rescue people trapped on their roofs — but it was unclear where they might go, since many shelters were also flooded or damaged by the storm.

All of the rescues on Abaco were conducted by the Coast Guard, which also provided the prime minister and Bahamas emergency management officials with their first flyover to assess the damages. But with conditions on Grand Bahama too poor for even military helicopters, the Coast Guard attempted no rescues there.

Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk said officials still had a “large volume” of calls for help from people stranded on their rooftops.

[Live updates as the storm turns toward the southeast coast of the United States.]

Responders were trying to take advantage of a window of opportunity after the eye passed over Grand Bahama to try to rescue people, but many police cruisers and other emergency vehicles were under water.

Coast Guard personnel moving a patient from the Marsh Harbour Healthcare Centre in the Bahamas on Tuesday.CreditBrandon Murray/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Some of the bigger vehicles, dump trucks and fire engines, are trying to get through the water,” Kevin D. Harris, director general of the Bahamas Information Service, said. “Grand Bahama is flat, and you can imagine the devastation we are going to incur.”

There was so much water that government offices, including the government radio station, had to leave their lower floors.

The islands in the northwestern Bahamas that were hit the hardest — the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama — are 30 feet at their highest point, and the storm surge reached up to 23 feet, not counting the waves, said Joel Cline, the Tropical Program Coordinator at NOAA.

Photographs from flights over Abaco show trees sheared of limbs and leaves and saltwater ponds covering swaths of land where homes once stood. Some houses had their roofs ripped clean off, while others were reduced to piles of debris mired in water. All around, a rough ocean lapped at the low-lying islands.

The Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino on Grand Bahama had opened its doors to those who needed shelter, said Michael Scott, who is the chairman of the government-owned hotel.

“It’s a catastrophic and dystopian mess,” he said on Tuesday, estimating that more than 400 people were now being cared for at the hotel. “Other shelters which have been compromised are having their people decanted into our facility.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fifth Texas Republican Congressman Will Not Seek Re-election

Representative Bill Flores of Texas said he would not seek re-election in 2020, joining a long list of Republicans retiring in a state that has become increasingly competitive.

“When I originally announced that I was running for Congress in 2009, I was firm in my commitment that I would run for six or fewer terms,” Mr. Flores, who is serving a fifth term, said in a statement on Wednesday. “After much prayer over the past few days and following conversations with my wife, Gina, during that time, I have decided that my current term will be my last.”

With his announcement, Mr. Flores became the fifth Republican in the state to bow out of the next election cycle, rather than face challengers. Representative Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House, and Representatives Michael Conaway, Pete Olson and Kenny Marchant also recently announced they did not plan to run again.

Texas Republicans, who have enjoyed a generation of dominance, are facing resistance as the population diversifies and because of their connection to President Trump and his incendiary brand of nationalist politics, including from suburban voters, a once dependable base.

The Republican Party is facing an uphill battle to win back the House in 2020. Fifteen, including Mr. Flores, have said they will retire or seek other offices.

Much as they did in California ahead of the 2018 election, House Democrats have bolstered their presence in Texas, opening up an office in Austin just as they did in Orange County.

Nathan L. Gonzales, the editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Inside Elections, said on Twitter that for now, the seat would retain its “Solid Republican” rating in their system.

Mr. Flores was elected to the House for the 17th District of Texas in 2010, beating a Democratic incumbent by the largest margin of victory that election cycle. The district includes Waco, part of the Austin suburbs, as well as Texas A&M University and Baylor University. Mr. Flores is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Before his career in politics, Mr. Flores, a ninth-generation Texan, was the chief executive and president of Phoenix Exploration, a company focused on the extraction and transmission of natural gas.

Mr. Flores planned to spend more time with his family, “to resume business activities in the private sector and to stay politically active on a federal, state and local level,” according to the statement.

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Westlake Legal Group merlin_152978619_a12cac6b-793a-4c68-99f1-a24f5adb7321-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Fifth Texas Republican Congressman Will Not Seek Re-election Will Hurd United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Texas Republican Party Pete Olson Michael Conaway Kenny Marchant House of Representatives Flores, William H Elections, House of Representatives
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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Marianne Williamson Deletes Tweet Crediting Mind Power For Shifting Dorian’s Path

Westlake Legal Group 5d6ff1052400004f0074267b Marianne Williamson Deletes Tweet Crediting Mind Power For Shifting Dorian’s Path

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson on Wednesday tweeted ― then quickly deleted ― a message that credited “power of the mind” and positive visualization for turning Hurricane Dorian “away from land.” 

