House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to President Donald Trump’s comments about his top Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony, writing on Twitter, “Everybody has read your words on the call.”
Pelosi notes that in the summary of the July 25 call released by the White House, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asks for military aid to fight back against a Russian invasion, to which Trump replies “I want you to do us a favor though” and asks for investigations into his political opponents.
Earlier Tuesday, the president had tweeted criticism of Vindman.
“Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible!” the president tweeted of Vindman’s planned testimony, also calling him a “Never Trumper.”
Vindman plans to tell the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence Committees he was “concerned” by the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman wrote. A copy of his planned testimony for Tuesday was obtained Monday evening by USA TODAY.
“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained,” Vindman wrote in his testimony. “This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.”
Police departments across the U.S. are asking residents to register their security cameras so they can quickly request footage if an incident occurs nearby. USA TODAY
LIVONIA, Mich. – Less than five hours.
That’s all it took Livonia Police to arrest a man, who hours earlier was caught on video posted on Ring’s Neighbors app rummaging through the bed of a pickup parked in a driveway.
Detectives quickly recognized 60-year-old Jeffrey Couch when they saw the video posted by an app user in mid-August. Within a week, he pleaded no contest in court to two attempted larceny charges and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
“I truly believe this is the Neighborhood Watch of 2020,” said Livonia Police Capt. Ronald Taig, whose force was one of the first law enforcement agencies in Michigan — and is one of more than 400 across the country — to partner with the Ring Neighbors app, owned by Amazon.
Recognizing the growing proliferation of home security cameras — in doorbells, on floodlights and porches and at back doors — many law enforcement agencies are jumping on the latest tech bandwagon to spot possible crime trends, share safety information and request videos from app users in an effort to stave off and solve crimes.
But Amazon’s Ring app (and others like it) and the idea of law enforcement joining the “real-time crime and safety alerts” community is raising concerns about privacy, profiling, less than transparent public-private partnerships and what critics see is another step closer to a Big Brother police state.
Among the worries of some critics is video captured by Ring and other security systems being stored online by Amazon and other companies, adding to the mass of personal information being collected from all of us.
“If people wanna have alarm systems, that’s fine. A centrally-connected alarm system beyond property and on driveways and streets into Amazon’s cloud, that’s different than on your property or door,” said Chris Gilliard, a professor at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.
Gilliard has been critical of Amazon and Ring, but is aware of some of the advantages of assistance to police.
“Part of where my concern starts is the secretive way this all came about. Amazon did not (initially) tell the number of police across the country they’ve partnered with. That’s no way a public service should operate,” he said.
Earlier this month, more than 30 civil rights groups in the U.S. signed a letter with concerns, saying the police partnerships “exemplify the company’s willingness to do what it takes to expand their data empire … Amazon Ring partnerships with police departments threaten civil liberties, privacy and civil rights, and exist without oversight or accountability.”
In the letter, the groups claim the partnerships “pose a serious threat to civil rights and liberties, especially for black and brown communities already targeted and surveilled by law enforcement.”
Ring disputes many of the claims in the letter, saying its mission is to help make neighborhoods safer, including the free app tool that connects communities and their local law enforcement agencies.
“We have taken care to design these features in a way that keeps users in control and protects their privacy. The Neighbors app has strict community guidelines, trained moderators, user flagging capabilities and other tools in place to create a safe place for all members of the community to talk about what’s happening in their neighborhoods,” Ring said in a statement.
“All content submitted to our app is reviewed to ensure that it adheres to our community guidelines, including our policies against racial profiling and prohibiting hate speech or other forms of prejudice before it goes live on the platform. We take this very seriously and have invested many resources, tools, and human power to ensure we uphold a standard of trust and civility,” the statement said.
Michael Siegel of Detroit is a proponent, having multiple Ring cameras at his west-side home. He bought them “to give me peace of mind” and for “deterrence.”
His cameras caught a man who came up his driveway and checked out his vehicle. He said the man looked right at a camera and stared at it.
