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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 77)

9 killed, 3 injured in South Dakota plane crash, authorities say

Nine people were killed and three others injured Saturday afternoon after a plane crashed in southern South Dakota, authorities said.

The Pilatus PC-12 had 12 people on board when it crashed near Chamberlain — about 180 miles west of Sioux Falls — shortly after takeoff, Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Three people were reportedly injured. Among the dead were the pilot and two children, Sioux Fall’s KELO-TV reported.

Westlake Legal Group 08farn 9 killed, 3 injured in South Dakota plane crash, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article abb225fd-f5d9-54e2-a285-27ac76eb5b82

Pilatus DC-21 (R) comes into land over a Pilatus PC-12. (Reuters)

7 DEAD AFTER PLANE CRASHES IN CANADA

The Pilatus website states that the PC-12 can carry up to 10 passengers and is flown by one pilot.

The plane was bound for Idaho Falls, Idaho, according to the Leader.

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Brule County State’s Attorney Theresa Maule described the emergency responders as “heroic.”

Westlake Legal Group Aircraft 9 killed, 3 injured in South Dakota plane crash, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article abb225fd-f5d9-54e2-a285-27ac76eb5b82   Westlake Legal Group Aircraft 9 killed, 3 injured in South Dakota plane crash, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article abb225fd-f5d9-54e2-a285-27ac76eb5b82

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Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports

Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358

Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi indicated this week that the rogue nation would flex its muscle by possibly participating in joint war games with Russia and China in December, according to reports.

“[T]he joint war game between Iran, Russia and China, which will hopefully be conducted next month, carries the same message to the world, that these three countries have reached a meaningful strategic point in their relations,” Khanzadi said Wednesday, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

The war games would follow economic and civic turmoil for the nation, which recently came under crippling sanctions after the United States controversially withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year.

The Tasnim News Agency, another semi-official group, also reported on the games, which were reportedly planned by representatives from the three nations in October.

AT LEAST 40 IRAQ PROTESTERS KILLED IN 24 HOURS AS VIOLENCE ESCALATES

“The purpose of the war game is to ensure collective security and help strengthen security in the northern region of the Indian Ocean, which is witnessing incidents such as piracy,” Khanzadi reportedly said on Saturday.

He claimed his fleet could travel to the Gulf of Mexico or the Gulf of Finland. The naval commander also portrayed the games as a way of extending Iran’s commercial reach.

“The war game seeks to deliver this message to the world that any kind of security at sea must include the interests of all concerned countries,” he said. “We do not condone the kind of security that only caters to the benefits of one specific country at a specific time and which disregards the security of others.”

He added: “Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers.”

IRAN CONSIDERED STRIKING US BASES BEFORE DECIDING ON SAUDI ARABIAN OIL FIELD

In an apparent attack on the United States, Khanzadi called out “bullying tactics” used to “sanction another country’s oil by restricting its passage through international waters.”

“They need to realize that those countries with common interests have close military cooperation with one another in a bid to achieve a desirable level in their collective security,” he said.

U.S. sanctions, re-imposed by Trump, largely have stopped Iran from selling its crude oil abroad, cutting into a crucial source of government income. While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged the money saved from cutting gasoline subsidies would go to the poor, Tehran also needs to cut back spending in order to weather the sanctions.

Iranian officials looking to hit back at the U.S. over crippling economic sanctions reportedly considered attacking American bases before launching airstrikes in September on a massive Saudi Arabian oil facility instead.

Iran’s per-capita gross domestic product, often used as a rough sense of a nation’s standard of living, is just over $6,000, compared to over $62,000 in the U.S., according to the World Bank. That disparity, especially given Iran’s oil wealth, fueled the anger felt by protesters in the nation.

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Already, Iranians have seen their savings chewed away by the rial’s collapse from 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear accord to 126,000 to $1 today. Daily staples also have risen in price.

Even with the hike in gasoline prices, Iran still subsidizes fuel costs. Its economy remains largely state-planned despite privatization efforts. Among other major subsidies are bread and wheat, diesel fuel, heating oil and electricity.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358   Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358

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Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance

Westlake Legal Group 30TRUMPMILITARY-trumpalt-facebookJumbo Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity United States Navy Trump, Donald J Spencer, Richard V navy seals Mosul (Iraq) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq Gallagher, Edward (1979- )

He was limp and dusty from an explosion, conscious but barely. A far cry from the fierce, masked Islamic State fighters who once seized vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, the captive was a scraggly teenager in a tank top with limbs so thin that his watch slid easily off his wrist.

Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher and other Navy SEALs gave the young captive medical aid that day in Iraq in 2017, sedating him and cutting an airway in his throat to help him breathe. Then, without warning, according to colleagues, Chief Gallagher pulled a small hunting knife from a sheath and stabbed the sedated captive in the neck.

The same Chief Gallagher who later posed for a photograph holding the dead captive up by the hair has now been celebrated on the campaign trail by President Trump, who upended the military code of justice to protect him from the punishment resulting from the episode. Prodded by Fox News, Mr. Trump has made Chief Gallagher a cause célèbre, trumpeting him as an argument for his re-election.

The violent encounter in a faraway land opened a two-year affair that would pit a Pentagon hierarchy wedded to longstanding rules of combat and discipline against a commander in chief with no experience in uniform but a finely honed sense of grievance against authority. The highest ranks in the Navy insisted Chief Gallagher be held accountable. Mr. Trump overruled the chain of command and the secretary of the Navy was fired.

The case of the president and a commando accused of war crimes offers a lesson in how Mr. Trump presides over the armed forces three years after taking office. While he boasts of supporting the military, he has come to distrust the generals and admirals who run it. Rather than accept information from his own government, he responds to television reports that grab his interest. Warned against crossing lines, he bulldozes past precedent and norms.

As a result, the president finds himself more removed than ever from a disenchanted military command, adding the armed forces to the institutions under his authority that he has feuded with, along with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic corps.

“We’re going to take care of our warriors and I will always stick up for our great fighters,” Mr. Trump told a rally in Florida as he depicted the military hierarchy as part of “the deep state” he vowed to dismantle. “People can sit there in air-conditioned offices and complain, but you know what? It doesn’t matter to me whatsoever.”

The president’s handling of the case has distressed active-duty and retired officers and the civilians who work closely with them. Mr. Trump’s intervention, they said, emboldens war criminals and erodes the order of a professional military.

“He’s interfering with the chain of command, which is trying to police its own ranks,” said Peter D. Feaver, a specialist on civilian-military relations at Duke University and former aide to President George W. Bush. “They’re trying to clean up their act and in the middle of it the president parachutes in — and not from information from his own commanders but from news talking heads who are clearly gaming the system.”

Chris Shumake, a former sniper who served in Chief Gallagher’s platoon, said in an interview that he was troubled by the impact the president’s intervention could have on the SEALs.

“It’s blown up bigger than any of us could have ever expected, and turned into a national clown show that put a bad light on the teams,” said Mr. Shumake, speaking publicly for the first time. “He’s trying to show he has the troops’ backs, but he’s saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders to make the right decisions.”

Chief Gallagher, who has denied any wrongdoing, declined through his lawyer to be interviewed. Mr. Trump’s allies said the president was standing up to political correctness that hamstrings the warriors the nation asks to defend it, as if war should be fought according to lawyerly rules.

“From the beginning, this was overzealous prosecutors who were not giving the benefit of the doubt to the trigger-pullers,” Pete Hegseth, a weekend host of “Fox & Friends” who has promoted Chief Gallagher to the president both on the telephone and on air, said this past week. “That’s what the president saw.”

Chief Gallagher, 40, a seasoned operator with a deeply weathered face from eight combat deployments, sometimes went by the nickname Blade. He sought out the toughest assignments, where gunfire and blood were almost guaranteed. Months before deploying, he sent a text to the SEAL master chief making assignments, saying he was “down to go” to any spot, no matter how awful, so long as “there is for sure action and work to be done.”

“We don’t care about living conditions,” he added. “We just want to kill as many people as possible.”

Before deployment, he commissioned a friend and former SEAL to make him a custom hunting knife and a hatchet, vowing in a text, “I’ll try and dig that knife or hatchet on someone’s skull!”

He was in charge of 22 men in SEAL Team 7’s Alpha Platoon, which deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in early 2017. But his platoon was nowhere near the action, assigned an “advise and assist” mission supporting Iraqi commandos doing the block-by-block fighting. The SEALs were required to stay 1,000 meters behind the front lines.

That changed on May 6, 2017, when an Apache helicopter banked over a dusty patchwork of fields outside Mosul, fixed its sights on a farmhouse serving as an Islamic State command post and fired two Hellfire missiles reducing it to rubble.

Chief Gallagher saw the distant explosion from an armored gun truck. When he heard on the radio that Iraqi soldiers had captured an Islamic State fighter and took him to a nearby staging area, he raced to the scene. “No one touch him,” he radioed other SEALs. “He’s mine.”