The problem, of course: Dorian made that turn over the Bahamas, which it hit as a Category 5 storm, leaving the islands in a state of “total devastation.”

Williamson’s tweet overlooked what’s been described as an “apocalyptic” scene 150 miles east of Palm Beach.

There’s nothing wrong with mindfulness, prayer or positive visualization, but it’s critically important people heed the warnings of the National Weather Service and take action when told to do so.

(For the record, nuking hurricanes ― a method reportedly suggested “multiple times” by President Donald Trump ― is also a dangerous idea.)

Williamson replaced the deleted tweet with a call for peace and comfort for those affected by the storm:

In the meantime, the threat posed by Hurricane Dorian is far from over. The storm could yet come ashore in Georgia, South or North Carolina, all of which remain within the National Hurricane Center’s forecast cone.

South Carolina is bracing for what could be the the region’s second-worst flooding in 85 years, and more than 2 million people along the coast from Florida to North Carolina have been urged to evacuate.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Document Reveals The FBI Is Tracking Border Protest Groups As Extremist Organizations

Westlake Legal Group 5d6ffcce2400004f00744201 Document Reveals The FBI Is Tracking Border Protest Groups As Extremist Organizations

WASHINGTON — The FBI is monitoring groups on the border that are protesting U.S. immigration policy, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

The FBI has gathered intelligence from people with “direct access” to the organizations and is monitoring their social media, according to the document,  called an “external intelligence note,” that was obtained by Yahoo News. The note, which was produced by the FBI office in Phoenix and sent to other law enforcement and government agencies, said there are indications these groups are “increasingly arming themselves and using lethal force to further their goals.” However, almost all of the evidence cited in the report involved nonviolent protest activity.

The intelligence collected and cited in the FBI document, dated May 30, 2019, is worrisome to activists and civil rights advocates who say that the government is classifying legitimate government opposition and legally protected speech as violent extremism or domestic terrorism.

“The document raises potential legal concerns in a gray area not yet tested by the courts,” Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, told Yahoo News.

“If you’re investigating antiwar and anti-Trump groups, you run the risk of interfering with free speech rights,” said Stone, who was tapped by President Obama to help review foreign intelligence surveillance programs following the Edward Snowden disclosures.

In a statement to Yahoo News, an FBI spokesperson described the external intelligence note about border protests groups as part of routine information-sharing among law enforcement agencies, and emphasized that it contained the perspective of the Phoenix office.

“These products are intended to be informative in nature,” the FBI spokesperson said. “And as such, they contain appropriate caveats to describe the confidence in the sourcing of information and the likelihood of the assessment. Additionally, when written at a local level, these products will note that the perspective offered may be limited to the field office’s area of responsibility.”

While the external intelligence note on border protest groups was originally generated by the FBI’s Phoenix office, it was distributed widely throughout the bureau and to other law enforcement agencies around the country.

Mike German, a former FBI special agent and fellow at New York University who has written extensively about surveillance of activists, sees the document as evidence of the bureau’s overreach when it comes to classifying domestic groups as terrorist threats.

“It’s been a feature of the post 9/11 counterterrorism effort by the FBI to focus on nonviolent civil disobedience and to prioritize it,” said German. “For several years after 9/11, the FBI called environmental activists the No.1 domestic terror threat, even though there’s not a single homicide related to environmental ‘terrorists’ in the United States.”

The Justice Department, which first created guidelines for domestic investigations during the mid-1970s amid fallout from law enforcement’s response to the antiwar movement, has modified those policies over the years. In response to a series of questions about the authority under which they can investigate border protest groups, the FBI referred Yahoo News to the most recent publicly available guidelines posted on the FBI’s website. Those guidelines, which predate the Trump administration, specify that any investigations must be “conducted within Constitutional and statutory parameters and that civil liberties and privacy are protected.”

Despite the procedures that are in place, there have been issues with the FBI’s investigation of domestic protest groups in the past. German, the former special agent and legal expert, cited a report from the FBI’s inspector general that was released in 2010 and criticized the bureau for classifying nonviolent crimes related to protest as “terrorism.”

That report found that the factual basis for opening some of the investigations into advocacy groups, including PETA and Greenpeace, was factually weak, with little indication of any possible federal crimes. The FBI had also designated some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its “Acts of Terrorism” classification.