“It was amazing that he didn’t care,” Siegel said, but added that he believes the cameras are helpful and beneficial.
Siegel said he doesn’t have concerns about the police partnership, saying his only issue would be “if they had the ability to tap into your home private network.”
‘We all wanna live in Mayberry, but we don’t’
More than 400 law enforcement agencies across the country have joined the app as partners, including about 20 in Michigan — all in the Lower Peninsula — from Kentwood and Kalamazoo to Grand Blanc and St. Clair.
In August, Ring released a map showing law enforcement partners across the country. The map appears to be updated, with more than a dozen of Michigan’s police partners in metro Detroit including Livonia, Ferndale, Troy, Auburn Hills and Clinton Township. Others police departments, such as Birmingham and Sterling Heights, have discussed using the app or are making further inquiries about it.
Gilliard said he wasn’t aware of any law enforcement agencies across the country that have said no to participating, but a few haven’t said yes — yet.
Ring launched the Neighbors app in May 2018, and anyone can download and use it, whether or not they have a security system. Law enforcement can join, too, and view comments or video that users post inside and outside their jurisdiction.
A look earlier this month at what Taig saw in Livonia showed a video that indicated an unknown man backed into someone’s driveway, then went into the yard for an unknown reason and was talking on a cellphone. More than a dozen other situations in the city posted by users were listed as “suspicious,” “unknown visitor” and “crime.”
Users are identified as Neighbor No., not with a name or exact address. Law enforcement can post alerts and submit video requests to users in their jurisdiction.
Law enforcement goes through Ring to make a video request and must reference a relevant case and videos within a limited time and area. Ring doesn’t provide information about users unless a user chooses to share video with police. Then, the user’s email and address are disclosed.
Users can say no and opt out of future requests. Police said they don’t have direct access to a user’s cameras or system.
The Free Press couldn’t find any examples of law enforcement using a warrant to obtain video from this partnership, but would likely have the legal right to do so. Authorities can use warrants, for example, to obtain cellphone records, other types of videos and to search computers.
CNET, an online news site covering tech, culture and science, had an article in June that discussed a post by Houston Police and a Ring doorbell camera giveaway that the department posted on NextDoor, another social network for neighborhoods. Among the requirements to win a free Ring doorbell camera, were signing up for the Ring video recording plan for $30 a year or $3 a month and allowing “HPD to access the cameras when a crime occurs when we request it.”
According to the CNET article, “Ring said that it doesn’t support this model and that it was reaching out to police partners to make sure this wasn’t a requirement for Ring giveaways.”
Livonia Police was giving away Ring doorbell cameras monthly while supplies lasted. Some other departments in the region said they do not participate in such giveaways.
The Free Press asked Ring that, if deemed necessary, can law enforcement obtain video they believe Ring may have from an user for an investigation.
“Ring will not disclose user videos to law enforcement unless the user expressly consents or if disclosure is required by law, such as to comply with a warrant,” Ring said in a statement. “Ring objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate legal demands as a matter of course.”
How other departments use Ring app
The Detroit Police Department is listed on the map. It signed an agreement, which was executed in May, “but that doesn’t mean the officers have the authority to use it.” Deputy Chief Grant Ha said.
Ha said while some people have been trained on how to use the app, the department is developing policies and standard operating procedures. Ha said once the policies and procedures have been completed, possibly this year, they will have to be reviewed by himself, the chief and the Board of Police Commissioners.
Ha said the app may be used for serious crimes, such as murder and arson, and may be restricted to those who work in certain units or bureaus, such as homicide. He said it could bring “an additional investigative tool to communicate with the neighbors on crimes and safety, put a finger on it in real time.”
When asked whether an image on a video obtained through the app may be tied into facial recognition technology, Ha said it would depend on whether there is a clear enough image on whatever video is posted if that still shot could be taken for facial recognition analysis.
He said it would be no different than seeing something on Facebook – if it’s a particular crime and the image is of a good enough resolution – to analyze.
