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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 321)

‘The Politician’ Falls For The Biggest Temptation Of All

Spoilers for “The Politician” ahead.

Ben Platt can sing. That is a known fact. 

At 26, he has appeared in the “Pitch Perfect” franchise and Broadway shows “The Book of Mormon” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” in the latter taking home a 2017 Tony award for his physical and emotional performance of an anxiety-ridden teenager facing a school tragedy. 

Clearly, Platt can also act, which is probably why he was cast as the absurdly ambitious, slightly maniacal, disgustingly wealthy Payton Hobart in Ryan Murphy’s first project with Netflix, “The Politician.” The eight-episode show, which started streaming Friday, follows Payton as he tries to ruthlessly crush his competition and win the election for student body president at his prestigious high school in Santa Barbara, California. It is a goal that, in his mind, would bring him one step closer to his end game: becoming U.S.president. 

The character is funny and aggravating, lovable yet entirely cringe-y. It’s a juicy role that, on paper, could throw Platt’s “nervous and mild-mannered” Evan Hansen persona out the window. Platt told The New York Times that Murphy pitched the character to him in that way, telling him, “I want you to turn that on its head and play someone who’s more egomaniacal and confident and self-serving, and has a bit more sex to him.”

It’s too bad then that the usually innovative Murphy failed to truly switch things up for Platt. The series, which critics are calling “irritating,” “erratic” and “scattered,” is a political reimagining of his groundbreaking series “Glee”; “a teen ‘House of Cards.’” 

Instead of giving Platt the on-screen reinvention he deserves, Murphy fell for the ultimate temptation. He gave Payton Hobart a Ben Platt moment; he asked him to sing. Throughout the first season of “The Politician,” Platt performs in scenes that perhaps prove this was just going to be another vehicle to showcase his award-winning vocal talents. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d8d0b2f220000580052b585 ‘The Politician’ Falls For The Biggest Temptation Of All

Courtesy of NETFLIX Ben Platt as Payton Hobart in “The Politician.” 

Payton is Lea Michele’s show-offish Rachel Berry, if she were entirely focused on making it to the White House rather than Broadway. He is relentless in his pursuit to get into Harvard University, earning high test scores and carefully calculating his choice of extracurriculars (Model United Nations, working at a literary magazine) to ensure his application is flawless. He even studies Mandarin, for goodness sake. 

Something Payton never boasts about, however, is his interest in musical theater. Actually, it isn’t until he breaks out into a goosebump-inducing rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “River” at a memorial service for a character named River (David Corenswet) toward the tail end of the pilot episode that we even know Payton can carry a tune — and a damn good one at that.

Up until that performance, viewers witness an unhinged Payton battle his tough opponents, his doofus twin brothers, his bisexuality. It’s captivating to watch a character so neurotic in his pursuit for hierarchical acceptance. But instead of focusing on that side of the character, Murphy once again embraced his own adoration of musical moments to the detriment of the plot.  

[embedded content]

Take, for instance, Episode 6 of the series, “The Assassination of Payton Hobart,” in which Payton decides he wants to “enjoy” the last few months of school amid his post-election depression. He figures auditioning for the school musical, Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins,” would be a great way to loosen up a bit after his mother (Gwyneth Paltrow) recommends he “find some way to bring music into his life.”

By the director’s reaction, one would think Payton was already crowned “Broadway Bound” in senior year superlatives: “I was at the assembly for River when you sang that amazing song to him. You, sir, don’t have to audition.”

Payton is given the role of John Hinckley Jr. before he leverages his status to make sure his friend and former running mate, Infinity (Zoey Deutch), gets a part. It becomes clear this is another opportunity for Murphy to squeeze in a Plattastic performance, despite it making little sense to the overarching storyline. The episode goes on to show Payton abnormally comfortable with vocal warmups, rehearsals and trust falls before he performs “Unworthy of Your Love” with Infinity. 

As a theater junkie, I enjoyed hearing Platt’s pitch-perfect tone. As a viewer of “The Politician,” I was utterly confused. 

Another jarring scene comes in the finale episode when Payton ― a bit older and living in New York ― speaks to a bar crowd before sitting at a piano and belting out a cover of Billy Joel’s “Vienna.” It becomes clear that, at the end of the first season, Payton’s high-level education and unfaltering dream of the presidency takes a back seat to his late-night singing gigs. 

Sure, Murphy loves this sort of thing, as referenced by his powerful musical numbers in “Pose” or the disparate ones in “American Horror Story.” And “Glee,” of course, was a masterclass in staging. In those instances, performances were welcome or unexpected enough to be applauded. But hiring some of the most talented Broadway stars of our time ― Platt, Michele, Billy Porter ― doesn’t mean song and dance always need to be in the job description. 

A Ben Platt reinvention was pitched. A Ben Platt reinvention was not served. 