What constitutes an extremist threat is the subject of ongoing debate. Some left-wing organizations have, in fact, been associated with violent attacks against opponents. Critics have pointed out, however, that such groups present less of a threat than some of those on the right, including white supremacists, who were involved in the majority of domestic terror incidents last year.

Yahoo News spoke to three of the activists specifically cited in the FBI’s note. They said they were not surprised to learn that the FBI is monitoring them, because of prior indications that law enforcement has been investigating recent protest activity as well as the U.S. government’s history of policing liberal activism.

Corey Lemley, a self-described “antifascist” activist in Tennessee whoseTwitter activity was included in the FBI report, said he knew he was on the government’s radar because he was previously visited by federal authorities at his home after he helped organize counter protests against neo-Nazi rallies in Tennessee last year. He also pointed to the government’s record of surveilling activists.

“Understanding the history of this country, you’d have to be naive to be surprised,” Lemley said. “This is nothing new.”

The FBI intelligence note described the border protest activity as coming from“anarchist extremists.” Though it specifies that the analysis is written by the FBI’s Phoenix office and does not necessarily reflect the bureau’s national perspective, the note shows that, at least in Arizona, the bureau is tracking border protest groups and labeling them a source of potential violence.

The note also provides indications of how other U.S. law enforcement agencies, especially the Department of Homeland Security, are tracking border protests around the country.

“FBI Phoenix assesses anarchist extremists (AEs) very likely are increasing the targeting of U.S. Government … law enforcement personnel and facilities along the Arizona border, increasing the risk of armed conflict,” the note said. “FBI Phoenix also assesses Arizona-based AEs likely are increasingly arming themselves and using lethal force to further their goals and in confrontations with ideologically opposed groups.”

The note tied the potential for increased protest activity — and by extension violence — to opposition to President Trump’s immigration policies. With immigration issues unlikely to be resolved soon, it said the anarchist extremist “threat to Arizona likely will grow in intensity and frequency.”

The note goes on to show some of the evidence behind these conclusions, citing two separate reports from the Department of Homeland Security that identified posts written by activists online, including one that called for actions to disturb the “daily operations of the border, by fighting ICE and the border industrial complex.”

It also cited a tweet written in May by Corey Lemley, the activist inTennessee. “Every ICE detention center shall be taken over, with ICE employees detained until every immigrant is freed,” Lemley wrote.

Lemley, who is a 28-year-old videographer, told Yahoo News his tweet was not meant to be a threat and he does not advocate “proactive” violence.“

The resistance is going to take many shapes and many different forms,” said Lemley. “Right now, we do not have any plans to have an armed rebellion or armed resistance against the state.”

There are photos of Lemley holding guns on his personal Facebook page. However, he said all the pictures showed him in “legal possession” and did not indicate any threat.

“Nothing that you don’t see a redneck post on a daily basis,” Lemley said.

The FBI Phoenix note also pointed to an online magazine with a timeline of border protest activity that was published on what it called an “anarchist extremist” website in February. The FBI Phoenix office, citing less than 20 words from the magazine, says this timeline was designed to aid a “trajectory of rebellion” against U.S. border policy and that it encouraged readers to identify “relevant targets in your town.”

Based on the date and quotes cited by the note, the FBI seems to be referring to a post on the activist website It’s Going Down, which linked to the online magazine. Despite the use of language like “attacks” and “targets,” almost all of the actions described in the magazine are nonviolent civil disobedience.

The Phoenix FBI’s intelligence note cites less than 20 words from a document that is 20 pages long and covers 50 events; the vast majority of them involve nonviolent protest tactics like hanging banners and posters, blocking streets and Border Patrol cars, and marches, including one that was hosted by a local Presbyterian church. Eight of the incidents described in the timeline involved more dangerous behavior including vandalism and skirmishes at protests.

Yahoo News emailed It’s Going Down and received a response from someone who would not give their name, but wrote the post cited by the FBI made “no direct calls to physical violence.”

The person argued that the FBI is “attempting to build a false narrative around the threat of violence against the public coming from the #AbolishICEmovement.” They further suggested the government is exaggerating the threat from the left-wing protest movement while minimizing the dangers associated with far-right and white supremacist groups.