“It not the investigative tool, but an investigative tool,” Ha said.
Ferndale (Mich.) Policestarting using the app in mid-September and put out a request for information about a rash of larcenies from several dozen unlocked vehicles. The department received a few responses, but none proved fruitful, Sgt. Baron Brown said.
But, one time, it may. “We get the environment in which we operate. We’re very careful to live up to the expectations of our community,” Brown said. “We are not gonna use it willy-nilly in a Big Brother aspect. We’re really gonna use it carefully.”
“I get people are worried and I understand that, and we operate kinda keeping them in mind,” he said. “But we need to use modern technology to do our job.”
Brown said only he, the detective lieutenant and the captain are allowed to use the app and only in the “most serious situation.”
One example, had it been available then to Ferndale Police, was the disappearance and murder of Ferndale mom Lily Camara in July. Police could have asked users to check for video in that unsolved case. Perhaps it would have garnered video of Camara leaving her house and with whom, if she returned, a vehicle description – even her demeanor.
“We don’t know, that’s the thing. That’s why we’re using this technology,” Brown said. “It might have given us this type of information. It might give us more information to prevent something like this.”
“We all wanna live in Mayberry,” he said, “but we don’t.”
Troy (Mich.) Police Sgt. Meghan Lehman said the department is using the app, but “not very aggressively.”
“This is just another tool for us,” she said. “Like we use social media, but it’s a very specific group.”
Lehman said the department requested video footage related to a home invasion after a person broke into a house at night, touched a sleeping female resident, walked around the house and left. It put out a message to all residents in that particular neighborhood who are on the Neighbors app, she said, but it had not led to an arrest.
Only a handful of people within Troy Police can use the app, Lehman said.
“I totally understand people’s concerns” over the Big Brother fears, Lehman said. She also understands what is considered “one person’s suspicious (person) could be another person’s meter reader.”
Lehman said a con of the app is that people could misunderstand police are actively monitoring this, “which we’re not. If we were monitoring people’s cameras and had access to people’s cameras that would be different.”
At the Livonia Police Department,Taig said, the partnership has been “nothing but successful for us,” leading to multiple arrests from people sharing video, such as of people stealing packages. He and two command officers running the detective bureau check and post on the app.
Taig said he likes to interact with app users, and he doesn’t believe it feeds into the idea of people thinking there’s more crime in a community than is actually occurring, as some critics have charged. He said no one is forced to buy and use such cameras.
“At the end of the day, as far as I look at it, if I’m a crime victim, there’s at least a chance to get this person because we have them on video,” he said. “It’s probably not for everybody.”
‘There is a big brother aspect to it’
Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, said Ring “plays on people’s fears about home security and so partnering with the police is smart for them. It sends a message we’re here to help, and certainly for the police, anytime they can get video, it’s helpful to them.”
Henning said most citizens will want to provide video because they want to help the police.
The pro for law enforcement is they get access to real-time evidence, he said, “and that’s the greatest benefit to them. They can use that to identify a potential suspect.”
“The con,” Henning said, “is that there’s a certain loss of privacy (for the homeowner). I don’t have to provide it to the police, but if I choose to, I could be called to testify at a trial. This is evidence. But in court, it has to be verified. … That could involve individuals in the criminal process much more than they might have ever expected.”
Henning added: “There is a Big Brother aspect to it. Do we want everything out there? And do I want to get caught up in a case?”
He said that police cannot demand the video — unless they have a warrant.
But the 30-plus groups critical of the partnership believe Amazon’s technology creates “a seamless and easily automated experience for police to request and access footage without a warrant, and then store it indefinitely,” according to their letter.
They state that they believe the footage could be used by law enforcement to conduct facial recognition searches, target protesters exercising their First Amendment rights or share with other agencies, such as ICE or the FBI. They are calling on mayors and city councils to require police to cancel existing partnerships and pass surveillance oversight ordinances.
The groups also claim that Amazon scripts what authorities say and coaches police on talking points to get users to hand over footage.