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

Podcast gear, homemade ringtones, phone plans for seniors, and more: Tech Q&A

Frugal Phone Carriers

Q: I am retired and need to cut back on expenses. What’s the best cell phone plan for folks over 55?

A: People in different age groups tend to use a phone differently. When we retire, we may not need a pricey plan, and a fixed income may encourage us to cut down on expenses anyway. You can find a plan with unlimited calls, texts, and data, and you won’t have to shell out vast sums of money to do so. T-Mobile caters to the budget-conscious. Before you sign up, though, check out the other big carriers as well; they all offer exclusive perks for customers of a certain age. Tap or click here for the best phone plan for seniors.

Podcast Gear

Q: I’d like to start my own podcast. What kind of gear do I need?

A: Exciting! These days, starting a podcast is almost as easy starting a blog – you can record something on your phone and immediately post it online without a hassle. But before you start throwing mp3s into the ether, think about sound quality. Unlike that blog, which only requires you to type out your text and maybe add a couple of pictures, podcasts are quite a bit more technical. You will benefit enormously from a quality microphone and editing software. You will almost certainly want to invest in some supplemental gear, such as a “pop filter,” which guards the microphone against “P” sounds. If you’re curious what other gear I recommend for the rookie podcaster, I have a whole list of top picks on Amazon. Tap or click here for my list of recommended gear on Amazon.

Out of Space

Q: The storage on my smartphone is full. What can I do to fix this? Can I put some stuff on an external card or something like that?

A: Photos, videos, and audio usually take up the most space on your phone. But you don’t have to delete them. Instead, store them in cloud programs. DropBox is great for your videos and music. For photos, Google Photos is the way to go. Once you download the app, you get 15GB of free cloud space. Additional space is moderately priced. For more options, as well as ways to store things on external cards, I’ve got just what you need. Tap or click here to watch my quick DIY video for ways to get more space on your smartphone.

Login Security

Q: I gave my now ex-boyfriend my Netflix password. Can I see if he is using my Netflix account that I am paying for?

A: If you share a Netflix account, the service may start recommending movies and TV shows that sound very far-out. You may love comedies, and all of sudden bleak, dramatic television series start pouring into your queue. You can also see what other people – such as your boyfriend – have watched because Netflix keeps an archive. But this question stems from a much bigger concern: How do you know whether someone has logged into one of your services, period? Friends and family can often guess your passwords, as can hackers and cyber-criminals. If someone starts mooching off your Hulu or Spotify account, there’s a way to figure out who they are. Tap or click here to see who has logged into your services.

Create Ringtones

Q: I’d like to make ringtones. This way, when my phone rings, I know it’s mine, and not someone else’s in the office.

A: At this point, a ringtone is just an audio file that’s been archived on your phone, just like your music and voicemail messages. Smartphones no longer require the complicated manual programming that their predecessors did, which is why a ringtone can be virtually anything, from pop songs to sound clips from YouTube. Ringtones have also started to disappear from public life, as most people have come to prefer the “vibrate” setting. Still, customizing a ringtone can be a fun process, and once you hear it for the first time, you’ll smile at this personal touch. What you will need is special software, like AVCWare Ringtone Maker, which will help you make it.

 Tap or click here to create custom ringtones

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group cellphones Podcast gear, homemade ringtones, phone plans for seniors, and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/technologies fnc/tech fnc article 654510a2-fa8c-5518-b914-582bff2d6ab0   Westlake Legal Group cellphones Podcast gear, homemade ringtones, phone plans for seniors, and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/technologies fnc/tech fnc article 654510a2-fa8c-5518-b914-582bff2d6ab0

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

Montana sees power outages after heavy snow, several feet expected in some areas

Westlake Legal Group snowstorm2 Montana sees power outages after heavy snow, several feet expected in some areas fox-news/weather fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 28691ce9-8a96-51e0-a71e-c8b7c7d992a1

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Strong winds and heavy snow caused power outages and temporary road closures in northwestern Montana as a wintry storm threatened to drop several feet of snow in some areas of the northern Rocky Mountains.

The National Weather Service in Great Falls reported 16 inches of snow had fallen near Marias Pass just south of Glacier National Park by early Saturday afternoon. The area is forecast to see a total of up to 4 feet by the time the storm winds down Sunday night, said meteorologist Megan Syner.

Gusty winds on Saturday knocked down trees and damaged power lines, causing scattered outages in northwestern Montana and along the Rocky Mountain Front. Up to 30 large trees were down on the east side of Flathead Lake, the Missoulian reported.

Emergency travel only was recommended in some areas along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front and treacherous travel was reported around the region, including over Rogers Pass on Montana Highway 200 northwest of Helena, Syner said.

Following the storm, temperatures are expected to drop into the teens and 20s across much of western and central Montana overnight Monday. The weekend storm system was also bringing strong winds and snow to the mountains of northern Washington and northern Idaho.