The FBI document also said the bureau was tracking “an Arizona-based left-wing militia-like group” identified as the Border Liberation Front. According to the note, the FBI was told about the group’s activities from a “human source with direct access.” However, while the note implied the group was armed, it also indicated the Border Liberation Front’s activities were largely nonviolent and described the group as dedicated to “monitoring various U.S.Border Patrol activities, right-wing militia groups, and other groups favoring the border wall, mostly to expose human rights abuses.”

In the document, the Border Liberation Front is linked to alleged planning efforts to disrupt U.S. border security operations and the building of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The group’s activities, in fact, were identified as being “most critical” to the FBI’s conclusion that extremist border protest groups were “increasingly arming themselves and using lethal force.”

A woman who answered a phone number associated with the Border LiberationFront, but would not identify herself by name, said the group recently split into two, and the other organization is called Caravan Support Network.

While Caravan Support Network was not named in the FBI Phoenix note, the woman said she believes the FBI is monitoring it rather than the Border Liberation Front. There are multiple links between the social media pages of the Border Liberation Front and the Caravan Support Network. None of the pages for either group viewed by Yahoo News contain indications of violent activity.

The woman associated with the Border Liberation Front said she was not surprised to hear about FBI monitoring, because people associated with the Caravan Support Network were on a list of activists and journalists who were in a government database revealed by NBC in March.

The FBI document claims the Border Liberation Front organizers “planned for camps in Texas and Arizona to serve as staging platforms for on-site armed support of the migrant caravans” and “intended to purchase firearms from a Mexico-based cartel associate.” But the woman who spoke to Yahoo News said all of Border Liberation Front’s activities are humanitarian.

“All we do is just raise funds and then make sure those that are seeking asylum have the things that they need, clothes and food,” the woman said.

The FBI note also said a “human source with direct access” described an “Antifa training seminar” that took place in Flagstaff last April and allegedly involved firearms. “The trainers had on display various firearms, among them AR-15s, AK-47s, and handguns,” the note said.

An event matching the description in the FBI note was hosted by Taala Hoogan, an Arizona group that describes itself as an “Anti-colonial & Anti-capitalist Community Space.” Advertisements for the event show that it included a workshop on “armed defense.” Taala Hoogan did not respond to a request for comment.

The FBI document also cited information received via a public tip line about the group Redneck Revolt, a national left-wing organization that describes itself as dedicated to “community defense.” The FBI said the tipster noted that the group has raised money “for firearms purchases” and has offered “to act as armed security for various protests.”

The group often maintains a visible armed presence at protests. RedneckRevolt’s Phoenix chapter, which is also called the John Brown Gun Club, did not respond to a request for comment on this story, but a member of the group had spoken to Yahoo News at a protest outside a Trump rally in 2017.

“We’re a community defense organization, so we’re here to provide security and make sure nobody is attacked by white nationalists or fascists,” said the man, who was carrying a rifle.

The Phoenix FBI’s note addressed the possibility that left-wing border protest groups would mainly use weapons for defensive purposes. However, this “alternative hypothesis” was rejected in the note “based on direct human source reporting detailing various [anarchist extremist] groups’ plans for ‘direct action’ and ‘offensive postures.’”

German, the former FBI special agent, said that even if some activists are armed, that’s not evidence they are a terror threat. “Congress passed a definition of domestic terrorism. It requires illegal activities harmful to human life,” German said. “I’m not aware of any fatal attacks committed by somebody associated with an antifascist movement.”

Nate Snyder, who served in the Department of Homeland Security and as an adviser to the Justice Department during the Obama administration, described the document as “kind of a head scratcher.” Snyder, who reviewed a copy provided to him by Yahoo News, said the sourcing and evidence in the intelligence note was unusually thin. “Why would they put out something out there to the field with that lack of confidence and numerous unvalidated sources?” he asked.

Snyder also questioned why the FBI would be including antifascist groups, anarchist extremists and militia organizations together.

“From an analyst’s perspective, those are three very different groups,” he said.

For his part, German argued that the bureau should be focusing on clear threats rather than speculating about potential dangers from left-wing protest groups.

“There are people out there actually harming other people, and that’s where the counterterrorism resources should be devoted,” German said, “not toward people who are simply challenging government policy,”

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The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

Westlake Legal Group greysquirrel_custom-5070c744f5d41b4d1bf1fbb9cde2254cde953b48-s1100-c15 The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

The sounds of pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made eastern grey squirrels resume foraging more quickly after hearing the sounds of a predator, researchers found. Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption

Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

The sounds of pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made eastern grey squirrels resume foraging more quickly after hearing the sounds of a predator, researchers found.

Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Squirrels eavesdrop on the casual chitchat of birds to figure out when it’s safe enough to be out in the open and foraging for food.

Researchers have found that a squirrel becomes incredibly vigilant when it hears the shriek of a red-tailed hawk, but it will relax and resume its food-seeking behavior more quickly if the predator’s call is immediately followed by the easygoing tweets of unconcerned birds.

The findings, described in the journal PLOS One, add to a growing body of research that animals take advantage of all available “public information” when trying to assess threats in their environment.

“Lots of animals listen in on the alarm calls of other species,” says Keith Tarvin, a behavioral ecologist at Oberlin College in Ohio. “This has been found in a variety of squirrels — ground squirrels, tree squirrels. It’s been found in monkeys. It’s been found even in lizards.”

While other researchers have focused on how animals tune into other species for warnings of danger, his team focused on whether animals also watch their neighbors for signs of safety. “I wanted to know if they might be paying attention to other information, as well,” says Emma Lucore, one of Tarvin’s former students.

Her idea for a study of how squirrels respond to lighthearted bird tweets got picked up and expanded by fellow former student Marie Lilly, who did the fieldwork one cold January in Oberlin.

“It definitely did look very ridiculous,” says Lilly, who explains that she set up audio equipment in a couple of repurposed cat litter buckets. “And I put those on my bicycle, and basically rode around town looking for squirrels.”

Once she found a suitable eastern gray squirrel, she’d set up her equipment and hide behind a bush to perform the experiment.

First, the squirrel would hear the recorded cry of a hawk. Then, the squirrel would hear either several minutes of casual bird talk that had been recorded around a bird feeder, or several minutes of silence that was recorded around the same feeder at night.

Using a special app created by a computer science friend, Lilly logged the amount of time that the squirrel spent either freezing, foraging, fleeing, resting, or standing. She also recorded whenever the squirrel looked up at the sky.

“In the field, I couldn’t tell if their vigilance level was going down or not because I was just recording their raw behavior,” says Lilly.

But once the data had been collected and analyzed, it was obvious that hearing pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made the squirrels resume foraging more quickly.

“When squirrels are hearing chatter coming from other birds, that chatter conveys a message or a cue that apparently these birds feel pretty safe,” says Tarvin. “And the squirrels apparently interpret that to mean that the environment is relatively safe.”

Daniel Blumstein, a behavioral ecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, says this is a great study with convincing results.

“Most of us have been thinking about the risky side of things, not the safety side of things,” Blumstein says. “Yet both sorts of public information are out there for the taking if you know what to clue in on.”

He says researchers have long focused on how individual species respond to other individual species. But increasingly, people are thinking about more complex communication networks in nature, which Blumstein describes as being sort of like “Facebook for birds.”

He’s recently been doing some modeling work that suggests cues of safety from other species “can be really important in certain situations for allowing animals to better estimate the likelihood that they’re going to be able to engage in things without being killed.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Marianne Williamson Deletes Tweet Crediting Mind Power For Shifting Dorian’s Path

Westlake Legal Group 5d6ff1052400004f0074267b Marianne Williamson Deletes Tweet Crediting Mind Power For Shifting Dorian’s Path

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson on Wednesday tweeted ― then quickly deleted ― a message that credited “power of the mind” and positive visualization for turning Hurricane Dorian “away from land.” 

The problem, of course: Dorian made that turn over the Bahamas, which it hit as a Category 5 storm, leaving the islands in a state of “total devastation.”

Williamson’s tweet overlooked what’s been described as an “apocalyptic” scene 150 miles east of Palm Beach.

There’s nothing wrong with mindfulness, prayer or positive visualization, but it’s critically important people heed the warnings of the National Weather Service and take action when told to do so.

(For the record, nuking hurricanes ― a method reportedly suggested “multiple times” by President Donald Trump ― is also a dangerous idea.)

Williamson replaced the deleted tweet with a call for peace and comfort for those affected by the storm:

In the meantime, the threat posed by Hurricane Dorian is far from over. The storm could yet come ashore in Georgia, South or North Carolina, all of which remain within the National Hurricane Center’s forecast cone.