When the captive was killed, other SEALs were shocked. A medic inches from Chief Gallagher testified that he froze, unsure what to do. Some SEALs said in interviews that the stabbing immediately struck them as wrong, but because it was Chief Gallagher, the most experienced commando in the group, no one knew how to react. When senior platoon members confronted Chief Gallagher, they said, he told them, “Stop worrying about it; they do a lot worse to us.”

The officer in charge, Lt. Jacob Portier, who was in his first command, gathered everyone for trophy photos, then held a re-enlistment ceremony for Chief Gallagher over the corpse, several SEALs testified.

A week later, Chief Gallagher sent a friend in California a text with a photo of himself with a knife in one hand, holding the captive up by the hair with the other. “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife,” he wrote.

As the deployment wore on, SEALs said the chief’s behavior grew more erratic. He led a small team beyond the front lines, telling members to turn off locator beacons so they would not be caught by superiors, according to four SEALS, who confirmed video of the mission obtained by The New York Times. He then tried to cover up the mission when one platoon member was shot.

At various points, he appeared to be either amped up or zoned out; several SEALs told investigators they saw him taking pills, including the narcotic Tramadol. He spent much of his time scanning the streets of Mosul from hidden sniper nests, firing three or four times as often as the platoon’s snipers, sometimes targeting civilians.

One SEAL sniper told investigators he heard a shot from Chief Gallagher’s position, then saw a schoolgirl in a flower-print hijab crumple to the ground. Another sniper reported hearing a shot from Chief Gallagher’s position, then seeing a man carrying a water jug fall, a red blotch spreading on his back. Neither episode was investigated and the fate of the civilians remains unknown.

Chief Gallagher had been accused of misconduct before, including shooting through an Afghan girl to hit the man carrying her in 2010 and trying to run over a Navy police officer in 2014. But in both cases no wrongdoing was found.

SEALs said they reported concerns to Lieutenant Portier with no result. The lieutenant outranked Chief Gallagher but was younger and less experienced. SEALs said in interviews that the chief often yelled at his commanding officer or disregarded him altogether. After the deployment, Lieutenant Portier was charged with not reporting the chief for war crimes but charges were dropped. So SEALs said they started firing warning shots to keep pedestrians out of range. One SEAL told investigators he tried to damage the chief’s rifle to make it less accurate.

By the end of the deployment, SEALs said, Chief Gallagher was largely isolated from the rest of the platoon, with some privately calling him “el diablo,” or the devil.

Chief Gallagher was reported by six fellow SEALs and arrested in September 2017, charged with nearly a dozen counts including murder and locked in the brig in San Diego to await his trial. He denied the charges and called those reporting him liars who could not meet his high standards, referring to them repeatedly in public as “the mean girls” and saying they sought to get rid of him.

David Shaw, a former SEAL who deployed with the platoon, said he saw no evidence of that. “All six were some of the best performers in the platoon,” he said, speaking publicly for the first time. “These were guys were hand-selected by the chief based on their skills and abilities, and they are guys of the highest character.”

Chief Gallagher’s case was already simmering on the conservative talk show circuit when another service member, Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Green Beret, was charged last winter with killing an unarmed man linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan. On Dec. 16, barely minutes after a segment on “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump took to Twitter to say he would review the case, repeating language from the segment.

In the tweet, Mr. Trump included the handle of Mr. Hegseth, who speaks regularly with the president and has been considered for top jobs in the administration. An Army veteran, Mr. Hegseth served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading two conservative veterans organizations “committed to victory on the battlefield,” as the biography for his speaker’s bureau puts it.

Upset at what he sees as “Monday morning quarterbacking” of soldiers fighting a shadowy enemy where “second-guessing was deadly,” Mr. Hegseth has for years defended troops charged with war crimes, including Chief Gallagher, Major Golsteyn and Lt. Clint Lorance, often appealing directly to the president on Fox News.

“These are men who went into the most dangerous places on earth with a job to defend us and made tough calls on a moment’s notice,” Mr. Hegseth said on Fox in May. “They’re not war criminals, they’re warriors, who have now been accused of certain things that are under review.”

Mr. Hegseth found a ready ally in Mr. Trump, a graduate of a military high school who avoided serving in Vietnam by citing bone spurs in his foot. Mr. Trump has long sought to identify himself with the toughest of soldiers and loves boasting of battlefield exploits to the point that he made up details of an account of a “whimpering” Islamic State leader killed in October.