Homeless shelters in Spokane, Washington, were relaxing their entrance policies and the city was preparing a backup shelter, if needed.

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Dave Wall, a Union Gospel Mission spokesman, said the shelter’s director and Spokane’s mayor agreed the mission would not enforce its drug and alcohol policies while temperatures were below freezing, as long as patrons weren’t acting unsafe, The Spokesman Review reported.

Westlake Legal Group snowstorm2 Montana sees power outages after heavy snow, several feet expected in some areas fox-news/weather fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 28691ce9-8a96-51e0-a71e-c8b7c7d992a1   Westlake Legal Group snowstorm2 Montana sees power outages after heavy snow, several feet expected in some areas fox-news/weather fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 28691ce9-8a96-51e0-a71e-c8b7c7d992a1

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

Why a woman’s brain started leaking after Pilates

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090043629001_6090040762001-vs Why a woman's brain started leaking after Pilates Manny Alvarez fox-news/health/medical-mysteries-marvels fox news fnc/health fnc b48c2ac0-2e32-561a-9d86-489680c7bc42 article

Most people who suffer workout injuries incur a sprained joint or pulled muscle. But one 42-year-old woman received a Pilates injury that caused her brain fluid to leak.

The injury happened when the woman was attending her usual Pilates Reformer class, according to her 2014 case published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports.

THE POWER OF CORD BLOOD: WHAT STEM CELLS CAN AND CAN’T DO

During one Pilates move, the woman felt a distinctive pop in her neck, states the case study. But she felt no other symptoms—until she started experiencing regular headaches later. The first headache began about an hour after the telltale popping sound.

According to the case study, the woman’s headaches became more severe over 4 weeks’ time, during which she sought medical help. She went to the doctor several times after an initial diagnosis of a muscle injury. Still, her painful headaches weren’t responding to pain medication.

However, a condition called spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is known to cause headaches when a person is upright, reports the case study. Because the woman’s headaches were relieved when lying flat, the case study’s authors suspected this condition.

SIH is often caused by a cerebrospinal fluid leak, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).

MAN’S 20-FOOT TAPEWORM LINKED TO THIS EATING HABIT

Eventually, that leak causes low brain fluid, which leads to headaches when standing or sitting as the brain has less fluid to cushion it.

Although likely an under-reported condition, one number estimates 5 cases per 100,000 people, states the NORD. Typically, fluid leaks through a small tear in the connective tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord, called the spinal dura.

In this woman’s case, doctors confirmed their suspicions when they saw pockets of excess fluid on an MRI of the spine. A CT scan also showed localized bleeding.

The study authors noted that most cases should identify where the tear happened so that doctors can treat it with a blood patch. The patch would use the patient’s own blood to repair the hole in the connective tissue.

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But in this case, the woman’s symptoms improved with only bed rest and caffeinated drinks. She was released after 2 weeks in the hospital and showed no abnormal signs or images in her follow-up appointment.

Now only one question remains: does Pilates pose a risk for leaking brain fluid? It’s possible. But the case authors state that this is the first case of its kind.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090043629001_6090040762001-vs Why a woman's brain started leaking after Pilates Manny Alvarez fox-news/health/medical-mysteries-marvels fox news fnc/health fnc b48c2ac0-2e32-561a-9d86-489680c7bc42 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090043629001_6090040762001-vs Why a woman's brain started leaking after Pilates Manny Alvarez fox-news/health/medical-mysteries-marvels fox news fnc/health fnc b48c2ac0-2e32-561a-9d86-489680c7bc42 article

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

An Explosion in Online Child Sex Abuse: What You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group 29child-takeaways-oak-facebookJumbo An Explosion in Online Child Sex Abuse: What You Need to Know Tumblr Snap Inc Facebook Inc Cyberharassment Computers and the Internet Child Abuse and Neglect

Tech companies are reporting a boom in online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — a record 45 million illegal images were flagged last year alone — exposing a system at a breaking point and unable to keep up with the perpetrators, an investigation by The New York Times found.

The spiraling activity can be attributed in part to a neglectful federal government, overwhelmed law enforcement agencies and struggling tech companies. And while global in scope, the problem is firmly rooted in the United States because of the role Silicon Valley plays in both the spread and detection of the material. Here are six key takeaways.

While the problem predates the internet, smartphone cameras, social media and cloud storage have made it much worse.

Before the digital age, offenders had to rely on having photographs developed and sending them through the postal system, but new technologies have lowered the barriers to creating, sharing and amassing the material, pushing it to unprecedented levels.

After years of uneven monitoring, major tech companies have stepped up surveillance of their platforms and have found them to be riddled with the content.

Read The Times’s investigation into the crisis.
The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?