South Carolina is bracing for what could be the the region’s second-worst flooding in 85 years, and more than 2 million people along the coast from Florida to North Carolina have been urged to evacuate.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

Westlake Legal Group greysquirrel_custom-5070c744f5d41b4d1bf1fbb9cde2254cde953b48-s1100-c15 The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

The sounds of pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made eastern grey squirrels resume foraging more quickly after hearing the sounds of a predator, researchers found. Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption

Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  The Other Twitterverse: Squirrels Eavesdrop On Birds, Researchers Say

The sounds of pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made eastern grey squirrels resume foraging more quickly after hearing the sounds of a predator, researchers found.

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Squirrels eavesdrop on the casual chitchat of birds to figure out when it’s safe enough to be out in the open and foraging for food.

Researchers have found that a squirrel becomes incredibly vigilant when it hears the shriek of a red-tailed hawk, but it will relax and resume its food-seeking behavior more quickly if the predator’s call is immediately followed by the easygoing tweets of unconcerned birds.

The findings, described in the journal PLOS One, add to a growing body of research that animals take advantage of all available “public information” when trying to assess threats in their environment.

“Lots of animals listen in on the alarm calls of other species,” says Keith Tarvin, a behavioral ecologist at Oberlin College in Ohio. “This has been found in a variety of squirrels — ground squirrels, tree squirrels. It’s been found in monkeys. It’s been found even in lizards.”

While other researchers have focused on how animals tune into other species for warnings of danger, his team focused on whether animals also watch their neighbors for signs of safety. “I wanted to know if they might be paying attention to other information, as well,” says Emma Lucore, one of Tarvin’s former students.

Her idea for a study of how squirrels respond to lighthearted bird tweets got picked up and expanded by fellow former student Marie Lilly, who did the fieldwork one cold January in Oberlin.

“It definitely did look very ridiculous,” says Lilly, who explains that she set up audio equipment in a couple of repurposed cat litter buckets. “And I put those on my bicycle, and basically rode around town looking for squirrels.”

Once she found a suitable eastern gray squirrel, she’d set up her equipment and hide behind a bush to perform the experiment.

First, the squirrel would hear the recorded cry of a hawk. Then, the squirrel would hear either several minutes of casual bird talk that had been recorded around a bird feeder, or several minutes of silence that was recorded around the same feeder at night.

Using a special app created by a computer science friend, Lilly logged the amount of time that the squirrel spent either freezing, foraging, fleeing, resting, or standing. She also recorded whenever the squirrel looked up at the sky.

“In the field, I couldn’t tell if their vigilance level was going down or not because I was just recording their raw behavior,” says Lilly.

But once the data had been collected and analyzed, it was obvious that hearing pleasant, relaxed bird chatter made the squirrels resume foraging more quickly.

“When squirrels are hearing chatter coming from other birds, that chatter conveys a message or a cue that apparently these birds feel pretty safe,” says Tarvin. “And the squirrels apparently interpret that to mean that the environment is relatively safe.”

Daniel Blumstein, a behavioral ecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, says this is a great study with convincing results.

“Most of us have been thinking about the risky side of things, not the safety side of things,” Blumstein says. “Yet both sorts of public information are out there for the taking if you know what to clue in on.”

He says researchers have long focused on how individual species respond to other individual species. But increasingly, people are thinking about more complex communication networks in nature, which Blumstein describes as being sort of like “Facebook for birds.”

He’s recently been doing some modeling work that suggests cues of safety from other species “can be really important in certain situations for allowing animals to better estimate the likelihood that they’re going to be able to engage in things without being killed.”

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French police launch investigation after Macron hears officer refusing to help domestic abuse victim: report

Westlake Legal Group franceprotest3 French police launch investigation after Macron hears officer refusing to help domestic abuse victim: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc article 38489c61-612b-5e81-8b26-545e1ea268d0

Officials in France have opened an investigation after President Emmanuel Macron listened in on a domestic violence hotline call in which a police officer was heard refusing to help a domestic abuse victim, reports say.

Macron listened in on the call during a visit Tuesday to the national hotline center that was meant to showcase the government’s crackdown on domestic violence.

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The alleged victim, a 57-year-old woman, called to report that her husband had threatened to kill her after years of abuse and that she was afraid to go back to the home to gather her things without police protection — and yet the police officer she was dealing with at a local station was refusing to accompany her, The Guardian reported.

According to the report, the French president was visibly upset by what he was hearing and passed a note to the operator after the officer got on the phone and stated that he was unable to go with her without a judicial order, a claim Macron pointed out in his note as wrong.