In March, the president twice called Richard V. Spencer, the Navy secretary, asking him to release Chief Gallagher from pretrial confinement in a Navy brig, Mr. Spencer later wrote in The Washington Post. After Mr. Spencer pushed back, Mr. Trump made it an order.

By May, Mr. Trump prepared to pardon both Chief Gallagher and Major Golsteyn for Memorial Day, even though neither had yet faced trial. At the Pentagon, a conservative bastion where Fox News is the network of choice on office televisions, senior officials were aghast. They persuaded Mr. Trump to hold off. But that was not the end of the matter.

In June, Chief Gallagher appeared before a military jury of five Marines and two sailors in a two-week trial marred by accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. The medic who had been inches away from Chief Gallagher changed his story on the stand, claiming that he was the one who killed the captive.

In early July, the jury acquitted Chief Gallagher on all charges but one: posing for a trophy photo with a corpse. He was sentenced to the maximum four months in prison and demoted. Having already been confined awaiting trial, he walked out of the courtroom a free man.

“Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”

In the months afterward, Chief Gallagher was feted on conservative talk shows. Mr. Hegseth spoke privately with Mr. Trump about the case.

As it happened, the president shares a lawyer with Chief Gallagher — Marc Mukasey, a former prosecutor representing Mr. Trump in proceedings against his company. Mr. Mukasey said he never discussed Chief Gallagher with anyone in the administration. “I have been religious about keeping matters separate,” he said.

Another person with ties to Mr. Trump who worked on Chief Gallagher’s case was Bernard B. Kerik, a New York City police commissioner under former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is now the president’s personal lawyer. Like Mr. Hegseth, Mr. Kerik repeatedly appeared on Fox News pleading Chief Gallagher’s case.

The much-investigated president saw shades of himself in the case — Chief Gallagher’s lawyers accused prosecutors of improprieties, a claim that advisers said resonated with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Spencer tried to head off further intervention. On Nov. 14, the Navy secretary sent a note to the president asking him not to get involved again. But Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, called to say Mr. Trump would order Chief Gallagher’s punishment reversed and his rank restored. In addition, he pardoned Major Golsteyn and Lieutenant Lorance.

“This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review,” Mr. Spencer wrote. “It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Mr. Spencer threatened to resign. The Army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, also weighed in, arguing that the country’s standards of military justice protected American troops by setting those troops up as a standard around the world.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper took the complaints to the president. The Pentagon also sent an information packet to the White House describing the cases, including a primer on why there is a Uniform Code of Military Justice. Mr. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the president it was important to allow the process to go forward.

Caught in the middle was Rear Adm. Collin Green, who took command of the SEALs four days before Chief Gallagher was arrested. He made it a priority to restore what he called “good order and discipline” after a series of scandals, tightening grooming standards and banning unofficial patches with pirate flags, skulls, heads on pikes and other grim symbols used to denote rogue cliques, similar to motorcycle gangs.

For Admiral Green, the Gallagher case posed a challenge because after his acquittal, the chief regularly undermined the SEAL command, appearing without authorization on Fox News and insulting the admiral and other superiors on social media as “a bunch of morons.”

The admiral wanted to take Chief Gallagher’s Trident pin, casting him out of the force. He called both Mr. Spencer and the chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, and said he understood the potential backlash from the White House, but in nearly all cases SEALs with criminal convictions had their Tridents taken.

Both Mr. Spencer and Admiral Gilday agreed the decision was his to make and said they would defend his call. Mr. Esper briefed Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on Nov. 19 and the next day the Navy established a review board of fellow enlisted SEALs to decide the question.

But a day later, an hour after the chief’s lawyer blasted the decision on Fox News, the president stepped in again. “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

Three days later, Mr. Spencer was fired, faulted by Mr. Esper for not telling him about an effort to work out a deal with the White House to allow the Navy process to go forward.

In an interview with Mr. Hegseth this past week, Chief Gallagher thanked Mr. Trump for having his back. “He keeps stepping in and doing the right thing,” the chief said. “I want to let him know the rest of the SEAL community is not about this right now. They all respect the president.”

Dave Philipps reported from Colorado Springs, Co., Peter Baker and Helene Cooper from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

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Russian firm tried to hack Ohio voting

Westlake Legal Group w_wFJPRFzHqjhaRd9lOygfHZLt0qg3I7jPJBIc0KE-g Russian firm tried to hack Ohio voting r/politics

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Biden launches Iowa trip with focus on Trump, rural America

Westlake Legal Group 5de316ae2500004f19d2ebd8 Biden launches Iowa trip with focus on Trump, rural America

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden launched an eight-day bus tour of Iowa on Saturday projecting confidence, ignoring his many Democratic presidential competitors and pledging that he will unseat President Donald Trump in 2020.