Sept. 28, 2019

Criminals are increasingly “going dark” to hide their tracks. They are using virtual private networks to mask their locations; deploying encryption techniques to obscure their messages and make their hard drives impenetrable; and posting on the so-called dark web, the vast underbelly of the internet, which is inaccessible to conventional browsers.

As the technologies lower people’s inhibitions, online groups are sharing images of younger children and more extreme forms of abuse.

“Historically, you would never have gone to a black market shop and asked, ‘I want real hard-core with 3-year-olds,’” said Yolanda Lippert, a prosecutor in Illinois who leads a team investigating online child abuse. “But now you can sit seemingly secure on your device searching for this stuff, trading for it.”

Congress passed a landmark law in 2008 that foresaw many of today’s problems, but The Times found that the federal government had not fulfilled major aspects of the legislation. Annual funding for state and regional investigations was authorized at $60 million, but only about half of that is regularly approved.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a sponsor of the law’s reauthorization, said there was “no adequate or logical explanation and no excuse” for why more money was not allocated. Even $60 million a year, he said, would now be “vastly inadequate.”

Another cornerstone of the law, biennial strategy reports by the Justice Department, was mostly ignored. And although a senior executive-level official was to oversee the federal response at the Justice Department, that has not happened.

The Justice Department’s coordinator for child exploitation prevention, Stacie B. Harris, said she could not explain the poor record. A spokeswoman for the department, citing limited resources, said the reports would now be written every four years beginning in 2020.

With so many reports of the images coming their way, police departments across the country are besieged. Some have managed their workload by focusing efforts on imagery depicting the youngest, most vulnerable victims.

“We go home and think, ‘Good grief, the fact that we have to prioritize by age is just really disturbing,’” said Detective Paula Meares, who has investigated child sex crimes for more than 10 years at the Los Angeles Police Department.

About one of every 10 agents in Homeland Security’s investigative section is assigned to child sexual exploitation cases, officials said, a clear indication of how big the problem is.

“We could double our numbers and still be getting crushed,” said Jonathan Hendrix, a Homeland Security agent who investigates cases in Nashville.

Science sheds light on the problem.
Preying on Children: The Emerging Psychology of Pedophiles

Sept. 29, 2019

Police records and emails, as well as interviews with nearly three dozen law enforcement officials, show that some tech companies can take weeks or months to respond to questions from the authorities, if they respond at all. Some do not retain essential information about what they find.

Law enforcement records shared with The Times show that Tumblr was one of the least cooperative companies. In one case, Tumblr alerted a person who had uploaded explicit images that the account had been referred to the authorities, a practice that a former employee told The Times was common for years. The tip allowed the man to destroy evidence, the police said.

A spokeswoman for Verizon said that Tumblr prioritized time-sensitive cases, which delayed other responses. Since Verizon acquired the company in 2017, the spokeswoman said, its practice was not to alert users of police requests for data. Verizon recently sold Tumblr to the web development company Automattic.

Facebook Messenger was responsible for nearly two-thirds of reports in 2018. And earlier this year, the company announced that it planned to begin encrypting messages, which would make them even harder to police.

Facebook has long known about abuse images on its platforms, including a video of a man sexually assaulting a 6-year-old that went viral last year on Messenger. When Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, announced the move to encryption, he acknowledged the risk it presented for “truly terrible things like child exploitation.”

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

32nd horse dies at Southern California racetrack in less than a year

A horse was euthanized Saturday after breaking both front legs during a race at Southern California’s Santa Anita racetrack, becoming the 32nd to die at the track since December.

Emtech, a 3-year-old colt, fell to the ground during the 8th race on the second day of Santa Anita’s fall meet.

“As is protocol at Santa Anita, we will open an immediate review into what factors could have contributed to Emtech’s injury,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinarian for the Stronach Group. “Santa Anita will work closely with the California Horse Racing Board and will continue to brief our stakeholders and all of our constituents.”

Westlake Legal Group 17cc64ee-AP19271847729768 32nd horse dies at Southern California racetrack in less than a year fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/sports/horse-racing fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc Brie Stimson article 9dcc09a1-36f0-5821-bab0-1a063d0370eb

Track personnel attend Emtech, a 3-year-old colt, after he went down in the stretch at Santa Anita Race rack in the eighth race in Arcadia, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 and tossed two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Mario Gutierrez. Gutierrez, the 32-year-old rider who won the Kentucky Derby in 2012 and 2016, was taken away by ambulance. (AP Photo/Beth Harris)

JUSTIFY FAILED DRUG TEST WEEKS BEFORE WINNING KENTUCKY DERBY, TRIPLE CROWN: REPORT

Benson said the horse will undergo a necropsy, mandatory for on-track deaths.

Emtech was euthanized on the track behind a green screen.

The racing death was the first in Southern California since Truffalino died on June 9 at Santa Anita. There were also six training deaths over the summer, four at Del Mar and two at Santa Anita.