Ring, in a statement, said this is inaccurate; and that it does not script what law enforcement says.
“We provide them with materials and information about our products and services to help ensure they are accurately represented to the public, but we do not require them to use that information,” according to the statement.
“Ring also does not require or force police to promote our products, nor do we dictate what police should say regarding Ring and Neighbors app. The claim that we coach police in order to get customers to hand over their footage is false. Customers choose whether or not they want to share footage” it states.
Samer Naim Jadallah, an attorney who represented Couch in the Livonia case, said once suspects are presented with any video footage of them committing a crime “they become speechless and want to resolve the matter.”
However, he said, attorneys have also used camera footage to exonerate people, too.
Jadallah said that he has found that citizens in the region are volunteering if they have video and saw something that might be helpful to police. He said he can see the app being a useful resource to help police.
In his experience, he said, very seldom have police harassed a neighbor for video.
Jadallah said of the 20 houses on his block in Dearborn, more than half have security camera systems.
He said he could see problems if cameras capture a moment without context. For example, a couple wrestling for fun and caught on a neighbor’s camera, and police being called to the home for domestic violence.
“I tell all my clients, we are in a world right now, there is a potential of being watched 24 hours a day,” he said. “Sometimes when you think you’re in the privacy of your property, you’re not.”
Contact Christina Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/10/29/amazon-ring-doorbell-cams-police-home-security/2493974001/
Ezra Maes, a U.S. soldier who severed his own leg so he could to help his injured crewmates after a tank crash, was called “the pinnacle of a resilient American soldier” by his doctor on “Fox & Friends.”
“I was probably more frazzled than he was when he and I first met because I understood that the infection that he had in the residual right limb could easily kill him,” Dr. Joseph Alderete said.
Alderete, the surgeon who operated on him, said despite the circumstances, Maes had a positive outlook.
Army Spc. Maes, 21, who grew up in Colorado and New Mexico, was on a weeklong rotation in Slovakia while deployed to Poland last year. The armor crewman served as a loader for the main cannon of an M1A2 Abrams tank.
Thrown across the tank, Maes’ right leg became lodged in the gearing under the tank. Maes said when his comrades called for his help, he freed himself, describing the severing of his leg as “getting a loose tooth off.”
“The entire feeling was … [to do] everything we could to just kind of relax ourselves and not make a big panic out of it. We knew if we panicked, we’d probably die,” Maes said.
In his first TV interview since the freak accident, Maes went on to say, “Once we were found, it just turned to all jokes and laughter. We were all just so happy to be alive. That was the main feeling that was going on.”
The specialist has since been immersed in physical and occupational therapy at the Center for the Intrepid, the medical center’s outpatient rehabilitation center.
Fox News’ Melissa Leon contributed to this report.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Former Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles passed away Tuesday surrounded by family.
Baliles spent 14 years in the political spotlight, as a state delegate, Attorney General, and his four-year term as Virginia’s 65th Governor. He then spent 16 years traveling and working for a law firm. In 2006, he went on to serve as director of the University of Virginia Miller Center.
Virginia’s elected leaders are sharing condolences and celebrating his service.
A firefighter worked on a hot spot in Windsor, Calif., on Monday.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Forecasters warn of hurricane-strength winds.
The worst kind of weather for wildfires — strong, gusty winds and very low humidity — is returning on Tuesday after a relative respite on Monday, the National Weather Service said, raising the prospect of more fire outbreaks and rapid growth of the blazes that are already burning.
The agency has posted “red flag” warnings for most of Northern California and much of Southern California, taking effect at various times on Tuesday.
Forecasters are predicting winds between 50 m.ph. and 70 m.p.h. in Los Angeles County and Ventura County on Wednesday and Thursday, with some gusts up to 80 m.p.h. in the mountainous areas of Los Angeles and Santa Monica counties, the National Weather Service said. The scale for Category 1 hurricanes begins at 74 m.p.h.