The former vice president pledged first to win the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, despite recent polls suggesting his standing there has slipped in recent months.

“I promise you, I promise you,” Biden told a few hundred supporters outside his Council Bluff campaign office, “we’re going to win this race, and we’re going to beat Donald Trump, and we’re going to change America.”

Behind the optimism, Biden aides acknowledge he must sharpen his message and bolster his voter outreach operation ahead of the caucuses that start Democrats’ 2020 voting. But his advisers also insist he has wide support and remains well-positioned to recover any lost ground.

His chief argument — his perceived strength against Trump — was on clear display Saturday. Sidestepping his philosophical tussle with progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders over the party’s direction, Biden struck a general-election posture. He added an emphasis on small town and rural America, an electoral swath where Democrats have struggled in recent elections but that could prove critical in both the nominating fight and November battlegrounds.

“We’re going to touch on what we think is a forgotten part of this campaign,” Biden said, bemoaning the effects of Trump’s tariffs on Iowa farmers and highlighting his own rural policy plans shaped with the help of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The former Obama agriculture secretary recently gave Biden his most high-profile Iowa endorsement.

Jill Biden, the candidate’s wife, followed suit in Council Bluffs, introducing her husband as the “only candidate who can take on Trump in places like Florida and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan.”

Iowa polls suggest that Biden, while a front-runner nationally, is in a jumble near the top. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, of South Bend, Indiana, appears to hold a narrow edge over Biden, 77; Warren, 70; and Sanders, 78. The senators have animated the party’s left flank, while Buttigieg joins Biden in Democrats’ center-left wing but is calling for generational change.

Biden aides reject any framing of the bus tour as a reset; they see it as a way to drive home his potential strengths with Democratic voters consistently citing Trump’s defeat as their top priority, even beyond the particulars of intraparty debates on issues like universal health care.

“As people get closer and closer to February, they become more and more practical about this,” Vilsack said ahead of Biden’s trip. “He can make the strongest case … that he is in a position to get things done, and he is in a position to win.”

Thus far, Buttigieg, Warren and Sanders have drawn consistently larger Iowa crowds than Biden, while some party activists criticize his campaign as insufficiently aggressive.

“In terms of people out there knocking on doors, who attend other campaign events, district events, I can’t name a member of the southeast Iowa Democrats who’s supporting Joe Biden,” said Glenn Hurst, a leader of Iowa Democrats’ Rural Caucus.

Bobbie Moore, a party volunteer and Biden supporters who came to see him Saturday, stopped short of criticizing the campaign. But she noted the crowd “isn’t one-10th of what was here for Pete” Buttigieg just days ago.

Fairly or not, Biden’s national staff has fueled skeptical assessments with pronouncements that he doesn’t have to win Iowa to win the nomination. Iowa is overwhelmingly white; Biden’s national advantage leans heavily on nonwhite voters who will help determine outcomes in Nevada, South Carolina and many March 3 Super Tuesday states.

Yet all the handwringing misses key variables in Iowa, Vilsack and other Biden backers contend. They argue his support is wider demographically and geographically than other leading candidates. They point to rural areas and Iowa’s growing minority population that, while small, could prove important with many candidates dividing the overall caucus vote.

Moore, 70, said Biden is a “known quantity” whose support isn’t as obvious as Buttigieg and others.

Another Biden volunteer, Phyllis Hughes Ewing, said outside media underappreciated Biden’s appeal. “I’m on the phones with voters two nights a week for several hours at a pop,” she said. “I’m a boot on the ground … and everyone has good things to say about Joe.”

The bullishness leans heavily on the way caucus votes are counted.

The Biden team is laser-focused on the viability threshold requiring candidates to get 15% support in a given precinct to have votes counted toward delegates. Biden’s team believes he’ll be viable in every one of the 1,679 precincts on caucus night, a reach other leading candidates may not match. Then, they believe Biden will be a top beneficiary of “realignment” — subsequent ballots that allow voters who supported a nonviable candidate to choose another who’s still standing.

That process could be a double boost for Biden, their theory goes. First, top contenders like Warren or Buttigieg whose support might be anchored in more liberal cities and suburbs would get no practical benefit from first-ballot votes in more rural precincts where they fall short of 15%. Second, several of the lower-tier candidates running as moderates — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for example — could fall short of viability across much of the state. Biden advisers confirmed they already are mapping out realignment ballot strategy.