The latest Santa Anita training death was on Sept. 16.

The unusually high number of deaths has put the racetrack (and horse racing in general) under scrutiny and has prompted some to call for the track’s closure.

Emtech’s jockey, two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez, was thrown in the incident but uninjured.

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The track will host the Breeder’s Cup the first weekend of November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19271847729768 32nd horse dies at Southern California racetrack in less than a year fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/sports/horse-racing fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc Brie Stimson article 9dcc09a1-36f0-5821-bab0-1a063d0370eb   Westlake Legal Group AP19271847729768 32nd horse dies at Southern California racetrack in less than a year fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/sports/horse-racing fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc Brie Stimson article 9dcc09a1-36f0-5821-bab0-1a063d0370eb

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Matthew Whitaker: Our men and women in blue deserve Americans’ support now more than ever

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6088459324001_6088457198001-vs Matthew Whitaker: Our men and women in blue deserve Americans' support now more than ever Matthew Whitaker fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article aaca41bd-ad8e-5a97-8804-42334580f575

To inspire all citizens to value law enforcement: that is the vision statement of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which supports the memorial to fallen law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C.

When I served as a prosecutor in Des Moines, Iowa and ultimately served as the acting attorney general of the United States, I viewed firsthand the professionalism and dedication of police officers and sheriffs’ deputies across the country. I repeatedly shared with them how the U.S. Department of Justice has their back and they have the thanks of a grateful nation.

Unfortunately, we have recently seen too many examples of a complete lack of disrespect for the men and women in blue.

NYPD USES TECH TO GAUGE CITIZENS’ SENSE OF SAFETY: IT’S A ‘SHARED RESPONSIBILITY’

After a shootout and standoff in Philadelphia, several people near the scene in the Nicetown neighborhood taunted and laughed at the officers whose fellow officers had just been wounded.

NYPD officers have been doused with water, soaked with milk, pelted with Chinese takeout, cursed at and assaulted in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill vowed recently that “These incidents of disrespect, we cannot tolerate them. There has to be consequences for them, and it has to stop.”

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While hundreds of thousands protested climate change around the world and in Portland, Oregon, a faction of masked Antifa militants dressed in black harassed police officers.

More from Opinion

As U.S. Attorney William McSwain of Pennsylvania’s Eastern District pointed out in a recent statement, we have a “new culture of disrespect for law enforcement.”

This breaks my heart. When a police officer or sheriff’s deputy approaches a car at night or knocks on a door for a welfare check or to serve a warrant, that officer or deputy hopes for the best and fears the worst. Their family is often left holding their breath until they return home after their shift is over.

And yet, it’s disturbing that three of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Tom Steyer) still say that Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson committed murder in shooting criminal suspect Michael Brown. Their position is completely at odds with the findings of the Department of Justice’s investigation of that incident.

Obama’s Justice Department, led by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, issued its own report, ruling it self-defense. This was despite that department’s repeated friction with local and state law enforcement throughout Obama’s presidency.

On the other side is President Trump, who has been an unwavering supporter of law enforcement. The motto of the Fraternal Order of Police is “Jus, fidus, libertatum.” Translated, it means, “Law is the safeguard of freedom.” President Trump has been steadfast in backing the blue and the Department of Justice under his leadership continues to fulfill his commitment to law enforcement.

No matter what your political persuasion, we should all agree that public safety is a high priority for all Americans. Every American child should be able to play in their front yard, free from the fear of neighborhood violence.

 CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

That is why I specifically call on my fellow Americans to follow the lead of 8-year-old Rosalyn Baldwin, who travels all across the United States, hugging as many police officers as she can.

We must return to a culture that respects and supports law enforcement in its critical mission. We must back the men and women in blue.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY MATTHEW WHITAKER

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6088459324001_6088457198001-vs Matthew Whitaker: Our men and women in blue deserve Americans' support now more than ever Matthew Whitaker fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article aaca41bd-ad8e-5a97-8804-42334580f575   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6088459324001_6088457198001-vs Matthew Whitaker: Our men and women in blue deserve Americans' support now more than ever Matthew Whitaker fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article aaca41bd-ad8e-5a97-8804-42334580f575

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

An Explosion in Online Child Sex Abuse: What You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group 29child-takeaways-oak-facebookJumbo An Explosion in Online Child Sex Abuse: What You Need to Know Tumblr Snap Inc Facebook Inc Cyberharassment Computers and the Internet Child Abuse and Neglect

Tech companies are reporting a boom in online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — a record 45 million illegal images were flagged last year alone — exposing a system at a breaking point and unable to keep up with the perpetrators, an investigation by The New York Times found.

The spiraling activity can be attributed in part to a neglectful federal government, overwhelmed law enforcement agencies and struggling tech companies. And while global in scope, the problem is firmly rooted in the United States because of the role Silicon Valley plays in both the spread and detection of the material. Here are six key takeaways.