The officer, unaware that the president was listening in, continued to refuse to intervene.

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After the phone call, Macron asked the veteran dispatcher if this was a common occurrence to which they replied: “Yes, more and more frequently.”

The French gendarmerie launched an investigation into the incident the following day.

Westlake Legal Group franceprotest3 French police launch investigation after Macron hears officer refusing to help domestic abuse victim: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc article 38489c61-612b-5e81-8b26-545e1ea268d0   Westlake Legal Group franceprotest3 French police launch investigation after Macron hears officer refusing to help domestic abuse victim: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox news fnc/world fnc article 38489c61-612b-5e81-8b26-545e1ea268d0

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Ex-Obama official Joel Rubin on Tlaib, Omar: ‘No, the Squad is not anti-Semitic’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6077532855001_6077529507001-vs Ex-Obama official Joel Rubin on Tlaib, Omar: ‘No, the Squad is not anti-Semitic' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/minnesota fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc Emily DeCiccio article 5f03da6c-54ed-52e6-a129-5c50c420dff5

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joel Rubin said “there’s a difference between being critical of Israeli government policy and being anti-Semitic” as he defended Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in the wake of Israel blocking them from entering the country.

In an interview with Fox News, the former Obama administration official argued that while Omar and Tlaib are both vocal opponents of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement, their opinions do not make them anti-Semitic.

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“No, the Squad is not anti-Semitic,” Rubin said. “Omar has said things about Israel supporters that she has apologized for, but that does not mean that she hates Jews. She hasn’t gone on a tirade attacking Jews, like real anti-Semites do. There’s a difference between being critical of Israeli government policy and being anti-Semitic.”

Republicans, particularly President Trump, have repeatedly accused Tlaib and Omar – who are both Muslim — of making anti-Semitic comments. Omar, for instance, has been called out for tweeting “Israel has hypnotized the world.” (The congresswoman did acknowledge and apologize for it later on Twitter.) Tlaib defended BDS and told an interviewer it is “criticizing the racist policies of Israel.”

Last month, as he ripped Tlaib and Omar, Trump went as far as to say that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.”

But Rubin argued that when critics call out Tlaib, who is from Michigan, and Omar, who is from Minnesota, and the Democratic Party as a whole, they miss the point when it comes to anti-Semitism in the United States.

“The American Jewish community here at home is on the receiving end of many direct anti-Semitic attacks, verbal and physical, and that has nothing to do with Israel policy,” Rubin said.

Rubin said anti-Semitism had previously been primarily tied to anti-Israel rhetoric regarding the BDS movement. In the past couple of years, however, Rubin noted that there’s been a rise in domestic terrorism against Jewish institutions in the U.S., the second category of anti-Semitism.

“My hometown synagogue, Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, was the scene of the worst anti-Semitic incident in the history of the United States,” Rubin said. “So these two competing anti-Semitism arguments are what’s playing out, and politically the pro-Israel community has really committed itself to fighting BDS and has not totally committed itself to fighting anti-Semitism here at home.”

Rubin also said he does not see the congresswomen’s views as detrimental to U.S. foreign policy, arguing they could strengthen both the United States’ and Israel’s long-term goals.

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“American relations with Israel haven’t been damaged at all. American legislators have a duty to ask tough questions in support of American interests, and having that discussion ultimately strengthens our country’s foreign policy,” Rubin said.

He added: “While it’s true that these lawmakers are asking harder, more aggressive questions than is traditionally seen from Congress, the bilateral relationship still stands strong and American support for Israel is firm, and hopefully their views will foster a more comprehensive policy on the Middle East that leads to peace between Israel and the Palestinians – something that is firmly in the interest of the United States.”

Listen to the full interview above to hear more from former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joel Rubin.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6077532855001_6077529507001-vs Ex-Obama official Joel Rubin on Tlaib, Omar: ‘No, the Squad is not anti-Semitic' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/minnesota fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc Emily DeCiccio article 5f03da6c-54ed-52e6-a129-5c50c420dff5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6077532855001_6077529507001-vs Ex-Obama official Joel Rubin on Tlaib, Omar: ‘No, the Squad is not anti-Semitic' fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/minnesota fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/michigan fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox news fnc/politics fnc Emily DeCiccio article 5f03da6c-54ed-52e6-a129-5c50c420dff5

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