Winds gusts of up to 60 miles an hour could be expected beginning in the morning over a vast stretch of the state from the Sierras to the Pacific and from the southern fringes of the Bay Area north nearly to the Oregon border, except for coastal areas north of Sonoma County.
The winds, known as Santa Anas in the southern part of the state and Diablos in the north, arrive regularly in the fall. Recent research suggests that as the climate warms, Santa Ana winds may become less frequent. Coupled with precipitation changes, that could mean more intense fires later in the year.
Red-flag weather has played an important role in driving the growth of the Kincade, Getty and other fires, and has prompted pre-emptive blackouts by utility companies hoping to keep wind-damaged power lines and equipment from touching off more blazes.
[ The New York Times has photographers on the ground, documenting the California wildfires and the battle to contain them.Follow their work here. ]
Blazes are challenging firefighters across California.
The Kincade fire has grown to more than 74,000 acres but is now 15 percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting and fire prevention agency. It has destroyed more than than 120 structures and damaged another 20.
As the Kincade and Getty fires raged through dry vegetation at opposite ends of California on Monday, they raised fears that the state’s vicious wildfire season was straining the resources of fire departments that are already spread out battling 16 fires across the state, pushing fire crews beyond the brink of exhaustion.
“It’s all starting to blend together,” said Joe Augino, a firefighter with the Arcadia Fire Department in Southern California who had just finished battling a wildfire in the canyons north of Los Angeles last week when his company was summoned to travel eight hours to the north to help fight the Kincade fire in Sonoma County.
With no rain in the forecast, a brief break in the ferocious winds on Monday offered Mr. Augino’s crew and other firefighters a tiny but crucial window to try to gain control over the fast-spreading fires. But forecasters warned that the respite would not last and that wind gusts would grow to 50 or 60 miles per hour by Tuesday.
On a winding road near the front lines of the Kincade fire, where about 156,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders, Mr. Augino and his fellow firefighters were extinguishing spot fires with water and hand tools.
Maps show where the fires are burning now.
We’re continuing to update our page of maps showing the extent of the fires, power outages and evacuation zones. Data from Cal Fire shows how the Kincade fire in Northern California has spread and where it is burning most intensely. Satellite images pinpoint the Getty and Tick fires and affected areas nearby.
Maps: Kincade and Getty Fires, Evacuation Zones and Power Outages
Detailed maps show the current fire extents, power outage zones and areas under evacuation orders.
To box in fires, crews chop trees and yank roots.
Fernanda Santos, a former New York Times correspondent based in Phoenix, is the author of “The Fire Line,” the story of 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire in 2013.
It is an arresting scene, the dangers unimaginable: Firefighters clad in yellow and green flame-resistant uniforms, battling a wind-whipped and fast-moving blaze with what amount to farming and logging tools.
Fighting fires — including immense untamed wildfires — requires a combination of brutal force, endurance and skill. From the air, firefighters may release water and fire retardant, which can slow its spread but will not extinguish the raging flames. The most effective man-made way to contain a wildfire is to box it inside buffer zones that are absent of everything that burns — a laborious, intense pursuit that requires clearing the land.
Members of a 20-person crew work in a line, hacking at the hardened ground, chopping down trees, yanking out roots and sawing down undergrowth. It is a carefully choreographed ballet, where one person’s movements affect the next’s.
“Imagine, if you can, 16-hour days of manual labor where you’re hustling all the time, and you do it oftentimes for 14 days straight,” said Doug Harwood, a firefighter in the city of Prescott, Ariz., who spent years fighting wildfires in the Western United States.
The mechanics of the job have not changed considerably since 1910, when a monster wildfire known as the Big Burn devoured 3 million acres and killed 85 people across three Northwestern states, and a United States Forest Service ranger named Ed Pulaski returned from obscurity a handy tool that can both dig soil and chop wood.
The Pulaski, as it is known, combines an ax and an adz in one head, and is now arguably the most important piece of equipment in wildfire suppression.