While the problem predates the internet, smartphone cameras, social media and cloud storage have made it much worse.

Before the digital age, offenders had to rely on having photographs developed and sending them through the postal system, but new technologies have lowered the barriers to creating, sharing and amassing the material, pushing it to unprecedented levels.

After years of uneven monitoring, major tech companies have stepped up surveillance of their platforms and have found them to be riddled with the content.

Read The Times’s investigation into the crisis.
The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?

Sept. 28, 2019

Criminals are increasingly “going dark” to hide their tracks. They are using virtual private networks to mask their locations; deploying encryption techniques to obscure their messages and make their hard drives impenetrable; and posting on the so-called dark web, the vast underbelly of the internet, which is inaccessible to conventional browsers.

As the technologies lower people’s inhibitions, online groups are sharing images of younger children and more extreme forms of abuse.

“Historically, you would never have gone to a black market shop and asked, ‘I want real hard-core with 3-year-olds,’” said Yolanda Lippert, a prosecutor in Illinois who leads a team investigating online child abuse. “But now you can sit seemingly secure on your device searching for this stuff, trading for it.”

Congress passed a landmark law in 2008 that foresaw many of today’s problems, but The Times found that the federal government had not fulfilled major aspects of the legislation. Annual funding for state and regional investigations was authorized at $60 million, but only about half of that is regularly approved.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a sponsor of the law’s reauthorization, said there was “no adequate or logical explanation and no excuse” for why more money was not allocated. Even $60 million a year, he said, would now be “vastly inadequate.”

Another cornerstone of the law, biennial strategy reports by the Justice Department, was mostly ignored. And although a senior executive-level official was to oversee the federal response at the Justice Department, that has not happened.

The Justice Department’s coordinator for child exploitation prevention, Stacie B. Harris, said she could not explain the poor record. A spokeswoman for the department, citing limited resources, said the reports would now be written every four years beginning in 2020.

With so many reports of the images coming their way, police departments across the country are besieged. Some have managed their workload by focusing efforts on imagery depicting the youngest, most vulnerable victims.

“We go home and think, ‘Good grief, the fact that we have to prioritize by age is just really disturbing,’” said Detective Paula Meares, who has investigated child sex crimes for more than 10 years at the Los Angeles Police Department.

About one of every 10 agents in Homeland Security’s investigative section is assigned to child sexual exploitation cases, officials said, a clear indication of how big the problem is.

“We could double our numbers and still be getting crushed,” said Jonathan Hendrix, a Homeland Security agent who investigates cases in Nashville.

Science sheds light on the problem.
Preying on Children: The Emerging Psychology of Pedophiles

Sept. 29, 2019

Police records and emails, as well as interviews with nearly three dozen law enforcement officials, show that some tech companies can take weeks or months to respond to questions from the authorities, if they respond at all. Some do not retain essential information about what they find.

Law enforcement records shared with The Times show that Tumblr was one of the least cooperative companies. In one case, Tumblr alerted a person who had uploaded explicit images that the account had been referred to the authorities, a practice that a former employee told The Times was common for years. The tip allowed the man to destroy evidence, the police said.

A spokeswoman for Verizon said that Tumblr prioritized time-sensitive cases, which delayed other responses. Since Verizon acquired the company in 2017, the spokeswoman said, its practice was not to alert users of police requests for data. Verizon recently sold Tumblr to the web development company Automattic.

Facebook Messenger was responsible for nearly two-thirds of reports in 2018. And earlier this year, the company announced that it planned to begin encrypting messages, which would make them even harder to police.

Facebook has long known about abuse images on its platforms, including a video of a man sexually assaulting a 6-year-old that went viral last year on Messenger. When Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, announced the move to encryption, he acknowledged the risk it presented for “truly terrible things like child exploitation.”

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Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here’s the plan, timeline and key players

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here's the plan, timeline and key players

From the moment Donald Trump became a national political figure, he has been cloaked in controversy and shadowed by investigations. Now Trump is facing a high-velocity threat like none that has come before. (Sept. 27) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants to move “expeditiously” on the impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

At the center of the inquiry, which was launched last week, is a complaint from an unidentified intelligence agency official. The complaint accuses Trump of having “used the power of his office” to solicit foreign interference to discredit Biden, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner. It also alleges that White House officials sought to “lock down” records of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the president urged Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, who once had business interests in Ukraine.

Trump contends he did nothing improper and accuses Democrats of wanting to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Some lawmakers want the House to decide whether to file articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving, a timeline that could avoid having the issue spill over into the 2020 election year.

Here’s what we know about the process, what’s happening next and the key players:

What is an impeachment inquiry?