They’re also looking to organized labor for help. Biden won the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters at the outset of his campaign, and the organization already has tapped its locals across the state to canvass. Biden’s second stop Saturday was a local fire station.

For minority outreach, the campaign recently hired state Rep. Ras Smith, a member of the Iowa Legislature’s Black Caucus, and it has more than a dozen bilingual organizers, including deputy political director Claudia Chavez, focusing on Latino voters.

But beyond all the particulars, Biden’s fundamental argument returns to political pragmatism.

Harold Schaitberger, the firefighters’ national union president, compared the dynamics to 2004, another primary fight when Democrats were desperate to oust a Republican president. Howard Dean led in Iowa for much of 2003, wowing progressives and drawing large crowds. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry ultimately came back to win the caucus and nomination, though he lost to President George W. Bush in the fall.

Schaitberger, whose union backed Kerry, smiled as he recalled a newspaper headline from late 2003: “Kerry dead in the water.”

Jaffe reported from Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington.

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UAW Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement with Fiat Chrysler

Westlake Legal Group ap_19057711328303-40a1b0538189927ee48f5140cba291625e8919b4-s1100-c15 UAW Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement with Fiat Chrysler

Jeep vehicles are parked outside the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit on Feb. 26, 2019. Carlos Osorio/AP hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  UAW Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement with Fiat Chrysler

Jeep vehicles are parked outside the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit on Feb. 26, 2019.

Carlos Osorio/AP

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reached a tentative labor agreement with the United Auto Workers on Saturday, becoming the last of the big three Detroit automakers to arrive at a deal with the labor union this year.

The four-year agreement, which covers hourly workers at the company, would secure a total of $9 billion worth of investments involving 7,900 jobs, according a statement from the UAW. The agreement must still be approved by the union’s national council, and then pass a ratification vote by the company’s 47,000 union-represented workers.

“FCA has been a great American success story thanks to the hard work of our members. We have achieved substantial gains and job security provisions for the fastest growing auto company in the United States,” said Rory Gamble, the acting president of the UAW, in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler confirmed the agreement in a statement but did not provide additional details on the outlines of the deal.

The tentative agreement comes at a moment of upheaval for the UAW. Earlier this month, the union’s president, Gary Jones, abruptly resigned in the face of allegations that he misused union funds. Jones has not been charged with any crime. His attorney told the Detroit News that he resigned in order to avoid distracting “the union from its core mission to improve the lives of its members and their families. “

The day Jones resigned, General Motors filed suit against Fiat Chrysler alleging that the company bribed UAW officials to get favorable labor contracts. Fiat Chrysler said in a press release that GM’s lawsuit was “without merit” and dismissed it as an attempt to disrupt its recent agreement to merge with French automaker Groupe PSA — a merger which if finalized, would make the combined company the fourth largest carmaker in the world by production volume.

The UAW said a ratification vote on the agreement with Fiat Chrysler could come as soon as Dec. 6. If approved, the union will avoid a replay of its bruising negotiation earlier this year with General Motors. Those talks gave way to a grueling 40-plus-day strike that brought operations to a halt and cost GM — and the companies that supply it — millions.

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North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say

A North Carolina family’s Thanksgiving ended in violence after a mother allegedly shot and killed her adult daughter, according to local police.

Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department arrived at the family’s apartment in the 300 block of Krupa Court shortly before 10 p.m., Fox 8 reported, citing a news release.

Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9

Police say Elvira Elizabeth Alexander is charged with murder and possession of a stolen firearm in the shooting death of her daughter on Thanksgiving Day.  (Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The officers found a woman with a gunshot wound who was transported to the hospital. The woman, identified as 37-year-old Chante Lavarche Alexander, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

OHIO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM’S DAUGHTER CALLED 911 FOR ‘PIZZA,’ SIGNALING THEY NEEDED HELP: POLICE

Police said the woman’s mother, 56-year-old Elvira Elizabeth Alexander, has been charged with murder and possession of a stolen firearm.

Investigators described the crime as “domestic-related.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A police spokesman said he didn’t know whether the suspect has a lawyer who can speak on her behalf.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9   Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9

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North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say

A North Carolina family’s Thanksgiving ended in violence after a mother allegedly shot and killed her adult daughter, according to local police.

Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department arrived at the family’s apartment in the 300 block of Krupa Court shortly before 10 p.m., Fox 8 reported, citing a news release.

Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9

Police say Elvira Elizabeth Alexander is charged with murder and possession of a stolen firearm in the shooting death of her daughter on Thanksgiving Day.  (Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The officers found a woman with a gunshot wound who was transported to the hospital. The woman, identified as 37-year-old Chante Lavarche Alexander, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

OHIO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM’S DAUGHTER CALLED 911 FOR ‘PIZZA,’ SIGNALING THEY NEEDED HELP: POLICE

Police said the woman’s mother, 56-year-old Elvira Elizabeth Alexander, has been charged with murder and possession of a stolen firearm.

Investigators described the crime as “domestic-related.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A police spokesman said he didn’t know whether the suspect has a lawyer who can speak on her behalf.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9   Westlake Legal Group AP19333531830231 North Carolina woman accused of shooting, killing daughter on Thanksgiving, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 40744e1e-cae7-5e10-9b91-603ec0736ee9

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

10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways

Tacky lights, beautifully decorated historic homes, an exhilarating once a year drive on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk… Whatever gets you in the holiday spirit, you’ll find it in Virginia! Bring your family and friends to experience the enchantment of this holiday season.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon
Explore Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. during the most wonderful time of the year with this five-day suggested itinerary featuring a festive holiday evening at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This colonial inspired event is one to be remembered, as it finishes with fireworks choreographed to holiday music over the Potomac River. Read more.


Westlake Legal Group Mount-Vernon 10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways Story Ideas

A Blue Ridge Christmas in Staunton
The holidays never felt so magical! Embark on a two-day trip to Staunton. This enchanting downtown is one of America’s most celebrated Main Streets and offers a truly authentic holiday experience for groups. Shop for that perfect gift in artisans shops, see a Christmas classic at American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse and more. Read more.

A Colonial Virginia Christmas featuring Grand Illumination
This multi-regional itinerary takes you through the holiday splendor of Williamsburg and Historic Triangle, Newport News, Richmond and Fredericksburg. From dazzling gardens and world class theme parks decked out in millions of lights to the fireworks over Colonial Williamsburg and a tasting tour at a distillery, this itinerary has something for everyone! Read more.


Westlake Legal Group Williamsburg1 10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways Story Ideas

Be Merry in Manassas and Prince William
Get into the holiday spirit in Prince William and Manassas. Visit any time during the winter season to see historic streets decked out in lights and hunt for that perfect gift at one of their wonderful boutiques. Read more.

Charlottesville & Albemarle County Winter Itinerary
Charlottesville & Albemarle County are wonderful destinations to visit during the winter months! Attractions are open and accessible all through the winter season and guests can find spectacular discounts and deals at area hotels, resorts and bed & breakfasts. From historic sites, to food and drink options galore, and their eight-block historic pedestrian Downtown Mall, there is plenty to do for you and your holiday guests. Read more.

Westlake Legal Group Monticello 10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways Story Ideas

Holidays: From the Capitol to the Coast, 100 Miles of Lights and Sights!
With this multi-regional itinerary, start your holiday adventure in Richmond and see how homes were decorated throughout the centuries – and do some shopping in Carytown too! Experience Norfolk Botanical Gardens’ “Garden of Lights” and cruise down the iconic Virginia Beach Boardwalk from the comfort of your car and enjoy the Holiday Lights at the Beach. Read more.

Christmas in Abingdon
Visit Bristol Motor Speedway where the roar of the engines is replaced with the twinkling of two million lights. Enjoy shopping at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace where you can find the region’s best in authentic crafts, music, & food, one of a kind jewelry, pottery, quilts and hand­crafted musical instruments, a farm to table restaurant and coffee and wine bar. Read more.

Christmas from Bristol to Williamsburg – Holiday Happenings along the Blue Ridge
From the mountains to the coast, this itinerary takes you all over Virginia. Delight in the millions of glowing lights as you visit Bristol Motor Speedway. Visit Monticello and experience how Christmas was celebrated during Thomas Jefferson’s time. Do some holiday shopping at Williamsburg’s Premium Outlets and more. Read more.

Westlake Legal Group BristolMS 10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways Story Ideas

The Season of Lights, Virginia Beach
Enjoy holiday lights at the beach! Stroll through the gardens of the Founder’s Inn illuminated with over 100,000 twinkling lights or visit the Christmas Mouse for those last minute nautical gifts. Have afternoon tea at the Cavalier Hotel, experience a whale watching boat trip, enjoy a holiday laser light show and more. Read more.