Alan Sinclair, who commands one of 16 teams trained to manage the most challenging wildfires in the United States, said team leaders have to weigh the risks of clearing land when flames may be racing toward them. At some point, it may be too risky, he said.
Communities can help, he said, by working together to create buffer zones around them, what is known as “defensible space,” before a fire strikes.
“It’s really hard for firefighters to go into an area where no work has been done and be expected to save the neighborhood,” Mr. Sinclair said.
Pollution from the smoky air can be mitigated.
With wildfires raging up and down California, smoke filled the air in many places, ash fell from the sky, and residents were once again left to wonder whether the very air they were breathing was safe. Here is what you need to know about the air quality in the state.
How bad is the air?
Air quality is graded on a color-coded scale, with green for good quality, and yellow, orange, red, and purple representing increasingly significant risks.
After the Getty fire broke out on Monday, the Los Angeles area was experiencing moderately hazardous conditions — in the yellow category — with some locations recording air that was unhealthy for sensitive groups, coded orange. The Bay Area was also experiencing conditions in the orange range.
In general, wildfires come with a risk of breathing particulate matter, tiny pollutants too small to see individually that can cause a range of harmful effects when inhaled into the lungs.
What can I do to avoid exposure?
Young children, older adults, people with asthma and people with pre-existing conditions are most at risk, but pollution from smoky air can affect even healthy adults.
When the air quality is poor, health experts recommend staying inside, closing windows to keep out smoky air, and using an air-conditioner with a recirculation option, if possible. If you must go outside, experts recommend using a mask designed to keep out particulate matter.
What kind of mask should I use?
A surgical mask, scarf or bandanna will not do much to filter out many pollutants. Instead, experts recommend a respirator mask, such as a N95 face mask, which is designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles.
How can I track air quality near me?
The current and forecast air quality conditions anywhere in the United States can be checked on AirNow.gov, a website set up by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.
While dry eyes and a scratchy throat may simply be a reaction to low humidity in fire-prone areas, a cough, shortness of breath or lightheadedness could also be a symptom of something more serious, said Dr. Kathryn Melamed, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A.
Naming a wildfire is easier than containing it.
As ashen skies, raging wildfires and blackouts blanket areas of Northern and Southern California, many residents and evacuees are relying on Twitter hashtags for up-to-date information about their homes, loved ones, road closures and further evacuations.
Over the past week, “Kincadefire,” “Gettyfire,” “Tickfire,” “Skyfire” and “Sawdayfire”— the names of the wildfires — have become popular search terms on social media. But often there is confusion as to where their names come from.
As opposed to the predetermined list of names provided for hurricanes, wildfires are named by officials according to the location or local landmark, including streets, lakes and mountains, where the fire broke out. Fires often go without names if they are too small.
If there is a long human presence in the area, there’s no challenge in finding a name — officials just draw from geographically local, named landmarks, according to Susie Kocher, a Natural Resources Advisor at the University of California.
The 2003 San Diego Cedar fire, one of the state’s largest wildland fires in history, unsurprisingly spread across the Cedar Creek Falls area. It burned over 270,000 acres, destroyed more 2,200 homes and killed 14 civilians and one firefighter.
But when it comes to naming there are always weird exceptions. The 416 Fire, for example, burned more than 50,000 acres in Colorado in 2018. Why 416? According to the Durango Interagency Dispatch Center, it was after a “system-generated number” that represented the 416th “incident” in the San Juan National Forest that year.
Another curious choice was in 2015, when fire officials in southeast Idaho ran out of naming ideas following the outbreak of a swarm of fires; for a fire with few landmarks nearby, they went with “Not Creative.”
The Kincade fire in Sonoma County, which had burned more than 66,000 acres and has displaced nearly 200,000 residents as of Monday night, has proved challenging to remember for journalists and people on social media alike.
Misspellings online include Kincaid, Kincaide, Kinkade and Kinkaid.
Reporting was contributed by Adeel Hassan, Liam Stack, Sarah Mervosh and Vanessa Swales.