Basically, an impeachment inquiry is the fact-finding stage of the impeachment process and largely what House Democrats have been doing for months on various other matters involving Trump. 

Since taking over the House after the 2018 midterms, six House committees have been investigating a series of allegations against the president, including whether Trump obstructed justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether he profited unconstitutionally from his namesake business while in office and whether he violated campaign laws by paying hush money to a porn actress before the election.

And Pelosi has said the Ukraine matter would be the primary target of any possible impeachment charges. 

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here's the plan, timeline and key players

Impeaching a U.S. president might not be the be-all-end-all for their career. We explain why this is the case. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

The plan for now, according to lawmakers, is to prioritize the Ukraine investigation, which is being led by the House Intelligence Committee, while other panels wrap up their probes and send their best cases to the House Judiciary Committee.  

Then lawmakers will decide whether to bring forward articles of impeachment, which would require a full House vote. If it passes, Trump would be impeached – sort of like a criminal indictment. 

The process then would shift to the Senate, where an impeachment trial would take place. Basically, House lawmakers would act as prosecutors and senators as the jury for a trial deciding whether to remove Trump from office. After the trial, senators would take a vote. A two-thirds majority is needed for Trump to be removed from office.

While the Constitution puts the responsibility of holding an impeachment trial in the hands of the Senate, there has been some speculation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might refuse to hold a trial.

McConnell was asked last March by NPR – before the Ukraine allegation surfaced – about what he saw as the Senate’s responsibility. McConnell said at the time that he thought the Senate would have “no choice” on the matter, saying if articles pass the House it would move to the Senate and it “immediately goes into a trial.”

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What’s happening next?

Despite Congress going on a two-week recess, things are moving rapidly. A series of depositions are scheduled with some of the figures wrapped up in the Ukraine scandal, one hearing is scheduled and a host of new subpoenas could be filed next week, not to mention the first subpoena in the matter being sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday. 

The chairmen of the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight and Reform committees gave Pompeo until Oct. 4 to hand over documents about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky. 

The chairmen – Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. – also plan depositions for five State Department officials over the break: (more on these folks below!)

•Oct. 2: Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine.

•Oct. 3: Kurt Volker, a special representative for Ukraine who played a role arranging meetings between Giuliani and Zelensky’s representatives.

•Oct. 7: Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent.

•Oct. 8: Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, who listened to the Ukraine call, according to the whistleblower complaint.

•Oct. 10: Ambassador Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union.

Along with the depositions, which will be taken in private, the House Intelligence Committee also scheduled a hearing on Oct. 4 with Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, who received the whistleblower’s complaint about Trump and deemed it credible and urgent. The hearing will also take place behind closed doors. 

Other hearings could be scheduled but Schiff told reporters Friday the panel has to determine who else will testify voluntarily and who will require a subpoena.

All of the movement in Washington will happen as most of Congress is back home on a two-week break. Some lawmakers voiced concern about the timing of the recess, noting that getting to the bottom of this was urgent, momentum was building on the investigation and leaving the Capitol could shift focus. 

But, House leadership said the break was an important chance for lawmakers to explain to their constituents what was happening and why, especially in swing districts and for members who flipped seats from conservative grasp in the midterm election. 

“I think it’s very important that members go home to their constituents and explain what they are thinking,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “This is a matter of grave importance and the American people need to understand what is occurring.”

It’s also a chance to possibly sway public opinion on the issue as voters remain fairly split on impeaching Trump. 

Who are lawmakers questioning?

Lawmakers have a whole host of questions and as they learn more, the questions only seem to grow. 

Members of the House Intelligence Committee say some of their priorities are: identifying the estimated dozen officials who were on Trump’s telephone call with the Ukrainian president and questioning them, getting additional documents about the phone call, talking with those officials mentioned in the whistleblower complaint, including the officials in the White House who were troubled by the president’s conduct and hearing from current and former intelligence officials, who could outline whether notes were handled differently for the Ukraine call.

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here's the plan, timeline and key players

The whistleblower’s complaint that sparked an impeachment inquiry into President Trump has been released. USA TODAY

The White House has acknowledged that a summary of the call was placed into a highly secure system usually reserved for classified information pertaining to extremely sensitive national security matters. 

For now, the House has scheduled a series of depositions and one hearing with some of the officials wrapped up in the scandal. Here’s more about them: 

Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch: Yovanovitch is a career diplomat and the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was pulled from her post in May after working years under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” in his July phone call with the Ukrainian president, which followed reports in conservative media that Yovanovitch was disloyal to Trump. She is scheduled to be deposed by Congress on Oct. 2 

Kurt Volker: Volker was a special representative for Ukraine and played a role arranging meetings between Giuliani and Zelensky’s representatives. He resigned on Friday after his name was mentioned in the whistleblower complaint and Giuliani posted private text messages, showing Volker introduced him to a top adviser to the Ukrainian president. The whistleblower complaint also notes that Volker tried to “contain the damage” Giuliani was doing in his efforts to uncover wrongdoing by Biden. He is scheduled to be deposed by Congress on Oct. 3. 