Lights and Lyrics of the Holidays in Richmond
From festive decorations of long ago, spectacular tacky lights to the twinkle of modern lights, Richmond is the perfect place to get away for the holidays. Lewis Ginter’s GardenFest of Lights features more than a half-million holiday lights arranged in botanical themes and Maymont mansion is lavishly decorated with Victorian Christmas décor. Read more.


Westlake Legal Group LewisGinter 10 Trip Ideas for Fun Holiday Getaways Story Ideas

See more:

Holidays in Virginia

Holiday Performances

Winter in Virginia

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Florida high school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissection

A Florida high school has found an alternative to the well-known, yet smelly and messy, science class ritual passed on throughout generations at U.S. high schools.

J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey is the first school in the world to replace the guts and gore associated with cutting open slimy amphibians with man-made, synthetic frogs used for dissection labs that still have the mirrored organs inside.

Nearly 100 synthetic frogs were dissected by students on Nov. 20, according to a release by the company that created them. SynDaver is a developer of synthetic human and animal models used for education and medical purposes.

WORLD’S FIRST TOAD BORN USING IN VITRO FERTILIZATION FROM FROZEN SEMEN

Westlake Legal Group Synthetic-Frog-Judge-Public-Relations-1 Florida high school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissection fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/amphibians fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 5d1ffd60-9087-5619-a3ab-d761429ac48b

Students from J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida participated in the first-ever SynDaver Synthetic Frog dissection Wednesday. The SynFrog is expected to eventually replace dead frogs for use in dissections at schools nationwide (Judge Public Relations)

“So kids are involved, they are in it, they are finger deep in frog guts, but it’s all synthetic, so the smell isn’t there, the stigma isn’t there, they are not opting out,” said J.W. Mitchell Principal Jessica Schultz, according to PETA. “Every kid is engaged and we have students from all academic levels in the classes that we chose and the teachers that we have them with and they are just all in on this.”

It’s important for the students’ learning experience that the synthetic frogs be as close to the real thing as possible. The company says they are designed to mimic the visual and textural properties of a live female frog and feature a synthetic skeleton, muscles, skin organs and reproductive system with eggs.

“All of SynDaver’s synthetic humans, animal models and task trainers simulate the anatomy of live patients in great detail, including individual muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, nerves and organ systems,” said Shalin G. Gala, PETA’s vice president of International Laboratory Methods. “The company’s patented synthetic tissues are made of water, fibers and salts. Each of these non-toxic, non-latex tissues has been validated against the relevant living tissue for mechanical and physical properties.”

OHIO ZOO WELCOMES POLAR BEAR CUB BORN ON THANKSGIVING DAY

The use of synthetic frogs in classrooms is also a bit safer, as well. Dead chemically-preserved frogs can be dangerous to students who handle them without protection due to harmful chemicals like formalin or formaldehyde, officials said.

“We’re excited to announce our revolutionary SynFrog, which is a far superior learning tool as it is designed to mimic living tissue. This makes it more like a live frog than the preserved specimens currently sold to schools for dissection labs,” said Dr. Christopher Sakezles, founder of SynDaver, according to the release. “SynFrog not only looks and feels like a real frog, it’s physically safer to dissect than a real preserved frog because it doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemicals like formalin.”

The SynFrogs can also be reused after each use and they eliminate the ethical dilemma some people have over the killing of live amphibians to be placed in schools.

Westlake Legal Group Synthetic-Frog-Judge-Public-Relations-2 Florida high school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissection fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/amphibians fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 5d1ffd60-9087-5619-a3ab-d761429ac48b

J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey is the first school in the world to replace the guts and gore associated with cutting open the slimy amphibians with man-made, synthetic, frogs used for dissection labs that still have the necessary organs inside. (Judge Public Relations)

“We’re proud to have found a partner in SynDaver to bring this revolutionary new educational tool to life, replacing the outdated use of once-living frogs forever,” Gala said. “We look forward to schools around the world adopting this state-of-the-art technology that will not only save millions of frogs but is a far more effective and safer teaching tool.”

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The frog dissection model costs $150, is 1-foot long and weighs roughly 2 pounds, according to the company website.

Westlake Legal Group Synthetic-Frog-Judge-Public-Relations-1 Florida high school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissection fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/amphibians fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 5d1ffd60-9087-5619-a3ab-d761429ac48b   Westlake Legal Group Synthetic-Frog-Judge-Public-Relations-1 Florida high school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissection fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/amphibians fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 5d1ffd60-9087-5619-a3ab-d761429ac48b

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