“Let’s take a break from the impeachment witch hunt, the constant fighting, the drawing of partisan battle lines to focus on a bipartisan bill that should make us all proud,” Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren said on “Final Thoughts.”
Lahren applauded House members on both sides of the aisle this week for their support for a bill that would make animal cruelty a federal felony in the United States.
“We’ve all seen the commercials sponsored by animal rights and welfare groups who work tirelessly to save abused, tortured, starved and abandoned animals. How could anyone look at the horrific images and not feel something?” she asked.
Last week, the House passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act), which prohibits animal abuse known as “crushing” — torturing animals in numerous ways, typically small animals such as kittens and puppies, and post the videos of the brutal acts online.
Burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other forms of torture would also be banned.
Applauding the bipartisan support for the bill, Lahren expressed her support for the cause but questioned why it took so long.
“I’m glad this bill passed but, my goodness, why hasn’t this been done sooner?” she asked.
The PACT Act is an important addition to the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of animal crushing videos illegal. Omitted from the initial act was the prohibition of underlying acts of cruelty against animals, according to the office of CongressmanTed Deutch, D-Fla., who introduced the PACT act together with Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.
The latest act received overwhelming bipartisan support, as groups including The National Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed the legislation as well as a bipartisan group in the Senate which includes Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who introduced a companion bill back in February — and Lahren believes the support represents a larger message.
“Not only is this great for animals, it’s a reminder that as much as our leaders disagree on nearly everything, there are still issues we can come together on.”
— Tomi Lahren, Fox Nation host
“Not only is this great for animals,” she said, “it’s a reminder that as much as our leaders disagree on nearly everything, there are still issues we can come together on.”
“Though this might be a small step, it’s a big step in protecting the welfare of animals and a great step for bipartisanship,” Lahren continued.
Lahren also took the opportunity to remind viewers that October is “Adopt-a-shelter-dog month,” and encouraged people to be the “Saving grace” every dog needs.
“Many of the dogs, cats and other animals in shelters have been either abandoned or abused,” Lahren said. “You could be their saving grace. Please consider fostering, adopting or donating to your local shelter. These animals did nothing to deserve these circumstances.”
“I rescued my dog Kota from the Humane Society almost four years ago,” she added, “but let me tell you, it was Kota who truly rescued me. Adopt, don’t shop. ‘Rescued’ is the best breed,” she said.
To see Lahren’s full remarks and for more episodes of Tomi Lahren’s daily commentary offering a refreshing and unfiltered perspective on issues across the country, join Fox Nation and watch “Final Thoughts” today.
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“All they could think about was ‘How is this going to affect impeachment?’ said Fox Nation host Tammy Bruce of the mainstream media’s reaction to the news that President Donald Trump had ordered a successful U.S. military operation that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Bruce pointed to several headlines that came out almost immediately after the deadly raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound was announced.
NBC News wrote, “The killing of al-Baghdadi is a win Trump needed, but the credit could be fleeting.” A CNN headline read, “Triumph over top terrorist interrupts impeachment crisis engulfing Trump” and Bloomberg told its readers, “Raid gives Trump timely win but unlikely to slow impeachment.”
“When you’re a detective, they say the most interesting and most important thing is the excited utterance,” said Bruce. “The first thing people say to you is the thing you most often can trust. Those headlines were excited utterances.”
Bruce continued by imitating what she imagined to be the various newsroom reactions to the al-Baghdadi raid: “We’ve got this great plan and now he’s ruined it — for us.”
In fact, Bruce argued, the media refuse to give Trump credit for seeing through a major foreign policy objective.
“From the campaign on for this president — and his people around him have confirmed this as well — dealing with ISIS has been a number one priority. Another promise kept,” she said.
“By the way,” Bruce continued. “The day after we obliterated al-Baghdadi, we got their spokesman. So they literally eliminated the top of the caliphate. So President Trump dealt with ISIS, which grew under Obama’s presidency, of course.”
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