George Kent: Kent is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at State Department. His job entails, among other things, overseeing policy toward Ukraine. He previously worked as an anti-corruption coordinator for the State Department that specifically targeted Europe. He spoke about the delay in releasing military aid to Ukraine, explaining to Voice of America that it was due to “some issues” with the “the U.S. budgetary process” but that they were “being sorted out.” The delayed aid is one of the things House Democrats are investigating as to whether there was a quid pro quo with Trump giving the aid in return for an investigation into Biden. He is scheduled to be deposed by Congress on Oct. 7. 

• T. Ulrich Brechbuhl: Brechbuhl works as the Counselor of the State Department, meaning he provides strategic guidance to the Secretary of State on foreign policy, diplomacy and public outreach. He is said to be one of the officials who was on the call as Trump spoke to Ukraine’s president, according to the whistleblower complaint. He is scheduled to be deposed by Congress on Oct. 8. 

• Gordon Sondland: Sondland is the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. The whistleblower said Sondland, along with Volker, had met with Giuliani to try to “contain the damage” his efforts on Biden were having on U.S. national security. The whistleblower said Volker and Sondland also met with Ukrainian officials to help them navigate the “differing messages” they were getting through official U.S. government channels and Giuliani’s private outreach. He is scheduled to be deposed by Congress on Oct. 10. 

Michael Atkinson: The House has scheduled a private hearing on Oct. 4 with Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community. Atkinson was the official who received the whistleblower and found it to be credible and of urgent concern. He recommended that the be shared with lawmakers, leading him to clash with his boss, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who overruled this determination. The complaint was later shared with Congress and the public after the impasse was made public. 

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The Trump administration released the transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. USA TODAY

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Newt Gingrich: Fox News documentary Sunday night shows how Contract with America changed US

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Editor’s Note: Fox News Channel will broadcast a documentary titled “Inside the Contract with America 25th Anniversary” at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday. In 1994 Newt Gingrich led Republicans to one of the most stunning electoral victories in American history. Twenty-five years later he and his team reveal the inside story of how their Contract with America ended 40 years of House Democratic rule and changed our politics forever.

I am delighted that Fox News Channel will air a special program at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday on the 25th anniversary of the Contract with America.

It is also the topic of this week’s “Newt’s World” podcast.

We are once again in a period where there are big decisions to be made and big questions to be answered.

HOW NEWT BEAT BERNIE IN BATTLE OF IDEAS: NEW DOC ON 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘CONTRACT WITH AMERICA’

When you look back on what happened with the Contract with America and the 1994 election, it was a moment of decisive change.

Think about this: For 40 years, from the election of 1954 to the election of 1994, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives. This period included President Eisenhower’s reelection, President Nixon’s election, President Reagan’s election and reelection, and the election of President George H. W. Bush.

At the time in our history, no matter what the Republicans were doing at the presidential level, and to some extent in the Senate, we just could never become the majority party in the House.

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Yet, suddenly we were able to achieve something historic. Forty years of Democratic control ceased in one evening. A major part of this was the adoption of the Contract with America by the House Republicans. The contract was important, first of all, because it was about things the American people wanted.

It was about balancing the budget. It was about reforming the Congress and the welfare system. It was about cutting taxes. It had a series of steps that 70 percent or 80 percent of American people really wanted to have Congress take – and they knew that after 40 years, the Democrats had failed to take them.

After four decades, exhaustion had set in and the American people were ready for something new.

It was also historic because it decisively shifted the balance of power. For 40 years, people knew the Democrats were in charge of the House. If you were a Republican considering a run for Congress, you knew at the time that you were running to serve in the minority.

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By contrast, if you were a Democratic House candidate, you took for granted that you would serve in the majority. This meant it was much easier for Democrats to recruit – and much harder to recruit Republicans. These facts had become self-fulfilling prophecies. But they all changed 25 years ago.

So, please watch the Fox News special and listen to my podcast to learn all about how the Contract with America came about. I think it will be a great civics lesson for the American people – and a great blueprint for Republicans running in 2020.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM NEWT GINGRICH

Westlake Legal Group Newt-Gingrich-AP Newt Gingrich: Fox News documentary Sunday night shows how Contract with America changed US Newt Gingrich fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/opinion fox-news/media fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/opinion fnc f688f1ee-36a4-5f05-945c-0776e34287e5 article   Westlake Legal Group Newt-Gingrich-AP Newt Gingrich: Fox News documentary Sunday night shows how Contract with America changed US Newt Gingrich fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/opinion fox-news/media fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/opinion fnc f688f1ee-36a4-5f05-945c-0776e34287e5 article

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